What's For Dinner | Healthy Vegan Taco Bowl

If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be tacos. Matthew and I have been on a “bowl” kick lately, because they’re so easy to customize and they’re ridiculously healthy. I typically make this version vegan for myself, but I’ll pan fry some shrimp with olive oil, half a lime’s worth of juice, and some taco spice (keep reading for the best taco spice on the Earth!) for Matt.

ATP Recipes Healthy Taco Bowl

Like I said, these bowls can be customizable to anything you really want it to be, but lately I’ve really been loving them filled with sautéed veggies and quinoa served over some crisp romaine lettuce.

ATP Recipes Healthy Taco Bowl

I’ve never been a big spicy food fan, but Matt loves it. Lately I’ve been putting jalapeños in most of our food, and I’ve gotta say… even I’m coming around to them! I sauté the onions first, since I prefer them to be more cooked. Once they start to get translucent, I throw in the green peppers and jalapeños.

ATP Recipes Healthy Taco Bowl

Now the most important part… the spices. If you’ve never heard of Calicutts Spice Co., it’s a small batch spice company based out of Pennsylvania run by the sweetest mother/son-in-law team. They’re out of this world. This combination is my absolute favourite go to for tacos. I could BATHE in this stuff. And I put their cumin in almost literally everything I cook (I even put it in my “famous” ginger cookies once… by accident… but that’s another story. Matt still ate them…). Lucky for you (and me) if you’re not in PA, you can order online!

Calicutts Spices

Once the peppers are just starting to soften, add your spices and a can of black beans. I let that sit for a few moments, and then add in some chopped red cabbage. I really don’t like cooked cabbage, so I literally only let that stay on for a few moments- long enough to get warm!

ATP Recipes Healthy Taco Bowl

Recipe:

2 cloves garlic
1 cup dry quinoa
1 head romaine lettuce
1 medium onion
2 green onions
1 bell pepper
2 jalapeños
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 tomato
1 small head red cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp taco spice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fire salt
1/2 lime
1 avocado, sliced (or mashed)
fresh cilantro
favourite salsa to top

  1. Dice garlic, onions, green peppers, tomato, and jalapeños. Slice green onions.

  2. Cook quinoa according to package

  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions until they begin to soften

  4. Add garlic, peppers, and jalapeños

  5. Once the peppers begin to soften, add in the can of rinsed beans, tomato, spices, and the juice from 1/2 a lime and continue to cook over medium low heat

  6. Add in sliced red cabbage until cooked to your preference

  7. Serve cooked veggies and quinoa over the chopped romaine lettuce. Top with avocado, cilantro, and salsa.

ATP Recipes Healthy Taco Bowl

So. Good. Also note, in full disclosure, I don’t use the cilantro on mine (but my husband does)… I think it tastes like a bar of soap… are you team cilantro? Or are you with me and think it belongs in the trash? ;)

Essential Oil Guide | Spring Perfume

I get a lot of questions about essential oils - where to get them, how to use them, are they worth the hype? So I figured I’d start adding more oily information into this. First of all, they’re 100% worth the hype. In a couple of months, I’ll have been a “user” for five years. FIVE years! I can’t even imagine my life without them anymore. (Okay, that sounds a little dramatic, but I’ve replaced so many every day products with oils, I don’t even know what I’d do!)

Just laying it out in the open, I’m an Independent Wellness Advocate with DoTERRA. I have been since I started my oil journey back in 2014. All of the oils I reference, you can purchase here, through DoTERRA. Nowadays, there are SO many alternatives out there; I only ask that, should you use a different brand, you do your research. Not all oils are created equal!! If you’re going to use them internally, make sure the brand you’re using is truly safe and that you’re spending your money on real, pure, 100% natural essential oils. (Remember kids, “you get what you pay for.”) Now, with that out of the way…

One of the first things I replaced with oils is my daily perfumes. There’s a ton of research out there on the dangers of using synthetic fragrances… they’re full of hormone disrupters, carcinogens, the list goes on and on. It’s not pretty.

Bergamot is my go-to for an every day scent. It’s got this amazing clean, citrusy, woodsy smell, and I can’t get enough of it. But every once in a while, I switch it up and create my own blends. My favourite lately is:

7 drops Grapefruit
5 drops Elevation
11 drops Balance
11 drops Bergamot

Add all of the above to a 5 ML roller bottle from Amazon, top it off with some fractionated coconut oil and roll it on. So. Good.

You can buy any or all of the oils above here: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/site/andreatrobertson
If you have any questions on oils, or are interested in a wholesale account with DoTERRA (you’ll get 25% off EVERY purchase) leave a comment below, or send me a message!

Happy oiling (:

Alsace Travel Guide | Falling In Love With France

I used to dream of Paris as a little girl (okay, I know, what little girl DOESN’T dream of Paris?). After I got out of the military, my best friend and I planned a Eurotrip, and we quickly slapped Paris at the top of the list. I remember stepping out of the Gare du Nord and immediately the butterflies in my stomach started dying off and I started to just feel overwhelmed. Where was the Eiffel Tower and the accordions playing in the background, and that rosey sunny glow that always falls all over everything in the movies? I looked around, taking in the dirt and the noise, and got this sinking feeling in my stomach that I had somehow transported back across the Atlantic to New York City. (I have a love hate relationship with NYC, as most North Easterners seem to, but that’s a story for another day…)

Flash forward a few years. When I first came to Germany to visit Matthew, he was adamant that he wanted to go on a French day trip. Being the mature adult that I am, my response was “Ew, I don’t like France.” (First world problems, anyone?) In the end I went along, and, as usual, he proved me sorely wrong. Friends, I bring you: The Alsace.

If you’ve never heard of Alsace, you’re not alone. Dig back into your childhood memories and pick out an image of Belle’s town; the Alsace is where Walt Disney found his inspiration for the setting of Beauty and the Beast. Spend a day walking through the streets of Riquewihr, Colmar, or Mittelbergheim and you’ll think that you have been magically transported into a fairy tale. While you’re busy reliving your childhood dreams of living in a Disney movie, there’s even something to warm your adult heart: wine. Yep. Magical fairy land is also huge on wine production (queue feeling eternally stupid for ever muttering the words “I don’t like France.”)

On my most recent trip to the Alsace, my husband (the researcher) had told Allison and I to go check out Crémant d’Alsace. Not ones to discriminate on wine varietals, we did some quick Googling and set off on the road. We hit a couple of wineries that specialized in Crémant and fell in love. Guys, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s even better than Champagne. Come at me; I’ll fight you on it.

The first winery we stopped at was Gilg in Mittelbergheim. Once again, we’re not one to make plans ahead of time, much less reservations, so there’s always a chance we drive two hours and end up seeing lots of closed things. The winery and tasting room are nestled right in the middle of town. We’re starving, but it’s 2:00 in France, which means you’re straight out of luck for food (Europe traveling hack, BRING SNACKS). The door to the winery is locked, so we’re turning around in defeat when this sweet old man comes flying out of nowhere with a key. Long story short, he let us in, fed us loads of different tastes of Crémant, and we walked away the happy owners of three new shiny bottles of bubbly. They were all good, and the setting was just so cute, I definitely recommend stopping in if you’re in the area and have access to a car. The man we were working with spoke enough English and we spoke enough broken French to get by, but if you’re worried, I’d definitely download Google Translator ahead of time (you can also download certain languages so that the translations are available offline).

Next, we drove about thirty minutes down the road through beautiful wine country to Riquewihr. I’ve been to Riquewihr before; it’s a huge tourist attraction but with good reason. I absolutely love it, but I’ve also seen photos of the main drag in the height of tourist season. It’s so packed you can’t even move. I’ve gone in September and March and have never seen it like that, so keep that in mind while you’re planning your trip. Since it’s 3:00 and we’re still starving, we luckily find a small cafe open, snag some espressos and some quiches, and set out to find more wine. The best rated winery in town, according to Google is Dopff. It’s right on the main cobblestone street in Riquewihr, and you walk down into a cellar to access the tasting room. The gentleman working there spoke impeccable English, happily answered all of our questions, and once again, fed us lots of tastings. The biggest thing we learned there was that all of the grapes picked in that particular area are picked by hand. It still makes my fingers cramp up just thinking about it. Don’t let anyone tell you that wine isn’t a labour of love! Also, we didn’t pay for a single “tasting” the entire time we were there, and they’re always pretty happy to let you taste quite a few. From what I’ve seen, that seems to be a thing in France/ Germany, but I’m not completely sure if that is always the case. Once again, we happily left with three new bottles of bubbly.

Our last stop of the day was Ribeauvillé, where we grabbed dinner and a room for the night. Ribeauvillé was a smaller town than Google made it out to be, but it’s nestled right in the middle of the Vosges mountain range and surrounded by medieval castles. We stayed at the Resort Barrière Ribeauvillé which was a bit out of town, but the room was beautiful and cosy and the views were stunning. After taking a short break to relax in the room (ie. pop open some of our newly acquired Crémant), we decided to brave the walk into town (about half a mile down a fairly busy road) and find dinner. Many of the restaurants were closed for the season, and the ones still in service didn’t open until 7:00 PM. We chose to stop at La Flammerie. Dinner was great (I had steak, Allison had fish), but the dessert! The crème brûlée was possibly the stuff dreams are made of.

Circling back to where this began, every time I dare to write something negative about Paris on Instagram, people lose their minds. Don’t hate! First, Matthew and I have vowed to take a weekend while we’re living in Germany to give Paris a second chance. I promise to go in with an open mind (and slightly less lofty expectations), and I will write again with an update. Second, I mean well. The more time I spend in Europe, the more I realize, France is really freaking cool. Any time I rant about Paris, I am largely aiming to get people to expand their grand Parisian adventure… outside of Paris.

Note: Being the nerds that we are, Allison dug up some WWII history on the Alsace. If you’d like to read more, we enjoyed this article.

What's For Dinner | Healthy One Pan Chicken + Quinoa Recipe

The older I get, the more I really enjoy cooking. Years ago, when I was training in the Air Force, I went through culinary school (don’t laugh - we learned a lot!). Now I love the creativity that can go into cooking a good meal and being able to put healthy food on the table for my family.
Weather plays a big role in how we eat in my household, and yesterday was such a randomly cold and blustery day (it’s been so warm lately), I really wanted something hearty and cozy for dinner. I found this recipe from the Cookin’ Canuck and modified it a bit to match our tastes. My husband loved it, and even asked why I had made something with cream (I’m dairy free - spoiler alert: there’s no cream!). I don’t typically like mushrooms or cooked spinach, and I even enjoyed it. Everything in it is good for you, and it’s the perfect one pot (queue the angels singing) meal for a cold night!

Healthy Chicken Recipe

You’ll need:
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning
2 tablespoons (ish) olive oil
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup quinoa
5 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
6 bone in chicken thighs
1 yellow onion (Diced)
8 oz chestnut mushrooms (sliced)
2 huge handfuls of fresh spinach

  1. Season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. I don’t measure spices, but best I can guess, I used approximately 1-3 teaspoons of each, depending on how you prefer things to taste.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and brown the chicken thighs - approximately 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove thighs and set them aside on a plate. Tent the plate with aluminum foil. *Some of the best cooking advice I can give you is to find a good olive oil you love (note: this does NOT always mean “an expensive one”!). It makes such a huge difference! My favourite is a brand called “La Española” - Matt brought it back from Spain once, and I’ve been able to find it in the local Edeka on ocassion!

  3. Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pain and sauté the onions, garlic, and mushrooms until soft (about 5 minutes).

  4. Stir in the quinoa and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.

  5. Cover pan and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.

  6. Place the chicken thighs back into the pan, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes - until the chicken is cooked the whole way through and all of the chicken broth has been soaked up.

  7. Remove chicken and add in the fresh spinach. Stir until spinach is cooked to your liking.

  8. Serve chicken over the quinoa and vegetable mixture. Bon appétit!

Best College Towns | Heidelberg

Maybe it’s a pull from my subconscious for not having a “real” college experience, or my undying love for State College, Pennsylvania, but I always love a good college town. One of my favourites is Heidelberg, Germany. In the summer it’s full of bustling biergartens and college kids on bicycles, but in the winter it’s full of welcoming shops and cozy pubs.

My best friend came to visit from DC last week, and Heidelberg was one of our first stops. We hopped a train from Waldfischbach for 13 Euro and less than two hours later, stumbled out into the city.

Andrea Tracy Photography Heidelberg

Naturally, we headed straight for the Macaronnerie Heidelberg, the town’s best rated macarons (a logical first stop for any city). They did NOT disappoint!

Next we wandered down Main Street for some shopping. Here you’ll find Birkenstock and lots of little alley ways with adorable local shops and boutiques. You’ll also find a few flower shops; my European weakness. Flowers here are so incredibly inexpensive; I couldn’t help but snag some fresh tulips and ranunculus.

We stopped at a handful of local pubs, including the beautiful Zum Güldenen Schaf which opened in 1749, and even managed to (mistakenly) find the local Steelers bar (The Dubliner Irish Pub). While we’re about as far away from Steelers fans as two people can get, there’s still something soothing about finding a little piece of home so far away. The local beer (Heidelberger) is decent; my favourite was the “Hefe Weizen Hell”.

As night fell, we made it to the square, which had a beautiful view of the castle aglow in lights. In the square, you’ll also find a Lindt store with baskets and baskets of individually wrapped truffles. I recommend the cookies and cream and coconut ones! ;)

We tried to get into dinner at a couple of highly rated places (mental note when traveling in Europe, ALWAYS make a reservation… my husband and I are endlessly horrible at this), and we finally were able to snag a table at Cafe Rossi. After a great dinner (good drinks, very quick service, and a beautiful building!), we made the 1.5 KM walk back to the train station and were on our way home!

Have you ever been to Heidelberg? What’s your favourite city find?