Posts Tagged With: Pinterest

Adventure on the Water

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Killer Mango Salsa Recipe!

Our 2013 is off to a great start, not only has it been full of adventure already, but we’ve perfected some awesome recipes we’ve found on Pinterest. September and I have both been vegetarians for years but since moving to Florida, we’ve experimented with fresh seafood. (Nothing too crazy, just things like shrimp, mahi mahi, scallops and grouper.) One of our new favorite recipes is this killer mango salsa we mix with sautéed shrimp and eat over quinoa. All ingredients for this salsa can be found at the local farmers market and the salsa itself only takes a few minutes to whip up.

The recipe below makes approximately 2 servings but that really depends on how much of it you want to share. The original recipe is great but I love spicy food – the more my throat burns, the better. Play with the recipe and see what works best for you!

Killer Mango Salsa:

  • 1/4 of a medium onion (I like 1/2 an onion for more flavor – just don’t breathe on anyone afterward)
  • 1 tomato, diced (I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes, so I use 1 but I’m sure 2 would be just as good. Use fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes tend to have a metallic flavor.)
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (I like 1-2 jalapenos plus 2-3 other spicy peppers, seeds and all. A cherry pepper would be great and super spicy. I just add whatever hot peppers I picked up from the produce stand.)
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime (I like to use a whole lime, if not more. Depends on your taste.)
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: Clinatro (we’re not fans of cilantro, so we omit it)

Mix all ingredients and devour. Serve with tortilla chips, serve over rice, eat it with a spoon – it’s all good!

Tips:
-Don’t like spicy things? Skip the seeds. The oils that coat the seeds are what make peppers spicy.
-Really don’t like spicy things? Substitute bell peppers for the jalapenos.
-Shallots can be substituted for onions; They’re less potent but still have a good onion taste.
-Refrigerate the salsa for 15 minutes after you mix all the ingredients. The longer you refrigerate it/let it rest, the more the flavors come together and the better the salsa tastes.

Mango

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Travel Tip Tuesday!

Today’s travel tip: Use a water bottle as a snack container – saves space, stays fresh, and is great when you have dirty hands!

Most of us outdoor junkies have more than one water bottle, so just use one for snacks on your next adventure!

Most of us outdoor junkies have more than one water bottle, so just use one for snacks on your next adventure!

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[How to Throw a] Christmas Luau – Part II

This year, my family changed our traditional Christmas Eve party into a wild Hawaiian bash! Everyone wore flowered shirts, leis and flip flops and the house was covered in palm tree cut-outs and crepe paper parrots. In addition to drinking tropical cocktails out of coconut cups, we served Jell-O shots, gummy bears soaked in vodka and cake pops infused with liquor!

This Santa sculpture sat by the front door and held the leis that our visitors received upon arrival. It kind of looks like he has dreds!

This Santa sculpture sat by the front door and held the leis that our visitors received upon arrival. It kind of looks like he has dreds!

Everyone was "lei'd" at the door

Everyone was “lei’d” at the door

Every wall in the house had something Hawaiian on it.

Every wall in the house had something Hawaiian on it.

Tiki head cups my parents dug out of their basement - perfect for tropical drinks!

Tiki head cups my parents dug out of their basement – perfect for tropical drinks!

Jell-O shots: Strawberry Margarita, Pineapple, Mango and Fruit Punch

Jell-O shots: Strawberry Margarita, Pineapple, Mango and Fruit Punch

Vodka-soaked gummy bears: so easy, so strong, so good

Vodka-soaked gummy bears: so easy, so strong, so good

One of the best parts of the luau was the spiked cake pop bar. Guests selected a cake pop, a liquor to infuse it with and used the syringe to shoot up the cake pop with the liquor! It’s hard to mess up spiked cake pops and we had a variety of liquors to choose from – peppermint, sugar cookie, salted caramel…. delicious!

Cake pop bar - choose a cake pop, choose your liquor and shoot it up (syringe included, thanks to my uncle who

Cake pop bar – choose a cake pop, choose your liquor and shoot it up (syringe included, thanks to my uncle who’s a doctor.)

One of my newest obsessions is Pinterest and there were plenty of crafts I found that were perfect for luaus! I made this cocktail umbrella wreath thanks to a great idea from a fellow Pinner!

Cocktail umbrellas have so many good uses!

Cocktail umbrellas have so many good uses!

I think one of the reasons our themed Christmas parties are so highly anticipated is because of the “costumes” we get to wear. Whether it’s ugly sweaters or Hawaiian shirts, it’s fun to dress up pretend!

My younger brother wore a shirt my grandma brought back from Hawaii. The hat, courtesy of Goodwill.

My younger brother wore a shirt my grandma brought back from Hawaii. The hat, courtesy of Goodwill.

September and me donning our Hawaiian getup!

September and me donning our Hawaiian getup!

After a few drinks, my cousin thought the hibiscus flower clips looked mighty fine in his hair (rather, clipped to his head.)

After a few drinks, my cousin thought the hibiscus flower clips looked mighty fine in his hair (rather, clipped to his head.)

Throughout the night, many conga lines were danced.

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Many family portraits were taken during the evening.

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My aunt, uncle and cousins… pre-partying the actual party.

My immediate family: Brother, mom, dad and myself.

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Mele Kalikimaka!

September, me, and my younger brother Philip

September, me, and my younger brother Philip

One of my favorite family Christmas traditions is lighting the bayberry candle. Each Christmas Eve, we light a long, bayberry candle. The candle has to burn down by midnight and then the next year will be full of good luck. We do this every year, regardless of the crazy party theme.

Bayberry candle burning on Christmas Eve

Bayberry candle burning on Christmas Eve

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Happy Holidays from TKG!

We’d like to wish all of our followers and fans of Top Knotch Gear a happy holiday season and cheers to a great New Year! Below are some various Christmas pictures we took on Instagram. (We’re addicted to Instagram!) Safe travels!

Cheers

 

Tree

 

Salute

 

Lights

 

Prost

 

Ann Arbor

 

Snowflake

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The Color Run – St. Petersburg

Saturday was the big day! September and I ran The Color Run 5K in downtown St. Petersburg here in Florida. There were THOUSANDS of people, all dressed in clean white shirts and ready to run.

Bright white shirts to start the race.

Bright white shirts to start the race.

There were so many people, they had to start different heats every 20 minutes.

There were so many people, they had to start different heats every 20 minutes.

In our “swag bags” (the bag you get when you sign up for the race that’s full of complimentary goodies), we had sweat bands, temporary tattoos, free t-shirts and our own, individual bags of colored powder to use at the finish line.

My personal pouch of turquoise color. It was very tempting to open it and throw it at the start... but I'm glad we waited...

My personal pouch of turquoise color. It was very tempting to open it and throw it at the start… but I’m glad we waited…

At every kilometer, volunteers threw colored powder onto runners. First up was pink! And thank goodness we both wore sunglasses – you can’t see anything through cloud of color!

All you could see was a cloud of pink dust - thank goodness we wore sunglasses!

September running through color #1 – PINK!

Next up…

K #2 was all BLUE!

K #2 was all BLUE!

The third kilometer in the race was ORANGE.

The volunteers just get covered in powder!

The volunteers just get covered in powder!

So much color and we weren't even finished!

So much color and we weren’t even finished!

Kilometer #4 – YELLOW!

Approaching the yellow cloud...

Approaching the yellow cloud…

September running and taking video

September running and taking video

The last round of color was at the “finish festival”.

Made it to the finish!

Made it to the finish!

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When prompted, everyone open their color pouches and throws their colors in the air!

When prompted, everyone opened their color pouches and threws their colors in the air!

Crazy color!

Crazy color!

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We had such a fun time running this race! To see if there’s a Color Run coming to your city, click here!

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Awesome, Easy Smoothie Recipe

I’m on this new health kick and have been making lots of smoothies for breakfast and lunch. (Dropped 4 lbs in 1 week!) I’m not really a fan of recipes (too many directions – I don’t exactly follow directions) – I prefer to experiment in the kitchen. Smoothies are fun to play with because you can mix a bunch of fruits, veggies and dairy together and the creations are endless! My most recent concoction is absolutely DELICIOUS and was the result of portion-controlled experimentation. Packed with protein and antioxidants, this smoothie makes for a fresh breakfast and is great post-workout.

 

 

Recipe (throw all ingredients into the blender and liquify!):

  • 1 c. lite soy milk
  • 1/2 c. non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. blueberries (frozen)
  • 1/2 c. grapes (frozen OR thawed – I usually freeze them)
  • 1/2 c. cranberries (frozen OR thawed – I usually freeze them)
  • 1 Tbsp. Agave Nectar (optional – for a little sweetness)
  • A couple shakes of ground cinnamon

About the ingredients:

Soy milk – I’ve never been a fan of milk (despite my obsession with cheese), so I use soy milk. September’s also lactose-intolerant, so soy milk is a perfect alternative. Soy milk is a great source of protein and calcium without the possibility of hormones from regular cow’s milk.

Greek yogurt – TONS of protein, twice as much as regular yogurt! It has probiotics that are good for your gut, loads of potassium (good for muscles post-workout), and up to 20% of the daily recommended amount of calcium! Not to mention, it’s a perfect substitute for lots of other things in the kitchen.

Grapes, blueberries and cranberries – all are full of antioxidants that help prevent disease and slow aging. They’re heart-healthy, digestive-healthy, good for urinary tract health, and Vitamin C. In this smoothie recipe, they’re just the right fruits for a tangy, slightly sour morning burst.

Agave Nectar – this is a great, NATURAL substitute for sugar. It’s made from the same agave plants that tequila comes from (no wonder I love it so much!) and doesn’t have any preservatives.

Cinnamon – in this recipe, I add cinnamon for that extra spark. In addition to being delicious, it’s health benefits include stabilizing blood sugar, lowering bad cholesterol, anti-clotting effects, and is a good source of calcium, manganese, fiber and iron.

Enjoy!

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Travel Tip Tuesday

Tip 1: Don’t want to carry your purse when you go out? Use a binder clip as a key ring/money holder. You can clip it directly to your money belt for safekeeping and not have to worry about toting around your purse or bag while you explore.

Tip 2: Use a plastic soap container as a camera case! Most containers are waterproof (or water resistant at the very least) and are just the right size for a digital camera.

Tip 3: One of the best parts of traveling is eating. If you go out to eat or hang out at a bar that has cardboard coasters, consider snagging a few – they make very original, super crafty gift tags… especially for beer drinkers!

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The Color Run – America’s Twist on India’s Holi Festival

On December 15, September and I will run a 5K race (3.1 miles) called The Color Run. Unlike many other races, The Color Run is about fun fitness with friends and family, not speed. It encourages people to be come out and be active through COLOR. At each kilometer of the race, volunteers douse racers with neon-colored powder. Participants wear white shirts at the starting line and by the end of the race, everyone looks like a tie dyed rainbow covered in yellow, orange, pink and blue ! (It makes for great pictures.)

Photo courtesy of The Color Run

Photo courtesy of The Color Run

Photo courtesy of The Color Run

In addition, if you’re familiar with Indian or Hindu culture, you may have heard of the Holi Festival or the Festival of Colours. This annual celebration in India commemorates the beginning of Spring and the defeat of evil. (While not an overly religious holiday in India, it does mark the death of the demoness, Holika, who was defeated and burned by Lord Vishnu. I.e.: good triumphing over evil.) The highlight of the Holi Festival, like The Color Run, is the brightly colored power thrown at people. There’s dancing, food, music and even a wickedly big bonfire.

Who would have thought that Festival of Colours half the world away would inspire a running event here in the states?! Very cool.

Even elephants participate in the Holi Festival!

Look familiar?

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