Grand Canyon National Park with Our Dog

I guess we are all about the National Parks right now! This last weekend we decided to take a day trip to the Grand Canyon. We live about 2.5 hours away so it is doable.

Living in Arizona we have been to the Canyon a few times, but this was the first time we took our dog, Penny with us. The Grand Canyon was a pretty great place for her, at least this time of year. I imagine summer would be too hot and crowed for her to enjoy the trip.

You can bring a dog with you to the Grand Canyon as long as you stay on the trails that are above the rim. Unless you are on a mule I don’t think other animals are allowed below the rim of the Grand Canyon.

We decided to take the east entrance to the park. Which meant a stop at the LIttle Colorado River Gorge. It was a smaller canyon, but still very beautiful and impressive.

Then we took the east entrance to the park near the Desert Tower, walked around a bit and headed to the Rim Trail for a good hike.

Penny was really well behaved at the park and I was grateful that the Rim trail was a bit further away from the rim of the canyon.

If you take your dog keep them leashed and keep an firm grip on the lease. There are many places where there is no railing and it could be a sad day for you and your dog if you are not mindful.

Overall it was a beautiful day for all of us!

I am curious to know if any of you would try to take your dog to a National Park or if you have taken them to a National Park I would love to hear your experience!

Joshua Tree National Park

This past weekend we made a little road trip over to CA to see my mom for her birthday. On the way back from CA we stopped by Joshua Tree State Park for the first time.

We drive by J Tree almost every time we go to California but we have never stopped before. What a mistake! It was a beautiful desert landscape with great hiking and views.

We were there in February which I’m sure is peak visiting season. The weather was just getting a little warm with a good breeze.

While we were there we hiked along the Lost Palms Oasis Trail. We didn’t get to hike too long since we were on the road but it was a great couple miles and a wonderful break in the drive.

Backyard Gardening – Before Video

Hello hello! I hope that this day has treated you well! I had the most lovely day going up to Flagstaff for an appointment, getting a little shopping in at Target, and bringing home the best Indian food ever! When you live in an Indian food desert like Sedona, you don’t mind the hour commute to get all the garlic naan you can!

Dehli Palace in Flagstaff, AZ! Aloo gobi, chana masala, and all the garlic naan.

Other than my exciting Target and Indian food adventure I have even more exciting news! I have decided to give this whole YouTube thing a try.

We recently bought our first house in the beautiful red rocks of Sedona. One of the things we loved most about our house was the backyard. There were dead shrubs, random plants in the middle of the yard, and gigantic pines blocking the views. Where everyone else who saw the house saw a lot of time and projects we saw a lot of time of projects and got excited!

I have added a few photos of our backyard here to provide a bit of a visual. We are really excited to get the vegetable garden going first. It has been a little hard to find super fresh vegetables here in town. I have a suspicion that the grocery stores here are not first on the list to get the freshest produce.

We have plans for a veritable garden, fruit trees, and a big ol’ space for entertaining.

The beginnings of our fruit orchard!
A photo of all the backyard potential!

If you are curious to see our before of the backyard before all the work starts you can watch the video below! Fair warning it is my first foray in YouTube videos and I already have some things I learned to improve!

Sedona VegFest

Last month Sedona was host to a pretty wonderful VegFest. For a small town like Sedona I was super impressed that we were able to draw some big names in plant based living. Dr. Gregor of How Not to Die fame, Kip Anderson of Cowspiracy and What the Health, Doug Lisle whose Pleasure Trap ideas are featured in Forks Over Knives were just a few of the folks who made their way to the red rocks.

I decided months ago that I had to attend VegFest and I would attend for free! A little life tip is to look for opportunities to volunteer at events that you want to attend. They usually only use you for a part of the event and then you get to go to the rest for free! You also get to know a few people you would never have meet if you didn’t volunteer.

I had such a great time watching the plant based icons share their knowledge and passion for vegan eating.

standing room only for Dr. Gregor
loved this message from Kip Anderson

Veg Fest was also held at the Sedona Preforming Arts Center which is a beautiful location. I took a little hike during the day after enjoying some vegan cheesecake, spring roll, and cookie.

Great little hike on the red rock loop trail
vegan cheesecake, what?!

Perhaps my favorite part of veg fest was watching the cooking demonstrations. Local chefs were brought in to demonstrate how to make a Thai yellow curry, Moroccan root vegetable dish. I gathered so many good ideas to incorporate into my own cooking and left feeling inspired.

A Blur of Travel January 2020

Hello there! I had such grand goals of blogging daily about my year of compassion. I might be able to get back into the swing of things again, or I might just give myself some grace and blog when I can.

January was a pretty busy month for me. I traveled to California to hang out with my mom for a week and I went to Houston for a work trip. Both trips were really great but just threw off my schedule a bit.

As I wrote about in this post planning for the road trip to California was minimal but I was able to find lots of options on the road that worked for me. Major shoutout to Taco Bell!

My trip to Houston was a little more predictable and planned. I was able to load up on some oatmeal for breakfasts, vegan jerky for snacks, and fruit for snack. Overall, it was a little more difficult to find food on this trip. I was with a large group of people who were not vegan so I had to make things work.

Dinner the first night was at Chuy’s Restaurant. If I had more time with the menu I would have found other options. I settled for rice, beans, and tortillas for this meal. Not great but it was food.

I had my oatmeal for breakfast both days and was glad I made the effort to bring it. For lunch I convinced my boss to go to True Food Kitchen and had the best meal of the trip there. I had my snacks for the rest of the trip and stopped at Nekter as soon as I landed in Phoenix for something fresh and healthy.

My trip to Houston was a really great reminder for me to plan even more in advance. I have a trip coming up in February to Austin and I can do even better to bring food that will satisfy me when everyone wants to eat BBQ.

Despite all the travel in January it was a good month. We are making progress on redoing our backyard – we bought fruit trees yesterday! And I have been busy in the kitchen making new meals to share here. I am hopeful I will be back to share more tomorrow!

Plant Based Road Trip – Day 3

A couple days ago my mom called. She wasn’t feeling as well as she would like and was overwhelmed with some things going on with my grandmother being in and out of the hospital. I knew while we were talking that I needed to drive out to help out for a bit.

I decided that I would leave the next day. When I go on a road trip I really like to plan ahead and get road snacks and meals so I don’t end up eating a bag of chips from a gas station. I wasn’t able to plan ahead for this one though. So I grabbed an apple and some almonds and hit the road.

About two hours in I arrived hungry in Phoenix. I found a Taco Bell and ordered a burrito with beans, potatoes, and rice. Taco Bell is probably my fav go to on the road. It is somewhat healthy and really customizable for a vegan diet.

Luckily, I have made this drive a lot and I happened to know of a make your own pizza place in Blythe, CA. If you have never been to Blythe then let me tell you that it is pretty amazing that in the middle of the desert by the Arizona stateline there is a great vegan option.

I ordered a pizza with red sauce, olives, zuchinni, bell peppers, and onions. I wish there was a left green but it was still good!

Pizza Studio Vegan Pizza!

We hit the road again and made it most of the way to my mom’s house when I stopped at nekter for a green smoothie.

Overall, it was a pretty healthy and satisfying day on the road. I didn’t feel like I ate a bunch of junk which was great!

If you can’t plan a lot of car snacks then try to plan your stops so you know where you can eat. And if nothing works go to Taco Bell!

Use It Or Lose It – Day 2

Today’s blog post will be a pretty short one. I drove out to California to visit my mom today and I am pretty tired. I am happy to be out here and tomorrow I will post about being vegan on the road.

Yesterday was a pretty standard day. I went back to work after the holidays and went back to my roll of putting out fires. I work in a school and grades were due, so some drama!

For dinner last night I decided that I should use a lot of the veggies in the fridge that would go bad before I got back from California. I found a yellow pepper, purple cabbage, celery, cucumber, and arugula. I chopped all that up and dressed it with lime juice and balsamic vinegar. I added salt, pepper, basil, and garlic. I also made pasta noodles and threw it all togehter in a bowl!

I was going to make spagetti but realized we did not have any sauce or anything to make sauce so the chopped veggie pasta it was.

It was a super fast and easy mean but it tasted amazing!

This year one of the ways that I am practicing compassion is through self-compassion. I have been allowing myself to really enjoy my meals and eat until I am full. I will write a post about this more later, but I just want to say that it has been great eating and just enjoying my food!

That is all I have for today! I am going to hit the hay and hope to wake up a bit more recharged!

Thanks for reading!