Lovely Lavender Lemonade

It is so warm and sunny today! I’m celebrating by alternating between the hammock and back stoop to write this post! I’m also drinking a new refreshment I made today:

Lovely Lavender Lemonade
1 tablespoon lavender
1 cup sugar
1-2 cups boiling water (depending on how strong you want your syrup)
1 3/4 cups lemon juice
2+ cups ice water
Lemon slices (optional)

To make the lavender syrup, put the lavender and sugar into a heat-tolerant bowl. I massaged my lavender and sugar together to infuse more flavor but you can leave that step out. Next, add your boiling water to the bowl and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.


Cover the bowl for at least 25 minutes (longer if you have patience). After you have waited as long as you possibly can, strain the syrup into a pitcher.


Add the lemon juice, water, and lemon slices to the pitcher and stir!


Pour in a glass and enjoy the sunshine!!


Homemade Pasta (and a visitor from the North)

Little Margi came to town a couple weeks ago. It was so nice to have a visitor in our new house! We spent the weekend hanging out, having sushi with foca, and making homemade pasta!


1 egg for every cup of flour.


SLR selfie.


z making meatballs.


New pasta cutter!


I don’t have a pasta roller…so Margi rolled a lot of dough!


Oh Instagram.

pasta ig

so fun. so good. let’s do it again.

NYE 2013

Oopsies – this post got lost in my draft folder! This is how we spent our last night of 2013:

z made blackened shrimp with peppers, onions, and rice before we headed to…

photo 1

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…the 9:30 Club for Trombone Shorty and Trouble Funk (hooray for go-go!!!).

photo 3photo 4

There was a balloon drop, champagne, and FREE southern biscuits (veggie for me and chicken for z)! Yum!

balloonstshortytreme shorty

photo 5


Happy 2014!

Snow Day Catch-Up!

Here in Arlington, we got 10 inches of snow which is 10 more inches of snow than I’d like to have.

I have not updated in a while, but there have been some super fun cooking projects in our house lately! Here is a sneak peek into what we’ve been up to (detailed blog posts to come for some of the recipes)!

Vegetarian pho using this recipe:


Homemade pasta with meatballs (during Margi’s visit):


Éclairs from scratch for our Super Bowl Party (z also made homemade meatballs that were a hit):

final eclair

Roasted Red Pepper Soup:

roasted peppers

soup and quesadilla

Beer pizza dough for pizza and calzones:

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Homemade tzatziki (to add some love to leftovers):

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z and I have successfully meal planned for the past 4 weeks! It is saving time, money, and the stress of figuring out “What’s for dinner?” Good work team.


More to come…unless I get lost in the snow.

Two New Food and Wine Recipes

Whenever we get our Food & Wine magazine, it’s my #favoritemailday.

FW Readers Choice

Z and I each chose a recipe from this issue of Food & Wine magazine. Z’s choice was up first – any surprises that he chose shrimp? Nope, didn’t think so ;)


He was able to do everything in one pot! Hooray Le Creuset!

one potfinal shrimpies

So good. I should have licked my plate.

shrimp close

Two words: BUTTER, BABY!

I chose the next recipe!




This is z’s chicken in the homemade tomatillo sauce. I didn’t have any because my stomach wasn’t feeling the best.


z’s plate! Look at the taco holders – ahh!


z said the sauce was very mild (we’re used to big flavors and hot, hot heat). Props to my cousin Tony for these two condiments which saved the dish! Phew!


Trader Joe’s does salsa and hot sauce well!

It’s so fun to experiment – especially now that we have room to cook!

Crouch and Redmon Family Christmas 2013

How did I get so blessed to have such a big, fabulous family?! I love Christmas because it means I get to see everyone! The Barrett Family Christmas was a couple days before and on Christmas day I got to see the Crouch family and my immediate family! Woo!

2010 was our last year with Pop Pop but we are carrying on traditions <3



Can’t wait for next Christmas when my niece/nephew jellybean is here!


Love, love, love my family.


Remember we were in Miami last year for Christmas – it was NOT as warm this year!

What Can I Juice?

Guys, I love juicing. For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@happyhippie8d), you know that I got this juicer for Christmas and love it. Like really, really love it. My husband spoils loves me!

christmas juice

beautiful machine

Every time I walk through the grocery store, I ask myself “What can I juice?!”

Here’s what I’ve been juicing:

mangopeeled and preppedgreen juicecarrots are orangemurky and delicious

juice cake

frothy juicecantaloupelots of juiceginger lover (1)tie dye juiceglass strawinstaginger

I love juicing. I put too many juice pictures on Instagram. I love drinking my juice with a glass straw.

Parmesan Spinach Quinoa and Grapefruit Avocado Salad

I made dinner last night using two recipes I found in a coupon book from my local grocery store. Go Giant! I changed the recipes slightly but can’t take credit for the main idea.

dinner 1-6-2014

Parmesan Spinach Quinoa and Pan Seared Mahi Mahi


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (with 2 vegetable bouillon cubes)
  • TONS of freshly cracked black pepper
  • ~2 tbsp. Mediterranean olive oil blend
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 big handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 shredded Parmesan cheese

To cook the quinoa, combine the quinoa, water, bouillon cubes, and black pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover for 15 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the spinach until wilted. Combine the quinoa and veggies and add the lemon juice and cheese.


  • 2 fillets of fresh or frozen (defrosted) Mahi Mahi
  • 2 tbsp. salted butter
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Lemon

After removing the veggies from the pan (from the quinoa dish), melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium, medium-high heat. Rinse fillets under water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the fish liberally, on both sides, with salt and pepper. Once pan is hot, place fish down in the pan and cover. Don’t touch the fish for 5 minutes – this will ensure a good crust. After 5 minutes, squeeze a lemon over the fish and flip it over. Cook for 5-7 minutes on this side, depending on the doneness of the fish.

The dishes should be served with plenty of fresh lemon and pepper!

quinoa and mahi

To make the grapefruit avocado salad, start with a lettuce base. We used fresh spinach and romaine but you can use whatever you prefer. You will need to use a good chefs knife to cut the grapefruit sections. Place the grapefruit on one end and use the knife to peel the skin and pith (the bitter white stuff). Take your time because it starts to get pretty juicy and slippery. Once you have peeled the grapefruit, hold it in your hand and cut in between the membranes (or sections). This will give you clean, beautiful segments of grapefruit. You can leave the segments whole or cut them into chunks like I did.

Serve with a champagne vinaigrette (Trader Joe’s has a great one) and…you guessed it – plenty of black pepper!

grapefruit avocado salad

We served the meal with a Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. Here is what they say about this particular wine:

Strong red purple colour. Fresh red fruits on the nose with a hint of dark cherry. Slightly spicy with a touch of grey pepper, liquorice and a touch of rose flower. The whole wine is very well balanced with a nice acidity and the tannins presence on the finish invites food pairing such as with Terrines, Charcuteries, Grilled red meat, white fish, cheese or simply as the sole wine of a meal.


This was the lightest-tasting red wine I’ve ever had. We were so surprised how well it complemented the fish and quinoa that we ended up drinking the whole bottle! Yum! Great meal, great wine.


Have you ever tried a Beaujolais? What was the last pleasant surprise you had?