Oh, hey there… So I have been MIA, clearly. During the like 7 months since my last post, I turned 30. My 30 Before 30 List is now the start of a Things To Do in My 30s List of sorts….seeing as my 30th birthday came and went without me completing everything… So now it’s a new list! A very rough draft of a list…let’s check-in and get an update, shall we?

Stephanie’s 30 before 30 Things To Do in My 30s (DRAFT)
1. Watch the sunrise over the Detroit river from Belle Isle – COMPLETE! Reid made this happen on my 30th…I’ll do separate bday post…3+ months late….
2. Learn all of the words to Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ – IN PROGRESS Reid is helping with this one too…
3. Go bungee jumping
4. Pick a cookbook and make every recipe in it
5. Learn to play chess
6. Run a 10k
7. Try stand up paddling – COMPLETE!
8. Take an ariel yoga course at Detroit Flyhouse – COMPLETE! Actually, I took one workshop with Yoga Shelter Grosse Pointe, but I’m counting it.
9. Bake a French baguette
10. Do a 30 day yoga challenge – Starting this November 1st!
11. Go to Africa, Australia or Antarctica – COMPLETE! I went to Tunisia in September for work.
12. Eat at French Laundry or Per Se.
13. Complete a triathlon
14. Make a book
15. Start and maintain a blog – COMPLETE! Kinda…
16. Read 5 classics – IN PROGRESS I’ve finished ‘The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, ‘On the Road’, and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’. One to go!
17. Go on a hot air balloon ride COMPLETE! Reid’s 30th birthday gift to me! So amazing…more on that to come…

Right before take-off!
Right before take-off!

18. Learn to can food
19. Make ceviche at home – COMPLETE! Many times over, in fact. I used Alton’s recipe, and then also made up my own for Halibut Ceviche.
20. Eat vegan for a week REMOVED. Lots of reasons, but primarily because my body responded really well to the Whole 30 approach. I don’t think meat-free is what I need. I feel horrible if I don’t get enough protein and well, meat and eggs are the only complete proteins (other than soy products, which are often more processed than I would like). With how insane my migraines are the last several months, I am learning that I just have to listen to what my body needs, and not force anything else.
21. Reach 20 countries visited – COMPLETE! Rundown of the 20+ countries I have been fortunate enough to visit to come.
22. Become a cat adoption counselor – IN PROGRESS. Still working on the adoption counselor part, but I have taken a leadership position as part of my volunteer work.
23. Get down to my fighting weight REMOVED. Because that’s not my goal right now. I want to get healthy first (meaning, not feeling like my head is going to explode every day).
24. Take a trapeze class
25. Bake a layer cakeCOMPLETE!
26. Complete a cross stitch projectCOMPLETE!
27. Make homemade stock
28. Plant an herb garden on the balconyCOMPLETE!
29. Make fresh pasta
30. Establish a signature drink – COMPLETE! Rose champagne. Of course.

I think I committed to like 5 more posts just within this post.

30 before 30 – #28.

Shortly after I established my 30 before 30 list last summer, Reid suggested that we check an item off and do #28 – plant an herb garden on our balcony. I knew I wanted to get the herbs from Eastern Market, but neither of us really had any idea what else we needed to do. We ended up at Home Depot, and after MUCH deliberation, picked out a basket, a liner and some soil. One very messy afternoon later, we had an herb garden!

Herb Garden

I’d love to say that it thrived, but then I would be lying to you. We used the herbs a couple of times. Our cat discovered them shortly thereafter, and I hate to admit it, but he probably got more excitement out of the herb garden than we did. Eventually my black thumb took over (or we forgot to water them) and the plants died. Maybe we will give it a go again this summer….

Recipe – Avocado BLT Wraps.

You know what I love? Bacon. It’s the primary reason I would be a complete failure as a vegetarian. So I try to put bacon in as many things as possible. Which is how this recipe came about.  I seem to either go all out when I am cooking, or be completely lazy and make the easiest thing possible. These wraps fall under the latter category. More evidence of my laziness? This post.

BLT Wraps

Avocado BLT Wraps

::prep time: 15 minutes::


4 slices bacon, halved and cooked
8 large leaves butter lettuce, washed and dried
1 avocado, diced
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 lime, juiced
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


1. Mix the avocado, tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl.

2. Divide the butter lettuce leaves between two plates, four leaves on each plate.

3. Scope a spoonful of the avocado-tomato mixture onto each lettuce leaf.

4. Crumble 1/2 slice bacon over the avocado-tomato mixture on each leaf.

5. Eat.

::yield: 2 servings:: (can easily be scaled, up or down)

12 Months of Dates.

We are now several days into spring, and it is still freezing outside. Stupid cold weather. However, I decided that I will use the cold as an excuse to talk about Christmas in March. I usually start by Christmas shopping in like September, because I really like to put a lot of thought into the gifts I give. I was struggling to think of a good gift idea for Reid this Christmas for some reason….I really wanted to give him something that was more of an experience rather than something material as I am definitely the materialistic one in our relationship. After doing some research into a few ideas, I had an epiphany – what about a different date for each month of 2013? After some fun brainstorming, I came up with way more than a dozen date ideas, and had to narrow my list down a bit. I also decided to include a small trinket with several dates so that Reid would have something little to open, and a made a certificate for each date as well. A few friends I told about the idea really liked it, so I thought I would share the details here. These are the 12 Months of Dates.

January: University of Michigan Basketball Game (with block M cookie cutter)

January Date

Date Update – U of M won!

January Date - Game

February: University of Michigan versus Michigan State Hockey Game – Rivalry at the Joe (with U of M koozie)


Date Update – U of M won!


March: Yoga at Yoga Shelter Midtown and Coffee at Great Lakes Coffee (with otter coffee mug and yoga towel)


Date Update: Yoga was fabulous! We ended up eating breakfast at Brooklyn Street Local instead of just getting coffee because we were starving, so we still owe Great Lakes Coffee a visit!

March Date - BSL

April: Detroit Pistons Basketball Game

April Date

May: Iron Man 3 Movie (with popcorn)


June: Strawberry Picking (with strawberry bubble bath)

June Date

July: Natalie Merchant with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Concert

July Date

August: Motor City Brew Tours Bike and Beer Ride (with Detroit city map t-shirt)

August Date

September: University of Michigan Football Game (with U of M football schedule magnet)

September Date

October: Day Hike (with hiking route maps and Smartwool hiking socks)

October Date

November: Comedy Show at Mark’s Comedy Castle

November Date

December: Rock Climbing at Planet Rock (with carabiner)

December Date

I also included a small calendar that I marked each monthly date on. I then boxed up each date certificate with the tickets/small/gift/etc into a separate box, and wrapped each box with a sheet from one of those big desk calendars that matched the date month. I had to wrap creatively so that the month was displayed on the top of each box, because I made Reid open them in order.

12 Months of Dates

I put all of the small boxes into one big box with a bunch of confetti and wrapped it up! I think the gift was a hit, and we are both having a bunch of fun so far on our monthly dates.

Feel free to borrow this idea if you like it! And I would be more than happy to help you brainstorm date ideas – I have several others on my list that I didn’t get to use!

30 before 30 – #7.

Another 30 before 30 update. This post is long overdue. Number 7 on my 30 before 30 list is “Try stand up paddling”. I technically tried SUP for the first time last July with Ashley – we did a SUP yoga class with Great Lakes Surf at Burke Park in New Baltimore. I fell in the water like 3 times as often as anyone else, but I had a great time.

Laura and I then actually took a Stand Up Paddle Board lesson with Great Lakes Surf later that month at Metro Park, and I was fully hooked.

Ashley and I did another SUP yoga class with Paddle Board Bliss in Laguna Beach in November, which was my favorite SUP experience yet. It was just Ashley, me, and the owner/instructor, Taylor. We paddled about a half mile out to a kelp bed near the Sea Lion rock, and did a yoga practice. The sea lions even came to play in the water near us! Honestly, I am pretty sure that they were actually laughing at us, but it was still awesome.

SUP Yoga 3

I am so hooked at this point that when Ashley told me she had bought a board, I knew I had to have one as well. Now we just waiting for warm weather! It might be awhile…


Recipe – Good Earth Sweet Potato Muffins.

A few years ago now, a friend introduced me to Good Earth Tea. It is AMAZING – I can drink gallons of the stuff hot, or even better, cold. So when Juli, the blogger behind my favorite Paleo blog paleomg.com, posted a recipe for Sweet Potato Chai Muffins, I decided to recreate them, but with Good Earth tea instead of chai. I made a few other changes in my adaptation of her recipe, the most important being that I doubled it, because Juli, you are fantastic, but good grief woman, 12 muffins is not enough when you are cutting out basically all carbs.

Good Earth Sweet Potato Muffins

Good Earth Sweet Potato Muffins

::prep time: 30 minutes::
::cook time: 20-25 minutes::


2 large sweet potatoes
2 bananas
4 Good Earth tea bags, cut open
2/3 cup ground almond meal
2/3 cup flaxseed meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 eggs
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups walnuts, chopped
2 additional tablespoons coconut oil, melted, for greasing muffin pan


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a pastry brush, coat the bottoms and sides of the cups of two muffin pans with the 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil.

2. Poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork or sharp knife. Microwave for 15-20 minutes until very soft, and remove from the microwave to cool slightly.

3. Cut sweet potatoes in half, and scope into the bowl of a food processor. Discard the skins.

4. Add the 2 bananas, peeled, to the sweet potatoes in the food processor, and blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the sweet potato-banana mixture: the contents of the 4 tea bags, almond meal, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Blend for 1-2 minutes or until well combined.

6. Add the wet ingredients to the food processor: the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Blend another 30-60 seconds.

7. Pour batter into a large bowl, and stir in the chopped walnuts.

8. Using a large scooper, measure one scoop of batter into each cup of the two muffin tins. Note: I tried using cupcake liners one time, but found that the muffins really stick to them, so I prefer just putting the batter into a well greased muffin tin. You will likely still have some batter left over after filling the 24 muffin cups, so just make another partial batch after these come out of the oven.

9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the pans midway through. Check the muffins every few minutes after they have been in for about 20 minutes to ensure that they do not burn. They are ready when a toothpick stuck in the middle of one comes out clean.

10. Allow the muffins to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then run a knife around each muffin and remove to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before eating so that the muffins have time to set.

::yield: 24-30 gluten-free, paleo-friendly muffins:: (Or 6 muffins, if you burn the entire first batch like I did)

30 before 30 – #25.

Reid’s company got some REALLY great news last week, and I decided to use that as an excuse to tackle another item on my 30 before 30 list – #25 Bake a Layer Cake.  I used the American’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, and made their carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I was going to go with Chocolate Blackout, but remembered that not everyone considers chocolate a food group the way I do. It turned out really, really well, if I do say so myself – especially since this was my first ever cake from scratch! (Well, it looked and smelled great anyways – I can’t vouch for how it tastes because I sent it into work with Reid. No reports of food poisoning thus far).





1) I am a terrible photographer. I apologize.
2) I clearly need an actual cakestand, not just the ugly white platter that goes with my rubbermaid carrying case.
3) Yes, my cat was on my dining room table. I can only stress about so many things at one time, people. Don’t judge me.