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The Grass Skirt has moved!

May 20, 2011

It’s official.  The Grass Skirt has a new home and a new look!

Effective immediately, I’ll no longer be publishing to this location.  Please update your bookmarks and subscriptions accordingly.

See you here:

(PS- It may take a few hours for the new design to show up through your server.)


Speed Eater

May 19, 2011

Last night, I had one of the best salads that I’ve had in awhile.

Unfortunately, I scarfed it down way too quickly and didn’t have time to really savor it since Michael and I had plans to go out.

It actually felt as though someone was hovering over us with a stopwatch as we ate!

Shot before I remembered to add the onions!

Speedy Salad

(Lightly adapted from Hungry Girl)

3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cucumber, chopped
2 Gardein Chicken Tenders (Grilled chicken, eggs, tempeh, tofu, or fish would work too)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
5 black olives, sliced
1/4 cup canned beets, drained and chopped
2 tbsp. canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. sweet corn kernels, removed from the cob
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast (cheese would work too)
Dash black pepper and sea salt

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss well to mix. Enjoy! (Makes one serving)


I’ll definitely make this again soon, especially since it is so simple. And next time, I’ll eat it in slow motion.

After we inhaled our dinner, Michael and I headed out to a charity event at Grapevine in Baxter Village.

I usually have a snack an hour or so after dinner, but last night, my snack was sangria. 😉

(Me with Katie)

(Brittney and her husband Greg)

(Jen and Sara)

(Me with Kelly)

It was a very fun night with lots of great people!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to sign off to eat my breakfast… very slowly….

Do you eat quickly or do you savor your meals?  I am trying to be better about putting my fork down between bites and really trying to focus on the meal.  It isn’t always easy though!

Happy Thursday!

(PS- This is the last day to enter my Follow Your Heart Giveaway!)

How I kicked my diet soda habit

May 18, 2011

Back in my teens and early 20s, I consumed massive amounts of diet soda.  I’d go through can after can without a care in the world.

Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry, even though it made me burp like a maniac, was my very favorite soft drink.   To my delight, I had free access to it ALL day long at work.  I’d constantly pass the water cooler and head straight to that soda machine.

Cracking open a nice cold soda was the best part of my day.


After drinking approximately a million and one cans of diet soda, I started to wonder what was really in those cans, aside from burp-inducing bubbles.  After wondering, I was actually brave enough to look.

What I found was a long list of artificial this and artificial that and words I sure as heck couldn’t pronounce. Where do grocery stores keep the Red 40 anyway?  Is it next to the broccoli?

Didn’t think so.

After reading the labels, I confirmed what I already assumed to be true:  I’d been washing back my healthy greens with cans of carbonated artificial junk.

This fact was very disturbing to me, and I vowed to break my habit.  It wasn’t easy, but eventually, I kicked my soda dependency.

  • Rather than quitting cold turkey, I cut myself down to one can a day, which I’d drink at 3 pm.  It gave me something to look forward to during the work day.  Soon after implementing the 3 pm soda fix, I discovered Hansen’s soda.  Behold a non-terrifying ingredient list!  Before long, my 3 pm soda break consisted of Hansen’s rather than the other stuff.

  • All of the other sodas I used to drink throughout the day were replaced with ice water. Just to make it special, I bought myself a pretty water bottle and carried it with me everywhere (kind of like Paris Hilton and her chihuahua).
  • Since plain old water can be…well…plain, I sliced cucumbers, lemons, strawberries, limes, and oranges and added them to my glasses from time to time (not all at once though).  Sometimes I’d even throw in some fresh mint.  Doing this actually started to feel luxurious.  The only thing missing was a spa.
  • Coconut water and aloe vera juice came into my life.  They are both so hydrating, and even though the taste may take some getting used to for some, I really enjoy the flavors.
  • I stopped adding sugar free flavored powders to my water.  As far as I’m concerned, they are every bit as scary as soda.
  • I told myself that I could have diet soda occasionally.  There are rare times when I’ll order a glass of Diet Coke at a restaurant, but I actually prefer water now.  I never dreamed I’d see that day!

Even if soda isn’t your vice, these tips can be applied to most any habit that you need to break. All you have to do is cut down slowly, find a replacement, and allow yourself a free pass every now and then. (Unless your habit is eating crayons, in which case, you should just stop.)

Cutting down on my soda consumption has actually given me more energy.  It has even helped to keep me more regular.  Hey, I’ve already mentioned burping.  Might as well toss regularity in there too.

What are your thoughts on soda?  Have you stopped drinking it, or do you drink it regularly?  I’d love to do a follow-up post with your tips (I’ll cite your blog, if you have one), so feel free to email them to me at

(Remember to enter my GIVEAWAY.  Two winners will be announced on Friday!)

Have a great day!

One of my favorites

May 17, 2011

I’ve made a lot of recipes over the years.

Some recipes are good enough to come back to and make again.  Others have been forgotten or are simply not worth repeating a second time.

One recipe that I come back to again and again is Baked Dijon Salmon by Angela of Oh She Glows.   It is one of the best salmon recipes I’ve ever found, and I’m sure that I’ll continue making it for years to come.

Aside from the taste, one of the perks of this recipe is that it doesn’t leave a fishy smell lingering in the house.   I wouldn’t make a perfume out of it or anything, but it actually makes the house smell pretty good.

The only change I made to the original recipe was using Panko bread crumbs rather than regular bread crumbs.  I also halved the recipe since I was only cooking for Michael and me.

While the salmon was baking in the upper oven, I had green beans roasting in the lower oven.

These also smelled really good.  If you have a vampire phobia, you should totally make a perfume out the smell since it is very garlicky. 😉

Roasted Green Beans

1 pound green beans, trimmed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tablespoons olive oil*
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

*I actually used Garlic Gold Oil because I believe you can never have too much garlic.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Toss the green beans in a large bowl with all other ingredients.  Transfer to a baking dish.  Roast until golden brown (approximately 18-20 minutes).  Transfer to a platter and serve.

For even more veggies, we also had side salads.  Another good night of eating for the Turners!

Are there any dishes that you make again and again?  Recipes and links are welcome!

*** If you haven’t already done so, remember to enter my Follow Your Heart giveaway!

Happy Tuesday!

Dance Party

May 16, 2011

Something about being home by myself makes me want to have a singing and dancing party in my house.

The urge can strike at any moment, and yesterday, it hit me while I was ironing clothes (although for safety reasons, I turned off the iron first).

Like a true fan, I put on some Lionel Richie music and began to sing and dance the afternoon away.

Well, that is until I realized that our windows were open and our neighbors were right outside.

Our neighbors are not the friendliest people on the planet, and I’m pretty sure the way to their hearts isn’t through an off key version of “All Night Long”.

I decided to turn off the music, temporarily put my singing career on hold, and do something else that I do often….

Make a new smoothie.

This combination is one of my very favorites yet!

Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

1/2 cup pitted black cherries
1/2 medium-sized banana
1 tablespoon coconut flakes
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp light brown sugar
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
Stevia (optional)
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

Add all ingredients to a mixer and blend until smooth.

Do you see the beautiful bits of cherry in there?

This was delicious.  Purely delicious.  It honestly tasted like a creamy milkshake.  And it was totally worth prematurely ending my solo concert at home.

Be honest, do you ever dance or sing when no one else is home or watching?  I also sing in my car- even if people happen to see.  Life’s too short to care whether or not random people think I’m a crazy person!

I hope that everyone has a great day, and don’t forget to enter my Follow Your Heart giveaway. The winners will be announced on Friday!

Follow Your Heart (Giveaway)

May 15, 2011

(Scroll to the bottom for giveaway details, if you’re impatient.)

Before he met me, my husband Michael used to eat fast food for dinner, go out to lunch everyday with co-workers, and drink large soft drinks instead of water.

Well, I changed all of that when Michael and I got married and moved into our house last year.

But before you get the impression that I work for the Food Police, please allow me to set the record straight.

All I did was encourage him to make a few small changes, such as cutting out soda and letting me pack his lunches for work each day.  With these changes, he immediately dropped some weight and started to get fewer headaches.

Rather than going out to eat each night, I’d cook for him at dinnertime.  He loved it and was shocked because the meals that I made didn’t taste at all like “diet” food.

His enthusiasm encouraged me to continue lightening up his favorite foods.

I also started to make homemade salad dressings, and I replaced some traditional pantry items with more natural ones.

One of the best changes that I made was switching Michael from nasty old mayo to Vegenaise.  He couldn’t believe how good it tasted, and even better, he claimed to like it even more than mayo!

Heart-shaped sandwich with Vegenaise!

We use Vegenaise in salad dressings, egg and tuna salads, on sandwiches and burgers, and anything that would call for regular mayo.

If you haven’t tried Vegenaise yet (or any of Follow Your Heart’s other products), I strongly suggest that you get your hands on some.  And now just might be your chance…

I’m so excited because the wonderful people at Follow Your Heart, the makers of Vegenaise, are giving away some products to two lucky readers of The Grass Skirt!

There are five different ways to enter– and the more times you enter, the better your chances of winning!

  1. Follow me on twitter.
  2. Spread the word and tweet my giveaway.  Something like “Check out @the_grass_skirt giveaway!” would work.
  3. “Like” Follow Your Heart on Facebook and/or follow them on twitter.
  4. Go to the Follow Your Heart website and leave a comment here about which product you’d like to try.
  5. Link to this giveaway on your blog, if you have one.

Leave a comment on this post letting me know when you’ve made any of these entries, and you’ll be entered to win!  The winners will be announced on Friday, May 20th.

Good luck!

Asian Flavor

May 14, 2011

I’m a huge fan of stormy weather, especially when it happens during the day.

Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer the sunshine (I’m not a vampire or anything), but when the gloomy weather hits, I embrace it.

There’s nothing like reading a good book* while curled up on the couch in my Slanket.

“Woo to the hoo” for the Slanket!

*I’m currently reading A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein for my blogger book club.

Even more than reading on a rainy day, I love cooking and spending time in the kitchen.  And it just so happened that last night’s dinner required some advanced work, so at about 2 pm, I made some marinade for our chicken.

This meal is perfect for the summer and warmer weather.  You can grill the chicken or bake it, but I prefer to bake it because it keeps the chicken nice and juicy.

Asian Chicken

(Lightly adapted from here)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 (6-ounce) chicken breasts
Cooking spray

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 4 hours, turning occasionally (for extra flavor, marinate overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.

Place chicken in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray or olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until done, turning and basting frequently with the marinade.   Serve over brown rice. 

This meal was delicious served with brown rice, mixed vegetables (easy recipe to be posted soon), and corn on the cob.  The corn was so sweet.  I could have eaten it all over again!

What is your favorite thing to do on a gloomy day?  I also love cleaning (yes, I am weird) and watching movies.

Have a great day!!

(PS- Giveaway coming soon!)