Yosemite Trip

Hey Everyone! As i mentioned in my previous hiking/camping blog a group of my friends and I like to make at least one trip to Yosemite National Park a year and we just got back from our latest trip a few days ago. We had such an amazing time. If you read my last post you’ll be expecting a follow up to hiking the 15 miles of 4 mile trail and panorama trail; unfortunately due to weather restrictions we were not able to do these hikes =(

We drove the 6 hours from southern California to Yosemite Valley Friday morning and the whole time we were checking the weather reports trying to see what to expect for the weekend. Most reports were pretty bleak. We went into the weekend expecting rain Friday after noon, snow Friday night and more rain Saturday afternoon. Since we were tent camping  we were pretty worried. Due to the rain and possible snow, Glacier point was closed most of the time we were there. So that ruled out our plans for hiking 4 mile trail up to glacier point and hiking down panorama, not to mention that hike would take a while and we’d probably end up hiking in the rain at some point. So instead we decided to do vernal falls, a wonderful hike for most skill levels.

Vernal Falls was beautiful! There was so much water, we might as well have hiked in the rain with all the mist coming off of the falls, the path was partially flooded and a little precarious. But we all made it to the top and had a wonderful lunch on a rock at the end of the river. Other highlights of the trip, obviously you need to have smores, we ate plenty of those (if you haven’t had a smore with a peanut butter cup, you need to try it), we walked to lower Yosemite falls, and Bridalveil falls, had a relaxing lunch on sentinel beach, saw a freaking bear!!!! He was in the tree line surrounding the curry village (now called half dome village), he was pretty young and almost a golden color. He was too far for our smart phone cameras to take a pick of, and I didn’t have my nice camera with me at the time so you’ll just have to trust me. I slept in the tent that night (usually I have a hammock), partially because it was windy and raining and I didn’t have the best hammock set up, and partially because where we saw that bear was about 200 yards from our camp site in lower pines.

Overall it was am amazing trip. So much fun hanging with my homies and seeing some great sites. Can’t wait to do it again!

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One Pan Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Pasta

I based this recipe off of yellowblissroad.com

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 servings

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1-4 oz can diced mild green chiles
  • 1-10 oz can green chile verde enchilada sauce
  • ½ cup Pace Picante sauce
  • 2½ cups small, uncooked pasta
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese


  • In a 12″ pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions and stir until soft – about 3 minutes.
  • Season chicken with a little salt and pepper and add to the pan and brown, then add garlic and stir.
  • Add green chiles, chile verde sauce, picante sauce, uncooked pasta and water. Stir then bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese until completely melted and incorporated, then sprinkle with jack cheese.
  • Cover for at least five minutes to allow cheese to melt.
  • Garnish with green onions or olives if desired.

Chefs Notes:
This had such a good flavor to it. It was a little weird, having enchilada pasta, but it was yummy. I served it with a side of warm tortillas just because that’s what I had available at the time.



Orange Dijon Grilled Chicken with Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes & Green Beans

I based this recipe off of plainchicken.com and thegraciouswife.com

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour and 10 minutes
Yield 6 servings

Here’s What You Need:

  • Chicken:
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1 orange, juiced
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 3 Tbsp dijon mustard
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Potatoes and Green Beans:
    • 3 pounds red potatoes, cut into wedges
    • ¼ cup butter, melted
    • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons rosemary, minced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried parsley flakes (mince if fresh)
    • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen thin green beans, thawed
    • salt and pepper to taste


  • Marinade chicken: Whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, dijon mustard, garlic and salt. Pour over chicken and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  • Start with the vegetables: Place butter, potatoes, garlic, rosemary, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Toss to fully coat potatoes in butter and spices.
  • Place coated potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400° oven for 30 minutes. (Line cookie sheet with foil for a mess-free clean-up)
  • Take potatoes out of the oven. Place green beans on the cookie sheet with the potatoes, and stir to incorporate.
  • Place cookie sheet back in the oven for another 15-30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked all the way through.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the vegetables are in the oven grill the chicken: Remove chicken from marinade and grill for approximately 15 minutes

Chefs Notes:
This chicken was really good, I loved the marinade, I halved the original recipe and used 1/2 cup of orange juice instead or juicing and orange. The potatoes and green beans were an excellent side dish for this meal.


Chicken Enchiladas

I based this recipe off of gimmesomeoven.com

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 6 servings

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small 1/2-inch pieces (*or see substitution below for using pre-cooked shredded chicken)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans or lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • 3 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese
  • 1 batch red enchilada sauce, or 1 can store-bought enchilada sauce
  • (optional: 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.
  • In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add diced chicken and green chiles, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, beans, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  Add beans in a line down the middle of the tortilla, then add in a spoonful of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Then spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.
  • Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

Chefs Notes:
I really enjoyed these enchiladas! next time I think I’ll go without the beans, but thats just my preference.


Greek Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki

I based this recipe off of recipetineats.com

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
Yield 6 servings

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 lb / 1 kg boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • Marinade
    • 3 large garlic cloves
    • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tbsp greek yoghurt
    • 1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp salt
    • black pepper
  • Tzatziki
    • 2 cucumbers
    • 2 cups plain greek yoghurt
    • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • black pepper
  • Salad
    • 3 tomatoes de-seeded and diced
    • 3 cucumbers diced
    • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
    • 1/4 fresh parsley leaves
    • salt and pepper
  • To Serve
    • 4-6 pita breads


  • Place the Marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and massage to mix. Add the chicken into the ziplock bag and massage to cover all the chicken in the Marinade. Marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably 3 hours, ideally 12 hours and no longer than 24 hours.
  • Make the Tzatziki
    • Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scrape the watery seeds out. Coarsely grate the cucumber using a box grater. Then wrap in paper towels or a tea towel and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
    • Place cucumber in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients then mix to combine. Set aside for at least 20 minutes for the flavors to meld.
  • Salad
    • Combine ingredients in a bowl.
  • Cook Chicken
    • Brush the outdoor grill with oil, then preheat on medium high. Or heat 1 tbsp of oil in a fry pan over medium high heat.
    • Remove chicken from Marinade. Cook the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through (cooking time depends on size of chicken).
    • Remove the chicken from the grill / fry pan onto a plate. Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before
  • Assemble Gyros
    • If your chicken thighs are large, you may need to cut them. Mine were small.
    • Get a pita bread (preferably warmed) and place it on a piece of parchment (baking) paper (or you could use foil). Place some Salad down the middle of the bread, then top with chicken and Tzatziki.
    • Roll the wrap up, enclosing it with the parchment paper. Twist the end with the excess parchment paper to secure it.
    • I prefer to lay everything out on a table and let everyone help themselves.

Chefs Notes:
mmmm these were yummy. I messed up and put too much white wine vinegar the first time, but still was delicious. I cut the recipe in about a quarter since I was just making it for 2 people.


Whiskey Balsamic Steak

I based this recipe off of fromvalerieskitchen.com

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 pounds boneless sirloin steak
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste


  • Cut sirloin into serving sized pieces and place in a gallon sized plastic storage bag.
  • In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the whiskey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, and brown sugar. Pour over the sirloin; seal the bag and turn it over a few times to distribute marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours but no more than 4 hours.
  • Grill over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes per side for medium rare to medium, depending on thickness of steaks. Season steaks with fresh ground pepper, to taste, while on the grill. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Chefs Notes:
Great recipe. Personally I think next time I wont pre-cut it into pieces before marinading it, think it will cook a little better.

Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad

I based this recipe off of bhg.com

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 servings

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked whole grain rotini pasta
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)


  • Lightly brush vegetables with 1 tablespoon of the oil. For a charcoal grill, place vegetables on the rack of the grill over medium-hot coals. Cover and grill for 3 to 5 minutes for asparagus, turning once, and about 10 minutes for the zucchini, sweet pepper, and onion, turning once, or until vegetables are tender. Remove and cool slightly. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add vegetables to grill rack and grill as above.)
  • Cut vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with pasta in a large bowl. Add remaining oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper to pasta mixture; toss to coat. Top with fresh oregano and, if desired, Parmesan. Makes 4 servings.

Chefs Notes:
Super easy and delicious.