You know those times when you come back from a vacation? *droopy sad face*
I think I might have mentioned it a bajillion times already but we just got back from a very warm, very sunny, very extra relaxing vacation to Arizona. I’m still grieving the loss of the vacation, but on the upside, I’m really excited to show you some pics of the trip highlights! Today’s post has half of the vacation photos because I am slow and sometimes I need two posts to get my act together.
But wait! Salad salad salad. Okay okay okay.
The goods on the plate this week: almonds, spinach, pea shoots, avocado, cilantro, garlic, and olive oil. LOTSA good for your body stuff + mouth rocking flavor. And actually, thank you for asking, I think I WILL go for a sprinkle of feta cheese on my detox salad. That’s how I do these detox-ery things.
May I quickly announce my new green discovery of the week? PEA SHOOTS.
Hey cute. Those little freshy sprouty guys are yummy on, well, let me think. Literally EVERYTHING. I found them at Trader Joe’s, but maybe they’re sold at all grocery stores? I wouldn’t know. I’m still learning about these new vegetables and stuff.
So let’s lunch on tasty greens and talk about Arizona highlights! First stop:
Grandma and Grandpa’s House
My grandparents are Minnesota natives who migrate south every winter to enjoy the sunny paradise of A-Z. Whiiich works out well for us because we like to crash at their place and eat my Grandma’s cooking and play frisbee with my Grandpa and chill out under the orange trees in their backyard.
We had some epically long breakfast table talks after stuffing ourselves with granola, warm croissants, and grapefruit fresh off the tree in the backyard. Followed by more sipping on some coffee, talking about life, grabbing one more croissant, and getting a refill of freshly squeeze orange juice. And was anyone planning to eat this last half of a croissant here? That’s how we roll at Grandma’s house.
My favorite part about going to Arizona in the spring is the orange trees. Like, WOW. This is the time of year when the orange trees are blossoming, so they have those pritty little white flowers and over and they smell like a dream. Plus, juicy fresh oranges available for your picking whenever the snack attack hits.
Poor Bjork was sneezing left and right – what do they call that again – allergies? All I know is that for me, the smell of the orange blossoms is one of my favorites it all the great wide world. It’s like breathing in candy-sweet fruit SUGAR OXYGEN all the live long day. It’s just incredible.
What a treat to be able to stay with my grandparents + eat Grandma’s lemon pie after every meal for three days straight.
Next time, beware. We might set up shop for more like a month.
Montelucia Resort and Spa
So after part one of the ultimate relaxation, we moved on to part two: Montelucia Resort and Spa.
I’d like to tell you that usually Bjork doesn’t wear pants and a sweatshirt at the pool. But, *sigh*. I don’t know. He’s not really one for the sun.
This resort is the kind where you don’t even have to go to the real spa to feel like you’re at a spa. Know what I mean? It just has that close-your-eyes-and-feel-good vibe about it. I spent most of my time at the pool, reading The Book Thief, crying for a few minutes into Bjork’s sunscreened shoulder over The Book Thief (oh Rudy ♥), eating quesadillas and french fries like a good vacationer, reading and devouring Divergent, and doing my best to soak up the sun.
We’re that couple that goes half sun (me) and half shade (mah boy), so finding a good pool or beach set up is not something that we do well. Usually we end up on completely separate sides of the pool and just plan to reconnect for dinner. But Montelucia’s two pristine pools, shady umbrellas, comfy chairs, palm trees, incredible mountainous view, and mesmerizing fountains made for a completely perfect pool experience, and once we found our half-and-half spot, we were each in our happy places.
We had this gorgeous room overlooking the mountain/pool/fountain/greens and flower and palm trees and such. If you want to see more thoughtful, less rushed-to-get-to-the-pool pictures of the room, check it on out. My favorite part which is partially pictured here was our spacious patio.
Although a close second for me would have to be the bathroom. Like, seriously. There was gold, glass, patterns, textures, clean lines, and sparkly things. One thing worth mentioning: I LOVE NICE BATHROOMS. Good thing we bought an old house with a sort of weird small bathroom, right? Mmhm.
I was on Spring Break from my job as an elementary school teacher this week, but the funny thing about my other job (blogging) is that it doesn’t ever take a break, and you can do it from anywhere. We tried to take time to relax – the kind of relaxing where you don’t do any work.
But we are also the kind of people who sometimes “relax” by checking blog comments, and then going to the pool, and then catching up on email, and then reading another book. So as much as we try to pull away, sometimes it’s hard because a) there’s a lot to do, all the time, and b) both Bjork and I love our work. What a gift, and I mean that in the most serious, reverent, not mocking way possible. We are thankful.
Each morning I got some blog work done on the patio in the sun with coffee in hand and a muffin at my side. Um, that can’t be work, right? But I think it was. But it felt like vacation. WHAT’S GOING ON.
PS. In case you’re a person who looks closely at faces, that’s a chicken pox scar on my forehead, accentuated perfectly by the morning sun. We can really be friends now that you know about the childhood scars on my face and stuff.
What a beautiful place. We loved it. Thanks to Montelucia for showing us such warm (literally) hospitality! I would totally for sure in a heartbeat recommend this resort to anyone looking for a nice place to stay in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Actually, a few of you commented on Instagram and said that you had been here, too, so I know we’ve got some fans in the group already.
Fingers crossed that we’ll be back. Maybe if I tap my heels three times and close my eyes and start chanting.
Er, too much sun.
So the main event in this post is the salad.
When I come home from vacation, I’m usually inspired to eat something that I tried and loved from a restaurant. Enter: Green Goddess Detox Salad.
We ate at Prado, the restaurant at Montelucia (wait though, go look at the main picture on their website and see how gorgeous it is and imagine how romantic it is at night, and then forgive me for not taking more pictures). One of the incredible parts of my meal was a shredded kale salad with house made Green Goddess dressing and cool creamy chunks of avocado. Yummy yumm yum-diddly-doo. I thought to myself –> go home and make Green Goddess dressing.
So I did, and I made my own little detox (“”) salad with some other healthy things that would help me recover from the aforementioned poolside quesadillas and french fries. But this might be just as good. I love everything in this salad and I love that it makes my body super magically glowy and powerful and healthy. Or whatever.
- 4 cups spinach
- 1-2 cups pea shoots
- ½ cup feta cheese
- ½ cup almonds, crushed or chopped
- 1 avocado, cut into chunks
- ½ jalapeño pepper (I left the ribs and seeds - it was spicy and delicious)
- ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
- Juice from 1 lime
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ cup packed cilantro
- 2 scallions
- Puree all the dressing ingredients together, adding the cilantro last and stopping when the texture feels right to you. I went for little green flecks of cilantro and scallion throughout.
- Toss the salad ingredients together with dressing; serve immediately.