Food & Drink Recipes

#CookingRoxy: White Bolognese Fettuccine

My office sets up fun activities regularly, and since we’ve all been working from home, they setup a Zoom cooking session with one of the Food Network Chopped Champions, Chef Michelle! She taught us to make this White Bolognese Fettuccine in exactly an hour. Following along with a seasoned chef over zoom was challenging, but it tasted AMAZING! I didn’t have a recipe out in front of me so this is written from my memory.

White Bolognese Fettucine

Simple white bolognese fettuccine recipe.

  • ½ onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • thyme
  • sage
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz cremini mushrooms (1/2 box)
  • ½ C white wine
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ½ C cream
  • 2 T flour
  • ½ stick butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 package fettucine pasta
  1. Dice onions and mushrooms.

  2. Heat oil and cook onions, mushrooms, and a few sprigs of thyme until onions are translucent.

  3. Add pork and beef and cook until browned. Drain meat in colander.

  4. Add white wine to deglaze pan and re-add meat. Add chicken broth cook on medium, stirring occasionally.

  5. In a small sauce pan, make a roux using the butter and flour. Melt butter and add flour whisking until thickened.

  6. Add cream to meat sauce. Mix in nutmeg and sage. Add in salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

  7. Mix in roux and simmer.

  8. Cook fettuccine according to package directions.

  9. Drain pasta and incorporate with sauce. Plate, top with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

If you’re a pasta connoisseur, you’ll notice that I’m using linguine instead of fettuccine – for some reason I couldn’t find any fettuccine at my local Kroger! Some of my colleagues used fresh fettuccine so I’ll have to try that the next time.

This was totally an excuse to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven in Sea Salt again and I can’t say enough how much I LOVE cooking with this! These dutch ovens (or anything Le Creuset for that matter!) are so expensive, but even from just from a couple of uses, I think it’s totally worth it.

The boyfriend approved this recipe so we’ll probably put this into rotation whenever we’re craving pasta! If you’re not a fan of spicy, you can just eliminate the red pepper flakes. The chef also told us we could change the meat or make it vegetarian, any way you make it, I’m sure it’ll be delicious!

Da Baum Shelter New Home Build

Coming Soon: Da Baum Shelter

2020 has been one hell of a year, not only with the current events but life in general. This year I moved out of my favorite Dallas apartment building after 3 years and moved in with Adam. Our original plan was to live in his current house for a year or two, but as luck would have it – we decided to build a house together!

Everything happened so quickly, but it does feel like it kind of just fell into place. I just hope, they keep falling into place until closing! It all started with us “just looking around” but between all the things I wanted and all the things Adam wanted, we could never find anything that fit the bill. If we did find something, it was way out of budget. It got to a point where I said, “The only way we’re going to get what we both want is if we build it.”

The sarcastic comment turned into us looking at new builders – you wouldn’t believe how difficult even that was! We found the perfect floor plan, in the best location, even the lot location was ideal for us. I’m kind of still in denial about the whole thing, but so excited!

As exciting as it is, the process has been overwhelming and the build hasn’t even started yet. I decided to blog the progress and we dubbed our new home Da Baum Shelter! It’ll be fun to see the progress and everything coming together. Follow along here on the blog and on my Instagram #DaBaumShelter to watch the progress

Food & Drink Recipes

#CookingRoxy: Healthy Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Quinoa

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Quinoa

Easy and healthy chicken broccoli quinoa made in the Instant Pot.

  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 2 lb chicken breast (cubed)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 C quinoa
  • 4 C broccoli
  • 1.5 C chicken broth
  1. Mix salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and chicken breast together.

  2. Layer onions, chicken breast, quinoa, and broccoli in instant pot.

  3. Pour chicken broth over all ingredients.

  4. Close instant pot lid and turn to valve to sealing.

  5. Press manual pressure cooker button and set cook time to 2 minutes, high pressure.

  6. Do natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Finish with quick release.

  7. Open lid and mix all ingredients until incorporated, recover and let sit another 10 minutes.

ingredients all prepped and ready to go

Since we’ve been in quarantine for 5 – 6 weeks, I’ve been doing a lot more cooking, which is nice, considering I never had time during the work week with my schedule and commute to cook everyday/every other day. Another thing I’ve been meaning to do is resurrect this blog but every time I tried to do it, my laptop kept saying I’m out of space, my wordpress site was excruciatingly slow and all my plug-ins were outdated. Finally, I said fuck it, deleted 10 GBs of pictures from my computer, updated everything and decided to just freaking post – so here we are.

My biggest pet peeve in recipe posts is how annoying it is to scroll through this suuuuper long rambling post before I finally get to the recipe card so the new and improved #CookingRoxy posts are just gonna have the recipe up front with all the extra pics after.

We’ve been eating a lot of chicken breasts and I’ve gotten tired of the usual baked cilantro lime chicken breast, remembered that there’s some quinoa sitting in the pantry so I literally pinterested ‘chicken broccoli quinoa’ but the only thing I could find was ‘cheesy chicken broccoli quinoa’. We’re trying to keep it healthy so I really just removed from the cheese. This was so quick and easy to make – literally just threw everything in the IP and let it go. The recipe makes approximately 4 servings, but I would definitely double it next time to have more leftovers. I have a 3 qt Instant Pot – pictured below – so if you have a 6 qt Instant Pot, it would definitely fit more.

I’ve found it much easier to prep everything and throw it in, but to each his (or her) own. Layer everything in order that it’s listed in the ingredients list.

onions first
Mix the chicken breast with all the spices.
layer it on top of the onions
Layer the quinoa on the chicken
broccoli over the quinoa (I only had 2 cups but you can definitely add more)
lastly, put chicken broth over everything

Once all the ingredients are in there, set the Instant Pot to 2 min, High Pressure and let it go! (Don’t forget to make sure the valve is set to sealing!) It will take about 10 min for it to get to high pressure, but once it beeps, let it sit for another 10 minutes before setting the valve to Quick Release. Uncover the pot, mix everything up and let it set for another 10 minutes to make sure all the quinoa is cooked and you’re ready to eat! I like to top it off with some Tabasco since I like it spicy, but it’s all up to you.

Healthy Chicken Brocoli Quinoa

2019 Goals

Obviously I’m terrible at keeping up with my goals (see 2018) and it’s already more than halfway through 2019, but my goals are still in the back of my mind. I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to do, but I think I made pretty good progress!

In 2018, I
  • Paid off $14,000 in debt!
  • Got a new job.
  • Was semi-consistent on working out.

Before I get into my goals for 2019, I have to pat myself on the back because there were 2 major milestones from 2018 that I accomplished – one was a goal that I set up for myself and the second was an unexpected opportunity that, so far, has proved to be the right choice. In 2018, I paid of $14,000 of debt! W. T. F. that’s definitely the cost of a small car! And in November, before the year came up, I accepted a Senior Project Manager position at a FinTech company. I’ve been working towards a Senior position and I’ve low key always wanted to break into FinTech, so it was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to. It’s been challenging, but I’m SO glad I took it. It’s definitely been a challenge, but I’ve been learning so much and in August, I get to kick off a project in my home state of Hawai’i! Honestly, when I think about it, I just can’t believe where I’ve taken my career and I’m so, so grateful for it all.

So for the remaining 6 months, I’m going to (try) to buckle down and accomplish these goals:

  • CAREER: Get my PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification
  • FITNESS: Lose 2 inches around my waist/belly
  • FINANCIAL: Pay off the rest of my credit card debt
  • BLOG: Do it for fun

Careerwise, I’ve been talking about getting my PMP certification for years now but I always get nervous about test taking. I think I’m at a point now where I have enough experience to put on the application, I’d just really like to take a class before prepping for the exam. This is going to be the year I finally do that.

I feel like I have the same fitness goals every year and I’m always falling off that wagon and getting back on again! I know I’m terrible, but at least I keep trying? The hardest part is the eating! And staying consistent for more than a few weeks. But I know I’ve done it before, so I can do it again!

Financially, I have one last credit card to pay off. I need to sit down and do some calculations but I think I can pay it off, or at least most of it by the end of 2019.

I’ve been blogging on and off for years and sometimes when I’m thinking too much about what content to put out or what to blog about, I just don’t do anything at all. It’s hard in this Instagram-culture we have where everything needs to be perfectly curated and it’s all about the followers, but I remember when I started blogging in college, it was all for fun. I started off with a makeup blog talking about things that I was genuinely interested in, making connections with really cool people. I don’t want to be that always flawless looking blogger girl, I just want to do it for fun. So I’m taking it back and I’ll be blogging about whatever I want, whenever I want. No strict schedule, no specific niche, just my word vomit for myself. I’ve been thinking lately about how much I liked makeup blogging so you’ll definitely be seeing more product reviews.

2018 was amazing and so far, 2019 has been better. I can’t wait to see how it all ends. 🙂

Dallas Dallas Eats Food & Drink Texas

Dallas Eats: Iron Cactus [DTD]

One of the things I love about Dallas is all the different restaurants. There’s a ton of great old restaurants and always a bunch of new restaurants popping up, it can be hard to pick a place!

Iron Cactus in Downtown Dallas was nice enough to host a dinner for two and I definitely left full and satisfied. I used to work in Downtown Dallas so I was surprised I had never seen or heard of it before! If you’re familiar with the DTD area, it’s located next to The Joule across the street from the big eyeball. But, enough with the words, all we foodies care about is the food!

We got a preset 3 course menu that we could choose from that featured their new appetizers, the Lobster Tacos and Ahi Tuna Ceviche. We even got a drink to go with dinner.

Chips and Salsa to start off. One salsa was warm and the other was cold. I think i liked the warm salsa better.

The manager came out and brought us a complimentary sample of another appetizer, the Picadillo Purses. This was amazing and probably my favorite thing from the night even though they were mini sizes. I’d honestly come back just for this.

Of the two appetizers we got to try, the Lobster Tacos were my favorite. Ceviche was okay, but I tend to be a snob about any raw fish dish since I’m from Hawai’i.

The Lobster Tacos

Ahi Tuna Ceviche

Since it was a Mexican restaurant, you know I had to get a margarita! I tried this Mango Habanero Margarita which I LOVED! Our server warned me that it was super spicy, but I love me some spicy and I thought it was perfect.

I tried to the fried Fish Tacos because Fish Tacos! These things are HUGE, I only finished one. It’s a giant piece of fish with cabbage, cotija cheese, and other yummy things.

A tried the Chile Relleno Rustico. I had a bite and it was pretty good.

Another pic of the Fish Tacos!

Both desserts were AMAZING! We got the Tres Leches Cake and Mexican Chocolate Torte.


My favorite was definitely the chocolate torte. It comes with a scoop of ice cream, it’s like chewy chocolate goodness. I’m drooling thinking about it.

Overall, it was a great experience. The service was great, our server was super nice and attentive, and the food – especially the dessert – was amazing. I definitely would come again even if it’s just to get a full size of the Picadillo Purses.

Huge thanks to Iron Cactus for hosting dinner! This really was my honest opinion about the place. 🙂

Adulting Career Finance Girl Boss Lifestyle Money Matters

Goals Progress – September 2018

Summer’s almost over and the pumpkin spice is all over the place, but I’m not complaining! It’s crazy that 3/4ths of the year has already gone by, but I am pretty pleased with where am with my 2018 goals – especially the financial ones. Pretty cool what you can accomplish when you have a set plan! (says the Project Manager!! lol)


Career Goals

I’ve still been telling myself that I need to start studying for my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. I also think it’s good to brush up your resume every once in a while just to keep it fresh, so that’s now on my to do list. I swear I will get some movement in this area in September!

Fitness Goals

August was definitely the month of fluctuation. I got down to my lowest weight, but then spiked back up to my heaviest and finally normalized into my current average. I’m sorry guys, I can’t give up my food! I did keep up with the lifting, which is more than I’ve done in the past, and I feel live I’ve seen change even though the scale might not agree. Like I keep saying, it’s definitely the eating, but one of these days I’ll find that balance. I think I’ll start tracking what my maxes are though just to keep me motivated. 😉

  • Barbell Squats: 125 lbs – yay 10 lbs more than last month!
  • Lat Pull Downs: 70 lbs
  • Seated Rows: 70 lbs – 5 lbs more than last month!


Financial Goals

I’m extremely happy to report that as of 8/31, I HAVE PAID OFF MY FIRST LOAN! I’ll be sharing a separate post, with more details on how I tackled this loan and paid off ~$10,000 in 6 months but damnit I am pretty proud to be able to cross off a goal on the list. This leaves me at 28% down to the road to being debt free! It’s a pretty hefty accomplishment I think, but I was sitting and looking at the numbers and in reality almost 24% of my payments didn’t go to principal! That’s such a crazy thing to think about because I’m aggressively trying to pay it down – if I paid the minimums every month, that percentage would probably be so much more! Nevertheless, I must keep chipping away because right now debt free is looking like October 2019 and that’s only 13 months away!

Blog Goals

I think I must have a one track mind because I’m pretty obsessive about my financial goals, which leaves me with very little motivation on the other goals! As usual, blog goals have been slow and steady. I definitely had less motivation in August and posted way less than I did the month before. Traffic increased a little with my dabbling in Pinterest, but I just haven’t been consistent. Consistency is key in everything! As of today, I’m at 2,967 followers, which is less than 100 more than I had last month, but some progress is better than none, no?

Until next month!

Adulting Money Matters

Why I Refinanced My Loan and Why You Should Do It, Too

It amazes me how little people in my generation (the dreaded millennials) know about money matters. Who can blame them, though? I went to college and learned about differential equations and artificial intelligence before I learned anything about refinancing debt and 401ks! I’m not a financial guru by any means so you should take what I say with a grain of salt and do your due diligence, but it’s been my #1 goal in 2018 to get out of debt.

I cringe internally every time I see a statement with an interest charge – seriously, pull up your loan or credit card statement and look at how much interest you got charged last month! My auto loan has a 3.6% interest rate and according to my statements, I’m paying ~$50 -60 in interest out of my monthly payment, but when I do the math personally, I’ve paid almost $900 that hasn’t been applied to my principal. That’s f*cking RIDICULOUS, if you ask me.

The good news is, I’m almost 30% of the way to being debt free! I definitely attribute part of my success in my debt reduction to consolidating my debt and refinancing my loan. So let’s get down to it, what is refinancing and why should you do it?

Refinancing is basically taking out a new loan at a lower interest rate to pay off an older loan or credit debt.

Here are 3 reasons why I consolidated and refinanced my loan:

1. Paying one bill instead of multiple

I originally opened my first loan to consolidate my debt. I was paying for 3 different credit card payments with different balances and it was hard to focus on which one to pay off first. Taking out the loan made it more manageable and it was easier to make one payment a month than 3 different ones.

2. Lower Interest Rates

The interest rates on my credit cards were pretty high – ranging from 14% – 19% – and the rates for personal loans were lower. However, my credit score had dipped considerably when I took out the first loan with USAA, I ended up with a 10.5% interest rate. Since I took out that first loan, I had built up my credit score so I qualified for an even better rate. I refinanced last year with SoFi and ended up with a 5.49% interest rate. Of course, I’m losing money dragging it out, but it’s more motivating to see most of your payment going to principal instead of interest.


3. Lower Monthly Payments

This is only true if you’re refinancing a sum that’s less than your previous loan, if you’re consolidating debt it’s definitely going to be higher but we should really be more concerned about lowering your interest rates than your minimum payment if you are serious about tackling your debt.


So, how do you refinance?

You can go through your current bank, a credit union, or just google “refinance loan” and pick from one of the many options out there. I can’t speak for which banks are the best, but I took out my original loan with USAA and ended up refinancing with SoFi and had great experiences with both their customer services. This is going to be a complete shameless plug, but what I loved about SoFi is the process was super easy and quick. I did my own research and shopped rates before deciding, but their process was super easy, there was no penalty for early payoff, no extra fees, and they offered more of a percent discount when I setup autopay monthly. I know a lot of people are wary of using affiliate links and I do get a little bonus if you use my referral link, but you get a $100 welcome bonus if you do. 😉


This post contains affiliate links, but opinions expressed are my own.
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Destination Hawaii Kauai USA

Waimea Canyon, “The Grand Canyon in the Pacific”

If you make a trip out to Kaua’i, you definitely have to make a trip out to Waimea Canyon. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Located on the southwest side of the island, the canyon is a mile long and 3,600 feet. I think it’s kind of ironic that I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, even though I’ve lived in Arizona for 8 years and I’ve only been to Kaua’i twice! It’s pretty easy to navigate to the canyon and the views are gorgeous, but I’m probably biased because you know I love my Hawai’i nei.

We went to Waimea Canyon the same day we toured the Na Pali Coast, but we ended up back at our hotel, Kaua’i Beach Villas in Lihue, before driving back. The drive from our hotel to the canyon was about an hour. It’s funny, because you’d think that since Hawai’i is a bunch of small islands it wouldn’t take that long to get anywhere, but Kaua’i has one main road going around the island and the speed limit doesn’t ever get over 50! If you follow the long winding road to the top, it’s pretty easy to find the lookout point. There’s plenty of parking and a great vantage point from the top, not to mention all the stops you can take on the way up and down.

It was kind of rainy our whole trip to Kaua’i, but luckily it was clear skies when we made it up there. It was pretty cold and windy when we were up there so these were all the pictures I got!

Have you been to Waimea Canyon?
Let me know in the comments below!
Career Finance Fitness Girl Boss Lifestyle

Goals Progress – August 2018

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s August already. Before you know it, pumpkin spice and Christmas music will be everywhere! I never realized how helpful these goal progress posts were til I was re-reading my original goals post and my progress posts. July was a great month for me, but there are some things I need to get on!


Career Goals

One of the things I need to get on is my PMP certification. I kind of put it on the back burner when I got my certificates renewed over the past few months but I’ve been getting reminders about finishing that online course I started so I should really get on it.

Fitness Goals

tracking daily progress

The beginning of July was a struggle because I was eating out and going out a lot. I still worked out regularly (as you can see from my calendar above), but the eating always gets to me. I finally sucked it up in the last week and a half or so and got back on meal prepping, started tracking my food again in MyFitnessPal, and surprise, surprise, I lost 2 lbs in a week! Fitness really is mostly diet. 🙁 I’m thinking for August my goal is to eat healthy and meal prep for 4 – 5 days a week. #sorrynotsorry I’m not giving up my weekends! But I have been lifting a lot heavier – maxed squats at 115 lbs, lat pull downs at 70 lbs, seated rows at 65 lbs, and back hyper extensions carrying a 45 lb plate! Honestly, I feel kind of bad ass writing that out lol! Getting up for 5 AM HIIT has been a struggle, but I’m just low key telling myself that I’m working on bulking.


Financial Goals

June definitely threw me off temporarily but I got back on track in July. Last month I was at 20% of my debt paid off and this month I’m at 22% debt paid. 2% might sound little but every $1 counts! If all goes well, I’ll be able to cross off my first finance goal and pay off my personal loan by the end of the month!!! I don’t wanna jinx myself so I’m holding back the number but I’m crying inside when I look at the number I started with when I got serious in February. I have a spreadsheet complete with pie charts and line graphs that I update anytime I make a payment and I am still on track to paying everything off by December 2019. Not gonna lie, I’ve had to sacrifice a few trips and it’s killed me cause you know how much I love to travel, but I’m trying to keep my eyes on the prize because I’ll be able to do whatever I want once it’s all paid off. I do have some trips that I really want to go on so I’m trying to factor them in the budget, but we’ll see.

Blog Goals

Of all my 2018 goals this is the one that I’ve been laziest in. The good news is, I saw some progress in this area for July. Since my last goals post, I’ve published 6 more posts!! Wayy more than I have in any other month. I’ve been posting every Thursday like I said I would and I think it kind of gave me momentum to post more. Maybe for August we’ll shoot for 2x a week? I started experimenting with Pinterest pins and have seen a mini spike in traffic since then so I think I’m gonna focus this next month on growing that. My Instagram following growth has been slow but steady – as of this morning we’re at 2,887 – still a far cry from 10k but slow and steady, I guess?

Until next month!

Destination Hawaii USA

Don’t Say These Hawaiian Words and Phrases on Your Next Trip to Hawai’i

Whenever I tell someone I’m from Hawai’i, it never fails – they respond with “I love Hawaii!” or “I really want to go there!” Every once in a while someone will ask if I speak Hawaiian and while I don’t, we were taught Hawaiian growing up and it’s everywhere so it’s hard not to pick up some words.

I read this article from Travel and Leisure entitled, 18 basic Hawaiian words and Phrases for Your Trip to the Aloha State and I cringed at some of the descriptions on how to pronounce the words and how to use them in a sentence. I was also confused because it said 18 but I wrote this post and only came out to 15 words / phrases? Let me just disclaimer that I am not a native Hawaiian and I’m not attacking the author of this article in anyway, but I just wanted to give my perspective as a former kama’aina (local Hawai’i person) and how we used these phrases in everyday conversation.

I posted screenshots of the actual article with my numbered commentary below, so hopefully it’s not too confusing to follow.

1. – 4. aloha kakahiaka, aloha awakea, aloha ‘auinalā, and aloha ahiahi

This pronunciation of all four of these looks right, I remember learning these in elementary school. (W’s are sometimes pronounced as v’s in the Hawaiian language.) However, besides aloha kakahiaka, I’ve never heard anyone use this in regular conversation. You might hear it in touristy areas or shows, but I don’t ever remember saying these to my friends.

5. lū‘au

This one, I’m kind of not sure how you’re supposed to say loo-ah-oo because lū‘au sounds more like lou-ow. Also I don’t know what is all this talk about taro leaves is about because a lū‘au is basically a Hawaiian party or feast.

6. mahalo

This one is for the most part correct, even the bit about tourists thinking it means garbage. But nui is pronounced more like new-ee but I guess I can see how you could phonetically get noo? Idk looks more like noooooo to me.

7/8. wahine, kane

These are also right.

The Common Hawaiian phrases section is definitely the part that I was like whaaaa because I don’t remember hearing or using half these a lot.

9. ‘a’ole pilikia

Pronunciation looks right and you would use this if someone says ‘thank you’ because I think it means no problem, but I didn’t ever use this phrase.

10. a ‘o ia

Honestly I don’t know what is happening here. I tried to figure out what phrase this is supposed to be but I have no clue. Don’t say this.

11. hui

Unless you’re trying to call your Filipino friends and say hoyy, I wouldn’t try to call anyone like this in Hawai’i especially if you’re a tourist.

12. e kala mai

This one looks right, but you could just say excuse me.

Useful Hawaiian sayings for travelers

This part is kind of useful, people will use mauka and makai for reference on direction, but the pronunciations looked kind of weird to me. Like why are they broken up like ma uka and ma kai, they should be one word.

13. mauka

Mauka is pronounced more like mow-kah. The way I learned it, it means more mountainside. Don’t say, “We’ll be mauka today doing the zipline.” Nobody would say that.

14. makai

I feel like if you say mah-kie-yee it sounds more like you’re trying to say maika’i which means something different so I’d just drop that ‘yee’ and say mah-kie. Makai means oceanside. Also dont’ say “at the boathouse makai.” Nobody says that either.

15. a hui hou

The meaning is right, “until we meet again”, but again the pronunciation. Idk what’s all this extra stuff on the end, but ah-hoo-wee-ho would suffice.

Again, I’m not a Hawaiian expert, I could be wrong about some of this (local friends correct me if I am!) I think it’s great that people want to learn about Hawaiian culture, but you don’t want to go to Hawai’i and have the locals look at you funny when attempt to use these words. 😉