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Tasty Tips

Maybe you weren’t so lucky to see my speedy marinara the other day? If not, you should go look! I have a couple little speedy tricks/ideas that aren’t really recipes on their own, so I thought I’d just make one post for all.

1. As told about in my speedy marinara post, adding baking soda to a marinara sauce sweetens it. This is an easy way to not add sugar, but still take the sharp, vinegar flavor out of the tomatoes.

2. I love lemonade, especially in the summer. I make mine with fresh squeezed lemons and sweeten with agave, mmm! What I don’t like, however, is how sour it can be. A trick someone told me a long time ago is to add sweet basil (otherwise known as basil) to the agave and lemon mixture before adding water. The basil takes some of the sharpness out of the lemon, but still leaves a great lemon flavor. I’ve played with other types of basil (thai and mint basils), and other herbs. They are a great way to spice up lemonade without adding fruit or more sweetner.

3. Caprese is one of my favorite meals! It’s a wonderful, fresh, summertime salad. However, many people are hesitant due to the calories in mozzarella, or they don’t eat cheese due to dietary restrictions. I love caprese so much though, I want everyone to be able to enjoy! Thus, my Mom (so proud of her) came up with a great subsitute- avocado! The flavors blend excellent and it’s a great healthy fat.

I hope you enjoy these tasty tips!

Do you have a magical substitute or tip to make a common recipe different? Share it!


Weekend Getaway and Big News

It’s the weekend! TGIF!

I wasn’t sure this weekend would get here. It’s here though! J and I are going away for the weekend too! It’s finally a celebration gift for becoming a doctor! (wow, every sentence has ended with an exclamation mark so far)

No posts this weekend, but be on the lookout for am Indian curry and bok choy stir fry early next week. Oh, and great getaway, celebration pictures.

The big news for Crags and Veggies is a MAKEOVER!! I’m ready for a new style and venue- yep a new .com site too. It’s going to take a few weeks to get everything sorted out, but I’m positive you’re going to love the new look. It should be easier to navigate too.

Have a great weekend! What are your plans?


Get a Grip! part 1

I’ve been drinking lots of carrot juice! I need to post pictures, promise I’ll be better. I’ve tried adding some unique things to it including ginger (yum!), apple, kale, spinach, and blackberries! So on with the post….

If you’re reading this then you know I love climbing! I believe rock climbing is the most amazing sport. It gives me such a well rounded workout in a fun puzzle atmosphere. The hardest thing for me to learn with climbing was holds and the best way to approach them. As a female with small hands, I can adjust holds to make them more useful to me. However, there are some basic techniques that will help you obtain the best grip depending on the hold.


Underhangs are unique holds and much easier to grip than one might expect. Wrap your hand underneath and support your weight outwards. Placing weight between your palm and fingers will give you lots of strength without the need to grip using your forearm and fingers.


Crimps are small holds that test the ability of you to hold your weight and balance only using your finger tips. They’re not comfortable and often will make your fingers hurt after using them. I think the best way to use them is to balance the weight on your distal phalanges (the distal parts of each finger tip).

J’s larger hands are in a similar position.


Pinches are just as they sound, a hold that you have to pinch between your fingers. However, instead of pinching with your index and thumb, you pinch with your four fingers and your thumb. Squeezing your fingers around the hold is the best way to know you have friction to keep you connected to the wall and balance.


Slopers have no hold, but are rather a smoothed ledge. The best way to hold onto a sloper is to place your finger tips to the back of the hold and to keep your weight below the hold. I prefer to keep my forearm straight  and directly below the hold. J demonstrates nicely below.

Play around with holds and test what you’re comfortable with. Slopers are difficult at first, but you will become more and more comfortable with them as you test and try with your body position.

Each hold is different, no two are the same. Even though I’ve displayed pictures of the holds here, you will likely never have the exact same hold as I’ve displayed.

Stay tuned for part 2 as there are still a few more types of holds to tell you about! Happy Climbing!

What type of exercise are you into lately? 

Climb Like a Girl!

No matter how much we girls want to believe it, we do climb differently from boys! Trust me, I think we are just as strong and can climb just as tough of routes as they can. We will though, climb them differently.

Boys are built to have lots of upper body strength and have bigger hands to wrap around holds. Girls however have more balance and flexibility. Thus, it’s okay that we climb differently!

How to Climb Like a Girl!

First, be daring! It happens at least once every visit to the gym, I see a girl struggling with her confidence to just reach up to the hold above her because it’s just slightly beyond her comfort zone. While there’s a fine line between being stupid and pushing yourself a bit, even a small confidence/daring push while climbing can improve your ability to climb. The best time to push yourself is while top roping. Tell your belayer you’re going through the crux of a problem and would like them to keep the rope taught. Then go for the next hold! The worse that can happen is that you don’t reach the hold and you drop a few inches in the air. 

Second, re-angle your body. As females, we are flexible and can stretch and contort our bodies in weird ways. Test your ability to do this next time you’re stuck and don’t think you can get to a hold due to balance or position.  If you’re top roping, just swing back a second and relax. Can you curl up more on the rock and get your feet higher? Can you use a hold from the sides or from underneath? What if you shift your weight over to one side instead of it being centered? Don’t be afraid to stretch out and try new things. Re-positioning your body can make drastic improvements in your ability to climb a problem. 

Third, use ALL your holds! A great advantage of being a girl is that we can hold onto all those tiny little holds. Crimps, no problem! I regularly use foot holds as hand holds when climbing a 5.11c or higher. I’m not saying every foot hold can be used as a handhold, but try around and test your strength some. You’d be surprised what even placing a finger upon a “foot chip” can do for balance.

Last, keep your abs tight! Keeping the muscles constricted allows you to compensate for less upper body strength and keeps you closer to the wall. It’s okay to feel like you’re hugging the wall, the closeness is what keeps you from falling. I especially have a hard time thinking of keeping my abs tight when I’m climbing slopers and have to focus on weight positioning on my fingers. The first moment I let my stomach muscles relax, I fall backwards or “barn door” off the wall.

I hope these tips help you be a better climber, no matter if you’re male or female. Here’s a picture from where I climbed this weekend, does it look serene or what?

What is your biggest strength when rock climbing? And your biggest weakness?