Wine Me, Dine Me, Then Take Me To AZ

by Jenn (eating bender) on May 7, 2010

Why, hello there!

I am currently sitting outside in the most beautiful place on Earth:



It seems like every time I come here, I get some sort of Arizona fever. Looking through some old posts, I noticed that in the past I’ve both expressed my determination to live here someday and apparently have mentioned “Arizona” 35 times since I started blogging. What can I say? When you love a place so much that it feels like your true home, you just can’t help but talk it up while you’re here.

I’m visiting on both official wedding and family business. Yesterday, I got my hair all fixed up the way I want to wear it for the wedding! I can’t share the pictures on here since Bobby reads my blog, but I am so excited about the style that I picked out and can’t wait to wear it on the big day :) It’s inspired by this post from The Knot {Bobby, if you know what’s good for you, you won’t click that link!}

We’ve also been looking at invitations, programs and wedding favors. It’s been busy!

Yesterday was a very special anniversary, too. It just so happens that on May 6, 2009, the guy I’m marrying in just over 5 months proposed to me! I will never forget the comments and love that came in that day. Seriously – just reading that post brought tears to my eyes all over again. I am so glad that I had this community to share this special time with – then and now.

To celebrate, I want to share a new recipe I created and cooked for Bobby last weekend. I have always been a fan of nut-crusted fish – and this time was no different. But I altered some of the ingredients to create an extra special and flavorful treat. I hope you enjoy!

Almond-Crusted Tilapia Fingers

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 3 tilapia fillets (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Optional: teriyaki sauce


Crush almonds in a food processor or dicer. Mix with wheat flour to create the fish crust.

Rub tilapia fillets with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Dip into the almond and flour mixture until fully coated. Sprinkle fillets with ground pepper and garlic salt, then place into a skillet pan with remaining oil.

Turn burner to medium-high heat and cook tilapia until opaque, 5-7 minutes per side. Continue flipping until the fish is flaky. Split fillets in half to create the tilapia “fingers.”

Serve with fresh or frozen stir-fry vegetables. Top with teriyaki sauce, if desired!

Bobby and I both agreed that this dish was amazing. I think the flour really made all the difference – I’ve tried coating tilapia with chopped almonds before and it turned out OK. But the flour really held the crust together and kept the almond flavor throughout. The teriyaki sauce was a nice complement.

If you try this recipe out, let me know what you think! I love hearing your feedback :)

There is a lot going on this weekend. Sunday is both Mother’s Day and my 23rd birthday – eek! I can’t believe another year has come and gone. While I don’t necessarily feel older, I do feel that much has changed and there is A LOT to be grateful for. To challenge myself, I came up with a list of 23 Passionate Pursuits For My 23rd Year. I’d love to hear what some of yours are!

You never know where life will take you. In fact, I’m a firm believer that often times it’s the things we never expected to happen that are truly the most worthwhile. This list is just a way for me to put some goals down on paper – some of them fun and trivial, others more substantial and meaningful.

Do you create dreams and goals lists? If so, name one thing that is on your list.

I’m truly curious and not trying to pry. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

Enjoy your weekend!


{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 William May 8, 2010 at 12:22 am

Arizona seriously is the best state. I love living here!


2 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm

I completely agree! Lucky you! Hope to make it happen someday :)


3 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) May 8, 2010 at 12:50 am

Welcome back, Jenn! From the unofficial Scottsdale welcoming committee :) Hope you have an awesome trip and try to stay cool! Hope the wedding prep is coming along, sounds like it is! :)


4 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Thanks, Averie! Wish I would have had time to schedule a meet-up but it was crazy! I promise it will happen one of these trips :) Hope all is well with you!


5 janetha May 8, 2010 at 1:21 am

that tilapia looks insanely delicious! and i cant wait to see your HAIR on your WEDDING DAY!


6 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Thanks, Janetha! I could say the same about YOU! So much excitement!


7 Erica May 8, 2010 at 2:33 am

AZ is gorgeous! You should take the leap and just move…It was scary when Josh and I did it, but so worthwhile! Glad the hair trial went well. Aren’t tilapia fingers fun? I love making them for Josh. Great list. My favorite (other than getting married) is this one: # Take my mom on an unexpected trip.Have a fabulous weekend!!


8 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I remember when you made your move – I am so glad you are so happy! You’re inspiring me every day :) And yes, I love the tilapia fingers!


9 Brittany May 8, 2010 at 5:25 am

I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family in AZ. I’m sure the combined Mother’s Day and Birthday celebrations will be a blast.

I liked reading your 23 goals for this year! My ultimate goal is for this year to be my fittest yet. So far good, but I still have a quite a bit of work to do.

Talk to you soon Jenn! xoxo


10 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Thanks, Britt! I love your goal – I’ve still got quite a bit of work to do in that area, too! Thank goodness we have each other ๐Ÿ˜‰


11 Mara @ What's For Dinner? May 8, 2010 at 8:06 am

I can’t believe it’s been a year since you got engaged!!! Unbelievable! Happy almost birthday, and we MUST catch up when you get back!


12 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I can’t believe it either! Can’t wait to see you!


13 MarathonVal May 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

Just peeked at the hairdo on The Knot website – gorgeous!!!! Enjoy your time in AZ my dear!


14 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:39 pm

I will have to send you pictures – I’m obsessed! Hope to see you soon – I will email ya!


15 Lauren @ Eater Not a Runner May 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

That looks SO delicious! Arizona really is amazing, I’ve only been once but I was in awe it was so beautiful.


16 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Thanks, Lauren! Yes – I’m back in Chicago and already want to go back to AZ!


17 glidingcalm May 8, 2010 at 8:40 am

yay Jenn and Bobby!!!!! I’d love to go back t AZ someday!!!


18 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm

You totally should!!!!! :)


19 Jeny May 8, 2010 at 9:49 am

I will totally move to AZ with you! I’ve wanted to live there or Colorado forever!


20 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm

If you’re in, I’m in! Colorado would be nice, too :)


21 BroccoliHut May 8, 2010 at 10:47 am

Has it been a year already since the big proposal? I remember it so well!
Glad you’re having fun in AZ–I myself am looking forward to some time at home in just a few weeks!
Some of my goals/dreams include running a marathon and writing my own cookbook:)


22 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Crazy, right?! Time certainly does fly. Love your goals and dreams and am so excited for you to get to go home!


23 Gabriela @ Fro-Yo Lover May 8, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Holy YUUM!
Thanks for sharing this recipe, girl – it looks great!
Wish you a wonderful weekend :)
Brazilian XOXOยดs,


24 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Thanks, Gabriela :)


25 Heather Eats Almond Butter May 8, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Just wanted to pop in and say an early Happy Birthday to you as tomorrow is going to be a bit wild with Mother’s Day festivities. Please know that I’ll be thinking of you! :)

So jealous you’re in AZ. I was out there last year when Bobby proposed to you as I remember reading your post and texting you from my mother-in-law’s dining room table. So wish I could be there right now! Was supposed to hike the Grand Canyon last month with CD’s mom, but we had to cancel. Someday I WILL hike it – definitely on my goals and dream list!


26 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Thanks, Heather! You are so sweet :) I distinctly remember your text last year. Isn’t it crazy how fast time flies? Too bad you weren’t able to hike the Grand Canyon but…I suppose you had your reasons for canceling ๐Ÿ˜‰ Still GIDDY about your news!! Congrats!


27 John May 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I always get misty eyed at a golf course ๐Ÿ˜‰

Don’t really have any goals for life right now. Always kind of just rolled through it and took what came my way.

Happy Birthday!


28 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Agreed – the golf course is therapeutic :) Thanks for the birthday wishes!!


29 littlemisspotato May 8, 2010 at 11:32 pm

How beautiful! I hope you do eventually get to move out to your dream spot. I love when certain places call to me. So cool!


30 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I hope so, too :) I completely agree! Thank you!


31 Jessie May 9, 2010 at 5:14 am

Yay, Jenn and Bobby! I can’t wait to see what your hair looks like – you’re going to look to gorgeous on your wedding day! Have a great time in Arizona! I’m always happy whenever I think of Colorado :)

BTW, Happy Birthday!!


32 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Thanks, Jessie! You are too sweet :) I always appreciate your comments! Truly!


33 Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) May 9, 2010 at 8:32 am

Love AZ! Partial to California but still. :) Life goal: marathon. Next year, I hope!


34 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Good luck with your life goal! That’s an awesome one to aspire to :)


35 Megan @The Oatmeal Diaries May 9, 2010 at 8:38 am

Arizona looks absolutely amazing!!! As does that tilapia :)


36 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Thank you!


37 gina (fitnessista) May 9, 2010 at 9:23 am

jealousy is oozing through my fingertips as i type this :) live it up in az for me!!! maybe one of these days we’ll get to live there again :) i miss it! and you- let’s catch up soon <3
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! hope you're having an amazing day!


38 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Thank you, Gina! I hope that if we ever get to live there again, we’ll both be there at the same time :) I miss you, too! Let’s finally schedule that phone date one of these days ๐Ÿ˜‰ Capeish???


39 Jessica @ How Sweet May 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I’ve never been to AZ. I wanna go.

Happy Birthday Beautiful!


40 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Thank you, gorgeous! You are amazing :)


41 Melissa S. May 9, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Ahhhh..happy anniversary beautiful! and birthday!!! i’m sure you had a wonderful weekend with your family!!

hope the flight went well! can’t wait to catch up soon!


42 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Thanks, lovely lady! You never fail to bring a smile to my face :)


43 Katherine: What About Summer? May 10, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I just want to start enjoying life again. I just read the post over at pursing passion yesterday. So inspirational right?

So is your AZ view of course


44 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm

You are so kind – this comment seriously was amazing. Thank you so much. I completely agree that it is necessary to enjoy life! Everyone has their days – trust me, I had one today actually! – but when the happy, enjoyable ones outweigh the negative, that is all that matters! :)


45 Lisa May 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Wow—that looks amazing! I love the crustiness, and can’t wait to try it—-over veg looks great.

Thanks for sharing.


46 Jenn (eating bender) May 11, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Thanks, Lisa!! Let me know if you do try it – I’d love to know what you think!


47 Bekah May 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I love love love this post because it is all about AZ. I miss it soo much! I try and explain to people the glory of Tucson and AZ in general.. but no one gets it. I think this picture pretty much sums it up though!

So glad to hear the wedding plans are well under way. Exciting! :)


48 Marianne May 21, 2010 at 1:25 am

I always like to cook my fish with just a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, and some herbs. I never think to do something fun like nut-crust. I have some rockfish in the freezer that I may need to try this on.


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