About gsnackingcruz

my name is gretchen cruz. snacking is my middle name. gretchen snacking cruz. the list of countries i've lived in/visited include: the philippines, china, indonesia, thailand, malaysia, singapore, taiwan, australia, jordan, canada, and the usa. the list of cities/states/provinces i've lived in/visited is ten times the size of the list above. the list of places in the world i want to live in/visit before i die is endless. i LOVE to travel and eat. love love LOVE. i swear a huge part of why i love to travel so much is because i love to eat... food tastes so much better in its country of origin. i don't like using capital letters unless i'm emphasizing my excitement behind the entire word like THIS. this is my food blog - a different, delicious dish and description. all photos on here are my original photos unless stated otherwise. [[ gretchen.cruz@gmail.com ]]

a simple summer salad and the shuswap

ingredients: cucumber, sweet onion, red peppers, spinach, feta cheese, olives, olive oil, lemons, sea-salt, black pepper, and oregano. 

cut all the veggies into cubes (except for the spinach) and throw into a bowl. add feta cheese and olives to it. mix the olive oil, juice from the lemon, salt, pepper and oregano together for the dressing; throw it over the salad and toss. 

enjoy by the shuswap lake. even when it’s hazy out, life is still significantly better by a lake. 

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baked salmon with a lemon-dill-garlic mayo coating


ingredients: fresh sockeye salmon, mayonnaise, dill, lemon, and garlic (or garlic powder if you’re feeling lazy). 

in a bowl, mix the mayonnaise in with some lemon juice, garlic or garlic powder, and fresh or dried dill (i used the latter of both because i was feeling lazy). coat the salmon with the mixture, sprinkle a little more dill on top, and stick it in the oven at around 400 degrees until the salmon is cooked. serve with cooked quinoa (i make mine with chicken broth to give it more flavour) and veggies. 

mushroom-spinach risotto with salmon


ingredients: salmon, arborio rice, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, parmesan cheese, white wine, chicken broth, black pepper, fresh thyme, butter, and a pinch of sea-salt. 

chop up garlic and sautΓ© in a pot with butter. add the arborio rice, stir around for a minute, and then start adding the wine slowly. consistently stir while adding wine and chicken broth to the pot at a slow pace (i did this all on medium to low heat). 

while that’s going on, season the salmon with salt and pepper, and fry it in butter in another pan on the stove. don’t neglect the risotto though while doing this, and keep stirring/adding liquid to the pot. 

set the salmon aside once it’s cooked (i like it when the skin gets super crispy), and add more butter to the same pan to fry up the mushrooms and spinach. once done, add all that into the risotto pot (keep stirring/adding liquid!!), add the cheese, fresh thyme, and freshly ground black pepper. 

i find that knowing when the risotto is done and has the right consistency just takes a lot of trial and error (i’ve made my fair share of gooey risotto in the past). a good tip is to taste it for texture along the way. luckily, mine turned out just the way i wanted it to tonight!

this dish pairs nicely with a chilled white wine that’s light and crisp. 

making dinner with leftover white wine


i had some leftover white wine in my fridge that i didn’t feel like drinking, so my options were to either make risotto that required a moderate amount of effort, or make chicken with a white wine sauce, that required no effort at all. 

guess which weeknight dinner option i decided to go with?

ingredients: garlic, white wine, chicken, olive oil, fresh thyme, sea-salt, and black pepper. 

season the chicken with salt and pepper, and peel the garlic (i used about two and a half bulbs). heat up some olive oil in a pan and brown the chicken (a few minutes each side on high heat). remove the chicken from the pan, and place the garlic in there with more olive oil. once the garlic pieces are a golden-brown colour, add the wine and rhyme in there, and bring to a boil. add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and let the chicken cook. once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan and serve over rice. 

the best steak in vegas (and possibly in the world)

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cut by wolfgang puck knows how to make the perfect steak. they bring the raw meat out to your table, so you can pick exactly which cut of meat you want; they make the steak in a 1,500 degree broiler oven, so its charred perfectly on the outside, and i ask for it medium-rare (but more on the rare side), so it’s juicy and tender on the inside.

all the sides i’ve ever ordered were all awesome as well. even the bread and butter they serve at the beginning is phenomenal – it tastes like they churn their own butter at the back of the restaurant!

food quality: 10/10

presentation: 10/10

taste: 12/10

service: 10/10

overall experience: perfection.

sparkling hills: a day in the life

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8 am – get out of bed (after almost nine hours of sleep) and go to breakfast in my robe. request a table next to the window and enjoy a free buffet breakfast of meats & cheeses, scones, a spinach salad with strawberries & a ton of goat cheese, veggies & hummus, potatoes, slow-roasted glazed ham, sausages, and coffee.

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8:30 am – go back to the room, open the sliding window, and tan in the sun while digesting the meal that could have fed the entire country of china.

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9 am – transfer to the pool (despite the weather network telling me it’s only 12 degrees outside) because it’s too hot in the room. grab the only lounge chair in the sun at this hour, and resume “beached whale” position.

11 am – contemplate running away and living here forever. look up property while laying by the pool. find out that you can buy a two-bedroom/two-bath (plus den), 1,475 sq. ft. property on the golf course for the price of a one-bedroom 500 sq. ft. condo in vancouver.

11:30 am – take a sip of ice-cold water from my swell waterbottlehow is it still so cold?! it’s been sitting in the direct sunlight for the past two hours! amazing. feel pleased with myself for making good life decisions.

12 pm – i wonder what the temperature is, this is perfect. check temperature: 18 degrees. yup, that’s my perfect temperature.

1 pm – go for a dip in the pool, because it’s starting to get a little too hot. get out and resume “beached whale” position, and enjoy temperature reset.

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1:45 pm – fill up water bottle with cucumber water from the tea lounge, and enjoy a cup of tea.

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2 pm – return to pool area, because life is better outside.

3 pm – the sun has fully disappeared. maybe i should go to the gym…

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3:45 pm – gym time. am i voluntarily doing dumbbell thrusters??

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4:30 pm – i need a snack. i should probably also wish my dad a “happy father’s day” because of the time difference.

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5:30 pm – join a semi-private yoga class in the most beautiful studio.

6:45 pm – pour a glass of wine, turn the music on, put this blog post together, and make my way around all the steam and sauna rooms before bed. set my alarm so that i have time for breakfast before my massage tomorrow morning.

i can’t even explain the type of serenity that comes over me every time i stay at this place. it’s as if nothing in my life actually matters and i’m just so content sitting here, staring at these views. i’m not missing anyone, i’m not longing for anything, i’m not replaying the past, i’m not planning for the future or running through to-do lists in my head… i’m literally just sitting here, soaking in the view and just breathing. it’s relaxation at its finest.

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“sometimes, you just need a break. in a beautiful place. alone. to figure everything out.”