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Snacks, Snakes, and Summer

Reno, NV, one of the most interesting cities in our country. If you’re not familiar with Reno, NV, I will tell you right now that it is one of the best places to visit. Surrounded by mountains, Reno sits right on the border of Northern Nevada and California. When you look towards the NV side of Reno, you see a mysterious, desert mountain landscape. When you look towards the CA side of Reno, you see ending majestic, mountain peaks filled with green trees and white snow. The air is crisp, clean, and absolutely refreshing. The sky is usually always blue, with little to no clouds. Reno is surrounded by clean water sources that can be used for swimming, boating, tubing, water-skiing, and wake boarding. In the winter we have snowboarding, skiing, snow-shoeing, snowmobiling, mountaineering, and everything in between. The physical activity is endless and we literally have the best of both worlds. Spending 9 years in Reno truly makes me feel spoiled.

Living in the city limits of Reno is just as fun. The Truckee River runs directly thru downtown Reno, and it is used often for tubing and kayaking. As gorgeous as the river is, don’t let her fool you! She’s filled with rocks and steady rapids, so be prepared to work if you dare partake in her beauty. Great times were spent on the river, however I’ve always left it with a few bruises and minor injuries.

When Zared was born, my time on the river was limited because he was too young to brave the rapids, however we spent many days hanging out in the shallow pools of the river, getting sun, and playing with friends.

My single mom friends, Nikki and Sarah would often take our kids to the river in the afternoons because all of us worked nights as bartenders, and we all had the same schedule. Nikki lived super close to the river. We’d all meet at her house, load up the strollers with our kids, supplies, and adult beverages, and take the 5-minute walk down to our favorite secluded river spot.

We’d lay on the blankets, lather the sunscreen, set out our veggies, cheese, and fruits, sip on our drinks, and watch the kids play. A bunch of hot single moms enjoying their summer afternoon! It was truly paradise right in our backyards.

“Zared! Stay where I can see you, ok bud?” I yelled!

“Mom, look at me splash!!”

“I know babe! Great job!”

“Luna come over her so I can put more sunscreen on you! You’re turning red!” Nikki said.

“Ok, mom.” Luna yelled back as she got out of the river and started walking towards us. Zared came to follow her back. They were roughly over a hundred feet away, not too far.

Luna and Alli (Nikki and Sarah’s girls) came running back and Zared was taking his leisurely time. As Zared was slowly walking towards us (still about 80 feet away) he noticed something coming towards him.

“AHHHHHHH!!! SNAAAAAKE!” Zared screams and points, stopping dead in his tracks! Sure enough, behind a couple bushes out comes a snake, slithering through the grass. I don’t know what kind of snake it was, but it was black, brown, and long AF. It seriously went on forever. It kept going and going and going…

“AHHHHH!” We all screamed!! The girls went and hid behind their moms. Everyone was terrified!

“I’m scared!” Zared screams. I ran over to Zared, picked him up, and ran us back to the blanket.

We finally came across the snake’s tail. He was headed straight for the river. For about the next 10 minutes we talked about how crazy this encounter was. The kids wanted to go home because they were wildly freaked out. NO ONE wanted to go in that river, knowing what was in there.

We packed up our strollers and headed back to the house.

We were half buzzed and still pumped from the adrenaline when Nikki asks,

“Hey Heath, can you make us lunch? I have shrimp at the house.” Nikki said.

“Please, Heather! I’m starving!” Chimed in Alli and the kids.

“Of course!” I said. “We can make lettuce wraps!”

Here is my quick and easy, go to lettuce wrap recipe that’s clean, delicious, and makes snack-time super exciting!

Roasted Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with

Cashew-Cucumber Salad


  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • ½ cup cashews, rough chopped

  • 1 red onion, julienne – sliced thin

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (chopped small)

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled into thin strips with vegetable peeler

  • 1 bundle butter lettuce, leaves separated

  • Small piece of ginger, peeled. You will need a grater to grate ginger into cucumber salad (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (sugar free)

  • 1 lime, zest and juice

  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, divided

  • 2 teaspoons Himalayan salt, divided

  • 1 teaspoons black pepper, divided

  • Cooking spray

Prep Time: 10 minutes cook time:10 min Yields: 2-3 Servings


1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.

2. Prepare shrimp and vegetables as listed above.

3. In a medium size bowl, combine peeled and deveined shrimp, 1 tablespoon each of rice wine vinegar, liquid aminos, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and garlic. Toss together.

4. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay the shrimp out on the baking sheet and place it in the oven. Cook the shrimp for 8 minutes. Allow shrimp to cool on cooling rack when finished.

5. While the shrimp is cooking, combine cucumber strips, cilantro, onion, cashews, 1 tablespoon each of rice vinegar and liquid aminos, and 2 pinches each of salt, lime zest, lime juice, and 1/8th of a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger. Toss together.

6. Assemble 2 pieces of shrimp per 1 lettuce leaf with a tablespoon of cucumber salad on top

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