Truly Good Food

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It’s our very last night in Scottsdale.  I am sad to say goodbye.  I really love this city!


And I am REALLY sad to say goodbye to the weather.  Tomorrow, it’s suppose to be a HIGH of 38 during the day in Charlotte – that’s what the low at night is here in Scottsdale!  :(  I’m just not cut out for that kind of weather.


And not only does Scottsdale have great weather, but the dining is so amazing.  I only got to eat at some of the restaurants I wanted to try.


Tonight’s dinner at True Food was the best meal we had in Scottsdale!


I was immediately intrigued by the Edamame Dumplings appetizer.  This is definitely something that I’m going to try to recreate at home.



I debated between several of the vegetarian entrees (which were clearly labeled – this seems to be a trend here!) and decided on the Tofu Teriyaki bowl.  I was won over by the description of yummy greens.  Plus, I’m probably in need of some vegetarian protein.


So, the Husband and I were discussing how important we think vacationing is for us as a couple.  When you work together, your whole life can quickly become a giant stress ball.  Days often go by in which all the Husband and I discuss is work…  I think couples who work together (or really any couple at all) can just start to associate their partner with stress if they aren’t careful.  We obviously love each other very much and try to be romantic, but it’s just TOO easy to get catch up in the day-to-day stresses.  Getting away for a vacation is really exactly what we needed to refocus our priorities and relax.  It feels so good!  :)  We need to make the time (and save the money) to vacation more often.


Sometimes, people ask in the comments section if I would ever do a ‘relationship advice’ post since we’re young-er and happily married (for two years and seventeen days and counting… but pretty much together since we were 19!), and I always laugh.  I guess neither the Husband or myself feel like a relationship expert.  I’m just not qualified to write that blog post!  But I would say my biggest piece of advice for a happy relationship is to constantly assess the dynamic between yourself and your partner and figure out ways to make it better.  Literally do a State of the Union every few months!  And go on vacations, too.  🙂


Going to catch some ZZZs.  I want to fit in one more fun activity before I leave Arizona! 



  • Gabby (Quest for Delicious) January 20, 2011, 12:33 am

    That tofu looks fantastic! Love the bright green. (:

  • Amanda (Eating Up) January 20, 2011, 12:42 am

    Mmm edamame dumplings do sound delicious!

  • andrea January 20, 2011, 12:47 am

    my husband and i own a design build remodeling firm and work together, in the same office, every day. i can tell you that we strive on vacations:) we try to take one every quarter, at least getting away for a weekend and then if we can once a year we aim for 2 weeks. it’s not only a great time together but it also helps us cast vision for the future, together.

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day January 20, 2011, 12:49 am

    Great relationship advice. Vacations don’t have to be big trips either. We try to take weekend trips during off peak weekends just to get away. We try new restaurants, hike, and spend some time away from our computers/jobs.

  • Leila @ spinach and skittles January 20, 2011, 12:51 am

    Vacations are totally required! Even if it is just a weekend visit to a touristy town 30 miles down the road, it is nice to get away and relax. Glad you guys had a great trip!

  • Raya January 20, 2011, 12:54 am

    So glad you like it here! I’m still exploring myself, but so far I love the atmospheres of the different areas I’ve seen and, of course, the weather is pretty epic.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:07 pm

      I’m so sad we didn’t get to meet up!

  • courtney @ the granola chronicles January 20, 2011, 1:02 am

    Edamame dumplings: look delish! My husband and I are both 23 (got married at 22) and we both value communication on our relationship. He is in grad school, so we can’t take a lot of vacations but we do go on a lot of day trips and even that is so important!

  • Marina January 20, 2011, 1:03 am

    I think vacations are really important for couples, specially those who work together or have a fast busy lifestyle. can’t wait to go on one 🙂

  • Allison @ Happy Tales January 20, 2011, 1:23 am

    In my opinion, you are right on the money with your relationship advice. Talking about things (communication) is definitely key. And so are vacations! And if you can’t get away for a vacation, make sure to schedule in some fun dates!

  • Sana January 20, 2011, 1:25 am

    I think once you travel with a sig. other everything changes! You don’t freakout over the small stuff and just get to relax 🙂

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 20, 2011, 1:34 am

    I love when restaurants clearly label vegetarian items. Some things can be misleading!

  • Kiran January 20, 2011, 2:06 am

    Amazing foods! And the edamame dumplings are intriguingly delish 🙂 I concur with you on the bit about reassessing relationship. It just eases out tensions, if any 🙂

  • Kate January 20, 2011, 2:27 am

    Great advice- my sisters and I take time every week to reflect on all areas in our lives, which always prompts internal reflection on our respective relationships, followed by actual inter-marital communication 😉

    I can’t wait until you try those dumplings. Hurry up and get home 😉

  • Gill (snaxandthecity) January 20, 2011, 4:00 am

    Looks like a beautiful dinner! Glad you had a good vacation. I guess we could all use one more often!

  • Nadine January 20, 2011, 4:53 am

    great advice – remember to keep it going after you have the kids, is the best (unsolicited) advice I can offer after 20 years with the boy I fell in love with at 19! We take a break together every year around our wedding anniversary — to recharge and rejuvenate! I had no idea that Scottsdale got down into the 30s, ever!

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:09 pm

      Great advice and oh-so-true, I imagine!

  • Julia @ Brides Up North January 20, 2011, 5:56 am

    Fab advice C! Hubs and me are off on a skiing holiday in a weeks time and I can’t wait to have a break from work, from the blog (although I will do my posts in advance), and just be US. xx

  • Julia @ Brides Up North January 20, 2011, 6:00 am

    ps. your new side picture makes me think you would look great with a long bob! Sorry – I’m all about hair these days 😛

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:12 pm

      I’m so scared of short hair!

  • Marie-Journey to Body Zen January 20, 2011, 6:04 am

    Enjoy your last fun activity! The dining in Scottsdale looks awesome!

  • VeggieGirl January 20, 2011, 6:21 am

    Can’t wait to read about your final activity there!

  • Cathy K January 20, 2011, 6:22 am

    yes! do try to get away together for vacation time when you can…we did that while we ran our own business. we’d end up working a bit while on vacation (emails, etc), but the change of scenery and routine does wonders. we often had a-ha moments re the business, too! glad you loved scottsdale.
    safe travels home!

  • Kelly January 20, 2011, 6:29 am

    I agree about vacations- my husband and I love them so much, whenever I buy something I’m always thinking… OR I could go on a trip haha

    Also I agree about Scottsdale food. Last year I went to Arizona and I had ALL consistently GOOD meals! I found it was very health conscious and they were also accommodating 🙂

  • Lauren January 20, 2011, 6:37 am

    Those dumplings look fantastic. I remember having these at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in AC a few months ago. So So good! Glad you enjoyed your last night together. Safe travels home!

  • Haleigh January 20, 2011, 6:40 am

    Edamame dumplings sounds fantastic! It looks like you’ve had an amazing time in AZ 🙂

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} January 20, 2011, 6:52 am

    I feel the same way about vacations. In fact, I need one right about now. 🙂

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 20, 2011, 7:22 am

    Have a safe trip back! I’m always jealous of cities that have such forward thinking food and drink!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 20, 2011, 7:23 am

    My husband and I have been together since we were 19 and I just turned 36 last week. We work together everyday and have two little boys. There is no magic answer to the equation other than complete honesty and willingness to see the other side. There are always ups and downs, but as long as you know that things can be stressful and know when to back off and then get close, it works. I never understand how people question how we can be so happy being together every day all day. I married him because I want to spend the rest of my life with him. You are so right on the vacation thing too. While we haven’t been on a true vacation since we were 21, we do merge vacation/work travel together. Now we are excited to be planning things with the our boys since they are old enough to appreciate going places.

    Sorry you have to leave…AZ looks like a nice place to be. Have a safe trip home!

  • Ashley January 20, 2011, 7:25 am

    Have a safe trip back! And don’t worry summer will be here soon!

  • Kara January 20, 2011, 7:49 am

    I can’t imagine working with my husband…the stress of raising a baby is enough shared stress for us! 🙂

  • Kelly January 20, 2011, 8:05 am

    My husband and I also work together. We just opened a meal delivery business for families who want to eat healthy. It has been fun but yes 99% of our conversations do revolve around work. We recently took a 10 day trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon and it was so awesome to get away and reconnect. We actually take mini-vacations in our own city every 4-5 months. We check into a hotel in Austin and order room service and just hang out. It is so much fun and helps take us out of the “work” element.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 20, 2011, 8:05 am

    The edamame dumplings sound amazing! I can’t get enough edamame right now (my post today is my re-creation of the Edamame Caviar at Whole Foods! It sounds like you had an amazing holiday with such gorgeous weather. I agree that everyone needs that kind of break once in a while. You and the Husband totally deserved it! 🙂

  • Baking 'n' Books January 20, 2011, 8:15 am

    I want to see the “one more fun activity”…you weren’t talking about sleep were you!? 🙂

  • jen @ taste life January 20, 2011, 8:17 am

    More description of those edamame dumplings, please! Was it just ground up edamame? With spices? It looks awesome.

    Yes, relationships are work and you do need to constantly assess and reassess what’s going on with them…it can be a pain in the butt when you think you’ll just meet that certain special someone and be happy forever, but it just doesn’t work like that! Go you guys for being on top of things.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:13 pm

      It was just edamame puree but I’m not sure if there were really any spices on top. It was covered in a mushroom broth. I’ll try to recreate!

  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good January 20, 2011, 8:24 am

    Caitlin, you always find the best restaurants! I am going to have to see what we have around here that I haven’t tried. We don’t go out a lot, so there have to be a lot of restaurants we haven’t tried, hopefully some good ones.

    I don’t work with my husband, but I think any couple can get bogged down in the day to day responsibilities, and forget to connect as a couple. It’s great to have a getaway like that, or even make time to talk and relax together at home after work or after the kids go to bed.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:15 pm

      Yelp is awesome and I highly recommend it for restaurant searching. There’s a great Yelp app that lets you see whats around you too.

  • Jennie @ Designed To Be Fit January 20, 2011, 8:31 am

    I lived in Phoenix for 23 years and never tried any of these places! Those dumplings look to die for, I’ll be keeping my eye out for the recipe. 🙂

  • Amy @ForDGRedial January 20, 2011, 8:53 am

    I totally agree with you re: relationships. My OH and I are so happy and in love after being together for almost 5 years. We aren’t perfect and our relationship isn’t perfect but we consciously choose to be in a relationship with one anyone everyday. When you conscious choose that, you put a little bit of effort in and the payout is fourfold!

  • Andrea January 20, 2011, 8:55 am

    Glad you liked True Food and enjoyed your time here in AZ!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) January 20, 2011, 8:56 am

    Those dishes look delicious!

    Glad you are having a great time. Safe travels back to Charlotte!

  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers January 20, 2011, 8:56 am

    The husband and I ALWAYS get along better on vacation. When you’re around each other all the time dealing with life & stressful things, it’s nice to remember why you love each other in the first place!

  • Maria (RealFitMama) January 20, 2011, 8:58 am

    So glad that you said you’re not an expert on being married or giving relationship advice because my husband and I have been married 10 years 5 months and 1 day and I’m STILL not an expert. I tend to think the people who claim to be an expert really have no idea what they’re talking about and those of us (you, me and others like us) just know what works for us.

    P.S. It’s currently 19 degrees here and we have about 7 inches of snow AND it’s still coming down. BOO! I think a move to Scottsdale might be in order for the Sparks Family! I’m over winter – FOR GOOD!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 20, 2011, 9:05 am

    I think vacationing is so important for a couple – the husband and I are trying to save money right now for a vacation sometime this year. Not that the first year of marriage has been too stressful, but because we have just been so busy and it’s so difficult to find a balance for our romantic life!

  • Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa January 20, 2011, 9:13 am

    First off, I love when restaurants clearly label their food. Even though I am not vegetarian, it is nice to know what options are out there.

    My husband is actually a volunteer chair for one of the committees that I am a staff partner for. Once he decided to take on this role (which I tried to talk him out of!) we tried to lay down some basic ground rules (ie – no talking about his role after a certain hour or on weekends). I already work from home so feel like I rarely really get away, so having some basic rules has been good.

    And vacations are so vital for both relationships and peace of mind! We just returned from a 2 week vacation and are already planning our next one.

  • Kathie @ Frugal, Fit and Fabulous January 20, 2011, 9:13 am

    0o0o those edamame dumplings do sound quite delicious!

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe January 20, 2011, 9:13 am

    That is good advice. Communicating to each other, even if you have to set aside time to do it, is really important. I am totally focused on travel for the next year or so. Neither myself nor my husband have particularly stressful work but we go nuts without a break from “life as usual.”

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman January 20, 2011, 9:16 am

    I think taking vacations is super important not only for a couple but for a family, too. Some of my fondest memories of growing up are of our vacations. I’m not sure what kind of vacationers you are, but my husband and I have a Marriott Visa card that we get points on if we use it. The points translate to hotel stays. I like staying in cool, new hotels when I travel but by doing this we get to travel and stay for free. It opens up where we’re able to go so we can spend more money on airfare or activities. The only downside is that Marriott isn’t in every country. But it’s in a ton, especially European ones.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:16 pm

      Oh thanks for this tip! My BFF does this too and loves Marriott.

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef January 20, 2011, 9:16 am

    you’re right on with the relationship stuff, caitlin. communication is key- even if you don’t work together. my husband and i have been together for 3 yrs (married for 1.5 yrs) and we really value alone time without our laptops or tv. we try to go on a special date every month (this month it was to a museum exhibit about titanic) and we try to get away on non-family, non-friend trips every so often too. it’s great! but day to day communication about the non work stuff is important too i think….

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans January 20, 2011, 9:26 am

    I think vacations are so important. Its nice to get away and spend time with one another without the stresses of daily life weighing you down. And every happy couple I know says that they have a lot of fun together and a vacation would allow for a lot of that!!

  • Kelly January 20, 2011, 9:31 am

    I totally agree about vacationing as a couple. My husband and I have always been big on vacationing (of course it gets harder when you have a house, and dog, and other places your money goes) but for me I had to really adjust to keep vacations non-stressful as well. He has always been about vacations really being free-flowing but I’ve always been a real planner. It feels good to let things go sometimes and just relax! That is what vacation is for after all 🙂

  • Stephanie January 20, 2011, 9:31 am

    Being an expert isn’t necessary….what works for you is sometimes enough! Love the advice!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat January 20, 2011, 9:44 am

    My husband and I are planning our first vacation in years for this summer and we’ve already decided that this at the very least needs to be an annual thing. Plus some weekend trips! It’s been way too long.

  • Erica January 20, 2011, 9:54 am

    Glad you got to make it True Food Kitchen. Next time you must have their caramelized onion/fig tart. Soooooo good!

  • Val @ Balancing Val January 20, 2011, 10:00 am

    Me and my boyfriend always make it a HUGE priority to go on a 1 week vacation every year no matter what!

    They are expensive, and friends get mad at us for not going out all the time in an effort to save money for a trip but it is so completley worth it.

    I think you really need something to look forward to througout the year.

    I also believe that the excitement and the anticipation is sometimes more exciting than the trip itself and really gets me through those slummy work and school days.

    Plus, off season vacationing is CHEAP!

  • Ashley January 20, 2011, 10:13 am

    I LOVE vacations! I’m from a big family so when I was a kid we didn’t vacation often. Went to a few family reunions over the years and that was kinda the closest we came to vacations. So my husband (at the time boyfriend) and I didn’t ever really travel together either. We’d been together 5 years before we took our first real trip (aside from weekend getaways) and the TRAVEL BUG has BITTEN! Now we try to go at least every other year somewhere “big” (although what’s considered “big” can change depending on our financial situation). I wish we could do an annual vacation but right now we travel so much for our jobs & to see family that we can’t afford (in terms of time & money) to take trips any more frequently.

  • Brittany January 20, 2011, 10:15 am

    i love being active on vacation you go girl! also that tofu looks soo yummy

  • Jessica M January 20, 2011, 10:22 am

    I love going on vacations with my hubby. I love planning out our hotels and scoping out the restaurants and attractions online. I do such a good job, he generally lets me plan everything. : ) We are going to Alberta in a couple months and I cannot wait!

    I can see how working together could create a greater need to vaca time.

    • Jessica M January 20, 2011, 10:22 am

      *for* vaca time.

  • Amber K January 20, 2011, 10:30 am

    I love going on vacation with my husband, I think it’s a great way to reconnect.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 20, 2011, 10:34 am

    That tofu looks delicious!!

  • Camille January 20, 2011, 10:38 am

    Haha, I just did my first relationship post the other day and it was actually pretty fun to write!

  • Leanne (For Health's Sake) January 20, 2011, 10:52 am

    I agree with the assessment! I periodically ask my fiance how our relationship is going, when we’re both in a good mood & can talk about things… you have to be open to hearing criticism (if your partner has something he/she is upset about) but it truly helps!

  • Diana January 20, 2011, 10:57 am

    Hooray! So glad you made it to True Foods! That was my fave restaurant in the Phoenix AZ area, too. I also got those edamame dumplings and luuuurved them! 🙂

  • monicanelsonfitness January 20, 2011, 11:06 am

    your meals look amazing! Edamame dumplings! what! yum

    Yes, vacationing is so important and as a couple too. 🙂

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair January 20, 2011, 11:10 am

    I think that’s great advice! I’ve been with my boyfriend almost six years and one thing I’ve also noticed is that your relationship can majorly be affected by outside factors (kind of what you said about work) like a big move or work or family stress. So I think it’s important for people to remember to assess outside factors if your relationship is feeling strained!

    And vacations, yes! I wholeheartedly agree! We try to get away (if only for a long weekend) at least 3-4 times a year. It helps A LOT. Another thing we sometimes do if we don’t have the money to go OUT of town is get a hotel for the night in our city. That’s what we’re doing for our anniversary next month! Staying in a hotel can be SO relaxing in itself. Clean sheets/king size bed/room service! Love!

    Enjoy your last day there!

  • Jeny January 20, 2011, 11:23 am

    Vacations are wonderful. Great advice! It’s the sole reason my husband and I are a part of a travel club/biz. We have access to many wonderful vacations at a cheaper rate, so it almosts forces us to take a trip! It’s also our home business and makes us money! I love it! travel does wonders for de-stressing!
    That food looks amazing! 🙂 I wouldn’t want to go home either!

  • Brie @ Brie Fit January 20, 2011, 11:30 am

    I love your advice!
    I think total honesty is the key to a successful relationship. If my husband’s behaving like a D-bag, well, I tell him, and usually he’s like, “yeah, you’re right.” And he does the same thing if I’m being an emotional hosebeast or similar. We don’t believe in playing games or subtlety…just put it all out there, talk it out, and be done!

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:18 pm

      I love that you just said d-bag in my comment section.

      • Emmalinda January 22, 2011, 11:44 am

        and hosebeast. 🙂

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) January 20, 2011, 11:32 am

    The love and I don’t live or work together, but I work and go to school full-time, and he works+teaches part-time. And both of us are almost always training for marathons. So there have definitely been moments when I’m burnt out and want to go on vacation.

    As a couple, we try to stretch the 8-10 PM time slot that we get a couple nights of the week as far as it will go. I’ll cook a nice dinner, and when possible, we unplug completely from phone/computers. Sometimes, we’ll have picnics on the living room floor in front of the fireplace. That stuff mostly tides me over, since I don’t get paid vacations…

  • Alex January 20, 2011, 12:05 pm

    I had the best edamame dumplings at a restaurant outside of Philly called Nectar. They topped the dumplings with a slightly creamy sauce and chantarelle mushrooms. I’m aching to try and recreate this at home!!

  • Lu January 20, 2011, 12:13 pm

    I’m going to go find some tofu for lunch. That looks so amazing. You’re right about couples and stress. I try not to talk to hubby about my job because I don’t want him to hear the frustrations associated with it. I’d much rather nag him about the trash being taken out. Just kidding. Glad you and your hubby got to get away. That’s very important.

  • Kacy January 20, 2011, 12:18 pm

    A warm vacation sounds great right about now. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Shari January 20, 2011, 12:21 pm

    That first picture is so beautiful — looks like a postcard!

  • Shari January 20, 2011, 12:22 pm

    That first picture is so beautiful – looks like a postcard!

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? January 20, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I want those edamame dumplings!!

  • Danielle January 20, 2011, 12:43 pm

    I’m so glad you 2 had such a wonderful time in Scottsdale! It’s a great place. I’ve gotten quite the taste for it too since my brother is now a student at ASU. Enjoy your last day!

  • Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine January 20, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Nothing like a good vacation to spark up things!
    Your meals look delicious and I would love to see you recreate them!

  • Natalia - a side of simple January 20, 2011, 12:56 pm

    I need that tofu teriyaki bowl in my life
    I agree with you on the vacation front. I know personally that my parents would benefit so much from just getting away from it all (work, 5 children, other family, everyday stress) for a few days. A vacation is the first thing I’m going to purchase for them when I can afford it! (And hopefully that is sooner than later…)

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 20, 2011, 1:08 pm

    So glad to hear Scottsdale treated you well! 🙂 The low today in Central IL is -8 degrees. Ouchie.

  • Charise January 20, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Taking mini-vacations is SO important to me. Traveling is what I need to be happy, so we always budget in for a bigger trip and several smaller road trips a year. My husband has a stressful job and he often brings that stress home with him. Getting away from this area even for a 3-day weekend does wonders for his attitude and gives us great quality time together along with new experiences.

  • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 1:33 pm

    My boyfriend and I are low on money, so we bought Six Flags Season Passes. It was the BEST investment.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:20 pm

      Yay! Staycation!

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous January 20, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Yummm both the edamame dumplings and tofu teriyaki look DELISH!

  • Kelley January 20, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Cute Post. I agree that vacations are essential for a happy marriage. We always get along well when we travel and it’s nice to be on the same page without any real life distractions. We learn a lot about each other when we go away. =)

  • Bethany January 20, 2011, 2:09 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I know this is random, but I just read this article and wanted to share with you. THANK YOU first of all for all that you do and your work for helping stop things like this:,,20459200,00.html

    I always get so sad when I read stories like these, but then I think of people like you who are working hard to stop negative self talk.

    • Caitlin January 20, 2011, 3:21 pm

      So sad 🙁 Thanks for passing this along though, it’s important to be aware!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 20, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I think it’s super important to travel together as a couple. Glad you had a great trip! 🙂

  • Lacey @ Lake Life January 20, 2011, 4:10 pm

    Those edamame dumplings sound great! I really hope you do try to recreate them 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin January 20, 2011, 7:00 pm

    Vacations are key! We need to get away from our everyday lives and take a breather sometimes! I’m glad this one has been such a good one for you guys!

  • Miranda January 21, 2011, 9:35 am

    What a great post, and so very true. My husband and I are in dire need of a vacation just the two of us, but with kids, it’s really hard to get away.

    BTW, I tagged you over on my blog!

  • Kath January 21, 2011, 10:45 am

    This is a great point about working together – I’m finding too that it’s really hard to NOT talk about work when we’re out to dinner and stuff. Need to draw boundaries!

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