CSA Inspired Dinner

The BOY and I made a fabulous fresh dinner tonight, which was perfect after a busy weekend of training and sports.  Did I mention that the BOY picked up a new hobby?

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We took are first golf lesson on Saturday.  We are both newbies to the sport, but the BOY has been wanting to learn for awhile.  We found a very nice and patient pro, which is good because hand-eye coordination is not my strength!  We are all signed up for another lesson next weekend!

For Dinner tonight, I got a jump start on my August goal to use fresh and seasonal produce.  I made a crisp salad using the lettuce, cukes, and tomato from this week’s CSA.  I sliced up the green pepper we got along with some yellow and orange to grill as a side to the Santa Fe and Mediterranean premade Turkey Burgers we picked up from Whole Foods this afternoon.

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As an appetizer, we had grilled feta with my new favorite Kashi pita crisps.  They were sampling them at the Super Target and they are fabulous.  I also saw them at Costco this weekend.  Even the BOY approved as he dug right in to the feta.

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Our grilled peppers turned out good. I loved the taste of my Santa Fe turkey burger, but it was a little dry.  The BOY enjoyed his Mediterranean turkey burger on a toasted sourdough roll which was incredible!  Along with a new beer (for him) and an old favorite for me.  I am still replenishing carbs after this mornings workout.

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But the star of tonight’s dinner was definitely dessert.  We got a lot of peaches and plums in the fruit share this week.  They were all ripe and I was worried whether the two of us would be able to eat them fast enough.  So I decided to turn them into a dessert.  There are tons of grilled stone fruit recipes out there, but I made up my own and kept it simple.  I sliced up the fruit and spread it out over foil coated with cooking spray. I drizzled on some maple syrup, cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins.  Then tented the foil turning it into an enclosed little packet and handed it off to the grill master.

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I’m not sure exactly how he cooked it, but he left it on the grill for about 12 minutes.  When he brought the packet inside, it smelled amazing!  We ate our grilled dessert warm sitting side by side on the couch with everyone’s favorite topping (Reddi Whip).  Can you see the steam coming off the plate?  The fruit was soft and warm and the maple and cinnamon were a fabulous combination.  I was stuffed from dinner, but dessert was so good, I couldn’t stop eating it.  The only feedback from the BOY was that he wanted more raisins next time.  This is definitely a repeat dessert!

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Thank you to the CSA (and Whole Foods) for providing us with a spectacular three course meal. After a busy and productive day, it feels great to sit back on the couch and unwind before the work week.  I am also looking for something to do with the two eggplants I got in this week’s CSA box.

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Any Suggestions???

Training Day-Olympic Tri Here I Come!

It has been a weekend of training and I am exhausted!  On Friday, I got back on the lifting wagon with the TRAINER and yesterday I biked 27 miles.  My rides up in Door County inspired me to explore and create some new routes around my house.  This morning, I was scheduled for a BRICK.  I pumped up my tires and set out my running shoes and hit the road.

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I don’t usually rock the bandana (although there was a summer in high school where I thought they were quite fashionable), but I was hoping it would keep the sweat out of my eyes and contacts during my bike rides and runs.  I am trialing it before my next triathlon in two weeks.  I headed out north along some quiet roads.  I even found some other bike groups riding along Bartlett Road and Penny Lane.  Bikers are such a friendly and welcoming people which always makes for a fun ride.  I rode 90 minutes (a little over 20 miles) and then changed shoes and went for a 45 minute run (close to 5.5 miles).  My goal is to finish the 10K during the tri in ~55 minutes.  I was surprised to see that I was running around 8:30 minute miles today.  It was my longest BRICK training to date and when I finished, I was beat.  I probably could have gone out earlier to avoid some of the heat, but I think it was good to be out running in the hot and humid weather that I will most likely encounter on race day.

I recently read in a bicycle magazine that a slushie is better at cooling the body than iced water.  The magazine suggested it pre-workout, but I thought I’d give it a try after my run. I was hoping to avoid the dehydration that upsets my stomach after long hot runs.

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I combined 1 cup G2 and 1 cup of water with some ice in the blender.  The consistently was a little off so I added some fresh blueberries and raspberries.  It was a very refreshing post-workout drink, but unfortunately it didn’t soothe my stomach.

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During my last few bike rides, my gears and chain have been slipping, so I decided to take my bike into the shop for a check up.  I also picked up some Cliff blocks and a bento box.  Afterwards, the BOY and I went to Whole Foods for lunch and groceries.  We had a quiet afternoon at home while I caught up on bills and laundry.  I made myself a mid-afternoon smoothie using the Tera’s Whey protein mix that I bought at the TREK Tri.

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This powder has 22g of protein and only 5 g of carbohydrates.  It is a good recovery drink after a long workout. I made the bourbon vanilla flavor with unsweetened almond milk and added some frozen blueberries and mango along with some ice for a thicker drink.  If you are interested in trying this ‘somewhat’ local powder, you can find it at Whole Foods.  I am excited to try the chocolate next!

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I am officially all signed up for the Bang’s Lake Olympic Triathlon in two weeks.  After today’s workout, I am exhausted and pretty sore. After completing my 2 hour 15 minute BRICK, I am not sure if I gained confidence or scared myself even more.  It’s going to be a hilly route and most likely a warm and humid day.  Wish me luck!

Where did July Go?

Is it me, or is summer flying by WAY too fast?!  Even though it’s not officially August until tomorrow, I’m doing my goal ‘check-in’ today.  I know once the work week starts there will be no time for self-reflection and even less for blogging.

 

July Goals Round Up:

1.Meditate more-with all of our travel this month, it has been hard to get to a yoga class. I did make time for mindful breathing, but need to continue to add quiet time each week.

2. Finish Sprint Tri-DONE!  See full post HERE and HERE!  Completed the TREK Women’s Tri and LOVED it!

3. Continue to decrease consumption of HFCS, artificial sweeteners, and soda-I am drinking more hot and iced tea and less Crystal Lite every day and avoiding foods with HFCS and other white sugars.  I made it until yesterday without soda when the BOY ordered a root beer float after a round of tennis.  Since I hadn’t had soda in two months, it tasted great!

4. Eat something new each week-This has been hard with all of our traveling. I have had less time to play at the farmer’s market or in my kitchen.  I will definitely try to find new foods and the time to share them on the blog throughout the rest of summer and into fall.

5. Work on the blog-I updated some headings but still need to work on my Eating Well and Recipe sections.  Always a work in progress and never exactly where I want it, but still having fun!

 

Overall, an ok month in terms of goals. I have definitely been eating consciously and following my Tri exercise plan despite the busy and quick moving month of July.  I am looking forward to a more relaxed August with some quality time in the kitchen.  Fun News…it’s my turn for TREAT DAY again next week! 

 

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New goals for August:

I’m going to keep it simple this month.

1. Increase distance runs for marathon prep.

2. Complete my first Olympic distance triathlon.

3. Continue to find time for yoga and meditation.

4. Cook new recipes with seasonal produce.

 

QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

What goals have you set for yourself throughout the year?  What accomplishment are you most proud of this year?

Sunsets and Wine

I think that perhaps this should be the new name of my blog!  Like peanut butter and chocolate, they just fit together so well.  As many of you know, I have a thing for sunsets, so of course I have many, many pictures to share.  We captured two sunsets from our isolated rock ‘beach’ in Door County and they were truly magnificent. I also wanted to share our fun afternoon wine tasting at Stone’s Throw Winery (for the second summer in a row).

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Many of the Door County wines are fruity and sweet.  Stone’s Throw combines their grapes with those from California to make refreshing whites and tasty reds.  For $5 you can do a tasting AND you get to keep your wine glass.  We now have a set of four!  We brought home a few more bottles of their sparking white (a favorite from last year) and some red blends to enjoy throughout the year.

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After a day of wine tasting and fun, there is nothing better than some more wine and a beautiful sunset. I will let the pictures do the talking for themselves!  Enjoy!

Thursday Night Sunset

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Friday Night Sunset

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Biking and Hiking in Door County

Along with eating our way through Door County, we made time for some exercise.  Well technically, I made the time and the BOY came along for the view.  I was hoping to get in some open water swims, but we didn’t spend much time in the water. I did get in some runs, two fantastic bike rides (one being a BRICK), and hikes along the bay and the lake.

On Friday, I started my morning with a PB&B and the local paper featuring the Door County Triathlon.  I grabbed my bike and gear, walked up the gravel driveway, and took a gamble heading south, a direction we hadn’t gone. 

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I found myself on the DC Tri path and about 2 miles down, I saw the triathlon start beach.  I was definitely motivated as I headed from G, south on B against a heavy wind.

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I rode 10 miles south and found myself in Sevastopol along the water with some beautiful views.

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Too funny! I didn’t realize until I was looking through these pictures that I still had my triathlon number on my helmet.  I headed back up north, luckily with a lot less wind, and back into Egg Harbor.

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I treated myself to a refreshing iced caramel latte from an adorable coffee shop in Fish Creek on our way up to Peninsula State Park.  It definitely in the spot!

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Last summer, the BOY and I hiked the Eagle Trail in Peninsula State Park and I was eager to hike it again.  This time, we started by climbing the Eagle Tower, which has a fabulous view of Green Bay.

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After meeting some nice people on the top of the tower, we hit the 2 mile trail through the woods and along the shore.

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Saturday was overcast, but I was super excited to get back out on my bike.  This time, I went east on E heading towards the Lake Michigan coast and Baily’s Harbor.  I rode through the fields, past the Stone’s Throw Winery, and into the cute town of Baily’s Harbor.

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On the way back, I saw the cherry trees being harvested. I was so excited to get a shot on top of the hill leading back down to Egg Harbor, but of course the sky was cloudy.  On a clear day, the view driving down E towards 42 in great.

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The BOY was still asleep when I got home from my 23 mile ride, so I went for a short run to get in a BRICK.  Afterwards, I went down to the water to catch my breath.  We had hoped to kayak, but the water was looking pretty rough, so I convinced him to head back to the east coast of the Peninsula to try another hiking spot. 

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We followed the map and took a scenic route to Jacksonport arriving at Cave Point Park.  This popular area has a spectacular view of Lake Michigan and large rocks to walk along and explore.

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The BOY and I found a path heading southbound towards Whitefish Dunes State Park.  It was an easy hike (compared with the hills we did the day before).  But the views and terrain were beautiful and fun!

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We were so happy to find this trail and it is something we will add to our Door County to do list for next year!  I truly love an active vacation, and I have been telling everyone how much I enjoyed biking the quiet roads of Door County.  I am even recruiting friends and family for next summer’s DC Tri and DC Century bike ride.

Let the Eating Begin…

RECAP:

The BOY and I packed up, hopped into the car and drove up to Door County Wisconsin where we checked into a rustic coach house on the water with a beautiful view of Green Bay…

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And then decided it was time to eat.  A new tapas place recently opened in May 2011 in downtown Egg Harbor and we were eager to try it.  Eating is always a huge part of any trip to Door County and it usually revolves around cheese. I was excited to try something a little lighter and even more impressed when I learned that many of the restaurants (including Parador where we went for Wednesday night’s dinner) support local farmers and businesses.

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Never one to shy away from the local brew, the BOY ordered a Cherry Wheat beer

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And I began my evening with a crisp white sangria…perfect after a long drive on a hot and steamy night.

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Continuing on with Beer Tour 2011, the BOY ordered another local beer made from wheat on Washington Island.  I liked this beer so much, that I picked up a case on the way home.

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I countered with the red sangira.  It’s always good to know which tastes better.  It was a tough call, but I was leaning towards the white, especially on such a hot day.

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Our dinner that followed was nothing shy of amazing, especially the pork meatball.

Throughout our trip we ate at many unique places, and I chose not to take pictures of the food, but instead to enjoy my dining experience.  I did however get some shots from our favorite place from last year, Wild Tomatoes, because the pizza is that good, I had to share it with you!  Some places (like Parador) had great food while others had quirky appeal or beautiful views.  Here is the recap.  WARNING…I wouldn’t read this post on an empty stomach!

 

The Village Café

An adorable and eclectic café in Egg Harbor where we enjoyed a delicious breakfast (a veggie and feta omelet for me and a chili omelet fro the BOY).  BTW, I recommend the coffee cake…they make a fresh flavor daily.

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Mojo Rosa’s

A local Egg Harbor Mexican restaurant that has an expanded menu and the best mojito that I’ve had since Grand Cayman.  They also make a mean guacamole.

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Pink Bakery

Right next door to Mojo Rosa’s and since they are owned by the same person, you can bring your cupcake into Mojo Rosa’s to enjoy with you mojito.

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Casey’s BBQ & Smokehouse

The BOY’s pick…surprise surprise!

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Wild Tomato

Our favorite place from last year…we have been eagerly awaiting all year to return. This amazing pizza place is right outside of Peninsula State Park and perfect after a hike (we did the Eagle trail).  The salads are fresh and made from local ingredients and the wood oven pizzas are some of the best I’ve ever had.  We ordered the mushroom pizza called ‘The Fun Guy’.  The BOY bought a T-shirt so they gave us a gluten-free peanut butter cookie.

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Harbor Fish Market and Grill

A nice restaurant in Baily’s Harbor where we went for lunch after our second hike in Jacksonport.  The lunch menu had some unique sandwiches and quiches. I had a shrimp and spinach quiche that was delicious!

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The Carrington

A decent bar menu with a spectacular view overlooking Green Bay.

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Good Eggs

I saved one of the best for last!!!  A one of a kind breakfast place where you are greeted with a smile and an offer of coffee or a fresh fruit smoothie.  This ‘one trick pony’ makes egg wraps.  You have three options and each wrap is made to order.  Let me tell you…they are phenomenal!  I suggest going early or on a week day because this place is popular (and for good reason)!  We stopped by Sunday on our way out of town.  I got a standard wrap with Wisconsin cheddar, spinach, black bean salsa, and of course taters.

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Off the Grid (in DC Wisconsin)

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If you know the BOY (which many of you do) then you know he is quite the procrastinator.  As of a few weeks ago, we still didn’t have anything set for our trip to Door County, Wisconsin.  I had given up that we would make it, but I got a text one day saying that he booked us a cottage in Egg Harbor.  I was surprised that there were any vacancies in Egg Harbor last minute during peak season, but the BOY found us a coach house on the water owned by a local resort.  The ‘resort’ was straight out of the 60’s with a Dirty Dancing feel to it.  I also found out that they host BINGO and dances each week.

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We got the keys to our house and headed a mile down the road following the proprietor’s instructions to keep going until the end of the golf course and look for a driveway on our right.

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At the bottom of the driveway, we found a large white house and with a little coach house nestled into the woods right on the water.  The house is called Happy Hallow and its current residents were some friendly Midwesterners who come up to Egg Harbor and stay in this house for the same week every summer. 

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We would be staying at Happy Hallow Guest right next door for four nights.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when we entered the house.

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We found a tiny outdated living room with a stone fireplace, the tiniest TV ever, a small kitchen, and a bedroom.  The window air conditioner kept the place nice and chilly which was great in this heat wave.  The cottage had rustic appeal and despite the tiny towels and the bad water (the kind that makes you want to brush your teeth with bottled), we made it work.  There was no wireless internet and my cell phone didn’t have reception, so we were fully OFF THE GRID!

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The weather in Door County was perfect all weekend.  We didn’t see a drop of rain and we even escaped some of the heat wave taking over Chicago.  Our view of Green Bay was great with this cute rock beach.

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And the sunsets were magnificent!  The most beautiful I have ever seen!

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We spent 4 days in Door County, Wisconsin exploring, eating, drinking, shopping, hiking, biking, and enjoying beautiful sunsets. It was very relaxing and wonderful to spend this time together before the fall chaos begins.  As always, I took tons of pictures to share over the next few posts.