Foodie Finds {Las Vegas}

I know that you guys are all asking yourselves…how did I get the BOY out hiking in Las Vegas???

 

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Nope…it’s not his undying love and devotion to me…

 

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We promised him In and Out Burger : )

 

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I certainly joke about the BOY’s love of food on the blog, but I have to say that having a ‘Foodie’ boyfriend has it’s benefits!  We eat very well when we are on vacation and Las Vegas was no exception.

 

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And I’m not just talking about this ginormous turkey sandwich from the deli?!

 

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Here are a few of our favorite Las Vegas meals…

 

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Sushi Samba (Venetian)

 

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Julian Serrano’s (Aria)

 

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Carnegie Deli (Mirage)

I recommend going for breakfast and dessert (not at the same time…or maybe at the same time?!)

 

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American Fish (Aria)

 

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*Best brussel sprouts I’ve ever tasted!

 

 

Secret Pizza (Cosmopolitan)

Hint: It’s on the third floor and tough to find!

 

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5 Fifty (Aria)

 

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*I recommend the truffle pizza!

 

Serendipity (Outside Caesars)

 

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And for Dancing and Booze…

 

1Oak (Mirage)

 

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Chandelier Bar (Cosmopolitan)

 

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Happy Eating (and drinking) in Las Vegas!

 

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Do you like to try new restaurants when you travel?

What are your foodie finds?

DC Part 2: …And Sucked as a Marathoner

If you missed Door County Part 1, you can catch up HERE!

 

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So obviously marathoners are supposed to run, which I did very little of, but I must also admit that although beer and cheese aren’t normally a big part of my diet, they were this weekend!  It started early on our way up to Door County with a stop at Kopp’s in Milwaukee.

 

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I’m not usually a big fan of frozen custard, but everyone raves around Kopp’s, so I had to try it.  And it was every bit more amazing than I could have imagined!  I finished half of the turtle custard before the BOY was done with his burger.

 

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With full and happy tummies, we got back on the road for Door County.  We checked into our hotel and then drove up north to Sister Bay for Friday Night Fish Fry.  This is a common theme in Wisconsin and one worth participating in!  In the past, the BOY and I have not been up in DC on Fridays, so this was exciting.

 

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I remembered from years past that the Sister Bay Bowl has the best fish fry in the county.  By 5:30, there was already a 45 minute wait, so we walked across the street to Husby’s for a Happy Hour beer.

 

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For dinner, we both agreed on the fried perch, which came with fries and a slaw.

 

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The breading was light and the perch every bit as wonderful as I remember!  We even considered ordering another plate to share but instead made our way back to Fish Creek.  On the way, we caught a beautiful sunset, which I tried to photo from the moving car.

 

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The night was young, so our next stop was the tavern for some New Glarus on tap.  What a treat!

 

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I’m talking specifically about the beer, but the entire day was full of them!  Day 2 started with a bike ride and then it was off to the winery for a tasting.

 

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It’s 5:00 somewhere!!!

 

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After our tasting, we decided to sit out back listening to live music with some wine.

 

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And an antipasto plate!  Everything on the plate was local, fresh, and incredible!  The BOY and I devoured the entire thing!

 

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Then went back home for a nap.  When we woke up, it had rained and there was a full rainbow that we could see from our porch.  It was soo cool!

 

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The next day involved a run and some hiking, which was followed by a an amazing meal at our favorite restaurant, Wild Tomato!

 

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You might remember it from last year’s post Will Hike For Pizza!

 

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I should also tell you that Wild Tomato has a fantastic beer list,  including a new local brew from Door County Brewing Company called Little Sister that is my new favorite beer!  I brought home a trunk full : )

 

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I should probably also confess that we returned to Wild Tomato for a second meal of pizza and beer on our last day. 

 

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Embarrassing, but true!

 

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So as you can see…my weekend was a little more beer, biking, and cheese than marathon prep (oh and did I mention the dark chocolate covered cherries?!), but totally worth it! 

 

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Between the food, relaxation, outdoor activities, and sunsets, the BOY and I always have the BEST vacation up in Door County!

Which is why I’ve decided to title Door County Part 3: Why I Heart Door County…although it probably should be called,”How I returned to reality, stopped drinking beer, woke up early, and became a marathoner again!”    LOL : )

This is the day that Doesn’t End…

Our alarm went off at 6:30am, and the BOY and I snoozed twice before actually walking up!

We were able to get ourselves pulled together and out of the door on the way to the Heartland 5k for K9’s.

 

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A friend of mine was doing her first 5k, and I was tagging along or moral support.  This run/walk was a tiny, well supported event to race money for a local animal shelter.

 

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I was super proud of my friend who ran the entire 3.1 miles and even had enough push to sprint to the finish!

After the race, the BOY and I swung by Starbucks for a warm beverage and a change of clothes for me before our biyearly trip to the dentist, where I hoped they wouldn’t find chia seeds stuck in my teeth after this morning’s race.  The office was busy and seemed to be running late, so we were there for way longer than expected.  After the dentist, the BOY and I planned to swing into Naf Naf for lunch.

 

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I’m telling you if you’ve never been to Naf Naf and live in (or are visiting) Chicago, you should definitely check it out.  They make their pita fresh, and it is by far the fluffiest, and most tasty pita around!

 

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I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that I devoured my sandwich and some hummus in a short time : )  The BOY and I came back home after lunch, where I spent about 15 minutes replacing the battery in bike commuter.  When I finally got it figured out, it still didn’t work.  The BOY loaded my bike onto his car and we drove up to Lake Zurich for packet pick up and bike drop off for tomorrow’s triathlon.

 

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I was hoping and was correct that there would be a local bike shop at the expo.  The guy was super nice, got my biked all tuned up, and showed me how to move my receptor on the wheel to get my computer working again.  I know that I will be happy to have it tomorrow as I pace my way through the 14 mile ride.

 

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I placed my bike in transition and picked up my race chip (with this soft and comfy ankle band).

 

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This is my first Iron Girl event, and I have been looking forward to it for months.  Of course, seeing the lake got the butterflies bouncing about my stomach, but that is just par for the course with me.  All of the volunteers at check in and transition were helpful and friendly.  I got an adorable shirt AND a huge jar of Biscoff Spread amongst my other goodies in my SWAG bag.

 

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When we finally made our way home, the BOY went down for a nap (it was a lot of action for him for one day), and I started to pull together my shoes, equipment, and clothes for tomorrow’s race.

 

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I also threw a crumb cake into the oven (a box mix that I picked up at TJ’s this morning in between Starbucks and the dentist). 

 

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By 5:00, I finally got around to taking a shower before the second half of our day began.  My brother and his fiancé just walked in the door for dinner and the Hawks game.  The BOY will be grilling up some sea bass and potatoes for dinner, and I stocked the fridge with wine to celebrate their engagement.  I changed into my new race Tshirt for inspiration before tomorrow’s race and to remind myself not to stay up too late…ha ha!

Starting Summer on LSD [Lake Shore Drive]

Memorial Day is the kick to for summer and despite the cold temperatures here in Chicago, that is exactly what we did!  For the second year in a row, I booked a back to back weekend with the Soldier Field 10 Miler and Bike the Drive.

 

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Saturday morning, the BOY and I were up super early (think 5am).  We loaded up the car and made a quick stop at Starbucks for some back tea before getting on the highway.

 

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Last year, I almost missed the race due to traffic, so we left a little earlier this year.  I was in the purple corral scheduled to close at 6:45am.  Since last year we came in from the south, this year we tried the north.  Again, we were met with massive amounts of traffic.  The good news is that we were able to map out our route for next year (we’ll come from the west) even though we didn’t arrive as early as I would have liked.

 

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It felt great to be back at Soldier Field!

 

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By the time we made it to the corrals, it was close to 6:45am, and I really needed to pee.  This year I stayed much calmer than last about the whole running late thing.  I had a close friend who I have been training with who was waiting in corral 12, so I was able to use the port-a-potties and meet up with her before the race.

 

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It was so fun to have a friend with me at the start of the race, and we were able to chat before we finally made our way to the starting line 45 minutes later.  We ran together south down Lake Shore Drive for the first 3 miles and then split up.  After mile 3, I sped ahead.  At the half way point, my time was right about 44 minutes.  When I turned back north towards the stadium, I felt strong and kept a steady pace.  I think that my slower first few miles allowed me to conserve some energy, so my last 7 miles averaged just above 8 minute/miles.  I’d say this was pretty good considering I have been sick and my nose was running for most of the race (note to self..bring Kleenex next time!).

 

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I finished slower than I had in years past, but it was well worth running with my friend!  Plus, this might be my first ever negative split race.  Now that is an accomplishment!  Of note, my new shoes were fantastic!  They were light and supportive, and handled their first long run without any issues.  I heart Brooks running shoes!

 

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I felt great when I was done (although pretty cold!), and I easily found the BOY waiting for me in the stands.  This race continues to be one of my favorites.  It is well run and organized perfectly!  The volunteers are friendly and fun, and you know I love getting a medal.  This year, we even got reusable bags with our post-race snacks.  I had to take my annual post run picture in the stands (you can see the other two in last year’s post) before heading to the post-race party for a beer.

 

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This is the first year that runners have earned a free beer, and I was super excited that it was 312!  As you can see, I was pretty sweaty and since the sun wasn’t shining, I started to get cold.  I sipped half of my beer alternating between that and coconut water for hydration.

 

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We didn’t stay at the post race party too long since I desperately needed a shower and really didn’t want to get more sick.  We drove up to my brother’s condo on the north side of the city.  I showered which really warmed me up, and then the BOY and I walked over to Wishbone to meet his grade school friend who is in town for the weekend.

 

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Wishbone has unique and incredible food, so it was the perfect post-race meal.  After lunch, I dragged the BOY over to Southport for a quick shopping trip to Lululemon and David’s Tea.  And then we crashed for an afternoon nap.  I was reluctant to wake up after an exhausting morning, but we had dinner plans with the BOY’s friend, his brother, and wife.  I enjoyed a cold beer and delicious food while catching up over dinner.  It was a super laid back and fun evening!

 

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After dinner, the BOY and I watched a little hockey before falling back into bed.

I had another early morning on Sunday!  Despite my family bailing on me this year, I was excited to head back to Lake Shore Drive for my 4th year of Bike the Drive!

 

Did you race this weekend?

How did it go?

 

 

Soldier Field 10 Miler Results

1:24:44

Age Group 204/1614

 

Mile 1: 9:46

Mile 2: 8:54

Mile 3: 8:56

Mile 4: 8:25

Mile 5: 8:01

Mile 6: 8:14

Mile 7: 8:18

Mile 8: 8:08

Mile 9: 8:08

Mile 10: 7:51

 

Average 8:44 min/miles

Last 7 mile Average 8:03 min/miles

Who’s Jenna?

And why do I hate her so much?

 

After eating more carbs this weekend than I had in the previous 2 months combined (not a complaint, just a fact), it was necessary to start Monday morning off well!

 

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I made a batch of Friday Morning Pancakes for breakfast.  But instead of eating them with a pint, I had myself a mug of Chai tea.

 

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Then sat down to check out what CrossFit had in store for me this morning.  Apparently the answer was Jenna?!

 

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All I can say is that this was the HARDEST WORKOUT EVER (and I didn’t even do the Px weight).  I don’t even know the last time that I did a dead lift, and I was worried that I would hurt my back.  But we did a lot of practice and warm up without any weight before practicing with weight.  In the end, I decided to go with 85 pounds.  The Manmakers were an entirely different story.  I didn’t feel anything like a man, just like a baby who wanted to cry.

 

Source

 

A Manmaker starts in the pushup position holding onto two dumbbells. 

One rep goes as follows…

Push Up

Left Row

Push Up

Right Row

Push Up

Squat

Clean

Press Overhead

Repeat!

 

14 reps took up the majority of my time and I used 20 pound weights.  I definitely didn’t get my chest down to the ground on every push up and my heart was beating out of my chest.  Somehow I finished just shy of the 20 minute max in 18:30.  It was brutal!  And I was super sweaty when I was done!

 

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Not too sweaty to make a quick stop by Target to pick up some colorful socks for the Shamrock Shuffle next month.  Then, I swung back home to pick up the BOY for lunch and errands…our typical Monday activities!

 

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We went to Jason’s Deli for soups, sandwiches, and salads.

And of course, the free ice cream!

 

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We had some major shopping to do at Costco, and our car was packed by the time we pulled back into the driveway.

 

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After a cold and icy morning, we were both thrilled to be back home in our warm house!

And I needed to rest my exhausted body on the couch while I caught up on Grey’s Anatomy!

Dealing with Dreary

The weather might be dark and dreary, but that didn’t keep the BOY and I indoors.  Sunday Funday was SUPER fun yesterday because we went into the city to hang with my family!

 

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And had lunch at Revolution Brewery, where the BOY and I have never been, and my Mom has now declared her favorite place to go.

 

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Historically, spring day light savings can be rough, but not this year.  This could be because after losing 3 hours coming home from Las Vegas last year, one hour doesn’t seem so bad.  The good food, brew, and company didn’t hurt either.

 

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We had an awesome day and I was in bed early Sunday night with my book after an eventful weekend.  I had no difficulty falling asleep and only woke up this morning when my alarm started beeping 10 hours later.  This morning’s breakfast was a variation of this recipe smothered in almond butter before CrossFit.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this morning’s workout, but the Harlem shake picture definitely had me laughing.  And I was excited to wear the new headband that I picked up at Athleta yesterday!

 

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This morning’s workout was 7 reps max weight of snatches with rest in between.  We started off by breaking down the motion and then practicing on some light bars.  I wasn’t sure what to expect or what I would be able to do, but I ended up in a group of three girls lifting weight, giving feedback on form, and working together to safely add more weight. I was able to lift 55-65-75-75-75-75-75.  Not to shabby for my first attempt at snatches.

 

After CrossFit, I picked up the BOY for this week’s grocery store run and meal planning.  I was starving and actually craving some protein with lunch on the brain.  Let me tell you…if you are ever shopping at Mariano’s and hungry for lunch, swing by the meat counter and have them grill you up a chicken breast.  I finished my shopping and on the way to check out, scooped up my lunch.  The BOY did the same with a white arugula pizza.

 

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On the way home, I remembered that I had leftover salad from Saturday night (that my friend made and sent home with me).  You can’t see it in the picture, but this salad also has goat cheese, cranberries, pine nuts, and I added chopped chicken and avocado.

 

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The BOY was right when he said that this is a restaurant quality lunch.  I totally agree!  Thanks to Mariano’s and Dana this is one of the best salads I’ve had in awhile!  I only had a short amount of time to eat lunch before it was time to leave again.  Although I didn’t know when I made the appointment that today would be rainy, a massage really is the BEST thing to do on a day like today.  I had a $20 off coupon to use before the end of the month, and I basked in the 60 minutes of relaxation while hands firmly worked out the tension and knots in my back and neck.  It was pure bliss and only afterwards did I return home to camp out indoors for the rest of the day.  With such a busy weekend, I had a lot to do.

 

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Some of which included getting my food prepared for the week ahead.  Nothing says rainy days like chili.  One of the things that I love about this new slow cooker book is that it has separate chapters on soup, stew, and chili.  They are plenty of recipes to choose from!

 

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I used the Mushroom Chili recipe but added in some eggplant since the beautiful purple veggies was on sale.  I ended up with a thick batch of chili, so I decided to stir in a cup of vegetable broth before cooking.

 

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I’m looking forward to digging into this thick and hearty chili soon!

 

 

This Week’s Meal Plan…

 

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner (the BOY’s request)

Featuring Challah French Toast, Eggs, and Potatoes

 

Tuesday: BBQ Turkey Meatballs

 

Wednesday: Chicken or Salmon with Veggies

 

Thursday: Leftovers

 

Friday: Trip to St. Louis!!!

 

Lunch: Portobello and Eggplant Chili (recipe below)

 

 

 

Portobello and Eggplant Chili

Adapted from The Big Book of Slow Cooker Recipes

 

Ingredients

3 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned well and cubed

1 small eggplant, cubed

1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 28 ounce and 1 15 ounce canned tomatoes, drained lightly (or you can use chopped fresh tomatoes)

1 jalapeno, seeded, deveined, and minced

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup low sodium vegetable broth

 

Directions

Place all ingredients into a slow cooker sprayed with cooking spray.

Stir well and cook on low for 8 hours.

 

 

How do you deal with dreary?

Me? I dream of SPRING!

 

The Day We Robbed Yogurtland

Funny Story…

 

Remember my excitement over Yogurtland?!  The BOY and I ran some errands Saturday afternoon.  As we pulled into the FedEx parking lot, the he mentioned that Yogurtland was opening today.  Even though we hadn’t eaten lunch, we decided that yogurt was totally necessary.

 

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The place was really crowded and the BOY and I walked right in to the back to check out the flavors.  Along with the tart Greek yogurt, there were a few fruit flavors.  The BOY and I went straight for the good stuff, filling a large cup with s’mores, pistachio, vanilla, and red velvet cupcake.  The perfect pre lunch treat.  We tossed on some cookie dough bites because who can walk past cookie dough bites without grabbing a few.

 

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Feeling like frozen yogurt experts, the BOY and I walked up to the register, placed our cup on the scale, and got the strangest look from the girl working behind the register.  The BOY and I were super confused when she looked up at us and said ‘It’s Free!’.  Free yogurt…could life get any better?  We assumed it was an opening day special and the apparent owner next to us confirmed that for the first hour the yogurt was free.

 

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Thinking that we should most likely head back for some more, I mean why share one cup of yogurt when it’s free, the owner kindly stated that this was a private event.  All of a sudden, the BOY and I looked around and saw that the people talking seemed to know each other.  And we totally crashed their party.  The BOY and I offered to pay for our yogurt but they said it wasn’t a problem.  We stepped out of the store and completely fell apart with laughter!  Talk about being totally oblivious.  I think we just robbed the Yogurtland!

 

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We reassured the owner that we’d be back often and would definitely pay for our yogurt in the future.  And after sampling our selection, I am sure we will go back.  The yogurt was excellent!  I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t had much dairy in the past few months, or because frozen yogurt is my favorite food ever, but we loved it and licked every last drop off our spoons in the car.  The whole scene was hilarious!  I can’t stop smiling when I think about it!  It reminds me of our shenanigans in Florida last spring.

A Case of the Mondays

The BOY starts school tomorrow, but before he dives back into the books, we had a fun morning adventure in Evanston.  Every time we go to Evanston, we talk about how we wish we lived here (and hopefully one day we will).  I didn’t take tons of pictures today but we did stop at a few of our favorite places.

 

Tapas Barcelona

 

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Argo Tea

 

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And the used bookstore and Barnes and Noble!

 

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I had a gift card for Barnes and Noble and of course, I can never say no to some new cookbooks.  Luckily, the BOY and I just got a new bookshelf that is currently empty!  I had planned all day to go to a yoga class this afternoon, but I seem to have crashed.  I blame the antibiotic, and since I took my last one this morning, I plan on being back in full energetic swing this week!  So while the BOY headed off to the library to read 40 pages for his first day of class, I watched Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal while folding over a week’s worth of laundry.  Not the exciting Monday or blog post I had hoped for.  But with these new cookbooks, I will have some more exciting and healthy recipes to share SOON!

 

So instead, I will leave you with a few more pictures of our beautiful cookies from yesterday!

 

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Have a great week!

 

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11 Hours

I am sick!

 

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Not the ‘I’m so sick that I can’t get out of bed’ sick, but the, ‘I have the worst sore throat, raspy voice, and more mucus than can be humanly possible’ type of sick.  Yuck!  Go figure…I spend 2 weeks on the go working like a crazy person and this is my first quiet day off and I wake up and I am sick.  The worst part…I am supposed to run 11 miles today in prep for my Thanksgiving half marathon.  Instead, I slept for a full 11 hours!  As I’ve mentioned before, this is the consequence of working with kids.  After 6 years in pediatrics, I have built up an immune system, but after an exhausting few weeks, fatigue and stress usually take its toll.

 

When I woke up this morning, I was in pretty bad shape (even after 11 hours of sleep).  Not totally surprising as I started getting a sore throat and cough on Thursday night.  I knew a run was not in the cards, which makes me sooo sad since it is a sunny 50 degree day.  Perfect for a long run!  The BOY suggested breakfast, and I was in for pumpkin pancakes.  I started with some tea and the BOY ordered pumpkin hot chocolate.

 

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I know that yesterday was National Pumpkin Day, but we are a bit late in our celebrations.  I brought along October’s Cooking Light where I found this good looking chili recipe.  My thought was to pick up the ingredients on our way home.

 

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For breakfast, I ordered an omelet with figs, apples,and turkey sausage.  It also came with goat cheese, but I got that on the side, and a side of pancakes (not surprisingly, the BOY and I both chose pumpkin).

 

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The pumpkin pancakes, topped with bananas and pecans were incredible!  It was hard not to inhale them in a minute. 

 

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But, I am working on slowing down while eating, so I took my time to enjoy every bite!  And then had leftovers to take home with me.

 

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After lunch, we made a quick stop at the farmer’s market.  This is the last weekend that it is open until spring, which is a bummer!  Does your farmer’s market stay open year round?  If so, I am jealous!

 

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Then it was on to Mariano’s for a few more chili ingredients.

 

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When we got home, it was partner chili cooking in the kitchen.  The BOY got to work on some chopping and I browned the meat.

 

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Instead of following the preparation described in the recipe, we decided use our trusty crockpot, which always produces amazing chili!

 

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For now, I have settled with getting some fresh air by opening the back door.  Perhaps, I will be able to get out for a walk later if my head stops spinning (not sure if this is the cold or the medicine), but for now, my medicine has kicked in and I think I am in need of a nap, perhaps another round with my netti-pot, and some serious hydration.

 

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Poblano-Turkey Sausage Chili

From Cooking Light October 2012

Makes 6 1-cup servings

 

Ingredients

1 cup prechopped onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic

8 ounces sweet turkey Italian sausage

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 poblano chiles, seeded and finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Sliced radishes (optional)

 

Directions

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Remove casings from sausage; add sausage to pan. Stir in chili powder, oregano, cumin, poblanos, and bay leaf; cook 4 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble sausage.

2. Add 1 cup stock, tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thickened. Combine flour and the remaining 2 tablespoons stock in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to form a slurry. Add slurry to chili, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and black pepper. Discard bay leaf. Serve with sour cream and sliced radishes, if desired.

 

In the mood for chili on this crisp, fall weekend, here are some other great chili recipes!

 

 

What is your favorite food to eat when you are sick?

Mine is my Dad’s homemade chicken soup. I usually have some stashed in the freezer, but sadly I am out.  I’m not sure how that even happened…Hint, Hint, Dad!

Door County Happiness Day 1

I should warn you…this post required a whole lotta pictures to capture all the HAPPY that we packed into our first day in Door County.  I think the first HAPPY of our trip was discovering this adorable room in a quaint Inn run by friendly staff right in the heart of Fish Creek.

 

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We stayed at the Cedar Court Inn.  The room was bright and clean and captured that homey feel.

 

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One of the highlights (along with the whirlpool tub and fireplace) was this back porch.  Did I mention that they also have a pool???  And a safe place to store my bike in the courtyard!

 

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When you book online, it is hard to know what to expect.  The BOY and I were thrilled with our room, and I highly recommend the Cedar Court Inn!  Because the weather was so amazing, we were able to keep the windows and porch door open most days and used the fire place when we wanted some warmth at night.

 

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After a quiet night in town, we woke up Saturday morning with the sun streaming through the windows.  I popped out of bed and started getting ready for HAPPY #2…a Bike Ride!

 

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The BOY hauled my bike all the way up to Door County in the rain and it was my goal to ride every day.  With my broken toe, I am taking a short break from running, so it was easy to focus on biking, especially with Peninsula State Park less than a mile from my door!  It was the perfect morning for a bike ride with the weather in the low 70’s and a strong wind.  I headed north out of town along Route 42 towards the park.

 

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3/4 of a mile later, I arrived at the park entrance…

 

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And hopped on to the 9.6 mile Sunset Trail.  I actually wasn’t sure how long the trail was when I began, but discovered that this loop, which begins and ends at the front of the park is a combination of two gravel and paved trails that take you through multiple areas of the park with spectacular views!

 

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2 minutes into the trail and I was feeling more relaxed than I have been in months.  The forest preserve was quiet and still with only a few runners along the trail.

 

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The bay views left me speechless!

 

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Which ya’ll know is hard to do!

 

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Each morning, I took plenty of pictures of all these spectacular views as I explored different areas of the park.  There are way too many to put into this post, but if you love nature photos (like I do), then I promise you more to come!

 

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When I made my way back to the Inn, the BOY was waiting for me outside.

 

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It was on to HAPPY #3…a hike through Whitefish Dunes State Park.

 

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We discovered the Cave Point trail last summer and decided to try something a little different by hiking here this year.

 

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We started on the beach and walked our way north along the rocks.

 

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The wind was strong and the waves were high and harsh.  It wasn’t a great day for swimming, but a beautiful day for hiking.

 

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We loved the views of the water and playing around in the park!

 

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We worked up quite an appetite leading us to lunch at Wild Tomato aka HAPPY #4.

 

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This is our favorite restaurant in Door County and it serves some amazing farm fresh pizza with local Wisconsin cheese.  And their beer selection is the best!

 

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We made it home with enough time for a 2 and a half hour nap (enter HAPPY #5), a little time to start a new book (HAPPY #6) before heading off to Gordon’s Lodge for HAPPY #7 Dinner.

 

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We have never been to Gordon’s Lodge before, and I was super excited to check out the sunset.  Sadly, it was too windy to sit outside, but we had a seat by the window with the perfect view of the sun setting over the water.

 

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I snuck out to the deck to grab a few shots of the sun in between bites of a tasty seafood dinner!

 

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Dinner was capped off with 2 delicious mini desserts (crème brulee for the BOY and a fresh cherry cobbler for me).

 

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We managed to make the most of our first day in Door County, packing a lot of my favorite things into one awesome day.  This is why Door County is one of my favorite places to visit and why these trips always leave me feeling so HAPPY!

 

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