family

Weekend happenings: Mother’s Day in Madison

This past weekend my family and I took a mini-vacation to our home-away-from-home: Madison.

We lived here for three years when I was a kid so every once in awhile we take the two hour drive to the capital of the cheese state and get our farmers market on (because Madison holds one of the greatest Saturday morning markets in the country).
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We ended up with some asparagus and tomato plants, plus my own personal loot:

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Lemon poppyseed bread, honey sticks (a childhood memory from this market), and six-year-aged white cheddar cheese. I tried just about every cheese sample in the place and settled on this. It will definitely go well with the fig jam I have waiting for me at home.

I was disciplined enough to hit up the hotel treadmill in between the market and church. This is a rarity for me when I’m on vacation, but it just goes to show that I’ve been bit by the running bug hard again. A quick four miles where I increased my pace slowly from 9:13 to 8:20 every mile or so.

Me and all my friends!

Me and all my friends!

On Saturday night we went to my mom’s favorite restaurant, Louisianne’s, a lively cajun restaurant hidden below a quiet Madison street. The minute you descend down their dark velvet staircase you’re transported to New Orleans, live music and all.

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It was quite dark inside, but we split a bottle of sauvignon blanc, crab puffs, and all sampled each others entrees: crab cakes and cheesy artichoke toasts for me, steak for Steve, Cajun andouille and seafood pasta for dad, and Hawaiian swordfish for mom.

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Dessert was a dream. We all got different dishes (indulgence at its finest…) and shared. Normally I’m not a fan of sharing food, but when everything is equally delicious, I absolutely love getting to try it all. And this is the case at Louisianne’s–everything is outstanding. The highlights for me were the frozen peanut butter and key lime pies.

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Mother’s Day itself was all about Sue, so we slept in, enjoyed a slow continental breakfast at the hotel (aren’t those the best?) and did a little more casual driving down memory lane throughout Madison. We walked around our old preschool (correction: I was carried)…

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…ate some insanely delicious Mexican food at our old stomping grounds, Pasqual’s:

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And ended the trip, of course, with a trip to the best custard stand of all time: Michael’s. Their turtle sundaes are topped with salty, roasted pecans, a taste I remember distinctly even though I ate them regularly decades ago. I’ve been unable to find a turtle sundae just as good ever since so every time we’re in town we stop by.

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All in all it was a quiet weekend spent with my family and nonstop eating, two of my favorite things. We’re lucky that even though my brother and I are both 24 years old, we’re still able to take family vacations together once or twice a year. Not to mention I should have no problem running my butt off this week with all the sugar I consumed! Good lord. (Worth it).

Question:

  • How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?
  • What’s your favorite part about hotel breakfast buffets? I’m a sucker for a good make-your-own omelet bar 🙂
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Losing my “Spill it Sunday” Virginity

Sundays are usually a quiet day for me in terms of blogging. In fact, it’s rare that I post on a Saturday OR Sunday, just because I’d rather be out and about than typing away on the ol’ laptop. But today I decided to finally join in on the fun that Arman brings us every week and link up with other bloggers for “Spill It Sunday”. Plus you all want to get to know me a little better, right? I knew it.

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1. What’s your middle name?

  • Rosemary – the name of my Dad’s mom, my paternal Grandma. I never met her but I like having her name because it feels like I have a little part of her in me.

2. When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?

  • Being the indecisive person I am this always, always changed. I do remember when I was really little I thought I wanted to be a librarian. I would take books from around the house and pretend to “scan” them and a few weeks ago I even found a log detailing the books that I let my family “check out,” with due dates and fines and everything haha. Apparently I was a real stickler as a child.

3. What do you keep in the glove box of your car?

  • Napkins! I hate when I’m eating or I need to blow my nose or something and I reach into the glove compartment and there are no napkins in there. One of life’s little frustrations that I try to avoid 🙂

4. Name one food that always seems to go bad before you eat it?

  • Bread! Which is so weird because that never used to happen to me but for some reason Zain and I keep coming across moldy bread midweek.

5. What was the last workout you did?

  • I don’t know if this counts as a real workout but I biked to run all my errands yesterday! Other than that I did an elliptical workout on Friday.

6. When was the last time you got the giggles in an inappropriate moment? What did you do?

  • This is a funny story that I don’t think my parents even know about. My brother and I have a game we’ve played at church since we were probably 12 years old. During Catholic masses we all stand and hold hands while saying the Our Father and Steve and I have always played “who can squeeze the other person’s hand the hardest” game. It usually ends up in stifled giggles during church, especially lately because I realize how old we are still playing this game and it makes me laugh. We joked the other day that one day we’re going to be 30 years old in church doing it and one of us is going to break our hand and when the paramedics ask what happened we’ll have to tell them we were playing a game. I can’t wait for that day.

7. If you had to pick one song to play continuously in the background of your everyday life what would you pick?

  • It changes a lot but this week I’ve been loving playing this song while I walk to work. It’d be a great theme song!

8. What would you do if you got 25 hours in a day while everyone else was still stuck with 24?

  • This sounds dumb and predictable but I’d definitely use that time to work out. Sometimes it’s tough to fit in a workout when you don’t want to miss out on things with friends! How great would it be to wake up and have an extra hour to sweat before work but it didn’t cost you any sleep or time with family/friends?

9. Pick a great picture of you/your family/your friends and tell us the background story of what’s happening in it.

  • I have to cheat and use two pictures – my parents were trying to get a nice family picture of my brother and me during a family vacation a few years back (back when I was into the whole bleached bottle blonde business). My brother scooped me up (I hate being picked up) and the following pictures happened:

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Don’t ever joke about dropping a girl! Just don’t do it haha.

10.What’s your favorite quote/song/image when you need a little inspiration?

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Have a beautiful Sunday! I can’t wait to read about all your weekends!

Weekend happenings

Well it was a jam-packed weekend full of family, friends, and of course tons of food.

The weekend started Saturday morning with another early morning spin class.  I swear to god the classes get harder every week! The instructor keeps upping the resistance so there’s a lot less sprinting and a lot more chugging along up imaginary hills. Needless to say, the small, non-air conditioned room with 30 people sweating up a storm makes for a very “cleansing” workout. No wonder hot yoga is such a good workout!

After spin class I rushed home to jump in the car with my family and go to Michigan for the weekend.  

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We’ve been going to the same beach area for 19 years now as a family–it’s one of our treasured family traditions.

Unfortunately we hit MAJOR traffic on the way down there.  It was such a bummer and we were all cranky and in need of some good food the minute we hit the Michigan border.

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The Blue Plate Cafe is one of our favorite breakfast spots in the area. They always have a million baked goods as well as fresh smoothies and other breakfast creations.

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After three cups of coffee with cream (hey, it was vacation!) I settled on a tomato/spinach/pesto egg scramble served with rosemary potatoes.  I also chose a side of cinnamon-raisin bread.

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The eggs and potatoes were out of this world! I loved the pesto with the eggs.  You couldn’t see it but you could taste it, so I guess a little really does go a long way! The cinnamon raisin bread was just okay. I wish I had saved my “sweet spot” for something better from their pastry area.

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Nom. Their special that day was pistachio chocolate scones.  Too bad I’m not a huge scone fan or I would have scooped those right up.  Pistachio is great in desserts!

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I love how it’s a family in the kitchen…so simple and authentic.

Even though it was cloudy we decided to hit up the beach.  I’m thankful that we did because the sun came out later in the day and we all benefited physically/emotionally from its presence.

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Sunday played much in the same way, with one exception: a phenomenal dinner!

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Red Arrow Roadhouse is without a doubt our favorite restaurant in the New Buffalo/Bridgman area in Michigan.  We have been coming to this same place for years and years and it never disappoints! My brother and dad claim it has the best ribs and while I’m not a big meat eater, I always find something great to eat there.

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We started off with the same appetizer that we always get here:

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The always-healthy homemade potato chips topped with blue cheese and scallions.

Since I knew ice cream was coming later and I was craving vegetables I went with a side salad and the crab cake appetizer.

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The crab cakes were on top of a salad with lemon vinaigrette which was great. I haven’t had nearly as much fish as I usually like to have during the summer months so it was nice to have this treat.

I also captured a picture of the “famous ribs”

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Also worth noting was what happened AFTER dinner.  THIS PIE.

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My dad ordered a piece of homemade blueberry pie and it was the most delicious pie I’ve ever had! I think I liked it even more because it wasn’t served piping hot like most pies are.  It was just warm which made it easier to enjoy along with the cold vanilla ice cream. I had to steal a few bites and I’m not the least bit sorry about that.

On our way out of town we stopped at another favorite:

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You can’t come to New Buffalo and not go to Oink’s.  I even have a piggy keychain from the place because I consider myself a devoted follower of their ice cream goodness.

I came in wanting coffee ice cream and left with this:

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Carrot cake ice cream?! Could there be anything more beautiful?

After my family rolled me back into the car we hit the road for our drive home.  It was a beautiful weekend and it was so nice to be able to keep the family tradition alive for another year, even though my brother and I are both 22!  We’re lucky that our schedules all aligned to make it happen.  I even got a little color and didn’t burn like a lobster! Woooo!

Question: how did you spend your Labor Day weekend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never stop moving

If you ask any of my friends they’ll tell you: I’m a girl who never stops moving.

It can be infuriating how fidgety I get if I’ve been sitting too long, and I’ve been known to turn casual “sitting on the couch” hang outs into small workouts (“hey guys, lets see who can hold our legs up the longest!”)

One of my favorite ways to get moving is to take walks after meals.  Not only is it great to step away from the laptop/cell phone and get outdoors, but it makes me feel so much better, especially if I’ve just eaten a big meal.

I’m not alone in this way of thinking. According to a recent article in the New York Times, a walk as short as 15 minutes post-meal can help aid with digestion and improve blood sugar levels.

Luckily I’m pretty persuasive so I can usually convince someone to take a stroll with me 😉 Sunday night was no different:

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You’ll have to forgive the lighting…summer nights are leaving us faster than normal this year.

My dad and I set out for a 20 minute walk yesterday after dinner.  We had just had our first family dinner in awhile (it’s hard to get 4 working adults to sit down at a table together): a BLT bar!

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Crusty, toasted Italian bread, cool veggies, and crispy bacon. Now I haven’t had bacon in years (I never eat red meat and rarely eat pork) and while it looked and smelled so delicious that I couldn’t turn it down, my stomach did not agree with it later in the night. Looks like I have to try tempeh again….or maybe turkey bacon?

My dad and I went on our walk and talked about everything from mortgages to lunch breaks at work.  It made me realize that not only is walking after meals good for your physical health, but it was a wonderful emotional break.  We were able to step away from the devices that distract us constantly and simply focus on two things: walking and each other.

When I got home I quickly snagged one of these cookies my mom and I picked up at the grocery store:

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Goodness gracious they are soooo good.  So airy and chewy and sugary–three of the best things in a dessert!

My Monday was pretty boring, as Mondays tend to be.

It started out with an early morning weights/stairmaster workout before work.

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And included plenty of good food:

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Chocolate protein powder mixed with almond milk (gotta find my shaker…protein powder chunks are not my favorite)

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Oatmeal with almond milk, flax seeds, banana, and topped with chunky pb for breakfast.

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Veggie burger with roasted green beans for lunch (roasting veggies is life-changing)

Snacks on snacks

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Dinner is unpictured because it was chili that I ate at work at the end of my shift… I was just too hungry to wait until I came home haha.

But even more exciting than dinner was dessert!  Along with a handful of chocolate covered almonds I tried a new purchase: chocolate covered bananas! I guess you can say I like chocolate a little bit.

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Today is another hot day in Chicago! Luckily I’m working from home so I don’t have to worry about melting like the wicked witch of the west on my walk to work.  I hope you all have a fabulous day!

Questions:

  • Do you ever take walks after meals?
  • Do you know of any good substitutes for bacon?

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/really-the-claim-taking-a-walk-after-a-meal-aids-digestion/