farmer’s market

Inaugural CARA Run, Father’s Day, and Old Lady Fun

Justttt when I say I’m leaving for good, I pop back onto IHABL.

First things first: it was my first marathon training run of the season! I’m in an interesting spot right now because even though this week’s run should only be 7 miles (for the Chicago Marathon in October), I’m also attempting to not die during the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in July — so I knew I needed to do more than that to make sure mama’s still got it.

I rolled out of bed bright and early at 5:30am Saturday morning and ran to Foster Beach to meet up with CARA for the second run of marathon training season (my first).

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I had no idea what to expect from a CARA run, as it’s my first time with the organization. Luckily it was much less intimidating than I thought. The group was easy to find, there were speakers with music blasting, and pace groups that were easily marked. Who knew so much activity happened in the city before 7am! I found my pace group and even recognized a few girls who had been in the store before, so I was cool as a cucumber. The whole “fake it til you make it” advice really is true.

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It was awesome! There were hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of runners out on the path throughout our run. Everyone yelled hi to each other, we ran 2×2 (Noah’s Ark style), and there was even a gatorade station set up along the way?? The running community is pretty incredible — this is going to be a fun summer.

All in all, (3 miles to the site + 7 miles with the group), and before I knew it I had covered 10 miles!

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I hobbled home, had an appointment at Delos where a very European no-nonsense therapist dug his elbows deep into my hip flexors and foot arches (best investment I’ve made in a long time), and soon headed to the Farmer’s Market with Colleen. We had waaaay too much old lady fun exploring.

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Sunday was spent with my #1 fan, although these days I really think those roles are reversed. I love this guy! We ate great food, played (terrible) golf, sat on the deck in the sun, drank sangria, and just spent some quality time together.

IMG_5910 IMG_5911Questions:

  • How did you spend Father’s Day?
  • What’s your favorite part about farmer’s markets?
  • Running groups: love ’em or hate ’em?
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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 🙂

scenes from the weekend

Hi folks! I can’t wait to read about all your weekends. Mine was filled with tons of activity, sunshine, furniture shopping and, of course food. Is anyone else blown away that it’s June? March, April and May flew by but I’m hoping that June will slow its roll so we can enjoy the nice weather that we all deserve so much.

As you saw yesterday, Zain and I started out the weekend by biking to the farmers market early Saturday morning. We didn’t buy anything but it was just nice to walk around and see the options for the future. Next time I’ll be sure to go around lunch time – there were tons of awesome food options! Tacos, fancy grilled cheese, crepes…I was pretty mad I had just eaten breakfast haha. I never like to miss out on food like that.

Breakfast before the market was peanut butter and bananas on a sandwich thin + coffee

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Zain finally learned what it takes to date a blogger so he likes to take “spontaneous” pictures of our adventures.IMG_7804

I also noticed that everyone at the farmers market was in athletic gear. These are my people.IMG_7856

After the market I met up my friend Megan for a bootcamp class. It was the last class in my two week pass at Yoga Loft and I really can’t tell you how much I’m going to miss it. Once I have to stop paying all those beginning fees and additional costs of moving I’ll for sure get a 10-pass there to use over the span of a few weeks. That place kicked my butt and I loved every second of it.

IMG_7850The rest of the day was spent furniture shopping. Zain is all about the deals so we ended up biking + walking about five miles or so to a furniture outlet in the middle of nowhere. We felt like we were on a pilgrimage across the Sahara (it was 95 on Saturday) so when we saw 7-Eleven and were sure it wasn’t a mirage, we picked up some Slurpees.

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Saturday night I hung out on Megan’s roof watching the sunset and drinking wine, so it was basically the perfect day.

Sunday was spent church-going, grocery shopping and Blackhawks-watching. The weekend was full and fabulous – but don’t think I’d leave you without showing you all the food I ate!

For some random reason I was all about the salads this weekend:

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Mixed greens with hard boiled egg, tomato, blue cheese, avocado and balsamic vinaigrette.

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Arugula with mozzarella and baby tomatoes (dressed with the oil that the mozzarella was soaking in plus TJ’s balsamic glaze)

But don’t think I just ate salads all weekend – that would just be nonsense.

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Mahi mahi with herbes de provence and lemon, breadcrumb and herbes de provence-stuffed tomatoes and roasted brussel sprouts

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Spinach-egg white breakfast wrap from Starbucks (plus it looks like the barista was cursing me out haha)

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Veggie burger topped with cheddar, bbq sauce and onion straws

It was a blast of a weekend – I even started off Monday right with a 6:00am 4 mile run. Now that summer is here morning runs are going to be a lot more common. Everything is on the up and up!

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Happy Monday!

Questions:

  • What was the best thing you ate this weekend?
  • What’s your favorite homemade salad combo? I need some new inspiration!
  • Did you try anything new this weekend?

things i love friday: kiddie pools and tacos galore

Aaaaand just like that, it’s Friday again. Don’t you love short workweeks?

Even though it was a short week I still ran into a million things I loved and knew I had to share today with everyone, so without further ado, a few things I love this Friday.

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Farmers Markets

Well it’s officially farmers market season and I couldn’t be happier. I love strolling past the dozens of farmers’ stands and checking out the homegrown produce and unique products. From crepe stands to flower stops and some of the freshest fruits and veggies you’ll see in your life, there are few things better than throwing on a casual maxi dress, grabbing all the cash you can find in your house, and walking the sunny streets of a farmers market. I plan on going to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park tomorrow morning, so stay tuned.

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2% Greek Yogurt

Why have you all been holding out on me?? The difference between 2% and 0% greek yogurt is like night and day. It was so rich and creamy, it felt almost indulgent. I’ll never buy 0% again – ain’t nobody got time to be afraid of a little fat!

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Speaking of that, have you ever put mango in your greek yogurt? Life-changing, I tell you.

Tacos

It must be the warm weather but I’ve had fish tacos three times this week – can’t stop, won’t stop. I’m still on the hunt for the best fish tacos in Chicago – as of now the honor goes to Benchmark in Old Town but I have two places on my must-go list: Antique Taco and Big Star. I guess it’s my taco bucket list 🙂

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At-home workouts

When I move to Lincoln Park in a few weeks I plan on signing up for a gym in the area, but until then I’m still using up my Yoga Loft 2-week pass and doing home workouts. If you’re looking for a fast and effective workout that you can do in your living room blasting Kesha, look no further than the Total Body Workout by Body By Jake on Hulu. Because honestly, what’s better than free?

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@HiddenCash

Have your heard about this? A millionaire is leaving cash taped all over spots in California, from fire hydrants to park benches. He’s tweeting clues from @HiddenCash and hoping people will “pay it forward”. How heartwarming is that? I love little moments of humanity like that – everyone’s coming together and helping each other find the hidden cash, and then either taking their friends out for dinner/drinks or donating to their favorite charity. It’s such a cool idea and brings a little excitement and unity to the world! Fingers crossed he stops by the Windy City 🙂

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Movies and Music in the Park

I promise that one day I’ll stop talking about how great Chicago is in the summer. Today is not that day.  Starting next week the city puts on free events multiple times a week such as concerts in the park and outdoor movies. For all the time I’m planning on spending on the grass it’s probably a good idea to invest in some outdoor furniture. How about this?

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Is that perfect or is it perfect?

Have a great weekend! Check back tomorrow for a fresh new summer recipe!

Questions:

 

  • What are your favorite outdoor activities in the summer?
  • What’s your favorite kind of taco?
  • What are your plans this weekend?

 

Frozen yogurt + the flower dilemma

Yesterday was a busy day!

You know how sometimes work just creeps up on you and all of a sudden **bam** you’re overwhelmed? Luckily I have coffee, snacks, and an insatiable need to sweat to keep me sane during busy times.
 
Breakfast today was so good!  I’ve been over hot foods lately thanks to the heat wave taking over the midwest, so a big bowl of cereal with fresh fruit and cold almond milk sounded perfect.
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Look I even got all artsy! You know you’re a foodie when you take the time to arrange your food so it looks good.  I had 1 cup of vanilla graham kashi cereal + half a banana and a handful of Michigan blueberries.  I drowned it all in almond milk while I went over my work for the day.
 
I did hit up the farmers market this morning after a visit to the gym (strength workout + 8 minute abs + 30 min elliptical workout).  There were some cool new finds there that I just had to snap some pictures of.
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Crazy colored tomatoes…how fun would it be to include these in some recipes? I feel like they would throw people off!
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Radishes chilling (literally) in ice.
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Peppers on peppers on peppers.  Anyone watch “Orange is the New Black”? That scene where Piper has to eat poblano peppers (or were they jalapenos?) was the craziest thing ever! I mean at the very least I’m sure she didn’t have any sinus problems for awhile.
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White eggplant?! Weird!
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And of course some beautiful flowers! Flowers are such a dilemma.  They’re gorgeous and brighten up my day (and any room I put them in!) but they’re always expensive.  Plus, they just die three days after you buy them.  Believe me, I’ve had this argument with Zman many a time…they seem like a pointless gift. But there’s just something about flowers that makes everything better 🙂 They make what otherwise would be a monotonous day, special!
 
Wait–back to the title of this post.
I went to Lincoln Park last night to visit Megan for an outdoor yoga class. Well, long story short, we walked right past the class and marched into a frozen yogurt shop instead. Oh well, it was a long walk, right? 😉
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Breaking news: I may have found the best frozen yogurt in Chicagoland.
 
Forever Yogurt was exactly what a froyo place is supposed to be: over a dozen flavors, tonnnnns of toppings, and SAMPLE CUPS.  There is nothing I hate more than places without sample cups.  Look, I get it, high schoolers come into your store, eat their body weight in samples and then walk out.  But I’m a 22 year old woman with a serious decision-making problem so if you’re going to ask me to pick a flavor without sampling them all first, you’re nuts.
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After my sampling, I settled on pistachio cream with praline almonds. I went simple (which never happens) and it was less than $4 (which NEVER happens) and I left feeling satisfied, not sick with oreo/cookie dough/sprinkle overload.
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Yum!
 
Megan and I spent the rest of the night drinking Pinot Grigio and talking.  It was so refreshing to just sit and talk with a good friend.  A wonderful night!
 
Questions:
  • What’s your usual/favorite frozen yogurt combination?
 
 
 
 
 

A day at the farmer’s market

Thursdays in the summer are the best. It’s almost Friday and it’s the farmer’s market.

Here are just some photos I captured while walking around. It was sunny, breezy, and finally the late summer produce was there: corn and peaches! I can’t wait to start making corn on a daily basis 🙂

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And the funniest thing I saw while I was there:

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Haha in case you were wondering and needed some plant/soil tips.

After the farmer’s market my mom and I walked to our local chocolate store. We share a weakness 🙂

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Of course I couldn’t leave without get something! I got chocolate covered almonds and a piece of caramel bark. Just typing those words made me smile–I loveeee my chocolate.

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I hope you’re all enjoying this beautiful Thursday! Can you believe it’s the last weekend in July?? Crazy!