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Doubles with my Dude

9 May

Things I had on my list for possible fun things to do this weekend:

Visit Basha Kill Winery

Dinner at a new BYOB in our town

See the movie Date Night

Drinks out with High School friends on Friday

Things I actually did on this list this weekend = ZERO.  It’s funny how you can really plan and plan and plan, but the majority of life is just going with the flow!  And that’s what makes it fun.

So Patrick ended up taking a major detour on his drive here and didn’t end up arriving until after 11 pm 😦 so understandably, he was not in the mood to head out immediately, and I was pretty beat by the time he got here also.  We ended up laying on my couch in sweats, watching ESPN, drinking iced tea, and just talking on Friday night, and it was perfect ❤  Having a long distance relationship, it’s important to remember that while you want to do so many things with your significant other when you actually get to see them, it’s really important to have couple down time and just enjoying one another’s company and b-r-e-a-t-h-e

This left me plenty rested for a Sat morning run.  Patrick wanted to sleep in since he had a long week, so I took advantage of our different sleeping patterns and squeezed in a 4.5 mile run at the gym.  I wanted to make it speedier than normal in case Patrick woke up earlier than expected, so I pushed it and completed 4 miles in 32 minutes 🙂 which is the fastest I’ve completed 4 miles so far – and then I had a 1/2 mile cool down, followed by 3 1-minute planks and some more easy core strengthening.

Patrick and I  did some fun shopping around the area for more Australia things I needed and had a leisurely lunch outside, even with the 30+ wind gusts!  He told me over lunch that he wanted to get in a good run Saturday afternoon while he was visiting and was hoping I would go with him.  A fun run with my boyfriend, YES PLEASE!  So instead of heading to the winery, we decided to run outside together…how healthy of us!  My thought = the winery will always be there (for a while anyway), but my boyfriend does not ALWAYS want to run with me.  It was an easy choice.

We ended up doing a slower paced and relaxed 4.5 miles outside together.  I didn’t even time it, how not Type A of me!  It ended up being one of my favorite runs though, combining some of my favorite things, boyfriend, running, & sun 🙂 I was so proud of our distance though because Patrick isn’t that big of a runner and I thought my legs would get tired earlier since I already did a run earlier in the day, but neither ended up being an issue!  This bumped up my running total for the day to 9 miles = awesome for me.  Here’s my happy running partner ready to go!

After getting back we really weren’t in the mood to hurry and get ready to go out to dinner so we opted for cooking in and enjoying some cold beers and red vino!  We tried a recipe I got off of Runner’s Kitchen – Middle Eastern Stuffed Peppers!  We modified it slightly depending on what I had around the house.

Ingredients

  • 4 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 1/2 – 1 lb ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives
  • 1/2 cup golden raisin mix
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup cooked brown wild rice

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut tops off of bell peppers, save tops and set aside, remove seeds, and place peppers in a small baking dish
  • Spray a medium frying pan with cooking spray and cook meat, garlic, cinnamon, and cumin over medium heat for ~4 minutes
  • Add tomato sauce and raisins and cook for another 4 minutes
  • Remove from heat, stir in olives and rice
  • Divide meat-rice mixture evenly among the bell peppers
  • Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until tender

I enjoyed mine with a glass of pinot noir and Patrick had a cold Warsteiner –> it was a new try for him!  It’s a pilsner which is his fav, definitely not my fav type of beer, but I actually liked this brand!  I’m still not converting from my wine though!  The peppers ended up being DELIC!  I loved the middle eastern flavor the cumin and cinnamon added to the peppers.  Patrick and I were happily stuffed like the peppers!

The rest of the evening was spent at some local bars catching up with my high school friends! I guess my Friday night agenda was moved to Saturday night.  It was such a great quality time evening, especially since we ended up rolling in at 3 am!  All in all – a successful weekend!

Tonight’s Mom’s Day will be wrapped up watching Sherlock Holmes w my mom and drinking some tea in this colder than normal weather.

Drinking tea before bed is one of my FAV daily rituals!  What are some of yours?!

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My last hooraaah?

7 May

Happy Friday All! I hope everyone had a tremendous end of their work week with plenty of fun weekend plans in the mix!  My boyfriend Patrick is coming to visit me in NY this weekend and I have some fun things lined up for us!  Amongst the normal plans with home town friends I have made, we’re going to head up to Basha Kill Vineyards in upstate NY tomorrow afternoon.  I have heard rave reviews of this winery and it really isn’t too far from where I live, plus they have tasting for $5!!!  Um, I’m there!  Now I am a HUGE wine lover, but Patrick really hasn’t found any wines that he enjoys drinking- he is SO much more of a beer guy, which I love about him, but I am out to convert him a little to my whino side 🙂  I am really looking forward to this afternoon trip!

One of the reasons Patrick is coming to visit me this weekend, besides the fact that he just loves me so much, is because this coming Tuesday I leave for a 2 1/2 week trip out of the country! :0  Where you ask!  Why MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA! This trip is kind of like a last hoorah before law school – even though I know I’m young and have my whole life–> thanks Mom!  I signed up for this volunteer program back in March and waited for a while to be placed and details figured out, and here I am now mid-May getting my stuff together for a 2 wk venture into the outback.  Melbourne is one of Australia’s bigger citied located in the south-eastern part of the country.  It’s about an 1hr flight from Sydney.

When I was in college I was between studying abroad in Rome or Melbourne.  The two cities are just SO different, but both had such appeal for me.  I ended up choosing Rome, which I know was definitely the better option for me, but since then it has really been a priority of mine to make sure I get to Melbourne…and here I go!  Patrick actually studied abroad there for 5 months, so I’ll have a great long distance travel guide.

It’s gong to be what I’m doing in Australia is what makes this trip so different from anything I have ever done before!  Since the majority of my peers are either poor, don’t have enough time to take off…umm yea those are the only two problems, I had to figure out a safe way to travel on my own.  So I’m volunteering with Conservation Volunteers Australia while I’m there and will be with a group of peers doing various environmental conservation projects while there.  This is literally the craziest thing I have ever done in my life!  Needless to say, I am a very nervous about this far from home and doing this kind of solo, but I also know it will end up being one of the best experiences of my life!  I just have to remember that on my 30 hour plane ride EEK!

What is the scariest/coolest thing you’ve ever done?!  How did you deal with the scary?!

For your entertainment, I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of Melbourne…

Taste of the Nation DC

19 Apr

So on the night of Monday, April 12th, the National Building Museum hosted Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation 2010.

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation is the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no kid grows up hungry. Each spring and summer, the nation’s hottest chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 events across the United States and Canada, with one goal in mind: to raise the critical funds needed to end childhood hunger.

I went to Taste of the Nation in DC last year with my bff Jeff and had the best time ever!  I was enthralled that all the best DC restaurants that I had been vying to go to were in one place.   And better than that, I could sample little plates from each one rather than having to choose.  The night was spent eating and drinking way too much, and ending up with a serious stomach ache/hangover the next day….oops!  I knew the philanthropic idea behind it was right up my ally though!  What better way to combine two of my interests than eating and drinking amazing food and beverages all for the sake of helping the needy!  After the ’09 experience, I vowed to get involved in 2010 and that I did!

Since November I have been volunteering on the Auction Committee for TOTN, soliciting local and national businesses for monetary sponsorships, gift certificate donations for our silent auction, and/or product donations for our 500 VIP gift bags.  It has been quite the journey, but seeing everything put together Monday night reassured me that all the sweat and tears were well worth it!  The local DC individuals and families that will benefit from the money we raised deserve it more than I may ever comprehend, so I am happy to be even a small part of the betterment of their lives.

Now on to the food!

We had 60 of DC’s top restaurants all hosting a small plate, numerous wine and cocktail bars with mixologist’s making some of their most famous concoctions – not to mention ones they made especially for this event, 2 fully stocked Belgium beer bars, and, of course, dessert table upon dessert table making all kinds of unique and decadent after dinner (or pre or during) treats.

Here are just a few pictures of the venue and tables in the museum.  The space was absolutely beautiful and fit the event wonderfully!


I had a total of 15, YES 15, small plates throughout the evening.  Unlike last year, where I can gladly say I learned my lesson, I did not completely finish any one of my plates.  I shared every single one with someone, or after getting the taste I wanted, I simply put it down.  Now, I HATE wasting food.  I specifically plan my meals during the week to make sure I waste as little food as possible, but I knew I legit wanted just a bite of everything so I had a choice…be one of the many wasteful contributors of the evening or end up gaining a couple of pounds and suffering a severe stomach ache (clearly not trying a plate was not an option).  I chose the former, and while I felt bad about it, I knew it was best for my overall well-being this time around to waste a little food.  Here are a few of the plates I tried:

Food-

Spinach latke w seared scampi

A BJT tiny burger w their famous mojo sauce

Seafood salad w linguini

Raw octopus w an avocado and aioli dressing

Duck pate w prosciutto and pickled cabbage on a crustini

Lamb stew w puréed potatoes

Mini meatballs w garlic polenta

Chilled pea soup w Greek yogurt and pine nuts

Rosemary Belgium waffle w pate and fois gras

Curry shrimp w mango chutney

Shredded lamb w tomato polenta

Drink-

Black tea infused w tequila

Ginger, tequila, and whey protein???

Cruzan rum & lemon juice

Cabernet Sauvignon

Stella Artois

Hoegaarden

Clearly that is a lot of tasting of the Nation!  Like I said, either I only ate half of the plate, shared my plate with someone else, or just had a bite off of someone else’s plate, which in the end was a perfect balance for my tummy and taste buds!

On to my favorites…

I must say that I am surprised at what my fav choices were this year.  At the top of my list, in no particular order, were Bistro Bis’s Lamb Stew – the lamb was unbelievably tender and just melted in your mouth, and combined with the potatoes and gravy, YUM.  It was the perfect combination and such comfort food!  Next, was Belga’s Belgium waffle and fois gras – whattta combo!  It was like a savory dessert w a real meal feel.  Hello, it was basically one of the most delic carbs known to man and straight fat, how could that taste bad?!  Last, but definitely not least (I don’t think there is a least), was the chilled Pea Soup.  Maybe because I wasn’t expecting to love it so much, but the combo of the yogurt and pine nuts in it was such a delic surprise!  And it had such a fresh taste to it, def a welcome to my palette.

I didn’t overwhelm myself w desserts this year either (such a thumbs up for me).  I carefully chose one of Georgetown Cupcakes’ famous creations.  They didn’t have too big of a selection which I loved since I have such a hard time making food decisions! Between the double chocolate, vanilla crème, chocolate-hazelnut, and chocolate-peanut butter options, the choc/pb def won out, and it surpassed all my expectations!  There was a surprise chocolate lava liquid inside the cupcake which just oozed when I bit into it.  And the pb icing was the perfect fluffy, airiness that it tasted like a little piece of whipped heaven on top! It hit the spot and satisfied me enough that I didn’t even want to try other desserts b/c I just knew they wouldn’t live up.  Plus, there wasn’t one other dessert that I felt was calling my name.  I must admit that it was a really great feeling to tell myself that I could have any other dessert (or food) in the building, and that my higher consciousness knew that I was really satisfied w what I had and didn’t feel the need to binge on all the food in sight just because I could!  I also knew that I would want to save up room for some drinks w my friends since it was my last night hanging out in DC with all of them 😦  All about a balance right?!

I may have overdone it a little w the post event drinks, but it ended up being such a great time with all my friends and coworkers that I just didn’t want it to end!  Starting at 7 pm and ending at 1 am on a Monday evening is just necessary in special circumstances, and this night was definitely one of them!

Cheers to Taste of the Nation, great causes, and great friends!



Check out www.tasteofthenation.org to find one near you!  For what you get out of the evening, it was definitely worth every penny spent on a ticket.  And remember it is for a good cause!

I like big buns…

12 Apr

So even though I am no longer employed and no longer have to face the dreaded Sunday night blues, there is just something about a relaxing Saturday that cannot be beat.  I normally wake up, any day of the week really, and methodically plan out my day…

What’s for breakfast?

When am I running?

What do I HAVE to do today?

I have really tried to stop this planning mentality because I know it just adds unnecessary anxiety and takes away from the spontaneous enjoyment of life!  So this Saturday, to begin my full-on mental relaxation break, I just stopped these thoughts as soon as they started to enter my head.  I was mildly successful in doing it, but hey, it’s a start!

I spent the morning sleeping in a little later than usual.  When I woke up, I started my day with a delicious breakfast of Plain Fage Yogurt with a Chocolate Vitatop mixed in and a hazelnut and vanilla coffee on the side (sorry no pic).  An addition of the sun and 65 degrees wasn’t bad either!  Throughout the day, I leisurely started organizing my closet into “what to bring home” and “what to leave in DC”.  Since I am leaving the majority of my furniture in my apartment  in DC until I officially move to Philadelphia (trust me it is much more economical than moving everything twice!), I don’t have to bring everything home, and have to figure out what I NEED over the next couple months versus what I just want.  I was able to complete my entire closet, which as you can see is quite a feat!  I was also able to box up a few things and clean out my entire dresser and desk!  This put a serious dent in my Packing To Do list.  What a productive Saturday for being so unplanned!

To reward myself for such a great job myself and the boyfriend, Patrick, headed over to our favorite little sandwich/salad place called Big Buns.  I don’t know how this became our sammy place exactly, but we went on whim one day and we’re just so enthralled with #1 the name Big Buns, the whole process of putting our own custom sammies or salads together, and the fact  that I got one of those nifty Buy 9 Buns, Get 1 Bun free.  Clearly these cards are everywhere, really aren’t that great of a deal, and are just given out to make you come again, but this time around it worked!  This weekend was a big deal because we got out 9th Bun on Saturday and finally got 1 free.  Whatta success!  It was 100% worth the repetitive weekend lunches to make this 1 happen.  As usual it was delicious even though they got Patrick’s order wrong 😦

I got a Portobello mushroom grilled on a whole wheat bun with swiss cheese, jalapenos, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, and honey mustard on the side.  It was GINORMOUS but every bit a.m.a.z.i.n.g.

Patrick got a burger on a whole wheat bun (yea for whole wheat!), pepperjack cheese, pickles, roasted red peppers, and onion rings on it.  What a man burger!  He originally ordered all this with grilled chicken, but got the burger instead 😦  He still said it was delicious and lived up to his expectations.

All done & stuffed!

My Saturday finished with helping Patrick do some of his grad school homework and later heading out to meet up with a few friends at a bar called Irish Channel Pub in Chinatown (are you as confused by this mix as I am?), which was a great success!  I will definitely miss all my DC friends when I leave so I want to enjoy their company while I can 🙂

Tonight is DC’s Taste of the Nation which I have been volunteering on a committee for since November.  I am so excited to see our hard work finally culminate in tonight’s event and also happy to have it over with!  I can’t wait to share details with you about it tomorrow, but I MUST run now since I am already behind schedule.

Do you ever find yourself planning out your entire day/week/life to an annoying extent?  How do you just stop?!