Date Night: Cooking Class

Y’all I survived my first week of grad school!! I was absolutely exhausted after the week but am so happy about my decision to go back to school to become a Registered Dietitian. I wouldn’t be able to do this without my supportive husband so I thought I would share a fun date idea!

My husband and I typically don’t do gifts for our anniversary, we would rather do something fun together. For our first anniversary we saw “Book of Mormon,” for our second anniversary we went and got massages, for our third anniversary we were just happy that we were able to leave our 2.5 month old baby with my sister to go out to dinner for the night and for our fourth anniversary we decided to take a cooking class at Central Market.

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Central Market (for those of you that aren’t familiar with it) is an AMAZING grocery store. It is definitely my favorite place to stock up on groceries for the family. They have an amazing produce section, butcher, bakery, cheese, coffee and wine/beer section. They also have an area with already prepared foods that you can purchase and heat up at home. They also do cooking classes throughout the month. The class we signed up for was titled Hatch Steakhouse since it was during the Hatch Chile festival at Central Market (best 2 weeks to shop at Central Market).

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When we arrived at the class, they had a little appetizer of chips, salsa and queso out for everyone to enjoy, as well as water and tea. Once we started cooking, they began pouring the wine. We then began to learn some cooking skills. Not only do they teach you how to make all the recipes but they give you random tidbits of information regarding knife skills and why you sometimes mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately from each other.

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Learning how to cook

This class was JAM PACKED with so much different food. Strangely, my favorite thing wasn’t the steak or the potatoes it was this zucchini side dish we made (Calabacitas). We actually have made it at home twice now – really easy and delicious. As a future RD I’m always trying to get in some more veggies!

Both my husband and I would highly recommend these classes to anyone interested in doing one. It is a great date night – you get both food and entertainment! The classes typically start around 6:30 and end around 9:30. The food is definitely high quality and who knows, you may actually learn a recipe that you want to recreate at home. Cooking classes are also really fun to do as a Girls Night. The only negative (in my opinion) to these classes, is that some of the recipes really are so complex that I personally wouldn’t recreate them at home but it is probably nice for the “more advanced” home chefs to learn some more challenging recipes.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

Marathon training starts in about two weeks!

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Run Fast Eat Slow

I am currently wiping crumbs off of my face from inhaling two sweet potato cookies from Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky’s cookbook, Run Fast Eat Slow. I am NOT a cook, I repeat I am NOT a cook and have found the recipes in this book really easy to manage. I thought since I am enjoying this cookbook so much, I would share it with everyone.

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I received this book on Monday evening and have tried 5 recipes and have plans to try another tomorrow and the beet smoothie tomorrow after my workout as I have the beet roasted and ready to throw into my Blendtec.

Since this is my last week of summer, I am trying to take advantage of the time and prep some food for myself and my family for the next week (especially since we have family in town this weekend and won’t be able to do any weekend prep). While flipping through the cookbook (and knowing my schedule for the week), the breakfast recipes appealed to me the most. I LOVE breakfast and could pretty much eat it for lunch and dinner too. Once I received the book and flipped through it (I had marked the recipes I wanted to try first), I went back and made a grocery list to get the ingredients I didn’t already have. One of my favorite things about this book is that the ingredient lists are not a mile long, they are doable and don’t make you scared to try the recipe because it requires so many ingredients. After my grocery shopping, the first thing I did was turn on the ovens and throw a beet in to roast it and a sweet potato to roast it. Next, I threw some beans in a pot of water to soak overnight so that I could make the Spicy Black Bean recipe the next day. That is the only “negative” to this book — having to really plan ahead if you want to create a specific recipe (definitely read through the recipes before starting, some of them suggest letting the mixture sit for a few hours or even overnight) but definitely not a good reason to NOT get the book!

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The first recipe that really caught my eye was the Superhero Muffins! I have been on a muffin kick and this recipe seemed like a healthier alternative to the sugary blueberry muffins I have been consuming. They are DELICIOUS and call for a cup of grated carrots and a cup of grated zucchini, so there are veggies hidden in there. My 14 month old kept begging for bites of my muffin – that’s how good they are.

Next, I prepared the museli , which is a recipe that needs to sit overnight, it really reminds me of overnight oats. It was another winner and really easy to grab and put in a bowl for a quick, easy breakfast.

The next day, after the beans soaked, I threw the beans and the other ingredients into the crockpot to make the Spicy Black Beans. These are tasty by themselves but I needed them to make the Breakfast Burritos! What I liked about the breakfast burrito recipe was that it told me how to put them together and suggested freezing the remaining burritos and how long they should go in the microwave to defrost.

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Finally, I made the sweet potato cookies and they were AMAZING. I inhaled two of them as soon as they came out of the oven. My husband inhaled two as soon as he got home from work. I can’t wait to see the little one’s reaction to these. They will be a great snack for her.

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While I do not have gluten or dairy intolerance, a lot of the recipes are gluten free and/or dairy free. I know this will appeal to a lot of people. I am also trying to figure out how to get better at food prepping (especially with classes starting next week) and this book offers random tips regarding what recipes are good to put in the freezer or how to prep something ahead of time. For the sweet potato cookies, a sweet potato puree is required. The book suggests throwing an extra sweet potato in the oven whenever you are making them and make the puree ahead of time. Also, I am a Shalane fan so I love all the stories/anecdotes that are with each recipe. It is also interesting how at the end of the cookbook, it lists common running ailments and what recipes could possibly help with this problem due to the nutrients included in the recipe.

Pros – DELICIOUS recipes, each recipe doesn’t call for a million ingredients, all the recipes are formed from whole foods, the final product is filling and satisfying, my husband and kiddo are enjoying everything as much as I am!

Cons – Some of the prep can be time consuming and/or have to sit for a little while before you can finish the recipe, it took me a little while to find some of the ingredients in our grocery store (I couldn’t find spelt flour — anyone know where to find that?).

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Cooking like Mama

Everyone – go buy this book and start cooking! I am so impressed with how good these recipes are and will let y’all know how other things I make turn out. I plan on trying the Bison Greek Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries next week! Oh, and I’ll let you know how that beet smoothie is too.

Any cookbooks you are a big fan of?

Any food prep tips? I will have to pack a lunch for me and the little everyday!

Did you watch Shalane run her heart out in the marathon on Sunday?! I was so inspired by her, Desi and Amy!

 

Olympic Track & Field Trials 2016

How was everyone’s weekend? In Dallas, we are all just surviving right now. August is the WORST month to live here, it is so hot and it just seems like it isn’t ever going to end. All runs are hot and sweaty no matter how early you get up but fall will be here soon (at least that is what I keep telling myself).

I thought it would be fun to write a little about our trip to Eugene to watch the USA Olympic Track and Field Trials! This trip is one that my mom and I have always said we have wanted to go on. So, when the tickets went on sale last summer, we went ahead and bought them and rented a house in Eugene, OR. It seemed so crazy when the trip finally got here and it was even more fun than we thought it would be!

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We are at Hayward Field! The ergo was the BEST for this trip!

We flew in on the first day of the trials and managed to make it just in time to see the races that evening. Hayward Field is just an AMAZING place to watch track and field. All the fans seem to know what is going on on the track and really appreciate what all the athletes are doing. My favorite races were the women’s 800 (go Fast Kate), the men’s 5K (LAGAT), the women’s 3K steeple and both 1500 finals! It was so fun getting to watch all the rounds of races and Jim and Mackenzie really enjoyed watching the pole vault! We were so sad when the races were over. As a non-track fan, my husband really enjoyed the trials! It was fun seeing the track fan come out in him and see him get excited for the different events. It is inspiring watching people accomplish a dream they have been working years to accomplish. I also love how it is all about how well you do on that DAY — there is no judging, it is who ran to the finish line the fastest, jumped the furthest or threw the furthest.

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Watching some track! Mackenzie somehow fell asleep during the action.

What is great about the trials is that it is broken up into 8 days of competition, most days only last a few hours which was great. We didn’t feel like we spent our entire day at the track and we were excited to go out there every day. 6 of the 8 days we managed to go to Prince Picklers for Ice Cream before the trials. Prince Picklers is a MUST DO if you are ever in Eugene. My favorite flavor was mint oreo.

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Mackenzie LOVED Prince Pucklers

What I would highly recommend if you are thinking about going to the trials:

  • Rent a House — you have to be there for awhile if you want to see all the events, so having a house to stay in is key!
  • Get tickets in one of grand stands — this way you are in the shade if it is super sunny or covered if it is raining (both of these things occurred while we were in Eugene)
  • Go to social runs! It is a great way to meet other runners and have someone show you were to run!
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We “ran with” Lauren Fleshman

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Mackenzie and I met Nick Symmonds!

Since the track races were typically in the afternoon, we would go run in the mornings – it was so great running in the cooler weather. We did a couple runs from the house that we rented, went and ran on Pre’s Trail one morning, the Adidas Amazon trail, ran to Pre’s Rock and we did a Picky Bars social run (met Lauren Fleshman SO COOL) and a Brooks social run! Lots of running was done!

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Pre’s Rock

We also ran a 10K on the Fourth of July called Butte to Butte, it was really fun and there were SO MANY Oiselle singlets out there. My husband was a rock star and pushed the baby the entire race! I would definitely recommend this race to anyone traveling into Eugene over the Fourth of July. We just ran it “for fun” but it is definitely a competitive race if you want to go for time. Traveling with our bob stroller was definitely mandatory for this trip — the baby lovesssss to run!

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Me and my Wee Bird after the Butte to Butte 10K

I had the opportunity to meet a few of my Oiselle teammates while we were there! So fun meeting people that I feel like I have known for awhile in real life and not just on social media. Oiselle really brings together an amazing group of women from all over the United States of all different ages, running abilities and professions. My mom and I had the opportunity to attend the Oiselle Power Hour and their Track Town USA party. Oiselle knows how to throw one heck of a party! I also got to meet Kate Grace which capped off an amazing week at the trials.

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Mom and me with Kate Grace – 800M champ!

We also had two days without any track where we went wine tasting! We met up with friends from Dallas that happened to be in Oregon at the same time as us and took our daughters out wine tasting. It was actually a good activity to do with a 1 year old – she was pretty entertained with being outside and crawling around. Oregon wineries are beautiful and it was a fun activity to do while we had some “down time” in Eugene.

Finally — our favorite places to eat in Eugene were:

  • Off the Waffle — OMG — AMAZING. The waffles themselves were incredible and then were topped with amazing toppings. My personal favorite was the waffle topped with an egg and bacon. Jim’s favorite was the waffle topped with a granny smith apple and havarti cheese.
  • Vero Espresso –Really great coffee (I have have had 2 lattes both times we were there) and they had a good little breakfast of french toast and bacon!

 

What is your dream vacation??

Do you enjoy watching Track and Field?

Thinner in 30 – Week 1

I hope everyone had a great weekend! We had a wonderful weekend! I had my first run with the Luke’s Locker Half Marathon training group and had some good times and good food with friends and family — perfect little weekend! My husband and I are obsessed with “Fixer Upper” on HGTV and watched 3 episodes on our DVR this weekend — seriously how cute are Chip and Joanna Gaines?! They just make me smile. Now on to the actual topic of this blog!

Mackenzie and I go visit my mom (she only lives 45 minutes away) on Mondays and on the first Monday of the New Year, I spotted this book at her house – Thinner in 30: Small Changes That Add Up Into Big Changes in Just 30 Days by Jenna Wolfe. Jenna Wolfe used to be the fitness correspondent on the Today Show and I have always admired how fit she is and how amazing she looked during and after her pregnancy! While browsing through the book and the daily tips, I was inspired to purchase the book for myself (thank you Amazon) and start participating with my mom to make these changes. I noticed that most of the tips are things I should be doing anyways and this will just help me re-add these healthy habits to my lifestyle (if I’m not doing them already). I thought it could be a fun blog series to review these tips on a weekly basis and let you know how I am doing! As an aspiring RD, I love to incorporate more healthy habits into my daily life.

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New Book!

Week 1:

Day 1Drink 20 sips of water when you wake up in the morning – Start rehydrating immediately when you wake up! I haven’t had any trouble with this habit.

Day 2Log your Food! — I have a love/hate relationship with food logging. I can get a bit obsessive with it and love seeing all my food add up for the day but I do think it is a beating to log my food. But as Jenna mentions in the book, it will make you think twice before putting something in your mouth. I did okay with this one – I logged 5.5 out of 7 days. It definitely is crazy how quickly calories can add up though!

Day 3 – Walk 10,000 Steps a Day — Obviously taking more steps burns more calories! This will encourage me to take the dog and baby on more walks throughout the week! Days I don’t run this is definitely a challenge. I have realized that errands like the grocery store, Costco and the mall definitely help get in a lot of steps.

Day 4 – Stop Eating Simple Carbs After 6:00 pm —  I was happy to read you can still eat the healthier carbs found in beans and grains! I would say overall I FAILED with this one but plan on stepping up my no simple carb game this week!

Day 5Pick Two Exercises and Do Them 50 Times Throughout the Day – I did pretty well with this one. This is just what I needed since these abs need a little bit (errr a lot a bit) of work! I decided to do 50 ab exercises and 25 pushups a day – I thought 50 pushups may be a bit too many to start with.

Day 6Redo How You Chew — Chew each bite 20 times before swallowing! FAIL – I will start doing this on Monday! I imagine this habit will help me make sure I stop eating when I’m actually full.

Day  7Adjust Your Expectations — Basically don’t expect to lose weight quickly and stay mentally tough with the program! I feel like I learned this lesson throughout the Whole Life Challenge. Patience Patience Patience is the key.

I would definitely recommend purchasing the book as there are great tips and explanations to go with each change. Jenna has exercises to go with Day 5 and really explains WHY she has included each of the steps that she has.

Anyone else doing some sort of get healthy program now that it is January? Any suggestions?

San Francisco and Napa Vacation Part 1

EEEK! It’s been way too long since I last posted — summer school took up a lot more time than I had originally anticipated. It also didn’t help my marathon training progress but that is a post for another day! I want to get this post up about our SF and Napa vacation before I forget all the details! This trip is one of my favorite trips that my husband and I have been on – I highly recommend this trip to all people that enjoy eating and drinking wine 🙂

When I decided to quit my job and go back to school, my husband and I decided to take a vacation during my week and a half of downtime. We had tried to go to San Francisco/Napa back over New Year’s at the start of 2013 but it ended up being a little bit of a disaster of a trip. The moment we landed in San Francisco, my husband started feeling sick but “toughed it out” (his words, not mine) to go out that evening for NYE and then go exploring on New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, after a dinner in China Town that evening, he got TERRIBLE food poisoning so we had to cancel our wine tour and hang out at the hotel all day. When we returned from the trip (after flight delays of course), we got to our car and the battery was dead, and then finally made it home and it was 42* in our house because our heat had went out! Needless to say, we needed to go back!

We left on Wednesday and landed in San Francisco that evening and headed straight to the Westin St. Francis — we absolutely loved this hotel! Great location, great service and our room was really nice w/a great view. Once we got checked in and changed, we headed over to Harris’ – The San Francisco SteakHouse. We were really excited for this dinner as my husband has really been wanting to take me to a nice steakhouse. Unfortunately, the food was horrible! We had a great time together but the only part of my meal I enjoyed was my salad. My steak (along with my husband’s) very poorly cooked and the quality of meat was not up to par. Overall it was a very disappointing experience food wise — the service was great but for the price we paid for our dinner, it definitely was NOT worth it. 

Thursday, we slept in and got in a quick workout and then walked to go get some breakfast. We had a really great breakfast and the most amazing lattes!

Beautiful, Delicious Latte

Beautiful, Delicious Latte


After breakfast, we walked over to the San Francisco Giants Stadium, we got so lucky that the Giants were playing a day game on Thursday! They were playing the Cardinals, we got really great seats using http://www.seatgeek.com — and really enjoyed ourselves. It was a gorgeous day and it is so crazy how the ballpark is right on the water!

Gorgeous Ballpark

Gorgeous Ballpark

The crowd was great and even though beers cost $10.25 each, we loved it ha. I really enjoy baseball games and checking out other ballparks but it definitely isn’t as fun as watching my Mariners. 

Jim and myself in front of AT&T park

Jim and myself in front of AT&T park

After the game, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit before heading off to Bourbon and Branch which is a Speakeasy. We had to have a reservation and a password to get into the Speakeasy and they had a set of “rules” to follow which included no cameras so I couldn’t get any pictures of the DELICIOUS cocktails we had. Both of us really enjoyed this and then went and had a great Italian meal afterwards!

Waiting outside Bourbon and Branch

Waiting outside Bourbon and Branch

Friday was our last day in San Francisco, we woke up (late due to me) and went running over the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, it was incredibly foggy but it was still beautiful and a fun touristy thing to do while getting in a run!

Golden Gate Bridge Running

Golden Gate Bridge Running

After our run, we wanted to revisit this place where we had a really incredible breakfast on our last trip to San Francisco — the Taylor Street Coffee Shop. It was just as incredible as we remembered! The millionaire bacon is so delicious – sweet and savory all at the same time. I had swedish pancakes and fruit and my husband had the fisherman’s hash (we split the bacon) both were paired with freshly squeezed orange juice. It was the perfect meal before getting in the car and heading to Napa!

Millionaire bacon & fruit plate

Millionaire bacon & fruit plate


Jim's fisherman's hash

Jim’s fisherman’s hash


Posing with my pancakes

Posing with my pancakes

Next up a post about Napa — hopefully it won’t be a month before I post it!

What is one of your favorite vacations you have been on?
What is your favorite thing to do on vacation?

Date Night in Dallas: HG Sply Co and Steel City Pops

First — thank you to everyone for your sweet comments on my previous blog post! It was amazing to see that kind of support for my goal of becoming an RD! I’m definitely ready to get started on it! Today is my last day at work which is crazy! I’ll miss my co-workers but I definitely know I am making the right decision in going back to school. Now, on to the blog post for the day!

My husband and I try to go on date nights every so often. It is a fun way to make sure we have good conversations, have no distractions (tv, work, phones) and just get out and enjoy each other’s company! Lately my favorite place to go for either date night or a girls dinner is HG Sply Co for dinner and walk next door to Steel City Pops for dessert!

Strip on Greenville Ave with HG Sply Co and Steel City Pops

Strip on Greenville Ave with H&G Sply Co and Steel City Pops

HG Sply Co. is a restaurant based on the paleo diet. HG stands for Hunt and Gather, it was created to have simple clean food, classic drinks, and humble hospitality — which it does! Not everything on the menu is paleo but there are plenty of paleo options and everything is pretty much fresh, local and the best part — DELICIOUS.

A list of some of the local ingredients used at HG.

A list of some of the local ingredients used at HG.


We started with the ginger garlic hummus that came with cucumber, red bell pepper, granny smith apples, jicama, cauliflower and bacon chips (yes BACON). It was fabulous — it had a unique flavor to it and tasted extremely fresh with the fruit and veggies. The bacon was definitely a delicious touch. We are also fans of getting the nachos for an appetizer but decided to go a little healthier this time around.
Delicious hummus plate -- check out the bacon!

Delicious hummus plate — check out the bacon!


We both also started with a cocktail — we decided on the Moscow Mule (my personal favorite cocktail right now). They have a ton of different cocktail options and even have some infused liquors that they can make some specialty cocktails with. For you CrossFit lovers out there they even have a couple cocktails named after CrossFit moves like the Double Under!
Cheers! I love how Moscow Mules always come in copper cups.

Cheers! I love how Moscow Mules always come in copper cups.


Besides having great cocktails and appetizers, Monday-Friday at HG Sply Co they have a sunset toast. This is where they give out a free sample of a drink and thank everyone for coming while toasting to the day. When I went for a friend’s birthday they even announced it was her birthday and toasted in her honor! It is a nice touch to a restaurant that is always full.
Cheers!

Cheers!


We both really enjoyed our dinner, I had the Tex Mex Bowl, my husband had the ribs. Both of us were really satisfied without being overly full. Every dish I’ve had has been amazing but the Tex Mex Bowl is definitely my favorite — the egg just adds an extra touch!
Tex Mex Bowl

Tex Mex Bowl


Ribs with Fries

Ribs with Fries


My tips for HG Sply are — MAKE A RESERVATION, it is impossible to get a table inside without one without a long wait. You may be able to get a table at the bar but if you know you want to eat there, make a reservation. They do have the rooftop bar that does serve a limited menu as well if you don’t have a reservation. Cilantro is on almost EVERYTHING. If you don’t like cilantro make sure to request your dish without cilantro as it isn’t listed in the descriptions for most dishes. Have dinner around 6 or 6:30 so you can enjoy the sunset toast during the week. It is a fun little touch and a free drink! After dinner we headed up to the roof to check out the scene – it is a great place to enjoy a drink and they help combat the heat with numerous fans and shaded areas.
Great view of downtown

Great view of downtown


They normally have live music playing on the rooftop

They normally have live music playing on the rooftop

Herb garden growing on the roof

Herb garden growing on the roof


Finally it is time for dessert! We walked next-door to Steel City Pops. The entire shop is popsicles! They have fruit pops and creamy pops — both are equally delicious.
Lots of choices!

Lots of choices!


Both of us went with a fruit based popsicle — I had watermelon, Jim had pineapple jalepeno.
Delicious! Sitting outside on one of the many benches they have outside the shop.

Delicious! Sitting outside on one of the many benches they have outside the shop.


I’ve now had five different flavors at Steel City Pops and they have all been delicious. It is the perfect treat on a hot summer day! I highly recommend trying out the HG Sply Co and Steel City Pop combination — it really is the perfect date!

Do you and your significant other have regular date nights?
Any date night suggestions?
What is your favorite treat on a hot summer day?