Wintergreen Weekend

Last weekend we had a nice, relaxing trip to Wintergreen. Craig’s dad owns a condo there, so we try to go when it’s not rented in the off season, which works well for us since we don’t ski or snowboard!

We left Friday after work (and brought Marlee), and went to Wild Wolf for dinner. They have a great outside area that allows dogs and they serve local food, which I love. I got a burger with local beef and they make their own buns, and I had their homemade chips on the side. We even caught a little bit of a sunset behind the surrounding mountains.

Saturday morning we got up and made breakfast – sausage, eggs, and sweet potatoes (purple and white). I got ground pork from the farmer’s market and we added spices to make breakfast sausage. I will definitely have to do that more often – so delicious.

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Then we ventured out to go on a hike. We chose White Rock Gap, which was about 10 miles from Wintergreen off the Blue Ridge Parkway.We decided to make it a 5 mile hike. It was 1.4 miles to the waterfall and then another mile to the overlook.

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The first part of the trail was relatively easy. It was slightly downhill to start. We came to the waterfall and someone had fun running in the water!

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After the waterfall it became difficult as it went straight up. Then we finally made it the the overlook! We stopped and for snacks and a little break before turning around to go back. Marlee had so much fun! I can’t decide if she likes hiking or the beach more – she goes crazy for both.

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After the hike we went to Bold Rock for drinks and apps. The views are amazing, and their cider is my all time favorite. We got a cheese plate and a pretzel – all local and so good.

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On the way back we stopped at Devil’s Backbone for a quick drink then headed back up the mountain. We made pizza for dinner with chicken on top and we had broccoli and carrots on the side. I forgot flour so the dough was hard to work with but fortunately turned out okay. All in all a great weekend, and we will hopefully spend a bunch of time there this summer!

Healthy Eats and Adventures in the Snow

We’re snowed in thanks to Winter Storm Jonas! I worked from home on Friday, and it came in strong and snowed until last night with some sleet in between. I did a little bit of baking and cooking and will do some more today.

Yesterday I woke up and made some whole wheat biscuits using this recipe. I used coconut oil instead of butter but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. I’ve been trying to eat a bit more balanced, and this was my first time baking with whole wheat flour. They turned out great!

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And then we made breakfast biscuits with local eggs and bacon, and a little bit of cheese from Whole Foods. Delicious.

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Of course I needed to make something sweet. I wanted chocolate and to try something new, so I found this great recipe for no bake brownie batter using oat flour. It was tough not to eat them all at once!

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By the time evening came we wanted to get out, so we decided to make the trek to The Grill, a local bar and grill. It’s about a mile away, and we walk there often. The walk in the snow is a bit more difficult though.. It was great to get a little exercise and see other people! It was packed; I think it was the only place open. We got a couple beers, and I got grilled chicken with brie.

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Did you see the icicles at the Grill? We have some major ones at our house too. And Marlee loves the snow! So much fun.

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Are you snowed in? Have you ventured out?

Weekend Recap: DC & The Caps

We had a great weekend in DC! We got to see family, friends and an awesome hockey game. We left early Sunday to catch brunch with my aunt in Arlington. I had a delicious omelet with spinach, tomatoes, and bacon along with some potatoes and fruit. After that we met up with friends at Churchkey and then moved on to the Iron Horse for the Redskins game. We won’t talk about the Skins’ loss but I have found my new game: shuffle board. So fun! I love when bars have games. I played some skee ball too. From there we went to the Verizon Center for the Caps game.

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I won the lottery at work and got amazing tickets in the second row. They were also VIP so we enjoyed some food too. I had a flatbread with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. I had never been to a professional hockey game; there’s so much energy and excitement. We also got to see Ovi score his 500th goal, which was crazy. The place erupted and the game stopped. The team rejoiced together and then Ovi went out on the ice alone (pictures below).

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Intuitive Eating Review

Nutrition is fascinating to me. I’ve been learning so much and feel like I know so little. I just finished reading Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, both Registered Dietitians. The book has definitely challenged my thinking, which I love.

The authors also have a website, which outline the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating (listed below as well). These are my key takeaways and personal responses, but I highly recommend reading the book to anyone interested.

Intuitive eating is all about your relationship with food. When I first read this, I thought it seemed kind of silly to think about your relationship with food. The more I read, though, the more it makes complete sense and is so true. It also teaches you to listen to your body and your biological hunger. This seems simple, but it’s not because not many people actually do this (including me!).

10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

  1. Reject the diet mentality. This is what it says. No more dieting! For some time I haven’t liked diets and cringe when I hear about someone counting calories or doing a shake diet. What I didn’t realize was that I had a diet mentality by thinking of certain foods as good or bad.
  2. Honor your hunger. Eat when you’re hungry. Seems simple, right? Well it takes time and practice to learn to listen to your body to know when you are biologically hungry. When we get to a “starving” feeling, we will often overeat and no longer be aware of what and how much we’re eating. This happened to me yesterday. I had to fast before going to the doctor for my annual physical, and even though I brought extra food with me, it wasn’t enough. By the time I got home from work I was so hungry and ate half a box of Triscuits.
  3. Make peace with food. This is scary. It means giving yourself unconditional permission to eat any food without guilt. When we deprive ourselves from a certain food, it leads to cravings and ultimately binge eating (followed by guilt of course). This is especially hard for me because in the past my dieting has been to control my migraines. What I realized, though, is that I became scared to eat certain foods. By changing my diet, I drastically reduced my headaches, but I don’t know what the cause was. I do see the need to make peace with food, though, because there have definitely been times where I’ve “gone off the grid” and eaten all things that I “wasn’t allowed to.” The result for me was headaches, which was reinforcement to be obedient to my diet. Over the past few months I have gradually added things back in and now I am even more, in a controlled way, and paying attention to how I’m feeling from eating these foods.
  4. Challenge the food police. This is the voice in your head telling you what is good and bad,that you are doing well for obeying or you’re bad for caving in. In order to have a healthy relationship with food, this voice must be quieted. I am much more aware not only of my thoughts but thoughts of others that they share out loud. It’s striking how much the food police comes up in conversation; I can’t imagine what all is going through other people’s heads. Everyone has slightly different rules too. If I analyzed ten different sets of rules that people follow, there wouldn’t be anything left to eat! This is also hard because I want to “set a good example.” But what’s a good example? Being human and showing that you can eat anything and still achieve your health goals!
  5. Respect your fullness. Just as we must eat when we’re biologically hungry, we should stop eating when we’re full. Common sense? Not exactly. What’s full, and how can you tell? We know that the “I feel sick” is too much, but can you take a break from eating to listen to your body? It’s pretty tough. I practiced this the other night out to dinner. We got two apps and split a small pizza. I definitely could have finished my half of the pizza, but I stopped for a minute and then decided to take it home. And I was so excited to have it as a snack the next day!
  6. Discover the satisfaction factor. This is getting pleasure from eating. I love it. Too often I eat in front of the TV or standing in the kitchen while unloading the dishwasher or at my desk at work. Distractions. Even if I’m on the couch or at my desk I’ve found that I can pay attention more closely as I’m eating to really enjoy it, and it’s fun. Man I love food. I’m also finding that there’s some food I’ve been eating that I don’t love so much. I would take an apple pretty much everyday. I like apples a lot, but I got sick of them. So I’d eat my apple and then look for another snack because I wasn’t satisfied. Now I’m just bringing one afternoon snack that I know will satisfy me.
  7. Honor your feelings without using food. Why is it that eating has become a response to coping with emotions? I don’t know why, but it certainly has. I definitely eat at times from boredom, or if I’m in a bad mood I want to eat something that tastes good. I distinctly remember a few years back going to the doctor and having to get stitches, and then afterward I rewarded myself with Chick-fil-A to “feel better.” Feelings and our responses to them are different for everyone, but food definitely won’t solve whatever is causing our emotions.
  8. Respect your body. Everyone has a different body type and shape, and we have to come to terms with that. We must have realistic expectations and be happy with who we are! I think everyone at times can be critical of ourselves and our bodies. There are days where I feel bigger or things about myself that I don’t like, but I focus on the stuff I do like and have come to terms with what I don’t.
  9. Exercise – feel the difference. I love this one (and not just because I love exercising). The focus here is to pay attention to how you feel when you exercise. Too many times I’ve exercised because I know I should, or I don’t exercise because I don’t have enough time and “it’s not worth it.” But when you focus on the energy you get, how you’re sleeping, and other benefits, that’s much more motivating. It’s been hard for me being inactive right now because of my hip and knee pain, but I can be walking and still experience the benefits from that. We can also incorporate activity into our daily lives. One striking example from the book was that if we opt for the stairs at work and it take 5 minutes twice a day, that’s 43 hours of activity that we otherwise wouldn’t be getting in a year.
  10. Honor your health – gentle nutrition. This is about making food choices that honor your health while still honoring what tastes good to you. There’s a reason this is last, and it’s so you can become an intuitive eater without feeling the need to be “healthy.” For me I already had some healthy eating habits, so I felt ready for this, although I’m still learning so much about nutrition and what’s best for me. They talk about how one snack, meal, or even one day of eating will not make a big impact on your overall health. What matters is what you eat over time. They also use the 90/10 as guidance (I’ve also heard of people following 80/20) of health food versus play food.

Overall I am far more aware than I ever have been before. I’m not sure if or when I can call myself an intuitive eater, but I’m definitely on the path!

Happy New Year!

2016! Everyone says time flies, but it is so true. I’m not much for resolutions, but I do want to slow down and enjoy all the coming year has to offer.

Three years ago on New Year’s Eve Craig and I met! Even though the holiday isn’t my favorite, that makes it a bit more fun. This year we went out to dinner at Pasture with two friends and then went to another friend’s house to ring in the new year.

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Pasture is so delicious! We decided to get a bunch of apps and then Craig and I split an entree. We enjoyed every bite! We started with the pimento cheese and house cured ham, spicy pork meatballs, ham cured ribs (not pictured), and brussel sprouts with pecans.

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For our entree we got steak and shrimp over grits. They used a mushroom sauce and there was some asparagus in there too. We ate every last bite.

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Today I’m reflecting on a great 2015:

  • Traveled to 16 cities
  • Partied at 5 weddings
  • Ran my first half!
  • Cruised to the Bahamas
  • Coached soccer
  • Moved into our first house
  • Saw Zac Brown Band at Nats Stadium
  • Kayaked the New River in Boone
  • Welcomed Craig’s niece into the world
  • Listened to great tunes in Nashville
  • Started this blog 🙂

How are you reflecting on 2015? What are some highlights?

Holiday Recap

I can’t believe Christmas is over! Everyone said it didn’t feel like Christmas because of the warm weather, but growing up I spent Christmas in Florida visiting my grandma so I didn’t mind the warm weather one bit. It went by so quickly though, and I can’t believe it’s almost 2016.

I got to make some treats for the holidays, which are all long gone now. My sweet tooth never fails, and these were fantastic. I made peanut butter blossoms that I talked about here along with chocolate turtles using dates and chocolate peanut butter balls. YUM!

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It’s great having both Craig and my families in town, and this year we decided to not see everyone on Christmas (our live Four Christmases like the movie). Having Christmas on Friday is great, though, because we had all weekend to see everyone!

Christmas Eve we had a big feast at Craig’s mom and stepdad’s. We had beef tenderloin with gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes (that we brought), green beans, black eyed peas (love them), and bread. Craig’s mom makes the best pound cake, so we took a piece home to share. We spent the night at our house and woke up Christmas morning to exchange gifts. Marlee got her gifts first..

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Then off to my mom’s for brunch! We have a tradition in my family to eat ham gravy on Christmas with Smithfield country ham, which I love. My mom’s dad taught her to make it, and now that I think about it I need to learn how! We stayed there for a bit and then came back to our house Christmas evening, and saw the rest of our families over the weekend.

And for gift highlights.. I don’t know how to highlight just some because they were all so great!

  • Frye boots (from Craig) – could not love them (or him) more!
  • Pyrex snapware – cooking means food storage and so does packing lunch everyday; these are sooo great
  • Hiking shoes – I’m so eager to hike more but have to wait until my knee heals more (I’m tired of waiting!) and these will be great for our Cali trip in April
  • Lunch bag – I desperately needed a new one and this is so cute! Love all my Scout stuff

What food and gifts did you enjoy this year?

Weekend Recap: King’s Arms Tavern

The weekend before Christmas means lots of family time! I had a great time on Saturday with my family, and then on Sunday we were with Craig’s family. They have a tradition of going to dinner at King’s Arms Tavern, which is located in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg.

The restaurant is in an old house with the old time feel. Dinner was by candlelight and the servers were dressed in the garb from colonial times. Beer was served in huge ceramic mugs, which was fun. They had my favorite cider – Bold Rock! Craig and I split their famous peanut soup, and then I had the most delicious salad with toasted almonds and goat cheese. For the main course I got “Hunter’s Game Pye.” Think chicken pot pie except with rabbit, venison, and duck. I ate about half and then took the rest home because it was heavy but so good. We walked around some while we still had some light, and they even had a garden out back!

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Weekly Recap: Spicy Wings and Peanut Butter Cookies

So many good recipes this week! It’s hard to pick just a couple to share. I think the highlight would have to be wings. I pinned a bunch of wing recipes SO LONG AGO but still hadn’t tried cooking them, which I can’t believe. I used this recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo for Jalepeno Lime Chicken Wings. I used a habanero instead of jalepenos and man was it spicy and so delicious. I have so many habaneros (and jalepenos) in my freezer that I got from my co-worker this summer. I absolutely love having them on hand, and they thaw quickly. We grilled the wings since we’ve been having nicer weather (and added a few other things to the grill too!). We split the sausage link that we got from the farmer’s market and had broccoli on the side. That was the first time we grilled broccoli, and we’ll definitely be grilling it again.

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We’re on a roll for trying new fish – might have to try another new one next week. This week we had mahi mahi and used a Maple Cajun recipe found here from All Recipes. We still had cajun seasoning leftover from last week when we made fresh tuna, which worked out perfectly.

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We made cooked some sweet potatoes in olive oil and boiled some frozen veggies to go with it. Pretty simple dinner, which is always a plus. The fish was a little more juicy than others, which was a nice mix up. I can’t wait to make mahi mahi tacos soon!

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Lastly I made some peanut butter cookies that were incredible. This will definitely be a regular recipe all year round. I have been eating so much cashew butter and almond butter, but I’ve missed peanut butter! And good thing because I bought a bunch of organic peanut butter from Costco. Craig and Marlee love it too… These were Flourless Vegan Peanut Butter Blossoms from Eating Bird Food. I opted for the non-Vegan option and used an egg, and I pressed them down slightly before baking using a parchment paper. I love Enjoy Life chocolate chips and was happy to find a recipe for the chunks because I usually prefer the minis 🙂

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Fitness was a bit light this week, which is hopefully a good thing for my knee. I added some additional PT exercises that increased the knee pain some, so after a painful body flow class on Monday I decided to truly take it easy and focus on my recovery. So lots of exercises, stretching, and foam rolling!

Weekend Recap: Farmer’s Market and James River Winery

Who would have thought we’d have such warm weather in December? In Richmond it got up to the mid-70s this weekend, which means spending time outside!

Saturday morning we began the day by walking to the St. Stephen’s Farmer’s Market.

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Marlee was excited that she got to come too!

It’s a little over a mile from our house, so we got lots of steps in. When we got there Craig and Marlee stayed outside because Marlee gets nervous with new places and new people. The market moves inside for the winter, so this was my first time going inside.

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I went to several different tables and ended up getting sweet potatoes, apples, kale, sausage, eggs, and gizzards (for Marlee of course). I love eating local and it’s great having a farmer’s market so close to us!

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After the farmer’s market we walked to a restaurant nearby, The Grill. I got scrambled eggs with cheese, sausage, and an english muffin (cheese and english muffin being treats for me). Craig got a sandwich with mac and cheese as a side (his favorite and something we never eat at home). Marlee was exhausted by this point so just laid down or sat next to us the whole time. And then we walked home. A successful morning!

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That afternoon we wanted to do something outside to enjoy the weather. I’ve been dying to go on a hike but need to wait until my knee and hip start feeling a bit better. So we settled on a winery (no complaints here). We have a couple in Richmond, one of which is James River Cellars Winery. Neither of us had been before so we went there with a couple friends (and Marlee of course). It’s in Hanover so just a short drive away. The house was super cute where they do tastings and sell the wine. We got a couple glasses while we were there and a couple bottles to take home!

And we caught a sunset on the way out!

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Did anyone else spend time outside this weekend?

Weekly Recap: Favorite meals and workouts

This was a great week! We usually do fairly easy dinners, and while the meals we made this week were pretty simple, some weeks are not nearly as thought out or prepared. The highlight was wild caught tuna. We usually get wild caught salmon, but sadly our local health foods grocery store has stopped carrying it for the winter. Craig wanted to get tuna and I was pretty skeptical because I’ve never had it before and I used to not like fish at all (glad I got over that picky eating). It was great though! We did a blackened tuna recipe inspired by All Recipes, and made our own Cajun seasoning also using an All Recipes recipe. We coated the fish with the seasoning and then cooked it in a cast iron skillet with coconut oil. We sauteed some broccoli to go with it, and there was our dinner.

Earlier in the week we made a Mexican Quinoa dish, which was delicious and made enough for a couple lunches (always a plus). We used this recipe and swapped out chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and used regular diced tomatoes since that’s what we had. A perfectly ripe avocado really made this dish!

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Lastly we made chicken burgers last night. We accidentally bought ground chicken instead of turkey (rookie mistake) but rolled with it and it was pretty good! Super spicy and delicious. We put some organic white cheddar cheese on top (a treat for me), baked some sweet potato chips with cayenne, and heated up some frozen veggies.

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On the fitness front I am diligently working on my strengthening and stretching exercises from PT. I’m eager to get back out there but I know it’s going to take some time to get better. In reality I’ve dealt with this injury for a long time (in case you missed it, more on that in the Richmond Race Recap). The thing that’s hard is that the exercises take so much time and feel slow, even though the core work and glute strengthening is challenging for me. I have been doing the elliptical and yoga or body flow.

This week I finally made it to Om On Yoga! It’s right around the corner and Craig got me 10 classes for my birthday (back in August). I didn’t go at first because I was training for the half and then was injured. I am so happy to have gone finally. I haven’t done yoga at a studio (only the gym and a couple places outside of Richmond). I knew it would be different, and it was in some ways. The studio was a bit smaller, which was nice, and the instructor was great. It was a vinyasa class, which I’ve done a bunch before at the gym, and I’m glad I had because otherwise I would have been lost. Some things were faster paced, and so many planks! I was sore the next day. I’m excited to have added this to my keychain and try out some other classes soon. They have a Sunday evening candlelight class, which will be super fun!

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