Beer, Mac&Cheese and Trivia

Since my parents were out of town this past weekend, Tuesday night, we celebrated Father's Day.
We headed to Rams Head Tavern in Savage, MD for Beer and Mac & Cheese. Could it get any better?
This was actually crab mac & cheese, which we ordered for the table, as our appetizer. Yes, this is how we roll.

I will admit that the mac & cheese was disappointing. It was cheesy, but tasted like they used powdered cheese for the sauce. I wanted the real stuff. Plus, it was hard to find any good lumps of crab meat in there.
For my main meal, I ordered the fish tacos and was sorry to see they threw some cole slaw on there. Umm..it did not say they came with cole slaw on the menu because I definitely wouldn't have ordered it. I had to scrape all of that mayo drenched stuff off. The fish was beer battered, but it was such a light coating - it tasted great on its own.

After dinner, we headed down to the bar for a little Trivia! I love trivia...SO fun. I am proud to say that our team was in first place for all 6 rounds. Well, except the final round where we lost on this question:

Which US State had the first National Park and the first female governor? Anyone know it without googling it?

I am skipping over Wednesday because I didn't bring along my camera to document the afternoon with my niece, Princess Jenna. Although, I don't think the pictures could do all her talking justice. She has a lot to say! :)

This morning, sfter a steamy walk in the park with Oscar, I whipped up some oats trying to clean out the cabinets and fridge. In the mix: oats, water, massive amount of blueberries, TJs PB filled pretzels (crumbs from the end of the bag), spoonful of PB, cinnamon, bee pollen.
I thought the crunched up pretzels would be great for a little salty flavor, but I didn't like them with everything else and ended up trying to pick them out. yuck.

After a 45 min session on the elliptical...lunch was a continuation of my mission to clean out the fridge of some veggies since we are leaving for the beach tonight for 10 LOVELY DAYS.
I whipped up this box of Mediterranean couscous in 5 mins flat and then topped with sauteed veggies, field greens, and reduced fat feta. Veggies in the mix were onions, carrots, yellow squash, and mushrooms.
It was a delicious, filling lunch. Off to finish packing!



Full Day

Lately, I have been on an egg kick in the mornings. But yesterday, I wanted some good old OATS. In the mix: oats, skim milk, cinnamon, bee pollen, blueberries, 1/2 banana, spoonful of natural PB.

I needed all that good energy for the hour and fifteen minute Total Conditioning class that I took with my sister at her gym (Lifetime Fitness in Columbia, MD). That gym is HUGE and AMAZING. The class completely kicked our butts - I had no idea that my body could produce that much sweat. I munched on a Peanut Butter Larabar on the way home.

This is what I saw when I walked in the door after class. Oscar was ready for his walk. For lunch, I knew I wanted to have a salad because we had SO many veggies to use up, but I wanted something HOT. I sauteed yellow squash, mushrooms, and onions in a little EVOO. Seasoned with oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Placed on top of field greens and topped with feta cheese.
Oh wait, what are those things on the side? Oven roasted potatoes. I sliced up potatoes and tossed in EVOO, salt, and pepper then baked at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes, flipping once or twice.
Later on, my sweet tooth hit me, so I combined a container of Honey Oikos Greek Yogurt, grape nuts, and blueberries. That hit the spot.
Later that night, even though my entire body hurt from Total Conditioning, Kevin convinced me to go mountain biking. It was a beautiful night - check out that sky!
Unfortunately, the trails in Patapsco were not that beautiful. They were extremely muddy from all the rain we have been getting. After falling in a mud pond and then a stream - I was irritable and ready to go home.

We stuck it out and eventually got back onto some trails that weren't as muddy - that is when it became fun again. Kevin got this video of me biking through a stream. Wheeee!

By the end, I was tired, but felt good to get back out on my mountain bike - it had been awhile. We have the Off-Road Duathlon in a few weeks, so we HAVE to get ready.
For dinner, I had made a Beef Vegetable Soup earlier in the afternoon that turned out better than expected. I say that because I just sort of threw a bunch of stuff in a pot and hoped for the best.

What Went into the Pot:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1-2 cups shredded cabbage
  • Beef Stew Cubes
  • 2 splashes of red wine
  • 1 package frozen soup vegetables (okra, green beans, corn, potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, lima beans, and peas)
  • 2 cans Hunts Tomato Sauce (14.5 oz each)
  • 2 cans Beef Broth - fat free (14.5 oz each)
  • 1 can Hunts Diced Tomatoes in Sauce (14.5 oz)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • lots of ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • a bit of dried oregano
  • a bit of dried basil
  • about 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
We picked up some cheese bread from Panera on the way home that was perfect for dunking.
I topped mine with feta cheese because I am a firm believer in that fact that cheese makes everything better. :)

Hope you are getting out there to enjoy this wonderful summer weather!



All Weekends Should Be Like This...

My weekend started the way all weekends should start. Pizza and Gelato. Seriously - is there anything better?My sister came down during the afternoon with my niece and nephew to play in the park. There is a HUGE playground. Afterwards, we headed into Fells Point to BOP (Brick Oven Pizza) for what else...pizza.Jenna's Italian roots were coming out with all the hand gestures. ;) They have a TON of choices here, but we stuck with the plain cheese. They even had a mac & cheese pizza!!?! I have to say that the pizza was just OK - not my favorite. I felt like the sauce was TOO tomatoey. I like a lighter sauce.A shot of my sister and Justin, with Jenna being camera shy. Conveniently, there was a Gelato place right next door - Pitango. (picture taken a few weeks back when Kevin I went in the evening)The cool thing about this place is that the gelato is all-natural. On the website they boast, "We use nothing artificial; no coloring, flavoring or chemicals, and no excessive fats or sugars because we believe that our customers can taste the difference." I ordered the same thing I had a few weeks back - Pistachio Gelato. I have never claimed to be an huge ice cream fan, but I ate every bite of this stuff - it was incredible. Only downfall is that you pay the price for quality stuff. It is definitely on the pricey side, but would be perfect for a splurge night or afternoon.

Immediately after they left, I headed down to visit my friend from college, who had a baby about 3 months back. Such a cute picture!We hung out for the afternoon and waited for the others to arrive before heading to Redwood in Bethesda, MD to celebrate my birthday. I love when birthdays are nice and spread out. :)
I started with the Spring Market Lettuce Salad which had asparagus, roasted baby rainbow carrots, toasted hazelnuts, chevre, and a carrot-cider vinaigrette. It was refreshing and extremely tasty.
For my main meal, I ordered the appetizer size Bacon-Macaroni & Cheese Gratin. It just sounded too good to be true, so I had to go for it. It came served in this cute mini creuset pot and was very rich. I thought it could have used a little more salt or seasoning, but over all it was good.
We had a number of drinks, but I think the most delicious drink was this white sangria with blueberries. YUM. We ordered two desserts for us all to share. My favorite was this carrot cake with a lemon cream cheese icing and caramel sauce.We also got the apple tart which was just OK. We each took turns holding Olivia, who was a perfect little lady at the restaurant.
Here is a shot of our whole table - all Susquehanna University ladies.
A little intermission for the animal talk:

Oscar and Lucy had a friend to play with this weekend - Max - my parent's black lab. He likes to climb on the couch while you are away and I caught him!! Look at that guilty, but sweet face!
The rest of the weekend was great. Saturday, we helped friends celebrate their 1 year wedding anniversary with a big party in Patapsco State Park. I didn't take one photo, but we had a great time.

Today (Sunday), Kevin and I went out on a friend's boat. My parents were out of town for the weekend, so Father's day will be celebrated this Tuesday!
A little overcast today, but the sun eventually came out and it was a great day to be out on a boat. Above is a shot of us going through "ego alley" in downtown Annapolis. It is known as ego alley because lots of expensive boats are docked there and others ride through really slow so everyone can see their boat.A very cool lighthouse in the middle of the bay - right near the bay bridge.
Sooo, I think my weekend also ended the way every weekend should end - spending the afternoon on a boat!

Pizza and Gelato, Dinner out with friends, party in the park, and a boat ride = Great Weekend!

I hope everyone had a super weekend and is having a wonderful Father's Day!



Fab Fish Tacos

The other day I marinated some fresh tilapia. The marinade went something like this:

  • 1 huge lemon, juice and zest
  • 1-2 TBSP EVOO
  • 1-2 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp capers
While Kevin grilled the fish, I put together some toppings. Shredded cabbage, chopped tomatoes, lemon, and a spicy yogurt topping.
For the spicy yogurt topping, I threw together the following:
  • 1 container OIKOS greek yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • squirt or two of Sriracha (SO spicy that it makes my nose run)
Here is the process of making a fab fish taco. Corn tortillas were brushed with EVOO and Adobo seasoning, then grilled, so they had those wonderful grill marks I love so much. Topped with the best tasting fish I have ever had. (That marinade works wonders and I let mine work overnight)A little shredded cabbage...
Chopped tomatoes...(I later picked these out because I didn't like them that much)
Spicy Yogurt sauce...
Wait! Kevin also grilled up some pineapple. yum.
It was an outstanding, light summer dinner.



Chance to Win, Banana Bread & News

I just entered to win a "Private Surf Safari for Two" on the Athleta website and I thought I would let you all know about it also.

  • Round-Trip Airfare to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Four Nights Accommodation in an Oceanfront Villa
  • Daily Private Surf Lessons
  • Daily Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
  • Daily Yoga Sessions
  • Las Olas Rashguard and Water Bottle
  • Athleta Wardrobe Valued at $1500
You only have until the end of today - 11:59pm (pacific time), so get to it. (ENTER HERE)

The only rule is that if you WIN - you have to take me with you as a "thank you" for me telling you about it. Sound good? cool. I trust you. We will both be winners.

I am wondering if anyone out there have ever bought any of their clothes? I haven't due to the expensiveness, but I get the catalog and always wish I had a couple thousand dollars sitting around for me to buy a new wardrobe from there. Seriously - everything looks so comfortable and awesome.If you are interested, click on the photo above to ready more about the company. I loved what they said and also was wondering if the six pack abs show up when you start wearing the clothes. ;)
Oh yeah and this picture pretty much "had me at hello" - cool clothes/adventure/travel - in Costa Rica? I will take it!

My only suggestion for them is to rename the company to Athleata, so they could start selling performance bars, trail mix, and other great sports-minded food products!

Anyways, while I was daydreaming about vacations and fun new clothes, I had a scrumptious banana-banana bread baking in the oven.
I used this simple recipe from Allrecipes.com, but substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose, added a little cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract and then added walnuts to the top.
It turned out great. Dense, moist, with great banana flavor. I had to try it immediately with a schmear of PB.

Some happy news - I got a job! I officially start July 7th and since I wont have vacation for the first few months, Kevin and I are planning a long trip to the beach starting next week through July 4th weekend. I cant wait.

What are your summer vacation plans?



Wedding Season 2009

The past two weekends, I have been busy celebrating...First, the wedding of my friend from college in Charlottesville, VA.It was a beautiful location overlooking the mountains and a perfect day - maybe a tad warm during the ceremony, but at least I wasn't in a tux.My parents were there to celebrate as well!This first dance of the night led to many more dances throughout the night. (That would be my back facing the camera...my spin moves were too fast for the camera to capture.)Being part of the wedding, I only managed to take one food picture the entire weekend. We each got an individual Poppy seed dressing with our salad that I thought was a great touch. I swear it is all about the small details.
Kevin and I had a great time with everyone.Next weekend, it was Kevin's turn to be part of the festivities and with me behind the lens, there were a tad more pictures, especially of the food.The set up was gorgeous, on Gibson Island, right on the Chesapeake Bay. And believe me those parasols came in handy during the very warm ceremony.The groomsman were all decked out in preppy/cool/summer attire. Look! An "L"....for Lauren. just kidding. It was for their new "married couple" last name and a great touch.They did it!Our seating assignments were attached to these blue crab lollipops.Delish salad to start...I think it was a pepper parmesan dressing.Followed by steak and cake with potatoes and asparagus. As you can see, I couldn't wait to dig into the lump crab cake...a Maryland specialty.
I stuck with my standard black dress while others were more colorful. I need to get more colorful dresses in my wardrobe!
If you look up "Dancing King" in the dictionary - my boyfriend will be listed under there.Ok, had to throw this one in too just to re-iterate my point. :)We had another great time.

I have come to the conclusion that two amazing wedding weekends in a row = a very tired 30 year old. Oh man, it was hard to type that. ;)


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