Archives for July 2013

Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole

Alright y’all. Like I mentioned yesterday, I have been eating too much processed food lately. Energy bars, candy bars, frozen meals… you name it, if it is quick and easy (and probably not the healthiest), I was eating it.

I am happy to announce that as of Monday, I’m back on the healthy, clean-eating bandwagon. Hallelujah!

All of the processed foods I was consuming were doing a number on my body – I was tired. I had no energy. My skin and hair weren’t at their best. I felt bloated and exhausted… ALL of the time.

Casserole 1

I’m sure you’ve heard this before but food is not just food. Yes, food is necessary to fuel our bodies but it also does so much more than that. If you put quality ingredients into your body, you can expect quality results as an outcome. I am the perfect example of this. While I have been eating processed, fried, not-so-good-for you “food”, I haven’t been functioning at my best while at home or at work or – most obviously – while running. I’m hoping that as soon as I get my body stuffed full of whole, nutrient-dense foods, it will stop sputtering like an old engine and start running like a Mercedes.

Bad analogy? What can I say, my brain has been running on processed junk ;)

So what does all of my rambling have to do with today’s recipe? Well, not much except for the fact that my Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole is a delicious, good-for-you recipe that is FULL of real, whole foods!

And while it might not be the prettiest, your body will get plant-based proteins from the quinoa and black beans, calcium from the low-fat cheese, healthy fats from the avocado and lots of fiber from ALL of the vegetables in each and every bite.

Casserole 2

Mexican Sweet Potato Casserole (Adapted from SparkRecipes)

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 2-15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1-12 oz jar salsa
  • 1 cup Mexican style low-fat cheese, shredded
  • 1 sliced avocado, for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a grater with large holes, grate sweet potatoes into a large bowl. Mix quinoa, beans, onion, asparagus and salsa with sweet potato and spread into a 9×13 pan. Top with cheese and bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes prior to serving. Serve with sliced avocado and enjoy!

Tips:

  • Grating sweet potatoes takes approximately 10 minutes and will be your arm workout for the day. Trust me on this one.
  • If you like your dishes on the spicier side, add in 2-3 chopped jalapenos and 1 TBSP of cayenne pepper for an extra kick!
  • Frozen corn would be a great addition to this casserole – I sadly didn’t have any on hand when prepping this recipe.

Casserole 3

The next time you’re craving a Mexican-style meal, think about what ingredients go into your favorite, greasy Mexican restaurant entree. Then opt to make this instead. It might not be as quick but it will be just as – if not more – tasty and leave you feeling 100x healthier!

Do you have a cuisine that you have “healthified”? What is your take on companies calling processed foods “healthy”? Yay or nay?

Marathon Training – Week 7 Recap

You guys.

run

I’ve been a huge slacker on the training lately. Like completely skipping my long runs kind of slacking. I don’t know what it is (well, actually I do know and that whole explanation is coming on Friday…) but I have just not had the motivation to run.

Yeah, yeah… I’ve heard it all before.

Just put on your shoes and get out the door.

Once you get past the first few miles, it’ll feel so much better.

But guess what, I just haven’t wanted to run and that’s that. And guess what again, I’m okay with it.

:: life ::

(Image Source)

I have a lot of stress in my life right now so I’m taking the time to give myself and my body what it needs. One of those things is sleep.

I am the type of person that needs A LOT of sleep in normal situations (we’re talking 9-10 hours per night…). Imagine how much sleep my body craves during stressful times.

I also tend to lose my appetite when I am anxious or have a lot of stress in my life so I haven’t been eating the healthiest.

lunch

Sadly, lunches like the above – however tasty and appetite-inducing as they might be – don’t really fuel me for long runs and they have to stop.

Last week my workout schedule was something like this:

  • Sunday: Hill walkin’ in San Francisco
  • Monday: Yoga Sculpt
  • Tuesday: 3-mile run
  • Wednesday: 6-mile run
  • Thursday: 3-mile run
  • Friday: Yoga Sculpt
  • Saturday: 3-mile run

On a positive note, I am actually getting some running into my routine but not the long distances that I need to be. I think my travel schedule is partially to blame. I have been out-of-town the past two weekends and will be traveling again this weekend. I’m heading to Chicago again on Friday so I am bound and determined to head down to Lake Michigan bright and early Saturday morning for a 13.1-mile run!

Just do it.

(Image Source)

I am a very dedicated person. When I put my mind to something, I will make it happen and this marathon training slump is going to get kicked in the behind starting today!

Last night, I set out my running clothes so they were ready to go. My bright shoes were anxiously awaiting a quick, 3-miles in the morning. I prepared healthy meal options that will nourish and fuel my body throughout the week.

I am ready to go.

Marathon training, schmarathon training… I’ve got this.

motivation quotes

(Image Source)

If you’re new to ONW or missed my earlier posts, check out my previous weeks’ marathon training recaps!

How do you get through training slumps? Do you want to come running with me in Chicago this weekend? I rarely say this but I think I could use a running partner.

Roasted Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Happy Monday friends! I am taking a little break on this Monday and am super excited to introduce you to Laura! She has an amazing recipe that she is sharing with you today – Enjoy!

Hi Olives ‘n’ Wine readers! I’m Laura from Pies and Plots, my baking blog where I share tons of yummy baked goods. I’m also an aspiring novelist and screenwriter trying to find and agent and make my dreams come true. I’d love if you’d like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Pinterest.

I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Becky today. Not only does she make awesome food and always offer great workout advice, but she’s also incredibly kind. When I was feeling down about blogging, Becky was right there sending me an email to cheer me up! So thanks, Becky for allowing me to take over your blog today and for being a great friend.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the movies and on TV, characters always make sitting down as a family to a hearty breakfast look easy. Really easy. Way too easy. I don’t know in what world those characters live, but it’s clearly not the real world.

Between kids in school and parents heading to work, not all the members of a household typically even get up or leave the house at the same time, let alone get up extra early to sit and leisurely read the paper, nurse a cup of coffee, and flip pancakes. Not to mention that when I was in school, it was almost always dark outside when I left the house – not bright and sunny with the birds happily singing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Grabbing a Pop Tart or cookie as I rushed out the door, trying desperately not to be late for school was about the best I could do. And now, even though I work from home, mornings still mean an easy to prepare breakfast for my mom and me. And my Dad, well he’s been at work a few house by the time I get up, though I do pack him breakfast every day. But breakfast is the most important meal of the day – so we have to figure something out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Enter Roasted Strawberry Baked Oatmeal. This is easy to prepare and better yet, leftovers last a few days so you’ll have breakfast ready and waiting for you. I even mix the dry ingredients together in a Ziploc bag the night before, making morning prep a breeze. I used some roasted strawberries I had stashed in the refrigerator; they are another great make ahead recipe and made the best baked oatmeal (not to mention smoothie) ever! Plus, this is vegan and gluten free! So your breakfast probably still won’t fit Hollywood’s vision, but this baked oatmeal will get you really close.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Roasted Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats (gluten free if you like)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups roasted strawberries (raw ones will work too)
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the bottom of an 8 inch square pan, place the strawberries and blueberries in an even layer.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and brown sugar. As I said, you can also shake them together in a Ziploc bag the night before. Pour this mixture over the fruit in the pan.
  4. In the same bowl, stir together the milk, bananas, and vanilla. Pour this over the oat mixture in the pan. Do not stir the oats and liquid together; instead poke holes all over the oat mixture, allowing the liquid to seep through. Be sure to poke a lot of holes.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the mixture is pretty set on top, though I like mine a little gooey. This is great hot out of the oven, but may also be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Eat cold or warm in the microwave until heated through, 1 to 1 and a half minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thanks Laura! If you’re anything like me, this recipe makes you wish you would not have eaten breakfast yet this morning! Laura has TONS of delicious and healthy recipes over on her blog, so head on over and find your favorite :)

What’s your favorite way to eat oatmeal? And what is your favorite made-ahead breakfast item?

Chicago + Milwaukee Fun!

It’s Sunday night??! Where did this weekend go?

I don’t know about you but I had a BLAST the past few days :)

On Friday, I flew to Chicago for a friend’s wedding. Of course I had to make a stop at my happy place, my favorite Minneapolis airport wine bar – Surdyk’s Flights. I enjoyed a delicious caprese sandwich along with a flight of red wine. SO good!

photo (85)

In case you’re wondering (and even if you’re not…), I am all about traveling in comfort and sported my Ellie leggings along with my hot pink lululemon jacket to look fashionably fit on the way to Chicago ;)

photo (86)

Once my plane landed in Chicago, I pushed my way through the crowds to get outside to find Kyle. I was secretly hoping that he would bring Mitchell with him to pick me up at the airport and I was right! I was so excited to see both of my boys!

photo (88)

photo (89)

I think Mitchell was more excited for the car ride than the fact that he was reunited with his momma but that’s okay, I still love him ;) AND he’s been sleeping in his own bed while living in Chicago. What a spoiled boy! That habit is going to be fun to break when he gets back home…

photo (90)

After I got in a few snuggles with Mitchell, Kyle and I headed out for a walk and stopped to enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate. Apparently all I consume since Napa is wine, cheese, nuts and bread – Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with this.

photo (92)

We went to bed fairly early since we knew Saturday night would be a late night out with friends.

photo (93)

I woke up early Saturday morning and enjoyed a quick, 30-minute run before heading downtown for brunch with Kyle and his dad. I ordered a delicious egg white, veggie omelet with a side of fruit and some of the best whole grain bread I have ever tasted. YUM! After brunch, Kyle and I headed up to Milwaukee to begin the wedding festivities!

photo (94)

The ceremony started at 2:30 and was over in less than an hour. Since the reception didn’t begin until 6, Kyle and I headed to our hotel, the Marriot Residence Inn in downtown Milwaukee to check in and freshen up before the party started. After touching up my makeup, we still had 2 hours to kill so we decided to walk around downtown Milwaukee since it was my first time visiting.

photo (95)

We didn’t make it too far because 1) it was windy and I didn’t want to look like a wind-blown crazy person when we arrived at the reception and 2) my feet hurt. Why must all pretty shoes be painful??!

Anyways, we attempted to go to The Safe House – a spy-themed bar that requires you to tell them a password to get in or they make you do ridiculous things like pretend you’re a mime. You guys, I’m not kidding – I played along for about 5 minutes and then said F$%! it and we walked out – my feet hurt and all I wanted was a beer! Kyle and I are either not fun or were just not in the mood to deal with weird stuff (like pretending to be mimes…) to get into a bar, haha! – so we walked around the corner to The Newsroom Pub.

photo (96)

The bartender there (I think his name was Nick…) was super friendly and gave us a great brunch recommendation for the next morning  plus he didn’t make us pretend we were mimes stuck in a box in order to drink a beer. Two thumbs up for Nick!

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the reception at Lakefront Brewery! I never would have thought to have a reception at a brewery but it was such a great location for a party. They had a big, open room that made it perfect for a lot of tables and a dance floor.

photo (97)

The bride’s decor choices were absolutely beautiful – rustic and simple, plus she incorporated the beer-theme into the centerpieces. Love!

photo (98)

I didn’t do a great job of snapping photos at the wedding but I did happen to get a great Instavideo of Kyle dancing to Cupid’s Shuffle. Head on over to my Instagram to check that gem out!

The wedding was a blast and it amazes me that Kyle and his high school friends are still all so close! It is such a fun group to hang out with.

After a bit of a cab debacle, we got back to the hotel around 1am and crashed. Dancing for 3 hours is such a workout and I definitely woke up sore Sunday morning from some of my killer dance moves! I’m kidding about the dance moves, BTW. I dance like a one-legged frog. I’m sure it is quite the show when I am out on the dance floor ;)

photo (99)

This morning, Kyle and I slept in until the late hour of 8am, packed up and then headed to Corazon – the brunch restaurant recommended to us by Nick, our bartender.

photo (100)

Corazon is a tiny, hole-in-the-wall authentic Mexican restaurant and bar that serves out-of-this-world Mexican food! I ordered chicken empanadas with a side of papas (potatoes for all of you non-Spanish speakers out there!) while Kyle decided on the breakfast burger with papas. Holy delicious unhealthiness, it was just what we (especially Kyle) needed after a late night out!

I definitely recommend Corazon if you are ever hungry in Milwaukee!

lake

Since we consumed about 3 days worth of calories during brunch and I still had a few hours before I needed to arrive at the airport, we headed to Lake Michigan for a long walk. This morning was the perfect temperature to do some walking – about 62 and sunny!

lake 2

After walking along the lake for 2 hours and taking in the sites of Milwaukee, Kyle dropped me off at General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee because I have this thing called a job. Have you heard of them? They apparently require you to show up on Monday mornings… Boo. Luckily for Kyle, he’s currently on a project in the Chicago area so he didn’t have a long drive to get where he was going for the week!

As a side note, I LOVED Milwaukee! I had driven through before on the way to Chicago but had never spent time there before. No offense to all you Wisconsinites out there but I was expecting something similar to umm… well… rural Wisconsin which just ain’t my thang… and I was more than pleasantly surprised! I will definitely be back for a longer visit!

No other exciting things to report on after I got back to Minneapolis unless you count a 10-minute bike ride to the grocery store where I was planning on buying things for the week and ended up leaving with a sweet potato, some cherries and asparagus. Sometimes I question where my sanity and common sense go when I walk into a grocery store… #foreheadsmack

Whew – long post for a super quick weekend!

What did you do this weekend? How many weddings are you heading to this summer/fall?

My Weekend in California – San Francisco!

Woohoo – it’s Friday! Is it just me or did this week fly by? Not that I’m complaining or anything… ;)

I know I promised that I was going to share a big announcement today but it is going to have to come next week instead. It is taking me longer than I anticipated to write the post plus it is giving me anxiety so I need just a few more days to get all of my announcements (yes, there’s more than one – get excited!) into writing. Thanks for being patient!

Okay, now onto my final recap from last weekend – San Francisco!

Saturday morning, Katie, Carly and I woke up feeling less than stellar. Maybe it was that bottle of wine we split AFTER we had been wine tasting all day… or the fact that we had stayed out much past my regular bedtime for two nights in a row. Either way, we weren’t looking forward to the drive to San Francisco.

photo (68)

Luckily, the drive to San Francisco was beautiful, the air was cool and we made it to our hotel – The Parc 55 – in no time!

photo (69)

Actually checking into the hotel was a different story. Kyle so kindly let us use some of his hotel points so we could get our night free in San Francisco – we needed to save some money after all of the wine and food we bought in Napa! – and the hotel’s receptionist honestly thought that I was trying to steal a room from someone. Do I look like the type of person that is going to check into some else’s hotel room??! Wait, don’t answer that…

Anyways, after talking with Kyle on the phone and making him give her all of his personal information pretty much down to what we were planning on naming our first born child, she believed that I wasn’t actually a hotel room thief and gave us the keys to our room.

Phew! After FINALLY getting up to our room, we excitedly waited for Sarah to arrive! Sarah is seriously the kindest, most gentle, sweetest, prettiest girl you will ever meet in your entire life. No kidding. I’m surprised she didn’t turn around and run away from the three of us after seeing the shape we were in after a day of wine drinking and night drinking in Napa, haha :)

plant cafe

She lives close to San Francisco and recommended that we visit The Plant Cafe for brunch. Holy deliciousness – I am so glad Sarah recommended this cute restaurant on Pier 3! The Plant Cafe uses 100% organic produce and strives to provide and use only sustainable ingredients. This was my kind of place! Sarah and I both ordered the California Plant Burger which is made of lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews and bulgar wheat and topped with cheese and avocado – yum!

photo (70)

After brunch, Carly and Sarah spent some more time walking around the farmers’ market in San Francisco while Katie and I headed back to the room for a much needed nap. The rest of the afternoon/evening included lounging in front of the television and ordering in an AMAZING black olive pizza! Carly knows how much I love the little black bugs so she suggested we order them – have I mentioned how much I love her??! Anyways, it was a night full of relaxation and sleep and delicious pizza.

photo (73)

The next morning we were up bright and early to get out and see the city! I made a quick trip to the San Francisco City Target to pick up an inhaler (note to self: don’t forget your inhaler on a vacation, you will – of course – have issues breathing that trip and need to find a Target ASAP…) and checked out the store along with the separate C9 active wear store! Thankfully the Target was only a few blocks away.

photo (76)

Once I could breath again, Carly, Katie and I hiked up a few hills – let’s be honest, they’re more like mountains in San Fran! – and burned some major calories on our way to brunch.

photo (77)

After seeing a trolley and a few other San Francisco sites, we were all ready to dive into – get ready for it… bacon-wrapped tator tots! I kid you not – these were exactly what we needed after that long walk and a long weekend. I also got a burrito that was approximately 7.3 pounds along with some amazing fried potato chunks. Fried food heaven.

baco tots

Definitely hit up The Boardroom if you are ever in San Francisco. At first it appears to be a dive bar (okay, maybe it is) but they allow dogs inside and their food is ridiculously amazing on a weekend morning.

After we were full of fried potatoes, the fearsome threesome headed down to Pier 39 to get a glimpse of Alcatraz (we didn’t take a tour but I plan to when Kyle and I made a trip back!) and walk through the boardwalk shops.

PicMonkey Collage

We gawked over the Biscoff shop – yes, please! – bought some delicious chocolates and tried on crab hats. Normal Sunday activities ;)

After we had our fill of Pier 39, we bee-lined it to Ghiradelli Square – a girl needs to have her priorities straight! Holy moly. If you are a chocolate lover, do NOT miss this place when you visit San Francisco. Chocolate Heaven. Chocolate stores, chocolate “brewing” in front of your face, chocolate sundaes. CHOCOLATE!!

ghiradelli collage

The three of us shared the Ghiradelli brownie sundae for lunch – it was National Ice Cream Day so that was our excuse ;) Oh and by shared, I mean that I pretty much ate all of it – sorry ladies!

After we were in a Ghiradelli, sugar-induced coma, it was time to head back to the hotel so I could get to the airport on time :( On our way to the airport however, we stopped at a viewing point to see the Golden Gate Bridge!

photo (84)

It was so beautiful in the fog that day and I am glad I had the chance to finally see it!

photo (83)

After our day full of activities, Carly and Katie dropped me off at SFO so I could catch my flight back to Minneapolis.

As you can tell from my Napa Day 1 and Napa Day 2 recaps, the three of us have the time of our lives together and I can’t wait until we see each other again!  Hint, hint… let’s plan something ASAP!

Have you been to San Francisco? What touristy (or non-touristy) places did I miss that I need to see next time I visit? What are you doing this weekend?

I am heading to Chicago in a few short hours and am excited to see my boys! Kyle’s been traveling for work so I get to see both him and Mitchell for the first time in 3 weeks!! On Saturday, we have a wedding in Milwaukee. It is at a brewery so I am excited to try some new-to-me beers, have some fun with friends and spend some quality time with Kyle… not in that particular order :)

Thirst-Quenching Beergarita

Hi friends!

I am guest-posting today for Katie at Running 4 Cupcakes while she enjoys a week of vacation at her summer cabin!

beergarita

Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss my recipe for beergaritas – they’re refreshing and the perfect summer drink for beer lovers and cocktail lovers alike :)

Head on over so you can enjoy one of these tasty treats this weekend while relaxing by the pool!

My Weekend in California – Napa, Part 2

Okay, where did I leave off… Oh yes, Carly and I heading back to the Napa Hilton Garden Inn to get our beauty rest on Thursday night!

I – unlike Carly – slept like a baby on Thursday night. I’m contributing this to the wine and gin that was consumed earlier in the evening.

Anyways, Carly and I woke up bright and early, excited to pick up Katie and to head out for a full day of wine tasting with Platypus Tours! I made a quick run to Starbucks (super close to our hotel, great hotel pick Carly!) and then took my time getting ready for the day while Carly drove to the train station to pick up Katie.

platypus

Once we were all gorgeous, we headed down to the hotel’s lobby to meet our Platypus Tours driver, Scott W. We quickly introduced ourselves (we had wine waiting for us!) and let him know we were expecting a fun day full of wine and cheese. He promised not to disappoint which he definitely did not!

On a side note, the three of us cannot escape men with the name of Scott while traveling with each other… Our driver and one of the sommeliers were named Scott and, let’s be honest, who can forget STH from Blend? ;)

kcb

Okay, back to the wine!

The first winery we visited was Flora Springs – a gorgeous vineyard with amazing views! When we arrived, the “boys” (as they are referred to on the website!) had our wine glasses ready for us to begin our tasting at the early hour of 11am. By the way, drinking wine at this hour in Napa is totally acceptable and I need to move to Napa if only for that reason…

Flora Collage

I was a bad wine taster this trip and didn’t write down any of the wines I tasted at the 4 wineries we visited. Sorry – but not really – I was having too much fun with my girls to bother with all of those silly details! I guess it just means I’ll have to make another trip back to report back on actual wines next time…

Anyways, the first glass of Flora Springs wine was my favorite. It was a Sauvignon Blanc and was much too easy to drink. Thankfully, Travis – our tour guide and wine pourer extraordinaire – kept our glasses nice and full!

kcb 2

We also got a tour of the winery’s cave where they store their wine. It was SO cool – both figuratively and literally – I had to keep drinking wine as to not get too cold. Seems logical, right? I didn’t drink too much wine however since I do remember learning that each wine barrel holds around 300 bottles of wine!

cheese collage

We were getting a bit hungry – who am I kidding, we’re always hungry! – after our first wine tasting and luckily, Scott W. offered us a delicious wine and cheese basket. It was amazing and I’m fairly certain I had 12 crackers.

The next stop on our tour was Arger-Martucci Vineyards! Hannah guided us through 7 or 8 (I can’t remember… I didn’t take notes – see above) of some of the best red wines I have ever tasted. She also had some of the best stories about guests that visited their vineyard that had had slightly too much to drink.

a-m

They have a pool on their property and one of the stories involved a fighting couple pushing each other into the water and then, well, er… making up – I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination! Needless to say, we were all laughing hysterically while she was giving us a play-by-play.

If you go to Napa, go here. Arger-Martucci has a super laid back atmosphere and their wine is delicious. I may have purchased a case of 2004 Cabernet Franc for someone’s Christmukah present later this year but you’ll have to wait and see ;) It’s okay, it was on sale and it was the only thing I purchased the entire trip, besides food and wine that is…

grapes

Next on the tour was Rutherford Hill Winery. I honestly don’t have anything great to say about this stop. The owners weren’t friendly or talkative and the pours were basically just enough to smell the wine – not that I need a full glass for a tasting but I’d like to be able to take at least 2 sips so that I can get a feel for the wine… Am I right?

rutherford winery

At least we took a super cute, wine barrel model photo at Rutherford. This gives it some redemption!

At this point in the tour, I asked Scott W. if we were by any chance heading to Silver Oak Winery for our last stop. Silver Oak produces Kyle’s favorite wine and I would have loved to have visited! Sadly, we were not heading to Silver Oak but Scott told me to request it for my next trip and Platypus Tours would make it happen!

Instead of Silver Oak, we headed to Hill Family Estate, a tasting room with wines made from Silver Oak’s grapes!! How lucky did I get?

Brie Collage

Our entire tour group sat around a large table while we learned about and tasted the wines and ate the amazing cheese and cracker platter provided to us. Forget the wines here, the cheese is what stole the show! Seriously, it was the best cheese I had ever tasted. I even took a photo so I could find it on my next Whole Foods trip.

After we were all sufficiently full of wine and cheese, Hill Family Estate’s tasting room kicked us out because I tried to steal the entire wheel of brie.

Just kidding, my purse was too small! If I had brought a larger bag this story might have ended differently…

IMG_5758

The rest of the evening involved dinner at Ristorante Allegria where Katie and I thought it would be a great idea to split a bottle of wine after wine tasting all day. In case you were wondering, in retrospect, this was not a good idea the following day…

As a group, we also shared a big plate of spaghetti and pesto gnocchi. I would share photos but the lighting was romantic (perfect for a girls’ night out date…) so the photos don’t do the scrumptious Italian food justice!

After dinner we enjoyed a few more drinks and then all fell into bed, ready to head to San Francisco the next day.

I would like to add that I am very impressed with myself that I did not end up spilling ANYTHING on my white and navy striped dress. Not even red wine. Kyle would be so proud!

What is your favorite wine to drink? How do you select a bottle of wine from a wine store? Most importantly, do you think Carly, Katie and I have a good chance of becoming wine barrel models? Say yes.

My Weekend in California – Napa, Part 1

I am happy to report that my liver has now recovered and I can now share with you all of the fun I had in California this weekend!

I flew into San Francisco on Wednesday night and Carly’s adorable mom graciously picked me up from the airport and whisked me off to Carly’s apartment in Davis. She spilled lots of details about Carly’s past so I had plenty of dirt on her for this weekend ;)

Carly and I chatted and caught up for a while before heading to bed on Wednesday night. We both woke up early Thursday morning and decided to hit the gym for a quick elliptical workout and a plank to at least start the weekend on a healthy note! I’m glad we made that decision… it was the only time I fit in a workout all weekend.

gym with carly

The gym was followed by a run (okay, let’s be honest here… a drive!) to Starbucks and then to the spa to get pedis! It wouldn’t be a girls’ weekend without freshly painted, hot pink toes ;)

toes

Photo courtesy of Ms. Carly.

After Carly’s class and my nap, we hit the road to Napa! It was only an hour drive from Davis so we had time to hit up Whole Foods for some pre-dinner beverages before checking into the hotel.

sofia

While getting ready, we enjoyed champagne in cans – classy – and then took advantage of our hotel’s free wine tasting before heading out to dinner at Carpe Diem Wine Bar!

hilton wine

For dinner, Carly and I enjoyed cheese, lots of cheese. We ordered fries with Parmesan, a cheese plate with smoked gouda, blue cheese and cured meat and finally a huge ball of burrata served with grilled bread.

carpe diem dinner

Holy moly, the burrata was the best thing either of us had ever tasted. We actually told the women sitting at the table next to us that it was better than having a relationship with men – after ordering it for themselves, they agreed! ;) Throughout dinner I also enjoyed a flight of Pinot Noirs that were almost as amazing as the burrata. I highly recommend Carpe Diem Wine Bar if you ever find yourself in Napa!

wine napa

Plus, I had an amazing view with my wine… Sorry Carly! ;)

After dinner, since it was still light outside, we figured we should head around the corner to an upscale cocktail bar – Fagiani’s – that was recommended by our server.

beckycarlynapa1

Photo courtesy of Carly.

We enjoyed some amazing cocktails and a fun night out on the town before heading back to the Hilton Garden Inn to get our beauty rest for our wine tasting tour on Friday!

Come back tomorrow to read about our day touring the vineyards of Napa!

Also, check out Katie’s and Carly’s blogs for more details about the weekend :)

Have you been to Napa? What was the best winery and/or restaurant you visited while vacationing?

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookie in a Mug

“Happy” Monday!

I’m sadly back from California after a wonderful weekend with Katie and Carly (and a little bit of time with Sarah too!) in Napa and San Francisco. We all had a blast and I can’t wait to share it with you later this week!

Since Mondays are my recipe day – and my liver is much too tired from the weekend for me to begin recapping all of the wine consumption that happened – I am going to share a quick and easy recipe today.

Cookie 1

Honestly, this recipe requires little to no thought, perfect for a Monday morning after a long weekend.

All that’s required of you is the ability to throw some ingredients into a coffee mug and then place said mug into the microwave.

Remember my {Easy} Breakfast Cookies in a Mug? Yes? Well these are almost the same, except for the peanut butter and type of chocolate.

Don’t even pretend like you expected for there not to be peanut butter or chocolate in this recipe. You know me better than that by now ;)

Cookie 2

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookie in a Mug

Makes 1 Mug Cookie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 1 TBSP peanut butter, melted
  • 1 TBSP almond milk (you can sub any type of milk)
  • 2 TBSP chocolate chips, separated

Directions

Mix all ingredients, except 1 TBSP of the chocolate chips, in a microwavable mug or small bowl. Sprinkle the top with remaining chocolate chips and cook in microwave for 30-45 seconds. Enjoy!

Cookie 3

And yes, of course this makes a perfect breakfast. Peanut butter + chocolate = breakfast of champions.

How was your weekend? Do you have an easy recipe recommendation that I can throw together for dinner tonight? 

Ellie Ambassador

Happy Saturday!

Today Katie, Carly and I are meeting up with Sarah to explore San Francisco! I’m overly excited to enjoy some good eats and drinks (Judging from our Instagram photos, we obviously did not have enough wine yesterday…), see the Golden Gate Bridge, do a little shopping, ride a trolley and have some much needed girl time with a few of my favorite blends :)

While we’re out having a great time, I have some exciting news to share – I am a new Ellie Ambassador!

I reviewed Ellie’s fitness apparel line earlier this year and have been wearing their fun and fashionable tops and capris to yoga and on my marathon training runs ever since.

Today, I’m excited to offer you 20% off any 2 Ellie items!

If you’ve read my previous review of Ellie, you’ll know that I absolutely love their fitness line. The tops have the coverage that I need and their pants have the perfect fit plus they are amazingly flattering!

Check out two of the new outfits I received from Ellie in June.

The first outfit is Ellie’s Summer Nights top and Ellie’s My New Obsession Leggings.

I LOOOOVE the top – it is super soft and reminds me of 1980’s fashion ;) Kyle wishes that he had been in his 20’s in the 80’s so he thinks this top is pretty attractive, haha!

Ellie Summer Nights Top

Like it’s name, it is perfect for summer nights! I love being comfortable and this top pairs perfectly with jean shorts or leggings. I also love the “mesh” design on the shoulders and back of the top!

I was nervous about the leggings at first, they looked really small and I was afraid that they weren’t going to fit over my booty. I was worried for no reason – they hugged my legs and curves and are really flattering!

Ellie My New Obsession Leggins

Please excuse my awkward photos of these leggings… It is my attempt to show you the cool design on these pants ;)

The other outfit I ordered from Ellie is just as fun as the first one! The top is Ellie’s 50 Shades of Lime (love the name!) and the bottoms are Ellie’s Beach Bum Capris.

Like the Summer Night’s top, the 50 Shades of Lime shirt is very soft! It is a little too warm for my liking in the summer months but I am excited to sport it in the fall! It’ll be great for walks with Mitchell or nights outside by a fire.

Ellie 50 Shades of Lime Top

The pants are just as soft as the top! I love that there is a key pocket in the waist band too – it makes it easy to stash my keys while I’m on a run!

photo (60)

If you’re interested in learning more about Ellie or want to check out their fitness line for yourself, use this link to get 20% off of your purchase!

*Disclaimer – Ellie sent me one top and one bottom free of charge. My opions and thoughts in this post – as always – are my own!*

Terms and Privacy