Category Archives: Adventures

Juicing

Hi everyone!  It’s been a bit, but I’ve been crammed with school and busy learning all about nutrition and healthy eating so that I can have more to share with all of you!

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is juicing.  There are tons of juice cleanses (looking at you Blue Print Cleanse) that sound amazing and healthy, but are extremely expensive and way out of my budget as a grad student.  I’ve talked to several of my friends who use apps on their phone for juice cleanses and then there’s the research I’ve been doing online to learn what I can about the juice craze.

So what I’m trying to figure out is juicing just another fad diet?  Or do you think it has actual health benefits?  I bought a juicer (originally as a means to make fun juices for sorbets this summer-thinking about ginger especially) but I’m really liking the idea of a cleanse as we move out of winter and into spring.

So if you have an experience with juicing, I’d love to know!  Did you just do juice? Or a mixture of juice and solids?  Have you had a bad experience with juicing?  Please share!

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Dinner Party Brainstorming

I have a dinner party (!) to attend this weekend, and I’m in charge of bringing appetizers.  I love dinner parties more than any other kind of party.  They’re the perfect way to catch up with friends, get to know new people all while sharing and enjoying delicious food and drink in a relaxing comfortable setting.  Also, they tend to be much more affordable than going out to dinner which is why they’re pretty high on my list of preferred entertainment.

This particular dinner party is going to involve steak and seafood, so I’m thinking of bringing a non-meat item for the appetizer.  Below are a few of my ideas so far, but please let me know if you have any great ideas!

Cauliflower Fritters with Pomegranate by Smitten Kitchen

Grilled Artichoke Pesto Zucchini Bites by Fifteen Spatulas

Panzanella Salad with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette by Naturally Ella

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Boston is Frozen!

This morning I woke up to ice-covered windows and blankets of white as far as I can see.  I’ve only been in Boston officially now for 6 days, and you know, I’m going to take this blizzard as a good sign of things to come. I’m not sure I’ve experienced a blizzard since I was 6 and living in Minnesota, where a blizzard before Halloween was standard practice.  After that, it was the coast Venezuela (no snow ever) or North Carolina or DC where any hint of snow shut the whole state down.

After playing board games last night, Josh and I went out for a walk in the snow, which was so much fun!  The temperature was 3 degrees and the wind chill was down at something like -20 degrees.  Cold like I haven’t experienced in years.  After spending about 20 minutes outside, we ran upstairs for some hot tea.

Here are some pictures from our walk last night:

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Did you get a snow day?  How are you spending it?  We’re thinking of trying to make some roasted chickpea snacks and possibly a soup (although not sure if we have all of the ingredients, but we’ll find out!)

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White House Garden Tour

I think I’ve been waiting for a tour of the White House Garden ever since I knew it was an option to take a tour of it. I’ve been to the White House before for a couple of other things, but I have to say this was one of the more fun experiences I’ve had there (although really nothing can beat the Christmas party).

I’m obsessed with Michelle’s garden, even though I now know she doesn’t actually tend to it herself (why I thought she did to begin with is beyond me).  I’m looking forward to having my own home one day that has a yard and is far away from the city and all of the rats and other vermin that come with living in Washington, DC.  We visited the garden on the perfect fall day, and I had such a great time seeing everything in person.

Here are some super touristy/nerdy/Washingtonian pictures of the White House garden tour we went on:

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Where things happen

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The swing set I’m sure Sasha and Malia have grown out of but I’m more than willing to take off of the their hands 🙂

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Oh look, it’s me and Josh.

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The band.

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The beehive.

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Pepper plants!

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More plants.

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Artichoke. I did not know this is what one looked like.

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Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon and Rex Healthcare Half Marathon

I ran my first half-marathon in May 2013 and loved it.  The course was beautiful and interesting, hills weren’t very common and everyone was awesome and in a great mood.  So I decided to do another one in November.  Enter the Raleigh City of Oaks Rex Healthcare Half Marathon.

Me and my mom after I finished!

I was really excited about this race because it would be in my home state, and only about 30 minutes away from my home, but I can’t say that enjoyed running it  The course was super hilly and just wasn’t that pretty.  The race was really well organized, although it was hard to find mile-markers and the drinks they were serving on the course contained milk products-which weren’t really going to do it for me.

I ended up buying a waist strap that has a pouch and a place for two small water bottles.  I filled one up with Gatorade (I tried to find an organic, nonsynthetic options, but struggled there), and the other with water.  I put my Shot Bloks in the pouch along with some bandaids and my keys, and I was ready to roll.  I’m really glad I made this purchase because my hand didn’t cramp up from holding a water bottle, and it was much easier to eat food while running because I had some place to hold the water bottle other than in my hand.

The post-race food was also sort of strange, but did a really cool job show-casing some local food like Krispy Kreme and Great Harvest Bread.  I inhaled a donut and a banana  but turned down the chicken noodle soup and the Papa Johns pizza; my body just wasn’t going to be able to deal with it.

I think for now I’m going to be taking a break from half-marathons (until at least next spring), and I’m going to work on getting stronger so that I don’t hate the hill as much.  I have a 10k race coming up too, on Thanksgiving (my whole family is going to be doing it) so I’ll still have to stay in shape for that!

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Hiking Mt. Washington

My boyfriend’s birthday was this past week, and to celebrate, we went on a trip to the White Mountain National Forest up in New Hampshire.  This was the first time I’ve been to New Hampshire (yay for making it to 30 states-only 20 more to go!), and I’m pretty sure this was the perfect week to go.  The leaves were changing but there was still some green left, so you could see how bright the contrast was.  Also, there were less people than I’m sure there are when the trees are are all brightly colored, so that was also an advantage.

Look how pretty New Hampshire is!

Originally, we’d planned to go up, do a couple of short day hikes, and hang out at microbreweries and creameries the rest of the time.  On the drive up, I noticed that we were staying about thirty minutes away from Mt. Washington, and remarked, “Maybe we’ll get to see Mt. Washington while we’re up here.”  Two hours later, we had started playing around with the idea of maybe climbing to the Summit of Mt. Washington, but figured we’d ask our innkeeper at the Bartlett Inn (amazing, wonderful Bed and Breakfast, can’t recommend highly enough) for suggestions.

The next morning, we decided we were going to Summit Mt. Washington.  Now, because we thought this would be a relaxing weekend, I hadn’t packed real hiking socks, and Josh hadn’t packed any kind of a weather-proof gear.  So, after breakfast, and before we did anything else, we were at a gear store, getting me merino wool socks and Josh a waterproof fleece.  After picking up 3 sandwiches and too much water (we had no idea there was a place to refill half way up), we were off.

The beginning of the hike. 4.5 miles straight up hill!

The beginning of the hike. 4.5 miles straight up hill!

Honestly, this was the hardest hike I’ve ever done, and the scariest one too.  The hike, not surprisingly, was straight up hill the entire time.  There were no plateaus, there were no gentle strolls.  There’s no way I could have done this three months ago before doing all of this lower-body strength training with my trainer.  A lot of people had hiking poles, which would have been helpful, but I pretty quickly learned that sometimes, the best way to get up, especially during rock scrambles and scaling sheaths of rock, is to use all four limbs.  I think the best thing that anyone said to me during the hike was when I was scrambling up a rock and some guy called after me asking “Are you a freaking gazelle or something?”

Here I am at a waterfall, not being a gazelle.

Here I am at a waterfall, not being a gazelle.

About two hours in to the hike

About two hours in to the hike

So much more to go!

So much more to go!

Lake of the Skies, about an hour from the top, and ridiculously windy.

Lake of the Skies, about an hour from the top, and ridiculously windy.

Closer to the top

Closer to the top

But still, SO much more to go.  By now the wind was going crazy and I was pretty much over rock scrambling.

But still, SO much more to go. By now the wind was going crazy and I was pretty much over rock scrambling.

The top of the mountain is insanely windy.  When we were up there it was a steady blow at 49 mph with gusts of up to 70.  When we tried to take the picture at the Summit sign, our hair was blowing everywhere and it was hard to stand still with the wind whipping around us so hard.

At the Summit!

At the Summit!

I believe it.

I believe it.

View from the top.  Supposedly Canada is somewhere in there.

View from the top. Supposedly Canada is somewhere in there.

Going down was the scariest part, and there were (more than) a few times where I’d try to place my foot down somewhere secure, and the wind would blow it off course.  I fell once and landed pretty hard on my knee (I have a pretty neat bruise to show for it) and needed to hold onto Josh’s hand most of the time, but the good news is, I made it. Once we got back to the treeline, it got much easier, and I actually started to enjoy the hike again.

Overall, amazing hike, and I’d definitely recommend it to someone else.  It feels awesome to know that you’ve summited the highest point on the East Coast.

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Istanbul Food Adventures

Sorry it’s been a long while since I’ve last posted.  I got to take a short trip to Boston at the end of August, and then I went on an incredible trip to Istanbul where I got to eat some really wonderful food.  I’ll share some pictures of the deliciousness that I got to eat, and then hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, find recipes for these and recreate them at home and share the results with you all.  But for now, hope you enjoy!

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Turkish sweets in a store window along Divan Yolu

Turkish spices in the Spice Market
Turkish spices and teas in the Spice Market

Turkish delight in the Grand Bazaar.  It was hard not to eat all of these.

Turkish delight in the Grand Bazaar. It was hard not to eat all of these.

More delicious looking Turkish sweets along Divan Yolu

More delicious looking Turkish sweets along Divan Yolu

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Turkish Manti.  Definitely one of the major highlights of the trip.

Turkish Manti. Definitely one of the major highlights of the trip.

Fresh sea bass on Princes' Islands.

Fresh sea bass on Princes’ Islands.

Turkish lentil balls.  Definitely plan to recreate these.

Turkish lentil balls. Definitely plan to recreate these.

A dolma platter.   I learned dolma is not just stuffed grape leaves, but really stuffed anything.  This one is stuffed eggplant, pepper, tomato and grape leaves.

A dolma platter. I learned dolma is not just stuffed grape leaves, but really stuffed anything. This one is stuffed eggplant, pepper, tomato and grape leaves.

Vegetable couscous.  Another one I definitely need to work on recreating.

Vegetable couscous. Another one I definitely need to work on recreating.

Turkish coffee.  A little too strong for my taste, but had to give it a try.

Turkish coffee. A little too strong for my taste, but had to give it a try.

Rosehip tea.  Very sweet, but the perfect way to spend a few minutes in the late afternoon.

Rosehip tea. Very sweet, but the perfect way to spend a few minutes in the late afternoon.

Turkish sticky ice cream or Dondurma.  Most of it ended up all over my face, but it was really good.  The Turks add salep and mastic to regular ice cream which makes it sticky and less resistant to melting.

Turkish sticky ice cream or Dondurma. Most of it ended up all over my face, but it was really good. The Turks add salep and mastic to regular ice cream which makes it sticky and less resistant to melting.

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Weekend Adventure: Crabtree Falls

I went on an adventure in Northern Virginia this weekend, so very little cooking happened, but I had a wonderful time and wanted to share pictures.  So here we go.  My friend Ben picked me up on Sunday morning and we drove out to VA before picking up a couple more people and heading down to the George Washington National Forest.  The plan had been to hike Spy Rock, but since it was raining, and Spy Rock involved a rock scramble at the top, we decided to go a different route and did Crabtree Falls, which is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi (who knew!?)

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The base of the waterfall

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Further up

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Even further up. There were lots of signs alerting danger. I think if you aren’t stupid and stay on the trail, you should be fine.

Me and Ben

Here we are, only half-way up!

Crabtree Falls

And the top of the waterfall, finally!

After the hike, which took about 2 hours (and almost 9,000 steps according to my FitBit Flex) we went to a couple of breweries on the way home and did flight tastings at both.

Beer flight at the Devil’s Backbone Brewery

Beer flight round two at Blue Mountain Brewery

Overall, the absolute best way I could have chosen to spend a summer Sunday! What did you do this weekend? Anything cool?

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