Fitness, Food and Photography

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Weekend Recap: Unofficial Food Tour of Asheville

It’s been a crazy week and I realize I still haven’t told you about last weekend’s trip.  I started this post on Sunday night and never did finish it.  Better late than never, right?

Well, it just worked out that what started out as a business trip in Greensboro, NC, then ended with a kid-free night in Asheville, NC.

We dropped the kids off with the in-laws on Thursday.  They were excited about 2 nights with Gramma and Grampa, and we were excited for 2 uninterrupted nights of sleep!

The drive to Greensboro is about 4-1/2 hours.  It poured the entire way there.  This picture doesn’t do it justice, it was nasty.

fog on the mountains

By the time we made it to Greensboro around 8pm, we were starving.  And after that nerve-wracking drive, I was ready for a beer!

There was a restuarant across from our hotel called Tripps.  I’d never heard of Tripps before, but it clearly said ‘Tavern’ on the sign, and I was sold!  However, once inside, I asked what beers they had on tap.  There were only 4 beers on tap.  Two of which were Bud and Bud Light.  How can you call yourself a Tavern if you only have 4 beers on tap?!?!?  Thankfully there was Fat Tire.  It hit the spot!  And so did this burger!!

burger

The next morning, I didn’t have to be at the meeting til 10am.  So I had plenty of time to hit the little fitness center in the hotel before grabbing breakfast.  I got in a quick 20 minutes on the elliptical, which felt really good.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been on an elliptical so I know I was working all kinds of different muscles.  That was confirmed when my quads and glutes were sore for the two days following.

hotel breakfast bar

The hotel had a really nice breakfast spread.  Hubby chose a bacon/egg sandwhich, while I got the open-faced egg-white and mushroom.  And we shared some fruit.

breakfast

As soon as the meeting was over in Greensboro, it was time to hit the road towards Asheville.  That meeting started at 3pm.  We knew exactly where we wanted to eat lunch.  It’s my favorite place in Asheville.  Sunny Point Cafe.  Everything I’ve ever eaten there has been incredible.  The very first sandwich I ever had was chicken with brie and a raspberry mustard.  It sounds weird but it was amazing.  Unfortunately, that sandwich is no longer on the menu.

sunny point

But there plenty of other amazingly good options.

menu

I started with a Weyerbacher Merry Monk beer, which was very tasty.  It reminded me of everything I drank in Helen, GA.  Definitely a Belgian-style beer.  My favorite!  🙂

weyerbacher beer.

Hubby had the fish tacos.  (of course)  He got them last time and loved them.

fish tacos

I had …. are you ready for this ….  a Fried Green Tomato BLT on a crossaint.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was pure deliciousness.  And those fries were perfectly crispy.

fried green tomato BLT

The last and final meeting went splendidly.  You might even say it was the best enrollment meeting I’ve ever done.  Definitely the most fun.  We all sat around on physio-balls during the meeting.  I can honestly say I’ve never conducted a meeting on a physio ball before, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

When the meeting was over, we checked into our hotel and got ready for a night out on the town!

We are really bad at getting photos of ourselves taken.  I totally forget to hand my camera to a perfect stranger and ask them to take our photo.  And I completely suck at these self-portraits.

us

I just wanted to walk around downtown for a bit before going anywhere.  I love the downtown area.

First stop was LAB.  Lexington Avenue Brewery.  We went here last year and really enjoyed the food and the beer.

beer at Lab

But we didn’t order any food this year, even though this grilled cheese sounds pretty amazing ….

lab menu

Next stop ….  the Thirsty Monk.  I don’t even remember what I had here.  LOL

thirsty monk

Thankfully, our hotel was within walking distance.  🙂

The next morning called for a big breakfast.  Tupelo Honey Cafe was a block away.

tupelo honey

They start you out with a big fat homemade biscuit.  I could have eaten just the biscuit and called it breakfast.

biscuit

But then they brought me the sweet potato pancake!!  Yeah, I had to take about 2/3 of that home in a box.  It was HUGE!!  But delicious.  Totally worth each and every carb I consumed.

sweet potato pancake

There were so many yummy things on the menu that I wanted to try.  Thankfully, they opened one in Knoxville so I can try it again soon!!

After breakfast, we walked around downtown, snapping photos and window shopping.  Here are just a few of my favorite shots:

church

architecture

birds

There was a guy on a park bench feeding the birds.  They would all fly in, get some food then all fly back out together.  It was really cool to watch.

birds 2

All the walking and photographing made me thirsty.  We had time to hit only one more restaurant before heading out of town.  So we enjoyed a late lunch at the Asheville Brewing Company.

abc beer

We declared this to be the best beer we drank all weekend.  We’ll be going back there next year for sure!!

I ordered a veggie quesadilla while the hubs enjoyed a Nacho Libre burger.  I tried a bite of his burger and it was delicious!

quesadilla lunch

So that concludes our unofficial food and beer tour of Asheville.  Love that town.  I could walk around downtown all day long!

And now, after eating at Tupelo Honey Cafe and Asheville Brewing Company, I can honestly say I have more than one favorite restaurant in Asheville!!

As much as I enjoyed our short-time away, I was looking forward to seeing these little rugrats.

rugrats

So we took them to park on Sunday for some quality time.  🙂

My 7-year old had fun feeding the ducks and birds.

ducks and birds

While my 2-year old enjoyed playing on the playground.

playground

It was an awesome weekend.

Question of the Day:  Have you been to Asheville, NC?  If so, where is your favorite place to eat?  What should we try next time??

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Friday Fun – Pizza, Friends and Live Music

I’m a week late in posting this.  But better late than never, right??  Well, last Friday night my favorite band, The Delta Saints, was playing at Barley’s.  I had been looking forward to this night for two months!!!

greek pizza

Our friends Kara and Remington  joined us for some pizza and beer before the music started.

k and r

Their pizza is so good.  Definitely one of the best in town.  Hubby and I split the Greek.

me and hubs

And split a pitcher of the Sam Adams Winter Lager.  YUM!!

the delta saints

The band didn’t start til almost 11:15pm.  Which is really late for this old timer.  Good thing I drank a Red Bull before dinner!!  🙂

the delta saints 2

I absolutely adore their music.  His voice, their sound, the lyrics, the harmonica, the bass, the drums.  So much talent in one band.  I seriously can’t get enough.

And live?  They ROCK!!  If I could quit my job, follow them around and become a groupie, I totally would.

If anyone is keeping track, this makes the fourth show we’ve seen of theirs.  We were introduced to them in Feb, 2012 when they opened for The Dirty Guv’nahs.  Then they did a free concert in Market Square in October when they opened for The Black Cadillacs.  It was there they told us about the CD release party at Exit/In in Nashville, so we had to go.  And finally, back in Knoxville at Barley’s.  I’m not sure when I’ll see them again.  Looks like all of the Spring tour dates are in Europe.  Hmmmm…. wonder how I can work that out!?!  🙂

the delta saints 3

Their latest album, Death Letter Jubilee, was just realeased.  (Of course, I’ve had my copy since Nov 30th when I purchased it at the CD release party in Nashville.  It hasn’t left my CD player since.  Actually, that’s not true.  There was a week or two there that I swapped it out for the previous album, Bird Called Angola.  But I have seriously been blasting the Saints religiously for the last 2 months).

I’m not sure I even have a favorite song anymore.  I love them all.

Especially the title track, Death Letter Jubilee.  Check out their new music video HERE.

the delta saints 4

They played for a good 2+ hours.  We didn’t get home til after 2 o’clock in the morning.  And I was totally wired.

If they come to a city near you, I highly recommend you go see them now.  Do it soon while they are still playing in small venues.  These guys are going to be huge.

Question of the Day:  What band have you seen the most?  And if you could be a groupie, who would you follow around??

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Weekend Recap: Shopping and Pumpkin Carving

How is it the last weekend in October and I haven’t bought a pumpkin yet?!?!?  October totally got away from me.  I can’t believe Halloween is a few short days away.

The hubs was out of town on Saturday so it was just me and the kids.  We had such a fun day!!  First, we went to pick out a pumpkin.

My 7-year old wanted the biggest one he could find.  And then he insisted on carrying it himself.

After the pumpkin patch, we went to Party City to buy him a Halloween costume.  That place was crazy.  (Hence no pics).  Thankfully he knew exactly what he wanted so we walked in, got it and left.

From there, we went to World Market.  I hardly ever shop here, so I forget how cool this store is.  Check out this display they had:

shipyard pumpkin head

How many should I buy??

If you are looking for Shipyard Pumpkinhead, World Market has it!!  I was slightly afraid I wouldn’t see anymore of it after checking the local craft beer store on Friday.  They were out.  The Shipyard website says the closest place for me to find it is 90 miles away.  So I was really surprised when I happened upon this huge display.  I am proud to say – I only bought ONE 6-pack!  I don’t need to stock up on beer.  If it’s in the house, I’ll drink it.

The kids had fun looking at all the toys and candy in the store.

my purchases

I love anything pumpkin, so I couldn’t resist buying this pumpkin gnocchi and pasta sauce.  (I haven’t tried it yet, though.  I’ll let you know if it’s any good.)  And normally, I like to wait til after Thanksgiving for anything Christmas-related, but I simply had to have the red velvet cake coffee!!  Mmmmm.

Not sure what that move is … apparently Spiderman knows karate??

As soon as we got home, he had to try on his costume!  In fact, he’s worn it pretty much the whole weekend.  He’s already run two holes in the mask.  And then we had to have an entire discussion about why I won’t buy him another one.

HIIT Workout of the Day

While the little one was napping, I made the 7-year old do my workout with me.  I scaled it down a little for him.  While I was doing box jumps, he was doing high knee jumps.  While I was doing ball slams, he was doing jumping jacks.  He did awesome.  I was impressed.

Sunday was a total ‘blah’ day.  It was cold and dreary out, which pretty much screwed up our original plans.  So we stayed in.  The 7-year old’s favorite game is Sorry.  We played multiple rounds, all of which I lost.

The highlight of the day was cutting up the pumpkin we bought!  (And, if I’m cutting a pumpkin, it only seems appropriate to enjoy some pumpkin beer while doing so).

I purchased one of those pumpkin carving kits.  You know, the kind with the stickers and you just cut around them.  Made it so easy.

Confession time:  This is the first pumpkin I’ve ever carved!  I know – that’s crazy.  I’ve just never been really into it because of the gutting that has to happen first.  It’s all slimy in there.  And I really don’t like getting crap under my fingernails.  But this year, I sucked it up.  Why?  Because I wanted roasted pumpkin seeds!!!  Yum!!!  (Pictures and recipe coming later).

Before

The pictures are a bit deceiving … makes it look like they actually helped.  lol

After

Sorry for the poor quality pics – these were all taken on my phone.

Nothing better than a big pot of soup on a cold rainy day!

This soup was so easy to throw together.  I’ll give you the recipe, but it’s different every time.  On Friday night we grilled extra chicken so there was left over cooked chicken, which made it even easier!  I found a leftover corn on the cob in the fridge too, so I cut off the corn and threw it in there.

KT’s DUMP SOUP

1 can chicken broth

1 can great northern beans

1 can black beans

1 can corn

2 cans diced tomatoes with jalapenos

1 lb chicken, cooked and choppped

diced carrots (optional)

2 large handfuls of kale

2 cloves of fresh garlic

about 2 Tbsp of chili powder

That’s it.  Just dump it all in a big pot (hence the name, dump soup).  Simmer on medium for about 30 minutes, then turn in on low until you are ready to serve.  Top with cheese and sour cream, and jalapenos if you want!  🙂

There’s so much leftover, we’ll be eating on it for days.  (which is fine – usually tastes better the second day anyways).

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

From WordPress:

Foreign. While foreign (rightly so) often brings up images of things outside of your own nation, it can also apply to things outside of or different from your normal environment, or even something which is out of place in general. I’m sure you’ll be able to find some great examples of this :)  My photo is from a recent trip to Bulgaria, where my inability to understand Cyrillic characters was one of the things which made *me* feel foreign. 

Share a picture which means FOREIGN to you!

Now this one is a real challenge for me.  I’ve only ever been out of the country twice in my life, and both times it was to islands in the Caribbean.  Not really all that ‘foreign’.

The hubby and I love exploring, but it’s hard to go too far with small kids.

Earlier this year, we took a weekend trip to Helen, Georgia.  If you’ve never heard of Helen, it’s a super cute, quaint little German town in the mountains of North Georgia.

helen, georgia

helen, ga

helen ga

helen ga

Enjoying German beer!

 

When in foreign land, ALWAYS play mini-golf. 🙂

I took about 1,000 photos that weekend.  I wish I could share them all with you.  This is just a small sampling of the ones that looked the most “foreign”.

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Weekend Recap: Birthday Celebrations

Sorry I’m a little late in posting this weekend recap.  I guess I had a little too much fun.  I’m still recovering.  🙂

It’s so much harder to get away for the weekend when you have kids, which is why we don’t get to do it that often.  Greg wanted to take me on a trip for my birthday, but we only had one night without the kids.  In less-than- 24-hours, we tried to pack in as much food, photography and fun as possible!

Growing up, I lived a stone’s throw from Chattanooga.  We went shopping in Chattanooga almost every weekend.  If you wanted to go to a nice restaurant, you went to Chattanooga.  So to me, Chattanooga is not that exciting.  But over the last 15 years, they have done a LOT to that area to make it exciting!  Downtown is bustling with people – families and kids – walking all over, from the Tennessee Aquarium to the Discovery Museum to the Walking Bridge and Coolidge Park.  So many interesting things to see – the buidings, the art, the water.  It’s beautiful!

We arrived downtown just in time for sunset.

sunset

downtown chattanooga

We parked on the Coolidge Park side of river so we could walk across the walking bridge to get to all the downtown attractions.  Downtown Chattanooga is alive –  it’s hopping, it’s cool.  Almost makes me wish I lived there!

Our first stop was at a restaurant called Taco Mac.  It had been probably 7+ years since I’d been to a Taco Mac, and I remembered it being really good.  Unfortunately I either remembered wrong or my tastes have changed.  It was just ok.

They have a HUGE beer selection, but it was crazy expensive.  I started off with a Magic Hat #9.

If a place is known for their buffalo wings, then what should you order?  The Buffalo Wings, of course!  The hubs and I split a half dozen.

taco mac buffalo wings

 

hair of the dog

From there, we were enticed into an English pub by a British flag door.  I wish I had gotten a picture of it.  The name of the bar was Hair of the Dog.

It was here that I discovered my new favorite beer…..  Pumpkinhead by Shipyard.  Seriously yummy!!  Almost doesn’t even taste like beer.  Apparently it’s hard to find, so I’m hoping that some craft beer stores in Knoxville have it, or at least know how to order it!!!

best beer ever!

best beer ever!

After this, we found some live music – a guy and his guitar, so we sat and listened for a while.  It was obvious that the college students were pretty drunk as they all went completely nuts when he started the intro to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and started dancing where there was no dance floor.  I wish I had gotten a video for you.  I didn’t even think to snap a pic, I was so enjoying the people-watching.

We finished the (very late) night at a German restaurant, Brewhaus.

brewhaus

We ate bad and drank more beer…  isn’t that what birthdays are for??

This was my attempt at a nightscape.  It’s a little blurry.  Perhaps I should have used a tripod.  Or maybe I shouldn’t have drunk that much beer.  LOL  Either way, the pic is a FAIL!

The next morning, we just walked around, enjoying the scenery… and the quiet.  We were enjoying the fact that we weren’t having to yell at anyone to calm down, stop running, leave your sister alone, etc etc.  You get the point.

Here’s the walking bridge in the daylight.

Birds and butterflies…. some of my favorite things to photograph!

Do you see the crane watching those board surfers?

Too many things to photograph.  I could take pictures all day.

Time for (a very late) lunch.

I love Greek food.  So this cute little restaurant called Taziki’s caught my eye.  (I had no idea it was a chain.  I’m thinking Knoxville needs one)!!

The food was fresh and delicious.  I had a Greek Salad Gyro with chicken.  The hubs had the Chicken Gyro with a “side” salad.  Seriously, that was a side salad – it was HUGE.  I would definitely go back there!

After our lunch, we didn’t have much time left before we had to pick up the kids.  No time for our previously planned hike.  That’s ok – I wasn’t too sad since we’d been walking all morning.

We headed up to the top of Lookout Mountain.  The houses up on the mountain are gorgeous.  Just check out that view!!  It’s amazing.

Yeah, I could live there!  🙂

Time to get back to reality….  and to healthy eating …..

But not before one final birthday celebration.  My mother-in-law made her famous carrot cake.  Yum.

It was an eventful and exhausting 24 hours.

Question of the Day:  If you had only 24 hours without the kids, where would you go and what would you do??

 

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Birthday Funday

Today is my birthday.  I won’t tell you what number it is because at this point in my life, I would prefer to stop counting.  I subscribe to the old adage ‘Age is just a number’ and ‘You’re only as old as you feel’.  Sometimes, though, I’ll tell you – the kids make me feel so much older.

birthday banner

I was surprised with a banner, dinner, and presents when I got home from work yesterday.

Yay!  I love opening presents.  Do you see that black ball??  I’ve been wanting a Medicine Ball for so long now.  I am so excited!!

And my son made me some sweet cards.  On the inside of one, he drew me a sunset.  He said, “because you love sunsets.”  How sweet he is!

The hubs handed me a new beer to try.  I love Shock Top, I love wheat beer, and I love Pumpkin!  He did good.  It could have been a little more pumpkin-y, but it was really good.

Then he grilled us some fish and veggies, the makings of fish tacos!!  See that grill pan?  That was one of my birthday presents.  I’m not sure how much it was really for me.  He’s the griller.  I think he bought himself a present and wrapped it up and gave it to me.  But that’s fine.  I’m the eater.  So if he’s grilling, then I’m benefiting!  🙂

Fish tacos have become my new favorite thing!!

pumpkin cake

He attempted to make me a “healthy” pumpkin cake with almond flour.  He says it didn’t turn out well.  I say it was delicious!!!

I took the day off today so I could pack, get a few things done, and get pampered at the spa.  I also had a killer workout.

interval workout

That felt good.  I haven’t been as disciplined with my workouts lately as I should be.  I’ve been feeling a little ‘soft’.  So I needed this workout.  Those wall sits are going to hurt tomorrow!!!

hill sprints

That’s the hill I was sprinting.  From stop sign to stop sign.  I wish I had worn my heart rate monitor.  My heart was about to beat out of my chest on that fifth sprint.

I was so excited to use my new medicine ball for the ball slams!  That box jump-ball slam combination also spiked my heart rate quickly, even though I completed it in under 5 mintues.

low-carb wrap

After my facial, I came home and made a Low-Carb wrap.  There’s grilled chicken, cheese, hard boiled egg, grape tomatoes, fresh jalapenos, and greens topped with some wing sauce.  All on a 90-calorie Flat Out.  Yum!!

The birthday is not over yet.  We will do lots more celebrating this weekend.  Stay tuned for the Weekend Recap with lots of exciting photos.

Also, I wanted to say a quick Happy Birthday to my first foodie pen pal, Stephanie at My Freckled Life.  Other than Bill Murray and Nicole Richie, I’ve never known anyone else who shares my birthday with me!

Question of the Day:  How do you pamper yourself on your birthday??

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