bake.sweat.create.

Adventures in the kitchen, in fitness and with glitter!


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Big Things in 2015!

What a holiday season it was for me! I spent over a week at home in MT for Christmas. There was a total of ten people staying at my parents’ home and it was a fun, full house. We ate, drank and celebrated, but more on that later.

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

Out for a long exploration around town on our action packed Christmas Eve!

We enjoyed our traditional fondue dinner on Christmas Eve and I found an awesome fondue recipe that wasn’t too “swiss-y”, my family isn’t a huge fan of the overly strong cheese. Well Plated had a delicious recipe!

Winter delivered with a beautiful white Christmas and we spent much of the day in our PJs, opening presents, of course eating and drinking mimosas!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

Beautiful Christmas view of the backyard!

The best part of the week was spending quality time with my family, siblings and their significant others and it was very special to celebrate with my future in-laws. That’s right – the BF is now my fiancé! Christmas Eve will forever be my favorite day of the year (until my wedding I suppose). We are ecstatic and so excited to start this wonderful new part of our relationship. Having our families there was so special and made for quite a memorable week!

We rounded out our holiday season celebrating with close friends at a lake house we rented at a near by lake back in Virginia. A two-night stay celebrating the new year and our new engagement was a perfect close to 2015!

Closing out 2014!

Closing out 2014!

I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings! Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season! Best wishes in 2015, I’m back in action now with lots of DIY projects on the horizon!

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The most memorable Christmas celebration yet!


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Catching Up!

I have been on the move! I left my job and moved from Madison, WI back to Charlottesville, VA and took on a new career and new opportunity. It has been quite the whirlwind month but I am finally getting settled into the new job, my old apartment and settling into a workout and cooking routine.

I signed up for a new half-marathon in November, The Anthem Richmond Marathon. I signed up for just the half and broke out a 10-week training program to get ready for it. I’ve been familiarizing myself with some of my old routes around Charlottesville and adapting to running hills again! During my last couple weeks in Madison and my first nearly two weeks in Charlottesville, my workout routine dropped off significantly. With packing and logistics and being between gym memberships took me out of the pool for nearly a month, it has been nice to get back into a routine with work and workouts the last couple weeks.

It has also been amazing to be back in my own kitchen! I have been experimenting with recipes and have enjoyed cooking for two again.

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes

Sweet Potato Corn Cakes

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Greens

Homemade Pesto Pasta with Greens

Southwest Salad with Creamy Cilantro

Southwest Salad with Creamy Cilantro

Ok, so I didn't bake this but I did have a birthday and this ice cream cake was delicious!

Ok, so I didn’t bake this but I did have a birthday and this ice cream cake was delicious!

All recipes will come soon as I get back into the groove of living, working and posting in my new environment. Thanks for being patient! I’m looking for new recipes, would love to hear from you!


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Settling into the End of Summer

The end is near for my summer of travel and that means some much needed catching up with my other favorite past times – cooking and regular exercise!

The dwindling of summer also mean the return of students to Madison – our office interns have arrived and I used it as an excuse to whip up some cookies in the kitchen. I had salted carmel chocolate chip cookies on the brain but misplaced my favorite cookie recipe in the chaos of my moving/living situation, so I subbed in this one instead. I also used some spring time Nestle morsels to brighten up the cookies. They were soft and delicious but a bit on the too salty side. The interns didn’t seem to mind, they devoured the entire batch before I could snap a picture!

I returned from a weekend in Portland late last night, but in anticipation of spending the next three weeks in Madison I decide to spend some time in the kitchen tonight with an old trusty recipe – an adaptation of  Mexican Lasagna. I opted out of the lasagna/tortilla portion and instead just made a scramble with the inside mix for the lasagna. I added low sodium taco seasoning to the chicken, some red bell pepper I had in the fridge and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper while the mixture simmered.

All the ingredients simmering over the stove!

All the ingredients simmering over the stove!

I served the mixture over a bed of spinach and topped it with one of the many avocados that are rapidly softening in the fridge. It was delicious and now I have lots to eat throughout the week!

I’ve satisfied my itch somewhat in the kitchen, for now. Next item to tackle on my personal to-do list is refreshing my workout plan and finding the next running race and location. Onward and upward, happy Monday!

 

 


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Family Outing!

About three years ago my family got together and decided we were going to make an effort to take a few days every summer and rendezvous at a location chosen by one of the five core members of our family. My mother chose the first year and we went to Montana, Flathead Lake to be exact. This summer, it was my dad’s turn, he chose Montana, Glacier National Park in particular. Creative, I know, but there’s nothing like Montana. We spent many a childhood summer nights at Glacier, mostly in Apgar or Fish Creek campgrounds, climbing through trails and trekking up the Going to the Sun highway. This time around we forged a new path and went to the east side of the park to East Glacier. My dad found a great lodge that we stayed in, close to the entrance of the park and easy access to the trails.

Our first hike was an ambitious path up Ptarmigan Tunnel. We went up over 5 miles and through the tunnel, then over to the other side checking out Elizabeth Lake and sky-scraping mountains. It was almost 12 miles round trip! The most exciting part came in the first 1/2 mile. Bear spray in tow, we started out on the trail and ran into a group abruptly stopped, they were spying on a small black bear rummaging through the bushes for food. It was no more than 20-30 feet off the trail and didn’t notice us. We kept our eye out for a mother bear the entire time but luckily didn’t encounter any other bears. After a few pictures we kept on trucking up the mountain, towards the tunnel.

View from the frontside of Ptarmagin Tunnel.

View from the frontside of Ptarmigan Tunnel.

The huckleberry ice cream sure tasted good at the bottom! Huckleberries are an amazing summertime treat in Montana, we even managed to find a patch on our drive home, between four of us we picked over 7 cups in less than 30 minutes, jackpot! We also ran into a traffic jam on our way out of the park, people were gathered on both sides of the road with binoculars and cameras out taking pictures of a giant grizzly bear on the mountain side. It was far away enough not to be threatening, but close enough to see how giant the bear would have been up close. Two bears in two days, Glacier treated us well!

Success at the bottom of the trail!

Success at the bottom of the trail!

Next summer, it’s my brother’s turn to choose… we’re going to Montana.


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A Trip to the Bourbon Trail

I made a quick trip to Kentucky this weekend to attend a family friend’s wedding reception. The happy couple got married in Salzburg, Austria last month and are now hosting two state-side receptions for friends and family who couldn’t make it to Europe. Thankfully Louisville is about an equal trip from Madison and Charlottesville, so the BF joined me in KY.

It was my first road trip in a while, but it was a pretty trip on the way down, heading straight east.

A shot from the solo drive through Indiana.

A shot from the solo drive through Indiana.

 

We made the most of our time in Louisville, one stop was the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Our first stop was Marker’s Mark. This tour was recommended by our family friend and it did not disappoint! The grounds of the distillery were amazing and the tour lasted well over an hour, we saw how the grains were combined, the fermentation barrels bubbling and the bottling center, which was the coolest. We saw the bourbon filling the bottles, labeled and the hand-dipping of the top of the bottle in the signature red wax!

View from the courtyard at Maker's Mark

View from the courtyard at Maker’s Mark

Bourbon Wagon!

Bourbon Wagon!

The barrels hold the good stuff!

The barrels hold the good stuff!

We even dipped our own bottle in red wax in the gift shop! We also visited the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, home of Evan Williams and Elijah Craig bourbons, but after Maker’s Mark we’d had our fill.

Saturday night was the reason for our trip, a wonderful reception celebrating an awesome couple! It was so fun we didn’t take a single picture until the last minute of the night, in the driveway, on our way out.

Party People

Party People

The reception had great Kentucky BBQ, some bourbon, awesome homemade carrot cake and great conversation! Then Sunday it was back on the road, heading north to Wisconsin, with my heart thankful for good times with the BF, friends who are like family and enjoying a new place.

 

 


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Viva Las Vegas!

My travel-filled month continued last weekend as I made a quick trip to Las Vegas! This was a girls’ trip I made with two of my best friends from college and my first legal-age excursion to Vegas.

Daytime adventure on The Strip!

Daytime adventure on The Strip!

We spent some serious time by the pool, got in a few workouts (as former college swimmers we couldn’t help ourselves), then it was on to drinks and gambling! I am not the adventurous gambling-type so my personal limit was pretty small but it was still fun to explore the different casinos, see all the card tables and various types of machines. We took long walks down the strip checking out hotels and caught the fountains at the Bellagio and the Fall of Atlantis show at Caesars Palace.

Smoke and Fire

Enjoyed the smoke and fire!

We ran across these awesome benches in the Luxor, they were made from recycled license plates! They were super cool and a few of them were all Montana plates, a little throw back to home! If I could get my hands on that many plates, I would definitely attempt a footstool.

 

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We even made it down to Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas, interesting street walking experience! Overall, it was a great weekend and fun to connect with old friends, reminiscing for a fun weekend.