Adventures in the kitchen, in fitness and with glitter!

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Out on the Town

I received the most pleasant surprise during work today – a good friend from MT texted around noon and reminded me that he was visiting Madison this weekend, or rather tonight! His family is from Wisconsin and he and his girlfriend are visiting with his family for an extended vacation around his cousin’s wedding. His first stop was Madison! He’s quite the beer connoisseur so he visited a couple local breweries before meeting me in downtown Madison.

A quick recap of the first part of his trip – Ale Asylum was the first stop, the brewery is location yards from the Madison airport and I believe gets a lot of airport traffic! My BF’s favorite is the Hopalicious, an American IPA, super hoppy! My friend highly recommended the Belgium IPA, which is made with a Belgium-yeast and lots of hops. Next was the ever-popular Wisconsin brewery, New Glarus Brewery. The brewery doesn’t export beyond the Wisconsin boarder and is up there next to Miller as the most popular cold one in Wisconsin. Spotted Cow is their biggest seller and the brewery expanded into a new location recently, it’s like a castle, a really neat trip to rural central Wisconsin to visit.

From there I met up with my friend and his family on the Capitol Square, at The Coopers Tavern. I had a great Blanche De Bruxelles, Belgium Ale and the crew split a local cheese plate and traditional soft pretzels. From there we moved on to the Tipsy Cow. My friend walked by and was so intrigued by the name, we had to stop. He chose well on the menu and got a Mokah stout, a chocolate and coffee stout beer. It wasn’t my style, but he was impressed. I went for a Heartland Wheat, from Lucky Bucket Brewing. Then it was finally on to dinner, I had picked out a list of some of my faves near the Square and we decided on Graze. This was one of the first restaurants I tried with the BF on the weekend we were apartment searching in Madison, and the mac and cheese has kept me coming back! The place has a great view of the capitol building and the square looks so nice lit up at night. We had a great meal, I got the mac, made with 10 year cheddar, and my friend also opted for the mac too, but topped with pulled pork! His mom and sister split the Graze burger, which was made of fresh ground bacon, sirloin, ribeye & short ribs! My friend’s GF was feeling adventurous and ordered the Bibimbap – marinated ground pork, crispy rice, sunny-side-up egg, market vegetables, and a spicy sauce. She raved about it, the radishes on top looked delicious too. It may go on the shortlist for next time I visit Graze.

It was a fun the evening with old friends and we made quite the tour of downtown Madison. It was awesome to connect with a friend from MT out in Madison and visit with him and his family. Sorry, no pictures, we were having too much fun!


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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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We are taking advantage of the heat wave in Madison these days by spending some time on the water. More specifically, my friend’s (and current roommate) boat! We took it out for a spin this week after work and her husband packed all the toys!

We started off testing out their new tube, Big Mabel, a double tube. Her husband spun us in circles and we caught some serious air! Next came the wake board, my friends and snowboarding enthusiasts are far more talented on the wakeboard than I ever will be. Then my friend tried out the wake surfboard, where you are towed only about 10 feet behind the boat by the rope and ultimately you are supposed to drop the road and “surf” on the wake behind the boat… but we aren’t quite that advanced that just yet. Last we pulled out the water skis, the only water apparatus I am talented at, so I took a nice spin around the bay. It’s a bit of a workout too, I am definitely feeling some soreness in my arms this evening!

It's just like riding a bike! (sort of...)

It’s just like riding a bike! (sort of…)

We stopped off at the Memorial Union on campus for dinner – brats, grilled chicken, grilled corn-on-the-cob, delicious all around! Perfect summer evening in Madison, makes one forget about the long, cold winter (almost).

Gorgeous sunset on Lake Mendota!

Gorgeous sunset on Lake Mendota!

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4th of July Weekend Extravaganza

What a week it has been! Sorry for being MIA, between the move, an impromptu visit by the BF back to Madison, work and the holiday weekend, it’s been hard to find time to keep up! First up, July 4th festivities!

The BF made a surprise visit due to a job interview in Madison today. He was lucky enough to be able to fly in early and be around for the weekend. He flew in early on July 4 and we spent the rest of the day celebrating with my friend from work, her husband and family. Her husband took us all out on their boat! It was a perfect day in Madison, high 70s, no wind and barely a cloud in the sky.

Snapshots from July 4 celebrations!

Snapshots from July 4 celebrations!

I tried wakeboarding, I got up but not for long, haha! It was really fun. We sipped on white sangria throughout the day, it was delicious!

White Wine, vodka, simple syrup, triple sec and fruit - strawberries, blueberries and apples, cut into stars!

White wine, vodka, simple syrup, triple sec and fruit – strawberries, blueberries and apples, cut into stars!

I found the recipe on Pinterest, adapted it a little, and put a couple batches over ice for the day. We had a great BBQ on the patio as the sun went down and caught the fireworks over Blackhawk Country Club in Madison. Memorable 4th of July! I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday!

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Final Preparations!

Race day is almost here! In less than 36 hours I will (hopefully) be almost done with the Madison Marathon half-marathon! After work today, I was off to downtown to check out the race expo. I picked up my race packet including bib number, map (which I have already studied well) and race shirt. With the winter training plan and a hectic work schedule, I can’t believe race day is here already!

I did my final training run yesterday, a quick but easy 2.5 miles. It felt good and traced a little bit of the course, the hills are going to be brutal! For some exercise today, I splashed around for a nice, easy 2,200 m swim and tomorrow will walk and do some light stretching before early Sunday’s wake-up call and 7 a.m. race!

My watch, bib and shoes are ready, let’s get ready for Sunday!