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Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

6 Oct

Last night, Ed and I ran to Target to tackle some birthday gifts and pick up something on my want list that I have been anticipating for awhile now.

It is now in my possession.

We popped up some homemade microwave popcorn and popped the blu-ray in for a date night in.  Ed had never saw this movie before and we both enjoyed the classic touches the movie had throughout.  I had to explain to Ed that the castle at Disney World was Cinderella’s castle and we would be running through her castle in January.  He had no idea.  🙂  I specifically enjoyed the orchestral music throughout the movie.  You don’t hear real, live instruments like this in movies anymore.  It was an enjoyable and nostalgic night.

This morning, Ed and I woke up and split up before 7:30AM.  Ed had a “Men’s Breakfast” (and yes, you should say this with a deep and manly voice at all times) at church this morning and I headed to the park for a different change of scenery.

A solid start to the morning.

Three miles of my run was spend on the trail head which made things a bit more challenging, but enjoyable.  Being in the trees away from the morning sun glare was helpful.

When I got home, I showered and made a fall inspired smoothie to cool myself from the sweat of the morning.  Even my hair was soaked when I took it out of the ponytail.

I was inspired by Julie’s Pumpkin Protein Smoothie and tweaked it with what I had in my kitchen.

Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie

1/4 – 1/3 cup of pumpkin

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup milk

1 frozen banana

1.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice plus some for sprinkling

5 ice cubes

Blend and serve.


The thickness was perfect and I opted for a spoon instead of a straw.  It tasted more like a pumpkin milkshake.  Yum!

Yes, I am one of many that includes pumpkin in my diet throughout the season and at points throughout the year too.  I love pumpkin flavors!  Thank goodness for all the health benefits!

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?  Are your pumpkin goodies sweet or savory?

I’m not the best baker around.  I do well, but there are few things that I do really well.  Pumpkin Iced Cookies are my specialty though.  They are requested throughout the season for both Thanksgiving and Christmas for events or bake sales and I enjoy making them.  The recipe came from All Recipes originally.  The cookies are light and cake like which always has people coming back for more.  (I’ve already made 2 batches for events this week.)  I am looking forward to sharing the recipe with you soon!

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Sweetwater Tavern

23 Sep

On Saturday evening, we were invited to dinner with friends Amir and Tina.  Tina and Ed work together and Amir and I happen to work in the same type of field.  Talk about a coincidence.

We always enjoy going out with these two because they are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to great restaurants in the area.  Once again, they did not steer us wrong.

As usual, we managed to have our dinner out in Virginia at Sweetwater Tavern.  We really do eat at places in Maryland on occasion, but apparently, it hasn’t been a priority lately.  We’re branching out!

Dubbed a “Great American Restaurant”, Ed and I were both surprised and excited to find out that Sweetwater had it own brewery located inside the restaurant.  So, naturally and with no hesitation, I started my meal with the Naked River Light lager.

Naked River Light

It was light, golden and clean.  Just how I prefer it.

With our drinks, we also indulged in some of their beer bread or beer donuts to be more descriptive.  Made from beer from their brewery, these beautiful little creations could easily be mistaken for a dessert.  I may have encouraged a second bowl before our meals actually came.

Beer in bread…Genius.

Just saying.

For my meal, I chose the Hickory BBQ Burger since it sounded most appropriate with my drink of choice.  The burger was smothered in melting cheddar jack cheese and hickory BBQ sauce.

Hickory BBQ Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

I chose sweet potato fries as a substitute for the Great American fries because, well, you just can’t beat them.  The hickory BBQ sauce was sweet and tangy and matched the cheddar jack cheese very well.  I couldn’t manage to get it all down, but the flavor didn’t escape as leftovers for lunch the next day. 😉

Don’t you worry, you’re coming home with me.

Ed went with the traditional 25 oz. Black Angus Prime Rib and it cannot go unmentioned.

Traditional 25 oz. Black Angus Prime Rib

Sided with red skin mashed potatoes and homemade horseradish, Ed was in meat heaven.  Easily one of the restaurants most favorite dishes as I couldn’t help noticing it’s presence on every table around us.

This restaurant was definitely a favorite for Ed and I and is going on our list of restaurants to take our out of town visitors.

What is your favorite “Great American” restaurant?

Assateague Island National Seashore

15 Sep

This morning, Ed and I had an early 5AM wake up call to start our trip to Assateague Island National Seashore.

We were off to a pretty good start.  Ed racked the bikes and I prepared an on the go, filling breakfast to keep us from stopping anywhere on our 2 hour drive.

I scrambled 4 eggs (2 each) with a splash of milk and shredded artisan cheese and put it on a toasted Nature’s Own Multi-Grain Sandwich Round with a travel mug of coffee and vanilla almond milk for the road.

It was filling, overflowing and cheesy!

By 6:15AM, we were outta there!

The island is located right outside of Ocean City, MD and is occupied by wild ponies and clean beaches with opportunities for running, biking and camping.  I had visited this island once with my family years ago and I knew Ed would enjoy the same experiences I had.

Our starting point.

While the biking bath is not incredibly long, we biked 10 miles and were lucky enough to run into a heard of wild ponies.

Is a group of wild ponies considered a “heard”?  I’m not sure, but we’re going to go with this.  There were close to a dozen on either side of the road and I immediately grabbed my camera to get some good shots.

All the ponies were quite the side show attraction for the morning.  While we were incredibly fortunate to have this experience, these ponies are wild and should not be approached less the 10 feet or more.  These ponies can kick and bite if alarmed and Ed and I followed the rules set out by the National Park about keeping out distance.  Park rangers were on site during this siting to make sure everyone was safe.  Safety first!

After we completed a good portion of our bike ride, we stopped to enjoy the beach and walk through some of the walking paths.

I love the beach and the ocean.  Absolutely in love.  I even found the most perfect shell for Ed to add to his fish tank at home.  We’ll see if he can actually use it.

The perfect shell!

While riding back to our car to head off the island for lunch, we realized that it was a special day around the park.

Maryland Coast Day

While the festivities were small, we enjoyed visiting all the stands and learning about the state and national parks in the area.  The Salisbury Zoo was my favorite attraction.  The had some of the most interesting owls.  They were intriguing.


After celebrating Maryland Cost Day, we headed back to the visitors center before heading out to lunch and afternoon activities.

His bike trip was fulfilled.

Time to go find lunch.

Do you enjoy seeing animals in there natural habitat or are you more comfortable seeing them at the zoo?

Ed and I love visiting the zoo, but seeing animals in their natural setting is rare and enjoyable.  Being from Ohio, I’m used to seeing many deer on a regular basis, but horses are always in a controlled environment.  That I know off.  I am not a bird watcher.  We visited the Toledo Zoo a few years back where the bird exhibits were in abundance.  Since then, I have had no interest.  Maybe my feelings will change one day.  😉

P.S. The Recipe Page was updated and had a revamp yesterday.  Take a look and let me know what you think 🙂

Georgetown

28 Aug

Dinner tonight was quick and plentiful.  I used leftover steak from our dinner last night to make a large salad.

Steak salad with spring mix greens, fresh corn and carrots with Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

I added a peach raspberry smoothie on the side for a nice and cold addition.

In this smoothie:

  • 1 cup of Chobani Peach Greek Yogurt
  • 1 White Peach
  • 1 handful frozen raspberries
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop of cottage cheese
  • Enough soymilk to get everything moving

Perfect for a humid afternoon

Last night, Ed and I spent the evening walking around the Georgetown waterfront.

It was the perfect evening for a walk along the water and through old town.  After all the walking, we stopped by one of my favorite sweet places for dessert.

Georgetown Cupcake from TLC’s “DC Cupcakes”

Yes, it was a sweet night for sure at Georgetown Cupcake.  From the top left we have Blueberry Cheesecake, Vanilla Birthday Cake, Honey Banana , Toffee Crunch, Red Velvet and Cinnamon.   We have been sharing ever since last night and as of tonight, all of these babies are GONE!  They really know what they are doing at Georgetown.

I had been here once before when I came to DC for work while living in Ohio.  DC Cupcakes on TLC had just began airing, so I ventured off to find them.  It was SO hot that day that by the time I had made it back to my hotel, the frosting’s had melted together.  All were just as good though.  I had picked up three on that trip.  All the cakes were as light as I remembered and the frosting was perfectly creamy.  I am not usually a frosting fan, but I was sure to get some in each of my bites with these cakes.  My favorite was the Honey Banana and Ed’s was the Red Velvet.

Cupcakes are a favorite for both of us.  It was our wish to have cupcakes at our wedding reception instead of the traditional tiered wedding cake.  It was the perfect balance of formal and modern.

Our Wedding Cake

Our top tier was red velvet cake, which is Ed’s favorite cake of all time.  We had five cupcake flavors for our guests to choose from.  When they announced it was time for cake, no one thought twice about waiting to try their favorite flavors.

We did traditionally keep two cupcakes for our one year anniversary in the freezer.

Our Wedding Cupcakes

They look okay, right?

“Not so much…”

The cake was okay, but I think I broke a tooth that icing was so sweet!  Cute tradition, but we did not get very far…

And that’s, that!

At least this time, the cupcakes stayed in our mouth.  Which is more then I can say for last year.

Messy!

Now that your sweet tooth is wide awake, lets get to today’s workout!

I started with a treadmill interval.

.

(Source: In Sweetness and in Health)

The first two rounds of this workout, I did not go above the 8 mph speed.  However, the second two rounds I did the workout exactly as it was outlined.  Woo hoo!  You have to celebrate the small milestones.  That 9 mph is tough!

Just in case all those cupcakes were still setting up camp around my lower regions, I ended my workout today with a short lower body workout.

best butt workout

(Source: Back on Pointe)

Next time, I think I will incorporate weights into this workout so I can feel the burn much faster.

Off to finish some assignments and to bed.  Goodnight everyone!

Question of the Evening

What kind of cake did you have at your wedding?  Were you traditional, modern or extreme?

Date Night – Seasons 52

26 Aug

Last night, after we spent most of the day completing our assignments and cleaning, Ed and I got all dressed up and went out to a late dinner at Seasons 52 to get a head start on celebrating our first wedding anniversary this week.  We had a Darden gift card to use from a Christmas present from my aunt and uncle, so we were excited that it was good on a restaurant that we had not tried yet.  (They are not located where we are from in Ohio)  After I screwed up the original reservation (I made it for the restaurant in VA instead of MD), Ed saved the day and realized that the Virginia location is only 15 minutes or so past the Maryland location.

So, we hopped in the car for another Virginia night out.

We got to Tyson’s Corners a bit earlier then expected and browsed the mall inside.  Once seated, we were were introduced to our waiter who explained the menu to us.  We were in the Summer season menu and it was full of appetizers, entrees and drinks the were surely getting my summer taste buds ready.  The best part, every dish on their menu is said to be under 475 calories.  Now, once you read through this post, you and I will both know I probably went over that number.  Let’s just enjoy the fact that this number may have been possible if we weren’t celebrating.

First up, I ordered my drink of choice.

Watermelon Refresher

The Watermelon Refresher had rum, muddled watermelon, lime juice and agave nectar.  While I like rum, mine was really kicked into high gear tonight.  Warm and refreshing to say the least 🙂

Ed and I opted for the Maryland Crab, Roasted Shrimp & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms under Parmesan-panko crust for our appetizer.

Being “Marylanders” now, Ed and I can’t get away from always enjoying some good crab meat.  The Parmesan-panko crust stole the show though and was perfectly crusted across the whole dish giving each bite a taste.

Our entrees were difficult to pin down, but we eventually settled on one for each of us from different parts of the menu.

Ed’s Entree

Since we were in celebration mode, Ed chose the Piedmontese All-Natural Bone-in Strip Steak, 11 oz.  served with fresh string beans, cremini mushrooms and a side of rice.  I had a bite  (or two) of it myself.  Marinated in a tangy and white wine sauce, this steak had a perfect flavor.

My Entree

I chose my entree off the fish and seafood side of the menu and I was thrilled with the decision.  Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout served with parsley new potatoes, roasted rainbow carrots, broiled lemon and fresh string beans.  The trout literally melted in my mouth and I had no problem eating every last bit.  Ed couldn’t resist a few bites himself.  The vegetables were all super fresh and lightly seasoned.  The string beans were the winner overall and the potatoes a close, CLOSE second.

Dessert wasn’t far behind where their “dessert menu” includes bringing all of their mini-indulgences out to you in a nice table scape where you choose right there which one you would like to indulge in.  Ed commented on what a good business tactic this was.

“Seriously, how could you only choose one after seeing them all?”

Mini-Indulgences

We were both good and each chose one dessert for the end of a fabulous meal.

Ed chose Mocha Macchiato and I chose (no surprise) Key Lime Pie.  Naturally we both took a swig of the others and I will honestly say that Key Lime won!  Hands down, no contest.  But I’m biased.  Key Lime will always be my favorite.  These desserts were perfectly portioned and creamy.  I didn’t feel one bit guilty the whole evening.

We had a great meal to celebrate one year of wedded bliss and more to come.

Cheers to marriage!

Date Night – The Dark Knight Rises

12 Aug

Last night, Ed and I enjoyed a nice frugal night out.  We still had two free movie tickets left from a Groupon deal we cashed in on months ago and decided it was time to go see “The Dark Knight Rises”.  In addition, AMC was running a promo for 50% off their combo #1 or combo #2 (Double Score!).  Total for two movie tickets, a large popcorn and a large drink = $6.75.  It’s like music to two graduate students ears.

Beach Saturday Movie Review:  Batman – The Dark Knight Rises

When I was young, my parents used to own some of the Batman movies and my favorite was always the one with Catwoman (Batman Returns, Catwoman played by Michelle Pfeiffer).  So, I was more then excited to see her return in Anne Hathaway form.  She was fantastic!  I am more of a fan then before.

http://thegrio.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/anne-hathaway-is-catwoman.jpg?w=550

(Source)

Batman: “No guns, no killing.”
Catwoman: “Where’s the fun in that?”

In fact, all the actors kept me interested this time around from Batman to the detective and even the judge.  Very well selected group of actors.  I am officially a new Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan after this film.  Christian Bale, who?  Just kidding!  Coming from a person that is not as familiar with the comics as the average superhero lover, this movie kept me guessing and excited the whole time.  I couldn’t stop talking about it on the ride home.

Ed made a comment about the villain, Bane.

https://i2.wp.com/www-deadline-com.vimg.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/bane1__111125075219.jpg

(Source)

“His voice didn’t really fit his character.”  Honestly, the movie was so good that I didn’t really notice.  The only thing I did notice about his voice was that I often couldn’t understand what he was saying.  Minor details.

Grade – A+

I can’t wait to see this movie again when it comes out on Blu-Ray.  Excitement and LOTS of surprises that left me wanting more!

Off to church this morning and then I’m going to park it in front of the computer and finish my assignments for the weekend.

Happy Sunday!

Question of the Morning:

Do you enjoy superhero movies, or are you over them?  Should Batman make more appearances in movies to come?

Date Night – Pork Barrel BBQ

22 Jul

The hubby and I are big fans of hole in the wall, non-chain, gem restaurants.  We almost never eat at the same place twice.  When we moved from NE Ohio to Central Maryland, we were in a heaven of new eats to try from seafood to burgers to Ethiopian to Italian.  The list goes on forever.

While the summer has been full of beach Saturday’s this year, today was a rather rainy one, so we skipped out and stayed in…but the dreary day got the best of me…

“I needed to get out!”

So, we did a quick wardrobe change and headed to Old Town Alexandria, VA for dinner.

After watching one of our new favorite shows, Shark Tank, we were excited to go check out a local BBQ place that “struck a deal” to get their signature sauce out on the market and open their first restaurant.  After getting to know a bit of their story from the show, I knew we had to give it a try and the hubby is never one to pass on BBQ ribs.

After some rainy traffic, we made it to Pork Barrel BBQ around 6:30 pm and we were so excited to get things moving because our stomachs were now officially rumbling.  With a glance at the menu, we chose what we each wanted…and then decided to ditch that idea and go for the “The Big Feed”!

Holy Meat! 1/2 Rack of ribs, brisket, pulled pork, 2 sides and a couple others I know I’m forgetting.  Needless to say, we shared this and brought a good portion home for leftovers.

Review:  We we pleasantly surprised with the flavors of their sauces.  There were three to choose from.  Original, Sweet and Mustard.  We both agreed and made the Sweet our flavor of choice for the evening.  Our sides included Sweet BBQ Baked Beans (right) and Texas Caviar (left).  If there were to be a next time, I would order two orders of the Sweet Baked Beans. Yum!!

The ambiance of the restaurant was laid back, seat yourself with a busy bar scene to take advantage of.  My type of place 😉  Apparently everyone else thought so too, because at 7:00 pm on the dot…this sign went up.

Glad we got there when we did.

Overall, it was an relaxing evening out to a place we wanted to try and adventurous drive through rainy, DC traffic.   We got a peek at Old Town Alexandria and now I get to contemplate the workout routine for the morning to burn off those ribs 🙂

Pork Barrel BBQ – You didn’t disappoint!

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