Sunday, January 31, 2016

Rico's Acai and the Panther's Super Bowl Rally

Sunday night, am I right? It has been a great weekend around these parts -- the perfect mix of relaxing and adventure (with some delicious food thrown in for good measure).

In an effort to keep the fun weekend vibes going, I wanted to tell you about my Friday! Normally I work on Fridays but my previous job at New World Olive Oil has come to an end (their last day of business was sadly last Saturday) and I'm not starting my new job until this coming week. I figured a solo outing was in order to take advantage of the sunshine so I headed to Uptown.

Have you heard? The Panthers are going to the Super Bowl. To say this city is excited would be an enormous understatement. Traffic signs that would normally say "Caution" or "Merge Right" now say "Keep Pounding" or "Go Panthers." [I'm really hoping these signs weren't safety-critical].

On Friday there was a Panther's Super Bowl rally in Romare Bearden park in Uptown. I had to park over a mile away (100% should have just walked from my apartment) and it felt like I was in a parade walking down the street to the park. I even wondered if it had been declared a public holiday there were so many adults and children playing hooky. All of this to say, it was PACKED.

The rally itself was filled with music, mascots, cheerleaders and lots of whoopin + hollerin. 

[Full disclosure: I am currently and always have been a Saints fan. Born and raised. But seeing as I live in Charlotte and the Saints decided to take an extra long vacation this winter, I am 100% rooting for the Panthers. In sum, Geaux Saints (but for the time being keep pounding)].

I was approaching hangry level at the rally and knew I needed to act quickly for lunch. I headed a few blocks east to try Rico's Acai food truck (parked on S. College in front of the Mint Museum).
Rico's has been on my list for months but I'm rarely Uptown so hadn't had the chance to try it. I've been an Acai bowl groupie for about a year now and am delighted they are now trendy and popping up everywhere. Any food with fruits + granola + coconut + nut butters is a-ok in my book.

I got the Panther bowl (because it was to theme) and it had acai + banana + black&blueberries + coconut + granola.

Rico's is opening a brick and morter shop in the 7th Street Public Market soon and I can't wait! More acai! More acai! The crowd goes wild!!!

Have you tried acai bowls? Favorite acai place? 

Friday, January 29, 2016

The week from my iPhone

Long time, no blog, eh? It's been rather crazy over here with the beginning of the semester and snow(ish)storms.

I'm in a chatty mood, so I thought I'd swing on by and share what I've been up to this week via my iPhone photos. As you'll see, it has been a wild and crazy time over here (*take this with a few grains of salt*). Settle in friends, this could be a long post.

Unless you've been residing under a sizable boulder this last week, you'll know it snowed on the East Coast! While we didn't get nearly as much of the white stuff as my ole hometown (hi DC!) we did get a few inches + ice. The roads were a mess for 2-3 days. I did venture out one day for a peaceful 5  mile jaunt. As you can see, I had the city to myself.

I think many Charlotteans didn't think much of the snow forecast (including yours truly), so when we woke up to the snow and ice on Friday morning I immediately panicked that I didn't have enough food (oatmeal, almond butter, fruit, wine - the essentials) to get me through the weekend. We walked down to Trader Joe's, had the store to ourselves (!!!) and picked up bread and milk (read: Malbec and Scandinavian Swimmer's). Then we were ready for hibernation.

I ordered this candle online last week from Greenmarket Purveying (as a student, this qualifies as a major impulse buy). It finally arrived this week and this candle kept me company while studying for my first Anatomy test (endocrine system and blooooood!). They are hand poured candles and this one smells just like a fireplace!

I apologize for the aggressively close-up selfie buuuut..... After 8 months (I know, I know) I finally got my hair cut! I tried alchemy: the workshop thanks to a friend's recommendation and it didn't disappoint. They give you a free pint of Unknown Brewing beer and are the friendliest people. Also, scalp massage.

NOW, on to some food.

I have been craving a good thick cookie (do you know the kind I mean?) for about 9 days and decided it was time to do something about it. I whipped up this recipe and squelched my craving.

And in the name of balance, this is one of my go-to lunches when I'm feeling indecisive (always). My favorite Eureka Seeds the Day bread (1/2 avocado toast and 1/2 melty Trader Joe's Unexpected Cheddar) + carrots + blueberries. Simple but delicious!

Delicious snack! Trader Joe's Simply Mango + almonds.

Toasted banana bread + almond butter + bananas + chia and hemp seeds.

Saw a lot of this meal this week (thus goes crockpot cooking for one). I made the Fit Foodie Finds 5-Ingredient Honey Sriracha Chicken on Monday and it was super simple and hit the spot! With a side of roasted broccolini and plain quinoa.

And, on a very different note, I'll leave you with some toilet humor (he, he). Saw this sign in a bathroom at Winthrop. I'm pretty sure it speaks for itself.

Have a great weekend!!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Strikes My Fancy Saturday #2

Hello there, beautiful readers!

The sun is shining in Charlotte -  a welcome sight after 24 hours of total gloom and rain and cold. It has been many moons since I shared some of my favorite things with you, so I thought I'd pop in and do just that!

Speaking of weather (because everyone loves talking about the weather), just LOOK at the icon for the weather tomorrow.

I'm not holding my breath for snow [but actually, I am].

Two highlights here! First off, I made another batch of my Baked Honey & Banana Oatmeal this week. I love having breakfast ready for four days of the week and how can you resist that brown sugar banana caramelized goodness?! Secondly, my spoon! I was lucky enough to unwrap this spoon on Christmas morning and it makes every breakfast brighter. It is also entirely accurate. 

In the midst of holiday madness, I *may* have forgotten to cancel my Blue Apron for this week. So (surprise!) one arrived at my doorstep on Wednesday. The first recipe was this Seared Salmon & Salsa Verde and was super easy and delicious and would be a cinch to make at home. PS - I have a few free Blue Apron meals to give to friends - if you're interested leave a comment! 

New year, new planner! I've completely switched over from my iPhone calendar to a good old-fashioned paper calendar and I'm not looking back. I've also upgraded to a jumbo sized planner so I have plenty of room for to-do lists and doodles. I snagged this Sugar Paper planner from Target for $10! 

As I mentioned, the weather last night was truly atrocious. Torsten and I ventured out to Crepe Cellar in NoDa and split Malbec, pesto fries (!), burrata, a savory crepe and an outrageous brownie sundae concoction. It was the coziest.

And I'm leaving you with this picture from a tiny beach in Kauai, just because.

Have a great weekend friends! 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Back to School, Again

After several days of full-blown denial, it seems I can no longer avoid the fact that Spring semester is upon us (mostly because classes actually started yesterday).

The holidays are over, it's finally freezing outside, and several hundred pounds of textbooks arrived at my door over the weekend.

Side note: The book pictured in the upper left of this photo (Food and the Nutrition Care Process - looks like a page turner!) arrived in a large box from Amazon. My thought process: "Surely there have to be two or three books in here. I'm glad Amazon is finally consolidating my orders to save on packaging materials!" [Opens package] "Oh no. It can't be. One 1,300 page book?!" [The End].

For those of you who are interested, I thought I'd share a little bit about what this semester is going to look like for me! Refresher of last semester here, in case you're super interested. My program is a little unique because I'm taking the DPD requirements and the Masters requirements simultaneously, and as you can see, it's a recipe for a riotous good time.

[In all seriousness, nutrition is awesome, I love my classes, professors and fellow students, and I am genuinely excited about the release of the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. I just put up this front of "woe is me, classes are starting and my books are heavy" to maintain my street cred.]

So here is the down-low on my 17 credit Spring 2016 Semester:

5 classes at Winthrop University:

- Nutrition and Metabolism (probably the class I'm most nervous about)
- Medical Terminology (a 1 credit online course)
- Principles of Clinical Nutrition 
- Seminar in Food and Nutrition (essentially a journal club - our first topic = the new Dietary Guidelines!)
- Global Service Learning (including a 9 day service trip to Rocha, Nicaragua - it's not even on a map, don't bother checking - that I'll be sure to give you more details on in the coming weeks!)

1 class at Northern Virginia Community College (MY LAST ONE):

- Human Anatomy & Physiology II 

As you can see, it's likely to be *quite* the semester. But I have a new planner, so essentially I'm unstoppable.

Anyone else starting classes this week? Excited? Nervous? Feeling intelligent?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

10 Days in Kauai

Happy (belated) New Year friends! 

It finally feels like wintertime around here, just in time for our return from 10 days in Kauai. I know, I know, woe is me. Jet lag is in full force today and I have a serious case of those post-holiday and vacation blues so I figured it was time to share some of my snaps from the trip with you! 

As corny as it sounds, Kauai is a really special place for my family and I've been counting the days until this trip for approximately 7 months (I've never really excelled at the whole 'live in the moment thing...).

So let's take a gander, shall we?

First sunrise out in front of our place! Visiting in the winter meant we didn't have to wake up crazy early to see the sunrise. I was going to say 'at the crack of dawn' but since that literally means sunrise that would have been silly.

My running and walking trail for the week. Flat, sunny and views for days. Now I'm spoiled.

We stumbled upon this otherworldly site on our drive up to Waimea Canyon. Doesn't it look like Mars?! If Mars had waterfalls that is. (Can you tell I was reading The Martian on this trip?)

Waimeia Canyon! This picture doesn't even do it justice. Because guidebooks aren't the most creative, it's often called "The Grand Canyon of Kauai".

Strawberry Guava kombcuha. Aloha indeed.

Not exaggerating when I say we visited Wailua Shave Ice four times. That was probably not enough?

Lava Flow shave ice the size of my head.

Tropical mimosa (with Guava juice) and the best lunchtime view @ Sam's.

Spouting Horn on the South shore! Again, thanks to the inspired authors at the guidebook --> the Old Faithful of Kauai...

We hiked down the Na Pali Coast one day and were rewarded by what may be my favorite view on Earth. It was *muddy* on the trail which made me look very hardcore by the end of the hike (read: clumsy and prone to tripping).

Hiking crew!

And last, but certainly not least, we found a turtle on our last day! I hope it found its way back into the ocean.

I could ramble on and on about our trip and share every photo (123 total) but I'm cutting myself off. I'll just say that I'm so very grateful to have spent this time in my favorite place with my favorite people. When I'm studying for my exams this semester and complaining about the cold, I have lots of sunny memories to harken back to.

And in case you ever find yourself on The Garden Isle, some speedy recommendations for ya:

- Java Kai in Kapaa. Best coffee shop. Try the Acai bowl!
- Kauai Juice Co.
- Sam's Oceanview in Kapaa for any and all meals.
- Wailua Shave Ice
- Kauai Mini Golf and botanical gardens (exactly what it sounds like -- putt putt through a legitimate botanical gardens -- putt putt bar set very high now)
- Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast (we did the 2 mile out and back/4 miles total)
- Talk Story Books in Hanapepe --> the only dedicated bookstore on the island and it's a doozy.
- Kiluaea bakery for cooooookies
- the bike/walking path on the East coast of Kauai. Goes for miles starting in Kapaa.
- Moloaa Beach for an off-the-beaten-path and secluded beach.

And that's all folks! Hope your New Year is off to a wonderful start.