Adventure in Another City

This last weekend was wonderful!  Saturday, Savannah and I headed down to Charlotte, NC for the Miranda Lambert concert.  Well Savannah went for Miranda Lambert, I went for Kip Moore!  I have been a huge fan of his since I saw him a few years back at the West Virginia Fair before he was big.  He’s great to his fans and sings wonderful music!  Anyways, getting off topic lol

I am a huge city girl! I love the tall buildings, the people walking on the streets and everything about the city atmosphere.  We left midmorning to head down to explore Charlotte some before heading to the PNC Pavilion.  If you haven’t been to the PNC Pavilion for a concert you are missing out, it is great! But more on that later.  Traffic was awful going down into Charlotte but we made it in one piece, thankfully lol  Our first stop was Amelie’s for coffee.  I love Taralynn’s blog and she always raves about Amelie’s in her posts so I had to try it!  Savannah and I were NOT let down!  The coffee was delicious and the atmosphere was even better!  I love that we could sit outside and people watch as we drank our coffee.  We were complimented numerous times in less than 5 minutes in there and everyone was so nice!
PicnicCoffeeAmelias

After sitting for a few minutes we got up and decided to explore.  It was supposed to be around 98* that day but luckily it didn’t feel that hot so it made for perfect walking weather.  Uptown Charlotte is so clean!!  As I said I love cities but I have not found one as clean as Charlotte, at least Uptown.  There was Taste of Charlotte going on and we walked through there to see what they had but it was so hot and we had dinner plans we didn’t try anything.  I wish I would have had more time to explore but I am going back next month with my mom and sister-in-law so we can explore much more then!!!  By the way, I have no idea who this statue is of but it’s a girl with her dog so I had to take a picture! 😉
StatueCharlotteAlley
After we walked around for a bit we headed over to Cantina 1511.  It’s Savannah’s favorite place down and she talked about it so much we decided to eat dinner there before the concert. Can I just say how happy I am that we ate there??  It was so delicious, filling, and fresh!  We both got the Chicken Tostada Salad.  Savannah got a bunch of stuff on the side so I added it to my salad.  I decided to not get dressing on it, I try not to eat dairy because it makes my stomach hurt plus why not choose to be healthy?  I put salsa on my salad in place of dressing.  Their chips and salsa were to die for.  I can’t wait to go back and eat there again.  Plus, on top of everything being so yummy I walked out of there spending only $10, a huge win for a broke girl like me 🙂  I already told my mom when we visit we HAVE to go back here because I know she will love it.
Cantina Salad

After eating we decided to drive around a little and then head to the venue for the concert.  Another thing I noticed about Charlotte is that there is greenery and fountains everywhere!  You are in a city but they keep it so green and lush that you don’t feel like you are surrounded by concrete.  We got to the venue super early and thought we would have to wait to park but they let us in AND parking was free.  Everyone started pulling out their tailgating essentials, you know tents, lawn chairs, food, drinks, etc.  Savannah and I looked around and I was like, “dang girl we didn’t come prepared, I have all this stuff” lol  What did we bring with us? Blanket, towels, and drinks haha  Most the people we parked by were super nice and fun so we kinda jumped from group to group.  So many people were playing corn hole!  Until I moved to the East Coast I had never seen corn hole and now it’s everywhere. While we were playing corn hole with this two people Savannah’s “boob” fell out of her shirt. I say “boob” because she had on the sticky boobs that you wear instead of a bra… girl problems!  But it was hilarious and we of course took a picture!
Savannah BoobCorn holeTailgatingTailgate drinks

We went into the concert a little early to get a decent seat on the lawn.  I love lawn seats because you can lounge, stand, dance, and they are cheap.  It was so hot by the time we got in I wanted to die but there was a misting area so I handed my phone to Savannah and jumped in!  The opening band was ok but I was waiting for Kip to come on.  He always puts on an awesome show and this time was no exception.  I had never seen Miranda Lambert but she put on a great show too, I would definitely go see her again.  We both had a blast but man the drive home was rough!  I can’t complain too much because Savannah drove the whole way but I stayed awake instead of sleeping like I wanted too 🙂  I can’t wait to go back down to Charlotte, I’m sure I’ve said that numerous times already but our vacation can’t come soon enough!
Drink venueWaterClouds skySelfie with venueSelfieConcert VenueConcert Group
Questions:
1.  What is your favorite person/band to see live?
2.  Any places I have to check out next time I’m in Charlotte?
3.  What’s your favorite city?

 

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Table Thursday: Vegetable Bake Side Dish

Happy Thursday!  The week is almost over 🙂  For this week I didn’t really cook much so I wasn’t sure what I was going to post for my Table Thursday post but then I bought everything for a veggie bake and while I did post the recipe here I thought pictures and a more step by step recipe might be nicer.

This has got to be one of the easiest recipes I make.  There is no measuring, no real directions I have to follow, the hardest part is just chopping everything up (which I HATE).  Feel free to add other veggies, seasonings, change it up however you want, I don’t think you can mess this up! This is great for holidays, parties, etc where you need to bring a side dish and want something vegan and yummy for your non-vegan friends as well!

Ingredients

Ingredients:
Squash
Zuchinni
Potatoes
Kale
Mushrooms
Garlic
Garlic Salt
Olive Oil
Italian Seasoning
KaleMushroomsSquashZuchinni

Directions:
1.  Cut up all the veggies (blah!)
–>Side note I normally don’t microwave my potatoes but I read that that helps them cook at the same speed as the other veggies so I tried it today… I DO NOT recommend heating them it made them much harder to cut and they seem to cook just fine when you put them in uncooked.
2.  Preheat the oven to 425*F
3.  Cover your baking dish with foil (optional) and add olive oil to the bottom of it
4.  Place all veggies except kale into the baking dish and mix well
5.  Add a little more olive oil, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt and mix again
Seasoning
6. Place in oven and cook for 20 mins or so
7. Take out and assess the veggies, mix them and add kale and mix again
Added Kale
8.  Cook for another 20 minutes and mix again
9.  Continue this process until the veggies are cooked like you like them.  Check the potatoes because they take the longest.
Finished Meal
10. Don’t forget to have some kitchen helpers with you like I did 😉
Dog Helpers

Enjoy!!

Questions:
1.  What is your favorite summer vegetable?
2.  Do you have kitchen helpers like me?  Post a picture if you do 🙂

Another Adventure: Bike Riding on the Huckleberry Trail

I have been super excited to share my bike riding afternoon with you all because I love the pictures I took.  The reason for the delay in posting?  I don’t have a cord to hook my phone up to my computer and it was taking forever to get the pictures onto my computer!  Now that they are on the computer I get to share the post 🙂

Savannah and I have bikes that we had great plans to ride all the time this summer but with all “great plans” it didn’t happen like we wanted but we did go ride them last week and had a blast.  The weather has been so hot that I have not been outside to workout nearly as much as I should be.  It’s not all the weather’s fault though but those reasons are for a whole other post.

So anyways last week after we got off work we decided to hook up the bike rack to my car and go ride the Huckleberry Trail.  This trail is so cool and long!  We only went 3.5 miles in and then turned around but there were still miles to go1  It has information about the coal mining that used to go on during certain parts of the trail which is pretty cool if you like history like I do.
coalCoal train
The trail also goes over some railroad tracks; some that are still in use and some that are no longer.  This area of Virginia was a group of railroad towns back in the day.  I’m obsessed with railroads. I love to take pictures, walk on them, sit by them, whatever!  I think this love comes from when I was little and I would spend time with my grandma down in San Diego.  Her house was right on a cliff over looking the beach (hence my love of the beach) and the railroad tracks.  I remember playing on them all the time with my cousins and falling asleep to the sound of the train in bed when I stayed the night.  Railroad tracks are just something that make me feel at home so of course I took pictures and Savannah and I took a break to play on them too 🙂
signRR CrossingRailroad tracksMe RailroadSavananah Tracks
The trail also has a bunch of really cute bridges; some small, some big.  It also has some hills… My bike is a beach cruiser which means it’s heavy, has no gears, and is a pain in my butt (literally too) to get up hills.  I know if I was in better shape it would be easier but either way I wish I had a couple gears to help me out.  The best part about the hills is when you make it to the top and get to go FLYING down them!  At one point we were flying down a hill (the largest one we had to get up) and I was going so fast I couldn’t help but smiling.  I’m pretty sure I ate a ton of bugs going down that hill and I don’t care.  I also almost lost my hat!  I was going so fast that my hat flew off my head but luckily I had my hair through the back so it caught it.  I’m sure I was quite a sight!  At our turning point we stopped to take some pictures because it was just so pretty out.
bridge
1trailopen fieldBiking pictureBiking
I may not always love where I live but I sure do appreciate it’s beauty!  I know when I move next month I will have to find more trails to ride and make Savannah come visit so I don’t have to ride alone!

As a disclaimer: I am probably the WORST bike rider!  I know I scared a few people on the trail because I would look at them to say hi and then start to lose control of the bike and head straight towards them!  I would love to become a better rider and I know that will come with lots of practice, I hope… Savannah and I plan on riding again tomorrow and I’m hoping to go further than we did last time.
I wasn’t going to post many pictures of myself on this post/blog because I am not happy with how I look right now but I decided to because I like to see who is behind the computer screen when I am reading blogs and thought maybe my readers liked the same thing.  I plan on doing a post soon about my weight struggles and how I have overcome it and how I plan to again but I just wanted to share that little personal note about my pictures.

Hope you all enjoyed the pictures! 🙂

Questions:
1.  Does anyone know the secret to keeping your butt from hurting when riding a bike?2.  What is your favorite outdoor activity?

 

Table Thursday: Asian Quinoa Bowl (for one)

I don’t know about you guys but sometimes I really don’t want to take the time to cook.  Cooking for one is a pain and sometimes difficult because you never know how much you should cook and if you are like me you don’t want a ton of left overs.  When I cook quinoa I always have left overs, it’s like cooking rice or beans, you really can’t cook a tiny amount.  I don’t mind have left over quinoa because it is so versatile I can add it to so many meals.

I have been obsessed with rice noodles and this Asian sauce I found here on Gimme Some Oven’s blog.  I don’t add the sesame seeds or hot sauce because I don’t usually have those on hand and it’s still delicious. The sauce takes less than 5 minutes to make so it’s a perfect quick meal sauce.

This meal, like all my others is super easy to make.  I love easy meals because besides during the summer I just don’t have the time or energy to make big complex meals after being in school and studying.  This next year won’t be any different because I will be blocking/student teaching so I will have lesson plans and grading and studying to do!  The summer is a perfect time for me to experiment with different recipes and see which I can make cheaply and quickly.
I have been experimenting for awhile and I know which frozen veggies I like and which ones I need to eat fresh.  Frozen are so much cheaper and easier to make sure they don’t spoil than fresh but for some veggies I just won’t do it.  I know that I love Asian Stir-fry frozen veggies from Kroger (of course).  I try to keep a bag of these in the freezer because they are perfect for a fast meal.  Here they are cooking up for the recipe which I have not gotten to yet. I added the kale in because I had some I needed to use up before it went bad (one of my non frozen veggies) Don’t these delicious??

Cooking Veggies

I also try to keep tofu on hand since it is my main source of protein and super easy to make quick as well.  Plus, people think I’m crazy but tofu is one of my favorite foods!  So for this meal I cooked up some tofu to throw in the bowl with the quinoa and veggies. The liquid in the measuring cup is the sauce I mentioned from Gimme Some Oven (link back up top).

Ingredients tofu

So now for the recipe:

Ingredients:
tofu
quinoa
Asian sauce from Gimme Some Oven
olive oil for sauteing veggies and tofu
Frozen Asian stir-fry veggies

Steps:
1.  Cook quinoa according to package (unless you have left overs like me)
2.  Cook tofu however you like it best.
I like mine cut into blocks and tossed with olive oil and some seasoning then sauteed to a golden brown over medium/medium high heat
3.  Prepare sauce while tofu is cooking
4.  Remove tofu from skillet and add in stir-fry veggies
5.  Make the bowl! – I put in quinoa, then the veggies, then the tofu and topped with the sauce and mixed it up.

I’m still working on this whole taking more pictures thing… I keep telling myself to take more pictures yet when the time comes I forget but here is the finished project (before mixing) and a clip from the Bachelorette.

TV and food

Questions for you guys:
1.  Do you have a favorite sauce you like to add to your bowls?
2.  How do you like your tofu cooked?
3.  What are some things you look for when deciding what to cook?

Why You Need Adventure: The Hike that Didn’t Happen

Hey all!  Today I decided that I would go on a hike with Sampson.  I thought we could use a day together, just us.  We both love hiking!  It was a nice cool morning so after going to the gym with Savannah I came home, picked up Sampson, and took off.  I have never  hiked alone before so I was super excited.
I am a huge believer in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and doing new things and things that scare you.  I used to be really afraid of trying new things and pushing my limits but when I moved to Virginia four years ago I decided I had to start living my life differently.  I recommend that you try something new or scary as much as possible.  Sometimes I find myself living a boring life and staying inside too much.  When I start to feel that way I try to push myself out the door.
Sampson loves to take rides but always gets so excited!  He hates being stuck in the back but I feel that he’s safer back there so I try to keep him back there as much as possible. He has no issue showing me how he feels though!!
Dog carGuilty dogDog drivercalm dogSo along the drive up to the hike I saw some really pretty scenery so I decided to take some pictures so I could share them with you.  I’m trying to really add more pictures to my posts so you guys can enjoy the posts more.

beautiful sceneryscenerymountainsHorsesHorseWe were headed up to Buffalo Mountain which is a really cool hike. It’s short but the view is amazing at the top.  I made it so close to where we were going to park and then it happened… I got stuck!!! My car wouldn’t move. Normally this is when I would freak out. Instead this time I took a minute to breathe and think.  I went in reverse, messed with my steering wheel, and was able to get unstuck.  I tried to go up the hill again (YES IT WAS ONLY A HILL).  I almost flipped my car which did freak me out! As soon as I realized what was happening I stopped and again took a breath.  I figured out how to not flip and tried again.  I continued to try for probably 5-10 more minutes but I just couldn’t figure out how to get up with the road being so rough.  I should have taken pictures of what I was dealing with but that was not where my brain was.
This is why the title was “Why You Need Adventure in Your Life.” This drive, or this section of the drive, was my adventure.  I used to not be able to handle things like this. I used to call my parents and cry and cuss and not be able to calmly process how to fix this situation.  When you have adventure in your life you learn how to deal with things differently, calmly, better than you used to.  I feel that adventure makes you use a different part of your brain. I don’t know if that’s a scientific fact but I think it makes me use a different part of my brain lol
I tried to find another close hike but I had no service on my phone. When I did get service I looked up hikes but couldn’t find anything good close by and I didn’t want to drive another hour in a different direction so I decided to take Sampson to the dog park for about 15 minutes and then come home for a nap.  My plan is to take Sampson and Harvey for a walk when Savannah gets off work tonight so we all get some exercise in.

Questions for You All:
What are some hikes you love in your area? (state where you are so we can visit!
Have you ever found that adventure makes you use a different part of your brain?
Do you have a dog that likes to show how he/she feels while driving in the car?

Table Thursday: Breakfast Scramble

Well, I’m at the end of my two week pay period so I’m down to almost nothing in the house again.  I hate that I have to struggle like this but know that one day I won’t have to, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  When I get to this point in the two week period I am scrounging for food to make.  This time I had PLENTY of kale and tofu but geez I am so tired of that, guess I need to buy more variety this next paycheck.  This morning after the gym I was starving and I really wanted something good to eat.  I started the usual open the fridge, close it, open the cupboard, close it, and repeat.  I found some old taco shells in my freezer (I put them there to keep them crispy — it works with tortilla chips).  They seemed ok and still kinda were crunchy…. I obviously was going to eat some tofu and kale lol  I had a tiny bit of squash left over, some vegan veggie patties, and salsa.  I decided I would make a Mexican tofu scramble.  It turned out pretty good except for my smashed taco shells that weren’t actually crunchy…. So here is the recipe just remember to use fresh taco shells 🙂

Ingredients:

Ingredients

*Simple Truth Meatless Breakfast Patties (I don’t recommend this brand, it is not horrible but I think there has to be a better tasting brand out there. Sorry to say that Simple Truth)

*Kale

*Olive Oil

*Squash (or any veggies)

*Salsa (Herdez is my favorite!)

*Tortilla Shells

*Garlic Salt

*Tofu (not pictured)

Directions:

Squash

  1.  Wrap tofu in towel to soak out excess liquid
  2.  Put olive oil in skillet and preheat
  3. Add squash and garlic salt
  4. Saute until almost finished and add in crumbled tofu
  5. Cook until tofu starts to brown (lightly)
  6. Add in kale and cook until wilted
  7. Remove scramble from skillet and add a little more olive oil
  8. Cook meatless patty according to package
  9. Crumble tortilla shells (or heck tortilla chips) and put scramble on top
  10. Add salsa on top and put meatless patty on the side
  11. Enjoy

Finished Project

Dog Days – Catching up with Sampson & Harvey

I have been feeling like a crappy dog mom lately. I have had to work a lot and I feel that while I give my dogs tons of attention when I’m home that they just haven’t been themselves.  While some people may not understand what I’m saying I know my dog people totally get it 😉  My work schedule has calmed down for a bit this week and I have been enjoying having more free time.  Yesterday I had energy and decided it wasn’t fair for Harvey to be so hot in his fur coat and it was time to groom him.  Normally I try to have a friend or my mom help me because 1) I’m not a professional dog groomer 2) I need about 20 hands to hold him, shave him, pet him, etc, this time though Savannah and my schedules were just not working out and I had to take this grooming thing into my own hands…. I had planned to do the Schnauzer cut the best I could but then Harvey MOVED! Yep, half of where I didn’t want to shave was GONE!  So my plan changed… he would get a “summer” cut with a long face and partially shaved legs.  He was so good during the whole thing until the end and he was just over it so I had to stop even though he looks silly.  The good thing is he isn’t panting anymore!

That was last night…

This morning I woke up to meet Savannah (you remember my workout partner) at the gym at 8 am.  I was so proud of myself for getting up that early.

After a short workout I came home and decided I HAD to take my dogs for a walk!  It wasn’t too hot yet and now that Harvey was shaved I wasn’t afraid of him dying of heat.  We walked down to the dog park and I let them play for about an hour (usually they play for longer but they made 2 friends today and it must have worn them out).  I miss living by the beach so much and wish I could take a walk with the dogs every day to the west coast, obviously way too far, but I am lucky enough to have the New River right by the dog park.  So after they wore themselves out (kinda) at the dog park we walked down the path to the river.  They both love playing in the water but in very different ways.  Sampson runs and jumps in and starts splashing around while Harvey runs in and prances on the shore; I’m just happy they both like the water because we WILL one day live by water (not just a river) again!  We walked home after a few minutes because they were starting to look like they wanted to run the wrong way (away from the river).  I take the leash off when we go to the river so they can have fun because they are so good at not going too far but when Sampson keeps trying to go too far I put them back on the leash and we head home.  There are very few places I feel comfortable having my dogs off leash, luckily, the river is one of them.

We walked home and they passed out, which was perfect for me because I planned to sit outside and read my newest book in the sun!

P.S. If you haven’t “met the dogs” yet check it out to read about the coolest dogs ever!