Berry-Cherry Banana Smoothie

I think i’m going to dub this the summer of travel. A few days ago, Jason and I returned from our 10 day vacation in Florida and we had a great time. I’ll recap the whole trip, with plenty of pictures, really soon. But until then, you can read all about our decision to go to Florida in this blog post. Continue reading

Advertisements

Canada Eh! (Part II)

I know this is long over due, since Canada Eh (Part I) was posted quite a while ago. However, last month Jason and I went on a trip to Canada and got to do A TON of wine tastings at the various wineries in Niagara on the Lake. We were able to do so many because the B&B we stayed at provided complimentary tasting coupons to most of the wineries in the surrounding area. There are so many different types of wine that it can be a bit overwhelming to a wine newby like myself. But luckily, the people helping with the tastings (especially at the smaller wineries) were really knowledgable and had a lot of great info about all the different wines… red, white, sparkling, etc. After a few too many tastings over the course of our first two days, I had figured out my favorite wines are the really sweet, white versions.Grape Vines-0014

Peller Estates was our first stop of the trip, and it was the first stop for a reason. Last year we visited Peller Estates, and I absolutely could not stop thinking about how good their Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine was! It has a light pink/red color and tastes like a decadent fruity dessert, only in liquid form. All year I regretted not buying a bottle, but at the time I was skeptical of spending $90.00 on a single bottle of wine. So I knew when we went back this year I was going to make the purchase. I mean really… the stuff is amazing! Since I don’t often drink wine I didn’t want the larger bottle to spoil if it sat opened in the refrigerator too long, so I opted for their miniatures in a pack of eight.

Peller Ice Wine-

And after trying their Late Harvest Vidal, I knew I had to buy a bottle of that as well. It was not as sweet as the Ice Wine, but still delicious.

Peller Vidal-0821For anyone who doesn’t know, Ice Wine is made from grapes that have been frozen while on the vine. Late Harvest is the same thing, but the grapes don’t go through as many frost cycles as the Ice Wine, and is usually slightly less sweet. If you ever have the chance to taste either, I would definitely recommend it.

At  Inniskillin winery, we came across a sparkling ice wine that added a whole new edge to our wine tasting experience. The sparkling ice wine wasn’t part of our tasting, so we paid extra for a sample and it didn’t disappoint. Although I still prefer the regular stuff, Jason loved that little extra umpf from all the bubbles. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the sparkling version… I totally forgot to take one.

Our next stop was at Hinterbrook Winery. We had no idea the person guiding us through the tasting was actually one of the owners! She a very friendly person, and had no problem telling us all about the winery and how they got started. After we finished our tasting, the owner gave us a quick tour of the facility and let us take pictures throughout the different rooms.

Wine Vat-0025

Wine Barrells couple photo-0033

One of my favorite stops of the trip was at Small Talk. The bottles were really creative and had all of us laughing. The front of the labels were meant to narrate what you may say while at a dinner party, while the back label was narrating what you may actually be thinking throughout the night. Not only were the labels creative, but the wine was excellent. I settled on a bottle of “For The Host”, but cant wait to go back to buy the other two white wines we had the chance to taste. Our ‘Hosts’ were super friendly and welcomed us immediately when we showed up right before closing (oops, we didn’t know until we got to the door). Small Talk-0824The winery grounds were really beautiful too, and provided the perfect setting for a few photo ops.

Outdoor Hinterbrook-0047

Small Talk II-0042

After all the wineries, we were ready for a change of pace and made sure to check out the reenactment of The War of 1812 that was taking place during two of the days we were in Canada. The battles were really well put together and sounded very realistic. So realistic that I had to resort to ear plugs when the fighting got closer to where we were standing. Every participant was in full costume and didn’t hold back when playing the part. I also don’t think the weather could have been any better either, sunshine and not too warm. War of 1812 Shooting-0359

War of 1812 Shooting-0378This poor guy was thrown from his horse, which I don’t think was supposed to be part of the show.

War of 1812 Shooting-0261There was just so much excitement during our trip that between eating, going to the reenactments, and tasting so much wine, we almost forgot to stop by the main attraction… Niagara Falls. We made it during our last night of the trip. We got there after dark, so I didn’t get to take any pictures of the falls before the colored lights came on. The lights change color about every 30 seconds or so, and on certain nights you can catch a firework show at the falls (which we missed by just a few minutes).

Niagara Falls Night-0392

Niagara Falls Night II-0401

Our trip was jam packed with things to do and we had a great time. Jason and I are hoping to plan another quick trip again in the future, but it’s still in the works. One thing I did take away from this trip was a new appreciate for wine. I always thought I was a red wine type of gal, but now I know for sure I’ve got a thing for the whites… as long as it’s sweet!

Question of the Day: Do you like wine? And if so, whats your favorite type?

My favorite is anything of the Ice Wine or Late Harvest variety.

Going Veg

Hey Everyone, today I’m blogging from my iPad. My entire post was lost when my iPad died a while ago, so here goes attempt number two.

I’ve been wanting to talk about my decision to transition to a vegetarian diet, so that’s what I’m going to do today!

A few months ago I did a modified fruit and veggie cleanse, and immediately noticed a huge difference in the way I felt. My energy had increased, and my digestive system was on cloud 9. On day two of my cleanse I was lounging on the couch flipping randomly through tv channels. I unexpectedly stopped on a channel that was showing a chicken with its head being cut off… Very gruesome and sad in my opinion:( Something about it struck a cord with me, and even after my cleanse ended I wasn’t able to eat meat. So I decided to embrace it, and “go veg” (again). Let me preface:

I was a vegetarian in high school for about two years, but stopped after catching a lot of flack from different family members, and friends.

Now that I’m an adult, I don’t care about what others think about my diet decisions and I don’t feel ashamed if I hear a negative comment about becoming a vegetarian. Furthermore, I don’t feel guilty when people consider me the one person they have to accommodate for if we’re doing something like ‘eating out’. Jason is fully supportive of my decision too, which is the only opinion that really mattered to me. He says as long as I’m happy and have a healthy diet, he doesn’t care what I eat.

I’ve found the transition fairly easy, and make sure everyone knows I can work around most menus if we’re going to be eating out. I have come across a few restaurants that don’t have any meatless options, but have worked around it by ordering a salad and having them leave off the meat. Most of the time they’ll give me the meat in a side dish… Which means one lucky person at our table gets an extra perk to their meal. Here’s an avocado and tomato sandwich from a recent outing.

20130613-221043.jpg
At home I’ve been eating a lot of fruit and veggies. I’ve also found quite a few veggie alternatives: Gardenburger, Morningstar Farms, Quorn. These brands have pretty good meatless alternatives to things like burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc. I love smoothies because you can jam pack them with nutrition and they still taste so good! I’ve also recently had a delicious vegetarian chili.

Overall, I don’t miss meat… I do occasionally wish ‘Chick Fil A’ would come out with a veggie chicken sandwich, but we can all dream right? I didn’t become a vegetarian solely to “save the animals” for lack of better words, but also because I just feel better eating a fruit and veggie filled diet, with lots of whole grains incorporated too. Still, don’t get me wrong! I love animals, I even remember being really little and my mom would have to tell me that meat came from animals that died from natural causes, because I wouldn’t touch it if I thought the animals were actually ‘killed’. I was a very gullible child.

Since making the transition, I’ve also toned back my dairy intake quite a bit, but I don’t think ill ever be able to become Vegan. Some of my favorite deserts wouldn’t be the same without dairy: chocolate, milkshakes, frozen yogurt! All too good to fully depart with, so I enjoy them in moderation.

Do any of you have a food that you would never be able to give up?
Mine is definitely milk chocolate turtles. You know, the nuts covered in caramel and chocolate. So good!

Canada Eh! (Part One)

Hey everyone! I’m trying to make this happen with limited time… so, sorry for any misspellings:( I’ve been pretty busy this week, and will have a lot of new stuff to tell you all about within the next couple weeks! But today i’m here to tell you all about my recent trip to Canada.  There’s five days worth to talk about, so I’m going to split it into two separate posts.

Myself, Jason, and another couple were friends with, all went on the trip together. We left really early, i’m talking 3:30 a.m. early, on Thursday morning and I fell asleep for the first three hours of the trip. When I woke up we were all about ready for breakfast, so we made a quick stop at Sheetz (a really neat gas station/food place). I love that you can order your food using a touch screen!

Road -01268

We hit the road again after breakfast and arrived at Niagara On The Lake at around noon… just in time for lunch. We went to the same place we first had lunch at last year, called “Taste”. I ordered a veggie wrap with brie cheese (I love brie).

Veggie Wrap-01274

We had some time left before we were allowed to check into the B&B we were staying at, so we walked around a bit more… and of course I had to grab a few ‘GIGANTIC’ chocolates from the chocolate store. Seriously, look how big that is! And since I was on vacation, I didn’t even care that I ate all three with in a day.

Chocolate -01278

Chocolate -01284

After gorging ourselves on chocolate, we decided it was time to hit the road again, and search for a few libations! It took forever to find a liquor store, but in the process we did visit our first grocery store in Canada… and boy were we way too excited about all the things we’ve never seen in the US. Here’s just a few…

Dill Pickle Doritos-01283

KinderEgg-01287

HolyCrap-4

SexCereal -2

I think the last find of the day really takes the cake, SexCereal. Whaaat??? Yes, it’s for real, and I did buy a bag because I was so dumb struck that such a thing actually exists. I may have been even more surprised to find this stuff than when I saw the “HolyCrap” cereal just a few feet away.  We all got a good laugh out of all the jokes that were made at each others expense, but it was about time to check into “The Vineyard Estates” Bed and Breakfast.

We stayed at the same place last year and loved it so much that we decided to stay for an extra night this trip. The B&B is really cozy and quite, and the breakfasts were some of the best I’ve ever had. The owner is very friendly and you can just tell she loves what she does. Upon checking in, we were given a ton of free wine tasting vouchers (a huge money saver). The spacious common room was a great place to relax at the end of the night while sipping wine. Cups and wine glasses were kept in the common area, and a water dispenser was a great perk.

B&B III-00823

The Vineyard Estates

B&B II-00803

We were treated to fresh baked cookies every night, which was an awesome ending to each of our busy days. But let me get to how delicious breakfast was!

We woke up each morning to individual bowls of fresh fruit, and muffins. Orange juice, tea, and coffee were also available first thing in the morning. A short while after we settled in each morning, the hot breakfast was brought out.

Day 1: Eggs Benedict with home fries

Day 2: Baked French Toast and bacon

Day 3: Canadian Bacon wrapped eggs, with a croissant

Day 4: Belgian Waffle with an assortment of fruit toppings to choose from,

whipped cream, and syrup.

Waffle -0446

Belgian Waffle

Muffins-0448

Rhubarb Muffins

Breakfast-0314

Canadian Bacon Wrapped Eggs

B&B-00818

Colorful array of fruit.

There was seriously so much food on this trip that my poor stomach couldn’t handle it all and I was sick for two of the days we were there. Luckily, I was able to keep up  with everyone else for the most part. Jason took great care of me too:) I think all the ‘eating out’, sweet wine, and chocolate had taken it’s toll. We had an amazing trip though, and hope to go back sometime in the future.

Stay tuned for “Part Two” of my Canada trip. I’ll tell you all about the wine tastings we went on, the reenactment of the war of 1812, and of course The Falls.

Running For Apples

I have always used running as an outlet for stress, but have never been very good at the actual “running” part. I was always the last person to finish my mile in gym class, back when I was in school. But, I have never been over weight, or ever really out of shape. Basically, I was just bad at running. But a while back, I decided I really wanted to change that, and work towards being able run without getting winded and tired 10 seconds into my workout. And thats why I decided to sign up for my first 5k… I’m really excited too!

My boyfriend and I will be doing the “Run For Your Lives” 5k this summer, am will have zombies chasing us! If thats not motivation to get moving, i’m not sure what is. But since I’m a notoriously terrible runner:( My boyfriend, Jason, can run circles around me, but he’s been helping to keep me running (not walking) during our workouts.

This Saturday, after the blazing summer heat had chilled out a bit, we went on our usual 1.65 mile run (i’m slowly working up to the full 3 miles). We’ve been restricted to only running at night because of our work schedules, and the humid temperatures during the day can be just too much to handle. We use a site called GeoDistance.com to plan out our routes in advance, so it is really easy to keep track of my time/distance. Oh, and I totally think that dressing the part gives me that extra oomph of motivation to keep me going. Silly, I know, but it works for me.

And what run would be complete without a post workout pick-me-up?

After any workout, I always make sure to have a light snack to help replenish my energy. Apples and peanut butter seem to do the trick, and I have found the most amazing peanut butter to pair with my sliced apples.

Chocolate Peanut Butter-01329

Skippy Chocolate Peanut Butter. I don’t think anymore needs to be said. But, for all the skeptics, it’s delicious. The chocolate is not too intense, and I love how super thick and creamy it is. I have definitely found my favorite post workout snack.

PB and Apple-0457