Loving The Weekends: Comedy, Running, Burgers, Pho and the Beatles

What a GREAT weekend! I would have to say that this may have been one of my most favorite weekends of the summer. The weather was perfect, the food was good, B and I had a nice long run AND my parents were in town. Can’t really think of a better way to spend the weekend, can you?

The weekend, in photos:

My parents came in Friday late afternoon and we were lucky enough to be able to enjoy dinner outside. The weather was great, so we picked up beer and burgers at Dynomite before heading to a comedy show.

Check out my dad’s shirt :)

familyfriday

My veggie burger. SO good. SO big. And yes, I ate it all (fries not pictured).

dynomite veggie burger

After the meal, we headed to Hilarities for a free comedy show. I had won tickets earlier in the week and we were able to see Alonzo Bodden. B and I had seen him at the Laugh Factory in LA and were looking forward to seeing him in Cleveland. Here’ s a clip from one of his shoes from this winter (not this weekend). He was great! My parents loved him!

Saturday morning started early with a 9 mile run with B. Honestly, I was NOT feeling it for the first 5 miles. Yes, 5 miles. But after a short water break at mile 5 I felt so much better and the last 4 were great! Who knows why – sometimes it takes me 2 … or 5 I suppose … miles for my legs to warm up.

9 miles

 

I bought new shoes! I was super pumped to model them (pardon the cheesy pic).

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Post-run, we met up with my parents and headed to Tremont to enjoy some lunch and then the West Side Market for some fresh produce. Of course we had to stop off for tea in the afternoon at our favorite place, Cleveland Tea Revival.

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My mom and I both got some iced tea – ginger and peach. Yum!

my favorite tea

Saturday night, we took my parents to Superior Pho. Since there were four of us, we got a feast! Not everything is pictured. We got a chicken cabbage salad, Bahn Mi,  the spicy pho, egg rolls AND spring rolls.

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I think my dad enjoyed his pho!

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But of course we saved room for dessert. We took a post-dinner walk and  got frozen yogurt at Lemonberry. Confession – you may not be able to see the froyo because I may have taken a little of every candy they had.

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Saturday night after my parents left/went to bed, I decided to use up some of the blueberries we had and made these buttermilk blueberry scones again. Because Sunday mornings with blueberry scones for breakfast = amazing. You should probably make the recipe sometime – it’s very easy and really yummy!

scones

Sunday after my parents got back on the road to NY (sadness!) B and I took a walk around downtown. It was a GORGEOUS morning! We stopped at my favorite fountain. I don’t know why but I LOVE this fountain – it’s a war memorial as well.

walking

And then we walked to the harbor. It was SO pretty out! I’m glad we went for a walk – I get sad to see my parents go, and B knows this – I think that’s why he decided to take my mind off them leaving and instead get me a ginormous coffee (I will be drinking it for 3 days) and take me for a walk.

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Sunday afternoon I got in an easy workout (I’m trying to be REALLY good and not run too many miles and days in a row and stay injury free this year!) while B golfed with his family.

After a little work, B and I spent the evening at Blossom! This is my second time this summer going and we this time we sat on the lawn, enjoyed some wine and cheese AND Beatles music. I LOVE the Beatles – they remind me of car trips with my family growing up (The Long And Winding Road has multiple meanings for me – I swear it always came on as we were driving through the long and winding roads of upstate NY) and hearing the Cleveland Orchestra play the songs was awesome. And it was another beautiful night, so we packed a picnic dinner of a great salad, wine and cheese. I had an AMAZING time and seriously almost cried of happiness. Yes, it was that good.

I can’t get enough of the amazing weather we’ve been having. Can’t summer just stay forever?

So this weekend was just what I needed after last week. And now I’m off to start a crazy week –  this week entails some travel for work, some super early morning meetings and even an event for a board I’m on. Yes, I’ll be counting down until Labor Day!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have a favorite comic? Do you go to comedy shows?
  • Did you get in a run this weekend?
  • Just got new running shoes! What shoes are you running in these days? Loving my new sneakers!
  • What’s your go-to Vietnamese food item? I can never decide between pho or bun!
  • Did you do any baking this weekend?
  • Favorite Beatles song?

Peanut Butter Banana Bread (a.k.a. GLORIOUSNESS)

Apparently this is the summer of me baking breads. It started with strawberry bread. And then blueberry lemon bread. And this week? Peanut butter banana bread. That’s right – peanut butter + banana, baked into a dessert-like bread.

It tastes as good as it sounds (but not was good as it looks – sorry the pictures are not that good. The bread is just not photogenic with my phone camera).

If you like peanut butter and/or bananas, this bread is for you. Even if you don’t really like bananas, but enjoy dessert/quick breads, this is for you. It’s moist (#sorryimnotsorry) and dense, with  the perfect amount of sweetness to make it a great snack, breakfast, or dessert. Promise me you’ll try it out sometime, okay?

 

peanut butter banana bread_i crashed the web

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperatre
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (+1 Tbs flour, which you’ll use below)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips, tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour

For glaze (optional):

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk (I used a little over 1 TB to achieve the consistency I liked – an I had only coconut almond milk on hand and it was perfect!)
  • 1 tablespoon  peanut butter

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and mashed bananas. Combine with an electric mixer.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture.
  4. Mix in peanut butter chips tossed on flour
  5. Spray loaf pan with Pam or other cooking spray. Pour banana batter into greased loaf pan.
  6. Optional – sprinkle additional peanut butter (or chocolate!) chips on top of uncooked loaf.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. To add glaze, let cool for 30 minutes or until cool to the touch. Whisk together sugar, milk and peanut butter and drizzle on top of bread. Enjoy!
peanut butter banana bread_i crashed the web

enjoy!

Adventures in Babysitting

This weekend outside of running and having a BBQ with B’s softball team, we also got a chance to stay in and have a sleepover. That’s right, we had a sleepover with our niece and nephew.  It was great!

How did we keep two kids, 6 and under, content and happy in our small apartment?

We started off with some Candyland (okay, confession – this was still at their house).

Then followed up with some playing with money. No photo of the money games, but seriously – those kids love handling money.

Then, we headed to the river to watch some boats. And pick up pizza!

Can't handle the cuteness in this photo.

Can’t handle the cuteness in this photo.

Post-pizza it was time for ice cream and a movie. And a fort! We made a fort in our living room to watch the Parent Trap under.

Ice cream!

Ice cream!

Oh, and we also baked cookies. Because what kids don’t like making cookies?  And we all know that I do.

The cookies came out great!

The cookies came out great!

In the morning, we actually had to wake the kids up. Guess we tired them out? But don’t worry – they were cool with it when we made pancakes and bacon. I haven’t made pancakes in probably a million years (don’t ask, but I don’t like pancakes … so I hardly make them. I’m much more of an eggs girl than pancakes or waffles) but they came out pretty awesome. And cute!

They were pretty excited  for their pancakes.

They were pretty excited for their pancakes.

B liked his pancakes too

B liked his pancakes too

So babysitting was a success! I got to enjoy all the things I like (baking, ice cream, movies etc.) as did B (pancakes, pizza).

Some questions for you:

  • Sweet or savory for breakfast? Do you enjoy pancakes, french toast, waffles, etc.? I’m much more a savory breakfast gal. I love me some egg whites or running eggs!
  • Favorite ice cream flavors? I had an amazing balsamic strawberry vanilla twist this weekend. And B’s mom made some mango ice cream that I loved! Yes, it’s not my typical Heath Bar Crunch but they were yummy!
  • What’s your favorite way to keep kids entertained when you babysit? Or any secret activities that seem to keep your own kids content? Money seemed to do the trick. Those kids loved money!

Summer Is My Favorite

Summer is my favorite. No, but really. Summer is my favorite season. I know, it should be fall or spring, or another season that girls love (if I hear another girl proclaim how much fall is her favorite season and how she can’t wait for it to be fall I’m going to scream), but I LOVE SUMMER and want to proclaim it and scream it at the top of my lungs.

This weekend was probably the perfect summer weekend – and that is not an exaggeration. It was warm. It was sunny. It was relaxing and yet there was so much to do. Thus the longish post that follows.

Friday night started with a walk to Flaming Ice Cube for our favorite appetizer (Buffalo “chik” dip) and my favorite meal – kalebouli wrap!

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Look at that wrap. So much hummus and kalebouli!

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And then we walked home, admiring the new artwork along the street. We may have had a detour at Rothschild creamery. This is mango twist soft serve. AMAZING.20140808_195127

New outdoor art.20140808_182657

Saturday started somewhat early. I wanted to catch the informal opening ceremonies of the International Gay Games (which are in Cleveland this year!) and participate in the 1 mile Rainbow Memorial Run, which remembers those who have lost their lives to AIDS and breast cancer, as well as others lost in the Gay Games family.20140809_083711

Everyone participating in the event got to wear a different color shirt. So we made all the colors of the rainbow!20140809_083207

Along the course were some balloons with designs on them designed by local students. The designs talked through the history of the fight for AIDS awareness and gay rights.IMG_20140809_141406

I chose a blue shirt. And made sure to wear my rainbow everywhere else on my outfit.20140809_083232

After the run, B and I did a few more miles on our own, bringing our total to 8 for the day before it got too hot to run.

Including my run on Sunday (below), I ended the week with another 30+ miles!

aug 3 running

Post-run, I met up with my friend Ali and we hit up the West Side Market. There were rainbow flags all throughout Ohio City in honor of the games!20140809_121946

And after the market, B and I hit up our CSA pickup and the Cleveland Flea. I love the Cleveland Flea. We ended up picking up a few goodies and some more produce. It was a perfect day to just walk around and enjoy people watching and all the Flea has to offer!

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Post Flea, we met up with B’s family for mass and dinner. It was a somewhat early night (after an early morning) that also ended with B and I finally participating in the ice bucket challenge. In case you haven’t been on Facebook in a year, or watched the news, or just want a refresher, the ice bucket challenge has been sweeping social media. It involves dunking yourself with a bucket of ice to raise awareness for ALS. You’re able to challenge some of your connections, and if they don’t complete the challenge in 24 hours, they must donate to the cause (and even those that participate are encouraged to donate). I’ve heard that ALS organizations are up more than 100% in terms of donations and if anything, the challenge is helping to raise awareness for ALS.  A fellow BC grad from my year, Pete Frates, was diagnosed from ALS, so many of my friends are doing the challenge in honor of him. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have seen the video, if not – here’s at least a screenshot.

video screenshot

video screenshot

Sunday morning I met up with Nicole for an easy run around downtown where we were able to catch part of the Gay Games triathletes finishing up their race and others start the running portion. How inspirational! It was fun to watch the athletes and break up our run. Post-run, I met up with Ali again and we walked over to Ohio to catch the North Union Farmer’s Market, which recently started a Sunday farmer’s market. We browsed through the stands, I finally got my hands on Cle Kraut (love the gnar gnar!) and some more produce.

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And when I got home, I checked out my haul. Hmmm … I may have gone overboard on the produce and farmers markets this week? I spy beets, onions, tomatoes, apples, hot peppers, sweet peppers, nectarines, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and a giant zucchini. Oh, and the canteloup and blueberries and kale are in my fridge.

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Sunday afternoon B and I hit up the beach and met up with Dave and Anson. It was the perfect beach day. We read, sunned ourselves and I even went in the water. TWICE. (well only “swimming” once) Which is a big deal for me. I ended the day with some slightly sunburned legs. My FIRST sunburn of the year and it’s mid-August. #Fail20140810_142521

Sunday night we hit up Winking Lizard for some more buffalo chicken, wings, and summer beers. Can summer last all year long? Please?

A few questions for you:

  • Which is your favorite season? Summer!
  • During the summer – which do you prefer, beach or pool? Beach all the way! I do love the ability to swim and do laps in crystal clear (and often warmer) pools, but there’s something so relaxing about laying on the sand and listening to the water.
  • When at the beach are you a tanner? A swimmer? An active person (frisbee/volleyballer, etc.) Typically a relaxer/sleeper/reader. I don’t often go swimming unless it’s hot out. But if it’s hot and the water is calm, I’m in!
  • What’s your favorite farmer’s market produce? I love those mini cherry tomatoes and mini sweet peppers. Perfect for healthy snacking! Also, any fresh fruit, especially nectarines.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Fennel and Carrots

There are some vegetables that just shout farmers market or CSA to me. Mustard Greens. Garlic Scapes. Kohlrabi. Fennel.

I know, I know – fennel isn’t JUST from farmers markets and CSAs, but that’s literally the only time I ever end up getting it, meaning I hardly ever know what to do with it. Last year, I ended up keeping the fennel raw and preparing a Tomato, Fennel and Avocado Salad. It was good, but B didn’t like it that much – he didn’t like the texture of the fennel raw so I ended up eating most of his salad. (#winning!)

This year, week 9 of our Fresh Fork farm share came and once again we were faced with another bulb of fennel. I was determined to prepare it differently, in a way even B would enjoy. Enter, roasted fennel and carrots. Oh. Em. Gee. I may be overreacting, or just a little too excited, but I am super in love with preparing fennel this way. Even B tried it and liked it! The fennel softens and the strong anise-type flavor softens somewhat. I can’t wait to make this again!

Roasted Fennel & Carrots - i crashed the web

Roasted Fennel & Carrots

Here’s what you need:

  • One fennel bulb (without the stalks, but save the fronds), chopped into 1/2 inch slices
  • four large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Toss sliced fennel and carrots with olive oil.
  3. Place fennel and carrots in a small casserole dish. Toss with fennel seeds and add minced garlic, salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until carrots and fennel are tender.
  4. For added fennel taste, save the fronds and sprinkle 1-2 tsp. of the leaves on top.
  5. Enjoy! Makes 2 side dishes or one large vegetarian main dish. For a vegetarian main dish, serve with a protein-rich grain like freekeh or quinoa, and/or a side of beans like lentils. Yum!
Roasted Fennel and Carrots - i crashed the web

fresh out of the oven!

Some questions for you:

  • What food or ingredient do you think of when you think of CSAs or farmers markets?
  • Do you enjoy fennel? How do you eat it – raw or cooked?
  • Do you eat your friend/significant other/child/roommate’s food if they don’t like it? I’m not judging!

Lemon Blueberry Bread

B and I have gotten a plethora of blueberries the past few weeks in our CSA. Two weeks in a row, therefore, we’ve had extra and I’ve gotten to bake with them! A few weeks ago (and then again this weekend) it was blueberry buttermilk scones. The newest recipe I have to share with you? Lemon blueberry bread!

lemon blueberry bread - i crashed the web

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries carefully tossed in 1/8 c. flour

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a loaf pan (mine was 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch).
  2. Beat together melted butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture. Add ½ of this dry ingredient mixture to the batter. Add in milk and mix in remaining flour mixture.
  4. Using a spatula, carefully fold in lemon zest and blueberries (coated in 1/8 c flour). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 65-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

This recipe is a keeper. The bread was cakelike, and could be enjoyed for breakfast (as I may have done), as well as dessert. If you like lemony desserts (and I do! My next favorite lemon recipe? These lemon bars.) you’ll like this bread.

 

fresh from the oven

fresh from the oven

 

Lazy Weekends

After having several weekends in a row with plans and stuff to do, it was nice to have a weekend home with NOTHING on the schedule. Which meant, of course, making big to-do lists (cleaning! filing! working!) but getting none of them done. Which was completely, absolutely fine because what I did get done was probably much more fun. Like doing these 7 things:

7 Ways to Spend a Lazy Weekend

1. Reading.

Finished two of the books I was in the middle of! On to Orphan Train next. Any other good summer reads to recommend?

brief wondrous life of oscar wao

just finished this!

2. Running. a 7.6 miler on Saturday and a 6.6 miler on Sunday. One of these days I’ll get a Garmin so I actually run even numbers.

Mileage for the week. The 8s are mostly 7.6 - dailymile rounds them up

30+ mi even with two days off from running this week!  Full disclosure: I never ran 8 full miles or 7 full: the 8s are mostly 7.6  and the 7 is 6.6- dailymile rounds them up

3. Baking. Once again we had a surplus of blueberries from our CSA, so I whipped up a batch of Blueberry Buttermilk Scones.

as B says, Game of Scones!

as B says, Game of Scones!

4. Pho-ing. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. But Friday night B and I hit up our favorite Pho place for some salads, spring rolls and bun. Sorry, bun not pictured (but enjoyed very much!)

superior pho

5. Suiteing! Yup, again, stretching it with the word, but B and I enjoyed a fun Indians game on Sunday in after a friend asked us to join him in their company suite.

B found a twin @ the game!

B found a twin @ the game in our suite!

WINNING after extra innings!

WINNING after extra innings!

Enjoying the Suite and great weather!

Enjoying the Suite and great weather!

6. Cooking at home. Which meant pasta from Ohio City Pasta (via Fresh Fork) and Limoncello from Italy!

fresh fork pickup

fresh product pickup!

limoncello

7. Enjoying new flavors of ice cream. Because what summer weekend would be complete without it? Pictured below (sorry it’s somewhat blurry) is orange ginger from Rothschild Creamery!

Orange Ginger Soft Serve!

Orange Ginger Soft Serve!

Despite not cleaning, or doing the work I wanted to, as you can tell, it was a pretty good weekend after all.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you enjoy after dinner drinks like Limoncello? What’s your favorite?
  • Any fun flavors of ice cream you’ve tried lately?
  • What’s a new book I should add to my list?