A Northeastern Fall Foliage Tour

B and I recently were able to take some time off – a week! – and decided to go on a roadtrip to some eastern states in what we were dubbing our “fall foliage tour.” Yes, that’s how I know I’m getting older – we are planning fall foliage tours. What am I, almost 30? (rhetorical question – don’t answer that)

It was a great way to spend a week off- it was relaxing (even though we were active), we got a chance to do some of my favorite fall activities (hiking and apple picking) and even got to spend a day seeing my parents and a day seeing a friend from college. Just what I needed in some time off! Some highlights from the trip:

We started with a quick stop to see my parents and go apple picking (full blog post here).

apple picking at indian ladder

Then headed to the town of Schroon, New York to see our friend Mitch and run the beautiful, hilly Adirondack Half Marathon along Schroon Lake (full blog post here).

adirondack half marathon

After the race

On our way to our next stop, we hit up Ticonderoga, New York. We visited the small downtown area and then visited Fort Ticonderoga.

walking around Ticonderoga

B and some old cannons

B and some old cannons

Great views from Fort Ticonderoga!

Great views from Fort Ticonderoga!

Then we headed to the beautiful state of Vermont! It was B’s first time there and we spent a few days in Northern Vermont, staying in Burlington, checking out their pretty waterfront, trying the local food, walking around their fun downtown area, taking quick trips to neighboring small towns and touring Ben & Jerry’s!

Hello from the town of Stowe, Ohio!

Hello from the town of Stowe, Vermont!

Being goofy at Ben & Jerry's

Being goofy at Ben & Jerry’s

The flavor graveyard. RIP cookie dough frozen yogurt :(

The flavor graveyard. RIP cookie dough frozen yogurt 😦

sunset along the waterfront in Burlington

sunset along the waterfront in Burlington

On our way to our next state, we made a pit stop in New Hampshire for a hike through the White Mountains. We spent a few hours hiking around Mt. Eisenhower. Unfortunately the weather was drizzly and foggy that day so we didn’t get in any amazing views that we’d heard about. But we did get in some activity – something I’d been craving, since it had been a few days since our half marathon.

pre-hike

pre-hike

Then we headed to Portland, Maine. Full blog post coming about this trip, but we had a great time walking everywhere, trying the local food and craft beer (Shipyard Pumpkin FTW!) and I even got in a few runs while I was there.

maine craft distilling

Our last quick stop was Boston. We walked around our alma mater, Boston College, stopped by the place we got engaged, and hit up the North End for dinner. A perfect end to a great vacation!

Back at BC!

Back at BC!

Some questions for you:

  1. Are the fall colors changing where you are? What’s your favorite way to see fall foliage? On a run? A hike through the mountains? A Sunday drive? Apple picking? Other?
  2. Do you like pumpkin beer? What’s your favorite? I’ve heard of some beer snobs who can’t stand it! I liked trying the Shipyard, but Pumking may still be my favorite.
  3. What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I loved Vanilla Heath Bar fudge (they don’t make it anymore now that they’re GMO free … RIP Heath bars!) but also love their new core flavors (any with vanilla as a base) and love anything with Caramel. Oh, and Cherry Garcia. Do I have to choose just one?

Back in the CLE

Just in time for fall, B and I are back in Cleveland for a weekend. We’d been gone the past few weeks traveling (don’t worry, more vacation recap posts are coming soon) but we were back this past weekend and had a great time. Here’s how the weekend went –

Friday night B managed to get suite seats to the Eric Church concert. I honestly hadn’t heard of many Eric Church songs before but made sure to listen all day Friday and then by the time of the show had a great time. A few Facebook friends even requested some songs that I listen to to get in the mood for the show – so if you’re not familiar with him, here are some recommendations: Springsteen, Drink in my Hand, Country Music Jesus, Give me Back my Hometown, The Outsiders, Over When it’s Over, Smoke a little Smoke, Love Your Love the Most.

Anyway, the show was GREAT. Eric Church put on a great show – he rocked the house. And the Q was the most crowded I have ever seen – it had people in every seat, from the floor to the highest levels – and the show was great.

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

FULL house!

FULL house!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us - thanks to Anson for the photo!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us – thanks to Anson for the photo!

Saturday morning B and I went for a great fall run. I honestly hadn’t expected us to have such a good run after staying out so late on Friday, but both B and I were feeling pretty good the entire time. And it was a beautiful fall day! We have less than one month now until the Savannah Half Marathon.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

Saturday night B and I got all dressed up for his job’s annual black tie event.

All dressed up!

All dressed up! And my fro-worker Cari did my hair and makeup – wish I had a better shot you could see.

The place was all decked out in CLE-themed swag

The place was all decked out for the CLE-themed evening

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

Sunday was a laaaaazy day. An easy workout, a little work, watching some football, some weekly meal prep and catching up on a few episodes of Damages. B and I have now finished the third season – have you seen the show? Wow. That’s all I can say.

Some questions for you:

  • How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?
  • Any long runs or races this weekend? Congrats to all my friends who completed the towpath marathon and half!
  • Are you an Eric Church fan? What’s your favorite song?
  • What was the last concert you went to?

Weekends with Family

I have some pretty great parents. I know – you probably think your parents are the best, but I assure you, mine are amazing. They’re good people and have a great, loving relationship – I truly look up to them and their marriage. Anyway, on our way to our recent fall foliage vacation (recaps to come), B and I had the chance to stop off and see my parents for a day. Was the timing waay too short? Yes. But was it still great? Of course! And we packed in some fun times as well in the less than 24 hours we had.

<3

We started off Saturday morning with a short 2 1/2 mileish walk around the neighborhood my parents live in. I had plans to run a half marathon the next day so I didn’t want to go for a run, but since my office was doing a pedometer / steps challenge, I knew I had to get in some steps somehow.

indian ladder farms apple picking in upstate new york

indian ladder farms apple picking in upstate new york

how gorgeous is this backdrop for apple picking?

Then, we headed out to apple picking at the place we used to go when I was younger in Upstate New York – Indian Ladder Farms! It was fun to show B around and try out their apple donuts. They were just as good as I remembered!

indian ladder farms apple picking in upstate new york

Me and B. Yes, it was 80 degrees in fall so tank top and shorts was necessary.

indian ladder farms apple picking in upstate new yorkindian ladder farms apple picking in upstate new york

the best cider donuts!

After apple picking, we headed to downtown Saratoga Springs for dinner. I opted for a veggie panini (again, so good!) and then convinced everyone to go out for frozen yogurt. The best pre-race meal? I don’t think that much sugar is recommended, but it was delicious nonetheless.

I ate every darn bite of this amazing panini.

I ate every darn bite of this amazing panini.

Pre-half marathon fuel?

Pre-half marathon fuel?

Was it only a day? Yes. But it was still awesome – I wish we lived closer and could spend more days like this with my family!

apple picking at indian ladder

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like apple picking? What’s your favorite type of apple?
  • Cider donuts – yay or nay? Cinnamon or plain? I’m not a big donut fan, but I can’t resist a good warm freshly made cider donut- with cinnamon sugar of course!
  • When you get frozen yogurt, do you typically get more ice cream or candy? I’m all about the candy toppings!

Apple Crumb Pie Bars

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m not a big pie lover. That’s why, for this Thanksgiving, B and I decided to make a few pie-themed recipes in a non-pie form. So, desserts that are inspired by pie, but aren’t actually pie. Make sense? (or as my mom would say, Capeesh?) Yesterday I shared some awesome pecan pie bars. And today, it’s apple crumb pie bars!

Apple crumb pie MAY just be my favorite type of pie. Growing up, for Thanksgiving, we’d often pick up pies from a local farm in Upstate New York – and my favorite was always the apple crumb. And this bar recipe definitely reminded me of those pies – but even better, it’s in a cookie bar form! Oh yeah – these cookie bars also have oats and apples, so they have to be healthy, right?

Full disclaimer – these are very easy, just time consuming to make all three parts. It helps if you have someone peel and cut the apples while you prepare everything else. Thank you to B for taking on this oh-so-fun task!

apple crumb pie bars - i crashed the web

Apple Crumb Pie Bars

Here’s what you need:

For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Pie Filling:

  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 medium apples, peeled and sliced thin (I used Granny Smith)
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 2 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, sliced and cold from the refrigerator

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Start by making the crust. Beat butter, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer. Add in flour and sugar and mix until just combined – don’t overmix.
  3. This will be your crust! Using your hands, place mixture onto the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish prepared with parchment paper. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until crust is just starting to brown. Cool crust.
  4. Prepare the pie filling. In a large pan, melt butter and mix in brown sugar. Add sliced/peeled apples and cook on medium to medium-high heat until apples start to turn translucent (about 10-12 minutes). Add cinnamon and nutmeg and cook about 10 more minutes, or until apple liquid has almost nearly disappeared. If it starts to burn/turns too dry before the apples are fully cooked, feel free to add a little water while you cook. Cool.
  5. Make the crumb topping. Combine rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. Cut in the 1 1/2 sticks butter using a knife and combine with a fork (or your hands) until the mixture is in crumbly clumps (again, yes that is the scientific term).
  6. Put it together! Place the apple filling over crust and then sprinkle crumb topping down over the apple layer. Press down lightly over apple layer until it’s thoroughly covered
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the oatmeal crumb topping is lightly browned.

apple crumb pie squares - thanksgiving - i crashed the web

apple crumb pie bars - i crashed the web

Enjoy!

These are inspired by a few recipes, mostly this one from Food + Wine Mag.

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

Whether I like it or not, the weather is getting cooler and we’re well on our way to fall and … winter. I don’t mind the weather getting cooler – especially since it means it’s finally officially soup and chili weather!

We got a lot of sweet potatoes in our last summer Fresh Fork CSA, and though I’m a fan of roasting them, making fries, and more – I really wanted to make a chili with them. So I did. Typically I make my chicken or turkey chili in the crock pot to save time, and energy, but for being a chili recipe, this is pretty easy and painless to prepare AND make. You could probably use ground beef – but I always prefer turkey or chicken personally so I haven’t tried it.

sweet potato chicken chili photo - i crashed the web

Sweet Potato Chicken Chili

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 16 oz lean ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 medium yellow or Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 10 oz can tomatoes with green chilies
  • 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans our favorite beans – I used kidney and Great Northern beans
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes about 1/2-1 inch thick

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a Dutch oven, brown the ground chicken over 1 Tbs olive oil. Cook, on medium-high, and break apart chicken as it cooks. Season with some of the garlic powder and cumin as it cooks.
  2. After chicken is cooked through, add onion and pepper and some more of the cumin and garlic powder. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until onion starts to become translucent.
  3. Add the can of tomatoes with chilies, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and sweet potato.
  4. Add rest of spices – rest of cumin, garlic powder and then chili powder. Stir to combine mixture.
  5. Cover Dutch oven most of the way and simmer over medium to medium-low heat for about 25-40 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft and full cooked. Stir often.
  6. Serve in a bowl. Mine made about 9 cups and I had about 1 1/2 cup for my dinner serving.
  7. Enjoy alone, over rice or with corn bread. I chose the corn bread — because why not?

And that, my friends, is the perfect fall meal!

sweet potato chicken chili image - i crashed the web

sweet potato chicken chili

sweet potato chicken chili 2- i crashed the web

Something about Siblings – A Weekend in CLE with My Brother

This past weekend my brother visited me in Cleveland. The last time he came to see me on his own was more than 3 years ago – I was living in Lakewood, had somewhat just moved to Cleveland and well, it was WAY too long ago. I try to go visit him and stay with him on campus (he goes to Columbia) pretty much once a year – but I’m getting too old for his college lifestyle. The last time I visited him we didn’t go out until nearly midnight – I’m almost 30, which is waaay too old to be going out that late. I had to seriously rally and drink a Diet Dr. Pepper just to pull myself off the blowup mattress in his dorm room.

Greg and me the last time he came to see me on his own

Greg and me the last time he came to see me on his own

Anyway, this weekend turned out to be a pretty a relaxing weekend with my brother. We both had work to do (he more so than I – a thesis plus hundreds of pages of reading … oh college!) so there wasn’t much going out. But it was great to just hang out with him and do everyday things with him. I hope he had a good time and it’s not another 3 years before he comes back to Cleveland!

Friday included some working at a coffee shop, some vegan food at The Flaming Ice Cube and some dinner at Noodlecat.

At Flaming Ice Cube

At Flaming Ice Cube

Some of our awesome food from Friday is below (not pictured – appetizers or main course at Noodlecat, pumpkin cookies, my PUMPKING beer, Buckeyes or zucchini bread):

From top left, corn chowder from Flaming Ice Cube, Soba Noodle Salad from FI, Braised Beef Bun from Noodlecat, Pesto Burger from FI

From top left, corn chowder from Flaming Ice Cube, Soba Noodle Salad from FI, Braised Beef Bun from Noodlecat, Pesto Burger from FI

Saturday, B and I started our day by going for a leisurely run outside. I was having a hard time breathing for some reason, but it felt SO good to just be having a relaxing run – no racing. Then we decided to head to Tremont for some coffee and pastries, and holed up in Loop to do some work.

A little work in a coffee shop

A little work in a coffee shop

We of course enjoyed the fall colors that are still here and took a few pictures in the park while we were hanging out in Tremont.

Greg in me in Tremont

Greg in me in Tremont

Then we hit the West Side Market to pick up groceries for dinner. We bought some butternut squash, chicken sausage, peppers and onions. And made an awesome dinner together of some goat cheese, quinoa and chicken sausage stuffed squash – recipe coming soon 🙂

Chicken sausage and goat cheese stuffed butternut squash - i crashed the web

The finished product.

Greg is cooking!

Greg is cooking!

Saturday night included some more studying (I’m an awesome study helper. Just ask Greg. He’ll probably remember 3 more Russian vocab words thanks to my mad studying skills) and some deep chatting / thoughts about the future and me passing out from a corn bread coma pretty early.

Sunday meant dropping my brother back off at the airport 😦 I was sad to see him go, but am so excited to see him in just over a month for the holidays! After the airport, B knew I was sad to see my brother go, so he took me to Starbucks and then to the park for a fiveish mile walk. It was another great fall day in Cleveland and it was great to walk among the colorful leaves.

Yes, I took a selfie.

Yes, I took a selfie.

weekend walk with b

Hope you had a fabulous fall weekend as well!

Apple Bars with Maple Brown Butter Glaze

It’s apple season! Which means there are so many fun things that I can be baking with apples. And we have more than enough apples to spare. A few weeks ago,, B and I went apple picking. And then we got a few apples in our CSA. And then we got a few apples at a race we did. Needless to say, I had a few extra apples to spare. I didn’t feel like making a pie. Or a cake. Bars? Perfect! I definitely recommend you try these – with or without the glaze. B loved them without the glaze with his morning coffee. And then I brought them with the glaze to B’s family’s clambake as a sweet treat. They’re easy, and smell amazing in the oven.

apple bars with maple brown butter glaze -- i crashed the web

Apple Bars with Maple Brown Butter Glaze

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup apple, chopped (I used 2 large apples)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Here’s what you need for the glaze:

  • ¼ c (½ stick) butter, browned
  • 1 – 1 ½ c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 Tbs milk, if needed (I used almond milk)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the bars.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

Here what you do to make the brown butter maple glaze:

  1. Heat butter on a saucepan on low to medium-low. Once butter is melted, heat a little longer until butter starts to smell and turn a light brown / caramel color. Stir and keep an eye on butter so as not to burn!
  2. When brown, stir in sifted powdered sugar with a whisk. Stir carefully, removing any clumps.
  3. Add in maple syrup and continue to stir. Depending on consistency, add milk. I only needed 1 Tbs of milk and used what I had on hand – unsweetened almond milk.
  4. Drizzle glaze on top of cooled bars.
  5. Enjoy!

apple bars with brown butter maple glaze - i crashed the web