WIAW #43: Home for the Holidays

 

 

 

 

I’m home for the holidays! While it’s not quite yet Christmas, and I still haven’t finished all my gift wrapping (fingers crossed my last package from Fedex arrives today as planned!), I’m back home in New York and enjoying some rest, relaxation, lots of reading (finished two books, onto the next!) AND home-cooked meals. So for this week’s WIAW, instead of one day of eats, here is a glimpse at a few of the meals I’ve enjoyed since I’ve been home.

Breakfasts have been pretty standard while I’ve been home. Some cereal (my parents’ cereal collect rivals that of Seinfeld) and fruit. Pretty standard AND delicious. Oh, and I love my mom’s homemade granola.

20151220_095342

Granola! (no, not frozen yogurt)

20151221_092254

Lunches have varied somewhat, typically including some sort of bread with cheese, fruit and a type of soup.

20151221_110303 20151220_124316 20151219_130113

For dinner, I’ve eaten all meals home (and homemade by my mom!) but one. We went out to dinner one night in the beautiful Saratoga Springs and hit up Ravenous, a place known for their crepes and frites. They did not disappoint. Otherwise, we had some roasted turkey breast, pesto pasta and cornish hens. All hit the spot. So. Much.

2015-12-19 18.47.01 20151222_180354 20151220_180103 20151217_203958

And desserts. How can I forget about these? I’ve been baking up a storm for the holidays and of course sampling some of the treats, including chocolate covered pretzels, lemon bars, chocolate fudge cookies and jam cookies. ‘Tis the season!

20151221_152350 20151221_152302 20151219_154024

 

Questions for you:

  • What have you been baking?
  • What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

The Most Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful Wonderful … Time of Year!

As we start to wrap up 2014 and the holiday season, I just wanted to share some highlights of my few days in New York celebrating the holidays with family and friends. ❤

This tree. I love the lights, the ornaments we put on together, and how at home I feel when I’m standing right here.

20141219_194432

Sushi with friends at my favorite sushi restaurant in New York. Nothing beats it!IMG_20141221_134726

Holiday baking with my mom. We don’t actually bake together, but rather discuss recipes and baking choices and then pretty much bake on our own. We enjoy finding new recipes, like this year’s raspberry almond thumbprint jam cookies.

IMG_20141221_150227 2

Seeing friends I haven’t seen in ages. My three best friends from high school this year lived in San Francisco, Brooklyn and Finland – a.k.a. waaay too far. I’m happy to share that this lovely lady is back from her Finnish stint and living in the U.S.A. again!

"Is this going on your blog?" was probably said a few times.

“Is this going on your blog?” was probably said a few times.

And seeing my cousins. We haven’t had a cousin photo in a while.

IMG_2807 (1)

Slightly change of running scenery pace. For example, one day I ran past cows. Grazing. On snow. A little different from my downtown Cleveland runs, huh?

20141222_083059

How have your holidays been so far? What’s your favorite part about this time of year?

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

That Weekend One of your Best Friends Gets MARRIED

I had a FABULOUS weekend and I am just so excited to share it with you. That’s right – as you probably could tell by the headline (do you read headlines?) – one of my best friends in the whole world got MARRIED this weekend.

blast from the past! Some memories of me and Melgar

blast from the past! Some memories of me and Melgar

Let me tell you a little bit about Melgar. Melgar and I have been friends since 7th grade. Have I told you this before? During locker day, that day when all the soon-to-be seventh graders come to the junior high to try out their lockers and their class schedule, Melgar and I discovered we had lockers next to one another. AND that we had the same first name. Which is why I always called her Melgar – not Melissa. So it only made sense that two short seventh graders, with the same first name and in the same hall, and lockers next to one another, would become friends. Friends we became – and despite going to different colleges, and living oh so far apart, thanks to Skypes, Google Hangouts, and phone calls, we have remained friends to this day. And that’s why I feel so blessed and honored to have been part of her special day – and in my first wedding!

melgar getting ready

beautiful bride getting ready

jane and melissa fruity drinks

post-ceremony cocktail hour at the gorgeous Franklin Plaza

B and me with the newlyweds!

It was a beautiful wedding, a beautiful (and cold) day, and a wonderful weekend – seeing my family (my parents live about 20 minutes away from where the ceremony and reception took place so I stayed with them all weekend!), catching up with old friends (seeing Alisa, who flew in from Finland and Andy who lives in Florida), spending the day getting ready with two of my very best friends Jane and Melgar, and dancing the night away with B.

Celebrating with my favorite ladies after the wedding

Celebrating with my favorite ladies after the wedding

B and me- all dressed up!

B and me- all dressed up!

Hope you had just as glorious a weekend! What did you do?

Some questions:

Have you been in any weddings? What’s your favorite part? I loved all the pre-big day activities! Spending the day with some of my very best friends who I don’t see very often and just getting to to be with Melgar on her special day was so wonderful.

Did you stay on your running schedule this weekend? Whoops. Nope! I was due for a 14 miler on Saturday and 7 miles on Friday. With the wedding and the weather (and any other excuses I can come up with), I only was able to get in 18.8 miles – over the 4 days. BUT I did put in a run each day, so I don’t feel too bad (including 6 miles the day of the wedding and 4 miles early the morning after on very uhh tired feet). 

What are you looking forward to this week? It may sound boring, but sleeping in my own bed! Last week I was traveling for work 3 days and then back in NY for the wedding – and I haven’t slept in my own bed since Sunday. 

Weekend Update: Last Minute Trip Home

I had big plans for this past weekend. B was going to be out of town and since it was going to be our first weekend apart in more than a year, I had a big to do list. Lay on the couch, catch up on the DVR, perhaps run the Cleveland 10 Miler (I had done 9 no problem last week), sleep late, eat some Easter candy, bake, read on my porch, go shopping, clean the bathroom and maybe grab drinks with friends. See? BIG plans for when B was rocking out at his post-wedding bachelor party for Mitch (who got married last year). SO when B messaged me on Tuesday that he had seen a great flight deal to New York and asked if I wanted to plan a last minute trip to see my parents, I realized it was a no brainer. I had been missing my family for some time and I’d still get to sleep in, wouldn’t have to clean the bathroom, and  as my brother reminded me, I’d get to enjoy some home cooked meals. AND with the weather due for sunny and 60s both days, I would definitely be able to get in a little running.

Friday night after work, my friend Samantha and I headed to Porcelli’s for Happy Hour. My Downtown Cleveland Alliance City Advocates group was hosting a Guest Bartending Event, with tips going to the DCA Ambassadors (you know, those amazing men and women that clean our streets, walk you to your car at night, give you directions, say hi to you when you’re running and ever offer you umbrellas when it’s raining and you’re working to work). It was a good event and I’m glad my fellow City Advocates put it on – I don’t know how much we raised but Porcelli’s was more crowded than I’d ever seen it (confession – I’ve only ever gone there for lunch, not for drinks on a Friday night). Plus, Samantha and I got to meet a few new people that we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.

guest bartending

Drinks = Tips for DCA Safety Ambassadors!

Drinks = Tips for DCA Safety Ambassadors!

Saturday morning, I woke up EARLY (4:45 a.m. … which is still later than I woke up Monday morning, ick!) to get in  quick run before heading out on an early flight to NY. I’m still trying to make sure that I make my 1,000 mi in 2013 goal (I’m almost halfway there!), so every little run counts. Yes, I’m crazy for choosing to wake up before 5 am to run .. but at least I know I’m crazy.

As soon as I got into NY, my parents picked me up at the airport and before I even unpacked or brought my bag upstairs, we went for a walk. When the weather’s nice (which it was – sunny and 60s both days!), my parents go for longish walks on the weekend, and they asked if I wanted to come with them – of course! Their 6 mile Saturday morning walking route is nice – through some neighborhoods and a park. There was even a dog-friendly Relay For Life going on in the park, called Bark for Life , so we saw tons of people with their dogs.

Bark for Life

Bark for Life

After our walk, it was time to walk Queenie. She’s another reason I love coming home. LOOK at that face! How can you be stressed out when you’re hanging out with her?
queenie

Then it was lunchtime. My mom made an awesome veggie soup with zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and celery that we all enjoyed. I also got to have some leftover homemade pizza. For dessert, we had some of the caramel, peanut butter, chocolate oatmeal cookie bars that I had snuck on the plane (shh!).

mom's homemade vegetable soup!

mom’s homemade vegetable soup!

After lunch, my dad put me to work. He had to install a new mailbox. If you know anything about me, you know I’m not the handiest person. I don’t fix things. I don’t install things. There’s a reason I rent our apartment and can easily submit work orders (which reminds me … our tub has been clogged for a few weeks …) as opposed ot fixing things myself. Still, it was fun! I basically watched my dad do the whole thing and then helped him put the new mailbox on, but of course that’s more than I typically do. Then, I watched my dad plant. I didn’t feel like getting dirty but I was a great supervisor!

remnants of the old mailbox

remnants of the old mailbox

Yes, I'm doing handy work ... I helped my dad install a mailbox!

Yes, I’m doing handy work … I helped my dad install a mailbox!

new mailbox is installed!

new mailbox is installed!

After relaxing outside on our deck all afternoon and dozing off for a little, my mom and I went to Saturday afternoon Mass. I haven’t been to Mass with my mom in a while, and it’s something i definitely miss. Then, we decided to go to Saratoga to walk around in the nice weather and grab dinner. We ended up going to one of my favorite casual places in downtown, Ravenous, for delicious fries and crepes. We left with clean plates … but of course after walking around a little managed to make some room for frozen yogurt. I gobbled up mine (vanilla, cake batter and coconut with too many toppings to count) before thinking of snapping a photo.

Crepes and fries!

Crepes and fries!

After dinner, we watched The Life of Pi. Confession – I haven’t read the book, but I thought the movie was good, although somewhat sad at times and I may still be slightly confused at the ending.

Sunday morning, I slept in and then decided to go for a run. My parents did their 6 mile walk, so after my run, I decided to run to meet them. I ended up running 7ish miles and then walking about 1.5 mi with them, which put me over my 20+ mile goal for the week and put me at ease knowing I wouldn’t be able to run on Monday before work (I had to get up at 3 a.m. just to make my flight).

After my run/walk, it was time for some more homemade vegetable soup, cookies, and then of course, more baking! My mom, knowing how much I love to bake asked if I could make some blondies for her to freeze.

freshly baked blondies!

freshly baked blondies!

Of course I happily obliged … and then spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing outside.

How I spent most of the weekend ... outside!

How I spent most of the weekend … outside!

For dinner, my mom made an awesome quinoa, cauliflower, chickpea salad, to go with the salmon and asparagus my dad had cooked. I love my parents’ cooking and miss it on a nearly daily basis!

dinner

For dessert we enjoyed some of my blondies, plus ice cream.

Fact: Cookies tastes better with ice cream

Fact: Cookies taste better with ice cream

Monday morning meant getting up at 3:30 a.m. – not to work out, but to catch an earlier-than-should-be legal flight back to Cleveland. I hope I wasn’t too grumpy (little sleep+no workout=grumpy Melissa) at work, but I will be bringing in some cookies this week to bribe my coworkers just in case.

All in all, a great, relaxing weekend at home. This weekend should be a busy one filled with a few activities with B’s family (his cousin’s first communion and party, plus his brother and sister-in-law’s annual Kentucky Derby Party), so I’m glad I got some time in with my family. Hope everyone has a great week!

Some questions:

  • What’s your favorite dessert combination? (I love cookies and ice cream. Or white chocolate and peanut butter and pretzels. Or white chocolate and ice cream. Or anything with ice cream.
  • What’s the earliest you’ve had to get up for a flight?
  • Did you get outside and enjoy the warm temps this weekend?
  • Are you handy? (I’m not!)
  • Did you get in a run this weekend? (Yes – I did 11ish miles between Saturday and Sunday, despite not running the Cleveland 10 Miler)