Still Feeling Thankful

I had SUCH A GOOD Thanksgiving. Do you ever just feel full of love, family and thankfulness that it warms you up? That’s how I’ve been feeling lately and felt especially this past week, as I got to spend Thanksgiving with my family for the first time in a few years. It was so great to see my aunts and uncles and cousins, and also to bring FW along – he hadn’t seen my family in nearly a year!

I’m not gonna lie – an 8+ hour car trip (well, one that’s supposed to be 8.5 hours … but turns into 10+) with a toddler isn’t easy. Or fun. But it was definitely worth it! Here are some highlights from the holiday weekend:

We started off the trip with a quick stop for breakfast. Bagels for the car ride! Even FW enjoyed an apple cinnamon bagel to-go.

Thursday morning started off with a Turkey Trot. We ran the Stratford (CT) Turkey Trot this year, which was a 5k. We did it with FW so we started out in the back behind the other strollers (and behind the walkers … ugh!), but still had a good time. 

We hit up quite a few playgrounds. There were a few in Connecticut and some in New York for FW to try. 

He was pretty happy on the two-person swing 🙂

We of course enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with our family! 

And got in the rare family photo. This picture was actually snapped approximately 20 seconds before FW vomited all over. No, he didn’t even eat any of the Thanksgiving food! So who knows what it was .. too much excitement?

FW loved hanging out with Grandpa. 

And Nonna!

FW also loved hanging out with my cousin, Max. Max and him had some quality time at another playground.

When back in Albany, FW got to play some piano, too. Even with my mom 🙂

I love the holiday season, and am super pumped that it is finally here. Less than one month until Christmas and I can see my family again!

Questions for you:

  • Did you travel this Thanksgiving?
  • Did you do a turkey trot?

 

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

WIAW: A [Semi] Day Off and Thanksgiving Leftovers!

As I mentioned, B and I were supposed to go back to New York and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, but sadly our plans fell through. Since we had already planned to take a day off, we decided to keep the day off and just do a little work among enjoying a relaxing day together. Confession: I still put in 4.5hours of work – BUT – it was still great to be in my PJs all day, go out to breakfast and take a walk in the afternoon.

Because I was off, we had a great day of food. So here are some of those eats for today’s  What I Ate Wednesday! For breakfast B and I went out to the West Side Market diner and split two meals – sadly I only got a photo of the french toast. Whoops. But we split the french toast AND the hash. Both were great!

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Lunch was Thanksgiving leftovers! A little bit of turkey, some stuffing, veggies and cauliflower. Yum.

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My snack? Some of these Famous Amos cookies. I got them after our Thanksgiving Day 5 Miler (along with a banana of course) and opened up the package in the afternoon. They weren’t that bad!

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Dinner was spaghetti squash marinara. It included squash, some chicken sausage, spinach, sautéed onions, eggplant and of course tons of homemade pasta sauce and parmesan. Oh, and wine!

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I was totally going to have some Halo Top for dessert, but I got too tired and ended up going to bed around 9 p.m. Boring, I know! Especially since I picked up all these flavors this weekend!

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Some questions for you:

  • Do you have any go-to easy meals? Spaghetti squash marinara is one of mine!
  • Did you have Thanksgiving leftovers? I was so glad to have some for lunch!

10 Thanksgiving Things

I had a LONG weekend (took part of Wednesday off) and I can’t believe that it’s over. Unfortunately our plans to go back east and spend Thanksgiving with my family fell through, but we were able to spend the holiday in Cleveland with B’s family. Which meant we got to do quite a few things on our days off. Here were 10 of those things …

1. Running the Cleveland Turkey Trot. It’s a 5 mile race and was my first real race after FW was born that I had signed up for. I tried to keep up with B’s siblings for most of the run (B watched FW during the race and cheered us on) – but since I’m still getting back into shape and they’re mid-marathon training, it wasn’t an easy feat! In any case, I finished pretty strong and better than I expected – I had an 8:40/mile average page.

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2. Getting dressed up and celebrating the holiday with B’s family. Any excuse to put FW in a cardigan and bowtie 🙂

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3. Cooking! B and I brought cauliflower to the big meal. We roasted a few whole heads with a dijon dressing and then also made a cauliflower, date and pignoli nut dish.

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4. Cuddling with great grandma. This was FW of course 🙂

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5. Working out. I got in 4 runs and some kettle bells on my days off.20161126_093814

6. Bundling up for a walk downtown. It was chilly for the first few days – but at least it made for perfect ice skating weather! (not for me – but for those people in the picture)

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7. Shopping! We did some shopping for Christmas gifts and bought a few books and teething supplies for FW. (Side note – teething is THE WORST.) img_20161126_115128

8. Walking. FW, B and I went for a walk when it was sunny and in the upper 40s one day. It felt great to see the sun and not be super bundled up!

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9. Bowling. B’s family’s post-Thanksgiving tradition is bowling and then a big Italian dinner. I did pretty well for me (82!) but as you can see, it wasn’t enough to get in the finals – check out all the high scorers in my lane!

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10. Lots of eating. I mean – it was Thanksgiving, after all. B and I had some good meals even outside of our Thanksgiving Day meal. Including some great Chinese takeout from our favorite place (Wonton Gourmet)and then feasting on all of the new Halo Top flavors. Seriously – I almost squealed (okay, I did squeal) when I saw all these flavors at Whole Foods!img_20161125_192017 20161127_162724

And now, it’s back to reality for a few days at least. I have a busy week ahead of me at work so hopefully it will fly by.

Some questions for you:

  • Have you tried the new Halo Top flavors?
  • Did you run a Turkey Trot?

Per usual, I’m linking up with ErinKatie and the weekly wraps.

Feelin Thankful

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. It was filled with everyone one wants during Thanksgiving – food, fun, family. While I didn’t get to go back to New York to spend time with my family (I’ll be back for Christmas in a few weeks!), I did get to spend time with B, his family, extended family, and even got in some early holiday spirit-filled activities!

Thursday morning started early with the Cleveland Turkey Trot 5 miler. B, me and all his siblings did the race! It was a ton of fun to run with the whole family. I didn’t run it fast enough to race it, but did beat my last Cleveland Turkey Trot time, which was awesome.

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Then it was time for turkey. Well, first we had to make our contribution – we were assigned a vegetable side dish and we brought some roasted cauliflower with pignoli nuts and dates. It was SO good – I’d definitely make the recipe again.

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We spent Thanksgiving with B’s family and his mom’s side and hung out with them until late in the evening and I nearly fell asleep on the couch from food coma. So yes, a successful Thanksgiving dinner 🙂

pre-food coma

pre-food coma

Friday morning started early –  B’s family has had a tradition of going to the West Side Market the Friday morning after Thanksgiving for brats for breakfast. The tradition started I believe with B’s mom’s cousin, who sadly just passed away. So, in his honor, we met at 8:30 a.m. for brats at the Market. It was in the 50s, so B and I walked over.

walking over to the market. 50+ degrees and nearly December=awesome.

walking over to the market. 50+ degrees and nearly December=awesome.

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We got in a little shopping while we were there and then headed over for some tea and coffee in Hingetown before walking home.

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Every year, B and I organize our local alumni’s Adopt a Family program and always adopt a family and buy holiday gifts for them. We typically wait until mid-December to buy gifts, but since we were around (and it was still early), headed to Target to take advantage of the Black Friday sales AND finish our Adopt a Family buying. We got to Target around noon and for some reason it wasn’t even crowded!

Friday night, B and I decided to use a gift card we’d had for a little while and go on a dinner date. Yes, I was still craving some carbs even after Thanksgiving and got pesto pasta with potatoes. Carbalicious 🙂

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Saturday, I started the morning with a short treadmill run and then we began by celebrating Small Business Saturday and checked out the market that was going on downtown at the 5th Street Arcades. I got a few Christmas gifts before picking up a smoothie for lunch at Restore (more small business support!). ‘

Arcade all decked out with holiday lights

Arcade all decked out with holiday lights

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Then it was time for Carney Bowling. Every Saturday after Thanksgiving, B’s dad’s side gets together for an early holiday celebration/party, bowls and has dinner. I did the BEST I can remember ever bowling this ear – I somehow got in the 90s! (and I beat B in one game…which never happens. He typically scores a lot higher)

My first game - bottom left!

My first game – bottom left!

My niece Sofia and I taking selfies at bowling. She took this :)

My niece Sofia and I taking selfies at bowling. She took this 🙂

After dinner, we made it back downtown just to catch the tail end of Winterfest and the downtown tree lighting. It was a great way to finally kick off the holiday season and get in the holiday spirit. Christmas tunes, a winter beer garden, a ginormous Christmas tree, Santa and another holiday market. I love this time of year!

fireworks!

fireworks!

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Sunday morning, I got in an easy treadmill run and then B and I decided to take a walk in the Metroparks. It was another seasonably warm day, so it was great to get in some steps and take in nature before the cold sits in.

even the ducks were out!

even the ducks were out!

Sunday afternoon, we kicked off the holiday season the way we do every year – we decorated our apartment, made pepperoni bread (and ate it. a lot of it) and watched Love Actually. Love Actually is still one of my favorite holiday movies and even though I’ve seen it at least 10+ times, I still love it and still tear up at parts.

getting the holiday decorations out

getting the holiday decorations out

B making the bread

B making the bread

finished product.

finished product.

All in all, it was a great, relaxing, fun-filled long weekend. I can’t believe December is nearly here – but I’m so ready for the holidays and seeing my family!

Some questions for you:

What are you most looking forward to this holiday season? Seeing my family! It’s been too long. 

What’s your favorite holiday song?

Favorite holiday movie?  I love Love Actually and Muppet Christmas Carol. And about a gazillion other movies. I’m such a sap for holiday movies!

Linking up today with Erin for my weekend snapshot post, Katie for MIMM and the weekly wraps.

Another Carnoski Thanksgiving in NY and Cleveland

I really love this time of year. I love the food, the holiday music, the traditions, etc. But really, I just love seeing my family. B and I swap Thanksgivings, spending pretty much every other holiday with my family, and this was one of the years we spent in New York so I got to see my family and friends.

A few highlights from my Thanksgiving:

A few homemade meals (I still love my mom’s cooking):

Chicken with mozzarella and spinach

Chicken with mozzarella and spinach

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans - i crashed the web

Quinoa with Apples and Pecans – recipe here!

A scenic train ride into New York City:

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Walking around the city with B and then dinner with one of my bffs, Jane:

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Sorry, no food pics (it didn't come out) but we enjoyed an awesome Mediterranean meal!

Sorry, no food pics (it didn’t come out) but we enjoyed an awesome Mediterranean meal!

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge with B:

halfway up the bridge!

halfway across the bridge!

Our approach from Brooklyn

Our approach from Brooklyn

Sushi with my parents:

Does anyone know what the raw egg on top of the fish on the top left is ? It was amazing...

Does anyone know what the raw egg on top of the fish on the top left is? It was amazing…

A surprise day-before-Thanksgiving Noreaster – so pretty! (it had been 70 in the city the day before!)

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A Thanksgiving morning 5k and a too brief reunion with my other bff, Melgar:

<3 the two Melissas

❤ the two Melissas before the Turkey Trot (with matching headbands of course)

Melgar's husband, B and me post-run

Melgar’s husband, Jon, B and me post-run

Me and Melgar and her sister with our medals!

Me and Melgar and her sister with our medals!

Thanksgiving dinner with family

so many appetizers!

so many appetizers!

Family picture <3

Family picture ❤

Post-Thanksgiving Chinese (What does this fortune even mean?!)

I have no idea ...

I have no idea …

B’s family’s post-Thanksgiving celebration – annual bowling tournament

B - the bowling all star (he made it into the finals this year!)

B – the bowling all star (he made it into the finals this year!)

Cousins-in-law!

Cousins-in-law!

Final score of my best round - 81!

Final score of my best round – 81!

And made it back to Cleveland just in time to catch the end of Winterfest and the lighting of downtown!

Love the Christmas music, the tree and chandelier lighting and all the people!

Love the Christmas music, the tree and chandelier lighting and all the people!

fireworks and a tree lighting

fireworks and a tree lighting

Okay, off to listen to some Christmas tunes (finally!!!!!) and get into the holiday spirit. Only a few weeks until Christmas!

 

Some questions for you:

  • Did you do a Turkey Trot?
  • How do you spend Thanksgiving? What’s a fun tradition you have?
  • Do you wait until after Thanksgiving to listen to holiday tunes?

Dulce De Leche Oatmeal Pear Pie

I hope you enjoyed the pie-turned-bar recipes I shared with you a few weeks ago. The pecan pie bars were my favorite – who knows, maybe I’ll make them again for Christmas?

Anyway – I wanted you to know that I DID make a pie for Thanksgiving. And in case you aren’t too full of desserts, sugar or carbs – here’s just the recipe for you – perhaps for your next holiday get together!

Have you ever had REAL dulce de leche? I’m talking homemade super sweet and creamy dulce de leche. Oh my goodness. My mouth is watering just thinking about it – when I lived in Ecuador, the family I lived with used to make a jar of it nearly every week. I’d eat it with everything, but mostly on their amazing baked goods. Rolls with dulce de leche? Bagel and dulce de leche for a mid-morning snack? Don’t mind if I do!

How good does that look:

(photo from The Intrepid Explorers)

Anyway, I’m no longer in Ecuador, but was able to find a bottle of real dulce de leche (sorry, I didn’t make it myself) at a local grocery store in the Goya section – which was PERFECT because I have been dying to make this pie recipe from my favorite new cookbook, Recipe Girl’s book! If you aren’t reading Recipe Girl’s blog or getting her blog emailed to you daily (as I am), then I suggest you start right away.

dulce de leche oatmeal pear pie

Dulce De Leche Oatmeal Pear Pie (slightly modified from the Recipe Girl Cookbook)

Here’s what you need:

for the crust

  • 3 1/3 cups oats
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

for the filling

  • 6 cups peeled and sliced ripe green pears – we only needed about 5 large pears
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prepare the crust: Mix together all crust ingredients – oats, melted butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Mix well until sticky and well combined. Reserve about a cup of the crust mixture and set aside. Take remaining mixture and spread crust into a 9 1/2 inch round pie dish. Pat down well with your hands so it’s stuck to the bottom of the pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Make the filling: Combine peeled and sliced pears, lemon juice and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. When these dry ingredients are mixed well, add to pear mixture. Toss until pears are coated well. Add dulce de leche a little bit at a time and try not to drool because the pears covered in dulce de leche are just amazing. Add filling to the cooled crust. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup reserved crust mixture on top of pie.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes and check halfway through – if top browns too soon, place some foil lightly on top of pie. After 30 minutes, check pie. Cook for 10-15 minutes more, or until pear is caramelized, bubbly and top is browned.
  5. Enjoy!
oatmeal cookie crust

oatmeal cookie crust

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You will LOVE this pie. I dare you NOT to. And can I share 2 more things that are pretty great?

1. I made a little extra filling and topping – and made mini pear oatmeal crumbles for a separate dessert!

2. B’s not a fan of pears. He won’t eat pears, doesn’t drink or eat pear flavored things, etc. BUT he loved this dessert anyway — woohoo! If you’re not a pear lover, I dare you to try this. Or at least sub apples for pears, because Recipe Girl says you can.

dulce de leche oatmeal pear pie

leftover filling and topping makes great pear crumble!

Bacon Bombs, Bowling and More = A West Virginian Thanksgiving

And so it begins – the holiday season is officially here! Woohoo! I really do love this time of year – from the baking and holiday foods, to the festive lights decorating downtown to of course being able to spend time with my family – what’s not to like?

lights in the Arcade in Cleveland

lights in the Arcade in Cleveland

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving. And because we trade locations (NY with my family vs. here with B’s family) each year, this year we were spending the holiday with B’s family. And this year, B’s family had rented a cabin in Wheeling, West Virginia at Oglebay Resort. We would be in a cabin for three nights with about 20 members of B’s family and extended family – which meant lots of good meals, drinks, games, and we even fit in some even some runs and walks! Some highlights:

The cabin:

Here’s where we stayed- it was really nice and a short walk from the main lodge which meant just a short walk from the pool and fitness center! (yes, I got in a 6 mile treadmill run one day while the kiddos were splashing in the pool).

Our home for 3 nights

Our home for 3 nights

The food:

We arrived Wednesday night at the cabin to a dinner of what B’s family was calling bacon bombs. Bacon/meat-lovers rejoice – have I got the meal for you – imagine a giant meatloaf wrapped in bacon? That’s what this is:

bacon bombs!

bacon bombs!

And what would Thanksgiving be without all of the other glorious food?

dinner collage

Some of the fun:

Before getting on the road, we decided to do some pre-vacation pampering! I went with my niece and two of my sisters-in-law and we got our nails done.

manis

I brought supplies with me to make some candy turkeys I’d found on Pinterest – and they were a hit! The kids loved making them and trying to steal all the candy/cookies/frosting/etc. they could get their hands on.

turkeys

We went sleigh riding down what a local called “Suicide Hill.” I mostly watched and ran up and down the hill to keep warm, but couldn’t help but take photos and video of the fun. My favorite? Sending Oliver down the hill in a laundry basket that we had in the car.

Keeping the Thanksgiving morning tradition of running alive, we found a 5k in Wheeling and ran it – with a few of the other family members! It was tons of fun. I ran the whole race with B’s cousin who’s the girl in the front in the blue hat in the pic below – she’s fast and came in 4th in her age group (14 and under).

B and me post-race. B rocked and PRd with a 5k in 23 something minutes

B and me post-race. B rocked and PRd with a 5k in 23 something minutes

The whole gang who ran!

The whole gang who ran!

And of course just all around shenanigans and playing with my niece and nephew and cousins-in-law.

He's a pretty good reader for a preschooler huh?

He’s a pretty good reader for a preschooler huh?

Teaching her some of my favorite old hand-games.

Teaching her some of my favorite old hand-games.

Pirates are completely normal on Thanksgiving, right? Didn't they come over with the pilgrims?

Pirates are completely normal on Thanksgiving, right? Didn’t they come over with the pilgrims?

And Thanksgiving with B’s family wouldn’t be complete without BOWLING. That’s right, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, his dad’s side gets together for a bowling competition (the side of the family who gets together for softball competition each year). No, I didn’t win (for some reason scoring a 76 didn’t even get me into the finals!) – but there’s always next year, right? I’ll be seeking bowling coaches – you know where to find me! (kidding)

Cousins-in-law!

Cousins-in-law!

bowling!

bowling!

And that was it! From traveling to West Virginia and then to way out northeastern Ohio for bowling, I’m somewhat feeling I need a vacation from my vacation!

Some questions for you:

How was your Thanksgiving? Do you travel for the holiday?

What did you make for the holiday? B and I were in charge of desserts! We also were to make a vegetable – so we made roasted squash and Brussels sprouts!

Did you try any new foods? Yes! Shoofly pie, that B and I made, as well as a slice of a bacon bomb. 

Do you have any fun family traditions during the holidays? Bowling with B’s family the Sat. after Thanksgiving has become a great tradition!

Did you do any Thanksgiving day races / Turkey Trots?

What are you most looking forward to about the coming month or so of the holiday season? Love Actually, Christmas music and seeing my family again!

I leave you with this pic of B and me chopping veggies:

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