Weekend Fun

After having various members of our family here to visit over the past month, Nick and I are finally back into a regular routine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to have people stay with us, but it’s also nice when it goes back to normal life, too! (as boring as that may be 😉 ) This past weekend, Nick and I didn’t have a single thing on the calendar, so the weekend was free to explore and have fun!

Saturday morning we left shortly before 9, and headed off towards Rockville, MD. I had done a search online to find the elusive pumpkin Dandies, and my search showed that Dawson’s Market in Rockville had them in stock. (the finder also said that a store in Leesburg had them, but they didn’t, so I wasn’t holding out much hope) While they didn’t have pumpkin Dandies (sob!), they did have a bunch of other great things, so I grabbed a couple of the Enjoy Life mixes that I’ve seen floating around on social media, and online. I snagged the pizza crust, brownie mix, and muffin mix. Those were the 3 that they had, and I’m excited to try them all! Since we were so close, we decided to swing by Roots Market in Olney, MD because that place is a vegan heaven! They have sooooo many great vegan options! And! THEY HAD PUMPKIN DANDIES! And gluten free earth balance mac & cheese! Woo hoo! We had just been there a couple of weeks previous (while on our way to BWI to pick up my bro-in-law from the airport) and they hadn’t had either item. So, of course, we had to stop by a new Whole Foods on our way home! They didn’t have anything we can’t get here at home, save for a bag of vegan, locally made, dog treats! It was a day to get a treat for everyone!

Here a just a few of the goodies we scored!
Haul of goodies!

Yesterday ended up being a beautiful day and so we took off to Alexandria for Doggy Trick or Treating! I know, I know. We totally THOSE people. But you know what? We don’t care! It was so much fun! We stopped at The Dog Park for our goodie bag and map of stores that were giving out treats for Halloween. While we didn’t have a costume for Olive, she did wear a festive space bandana (from her BarkBox) that got a lot of positive comments.
Space Pup

We walked around for over 2 hours gathering treats from over 25 businesses in Alexandria. Olive met tons of dog friends, got loads of pets, and came home with a bag chock full of treats! Oh, and Nick and I had a lot of fun, too. Before heading back to the car we stopped for a family picture. I’m pretty sure Olive’s face says it all. She was worn out!
Awkward Family Photo

It didn’t take long for her to relax in the car on the way home, either. Isn’t she the cutest?! Oh, and if you notice that funny scar on her leg, that’s from her stitches she had to get a few weeks ago. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time with a playful pup at the dog park. She’s all healed up now, though, and even when she had the stitches, she didn’t let anything stop her from having fun!
Worn out pup

It was a fun weekend! We ended last night with a great night at church, homemade mac & cheese, and “Homeland”. Couldn’t ask for better!

How was your weekend?


Staycation – day one

Ever since we’ve moved to the DC area, it feels like we could go on a new adventure every weekend. I love that! While we’ve tried A LOT of new things, and ventured to new places, we definitely have a few favorites that we can’t seem to stay away from. But there were so many neighborhoods and things that we haven’t seen in the city yet, so we took off last Thursday to see some more of our own backyard. Olive went to play at her friend’s house for the night, so Nick and I were free to roam about, and stay out as long as we liked!

After dropping Olive off, we took off for the city, and naturally, got caught in traffic. (there is ALWAYS traffic) Our first top was the metro station so that we could jump on the Silver Line. We got off near the the Eastern Market and walked for a bit before heading to lunch.

Lunch was nothing short of EPIC. We walked to Sticky Rice on H Street. I had found this place online a few weeks ago, and knew it was a place we needed to go. And we’re both SO happy that we did! It was amazing. Naturally, we started with a bucket of tots, and vegan special sauce.

I mean, don’t YOU think of tots at a sushi place?! Ha! THEY. WERE. AWESOME. Perfectly fried and crisp, and not too greasy. I don’t know what the vegan special sauce is, but it’s nothing short of magical. Mmmmm. So good. I’ve been dreaming of them ever since.

But we knew that man can not live on tots alone, so we ordered three sushi rolls as well. We chose The Hot Hippy (spicy marinated tofu with scallions, peanuts, cucumbers, and carrots), the Santa Fe (tempura fried sweet potato with agave jalapeño and sesame seeds), and the Avocado Tempura with the vegan option (vegan tofutti, cucumbers, avocado, vegan spicy sauce, drizzled with ponzu and scallions).
Sushi Rice
(all three, the Avocado Tempura, The Hot Hippy, and the Santa Fe going clockwise)

Wow. These rolls were so darn tasty, too! I think my favorite was the Avocado Tempura, but I’m a sucker for anything with avocado. It was creamy and crunchy all at the same time. The Santa Fe also had a great crunch from the tempura sweet potato, but it was balanced well with the spice of the agave jalapeño. The Hot Hippy was Nick’s favorite, and it was more a traditional vegetable roll, but the spicy tofu made it a little something different. They were all delicious and we devoured them in no time.

And yes. We ate the entire bucket of tots with NO REGRETS.

After exploring the Adams Morgan neighborhood a bit, we ventured off towards Georgetown. We’ve been to Georgetown a few times now, but we were headed to Baked & Wired for a cupcake. We snagged the “Hell Yeah” which was a vegan & gluten free chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream. While we didn’t snag a picture, and we didn’t eat it until after dinner, I’ll promise you that it was awesome! Nick said he would have never been able to tell you that it was gluten free. That’s always the true test! It was SUPER chocolate-y and not dry and crumbly at all. It was a perfect treat.

And let’s be serious. It’s hard to go to Georgetown and NOT get a cupcake from Sprinkles. I mean, it can, and has been done, but Sprinkles is always worth a trip.
I love Sprinkles!

The vegan red velvet is out of this world and we devoured it right outside the door. It has the perfect texture and just the right amount coconut flavor. And the buttercream?! Heavenly. Silky, smooth, and just the right amount of sweet. Worth every single calorie, for sure.

After a bit more of wandering around Georgetown, we headed back towards home because Nick didn’t want to leave his softball team hanging. They were right on the edge of having enough guys, and he wanted to give them a fair shot! After all of that, we got there and only 5 guys showed up. BUMMER. So after the time was over, and they had to forfeit for real, we took off and tried to decide what to do for dinner. We ended up at Whole Foods (we had a few things to get anyway) and ordered the Mighty Vegan Pizza. They didn’t have any vegan cheese ready, so we opted to skip the cheese and add marinated mushrooms instead. We brought it home, grabbed a drink (I chose the caffeine free Zevia Cola – yum!) and ate while watching a movie. It was kind of weird to be home without Olive around, but it was nice to sit on the couch, watch “Homeland”, and eat without having to say, “Olive, sit! This is not your pizza!”
A lovely Whole Foods Pizza all for us

This pizza was YUMMY! Big, chewy slices with loads of veggies and flavorful sauce. It definitely hit the spot.

What a great day! While it had ended up being way more humid than expected, we had such a great day together. I can’t wait to share the rest of our staycation with you tomorrow!

Day Twenty-eight & final thoughts

We did it! We completed the 28 day Abundance Diet eating plan! We are so, SO happy that we did it, even if there were times we were craving a cupcake or french fries. That was all part of the journey. We’ve learned a lot about our eating habits, and just how easy it is to get lazy and go for convenience over quality. We started our day (Sundays are our favorite day of the week) with a run at about 6:00. Wow! You really get to see the beauty that God has created when you’re up that early! 😉 Now, let’s not get hasty and say I’ll be getting up at 6:00 everyday, but it was a gorgeous morning to head out.

We came home, cooled down, stretched, and immediately made our breakfast. On the menu was Quinoa Berry Banana Bowls. I was a little skeptical about a bowl of quinoa, soymilk, and fruit, but it was surprisingly tasty and filled us up and gave us a great hit of protein. Nick added a smidge of PB2 powder to his soymilk which he said added a little bit more sweetness. I might try that next time. Our quinoa was also cold, as we had made it ahead, so I don’t know how it would be if it was hot. More like a porridge or oatmeal, maybe? The fresh berries were great, too.
Abundance diet day 28

We then set our sights on making a GIANT batch of kale chips. We made a hybrid recipe of Somer’s and the All-Dressed Kale Chips from Oh She Glows.
Sunday Funday

We then got ready for the day, and walked over to the local Farmer’s Market. We loaded up on local apples, peaches, cucumber, and green beans. It was a bit of a hot walk home, but it was worth it, and Olive had a great time at the market!
Sunday Funday

We made up the leftovers for the Nicoise salads for lunch. We kind of improvised as we were trying to use a few things that we had leftover in the fridge. For dinner we heated up the Chile Rellenos Casserole, and then couldn’t wait to enjoy our Luscious Lemon Tarts for dessert.
Abundance diet day 28
Wowza. These tarts are delicious! They’re super creamy, and the lemon zest and juice adds just the right amount of tartness. Nick and I both thought that the crust was tasty, but not at all necessary. It would have been great to have more of the creamy goodness! We had a few leftover raspberries from breakfast, and they were a great addition. Every bite was a winner! We’ll most definitely be making these again.

Final thoughts, and what how we’re going to implement what we’ve learned along the way:

1. Even though we didn’t do this diet primarily to lose weight, it was a great “side effect”! Nick lost about 11 lbs, and I lost about 10 lbs. I’m sure that it was mostly from sugar, and all the refined foods we’d been previously enjoying. While we’re not going to go gluten free, we’ll definitely watch our wheat intake, and try to choose better whole grains that keep us from feeling bloated and blah. We aren’t going to give up sugar entirely, either, but we’ve come to appreciate alternative sweeteners, and dates are our new best friends!

2. We’ve also learned that we’ll snack on what we have in the house. So we’re planning to keep the pantry stocked with healthy snacks, like kale chips and Somer’s gluten free cheesy crackers, with loads of fresh veggies and fruits in the fridge. We will definitely enjoy a sweet treat now and again, but maybe we’ll just have 1 cookie, instead of 3 or 4. 😉

3. Sunday has been our day to prepare for the week ahead. Getting dressings made, soups prepared, and veggies prepped. That’s something we’ll definitely keep doing. It makes the week SO MUCH BETTER! There are no last minute “oh, shoot!” moments, and we both know what’s the fridge to grab for lunch. Occasionally it made Sunday afternoons a little hectic, but it was a worth is for an easy breezy week.

4. While we made weekly meal plans before this plan, we’ll definitely do a better job of sticking to what we’ve chosen. We’re planning to stick with a few soups, and various salads throughout the week for lunches. For dinner, we’ve decided to stick with a more whole foods approach, and only occasionally add in a processed item. For example, this week we’re having BBQ Soy Curls (we made our own BBQ sauce), with homemade coleslaw, homemade baked beans (using our own homemade BBQ sauce), and steamed green beans for a weekday dinner.

5. Moderation is the key. Giving up things that we love – like cupcakes, cookies, and french fries – just isn’t something we want to do. But! We know that we can have those things as a special treat, and completely enjoy them. As long as our diet is mostly a clean, whole foods diet, we’ll be good to go.

6. We probably won’t do another 28 days in the future, but doing a week or so would be a great kick start to get us back on track if we should need it.

7. Oh! The biggest takeaway! WE LOVE SMOOTHIES FOR BREAKFAST!! We are totally planning to have smoothies throughout the week, and then enjoy a “special” breakfast on the weekends. Somer’s smoothie recipes are great, and a great starting to point for us to make up some of our own. We always feel full in the morning, and love how easy it easy it is to load up on leafy greens.

Thanks for following along with us these past 28 days. I’m sure there were times that the posts felt a bit boring or monotonous, but we tried to be as honest as we could. We didn’t always want to do it, and there were times we wanted to quit. But we also learned the value of sticking it out, and our bodies are the better for it!

Day Twenty-Seven

I can’t believe our journey is almost over. As Nick asked you previously, “are you sick of this yet??” 😉 While I’m so happy that we did this plan, I have to admit that I am also ready to be done. Not because the food is lacking, but just because I miss the spontaneity when we’re out and about. We’re anxious to share all of our ideas with moving forward, but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s post!

We had plans to take Olive to Old Town Alexandria to a pet boutique that was having a puppy ice cream social. We got into town about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start, so we took the opportunity to walk around, find some new shops, and just enjoy being together. Olive LOVED being in the city! She’s always a little crazy excited at first, but she seems to settle down quickly. She got to meet several other dogs along the way, and she did great at the pet store. They loved on her, and she loved her banana/peanut butter frozen treat.
Day in Old Town

We then headed out to Gravelly Point Park to have lunch (we packed our salads and some fresh watermelon). It’s a really pretty park along Potomac River that sits RIGHT NEXT TO Reagan National Airport. It was so fun to be outside watching the planes fly right over our heads! So cool. Olive loved it, too.
Day in Old Town

Since it was a weekend, we had a special breakfast and dessert to enjoy. For breakfast we had the Carrot Cake Waffles.
Abundance diet day 27
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this at first, but they grew on me rather quickly. The outside was crisp, and the inside soft and fluffy. (seriously, her gluten free flour blend is MAGIC) I didn’t taste the carrots so much, but the spices were pronounced and tasty. We topped these with a smidge of pure date syrup. Yum! We’ll definitely make these again!

After a great day, and some last minute grocery shopping for next week’s menu, it was time to settle in at home with our cozy pants. After enjoying the rest of Homestyle Mexican Casserole – with fresh avocado! – we were finally ready to dig into dessert. Nick made the Orange-Chocolate Silk Mousse in the morning before we left for the day so it could chill in the fridge and get nice and cold and set up a bit.
Abundance diet day 27
Wow. This mousse is fantastic. The orange flavor is subtle, but not so much that you can’t taste it. It’s just enough. This would be a great dessert to have with company, and you could easily mix up the flavors with other things like raspberry. Nick was so sad when this one was gone. That is always a great sign of a tasty dessert!

It was a really great day, and we had loads of fun together as a family. It was great to be able to pack up our salads and head out for the day. Having a plan about your meals definitely makes you eat healthier when out and about!