The Trip Of A Lifetime (Part 1 of ?)

10 11 2016

Howdy my long lost readers! If you’re still with me, thanks! I had a race report from the Crystal River Sprint #3 half written before I went away on a 2 week vacation. Because vacation is much more exciting than a sprint triathlon, I’m going to tell you about my trip to Australia and New Zealand!

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I’m blogging about the trip mostly because I want to remember as much as possible; it’s not every day one gets to hop on a plane, fly for 15 hours and spend two weeks literally on the other side of the world. So, grab your coffee, this is gonna be a long series of posts!

 

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Bill and I left Tampa bright and early on Saturday October 24th (like 7am early) to fly to LA. When we arrived, we had about 13 hours until our flight to Sydney; because we had > 12 hours until the next flight, we weren’t able to re-check our bags. So, rather than finding storage for the day, we opted to rent a car and explore!

First stop, In N Out Burgers, obv.

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Normally, I eat vegetarian as some of you may know. But, when it comes to these burgers, I make an exception! Animal style all the way!

After our heavy “brunch” we headed to the Santa Monica Pier. Oh LA traffic, you certainly are a pain!

img_6394We wandered around what I think was the downtown Santa Monica area on our way to the pier and walked through a lovely Saturday Farmer’s market. Gosh, I really miss the farmer’s markets from when I lived in DC! I sampled some yummy tomatoes and pears before we finally headed to the beach.

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Santa Monica is beautiful if you haven’t been there- the ocean and the mountains, all in one place. Gosh, if it weren’t so stinking expensive, I would love to live there!

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We walked some more and then decided to spend the rest of the afternoon at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.

img_6403If you’re unfamiliar, the La Brea Tar Pits are an incredible archaeological site that is currently active! Thousands upon thousands of bones from the ice age have been dug up already, and they’re still discovering more. Back in the day (WAAAAAAY back in the day) animals would come to drink/eat at the tar pit. Well, the obviously didn’t realize it was tar, because when they stepped in it, they got stuck! The poor animals couldn’t move and eventually died. And dead animals = easy dinner for predators, so they came and explored. They too got stuck! That’s they theory of how SO MANY bones were found in such a small area. We wandered around the museum for a bit (it’s not that big, so easy to do in a few hours) and gawked at the all the fossils.

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We worked up an appetite, so we needed some food, stat!

I was craving something a bit healthier than this morning’s meal, and thankfully we found Mendocino Farms. This place was great! Order at the counter, sample the beers and side salads (like potato salad, or the yummy shells with almond romesco sauce I had), and then sit down and enjoy your meal when your number is called. Bill got a BLT with tempeh bacon and I had a delicious salad. I wish I had written down what was in the salad because it was amazing!

 

After dinner (or was it lunch #2?) we still had time to kill, so since it was nearing sunset and we were on the west coast, back to the beach we went (duh). It was a stunner of a night, and a great way to wrap up our day in LA!

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And now, back to the airport, return the car, check in to the flight and we’re headed to Australia Baby!!!

 





Del Ray Farmer’s Market

25 07 2011

First and foremost, I need to say CONGRATULATIONS EMILY!! YOU ARE AN IRON WOMAN!!! What an incredible feat. She rocks.

Anyhow, I was going to write up my race report for today, but the results aren’t posted online yet 😦 I’ll tell you that I had a good race, I didn’t get lost, and I didn’t die on the run! Stay tuned-  you’ll get the full recap on Wednesday!

That being said, I still wanted to share something with you all, so I thought I’d take you along with me to the Del Ray Farmers Market!

The nice thing about racing on Sunday was that I got to take off on Saturday. No getting up at the crack of dawn to beat the heat and get in a long ride for me! Instead, I did one of my favorite things: I went to the farmers market! Take a peek at some of the delicious things I saw:

I think this pic of the tomatoes is my favorite from the day:

mini eggplants!

I may have bought one of these delicious homemade blueberry doughnuts. Thanks Victoria for helping me rationalize this purchase as “fuel” for my race 🙂

Don’t you want to just dive into these tomatoes? Or, maybe that’s just me?

I hope you all had a fantabulous weekend!

Question of the day: What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend (Besides sleep!)?





You Win Some, You Lose Some

13 06 2011

Sometimes I (Steph) wish that on Monday morning I can press the rewind button and go back to Friday, so that my weekend is only about to begin, instead of just ending! For the sake of sharing, I’m going to do just that, but unfortunately, when I’m finished, it will still be Monday. If only I had super powers…

So, my Friday was off to a great start. I’m working summer hours, which means that I can work longer days on Monday through Thursday, and on Friday, I get a half day! Score! Anyhow, I scheduled a hair cut for Friday afternoon to get my long locks trimmed:

I was a little early for my appointment, so I walked around the block to Sweetgreen for some fro-yo. I ordered my usual: tart fro yo with strawberries, blackberries, and candied walnuts.

I give the cashier my frequent buyers card and a five dollar bill. She swipes my card and she says I have 57 points. Ok what does that mean,  I’m thinking in my head, since I don’t really know how many points I need to redeem anything there. I must have paused long enough, because the guy behind me chimed in and said, “It’s 50 points for the yogurt.” SCORE! I told the lady I wanted to use my points, so she gave me my $5 back, and off I went with my FREE fro-yo! Happy Friday to me!

Before I move on, here’s my post-hair cut ‘do:

Whaddaya think?

Anyhow, I head home after my hair cut, with big plans to cook and blog. After all, since I’m getting home from work a little early, and the sun sets so much later, I’ll have plenty of sunlight to cook and take great photos. (Wait, did I just admit that I was spending my Friday night home cooking? Yes, I’m a cool cat!)

I was pretty excited because I had made some pizza dough on Thursday, to make a pesto pizza with balsamic chicken, roasted red peppers and goat cheese. I was also planning to make some homemade garlic scape pasta to go on the side. (No, I wasn’t carbo loading for a race, just really excited to get creative in the kitchen and take lots of pictures with great lighting.)

So, I marinated the chicken in some balsamic vinegar with a few cloves of garlic.

While that was marinating, I got started on my pasta. I threw a garlic scape into my Vitamix, and blended it up as finely as I could. Then I put in a dash of salt, 1/8 cup semolina flour and 1/2 + 1/8 cup all purpose flour, and blended some more. When the scape seemed to be mixed throughout, I dumped the mixture onto the counter in a mound, and made a well in the center, where I cracked an egg.

Beginning by pinching the flour into the egg, and then gradually pulling all the flour into the egg, I kneaded it until it formed a nice green ball of dough:

While the dough rested, I went back to my chicken, and popped it in the oven at 375ºF for 25 minutes.

When it came out of the oven, I prepped my pizza.

I rolled the dough

Topped it with garlic scape pesto, roasted red peppers

Added the chicken and goat cheese

and snapped LOTS of pictures (I’ll spare you most of them:) )

Work it, pizza.

As I opened the over to put it in, all of the sudden  the oven shut down, the AC turned off, the clock on the microwave went blank. Um? Did I blow a fuse? Nope, my friends, the power went out. It came right back on for a second, and then off again. And stayed off. For 4 hours. My poor pizza, all ready to go into the oven, sat on the pizza stone from 6:45 until 10:45. Fail.

And my pasta dough! I almost forgot about it, in my disappointed state. I wrapped it in a wet paper towel, and let it sit some more, while I sat and waited for the power to come back on.

With nothing better to do, and my stomach starting to growl, I decided to head to Chop’t for a salad. I ordered my usual there, the Vegetarian Powerhouse (Greens, broccoli, edamame, carrots, sunflower seeds, walnuts, crasins, apples) with hard boiled eggs and goat cheese too. As I checked out, I pulled out my frequent buyers card there and the lady told me that today I get a free soda! Though I don’t normally drink soda, it was free, and I wasn’t going to be able to eat my pizza, so why not? I got a creme soda, and it was DELICIOUS. A real-sugar soda beats a HFCS soda any day:)

So, I was having good luck when it came to salad shops and frequent buyers cards, but when it came to making food for myself, it was a total failure.

I went back home and ate outside while the sun was setting, and played around on my iPhone for a little. At about 9:45,  I saw the lights starting to turn on in the apartments around me, and the sound of the AC units turning back on. Hooray! I packed up, and went inside, eager to get back to cooking, though all my sunlight was now gone.

No sooner do I get inside, but all the power goes out again. ARGH! At least I had food in my belly!

So, I lit some candles and read some old magazines for awhile to kill the time. At about 10:45, the power turned back on, and stayed on, thankfully! I immediately turned on the oven and threw in the pizza, not even letting the oven preheat.  I also finished making the pasta, some half moon raviolis.

When everything was done cooking, I wasn’t hungry, but I tasted it anyhow.

The pizza looked pretty, but was soggy in the middle and I wasn’t super keen on eating something that had been sitting out for that long.

The pasta was pretty tasty though, but I didn’t have  tomato sauce, so I ate them plain. I have some pasta dough leftover, so I’ll be making them again, with sauce this time.

Sigh. What an annoying Friday night. Oh well, there’s always next Friday!

Question of the day: has a power outage ever spoiled your plans to do something fun? How do you keep busy when the power goes out?