I’m Back!

Hey guys!  What a quick weekend that was to Virginia.  I want to thank my daughter Hannah for Friday’s post.  Um, very spot on that I am much like a tornado in the kitchen.  I’ve never been one of those cooks that cleans as you go – used to drive Tony nuts, which is probably why I didn’t want him in the kitchen with me when I cooked, because he’d say “while you are waiting for the water to boil, you could have washed the prep bowls and that pot!”   And it is true, Hannah usually puts stuff away before I even use it.   But if I was on a cooking show on t.v., I’d keep a clean work station!  And thanks to my twin sister Jennifer, who is kicking Weight Watchers ass by being down over 20 pounds, and did a guest post about baked carrot fries – can’t wait to try those!

So my plan for this trip was to eat 80/20 – meaning I’d indulge 20% of the time.  I don’t know why I get in the mind set that if I am traveling, eating healthy goes right out the window.  Why do I have to go crazy just because I am not home?!

PicMonkey Collage - breakfast

I pretty much had a healthy breakfast every morning.  I have PBFit at home (um, now they have a chocolate one too!) and never thought to bring some with me on this trip.  On the first trip to the grocery store, I found a packet for only .85 cents and it was two servings.  On the bottom left picture with the breakfast sandwich, I even added a teaspoon of honey for one smart point and sprinkled cinnamon on the apples – so good!  But that bread I made the breakfast sandwich out of?  My Aunt picked it up at the event we were at – it’s cheddar jalapeno bread and I need to figure out how to make that at home – so good. 

PicMonkey Collage - lunch

So let’s just chalk up my lunches as 50/50, shall we?  On the top left – I went to a AA baseball game on Sunday and you can’t not go to a ball park and not get a hot dog.  That pork BBQ sandwich picture does not do that sandwich justice at all.  That was bought at the event and it was provided by Virginia BBQ.   Tender pork, amazing vinegar kick.  If I lived in Richmond I’d probably get that sandwich two times a week at a minimum!

The lower left sushi plate was bought at a place called Ellwood Thompson.  It took me several minutes walking through this grocery store to realize it was a vegan/vegetarian/organic grocery store.   I ended up getting the veggie rice paper rolls.  I had no idea what those little brown things on the right were though.  They were slightly sweet, very chewy and I didn’t really like the texture all that much.  Thanks to Instagram, one of my followers told me it is Auburaage (fried tofu) which is seasoned with vinegar and sugar.  When it’s served like a pouch like that filled with rice, it’s called Inarizushi.  I may give it another try, but everything else was delicious.  On my first trip to the grocery store, I picked up a whole roasted chicken at Kroger.  I hit up the salad bar, but the hot bar had one single grilled chicken breast for $3.99 each, and I decided to spend the extra $1 and get a whole chicken.  When I got back home I cut off 4 ounces of the chicken breast and ate outside in 70 degree weather.  Glorious!

PicMonkey Collage - dinner

The highlight dinner for me was Monday night – my cousin Brian and his wife Lori came over for dinner.  Their kitchen is in the process of being remodeled, so they haven’t had many home cooked meals lately.  I went to Fresh Market and picked up ribeye steaks.   I marinated them in my best ever beef marinade.  No one in my family had had chimichurri sauce before, and everyone loved it.   On the side I made grilled new potatoes.  I just par boiled them and then finished them off on the grill and then tossed them in rosemary butter.  And you know I love my family because I caramelized onions with the green beans and finished it off with a balsamic glaze.  Another night I made chicken quesadillas.  I also made a beef lo mein, which I’ll post the recipe soon.  And you knew I couldn’t go a whole weekend without making pizza!  I made the dough on Friday and we ended up having that Saturday night.

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I love baseball.  Tony and I loved watching the Sox play on t.v.  So when I discovered that I wouldn’t be needed at the event on Sunday until late afternoon, I did a quick google search “what to do in Richmond this weekend” and up popped The Flying Squirrels – Richmond’s AA baseball team.  The stadium is literally two miles from my Aunt’s house.  I sat on the first base side, about 12 rows up and the cost of the ticket?  Only $13!

PicMonkey Collage - baseball

It was about 68 degrees, but you all know how bad I sunburn so I had my long sleeve jacket on and a hat.  I was really starting to get warm, when the first base side got shady and I was perfect while everyone around me in tank tops were complaining about how cold it got not being in the sun.   I posted that picture on the left on Instagram and one of my blog/instagram friends (Hi Shelby!) commented that she was at the game the day before to celebrate her birthday!  Small world.

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So the whole reason for me going to Richmond was because my Aunt and her partner Will were having a booth at the Southern Women’s Show at the Richmond Raceway.  This was a huge event, and their 25th anniversary, and it was the first time they had sold their nuts at this event.  The event ran Friday to Sunday – but they also had a farmers market all day Saturday, so they needed extra help.  It was actually a lot of fun.  I love talking and meeting new people, and the sales were steady all weekend.  

PicMonkey Collage - whitley

They also had a culinary stage sponsored by Food Lion.  They did some “chopped” type of events with attendees.   All I know is that while I was working in the booth, I thought to myself, this is so much better than sitting at a desk all day!  It was nice to spend time with my Aunt too – pretty sure I am her favorite niece, and to get to know her partner Will as well.  

One woman across the way from us was selling Kitchen Kraft cookware. I felt bad because had these cooking demonstrations that would start every half hour or so, but hardly anyone stopped by to see her.

PicMonkey Collage - kraft

She was a super nice lady though and would bring us the stuff she cooked.  Although the whole schpeal of her cookware was that you didn’t need to use oil, butter or seasonings to cook healthy food.  Will and I literally poured the salt from the bottom of one of our sample cans over that chicken and potatoes to make it remotely edible.  But here’s the kicker – do you know who much her deluxe cookware set cost?!!  $4,995!  And I actually saw people filling out the paperwork for it – maybe because you could buy it with low monthly payments, but that price seemed ridiculous!

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Will has two dogs – I’d met the black dog Patrick last summer, but met Kailey for the first time.  Such sweet dogs, but it was weird having two big dogs compared to Rummy and Roman.

PicMonkey Collage - dogs

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I had two uneventful flights there and back, which is nice.  I am so glad I don’t get nervous flying anymore.  I love this shot of the Chicago skyline when I was coming home yesterday.

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Home sweet home!  I didn’t bring my laptop with me so I am going to play catch up this morning and see what you guys are up to.   I’ll leave you with this picture of my Aunt’s backyard – it was hard to leave with this view!

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Make it a great day!

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