Weekend Recap – A Wedding, Family Time and a House

This past weekend I flew to Columbus for one of my best friend’s weddings. Between taking off a lot of work for Greg and I’s wedding/honeymoon earlier this year, and still a few more out of town weddings in the coming weeks, we’ve had to strategize our vacation time. That meant Greg stuck behind in Charleston while I made the quick weekend trip. I wasn’t even in Columbus for 48 hours, so I had to make the most of my time.

After my brother Austin picked me up from the airport around noon on Friday, we headed straight to Chipotle for lunch. Mmm, mmm. We do have one Chipotle in Charleston now (technically North Charleston), but it’s not the most convenient. I make the trip occasionally, but not often enough. Chipotles are all over Columbus so it’s a frequent stop when I’m there.

After catching up with my mom and lounging around her house with Austin, we got dressed up and headed to the wedding.

Being only about a year and a half apart in age, Austin and I have always been super close. If Greg couldn’t be my date, Austin made a great stand-in.

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And later at the reception, I was finally reunited with the beautiful bride! I couldn’t get over how gorgeous and happy Alyssa looked. I also couldn’t believe it had been three years since I last saw her. Congratulations Alyssa and Mark!
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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to grab a cupcake at the wedding. So I (easily) convinced Austin to stop for ice cream on the way home. Chocolate chip cookie dough in a waffle cone for me!
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Saturday morning started bright and early at the gym with Austin, followed by a run with my step-dad and his and my mom’s two border collies. I had plans to meet up with Diane at Northstar, but unfortunately we weren’t able to make it happen (next time, Diane!!). Although we couldn’t go together, I was determined to get my fix while in town, so stopped by for a praline scone and coffee to-go on my way to my grandparents’ house. 

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It was an amazing day filled with nothing but family time…and more delicious food. 
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My step-dad picked up fresh pasta and marinara sauce from a local Italian restaurant. He’s friends with the restaurant owner (and has been for many years), so we were hooked up with the best stuff. Thom cooked us all pasta primavera, full of peppers, onion, broccoli, mushrooms, squash and garlic. Seriously, to die for. 

I added sweetness to the night by making a rich and decadent dessert. I don’t know what you call it, but I’ll tell you the star ingredients: Chocolate, peanut butter, Reese’s cups and Oreos. Can you ask for anything more?
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By Sunday, it was time to get back to clean eating. My flight home to Charleston brought me through LaGuardia Airport (so random), but was pleasantly surprised to find a salad bar in the food court. I loved it and I love whoever was in charge of making an airport salad bar happen. 
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I arrived home in the afternoon, shortly before Greg received a very exciting phone call. I haven’t talked much about it, but we had put an offer in on a house. Andddddd….the sellers accepted our offer! Although it’s not technically official, I can confidently say we will be moving into our first house next month! 
You can say it was a fantastic weekend 🙂

A Birthday Celebration at Lindey’s

Hi there! I’m back home today after a long weekend in Columbus. Greg, Zoey and I drove up for my step-sister’s wedding, and I also fit in some wedding to-do’s of my own. We had a great time, but as usual, it feels good to be home.

Sunday was Greg’s birthday and with all of the wedding craziness, I wanted to make sure he got some attention on his special day too.

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I woke up early to do a little decorating. Ha. It wasn’t much, but I think Greg liked it. 
That evening, we headed downtown for dinner. First, we had to make a pit-stop to see my aunt, uncle and cousins. 
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This little guy will be the ring bearer in our wedding, and his sister will be one (of our two) flower girls. We kept missing each other over the holidays and I figured out it had been more than a year that we’d seen each other. Wayyyy too long! 
After spending some time catching up with my aunt and playing with the kids, it was time for dinner.
I always remembered my aunt and uncle going to Lindey’s Restaurant and Bar whenever I would babysit, so I knew it had to be a great choice for our special occasion. 
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The Bistro Fries caught my eye right away. The extra thick steak fries were topped with truffle oil, parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Can you say, “Yum.”???
I had done my menu research in advance (duh), so I already had a pretty good idea I wanted to get the ravioli for my entree. 
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This isn’t just any old ravioli. This ravioli is filled with pumpkin and mascarpone and served in a sage-shallot cream sauce with sauteed mushrooms, dried cranberries, swiss chard, parmesan-reggiano and maple cider gastrique.

Need I say more?

Greg had the Baked Orecchiette which, according to the menu, was, “pulled chicken, applewood bacon, spinach, shaved garlic, tomatoes and mornay sauce topped with rosemary-garlic bread crumbs and parmesan-reggiano.”

Unfortunately we only got a blurry picture of that, so it’s not really worth sharing here. But Greg loved the dish. My sister, who finished off our leftovers after we left town, said the Orecchiette was, “to die for!”

Although we were already stuffed, we were told dessert was on the house for the birthday boy! I left it totally up to Greg, knowing he most likely wouldn’t want something super rich or chocolately like I would.

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He chose a slice of Key Lime Pie that we split. The pie filling was delicious, but we both loved the super thick graham cracker crust even more. 
Everything about our dinner was fantastic, from beginning to end. I can see why my aunt loves it so much and I only wish the owners would come open a restaurant here in Charleston. I would be a frequent customer. Big thanks to my Aunt Angela and Uncle Dave who surprised us by calling ahead and treating us to a bottle of wine!
Lindey's Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon
I had already declared Sunday a ‘fatty day’ the moment my step-dad picked up doughnuts for breakfast. With wedding cake tasting and that dinner all in the same day, I really didn’t need another bite of anything. But that didn’t stop me from eating a slice of this coconut cake my step-dad made for Greg. It was waiting for us when we got home from dinner and was simply irresistible.
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Gahhhhhh. So good. Thank you, Thom!!
Now back to another week of regularity!
…until next weekend when we travel for another wedding! Yay!

A Restaurant Review – Northstar Cafe

While I was in Columbus over Thanksgiving, I finally got to try Northstar Cafe, a restaurant I have been dying to go to ever since my dad first told me about their veggie burgers. For my dad, of all people, to say that a veggie burger is amazing says a lot. 
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There are three locations around the city and each has a slightly different menu from what my sister tells me. She should know. Like my dad, Brooke is a Northstar fanatic. My friend Brian has also told me about their delicious burgers.

The restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. We arrived at 12:30pm or so, and by that time breakfast items like the Cloud Nine Pancakes and the Big Burrito were not available. I am so thankful for that, otherwise my decision would have been much more difficult! 
Since I had heard so much about the veggie burger, I knew I had to have it. 
The Northstar Burger ($12.50) is “made with organic brown rice, black beans and beets, topped with white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion” with a small salad served on the side. 
 
Although a bit more expensive than I normally like to spend on lunch, take my word for it when I say this is well worth the splurge. Every bite was even more delicious than the last and you can truly taste the quality ingredients. Plus, all prices include gratuity. 
My cousin (and bridesmaid!) Casey who was also experiencing Northstar for the first time had the Chopped Salad topped with turkey, bacon, avocado, cheese, almonds and apples. 
Brooke is all too familiar with the menu and she has told me several times about the Sweet Basil Burrito with roasted chicken, veggies, pesto and rice. I snagged a couple of bites and let’s just say she wasn’t exaggerating when she told me how good it is.
I don’t make it out to many different restaurants when I go back to visit my family in Ohio anymore, but I will definitely be making Northstar a priority for future trips. 
Northstar Café on Urbanspoon

Smoothies and Omelets

Good morning! I can’t believe it’s Saturday already. That means in two days I will be back at work. Until spring break. Oh wait, I’m not in college anymore. I don’t get a spring break, do I? Ok this is depressing, let’s not talk about this anymore.

On a more positive note, I am finally getting the relaxation that I have needed on this vacation. I am still trying to fit in a little exercise, but taking advantage of having very little set plans and pampering myself. I tagged along with Brooke to her gym on Thursday for a class she takes called Strike. Oh em gee. I am NOT as coordinated as I thought I was. It was fun over all though and definitely nice to switch it up from the usual running/abs routine I am used to. And I am still feeling sore from the workout.

After our class, Brooke and I grabbed protein shakes from the cafe at the gym. Blueberry-raspberry for me and strawberry-banana for Brooke.

Yum. Brooke’s boyfriend Adam got me some vanilla protein powder for Christmas, so I am excited to get back home and start making my own protein shakes for breakfast! I think yogurt and bananas with the powder will make a great smoothie. If you make your own, do you have any ingredient suggestions??
One thing I love about being home (in Columbus that is), besides spending time with family and catching up with friends, is eating at my favorite restaurants that they don’t have in Charleston. One of which being First Watch
First Watch on Urbanspoon
This was our first stop after getting off the plane. While I normally would have the Trifecta (waffle, but I sub a pancake instead, bacon and eggs), I knew I also would be hitting up Bob Evans while I was home and wanted to save my pancake craving for that trip. Instead, I got the Healthy Turkey omelet served with an english muffin.
I wasn’t sure if the omelet would be satisfying enough, but it was better than I imagined. This was my first omelet from First Watch and will not be my last. As much as I love the Trifecta, the omelet won me over. The one disappointment I had was that they ran out of the muffin of the day, which was blueberry- my favorite. I always look forward to their muffins, but had to settle for the english muffin instead. Oh well, at least it was healthier….if you care about that kind of thing.
After eating out for just about every single meal for the past week, I refuse to eat out today. I am in detox mode and looking forward to feeling like normal again. Even if it is just for today, because tomorrow is Bob Evans time!! But THEN I will really get back on track 😉
Hope you have a great time celebrating the new year tonight!