A Birthday Brunch, Kayaking & Poké!

Hey, everyone! How are you doing… really doing? I am in my last week here in New Orleans, and I cannot believe how quickly this month has flown. It’ll be an interesting transition back to days as I’ve become accustomed to that raccoon life (night shift) and living between the hospital and my hotel room. I start my next semester a couple days after I return to Austin, so I’m going to try to take one or two days to unpack, decompress and get situated for the semester, and of course, spend time with DJ. He did receive word that his summer internship job (the 14 week one) in OH is going to be virtual for the first half of the summer. Even though it’ll look differently than originally anticipated, I’m selfishly so stinkin’ happy he’ll be home. There is a chance my clinicals will be placed out of town, but I’m hoping that will not be the case.

Picking up on the recap posts!

Right around the first week of March, before the virus had affected much of Texas (that we knew of), it was my sweet Grandma Violet’s 94th birthday (Pete’s side). We worked it out that we would meet halfway between Keller and Austin in Waco for a bday brunch to celebrate! My mom discovered the restaurant Brazos, and it was the most wonderful choice.

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The restaurant is located in the Indigo hotel lobby. I loved their eye catching interior design.

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Some meal snapshots: DJ had their Dr. Ewing burger with cheddar, bacon and a Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce. He said he couldn’t really taste the Dr. Pepper necessarily, but he thought the burger & sauce was very good.

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^^And you know I stole many of those fluffy, yet crispy, fries right off the plate!

I split two dishes with my mom: First up the lox bagel (is it brunch without lox?) and….

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The veggie frittata which was everything. *Side note: My craving for eggs right now is out.of.control. I think the first thing I’ll eat when I get back is a massive omelette. Since I can’t cook while I’m here, I’ve been living off canned goods/non-perishable items, some cafeteria eats, and what little fresh produce I can fit in my fridge… but wowza do I miss eggs!

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Anyway, we had such a lovely time and celebrated my dear Grandma Violet big time. She has a heart of gold, is happy-go-lucky, and has so much spunk! Everyone loves being around her, and even though we only had that afternoon brunch, it was cherished time <3 We are all tremendously thankful we could make that happen before everything was lockdown- we had no idea that this would be the last time we would all see one another in person for a long time.

It’s also a huge blessing that Grandma Vi was here in the first place. She lives back in Ohio on her own, but flew down to visit my mom and Pete. Initially, they didn’t buy a plane ticket back, so she could just stay however long she wanted. When the shelter in place began she was already in TX and just stayed with them (and is still there now). They have been having the best time together. My mom even arranged for her to Facetime her sister in Scotland who she hasn’t seen in 26 years!! Special memories and silver linings <3

That first week was our spring break (the first spring break of grad school I actually didn’t have too many assignments to do). I wrote up a loose schedule of our week with all the places we wanted to see, all the food we wanted to eat and all the things we wanted to do. We decided we would be tourists in our own city, much like we used to do in the Bay Area 🙂

BRB… gonna go make a sweet potato in the microwave, it’s 3 am, but why not? Suddenly sounds so tasty.

OK, back. You know what would go great in this sweet potato right now? An EGG!!

Anywayyy- Our first food stop for the week was Woko Loco. It was a chilly day, so nothing sounded better than some hot wok noodle bowls!

img_1406img_1407DJ had their chicken bowl, and I had their zoodles with alllll the veggies and tofu. It warmed us right up! If you go, I recommend getting their “loco” sauce- mmm mm!

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When we returned home in the afternoon, I did an Insanity workout on Beachbody on demand (don’t worry, I’m not trying to sell it to you, haha, I just genuinely love the workouts) and then made us dinner. I spent the rest of the night writing up some posts.

The next day we went to the Rowing Dock and picked up a kayak around 9 am.

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It was so quiet and peaceful on the water; it is easily one of my favorite memories in Austin to date.

we row, row, rowed our kayak gently down the stream…  And by “we” I mean DJ, because if I learned anything from the experience it is that I have zero upper arm strength.

After a while I was pretty much useless, hah.

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We kayaked all the way out to our apartment and back- it took about an hour or so.

Once back to the Rowing Dock, we hopped off with our sea legs and shuffled back to the car smellin’ like stale lake water the good ol’ outdoors.

ee707d68-020b-420a-8cfe-37119f6d7651After cleaning up and getting ready for the day, we ran some errands. Then in the evening we watched the finale of the Bachelor (duh-v course).

While at the grocery store I saw this “Barbera” wine and thought how perfect it would be for us for Bachelor night. It’s not spelled exactly the same as “Barbara”, but close enough- ha! (If you know, you know 😉 ).

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The next day we drove all the way to Hamilton Pool Preserve, only to find out that you have to reserve a spot in order to enter the park. Whoops!! Now we know for next time.

Our next food stop was Me So Poke, home of the best poke in Austin we’ve had yet! This made up for the little let-down earlier in the day.

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And how cute is this wallpaper?!

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First we tried the California Bowl with rice, spring mix, salmon, wasabi ponzu, crabmeat, avocado, corn, cucumber, seaweed, sesame seed and spicy mayo. It was tasty but….

6c02a4f2-3f90-4016-8d57-3cb46475f220…my favorite was the dragon bowl with rice, spring mix, tuna, spicy tuna, classic sesame shayu, jalapeno, sweet onion, pineapple. cucumber, seaweed salad, edamame, crispy shallot and furikake. This is one of those meals I’ll be back for in the heat of summer!

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More adventures were to come that day, but I’ll save them for the next post!

Question for you:

  • What’s one food staple you wouldn’t want to live without? 🍳🥚

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Crazy Wildfires & DJ’s Birthday Celebrations!

Happy Thursday, ya’ll (well, Thursday by the time anyone reads this- although it is currently Wednesday evening)! How’s it kickin’?

We said goodbye to one of my favorite charge nurses last week; I was super sad to see her go 🙁 (This send off banner was too funny not to share though!)

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DJ’s birthday was October 6th!!! I can’t believe I am just shooting this post up now. Sheesh! Anywho, we had a gift card to Open Table that was put to phenomenal use at the local Forbes Mill in Los Gatos!

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This sweet man.. I would usually not pull my phone out at places this nice to snap food pics, but he convinced me that it was just us two and it wasn’t a big deal…. I obliged pretty easily 😉

We started with the giant prawn cocktail. There is nothing better than a fresh shrimp/prawn appetizer. It’s easily our go-to!

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We also tried their crab cakes! They were tasty, no denying it…yet a far cry from the cakes we had in Baltimore.

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I also had their generously sized beets and macadamia crusted goat cheese salad. It was one of the best I have ever had,  and it’s so simple to throw together! I definitely will be recreating this at home.

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DJ tried the ULTIMATE surf and turf with a combo of waygu and lobster tail. I sampled the waygu because it’s supposed to be the highest quality of meat, and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass….. butttt I had an aversion to the flavor. After not eating meat for about four years it didn’t do anything for me.

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We also dabbled in a side of creamed spinach.. if it’s on the menu you know we are jumping on it! We absolutely loved it. I still think the creamed spinach from Ben and Jack’s in New York is the best of all time, but this is not far behind.

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And I couldn’t pass up the epic, rave-worthy, award-winning scallops….. I think the only ones that contest are Farallon’s in San Francisco. Gosh, just the thought is making my mouth water all over the darn laptop. They were served over forbidden rice- a new obsession of mine officially. Has anyone had this magical grain?! It’s ah-may-zin!

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I could go on for days and days about how amazing DJ is. He is a man of God, handsome, humble, hilarious, loyal as they come, my rock, courageous, intelligent, witty, intuitive, hard working, dedicated, and genuine. Those qualities just scratch the surface. I don’t know why God blessed me with such an incredible man, but I won’t argue with His provision 😉

The days are all kind of blurring together from the rest of the last few weeks. I do want to share of my favorite snap shots from random runs and of course, even more random pics of all the foooooodddd we’ve been scarfin’!

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The fall blooms are just as gorgeous as the spring blooms!!! Even though we don’t have the leaves change like back in the good ol’ midwest, we still have the beautiful array of flowers to admire in this season.

Unfortunately, my autumn runs had to come to a quick halt when the wildfires started last week. It smelled pungent with smoke in the hospital (which is closer to the fires than our apartment is), and then eventually the air around our home was saturated with the unescapable burning scent. In the morning when we woke up our eyes itched, our throats scratched.. it was surreal. We just keep praying for everyone affected by these horrible fires. I truly hope the madness stops soon and mother earth cools her jets.

If you would like to help, please visit this link with multiple options you can contribute!

Back to the random food mess… I’m still on the egg kick for suure. (I put some of the leftover creamed spinach on a piece of toast and then the egg on top, good heavens).

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I also have been CRAVING a Whole Foods trip. Since they have always been ugly pricey, I usually only go every once in a while. However, now that they are bought by Amazon their prices have gone down tremendously!

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Using many of the ingredients from whole foods, I made a fall salad that I’m ridiculously obsessed now. I was inspired by Stein’s Beer Garden’s salad. It contains jicama, roasted butternut squash, quinoa, light craisins, and I use a homemade apple cider vinaigrette (with some apple cider, a touch of oil, and a touch of sugar).

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I think ya’ll get the point. Haha.

Another thing I, and the rest of everyone, has been loving is spaghetti squash! Ugh, it is SO good. I have been mixing it with vegan butter, vegan meatless crumbles, and a touch of parmesan on top. So easy, so scrumptious. I know many of you out there have tremendous recipes for the spag-squa, please share em’ with me!

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And I’ve been whipping up a lot of capreses for DJ. This is one of his favorite snacks and the heirloom tomatoes were on sale at Whole fuuds and, oh man, were they ever fresh!

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I’ve been decompressing from the studying with lots and lots of running. I have been mixing in Insanity workouts, but as soon as the smoke settled and the air cleared I booked it back outside.

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I’ll just slide in another picture of morning toast with dried apricots, chia seeds, oats, high protein plain greek yogurt, and stevia.

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Something else I’ve been devouring lately is smoked salmon on pita with caramelized onions and a fried or poached egg. This has been hitting the spot and has been a great high protein/healthy “comfort food” during this super stressful time.

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I took my GRE yesterday …

I crammed for about two and a half weeks in my time off work for the exam, and just didn’t score as well as I would have liked on the quantitative. Algebra and me do not exactly tango in the moonlight. Ask me to tell you the symptoms of Moya Moya or the proper medication to treat tuberculosis..we can chat. But I don’ t have the faintest idea what in the Westeros math has to do with it. It’s not even real math. Like I get 1+1=2… or me +math= disaster….. but I will be the first to admit I do not know how to solve “If Tommy had five oranges and Shelly had 12 and 2 were taken away and thrown at a cactus, why is the square root of the Eiffel tower a bag of potatoes?!”

*Deep breaths, deep breaths*

*It’s not about the problem, it’s about the procccessss*

I get that people study for a looong time for this, but only one of the schools I’m applying to out of five require it. I just don’t think it’s worth it to slave over the study material when majority of MSN-FNP admissions don’t require it, and the app deadline for the one that does is November 1st. (Which is actually great because then I don’t even have the option to retake it for now). Now I’m rambling. *clearing throat*. Oh well, que sera sera.

HOW ARE YOU?!?  I am jumping off the crazy train now, and heading to bed before an early morning wake up call. Muah!

Blog Birthdays:

Cassie at Cassie’s Cookery on October 17th. Sweet girl, Happy birthday. You have changed my life more than you know, and you inspire me every single day. I am SO beyond thankful for ya, sweet thang. You are strong, loyal, empathetic, lovely, beautiful, and full of God’s grace and goodness. You exude His love more than most I know. Our conversations are always close to my heart, and I love you to absolute pieces, sista! <3 I hope your birthday was beyond perfect and you know what a treasure and gift you are to this earth.

PS. Cassie has an amazing cookbook out! If you wanna check it out go HERE. I know I am getting my copy ASAP! 🙂

xo <3

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