Ramen Nagi & Castle Rock!

Hi All!!! I am stilll SHOOKETH from the Game of Thrones episode last night. *Spoiler alert* –There was one point where I was saying to DJ, “There is NO possible resolution from this- they are all deeeaad”! And then Arya jumped in and saved the freaking day, my giiiiirl.

What a phenomenally done episode.

Anyway– Jumping straight into these highlights from the last couple weeks because I have got to hustle to get these recaps done before leaving Thursday for OH for my sister’s graduation and bridal shower. Woohooo! I cannot wait.

April 15th I went to Nosh to work on school assignments and plan out the next couple months.

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In the afternoon I went on a walk to shake off the cobwebs from staring at a screen all morning.

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Lately, I have been trying to diligently use up everything in our fridge and pantry before going back to the store (as I’ve said about five hundred times; don’t mind my broken record self). Since we don’t want to lug a bunch of dry goods to Austin with us, we’ve been having the dressings/dry goods inspire our meals. It’s been pretty successful and a fun challenge! However, once the fridge started looking like this I bit the bullet and went to the store.

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A girl can only eat frosting and chocolate milk for breakfast so many days in a row…I kid, I kid 😉 But I was craving a raw vegetable.

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It was a pretty large trip! The guy at Trader Joe’s said, “You having a party?” as he scanned my three large hummus quartets. I said, no I just really like hummus, haha.

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While at TJs, I saw the Tomato & Olive Focaccia and couldn’t resist.

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I made a Margherita pizza on it with some fresh basil straight from the plant. Mmm mm! It was delicious- although I still prefer thin crust at the end of the day.

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I also ate up soo many large salads that week- I was craving them somfin’ fierce and was ecstatic to enjoy so many fresh veggies.

On the morning of April 16th, I woke up to a beautiful, sunny morning!

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I went to pick up my bridesmaid dress from David’s Bridal and to get it fitted. You know what’s wild?! My alterations were more than the dress itself! Anyone else have tips for the future on what to do about more affordable alterations? Is it better to go elsewhere? Is David’s Bridal known for having pricy alterations or is that how it is everywhere?

Once I was home, I decided to meal prep for DJ for the week. I made these fajita steak bowls with cilantro lime rice from Diane’s blog served with some Chimichurri sauce I’ve had sitting in the pantry begging to be used. He liked them a lot & they made for a great dinner through the week.

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April 17th was the official last day of the semester (before finals- but I lucked out with not having any this semester?! I don’t know how, but I won’t argue with it!). In the afternoon I whipped together one of my favorite lunches of late with purple sweet potato, Fage, tzatziki, green goddess dressing, boca crumbles and almond mozzarella cheese.

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I ran in the afternoon & lifted some weights. It was a great workout- fueled by the elation of surviving another semester of grad school.

On April 18th, I snap-shotted my meal that I’ve had on repeat for breakfast the last couple months: Avocado smoothie with oatmeal + stevia and some vegan chocolate chips. This is kind of odd, but I actually like pouring the smoothie onto the oatmeal before eating it– it kind of has that cold overnight oat effect.

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In the afternoon I worked on some templates for Bridal Shower games. The last thing I have on my list is figuring out gifts for winners of the games- any ideas?

On April 19th we received the sweetest little Easter surprise in the mail from my MIL <3 <3

See the pretzels below? They are the best pretzels I have e’errrrr tried. They are MAGIC. They are cinnamon greek yogurt covered pretzels. They are flavor explosions in the mouth! I put them in the freezer and treat myself to a little handful here and there. SO stinking good.

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In the evening we went to Ramen Nagi for a long overdue double date with our friends Tammy and Ben. Ramen Nagi is a super authentic Ramen spot that people have been raving about for months. The line is always at least 45 minutes long!

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First, you choose which Ramen Flavor you’d like and then choose your soup “setting” (saltiness, oil, garlic), toppings, spice, noodles and then any extras.

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The wait went by quickly for us since we had soo much to catch up on.

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I loved all the fixin’s in the middle of the table, especially the little rice noodles.

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We tried a couple appetizers- the rice and edamame. Both scrumptious!

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Whatever seasoning they put on the edamame is out of this woooorld.

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Tam ordered the Red King- I think their most popular dish— “A striking blend of garlic, chili oil, and cayenne pepper in a velvety broth; topped by a tempting ball of miso-infused minced pork and select Nagi cayenne,with tender Cha-shu”. I tried some of the broth and me oh my was it delish!

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DJ ordered their Original King with “award-winning tonkotsu pork-broth prepared in the traditional method, mouth-wateringly rich, fresh, and aromatic; special handcrafted noodles and classic Nagi pork Cha-shu”.

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He loved it- I liked it- but my personal fav was the Veggie King!! “Savory Japanese soup stock expertly blended with cauliflower purée, featuring hashed potato “chashu” and accented with shiitake mushrooms and spinach; Nagi’s amazing vegetarian ramen”.

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I could not get over how insanely yummy this was…. I expected to like this place, but this is one of the most savory, comforting, satisfying meals I have ever enjoyed. To say it surpassed my expectations would actually be an understatement. It blew my expectations out of the water. Or should I say out of the Ramen! I ordered it extra spicy. One of the workers suggested I not get it as spicy as I put on my paper, so I took his opinion and changed my number down. I kinda wish I had kept it at my original spice (a 7)… but the 5 still had a nice kick! I also added extra dried mushrooms + cabbage. Also, whatever the hash potato cakes were may have been my favorite part of the whole dish!! They were so crisp and held up well absorbing the broth but maintaining their crunch! **all these exclamation points are entirely warranted**.

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It was such a fun double date! Love hanging with Ben + Tammy.

On Saturday, April 20th, DJ had to work the whole morning, but in the afternoon we went to Castle Rock State Park for a hike. This was a place on my bucket list. DJ is a bit skeptical that I can hit everything on the bucket list before we leave. I am blindly optimistic though. hahah. Meaning….

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In all seriousness, I know some of the food places will have to wait probably years, especially the fine dining- but I’m hoping to make a serious dent in the fast casual spots and hiking.

Anywho… where were we? Oh yes yes, Castle Rock–

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They have boulders you can climb on- soo much fun. It reminded me of a place called Whips Ledges that we used to go all the time growing up in OH.

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There is a peak and also waterfalls, but we were a bit low on time because I had a food shoot in the evening to attend. It was a blast just climbing all over the rocks. Hiking is one of my alll time favorite things to do and when climbing is thrown in- nothing better!

Questions for you:

  • Have you tried authentic Ramen? Do you like it?
  • Are you on the GOT bandwagon? Who do you think ends up on the throne?

xo <3

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Lotsa Pho & Homemade Soufflé Pancakes!

** SO I wrote this post on the 20th and totally forgot to publish it, so here it is over a week later, haha**

Can four posts in 24 hours be done?! I am tryin’! I have 45 minutes before I am heading to Boys and Girls Club, so I’m gonna try to get this done really quick. Although I’ll probably publish it in a couple days to give ya a breather from all the Disney excitement 😉

After saying our goodbyes to the fam on the evening of the 8th, Amy, DJ, and I all headed to the airport at around 6 am on December 9th. Amy and I were starting to feel that ominous “tickle” in the back of the throat. We loaded up on Vitamin C packs to take with our generous 2 ounces of complimentary water on the plane.

I thought this little set up at our gate was adorable!

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Luckily the seat next to DJ and me wasn’t occupied, so Amy joined us! Unluckily, I felt like absolute crud, so I was a bump on the log and barely moved the entire flight. I studied what I could and then just slept.

The only food that sounded appetizing once we were home was pho. Pho is the ultimate comfort food when sick, especially from House of Pho (hands down the best Pho around).

I also had to get the fresh tofu spring rolls. They always look so darn good in Hunida’s posts, and had me craving some of those too. They were so tasty and refreshing. The peanut sauce was on point.

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We door-dashed it, as we had ZERO energy. I chose the vegetarian option. It was just what I was craving, and I always feel like eating spicy pho helps to clear out the sinuses and kill the bad germs. I don’t think there is any science behind that theory, but I’m stickin’ to it. I felt almost instantly better after eating the noods.

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DJ ordered a chicken pho that he really enjoyed.

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Later that evening DJ got hungry again so I whipped him up Chicken Tikka Masala with Naan from TJ’s. I always like to have fast meals on hand for when I’m not in the mood to cook. TJ’s comes in clutch with frozen meals, especially during this crayzayyy time of year. This gets a 8/10 from DJ. I absolutely love the naan. For being frozen naan I think it’s as good as it gets!

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December 10th I spent the entire day studying away. Just studied, studied, studied! In the evening I made DJ a cheese tortellini with parmesan crisps.

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I had the second half of my leftover pho. The serving they gave in this delivery was very generous!

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December 11th I took my final!!! It went really well, and I am very thankful it is behind me now. A couple months ago I was debating if I should go to Disney because of the final, but I’m glad I made it work because it would have been horrible to miss out on such a wonderful  family trip. That is something my undergraduate self would have never dreamed of doing- look Ma, I’m more balanced!

In the evening I made Deej his favorite tacos per request. How he isn’t sick of these by now is beyond me.

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I was craving fresh raw veggies since I was finally feeling better. I had a big salad with a bean burger and hummus.

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December 12th I ran some errands in the afternoon to restock on groceries. I spent the rest of the evening catching up on laundry and all that fun stuff. In the evening I made Deej a cajun style pasta. He gave this pasta a 9/10.

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On December 13th, I grabbed a coffee in the morning and went for a walk while listening to podcasts. Perfect start to the morning. I also went to TJ Maxx to peruse for gifts & get a new planner after.

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After, I zipped to Santana Row to look around there for gifts. The five level parking garage was FULL midday. That is unheard of! Tis’ the season. This reminds me why I always try to get shopping done a few weeks before Christmas. People— people everywhere…

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On my way home I ran to the post office to drop some packages off and make some returns.

Friday the 14th was a fun day! I completed an 18-miler for marathon training, and then caught up on blogging. In the evening I made DJ a Shepherd’s pie from TJ’s. He rated it a 6/10. Probably not a rebuy for us. I had my big ole’ veggie mix again. I get on kicks with that salad. Mmmmm ! I’m already excited to have it in a few hours.

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We made sugar cookies from scratch and then decorated them. I just love the cookie making tradition 🙂 I would have made more, but since we are traveling the rest of December it didn’t really make sense. Every time at this year I am reminiscent of our Mingle & Jingle. One year I would like to do something like that again!

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Saturday December 15th I woke up early, worked on a blog post while watching The Great British Baking Show and enjoyed oatmeal & coffee out on the balcony.

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Saturday was a super lazy day for us, but much needed. I don’t even remember much of what we did- I’m going to guess Arrested Development & eating sugar cookies was in the mix.

Sunday the 16th was our Christmas Creative at church. I always love the Christmas Creative every year! Our Pastor says it’s the time of year when “we let the creatives out”, hah. They tell the Christmas story through gifts of singing, dancing, acting, video, etc. The talent just astounds me.

With no in-post segue (who has time for that?) I’m sad to inform you we found out some terrible news. You know the soufflé pancakes we just discovered and are obsessed with? Apparently, that was only a pop up location. They are moving out 🙁

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WELL. Are we gonna let this get us down?! NO… heck to the NAH. We are just gonna have to make our own! I looked up a recipe for soufflé pancakes and gave them a shot. I was ambitious and tried to make them in Christmas shapes. I forgot to grease the cookie cutters, so they didn’t come out perfectly shaped (womp womp), but were still a success from the flavor and texture standpoint!!!

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They were so fluffy, light, and tasted just like the ones we had! I definitely have room to improve, but I am excited they turned out as well as they did.

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This was the second batch which looks much more like the original ones we tried from Koja.

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On Monday December 17th, I did a HITT routine in the morning then met up with our campus Pastor, Amy, in the afternoon for some lunch & to catch up. We went to SoFa, a place in San Jose that is like a nice cafeteria set up with the yummiest foods to choose from.

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We both decided to nom down some poke. I usually go for ahi tuna when I get poke, but they had octopus on the menu which I had to try. It was absolutely satisfying.

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I caught up on more blogging in the afternoon & evening.

Tuesday December 18th I woke up early. I mixed up my usual oatmeal breakfast to use up some of the food we already had on hand. I made an egg white omelette with a bunch of veggies, hummus, and a slice of Ezekiel bread with low sugar raspberry jam.

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I went for a run in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day!

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Yesterday the 19th I was running around like a nut trying to get everything ready to go for Christmas and traveling. And that brings us to today, the 20th! We leave later tonight to go back to Cleveland. It’s a red eye so I’m a bit nervous about the lack of sleep I’m facing especially with the time change, but I’ll just take it in stride per usual.

Question for you:

  • Favorite holiday tradition?

xo <3

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