Events

My Current Thoughts and Ponderings…

Somehow it’s already the last week of September. Someone please tell me…how did this happen?! If my absence from my blog didn’t clue you in, September was a crazy busy month for us! All fun stuff, but crazy nonetheless. Our September started with a trip to Colorado (I know! We’ve been so fortunate to be able to go visit twice in one summer), a triathlon here, a bike tour ride there, and a few other fall events scattered in between. And if I thought September flew by, I’m afraid October will fly by just as fast…most likely faster. Let’s just say, I’ll be out of my office at work for three straight weeks. Whee! So, to find out what we’ll be doing and where we’ll be going, be sure to follow along with me on Instagram for all of our upcoming adventures. So, so excited you guys!

In the meantime, let’s find out what I’ve been doing already in the month of September. I promise recipes from my kitchen will again happen once life settles down a tinge (I mean, does it really ever settle down? I’m not so sure anymore…), but for now, I thought I’d share with you another round of my current thoughts and ponderings (sorry in advance for the picture overload!). Enjoy!
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Pesto & Chicken Sandwich Melt with Homemade Basil Pesto

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Hello again, everyone! I’m coming into the work week with a little extra summer glow (re: burn) on my face, a very satisfied stomach, and the feeling that I have officially experienced summer. If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have seen that this weekend Philip and I made a trip to Iowa to experience the Iowa State Fair. It was a picture perfect day for the fair—mid 80s, sun shining, slight breeze, and absolutely no humidity. It was like we were meant to be at the fair that day. It was warm enough to want the delicious nitro ice cream there (think extra smooth ice cream that’s frozen quickly with nitrogen), but not so hot where our appetites left us…we definitely had our appetites! :)

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Garlic-Parmesan Hasselback Zucchini + Adventures from Wisconsin to Colorado

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How is it already over half way through July?! I feel like a broken record saying this, but summer is seriously flying by. I feel like I need to catch you up a bit on what we’ve been doing the past few weeks as it’s been awhile since I posted. Where to start…we’ve been doing a lot, hence the lack of posts coming your way lately.

Over the 4th of July weekend, we took our main summer vacation to Colorado to spend time with Philip’s family. We crammed in as much as we could during that short, extended weekend! And boy, did we live up our #yearoffun on that trip! So many good memories were made.

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What Your Gut Needs from You

Whew! What a packed weekend! Not only was there all the excitement about the Super Bowl (well, for most people, that is. I kept it pretty low key), but I also made a trip back to my Alma mater for a girls’ weekend with two of my closest friends from college. If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you may be noticing a trend — we try to get together at least a handful times throughout the year (such as this time and this time, just to name a couple). And you know what? I absolutely love it!

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We switch it up every time with where we’re going to meet up and this time we chose our old stomping grounds in Ames, Iowa, where we all went to college. It was great being back and reminiscing about all the “good times.” Besides all the catching up we did, we cheered on the women’s basketball team at the Hilton Coliseum, ate at some of our favorite places, and took in everything that had changed on campus since the short time we’d been in school…or maybe six years isn’t that short of time? Eek! Time flies by!

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Graduation Day — We were just babies!

Even though it’s been six years since I was graduating with my bachelors in dietetics (I was just a baby!), I’m always learning more about the field of nutrition as so many things have already changed since then. I love staying on top of all these current trends, findings, and changes. And one of the “hot topics” in the nutrition arena is your gut microbiome…say what? In other words, all the bacteria living inside of you. Turns out they play a huge role in our health!

A lot of times when we think about what we need to do to adjust our diets in order to stay on top of our health, we don’t think to consider how our gut may play a role in their health – a very crucial role.

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Holiday Pear-Pomegranate Salsa + [How-To Remove Pomegranate Seeds] + Sneak Peak at our Kitchen Updates

Holiday Pomegranate-Pear Salsa

Philip and I are now entering our third Christmas season together as a married couple and have, as of this weekend, completed our second annual Hoerr Family Confectionary (est. 2013) candy-making extravaganza! We pull out all the stops with labels, candy boxes, and as much candy as we can squeeze into a day. It’s fun to then be able to share that candy throughout the Christmas season with neighbors, family, and friends.

Candy Collage

While we may have thrown out more caramel than we actually were able to use and had a couple too many mid-candy-making grocery runs, the rest of the candy was success on the first try. I feel like we are officially stocked until Valentine’s Day. #dietitiansworstnightmare

Caramel Making

But you know what was the best part (well, besides taste testing far too much of our final products)?! Fully putting to use our new, updated kitchen! It was our Christmas present to each other this year, and exactly one year after we closed on our first home, we were able to enjoy it to the fullest. Now…what’s on our Year Two list? ;)

Kitchen Before & After

I know I hinted at giving you a full glimpse at our kitchen awhile back (sorry, the time has gotten away from me!), but I’m happy to show you the finished result now! (continue reading…)

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats + Weddings, Colorado, & Family Time

Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats

Whew! What a whirlwind of a week I had last week and we’re already moving into the start of another week. Things need to sloooow down! Yesterday I mistakenly checked out REI (that store gets the best of me every time I walk inside…it all goes back to help my membership dividend, right?) and walked out with a new winter coat and boots. While exciting to purchase when it’s 80 degrees outside, I’m not looking forward to when I actually need to wear them.

This past week seemed like a catch up week after having a blast in Colorado last weekend. Philip’s brother found himself a beautiful girl and got hitched last weekend at a venue nestled in the mountains outside of Boulder. Everything about the wedding was gorgeous and perfectly planned. So happy for the new couple! (photo creds go to Jenna, Philip’s sister)

Wedding Collage

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Anniversary Week Recap + Asian Mango Chicken Slaw with Lime Vinaigrette

Asian Mango Chicken Slaw

I’m baaa-aaack! From an awesome vacation that is. Philip and I turned our second anniversary into an anniversary week celebration. I’ve never been one to celebrate my birthday week, but I am definitely loving this tradition we’re forming of celebrating our anniversary for a week. I’m going to run with this tradition as long as I can!

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While our actual anniversary day was pretty low-key (although still made very special: We admired the sunset over Lake Mendota in Madison on a blanket while listening to our wedding ceremony — another tradition that always makes us smile), the rest of the week just kept getting better and better.

On Wednesday of our anniversary week, we toured one of the oldest and finest wineries in Wisconsin — Wollersheim Winery. It’s located on a beautiful hillside outside Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, dating back to 1840.

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The tour satisfied our interest in all things history and we even saw a glimpse of the owner and winemaker, Philippe Coquard, who does a fantastic job keeping up a well maintained winery…and not to mention, developing excellent wine! My new realization of the art and science behind wine-making made me appreciate our wine that much more. :)

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After the tour, we took advantage of the beautiful day and sipped on wine overlooking the winery. Talk about relaxing!

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The following day, we sought out more relaxation time (and beautiful weather) to finish out our anniversary week by flying to Coronado, the island off of San Diego and home to the Hotel Del Coronado (a beautiful Victorian resort built in 1887 — one of the oldest wooden structures in the U.S.) and the Naval Base Coronado. Talk about beautiful! Sunny and mid-70’s temperature the whole time we were there. I could’ve gotten used to that. *sigh*

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Coronado is a city full of activity with runners, bikers, and surfers around you all day long. We were fortunate enough to stay right next to the ocean with a gorgeous view of the San Diego Bay from our windows…again, I could have gotten used to that. :)

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Fun shops and delicious restaurants with fresh caught seafood were within walking distance…it made enjoying good food way too easy. :)

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Our days were pretty consistent: Pool-side lounging in the morning and beach front relaxation with magazines and books in hand in the afternoon. While most of our time was spent lounging, we did do some active kayaking in the bay, and surprisingly my favorite thing of the trip  — riding the ocean waves on boogie boards. I seriously couldn’t get enough!
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Alas, we had to leave the boogie boards and the sand in California and head back to Wisconsin…where we were greeted with rain. Go figure. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better vacation or anniversary week!

Somehow between the short time we left Wisconsin and came back, fall decided to try to slip in. The mornings are chillier and there’s the sense that fall is right around the corner in the air. But I’m holding onto fresh, summer food as long as I can…especially California-style! California was a whole ‘nother world for this Midwestern girl! Hip and cool goes for the clothing style as well as the food.

To take me back to the brightness and freshness of California, I whipped up chopped up this Asian Mango Chicken Slaw with Lime Vinaigrette. I had to share this fresh masterpiece before fall officially arrives and our minds turn to all things apples, stews, and pumpkin.

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Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta + Colorado Adventures Recap

Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta

Welcome to another work week, friends! Whew, what a fun weekend I had, though! Have you ever looked forward to and waited seemingly forever for an event to arrive and then before you know it, it’s over and you wish you could go back and experience it all over again?

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That was my weekend and I’m slightly disappointed that all the anticipation and excitement of the weekend is over. Thankfully, Philip and I have a few more exciting and fun trips planned for the summer and fall…don’t you just love it when one adventure ends, you automatically have another one to look forward to?

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So what was I so excited for this weekend? One of my closest friends from college got married this weekend in Colorado (the one I had a bachelorette party for a few weekends ago)! For one, it was a nice mini-vacation from work, but mostly, it was just a joy to be able to celebrate such a special and fun day with her.

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The wedding was absolutely beautiful, the bride was radiant, and the location couldn’t have been better. I mean, Colorado…in the mountains. Yes, please.

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While Thursday and Friday were busy days preparing for the wedding and dancing the night away, the fun just kept going into Saturday (see why I was so excited for this trip?!). Some of Philip’s family lives in Denver, so we spent the day hiking and enjoying the beauty that Colorado has to offer, with the great company — as well as the help and expertise — of Philip’s brother and his soon-to-be-wife. :)

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If a sign of a fun, jam-packed weekend is complete exhaustion, then this trip was definitely a good one. Despite all the fun, it was nice to finally make it home yesterday (although, with the instant realization that humidity is in full force right now in Madison, I miss Colorado’s no humidity weather).

While the trip was a great one, my body was in dire need of returning to some sort of normalcy in the area of food (and sleep, but mostly food). A perfect “recovery-from-vacation” meal in the summer is this Freekeh & Grape Salad with Mint & Feta with grilled chicken. This meal is fresh, light, full of whole grains, and is something that will get you me right on track again after having one too many Scotcheroos this weekend.

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Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting + Decorating for an Adventure-Themed Shower

Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting

Is it too early to say that we’ve made a turning point (for good) in the weather…finally?! It was so refreshing to not have to wear at least 3 layers of clothing when going outside (or inside, if we’re going to be honest), to not have my shoulders hunched all the time to keep warm, and to be able to walk outside and actually enjoy it!

The sun was shining all weekend, the birds were chirping, and it was the perfect weekend to host a bridal shower! Which is exactly what I did. A dear friend of mine is getting married this spring and it was such a joy to be able to bless her with a shower.

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Back in the day, I loved crafting and scrapbooking, and I always got way too excited about school projects. Somehow, that hobby slowly slipped away (I blame college) and when I finally emerged from all the homework and studying, I started up a new hobby — cooking and baking (I also blame credit my schooling of dietetics on that switch). Long story short, it was so much fun to be able to combine both of those hobbies together for this shower!

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My friend’s wedding theme is “adventure”, so I matched the theme and set out to make the decorations with anything involving maps, stamps, and planes with the help of another close friend. I think it was a success!

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The decorations were fun to make, but I still felt “in my element” in the kitchen, whipping up one of the desserts for the shower — Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting. The perfect flavor combination for a warm, almost-spring day.

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