Fourth of July Recap

For some reason, we never think to make Fourth of July plans until almost the last minute. I don't know why...it's not like it's a surprise holiday or anything, you know? We didn't have plans this year until literally the start of the weekend, but it ended up being so much fun!

Saturday we spent the day with our friends Kim and Michael and tried Buskey Cider for the first time. They had red white and blue flights! How cute? One of the flavors was Apple Pie, which of course I had to try. 

Fourth of July Weekend Recap_0003.jpg

Next we went for dinner at the Blue Goat, which specializes in southern food. Southern food is my FAVORITE! My mom actually says I had a country accent when I first started talking, so it only makes sense this is my favorite cuisine.  

We ordered poutine and wings with mumbo sauce as our appetizers. Both were really good! Kim got pimento cheese tots, which were basically amazing. I would get those next time. I also wanted to try the pork rinds so I'll have to go back for those! 

Next we tried a little beer bar that had prosecco on tap! I am working on a list of things I want to do in the last year before I turn 30 and one is a keg stand...how epic would a prosecco keg stand be? Ha!! 

Last but not least, we visited Quirk's bar at Maple and Pine for a drink after being rejected from Kabana. Quirk seems to be much more my speed these days anyway, so it didn't hurt my feelings any! 

Sunday we went to a friend's pool party in Mechanicsville. Though we couldn't swim because Mother Nature wouldn't cooperate, we played beer pong and flip cup. You know, adult stuff. I was so full of champagne even at dinner time we ended up just having Rita's ice for dinner. 

We had hoped to spend the day at the beach on Monday, but thanks to the dreary weather, we ended up ditching those plans and checking out Tradition Brewery instead. It just opened recently in Newport News. The beers were pretty good (one of them REALLY tastes like banana, so if that's your thing you'd love it) but the highlight of the afternoon (in my opinion) was the food from the taco truck outside, Balu's Surf Shop. John and I shared a shrimp quesadilla and rice and beans. It was so good we scarfed it down before photos could be taken.

Later on we headed back to our neighborhood and wandered around looking for fireworks. It's been a few years since I've seen fireworks on the Fourth and it seems like it will be yet another year before I get to see the real deal. All in all it was a great holiday weekend though and I'm glad that we made the best of it despite not having plans til the last minute and the crappy weather! What did you do? I'd love to hear how you spent your weekend!

Apple Watch Review

Though I primarily purchased an apple watch as a business tool to use on wedding days, I was also really excited to use it as a fitness tracker. I’ve never used a FitBit or anything like that, but I did have a Polar FT7. 

The first thing to know about the Apple Watch as a fitness watch is that the way it detects your heart rate is by sending a green light through the vein in your wrist and measuring your pulse. This is different from the Polar watch I had which measured heart rate by a chest strap. I’ve heard that the chest straps tend to be more accurate than other methods, so I was really interested to see how the Apple Watch would match up!

When I track my workouts with my Apple Watch, I use the Under Armour Record app. I’ve read some not so great reviews of the built in Workout app that is native to the watch, but I honestly never used it, so I can’t speak for that. 

Under Armour Record is pretty cool though! You pick the type of workout you are doing (running, rowing, elliptical, legs, upper body, Crossfit, etc) and it will track your heart rate, calories burned, etc and import all of that info into your Health and Activity apps. You can also sync it with My Fitness Pal if you have that!

I usually use the Crossfit setting on a regular workout day since the program I do incorporates a lot of lifting and conditioning type exercises, but the day I tested both the Apple Watch and my Polar FT7, I was doing a HIIT class at the gym, so I went with “total body”. I’m really not sure if it makes a difference what you choose or how it calculates everything though.

One thing I noticed using both of the watches is that the Apple Watch had a bit of a lag and would report my heart rate as lower (sometimes a lot lower!) than the Polar FT7. At the end of the workout though, both watches reported the calorie counts about the same, which was interesting!

Ultimately, I’ve been working out with the Polar FT7 long enough to know where my heart rate probably is based on my rate of exertion at the time, so I think working out with my Apple Watch is fine for me because I’m really just trying to keep track of my workouts. For someone who is newer to this, I would suggest using a Bluetooth chest strap that you can pair with your watch for more accuracy. OR…if you are primarily a runner or more into cardio, this may work better for you because I have read that the watch reads heart rates more accurately when doing those types of exercises because your arms aren’t moving as wildly. Or maybe I just have crazy arms?? JK

Besides the discrepancy/lag in heart rates, the watch also helps fitness wise by reminding you to stand once an hour at least twelve hours of the day. As someone who tends to be more sedentary during the day working in my office, this is a nice reminder to move a bit more! 

You can also use it to track how many steps you’ve taken in a day if you’re into that. 

If you were buying the Apple Watch ONLY as a fitness watch, I think I would have to suggest looking closely at other fitness trackers too. Something that is dedicated solely to fitness may work better for you. 

However, if you’re a busy person who wants something that will help keep your life in order, this is a great watch because the fitness aspect of the watch adds a ton of value! It’s just not JUST a fitness watch, so it’s not as specialized as some people may want. 

Got a question about it? Let me know!!

The Lion King & Dinner at the Roosevelt

So, if I'm being real with you guys, our life has been a little stressful lately. Without getting into all the gory details, we found out that John (my husband, if you didn't already know) has to have surgery AND I've been having health issues and was recently diagnosed with a condition that basically sucks. I'm so glad I had the foresight to order tickets to the Lion King for this week because we ended up really needing an escape this week!

On Wednesday night we went the Lion King in Richmond at the Altria Theater! I loved the Lion King as a kid (I totally had the Nala and Simba dolls that had magnets in the noses that made them kiss...ha!) and have been wanting to see this play for YEARS. We actually almost went once in NYC, but it didn't work out to go while we were there. 

I made a reservation for us at the Roosevelt in Church Hill before the show. It was our first time eating there and I can tell you now, it for SURE won't be the last!! Cocktails and southern food are basically my two favorite things to enjoy and the Roosevelt does them so well.

I chose the Secret South as my cocktail. It has gin, pineapple, vinegar and bubbles. I always choose something with gin, bourbon, or bubbles. Pineapple is just an added bonus!  The vinegar was an interesting twist too! 

We started by sharing the wings and Southern Poutine. The wings were crispy on the outside and flavorful and juicy on the inside! 

Southern Poutine. Oh my gosh. I eat a lot of delicious things but this. This was so freaking good. I could eat this every single day if the option existed. It just tasted like happiness, at least what happiness would taste like in my world! They covered hot, crispy French fries with sausage gravy and pimento cheese. And if that weren't enough delicious things, they also added pickles! Heaven on a plate, I'm telling you. 

I chose the jerk roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots as my entree. Again, the chicken was juicy and full of flavor! If all protein tasted like that chicken, I would never have an issue hitting my protein! 

John's entree, one of the specials, (which I tried, obvs) was duck breast and rice grits and sweet peas. The duck was pretty tasty too!

We finished our meal by sharing a slice of peanut butter pie. I actually make a peanut butter pie for John every year that my mom has been making for my dad since I was in elementary school that's kind of a cool, creamy dessert but this pie was more like a pecan pie in my opinion. I wish I had the recipe! I'll have to try to recreate it somehow! 

From there, we went on to the Lion King! This was my first time at Altria Theater, but it reminded me a bit of the Orpheum in Boston, where I saw a show last year. The show was AMAZING. It totally lived up to my very high expectations! The visuals were absolutely gorgeous and the music was fantastic. I can see why this show has been one of the number one productions for years and years. It's all around fantastic! 

As someone in a creative field, seeing this masterful interpretation of a favorite childhood movie made me so inspired to continue trying to tell stories through my work! 

All in all it was an amazing evening. I'd hoped to stop at Quirk's brand new rooftop bar after the show for a nightcap, but it was closed due to rain and we were up past our weekday bedtimes anyway. Another time! Anyone else see the Lion King while its in RVA?? Tell me what you thought!

Chocolate La Croix Cupcakes

So, I never used to have a very big sweet tooth. For the longest time, my only sweet craving was for donuts, and really, I think I love those so much because they are deep fried and have just a hint of sweetness. Somehow though, lately I have become obsessed with desserts. Particularly anything with Funfetti or chocolate. Particularly chocolate cake! It's very weird for me to want these things, but hey, I can't help what I crave, right?

I am also just beginning a new set of macros given to me by a nutrition coach recommended by a friend. That means I have to be much more specific about my treat intake because, let's be real, if you're paying someone to coach you on your nutrition, you better do it right and get your money's worth! And, of course, now that I've admitted I'm doing this here on the blog where people can see it, I'm so much more likely to follow through because I have to, or risk being embarrassed when people see my kangaroo pouch tummy (that's what I call it) and wonder why I don't look like someone who's been following their macros very closely. 

Anyway, since I'm being better about sticking to the guidelines given to me by my new coach, I am figuring out lots of ways to get my treat fix without completely sabotaging myself. I had a stroke of genius the other day when it came to making chocolate cake while I was drinking one of my beloved coconut La Croix waters (If you don't know what La Croix waters are, they are flavored sparkling waters that taste so good but are calorie and sweetener free). My mom makes these cakes with boxed mixes and a can of soda instead of eggs and oil. I have no idea how this became a thing, because really, who thought to dump a can of soda into a cake mi and bake it? But it happens, and I felt like it would be interesting to see how a calorie free flavored soda and a box of cake would taste together. 

MACROS:

Calories: 70 1g Protein/17g Carbs /1g Fat

It is SO good. And super easy. So much so that I almost feel like my cat could make this cake herself if she wanted to. You literally just dump a box of cake mix into a bowl, pour a can of La Croix in, stir it up, and bake. 

The cake batter is AMAZINGLY delicious and you don't have to worry about salmonella because there aren't any raw eggs in it. I think this could be turned into a treat on it's own!  If you don't want to eat the batter though, just bake it according to box instructions. I baked mine for about 20 minutes each batch.

I chose to make cupcakes instead of a cake because it's easier to portion control that way, but it would be so cute to make a little naked cake with these, I think. I'm obsessed with naked cakes. 

La Croix Chocolate Cake Recipe_0003.jpg

I also didn't frost mine this time. I don't think it really needs it, plus it saves you a few carbies and fats so you can eat two cupcakes maybe instead of one;) One thing to note is that I didn't really taste the coconut flavor in the cupcakes, so I'm not sure if it makes much of a difference what kind you use. It's possible you can even use flavorless sparkling water or seltzer and get a really similar result! Obviously you could also use diet sodas of any kind, but I really can't stand the aftertaste of artificial sweeteners, plus they give me headaches, so I'd rather skip those and use La Croix waters. 

 

This Week's Snacks #2

This week I haven't eaten as many snacks as I normally do, which is probably because I've gotten a lot busier and just don't have as much free time. Usually for me, free time = snacking. I can't not have ANY snacks though, because, well, I really like eating (have you seen the title of my blog??) and snacking means getting to taste and enjoy more things! Here is what I'm enjoying this week!

Oh Yeah! One Bar - Peanut Butter Pie Flavor
I'm not a huge fan of protein bars. I usually can't get around their weird aftertastes and gritty textures. I was offered a sample of an Oh Yeah One Bar at Vitamin Shoppe a while back and decided I really liked the PB Pie flavor a lot! For a protein bar, it's actually quite delicious and it has excellent macros!! 

Fresh Strawberries
My friend and I have been going berry picking together every year when berries start to ripen for a few years now. I look forward to this every spring! There's nothing better than fresh strawberries. They're so juicy and sweet this time of year! I eat them by the handfuls raw and also mix them into Coconut greek yogurt from Trader Joe's with whipped cream on top.  

Dill Pickle Cashews
If you have a salt tooth and you like pickles, you will LOVE these cashews. Cashews are my favorite nut anyway, but adding pickle seasoning to them just takes them over the top!! Target sells boxes of 100 calorie packets of these things, which are SUPER convenient! It's way too easy to eat a million calories in nuts, so I appreciate the pre-portioned packs. I like to add them to a little "snack plate" and eat them with some actual pickles on the side. 

Reese's Chips Ahoy
I saw these in the store last week and I totally could not help but grab them and bring them home with me. Cookies are one of my cravings lately and these are just so chocolatey and delicious! I don't even like peanut butter all that much but somehow in a Reese's it's just so delicious! Peanut butter was obviously created to go with chocolate.

 

 

Ted's Bulletin in DC

I have this thing for Poptarts that is all my mom's fault. See, back when I was in elementary school, I was a little bit pickier about what I'd eat. I didn't really love sandwiches, so I usually just ate the meat and left the bread behind. Or just skipped the sandwich completely. If you know me as an adult, you probably can't imagine a Katie who doesn't love a sandwich. I mean, the people at Jimmy John's know my order by heart and start making it when they see my face! I guess my palate has matured, over time. HA!!! 

Anyway, in an effort to get me to eat my entire lunch every day, my mom started packing me pop tarts instead of sandwiches. THIS was something that eight year old me could totally get behind. And, this probably explains a LOT of my eating habits to this very day. My lunches back then were the nutritionally sound combo of: Poptart, Lays chips, Zebra Cake (or other Little Debbie Cake of my choice), applesauce, and a juice box of some kind. WHY CAN'T I EAT THIS LUNCH AS AN ADULT?? 

Back to Poptarts...(I promise, this is going somewhere!). Pop tarts are one of those foods that really remind me of being a kid. Last year I found a recipe for homemade pop tarts and I felt like my life was somehow changed. As an adult, I love eating slightly fancier versions of things that made me so happy on a daily basis as a kid, and a homemade poptart is equal parts comfortable and fancy-ish. It also just so happens that Ted's Bulletin in DC is pretty much famous for their homemade PopTarts! 

I work in DC so regularly that I have started to feel like I'm partly from there. I'm working there at least 12-15 weekends out of a year...this month alone, we'll have been there three weeks in a row! I knew we would have to stop at Ted's Bulletin eventually, and this Sunday we finally made it! 

If you love comfort food (and breakfast) as much as I do, you absolutely HAVE to go to Ted's Bulletin. They have so many classic diner items AND they have booze in their milkshakes. Or, at least some of them. I chose to try the Nutty Professor, a hazelnut milkshake. It was good, but next time I will go for the Bananas Foster. Can't go wrong with Bananas and rum in my book! 

Because we're those people that always get an appetizer, we got mini chicken and biscuits to start with. They are served with honey and mumbo sauce. If you don't know what mumbo sauce is, well, you are probably not from DC. See, I told you I was close enough to being partly from DC now..Mumbo sauce is my JAM. Mumbo sauce is essentially a sweet kind of ketchup-y sauce. It's got a tiny bit of Asian flair in there too...it kind of reminds me of a sweet and sour sauce almost. Whatever it is, it's HEAVEN on anything fried, especially chicken!! We scarfed these biscuits down in no time flat.

For my main meal, I chose the Big Mark Breakfast with eggs over medium. I honestly wish I went for another option. It's not that I don't love eggs, bacon, and toast, because I DO. But I eat eggs and toast almost every day for breakfast at home, so it would have been nice to order something I can't make for myself so easily. Like a grilled cheese with mac and cheese and pork belly. I chose that meal because I really wanted a Ted's Tart (their homemade PopTart) but, I could have (and should have) just added it to another entree. My mistake. 

Let's talk about that PopTart. It was my favorite PopTart I've ever eaten! I chose the Strawberry one, because, classic. It was flaky, sweet, buttery, and melt in your mouth good. The jam was just the right amount of sweet, and it kind of crumbled apart at the crust the way I feel a Poptart should. You can buy the pop tarts from their counter, so you don't even have to eat here to get one. I suggest eating at Ted's, but just know you can get a pop tart fix on the fly if you need to. 

John had the Peanut Butter and Bacon burger, which I did not photograph, but I sampled. It was AMAZING!!!!! He definitely chose the better entree. I don't even love peanut butter that much (unless it is inside of a Reese's) but it worked SO well on the burger, especially with the sweet tomato jam. 

We left so stuffed that we had to walk around the block a few times before rolling ourselves into our cars to head 2.5 hours back home. It was so worth all the millions of calories we ate and I don't regret a single bite!! 

Have you been to Ted's Bulletin? What should I try next time?? 

Cake and Ice Cream Protein Pancakes

I LOVE pancakes. Carbs of any kind are my favorite, but hot, fluffy pancakes have a special place in my heart. My favorite kind growing up were my grandma's corn pancakes, which were basically regular pancakes with a can of sweet corn mixed into the batter. Topped with sweet, sticky syrup, they were the BEST treat and something I looked forward to when we got to stay overnight at her house. Even just eating regular pancakes with syrup brings back so many memories! The thing is, regular syrup (even organic, 100 percent maple syrup) has a ton of empty calories and carbs. Usually, those are my favorite kind of carbs, but sometimes you just have to prioritize! 

I bought a box of Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes mix at Target a while back on a total whim. Isn't that how most Target purchases start? Or is it just me? If you haven't tried this pancake mix and you care about eating a lot of protein and/or fitting your macros, you should go grab a box! They've got 14 grams of protein with just mix and water, OR you can add milk and/or eggs for even more protein. I choose to add milk to mine! 

Anyway, I have used the mix for regular (and blueberry) pancakes in the past and decided I wanted something sweeter this time. By themselves, the Kodiak Cakes are somewhat plain tasting, but with fruit or other toppings, they are perfect! I decided to add sprinkles to the mix on Sunday morning AND, I added a small scoop (about 56g worth) of Birthday Cake flavored Halo Top ice cream too! If you're not familiar with Halo Top, it's this delicious, high protein ice cream. It really DOES taste like ice cream but it has 6 g of protein a serving and is also low calorie and doesn't have freaky ingredients! Adding this ice cream to the pancakes in lieu of basically nutritionally devoid syrup means you're sweetening your cakes with something that's better for you.

Here's how I made them (it was REALLY simple...and quick!)

  • Make pancakes as directed on box (I added milk instead of water, a couple twists of my cinnamon sugar grinder from Trader Joe's, and a splash of vanilla)
  • Add sprinkles to your pancake batter (I used just a teaspoon)
  • Top with a scoop of your choice of Halo Top protein ice cream
Protein ice cream pancakes_0022.jpg

Macros:
355 Calories
Protein: 24g // Carbs: 47g // Fat: 9g 

These pancakes totally seem like they would be super decadent and heavy in calories, but they've got less sugar and calories than regular pancakes with syrup do! Plus, they're so filling!! I had mine with a side of two scrambled eggs after the gym on Sunday. Too good ;)

 

     

    This Week's Snacks

    If there's one "bad" food habit I have, it's probably that I'm such a big snacker. Snack foods are so good to me, and I just enjoy eating at a regular frequency. The problem with that is, of course, I end up eating things all the time. And that can be not so great for my waistline.

    One thing I'm trying to do better is eating only one or two snacks a day and eating larger meals instead of a ton of snacks sprinkled throughout the day. So far it's been working pretty well! It helps to 

    This week I'm snacking on:

    Bounce Coconut Macademia Protein Bliss Balls

    I eat these 15-20 minutes before I go to the gym for my morning workout. I found them at Trader Joe's and they're the perfect combo of protein and carbs. I think they taste pretty great, too!

    Boom Chicka Pop Lightly Salted Popcorn

    I grabbed this at Whole Foods this week to try and I'm so glad I did!  A serving size is 3.5 cups or 28 grams (I weigh it with my food scale) and only 120 calories. I tend to be a volume eater (I want to eat A LOT, not just have a small portion of something) so this is really satisfying to me because it feels like I'm getting a lot. 

    Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

    If you get a craving for sweets after dinner, this would be a really awesome treat to fill that void without getting too crazy. First of all, it's only 100 calories (and 5 grams of protein!) per bar, so you could really even eat two if you wanted to! Second, I think since it's a bar and you have to eat it slower and savor it, it's much more satisfying than the same sized serving of regular ice cream or froyo. Plus, there are chunks of cookie dough inside! Yessss. I got these at Target as an impulse purchase. 

    I have also added some fruits to my snacks this week. I don't normally eat a lot of fruit, but I picked up some strawberries and a couple of apples to eat with my favorite almond butter, Justin's Vanilla. 

    That's what I'm munching on this week! I'd love to hear what your snacks are this week! Feel free to comment below with what you're enjoying! 

    A New Home

    I have been blogging for almost FIVE years now. Is it weird to write that as the first thing on a brand new blog? I've written over 700 posts to date on my wedding photography blog. Lots of wedding and engagement photos have been shared over the past almost FIVE years. And so many other random things too! While I LOVE blogging there (and will continue as long as people let me shoot their weddings), it just feels like I'm ready to start something new. Something just for me.

    The inspiration behind this new blog/hobby/side piece was my food Instagram page. I initially started the separate IG account because I realized that, while I really enjoy food posts, not everyone wants to see everything I'm eating! Sad, but true. So I started a separate page for food and the occasional fitness post, and have been having so much fun with it I felt like starting a blog was the next step. 

    If you are reading this post, thank you for being here! I hope you stay and continue on this new journey with me. I plan to use this blog as a space to journal all the delicious things I've gotten to eat and all kinds of other miscellaneous adventures I get into. Which, if nothing else, will hopefully include lots of tater tots and champagne. To stay updated on when I share new posts, be sure to Like the blog over on Facebook and follow along on Instagram!