Tag Archives: restaurants

Interesting Finds and Events

15 Mar

I left work a little early yesterday due to my incessant cough. I seem to have caught up with all the work that was piling up (or at least the most pressing issues), so I called it a day about an hour and a half early. I laid on the couch with Vick’s Vapo-rub on my chest (which always reminds me of my mom, because she would do this for me when I was sick as a child) and coughed, sniffled and whined.

Then I realized laying down wasn’t my friend. I was hacking much less if I was upright. So Zach and I decided to go out to dinner.

We got to the best Mexican restaurant in town and it. was. PACKED! Turns out, there was a Mariachi band playing:



…ok! Then, because I thought I should try to keep things healthy because I am still under the weather, I got a margarita made with OJ. Hey, it’s Vitamin C, right?


…it was tasty! Again, keeping it healthy, I went with the veggie fajitas:

veggie fajitas


I love the veggie fajitas at El Ranchito. They are super fresh, because they saute the onions and peppers in a bit of oil on the bottom of the pan and then layer the carrots, mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli on top so it sort of steams. It makes for a super fresh meal. Vegans could totally eat this meal, all they would have to do is ask for them to leave off the sour cream and perhaps the beans (unless they are prepared vegetarian) that come on the side. The other thing I love about this place is the guacamole that comes on the side is super fresh and has big chunks of avocado. So yum.

After all that oj (ahem, humor me) and the veggies, I felt much better ūüôā

If you’re a Huntington local and you haven’t been to El Ranchito, you must check it out. There is no shortage of Mexican restaurants in Huntington, but most of them are subpar. This one is not. Everything I’ve had there is so fresh and delicious! I usually get the shrimp a la diabla and it’s incredibly¬†good, and very spicy.


In Homeopathic news:

Yesterday, a coworker was telling me that her son (who is a medical doctor) told her about this homeopathic tea that she could make that would help her with congestion. Here’s what is in it:

1 cup almond milk (regular milk is not good for congestion, as are any dairy products)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger

It sounded delicious to me and because I’ve read so much about the health benefits of cinnamon and turmeric I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. In fact, when I glanced at the articles I linked in that last article, the one thing that jumped out at me is that turmeric is the most potent anti-inflammatory in nature!

Anyway, in lieu of my morning coffee, I whipped some of this up this morning. I didn’t have much honey, so I added what I had and put a few drops of agave nectar in as well to sweeten it up a bit more:


It definitely looked weird, but it tasted pretty good, and I’m happy to report that my cough has been much more productive this morning (gross, I know!) I really can’t see any negative to this tea. After reading those articles about the health benefits of these spices (in fact, as I was typing this, I Googled the health benefits of ginger¬†(clears the sinuses!? — how about that?)¬†and honey as well), I don’t see why I wouldn’t be drinking this concoction more often. I might try to make it a weekly thing.


In entertainment news, I have two quick shares for you:

Rob Thomas (not of Matchbox 20!) and Kristen Bell started a Kickstarter campaign to get a Veronica Mars movie made. They reached their $2 million goal in less than a day! They are at $3.3 million and counting as I type this. If you haven’t seen Veronica Mars the television show, stop reading now and remedy that. I discovered this show back in college, when my local WB/CW affiliate was one channel. They would show the CW prime time shows late night (when I was coming home from…um, studying) and I watched one of the first episodes. I was instantly hooked and have been a devotee since. The show just kind of…ended after the third season and there have been talks of a movie ever since. According to creator Rob Thomas, this is the only shot the show had to be made into a movie.

I LOVE horror movies, and I’m a huge fan of the Amityville craze, so when I saw this article about a documentary being released about the true events surrounding the Amityville craze, I was instantly interested. After watching the trailer, I can’t wait to check it out!

Question(s) of the Day:
What’s your favorite homeopathic remedy for any ailment?

Have you ever seen Veronica Mars?

Do you like horror movies? 

The Best Valentine’s Date Night

12 Feb

Because I’ll be at a concert with friends this weekend, and also because we wanted to beat the crowds, Zach and I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day this past Friday night.

For a while now, I’ve been talking about doing a date night where we cook dinner at home, but then go out for dessert/drinks afterwards, so that was our plan.

Our night started after work on Friday. I wanted to get a quick run in, and Zach wanted to get a nap in. While I went to the gym, Zach took a nap on the couch with the cats. I ran 5 miles on the treadmill at about a 10:45 pace, and when I came back, this is what I saw:

2013-02-08 18.21.38


Ha! I swear, she isn’t really about to steal his soul, she was just surprised by the flash. I thought it was funny, though.

I made myself presentable and let Zach nap a little longer. After I was pretty, I started cooking. On the menu, NY Strip Steak, baked potatoes and green salad with homemade Greek dressing.

Whenever I’m about to cook something basic (steak, baked potatoes), I first search Google to see how Alton Brown suggests doing it. Luckily, he never steers me wrong. I cooked the steak per his instruction and it turned out perfectly medium rare:


Look at that giant steak! Of course, I didn’t eat the whole thing, but it was perfectly cooked. Here’s how I did it:

First, I set the steaks out about an hour before I was going to cook them, to get them up to room temperature. I took a tiny bit of canola oil and rubbed the steaks down with oil, kosher salt, cracked black peppercorns, and a few other spices. Then, I put my cast iron skillet into a very hot (500 degree) oven, and turned a burner up to high heat. Once the skillet was very hot, I pulled it out of the oven (using mitts, of course), and set it on the burner. Using long tongs, I set each steak into the skillet and let it sear on each side for 30 seconds. Then, I put the whole skillet with the steaks back into the oven, and let it cook on each side for exactly 2 minutes. That’s it! The steaks were medium rare and perfect.

After our delicious dinner, we headed out to Huntington Prime for drinks and dessert. Our friend Shane was working at the bar, so we sat at the bar and ordered our desserts and drinks based on his suggestions:



On the left are my choices. I can’t remember what the drink was called, but it had a blueberry vodka base, blueberries, lemons, some kind of delicious juice and…well, who knows what else. It was fruity and delicious, but I really liked Zach’s drink better. He got a bourbon based drink, and though it looks pretty fruity, it wasn’t at all. For our desserts, I got the hot chocolate cheesecake and he got the strawberry bavarian cream cake. I’m hungry just typing this post! Both desserts were amazing.

It was such a successful date! If we had done a steak dinner and dessert out, we likely would have spent more than $100, but as it was we spent less than $50 on the whole meal, but it still felt like a fancy date night.

I even had enough steak leftover to make steak fajitas for dinner the next night:



I added in some chicken too, and I ate these leftovers all weekend. Yum!

Valentine’s Date Night 2013 was a success! It’s hard to believe next Valentine’s Date Night will be as a married couple! ūüôā

Question of the Day:
How do you keep date night costs down? 

Dreary Day

8 Feb

Happy Friday!

Honestly, I didn’t post a blog yesterday because I was feeling a little….blah. I’m still feeling pretty blah, but I have a 5-day-a-week blog goal to stick with! I will try not to impart my bad mood on you.

In fact, I would share why I was in such a bad mood, but I myself can’t put my finger on it. The past few nights I’ve had a lot of trouble falling asleep because I’m in an anxious panic over…pretty much everything. Do you ever just get that feeling that you aren’t getting enough done? Anywho, sleeping poorly leads to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, and dreary, grey days lead to bad attitudes, and well, here we are!

I’m happy to say that my oral surgery went well. I think I’m healing pretty well, but I had some trouble eating for the first couple of days. I’m eating more solid foods now and I couldn’t be happier about that — I do not do well with being hungry! I even managed to go for a run last night after work:



As you can probably tell from the photo, I did the Deck of Cards Treadmill Workout again, and it was just as fun as last time. I really like how it’s a completely different workout each time. The weather here was perfect, but once I got done with work and changed into my workout gear, it was still too dark for an outdoor run. Luckily, I think we¬†might¬†just get some of that decent weather back this weekend:
weekend weather

To pump up my bummer of a mood a bit, I’ll look forward to the fact that Zach and I are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day this evening (I’ll be at a concert with some friends next weekend), with a date night I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time: Dinner at home and dessert out! I’m planning on cooking a simple meal of steak, baked potatoes and salad and then we’ll head out to Huntington Prime¬†to have dessert. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the pastry chef at Huntington Prime, so we’re going to save some money by cooking our dinner at home first and then go out for a delicious dessert and drinks.

The other thing I’m really looking forward to is returning to Crossfit on Saturday. I reserved a spot in the 10:00 AM class tomorrow morning, and I’m looking forward to getting back into it.

Question of the Day:
What are you most looking forward to this weekend? 

A Stellar Snowy Saturday

2 Feb

Today is great.

I usually don’t post on Saturdays, but I’m having such a great day that I had to check in.

Today started with an amazing run! The weather is treacherous here, so I had to run on the treadmill. I didn’t necessarily plan to do 5 miles today, but that’s what happened:



My gym’s treadmills only go to 42 minutes, so I had to start over. I watched The Lorax while I was running, and it was so cute!

I’ve never run that long/far on the treadmill, ever. I don’t know what came over me, but I was feeling great. I still don’t know how people like Janae from The Hungry Runner Girl do it, but I’m pretty sure she’s superhuman because she was running 10 miles on her treadmill while she was 8 months pregnant. I just get so…restless! Watching a movie helps.

After my run, I came home to shower quickly because Zach and I had plans! We had originally planned to go to the mall and the movies, but the weather looked like this:


….so we decided to stay in town. Luckily, there is a different movie theater less than a mile from our house. First, brunch was in order:



Oh, brunch. Zach and I hit up Black Sheep Burritos & Brews, which we hadn’t done in quite some time. My very favorite part about their brunch is that for $8 extra, you can get all you can drink Mimosas or Bloody Marys with your brunch! We didn’t take advantage today, because I didn’t want to snooze through the movie. I did chow down on some Huevos Rancheros that was to die for and two cups of yummy coffee.

After brunch, we went to see Silver Linings Playbook now that I’ve finished the book. They changed a lot for the movie!! I liked the movie, but I was confused about some of the changes they made.

After the movie, we had a couple drinks and then went to get some orange juice so I can have mimosas later, since I missed out on them at brunch.

What a fabulous, snowy Saturday!

Question of the Day:
How’s your Saturday going so far?¬†


Date Night

6 Jan

Last night, Zach and I went on a date.



I try to dress relatively nice for date nights. I was trying an experiment with the scarf. Not sure if it worked, but I committed to it and wore it all night.

Zach laughed as I was scrolling through my camera later in the evening, at the sheer amount of photos I took when I was photographing my outfit.


I’m not really good at taking photos of myself just yet, so I just take a ton and hopefully something sticks.

We went to see This is 40. I really loved it, a whole lot. I already plan on purchasing it on Bluray and watching it over and over again. I looked at some reviews of the movie online, and listened to some reviews from people who I know who have seen it, and I get the feeling that everyone else just liked it — the critics are split 50/50. Some of the negative reviews I’ve heard is that it is just about spoiled white people whining about their lives, but I just really thought it was honest. You can be good looking, have beautiful kids and live in a great house, and not have it all together. It may not be for everyone, but for me it struck a chord in my heart and so I was in love.

After the movie, we went to Outback and sat at the bar. I took my camera with me in my purse, but I’m not a brave blogger yet, and I didn’t whip it out to photograph my food.¬†How do you bloggers do it?¬†I feel so weird photographing everything in public. I’ll get there. Anyway, I will recycle this old photo, because I got the same thing as last time:

2012-11-17 20.45.08

Mmmm, Ahi Tuna!

After we ate, we met some friends out at a bar for some drinks. Here is a photo of my friend Mooney playing pool:



We had a great time! I love date night. We don’t do it very often, and sometimes we just have at home date nights. It’s something to look forward to!

One more thing I want to mention:

On Friday, I got my Greatist shirt in the mail (along with some cool stickers), which they sent me as part of my Ambassadorship with Greatist. It’s such a great shirt!


It’s a slim fit shirt (I got a size medium) made of soft cotton. It doesn’t ride up when I’m working out, and it’s really comfortable. The print on the front is super cute and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on it so far.

It’s a fun shirt to wear to the gym! You can get one here.

Question of the day:
Where did you go on your last date? 




A Few Friday Favorites

30 Nov

Boy, do I love some good alliteration…don’t you? ūüôā

Friday is in full swing, and I am having trouble wiping this smile off of my face. I’m having a good, productive day so far, and I’m not getting stressed out by the millions of things I need to do this weekend. Here are some of the great things that I’m smiling about:

РI spent some time on the phone last night with a potential caterer, and then my mother, talking about our wedding in September, which got me excited about the wedding all over again! Sure, I get to look at these beauties every day: 


…which reminds me of our upcoming nuptials, but discussing the big day is both overwhelming and exciting. There is a lot to do, but luckily we have 10 months to do it, and I’m confident with all the help we have, it will get done.

– Speaking of my lovely fiance, we had a nice Subway lunch today. Usually we go home for lunch, so we will watch the previous night’s Daily Show while we eat. Today, we just ate and chatted and it was quite nice. After we ate, we went over to The Wild Ramp¬†to pick up a gift for someone. The Wild Ramp is our local year-round Farmer’s Market. It is completely non-profit, and I love stopping by. While we were there, I decided that I¬†must¬†finally try some Jeni’s Ice Cream:

ice cream

I’ve been dying to try the Salty Caramel flavor. They didn’t have any, but the above flavor just spoke to me. I can’t wait to grab spoonfuls of this for the next week or so ūüôā The other really great thing that I saw was this:


That’s me!

The Wild Ramp recently had a Kickstarter Campaign, and the put up the names of all the folks who donated on their bulletin board. This was all the thanks I needed!

– After a hard week of scrounging through almost bare cupboards to come up with dinner every night (we desperately need to do some grocery shopping!), I’ve reached my reward: Sushi for dinner tonight! Hooray!

Question of the Day:
What is the best thing that has happened to you today? 

I’ve Gone Pumpkin Crazy

3 Oct

Well, it finally happened. I’ve gone pumpkin crazy. I went grocery shopping yesterday, and despite forgetting some pretty essential items (oh, just bread, a new filter for the Brita pitcher and¬†hot sauce!) ¬†I did manage to get the essential pumpkin items:

Plus 12 cans of pumpkin puree. I’m obsessed.

Aldi has all the pumpkin things. The reason I forgot so many items is because I was literally mesmerized. Zach is lucky that I didn’t spend all of our money there! They had pumpkin spice milk, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin spice pancakes….the list goes on. I could barely focus.

I had a great day yesterday! After posting my October Goals, I was motivated to get up super early and get a strength workout in. It was rainy, so I decided to do the workout from home. I did a full-body superset workout that I found in the Oxygen Fat Loss issue. Then, I did this Gangnam Style dance from Cassey at Blogilates twice. It was SO FUN, and definitely got me sweating and my heart rate up. I highly suggest you try it if you’re as obsessed with the song as I am.

Then, after work, I texted my friend Ashley (who just got a membership at the Y! Yay gym friends!) to see if she wanted to either run outside or on the treadmill with me. She chose the treadmill, so I did a 4-mile speed workout (8 400 repeats at 5k pace alternating with slow jog or walk 400s). It took me about 42 minutes. I went straight from the gym to the grocery store, so that’s probably why I ended up with a bunch of pumpkin flavored treats and no bread.

The sky was GORGEOUS yesterday!

After all of that, I didn’t get home until almost 8, so Zach and I had some frozen pizza (healthy, I know), a glass of Malbec and watched a movie called Bernie:

I definitely recommend this movie! It was based on a true story, and a LOT different than I expected from the trailer. It was quite good.

After a nice day of healthy eating and good fitness, I failed once again to make it to the gym this morning. ūüė¶ I really don’t know what my problem is with getting up lately. I actually got out of bed, put on my gym clothes and then, just took them back off and went back to bed. I was just so tired. But then thing is, I didn’t actually go back to sleep. I read for a while and then got up to do some dishes and cleaning up. Maybe I just need to get up a little earlier, to allow myself to wake up before I head to the gym? I used to have my alarm set for 5:25 and then be out the door without fail by 6 AM. Or maybe it’s just that it’s dark in the mornings again and I’m not quite used it yet. I’ll try setting my alarm a little earlier tomorrow because I absolutely¬†have¬†to go to the gym in the morning tomorrow. Today, I can go for a run after work, but tomorrow after work, Zach and I have big plans!

Tomorrow, Macy’s is having an event where if you go and create your bridal registry, you can win one of hundreds of gift cards, ranging in value from $100 – $1,000! I figured, what better time to get started on our wedding registry? Zach seemed interested in the idea, so we registered for the event and we’ll head over tomorrow after work. I also have a coupon for Ruby Tuesday (I am¬†in love¬†with their salad bar), so we’re making a date night of it. I think I’ll like registering. It’s like shopping without actually spending money — perfect for me.

One more thing I wanted to mention before this  post gets ridulously long is a little bit about that pumpkin cider up there. I had some with lunch today, and while I was drinking it, I checked out the nutrition facts:

First of all, love the flip-top bottle. I’ve had this twice (had about half the bottle at this point) and it stays nice and fizzy in that bottle. Secondly, I was quite impressed with the nutrition facts. The one thing I’ve noticed about the products at Aldi, they typically have a lot less ingredients than similar things at Kroger, and I can actually pronounce all the ingredients. I always thought of Aldi as a discount store, and while it is, it probably has a lot more in common with Trader Joe’s. Also, this bottle has 2-110 calorie servings, but I have found that a smaller serving is more my style with this. While it is delicious, it’s also pretty strong and I probably wouldn’t want to drink a whole lot of it at once. Approve!

So, send me good vibes that I get my workout in tomorrow morning!!

Question of the Day:
What’s your favorite pumpkin-related item?¬†(You aren’t allowed to say you don’t like pumpkin, because I might die)


Making do with what I have…

16 Aug

Recently I finally made it to the new local food market in my town: The Wild Ramp.

I wish I had taken photos, but here is how it works. The Wild Ramp is a locally owned, non-profit market. All the produce is local (it seems that the farthest anything had travelled was Athens, OH), and most of the people who work there are volunteers. The produce is grouped by farm, so there may be, for example, tomatoes on several different tables. When you pick out produce, you also have to take a bar code sticker to the register so they will know which farm you are buying from. The best part: $0.90/$1.00 goes directly to the farmer, as opposed to buying local produce at the grocery store, where maybe $0.20-$0.30/$1.00 goes to the farmer.

Click on this image (from the wild ramp blog) to be directed to their blog.

The most surprising thing that I found was that it wasn’t all produce. There was locally made tofu, veggie burgers, local eggs (they have a place in the front where you can donate your used egg cartons), even local meat! I bought some local tofu, I can’t wait to try it!

I also bought some tomatoes and peppers, and a few other things I can’t mention because they went to my Foodie Pen Pal this month.

For $50 and 1 volunteer hour per month, you can become a “Friend of the Market”, which I absolutely plan on doing. The perk (although, I think the real perk is helping to support a sustainable local resource for healthy food) is that you can call ahead and have your food ready to pick up when you stop by. You also get a subscription to their newsletter. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have this resource so close by! Huntington, WV is really moving up in the healthy food game. I wish Jamie Oliver could see us now!


In other news, my training this week is going well. I’ve had two really good runs in a row, so I ¬†think I’m bouncing back from whatever was holding me back last week. Also, I had a really good night sleep last night, although I don’t know if the reason I slept well is particularly healthy:

After work, Zach and I went grocery shopping. Once I got home and got my run out of the way, we had some dinner and rather than clean the kitchen, I asked Zach if he wanted to go out for a drink. We decided to head over to a nearby bar which has a really nice patio and a couple of our friends were already there. Once we sat down, more and more friends kept showing up! It was a really nice evening, but I stayed up too late and had a few too many drinks. So I think maybe the sleeping well had more to do with being a little tipsy than actual, quality sleep. But it felt great, so that’s that.

Last night made me really look forward to my upcoming beach trip. Everyone who was at the bar last night will be at the beach except for one person, and it made me think about how much I’m going to enjoy sitting on the patio of our beach house, listening to the ocean and talking with my good friends. Just 7 more work days to go!

This morning, because I still don’t have a coffee pot, I made instant coffee from a sample that I got from Taster’s Choice, and it’s not bad! How’s that for making do with what I have?

Question of the day:
What’s your local source for fresh produce?¬†