J’s Birthday Extravaganza

J’s actual birthday was on Wednesday but we decided to celebrate over the weekend.

The party started on Friday when J opened his birthday presents from his parents.

Justin With Eagles Sweatshirt

The only thing he may love more than cats is the Eagles. (We even have Eagles fathead stickers all over our garage.)

I needed to keep my gift giving on the low-key side because of a serious lack of funds (and job). I got him a Ron Swanson bobble head from the NBC store.

Ron Swanson Bobblehead

Ron Swanson Bobblehead Box

Do you watch Parks And Recreation? If not, you should it is ridiculously funny.

We received a second package from the in-laws for Easter.

Dina with Easter Basket

(Yes, those are snowmen in the background. It being April, I probably should put those away.)

Easter candy! I love Peeps with a vengeance. (I can never decide which candy holiday is my favorite. Valentines, Easter, or Halloween? They all have really good candy but there are strong arguments to the merits of all three.)

Easter Basket Candy

If you like licorice, you have to try the Darrell Lea brand. They sell it at Target and it contains only natural ingredients. It is by no means a healthy snack but if you are going to eat candy, at least eat the kind with the most natural ingredients. Plus it is extremely tasty.

There was also a few little doodads included.

Pink Easter Chick

This little chick lights up like a disco ball. We also received some notebooks and a few plush Easter toys for the cats.

Friday night we saw Jerry Seinfeld perform at The Lakeland Center. It was a great show, Jerry is as funny as ever. For his encore, he took questions from the audience which was different. Most of the questions were mundane but someone did ask about the Superman references on Seinfeld. Jerry discussed all the reasons why he liked Superman.

On Saturday we stopped at the Track Shack and I picked up my new shoes. (Cannot wait to run in them. My old shoes are being held together by duct tape and hope, so the new ones should feel amazing.)

We had an early dinner at The Ravenous Pig, where we have eaten once before and loved.

To drink, I started with a Cigar City Maduro Brown Ale which was delicious and had zero aftertaste. J even liked it and he is not a big fan of brown ale’s. J had a vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives.

We shared a Gatherer salad (baby lettuces, avocado, pickled beets, radish, goat cheese, pistachios, herb vinaigrette) which was amazing. This is the half-sized salad but was still a sharable size.

J had the Seared Labelle Farms Foie Gras. It is served on ginger bread with apple butter, tokaji syrup, and cocoa nib granola. A really interested combination with the foie gras but J absolutely loved it.

We split the House-made Soft Pretzels. They come with a mustard and a taleggio-porter fondue that was incredible. The pretzels alone were wonderful and would be perfect with a nice beer if stopping in for a drink and appetizers.

For the main course, I had the Pub Burger. The last time we ate at The Ravenous Pig, burger after burger was ordered around us. Seeing that, I knew it had to be special and it was. The burger is topped with caramelized onions and buttermilk bleu cheese and the combination of these two items move it into otherworldly territory. Topped off with a brioche bun and served with truffle fries, it was impossible to put down.

J ordered the Colorado Lamb Leg which is served with a side of nettle and ramp gratin and topped with fried lemons, dill yogurt, and arugula. J is more of a rack of lamb person but enjoyed this dish. It was cooked to perfection and the nettle and ramp gratin was very unique.

We shared a Tomato Tart as a side. The tart was very summery and quite good.

There was one cocktail on the menu that we had to try, The Ravenous Pig Old Fashioned. The description for the drink is “bacon infused buffalo trace bourbon, vanilla maple syrup, and bitters.

Any drink garnished with bacon is after my heart. Neither of us are big fans of bourbon but enjoyed the drink. It is interesting to drink something that tastes so much like bacon.

Overall, The Ravenous Pig is two for two with us. Both trips had excellent service, unique and delicious food, and is not too pricey. I highly recommend if you are in the Orlando area.

Happy Birthday J, I had an amazing time celebrating it with you!

Walt Disney World Food And Wine Festival 2011

J and I picked the worst day for the Food and Wine Festival. Not only was it cold and windy (for Florida) but it was packed. We have annual passes and go to Epcot regularly, I have never seen this many people there ever.

Disney Food and Wine Festival

Disney Food and Wine Festival Sign

We made do and decided that drinking lots of beer would be the best way to warm up.

Disney Food and Wine Beer

In Canada we had Cheddar Cheese Soup and Moosehead Beer. That soup never fails to impress. If you are in Epcot, I highly recommend eating at Le Cellier.

Disney Food and Wine Canada Soup and Beer

They had a cranberry bog which was new this year. It kind of reminded me of home, we have a lot of these in New England.

Cranberry Bog

Cranberry Bog Food and Wine Festival

I asked J if he would take a picture of me because I am never in any of our pictures.

The first was taken before I realized he was taking one. He found this hilarious.

DinaRuns

Next one was fine.

DinaRuns 2

Look how windy it is.

DinaRuns 3

My favorite beer of the day was the Kona Pipeline.

Kona Pipeline Beer

The description from their website:

Pipeline Porter is smooth and dark with a distinctive roasty aroma and earthy complexity from its diverse blends of premium malted barley. This celebration of malt unites with freshly roasted 100% Kona coffee grown at Cornwell Estate on Hawaii’s Big Island, lending a unique roasted aroma and flavor. A delicate blend of hops rounds out this palate-pleasing brew.

You could smell and taste the coffee flavor. This may be my new favorite beer.

Kona Pipeline Beers

Our last food stop was in America. We had the lobster roll, lobster claw, and the pumpkin moose. The beer is the Sam Adams brewed yearly for the Food and Wine Festival.

Lobster Sam Adams Pumpkin Mouse

I had to include my favorite view in all of Epcot.

Epcot

This is a view from the bridge leading into France. It is also the spot where J proposed.

What’s your favorite beer?

Husband Approved Quick Dinner

J and I do not always see eye to eye on dinner. I am a healthier, less meat, more vegetables type eater. He wants dinner to be quick (so we don’t eat at 8 PM after my runs) and more meat-filled. Attempting to meet him in the middle, I spend a lot of time looking at recipes online. Recently I stumbled on Chipotle Bean Burritos.  This recipe is perfect, meat-like without meat, fairly healthy, and quick. J and I love Mexican food and any excuse to incorporate tortilla chips into a meal.

Chiptole Bean Burrito

The recipe is great because it would be easy to substitute different ingredients, depending what you have on hand. I used Pinto Beans instead of Black Beans because they were in my pantry. I would also use a few more cloves of garlic next time but adjust to your own tastes.

One burrito and many, many chips with guacamole was very filling. The recipe makes six, so there are leftovers for lunch.

Do you and your significant other disagree about dinner? How do you handle it?

Whirlwind Weekend

This weekend has been insanely busy but really great. I took Friday off and ran 12 miles, it was my furthest run yet. I did much better fueling than I did on my ten mile run and feel fairly confident that I found something that will work for my Half. This run was around a local park that allowed me to access water fountains so I was able to refill my fuel belt. I needed the extra water and will keep this in mind as my distance increases.

Mileage_by_month

This month might not have been my highest mileage month but I am proud of my progress.

On Saturday and Sunday, I was lucky to be able to attend the Florida Democratic Convention.

Florida_Democratic_Convention

I learned a lot and always enjoy being surrounded by other political junkies. It was held at Disneyworld’s Contemporary Hotel and Conference Center. Parking was limited which forced those not staying at the hotel to park at the transportation center and take the monorail to the hotel. On Saturday, I inadvertently got on the one monorail that only goes to Epcot. I had to get off that monorail and board the next monorail which went back to where I started. Finally, I found the right monorail but I had sadly missed Alan Grayson and the newly founded Florida Progressive Caucus meeting. I need to pay more attention to where I am going. (I was able to find my car after only one loop of the parking lot on Saturday. I think I came out ahead.)

Barnie_is_awesome

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So minus that one snafu, everything else went smoothly and I feel re-energized to hit the ground running for the upcoming year plus of campaigning.

The Convention was over by the afternoon, so I was able to come back home and practice more with my new camera by chasing my cats around until they do something cute.

Cat in drawer

(Please ignore my laundry on floor. Also, Alia is judging you.)

J went to see Guns N’Roses at the Amway Arena on Friday. He broke out this old t-shirt for it. I wish I could have gone but had to get up so early to go to the convention.

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Did you have a good weekend?

Gratitude Birthday Style

My 30th birthday celebrations have so far been amazing. (I say so far because there is a fancy schmancy dinner coming up for the weekend. Stay tuned.)

J gave me my gift on Saturday after the race.

Canon Rebel

Words cannot express how excited I am to be able to take better pictures for this blog and to actually learn how to use this camera. (If you are a regular reader, please brace yourself for lots of cat pictures. They are the only people in my house who will let me practice on them.)

On my actual birthday, my friends at work cooked up an elaborate scheme including a fake fight and pretending to forget. to get me out to lunch. Well the pretending to forget was ruined when a coworker came up with a balloon and donuts while wishing me a happy birthday. It was pretty funny because no one knew what to do. Continue with their elaborate ruse or admit defeat? So surprise ruined but there was still more to come.

At noon we drove over to Saffran, a new Icelandic restaurant in Orlando. It is an interesting concept, all the menu items are less than 685 calories and they do not use any white sugar, white flour, or artificial additives.

When we got to the restaurant, I was met by these smiling faces.

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Wendy and Norka.

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Jen, Me, and Emily.

They even yelled surprise when Norka and I walked in.

On the table was another surprise.

2011-09-28 12.33.19

It says 30 Sucks!

It was made by the very creative Emily (who I would totally let decorate my house) and filled with 30 maple syrup lollipops. This New Englander loves all things maple, so that was a wonderful surprise.

I also got a card with a cat on it. Maple candy, healthy food, and cats, they know me well.

When I got home, there was a surprise on my desk.

HP Touchpad

J and I were lucky to get two HP Touchpads during the great fire sale but only one showed up. J told me the order for the other one was cancelled but it wasn’t. I am having a lot of fun playing around with this new toy.

I finished my day by attending a yoga class at Groundwork Yoga. It was supposed to be a beginner class but by popular request, it was a Yin Yoga class. The class was interesting because you hold the poses for three to five minutes and this is supposed to help with flexibility and brings a kind of meditative quality to the practice because of the stillness. I really enjoyed the class and it did wonders for my super tight runners legs.

I have so much to be grateful for. Wonderful friends, a great husband, and my health. It has been a very happy birthday.

What are you grateful for?

What is you favorite type of Yoga?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

After a productive virtual 5K, I cleaned myself up and headed to IKEA with J. Why we decided to do this on a Saturday beats me but we must be crazy. It was as busy as you can imagine and just miserable. (Especially when after spending an hour planning out a filing system for our front room, J realizes that the last piece he needs is discontinued.) So we grabbed the one table we came in for and hightailed it out of there.

Finally, there was food.

Crave

CRAVE is a chain restaurant but they only have one location in Orlando. I am not sure why, but Orlando gets a lot of these chains with one location in Florida. They may use it as a testing ground but it is great if you are local because there is always something new opening.

The concept is American food (plus an immense Sushi Bar) that is fresh and local whenever possible. We have eaten here several times and always enjoy it.

J had a vodka martini with blue cheese stuffed olives and bacon.

Martini

He also had an appetizer of thinly sliced beef on a fried mint leaf with some veggies.

Beef App Edited

Toasted Lager for me.

Toasted Lager

I had a salmon salad with blue cheese and walnuts. It was huge and really good.

Salmon Salad

A side of risotto with peppers and kalamata olives.

Rissotto

Pasta with scallops and shrimp for J. He would order it with double the scallops next time because they were cooked perfectly.

Scallop Pasta

The rest of the night may have included playing The Sims 3 until the wee hours of the night. Yay for having a working computer.

Long Run Saturday

I finally was able to wake up early enough to beat the heat for a long run. I ran seven miles at Lake Eva doing 6 and 2 minute run/walk intervals.

Long_Run_5_14_11

It was home for a quick shower, some cereal, and foam rolling, then off to the planning meeting for the Polk County Democratic Women’s Club. The meeting was held at Fred’s Southern Kitchen. I am not a fan of buffets because as a picky eater, I need to know what is in everything I eat. Plus my very limited meat eating and dislike of most Southern foods, I did not think this was going to be the resteraunt for me. I ended up having the Plant City Strawberry Salad which was pretty good but huge. It had lots of elements I like in a salad blue cheese, assorted greens, pecans, and strawberries.

It is pouring here so I will either be in for the rest of the night or maybe a movie and quick dinner. J was out celebrating finishing his first year of law school last night, so I don’t know if he is up for anything to crazy tonight.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!