Airstream Travels: Florida Part 2

We had to wait a week to pick up our new Airstream at the dealer and so we drove up to Atlanta and then back down to Orlando the next weekend. We got into Winter Park, Florida just in time to spend the night on the lot in our new Airstream checking it out for any major issues. (I don’t think they generally like it when customers ask to do that, but it’s well within our rights.) So we went from there over to a vegan restaurant for dinner. My dear carnivorous husband actually ate a vegan pizza for me, and we split a vegan milkshake out of soy milk and soy based ice cream.

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I really enjoyed eating vegan though Wes barely tolerated it. Afterwards we took our dogs on a walk around Winter Park and we bought a few nighttime necessities at a CVS nearby. Slept all night and the next morning, after a quick driving lesson, we were off to spend a week at the Wilderness Lodge and Campground area at Disney.

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We spent the first day wandering around Epcot. We really enjoyed eating at a bunch of different ‘countries’ trying food at Morocco and then later on getting a snack in the Mexican quarter. We were really irritated by Disney’s representation of Africa, however, a whole continent was reduced to ONE little hut. Mind-boggling.

Wes in front of a fountain in the Morocco section.

Wes in front of a fountain in the Morocco section.

Me in front of the waterfall at O' Canada.

Me in front of the waterfall at O’ Canada.

An indoor depiction of the Mayan temples.

An indoor depiction of the Mayan temples.

Sunset over the lake and Epcot.

Sunset over the lake and Epcot.

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The both of us waiting for our bus on the last day there.

The both of us waiting for our bus on the last day there.

Airstream Travels: Florida

When we decided to buy our new Airstream, we went down to Florida and stayed a few days shopping. And we spent a few days touring Disney World. We didn’t do much other than see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Hogsmead as Diagon Alley wasn’t open yet. (We missed it by about a week.)

Marvel Super Heroes too! We love Marvel comics. (And Wes loves games too).

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We had fun taking pictures with some signs around the parks. LOL!

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My first view of Hogsmeade. I am pretty sure I’m talking in this picture too. (Wes is great at getting me while I’m tired of him waiting for me to smile at him.)

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If you know Wes, you know I married an eleven year old. He LOVES trains.

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We tried butter beer. Yuck. It was super sweet — to the point I couldn’t even drink it! Wes had to finish the cup.

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This is a really lovely photo of the Hogwarts sign and pointing to the school.

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Wes in the middle of Hogsmeade with a refillable drink. We were thirsty! It was so much warmer in Florida than in Atlanta.

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And we saw the Dr Seuss world at Universal Studios as well. I LOVED the portrayal of the Lorax.

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Truffula trees! The Lorax “speaks for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

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We ate brunch (our current tradition is to go out to brunch on Sundays if we’re not a church, which is usually when we’re traveling.) We found a cute little spot called Keke’s Breakfast Cafe.” Yep, that’s a plate of potatoes.

After this we went home for a week until we could come back and get our Airstream.

A Very Belated Update: New Airstream!

Hello hello! I have apparently fallen off the face of the earth again lately. A lot of big cool things have happened to us, and we have made some decisions, and I have wanted to share so much! But we are in travel mode, currently residing in Las Vegas for a while as husband is attending a Security Conference (if you don’t know which one, you’re probably not in computer security). ANYWAY! Wanted to write about this so much for a long time but since our internet connection is fussy, I can’t upload photos and that makes me saaaaad. But I’m super behind, so I’m going to write for now, and upload the photos when I get somewhere I can do so.

Right. So we’ve been traveling on and off since July. I wrote a little bit about how we went to Orlando and Disney World. We went there for a much needed vacation, but also with the side purpose of looking at Airstream trailers and trying to decide if we wanted to go the route of purchasing one at this point in time.

We stopped at a dealer outside of Orlando for our first glimpse of the various models of Airstreams — first the Flying Cloud, then the International, and then the snazzy 2013 Opal or some such with bright purple accents.

We liked a few but we weren’t sure yet so we went onward into Orlando itself to another dealer. There we found an International Serenity style trailer and we decided — after quite a lot of debate, to buy it.

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Our exact model is the 2014 28′ International Serenity, below is what you will see upon entering the front door, and look to the left.  You can see the dinette, which can seat four in relative comfort, but is usually used as the traveling office.  There’s the kitchen with an oven, a three burner stovetop, and a pretty full sized fridge where we can store produce gleaned from farmer’s markets.  The blinds in the kitchen open, to a pretty green view.

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Looking at our office from a six and a half high perspective, you can see the large windows that let in a lot of light.  The upper curved windows have their own blinds, which is nice for letting in light at specific times while still maintaining more privacy.  The dinette table also makes a nice stowaway for the crate, of which you can see the open door peeking out.  Holes likes that cave in particular.

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The lounge also can convert into a fairly comfortable bed — a little more comfortable than most sleeper couches.  Incidentally, the dinette also converts into a bed — so we can theoretically sleep six people in Twinkie.
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Turning around, you can see the bedroom with the queen bed — which was originally a trailer queen, we replaced it posthaste with a true queen bed so now there is less space in the back. But really it’s more of a sleeping room for both us and the dogs.  To the left is the bathroom.  And to the right is the stand up separate shower.  If you look up, you’ll see one of the two skylights in the Airstream — it’s actually pretty rare that we have any lights on in the daytime as so much natural light is let in.
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Stepping into the bedroom — below, you’ll see that I stitched a panorama to show the amount of light and windows that the bedroom has.  There’s a small closet to either side of the bed, along with nooks and magazine racks.  Incidentally, every cabinet in the Airstream also lights up!
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June: Instagram Month in Review

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Some cool things that happened this month, as seen on Instagram.

I am sure many of you all are on Instagram, as the photo taking and sharing feature has become more and more prevalent in our lives. I thought it would be fun to compile a review of the last month’s photos for all of you. Starting in the top left:

We decided to take a little trip to Florida, Orlando to be more specific. We had ulterior motives, but we also spent a few days exploring Disney as adults. Quite different from my memories of it as a very small child. This picture is Wes at Hogwarts. We decided to go test driving trucks one day when Wes realized trucks had come a very long way since he bought his Dodge Ram in 1998. We drove a lot of other Dodge trucks, but we were specifically looking at an ecodiesel. Our puppies were in bad need of a haircut in June, so we took them to the groomer before we left for Florida. We enjoyed a fun date night at Game-X, an arcade in downtown Atlanta. I got most of the middle part of my quilt done. Hooray! I took a month’s worth of barre classes at Pure Barre Virginia Highland, and I LOVED it. Went almost every day. Tried to get to the pool at least once a week, with Wes in tow. Looking out over the water at Universal Studios. Holes and Nones came with us in the back of the new truck, we got them a cool sling/hammock so they didn’t fall off the seat.

More Pure Barre, one day my running capris split right before I was going to class, so I had to buy a new pair of capris at class as you’re not allowed to wear shorts (and fortunately I had shorts in my bag because the capris I was wearing came unsewn all the way down the butt.) Wes and I were fortunate to attend the 5 year Anniversary (#atlactiversary) of Atlanta Activewear. We had a lovely date night out at Agave (pictured, chocolate torta dessert and flan). Wes pretended to be the Incredible Hulk at breakfast in Winter Park, Florida. I got my picture taken at Hogwarts as well! Our puppies said they were hot, and they spent a lot of time flopped in the front rooms on the wood floor. We brought the Dodge Big Horn Ecodiesel home with us to stay! And another picture from Pure Barre, because I just couldn’t get enough this month.

 

Clean: Orange BBQ Pulled Pork

So, we are in the process of cleaning out the fridge and freezer, this means that I get to be really creative with what we have and come up with recipes out of almost nowhere. We had a boneless pork loin hanging out in the freezer from when my parents came to visit and brought us lots of food. It was about two pounds. So I took that out to thaw.

Then I noticed a tupperware container of meatless cacciatore I had made a few weeks ago when I was trying to eat more veggies — obviously, I failed because these were frozen and needed to be used up too.

And there was also a container of orange zest frozen from when I was juicing a lot. Back when we had the ability to buy lots of extra produce each week.

So, throw all those things together into the slow cooker for five hours on high, and what do you get? Orange BBQ Pulled Pork!

Ingredients
2 lb boneless pork tenderloin

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 cup ketchup
1 large onion, sliced
2 peppers, sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard (I used brown, you could use pretty much anything)
zest of one small orange
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 tablespoon Basil
salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients except the pork into the slow cooker, and mix them up well so you have a serious looking barbecue sauce. Add the pork to the middle of the slow cooker, and put the lid on. Set it for four hours on high, or eight hours on low. When the slow cooker is done cooking your meat, remove the pork from the pot and shred it up using two forks (or you could drop it in your Kitchen Aid while it’s still warm and beat it up with the regular mixing attachment, if you wanted to clean that…) I put the pork and veggies on these awesome onion rolls I made from a recipe at Real Simple (No-Knead Onion Rolls), for Wes, and on Hearts of Romaine for me. Yum yum. I didn’t get a picture of the final product all plated because it got eaten so fast!

Here’s the pork as it looked without the rolls or the romaine.
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Whole 30: Ranch Dressing

clean and whole 30 ranch dressing recipe. (keep in mind it won’t taste exactly like brand salad dressing — but is much better for you and as your taste buds change, it’ll taste great! it tastes awesome to me!)

Ranch:
5 tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix together and store in an air tight container.

For dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup homemade or clean mayonnaise (a good recipe can be found on The Clothes Make The Girl and 1 cup lite coconut milk from the can from Trader Joe’s.
For dip: *clean recipe only: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups greek yogurt.
Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend.

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Easy Breakfast Roll-ups (With GF/Clean Adaptation).

2 eggs
1 tablespoon water or milk
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Salt and pepper
1 soft taco size flour tortilla (approximately 7 1/2 – 8″ diameter)
Optional fillings: baby spinach leaves, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, crumbled sausage, cheese, etc.

First option: Roll Ups with Tortillas
Put tortilla on a plate and add however much cheese you would like to make the tortilla stick to the egg.
Using a skillet on medium heat, add one teaspoon of coconut oil and melt.
Mix the egg (two to cover one regular flour tortilla), and water or milk until combined.
Pepper the pan, and then pour the egg mixture into the heated coconut oil. Swirl the egg around the pan until the egg covers the whole bottom of the pan. Cook the egg until it is no longer liquid.
Using a rubber spatula, slide cooked egg onto the tortilla and cheese. Then add whatever other toppings you might like, I used raw spinach and let the heat from the egg wilt it down a bit.
Then carefully roll up the tortilla somewhat firmly doing your best to not tear it or move the ingredients around.

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For Gluten Free option:
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water or milk
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Optional fillings: baby spinach leaves, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, crumbled sausage, cheese, etc.
(Make like above only without the tortilla.)
Using a skillet on medium heat, add one teaspoon of coconut oil and melt.
Mix the eggs, and water or milk until combined.
Pepper the pan, and then pour the egg mixture into the heated coconut oil. Swirl the egg around the pan until the egg covers the whole bottom of the pan. Cook the egg until it is no longer liquid.
Using a rubber spatula, slide cooked egg onto the plate and top with cheese. Then add whatever other toppings you might like, I used raw spinach and let the heat from the egg wilt it down a bit.
Then carefully roll up the egg-wrap (omelet) somewhat firmly doing your best to not tear it or move the ingredients around. There you have a gluten free tortilla roll up for breakfast!

We packed these in my backpack for my 5k and that omelet roll really hit the spot after my race since I can’t really do granola bars and one banana is not all that satisfying.
Great post-workout protein.

Whole 30: Sweet Potato Chips

First of course, preheat your oven. Mine was preheated to 350.

To start, I scrubbed my sweet potato because I really appreciate all the good fiber and beta-carotene in the skin, so I don’t peel them first. Just scrubbed. And then I got down with my trusty mandolin and sliced it up in to super thin slices. (Just one potato, but it was a really big one. Made about two whole cookie sheets of chips).

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I stuck my slices in a bowl and covered them with about a tablespoon of melted coconut oil. I added a tiny bit of pepper, maybe a teaspoon, to help season them and then I put the first batch on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Make sure the slices are all spread out and nothing is touching.

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I stuck the cookie sheet in the oven, and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then flipped. I continued baking the chips and checked them every 5 minutes, pulling off crispy chips one at a time so none of the chips burned. I placed the chips on another plate to cool.

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 These chips turned out crunchy and crisp, maybe a tiny bit burned… but I should’ve watched closer. I think you could keep these in a plastic bag once they’ve cooled for at least a day or so. My husband ate all the chips I made as fast as they cooled!

5k Review for April: Atlanta Beltline Northside 5k

(From the Beltline Website) The Atlanta BeltLine Northside 5K is a run/walk along the Atlanta BeltLine Northside Trail and through the beautiful Collier Hills, Collier Hills North, and Ardmore Park neighborhoods. The race starts and finishes at Tanyard Creek Park.

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This is the second year in a row that I have registered for all four of the Beltline Races. April is the Northside 5k, July is the Southwest 5k, September is the Southeast 8k (right by our house), and then December is the Eastside 10k.

This is also the second year I’ve completed the Northside 5k. Last year it was my second race in two plus years — since before I’d married my husband and moved and been sick. My last year’s race result was about 39 minutes. This year — after running with buddies, lifting weights, swimming, and training smarter all year — I came within ONE MINUTE of my Personal Best race time ever.

My final race result was 28:37. My race splits were 7:30, 7:13, and 7:50. Those are some of the fastest miles I’ve ever run. I was impressed because this was a HILLY course and there wasn’t any freezing sleet snow to keep me motivated like there was the last time I got my PR running the CSU Homecoming 5k. Maybe next year I can get my splits down fast enough to actually make it in the top ten. :-p (I can dream. As long as I run in a big city like Atlanta, I don’t think I’ll be getting on any podiums).

So– all in all, it was a really GREAT start to my Beltline competitions of the year and I am looking forward to the next one and continuing to enjoy my run club and my weight lifting plan. And trying hard to get my ACE done by the end of May.

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Crumpets: Gluten Free Recipe

I’ve been working with my gluten free flour mixes we bought, trying really hard to replicate the gluten free bread we normally buy from Trader Joe’s. My attempt at a loaf was a total failure. It was gummy and sticky in the middle. It used 3 cups of flour too — and that really frustrated me because we’re working so hard to save money right now. In an attempt to not dump three cups of gluten free flour down the drain, I tried my hand at a crumpet recipe. Wes did the math to divide the recipe in thirds for me so it only used one cup of flour. To make a big recipe, go ahead and use these amounts:

Ingredients:
3 Packages Active Dry Yeast
3/4 Cup Warm Water
3 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Cup Warm Milk
3 Eggs
3 Cups All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
3 Teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1 Teaspoon Salt
Butter
Makes 25 Crumpets*

Mix the Yeast, Warm Water and Sugar in a glass bowl. Let the yeast “proof” (get foamy) for 5-10 minutes.

Into the Yeast mixture, whisk the Warm Milk, Flour, Eggs and Salt until no longer lumpy. (Mine was still a little lumpy, I have a tough time with hand mixing). Cover with a towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

This is what my batter looked like after rising. It definitely doesn't get as puffy as gluten flour.

This is what my batter looked like after rising. It definitely doesn’t get as puffy as gluten flour.

Cut 1/2 Tablespoon of butter and melt it on your griddle/frying pan at Medium-High Heat. Scoop out about 1/4 cups of batter and pour it on to your griddle for each crumpet. You can “eye” it up – pour enough batter to make the size of crumpet you’d like!

Cook them on the first side until the edges firm up and the top looks mostly dry. Mine never looked that dry and after I flipped them I just waited for the sides to get solid.

This is what they look like after they've been flipped once.

This is what they look like after they’ve been flipped once.

The finished product. Not quite as many holes as normal crumpets either but SO yummy.

The finished product. Not quite as many holes as normal crumpets either but SO yummy.