Meal Prep: Carrot Pesto with Roasted Vegetables

My (other) best friend from high school is an amazing cook from a family of chefs. Last time I went to visit her in SF, I suggested we make dinner instead of going out and was NOT disappointed. She also put me onto Bon Appetit’s Rent Week series (aka inexpensive, simple food for when cash is low), which I’m now obsessed with. We followed this recipe and ate it over white rice, with red wine on the side ;). We also added a few additional vegetables other than carrots. We roasted the carrots, broccoli, golden beets, onions and broccoli with a little olive oil and red pepper flakes. Simple and amazing. You will want to make it again, trust me.

xoxo,

Truett

Travel TBT: Sutro Baths + San Francisco Brunch

I was up in Northern California for two week’s this month for Ashley’s wedding and my birthday. I didn’t feel particularly inspired to throw myself a big celebration for my 29th; my only wish was to do a little hike outdoors and have a great brunch. Here’s how the day went:

Sutro Baths

After some research into hikes near San Francisco, I ended up choosing more of a scenic walk because I wanted to be able to go straight to brunch after without changing. Priorities, haha. I have done the “Lands End” hike around the northern coast of San Francisco before, but never went down to the Sutro Baths. You get to the baths with a quick downhill walk and a series of stairs. What you end up seeing are the ruins of what used to be a public bath facility, which is actually very cool to imagine (you can read about the history here). This is by no means a hike, but a great little scenic walk… shall we say, for the gram?

Brunch at Aina

After scouring a few foodie websites (my go-to are Infatuation and Thrillist) and asking an old co-worker from my days at Tasting Table, I landed on brunch at Aina in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. They do not take reservations, so we went straight from our walk to put our names in. We arrived at around 11am on Saturday and were told the wait would be about an hour…not too terrible for a new restaurant! We took a quick little walk of the neighborhood and got a snack of fresh beignets to-go at Just For You Cafe on the next block over. The beignets ended up being VERY good. Plus, what is more in theme with celebrating your birthday than having dessert before brunch?! Aina called us about an hour and 10 minutes after we put our name down.

Service was super friendly and the food was AMAZING. I’m not sure I’ve ever truly had Hawaiian food, but this place makes me want to eat it constantly. The flavors were absolutely incredible. We shared the (homemade) spam bao to start, which I was scared of. However, do not be scared of the word spam, this musubi was INCREDIBLE. We also had the kalbi loco moco (their most popular dish), trout and smoked mushroom entrees. All 3 were fantastic! We drank their white wine and red wine lemonades, both were very tasty.

 

All around, an excellent birthday morning.

Xoxo,
Truett

Ashley’s Favorite Chocolate Protein Shake

When I lived in California, I taught Pilates at Equinox in Palo Alto. Equinox’s cafe, Earth Bar, makes THE best smoothies, and I have been dying for one ever since I moved away. My favorite smoothie was the Chocolate Supreme, and although I haven’t been able to replicate it exactly, this recipe comes pretty darn close. The ingredients aren’t exactly cheap, but I promise they’re worth it because this shake is power packed full of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and *obviously* protein.

Ingredients

*follow links for the exact products I use!

1 banana

1 scoop EarthBar Organics Earth Fusion Chocolate (plant based) Protein

1 teaspoon Organic Maca Powder

1.5 tablespoons Organic Cacao Powder

1 tablespoon Almond Butter

1 cup Unsweetened Hemp Milk

Ice for desired texture (I use very little)

 

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

xo,

Ashley

Mealprep: Shawarma Chicken Salad

If you hadn’t already noticed, I have a little love affair going with Trader Joes. I love their staples (their oil sprays and everyday seasoning are my LIFE), but I also enjoy shopping there because I often have no idea what I want to eat and there are always new things to try. This time I found their Chicken Shawarma first, which comes pre-marinated (I have tried several of their pre-marinated meats, they change the flavors out pretty regularly, all have been excellent). From there, I got a bunch of veggies I felt would go well with it and voila–meals prepped! This meal prep makes 4 salads.

INGREDIENTS:

COOK:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Lightly spread/spray a foil lined baking sheet with olive oil. Add your potatoes and drizzle/spray with olive oil. Cover them with as much Everyday Seasoning as your heart desires, then toss them on the foil to make sure the seasoning and oil are spread around. Bake 18 minutes or until golden brown. Store in tupperware.

Cook the chicken to the package instructions, I made mine using coconut oil spray for the pan. Store in tupperware.

To make the salad, fill a large bowl with the cruciferous crunch salad mix (roughly 1/4 the bag). Then, heat your dressing about 30 seconds so that it is warm. Cover the salad mix with your warm dressing and stir. This will help the kale to soften slightly, trust me it’s worth it. Then, heat 1/4 of your chicken and 1/4 of your potatoes 1 minute in the microwave, or until warm. Add to your salad. Add onion and either 1 teeny avocado or half a regular avocado. Mix it all together and enjoy!

XOXO,
Truett

Chunky Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

I know chocolate chip cookies are generally pretty basic, but lately they’re the one dessert I’ve really been craving. I very much believe in eating healthy and working out regularly, but even more than that I believe in balance. I give myself one cheat meal (sometimes cheat DAY, shhh) per week, and these chocolate chip chunks of love hit the spot every time. They are super quick and easy to make, which makes me wonder why people even bother with store bought dough because home made cookies are soooo much better!

Funny story about this week’s batch…I was making my cookies to take to a friend’s house for dinner last night when my night got completely ruined. After I set my first tray aside to cool, I went upstairs to shower quickly while my second set baked in the oven. When I came downstairs I saw my dog licking his lips like he just had the treat of a lifetime. I ran to the kitchen, and lo and behold 5 of the 8 cookies from the first batch were missing. I immediately went into panic mode because chocolate is poisonous to dogs. After spending 30 minutes on the phone with poison control, I had no choice but to stay in to monitor my dog in case he got sick. Luckily he ended up being fine, probably because he’s almost 100 pounds, but I had to miss dinner with friends…which resulted in me eating my feelings with way more cookies than I’m willing to admit. Moral of the story: don’t put your fresh baked cookies on the counter where your furry friends can reach them.

These babies have just the right amount of crunch on the outside and the perfect chew on the inside so give them a go this weekend and I guarantee you’ll never NOT make them from scratch ever again.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup room temperature unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

10-12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (depends how chocolate-y you want your cookies). My favorite are Ghirardelli.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter with both sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs until mixed. Add flour mixture slowly until fully combined. Stir in chocolate chips with a spoon or spatula.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoon size chunks of dough two inches a part onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake until cookies are light golden brown, 10-15 minutes (depending how large your chunks are). Remove from oven, let cool 1-2 minutes on baking sheet and transfer to wire rack or serving dish to finish cooling. Yields 20-25 cookies.

***The dough freezes really well, so if you’re like me and only want a few cookies at a time, freeze portions of your dough in sandwich bags to save for whenever you’re craving something sweet!

Enjoy!

xo, Ashley

Tinga Tostadas

This is one of my favorite recipes to make, with the added bonus that it is very easy. The recipe for the chicken tinga comes from one of my best friend’s moms, who is Mexican. Since it is a family recipe, none of the measurements were ever truly written down. The recipe is made to taste, so while this is my best attempt at writing it down,  you will want to taste as you go and edit as you like!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb chicken breast, cut into large strips
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce, ideally no salt added
  • 1 can adobo (chipotle) peppers
  • 1/2 large white onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 head of lettuce, shredded
  • 1 package corn tostada shells
  • 1 cube, packet or spoonful chicken bouillon powder
  • Sour cream and hot sauce (ideally Valentina or Cholula), optional

COOK:

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add your onion, 3 cloves garlic and chicken strips to the water (make sure they are not too small, you are only cutting them so that it cooks slightly faster). Boil until the chicken is cooked all the way through (around 10-12 minutes, cut a piece to test). Remove chicken from water and set aside to cool. Save the boiled water for your sauce.

While the chicken cools, make your sauce. In a blender, combine tomato sauce, one adobo pepper, chicken bouillon. Fill half the tomato sauce can with your reserved boiled water and add to your sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste. This is where the recipe gets a little tough. Personally, I usually add another adobo pepper (I love spicy!!), a lot of salt and/or more chicken bouillon. This is really to your taste, so you will just want to add things slowly to the sauce until it tastes perfect to you! Set sauce aside.

Now you will need to shred your chicken. I was taught to do this by hand, which is why the chicken needs to cool and why you want the chicken in strips so that when you peel it into shreds, they are long. Once your chicken is all shredded, combine it with your sauce. Everything will be too cold to serve at this point, so heat it for a few minutes back on the stove.

To make your tostadas: layer chicken, lettuce, sour cream and hot sauce on your tostada shell. You can also go a little outside the original family recipe (like I did in the photo) and add a layer of beans below the chicken. I used canned refried black beans heated with some fresh squeezed lime.

Buen provecho!
xoxo, Truett

Travel TBT: Bachelorette in Tulum!

Tulum has been on my bucket list for a while now, so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to be able to go there for my Bachelorette party with my three best friends (Truett included! Duh!) last weekend. Travel has always been such an important part of my life, so I’ve always known I didn’t want to have your typical Vegas bachelorette with a group of drunk girls walking barefoot down the strip while I’m forcibly wearing some type of bright pink “Last Hoorah” sash over my too tight/too short minidress. More power to the girls who are down for that, but I just can’t hang anymore…which is why Tulum was perfect for me.

The health and wellness aspect of Tulum is what initially drew me in. It’s always been my dream to move to a beach town for a season to teach Pilates, eat acai bowls, and bum around for a few months, and after experiencing Tulum firsthand my dream has only grown bigger (for reasons you’ll soon find out)! Just as appealing is the pure beauty of the town, beaches, and turquoise blue waters. The absence of any gimmicks and all inclusive resorts literally speaks to my soul. When I think of a tropical vacation, I don’t think of high rise resorts…I think of boutique hotels and beach bungalows. And that is EXACTLY what Tulum is.

There are tons of things to see and do and incredible food to eat, so the below itinerary is just a glimpse of the many amazing options available in beautiful Tulum. But I promise you will not be disappointed if you choose to replicate our trip!

Day One – Thursday 

This day was mostly a travel day, but we made it to Tulum by early evening so we still had a few hours to take advantage of.

AirBNB – We chose to stay in an AirBNB rather than a hotel so we didn’t have to be on top of each other with all of our suitcases and Bachelorette-y party favors (i.e. penis balloons). Our particular AirBNB was about a 10-15 minute taxi ride from the beach in an area called Aldea Zama. Our condo was super cute and modern and included all upgraded finishes. The host was great with their communication, and despite a few hiccups, we really enjoyed our stay here. If you have a smaller group or are just with a significant other, I would recommend staying at a hotel as they are all located on the beach and that’s where you will be spending most of your time.

Rosa Negra – After checking into our condo and freshening up, we took a taxi to the beach and stumbled upon Rosa Negra. A combination of our ravenous appetites and the restaurant’s beautiful decor made our decision for us and it’s a decision we did not regret! We all ordered an array of salads, tacos, empanadas, and ceviche and were in absolute Heaven. Everything was so fresh and delicious, I’m salivating even thinking about it now. 10/10 would recommend!

Day Two – Friday

Sanara Tulum – Per my future sister in law’s recommendation, we started our day off with yoga at Sanara and breakfast at The Real Coconut. I cannot think of a better way to start my day or a more beautiful setting to do so. The yoga studio is situated right on the beach and the retractable walls were all open so we could hear the sound of the waves crashing while we flowed through our practice. After building up an appetite we made the short walk over to The Real Coconut – the most adorable, made for Instagram cafe – where I had probably the healthiest meal of my life. In keeping up with the theme in Tulum, everything was incredibly fresh and delicious. We definitely left with happy bellies!

 

Gran Cenote – After breakfast we made our way to Gran Cenote, an amazing cavern/swimming hole. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, if not THE highlight. The water is a stunningly clear blue and it literally looked fake in some parts. We had a blast swimming and exploring the multiple caves and looking up at the bats flying around. At one point there was a torrential downpour and it was absolutely surreal. Any trip to Tulum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Gran Cenote, and when planning your visit make sure to go early to avoid the crowds!

Hartwood – Every person I know that has been to Tulum told me to go to Hartwood for dinner. We made reservations a few weeks in advance and were blown away by how fantastic the food was. Everyone in our group has slightly different palettes (one of which being vegan) so it was really cool to see how the different restaurants in Tulum were able to accommodate our different tastes. Hartwood was no exception as we all slowly died over our meals. One of the most memorable for all of us was the side sweet potato I ordered. It is unlike anything we’ve ever eaten…slowly cooked over a wood stove with honey butter and cacao (?!?!?!). TO.DIE.FOR.

Mur Mur – After dinner we strolled through town and stopped at a few boutiques and bars, but we ended up planting ourselves at the cute little bar at Mur Mur and had a great night. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I don’t drink and have been drunk only once in my life (off two glasses of wine in my old apartment with my fiancé). Considering it was my Bachelorette party, I figured I should let loose a little bit. Two glasses of rose and two shots of tequila later…I was SMASHED. My friends thought it was the most hilarious thing they’ve ever seen. “Our necks should support our heads better.” – Me

Day Three – Saturday

Ahau Tulum – We came to Ahau for breakfast on the beach and I swear to you I had the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had in my entire life. I used to live in San Diego so that’s saying A LOT.

Beach Day – One of my biggest priorities on the trip was having a day to relax on the beach. Donning the matching bathing suits my besties got for us, we found a public beach next to Azulik and rented lounge chairs for 300 pesos per person (to go toward food and drinks). After living on the freezing East Coast for the past few months this was exactly what I needed.

Posada Margherita – Most likely owned and operated by the creators of Pinterest. This Italian restaurant is one of, if not THE cutest places I have ever been to. We ate right on the beach (as in toes in the sand) during sunset and were basically on one big honeymoon because it was perfect. The pasta is made fresh and was some of the best I’ve had anywhere in the world. Something to note is that Posada does not take reservations and gets really busy during the late dinner hours so if you want to avoid waiting you may want to consider coming early.

Papaya Playa Project – Other than small bars along the main road, Tulum is fairly quiet in terms of nightlife. The one night the town really comes to life is on Saturdays at Papaya Playa Project. This beach bar turned nightclub is right on the water and has multiple levels with various bars scattered throughout. We had planned for this to be the one big night of the trip, but were unfortunately disappointed with how it turned out. The potential this place has is huge, but the whole vibe really fell flat to us. Maybe we were just unlucky, but the DJ on that particular night played nothing but lounge music and it felt like you had to be on drugs to really enjoy it. We put in a solid effort but after a couple hours we decided to head back to our AirBNB, where we ended up having an awesome time drinking and played Heads Up. LOL

Day Four – Sunday

This day was another travel day as we prepared to head home, but we managed to take advantage of our last few hours by using the bikes provided by our AirBNB to explore Tulum Town on our way to breakfast.

DelCielo – Another Instagram worthy cafe located in Tulum Town. Truett literally ordered Huevos Rancheros every day and she said her favorite was at DelCielo, which means A LOT coming from her! I had an acai bowl with a croissant on the side. 🙂

 

Three and a half days in Tulum definitely was not enough when considering all this dream of a beach town has to offer, but I was SO happy with how my Bachelorette trip turned out and I wouldn’t change a thing for the world. A special thank you goes to my best friends who gave me the trip of a lifetime. I can’t wait to return the favor on your future Bachelorettes!

If you have any questions or favorites from your past trips to Tulum you think we should know, please send us a note because we will definitely be back!

xo,

Ashley

Baked Tilapia

Mealprep: Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce with Baked Tilapia

As you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve recently developed some sort of dairy aversion. This has been very hard for me, as I am a cheese addict. I am still indulging in cheese on special occasions, but otherwise I am trying to stay dairy-free. So, when I found some amazing looking cauliflower at the farmer’s market, I decided to try a recipe I saved on Pinterest a while back: Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. I doubled the recipe to use a full head of cauliflower and I was thrilled that I did because it is delicious!

I baked a piece of tilapia with my leftovers each day for 15 minutes at 450, with nothing but a little Artichoke Hummus spread on top. I proceeded to eat this meal 5 days in a row without being tired of it. Let me know how you like it!

Cheers,
Truett

Travel TBT: Ashley’s Cross Country Road Trip

My life has been NUTS lately. I moved back to the Bay Area from San Diego last April, and then in December I found out I was moving to Virginia Beach. My fiancé and I immediately bought a house since they’re so affordable in Virginia, and then my brother, my doggy Atlas, and I set off on a cross country road trip to get me to my new home. Neither of us have ever driven across the country, so we wanted to make the most of our trip. If you’re a psycho, you can technically make the trip from California to Virginia in a little less than two days, but we took the most scenic of all scenic routes and took six days. We wanted to be able to see the main things in each city we stopped at, but also didn’t want to take too much time away from driving, so there are a few cities I’d love to go back and explore more in the future. Here is a breakdown of our route:

Day One: San Jose, California -> Grand Canyon, Arizona

This was one of our longest driving days. We wanted to rip the bandaid off and get the long drive over with while we were still fresh. The drive normally takes a little over 11 hours, but we were towing a little five foot trailer behind my Jeep, so between the speed limit and food/restroom stops it took a little over 12 for us to get there.

**Note: When road tripping with a trailer, make sure to look up the trailer speed limits in each state because they vary. California seems to have the strictest/slowest limits, whereas states like Texas are literally 70MPH which is both insane and awesome.

Red Feather Lodge – Because we had Atlas, we had to make sure to find pet friendly hotels along our route. Red Feather Lodge is a no frills hotel/motel combo that is only about seven miles away from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim entrance. Our room was clean and the staff didn’t freak out when they saw my 100lb dog walk in, so that’s always a good sign (a lot of hotels have weight limits on pets so make sure to do your research!).

Day Two: Grand Canyon -> Amarillo, Texas

Since Day One was strictly a travel day, we designated Day Two as our day to explore the Grand Canyon. Neither of us had ever been before and we were dying to see the beauty of the canyon for ourselves. We went to the South Rim because it’s the only part of the park that allows pets. Dogs are allowed on several trails as long as they are paved. My advice to you is to check the weather forecast before you go because the South Rim can get very windy. We were a bit unlucky and had a wind chill factor of like one million and froze our butts off, but the views of the Grand Canyon were 100% worth it. Don’t leave your cameras at home!

**Note: The South Rim has an entrance fee of $25

After exploring the canyon, we got back in the car for an 11ish hour drive to Amarillo, Texas. Amarillo was strictly a pit stop for us, although I’m sure there were spots we could have explored if we had time (ie. Cadillac Ranch – totes could’ve gotten good photos for the ‘gram, but we had other priorities).

Days Inn Amarillo East – We booked our hotels day by day when we decided where we wanted to stop each night. And because we were both on a budget and just needed places to sleep, we went with a “no frills” theme for our accommodations. Cue Days Inn Amarillo East. This hotel was pet friendly, clean, and incredibly cheap. We paid all of $45 for one night and it was great for what we needed.

Day Three: Amarillo -> Waco -> Austin, Texas

This is where our detour began. If we had any time restrictions we would have made a straight shot across the country from Amarillo, but we chose to go the southern route instead.

Waco – If you’re like me and are a huge Fixer Upper fan, you HAVE to stop at Magnolia Market at the Silos. I cannot rave about this place enough…it’s like adult Disneyland. My brother had never heard of Fixer Upper and even he was impressed. The entire property is incredibly well done and thought out, and every single employee I encountered was genuinely the nicest person I had ever met. Atlas was basically a celebrity himself there because all the employees couldn’t get enough of him (and also had doggy treats on hand!).

Most of the property is pet friendly other than the turf area and bakery, so we were able to take Atlas inside the market…which was unbelievable. I wish I could have taken everything home with me. It even smelled amazing. But I do have to say the prices were crazy expensive. Even unreasonable in some cases. But Chip & Jo have created their own little tourist destination in a town no one would ever have considered stopping in before (unless you’re a Baylor fan of course), so I can see how they can get away with the prices.

For lunch we had a selection of food trucks to choose from outside, and we went with Cheddar Box. My brother and I both had The Boss – bacon, gouda, and basil on sourdough bread….which was soo good! We obviously needed dessert as well, so we hit the Silos Baking Co before getting back on the road. We got chocolate chip cookies for our lunch dessert (massive and delicious) and chocolate cupcakes for dinner dessert (so tasty and so moist). 10/10 would recommend!

 

Austin – After exploring all The Silos had to offer, we made the 1.5ish hour drive to Austin, our final stop of the day. I had always heard great things about Austin and was super excited to get there. We didn’t have a whole lot of time, but we wanted to at least see a few of the main sites.

Unfortunately for us, most of the BBQ spots recommended by friends (see Truett’s Austin guide here) were closed by the time we got there (I mean we got in town at 6pm, which isn’t late…ugh), but we were still able to get down on some mean BBQ at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. My brother got beef ribs and I got pork, both of which were fantastic. Definitely make sure to get a side of mac and cheese!

The next morning we made our way to the other side of town to get breakfast at Jo’s, home to the notorious “I Love You So Much” wall. What would a trip to Austin be without a basic ass photo in front of it, am I right? Lucky for us Jo’s had outdoor seating because we had Atlas, so my brother and I both ordered and loved the breakfast tacos. He also really enjoyed his flat white coffee (I can’t vouch for it because I don’t drink coffee, but take his word for it!)

After walking around town a bit we hopped back in the Jeep for the next leg of our trip.

Day Four: Austin -> New Orleans, Louisiana 

New Orleans was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Neither of us had ever been and after eating shitty fast food almost every day, we were excited to get our hands on some good quality, world renowned food.

New Orleans Courtyard Hotel – We knew we were going to have to spend more on a hotel in New Orleans than we had been so far on our trip, but we didn’t want to go too out of our budget so we chose the New Orleans Courtyard Hotel. The hotel itself is really pretty and has a lot of the charm you look for in old New Orleans’ architecture, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the location. It’s situated right on the outskirts of the French Quarter and is technically in a safe neighborhood, but it was a little close to some sketchy areas so that’s something to take into consideration. We were completely safe and so was our trailer parked behind the hotel, but instead of walking anywhere we chose to uber instead. The next time I go back to New Orleans, however, I will definitely be staying within the heart of the French Quarter.

Cochon – There are practically millions of good restaurants in New Orleans, so it was really hard to pick which one we should try on our one and only night in the city. Per google’s recommendation, we went with Cochon. The restaurant itself has a great casual vibe and the food is fantastic. We both ordered the braised short ribs and they were sooooo yummy and tender. I think my brother’s favorite part about dinner was the bread they brought to the table…he literally could not stop talking about it lol.

Bourbon Street – No trip to The Big Easy would be complete without a visit to Bourbon Street. Neither my brother nor I drink so we had no intentions of getting on the same level everyone else was on, but we HAD to experience the famous debauchery of Bourbon Street. It wasn’t super crazy because it was pretty cold outside, but I can only imagine what it looks like during the warmer months or Mardi Gras. In case you’re wondering, yes Bourbon Street is gross. Unless you’re completely hammered, there isn’t much appeal (other than amazing people watching), but we did find an awesome jazz bar that we were able to listen/watch live music at. A lot of the locals recommended we go to Frenchmen Street instead, which apparently is the “new Bourbon Street.” We didn’t have enough time to check it out, but I definitely plan to on my next trip.

Day Five: New Orleans -> Atlanta, Georgia

We had planned to start Day Five off by exploring the French Quarter, but a freak storm had started to hit the South and we unfortunately had to change our plans and get on the road. But not before a quick trip to the famous Cafe Du Monde! Let me tell you…IT IS WORTH THE HYPE. I mean, wow. I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet and the beignets are just DIVINE. I had three to myself, and they are not small. We went to the original French Market location on Decatur Street because 1. we wanted the full experience, and 2. I had read online that they allow dogs on their patio. I was really disappointed when they refused to let us sit down with Atlas, so instead of enjoying our beignets and coffee there, we had to trek back to our car in a rain/hail storm.

After our powdered sugar breakfast, we made what was supposed to be a seven hour drive to Atlanta. The hail in New Orleans eventually turned to snow and it did not stop until we got to Virginia the following day, so the drive ended up taking almost two hours longer than it should have. Apparently most of the south is not equipped for big snow storms, so by the time we got to Atlanta the entire city was shut down. Even fast food and gas stations! We were starving, tired, and sick of being in the car after five straight days…so of course the front desk agent at The Extended Stay we made reservations at took one look at Atlas and said they had a weight limit on pets. This was not listed on their website, and they were unwilling to make an exception considering the massive storm. So at 9pm in the middle of what was basically a deserted island, we had to drive around and find a hotel that would allow a large dog. We eventually found Baymont Inn & Suites in Marietta. The hotel was nothing special in any way, but we were grateful to have a place to shower and sleep. Once we settled in and remembered how starving we were, we drove around to find any sign of life/food. We found Marietta Diner, which I had surprisingly enough seen on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. Needless to say, our bellies were happy and we were able to end our chaotic day on a good note.

Day Six: Atlanta -> Virginia Beach, Virginia

I’m sure you can imagine how badly we wanted to get the hell out of Atlanta. Luckily we weren’t missing anything by leaving town early because both of us had been there before. Atlanta is great and I definitely recommend checking it out…just don’t go during a freaking blizzard.

The drive from Atlanta to Virginia Beach takes about nine-ish hours, and by that point in our road trip we were just ready to get to our destination. Because the snow hadn’t yet stopped, there was barely anyone on the roads. This actually worked out in our favor though because Sean can drive in the snow blindfolded while towing a semi truck without flinching, so although we were tired, the last leg of our trip was pretty seamless.

Once we got to VA Beach we were down for the count, but we had SO much fun on our trip. I have to admit, before we set off I was worried about how the trip was going to go with Sean. He is hands down one of the coolest people on earth…anyone will tell you that, but six days in a car with anyone can possibly make you go insane. I wasn’t even sure what the hell we would talk about for that long, but all of those worries were silly because we had such a great time. Not only did we get to see some of the coolest sites/cities this country has to offer, but we made quality memories together that we will never forget. Most impressively, we didn’t fight once…not even in Atlanta when our hangry levels were at all time highs.

When planning a road trip, make sure to choose your copilot wisely…and most importantly, have fun and be safe!

xo, Ashley

 

If you’re in need of a good laugh, check out this video of what happens when an antsy 100lb dog is sick of sitting in the back seat.

Warm Winter Salad

Mealprep: Warm Winter Salad with Miso Dressing

New year, new me! Just kidding. New year, same salad meal prepping life.

It has been RECORD level cold in New York City lately, so the idea of a cold lunch makes me want to never leave bed. I decided to make some spicy tofu and veggies to put over greens. This recipe made me 3 lunches.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 14oz Package of Tofu (I prefer Extra Firm)
  • 1 Bunch of Asparagus, ends removed and chopped into thirds
  • 1 8oz Package of Mushrooms
  • 2 tbs Tahini
  • 2 tbs Miso Paste
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • Sriracha, Soy Sauce
  • Mixed Greens
  • Coconut Oil Spray (or oil of your choice)

COOK:

Pat your tofu dry with paper towels: the more dry it is, the more crispy it will get! Chop your tofu into small squares. Heat a spray of coconut oil on your pan over medium high heat. Add tofu to the pan, then cover in sriracha and soy sauce to taste. I love spicy, so I feel my measurements here are not normal. Overall, just ensure some sauce gets on each piece of tofu. Cook on one side approx 3 mins, then flip and cook on the other side 3 mins or to your preferred level of crisp. Set aside.

Add another spray of coconut oil to the same pan. Add your asparagus and mushrooms. Add a dash of soy sauce. Cook until tender (approx 6 minutes, but taste an asparagus!). Put into tupperware with your tofu.

For the dressing: stir miso paste in 2tbs of very hot water until it dissolves. Mix in the tahini paste until fully dissolved. Squeeze the lemon in. Mix it a little extra for good measure. Store to pack for work or put right on your salad!

When you’re ready to eat the salad, divide a third of your mushroom, asparagus and tofu mix and heat it up in a microwave for 1 minute. Layer the warm mix over a generous handful of mixed greens. Add dressing, enjoy!

Enjoy!
Truett