31 July 2015

A Southern Twenty-Five on Friday!

Um, tomorrow's August? July kind of flew by faster than I thought it was going to but as excited as I was about July, I'm probably equally excited about it being August. Betcha can't guess why...

{one}
FIVE weeks until football season! It's officially time to bust out the old tailgate box, clean it out, and restock for this season.


It's probably also time to replace these guys. Maybe.


{two}
But the start of August also means that tomorrow morning is Day 1 of half marathon training. Distance runs, hill runs, speed workouts...


Oh Boy.

Can't wait for another hot, humid, muggy morning run!

{three}
At least I'll be running around on Kiawah for that run?


{four}
I've been meaning to stop by Blue Flour Bakery ever since I heard about it/saw pictures of their super cute cookies. I stopped by last weekend and grabbed this blue fish sugar cookie.


Y'all, these cookies are awesome. The only problem I have is that I don't work anywhere near them and they're only open 10-5 on weekdays and for a little bit on Saturday. All I know is that I need more of these cookies in my life, pronto.

{five}
... might have gone back on Tuesday after leaving work early for an appointment this week to snag two more cookies.


What can I say? They're delicious and slightly addictive.

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Linking up for another Five on Friday with April!

28 July 2015

River-ing in Columbia {Without an Actual River}

What happens when you take a Londoner out for drinks at River Rat Brewing?


She gets super excited about the flights of beer versus a tall glass of beer because everything in London is super tiny and tiny beers are better. And then this series of pictures happens...


To be fair, I like the flights of beer a lot better than getting a whole big glass of beer so I can't really blame Amy for that. We got a flight to split that included:
2 Broad River Reds
2 Patersbier
1 Hazelnut Brown
1 American Kolsh Story


Nothing new or out of the ordinary there this time.


Afterwards, Patrick and I drove to Riverbanks Zoo for their Member's Night Out event. Can we talk about how much more enjoyable the zoo is when it isn't a million degrees outside when you're walking around? It was still fairly warm but it was a cooler {read: sub-100 degrees} day on Friday and a earlier rainstorm had cooled it off even more.



We missed all of the animal feedings, but had a good time walking around checking out all of the animals. You could tell that they are used to a regular schedule because all they wanted to do after 8pm was go to sleep.

The koalas had it easy - they could go to sleep whenever they wanted to {and looked super cuddly while doing so}


The giraffes? Not so much. We watched them walk towards the gate at the back of their exhibit time and time again, a little confused on why they weren't being allowed to go back to their barn to sleep.


Visit #2 to the zoo: success!

Next Up: Brew at the Zoo! ... hopefully we'll be combining my favorite brewery in Columbia {River Rat} with my favorite place to go {the zoo!}

Get excited, y'all.


24 July 2015

A Southern Twenty-Five on Friday!

How is it already Friday again? Not that I'm complaining...

Linking up for another Five on Friday with April.

{one}
Now that I have a Riverbanks Zoo membership, I can take advantage of the final Members' Night Out of the summer. They open up the zoo three nights during the summer months from 6-9pm for an after hours experience. The last one of the summer is tonight & we're definitely going.


Not sure Patrick realized what he was signing up for when he bought me this membership for my birthday!

{two}
I did a teeny, tiny bit of online shopping last week.


What? JCrew Factory was having a great sale {+ free shipping} and I managed to snag some good deals on some running & camera things on Amazon.

{three}
Three words.


Rosewood. Dairy. Bar.


YUM.

{four}
43 days until football season! Y'all. Six weeks and counting. The ACC had their media days this week and I couldn't help but get excited about football season after reading about it all week. While we're waiting for the season to start, you can check out the new tab on my blog & reminisce about the last couple of seasons.



{five}
Happy 39th anniversary to my parents! They were married 39 years ago today. Unfortunately for y'all {you're welcome, mom & dad!} I won't be sharing a throwback picture from their wedding day, I'll just share a more recent ones...



---

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

22 July 2015

Recipe: Chicken Fajita Pasta

This has quickly become a favorite meal for my parents and me. I stumbled across it on Pinterest one day and decided that we had to make it one night for supper. We made it one night last week and it was soooo delicious. It even made for great leftovers! Although, fair warning, it will stain your skirt if you accidentally drop a piece of pasta in your lap :(

It was my meal of choice to shop for and cook on Sunday night this week. I enlisted the help of my dad with the chicken cooking part {I don't know what makes that part so tricky but it is!} and with the photo documentation of the process.


Chicken Fajita Pasta
{original recipe by Kevin & Amanda}

Ingredients
1+ lbs chicken breasts
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 packet of fajita seasoning
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp minced onions
2 tbsp olive oil
1 14.5oz can chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 10oz can of Rotel
8oz penne pasta {we usually end up using 3/4 box of pasta}
1/2 tsp salt


Directions
1. Chop! Cut your chicken into small, bite sized pieces and cut up both bell peppers into small pieces as well. Mince garlic.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet on the stove. Once hot, add the chicken in a single layer, season with half a packet of fajita seasoning, and cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until browned. Remove the chicken and set to the side.
3. In the same skillet, add in another 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat back up. Once hot, add in your bell peppers, season with the remainder of the packet of fajita seasoning, and cook until peppers begin to blacken.
4. Add in garlic and minced onions, stirring until garlic becomes fragrant. Remove veggies and set to the side.
5. In the same skillet, add the broth, the cream, the Rotel, the uncooked pasta, and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the chicken and veggies back to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for about two more minutes until everything is heated through and the liquid is mostly absorbed.
7. Enjoy!



Cooking the chicken always freaks me out because it sears very quickly in the hot skillet once you drop the chicken in. Then it sticks to the pan and you try to flip it but it won't flip and ah! Dad to the rescue. He's stepped in both times we've cooked this to man the stove during this part of the cooking process. I can handle the chopping and the rest of the cooking, but the chicken part is definitely my least favorite portion.


Luckily, this meal is AMAZING and totally worth the effort.

We add a little extra pasta and chicken to the dish than the original recipe and leave out fresh onions, using minced instead. I don't add any pepper to this one because it's fairly spicy already. I'd recommend tasting this one first before deciding to go with any ground black pepper or red pepper flakes!

21 July 2015

Sunday Zooday


Sunday afternoons are the perfect time to go to the zoo. Although next time, I might pick a Sunday afternoon that is slightly cooler than it was this past weekend.


98 but feels like 107?

Whatever. We stuck it out anyway to get into the zoo to go check out the restaurant Tuskers for lunch.


It wasn't the first time that we've had food from Tuskers - they did the food for the Rhythm and Blooms events that we went to back in May. I already knew that I really liked their hamburgers and homemade chips, so I decided to get something different this time.


I went with chicken fingers and french fries while Patrick chose to order the smokehouse pulled pork sandwich with chips.


Both meals were so good! It's surprising to find not only very good food at the zoo, but really good food for a good price. $6.95/meal? I'm ok with that.

After eating, I wanted to peek in on a few of the animals before hightailing it back to the car to get out of the heat.




One of the things that I wanted to see while we were at the zoo was the new gift shop and the new entrance, both of which just opened within the last couple of weeks. Both are HUGE upgrades!



The gift shop is so much bigger and easier to navigate and the entrance is pretty fantastic, too. Somebody did a great job designing both.


Now, I'm waiting to see this exhibit open next spring. I've heard a lot about the new sea lion and seal habitat and I'm excited to see it completed. It'll be the first exhibit you see when you walk in through that super fancy new entrance.


& with that, visit #1 complete! We're going two more times over the next couple of weeks for the Member's Night Out event and then Brew at the Zoo. It's been so long since the last time I made it to Brew!

... like 6 years ago long.

Fingers crossed that I actually make it this year!

20 July 2015

Weekending Around Columbia

Comin' at y'all a little bit late this week because let's be honest, I was way too busy enjoying my lazy Sunday to get around to writing a blog post. Oops, my bad.


So y'all already know how my perfect Saturday starts in Columbia: a morning run {preferably on the River Walk} followed up with breakfast out somewhere and a trip to Soda City Market.




This weekend was no exception to the rule and I spent my Saturday morning happily enjoying all three. Has anyone been to the new Panera in downtown Columbia? I've never been the biggest fan of Panera but this new location has changed my mind about that - great spot downtown, excellent service, and the perfect bagel.


Saturday afternoon, we continued the birthday week celebrations by meeting up with some friends at River Rat Brewery for a few beers. It was unbelievably hot outside, so we ended up moving indoors for most of our time there.



A few of us did choose to take a tour of the brewery and I'll tell you what, if you're going to take a tour of River Rat, do not take that tour during the summertime! It was oh so hot inside their brewing area and the best part of the tour was when they opened up the beer cooler for us to go inside and check it out. I may have been the first one to dart inside the freezing room.



I do want to go back and take the tour again when it's a little cooler outside so I can enjoy the tour and pay attention to what's going on.

I love being able to get a larger than normal flight of beer here. Their flights are 6 beers instead of the usual 4, so it allows Patrick & me to split it and get 3 beers each to try. I chose these three:


American Kolsch Story {a tried & true favorite of mine}
Kristallwei Bbeir {a new favorite}
Patersbier {& another new favorite!}


There was a brief stop at Conquest where we took cover from the massive rainstorm that popped up {hello, Columbia in the summertime!}



We went to one of my favorite restaurants in Columbia for dinner {Sakitumi} and then over to Rocket Man for the dueling pianos and a little bit of shag dancing. If you were out on Saturday, you may have noticed that downtown was a ghost town thanks to certain activities happening a few blocks away at the statehouse. No worries. We still managed to have a fantastic time!

On Sunday, I decided to put my birthday present zoo membership to good use and Patrick and I went to RIverbanks for lunch. Wanna know how pumped Patrick was about walking around the zoo in 100+ degree heat?

Yeah. Not so much.


Riverbanks has changed so much over the last few months! I'll be doing a little bit more detailed post tomorrow about the changes that we saw yesterday plus a look at where we at lunch while we were there.


Hope everyone had a great weekend & Monday!
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