Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Adventures in Blue Ridge

As I mentioned, April 9th was our 2 year anniversary. Last year, we went on a cruise that we planned together. This year, Mike wouldn't tell me where we were going...I still didn't really even know once we got there. His list of what I needed to pack was a little bizarre so needless to say, I was slightly concerned...

We ended up in Blue Ridge, GA, which is about 2 hours north of us. We turned into a lodge-style hotel, which turned out to be AH-mazing! It's called Serenity in the Mountains and it really was great. I would totally go back and stay there again. It's like the love child of a spa and a lodge. The suites were huge, clean, and beautiful. Check this out...

The bathroom was practically the size of the entire first floor of my house.

We could throw a party for 10 people in that shower. 

This is where I spent Friday and Saturday night. Ahhh....

The bed was SO comfortable! It was king sized, which we decided that we need since we both like to sprawl out, and our 20 pound dog somehow takes up the entire bed. 

They had a thing for bears. Pictures of bears on the walls, lamps with bears in the suite...

So by now, you're probably thinking we spent the entire weekend hanging out with our bear lamps, right? Nope! We had adventures, people. 

On Saturday morning, we drove up to Tennessee and went white water rafting! It was my first time going and it was actually a lot of fun. We did a 5 mile ride down the Ocoee River.

That's not us, but that's exactly where we were. We drove around and watched the other people battle the splashing when we were done.

One of the Olympic competition sites from 1996.

For those of you who watch Cupcake Wars on Food Network, this was the winning team from last year! We got the winning S'mores cupcake and it did not disappoint. 

This is "downtown." You're looking at the tallest buildings there! 

I made a new friend.

After our anniversary dinner (don't we look so tired from all that rafting?)

On Sunday, we got up and went horseback riding! I hadn't been in so long. I grew up going to the stables with my aunt, who was an avid horseback rider, and in high school, I worked as an assistant horseback riding instructor at summer camp.

I know what you're thinking - that helmet is really flattering on me. 

We rode through the Chattahoochee National Forrest for about 3-4 hours. It was really nice and fortunately, our horses behaved themselves. Before we left, we also stopped at Mercier Orchards. They have an awesome store with tons of products - fresh peach and apple cider, pies, sauces, and every type of jam, preserve and butter you can think of. And all of it's made on-site! Of course, we stocked up. I'm dying to go back in the Fall so we can go apple picking!

This little lady hopped out of the woods to say "hi!"

It was a really nice weekend and I'm definitely itching to go back - especially when it's hot out because I can only imagine how good that water will feel in the summer! Mike also treated us to a couples massage at the spa on-site, on Saturday afternoon. I must say, it was one of the BEST massages and very well needed. 

Thank you, babe - you did well! :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fancy Sauteed Green Beans

Last Tuesday, Mike and I celebrated our 2 year anniversary. I can't believe it's been 2 years already. Time definitely flies! We had SUCH a fun wedding! I seriously would not have done anything differently. It was perfect, unique, and definitely represented who we are. People still talk about it, so I know it was a success :)

For our anniversary, I decided to surprise Mike and recreate what we ate for dinner the night of our wedding. The food at the Hyatt was no joke - it was pretty amazing. We did a sit down dinner and had the choice of chicken, grouper, or filet. I had the grouper and Mike had the filet however, grouper is not so easy to find right now, so I ended up making a filet for me too. We also had roasted potatoes, a veggie medley, and pretzel rolls. I looked back on pics to refresh my memory - I even wanted the potatoes to look the same. The veggies were some sort of medley that had green beans, yellow squash, carrots, and tomatoes. I had no idea how they were cooked, so I winged it...and they were SO good! Unfortunately, I was too focused on coming up with the recipe, that I forgot to measure everything. I used my best judgement in this recipe, but the good thing is that you can add or take away the ingredients to your liking and it will still taste good. I also made it for 2 people, so just adjust the ingredients to make more.

Sauteed Green Beans:

- Fresh green beans (enough for 2 people), washed and trimmed
- One small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
- 1 to 2 carrots, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes, cut in half
- Half of a small onion, thinly sliced.
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- One tablespoon unsalted butter
- One tablespoon olive oil
- One clove of minced garlic

*For the carrots and squash, I used a vegetable peeler to slice them, so they were very thin and "ribbon-like."

Steam green beans in the microwave or stove top for a few minutes, until crisp-tender.
In a large pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute more.

Add the carrots, squash, and tomatoes and saute, stirring for 1 minute.

Add the green beans and chicken broth. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The finished product was great! Dinner was delicious and Mike was surprised. Not shown are the crab cakes we had as appetizers (they were one of the apps served during cocktail hour and happened to be our favorite).

And yes, we did eat a piece of our ORIGINAL cake! Goes to show that a boat load of saran wrap and a good freezer will work wonders :)

Almond cake with dulce de leche filling...we couldn't decide on flavors since we liked them all, so each tier was a different flavor!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Oh, Hi There!

Bet you thought I disappeared, huh? Sorry...when I say it's been a crazy few weeks, I'm not kidding! I promise to have some new posts up this week. I recently started a new job, so by the time I get home, work out, cook dinner, and do all the fun household stuff, I'm ready to crash! Mike and I celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary last week, and he took me on a surprise trip this past weekend. I'll tell you all about it, plus, I have a new recipe to share and some pics of me on TV! Stay tuned, friends. I'm not gone...just adjusting :)