So you may notice that I did not start this post out with a recap of recent workouts. Well uh, that’s because I’m on workout lockdown until further notice from my ear doctor. You may recall from my last post that I was getting ready to have surgery to repair a perforated ear drum. I went in Friday morning for an 8:15 surgery and was home by…well, I really have no idea what time it was because I was so out of it from the anesthesia. 😳 But the surgery went well, according to Doc. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I am forbidden to partake in any strenuous activity until follow up, which isn’t for another TWO WEEKS. I specifically remember, pre-surgery, right before they put me under, asking the Dr. to clarify exactly what he meant by “strenuous activity”. I was hoping I would at least be allowed to cycle, given its relatively low impact as far as pounding on the body. But nope, no such luck. I cannot do anything that will raise my heart rate and cause any sort of strain as far as increased blood flow to the head. Which eliminates anything other than strolls with the puppies. For two weeks. I really am going to struggle with this. This blog will either get really boring or really interesting. 😉
So, no food recaps til Saturday evening…I was pretty much laid up and not hungry for all of Friday and into Saturday morning. However, I made a miraculous recovery just in time for Saturday afternoon wine tastings and dinner. 😉 We headed to three great little wine stores: Vino Vino in North Asheville/Woodfin; The Wine Guy, also in N. Asheville; and the Appalachian Vintner, near Biltmore Village. I was especially excited about the featured Spanish reds at the Vintner. All three places are so homey and hospitable – none of the “wine snobbery” you hear about at stuffy wine tastings. If you’ve never been to a wine tasting, I highly encourage you to check one out! They are fun and educational, and who doesn’t enjoy free wine (however, it is kind of nice if you make a purchase, sort of an “exchange” for the wine and snacks they’re feeding you – and the featured bottles are always offered at a discount).
We followed the final wine stop with dinner with friends at a local favorite restaurant, Rezaz. It was right down the road from the Vintner and also features a great wine selection, so it was a no-brainer. I did not have my camera with me, but I got the sea bass and it was divine. The menu changes seasonally and they don’t have the most recent one posted on their site or I could be more specific. Anyway, everyone was thrilled with their selections and as always, the service was perfect.
Sunday morning brought pancakes a la Joe and a couple of slices of bacon. Here is the recipe that Joe loosely follows for his pancakes. Note the source – if you don’t own a copy of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I highly recommend it – especially if you are a novice cook. We acquired our first one as a leftover treasure in a house that we moved into back when we were renting – the previous renters must have left it behind. We proceeded to use and abuse the paperback for the following eight years, until it fell apart and had to be duct-taped back together in several places. I just recently replaced it this past Christmas. It is like an encyclopedia of cooking. If I ever had a question about what something was or how to do something in the kitchen, I pulled that book down and looked it up. It always has an answer. Not to mention the delicious, no-fuss recipes that emphasize fresh ingredients and simple cooking methods. It’s not a diet cookbook or a health food cookbook, but it can’t be beat for everyday, go-to simplicity. Which was exactly what I needed as I first got started in the kitchen. I can seriously credit it with much of the kitchen knowledge I have today.
OK, enough with the promotional schpeil. I ♥ Fannie Farmer. 🙂
Sunday afternoon we had big plans: a picnic on the Parkway! We stopped at Homegrown to pick up lunch, packed it in the cooler, and headed out. I can’t even begin to start with the deliciousness that is Homegrown. Just check the link and let your mouth water. SO GOOD. Unfortunately, our picnic lunch nearly became a picnic dinner. As seems to always be the case when attempting a Parkway excursion around Asheville, we ran into closed roads and long detours that lead to more closed roads. Two hours later, we finally parked the car, strapped on cooler and backpack, and hiked through the road barricade that greeted us about six miles before our intended destination. We found a nice little spot to spread out a blanket and proceeded to dig in.
I had the “Redneck Cuban” sandwich, which was pulled pork and apple slaw yumminess. Joe had an unpictured buttermilk fried chicken sandwich. Both would have been much better hot, but were still delicious as they were.
We followed lunch with a short, “non-strenuous” walk through the woods with the pups. I was going nuts with the slow pace and lack of incline but I just worked through it. 😯
Earlier in the day on Sunday, I had the rare pleasure of menu planning. Joe has been out of town for three of the last four weeks, but is in town this week, so I was inspired to actually plan some meals. When I plan, it usually consists of leisurely page-turning in a favorite cookbook and/or recent issue of a magazine, or blog browsing. And sometimes both. I took about an hour to do that and here’s what I came up with:
Now, I can’t pretend that I save a lot of money by menu planning. I think we shop pretty economically even when we don’t plan, and actually, I sometimes finding myself spending more to get a specific spice or unique produce to fulfill a recipe. But it usually all ends up being about the same. My main reasons for menu planning are FUN, INSPIRATION, and stress-reduction. It’s really nice to not have to come up with a meal plan at 6:45 on a weeknight after a day at work and the gym. Plus, I really love trying new things.
Thanks to the inspiration of a fellow blogger, Peanut Butter Runner, last night’s meal was tropically inspired. Like her, we have been daydreaming about and researching tropical vacations, and that combined with her recent post with this meal, I couldn’t resist:
Coconut shrimp, plantains, and black beans with onions and jalapenos. This was so good and not too difficult. My shrimp didn’t get pretty and golden brown but otherwise it turned out great. Oh, and I fried the plantains this time. 😳
Breakfast this morning was oatmeal, but not cooked. It sounds weird but it’s really pretty good.
Gross picture. Sorry. In this bowl: oats, Bob’s Mill 10-Grain Hot Cereal, milk, apples, flax seeds, dried cranberries, and almond butter. It’s kind of like granola with fruit when it’s all said and done. Again, I have Peanut Butter Runner to thank for this idea – Thanks, Jen! 🙂
I’m keeping my non-exercising self occupied with kitchen activities all week, so I gotta go and get started on dinner! Up tonight: pasta primavera. Look for a recap in an upcoming post. Thanks for reading!
Have you ever been told you were not able to exercise for any significant length of time? What did you do to keep yourself busy??