Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer "Salad"

Sometimes I feel like I develop the weirdest salads because I make them based on what I'm craving at the time. I have gotten into non-lettuce "salads" recently based on some great dips that I've had at parties or gatherings. Why can't I just eat dip and call it a meal? :) 

Last night I realized that I needed something for lunches this week at work. Since I haven't had a chance to go grocery shopping in a week, I went straight to the pantry. Ahhhhh, a can of artichoke hearts. I am seriously addicted to artichoke hearts lately and I can come up with anything if I have a can of these tasty treats!

Lindsay's Everything "Salad"
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
- 1 small can black olives, drained

I mixed them all together! Yes, people, it's just that easy!

I did not dress the salad with anything so that I could put a different dressing on it each day. Last night I placed some of the salad on heated leftover rice with soy sauce. Today, I had the salad for lunch with Trader Joe's Caesar dressing. TASTY! You could easily turn this into a dip for a party - add some onion, tomato, and jalapeno and you instantly have a Texas-style caviar!

Note: If you use a can or jar of marinated artichoke hearts, you do not need to drain the can/jar. You can simply put the juices from the marinated hearts in your salad and it creates an instant dressing. Again, it's just that easy!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

First Motorcycle Trip

The weekend of June 9th I experienced my first motorcycle trip and it was FUN! Pete didn't have the girls so we decided to take advantage of a free weekend together and go somewhere. Knowing that he loves being on the motorcycle, I mentioned that we should do an overnight somewhere with my dad, who is also an avid motorcyclist. I was also excited to experience being on a motorcycle for more than two hours.



Pete, my dad, and I, along with our friends Doug and Renea (who we met here in Green Bay) had an amazing weekend covering about 550 miles of Wisconsin. The four of us (minus my dad because he was coming up from Chicago) left Green Bay on Saturday morning about 8:00 a.m. and rode south through Kettle Moraine. That is a beautiful area of Wisconsin that I'll have to explore some more.

We then headed West, although I have no idea what route we took, and met my dad in Beaver Dam and stopped awhile after that for lunch in Baraboo. I was in awe of how beautiful Wisconsin is West of Baraboo. Not to say that the rest of Wisconsin isn't beautiful, but I prefer rolling hills and small mountains and that is what we were able to see. The photos below were taken at Wildcat Mountain State Park, which was awesome!


Lindsay & Pete

Lindsay & Dad (Paul)
We hit the Mississippi River and headed south to spend the night in Prairie du Chien. The five of us enjoyed dinner in McGregor, Iowa at Old Man River Restaurant. The food and beverages were tasty after a long day on the bike. If you head to Prairie du Chien and spend the night at the Best Western Bluffview, Hatesh will talk your ear off, but he is very nice!

On Sunday, we headed out early and road along the Wisconsin River and into Baraboo so my dad could head south back to Chicago. We enjoyed a leisurely ride back to Green Bay, at which point my sore butt was ready for a break from the ride. I think I did really well my first trip on the bike and can't wait to do it again!

Lindsay's Top 10 Novice Motorcycle Trip Thoughts
1. Lesson #1: Keep cameras VERY TIGHTLY on the bike. I learned a very expensive lesson (note the lack of photos above). Purchasing a new camera will be on my list this year.
2. During hot days, one can get dehydrated quickly on a motorcycle. It isn't easy to just grab a bottle of water, nor do you want to have to stop to go to the bathroom all the time.
3. Extra padding on a motorcycle seat only goes so far for your butt! Aleve is my new best friend.
4. Wearing boots with a heel on a motorcycle sucks; I will be purchasing new boots before another trip!
5. When you get too close to the driver, your helmets smack together. It gets annoying for both people after several times.
6. Leave valuables and hair products at home. Really...there is no need to wear jewelry or do anything with your hair when it will be under a helmet or windblown.
7. I'm glad that I am a light packer and having a limited amount of room makes you realize what you can live without for a couple of days.
8. The sink turns black every time you wash your hands...you have no idea how dirty you get on a motorcycle until you've done a trip like this.
9. I had no idea my dad smokes so many cigars!
10. I will always take the opportunity to visit the West side of Wisconsin. What a beautiful part of the state!

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Beau is an Inspiration

Pete is an incredible athlete! He was clearly born an athlete and he enjoys a very active lifestyle. I admire it, I'm inspired by it, and I'm starting to "drink the kool-aid". He grew up an avid skier, cyclist, sailor, swimmer, etc. By "drink the kool-aid," I mean that I want to be more active and set goals for myself, but I don't want to do a sprint triathlon!

This past weekend, Pete participated in the Green Bay Sprint Triathlon, which consists of a 400m swim, 15 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run. It was his goal to place in the top three of his age group.

Since Pete's mom is in town and she offered to watch the girls, I had the opportunity to watch and cheer him on, which was fantastic. I just hope that he appreciated my cheering (aka, screaming) at him during every transition! :) I knew he was doing really well in the race when he entered the bike to run transition area and he was arriving between groups of people that started several waves ahead of him at the beginning of the race.


Swim to Bike

Leaving for 15 mile bike ride
Leaving for 3.1 mile run

He is a fast cyclist and I was in awe at how fast he rode the 15 miles. I don't think the run is his favorite part, but he ran quickly through three miles. I was counting many of the sprint triathlon participants coming through the finish and I knew he finished high overall.


DONE!!

Congrats to Pete for finishing first in his age group and 14th overall.

1,500 Mile Road Trip

Several months ago, my good friend Sara mentioned that she really wanted to take a trip somewhere. I mentioned that I would be in for a road trip and suggested we do something over Memorial Day weekend. Luckily, she thought it was a great idea.

Now that it is over, I can honestly say that it was a great idea! 1,500 miles in four days! We are rocking women! We were very fortunate in our travels; we only had about 45 minutes or so of traffic around Chicago and other than that, we didn't run into any traffic or accidents. I was glad to see that in 1,500 miles, there were no accidents! We saw a lot of police while we were heading south, but barely any heading back north.

Coming back from Nashville, we took I-24 to I-57 in Illinois. I HIGHLY recommend this route going north and south. There was almost no road construction on I-57 and hardly any cops or semi-trucks. There weren't any big towns, which I assume cut down on cops and trucks. However, it was A LOT of farmland!

Yeah, who would have guessed?? Farmland through the Midwest!

We left on Thursday and quickly (but safely) drove south. We spent the first night a little south of Louisville. Next time I'll have to spend some time in Louisville; it looked like a great city with a lot to offer. We woke up Friday morning and hit the road to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. I would love to say that we had a great time tasting bourbon and causing a ruckus, but we didn't. We were good and didn't even taste the bourbon...in our defense, it was 10:00 a.m.! We enjoyed visiting Jim Beam and Maker's Mark.

Maker's Mark is extremely beautiful. It is tucked away and takes you off the beaten path. My GPS decided to really take us off the beaten path. It took us through several farm and country roads that we probably should not have been on. But, we made it (again safely)!

Sara at Jim Beam




After we bought some bourbon, we headed south again, this time with the directions from Maker's Mark to I-65 so we avoided scary roads that seemed to lead to nowhere! We arrived at Mammoth Caves and on our way there, Sara realized that the time zone shifted from EST to CST and we were two hours early! So, we took advantage of the break and sat under some shade and read for a little bit.

Then we got our two hour break from the 96-degree temperatures! We enjoyed the underground cave tour in 55-degree temperatures - I've never been so happy to feel cold! Unfortunately neither of our cameras could do the place justice, so there are just a couple of photos below.
 


The camera was picking up the dust - those circles are not ghosts!
Although, there are a couple of people buried in the cave!

That is just deep!!

This was a great area! You had to squeeze through very tiny spaces!

After the cave tour on Friday, we headed south (again!) and spent the night in Bowling Green, KY. We found a hotel with an outside pool so that we could read and relax a little bit - as well as give our fannies a break from driving! I'd also like to mention that Sara and I were both well into Fifty Shades of Grey so we had to have time to read.

Friday morning we hit the road (South!!) and crossed the Tennessee border about 10:15 a.m. We were excited to see a winery right off the highway - how convenient! Oh dear, what are two ladies supposed to do? TASTE WINE! And we enjoyed a little time behind the bar as well!

I believe this is one of the few photos of both of us!
After our wine tasting, we headed to Nashville. We stopped at the Opryland Hotel because I told Sara that she had to see the beautiful lobby area. Upon entering the parking lot and discovering it was $18 to park (but your first twenty minutes were free) I told Sara to get her running shoes ready! We made it out with a few minutes to spare!

I don't know why this photo is giving me an attitude, but it won't rotate normally like all the other photos.
So, here is a beautiful sculpture in the Opryland Hotel lobby.

Opryland Hotel

Opryland Hotel
After the hotel, we headed over to the Grand Old Opry just to check out their gift shop. Can we say expensive?? By this time we were starving and realized that we were next to an outlet mall. We ate lunch at the very tasty Claim Jumper restaurant and did a little shopping. We (once again) needed  a break from the 95+ degree temperatures.

After some shopping, we headed downtown to Broadway and 2nd Streets where all the honkey tonks exist. These are bars (mostly country bars) that have live music almost all day long. It was great to honkey tonk bar hop and check out the cheap, tacky gift shops too. I think we spent about four hours listening to music and it was great. We had a wonderful time!



Drink and ride around Nashville. Interesting!

A little Honkey Tonk country music!


My friend Jennifer from college was nice enough to invite us to stay with her in Nashville, but it was a very quick visit! We left Nashville about 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and had all intentions of stopping along the way to see stuff, but there really wasn't much to take in, so by the time we hit Chicago around 5:00 p.m., we decided to just head straight home. That was a long day in the car!! It was a great trip with a great friend...and we discovered that we travel well together, which is always a bonus.