Who Has the Biggest Bowl?

Hello everyone! I am super tired right now because I stayed up until 12:30 AM to wrap Christmas presents (exchanged on Thanksgiving) and then woke up at 6 AM! Somehow before we went to bed, our alarm clock radio was turned up full blast. So when the radio alarm went off this morning I woke up to a blaring opera! I don’t think I’ve ever jumped out of bed so fast – it was pretty funny, now that I think about it. But it definitely was not amusing at the time.

I think the shock of the music may have given my body a jolt as well because I had a fantastic run this morning! Despite being a bit chilly outside at 6:30 AM (40 degrees), my body seemed to be in supercharge mode. I ran nearly 5 miles in 40 minutes and felt like I could run even more!  Typically, I do not run more than 4 miles on weekdays just because I don’t have the time.

I ended up eating my breakfast at work, which worked out just fine…

11.23 Greek Yogurt with walnuts

My Trader Joe’s Greek vanilla yogurt with walnuts kept me full until lunch. I also had a humungo cup of Tazo Awake tea love goin’ on today…

11.23 Tazo Awake Tea

My boss returned to the office today after being gone for nearly 10 days in Seoul, Korea on business. He was thoughtful enough to bring a little something back for everyone on our team (5 women). He gave me a very cute little orange purse..

11.23 Korea purse

I love the color and the soft, shiny texture. Because it is on the small and dainty side, I think I will end up using it as a jewelry carrier when I travel, rather than for a purse.

I didn’t end up eating lunch until 2 PM due to an unplanned meeting. I was sooo hungry by the time I ate my cream of chicken and wild rice soup…

11.23 Cream of Chicken with wild rice soup

It was Scott’s turn to make dinner tonight but he pulled one of my tricks and decided we should just go out to eat instead. We ended up at our favorite Asian bistro Big Bowl. We ordered our traditional crispy chicken egg rolls, which I promptly ate so fast I nearly forgot to take a picture. I was reminded by Scott only after I had already taken a bite – he he!

11.23 Big Bowl Chicken Egg Roll 

Next up, we split the make-your-own stir fry bar where we chose crispy chicken in a kung pao sauce over brown rice. We also added a bunch of fresh veggies from the stir-fry bar…

11.23 Big Bowl Stir Fry 1

Scott and I have this unspoken competition about who can fit the most veggies in the bowl. It’s all about how BIG the bowl (or the veggies in it) can get. To give him proper credit, Scott is a very good stacker and somehow manages to get twice the amount of veggies stuffed in the bowl than I think most people can. However, when he chooses the veggies, he usually choose the ones HE wants even though they are for us to share. He nearly always leaves out my favorites – mini corns, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots. So today, I took over the “big bowl”, and grabbed all of my favorites and stuffed them in. I didn’t do too bad of a job as you can see above! Aside from my three favorites, I also added:

  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini 
  • Red and Green Peppers
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Pea Pods
  • Broccoli 

Tomorrow is my last day in the office until Monday – woo hoo! Plus, I’m thinking of only working a 1/2 day so that I can run a few more errands related to my Thanksgiving family dinner.

By the way, any of you who still want to vote for your favorite foodie magazine, you have until tomorrow at 9 PM Eastern. Right now, Cooking Light is in the lead!

Have a great night everyone!

A Theme For Holiday Decorating

Hey out there in Bloggerland! Hope all is well. I just came back from a whirlwind shopping excursion. In just 1 1/2 hours, I went to 4 stores, including Target. But, before I get to the shopping details, I want to tell you about the awesome dinner I had…

11.18 Spinach Risotto 1

Scott made mesquite-rubbed chicken with crisp green beans. But, the real star of the show was the spinach risotto! He browned the rice just right which gave the whole dish a ton of flavor, plus adding spinach was a great way to get more veggies into the meal, and add a little color to the risotto. As far as the recipe, we just follow the recipe on the box – but when sauteing the rice, we add some onion; then we add spinach at the very end. Perfect!

11.18 spinach risotto 2

Now, back to shopping! Around this time of year, I start thinking about Christmas presents -who to buy for, what to buy, and what paper to wrap the gifts in. You may think it’s a little early to buy wrapping paper. However, in the past, when I’ve waited until after Thanksgiving to buy my paper, I’m left with a bunch of crap not-so-nice paper that just screams Black Friday leftovers.

Each year, I try to go with a different theme for wrapping paper, such s Toile, whimsical, Victorian, etc. Some years, I even try to match my decorations (tree, table, etc.) with my wrapping paper – that’s when we’re not in a recession of course! But, for my wrapping paper this year, I chose….woodsy!

Christmas wrapping 1

I almost always buy my Christmas wrapping from Hobby Lobby, but tonight I arrived at the store later than expected (20 minutes before they closed), so I started grabbing every roll that I liked, with no theming strategy al all. But then, I finally listened to my inner voice telling me to put everything back and just come another day when I had more time to really think about my theme.

Then, it was on to Target to pick up a few essentials – LUNA bars etc. Since I was already there, I just so happened to mosey over to the wrapping paper section. That’s when I saw all of the outdoor/tree/pine cone themed paper. I knew instantly, that was the theme for me!

Christmas wrapping 2

It’s kind of odd that I should choose to go with a woodsy/outdoor theme. I don’t like camping, hunting, or fishing, but I do love me a good pine cone! Now, all I need is some matching ribbon or twine and I’ll be all set!

So, I just have to ask – Do any of you go with a theme for your holiday wrapping? And/Or, Do you go with a particular theme for your decor or tree ornaments? If so, what themes have you done in the past and what are you going with this year?

I’m starting to fall asleep as I type, which is a very good sign I need to get to bed, don’t ya think?

Have a great night everyone!

The Thanksgiving Spirit

Hi There!

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…the Winner of the Running With Cake Explorer’s Bounty Giveaway is: #5 Christy from SweetiePotato.

Christy wrote:

my favorite type of organic chocolate is newman’s own… i’ve had the espresso dark chocolate and it was amazing! anything with a little bit of coffee flavor (especially chocolate) is fantastic, in my opinion ;)

Thank you to Christy and all of those who entered my first giveaway. And a special thank you to all of those who gave me great ideas for organic chocolate! I’m hoping to do a few more giveaways before the holidays so check back!

Speaking of the holidays, there are so many things that I love about this time of year. So, instead of giving you a recap of my day (sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing about running/eating), I wanted to share with you a few things that help me get into the Thanksgiving spirit:

11.17 Thanksgiving decorating

1. Decorating for Thanksgiving! If you can believe it, this turkey actually has a twin; because, you can never have enough turkey.

2. Watching Thanksgiving specials, like the Thanksgiving Day Parade and Charlie Brown! Yo, Chuck..

Charline Brown 2

3. Perusing the Holiday catalogs that come in the mail…

11.17 Holiday Sale magazines

Does Crate and Barrel have the best Christmas stuff or what? I feel like circling all of the things I want, just like I used to do in the toy catalogs as kid. Or maybe I could just draw one giant circle around the whole magazine! You think my husband would get the hint? 😉

4. Sipping a hot skinny mocha, peppermint mochavanilla latte, ok ANYTHING from a Starbucks Holiday cup…

11.17 Starbucks Skinny Mocha

I enjoyed this skinny cup of chocolate Joe today as my “Happy Tuesday” surprise.


5. Reading all of the Holiday issues of my favorite magazines…

11.17 Real Simple Magazine

With a huge chocolate brownie of course!

But, the two things I love most about Thanksgiving are being with my family in Michigan and going for a long run on Thanksgiving morning (it’s my preemptive Turkey Day strategy!)

So, the question of the day is…How do you get into the Thanksgiving spirit?

From Salads to Shopping

Morning All! 

I am so tired and sore from walking all over downtown Chicago yesterday – ugh! But, it actually was fun playing the part of the Chicago tourist during the Christmas holiday – we need to do that more often. Last night’s post was getting pretty long, so I decided to wait until today to post my awesome dinner!

11.14 Home Salad Bar 2

Toward the end of our Chicago jaunt, I started getting a headache. By the time we got to the train, I had a full-blown migraine!! Yikes – and I didn’t have any Excedrin migraine on me so I was miserable. When we arrived home, I immediately took some medication and laid down for about an hour. In the meantime, Scott whipped up a totally yummy – and super healthy – at-home salad bar!

As you can see, he included a bunch of goodies like:

  • Chopped mini bell peppers
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Salami
  • Ham
  • All-Natural bacon
  • Almonds
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Green leaf lettuce

11.14 Dinner Salad

He also took some of the leftover 3-cheese bakery bread and made some incredible asiago/garlic cheese bread…

11.14 Garlic Bread

I had 2 pieces but really wanted to eat more like 5!

This morning, despite being sore and tired from yesterday’s 2-hour walk, I went for a fast 5 mile run. A cold morning run was really what I needed to get me moving today. 

Breakfast was a big ‘ol oatmeal bowl full of fresh oats, chopped walnuts, and a dollop of peanut butter for good measure…

11.15 Oatmeal with peanut butter

I threw in a swig of orange juice because I feel like I’m seriously lacking in the vitamin C category these days…11.15 orange juice

Now, we’re off to do the Christmas shopping that we didn’t get to on Friday.

Have an awesome Sunday everyone – and remember to enter the tasty Explorer’s Bounty giveaway by 9 PM Eastern on Tuesday!

A Chicago Tourist For A Day

Hey All – Remember to enter the first ever Running With Cake giveaway!

Scott and I made an impromptu trip to downtown Chicago today, and what a day it was!


Jen Chicago2

That’s me in Millennium Park overlooking the newly frozen outdoor skating rink! I wonder how they keep it frozen during 60 degree weather?

Before heading out on the train, I fueled up on a big bowl of Cheerios..

11.14 Cheerios

Good thing I did because we ended up not eating lunch for at least another 3 hours after that! Needless to say, I was starving by the time we arrived at the downtown Nordstrom Cafe for lunch. I seriously wanted to order one of everything. I started with some carbs to take the edge off…

11.14 Cheese Scone

This was an awesome cheddar and chive scone – absolutely delish! It would have gone GREAT with a bowl of soup, but I decided to order the Cranberry Turkey sandwich instead…

11.14 Nordstrom sandwich 2

Yes, Thanksgiving came a little early this year in the form of a sandwich and it was good! Too bad after I ate most of it I turned the sandwich over and noticed some questionable green “element” on the bread. Could it have been mold? The server insisted the bread was baked fresh that day and said it might have been guacamole – although guac was not part of the sandwich. I guess we’ll never know..

11.14 Nordstrom sandwich

After lunch, we headed to “The BEAN” or as one little boy called it “The Giant PILL”.

Chicago Bean

The “BEAN” has actually been around for a few years but it’s still way cool to view, even when you live in Chicago. Because it was such a nice day there were TONS of people outside, which made the reflections that much cooler.

Jen Bean 3

I also tried taking a picture of myself in the BEAN…

Jen Bean2

It came out all warped and crazy!

Next up, we did a little walking through the gardens of Millennium Park. Too bad all of the flowers were already gone for the season. It was still a lovely fall setting with all of the gold and amber hues in the gardens…

Jen Chicago 6

I was even able to catch a certain handsome guy contemplating the meaning of life at one point…

Scott Chicago

He was actually checking out the Bean’s backside!

After our Millennium Park jaunt, we decided to make our way to Macy’s for some window shopping. Chicago doesn’t officially turn on its huge holiday lights display until next weekend. However, Macy’s had already starting displaying all of its holiday decorations, including its famous holiday window scenes…

Chicago Macy's xmas window

This year’s theme is “Believe”, based on (I think) the story “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”. It was 60 degrees outside but seeing these displays made me feel like it was Christmas Eve and snowing outside!

Chicago Macy's Clock

Aside from its window displays, Chicago Macy’s on State Street also showcased a little indoor holiday magic – ok, it was a LOT of holiday magic…

Chicago Macy's xmas display

Can Macy’s ever do anything small?? Upstairs in the famous Walnut Room, the huge Christmas tree was also displayed in all of its twinkling glory…

Chicago Walnut room Christmas Tree

A thousand points of light indeed! I left Macy’s feeling very much in the holiday spirit as you can imagine. As we were headed out the door to catch the train, I also grabbed a froyo to go…

11.14 Frozen Yogurt

Not the greatest, but then again, we were practically running to the train while I was eating it! I think we walked a total of 2 hours today (no cabs for us!) so we were exhausted and a bit sweaty by the time we plopped ourselves on the train.

We ended our fabulous day with an equally fabulous dinner prepared by Scott, but I’m saving that for tomorrow!  

Have a great night all!

A Veterans Day Tribute: Helene's Story

Today is Veteran’s Day in the US. Each year around this time and around other patriotic holidays I think of the following story about a man’s determination to serve his country and a woman’s determination to keep her husband and family together. I hope you enjoy…

11.11 flag

A Veterans Day Tribute: Helene’s Story

Helene was a young wife and mother living in the Pennsylvania army barracks with her husband Worthy and their daughter and son, both under the age of 5. It was the early 1940s and the US had just been thrown into WWII. Helene was familiar with the sad but dutiful routine of comforting other young wives and mothers who had soldiers heading off to war, or worse, those who had soldier husbands who had died in the war. She prayed constantly that Worthy would not have to join them. 

Yet, that fateful day came. Worthy announced to Helene that it was his duty to serve his country overseas and promptly filled out the paperwork to do so. Knowing that his eyesight was extremely poor -he was legally blind in one eye – he had to figure out a way to pass the mandatory eye examination. He memorized the eye chart which helped him pass this final test with flying colors. Worthy was given his assignment and he was to leave in just a few short weeks with rest of the boys to go “over there”.

Helene cried for hours, maybe days.  She was also hurt and confused. How could he have passed the test when he was legally blind in one eye? She knew that Worthy could never pass the eye exam for overseas combat so how could he survive “over there”? She didn’t want to be one of those young wives comforted for the loss of her soldier husband. She didn’t want to be left alone with her two children. She had to do something.

And that she did. Helene wrote a letter to the army officials on base explaining of her husband’s condition. She even produced doctors’ notes and medical files that said her husband was not fit for combat due to his blindness. A few days later, Worthy was called in to see his commanding officer. He explained to Worthy that he would not be joining his group overseas because he had neglected to report his medical condition. They would eventually find out that, of all of the soldiers in Worthy’s would-be platoon, only a handful survived the war. 

Worthy never found out that Helene had written the letter. Helene and Worthy went on to have two more daughters and, eventually, 13 grandchildren.

I am one of those grandchildren.

To all those active and inactive in the armed services, thank you for keeping our country, and my family, safe.

Peace to all – 


40 Pounds of Pumpkin

Hey All!

Hope you had an awesome Sunday! It was a gorgeous day in Chicago, albeit a tad chilly when I went out for my 5 mile run. Scott and I spent quite a bit of the day doing fall-related things, but before I get into that – let’s hear it for breakfast!

Breakfast was an omelette made with 1 egg and 2 egg whites, filled with cheddar cheese, bacon, and a mess of veggies leftover from our salad last night…

10.18 breakfast1

This was super high in protein which is just what I needed after my run.

After breakfast, we headed out to the pumpkin patch. Scott immediately became enamored with the extra large pumpkins, so one 40 lb pumpkin managed to follow us home and make it to my dining room table…

10.18 pumpkin4

Yes, that really is 40 pounds of pumpkin sitting on my table. I’m glad I have a sturdy, solid wood table. I wonder how many pumpkin pies 40 pounds of pumpkin would make? Hmmm….good question – I think I’ll do a little research and let you all know!

Aside from “The Great Pumpkin”, I also picked out a few smaller pumpkins to put around the house…

10.18 pumpkin1

I really like the light orange and light green pumpkins – they are so different from the standard orange pumpkin. The patch was running low on these so I settled for a darker green one, which is still pretty cool.

Aside from pumpkins, we also bought a few apple cider donuts and promptly ate a couple right on the spot…

10.18 donut

I am NOT a donut fan but this is the one time of year where I will actually eat one without any qualms.

We spent a little more time at the pumpkin patch than we thought so it was already lunchtime when we were packing the pumpkins into the car. We headed to our favorite little Italian cafe for lunch…

10.18 lunch

I had a chicken pomodoro panini which was filled with grilled chicken, provolone cheese, basil, tomatoes, and spinach. It sounded SOO good on the menu but honestly it was just so-so. I think there was a little too much basil on it which overpowered everything else. I only ate half and took the rest home.

The afternoon was spent cleaning and carving the pumpkin, as well as preparing the seeds to make roasted pumpkin seeds. We also ended up taking a 30-minute walk which was fantastic! It was chilly, but so crisp and bright outside. I loved seeing all of the brightly colored leaves and all of the neighbors’ halloween/fall decorations. 

Dinner was my responsibility tonight so I made one of Scott’s favorites – Basil Chicken Stir-fry…

10.18 dinner

Unfortunately, as I think I have mentioned before, I can’t give out the recipe for this dish due to copyright issues. But, you can find it in the Williams Sonoma “Chicken” cook book. This can be a very spicy dish depending on how many jalapeno peppers you put in. When Scott makes it, my lips are practically burning. But when I make it, I use just enough peppers to give it a little spice without having to drink a glass of milk with each bite.

After dinner, I had a little dessert to round out my nearly perfect fall day…

10.18 dessert

A chocolate chunk cookie from Costco! We bought these cookies yesterday because they looked really good in the package – almost like homemade. Now, after having a couple, they are starting to taste like regular store-bought cookies. 

Well, I have an early morning tomorrow and a busy day planned. Our new CEO, whom I’ve never met, is starting tomorrow. We have an all-staff meeting to welcome him. And of course, there will be more food – pizza! Should be quite an interesting day!

Have a great night everyone and see you tomorrow evening!

Farewell To Summer And Peach Pie à la Mode

I can hardly believe that Summer 2009 is over! It went by so fast that I feel like I didn’t get enough time to enjoy it. I guess I shouldn’t be too sad since we are heading into my favorite season of all – Autumn!  From apples, to leaves, to pumpkins, there are so many things that I love about this time of year. I’m sure you’ll be hearing about my favorites for the next few months – he he!

Today was a gorgeous day for Labor Day! It was 75 degrees and sunny – just perfect for sitting in the backyard enjoying the last sounds of summer. Before heading out for our Labor Day dinner, I had a small lunch of leftover veggie pasta salad. I really wasn’t that hungry and I knew that we’d be eating an early dinner.

9.7 lunch

Then, we left for my in-law’s house which is about 45 minutes away. I did happen to enjoy a Starbuck’s Frap along the way – a Labor Day treat to myself!

We spent most of Labor Day at my in-law’s house chatting, laughing, and eating. I was content just to sit on the double swing outside, reading a magazine, and watching the kids run around. And, while sitting outside, we snacked on some of my father-in-law’s homemade salsa…

9.7 salsa

So goood! Even though salsa is very low in calories, the accompanying tortilla chips are not, and I had way too many. Good thing I’m planning another 40 min/5-mile run tomorrow.

For dinner, Scott’s parents prepared a family favorite, Chili Verde made with pork loin and green chilies, which give the dish it’s rich green color.

9.7 dinner2

Chili Verde is customarily served over rice (at least in my husband’s family it is) and with a side of homemade pinto beans and soft tortillas. I’m not a huge Chili Verde fan and never have been, but tonight it was extra good and a little spicy. I really had to make myself stop at one serving, especially because I wanted to save room for dessert…

9.7 peach pie1

Homemade summer peach pie! My father-in-law makes some of the best fruit-pies (and other desserts) that I’ve ever eaten. I’m lucky that he shares the recipes with me but even luckier that he takes the time to make these treats for his family.

I had the peach pie with one scoop of Edy’s slow-churned vanilla bean ice cream, which has about 100 calories per 1/2 cup – not bad. The peach pie and ice cream combo was amazing! I have only ever had peach pie that my father-in-law has made – I’d hate to try any other for fear that I’d be disappointed!

9.7 peach pie2

Tomorrow is my first vacation day in about 2 months and my last until the week of Thanksgiving! It really is nice having an extra long weekend to do things around the house while having a little fun too. So, on my much needed vacation day, I plan to finally see the latest Harry Potter film at the IMAX theatre. I am a huge Harry Potter fan – read all of the books 2-3 times, seen all of the movies, etc. I seriously can’t believe I’ve waited this long to see the Half-Blood Prince. Of course I know what happens because I read the book, but it’s always fun to see how they adapt each book into a movie. Can’t wait!

I need to run out again tonight to return some library books and to pick up a few things at the store for an apple coffee cake. It seems like I am always going to the grocery store!

Have a great night and I’ll see you in the AM!

Oh, What a Beautiful Day

I had such an awesome and very tiring day! I began with a morning run, but this was not like my typical Sunday morning run. I ran for over 50 minutes and logged just over 6 miles. It’s such a great feeling knowing that I’m running faster and increasing my pace.

I usually don’t eat anything before I run (there are pros and cons to this) but I decided to eat something today. I knew I wanted to elevate my performance and would probably need some extra calories to help.

9.6 luna bar

I ate 1/2 of a LUNA bar for women – the caramel nut brownie flavor. It has 9g of protein and 4g of fiber – perfect for a prerun snack. The bar itself was mighty tasty with a nice chocolate flavor.

9.6 luna bar2

I then laced up my shoes and headed out the door. I made a deal with my legs that if they were too tired to run a full 45 minutes then we could stop at 35 or 40. But, at 40 minutes, my legs and whole body felt great so I went past 50 minutes – hooray! The only reason why I didn’t run longer was because we had a TON of things to do today and I really couldn’t spend anymore time running. 

Immediately after my run, I did some stretching and a 15-minute ab workout (what I do after each run). By this time, I was so completely ravenous that I ate the second 1/2 of the LUNA bar followed by a big bowl of mixed cereal.

9.6 breakfast1

Cheerios Multigrain and Kashi Go Lean Crunch with flaxseed and blueberries, to be exact. On the side, I had a little shot of wellness from Zola..

9.6 breakfast2

Before heading out this evening, we had a huge list of things to accomplish:

  • Clean the house, including the basement
  • Grocery store run
  • Eat lunch
  • Laundry
  • Make food for event: fried chicken, pasta salad, brownies
  • Write blog post
  • Pack car for event

Whew, I’m tired just thinking about all of the things we did today! Lunch was nothing too fancy because there just wasn’t enough time for fancy…

9.6 lunch2

I had my leftover Mediterranean salad from yesterday and also a Vienna Beef all-natural, nitrate-free hot dog with a few Mezzetta peppers on top. And of course, low-fat Cape Cod chips were on the menu!

By 4:30 PM, the food was ready and the car was packed to go to our final outdoor music event of the summer. We went to listen to a local orchestra play the music of Rogers and Hammerstein. If they don’t sound familiar to you, R&H did the scores for such musicals as The King and I, Carousel, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, and South Pacific. The vocalists, accompanied by the orchestra, sang several songs from each musical, but I only recognized a handful:

  • Title song – Sound of Music
  • Getting to Know You – The King and I
  • Some Enchanted Evening – South Pacific
  • Overture – South Pacific
  • Oh, What a Beautiful Morning – Oklahoma

In fact, there were so many songs that my husband and I didn’t know (and we both like musicals so that’s saying a lot) that he dubbed this the night of obscure Rogers and Hammerstein songs.

For our picnic-style dinner, we started with white cheddar cheese and crackers – I had more than my share of these…

9.6 dinner1

We then feasted on homemade fried chicken, courtesy of my husband using his mother’s recipe. We also had homemade pasta salad made with a ton of fresh veggies and Trader Joe’s organic tricolored pasta.

9.6 dinner2

I did eat a few other things, but by this time in the evening it was so dark that my pictures were not turning out very well, even with the flash. I had a few chunks of juicy watermelon, a couple small but delicious chocolate chip cookies that my father-in-law brought from Panera, and a big cup of lemony frozen yogurt. I was so cold after I was finished eating the yogurt that I was shivering!

I am home now and am sooo ready to go to bed. We have a busy day again tomorrow. The guys are NOT going golfing as planned but we are headed to an early Labor Day dinner at my in-laws

See you in the AM All!

An Apple A Day….

As you know, yesterday was my family’s annual trip to the apple orchard to do a little apple picking. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for apple picking – about 70 degrees and sunny.

We all arrived at the country-style orchard around 10 AM- right when it opened. We were surprised to find that the orchard had just changed its prices/policy. Instead of all of us being able to pick apples and put them in one big bag, we now had to all have our own 1/2 peck bag, including the kids. This was rather annoying considering it was $10 a bag and by the time each bag was full, it weighed about 5 lbs. That’s fine for adults, but for a 4-year old boy, that’s a bit heavy.

Apple Tree

But, we didn’t let this little hiccup ruin our day. We all piled on the tractor hayride-style and proceeded out to the actual line of trees. At this point in the season there was only one variety of apple available for picking – Gala. That was good news for us because Gala apples are really versatile – you can use them in pies, apple sauce, salads, and eating straight.

Apple Dew1

It was quite a foggy morning when we first started so there was still dew on the apples as you can see above. It made for a cool picture.

Bags in hand, we set out walking through the designated Gala rows. It was fun to see the kids running around and getting excited when they would find an apple good enough to eat. Although you’re not supposed to eat the apples right from the tree, I may have had one or two as a sample – have to get my fiber in, ya know!


Most of the really red apples were way up at the top. Needless to say, there was a lot of shoulder sitting to reach them – ha ha!

Apple Trees

About an hour and a half, and 8 1/2-pecks later, we climbed back onto the tractor and headed to the drop-off point. A little later we dived up the bags between 3 families – somehow we ended up with 3 1/2-pecks of apples – way more than we can eat. I guess I’ll be taking some to work!

At lunch, we all debated on who would make the first apple-dessert. I plan on making an apple crisp tomorrow – hmmm goood! I’ll be sure to post the recipe and photos!

Now, I’m off to our final outdoor music event of the summer. We are going with my in-laws to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra play songs from Rogers and Hammerstein. I love musicals! I’ll post a quick update later tonight although I don’t expect to get home until after 10 PM. Have a great afternoon!