Week of adventures, friends and HOMECOMING

This past week was quite a fun one! All week long I was looking forward to homecoming 🙂

JMU typically does homecoming on the same weekend as Halloween or the weekend just before it, so I was super excited to go down to school and see all of my friends and hang out back on campus for Halloween and a good football game. I don’t typically get excited about Halloween either, so it was a great excuse not to have any real costume or go out and feel like I needed to dress up 😛

Let me rewind a bit though….The week started out just like all of them. I went to work, learned a whole bunch of new things and went grocery shopping because I had no food and needed to get all the ingredients for the dip I wanted to make for our homecoming tailgate.

I ended up making a Buffalo Chicken dip from a recipe my mom loves. It was a huge hit…It’s spicy and creamy with chunks of chicken! I don’t actually know how it tastes because I don’t like anything spicy, but my friends do and what is more perfect for a football tailgate than something spicy? It’s a crowd pleaser for sure…and it’s easy.

It’s basically just a couple of packages of cream cheese, a little hot sauce, some ranch, some cheese, and I cheated and shredded a roasted chicken from Harris Teeter, but you could make your own if you so choose. You mix it all together and bake it for about a half hour at 350 degrees and you’ve got yourself a great tailgate treat 🙂

So anyways…My week was pretty boring until Friday.

I went out to dinner on Thursday at Bistro 360, which is a cute little place in Court House. I didn’t take a picture of my food, but I did have some delicious sun-dried tomato and brie flatbread.

bistro

My office had a Halloween party and everyone dressed up which was fun! I was Rosie the Riveter…mostly because I had everything I needed in my closet. I could have tried harder, but Halloween is not my thing. Christmas though…that’s another story 🙂

rosie-the-riviter

I also got to wear boots to work which was a great perk of the outfit 😛

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I also took my first selfie ever…It was Chewy’s birthday, so I felt it was appropriate since he’s always wanted me to take one. It helps that I was also a hyge fan of the lipstick I had on 🙂

first-ever-selfie

After the Halloween festivities at work on Friday, I met up with Chewy and we went to grab the last few things we needed for Homecoming. There’s a grocery store pretty close to my apartment, so we walked there to grab what we needed and came home to cook.

We made Stromboli with pepperoni, ham, onions, and peppers for dinner and then made the dip, some cookies, and pumpkin bread. It was a long long long night of baking and standing around in the kitchen. We had a ton of fun though…I love singing and dancing around the kitchen when I cook, so I think I was probably the entertainment 😛

pumpkin-bread

I used a food network recipe for the bread and I finally got to use my mini loaf pans! I used a full size one too, but the recipe made A LOT of batter so I had to put some of the extra into the two smaller pans. I believe the recipe was actually for pumpkin bars, so it makes sense that it made a lot more batter than fit in a bread pan, but it is seriously delicious as bread too.

I literally cannot stop eating it and I am so so so thankful that it made so much…and it’s friends and family approved! Everyone who has had it loves it….so if you’re looking to figure out something to do with your extra cans of pumpkin, this is it 🙂

We left bright and early Saturday morning and got to Harrisonburg around 11:30. We grabbed some ice to put in the coolers and headed over to the tailgate! I was so happy that so many of my friends could come and visit. We all have pretty busy schedules and are either working or in school, so it was quite the feat that so many of us were able to get together. I love these humans 🙂

friends

I loved getting to catch up with them and eat everyone’s food 🙂 And the game was good too…not good in the sense that it was a good football game because it was a blowout, but good in the sense that JMU won this year!

Last year, JMU played Richmond and College Gameday came to campus and it was a huge deal, but sadly we lost…so this year we played University of Rhode Island and won 84 to 7….which is absurd because JMU isn’t that good 😛

jmu1 jmu

We also had this random man named Chuck who was passing out Fireball whisky…it was quite hilarious. He was super friendly and goofy…and made people take pictures with him 😛

chuck-the-stranger

After the game we headed to dinner at Capital Ale House, which was fun but it took forever. It was super crowded from all the homecoming crowds so I think that’s why. Once we left Cap Ale, we headed to Ruby’s Arcade. It’s relatively new…it’s underneath Clementines and Ruby’s Bar…so it’s like 3 stories down 😛

We played darts pretty much the whole time. I’ve never played darts before, so it was fun to just throw them. Kara got a bulls-eye on one of her first tries…ridiculous!

karas-bullseye

The next day we left for home…with a quick detour in Marshall, Virginia. My mom had told me about a bakery there called Red Truck Bakery. It was supposed to be a cute little place and the town itself as well. It definitely lived up to the cute expectations! I could have stayed there for hours just looking at all the stores and taking pictures of everything!

marshall

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ham-cheese-and-bacon-scone

red-truck-bakery

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I loved every aspect of the place…and the scones and coffee that we got was incredible. My scone was Maple and Pecan and Chewy’s was ham, bacon, and cheese 😛 We gobbled them up so fast!

Also the place was decorated adorably…One day, if  I ever get to own my own bakery, I would love to have it decorated similarly! I would go back there in a heartbeat…and probably will. It’s only about 45 minutes from where I live, so I may have to gather some friends and head out that way again 🙂

It was a great weekend of seeing friends and eating…It’s definitely going to become a tradition for my friends and I for as long as possible.

Another highlight of the weekend was my little cousin’s Halloween costumes…They’re Batman and Rey…I’m in love 🙂

cutest-cousins

Also just for you’re fun reading pleasure…These two funny things I saw on Instagram give me life! They cracked me up and basically describe my life. Especially the second one. I’m a self-proclaimed grandma 😛

my-life

funny

I hope you all had a great weekend and had a Happy Halloween!!

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Best Fall Festivities in NOVA

As I’ve said before, there are about a million reasons that I love Fall. I’m Fall obsessed! Everything I do in October I like to have some element of Fall in it, even if it’s just being outside for a little while and stepping on all the crunchy leafs (or is it leaves? I’ve always wondered) 😛

I love a good fall activities guide…it’s how I get most of my ideas of things to do, so I was already thinking, why not share one of my own?

It helps that there seem to be plenty Fall loving folks out there, which means there are tons and I mean TONS of Fall/Pumpkin/Halloween activities to do. I do have some personal favorites though and that is what I want to share with you guys!

I grew up in the Northern Virginia area, so naturally I love love love Cox Farms.

I adored going to their festival to go on slides and hayrides and pick out the perfect pumpkin as a kid. I even went there for a photography field trip either my freshman or sophomore year of high school.

We took photos with our black and white, old fashioned film cameras…it was literally the best and I still have those photos somewhere. I would love to go back and do that again. Though I literally have no clue where one can buy film anymore. I should look that up…

Anyways…that was a random tangent. I do truly love Cox Farms though. It’s become quite the production since the last time I went nearly 4 years ago. As I got older, I decided that even though I loved the classic Fall festival, I wished there was something we could do without so many small children around.

Sometime during my high school career, that wish was answered with Cox Farms Fields of Fear which I went to last weekend for the first time in a long time! It was so much fun to get scared and have a blast doing something Halloween-y 🙂 If you want to know more about it, you can read all about it in my last post, Week/Weekend update!

Another favorite thing of mine to do is find farmers markets around the area. I love the one in Manassas. It’s on Thursdays…maybe some other days, but I’ve only been on Thursdays. During the Summer and Fall months, the farmers market takes place in the same rink that the ice rink does during the Winter (which is another super fun thing to do).

I love seeing all the fresh produce around and talking to all of the farmers and bakers and other vendors…and you almost always come away with some sweet deals and delicious produce 🙂

There are also several farmers markets in the Arlington/Columbia Pike area that I really enjoy!

There’s one in Ballston not far from my house on Welburn Square, 901 N. Taylor Street. It’s on Thursdays, 3-7 p.m. and it has some great stuff. I’ve only been once or twice, but it’s got a good selection.

The one in Columbia Pike is pretty great too…and it’s one that I just recently found out goes on year round! When I went by on Sunday (it’s every Sunday in Pike Park, on Columbia Pike and South Walter Reed Drive from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.), it was packed and they had tons of seasonal fruits and veggies. Things like oranges and various types of squash…aka things that I love 😛

Also, a little random, but fun side note for those that are 21 or older around here…there are plenty of Halloween bar crawls going on in the next few weeks 🙂 You can sign up for them here and here, though I’m sure there are many more!

I’ve also heard that if you go to Embassy Row downtown, if you’re in costume on the actual day of Halloween, they will be passing out the candy or treat of their country! I think it’s super duper cool and I definitely will be going to that if I can!

Anyways, these are some of my favorite fall things to do in the Northern VA area! If you have any of your own fall festivities that you love to do, I would love to hear about them so I can try them out for myself!

Another great way to find events (Fall related or otherwise!)  is through Eventbrite or Meetup.com. Eventbrite has a  sell tickets page for people to use to promote events and Meetup is great for searching for groups in your area for just about anything…I’ve found everything from hiking to happy hours to cooking classes! Both places are my go to for anytime I’m at a loss for activities 🙂

Have a great Thursday!!


What are you guys going to be for Halloween?

I haven’t decided…I kind of suck at the whole costume thing 😛

Deliciously Pumpkin-y Muffins

I love Fall and all the things that come with Fall…including everyone’s love for pumpkin around this time of year! I decided to get in on the pumpkin obsession with some pumpkin muffins.

Muffins are one of my favorite things to make for easy morning breakfasts or snacks. They freeze super well, which makes them easy to keep for a while and I just love having something easy to reach for when I need something 🙂

So I started out by following a recipe and then quickly realized I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients (I really need to do some grocery shopping), so I started to make it up on the fly….which could have turned out really badly, but somehow it didn’t!

Here’s the recipe:

1 Can Pumpkin

1.5 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

4 tbsp Honey

2 Eggs

3 tbsp Chia Seeds

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

heaping tsp Cinnamon

heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice

splash of Almond Milk

Any Mix-in’s you would like…I used craisins and I would highly recommend chocolate 🙂

It’s a pretty simple recipe…I mixed all the wet ingredients together first and then slowly added the brown sugar, flour and all of the other ingredients. I used a spatula because that is all I have right now (my wooden spoon was dirty), but you could also use a mixer if you have one of those. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes and you’re good to go!

Also if you’re curious about the apple cider vinegar…it tends to make things fluffier and since I had no baking soda or baking powder, I decided to use that instead. It doesn’t make the same kind of difference, but the muffins were not quite as dense as they probably would have been.

If you’re confused by the pan…that’s a popover pan because a muffin pan is something that I don’t have either 😛 It made some extra tall muffins, which was kind of a nice little treat 🙂

 

 

I’ll definitely be posting some fall inspired recipes as the season goes on…I’m so excited to get to work in the kitchen again!

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What are some of your favorite recipes?

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Oats

In the fall, I love all things pumpkin. So it’s fitting that I combined pumpkin with one of my all-time favorites oatmeal! Oatmeal is my go-to breakfast every day. I’m not joking…ask my roommates and they will tell you that I am obsessed with the stuff 😛

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I guess it’s fitting that I’d combine two of my favorite things into one delicious, filling and most importantly, warm breakfast that is quick and easy to put together before class!

Recipe:

1/2 cup of oats

1 cup of liquid (I prefer to use almond milk, but any liquid will work)

1 heaping spoonful of canned pumpkin

1 tbsp chia seeds (can omit, chia just adds some fiber and thickens the oats a bit)

about a tbsp of brown sugar (can omit or add another sweetener like honey)

a dash of cinnamon

a dash of pumpkin pie spice

I combine all the ingredients in a small pot on the stove (you could probably use the microwave, but I’ve never tried) and cook everything for about 15-20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. After I take it off the stove I’ll add dried fruit, pecans, walnuts, chocolate chips, nut butter…really anything I have lying around, so feel free to get creative! I also always add a bit more cinnamon because I’m a hugeeee cinnamon fan…don’t ask me why, I just love it…I went through an entire shaker of it in one semester and now I have a mason jar full of it 😛

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my cinnamon mason jar 🙂

I hope you enjoy your fall themed oats!

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What are some of your favorite fall foods?

Weekend adventures

This weekend was filled with some fall festivities! My roommates and I drove out to a pumpkin patch nearby and picked out some pretty pumpkins for carving and decoration 🙂 It was a gorgeous day, not too cold, but just chilly enough that it felt like fall, which was great. The pumpkin patch was adorable too…have you ever heard of paying on the honor system for pumpkins, or anything really? I hadn’t until Saturday when we got ready to pay for our pumpkins. There was a little box that said pay here and the. Said all payments are on the honors system…only in a small town 😛

We had a so much fun…the only thing missing was some hot apple cider. I can’t believe we didn’t do this before senior year!

  
  

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend!

Are there any other fall traditions you guys have that my roommates and I should go and try? We’re trying to make the most of our last year of school 🙂