Yesterday was certainly a day of unexpected obstacles!
It started with our trip to Damascus where the Virginia Creeper Trail begins. Somehow we found ourselves in the middle of the mountain countryside with the fuel needle on E. It seems the roads on our map weren’t the same as the roads on the earth. Luckily we came across a mountain man, who let us know we were 4 miles from our destination road – and a service station. He warned us "But the gas there is $3.61 a gallon!" Guess he doesn’t know how much we’re used to paying in the city.
Once we arrived at the bike shop where we’d be renting, we were told we’d lost our reservation for being so late! We tried another with no luck, and then a third, which had space but we had to leave RIGHT THEN. No time for lunch!!! Since I’d learned my lesson about packing snacks the day before, thankfully I had a nice selection to serve as lunch: Larabars, a Luna bar, Mary’s Gone Sticks + Twigs, Brothers All Natural dried fruit. And my dad had two plums.
The guys also bought Snickers bars for their fuel:
Plus I had about 1/3 of each of these bags. I received these as a sample to try from Mary’s Gone Crackers . They are perfect for packed lunches and tasted awesome. The nutritional profile is awesome as well – around 200 kcal per bag with ample protein and fiber. I thought I’d like the sea salt the best, but the chipotle tomato were my favorite:
And lastly a bag of Brothers-All-Natural dried bananas and strawberries. I like these, but they are strange in texture. They are just fruit though, so they also make a great little snack. Would have been great in yogurt.
So for an emergency lunch, I think we did quite well. Nutritionally it was fine to get me through the bike trip, but volume-wise I was still kind of starving. Luckily that subsided as we got underway.
The Creeper Trail is divided into 2 sections, each about 17 miles . The first half, which we did, is almost 100% downhill, with some flat at the end. We had plans to do half of the second half, which is more challenging, but Mother Earth disagreed (see below!). It took us about an hour + 45 to do the 17 miles back to Damascus. I wish there had been more hills to get more of a challenge – maybe next time we’ll do it in reverse!
The trail is gorgeous.
With about 6 miles to go, we got caught in a huge downpour, which left us soaked and muddy. We were really booking it in the end to get back as fast as possible, but the rain just kept coming. We decided to head to a nearby winery instead of continuing on in the rain. I have a tendency to melt in rain, but thankfully I did OK
Of course we were thrilled to go to a winery BUT, the husband didn’t have his wallet and they wouldn’t serve him! He was so bummed. Dad and I tasted about 12 different wines (maybe 1/2 an oz each?) and he liked them so much he bought a case and gave us 3 bottles to choose for ourselves. Thanks Dad!
After an hour drive back to our cabin, we opened a little wine and the husband and I started on dinner.
Yummy Sauvignon Blanc -
Here’s the menu we made for the weekend
- Seared Pork Chops with a Peach-Fig Compote
- Baked "Fried" Blue Cornmeal Okra
- Blue Cheese + Mushroom Risotto
- Shelton North Carolina Merlot
- Canadian Cabernet Franc Ice Wine
The pork chops came out delicious – but the peach-fig compote was the all-star. We basically just chopped 2 peaches, about 6 dried figs and put them in a saucepan with some sugar, while wine and water. We also added a little vanilla and simmered until it was thick and saucy, about 20 minutes. Add more liquid if needed. (I had half a pork chop – about 3-4 oz?)
For the okra , we just tossed them in a little olive oil and cornmeal until coated and baked for about 30 minutes. Egg would have been nice for a better coating (they were a little dry), but we didn’t have any.
Lastly for the risotto , we made it by the package instructions with Imagine Vegetable Broth (amazing stuff) and a pint of mushrooms , which we browned before adding, and a package of blue cheese (crumbled) stirred in at the end.
With a glass of red (and I think I had a third glass in there somewhere…)
My plate -
We ended the meal with……. more wine. An ice wine that our Canadian friend brought us. I just had about an oz -
A little later we all dug into some ice cream while Olympic watching -
And then I had some more
It was quite the night of consumption!
This morning the husband and I set out on a run before breakfast. Our cabin was on a small mountain and there were some killer hills. We ran/hiked/walked about 4-5 miles . After all the wine last night, I wasn’t feeling my best
For breakfast we made a batch of fruited oatmeal (banana, peach, blueberry) with some Grape Nuts on top!
Plus hot tea -
I was still feeling hungry afterwards (I think in retrospect I was really dehydrated) but I had a handful of trail mix (which I wish I’d put on top of my oats!) and that helped -
Despite the fact that I was totally wined-out after 2 nights of overdrinking (for me, it was way too much), the husband and I HAD to seize the opportunity to visit some Yadkin Valley wineries when we realized we’d be driving right past them. I’ve done the Swan Creek Wine Trail before, but he never has and we’ve been meaning to come up for a visit for a while now. We ended up going to all 5 wineries in the trail – it was a long dehydrating day! But we had so much fun. Especially with the memories of our Sonoma honeymoon, I’d say wine tasting is our all-time favorite couple activity.
We packed a picnic before we left the mountains and planned to enjoy it on the grounds.
We had a spread of:
- Homemade rye bread
- Turkey slices
- Cheddar slices
- Peach + grapes
- Tomato + jalapeno from our garden
- Mustard packets
- A half eaten jar of pickles
- A split glass of wine from the tasting room
I pretty much ate half of what you see – maybe less turkey/bread/tomato and more of the fruit.
Instead of packing sandwiches, we decided to keep everything loose so we could assemble on the spot. It turned out perfectly.
My husband is so gross – he ate a jalapeno raw out of hand and drank the pickle juice -
Vegetables Gone Wild
We came home to an empty fridge minus the CSA veggies we picked up right before we left. We toyed with biking to Dean & Deluca for salads (I was craving a big salad) but we decided we were too lazy to bike that far (and were only allowed to go by bike). So instead we came up with this mixture that ended up being fantastic. I’m not sure what to call it!
We roasted tomatoes , green beans, parsnips, carrot , a few bell pepper pieces, 2 slices of bacon (cut into small pieces), an eggplant and some really buttery smelling garlic from the CSA in a little EVOO .
We roasted a spaghetti squash for a base and boiled some speltberries to mix in -
Assembled, drizzled with some sriratcha hot sauce and oregano , and topped with greek yogurt -
I was so stuffed when I finished I could barely get in some water. This was too much. I should have stopped eating 3/4 of the way through, but it just tasted too good.
WHEW! I did a little too much drinking this weekend and am feeling the effects (dehydrated, water retention, etc.). I’m always excited to get back to my normal ways after a vacation. I’ve got my Boston trip coming up this Thursday, so I’ve only got a few days of downtime before the last hurrah of the summer!
We’re going to read and/or watch the Olympics and have a relaxing wine-free evening