November Recap!

I can’t believe it- with this post I am actually pretty much caught up to present day!

On November 4th, I woke up to this most tranquil view of frost beautifully covering the ground.

I can’t even make it a few sentences in without a pic of Moose. He really has taken over this blog, huh?

The little nugget sometimes stands by the fridge hoping we will open it to give him a piece of chicken. Lol. He’s obsessed with the stuff.

On November 5th,  I went to breakfast with my MIL and SIL at Valley Cafe. I had been here once when I lived here, but it had a total makeover on the inside and was unrecognizable.How stinking cute is this.

Some of the food has a cajun flair. It was a good breakfast-there are several menu items I want to try, so I can’t wait to go back!After breakfast, we walked around Home Goods. I haven’t been there in far too long! I love that place. It was productive too, I found a beautiful little marble cake stand for a great price & grabbed some dark chocolate covered almonds at the checkout.

That afternoon I took Moose on our standard walk. I love this little alley way that has tall ledges on one side and a hilly forest and ravine on the other.

November 6th was one of my favorite days in recent memory! We started by going out on a family walk, admired the holiday decor in nearby neighborhoods and then on our way home stopped by Grabham’s candies.

I’d passed this place so many times, I couldn’t wait to finally go in and check it out!

There were so many amazing options! We ordered a box full of various treats. It was all absolutely delicious, but by far, the salted caramels were the star of the show. Next time, I think I may just get a big box of those. They’re reasonably priced too.

In the afternoon, we went to Chick-fil-A, drove around the city and just enjoyed the beautiful day. In the evening I made a meal of creamed spinach, scallops, brown rice and rolls. It was a great day together. DJ’s job is pretty time-intensive right now, so I really treasure this time with him.

That weekend we also stopped into Jubilee Donuts. I was craving donuts somethin’ fierce! How cute is this fall theme. My favorite was the maple cream stick and Boston cream donut.

November 9th, I took Moose to a new trail further away, Lock 29. It was such a gorgeous day, and we both relished walking a new path. I was happy to see Christmas decorations were already going up in the little downtown Peninsula area!

November 10th, I woke up with some french toast with yogurt and berries on top. I may need to make this for lunch now.

That week was a big one of interviews for jobs.

November 11th, while walking our familiar route, I was amazed at how the leaves covered the path seemingly overnight. It transformed it into a lovely golden trail.

That day I was craving pizza. Jet’s Pizza is easily my favorite chain pizza, it reminds me quite a bit of Via 313!

I tried the veggie cauliflower crust and pineapple four corner. The cauliflower crust was good (for cauliflower crust), but next to the four corner crust, it could not hold a candle. I know pineapple pizza is a bit controversial, but it’s probably my favorite pizza.

The weekend of November 13th was the first snow of the year!

Moose loved it and wanted to frolic around in it!

Also, I just have to include these pictures of him and this empty yogurt container. We discovered he loves yogurt (his favorite only second to chicken), so we give him the containers when we pretty much empty them out. He walks around with a yogurt-covered nose after- it’s adorable!

This week I took Moose to Camp Bow Wow, a doggy daycare. He had an “interview” and everything- he did well & is allowed to attend there, lol. The idea of an “interview” for dogs cracks me up. We were proud of him for doing so well his first day. I only left him there a few hours to see how he’d do, and I didn’t want him to think we’d abandoned him. Since I’m starting a new job soon, this will be so perfect for him. He just met the age of being able to attend, so the timing worked out beautifully.

While Moose was at Camp Bow Wow, I went for a wonderful run outside. It was a beautiful day, 50-something in November!! I also got so much done around the house & it was weird not having to look over my shoulder every five seconds to make sure Moose wasn’t getting into something. It was an exciting taste of freedom, but I missed Moose horribly by the end of the three hours and couldn’t wait to pick him up.

On November 19th, I let Moose off the leash on the trail for the first time since there was no one around. He had an absolute blast playing fetch with a stick he found (or keep away, however you look at it!).

The evening of November 20th, we went to Leo’s Italian Social in downtown Cuyahoga Falls with my mom-in-law and Gordie. I think I have a new favorite restaurant in town!! The whole downtown Cuyahoga Falls area is really cute- we have a lot to explore there.

We tried their calamari and cauliflower for appetizers- both delish! For my main I had their zucchini shrimp pasta. There’s a lot on their menu I’d like to try, but it’s going to be tough for me to order anything other than this any time we go! If it couldn’t get any better, their tiramisu was some of the best I have ever tried. I’m going to crave that stuff!

On the morning of November 21st, I couldn’t get Blue Door Cafe off my mind. They had a super long wait since we tried to go right around the rush, but they had the option for takeout- fine by me! Their egg white omelette is one of my favorites- it is served over a perfected croissant with sundried tomatoes and avocado. YUM.

Later that afternoon I met with my friend Kylie for some coffee at my absolute favorite coffee shop around called Nervous Dog Coffee Bar. It was wonderful to catch up as always!

November 24th I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve seen here yet.

That whole day was a big cooking day for Thanksgiving. I LOVE my full days of cooking. This year, I made my cranberry pistachio quinoa stuffed acorn squash, vegan maple brussels sprouts and bacon maple brussels along with a homemade apple crumb. The apple pie was back-up Marie Callender’s in case the apple crumb didn’t turn out, but thankfully it was a hit! I have some apples left over and am genuinely considering making another this week- definitely give that recipe a go if you love apple crisp. Served with some ice cream and caramel sauce- yuuum!

For Thanksgiving day, we spent the whole day with family eating delicious food- does it really get better than that? Only thing that would have made it better is if my SIL, Amy, was in town- but she’ll be here for Christmas, and I cannot waitttt.

My sister-in-law, Renee, made these cookies below and we could not get over how professional they looked!! Also, they tasted as good as they looked- easily some of the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had.

Another star of the show every year is my mom-in-law’s pumpkin pie. This is one of my favorite desserts of all time, and I look forward to it every year! It was good as ever!

November 26th was my MIL’s bday, and I was extremely grateful we were finally around to celebrate in person!

More of our family drove in from Chicago and from around town. It was one of the best evenings- just all of us being together for the first time in years, meeting our niece, celebrating my mom-in-law while enjoying the best variety of pizzas from Tre Belle, birthday cake and a pumpkin bundt cake from Nothing Bunt Cakes (have y’all tried that place?!, so delicious!).

Featured in the picture below is the very delicious vegan pizza, but I also tried their asparagus pizza and the street corn pizza with truffle honey- I gotta say the street corn took the cake! Anything with truffle, amirite?!

Saturday November 27th we took Moose on a nice long walk in his cool new winter jacket. I thought he would fight us on wearing it, but he did well with it on!

After our walk, we zipped over to Nervous Dog for something to warm us up. Love that place.

That evening we went to my SIL’s basketball game. She and her team killed it!!

On November 28th, we started the day with some delicious protein pancakes. Side note- I know it would stress me out if I saw only that much syrup left for a whole stack of pancakes, but don’t worry, I had back up 😉

That day, the family surprised my dad-in-law for his birthday. We had tacos for lunch with fresh veggies, which really was a nice contrast to the Thanksgiving leftovers we’d been enjoying for a few days. It was a lovely afternoon. While we were away, we dropped Moose off at Camp Bow Wow. When we picked him up he was so tired that he fell asleep in my hand as we were driving home.

November 30th I was having a hankerin’ for a big salad with lots of veggies – best place to get said salad? CoreLife Eatery! I especially love they have falafel as an option to add-in.

And finally, we are in December! But also- how?! Where did this year go? Does anyone else feel like 2020 was the longest year ever, and then 2021 was a blink of an eye?

Anyway, December 1st, I was super in the mood to cook/bake something challenging. We have been on a real Great British Bake Off kick, I even got DJ hooked. He caught glimpses of a few episodes and before I knew it, I turned on an episode and he said, “I’ve actually already seen this one!”. LOL.

Back to the baking challenge. I looked at the ingredients we needed to use up in the fridge: sharp cheddar cheese (I accidentally ordered it in bulk), granny smith apples (I accidentally ordered two bags), and lots of butter (yeah, got too much of that too). I found this recipe that fit the ticket from Williams Sonoma: Savory Apple Tart with Cheddar, Onions and Thyme. Mine doesn’t look nearly as pretty as their picture, but it tasted great! I wasn’t sure what to expect with cheese and apples together, but it really somehow worked. I had DJ do a good Paul Hollywood tasting of it. He took a bite then gave me a handshake 😊. He’s kind because it definitely didn’t deserve a handshake off appearance alone- but we did enjoy it. This made me so excited to start the holiday baking!

And we are nearly caught up! I have a couple more things to share coming up – but I’ll just give that a post of its own.

Question for you! 

  • Pineapple on pizza: yay or nay?

<3,

Mackenzie

Wrapping up last fall!

Hey all! How are youuu?! It’s a beautiful day here in Austin- quite the contrast from the snowpocolypse just a month ago.

I sit here with one month left in my masters program. How wild is that? I think I mentioned in my last post I am doing a specialty certificate over the summer in endocrinology- so I have a clinical rotation with that… but as long as I pass my boards in a couple months I will officially be a family nurse practitioner 🙂 

I needed a little break from the books today, so I decided to hop on here. I have had this post sitting in drafts for about a month, so figured about time to publish it. It’s the second part to our Fall of last year. Hope you enjoy! 

Continuing from last post.. 

On most Saturdays while I was staying there for my clinical rotation, my mom would whip up either protein pancakes or protein waffles, and gosh they were good! Such a treat to start off the weekend.

We also spent some time chatting away out on their serene patio on weekends with the outdoor heater and candle votives. It was nice to sit in total quietness too. When living in the city, you get so used to the white noise of cars driving by, doors slamming, planes overhead, etc… so just being able to sit in the quiet evenings with only crickets out was really refreshing. 

By the end of my time there, I had established a go-to five mile running/walking trail. I would often mindlessly put on my running shoes and clear my head out there after long clinical days. 

The weekend of October 23rd, my mom and Pete had to go out of town, but DJ was able to make it out for the weekend that Saturday! I was so ecstatic we could spend time together. That evening we shared a margherita pizza, some wine and watched Married at First Sight. I corrupt him with my horrible reality TV shows, but I’m really not sorry for it.

October 24th we spent the day working on our respective assignments, went for a walk together in the afternoon, then in the evening went to downtown Roanoke for dinner. DJ ordered one of their burgers, and I thought the little stamped logo was a cool touch!

I ordered their salmon, are you surprised? Hah- it was tasty tasty. We also split their hummus & pita which was pretttty spectacular.

We chose this spot since it was an outdoor venue & it was a nice brisk evening! About an hour after arriving, some live music started. They played all 80s classics. We enjoyed it for a while, but when it started getting a little crowded, we bounced.

We did make a pit stop on our way home to our favorite custard spot- Andy’s!!

At the end of the rotation, I got together the final docs for clinical. I was SO sad to leave this clinical- My preceptor and the whole staff was just awesome, and I loved spending time learning in that clinic.

The day before I left, I had one last wonderful run in Keller for this stay. We also ordered from FnG for dinner- you guys, such a hidden gem in TX! A MUST if you are ever in Keller.

The morning before heading back to Austin, I packed up my bags, had some Kashi cereal and, of course, said a (midwest) goodbye to my mom. (Pete had left earlier that morning). 

Ooh! And she sent me home with some yummy candy corn cocoa. She knows me well. I know candy corn gets a bad rap, but I am always going to defend it!

Deej and I were on a walk around Ladybird Lake that week when we spotted these birds. I am pretty sure they are cormorants, which struck me as quite ironic considering I had just finished up The Guest List, which mentioned them– Or perhaps this was just a case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon!

I was craving a burger and shake that weekend. So, naturally, we ordered Hopdoddy’s with one of the best vegan burgers in town and a shake. I say *one* of the best… because we discovered an even better one a couple months later. Stay tuned. Oh, the suspense!

I also arrived home to this box from the Boston Athletic Association!

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Even better though…later that day my brother sent me this sweet picture of our nephew with the blanket we sent him <3 I am obsessed. Counting down the days until we can meet him.

More colorful Austin in the fall!

I was feelin’ extra anxious around this time (combo of school, the world, etc.), and I remember there was one day that was particularly beautiful lending a sense of calm. I texted Tammy, one of my friends from the Bay Area with the video below, and said it felt like a “Bay Day”.  Gosh, I really miss California sometimes. I love love Austin, but sometimes it feels like I left part of my heart in those mountains and that chaotically beautiful city. I also know, when we leave Austin, I’ll say I left a part of me at Lady Bird Lake and in this dazzlingly, eclectically vibrant city. We really are going to try to make the most of our time here before we move. Sorry to be so sappy (I can’t help it) & when big life transitions are about to happen I get super reflective and in all the feeeels.

November 6th, DJ and I ordered takeout from Grizzelda’s!

This food. I don’t have the worddds. Probably my favorite Tex Mex we’ve had yet. 

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It was all just too darn good. And the margarita’s we ordered were really fun! 

More Austin in the fall..

All through November I worked on the rest of my peds/perinatal courses and began studying for boards. Ohh. And get this. I went 11 days without coffee. Yes, 11! I stopped cold turkey because I was at about 4 cups a day which was about on par with my undergrad days & I needed to stop the madness. So I replaced my coffee with about 2 cups of matcha and honey per day. It was a tealightful alternative. The first day was awful though- seriously one of the worst days of my life, not even being dramatic this time. I had a horrendous headache and a feeling of serious impending doom. It resolved the next day though, thankfully. 

As much as I loved the matcha, it was kindaaa the sleepiest, most unproductive 11 days ever, so I added back in my one cup of coffee a day which made all the difference. I don’t think I was ever more productive than that 12th day with that single cup of jo’. I planned on sticking to one cup of coffee and one cup of matcha indefinitely….. but fast forward to present day and I’m at about 3 cups a day of coffee again. Whoops! I’m going to try to cut back again this month, but no promises. 

November 25th, I tried my hand at homemade cranberry sauce for the first time. It actually turned out great!  This is the recipe I used- I don’t recommend adding any extra orange zest- does not need it!

We went to my mom and Pete’s for a wonderful thanksgiving meal <3 It was simpler than other years, just the four of us, and we broke tradition without the bird. But our alternative was awesome! The guys had filets, my mom made us a delicious salmon and we had some asparagus, butternut squash, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and bread. It was perfect! 

We ended Thanksgiving by chatting the evening away out on the porch. 

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And of course, we enjoyed delish waffles in the AM! We added leftover cranberry sauce to our waffles, and it was an excellent decision.

It was a day of mostly working on school work for me and DJ, but there is such a warmth and coziness in the living room that made working on our respective assignments more relaxing than usual. 

I think this says it all!

Also I was not able to let a few days go by there without hitting the trail.

And-house rules- Gotta order sushi at least once when we’re all together too!

The last day, my mom made this tasty potato poblano soup. She sent us home with some, so we were spoiled by her cooking even a few days after returning to Austin!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Question for you:

  • Which cities do you have an emotional attachment to?