Friday Stuff n’ Things: Florida, Part I

My Chief Culinary Consultant and I have been in Florida for a week now. We’ve witnessed some awesome Florida storms and felt a lot of Florida sun. We’ve played cards, eaten on the beach, gone for walks, shopped, and have been enjoying a great deal of relaxation. Ironically, we have yet to actually spend a day at the beach, toes in sand and wading in water. I’m sure we’ll be getting around to that very shortly! :) In the meantime, I have a lot of fun little tidbits for you this week. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

1. Since we’ve been in Florida, we have made a routine of taking a 3-mile walk every morning (except for when we play tennis). The walk is awesome. I start the day feeling great and not too guilty about the ice cream cone I will inevitably eat before the day is over. However, the humidity is atrocious. Now I know why people down here are up and working out by 7am; if you want until 9am you’ll be convinced that you’re going to die. Also, I’ve sneezed about 30 times a day since we got here. I’m apparently allergic to sun and warmth.

2. Speaking of working out, we usually walk on marked trails so we know how far we’re going. However, we’ve done unmarked trails before and used the SportyPal app on our smartphones to gauge how far we went.

It’s a great app that will tell you how far you’ve gone, your pace, how many calories you burned, etc. If you like to blaze your own trails, it’s a must-download!

3. I took a picture of the moon with my 70-300mm lens a couple of nights ago. I love that you can actually see craters!

4. Gaby is having a mega cookbook giveaway while she is off on her honeymoon. There are so many fabulous cookbooks coming out this fall; be sure to check them out! My Amazon wish list just got longer!

5. We made our first-ever trip to a Total Wine store and felt like kids in a candy store. There are endless types of wine, beer and liquors. A few of the vodka varieties just begging to be thrown into a recipe:

I was thrilled to see a little taste of Pittsburgh on display down in Florida as well!

The coolest thing was that you could make your own six-pack of beers from a massive aisle of single bottles. Beer from every country you could imagine, tons of different varieties, and some awesome labels. I found a Kenyan beer called Tuskers with an elephant on the label! We’ve sampled a French beer and a Turkish beer so far. If you live near one of these stores, I envy you!

6. I can’t believe that it’s already the beginning of football season! I love playing fantasy football almost as much as I love watching the Steelers play. On top of playing in my Chief Culinary Consultant’s league for my 4th consecutive year, I’m also playing with an awesome bunch of food bloggers for the 2nd year in a row. We put together our all-girl group last year and had a blast. I’m excited to play with Tracy, Marie, Jen, Elle, Dara, Tracey and Maria again!

7. A few scenes from the first week of Florida (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen some of these!)…

8. Currently reading: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Awesome read! Next up, I’m going to tackle some fiction. Give me your recommendations!

9. Since arriving in Florida we’ve consumed 2 orders of conch fritters. I foresee a lot more conch fritters in our future. Definitely one of our favorite things about being in Florida!

10. I might be on a little bit of a vacation, but I just can’t stay out of the kitchen. On top of a new chocolate chip cookie recipe and maybe something with the fresh figs we found at Costco, we’re mixing up a triple batch of homemade limoncello.

My grandma gave me her neighbor’s recipe months ago and we figured now would be as good a time as any to combine some lemon peel and grain alcohol and let it macerate. I’ll be sure to share the recipe and the process once we’re done!

11. TGIF! Stretch out and enjoy the weekend! And… GO STEELERS!