10 Miles, Vacation Day, & Sunday Meal Prep

10 Miles at the Highline Canal near Cherry Hills Village, Denver, CO

So. Many. Things.

And so much fun.

This weekend was an outstanding one—other than a long run on the schedule and Nick’s flight to Philly on Sunday, we had nothing else planned and let everything unfold naturally.

The result was: seeing a great movie, starting a new tradition called Vacation Day, “beer school,” and so much meal prep and productivity on Sunday that my head might’ve fallen off (in a good way, I think).

Brace yourself for the longest post ever and 10,000 pictures!

Cosmo's Pizza, medium with green peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and four sides of Spicy Ranch

Friday Night Bites

After a long week, lots of miles, and just down-right exhaustion like no other, the man and I originally thought we’d want to make homemade pizza. A noble plan, but when push came to shove, we wanted our comfort-food tradition: Cosmos’s pizza (green peppers, mushrooms, onions with plenty of spicy ranch on the side) and a bottle of the good stuff from Joy Wine & Spirits (this time it was a Viognier we hadn’t tried before). Those two Denver establishments probably know us by name at this point.

We also wanted something good to watch, and we didn’t want to do that silly dance with Netflix where you scroll through the choices endlessly but can’t find anything exciting that you haven’t already seen. So we picked up Moonlight from a nearby Redbox. We scarfed down the entire pizza and then sipped wine (and nibbled on Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups) while watching the thought-provoking film. It was so good (the movie… and the food).

In a nutshell, Moonlight is about the life of a kid who grows up in a not-so-great part of Miami, whose mother is a drug addict, whose father isn’t around, and who has struggled his whole life with trying to understand his identity, his sexuality, and where he fits in the harsh, unforgiving world around him. It’s exactly the type of story I love, even though it breaks your heart: It gives you more insight into what people become when they’re unaccepted (and taught to hate themselves), and how those lives of survival-inauthenticity (that’s what I call it) inadvertently cause more harm and pain to generations after them. It really makes you think about the way society is built in all corners of our nation and world… and how changing the way society is built is like trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum (points to whoever knows where that is from!).

I can’t think about it too long or I’ll become a hermit who lives with no electricity and talks to her cats (depending on the day, sometimes I think I’m heading there already!). Back to an amazing weekend, for now.

Running on the Highline Canal at Cherry Hills Village, Denver CO

Saturday Morning Mileage

With pizza, wine, and chocolate as our fuel (and a small breakfast of coffee + collagen and toast + butter), the man and I headed on over to the Highline Canal for my 10-mile training run (we’re two weeks away from the Platte River Half!). Ever since I’ve worked on actively getting my mental training in order, running has started to feel easier and more fun again. These 10 miles went relatively well, and the weather was perfect: sunny, around 55-60 degrees, with a nice breeze.

Eating at Moe's Bagels Denver after a long run at the Highline Canal

Moe’s Manhattan Bagels

Like we always do, we fantasized about all the foods while we were nearing the end of our run. Nick wasn’t sure what he was craving, and I didn’t feel hungry at all … but I wasn’t fooled. Even though I’d stopped at pivotal moments to fuel with Clif Shot Blocks, I knew my body probably had burned through all of them, plus my dismal breakfast, and that once I smelled or saw food all hell would break loose. I somehow had the wits to mention bagel and lox sandwiches around mile 8, and from there we picked the pace back to car!

The Manhatten on an everything bagel at Moe's Bagels, Denver, CO

Look at that goodness: lox, plain cream cheese, tomato, red onion, and scrambled eggs on a toasted everything bagel, washed down with some orange juice. Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t think of a more beautiful sandwich post-run… can you?

Going on a beer tour at Baere Brewing and Trve Brewing Denver on South Broadway

Vacation Day”

After Moe’s, we headed home, took showers, took a little rest, and then decided to embark on something Nick called “Vacation Day:” a carefree day of fun that takes us wherever we want, where we eat and drink interesting things at different places and travel everywhere on foot. Basically: being on vacation in our own neighborhood, inspired by our progressive dinner in Crested Butte last Memorial Day Weekend. God, I love that man and his amazing ideas.

Espresso from Rosebud Cafe in Wash Park Denver, CO

Rosebud Cafe

First up was Rosebud Cafe, our neighborhood mom-and-pop coffee shop. Nick got an espresso and I got an almond milk latte.

Once we absorbed our pick-me-up, we were on our way to “beer school” where Nick would teach his newfound beer-tasting knowledge to me, the beer skeptic! (He just finished the Beer chapter of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love).

A flight of beer tasting at Baere Brewing on South Broadway, Denver Co

Baere Brewing Company

Beer-tasting part one: heading to South Broadway to visit Baere Brewing Company. This brewery is in a strip mall next to a tax place and a laundromat… but it works, somehow. It was packed with people chatting, sipping beer, playing board games, and enjoying the weather in the open-air area. Nick ordered us the flight above, and I learned that I like farmhouse style ale. Ding!

A flight of beer tasting at Trve Brewing, South Broadway, Denver CO

TRVE Brewing Company

Next came TRVE Brewing Company, also on South Broadway (in fact, we stayed on the happenin’ street all night until it was time to head home; there is so much to keep you busy). They call themselves “Denver’s True Heavy Metal Brewery,” which I think hits the nail on the head. The place is painted all black, is laid out in a long and narrow stretch (the further back you go, the louder the heavy metal gets), and is adorned with creepy paintings everywhere. They really commit to it.

TRVE Brewing Company sample flight, South Broadway breweries, Denver, Colorado

We sat down at one of the long harvest tables and tried out our flight! I liked the Kellerpils and Belgian Golden Strong Ale. I learned that, basically, I like Belgian ale and that’s about it (so far). I also am a lightweight and was tipsy (and hungry!) at this point. Where could we grab a cocktail and a snack?

The bites and plates for sharing menu at Punch Bowl Social on South Broadway, Denver CO

Punch Bowl Social

Inspired by a delicious mixed drink I’d had there last year, we stopped at Punch Bowl Social for a drink and to look at their menu. If you’re a Denverite and don’t know about this place: It’s a large restaurant, bar, and bowling alley (with some pool and karaoke in the upper level) that makes pretty good food and drinks.

Moscow Mules and chips and dip at Punch Bowl Social on South Broadway, Denver CO

We were kind of disappointed at the menu, though. Nothing grabbed our attention… until, upon second glance, I saw the Chips & Dip. No lie: I’d been talking about wanting to eat chips and dip for weeks. From there, we ordered Moscow Mules and inhaled everything. The wait staff was so attentive. They kept bringing more chips before we could even realize what was happening. They know what’s up. With something in our bellies to get us started, we returned to South Broadway for our main course.

Cho 77 Vietnamese restaurant on South Broadway, Denver, Colorado

Photo from Yelp

Cho 77

We walked past Karma Asian Fusion even though we’ve been there before and loved it. I think Nick wanted to experience something a little more new to both of us, so we headed on over to Cho 77, an Asian street food place. I loved the atmosphere, especially that you can watch the cooks make each dish to order… although there were moments when I felt like the smells of all the oils and different ingredients were a tad overwhelming.

Pork belly bao mi buns from Cho 77 Denver, on South Broadway

Photo from Yelp

We ordered the Pork Belly “Bao Mi” Buns (above) and the Eggplant Pad Thai. Everything was outstandingly delicious and filling (thank goodness we split it!).

Sweet Action Ice Cream on South Broadway, Denver Colorado

Photo from Sweet Action Facebook page

What’s a Vacation Day without ice cream? That’s right: just a regular day. This is why, with uncomfortably full bellies, we decided we must get a scoop of Salted Butterscotch and Pralines & Cream for the walk home. Duh. Then it was a quick packing session for the man’s trip, a few episodes of Bloodline, and sleeping like babies.

Sprouts grocery haul on Sunday morning, meal prep, meal planning, fitness, eating well

Sunday Meal Prep

Sunday morning I dropped Nick off at the airport, sad to see him go, but excited for him to send me picture and video updates of Rangey, the world’s biggest and sweetest pup! I’m sure Nick will have a great visit with family for his Spring Break. In the meantime, I wanted to put to the test all of the wonderful rituals he’s brought to my life. First up: meal planning and prep for the week. I headed to Sprouts and got all the essentials.

My receipt from Sprouts, saving money with the Ibotta app on groceries

That grocery haul pictured above cost me  $45.37. But then I reached $20 on my Ibotta app so technically this grocery haul cost me no more than $25.37 and it’s going to last me until Friday morning at the earliest. Boom! (You can transfer your rebate money from Ibotta to Venmo, and then transfer your Venmo money straight to your bank account. Technology is wonderful.)

Cut-up strawberries for lunches, meal prep, meal planning, healthy eating, fitness and food

I chopped up strawberries for snacks in my lunches.

Homemade hashbrowns, meal prep, meal planning, fitness and food

I grated potatoes for an egg + hashbrown + arugula + feta cheese scramble:

Hashbrown, egg, arugula, and greens for meal prep, meal planning, fitness and food

I bought the potatoes because they were an Ibotta rebate this week, and that inspired me to make a hashbrown/egg dish for lunches since it’s savory and easy! I just fried it all up with some fresh minced garlic and the last of some green chiles, and it was good to go. I’ll probably heat it up with a tortilla at work. Yum.

Zucchini and garlic sauteeing for pasta, meal prep, meal planning, fitness and food

I also was craving zucchini, so I decided on a very easy pasta with garlic and zucchini as another lunch option.

Zucchini and feta cheese pasta for lunches, meal prep, meal planning, fitness and food

I still had feta cheese leftover from our  (even after using it in the scramble), so I tossed some into the salad, too. Why not.

Packing my lunch after meal prep, meal planning, fitness and food

After letting everything cool and then dishing it out into Tupperware, I put together Monday’s lunch before moving on to another giant task: doing the dishes. This type of productivity is an endurance sport. Oof!

Cereal, almond milk, and strawberries, a snack break from meal planning and meal prep, fitness and food

… but first, a snack: cereal with almond milk and strawberries.

All the dirty dishes in America after meal prep, meal planning, fitness and food

After washing the dishes, I washed the bedding in the laundry and cleaned the whole kitchen. At that point, I was ready to sit on the couch for the rest of the day. So I did!

Crazy Ex Girlfriend

I had a proper 3-episode binge of my new favorite show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. My two best friends told me about it, and it’s hilarious. Perfect way to cap off the night. Oh, and French toast for dinner:

French toast for dinner.jpg

How was your weekend?

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