Happy Monday! I hope many of you are enjoying the day off for Columbus Day! The weather in Chicago has been absolutely picturesque- cool, crisp air, sunshine, and the comforting smells of fall in every gust of wind. We took full advantage of the perfect weather and ventured out for a full day of fall festivities on Saturday. In keeping with our annual tradition, we headed out to do some apple picking on Saturday morning.
This tradition began for us in college with my parents- when my mom and dad came to visit for parents’ weekend at Marquette, we would all go apple picking in Wisconsin. Matt and I have continued this yearly ritual, sometimes with friends, other times just the two of us. The past couple years, we’ve gone to County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana. It’s not too far a drive from Chicago, we always seem to have good luck with the apples, and the orchard sells the tastiest, fall goodies: pumpkin and apple cinnamon donuts, local honey, and sweet caramel.
Although the orchard was crowded, we fully enjoyed our apple-picking experience. We opted to walk (rather than take the wagons) and it felt so good to just be outside all day, breathing in fresh air. A few trees were sporting their newly changed, colorful leaves, so we began our excursion by just walking the fields back and forth, soaking in the fall colors and taking in the beauty of the nature surrounding us.
After walking around, we decided it was time to find some apples and we found our “sweet” spot in no time. A little area off the beaten path where we found an awesome stash of apples.
We didn’t scoop up any pumpkins, since we’d already grabbed ours along with a few mums back in September- we were too anxious to get our porch decorated to wait! But, we definitely enjoyed the pumpkin views as we wandered around the fields.
After our leisurely stroll and apple finds, we hit up the store for our favorite donuts and a few other treats to take home!
Then, it was off to New Buffalo for cheeseburgers at Redamak’s. If you’re familiar with the New Buffalo area, you know Redamak’s is definitely a must-do for tasty burgers. Redemak’s always reminds me of my childhood…summer trips to Michigan with cousins or close family friends always included a dinner at Redamak’s, so I can’t help but feel nostalgic when I stop in there now! Matt had only been once before and really wanted to go again and, of course, our burgers did not disappoint!
We started with a local brew, Greenbush, to split (I’m not a big beer person, so I just tried a few sips) and a red wine from a local winery, Round Barn.
Then, it was burger time…check out Matt’s double…
What I love about Redamak’s is how friendly everyone is…the kind of place where the waitresses call you “sweetie” or “doll” and everyone seems relaxed. We sat on the screened in porch, which was lovely- sunshine pouring in through the windows as we ate our tasty meals. After our our late lunch, we headed over toward the marina for some walking and views.
I must say, it was just one of those perfect days…filled with perfect moments. As we sat and took in beautiful scenery, we could hear live music from a wine festival going on, smells of a bonfire in the distance, and the crispest air to inhale. I loved every second.
To finish off our day trip, we headed to the Stray Dog Bar & Grill for rooftop drinks and to watch the sunset.
After our drinks, we took one final spin around the main street and looked at some of the beautiful houses lining the marina. Then, it was time to head back! As soon as we filled up on gas for the trip home, we dove into our box of pumpkin donuts 😉 Back home, we enjoyed the Cubs (woo woo!) and some Game of Thrones. I just finished season 1, and surprisingly, I am really enjoying it! It’s a little on the gory side for my tastes, but I guess since it’s October/Halloween-time, I’m more open to the intensity.
Sunday was a lazy day…which was just fine by me! We got in some grocery shopping, despite the crowds and closures due to the Chicago Marathon (congratulations to all runners!) I knew we had to at least grab the basics, since I’ve got an awesome group of ladies starting a fitness challenge with me today! I wanted to be sure I set myself up for a week of success! We also checked a bunch of chores off our list and I got in some Pure Barre studying/test-taking that I needed to do! I made sure to spend some time enjoying the weather on our balcony too!
Oh, and poor Friday…let me back up a bit. Obviously, Saturday was MVP for this weekend, but we had a great night Friday as well! I met Matt at the movie theater right after work so we could see Girl on the Train before the Cubs game even started. For anyone interested, I thought the movie was really good, but, as usual, the book was way better. After the movie, we headed to a nearby bar to watch the Cubbies and grab some dinner and drinks!
Clearly, it’s been an indulgent weekend, so I’m thrilled to begin our fitness challenge today…a perfect way to get back on point. Though I will say, I think balance is incredibly, incredibly important. A healthy heart, soul, and mind are just as crucial to overall health as a healthy body. Sometimes, stressing about eating this or that when you’re on a trip or at an indulgent restaurant is worse than just enjoying the experience and moving on. I share this because although I eat healthy most of the time, I also make sure to live fully and enjoy foods and experiences that appeal to me and make me happy. No, I don’t get huge cheeseburgers every weekend, but when my husband and I are out on a weekend adventure and that’s what we’re craving, I don’t think twice. Let me say the word again…balance. Eat your greens, exercise, but gosh darn, eat a pumpkin doughnut too (if that’s what you want!)
And with that… here’s my weekly dinner menu.
- Monday: Italian soup (think minestrone, plus crumbled Italian chicken sausage)
- Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf
- Wednesday: Modified version of the Thai Coconut soup from the Whole 30 (I adjust it to fit my grocery budget and my tastes, the recipe includes mushrooms, so I’ll eliminate that, but may add in sweet potato).
- Thursday: BBQ Chicken salad (with chopped tomatoes, pepper, avocado, hard-boiled eggs)
- Friday: TBD
Have a fabulous start to the week!
Question of the day: What’s your favorite fall tradition?