Almond Orchard Experience Part 2-Fitness & Fun!

Last week, I shared Part 1 of my Almond Orchard Experience with you guys, focusing on the nutrition, agriculture and sustainability information I learned on the trip.  Today it’s time to recap the rest of the trip.  I’m talking all the food (almond-centric, of course), fitness and fun! And by fun, I mean wine…but “w” doesn’t work for alliteration.  Warning: this post is pretty photo-heavy and you may find yourself drooling, so grab a napkin and get scrolling!

I mentioned our group stayed at the beautiful Wine & Roses Hotel and Spa in Lodi, CA.  It truly was an oasis in the middle of California.  In addition to the spa, the grounds boasted beautiful flowers, fountains, fig and lemon trees, pomegranate bushes and tropical birds!  SJeNsKH7dJux_dSSfz-joTaHHfLQ7Xl1uBqb06hv1LIsSxTTJ

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Due to some airplane delays, a few of us were late to the dinner the first night of our trip and I was so hungry that I didn’t even stop to take pictures!  Oops, bad food blogger!  We ate salad with raspberries and sliced almonds, salmon, rice pilaf and roasted veggies.  Take my word for it, it was all delicious!  Oh and there was wine!

Early Tuesday morning, Alex led a yoga class for the group, which was the perfect way to wake up.  It was a great combo of flow and holding poses and I needed the stretch for sure.  
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After yoga, our morning session began with breakfast, almond-inspired of course.  I loaded up on eggs, fruit, french toast, potatoes and my new obsession–almond skillet granola.  It is SO good and I fully intend on making some at home this weekend! 

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After a few hours of almond education, it was most definitely snack time!  On the menu?  Almond Butter and Jelly Energy Bites, No-Bake Almond Quinoa Energy Bites, Cinnamon Glazed Almonds and more skillet granola.  I like the way these people do snack-time!
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Lunch was BBQ-style with Grilled Chicken and Steak (beans for me), Mac & Cheese, German Potatoes, Field Greens and Cornbread!  YUM!
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One of the real highlights of the trip for me was our visit to Lange Twins Winery.  We literally stepped off our bus into a vineyard and were handed wine samples.  Now that is how life should be…
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Plus there is a vineyard dog, Arrow! He was excited to have so many friends to play with and sit on and I totally fell in love with this cool winery pup!mXsiIvuns3mQWOU7jv0_88Q0FHhq8y-dIt2T5vUPLSEsSxTTJ

After hearing about the history of the Lange Twins family-owned and operated winery and learning about production, we sat down to the most beautiful meal.  Seriously, it was a snapshot right out of Pinterest!  
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On the menu:

Jicama and Orange Salad

Shrimp with Romesco Sauce

Almond Oil Drizzled Lamb Kebabs

Paella Tamales

Fresh Roasted Summer Vegetables

Lots and lots of wine {I personally loved their Cab Sav and Red Blend}

And for the grand finale…Almond Cake with Strawberries and Blackberries.  

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That cake was incredible and the perfect ending to a fantastic evening.  I feel so lucky to have been a part of this beautiful event.  Cheers!9Sqc1KdwFSmAAMxKf0H8b_dVMSaPmsrGaYQPrAI3zvssSxTTJ

To help burn off all that cake and wine, a few of us met for an early morning run the next day.  Kylie, Heather, Deanna, Rachael and I ran over to Lodi Lake and chatted for a few miles before heading out to the almond orchard.  Gotta love going on trips with other fitness fanatics!image3 (1)

Our post-run fuel included breakfast burritos, fresh fruit, potatoes and more ALMOND SKILLET GRANOLA!!! I couldn’t get enough of this stuff, I swear I should’ve stuffed some into my carry-on bag.  

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With brekkie in our bellies, we headed to the orchards for a full tour (be sure to read Part 1 for more on that!) and another Pinterest-inspired picnic lunch.  Our final meal of the trip included wrapped sammies, farro salad, Greek salad, almond macaroons and peach crumble in mini mason jars.  So stinkin cute!

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So that’s a wrap on the Almond Orchard Experience.  Despite being a total whirlwind trip, I was able to make some new friends, eat some amazing food, drink delicious wine and still get my sweat on! ūüėČ

Big thanks again to the Almond Board of California for sponsoring my trip and covering my expenses!

Tell me…Which of these almond-inspired recipes sound like your jam?! How do you squeeze workouts in during travel?  

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National Ice Cream Day

In case you haven’t yet heard, July is National Ice Cream Month. ¬†And it just so happens that this past Sunday was National Ice Cream DAY! ¬†{Fun fact: ¬†The month and day were both designated¬†back in 1984 by President Reagan. ¬†Great president…and he’s an ice cream advocate?! I knew I liked him…}

I might be a dietitian, but one of my absolute favorite indulgences happens to be ice cream. ¬†Mint chocolate chip to be precise. ¬†And I’m also dating a guy who is something of an ice cream addict. ¬†If you follow me on social media, I’m sure you’ve already seen some of our adventures in ice cream eating. ¬†He seriously is¬†always¬†down to get some ice cream. ¬†He actually once explained to me that even when he’s full he has room for ice cream because it melts and fills in the “gaps” in his¬†stomach. ¬†Mmmhmm. ¬†I never learned that in my nutrition or anatomy classes…

Ice cream is becoming all the rage lately, at least in the NYC area. ¬†So I wasn’t surprised to hear about Creme De La Creme, an ice cream festival taking place at the Brooklyn Flea this past weekend. ¬†After checking out the list of vendors, I knew I wanted to check it out, and it didn’t take much convincing for boyfriend to join me.

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I think there were about 10 vendors, but knowing we wouldn’t be able to eat 10 different ice creams (or at least I¬†couldn’t), we came up with a little strategy. ¬†We immediately jumped into line for Steve’s ice cream, which we had looked up on our way to the Flea. ¬†After that, we took a look around at the others and picked our must-try list.

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Check out those flavors! ¬†Some were exclusive to the ice cream festival, which I thought was pretty fun. ¬†And they had these ridiculous looking pretzel cones, which¬†we didn’t get but I imagine would be awesome with a sweet ice cream.

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It was a tough decision, but I went with a scoop of¬†Brooklyn Blackout (milk chocolate ice cream swirled with pieces of chocolate stout cake and dark chocolate pudding) in a sugar cone. ¬†Boyfriend had a scoop of the avocado chip in a sugar cone. ¬†Tell me I’m not the only one who saw that name and thought avocado and tortilla¬†chip?! ¬†Haha I don’t know why I didn’t realize it would be chocolate chips, but a guacamole-style ice cream doesn’t sound half bad…Anyway, both of our¬†flavors were incredible! ¬†I think a trip to Steve’s is in our future….

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After we finished our first cones, we put our plan into action. ¬†I knew I wanted to try another chocolate flavor from Phin & Phebe’s, so we held off and got in line for OddFellow’s. ¬†First of all, I loved their hashtag: #ErrbodyLovesIceCream. ¬†So true!

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And their flavors were so unique!  Cornbread?  I mean, how can you NOT try that?

IMG_7608This time, we went with two scoops to share….one of the cornbread and one Buttermilk with honey and blueberry. ¬†Holy yum! ¬†We agreed the Buttermilk was pretty rich and I didn’t end up having more than a few spoons of that. ¬†But the cornbread? ¬†Yes. ¬†It’s actually cornbread ice cream, not ice cream with pieces of cornbread in it. ¬†It was incredible!

IMG_7613Following our plan closely, we ate the cornbread/buttermilk combo as we stood in line for Phin & Phebe’s. ¬†We don’t mess around!
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Remember when I said I wanted to try more chocolate….?IMG_7622

Well there were plenty of other delicious-sounding¬†options (Banana Whama and Peanutty Pretzel, anyone?), but I had to go with Dark Chocolate Salty Caramel! ¬†I’m a sucker for dark chocolate anything.

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Dark chocolate+salt+caramel=heaven.

Boyfriend went with Vietnamese Iced Coffee, which had hints of chicory and cardamom. ¬†Interesting, but I’m not a coffee person. ¬†He liked it though! ¬†He’s just not quite used to my food paparazzi skills yet… ūüôā
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Not surprisingly, I couldn’t finish my dark chocolate salty caramel cone. ¬†It was delicious, but really rich…and I had already eaten 2 scoops of ice cream, not my normal. ¬†It’s a good thing boyfriend has that whole gaps-in-the-stomach thing.

After Phin & Phebe’s, we checked out (but didn’t sample) a few of the other vendors, like Victory Garden, which had some awesome sounding seasonal flavors and used goat’s milk as a base. ¬†Fort Grace also had a long line and interesting flavors like caramelized nectarine! ¬†Oh, and I can’t forget Butter & Scotch who were¬†whipping up pie milkshakes! ¬†As in…a piece of pie, in a milkshake. ¬†Insane.

I was officially ice-creamed out, but boyfriend still had some gaps to fill. ¬†We got in line for Morgenstern’s¬†and ordered one last scoop. ¬†Check out their selection:
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After some debate, boyfriend sampled “Raw Milk” and his eyes lit up! ¬†He went with a scoop of that…which the girl described as just raw¬†milk (read cream)¬†ice cream, not vanilla. ¬†I had a teeny taste and man, was it rich. ¬†You could feel the fat in your mouth. ¬†Serious stuff!
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I’d say my ice cream monster and I had a good day sampling some the finest ice creams NYC has to offer and I’m sure we’ll be back next year for more¬†Creme De La Creme. ¬†In the meantime we’ll continue our adventures in ice cream tasting…but in moderation, of course!

Your turn: favorite ice cream flavor?  Cup or cone?  Soft serve or scooped?  Sprinkles or whipped cream?  Go!

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