May 26, 2015

Meridian Takes Memphis for Memorial Day Weekend!

Ever make last minute plans for a weekend getaway on a Friday evening and leave bright and early Saturday morning?  Totally worth it!
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For the last couple of weeks, we have been talking with friends about getting out of Meridian for the holiday weekend.  Unfortunately while the guys technically were scheduled for a three day weekend, we weren't sure that they wouldn't get put on duty and didn't want to make solid plans until we were sure (5pm on Friday when the schedule is released).   So we hung around Meridian on Friday, sold breakfast burritos at the squadron with the OSC, and went golfing on base with Blair and Wil.  While we were golfing and discussing what to do for the rest of the weekend, the schedule came out and no one was scheduled!  One idea lead to another and before you know it, Meridian was taking on Memphis for Memorial Day Weekend!
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Rob and I spent our anniversary weekend back in January in Memphis but it was so fun to do a weekend here with friends and even better that those friends happen to call Memphis home!  If you want to hit all the best spots, head to the city with the insiders ;)
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Last trip we ate BBQ from Rendezvous so this trip we had to try out it's rival, Commissary.  We met up with Wil's parents for lunch and loved getting to spend some time with them.  My barbecue sandwich was awesome but I think the smoked sausage that they bring out to start was my absolute favorite!
Bass Pro Shop Pyramid Memphis
The weather was gorgeous all weekend so we spent a lot of time walking and exploring Mud Island.  Of course, we had to make a pit stop at the brand new Bass Pro Shops inside of the pyramid.  This place is absolutely insane!
Marine Corps Pilot Wives Blog
Overton Square is the area that I can definitely see myself hanging out if we lived in Memphis.  So many cute restaurants and shops.  We grabbed dinner and drinks at Lafayette's Music Room.  The place has an awesome outdoor patio and live music seven days a week.  Back in the 1970s, Billy Joel, KISS, and Barry Manilow all played at Lafayette's!
raifords disco memphis
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My favorite part of the weekend though had to be Raiford's Disco!  We have been hearing about Raiford's for a while now but it's hard to really picture the place from it's description without seeing it in person.  "Light up dance floor, fog machine, only sells 40s (and full bottles of champagne!), 75 year old Raiford is DJing most nights, and ear plugs are available by request at the bar"  Well, I have to say, after seeing it for myself it is all of that and more!  This place is a BLAST!  We played the drums, snuck up to the VIP top floor, and danced on the light up dance floor to a mix of disco tunes and pop favorites until the early hours of the morning.  If you are in Memphis, this place is a must!  (The $15 cover charge is well worth the experience!)
playing drums at raifords
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Late night food on Beale Street did not happen due to a sad shooting that shut down the entire block however breakfast sandwiches from Stone Soup Cafe were a must the next morning, as was a little Target/Pottery Barn/Whole Foods shopping!
i love memphis wall
This was my second trip to Memphis but I still feel like there is lots more to see and do!  Have you been to Memphis?  Do you have any favorite spots we missed?

May 20, 2015

Shopping Healthy At Sam's Club

Walking through the aisles of a gorgeous grocery store like Whole Foods, I am always inspired to cook fresh, natural meals and try new healthy foods.  Unfortunately, Whole Foods is an hour and a half away and I don't quite get that same feeling walking the aisles of the Wal-Mart grocery section.  We try to eat as healthy as possible during the week which means our grocery card looks pretty similar: lots of fresh produce, meat, and many of the same pantry staples.  We try to get most of our produce from the Farmer's Market (or our garden!) and prefer to get our meat from Beaverdam Farms but realistically, we aren't at a place right now where we eat all local/organic.  So are we stuck making the most of the aisles of Wal-Mart?

My new secret: Sam's Club!  We have always had a membership to Sam's Club because you simply cannot beat the price for bulk fruit, vegetables, and meat.  Recently though, I've realized that I am able to knock out more and more of my grocery list for a fraction of the price.  Sprouted bread?  Bulk quinoa?  Almond butter?  Check, check, and check!  While I'm not sure Sam's Club will ever beat out Costco as my favorite big box store, it is definitely

Here are a couple of my current favorite Sam's Club products and ones that we always have stocked at our house.

Shopping Healthy At Sam's Club

Kind Bars {18 bars / $18.98}
Chia Seeds {A zillion lol / $12.98}
Sprouted Grain Bread  {2 loaves / $4.98}
Sprouted Grain Rolls {30 rolls / $2.91}
Organic Chicken and Cheese Burritos {8 burritos / $12.28}
Frozen Broccoli {4 bags / $5.98}
Frozen Fruit {4 lbs / $7.98}
Eggs {18 eggs / $3.48}
Unsweetened Almond Milk {3 half gallons / $8.48}
Bananas {3 lbs / $1.49}
Avocados {6 / $6.98}
Sweet Potatoes {10 lbs / $7.98}
Food Should Taste Good Chips {20 bags / $9.98}
Almond Butter {24 oz / $9.78}
Microwavable Quinoa {4 bags / $9.98}
Coconut Oil {54 oz / $10.98}
Coconut Flour {5 lbs / $8.98}
Coconut Palm Sugar {4 lbs / $12.98}
Rotisserie Chicken {1 / $4.98}

Do you shop at Sam's Club (or Costco)?  What are your favorite finds?

May 18, 2015

Weekends in the 'Sip

Two weekends in a row staying in Meridian...this must be a record!  ;)  This weekend was the perfect weekend at home and I can't wait for many more like this throughout the summer.  A few weekends ago when we went to the casinos in Philadelphia (MS), we noticed that there was a huge waterpark and decided we had to come back and check it out when it opened.  We woke up on Saturday to stormy skies but decided to just make the drive and check it out.  When we got there, it was clear that season passes were a MUST!  The park is awesome -- 16 slides, wave pool, lazy river, beach pool, tiki bar, and a restaurant.  We had time to ride a couple of slides before the skies opened up and we got completely drenched!
Water park near Meridian Mississippi
things to do in the summer in mississippi
We decided to just keep the fun going and have some friends over that night.  The weather was still a little fickle but around 10pm it finally stopped raining long enough to head outside and spend some time around the firepit.  Lots of laughs, lots of wine, and even a few guitars made an appearance.  Nights like these make me so happy that we chose to live on base.  We are so lucky to have such wonderful friends here and be a part of this community.
flight school at nas meridian
where to live nas meridian
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We spend Sunday evening at our neighborhood block party.  It was fun to be able to meet new neighbors who have recently moved in and catch up with people we don't see as often.  Rob definitely loved holding all of the babies and figured out that if this whole flight school thing doesn't work out, he can always be a Manny ;)

May 14, 2015

When Cross Country Flights are Rescheduled to your Hometown!

Rob has been planning for the last couple of months for his cross country flight to Charleston.  He had his entire class convinced to pick Charleston and was so excited to spend the weekend with his family.  In typical Marine Corps fashion, his instructor called him the week of the flight and said that they would not be going to Charleston but instead Pax River, Maryland.  He was extremely disappointed and I felt terrible that his trip was not going to go as planned but tried to look at the positives.  Pax River is only about 1.5 hours from our hometown!  I did what any person would do two days in advance -- I hopped online and booked a last minute ticket home!  Times like these make me truly thankful for the freedom that my job creates in my life.
flight planning for T-45 cross country
I flew into DC on Thursday and hung out with my parents that night.  We had dinner at Vivify and then of course headed to Carl's for ice cream.  If you are familiar with Fredericksburg at all, you know that going to Carl's anytime you are nearby is practically a law.
Vivify Review
Carl's Fredericksburg Review
The stars were definitely aligned as my dad was scheduled to teach a class at Pax River on Friday when Rob was scheduled to fly in to the base there.  My mom and I spent the day catching up over brunch at Eileen's and shopping.  This was my first time ever going to Eileen's and I am totally kicking myself!  Such a hidden gem!
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Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early to get in line for brunch at Foode.  Foode was mine and Rob's favorite spot when he was at TBS.  Their chicken and waffles just won best dish in the entire commonwealth (something we have been telling people for years!) so we were nervous it would be packed.  We turned out to be the first people in line so we grabbed coffee from Hyperion while we waited.  As usual, the food did not disappoint.  Three of us got the chicken and waffles (my dad got the power scramble) and they were as good as we remembered.  We also tried three of their fresh juices - beet apple ginger, orange carrot tumeric mango, and kale coconut apple spinach - they were all delicious.
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Hyperion and Foode
Fresh Juices in Fredericksburg
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After getting of fill, we headed home to change for our next adventure: GLAMPING!  Over the winter, my parents bought an RV and I have been so jealous of their adventures.  We decided to do a quick overnight trip while Rob and I were in town and it was a blast!  The weather was perfect and it was nice to just relax and catch up.  Of course no camping trip is complete without jiffy pop and s'mores over the fire!
Glamping in Virginia
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Sunday just so happened to be the launch of Lilly for Target, which my mom and I have been talking about over the phone for months.  We decided to stay up until the 3am estimated online launch to try our luck (on the campground's wifi!) at getting some of our wish list.  Rob and my dad were not interested so they both went to sleep.  I'm not sure how I got so lucky but I saw on instagram that some of the links were leaked and immediately went into freak out mode trying to order.  Over the course of several hours (and lots of website crashes!), I was able to order most of the things from our wish lists.  However, with a few things left we had to make the decision -- head to the stores or get some sleep.  We made the crazy decision to just pull an all-nighter and get in line at the store.  We were the very first people in line at 6 am at our Target.  I was completely struggling but it was completely worth it.  We made friends with the people around us in line and honestly ended up with lots of great items.  My body definitely paid for it for the next couple days though.  I can't pull all nighters like I used to.
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Sunday afternoon we had to drive to Pax River to drop Rob off for his flights home and I left Virginia on Monday morning.  I am so happy that we had the opportunity to make this impromptu trip home and so grateful to my parents for such a fun weekend.
Cross Country Flights in the T-45
Marine Corps Jet Training T-45

May 12, 2015

What We're Reading + Cooking: Inspiralized

It's no secret that I am obsessed with zoodles and my spiralizer.  So when I came across the Inspiralized blog and found out that she also has a cookbook, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  So many options, so many possibilities.
Inspiralized Cookbook Review
The first thing that I noticed about this cookbook was the sheer amount of variety of spiralized fruits and veggies.  I had been sticking in my comfort zone of zucchini and thus completely missing out on tons of different recipes and ideas.  I am kind of a cookbook fanatic so beautiful food pictures make me so happy.  This cookbook did not disappoint in that category.  Everything from salads to bagels to desserts; all made out of spiralized fruits and vegetables!

I picked a couple of recipes to incorporate into my weekly meal plan and try out.  Since we live in small town Mississippi, I wasn't too confident in our Winn Dixie's produce section.  While we were in Pensacola, we headed to The Fresh Market to try to pick up some of the more unique ingredients in the recipes I choose.  The ingredients weren't anything too crazy -- daikon radish and jicama -- but even in The Fresh Market, they were no where to be found!  I decided to just make due with cucumbers, carrots, and zucchini but I am on the hunt now for those two in particular.  (I'd love suggestions if you've found them anywhere!)

The first recipe I tried was the Jicama Kiwi Corn Salad with Honey Lime Dressing.  I had to swap out  zucchini for the jicama but it was still delicious and completely embodied summer flavors.  I topped it with some honey lime salmon for protein and it made for a perfect lunch.
21 Day Fix Bahn Mi
But the real star of the show has been the amazing Chicken Bahn Mi with Sriracha Greek Yogurt.  Bahn Mi sandwiches are one of Rob's absolute favorites and usually at a restaurant, we have to split a Bahn Mi and a bowl of Pho because we can't decide which we want more.  But it's no secret that the amount of bread in a traditional bahn mi sandwich can be a little tough on the waistline.  I loved that this recipe kept all the original, amazing flavors without the extra carbs.  I'm sharing the recipe from her cookbook with y'all below!

Low Carb Bahn Mi

Chicken Banh Mi with Sriracha Greek Yogurt
From Inspiralized 

One of my simplest tricks is to eat sandwiches open-faced—not only for health reasons but also for greater flavor! If you’ve ever had a banh mi sandwich, you know the bun can easily overpower the delicious pickled vegetable filling in this classic Vietnamese street food. Here, I’ve replaced the bun with a bell pepper, which not only offers a refreshing and hydrating crunch but also is a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate vehicle for showcasing what you came for: the pickled (spiralized) vegetables, Asian marinated chicken, and a high-protein Sriracha spread made with nonfat Greek yogurt.

Makes 4 sandwiches

For the pickled vegetables
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
1 small daikon radish, peeled, blade C (<< I omitted this because I couldn't find one)
1 medium carrot, peeled, blade C
1 medium cucumber, blade C

For the chicken
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
3/4 to 1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into strips

For the Sriracha yogurt
1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

For the sandwiches
2 large red bell peppers
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Pickle the vegetables. Whisk together the vinegar, honey, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the daikon radish, carrot, and cucumber noodles; toss to coat well, then marinate in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the sandwiches, tossing every 5 minutes.

Prepare the chicken. Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, lime juice, and honey in a shallow dish. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. When a bit of water flicked onto the pan sizzles, add the chicken and grill for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until no longer pink. Cut into thin slices.

Make the yogurt. In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients.

Assemble the sandwiches. Slice the tops off both peppers, remove and discard the seeds and white flesh, and halve them to yield four sandwich “bottoms.” Lay out the bell pepper pieces with the insides facing up. Spread on the Sriracha mayo, then layer on the chicken and top with the pickled vegetables. Drizzle the tops with extra yogurt, if desired, and garnish with the cilantro.

 I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review but all opinions are my own!

Have you gotten hooked on spiralized veggies yet?  Expect more recipes to come because I am obsessed!
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