Belle and Books

It has been a snowy, icy, sick few weeks for us here at the Cupit home and today we were itching to get out.  Our grandson, Mason, was just getting over a stomach bug last weekend when we kept him when our granddaughter, Daphne, was born.  Ron came down with the sickness a few days after Mason but I thought I was in the clear.  No such luck.  It hit me hard on Friday and I had to take a half day off from work.  That’s the first time I’ve missed work in over 4 years.  I was feeling so much better today -really back to my old self.

After church, Ron and I ventured out even though the weather was still cold and rainy.  We were heading to Whole Food in Cary to pick up a few things and decided to stop in and try a new farm to table restaurant we saw featured on UNC-TV, Belle of Cary.

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Belle is located right in the heart of downtown Cary at 324 S. Academy St.  The UNC-TV special let us know that when the owner finished decorating it and she looked around, it reminded her so much of her grandmother Belle’s place, that ended up being the name.  It wasn’t crowded at all today and I know it had to have been because of the weather.

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I started off with a mimosa and Ron had this huge cup of coffee.

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I didn’t crop out the chair in the background of Ron’s coffee shot because I wanted to report that Ron did not like these metal chairs. He didn’t think they were comfortable. I loved them however. So cute!

I had cream of broccoli soup and the veggie quiche.  Delicious.  The fruit was so sweet and fresh!  The quiche was perfect!

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Ron got a house salad and the veggie wrap with cole slaw as his side.
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He got the salad because he especially wanted to try the goat cheese. He had heard it was from a local farm in Hillsborough and he was dying to try it out.  Ron love everything he ordered.  He let me have a taste of the veggie wrap and I immediately knew it was the most unique veggie wrap I had ever tasted.  (And you know I have had a LOT of veggie wraps!) I couldn’t quite figure it out and even after we asked the server we still weren’t sure what it was.  Then it hit Ron.  It was cinnamon.  I took one more tiny taste and that was it.    So flavorful!  Ron is the master of cole slaw and we are happy to report that Belle’s was very good.  Just a little sweet and perfectly seasoned.

We were too full for dessert but as we were leaving we noticed that Belle is a bakery too and you can stop by just for sweets if that’s what you are in the mood for.

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I had to get something and I ended up with a raspberry white chocolate scone. A few hours after brunch we were still out and about today so I dug into it and loved every bite. I tried to only eat half but it didn’t work. So yummy! I’ve had scones before but this one was very different. It reminded me of my mother’s biscuits.
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Ron and I loved Belle but I can’t give it a completely glowing review. I hate this because I was so excited for it after watching the special on UNC-TV.
I think what got me was when we walked in we weren’t immediately greeted. We had to stand around a little while and we were confused. We didn’t know if we should seat ourselves or if there was a hostess. It probably was only a couple of minutes but when you don’t know what to do it seemed like forever. Also, between each course and getting our bill we ended up waiting. Remember, I mentioned that they were not busy while we were there and I didn’t think there needed to be so much down time. Our server was nice and there were others about helping out but it just felt off to me. Ron said if we had been there on a beautiful Spring day it might have felt totally different. I’m going to give them another chance the first warm day we have. I’d love to dine out on the porch.
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Now for a little of what I’ve been enjoying lately:
These La Croix waters are so good! Ron and I each got one when we were at Target today.
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And here’s what I’ve been reading listening to lately:

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Rosa shared this with me this month. She has been driving a lot more than me lately so she has been going to the library as well as listening to our monthly Audible selection. Winter Garden was to the fall of Leningrad as The Book Thief was to the US and allied bombings in Germany.  I was shaken to the core.  What those poor souls endured was so awful!  War is very very ugly.  Now I’m not saying Winter Garden was anywhere near as beautifully written as The Book Thief but it was a great little book.  I’m so glad Rosa shared.  Since I listen to books, the narrator is very important to me. I didn’t like the narrator at first but when she starts telling the story of the war she uses a Russian accent and I loved that!  I’ve got to book a cruise to Alaska stat and I must have caviar and shots of vodka soon!

Our January Audible selection was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

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We are late to the party on this one and boy was it a doosey!  I absolutely loved it!  I’m not going to give too much away because I think you might find yourself loving it more if you don’t research the book beforehand.  I highly recommend the Audible recording.  The performer was OUTSTANDING!  I was laughing so hard in some of the parts.  Right after I finished the book, Ron found the movie on Time Warner on Demand for me.  It was a good thing it was free because I didn’t love the movie.  That’s the problem when you enjoy the book first.  Often it is a great movie on its own but nothing will ever compare to the Audible performance I listened to.  Ron and I are planning on a trip to Savannah soon.  I can’t wait to find that statue and take a picture by it.

Our December Audible selection was The Snow Child.

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What an enchanting and magical fairy tale.  I loved the Alaskan setting and found myself drawn into this beautiful little book.  If it’s still snowing in your area, I urge you to get this book and enjoy!

Two other selections were The End of the Affair and The Aviator’s Wife.  The first one I didn’t like but I loved The Aviator’s Wife.  I want to watch the movie The Spirit of St. Louis so bad but I can’t find it anywhere.

In my Audible account I have Unbroken waiting for me.  I plan to start that tomorrow.  What’s on your book shelf lately?

What good restaurants have you been to?

On the running front I am doomed.  I did get in one good treadmill run this week (a 5k in 28:42!) but that is all.

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We have the Tobacco Road Half Marathon coming up in 14 days and I am no where ready for it at all.  I’ll finish but it’s not going to be pretty.  Since I’m not trained up well enough I’m planning on doing intervals if I need them and go into the race with a joyous attitude and just have fun.  Hopefully we’ll have pretty weather.  I am so ready for Spring!

Run for the Roses 5k

I’m a little behind in posting but I wanted to share my latest 5k experience.

On February the 8th I participated in an awesome 5k called Run for the Roses.  My friend, Jordan, had won an entry and she was already scheduled to run another race that day so she gave it to me.  Thanks Jordan!  And congrats on an awesome marathon relay at the Massacre Marathon!

This was the 35th annual Run for the Roses making it one of the oldest 5k’s in this part of North Carolina.  The cool thing was that all female finishers were presented with a rose at the finish line.  I really love local races and I love that they give so much back to the community.

I got to the race a little early and got in a good warm-up and stretch.  I like races but I like them a whole lot more when I have a friend to race with.  I’ll admit.  I was a tad bit lonely.  There were 837 racers and lots of spectators but since I’m pretty shy, I stuck to myself.

The weather was glorious!  So warm on that February day that I wore shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt.  We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day.

My plan was to run steady and to not walk on any of the hills.  I also didn’t want to stop at the water stop.  I was hoping for a sub 30:00 minute 5k and I got close.  (my Garmin read 30:12)  The race showed me coming in at 31:12 and that put me 10th in my age group.  The race results chip and gun time were both 31:12 so I’m not sure what happened.  I started pretty far back in the pack so there was no way those 2 times should have been equal.

The most memorable thing that happened to me in this race was I passed an old lady on a hill.  I smiled and encouraged her but she did not even acknowledge me.  I was floored!  Racers are usually so nice and I thought I was being supportive. Well, a few minutes later she passed me!  This lady had to be in her 70s and I was now totally humiliated.

Then we started up a hill and she lost some steam and I passed her again.  This time I turned around and looked at her bib number so I could look up her age.  I know, I know.  Pretty creepy but I had to know.

She was 73 years old and her finishing time was only 1 minute behind me!

Thinking back on everything, maybe she didn’t hear me as I encouraged her.  Maybe she was just concentrating so hard on her own racing strategies.  I’m not upset anymore.  Now I’m very inspired!  I hope I can run a 32 minute 5k when I’m 73!

After the race, I walked back to my car and grabbed my phone and snapped a couple of pictures.

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Check out that Carolina Blue sky!

We’re snowed in today and last week we had an ice storm.  I didn’t run one single day last week.  I was going to run this weekend but my new granddaughter arrived!

Meet Daphne Alice Mills!

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Mom and baby are doing great and I so thankful for my prayers being answered.  We are so blessed!

Signing off and hitting the treadmill!

Think Spring everyone!

Disclaimer:  I gave up FB for Lent so I won’t see any comments that you make unless you put them on my blog.  I kept FB Messenger so I could keep up with my CF and running friends but I haven’t looked at FB since last Wednesday.  I needed this break.  I’m somewhat addicted.  Hoping after Easter to bring FB back in a controlled way and not open the app 10 million times a day.

Ron’s Restaurant Quality Reubens

Ron has been making tempeh Reubens for me for about 4 years and they just keep getting better and better!  I love them!

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Tonight’s was extra special because Ron made them with his own, homemade sauerkraut.

Six days ago, he took some red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, garlic, onions, and salt and mixed it all together.

He kept it in a dark place and “burped” it every morning.

This was how it turned out.

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Next he mixed his sauerkraut with some 1000 island dressing and placed it on top of some tempeh that he had marinated in this Thai Peanut Dipping and Marinade Sauce.  The bread is Rye and the cheese was Swiss.  Grill it up and enjoy!

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These Reubens are totally restaurant quality and have the most amazing flavor.

We had ours tonight with some tasty sweet potato fries.

Total Win!

This week on the exercise front has been pretty good.  I got in 3 good CrossFit workouts.  I’m still modifying a lot but I’m starting to feel a teeny bit more coordinated and a lot stronger.

I got in one run with my friends before work on Tuesday but Thursday we skipped due to the 12 degree weather.  I did get a 4 mile hill workout on the treadmill and tonight I did 5 miles.

I’ve had some ITB pain and that is so confusing to me because I’ve completed 3 weeks of physical therapy specifically targeting my ITB and hips.  I’m really trying to remain positive and stay the course.

Tomorrow is my track workout and it is only 4 miles with 4 strides.  I’m shooting to get it in BEFORE church!  I love Sunday’s so much more when I have my run in before church and get the have the rest of the day free.

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Happy Eating!  Happy Running!  Happy CrossFitting!  :)

Accountability Partner

Back in the summer of 2009 I decided to play around with the new little thing that my girls were raving about.  It was a little thing called Facebook.  Ha!

I found a few old friends and connected with many of my current friends.  Next came my sisters, nieces and nephews, aunts and cousins, and even my mother.  I had a blast sharing pictures and keeping in touch.  It was so cool to be able to connect in almost real-time.

For as many bad things that I can name off about FB, I must admit that it has been the best accountability partner ever!

My friends and family knew I had just started running and their encouragement when I was running for 60 seconds at a time was the catalyst that kept me going. I’d post little updates about how happy I was and how my training was going.  Everyone would like my posts and comment with inspiring words.  I was hooked.  I looked forward to my workouts. I couldn’t wait to let everyone know what I had done.

Then during the next year when I was training for my first marathon, FB really gets a lot of the credit for keeping me accountable.  I knew my FB friends were aware of my training schedule and whether they really cared or not about my long runs, I felt that they did.  I wouldn’t miss a single training session because I didn’t want to have to admit it on FB.  I’d plan my whole day around getting my run in.  Even this little blog was an accountability partner of sorts.  I can specifically remember one time it was snowing and I was excited to go out and run just so I could come home and post that I did it.  LOL.  Good thing Lydia and my good friend Sheila called me out on it.  :)

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As much as I know posting on FB every little exercise victory you make can be a little crazy, I still find it very motivating.  Same goes for posting smoothies and energy balls.

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Crazy as FB is you’ve got to admit that it is really fun!

So where am I getting with this little post?

For 2015, I’m asking each and everyone of my blog readers and my Facebook friends to be my accountability partners.

You know my priorities begin with my faith.  So, if you don’t see me in church for several weeks in a row, call me out on it!

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You know I really want to cross train regularly so if you’re my new CF friends and I don’t come to The Garage, message me and let me know you miss me.

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You know I’m trying to lose weight so if you see too many dessert photos, remind me that I’ll never out train a poor diet!

 

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You know I want to run faster so don’t let me skip the hard track workouts.

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I’m counting on you all to help.

I’ve got a few races on the agenda so far and I’m really looking forward to an awesome 2015.

Run for the Roses 5k – February 8th – For this race I’m shooting for a good solid sub 30 minute 5k.  I’ve only run one 5k in my life faster than 30 minutes and I so want my 5k time to keep getting faster.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon – March 15th – My goal is of course tied to speed for this race as well.  It is a flat course and it would be great to get below 2:12 and set a PR early in the year.

Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Half Marathon – April 12th – All I want to do for this race is have fun and laugh in the face of all of Raleigh’s hills!

Race 13.1 Raleigh – June 6 – This one will probably be a time goal for me as well.

Since I’m turning 50 in 2015, I’m thinking about running a 50k.  I’m mailing my registration for the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra on Monday and I’m crossing my fingers I get in.  That race is in September so it will be the perfect time to fit in to my fall racing schedule which just happens to be wide open at this time!

Happy New Year!  Happy always!

Melissa

 

 

 

 

CrossFit Fuel

I’ve been going to CF again and this time around things are so much different.  The classes are small and our coach gives us so much personal attention.  I love it!  Last week I was sooooo sore but I kept at it and by the weekend I was all better.  I got in 3 runs and 3 CF workouts for the week.

Tonight was CF again for me and since Ron was on vacation, he almost had dinner ready when I got in.  I was able to snap these shots as he was putting the finishing touches on the meal.

The star of the show was his homemade tortillas.  He has only been making them for a little while and I think he’s got the technique down.  He gave me one hot of the griddle as soon as I walked in and it was to die for.

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He was making Heather Crosby’s Kale, Green Apple and Red Potato Quesadillas with Balsamic Reduction. We have been getting her meal plans lately. The one that he was making was very similar to this one.

Check out her site for the some awesome recipes.

Ron was so funny and he didn’t want to “waste” his balsamic vinegar so he refused to make the balsamic reduction.  We had this glaze on hand and he decided to use it.

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Here’s how it looked as he constructed the masterpiece.

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That was Granny Smith apple slices, roasted red potatoes, sautéed onions, and cheese.
We did use actual cheese but Heather’s cashew cheese is awesome. We were just out of cashews and had this cheese on hand.
We shared the first quesadilla. It was really good but something was missing!

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The KALE! Ron forgot the kale.
On the 2nd quesadilla, he put it in and it made a big difference. So much more flavorful!

Go make a quesadilla and don’t forget your Kale!  :)

Hope you are finding time for fitness during the holidays.  As my friend Roni says, its all about WYCWYC (What you can, when you can)

Simple Twist

My good friend Lisa recommended Simple Twist to Ron and me since she knows we try to eat local and organic.  (Hey you can’t get much more local and organic than the fresh eggs she and her adorable boys deliver to us every other week or so!)

Tonight was the perfect night.  Ron and I were out and about in the 40/42 area and we ended up getting hungry.  We could have got some groceries and gone home to cook, but instead our van veered into the parking area in front of Simple Twist!

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For a Friday night at 7:30ish they were really hopping.  We had to wait a few short minutes for a table but I was glad to do so.  Something about stepping into such a happening place, I knew that many people wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t top notch.

I had to try the the Twisted Guac.  I didn’t notice that it was coming with bacon and had to pick it off.

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Oh my word!  It was awesome.  Something about the blue cheese with the avocado and cilantro made this guac so special.  It was spicy but not too hot.  Absolutely perfect!  I didn’t really care for the Verde salsa. It didn’t have that much flavor to me.  But the guacamole!  Holy Guacamole!

Ron’s starter was the Twisted Salad with the pineapple/mango dressing.

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He loved it.  I tasted the dressing and it was to die for.  So scrumptious!

There wasn’t a lot of veggie choices on the menu but we spotted the Peace, Love, and Veggie Sandwich.  We both got one.

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Ron loved it but for me, there was missing something.  The veggies were grilled to perfection and the bread was great but I felt it needed some sort of pop.  I ended up dipping my sandwich into what was left of Ron’s pineapple/mango dressing and then in ketchup.  Very good but for me, not the best veggie sandwich I’ve ever tasted.

The fries were perfect!

Ron was happy to get his favorite local brew, 4042 Stout, from Deep River Brewing out of Clayton.  If you love craft beer, this is the place for you.  They had a great selection.  If I hadn’t been the DD I would have loved to tried some of the fancy cocktails.

My selection from Simple Twist’s dessert menu was this divine chocolate gauche cheesecake.    So delicious!

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The Cleveland area is very lucky to have this wonderful Cafe and Bar.  I loved the music and the vibe in the restaurant made me feel like I could have been in downtown Raleigh.  Our server was the sweetest ever and her service was impeccable.

There were a slue of omnivore selections on the menu and I bet they were all perfect.  I will definitely go back.  I can’t believe it has taken us so long to try them out.  What a gem right here in our community!

 

All Aboard!

When I learned about  New Hope Valley Railway,  I knew right away that this was one outing that I had to plan up.  I marked on my calendar and checked back when it got close to the Santa train event.  A few clicks later, I had secured our tickets!

Today was the day!

New Hope Valley Railway is located in the small town of Bonsal, NC and is about a 40 minute drive from our home in Clayton.

We recently bought my mother’s van and we were so excited to take Mason on this outing.  The van is loaded and has a dvd viewing console.   Mason was all set for the trip and settled into the movie he requested, Planes Fire and Rescue.

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We arrived about a half an hour before our departure time and enjoyed watching the model trains.  Mason loved them!

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It was sprinkling a little when we first got there but Hope Valley is prepared for bad weather and had plenty of covered areas to stand and view the models.

Luckily, the rain let up and we headed over to the station.

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Once at the station we toured some of the rail cars.  All the volunteers were awesome and Andie said that their friendliness was what made it so special for her today.

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Pretty soon the steam engine from the earlier session was coming around the bend.  It was so exciting to hear and see.

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While we were mesmerized with the steam engine, the diesel engine that Mason had chosen to ride slipped to the the back of the train and low and behold it was now the front of the train.  We were ready to board.

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The ride was so relaxing.  You just go through the woods for about an hour.  Along the way you get to listen to Christmas music and see wooden cutouts of candy canes, candles, Santa, bells and such.

When we got about a 1/2 hour in we stopped and I thought the engine was going to push us back to the station.  Boy was I wrong.  What it did was unhook and then go up a ways and then he came back down on the track beside us.

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He went past us and then got in the back and then he was ready to pull us again.

About this time it was our car’s turn to see SANTA!
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Right at the hour we were back in the station and everyone disembarked.

Mason was so impressed to be walking right beside Santa.

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The fun wasn’t over and on our way out we got to see Frosty!

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What a fun outing!

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(Yep, that’s me and my super short new haircut!)

We loved New Hope Valley Railway!

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Merry Christmas to you all and it is my prayer all your travels be magical!