Welcome to another installment of Dishin’ It Up – September 2016 Edition! Where I share my favorite books, music, food and fun from the past month!
Hello October! I am so excited for this month! Not only am I looking forward to some special events like ACL and the BlogherFood Conference, I am looking forward to many of our favorite October/Halloween traditions, like heading to the pumpkin patch (for Central Texas friends, be sure and check out my guide to Austin and Central Texas pumpkin patches), watching scary movies all month long and lots of other fall fun!
But before I do a face plant into October, here’s a look at some of my favorite food, music and fun from September.
What I’ve been doing:
One of the highlights of the month was having the opportunity to visit the Central Texas Food Bank with some of my fellow Austin Food Blogger Alliance Bloggers. The Central Texas Food Bank, serves over 20 counties in Central Texas and because of the amount of food they need to process to meet the needs of these counties, they recently opened a new state of the art facility. The new CTFB headquarters is 135,000 square feet which makes it easier to process the 28+ million meals they provide each year. It has a massive professional kitchen that will be used as a work training program to give people work experience while preparing meals for local schools and soup kitchens.
Our group had the opportunity to tour this beautiful new facility, learn more about what this amazing organization does and then lend our hands to help sort food. Not only was this volunteer opportunity fun, as we got to work together as a group and meet others, but the mission of the food bank is something I am VERY passionate about. It is so important to understand that most individuals seeking help from the food bank are not homeless; in fact, most are families or individuals that are on hard times at that moment in life and are being faced with the choice of whether or not to buy groceries or pay rent, or buy medicine, etc. at that moment. They are people who are going through a divorce, just got diagnosed with cancer, lost their job, lost a loved one, and so on. Since I have known hardship at one point or another in my life and am in a place now where I can give back, I feel like it is my duty to give back what I can when I can.
Not only have I spent the month of September trying to nourish my soul spiritually, through journal writing, meditation, getting lots of fresh fall air and volunteering, I have worked at getting back to a somewhat regular health and fitness regimen. This has included daily evening walks and hitting the gym. In addition to my regular routine, I was invited by some local fitness studios to come try their facilities.
First I tried the new Bounce class (a trampoline based workout) at Define Body and Mind. I am already a huge fan of Define and have taken all of their other classes (the Define Mind class with hammocks is by far my most favorite “workout” class, quite possibly ever, as it really stretches you and makes my body and mind feel so relaxed); but the Bounce class is still new. I was worried that we would be bouncing on trampolines the entire time but you do get off and do some floor work or use trampoline to do other exercise (like for abs and tricep dips). While this was a very intense class, as you are constantly moving as well as using weights and doing leg work, it is fun and a great way to get out of a workout rut.
Snap Kitchen partnered with Define to host a group of bloggers for the event and provided beverages and dinner salads for our group afterward. That was actually my first time trying Snap Kitchen and I was super impressed. They have so many salad options and you can then choose your protein to go on top. Their food is super convenient and fast, since it is already prepared but fresh and healthy. I really enjoyed the Roots and Grains Salad (pictured), with kale, quonia, forbidden rice, sweet potatoes, blueberries, beets, dried cranberries and apple cider vinaigrette. I also tried the Goddess of Green, with broccoli, spinach, lentils, Calabrese Pepper, radicchio, raisins and a creamy herb dressing, which was also delicious but a tad spicy.
The other fitness studio that hosted a group of bloggers was The Lab ATX. This high end studio in downtown Austin, features four core classes/methods: Grind (crossfit style classes), Shift (cycling), Transformation (barre) and Flow (yoga). We had the opportunity to try all the classes (for about 20 minutes each). Personally I liked the yoga because it is offered on the roof top (hello downtown view!) and I really enjoy yoga classes outside, as that is where I normally find my zen. While they normally offer these classes as individual classes, I honestly wished they did a rotation like we did (15-20 minutes for each class) as I kinda liked busting out a quick workout in each area one right after another.
The Lab ATX also has their own in house smoothie and juice bar, The Honest Bar, and we were able to try some of their delicious smoothies, juices and healthy eats (salads and energy bites). My favorite juice was the Cool It Down Juice (Watermelon, Cucumber, Himalayan Sea Salt), Apple Cinnamon Energy Bites, and Vegan Autumn Kale Cesar Salad were my absolute favorite bites.
What I’ve been listening too:
As I’ve worked on nourishing my soul, both physically and mentally this past month, my music selections have been geared to this. I have been a longtime fan of Alabama Shakes. The lead singer, Brittany Howard, has such a raspy, soulful voice that instantly soothes my nerves and calms me down. I am constantly playing their albums and also had the opportunity to see them in concert. The concert was . for the most part slow (they do have a number of feel the rhythm and dance sort of songs) and the weather was absolutely perfect making for a beautiful night.
On the other hand, since I am trying to be more active, I have also been blaring fast paced songs from popular pop artists like Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. I like to play these while I cook, clean house or go on a run, as it keeps me up and going and adds a little pep in my step.
What I’ve been eating:
In addition to the healthy bites I shared above, I treated myself to a few new to me places this month. I finally checked out the new Cow Tipping Creamery brick and mortar location. It was busy and crowded (small place) but the ice cream creations were over the top and delicious. We tried their weekly special, The Cookie Butter Stacker, but there are so many other delicious flavor combinations.
We also checked out Svante’s Stuffed Burgers. They also have a new brick and mortar location, but we visited their food truck. We tried the Space Jam Burger (pictured), with pepper jack cheese, garlic aioli, a little spicy arugula and smothered with plenty of bacon-onion jam to finish things off! As well as the Black and Blue Bevo Burger, with blue cheese, mushrooms and chipotle aoli. These grass fed burgers have just the right toppings and burger to bun ratio, making for a perfect burger. Since their food truck is constantly moving and their webpage isn’t always update, you might want to make a trek out to their new restaurant in downtown Round Rock, if you would like to try these burgers and other restaurant only items.
What I’ve been watching:
While I have been anxiously awaiting the return of fall TV, I am kind of disappointed this year. I have continued to watch my favorites, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Law and Order, but am disappointed that Scandal won’t be back for a few more months and that Nashville just up and ended last May.
In an effort not to be spoiled this year regarding Walking Dead, I just powered through season 6 on Netflix and will have to create my own watch party by inviting myself over to a friend’s house for the season 7 premiere later this month.
Mad Men (a show about a marketing firm set in the 60’s) is my other Netflix current favorite. I have always been obsessed with the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s era and find this show not only interesting as it has a lot of spot on time period references it is fascinating to see how marketing has evolved yet remains the same.
Well that’s it for now! What have you been up to lately? Share in the comments below!
Note: This post is in no way sponsored. I was invited to attend the workout classes mentioned above as a media invite/blogger but was not required to share about the event. I just love sharing some of my favorite things with you as part of my Dishin’ It Up series!