Sunday, November 23, 2014

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Harrisonburg, Virginia

Before our trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia last month, I took the time to research restaurants and things to do while visiting. We weren't really interested in keeping overly busy, so I searched for low-key things to do. On our list were a sushi restaurant and a visit to the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at James Madison University.
So, the day after our elopement, we got ready and headed out for the afternoon. The sushi restaurant we selected was Beyond, an Asian-fusion type restaurant, in downtown Harrisonburg. We arrived with just enough time to still order from the lunch menu, which of course is cheaper than the dinner menu. Yipper! It was the perfect temperature out, so we chose to sit in the beautiful outdoor section all by our lonesome. If I’m being honest, the sushi was good, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. The calamari, on the other hand, was superb. It wasn’t your typical calamari—this was large pieces (not just the rounds) fried to perfection and served with sriracha aioli. Out of this world! You’re probably wondering where the pictures are…well, leave it to me not to take any. Epic fail, I know.   
After lunch, we were off to the arboretum. Once we finally found the entrance (darn GPS!), it was like entering an oasis. The short driveway was completely lined with trees—like a road straight through a forest. Let me tell you, this place was gorgeous and the fall colors were phenomenal. There were very few people around, so it was incredibly peaceful and relaxing. This was definitely our kind of outing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins & A Belated 1-Year Blogiversary

Happy belated 1 year blogiversary to me!! I say belated because this blog was officially a year old on October 12th, but I was off eloping, so I didn't actually post anything on that day. Good excuse, I might add. My blogiversary and my wedding anniversary will always fall on the same day, and quite frankly I’m pretty happy about that. I even made these ridiculously delicious muffins to celebrate. Even if a tad late.
Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins  l  Love.Bake.Read
I can hardly believe it’s already been a year. Where the time goes, I have no idea. For years, I went back and forth on whether or not to create a blog because I didn’t know if I could do it. I placed all the popular bloggers on a pedestal and made having a blog seem impossible. Crazy talk, I tell you.  After all, they were in my shoes once. What I finally learned is that everyone starts somewhere, and it doesn’t pay to compare my beginning to their middle. The bloggers I love are 5, 6, even 7 years in. There is no comparison at this point.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Zesty Southwest Enchiladas

Happy Monday! It’s officially winter here, and it is cold. Brrr! It’s okay though, because cold weather makes me crave comfort food, which I love. I mean, there’s just nothing like filling your belly with warm, comforting food and then curling up under a cozy blanket. A nap may or may not be required here. Am I right?! Lucky for you, I have an incredible comfort meal for you today. A great way to start the week, if I do say so myself.
Zesty Southwest Enchiladas  l  Love.Bake.Read
We used to really love these beefy cheesy enchiladas from Heather Eats Almond Butter, but then we stopped eating meat, so we had to think of some alternative options. First we came up with some yummy Pinto Bean & Tofu Enchiladas and now these Zesty Southwest ones. These enchiladas are really simple to throw together—you just toss everything into a big bowl and mix. Then you stuff and roll the tortillas, cover ‘em with enchilada sauce and LOTS of cheese, and pop them in the oven. Waiting for these to come out of the oven is the hardest part. We just couldn't wait to dig in!

Friday, November 14, 2014

By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages in Harrisonburg, VA

After our elopement, Steve and I stayed at the most amazing suite at By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I know when you think of inns and bed & breakfasts you immediately picture old and Victorian, but this was not the case for our suite. The Mountain Laurel Suite that we stayed in was built almost 2 years ago and is very modern and gorgeous. It was like our own little home away from home, and I can assure you, we did not want to leave. In fact, if we could pack up and go back right now, we would.
By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages in Harrisonburg, VA  l  Love.Bake.Read
The Mountain Laurel Suite that we stayed in and the Water Lily Suite are both under one roof and are referred to as the Spring Water Cottage Suites. They are nestled across the pond from the main inn and have their own little driveway. They are completely secluded from everything else and that’s what we loved most. The suites are across the hall from one another, so they really are very private and quiet. We only heard our neighbors come and go, but that was it.
By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages in Harrisonburg, VA  l  Love.Bake.Read
When we arrived, we walked into the main entrance and checked ourselves in, which was awesome. All you have to do is enter the code provided and walk right in to pure bliss. We opened the door and just stood there for a moment talking it all in. There was soft classical music playing in the background and a plate displayed that said “Welcome Francesca & Steven”. We were so excited!!