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Behind the Scenes of Blogmas | Galavanting in SF

Even though it’s Blogmas, real life is still going on! I wanted to share some things from non-Blogmas life. So let’s do it!

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Am I Kali yet?

One of my best friends ever from college came to visit! She lives about 2 hours away, and I recruited her here to help with Blogmas. So look for that post next week 🙂

The first thing on the agenda was to take a trip back to our college campus to have dinner with our 3rd roommate from last fall. It was nice to catch up, and I don’t think I’ve had guac in like 6 months.

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On the way home, we stopped at Zest, a GF bakery near me. I needed a cupcake for my Blogiversary, after all. She has a gluten intolerance, so had no problem with that stop. We shared an amazing warm cinnamon roll and lemon poppyseed loaf.

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We weren’t sure what to do for the rest of the rainy afternoon, and found ourselves in the mall. A Sephora recently opened there. They apparently have some type of technology where the computer scans your skin tone and finds the perfect shade of foundation of lipstick for you, and then you can “try it on” on a computer screen. A few of my friends have had fantastic lipstick success, so I wanted to try it out to find a shade of red lipstick. Even though I’ve never worn lipstick before. Go big or go home, right?

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After the mall, we made dinner, which will appear on Blogmas in a few days! I’m kind of crazy pumped about it.

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That evening, we trekked 20 minutes south to see some other college friends, and so I could introduce them to Yumi Yogurt, a classic froyo place in this area. I got butterscotch! We ended up heading back to their house and chatting until late into the night. So good to be reunited!

My college friend/roomie is fantastic, and if you’ve been reading for a while, you may remember she has an orchard with incredible persimmons. I had my first persimmon in many months, and I’m so excited. Apparently Chloe is too.

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We decided to spend the day (post-rush hour traffic) in San Francisco. It was so good to be back there. We went to the Ferry Building, which is one of my favorite areas (I love the Embarcadero). It was typical San Francisco weather.

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The Ferry Building has an amazing farmer’s market on select days, and I had never been before on one of those days. Sadly, the farmer’s market was pretty small this time of year.

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A (decaf) Blue Bottle cappuccino was necessary. I love quality coffee.

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This area is so incredibly gorgeous at night too, with the Bay Bridge lit up.

We wandered in and out of the shops before grabbing lunch at Mariposa, the gluten free bakery. I had an incredible turkey, cheddar, and cranberry sandwich.

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The entire time I was eating this, I kept saying, “I missed CA food so much.”

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Next up was one last coffeeshop that we had been meaning to try. I had a (decaf) cafe au lait for the first time, and it was nice and milky!

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We beat rush hour traffic on the way home, and watched Friends for a while, before cooking dinner. Another Blogmas feature! (Although granted, less exciting than the previous night.)

Dessert was another form of persimmon: persimmon sauce (like applesauce in the slow cooker) with vanilla frozen yogurt and an oatmeal cookie crumbled on top.

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Friday morning before my friend woke up, I went to 6am Crossfit and it was a good and tough one, but I’m really happy with how I did. We did our 20 rep set of deadlifts, which I did at 150#. It actually felt better than last week’s 145# so I guess I’m getting stronger? The WOD was TOUGH. 20 minute AMRAP (yuck) of 5 power cleans at 95#, 10 toes to bar, and 15 wall balls. I was determined to do toes to bar because they definitely need work. I considered scaling the cleans, but 95 really isn’t that heavy for me, so I decided I just needed to suck it up and do it, and it was definitely the right decision. I wasn’t the fastest in the class, but I’m still proud of Rxing this workout. I got a bit over 6 rounds in.

For breakfast, I had an amazingly right hachiya persimmon.

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So ripe it was bursting!

I also tried a GF garlic bagel from Mariposa. Not bad!

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I brought my lunch to the library again to work on classwork, and of course it involved persimmons. Salad with cranberry chèvre, persimmons, and champagne vinaigrette.

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That evening was my dad’s company Christmas party! I have never missed one yet. I decided to break out the festive red lipstick.

Before and after:

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Family selfie!

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This is always a fun and festive event. It’s crazy how much all the kids have grown up! (Me included, I suppose.) And I’m always on board for good food and wine.

Salad:

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Dinner was family style. I had some cedar plank salmon that was absurdly good, rice pilaf, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, and spaghetti squash.

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(The plates were absurdly large.)

Dessert: flourless chocolate cake with raspberry puree. YUM.

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It was a fun night, and definitely a holiday tradition.

What’s going on in your life?

 

First Day in California

Hey guys! Today was my first day back in California so I thought I’d share my meals.

Breakfast:

I woke up 6am after 6 hours of sleep, thanks to a touch of jet lag. My stomach is still on central time!

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I ordered a whole bunch of Flapjacked muffins and they actually beat me home! They arrived within like 3 days of shipping. Double chocolate is my favorite. I swear it’s like lava cake if you uncool it a little (and there are no eggs so no worries about that!)

I spent the morning running errands with my mom (which included a trip 2 Old Navy and 2 groceries). My grandma is coming into town today so there was lots to prepare!

Lunch:

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My mom made crockpot lemon chicken rice soup a little while ago and thawed some out. I ate that with added spinach and feta. Avocado toast on the side, with Trader Joe’s Everyday seasoning blend.

Snack:

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I saw someone on Instagram post about this company’s new sunbutter, so I checked them out. When I saw they had GF nut free bars, of course I had to try them out. The base of these bars is a seed blend of pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds. I ordered 2 flavors: chocolate and sea salt and apple ginger. It’s a smaller company, and I actually got a handwritten note which I thought was a really nice touch.

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This was really, really good. It was chewy and had the perfect amount of salty. I will definitely order these again. It’s always nice finding new bar options other than just Luna bars!

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I also had a couple of pieces of crystallized ginger.

Workout:

I went to my home Crossfit, the one where I first started Crossfit. I haven’t been too much lately, but this time I’m here for the long haul! For strength, apparently we’re doing endurance in preparation for the Crossfit Open, so we did one set of 20 back squats at 60%. Yuck. Yuck yuck yuck. I hate long sets. I used to think 10 was long…I was panting by the end of the set. We then did strict press for a set of 20.

I’m really proud of how I did during the WOD. I Rxed it, and it’s not one I could have Rxed a few months ago.

50 double unders

30 pull ups

30 wall balls

50 double unders

I knew right away that the pull ups would be my slow point here. I started doing sets of 5 kipping but ended up breaking it up even smaller as I went through. The pull up bars here were sort of hard to hold on to, so that made things more difficult.

One of my biggest downfalls for double unders is having tired arms. When my arms are tired, my double unders go. So coming off pull ups and wall balls wasn’t fun. I finished in 7:28. I was the last one to finish, but not by a lot, which I’m proud of!

Dinner:

My mom and I were on our own tonight, so we made one of our favorites, an open faced turkey and havarti sandwich.

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This sandwich was from a cookbook that we first made years ago. It’s mayo+dijon, grated Havarti cheese, red onion, arugula (we used spinach though), turkey, apple, and ground pepper. The whole thing is put in to broil until the cheese is bubbly. We got the Havarti from Trader Joe’s and it was actually pretty different. It was softer and creamier. It was good! On the side, we roasted shaved brussels sprouts with a touch of oil, garlic, and pepper, and then added truffle salt when it came out of the oven. SO good.

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For dessert, I had a piece of gluten free orange cranberry bread. It’s not “healthy” bread, but it’s delicious and that’s good enough for me, especially for dessert!

Here’s the recipe.

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Plus a few milk chocolate chips.

I hope everyone is having a great short week leading up to the big holiday!

 

WIAW- St. Louis Classic

Happy Wednesday! We’re going to do a WIAW for my last Tuesday in St. Louis! Thanks as always to Jenn.

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Breakfast:

A few snap pea crisps. I often grab a couple of these before meals while I prep my food.

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Then I had a flapjacked muffin (double chocolate, the best flavor) with blueberries.

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I got a little bit of a late start to the day because I wanted to watch a short Netflix episode on the couch, and before I knew it I was trapped under 2 kitties.

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Finally I was on my way to Blueprint for a little victory lap. After 3 months of intense research, I have determined that Blueprint has the best coffee in St. Louis.

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Across the street, there was an international foods store. I popped in to look around and came out with a few interesting looking bars.

Pre-lunch snack:

1 of the 3 thin bars

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Lunch:

Half Panera (St. Louis Bread Co. here) Fuji Apple Chicken salad with Vans Say Cheese GF crackers.

Snack:

A piece of the other new bar I got (it’s basically just dried apple covered in chocolate)

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And a Luna

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My workout for the day was Crossfit. We found our 3 rep max front squat, and I finished at 145. I don’t think i’ve done a 3 rep before but I predicted I would be around 145! The WOD was 15 Min AMRAP of 15 burpees, 10 ring dips (I used a band) and 5 shoulder to overhead (I did 75 lb push presses). I finished just under 5 rounds.

Funny story….yesterday’s WOD was 3 rounds of 50 double unders, 15 kb swings, 50 doubles, 5 power cleans. That’s a ton of double unders….In the middle of my second round of double unders, and I looked down and saw blood running down my thigh. I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe I whipped myself hard enough to draw blood?” But it turned out that my rope has exposed sharp wire at the bottom and it may be time for a new rope….

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Dinner:

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I apologize for the terrible lighting. I had avocado toast, a Dr. Praeger’s super greens frozen patty (with ketchup), and then on the side, I sautĂ©ed up some mushrooms and spinach with garlic, soy sauce, and coriander.

Dessert:

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I FINALLY got to try this St. Louis classic. This is my second time having gluten since not eating it anymore thanks to a chronic stomach condition. But I HAD to try this St. Louis classic before I left. According to Wikipedia: “Gooey butter cake is a type of cake traditionally made in the American Midwest city of St. Louis. Gooey butter cake is a flat and dense cake made with wheat cake flour, butter, sugar, and eggs, typically near an inch tall, and dusted with powdered sugar.”

Ii picked up my piece from Park Avenue Coffee, which is supposed to be one of the best places to get it (featured on Food Network!). They have an insane number of flavors, but I had to go with the classic. (Also apparently you can order these online to be shipped anywhere, and there’s a box you can check that’s GF?)

Because I’m a scaredy cat and not trying to die, I just had a corner of it.

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Guys this was SO delicious. I don’t even know how to describe it. Sort of like a combination between a sugar cookie and vanilla cake?

(I actually went back later and had most of the rest of the piece!)

Since I only had a little (initially) I had a snack a little later of a piece of a lemon poppyseed oat bar and a Yasso salted caramel froyo bar.

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That’s it for the day! Here’s a picture of Yoyo, ensuring that he will always be around my neck (he likes to sleep on my neck) even after St. Louis, by sitting on my scarf.

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Is there a food your area is known for?

California Food Adventures

I’m currently in California. I may be 400 miles from home still, but there is something comforting about being back in my home state.

It’s always weird to me traveling and then coming back. I always imagine a ton of different realities for myself. What if I was living there? What would my life be like? This trip was definitely some of that—I was really close to a college I got recruited to for softball for undergrad. I even went on an overnight recruiting visit there! (Which I had totally forgotten I had gone on until my mom reminded me!)

My layover was in the Dallas Fort Worth airport, and I actually found some good options. I got a caprese salad with chicken, artichoke hearts, olives, and fresh mozzarella.

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Dinner in SoCal was really exciting though. I was looking at nearby places and discovered one of my favorite East Coast chains was 10 minutes away! Le Pain Quotidien. I went there twice on my trip to DC for the Cherry Blossom race.

I got the grilled chicken and mozzarella tartine on gluten free bread. Their GF bread is really great and seedy. Lots of texture.

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Man, I missed California food. And dessert? OMG. Best thing I’ve eaten in a REALLY long time. I have had essentially no non-packaged GF baked cookies since coming to St. Louis. But there was a pie place in SoCal, I Like Pie, that offers a daily GF option.

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Honestly, I didn’t have very high expectations for this (I was expecting it to be dry) but it was insane. It was a mini cherry pie.

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I brought it to the hotel to eat during baseball and was still really full from dinner, but couldn’t stop eating it. It was so buttery and moist, with delicious cherry filling. The crumb top was of course amazing as well.

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I went to bed with a VERY full but satisfied belly!

Monday morning I went for a run first thing. Well, technically I waited around for it to get light out first. The neighborhood of my hotel was borderline sketchy, and safety first!

You know you’re in SoCal when…

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Scenes from my run:

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Afterwards I sat down for a hotel breakfast. For some reason egg sounded good, so I had some egg substance with a mini blueberry chobani and honey nut Cheerios. How much nut is actually honey nut Cheeries? It says it contains “natural almond flavor.” I guess we’ll find out haha.

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For lunch, I picked up some chicken vegetable soup the previous night at Le Pain Quotidien, which came with more of their delicious GF bread.

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You better believe I did my research for dinner as well, and it did not disappoint. I went to Last Drop Cafe in downtown Claremont. I got the vegan sandwich on GF bread. The sandwich had all kinds of delicious veggies and dressing, but of course what won me over was the avocado.

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Even better? It came with a cookie, and they offer a daily GF cookie option. This was a pumpkin snickerdoodle (!!!) which was the perfect way to celebrate Halloween! OMG so freaking good.

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To continue the Halloween celebration through food, since the cookie was small, I decided to get some froyo—pumpkin froyo!

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With some white chocolate raspberry and chocolate. Topped with mini m&ms and some hot fudge.

I love cute little downtowns:

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I was a little sad to spend my favorite holiday alone in a hotel room, so I tried to quell the feelings with some chocolate from the hotel. And then food network holiday cake competitions which made me want more chocolate, so a Luna bar would have to stand in for a chocolate gingerbread haunted house.

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This was my Tuesday morning:

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Yayyy for 6am flights! I actually woke up before my alarm. Go me? I guess 3:55am pacific time=5:55am central time which=late for Crossfit.

Apparently getting to my gate super early is becoming a habit for me…plenty of time for breakfast though! I had a bar that I brought, and supplanted with “fruit.”

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Lunch in Dallas was also good. I found a Southwest salad (with avocado!) plus part of a GF brownie. Yum!

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I made it back to St. Louis in time for Crossfit.

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Sidenote: I don’t understand St. Louis weather. It was 85 degrees when I got back. How is it over 20 degrees colder in SoCal than Missouri in November?? And how can it be 40 one day and 80 the next??

At Crossfit we did 1 rep max sumo deadlifts, and I fit 220 pounds. It was probably the slowest deadlift I’ve ever done but I got it up! For the WOD we did Annie with some push ups added in. Annie is 50-40-30-20-10 of double unders and sit ups. My double unders have seriously gotten so much better over the past year.

And how I’m blogging with the kitties and baseball 🙂 I can’t believe I’m only in St. Louis for 2.5 more weeks though!

Where is your favorite area to eat?

Full Day of Eating on a Roadtrip

Hey guys! I’m currently blogging from a hotel room hundreds of miles from where I woke up this morning! (Sidenote: I have a rental car while I’m in Saint Louis and with all these road trips, pretty sure I’m getting my money’s worth.)

I thought it might be fun to do a full day of eating while road tripping!

Disclaimer: I’m not one of those people that has a ton of exciting snacks while driving. A granola bar is about all I can handle while driving and still feeling safe (no utensils for me!) and I hate having food on my hands so I’m not into munching on crackers or chips while driving.

But here we go! I embarked on my journey at 6:45am. I made a awesome spotify playlist. I’ve been digging instrumental versions of pop songs lately, so that was the perfect way to start while it was still early. Check out this one!

I broke into breakfast of a granola bar and blackberries about an hour in.

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For some reason, I always feel gross when traveling (even driving surprisingly apparently) so I really try to keep up the fruit, vegetables, and real foods (too many bars makes me feel bad too).

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The whole Spotify thing was going great until I was in the middle of Iowa without great signal and the playlist kept cutting out :/

I stopped for lunch at 11:50, about an hour out from my final destination. Again, Subway is the most underrated “fast food.”

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Salad with carved turkey, provolone, olives, tomato, olive and vinegar, salt and pepper. Crackers on the side.

Finally, just after 1:30, I arrived! I snacked on some mango.

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And walked around a bit before eating the bar. I found fall, guys!

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I was feeling a little bit icky so I interpreted that as not eating enough and had a few more of the above crackers! I checked into my hotel, before heading out on the next adventure!
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I love visiting Crossfits when I travel. I think it’s a great way to get a feel for the area and what the people are like. I’ve actually gone to a ton of different Crossfits regularly now (school, home, DC, Knoxville, St. Louis), so I feel like I can tell a lot when I visit a box. Loved this one!

So in St. Louis on Tuesday I went to a noon Crossfit. Which was terrible in its own right because normally I eat sooner before a workout and was totally out of fuel by the end. Anyways, we did 8×3 back squats at 80-85%. I used 155# and it was awful. I had to drop the weight down for the last 2 sets to 145# because after my last set at 155 my fingers got tingly. The WOD was also awful: 12 minute AMRAP of 10 power snatch (55#) and 7 burpees. I was SO done after squats and this was just terrible. I went out for a run 2 days later and was legit waddling for the first half mile.

So I was not exactly pumped to see 7×3 back squats on the agenda today. I actually was more recovered than I realized, luckily. These were supposed to be fast, so I used 125# and it wasn’t bad at all. I had to do a few extra sets at 135 because 125 looked easy. The WOD was a quick burner: 4 rounds of 15 kb deadlifts (35#), 10 goblet squats, 5 toes to bar. I finished in just under 5 minutes.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to find dinner (spoiler alert: a while), so I snacked on a few more of those crackers before walking around some more.

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I can’t get over all the beautiful fall colors here!

I was sort of at a loss for what to do for dinner, so I decided to try and buy some food at the grocery so I could eat it back in my room and turn in early (tomorrow is a long day!). I saw that Aldi was the closest, and I’ve seen it positively reviewed on a lot of blogs so I decided to check it out. I’m sorry, but it was WAY oversold. I get that it’s not that normal of a grocery store (didn’t realize that before) but I couldn’t find ANYTHING for dinner, even frozen. I couldn’t even buy any produce because the bananas were brown and the avocados were squishy. I did walk out with some GF snacks at least though, but not dinner.

I opened the bag of chocolate granola and broke into it in the parking lot.

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And then drove to Panera. I didn’t want to be lame and end up there because I feel like I go every week at this point, but it was getting late! It was pretty busy so I ate some crackers while I waited.

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I got my usual: Fuji apple chicken salad (no pecans).

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For dessert, I broke into another Aldi find:

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And then had some more crackers upon arriving back at the hotel. As you can probably tell, on days I have problems getting enough calories in, I eat a lot of crackers.

I’m off to bed now! Like I said, long day tomorrow! I’m actually making the 6 hour drive back tomorrow afternoon/evening to make it back to St. Louis in time for an early morning 5k Sunday!

What do you eat on road trips?