Travel Plans and Freekeh+Turkey loafPosted: January 4, 2012
Good morning friends! There’s nothing like opening up your inbox and seeing this deal of the day from Groupon:
$14 for not one- but two singing Justin Beiber toothbrushes?! I’m on it! Seriously. I am.
I want to talk a little bit about upcoming vacations and travel plans. My husband and I like to get away several times each year to various parts of the country. Since I am a school teacher, I am a little bit limited to when I can travel during the school year- it usually has to fall during winter or spring break. I can’t just take off a random week in October or February to go somewhere, which is also why we got married in the month of July. There are two places that we travel to each year: Colorado and Boston. I have family in Denver, so we usually stay with them for a bit and then travel to other parts of the state like Boulder, Frisco, Breckenridge, Golden, etc.
We also always visit Greg’s dad in Boston (usually twice a year) and combine the visit with a game at Fenway to see the Red Sox.
Greg and I are very good about budgeting for travel. We have a knack for finding cheap flights and hotels and take advantage of AAA deals and credit card reward points. We also typically take vacations where we don’t spend much money while we are there – and most of our big trips are for hiking.
This year, we have a few trips on the books. First is a long weekend in Florida (finally!) to see Greg’s mom and stepdad. We’ve been together nearly five years, and I’ve never been down there to see them- and this visit is long overdue. For some reason, the costs of flights into Tampa have been astronomical, but we were able to finally get a decent deal. We leave next Friday evening and come back Monday, and thanks to MLK day, I already have that Monday off work. I’m really excited – and I know my mother-in-law is too! And conveniently, her birthday falls on the weekend that we’ll be down there visiting.
We will probably travel to Boston for a few days during my spring break- but unfortunately, the Sox don’t play a single home game during that week! It’s okay though- it just means that we’ll have to go up again in the summer to catch a game. I love Boston- it is one of my favorite cities to walk around. I also have a few friends that live in or just outside of the city, so it’s nice to be able to see them, too. Plus, flights from Baltimore to Boston are almost always $39 each way, so it’s a very reasonable trip to afford.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m dying to move to Colorado. I think about it every single day, and hope to be out there within a few years (the hubs is 100% into this). But for now, I just settle for a visit or two each year. Greg and I have already decided to spend our one year anniversary in Colorado (in July), but will almost definitely be taking a long weekend trip during the first weekend of May as well. The reason for this you ask? To attend the BLEND retreat that Janetha is co-hosting! I was so stoked when I heard about this, because it’s being held in one of my absolute favorite places in Colorado- Chautauqua Park (home of the Flat Irons!). I’m also a big fan of Janetha’s blog- it’s one of the first blogs that I ever read and still follow it every day.
(I think I took that picture on my first ever trip to Colorado, but I have about 100 others like it from other visits!)
Any excuse to travel to Colorado is a good one- but I am particularly excited to combine my love for Colorado with my love for blogging. And this retreat apparently isn’t “typical” of other conferences, in that it doesn’t include seminars and lectures. Basically it will be a chance for bloggers (and readers) to hang out, hike, exercise and eat together in a laid-back atmosphere. There are so many other bloggers that I’m excited to meet and I’m hoping will be attending! I’ve never been to any type of blogger conference or retreat, so it will be a very cool to finally experience that. AND this one is very reasonably priced. 🙂
Greg and I will both be traveling to Colorado for this- but he won’t be attending the retreat. His best friend lives in Boulder, so they’ll probably be mountain biking together the whole time.
As for other travel plans after July, who knows… there are so many other cities that I want to see that I’ve never been to (namely Chicago, Austin, San Diego) but you can only do so much.
Onto a completely unrelated topic (because I could talk about travel plans forever…) I want to share a recipe for the dinner that I whipped up last night. I had some ground turkey in the fridge, and figured I would turn it into some form of turkey burgers for dinner. But, by the time I got home, I wanted to be a little more creative (or maybe I was just still on a high from my deep tissue massage!). I decided to combine the turkey with some freekeh and veggies and make a form of meatloaf.
I put the freekeh on the stove to cook and ground up some veggies:
Then combined the ingredients with some ground turkey and formed it into a loaf pan. There’s really no way to make this look pretty.
And an hour later, it was cooked.
(Greg requested ketchup on top)
Not pretty- but very tasty!
Because I was feeling too lazy to make more interesting, I also added the two easiest sides to the plate: a baked sweet potato and baked kale. Simple and delicious!
1 c. cooked freekeh (which is 1/3 c dry) – could be substituted for another grain such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, etc.
1/2 lb. lean ground turkey (I used 99% lean, but would probably use one with a bit more fat next time)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 T Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 T dijon mustard
1 T tomato paste
1 small carrot
1/2 small bell pepper
1/3 small red onion
2 T sun-dried tomatoes
1 small bunch sage leaves
1/2 T of the following: thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder
salt+pepper to taste
ketchup (for the topping)
Pre-heat oven to 375. Dice all of the vegetables and herbs in a food processor and place into a large bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the ketchup, and mix together by hand until well-incorporated. Transfer mixture into a small loaf pan and cover with foil. Place in the oven on the lowest rack and cook for 45 minutes. Remove loaf from oven, remove foil and evenly spread ketchup over the top. Place back into the oven uncovered and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165.
Luckily, I have enough of this leftover for two future lunches. Hopefully the old standard of meatloaf leftovers tasting even better will still ring true!
Do you travel to the same places each year?
Are you going to the BLEND retreat? 🙂