HammerHeads & LC

I know recently I haven’t been keeping up with my posts like normal. I’ve just really been lacking any motivation with being gone so many hours with my commute/work. When I get home, all I want to do is eat dinner and sit on the couch watching Food Network with Josh. I’m hoping things will turn around soon with this amazing warm weather we’re getting!

I do not know how I haven’t written a post about HammerHeads before. It is hands down my most favorite restaurant ever! I first ate there with some girlfriends a few years ago and honestly I have no idea how we found out about it. HammerHeads is located in the Germantown neighborhood of Louisville. The restaurant itself is in the basement of a two-story house and is not at all what I expected- it’s a small/cozy space with a low ceiling and very eclectic decor and music. There is ALWAYS a line, even when we have shown up at opening time. It’s really that good. I honestly don’t know why we don’t eat there every weekend.

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We arrived slightly before they opened and thankfully (even though there was already a line) we were “early” enough to get a seat at the bar right away. For an appetizer we shared the crispy mushroom medley which is a mix of shiitake and portobello mushrooms with a sun-dried tomato aioli. The mushrooms are always so big and the breading is delicious. You don’t even need the aioli, but really neither one of us is turning down some “fancy” mayo.

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I usually always gravitate towards their dishes with pork belly, but I decided to switch it up a little and try the duck tacos. I’m so glad I did! The duck was fatty and juicy. The pico gave it a nice crunch and the jalapeño-lime aioli added a spicy element that was just right. And it was all wrapped in double corn tortillas which is the only way to eat a taco!

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Josh was adventurous too and went with the BBQ lamb ribs for dinner. The ribs were so tender and fell right off the bone.

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We couldn’t come to HammerHeads and not order some fries to share for dinner too. Of course, we had to order the Grippo fries…fried in duck fat. There really is no other way to get fries there. The Grippo seasoning is BBQy and tangy and the duck fat makes them all the more irresistible to eat.

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I know it sounds like we already ate a lot of food, but we had plenty of room to make a trip to Louisville Cream for dessert. I was super excited to try one of their newest flavors- Milk Chocolate Coffee Crunch. Even though I don’t drink coffee, this ice cream was amazing. Especially stuffed between two huge fresh chocolate chip cookies. The espresso enhanced the milk chocolate flavor and I loved the house-made dark chocolate crunch throughout. Josh had a scoop of the Coffee Crunch covered in hot fudge and vanilla bean whipped cream. Delish!

I’m already dreaming of when we can have a repeat date of this night!

Festivus Games & Chopped

This weekend was so fun and full of firsts! CF Ripcord (my home gym) hosted their first competition ever- the Festivus Games. The Festivus Games is a beginner/intermediate CrossFit competition. Several CF gyms around the country host these Games and everyone performs the same workouts on the same day. I volunteered to help set up equipment, judge during the competition, and clean up afterwards. I’m so glad I did! It was so much fun to see people of all different ages and skill levels compete for the first time and push outside their comfort zone.

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Judging wasn’t easy- you never want to have to tell someone they’re not doing a movement to standard and “no rep” them, but it was a great experience and learning opportunity. There were several times where I wanted to stop counting reps/judging and just cheer people on, I kept getting so caught up in all the energy and excitement. I really hope to be able to volunteer to help at another competition sometime in the future!

After a full day of helping out at the Festivus Games, I was very happy to head home for a “Chopped” date night with Josh. The idea is for you and your spouse to each buy four secret ingredients that the other has to transform into a dish (along with any pantry ingredients), just like on the Food Network show. I chose to cook the dinner portion because I knew Josh would do a better job than I would with any dessert. The secret ingredients I had to use for dinner were chorizo, chihuahua cheese, English muffins, and avocado.

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I stared at the ingredients for a few minutes and came up with the idea to make little pizzas. I cooked up the chorizo, added it to a pizza sauce I made, and put it on the English muffins. I sautéed garlic, peppers, and onion and sprinkled that on top along with the cheese. While I waited for them to heat up and the cheese to melt in the oven, I whipped up some guacamole for dipping. Even though we didn’t put a time constraint on it, I moved fairly quick and am quite proud of the end product. It was very tasty and we both agreed we would happily eat my little pizzas again!

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The secret ingredients I bought for Josh to use for dessert were a bit trickier- ginger snaps, sweet potato, dark chocolate, and strawberry soda.

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After just a few minutes, he came up with a great idea to make a sweet potato tart! He used the ginger snaps in the crust, made a filling out of the sweet potato and dark chocolate chips, and cooked the strawberry soda down with some blueberries for topping. And of course, he melted down some of the chocolate to drizzle over top. He served the tart with some blueberry crumble Halo Top ice cream. It was an awesome dessert and I was super impressed with how he transformed the ingredients! If it was a real contest, he definitely would have won!

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We had leftover ingredients from the dinner portion, so Josh made a “Chopped” breakfast of eggs Benedict Sunday morning. It was so delicious (heck it might have even been better than my pizza)!

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Seriously though, our “Chopped” date night was such a blast-  I absolutely can’t wait to do it again soon!!!

you are what you eat

Happy Tuesday, you guys! I am so excited! We are wrapping up our second Nutrition Challenge at CF Ripcord and from what I can tell it has been a success. I am in no way an expert on nutrition or health, but I’ve experimented with quite a few diets/ways of eating and learned what works for me. We didn’t want to push any specific diet or lifestyle, so the whole focus for the challenge was to help build habits towards a healthier lifestyle, habits that are sustainable and not just a crash diet where you starve yourself and then binge like crazy when it’s done.

After experimenting with eating habits for the last few years, I’ve noticed quite a few benefits from making healthier choices in my diet and lifestyle.

*I have fewer breakouts than I used to and my skin tends to be clearer now that I stay more hydrated.

*My hair and nails seem to grow faster and are stronger and less brittle than before.

*I have a lot more energy throughout the day. I still sometimes get the “after-lunch sleepies”, but I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

*Before changing my diet, I would have trouble falling asleep and sometimes wake up throughout the night for an hour or two here and there. Now, I fall asleep faster and usually stay asleep through the whole night.

*I have noticed an increase in my performance at the gym, both with being able to lift heavier weights/do more reps and being able to do bodyweight movements more easily.

*I feel like my mind is clearer and I can focus more easily when I’m not eating junk food all the time.

*I used to feel congested or stuffed up a lot and didn’t even realize how “bad” I felt until I started eating way more veggies and lean protein. I can totally tell when I indulge too much because I always wake up the next morning feeling congested.

*I have made new friends with people who share my interests in eating well and wanting to be active. I’ve also tried new things out of my comfort zone and gone on new adventures because of this- hiking, boating, spelunking, all kinds of fun things!

*I have saved money by not eating out all the time and instead cooking at home for the majority of our meals.

*By watching what I eat and cooking at home a lot, I’ve learned to really take the time to enjoy and savor  something when I do decide to indulge. I make sure it’s really worth it- I can easily pass on the store bought donut when I know I’ll be enjoying homemade lemon meringue pie later instead.

I encourage everyone to make the healthiest choices you can and build a lifestyle that works for you. You’ll be amazed at the differences you’ll notice in your body, mind, and even relationships!

opportunities

For the past couple of months, I have been slowly getting into a routine and finding a new normal since starting my new job. I’m still trying to adjust to not working with Josh every day. I’m still trying to adjust to working out at a new gym at 7 am instead of 5 pm, for only one hour a few days a week instead of 2-3 hours six days a week. I’m still trying to adjust to working later hours than I have for the past five years (aka less quality time at home). Some days I feel completely content and happy about the changes. Some days I just plain struggle and want to give up. I know that these “issues” don’t really seem that big in the grand scheme of things, but they were all things that had become a comfort to me, things that were just a part of my life in such an easy way. Through it all, I keep reminding myself that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. All these changes are changing me and making me better. This job is going to be a huge opportunity for me to grow not only career-wise, but also as a person. I was given this opportunity to learn new equipment, techniques, and software. To actually make a difference in someone’s life. To learn patience when waiting in the terrible after-work traffic. To get to work with a group of people that are hard workers and genuinely care about making our world a healthier, better place. In the end, this is going to be a great stepping stone for whatever is next on my journey and a major blessing for my personal growth. Life sure happens, right?

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Enough with all the serious stuff, check out this awesome bibimbap we made this past weekend!

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If you like Korean food at all, I highly recommend purchasing the Half Baked Harvest cookbook and giving her recipes a try asap! Besides marinating the beef for a few hours and chopping all the veggies, all the elements came together rather quickly and easily. And the end result was so worth it. Every bite was different and delicious. I mean who doesn’t love bites made up of marinated steak, sweet potato, kimchi, quinoa, fried egg, avocado, and fresh herbs??

And of course I have to share a picture of our rotten pup…Rocko has started this new thing at Josh’s grandparents where he carries his water bowl into the living room when he thinks he needs more (side note: he was given water probably not more than 15 minutes prior)! It’s a good thing he’s cute!

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things i’m loving right now

This week, I’m keeping it short and sweet. I love reading posts like this, so I decided to do my own. Making lists like this reminds me how truly lucky and blessed I am and that sometimes the littlest things have the most special meaning in life!

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things I’m loving right now:

frozen chocolate mousse with peanut butter glaze, salt, and caramel (from Divvy)

the slow smile my nephew gives me when I tickle his chin

Nonnie’s dutch baby (from the Half Baked Harvest cookbook) covered in Brie cheese, blueberries, homemade honey syrup, and homemade whipped cream

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long walks in the fresh spring air and sunshine

a hot cup of Irish breakfast tea in my favorite mug

puppy cuddles

learning lots of new things at my new job

getting crazy random messages from my friends at all hours

the super welcoming community at my new CF gym

building a blanket fort, watching a movie, and eating ice cream on a Sunday afternoon

 

Of course, I have to throw in some more food pictures from all the great restaurants we ate at this weekend!

Bru Burger

Triple Dip

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Provençal burger & Stilton Bleu cheese burger

Another Broken Egg Cafe

Blackberry Crisp and Brie Waffle Combo & Fried Chicken Benedict

Divvy 

Veggie bisque &  seafood chowder

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Beer cheese, tuxedo tenderloin, seared sesame tuna, corn crème brulée, jalapeno cheddar hushpuppies & whipped feta, porterhouse teasers, sizzlin’ shrimp, blistered brussels sprouts, bruléed brie

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chocolate brownie with white chocolate and strawberries, powder sugared biscuit beignets and caramel & frozen chocolate mousse with peanut butter glaze, salt, and caramel, Tahitian vanilla bean crème brulée with strawberries

 

t h i r t y

Holy moley, I turned 30 this week!!! I really didn’t know how I would feel about it because it has always seemed like a pretty big milestone to me. I thought for sure I would have a total breakdown and panic that my life was “over” (I know, so dramatic), but I actually just felt so very content instead. Who knew that would ever happen??

I think as I’m getting older I’m finally starting to really learn how to be happy with myself and love who I am. I have always been someone who wants to please everyone else and avoid confrontation at all costs. Ask me what I want to do and I’ll immediately respond with “Whatever you would like to do is good with me” or something similar. I’ve slowly been changing that though because why wouldn’t my opinion be just as valid as someone else’s? Why should I so easily be able to cheer on and support and be incredibly happy for everyone else’s successes while nitpicking my own accomplishments? I really want to try to be better at that. Instead of second guessing myself or berating myself for things I could have done better, I want to be happy that I even tried. To be happy that I didn’t give up. And I want to keep trying new things, new foods, new places to travel. I want to become even more healthy and happy and content in my own skin. I’m super excited to see what turning 30 brings!

To celebrate my birthday, Josh and I finally took a trip to Indy for breakfast at Milktooth! I have been wanting to try this restaurant out for almost 3 years! The restaurant is a converted garage and such a cute place- very eclectic and kind of a retro diner vibe. The chairs were all mismatched and the bookshelves were lined with fun tchotchkes, just like being back at Grandma’s house when we were kids.  

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We arrived a little before 9 am and were told that it was counter service coffee and pastries only until 9, but that we could grab something to drink and get a table until food service started. I’m super glad we got there early because every table was completely packed and there was a line of people waiting by 9:15. Josh ordered the bottomless drip- the drip of the day was a nougat, molasses, and milk chocolate coffee from Tinker Coffee Co. I had the Song Red tea in a tea press. I had never had red tea before, but I really enjoyed it!

There were so many delicious sounding options, it was very hard to choose. They have a rotating menu, so I know we will most definitely be going back to try even more. We decided on a biscuit to share. And not just any biscuit. A maple roasted sweet potato biscuit with cranberry butter and pomegranate port honey. It was scrumptious. The biscuit had a nice crunch on the outside, but was fluffy inside. The cranberry butter was sweet and worked really well with the crunch of the pomegranate seeds on top.

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Josh had the cranberry walnut & geneva & raclette grilled cheese drizzled with black truffle honey and topped with a local sunny duck egg. The cranberry walnut bread was toasted and filled with so much ooey gooey cheese. I wasn’t expecting the honey to complement it so well, but it was such a great touch to all the creaminess of the cheese and the duck egg. Don’t even get me started on the runny egg yolk. I was a little jealous that Josh got to eat all but the few bites he shared with me.

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I ordered the pearl sugar and sourdough lemon poppy-seed waffle with persimmon butter, candied pecans, and maple syrup. The waffle had a great crunch and a touch of sweetness to it from the pearl sugar. It was just savory enough to blend well with the richness of the butter, syrup, and pecans. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.

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Milktooth was exactly what I had hoped for and while the menu may seem crazy and weird, everything we tasted was so delicious and well worth a visit!  

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good food, good times

Last weekend, Josh and I had an awesome date night in Louisville. We used to go to Indianapolis all the time, but lately we have really been loving Louisville. They’re totally killing it with the food scene. The only problem with that is there are too many choices…actually, that’s a really good problem to have! Thankfully, I have compiled a spreadsheet of restaurants (from friends’ recommendations, Food Network shows, Instagram pictures, etc) we want to try in cities around the US. If you don’t have a spreadsheet of restaurants you want to eat at, you need to get on that asap. Instead of the forever argument of “where do you want to eat?… I don’t care, where do you want to eat?” we now have a foolproof plan of picking a restaurant. After deciding what city we want to drive to (we usually stay within an hour drive), we open up the spreadsheet and (usually) select the first restaurant on the list that we haven’t eaten at yet. How easy is that?! We decided instead of trying a new restaurant, we would visit one of our favorites again- Migo. We got there pretty soon after they opened and were able to get a table right away. It’s not a huge place, so the earlier you can get there, the better. We started out with mofongo for an appetizer. The plantains and potatoes were covered in chunks of juicy roasted pork, fresh cilantro, and salty crumbly cotija cheese served in a mini cast iron skillet. So. Good.   

Migo has a lot of options for tacos, from short rib to duck to catfish to sweet potato and so many more, as well as the option of having them served Mexican or Korean style. I finally decided on a pork belly taco served Asian style and a chorizo taco served Mexican style. The chorizo was salty and full of flavor and I loved the pickled onions and fresh cilantro on top. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth texture, so fatty, so flavorful. The kimchi on top had a bite and mixed well with the fattiness of the pork belly. It’s going to be hard for me to try any other taco after that pork belly.

Josh had a chicharrón taco served Mexican style and a pork belly taco served Korean style. The chicharrón had a lot of flavor, but the texture was a little too chewy. Of course, the pork belly was amazing.

We were halfway through eating our tacos when we realized our sides- Brussels sprouts and elote- hadn’t come out yet. Our waiter had accidentally forgot to put them in with our order, but it wasn’t a big deal at all. He brought them out to us really quickly and they were so hot we had to wait a couple minutes before digging in. The Brussels sprouts were crispy, caramelized, and covered in a delicious Mexican crema, fresh cilantro, and cotija cheese served in a little cast iron pan. I’m not normally a fan of corn, but their elote is amazing- the fresh corn on the cob is slathered in this really yummy chili-lime cream sauce and sprinkled with fresh cilantro. I could eat it non-stop.    

After dinner, you know what time it was…dessert time! I’m sure there are some other really great dessert places, but we can’t stop ourselves from going to Louisville Cream every time. We really just love that they make small batch ice creams and every week there are new flavors to try. Josh had a pretzel cone with their bourbon pecan and corn flake praline ice cream. The corn flake praline was really good, there were whole pecans throughout, and the taste of bourbon came through perfectly but wasn’t overpowering.   

I had the balsamic strawberry sundae with their homemade biscuits and jam ice cream. The ice cream was served in a cute glass dish and was covered in balsamic strawberry sauce, crystallized balsamic and cinnamon brioche crunch and topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The brioche crunch was crispy on the outside, but so soft once you bit into it. The jam in the ice cream was just tart enough and the balsamic strawberry sauce was so full of flavor I could have eaten a bowl of just that.