Sunday, July 26, 2015

Creamsicle Overnight Oats + Summer Adventures in Virginia

Hello friends! Hope you've had a fabulous weekend.

This post comes a little bit delayed. It has been a busy few weeks, between traveling and apartment hunting. The good news is, I found a new apartment and I have been DIYing the crap out of a few projects for decorating my new abode. So I'll have some cool new posts for you guys after move-in in about a month.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you all about the amazing trip I had to Virginia/Washington DC over the 4th of July weekend. And also to share a new overnight oats recipe with you. Because, let's be honest, my posts are never complete without a new recipe for overnight oats. I'm addicted, I know. Don't judge.

The boyfriend and I road-tripped up to DC to visit his stepdad, TC, and his stepdad's new fiancĂ©e, Linda. We love going up there to visit. It's such a beautiful place. Out goal is to eventually live up there. We arrived mid-afternoon on Friday the 3rd. Plans for the evening included hitting up one of Nathan's favorite restaurants, Dogfish Head AlehouseDogfish Head is Nate's favorite brewery, so we have to visit the Alehouse every time we're up there. If ever you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend you stop in for a bite. The food is awesome and the brews are pretty dang good. And this is coming from someone who is in no way a beer drinker (this girl likes her wine).

The next day (Independence Day! 'Murica!) we were up bright and early, and on our way to West Virginia. Our adventure today: a Paddle to the Sweet Shine, which would consist of a kayaking trip down the Shenandoah River followed by a tasting at Bloomery Plantation Distillery. Our group tour got underway, and we headed out in tandem kayaks. Nate and I were a team and TC and Linda, another. Kayaking in the Shenandoah was absolutely one of the best kayaking experiences I've ever had. The scenery was breathtaking, and the weather was nice and mild. Not like kayaking in the hot and humid Sunshine State. I really wish I had some photos capturing the rich, natural beauty, but my phone was left on shore.

And then it got interesting. About three hours into our trip the current became more difficult to paddle. Whereas before we were paddling with the current, it suddenly seemed to shift, and we were working against the flow. Then we saw it - a wall of rain. Nate and I were far ahead of our group, so we slowed down to see if our tour guide was waving everyone to shore. But she directed us to press on, and we proceeded with heading right for the ominous wall.

As we hit it, I essentially went blind. The wind was fierce and made the rain painful as it hit my face, and my eyes. I put on my sunglasses in an attempt to block the water, with no success. On top of that, the wind made all of our efforts in paddling essentially pointless. I'll admit Nate did most of the work to get us through this part of our river adventure. And eventually we came out the other side, completely drenched but still in high spirits.

Once we were back ashore we dried off and changed into dry clothes (thank goodness we thought to bring a spare) and enjoyed a late lunch, before heading heading for the Sweet Shine. The distillery wasn't far from the river - just a little further up the mountain.

The distillery was adorable. A small, back-country house in the middle of the woods. We spent a few minutes out front taking photos before heading out back to the small rustic porch bar. The place was so quaint.

The porch bar at Bloomery Plantation Distillery
Out tasting consisted of a sampling of the distillery's shine and some mixed drinks using the shine. There was such a great variety of flavors. Their Limoncello was fabulous. We tried a Peach shine that was then used in a drink called "Sex on the Peach" which, as you can imagine, was very much like a "Sex on the Beach." Other flavors sampled included Ginger, Raspberry Lemon, Black Walnut (Which was very much like a Scotch. The boys liked this one.) and a hard lemonade. Our favorites were the Cremma Lemma, which was a creamy version of the Limoncello, and the Chocolate Raspberry, which tasted like a chocolate raspberry truffle. They also served us a mixed drink using the Cremma Lemma, which was absolutely fabulous, and consisted of orange juice, vanilla club soda and the Cremma Lemma. They had various names for it: "Move Over Mimosa," "Creamsicle," "Creamy Dreamy," etc. Whatever you want to call this drink, it was amazing, and it happens to be the inspiration for my overnight oats recipe below.

Our spoils from the Sweet Shine
We purchased a few of our favorites so we could enjoy when we got home, and headed out. Since it was Independence Day, we obviously needed a place to watch the fireworks. We agreed on heading over to Historical Harpers Ferry to explore, and finding a place around there to watch fireworks later on.

Harpers Ferry was such a cool place! I cute little historical town that sits where the Shenandoah and Potomac meet. There is a series of train tracks that run through the town up into the mountain. It's just gorgeous.




Fun fact about Harpers Ferry for those of you who are advertising nerds like me: If you look up at the mountain you will see one of the first instances of out-of-home advertising. There is an ad painted on Maryland Heights for Mennen's Borated Talcum Toilet Powder, put there around the year 1900. Since there were so many trains going through the town around the turn of the century, it was the perfect place for a billboard. How cool!

One of the first examples of billboard advertising!
After exploring for a while, we stopped at a local diner for a rest. The diner was built into the side of a train car. Pretty nifty. We all decided to get some desert. TC opted for apple pie. The rest of us went for the peanut butter pie. Oh my goodness, was it ever amazing! I NEED to figure out that recipe so I can make it at home!

As twilight approached we started thinking about where we should go to enjoy fireworks. We ended up making our way over to one of the historic battlefields in the area. While we waited for the fireworks to begin we were treated to a beautiful dance from hundreds of fireflies. It had been a while since I had seen fireflies, and I had forgotten how beautiful they are at night.

Then the fireworks began. There were three different shows going on around us. The whole thing was delightfully simple and serene. Usually I attend some big fireworks celebration for Independence Day. But this was just a group of people pulled off on the side of the road next to the field, watching from cars and tailgates. I loved it. Once the show was over we headed back to the apartment. It was late by the time we got back, and we were exhausted from the day, so we all crashed immediately.

Sunday morning = brunch! I love brunch, so I was very excited to hear of these plans for the day. We dined at the Fort Myer Officer Club. The food was AMAZING. A buffet of so much deliciousness. And, of course, mimosas. Because brunch without mimosas is just a sad late breakfast. Needless to say, I stuffed my face.

We spent the afternoon walking around Downtown Alexandria. A beautiful little area of town right on the water filled with various shops and restaurants. We stopped at a pub for a round of drinks, then walked along the water for a bit.

TC and Linda had dinner planned back at their apartment. An amazing steak dinner. Steak, wine and good conversation. A great evening. Later we lounged on the couch and watched the first night of Shark Week while enjoying some of the Chocolate Raspberry Shine we picked up at the Sweet Shine. We were all pretty exhausted, so we turned in early.

The next day Nate and I were up bright and early to start our road trip back home to Florida. We weren't ready to leave. It was an amazing trip. But it was time to get back to reality. And work. We did stop at South of the Border on the way to spice up our road trip. Neither of us had been there before. It was an interesting place, to say the least.

Stylin' camel at South of the Border
What a great adventure. We will definitely be back soon. So here, now, I'll share with you my overnight oats recipe that was inspired by our trip to the Sweet Shine. Creamsicle Overnight Oats. Enjoy! And if you're ever up in the Harpers Ferry area, definitely stop by Bloomery Plantation Distillery. You won't be disappointed.

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~ Ingredients ~

1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk (or your milk of choice)
1 tsp. chia seed (optional)
1 tsp. flax seed (optional)
1/4 c. non-fat plain greek yogurt
1/4 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 packets stevia

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~ Directions ~

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar or other sealed container. Let set in the refrigerator overnight, or at least for a few hours before enjoying.



Oats will keep in a sealed container for several days, so you are OK to prepare the beginning of the week for your weekday breakfasts. I always prepare 5 days worth of overnight oats on Sunday afternoon so I have a quick grab-and-go breakfast for the busy weekdays.

 
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