Wednesday already? How did that happen? Seems like just yesterday, I was at the beautiful Hyatt Escala Resort, living it up during Blend Retreat. Now I have two workdays under my belt, with regular-ish eats and treats to show for it.
As always, thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting the What I Ate Wednesday link-up. I’m sure she’d be happier if I included more of her delicious-looking recipes in my roundups … but it is what it is. I’ve pinned a ton of them to try … someday … when I have more time to spend in the kitchen.
Before I get down to some of the fabulous eats from my weekend at Blend Retreat, I’ll give you a quick rundown of Tuesday’s what-I-ate action.
Breakfast was overnight oats, gobbled down while standing at the kitchen island before walking over to the office to try to fix a problem with the paper’s templates. (Turned out not to be a problem after all, but I didn’t find that out until I’d been there for nearly 30 minutes.) When I got back home, I cooked up some quinoa and Lightlife soy sausage crumbles to be included in my dinner, then made a pita pocket sandwich for lunch. In the mix: chicken, bell peppers, cucumbers and mustard.
Lunch also included a single-serve bag of Katy’s Kettle Corn PopChips from my swag bag. They’re not new to me, as I’ve polished off at least two full-sized bags (not all in one sitting, though it was tempting), but they are always delicious and were much appreciated.
Then it was off to Starbucks, where I spent more time catching up on emails and reading everyone else’s retreat recaps than I did writing. I had a free drink coming to me, and I made it a caramel Frappuccino Light (with a little whipped cream). Old habits return fast, and on my way in to work, I made a pit stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for iced coffee and two jelly-filled Munchkins.
Dinner was a bowl of Mexican goodness: quinoa, black beans, corn, soy sausage crumbles, salsa and Greek yogurt. Hey — I just realized I didn’t put any cheese on there. Terrible oversight, that. After dinner, I tried one of the brand new Chobani Flips at Target: Blueberry Power. (It’s so new it’s not even on the website yet. The Chobani girls at Blend said it’s coming to stores in June, but Target got it early.) Its add-ins were walnuts, chia seeds and hemp seeds and it came it at 5 WW PointsPlus — more than the Key Lime, less than Almond Coco-Loco.
As Rachael Ray would say, “Yum-O!”
Now, let’s get on to the good stuff. There was so much fantastic food to be had all weekend long … As Laura from Sprint 2 the Table said, “People are going to think all we did was eat!” Not so, of course. We also exercised our butts off … which made the eating seem less indulgent.
Sadly, I didn’t get pictures from either of our snack breaks. Friday’s snack break included Erewhon graham crackers from Attune Foods and Justin’s Nut Butter. Talk about a perfect pairing. OMG — I had to move away from the table to avoid overeating. Saturday’s afternoon snack break was sponsored by Onnit, a maker of supplements, fitness equipment and functional foods, including the hemp protein powder and nut butters we sampled. The Walnut, Almond, Cashew Trilogy Butter was to die for. The chocolate-banana smoothies made with Hemp Force were tasty, too — not chalky like some protein powders.
I did remember to snap photos at Friday’s cocktail party sponsored by Silk. They laid out a beautiful spread of appetizers, including raw veggies and veggie spring rolls.
But the stars of the cocktail party were the drinks. There were three to choose from, and we got two free drink tickets.
Umm — that meant one drink was going untasted for this chick on a budget. It was an easy choice, because the third concoction was some kind of ginger refresher. Since I’m not a big fan of ginger, I went with the Silk Pajamas and the Strawberry Mint Slush.
Billed as being similar to a White Russian, one of my favorite drinks, the Silk Pajamas lived up to that hype. It was so good — and so smooth — that it was gone before I knew it. The slush was harder to drink — not because I didn’t like the taste, because I did. Very much Blame physics.
Thick liquid + thin straw = s-l-o-w drinking slush.
Probably a good thing. As rarely as I drink, I might have ended up tipsy had it gone down as fast as my first drink.
Friday’s dinner was served buffet-style. I filled my plate — but only once! Salad, veggies, a bulgur wheat salad, chicken and purple fingerling potatoes, lemon fish with rice and carrot-ginger soup were all on the menu — and I tried a little bit of everything.
Hard to say what I liked best, because it was all delicious. I would love to know what was in that bulgur salad, though.
Everything on the dessert spread looked delicious. I wanted to sample it all, but settled on the berry tart. But after noticing how many people were taking more than one dessert (most everyone), I ended up going back again. I got the apple cobbler. While it was good, I was reminded why I should go with my first instinct. The tart was better. I should have stopped there and been satisfied.
Saturday’s breakfast was sponsored by The Laughing Cow and a new-to-me company, Muesli Fusion. The Laughing Cow served up a variety of its Smooth Sensations cream cheese wedges. I had half a bagel, half with cinnamon cream cheese, half with chive cream cheese. Again, I can’t pick a favorite. I also enjoyed the muesli — more than I expected to. While I can eat overnight oats every day, I was a bit leery about eating raw oats that hadn’t soaked overnight. I needn’t have worried: Even soaked for less than 3o minutes, Muesli Fusion was delicious.
After Saturday’s Zumba class, I headed back to the room to shower and eat a SoyJoy cranberry bar. I’d heard of SoyJoy, but never actually eaten one before. It totally hit the spot — and staved off my hunger nicely until the snack break.
Later that night, I headed to Red Tail Grill with a big group of folks, including Blend organizers Katie, Lindsay and Janetha. It was within walking distance of the lodge, so we trooped down a hill and past a miniature golf course.
I couldn’t resist the burger topped with pulled pork and green chiles. Give me a good burger and I’m a happy camper. It came with a salad and fries, both of which I ate. There was also a never-ending supply of chips and salsa, which I tried to eat sparingly. A chocolate milkshake may or may not have served as dessert. OK, it did … and then I ended up in the room where Momma B (Janetha’s mom) was whipping up Utah Scones. I downed two before moving away from temptation to have a nice chat with Sonia from The Mexigarian. When I found myself contemplated my third bit of pillowy goodness, I escaped to my room and took advantage of the free (!) wifi for a while before turning in.
Sunday’s breakfast was sponsored by official Blend sponsor Chobani. They pulled out all the stops, with fresh fruit, smoothies, oatmeal, makings for yogurt parfaits, pancakes, omelets and plenty of prepackaged Cho to choose from. The omelet station was swamped, so I started with the rest of the spread, then got in line for an omelet. Kimberly from The Family Practice kept me company. She lives in the Salt Lake City area, and told me about a flight deal from Mesa to Ogden. Maybe I’ll get to see Dan, Sharon and the kids more often …
My omelet had egg whites, zucchini, ham, mushrooms and smoked gouda. Yum!
After breakfast, it was time for the closing ceremonies and goodbyes. Then, after a jaunt to Park City with some of the gals who didn’t have to be at the airport right away, I hopped in the car and started driving … and driving … and driving. The miles were punctuated by stops at Del Taco just south of SLC for a lunch of fish tacos (and, sadly, crinkle cut fries), and the Wendy’s in Beaver, Utah, for a Frosty waffle cone (something they don’t have in Arizona). I gassed up the car at each stop, and again in Kanab, Utah, where I grabbed a pack of Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds to fuel me for the Kanab-Flagstaff portion of my drive. Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean brought a ton of them, and insisted she wasn’t taking any home with her … so I snagged myriad tubes — coconut (which I knew I liked), strawberry, raspberry and blueberry.
At first bite, I found them a tad strange … but as I kept eating, they became more and more delicious. I was a bit bummed when I did the Weight Watchers math and discovered one tube has 7 WW PointsPlus. A bit steep for a snack. Wonder if I can stop after eating just half the packet?