Tag Archives: Florida

Tampa Aquarium and St Petersburg Winery

FRIDAY!! I tried to look up some fun…Today in History…but didn’t find anything that jumped out at me. Then I looked for the National Food Holiday…and found out it was National Eat Something Bold and Pungent Day. Cool?? Pungent isn’t something that I really aim for when I’m cooking…to me that has a negative connotation.

So for some Friday fun…I thought I would share with you some St Petersburg Fun! About a year ago, one of my best friends from College came to visit and we stayed in St Pete for the weekend. I had been looking at all of the wineries in Florida and set it as my goal to visit each one of them! With Lakeridge Winery already on the list, I had seen the Florida Orange Groves Winery in St Pete. I didn’t really know much about the winery when we arrived but it was DEFINITELY not what I expected. The groves were not locate don site, so it was mostly a cute little store and the fermenting vats. We learned about the history of the winery and had a tour along with a wine tasting.

Source

The most notable fact about the winery is that their wines are NOT made from grapes for the most part. I think of wine and grapes automatically pops into my head. At the Orange Groves Winery they make wine from bananas, mangos, strawberries, coconuts, cranberries and anything else you can think of. They have champagnes, ports, vegetable wines, smoothies and more. It’s mind boggling the things that they do here. The tasting allowed you to select which wines you wanted to try, as well as a smoothie. Each wine tasted exactly like the fruit that was used in fermentation and varied from sweet to dry.

Each one was more surprising than the last. Brent and I bought the Festiberry Wine, which was a wine made from cranberries and Florida Banana, which if you can’t guess is made from Bananas. I brought both of them back with me for Thanksgiving for my family to try. The cranberry wine was extremely good, and went well with the Turkey dinner. I thought the Banana had a very surprising flavor. It wasn’t as sweet as you would have pictured but had a true banana flavor. And I just love things that aren’t typical. The more different the better 🙂

After the winery, we headed to the Tampa Aquarium. I had heard some great things about the aquarium and had some high expectations, especially with it being located on the gulf. They had a petting area when you first walk in where you can get your hands on some slimy sting rays.

And above they had some beautiful tanks with all different kinds of fish. One of the neatest things was how they lit the tanks up. It gave the fish a completely different look. Some creepier than others.

I know sharks aren’t particularly nice…but man does that shark look mean. The look in his eye isn’t something that I would want to mess with.

Oh HARROW!

They also had an area to check out a few UNIQUE little birdies. The different types of animals and their adaptations are really amazing to me. They’ve all got their different ways to survive and it’s so fun to learn about their habits because each one is so different from the other.

And clearly they aren’t afraid to get right up in your face. There’s no super zoom on my camera here. But then again, it’s probably better because otherwise you might be getting a close look at this guys nostrils.

CUTIES. It’s almost like they stop and pose for you.

Overall, the aquarium was a bit smaller than I would have thought and you can get through it in about an hour or 2. I’m still a huge Boston Aquarium fan. I haven’t met one that lives up to those expectations 🙂

To top off the day, we drove around a bit and headed towards Davis Island. Davis Island is right off the coast of Tampa and is where a lot of nicer houses are. It is also where my fav Yankee player has a house! Derek Jeter, whoot whoot! So I’m upping my creeper status by sharing a photo of his off season abode.

I wish I had a photo from the bay, because you can really get a sense of how large it actually is. It’s very…cement looking too.

Anyways, it was a fun little trip and something fun and easy for a Friday! St Pete is breath taking and all of the locals agree that if you are going to the beach, anything on the gulf side is the way to go.

NOW, OFF TO THE WEEKEND!!

Any big plans for the weekend?! What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?? Something low key or something thrilling?!

Abracadabra Ice Cream and an Apple Butter Egg White Breakfast

This morning was  a really slow one. I ended up sleeping in until 10, which NEVER happens. But we were out late celebrating our friend Jeff’s birthday and after the 6 miler, I can understand how I might have been a bit exhausted.

When I was looking into the cabinets for a direction to go with I found the left over egg white from the Chocolate Oreo Pie I made yesterday and some unopened Apple Butter. And BAM! Breakfast was born.

What’s in this masterpiece is 2 egg whites, 1 Tablespoon of Apple Butter, 1 Slice of American Cheese and obviously a slice of bread. It was really quite simple. The Apple Butter adds a sweetness to the sandwich that was really unexpected, but in a good way. I haven’t experimented with Apple Butter too much in the past, but after this experience, it is making it our of the fridge more often.

After devouring the sandwich, I still wasn’t satisfied, so I mixed up a protein shake with Vanilla ALmond Milk and Chocolate Protein Powder.

Brent and I then brought the puppies out on a little adventure. We swung by a nearby school to play fetch with them, but after about 10 throws they were donezo. It was in the 90’s today here. WOOF.

So we gathered up the pups and headed off to ABRACADABRA! It’s an Ice Cream shop located in Kissimmee. There is also a sister location in Clermont, FL. As I was talking to the owner, he was saying that the concept for this place was developed by a Chef in Utah and the idea is actually a nation wide concept.

But what is the concept exactly??

Well, you pick out all of your ingredients for an ice cream flavor. They also have some suggestions for you. I chose the Apple Pie Ice Cream and Brent had a Magic Mix. They put a liquid batter I guess you would call it, into a large metal bowl. Throw in the apple pie mixings, and the zap it with Liquid Nitrogen! Cooooollll.

The amount of smoke coming off of it was a crazy amount more, but my camera wouldn’t focus. 😦 Oreo actually started barking at it as it was rolling off the counter at her.

The options here are absolutely endless, which I think is the best part. Let your mind wander and come up with your ideal flavor of ice cream and you can make it come to life at this place.

If you for some reason don’t LOVE the ice cream flavor that you got, they will gladly take it back for you and mix up another one for you. Brent and I LOVED our ice creams. Arguably some of the best I have ever had.

They are extremely dog friendly as well. LOVE those places 🙂 As soon as we rolled up with our crew, Oreo got in her few barks and the owner literally ran up to the two with dog bones and a huge bowl of water. They had a great little time. I had to share a bit of my ice cream with them too. Such a sucker.

We were also noticing that they really seemed to invite everyone to come out and just hang out. I can’t tell you how hospitable the owner was. He was really on top of making sure we were loving the ice cream and the puppies were happy. He runs the place with his family and they also have pizza on the menu!

In the back, they have a fenced in area for kids to run around and enjoy their ice cream.

I really just got the sense that the owner loved what he did and really just wanted people to be happy. And he definitely did that. If you are coming down to Fl for vacation and get to disney, I would suggest popping over to Abracadabra. It is a nice little escape and you can’t get ice cream like this just anywhere. If you live in the area, just do it 🙂

For the remainder of the day, I caught up on some more sleep and it seems pizza is on the menu for tonight. Casual, lovely Sunday.

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Pumpkin? Apple Pie? Fish Food?? Or just the standard chocolate and vanilla??

My go to is cookie dough. Always have and always will. It’s my no fail. But I love trying new flavors just to spice things up!

Berry Overnight Oats and Wekiwa Springs

Yesterday morning, I took the pups for a 2 mile walk just to tire them out before I ventured off to work. By the time I got back, I was DYING for some breakfast. I had whipped up some overnight oats the previous night and pulled that out of the fridge. As a rule of thumb for making them quickly, sin recipe, I use:

  • 1/3 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 Cup Yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup Milk

For this one, I used Almond Milk and Silk Vanilla Yogurt. Vegan Friendly 🙂

In the morning I topped it off with frozen strawberries that had been warmed in the microwave, 1/2 Banana and my Homemade Granola (I’m not kidding that it made a TON).

I added some cinnamon and Chia seeds to the mix the previous night. I LOVE adding the frozen berries that are heated up on the oats because it adds a natural sweetness and gives it a ton of flavor. I didn’t add any sweetener to this and it really doesn’t need it.

This is just a second example of a berry Overnight Oats. It has the same base as the previous one, but on top are previously frozen blueberries and fresh raspberries. Yum. Yum.

Work was cut short at the office today because it was the docs birthday, so I left a little early and got the chance to FINALLY go to Wekiwa Springs. I have never been but have been dying to give it a try.

Wekiwa Springs is a National Park located just north of Orlando. So if you are in the area, you are talking a 20 minute ride. It is absolutely beautiful. They have a whole bunch of things that you can do in the park, including Hiking, Swimming, Kayaking, Horse Back Riding, Mountain Biking, Camping and I’m sure I’m missing much more. It is $6.00 per car to enter the grounds but once you enter, there are no other fees.

They have tons of maps to grab on your way to prevent you from getting lost, THANK YOU. The trails range from under a mile to over 13 miles. We chose the Orange trail, which was 5.3 miles considering we only had a short amount of time before the park closed and it was dark.

To get on the trail, you pass one of the springs, which was so pretty.

I could definitely spend a dat here. They also have a lazy river that you can just float along all day. Rough life. Next time, the lazy river.

The trail was covered in sand the majority of the way. But the trees and grasses changed just about every half mile. Drastically.

Anyone feel like a movie??

At some points, I really felt like Jurassic park could have been filmed here…picture a dino peeping it’s head over this…

Right??! Maybe?!

On the hike, we saw TONS of deer. We saw a few doe, and 1 MASSIVE BUCK. He was so close to us too! I have never seen one that up close, with massive antlers. I’m from the north and saw deer all the time, but it was actually really cool to be standing 10 feet away from them. The only deer I caught a picture of was this little doe hiding in the bushes.

See it?? Haha, not really the greatest picture of a deer, but what can I say…

There were tons of grasshoppers, squirrels and the usual things you would expect. AND THEN THIS THING:

That…you couldn’t miss. It was MASSIVE. I had trouble getting a picture of it because my camera kept focusing on the trees behind it…but Brent said it was a Banana Spider. Normally, I don’t believe him right away because he has a habit of just saying things so matter of fact that he really sounds like he knows what he is talking about. I have found, that my friend, is not always the case.

In this case, he was completely correct. That is EXACTLY what it was. Apparently they aren’t poisonous but will bite you. Mer.

Overall, the hike was FANTASTIC. I was great cross training for the half marathon and was a great time. The pups were exhausted by the end of it, which is never a bad thing. Just be careful with the ticks. They are definitely out in full force.