The Road

I took the same road home for 21 years.

I am still washed over with a sense of relief as I think about the left I have to make to pull onto my well-known back road, and how it makes me breathe easy to relax back into the comfort of my small town.

It’s beautiful. Four miles of asphalt, full of trees, and lined by the unique style of homes that seem to clutter Southern Maryland.

In the autumn it glows with red, orange, and yellow tones that make you want to live in your hometown for your whole life.

It’s the road where the elementary school I went to is standing. The road I walked home on when I realized I had missed the bus. The road where I went the exact speed limit the first month I had my license, and then at least ten miles per hour over every month thereafter.

But, more importantly, it’s the road that carried me through years of growing up and the runs that celebrated accomplishments, flushed out anger, mended broken hearts, and soothed my soul.

I had never though of it all in such a nostalgic way until recently. My best friend and I were talking about where we were originally from, attempting to mentally escape the never-ending New York snow, over coffee. She was telling me about her hometown in Arizona, and describing all the places where she spent her time or that were special to her.

And it sparked a sense of homesickness. A homesickness that was accompanied with a longing to lace up my shoes and step towards the familiar flashing school zone marker that lies just beyond my street sign.

The landmarks, and how the stretches of road between them add up in mileage, are still fresh in my mind after years of “creating” loops specifically for that road.

And as the years passed, I had to get creative in making my four-mile road span six, ten, even fifteen miles.

I remember the first time I tried running from the entrance of my neighborhood to the bowling alley, only a mile away.

It was awful.

I whined.

I complained.

I cried.

But that was just the beginning.

The front of my neighborhood soon became the start and finish line of every run, and those runs added up.

Slowly but surely I transformed from someone who couldn’t handle a one-mile run to someone who was training for distance races. I still reminisce looping the road enough times to complete my first ever eleven miler. When I crossed the “finish line,” I felt like the Queen of the World.

I was energized.



The road became home, and every run more memories were made.

Eventually, my brother became my most frequent running partner. And we would wake up at ungodly hours, to go run in the pitch black. I still pout thinking of how I was always forced to run on the inside, protected, from the cars that whizzed by us, even though my brother was younger than me.

Or the time I kept running… for weeks, knowing my foot was in shambles, but too stubborn to see a doctor. I would come home with sweat still glistening, and sink my left foot into ice telling myself tomorrow I would finally make an appointment.

I miss the feeling of satisfaction that came from slapping the road signs at either end of the four mile stretch before turning around to head back towards home, accomplished.

I ran that road when it was cold, when it was humid, when I was fourteen, when I was twenty one, when I was in high school, when I was in college, when I was out of shape, when I was in shape, when I was lost, and when I was found.

I hated every inch of that road one summer, and the next I was anticipating the early morning hour when I could sit on the front step lacing up my worn out sneakers, preparing to run on my favorite stretch of shoulder.

And just like that road, I think of my childhood home. There it is. A structure of familiarity, comfort, memories, and growth. A place where I went through highs and lows to become who I am today. Only to leave, not ever realizing until the years have passed and the new chapters began, how precious and fleeting all those moments were.

Because now I am running on a different road.

A road longer than the effortless four miles I took for granted.

Back at the “starting line” trying to figure out the distance between all of the different landmarks that lie ahead.

A road that isn’t familiar.

A road that doesn’t have memories attached to it, yet.


5 Girls, 2 Goats, 1 Night

The laundry appeared less daunting than usual on Saturday morning. Actually, the repetitious steps of throwing my clothes into the washer, dumping in my unmeasured heap of detergent, and moving the soaked bundle of now clean clothes to the dryer was gratifying.

The bag that sat in the middle of my bed acted as a bright blue floral reminder that I was only hours away from visiting the Finger Lakes for the first time. And with every load that came out of the dryer, I was one more unnecessarily packed shirt closer to being on my way.

By mid-afternoon, my four friends and I were on the road. We had a birthday to celebrate and wine in our future.

The birthday girl and I


We stopped at the first winery we came across, and began to taste all that the Wine Trail had to offer. We were welcomed with a warmth and hospitality that could only be possessed by those who work with easy access to alcohol. 😉

Of all the wineries we visited, my favorite was Hector Wine Company. The staff was by far the most relaxed, homey, and heartfelt. And the wine was, of course, delicious.






Now once we reached our ‘empty-stomach’ wine capacity, we decided to check out one of the local restaurants. I giggled my way through a failed attempt to make dinner reservations, but luckily my more even keeled travel mates were able to take charge (Let’s just say I might have underestimated the amount of wine consumed in multiple tasting).

IMG_3918We ate at Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca, a Viennese Winery Restaurant. The decor was beautiful.  A large, heavy wooden door opened to cathedral high ceilings and a warm contemporary space.

As for our server, it’s uncertain how he felt about our continuous attempts to plea Siri to read us poems, sing us songs, and tell us jokes with over emphasized articulation. Even so, I have a feeling the laughter escaping our table, filling the restaurant, was gladly embraced.

We ended our night at Two Goats Brewing, a small local bar overflowing with charisma. There was live music, a gaggle of locals, and homemade brew.




IMG_3922The ceiling was covered in dollar bills. I couldn’t wrap my head around how they possible got up there, until I saw the barn/bar loft… I soon learned you aren’t supposed to climb the loft, but I DID get my dollar on the ceiling.

Come to find out, the bartender throws the money at the ceiling after putting a thumbtack through it. Who would’ve thought?

Our group quickly became the lively bunch at the back of the room.  We spent the night laughing and drinking from glasses that never seemed to stay empty. The energy was contagious and before you knew it, we had graced Two Goats with our tomfooleries past closing time.

After closing down the bar, the girls and I went back to the bed and breakfast, Seneca Springs Resort. We eventually went to sleep at the crack of dawn, and groggily made our way home Sunday afternoon.




And now, home from the girls’ trip to Seneca Lake, I can’t wait to go back. I have a feeling if the atmosphere was this fun off season, there is good reason to visit again during the summer.

Childhood Memoir and Apple Crunch French Toast

Ever since I can remember my dad worked the night shift.

His arrival home announced by the car’s headlights illuminating the long, dark driveway, a view that I could see from my window. And I would sit, listening, as the garage door would open, interrupting the household silence.

After he finally made it through the door, his ever-growing bundle of keys would clank as they hit the counter.

If I managed to stay awake this late, I would sleepily make my way to the kitchen.

Because one of the best times to hang out with dad was when he got home from work. 🙂

It meant I got to tell him about my new best friend at school, or the picture I proudly drew, or how my bike chain fell off when the neighborhood boys raced me, without my siblings competing for his attention.

As I got older, the feat of staying awake until he arrived became much simpler, and it wasn’t as strange for me to be up when he came home.

My stories altered with my age. I would confess that I was working on a research paper due the next day, or that I wanted to show him my ceramics masterpiece, or that I simply couldn’t sleep.

Either way, my dad happily greeted me, and listened to whatever I decided to tell him about my day, even though he had just finished a long day at work. He seemed to truly enjoy coming home to his chatterbox of a daughter, not minding that I would talk forever.

And if I had a rough day, maybe mounds of homework that weren’t close to being finished, maybe I was in a fight with my friends, maybe I was just plain lucky…

I would get French Toast.

We aren’t just talking any old French Toast. We are talking about my Dad’s French Toast.

A highly sought after item in my childhood home.

A breakfast delicacy that was only served during the wee hours of the morning.

A plate of freshly made toast that seemed to solve life’s problems.

There was a time that I attempted to make a book of all my family’s recipes. It must’ve been before I went to college because the list of recipes has been long lost. I still remember eagerly asking my dad for his recipe, and my disappointment in realizing there wasn’t one.

Obviously that information wasn’t going to work. I needed measurements. I needed numbers. I needed EXACT. After a little bit of pestering and a strong dose of determination, I was able to acquire a basic idea of what went into my beloved breakfast dish.

Although it’s just a list of ingredients, it was enough to serve me after a hard day this week. I came home run down, and after opening the fridge, I was reassured when I realized I could make myself French Toast.

It’s nothing like my dad’s, his is a classic. And it would’ve tasted better in the middle of the night while I told him about how my day went haywire.

But, I’m pretty proud of what I came up with, and even more excited to share this post with all of you and good ole’ dad.

Without further a do, I present my masterpiece:

Apple Crunch French Toast


This dish is absolutely glorious, perhaps almost sinful. A serving that could easily be shared with a friend, but I’m not saying they need to be. I ate every bite myself.



3 eggs

Splash of Almond Milk

1 teaspoon of Vanilla

Dash of Cinnamon

4 slices of Udi’s Whole Wheat Bread (Gluten Free)

Additional Toppings:

1 Honey Crisp apple thinly sliced

Handful of Cinnamon Granola

Handful of Cranberries


Pure Maple Syrup


  1. Turn stove on medium heat and let the skillet warm up.
  2. Toast your bread in the toaster (keeps the french toast from getting soggy).
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Dip bread slices into mixture, making sure each side gets completely soaked.
  5. Place bread on skillet. Cook on both sides until the egg mixture is cooked and slightly brown.
  6. Layer the apples, cinnamon granola, and cranberries between the bread slices.
  7. Top with cinnamon and maple syrup.

This could be a great weekend brunch option, or for all those fellow “breakfast-for-dinner” readers, you could make this for dinner tonight!

Happy Assembling! Enjoy 🙂

The Assembler

As a woman who can’t eat dairy or gluten, there are a lot of foods that are off limits. And as I have learned to come to terms with what I can and can’t have, I have begun to broaden my horizons.

… we should probably use the phrase “come to terms” loosely. I very recently (last night) had a melt down when I realized I couldn’t have any stuffed crust pizza during the Super Bowl, but I digress.

In the past couple of weeks I started investigating. Every time the hubby and I visited the grocery store I bought at least one new thing, took it home, and incorporated it into a meal.

My findings included dates, tofu, spaghetti squash, mangos, black beans, canned pumpkin, and smoked salmon.

Now to save you the trial and error of what to do with these delicious breakthroughs in the kitchen, I thought I’d share my newest refrigerator staple, and today’s lunch, with you.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Smoked Salmon, sliced and ready-to-eat. It fits into my anti-cook/pro-assemble lifestyle very well.

You see, as much as I love a delicious, wholesome meal, I’m not that interested in waiting longer than 15 minutes to make it.

Feel free to blame the generation I grew up in and/or my inability to gage how hungry I am until I’ve reached a state of famishment.

Whichever may be the case, with my impatient stomach leading the way, I have become quite the assembler.

Assembler (n): One who puts together foods that re already prepared together to create a dish or meal, but does little to no cooking of ingredients involved.

Today’s lunch can act as a prime example of my assembling skills and how I incorporate smoked salmon into a fun, simple, and healthy meal.

Smoked Salmon Salad



Lettuce Mix (Spinach, Kale, Arugula)

2 thin slices of Smoked Salmon

½ of a Honey Crisp apple diced

5 Green Grapes cut in half

1 handful of Walnuts

1 handful of Cranberries

1 teaspoon of Chia Seeds


The combination of ingredients serves as a nutritious lunch without boring your palates.

This salad is full of flavor, filling from the protein in the walnuts, salmon, and chia seeds, and delicious. The walnuts add the perfect amount of crunch, while the fruit combines with the smoked flavor of the salmon scrumptiously.

The best part is how simple it is to toss together the night before work, and take with you (as long as you have a refrigerator to store it in until lunch time). I had mine all packed, ready to go, until I found out it was a snow day…

Happy Monday (: