Saturday, May 5, 2012


The Lew Crew has all manner of family traditions, ranging from traveling to Staunton, VA, for July 4th, to vacationing in Myrtle Beach annually for the first 16 years of my life, to buying fresh fruits and veggies from produce stands after church on summer Sunday afternoons. We've been trying to start the tradition of taste-testing different coffee houses and pastry shops on Saturday mornings. It's never become a full-fledged tradition because of everybody's conflicting schedules, but today we began what we hope will become our Saturdays all summer. [Well... Once I'm semi-permanently stationed in Richmond after myriad summer M.Ed. classes and vacations. What a hard life I live.]

We ventured down to Carytown around 10:00 with Cafe Caturra in mind for coffee and scones. We ended up at Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe with this gem in hand:
Then we made our way to Starbuck's; a Grande Iced Skinny Caramel Macchiato for me!
Initially, the cupcakes were serving as breakfast, but then everyone decided to save their cupcakes for later -- we were celebrating Cinco de Mayo -- and get different delicacies at Starbuck's. So, I ended up with a Plain Jake cupcake and a piece of coffee cake:
I didn't hesitate as we were buying, but as I was sipping my coffee, I said, "I don't eat like this at school! I need to hit the gym!" That was all Dad needed -- another of our family traditions is exercising together. Dad and I hit the Y for an hour, and I ran an easy 5K.

Allow me to clarify for you, though; I'm not a total calorie-counting, fat-menacing, carb-avoiding gym Nazi. I've just found a "diet" and a pattern of exercise that have helped me lose 30 pounds, get into the best shape of my adult life, and appreciate that what I put into my body is what I will get out of it. I learned the hard way that if Starbuck's treats, cupcakes, and other sweets and fat-laden dishes become the norm or the bulk of my diet, I'll turn back into a human blimp. I certainly enjoy decadent desserts, creamy alfredo sauces, and carby dinners (like the Seafood Alfredo I fell into headfirst at Zorba's),
but I prefer to enjoy these in moderation now. Crazily enough, I've also discovered that my body positively craves fresh fruits and vegetables, proper hydration, whole grains, and Greek yogurt if I am without any of these for more than 24 hours. Who knew! Ha.

Now, on to the fiesta! I have been ridiculously excited to try quinoa. So many of the foodie bloggers I follow-slash-envy have been raving about its health benefits and its versatility, and I'm a huge fan of both. Also in keeping with the Hispanic celebration, we planned fajitas, mojitos, and margaritas for dinner.
I think quinoa is a food that'll take some getting used to. My family and I agreed that it wasn't a bad food, but it wasn't something we instantly raved about. I really liked the texture and the garlic flavor we chose, but I think we're just quinoa novices and we'll need a few more taste tests before we deliver the final verdict.
I like my fajitas chock-full of sauteed peppers and onions, diced tomato, mild salsa, a dollop of sour cream, sprinkly cheese, shredded lettuce, sometimes a bit of fresh cilantro, and (recently) grilled strips of seasoned chicken. How do you like yours?
After dinner, it was time to break out the cupcakes:
Let me tell you, there was nothing Plain Jane about this little piece of heaven! Judging by everyone devouring their cupcake even more quickly than I did, we will definitely be back to Pearl's. So many traditions in one day, both old and new! :)

P.S. What traditions does your family (or you and yours) have? Are they long-standing or recently established? Do you have suggestions of great local coffee/pastry shops in Richmond?


Holly said...

You'll get used to the adaptability of quinoa and then love it. I use it more than rice now.

Congrats on losing the weight. I did the same thing as you when I went to grad school and made up my mind to lose. I promised myself that I wouldn't "diet" I'd just exercise and watch my portion sizes (which was my main problem). I eventually lost twice the amount of weight I wanted to, even if it took 4 years.

Enjoy the coffee houses for me! I miss coffee shops.

Girl Emerging said...

Hey, Holly! I'm really excited that I didn't write off quinoa -- as a pescetarian, I could never get used to the idea of so many beans. I've never been a big bean-eater, but I needed the sustenance. I love that quinoa could be a new staple in my life if I allow it to. It's really cool that we're on similar journeys :) I will surely enjoy the coffee houses for you! I hope you'll stick around. -AK