Vacay, parts 5 & 6.

Posted by in food, travel | 17 comments

Well, here we are, nearing the end of my vacation recap adventures. Sorry to make you read so many posts of the same trip but so much happened I couldn’t help but share it all.

Today marks the last of my recaps, spanning days 5 and 6 of our Kansas voyage.

On this particular day we went to my friend Ashley and her husband Brett’s new apartment and they fed us a delicious breakfast. Ashley made coffee, turkey bacon and crepes the size of my head, no joke!

I had one slice of turkey bacon and two crepes, one with nutella and sliced strawberries. And the other with peanut butter, banana and honey. I managed to sneak a little flax into both. Don’t worry [wink].

After a short visit we headed back to Jamin and Lisa’s and relaxed for a bit. And before long we were all hankering for lunch. We opted for a local cafe called Dolci and Joe’s. We’ve been there before with Jamin and Lisa and really enjoyed it. Plus, we like supporting local when we can.

We perused the menu for a bit before coming  to a decision.

John ordered the chicken jules sandwich, which is hearty bread stacked with grainy mustard, swiss cheese, grilled chicken breast, thick slices of bacon, lettuce and tomato.

A side of french fries may or may not have been ordered as well. And I may or may not have indulged in a small handful.

Jamin ordered some kind of cheesy ham sandwich that looked to die for. It kept oozing out cheese with every bite and I was getting a little jealous of his eats over mine – a mere salad.

He and Lisa also split some sweet potato fries, which I snagged a few of as well.

Lisa went for the tomato basil soup and caesar salad combo, which she seemed to be delighted with although she did mention the soup was a little too creamy for her liking.

And because I’d stuffed myself with two giant crepes for breakfast, I wasn’t too hungry and only opted for a small garden salad with warm honey vinaigrette. I must say, the dressing impressed me. I may have to try and recreate it at home.

I liked how they served it in a chinese take out box. I would’ve tried to save it if it wasn’t covered in dressed salad remains afterwards.

Post lunch the boys ran off and did some man errands. And us ladies looked through some of Jamin and Lisa’s wedding photos to pick some out for printing.

And a while later we got to work on dinner and ‘dessert.’

Lisa made seafood gumbo – a first attempt for her – and I made yet another loaf of cinnamon swirl bread for us to nibble on after our meal.

I must say, sharing the kitchen was nothing short of a blast.

We turned on some cajun music on Pandora and danced around their quaint kitchen occasionally letting out a boisterous “eh eh eyyyyyyy,” in true southern style. We had the counters piled with ingredients and we shuffled around each other in Williams Sonoma aprons as we completed our respective tasks. It was something out of a movie.

I’m finally getting this ‘softened butter’ trick down. I used to microwave it for my recipes but have since learned that that’s practically a baking sin. Oops. Paula, please forgive me.

We plucked lots of ‘happy’ parsley from their potted plant and threw it into the gumbo, perhaps a little more generously than we should’ve. But who can resist a plant with such charm?

Speaking of generous, we also put a wee bit too much cayenne and cajun seasoning into the pot and we all paid for it later. Lucky for us, though – perhaps all but Lisa – we have a taste for spicy dishes so it didn’t much bother us. I actually prefer a little heat in most my meals. Keeps the sinuses clear, as my father would say.

After nearly 4 hours of simmering, we had a big pot of shrimp and crab gumbo on our hands, which we served in big bowls over steamy rice.

And we had wine. But that almost goes without saying at this point.

I believe this wine was Estimulo Malbec. It was a mature, robust wine, in my amateur opinion. And I thoroughly enjoyed a glass with our meal.

I had a healthy serving of rice piled with several scoops of gumbo, and even went back for seconds before my first bowl was empty. This was my first time having gumbo and I instantly fell in love with it.

 I may have been sniffling the entire time but I persevered. And I was the gumbo victor.

After dinner we played a game of dog – a homemade board game – in which the girls got their butts handed to them by the lads.

But, Lisa and I kept our heads held high and ‘cheersed’ our wine glasses every time we made a positive play. That’s how we ladies do it. And we even managed to retire to sleep without holding grudges. One shouldn’t go to bed angry, after all.

It goes without saying but our trip was a blast. We got to spend so much time with family and close friends and that was the very best part.

Good friends seem to make all the difference in life, no? At least that’s what I’ve found.

The next day John had a dentist appointment before we headed back to Topeka. We got a little hunger rumble on the way home and stopped at Sonic in Junction City. I tried to order a PB banana smoothie but they told me they had absolutley no peanut butter in the house.

“What kind of an establishment do you think you are, not having peanut butter?! Shame, shame, tisk tisk.”

That’s what I wanted to say. But instead I ordered a strawberry banana smoothie.

This, my friends, was borderline dessert – made with fat free froyo, strawberries and healthy chunks of banana, I slurped this creamy dream down in less than 5 minutes. If you’re having a moment of weakness, I fully condone you indulging in this smoothie.

Besides, it comes in a sweet, retro silver cup. Who could resist such a clever beverage vehicle? No one with reasonable judgment, methinks.

And that, my friends, is the end of vacation land. It’s been fun but it’s time to jump off this wagon and onto another – perhaps one where I cook nothing but pancakes for an entire week and document the whole thing. Wouldn’t that be grand…


Favorite sonic drink or favorite smoothie flavor? Diet cherry limeades or this smoothie. So good!

Roadtrips: fan or no? Diehard fan. Can I take one weekly, please?

P.S. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to enter my Real Simple cookbook giveaway by 5 p.m.! Five lucky winners will be selected this evening and it’s super easy to enter. Good luck!!!!




  1. 1.) I love smoothies made with berries, chocolate protein powder, and skim milk. Never been to Sonic – I know, I’m lame.

    2.) Only with Suave Slav :D

  2. Aw, this sounds like such a fun trip! So glad to hear you had a great time!

    I love cherry limeades at sonic and my favorite smoothie flavor is strawberry banana or chocolate banana!

    And YES I love roadtrips.

  3. Those sweet potato fries look delicious!
    I’ve never been a fan of juice or smoothies – coffee all the way for this chickpea :)
    Love taking roadtrips! Killer soundtrack, breeze in my hair, gorgeous man in the driver’s seat and two happy puppies in the back is the way to live :)
    I’ve nominated you for the Butterfly Award as well! Check out my latest post for details :)

    • Thanks Amy! You’re the sweetest!

  4. Nice looking gumbo! Yummy! Your friends dress looked adorable!

  5. I love peach, mango, strawberry smoothies – yum!

  6. Matt ate pancakes for a whole week, breakfast, lunch and dinner. But he didn’t blog about it, nor is he as creative with his pancakes…but my friend it can be done.

    • Ha, I can just imagine him doing that. And it’s kind of awesome, and inspiring at the same time. Miss you friend!

  7. Looks like such a fun, relaxing vacation! I love limeades from Sonic! I also had a banana cream pie milkshake from there once…it was deadly.

  8. i just had a WONDERFUL road trip! but i think the people you’re with make all the difference. coming home with just my mom was no fun at all! i find driving and jammin out to my fave music really relaxing though. and i tend to like fruit smoothies, of any variety- no citrus though! sometimes i totally crave orange, but i’m allergic :( strawberry banana never fails. and confession: i’ve never eaten at a sonic!

  9. Glad you and John had a good get away. I read all the posts and enjoyed them all. Enjoy the rest of your summer!! Tom and I are heading to Turkey the end of Sept. and I was in Indonesia for 3 wks. in July!! Fun, Fun!

    • Have fun on your trip, auntie! Love you!

  10. I think I’ve only been to Sonic twice! Gasp! I can’t remember what I got, but I think it involved soft-serve…sort of like a McDonald’s McFlurry?

    I like roadtrips, but not by myself! I get lonely and tired of driving really quickly :)

  11. I like road trips, especially since I’m never the one driving:) Sonic is a road trip must! Egg and cheese breakfast wraps and route 66 cherry limeade to share! It is one of the few times I will drink soda actually!

    • Same here! I like Sonic for roadtrips and adore their cherry limeades. So delicious!

  12. I love the idea of preparing sweet potatoes as french fries. I’m gonna prepare it.