Sticky Shoes


Today was shaping up to be even more unbelievable than yesterday in terms of weather, so this morning Ben told me to put on some workout clothes and hop in the car. We were going somewhere!

15 minutes later we arrived. Raccoon River Park?


Raccoon River Park is home to Blue Heron Lake, where my friends and I used  layout, swim and play two-ball at for hours on end in high school. Two-ball is just a game of catch played with…two balls…in case you were wondering. :)


Why though, would I need workout clothes to visit the beach? And WHY were we visiting the beach on a Sunday in October? (Nevermind the fact that there were people laying out and swimming in the 80+ degree heat!)


Turns out, Ben knows best. There’s a walking trail around the lake that I never knew existed, and it ended up being probably the coolest trail we’ve been on in town!


First of all, the crunchy gravel that lined the trail made it feel like we were on more of a nature hike than a normal walk on a paved trail. It was a nice change of pace from our usual outdoor adventures.


Second of all, a good portion of the trail was completely canopied by huge, colorful trees that made me feel like I wasn’t even in Iowa for some reason!


At one point the trail starts to run parallel to the Raccoon River, and Ben got the itch to go explore its banks.


He navigated down a steep, rocky path to the shores, and I followed.


I didn’t get very far as I stepped foot onto into the muddy bottom. D’OH!!!!


My foot came right out of my shoe as the sticky mud held it in place 5 inches below the surface, and I even made another step in my sock before I figured out what had happened.


Why would you step directly into the mud??? Ben so helpfully asked.


Why would I… Are you kidding me?! The nerve! ;)  

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Ah well, my shoe dried soon enough, and about an hour later we had come full circle. 


Along with some muddy kicks, I also brought home this stem of perfect red leaves. I plan on framing it after it dries, pressed between the pages of a big, heavy book. Viva fall crafts! ;)


Now it’s no mistake that Dairy Queen is located 2 minutes away from the park, which is where we headed next. A sweaty hike certainly deserves a reward in the form of a Mini Pumpkin Pie Blizzard, no? First one of the season!


This puppy was loaded with pie crust and the pumpkin pie spice mix was spot on. Ugh, yes. YES.


The rest of the afternoon was spent prepping a few dinners for the week, before I whipped up a light and fresh Lemon Fruit Salad for an early supper.


This salad was off the hook and I give all the credit to the homemade Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing from Our Best Bites that I drizzled on top, and also used to marinate chicken breasts in before quickly cooking on a piping hot grill.


A sweet mixture of fresh lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and sugar is spiced up with fresh onion and garlic, then accented by tons of poppy seeds. Even Ben liked it and he doesn’t usually like sweeter dressings!


The rest of the salad combined a hand-picked golden delicious apple, red bartlett pear, fontina cheese and salted cashews. It was a fab, fresh, fall combo. :)


Second dessert (just a small slice) was blueberry pie for Ben’s birthday. I had one baking in the oven on Friday, his actual birthday, but half way through the freaking power went out for an hour! Not only was my pie just sitting in the oven half-baked, but the microwave timer also went out, so I had no idea how much longer it needed to bake.


Thankfully Mrs. Smith and her delicious frozen delicacies came to the rescue tonight. ;)

Hope you had a wonderful weekend everyone!

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  1. Melissa 10.09.2011

    I LOVE Raccoon River Park! My friends and I went there to go to the beach and run on that trail all the time in high school. Love that you felt like you weren’t in Iowa too, I always got the same vibe!

  2. Erika 10.09.2011

    I love Raccoon River Park! And I must have JUST missed you! What a great day for a walk.

  3. shandy (@webgals) 10.09.2011

    I LOVE that trail! I need to get back out there with the fall colors! Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Dawn Marie 10.09.2011

    LOL.. sorry to laugh at your demise! LOL

    I spent the weekend at a writing group, painting doors and trim in my home… ahem.. 8 doors! Then off to work on a pc for a friend and grocery shopping.

    3 days off and nothing but work! Thank goodness I am not blogging still to add to the mix!

  5. What a fun day! Isn’t it funny how we try to figure out what our guys are up to? Only to see that what they had planned is awesome… I love it. My boyfriend has a “DC outing” planned for tomorrow night and although I’m trying to figure it all out, I know it’s going to be awesome.

  6. Aw I love that the hubby surprised you with a hike! {Can he talk to my BF?? LOL}

    Also, what kind of a camera do you have? I always LOVE your pictures!!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.10.2011

      Thanks! The trail photos were from my iPhone, dinner pictures with my NikonD3000.

  7. you and ben have the most amazing outdoor weekend adventures! i need to start brainstorming ideas in the chicagoland area. the salad looks delicious… love the combo of flavors!

  8. That salad look SO good! Such a creative combination of ingredients!

  9. Amy 10.09.2011

    We live just down the street (literally) from Raccoon River Park! If there was a sidewalk all the way there, we could walk there. My son loves their playground, it’s huge. On the weekends, there are often runners who lap me several times when I go once around.

  10. Lisa S 10.09.2011

    Made your boozy apple cider drink this weekend. First tried it with whiskey as we had no bourbon. It wasn’t quite right, so tonight we made it with brandy and it is soo good. :) Maybe will try it with bourbon someday. :) (think I will sleep good tonight…mmmm)

  11. Imwaytoobusy 10.09.2011

    Nice work, Ben! …and a Pumpkin Blizzard? You know how to reward yourself. That was absolutely necessary.

  12. Luv What You Do 10.09.2011

    I had my first pumpkin pie blizzard today too!

    But, since I completed my first marathon this AM, I got a bigger size. No mini-blizzard for me!

  13. Looks like you had a great Sunday! Trails are so much fun, and now that the weather is changing..even better!

    I have literally been begging everyone around me to go to dairy queen to get a pumpkin pie blizzard but no one seems as excited! Maybe I’ll just take myself tomorrow, hehe :)

  14. Angie 10.10.2011

    I would’ve hated losing my shoe in that mud! At least you were able to take in some beautiful fall colors! And, that salad looks and sounds amazing.

  15. Kate Cremisino 10.10.2011

    this looks soooo tasty. i want to make it for dinner but i already ran out to the store once today.. will have to add some ingredients to my grocery list!

    question one: what’s your meal prep method.. do you plan it out each week and shop for a week at a time?

    question two: if you make a whole meal each night and blogging it, are you ever eating leftovers? or do u just make enough for two people, no excess?

    love your blog!

  16. Anita 10.10.2011

    Okay, well. Now I’m hungry.

    Looks like a perfect Sunday. :)

  17. Oh…pumpkin pie blizzard? Sounds good!
    xoxo from Trinidad

  18. Hope 10.10.2011

    That pumpkin pie blizzard looks amazing! :)

  19. Sarah 10.10.2011

    What a fun surprise! I’m so jealous of your weather…it’s supposed to be mid-60s and low 70s here this week, but now that we’ve had the first snow and first freeze, mornings are officially cold, and we had to break down and turn on the heat this weekend since it’s getting to the low 30s/upper 20s at night. Ick! YUM pumpkin pie blizzard, I completely forgot about it’s awesomeness!!

  20. There is nothing like being outside in the fall – your pics are gorgeous!

    I didn’t know DQ rolled out with a pumpkin pie blizzard. I tried their french silk and loved it.

  21. Normally, I’m not a fan of fruity salads, but this will change my mind! It looks so good!!!

  22. Deanna 10.10.2011

    I’ve been looking for a new dressing to try…this looks yummy! Except, I can’t use poppy seeds due to a possible allergy for my daughter (jury is out…scratch test said yes allergic, blood test said no!). So, I don’t keep them in the house. Do you think it would taste okay without, or is there a good alternative?

  23. Katie 10.10.2011

    Your poor shoe! Ah well, it just means that you’re using them well – if they are spotless and shiny then you’re not working hard enough, I like to think!

  24. I’ve been dying for a pumpkin pie blizzard!

  25. Courtney 10.10.2011

    I love the way you do your eye make-up! What kind of eye liner do you use?!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.11.2011

      Thanks! I use Maybelline Unstoppable waterproof eye liner in very black.

  26. Pumpkin Pie Blizzard?!!!!! OMG dying to try that

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