ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

and the Adventure Continues! December 2, 2010

Filed under: coffee,dessert,dinner,lunch,vino — ansauls @ 7:38 pm
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Back to my adventures at Biltmore. One post just was not enough! Now, on to the wine tasting!

I could NOT go to Biltmore without visiting the winery. I have done the winery tour before, so, this time, I just went straight for the tasting room where I was introduced to some new friends…

I sampled the Limited Release Merlot, Biltmore Sangiovese and Chistmas Rose, which were all excellent, coming through with exactly what they promise and very reasonably-priced. When I was unsure of what to try next, I relied on the advice of some amazing ladies…

I was randomly placed at a tasting table with these lovely ladies…the Perky Purple Peacocks, a Red Hat Society chapter from Jacksonville, NC! (I hope that they stop by to say ‘hey’). They absolutely made my day, and I wish I could have joined them on their journey. They are the type of lady I hope to be when I’m their age…fun, carefree, and ready for anything. They cracked me up as we chatted. Each of them was so sweet and kind. I could not believe that any of them are old enough for the Red Hat Society.  We had the best sommelier, Chris! He had us all in stitches and warned me not to be too corrupted by these ladies 😉

The wonderful ladies and I agreed that it was time to eat (to soak up some wine), so Chris suggested that we could do 1) Deerpark at Lioncrest, 2) The Bistro, 3) Cedric’s Tavern, but he warned us that Deerpark was pricey for lunch and we’d have to be quiet at the Bistro. I was in the mood for a good atmosphere so that my good time could continue. The ladies invited me to dine with them, but I let them do their own thing as I was not sure where I wanted to go. We tried to get Chris off so that he could come too!

I walked to the Bistro, read the menu, which sounded yummy, but there was no atmosphere, so I headed to Cedric’s as it was in walking distance.

I was craving soup because it was FREEZING outside, but it was beautiful and sunny unlike the rainy day before! I read their menu and they had “soup in a mug.” Y’all know that I love soup in a mug! The soup of the day was turkey and vegetable…perfect! They sat me at the bar tables, which are usually so much fun because of the atmosphere and the personality of bartenders. I had heard from Chris that the ale at Cedric’s was amazing, so, of course, I had to sample some once I got there!


 I tried both the Pale Ale and Brown Ale, and had I not been needing to drive soon, I think a glass of both would have gone in my belly! They were both so yummy! The pale ale was very hoppy and the brown ale had a nice finish, no aftertaste. They were the perfect temperature…chilly! I MUST go back for a beer! They sell six packs in the gift shop, and the Cedric’s beer glass, which would make an excellent Christmas gift!

I rolled with water served on this precious coaster! What a great photo! My waiter was absolutely wonderful! He was so attentive and made perfect suggestions and was honest when I asked about what to order. If you ever go to Cedric’s, ask to sit in Josh’s section! It’ll be worth it! My glass was never empty, and the service was impeccable.

On to the food…

homemade pickles that everyone gets that are so yummy–sour with a hint of sweetness and loads of crunch. I really like places that serve something interesting pre-meal to tease the appetite,


Baby Spinach Salad: hard-boiled egg, dried cherries, shaved red onion, red wine vinaigrette (it’s normally served with bacon too, but I rolled without it). The salad was light, not drenched in dressing (which I loved), and great for Fall/Winter salad with the dried cherries. I loved the fresh mix of flavors and textures.







and the soup…so hearty with a kick of spicy. I’m not a huge cracker fan, but I tried 1 since it was homemade. It was slightly cheesy and a good compliment to the flavor of the soup.

I was not quite full, so when I was asked if I wanted dessert, I thought “WHY NOT?!” However, when I read the dessert menu (a whole menu of it’s own), I could not decide; they all sounded to die for. So, Josh to the rescue! I just asked him to surprise me with his favorite. Oh, and let me tell you, he did not disappoint!!! I was so excited as I awaited to see what would come out of the kitchen for me. Then, this arrived…

S’mores ice cream pie…graham cracker crust layered with Biltmore vanilla ice cream, chocolate, and topped with marshmallow fluff that was slightly toasted!

I think I fell in love with Josh at that moment (Josh, if you stop by, I hope that this isn’t embarrassing you ;)!) To top that off, he delivered the perfect cup of decaf coffee (as y’all know, the after meal decaf is a necessity with me, and not everyone can do it right!)

I just sat for as long as I could to make that goodness last. It was truly a “top 5” dessert in my life. It was almost time to go pick up Mom from her last meeting, so I walked around for a few minutes and headed out.

I stopped by the little shop outside of the Biltmore grounds (can’t pass up a chance to shop, right?). I would recommend this shop for anyone who does not want to buy a day pass for Biltmore. They had a lot of similar things as the shops in the property, and I even found that Sarah Jessica Parker necklace! They had just moved it to this shop. A sweet saleslady saw me eyeing it and offered to open the case so that I could try it on. I was hesitant, but I relented with much persuasion ;). It was beautiful, absolutely breathtaking but $500! I told the lady that maybe Santa would stop by and bring it to me…hey, a girl can dream! All in all, it was a magical day, and I’m so thankful for all of the people who I met along the way. Thank-you to each of you. I hope that we get to see each other again one day.

On the way home, Mom and I stopped at Mimi’s Cafe, one of our favorite little spots. As is the new trend with me I noticing, I had soup and salad (sorry to be so boring!) I’m craving the warmth of soup with the crunch and texture of salad.

I had the Balsalmic Chicken salad with strawberries, feta, tomatoes, dried cranberries, grilled chicken. It did not come with pistashios, and I got the citrus vingarette on the side. I only ate half of it, but it was good. The soup was French Onion, which I’ve never had before. I had to pick off a mound of cheese and bread on top, which did not leave much soup, and it was greasy. I was not a fan. They served a basket of bread. I had two half pieces of carrot/raisin/walnut and spice. The salad comes with a muffin, so I chose honey oat bran and got it to go so I could have it on oats for breakfast since I have not been home to bake. On the way home, I stopped and got a grande decaf cinnamon dolce misto from Starbucks with soy milk to enjoy with my Double Tree cookie.

Thanks for traveling with me through reading!!! Have a very happy Thursday. I have a fun event tonight that I’ll let y’all in on tomorrow!

What are y’all up to tonight? Have y’all ever been to Biltmore?


Adventures in Biltmore…and beyond!

Filed under: breakfast,Fashion,nut butter,oatmeal,working out — ansauls @ 1:57 pm
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Hey y’all! Dinner with my girls was a BLAST! We went to Neo Cantina for mexican (our tradition). I had a mango chicken salad (citrus marinated chicken over baby greens with mango salsa, avocado, and red onion). I had it without queso fresco and had it served dry because the mango salsa was the perfect dressing. On the side, a cup of black bean soup (with carrots, onions, and chipotle chiles).

It was delish…and just filling enough, not too full. My other girlfriends had fish tacos and veggie fajitas, which also received rave reviews! Also, this restaurant served tri-color chips and both red and green salsa upon arrival. I didn’t try any, but the girls LOVED them! I like having more options than regular flour tortillas and red salsa.

I came back to the hotel and snuck down to the fireplace that I discovered snooping the day before to curl up with my book…and my new boots 😉 (big Black Friday purchase…LOVE them!). I was thankful for the boots during the icky weather on day 1 and for warmth on the chilly day 2.

The hotel is decorated for Christmas…I am such a sucker for pretty decorations. After reading, I walked around the hotel to admire them.

After an hour or so of reading and snooping walking around, I had a hankering for something sweet. Then, this beauty came into view…

…a chocolate covered Granny Smith apple sprinkled with the famous Double Tree cookie. It was a great mix of crunchy/sweet/sour. Double Tree gives you a cookie at check-in, but I was saving it. 😉

Day 2 in Asheville was absolutely incredible! I kept having to pinch myself to make sure it was real 😉 I scored a free ticket to the Biltmore Estate grounds from my Mom’s company (Wells Fargo), so I took them up on it! I got up, ate breakfast (I pre-made oats for this morning as well so that I could save money on breakfast and splurge on lunch), 

I made sure that I could bring 2 OIAJ for the trip. The mix in my Naturally More jar this morning:

  • 2 Tbsp Naturally More leftover
  • 1/6 cup oats, almond milk, water, greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • sprinkled salt and cinnamon
  • toppings: Eat Clean “Morning Glory” muffin, leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving (leftover post to come), 1/2 sliced banana

It was nice to have Wolfgang Puck along for day 2 as well. Then I worked out on the crosstrainer for an hour, showered, checked out, and headed to the castle  Biltmore 😉


I was already getting hungry at 10:15 a.m., so I had a little snack. I always travel with these!

I got to Antler Hill Village at 10:30-ish, so I figured it was a little early for a wine tasting 😉 (hey, it’s 5:00 somewhere, right?!), so I went to my favorite store on property.

They have the most beautiful collections of dishes, jewelry, candles, lotion,…very girly! Sorry, guys! Confession: I love beautiful things, and I’m working on it :(.

They also have a selection of jewelry from Sex and the City 2. My favorite piece is Sarah Jessica Parker’s necklace (below), but it was gone :(. I’d seen it there back in the summer and drooled.


Oh well, it’s on to the farm to play with the animals. I grew up on a farm, and you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

How cute are they?! Is it time for wine yet? YES!!!!

More to come soon…get ready. It’s about to get out of control!


it’s beginning to look a lot like…Asheville November 30, 2010

Filed under: breakfast,nut butter,oatmeal,working out — ansauls @ 11:31 pm
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hey y’all! I hope that you are all having a very happy start to the week…amidst the icky weather (at least here) in Asheville. I am visiting just for a few days and loving it!

I am here with my Mom. We were craving good grilled fish, so we asked the concierge where to go, and he suggested…

I was honestly a little sketched out by the entrance. It was dark and underground, but the food was made up for it. There was also a guitar player that started a little later. He was really good…very “James Taylor”!

I had grilled salmon with an eggplant and olive salad that was served with a balsalmic reduction. I’m not usually big on balsalmic, but their’s was actually yummy! And I had a glass or Merlot, which rarely lets me down 😉

Mom had a rigatoni pasta special with chicken and spinach. She was impressed as well. The waitress took a little while to bring us our vino, so she offerred to comp dessert. I could NOT pass that up, sooooo this ended up on the table…

…chocolate torte for me (a marble cake in between lucious layers of chocolate and white chocolate mousse–I’m a sucker for mousse!) and a key lime pie for Mom. As usual, we finished the meal off with decaf coffees. Mom has me addicted to” after dinner decaf” as the perfect finish to any meal.

This morning began with a workout at the hotel gym, which I am usually not pumped about because of the lack of facilities and blah views, blah blah blah…I know! Stop complaining, right? All of the 4 cardiomachines were full when Mom and I got there. Well, luckily I had my iPod with my BodyPump music on it, so I did 74 and then finished it off with 30 minutes of intense cardio on the cross trainer. I cam back to the room a hungry beast to…

to pumpkin oats that I pre-made at home in case the hotel did not have a good breakfast, and to save some money. I LOVE oats-in-a-jar. I was so hungry that I forgot to take a mug shot until halfway through the jar. In the mix was:

  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin spice almond butter
  • 1/6 c oats, water, almond milk, greek yogurt, pumpkin
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • toppings: TJ’s pumpkin butter, sliced almonds

and Wolfgang Puck coffee…the best hotel coffee!

I went shopping in Biltmore Village (new Christmas bowl coming soon!), then met my lovely discipler at Starbucks. It was my first sip of Christmas blend, which I really like. It’s a little spicy yet very homey and warm tasting. I hope I get some of this from Santa to brew on Christmas morning. They also have the cutest mugs and nesting cups….oh, I am SUCH a sucker for cute dishes!

I am off to a fun dinner with friends. More to come soon!