Category Archives: Food

One new food everyday for a year!

Paleo Day 1

Hello all!

I’m starting something new this week to go along with my 1/2 marathon training! I’m going 100% paleo with my diet – and, if you know anything about me and my obsession with various types of cuisine (and sugar…lots and lots of sugar), you can imagine how much of a struggle this may be for me.

If you’re not familiar with what the paleo lifestyle is, Nerd Fitness has ya covered. Reading this was the first time I had ever even HEARD of it, so it’s a good place to start!

For my first day, though, I’m still alive and well! And something tells me that I will, in all likelihood, be not only alive and well in a month from now, but I’ll be alive, well, and BETTER.

Here’s how my day started:

I woke up, stumbled out of bed (looking like Cousin It…as always), and I made my way to the kitchen. Side note: my hunger is my alarm clock, not even kidding, so I always eat first thing in the morning. For breakfast, I cut up some apples and spread them with almond butter, which, might I add, I am addicted to. I also ate a handful of blueberries with some almond milk and coffee.

Great! It was delicious, and I was full, satisfied, and happy.

When I arrived at work, I immediately smelled bread. Yes, I SMELLED carbs. If there are carbs within the length of a football field from wherever I am standing, I will sniff them out. I located the tray of bagels. I groaned, and carried right on past it. I sat down in my cubicle, patted myself on the back, told myself  I was awesome, and began to start my work day.

For lunch, I made a baked chicken breast marinated and topped with fresh tomato salsa, and homemade guacamole! I also had a handful of carrots and a banana to go along with it.

Then, at 4:58  PM, I smelled popcorn. I resisted like a champion, but I questioned how I would resist all of the temptation throughout a full-on life style change if I’m already pining for buttery, salted kernels half way through day numero uno. The important thing is, though, that I am not actually hungry, the smell of popcorn just happens to be intoxicating!

For dinner, I made baked chicken with sugar snap peas, carrots, zucchini, onion, marinara, and salsa (because hotter is better), all baked together to create a deliciously satisfying, drool-worthy, quick, and easy dinner for one!

One day down, a lifetime to go. I will definitely cheat. I’m not going balls-to-the-walls from here on out, by any means. I will stick with this paleo thing as a regular day-to-day way of living, but I refuse to lie to you and say I will turn down every piece of chocolate cake I find involuntarily and/or voluntarily placed in front of my face.

Tomorrow, I am going out to lunch with a co-worker who has already been doing the paleo thing for a few months. Once I get the hang of it, I’ll start exploring new recipes and become one of those people who choose to be responsible and cook every day.

Til then, wish me luck!



Review: Acre121 and Amanda Badze

Hi. My name is Jessie Spielvogel and I love food and free entertainment. Since I am currently dwelling in Washington, D.C. and have been out here for about two months now after relocating from Texas, I will start finding the best places to be fed and entertained in the city…and, of course, I will give my thoughts on these places and people…because I’m opinionated n stuff.

I pride myself on the fact that I am a pro at finding cheap food and events, so consider me a resource for nights when you are broke and bored, or nights when you have a date and don’t want to appear broke and bored. And, remember: it’s not being cheap. It’s being economically reasonable. 

My fellow live music loving homies - Benny, Acsa and me at Acre 121

Acre 121 (Country BBQ/Bar/Music Venue) with Amanda Badze (Indie Rock and awesomeness)

The Talent

A friend of mine from high school has a sister that lives in D.C. and she is a singer/songwriter/actress/poet. Her name is Amanda Badze, from Gweru, Zimbabwe, and her voice is a gorgeous combination of Adele, Rhianna, and a unique Indie/African flare of her own. She performed a four-hour set at Acre 121 on Friday night, and the crowd loved her charisma, vocals, and choice of covers. Her song choices ranged from favorites by Bob Marley, to Cage the Elephant, and all the way to the good ol Temptations. All of her songs were crowd pleasers, and there wasn’t a time in the night when the audience was not singing and/or dancing along with the music.

Amanda is currently a student at Howard University, but she performs as much as she has time for while she completes her studies. Her brother, Ishmael Badze (currently living the life out in LA while studying public relations), is her booking agent and manager. Amanda says he’s been a lifesaver as she begins her career, and that he is amazing at helping her to keep her world organized (for all you young, up-and-coming managementless talent out there – he’s clearly your man).

The Venue

Acre 121 is a fairly new restaurant right off the metro in Columbia Heights (across from the IHOP). It’s considered a country BBQ restaurant/live music venue. The management is great, the bartenders are friendly, and the staff was smiling and upbeat. It is so rare to find such awesome service in D.C., but these people definitely had it together. The manager even brought over a small sample of a potential menu item for us to try, and later came back to ask what we thought, and if there was anything we would do to improve it. With the option to sit outside on the patio or inside with the AC and bar, this place is a great venue for any type of weather, occasion, or craving!

Mixed drinks were a little pricey, but for this city it was pretty average. However, beers weren’t ridiculously overpriced…Abita Light was $5.00 for a pint, which may seem crazy to my college town of San Marcos, Texas, but out here, it’s a blessing.


For information about Amanda’s upcoming shows, please visit her Facebook music page. For booking information, email Ishmael Badze at

To check out fun events and great food/drinks at Acre 121, visit their website!

Oh! And for the social media nerds like myself out there, make sure to follow Amanda and Acre 121 on Twitter!


Oktoberfest fun with the Russian and the…German

Oktoberfest is probably the most entertaining event of the year. The 70 mile drive was definitely worth the gas money.

Kristina and I left around 4 p.m. to head to Fredericksburg, Texas. We didn’t know how to get there, so I simply typed in “Main Street, Fredericksburg” into my GPS in hopes of that city actually having a Main Street. Luckily for us, it does. From there, we decided we would just follow all the Germans toward the festival.

Follow the Germans

After wandering around the quaint little town, we found our way into the MarktPlatz festival grounds. All I could think about was food. Everything smelled so fantastic that I barely focused on the sexy suspenders, eccentric hats, and colorful knee socks until I was standing in line for my German sausage jambalaya.

We stood in line and got our deliciously expensive “animal fat stuffed into a synthetic casing,” (as Jennifer Aniston so eloquently explained sausage in He’s Just Not That Into You), and we took a seat to listen to the accordion players on one of the stages. This is where I saw a lot of elder Germans dancing and I couldn’t help but say, “AWWWWW. Old people in love.” (Click here to see Dane Cook’s opinion on this).

As the night progressed, and Kristina and I kept eating…and eating…and…eating, we sat down in front of another stage to listen to music and to people watch. This is when a classy gentleman reeking of stale beer decided to hit on two unsuspecting females (Kristina and me)…

“Would one of you ladies like to dance?” Slur slur slur…

I quickly moved my ring onto my wedding ring finger, held it up, and told him I was married. I then pawned him off on Kristina. She did not look happy with me when she got up to dance with the drunky, so I decided to milk it for all I could. While she was dancing, I called and left her a voicemail to point out that her dance partner had a mustard stain the size of a small child on his shirt and that he was probably completely unaware of it. I also informed her that I was taking pictures of their dance so that it would be forever remembered. When she got back, Drunky decided he did not want to leave us alone. So, Kristina was forced to admit her love of women to him.

Not a complete idiot, he explained how he knew all the lines of rejection given by women…shocker…and apparently women have told him that they are gay before. Well, our story was more believable. I feel like the more details a lie has, the more believable it will be. That being said, I began to encourage Drunky to ask her questions about her lifestyle. With the answers coming out, I almost believed her. The girl can think on her feet, and I was quite impressed. All the way down to her being a “chubby chaser” and expressing who wears the pants of the relationships.

Anyways, Germans are fun. I am excited for Wurstfest in New Braunfels.

Fall Festivals and Events

This is the best season! I love the weather, the clothes, the food, the coffee, and mostly, the festivals!

Here is a list of the upcoming festivals and events that you should check out! Guaranteed to have great music, food, and people to stare at.

78th Annual St. Elias Mediterranean Festival – 408 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas

  • Friday, Oct 1 and Saturday, Oct 2 — 6 pm til midnight
  • Food, Wine, Cocktails, Live Music, and Dancing
  • Tickets $5.00

Oktoberfest – Fredericksburg, Texas

  • October 1 @ 6pm – midnight
  • October 2 @ 10 am – midnight
  • October 3 @ 11 am – 6 pm
  • Tickets: $6.00
  • Food, music, and people running around in German outfits. AND lovely weather thanks to this awesome Texas cold front! The way I see it: you can’t go wrong with Germans, German sausage, and German beer. Cheers!

Austin Jazz Festival – Austin, Texas

  • Saturday, Oct 2 @ 5 pm – 10 pm
  • Tickets: FREE (the best kind of tickets)
  • Location: Zilker Hillside Theatre
  • Jazz music is good for the soul. Enjoy!

Kyle Fair and Music Festival – Kyle, Texas

  • October 14 – 17
  • FREE concerts: Jason Boland, Kyle Park, Granger Smith, and more

Hogeye Festival – Elgin, Texas

  • Oink Oink…
  • Tickets: FREE
  • October 23 – 10am – 6pm
  • Location: Elgin, Texas

Wurstfest – New Braunfels, Texas

  • October 29 – November 7
  • Tickets: $8.00
  • The New Braunfels version of Octoberfest. Love.
  • Sausage, beer, music and Germans…enough said.

Renaissance Festival – Plantersville, Texas

  • All weekends from October 9 – November 28
  • Time: 9 am – dusk
  • Each weekend has a theme! My person favorite is pirate weekend (of course).
  • I highly recommend the turkey legs because A. they are huge. B. they are deliciously unhealthy. and C. they are huge.

So there you have it! I’m sure I left off a bunch…but these are just some of my personal favorites! Let me know if I left off any that are super important and I’ll add to the list! A lot of these are free…so they are perfect for the broke college student looking for some entertainment!

Happy Fall!

Lazy Sunday filled with Food

Grilled chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, garlic and feta, topped with sautéed tomatoes by Aaron Spielvogel

My apron. Modeled by Hunter Huff

This is normal.

This was supposed to be mini chocolate eclairs by Paula Deen, but I messed up the pastry part and it fell flat. So, we turned it into an eclair cake instead.


Pumpkin Bread feels like Fall

The Fall always makes me crave pecan pie, pumpkin spiced lattes, and pumpkin pie. Beca and I decided to kick off the season with a chick-flick and baking homemade pumpkin bread! We found this recipe from my favorite recipe site, All Recipes.


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two loaf pans.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugar, oil and eggs. Stir in pumpkin. Slowly blend the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture. While blending the mixture add water incrementally. Pour the batter into two prepared loaf pans.
  4. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 90 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pans.
Finished! It turned out fluffy, moist, and delicious! Perfect start to the Autumn season ahead!

New camera and NFL

My Dad gave me his old Canon 30D this weekend, and I know nothing about cameras. I decided to use today, a day of football festivities and swimming at the river, to begin practicing my photog skills.

My brother had some friends over at his house to watch the game and he cooked a ridiculous amount of food. Of course I had to attend. Thanks, Broski!

Here are some pictures of today’s events! (The ones of me are obviously not taken by me, but by the fabulous Kristina Viniar).

Sewell Park fun! Joao and Kristina