ChezSylvia Travels: Bama to Savannah 2014


I finally took a few real days “off” from work and went South for a very long weekend.  It was really to attend a wedding, but I used it as an excuse to also fit in my solo trip for the year.


The wedding was in Auburn, Alabama.  A place I would never visit otherwise, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to.  It’s a very nice college town, home to Auburn University.   They are big on football.

A university campus in the middle of the summer is empty.  Makes sense, but feels so odd.  Every now and then someone would wander by me, but otherwise, I was by myself as I wandered through the courtyards and around the campus.




The wedding reception was held at the Fountainview Mansion.  A beautiful space tucked in the back of the middle of nowhere.

AL_Wedding pool

AL_Wedding cake topper


After the wedding, I said goodbye to everyone, picked up my rental car and drove myself 5.5 hours to Savannah, Georgia.  You can always depend on Google Maps to take you the most direct, but not necessarily most straightforward way possible.  After a hours cutting through parts of Georgia, I would have never seen if I went strictly the way of the interstate, I made it.

It is hot in Savannah.  I now understand why it’s also called Slo-vannah.  I have never walked so slow before…ever.





Despite the heat, I kept walking and wandering.  Besides a short stint along the River Street area, I kept away from the more tourist areas and explored the beautiful treelined streets while admiring the houses that lined them.   The only bad thing about walking everywhere in the heat is that I basically lost my appetite the whole time I was there.  Which is a damn shame since I absolutely love Southern cooking.  I just couldn’t will myself to eat anything.




Savannah_Forsyth fountain


On my last day in Savannah, checked out of my hotel and car retrieved, I had some time to kill before I headed to the airport to fly home.  So, I ventured out to Tybee Island.  Just 15 miles outside of Savannah, it was a beach community.  Not really beach worthy, I was able to root out some sunscreen from my bags.  I sunscreened up in the parking lot and went to the beach!




After some time spent on the beach, and mostly shin deep in the very nice water, I brushed myself off and headed to the lighthouse.  In the past 8 months, I have now visited 5 lighthouses, and climbed up my 3rd one.  Not bad for someone who wasn’t really into lighthouses.



As I was waiting for my flight to board, at one point I looked down at my feet, and noticed they were still a bit sandy.  The hazards of coming home straight from the beach 850 miles away.

More pictures here!


Posted in Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Banana Buttermilk Pound Cake


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Life got moving fast, and I’m still trying to keep up and not fall too far behind!

I had a rare free Sunday today, and three overripe bananas that needed to be used. On top of that I also had some leftover buttermilk that has set up camp in my fridge.

So, I made some Banana Buttermilk Pound Cake following a recipe I found on the internets that I had all the ingredients for.

Banana Buttermilk Pound Cake (from


2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (I accidentally skipped this)

3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups mashed banana (3 medium)

Just a note. It wasn’t until I was typing this that I realized I forgot to add in the brown sugar. It would explain why what I made was not very sweet at all. I thought it could use some brown sugar…

Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time mixing until each is incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract.

Mix together the buttermilk and bananas in a separate bowl.

Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until just starting to incorporate, add in half the buttermilk mixture and mix until just incorporated. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and the rest of the buttermilk mixture. Then add in the rest of the flour. Here I take it out of the mixer and finish incorporating everything by hand until it all comes together.

Pour batter into a prepped bundt pan (10 cup, prepped with melted butter brushed on the inside) and bake at 325 degF for 45-50 minutes.

Let it rest in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out to let cool the rest of the way.

Banana Pound Cake

What came out was very moist, and light. Because I forgot half the sugar, it would go well with some frosting or served with some jam and tea.

Banana Pound Cake

Now, the debate starts of whether I should bring the rest into work and share or keep it all for myself…

Posted in Cake, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

ChezSylvia Adventures: Montauk 2014

MTK 2014

Second weekend away in a row! Man, talk about wallet fatigue.

Last weekend I was off on Cape Cod. This weekend, I went South and headed out to Montauk, NY.  My brothers were doing the Ride to Montauk 108 miler, and I was the designated bag vehicle. Essentially my job was to transport their stuff out to Montauk, collect them at the finish and be on call in case of any emergency that might arise along the way.

So, I did that…like a boss. Riding 108 miles takes a lot of time (12 hours about), so I did a little exploring on my own of Montauk State Park, the lighthouse and the beach.

The next day, after some well deserved rest (spectating is exhausting!), we all piled into the car and took a drive out to Shelter Island. The car got another ferry ride (not free this time, but much less waiting time) and got extra motivation to play the lotto with a bit more enthusiasm.

I am now looking forward to a weekend at home…

Below are my favorites, but my other favorites can be found in my Flickr Album



MTK_Kirk Park

MTK_Kirk Park



MTK_Lighthouse view




MTK_Bike Ghost

MTK_Bike Ghost

MTK_The end







MTK_SI_Ferry bikes

Posted in Photography, Travel, Weekend Adventure | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

ChezSylvia Adventures: Cape Cod 2014


The Louie kids were off to Cape Cod for Memorial Day weekend! It has been a few years since we’ve been, and it was missed. We didn’t do much, it was cold.  Cold enough that I was very very close to adding a Cape Cod sweatshirt to my wardrobe.  We stayed in Wellfleet, visited Provincetown, and played mini golf in Yarmouth.  We got our seafood fix as well as played a couple of rousing games of mini golf.  Both of which I lost…terribly…

For the full album with more pictures, go to my flikr album.
















Posted in Photography, Travel, Weekend Adventure | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekend Adventures: Ft Lee Historic Park

My camera has been dormant for way too long.  It’s been a long hard winter.  Today, I finally took him out for a spin, and I realized how much I missed him.

What was supposed to be a bike ride, turned into an outing that brought me to the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater, NJ then to the Ft Lee Historic Park just a couple miles north of there.


It’s a small park, easily traversed and filled with history.  It was fun going from placard to placard reading about the defenses and battles that took place during the Revolutionary War.

Gorgeous day to get reaquainted.

Ft Lee Historic Park - GW Bridge

Ft Lee Historic Park - GW Bridge

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park - Cannon

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park - Loose Cannon

Ft Lee Historic Park

Ft Lee Historic Park

Posted in Photography, Weekend Adventure | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cornmeal Chedder Buttermilk Biscuits

Bike Reflection

After a long hard winter, my bike finally came off the rack and went outside.  It’s been awhile since I rode, but with less than a month till the Go the Distance for Autism ride I was doing, it was time to become reaquainted.

It was a nice ride, albeit a bit chilly.  Relatively flat, to Northern Westchester standards.  We stayed mostly on the North County trail, to keep it relaxed and car free.  26 miles later, I was done, tired and hungry.  Legs, we have some catching up to do!

Corn Bread Biscuit

Cornmeal Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits (adapted from The Food Network Kitchens)

I was going to make chili as my dinner of the week.  I usually always make cornbread to go with it.  But, I was feeling lazy and particularly uninspired to whip up another batch of cornbread.  So I googled cornbread and buttermilk (to use up the last 3/4 cup buttermilk I had) and this popped up.  A nice little hybrid of two things I really like!

I basically followed their recipe for Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits, except in the midst of putting all my dry ingredients together, a thought popped into my head.  Can I add cheddar?  Only one way to find out!  I quickly shredded up a cup of extra sharp cheddar and added it in after I had cut in the butter by hand and before adding in the buttermilk.

This recipe is super duper simple and only requires one bowl and a clean countertop.

I let the butter hang out in the freezer for a few minutes to chill out again after cutting it up to make sure it was extra cold.  I also kept the buttermilk in the fridge until its time to add it into the batter.

Since I am the only one eating it, I just made life simpler and patted out the dough into a rectangle (I didn’t fold it as many times as the recipe had called for) and used a bench scrapper to divide into six pieces.  I’m also afraid of my oven, so I baked it for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven until they were about golden brownish on the tops.

The end biscuit isn’t sweet at all despite the one teaspoon of sugar.  The cheddar cheese is subtle and the cornmeal gives it a nice crunch.  It’s crummy enough to go really well in chili.  They are probably best accompanying something rather than on their own with a pat of butter.  If I did this again, I’d probably add a half cup more cheese and a good dose of black pepper to give it an extra oomph.

Posted in Biking, Bread, cheese, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats with a touch of Chocolate

CrossFit 14.5

Crossfit Open 2014 is now done!  I finished 14.5 today, and it kicked my butt very badly.  I can’t wait to attempt to get out of bed tomorrow!

14.5 consisted of a 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 rep scheme of Thrusters and bar facing Burpees.  For women, the weight was 65#.

65# for thrusters is a bit heavy for me.  55# is challenging and I can only manage those in small sets.  I knew this going in, but I didn’t think another 10# was going to be too bad.  I so was wrong.

65# is heavy, and halfway through the 21 initial reps, I realized this was a poor choice.  There was no time cap for this workout.  It was for time.  So I had to finish what I started.

I slowly chipped away at it.  Mostly 2 at a time, which also meant I was cleaning 65# everytime I dropped the bar, which was a lot.  That didn’t help my poor fatigued muscles.  I actually started looking forward to the burpees.

Slowly but surely I was getting there.  I was frustrated that I was taking so long.  I started feeling bad for my judge having to watch me struggle through it so badly.  I was dripping in sweat, making all sorts of noises and faces I can only describe as not my most attractive.  I swore.  I wanted to stop so badly.

But I didn’t.  Mostly thanks to people like Bernice, Sandra, Steve and Mike.  Just cheering me on, yelling at me to get back on the bar and keeping me from giving up.

It took me 39 minutes and 8 seconds to finish this.  The top competitors did this in less than 9 minutes.  I probably recorded the slowest time in my gym.  I always have dibs on last.

2 years ago, I was doing thrusters with an 18# body bar and really struggled through it.  Today, I just did them at 65#.  That’s what I call progress.

And now I am so sore all over.  My elbows hurt.

Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats anyone?

PBrice Krispies_top

I literally threw this together and eyeballed everything.  If you need more structure, I loosely followed this recipe from

Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats (adapted from

10oz Marshmallows (I used about 7 oz of mini marshmallows, it was all I had)

1/4 cup peanut butter (I used all natural peanut butter)

5 cups rice krispies (I used 3 cups-ish)

handfull or so of mini chocolate chips

Prep an 8×8 pan.  Lightly spray the pan with a non stick spray then line, sling style, with some parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan (preferably non-stick), over low heat, slowly melt the marshmallows and peanut butter together until it become melted and liquidy, but not boiling.  Stir frequently.

Once melted, add the rice krispies and using a rubber/silicone spatula, toss a couple of times to start coating the rice krispies, then add in the mini chocolate chips and continue mixing until the rice krispies are coated.

Pour into the prepped pan and using the spatula, press into the pan.  Let it cool all the way in the fridge for about an hour to let it set.  Then cut and serve!

PB rice Krispies_side

I like the use of peanut butter instead of butter.  I also like the addition of the mini chocolate chips.  They melt as you are tossing in the hot marshmallow/peanut butter mixture, adding a swirl of chocolate without being too chocolatey (there is such a thing with me).


Posted in CrossFit, Dessert, snack, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments