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A day in Indianapolis: basketball, a mini food tour, and flurries.

For Christmas, my sister got Ben and me a Groupon for the NCAA Hall of Champions, so we finally scheduled a quick weekend trip to see the museum and hit some other fun Indianapolis sights.

The day started with breakfast with my mom and dad, who were in Indy to take Kim to the airport for Spring Break. Dad picked a Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives place, which was firmly planted between the diner and dive categories, called Steer In. Here we are amid several plates of diner breakfast foods, which were all delicious. Nothing beats a good diner breakfast! I had scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast (plus a dessert toast with jelly). We had a great time talking and updating each other on all the things.

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After mom and dad willingly graciously took home some leftover wedding boxes so they don’t take up floor space in the apartment, we headed over to the Hall of Champions. Here we are exploring and practicing all the sports. My favorite part is obviously the little vintage gym they have upstairs.

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On the way out, we stopped to take some photos.

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It was WINDY. And freezing. We were cold all day but y’all know we don’t actually mind snow flurries and cold weather, especially coming from our Nashville 70-degree “February.”

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For lunch, we went downtown to Cafe Patachou, which I’d heard about through one of my favorite bloggers. I had spent the previous week occasionally poring over the menu, trying to decide between 15 different lunches that I wanted to eat.

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We asked to try their tomato-artichoke soup, and they brought us tiny bowls. I don’t even like tomato soup, and this was so yummy. Much more texture than regular tomato soup, lots of savory flavor, and I didn’t feel at all like I was just eating a tomato. Might have to try out a copycat recipe. Ben ordered it with a mozzarella grilled cheese. I opted for the Caesar club salad, which was covered in a homemade Caesar dressing and had so much bacon and turkey that I finished the lettuce and still had a pile of toppings at the bottom of the bowl. Plus, avocado. Any day in which I have an avocado is a good day.

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Essentially, Patachou was everything I hoped it would be and more.

From there, we changed our plans a bit because it was negative 45 degrees outside (or maybe just 30 with a wind chill) and decided to walk quickly to the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, take a lap, then head to Circle Center Mall to walk and shop a bit.

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After walking the mall some, we grabbed CFA drinks (can’t go too long without a Diet Coke) and took a break sitting in the ArtsGarden, overlooking the city.

We decided to find a place to hunker down and watch the Purdue v. Michigan game (that we won’t even talk about because we just became Big 10 Champs anyway!). In a nod to the Purdue days, we sat at Scotty’s Brewhouse and cheered (the few times cheering was an appropriate response) with other Purdue fans. We ate fried pickles, burgers, and fries, and we had a great time, despite the Boilers conveniently playing a terrible game THE ONE TIME I am in Indiana with my people to watch them.

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After Scotty’s, we were exhausted and headed back to our hotel (partly due to lots of walking and partly due to intense basketball-related emotional turmoil). The next morning, we were back on the road early with Starbucks in hand. Being the nerd planners we are, we had plenty of time to prepare for the week once we got back.


And to close, a recipe. Every month, my team at work has a Birthday Break in which we celebrate all birthdays for the month on one day. This has given me the best of excuses to try new recipes and make something at least once a month. After I’d made a sweet dessert (cake batter Rice Krispie treats) for the first one of these (+ cookies for a wedding shower earlier in the year), I wanted to try something savory. And let me tell you, you will savor this Chex Mix. And possibly never go back to the bagged stuff, except out of convenience on road trips.

CHEX MIX
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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Ingredients
4 cups rice chex
4 cups corn chex
1 can mixed nuts (about 2 cups)
2 cups mini pretzels, lightly broken up*
1 stick butter, unsalted
3 T Worcestershire sauce
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed with a garlic press
salt
pepper
1/4 heaping tsp paprika**

Notes:
*I used mini pretzel twists and broke them up a bit so they distributed throughout the mixture. Pretzel sticks would work well too, and I’d recommend breaking them up as well.
**I did not have onion powder or seasoned salt, so I used salt, pepper, and paprika instead, which worked out well. You can always adjust the seasonings according to what you like.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a giant bowl (I had to use two, which made stirring easier). Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and spices to a measuring cup for easy pouring. Add stick of butter to the cup and melt in the microwave (this took about 2 minutes, 30 seconds for me). Stir everything together to make sure it’s well combined.

Dip a corner of a piece of Chex in the mixture to test flavor and seasonings. Adjust as necessary. (Try not to polish off the dry ingredients using this method.)

Pour mixture evenly over dry ingredients and toss to coat. It’s best to bring in a sous chef at this time to pour while you stir to keep the mixture from clumping too much in one area.

When tossed and distributed evenly in the bowl, spread out onto two baking sheets in almost a single layer. The pieces can overlap a bit but not by too much—you want it to be able to dry out. Bake for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 mins until adequately dried out, tossing every 15 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight containers.

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