I love national holidays.  You know, the odd Monday off that we get a few times a year to celebrate someone?  Well this past Monday was Columbus Day (or should I say Bartolomé Day), and I had the entire day to myself.  I cooked everything in sight so that I could coast through the rest of the week, and then went for a bike ride straight up the Hudson River Greenway.  It was a gorgeous day and I was SO happy to be able to relax and enjoy it.

First, I made some meatballs in red sauce in the slow cooker – loosely following this recipe.  (I just roasted the spaghetti squash.  My crockpot isn’t big enough for that guy.)


Next, I roasted my first chicken!  I used a recipe from Pioneer Woman that was SUPER easy.  It looked like this before I put it in the oven, and I thought I might have blown it…


but it came out looking like this:


It is DELICIOUS (clearly because of all the butter).  I’m not going to lie, when I first took that bird (organic, free-range from TJs) out of the bag, I wasn’t so sure about it.  Cooking something that looks and feels like an animal is…a little weird.  I got over it pretty quickly though, and now that it’s tasty I am super over it.

I also made a paleo chocolate pumpkin bread, using a zucchini bread recipe from Elana’s Pantry and substituting pumpkin for zucchini.  It’s pretty good, especially warmed with a little ice cream on top…

In the afternoon, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and rode north.  I haven’t had a chance to take a good long-ish bike ride in a while, so I savored every minute of this ride.  From my apartment to the George Washington Bridge and back came out to just short of 26 miles.  I was a slow duck- averaging about 13 mph, but given the reality of stopping for lights and pedestrians (constantly in the cross-city sections, and occasionally when riding up the Hudson River Greenway), I’m not upset about it.  It was still a workout!  Did I mention it was a beautiful day?


What do you do when you find you have an entire day to yourself?

About the Author Aubrie Fennecken

Aubrie Fennecken is the Chief Alchemist at Opportunity Kitchen | work + wellness strategist | nonprofit fundraising expert | providing productivity and self-care support for mission-driven humans


  1. Looks delicious! I want to try roasting one of those squashes sometime soon. When I cooked my first chicken, I think I left the bag of giblets inside, in any case it did NOT turn out well. Pioneer Woman is awesome though, try her bread pudding recipe, it’s great!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely try the bread pudding for the holidays!

      The spaghetti squash was super simple- just pop it in a pan and roast at 350 for about 35 mins, let it cool a little, cut down the middle, scoop out the seeds and then fork out the “noodles”!

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