Back in Business

Holy cow.  It has been FOREVER since I’ve blogged.  Reason behind it?  My computer broke and we needed to order a replacement piece for it.  It took a week for the piece to be delivered.  Mike’s been working a whole lot but finally got around to fixing it the other night.  Back in business!  I am really looking forward to getting back on the wagon!

Catching Up

We’ve got some serious catching up to do.  It’s been 10 days since my last post and to be honest – not only have I been super busy, but I just haven’t been in the blogging mood.  However, since I’ve got some fun stuff to share from the past few days I’ve decided today’s the day to break my 10-day non-blogging streak.

The Saturday before last was spent on the lake with Mike’s family at an annual summer party.  As usual, the weather was gorgeous and the company was wonderful.  We spent the whole day catching up with family, chatting about all the new babies in the fam, swimming in the lake, eating delicious summertime food and playing games.

Grace, little brother Jack, Chase, Piper, little sister Amelia, Caiden, Landon, Keira and Jane.... PHEW that's alotta babies!!

My sister (in-law) Jackie... Nice face.

Mike & jeff making up the rules as we went along...

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Also during my mini break from blogging I managed to snap a picture of a pretty rockin’ dinner – Mike’s suggestion – of baked salmon, peas, rice and garlic bread.  Here’s his plate.

It was just too pretty not to take a picture.  And it tasted just as good as it looks.

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Woman Weekend

My weekend was spent soaking up the Boston sun with my two sisters Danielle and Jackie.  Each year around this time Danielle’s boyfriend goes on a “Man Weekend” trip with his buddies where they just do man things and drink beer for 3 days straight.  Well, Danielle, who lives in Boston, decided to have Jackie and I come up to visit her for our own little mini Woman Weekend – the first of MANY more to come.

When Jackie and I arrived in Boston, we grabbed Danielle and headed out for some lunch to fuel our afternoon shopping plans.  We decided on Devlin’s, an Irish pub just around the corner from Danielle.

I opted for the eggs Benedict  with a side of fresh fruit and home fries.  Every last morsel was devoured!!


After our tummies were sufficiently full we headed out to Newbury Street to shop, shop, and do a little more shopping for the afternoon.  But first, we hit up Starbucks.  It basically goes hand in hand with shopping when it comes to these three.

Classic Jackie face I suppose.

I wish we could have stayed out on Newbury Street longer.  There were so many more shops I would have loved to go into.  It’s impossible to fit all that shopping into just one short afternoon, though.

We decided to head back to Danielle’s apartment to grab her friend and roommate and hit the liquor store for some vino and the grocery store for some chips and dip before getting ready for our night out on the town.  While we sipped our wine and munched on our snacks, we beautified ourselves and caught the city bus and subway to our special dinner destination:  Cuchi Cuchi.

Danielle and Jackie have been raving about this place for years.  I was SO excited to check it out.  It was absolutely more than I could have ever dreamed up.  The restaurant was unlike any I’ve ever been to before.  The decor was amazing – vintage and Hollywood style decorations gave the small place its charm.  The waitresses were dressed up like actors from the 1950s.  It was a such a girlie and magical place!

The five of us girls decided to share a total of seven small dishes for dinner.  Though each dish was small, we were all entirely satisfied by the end of dinner.

We shared:

Fried artichoke hearts filled w/ gorgonzola, pistachios & basil

Duck a l'Orange Crepes with citrus & fennel vinaigrette

Brie en Croûte - Brie, walnuts, bacon in puff pastry

Gratin Dauphinois - baked thin-sliced potatoes, onions, cheese & cream

Grilled Eggplant Napoleon

Bliny - Pancakes w/mushroom filling; topped w/sour cream & caviar

Mushroom Risotto

Everything was made to perfection.  A couple of us at the table actually commented on how well everything was made because we didn’t need to salt or pepper a single thing.  It was all perfectly seasoned and flavorful.  How do they do that?!

Of course, we couldn’t walk away from this gem of a restaurant without indulging in some serious desserts.  We all shared the banana bread with grilled bananas, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream as well as some chocolate cake with cherries and cherry chocolate sauce.  Both were magnificent.  Both left us all feeling like we needed to be rolled out of the joint.

After lots of chatting we headed out with the promise of coming back REALLY soon… because it was that good.  We ended up grabbing a couple drinks at the Green Briar – another Irish pub close to my sister’s apartment.  They had a live band playing popular cover songs and lots of dancing.  We stayed until last call and then finally walked back to Dan’s apartment where we watched some Jersey Shore and then crashed!!

We all slept in til about 10am… GLORIOUS, I tell you!!  Don’t get me wrong – I certainly missed Mike and Keira but I cannot tell a lie: sleeping soundly until that late in the morning was just what I needed.  It also didn’t hurt that upon waking, Danielle already had the coffee going.  LOVED IT!

We all threw some clothes on and walked to a local cafe that both Danielle and Jackie have raved about in the past.  I was so excited to get some grub, I didn’t even care where we went.

This place… was Heaven.  Seriously.  If I could picture my Heaven – this is what it would look/taste/smell like.  Cafenation was everything the girls had talked about and more.  It literally took a good 20 minutes for me to figure out what I wanted because every single thing on the menu sounded amazing.  I finally went with the Garden Deluxe omelet crepe – an egg omelet filled with broccoli, peppers, onions and cheese wrapped in a warm crepe with a side of cantaloupe.  Jackie and I split a side of rosemary roasted breakfast potatoes as well as a small Spiced Apple & Brie crepe which was a hot crepe stuffed with sliced granny smith apples & brie cheese drizzled with honey and dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg.

I washed it all down with the best iced mocha coffee I’ve ever had in my life.  It puts Dunkin Donuts iced mocha to SHAME.  I debated on whether or not I should buy another one for the ride back but determined that if I did that, I would be uncomfortably stuffed.  Everything was purely amazing.  My tummy has never been so happy (or FULL!).

How’s all that for catching up??  Hope you enjoyed drooling over my weekend eats… and with that I’m going to go make some dinner!!  Happy Almost Hump Day, everybody!

Great Night, Splendid Morning, Goal Met

Good morning and happy Saturday! I hope everyone had as nice of an evening my family as I did.  Mike got home from work freakishly early.  We whipped up a homemade pizza margherita and big salads.  It was scrumptious – and super duper easy.

Pizza Margherita

Ingredients:

Pre-made whole wheat pizza dough – Or your could make your own.. I have yet to experiment with that!

Ingredients:

Pizza sauce – We used Trader Joe’s pizza sauce… SO good.

Mozzarella cheese

Tomatoes

Basil

Garlic

Salt & pepper

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Roll out your pizza dough to your desired size and shape and throw it in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

3.  While your dough is crisping up a bit, slice up your tomatoes, mince your garlic and wash and dry your basil.

4.  Take your dough out of the oven and top with desired amount of pizza sauce, then cheese, then basil, then tomato slices.  Sprinkle desired amount of garlic over the top of your pizza along with some salt and pepper.

5.  Back into the oven it goes for about 15-20 minutes.  YUM!

After we scarfed down our dinner we headed downtown to walk around and enjoy some live music.

Keira got her wiggles out and danced the whole time we were there.  This COULD be why she slept til 9 this morning.  I’ll take it!!

When we got home we gave Keira a nice bath and got the kid right to sleep.  Then I made a very decadent dessert for Mike and I to enjoy – and boy did we.  It was fantastic.  One of my very favorites!!

Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

6 ounces dark chocolate – I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao.

I use 1 1/2 of these bars.

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

3 tbsp. sugar

3/4 + 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

Directions:

1.  Melt chocolate over double boiler.  Using a hand mixer on medium speed, mix egg whites.  Add pinch of salt and sugar one tablespoon at a time slowly to egg whites.  Mix until stiff.

2.  Once chocolate is melted, add the egg whites to chocolate in three parts, folding eggs gently until well combined.

3.  Using your hand mixer again, mix up your whipping cream on medium speed until stiff and again add to egg white/chocolate mixture in three parts folding gently until well combined.  Spoon your mousse into serving cups or bowls (I divide this recipe into fourths) and let them chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.  For a “harder” consistency, store in fridge for at least 2 hours.

4.  Using your hand mixer, mix the rest of your whipping cream until stiff with a touch of sugar to sweeten it up a little bit.  Top mousse with whipping cream when ready to serve.

Wow – this is such a rich and fabulous dessert.  It hit the spot!  With full tummies we headed to bed nice and happy.

I met my goal this morning of running 8 miles – WOO!  I came back home, took a shower and hopped right back into bed for a whole two more hours!!  YES – Keira slept til 9AM!  It’s unheard of… and beautiful.

When we all woke up Mike and I debated on whether or not we should go out for breakfast but opted to stay in and make our own.  We both agreed our cooking probably tasted better than any diner out there.  It was a pretty awesome breakfast spread.

A bacon, cheddar, red/green pepper omelet to split, homemade waffles and blueberry muffins graced the table.  All three of us attacked it!!

What a PERFECT Saturday morning (and Friday night!!) spent with my two favorite people in the whole wide world.  We’re continuing the good times today by heading out to the lake for a big family party.  Loving it!!  Enjoy your weekend, all!!

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Happy Friday!  This morning was pretty successful – A comfortable paced 6 mile run started off my day and when I got back home, I showered and hopped back into bed until Keira came into our room to wake us up at 7.  I got in a nice 45 minute nap :)

The last few days I’ve been seriously craving muffins.  I have no idea where this is coming from but I just want to sink my teeth into a fluffy, flavorful, sweet muffin.  On our trip to Whole Foods today, I skimmed the bakery cabinet looking for a good muffin to buy.  There were so many to choose from and they all looked like they were loaded with sugar and butter and it really turned me off.  I decided to pass on the Whole Foods bakery muffins and opted to make my own when we got home.

Healthy Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 egg

1/2 cup milk - I used almond milk though I’m sure any milk would be just fine.

1 cup fresh blueberries (or thawed frozen)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a muffin tin.  I used the large muffin tins and only filled 4 with the amount of batter made.

2.  Combine dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients.  Add wet to dry and mix until combined.

3.  Gently fold in blueberries and fill each muffin tin about halfway.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

They were the perfect consistency – warm and soft on the outside and a tiny bit crunchy on the top.  They were subtly sweet and tart at the same time.  This certainly gave me my muffin fix for the day and the best part is I have 3 left to devour!!!  I’ll be hiding them from Mike & Keira…

Mine, mine, mine!!!

Wednesday Night Music Downtown

Good morning!  I’ve got to get back on a roll with these posts.  We’ve just been pretty busy this week and so my posts have been few and far between.

This morning I had a great 6-mile run.  The last couple days I’ve felt like I’ve been lagging during my runs.  It leaves me a little frustrated when I look at my time and see that my pace is slower than usual.  But today was very successful and I felt great during the whole thing – not tired or anything.  I plan on conquering 8 miles on Saturday morning – a route I’ve done only once.  I feel like if I prep my mind for it now, by the time Saturday rolls around I’ll be ready to go.

Mike, Keira and I always look forward to Wednesday nights.  There’s live music downtown with lots of people and a ton of kids for Keira to play and dance with.  We usually have a nice dinner at home and then head downtown for some dessert and good music.  Last night we enjoyed a simple shrimp Caesar salad.  It was light and summery and delicious.

After dinner we headed to the center and grabbed a spot to sit and enjoy the tunes.  This band was really good!  They sounded great – better than any other band I’ve heard on Wednesday nights.

The band took a little break at which point Mike, Keira and I ventured off to find a good treat to enjoy.  We ended up at old faithful: Ben & Jerry’s.  You just really can’t go wrong there.  Mike ordered vanilla with cow chocolates mixed in, Keira munched on a cone dipped in chocolate and sprinkles and I thoroughly enjoyed a small cup of their “milk and cookies” flavor.  I’m pretty sure this is the best ice cream flavor they have going.

Hit.  The spot.

We made our way back to the music and ended up staying there until it ended at around 9.  Usually we leave earlier so that we can get Keira in bed at a decent time but she was having so much fun dancing and Mike and I were enjoying the music so much that we decided to stick around until the end.

Well it’s Thursday… the weekend is right around the corner.  Enjoy your Thursday, everyone :)

Busy Bees

Clearly I haven’t been around much on here.  We have been such busy bees lately.  The last few days have been filled with date nights with my husband and little Keira – we’ve been having so much fun.  We’ve gone downtown almost every night just to walk around, grab some good eats and finish it off with a little ice cream or fro-yo.  These last few nights have really screamed summer to me – and when we’re downtown enjoying the live music, weather and people, we just don’t feel like going back home.  So we’ve been taking advantage of where we live considering we’re looking to move pretty soon.

Since our nights have been consumed with the downtown life, I haven’t made any new recipes to post on the blog.  That will change soon, though, because I’ve got a few that I’d like to try in the very near future.  In fact, I think a homemade pizza is in the works this week :)  Also we’ve got a big family party to go to and so lots of good eats will be posted from this Saturday!

I hope everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer.  I’ll be back on here soon to share some good stuff with you.  Until then, stay cool!

Ice Cream Before Dinner

Well it’s been a little while since my last post.  I had a busy weekend spending time with Mike and Keira which was great.  I’ve also been logging in lots of miles and even pushed myself to complete an 8-mile run two mornings in a row.  My confidence builds more and more with each long run I take.  High numbers used to scare me – as far as miles go – but now I just look at them as challenges, but ones I know I can overcome.  Lately I’ve been thinking about registering for a half marathon but would like to see myself hit 10 miles first before signing up.  It’s not that I don’t think I can do it, I just want to see how it feels to bang out a double digit run before I sign up for the 13+ mile race.

Saturday night was so much fun – one of the best Saturdays I’ve had in a while.  Keira and I watched Mike play some volleyball with a few of his coworkers and all the while she yelled out “go Daddy!!”  It was pretty adorable.

Mike worked up quite the appetite and so while debating what we would have for dinner, we decided to do something we used to do all the time when we were dating:  figure out what dinner would be over some ice cream.  It was so much fun!!  We haven’t done that in the longest time.  It’s even how Mike proposed to me:  ice cream sundaes on the beach at sunset right before going out to a nice restaurant for dinner.  I got vanilla ice cream with fudge and peanuts and Mike ordered a vanilla cone dipped in cherry sauce.  Keira stole bites from Mike’s ice cream cone even though we got her her own!!

We decided on PIZZA for dinner and picked it up on the way home.  Keira ate 3 whole slices and asked for a fourth!!  Since neither Mike nor I wanted her to get a massive stomach ache right before bed, we told her she could have fruit instead.  What a piggy.

Last night was a real treat as well.  We went downtown for the evening.  Again, we got ice cream before dinner!!  Keira now asks for dessert before dinner… this is not good.  Then we decided to grab a bite to eat at Besito – a nice Mexican restaurant that both Mike and I have wanted to try.  We sat outside and it was gorgeous out.  We all worked on some chips with table side guacamole and salsa while waiting on our entrees.

Guac not pictured :(

Mike ordered the Tacos De Res – steak slices with cheese, pico de gallo and jalapeno with a side of re-fried beans and rice.

I had the Budin De Mariscos – a shrimp and jumbo lump crab tortilla pie with layers of spicy tomato salsa and cheese and baked in a poblano cheese sauce.

Everything was delicious and was devoured completely.  It all just hit the spot.  It was especially nice to enjoy our meal outside on the patio on such a nice evening.

This morning my alarm was set for an embarrassingly early time but I must have hit it and gone back to sleep without realizing it because I didn’t wake up until 5:50.  I guess I was just really tired because last night I passed right out (after a good couple episodes of shark week with Mike!!) and also because the last few days I’ve been running between 6 and 8 miles each morning.  My body was definitely just telling me to sleep in a little bit which felt nice.  When I woke up, though, I was craving a run – even if it was a small one.  Since I wanted to be back at the house by no later than 6:35, I challenged myself to do 4 miles in under 40 minutes.  Goal met!  I completed 4.18 miles in 38 minutes and 10 seconds.  As soon as I got home I hopped in the shower, threw some clothes on and by then Keira had just woken up.  Perfect timing!!

Breakfast was simple this morning:  Cinnamon Puffins with banana slices, and almond milk.  I had blueberry yogurt on the side and my trusty cup of coffee, too.

Miss Keira dove into a plate of homemade pancakes in a pool of maple syrup.

She ate every last bite!!  I’d say we both properly fueled up for our morning errands.  Better get to them!  Have a good Wednesday, all.