St. John… Here we come!



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Bring your lunch to work day (life) – Veggies and Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs

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Super exciting news! In two days, I head to ST JOHN. WAHHHH I am so excited. And in anticipation of this five day get away I’ve been off the worm and off of staff meal at work (staff meal at a bar generally consists of either french bread pizza, pasta with meatballs, sandwiches with bacon and mayo or some other absolutely delicious pile of calories).

So I’ve been bringing all my own meals, snacks… everything.

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This meal is probably my favorite to bring. It consists of spaghetti squash, shaved brussel sprouts, diced mushrooms, minced white onion, steamed broccoli and pre-made turkey pesto meatballs. A whole slew of veggies with some lean meat in it? SIGN ME RIGHT NOW.

Basically I just heat everything up on the stove until it’s PIPING HOT and cooked through. Definitely start with the onions and shaved brussels and a tad bit of olive oil. When those are almost cooked through, add the rest of the veggies. (side note: I steamed the broccoli a day before for a dish, so it was already cooked through for this mixture.)

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[I broke up the meatballs a ton, which is why they look a little different in this pic.]

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I have told you before how to make spaghetti squash. Remember? So yeah, I toss in one half at the very end. Sometimes I mix in a tad bit more of pesto as a light sauce. Other times I add a little more olive oil and parmesan cheese. And other times I add diced tomatoes and kind of “mash” them to make a home made sauce. The worst is your sauce oyster!

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Put it into my handy-dandy thermos and head off to work.

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Nerd alert! But it keeps everything super warm and I LOOOVE it.

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New notebook!



Ahhhh a new recycled paper notebook because my other one, filled with to do lists, notes about recipes, drink recipes, whiskey notes and other random things going through my brain, is full.





I’m soooo excited!

It’s the little things in life, right?

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Knock-Off Kale Salad (Audubon Style!)

One my my favorite things to eat is the Kale Salad from AudubonBoston. It’s like, MY FAVVVVV. I try to get over to audubon as often as possible to eat this delish salad (add avocado please!) but I also send the wonderful boyfriend over to get it for me when I’m working… and I shamelessly ask my friends who work there to bring me one. I trade drinks for salads!

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And then I realized that I like/love being in the kitchen so I should make my own version of the kale salad… kicked up a notch! (I’ve been watching too much Food Network lately.)

Ok this salad is super easy and ahhhhhmazing.

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Ingredients

  • 4 brussel sprouts, shaved thin – lightly sauteed
  • curly kale, chopped into tiny bite sized pieces (spine off!)
  • red onion, chopped. AS MUCH AS YOU WANT! I LOVE red onion so I add boatloads of it
  • 3/4 cup butternut squash, cooked and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 of avocado, bite sized pieces!
  • 2 tbls sliver, blanched almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbls craisons
  • little bit of olive oil

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Mix all the ingredients together! lightly toss with olive oil top with some parmesan cheese and eat the crappppp out of it! IT’S SO, SO GOOD!!! The best mix of flavors. A little bit of warmth from the brussel sprouts, sweetness from the craison and buternut squash… just ALL THE DELICIOUSNESS THINGS!

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I love it.

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Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Side Dishes, vegetarian | 2 Comments

Baking Lesson Thursday – Wet & Dry Ingredients

You’ve baked cookies a number of times, right? My guess is you’ve made cookies or pancakes or waffles from scratch. You might have even gone one more step and make bread, pie crusts or pastries from scratch. I applaud you! With SO many bakeries, restaurants and “ready to eat” goodies from stores, it’s so easy to let home made cooking and baking slip between the cracks.

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I love homemade pastries. I’ve been baking for a lonnnnggggg time and it took me forever to figure out the “science” of it. It’s actually really fun and cool to learn about why things work, bake, cook.

So in the next few Baking Lesson Thursday’s, we’ll explore a bunch of this.

Most baking recipes call for mixing wet and dry ingredients separately and then, either adding wet ingredients into dry or dry ingredients into wet.

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BAH! so much information. I’ve ton LOADS of research in the past 4 years that I’ve had this blog and here is what I’ve come up with; what I’ve learned.

For pastries, bread, and delicate doughs (think: things you want light and fluffy) always add your wet ingredients to your dry. I’ll start with generalities of why we do this and then break it down in a little more detail.

The most basic reason is that when we are using a stand mixer or beaters or even stirring by hand, if we add ALL the dry ingredients into the wet, a flour explosion occurs. There’s too much dry on top and it will splatter everywhere.

On the other end of the spectrum adding the wet into dry is better because the dry ingredients don’t clump as much.There are so many reasons we don’t want things clumping. For starters, who wants to bite down on a delish pastry and have a flour clump in their mouth. ICK. And, if you realize that there are flour clumps in our dough, then most people would mix the dough more vigorously and thoroughly to make the dissolve. ALSO WRONG! THERE’S JUST NO WINNING! If you mix too much, gluten starts to build and your pastries or bread will come out tough.

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So what is the solution? OK, ALWAYS make sure you sift your dry ingredients together. You should sift for many, many reasons. Think: complete and equal incorporation of leveling agents (baking soda/powder). Sifting is also super important because it aerates the dry ingredients. It also catches clumps that might be hiding.  A clump of sugar in your cookie isn’t shattering but a lump of SALT?! ICK!

Ok, so when you sift your dry ingredients, it’ll make a little cone in your bowl.506a2a6074c5b64b05000d42._w.1500_s.fit_

(Photo from the kitchn). You want to make a “well” in the cone. Basically, pushing all the dry mixture to the outside so it’s like a giant ring. Add the liquids to the center and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients; basically folding the dry ingredients into the wet.

This technique is, in my expert opinion, the best method. You will do as little “mixing” as possible to keep gluten from forming; you’ll have sifted all the dry ingredients so no difficult salt/sugar/baking soda clumps; and no nasty flour clouds bursting in your face.

YAAA!! GO MAKE SCONES AND BRING ME SOME!

 

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Nap time!

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Remember to Rest

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This has been my motto recently. After suffering though patella femoral syndrome in both knees, a pulled IT band and a stress fracture in my hip I’ve been careful not to over do training. I’ve been careful to listen to my body and not push myself when I’m not feeling up to it.

I have a super physical job where I am on my feet for 13 hours lifting kegs, 20 lbs buckets of ice, and constantly squatting and running up and down the bar. When I’m exhausted after a long shift, I make sure to take it easy the next day. I’m getting older, GASP, and I want to make sure I can still run, workout and do fun things without feeling ouchies all the time.

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Valentines Day 2014

It’s almost Valentine’s Day! And while I’ll be sending out a quick blog later about quick tips and idea’s for your special someone… I wanted to share part of the early V-Day I had with my man today.

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One piece of advice for you: wear what makes you feel sexxxxyyyyyyy. It is so important to feel good about yourself! Wear what makes you feel great. Unfortunately, I have to work on Valentine’s Day so the boy and I did a mini-celebration today. I dressed up in this cute little number from Nasty Gal and a super layered necklace from H&M.

It’s so fun and flirty. I love wearing this dress and it makes me feel so good about myself!

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I wore giant heels and we gallivanted through the city… stopping into random boutique stores, popping into my fav, Silvertone, for a glass of Guet and a kiss.

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When we got home, boyfriend made me an unreal dinner. Steak, roasted carrots and brussels, and a BOATLOAD of mushrooms and onions. I literally love sauteed mushrooms more than life itself. I want to, and try to, eat them at every single meal possible.

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We watched a movie, snuggled on the couch… and then… went grocery shopping. HAHA HOW ROMANTIC! But with yet another impending blizzard we deemed it more appropriate to stock our apartment with food.

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Sorry for the tacky fingernail art. I’ve been off for the past 2 days and have been loving being lazy after a nasty week of weather.

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DID I MENTION HE BOUGHT ME ROSES?! Not my favorite flower but they’re so beautiful and perfect for Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful decor.

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And now I’m hibernating in our bed comforter on the couch… blogging for you with a rose next to me. If you’re in the northeast please be safe! Another blizzard… woosh…. get away from me Mother Nature! GET AWAY.

HAPPY V-DAY! What are you and your special human doing tomorrow? Tell me all the lovey-dovey things!

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Baking Lesson Thursday – Dark Chocolate

Today we talk about a girls best friend. Not puppies, not her daddy, not flowers, not a good tan and a good workout. We’re going to talk about dark chocolate.

I’ve been on a super dark chocolate kick lately. Mostly because I’m taking February off from the worm… which means I’m craving sugar like whoa. I’m trying not to scarf down ice cream or penny store candy…. because, who wants to do that to themselves?

So since I needed something, I opted to research the crap out of dark chocolate (I know you’ve all read some women’s health or men’s health magazine about the benefits of cocoa) and then buy a block and chisel away. Not only am I going to list all the benefits to dark chocolate but… I get a mini arm workout chipping away at the block!

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Ok, so the dark chocolate stitch.

About nine websites that I used for research boasted heart healthy statistics. They ranged from London universities, Swiss, Danish, South American and many times over our own California.

I’m going to break this down into 2 categories. The first is the benefits that a doctor will list while he urges you to eat your cheerios. The second group of benefits are because like working out, eating right, taking the stairs, and getting sun… it truly makes you feel good.

*This website and this one and this one all talk about how dark chocolate helps improve “HDL (high-density lipoprotein)” aka good cholesterol. UM, WHAT!  Things besides oatmeal, bran, salmon and beans can help promote good cholesterol? SIGN ME RIGHT UP!

(Similarly, dark chocolate with at 70-85%  cocoa helps decrease LDL, or your bad cholesterol)

*The American Heart Association recommends that women eat about 100 calories of sugar daily. This averages out to 6 teaspoons of sugar. Ready for some math and for me to blow your mind? An ounce of dark chocolate contains 6.8 milligrams sugar. 4 milligrams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. ERGO: you can eat 2.35 ounces of DARK CHOCOLATE EVERY DAY! THAT’S WONDERFUL NEWS!

*So many doctors warn about the effects of too much coffee- but really it’s about too much caffeine. According to the mayo clinic, adults shouldn’t have more than 4 cups of coffee per day. Each cup has approximately 95mg of caffeine.  This breaks down to 11.875mg of caffeine per ounce. BUT! Dark chocolate has 23mg of caffeine per ounce. So eat this before your suck down a cup of coffee. It’ll make you happy and give you that little OOMMPH you need.

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And now, the news…. er…. I mean the “feel good reasons you eat chocolate.”

*Research shows that dark chocolate can decrease stress and eating it consistently helps you be able to deal with stress better. HOT DANG. (This is especially true if you have a bun in the oven! Good news for pregnant ladies everywhere!)

*Dark chocolate lessons cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods. say whaaat. According to one study, those who at 1 ounce of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa for a 12 week period didn’t crave crap like potato chips and other icky things.

*Okay, here’s a doozy for you. Dark chocolate has flavonoids. What is a flavonoid you ask? They are an organic chemical compound. Why should you care? Well… they’ll help you out if you… uh… are having diarrhea. The compounds bind with proteins that help regulate fluid excretion in the small intestine. Sooooo… if you have no regulation and… are uncomfortable and just keep going…. then dark chocolate can help ya out!

Other studies I found listed that eating dark chocolate could boost brain power. I’m not going to lie, I think this is a bit of a stretch. I would call this a sugar/caffeine boost which translates into “getting shit done at work.” Not necessarily boosting brain power but definitely boosting productivity. That’s neither here nor there.

Moral of this story? Eat an ounce or less of dark chocolate, with 70-85% mg of cocoa, per day to keep everything in your body regulated. deellish.

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Let’s get LOCO

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I love my city. It’s fun and quiet all at the same time. There’s a million things to always be doing, but always a little nook you can hide away in and relax. Like Boston Public Gardens. You can sit, relax, watch the swan boats and enjoy.

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And then there’s awesome new bars and restaurant that are opening up every day it seems. I CAN’T KEEP UP THERE ARE SO MANY PLACES. My days off are spent eating and drinking my way through this darling city.

IMG_5975And a few weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to the LOCO: Tequila and Oyster Bar in South Boston. Little sister to Lincoln, Southie powerhouse, LOCO is almost directly across the street and definitively smaller, more down-home country, bare bones. It’s gorgeous. Absolutely my speed. I wish I lived in it’s rustic, exposed wood and heavily tequila weighted square space.

The servers were friendly and helpful. They hustled, apologized profusely for the slowness of the kitchen on the very first night up and running, and found us on the other side of the bar to deliver our drinks when we scampered over to say hi to old friends.

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There’s a few things I want to tell you about this unique addition to the South Boston neighborhood. First, get oysters. Go back time and again and eat all the local oysters you can. And with each slippery giant booger, try a different flavored ice. EAT the ice even after you’ve devoured the oysters. While there were only a few available during the friends and family night we went to, I can’t imagine that the ones we didn’t have were any less amazing than the 2 we consumed. The honey dew ice… get it. EAT with our without the oysters. LICK IT out of the serving tin. Just promise you’ll finish it entirely.

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We also had the Fried Rock Shrimp appetizer. HOLY COW IT’S DELSIH. I wish I could have ordered a second round of it. bow wow. It’s crunchy yet moist on the inside. The aoili and avocado mixture complemented the spices on the shrimp perfectly.

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We also sampled the fish tacos….

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And some cervezas….

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And the barn-like meets modern industrial space was just beautiful. Moral of the story? Visit this bar. Visit it often. Meet Will, Mike and Moira behind the bar. Talk to them about tequila… you wont’ regret it. You might not remember everything after the abundance of drinks you just have to try.

enjoy!

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