The Smile List.

 

Eight Things That Made Me Smile This Week

1. Almond butter slathered on toasted homemade bread, and served with bright, summery strawberries and some extra crunchy veggies.

A simple, rainy day lunch.

 

 

2. Eating breakfast with a view.

I love you, Paris.

 

 

3. Revving up the nerve to buy (and sautee!) a bunch of baby artichokes.

(We all *loved* them, despite the amount of work it took to eat the hearts. ūüėČ )

 

 

4. Looking through old drawings and paintings that I did as a kid.

I want to know why I found the need to draw a can of Chef Boyardee’s spaghetti and meatballs??? :mrgreen:

 

 

5. Making winter feel like summer.

Enjoying smoothies for breakfast.

Driving home with the car windows open (50 degrees makes this totally okay.)

Making (and eating!) summery lobster rolls, served in a toasty bun.

 

 

6. Sampling my way through 4 new chobani flavors. ¬†Yes. ¬†Four. New. Flavors. ¬†The kind people over at Chobani sent me a sample of their newest releases. ¬†It was tough work, eating my way through all of those goodies, let me tell you. ūüėČ

Lemon. Mango. Berry and Honey-nana (made for kids!)

Honestly, I loved all of them, but my heart belongs to the Honey-nana. ¬†The banana wasn’t too overpowering, and neither was the honey; they blended perfectly together. ¬†I plan on stocking up.

 

 

7. My newest $5 H&M find.

This will be perfect for toting all of my big books and binders around. ¬†And once it gets too beat up to bring out into public (because this is guarenteed to happen, whenever you mix Sarah with white colored things), it will make the perfect bag for summer’s produce markets. ūüėÄ

 

 

8. Twinings Cranberry Green Tea.

The “sweet berry aroma” is what won me over. ¬†It almost makes me want to be up at 5 am in the morning. ¬†Almost.

 

 

Question: What made you smile this week?

Happy Friday!

a pizza party celebration

 Hi.  My name is Sarah.  I am a food blogger, and I like to play with dough.

Nicole (aka, Loving Simple Moments) wanted to celebrate her one year blog-iversary with a fun meal and a movie. 

Step One: We bought a hunk of fresh mozzarella. 

Step Two: We sought high and low,¬†and finally¬†found a bunch of¬†fresh basil (apparently, it’s not the easiest¬†herb¬†to find right now!?)¬†

Step Three: We had ourselves a pizza party, while watching Eat, Pray, Love. 

Nicole and I¬†have a past history of¬†buying a Freschetta pizza and drinking root beer floats during some random girls’ only¬†night.¬† And—really—far be it from me to knock this divine experience.¬† I may be dietetics student, but I¬†still¬†know the pleasure of a frozen pizza and a girls night out. ūüėČ

That being said, after tonight, I don’t think either of us plan on going back to the frozen isles anytime soon.¬†

The kitchen smelled only of olive oil.  Warm dough. 

And Oh. My. Word.  That intoxicating smell of fresh basil!

The entire experience of making the dough from scratch, slicing the fresh mozzarella, and stripping the basil was absolutely delicious.

Delicious.

We both agreed.  Best.  Pizza.  Ever.

I’m very picky about pizza.¬† Especially the crust.¬† This one was outstanding.¬† And best of all,¬†it was the most uncomplicated piece of dough to work with.¬†

As for the¬†movie, “Eat, Pray, Love,”¬† I thought it was just okay.¬† I think there¬†could have been way more eating and a little less praying and loving. ūüėȬ† I realize this sounds totally strange and wrong, but if you’ve watched the movie, I’m sure you’ll understand.¬† The book captivated me with traveling.¬† And Italy.¬† And gelato.

The book was fun and inspirational.¬† I guess I just¬†didn’t get that same feeling from the movie?

It was still worth the watch though, especially¬†after reading the book.¬† And it really was kind of¬†fun eating pizza with Julia Roberts in Italy. ūüėČ

Dessert: Cannolis from our favorite bakery!!

(p.s. Blog-Iversaries need to happen more often, I think. ūüėČ )

Happy Birthday to Nicole’s Blog!!! ūüėÄ

Goodnight, World!!

Pizza Dough—by Bobby Flay, as seen on Food Network, with minor tweaks

We chose not to use whole wheat for¬†our blog-iversary¬†celebration¬†pizza.¬† However, I’m sure you could use half whole wheat/half all-purpose with delicious results.¬†

This was thrown together in under 1-1/2 hrs. from beginning to end.¬† You’ll be rewarded with a handsome crust and a delicious meal.¬† Enjoy! ūüėÄ

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups¬†all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 envelope instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water, 110 degrees F
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
  1. Combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Add the water and 2 tablespoons of the oil and beat until the dough forms into a ball. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a solid ball. If the dough is too dry, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead into a smooth, firm ball, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Grease a large bowl with the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, add the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm area to let it double in size, about 1 hour.

Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil—by Giada De Laurentis, with some minor tweaks

This is a delicious masterpiece of a pizza.  The fresh mozzarella oozes throughout the pizza.  The crust puffs up into a warm, doughy bite.  And the oils emitted from strips of fresh basil create an intoxicating aroma.  This is a no-fail, go-to recipe, which Nicole and I both highly recommend for your next pizza party.  Enjoy!

  • 1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
  • Pizza Dough (using above recipe)¬†
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8-oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin¬†
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced, optional¬†
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Position 1 oven rack in the center preheat to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle the cornmeal over a rimless baking sheet. Roll out pizza dough into a 10 to 11-inch-diameter round or rectangle. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of oil over pizza dough.¬†Spread the¬†mozzarella over the pizza dough, dividing equaling and leaving a 1-inch border around pizza. Arrange the tomato slices in a single layer over the cheese.¬† Arrange basil leaves on top, drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle garlic all over. Bake the pizzas until the crusts are crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top, about 15 minutes. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil over pizza. Sprinkle with basil for garnish and salt. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.¬† ENJOY! ūüėÄ

Question: Have you read or seen Eat, Pray, Love?  Did you enjoy either one, and which did you prefer?

a plate of cabbage and kale

We are officially snowed in!!!

In case you were wondering, yoga in the living room was my workout choice this morning, vs. going out for a walk.¬† I decided that listening to the radio while doing downward dogs and sun salutations in my pajamas¬†sounded just about¬†right for such a morning. ūüėČ

But¬†I still¬†pulled on my boots and went outside to enjoy¬†a bit of¬†snow.¬† Which, by the way, is already up to my knees—and still climbing.¬† There’s at least 18 inches out there.¬† Maybe more!¬†

All I can say is, thank goodness today was my day off.

And thank goodness Dad didn’t mind going out and snowblowing the driveway in order¬†to bury us out of the driveway for tomorrow’s commute¬†(thanks dad!)

Yoga + shoveling + plowing my way through snow = fabulous workout.

I decided that today was a good day to clean out the fridge, while putting any and all of those lingering ingredients to good use. 

I bought a head of organic¬†purple kale last week at the supermarket, just because I¬†thought it looked too pretty to turn down.¬† It’s absolutely brimming with antioxidants and nutrients.¬† I couldn’t bare to¬†walk past it, and so it ended up in my cart.¬† And in my fridge.¬† Until today, of course.

Also in the fridge, I had a couple of carrots and some¬†onions (there are always onions!), along with a thick slab of tofu and a lemon.¬† Off to the side—on¬†the kitchen¬†counter—there were some tomatoes.¬† I’m pretty sure that if kitchens could talk, mine would have been screaming—demanding?—at me to¬†make a warm kale salad.¬†

It was very much meant to be.

I’m pretty sure that¬†people get the wrong idea when it comes to things like kale and tofu.¬† If it sounds a little hippy—a little too “far out” for both¬†your mind and your¬†kitchen—then you simply must rethink these things and move on.¬† Daring to try something new.

Kale, when it’s made just right, is earthy¬†and sweet.¬† Tender but firm.¬† It will¬†take on a whole new dimension, as it soaks up the¬†olive oil that¬†is lightly¬†drizzled on top.¬† And in the end,¬†it¬†will practically beg you to¬†add¬†just a¬†splash or two¬†of lemon juice.¬† Finally—at last—the warmed kale salad will reward your tastebuds with a delicious flavor that’s both simple and complex, making you forget all of¬†those silly little things that you ever had to say about kale.

Tofu is another thing altogether.

Thankfully, just like kale, tofu has the possibility of rewarding you with a depth of flavor and a delightful texture as well. 

The preparation of tofu is key, I think.  More specifically, the pressing. 

Getting rid of every last bit of liquid that you possibly can, so that the texture becomes nice and firm.  So that it can soak up every bit of sauce or liquid that you decide to add to it.  So that it can brown and crisp at the touch of a hot nonstick pan.  Yes.  The art of tofu is in the pressing.

Side Dish: Roasted Cabbage

A delightfully warm meal to warm up with after trudging through the snow. ūüėÄ

I hope you’re all staying warm and safe today!!!

Warm Kale Salad

This makes for a delightful side dish to any entree, but it can also serve as a main dish in and of itself.  Pine nuts, walnuts, and beans would make for a nice addition as well.  This dish is simple but satisfying, perfect for a chilly winter afternoon. 

  • 1 head of kale
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1-2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • garlic powder
  • lemon juice
  1. In a medium sized pan, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add kale, stir, and lower heat to medium low.  Continue cooking until kale is tender but still slightly firm.  Add tomatoes, carrot, garlic powder to taste, and a few liberal splashes of lemon juice.  Lower heat to low and continue cooking until heated thorough.
  3. ENJOY! ūüėÄ

Simply Pan Fried Tofu

This is as simple as simple gets.¬† You can use any sauce that suits your fancy.¬† I’ve used peanut sauces, bbq sauce, and homemade thai sauces as well.¬† I’ve got to say though, soy sauce and garlic are one of my most favorite of combinations.¬† Sometimes you can’t mess with simple.

  • 1/4 a block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed well
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • garlic powder
  • red pepper flakes
  1. Blot tofu well with paper towels to remove any lingering liquids. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.  Place tofu in bowl, flip over and let it sit in fridge at least 1 hr.
  3. Heat a nonstick cooking pan over medium heat.  Spray with cooking spray, place tofu in pan, and cook until browned and crisp.  Flip and continue cooking until browned on other side as well.
  4. Serve and ENJOY! ūüėÄ

Roasted Cabbage

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare any and all of my vegetables.  Cabbage is no exception.  Enjoy!

  • 1/2 a head of cabbage
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat oven to 425. 
  2. Spray baking sheet with spray and set aside.  Slice cabbage into 1/2 inch slices and place in single layers on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.  ENJOY!

Question: Do you eat anything now that you never in a million years would have thought you would *ever* enjoy?

putting up the Christmas tree

For as long as I can remember—on some random day during those¬†last couple of weeks before Christmas—my dad would announce to the family that it was about¬†time¬†“we¬†take down¬†the¬†Christmas decorations from the attic.”¬†¬†

I don’t know if it was the smell of leftover pine from the Christmas before.¬† Or the warm, cozy mugs of Swiss Miss hot chocolates (with those¬†fluffy white marshmallows!) that my mom handed us.¬† Or the rolling¬†sounds of Bing Crosby looming over the radio.¬† Whatever it was, this day—this unpacking, sorting and decorating—was almost as exciting as Christmas morning itself.¬†

I’m not that¬†little girl anymore.¬† But I can still feel that same excitement and curiousity, just¬†as I did on those nights of¬†helping my dad take down all of¬†our Christmas memories and decorations¬†from the attic.¬† Peeling back an oversized Toys “r” Us bag to reveal an array of¬†collected ornaments.¬† Putting¬†garland around the stairways.¬† Laughing and giggling and¬†just having fun.¬†¬†

I love Christmas.  I love big bags of unique ornaments.  I love laughing and being silly and listening to Bing Crosby.  

(I love Charlie Brown and funny looking snowmen!)

Know what else I love?

Eating breakfast in front of the Christmas tree.¬† To be continued…

Question: What is one of your favorite holiday memories?

orange you glad?

Prepare yourselves.¬† This post is about to explain to you¬†why my hands are orange.¬†ūüėČ

Reason #1: It all started with a humble carrot.

Carrots never crossed my mind as a kid.¬† I ate them, yes.¬† But they were nothing special.¬† And then my¬†tastebuds discovered¬†carrot cake, which is when I¬†realized that carrots were God’s gift to man.¬† And then—then!—a whole new world of flavor opened up, and I realized that carrots were not meant solely for cakes (although some might argue this fact.)¬† I ate them roasted.¬† Honey glazed.¬† Plain.¬† Raw.¬† With dip.¬† Grated in oatmeal.¬† Dunked in peanut butter.¬†

Yes.  I ate carrots.  Lots and lots of carrots.

Reason #2: After my newfound love for the carrot, I discovered canned pumpkin. 

I grew up hating pumpkin pie.¬† Absolute hatred!!¬† To this day, I can not eat it.¬† Which is such a shame, because I’m convinced that aside from a roasted turkey, pumpkin pie is the heart and sole of Thanksgiving.¬†

However, once I discovered that it was just pumpkin pie that I didn’t like, and not so much the actual pumpkin, a whole new world opened up.¬† Pumpkin bread.¬† Pumpkin lattes.¬† Pumpkin muffins.¬† And now that I’ve fully stocked up on Libby’s canned pumpkin, I’m including pumpkin in my breakfasts as well.

Breakfast Pumpkin Cookie—(the texture of this “cookie”¬†most closely resembles that of “overnight oats”)

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 T. peanut butter
  • 2 T. cranberries (I use ‘Craisins’)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl, mashing well with a fork.
  2. Spread evenly across a plate.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. ENJOY! ūüėÄ

Reason #4: Lastly, I am obsessed with the sweet potato, which destroys any hopes of my hands ever returning to normal.

Tonight I opened up my Moosewood Cookbook and pulled out a recipe for Samosas.  Sticking mostly to the recipe, I did make some substitutions.  Like using all whole wheat flour in place of the white.

I also¬†turned up my nose to the white potatoes and subbed in 1 large sweet potato instead.¬† I’m sure you would agree that the sweet potato makes for a much more colorful, tasty filling.¬† ūüėÄ

The dough to these Samosas was so fun to work with.  It was super stretchy and flexible.  I pulled it, smashed it, rolled it, and stretched it. 

And then I preceded to fill, fill, fill these babies up.

I may have overstuffed these guys just a little, but the dough was very forgiving.

The results were worth the 2 hours of prepping and baking time.  So, so, so worth it!

It was love, my friends.  Love at first bite.

Reason #5: Eaten with herbed carrot soup.¬† Of course. ūüėČ

So there you have it.¬† I have an obsession with all things orange, and there’s just no stopping me.

Samosa Recipe—from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook, as seen on the Food Network website

The Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
  • Extra flour as needed

The Filling:

  • 2 large potatoes¬†(the size of a large person’s fist)–used sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup finely minced onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander (if available)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked green peas (frozen,¬†thawed=fine)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cayenne, to taste

Directions

Dough 1) Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in the salt. 2) Make a well in the center, and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Mix first with a spoon and then with your hand, to make a smooth dough. 3) Add extra flour, as needed, to keep the dough from being sticky. The dough will be quite soft. knead in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pastries.

Filling: 1) Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1-inch pieces. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until very soft. Drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Mash and set aside. 2)Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, coriander, and salt. Saute over medium heat about 8 to 10 minutes, or until onions are quite soft. Add this to the mashed potatoes, along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well, but try not to smash the peas. Cool for at least 15 minutes before filling the pastries.

To Assemble and Bake: 1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously oil a baking sheet. 2) Keep a small container of flour, a fork, a small bowl of water, and a pastry brush close at hand. Flour a clean surface, and, one by one, roll 1-inch balls of dough into 5-inch circles, using a rolling pin. 3) Place approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons filling in the center of each circle, and fold over, just like a turnover. Brush the inside edges of each circle with a little water, and fold the edges together to make a small hem. Crimp the edges firmly with a fork. Note: If you are storing the samosas to bake later on, place them on a heavily floured plate or tray, dust the tops with more flour, and cover tightly. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until baking time. 4) To bake: Place the samosas on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops with oil. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F., then reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and bake for 10 minutes more. For maximum crispness, turn the samosas over when you turn the oven down. 5) Serve within 5 minutes of baking, with Dipping Sauce. A nice way to serve the sauce is in individual saucers or tiny bowls, so each person can hold both samosa and sauce directly under his or her face while eating, and the sauce bowl can catch the drips. (It does drip, but that’s one of the charms of this ritual.)

The Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1) Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves. 2) Heat to boiling, then let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. it will reduce slightly. 3) Serve warm or at room temperature with hot samosas.

Question: If you turned the color of what you eat the most, what color would you be?

hanging in the caf’

Good Monday Morning!

I ate breakfast with the sun this morning. 

I was showered, dressed and ready by 6:30, which gave me exactly¬†30 minutes to eat a bowl of “un”overnight oats¬†while¬†sipping on a warm¬†mug of coffee.¬† It was lovely.¬† ūüėÄ

Today was my official first day of Food Service,¬†which is also¬†my first rotation for the dietetic internship.¬† I was excited, anxious, nervous.¬† But the employees are all so great and very friendly—they put up with my endless questions. ūüėȬ† I spent the day at the elementary school, learning the lay of the land in that particular kitchen.¬† Everything became a little busy by lunch time, and so I helped out with dishes, serving pizza & salads to the kids, and transitioning foods from kitchen to warmer to oven, etc.

There is sooo much to cover in this particular rotation, that I’m thinking I may have to meet with my preceptor and see if we can figure out a way to break everything down.¬† There are only 10 weeks of this rotation, 3 days a week,¬†with 36 particular items that need to get done.¬† Thats a lot!

Anyways, the kids were absolutely adorable.¬† A couple little boys tried to trick me into giving them two lunches instead of just the one that the National School Lunch Program allows. ūüėȬ† And one little girl took a good 5 minutes trying to make up her mind,¬†if she wanted pizza or the burger.¬† At first she didn’t want the accompanying salad, but I convinced her to try it out because it “goes really, really well with that pizza¬†that you’re eating.”¬†

They were so cute! :mrgreen:

I didn’t eat lunch until I rolled in the driveway around 2 o’clock, but I had brought along some snacks so lunch was all ready for my grumbling stomach.

These almond and peanut butter jars are coming in handy!

  • almonds
  • a pink lady apple, an orange and a sprinkle of lemon juice to prevent browning!
  • carrot and green bell pepper sticks

I also packed along some basil hummus (from the other day), garden fresh cherry tomatoes, some crackers for dunkage, and a cheesestick—just because. ūüėČ

I was still hungry, half hour after eating.¬† My afternoon snack became more of a dessert, and—at last—I was comfortably full.

  • yogurt
  • flax
  • granola
  • peanut butter

This whole not eating until way past the lunch hour thing is not good for a person.¬† It just isn’t.¬† Two hours after eating, I was again ravenous to the point where I could have inhaled anything you placed in front of me.¬†

Enter in the chopsticks.

They were needed—absolutely, 100%, needed—in order to slow. me. down.¬† Especially since dinner was so yummy.¬†

Sausage and Broccoli Penne

I ate it alongside a heapin’ bowl of fresh tomatoes, summer squash, celery, cucumbers and beet greens!

Dressed in olive oil and sea salt.

I finished the night off with a 4-mile walk and 30 minutes worth of refreshing yoga.¬† I love the way yoga leaves me feeling so energized. ūüėÄ

My Type A personality wants¬†me¬†to get organized, so I’m off to rearrange my folder and figure out what I¬†need to talk to my preceptor about tomorrow.¬† So much to do, so little time!

Have a great night!

Question: What is your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?

weekend post: ‘happiness’

“The secret to getting what you want, is wanting what you’ve got.”¬†

Happiness is found in a long walk with dad after dinner.

Happiness is found in having the kitchen completely to myself, along with some Brad Paisley, a favorite apron, and a little blue dutch oven.

Happiness is a batch of sweet potato fries and a can of black beans that have been turned into some homemade black bean patties.

Happiness.

Happiness is found in having an entire day off from work, school, internship.

Happiness is found in that first sip of coffee. 

Happiness is found in a random phone call from a friend.  A sister.  Best friend.

Happiness is found in fresh summer squash, sauteed in balsamic vinegar with a bit of salt and pepper.  Sprinkled delicately with feta cheese.

Happiness.

Happiness is found in that energetic morning run.

Happiness is found in making an elderly woman smile at the mall, after commenting on how beautiful she looks in a sparkly blue dress.

Happiness is found in dining al fresco, taking in the last of the summer sun.

Happiness.

Happiness is having no homework to do.

Happiness is spending the night by a campfire in my pajamas with a Real Simple magazine.

Happiness.

Question: What made you happy today?

a weekend to remember

Best.  Weekend.  Ever. 

Nicole has been planning a get-away for us since I graduated in May.¬† Leaving me totally in suspense, she simply told me that it was going to be a weekend to remember.¬† A weekend filled with laughing, food, fun, and simply enjoying life to the fullest.¬† I didn’t bother trying to guess what she was up to, because this girl can keep a surprise, and she knows how to plan, plan, plan.¬† Seriously.¬† I’m convinced that she should be a wedding planner.

After indulging in some ice cream from Kimball’s (where I surrendered to chocolate chip cookie dough icecream…amazing), Nicole drove directly into this adorable little Inn, known as the Wachusett Village Inn.

¬†I was shocked.¬† In fact, I started laughing a little, half expecting her to say, “Kidding!” while driving on.

But we stopped.

She handed me the key.

And we walked in to our own little cabin.

 

 The room was so quaint.  So charming.  So New England. 

 

 We quickly took over and made it our own.  This was a girly weekend to the MAX.  :mrgreen:

 

And no girly weekend is complete without (a) twizzlers, (b) funky nail polish colors, (c) girly magazines, and (d) anklets!

Nicole used to make these all the time, and she showed me the how-to’s. ūüėÄ

I then became a little overexcited about the spread of breakfast items that she prepared (not to mention the gallon sized water bottle that she bought specifically because she knows how much water I drink…haha.¬† This girl knows me ūüėČ )

Complete with whole wheat bagels, The Bees Knees peanut butter (first time trying it…love, love, love!!), bananas, heart to heart, milk, and crunchy granola.¬† She also bought chobani yogurts, but we¬†brought them home since we¬†simply didn’t have any more stomach space for them. ūüėĬ†

 Best.  Weekend.  Ever. 

And this was just day one.

 

DAY 2

The next day was absolutely gorgeous.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Seventy degrees.  Cool.  Breezy.

And I still had no idea where we were off to.¬† Nicole simply stated that¬†we should each wear a sundress and live it up for the day.¬† There are never enough excuses to wear a fun¬†sundress. ūüėĬ†

Where were we going?

I was dying to know.

And as we were sipping on our Starbucks coffees-to-go (I felt so girly and carefree! :mrgreen:), Nicole¬†filled me in with some of the details.¬† We were going to spend an entire day in…

BOSTON!

This is one of those things that we’ve always talked about doing, but never actually have.¬† Dress up.¬† Feel pretty.¬† Go shopping in any and all stores (Gucci, anyone?)¬†

Live.  Life.

And this weekend, we did just that.  I honestly felt as if I were living in a dream.  One in which my best friend was also living that same dream, and everything was ten times better then even my imagination could have allowed. 

We walked, and walked, and walked.  Taking in all that the beautiful city of Boston has to offer.

Swan Boats!

Newbury St.!!!

(aka, shopping central!) :mrgreen:

We walked into specialty soap shops.  Shops that carried only imported olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  Shops that had tiny little spoons with a price tag well over $100.  Shops that had fancy little cupcakes in every flavor imagineable.

Such fun.

And then there was dinner.  It was the highlight of the day.  The one thing that Nicole refused to tell me about until the very last minute.  I had no idea what to expect, but when she led me to the elevator and told me that we were going to the 52nd floor of the Prudential Center, I almost squealed, screamed, did a little happy dance.  But instead, I just smiled and laughed in shock.  Utter, complete shock.

We were going to the Top of the Hub.

 

The above picture was the view from our seat.  The view right from where we would be eating.  We were literally overlooking the entire city of Boston.

If it weren’t for the pictures, I still would think it all a dream. ūüėÄ

When we first walked in, the host commented, “Congratulations on your graduation, Sarah.”¬† Wait, what?¬† How did he know?¬† And when the waiter came over later on to issue the same congratulations, I practically fell over.¬† Nicole and I felt so special at this restaurant, as if we were the only people in a room full of people.¬† I’ve never had such perfect, intricate, or special service as I did here.¬†

Of course, it’s not all about the service, is it?¬† It all comes down to the food.¬† How quickly your water glass is filled upon the time you reach the the last sip.¬† How hot the entree is when it is placed in front of you.¬†

The bread. 

 

 The bread.

The warm, doughy raisin bread oozing out cinnamon from its deep swirls of perfection.  Needless to say, I loved it. :mrgreen:

The real highlight of the meal, I’ve got to say, was the appetizer, the Joan and Lump Crabmeat Cake with Avocado Cream and Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade.¬†

Nicole and I took one bite, looked at each other, blinked, and went back for another.  This literally melted away in your mouth.  The outside was crisp and buttery, and the inside was soft, tender, mouth-watering.  We almost told the waiter to just bring us another round and skip the entree altogether. :mrgreen:

 

¬†Nicole’s entree was the Vermont Misty Knolls Chicken, a free-range chicken served with fingerling potatoes, bacon lardons, and braised swiss chard.

The chicken melted—absolutely melted—off the bone.¬† And the sauce tasted like a gourmet, adult version of¬†a bbq sauce reduction.¬† Amazing.

 

 For my entree, I ordered the Potato Gnocchi, made with smoked chicken, morel mushrooms, fresh english peas and a parmesan cream.

This reminded me of a¬†traditional macaroni and cheese that was given an adult, gourmet twist.¬† The gnocchi were soft, oozing with the¬†creamy sauce.¬† Comfort food at its finest.¬† My favorite part of the entire meal were the morel mushrooms.¬† They had these tiny little pockets that¬†brought in–and¬†held–the cream sauce.¬† It made me sigh.¬† Literally.¬†

I can’t imagine a meal ever topping this one.¬† A meal to remember.

 

 Although we were both pretty full by the end, we wanted to take complete advantage of the fact that were sitting at the top of the Prudential Center and eating at the Top of the Hub.

We ordered dessert. 

We ordered Valrhona Warm Chocolate Cake, served with blackberry icecream atop a delicate meringue, and drizzled with burgundy sauce.

One poke into the chocolate cake, and a flood of warm chocolate sauce oozed out onto the plate.  We practically licked the plate clean, it was so amazing.  Perfect.  So perfect.  Everything about the meal, the day, the service, the dessert. 

Perfect.

 

 We uttered our thanks to the Top of the Hub for the most delightful experience I have ever had, and walked our way back to our car.

And, might I add, walking through Boston at the end of the day is an experience in and of itself.  The sun was just beginning to set and a cool breeze swished and swayed its way through the city.  But the city was not resting.  A whole new side of the city came to life.  Amusement parks.  Live performances and plays on the common.  Sail boats.  Boston is always so alive.

 

 

¬†I can hardly wait for our next extravaganza.¬†ūüėÄ

 

Thanks again, Nicole!!¬† The entire weekend was filled with non-stop surprises.¬† It was by far the best weekend of my life, and I mean that completely.¬†ūüėÄ

Question: What is your favorite city/town to visit?