a day in boston

I spent the day in Boston with Pepere.

Pepere is a Canadian citizen.  But he probably knows more about American politics—American history—than most people (certainly more than me!)  With that in mind, it only made sense to bring him into Boston while marveling at the landmarks.  Indulging in some historical chit-chat.

The State Capitol!! 

(look how tiny they seem in comparison! 😀 )

I’ve learned to eat with intention.  Mindfully.  Thoughtfully.  Slowly.

But I still have troubles with walking in this way.  Sometimes I walk faster than I run.  True story.

Today, Pepere slowed me down.  He noticed the peeling roof of an old building.  He noticed that we could see the Prudential Center from the park.  He noticed that there were still leaves on the trees, where there was nothing but bare branches back at home.

I slowed down.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the entire day was watching this giant tree get trimmed and prepped.

(p.s. I promised myself that I would never talk about Christmas before Thanskgiving, but, really, who was I kidding?  I’m a kid at heart.  Any sign of Christmas makes me dance inside. :mrgreen: )

Once the clouds came out, hiding every last trace of warmth, we mutually decided that it was time to eat.

I had no idea where my Dad was taking the group, but I decided to just roll with it.  He has good restaurant sense, and I knew well enough to just sit back and trust his judgement.

We walked into a place called Kinsale, a spot not far off from from Quincy Market.  A spunky little Irish Pub, filled with warmth and charm.  I loved it upon first glance.  I loved it even more when I saw the menu.

There was literally something for everyone.  From warm and comforting pot pies, to fish & chips, to salads & sandwiches.  The menu offered a wide and varied selection, which I love. 

Dad went with a rustic beef stew.

For my own entree, I chose the Crab Cake Salad.  Ever since eating at the Top of the Hub with my sister, I have been craving a gentle, delecate crab cake.  They’re not easy to find.  Most times they’re too meaty.  Or over salted.  Or just plain flavorless.

These crab cakes weren’t exactly what I remember tasting at the Top of the Hub, but they were still delicious.  And the rest of the salad was so exciting, that I was overall really pleased with my order.  Plantain chips.  Fresh mango.  Avocado.  A zingy citrus dressing.  Delicious! 

The plantain chips were by far my favorite part of this meal!

You know how some days just go by way too fast?  That was today.

Goodbye Boston.  I’ll see you again soon.

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

makeover

Both of my siblings worked part time at a local restaurant, in an effort to save money for college.  They would come home tired, completely worked out, and sometimes—now and then—they would come home with the most amazing, ooey gooey, cheese ‘n’ veggie filled quesadillas.

For some reason I was craving those same wonderful quesadillas today, and that is why I set out to make my very own.  Only healthier.  Fresher.  And hopefully even more delicious.

At first I toyed with the idea of sauteeing the green & red bell peppers with the onions and mushrooms, all in one big frying pan.  Because—well—it’s easier (and faster.)  But let’s be honest.  You can’t reinvent the flavor of a roasted veggie unless you actually roast the veggie.  Nothing compares.  There was no skirting the issue: the vegetables had to be roasted.

While the veggies crisped and caramelized in the oven, I threw the whole wheat tortilla wraps on the griddle.  I like cooking these over medium heat.  Just enough time to let the cheese melt and just enough heat to give the wraps that crispy exterior.  Perfect.

Once the veggies were nicely blackened, I pulled them out from the oven and threw ’em on top of of the wrap, which was now all melty and lovely from the cheese.

I like to serve these with a warm bowl of vegetarian soup on the side.

Plus a scoop of homemade guacamole.

Just as wonderful as I remember.  Only healthier.  Fresher.  And even more delicious. 😀

Roasted Veggie Quesadillas
Serves 3

  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 onion, sliced thinly
  • about 10 mushrooms, sliced thick
  • 3 whole wheat tortilla wraps
  • 3/4 c. mozzarella or sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Heat oven to 425.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and place veggies in a single layer.  Bake for 10 minutes, flip once, and cook for another 10-15 minutes to desired doneness.

Meanwhile, heat nonstick pan to medium.  Spray with cooking spray.  Place tortilla wraps on top and place about 1/4 c. of cheese on half of each wrap.  Fold wrap in half and press down lightly.  Cook until browned on underside, flip, and cook the other side until browned and crispy.

When veggies are done, open up quesadillas and fill with the roasted vegetables.  Cut in half and serve.  ENJOY! 😀

Question: Have you ever “healthified” a favorite restaurant meal?  What was the result?

Vacationing Adventures

I love vacation, but I love the vacation mindset even more.  Relax.  Breathe.  Take your time.  Do what you love.  Enjoy.

I wouldn’t want vacation all the time—it wouldn’t feel quite as special, now would it?  But at the same time, it’s nice to think that you can always experience a little bit of vacation whenever and wherever you are.  Even if that means trying a new restaurant that you’ve never been to or taking pictures of everything—everything!!—in your very own neighborhood.  Your own backyard.  I dare you to go out and see your town through an outsiders’ eye.  I’ll bet there are a ton of treasures just waiting to be discovered.

Anyways, on to breakfast.  I simply mixed in the last of the yogurt with about a cups worth of kashi heart to heart, and topped it all off with 1/2 a banana, craisins, coconut and a dollop of teddy peanut butter.

Simple.  But very tasty and satisfying. 😀

 

 Everyone felt like walking.  Nobody felt like hiking.  Well, the idea of Mt. Washington did come up once or twice, but only in a joking, “haha” sort of way.  A nature walk sounded more appropriate for a warm, sunny afternoon. 

 

 The nature walk ended up taking us through dirt roads, past raspberry bushes, and over hills.  Four miles, round trip.  My legs were feeling a little tired from yesterday’s hike, and I considered waiting by the sign for a bus. 

 

 But I was soon drawn in to view the rapids.  The mad, rushing fury of the river intertwined with the calm, peaceful serenity of New Hampshire’s woods was breathtaking.  Breathtaking. 

Oh how I love New Hampshire.

 

 That was when I slipped on a rock and practically threw my camera up into the air.  Visions of a shattered lens upon the rocks.  Smash.  Glass.  Tears.

But that never actually happened.  Somehow I managed to catch myself midair, and tucked my camera in before I could plummet to the earth.  With my camera safely tucked away, back in the case where it belonged, I sat down on the rocks and just took in all the scenery and sounds of the river.

New Hampshire.  Walking and hiking.  Fun.  Adventure.

 

 For lunch, we found a picnic table near a river and pulled out some goodies that we had packed in our cooler.

Plums

Italian Baguette

Vermont Goat Cheese

Salad

 

 Everything was so fresh and delicious!

 

 And the Italian bread from a local cafe pretty much made this meal.  Crispy, doughy, and still warm from being baked that very morning.

The thick slab of creamy goat cheese didn’t hurt either. 😉

 

 The rain began to fall this afternoon, and when we were safely back at the cottage, the books came out and coffee was made.  I took a shower, plopped down on the couch and just read.  It felt so incredibly luxurious. :mrgreen:

Afternoon Snack: Last of the salad with a dollop of roasted red pepper hummus

 

 I’m one of those people who would normally rather make a meal at home, versus going out to a restaurant.  Let’s be honest.  How many restaurants can offer a warm, inviting atmosphere, along with serving food that you will remember for days?  Months?  Years?  I’ve been sorely disappointed too many times, leaving a restaurant with a big bill and nothing to show for it.  Nothing to brag about. 

But that’s not always the case.  And today, my family found a jewel of a restaurant in Lincoln, NH.  A place that I’m already looking forward to visiting again the next time I’m here on vacation.

The Common Man

 

 

 The decor of the restaurant was quaint and rustic.  With smells of warm bread baking in the oven, and a warm, inviting atmosphere, I felt an immediate connection to the place.   I imagine it’s a little like walking into a favorite aunt’s house for the holidays and feeling nothing but comfort.  Or talking with someone whom you’ve never met before and immediately feeling as if you’ve known that person all your life. 

It’s that kind of feeling.

 

 

 

 There were two floors to the restaurant, and my family was seated upstairs in a dining room.  Down on the first floor, there was a trio of cheese offerings.  I sampled a lil’ bit of each, but somehow convinced myself to save room for the main course. 

 

 Although I definitely could have made a meal out of this Italian bread and whipped butter.  Amazing. 

 

 

 For my main entree, I ordered the Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Peach Compote.  It came with a baked potato (I requested that it be served dry without sour cream or butter) and green beans.

Oh.  My.  Word.

The baked potato skin was crispy and sea salted, the beans were tender and fresh, and the pork was out-of-this-world delicious.  Melt in your mouth delicious. 

 

 I couldn’t fathom the idea of eating dessert after my meal, despite the tempting dessert menu.  But the complimentary white chocolate was the perfect, sweet finale to a wonderful meal.

 

 I am now off to read the night away!!

Question: Do you have a favorite restaurant?

D-D-D-Drivin’ Along

I love waking up to a big bowl of fruit.  A big ol’ bowl of watermelon.  Juicy.  Sweet.  Refreshing.

 

It held me over until everyone else woke up around 8:30.  Time for oats, coffee, and the discussion of plans for the day.

I made the same mix as yesterday, only I subbed in a nectarine for the banana. 

 

We decided to keep the plans laid back for today.  It was raining, so hiking was out of the question.  Not that I’m against hiking in the rain, but I’d much rather be out hiking and have it start to rain, versus starting out a hike in the rain.  If that makes any sense at all.  Probably not. 😉

Anyways, as I was saying, the plans were laid back. 

Drive.

Eat.

Act like a tourist.

 

 We took a drive out to North Conway, and hit one of our favorite restaurants in the area for lunch.  The Muddy Moose.  I have yet to be disappointed here.  Their food is always delicious and the selection is great—everyone leaves happy and satisfied, no matter what the palate preference.

Dad ordered a dish of mussels in a white wine sauce for the table to share.  Um.  Amazing.  ‘Nuff said.

 

 

 Love the New Hampshire charm of the restaurant.

Picture drawing is NOT just for kids, FYI.

 

 In addition to the mussels, the meal started out with some warm, crispy bread.  So good!  I’m kind of a self-proclaimed bread snob, and this one was perfect.  Doughy on the inside, crispy on the out.  Yum!

 

 For my entree, I ordered the Portobello Burger.  I was expecting an actual burger-styled mushroom, but it came out in a roll.  At first I felt disappointed.  And then I took a bite.  Disapointment flew out the window.  Whoooosh!!!

This.  Was.  Delicious. 

The mushrooms were moist and meaty—packed with flavor.  They mixed and mingled with the broccoli, onions, olive oil & garlic, and tomatoes, creating the ultimate flavor combination.  I will definitely be attempting a “remake” at home. 😉

 

 Fellow Bloggie! :mrgreen:

 

 The rest of the day involved:

More driving…

More eating… (granola bars, fruits, hummus & veggies)

 

Viewing rivers, mountains, lakes…

 Being silly…

 Shopping…

Trying on hats and looking totally chic while doing it…

 

 Did I mention driving?

We drove through mountains, over mountains, by mountains.  We drove through towns, cities, forests.  We drove through rainstorms.

 

Driving.  Lots of driving.

Nicole and I entered into fits of laughter by the end of the car trip.  We’ll just blame it on exhaustion.  Pure, complete exhaustion. 😉

 

 By the time we rolled on home, we were all starving, and Nate & Nicole treated everyone to some pizza.  I had one giant slice of vegetable pizza and a large side salad, dolloped with a bit of refried beans. 

 

 

 Dinner was delicious.  😀

Cheers!

Peace Out.

Question: What is the longest car ride you have ever been on? 

B-town :)

Three cheers for the Sweet Potato Challenge! :mrgreen:  I guess I should have been a little more specific about the rules, since some of you asked. 😉  Here they are:

Who: Everyone! 

What: A challenge to put your creativity and your love for the sweet potato to good use. :mrgreen:  Remember, though, if you think you make the best looking sweet ‘tater fries, that counts too!  Don’t be afraid to post it up. 😀

When: Starts this Monday, ends Friday night!

Where: Post the picture of your potato masterpiece on your blog, and let me know via comment that you posted it up so that I can include it in Saturday’s post.

Why: Who doesn’t want more reasons to love the sweet potato?  On Saturday, I’ll post up a Hall of Fame Sweet Potato post.  Talk about some major sweet potato lovin’. 😀

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My parents and I had plans to visit Boston today, so I kept my breakfast quick and easy so that I’d have time to fit in a mini-morning workout.

  • 1.5 c. Kashi Go Lean
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 6-oz. yogurt with 2 T. crushed flax
  • handful of almonds

Quick…easy…crunchy…perfect. 😀

I had a tough time getting myself motivated for strength training this week.  I need to just remember that once I start, I love it.  It’s the starting that I always have a difficult time with. 😉 

However, as always, once I was five minutes into downward dogs and bicycle crunches, I felt deliciously happy to be working out.  Strength training makes me feel strong, and I absolutely love that feeling! 😀 

I rushed to shower, threw my hair up in a ponytail and grabbed a snack-to-go: an orange, some pistachios and a cup of chai tea.  These Olivio Butter containers come in handy for stashing snacks, by the way.  It did feel a little strange to be eating out of a butter container though. 😉 

Walking around Boston was fun.  The day was gloriously sunny and warm (I’m sure it reached 45-50!)  We walked through Harvard, saw the Charles River, and did a lil’ bit of shopping on the side.  Although I withheld from entering Urban Outfitters, because there’s no way I could go in without buying something.  That store is super pricey but they have the most adorable dresses and shirts. 😀 

Walking near Harvard…this old chapel has so much charm. 😀

 Walking left all of us hungry.  Unfortunetly, I forgot to print off the directions for an Indian restaurant that I’ve been dying to try, so we settled on a place called Fire and Ice.  Next time, I’m totally hitting the Indian restaurant though. 😉

Fire and Ice is lit with all kinds of funky colored lightbulbs when you walk in.

From the website, I grabbed this photo, just to show how the food process works at Fire and Ice.  Basically, there are different “stations” of vegetables, meats, tofu, etc.  You grab what you want, include a sauce of your choice, and bring it to this humungous wheel, where the chefs throw it on and stir it around as it cooks.  The wheel keeps spinning, and by the time it reaches a certain point, they throw on the sauce of your choice, and put it on your plate.  Voila!

I love the concept of being able to choose whatever ingredients you want to eat, including the fact that it’s all you can eat.  That includes the salad bar.  I made myself a huge salad with the works, but the camera seemingly decided to eat that picture.  Weird?

Anyways, my meal included all the following:

  • sweet potato (lots of!)
  • broccoli
  • bean sprouts
  • pea pods
  • red onions
  • garlic
  • fruit sauce
  • carrots
  • tofu

+ a wrap on the side.

The atmosphere of being able to make your own meal is what basically makes this restaurant.  Honestly, I think a homemade stir-fry tastes ten times better, but it was still fun to pick and choose the fun ingredients. 😀

Fun day with the parents! 😀

Dad treated us to coffees for the ride home, and I went with a tall soy misto.  So warm and yummy!  This was my “signature drink” all throughout my sophomore year of college. :mrgreen:

Since lunch was so late (i.e., 3:30!) I was only feeling slightly empty for dinner, so I kept it small with a refreshing yogurt mix:

  • 6-oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 T. crushed flax
  • 1/2 whole wheat pumpkin muffin
  • 1/2 banana
  • tsp peanut butter

+ an apple

Can you believe that tomorrow is already the last day of the first week of March?  Unbelievable.

Time to relax with a cup of tea. 😀

Question: Are you in love with the city, or are you a country guy/girl at heart?  I’m totally country.  I do love visiting the city, but I feel most “at home” in the country.  Give me my mountains, lakes and trails, and I’m one [very] happy girl. 😀