Tervis Tumbler Love

A few weeks ago Foodbuzz and Tervis Tumbler sent me one of their famous double-walled cups to try out and write about. I’ve always been a huge fan of the tumblers but have not stocked my shelves with them (yet) because they are a little on the pricey side. While they are more expensive than a regular coffee tumbler or cup, it’s well worth the extra few dollars. Why?
  • They are made in America
  • For hot and cold beverages (and they actually keep drinks hot or cold and don’t turn to lukewarm awfulness)
  • Microwave-Freezer-Dishwasher safe
  • Reduces condensation (a life saver…you won’t understand until you get one)
These are just a few of the reasons to prove that they are well worth the purchase. As soon as I got mine, my fiancee picked it right up and had a glass of milk. I washed the cup and then decided I was going to take it to school with me because it would be a great place to show it off. Well, that night I came home and MJW was a little furious, “where is that cup!?” I told him I took it to school to show it off and tell my classmates about Foodbuzz and Tervis Tumblers and he insisted that I bring it home. In fact, his exact response was “I’ll talk to you about Foodbuzz everday, bring it home.”
The cup is still at school and it looks like I know what one of MJW’s stocking stuffers is going to be. I love having it at school because it doesn’t have any condensation. The cups we use at school get water droplets almost immediately and it runs on to my notes and also on to the table that I’m trying to cook on. I put coffee in it in the morning and it stays hot all through lecture. By the time we are on our way into the kitchen, I’ve cleaned it out and filled it with water. It goes with me everywhere.
I honestly think this item would make a great holiday gift. There are so many different themes and designs to choose from and I know the person receiving it will love it. Just make sure to get three, one for them, their spouse and you!
I recieved the Tumbler for being a member of the Foodbuzz Tastemasters Program. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, just the free cup that they sent me.

Taste of DC

Better late than never, right?
Taste of DC was a few weeks ago and I went down with a few of my friends from culinary school. The day was beautiful, the drinks were refreshing, the company was amazing and the food was pretty decent. I say this because I went focused on the food but nothing really stood out for me. I think I went in thinking that I might find some potential externship sites, but there were really no restaurants of that caliber. (And that is totally fine!) The food that was presented was pretty good, but I also think the event was a little expensive. However, considering that DC is a tourist city and it was on Columbus Day, it made sense. You can’t blame them there because we were all suckered into the $30 tickets.
My favorite food was the Vegan Nachos from Bread and Brew. I will tell you that these were the best nachos I’ve ever had in my life. They were served on a little eco-friendly frisbee and I devoured every last bit. I’ll leave you with some pictures from the event. Did anyone else go? What did you think?

How I Made Him Eat Squash

MJW is a fairly picky eater. He would never say he’s a picky eater but he makes a point to avoid: cooked onions, cooked tomatoes, any cooked vegetable for that matter, chocolate, sweets, pumpkin, couscous and of course, anything “vegan”…among other things. I make up for the confused pallet, that’s for sure.
I had an extra squash laying around today and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to eat the whole thing. Acorn squash, yes. Yellow squash, not so much. I also got my hands on some flaky dough so I was trying to piece together a game time appetizer using both items.
We might be taking baby steps, but I looked to the one ingredient no man in his right mind would ever turn down – bacon. I had some leftover. It’s not like I went out and bought it just for this recipe. This was all about getting rid of some leftovers. Two things would be accomplished – trick MJW and clean the fridge.
Within about 20 minutes the house smelled like bacon and both MJW and Reddick were wondering what was going on. With that, Squash Bacon Rolls were created!
Ingredients:
 
Flaky dough (I found a recipe here, or you could use frozen puff pastry, pie crust or even Pilsbury’s Croissants)
1 yellow squash
4 strips of bacon
Olive oil
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
Methods:
 
1. Cut the squash into strips lengthwise. It’s easier to work with if you cut the squash in half first and then slice into 2-3 inch strips. (the point is to make it resemble the shape of the bacon)
2. Season the squash and saute in olive oil until soft.
3. Roll the dough into a rectangle. The dough should be fairly thin and you want the longer side of the triangle to be at least 12 inches. The shorter side is going to determine how many slices you get. Chill the dough for 5 minutes.
4. Lay the squash flat on the dough and cover the surface.
5. Lay the bacon diagonally across the squash from the top left corner to the bottom right.
6. Sprinkle with cheese.
7. From the bottom, start to roll (like you are making cinnamon rolls).
8. Once you have your roll, slice into 1/2 inch pieces/discs.
9. Lay flat on a baking sheet.
10. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. If you are using flaky dough, it will not really brown. As soon as it bakes and is no longer doughy, it’s done.
11. Serve while they are hot or they are even good after they have been sitting out for a bit.
They are almost gone. I think we have a vegetable sneak-in success!

Stowe, Vermont

My sister lives in one of the cutest little towns in Vermont. Vermont is lots of skinny roads, rolling creeks, farms, ski centers, cheese and maple syrup. It’s a place you must visit sometime in your lifetime. Growing up in Lake Placid, you would think that it was a lot like Vermont, but Lake Placid is a giant tourist trap (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Over here, it’s a little quieter, and sometimes that’s all you need.
My sister had to work most of the day on Friday, but once she got home she wanted to show me a few Stowe staples. First we went up to a little farmers market at one of the resorts.
There wasn’t much fruit, but there was plenty of samosas.
Shannon was dying to take me to the Cabot store. Free cheese? Yes please!
Shannon was dying to take me to the Cabot store. Free cheese? Yes please!
I found a Maple Seltzer drink here. It was pretty awesome, very light with a slight after taste of maple. It was a much healthier decision than those delicious little maple candies.
Then we headed to a little store that makes and sells cider and cider donuts. Their kitchen was beautiful!
They even had some souvenirs for Reddick!
After that we met up with her boyfriend and headed up to the Von Trapp Resort. Clearly, it’s gorgeous up there.
We had a little snack while waited for my aunt to drive over from Lake Placid. It was a great way to start my little vacation!

Creativity in the Kitchen

Last week, some weird things ended up in my kitchen.

Purple is my favorite color, but purple peppers are not my favorite peppers. I’ve found them before at farmers markets back in NY, but never down here. I ended up picking these two up at Whole Foods the other day and had no idea what I was going to use them for. Tonight I got a little restless and started to chop one up in hopes that inspiration would come my way. I ended up taking a bite and was not happy. The purple peppers are pretty flavorless compared to other peppers. They are not sweet and have a slightly bitter, pale taste. I ended up putting them into an omelette with some provolone and my favorite, Newman’s Own Black Bean and Corn Chili. (This is one of the best salsas you will ever have. I promise.)
I did have a little bit of random kitchen success last week. Earlier in the week we made cake rolls and ended up having a ton left over. I had been reading The Flavor Bible and was inspired to try something with the leftover cakes.
I took them home and dried them in a low heat oven for about 2 hours. Leaving them out to become stale would have yielded the same result. After they were dry and slightly hard, I processed them until they became a fine powder, or a flour…
I knew that the flour was a little too rough to become another cake or bread, so my first thought was to make cookies. I also thought that the flour was automatically going to be fluffy and spongy, like the original cake, but I was very wrong.
 I went with chocolate chip cookies and this is how they turned out…
They certainly aren’t the prettiest cookies you will ever see, but they tasted pretty damn good. You could definitely taste the raspberry from the cake roll and they were a little mushy from the “flour” itself. I still have some of my homemade flour, so I plan to try this again really soon and have a much better looking final product.

Puppy Love

Look who wants to say hi!

He looks so stoic and mature. My little boy is growing up.
One of the cool things about going back to school is that you get to meet new people. While we’ve learned that I might not be a class favorite to some, I have been lucky enough to meet a few people that have become really great friends. While we have all become close another discovery has been made – our dogs are meant for each other.
This is Lillian, Reddick’s new friend. She’s the cutest little beagle. While you might not be able to tell from their facial expressions in these photos, we’re convinced they love each other.
This one has to be my favorite.
There is nothing better than meeting a good match for your pup. Sometimes when it’s too crappy to bring them outside or we’re just tired from a long day at school, we just bring the dogs together and they wear themselves out. They make a mess, but I think a lot of you can understand how awesome it is to wear your puppy out.
Love is in the air.

Meet my Maid of Honor!

There has not been much wedding talk on the blog lately because there hasn’t been much wedding planning. The wedding planning is definitely taking the back burner right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not constantly on my mind. Honestly, I just don’t want to half-ass my own wedding, so I should probably wait for a time where I can sit down and get things done the way I want them done.
There’s been a little progress with the venue selection, and then a few steps back, but we’re getting there. Worse comes to worse, we start all over again.
Still no date, still no venue…and that’s ok! We want our day to be perfect, not rushed.
There is one decision that we made and we’re pretty excited about it! The decision was actually made a long time ago, but I think it’s time you guys met my Maid of Honor!
This very important decision comes pretty easy when you grow up with a sister who is seventeen months younger than you. Not only are we practically twins, but it was a pretty sweet set up to have your sister as your best friend. It wasn’t always this easy, but our sisterhood has become an amazing friendship. There isn’t anyone else I could imagine helping me plan my wedding.
Another plus, her and MJW get along just fine. They’ve been hanging out, bickering, laughing and drinking with each other as if they were brother and sister for over seven years now.
One big happy family!
Our wedding is going to be a blast with Shannon my our sides. I finally asked her formally last month when we were both home for our engagement party. My original plan was to do something really fun and creative and ask my maid of honor and bridesmaids at the same time. But I’m still working on the rest of my bridal party and I wanted Shannon to know ASAP that it was official. I took one of my bridal magazines and put a post-it on one of the pages saying “Shannon, you will” and then on the following pages circled the rest of the question word by word…”be” “my” “maid”…you get the point. Corny, cheesy and really awesome.
Funny story though…I actually ended up asking her flat out when we were taking Reddick for a walk.
Oh well. She did see the magazine, but basically she came into the room when I was doing it and started flipping through other bridal magazines. The timing just wasn’t right, but it was still a nice thought, right?
I’m so excited for her to start helping me plan and basically kicking my butt into gear. And somewhere down the road, I can’t wait to return the favor to her!

Awesome Weekend

Hi friends!

I know, I’ve been MIA again…it’s a sad trend. I’m sorry.
This weekend was so crazy I honestly didn’t get on a computer until today. I’m going to work on a bunch of posts for you guys, including Asian Day at school, a recipe and an instructional post.
This weekend was the third weekend in a row I got to hang out with my sister! It was so much fun.
Friday started out by going down to Chinatown to go to Sushi-Go-Round.
I’ve been here a few times before and I think the concept is pretty brilliant. It’s a bar that has a rotating belt of sushi in the middle going round and round until you choose what you want and you pick it up off the belt. Each plate is colored so that you know how much it is. At the end of your meal, your waitress simply picks up your stack of plates and adds it all up. Simple sushi. I love it.
OH! I didn’t tell you…my cousin, Austin, was here because he just graduated from high school! My sister and I gave him a weekend in DC and tickets to OAR for his graduation present. Congrats!!
Sadly, he didn’t try any sushi…
 Next, we walked around DC like we always seem to do when my sister is around.
Once we got tired of walking around, it was time for a cold drink…
Every Friday there is a free jazz concert in the Sculpture Garden, appropriately named Jazz in the Garden. The place gets packed and there is never any room left around the little pond, let alone on the grass.
The weather was great. The company was better. It was an amazing afternoon.
Afterwards, we headed to Rosa Mexicano where my camera and I were just not getting along. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Sangria pitchers we drank at the garden. But I ended up having ice cream for dinner (again, nothing to do with the drinks beforehand) and it was fantastic. Right now, they have an incredible Ice Cream Menu. I had the Sweet Avocado, Mexican Corn Truffle and Toasted Marshmallow. I could not even pick a favorite. They were all incredible in their own way. The avocado had a little bit of bitterness that was needed to distract you from the fact you were eating avocado ice cream. The corn truffle tasted like a fancy cookies and cream and the toasted marshmallow…well, you can imagine how good that one was.
It looks like they are having an ice cream cooking demo THIS SATURDAY! I think you should check it out.
Anyways, after I had ice cream for dinner we went home to rest up for the next day.
OAR!!!
Do you like our OAR-inspired jello shots? If you need jello shot advice, consult my sister. They were amazing.
OAR holds a very special place in my heart. I’ve been listening to them for about ten years now, and we’re really lucky to catch them live in the DC area because they are from Rockville! Saturday’s show was their last stop on the summer tour, so it was full of really old songs and some really great new songs, too.
A concert isn’t a concert without a good tailgate, and unfortunately, I only have a few pictures (none of which are food). I honestly can say that I can’t blame the drinks for this one. I blame Mr. Weatherman.
An hour or so into the tailgate, we found ourselves building this…
And then we saw this…
So, it poured. We got wet. We still had fun.
I had an amazing weekend with some of my favorite people and am in a slight depression because they are gone…
Come back!!

This little piggy went to…

L’Academie.

We met another pig today. This one was way younger smaller. Sorry vegans/vegetarians.

P.S. That’s Chef Brian. He graduated from L’Academie and has been teaching there for three years. He’s a pretty great teacher, but one thing that I really like about him is that he is also a great writer. He writes for Bethesda Magazine and other DC publications, so look him up if you’re into food writing!