Sunday, August 14, 2011

I've Moved!

I made the switch over to wordpress - I explained why on my new site :)  Here is the link:


NEW FOOD, SHOES AND BOOZE!

Let's Play A Game...

Today we're playing a game called "What Meredith Is Most Excited About in Her New Apartment."  For the first picture, I seriously contemplated taking a picture of Mike, but he's sleeping and I think it's a little too soon to really annoy him.  So these are the next best things :)


I love these giraffes... thank you mom and thank you Anthropologie for feeding my obsession with giraffes.
I know this is strange.. but this is one awesome oven mitt.
Mike's step dad made us this table.  How freakin' awesome is that!  Love. It.
This might be the most comfortable pillow ever.
And last but not least... having my own kitchen.  Mike doesn't usually enter the kitchen unless he's going to the fridge, so I'm considering it mine.  (Side note: he does make me breakfast sometimes.. and when he does, it is always delicious!)

I still have yet to go grocery shopping (and I've been here for 3 days), so I'm posting a recipe that I wish I could make right now.  This is the richest, most decadent dessert you will ever make.  It is so good.  It's pretty time consuming, but overall its a really easy dessert to make.  I got it from Here!

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Crust
Nine chocolate graham crackers, finely ground
Five tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup of sugar

Filling
1 and 1/4 cups heavy cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preserves
1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Glaze
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 and 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon warm water

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   

To make crust, combine graham crackers, butter and sugar in small bowl.   Press mixture into a nine or ten inch tart pan, distributing evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.

Bake in oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until firm.    Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Add 9 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate to medium bowl.   Set aside.

Heat 1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream in small pot on stove over high heat just until boiling point is reached.   Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together two eggs, vanilla extract and salt. 

After 5 minutes, slowly stir to combine chocolate and cream until it comes together in a smooth filling.   After combining, stir in egg mixture. 

Pour filling into cooled crust.    Bake in oven for 20 to 25 minutes.    Remove from oven and set aside.   The tart will continue to cook after removing to fully set the chocolate filling.   Cool tart for an hour.

Heat 1/4 cup of raspberry preserves in microwave for 30 seconds until spreadable.   Using pastry brush, spread thin layer of preserves on top of cooled tart filling. 

To make glaze, heat 2 tablespoons heavy cream on stove until boiling.   Pour over remaining chopped chocolate in small bowl and stir to combine.    Add corn syrup and water to form a glaze.   

Pour glaze over the top of raspberry layer and shake tart pan until it reaches all edges.   Set aside for approximately an hour until glaze has set. 
Last time I made this dessert, it was pre-blog, hence the cell phone picture.  I'm working on my photography... kind of.  But really - go check out the pictures on the site I got it from and you will start drooling. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The New Apartment... Continued

Today was a fun-filled day of more apartment shopping!  Mike's mom came to see the place and took us shopping for some curtains and whatnot (so nice)!  I haven't done much cooking because the only food shopping I've done was at the public market this morning (which is AWESOME).  But I have gone out to eat..a lot!  So here goes:


Last night I went to a restaurant called Cibon.  It was a cute little italian place.  It had a good atmosphere and awesome Margherita Pizza!  It was really thin crust so it was nice and crunchy.  (I didn't take the picture below - it just so happens they have a picture of their pizza online)!


Today for lunch we went to a diner called Jine's.  I had pumpkin pancakes (yes, for lunch) because they are my favorite food at this diner.  This place is always packed when I go and their menu is huge!  They have so many options for all meals and the food is great (and cheap).  

Tonight I'm going to a bar/restaurant called Good Luck.  I've only been once, but I loved loved loved the atmosphere!  It's a good place to go and get a glass of wine and relax.  They are famous for their burgers which are HUGE (I wish I could triple underline that).  So, of cousre, Mike is determined to eat a whole burger by himself.  It's going to be painful just to watch!  Last time I had the reuben (I don't like sauerkraut and I don't like swiss cheese, but I love reubens.  Makes no sense, right?).  I'm pretty sure they have pizza though and I am tempted to get pizza for the second night in a row.  You can go ahead and judge me.  I love that the kitchen is open so you can watch them cook!:

So tonight's dilemma:  I want to go out to the bars near my street, but I have to dog sit this dollface:
Love her :) I'm thinkin i'll go to the bars early and then head over and take care of her.. classic Grandma Meredith.  Don't worry, I'm not really a drinker so there won't be any drinking and driving.  I do realize that the title of my blog includes booze but that doesn't mean I'm a big drinker :)

My stomach is growling so much that I'm sitting alone on the couch laughing.  Good thing Mike is sleeping and can't make fun of me!

Friday, August 12, 2011

In The New Apartment

Forgive me for my lack of update yesterday... I'm really trying to be one of those bloggers who updates every day.  But.. life kind of got in the way!  I woke up at 5:30 yesterday morning to drive the 5 1/2 hours to the new apartment.  Well, this was after packing all of this into my car:
... and that's not even all of it!  Anyway... I got to my apartment at about noon and started unpacking the car(s).  It took pretty much all day because I got a little distracted by decorating :)  The apartment is really cute.. its only about 800 square feet, but I managed to fit everything!  The location of the apartment makes up for the small size..  It's a 2 minute walk to a bunch of restaurants and boutiques.  

I ended up getting the majority of my stuff cleared out of the living room so that when the guy who installed my internet came this morning he wouldn't trip.  The internet guy didn't come until 10, so when I woke up at 7:00 I didn't have much to do.  I ended up making homemade bread.  It's still rising right now, but here's the recipe!  I got it from my sister's boyfriend and have been obsessed with it ever since.

3 cups water (lukewarm)
1 tablespoon  and 1.5 tsp. of salt
1 tablespoon and 1.5 tsp. of yeast
Sit for 5 minutes after whisking

Add flour (high gluten flour) - 6.5 cups

Rise...poke/deflate...let rise again after rolled out (put oil and cornmeal under)

Bake at 475 till browned (around 20-25 minutes)

It's so good... I make egg sandwiches, french bread pizza, etc. with it.  Enjoy!  I'll have more updates later when I finish unpacking and actually go grocery shopping :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oh Yeah... My Vacation!

So I was good at keeping up with the blog on my vacation.. for about a day.  oops.  So I guess I'll fill you lovelies in on the rest of my trip!  I'm not sharing my trip in any particular order.. because I don't remember. I'll just share the highlights.


How Much Mexican Food Can Meredith Eat?
So remember that taco place I talked about called Baja Cantina? The one where we ended up leaving because people are borderline insane? Yeah. Well we went back there for lunch the next day... and the next day... and the next day.  I had mexican 4 or 5..or 6 times for either lunch or dinner for the remainder of the week.  What did I learn from this experience? 

  1. I love mexican food and its tough for me to get sick of it.
  2. I LOVE hot sauce. Even more than I thought I did. I could drink it if that wasn't completely disgusting. 
  3. Fish tacos... are... amazing!  
I learned bullet point #3 at a different restaurant.  One night after a long day at the beach we headed to El Taco Loco for yet another night of Mexican.  I felt a little gross going into the restaurant covered in tanning oil and smelling like the ocean, but I got over that once I saw that they make guacamole right at your table. We ordered 2 bowls of it because it was amazing!  I could have devoured both bowls myself, but I showed a little self-control.  And we all know that's a little hard for me when it comes to food.

My last mexican experience was at a place called Tijuana Flats.  I almost didn't include this on the list because I didn't really eat here, but Mike got a quesadilla that I had a bite of.. So i guess that counts.  Also - fun fact about me, if you haven't figured it out already - I'm all about the condiments. Particularly hot sauce.  This place had a table full of at least 10 different types of hot sauce.  Of course, Mike and I are slightly crazy and like to try the hottest ones possible, so he got a little container of the one that had a picture of a man crying.  I dipped a tiny end of a tortilla chip into it and ate it and my tongue was immediately tingling.  Usually when hot sauce is that hot, I don't notice the flavor, but this stuff tasted good!  Oh and the other great thing about this place - $1 drafts! Yum.

What Did We Do When We Weren't Eating Mexican?
A couple nights during the week we went to a bar called Luna Sea.  From the front it just looked like another hole in the wall bar (which is definitely my kind of bar!), but when you go to the back of the bar, there's a staircase that leads to an outdoor deck and a sand volleyball court/a place to play corn hole.  If you're not familiar with corn hole.. this is it:

Basically you throw the bean bag and try to make it land on the board or in the hole.  One night we played indoors?  Not sure what made us think that was a good idea..

This post is getting a little lengthy so basically the rest is - we went out for seafood (shrimp, yum!), went to different bars, and last but not least...

This cute little thing...

Did this to my new shoes...

Good thing they were only $15... but Target is out of stock.  Guess I'll have to be patient and wait for them to be back in stock!

Also - I think I need to work on being a true blogger - I haven't quite managed the reach the level of taking pictures of my food in restaurants.  I'll get there someday..

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Laundry Basket O' Shoes

Some call it an addiction. Some call it normal. Whatever. You take your pick.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Taco Failure

Unfortunately, our plans for cheap tacos and beers didn't happen last night.  We got to the bar at around 6:30, starving (and therefore a little cranky) but excited for some tacos.  We walked in and the bar was full and all of the tables were taken.  One of the girls working told us that you just have to stand around and find your own table when one opens up.  So we did this for a while, but people were vicious!  Seriously, it was like a herd of wild animals all hunting the same prey.  It was bad.  So eventually we gave up and went to another restaurant called the 11th Street Taphouse Bar & Grill. 

 It wasn't as cheap, but they had great food there!  I decided it was time for a burger because I haven't had one in months.  I'm pretty boring when it comes to burgers - the most exciting thing I did with it was put pepperjack cheese on it.  But it was great.. and the onion rings I got with it were the best I've had in a while.  I got a beer called Julius Echter Hefe Weissbier.  It had a nice golden color and had a banana-y aroma.  It was unique... not one of my favorites but it was pretty good.  

Today we slept in (definitely needed after not sleeping the night before).  I woke up earlier than everyone else and hung out with the greatest dog in the world.

After that we had breakfast and headed to the beach!  I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who didn't burn (this never happens haha).  Before the beach we of course got Starbucks!  Tall Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte :)
I couldn't see when I was taking the picture - i had to crop my finger out haha oops.

More tomorrow! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

What A Long Drive!

Hello all!  I am finally in Virginia Beach!  We left at 10:45 last night and got in at around 8:30 this morning.  We made a few stops to stretch our legs and grab some breakfast at 5:30.  I don't do well sleeping in cars so I was expecting to be awake the whole time, but I ended up sleeping for an hour or two.   Once we got to Virginia, we went grocery shopping for the week, and then headed straight to the beach!  It has been a beautiful, sunny day so far.  We laid in the sun, went in the ocean, and then walked the boardwalk for a while.  




As for food so far - all I ate in the car was almonds and raisins.  When we stopped for breakfast I had yogurt with fruit... and some more almonds and raisins.  For lunch I went old school and had PB & J!  I am beyond excited for tonight.. $1 taco night and $2 beers! I will update later on that deliciousness :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vacation Time!

Yesterday was a fun filled day of shopping for the new apartment and getting everything packed for my vacation to Virginia Beach!  My mom and I had big plans to make a labor intensive dish for dinner, but then we decided we didn’t have enough time (aka we were too lazy).  So instead, we got a quick dinner to make from Trader Joe's.  We got:

So good!  I could eat the whole box all by myself!  And we dipped them in 

This sauce is my new favorite! I can’t wait to mess around with recipes just so that I can put this sauce on whatever I make.  We each had a large salad on the side.  I topped mine with Aurora Salad Fixins.  Yum!

Tonight at around 11pm I’m heading to Virginia Beach with my boyfriend and another couple.  I’m going to struggle driving through the night (it's about a 10 hour drive), but it will be worth it when I can nap on the beach tomorrow!
If anyone is from the Virginia Beach area and knows of some good (not too expensive) restaurants, let me know! 
Nap time for me :) Goodnight, all!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here's To You, Bart's!

Yesterday was my last day of work for the summer.  While I was sad to say bye to the preschoolers, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, as I work with kids all over Connecticut and New York and have to say bye all the time.  What was most strange about my day was closing and leaving the restaurant, Bart’s & The Beanery for the last time.  Why was it strange?  Because I worked there for 7 years.  SEVEN YEARS!! How insane is that?  It was my very first job as a 16 year old, and I have worked there ever since.  Pretty unbelievable, right?  
So, tonight this post is going to be a tribute to the best summer job out there.  There have been some good times, some bad times, some dramatic times, some seriously WEIRD times.  I’ve worked with an.. eclectic.. group of people.  Some awesome, some… let’s just say interesting.  Before I share some of the most memorable moments, I’ll just give a brief description of the place so people who have never been there kind of understand.
One side of Bart’s is a grill - there are hot dogs, hamburgers, the best curly fries and onion rings ever, etc.  I worked on this side for 5 years.  The other side is a bakery/deli with amazing coffees.  I worked on this side for 2 years.  I think.  Something like that.  I kind of bounced back and forth between the two sides.  Anyway - it’s an interesting little place.



So here are some moments that stand out:
Best moment(s):
Well, it’s hard to pick out a best moment so here are a few:
  • There are water guns stashed around the building.. Enough said.
  • Getting to know the regular customers.. Hilarious.  The morning crew is great - most are older gentlemen and we lost some great guys over the years.  We miss them very much! (R.I.P. Sal!!!)
Weirdest Moment:
One afternoon there was only myself and one other girl working.  Unusual to begin with.  So in walks a man with only white tennis shorts on (no shirt), carrying a tennis bag.  He ordered an icecream cone, which he proceeded to drop on the floor, somehow manage to pick up and continue eating.  Gross.  After a while of standing there eating, he pulled out a binder from his tennis bag.  He opened to the first section of the binder, and attempted to sell Ashley and me Wampum jewelry.

Strange? Yes. We politely said no, thank you.  Then it got a little more weird.  He flipped to the next section of his binder and showed us a map of the city he planned.  Where he was planning on building this city? I’m not sure.  After about 45 minutes of attempting to flirt with us and totally creeping us out, he left.  And never came back.  Thank goodness.


I could go on, and on… and on and on and on.  But I’ll spare you guys.  After my last day I came home and had a drink.  And it was delicious:

Italian Wedding Cake
1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz amaretto
2 oz pineapple juice
Combine all ingredients in a martini shaker.  Shake, shake, shake, and pour into a martini glass! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hi, I'm Meredith and I'm 4 years old.

Maybe it's because I'm working with preschoolers this summer, or maybe it's because I'm back at home living with my mom for the summer, but I'm pretty sure I have reverted back to the status of a 4 year old.  

Proof #1:  I have nap time again.  I haven't napped since I was a preschooler.  (That's kind of a lie - I have. Especially my freshman year in college when sleeping at night didn't really happen often).  Besides that - preschool it was.  Even then, I don't think I actually napped during nap time.  The only thing I remember is being yelled at for peeling wallpaper off the wall when everyone else was napping.  Maybe this experience ruined "napping" for me.  Who knows. 

Proof #2:  When you ask a 4 year old what their favorite food is, what will they say? Pizza. When you ask me what my favorite food is, what will I say? Pizza. 80% of the time.  When it comes to meals and snacks, I don't usually eat a ton - I believe in portion control.  But when it comes to pizza I have ZERO control.  I will sit down and eat 6 pieces.  Its so gross, but sooo good!

So to celebrate my 4-year-old-ness, I have a recipe for pizza dough that literally takes 10-15 minutes to make.  It doesn't need to rise.. you just make it, throw on your toppings, and pop in the oven!  My sister and her boyfriend told me about it - they found it at this site and I added a few things.

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp if you use jarred yeast)
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water 
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in flour, salt,oil, basil, and oregano.  Beat until smooth.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round.  Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza stone dusted with cornmeal.  Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

I made this two times.  This first time I made a margherita pizza.  I made homemade marinara sauce - I made up the recipe for the sauce - didn't write it down so I have no clue what I put in it.  When I re-create it I'll post it.


Pre-Oven

And then I made mini-pizzas!  Pic before I cooked them for these as well:
(Cell phone pic - really high quality, as usual! hah!)

Enjoy!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Don't Judge A Book (food) By Its Cover (appearance).

I have never been so happy to see the weekend. I began working at a preschool in the mornings 2 weeks ago and still work at the restaurant in the afternoon and I. Am. Tired.  Preschoolers are so cute and say the funniest things (i.e. "Um.. I think my ear fell off!" ...no kiddo, your ear certainly did NOT fall off).  But they are exhausting!  So this weekend I decided to do all the things I should have done during the week.. but didn't have a spare second to do.


Yesterday I...


1) Did a boring workout at the gym (ran a few miles and did some weightlifting. nothing good. pretty disappointing)
2) I made Quinoa and Chickpea Pilaf.. and when I was complete the kitchen looked like a disaster zone. Seriously.  Recipe to follow.
3) I cleaned the kitchen
4) I cleaned out everything that had gone bad in the fridge
5) I read a book. (Yes... a whole book).
6) I decided it was time to get off the couch, so I made mini pizzas (ate 1, froze 3)
7) I returned to the couch
8) I went to see Harry Potter!!!! SO GOOD!!!! I'm still amazed that I didn't cry, though.


SLEEP.


Today went a little differently..
I was feeling a little groggy this morning from being out so late last night (anyone who knows me is aware of my grandma status.. I am no longer a night owl like I was in my childhood). So I lazed around until about noon, then got my butt into gear!  I mowed the lawn and then went to the gym and did this AWESOME workout created by Fitnessista.  (I am posting what I did today... to get more options look on her page)


(warm up= mowing the lawn HAHA!)


LOVE:
Circuit 1 (repeat 3 times)
- Stability ball hamstring curl (12 reps)
- Stability ball overhead pass (12 reps)
- Stability ball back extension (12 reps)


Cardio blast: 1 minute of burpees


Circuit 2 (repeat 3 times)
-Bench push-up (I did these with my hands on the bench) (12 reps)
-Bench split squat (I held a 12 pound dumbbell in each hand) (12 reps)
-Bench tricep dip (I had my legs so they were almost straight, but not completely) (12 reps)


Cardio blast: 1 minute of mountain climbers


Circuit 3 (repeat 3 times)
-Assisted pull ups (I changed the resistance each time) (12 reps)
-Lateral raises (8 lb dumbbells.. hate these!) (12 reps)
-Bicep curl plie squat combo (12 reps) love these :)


Cardio blast: 1 mintue of squat jumps


Ab Burner (1 time only!)
50 sit ups
50 crunches
25 reverse crunches
25 bicycle crunches




I don't usually post workouts but this one is so worth doing!!




Alright.. on to the food.  This dish is not necessarily the prettiest, but it tastes so good! I prefer eating it cold, but it can be eaten warm as well!


I go this recipe here and didn't change a thing!  She adapted it from "Veganomicon"



  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3/4 C quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 C chickpeas, or one can drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 C water or veggie stock
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
"In a medium sized pot heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and saute till the onion softens before adding the garlic and cooking for a couple more minutes."
 Add all the spices and stir well and continue to cook until fragrant.  Add the tomato paste and mix well before adding the quinoa, chickpeas and water.  Mix again and bring to a boil.  Turn the heat down to simmer the quinoa mixture and cover with a lid.  Cook for 20 minutes then shut off the heat and leave covered for 5-10 minutes before serving.  I like to serve this with a small squeeze of lemon over top or just a pinch more salt and some herbs chopped and sprinkled over top."

It isn't beautiful but it tastes great!! I promise!  I am officially addicted to quinoa! 




Monday, July 4, 2011

A Not-So-Traditional 4th of July

First off, happy fourth everyone! I hope everyone is having wonderful bbqs and enjoying some fireworks tonight.  I am not, but I had a day equally as exciting.  My mother and I decided to go to the outlets and purchase some necessary and some not-so-necessary items.  I bought a bunch of kitchen stuff for the new apartment, lots of hand soaps and lotions, and most importantly... NEW SHOES (this was the necessary part)!!!  I have only blogged once about my love of shoes so today seems like a good day to post another.  I had a dream last night that I bought new red shoes, and that was my goal for the day.  I ended up with black ones but I love them!  The pictures that follow are the new shoes.. and my mother being strange.





LOVE THEM...

... SO MUCH!

I think my mom was more fond of my outfit

Anyone watch How I Met Your Mother?  If you don't, you should.. then maybe this t-shirt would make sense.  Thank you Austin for the best gift ever.




Anyway.  I digress.  Main point of this post - there is nothing that makes me happier than new shoes (this excludes people - I don't want to offend anyone..:)...).  To complete the non-traditional 4th of July, we had pizza.  How American.


And here is a recipe completely unrelated to the 4th of July.  I guess you could serve it at a bbq because it is salad-like and made with summer vegetables.  I make things work.  


I got this recipe from here and changed it around a little to suit my taste.  As usual.


1 Summer Squash
1 Zucchini
a few handfuls of fresh green beans
1 can of chickpeas
(1/2 red onion chopped) - I left this out. oops. optional i guess :)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper, a little garlic powder


Trim and halve your green beans, place them in a bowl, and fill with water until the beans are just covered.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes and then strain.


Slice the zucchini and squash in half lengthwise, and then chop into smaller pieces and put in a bowl and fill with water until just covered.  Microwave for 5-6 minutes and strain.


In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients so that the vegetables are coated evenly.  Refridgerate, and that's that!