Monday, July 27, 2009


Yes, yes the blog title (and picture) I'm sure gave it away...WE ARE ENGAGED.

Although that has nothing to do with food it's my blog. I did in fact eat and drink that why not document it :)!!! I'm sure you (and by you I mean my two followers and the random people that might stop on by) won't mind. It's rather romantic.

The day started off with a morning run and upon returning erin informed me that we would be going to the Tower Hill Botanic Garden. sounded good to me. It was actually super close to our apartment. We drove in and it was absolutely beautiful. They have a ton of trails that you can take as well as well as gardens, orchards and an amazing view of Mt.Wachusett. Erin had said she wanted to walk around the grounds and then maybe get a bite to eat in their cafe...or a drink perhaps. she mentioned that on Sunday's they have live piano music on the patio so it sounded good to me! After taking in the grounds we spotted an amazing swing hanging from a huge tree in the middle of a field...all i can say is I am SO glad that I made the somewhat muddy trek to the swing!
A proposal ensued and so did alot of smiles!

After an ample amount of time taking pictures of my amazing ring!!!! we decided to in fact take in the piano music and have a celebratory drink on the patio! They serve their own "tower hill label wine" and offered an amazingly fresh menu. Erin picked a veggie wrap with hummus and fresh fruit (see why i said yes??!!!) and I opted for the fresh blueberry soup.
Check out that presentation:

After a great meal we didn't want the celebrating to end so we decided to head to one of our favorite spots...Nashoba Valley Winery. We have actually discussed getting married here, it's so beautiful, so why not open a bottle of Pinot Gris (a new addition to their line-up!) and show off my new ring! (there was alot of this ring sneaking into fingers this day....;) The weather was perfect to enjoy a bottle on the patio. And make some phone calls to inform some friends and family of our news!
Still not wanting the fun to end we headed home where we opened our bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs...we had of course been saving this for a "special occasion"!
Garnished with strawberries we toasted to the day...can't wait for a million more!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Steamed Mussels and Banana Ice Cream...YUM

Okay so these are two SEPARATE dishes, don't worry! and sadly they were so delicious that the camera ate the photos...erin just said that means we have to make it again!

I'll start with the mussels. I was craving something light and summery yet yummy and satisfying. My mind immediately went to fish but after perusing the fish counter at the local supermarket I decided to challenge myself to make mussels. A favorite for both erin and I! We usually always order mussels out at a restaurant because lets face it...anything that comes in a shell is a bit intimidating to cook! something I may have failed to mention is that although erin is quite willing to try just about anything I attempt, she is rather suspicious of anything that needs to be cooked a certain way in order to avoid a certain food poisoning issue! So I was hoping she would trust my culinary (or googling) abilities with this one and dig in.
I asked the seafood lady how many mussels we would need for two and she recommended a pound! skipping to the end we totally didn't need that much but the bags were already filled so I think she gave me the smallest one.
After jetting home with the smell of the ocean in my car I threw the mussels in the fridge and began googling. Of course there were numerous mussel recipes to choose from but alot of them had similar preparations and techniques.
All of the recipes I found stated to: Always wash the mussels! They actually have brushes that you can buy (they wash clams, oysters etc.) but you can also just use the rough side of a sponge.
I had a bottle of white wine open in the fridge and wanted to use that to steam the mussels in. due to my love of ordering the mussel dish on the menu I opted to throw in some sauteed garlic, shallots and parsley to season the wine. research told me to let the mussels cook/steam in the broth for about 8 to 10 minutes or until they had opened up. (if they don't open up...they are NOT good!)
I prepped everything and then when erin came home I turned the heat on and let them pop (well not literally pop...but open up in the pan)

I served them along with some french bread and white wine! YUM. they were light, easy and delicious. Perfect for a hot summer night.

We of course had to have something sweet a bit later, and that's where the banana ice cream comes in! I am not a huge fan of ice cream, I would rather eat cake...or chocolate. But erin LOVES ice cream, and in the summer is the perfect ice cream weather. I had seen this "change your life" blog post and knew it was a must try!! READ THIS POST...seriously what could be easier? freeze two bananas...put them in a food processor...hit it spin for five minutes. ENJOY!
Now something to note, that many other "attempters" have as well, the bananas go through stages from frozen to shredded to finally creamy. Be patient. it will work.
The results. good. now I am not freaking out because again I am not a HUGE ice cream lover, and my huge ice cream lover said it was good, but had a "strange" aftertaste. We aren't quite sure if it has anything to do with my 1950 style food processor though :). I think we will be trying it again soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Latin Quinoa Dinner

My poor erin is now officially a grad student. I say "poor" because her lack of a social life is now in full bloom! I decided to take this opportunity to make myself useful by resorting to a 50's housewife and promptly return from work with groceries and dinner fixins.

The star ingredient on tonight's menu: Quinoa!

I have been waiting to try this "grain" for quite sometime and I had an inkling that erin would be a fan as well. Quinoa looks almost like couscous and seemed to be utilized in recipes quite similarly. It is also a great source of protein for vegetarian diets, which I happen to sorta follow. I did some research and found a recipe on Eatingwell that look simple and scrumptious!

I give you: Quinoa with Latin Flavors

Of course changes were made, all in effort to enhance the dish. I decided to add shrimp to make this more of a "main dish" and left out the peptias because I just didn't have any on hand. I also cut the recipe in half because we didn't need portions for 6! No oil, as normal...and I cooked the quinoa in fat free chicken broth. Other than that it was pretty straightforward...unfortunately my camera did not corporate! The pictures were pretty and colorful, but lost :(.

The flavor of the cilantro and lime really came through in this dish and the quinoa has such an amazing texture, much more interesting than rice or pasta! I can't wait to use this grain in so much more.
Check these out!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gimmie SMORE!

So if you live in Boston, have visited the area or just love the weather channel you will know that our summer around here has been anything but beachy weather. With that said, what is a girl to do in the mid-summer, stuck inside, while it's raining...with a gas stove?

Make Smores!

While we were luck enough to be at the beach...we were not able to spend much time spent outside, but we refused to let the summer traditions just melt away. So Erin, Molly and I opted to try our hand at stove made Smores. I must say, they turned out is our recipe for success:

Step 1: assemble fixins. open bag of marshmallows. unwrap the six pack of chocolate bars that of course you needed to purchase even though just 3 of you are making these and unwrap the low-fat graham crackers. I also recommend placing the desired chocolate amount on the graham cracker.

Step 2: find kabob skewers that will make for "indoor branches" to use over your open oven flame.

Step 3: turn stove on to desire heat. Isn't this great? you can turn it up if you are a lover of burnt marshmallows, or keep it on "blue flames" to really brown it up.

Step 4: cook marshmallow

Step 5: place marshmallow on one half of cracker over the chocolate. place other cracker on top of marshmallow and pull the skewer out.