Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer: Welcome to the Fishbowl

Last Summer, I started a new series on my blog called "Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer" where my intention was to post summer themed things. Unfortunately, working in baseball makes my summer's very hectic and I only was able to make a couple posts. Here is my second attempt at doing this. My first post for the Summer of 2013 will be "Welcome to the Fishbowl." A play on Kenny Chesney's album,  my friend and I made these delicious Fishbowl drinks while tailgating at the Kenny Chesney concert on Memorial Day weekend. The original recipe I found called for Malibu Rum but we of course opted for Kenny's own Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum.

½ cup Nerds candy 
½ gallon goldfish bowl 
5 oz. vodka 
5 oz. Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum 
3 oz. blue Curacao 
6 oz. sweet-and-sour mix 
16 oz. pineapple juice 
16 oz. Sprite 
3 slices each: lemon, lime, orange 4 Swedish gummy fish 

Step 1: Sprinkle Nerds on bottom of bowl as “gravel.” 
Step 2: Fill bowl with ice. 
Step 3: Add remaining ingredients. Serve with 18-inch party straws.

This bowl made a ridiculously huge and delicious drink! We each tried to drink our own however I think we only finished half of one in the multiple hours of tailgating. This fishbowl definitely packs enough punch for 2-3 people to share comfortably and is great for a summer tailgate, pool party, a day at the beach or whatever summer activity you prefer!

Stay tuned for more Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Summer posts...

Friday, May 24, 2013

Farewell to The Office

Based on the title of my blog, I figured I had to write about the finale of The Office. If you've been watching the show since the beginning, you probably had mixed emotions about the series finally coming to an end. It's always bittersweet when it's a show that you've been following for so many years ends. On one had you're sad to see it go but on the other, it's often time for it to say farewell. I don't know what the general word is from Office fans, but I personally loved the way they ended things. There were so many good quotes in the episode and most importantly, my favorite part was definitely the goodbye dance with Darryl. What a perfect depiction of what that group of people is really like. I thought the Ryan and Kelly part was kind of dumb but it fit their relationship throughout the show, and Nelly did get a baby because of it which she really wanted so that was kind of sweet. I wish Michael Scott had a few more lines and wish that he had Holly with him but at least he got one more "That's what she said" in! I thought the way they tied in the documentary was pretty cool and it just made sense for Dwight and Angela to get married and that the baby was Dwight's!

Watching the Promos

Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the episode and of course, the Darryl dance video!

"I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them" - Andy Bernard

“It would just make my heart soar if someone out there saw this, and she said to herself, be strong, trust yourself, love yourself, conquer your fears, just go after what you want. And act fast, because life just isn’t that long.” – Pam Halpert

"No matter how you get there or where you end up, human beings have this miraculous gift to make that place home." -Creed

"There's a lot of beauty in ordinary things." - Pam Halpert

Friday, May 17, 2013

Trader Joe's Checklist Round 2!

I was finally able to make another trip to one of my favorite stores: Trader Joe's! As I did before in this post, I listed the items and described them. There's always so many choices, I'm trying to get new and different items each time. Also, unlike the one in PA, this one sells alcohol so I was finally able to purchase the infamous "2 buck chuck" which is now "3 buck chuck." I'm interested to try this TJ's exclusive wine by Charles Shaw. I bought 3 different types.

Sundried Tomatoes:

Salmon Patties:

Greco-Roman Pizza: This pizza was absolutely amazing. It had all the best toppings including feta cheese and Greek olives. MMMMMM!

Vege Gyoza: These are vegetable pot stickers and they were quite delicious dipped in soy sauce. I made them in the microwave but there were a few different ways to cook them.

Herb Roasted Sliced Turkey: This was one of those items I got last time but it was so good I had to get it again!

Hard boiled eggs: This is a 6 pack of hard boiled eggs already peeled, how convenient!

White Bean and Basil Hummus: Truly amazing hummus! They have so many different hummus flavors and options, I can't wait to try them all so I can start repeating.

Organic Baby Spinach leaves: Always a tasty choice when making a salad.

TJ's Red Salsa: I used this in a 7-layer dip but it was delicious.

TJ's Greek Yogurt: I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt and TJ's does not disappoint  it's very creamy and smooth and offers a variety of flavors.

Beef Broth:

Creamy tomato and basil sauce: Very tasty pasta sauce. I used it with the lobster ravioli mentioned below and then with bow-tie pasta and turkey meatballs.

Lemonade and Tea Organic: This is a very refreshing beverage, an organic Arnold Palmer.

Pear champagne salad dressing: This is a tasty and delicious salad dressing. It's light and refreshing on top of any fresh veggies and lettuce. I think it would also make a great sauce for fish.

Lobster Ravioli: Very delicious! I used some of the creamy tomato and basil sauce on here.

Whole wheat slims:

Organic popcorn with olive oil: A great snack!

Beef rolls dog treats: Another item I just had to buy again for Chloe. She really likes them!

Habanero Lime tortilla: Yet another item that was too good to not get a second time.

TJs salt pretzels with peanut butter:

Pita chips with sea salt: Went great with the white bean and basil hummus.

PBJ chocolate bar with raspberry jelly: Amazeballs! Tastes like a pbj sandwich with chocolate!

Tortilla chips with quiona and black beans: A great alternative to regular tortilla chips. They taste great on their own and also with guacamole and salsa.

Josephsbrau prost lager: A okay beer, nothing too spectacular.

Charles Shaw Sauv Blanc, Shiraz and Cabernet: Decent for the price, it's tough to beat a drinkable wine for $3.

Spring bouquet: Beautiful bouquet of daisies for a good price.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Season, New Flowers!

Another season at the Trenton Thunder brings new Monday Morning Flowers arrangements to ARM & HAMMER Park. For those that didn't follow my blog last season, we receive arrangements from Monday Morning Flowers for the women's bathrooms at the ballpark. They always do a wonderful job and give our fans beautiful and unique arrangements to enjoy each homestand.

April 11-14:

The arrangements we received on Opening Night for the first homestand were the perfect way to kick off our 20th Season. They were simple and elegant and of course featured Thunder colors! 

April 15-17:

The arrangements for the second series are bold and beautiful with fun, bright colors! 

April 26-28:

I love bird of paradise flowers, I find them elegant and beautiful. With a bird of paradise as the center, these arrangements are gorgeous paired with pussy willows, a tall lily and shorter yellow flowers. 

April 29-May 2:

The final April arrangement and also the first May were a beautiful collection of purple, white and orange flowers. 

May 6-8:

These new arrangements are absolutely breathtaking. They combine the rich colors of purple and yellow and have a little silver flare with rhinestones and silver painted pussy willows. Our fans are sure to love these arrangements this homestand. 

May 9-12:

These bright pink and yellow flowers were the perfect way to celebrate Mother's Day at the ballpark! I especially loved the silver embellishments that you can see in the up close picture. They were so elegant and beautiful. 

May 17-19:

I'm obsessed with the beautiful purple and yellow colors and loving the little birds. What a fun touch!

May 28-30:

These beautiful, colorful arrangements were the perfect last May flowers and send off from Spring to Summer. 

June 7-9:

Just as the last May arrangements were the perfect finale to Spring, these tropical arrangements were the perfect kick-off to Summer! The large tropical leaves, bamboo and bright orange and pink remind me of a paradise island. 

June 11-13:

These arrangements were very unique. They were almost like mini trees with fun polka-dot green ribbon on them. They also had fun bases with pretty purple flowers. 


As a farewell gift to one of our employees on her last day, we wanted to send her off with something she could plant at home. Monday Morning Flowers did an amazing job on this huge basket of beautiful hydrangeas with a fern and fun butterflies! 

June 21-23:

Sunflowers are the perfect way to make fans smile. These bright yellow arrangements were complete with butterflies and yellow ribbon.  

June 24-26:

These tall lime green felt tree branches, orange butterflies and bright purple and blue flowers were super fun.

July 4-8:

Since we had a rare 5 game series, we actually got two arrangements during 4th of July weekend. The first were beautiful white roses with silver bamboo and floral accents. The second were breathtaking bright flowers with fun, bright purple polka dot ribbon! 

Stay tuned for more awesome arrangements as the 20th Season continues...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Food Idols

Do you ever feel connected to certain characters in movies or on tv? I often do, usually when someone has respectable eating habits. Anyone who knows me, knows I like to eat. Below are the characters I most relate to, pretty much because their my idols for their eating habits.

First up, Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation. There's no question Ron Swanson likes to eat, mainly meat.

His most famous line is probably:

Parks and Recreation S3-- Give Ron all the bacon and eggs you have.

While that's the most famous, I have a few other favorites.

Happy Memorial Day! "I call this turf'n'turf. It's a 16oz Tbone & a 24oz porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar. I am going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American." -Ron Swanson

breakfast foods!

I enjoy spinning cones of meat from Greek restaurants. :)

And my new favorite:

The complete quote for this one is (off my memory so may not be word for word):
Ron "I'll have a number 8."
Waiter "That's a party platter. It serves 12 people."
Ron "I know what I'm about son."

When the food is delivered:
Waiter "And a number 8."
Ron "Alright, party time."
Leslie "You should watch him eat it, he's got it down to 4 minutes flat."

Then Ron hands the waiter his lettuce and tomato and says:
Ron "I won't be needing these"

There are so many more but these are a few highlights to prove the awesomeness of Ron's eating habits.

Next up, Joey Tribbiani from Friends. Joey is most famous for his love of sandwiches, but he just loves food in general. Below are some of Joey's food highlights.

When Joey is on a date, taking some of his food is a deal breaker. "Joey doesn't share food!"

Joey doesn't question people eating food off the ground, instead he pulls a fork out of his pocket and says "What are we having?"

There is NO such thing as loving 'Friends' too much. Especially when you know exactly what scene a screen shot is from.

When Rachel made this trifle, Joey actually liked it. "Custard, good, jam, good, beef, gooood."


Friends has the best Thanksgiving episodes, usually because they involve eating. The clip below is from one of my all time favorite episodes. I love that Joey eats an entire turkey, but also that he snacks before and wants pie after. And he understands jeans aren't the best eating pants.

Joey's love for pizza. He gets sad when pizza is ordered without him. And the Joey special? Two pizzas.

The Joey special...two pizzas

There are so many more, but let's just say Joey is my idol.

Just so it's not all about guys, there are two ladies that have my heart when it comes to eating habits, Loreli and Rory Gilmore from a favorite show of mine, Gilmore Girls. Not only do I love the way they eat, I love their addiction to coffee as well.

I like coffee only with my oxygen   Two of my favs! Gilmore girls and coffee!!

Lettuce essence satisfies vegetable requirements for the week.

I always loved how the Gilmore Girls ate horrible food, but looked so skinny. It made their witty sarcasm barbed world that much more fantastical, in a good way. pop-goes-the-culture

On eating four Thanksgiving dinners in one day:

Lorelai: Rory what are we if not the world's champion eaters?
Rory: It's too much food.
Lorelai: It's not too much food. This is what we've been training for our whole lives. This is our destiny, this is our finest hour.
Rory: Or final hour.

They end up skipping rolls and then pull a "Joey" by asking for rolls at the end. Never too full for rolls!

It's been a while since I've watched Gilmore Girls, I know there are a lot of other good examples, their eating habits are featured in every episode. I'll update soon with more.

Stay tuned...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day Weekend!

Where does the time go? This is definitely the busiest time of year for a girl working in baseball. So much to do to get ready for the season! I didn't find the time to do a St. Patrick's Day challenge this year. Hope everyone had a great holiday! I definitely had fun celebrating at XfinityLive in Philadelphia.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trader Joe's Checklist

In my first blog post of 2013, I mentioned that I wanted to start making more trips to Trader Joe's and try as many Trader Joe's products as I can. I've been three times so far and I am going to try and write down everything I remember buying from there. Each time I go, I want to purchase new and different things without repeating for the most part! Of course if I really like something, I may repeat. This first one won't be exact because I may not remember everything from my first two trips which were in May and December of last year.

Dark Chocolate Edamame: If you love edamame beans as much as I do, these are the perfect mix of sweet and salty and they make a great snack.

Dark chocolate covered Blueberries: These are just as tasty as the edamame ones but more just a sweet flavor as opposed to salty/sweet.

Fruit Leathers: I bought some of each flavor. These are unsweetened natural dried fruit bars with no added sugar. They come in a variety of flavors including apricot, boysenberry, raspberry and strawberry. They're like a healthy version of a fruit roll-up. I love them.

Freshly shaved Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese: I bought this cheese to top a meatball sub but was able to use it for so much more including on top of a burger, to make grilled cheese, and sprinkled on top of tomato soup. The mix of 3 cheeses gives a unique flavor for anything you would put just Parmesan on.

Smoked Gouda Sliced Cheese: Smoked Gouda is my favorite cheese but it's rare to find it in sandwich slices. This has been a great addition to my normal turkey sandwiches as well as was great on top of a burger.

Fresh Lean Burgers: I did add a chipotle rub to them but these were still some of the best burgers I've ever had at home.

Multi-grain Crackers: These crackers are sweet and pair well with an earthy cheese as well as laughing cow swiss spreadables. I think they'd taste great with peanut butter as well.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with brown sugar: I knew I was going to love these. It's my third favorite food wrapped around my second favorite food. I wasn't a hundred percent sure about frozen ones but they turned out great.

Salted yellow tortilla chips: These were delicious and just the right amount of saltiness for tortilla chips.

Cooked Natural Applewood bacon: This bacon is delicious and super easy because it's already cooked. Just pop it in the microwave and enjoy.

Frozen artichoke hearts: Haven't eaten yet.

Herb roasted sliced turkey: This turkey was fantastic. It had such delicious herb flavors and paired well with the smoked gouda.

Ready to eat edamame: Haven't eaten yet.

Roasted garlic marinara: This was one of the best marinara sauces I've ever had. I tried it on a meatball sub as well as on pumpkin ganache and it tasted fantastic on both.

Hearts of Palm: Haven't eaten yet.

Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce: Haven't eaten yet.

Hummus Kalamata: I love olives and hummus, put them together and I'm sold.

Mild Red Salsa: This was quite tasty and went well with the salted yellow tortilla chips.

Original Hummus: Trader Joe's has a reputation for making some of the best hummus out there and while they have lots of flavor choices including the kalamata one I mentioned above, their original really shows the true quality of taste in their hummus.

Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: I've found multiple lists on Pinterest for things you can do with coconut oil. I look forward to trying them.

Frozen Breakfast Burrito: Haven't eaten yet.

Tofu Firm Organic: Haven't eaten yet.

Lip Balm Virtuoso: This is one of my favorite lip balms I've ever tried. It comes in a 3 pack for a very affordable price. It's spearmint so it tastes great and feels great on your lips.

Candied Ginger: Haven't eaten yet.

Habenero Lime Tortillas: I made some amazing shrimp tacos with these as well as some great turkey wraps.

Mini Edamame Crackers: These were tasty and make a great snack.

Italian Truffle Cheese: This cheese was very earthy. I liked it a lot and it paired well with the multi-grain crackers.

Rye Bread with caraway seeds: I love everything about rye bread. The perfect sandwich was the herb turkey and smoked gouda on this bread. Mmmm!

Beef Rolls Dog Treats: Even Chloe enjoyed the perks of Trader Joe's shopping. Every time I gave Chloe one of these, I had to smell it first. They smelled so good, like beef jerky! Chloe seemed to enjoy them too although she seems to enjoy all dog treats.

A papaya: Fresh fruit is always tasty. I even made a fancy drink out of the hollowed out papaya.

Honey Whole Wheat: Another tasty bread choice for sandwiches.

Friday, February 15, 2013

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes: Summary

So due to limited funds for supplies and missing 4 days for a trip, I was unable to complete my original plan for 14 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes. Instead, I had to limit it to 6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes. This got me 3 Valentine's Day posts and 3 Mardis Gras posts so I still found it successful.

Day 1: Valentine's Day Heart Hurricane Vase
Day 2: Mardis Gras Hibiscus Hurricane
Day 3: Valentine's Day Heart Wreath
Day 4: Mardis Gras Red Beans and Rice with New Orleans-Style Shrimp
Day 5: Valentine's Day Chocolate Indulgence Martini
Day 6: Mardis Gras Kings Cake Pops

Next up will be something St. Patrick's Day themed. Last year I did 7 Days of Shamrocks. Stay tuned...

Friday, February 8, 2013

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes: Day 6

For day six of my 6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes, I attempted doing a fun twist on the famous Mardi Gras dessert by making Kings Cake Pops. I have a cake pop maker but this is actually the first time I've used it. The first batch I messed up by not spraying it with cooking spray first and I also made my "cake balls" too big so they stuck and burned a little and lost their shape, total mess! Luckily I had more dough and did things right the second time around.

Supplies Needed:
Cake pop maker
Cake pop sticks

Ingredients Needed:
Cooking spray
1 can/tube of cinnamon bun dough (I got the kind with cream cheese icing)
Yellow/Gold, Green and Purple sprinkles

Step 1: Cut up the cinnamon buns in triangles and then roll them into balls. This part is a little messy so be prepared! Make sure the balls are the right size to fit nicely into the cake pop machine. 

Step 2: Heat up the machine and spray with cooking spray. Put the balls in and cook for about 3 minutes. 

Step 3: Take the balls out to cool. Once they are cool, put them on a stick and dip them in the icing that comes with the cinnamon buns. I put the icing in the microwave for 15 seconds, felt a little long, I'd recommend 10 seconds. Next dip them in the colored sprinkles, I did different colors for each pop but you could also do all three on one pop. 

The end result turned out well for these but they were very messy to make. I think next time I want cinnamon buns, I'll probably just make them the normal way. I am excited to experiment more with cake pops though now that I've actually broken in my machine. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes: Day 5

For day five of my 6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes, I decided to try and make this Chocolate Indulgence Martini from Tablespoon.com. Mine didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped but it still tasted good. First of all, this drink is supposed to ooze decadence and part of the way it does that is with it's visual chocolate garnishes. I wanted to use my red martini glass for Valentine's day but the colored glass hides the chocolate drizzle on the inside of the glass as well as the cookie crumb rim. Also, I used skim milk with chocolate syrup which isn't as sweet and rich as store bought chocolate milk which the recipe calls for. One more small thing, I didn't have any vanilla vodka so I flavored some regular vodka with vanilla extract. If you follow the real recipe a little better than I did and use a clear martini glass, I think you'll be very pleased! This is the perfect dessert drink for a romantic Valentine's Day Dinner or a fun girls night.

Chocolate cookie crumbs (I used crushed up mini Oreos)
Chocolate syrup for drizzling
2 oz store bought chocolate milk
1 oz vanilla vodka
1 oz cream de cocoa (I only had the clear kind, the recipe didn't specify which kind to use)

Step 1: Crush up the cookies, place chocolate syrup on a small plate and sprinkle the cookies on top. Then dip the rim of a glass in the mixture. Also drizzle some chocolate syrup on the inside of the martini glass. Stick glass in freezer while mixing up the cocktail. 

Step 2: Mix milk, vodka and cream de cocoa in a cocktail shaker over ice and pour into chilled martini glass.

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes: Day 4

For day four of my 6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes, I combined two "Cajun" themed recipes, red beans and rice and "Grilled New Orleans-Style Shrimp" to make my own concoction. The only thing missing was the cornbread! 

Red Beans & Rice Ingredients:

2 cups red beans or pinto beans canned or dried cooked (I used dry small red beans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 cups cooked rice to package instructions ( I used whole grain brown rice)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Cook the rice and beans separately, according to the package. If you have time I recommend cooking the beans in advance, either a day before or have them slow cook all day.

Step 2: Saute cooked beans in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.

Step 3: Add cooked rice in a bowl with the beans toss with all seasonings, add olive oil, blend together.

The shrimp recipe I had was for 1 1/2 lb of large shrimp. I had about two dozen medium size shrimp so I had to edit the recipe a little so edit measurements based on how many shrimp you have.

Grilled New Orleans-Style Shrimp Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb large shrimp (21 to 25 per lb) (I used 2 dozen small shrimp)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I didn't measure the olive oil)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (I used about 2 cloves)
3/4 teaspoon salt (I think I stuck with this same amount since you use it divided)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter (I used 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons chili powder (I used 1 teaspoon)
2 teaspoons black pepper (I didn't measure this)
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (I used 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I think I stuck with 1 tablespoon)

Step 1: Toss shrimp with oil, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and marinate at cool room temperature 15 minutes.

Step 2: While shrimp marinate, prepare grill for cooking. I live in an apartment so I only have a George Foreman.

Step 3: Heat butter, chili powder, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until butter is melted, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Step 4: Thread 4 or 5 shrimp onto skewers and grill, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total. Push shrimp off skewers into a bowl, then pour butter mixture over them and toss to combine well. (I didn't use skewers on the foreman, just tossed the shrimp on and closed it, cooking them for about 3 minutes)

I dished up two bowls of rice and beans and then divided up the shrimp evenly between the two bowls. Finally I poured the remaining butter mixture over the bowls. The shrimp definitely had a fantastic flavor and was the best part about this meal. The rice and beans were good but didn't have a powerful taste. I have plenty of rice and beans left but no more shrimp so I'll have to think of something else to add to them. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes: Day 2

For day two of my 6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes, I made a Hibiscus Hurricane.  I took a classic New Orleans Hurricane recipe and replaced the passion fruit syrup with hibiscus syrup. 

2 oz light rum
2 oz hibiscus syrup
1 oz lime juice
1 cup lemon-lime soda (or 8 oz bottle)
1 oz 151 rum (I only had 100 spiced rum so I used that)

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker except the 151 rum. Shake and pour into a hurricane glass. Float the 151 on top. Garnish with a cherry (mine floated to the bottom for the picture but it's in there.) If you have edible hibiscus flowers, it would be fun to garnish with one of those as well. 

Note: Shaking a carbonated beverage in a cocktail shaker can prove dangerous, the recipe I was basing this drink off of included the soda in the cocktail shaker but if I make this again I would shake the other things, then add the soda after pouring it into the glass then use a cocktail stirrer.

A quote about this drink: "This is the Classic N'awlins Hurricane. Drink through a straw from the bottom first. It starts out calm, but it gets stormy towards the end!" 

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes: Day 3

For day three of my 6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes, I decided to make a Valentine's Day themed wreath. I have a ton of these heart foam stickers and am trying to find fun ways to use them. For this wreath, I just started sticking hearts in random spots and worked until I had it covered. 

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes: Day 1

For day one of my 6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes, I decided to try a new Valentine's Day Heart Hurricane Vase. Last year I did one with candy hearts, this year I used glitter heart cutouts. I think it turned out well and looks great with some of my other V-Day decor. 

6 Days of Hearts and Hurricanes

Last year I was able to do two separate challenges for Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras. This year though, Mardi Gras falls on February 12 so I'm going to combine the two. Every other day I will do Valentine's themed things and Mardi Gras themed things. I had originally thought to call it "Hearts and Beads" but then decided to change it to "Hearts and Hurricanes." I really like the way the alliteration sounds and hurricanes are a popular Mardi Gras drink and of course hearts are the symbol of Valentine's Day. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sampleicious: BirchBox Edition: November, December and January Boxes

Unfortunately I let too much time go by in my BirchBox Edition again. Last post I made was for 3 months worth of boxes and I seem to have waited long enough to have 3 again. I know I've used a few from my January box but I'm honestly not even sure if I touched the products in November and December so this may be a short blog post.

Products in November Box:

Just looking at the full size products, this is a pricey box of samples.I honestly don't even remember this box so it must have gotten buried in my messy bedroom. I don't think I tried any of the products. I'll try to update when I do, stay tuned....

Products in December Box:

This box is laying out in my room. I have tried the lip gloss a few times. It's nothing special but I like it. I haven't tried anything else yet but am very curious about the masque. You rub it in instead of washing it off. Hope to try soon! Stay tuned...

Products in January Box:

I am obsessed with the face cream. I used up my sample and the full size is a little pricey, maybe one day I can get it. The only other thing I've used so far is the Harvey Prince Skinny Chic perfume. I sprayed it on once or twice running out the door. It smells very nice, not sure if I buy that it gives us energy and curbs cravings but it's worth a shot. I think I love everything Harvey Prince does. 

Top Ten: Current Obsessions

Here are some things I am currently obsessed with:

1. These Songs:
"Mama's Broken Heart" - Miranda Lambert
"The Only Way I Know" - Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church
"Better Dig Two" - The Band Perry

All three of these songs are amazing. Enough said.

2. These stores:
Trader Joe's

I've always been in love with Wegmans, I consider it to be the "castle" of grocery stores. I've never lived close enough to one to regularly shop there but it is truly an amazing place.

Trader Joe's is a newer obsession of mine, it is the opposite of Wegmans in the sense that it has a smaller number of items so more obtainable to try as many of their products as possible. Wegmans, while amazing, can also be overwhelming.

3. This Drink:
Dry Soda

I've been obsessed with this brand of soda since I discovered it in Seattle last May. Unfortunately it isn't readily available on the East Coast, mostly at Wegman, however it was sold out the last two times I went. Also, I can only get 2-3 flavors over here and I like them all.

4. These Shows:
The Big Bang Theory
King of the Nerds

The Big Bang Theory has been around for a few seasons but I only recently started watching it. I got the first two seasons on DVD as presents and regularly catch it in syndication on TBS.

5. This cheese:
Laughing Cow Wedges

I love all different kinds of cheeses however these laughing cow wedges are quite fantastic. They go great with all kinds of crackers as well as pretzels.

6. Lavender: The color, the scent and the flavor!

I love the color lavender and have always enjoyed the scent. This past year I also discovered that I rather enjoy the flavor of lavender as well. I tried a lavender infused martini at Ruby Tuesdays and we made lavender cupcakes for my cousin's bridal shower. 

7. This cocktail website:
Hampton Roads Happy Hour

I discovered this website via Pinterest recently. It's actually a directory for local happy hours near Hampton, VA but they have a fantastic cocktail archive with super fun drink recipes.

8. These beauty products:
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream
Sweet Tea Sugar Scrub
Mint Lip Sugar Scrub

The Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream came as a sample in my BirchBox this past month. I love the way it feels on my face and it has a lovely scent. Unfortunately it was only a small sample and mine's all used up. The full size is $42 so a little expensive for me.

I'm not positive on the brand of my Sweet Tea Sugar Scrub. I got it for Christmas from my mom who purchased it at a craft fair. It smells just like sweet tea and I love it. She also got me a cute wooden spoon to scoop out the scrub from the jar that is just adorable and practical.  The Mint Lip Sugar Scrub is the same brand and helps soften your lips. It also tastes wonderful.

9. This beer:
Ballast Point Indra Kanindra

Photo: Obsessed with the flavors in this beer #BallastPoint #IndraKunindra

Some friendly guys at the Hulmeville Inn, my favorite beer bar, let us try this beer the other night. It has fantastic flavors including Indian spices and a hint of coconut.

10. These boots:

Not Rated Amplify Short Boot

I'm just obsessed with boots in general and I'm loving this pair from Buckle.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Freakin Fantastic Shrimp Tacos

Small/Medium size shrimp (6-8 per taco)
Sicillian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar (I got mine at Taste)
Trader Joe's Habanero Lime Tortillas
Wegmans Southwest Salad Mix (including Wegman's Southwest Yogurt Ranch Dressing)
Diced tomatoes

After thawing my shrimp, I poured sicillian lemon white balsamic vinegar over the shrimp. Next I placed each tortilla on the George Foreman grill for a minute to warm them. After the shrimp soaked for a couple minutes in the vinegar, I put the shrimp on the George Foreman grill and poured the remaining vinegar on top of the shrimp. I cooked these for about 2 minutes each. The shrimp I used were already cooked, fresh shrimp may need a little longer. While the shrimp was cooking, I filled each tortilla with some Southwest Salad Mix and diced up some tomato. Next I put the shrimp on top of the salad mix, tossed on a few tomatoes, and topped with Wegmans Southwest Yogurt Ranch Dressing. Finally, I rolled them up and enjoyed!

These were fantastic. All the flavors mixed really well together to make a delicious taco. I will definitely be making these again. 

Creative Cocktails: TV Edition: New Girl

On New Girl, Nick said this quote:

"Sure, I could get a girl drunk and topless with only some crushed ice, a hollowed out papaya, and two fingers of rum. But then I grew up, and now I only want to make a drink that a coal miner would want. Straightforward, honest. Something that says, "I work in a hole"."

After seeing that episode, I made a note in my phone with those ingredients:

Crushed Ice
Hollowed out papaya
Two fingers of rum

I thought it sounded potentially tasty. We randomly got a papaya during our last Trader Joe's shopping trip and I remembered that I had a drink recipe saved for a hollowed out papaya. I thought it seemed like a good time to try out this drink. I had no idea what kind of rum to use so I chose a light rum. Looking at the recipe, it's basically straight up rum on the rocks in a fancy container. A papaya doesn't have strong flavor to begin with so the little bit left inside the papaya doesn't help the rum too much. If you use a good rum like I did, it still tastes okay, but nothing special. I would recommend using coconut rum or pineapple rum, it would make the drink more girly and taste a little fruitier. Or you can just add a bit of one of those juices to the regular rum.

Friday, January 25, 2013

King of the Nerds Contestant Questionaire

I might be slightly obsessed with the new show "King of the Nerds" on TBS. I was browsing the show's website and came across this questionnaire that they asked all the contestants. I may not be an obvious nerd, not a huge gamer or math or science lover, but I feel like I'm a nerd at heart and definitely have my nerdy moments in so many other ways! For example, actually taking the time to complete this questionnaire myself.

Contestant Questionnaire:

1. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead or Battlestar Galactica: Game of Thrones.

2. World of Warcraft or Call of Duty: Neither.

3. Math or Science: Neither but if I had to choose, Science.
4. Edison or Tesla: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

5. Asteroids or Ms. PacMan: Flicky.

6. Favorite Superhero: Spiderman.

7. Favorite VideoGame: Super Mario Brothers.

8. Favorite TV Show: Friends.

9. Favorite Movie: Life as a House.

10. Favorite Musician or Band: Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney

11. If you have a pet (what they are and what their name is): Chloe (Boston Terrier-Pug mix)

12. The one celebrity/icon (past/present) you would have wanted on your team on the show: Mayim Bialik

13. Aliens – Exist or Myth: Doubt it.

14. Favorite Game Show: Family Feud.

Chipotle Rubbed Burgers with Smoked Gouda, Apple Smoked Bacon & Avocado on Rye with Baked Garlic Parsley & Lime Potatoes

Photo: #chipotlerub #applebacon #avocado #smokedgouda #rye #burger

Last night I made some delicious chipotle rubbed burgers with smoked Gouda, apple smoked bacon & avocado on rye. I didn't get the recipe from anywhere, just thought of it based on ingredients I had, mostly inspired by my recent Trader Joe's trip.

The chipotle rub is a Pampered Chef mix and tastes absolutely delicious. I used Trader Joe's lean hamburger patties and sprinkled them with the rub on both sides and then cooked them on a George Foreman Grill. I topped them with avocado slices and grilled the tops of the avacodo before adding the smoked gouda cheese which is also from Trader Joe's. Finally I cooked up some Trader Joe's Apple Smoked Bacon and put it all together on toasted rye bread, also Trader Joe's. It all went together nicely for a delicious burger!

The avocado was from a local organic company, Suburban Organics. Along with that, I had 3 potatoes. I wanted to do something with them so I pulled a recipe off of Pinterest and adjusted it slightly.

Photo: #potatoes #vegetablebroth #parsley #butter #limejuice #salt #pepper #garlic

Baked garlic parsley and lime potatoes:

Cup up potatoes
Veggie broth
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper
Lime juice

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Step 2: Peel and chop up potatoes, I used 3 potatoes
Step 3: Mix veggie broth with garlic powder and heat up (I didn't really measure, I just poured some of each in a bowl, mixed and heated up in the microwave)
Step 4: Pour heated veggie garlic broth mix over potatoes in a shallow dish
Step 5: Bake in oven for 30 minutes (I did just about 30 minutes and they had a very slight crunch still, if you like yours softer, bake a little longer)
Step 6: Remove from oven when done, sprinkle with parsley and lime juice and mix.

These turned out quite tasty and were fairly simple to make. I'd definitely make them again sometime.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Guess who's back?

I have not made a blog post in quite some time. A while back I was told that I had used up all my photo storage on google. Without thinking, I went and deleted a bunch of pictures. I quickly realized that this meant they were deleted from my blog posts as well. I have gone back and re-added some of the pictures, but my blog is still very incomplete. If you're browsing some of my older stuff, you'll notice many of the pictures are missing. Eventually I will get it all back in order, I just may limit pictures. In the past I have posted multiple pictures for one craft or recipe. I didn't realize I'd eventually get cut off!

I hope that everyone had a great holiday season, I was so busy that I didn't get around to doing a Thanksgiving or Christmas challenge this past year. I sort of started my official challenges with 5 Days of Thanksgiving last year so I failed to complete a second round of any so far. February is always a busy month for holidays so I hope to get back on track. Mardi Gras falls on February 12 this year so I am thinking of combining Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras, doing every other day for each.

I have also recently become obsessed with Trader Joe's. For those who haven't been, it is an awesome store with some unique and tasty items. I first went to one when I was visiting my brother in Washington. I got a few random snack items there that were quite tasty including Dark Chocolate Covered Edamame Beans and Maple Cookies. I didn't go back to another Trader Joe's until December when I was in Richmond, VA with my mom. At that point I got some more snacks such as Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries, a couple of delicious cheeses: Chocolate Cheddar and Cranberry White Stilton, and Trader Joe's Gummy Bears. Since then I have been wanting to go back and get some real food in addition to snacks. I finally looked up the closest one to me, there is one in Jenkintown, PA, about 30 minutes from me, and one in Princeton, NJ which is about 20 minutes from my work. I decided to go to the Jenkintown one last night and today I have already been enjoying my purchases. I have a new favorite chapstick, Spearmint Lip Balm, and I had a delicious sandwich made of honey wheat bread, herb turkey and smoked gouda cheese. I think I'm going to try and do most of my shopping there from now on and try as many different Trader Joe brand products as I can. I'd like to try the Princeton store next time as the Jenkintown one was one of the smaller ones I have seen. Also, the Princeton one sells wine and beer. Stay tuned for my Trader Joe's blogs along with more fun holiday posts. I'm back!