Archive | January, 2013

Time Flies

31 Jan

I recently came across a quote by Michael Athsuler that I really liked and related to, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” While I cannot believe that January is coming to a close, I am really proud of my accomplishments of the past month.

  • Signed up to become part of Big Sisters of Boston.
  • Became a mentor for a BC student to discuss personal and professional goals.
  • Bought my training to become a certified spin instructor for the month of February!
  • Spent more time blogging.
  • Reconnected with a friend from years back who I have been searching for, for years!
  • Eaten healthier

This list is only a few of my many accomplishments and I cannot wait to see where February takes me. Not only that, February is a very festive month. For the north easterners, our fate is decided by Phil the Groundhog. Then comes the pairing of Mardi Gras alongside Valentine’s Day. Soon thereafter, a celebration of the men who founded the country we live in occurs for President’s Day.

Some things I’m most looking forward to are:

Image{Paul Cézanne’s The Large Bathers exhibition (begins February 2) – Photo via MFA}

{Passion Pit at Agganis Arena – Photo via Passion Pit}

Image{Valentine’s Day in Boston – photo via Bostonography}

Image{My first ski trip! Photo via Killington}

I’ll leave you with a song that a friend introduced me to and I can’t stop listening to it. It is so beautiful and gives me goosebumps.

Wicked Favorite Things

30 Jan

I definitely have my own style, but I don’t consider myself to be the “fashionable” one of my friends. Nevertheless, I love to surround myself by those who are completely immersed and in love with the fashion world in the hopes that it will rub off on me! Thus, I cannot be more excited to mingle with the Boston Beauts behind the below Trunk Show.

TRUNK SHOW

 

The event includes a trunk show, photo booth, and signature cocktail. (I hope it is something Emerald in nature)  An Instagram art installation of favorite pictures will be on display by the following Boston bloggers:
Jamie Lynn | La vie J’aime
Guida Marcucci | Love My Outfit
Kristen Uekermann | The Boston Fashionista
Sarah McManus | Boston Stylista
Sami Chu Ramage | Glimpse of Glam
Becky Brackett | Pop & Circumstance

UP & Coming

30 Jan

I cannot wait to begin instructing spinning because it will mean that I will have some extra dough to spend. Recently, I have come across so many nifty items, I don’t know what to do with myself. Right now I’m contemplating the old freezing my credit cards in an ice cube trick…NOT. I never understood how that worked. If you really wanted to, you could peer into the frozen water and look to see a semi blurred, but still visible number. You may not be able to take this cube into the store, but by recalling your number through its blurred obstacle you can say hello to online shopping.

With the first month of the new year nearly coming to an end, I took some time to reflect on whether I had been more mindful of my healthy habits. I have been more active, have eaten healthier, am trying to leave my work laptop in the office instead of working after hours and am doing my best to get 7-8 hours of sleep in. In order to continue to uphold these standards, I found two items that are a must have:

Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker

(Photo via Brookstone)

Ever heard of frozen yogurt from bananas? While one might ask what makes this product any different than using a food processor, the Yonanas Frozen Treat Maker, turns bananas into a creamy frozen treat with the consistency of soft-serve. Not all processors or blenders result in that notion. This makes it your easy one stop shop for any healthy froyo. I can already think of some incorporations: 1) strawberry & banana froyo 2) strawberry, banana, blueberry trifecta and 3) chocolate banana peanut butter goodness.  These are only some of many ideas that are on the tip of my tongue. (See what I did there?)

After a good, well balanced sweet to top off dessert, I would want to ensure that I’m sleeping well and really accounting for those 7-8 hours that I’m looking to get in each night. A perfect way to do this is through the technology that is UP and coming.

Features of UP Features

(Photos via Jawbone)

UP takes a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. This technology uses a wristband as a vehicle to track your movement and sleep through an app. Further, it allows you to add things in such as your meals and mood and in turn provides insights that keep you moving forward. You get to see you at a glance by taking a step back and looking at all the components of your day.

UP is a system that takes a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. The wristband tracks your movement and sleep in the background. The app displays your data, lets you add things like meals and mood, and delivers insights that keep you moving forward.

What products are you most looking forward to keep you in line with your healthy habits for 2013?

Common Ground

29 Jan

This past Wednesday, I was delighted to join the Boston Brunchers in dining at Common Ground in Allston, MA. Ironically, my first Boston Brunchers was a dinner, but nevertheless, I was so excited to meet a fabulous group of people to go out and enjoy a meal with — I love the blogging community, particularly those who share a love for all things food!

Common Grounds

Common Ground is located off of Washington Ave in the heart of Allston, MA. Heading over to meet the group for dinner brought me back to my days of attending Boston College. Aside from the brutal wind chill that I experienced when walking off the T, heading back to the neighborhood near my alma mater was magical. I had forgotten the coziness of the area and all the amazing memories and fun experiences I had had nearby.

With that said, I do not make it into Allston that much anymore as my life has now migrated to downtown Boston. Nonetheless, I am so happy that Renee reached out to me to come to an evening of food, fun and friends. Upon first glance, walking in, one might think Common Ground to be more a bar setting. Let me set the record straight that while it is a bar, the food is PHENOMENAL. Every item on the tasting menu was well thought out.

Tasting Menu

Sitting down, I took a look at the menu. I did not think I was going to be able to exit the restaurant after the completion of the 6 different items, but I was excited to see the diverse nature of food that I’d be scarfing down over the next hour.

We started off with a sweet potato soup. I am a huge fan of sweet potato, but had never had it in soup form: it had a nice sweetness to it. The goat cheese added the savory piece to it. Unfortunately, I cannot have cheese, so I had to pass on that part, but overall I was happy to be sipping on something warm on a night where it was 15F outside!

Sweet Potato Soup

Next came the steak salad. While I’m not one to be drawn to red meat in a salad, I have to say this plate could change my opinion on that.  The ingredients were beautifully paired and really complemented each other, but the final touch that really sealed the deal was the dressing. I don’t know what was included in the green goddess dressing, but my description of it could fit in ‘one’ word: finger-licking-good.

Steak Salad

This is their Turkey Burger. This was by far my favorite dish of the night. This all natural ground turkey burger was served with cranberry mayo and bacon. Usually, I like to shy away from bacon, but I am SO HAPPY I decided to chow down on this burger as is. Not only were the combination of flavors amazing, but later I found out it was turkey bacon. The chef thickened it in such a fashion that it tasted like real bacon. Although we only had tiny tidbit of the sandwich, I knew this was the plate for me. I’m definitely coming back for this bad-boy.

Turkey Burger

Next on the menu was the drunk pork. This pork belly was beautifully paired with a fruit salad. My favorite combination was the pork with the apple: the tenderness of the pork mixed with the crisp nature of the apple was quite exquisite.

Drunk Pork

Truffle Fries. I actually did not try these, but from what I heard they were great, particularly paired with Common Ground’s pesto mayo.

Truffle Fries

When dessert came around, I didn’t think my stomach could handle any more, but then I remembered it was chocolate butterscotch bread pudding. Bread pudding is by far my favorite dessert.  I was smitten after having devoured this delicious dessert.

Bread Pudding

And if all that wasn’t enough, there was also goodie bags. These good bye gifts had a recipe for Common Ground’s well known Peanut Butter Pancakes with Strawberry Jam (this will end up being a future post on the blog). I can’t wait to put on my shirt and get cookin’ in my kitchen.

Goodie Bag

Goodie Bag II

Thanks, Common Ground, for a great meal full of fun conversation and interesting food combinations. Also, it was so great to meet the Boston Brunchers! I look forward to future events with you all.

Note: This meal was provided to the Boston Brunchers free of charge from Common Ground. I was asked to write a review of my dining experience at Common Ground. All of the opinions expressed here are my own.

Homemade Walnut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

28 Jan

And….another weekend goes by. I can’t believe time is flying so quickly! In the blink of an eye, it’ll be February. In just a few days Groundhog Phil (did you know his full name is Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sages of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary?) will decide whether we will have 6 more weeks of winter.

According to the superstition, if it is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from his burrow, spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks. I am crossing my fingers for an early spring. If you live on the northern East Coast, you’ll know it has been unbearably cold in the past week. The added cold which whips your face upon walking only adds to the notion that accounts for the phrase “bitter cold”.

Nevertheless, these freezing temps allows for hot drinks and an extra excuse to bake goodies. Yesterday, I made banana bread and it was quite exquisite. The recipe is below:

Homemade Walnut Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 
1 egg
  • 
5 tablespoons almond milk
  • 
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 
1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Sift together salt and flour.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Beat the egg slightly, and mix into the creamed mixture with the bananas. Mix in sifted ingredients until combined. Stir in milk, chocolate chips and walnuts.
  3. Spread batter into one greased and floured 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F until top is brown and cracks along the top. This generally takes 55-60 min.

Banan Bread

Just Sauce

25 Jan

Last night, I went to Mija Cantina in Faneuil Hall. A friend of mine won a happy hour and margaritas were $4 and all apps were 1/2 off. How could anyone say no to that? I had been for drinks many a times, but never had the opportunity to sit down and eat some appetizers. Surprisingly enough, it was quite delicious. The guacamole was incredible: one of its ingredients was jalapeno and that gave it just the right kick!

Happy Hour

Luis and I said our hellos, had a drink or two, and ate a quick bite. Riding the T home, my stomach began to slightly rumble (of course). I’d been meaning to try Trader Joe’s turkey bolognese “Just Sauce”. So I played with the idea of having a small bowl of pasta and topping it with the sauce because the last thing that I wanted to do after a long day was cook dinner. When I opened the carton, its packaging reminded me of something that my mom would put into a container and save for future nights that merely needs defrosting. It did not taste like those inedible frozen trays that you find at a local grocery store.  To give you an idea of what it includes, it is a slow-cooked sauce with tomatoes, dry white wine, celery, onions & carrots. In terms of spices, it has exactly the right amount of basil, oregano, thyme & fennel. With that, let me let you know that it is phenomenal. It’s flavor was similar to that of the bolognese at Cafeteria Boston, which is by far my FAVORITE place for this dish in Boston.  I highly recommend it!

Turkey Bolognese

Charity Miles

24 Jan


New Years resolutions
got you thinking how you can give back to the community? I know that recently I have constantly been looking for ways to give back, and today I found an app that makes it as easy as 1,2,3!  With Charity Miles, it is as easy as getting moving. What attracted me to this app is that it incentivises you to work out and earn money that you can contribute to a charity of your choice.  As you exercise, we’ll track your distance and the money earned. Bikers earn 10¢ a mile. Walkers and runners earn 25¢ a mile, up to their initial $1,000,000 sponsorship pool.

You really have no reason not to download this app.