Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Oh right, the waffles.

I did promise.

But I'll get to them afterwards.

As a continuation of the weekend, I ate even more on Saturday. Yeah, I know.

My husband received Dave Chappelle tickets for his birthday and the show was in Providence at 10pm. We decided upon Trattoria Zooma in Federal Hill, the Italian section of the city. We love us some Italian so this was perfect.

I had a drink with cinnamon and whiskey. Amazing combination for a chilly, fall night. Also, the bread came with a basil butter that I could have slurped.

For dinner, I had the Orecchiette con Pancetta which is "little ears pasta" with peas, pancetta, cream, and Percorino Romano.

Aren't the little pastas cute? 

Tim had the Capasante Occhio di Bue which was scallops with cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) risotto with asparagus and HUGE pieces of pancetta topped with a soft egg. 

Ridiculous, right?

After dinner, we still had some time to kill and stumbled upon an amazing bar call the Eddy. We almost passed by thinking it was a club or something. But it turned out to be a teeny but funky place with only a few tables and a small bar. And menu of wicked awesome craft cocktails. At first we had a standing spot then we were able to sit at the bar. The bartender was hypnotizing since he really knew his stuff. We had two drinks each full of cool ingredients like absinthe, demerara syrup (a caramel-like syrup), and black walnut bitters (not together, in different drinks). I highly recommend this place if you are in Providence and just want some really cool drinks. They have small bites too. Sorry, no pics. It was too dark inside.

On Sunday morning, I made yeasted waffles which is something I've alway wanted to do. Also, I had some apples and apple cider I wanted to incorporate. 

The waffle batter has yeast in it and it rises for at least an hour but can be overnight in the fridge. 

I didn't make each component of the original recipe here but did use the waffles and apples portion of it. Amazing, let me tell you. I included the recipe below just for you!

  • Overnight Cider Pumpkin Waffles from Half-Baked Harvest
  • Makes: 4-5 waffles
  • Waffles
  • 2/3 cup warm milk (any % milk will work)
  • 2/3 cup warm apple cider
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 6 tablespoons butter, browned
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Spiced Apples
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups honeycrisp or pink lady apples, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix together the warm milk, warm cider and yeast. Stir and set aside to proof, about 10 minutes. Brown the butter, set aside to cool. Once yeast has started to bubble and foam, whisk in the pumpkin, cooled browned butter, vanilla and eggs until smooth. Fold in the whole wheat white flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until just combined.
Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise at least 1 hour at room temp or overnight in the fridge.
Spiced Apples
In the morning, heat a medium size skillet over medium heat, add the butter. Add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until the apples are caramelized. During the last minute add the vanilla and cook another minute. Remove from heat and set aside, but keep warm.
To Finish
Remove the waffle batter from the fridge and stir lightly. Preheat waffle iron. Brush hot iron with melted butter and pour in 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup batter into the preheated waffle iron. Close and cook to desired doneness. Serve warm with apples.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

How About Them Apples?

It is definitely feeling like fall now in the Boston area!

I am finally ready. I was in denial for a while but now I am ready for pumpkin stuff everywhere.

Yesterday, I kicked off the fall season going apple-picking with my family. We usually go to The Big Apple in Wrentham each year. They have Pick Your Own then also have an awesome store with all kinds of fun food and treats.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday and there were rows and rows of apples waiting to be picked.

We kept sampling the different types of apples which is something I've never done before.

My sister, ever the model

It was interesting to compare Gala vs. Empire vs. Cortland vs. Macintosh. Galas and Empires were more sweet, Macintosh had sweetness but not as sweet, and Cortlands were almost grassy tasting. 

My mother and I split a 1/2 bushel (20 pounds). It was a lot of heavy apples to carry back to the car. After apple-picking, we headed to the store.

It smelled like heaven inside.

There were all kinds of amazing treats. I bought some apple cider and honey sticks and we all split a bag of apple cider donuts.

After the donuts, we were hungry for some lunch (believe it or not). We headed over to Cafe Assisi just down the street. My mom and I discovered this Italian restaurant a few years ago. There are no good restaurants at the Wrentham Outlets so we went a bit further away and found this gem. They have all kinds of awesome Italian food. I ended up with a half of a chicken parm sandwich

and their "deli case salad" which today was a mixture of marinated vegetables, feta cheese, and arugula. The dressing was sooooo good.

As if we didn't eat enough, we stopped by the Cake Diner in Raynham. 

The decor was absolutely adorable and there were rows of treats to pick from.

I chose "The Godmother" brown which had chocolate, walnuts, and other great things on it.

I'd say that was a successful day. Now, what to do with all of the apples I have now....

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Birthday Shrimp and Grits

I apologize for completely being M.I.A. recently. Time flies when you're having fun!

I held a surprise 30th birthday party for my husband at one of our favorite bars, Cagney's in Quincy. He almost had to work at night and I almost had a complete meltdown. But, it all worked out somehow. Even though it was next to impossible to get him to the restaurant. And then he sat us down at a table on the regular side of the restaurant before we could get to the function side. Me and my friends Kristen and Mark didn't know what to do to get him over there. Awkwardly running to the bathroom (but really function room) and back didn't help. I ended up saying "Come here for a minute..." I'm sure at that point he was like WTF. But it was a success. I got him this really cool Top Gun cake (his fave movie everrr).

The cake was from the Cake in a Box in Bridgewater.

I do have a blog surprise brewing so I will let you know when that happens. But for now, you are all left hanging. Sorry.

Tonight I made Shrimp and Grits for Tim's actual birthday from a recipe from Bobby Flay. I really used polenta made from cornmeal because I didn't want to buy grits. I discovered that the 5 cups of water to 1 cup cornmeal ratio makes the polenta very creamy which is ideal. There was also bacon involved.

Also, I got him a cup from our favorite bar in Chicago, Three Dots and a Dash. Turns out you can buy the crazy tiki glasses from there! We had wine. So he had to put a straw in it to drink it. We are classy up in here.

Additionally, I did a wine run at Newport Vineyards in Newport, RI. It would have been beautiful as it literally went through the vineyards and fields and woods but it poured on us. It was fun though! They serve you a glass of wine as soon as you cross the finish line. Then there was a BBQ.

My coworker Liz and I after finishing the 3.5 mile race. I also ran with my husband, my friend Mara and her sister, and Liz and her cousin and cousin's fiance.

So that's the update from the side of the world. How are you all doing out there?!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor-less Labor Day Weekend

Holiday weekends are the best right? And luckily, it still feels like summer around these parts. I love fall but this year I am just not ready for it. No pumpkin anything until it is actually fall. My husband and I have a rule. No pumpkin, no pumpkin coffee. Nada. Last year he confessed he broke our rule at his bachelor party. I promptly ordered a pumpkin beer at the bar I was at. 

The past few days have been a mix of going out to eat and cooking. I took advantage of having the Portuguese sweet bread lying around to make individual baked french toasts. Usually this is a large casserole-type breakfast but with only two of us, I wanted to control the portions a bit. 

I used the recipe below from A Less Processed Life except I replaced challah bread with the sweet bread. The hard part about any kind of baked french toast is planing ahead as the bread usually has to soak in the "custard" overnight. I did plan ahead and was able to pop the ramekins into the oven on Sunday morning. 

Since that was Sunday, Saturday was pretty event-filled. In the morning, I went on a hike with 3 of my friends from college, Kristen, Jess, and Mara.

I told them they would make the blog :).

We spent a couple of hours hiking up and back down the Blue Hills in Canton, MA. The views at the top were beautiful as it was a gorgeous and clear day.

There was a lovely view of the Boston skyline from the top. We had lunch at the Hillside Pub in Canton. 

At night, Tim and I went out to eat at Loco Tacqueria & Oyster Bar in South Boston. We had been dying to go here and it is usually really busy. We caught it just right and were able to walk in and get a seat. Immediately, we loved the atmosphere and decor.

Drinks were up first.

Hi husband in the background

I had "The Britney" which was white tequila, muddle watermelon and mint, lemon juice, and blueberries. "A little crazy and awesome" according to the menu and perfect for summer. Tim got the Tropic Thunder with Don Julio silver, mezcal, muddle grilled pineapple, and ginger. It was amazingly smokey without being spicy from the grilled pineapple.

We split ceviche as a appetizer. This particular one had sea bass, aji amarillo leche de tigre (Concentrated key lime juice, fish, and blended aji limo according to Wikipedia), green mango, and Thai basil ice. It was delicious. A combination of fresh, creamy, and spicy. And beautifully presented.

We just had to get guacamole and chips. But this guac had grilled pineapple in it. AN AMAZING ADDITION LET ME TELL YOU.

Then, for dinner, we split 3 different tacos.

There were the Cola Pork Carnitas, Root Beer Braised Chicken, and Baja Style Fried Fish. Each were unique. Our favorite was the fish tacos.

This was too much food. But, oh well. YOLO.

Among a couple of other random things I made the past few days was Crockpot Ancho Chile Short Ribs from Paleomg. Definitely recommend making these! Very easy and extremely flavorful. I made a couple of changes to it. I had bought a pound and a half of boneless short ribs so I used those but kept the sauce recipe the same. I also seared the ribs before putting them into the crockpot. I used chili powder instead of using dried ancho chiles as I could not find those. Additionally, I took out some of the broth and thickened/reduced it on the stovetop with cornstarch and water at the end.  I served them with pureed cauliflower.

Cauliflower actually isn't a bad replacement for mashed potatoes. Plus, since it was hot out, I wanted something lighter besides mashed potatoes or polenta (I know, not Paleo at all). You can either steam or boil the cauliflower. Then, I use an immersion blender to puree them. I added some milk but you can use any kind of liquid (water, stock, etc.) to thin them out. I added some butter for richness. 

I am also experimenting with refrigerator pickles which I've never made before.

You slice up (or cut into sticks) 2 pounds of cucumbers. I used local ones that I got from the Quincy Farmer's Market. Using two 32 oz mason jars, I added 2 cloves of garlic, peppercorns, dill seed, and cayenne pepper into each. On the stove, you just bring apple cider vinegar and water to simmer with salt (I also added a little bit of sugar). The jars are topped off the with hot vinegar mixture once the pickles are put in. I let the jars cool to room temperature and then put them into the fridge. We shall we how they come out in 48 hours.

Did you do anything fun this Labor Day weekend??

Baked French Toast 
Makes 2 individual servings
Adapted from A Less Processed Life

2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 loaf challah bread or Portuguese Sweetbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (2 1/2 cups)

For each serving:
powdered sugar
maple syrup

1. Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, and orange juice.
2. Gently stir in the bread cubes until they are evenly coated in the custard mixture. Let the bread-custard mixture sit for about 15 minutes to allow the custard to fully soak in.
3. Lightly butter two 6-ounce ramekins. Spoon the bread-custard mixture into the two ramekins. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the French toast for 20-25 minutes.
5. Top each serving with powdered sugar and pure maple syrup.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Weekend Continued

As promised, I will continue on with the weekend.

On Sunday morning, my parents and I met my sisters, my sister's boyfriend, and my cousin down in Bristol, RI (where my sisters live) to have breakfast at a place called Sunset Cafe. We had to get there early as they fill up quickly and we had a large party. 

They serve a wide range of breakfast foods and some with a Portuguese twist. 

I opted for an omelet with Portuguese chourico, cheddar cheese, and spinach. Instead of English muffins, I ordered bolos which are very similar to English muffins except larger and less dense. REALLY GOOD.

Adam made his plate all clean.

We walked around Bristol which is beautiful in the summer time.

We headed back to my parents' house after that for dinner which consisted of my mom's amazing homemade burgers complete with her...homemade bacon!

Yes, she made the above bacon completely from scratch.

Amazing right?? I scarfed down my burger so, sorry, no picture. 

My mother and I took the day off on Monday so we ventured to Portugalia, a Portuguese market in Fall River, MA. It was so cool!

They had all kinds of authentic Portugese foods at awesome prices ($5 wine? $7 olive oil? Yes, please!). 

I am not super familiar with the Portugese cuisinem\ so it was hard to figure out some items but I know a thing or two.

The market is beautifully decorated with meat, fish, wine, cheese, bulk goods, produce, sweats, and a small cafe.

Yup, those are the goods.

My mother and I really wanted to buy bolos after our bolo experience. Unfortunately Portugalia did not have any so we decided to take a chance on bakeries in the Fall River area. The first bakery did not sell them but on our second bakery, we struck gold!

This might have been the smallest bakery I've ever been to. They sold maybe about 10 different things at a teeny counter. But, they had bolos. We split regular and cinnamon ones. Once my mother and I set our minds to something, we go after it!

If you do live in the Fall River area, I definitely recommend Portugalia. I would go back in a heartbeat especially for their wine, olive oil, and chourico.