Marvelous Monday Photo Dump

It’s a chilly, tired, relatively wordless Marvelous Monday.

Friday Night

It was our anniversary dinner and we ate. We ate A LOT! More details to come soon 🙂

Oooooh happy anniversary to us!

Saturday

Saturday morning coffee, twitter, and blogs. It was lovely.

Coffee Twitter

My company did some painting at an elementary school on Friday. I now need to get my nails done.

My cousin had been wanting to cook me a birthday dinner and it finally happened.. 2 months later 😉 Well worth the wait!

Roast Chicken Asparagus Couscous Royal Farm Western Fries Artichoke

My fabulous belated birthday dinner from my cousin.. roast chicken, asparagus, couscous, western fries (Nathan insisted we bring them!), and an artichoke.. or 2.

I brought dessert!

Mexican Chocolate Biscotti Coconut Butter

Mexican Chocolate Biscotti = huge success!

Sunday

Farmers’ market Sunday. My favorite wrap and coffee in our little parking spot “nook.”

Sweet Fire Mushroom Wrap Eggs Rice Black Beans

Favorite breakfast from the farmers’ market.. Sweet fire chili portabello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, rice & peas, egg, feta, & salsa.

Burning off the last few days..

Unbelievable how off the machines are on calorie count!

..and then eating it up again 😉

Birroteca Duck Pizza Kale Salad Brussels Sprouts Eggplant Fries

Friday night leftovers = Sunday lunch. Duck pizza, fried brussels, eggplant fries, and kale salad.

I think it’s time to box up the dress, but I couldn’t pass up on putting it on at least once more.

Wedding Dress

I wish I could wear it all the time! Is that weird..?

Food for Thought

What fun stuff did you do over the weekend?

Happy New Year!

Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t make a resolution to blog more! So sorry to leave you hanging for the better part of 2 weeks. (Life, right?) So let’s catch up, shall we?

I was really looking forward to New Years Eve; my family always has a big dinner to celebrate with lobster and other wonderfully delicious treats. The peanut butter pie and peanut butter cups always call my name! I could never have too much chocolate and peanut butter. This year, however, was a bit different. My brother had to work on NYE, so we got together for lobster and mounds of peanut butter and chocolate on the 29th.

I made Gina’s Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip which, like all of her other recipes, was a big hit! We also stopped at Lebanese Taverna to pick up a shawarma dinner for my non-seafood-eating fiance. The nerve of him! But since we were there, we decided we’d also get some baba ghanoush. They have one of the best around!

New Years Eve Dinner NYE Skinnytaste Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip Lebanese Taverna Mediterranean Baba Ghanoush Maine Lobster

We followed up the delicious appetizers with even more delicious LOBSTA! Sorry for the awful picture.. I was too excited to dig in to go grab my real camera 😉 I loaded up on my veggies and after devouring everything on my plate, went in for 2 lobster claws and some extra shawarma that we got for everyone to share.

And I must have been really excited to dig into dessert because I don’t even have a bad picture of that! But imagine.. creamy peanut butter pie with oreo crust.. and homemade melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter cups.. oh yea, and fresh fruit. YUM!

After indulging on Saturday, Nathan and I had plans to indulge, yet again, for the real deal New Years Eve on Monday. We went back to an old favorite, Annabel Lee Tavern. We started with cocktails and a chicken quesadilla. Their cocktails are on point, but I’d skipped the quesadilla next time. It wasn’t bad, just not anything special.

New Years Eve Dinner NYE Annabel Lee Tavern Baltimore Maryland MD Cucumber Gin Ginger Rum Cocktails Chicken Quesadilla

I had the Morella (my fave!)– Hendrick’s Gin, St Germain Liqueur, Muddled Cucumber and a dash of Simple Syrup. Nathan sipped on the Descent into the Maelstrom – Goslings Rum, Bacardi 151 and Ginger Beer. Goslings Rum and ginger beer are his jam. It’s a new-found love for him but he orders it whenever he finds it!

Dinner and dessert were phenominal, as expected!

New Years Eve Dinner NYE Annabel Lee Tavern Baltimore Maryland MD DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus SweetBJ Crabcake Blackened Asparagus Roasted Duck Salted Caramel Crunch Cake

Before our food arrived, we finished up our first round of drinks and decided to split a Sweet Baby Jesus, or Sweet BJ, as Nathan called it. Hey, it’s the hashtag😉 This beer is a chocolate peanut butter porter, and like I said before, never too much chocolate and peanut butter!

I ordered the crab cake platter with blackened asparagus. Look familiar? That may just be because it’s my favorite crab cake ever. And coming from a Maryland-er, that means they’re doing it right! Nathan had the roasted duck, cooked to absolute perfection!

Finally, we treated ourselves to a slice of salted caramel crunch cake. Oh my gracious! I would get this time and time again if they continue to have it on their menu! A perfect meal to end a wonderful year.

We partied the night away right into 2013, which just so happens to be our wedding year! With it being just over 4 months away now, planning has started to pick up again. We’re both so excited for everything to come! So from our craziness to yours, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Barr & Table Happy New Year

Food for Thought

What did you do for New Years Eve? Did you go out to celebrate or stay in the comfort of your home?

What I Ate Wednesday #24 – Thanksgiving Feast

This year might have been my most successful Thanksgiving ever. For the first time, probably ever in my life, I didn’t overeat and it was amazing! It also left me wanting more. Usually I’m all Thanksgiving-food’ed out after we have our 2 dinners, but this year I feel like I could eat Thanksgiving dinner a few more times.

One of the biggest tips I’ve always heard on not overeating is to eat all of your meals as you would normally. So that’s what I attempted to do.

Thanksgiving Dinner Deep Fried Turkey Cranberry Relish Sausage Stuffing Sweet Potato Scramble Peanut Butter Butternut Squash Brussel Sprouts Asparagus Barr & Table Peas and Crayons What I Ate Wednesday WIAW

[Breakfast]
Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake said it perfectly..

“…a good breakfast sets the tone for my day.”

Since I’ve tried her Sweet Breakfast Scramble, I haven’t turned back. It’s amazing.. my favorites are with spaghetti squash and pumpkin, topped with 1 tbsp peanut butter. Usually two different kinds of peanut butter to mix it up 🙂

[Lunch]
Peanut butter cup protein shake.

[Snacks]
Carrots and an apple.

[Dinner]
Thank goodness for Thanksgiving! I loved the menu this year; of course we had our staples, but some new side dishes popped up too.

  • Deep fried turkey
  • Sausage stuffing (secret recipe!)
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Roasted broccoli
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Winter panzanella salad
  • Cranberry relish

Check out my plate above.. I definitely had a little extra of a few things, but I couldn’t believe I walked away with white space on my plate!

This year I jumped at the opportunity to make a few items for the night, partially in an attempt to have a few healthier items on the table.

Smitten Kitchen Michael Chiarello Panzanella Salad Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Cups Jif KIND Snacks Granola Apple Crisp

I brought one of my favorite winter salads; winter panzanella from smitten kitchen. I also wanted to bring a healthy dessert so I made my Kind Apple Crisp. And then the healthy options ended. My homemade peanut butter cups are an absolute must ever year. I’ve been making them since I was a kid and have perfected them in the last few years. Nathan said they were the best this year, but I think he tells me that every year! I’ll keep him around.. 😉

Thanksgiving Dinner Deep Fried Turkey Slicing

Mom slicing the turkey!

My brother deep fries the turkeys outside and as soon as they come in, everyone starts swarming the kitchen.

“Oh, this piece is going to fall off. I should grab it before it falls..”

And as soon as my mom starts slicing, you’d think we were a bunch of vultures that hadn’t eaten in days! Who knows, maybe some of us haven’t eaten in days in preparation? It’s well worth the wait!

[Dessert]

Thanksgiving Dessert Pumpkin Roll Pie Whipped Cream Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Along with my peanut butter cups and apple crisp, there was also a deconstructed pumpkin pie in the cutest little cups, chocolate chip banana bread courtesy of my brother’s girlfriend, and a pumpkin roll. My aunt makes this roll special for Nathan every year, so you can imagine our panic when we saw her facebook status in the early afternoon..

“First attempt at pumpkin roll a failure and dumped in trash. Helper off to the Giant for more sugar. I know Nathan is counting on me!”

I’m pleased to report that her second attempt was a success! Luckily, I convinced Nathan ahead of time to split the desserts with me so I was able to try a little bit of everything. And boy can my family bake! Seriously. We’re good!

What a great holiday! I’m so thankful for my wonderful family, especially since they’re such great cooks and bakers 😉

Food for Thought

What are you thankful for this year?

Taking a Deep Breath

It has been a crazy two weeks and I’ve been a terrible blogger because of it. Between work and wedding planning, I haven’t had time to breathe, let alone blog! Meetings were lined up for every night last week after work and I didn’t get home before 9:30 pm. But there is definite progress that has been made and I have, however, had time to eat. Lots and lots of delicious food!

As the week winds down and I gear up for another weekend of wedding crashing (otherwise known as band shopping), I am finally catching a moment, albeit a brief moment, to take a deep breath. And to share one of my wonderful dining experiences from last week!

As an engagement gift from a few of Nathan’s friends, we received a gift certificate to Annabel Lee Tavern, a cute little local tavern celebrating the legen(wait for it)dary poet, Edgar Allen Poe. We’d never been there before so we were psyched to try it!

I started out with the Morella.

Annabel Lee Tavern Canton Baltimore Maryland MD Morella Hendrick’s Gin, St Germain Liqueur, Muddled Cucumber and a dash of Simple Syrup

Hendrick’s Gin, St Germain Liqueur, Muddled Cucumber and a dash of Simple Syrup

I’m a sucker for any cucumber drink so I knew I had to try this and I’m so glad I did. It’s a dangerously delicious drink that goes down far too easily!

We always ask for recommendations on the menu and as appetizers go, the nachos were hugely recommended. And when I say huge, I mean oh-my-gosh-we’ll-never-finish-that huge!

Annabel Lee Tavern Canton Baltimore Maryland MD Nachos with House-Made Pico de Gallo, Cheddar, Black Olives, Jalapenos, and Sour Cream

Nachos with House-Made Pico de Gallo, Cheddar, Black Olives, Jalapenos, and Sour Cream

Not only was every chip covered with cheddar cheese, there was another creamy cheese underneath all of that goodness that gave it an extra kick of something special.

After devouring a good portion of the nachos, we moved onto entrees. Once again, sticking to recommendations, I went with the Crab Cake Platter. Ladies and gents, I have found my new favorite crab cake. And as a native Marylander, that is hugely successful!

Annabel Lee Tavern Canton Baltimore Maryland MD Crab Cake Platter with Mashed Potatoes and Blackened Asparagus

Crab Cake Platter with Blackened Asparagus

It was all lump crab meat with very little filler just to hold it together. Cooked perfectly so that the outside had just the right amount of crispness and the inside was tender and creamy. And it was seasoned absolutely wonderfully. Served with blackened asparagus (I skipped on the mashed potatoes), it was nice and light and the perfect amount of food.

I immediately texted my mom to let her know that I’ve found the new crab cake place. It’s clearly very important in our lives.

And because we just weren’t quite full enough, Nathan made me get dessert. Alright, so all he had to do was say chocolate and I was sold. But you should be sold, too, for the Edgar Allen Pate.

Annabel Lee Tavern Canton Baltimore Maryland MD Edgar Allen Pate Tri-chocolate Pate served with Madeira Raspberry Sauce and Whipped Cream

Tri-chocolate Pate served with Madeira Raspberry Sauce and Whipped Cream

Our final course, once again, recommended, and for good reason! The perfect sharing size and a wonderfully decadent way to end a great meal.

And with that, I prepare myself to eat my way through the weekend and will bring you more fantastic bites soon! 🙂 And don’t forget to breathe!

Speak Up!

Any big plans for the weekend? Maybe hitting up your favorite local tavern?

What I Ate Wednesday #4 – 5 Day Slim Down Edition!

Tone It Up has become a way of life for me and when this month’s WIAW theme of Sensible Snacking, I knew I wanted to share a regular day’s worth of eats. This week I’m doing the 5 day slim down, which essentially is a way to give your body a break from processed foods and helps you slim down. I’ve done it a couple times before and I love it! It’s not too intense and I feel so refreshed when I finish.

This week’s pictures are through the eyes of Instagram.. enjoy!

Breakfast

Tone It Up pineapple protein pancake with slice strawberry, some blueberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a little drizzle of maple syrup, and some unsweetened shredded coconut. Hello heaven! You wouldn’t believe this delicious pancake is so healthy and loaded with protein!

Mid-Morning Snack

My usual snack in the morning is 1/2 grapefruit sprinkled with stevia or truvia while I’m sipping away on my coffee with almond milk. Talk about sensible snacking.. grapefruits are so good for you! In fact, the lovely ladies at Tone It Up wrote an entire post about them!

Lunch

The slim down plan includes recipes for tons of delicious collard green wraps, but seeing as how I ran out of collard greens, I decided to make my wrap into a kale salad. So delicious!

To combat the bitterness of raw kale, I always try to marinate the greens overnight with a touch of EVOO, vinegar (white wine, balsamic, ACV all work!), lemon juice, salt, and pepper. This helps to soften the kale and gives it great flavor for your salad!

I topped my marinated kale with a fresh pineapple and red pepper salsa, and a homemade teriyaki turkey burger.

Mid-Afternoon Snack

A cup of almond milk and a Tone It Up bounce back smoothie. This smoothie tastes much better than it looks! Another example of sensible snacking, this smoothie, filled with tons of raw fruits and veggies, really fills you up and isn’t heavy at all.

Dinner

More turkey burgers! Nathan and I went to Sam’s club on Sunday and really loaded up on ground turkey so Sunday night I went to town! I made about 20 burgers.. half teriyaki and half herb.

I had 2 small herb turkey burgers topped with some delicious mango habanero salsa with a side of roasted asparagus and cherry tomatoes. I roasted the veggies with coconut oil, which is rather new to me, but reading all about the benefits, I knew I had to try it. Kasey, Ms. PowerCakes, herself, uses coconut oil all the time and you just can’t argue with those results!

Dessert

One thing I love about the 5 day slim down is that it offers you a nice little dessert. I was just sticking to a piece of fruit, but after reading Kasey’s post on what to eat before bed, I’ve been adding 1/4 cup of fat free cottage cheese or vanilla greek yogurt to my dessert. And while this may look rather indulgent for a before-bed snack, I’ll assure you that the delicious chocolate syrup seen here is Walden Farms Sugar-Free, Calorie-Free Chocolate Syrup, as seen here, gifted by my foodie penpal last month! That stuff hits the spot!

I enjoyed my delicious yogurt with a drizzling of chocolate syrup, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and a kiwi on the side. A wonderful way to end the day!

And all of this on a “diet?” Well, that’s what is so wonderful about Tone It Up. It keeps me full and satisfied, and never bloated! I couldn’t ask for much more!