Monday, December 29, 2014

#165 He Shops Every Level of Macy's

Did I miss Weekend I'd Forget last weekend?

And perhaps the weekend before?


And I loved every minute of it.

While the past two weekends held moments that were Weekend I'd Forget worthy, in order to have truly enjoyed them, to have let them absorb into the depths of my being, there was no way I could blog about them.

I have been busier this holiday season than ever before.  At first, I thought, How can this be?  This year was like any other.

Then I realized I was fooling myself.  This year has been quite unlike any other, especially the past three months.  In October, I lost my senses and started a recipe challenge committing myself to cook 65 new recipes in less than three months.  In November, I started a new job, then baked for three days straight for Thanksgiving breakfast.  In December, I tried to juggle it all from making dinners to fulfill my recipe challenge to practicing violin for the lessons I began in July.  Somewhere in there I scrambled together time to blog, Christmas shop, and spend time with family.

I reached the days before Christmas slightly out of breath and certainly ready for the two week break from work.  I have only begun to kick my feet up and relax.

My house this week has been flooded with wrapping paper, bows, shopping bags, and boxes.  Even my organizational side has loved every second of it.


Saturday, Hubby and I spent the entire day in NYC, and I may have once or twice begged him to throw care to the wind and find an apartment there to rent with me.

Thank goodness he practically reminded me how expensive the city would be for our wallet.

I then pled with him to compromise and move us to the outskirts of the city.

I'm thinking it is still a 'no'.


We ate delicious food, walked around the shops at Bryant Park, and then shopped every single level at Macy's.

It was wonderful and all too soon I had to return to the reality of my little corner of New Jersey.

But that's okay.  There will be other weekends.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

#164 He Still Dates Me

I could have rushed this post out last night, I could have even rushed it out a few hours ago, but I wanted to make sure I took time and care for this post.

It's that awesome.

It's that important.

It's that life changing.

Naturally, the topic is food.

I'm sure you're wondering, Why not write about that over at The Orange Strainer.  You know, your FOOD blog? 

Well, ordinarily that would make sense.  Although when consideration is taken, one would realize that would mean taking a pause from my recipe challenge.  Also, this was the highlight of my weekend, therefore, it falls predominantly under Weekend I'd Forget.

On Saturday night, life didn't go as planned.  Since life didn't go as planned it meant that I didn't cook dinner.  Since I didn't cook dinner it meant we needed to find somewhere to eat our dinner.  Since we don't like to go to just any old chain restaurant, Hubby suggested going to Buen Provecho.  We've known about Buen Provecho for sometime now and had it on 'the list' of places we want to go to eat.

It's easy to get stuck in a rut.

We were stuck in a rut.

Here's to not being stuck in a rut in 2015!

Although, after going to Buen Provecho, we might possibly have been convinced to become stuck in a rut with them.

Hubby felt the need to include me in his Snapchats.
I'm going to be a little nontraditional here and start with dessert.

If I could survive souly on desserts, I absolutely, positively, would.  I get upset that bakeries typically close in the early afternoon, and dream of opening a line of bakeries that don't open until late afternoon and stay open until 2 am--at least.  Then, life would be positively divine.

The coffee alone is a reason to make Buen Provecho part of your world.  The espresso beans they use come from Puerto Rico and it didn't take much to convince me to buy one of the remaining bags they had for sale.  It isn't overly bitter, and though they gave us sugar and an adorable teeny spoon for stirring, I didn't need it.  For dessert they have a few homemade offerings.  Hubby and I heard "fried cheesecake" and knew that was the dessert for us.  Hubby ordered the guava fried cheesecake and I got the oreo one (the third option was apple--that will be for next time!).

Guava Fried Cheesecake--yum.
My greatest regret is that I was so full from dinner I couldn't lick my plate clean.

If you are anything like me, you are still trying to wrap your brain around 'fried cheesecake'.  This isn't your boardwalk fried cheesecake that is frozen, dipped in batter, and thrown in oil (still delicious, for sure!).  Think fancy churros, rolled with cheesecake filling, and served with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream.

For dinner I had an extremely difficult time making a decision on what to order.

This, however, is normal for me.

Hubby ordered my first choice, "El Jibaro" Churrasco: angus beef skirt steak grilled with white rice and beans.  I knew this was going to be great, but certainly couldn't order the same meal.  Hubby was impressed with the tenderness of the meat and the flavors that lasted through each and every bite.


I ended up ordering, "El Cialeno": mashed plantains stuffed with chicken.  Ordinarily, plantains don't do anything for me.  They're okay, but not something I need in my life.  The mashed plantains are formed into a bowl and laced with crispy delight.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the flavors of not only the chicken that filled my plantain bowl but also of the mashed plantains.


The problem?  I only could eat about a quarter of my meal.  Our appetizer had been so fantastic, that I forgot to pace myself for the main attraction.  

I foresee ordering this appetizer as my meal on a future visit to Buen Provecho.  I snapped a picture of it after Hubby and I had already taken a helping of a few of the samplings.  "Sortido Boricua" is their sampler of fried native cheese, stuffed plantain crisps, codfish fritters, and empanadas.

Our appetizer, after we devoured half of it!

Do you ever go to a restaurant and order the sampler knowing that one of the items you won't touch, but you love everything else so you imagine that overall it must be worth the price?  That's not the case here.  I wish I could pick a favorite, but I simply can't.  I will say this though, the cheese amazed me and I love that the empanada includes three different meats instead of only one.

If you live in NJ, make Buen Provecho a part of your Weekend You'd Forget.  You won't regret it.

Remember, save room for dessert!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

#163 He Buys Me New Pajamas

I tend to over plan for Thanksgiving breakfast.  This year I completely lost my mind. My dessert list began with eight desserts and ended with thirteen.  Fortunately, I had the entire week off of work and could spread out my baking.  Yet somehow, someway, the day before Thanksgiving I still had three pies to assemble, cookies to bake, and cinnamon rolls to make.

I was so blessed that three of my favorite girls in the entire world offered to come over and help me.  You can't tell it by looking at the below picture, but these girls are only around three feet tall, the oldest is in third grade, and the youngest is only four-years-old.

Oh wait, that was five zillion years ago when I got married and they were my flower girls.


They pretty much made my life a million times easier by being a second, third, and fourth pair of hands for me.  Hannah took over the cookies, while Rebekah and Grace peeled and sliced my apples as I prepared for the blueberry, peach, and apple pies. 

We ran into a bit of an issue with the apple pie.  It didn't want to move easily from off the pan, so we laughed difficulty in the face and put our noggins (and four spatulas) together.


I'm pretty sure this pie would have ended up in the trash without their help.


Since we only needed one apple pie for Thanksgiving, and also since the second sort of fell apart when I tried to lift it off the pan after it baked, we enjoyed the fruits of our labors* as we waited for the cinnamon roll dough to rise.

*Bad pun.  I try not to use those too frequently, but this one was just too easy not to pass up.


Five zillion years ago, when I was first married, I prepped for Thanksgiving breakfast all by myself.

Back then there were less desserts, but I also had less time to make it all.  I think I like having so many helpers.

This was the year of the pies.  Growing up I was never a pie person.  My family only ever ate pumpkin or pecan pie and I only tolerated pumpkin pie and wrinkled my nose to pecan pie.

I know, foolish, foolish girl.

Today my favorite pie in the world is shoo fly pie* but I have willingly started to try pies which before I would profusely refuse.  I tried key lime pie for the first time last year and was shocked at how delicious it was and also a little upset that I had been missing out on it for so long.

*If you are ever in Lancaster, you must buy one from Dutch Haven and ONLY from Dutch Haven.  Do not be deceived by other shoo fly pies.  Dutch Haven's is the best.  The ONLY best.

I gave Hubby the choice of pies I would make and his decision was: Apple, Blueberry, Peach, Pumpkin with Rum, and Cherry.*

*I want everyone to note that without these pie additions, we would have been back at the original eight recipes.  This, friends, is how I spell love.



The blueberry pie recipe I chose had a picture attached which looked almost exactly like the one above.  Everyone I showed it to said the blueberries would never stay as beautifully placed as in the picture, but I proved them wrong!


You can't see it so well in this picture, but Hannah drew a turkey on my blueberry pie crust and I made the slits around it.  It's all about being creative with desserts.


The peach pie was a little messier than the blueberry, but not at all soupy like some pies end up being.  It was hubby's favorite.


I think thirteen desserts will have to be my limit*.  My table can't seem to handle anymore.

*You'll note, there are fourteen on the table.  My mom brought her awesome cheese pie which is basically home style cheesecake.  Yum! 


I think one day, when I live in the mansion of my dreams, I would like for Thanksgiving breakfast to be open to the public.  I feel like too many of my friends are missing out on pretty much the most awesome tradition ever established.


Did I mention we wear pajamas for Thanksgiving breakfast?

I mean, seriously, can it get better than lounging in your pajamas with friends and family while watching the Macy's Day Parade with a plate full of pie and pastries?

At least in my world, the answer to that question is no.


I certainly get my promptness from my parents.  They were the first guests, and as soon as the first guests arrive it is pretty much a free for all.  The desserts stay out all morning and guests can come and go as they please.

I also try to remind them that there is no judgement served as well as no calories at Thanksgiving breakfast.  I think this is important.  That way everyone can eat to their heart's delight.

The best dressed at breakfast was certainly Jonathan the Elf.  Smiling is his favorite, his favorite color is red, and his favorite pastime is singing loud for all to hear.

Jonny Elf

Do you have a most awesome family tradition that could compete with our Thanksgiving breakfast?  Post it in the comments section!

Monday, December 1, 2014

#162 He Gives Me Girl Time

Weekend I’d Forget
The worst thing about my life growing up was that I was an only girl.

Goodness, if life now could be as simple as it was then.

It turns out, I was made to be an only girl.  Even today I can only handle being around females for so long.  Boys are far less fussy, they tell it like it is, and they talk a lot less.  Plus, I never had to share my dress up clothes or Barbies with anyone but my friends.

Though I never had the sister I wanted as a child, as an adult I have been blessed with three sister-in-laws who I truly consider now as my sisters.

I wrote a little about them last year in this sibling overview.


Because of my recipe challenge on my other blog, this weekend I decided to host a girl's dinner just like Pioneer Woman did in one of the chapters of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  The idea to have the girls over was sparked more on the fact that the menu items were things that Hubby would have wrinkled his nose at.

I knew my sisters would better enjoy the varied menu of burgundy mushrooms, rosemary potatoes, olive cheese bread, wedge salad, roasted beef tenderloin, and crème brûlée .*

This was the first time my three sisters and I spent a meal together without any of the men around.  

I liked it.

We spent the night laughing, sharing stories, and eating delicious food.  They were overly sweet about the quality of my food despite the fact that the meat was rare (PW said it was okay though!) and the crème brûlée didn't set properly (the flavor was still incredible!).  

*Naturally, I'll be covering this in more detail over at The Orange Strainer.

I can't believe I waited so long to have a girl's night with my sisters.  I'm a creature of tradition, so I can't say for certain, but I feel like this is something I want to make happen on a yearly basis--at the very least.