Archive | August, 2014

Five Things Friday: Long Weekend

29 Aug

Happy happy Friday! For once this weekend felt like it went by pretty quickly which I’m sure means that the weekend is bound to go by even faster. Oh well, it was a good week and I feel like I was very productive, both at work and at home, which is always a good thing.

1. I have a four day weekend which is honestly the most amazing thing ever. I have a normal weekend and Labor Day off on Monday and then I’m just lucky enough that my regular week day off is on Tuesday. The even better news is that I have very little to do this weekend which means a lot of relaxation, cleaning, and time spent with my wonderful fiancée.

Eek! That makes me nervous!

Eek! That makes me nervous!

2. Tonight is the first UConn football game of the season! We have had season tickets pretty much forever and I am excited to get back into tailgating and I’m really hoping that our team is much better this year than last year. The weather is supposed to be amazing tonight so it will be great to be outside enjoying everything.

I can't wait for this!

I can’t wait for this!

3. This week’s meals have been all homemade and absolutely delicious. In an honest attempt to save money, I actually stuck to my meal plan for the week and we ate every meal at home. The highlight of the week was definitely Wednesday night when we made Peanut Butter Fingers’ BBQ Turkey meatloaf which was so yummy and also very filling.

I will put anything in a baked potato skin. This was an egg in one half and Amy's veggie chili in the other.

I will put anything in a baked potato skin. This was an egg in one half and Amy’s veggie chili in the other.

Meatloaf never looks pretty and I should have paired it with something other than blah cauliflower. But it was delish!

Meatloaf never looks pretty and I should have paired it with something other than blah cauliflower. But it was delish!

I'm seeing a theme here. That is an egg baked inside of a baked potato topped with bacon and cheese. YUM.

I’m seeing a theme here. That is an egg baked inside of a baked potato topped with bacon and cheese. YUM.

4. I also stuck to my plan of working out every single day as well. We have Natasha and Brian’s wedding coming up next weekend and I have been really trying my best to stick to a workout plan of getting in cardio and strength training at least 4 days a week. I’m taking today off because I’m very sore but I’m planning on dragging Dan out for a hike tomorrow morning (shh) since we haven’t gone on any this summer.

5. Speaking of Brian and Natasha’s wedding, I need to get a dress ASAP! I think that I’m going to try to get over to the mall on Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon to find the perfect dress. Now that there is a Windsor in our mall (aka my favorite ever), I’m hoping it will be a one and done and I will be able to find a dress there.

Ecards tell my life story.

Ecards tell my life story.

Alrighty, time to get ready for work! I hope everyone has a safe and fun Labor Day weekend!

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Marvelous Monday: Short But Sweet!

25 Aug

The weekends when I have to work barely feel like a weekend to me so I do really try my best to fit in ALL the fun. I was hindered slightly this weekend due to a sore throat that started on Saturday night but I didn’t let that hold me back too much.

Marvelous is… a four mile Saturday night walk with Dan. My workouts were limited this week due to a few late nights for softball so it felt really good to get outside and get some exercise. I didn’t think that we would end up going that far of a distance but I’m glad we did because I definitely enjoyed quite a bit of Whole Foods cheese when I got home. My throat started to hurt almost as soon as we got home so I went to bed very early.

082314 walk

Marvelous is… a very productive trip to the Coventry Regional Farmers Market yesterday morning. It was a perfect day to be outside soaking up the sun and it made me feel a lot better overall. Our haul included ground turkey from Ekonk Hill Turkey farm, corn, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and Pure Love blueberry pecan granola. I am obsessed with that granola and it was the last week of it for the season but the nice woman at the booth assured me that there were many amazing fall flavors coming out so I am looking forward to that. Rizzuto’s Restaurant & Bar was also there sampling a smoked salmon topped with a honey sauce with sautéed kale and swiss chard. This was so delicious and we have definitely added Rizzuto’s to our list of restaurants that we must visit.

So many people.

So many people.

Rizzuto’s food prep.

Gimme more please.

Gimme more please.

Marvelous is… a ferry ride over to Rocky Hill for lunch at Shad Row. It was both my first time on the ferry and at Shad Row and both experiences were wonderful. The ferry ride gave me another opportunity to seize summer weather while it lasts and the food at Shad Row was yummy. I had a Po Boy sandwich with a side of potato salad and both were very flavorful. I would really like to take another ferry ride before summer is over.

Fried amazingness. YUM.

Fried amazingness. YUM.

It felt like we were at the beach.

It felt like we were at the beach.

Marvelous is… a fresh and local home-cooked Sunday night dinner. We had a True Love farms pork steak from a previous farmer’s market trip and we also cooked up some corn on the cob as well as a cold green bean salad. I came up with the salad on my own by mixing steamed (but cold) green beans, halved grape tomatoes, minced garlic, goat cheese, olive oil, red wine vinegar and some salt and pepper. I could honestly put goat cheese on anything and everything but this salad was perfect as a summer side dish. The entire meal was excellent and I felt perfectly full after and not too stuffed. It was a great ending to a short but sweet weekend 🙂

Summer meals are my favorite.

Summer meals are my favorite.

Have a happy Monday!  

 

WIAW: Bonefish Grill

20 Aug

I can’t believe I’m posting two days in a row but I had to share with you guys the amazing dinner that Dan and I had at Bonefish Grill last night. We had a gift card and a coupon to use and we both LOVE Bonefish Grill so we decided to have a date night.

There was a 20 minute wait when we arrived but once we were seated, the service was wonderful. Our waitress brought out some amazing bread with olive oil and pesto to start. I only had one piece of the bread since I knew it would fill me up.

So simple but so delish

So simple but so delish

We ordered drinks next and Dan went with his old standby, Corona, while I wanted to try something new. On the recommendation of our waitress, I decided on the Fresh Watermelon Icicle Aphrodisiac martini which included hand-muddled watermelon, sour mix, and house-made cucumber vodka infusion. The best word that I can use to describe this martini is refreshing. It was perfect for a warm summer evening and it went down way too easily which is the sign of a great drink.

Watermelon everything please!

Watermelon everything please!

Before our arrival, we knew that we were going to have the Bang Bang shrimp as our appetizer. As you guys have seen, I made the healthier version of this dish a couple of weeks ago, but nothing can ever compare to the real thing. I don’t know how they do it, but this is probably the best style of shrimp that I have ever had.

I could have eaten five of these.

I could have eaten five of these.

It was extremely difficult to choose an entrée because there were so many great choices on the menu. I decided to go with one of the specials, Ahi Tuna Bellaire. This was a sizeable ahi tuna steak covered with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, and a lemon basil sauce. This obviously caught my eye because of the goat cheese and I can honestly say that I would have never thought to pair fish and goat cheese. It was melt in my mouth delicious and I will definitely be ordering ahi tuna more often. I also had a side of the vegetable of the day (squash) and mashed potatoes, of which I only had a little bit because I got full quickly. I had finished my martini rather quickly so I enjoyed a glass of Riesling with my dinner which complemented the food very well.

The portion sizes were perfect. Also, look at that goat cheese 😉

Dan chose the Lobster Grilled Cheese and boy I am SO glad he did. This isn’t something I would order myself since I am trying to stay on the healthier side of things these days but I was more than happy to try it. It was rich and filled to the brim with lobster and melty cheese. He had mixed greens on the side along with clam chowder which was also delicious.

Cheesy lobster amazingness

I am so glad we were able to visit Bonefish Grill and try so many things and I can’t wait to return again. The food is always great and the service had been superb every time we have been there.

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday!

Wordless Weekend: The Party Edition

19 Aug

Hi guys! This past weekend was crazy busy and filled to the max with parties (four of them to be exact) so I figured the best way to recap would be to share some snapshots from the weekend so you can get an idea of all of the things that we did.

I started off the weekend with some of this.

Some of the yummy eats from the softball party. I made the pasta salad!

Some of the yummy eats from the softball party. I made the pasta salad!

Saturday morning's breakfast: Lobster Benedict from Ken's Corner aka. amazing

Saturday morning’s breakfast: Lobster Benedict from Ken’s Corner aka. amazing

Just a small sample of the amazing food at Brian and Natasha's summer party. I made the bean salad in the yellow bowl.

Just a small sample of the amazing food at Brian and Natasha’s summer party. I made the bean salad in the yellow bowl.

She took my phone and took a bunch of selfies so I had to post one! Sorry Melis! :)

She took my phone and took a bunch of selfies so I had to post one! Sorry Melis! 🙂

Hanging out at Melissa’s birthday party on Sunday

Love this guy ;)

Love this guy 😉

Melissa’s mom lighting the cake for her!

I'm going to end it with my favorite pic: Melissa's Dad throwing her into the pool fully clothed!

I’m going to end it with my favorite pic: Melissa’s Dad throwing her into the pool fully clothed!

WIAW: Barcelona Wine Bar

13 Aug

Ok guys, so I think I was more excited to write this post than any other that I have written before. This past Saturday night I had the absolute pleasure of enjoying a meal at Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford, CT in celebration of Natasha’s bachelorette. I had great expectations of this restaurant based on Caitlin’s reviews but I was completely blown away by the entire experience.

Our group arrived and we were promptly escorted up to a private table in what I would describe as a “loft” overlooking the rest of the restaurant. The restaurant was absolutely beautiful and the private table really gave even more of a celebratory feel to our dinner. Prior to the meal, the individuals planning our dinner (aka. the awesome bridal party) had decided we would do a fixed price meal where we would be served nine different tapas along with red and white sangria and a family style dessert. I am going to be honest in that I didn’t get pictures of every dish so I am going to share with you some of my favorites.

All of the ladies at dinner

All of the ladies at dinner

The first thing that was brought out was Barcelona’s amazing bread with olive oil for dipping. I probably ate half a loaf myself just dipping it in all of the wonderful sauces that were in each dish.

I love carbs.

I love carbs.

One of my favorites were the jamon croquettes, which were little fried balls of ham and cheese. These were so rich and delicious and we all agreed that it would really be tough (on our stomachs) to eat more than one or two even though we all wanted a plate full of them.

The sauce on these was also exquisite.

I would have to say that my second favorite dish of the entire evening would have to be the whipped sheep’s cheese. OHMYGOD. I think I ate half of that serving dish. I’m pretty sure that this was my first experience with sheep’s cheese and it certainly will not be my last. It had a similar taste to goat cheese (which is my favorite) and it was so incredibly flavorful.

There are really no words for this.

There are really no words for this.

We also enjoyed a TON of calamari which was so fresh-tasting and not too salty as calamari can often be. Melissa, Daniela, and I definitely devoured a large portion of that dish and another one that was brought out as well.

The sheep's cheese was creepin on the calamari

The sheep’s cheese was creepin on the calamari

I really liked the variation in the different tapas that were brought out and I was really happy that some veggies were incorporated as well. The squash a la plancha was incredible and I would love to figure out how to replicate the sauce that it was sitting in. There is nothing better than fresh and local veggies combined with a unique sauce.

I love me some summer veggies

My absolute favorite dish of the evening literally made me scream in joy when the waiter brought it out. The truffled duck egg crostini incorporated all of my favorite foods into one amazing dish. It was an egg placed on top of a piece of crostini covered with a generous helping of what was either sheep’s cheese or goat cheese with some truffle flavoring included as well. The flavors were explosive and this has to be one of my favorite dishes of all time. It was rich and earthy and creamy and I can’t wait to go back and order this again (maybe more than once). I ate more than half of the portion that our side of the table was given (thank you ladies!)

This dish was everything and more.

Now, let us talk about dessert. When they said family style dessert, I was pictured a platter of different pastry-type desserts. We were completely blown away by the amazing assortment of desserts that was put before us. I loved the churros but my favorite was definitely the flan catalan which totally surprised me. I have had flan and didn’t really enjoy it due to the texture but this was completely different and now I’m thinking the flan that I have previously had was ALL wrong. It had a much smoother consistency and I could taste the rich caramel flavor. I would definitely order this again!

There were lots of oohs and ahhs when these platters came out.

This was one of the best meals I have ever enjoyed in a wonderful atmosphere with the best people 🙂 Our server Rob was so attentive and friendly and put up with all of our silliness. I can’t wait to visit Barcelona Wine Bar again and try more delicious tapas.

Marvelous Monday!

11 Aug

I would say that this past weekend flew by as it usually does but this one actually didn’t fly by. I made an honest effort to enjoy every single moment so that everything didn’t seem like such a blur. When I sit down to write these posts, I find that some weekends have been filled with so much stuff that I didn’t take much time to sit back and enjoy and think about how lucky I am to make such great memories. This weekend was definitely filled with SO many great memories.

so much marvelous!

so much marvelous!

Marvelous is… the 2nd Annual Patrick Crovo Memorial golf tournament. I didn’t golf but I was able to stop by for a couple of hours in the late morning/early afternoon to spend time with my family and to watch Dan, his dad, his brother Jay, and our friend Jon golf a few holes. It was a great time and although I wasn’t able to attend the lunch afterwards, Dan told me it was filled with laughs and fun with my family.

Dan's dad Phil, his brother Jay, and our friend Jon (photo credit: Dan)

Dan’s dad Phil, his brother Jay, and our friend Jon (photo credit: Dan)

Marvelous is… Natasha’s bachelorette celebration on Saturday! I had been looking forward to her celebration for a long time and it was truly a special day. We started the day off at Priam Vineyard in Colchester and enjoyed a wine tasting along with some wine outside and a ton of delicious snacks. It was a gorgeous day and it was so nice to be able to sit back and relax. We met up after the vineyard at Barcelona Wine Bar in West Hartford for dinner and this experience was unreal. We had a private table up in the balcony and everything from the atmosphere to the food and especially the people was absolutely amazing. I am going to write a full post about the meal on Wednesday because it was definitely a top five meal in my book and I can’t wait to share it with you guys! It was a wonderful day and I am SO lucky that I was able to attend and enjoy that time with Natasha.

ALL the wine 🙂

All of the ladies at dinner

All of the ladies at dinner

A few of us with the bride to be!

A few of us with the bride to be!

Marvelous is… a terrific Sunday Funday with Dan! I felt as though I had barely seen him all weekend due to being very busy so we set aside the entire day on Sunday to spend time together. We went out for a yummy sushi lunch at Sakura Garden and followed that up with a long motorcycle ride which was perfect on such a hot day. Dinner ended up being lobster, steamers, and scallops brought in from Maine by our friend Kevin’s cousin Tucker who has a lobster boat. I felt completely spoiled by the delicious food we enjoyed yesterday (no we don’t normally eat that well!). We ended the night with a 30 minute walk so I could get some sort of exercise in this weekend.

I can’t even.. so good

It was only appropriate to also drink out of my lobster cup

It was only appropriate to also drink out of my lobster cup

It was a great weekend and I am SO not looking forward to work today. Have a great Monday!

Five Things Friday!

8 Aug

Happy Friday once again! I don’t have too much time on my hands as it seems like I have a million things to do before work this morning but I’m excited to share my five things with you so lets go!

1. I have been enjoying the best summer meals this week. Monday night we had the pleasure of having Brian and Natasha over for a dinner of hot dogs, caprese salad, and pasta salad (made by Natasha). Everything was so delicious and I definitely went back for second helpings of both salads. It was my first time making caprese salad and I will definitely be making it again. On Wednesday night, Dan made his special Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. I have no idea how he makes them but boy were they AMAZING. We enjoyed those sandwiches with some homemade potato salad (again my first time making this) and a tomato and cucumber salad.

I see summer in this picture.

My fiancée is a keeper 😉

2. Tomorrow is going to be very busy but it will be filled with all the fun things. In the morning and early afternoon I will be at the Patrick Crovo Memorial golf tournament which is held in memory of my uncle Patrick who passed away from cancer in 2011. No, I will not be golfing (ha) but I am very happy to be able to spend time with my family 🙂 In the afternoon and evening I will be attending Natasha’s bachelorette! I am so blessed to be able to spend this day with her and I know it is going to be a blast.

3. My workouts lately have been extremely varied and that is just how I like them! I’m trying to not let my body get too used to one certain workout so I have been mixing it up as much as possible and I have found that seems to work because I’m still pretty sore on most days. For example, today I ran a mile on the treadmill, did about 10 minutes on the stairmaster, 15 minutes on the elliptical, and then finished up with about 5 minutes of quick weights. I don’t usually have that much variation but I woke up earlier today so I was able to do as much as possible.

Yes I’m still completely obsessed with this watch.

4. I have a new absurdly delicious foodie find, Lay’s Bacon Mac and Cheese potato chips. Now I am entirely aware that these sound disgusting and are completely unhealthy but I saw them in the store and had to try and I am SO glad I did. They taste almost exactly like Mac and Cheese with a nice hint of bacon. I try to limit myself to a handful every other day or so but that has definitely been very hard because they are crazy good.

I suggest you go out and buy these right now!

I suggest you go out and buy these right now!

5. I am apparently now completely obsessed with making a cheese plate for myself at least once a week. I have done this for the past few weeks or so on nights when Dan has fire department drills and I am loving it. I am usually able to make them at a low cost also since I go to the little basket at Whole Foods where they have the tiny little blocks of different kinds of cheese and each block is usually less then a dollar. This allows me to be able to try a few different kinds of cheese at less than five dollars total.

I was feeling artsy

It’s time for me to get ready for work! Have a great weekend!