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Friday Favorites: Trader Joe’s

13 Oct

Happy Friday! Fall is in the air this morning around here (the temperature when I went to the gym this morning was 36 degrees!) although it’s supposed to be warm again tomorrow. I’m really excited for fall this year and we will be attending Glastonbury’s Apple Harvest Festival tonight and possibly for a little while tomorrow which will be so much fun!

Today I’m sharing some new-to-me favorites from Trader Joe’s. I have definitely written about Trader Joe’s in the past but it has been quite a while since we have made the trek there to pick up some goodies. Trader Joe’s is great because their prices are phenomenal and they have such unique items, especially of the seasonal variety.

  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend 

Trader joes bagel seasoning

I have only used this stuff once so far but it is incredible. It is honestly all of the seasonings I use regularly mixed together. I would recommend putting it on everything, from chicken to fish to a bagel (obvious choice).

  • Frozen organic riced cauliflower 

Organic riced cauliflower

I haven’t tried this yet but I have made riced cauliflower in the past and I’m excited about how much easier this will be. I’m planning on making Skinnytaste’s skillet cauliflower arroz con pollo this coming week and I will be using this for that meal.

  • Fire roasted peppers and onions

Trader joes roasted peppers and onions

Another item that I haven’t tried just yet but I’m looking forward to the convenience factor of these as well. Chopping up veggies for fajitas takes an unnecessary amount of time and this will eliminate that.

  • Cookie Butter ice cream

trader joes cookie butter ice cream

So I probably just should have let Dan write about this one because it is probably one of his favorite foods in the entire world. I have been trying to limit my sugar intake so I have only stolen a few bites from him but this stuff is incredible and you need to go buy it ASAP.

  • Horseradish hummus

trader joes horseradish hummus

I have been on the search for years for a hummus that I actually enjoy. I think it must be the texture of the chickpeas all mashed up that I just can’t get on board with. I am a HUGE horseradish fan and this stuff is pretty darn good. In all honesty, I’m still not the biggest hummus fan even after trying this flavor but it definitely is improved with the addition of the horseradish.

  • New Zealand sharp cheddar cheese

trader joes cheese

Trader Joe’s has the most incredible cheese selection with prices that are really not too bad. I tend to pick up a different type of cheese each time we go just to try something new and this sharp cheddar is amazing. I’m not a huge dessert person so I will usually have a slice or two of a good cheese after dinner instead of sweets and this has hit the spot this week.

  • Cold Brew Coffee Chocolate Bar

trader joes cold brew chocolate bar

After I just finished preaching about my anti-dessert beliefs, I’m ending with sweets 🙂 I am a huge cold brew coffee fan so I had to try this. The coffee flavor isn’t super overpowering but it goes so well with the dark chocolate and the caramel filling. I will definitely be stocking up on these!

I hope you guys have a Trader Joe’s nearby so you can try some of these treats too! Have a fun, Fall-filled weekend!

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Fall Bucket List

8 Sep

Happy Friday! While this short week has seemed pretty long for me, I can’t even begin to imagine what others throughout the country are going through in places like Houston, Florida with the hurricanes and out West with the wild fires. You guys are all in my thoughts and prayers constantly.

I know that it isn’t officially fall yet but I’m just too darn excited for the new season to begin so today I wanted to go over a few things on my fall bucket list! Our friend Robbie recently texted us about how excited he was for fall because we always visit our favorite brewery this time of year and it had me brainstorming on all of the things I’m excited to do and enjoy.

  • Visit ALL of the fairs and festivals
Hebron Fair 2017

Yes, nearly all of my pictures are taken with Snapchat. Also, this baked potato was everything. 

Hebron Fair 2017 2

Dave won the “last chance” heat and got a trophy!

Okay so maybe not alllll of them because that would get quite costly, but at least our favorite ones. We went to the Hebron Harvest Fair last night and we are going again tonight to see one of our best friends participate in the demolition derby and figure eight derby. We will also be visiting the Big E several times as it is honestly one of my favorite places to be 🙂

  • Try some new-to-me foods and recipes
Apple seltzer

Picked this up to try, I will let you know how it is!

homemade pasta sauce

We made homemade pasta sauce this past weekend for the first time using this recipe

One of the reasons I am so excited for fall is because of the cozy and delicious foods that I love to cook each year. I have pinned countless new soup and casserole recipes to try over the coming months. My crock-pot will definitely be put to good use!

  • Make some new fall cocktails
pumpkin-beer.jpg

This beer is phenomenal and at over 8% alcohol, definitely does the trick 😉

I have seen so many yummy looking recipes for fall drinks, such as this one and this one, and I can’t wait to start sampling them myself. I also love this time of year for enjoying a nice glass of red wine, which always makes me feel nice and cozy.

  • Wear ALL of the fall fashion 

nordstrom shirt

I recently picked up this top from Nordstrom and I’m eyeing this dress from my favorite store, Old Navy. I love all things related to boots and scarves too!

There are many other things I have planned for fall so stay tuned and I will share, as time allows! I’m expecting work to be quite hectic in the coming weeks but I will when I can 🙂

Have a great weekend!

LDW 2017: Goodbye Summer!

6 Sep

Happy hump day! I hope the week is going by as fast for you as it is for me 🙂 Monday was excellent (aren’t all days off?) but yesterday was a bit of a pain as it was a very long day back at work and then I came outside to a dead car battery. It could have been worse so it’s all good. I figured a brief recap of my weekend would be a great way to kick off the week!

Friday: 

Friday Apps

lemon drop martini

I took the day off to turn my 3 day weekend into 4 days. I went to boot camp that morning and then ran errands. Alex came over later in the afternoon and ended up staying for apps and dinner before Dan and I headed out to the Diamond for drink. It was a really nice evening!

Saturday: 

El pollo guapo

Hooker Brewery Hartford

 

Bartaco night

With it being our first free Saturday in quite a while (and for the foreseeable future too) we decided to make it a spontaneous day. We had lunch at El Pollo Guapo with our friend Nick, who just started college. If you haven’t tried El Pollo Guapo and you are local, head there ASAP, it is incredible and the owners are the absolute best. The rest of the day/night was spent with Tyler & Shivani at Back East Brewery, Hooker Brewery, and then out and about in West Hartford. It was a perfectly unplanned Saturday.

Sunday: 

Sunday at lake

It was gloomy and rainy for most of the day. We headed up to the lake to see Dan’s parents. After a delicious lunch, we decided to take a trip to Walmart with Dan’s mom and then we also stopped at an awesome package store up near where they live and I picked up some bottles of wine (at a very low price) that I can’t wait to try. We headed home and spent the rest of the night parked on the couch and it was glorious.

Monday:

Hike with Dan and Charlie

Hike pic
Monday was a wonderful mix of fun and productivity. We started the day with a hike to the reservoir with Charlie. After that, we came home and got sh*t done! There was meal-prepping, closet-cleaning, yard work, and laundry. We also used all of our CSA tomatoes to make some jarred pasta sauce which I’m really excited about! It was such a productive afternoon and it felt amazing to plop down on the couch that evening.

It was a great weekend and I’m looking forward to all of the fall things to begin, starting with the Hebron Fair this weekend. Have a great rest of your week!

WIAW: Definition of Summer

12 Jul

Happy Wednesday! I feel like I say that at the beginning of every post but a day when I have some time to blog is a happy day 🙂 Today I’m sharing a smorgasbord of different meals and drinks that I have enjoyed so far this summer. Between our fantastic CSA (which I plan to cover in a future post) and farmers market trips, we have definitely been embracing summer foods.

Maggie mcflys tuna salad

Quite possibly one of my favorite salads ever, the Ahi Tuna salad from Maggie McFly’s 

Cheese plate bday

I had to show off my favorite lobster cutting board. This cheese plate is from my birthday celebration 🙂

birthday cake 2017

Alex made me this wonderful birthday cake too!

engagement party chipotle

Dan’s cousins engagement party was catered by Chipotle which is the best idea ever

Stony creek beer

We visited Stony Creek Brewery on my birthday and it was the perfect day!

birthday lobster

My birthday dinner request was a lobster roll so Dan bought a few lobsters and made them for us!

Apps brian and natasha

This past Friday we had Brian and Natasha over for dinner. We enjoyed fresh salsa from Fairweather Acres along with homemade guac and some cheese and crackers. I love me some apps!

Caprese salad

I also made a caprese salad with tomatoes from our CSA, fresh mozz, and basil from our garden

brian and natasha dinner

Our dinner included a little bit of everything: grilled chicken, steak, kielbasa, potatoes, squash, broccoli, and the caprese salad

buffalo chicken wrap

Dan had a prior commitment on Monday night so I was on my own for dinner. I made Brittany’s buffalo chicken wrap along with a salad consisting of tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh mozz, and basil.  

burrito bowl

Dan had another meeting last night so I made myself a burrito bowl with quinoa, chicken, black beans, corn, avocado, green onion, salsa, and plain greek yogurt. It was delish!

That’s all for today folks! I’m ready to tackle the rest of this week and relax as much as possible this weekend 🙂 Have a great rest of the week!

Five Things Friday: Summer Lovin’

23 Jun

Happy happy Friday! I feel like this week dragged on a bit but that might be because we have very few plans this weekend and I’m so pumped to just relax with the hubby! It was definitely a busy week and I have a huge piled of unfolded laundry calling my name this evening (ugh). I figured I would share five random thoughts from the past week (or two).

  • We signed up for our first CSA with Fair Weather Acres farm and our first pickup was this past Sunday. We received so many fresh and delicious veggies which allowed us to be a bit more creative with our cooking this week. Our box included: 2 lbs of spinach, 1 head of lettuce, 1 quart of strawberries, 1 bunch of swiss chard, 1 bunch of radishes, 1 head of broccoli, garlic scapes, and bok choy. I loved everything included but I think my favorite were the strawberries and the garlic scapes. We made two new recipes with some of the veggies we received, a garlic scape and spinach frittata as well as swiss chard and garlic scape pasta. Both were yummy!

frittata

swiss chard and garlic scape pasta

  • My cousin Daniel graduated from high school on Tuesday and we were fortunate enough to be able to attend. He gave a speech during the ceremony which obviously had everyone in our family in tears. We went out for a wonderful dinner at Bertucci’s after too. It was a great evening!

Daniel graduation

  • Last Saturday went down as one of the top five days of this year for me so far. Natasha, Jenna, and I attended our friend Miko’s bridal shower which was SO much fun. We were nonstop laughing the entire time due to the very creative and hilarious games that her bridal party had planned. After the shower, Jenna and I met up with the boys in Granby at Lost Acres Vineyard where we enjoyed some wine and a fantastic cheese plate. After that we ventured over to Brignole Vineyards, also in Granby, and had a really fun wine tasting (the guy giving our tasting was hilarious) and some fabulous sangria. All of that wine meant for an early evening catnap but we managed to rally and make it out for our friend Kevin’s birthday. It was truly an amazing day!

Miko's bridal shower

Lost Acres cheese and wine

  • Salads have been my jam lately. Ever since returning from our cruise, I have been craving salads and fresh veggies ALL the time. I have particularly been enjoying my current lunch salad which includes strawberries and goat cheese which is such a fantastic combo. If you haven’t tried it, you should!
Firehouse Subs salad

First salad from Firehouse Subs, sooo good!

chicken fajita salad

The chicken was way too spicy, even for me! Less chili powder next time for sure 

Strawberry goat cheese salad

  • Father’s Day was filled with so much delicious food and lots of sunshine. We treated my Dad to lobster rolls at Jessica’s Garden in Marlborough (highly recommend!) and then we visited Dan’s parents for dinner at their new lake house in Ashford. It was a wonderful end to a great weekend!

jessicas garden lobster roll

Father's day 2017 1

Life has been pretty great lately but I am excited to have very few plans on the radar this weekend. There is a bottle of Rosé and some grilling on the agenda and that’s the way I like my summer weekends!

Market Place Kitchen & Bar – Avon, CT

17 May

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a blogger event at Market Place Kitchen & Bar in Avon, CT. I hadn’t attended an event in a while due to being crazy busy (hence the slight delay on this post as well) so I jumped at the chance to try out this new restaurant.

Market Place Kitchen & Bar describes themselves as a “Modern American restaurant” and they also have locations in Woodbury and Danbury, CT as well as a location at Mount Snow in Vermont. They put their emphasis on using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible which also allows Executive Chef Roy Kalil to be very creative with his dishes.

Marketplace 1

How pretty is that drink? Pictured: The Parisian cocktail and an Ahi Tuna Tartare Philo Cup

Marketplace 6

Executive Chef Roy provided some great info about the goals of Market Place as a restaurant

We enjoyed several of those creative dishes throughout the event, including croquettes, philo cups, deviled eggs, and watermelon kabobs. I will let the photos speak for themselves as everything was incredibly delicious and I really can’t even put into words how fresh each dish was. If I had a choose a favorite, I would say the smoked salmon deviled eggs, but are you really surprised by that?

marketplace 2

Ahi Tuna Tartare Philo Cups

Marketplace 4

Watermelon Kabobs with goat feta cheese and fresh mint

Marketplace 5

Smoked salmon deviled eggs

Marketplace 11

Wild Mushroom Risotto Croquettes

In addition to the food we tasted, we were also provided with three different cocktails to try. Each drink was so unique but my favorite was the frozen Moscow mule which was incidentally my first ever Moscow mule. It was refreshing and so smooth and would be perfect on a sweltering day like today.

Marketplace 7

New Age Margarita with salt foam which is my new favorite thing in the world 😉

Marketplace 8

Frozen Moscow Mule.. I could really go for one of these right now

We also had the pleasure of enjoying a mixology demonstration by one of the bartenders which was so much fun. They clearly take great pride in their cocktails and that was evident by the amount of effort that went into each drink that she prepared.

Marketplace 10

Working her magic!

 

Marketplace 9

MP Manhattan – looks so tasty!

The atmosphere and decor at Market Place is absolute perfection. I was in love with the wall of wine bottles and the beautiful wood that was used throughout the restaurant.

Marketplace 3

I want this in my house. 

Dan and I both walked out of the event exclaiming that we cannot wait to return. The vibe is new and fresh with food that is unique and delicious.

Note: All food and drinks were provided at no cost. As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday Coffee Date # 2

24 Apr

Happy Monday! I haven’t done one of these in quite a while and my thoughts are pretty random today so I figured it was the perfect day for a coffee date! I also have coffee on the brain since I decided to buy a big bag of the Pecan Turtle coffee from my favorite spot, Daybreak, and last night we brewed a big batch of iced coffee for the week. I hope you all had a great weekend and that you had some sunshine for at least part of it like we did.

daybreak iced coffee homemade

If we were having a coffee date, I would tell you… grilling season has officially begun and I’m loving it! We had cheeseburgers last weekend and steak on another night last week. I feel like I’ve been in somewhat of a meal planning rut and being able to grill again will definitely help get me out of that.

first burger 2017

steak dinner 2

If we were having a coffee date, I would tell you… sunshine is everything to me right now. As corny as it sounds, I am just loving the beautiful days when we have them. Saturday was kind of gloomy but we still spent it outside at Olde Burnside Brewery with a group of friends followed by dinner and a movie at our house. It was a perfect day!

burnside brewery

This is most definitely true.

If we were having a coffee date, I would tell you… active rest days are my jam. I made it to boot camp four times last week and I was feeling a bit tired and in need of rest. I took Saturday completely off and yesterday I thought about going to boot camp but I decided to go for a long walk around the center of town. It was just what I needed and I feel very well rested today but not like I spent all weekend lounging around. I also enjoyed my first homemade smoothie of the season which was refreshing and fueled my long walk well.

Smoothie

sunny day walk

sunday walk

Slow and steady wins the race 😉

If we were having a coffee date, I would tell you… I do not have a green thumb but I’m thankful that my husband does 🙂 A month or so ago, I planted a bunch of seeds indoors and yesterday, Dan transplanted them outside. I helped with the cleanup of some of the bushes and did some raking but he knew the best way to plant the plants themselves. Thanks hubby!

beer and gardening

You can’t garden without enjoying a beer, am I right? 😉

If we were having a coffee date, I would tell you… I killed it on the grocery shopping front this week. I had a bunch of coupons and there were some great deals. I usually don’t buy much meat as it can get expensive but with such good deals, I was able to stock up on a bunch of different things. I rewarded myself with a sub from Subway for which I also had a coupon! #winning

all the meat

subway lunch

That’s all for today! I hope you all have a wonderful start to your week 🙂

Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Do you enjoy gardening?