Multiple Birthdays

My birthdays are the best. I pluralize it since I usually try to ensure that it is several days/meals long.

I had to work on my birthday. I know, bummer. I knew it was coming so at least I could mentally prepare. To work’s defense, my birthday did fall on a Saturday this year. I’m just a baby and consider my birthday to be a national holiday. (It is a holiday in Japan! Doll Day!)
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I came home from work and Mr. J’s presents began! He designed my business cards! Woohoo! Wait till you see ‘em…they’re amazing. He also planned, shopped, and was ready to blog dinner. AND THEN he made dessert. All before we left on our date! He’s the best. For dinner we had pork with a balsamic strawberry topping over wilted spinach. Ohh so good. Then he made molten lava cakes! What a keeper. Stay tuned for his post.

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The next night I had my family birthday at my parents house with my parents, Sis, Gram, and Mr. J. Usually I request Coq au Vin, but since I got Mum’s recipe I have to make it myself.

We had pork stuffed with boursin and apricots. It was funny they each thought of pork for me. Love those pigs. Unfortunately the pictures are MIA :-(

At work, Ms. K made me a pirate themed ice cream cake. Yay! I had a pirate hat and everyone else had eye patches. I’m pretty psycho at work right now so there wasn’t much time to celebrate but the cake was delicious. She remembered that a) I love pirates and b) that ice cream cake is my fav!

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In an effort to extend my birthday celebrations (and to be reasonable in not trying to host after working all day) I celebrated my birthday again the next weekend. If last year was any indication there are a lot of photos so hold tight. Just you wait for the theme.


Multiple Christmas Dinners

Christmas probably seems like a long time ago for you, but for Mr. J and I, it was a whirlwind and feels like it just happened. We really tried not to wish Christmas away while awaiting our closing date and moving day. Christmas is a multi-day, multi-state, multi-family celebration for Mr. J and me. We coordinate our travel plans to spend time with his family in Maine and with my family in Greater Boston. It’s so fun, quite tiring, and there’s many meals. Here’s my recap of how those days were enjoyed through the meals.

At my family’s holiday, we are all about the traditional foods year after year. Apparently we cannot (or will not) break a few of these food traditions. On Christmas eve the R family has soup (clam chowder)
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My dad madee an amazing antipasto salad. He’s not really the cook in our family so we were impressed!
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My mum made the cutest cheese ball I’ve ever seen.
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On Christmas morning, we have coffee and a cheesecake-like coffee cake while we start gifts. It had apricot jelly and almonds on it.
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During a gift break, we have brunch with this casserole assembled the night before. It has rice, ham, cheese, eggs, and asparagus. It’s creamy and delicious.
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Christmas dinner was a surprise this year. Turducken! I was sooo excited to try it. We weren’t overly impressed and I think their suggested cooking time was way too much.
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We weren’t sure it would feed the 7 adults attending so we had a few heftier sides like this awesome shrimp dish (just shrimp, butter, and ritz).
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We had a Yule Log since it’s Dad’s favorite.
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In Maine Mrs. S recreated my failed apple bacon stuffed French toast. Amazing. It was so thick, sticky, and had plenty of crunchy bacon. I loved it and I knew somebody else could do it right.
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For lunch/dinner we had a cool ramen and cabbage salad. I’ve never had one with grapes and I loved it.
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We had some crockpot dishes that were good for feasting throughout the afternoon. The turkey meatballs we delicious.
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I wish I got a shot of the cake balls. I mean I ate enough of them there really wasn’t an excuse not to get a photo.

Christmas was really fun and we are always so grateful to make it to both families.

Just Like The Terminator

…I’ll be back. I need a bit more time since I am settling into my new home. We JUST got internet and cable and have made our way through the boxes. Work is nutty and post-holiday craziness is subsiding, so we’re getting there!

I have some exciting tidbits for you, when I do come back. Here are some morsels you can salivate over until I return in full force:

  • a google-hosted mac & cheese tasting: 5 mac and cheeses…count ‘em
  • 2 amazing Christmases
  • maybe some resolutions for the new year
  • a tour of my dare-I-say amazing kitchen (complete with new-to-us but from-the-wedding gifts!)
  • a cookie swap at one of Boston’s best bakeries
  • pumpkin pasta
  • tomato zucchini risotto
  • etc etc etc

See ya soon!

Movin’ On Up!

It sure is a Happy New Year! The time has come. Mr. J and I are moving to our dream home! We are beyond excited and it feels like a long time coming. The house hunt wasn’t that long, but the buying process was much more involved than House Hunters lead us to believe.
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Our house is fantastic. The kitchen is TO. DIE. FOR. I’m not even just comparing it to my horrendous apartment kitchen. I have more cabinets than I know what to do with but I’m sure willing to try! No more broken tiled floor in the kitchen! No more tiny cabinets! We have windows in the kitchen! We have stone counter tops! We have so much space!

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Mr. J is sooo excited to grill and the pup has never had a yard! Needless to say we’re in moving and homeownership bliss. We are sad to leave some really fun restaurants and we’ve loved living so close to friends, fun city happenings, hockey leagues etc. It is just time and we’ve been ready for awhile.

I’ll be back in full force soon after I break in this perfect Christmas present! Hang tight while I unpack, get internet, and swoon over my house…you know, the important things. Leave your suggestions about what I should cook now that I have all the room in the world!

Wedding Treats

My wedding day is finally here! I can’t believe it is time! Tomorrow Mr. J and I will be married and we’re super excited. The planning process has been pretty smooth and easy. I can’t wait! This time last year we were in NYC for a weekend getaway when Mr. J surprised me and proposed.
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Cake wasn’t something I cared about…I was thinking of some cake alternatives but Mr. J wanted a cake so we’ll have cake. The tastings were pretty crazy. They bring out huge spreads of cake choices or filling to try. It was fun to taste ‘em and I’m sure everyone will enjoy our cake. I don’t usually eat cake at weddings but I’ll be sure to report back. I wanted to eat the decorated strawberries above but we weren’t sure how long they’d been there, or if they were just decoration.
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Think sweet thoughts for us!

Show Us Your Fluff

Did you grow up eating fluff? I love it. I looooove peanut butter (low fat & extra crunchy, preferably) and it just goes so well with fluff. About a year and a half ago, I brought the makings for pb&f at work. My then-colleague, Mrs. E, grew up in Ireland and just thought it was the strangest thing. Yum. My childhood memories include fluff topping cocoa too.

My blog pal from Wicked Good Travel & Acticities has a give away I’m psyched to share with you. You may remember her blog from my guest post. I’ve been busy eating, cooking, toying with my new camera, swapping, restaurant-weeking, and final wedding detailing. I have lots to catch you up on, but in the meantime, please enjoy some fluff.

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image courtesy of Union Square Main Streets

Are you a fan of Marshmallow Fluff? Does it remind you of childhood memories of having the perfect combination of a Fluffernutter, do you dream about it swirled into Nutella for a delectable, chocolate, “fluffy” delight?

If you said ‘yes’ then you are in luck! On September 24thUnion Square Main Streets is holding their Sixth Annual “What the Fluff” festival to honor the creamy delight. They’ll have food, games, entertainment, even a celebrity appearance by Susan Olsen, or ‘Cindy’, from the Brady Bunch. And there’s still time to enter the Fluff cooking contest,which boasts some top prizes, including a tour of the factory (a rare treat)!

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Photo Courtesy of Fluff 2010 by Julie Polvinen

To celebrate the local blog, Wicked Good Travel & Activities, is holding a giveaway contest. Just go over to Wicked Good Travel & Activities between August 31stand September 12th and leave a brief comment here in the form of creative recipes, prose, poetry, and more- all expressing your love for Marshmallow Fluff. Two winners will be chosen, so give us your best! One will receive a Fluff tote bag and the other will receive free studio classes at The Training Room. All winners will also be featured on Wicked Good Travel & Activities, Somerville Patch, and Union Square Main Streets.

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Photo Courtesy of Wicked Good Travel & Activities

So, what the fluff are you waiting for? Enter the contest and SHOW US YOUR FLUFF!

Hurricane Preparedness

In an effort to prepare for Hurricane Irene…I got a new camera!
camera_box_590_390 Well, actually it was a gift but now I’m all charged up and ready to shoot lots of meals using only canned goods. Just kidding!

camera_case_590_390 I’m very excited. This is actually camera #2. #1 didn’t stick around long because the flash had issues (luckily within the no-restocking-fee time period). I have lots ‘o posts to do before you actually see this camera in action, but you will. Think how amazing the food will look when I’m in Italy & Spain with a fancy schmancy new camera? Sorry, I just had to get that in. I am just so excited and I just wrapped up the final travel plans.

In all seriousness, I hope everyone is a-OK while Irene wreaks havoc on the east coast.

A Sweet Bite

Just writing about gelato makes me want some…especially in this heat. While I was working in San Francisco recently, my colleagues in the local office shared a super fun treat with all of us: Gelato on a stick!
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I just learned that the only difference between gelato and ice cream is the butterfat content. It was a perfect treat while we were working (and enjoying) the sun. I really love San Fran and know that we’ll always be treated fantastic meals.
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It is definitely the best Italian dessert. Mr. J and I also just booked our honeymoon to Italy & Spain so I’ll be sure to report back about the gelato in my future. Also you have some other food-on-a-stick to look forward to coming up!

Father’s Day

I have such a wonderful father and I hope he is having a terrific day even though his daughters are off on vacation right now. Sis and I are off to the bahamas but I wanted to take a minute to celebrate my Dad. He’s so caring, strong, and such a great support to me. I’m very lucky to have him.

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photo photo courtesy of Sideral via Creative Commons


He’s not where I learned any cooking tips from though…dill and parmesan cheese are his favorite additions to everything! He makes great Mac & Cheese from a box and AMAZING omelettes. If you’re ever lucky enough to have my dad offer you an omelette, you take it.

Here’s to you Dad!

Mother’s Day

For some reason at this point of my life, Mother’s Day brings me to tears. I am so lucky to have the best mother ever. I realize more and more how much my mother means to me. Mother’s Day makes me misty eyed because she’s happy when her daughters are happy. One of her favorite sayings when times are tough is, “a mother is only as happy as her saddest child.” We have all been very lately and I’m glad to celebrate her since she so often celebrates us.

I work at an organization whose event participants celebrate the women in their lives and I just wish I could celebrate my amazing mother everyday. I’m very lucky, and I cherish my mother.

Plus, does your mom make Chocolate Ring of Coconut Fudge Cake?

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Love you Mum!