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Which came first

The chicken or the egg? I don’t really know the answer to this, but I’d like to think it was the egg. Mainly because this is one of my favorite foods, after french fries of course. I can eat eggs for breakfast, for dinner, green, poached, scrambled, in any way at any time. My favorite, by far, is Eggs Benedict. Preferably with a mimosa, a side of hast browns, and at noon on a Sunday in the city with my best girl Rebecca. Can I have this every Sunday please?

If it is not for brunch, or even breakfast for that matter, this is my favorite way to prepare my eggs for dinner. I like to start with a bed of lettuce. The I fry up some onions and red peppers, or whatever vegetable I have on me with some basil and oregano. Then, fry up one egg, and throw it on top of the lettuce and sauteed veggies. This is a great gluten free and healthier alternative to having an egg over a piece of bread. Mopping up my yolk with lettuce may sound strange, but it is one of the best things ever. Trust me on this one!

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Holy Moly Shepherd’s Pie

All Winter I wanted to take my first attempt at a Shepherds Pie. I never got around to it until now (yes, I know it is Spring now), and I am glad that I did! After work today I was rushing around like a mad woman getting my errands done. I would usually have gotten those done on the weekend but I was in New York visiting friends and celebrating birthdays and just having too much fun to think about my adult things. Today I got out of work at a decent time and I was able to do laundry, go grocery shopping, clean, work out, and make my huge Shepherd’s Pie. And I still have time to write this blog post and relax a bit! Oof! I love feeling productive on a Monday, it really makes me feel good about the week ahead.

With this being my first attempt at this dish, the only thing that I would have changed was I would have put some Worcestershire sauce in with either my potatoes or my ground turkey and vegetable mixture. It just lacked a bit of flavor that I think the Worcestershire sauce would have cured. In the end, this is true comfort food at it’s finest and this was exactly what I needed to make after a really tough week. What is your favorite comfort food?

Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

2 russet potatoes
1 pound of ground turkey
1 white onion
1 bag of frozen peas and carrots (I used a mixture that also had green beans, corn, and lima beans in it. What ever your preference is, use it!)
1 1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of light sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp of dried rosemary

Preheat the oven to 400º

While the oven is preheating prepare the pie! Start by cutting your potatoes and throwing them in to a pot of boiling water. Cook your potatoes until soft. Drain the water and mash your potatoes in a bowl with 1 tbsp of butter, your sour cream, dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the remaining tbsp of butter in a large skillet. Put in onions until translucent. Add in your frozen veggies and cook until tender. Add in chicken stock and your ground turkey. Cook until your turkey meat is browned.

In a large 13″x9″ glass dish spoon in your turkey and vegetable mixture and then top with your mashed potatoes. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes and then enjoy!

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Atlanta

The day had to come when I got back on the plane to go home. Atlanta was an amazing, but way too short, of a trip. It was great to see my best friend, talk and laugh about almost nothing all the time, eat good food, be around good people, nap during the day, hang in the park with Sid, and just getting out and having a great time. Writing about my trip is seeming to be a bit difficult because it was such a lovely 5 days that I can’t even put them in to words. I will go day by day because that is the easiest way for me to separate the days and the food and the adventures.

Wednesday
Wednesday I got to Atlanta around 2pm and tracked down Angel at the baggage claim. It was SO good to see her. I haven’t seen her since last December, and going that long without seeing you best friend can do crazy things to a girl, I’ll tell ya. Angel drove me around a lot of Atlanta to get a good feel of it, she showed me where she worked, and then we went back to her place to get ready for our luxurious adult meal.

We arrived at the Woodfire Grill at 8pm and as we were being seated I instantly spotted Kevin Gillespie behind the grill. I am such a fan girl! When Angel made the reservation she had mentioned both of our dietary restrictions. I am gluten free and she, after being a vegetarian for almost 6 years now, has started to eat poultry. So no gluten for me and no red meat for her. They were so accommodative, it was such a pleasurable experience. We went forth with the 5 course meal, and I could not have made a better decision. The lighting in the the Woodfire Grill was quite dark, and I got way ahead of myself and my stomach and didn’t manage to take all of the pictures I wanted to, but this is as good as it is going to get.

Amuse.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Compressed celery root. Lemon marinated raisins. Pecan aioli. Micro celery.

First course.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Olive oil poached Florida Rock Shrimp. First of the season snap beans. Roasted golden beets. Lemon emulsion. Spring onions. Sweet pea tendrils.

Second course.

Pan roasted diver Scallop. Crispy red potatoes. Local arugula. Spicy tomate frito.

Taste.
(No picture because it was way too blurry)
Chilled potato soup. Crispy country ham. Chives.

Third course.

First of the season English pea and carnaroli risotto.

Fourth course.

Wood grilled grass-fed Colorado bison. Roasted red potatoes. Turnips. Sunchokes. Maple sweet potato puree. Smoky greens. Sage butter.

Dessert.
(No picture because I got too excited and ate it before I could take a picture)
Vanilla bavarian. Strawberry water. Strawberry rose sorbet. Pistachio brittle.

I can not tell you how good this meal was. I’ve been dreaming of it since the night we had it. My favorite part of the meal was the Main course, the Bison. I have never had Bison before and it was just so soft and the sweet potato puree accompanied it so well. After our meal, I had to ask to get a picture with Kevin. He was such a sweet heart about taking a picture with us and even chatted with us a bit before finishing up his night.

Thursday
Thursday was gorgeous outside. It was sunny and around the high 70’s. We decided to go eat at The Flying Biscuit before heading to the park with Sid, Angels dog. I got the Eggstra-Ordinary Breakfast which was two eggs my way (scrambled, please!), with creamy grits, “moon-dusted” potatoes, and a biscuit. This was my very first biscuit and I was not that satisfied with it. It was just too dry for my likings. Angel got the Turkey Hash that came with potatoes and two eggs topped with cheddar cheese. Sadly, this did not sit well with my luv and she got some mild food poisoning from it. Dang you Flying Biscuit!

Despite her tummy we headed over to Piedmont Park with Sid. We took some cards, some hard cider, and a bag of candy with us. The park was gorgeous and it was nice to be able to enjoy the sun since there hasn’t been any of it in Connecticut yet!

After a quick nap to rest up our stomaches, we headed to 97 Astoria for Fried Pickles and couple of Yuenglings. After that we headed out to a bar to meet up with some of her friends, which I forget the name of, but the night life there was great! It was super young and the bars all stayed open until 3am which is a huge change from them closing at 1am here.

Friday
Friday morning neither of us were too hungry considering the day and night that we had. We decided to head to The Dekalb Farmers Market to grab some Gin-Gins to soothe the stomach, Almonds, Bananas, and Apples for our hike up Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain was a nice 30 minute hike up to the top up, literally, stone! It was gorgeous at the peak of the mountain where you could see all of Atlanta.


After our hike we headed to Alon’s Bakery to grab some food, and desserts, to go. I got the Tuna Nicoise Salad and Angel got a Chicken Ceasar Salad.

My Tuna Nicoise Salad was a bed of mixed field greens with haricots verts, poached farmhouse eggs, house-made saffron poached potatoes, caperberries, tuna and nicoise olives dressed in an aged Sherry vinaigrette. I have not had such an amazing salad in a long time. I’m used to plain salads with no substance and this filled me right up after our hike. We also got some sweet treats, of course! Angel got a fruit tart and a key lime pie, and I got pistachio macaroons and a raspberry chocolate mousse cake.

After our lunch we relaxed a bit before heading to Yeah! Burger to pick up some take out. Not only do I love their identity design but all of the people who were working there were great and the food was amazing. The had gluten free buns and fries too! Two burgers and two shakes to go and we were on our way to the Starlight Six Drive-In. We saw Rango, and I was actually really surprised at how good the movie was! I love animation for it’s art, and Rango delivered on that plus the wit, the charm, and the humor. It was also nice to be able to sit in a car, eat food, laugh, and just enjoy some relaxing with your best friend with the windows down in some good weather.

Saturday
Saturday morning we headed to brunch for some mimosas, grits, biscuits, and a cute atmosphere. We found that at Treehouse . Half of the building, if the weather had been good, was outside. Since it was sprinkling that day it was covered, but the restaurant was built around trees which was awesome for the decor. I got Salmon Benedict, which is one of my favorite brunch orders. Angel got a plethora of different small bites including the best biscuits I had while I was in Atlanta. They were soft and warm and with some honey on top they were exactly what I wanted, and everything that I knew a biscuit could be.

After brunch we headed to the Georgia Aquarium. I love aquariums no matter how big or small, but the Georgia Aquarium was something else. What I was most amazed by was their 6.3 million gallon tank! I could have sat there and watched that tank for days.

Other exhibits that I always enjoy at aquariums are the seahorses, and the jelly fish. Their colors are both gorgeous.

When we were leaving the aquarium it started to downpour. Apparently the storms in Atlanta have been at their worst in a long time lately. We decided to head out to a vegetarian restaurant called Green Sprout for my first taste of bubble tea! While we were there we realized we were pretty hungry and also grabbed an order of the Fish Fillets.

I got a mango bubble tea and Angel got the coconut. While I was so turned off by the texture of the tapioca balls at first, I have to say that I really enjoyed the bubble tea! Now I get what this craze is all about. Hopefully, I can find a great place in Connecticut that serves it as well. Since it was started pouring even more when we left Green Sprout, and I had stepped in a puddle so big at Publix with my flats that they were completely soaked, we decided to stay in for the night. We grabbed some drinks, some treats, and worked on a puzzle and watched Fantastic Mr.Fox for the rest of the night.

Sunday
My last day in Atlanta was a sad, sad day. We started out by heading to West Egg. West Egg was another restaurant with an amazing identity. The way they stored their coffee and tea supplies in a library book case, the greys and burnt orange painted walls, the glass jugs of water on the tables, the menu design, it all just fit and worked so well together. West Egg was by far my favorite restaurant to be in because it just felt comfortable and homey. I got the Peachtree Plate. This had two poached eggs, pimento cheese grits, brown sugar bacon, fried green tomatoes, and a biscuit. The fried green tomatoes were coated in corn meal and were perfection. I only got two slices but I could have eaten a full plate. Angel got the Ham and Brie sandwich that had a tomato jam and was served on a french bread.

After brunch we headed to Liberty Tattoo to get our matching tattoos that we had been planning on getting for a while now. Angel and I have been friends since high school and meeting her has sincerely changed my life. She is my rock, she is always there for me, and I am always here for her. We decided, after a few different ideas, to get a little bow knot on each our wrists.

I could not be any happier with the way these turned out! They’re so simple yet signify so much to both of us and I am so glad that we decided to get them done while I was visiting. After getting our tattoos, we decided that we needed to look at some vintage shops. The one that I really loved was Kudzu. It was set up so nicely, divided by sellers, and each little set was designed by them. It was mostly housewares and little trinkets. I wish I could have bought some things! The big yellow lamps, which I have been looking for the perfect one for my new place, were taunting me! There were so many, and yet I could not have them.

After Kudzu, both Angel and I had a kick for something sweet. We tried to go to Chic-Fil-A to get a Banana Pudding milkshake but quickly realized that they were closed on Sundays! BOO! Next time I will have my shake. Instead of shakes, we headed to Yofuria, which is a self serve frozen yogurt bar. My favorite!

I like a lot of fresh fruit, shredded coconut, and gummy bears on my frozen yogurt. Yoforia definitely hit the spot for my sweet tooth! After Yoforia we relaxed a bit and decided that our last dinner had to be spent at The Vortex in Little 5 points.

Yet another restuarant that I fully enjoyed the feel of. From the witty menu write ups to the decor, The Vortex was the perfect last meal for Angel and I. I finally got to try Atlanta’s brew, Sweetwater, and stuff my face with more burgers and fries. I got the Black and Spicy burger with sweet potato fries and Angel got a classic Cheeseburger. After a long day of eating and tattoos and vintage shopping, we turned in early so that we could wake up early so that I could catch my flight in the morning.

 

All in all my trip was amazing and I am so glad that I finally took the chance and traveled alone. I had such a great time with Angel, and such a fun time enjoying a city that I have never been to. Not only was the weather great, and the people great, but the food was great as well. We all know that the food is a huge part to me. While most of the food that I ate was not gluten free, it was well worth it. I can not wait to go back and visit Atlanta again and be able to see my best friend more often.

What is the best city that you have been to? And what was their “famous dish” that you just had to have?

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Freya’s Hair

Remember back in November I mentioned working with an amazing Illustrator, Jacqueline Pytyck, on a tattoo design? Remember me also mentioning that she would be sending the shirt we worked through together with to Threadless? Well, it got chosen! How amazing is that!  You can view, and purchase, Freya’s Hair on Threadless now. I just wanted to give a thank you to Jacqueline for all the work she did with me personally, on my tattoo, and on the tshirt. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to see more of her work.

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Rabbit Rabbit!

Happy first of March! What better of a way to kick off Rabbit Rabbit then with a huge bowl of carrots? There are some days where I am not feeling meat or poultry and all that I want is a huge bowl or vegetables. Usually I will just go for a large salad, but tonight I was in the mood for something garlicky. Thankfully there was no one around tonight, so they didn’t have to suffer my garlic breath all night. Recipe to follow.

Baby carrots are one of my favorite things to munch on. During the day I usually like to dip them in peanut butter. Does anyone else like this? I ask because every time I’m seen eating this snack around the office I get a few questionable looks. Then, I will make the puzzled party try it, and they will agree! I think that you can’t go wrong with peanut butter, in anything! It’s a bold statement, I know. With my strong love for peanut butter, I like to try new brands out. I’m usually a smooth Skippy girl but at the grocery store the other night Teddie Peanut Butter caught my eye. Specifically the All Natural PB with Flaxseed. The flaxseed part, I love! Mostly because of the nutrients flaxseed has in it. But the peanut butter itself is a little too oily for me.

What is your favorite way to prepare a basic vegetable? But more importantly, what is your favorite peanut butter snack?!

Garlic and Lemon Carrots
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

2 cups of baby carrots
3 cloves of garlic
Lemon zest (I used dried lemon zest since I had no fresh lemons or lemon juice on hand)
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of Rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
EVOO

Heat your EVOO in a saucepan. Once heated throw in the garlic and lemon zest until you can smell the garlic and it is toasted a bit. Once garlic and lemon zest are toasted throw in your baby carrots, water, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Once at a boil lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.

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Engagements!

I just want to use this post to boast about my lovely sister, Rachel, getting engaged last night! I could not be any happier for her and my new brother-in-law, David. Congrats to the happy couple!

Check out her blog too! It’s all about her amazing baking (remember how I keep telling you that her and my mother are the bakers in the family? Well she posts all of her recipes!), cooking, and her Weight Watchers accomplishments (she’s lost 50lbs so far!).

I’m also so happy because now I have an excuse to look at wedding blogs and websites. What are your favorites?

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Sam Adams Brewery & Mandarin Chicken Broccoli Slaw

For an early Valentines Day present, since I usually work late and Elliot has a class on Monday nights, he set up a surprise for me. What a guy! I had no idea what we were going to do until we pulled in to the parking lot after a 3 hour ride. He took me to the Sam Adam Brewery! We have been talking about doing this for about 2 years now and it was an amazing surprise from an amazing guy.

When you walk in to the brewery they give you a label to define which tour you are in. We got the noon Boston Lager tour. Our tour guide, Dan, was hysterical and extremely knowledgable.

They first take you to the ingredient room. Dan explained to us how each ingredient is used in the beer and why it is used. My favorite part was when they passed around each ingredient. First, the barley. There were three different kinds that he passed around and we got to taste all of them. Then the hops. Don’t eat the hops! But do crush them in your hands and take a good whiff. Ohhh now that’s the smell of beer that I love. Next they take you in to the brewing area. Now, the brewery in Boston is not their main plant, they mostly do their experimenting and tasting there. But Dan did explain how each beer is brewed and how most beers take up to 5 weeks to make from the hop vine to your bottle.

After the ingredient room and the brew room they bring you to the best spot, the tasting room! They hand out pitchers of beer and explain to you what kind you are drinking, and how to tell if it is a good beer. We tried Boston Lager, Noble Pills, and their Chocolate Stout. The Chocolate Stout was obviously my favorite. We got to keep our little tasting glasses too! It was an amazing trip and I would suggest everyone to take a trip up to Boston for the tour. I mean, come on, it’s a free tour with free beer! What’s better than that?

What are you favorite beers and breweries?

After a long day like we had on Saturday, I wanted to do absolutely nothing today. Sundays are the perfect day to relax, clean, cook, eat, and do crafts. And that is exactly what I did all day. This recipe is so quick and easy and good! My mom got the recipe from (I think?) Weight Watchers years ago. When I was living at home for a few months, this quick slaw dish was always in the refrigerator. It’s quick to throw together and one batch will last you a full week (If you don’t eat it all in one sitting!)

Mandarin Chicken Broccoli Slaw

1 pound of cooked chicken
1 bag of broccoli slaw
1 small can of mandarin oranges
1 small can of water chesnuts
1 cup of Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger Dressing

Boil your chicken in a pot of water for about 20 minutes. When it is done, let it cool for about 10 minutes before shredding it. I like to do this part with my hands, but it works just as easily with two forks. Take your chicken, broccoli slaw, mandarin oranges, water chesnuts, and dressing and mix them all together in a large bowl. This recipe is best if you let it sit and marinate overnight.

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