Sunday, May 22, 2011

We be jammin’

We had a cookout this weekend for with Joe’s guitar group and I decided to get my bake on.  You know I love to try a new recipe – especially an easy one!  So I was flipping through one of my Church cookbooks.  (Can I just tell you that I love a church cookbook.  So many yummy recipes – these are my number one go to cookbooks when looking for a recipe.  Holler if you need one, my church has a good one!)

First of all I’ve got to show you my setup!  When I went to purchase my ingredients I just *happened* to swing by the Redbox and grabbed “The Kings Speech” for some baking companionship. 


So on to the super simple directions:


Dump German Chocolate cake mix in bowl.  Add 1/4 cup oil.  1 cup water. 3 eggs.


Beat for 2 minutes.  Then add the secret ingredient:


Yep – add the frosting to the cake batter.  Beat 2 more minutes.



Pour in Bundt pan.  Bake 40-50 minutes.


This is what was leftover.  It makes a nice moist cake and I like the addition of bits of coconut and pecans from the frosting.  This is a great cake to make if you have little time! 

Here’s the recipe:  (thanks Blanche Hunt)


Oh and here are some pic’s of all the musicians pickin’


Good times!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Senior Portraits

I had the pleasure of taking some pictures last week of my good friend Rhonda’s son.  He’s graduating this coming month from high school.  Have y’all seen what the professionals are doing these days for senior portraits?  It’s not like when I was young – wow now that really does make me sound old.  I remember when I had mine done – we went to a photography studio and we had 3 different backgrounds with my three different outifts – looking like a dork.  If I had a scanner I would share those with you – but lucky for me I don’t.  These days it’s all about getting outside and using your surroundings for interesting backgrounds.  We had a good time finding some fun spots to take pictures.  Check out some of my favorites.


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I would love to have Photoshop for editing but can’t seem to make that “investment” – i.e. I’m too cheap!  So I use Picasa for editing and have recently started using Picnik as well.  Picnik offers some really good options that Picasa does not.  I went ahead and tried the upgraded version.  Check out some of the pictures after editing in Picnik:







Some good ones, huh?!?  That was fun…  Who wants to be my next subject???

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Boston Wrap-up

Easter morning was a beautiful day in Boston – the rain had moved out and the sun was shining!  It turned out to be 20 degrees warmer on Sunday than we got to Boston on Friday – how’s a girl supposed to pack for such things?  After church in downtown Boston, we headed out to Cambridge for brunch @ Craigie on Main.


I had read multiple reviews on this spot.  The Food Network voted it the best breakfast in Massachusetts.  Boston Magazine voted their brunch “One Perfect Meal” in April 2011.  So we were pretty stoked about heading here for Easter brunch.  Friday afternoon they called to confirm our reservation and to inform us that they would have a pre-fixe menu.  I have to say, I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t know about the pre-set menu until then.  But we probably wouldn’t have chosen anywhere else.  So onto the good stuff…


a little Bloody Mary to start…


And then came this delectable tray of goodies:


Cranberry turnovers, sweet potato bread, cinnamon rolls and some of those amazing house made doughnuts!  They really know how to make a girl happy!

Next up:  Fruit salad with crème fraiche


Entrée:  House-cured Ham hash with slow poached egg


Grilled Rabbit Crepinettes – yes Joe ate Rabbit on Easter – slightly wrong I know.


Side of pork belly – yes please!


Desserts:  Sour milk panna cotta and house made Beignets = WOW!


What an amazing meal.  Service was superb.  The food was excellent.  A highlight of the trip for sure!

After brunch we headed out a little further to Harvard and tried our best to soak up some smarts.  Don’t think it happened, but can’t blame a girl for trying!

That evening we headed to Myers + Chang for a little Asian fusion.  We were blown away by this place.  A fun fresh funky spot! Loved all the different options. This was the one time when I wish we would have had a big group of our friends so we could have tried more items. Our favorite would have been the muscles - they were AMAZING! Didn't love the pork tacos (I only chose these because I had read so many good reviews about them.) but everything else we couldn't get enough of! The portions were pretty large – I wish there was a 1/2 portion option.  There were so many other items we wanted to try but just didn't have enough room. The mussels were some of the best I have ever had. 


I was so busy slopping up the broth of the muscles that I didn’t take any pictures of the food.  Sorry kids.  Can you tell we liked this place?

Monday, our last day in the Beantown was spent mostly on the North end.  I had read so many different reviews about Regina Pizzeria and Galleria Umberto’s and couldn’t decide which one to settle on… so we picked BOTH!  Yes get ready for carb overload coming peeps…


Margherita Pizza from Regina Pizzeria

a thinner crust pizza - medium sweetness to the sauce – light cheese = REALLY good pizza


Then on to Galleria Umberto’s.  This is a little different spot.  They have everything in the case and you choose what you want.  The prices here are CRAZY cheap.  $1.45 a slice!!  The pizza is more deep dish-esque.  Much sweeter sauce and think ooey gooey cheese.  REALLY REALLY good pizza.


The challenge is you really can’t compare these two.  They’re very different. It just depends on what you look for in a pizza – if you like thinner crust then go to Regina’s and if you like thicker pizza go with Umberto’s.  Or you can just make the smart choice – go to both. Because they both are  REALLY good.  I really think I am saying really too much in this post.  But what can I say they were just REALLY good. 

As if we had not had enough carbs – a MUST stop in the North end is an Italian bakery.  The two fav’s are Modern Pastry and Mike’s Pastry.  We went with Mike’s – I wasn’t strong enough to do a tour of pastry shops after the tour of pizza joints.



We tried an assortment – chocolate calzone, a black & white, and one fruit tart.  All we could muster up was a couple of bites and took the rest with us for later at the airport.

And here ends our whirlwind tour of Boston and stuffing ourselves with as much goodness as we possible could!  Boston was an amazing city.  We saw beautiful sites, enjoyed some great history and may have enjoyed just a bite or two of food.  Overall a wonderful long weekend away!

So have you been to Boston?  Have you been to any of the restaurants that we went to?  Did we miss one of your favorite spots?  Do tell!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Italian in Boston


Saturday evening the rain had finally lifted and it had turned out to be a lovely night.  We took a five minute stroll from our hotel to dinner at Erbaluce.  A charming restaurant nestled between large buildings – you felt like you were entering a secret location.  The décor was crisp and simple – mostly whites with very little artwork.  The food shining through as the main attraction.

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The menu was in a hand written font which I thought was perfect feel for the restaurant.  It was “fine dining” without stuffiness. The chef would run food from the kitchen and then stop by a table for a visit.  All very laid back and homey!


We started off with a bottle of wine: Castello di Luxxane- Carlino Oltrep Pavese and moved on to the food.

Appetizer – San Danielle Prosciutto with hazelnuts and pears.  Delicate. Delicious. Simplistic.


Entrees:  Rack of Boar with wild Concord grape and lavender mosto / Lasagnetta with a procini sauce, foraged mushrooms and marjoram – AHHH mazing!


We had decided we wanted to walk over to Finale Desserts and Bakery to finish off our evening but how sweet was Erbaluce to deliver some sinfully rich truffles with the check.  It’s a sneaky little way to sweeten you before you see the damage!  Totally worked.


Unfortunately we were a bit disappointed by Finale…  nothing to write home about.  We should have gotten something off the amazing dessert menu back at Erbaluce.


I know y’all are probably done reading about all the food we ate in Boston.  The weekend recap is half over – promise.  Just a few more spots to tell you about.  I think we may have saved the best for last – no wait there was the Lobster Roll @ Neptune’s.  Well needless to say there are still more yummy treats to tell you about.