Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sushi Party!

I hope you like raw fish because we’re about to get our sushi on.

Jack’s friend Thomas decided a bit ago that he wanted to have a bunch of people over and make sushi.  So last night, a bunch of old friends converged on Thomas’s mother’s house and we got down to business.  Thankfully the rice was already made so a few of us started chopping, slicing, and dicing the sushi components so we could get going on rolling up some.  I did the fish: yellowfin tuna (astonishingly pink) and salmon.


We snacked on miso soup while prepping.


Jack was the first to start rolling and after a bit of a learning curve we started pumping them out in assembly line fashion.


The most prominent combination was asparagus, avocado, and cucumber though other mixes emerged later like salmon, asparagus, and cucumber or yellowfin, avocado, and enoki mushrooms.
















I was mainly the slicer of the rolls and after we figured out that letting the rolls sit for five-ish minutes after they were finished but before slicing, things went a little better.  Some rolls still turned out kind of messy but it all worked out in the end because there were a lot of people who didn’t mind fisting a heap of ingredients NOT in roll form straight into their mouths.  I tried my hand at the whole assembly deal a bit later in the evening and was very pleased with my crab, red pepper, and asparagus roll.


While everyone was munching on sushi pieces of their choice, some of the guests decided to play “who can eat the most Wasabi” all in the name of being the most manly person in the room.  May I just say I thought this was an awful idea.  Anyways, Jack decided to participate as well as David and Liz.


Jack won though he shed a tear or two while he was eating his piece of sushi….  Before the group settled in to play Cards Against Humanity, one of the guests busted out pork tamales.  They might have been off-theme but they were yummy none-the-less.


Now fully fed and watered, we got a bit raunchy in this adult version of Apples to Apples.  To give you an idea, just check this out.  The black card is what the white cards are played in response too.  Warning: this may be offensive to some.


Honestly, we all laughed harder over some of the answers than any of us had in a while.  It was the perfect thing to play at the time.  In the middle of the game Jack busted out the dessert we had brought.


I had one two slices during the game and oh man was it worth every single delicious bite.  Jack was right about making two tarts… They were demolished.


Jack also drank some tea with dessert and was given an adorable mug to use.  There was a cow in the bottom.  So cute.


When we had finished the game (we played two rounds of the table) we said our goodbyes and headed home.  Sadly, we probably won’t see a bunch of those friends for a while now so I’m glad we have such a nice night before heading our separate ways.

This morning, on the last day of 2011, I woke up nice and late at 10:15am and had a snack of almond butter and Chobani before accompanying Jack and his mom to the store to pick up food stuffs for our movie marathon/game night to ring in the new year.  When we got back and put away all of the groceries, I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and refueled with a nice lunch.  I had a sandwich and paired that with half an apple, some Wheat Thins Stix, and BBQ Baked Lays.


The sandwich was an interesting one made out of 12 grain bread, crab stick, and hummus.  As weird as it sounded it worked.


Now I’m going to do a bit of work before we start the party here.  I hope everyone’s evening/night goes well.  Please be safe and don’t drink and drive.  This is a night for celebration but that doesn’t mean you have to be stupid about it.  Have a great one and I will see you in the brand new year 2012!!!

Questions: Do you like crab stick or is it too artificial?
What are your New Years Eve plans?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Daily Laugh

After hitting the elliptical for 35 minutes and really sweating I linked up with Jack for a refueling lunch.  He had been working out on the Wii Fit for a while.  I reheated two pieces of pizza that had artichoke hearts, pepperoni, mushrooms, and some variety of white cheese on it.


I also had some plain Chobani mixed with Stevia and crunchy almond butter as a dip for my half a honeycrisp apple.  It was delicious.  P.S. Sorry for all the cell phone pictures.  I haven’t been around my camera a bunch during meal times.

Tonight we’re going to a sushi party tonight with a bunch of friends and instead of bringing sushi fillings we decided to furnish dessert because all of our usual pickings were already taken (like asparagus and cucumber) by other party guests.  So after lunch Jack and I poured on the last layer of our salted chocolate caramel tarts inspired by this recipe.


Essentially we took the idea and then used our own recipes for the components.  We bought the crust (I would have made it if I had the time and the patience), made caramel by boiling two cans of sweetened condensed milk for 2.5 hours (the BEST way to make caramel ever), and then used the chocolate ganache recipe that Jack found and used for my birthday cake.


Jack insisted we make two in order to keep up with the number of people.  I sincerely hope they’re good!  We’ll salt the tops before serving.  Yum.


For now we’re going to help move some old furniture and then we’ll be off to the party.  I hope your Friday night is as awesome as ours is shaping up to be and that your New Years Eve is great too.  I can’t believe it’s about to be 2012!!!!  To make you smile even more, giggle at this –>

Questions: How do you make caramel?
What’s the most unique thing you have ever mixed with yogurt?

You Had Me At “Butter”

Welcome, officially, to the second to last day of the 2011 year.  Where has all the time gone?  I’m thoroughly set to enjoy these next two days as we have all sorts of plans from a sushi party to a family New Year’s Eve bash to Christmas #2, if you can believe it.  But while I sit munching on my peanut butter toast this morning, I want to recap for you last night’s awesome culinary adventure.


Jack and I set out to meet my old sophomore/junior year college roommate for dinner since we were both in the area (she goes to school out of state, two hours away).  I chose a new place that just opened on the 20th called BRU.  It specializes in burgers and based on the menu I was getting really excited at the prospect of trying it all.  We arrived and were seated in the bar area.  The whole place had low lighting and beautiful wood tables.  The whole place felt like casual elegance but I didn’t feel underdress in jeans and a long sleeve race T-shirt.

Our waitress came over and took our drink orders as well as recommended a few appetizers to start but we ended up going with a different dish to start with: chili cheese fries.


These were incredible.  The fries were the perfect crunchy texture and the chili was totally unique.  There was something different about it, maybe a cinnamon or bittersweet chocolate flavor, but man did I want a bowl of it just to eat with a spoon!  There was some sort of cheese on it that had a bit of a kick which complimented the sweeter-side chili.

While we were chomping down on our plate of fries I perused the wine selection and decided to try the Veramonte Pinot Noir.  It was nice and smooth without that typical dry, acidic finish of red wines.  I really like it and ordered a glass for dinner.


For dinner we all got burgers because let’s be honest, what else are you going to order at a “burger bar”??  In their defense there are salads and other types of sandwiches on the menu but  like I said, burgers are where it’s at.  Anyways, I started my perusal of the burger section and I made it all of three lines and I was done.


When I announced my choice to Jack and Molly at the table, they promptly asked me the obvious question: “What is taleggio cheese?”  I honestly didn’t know and hadn’t considered it really so I said I would ask and when our server arrived again I did.  She started to describe it as “a cheese that has a buttery flavor, a bit like mozz…” and I stopped her.  “Oh, you can stop, you had me at butter!”



That is pretty much the only word for this burger.  The flavors were incredible, the bun toasted, the cheese everything so flavorful!  Another plus: I asked for it to be cooked medium and it was spot on.


Seriously, the cooking of the burger really makes or breaks it.  The whole thing tastes so much more amazing if the meat is tender and juicy.  Basically, this burger was a great experience.  On the side I got onion rings where were totally made in the kitchen from scratch instead of out of a bag.  I appreciate this a bunch.  They were delicious with just the right golden brown batter to onion ratio.  They came with housemade ketchup too which was yummy as well.

The other two at my table ordered the following both with fries:


Both of them were stellar as well.  I’m fairly sure Molly had a moment with her burger…  After dinner we were offered dessert and who were we to refuse??  We chose the chocolate option from the menu of two and not five minutes later this cup of wonderful landed on our table with one spoon.  We promptly asked for two more.


Yum.  The raspberry was nice and pleasantly gritty followed by the smooth, semi-sweet chocolate mousse.  It was a lovely way to end the whole dinner.  I would totally recommend this place and I wouldn’t mind being a regular here.  Loved it!

Now I’m off to work out before starting the rest of my day.  Yesterday I came home from the airport and did 5 miles on the treadmill.  I hadn’t run since before vacation started so I was more than happy to sweat again.  I admit I did okay with not exercising on vacation.  Usually I’m nervous as all get out about it, anxious that I’m not burning calories and staying fit so I think I was reassured that I didn’t lose anything in terms of distance and fitness when I stepped back on the treadmill.  See Jill, you didn’t exercise every day and nothing bad happened… Reassurance, indeed.

Questions: What is your favorite burger?
Most adventurous burger?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home At Last, Home At Last

Thank God Almighty, we’re home at last.

Our travels back from Boston were a bit beyond complicated so it’s no wonder I didn’t get a chance to recap until now.  So let’s start from the beginning –>


9:30am: Hotel breakfast of a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese, some eggs with ketchup, and pieces of bacon I ate before I took the picture.


10:30am: Marylou’s coffee run.  Jack got the Funky Fanabla and I got a Creamy Chocolate Coconut iced coffee.


11:00am: Repacking and calling dibs on leftover stuff in the basement from Jack’s dad’s move.

1:00pm: Lunchtime consisting of a meatball sub with parmesan cheese, buffalo pretzels crisps, and pumpernickel onion pretzels.  Jack’s grandma made the meatballs and they were really good.


2:00pm: Begin a rowdy family game of Taboo.

3:00pm: Load the car and out the door to head to the airport for our 5:40pm departure.

3:20pm: Realize that our flight has ben delayed three hours (effective as of noon). This is what we get for not checking while still at home.  We were already well on the road.

3:25pm: The first call is made to Jack’s stepmom to have her call the airline and figure out what to do next.

3:55pm: Continental assures us we can fix this.

4:03pm: We arrive at the Providence airport and I work my mad airline ninja skills to get to Cleveland on the first leg of our flight and then out the next morning on the earliest available plane (8:40a).

4:30pm: The traveling group, plus Jack’s dad, sits down to wait out the long, long delay.  We started off with nachos (eventually we downed two plates full) and lots of drinks.  I’m fairly sure I drank 7 16-ounce (maybe 20-ounce??) glasses of water over the next 4 hours.


6:30pm: Our flight is again delayed, this time by an additional half hour.

6:50pm: By another 10 minutes.

7:10pm: By another half hour.

7:30pm: We have confirmation that the plane coming FROM Cleveland that will be our plane TO Cleveland has actually pushed back from the gate and is going to take off shortly.

7:35pm: We receive our dinners.  I chose an amazing lime infused chicken and brie sandwich on cibatta with roasted red peppers, caramelized red onions, and garlic aioli.  I also upgraded to onion rings on the side.  This baby was yummy!  I was very satisfied.


8:30pm: We finally walk through security and plant ourselves at our gate along with the 7 other people who have waited out the gigantic delay.  We proceeded to play gin rummy and Pass The Trash for a while.

9:30pm: The plane arrives and the passengers get off.  We say goodbye and prepare to board.

9:50pm: The gate agent has a cute sense of humor and says “Let’s board this baby.  We’ll do it by age.” *dramatic pause* “Alright, all seats, all rows.”

10:10pm: We take off, finally!

11:45pm: We land and make our way to the gate agent who is thankfully waiting for us with comped hotel rooms and $18 in food vouchers per passenger.


12:10am: We arrive in the hotel and lay down for some much needed sleep.


6:30am: Wake up call and big buffet breakfast (courtesy of $12 Continental money). I had some of just about everything: French toast, sausage, bacon, eggs, home fries, and some oatmeal with a sprinkling of brown sugar.


7:30am: We stand in a 30 minute security line and pass without trouble.

8:15am: We arrive at the gate.

8:19am: We board the plane.

8:30am: We push back from the gate a full ten minutes early.

9:27am: Hello home!!  Thank Heavens!!  Chai tea latte with soy milk to decompress (also courtesy of Continental vouchers).


I suppose the moral of the story is that you really can’t help air travel, if you’re going to late, you’re going to be late.  The best thing you can do is to just roll with it, get some good food in your stomach, try and sleep as much as possible, and just make a few attempts to smile.  It also never hurts to have great people you’re traveling with. =D

I really need some sleep now so I’m going to call it a night but just wait until you see the new place Jack and I tried out tonight for dinner with my old college roommate.  It was scrumptious and the restaurant seems like a place we would like to be regulars at at some point.  You’ll love it.  I did and I can’t wait to go back.

Questions: What is your worst air travel experience ever?
What is your favorite specialty coffee/tea drink from Starbucks, Marylou’s, etc.?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Museum of Science

Two quickest ways to make a group of people silent/on edge/angry/tired: 1) have them stand for close to six hours straight while checking out museum exhibits and 2) don’t feed them all afternoon after having breakfast at 9am.  Yup, that’s what happened today.  It was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but it was a bit trying so let’s start at the beginning.  Breakfast started off with a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese, some eggs with ketchup and pepper, and bacon.


Dani and I ate together and when the boys joined us we headed off to the house and then from there to the Boston Museum of Science.


We walked through all sorts of exhibits and saw some really cool things.


In the mid afternoon we did a planetarium show: Cosmic Collisions.


The seats were comfy, it was 2:30pm, and I may or may not have fallen asleep for a few brief moments.  On the whole the movie was not as advertised though it was still cool.  Admittedly the coolest thing we saw all day was an infrared image of ourselves.  I am always cold and Jack has a theory about why: I act like a furnace and just constantly dump out all my heat so I can’t regulate my own body temperature.  Well, ladies and gentleman, I dare say he’s right.  Just look at how much hotter I was than him!


We finished off the afternoon at the museum then cruised town to grab chocolates and cannolis.  Finally we made it to a hotpot restaurant for dinner.  We ordered four kinds of broth: kimchee & Chinese herbal and Japanese miso & beef bullion.


The table ordered everything under the sun from seafood to beef to lamb to an assortment of mushrooms.


There was barely any room on the table and then the sushi arrived: dragon roll and volcano roll along with two pieces of unagi.


It wasn’t the most filling meal with bits here and there so I wasn’t fully satisfied probably because I was just so darn hungry before we got to dinner.  It was still good though, certainly.  I liked the udon noodles the best probably because they felt the most heavy in my stomach at the time.  We returned home and I immediately dug into the mile-high apple pie on the counter.


Then I sampled the peanut butter cannoli from our sampling tray of original, hazelnut, chocolate chip, and PB.  There was also a Boston crème puff too.


Now we’re off to watch A Knight’s Tale.  I probably won’t see you tomorrow because we’re traveling home.  Sadness.  We’ve had such a good time.  It seems a shame to leave.  Have a listen to this week’s Tune Tuesday before you leave:

Questions: Do you like science museums?
Have you ever had a cannoli?

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