CSA goodies – week 1

Hi guys! Remember my post about the Farm School CSA? The time has finally come and this week I picked up my first (ever!) CSA “box.” (I use quotations because I actually came with an empty bag and filled it with whatever I wanted myself. No boxes were involved in this process ;) )

How gorgeous is that?!! I’m blogging over at Satisfied Cravings (my very first post there!!) about what I did with this week’s loot so please stop by and say hello. Thank ya! :D

PS – I’m still missing a few ThinkThin giveaway winners so if you entered, please check this post again (first paragraph!) to see if you’re one of them… and if you are, email me! ;)

Eurotrip 2012

Hi guys!! You probably noticed I’ve been gone for a few weeks – Adam and I went on a 2.5 week vacation to Europe. I didn’t mention it before because I had all the intentions in the world to blog while being away, but what can I say – it was even more fun than I thought it would be and I just wanted to spend every single second exploring away instead of being cooped up in a hotel room. We are back and I am really excited to be able to share this awesome trip with you! There will be food, drinks and some random scenery so you can get a feel for each city. I’ll do most of the pictures do the talking. Ready for the ride?

Let’s start with the first city – Amsterdam.

This was my breakfast pretty much every day – a gorgeous coffee with a pan au chocolat from Coffee Connection. Heaven.

And if you’re ever in Amsterdam you have to (promise me!) try Wok to Walk. It’s basically a take-out stir-fry place but it’s incredible. Do it!

Amsterdam is a huge biking city. Did you know I can’t ride a bike? True story.

Adam was really tempted to get a burger from this vending machine

  

Lunch:

I wanted to take this little dog back to Boston with me. He was soooo cute!

Designer coke anyone?

Restaurants right outside of our hotel

Of course nightly drinks were enjoyed out there

 

As you can see from the above pictures, our food during our few days in Amsterdam was sort of a mishmash of things. We did go out to one nice dinner at Seasons during out second night (heh, the first review that comes up on TripAdvisor is Adam’s. Awesome).

Asparagus bruschetta with a creamy dill, lemon and caper sauce

Oven roasted salmon, sauteed mushrooms, red wine sauce and figs

Sticky toffee pudding

Everything was really fresh and seasonal. The asparagus brushetta (from their asparagus menu!) was my favorite followed by dessert. Both were winners! My date was pretty awesome too ;)

Side note: I’m linking to Trip Advisor for most of the spots because that’s how we found these places. Their City Guide app was a serious life saver – it worked offline on our iphones, had built-in maps with GPS and guides us to the best spots all over the city. We really missed it in the cities it wasn’t available for!

After 2 nights in Amsterdam, we hopped on the train to Brussels.

What is Belgium known for? Beer, Belgian fires, chocolate, Belgium waffles and mussels. You better believe we tried them all! :D

 

Not bad! Duckfat’s Belgian waffles are better.

The famous Delirium bar – Adam was in serious heaven!

Our first dinner:

  

The menu was 100% in French so I ordered bruschett, thinking it was bruschetta. Nope friends – apparently it means a meat skewer (and I’m sorry, I am certain I’m mispelling it but it’s very close). Oh well, the fun was eating with the locals and people watching :) We also found some mussels later but apparently they escaped my camera.

We also visited the Cantillon brewery which is right in Brussels and I tried the first lambics I’ve ever liked.

 

The lambic love continued for the rest of our trip. First with a Pecherese (peach) lambic (unpictured). And then with a kriek (cherry!!!) lambic. Slightly sweet and incredibly refershing. Kind of like a beer sangria. :)

Man I want another one right now!

The most memorable meal in our short stay in Belgium was from Selecto. After being spoiled by the Tripadvisor app in Amsterdam, we felt a little aimless without one in Brussels but this restaurant was across the street from the bar we had drinks at and the second I saw people’s dishes, I knew it would be perfect. I didn’t take very good pictures but it was a 5 star dinner. And apprently a lot of people agree with me because it’s #26 out of nearly 1,300 restaurants in the city.

Also, it was our first time successfully navigating a complicated menu in French (thank god for the dictionary app!) so that was fun too!

Did I forget something else? Oh yeah…

Unfortunately despite my big smile, this waffle was stale. Oh well – we had no lack of food on this trip!

Some scenery pics of Brussels…

We also took a day trip to Bruges which was super easy and incredibly beautiful! Jen happened to be there at the same time but we were unable to meet up because I had no cell reception and we had no wifi in our Brussels hotel :( Adam and I still had a blast exploring this medieval town for a few hours.

Stunning, right?

After 2 nights in Belgium, it was once again time to hop on the train. To Paris this time!

Adam and I have actually been to Paris before so we did nothing touristy, just explored a few neighborhoods and of course ate our little hearts (stomachs?) out. :)

Our hotel was in the heart of St Germain neighborhood, which was full of cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques. We had an amazing time eating our way through the city!

Luxemberg gardens nearby

On our first trip to Paris together (nearly 7 years ago!) we stayed in the Latin Quarter area, so we decided to go back and see how it’s doing :) See the Comfort Inn in the background? That was it. Smallest hotel room ever. But still in Paris ;)

Side street we had dinner on 7 years ago. Good memories. The Latin Quarter was even more fun this time than I remembered. A lot younger and more laid back than St Germain which is kind of fancy.

Eventually we made it to the Pantheon area because we wanted to recreate an old picture. This one was a pretty priceless one of me. Apparently I give this look to Adam a lot. :lol:

And here is another gem of a picture. Can you spot me?

We were a little tipsy looking at the pictures that night and we thought those 2 were the funniest thing we’ve ever seen. Haha

No trip to Paris is complete without crepes. This one was filled with chocolate and topped with poached pears. I die.

Gelato was always shaped like a flower. This was was from a local chain – Amorino, which we’ve seen all over France for the rest of the trip (and of course sampled).

Best macarons of my life. The salted caramel butter was to die for. Ugh, I want another one asap!!

Oh and I did have some vegetables on the trip. Paul (sort of like Panera in the US) was a very reliable source for my morning coffee and pain au chocolat in the morning and an occasional baguette or salad for lunch.

Time for another train to Avignon. This is where our week long trip to South of France began. I think this post is long enough so I’m going to tell you that we rented a car and covered Avignon, Aix en Provence, Pont du Gard, Cannes, Nice, St Tropez, Les Baux, Monaco and probably a few more places I’m forgetting right now. Best meal of the trip was hands down at Le Cosi in Cannes. This was the most flawless meal – the place deserves Michelin stars! Another fun thing we did was take a day-long wine tour from Avignon Wine Tours. It was a really fun way to explore the area even if I did get food poisoning mid-day (unrelated to the tour) and wanted to die for the last few hours (I was still a trouper and sampled the wines, etc). Francois was the man and we continue to quote him in the most French accent possible. You should do it if you ever go to Provence!

Ok enjoy the pics!

Wine on tap (locals bring milk jugs to fill up every week!)

 

We had a mini-aparent in Aix-en Provence so I cooked dinner one night.

 

 

And since our layover in Dublin was crazy long, we decided to get a hotel and spend the night.

As annapealing as it sounds, the corned beef and cabbage with potato dumplings from Gallagher’s Boxty House was incredible. And our waiter Bobby was awesome too. Oh and although we definitely picked up some French in the last 2 weeks, speaking English again was pretty nice. :)

 

A few last pics of Dublin for the road…

Phew, that was long. And fun. I hope you enjoyed this little (right) recap. And let me know if you have any questions… or if anything in particular is catching your eye. One of the best trips Adam and I have ever gone on for sure!!

Next up – a recipe. It’s been a little while, huh? ;)

Happy 30th to me (plus a celebratory virtual sweet for you!)

I’d like to think I’m pretty mature for my age and for the past few weeks I’ve been saying that I don’t feel like I’m a 20-something anyway so might as well make it official. Yet last night at 11:35pm when I realized that I was minutes away from turning THIRTY, all of a sudden it hit me. I’m going to be officially an adult. Twenty nine sounds kind of like 26, yet 30 sounds nothing like 29 and more like 35. It’s a huge difference. I guess I’m really a woman now, no longer a girl (does that sound like a Britney Spears song to anyone, or am I aging myself here? lol). Despite a mini freak-out in my head every time I think about being 30, I am rationally completely ok with this. I am an adult. I own my own business that I built from nothing for goodness sake; I have an amazing husband, a great condo and really a lot of accomplishments to be proud of. So I’m celebrating today by working (because I love my job and I made it happen!!!), working out (because taking care of my body = taking care of me) and then enjoying a crazy awesome chef’s tasting dinner at Craigie on Main that Adam is treating me too. Hey, can a twenty one year old do that? Probably not! Smile

strawberry lemon shortcake

Oh and remember that 30 by 30 list I made when I turned 29? It was one hefty list and I got through most of it (and I’m ok with whatever I didn’t get to – I’m sure in my thirties I’ll learn even more about prioritizing in life and letting go of perfection). Check the link to the original post for updates on my progress.

strawberry lemon shortcake-2

Last but not least – what’s a birthday celebration without something sweet? It’s spring so I’m sharing this light strawberry lemon shortcake dessert. I made it a few weeks ago for a spring-themed dinner with Shannon and Kerstin. It was light and refreshing and everyone really enjoyed it (including myself). Strawberry shortcake is actually one of Adam’s favorites so I know I’ll be making it again this summer with local strawberries.

strawberry lemon shortcake-3

strawberry lemon shortcake-4

Happy birthday to me!!

How have you guys been? Any fun desserts consumed lately? I need to know! Winking smile

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