Savory Garlic & Herb Glazed Roast

Butter & Garlicy Herb Glazed Roast, served with Peppered Potatoes & baked asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

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I’m not sure if this cold weather is ever going to make its way out of here! Nowadays, Sunday seems to be my only one, true day off. So, I love to do what I do best and chef up a classic & cozy dinner for the hubs and I. This Sunday, I cooked us a Savory Garlic & Herb Glazed Roast, accompanied with quartered and seasoned red potatoes, and asparagus with cherry tomatoes.

The first time I created my beef glaze, I was nervous about some of the intended ingredients I was researching. Mustard on roast? Butter? I just had to play around with these ingredients my first couple times preparing this meal, and now I have created the most-perfect glaze!

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Let’s get started with all of our ingredients

  1. one beef roast (about 1.5 lbs)
  2. one stick of butter (salted or unsalted)
  3. Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Champagne Mustard (one spoonful)
  4. fresh garlic (I used the diced garlic in a jar)
  5. salt and pepper to taste
  6. minced onion
  7. maple syrup (a shot)
  8. extra virgin olive oil
  9. beef broth (about half cup)
  10. fresh rosemary
  11. one bushel of asparagus
  12. cherry tomatoes (about half container)
  13. 1 bag of red potatoes
  14. PAM spray

 

If  I have the time, I let my glaze sit on the roast for a few hours. So, I always start with my glaze.

set oven to 425° (my roast is going to be prepared medium-rare)

In a small mixing bowl, I put in 1 to 1.5 sticks of butter, dependable on size(this time one) I soften the butter in the microwave, for about 20 seconds or until it is soft but still in its original form. Then, I scoop in one big spoonful of minced garlic. Scoop in one spoonful of Stonewall Kitchen Maine Maple Champagne Mustard (link above) or any other flavored mustard you could find. I would not advice using regular sandwich mustard. Salt & pepper. Sprinkle in some minced onion powder & a quick little shot of maple syrup (trust me) & extra virgin olive oil.

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I blend all ingredients together with a spoon. And get my baking pan ready. I use a ceramic or glass baking pan. I pour in enough beef broth to just line the bottom.

 

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The glaze can appear a little chunky, that’s okay as long as the butter is spreadable!

 

Now, time to prime the roast. I try to apply the glaze with a spoon, as much as I can. It is hard sometimes to get it to stick, so I end up pressing it on with my hands. I garnish the top of the roast with fresh rosemary. I do not break the rosemary up because it is much easier to lift off each little stem than to pick up each little piece when cooking time is done.

*As noted, when time allows, I let the glaze sit on the roast to ensure maximum absorption of flavor. (No more than a few hours)

 

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Don’t forget to base your pan with broth!

 

Once I am ready to start my side dishes, I pop the roast in. I leave the oven on 425 for 20 minutes. I set my timer, and once the 20 minutes has passed, I change the oven temperature to 350°. I open the oven door for about 15 seconds to allow some heat out, making sure the oven’s temperature decreases.

While the is cooking, I prep and begin to bake my side dishes.

potatoes 

Have you ever used a microwavable potato bag? I’ve been using the same one for years! I don’t necessarily completely cook my potatoes but I soften them and cut down cooking time. Potatoes are a super starchy vegetable and need to often cook for a long time.

I start my rinsing my potatoes, and scrubbing them some-what abrasively with a potato scrubber to remove any dirt or dried pieces. I pop the clean potatoes right in the bag without drying them (I  feel the moisture helps to loosen the potatoes up even more) and put a full bag in for about 5 minutes. Be cautious when removing the potatoes, they will be very hot. I let them cool for a moment, and quarter them up. I also put my potatoes in a ceramic baking pan. I line the dish with PAM spray, and evenly place my potato pieces in the pan. I drizzle olive oil on top, sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. I next add a big scoop of minced garlic. I take a large mixing spoon or baking spatula and mix everything around. Make sure the potatoes are evenly saturated with the mixture.

Have extra rosemary?

Sprinkle some rosemary right on top of the potatoes. This time, I do break up the rosemary. (Optional: Chop the rosemary into smaller pieces.)

Pop ’em on in!

 

asparagus & cherry tomatoes 

I love asparagus, it’s one of my favorite vegetables & creates a very flavorful side dish. Often, people don’t realize that you can cook asparagus in a different way besides just seasoned and baked or steamed.

Leave the asparagus wrapped in the rubber band. Quick rinse, and cut off all ends with one big chop. Having sharp, quality knives is essential to creating successful and tasty meals in the kitchen. Below, I will include a link to my favorite knife set, along with other kitchen tools.

Again, line a baking pan with PAM spray, lay in the asparagus, all facing the same direction. Drizzle with your choice of olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder or fresh minced garlic, salt & pepper. Flip the asparagus around with a utensil of your choice to ensure even saturation. (Just like the potatoes)

It’s time to add the cherry tomatoes. After a quick rinse, I slice each little tomato in half. (Optional: leave tomatoes whole if you’re craving a more even flavor of both veggies) At this time, I can add a little more salt & pepper if need be. (Optional: add sliced almonds on top. I usually do this but on this day I think we had something with nuts already so I skipped. I love adding the almonds, they add a mild yet unexpected crunch!)

Pop ’em on in!

Basically, I leave both side dishes in for the remainder of baking time on the roast. As mentioned, I don’t follow recipes to a T, and I remove them from the oven when I desire. We like our asparagus a little crispy, as well as the potatoes. Press a fork into a potato and see if it feels soft in the middle, if so, then they’re ready! Make sure the middle is soft, then continue baking for a crispier dish.

 

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“we are ready to be baked!”

 

turn off the oven 

I leave the side dishes in the oven to stay warm. I take out the roast and set it on a pot-holder on the counter. Setting it on the stove top could cause the roast to cook further than desired. Again, this recipe is for a medium-rare roast.

slice and serve

First, remove stems of rosemary. I like to hold the roast with tongs in one hand and cut with a knife with the other hand. I typically cut about 3/4″ pieces. Don’t forget to scoop up and juice from the pan and dress the top of the roast slice.

 

 

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A finished med-rare roast.

 

enjoy

This is one of my favorite go-to Sunday recipes, especially in the fall or winter. The savory and warm flavors are perfect for a crisp & cozy day.

 

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dinner is served!

 

BONUS TIP: Another reason for why this is my favorite, is because of the many meals afterward this dinner provides. The next day, I reheated and enjoyed the same meal for lunch, and the second day I made steak tacos!

my must have kitchen tools

potatoe bag
Microwave Potato Bag Cooker – $7.99

 

knife
CUTCO Santoku Knife

 

pyrex
Pyrex Easy Baking Dish Set

 

 

What do you like to cook on Sundays?

Trying this recipe? Let me know!

& remember, it’s Sunday take it easy!

Till next time, T♥

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas Farm Inn & Spa/ Jackson, NH

“We celebrate the simple pleasures of life everyday: friends, family, fun, love, adventure, inspiration, and well-being.”

type: traditional inn, restaurant- seasonal new england cuisine
address: 3 blitzen way, jackson nh 03846
ring-a-ding: 603-383-4313
price: stays start at $99 (I searched in April) restaurant- $25+ pp
attire: I dressed casual & warm! dressed up in nice sweaters and statement earrings for dinner

I don’t think that I could let my fingertips wait any longer to type this blog for everyone! I’m still so beyond exciting for this and reflecting on the celebration of my 25th birthday.

Winter Wonderland Get-A-Way

My husband surprised me for my 25th birthday to a weekend away in the most adorable little village of Jackson, New Hampshire. He booked a stay for us at the beautiful and unique, Christmas Farm Inn & Spa. This place is a little gem, tucked away in the White Mountain National Forest Region.

The Christmas Tree Farm Inn & Spa was first built in 1778. Once a jail, church, and farm-house in one, the history of the Inn, is definitely very special and unique. The Christmas Farm was passed to different families throughout time, one of the most meaningful, (who is unnamed) when a man purchased the farm for his daughter, and gave it to her as a Christmas present and she gave the place it’s famous name!  Christmas Farm. After her plan to turn the property into a working farm failed, she sold the farm to Doris and Dick Welch, who renamed it The Christmas Farm Inn. For the next coming decades, the farm saw a few more owners ahead. The current owners have owned the property for the last 18 years.

From our house in Colonie, the trip was just under 5 hours.

Let me tell you, I’m not a fan of long road trips. I’m not sure how I admired this place for so long, but never researched actually how far away this location was!

The drive was filled with beyond beautiful sites and landscapes

Shortly after we escaped the daily hustle of the Captial Region, we were soon in farm-town. I’m still a kid at heart, and I still get so ecstatic when I see farm animals outside! “Look babe!! A horsey!” My husband never looks but just says “Yup.” LOL. As we made our way across the New York/ Vermont border, we were engulfed in the snowy-picture-perfect views of mountains and valleys.

These views are nothing short of breath-taking, and really encapture the true meaning of a winter wonderland. My husband was such a nice guy and drove us out there the entire way. A weekend away for the two of us was long overdue, and we were headed to one of the most romantic get-a-ways on the entire east coast.

The first view of the village of Jackson, New Hampshire is their iconic one-way wooden bridge. My husband looked at me and said, “Okay now, are you ready?” I think he knew way ahead of time I was going to ooh and ahh at everything. Let me tell you, it’s difficult not to. This little village is beyond adorable. So quaint and peaceful. A little bakery here, a chapel there & a handful of inns & restaurants with skiers everywhere.

magic on the hill

The Christmas Farm Inn & Spa is located a little higher up on the mountain. We made our way up the street, I saw the sign and my eyes lit up. Should I have included a disclaimer on how much I adore the holiday season, and particularly Christmas? The sun was shining and the snow was sparkling. Jackson had just received 18 entire inches of super soft snow.  I saw the big red sign when approaching the property. “Christmas Farm Inn – Fine Food Lodging and Spa.”

we finally arrived

My husband parked the car and checked us in for the evening. He booked the “Romance Package” for us ♥ We were going to be settling in The Carriage House, Suite #4 or “Calling Birds”. We made our way just a little further up the hillside. The property is filled with cottages that are great for families or groups of friends and The Carriage House is at the very top of the property and is more like a hotel. The Carriage House was added to the property in 2000. There are 12 King-size suites in the house. Suite #1, “Partridge in a Pear Tree”, Suite #2, “Two Turtle Doves”, #3, “French Hens”… I think you’re getting it!

The door opened with an ordinary key, and inside our cozy King-suite was endless views of the White Mountains. Along with birthday balloons and a small chocolate cake that read, “Happy Birthday Taylor,”  there were two stemmed glasses and a bottle of wine. How sweet! Not only did the hubs book us the “Romance Package,” but he also made sure they did something special for my 25th!

perfection for a weekend get-a-way

Our suite was beyond clean, and the spacious jacuzzi tub immediately caught my eye. Our suite had two tv’s, a kitchenette, jacuzzi tub and shower, a king bed, a balcony, and a fireplace. Perfection for a weekend get-a-way!

 

 

 

Shortly, it became dark, however, the property is well lit…with Christmas lights! The Main Inn was lit up so beautifully as we arrived for dinner. The Main has such a welcoming vibe, it was full of restaurant patrons and those staying at the Inn. The living room to the left of the foyer has a fireplace, a welcoming sitting area and a portrait of the big guy himself upon the wall. To the right of the entrance is the check-in desk, a small gift shop, and Mistletoe Pub. I might be over-using the word cozy, but I could not think of a more perfect-fitting word! The Mistletoe Pub has plenty of seating and is a full-service bar. We weren’t in for long until they called us for our table.

We sat at classic wooden tables and had views from big windows. We could see snow lit up from the Christmas lights all around outside. I found the drink menu humorous as they were all Christmas-spins on classic cocktails. I started off with The Stumble-stiltskin Martini – Favors of Grapefruit, Tangerine, Mandarin Orange and Kiwi. We enjoyed our drinks with our appetizers, steamed muscles in a white wine sauce and fresh calamari. My husband loves muscles!

 

seafood night + friday night + birthday night = bliss

Christmas Farm Inn has daily dinner specials. My birthday fell on a Friday, so it was Seafood Night! Perfect! They offer The Loaded Fisherman’s Platter – fried haddock, scallops & shrimp. I ordered another adult-beverage while waiting for dinner, this time The Coconut- Lemon Martini- Citrus vodka, coconut, and freshly squeezed lemon. Dinner is served. Guys, oh my god…. this seafood was beyond fantastic. The shrimps were enormous, the scallops were so juicy and fresh and the haddock was divine! I ordered this with mashys and cole slaw.

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love it or hate it, there’s never an in-between

Is it crazy that I’m about to give coleslaw it’s entire own paragraph within my blog post? Like I said, cole slaw- ya love it or, well, ya hate it. I love it. And this coleslaw was about the best I’ve ever had! It was different and made with red cabbage. Had the perfect amount of vinegar and salt, the cabbage added the perfect crunch, and I could just eat a bowl of this coleslaw. Maybe this is a recipe in the making for me…..!

 

We headed back to The Carriage House Suites and snuggled up in our cozy room for the night!

As Saturday quickly came, the sunlight filled our room and we were anxious to explore at the start the day. The Romance Package included spa services which my husband booked for us at noon. We got ourselves ready and found the most adorable little breakfast spot, called The Sunrise Shack. This is located in Glen, which was only about 5 minutes away on the other side of the little red bridge. There was a short wait as we arrived but we opted to sit at the counter as we were pretty hungry!

This place is so unique! They offer a variety of breakfast bowls,  breakfast beers, and sandwiches. I went ahead and ordered my favorite, two over medium eggs along with homefries, and one Big Dave’s bagel. I couldn’t resist making a joke to our server that I was skeptical of this bagel being a New York girl and all, but it was great. Our breakfast was served quickly. We had some time before our spa services, so we drove around site seeing. We had the opportunity to capture SO many pictures. My husband has taken a recent interest in photography, some of his pictures are right here.

 

 

 

 

time to relax and recharge

It was finally time to hit the spa. Christmas Farm Inn & Spa is a full-service Aveda Concept Spa. I haven’t used Aveda products that much, but one thing I do like about them is that you can customize your services by picking your favorite scent. I chose to customize my services with Aveda Shampure. We waited in the Spa’s relaxation lounge to start our massages. This was the only disappointing thing about the trip, they do not offer couples massages. We went to our massages separately. It is slightly deceiving since they offer the Romance Package, and there is a couple getting a massage together pictured on that specific page of the website. Continuing on, my massage was amazing and so relaxing. My therapist combined a use of hot towels and hot stones. She had incorporated my chose scent of Shampure into the massage oil and she even sprayed some on the sheets! My husband and I both enjoyed our massages. He was now off to do some of his wanderings, and he treated me to a pedicure and facial. My facial was beyond necessary – I was way overdue. My skin was feeling and looking wonderful, as well as my toes post-pedi. The spa is small and intimate perfect for a weekend get-a-way. The spa is a little pricey, and you can view the menu here.

 

 

dinna time

After some quick shopping at The Settlers Green Outlet Center, (about 20 minutes from the Inn) we headed to dinner at a recommended restaurant, Red Fox Bar & Grille. This place is so unique! It’s cut up into different rooms, but the restaurant is enormous! We shared a drink at the bar until our chosen table was ready. Downesat Cider on draft for myself, and Jameson & Gingerale for the hubs. Once it was our turn, we were shown to our table in a small room that seat roughly three parties. The intimate feel was surprising as I said that place was so huge.  I started with my favorite, Caesar salad, and my husband had an order of their Maple Jerk Josper Wings. The Red Fox Bar & Grill prepared their wings at 600° in their Josper over – which is a large charcoal-fired oven.

 

For dinner, I ordered something a little simpler, the Vodka Chicken Penne. Terrance ordered The Cowboy Ribeye with Maple Bourbon Butter, TWO lobster tails, potatoes, and broccoli. He said it was one of the best meals he has ever had!

hiding in from the cold

We ended the last night of our trip with some more relaxation. We took a bubble bath in our huge jacuzzi tub. The Inn provided Olivia Farmacia products.

I used the bath salt that was created with extracts of Italian olive oil. I always get worried using any type of bath salt or bomb, but after this relaxing bath, my skin felt amazing. I was so thankful for the time we had to unwind together and just talk. We sipped some wine and poured a second glass out by the fireplace. Did I forget to mention we took a pizza to go with us, from the Red Fox Bar and Grille? Hey! We were on vacation! Pizza. Wine. Fireside. Snow falling. Could a girl ask for any more? I was wishing we could just stay for a few more days!

 

After the last night’s sleep in our comfy king bed, we packed up our things in the suite and made our way to the Main House for breakfast at the restaurant. Breakfast is included in the Romance Package.*

Breakfast was good. Once we were done, we hopped back in the car to head back home to Albany. Although I was sad that our romantic weekend was coming to a close, I at least had the amazing views ahead of me to look forward to.

this memorable weekend was coming to a close, but im so thankful

We will absolutely be coming to back to The Christmas Tree Farm & Spa. Completly worth the drive, and there are so many other restaurants in town we need to try! I would love to stay in a cottage next time, and travel to the mountain range with another couple!

To view and learn more about The Christmas Farm Inn & Spa, click here.

Need a weekend away with your loved one? I recommend the Romance Package. Check that out here.

Double-date trip, anyone? Let me know below!

Caskade Kitchen & Bar

“the perfect date night spot”

type: gastropub, tapas/small plates, american
address: 182 Remsen street, cohoes, new york 12047
ring-a-ding: 518-720-1553
price: $20+ pp
attire: casual -I wore my go-to thigh-highs, dark denim, sweater & simple jewelry

Starting off my birthday weekend with a double date at the freshly opened Caskade Kitchen & Bar, was beyond a great choice. Between the unique cocktails, beer & wine selection, amazing small plates, and general atmosphere, Caskade is now that place.

dinner, brunch, cocktails, wine, beer

We headed to Caskade for a double date with friends on a Thursday evening. Caskade was recommended to me by a client of mine, who is a friend of the owners. I have never dined at a restaurant in Cohoes prior to this. We made the short drive from our house which was about 15 minutes away. If you didn’t know, the entire Capital Region is filled with tons of old buildings that line the streets. As we finally arrived on Remsen Street, I immediately noticed how all of the store-fronts have huge windows allowing you to see right inside each and every shop, restaurant or office.

From the street, Caskade is lit dimly and has an inviting glow. The table-tops and petite bar are lined with romantic tea lights. How can one place be so clean and bright, but dim and cozy at the same time? I don’t have an explanation for this but, I am sure when I say Caskade is my home-interior goals. This restaurant is the perfect setting for date night.

sip, sip, hooray

If you know me, then you already know I already ordered my Riesling. Boundary Breaks. This was my first time trying this brand of wine. Light and just that little touch of sweet – that one went down fast, of course. Typically I’m ready to say, “another, please” but, now that I’m actively blogging, I have to give other things a try! Plus, a cocktail atop the menu had quickly caught my eye.

WISHFUL THINKING
white rum, coconut rum, pineapple, lime, egg whites

Hold up, egg whites? Egg whites. After some convincing from our server, I went for it and ordered myself a WISHFUL THINKING. WOW. My first reaction. I had no expectations when ordering this beverage because I was focusing on the egg whites. I took the first sip, and I said “OH! Okay, wow!” Simply amazing. Fresh, frothy, bubbly, light, and mildly fruity, mmm yum. I’ve talked not only about Caskade to friends and clients, but I talk in detail about this specific cocktail. And I get the same reaction that I initially had. Egg whites? Yes honey, egg whites!

 

3:2

Caskade’s menu items are all small plates. *There is a burger and fries on the menu. Our server said it’s typically recommended to order three plates per two people. We went ahead and ordered TEMPURA BAY ZUCCHINI, CHICKEN WINGS, BEEF BARBACOA TACOS. Oh! Is this zucchini now my favorite thing? Yas! It’s lightly fried and it does not have that heavy oil consistency that you tend to get when ordering foods that are fried. The zucchini is served on top of tzatziki and pomegranate seeds. Tzatziki sauce, I’m gonna say it- I love it. I first tried tzatziki sauce with naan bread and quickly learned that it compliments a variety of foods. The tzatziki balanced out the zucchini and had a cool taste while the pomegranate seeds added a surprise pop of sweet and crunch. The chicken wings were dressed with lime & chili and sprinkled with toasted coconut. A new spin on a common classic. Lastly, the beef tacos. I mean, who doesn’t like tacos? The tacos are served in threes, with salsa verde, chorizo queso, and cilantro. Yas! The beef is shredded and soft.

I’m learning a lot from blogging and I’ve done more research on different types of foods. Is it silly I had no idea chorizo was pork sausage? Well, now I know. If you read in one of my opening blogs, I don’t eat pork. But, I ate and enjoyed these tacos. I can’t help but get mad at myself for eating pork, but I simply did not know. I’ll pass on the tacos next time, but still recommended them!

Our friends ordered the PORK BELLY BAO BUNS. These looked amazing, and they said they were great. Served with hoisin sauce, pickled carrots, cucumber and spicy mayo. Bao buns are a steamed Chinese bun. They looked so fluffy and soft and I must get one!

drink, please!

It’s always a good time for another when you’re out with friends right? I finished off our double date with an ELDERFLOWER COLLINS – elderflower liqueur, vodka, citrus, and seltzer. Once on a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio, I tried an elderflower margarita, and enjoyed! Elderflower actually comes from a toxic plant, the elder plant, or Sambucas and it is also well-known for its medicinal uses. This drink was very refreshing and I would love to sip these in the summer. I wonder if Caskade will have some tables along the sidewalk in the upcoming months? I want to drink this cocktail in the summer sunshine.

Is it the atmosphere itself, or the food that makes me love this place so much? I cannot decide as both elements have me in serious awe. Caskade is setting the culinary bar high in Cohoes, and I’m excited to see Caskade continue to blossom! I’ll be back, Caskade – and next time, it’s for brunch! Haay!

Caskade’s website is still under construction, but you can view their instagram here → click click

Have you taken part of Caskade’s dining experience? Let me know, below!

Till next time, T ♥

Puzzles Bakery & Cafe

“Puzzles Bakery & Café is committed to improving the livelihood of individuals, families, and communities affected by autism spectrum disorders. “

type: bakery & cafe
address: 515 state street schenectady, new york 12305
ring-a-ding: (518) 280-2620
price: $5+ pp
attire: casual

Today I had the pleasure of going to Puzzles Bakery & Cafe located in downtown Schenectady, for lunch. If you’re not familiar with the Capital Region, Schenectady is about 15-20 minutes west of Albany. Schenectady also has a great selection of locally-owned restaurants and bars. Within recent years, Schenectady has made some serious advancements and improvements to the community, especially the downtown area – Puzzles Bakery & Cafe – being one!

Why Puzzles?

Puzzles Bakery & Cafe was opened in the community to provide a place of employment for those who are placed on the autism spectrum. I knew the puzzle piece as the autism awareness symbol, but I wanted to know… Where did it originate from? According to the-art-of-autism.com the history of the puzzle piece symbol goes all the way back to 1963. It was created by Gerald Gasson. Gerald was a parent and board member for the National Autistic Society (formerly known as The Society for Autistic Children) in London. The board believed autistic people suffered from a ‘puzzling’ condition.

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Puzzles Bakery & Cafe is conveniently located right near Johnny’s and across from the new Slidin’ Dirty location. It’s in perfect walking distance from many offices, and if you’re a student and have a little more time, it’s about a half mile from Schenectady County Community College.

My first impression of Puzzles Bakery & Cafe was the atmosphere. It was fresh, spacious and was filled with a lot of natural light. The cafe offers free wifi for customers and was a great work space for me. Others had their computers and work with them.

There were so many appetizing items to choose from on the menu. They offer soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, breakfast (all day long,) kids meals, and freshly baked goods.

I ordered The Steakhouse Signature Salad

$10/$6.50

A bed of arugula, topped with pan-seared steak, sauteed mushrooms and onions, crumbles of gorgonzola cheese, homemade croutons, and creamy blue cheese dressing.

At Puzzles, they have a combination option. I opted to just get a salad, so I ordered the full size. ($10) My salad was huge! Every meal comes with a choice of a side, and I got the Kettle Baked Chips, my favorite! I’m not much of a salad person (besides Caesar salad, seriously my fav) but, after the birthday weekend I had… I needed some greens. The salad had a ton of mushrooms! ♥ It was simple, yet flavorful and my favorite part was the steak that was cooked perfectly, along with the homemade croutons. Puzzles sells hot and cold beverages, so I grabbed a San Pellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverage – Prickly Pear and Orange. Oooh!

Puzzles Bakery & Cafe has a unique and positive business mission. After visiting Puzzles website, I learned a lot of interesting facts about autism.

  1. 1 in 68 people are diagnosed with autism
  2. There is still no understanding what causes the disorder
  3. Autism becomes more challenging becoming an adult
  4. There are not a lot of communal opportunities for adults with autism, especially employment

What is better than supporting not only a local business – but one that also has a mission, that changes and benefits the community! In my opinion, not only does Puzzles create opportunities for those who may not have them, but I think it is very educating and insightful for the community. Regardless of our differences, those who have autism may be looked at like they are not capable of having a job, but Puzzles shows them that they can!

“believe there is good in the world”

Puzzles has been featured in multiple news articles AND has even made it to CBS Evening News. Check out their press → here.

Puzzles Bakery & Cafe is open-
Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 – 3:00 PM

 

No time to stay? Order online, and pick up on site! Order Here!

Have you tried Puzzles Bakery & Cafe? Or, do you know any businesses with a similar mission? Let me know below!

Till next time, T ♥

Idea Coffee/Flower District- NYC

“Metropolitan corner café brewing up lattes, cappuccinos & mochas, plus sweets & salads.”

type: coffee shop
address: 246 fifth avenue, new york city, ny 10001
ring-a-ding: 646-896-1533
price: $3+ pp
attire: casual

As part of my short weekend spent in the city for a hair show at the Jacob Javits Center, I had a chunk of free time. My friend and I searched for a place to grab something to eat before hitting the crazy IBS show. Our hotel was located on W 28th & 7th, in the HEART of the flower district. Ah! Was this SO nice? Yes!

It was a break from the upstate winter reality.

The streets were lined with florals, many of my favorite flowers and plants including hydrangeas, ranunculus, succulents, tall bamboo stocks, cuts of birch trees and mini palm trees.

It was an oasis in the city.

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We walked searching for a quick snack, but only saw chain restaurants we weren’t in the mood for. We stroll down a couple of blocks (still admiring the flowers) and see the word ‘COFFEE.’ Perfect! We run into this cozy yet, spacious place called Ideal Coffee.

When I say this place was cute, it was – but it was just adorable. I love it. Bohemian/Garden/Rustic – themed coffee shop. How’s that for a description?


I enjoyed a nice plain NY style bagel and a hot mocha almond milk latte. This latte was a dream.

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Art hangs on the wall, vintage photos of New York City and flowers, of course! This place sets the stage for many Instagram-worthy photos. If I didn’t need to catch my 10:20 train, I could have stayed and created this blog right on site. Idea Coffee is conveniently open 7 AM – 8:30 PM every single day.

 

 

 


Please do yourself a favor, check out this place on Instagram! Click me! 


We strolled down the street and finally wandered into a flower & plant shop. The owner, Bob, was so cute. He was very helpful and gave us all sorts of in-person & take-home information about the plants we purchased! I couldn’t resist taking home a Jade succulent, a bamboo corn stalk, and lucky bamboo. I also purchased classic terracotta pots for some of my existing plants and white stones to add some adornment to them!

 

 

 

Plants are a new thing for me. I now own 5! This is huge. I haven’t had good luck with them in the past, so I slowly am adopting one by one, once I get comfortable with the first. I received my first (successful) plant from my friend Stacey about 3 years ago. It’s a spider plant, and it hasn’t stopped growing.

My spider plant now has to hang because it is so long!

Have you tried Idea Coffee?

Any NYC coffee shop recommendations for me?

Let me know in a comment below!

Till next time, T♥

steak and shrimp stir-fry

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I love cooking in my dutch oven. My mom gifted me this most-wonderful thing a few years ago. At first, I was hesitant to use it because I wasn’t sure what you cooked in it. My mom told me, “anything!” And damn, was she right! I LOVE this, not only does it cook food fast and evenly, your food doesn’t dry out, and… fewer dishes! Anything I can do to make my life just a little more simple – I’m in.

Tonight, I decided to make steak and shrimp stir-fry, in my infamous dutch oven ,of course. (Insert emoji of girl with sassy hand)

This recipe was perfect for a random weeknight, such as Tuesday.

I ran to my local Hannaford to grab a couple necessities before this big storm blew through. I had some ingredients waiting at home, so I just needed to grab a few items.

I’m a store brand geek.

Did you know, a lot of food is made in the same factory – identical process & ingredients – then the food is packaged differently. That’s it!? Yup! Hard to believe, huh? Purchasing store brand food can save you big bucks in the long run. AND, store brand shopping just got even better at Hannaford! Now, Hannaford has myHannaford Rewards™. Each and every shopping trip you make, for every Hannaford Brand item you purchase, including; Hannaford Brand, Taste of Inspirations, Nature’s Place, Home360, Cha-Ching, Etos, Companion, CareOne and Healthy Accents; you get 2% back in rewards. Quarterly, you can redeem these rewards towards your shopping trip! You can also clip coupons right on the app.

Let’s get cookin.

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Here’s what I used.

  1. ‘Marinating & Braising Steak’ (thinly sliced) 1.12lbs
  2. half of 1 bag of Hannaford Large Raw/Uncooked Shrimp 8oz
  3. sliced pepper, any color (I chose red and yellow for variety) 2 whole peppers
  4. diced yellow onion ( about half of the onion)
  5. frozen chopped broccoli about 3/4 cup
  6. 1 can of whole baby corn (16oz)
  7. 1 small can of diced or whole water chestnuts (8oz)
  8. 1 small can of edamame soybeans (8oz)
  9. 1 packet of Goya Powdered Beef Bouillon (I used reduced sodium)
  10. simple beef broth (about 3 cups)
  11. rice vinegar (little splash)
  12. soy sauce (little splash)
  13. ground black pepper (to taste)
  14. salt (I use Himalayan) (to taste)
  15. sesame seeds (optional)

little bit of this, little bit of that 

↑THIS↑

I think this is the best part about stir-frys. They are one of those recipes that don’t have to be followed exactly step by step. You can combine your favorite proteins and veggies to personalize your stir-fry.

Here are some other ingredients you can use to personalize your stir-fry!


VEG– carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms (my favorite) pea-pods, cherry tomatoes
PROTEIN– chicken, salmon, lobster, tofu, cashews
CARBS– brown/white rice, tofu noodles, veggie noodles (butternut squash, zucchini, sweet potato, turnip)


Ok, let’s get started 

I’m going to keep this pretty simple, as most one-pot recipes are, just toss it in!

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  1. Start with beef-broth to line the oven with. Creating this dish is just as easy as the pictures make it look. 
  2. Start sauteeing the onions and peppers.
  3. I like to take advantage of the space my dutch-oven gives me – so I move those over and make room just to slightly sear the steak.
  4. Get me the GOYA! I sprinkle the packet of Goya Powdered Beef Boullin & stir. Give a couple mins of cookin’ time.
  5. Slide the contents right on over again, this time we are making room for the edamame & my favorite, baby corn!
  6. Between now and the next step I poured in about 2 cups of beef broth. (As mentioned in my blog, Albany Foodie, I don’t measure, honaaay. I don’t have time.)
  7. I love these Blue Dragon Egg Noodles. Right on the back of the package, you can see the suggested serving size. 1 nest of noods = 1 adult size portion. I cooked 4. I usually cook enough for us both, seconds for my husband, and leftovers. I placed these right in the dutch oven and covered them with the cooking ingredients to heat them up faster. I did pour in more beef broth & a splish splash of both rice vinegar and soy sauce. Another great thing about this recipe is, you can choose how juicy you want it to be.
  8. I saved the water chestnuts and chopped frozen broccoli for last. I love the texture of water chestnuts, and their little crunch so I did not want to overcook these – same for the broccoli.
  9. I gave the noodles just a few more minutes to loosen, and in minutes I was scooping this out of the pan.
  10. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional)

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Serious YUM! What do you like in your stir frys? Comment below!

Thank you, Dazey LA!

I’m sharing MY promo code with you!

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Thank you, Dazey LA for selecting me as an ambassador!

fashion with a f******* statement! 

a graphic tee can always be dressed up or dressed down
perfect look for my friday date night paired with a leather bomber and my go-to thigh-highs

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There’s so much exciting info, so let’s start with 10 interesting facts!

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I mean, really… how cool is this? Your items are PERSONALLY CREATED for you once ordered.


Your items are absolutely NOT

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Hey! This takes time!

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AND

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CODE – FLOWERPOWER