Sunday, December 20, 2015

We're Engaged!


Big news!  Howie and I got engaged on Friday night!  We are so unbelievably excited and have had a blast telling our closest family and friends/celebrating with these family and friends allll weekend long.  I think I've had more champagne in 2 days than I have in my entire life put together!

Sugar Cookies


If there's one holiday tradition that I couldn't live without, it would be decorating Christmas Sugar Cookies with my younger brother and my mom.  We've been doing it for as long as I can remember, and it's definitely evolved into my most cherished holiday memory, year after year.  We laugh, we make the biggest mess in our kitchen with sprinkles everywhere, we try to eat cookies when they're piping hot out of the oven and we play our Now That's What I Call Christmas CD from, ohhh probably 2001.  It's a total blast!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Holiday Shopping at the Cleveland Bazaar


Is your holiday shopping almost done?  If you haven't even made a dent in it (ahem, like me), be sure to check out the Cleveland Bazaar, an amazing indie craft show located in the 78th Street Studios that is happening this weekend only.  There's hundreds of super talented artists, food, drinks (a little liquid courage always helps you spend your money right?!), music and an eclectic, hipster crowd.  All of my favorite things!  I love how many Cleveland-based gifts some of the artists sell.  From funky jewelry to oil paintings of Terminal Tower to clocks made from reclaimed wood taken from demolished historic buildings around town, there's something for everybody.  I definitely got my history-loving, clock-collecting Grandpa that last gift from Rustbelt Reclamation for Christmas 2014 and he loved it.  So when is this happening?

Saturday: 10 am - 9 pm / Sunday: 10 am-6 pm @ The 78th Street Studios near Gordon Square
 (AND IT'S FREE, unlike The Flea which is apparently $5 admission now!)

See you there!  Probably tomorrow because I'm making my first turkey ever today for a Friendsmas dinner tonight.  A little intimidated but if it's super tasty like I'm hoping, expect a post for the recipe!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Easiest Pie Crust


So you're the lucky one tasked with making the famous Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  You could be lazy and pick one up at the grocery store.  Or you could be semi-ambitious and make the filling yourself and put it in a good old Pillsbury ready made crust.  Or you could just *gasp* make the pie and the crust yourself.  I swear on my life that this is the simplest pie crust ever - it's made with just 4 ingredients and is still super flaky.  The best part of all is that I consider it foolproof...in all the years I've made it, it's never once ripped on me while I was rolling it out.  Time to be the Turkey Day all-star in your family!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bliss In A Bottle


Even though I love going out and exploring the Cleveland scene, there's just something beautiful about staying in when the temperature drops below fifty degrees.  Which is like every single day until May, right?  Ugh.  Instead of giving my Netflix and DVR some extra love last weekend, I decided to get together with a fabulous group of friends for a girls night in.  We laughed, we gossiped, we ate, we drank...it was a magical combination of things.  Especially when the eating and drinking part involved wine and chocolate.  And the flavor profiles of the wine and chocolate perfectly complemented one another.  Just wait.  The wine bottles were actually dipped in chocolate!

Do you hear church choirs singing and light shining down from above because you finally found heaven on Earth?  I sure do!  The handcrafted chocolate covered wine bottles made by Bliss in a Bottle are not only delicious, but stunning!  I couldn't think of a more perfect gift for the holidays, a birthday, a housewarming, a Saturday night in with the girls, any moment of time on any day of the week...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Bread


So I just came to the mind-shattering realization that Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away.  Where did the fall go??  Why haven't I started listening to Christmas music??  Just kidding about that last one.  I had you, didn't I?  The only thing I seem to be on top of this season is coming up with some ahhhh-mazing holiday recipes!  Like Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Bread.  Seriously though, the sweet apples, tangy cranberries and fresh orange zest combined with a heavenly brown sugar cinnamon mixture that caramelizes on top of the bread when you bake it in the oven...it's just perfect.  On top of how great it tastes, the bread is light enough that you can serve it for breakfast on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day and it will tie your guests over until the scrumptious dinner!

  Let the holiday season officially commence on the blog!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How to Perfectly Roast Chicken


Do you want to know something funny?  Well I think it's pretty funny at least.  It's that almost every single person I know assumes that since I have a food blog I make all sorts of elaborate recipes every single night of the week for dinner.  HAHA!  Newsflash - I'm only human and rely on chicken, hmmmmm, let me think about it...4 nights of the week.  Minimum.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Breadsmith


I'm not quite sure that there is much more I need in life besides bread.  I don't discriminate...white bread, wheat bread, cinnamon raisin bread, especially garlic bread...they're all fine by me.  I'm sure that you probably feel the same.  If you don't, then either your diet is extremely unfortunate, or you haven't been to Breadsmith in Lakewood yet.  This awesome locally-owned bakery makes some of the best loafs I've ever had!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pancetta Quiche with Carmelized Peppers & Onions


Even though people will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, they're wrong.  At least on Saturdays and Sundays, when it's all about the art of the brunch

In my crazy mind, breakfast is about getting that perfect low-calorie balance of fruits, veggies, whole grains and protein.  Boring.  But brunch is a whole different animal!  It has to be slightly greasy, because it's a weekend, treat yo self!  It also has to be super flavorful because brunches at restaurants are always delicious and, let's face it, easier than making all of this at home.  And most importantly, the meal must be enticing to people who rolled out of bed at 7am for morning yoga and people who are going back to bed after this meal because they closed down the bars last night.  Tough crowd!

One of the most perfect brunch recipes that I can think of is my Pancetta Quiche with Caramelized Peppers and Onions.  This savory, cheesy, melt-in-your-mouth quiche is easy to prepare thanks to this awesome thing called refrigerated pie crust, but has a sophisticated flair from the sweet and crunchy Pancetta.  Brunch game strong! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sticky Asian Chicken Tenders

If you're cool like me a.k.a. a 90's baby, there's no doubt in my mind that chicken tenders were in your top 5 favorite foods growing up.  Probably alongside pizza, hamburgers, french fries and mac & cheese, am I right??  Okay Howie, I believe chicken fingers is the correct terminology in Buffalo.  I just got major girlfriend points for that.


Anyway, sometimes I still want my childhood classics, except with the flavor turned up.  And not out of a frozen bag.  And minus the whole deep frying part that adds loads of fat and calories.  That's where Sticky Asian Chicken Tenders come in.  I bread chicken tenderloins in panko bread crumbs, bake them with a drizzle of olive oil to add that unmistakable crunch, and then toss them in Ree Drummond's Orange Chicken Sauce and top them with chopped green onions and peanuts.  A little sweet, a little tangy, a little crunchy...a little perfect!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cleveland Beer Week


In case you've been hiding under a rock for the past week, it's Cleveland Beer Week.  That's right, it's the magical 10 days of the year when Cleveland restaurants have "brewery takeover" nights, which basically equates to meet and greets with Brew Masters from your favorite breweries, free glasses almost anywhere you order a pint and super-delicious small batch beers, some of which are brewed exclusively for Cleveland Beer Week!  I've been to a few of the events, mostly because I love collecting different pint glasses..."collecting" meaning I'm 25 years old and really need to build my dishware collection...

But the food's great, the people are great and the beer's especially great.  So what are you waiting for?  Be sure to check out the Cleveland Beer Week Events page on their website to see what's happening tonight...and tomorrow...and Saturday and Sunday too, of course!  And if you have a chance to sample the Fathead's Jungle Juice Head Hunter IPA like we did last night at Forage Public House, I strongly encourage it!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Glaze



Howie left me alone in Cleveland this weekend to go to the Bills vs. Giants game...which means I finally have a Sunday that doesn't involve football!  Not that I don't enjoy football or anything, but it's about time I get caught up with my "life" things a.k.a. decorate my porch and fireplace mantel for fall, make Slow Cooker Garlic Rosemary Beef Stew and bake the all important Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Sugar Glaze.  Let me tell you, these suckers are addicting!  Like so addicting that I'm actually going on a run right now before dinner because I ate three in the last 2 hours.  And I'm probably going to have three more tonight.  And I actually don't even feel that bad about it because I'm just being seasonal.  Oh gosh you have to try these perfect fall cookies!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beach Hopping in Bocas del Toro, Panama


Okay, enough with the city parts of Panama that you read here and here in my first posts about Panama City and on to the real reason you visit...the rainforest and the beach!  Since there are not many resorts in Bocas del Toro, every single beach in the islands is still lined by plush rainforest.  The scenery is stunning and truly unlike anything I've ever seen in my travels!  

What makes the beaches of Bocas del Toro even better is that they each give off their own vibe so that no two days of the trip are exactly the same...Cayo Zapatilla was the most remote and serene, Red Frog Beach had massive waves and some funky beachside restaurants and Playa de las Estrellas, clad with hundreds of starfish, was a pure daydream.  Can you just take me back already?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Chicken Paprikash Soup


You guys...today marks the official start of my favorite time of year!  Fall!  Although, let's be real - I bought a pumpkin cinnamon candle, pumpkin spice coffee and had pumpkin-flavored ice cream from Mitchell's last week.  I guess you could say that I've never been one to appreciate the present.  But now that the temperature is going down into the mid-50s every night and I've been waking up freezing every morning, I think I can justify some cozy cool weather food!   Like soup.  Like Chicken Paprikash Soup.  Oh my gosh, I think I love fall so much because soup season officially commences.  And trust me, this Chicken Paprikash Soup is the ultimate comfort food!  It's creamy - but not heavy -and full of roasted chicken, potatoes, onions and garlic in a light herb broth filled with a delicious paprika flavor.  It's the perfect one-pot-meal for a chilly fall day!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Panama, Part 2: Panama City & Bocas Del Toro


Good Morning.

After a delightful, much-needed slumber in the ultra-plush sheets of the Hard Rock Megapolis Hotel, we were ready to explore Panama City for a few hours before our flight to Bocas del Toro.  You know me, always up before sunrise...Howie thinks I'm a freak of nature.  Maybe I am.  But hey, rolling over in bed and seeing first light behind the skyscrapers and distant mountains is any architects fantasy.  And did I mention we got upgraded to a suite??  Thanks Hard Rock, you rock! Now on to Day 2 of our adventure!  Let's just say we were beyond thrilled to see the sun shining after being in a permanent splash zone the day before!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

No Place Like Home...Panama, Part 1: Panama City


Howie and I officially scratched Central America off of our travel bucket list last week during a wild and adventurous trip to Panama.  After having the opportunity to visit a cosmopolitan finance capital, a quiet beach town, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the rainforest and a gorgeous Spanish Colonial Old Town - all in a single trip - I can most certainly promise that this won't be my last time visiting Central America.  There's no doubt in my mind that the most spectacular part about traveling to Panama was that it still felt like a secret.  I was at some of the most astonishingly beautiful places I had ever been in my life, but knew that only a handful of other people had laid eyes on the landscape or stepped on the terrain.

Welcome to Panama, the "land of 1,000 fishes"...and perpetual bad hair days.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How to Find Cheap Flights to Exotic Places

Cayos Zapatilla, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Howie and I are getting so excited for our big adventure to Panama on Sunday!  One of the first questions people ask when I tell them where we're going is, "What made you choose Panama?"  Hmmmm, hard to say.  It might be that we're too hipster for mainstream Costa Rica...or that we couldn't decide whether we wanted to see the Caribbean, the Pacific, the rainforest, a cosmopolitan international finance capital or a European style old town (seriously though, I'm SO excited)...or that I found an absolutely amazing price for our flight on The Flight Deal, a website that is almost too good to be true.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli


One of the best feelings in the world is when you treat yourself to a nice home-cooked dinner after a long day at work.  An even better feeling is when this meal tastes like you're eating in an Italian restaurant...and literally takes less than 20 minutes to make!  Yes, your wildest dreams are coming true.  I sauté some chicken and onion until they're almost golden brown, then throw in a little (or a lot!) of garlic for that intense Italian flavor, then add in some butter for good measure.  Next comes a huge handful of baby spinach - so you can pretend that part of the meal is healthy - and finish it off with some crunchy pine nuts and a dash of parmesan cheese for garnish.  Oh yeah, did I mention that I lay this delicious buttery, garlic rosemary sauce on top of a bed of luscious, melt-in-your-mouth Artichoke ravioli?  It's a pretty perfect combination if you ask me!  And feel free to experiment with any flavor ravioli you would like...the artichoke flavor was an impulse buy for me at the grocery store over the weekend!  A cheese ravioli would be equally delicious!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Butterscotch Blondie Bars


Even though the sun is going down a little earlier and we're starting to need lightweight jackets after sunset, the summer party season is still in full swing!  It seems like all of my friends and family are trying to make the most of the last few weeks of this oh-so-short summer, so Howie and I's social calendar has been chocked full of BBQ's housewarmings (including our own this weekend!) and birthday parties.  I absolutely hate showing up to these types of social gatherings empty-handed, so I usually try to whip up a quick dip or dessert to share with friends and alleviate the host's plate a little bit.  One of my favorite hand-held desserts in the summer months are Butterscotch Blondie Bars, a sweet treat that only takes about 10 minutes to make and a half hour to bake.  Sorry store-bought brownies, you are delicious but one-in-a-million at summer barbecues...make way for these awesome little Butterscotch Blondies!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowl


There's nothing quite like a Chipotle craving.  You know what I mean.  It's terribly unexpected, comes on strong and really won't go away until you go ahead and satiate your need for that burrito.  It's the worst.  But also the best when you're actually eating it.

So let me tell you, I've tried to mimic Chipotle in my own kitchen many times in the past with about a 0-6 track record...until now.  I figured out how to give a little love to the ingredients so you get that salty, tangy cilantro-lime flavor in every single bite.  It takes a little prep time, but makes 6 generous servings for less than the price of 2 burrito bowls!  And the leftovers for lunch during the week...insane.  You have to try this one out!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Welcome to New York


As many of you know, I absolutely love travel in any shape or form.  I'm not sure if it's a last ditch effort to see as much of the world as I can before I eventually have to get responsible and settle down one day, or if I have an innate travel bug that will probably never disappear completely.  Either way, seeing the world  makes me feel creatively, physically and emotionally inspired, so I take advantage of as many trips each year as I can, big or small.

For these reasons, I decided to launch a travel section for No Place Like (O)Home.  Even though I absolutely adore my hometown of Cleveland, OH, there is a whole world out there for me to explore, and in turn, share with you.  To be honest, I have no idea what type of content I'll be regularly posting in this section - it's sort of like this past spring when I found a $400 round trip ticket to Panama and bought it on a whim without a game plan.  I have a tendency to dive into things head first and never look back.  But that itinerary is looking amazing, so I'm crossing fingers that this travel section will be equally successful.  Looks like a glimpse into my trip to Manhattan through photos will be the first topic...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trending On NPLH, No. 2


1. U2 Innocence and Experience Tour >> This girl is NYC bound at 7am on Friday morning to see U2 a.k.a the most talented band in the whole wide world (pardon my biased-ness).  Look for the launch of a Travel section on the blog sometime next week too...if I get around to it because I've been slacking hardcore with starting it!

2. How To Ruin Your Life (Without Even Knowing You Are) >> "You ruin your life by tolerating it.  At the end of the day you should be excited to be alive.  When you settle for anything less than what you innately desire, you destroy the possibility that lives inside of you, and in that way you cheat both yourself and the world of your potential."

What I took away from the article is that you can ruin your life by settling - for a job, a lover, friends - for a life that you simply "don't mind."  I think social media has put a tremendous pressure on upholding a glamorous lifestyle (at least through the eyes of others) because we're constantly reminded of the extravagant vacations, amazing promotions, gifts, cars, engagements and parties that everybody else is having/giving/doing/buying.  At the end of the day, we need to stop comparing ourselves to everybody else in the world and be happy - not just content - with our own lives.  These ideas are actually part of the reason why I started a blog in the first place; it's a creative outlet that is exclusively my own and working on it makes me happy.

3. Cockalier >> Since #2 was a little deep, I thought I would lighten up the post a little bit with the cutest dog I've ever seen in my life at the Tremont Ale Fest.  Puppy goals, for real.

4. Chipotle Chicken Chili >> Because I love make-ahead meals and also I'm already over these 80 to 90-something temperatures.  Bring on sweater weather!

5. "I Know Places" by Taylor Swift >> So clearly everybody got her 1989 CD last fall...but I'm wondering why the heck "I Know Places" hasn't exploded on the music charts yet.  It's clearly the best song on the album, so this is me trying to spread the word because "Bad Blood" got real old real fast.

6.  Adam Vicarel Print Shop >> I went to high school with Adam and he has evolved into the most talented free-lance designer I know.  His hand-lettered maps have even gotten published in Glamour Magazine!  Even though I want this print so so badly, I have to wait and see if I have "fun" money left after my Panama adventure in September...but judging by the travel-based inspirational quotes drawn on all of his maps, I think he would support this let's-put-travel-first decision.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Stuffed Hot Banana Peppers


So Howie and I are officially sustainable urban residents.  Finally, right?  We woke up early last Saturday morning to take full advantage of the gloriously sunny and warm July weather and decided to venture up to the Lakewood Farmer's Market on our bikes.  Right when I stepped into the little plaza and laid eyes on the abundance of fresh vegetables and cartons upon cartons of peaches, I instantly felt inspired to concoct about 10 different recipes.  However...I had to restrain myself because I didn't have a ton of cash on hand.  Sad day.  But we still walked away with a backpack filled with fresh pasta from Little Lakewood Pasta Company, green onions, radishes (a total impulse buy on Howie's part - they're still sitting in our fridge) and the star of this blog post...spicy banana peppers.  Well, more like half spicy banana peppers for Howie and half "sweet" a.k.a. still-spicy-but-not-flaming-hot banana peppers for me.  I don't know if it was the freshness of of the locally-grown peppers, my adoration of Italian cuisine or my ahhh-mazing cooking abilities *cue eye roll*, but these Stuffed Hot Banana Peppers were out of this world delicious!  Stop by the Lakewood Farmer's Market this Saturday from 10am-1am in front of the Marc's shopping center and then try this recipe in your own kitchen afterwards!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fruit Pizza


While there's no denying that I'm a chocolate person at heart, I must admit that fruity desserts taste just a little bit better in the scorching hot summer months.  Unless you're talking ice cream.  But this isn't a post about ice cream.  This is a post about fruit pizza - a delicious combination of crispy sugar cookie "crust," cream cheese fruit dip "sauce" and a variety of colorful and fresh fruit "pizza toppings."  Making the pizza is simple because I cheat by using refrigerated sugar cookie dough and store-bought fruit dip.  But shhhhh nobody has to know...the fruit is the star in this dessert after all!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Detroiter


I love a good Friday happy hour after a long week of work.  Who doesn't?  What I love even more is when said happy hour establishment sells only regional craft beers and has amazing appetizers, sandwiches and entrees to accompany these local beers.  Did I mention every single item on the menu is made from scratch?  Sounds too good to be true...but it isn't.  The Detroiter, located in the former World of Beer location, is the newest addition to Lakewood's bustling restaurant and bar scene - I must say, it's quickly becoming my favorite.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trending on NPLH, No. 1

A few of my (currently) favorite things:


1. "Cecilia and the Satellite" by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness >> Remember those days you spent baking in the sun at the Warped Tour in the early to mid-2000s?  Yeah, me too.  Anyway, the lead singer of Jack's Mannequin has gone solo and his music couldn't be better. Listen!

2. Outfit Goals >> Seriously, who looks this good while biking?  Just an FYI, Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam is my favorite fashion blogger because of her classic looks that are totally my style.  Unfortunately, they've slowly but surely gone out of my price range as her fame has grown.

3. The Incredibly Simple Guide to Getting Totally Free Flights and Hotels >> In case you didn't know, I have a permanent travel bug that won't go away no matter how many weekend trips I take (which are all the time).  So Howie and I booked an exotic trip to Panama City and Bocas del Toro in September, more on that later.  But I'm thinking I need to invest in an airline credit card soon so I can get at least 1 or 2 domestic flights for free each year.  Here's how.

4. Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream >> I really don't sleep that much, especially in the summer.  And also especially because I've been fighting insomnia this year (a battle I'm winning, might I add).  But this eye cream does wonders for dark circles.  No joke.  Invest now.

5. Breakfast Hash with Kale, Squash and Peppers >> I'm going to be brunchin' with this over the weekend, for sure.  And it's healthy?  Yes please.

6. Where Are the Jobs? >> So this is the total architecture/urban design nerd in me coming out, but I think it's fascinating to study where different types of jobs are located to better address the infrastructure, retail and activity needs of the area.  Find your town on the interactive map!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Exploring the CLE Bike Scene


New summer, new hobby.  Well actually it's more like an old hobby, rediscovered, paired with an even older bike fully clad with rust spots from when I left it outside my dorm one too many times during my college days.  Anyway, my love for biking was finally rekindled a few weeks ago when I realized that I could easily bike 3 miles in 10 minutes instead of running 3 miles of 25 minutes...which means I can explore more of the city on foot a.k.a. the best way!  It's also an ample cross-training opportunity, hellooooo beach bod!  So I've been cruising around town after work and on weekends, mostly to the obvious locations like Edgewater Park and other streets near the lake.  Despite their prime photography opportunities, the paths are definitely crowded.

So that's where I need help.  I'm desperate for new ideas and thought that there's gotta be at least a few of you out there that might have some off-the-beaten-path recommendations for me?  Off the beaten path meaning still asphalt because my ride through the muddy sand at Edgewater tonight was an epic fail!  Routes that are a little scenic are extra appreciated!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Homemade Spicy Giardiniera


I don't know about you, but my summertime recipes are all about keeping it simple and light.  This usually involves grilling in one way or the other - and trust me, I take full advantage of the 5 months of the year that it's actually enjoyable to grill outside in Cleveland.  The only problem with grilling a few nights of the week is that your burgers, chicken and brats can be a little on the mundane side if you're preparing them the same way every time.  BUT, I can save you with a little topping called Giardiniera, a bold, spicy, olive-oil-and-vinegar based mixture of bell peppers, hot peppers, onions, cauliflower, carrots, garlic and herbs.  It will knock any hot dog, brat or burger that you make out of the park!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Jack Flaps Downtown Cleveland


I don't think there is anything better on a Saturday morning than a nice, leisurely brunch with good company.  And I don't think there is anything better on a Friday afernoon than learning that a popular Ohio City brunch spot has opened a new downtown location.  You guessed it, Jack Flaps recently opened a second restaurant in the 5th Street Arcades in between Prospect and Euclid.  And it's sooooo good.  While I was delighted by the taste and presentation of my meal, I might be even happier that visitors and locals alike aren't forced to flee to Ohio City and Tremont to eat the most important meal of the day - but let me tell you, I will be fleeing from Lakewood to eat at Flap Jacks many times in the near future!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Steph's Pick: Brown Butter


So if you've read my blog in the past, you might remember that I have an avid dislike of butter.  Yep, I'm one strange creature.  I promise it's not because it's unhealthy - I totally work out enough to compensate for a least a few tablespoons a week.  It's the taste!  So the even weirder part in this twisted story is that I'm going to introduce a new type of blog post about cooking tips that you can apply to any recipe involving the featured method or ingredient...and my first one is about BUTTER.

What?!

Monday, June 15, 2015

I'm Back!

It's June 15th.  Yes, I've officially slacked off hardcore and gone 1 month and 6 days without a single post.  In short, my creative outlet that I started based on my passion for cooking and love of Cleveland was beginning to feel like a chore...so I decided to take a break until I missed it.  And I do.  A lot.  It was actually really nice to take time away from the blog to go out and experience the start of summer through my own eyes rather than my camera lens.  I think Howie especially liked that he didn't have to endure 10-15 minutes of me photographing all of our meals at slightly different angles too (P.S. Sorry Howie I'm back to my old habits as of yesterday!).  I could probably write paragraphs and paragraphs about everything that's happened in the last 5 or 6 weeks, but I thought pictures might do it more justice.

A few key points...
1. Howie and I finally moved in together after 4-1/2 years and it's awesome!
2. I've been watching the Cavs playoff games religiously and even got to go to one woo
3. I live really close to the lake and the beautiful morning sunrises are almost enough motivation to get me out of bed for 6am runs (except this plan is failing because of point #2...why do these games start at 9pm on work nights when they're playing in Cleveland?!)
4. My best friend, Rachael, and I got a surprise invite to hang out and have a bonfire with Third Eye Blind, which is only my favorite band ever.  I just about died but then realized that would be wasting valuable one-on-one time with Stephen Jenkins.

 I have a feeling that Summer 2015 is going to be the best one yet!

















Saturday, May 9, 2015

Panko-Crusted Mac and Cheese


With Mother's Day only a day away, I'm sure all sorts of people are going out today to buy a bouquet of flowers and ingredients for a cute little breakfast in bed.  Props for the effort, but the holiday routine is getting a little tired, don't you think?  I mean...why have eggs and toast in bed when you can have homemade Panko-Crusted Mac and Cheese for dinner??  Filled with garlic, bacon, green onions and a gooey, amazingly delicious cheese sauce, the flavor profile of this dish cannot be beat!  Oh, well, except when you go ahead and top it with a crispy panko breadcrumb topping for a little crunch!  Treat your mom right this Mother's Day and give her what she really wants, (hint, hint) Mac and Cheese!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas


Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I know you all are probably out celebrating with some margaritas and a little Taco Tuesday action at your favorite Mexican restaurant, but I thought I would share this AWESOME Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe that my mom made over the weekend!  I saw the recipe in Taste of Home magazine, and she decided to make it for our Sunday dinner.  It totally hit the spot, especially topped with with homemade Guacamole and Southwestern Bean Salsa!  Of course I added a little extra green onion on top of my tacos because I'm loveeee with their flavor!  Even though it's too late to start this slow cooker recipe for Cinco de Mayo dinner tonight, it's still a perfect set-it-and-forget-it recipe for busy weeknights or a nice Sunday supper!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Chocolate Chip Macaroon Cookies


So I haven't really posted in like 10 days.  Oops.  It's so hard to sit at your computer when it's finally 70 degrees, you're sort of in the peak of your house hunting season, oh and you've been to Cincinnati, Iowa and Pittsburgh in the last 6 days while working your 40 hour work week on top of it.  True story, I'm practically superwoman, right?!  So obviously I took this day of rest to come up with the most amazingly delicious cookies I think I've ever made.  The recipe sort of happened on accident.  I whipped up some chocolate chip cookie dough for a little weekend treat and had already put a batch in the oven when I realized that I was craving coconut!  Instead of just stirring coconut and pecans into the dough like normally do, I made a creamy "macaroon" filling that I sandwiched between 2 pieces of cooking dough before baking!  How did I not think of these before?!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Belated Earth Day


So I know I'm a couple days late, but Happy Earth Day!  Better late than never right?  Since most of us seem to be chained to our 9-5 (or 6, or 7, or 8...), I thought of a great earth-friendly activity that you guys can do this weekend since you probably missed out on Wednesday.   Head on over to the Mellow Mushroom for a tasty lunch, and then hike it off in the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation afterwards!  Well, okay, the Mellow Mushroom may not be the most organic, earth-friendly place in town.  BUT they do have a pretty earth-friendly name, tons of vegan and gluten free options AND extremely good pizza with some crazy flavor combinations.  Howie and I were being ourselves a.k.a. extremely indecisive when it comes to ordering food, and sprung for a half Red Skin Potato Pie (hello loaded baked potato pizza!) and half Kosmic Karma, which is topped with sundried tomatoes, pesto and feta cheese.  Not necessarily vouching that the two types went hand in hand in terms of pairing, but we did try both ends of the spectrum, right?  They were goooood!  And while you're there, definitely order a side Caesar salad as an appetizer- it was one of the best I've ever had...the homemade croutons were the bomb.  After we finished our leisurely lunch, we drove a mile or 2 down the road to the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation to catch the first glimpse of green this spring.  If my estimations are correct, you might see some baby leaves on the trees this week because the buds were sprouting last weekend.  Summer's just around the corner!



Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon