Tuesday, November 12, 2019

B is for: Baby Shower Brunch

I don't have any kids. Nor do I have any plans to have them. But I do have two adorable nephews whom I love dearly, and I love playing "Auntie J" to both of them, as well as all of my friends' kids.

And I love throwing parties.

And that is how it came to be that I threw a baby shower for our friends Rob and Nicole this past August. The baby we showered is now here (her name is Brooklyn, and she is adorable), so I suppose this blog post is a little past due. (Pun intended.)

But in the event any Aunties are planning a baby shower (or any brunchy party for that matter), hopefully you can use some of these ideas.

Monday, October 28, 2019

A is for: Arancini Skewers {Risotto Balls}

I'm a sucker for cheese and charcuterie.

Like, if you are a restaurant and you have some sort of meat and cheese plate on your menu, chances are, I'm ordering it. And when I'm entertaining, you can almost count on the fact there will be some sort of board filled with Italian meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, dried fruit and those adorable mini pickles.

So when Icons of European Taste reached out about a potential collaboration, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Create a recipe using Prosciutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano?

Sign. Me. Up.

I immediately began cooking up ideas in my brain... pasta, mini pizzas, crostatas, meatballs, deviled eggs, prosciutto wrapped asparagus... the list was extensive. But the idea that really resonated on both sides was Arancini... or if you're like my boyfriend and get annoyed by fancy names: risotto balls. They've been on my list for awhile to create for the blog, so I was super excited to come up with a version for these very special Italian products.

*This post is in paid partnership with Icons of European Taste.

Monday, September 30, 2019

A is for: Arthur Ave Food Crawl {Bronx Little Italy}

One of my favorite things about living in New York City is that there is no shortage of amazing Italian food.

We are a stone's throw from Lilia and often frequent Barano. I love hitting up the West Village to dine at popular spots like Don Angie, i Sodi and Via Carota. And on my birthday this year, we checked out newcomer Rezdora.

But if you reaaaaally want to experience NYC Italian culture, then you need to make a trip to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. It's the Little Italy that Manhattan's Little Italy would love to be but probably never will.

It's also where Justin and I had one of our first dates. At the time, I was still living in Connecticut, so I would often make the trek to NYC on the weekends. One of those occasions, we rendezvoused in the Bronx. We've since returned two other times with friends, and as I type this I'm realizing it's been far too long since our last visit.

Friday, August 2, 2019

A is for: Austin {bachelorette party planning checklist}

This post is wayyyyyy overdue.

Like.... a year overdue.

But like I always say... it's better late than never, right?

So I last visited Austin in June of 2018 for my friend Megan's bachelorette party. Our group of 12 girls descended on the city for three days of food, fun and debauchery.

Much like I did for the New Orleans bachelorette party I attended last year, I figured it would be handy to type up a guide for any girls (or guys) planning for a similar trip.

As with the NOLA bach party, I was not solely in charge of the planning. I helped out with a couple of things, but I would whole-heartedly recommend our entire itinerary, so I'm including it all here in the form of a mini Austin Bachelorette Party checklist, if you will. Please let me know if we missed anything!

Monday, July 22, 2019

A is for: ABCD Dip {Avocado, Basil, Cottage Cheese & Dill}

I'm going to be completely honest with you guys.

I wasn't really sure how this dip would turn out. I had an idea for something that utilized cottage cheese and fresh herbs to create a refreshing dip for veggies and chips. But having never actually used cottage cheese in a dip recipe, I just wasn't sure if it was going to work.

But, that's the fun thing about food blogging. You come up with ideas, try them, and sometimes they work... sometimes they don't... and sometimes the results completely exceed your expectations.

This was a case of the latter. I was totally blown away by how good this was!! Even my friend Rob, who hates cottage cheese was eagerly gobbling this down and totally shocked when I told him what was in it.

It almost has a Green Goddess taste to it, with a wonderful whipped, "moussey" consistency that is positively delightful.

**This blog post is sponsored in part by Hood Cottage Cheese. Recipe and words are my own. 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Z is for: Zucchini Egg Muffins with Hood Cottage Cheese

Whenever I'm trying to do a healthy re-set (which I'm desperately in need of at the moment), I try to plan out my breakfasts ahead of time and prep them at the beginning of the week if possible.

This really sets you up for success. It's hard to eat something unhealthy for breakfast (or skip the meal altogether) when you have something delicious already made and sitting in the fridge waiting for you saying "Eat me!"

And that, my friends, is where these delightful little egg muffins come into play. They are high in protein and packed with vegetables but still have enough cheese and flavor to make them something you actually want to reach for in the mornings.

Enough so... that not only do I recommend these for easy weekday grab-and-go breakfasts, but I would also whole-heartedly suggest these for a brunch gathering because they are already portioned out and easy for guests to eat. Whichever you decide to use these for... definitely make them ASAP!

*This blog post is sponsored in part by Hood Cottage Cheese.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Y is for: Yountville {the ultimate Napa Wine & Wedding Weekend}

I love weddings.

No matter what the setting, seeing my friends and family bring all of their most cherished people together in one spot to celebrate their love is a really beautiful thing.

That said, I really love weddings when my friends pick vacation destinations like Napa Valley to tie the knot.

I found myself at the latter situation recently when our friends Matthew and Sarah decided to wed just outside Yountville, CA... one of my favorite wine country destinations.

First of all, the entire town smells like you are permanently in a day spa. Notes of Jasmine and lavender float through the air, and it's really hard not to be in a zen mood at all times. That state of being is of course enhanced by the abundance of world class dining and wine tasting, making it pretty much the perfect weekend getaway. Let this blog post serve as your “to-do” list to enjoy it to the fullest.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Y is for: YVR: Vancouver in 36 Hours + Cruising Aboard the Norwegian Joy

If you find yourself in Vancouver, B.C. for just 36 hours… chances are, you either decided to pop up for the weekend from somewhere in the Pacific Northwest or you are about to embark on an Alaskan Cruise.

I recently found myself there for the latter as part of a fun girls getaway with my friend Kate.

I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver. Growing up in Montana and attending school in Washington state, it’s sort of ridiculous that I hadn’t made it there yet. And after a fast-paced 36 hours, I can tell you that a day and a half is not nearly enough time, and I already can’t wait to go back. 

The city itself reminds me of some of my other favorite coastal cities… sort of a mash-up between Portland, Seattle & San Francisco. With its vibrant downtown, a sprawling public park, and its residents’ love for the outdoors… Vancouver has plenty to see and do!

I also read somewhere that locals muse that “YVR” stands for “Yes, very rainy,” but we were lucky to get some mild, dry weather during our short stay.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

W is for: Wraps {with Hood Cottage Cheese & Quick Chicken Shawarma}

Lately, I've been doing a lot of work from home. For me, that can mean any combination writing, blogging, recipe developing, photography and video content for brands or any of my own social channels.

I love the flexibility it gives me, but without the structure of a traditional job, it's hard to stick to a good meal schedule. A lot of times, I get so busy that I actually forget to eat (ironic, right?) I've learned it's really important to have easy snacks on hand to eat in between shoots or takes. That's why I'm super excited to partner with Hood Cottage Cheese. For me, it's a win-win. I get to come up with delicious recipes, while having a fridge stocked full of a protein-rich snack!

My first recipe post with this product features a super easy-to-make pita wrap that also happens to be high in protein. It's my take on Greek chicken shawarma in a pita, but instead of traditional tzatziki sauce, I'm using one of Hood's savory cottage cheese flavors: Cucumber and Dill.

This blog post is sponsored in part by Hood Cottage Cheese.

Monday, April 15, 2019

W is for: Walt Disney World for Adults, Part III: Your Disney Bucket List

On a drive to Maine over the Christmas holiday, a plan was hatched to send seven adults to the Happiest Place on Earth, and it was one of the best ideas ever.

Shockingly, not everyone feels the same about Disney World as the seven of us do. I say this because, when I told people of our impending trip, I got two very different reactions. It was either an emphatic "That's amazing!" or a puzzled look followed by the question: "...why?"


Why NOT?

If your argument against it stems from your opinion that this is a place built for kids, and why on earth would 7 adults with no kids in tow choose visit on purpose... then you are sorely mistaken. Walt Disney World is built just as much for the big kids as it is the little ones, and we are living proof of that.

With that said... Let this blog post serve as your official "Disney for Adults Bucket List" and planning guide.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

W is for: Walt Disney World for Adults, Part II: Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

If drinking around the world at Epcot is the #1 activity on your Adult Disney World itinerary, then Trader Sam's Grog Grotto should be 1a on your Disney bucket list.

Despite my limited experience in frequenting Disney World bars, I'm declaring it the best one at the most magical place on earth... and yes, it is indeed magical in its own right.

So much so, that our group actually made TWO different trips to this enchanting establishment. Both times, we ordered food (some of my favorite and most reasonably priced items of the trip), and both times, we also ordered an abundance of tropical (and sugary) rum drinks that come with no shortage of fire & animatronics and a side of sass from the hilarious bartenders.

And that is why, my friends, that I am dedicating a whole separate post to this destination tiki bar. Because, at the end of the day, it's not just a bar... it's a full Disney experience!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

W is for: Walt Disney World for Adults, Part I: drinking around the world at Epcot

It's known for being "The Happiest Place on Earth."

After spending three days at Disney World with six other adults... I can confidently say that moniker holds true just as much for the "kids at heart" as it does for the actual children themselves.

Adults can enjoy many of the same thing the kids do... meeting Disney characters, going on iconic rides, and eating all of the Mickey Mouse shaped food you can imagine. However, I think most can agree that the number one "adult centric" activity is participating in an "Around the World" drinking challenge at Epcot World Showcase, so that is where my Disney for Adults guide starts.

If you are an avid E is for Eat blog reader, you may remember that this is not my first time drinking around the world at Epcot. I also completed this bucket list item back in 2013, and detailed my experience here on the blog. I like to now think of myself as a seasoned veteran so I'm passing my knowledge along to you.

(Also, thanks, as always to Justin for the photos... which were truly magical from this trip.)

Monday, March 25, 2019

W is for: Wings {crispy, oven baked}

I do not profess to be a "wing expert" by any stretch of the imagination.

I like wings.

I adore Buffalo sauce.

But I will tell you this... whenever I make these wings for parties, there is never a single one left over.

Not. A. Single. One.

All I'm saying is I must be doing something right. Or maybe my friends are just really nice. Or perhaps just really hungry?

Or all of the above.

(Probably all of the above.)

Also... my wing method is ridiculously easy, so feel free to steal this recipe for Sweeet 16 this weekend and take all the credit. I won't tell.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

V is for: Vermont, Maine & Rhode Island Road Trip

Last year, my mom reached out to me with an interesting proposition. She is on a life-long mission to visit every state in the U.S., and was ready to knock a few of them off her bucket list while simultaneously taking in some New England fall foliage.

Even though this would've been a much easier task during my 4 years in Connecticut, I was determined to plan a mother-daughter trip that would be fun and memorable for both of us without a crazy amount of driving. After much research and google-mapping, I decided on overnight stops in Rhode Island, Maine & Vermont, with a drive through New Hampshire. Four days, four states and countless memories during a whirlwind fall road trip.

I highly recommend this trip to everyone (though, if you have more time, definitely space your stops out a bit and perhaps spend two nights in each place.) Ours took place during the first couple days of October, which, in retrospect, was a tad early for leaf peeping. But that's the beauty of Mother Nature. You truly never know when the leaves are going to turn.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

U is for: Upstate New York

I love living in New York City.

I love the fact that I can walk out of my apartment building and have basically anything I want at my fingertips.... A Michelin starred restaurant, food options 24 hours a day, concerts, theater, any kind of bar you could ever imagine, shopping, and accessible transportation.... the list goes on and on.

But as much as I enjoy the hustle and bustle, sometimes I like to return to my Montana roots and escape to nature. Go to a place where, when you shut off your Sonos speaker you hear.... nothing. Silence. Peace. Serenity. A place where you can still enjoy world class cuisine and lodging and feel like you're far away from the city, without actually having to go that far.

That place for me is Upstate New York.

Recently, I've had the opportunity to spend more and more time up there. And the one thing I've learned... is there is SO much to discover! A short drive upstate opens up a whole new world for hiking, antiquing, apple picking, concerts, wine & beer tasting, world class eating, and much, much more. Air Bnb named the Hudson Valley a Top-20 worldwide travel destination for 2019, so now is the time to experience what the area has to offer.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

T is for: Turkey Buffalo Chili

Last January, I successfully made it 24 days of the Whole30 Diet, coinciding with a dry January. I made things like Thai Cashew Chicken with Cauliflower Rice and Gluten Free Italian Wedding Soup. Overall, I'd say it was a success, I lost some weight and overall got a nice healthy reset.

Which was completely reversed when we then boarded a plane south to spend 4 days in  Jamaica eating jerk chicken and drinking all we could at an all-inclusive resort.

It's all about balance, right?

Fast forward to January 2019... I failed miserably at dry January (I think I made it 10 days), and I'm definitely not doing Whole30... BUT, I am trying my best to eat as healthy as possible. Pair that with the cooler weather, and that equals me craving the comforts of a nice, hearty chili. Last weekend, I kept it more traditional with a beef and bean chili, but this weekend I wanted to recreate a recipe of one of my former co-workers, Joe Kosa (he also inspired my grilled clams post this summer.)
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