One crab. Five ways.


I was recently talking with my friend about qualities that we found to be important in men we'd like to date - and perhaps some day raise children with. Amongst many great personality traits we both doled out as being relatively important, I threw down... knowledgable and comfortable with crabs. I quickly followed that up with the crustacean found by the ocean ... {get your mind out of the gutter}.

Despite my love of the ocean and ever present desire to be near in and in it, I don't like crabs and I don't like swimming in water where I can't see the bottom. As a kid, I can remember picking up a crab or two but that was a million years ago... and even now I won't get within a mile of them. Being an ocean lover, it'd be great to date someone who wasn't afraid of crabs for many reasons. One of which is, I would be able to leap on them when I "felt" a crab approaching. Rumor has it, men like to feel needed and I need them when there are crabs running a muck at the beach.

Anyway. As a testament to trying new things... and enjoying the mornings at the beach, I saw this crab just "relaxing" at the beach last Thursday. I thought it'd be a good opportunity to revisit the "One Shell. Four Ways." post from a few months ago. But, that silly crab was so photogenic I have more then 3 shots. 
I'm torn whether or not this crab was "relaxing" permanently {i.e. dead} or temporarily. I felt like it was "permanent" but I swear I saw him move towards the end. Maybe, he was just trying to get the other seagulls to leave him alone? In some of the pictures you can see quite the "trail" of crawling, which makes me think he was alive? Maybe I just want him to be alive?

I kind of like how the ocean is just in focus... not trying to be artsy. Well maybe a little.

I really like this one for some reason.

It seems super unfair to look at this pictures from my hotel room in Pennsylvania this week. But alas, this is life and I'll be back by the ocean and running away from crabs before I  know it. I'm spending Labor Day weekend in Maine again, so perhaps I'll another one of this post style after that. I think I'm up for the challenge.

Tomato goodness.


You know when you make something so delicious that you can't wait to make it again? That would be what happened to me on Saturday night.  With the abundance of tomatoes in the garden, I knew that I needed to do something with them. A mere salad would not suffice. I really needed to celebrate the tomato.

I stumbled upon this Cozy Kitchen post about roasted tomatoes and knew that I had found the answer. Roasted tomatoes. Boom. I am honestly not sure when I've made something so delicious with so few ingredients.

Roasted tomatoes are now my go to impress meal. You know the one that you keep under your belt for when you don't have much time, but you really want to wow someone? Enter... roasted tomatoes.
Ingredients? Tomatoes. Salt. Pepper. Olive oil.... and sugar. THAT'S IT.
Check out that pile of tomatoes. Gorgeous home grown, delicious, juicy tomatoes.

I'm a lazy chef who uses their hands - even for sugar.

 Check out all that fresh tomato juice. Then, all the tomatoes dressed up and ready for the party. The oven party that is.

After a mere 5 minutes prep time, these bad boys were in the oven. I had read a few recipes that ranged in cook time from 30 minutes (at 450F) to 3 hrs at (225F). So I split the difference and went with 20 minutes at 450F... and then about 20 minutes at 300F. I wanted these babies to simmer in the juicy business. It was worth every minute.

I'd love to give you a recipe but we know I don't do measurements. So here it goes...
Olive Oil
  • Heat oven to 450F and put tomatoes on cookie sheet face up.
  • Drizzle moderately aggressively with olive oil. Season heavily-ish with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with white sugar.
  • Toss those bad boys in the oven. Now, try and be patient.
  • Are you feeling extra patient? Lower the temp on the oven and add some extra time. You can't go wrong :)

Perfect summer meal. End. of. Story.

Monday morning thoughts


View from the Wing... 6:30 AM

Getting up at 4:20 in the morning is pretty uninspiring. Getting up at 4:20 in the rain might be a speck worse.

Alas, the weekend is over and it is a travel week again.

A few thoughts on this morning:
  1. I'm adding something to my bucket list. I want to touch the nose of an airplane. Weird right? But I do.
  2. I saw two people that I "knew" at the airport this morning. I put the word "knew" in quotes because I didn't remember the other guy. We met on a plane two weeks ago when I accidentally called him an asshole. True story. What happened was he apologized for something and I said "Don't worry about it. I'm normally the asshole who eats a breakfast sandwich on the plane." Then he took out a breakfast sandwich. Oops. Seems like we are still friends. 
  3. What did business travelers do before Bose headphones? They are remarkable and block out everything I don't need to hear. 
  4. Sometimes when I'm sitting on the couch at home, I look at the seat cushions and wonder if I use them as a floatation device. They don't look any different than airplane seats. 
  5. I'm glad that I'm wearing a dark blue dress today because the coffee I got from Au Bon Pain leaked on me multiple times. Is it bad that after I realized it was leaking and it wouldn't show, I kind of stopped caring? 
End of list.

Hope that your Monday doesn't have you up before the sun.

Hi Weekend :)


It's nearly the weekend - which feels incredible. 

I worked from home this week {which was magically relaxing} and ate my lunch outside any chance I could... including today. The upsides of eating lunch outside today? I got to listen to the construction workers nearby sing country music. Hello, handsome. Downside? A bird pooped on me.

You win some, you lose some. The last time a bird pooped on me was the last week in April 2010. I know because it happened three times in one week. Yes, three. So, I'm hoping today wasn't the start of a new streak.

On my list this weekend:
  • learn more about the manual settings on my camera
  • find more mussel shells at the beach
  • make this ice coffee from A Cozy Kitchen
  • cook something else I've never made before - ever {I can't promise I won't cheat on this one}
  • mail two random cards to friends
Not a bad list if you ask me.

Enjoy the weekend interwebs.

Image Source: via Trula on Pinterest

Thankful Thursday: Quiet Beach


I'm thankful for the beach. This isn't a breaking news alert for sure.

But, I'm really thankful for quiet beach time. Last year I started getting up earlier to walk on the beach in the morning with a cup of coffee. Now, it is one of my favorite times to be there. Yes, an afternoon dip is great, but the morning is my favorite. It is just so peaceful.
I took these pictures on Wednesday morning and it was a great way to start my work day.


If you walk quickly along the beach, it could almost appear to be the "same" everyday. But it is when I walk slowly that I see small new things.... like that starfish. So cute. I could sit at the beach all day and watch the water come and go, which is accurately reflected above. Ha, that's kinda like a water joke. Get it? Reflected? Ok, fine.

Weekend goal? Get better at taking pictures of water. This will probably take me to an uncomfortable place... and by that I mean the manual settings on my camera. I never use them.

Another point about quiet beach time? It also exists in the evenings. I'm not a morning runner... ever. It makes me physically uncomfortable. So, I love it when the tide is just right for a long run along the beach. If I run the whole beach, I can get about a mile and a half of ocean lovin', as you can see from my RunKeeper tracked run the other night. 


Old Time Happiness


I hope I haven't raised the bar with that title... and you think I'm talking about rolling tires through a field or something. I'm pretty much just referring to ice cream.

Oh Saturday, I was hanging out with Little Brother at the house. An easy day of reading on the porch / hammock / yard ... anywhere there was sun pretty much. Then it hit me, a very strong craving for ice cream but specifically, ice cream with peanut butter sauce. I can't get enough of it. There is something about peanut butter sauce that just takes away my will to fight anything. All I want to do, is sit down, pull my knees up, and get at that dish with a spoon. I don't leave a speck of saucy goodness behind. Feel free to check.

There is this place near where we live called JJ's Dairy Hut and I remember going here for as long as I've been eating ice cream it feels like. The place is only open seasonally, but that's kinda hard to tell considering the sign says "Open" all the time :).
Regardless, its a classy classic place to grab a cone and feel a little bit like ipods don't exist - even though this place is on Foursquare. The vanilla softserve with peanut butter dip {which might actually be better than sauce in fact} was heavenly. Little brother got vanilla with REAL cookie dough chunks and fudge sauce. ... and we both polished those bad boys off real nice.

As a bonus note... The ladies in this house also love peanut butter sauce on "Purple Cow" Ice Cream from Wilburs {another place that doesn't have a website, but has a Foursquare Venue}. Purple Cow ice cream is essentially like black raspberry {maybe} with white chocolate and black chocolate "chips" {that aren't really traditional chips} but also these little tart pieces as well. It's the bomb dot com. Now, add peanut butter sauce. 

You can't tell from this picture, but I'm eating this out of my parent's Waterford Crystal tumbler glasses. Yep, that's how we roll over here. Ice cream in crystal cause we sure as hell aren't using it for entertaining the queen.

It's an occasion for a gathering


taken in July 1980
When you've been married for 30 years, it normally is cause to have a few friends over and get your kids to make you a meal. So that's what we did.

When cooking for a dozen-ish people after a long week, it was a goal to make the meal as easy as possible... plus, when you are having friends over you want to spend as much time talks to beloved friends not cutting cheese. So this is what we served:
  • homemade salsa by yours truly ... with chips of course
  • scallops wrapped in bacon... sourced from a local caterer
  • crab dip... sourced from aunt
  • handmade burgers!
  • chicken sausage
  • two salads.... yes two, this was a very festive party.

I ate my burger on sourdough bread from French Memories - which was an excellent idea. Another great idea, bacon cheese. You can't really see in this picture... but it was the bomb dot com. What you can see is  the delectable pesto pasta salad made by our cousin. All in all if was a successful evening. So successful that I didn't take any pictures of the salsa making process, or the eating of it, or the leftovers.

Baby Sister raised the bar above my angel food cake from earlier in the week with a three layer beauty. I'll spare you the pictures of the build process.... but needless to say, there were some moments when the cake didn't look as "polished" as it does in these final pictures.

Well done little one. Well done.

Stiff peaks?


I like to think I'm a moderately adventurous cook. I am willing to try new foods, spices, techniques, etc - but I'm really weary of things where I can't "tell" what I'm doing.

Enter "Angel Food Cake".

Last Monday, it was my parents 30th anniversary and it was also the same day that they were getting home from vacation in Ireland {copycats, because Baby Sister and I went there last year}. So we wanted to keep the meal nice and light ... on the off chance that they would fall asleep in their salad. I of course made some of my grilled prosciutto pizza and added a strawberry feta arugula salad. Delish.

But for dessert.... it was angel food cake. I like to think I'm a pretty good cook. I can read a recipe and follow it pretty well, but angel food cake was stressful.

Here are few of the steps that I found stressful:
  1. exactly 1.5 cups of egg whites.... at room temperature. If I use fresh eggs that have been sitting on the counter, is that room temperature? Does the shell keep them "warm"? I'll just let them rest for 15 minutes.
  2. sift confectioners sugar and flour three times. why three? I don't sift anything. I wonder how important this is.
  3. beat until stiff peaks. I feel like I'm not getting stiff peaks. Should I add more sugar? Normally I add ingredients whenever I want and however much I want. How important are these stiff peaks?
  4. Fold in flour mixture. This bowl is officially too small. I don't feel like I know how to "fold" or like if I did, I'd be able to in this small bowl. Time to get a bigger bowl.
  5.  Gently spoon into an ungreased pan. Shit, I already greased this pan. Can't be too important. Is it possible to aggressively spoon? How does this not seem folded/mixed well?
  6. Cut batter to get rid of air pockets. How can I tell if I've cut all the air pockets? Is it possible to cut too much?
  7. Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched. Really? This is the test? Shit. I forgot to set the timer, so I really have no idea when this is going to be done.
So, perhaps you can tell how anxious I was making this healthy dessert. But spoiler alert... it was delish. Here are some pictures so you can be jealous and wish you were here as well. I'd definitely make this cake again since it was so great. Plus I feel like it has negative calories or something really great like that. Fine, I made that part up but it was still really great.

Super full bowl. Partially "folded".

Cutting out the air bubbles. I still don't know if I did this right.

Tasty delight.

300 is a big number


Its my 300th blog post.

Remember when just less than 6 months ago I was at 200?

If you've ever read my blog, you know that I tend to write more about food, the beach, websites I like, products I love, family... not feelings, hopes, and fears {here after known as FHF}. To be honest, sometimes I wish I had written more about FHF because I think its really interesting to reflect back on my what I was thinking and feeling at the time. I gave a little bit of that flavor in the 200th blog post but not really much since then.

One thing that stops me from writing about FHF is that the people I might be interested in writing about also like the internet and frankly I don't need them to impact my life any more than they already have. Plus, have you heard that job recruiters use the internet to find out about candidates?!?! {insert fake shock} While I've never really aspired to any notority from my blog, I wouldn't want anything I wrote on the internet to impact my professional life. Ideally, I'd like my professional life to involve the "interwebs" {hint, this is a career aspiration}.

Until then, you'll probably have to wait until I transition jobs to hear any of my thoughts on consulting, the pharmaceutical industry, or my coworkers... and even then, you'll have to buy me a beer/coffee, cause I'm just too damn smart to put that on the interweb.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with these few tidbits. After all this is a momentous post, its #300. So here are a few things that I've come to realize recently: 

I am a Bostonian. There was a period of time when I was working in NYC that I thought I should move there. I had so much fun when I was there, going to restaurants, seeing different parts of the city, seeing friends, etc. Then, I got transferred to suburban Pennsylvania. I stopped thinking about NYC. When I fly to and from Philly, I'm constantly falling in love with the ocean and the skyline. I love living by the beach and the different city neighborhoods. Perhaps its not as big/diverse as NYC, but I'll take the Back Bay / South End / Beacon Hill any day. One night just after we landed, the sky was a pretty shade of pink and I realized right then that I was a Bostonian through and through.
taken on June 15th at Logan Airport
I'm excited to have a family. Let me be clear, I'm not looking for this now. I merely said that I was excited. I always knew I aspired/wanted a family and a strong male guy to take that adventure with, however I can say that I was never specifically excited for it. I think I just felt like it was something I was going to do, enjoy, and love. I feel like my entire Facebook feed is filled with pregnant women. Sometimes this is a bit much for me, I couldn't be further from this. I'm single and I live in a Hilton 75% of the time but there is a hope that one day I won't live in the Hilton more than 15% :). Plus, I know this is a bit silly but I've stumbled upon some really great blogs of people that have recently had babies and I've really enjoyed all of the changes that they've been through as a family unit. Since I can't resist sharing and leaving evidence here are the ones I love:
I really love the interwebs. I'm constantly amazed at the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that some people have. Their willingness to give into the unknown career path and take risks. I'm not sure that this is me. I believe that I am creative, smart, and perhaps a bit savvy about things that will work and things that won't {yeah, I tooted my own horn. this is my blog.} I would like to become involved in an professional environment that encourages these spirits and is doing "cool stuff". Yes, that's vague but I don't really have to be more specific. What I do know is that I want to work with smart people that are challenging themselves and their industries.

So, Happy 300th Blog Post to me. It's been a really great 18 months-ish ride and I don't plan on getting off. I'm super thankful that I have a place to write about the things that I've done and the things that I want to do. My bucket list could use a little attention actually....

Grilled Feasts


One of the downsides of hotel living is that you don't get to cook for yourself. Now, one of the upsides is that I never have to make my bed or wash loads of laundry. So, you win some you lose some.

Over the past weekend, there was a lot of time spent in the kitchen and it was all to put some delicious eats in my belly. Although I love cooking for friends and family, there is something super satisfying about making a super tasty meal for one and then savoring it. Nobody judges how fast or slow I finish my meal, or in a more likely case, how much of it I spill on myself. 

One of my favorite meals to make for myself {and a few others} is this CRAZY TASTY {yep, those capitals are required} summer scallop dish. 

I made it for the first time when I lived in New Jersey for the summer and since then I've changed it up a little bit depending on circumstances. This week, I was a little extra hungry so I grilled up some corn to add to the "salsa". Excellent addition if I do say so myself.

Like all of my recipes, I don't follow amounts so bare with me :) but essentially this is what happens.
  1. Turn on the grill to medium heat and toss an ear of corn on the grill. I'm sure everyone has their own way of doing this, but I strip the corn of its protective husk and grill to my hearts content. I like to see the grill marks.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper some scallops and toss them in a little bit of olive oil  - just enough to cover them. Put these babies on the grill, and just let them cook essentially until they have grill marks. Then flip, and repeat.
  3. While your seafood is grilling away, take care of the "salsa". For this bit of goodness, I use half an avocado per person and cut it up pretty small. Dice up the honeydew as well and cut your corn off the cob. Put these 3 ingredients in a bowl and drizzle lightly with olive oil {like a tablespoon per person}. Add the juice of half a lime and salt and pepper.
As a little bit of a timesaver, I bought honeydew melon that was already cut up at the store. Not everyone is a fan of honeydew and a whole melon tends to go to waste, so this was a good move in a few ways. This meal just makes me so happy when I cook it - its the perfect summer meal, but that doesn't mean I haven't made it in the winter :). This was actually the first time that I've cooked it on the grill, normally I do it on the stove but the grill was so much better.

The salsa bizness is SO TASTY and is slightly reminiscent of this glorious chicken that baby sister and I made a few months ago. A normal person {not me} will have an a little extra salsa if they follow the above recipe. I didn't because I promptly finished the whole thing and restrained myself from licking the bowl.

So here is the shopping list so you can also enjoy this tasty delight:
- scallops {like 5 per person}
- lime {1/2 lime per person}
- corn {a little less than an ear per person is fine}
- honeydew melon {3/4 cup diced-ish}
- avocado {1/2 per person}
- olive oil, salt, pepper

In the event you don't like my faux measurements, here is the link to the original recipe from Food & Wine magazine.

Baby Sister and I also had some tasty mussels on Sunday night a la the grill and I'll post that event later as well.

Happy Birthday to me.


I think I've been working since I was 15. Since I turned 28 this year, that means I have 13 working years under my belt. {Wow, that seems a little depressing to type and realize}. Yes, those years comprise life-guarding, bookstores, and corporate America but of those 13 years, I've only worked 1 one them. Its like my little celebration to myself. NO WORK TODAY!

I had a really nice birthday this year for many reasons - one of which was the weather. Another reason was that I didn't have the flu like I did last year.

So, here are some pictures to show how I celebrated my birthday.... enjoy. To show how relaxed and lazy I was, I didn't even use my nice camera all day.... so these are Droid shots.
10:23 AM - Visited the town library.
11:41 AM - Read the WSJ in the backyard
1:21 PM - Cousin Molly delivered me a delish BLT... which I ate in the backyard
1:50 PM - Rabbit all awkward in an armchair

2:35 - Went for a dip in the ocean.
4:37 PM - Went to the local farmers market. I just love farmers markets.
4:48 PM - Are you comfortable Gladys?
4:56 PM - Reading my new book from the library, eating a cake pop, and drinking a Starbucks passion ice tea.
9:29 PM - Time to eat a delish cake. Flower not edible.

I've missed you.


Dear Blog,

I've missed you!

You know when you haven't done something in so long, and you just keep wanting to do it.... but you aren't sure what to do?

That's what's kept me from blogging since July 20th :)

I've been really active since that last post... but mostly just with enjoying my vacation. Vacation is pretty dreamy, I only wish I could take the whole summer off and just soak it all in.

But, don't worry dear blog. I'll come back to blogging again soon. Its an excellent stress reliever and I miss you.

See you soon blog.

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