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AC Baby!

Jeremy and I decided to take a mini vacation to celebrate the end of my semester and because we wont have a chance to take a true vacation this summer. We settled on Atlantic City for a few reasons: we wanted to go somewhere in driving distance, we got a great rate at the Harrahs Casino, and we wanted  find a hotel that had a “resort” feel, which the Harrahs does because of their AMAZING pool

I mean, HELLO! It was amazing.  The pool is indoor and they keep the area at a constant 82 degrees. It was great, and perfectly relaxing.Our room was nice, nothing spectacular, but nice. We really enjoyed our stay!

I had never been to AC before, Jeremy was there once for a bachelor party. I really didn’t think that I would get into gambling. And, in the grand scheme of things, I didnt. We only spent $20 on the slots. By “we”, I mean me. Jeremy did not gamble at all. I can see how people get really in to it, there were a few times when I thought to myself “maybe the next one I’ll get lucky!”

When I was a kid, I loved “I Love Lucy.” I’m sure it was partly because I felt like I could relate to her because she is a red head. When I saw this slot machine, I knew it was the one for me.

I definitely had the best luck on this slot machine. I was up by $3 at one point! Jeremy told me to cash out, I didn’t annnnd then I lost it all. If only I had listened to him! We hung out and watched some craps, poker, and roulette. It amazes me the kind of money people drop without blinking an eye!

Yesterday we took the Jitney from Harrahs up to the boardwalk to “walk the boards” (as those of us who have grown up going to the Jersey shore (not THAT Jersey Shore) say).

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to the Shore without getting some boardwalk pizza! I got a slice of tomato, broccoli, and spinach pizza. It was delicious and humongous!

Last night we went to the McCormick and Schmidts in the hotel. Jeremy and I try to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible, but our options were pretty limited. We had a great meal! It started with some delicious buttery rolls.

Look at those buns!

For my drink I ordered the Sangria Lemonade. It was absolutely delicious! I loved it and it was quite pretty, too!

The night before, I had an unfortunate encounter with a plate of nachos, and since I had a big ‘ol slice of pizza for lunch, I was craving salad. The house salad was exactly what I was looking for: mescalin mix, dried cranberries, blue cheese, candied walnuts, and a white balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Perfect!

Jeremy got the wild salmon in a chipotle sauce with swish chard, mushrooms, and onions. His meal was REALLY good. I was also really surprised/happy that there were 4-5 options of WILD caught fish. I feel like this is somewhat surprising for a chain restaurant.

This morning, we basically just woke up, checked out, and headed home. Another highlight about our trip is that we had the chance to buy some groceries at a Trader Joes on the way home! I love Lancaster, and there are many great things about living here, but the one thing that this area is missing is a really GOOD grocery store. AKA, a Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Wegmans, etc. The closest TJ and Wegmans is an hour away and the closest Whole Foods is over an hour and a half away. Not cool! So we got a few fun things.

We used this tasty roasted red pepper artichoke tapenade to make some bruschetta for dinner

Half topped with feta, half topped with mozzarella=perfect snack-y dinner!

Being that tonight is our “Sunday,” we are keeping up the tradition of movie Sunday. Playing tonight: Black Swan. I’ve been dying to see it!

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My parents just finished up a 3 week roadtrip through the southwest. They started out in PA, headed down south, went through New Orleans, went to the Grand ‘ol Opry, and out west to Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. What a great life! I can only hope that when Jeremy and I are retired we can do the same!

They decided to swing by Lancaster on their way home which was perfect since tomorrow is Mothers Day! Initially we were going to go out to eat, but then realized that today was going to be GORGEOUS and perfect for grilling!! Also, my parents stayed in 17 different hotels, and ate out almost every night. We figured they would be ready for a home cooked meal. On the menu: Salmon cabobs, chicken cabobs, Quinoa Salad, grilled asparagus, iced tea, and lime yogurt cake for dessert! It was delicious!

Recipe below!

Grilling is the BEST!

My colorful plate. I think wild salmon cabobs are my favorite grill food.

Lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce. Delicious!

After the parentals left for their last leg home, Jeremy and I decided to go for a walk. The neighborhood next to ours is so perfect. Wide, tree lined streets, cute little houses. Someday we would like to buy a house in a neighborhood just like this one!

Tonight we are heading to a friends house for another BBQ and then TOMORROW we have one more BBQ (3 cookouts in one weekend? YES PLEASE) and THEN we are off for a little vacation!! SO EXCITED!!

This dish has 3 of my favorite ingredients: dried cranberries, feta, and pistachios! The combination of the three is awesome and combined with Quinoa, a perfect side dish for wahtever you are grilling! This recipe is light, summery, and delicious.

Quinoa with Dried Cranberries, Pistachios, and Feta
Adapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 8

1 3/4 cups uncooked quinoa
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 cups water
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dried sweet cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup feta

1. Rinse and drain quinoa. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Add 2 cups water, wine, and salt to pan; bring to a boil. Add quinoa; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat; set aside, and cool slightly.
2. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add quinoa, cherries, and remaining ingredients; toss gently to combine.

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Whoa. Hold up. I am posting two days in a row?! Oh wait, nope, I last posted on Sunday. Today is Tuesday. Days have been meshing together in my world lately.

I attribute the fact that I am posting twice in one week to: Brown Rice.

Does anyone know why brown rice takes sooo long to cook?! I have a feeling that our rice cooker is actually to blame and takes even longer than stovetop cooking. This rice took 1.5 hours to cook! Crazy! It took up all my studying time (which is ok because I don’t have finals in a week and a half or anything…) and is why I have the luxury to post twice in a week! It is really nice to have a night where I did not break open a book.

The rice was to go along with THIS:

VEGETABLE CURRY! In the curry: kale, broccoli, green peppers, sweet potatoes (duh), peas,  onion, and garlic. Oh, and lots of curry powder and garam masala aka deliciousness!

It was delicious and worth the 1.5 hours wait!

There was Naan. Not homemade Naan, unfortunately. Next time I will plan better and make my own Naan!

Sometimes we hold kitten like this. Its normal.

Summer Countdown (AKA when I will be able to post on a regular basis again): 1.5 weeks (!) of class, 1 week of finals

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Happy St. Patricks Day! I totally forgot to wear green today. The thought never even crossed my mind this morning! Not until my coworker came into work wearing green did I realized. I’m ok with forgetting to wear green, actually. Today is one day that I don’t need to bring any more attention to myself. In past years, I have gotten stopped numerous times by random strangers trying to convince (read: argue with me) me that becuase I have red hair, I MUST have at least a little bit of Irish in me. No Irish in this girl! So, I usually try to avoid overenthusiastic strangers on St. Patty’s day.

Last week when we were at my parents house for dinner, my mom had rosemary bread that was amazing! i’ve been thinking about it every since. So, I decided to make rosemary flatbread with “tuna” salad. Instead of the tuna, I substituted with canelloni beans.

If I didnt know that this was beans instead of tuna, I dont think I would be able to tell the difference. The texture of the beans was very close to tuna!

The rosemary flatbread was fabulous, as always. I love rosemary! I cant wait to grow some in our garden this summer!

So yummy! Especially served up with a Magic Hat #9! Also, I apologize for my 5 year old boy looking thumb. I’m in desperate need of a spring manicure!

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This weekend was originally supposed to be spent at my brother-in-laws family mountain home in Jim Thorpe, PA, but unfortunately those plans fell through which was definitely sad, but probably for the best since I have an exam this coming week that I need to be studying for (EW that means that spring break is almost over :(). We still went home for the day yesterday since I had a doctors appointment planned and Jeremy had already taken the day off from work.

The drive to my parents house went really quick! Unfortunately, the drive home later that night seemed to take FORever!

When we got there, we had an hour or so until my doctors appointment, so we decided to try a brand new organic cafe called Down to Earth Cafe that buys only local ingredients. I get really excited to think that there is a restaurant like that in my hometown, its the first of its kind there. That I know of anyway!

Jeremy got the Angus burger made with grassfed beef from a farm that was less than 5 miles away from the restaurant! It was really good. I love how the bun is very circular. I love little details like that.

I got the roasted veggie sandwich on ciabatta with goatcheese. It was tasty, however, I felt like it was a little skimpy on both the veggies and goat cheese. Or maybe there was just too much bread. Either way, the proportions were a bit off. I cant wait to go back to this little treasure in my hometown and try something else!

The rest of the evening was spent hanging out with my family and playing with my super cute nieces and nephews! Its always a good time!

This morning, Jeremy and I got up early and hit up Lancasters Central Market to get some veggies and other things for the week.

I got some yummy chevre from local goat farm. The woman who sold me the cheese was telling me about how they have around 100 baby goats right now! When I was growing up we had lots of animal including quite a few goats. At one point we had around 15 goats and the babies were the cutest things EVER!! They would run and jump around like they were so happy to be alive. Its impossible to not smile when watching them. Talking to this woman brought back lots of great memories of growing up with goats as pets 🙂

After getting home from market, I decided to make pancakes. I got a major craving! I decided to make whole wheat pumpkin pancakes. They turned out great! I love thick pancakes, and these were definitely thick, but they were also really light and fluffy!

After pancakes I studied for… hours. I lost track of exactly how many.

Then Jeremy threw together some nachos. Chips, cheese, black beans, peppers, jalapenos, salsa, onion, and a yummy peach mango hot sauce. ❤

Now we are watching the movie Exit Through the Gift shop, a documentary about street art. We just started it, but its already really good! I hope everyone is having a fabulous Saturday!

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What a lovely weekend! I almost forgot how enjoyable weekends are with no homework or studying!

Yesterday morning Jeremy and I met my parents at Shady Maple for breakfast. Shady Maple is a place that is best understood when experienced in person. It is a smorgasbord and quite the temple of gluttony. Their  breakfast will set you back about $10 and you get all the Pennsylvania Dutch food you can eat! They also have lunch and dinner buffets, but I have never been there for either. The amount of food that is put out (and ultimately goes to waste) is astounding. They have multiple kinds of breakfast meats — a few types of sausage, ham, bacon (which I have heard that their bacon is perfectly cooked,  however, I dont eat bacon so I dont know first hand), and scrapple. Made to order omelets, multiple kinds of pancakes made right before your eyes, a fruit bar, 2 pastry bars, oatmeal, potatoes, mush, etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on, but this is a pretty good sample.

I had a sweet potato pancake, which was AH-mazing! A scoop of cheesy hash browns, a biscuit smothered in sausage gravy, a chocolate covered doughnut, and a bowl of fruit. It was enough for both breakfast and lunch for me!

The line for the pancakes was super long and as I was waiting for my pancake, I couldn’t help but notice the plates of the people who walked by me. I got kind of grossed out seeing the sheer amount of unhealthy greasy, fatty food that was consumed. I allow myself to go to Shady Maple, MAAAYBE once a year. I eat very healthy most every day of the week so I am not worried about splurging every now and then. I don’t know if the same is true about the other people who were at Shady Maple. I am not gonna lie, part of me feels guilty for supporting a place that only provides fatty clog your arteries food (well, except for the fruit bar, but it wasn’t even fresh fruit, it was canned). Honestly, the only reason that I agreed to going was because it’s where my parents wanted to go. If anything, going to a place like this only confirms the eating habits that I practice.

After Shady Maple, we visited the grocery store that is attached to it. This grocery store has everthing! Their bulk foods section is one of the best that I have ever seen. I stocked up on oats, sunflower seeds, brown rice, and a few other things.

Today, we got our taxes done! I love taxes! I have always been lucky to get a refund, so tax time always feels a little bit like Christmas to me. After taxes was the gym, and then relaxing at home. Tonight is Sunday movie night and tomorrow I have lots of errands to run and new recipes to try! I LOVE SPRING BREAK!!

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This has been floating around the blogosphere for a few days now, and I thought it would be fun! Here are my ABCs:

A. Age: 27
B. Bed size: Queen! Although my dream is someday have a king sized bed so I can flop around without disturbing Jeremy
C. Chore you dislike: Making the bed and putting away laundry
D. Dogs:

E. Essential start to your day: Breakfast which is usually cereal or yogurt and granola
F. Favorite color: Purple
G. Gold or silver: Either
H. Height: 5’7” 5’5″. Weird. I have NO idea why I initially typed 5’7″ as I have never tried to pretend I am taller than I really am.
I. Instruments you play(ed): I played the clarinet from grades 4-10. I was pretty good too! First chair. And then I quit because I strongly dislike our H.S. orchestra leader. I wish I had stuck with it though!
J. Job title: Autism Resource Center Specialist
K. Kids: 0… yet 🙂
L. Live: Good ‘ol Lancaster, PA
M. Mom’s name: Janet
N. Nicknames: jizz (please don’t ask), pumpkin
O. Overnight hospital stays: None
P. Pet peeve: Slow walkers, people who are unaware of their surrounding (especially in the grocery store… let me pass!!).
Q. Quote from a movie: “Po-ta-toes” “Boil ‘em mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew.” Love it.
R. Righty or Lefty: Righty
S. Siblings: Bro: Jeff, 38, Sister: Jen, 36. Yes, I was an “oops” 🙂
T. Time you wake up: 5:30 on MWF, 6:15 on TTH, and whenver on the weekends
U. Underwear: Um, yes?
V. Vegetables you don’t like: Eggplant and mushrooms
W. What makes you run late: Not much. I HATE being late.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: I had my knee x-rayed a few years ago. It didnt show anything. Turns out I was suffering from ITBS
Y. Yummy food you make: I make banging chocolate chip cookies. My sweet potato black bean burritos are pretty good as well
Z. Zoo animal favorite: Big Cats

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