Travel Diary // Portland, Maine

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Oh Maine, you’re so good to our bellies and souls. Such a pretty little city with such amazing food and sites. My group of close gal-pals in Boston have some big changes coming up (with one of them moving back to England next month, nooo!), so we decided to take a mini girl’s weekend vaca to have something memorable in the books.


We drove in Saturday morning and arrived just in time to grab an AMAZING lunch at Even Tide Oyster Co. Have you guys ever had a Bubbly Mary? Being that it’s prosecco and Bloody Mary mix, it sounds a little funky, but as their menu described, don’t knock it till you try it, because it was a killer pairing with my insanely delicious lobster roll. The lobster roll was less traditional than I’m used to, in that it came on an Asian-style bun, but ended up being one of the best I’ve ever had (which is quite a few!).


We then putzed around town just to see the sites and bop into the local shops. This peacock chair was HUUUUGE and I wanted it.

The above photo was taken in a store dedicated to Scandinavian design and food, which was total eye candy.

^ Just a straight up silverware collection, but I thought it was pretty 🙂



After lots of walking, we swung into Central Provisions to grab a pre-dinner bottle of wine and some snacks. We ended up sitting at the bar right as the early-dinner crowd came in and it was glorious. All of the food looked so beautiful, with a lot of care and detail that goes into it. We split a small flatbread, but wish we had more! We felt silly knowing that we had our full dinner coming up elsewhere in just a few hours!


We grabbed a more casual dinner at David’s where I got the shrimp and scallop screwers. Perfectly charred with a delicious tomato puree underneath. It hit the spot for sure.


The next morning I woke up super early (because we had PASSED OUT from being tired from all of the walking the day before) and I took a walk around town and grabbed some coffee at Bard Coffee with my roommate. Really high quality coffee, nice and nutty with a bold kick.

Above: an AMAZING chai donut from the Holy Donut


Lastly before heading home we checked out the beautiful Portland Head Light. The weather was perfect for it, and we had a really fun time doing the cliff walk and exploring the nearby fort ruins in the area.

Have you guys been to Portland? Any other recommendations for the next time we stop by? xo


 

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Roasted Cabbage Wedges

I still surprise myself with the foods that I prepare as an adult. Up until the age of 17 or so, you truly couldn’t pay me to eat cabbage (trust me, my Mom tried). I was always known among family & friends as the “picky eater,” but over the years have narrowed it down to only a few select foods that I won’t eat (basically anything pickled, fishy, or briny). My tastes have shifted radically, especially since living in Boston, and now I’m all about testing out unique ingredients.

While brainstorming ideas for March and St. Patty’s Day, I was definitely intrigued by the savory, classic dishes, and less so on things that Americans tend to brand as Irish (aka Irish coffee and shamrock shakes). Cabbage was certainly sort of a random selection for me, considering I had never prepared it before, but this dish seemed super easy and tasty…and it was!

I’ve also learned by now that butter, garlic, and lemon juice are magical ingredients to make savory meals come to life.

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Ingredients:
(makes 6 wedges)

1 head of green cabbage
2 lemons
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of room temp butter
1 tablespoon of minced garlic (fresh works too! I’m just lazy)
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: fresh parsley, crumbled feta, crumbled bacon

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To Make:

Preheat the oven to 425. While the oven heats, cut the ends off the cabbage.

Slice evenly in half, and then each half into thirds, giving you six wedges. Each should be roughly 1/2 inch thick. Lay the wedges onto a baking sheet.

*Note – it helps to keep the core on each wedge, rather than to cut it off. It will keep them in tact while preparing, and you can just cut around the core while eating.

Dress both sides of each wedge with a light spread of butter, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper. Drizzle the juice 1 lemon onto the wedges.

Once the oven is heated, roast for ten minutes, then flip with a spatula. Flipping can be tricky, since the cabbage will sweat while roasting. Just to your best and let them be artfully disheveled.

While the other side cooks for ten minutes, prepare your bacon on a small pan and crumble once cooled.

After 20 minutes, your wedges should be fully cooked, with some crispy edges – it’s okay to let them burn up a little.

Plate and garnish with your cheese, bacon, parsley, and slices of your second lemon.

…and, enjoy 🙂

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Happy Weekend!

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How pretty are those puppies up there? We want ourselves some figgy fizziness and we want it now. What are you guys up to this weekend? Christa will be traveling in Cali with her bae, while I’ll be supporting my recent addiction to American Horror Story. There’s also the possibility of taking a day trip with my roomies on Sunday to check out the fall foliage. We aren’t sure where yet, but I’ll keep ya posted. Have a beautiful weekend, all!

cct // Curtis and I will be arriving in Joshua Tree this afternoon after an awesome trip up to the Palm Springs Tramway (so cool!) Have any of you guys been there?! Any tips, tricks or recommendations?

rkv // I have a very plain frame-less mirror at home that is screaming for this makeover

cct // These gorgeous paintings are such an interesting idea! Check out all of the paintings here.

rkv // Use this infographic to see if your Halloween costume is offensive

cct // Reg got me hooked on Lord Huron from her last playlist, and now I’m obsessed! I’m not sure I can pick a favorite song yet, but this one is up there.

rkv // 8 ways to use your free time to impress your boss

cct // Guys, not get to get basic on you, BUT Pumpkin Spice Butter

rkv // Ugh, head-cold season is nearly upon us… let’s jazz up your chicken soup

 

Parmesan Asparagus with Heirloom Tomatoes

While I’m no stranger to some ice cream and burgers on these hot summer days, I’m also a big fan of eating colorfully and fresh. This quick little veggie appetizer goes great as a side dish for a light summery dinner (maybe with some lemony grilled chicken or a lean cut of steak), or even for breakfast served up with some eggs (poached, scrambled — your call!).

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You’ll need

  • 1 bundle of fresh asparagus
  • 3/4 cup fresh heirloom tomatoes (any tomatoes will do, but I just love how colorful these little beauties are)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • Drizzling of olive oil
  • 3-4 pinches of garlic salt (regular salt will do too)
  • 2-3 pinches of black pepper

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To Make

01. Preheat oven to 425

02. Trim the white stalks off of your asparagus and spread out the stems onto a baking sheet

03. Dice your onion, quarter your tomatoes, and mix in with asparagus

04. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with garlic salt & pepper

05. Top with grated parmesan and pop into the oven for 12-15 minutes. I like my asparagus to have a little crunch, but if you prefer it on the softer side, simply cook it a little longer.

06. Serve up and enjoy!

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Happy Friday!

cheesecake5-1-of-1blogsize copyOh sweet, sweet Friday. The only thing that could make you any sweeter would be the this featured orange-chocolate cheesecake by The Vanilla Bean Blog. The  idea of curling up with this & a cafe au lait by the window and a blanket sounds positively divine, don’t you think? Hope you all have lovely weekends, complete with sweetness in any form!

cct // Although I’m not British, I thought this list of American slang that Brits found confusing, to be pretty cute! Also – check out these idioms from around the world!

rkv // Some time-saving freeze ahead of time meals

cct // Have you guys been able to see most of the Oscar movies? These “if Oscar nominated movies were a little more straight forward” posters are pretty spot on!

rkv // 30% off new arrivals at JCrew Factory, woot!

cct // Ten Things You Should Know Before Getting Into a Relationship With Someone Who Loves Food 

rkv // Pretty little DIY marble beads

cct // Everything Molly Yeh makes is beautiful (like seriously beautiful!), but I need this homemade funfetti cake in my life asap!

rkv // A cardio workout for people who hate cardio *raises hand*

Happy Weekend!

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We visited this gorgeous little spot, Tatte Cookies and Cakes last weekend in Brookline. It’s delicious and completely adorable, but teeny tiny – don’t expect to sit inside, there are literally 3 little tables. But if you’re in the Boston area, you should pop in for a coffee and a treat, because it’s amazing.

What’re you all up to this weekend? Maybe stop by your local coffee shop (that isn’t Starbucks…) for some tasty treats! Have a great weekend!

cct // I’m nowhere near hosting my own Thanksgiving, but this schedule for first-timers seems pretty helpful!

rkv // I’m a freak for good scents (seriously, my perfume collection is a little bonkers), so I was very excited to see this article on 7 natural ways to make your home smells good for the holidays

cct // Some Free People tips on styling vintage clothing. Also – did you see that they launched their own vintage shop? It’s wildly too expensive, but they sure know how to pick unique items

rkv // Tomorrow night sounds like a perfect night for some mulled wine

cct // I want a Handsome Home – do you have one?

rkv // This idea for an eye-shadow cat eye sounds oh-so-easy

cct // Pitch Perfect 2 trailer !!!

rkv // Celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves never gets old

G&M’s 1st Birthday!

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Oh my word! It’s been a year?? It seems like just yesterday the two of us were eating burgers and brainstorming ideas for our little gal. We want to thank you all for stopping by day to day to see what we’re up to!

In honor of her big day, we made some birthday sweets — what else is new?

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Spice Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting
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For the cupcakes:
yields 15

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

For the frosting:
(note – this recipe was not ideal for artsy piping, a little too runny!)

  • 1/2 cup (one stick) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream, depending on desired consistency
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

To make:

01. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with a centered rack. Line your muffin tin and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander.

02. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions milk and beating well after each addition.

03. Transfer batter by heaping tablespoonfuls to cups. Bake until golden brown at edges and a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating pans once. Let cakes cool in pans, 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

04. While cupcakes cool, make your frosting. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, zest, cinnamon, and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Spoon into a plastic baggie with a cut tip or a piping bag and get frosting!

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After our shoot, we ate a whole lot of snacks and sparkling cider with Reg’s roomies to continue the celebration- more on that later!

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Paper Source Backdrop // Candles, Gold Sprinkles & Cupcake Liners – Stop & Shop (I know, right? So cute!) // Cake Stand – Old, Marshalls

 

 

 

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

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November is shaping up to be one of my busiest birthday months, but I’m feeling prepared with the recipe for this delicious cake. My aunt Grace made it over the summer for our family reunion and we were all emailing her begging for the recipe!

The instructions for this decadent cake are as follows…

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
(original recipe from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles)

// Chocolate Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
6 T. cocoa
1 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup olive oil
2 T. vinegar
2 cups cold water
2 tsp. vanilla

01. Preheat oven to 350°.

02. Prepare two 9″ round cake pans. Grease the pans well, making sure you cover the entire interior surface. Cut two pieces of wax paper and fit one inside of each pan. Set aside.

03. Measure all dry ingredients into bowl and whisk to combine. Make 3 large holes in the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil and vinegar. Pour this into the 3 holes. Pour the water over entire mixture. Mix with a fork. Add vanilla and stir. Divide evenly into the two cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, removing from the oven as soon as a toothpick comes out clean. Let cakes cool in their pans on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Then run a thin knife around the edge of each pan and invert the cakes onto your rack to cool. Let cool completely before assembling.

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// Peanut Butter Frosting

1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2  tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar

Place the peanut butter, butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-low speed, just until thoroughly combined. Add the remaining ingredients and combine again. Then turn the speed up to high and beat for 2 to 3 more minutes, until frosting is light, airy, and fluffy.

// Chocolate Frosting 

1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 T. unsalted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix milk and sugar in small saucepan. Add butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then remove pan from heat. Add chocolate chips to the pan. Using wire whisk, mix until smooth.

// Assembly

*Additional ingredient needed: 10 to 12 small peanut butter cups*

Place one chocolate cake on a plate or platter. Using a spatula, apply a thick, even layer of peanut butter frosting on top of the cake. Place the second layer of chocolate cake on top of the layer of peanut butter frosting. If needed, fill in the frosting gap between the cake layers with an additional piping of frosting, somewhat “smooshing” it in as you go around the cake, to give a flattened look. If you already have enough frosting bulging out from between the cake layers, simply “flatten” it out by running the long side of an offset spatula or knife carefully around the cake’s side, flattening the frosting as you go.

Give your chocolate frosting a good whisking, making sure that it’s smooth and spreadable. You want your frosting to be a bit warm so it has the right consistency for spreading. If it’s too hot, it will spread too quickly, and possibly run off the sides of your cake, so let it cool a bit. Pour the frosting onto the center of the cake and then gently swirl it to the outside perimeter. Let the chocolate frosting set for about 30 minutes before adding the peanut butter circles on top.

Once the chocolate frosting is set, pipe 10 to 12 circles of peanut butter frosting onto the top perimeter of the cake. Then top each circle with a small peanut butter cup.

gm_ChocolatePeanutButterCake_3And enjoy 🙂

 

Happy Weekend!

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Wait, it is fall, right? Then why have some of these last few days felt like some of the hottest we’ve had all summer? Seems like mother nature may be playing tricks on us, but hey, we don’t hate it. Pretty soon I’m sure it’ll be nice and chilly, and we can all partake it a little apple-fritter and mulled wine action. But until then, I suppose we can just keep rocking those open toed shoes and strappy tanks.

cct // Have you guys ever heard of this at home fragrance testing service? It’s like the Warby Parker at home glasses trial, but with fragrances – sounds so cool!

rkv // So, apparently we’re colonizing Mars. This podcast is sort of amazing and tells you all about it.

cct // Get better posture and stretch it out

rkv // A smokey eye for girls who struggle with smokey eyes

cct // Curtis and I watched 2 great documentaries this week – I Know That Voice & Samm, I definitely recommend both! (and they’re both on Netflix!)

rkv // Yayyy it’s cold out so I can eat oatmeal again! Love the carrot cake idea.

cct // These guys got it right – I would love to spend some serious time traveling across the country like this!

rkv // Free ideas to instantly re-energize your space

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

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How in our adult lives had we never had a Dark ‘n’ Stormy?? This classic cocktail is pretty glorious. On paper, the combination of flavors actually sounds a little strange. But somehow the sweet vanilla of the rum, mixed with the spice of the ginger, and hint of acidity in the lime is pretty kick-ass.

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Ingredients:
(makes two drinks)

// 1 can ginger beer

// 4 shots dark rum (we were cheapos and went with good ol’ Trader Joe’s brand)

// 8 ice cubes

// lime

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And here is our crab friend, Hector, who assisted us with our beachy staging.

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To make:

01. Divide your 8 ice cubes between 2 tumblers

02. Fill your tumblers 2/3 of the way full with ginger beer

03. Slowly pour your rum over each to create the gradient look (about 2 shots per glass)

04. Squirt a lime wedge over the top, and create a pinwheel for a garnish

05. Take a photo for Instagram

06. Mix with a spoon and enjoy!

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We made these guys on an ironic evening, considering it was rather grey and rainy out, and were very pleased with the results. Do yourself a favor though and don’t drink too many — that sugar from the soda will get to your head, and you will not be feeling so hot the next morning…we may have learned from experience.