December 29, 2015

HomeSlyce Columbia

When eating dinner out, my husband are finding ourselves going to the same places. Since one of the reasons why we love living in Howard County is for the diverse dining options, we are trying to eat at restaurants that we haven't been to before or haven't been to in a long time. Sunday night we revisited Noodles Corner and last night for dinner we went to the newly opened HomeSlyce in Columbia.

Columbia is HomeSlyce's 4th location. They are also located in Canton, Federal Hill, and Mt. Vernon. Walking in it felt weird because the layout is exactly the same as Azul 17. The hostess told us that they opened a little over a week ago. Besides another couple, we were the only other people dining in. While we were there we did hear a few calls for carry out come in.

Their signature is known as the "Slyce- a boat shaped pizza" which is meant for one. We decided on the 10" HomeSlyce Classic (HomeSlyce sauce goat and mozzarella cheese, walnuts, eggplant, spinach, caramelized onions, roasted peppers) and added soujuk (beef pepperoni). You can also create your own pizza or calzone.
Baba Ghanoush appetizer
The HomeSlyce sauce is really interesting. Per the menu it is made with spicy herbs, walnuts & oil. A little research on the place and apparently the owner of Cazbar, a Turkish restaurant in Baltimore also owns HomeSlyce. That explains the Mediterranean appetizers and use of nuts, spices, and proteins such as soujuk and lamb. I love that the Turkish influence added something different that you won't find at other pizza places.

10" HomeSlyce Classic
The other couple in the restaurant ordered a pizza with vegan cheese and we overheard them tell their waiter that it was one of the best pizzas they've had in the area.
Happy hour was still going on so my husband got $1 off a draft beer and $1.95 off of our appetizer. Everything was delicious. To me, the crust tasted like a mash up of Mellow Mushroom's and Pub Dog's crust. We will definitely be back!

Check out HomeSlyce Columbia's Facebook page for updates and specials!


9400 Snowden River Parkway 

Columbia, MD  21045             


December 21, 2015

Christmas Is Coming, Are You Ready?

Today is the official first day of Winter. Hard to believe that they are predicting that it will be 60+ degrees on Christmas which is in 5 days! Are you ready?

Each year I vow to get my shopping done early and not stay up all night on Christmas Eve wrapping gifts and so far this year looks promising. I'm proud to say that I am 100% done with shopping and I wrapped everyone's gifts except for my husband's.

Getting my shopping done early and not doing all of the wrapping on Christmas Eve has definitely helped to reduce my holiday stress and increase my time to actually enjoy it. Another way that I am able to reduce my holiday stress is preparing a make-ahead breakfast casserole that I just pop in the oven on Christmas morning.

I was surprised to find that I hadn't shared this recipe on the blog before. I have been making this for a few years now and believe that out of all the breakfast casseroles I have made (which is a lot) this is probably my favorite and by far the easiest one to make!

The original recipe comes from kevin {&} amanda. Another reason I love this recipe is because it lends itself so well to adding other herbs and spices to easily change up the flavor. I adapted the recipe to give it an Italian flavor.

kevin {&} amanda's Breakfast Casserole adapted by CupcakeRN

1 pkg crescent rolls
1 lb mild sausage, browned and drained
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk (I find adding milk adds to the creaminess and fluffiness of the eggs)
1 tsp oregano, rosemary, and sage
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese (I used Sargento)

1. Brown the sausage and drain the excess fat.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and unroll the crescents and evenly press them in the bottom of the baking dish. It's fine if there are gaps/holes in the dough and if you want to press the dough up the sides a little that's fine too.

4. Spread the sausage over the dough and sprinkle the cheese over top.

5. Beat the eggs, milk, oregano, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper. Try to pour the eggs over the sausge and cheese as evenly as you can. 

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

I did have a picture of the one I made on Thanksgiving morning, but in my haste I deleted the picture before it was actually uploaded to Dropbox (sigh). 


November 29, 2015

Royal Taj: New Location, Same Delicious Food, & Amazing Customer Service

I searched through all of my posts and couldn't believe that I had never written about Royal Taj before! My husband and I both agree that it is, in our opinion, the best restaurant in all of Howard County. Royal Taj's food is the best Indian we have ever had and the service is top notch.

We decided to do their lunch buffet so I checked online to make sure that they do buffet on Sundays (they do) and noticed that Yelpers were commenting on a new location. The last time we went which was a few months ago the owner/manager told us that the Columbia Restaurant Park location was going to only be used for banquets due to some issues with the management that owned the property. Apparently things must have changed in Royal Taj's favor because they are fully up and running at the new location. The new location opened on October 7th.

We arrived at 11:29am. The lunch buffet starts at 11:30am. There were already people lined up outside before the doors had even opened and there were plenty of people waiting in their cars.

Walking in to the new location, my first impression was "wow!" The new location is at least twice the size of the old location. The decor is much different than their old location, it is very bright with huge crystal chandeliers, white walls with gold trim everywhere, fireplaces, a much larger bar than previous with plenty of seating around it, and multiple dining rooms.

The buffet is set up in the middle of the restaurant and it is nice that you can access it from both sides which greatly cut down on any waiting. I thought that they had the same amount of food as they did at the previous location, just a lot more room to spread it out. They are still doing some work on the right side of the building- it looks like they are installing a patio for al fresco dining.

The food was delicious, our water glasses were never less than half empty, our chai was always hot, the owner/manager stopped by our table to  check on us, and when we were getting ready to leave an employee opened the doors for us. Royal Taj figured out how to do it right. With the high quality and flavor of the food to the customer service, it is no surprise that it was recently named one of Yelp's 2015 Top 100 Places to Eat in the US!

Royal Taj
8335 Benson Drive
Columbia, MD 21045


September 10, 2015

Summer Vacation in the Florida Keys

I'm not sure what it is, but it seems like there are so many people we know who have recently vacationed in Key West and I can certainly understand why it seems so popular. We took vacation early (June) and headed to the Florida Keys!

Key West sunset
The drive from the airport was a bit brutal for us. There is only one road that runs through the Florida Keys and there was a very bad car accident which held us up for about 2 hours. We were hot, thirsty, and hungry so we stopped at Herbies in Marathon Key. When my husband was younger he remembers eating here so we stopped. They have some a great variety of craft beer on tap and delicious food including their conch fritters! I had the most delicious pineapple cider in a caramel and cinnamon rimmed glass that I will never forget. It was truly the stuff dreams are made of.

We stayed in Sugarloaf Key which is about a 25 minute drive to Key West. We found an awesome and super reasonable place to stay via airbnb. Our host was great and never steered us wrong with her many recommendations.
The owner of the place we stayed at had goats and chickens in her yard
Trip highlights include snorkeling in the coral reefs (yes, with some shark sightings!), key lime pie (Kermit's was our fave), eating delicious seafood (hogfish is a must), walking around Duval St., seeing Love & Mercy at the Tropic Cinema (the cutest movie theatre ever), and going on an airboat tour of the everglades on the way back to the airport.

Gators! @ Everglades Holiday Park
Bahia Honda beach

Other places we went to and recommend:
Herbie's Chowder House
Located on Marathon Key, their conch fritters were excellent. They have Key West staples, but also have daily specials. We got some of the best brussel sprouts we'd ever had. They were tossed in some kind of kimchi sauce that was so good!

Geiger Key Marina
You can rent kayaks, paddle boards, etc. here. This was recommended to us by our airbnb host. It's a spot many tourists don't go to since it's off of the main highway going through the Keys. After you're done with your water activities head over to the dock bar right nextdoor. This mango colada was perfect after 2 hrs of kayaking.
Cooling off after kayaking in the Key West heat
Sloppy Joe's
A Key West tradition. Ernest Hemingway was a regular here. We tried the Sloppy Joe quesadilla that was really good.

Garbo's Grill
I had seen this place on Diner's Drive In's and Drives a couple of years ago. Since the episode aired they have moved locations and are now permenantly behind Grunt's bar. They have a really nice setup with a patio in front and behind the bar so you can have a few drinks and eat some amazing Korean bbq tacos. Ugh, I actually want to eat them right now.

Amigo's Tortilla Bar
I can never pass up going to a place that serves grilled corn aka elote.
Reminds me of my time in Mexico!
One of the t-shirt shops had tank tops for dogs. Of course we got one made for Cooper. Here he is modeling it.


September 9, 2015

Dachshund Finds for the Fashionistas!

When I saw all this Dachshund related wear from my favorite clothing store, J.Crew I totally freaked out. Two of my favorite things!

I recently ordered this sweater and loafers and I just ordered this t-shirt from J.Crew Factory. I searched the website to see if they had any other dachshund finds AND THEY DID (see links below). It is taking all of my will power not to buy everything.

The Dachshund doesn't actually wrap around the back of the sweater, it just gives the illusion that it does. I still find it to be cute though!

Just ordered today, can't wait to wear it!

I actually ordered these in a Kid's size 4 and 5 (I typically wear a size 6-6.5 in Women's), but they just didn't work. The 4 was too tight and the 5 was too big. Super sad.