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!

HomeSlyce

9400 Snowden River Parkway 

Columbia, MD  21045             
443-491-4000

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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). 

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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
410-381-1111

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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.


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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.





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August 10, 2015

Baltimore Farmer's Market Haul

It's been a few months since my last post and honestly there has been so much going on and that's just how life is! I'm hoping to do some "back-blogging," but in the meantime...

Yesterday was the first time in a few months that we've gone to the Baltimore Farmer's Market and we sure did pick a good day to go! Chipotle Mexican Grill was giving out $5 vouchers that could be used on fresh produce at the Farmer's Market. We talked to one of the vendors who said that they heard that Chipotle donated $18,000 in the form of vouchers and that same vendor said that they have seen more business that day than any other.  It is so awesome that Chipotle supports local farms!

My husband made the observation that in all our visits to the Farmer's Market he had never seen more  fresh produce there before and I think that the fruit/vegetable season is at it's peak is part of the reason.

We came away with a bunch of fresh, local goods for a whopping $2 thanks to the three Chipotle vouchers we had.
Carrots, green beans, French orange melon, ginger gold apples, nectarines, zucchini. Mead from Charm City Meadworks and salsa from Cliff's Salsa not purchased using the vouchers.
Look at the size of that carrot! Dachshund pictured for scale :)

Pro tip: If you're headed to the Baltimore Farmer's Market try parking in the Mercy Medical Center garage on Guilford Avenue for up to 2 hours free from 7am-noon. Don't forget to get your parking ticket validated at the Welcome Tent!

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May 30, 2015

The Unofficial Start of Summer + A Recipe

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of Summer and the weather we have had lately is definitely making it feel that way!

We have had a pretty activity packed Spring and I'm sure the Summer will be no different. We've already been to a few Orioles games and went to see The Dave Matthews Band. Coming up is seeing Kevin Hart, going to the Florida Keys, and seeing the musical Dear Evan Hansen.

My 12th DMB Concert @ Jiffy Lube Live
Guacamole is excellent any time of the year, but I tend to enjoy it more in the summertime when corn is fresh and I can make this Charred Corn Guacamole recipe by Bobby Flay. My husband first made this for me many years ago while we were on vacation in the Outer Banks. I/we have adapted it only slightly. It tastes best after you've allowed all of the flavors to blend for a while but it still tastes good if you eat it right away. You could definitely add more or less of anything based on your taste and heat preference.

Charred Corn Guacamole
Ingredients
2 ears corn
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 limes, juiced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning to your taste

Directions
Remove the outer husk from the corn and loosen the silks without removing. Dunk into water and place directly onto a hot grill for 15 minutes. Remove from grill. Allow to cool enough so that the corn is easy to handle. Remove remaining husks and silks and cut the kernels off of the cob.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!

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May 11, 2015

Changes at The Ellicott City Old Town Market

A few weeks ago I blogged about The Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Farmer's Market season!

This past weekend, was the opening weekend of the Ellicott City Old Town Market. If you went to the Old Town Market last year, you will find many changes.

As I reported last year, the owner of River House Pizza Co had purchased the space behind where their oven is located as well taken over ScoopAHHdeedoo ice cream. ScoopAHHdeedoo has moved to the new space that River House Pizza Co owns. There is a window that you order at for both pizza and ice cream. I peered into the window and saw that there is a prep kitchen inside. The pizzas are made inside and are brought out to the oven. I overheard many people asking at the window if they were selling bread this year and the answer was unfortunately a no. The market itself starts at 9am, but River House/ScoopAHHdeedoo doesn't open until 10am. The husband and I didn't mind because we could walk around and check out the other vendors.

The other vendors are no longer located in the courtyard of the Hamilton Street parking lot. All of the vendors have been moved to the parking lot next to the Wine Bin. When we asked someone why, we were told it was because there weren't as many vendors this year and they wanted to keep them all together in one area.

After we walked up to the Wine Bin, checked out the vendors (some return vendors and some new, probably 6-7 altogether), we walked back down to order our pizzas. The pizza took a much longer time to be made and baked than last year. We weren't exactly sure why, but perhaps it's due to the change in process from before where they were made right as it was ordered in front of the oven and now it is made inside and must be brought outside. Nonetheless, the pizza was still as good as we remembered from last year.

As we were eating, The Little French Market was setting up to sell made to order waffles, something new this year. We saw many people park walk up to the courtyard with a confused look on their face then walk back to their cars to leave. There were no signs posted to let people know that all of the vendors had moved uptown. My husband and I both shared the same disappointment with our first visit to the market. Sadly, it really seemed to lack the energy and ambiance of last year.

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May 5, 2015

There's A New Sushi Buffet In Town

For a while there were plenty of sushi buffet options in Howard County. Now it seems like they are few and far between. I blogged about the opening of Korshi in Columbia however they have closed in less than a year. Also worth noting both Niko and Kimko in Ellicott City have closed as well.

I always check the Valpak/Money Mailer coupons because there are typically some good deals on local restaurants. A few weeks ago while flipping through I saw a coupon for Bean & Burgundy. What caught my eye was that they are advertising a new sushi lunch buffet Monday-Sunday starting 4/22/15.

Coupon/Ad
I had never been to Bean & Burgundy but have been meaning to go since it opened in 2013 (read HowChow's soft opening post). With no sushi buffet options, the husband and I checked it out on a Saturday two weeks ago.

Walking up to the restaurant I noticed that they have outdoor seating which is a nice option as the weather gets warmer. I love al fresco dining! Inside I was shocked by how big and open the space is. The space is very modern with large communal wood tables, a stage, and pillows in some of the booths. I also love that the kitchen is open so you can sit and watch what's going on in the kitchen. There is also a large bar that almost extends the entire length of the restaurant. Apparently they are open until 2am and offer late night and happy hour specials.

The lunch spread was quite large with dishes ranging from salads, wraps, pasta salads, hot Korean fare, and of course sushi. The husband and I were quite impressed. There were at least 20 different sushi roll options and 4 buffet tables with other dishes. Everything we tried was tasty and thought the quality of the sushi and it's fish to rice ratio were decent. If anyone has gone to Niko, you know what I'm talking about - the sushi at their lunch buffet was more rice than anything else. The only thing worth mentioning is that the service was a little slow during our initial visit, but we have since gone back and the service was much better.

As mentioned earlier, Bean & Burgundy are offering their sushi buffet 7 days a week which is something others typically haven't offered. If you've been missing sushi buffet in Howard County, look no further!

Bean & Burgundy
9469 Baltimore National Pike
Daily sushi buffet 11:30am-3:00pm
https://www.facebook.com/beanandburgundy
http://www.yelp.com/biz/bean-and-burgundy-ellicott-city



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April 23, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

No, I'm not talking about Christmas (even though Christmas is a wonderful time of the year). I'm talking about the return of the local Farmer's Markets! The Baltimore Farmer's Market under the JFX officially opened on April 26th, but my husband and I made our first visit this past Sunday.

There are some new vendors this year and if you were a frequenter last year, you'll find that some of your favorites may have changed locations. Ruben's Crepes is no longer a vendor, but I saw the same albeit smaller menu at El Loco Taco & Crepes which is located in the Westside of the Market. Also noted is that Ruben's brick and mortar location in Federal Hill is reported as being closed on Yelp.

We got there around 9am and there was already a huge crowd of people. There were quite a few empty vendor spaces, but I chalk that up to the point in the season where the fruit/veggies just aren't ready yet.

My husband and I both wanted to try different things so he got in line for a breakfast burrito at Community Produce and I in line for a falafel wrap from Farm to Face. Let me just say that I am in love with this falafel wrap. I couldn't stop talking about it all day. All of the veggies were fresh and as I stood in line I could see someone chopping purple cabbage right there. You could get the falafel in a wheat wrap or wrapped in collard green leaves. I opted for the greens. Inside was hummus from The Wild Pea (which just so happens to be located right next to Farm to Face), apples, carrots, cabbage, beets, crispy and delicious falafel, a yogurt sauce, honey, and sriracha. It was super flavorful, filling, and healthy!



Our purchases: Cliff's Salsa (awesome) & Chips ($8), Smoked Salmon and cream cheese from Neopol Savory Smokery ($6), and Vampire Slayer Hummous from The Wild Pea ($5)

2015 Baltimore Farmer's Market List of Vendors
2015 Baltimore Farmer's Market Map

Other area Farmer's Markets include:

The Old Town Market in Downtown Ellicott City
May 9th-October 31st 9am-1pm
http://www.ellicottcityoldtownmarket.com/
https://www.facebook.com/EllicottCityOldTownMarket

32nd Street Farmer's Market (Waverly Farmer's Market)
Per their website they are open year round from 7am-Noon
http://www.32ndstreetmarket.org/index.html
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Baltimores-32nd-Street-Farmers-Market/194872083921466

Howard County Farmer's Markets
Dates, times, and locations vary by day.
http://www.howardcountyfarmersmarkets.com/index.html

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April 13, 2015

When the Nurse Becomes the Patient

A couple of weeks ago I had the worst migraine headache of my life. It was so bad. Dizziness, light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, the works. It got so bad that I told my husband that I needed to go to the ER. I just want to mention how wonderful my husband was during all of this. He is not in healthcare and really hates when I talk about blood and guts, but he was there holding my hair and rubbing my back when I needed him the most :)

Forgoed Happy Hour and spent my Friday getting a different kind of cocktail.
I have never been that sick that I had ever considered going to the ER so I was super anxious about going. As a nurse, I have seen the good and the bad as far as a visit to the hospital can go. I was worried that they wouldn't be able to start an IV since I was so dehydrated, I was concerned that the medicine they would give me would make me sicker and that the staff wouldn't take good care of me.

I was pleasantly surprised with how smooth everything went and how much better I felt after the cocktail of drugs I received. All of the staff I encountered were very nice and provided me with excellent care! That reminds me that I need to mail out that thank you card to the nurse who took care of me that night. Folks, if you ever find yourself in the hospital and feel like you have received great care, please at least take a moment to say thank you to the staff. Nursing (and other healthcare professions) is often a thankless job. For me, I know that at the end of a horrible day, having a patient thank me for all I did for them makes no bathroom breaks, no lunch, IV restarts, 3,000+ steps all worth it! Stepping off my soapbox now....

It was a weird feeling for me to be a patient instead of the nurse. It made me think about all of the patients I had cared for and what I looked for in a "good nurse." Was I my own idea of what a "good nurse" should be?

The honest answer is that I was probably not always living up to my idea of what a "good nurse" should be. I am wholeheartedly certain that my intent was to provide the best care possible for my patients, but there are factors that I am sure did not always make that possible. I think that nurses hold themselves to such high expectations and when one of them isn't met we tend to beat ourselves up about it. I was all about doing everything I promised my patients I would do which often times meant me not clocking out until way past quitting time. It took me awhile to realize that one person can not always complete every task, fulfill every promise, meet every need in one 12 hour shift, but by that time I was really feeling the signs of burn out.

This whole thing has really given me an even greater appreciation for the profession I have chosen for myself. Nursing really is a profession of caring!

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March 14, 2015

Mr. Rogers Shows Us How to Make Crayons

As a kid, I was totally awed by watching how things were made and still am to this day. I love shows like How It's Made and Food Factory. I remember watching the episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood where they showed how crayons were made. I was mesmerized. Was it Mr. Roger's soothing voice, was it the melted wax, all the colors? All I know is that at 6 years old, I was convinced that I wanted to work in a crayon factory when I grew up.

There is a Crayola Crayon Factory in Pennsylvania that I so want to go to but it's geared towards kids... Thank goodness for the Internet and YouTube which allows me to watch Mr. Rogers take us through how crayons are made and forever remember a great childhood memory!


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March 9, 2015

The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

I am always intrigued by recipes that claim to be "the best." I wonder how many different recipes did that person go through in order to claim that this one was the best? I don't take claims of being the best of something lightly, but I'm not kidding when I say that this just may be the best macaroni and cheese recipe that I've come across. In all fairness, I've probably only made about 4 different recipes before this one.

This particular recipe came from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook The Original Classics. I know that in today's day and age there are so many sites to go to when looking for a new recipe, but I just love having different cookbooks on hand. Many of my cookbooks I have attached some sort of memory or sentiment to it. For example, The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook The Original Classics was given to me by my Grammie when I really started to get into baking. I've made quite a bit of recipes from this cookbook. Another special cookbook I have is one that my awesome infusion nurse coworkers made me of their recipes for special dishes they brought and took pictures of to my bridal shower. They had a foodie themed bridal shower for me, how perfect is that? :)

I wouldn't be me if I didn't tweak this recipe in some way or another... I didn't make a breadcrumb topping and I changed the amount and type of cheeses I used. I ended up using about 5 cups of cheese which included a pre-blended mix of American, sharp Cheddar, and Swiss.

I think it is really key to make sure you undercook the pasta like directed in this recipe. When you put it in the oven the pasta will continue to cook through and I don't particularly care for mushy mac & cheese. Also, the white sauce cuts down a lot of flavor so it is important to use at least one cheese with a bit of a bite to it like Pecorino Romano like the recipe calls for or Swiss like I used.

Link to the original recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese 101
adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook The Original Classics
Serves 12

Ingredients
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for boiling the pasta
1/4 tsp group nutmeg
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups shredded/grated american, sharp cheddar, and swiss cheese blend
1 lb elbow macaroni

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish; set aside.

2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the butter in a large, wide, pot (like a stock pot) over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time (I did 1 cup at a time) to keep the mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8-12 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and 4 cups of cheese. Set the cheese sauce aside.

5. In another large pot bring salted water to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of the pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, approximately 3-4 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander and rinse under cold water, make sure to drain the macaroni well. Pour the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce and stir.



6. Pour the mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, approximately 30 minutes. Allow to set for a few minutes before serving.

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February 21, 2015

Las Vegas Trip 2015

I've been meaning to post about my recent trip to Vegas, but work has been so busy. This is a really busy time of year with all of the different programs we have going on like competency days, preceptor workshops, new grad orientation, etc., but I don't want to bore you with that nursey stuff!

3 weeks ago myself, husband, and two brothers went to Las Vegas for a little getaway. My husband and I have been to Vegas before back in 2009 (before he was my husband hehe). My brothers have never been so I really excited for them.

We were there from Tuesday-Saturday. A lot of time spent was walking up and down the strip looking at and walking through all of the hotels, man did my legs/feet hurt! Some other highlights of the trip were that I learned to play craps, we saw Gordon Ramsay walking through our hotel, saw Britney Spears in concert at Planet Hollywood, watched the Bellagio fountains like a million times (my favorite thing to do in Vegas), took pictures at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, ate some amazing food, and of course had some sibling bonding. If you follow me in Instagram/Twitter you probably have seen most of these pictures. My apologies if I overwhelmed your feed with Vegas pics, I couldn't help myself.

This sign is pretty south of the strip,  I don't think we realized that when we decided to walk here hah!
Chihuly glass at The Bellagio, so pretty. 
We stayed at the Paris hotel
Went up in the Eiffel Tower, this is 460 ft above the strip overlooking the Bellagio Fountains.
Breakfast at Mon Amie Gabi in our hotel. I've always wanted to eat here since it is one of the only restaurants right on the strip. It was great for people watching and the food was really good.
We had breakfast at Le Village Buffet in our hotel. The food itself was ok, but the desserts were where it was at! This was hands down the best creme brûlée I've ever had. In. My. Life.
In-n-Out Burger! We ended up having to take a bus, a taxi, and a bit of walking to get there but it was so worth it!
I wish I had taken more pictures of the food at Bacchanal Buffet as Caesar's Palace. OMG. We all agreed that this was some of the best food we've ever eaten. If you're going to Vegas please do yourself a favor and eat here.
It's always exciting to find Dachshund things in unexpected places!

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January 22, 2015

Recipe: Stuffed Banana Peppers

My apologies! I posted a picture of these banana peppers on my Instagram account and I never got around to actually posting the recipe...

My husband and I have been doing a lot of our grocery shopping at H-Mart an Asian grocery store close to our house. Their selection of produce and meats really can't be beat for the price. I bought a pack of 6 banana peppers for less than $2!

I have been off and on on the low carb diet, mostly off, but I am back at it. Today is my fourth day back on the low carb diet. This recipe is low carb and would be great for Superbowl parties.


Stuffed Banana Peppers
6 medium sized banana peppers
1 package regular cream cheese (softened)
1/2 roll ground sausage (browned)
pinch of garlic salt (more or less depending on your preference)
pinch of onion powder (more or less depending on your preference)

1. Using disposable gloves, cut the top off of the banana peppers then cut a slit from the top of the pepper about 3/4 way down the pepper. Remove the seeds. Remove your gloves carefully and set aside for use later.
2. Mix the softened cream cheese, sausage, garlic salt, and onion powder together in a mixing bowl.
3. Turn your oven on to broil.
4. Put your disposable gloves back on. Stuff the banana peppers with the mixture using a spoon, plastic baggie with the end snipped off, pastry filling bag, whatever works for you. I used a plastic baggie.
5. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and rub the peppers with a little bit of olive oil.
6. Place the peppers under the broiler and cook until the skins of the peppers blister and the cream cheese starts to ooze.

*If you don't have disposable gloves to use in the kitchen, make sure that you thoroughly wash your hands with plenty of soap and water after handling the peppers or else you will feel the burn!
Cooper got his own banana pepper!



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January 9, 2015

Craving Now: Varsity Frozen Orange

I totally blame my husband for this one. My husband lived in/around Atlanta for many years. We've visited a few times and on our last trip, he just had to go and introduce me to this delicious frozen concoction which can only be found in Georgia! Over the weekend, I actually begged him to buy me a ticket to fly down there just to get a Varsity Frozen Orange.

The Varsity was established in 1928 and is the world's largest drive in. It is an Atlanta institution and a tourist attraction. The best way that I can describe the Frozen Orange is that it is a mix between a milkshake and a slushie.

I actually went so far as to Google recipes for the Frozen Orange. I came across a few and decided on this one. People who commented said that it tasted like a Varsity Frozen Orange. I was sold.

1 cup(s) ice cube(s)  
1 cup(s) sherbet, orange variety  
1 cup(s) fat free vanilla frozen yogurt  
1 cup(s) fat free milk  
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate  

Crush the ice cubes in a blender (or place them in a zip-close freezer bag, crush them with the back of heavy skillet, and place in the blender). Add the sherbet, yogurt, milk, and orange juice concentrate; puree until smooth. Yields 1 cup per serving.

I bought all of the ingredients at the grocery store, well kind of. The grocery store I went to (small independent local store) only had orange sherbet mixed with vanilla ice cream so I bought that and I didn't want to buy a thing of milk for only a cup (my husband and I are not milk drinkers) so I used heavy cream that I already had at home. I definitely didn't use a whole cup of heavy cream, just a few splashes so I didn't add as much ice as the recipe called for. My craving was satisfied as it tasted just like The Varsity Frozen Orange!

Do you think we crave more the things that we can't readily obtain? Like I get cravings for a cheesesteak from Jim's on South Street in Philly and California Roll Poke from Maui.

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