Archive of ‘Life & Adventures’ category

My Week Of Dinners

Even though this was the first full week after all of the holiday madness, it was still decently busy. 

Sunday was a very lazy day, just as Saturday was. This kind of weekend was needed after the holidays though. I decided to make one of my easy go-to meals for Nick and I…turkey tacos. You really can not go wrong here. For toppings I had shredded cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, chopped lettuce, and of course turkey taco meat. I typically pair it with some variation of Mexican rice, but I decided we could just have chips and salsa. Plus, this left room for homemade caramel corn during our movie.


27th Year: The Year of Me

Photo found on Pinterest, original source unknown. 

This week I celebrated my 27th birthday. Most people my age always complain about how “they are so old!” I am not one of those people. This statement actually drives me crazy. We are just starting our lives people! This is the time for us to start our careers, our families, and do things we’ve always wanted to do. Don’t age yourself and give up already. 

Sticking with that statement, I have decided that my 27th year will be a year all about me. Last year and years in the past I have not focused so much on myself. There have been more important things in life that I have needed to focus my energy and attention on. However, now I can work on myself.  (more…)

2013: Year In Review

I feel like we say this every year…”Where did the time go?…Can you believe we’re coming into a new year already?” 2013 has come and gone just as quickly as years past. A lot happens over the course of twelve months however I wanted to take a moment to reflect on those events that I found most important. 
Watching Quattro grow throughout this past year has been amazing. When we first picked him up in Buffalo, NY just over a year ago, he was a mere 8 pounds. Today, he weighs in at over 80 pounds! We watched him grow as a puppy involving many sleepless nights of potty training. He attended Puppy Training and graduated. He grew through his “awkward teenage stage” with his giant ears and small head. Today, he is a handsome and strong young dog. Though he still has some growing up to do, both physically and mentally, he has become a part of our family. I feel that the first year of his life was the most important and involved the most change. That is why this stands out as one of the top events of our past year. 

July 2013 marked one year of owning our house and we finally were able to move in. After months of renovations we were able to call the house our home. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to enjoy a place that we put so much work into. Though there is a lot more to do, as with any house, the transition we’ve made is incredible. 

One of my dear friends, Cara, was married this past October. Over the course of 2013 we celebrated with two bridal showers, a bachelorette party, and a wedding. I was very honored to be a part of this very important moment in Cara and Chris’ life. We were able to celebrate their marriage throughout the year with all of the different events which made it that much more special. 

In late October, after Cara and Chris’ wedding, I met up with Nick and company down in Florida for a little vacation. It was really our only extended vacation this year since we had so much going on with the house. It was a great week of sunshine, relaxation, and good friends. 

The twins graduated in May. Michele completed her four years at The College of Holy Cross with a degree in English and Women’s Studies. Melissa completed her four years at Villanova University with a degree in Chemistry. I could not be more proud of my younger sisters. The stayed focused on their school work but also made sure to enjoy themselves. They both made lifelong friends and memories along the way as well.

Here’s to many more memories to come in 2014!

My Week of Dinners

Another busy week has come and gone. I swear, this happens to me at least once a month. I am jam packed with activities and outings. I can’t complain though. Makes for great time with friends and family…and of course an an excuse for a blog post! So here is how my past week went. 

We had been overloaded with leftovers from Thanksgiving. Instead of eating more turkey and stuffing, I decided to make some homemade mac and cheese. You really can not go wrong with the ooey, gooey deliciousness of baked macaroni and cheese. I like to use crushed up oyster crackers and bread crumbs to make for a crunchy topping. 

This week was my week to host girls night. I prepared one of my “leftover concoctions” of turkey bolognes and paired it with caesar salad and italian bread. It was a great way to use up the last of the turkey in a non traditional leftover kind of way. We then proceeded to eat an entire bowl of Christmas M&M’s. I’m telling ya, there is just something about the red and green M&M’s during this time of year that really warms you up inside. 

This week I had my monthly date with Joyce, Sabrina, and Jamie. This month we decided to try Greek. We went to a delicious restaurant in the area. So we could try a little bit of everything, we decided to share a bunch of appetizers. We had everything from octopus, spanikopita, to various dips with pita bread. For dessert we had my favorite…baklava. We also enjoyed a delectable treat of what essentially was fried dough with a hershey kiss in the middle. Every last bit of the meal was amazing. 

The night of Friendsgiving the group of us decided we wanted to attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert together. So we purchased 11 tickets to have a night of Christmas fun. Before the show we all met at a local restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately, I was busy chatting so I forgot to take a picture of my meal. But I had a delicious Mediterranean style veggie wrap with onion rings. Nick enjoyed a Bacon Cheddar Chipotle Burger. He admitted that it was one of the best burgers he has ever had. 

Nick and I were tired from the weeks events. We ran some errands and just stopped at Subway for a quick meal. I stuck with my old stand by of a 6 inch turkey sub with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumbers…and for a little kick, banana peppers. I topped it off with honey mustard dressing. Always a good, lighter meal. 

Please note the photo bomber. 🙂

Every so often I spend the evening with my little girlfriend Maeve. This time we went to see Frozen, Disney’s latest movie. It was actually very cute. I am partial to Disney movies though. The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, The Lion King…all classics. Maeve had eaten before we went to the movie…plus we of course had snacks. So for dinner I just made myself some pasta with peas and parmesan cheese. Light and delicious. 

It seems that for all of the major holidays I have given my mom tickets to a show of some sort for the two of us to enjoy together. For her birthday I let her pick a Christmas show. She chose the Symphony’s Miracle of Christmas concert. It was great. It really got me in the holiday spirit. Afterwards we went to the restaurant I used to work at which is right down the road from the theatre. On Sundays they offer a prefixed three course meal. To start I had corn and crab fritters. As my main course, I enjoyed the Chicken Paroma. This used to be on the menu way back when I first started working there but had since been removed. It is a spicy chicken parmesan dish with angel hair pasta. Delicious! I ordered pumpkin pie to go for Nick to enjoy. 

Keep Calm and Play On

Image found off google. 

I have been kicking a soccer ball around since the age of five and haven’t stopped since. I played in a recreational league throughout my youth. Once I was old enough, I was a part of a travel indoor and outdoor team. By the time I had reached high school, I had already been playing for 10 years.
However, I will never forget how nervous I was for try outs the summer before my freshman year. Coming from a very small elementary school put me and my childhood friend at a slight disadvantage. The girls coming from the junior high already knew everyone trying out. The coaches already knew some of them as well. We prepped over the summer by attending soccer camps during the day and running in the evening. Our hard work paid off because we both made the freshman team. To top it off, our team went on to have one of the best seasons yet. I continued playing through my junior year. Unfortunately, an injury I obtained from rowing crew didn’t allow me to play all throughout high school. 

Post high school graduation I knew I was not going to play at the college level especially since I attended a Division 1 school. I was not ready to “retire” yet though. There is a local indoor soccer facility that runs several different leagues of all ages, genders, and skill level. I joined a woman’s league to start out. This team consisted of the girls who I had been playing with all throughout my life. Eventually, The Gym Class Heroes were formed. This team was coed consisting of a mixture of friends and family. We had people who had never played soccer in their life and others who have been playing for years. It didn’t matter though. We were there just to have fun. The team continued on for several more years. People came and went. Today, there are only two of us from the original team still playing. We play in the mens league (myself being the only female) and now go by Above Relegation. It’s pretty funny though because those who are on my team now I only know because of soccer. 

2009 Gym Class Heroes Team

Soccer is one of those things that will always be a part of my life. Even when I am no longer able to play, I would love to try coaching again at any age level. And though I am far from the best player on the field, I love to play. The competitive nature is a great stress releaser plus its a great means of exercise. It really is one of the highlights of my week. I hope to continue playing for many years to come. 

Side Note: I tried getting a team photo after our games tonight, but everyone was so tired and ready to go home after two long games I was unsuccessful. 

My Week of Dinners

I figured I would make this topic a monthly occurrence. It seems that once a month I have an overload of dinner events in one weeks time. This is a perfect opportunity to share with all of you and document it for my own memories. 

Nick and I had his uncle and family over for dinner the night before. I haven’t made my own spaghetti sauce in quite a few years. I figured this was a great time to break out my old recipes and see what I could concocked. After a few twerks, I think I came up with a pretty decent sauce. To go along with the sauce I made turkey meatballs, spaghetti, and Caesar salad.  Of course I made too much, so we had the leftovers for dinner on Monday night. 

This week was Deirdre’s night to host. I must say, she hit this one out of the park. She kept an autumn theme to her meal by making roasted pork with an apple topping, sweet potato hash, and sautéed green beans. We finished the meal with a sour cream apple pie. Every last bit of it was amazing. 

Sabrina, Jamie, Joyce, and I had our monthly dinner date. There is a local Italian chain that opened up a new restaurant in the area. We decided to try out the new location. To start we had Italian nachos which consisted of fried ravioli noodles, Italian sausage, Asiago cheese, and various other toppings. It was actually quite delicious. For my main course I had tortellini with mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and hot peppers. This was also very tasty, but boy was it spicy! 

I had been having a very long and difficult week at work. Nick was aware of this so he decided to cook me a dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup. There is something so simple and enjoyable about this traditional childhood comfort food. Being the lover of spicy food that he is, Nick decided to add in jalepenos to his sandwich. 

Nick’s parents had the family over for dinner to spend some quality time with their relatives from out of town. We had homemade broccoli and sausage pizza, cheese pizza, shrimp scampi, and various other snacks. Unfortunately I was so wrapped up in conversation I forgot to get a picture of my meal. But trust me, it was Nick’s dad’s cooking, so it was delicious. 

Every few Saturdays I bartend for the day at a pub in my parents town. You really can not go wrong with any of the food they serve. However, since the past week had been full of carbs for dinner I stuck with a greens salad with grilled chicken, walnuts, gorgonzola, and balsamic vinaigrette. Again, I was busy serving customers so I was not able to get a quick picture of my meal. But I am sure you can picture it. 

Today we celebrated Nick’s grandfather’s 80th birthday. Most of the extended family went out to a local Italian restaurant. It was a very nice afternoon of good food and family time. Nick and I shared a small caesar salad, which sadly had a tad too much garlic. My meal however was delectable. I had rigatoni and chicken in a spicy tomato sauce. And of course you can’t forget the birthday cake. Yellow cake with strawberry filling and whipped cream frosting. MmmmMmmm!

Sunshine, Friends, and Food

This past week I was able to enjoy the sunny, warm weather on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Friends of ours were married last weekend on the beaches of Longboat Key. It was a beautiful wedding with their closest family and friends. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the wedding due to the fact I was in a wedding myself in New York. However, I joined everyone the day after and was still able to spend time with friends and the newly married couple.

The week consisted of about twenty or so of our friends and family relaxing on the beach, witnessing breathtaking west coast sunsets, and just enjoying the company of each other. It truly was a great vacation. So great that we all decided it should be an annual occurrence for the gang to get together and make a trip down to Florida.

Now of course there was lots of eating involved. That typically happens while on vacation. Diet and exercise go out the window. Why not? We were indeed on vacation! Anyways, I figured I would share with you a few of my favorite spots that we dined at.

1. Joe’s Eats & Sweets

    Bradenton Beach, FL

I had been here once before during a previous visit to Bradenton. As soon as we drove by the rainbow colored building and realized just how close it was to our condo, I made it a mandatory destination during the upcoming week. Joe’s is a delicious ice cream shoppe right off of Historic Bridge Street in Bradenron Beach. They make all of their ice cream on site, along with many other delicious confections (chocolate dipped Oreos and cheesecake to name a few). The first night I devoured a large chocolate dipped waffle cone full of chocolate peanut butter fudge swirl ice cream. The second visit I went with my old stand by of mint chocolate chip, also in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. Both of these treats were delectable. I highly suggest you pay this fun beach side shoppe a visit.

2. Sage Biscuit Cafe

     Bradenton, FL

We were lucky to have this little treasure within walking distance of the condo we stayed at. The immediate group that stayed with us found ourselves here on a daily basis for breakfast. It is a quaint little cafe tucked into a strip mall. They offer outside seating if you wish, inside seating is just as nice. The staff is super friendly and very accommodating. What put this place over the top was their delicious fare.  As a whole, we tried almost everything on the menu throughout the week and not once were we disappointed. Their trademark item is, as you would guess it, their sage biscuits. In one way or the other they can be incorporated into your meal. Whether as a base for a salmon eggs Benedict, a side to go with your Mediterranean egg skillet, or as part of the main event in the sage biscuits and gravy. Sage Biscuit Cafe is a must if you are staying in the Bradenton area. Just over the bridge on Cortez Road. You will not be sorry.

3. Bella’s Italian Cafe

    Tampa, FL

Towards the end of the week we drove two of our friends to the Tampa airport. We were more than whiling to taxi them to their destination, especially since we would be able to pay a visit to the restaurant we had been craving since we booked the trip.  On a previous trip to Tampa for another wedding weekend, Nick and I came across this little Italian eatery by just searching through Yelp. We left more than satisfied. Nick had chosen his old stand by of tortellini Alfredo. I however wanted to try something new. My attention was immediately drawn to the pear sachet dish. It is simply a little pasta pouch filled with cheese and pears. The sachets are then tossed in a saffron cream sauce and peas. It sounds so simple, but it is absolutely delicious. The sweet pears mixed with the rich saffron is unlike anything else.  Since our first visit, we had been dying to go back. We took this opportunity of being in the Tampa area to return to Bella’s and of course, all ordered the pear sachet dish.The staff here is also very friendly and the atmosphere is relaxing.  We sat on the outdoor patio during this visit which allowed us to people watch while waiting for our meal. If you are ever in Tampa, pay a visit to this restaurant and order the pear sachets. It will blow your mind.  You can also take a nice walk along the little streets to the shore afterwards to enjoy a beautiful bay side sunset.


A Visit to the Vineyards


I have previously posted about my friend Cara’s bridal shower. We in fact hosted two showers for the bride-to-be since her family lives in Upstate New York and the grooms family lives in Downstate New York. Both went off without a hitch. The next scheduled event was of course the bachelorette party. The MOH planned a wonderful weekend for the bride and her friends. We kept it small and intimate with just the bridesmaids. Liz arranged for a limo to pick us up in the morning to take us out to Long Island vineyards. Anyone who knows Cara is aware of her love for wine. So this was nothing but perfect. 

It could not have been a more perfect day. The sun was shining and there was a slight breeze. We enjoyed the ride with some mimosas and good music. The tour took us through three different vineyards where we were able to  enjoy a number of different wines, some lunch on one of the vineyard patios, and live music. Of course the day would not have been complete without paying a visit to a few members of the animal kingdom. We ended the days events with a hibachi dinner for six and a three hour game of Cards Against Humanities


The bachelorette party is a day or evening devoted to the bride and her best girl friends. There are many different styles and activities ladies can partake in to celebrate the upcoming wedding. If you are indeed planning, be sure to cater the events to the brides taste. You want to make sure that she has the time of her life whether it be a day at the spa or a night out on the town. 


My Week of Dinners

This week proved to be a very busy one for me. Three dinner dates, two nights of babysitting, a Dawson’s Creek marathon, and a random pizza night with Quattro. I figured I would take this opportunity to document my week of dinners. 

Nick and I had taken the opportunity to spend the day together. Quality time has proven to be hard to come by lately between our work schedules and various life events. After running a few errands, Nick suggested we go out for dinner. We decided to stick with what we know since it was an impromptu date and set on Chili’s. Naturally, we started with the bottomless chips and salsa. For my main course I enjoyed the Mango Chile Chicken dish. I highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a light but delicious meal. 


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