Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Brunch at The Langham: A-Z Style

This past Sunday I was able to experience one of the best Brunches in the City of Boston. To say I indulged is an understatement.

15 Boston bloggers gathered at the Langham Hotel in Boston to taste as many and as much different foods as we wanted at their Sunday City Brunch!

Here is the A-Z re-cap of this delicious morning…

All You Can Eat

Beignets (hand delivered from the beignet fairy)


Crepes (made to order)



Domes of Raspberry Mousse


Eggs Benedict (if you can find it on my plate…I swear it’s there!)






Honey, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie


Ice Cream, crispy treats, and cupcakesIMG_7505


Kids Table


Lobster Mac & Cheese









Quail Confit (it was on the menu)

Ravioli (of the Peking variety, but I also had a delicious butternut squash one too!) IMG_7515


Tomato and MozzarellaIMG_7516

Ultimate Brunch Experience


Vanilla Crepe! (filled with dark chocolate and fresh berries)IMG_7518

Whipped Cream IMG_7522

Xtra plates (you go through many many plates :)

Yogurt and Berries! IMG_7497

Z’s (the nap you’ll need afterwards)

It was such a treat to spend time with people who enjoy food as much as I do…no one was shy about going up a 4th, 5th,…6th time! There was so much to try!

This brunch is regularly $52 per adult, and at first I thought that was a bit pricey for brunch. However, the more I think about it, it’s not. This is definitely a special occasion meal, but so is going out for a really nice dinner (and you could easily spend over $52 on dinner!), but where else are you going to be able to taste anything and everything you want of such high quality food?! Our servers were awesome as well :)

Brunch was organized by the wonderful Renee, the mastermind behind the Boston Brunchers! I won my spot for this brunch so I only had to pay for my drinks and tip, but all opinions are my own.

Thank you so much to Renee and The Langham Hotel Boston for a wonderful Sunday brunch experience! Can’t wait to do it again :)

Cafe Fleuri on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bloggers Love Cookies

Yes, I’ve been tinkering around with the blogger templates.  They really dumb it down for us website-design impaired :)  This is no big blog make-over, I just decided to play for 15-20 minutes and see what happened…so far I like it, so I’m going with it for now!  I also just realized I can add TABS and ORGANIZE my posts/recipes!  I feel like I’m graduating to a big-girl blog ;) (now if only I can get those cool real smiley faces)

Apparently I’ve thrown my “healthy living” attributes out the window this week.  Working late everyday = zero time to work out.

Isn’t it ironic that sitting in front of a computer for a few extra hours each day makes you more tired, even though your physically doing basically nothing?!  Urg.  I miss my sweat sessions!! 

That, combined with 2 deliciously food-filled blogger events this weekend…well, lets just say I won’t be weighing myself anytime soon ;)

It was worth it though…


Last year, Shannon came up with the BRILLIANT idea to have a blogger cookie swap.  It was in January as it's generally impossible to get a group together before the holidays.  It was a blogger success and I came home with a plethora of delicious cookies! 

Of course now it’s a tradition, and the 2nd annual Blogger Cookie Swap was Saturday afternoon.

What to bring, what to bring??

I needed something easy and fast because I just had no extra time.  My first idea was Mounds bars!  They are a family favorite ever since I can remember, and basically consist of a graham cracker crust, a layer of coconut + sweetened condensed milk, and a chocolate layer on top! 


Well, it just wasn’t my morning, and I decided to throw in the towel when my crust was just not cooperating!


Wasn’t a total loss though… I used that extra crumbly crust and sweet gooey coconut mixture to make a kick-ass bowl of oats for breakfast!


A typical banana oat mix, and also added some PB, Almond butter, and granola IMG_7447

Out of time, I had to get dressed and head to a (Saturday!) work meeting…blah :/.  I almost thought I’d have to just forgo the swap, but I racked my brain to think of a recipe for cookies I could whip up in the 1 hr time frame I’d have after getting home and before the swap started!

Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who will help prep ingredients for me.  He zested and juiced 2 lemons while I was gone, because I decided to make these:

Giada’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

My friend made these once, so I knew the recipe was good.  Then after reading the recipe, I was confident I could get these babies done with my given time constraint.

The batter came together super fast.


And the baking time wasn’t long


The only thing left was the glaze.  Hmmm, the directions say to let the glaze sit for 2 hours to harden.  Not gonna I just glazed, ran out the door, and let the glaze harden en route. 


I had to put them on a big tray since they couldn’t be stacked


Phew.  I started these cookies at 3pm, and made it Shannon’s around 4:30.  Go me. 

Oh heavenly cookies.

Shannon’s Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls


Jen’s Meyer Lemon Shortbread
(you know, Project Food Blog winner Jen!!)


(how cute are those!!?  I need to get one of those letter stamps!)


Elina’s Almond Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache



Kerstin’s Pretzel and Graham Cracker Chocolate Bars

IMG_7484 IMG_7483

and finally…


Cara’s Butterscotch Peanut Butter Crispy Treats with chocolate filling…AKA  THE Rice Crispy Treats.


Obviously, they were all phenomenal and I can’t wait to snack on them all week!  Cookies and coffee anyone?

Shannon also prepared some snacks for when we needed a break from the sugar


That green dip in the back, is peas with a smoky tahini dressing (a la Smitten Kitchen)…I was obsessed.  Must make this. 

Spent most of the evening chatting away with these lovely ladies!


I came home from the swap, and crashed.  Fell asleep for about 30min on the couch, still in my coat.  Then went to bed.

The fun continued this morning when I awoke to NO WATER!  Yep, we had a frozen pipe which turned into a leaking pipe.  Fantastic.  I had a special blogger brunch to get to, so I high tailed it to the gym to get ready, while the husband tracked down a plumber on a Sunday. 

Should of been a plumber.  1 hr of labor to fix an 8” piece of pipe  = $180 (and only $15 was for materials….)

Anyways, the good news is that we have water!  And I’m STILL full from brunch.  Can’t wait to share that with you!

‘Til then…Good Night!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread

It’s been one of those weeks. 

Work is crazy right now and I’ve been working late everyday this week.  Combine that with this past weekend’s trip to North Conway…fun, but LATE nights, crappy sleep, and a little too much flip cup ;) = a tired blogger with no time!

I’ve also had to forgo any exercise this week as well, aside from the 1hr of snow shoeing and 30min of ice skating I did on Saturday!

Ok, so not to be such a downer…I do have a couple delicious recipes in the “vault” to share for these busy days to come!

The first is an updated version of one of my absolute favorite seasonal breads: Cranberry Orange Walnut.  I think I like this just as much as my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread…well maybe almost as much :)


This time around I wanted to use a delicious container of plain 0% Chobani!

IMG_6714 IMG_6719

The orange juice gives sweetness as well as a delicious fresh flavor.  Plus its no surprise that the tart fresh cranberries go perfectly with the orange and walnuts. 


I just love this bread! IMG_6726


Cranberry Orange Walnut Bread

1 3/4 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 6 oz. container Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
Juice + zest from 1 orange (approx. 1/4 cup juice)
3 T canola oil
1/4 cup skim milk
1 generous cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (toasted - optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350*
Spray a loaf pan and/or muffin tins with cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Set aside.

In another bowl juice and zest the orange.
Beat the egg + egg white and add to orange juice/zest. Add oil, yogurt, and milk...stir to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry.

Stir with wooden spoon gently until combined...batter will be on the thicker side.

Fold in cranberries and walnuts

Place into loaf pan and/or muffin tins.  My loaf pan is 10” x 5” x 3” which is larger than normal, so I’d fill your loaf pan about 2/3 of the way and if you have extra batter…make muffins of course!

I also like to sprinkle my batter with raw sugar before baking.

Bake loaf for 45min- 55hour (I did just under 1 hour for my larger loaf pan)

Muffins alone will take 18-20min at 375*

IMG_6750 IMG_6753

This bread forms a crisp golden exterior. IMG_6741 IMG_6744

I usually make this in December, around the Christmas season; but after looking at these pictures I think it would be a beautiful Valentine’s Day bread!  The cranberries are like little red hearts :) 

Speaking of Valentines Day…can you believe January is over HALF way done!!!  Crazy!

Obviously I can’t wait until this week is over, and have some super fun events to look forward to this weekend!!

Might have to do some “bathroom workouts” this week since I can’t get to the gym.  Don’t worry, we have a single room bathroom at work…so I can do some squats or jumping jacks without anyone knowing ;)