Taking Back My Twenties

Baking

Birthday Party + Couch Weekend

Posted on Mar 10, 2014 | 9 comments

This weekend involved both partying and resting. I made tons of cupcakes on Friday! Half were for my friend Liz’s birthday party, and half were for the Duke/UNC watch party we were supposed to attend.

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I made strawberry buttercream, but used too much strawberry – the flavor was great, but these melted under the patio heater later on. This has happened to me before so I should have known to be careful! Next time I might try freeze dried strawberries.

I hosted a paloma pre-game party before Liz’s birthday dinner at Mesomaya. I’d never made palomas before (they are pretty simple), but I thought they turned out well. I have way too much tequila left over though!

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A group of about 15 of us enjoyed dinner on the patio of Mesomaya. I ordered an avocado margarita, which was fabulous! Dinner was lots of guac and a delicious ceviche salad. I really liked Mesomaya (especially the cute courtyard), and I want to go back to try more entrees!

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After dinner and messy cupcakes, we moved on to the Ritz bar and enjoyed the outdoor fireplace. We ended our night at the Loon – I think the birthday girl had fun!

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My weekend snapshots end there because I spent the rest of the weekend on the couch:( Matt came home from a business trip and was pretty sick with some kind of stomach bug, so we just relaxed at home. Poor guy. We didn’t make it to the watch party on Saturday night, but I sent my cupcakes with a friend and we cheered Duke on at home. I enjoyed a beer while Matt sipped on a homemade sports drink concoction. I also made soup, although Matt couldn’t really eat it, so I’m eating all the leftovers. So that’s that.

Hope some of you got to enjoy the warmer temperatures and you all survived springing forward:)

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Hunter Gatherer and Bday Desserts

Posted on Feb 24, 2014 | 6 comments

The weekend was lovely. I hadn’t really seen Matt in a while because of Key West and his weekend soccer tournament plus weekday travel for work. It was wonderful to go on a date! HG Supply has been on our list for quite some time, so we were both really excited to have dinner there. HG stands for hunter gatherer and the menu is Paleo-inspired; the food is simple and clean, and so was the space! I had a fabulous vanilla cinnamon Manhattan in the lively bar while we waited for our table.

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We started with the bacon wrapped pork shanks with chipotle-cider glaze. These were giant and delicious.

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HG Supply is famous for their bowls of flavorful combinations of meat and vegetables. Matt wanted to try ‘The Hunted’ bowl consisting of duck confit, sweet potato hash, spicy broccoli & bacon. We both loved it.

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We also shared the quinoa burger with olive tapenade and hummus. We will definitely be back to HG supply, not just because we liked the food and atmosphere, but because of the chocolate kettlebell that arrived at the table beside us. It was the size of an actual kettlebell and the server poured hot caramel over it to melt the chocolate and reveal a piece of cheesecake inside. It was insane.

After dinner we watched Blackfish, a documentary about killer whales in captivity. I really enjoyed watching it, but also felt really sad about the poor whales and trainers. I dreamed of being one of those trainers after my first visit to SeaWorld when I was little and had no idea that so much information had been kept from the public:(

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Saturday, I baked up a storm! A friend was celebrating her 30th birthday, and I volunteered to make the desserts for the party. I attempted a new recipe for brownie surprise cupcakes, and made an old faithful mint whoopie pie recipe.

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I wouldn’t recommend the brownie surprise – freezing the brownie batter was supposed to keep it from cooking all the way through so that it would remain gooey, but it didn’t work at all. The brownies still cooked until they were dry and cakey. They weren’t bad at all, but I’m just not a chocolate cake person and that’s basically what they tasted like on the inside. The peanut butter icing on top, however, was incredible!!!

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And the whoopies were good!

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The party was awesome – they had one of my favorite wines and a wonderful spread of Mexican food from a local restaurant. I could not stop eating the sweet potato chips with salsa verde!!

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Sunday was nice and relaxing. Matt and I took a long walk to the tennis courts, but were sad to find them packed because of the nice weather. We eventually gave up.

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I picked up some cajun turkey burgers for dinner and we sipped on rose to end the weekend.

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And another week begins.

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Grub, Origin, & Football

Posted on Feb 3, 2014 | 8 comments

Lots and lots of good eats and fun with friends with weekend! Friday was warm and beautiful outside, so I met my friend Liz and her new pug (!) for a drink on the patio at Common Table just as the sun was setting. I love dusk!

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I had a hearty brown ale. Matt met up with us, and after saying goodbye to Liz, we continued on to dinner at new burger bar. Grub is in a bit of a random location in the bottom of an office building, but it’s cheap and the menu looked great, so I wanted to give it a try.

I can highly recommend the burgers and the service, although I would skip the four dollar rita next time – tasted like mellow yellow with no trace of tequila!

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Matt and I shared the Texas luau burger, which was topped with braised pulled pork, a grilled pineapple slice, jalapeños, and teriyaki & BBQ sauce, as well as the Ahi tuna burger with sprouts, arugula, pickled ginger, and wasabi-teriyaki dressing. Both were fantastic!
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Saturday involved my usual bootcamp class, laundry, watching the [sad] Duke game with Duke friends, and a wonderful date at Origin Kitchen. I had heard great things about the coffee shop/healthy cafe turned restaurant and was excited to try it. I ordered an interesting Zinfandel, but there was a great cocktail and beer list as well. We started off with the wild caught salmon belly bloody mary ceviche! This was awesome, especially since I finally like bloody marys.
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The menu was great and we had a hard time deciding, so we ordered the mussels in white wine as well.

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We shared the pork tenderloin entree and it was heaven. The pork was served with a mango and cranberry chutney over sweet potato hash with giant grilled plantains. I think this was one of the best entrees I’ve ever had!!
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On the side, we had a warm shaved brussels salad with toasted walnuts and mustard poppy seed vinaigrette.
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I’ve declared Origin my new favorite neighborhood eatery!
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We were invited to a Superbowl party on Sunday, so I obviously baked. I made cookie cups because I’m so obsessed with Earth Balance butter cream. I also made a mexican inspired quinoa salad to add something healthy-ish to the buffet. It was not a hit, but the cups were.
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Our friends had a ridiculous set-up, so I spent the evening in this recliner:)

Hope yall had a good one too. See ya.

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Gingerbread Cups & Holiday Gatherings

Posted on Dec 15, 2013 | 6 comments

Oh hey Sunday. Time is flying. I can’t believe Christmas is next week!!
Friday night was our usual low key evening.
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Matt and I grabbed beers at a cozy Irish pub and then ventured on to another bar for food – we shared mussels in a delicious tomato broth and the brisket enchiladas.

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I had two more parties this weekend, so I baked on Saturday! Confession: I used Trader Joe’s gingerbread cookie dough because it’s awesome and easy. I cut each round of dough in two and pressed the balls into mini cupcake holders to make gingerbread cups.

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And because I love Icing, I whipped up some ‘buttercream’ and put dollops in the middle. Mmmmm.

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I loved these and think I’ll make them again for Christmas. I just ordered new icing tips too, so I can make better dollops!

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After filling the apartment with wonderful smells of gingerbread, I finally finished decorating our tree! How funny is that one tall branch at the top? I can’t decide if I should trim it or leave it.

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We ventured out to our first party of the night – a going away gathering for our friends who are moving to Paris!

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I brought the gingerbread cups, but there were all kinds of goodies!

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After 2 rounds of drinks and conversation, we headed to our second stop – a Christmas party hosted by my college roomie. Here’s Matt with his bff Chris!

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There was lots more good food, this time with a Mexican twist – pork tamales and the best guacamole ever from Mi Cocina (as in a restaurant here in Dallas, not my actual kitchen:))

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I met so many new people and chatted for hours!

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Matt and I finally walked home at 1:30 after helping clean up millions of beer bottles. Miraculously, I was able to sleep until TEN this morning, so I didn’t feel that tired today. It was a lazy Sunday, but Matt and I took a long afternoon stroll because the weather was gorgeous.

I’m ready for a productive week and then it’s time for two weeks of family, holiday food, and pure relaxation. Night!

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Recap of Randomness

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 | 7 comments

It’s a dreary Monday here and we have a chance of winter weather! Exciting! I’m definitely getting into the holiday mood and I’m pumped to head to Matt’s house in Maryland for Thanksgiving.

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My jeans are getting a bit too tight though – I hate when that happens because then you know the damage is already done! Anyway, I lightened things up last week with two new meals – crockpot salsa chicken in the form of a taco salad and Indian inspired lettuce wraps. I’ve been using TJ’s simmer sauce with ground pork, mushrooms, and carrots and it makes for a great combination.

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The weekend was wonderful! I think the whole wedding, honeymoon, moving, job searching thing wore me out because I’m tired – not like sleepy tired, but lacking youthful energy. I’m just craving simple weekends with lots of time at home and lots of sleep. Kinda how I’d expect to feel if I were expecting, but that’s a ways away:)

On Friday, we met friends for a couple of beers and then retired with Chipotle bowls and episodes of Orange is the New Black.

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On Saturday, we had an amazing dining experience at Pakpao Thai. The restaurant is in the design district and is a sleek and modern. I was pleasantly surprised by the reasonable prices, and as a result, ordered way too much food! I started with the above Mekhong Color with Mekhong Thai spirit, Flor de Cana rum, coconut, pineapple, ginger, and Thai basil – awesome!

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We started with the fried Cashews with bird’s eye chili – sooo good, but part of the reason we got so full!

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Then, we had the chicken meatballs in curry sauce and the grilled shrimp salad with mint. The actual salad was small, but fabulous.

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For entrees, we ordered the red curry crispy catfish and the short ribs with massaman curry. The short ribs were divine! The sauce was absolutely perfect and there were big chunks of sweet potato. I’m going back soon to sit at the bar and just order this!

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On Sunday, we got invited to attend a friend of a friend’s Friendsgiving (got that?) and I made a terrible vegan pumpkin pie – no idea what I did wrong! All the other food was incredible though and luckily no one really touched my pie since I hid it in the back:)

Did you guys watch the American Music Awards? I’ve been listening to Say Something by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera ever since…

Happy holiday week!

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Dallas Exploration Continues

Posted on Sep 30, 2013 | 2 comments

There’s nothing like a Friday happy hour, right? Because that hour is often the happiest of the weekend! It’s funny how quickly the time passes after that point.

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I got to meet Matt’s new coworkers at happy hour – they are lots of fun and had me laughing the whole time.

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After happy hour, Matt and I headed to dinner at Sfuzzi because, you guessed it, we had a Groupon! I loved the outdoor patio and the food was decent, but it wasn’t anything too amazing. I enjoyed the specialty cocktail – a frozen blend of prosecco and white peach nectar.

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I loved the thick noodles of this seafood pasta, but there wasn’t a lot to it. Don’t ya hate when the clam shells are empty?

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On Saturday, I baked again! This time, I made flour-less peanut putter cookies (there’s a million recipes for these), and I added chocolate chunks. We headed to a rainy pool party-turned-house party in the afternoon, and I wanted to contribute something sweet. These were definitely a hit!

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After visiting Victor Tangos last week for a cocktail, I wanted to go back and try the food. We were in the mood to just sit at the bar and order a small plate or two, so this ended up being perfect. I had a glass of Spanish red and Matt and I shared a spicy sausage flatbread.

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But, the real star of the night was the ‘turkey cobb,’ which was actually a giant roasted turkey legg with a side salad. It was awesome!

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In an attempt to keep the weekend from ending, Matt and I grabbed a Sunday afternoon drink on the beautiful patio of Boxwood Tap.

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Now time to sleep, eat, repeat.

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