Five on Friday {11.30.16}

Good morning and TGIF! This week seemed to go by slow, but I was in a great mood all week so I can’t complain :)I can’t believe that it’s DECEMBER- how did that happen?! But I’m excited about it- I can’t wait to get a tree, decorate the apartment, listen to Christmas music and all the other stuff that comes along with this season.

Which brings me to my first Five on Friday topic….

  • Light Up The Seaport While the commons and Southie did their tree lightings last night, the Seaport opted to wait and do it tonight. I’m so excited to be there and see the tree be lit and then get drinks after.Gather, Aceituna Grill, The Envoy Hotel, Autograph Collection, Shake Shack, Kings America, & MiniLuxe will all be offering up delicious samples while Gather will also open up a remote bar on the side of District Hall! Plus, a pop-up concert by Andrew Smith Music!  If you’re around, grab your FREE ticket and join!
  • Metabolic Meltdown My friend Lauren just launched her Metabolic Meltdown program, which is 49 workouts that can all be completed at home- and none are more than 30 minutes! What I love is that she breaks it down by bodyweight, total body with weights, lower body focused, upper body focused and core focused. The quick, but effective workouts are my jam these days, as I’ve mentioned before, so I’m totally loving it. I’ve only tried a handful, so I’m excited to try the rest of them. If you’re feeling tired with your workouts or feel like you’re not feeling/seeing changes, I’d suggest checking out her program. It’s especially perfect timing as we enter a busy season!

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  • Festive Recipes- I had bought a huge bag of fresh cranberries at Whole Foods before Thanksgiving, even though I absoutely did not need them. Sure, I was asked to make fresh cranberry sauce by my mom, but that didn’t require a 2 pound bag of cranberries 😉 This lead me to scouring the internet looking for other cranberry-based recipes. I decided on this Paleo Cranberry Bread and then this Cranberry Apple Crisp. Both came out so good!

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  • Friendsgiving & Thanksgiving- The weekend before Thanksgiving, my SMC friends hosted our 2nd annual Friendsgiving… this time with 3 little kiddos in the mix! We joked about how much times have changed since we graduated (nearly 10 years ago!!!). Per usual, we had such a great time- the food was awesome, the wine was flowing and nearly all of us were together and able to catch up. This has quickly become one of my favorite holiday events! Thanksgiving with my family was equally as nice, although a little quieter since there were fewer people! I couldn’t help but feel thankful!

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  • Francesca update- Our little girl is growing like a weed! We can’t believe how much she’s grown since we got her. She was 1.9 pounds when we first brought her home, 2.10 pounds when she had her first vet appointment a month later and we will find out how big she is tomorrow when we go for her next checkup. While she can be a bit crazy (and scratch the crap out of anything she gets her paws near), she really is the absolute cutest thing ever!

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I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and do something festive to get you into the holiday spirit if you aren’t there already 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Do you have any holiday/festive plans this weekend? How was your Thanksgiving?

Five on Friday {10.21.16}

Good morning and TGIF! Was it just me or did this week feel extra long? Between having no motivation to do anything (literally), not sleeping well and managing life with a new kitten who needs LOTS of attention, I feel like this week dragged on. But! RM and I are heading to NYC via train today for the weekend to celebrate his sister’s engagement, which is very exciting. The dinner is actually in Brooklyn so we opted to rent and Air BNB in Brooklyn so I’m looking forward to checking that out! For now, though, let’s talk shop about what’s been going on.

  • RM’s new adventure- Shortly after we got back from Italy, RM gave his notice at work. This was a longgg time coming and I couldn’t be more proud of him for finally taking a chance on himself and choosing happiness over job security. I’ll have more details to share soon, and I hope you’ll check out his website once it’s up and running! If you’re finding yourself in a similar position where you’re unhappy at your job or in your career and you have a passion you want to pursue, there are always ways to make it happen. And, like I said to him, even if it doesn’t work out (which it will!), at least he can say he tried and won’t have a big “what if” hanging over his head!

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  • Jessi’s bridal bath- The weekend leading up to our honeymoon was spent up in NH celebrating my best friend Jessi’s bridal bath, which was a joint bachelorette party & shower. Her family has a house on a lake so we had a great time laughing, hanging out, boating, lounging, drinking and eating. I always love events that bring all of my SMC girls together! Can’t wait for their big day in December 🙂

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  • Crockpot Pork Tenderloin- I know it hasn’t felt like fall this week, but last week I made a delicious- and SUPER easy- crockpot meal. You know how there are always those little cooking videos flying around Facebook? Normally I just watch or scroll past, but this one caught my eye so I tried it out: Slow Cooker Hasselback Apple Pork Loin. Even though it got a little dry (I made it on a Sunday but we didn’t eat it until Monday), it was really flavorful and I loved that the ingredient list was short. I highly suggest this if you’re looking for a new meal to try!
  • OAKtoberfest 5K- Last weekend I ran the annual OAKtoberfest 5K put on by the Oak Square YMCA that I teach at. I have been running this race for YEARS, and I always enjoy it. It’s a relatively small race so it’s not crowded, plus you get the hills over with right away! Last year I ran a big PR and even placed 3rd for my age group. This year I went into it with zero expectations because I haven’t really been doing a ton of running, but I ended up running a nearly 1 minute PR race! 22:32 was my official time, which is crazy fast for me. I didn’t place, but I didn’t care- it was just fun to run the race with some of my gym friends!

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  • Meet Francesca: I’m sure you’ve all seen by now, but last weekend RM and I brought a new little kitten into our family/home. Francesca is 8 weeks old, under 2 pounds, a total fluff ball and a little firecracker. She was so scared when we first brought her home, but soon enough she opened up and has been a blast ever since. She’s super playful and always wants to be where we/I are/am, which is absolutely adorable. We got her from the Salem Animal shelter and they were wonderful to work with throughout the adoption process. My sister is going to stay with her this weekend so she doesn’t get lonely!

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And that does it for me- hoping to get some blogging done while we are on the train since I have lots of posts I want to write. I hope whatever you have going on this weekend, you have a wonderful time!

Questions for you: Have you ever chosen happiness over security? Do you have any pets? What’s a great fall recipe I should try? Have you run any races lately?

Just Add Cooking: Fall Celebrity Chef Series

Another week, another Just Add Cooking review to share with you. If you are new to B2B, l’ll fill you in quickly: last spring, I was graciously given 4 months of service through Just Add Cooking, which meant that once a week I was given 3 meals to make and try. This came at the most perfect time because it was during the months leading up to our wedding so knowing that I wouldn’t have to plan out our meals every week was a huge relief. Not only that, but the meals were all SO GOOD and really easy to make so it was a win-win all around.

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Recently, Just Add Cooking reached out to me again to see if I wanted to try out meals again as they kicked off their Fall Celebrity Chef series. What this means, is that Just Add Cooking will be partnering with some local celebrity chefs to bring restaurant-quality dishes to JAC, while also making sure everything is still locally sourced and easy enough to handle in your own kitchen. The chefs in the partnership are: James Beard award-winner Jody Adams of TRADESaloniki, and Porto; James Beard finalist and celebrated chef Andy Husbands of Tremont 647, Sister Sorel and The Smoke Shop BBQ; television personality Diane Kochilas, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Greek cuisine and Consulting Chef at Committee ; and James Beard award-winner Frank McClelland of L’Espalier and Riversbend.

For the week we chose, the signature dish was Chicken with Muhammara from Jody Adams, which also happened to be my favorite meal of the week! The flavor in the “topping” was incredible- both RM and I couldn’t stop raving about it while we ate it. Such an interesting combination of ingredients that made such a delicious end result!

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The next meal I made was the Scandinavian Cod, which was the first fish meal we received…. weird, considering we love fish! This meal was SUPER simple to make, and based on how simple the ingredients were, I wasn’t expecting it to be as full of flavor as it was! I really loved the topping of eggs, horseradish & brown butter for the fish. I ended up sauteing the snow peas, which didn’t go along with the recipe but I wasn’t sure I felt like eating them raw. Lastly, I was totally blown away with how easy it was to cook the fish. The directions told me to boil water and once the water was boiling, remove it from the heat, drop the fish in, cover it and let it cook for 5 minutes. It came out perfect!!  Mind. Blown.

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The last meal of the week was the Hungarian Goulash, which RM and I had a blast saying (you try saying it by accentuating the GOU in the Goulash… it’s funny!). As with the other recipes, this was easy to throw together AND it reheated very well. The flavor combination from the spices and veggies and the meat were wonderful- it felt like a hearty fall meal! We talked about how there are so many variations you could make from the base recipe, too, like subbing out sweet potatoes for white potatoes, adding in other veggies, etc. I see this on repeat for sure.

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The celebrity chef meals will be on rotation until the end of the year so if you like the sounds of everything in this post, Just Add Cooking is offering a great deal for those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to try them. With the code BUBBLY, you can get your first Just Add Cooking box for just $39. Which, btw, is 3 meals- one hell of a deal if you ask me! Click here to sign up for a free account and to pick your recipes.

Previous reviews can be found here:

Just Add Cooking {First Review}
Just Add Cooking {2nd Review}
Just Add Cooking {3rd Review}
Just Add Cooking {4th Review}

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post but I was provided with a free week of meals in response for my review. As always, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own- I really, truly think this is a wonderful company and I’m so excited that I get to work with them! As an affiliate, I do receive a credit when you sign up for the service using my code. Thanks for your support!

 

Just Add Cooking: Round 2 {& exciting news!}

Good morning! I’m back with another drool-worthy (ok, they’d be more drool-worthy if the lighting and picture quality was better, but you get the idea) Just Add Cooking post. As I mentioned before, as a brand ambassador I have the chance to receive a free week of meals to try and then I get to share my experience with all of you. Week 1 was pretty awesome, but week 2 surely gave it a run for its money! With an Asian-inspired theme, we were introduced to new flavors and meals we would never think to cook on our own.

Our box arrived again on Sunday, which was perfect since it allowed for us to unpack and check it out right away. While there was more packaging than the week before, it was understandable due to the types of recipes we chose for the week. And, most was able to be recycled which is great.

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On Monday night, I figured it was the perfect night to make the Hot Pot; it was cold and snowy and the thought of a warm soup sounded like a great idea. What made it even better was how easy this was to make. While it had a number of steps, none where time consuming or confusing, which made it a quick meal to throw together. The meatballs were my favorite part- they had the perfect amount of spice and flavor combinations and I didn’t even mind the hints of ginger, isn’t a flavor I tend to enjoy. My only complaint was that the dish was a bit too salty for me due to the soy sauce. I don’t tend to salt my food much and we tend to use lower-sodium soy sauce or even tamari so it was not something we/I were used to. Next time I would maybe decrease the amount of soy sauce and replace with water or use a lower-sodium version. Besides that, this was another big hit!

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Tuesday night’s meal of Shrimp Pad Thai was probably my favorite. This meal was so simple, yet so flavorful and totally different from anything else we usually make. I foresee us making this a lot going forward, especially since it re-heated really well! I followed this recipe to a T besides omitting the fish sauce. This was RM’s favorite meal of the week, too.

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Lastly, I made the Beef Teriyaki on Thursday night when I got home from teaching. It was awesome that in 30 minutes we had a whole meal ready for us. We don’t tend to buy or cook a lot of red meat, so it was a nice change to bring a dish like this into our weekly eats. Again, this meal was not fancy, but the flavors were on point! My only complaint here, similar to the Hot Pot, is that it was a bit too salty, again I’m assuming this is because of the soy sauce. This was rectified the next day by adding some broccoli to the mix- beef & broccoli- such a delicious combo!

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I don’t normally like to cook full meals during the week due to my busy schedule that generally doesn’t have me getting home until 7:30-8pm, but these meals were so quick and easy to assemble and serve so it was a very doable activity.

I can’t wait until our next delivery, particularly because we were notified that Chef Jeremy Seawall of Island Creek Oyster Bar, Lineage & Row 34 is partnering with Just Add Cooking to showcase recipes from his new cookbook, The New England Kitchen.

Chef Jeremy Seawall has spent his career working with the farm-to-table movement, focusing on fresh, local foods. This pairs so well with Just Add Cooking because, as you know, they have an entirely local approach to their meal kit programs so working with someone who understands and values that, too, is perfect. And, don’t be intimidated- Just Add Cooking has assured us that Chef Seawall’s recipes will still be fun and relatively easy for weeknight cooking.

We love all of those restaurants so getting to try our hand at cooking some of his recipes is pretty cool! His recipes will be available to subscribers for the 4/24 deliveries (which means you have to order by 4/20). While we didn’t get a chance to check them out this month, you can guarantee we will be picking some of his recipes for next month- I can’t wait!

Don’t forget, if you like the sounds of Just Add Cooking, just use the code BUBBLY when you sign up and you can get your first Just Add Cooking box for just $39. Which, btw, is 3 meals- one hell of a deal if you ask me! Click here to sign up for a free account and to pick your recipes.

Questions for you: What cuisine is your favorite? Do you like your food salty or not? Have you eaten at any of the restaurants that Chef Seawall is affiliated with?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post but I was provided with a free week of meals in response for my review. As always, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own- I really, truly think this is a wonderful company and I’m so excited that I get to work with them! As an affiliate, I do receive a credit when you sign up for the service using my code. Thanks for your support!

Five on Friday {4.1.16}

Good morning! And happy April and Happy Birthday month to my fellow April birthday friends 🙂 I could’ve gotten you guys so bad with an April Fools joke (quitting the blog, canceling the wedding, being pregnant, etc.), but I’ll spare you that and just get right to the Five on Friday topics for today!

  • Mary’s Gone Crackers– We are always on the hunt for healthier chip/cracker varietals, so when I saw these on sale at Whole Foods, I had to try them out. The verdict? I am a big fan! RM likes them, but still prefers the Almond Thins we usually have on hand. I like the Mary’s crackers because they are full of seeds and the ingredient list is pretty clean.

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  • Signs of Spring- There may be snow in the weekend forecast, but for now I’m focusing on little signs of spring around our apartment, including these pretty flowers!
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  • Wedding Registry Gifts- With the wedding shower in just about a month, the gifts have started coming in and it’s so exciting. I joked that every day is like Christmas these days! I know we technically know and picked out everything we’ve been getting, but it’s still exciting to see and feel the gifts. I was especially excited to get 2 sets of the “fancy” place settings I registered for since I had only seen them on line. I love them even more in person!!

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  • Book Club- Tuesday night was book club night, which is always a fun time. Our friend Lauren hosted it in her absolutely adorable Charlestown apartment and the theme was “all the dips”, meaning everyone brought a different “dip” to enjoy. Since most people brought appetizer dips, I offered to bring a dessert dip, which was a big hit- we joked it was like we were eating grown up Dunkeroo’s (remember those things?!). I found it here, and chose it because it was SO easy… and because it was called “Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake” dip and that sounded heavenly. I highly suggest throwing a dip party at some point in your life!

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  • Dresses for Wedding Festivities- I hit up Assembly for some shopping before book club because between my shower, bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner, I am in need of some dresses. I found one at the Express Outlet that I liked, but then when I went to Off Saks, I ended up finding this baby that I liked even more. Best part? It was priced at $220, but I got it for $48! What do you think?

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And that does it! This weekend should be much more relaxed than the past handful of weekends. I’m teaching tomorrow and then hopefully going to a deadlift/hinge mini group training at Foster Fitness and that’s it for set plans. I hope to knock out a bunch more of the Box FIIT Certification, have a date night, meal prep and go to church- whatever you have on the agenda for the weekend I hope you enjoy yourselves!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite snack chip/cracker? What’s your favorite dip? Do you have any suggestions for where I can find a white romper or two piece outfit for my bachelorette party? What’s on the agenda this weekend? Get any good sweats in this week?