Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Catered Affair...

Sunday I had the chance to meet up again with the amazing Boston Bruncher's Group! In the past year I have attended several events with this group and each time gets better and better!

This week we were invited to attend a brunch at the home base for Bakers Best Catering company in Needham, Ma.  Bakers Best have been around for almost 20 years, first through a retail store serving sandwiches after the owner Michael Baker was discouraged over a badly prepared turkey sandwich he had one day. Today Bakers Best has transitioned into a full service catering company for Greater Boston.

We were greeted by the staff  of Bakers Best with one of the tastiest bloody mary shooters I have had. The celery salt rimmed glass was chuck full of green beans and a GIANT gulf shrimp that was succulent and perfect!

After introductions and a run down of the business we were invited to a tour of the facility.  Bakers employees close to 120 workers that man the kitchens & office almost 24/7/365.

It was so impressive to see how efficiently and seamlessly the production of 100s of orders is handled by a relatively small staff.

Baskets of hot fresh pastries on each table, accompanied by lavender butter!

During our tour we enjoyed a sampling of passed "eye openers" including this Everything bagel gravlax.  It was so delicious I may have grabbed a second one!

Gravlax, red onions, lemon pearls, creme fraiche, frisee on a bagel crisp
The kitchen staff buzzed around us preparing orders for the day, many of which were headed to various Academy Award parties throughout the city.

So calm!
While we were busy tasting,  Chef Phyllis Kaplowitz and her team prepared our tasty dishes.!

Ever wonder what a room full of bloggers looks like when they see delicious food? Something like this!

Can you imagine?  No tasting till 13 woman snap photos of bacon cups.  Yeah I said it... Bacon Cups!

This might have been my favorite item of the day!  Sweet Potato Corned Beef Hash in a Maple Brown Sugar BACON Cup!

Crunchy, Salty and sweet!  Heaven in a tiny bacon cup!
The final passed item during our tour was simply perfection.  Asian Tuna Tartare in miso sesame cup with siracha aioli, wasabi greens and soy pearls.  It was crisp, cool, spicy and refreshing!  A perfect way to end the tasting and kick off the buffet!

Perhaps the prettiest of the "eye openers" as well don't you think!

The room was set up so beautifully for us!  After grabbing some java and hearing a bit more about Bakers Best we were welcomed to help ourselves to the AMAZING buffet the chef's had prepared for us.
So springy and vibrant!  Oh spring, please hurry up won't you!!

Wait is this a munchkin or a tiny muffin?  Try BOTH!
First up was an amuse to kick off the brunch.  A tiny perfect lil' waffle egg sandwich.  Served with homemade turkey sausage, quail egg, tomato jelly and camembert cheese.  So much yummy in one tiny bite!

The buffet started out with a Beet Ravioli Salad followed by an assortment of mini quiches and challah french toast.

Beet Ravioli with queso valdeon, field greens, shaved fennel, blood orange and spanish vinagrette

Challah French Toast with bananas foster, fresh berries and vermont cider maple syrup
Time out for more pictures before we all dig in!

My plate jam packed with deliciousness!

We were served 3 types of quiches: spinach, mushroom & leek with goat cheese; bacon, potato and caramelized onions; tomato, asparagus and feta.

The Spinach and mushroom was my favorite!
We had such a lovely time at Bakers Best!  It was great to see many bloggers that I have met at previous events.  We were having such a great time, I didn't even notice over 2 1/12 hours had passed since we arrived!

Oh and did I mention we all left with a goodie container of mini whoopie pies!  Oh yeah, this PB and fluff creation below has stolen my heart!

A special thanks to Michael Baker, Adam Klein, Renee and Boston Brunchers for putting this event together. 

**Brunch was provided complimentary by Bakers Best but my opinions of the food and event are 100% my own.***

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Snow, Puppies & Crazy Hats

This past weekend I went back up to VT to visit some friends from college.  The only thing I was told to bring was a hat.... As you can imagine hi-jinks and tomfoolery naturally followed such an odd request.

It was a lovely weekend of window shopping, card games, puppy cuddling and rocking my favorite and most comfortable hat!

I really really love VT and would really love to move there if my job didn't keep me tide to the coast.

Enjoy a photo recap of our time in Stowe!

Lobster Salad Sandwich w/ homemade chips from The Whip at the Green Mountain Inn
 AMAZING sandwich!!!

Why yes, that would be a football squeeze bottle! It was my prize for my "hat" 
 Yup that is my work hardhat & safety goggles! 

So pretty!

Love this pup! He never stopped!!!
Now this is a look Steph!

Victor of the paddle/ball bounce competition celebrates!

I think I was going 4 miles an hour on this road! Did I mention 0 cell phone coverage here?

Oooh big mountain!!!

That DOES say 124 miles to home.... Where's the coffee & my Spotify?

My poor lil' car needs a bath after this road trip!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You Want What You Can't Have

So a few weeks back I realized that my wonderful adult acne seems to be directly linked to the amount of glorious dairy I consume.  Over the past 3 weeks I have GREATLY reduced the amount of dairy I eat daily and my acne is almost completely gone!

I know!  I am super excited about this.  Being 31 with acne is not really good for your self esteem.  There is one major side effect from this change in diet that I really did not expect....



I can only only assume that my subconscious & stomach have turned into a rebellious 13 year old who have decided that it wants the one thing it knows it shouldn't have.  

Anyone have any tips on curbing these cravings?  I have been eating lots of spicy and flavorful dishes to keep my tastebuds happy.. but there is just something about a perfect slice of hot crispy pizza with gooey salty cheese that just cannot be duplicated with non-dairy options....

I need to find some good recipe replacements because as much as I love cheese I am loving clear skin more!

My Favorite Valentines!

I may not have a big date planned for this evening but I did get to spend the weekend with my two favorite Valentines!  I love these little peanuts and an auntie could not ask for a sweeter niece or nephew!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 3 and my final thoughts on cleansing

Yesterday I felt like Ron Burgundy!  I was in a glass case of emotion fueled by the overwhelming urge to jump off the cleanse head first one moment while a second later feeling great about doing the cleanse!  Remember yesterday when I posted about how great I was feeling?! Yeah, about 20 minutes later I started to crash hard!

I caved around 140pm and ate several handfuls of raw cashews. At that moment I was so hungry all I could think about was food... The cashews brought me back to reality!  It was such a huge spike of energy that pulled me through the rest of the work day.  My commute home was when the inner argument really went to a dark place.

On my commute home I pass by many many delicious sandwich, pizza shops and markets that would have easily calmed the crazy lady in my head screaming for cheese and bread.  The logical half of my brain was a bit terrified at the intense cravings I was having.  I don't think I have ever craved any type of food that bad in my entire life!

Over the 30 minutes I managed to reason out that I would go home and break the cleanse by making a pasta dish.  However, once home I just decided that I had all the ingredients for the giant junk salad and that I did enjoy it the night before so why not give it another shot.  Honestly, it was not what I wanted but somewhere in the midst of my cleansed psychotic break I knew that a handful of cashews was not really going to derail the cleanse totally.   I prepared the massive salad and sat down to watch Top Chef. ( i know i know, who watches a cooking show on a cleanse....)

Surprisingly the salad did the trick!  The mix of flavors from the spicy pico de gallo mixed with the crunch of raw veggies and the much needed protein kick of the chicken did the trick.   I was full and satisfied!

There was a final moment of weakness a few hours later when the roommate returned from the gym and reheated crab rangoons that I did not know where in the fridge.  For a split second I thought about tackling her for the cheesy crunchy golden morsel but I like my living situation so I did not....

As you can see from this post, getting the majority of your nutrients from a shake when you typically plan your day around shopping, prepping, cooking and eating food may not be the best option!  I am happy I am doing the cleanse and woke up today 2.5 lbs lighter.

Overall I think it is a great way to restart your system without having to totally give up food for 3-7 days (i am pretty sure I would have to be committed if I tried that!).  The shakes are very tasty (almost like brownie batter) and not chalky at all.  I hate chalky shakes...

The two things I am happiest about after doing this is 1- knowing that I can do it and 2- seeing that I can give up coffee if need be.  I think the caffeine addiction was the hardest part to deal with that is not really addressed anywhere online.  It is good to know that I can cut back (and should) on how much coffee I consume daily.

The plan for the rest of the day is to follow the cleanse out until dinner.  I am heading to my parents tonight and there is no way I am not going to enjoy a big Q family meal with a glass of vino!

So there you have it, the insane ramblings of a foodie who decided to drink her meals instead of cook them for 3 days.  Anyone else ever try something like this or thinking about it?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Shakeology Cleanse - Day 2

Hello second day!  I admitted this morning that the end of yesterday was tough...  The headache was HUGE and instead of fighting it I just went to sleep.  Today is a new day though!!!

As I type it is 1120am.  I have had one shake, one HUUGE green tea, lots of water and a green apple around 11.  I feel energized and not hungry at all.  I feel a bit lighter, but like I said in my last post my weight on the scale is the same.

Looking forward to shake #2 at lunch along with water and perhaps a 1330 (130pm) hot tea.

Movie theatre should be an interesting challenge this evening.  Pretty sure I plan on smuggling in a salad or devouring one before I head in.

I am glad I am doing this and can see what all the hype is about.  It is nice to restart your system every now and again.

To keep up the healthy vibe I am going to spend my lunch break perusing the interwebs for yummy, delicious and healthy appetizer options.  I am co-hosting a Lia Sophia Party this weekend at my parent's house.  I want everyone to nibble on delicious treats, but don't think they should feel guilty about it.

Any suggestions on healthy go to appetizers you keep in your recipe book?

Day One Part 2 & Day Two Part 1

Seems so strange to keep a daily log to post, but hope you are enjoying it!  Office life is soooo exciting!

(pretty sure our receptionist thinks I am wacked with the # of times I have visited the rest room today! This is A LOT of liquid to consume!!!)

1222 - Mid Lunch Break 
I am enjoying the shake and happy that it is actually filling me up.  Drinking it slowly seems to help prolong the feeling of actually having lunch.  Blogging and catching up on my google reader during my lunch hour helps too.  But reading all the yummy creations my fellow bloggers are cooking up is not!  Good lord you guys make some delicious treats!

I do think a 3rd cup of Double Green Matcha Tea might be the perfect "dessert".  That and my hands are freezing in my office!  Need something warm....

My replacement for no java! 
1300 (1pm) - Post Lunch
Hot tea is delicious and yes I am happy to report I am actually content right now after my shake!  Will be interesting to see how long that lasts, but my happy thought is that I can have another shake later this afternoon.  Then a GIANT salad with some leftover rotisserie chicken breakfast for dinner.

Amazing how a happy stomach can calm the fear of a cleanse so quickly.

I am not looking to lose weight on this cleanse (but won't be unhappy if I do), the bigger goal is to flush my intestines, kidneys and liver after months of indulging on cheese, beer and wine.  I talked earlier last week how dairy seems to be causing most of my acne issues.  My hope is that this cleanse will flush alot of those toxins out of my system so I can start clean.

meeting at 2pm.  Here's hoping H2O or a cup of hot decaf green tea will get me through it....

1520 (320pm) - Post Meeting
Meeting went well!  I kept my water bottle handy and I must admit I am not really hungry at all.  The dull headache is still there.  Again, I think that has more to do with caffeine and detoxing than lack of nutrients.  Going to wait till 4 for my next shake.  Should give me a good cushion between the shake and dinner.

1600 - Snack - 3rd Shake
Mixed and enjoyed at the office, perfect timing too as I was just starting to get ravenous again.

1800 - DINNER!!
Knowing that I can have unlimited veggies in my salad with a bit of chicken and dressing I went to making the greatest junk salad ever!  Salad was very filling and exactly what I was craving after a day of shakes.

LOTS Spinach
1 mini cucumber
4 cherry tomatoes
1/2 c pico de gallo
1 cup Trader Joe's chopped mixed veggies (carrots, peppers, cabbage, etc....)
4 oz of cold rotisserie chicken
2 Tbl of Annie's Goddess Dressing (vegan)

I ended the evening with decaf tea and hitting the sack early.  I am starting to think the headache I have is part of the detox and not caffeine related since I have had my fair share of Green Tea.

I ended up bailing on the blogger event that was scheduled.  The dull headache was no match for an upbeat bar... Next time!  Next I swear!!

It is now the morning of Day two.  I woke up a bit groggy as usual but felt great!  Weight is still the same (as expected).  I made my first shake around 7am and then stopped at Starbucks for a VENTI Green Tea.  It is delicious!!!  Much more flavor than the tea I have at work.

I am not hungry yet but we will see how the day goes since I will be in meetings almost all day.  Challenge for this evening is to get a salad on program while on my way to see a free screening of Reese Witherspoon's new movie.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day One Ramblings - Part 1

So I figured instead of posting 30 times today to tell you my thoughts I would keep a running tally of my thoughts/feelings during the day.  Enjoy the timeline of a girl who usually eats every 2-3 hours....

630am - Brew big cup of green tea.
Feeling groggy but not really hungry when I woke.  Going to enjoy my tea and then make the shake for my commute to work.

730am - Make 1st Shake
Not going to lie, I was frightened that the shake would taste awful or be super sweet.  I was pleasantly surprised at the dark chocolate flavor and smooth texture of the shake.  Went done quickly but was pretty filling.

845am - 2nd cup of Green Tea
Yeah, I know... But I usually drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day (no judging...it is my vice!)  Feeling good, not hungry but quietly worried about how I will deal without my constant snacking on fruit, nuts and veggies at my desk (I am a grazer)

9-1030am - Drinking LOTS of water
Thankfully work has a filtered water station so I am consuming 20oz of water every hour to hour and a half.  (with 1 packet of TruLime)

I am not hungry right now but have a small headache.  I am pretty sure it is more to do with the lack of caffeine and me being terrified of the detox headache (can you make a headache come on just from fear??)

1100am - Green Apple
Out of nowhere, a gaping echoing hunger screams from my stomach! I refilled my H2O bottle and snagged the apple I was saving for lunch.  Here's hoping the fiber in the apple calms the screaming match going on in my empty tummy.....

1110am - Crisis Averted!

I enjoyed that apple way too much!  Within ten minutes the screaming from my tummy has subsided and I can think clearly again.  (Starting to get nervous that just a shake for lunch might not be enough for this constant grazer!)

1200 - LUNCH (ie: 2nd Shake)
Second shake made immediately and I am drinking this shake with a straw.  Goal is to sip the shake a bit slower.  It tastes great, but as I said earlier. I am sooo nervous that I am going to be starving later.  3rd shake may end up happening at 4....

Fancy Lunch at my desk...

The next three days

I am not one for extreme diets or taking pills to lose weight.  I believe that if it is not something you can do long term than it is not worth doing.  I am however, all for a "tune up" every now and then to restart your system.

Last summer I spent 4 days on Martha's Vineyard doing a DIY green smoothie & salad cleanse to clean out my system.  It was great!

Green Smoothie while on MV
It cleared up my skin, reduced any bloating in my mid section and surprisingly gave me a ton of energy.  It did take a lot of time though to chop and blend smoothies 2-3 times a day.  Not something that really makes sense when you have to work 8-5 every day.

So when my local yoga studio mentioned that they would be doing a 3 day cleanse with Shakeology, I thought why not!  The timing was perfect as I am just coming off a girls weekend in VT and Spring is just around the corner.   It seems easy enough too.  3 shakes during the day with a large salad & 4oz of protein at night with 1 piece of fruit during the day (800-1000 calories per day) for 3 days.

You can find all the nutrition and cleanse details here.  I am going to be posting throughout the next few days with how I am feeling, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I don't think hunger will be too much of an issue but 3 days without coffee and just a few cups of green tea is what really scares me!

Also, I am going to a blogger meet up tonight.  Usually a time to indulge in cocktails and appetizers.  My plan is to have a shake right before hand and stick to club soda/lime as my mocktail.

So far so good (even though I am only 3 hours into this).  I had green tea when I woke up while getting ready for work.  The first smoothie of the day I drank while driving to work.  I ordered the chocolate variety and it is delicious.  Not super sweet and surprisingly smooth texture.  It has been about 2 hours since I had the shake and I am not hungry yet.  I am having a 2nd cup of green tea, more because of my fear of caffeine withdrawals. The plan is to have LOTS of water throughout the day and an apple around 1130 with my 2nd shake at 12.

Be prepared for humorous updates over the next few days as I go through hunger pains, caffeine withdrawals and random bursts of energy!

Anyone else ever do a cleanse?  Did you like it?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Starbucks LOVE

I have never been a huge fan of Valentine's Day but have to admit I am totally digging the themed cup by Starbucks this month!

please ignore my sad, 3 days too long overdue manicure....
At 8am this girl loves the burst of color when trying to ingest her java without burning my mouth. (Yes I am classy!)

Do you love Valentine's Day or ignore it like me?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

VT Bound!!!

This weekend I will be up in Killington,VT for a bachlorette weekend for my good friend Kate! 

Kate and her uber fantastic fiance will be tying the knot next month, but first a bunch of us are headed north for skiing, cooking and good times that will probably not see the light of this blog :)

ummm yeah... could they be any cuter?! 

I am in charge of breakfast on Saturday morning.  I want it to be easy for several reasons.  First, I don't want to be in the kitchen all morning cooking.  Second, a bunch of the group is going skiing.  I want them to be able to grab their breakfast and hot cup of java on their way to the slopes.

Here's what I am thinking of making (thanks to Pinterest and the Interwebs)

Fruit Salad - Healthy and quick option for all 


Pumpkin French Toast - A yummy savory option that also happens to be vegan! (shh don't tell anyone!)


Cheesy Tomato & Spinach Quiche (in a Muffin Tin) - Stealing this recipe from Heather.  I am going to change it up by making them in muffin tins and adding chopped bacon so the girls can just grab one and go.

These combined with lots of coffee should be the perfect start to our weekend!

What do you like to cook when you travel?