Snackage

Keeping It Real: Holiday Edition

Only during the “holidays” would I be up at 4:30am making cookie dough dip for my school of employment’s “3 days of Christmas Cheer”

But let’s keep it real here:

Cookie Dough Dip? Get real, Jess! This “snack” is just another excuse to eat cream cheese icing with chocolate chips on gram crackers.

And 4:30am? Don’t try to pull the martyr card. This is your fault, princess. Because this gal? She fell asleep on the couch last night, laptop precariously balanced on chest at 9:30pm (after getting home from three hours of elementary science fair judging-be still my heart-not) and didn’t wake up again until 1:30am. Who cares if the cream cheese and butter sat out on the counter all night…the recipe said “softened.” And trust me, it was real soft this morning.

Health hazard? Goodness no, I’m just keeping it real!

Love to all,
~the, “do I look like a happy holiday elf to you?” gal, Jess

PS. Don’t answer that question in my signature. Also, be glad I decided to spare you the picture of myself making said cookie dough dip this morning. I want to keep it real around here, not scar you for life!

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Categories: Rad n' Random, Sinfully Sweet, Snackage | Leave a comment

Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold?

Or is it the other way around? I could never remember.

Oddly enough when I have sore throat, nothing makes it feel better than food. Yes, I know I am werid. Thank you very much.

Here is what I fed my summer cold over the weekend:


72% dark chocolate and Wensleydale cheese with apricot

The best tasting antioxidants around! 

Sweet Milky Tea

 Soothing on a sore throat and opens up airways with the heat.

Wasabi Explosion Mix from Fresh Market
This tasty blend of rice crackers and wasabi peas clears out my sinuses and tastes like crunchy sushi! 
Love to all,
~the, “I really hope this is my only cold of the summer” gal, Jess
Categories: Snackage, Special Interest | Leave a comment

Why I don’t have a Twitter

“Reruns of Shear Genius are on-whoot”

“I love Victoria Stilwell. Pity (or blessing) my dog doesn’t need training”

“It is 83 degrees in my house right now and humid as heck, but my lovely low power bill is preventing me from turning on the air. I’m cheap and I sweat. Own it.”

“Hair appointment booked. Whoot.”

“Photography lesson booked. Whoot”

Are you annoyed yet? Cause I am. And yes, I literally think in little status updates. All day. Everyday. Whoot. But I keep most of them to myself. Because I don’t want to be THAT girl. At least not on Twitter.

“Celery and Cream Cheese is so good. Whoot.”

“No wait. Celery and peanut butter is better.”

“Celery and Archer Farm’s Feta and Roasted Red Pepper dip wins. Whoot-whoot!”

Oh yes, we progressed to the double whoot. What? You don’t believe the worthiness of the double whoot? Well, Twitter or no, my celery snack plate was off the chain.

What? You don’t keep a ball-peen hammer on your dinning room table?
Oh, and the real reason I don’t have a Twitter? It’s two fold: 1-I don’t understand the whole @blahblah and #whattheheckisahashtag. 2-I have a “dumb phone” that doesn’t connect to the internet. So, my annoying whoot-laden tweets?  All coming to you on Saturday afternoon. 
Oh wait, they just did. 
Love to all,
~the “I’m not afraid to say technology still confuses me at times, but food doesn’t” gal, Jess
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Drink It Up, Coconut

In continuing with the season confusion, I’m going to tell you about a summer fruit inspired smoothie while it is 30 degrees outside and sleeting. (I told you Mother Nature was out of wack, I was sunning in a bikini over the weekend and now it’s freezing again, literally).

Now, I’m not a big “smoothie” gal…and I don’t really do frozen “girlie” drinks at the bar…but this quasi pina colada inspired smoothie really does the trick when lying poolside. Errr, pondside rather, since my pool is still closed for the season and has about 4 inches of rainwater and leaves floating on top of the cover. Sexy.

The real inspiration behind this smoothie was the contents of my fridge: one about to go bad banana, a peeled mango on it’s last leg (well, if mangos had legs), some chopped pineapple leftover from prepping a bromelain enzyme lab for my biology brats wonderful science students and my beloved coconut milk (my pantry is never with out a can or two or four)

Peekaboo in the blender

Topped with a little lime zest for an extra touch of zing.

The end product was just the thing I needed in my glistening (a lady doesn’t sweat) hand: light, bright and punchy with flavors. I’m a very picky banana eater, so the banana flavor was a touch strong for my personal taste, but I think a repeat of this combo with a 1/2 banana would be just right.

Love to all,
~the “I’m longing for my recipes, cravings and weather to match” gal, Jess

PS. the volume of fruit/coconut milk above makes two large smoothies

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Thank You, Hay-soos!

Any nighttime adventure that ends on a quest for amazing, decant and perfect Columbia Burgers is certainly worthy of praise to the Sweet Baby Jesus.

Let’s set the scene: After a long but successful day playing 50’s housewives at my bestie Jenna’s Wedding Shower and then a lovely family dinner we were all ready to change out of our 50’s garb.  The two options? PJ’s or “going out” clothes. Enter multiple text messages from some friends already stationed at one of our favorite bars and the decision was made.

(Yes, this is a tease…full recap to come soon-ish)

This girl (and the rest of the crew) hustled into jeans, heels, and cute sweaters before hitting up our beloved Winter Park hangout, Wine Room. Fast forward several hours of sipping, swirling and sniffing delicious varieties of wine and laughing with friends, both old and new, over a raunchy round of fuck, chuck or marry and suddenly it was closing time.

Closing time and the car was loaded with hungry, hungry hippos some ravenous guys and gals.  A type of hunger was roaming that would only be satisfied by street cart cuisine. After a 10 minute drive of pure hilarity courtesy of our wonderful friend Panda, we arrived at the corner where Columbia Burger usually dwells only to find an arepa stand instead. oh NO! Another kind patron informed us that C.B. had moved around the corner and soon we were in luck.

There truly aren’t words, but I’ll try anyways. First off this monster is the “single.” Um, yeah. But don’t you worry friends, I put away this bad boy loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, pineapple sauce, ketchup, cheese and chips. Yes, good ol’ Lay’s style potato chips on my burger. I simply eat what I’m served. And what I was served was damn amazing.

Plus a stack of sauces. I think I died and went to heaven, seriously.  The winner of these three is the unassuming middle man. Garlic sauce, the perfect topping. Needless to say the verde sauce (a blend of mildish chilies) and the “pink sauce” (that’s literally what it’s called, which is just a mix of mayo and ketchup) got ignored after one taste of the garlic. Le sigh [insert appropriate Colombian phrase of happiness here].

Love to all,
~the “I’m ok with the fact that my 2am snack is sometimes the best thing I eat all day and yes, I will praise the Lord over it” gal, Jess

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Spinach and Artichoke Wontons

Phew. Now that we all survived Thanksgiving we can focus on two of my favorite holidays: Christmas and New Years. And contrary to popular belief I don’t deem Christmas one of my favorite holidays (rivaled only by Halloween and my birthday) because of all the gift giving. (although I will admit, I love finding the “perfect” gift for my friends and family…and come on what girl doesn’t like to receive some love from time to time? twss.)

No. I love the winter holiday season because of all the gatherings. I’m not sure why we wait until the month of December to cram all of our parties in, but I love getting together with my friends-that-are-so-close-they-are-family all season long. And let me tell you, as much as my friends love to drink, we love to eat equally. So it’s always fun to see what classic munches, as well as new items for us to try, ponder and vote yay or nay upon for the next round of festivities arrive upon the table/bar/coffee table/floor/you get the point.

Without further ado here is one that has been a hit for me so far in this “pre-season” playtime: Spinach and Artichoke Wontons

Gather the goods:

For this very simple appetizer/party goodie you will need:

1 package (12oz, I think) frozen spinach, thawed and drained of extra water
1 jar (pick your size…I had this little one on hand, also, mine were marinated, but you could go either way) artichoke hearts, drained
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
~1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pack of wonton wraps

Mix the first 4 ingredients together with salt/pepper or hot sauce to taste. Lay out wrappers on a nonstick cookie sheet and add a heaping teaspoon of the spinach mixture to each wrapper.

Brush a simple egg wash (one beaten egg with water) on the edges of the wrapper and then fold in half, creating a triangle, sealing the edges with your fingers.

Brush the top of the wontons with the egg wash and then bake for ~10-12 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.  Sprinkle more parma on the top the last 3 minutes of bake time if desired.

Enjoy hot out the oven. Dipping sauce ideas include: ranch, hoisen, or spicy raspberry.  These do transport well, but be careful reheating them, as the wraps get a little chewy if microwaved. I would suggest reheating in the oven/toaster oven if possible.

What are your favorite holiday party snacks? Are they classics or a new idea? I got this idea from the “Spinach Wraps” that my beloved Akins is serving as an app now. They are deep fried and really bad for you….my version is pretty good for you, cream cheese aside….which isn’t a “bad fat” in my book 😀

Love to all,
~the “let’s party all holiday long” gal, Jess

Categories: Celebrate Good Times-Come On, Snackage | Leave a comment

ABP, Museums and FroYo….oh my!

My flight up to DC was quite the adventure, so after a lightening storm caused delay in Orlando, a missed connection in ATL, a night stop over in SoALT courtesy of Wyndham Garden and an early flight into Reagan (which I learned is actually in VA, not DC-so funny to me!), by the time I landed I was ready to ROCK!

What better way to start of a wonderful 3 day weekend with my soul sister, Becca  than a picnic of Au Bon Pain on the National Mall? Don’t mind if I do!

A delicious white bean salad and peach sweet tea

With an amazing view- In the Sculpture Garden, part of the Smithsonian’s Art Museum
Which of course I had to visit! How amazing is the the Grand Atrium? 
(Actually, I don’t know what this room is called, but I would name it the Grand Atrium!)
The only DaVinci (or Dah-Vinch! if you are Dr. Jiang) in the U.S. AND it’s double sided….that Leo, he was a fancy dude!
One of my favorite portraits. Mom has this in her office, because it reminds her of me! 
Loved these- both are about 7 feet tall, and yet all the “action” is in the bottom 14 inches of the canvas. 
The “Art of Dissection” was a great, if tiny, exhibit. I actually took a ton of pictures, to use in my classes…but I’ll spare you-for now at least! ha.
The following afternoon I hiked back down to the Mall solo to hit up the American History Museum.
I took about 90% more photos than I’m about to share, but most of them are of the “Founding Fathers of Science”, so I’ll spare you…again, great resources to use in my classroom. If only I could swing a week long field trip to DC for my kidlets!
The Food Blogger’s arbitrary visit to Julia’s Kitchen. If you haven’t been yet, it’s a tiny exhibit and was totally packed. I was a bit disappointed, but I’m not really into the cliche stuff anyways.
I really enjoyed the side exhibit on pop-up books. 
Can you believe that is a pop-up? So awesome!
Ironic.
Of course I visited the First Lady’s exhibit. 
Michelle’s dress was by far the best. Not that I’m biased or anything.
All that museuming worked up an appetite- FroYo was a must. 
Now, I’ve had my share of frozen yogurt, and I lean towards the tart/green tea varieties, but holy-moly was that Red Velvet Ah-MAZ-ing! I would eat it everyday, hands down! Whoot.

Stay tuned for more DC recaps! I’m fighting hard to resist researching jobs in the Nation’s Capital, instead of writing next week’s lesson plans!  Le sigh. 
Love to all,
~the “I must get my head of the DC clouds” gal, Jess
Categories: Midday Munchies, Snackage, Take Me Away | Leave a comment

Trader Joe’s Woes…..

As you all know, I live in the sticks. Like an hour from the nearest Publix….seriously tragic for a rather impulsive foodie like myself. And just to add to my grocery lamenting the closest Whole Foods is 2.5 hours away. Boo, boo, and more boo. I don’t even want to mention Trader Joe’s….but I will: the nearest TJ’s is a whole state away! Yes, you heard me the entire Sunshine State cannot lay claim to a single Trader Joe’s.

And then I saw this in my “local” WPB Urban Outfitters:

Talk about rubbing salt in the wound. Which explains the truly terrifying face I was making…sorry loves. (I think Visine will heal most minor eye irritations caused by looking at my ridiculous mug.)

But my recent trip to DC helped apply a slave to the gaping Trader Joe’s abyss in my life.

I was traveling very light, with just a carry on, so I couldn’t load up….but I have lots of ideas for next time, tehehe. (Yes, I had to take a picture with the Copious Condiments sign….you know my addiction runs deep!).  Bec and I stocked up on delicious cheeses, dried fruit of all varieties and of course wine. Ahhh. Nothing like great deals with a side of cute, chatty check out boy. Life is good, my friends.

Love to all,
~the Trader Joe’s girl at heart, Jess

Categories: Snackage, Take Me Away | Leave a comment

Happy Hour Heaven

I love a cheap thrill as much as the next gal, but that certainly wasn’t what I was expecting when a group of us hit up McCormick and Schmick’s for Happy Hour based on the fancy exterior of the building.

Now I had been informed that this was the cheapest happy hour in Otown, so I was anticipating Jack n Cokes and cheese fries…..I mean, looks can be deceiving right? Maybe the exterior was just a facade?

Imagine my shock and pleasure when instead of greasy potatoes this lovely amuse bouche of a seared scallop topped with microgreens arrived before me, as if the chef had read my mind.

So delicious, and truly and a.b. as I was longing for more, even though I cut my “bite” into quarters, trying to make it last longer. I sipped a cold draft Yingling Lager as we waited on our actual menu munchies. (I couldn’t stomach the $2 Long Island Iced Teas in the day light)

I enjoyed steamed clams ($4.99) as my actual happy hour fare in addition to lovely roasted ratatouille and pita bread with balsamic reduction ($3.99).

Seriously, that was some of the best pita bread of my life….and that’s saying a lot, since pitas are a staple for this girl!

So if you are looking for a upscale, but very affordable happy hour head to your nearest McCormick and Schmick’s for something different from the typical “young professional” trendy scene. It’s worth the break away from the pack….even if all you’ll pick up are the grandfather types!

Love to all,
~the “I’ll frequent anyplace that offers a complementary amuse bouche” gal, Jess

Categories: I'll Have What She's Having, Snackage | Leave a comment

A Drink to Make you say "ahhh"

So, it’s summertime and watermelon abounds. I love the way watermelon smells and it’s really pretty, but I just don’t like it. It’s more of a textural thing-the way no one likes mealy tomatoes, right? Well, that’s what eating watermelon makes me think of unfortunately.

But the Cooking Light recipe for Watermelon Margaritas gave me hope, since I’m not opposed to the taste of watermelon and Lord knows I’m not opposed to the taste of tequila!

Not as pretty as the presentation in the magazine of course, but if you like pink it will work, right? Pretty tasty too, especially if you like tequila and obviously we have already established that regarding my tastes!

Do you like flavored margaritas? I think I’m more of a “classic on the rocks with salt” kinda gal, but this was a fun adventure.

Love to all,
~the summer time sipper gal, Jess

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