Category Archives: Food

Fall Is In The Air

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Fall Is In The Air

Hi! I am not the biggest coffee drinker any more and prefer my morning Diet Coke to give me a caffeine jolt before my work day. However, when Starbucks introduces their fall flavors back on the menu, I always just have to treat myself to at least one of them per year! I can take or leave their Pumpkin Spice Latte because apple is my all time favorite fall flavor. So, when I learned that there was an Apple Crisp Iced Macchiato available I couldn’t wait to give it a shot:

Nothing feels more fall than a seasonal drink from Starbucks and I decided to have my yearly fall beverage during my break at work. I was ready for all things caramel apple but, unfortunately, I wasn’t too blown away by the Apple Crisp Macchiato. It was tasty, yes. Sadly, it just wasn’t apple-y enough! I think I talked it up so much in my head and with my sister that anything less than a super apple coffee drink just wouldn’t cut it. -_-

I will say, though, that the last few sips of the drink were magnificent because it tasted exactly like my favorite fall candy – the caramel apple suckers. It was just getting to that point that was the problem, lol! I am also going to be the first one to admit that I definitely could have done with getting a Grande sized drink rather than the Venti. All of that caffeine made me so jittery and HOT at work and I am normally freezing all of the time. Such a rookie mistake!

Was this my favorite drink ever? No. But it was pretty good. Now, I will just be eagerly awaiting my yearly Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks during the Christmas season. 😀

What is your favorite drink from Starbucks? What is your favorite seasonal flavor? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

My Favorite Easy Dinners

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My Favorite Easy Dinners

Hi! I have so enjoyed cooking lots of delicious homemade meals this past month and I am proud of the mental health one eighty that was accomplished by my new job. It has turned cooking back into something that I love to do rather than a chore and I can’t wait for a lifetime of meals with my husband. ❤

It has been a while since I have gone grocery shopping because I will buy a lot at one time which eliminates the need for time consuming, weekly trips to the store. When this happens, Johnny and I default to “easy” dinners to use up the rest of what we have in the freezer and pantry. While a home cooked meal is amazing, a big pot of spaghetti or an oven pizza just hits different! Here are some of my favorite easy peasy dinners:

Spaghetti:

I actually just made a spaghetti and garlic bread dinner last night and it was SO good! Spaghetti has been one of my favorite foods since I was little and I love how versatile it is. I always remember my dad preparing spaghetti for dinner when my mom would return home from work back in the day and it is still one of the sweetest things to me. While Alfredo and red sauce are delicious, my perfect plate of spaghetti is angel hair covered with my favorite: Pesto! And, also, who doesn’t love hella leftovers? 😀

Grilled Cheese:

In my household, you cannot go wrong with grilled cheese and it is one of mine and Johnny’s go to weekend lunches. I hate to brag, but I make a mean grilled cheese. However, it pales in comparison to when my mom makes it with her homemade bread! Johnny doesn’t like anything but cheese on his sandwich but I really like honey or brown mustard on mine. We are also partial to mac n’ cheese grilled cheeses for the ultimate comfort food.

Oven Pizza:

I don’t care what anyone says, oven pizza is the bomb lol. Johnny and I are obsessed with the Digiorno croissant and stuffed crust pizzas and I always have to get at least one of each when I go shopping. Sometimes I’ll doctor my portion of the pizza up with chopped veggies but they are so good as is. And, of course, you can’t forget the ranch dressing to dip it in! 🙂

Air Fried Commodities:

Although our air fryer is on the fritz, Johnny and I still love it dearly and the novelty of using it has yet to wear off. Appetizer food like mozzarella sticks, cheese curds, and French fries air fried are the absolute best and it feels like such a treat whenever we have apps as the main course. When we got our air fryer for Christmas, we went to the store so we could try air frying all of the things and I think about that every time we break it out. ❤

Quesadillas:

If you can’t tell by now, Johnny and I love cheesy food! Quesadillas are so easy to make as well as improve upon and I make them often when we are running low on dinner options. I usually will try out a different kind of salsa or two whenever I do shopping and quesadilla night is the perfect time to test them out!

The best part of my evening is having dinner while watching a show with Johnny. It also is the sweetest thing because whether I spend an hour or five minutes on a meal, he will always compliment and thank me for it. ANGEL! ❤

What is your favorite easy dinner? What are some of your favorite recipes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Eating For The Season

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Eating For The Season

As summer is starting to come to an end, so is the harvesting of all our summer vegetables. Finding joy in eating seasonally is something that your family can experience – all it takes is a little creativity at dinner time! As fall begins, explore the following in your meals:

Root vegetables:

Root vegetables are coming into the season, which means an abundance of potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. All the good stodgy veggies that are best stewed or cooked into wholesome foods. There are so many lovely recipes out there for the autumn and winter months that allow you to just sink into and enjoy.

We all live a busy life and finding the time to cook those proper homely meals can seem like an inconvenience after a full day at work. So, what’s a better time than to dust off the old slow cooker and put it to good use.

Pumpkins:

Lots of cuisines use pumpkin because of the sweetness so to add a kick of it to your curries why not add pumpkin? A tasty Japanese alternative is pumpkin Kuroki, which is a pumpkin patty covered in panko breadcrumbs and fried. It’s delicious. However, you can just put pumpkin in your stews, it’s a healthy colorful vegetable that can’t be forgotten about. You can pick pumpkins up everywhere in the autumn and for extremely low prices… so when you are pumpkin picking don’t forget to eat the inside before you carve the outside!

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Butternut Squash:

Butternut squash is such an underrated vegetable. It is packed with vitamins and antioxidants and is a great source of nutrients. This funny-looking vegetable is so versatile. It can be used in the same way as a pumpkin but has become much more popular in soups and curries.

Butternut squash and apple soup is one to try this season, the contrasting flavors of the savory and sweet makes the perfect warming meal. Butternut squash can also be used as a lower carb option for spaghetti in pasta dishes as its form stays solid when spiraling it. It can also be added to stews but is equally as good as the main star of a meal.

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Potatoes:

The king of root vegetables, the potato is one of the worlds’ favorite foods due to its versatility. There are hundreds of ways to cook potatoes that are warming and hearty and just make you feel good. Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese or cold fillings are a quick meal. You can cook a jacket potato in the oven or microwave and you can add whatever toppings you like. This is a staple food for the whole family in the autumn.

Have you ever thought about widening your repertoire of cooking potatoes? What about crispy roast potatoes, where you parboil them and then shake the pan to fluff them up before roasting. Or creating dauphinoise potatoes, which can be achieved very quickly. Hasselback potatoes, with lots of cuts on one side with spices and fillings melted into the slots? There are so many ways to use potatoes through the autumn and winter months to create gorgeous additions to your recipes.

Carrots:

The only real way to eat carrots at this time of year is roasted with honey. They are divine and, of course, that is not the only way to eat carrots, but they certainly should become a household staple. Honey glazed carrots with any meal is a sweet addition to offset any savory flavors. The color adds a pop to what can be an otherwise muted plate of food. During the autumn and winter months, if you are eating seasonally, there isn’t usually a lot of colors to foods so carrots are a great way to brighten your plate.

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There are far too many recipes to list in one simple blog post so it is great to research and find some different recipes to spice up your autumn/winter menus for the family. Bon Appetit!

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The Skinny On Sugar

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The Skinny On Sugar

While we all agree that sugar is not the best thing in the world, it’s important to remember that sugar is not the evil that we’ve been told about. Most of us talk to our children and say that sugar is an absolute no-no, but there are many misconceptions about sugar. Let’s make sure you have a healthy attitude towards sugar and why, in the right dose, it isn’t anything to fear:

Should You Cut Out Sugar from Your Life Completely?

Many health organizations will recommend a certain limit of sugar per day. Any dental care specialist tells you to avoid sugar for the sake of your teeth but, of course, it’s hard to completely remove sugar from your life, especially when you consider there is a tiny amount in drinks like milk, that you cannot remove. Your body does not need sugar, so having less is going to be better, but the benefit lies in moderation. There is room for some sugar in a healthy diet that won’t negatively impact your overall health, but it’s about knowing the limits. The US dietary guidelines state that, out of 2,000 calories a day, 50g of added sugar is okay.

Will Sugar Contribute to Long-Term Health Problems?

Naturally, we are aware of the impact of diabetes, and the fact that 75% of Americans eat more sugar than they really should. But if you have heard that eating sugar will contribute to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease, added sugar consumption according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that it was not linked to increased risk for death. A moderate amount of sugar doesn’t appear to be harmful but having too much will put you at risk for putting on weight.

Are Natural Sugars Better for You?

There are minimally processed sweeteners, such as agave nectar and honey that people use in beverages, thinking it’s a healthier version of sugar, but your body views all sugar sources as the same. This means that whatever the sugar source is, it will have the same impact on your body. While there are nutrients in honey and maple syrup, the nutrients are so small that they won’t have an impact on your health. You may think that you are doing yourself a favor by having a healthier version, but it is not the case.

Sugar is not a healthy food by any stretch, as we have seen, but for those people who are determined to remove sugar from every aspect of their life, it can be impossible. We find sugar in fruit, but this is why fruit contains fiber to balance it out. However, if you want a healthy life you can indulge in a sweet treat, but the solution is simple: everything in moderation.

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What’s Cookin?

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What’s Cookin?

Hello! I have always enjoyed cooking and have fond memories of making anything and everything together with my mom. Cooking in the kitchen in my apartment is an entirely different story, though, because it’s so small and I don’t know about you guys, but I like having lots of room to spread out when I’m making food. I also don’t know about you guys, but I fell into a bit of a depression during the most extreme parts of the pandemic and that left me never feeling like even attempting to make home cooked meals.

The stress of working throughout the pandemic as well as a job that I wasn’t entirely thrilled with really contributed to my slump and it made it hard to do just about anything when I would return home from work. However, this past month has been a complete one eighty as I accepted a new position that I am in love with. Every day, I have come home so happy and both Johnny and I can’t remember the last time I would get off work in such an amazing mood.

Because of this, my love of cooking has definitely been reignited and I have been making meals several times a week for me and my husband to enjoy. Below are some of the favorite recipes that I have whipped up so far and it has felt great to have delicious meals to serve every night. Check it out:

This past month, I have made mac n’ cheese, veggie enchiladas, quesadillas, and pizza. I also used a super easy recipe for pepperoni bread for my non vegetarian husband that he is crazy about. When I began cooking again, I wanted to find simple recipes with limited ingredients as I only have one small counter space to work on in my kitchen. It has been a huge success and I feel proud of myself the entire time. In fact, I feel so happy that I normally will be singing or humming to myself as I chop veggies. This is a far cry from sitting on the couch in misery waiting for yet another air fried meal to cook!

Cooking dinner is a love language that I have learned from a young age from both my mom and grandma and I love being able to express that again. I really enjoy getting creative with the dinners I make now and while I’ll follow the basic recipes, I always try to doctor them up to make it even better. Our favorite recipe is, easily, the jalapeno popper quesadillas and it makes me feel wonderful when Johnny will request them every other night lol. 🙂

I am looking forward to all of the yummy meals that I plan on making and Johnny is looking forward to eating them. One of the last times I made dinner this past week, I told him that it feels good to feel like me again and I wake up every day now eager to go to work and come home to engage in one of my favorite hobbies again. Here’s to delicious meals for all! ❤

What are some of your favorite recipes? Who is the best cook in your family? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Wedding/Taco Bells

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Wedding/Taco Bells

Hi! My wedding day was an amazing but very busy one and I spent the entire day until our late afternoon nuptials preparing. After I blogged and packed for our wedding and weekend getaway, it was off to the hair salon. Then, I had a short window of time to get something to eat until it was time for my appointment to get my makeup done. So, obviously, I ended up in the Taco Bell drive thru!

Taco Bell will always and forever hold a special place in my heart and I couldn’t imagine having anything different for my wedding lunch. You guys have no idea how many people laughed at me for this but, hey, a girl has gotta eat! I must say, the Taco Bell I went to in Tallmadge really delivered on my wedding day and I was simply thrilled because it wasn’t the best the last time I was at that location.

Once wedding bells were about to ring, the tip of the cap to T-Bell continued because our lil flower girl niece threw Taco Bell sauce packets instead of flower petals. Mine and Johnny’s last task to complete before our wedding was opening, emptying, and cleaning handful after handful of sauce packets to be thrown. Our “sauce packet girl” was a hit and I am tickled to have been able to represent my favorite eatery/happiest place on Earth at my wedding!

Were there any nontraditional aspects to your wedding? What is your favorite fast food restaurant? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

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Amazing Ways To Cook The Best Steaks

If you like steak, it is a given that you have your favorite way to cook them and ask any steak lover, and you may get a different answer. Nevertheless, treating every steak the same would be a foolish disservice. So, let’s look at a few of the ways you can cook steak:

Grill:

Specifically charcoal grilled thin steaks. With meat prices rising, it’s good to know how to cook thin steaks. Grilling steak is quick, simple, and hard to mess up after a short period of learning. All you need is a grill (gas or charcoal), steaks, salt, pepper, and oil.

Start the grill and let it get nice and hot; oil and season the steaks on both sides, and when the grill is good to go, throw the steaks on and leave them alone for 3-5 minutes a side depending on how red you like them. Once the time is up, remove the steaks, leave them to rest covered in foil, and then serve.

Sous Vide:

Sous Vide involves vacuum sealing your steak, cooking it for nearly an hour in temperature-controlled water, then finishing it off with a sear. This may sound like a strange method, but it leads to the most evenly cooked and potentially best tasting steaks out there! There is a very sensory experience with cooking with Sous Vide, you get the aromatic smokey smell of steak getting cooked on high heat, and the end results are exceptional.

Pan Fry:

Pan frying steak is not dissimilar to grilling, except you don’t need to go outside. Like the grill, make sure your pan is hot. A cast-iron pan or a similar heavy-bottomed skillet works best because they hold more heat. You may want to oil your steak, or you may wish to simply salt and pepper the steak and then drop a lump of butter in the pan. A meat splash guard is good for keeping the ventilation going. Otherwise, your kitchen will be covered in grease spots. Not ideal when you want to enjoy your meal!

Sear Roasting:

Sear-roasting involves pre-heating both your oven and a cast-iron skillet at upwards of 500 Fahrenheit. When both the skillet and oven are piping hot, you put an oiled or buttered steak in the skillet, sear it on both sides and then slip it into the oven to finish cooking.

By searing first and then finishing in the oven, sear roasting causes fewer problems than pan-frying and broiling. However, this method is less accurate than grilling or sous vide, where you bring a steak more or less precisely to temperature.

Steak Tartare:

This method is quite overlooked, probably because, at first glance, it does not require any preparation at all, which is a myth. Steak Tartare is a popular dish in France and is overlooked since it is raw. Steak Tartare is not only odd for the lack of heat involved in its preparations, but it is also chopped up before serving!

Its preparation usually involves the assembly of ingredients, but there are also crucial steps to ensure food safety. It is important to locate a fresh cut of good meat as the meat will not be exposed to heat on the outside, where most of the bacteria are. Proper steak tartare starts out life as a decent steak; this recipe suggests eye of round, which is then chilled in the freezer and diced up immediately before serving.

Become the host with the most at your next gathering with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Gonzalo Guzman on Pexels

Brunch Babes

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Brunch Babes

Hello!! Johnny enjoyed a three day weekend for Memorial Day and we had the most fabulous date day on Sunday. Any time with my beau is my favorite but it is especially wonderful to go out and about together after over a year stuck in our apartment. Now that we are both fully vaccinated, we feel much more comfortable with seeing friends, outdoor dining, and small outings. So we spent Saturday afternoon hanging out in Lakewood with our two friends, Jeff and Jeff, and had the best brunch with the best company.

Lakewood is a very cool area and I actually used to figure skate at the rink a few minutes away from where we brunched pre-pandemic. While I was in school, I would also make the small trek up there from campus to have dinner with friends. There is amazing shopping, bars, and unique restaurants and although it is only about forty-five minutes from me and Johnny, our afternoon felt like a mini day trip.

For brunch, the Jeffs, Johnny, and I went to the Buckeye Beer Engine and had a delicious meal. The garden quesadilla I ordered was the perfect vegetarian option that included eggs, peppers, onions, and mushrooms in a spinach tortilla topped with sour cream and pico de gallo. The food was awesome but, I have to say, the mimosas were even better!

The Buckeye Beer Engine had so many mimosa flavors to choose from and I went with Peach and Blood Orange while Johnny had a Pineapple and a Cranberry drink. They were the first mimosas we have had since before the pandemic when we would have breakfast dates and it was nice to reminisce on that as we clinked our glasses in celebration with the Jeffs. The weather was ideal for an outdoor meal and it is definitely true what they say… Brunch is always a good idea.

Once we returned home from our time in Lakewood, we were visited by our friend Corey for a quick video game session. While Johnny and Corey are both incredibly skilled in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros., I am pleased to say that I kicked their butts! The video game extravaganza continued long after Corey left and Johnny and I spent hours playing Mario Party, Mario Tennis, Pod Racing, and Medal Of Honor. We also just had to pepper in a few episodes of our latest obsession: Family Matters lol.

No matter what Johnny and I do together, we are sure to have a blast and it feels so good to finally be more active in the community with him again. In fact, it kind of feels like going on first dates all over again because of how long it has been since we could do anything even close to having brunch with friends. Getting all dressed up to go out with my fiance on Sunday was simply the best and I can’t wait for a lifetime of dates with him! ❤

What is your favorite meal of the day? What is your preferred brunch drink? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

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Pineapple On Pizza: Yay Or Nay?

Hello! Much to the annoyance of others and the delight of Johnny and myself, we have a handful of movie or TV scenes that we quote constantly. It’s never not funny to us and a shining example of that would be the Pizza Order sketch from Key & Peele. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and give it a watch:

^^^ As always, I have no rights to this video.

In this sketch, a man named Wendell tries to order three pizzas with pineapple, meat, and cheesy crust and the phone call to the pizza shop gets really weird really quick. To Johnny’s surprise, I have never tried pineapple on pizza before so he decided that this past Sunday was the day to change that. He ordered a pizza with pineapple, bacon, and cheesy crust for himself and one with pineapple, jalapenos, and (of course) cheesy crust for me.

As always, the Pizza Hut presentation never ceases to amaze me, lol. Take a look at this masterpiece:

As a vegetarian, I thought that pineapple and jalapeno would be the way to go for a little sweet and heat. The pineapple was a huge success and I loved the sweet and salty combination between the fruit and the sauce. The jalapenos, however, were a totally different story and I never plan on getting it again. It’s so weird because I enjoy spicy food and never have shied away from it but my mouth was on freaking fire from these peppers. I felt like my mouth was burning long after I ate and my stomach wasn’t thanking me, either.

I feel like such a baby to be saying that the Pizza Hut jalapenos were really spicy but DAMN, lol. In conclusion? I say “yay” to pineapple on pizza and while I wouldn’t order it every time, I would definitely get it every once in a while. And a big fat “nay” to jalapenos!

What are your favorite pizza toppings? Should pineapple go on pizza? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Dry Ice Drinks

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Dry Ice Drinks

Hi! This past Saturday, Johnny and I had a little date day and it was so much fun! We visited a few local specialty game shops to add to our growing board game collection, had drinks in our own section of the patio at the Cashmere Cricket, and then returned home and sat on our balcony while Johnny played guitar and sang. It was an absolute blast and actually reminded me so much of our engagement day. In fact, I asked Johnny when we were walking to the patio of the Cricket if we were going to get engaged again!

The Cashmere Cricket is, in my opinion, the best bar in my neck of the woods. It is my absolute favorite and is where Johnny and I had our first date and also where we went to celebrate after we got engaged. When our post proposal drinks arrived, we were shocked and amazed because they were bubbling and smoking like a potion and we learned that on Saturdays, the Cricket makes their drinks with dry ice in them.

Needless to say, we were very excited for “Dry Ice Saturday” as the bartender called it and it was so nice to enjoy the beautiful spring weather during a safe outing with my fiance! Check out our Dry Ice Drinks and tell me that isn’t the coolest thing you’ve ever seen:

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Now, normally, I am not one to post about alcohol but I just had to showcase this specialty from the Cashmere Cricket because it is so unique. Johnny had a drink called The Roosevelt while I got my second favorite cocktail called Lavender Fizz. My ultimate favorite will always be their Strawberry Lemon Drop martini, though! Our drinks were absolutely delicious and, although the prices are a bit steep there, it is well worth it for the quality of the beverages, the excellent service, pleasant atmosphere, and COVID safety standards. Not to mention that on Saturdays, your drinks will put on a show lol. 

When I think about how I would plan a day for a visiting friend who has never been to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio it goes as follows: Mani/pedis at Elysian Nails, shopping at TJMaxx, Taco Bell for dinner, and ending with cocktails at the Cashmere Cricket. That sounds like the perfect day to me and I stand by this statement even more after mine and Johnny’s past two outings on the Cricket patio. All of the bartenders were so sweet to remember our engagement and it was fun to show them my newly resized ring that was practically falling off two weeks ago!

Dry Ice Saturday was another huge success and I honestly had butterflies being there with Johnny again. Johnny and I were at the Cashmere Cricket on two of the happiest days of my life and it is always going to be special to us. If you are ever in the area, I cannot recommend this cool little bar enough – I think you’ll be just as smitten with it as I am.

What is your favorite local bar or restaurant like? Where is a special place for you and your significant other? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah