Author Archives: imforeverhungry

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JUST CALL ME MAGGIE

We all know that while ordering a drink at Starbucks, there is a chance that your name may be mis-spelled and it is funny to joke about it with your co-workers. “Oh my gosh they spelled my name with a ‘q!’! Says Jaclyn. Or, “Silly barista added an ‘h’!” claims Sara. I have known about this common mistake for years, even before I was an avid Starbucks goer. I always found it quite comical to hear coffee drinkers point it out because, well quite frankly, who cares!

Anyway, it wasn’t until last year when I joined the bandwagon and started getting my daily drink at Starbucks. I have never been a fan of coffee but immediately fell in love with Chai Tea. Mmm. The best thing is that you can enjoy it iced in the summer and hot in the winter. Perfection 🙂

I didn’t realize that Starbucks had a “lingo.” For months I would order my drink differently every day. Examples:

Tall Soy Chai Tea Latte

Tall Chai Tea Latte with Soy Milk

Tall Chai Soy Latte

I went to the exact same location every morning and the same barista took my order every day, but it got to a point that I realized I would actually get nervous to order because I was beginning to notice that I didn’t think I was ordering correctly. I was disappointed that the employees seemed to remember everyone else’s names and drink orders but it was like I was a new customer coming in for the first time every day!

Then it dawned on me. One of my roommates from college used to be a barista at Starbucks and it was time for me to ask her for help! Becky came to the rescue and quickly explained that yes, there is a lingo and if you don’t abide by the Starbucks way, you will continue to be an outcast. 😉 Becky texted me back with three small words that changed my life forever. “tall.soy.chai.”

That’s it?? I walked into Starbucks the very next day with a new found confidence. I ordered that drink and guess what, the next day they remembered, and the day after that, they remembered! And later that week I was greeted with a “Hello, Megan, Tall Soy Chai today?”

Last week, I ran downstairs to get a drink instead of going to my “regular” Starbucks spot and decided to get an iced tall soy chai (really went out on a limb and was hoping that I placed “ice” in the correct spot) and was pleased to see that the drink order was correct. Then I noticed “Maggie” clearly spelled on the cup instead of Megan. Close enough, I’ll take it 😉

Just call me Maggie

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FROM THE PIE KING HIMSELF!

Can we all just take a minute and really look at these pies? They could easily be mistaken for the scented fake ones that you find for the holidays in order to make your kitchen smell delicious; however, this is the real deal. I am proud to say that I know the fine baker that made these beauties, and also privileged to say I get to eat these twice a year.

I consider my stepdad, Dave, the “Pie King.” This nickname did not come right away, you see. I need to backtrack and little and explain that he is just a good cook in general. He especially shines when Thanksgiving rolls around each year, he truly makes an amazing meal. He literally cooks everything from scratch and we are continually impressed each year. Because I have always been more of a “foodie,” meaning I choose to stuff myself with food instead of “saving room for dessert,” I didn’t always make dessert or the pies, a priority. Therefore, I always admired him for his fine cooking skills. Then it dawned on me, my stepdad is amazing at making pies, too! All of this time I had let his turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing talents take the front seat when in all reality, the pies were the prize!

That incredible pie that I had eyed up and down throughout the previous years was calling my name. But not just the pumpkin pie, the apple pie as well. I didn’t know how to handle this situation so the obvious thing to do was just to eat a slice of each!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my Thanksgiving tradition. Saving room for two slices of pie from the Pie King himself!

From the pie king himself!

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COMING TOGETHER AFTER HURRICANE SANDY

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was incredible. It was amazing and shocking to hear how many people’s lives had been affected by the storm, not only losing power, but losing pets, cars, homes, memories and so much more.

I was so proud of my network of friends who had volunteered to help in a myriad of different ways. Those who lived close to the Jersey shore actually lent a hand by going to the boardwalks and cleaning up, or helping clean out homes that were destroyed by Sandy’s winds and high waters. Some volunteered to sort out all of the clothing that had been donating. The piles and piles of clothing were overwhelming. Some who didn’t live as close, contributed by creating fundraisers and concerts to raise money. So many of these same friends were victims themselves, so it really shows the power of community and coming together to grow stronger.

The company I work for offered a couple of different volunteer programs to help out during this tough time. One of the opportunities was to make sandwiches for the emergency shelters in the Long Island/NYC/Staten Island area. I went with one of my good friends from work and it was really such a great experience to help out and also to meet so many other people who wanted to come together to reach a common goal. After tragedies such as Sandy, there really is a greater sense of community and coming together that is a great feeling to be a part of.

Now since this is a food blog, I do need to contribute this great piece of advise that I learned while making the pb&j sandwiches! If you coat both slices of bread with the peanut butter, then put the jelly inside, it prevents the sandwich from getting soggy! Mind Blown!

Coming together after Hurricane Sandy

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When you first look at these, I am hoping that you think “wow, what a creative way of displaying mini grilled cheese sandwiches!”  I’m sure your mind quickly drifts away from that thought to try to figure out what the red, thick, sauce it is served with is? Can it be marinara sauce? No. Spaghetti Sauce? No, try again. It is good old Tomato Soup.

Yes, my friends, there is a first for everything, and this validates the fact that I did not know how to make tomato soup before this past weekend!

We had a few people over on Saturday and since I have been increasingly more and more addicted to pinterest (thank you, mom,) I thought I would try out some of the DIY party appetizers. I was inspired by Because Im Addicted who has various trends, whether it be fashion, food or photography. I loved the idea of making mini grilled cheese sandwiches and placing them over tomato soup! I had always been more of a “Grilled cheese with tomato” girl, instead of the soup part, but I figured they go hand in hand, and they sure look cute so why not give it a whirl!

Wrong!! As my entire can of tomato soup was quickly running out after only filling about five mini martini glasses, I did think to myself that was odd. However, continued to arrange everything and place it out in the dining room so our guests could start to enjoy! It was a few minutes later than my sister asked me why the tomato soup was so thick, and asked how much water or milk I added.

Milk?

Water?

Ummm, none? I didn’t even think to read the can for instructions! I mean how hard could it be to make a can of tomato soup? You have to ADD ingredients? Oops! Luckily, Christy saved the day and made the next round of soup, adding milk, and it was then a big hit. Thank you, Christy for saving the day!

Almost a Big Hit

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Talk about the perfect step out of my normal restaurant routine. I feel like even as a foodie, I am attracted to the same type of restaurants time and time again. Sushi, Burgers, Seafood, Wine Bars, etc. etc. Casona is quite the experience for several reasons.

I went down to my parents in South Jersey earlier this spring to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was a beautiful day and we were looking forward to a nice lunch and then heading over the bridge to Philadelphia to see the Seaport Museum. We had talked about going to Collingswood for a while but just had not gotten around to it. Collingswood is a cute town with a lot of shops and restaurants on the main strip, and really perfect to walk around when the weather is nice.

After looking at our options, we came along this homey, Latin/Cuban restaurant that we all agreed sounded perfect. We were all impressed with the variety of the menu. Everything from sandwiches, soups, salads, you name it. I could not help but order the Cuban sandwich. The pork is roasted in a citrus marinade, ham, swiss cheese and garlic mayonnaise. Cooked to perfection!

There was a cute shower going on in the back on the patio while we were there and it looked like a lot of fun. They definitely have a great atmosphere, something a little different than South Jersey is used to and we will definitely be back in the near future.

Congratulations, Casona, for your recognition as BEST BYOB restaurant on the Philly Hot List this past week! Way to go!

Casona, the Large House of Latin Flavors in Collingswood!

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I have a thing for Taco Bell. Not many people do, or at least not many people are willing to admit it, but I do. In high school, my sister Christy and my friend Mattie and I used to hop in my ’96 Jeep Grand Cherokee after school and go to the nearest Taco Bell for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Oh but wait, my love started before then! This is actually terrible but my elementary school in Charlotte served Taco Bell on Tuesdays for a year and I would bring my $.80 for a chilito whenever I was allowed. Wow! Probably a good thing they didn’t keep Taco Bell Tuesdays for too long, otherwise I am not sure what kind of physical condition I may be in after weekly indulgences since age 8.

Side note: I have to say that from an advertising point of view, they have had some genius campaigns over the years. “Yo Quiero Taco Bell,” anyone remember that? Or “Think Outside the Bun?” Hmm I’m pretty impressed.

So, let’s get back on track. So over the past few years I would say I have kept my guilty drive through visits to a moderate level. Perhaps 3-5 times a year. But then something happened. The Doritos Nacho Cheese Taco happened. Are you kidding?? Did this just fall from heaven? And how did no one think of this before? The co-branding of Doritos and Taco Bell should have happened a long time ago. It happened for me on my way home from my friend Amy’s house one morning. Yes, morning. Not one of my proudest moments, but what can I say, those Taco Bells were ringing and I could not fight the resistance any longer.

 

 

Sucker for Taco Bell

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Road tripping to Virginia, munching on Honey BBQ chips and what do I whip out? A beautiful chip with a natural heart stamped in the middle. LOVE ❤

What did I do after my five minute photoshoot with this object I found so fascinating? Took a bite out of it of course!

Chips, Hearts & Sunshine

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There are many things that I miss about living in the south. Real sweet tea might be one of the top 5 🙂

When I first moved here, I was shocked when I tried what I thought was going to be sweet tea.  Nestea? No. Raspberry Nestea? No! Iced tea with a handful of Splendas? No, thank you!

After exhausting my efforts of trying to find the beverage I longed for, I heard a McDonald’s commercial advertising southern “Sweet Tea!” Of course I was excited at first, but then I was skeptical. I have tried so many teas only to be let down time and time again. Plus, even though I was at the McDonald’s drive thru almost every week with my roommates during college, those days are over and I wasn’t sure I was ready to go back 😉

It didn’t take long until I found myself in that familiar path of the drive thru and ordering this proclaimed real deal.

I have to say, I have found it! My heart is complete again. I no longer have that void in my life. And I am strong enough to order the tea without a double cheeseburger every time! Success!

Southern Sweet Tea in the North

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I definitely procrastinated when it came to writing about this particular experience with this particular picture because I’ll admit, it’s a little embarrassing. HOWEVER, I’m here to provide all of my readers with some entertainment, insight on some various foods and remain open for discussion!

So, Baked by Melissa, a genius chain of mini cupcake stores had me in love at first sight. The moment I saw the store front on 7th Ave, I knew it was going to be good. (Side Bar- I absolutely LOVE the branding of the store: clean, simple, modern, only displaying what they need to…their brilliant mini cupcakes!!)

OK so this all started when I wanted to take something in to work around the holidays for my co workers. Instead of getting a bunch of individual gifts, I was trying to think of something fun I could bring in that everyone would enjoy. My mind first drifted to donuts (boring,) then cookies (so not original,) then TA DAH! It dawned on me this was the perfect opportunity to stop in this storefront that I had passed multiple times. Baked by Melissa! I think the reason I put it off for so long was because I know myself too well, and I knew that I would quickly become addicted.

Baked by Melissa is a bakery with the right idea. Instead of walking into a bakery and not being able to decide which dessert to buy, the owner, Melissa Bushell, came up with the idea of having a huge selection of stuffed cupcakes, a tiny bit larger than a quarter, that everyone will enjoy. The best part is, you can try as many as you want and still not have too much of a guilt trip since they are so small.  They have the classics such as red velvet and cookies ‘n’ cream, but the extraordinary flavors such as peanut butter fluff, smores and tie-dye are what really set this place apart from the rest. You cannot go in there and walk out with just one treat.

Let’s just say that these were a hit at work. I was so pleased with the pricing as well that I knew I would definitely be back in the near future.

Now, for the “embarrassing” portion of this entry. When I saw the tie dyed cupcakes, I immediately thought of my friend Amy. Hi Amy! When her birthday rolled around, I wanted to send her something in DC that was unique and obviously something she would enjoy. Well I had her card and I had one part of her gift, but the embarrassing thing is that my intentions were to try and mail her a dozen tie-dyed cupcakes.

They come in nice packaging and I thought for sure it would be secure enough to send for a birthday surprise. As I was in line at the post office, I was trying to shake it around a little to “test” the box to make sure they would all stay in place for their journey to DC. I was starting to panic as I approached the front of the line because I was quickly realizing my plan was not going to work. The real pressure was that it was already past her birthday AND my hour lunch break was almost over. These little desserts were certainly not going to stay in their places in the box, let alone look anything like what they are supposed to look like once the box was opened on the receiving end.

Amy, I’m sorry but I ended up eating half and sharing half with coworkers that day. I can admit to this now because I am making a promise to hand deliver some at the end of May when I come visit you 🙂

Go to Baked at Melissas before the end of the month to try the PEANUT BUTTER FLUFF cupcake: Brown Vanilla Cake, Marshmallow Fluff Stuffing and Peanut Butter Icing. DELISH!

Um yes please!

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My sister made this out of this world cake this Sunday… Seriously surprisingly good!! Don’t get me wrong, it looks beautiful, and decadent BUT once you take a bit you are in for a surprise!

It is light, not heavy at all even though it appears to be quite filling. It is an angel cake with a pineapple pudding, raspberries and blackberries. She made the pudding with crushed pineapples and vanilla pudding mix then layered it on the cake.

Just writing about it makes me wish I brought some back home with me to enjoy a piece, or three, right now 🙂

Perfect Spring Dessert!

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