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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 πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰

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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There is a new spot in town! Well, new to me. I go through Living Social/Groupon phases; meaning, sometimes I think everything looks like a great deal and I can’t wait to try 5789 new restaurants, and sometimes I can’t seem to find anything appealing. Well one of the best deals I have experienced was when Danny and I went to That Fondue PlaceΒ in Edgewater, NJ.

It wasn’t a typical set up of what one would think when going out for fondue. There are not many fondue restaurants in our area but the couple of places we have gone, it is a darker, intimate setting and on the fancier side.

Right away, there was something different about “That Fondue Place.” We were greeted right away into a large room filled with tables and bright lighting. The servers acted as hostesses as well but you would not notice a lack in service. Our groupon allowed us one appetizer option, one entree and one dessert. Definitely remember to bring your wine or beverage of choice because it is BYOB.

We had an amazing Bruchetta cheese fondue as the appetizer and this was served with a variety of breads. It was something different and we had not seen it offered anywhere else. For the entree, you pick not only a cooking style, but also the food that you will be dipping! So we went with a Coq Au Vin (seasoned beef broth with burgundy wine and spices,) shrimp, pork, chicken and filet. They also have ravioli as a choice but I lost that battle with my husband πŸ˜‰

You end the meal with an amazing dessert fondue. This was by far the hardest decision because there were so many options that would probably have been equally as satisfying! Hands down, they have something for everyone. Campfire (marshmallows, graham crackers and melted chocolate), Cookies n Cream, Chocolate Knockout, Chocolate Cheesecake, seriously? Next time I want to just go for dessert!

All in all, it was a great experience and we left not only extremely full, but extremely satisfied πŸ™‚

Fondue melts my heart

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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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I seriously have to drag myself to the gym, it is not an easy thing for me to do. On the other hand, it is extremely easy for me to make up excuses as to why I shouldn’t have to go! πŸ™‚ The hardest part about going to the gym, is walking to my bus back to Jersey passing restaurant after restaurant and not going in and ordering anything and everything on the menu.

Well, 5 Boro BurgersΒ is one of those places that I pass on a weekly basis. I passed it when it was under construction and was genuinly excited to find out it was a burger joint. Oh, the little things in life. My favorite thing about it was the fact that one whole side of the restaurant opens up and is such a nice breezy place to sit on 36th Street without being right in the middle of Herald Square. My husband and I had tickets to the Jimmy Fallon show one day and we were trying to think of a new restaurant to try that would be somewhat quick before the show. Lightbulb!!! Five Boro Burgers!

It was a perfect day to sit outside and take a huge bite out of an enourmously large burger only to waddle ourselves up to Rockefellar Center to NBC studios.

What I should have done, was taken a picture of the wings. Being that I am not a wings fan, I typically don’t even blog about them because how boring would that be for my readers to have to hear about something that I have no interest in! Boy was I wrong that day! Danny ordered Garlic Parmesean Wings, OUT OF THIS WORLD! I was in shock that I loved these wings (off the bone, none the less) as much as Danny did! I think I would go back just for them.

Then we moved on to the whole purpose of our visit…the burgers! They creatively named all of their burgers after the….drumroll please… Five Boros!

-Bronx Burger: Guacomole, Pico de Gallo, Mozzerella Cheese, Spicy Mayonnaise & Bacon

-Queens Burger: Roasted Red Peppers, Spanish Onions, Bacon, Mozzerella Cheese & Balsamic Dressing

-Brooklyn Burger: Grilled Onions, Cajun Seasoning, Steak Sauce, Crispy Bacon & Cheddar Cheese

-Manhattan Burger: Grilled Zucchini, Mushrooms, Onions, Vodka Sauce & Swiss Cheese

-Staten Island Burger: Grilled Pineapple, Green Pepper with a Sweet Rum Glaze and Pepper Jack Cheese

Im pretty sure we both got our own renditions of the above selections but left extremley satisfied. Off to the Jimmy Fallon show we go!

5BORO BURGERS

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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.

Danny and 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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It was my husband’s birthday last week and I wanted to do something special from the moment he woke up! I make breakfast most weekends, so it was hard to think of something different and special to do for him. I have done pancakes, eggs, waffles, french toast, you name it and we have had it in the past month or two πŸ™‚

I made the batter and poured a spoonful into a separate bowl, this would later be the “sprinkle” pancake. Although Danny does love sweets, I didn’t want to overdo the birthday theme and have this taste more like a cake so early in the morning! I just mixed a few sprinkles into the pancake that ended up on top, added a spoonful of whipped cream, sprinkled some powdered sugar, and voila! I thought it came out pretty festive!

I am working on my baking and cooking, and I definately think it has improved over the years; however, singing “Happy Birthday” is the next thing I might want to work on πŸ™‚

What are your ideas for birthday breakfasts?

 

Birthday Pancakes

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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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haha I was really just laughing while making these because they came out so ridiculous!…but fun, right? I am one of the ones that is now obsessed with the Bachelor. I watched it seasons ago but stopped watching when what’s his name picked Molly at the “After the Rose” episode, AFTER he picked Melissa during the season finale. People are so weird but I understand it’s tv and they most likely make you do things like that for ratings but it was annoying as a viewer.

Anyway, I don’t know why I started watching it again this season but I did. And I was hooked. I was Team Kasey B until the hometown visits, then I liked Nickie and now I really don’t even care anymore because for some reason the tabloids have already exposed the winner! What’s up with that?? What a buzz kill.

None the less, I am going to a “Bachelor Season Finale Party” at my friend Tara’s tomorrow. We both know who the winner is, but it will still be fun to see how the whole thing unfolds, and honestly just to critique everything πŸ™‚ You are allowed to do that since they are on tv πŸ™‚

I wanted to bring something fun to the “party” and even after google-ing different ideas, I couldn’t find anything fun! So then it occured to me that I should make cake pops of Ben and the final two, Lindzi and Courtney. Luckily, the girls have different colored hair because really that’s the only thing that distinguishes my cake pops from one another. (Good luck picking out which ones are Courtney and which ones are Ben since they pretty much have the same hair!)

What did you guys think of this season’s Bachelor?

Team Courtney or Team Lindzi? The Bachelor Season Finale!

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Picture this: It is 2:00 pm. You are sitting at your desk and look at the clock and realize you still have a few hours left on a Monday. You are experiencing a typical Monday afternoon slump and you just need something, anything to get you through the rest of the day. Well most of the time, this “something” for me is a hot green tea, maybe peanut butter m&ms, maybe just a piece of gum? Well this particular day I had nothing.

It was going to be a long rest of the afternoon. That was, until this little sugar packed candy made it to my desk.

Hm. Starburst? Not my candy of choice butΒ I’m feeling pretty open to new ideas today. The fact that it was purple was not only intriguing but made it seem like everything was going to be okay! What flavor is purple? Has anyone ever seen this before or am I the first? So many things going through my head at this point!

Unfortunately, this purple starburst was just a mini package of burst dreams. Royal Berry Punch, you may be a pretty package, but I hope next time I unwrap your wrapper, you surprise me with a red starburst instead.

Short and Sweet

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