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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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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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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 โค

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ You are allowed to do that since they are on tv ๐Ÿ™‚

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 butย 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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Too bad I didn’t serve this on a different colored plate! The picture would have been perfect. Next time!

This is a picture of filet with blue cheese crumbles and homemade croutons with a side of Spanish rice.ย  I found this recipe on allrecipes.comย and decided to try to make it because it seemed simple enough!

The filet was amazing- the cut was great and the meat itself was incredible. Honestly this was not hard to make and it was actually kind of fun trying to make the croutons. That is something I had never done before and it was so easy! We added much more Parmesan cheese to the croutons than called for, but what can we say? We love cheese ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, the most surprising part of this whole experience was that I really enjoyed the entire meal! Including the blue cheese which is something I tend to stay away from. Definitely will be making this again!

I think I do like blue cheese afterall

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I think by now all of you know I have a soft spot for Biggies. It’s funny because I lived about 10 minutes away for a year and only discovered it our last two months there. Now I live about 45 minutes away and find myself there at least once a month.

Their beer selection is incredible, personally I love Magic Hat #9 and it’s one of the only bars that I know I can always order one.

Enough about drinks, this is a food blog afterall and I’m here to tell you about the Ahi Tuna Tacos:)

It is offered on the appetizer section of the menu but it is the perfect size for an entree for one, ME! It’s a simple, light meal and I have found myself ordering it time and time again. It’s basically two grilled tortillas with fresh ahi tuna, lettuce, tomatoes and a delish wasabi mayonnaise.

Just talking about it makes me want more and I just had it last night:)

Bringin it back to biggies

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Part of the reason I started this blog was because I really do think I have an abnormal diet and I am okay with telling you that I really did have three hotdogs from three different places in 24 hours. That is pretty gross. I really don’t eat like that often, but I watch my diet the rest of the time and try to stick to my workout routine so I CAN do weird things like this unintentional mini hotdog marathon that occurred a couple of weeks ago.

So the morning after Ben’s Chili Bowl ย , I packed my things, said good bye to Tom and Amy, and headed back into DC to do some touristy things. We had been warned that there were not too many restaurants near the Washington Monument, MLK Memorial or the Smithsonian Museums, but that’s what we had on our schedule for the day and figured we would be able to find something to eat since we are not picky eaters. (Big surprise, I know!)

After walking around for a while, we did start to get hungry and of course could not even find a little hole in the wall to slip into for a bite. We did want to try something cool and unique to DC, but given our location and quickly increasing appetite, we ended up just getting a plain hotdog from a stand. Was it good? Sure. Was it satisfying? Eh.

We continued on to the National Musesum of Natural History. Our last stop for the day was the Air and Space museum so we were pretty much staying in the same area for a while. A couple of hours later, we realized that the skimpy hotdog from earlier was not going to hold us over. Once we found the nice little “Atrium Cafe” at the museum, we felt a little relieved because there were so many options for lunch! It was a cafeteria style restaurant with pizza, sandwiches, salads, bbq and…..drumroll…. hotdogs! But these were not just any hot dogs, they were topped with BBQ and Coleslaw. Come on! How do you say no to that!?

It was just funny because out of all of the choices of food, we were both drawn to the hotdog and each ended up getting one. They were certainly tasty and I think I might try my own rendition next time we cook them on the grill. That might be a while though, because after 3 hotdogs in one weekend, I think I am good for a while!

Hotdog Nรบmero 3 for the Weekend!

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