Monday, April 21, 2014

Christopher & Banks Glamor Shots

My friend Deanna is a Mary Kay consultant and was invited by Christopher & Banks to provide the make-up for their spring glamor shots. She very kindly let me tag along and pretend that I was at New York or Paris fashion week.






As you can imagine, it was a lot of fun! Thanks Deanna!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Maine Maple Sunday


Newburgh, Maine is a pretty average New England town. Besides being the hometown of Nascar legend Ricky "Crash" Craven, the town does not have a lot to offer. Once a year on the fourth Sunday of March however, Nutkin Knoll Farm in Newburgh transforms into a Maine Maple Sunday hotspot.


Maine Maple Sunday is hosted by the Maine Maple Producers Associations. Sugarhouses throughout the state offer free maple syrup samples and tours. Some farms even host mini festivals.


Christopher and I had a lovely time meandering through the farm.We explored the barn, hiked part of the 47 mile snowmobile trails, raced through the Christmas tree lots and examined all the maple syrup equipment.






Nutkin Knoll Farm did not have much in the way of offerings besides a free sample of ice cream with maple syrup, but I have heard rumors that a farm in Dover-Foxcroft serves an insane pancake breakfast. Maybe I will have to put that on next year's bucket list.

If you want to learn more about how to make maple syrup, I would definitely check this webpage out!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

When Life Gives You Bananas...


....make banana bread! There were two overripe bananas in our kitchen, staring me down, challenging me to make something sweet and satisfying. I knew there was only one way to defeat these menacing bananas and the result was the perfect combo of bananas and chocolate.

My recipe was  adapted from the Food Network. Feel free to add more chocolate chips, nuts or whatever your heart desires. As usual, my additions will be in a different color font.


Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas (I only had two bananas, but it still worked)
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli)

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Dust the bread with a mixture of butter and brown sugar. Trust me on this one. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Spring Break Already

It is hard to believe that Spring Break has already come and gone. While I would love to still be on vacation, I am looking forward to finishing up the semester and experiencing warmer weather.

During my Spring Break I spent about a week at home with my family. My mom and baby brother picked me up from San Diego International Airport and surprised me with a little visit to Coronado Island. It is not secret that Coronado is one of my favorite places.


Later that week we went and saw West Side Story at the Fox Theater in Riverside.

We ended my trip with some pretty intense duck-feeding at Harveston Lake in Temecula.


In other news, Christopher and I picked up our wedding bands. Isn't it a beauty?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Weekend in Bar Harbor


Christopher and I decided to spend this Valentine's weekend in Bar Harbor! It was fantastic and a much needed rest from all the crazy things that have happened in the last month or so.

We stayed at the Acadia Hotel which is an adorable little inn right in downtown Bar Harbor. Everything you would want to visit is in walking distance. They are open all year long and have a pretty awesome winter rate.

Courtesy of http://acadiahotel.com/
Much of Acadia National Park was closed, however we had a blast walking along the water front. It was freezing, but definitely worth a whiff of salt air and peek at the Atlantic.


We grabbed a beer at Leary's Landing Irish Pub and had a delicious dinner at McKay's Public House. Our host could tell that we were on a romantic date and put us at little table away from the crowds. The food was good but I would have to stay the best parts were our appetizer and desserts- duck spring rolls and Guinness cheesecake. I will definitely be browsing the Internet for those recipes.

I am so glad that we took this little weekend escape! It was very romantic and a nice refresher before starting a long week. I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 10, 2014

At Home Beer Tasting Date

As I have mentioned previously Christopher and I have been making a real effort this year to have one date night at least once a week, and one super fancy date at least once a month. Last week we went to 11 Central which meant this week our date needed to be a little more casual.

Our local grocery store has this great deal where you can fill your own six pack with six different beers. Christopher and I love sampling new beers and testing whether we want to buy a certain beer in the future. This past weekend we decided to do a beer sampling with five (we had already drank one of the beers) different appetizers and a Benedict Cumberbatch marathon (we are both pretty much in love with him). Here are the appetizers and beers we chose. I will link the recipes to their original website unless they are my own:

1.  Sam Adams Gold Snap with a Spicy Spinach and Artichoke Dip: This was a fantastic combination. The citrus notes of the Gold Snap paired perfectly with the spiciness and earthiness of the dip. Christopher ate at least half the dip right then and there.

Photo courtesy of http://abeautifulmess.com/

2. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA with PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps (but originally from culinarylife.com): This was another fantastic combination. This particular beer is a great IPA for the person who is not necessarily an IPA fan. It is incredibly drinkable and paired well with the lettuce wraps. On a side note, the recipe above requires water chestnuts which can be difficult to find. My local grocery store did not carry them, but I found the lettuce wraps to be perfectly fine without them.

Photo courtesy of http://pinterest-pins.com/

3. Geary's London Porter with BBQ Cranberry Meatballs: This recipe has been in my family for ages and is something I will definitely post in the future. While the meatballs were great, the beer was not. Christopher and I were not huge fans of this particular porter. It was rather bitter and did not have much flavor.

4. Shipyard Black IPA with Mini Man Burgers: Who doesn't love sliders? Once again, this is a great IPA for people who usually steer clear of them. We both really enjoyed this particular combo.

Photo courtesy of Food Network

5. Red Hook Mudslider Brown Ale with Brown Sugar Baked Fries: I love french fries and brown sugar. To me this was a natural and awesome combination. This beer was a hearty, classic brown ale. It actually tasted very similar to Newcastle which I happen to be a huge fan of.

Photo courtesy of http://abeautifulmess.com/

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Date Night at 11 Central

Christopher surprised me the other day with a date night at 11 Central, a restaurant in Downtown Bangor next to Bagel Central and Friar's Bake Shop.


 This is a perfect date restaurant. The atmosphere  is modern but classy. We started off our evening at the bar where we had mixed drinks (I tried a peach cosmo!) and bruschetta for an appetizer. The bartenders were super friendly and knowledgeable.

For dinner I had a BBQ chicken pizza and Christopher had a Lobster Artichoke Alfredo pizza. Ever since we left California, I have been searching for another place that serves awesome pizza like California Pizza Kitchen. This one is definitely a contender. They also had a lot of dessert options, but we were too stuffed to partake in any.

11 Central features different local artists on their walls.  They also host winter wine dinners that they pair with provincial cuisine.


My one teeny complaint about this restaurant, is that the wait is long. As I said before, it is a great date restaurant, but not so fantastic if you are in a rush.

If you are looking for somewhere special in Downtown Bangor, give 11 Central a try.