diy :: food skewers out of buttons

I’ve been on the whole lunch box packing thing lately. There is a ton of inspiration out there for fun ways to jazz up what might otherwise be considered a boring meal.  One thing that is pretty common to use are food picks or skewers.  Fast forward to a trip to our local craft store and E eyeing a package of cute mermaid themed buttons.  I snuck them into our shopping basket when she wasn’t looking and decided to try to make my own plastic skewers that could be reused in her lunches.  Because you know me, I’m just crafty like that.  🙂

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baking :: blueberry oatmeal crumble bars

I believe it took living sixteen years here in New England before I realized that blueberry picking was even possible.  Last summer was the first time my daughter and I made the drive up to Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA to try our hand at the pick-your-own blueberry experience.  It was a particularly hot and humid summer day, and as the sweat on my forehead fogged up my sunglasses I wondered why in the world we were even there to begin with!  (It was still fun and worth it … just sweaty!)

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happy 21st to rialto restaurant

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Twenty one years ago, I was a sophomore in high school.  I was far away from where I am now, on the west coast going through awkward life stages as a teenager.  Did I ever think that so many years later I’d end up near Boston, married with a child, and looking forward to special mama’s-night-outs like this?  Probably not.

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recipe: chewy oatmeal raisin ginger cookies

This is quite possibly the best batch of oatmeal cookies I’ve ever made.  They are chewy and moist with a lot of great flavor.  I got this recipe from All Recipes but altered a couple of ingredients and skipped the step where they tell you to press them down with a sugared fork.

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brunch at area four (cambridge)

Wait, didn’t I just write about this place last month?  Back again so soon?  Yes, and this time for brunch!

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mr sushi (arlington)

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I love impromptu lunch dates.  I especially love impromptu lunch dates with a good friend and sushi.  Mr. Sushi is one of my favorite places in town to lunch because they have consistently good sushi and because they’re very kid friendly.  On this particular visit I got the tekkadon (tuna over sushi rice) dish and it was both beautiful and delicious.  Oh and who could resist taking a photo of those two adorable jumping bunnies!

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catalyst + area four (cambridge)

So like what’s up with slacking on the restaurant posts, right?  I looked back and realized that my last post about any restaurant outing was way back on July 29, 2013.  Say what??!  It’s not like I haven’t gone out to eat since then, but I partially blame things like Instagram and mobile phone updates because well, let’s just say they make it easier to share sometimes.

Anyway, I went out last night with another mom friend and it was awesome.  We’ve been friends for almost eight years now and met through crafting channels, yet we’ve never been out on a one-to-one outing before.  With family responsibilities, job duties, and all the other crazy life stresses we just were never able to make things work out until last night.

I wanted to check out a restaurant called Catalyst in Cambridge (Kendall Square) because a) it’s new to me and b) I haven’t been out to a restaurant in that area in a long time.  The bonus was that neither had she so we could check out a new place together.

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atwood’s tavern (cambridge)

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This is one of those posts where I don’t want to tell you about this place because I {selfishly} don’t want to lose a seat at the bar to new customers, yet I do want this place to gain more business and be even more successful.  Sigh.  So here goes: there’s a restaurant in Cambridge that has good food, good drinks, and a nice outdoor patio that *isn’t* on a main street where you would inhale car fumes more than anything else.  And what’s better than that?  The people that work there are super nice.  Seriously.

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spoke wine bar (davis square)

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18 months.  That’s about how long it took before my husband and I went out on our very first date since our baby arrived.  Eighteen months!  And in celebration of our 5th anniversary, we wanted to make our first date night special.  Since it was also the very first time we were leaving her in someone else’s care (gasp! that’s a whole other topic for another day!), we didn’t want to venture off too far from home into oh, say like Boston.  The answer: Spoke Wine Bar in Davis Square, Somerville.

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risotto + gnocchi (a cooking class)

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A friend invited me to attend a cooking class at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square a few days ago where we focused on risotto and gnocchi.  I’ve made risotto before but I’ve never attempted to make gnocchi: my father-in-law makes gnocchi like a pro and besides, I don’t own the tools that make that possible.  So I was excited (and relieved!) to learn that we would learn how to make ricotta gnocchi vs. a potato one: something different and also something I could actually eat (I can’t eat potatoes).

Chef Jason Martin was a great teacher and explained why you would and wouldn’t do things while making both types of dishes, which is something I appreciate from a teacher.  His best explanation was how risotto is like the complete opposite from cooking rice.  With rice, we rinse the starch before starting the cooking process.  Then once you put the lid on you simply don’t touch it and let it cook on it’s own, none of this stirring business.  Risotto on the other hand starts off by cooking the arborio rice directly in the pot with something like softened onions and olive oil, and then continually stirring it for a while.  You don’t rinse the rice before cooking it so that starch helps make this deliciously creamy consistency (as does the butter and cheese that you add later … hee hee).

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