Saturday, July 27, 2013

And We're Off!

Good morning! Rise and shine! This post is coming to you from my blogger app on my phone, so if it looks different- that's why! 

Ryan and I are currently driving to the Logan express to catch a ride to the airport for our international flight to St. Kitts via Miami! We're scheduled to land in St. Kitts a little after 2 if all goes well! 

I don't think we will have any sort of internet while we're down there, so look for some recaps next week! I hope everyone has a great week! 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ground Beef Tomato Alfredo Garbage Casserole

Has anyone heard of garbage bread? If you haven't, garbage bread is a compilation of whatever you have laying around in your fridge that needs to be cooked up, thrown on top of rolled up pizza dough and baked. Even though the name may sound unappetizing, they really can be quite tasty! I love the concept, but I love pasta more than pizza, so I decided to start making some garbage casseroles.

I love to try new casserole recipes, but my go to always seems to be thrown together with whatever we have sitting around that needs to be cooked up! Since we're leaving for St. Kitts on Saturday for 7 days, I needed to clean out the fridge a bit. So I thought, "Hey, why don't I just throw all of this random stuff into a casserole dish and bake it up?" Sounds delicious, right? Well trust me, it was!

I rounded up a few jars of opened pasta sauce we had on the door of our fridge, some pasta, left over ground beef, shredded cheese, and a head of cauliflower and started out on this weeks casserole variation!

While the water for the pasta was coming to a boil, I cooked up the ground beef and chopped the cauliflower into small pieces. I threw the cauliflower directly into the pot with the pasta and cooked the two together. 

Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I added in both the creamy basil tomato sauce and the alfredo sauce, along with the beef and mozzarella cheese and mixed it all up. 

When I make casseroles, I try to make two at a time: one for now and one for later. The casserole for later goes directly into the freezer to be defrosted on a day when I don't feel like cooking!

The other casserole goes right into the oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese sprinkled on top is bubbly. 

And now you know how to make a garbage casserole! I like to keep the ratio 1 pasta, 1 meat, 1-2 cheeses, 1-2 sauces, and 1-2 vegetables but clearly this recipe can be mixed and matched to anyone's preferences.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grilled Potato Pouches

We love to grill out for dinner. Since our grills are down by the pool in our apartment complex, we try to cook everything right on the grill and just eat down there! One of my favorite grilled side dishes is a grilled "baked" potato. The only downside to this side dish is that it takes 45 minutes to an hour to cook completely and sometimes, I just don't want to wait that long! 

So, last week when my family was in town, I tried a new approach to grilled potatoes. 

Grilled Potato Pouches 

  • Potatoes
  • Olive Oil  
  • Garlic Salt 
  • Pepper 
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika 
  • Rosemary 
  • Minced Onion 

Chop potatoes into small chunks. The smaller the chunks, the quicker the potato will cook on the grill. 

Spread potato chunks out on squares of tin foil. I was cooking 7 potato pouches for our group, so I had 7 tin foil squares laid out with 1 potato on each. Drizzle potatoes generously with olive oil. 

Sprinkle spices all over potatoes. You can use whichever spices you want, but I love the Paprika and Rosemary combination! 

Fold up tin foil to create a sealed pouch and place them on the grill. Grill at a medium heat, along with whatever else you're cooking, for about 20 minutes. Enjoy! 

Along with the potatoes, we also grilled Jamaican Jerk chicken drumsticks and a vegetable medley of squash, zucchini, and onion. Everything turned out delicious and I will definitely be making grilled potato pouches again!!


Monday, July 22, 2013

I Got the Job!!

Good morning! I'm just popping in really quickly before my family and I head out to explore the John Adams Estate in Quincy!

This morning, at 9 am, I had an interview for a paraprofessional job at an elementary school in Weymouth. I was pretty nervous but was hoping that my passion for elementary education would come through in the interview. It all went well and as I was leaving, the principal informed me that they would be making a decision soon and I should hear by the end of the week whether or not I was being offered the job.

Well... about an hour later I received a call from the principal! THE JOB IS MINE!! I'll be working in a special ed classroom (grades 1-4) with a focus on math starting in September! During this time, I'll also be taking classes towards my masters in Elementary Education in the evenings. It's going to be a busy year, but I'm so SO excited for the experience and I can't wait to get started!!

I hope everyone has as great a day as mine is turning out to be!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

A "Touristy" Weekend

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a fun, relaxing weekend! We had a blast up in Boston being tourists this weekend with my family! 


Around noon on Friday, Ryan called it quits on work for the day and we headed into the city, stopping at Castle Island first. 

On the way into the city- squeezed in the backseat! 
Crazy windy day + long hair = a nice little mustache for Ryan! 
After walking around Fort Independence on Castle Island, we had planned on eating coneys at Sullivan's, but it was in the mid-90's outside and there was no indoor seating so we chose to get back into the air-conditioned car and try out a new (to us) place, Boston Beer Garden! 

After lunch, we drove out to Charlestown to check out Bunker Hill and the USS Constitution. 
We went to the top of Bunker Hill, the USS Constitution museum, and even took a tour of the ship's top two floors! 

Great photo bomb Jake! 

Before dinner, we took a little tour of Fenway park, which was hoppin'! The Yankee's were in town so we walked around a bit to get a feel for the atmosphere before the game started! We parked the car on Newbury street for the rest of the evening and walked to Lir, an irish pub on Boylston for dinner. 


Saturday morning, we started our day out by drinking! We woke up, got dressed, and drove to Jamaica Plain for a visit to the Sam Adams brewery! Kristen met us there and the wait was about an hour and a half, so we walked across the street to a sandwich place for lunch. Our tour began at 1:45, but we were really surprised when the first place they took us was the bar. The last time Ryan and I went to the brewery, we toured the entire property and learned about the beer-making process before heading to the bar for some sampling. This time, however, the brewery was under construction so the only room open to the public was the bar! This time around we sampled Boston Lager, Sam Summer, and their Independence IPA.

After the tastings, Kristen went home and we headed to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market to continue being tourists. We walked around the Faneuil Hall museum and toured the meeting hall on the 2nd floor of the building. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that our founding father's stood in this very room over 200 years ago. 

The heat got the best of us after a while, so we stopped in at the Union Oyster House (the oldest restaurant in the country) for a break!

Later that evening, Kristen met back up with us, as well as Dan and Lynette, my mom's friend from high school and his girlfriend, and we had dinner and drinks in the North End.

We were a very brightly colored bunch! 
We closed the night out with some sort of Lemoncello Liqueur shot before going home. 


This morning, after church, we had big plans in the city! For Father's Day, Ryan and I got my dad 5 tickets to the Freedom Trail tour (I told you it was a SUPER touristy weekend)!! The tour started in Boston Common and finished at Faneuil Hall, stopping at Park Street Church, Granary burying ground, the Old South meeting house, the site of the Boston Massacre, and the Old State House. The weather today was much cooler, in the high 70's, perfect for a nice walk around the city!

The grave site of Samuel Adams, as well as the 5 people killed during the Boston Massacre.  
 We learned some really cool historical facts on the tour! On the balcony at the Old State House, pictured below, the Declaration of Independence was read to a rowdy Boston crowd for the very first time in 1776. How cool is that?!

 We walked back to the car after the tour, but detoured to Acorn Street and the current State House for a quick photo op!

Overall, we had an amazing, yet exhausting, weekend touring our new city with my family! It was so fun to explore the history Boston has to offer with my parents, brother, and husband! 


Friday, July 19, 2013

The Shipyard, A Grill, and Telestrations

Happy Friday, ya'll! 

Yesterday was another scorcher here in Weymouth! We braved the heat though and ventured to the Hingham Shipyard (pronounced "Shipyahd" in Bostonian) for lunch. We decided to check out the Wahlburg family's restaurant, Wahlburgers, which was delicious! 

We need a photographer to follow us around with a camera so we can get pictures of the 5 of us! 

With full stomachs, we left to walk around the shipyard, admiring the boats and beautifully HOT day!

Ryan left to get back to work and Mom, Dad, Jake, and I went to the Braintree Mall (to get a new Iphone for me and necklace for Mom), Marylou's (for some iced coffee of course), and Whole Foods before heading home! 

Since we went out to eat the night before, we decided to grill out for dinner with Jenna and Trevor. We  The men grilled Jamaican chicken drumsticks, a chicken breast, burgers, potatoes, and vegetables! 

Jenna and Me! 
After dinner, everyone came to our apartment and we played my new favorite game, Telestrations! I had seriously talked this game up to everyone, so I was really nervous people weren't going to find it as fun as I did, but it turned out to be a hit! I seriously recommend everyone go pick up Telestrations for your next game night!

 Overall, it was a great day with family and friends! I hope everyone has a great Friday!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shopping and a Trivia Adventure

Yesterday, after lunch, the family and I (minus Ryan who had to work.. boo) took a trip over to the Derby Street shops for the afternoon. We left a couple hours later with an exchanged jean jacket, 3 shirts for Ryan, a book for Jake, a couple shirts for myself and mom, a recipe holder that I want to do something pretty cool with, and my new favorite game, Telestrations. We definitely did some damage, but I can't remember the last time I went shopping with my parents (or Jake) so it was worth it! 

Originally we had plans to grill out with our neighbors, Jenna and Trevor, and then head to trivia, but since we had been out all day, we were not really prepared to grill out and decided to just eat at the restaurant we were playing trivia at! We planned on eating and doing trivia at Main Street Grill, but the air conditioning was broken there so we left and tried a new place, Coop's Bar and Grill in Quincy! It looked a little sketch from the outside but turned out to be a nice place with good food and good trivia! 

We went with the name "Out of Towners" because not one of the 7 of us grew up in MA!

Ryan and Jake acting "cool"

Mom and Dad acting "cool" 

Jenna and Trevor acting normal! 

 Top 4 teams received a prize but we ended up in 5th by 2... TWO points! Oh well, we still had a blast!