Friday Favorites: Traveling is my favorite

Friday, June 29, 2012


I've always wanted to be a world traveler, however, I'm far from it. I think I have been more places since I've married Jeff then I have in my lifetime (One of the thinks I love about Jeff is his love to travel).


Reasons why traveling is my favorite!

  • I love staying in hotels 
  • I enjoy trying new foods 
Disneyland 2010 - 
I wish I had a better picture for "New Food" but I've realized I haven't taken many pictures of the food we've eaten.

  • I love to collect things and that includes places :)
  • I want to see historic or famous places
Paris, France 2011
  • I adore my family and will go anywhere with them
Salem, Massachusetts 2011
  • I just love seeing new places!
Bermuda 2010

Places I've Been:
Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, Delaware, New Jersey, Main, New Hampshire, Road Island, Florida, Bermuda, London (England), and Paris (France). This is such a weak list! I can't wait to add more to it!

Jeff and I don't have a lot of travel plans this year but we are planning a trip to France next winter. It sounds like there may be some skiing involved and I'm not sure how I feel about it. However, I really enjoyed are short time in Paris and I'm looking forward to seeing the country side and the mountains. I'm still voting for Italy, but we will have to see if we have time.


CSA: Box 5...Lots and Lots of Lettuce

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We have so much lettuce! I'm going to have to eat a large salad every day until we leave on Tuesday. That's not necessarily a bad thing :)

We also got some more swiss chard, zucchini, beets, collards, and



THE HIGH LINE

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I love this place! I always love walking the high line. 

It's one of the best parts of NYC.

I made sure to save some time to walk the whole park when I was in the city two weeks ago.


St. Leo Carnival

Monday, June 25, 2012

For the past couple years Jeff and I have driven by the St. Leo Carnival in Lincroft, NJ, but have never stopped to take a look (Jeff used to go when he was a kid, but hasn't been in a long time).

Well, I have an assignment that I have to complete for a photography course I'm taking and I thought the carnival would be the perfect place to capture images for the shutter speed portion of the assignment. I basically needed to take a picture with a slow shutter speed to show motion.


Then I just walked around to take a few other random pictures. It was very fun walking around and seeing how excited the kids were about the rides.

Saturday In the City Part 2: Thai and Ballet...With Sarah!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

After brunch with Laurent and his family, I made my way uptown to meet up with the lovely Sarah for dinner and the ballet!

We went to Pure Thai Cookhouse in Hells Kitchen. Neither of us had been there before, but Sarah had heard good things about it. We both liked it. Was it the best Thai I have ever had? No, but I did enjoy it. Sarah had the Ratchaburi Crab & Pork Dry Noodles, which was really really good. Way better than my Pad See Ew with Beef. I think I have to take Jeff there so I can get his opinion. :)



We then went to see the American Ballet Company's production of Romeo and Juliet. I so love Romeo and Juliet! Sarah and I really wanted to see the American Bellet Company's production since Julie Kent was playing Juliet. Who is Julie Kent? Well, she played Kathleen in Center Stage (The ballerina who danced the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet with Cooper and was married to the director. If you still don't know who she is then you haven't seen the movie). We were just excited to see her do the whole ballet :)


 It was absolutely lovely. I just love going to Lincoln Center to see a ballet!

Friday Favorites: BBQ's are my favorite.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I was going to label this "Summer BBQ's are my favorite," but them I remembered Jeff barbecued in the rain last fall with some of the Young Men in our ward. I think these kids would barbecue in the snow too.


Jeff bought a Weber barbecue the summer we started dating and I'm not sure how he lived before he got it. That boy loves to barbecue! He has made some good things over the past year and half and I can't wait to taste what he decided to barbecue next!

Favorite Things Jeff has made:

  • Ribs - we have a great recipe for ribs and have made them several time (included our first christmas together), but they are the best when you throw them on the BBQ right before you eat them. It just gives them a nice smoky taste
  • Salmon - To my dismay Jeff has only made this once. It was soooo good. I didn't think you could do fish on the barbecue, but apparently it really easy :)
  • Sweet-Chilie Chicken - I actually think Brandy made this (One of Jeff's Young Men).
  • Burgers - Of course burgers make the list! The Young Men have made some huge burgers while at our house. It's always a good time. (Pictures are from their first time making a plate size burger. They split this one (Brandy and Ethan), but later larger burgers were devoured solo!)

 I think most of our BBQ's are with the Young Men. :) It's amazing how much food they can down. We sure enjoy having them over at our house for burgers and some rather competitive rounds of Wii Sport.







Congratulations Johnny!

Last night Jeff and I headed down to Burlington, NJ to see Johnny's graduation. Johnny is one of many nephews that came with the Jeffrey Neu package. (I now have 26 nieces and nephews and I'm sure there will be more).


It was a great graduation ceremony. We laughed, we cried, and see sweated a lot. Ok, we didn't cry, but we sure did sweat a lot! I'm not sure how hot it was, but our car thermostat said it was 100 degrees while we were driving down there. (Picture Below: Beckah sang in the choir [bottom left], but we couldn't see her behind all the pesky seniors in the choir)


However, it was totally worth it! Johnny was the valedictorian and he gave an awesome speech! Best speech of the night in my opinion. (Picture Below: Johnny giving his speech [left] and proud mom who recorded the whole speech [right])


As valedictorian, Johnny sat on the stage throughout the whole ceremony and was one of the the last to receive his diploma (I was grateful for this because by the time it was his turn the crowd had cleared and I could get a decent picture.)


We got a chance to catch up with Johnny before he left for his party. He struck a few posses with friend and family for us (Noramah and me). He was quite the little rock star! :)


Congrats Johnny! You've made it through four years of papers, projects, and tests....now get ready for another four...if you're lucky :)

Saturday In the City Part 1: Brunch!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some of you may know that going out for brunch on Saturday morning is one of my favorite NYC activities! I'm sure I've posted about it before. :) Well, some of Jeff's family (Laurent, Kerrie, Chris, and Emilie) had a layover in Manhattan and wanted to meet up for lunch! False....when you meet me on a Saturday afternoon in NYC...you meet me for brunch!

I recommenced several options to Jeff (my favorite spots), but he was not impressed. Of course he went to Chowhound and looked up what other people were recommending for good NYC brunch spots. He came up with a short list of places and then was gracious enough to let me pick. :)

Where did we go? Hundred Acres 



And we loved it!

We weren't even done eating when Jeff said he wanted to come back :) I'm not sure how Laurent, Karrie, Chris, and Emilie liked it. I believe Emilie got caught up on the fact that they used fresh blueberries in her pancakes (apparently she does not like fresh blueberries).

Jeff had the goat cheese-thyme bread pudding with two poached eggs, warm spinach salad, and lemon butter. I only got one bite of it, but it tasted good. Jeff said the goat cheese flavor wasn't as strong as he would have liked, but he still really enjoyed it.



Emilie had the sour cream-buttermilk, blueberry pancakes with spiced pecans. I didn't get a bite of hers, but Jeff did and liked that as well :)

 Karrie and Chris both had the brioche french toast with strawberries and creme fraiche. I didn't get a bite of that one either, but Jeff LOVED it. He said the brioche was amazing!

Jeff also got a side of crispy pig “tater tots”, b&b pickles (bottom right). These weren't your typical tater tots. I believe they were shredded pork wrapped in tater tot. Jeff didn't share these at all, but raved about how good they were.
 

I got the white cheddar, apple and spiced pecan girdled cheese with honey mustard and a side of fries and it was AMAZING! It was just so good I don't even know where to start. I loved the sandwich! The honey mustered was delicious. The fries were spicy and crunchy (the way I like them)!


Overall we give this place two thumbs up! Jeff said that for what it was the price was totally acceptable. I can't wait to go again!

 It was so nice catching up with Laurent and his family. I'm so glad they had a layover and envited us to meet up with them!

Yet another successful brunch in the city!

CSA: Box 4...Hey Hey Annie!

Hey Annie! I think we got some collard greens! I believe you asked me to "holla at your girl."

We got lots more chard, lettuce, beets, and zucchini! Jeff has been making some amazing stir-fry over the past few weeks! I've been so spoiled!

New items in our box this week?

Oregano

Blueberries

(linking with http://TidyMom.net)


We're not sure what type of lettuce this is...

Collard Greens

Cooking with Jeff: Tacos!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Like I mentioned before, Jeff and I decided that homemade tortillas should be next on our list of foods to make. We decided to make tacos with our homemade tortillas and I think overall they were a success.

We really liked the tortillas, but they were a little thick in my opinion. Jeff insisted that they were the same thickness as the Cafe Rio tortillas (Since Cafe Rio is the standard as far as I'm concerned), but I think they were a little thicker. I think I'm going to need to follow Jaime's advice and get a tortilla press.


Recipe for tortillas located here

Jeff and I both agree that the chicken we made for our tacos was not so great. It was ok, but it wasn't amazing. We opted in for just getting a packet of taco seasoning, but that really wasn't the best idea. Luckily Jaime also recommend a recipe for Pork Tacos with Chili Verde (see comment on Backing with "Baking with Jeff: Eclairs and Tarts" for the recipe) which Jeff and I are going to try on our next taco night!

Baking with Jeff: Eclairs and Tarts

Monday, June 18, 2012

Jeff and I decided a couple of weeks ago that we wanted to spend time cooking and baking new things. We've kind of gotten into a rut and want to branch out a bit. The first few items on the list of things to make were desserts. Surprise, Surprise!

Jeff wanted to start off with eclairs. We made them a couple of times and they turned out ok, but we probably won't make them again unless someone request them. They tasted delicious, but Jeff decided that they didn't have the "WOW" factor that his amazing souffl├ęs have (Jeff makes really good souffl├ęs. I will blog about that at some point).

(The picture is not so good. Jeff kept making the eclairs at night in poor light)


We did learn something during our "Operation Eclair"...and that is how to make some good pastry cream or creme patisserie (that's what Jeff calls it). We made it and Jeff decided that it was a lot of work for something that tasted like vanilla pudding. I said they were similar, but the pastry cream was 100% better then pudding you make from a box (Like Jello). Of course Jeff had to go online and do research to see what the all knowing people on the web had to say about the matter. He read that they were the same thing and decided that we should just use Jello pudding since it's easier. I told him that there was no way that Jello pudding was better than home made pastry cream and we needed to test it! And test it we did!


Homemade pastry cream on top. Jello pudding on bottom.


Guess who was right? Me of course! The pastry cream is a little finicky and it's hard to get the perfect texture, but when you get it right, YUMMMMM! Trust me it's way better than vanilla Jello pudding. I believe Jeff said, "There is no comparison."

Recipe for pastry cream here. Sorry you have to login to get it.

After we mastered the cream we decided to make some mini tarts. Jeff has been telling me for months that tart crusts are really hard to make and that we would have to practice a lot. "False!" I told him. I had learned from the best, Ashley Groesbeck....now Hatch, how to make the perfect tart crust and I could do it on the first try. And first try I did. The edges were a little dark, but I put aluminum foil on the last few and they looked perfect! Jeff was impressed. He now asks me to make them all the time. Really not good for the diet.


 The recipe I used for the crust is located here. It's all about not over working the dough!

Next Items: Homemade tortillas. Actually the goal is to come up with a nice Mexican dish. I'll let you know how it goes.

Lazy Brie

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm not sure if this is a Labrador trait or just my dog, but she is so LAZY! I thought puppies were supposed to be full of energy 24/7? Don't get me wrong, she is really hyper when people come over or someone walks by her at the park, but when it comes to day to day activities she just can't stay on her feet!

A few months ago she wouldn't (notice I didn't say COULDN'T) get on the couch by herself. She would put her front two legs up on the couch and then look up at us with sad eyes until we lifted her back legs up for her. Well, that didn't last long. Jeff and I decided to not lift her up anymore, because we knew she could do it on her own (she use to run around the coffee table and then lung onto the couch). She whined at first, but now she jumps up on her own like a champ. :)

What's her new lazy trait? Well, currently Brie can't be bothered to stand while she drinks. She used to always stand while she ate food or drank water, but not anymore! She takes a few licks of her water and then plop! She's down on the ground going to town on the water.

Brie has always liked to play with her water (she likes to paw at it repeatedly until the water is all over the floor), but now she likes to put her nose in the water and blow bubbles. Is this normal? Jeff and I tried to get her to stop playing with her water, but knew that we were going to lose that battle, so we just moved her water dish outside so she didn't make a mess in the house.

I think we need to buy her one of those plastic kids pools. I think she would love it!

 We sure love our little baby :) She's just so entertaining.

Friday Favorites: Martha Stewart is my favorite!

Some of you know that I'm a big Martha Stewart fan! Here magazine is my Favorite....Her website is my favorite...and her products are my favorite...What can I say....She's my favorite!

In April Ashley invited me to attend a taping of the Martha Stewart show with her and her mother. I'm a huge Martha fan and of course said yes. It was so much fun. I really don't know why I haven't gone to a taping before. Martha taught us how to make some fun grilled cheese sandwiches.  I really hope I get to go to another taping when she starts her new show (If it's still in NYC)!

The Wedding of the Year!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

After our trip to Atlantic City, Jeff and I headed down to DC for Ashley (NYC Roommate of two years...see cooking with Ashley post) and Eric. We just love them to pieces and we're so happy for them. The Sealing at the Washington DC temple was wonderful and the reception was absolutely beautiful.




They had the reception in a park in Reston about 20 min west of the temple. It was a beautiful outside wedding with jars with candles all over the place. It was so pretty.



Oh and Ashley looked gorgeous! Seriously, she was a stunning bride. I'm just so glad we could be down there to celebrate such a wonderful day with them!