Abby and Jeanette’s Weekend of Fun (TOL)

Happy Thursday! We have almost made it through the week before Christmas – I don’t know about you, but things have been crazy busy in my office as we work to finalize a bunch of projects before the holidays. I’m actually heading to Boston today for a quick day trip for work which should be fun, but also a little stressful since it’s up and back in one day. Luckily, it’s not all work work work over here – we’ve also been doing a lot of cool stuff.

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.

Last weekend kicked off with the O’s holiday party. There was tasty food, open bar and casino games and all of the Orioles players attended who were in town for the weekend’s fan fest. Adam’s a big baseball fan and it was a really cool experience! We snagged the below pic with O’s manager Buck Showalter.

Orioles Holiday Party Buck

On Saturday, Jeanette and I went to a pottery class at the Clayground in historic Ellicott City. J had given me a groupon for two spots in a byob pottery wheel class and we had a blast learning the basics of “throwing a bowl.” There were only eight people in the class and our instructor did a great job of slowly explaining all of the steps. I can’t say my bowl turned out all that well, but I had a lot of fun and I’m excited to go back and glaze my bowl after it gets fired in the kiln. We followed our pottery class with lunch at a nearby sandwich place where I had a bomb turkey avocado sandwich.

Clay Pottery Baltimore Girls Clay Pottery Baltimore

Sunday we had a holiday brunch potluck and my talented friends made some delicious food. Jeanette and I were in charge of drinks and struggled a little to make this cranberry prosecco cocktail (the syrup turned out way too chunky). We munched on tiny gingerbread donuts, egg cups, french toast casserole and pumpkin jam Greek yogurt parfaits. We also watched Love Actually which is one of my absolute favorite holiday movies.

Holiday Brunch Donuts Egg Cups Yogurt

My busy work week was also punctuated with a lot of food: pizza party and omelet bars in the office, holiday cookie deliveries and a team dinner at Cinghiale. Our dinner was great – we started with wine and charcuterie and I had a delicious pasta with wild boar bolognese.

cinghiale dinner pasta

And I think that just about catches us up on the last week’s activities. I laid low last night and watched Amy Schumer’s special. I don’t usually love stand-up but I thought it was really funny. Yay for funny women.

Oh and to complete this post with one more food pic, I made some Hanukkah spice cupcakes for a family gathering Saturday night.

Chanukkah Hanukkah Cupcakes

What is your favorite holiday movie?


Thanksgiving Recap

Rabbit rabbit – Happy December! I hope everyone had a fabulous/relaxing/productive/whatever you wanted it to be Thanksgiving break. I love hearing/reading about everyone’s different family traditions. I know a lot of Baltimore folks do raw oysters before their Thanksgiving meal and some families have a yearly touch football game.  We have our special traditions to like having cheesecake for dessert instead of pumpkin pie, playing hours of bridge and having a giant turkey balloon. Here are the highlights of my Thanksgiving and some of my favorite traditions:


Thanksgiving Plate

Like I mentioned, I was in South Carolina and enjoyed two Thanksgiving feasts with various aunts, uncles and cousins. As always, the food was delicious with my faves being the candied sweet potatoes and the brussels sprouts and root vegetables. The desserts were also exemplary with my aunt’s using family recipes to bake a cheesecake and pineapple upside down cake. As per yearly tradition, second Thanksgiving on Friday included the addition of a green bean casserole which I always look forward to!

Pulled Chicken Taco Salad

We also went out for a couple delicious meals in Columbia: salmon and cheesy grits (they just never taste as good up north) at Mr. Friendly’s and a taco salad with pulled chicken from Cantina 76. Cantina had a fairly limited menu compared to some tex mex places, but touted their extensive taco selection. Adam tried a Thanksgiving taco with fried turkey and cranberry salsa, a Peruvian shrimp taco and a fish taco. He loved them all!



Turkey Balloon

No, not the food, the traditional giant Turkey balloon! We had quite a full car on the ride down with three humans and one dog so I brought a deflated Turkey with me and took him to Publix to get him his helium fix. We had a fun time making Turkey take silly pics and tracking his holiday on social media. #turkeygoessouth


Staying Active

Cheetah Yoga HandstandsYoga Crow Pose

With all the aforementioned food, we tried our best to do something active every day whether it was going for a jog or just a long walk. We also did a mini yoga class Thanksgiving morning since my cousin is certified as an instructor. She showed off with handstands and helped us practice our crow (yes, I know Adam’s is better than mine). We also took the traditional post meal walk and took family photos.


Playing Games

Bridge Card Game

We are big game players in my family and there’s nothing we love more at Thanksgiving than hanging out around the house with a cocktail and a card game. We played a lot of bridge, apples to apples and a game called Vices from the 80’s that was essentially a dirty version of trivial pursuit.


Catching up with Friends

Spoons Baltimore QuesadillaSpoons Baltimore Pulled Pork Benedict

We came home from South Carolina on Saturday, just in time for Adam’s 10 year high school reunion at Barcocina.  They had a nice private space and an open bar where I probably had one to many gin and gingers. We had a lot of fun spending time with Adam’s friends who were visiting from out of town. On Sunday, I met up with my friend Jessie (who you may remember from my trip to New York) for brunch at Spoons. Remarkably we were seated without any wait and enjoyed a tasty meal and some girl talk. Jessie had the pulled pork benedict and Spoons’ version of a Bloody Mary (made with sake) and I had a goat cheese, chorizo and spinach quesadilla (sans drink because of Saturday night’s open bar).

All of that fun plus some holiday shopping, laundry, cleaning and decorating the apartment made for the perfect Thanksgiving week! Now on to all of the holiday festivities that December brings to Baltimore!

What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving? What are your special traditions? 

Friendsgiving Recipes

‘Tis the season for Thanksgiving potlucks! There is something special about gathering with your closest friends to enjoy a plate full of homemade dishes.  I have a couple different Friendsgiving and work potlucks coming up in the next couple of weeks and I am in full on research mode, gathering up recipes and choosing which dishes to bring. I figured many of you might be in the same boat so I wanted to share some of my trusty potluck standbys and some new recipes I am considering!

Thanksgiving Potluck Friendsgiving Recipe Plate


Brie and Jam Bites – these little sweet and savory morsels are so easy and delicious, they are my go to appetizer for any event or potluck. These require minimum prep thanks to using the pre-made phyllo shells and I usually use this version from She Wears Many Hats with brie and apricot jam, but you can switch it up by using goat cheese and fig jam or cream cheese and pepper jelly.

Turkey Meatballs – If your friends are anything like my friends, your Friendsgiving may be missing the main event, the turkey. Cleaning, stuffing, basting, hours in the oven – ain’t nobody got time for that. These meatballs are just the trick to get a taste of turkey without spending hours in the kitchen – just swap out the marinara sauce for gravy!

No time to cook? Pick up one of these apps: Meatballs or Arancini from DiPasquale’s, Hummus and Pita from Samos Greek Island Grill


Sweet Potatoes – my family’s Thanksgiving dinner includes not one, but two sweet potato dishes. My Aunt Diane makes a sweet potato souffle with marshmallows on top that is fairly similar to this Traditional Southern Sweet Potato Casserole. When I make the recipe I typically cut the amount of sugar and spices in half because sweet potatoes have such an amazing flavor on their own, but of course the traditional southern version must have ALL the sugar and butter 🙂 Diane also makes a candied sweet potato dish that looks similar to this candied yams recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese – Oh Pioneer Woman you do no wrong – especially with this ooey gooey mac and cheese. And for good measure here’s another recipe I’ve been scoping out with panko bread crumbs on top from the Mac and Cheese Chick.

Squash Casserole – my Mimi’s secret recipe is the best, but this Paula Deen version won’t steer you wrong either.

Brussels Sprouts – If you’re looking for a little veggies in your Friendsgiving feast look no further than this super easy recipe from Ina Garten. The most time consuming part is chopping the sprouts, but worth it for the finished product.

No time to cook? Pick up one of these sides: Mac and Cheese from Mission BBQ, Whipped Sweet Potatoes from Dinosaur BBQ (new to Harbor East), Brussels Sprouts from Whole Foods


Pumpkin Cookies – these crazy easy pumpkin spice cookies from PB Fingers (with cream cheese frosting!!) are delicious – just make sure you cook them for long enough. One year I took them out a little early thinking they would continue cooking on the pan and ended up bringing lumpy, under cooked pumpkin cookies to Friendsgiving. #fail

Chocolate and Strawberry Trifle – This isn’t particularly Thanksgiving-y but it is one of my absolute favorite desserts to make for a group. It tastes even better if you make it the night before and allow all the flavors to ooze together.

No time to cook? Pick up one of these desserts: Pumpkin Pie form Dangerously Delicious Pies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Patisserie Poupon

Strawberry Chocolate Trifle Potluck Dessert

Are you going to a Friendsgiving potluck? What are you bringing? 

Friday Five (Favorite Fall Foods)

It’s officially leggings, boots and sweater weather so today is the perfect day for the DC Trifecta favorite fall foods linkup. After you drool over the dishes below, check out what Courtney, Mar and Cynthia‘s favorites are as well. And don’t forget to check out Heather’s Friday Favorites.

Roast Fall vegetables squash

  1. Roast Veggies – hands down my favorite food to make in the fall. Only slightly complicated by the fact that my dog has developed a major fear of the oven and whenever it’s on he cowers around the house with his tail between his legs. L Otherwise I would probably roast veggies every night. Butternut squash and broccoli or Brussel sprouts are probably my faves, but really everything is delicious when roasted with salt, pepper and a little splash of olive oil. I’ll add a squirt of maple syrup if I want to have a twinge of sweetness.
  1. Pretty much anything off of Peter’s Inn’s ever changing seasonal menu – like this week they have braised pork shank with greens and cheese grits or seared scallops with pumpkin risotto. Both sound amazing and like the perfect fall comfort foods.

Atwater's Soup

  1. Soup – of any and all kinds. This summer I got hooked on half and half crab soup – half the red Maryland crab and half cream of crab, sharing a bowl in perfect harmony – and last weekend I had a delicious bowl at Plug Ugly’s in Canton. I’ve already raved about Atwater’s soups and their’s a new ramen place in Federal Hill that is a great addition to the neighborhood.
  1. All apple everything – apple cider, apple pie, caramel apple thumbprint scone at Panera (approximately 8 million calories but just so good).

5. Easy one pan meals – like this creation sort of inspired by Tuscan Skillet White Bean Chicken. Onions, mushrooms, white beans, tomato, spicy chicken sausage + seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, oregano). Easy, tasty and filling = the perfect fall meal.

easy one skillet chicken sausage white bean

Food Pics for Days

Since today is WIAW – it seems like a great time to photo dump all the amazing things I’ve been eating lately. (Today is also the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, a day of atonement and fasting which also makes this pre-written post particularly ironic). It’s is also a good reminder that I’ve been eating out WAYYY too much lately and need to rein that back in over the next few weeks. It looks like I eat a lot of seafood. Which I do – especially in the summer. I definitely like to order it when I’m out since I rarely cook it at home. Without further ado, feel free to drool away over these tasty dishes…

beach clam chowder

Beach eats: Clam chowdah above and shrimp and polenta below.

shrimp and polenta

cod and corn

More beach food – cod with sweet corn and a seafood stew.

seafood stew

arugala salad

Arugula salad with avocado and hearts of palm topped with delicious parmesan cheese.

shrimp and white beans

Shrimp with white beans in tomato sauce.

tuna tartar

Incredibly delicious tuna tartare.


Above – Halibut at Black Salt. Below – pulled chicken at Mission BBQ.

t bbq

lobster salad

Lobster cobb salad.

What have you been eating lately? Is there a particular dish you like to order when you go out?