Thursday, October 31, 2013

My ING NYC Marathon Runners Playlist - 80 songs!

Warning, this is a long post, as this will take a long time to finish reading...........
I leave tomorrow for NYC, gearing up for what will be the biggest accomplishment of my life. One I am not ready for but I am not allowing negativity to be here this week. In the meantime, this is my marathon playlist. Unless I am proactive today, this will also be my last post until Tuesday!

80 songs at 5:12 minutes. I can guarantee you this will not make it through the finish line so please let me know if you have any suggestions to add on. As you can see, I have a wide variety of music, from Van Morrison to the Muppets, Wu Tang Clan and even Disney musicals. I need 10 more songs to feel comfortable.

1. New York, New York - Frank Sinatra (duh)
2.Beautiful Day - U2 4:08
3. Dynamite - Taio Cruz  3:22
4. Stronger - Kanye West 5:11
5. Sexyback - Justin Timberlake 4:07
6. Good Feeling - Flo Rida 3:21
7. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 3:28
8. Without You - (feat. Usher) David Guetta 3:22
9. Party In The U.S.A. - Miley Cyrus 3:53
10. Wild Ones - Flo Rida 3:47
11. Firework - Katy Perry 4:30
12. Ms. Jackson - OutKast 4:24
13. Marry The Night - Lady Gaga 4:07
14. Good Feeling - Flo Rida 3:55
15. Hey Ya! - Outkast 3:54
16. Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper 2:33
17. Movin' Right Along - Alkaline Trio 3:30
18. American Girl Tom Petty - Play 3:50
19. Crazy Kids - Ke$ha 3:51
20. Burn - Ellie Goulding 3:40
21. Mahna Mahna - The Fray 3:26
22. Blow - Ke$ha 3:24
23. Evacuate The Dancefloor - Cascada  3:42
24. Applause - Lady Gaga 3:57
25. We R Who We R - Ke$ha 3:32
26. Hey Jude - (Glee Cast Version) Glee  3:28
27. Poker Face - Lady GaGa Play Remove Options 4:51
28. Wrecking Ball - Miley Cyrus 3:32
29. Die Young - Ke$ha  4:05
30. Where Them Girls At - (feat. Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida) David Guetta 4:54
31. Paparazzi - Lady GaGa  3:20
32. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond 4:36
33. Empire State Of Mind - [Jay-Z + Alicia Keys] 3:58
34. The Story - Brandi Carlile 4:00
35. Rainbow Connection - (feat. Hayley Williams) Weezer 2:13
36. Roar - Katy Perry Options 3:43  
37. Titanium - (feat. Sia) David Guetta 3:05
38. Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison 3:30
39. Fix You - Coldplay 4:28
40. Push It - Salt-N-Pepa Play 4:22
41. Poison - Bell Biv Devoe 3:50
42. Hypnotize - The Notorious B.I.G.5:38
43. Triumph - Wu-Tang Clan 4:30
44. You've Got A Friend - James Taylor 5:04
45. B.O.B. - OutKast 3:18
46. Toxic - Britney Spears 3:44
47. Womanizer - Britney Spears 3:23
48. I'm A Slave 4 U - Britney Spears 4:02
49. Sexyback - Justin Timberlake 4:27
50. Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake 4:51
51. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) - Whitney Houston 3:19
52. TiK ToK - Ke$ha 3:15
53. Under The Sea - Samuel E. Wright 1:07
54. Prince Ali (Reprise) - Jonathan Freeman 3:44
55. Be Our Guest - Angela Lansbury 3:59
56. Circle Of Life - Carmen Twillie 3:33
57. Hakuna Matata - Nathan Lane/Ernie Sabella/ Jason Weaver/Joseph Williams 3:54
58. Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) - Pitbull featuring T-Pain 5:11
59. Stronger - Kanye West 4:09
60. Don't Stop Believin' - Journey 4:42
61. Firestarter (Original Mix) - The Prodigy 3:47
62. International Love - Pitbull Featuring Chris Brown 5:43
63. Smack My Bitch Up (Original Mix) - The Prodigy 4:07
64. Good Feeling - Flo Rida 3:13
65. Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen 4:13
66. Dog Days Are Over - Florence & The Machine 4:02
67. Where Have You Been - Rihanna 4:16
68. Too Close - Alex Clare 3:25
69. Ball - (feat. Lil Wayne) T.I. 4:18
70. Can't Hold Us - (feat. Ray Dalton) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis 3:56
71. Motownphilly Boyz II Men 4:04
72. Run Away - Real McCoy 5:22
73. Wobble - V.I.C. 4:18
74. Beat It - Michael Jackson 3:42
75. Roar - Katy Perry 3:16
76. Seether - Veruca Salt 3:31
77. Lights - Ellie Goulding 4:46
78. Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding 2:56
79. Starry Eyed - Ellie Goulding 6:33
80. Silence - (feat. Sarah McLachlan) Delerium

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wedding Wednesdays - Wedding Flats.....

I have a lot of good friends - yet only a small handful know my true shoe addiction. They see me as the girl who wears flip flops and sparkle ballet flats. Yet, a few years back, I lived in a different world. One where I bought Christian Louboutins at a whim, just because. Gucci heels were my casual shoe. Cole Haan? Yeah - that was my work shoe.

Present day I laugh at this and wish I still had that girls bank account. I am a designer shoe hoarder. I still have all of these shoes, stuffed in their dust bags, in their boxes. 

I always imagined myself wearing a pair of Christian Louboutin's on my day wedding - photos are more important to me than comfort. I always dreamed of being that bride with the red soled shoes. That may not happen, for more reasons than monetary. I am the same height as my fiance.....meaning Christians signature 3"+ heels is not an option. Bye bye beauties........
I do not want to be taller that Gabe in our photos. I am giving up the red sole beauties........ along with my second choice, the Badgley Mischka "something blue shoes"
So now we are talking flats........

Unless Christian Louboutin comes out with an amazing bridal line for tall brides to be, my dreams of having the red sole photos are quickly coming to an end. The ones above do not satisfy this shoe girl. 

I also must state that I hate white shoes....I don't care the heel or style, I loathe white shoes of all kind. I also do not want to look like Dorothy with sparkly red shoes so I am weary of colored flats. Since I got my gown at such a discounted price, I have a higher than normal shoe budget. See, the old me is living somewhere deep inside! I also want a shoe I can wear again.

If I go for a black lace bridesmaid dress, I will most likely get these Tory Burch Satin and Lace Chelsea flats. It fits my wedding style and is something I would so wear again!
Although I am weary of colored flats, I really love these Tory Burch Chelsea Flats and they would be my something blue.


Vera Wang This is an older style but I am stalking my Nordstrom Rack on a weekly basis, just in case.
These Christians are amazing but cannot find them anywhere online. Come on Christian, make a line for taller brides!
Photo via Union Eleven Photographers 
Jimmy Choo - I think I like the label better than the shoe
Kate Spade Cayman Flats......not a fan at all........

Kate Spade Flambe Flat um..........
Tory Burch Metalic Azalea Ballet Flat Other than the fact the bow is too big, I like these. It also may be my obsession with everything Tory Burch.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Going to NYC with a first timer

I have been to New York more times than I can count on my fingers and toes combined. I haven't visited NYC as a "tourist" in many years. I cannot recall the last time I visited the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building or any of the museums.  In fact, my last touristy memory was vowing to never ever ever visit Empire State Building again in my life and more recently, never ever stepping foot in Times Square again.

Well, things change when you travel to the City with someone for the first time. Gabe has never been to NY and we will be arriving on Friday morning, staying through Monday afternoon. While much of Sunday is shot with the NY Marathon, I will have to do some major planning to make sure he has an amazing time on our long weekend.

So..........what to do? Where to go? Where to eat? I usually plan out my NY trips based on where I stay. This time around, we are fortunate to be staying with my family in the Upper East Side. For the first time in my adult life, I am sitting less than 4 days away from arriving on vacation with absolutely nothing planned for our trip. I am having a hard time trying to ensure we don't waste a single moment so he gets the most out of our trip. At the same time, I cannot overdo it on the days prior to the marathon.

Here's what I have so far.

Friday
Lunch - David Burke Townhouse. I visited this establishment last summer and fell in love with it and cannot wait to bring Gabe here!
Visit - This will be a packed day - first stop is at the Expo for packet pickup, then off to visit Rockefeller Center to watch people fall ice skating while eating a Macaron from Bouchon Baker, then off to pay respect at the 911 Memorial Center. If time permits, early cocktails at the MET.
Dinner - (with family, not sure where)
Dessert or Drinks TBD
Saturday
Breakfast - Probably a Bagel and off to see some sights
centralparkzoo.com
Visit - TBD - possibly Central Park Zoo since I have never been there myself! They open at 10am and have a 2 hour tour which would be perfect for us.
Lunch - Serendipity 3! Foot long hot dogs and frozen hot chocolates - (do not judge - I am running a marathon the following day)
Visit - Although this contradicts what I said above, Gabe cannot go to NYC without seeing Times Square (gag). We may try to catch a 2pm Matinee, keeping me off my feet and making the visit over there worth our time.
Dinner - Eataly. Yes, I was just there during my visit to the city in September. There are many Italian restaurants in NYC but Eataly is the best foodie experience. I mayyyyy even take advantage of being in a condo and cook us a nice homemade pasta dinner that night, taking it easy before Sunday.......

Sunday
Todd Maisel - New York Daily News
All day (and hopefully not all night) - ING NYC Marathon
Dinner - Either David Burkes Fishtail, Shake Shack or a giant Patsy's Pizza all to myself, depending on how I feel. If you know my love of Lobster, Burgers and Pizza, you clearly understand my uncertainty to this decision. David Burkes Fishtail has Lobster Louie on Sunday nights only, a prix fixe 3 course lobster dinner for $38 a person. Yet knowing my belly issues on race day, I have a feeling we will be eating pizza since that is the one thing I can tolerate at any given time. Most people eat chicken noodle soup when they're sick - I eat Pizza.

Monday
Breakfast - TBD - Maybe another bagel :) or the NY staple, Bacon, Egg and Cheese?
Lunch - TBD .....is Katz too touristy? Or do we go to Momofuku Noodle Bar, which is a hike from where we are staying, but a place we both want to go to?? ORRR if we make the hike, Ed's Lobster Bar for the famous Lobster Roll, which Iron Chef Michael Symon called his favorite of all?

For those who have been to NYC before, what am I missing? I've asked Gabe 100 times what he wants to do and he told me that he wants me to plan everything. I still ask nightly if there was anything particular dish he wants or site to see - I keep getting the same answer. We don't have the time to visit Statue of Liberty and as I mentioned above, going up the Empire State Building is something neither of us care to do.

Why are all of my friends are giraffes on facebook?

I woke up yesterday morning and noticed that one of my favorite animals was becoming a profile pic for many of my friends on facebook - the giraffe. As the day went on, more and more friends became long necked beauties. I had to know why my friends were turning into giraffes on facebook?

Riddle me this - Riddle me that....A friend on Facebook messages a group a question. You are to respond to them directly. If you get the answer correct, you get to keep your profile pic. If they get it wrong, your friend must make his or her profile pic. I am amazed at how many people of all ages are playing along in this virtual game.

The riddle:

3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors. It's your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?
Spoiler below

My answer was: Well, it's 3am - if my parents drove across the state at 3am to see me without notice, something is very wrong so I would open the door in shock - then open a bottle of wine to calm my nerves. Apparently, I am miss smarty pants. The answer is, the first thing you open is the door (although others are saying your eyes).

My best friend Keri has always said I resemble a giraffe, so it is to no surprise they came flocking to see me while visiting at Busch Gardens a few years back. I kinda want to make this my profile pic to fit in with everyone else!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Smirnoff introduces two new flavors, Cinna-Sugar Twist and Wild Honey

Well, I am officially old. My little brother turned 30 yesterday. I still look at him like he is 16 years old (perhaps because he acts like one). Time goes by way too fast!

One thing that keeps me feeling young is flavored vodka. Smirnoff recently introduced two new flavors of Vodka - Cinna Sugar Twist and Wild Honey. I was ecstatic review them....so excited that I misplaced the bottle of wild honey. I am hoping it will reappear soon. How do you lose a bottle of Vodka?!

The Cinna-Sugar Twist tastes exactly like it's title. I tried it over ice and the vodka had me craving cinnamon toast crunch. It is very sweet so I wanted to mix it with a not so sweet mixer. One of the recipes I was given for the Cinna-Sugar Twist was a Coco Cooler. The coconut water was a great mixer and cut down the sweetness without taking away from the flavor.
Cinna Sugar Twist CoCo Cooler
Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist CoCo Cooler
  • 1.5 oz Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist Vodka
  • 5 oz coconut water
  • Orange Wedge garnish
Serve in a rocks glass over ice.\

I am really hoping that my bottle of Smirnoff Wild Honey Vodka turns up - There is a recipe I am dying to try called Truth Tea. Again, how does one possibly lose a bottle of vodka?! You cannot accidentally throw it away, it's not like you can misplace it.....I am baffled!

Smirnoff Wild Honey Truth Tea
  • 1.5 oz Smirnoff Wild Honey Vodka
  • 5 oz cold brew tea (mint or chamomile)
  • Gardish -- mint springs in lemon wheel
I have been experimenting with flavored vodkas, making Fall inspired cocktails. One that I really fell in love with is Caramel Apple Martini using Smirnoff Kissed Caramel. It tastes exactly like a liquid Caramel Apple, without getting your hands sticky.
Kissed Caramel Apple Martini
Caramel Apple Martini
  • 2.0 oz SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel (1/4 cup)
  • 1.5 oz apple juice (1/3 cup)
  • .25 oz lemon juice (1 tablespoon)
  • .25 oz simple syrup (1 tablespoon)
Shake all ingredients and strain into martini glass.

What do you think of Smirnoff's new flavors? You can check out a ton of recipes for Smirnoff flavors by clicking here. What cocktail would you make with either flavor?
Disclaimer: I was provided with Smirnoff Vodka for a review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Snickers Fudge Recipe for #SundaySupper Halloween Party

As many of you know, Halloween is my favorite time of year. We even had a Halloween engagement shoot at Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream, zombies, Vodoo Queen and all. We will also have Halloween elements at our wedding next fall.
As soon as SundaySupper Halloween Party was announced, I knew what I wanted to make. Gabe and I are both obsessed with Snickers Fudge. While I am not a big candy person, I love fudge and Snickers Fudge is my favorite. As a child, snickers was my favorite candy bar to find in my plastic pumpkin.

Making this fudge is easy but messy. It's a good idea to have everything measured out in advance, so you can grab the ingredient and go to the next step. I the mistake of not being prepared and had a major fight with caramel that sat too long in a bowl.

Snickers Fudge
(from about.com):

Ingredients
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butterscotch or peanut butter chips (I used butterscotch)
2/3 cup peanut butter, divided
1/2 stick (2 oz) butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1.5 cups marshmallow cream or fluff
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups chopped salted peanuts
1 package (14 oz) caramels

Directions: 
1. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. (I used a 8x8 pan so my fudge would be thicker)
2. Place the chocolate chips, butterscotch or peanut butter chips, and 1/3 cup of peanut butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating. Once the chocolate mixture is melted and completely smooth, pour half of it in the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Set aside the remaining chocolate mixture for later use, and place the pan in the refrigerator to set the chocolate while you prepare the next layer.
3. Place the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves. Stir occasionally until the mixture comes to a boil. Once it reaches this point, stir continuously while boiling for five minutes.
4. After five minutes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the marshmallow cream, remaining 1/3 cup of peanut butter, and the chopped peanuts. Spread this over the chocolate layer in the pan, taking care to not disturb the chocolate and to spread it in an even layer. Return the pan to the refrigerator to set the peanut layer.
5. Unwrap the caramels and put them in a large microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Microwave until melted, stirring after every minute to prevent overheating. If the caramels are very stiff and resist melting, add another tablespoon of water, but only if completely necessary. (Adding too much liquid will make the caramel soft and cause it to ooze from the fudge once it is cut.)
6. Once the caramel is melted and smooth, pour it over the peanut layer in the pan. Smooth it into an even layer, and return the pan to the refrigerator to briefly set the caramel, for about 10 minutes.
7. If the remaining chocolate-peanut butter mixture has stiffened, microwave it briefly until it is melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate over the caramel and spread it into a smooth, even layer. Allow the fudge to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
8. Once set, remove the fudge from the pan using the foil as handles. Cut the fudge into small 1-inch squares, and put them in paper candy cups to serve.

This fudge came out perfect and delicious!!!!

Now lets check out what the rest of the SundaySupper family is making for our Halloween Party! There are a ton of great Halloween recipes here.

COCKTAILS
SWEETS AND DESSERTS
CUPCAKES, COOKIES AND MORE
APPETIZER, MAIN MEALS

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Great Grain Brain Challenge! 4 Weeks to a stronger brain

The following post is sponsored by Fitfluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain

A few weeks back, I wrote a post, dedicating it to my father who passed away 10 years ago. Dad passed from a Cerebral Hemorrhage. My Dad's Mom passed away at 72 years old from Alzheimer's. Needless to say, brain health has always been something of high importance to me.

I was introduced to a book called Grain Brain written by Dr. David Perlmutter, MD thanks to my affiliation with Fitfluential. Dr. Perlmutter happens to be a medical advisor to Dr. Oz. Grain Brain is about lifestyle changes you can make today to keep your brain healthy, vibrant and sharp. 

Grain Brain shows you that the fate of your brain is not solely based on genetics, but in the food you eat. According to Dr. Perlmutter, the cornerstone of many brain conditions is inflammation, which can be triggered by carbohydrates (especially gluten and high sugar). 

Did you know the human body needs 200 to 300 milligrams of DHA daily for a healthy brain? Most of us consume less than 25 percent of this target!! Although I try to eat good fats daily, I know I am no where near hitting that milligram mark. With the help of  ResVida,  Omega-3 Fish Oil and DHA, you can hit that daily intake mark. 

Your brain consists of more than 70% fat and needs good fats to stay healthy. I am always looking for ways to incorporate good fats into our diet. DHA omega-3 found in fatty fish helps reduce inflammation and certain vitamins, notably A, D, E and K, require fat to get absorbed properly in the body. 

Four Weeks to a Stronger Brain - The Grain Brain Challenge
Dr. Perlmutter’s has a four week plan plan is broken down into four week plan: 
  • Week 1 – Food: Shifting your body way from relying on carbs for fuel and adding brain health supplements. ResVida will enhances blood vessel dilation and supports healthy blood flow, Omega-3 Fish Oil helps maintain heart, vascular health, and brain health, and DHA  a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid the body needs and important for brain health. 
  • Week 2 – Incorporating a fitness routine
  • Week 3 – Getting restful, routine sleep seven days a week
  • Week 4 – Establishing a new rhythm to maintain these healthy habits
Now, for what is allowed and not allowed on this diet: 
Foods Allowed:
  • Healthy Fats – extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, organic butter, almond milk, avocados, nuts and nut butters, cheese, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
  • Herbs, seasonings, and condiments
  • Low Sugar Fruits and Vegetables – avocado, bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, lemons, limes, leafy greens and lettuce, spinach, broccoli, onions, Brussels sprouts, green beans, celery, garlic, asparagus
  • Protein – whole eggs, wild fish, grass-fed meat, fowl, poultry, pork
Foods Allowed in Moderation:
  • carrots
  • cottage cheese and yogurt
  • cow’s milk and cream
  • beans, lentils, and peas (no hummus)
  • non-gluten grains – buckwheat, rice, mille, quinoa, oats
  • sweetners – natural stevia and dark chocolate
  • whole sweet fruits – berries, melons, pineapple, etc.
  • wine in moderation (YAY!)
Foods Not Allowed:
  • Gluten including whole-grain and whole-wheat
  • Processed carbs, sugars, and starch
  • Packaged food labeled “fat free” or “low fat”
  • Margarine, vegetable shortening, cooking oil
  • Soy
Here is a recipe from the Grain Brain book. This sounds delicious! 

Huevos Rancheros Recipe from Grain Brain
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO or butter
  • 4 Gold Circle Farms DHA Omega-3 Cage Free Eggs
  • 4 cups coarsely torn frisee
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 tablespoons salsa
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add butter or olive oil to skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Crack eggs into skillet and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for runny yolks, more for firmer yolks
  3. Serve eggs over a bed of frisee and top with cheese, salsa, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
What do you think about the Grain Brain Challenge? 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flamestone Grill Tampa announces new menu

Flamestone Grill located in Tampa FL just released a new menu. Modern items, keeping up with food trends (pretzel buns, salted caramel and kale salads). I was very impressed with what I experienced and suggest anyone in the bay area to visit Flamestone ASAP.

We started off with Calamari: cornmeal crusted rings of squid, served with a delecious lemon pepper cracked aioli and a grilled lemon. I could honestly eat an entire plate of this!
Up next was one of my favorite items of the night, Buffalo Chicken Sliders on pretzel buns - it was perfect and I could so see myself noshing on these sliders during happy hour.
Keeping with the buffalo theme, the next item up was Shrimp N’ Grits: buffalo crispy shrimp, stone ground white cheddar grits. I am a Southern girl and those grits were legit. Too legit to grit!
After the appetizers were over, we tried two new salads, Kale Salad: kale, peanuts, carrots, chopped mint, fresh cilantro vinaigrette and a Beet & Goat Cheese Salad: arugula, heirloom beets, fried goat cheese, honey-citrus vinaigrette. I loved the beet and goat cheese salad. While I love kale, cilantro and mint, the Kale salad wasn't my thing.
Our first entree was N.Y Strip Steak: 14oz richly marbled, served with sauteed brussells sprouts and mashed potatoes. Delicious!
Finally, the highlight of the night - Chilean Sea Bass: yuzu marinated, miso broth, bamboo rice. I know this is weird but I am not a fan of Sea Bass....it's a texture thing. But the few bites I had were delicious. The broth, oh my - I could eat that every day. The entire table was raving over this so I know it was good.
Dessert time!! Up first was an adorable Peach Cobbler served in a cast iron skillet: White chocolate macadamia nut, vanilla bean ice cream topped this delicious treat.
One of my favorites (and you will rarely hear me say that about a dessert) was the Sticky Toffee Pudding: homemade Nutella ice cream, salted caramel. It was perfection times a million. I want to go back for more of this right now!
Overall, I was very impressed with Flamestone Grills new menu and say it is worth a try!

Flamestone American Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Amelia Island Farmers Market Luncheon #authenticamelia Omni Amelia Island Plantation

On day two of my weekend at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, we were woken up with a "Georgia Florida Line" Breakfast from the kitchen. This was our first of two breakfasts and I was very happy to see it wasn't a heavy meal. I grabbed my red bull, the orange and had a few bites of the yogurt before I headed out for my day out to discover Authentic Amelia Island.

With a Red Bull in hand, I headed off to meet the group to start our  morning off with a visit to Amelia Island Farmers Market. We were greeted by multiple local vendors, selling everything from homemade bread, produce and black garlic balsamic. We were each handed a $20 bill and instructed to shop for Chef Daven Wardynski and his talented team. Our purchases would be used for our lunch. This was one of the hardest shopping assignments I have ever been given.

I shopped as I would do so at home with a side of trying to impress the teacher. I ended up purchasing the following items, with $1 left over.
Tomato, Spinach, Apple, Squid Ink Pasta, Pink Peppercorn, French Baguette

After our shopping excursion, we visited the Champagne Bubble Bar and Biscuit Bar. Upon receiving our itinerary, I was overly intrigued on the Champagne Bubble Bar - and boy did it meet my curious expectations. I didn't want this moment to ever end.
Glasses of bubbles with frozen melon balls were quickly handed to us. From there, the result of our mimosas was left to our experimenting. Everything from ginger to berries to basil, we were able to infuse our cocktails. I chose peach ginger and it was out of this world. With a very pretty glass of bubbles in hand, I headed over to the Biscuit bar, where I chose a sausage egg and cheese concoction that was out of this world.
After we finished up, I met back up with my Mom and her friend, only to head back over to the Farmers Market. We spent the morning shopping and learning about everything Amelia Island has to offer. It was the perfect day and my only complaint is that I didn't have more time on the property. It was magical.

It was time for me to head back for lunch, which was hard to imagine being I was already full. To my surprise, we were greeted with menus, showcasing our names by the meal our products purchased earlier in the day helped make.

My name was on every single entree. Go Megan!
Our menu consisted of:
Amelia’s Market Minestrone: tomato, peanut, bell pepper (Megan, Mike, Kim, Andy). This dish was made using boiled peanuts instead of beans. When I saw that one of the other visitors purchased boiled peanutes, my eyes got large. What on earth would one do with those? Well, my friends, this was simply amazing. My contribution to this meal was the tomato and baguette.
Up next was a Spinach & Kale Salad: chia, popcorn, blue sky vin (Kim, Megan, Tracy). The blue sky vin was made using blue creme soda. Another purchase I was bug eyed over, along with the kettle corn. Amazingly, this was one of the best Kale salads I have ever had. I provided the spinach on this entree.

For the main course, we were presented a Cocoa & Coffee Braised Short Rib: with sweet potato, squid ink pasta, black garlic balsamic, arugula (Kim, Tracy, Hayley, Andy, Mike, Megan). This meal was amazing. I ate nearly every bite and wanted more. My contribution on this meal was the Squid Ink Pasta.
 Finally, dessert - Carrot Cake: apple, cream cheese, pink peppercorn (Andy, Megan). I don't have a sweet tooth yet this dessert was incredible. I was still full from the night before, leading into the morning and afternoon where all I did was eat eat eat. I don't have a huge appetite, so by the time I came to this, I was done. But I couldn't put my fork down. My contribution was the pink peppercorn and the apple.
This was such an awesome opportunity, to be able to see Chef Daven Wardynski's (and team) true creativity in action. He had less than 3 hours to create this masterpiece and was handed some interesting curve balls.

Our lunch was served in the Chef's Kitchen, an area you can rent out for private parties. It has a full working kitchen and you get to see them working their magic. Pretty cool right!? Check out Omni Amelia Island Plantation for more information.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Wedding Cakes

If you haven't figured out by now, I am overly detail oriented. I stress about so many small details but big things such as wedding dresses and cakes aren't ones I bother worrying about. Weird.

We are going to New Orleans in 5 weeks to finalize a few more things. One of the items on our list is cake tasting and selecting a design. I never imagined what my wedding cake would look like and there are way too many designs out there.

One of the many great things about having our reception at Hotel Mazarin is that our cake is included in our reception package, made by the world famous Haydel's Bakery in New Orleans. At least I wont have to stress about picking out a baker.

Oh, I should have mentioned - I HATE CAKE. I've never eaten a single piece of wedding cake in my life. Maybe this is why I am not too concerned with my own wedding cake. I have no clue what style cake I want. Gabe doesn't really care either - although he really likes whimsical and I do not.

So here are a few wedding cakes from a girl that dislikes cake. Some of these cakes were made by Haydel's. I need help picking something out - let me know what your favorite is!

Cake 1: I LOVE this cake. Take the lilac cala lilly out and replace it with black magic roses.

Cake 2: The details on this cake are amazing. This cake was created at Haydel's.

Cake 3: This cake is stunning. I love the bows, the bling and the flowers. Did I really just say bling?

Cake 4: This cake is very pretty - I would use black magic roses instead.

Cake 5: I mean, really.....this cake.....

Cake 6: This is another cake created at Haydel's, with fluer di lis and everything. It is a very cool NOLA style cake. 
What is your favorite from the list above and what flavor cake do you like?