Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Parents Night Out at Trade. Because You Deserve It.


The month of September is ROUGH. The kids are back in school which means: back to packing lunches, back to being their personal uber driver to and from activities, back to school nights, back to homework, back to life. Back to reality. So when I had the opportunity to partake in a Parents Night Out at one of the hottest restaurants in Boston, I was like that mom of 6 leaving her kids with her husband for the weekend.

Not only did I get to enjoy the company of some fabulous bloggers including Leah, Debbie, Nancy, Dave, Kim, Kimberly, Phyllis and Kristina, but I was finally able to check out Jody Adams' Trade in Fort Point Channel district. Trade's sophisticated decor easily doubles as a power-lunch spot or high-energy, after-work destination. And the perfect spot for us parents to let loose.

First up, Trade's award-winning beverage program:

"Beets By Trade" - Bullyboy vodka, beet + cucumber simple syrup, lime & pineapple

"Not a Cloud in the Sky" - Mt. Gay Rum, hibiscus, vanilla, lavender

Trade's dinner menu features Mediterranean-inspired small plates packed with bold flavors. Some of my faves included:

Buttermilk fried quail with harissa aioli and pickled root vegetables
Tasso Ham and Smoked Gouda Flatbread with roasted corn, pickled pepper and onion

Halibut with arugula pesto and roasted corn succotash

Baked Rigatoni with spicy lamb ragu and provolone

Desserts were decadent and equally as fun as the rest of our meal. We got try ginger ice cream topped with chili chocolate sauce and the most grown-up version of "cookies and milk" which were homemade oreos with a side of crema spressa.

Trade was the perfect combination of creative drinks, sophisticated food and upscale atmosphere - a great place for a parents night out.

TRADE
50 Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA
http://trade-boston.com/

A photo posted by tradeboston (@tradeboston) on



Disclaimer: Thanks to Trade for hosting #TradeParentsNightOut, which I received free of charge. As always, opinions are my own. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

#MeatlessMonday


We're in our first full week of hurried mornings, afternoon schlepping, and scrambling evening dinners. So I'm determined to get back to meal planning to keep my sanity and make sure the boys are getting a home cooked dinner at the end of a long day. One of the things I try to stick to is making a meatless dish one night a week. The kids have embraced #meatlessmondays (and they're always up for Taco Tuesday). Plus I always feel better when I can get more veggies in their diet.

Looking for some easy and satisfying Meatless Monday meals? Here are links to 3 of our favorites that are in regular rotation at our house.

Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe, Toasted Garlic and Bread Crumbs (by Mark Bittman) - this dish whips up in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. I love the simplicity of this dish. And the kids don't even mind the bitterness of Broccoli Rabe. Sometimes I switch it up and use broccolini instead (call me crazy!).

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry (by ChopChop Magazine) - I'm slowly converting my kids to fans of Indian cuisine all thanks to this dish. I love it as it is mostly made from pantry staples. They love it because it's not too spicy. And it's served over rice.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai (by The Kitchn) - I've tried getting my kids on the zoodles train and anything spiralized, but no luck. They're on to me. But then I came across this recipe from The Kitchn marrying Spaghetti Squash and Pad Thai and it was a slam dunk.

Have a great week!


Monday, September 5, 2016

The Sweet Life


Exhale. View from Welch Mountain, NH.

Like so many of us, I am going through the end-of-summer blues. It's been an amazing summer packed with new adventures and tried and true traditions. To help me and the boys make the transition into Fall, we started a new tradition of going through photos taken this summer and sharing what we're looking forward to this Fall. It's a little bit of closure we all need.

What I discovered in this mini celebration is just how lucky we are. A new home. Good friends. Happy and healthy kids. Trips to the beach. Delicious meals. Loving family. Not to get too sappy on y'all, but yeah, life is pretty sweet.

We soaked up the last carefree summer weekend with a family hike and Labor Day cookout with friends. As a reward for completing the hike and to share a sweet treat with friends, we tried a flight of handcrafted, honey-infused Gather Chocolates from Harbor Sweets. OMG were these good. Even our chocolate aficionado friends were impressed. Equally as impressive is the fact that a percentage of Gather sales will be donated to the Pollinator Partnership to aid in their efforts to protect honeybees and other pollinators.

Gather Chocolates was conceived out of a love for nature and the outdoors. And as its name implies, it's a celebration of the gathering of friends and family. I can't think of a sweeter way to celebrate the end of summer.

Disclosure: Thanks Harbor Sweets for giving me the opportunity to try some Gather Chocolates. As always, all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Motherhood: Fueled by Atlas Coffee


I came across this someecard recently and nodded with approval. I may have even said "yaaaasssssss" out loud, eliciting strange looks from the people nearby while I was in the checkout line at the store. I was a coffee drinker before kids. Now as a mom of two boys, I'm a hard-core coffee drinker. My husband might whisper the label "addict." Yes, I love me some coffee.

But when your kid comes to you like this:

And it's not even 8am, I need a caffeine boost.

Or when they are non-stop goofy like this:

A big 'ol cup of coffee helps me laugh through it all and power through the day.

Over the years, I have become a little more selective about my coffee. My husband might even whisper "coffee snob." Yes, I appreciate really good coffee. I have learned a lot about what makes good coffee, including the importance of a quality burr coffee grinder, water temperature and fresh roasted coffee beans. I will go out of may way to procure a pound of premium coffee.

So when I had the opportunity to try Atlas Coffee Club, I was all over it like foam on my cappuccino. Atlas Coffee Club is a gourmet coffee of the month company, curating exotic coffee from all around the world and delivering it to your doorstep. They source premium single origin coffee from farms around the world, and pay above market prices to ensure sustainable farming practices. And each batch is roasted just before shipping (each bag is stamped with roasting date) so you know the coffee is fresh. Click here to learn more. Plus they're is giving away a 6-month membership.

Okay, going to enjoy more of this Ethiopian coffee before my second job as my kids' personal uber driver begins.


Disclosure: Thanks Atlas Coffee Club for giving me the opportunity to try some coffee. As always, all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 12, 2016

On-Demand Babysitting

As a mom with two young kids, I'm always on the search for a good sitter. We've been fortunate to have had a handful of amazing sitters we can reliably call on. But I seem to have forgotten that they move on to college (gasp) or full-time careers (sigh). And now that we've moved into a new 'hood, I feel like the new mom all over again, desperate to find new sitters to add to my contacts.

Enter Chime, the Uber of babysitting booking apps. Okay. I know everyone uses that analogy whenever they describe a new startup. But Chime is legitimately a game-changer. And here are 6 reasons why:

1. Chime is brought to you by SitterCity: SitterCity pioneered the category of online childcare with over 15 years experience connecting families and caregivers. SitterCity boasts 7 million members with more than 2,000 new sitters joining every day.

2. MVPs of babysitters: SitterCity hand-picks sitters from the top 1% of SitterCity's national database. Chime only works with sitters who are highly rated and get glowing reviews from local families.

3. Sitters are seriously vetted: Chime conducts an extensive reference and background check, along with child safety and social media screens. Plus they interview every candidate in person, to identify people who genuinely are interested in childcare.

4. Easy-to-use app: Just enter your location and you will see pre-screened Chime sitters near you. You can watch video profiles and read parent reviews. Pick a date and time and book your sitter (or schedule an interview). Done. Go to hellochime.com to see more.




5. No more awkward payments by the door: Once your sitting is complete, payment is automagically processed by credit card. Sitters charge a flat hourly rate. It's $16/hour (+$1 for each additional child) here in Boston.

6. No hidden fees: Chime is subscription free!

We recently had the opportunity to give Chime a try. It really was so easy to find and book a sitter. And more importantly, the boys LOVED Ashley (our sitter that came on a few days notice). With the start of school approaching, we will be in need of some extra hands (and an occasional date night), so we're pretty pumped to have discovered Chime.

Disclosure: Thank you Chime for giving me the opportunity to try the Chime app and a night out. As always, all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Ferragosto

I am in love with summer, especially this summer. The weather has been spectacular (though we could definitely use some rain) with fun-filled days ending with tired but happy boys. It's hard to believe it is already August and school is just around the corner. So when I heard about Ferragosto, I was all in.

Ferragosto is an Italian national holiday celebrated on August 15th through the end of the month. It marks the celebration of the Assumption of Mary and the beginning of Italy's summer holiday period. Life moves at a slower pace while families enjoy some R&R. So I'm embracing my new favorite holiday by taking it slow and heading to the beach for a picnic dinner with the family.

To celebrate Ferragosto, I'm preparing a traditional Italian meal that's easy to whip up and travels well for beachside dining.
Antipasto salad: caprese salad, prosciutto, salami, olives

Grilled veggies with a lemon, garlic and thyme plus crusty bread

And some Barone Fini Pinot Grigio - classic, crisp and fruity wine that pairs perfectly with this meal and feels like summer in a bottle.

Looking for more ideas to celebrate Ferragosto? Head to Prezza in the North End where Chef Anthony Caturano will be featuring a special Ferragosto menu from August 8-15th. Or head to Prezza after work for happy hour for every glass of Barone Fini wine purchase, 100% proceeds benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank.

See you on the beach! Ciao!

Disclosure: Thank you Barone Fini Winery for sending me a bottle of wine to try. As always, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#SeeMoreSummer


It *finally* feels like summer around here thanks to spectacular June weather, school is out and kids are coming in from playing until twilight, exhausted but happy. Now summer just got 80x better thanks to the Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Fridays program. Now in it's 8th year, the Highland Street Foundation has partnered with 80 different cultural institutions across Massachusetts to offer free (!) admission to museums, zoos, and gardens every Friday until August 26th! It's true!


I had the opportunity to check out the MIT Museum for the first time with my boys last Friday. We got our science on big time and loved every minute of it.


From mind-blowing holograms, robotics gallery and our favorite Gestural Engineering exhibit (think wind-up toys to a new level), it was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.


The MIT Museum has plenty of hands-on activities for kids, but it's just the right size for you to explore everything the museum has to offer in a few hours.

And as a treat, we headed across the street to our all-time favorite bakery, Flour, for some sticky buns and oreo cookies.

Check out the full schedule here and get out there and #SeeMoreSummer!

Disclosure: Thanks to Highland Street Foundation and MIT Museum for hosting us, which I received free of charge. As always, opinions are my own.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

15-Minute Recipe For Those Hectic-Post-Activity-Late-Dinners


Don't get me wrong. Spring is awesome. Bright sun. Blossoming trees and flowers. Everyone seems to be cheery. Except for the days we're running from one after-school activity to another, only to get home around 7pm and realize we still have to make dinner. I often will turn to my Slacker Mom Dinner Hacks on days like this. Or I make this amazing, good-for-you, semi-homemade, Creamy Greek Chicken Noodle Soup (Avgolemono) from Dinner: The Playbook. It's become an all-time favorite at our house, especially after a long day of school and baseball practice in the spring rain.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from Dinner: The Playbook by Jenny Rosenstrach

INGREDIENTS
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup uncooked orzo
salt and pepper
3 eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Handful fresh dill, chopped
Shredded rotisserie chicken

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.
  2. Add orzo and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to low; let simmer.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly ladle about 1/2 cup of hot broth to the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking to combine. 
  4. Remove simmering broth from heat (this step is crucial).
  5. Very slowly, drizzle the egg mixture back into the pot, whisking constantly for 2 full minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add dill and chicken and serve.


Friday, April 8, 2016

Guest Post: Upgrades to Achieve a Chef-Approved Kitchen

For someone like me who spends a whole lot of time in the kitchen, the way a kitchen functions, flows, and looks are probably more important to me than any other room in the house. This has become front and center in our lives as we looking to move and/or renovate a kitchen.

So I warmly welcome Becca Grady from Zillow to share her tips for simple upgrades to a kitchen that any home chef would love!

Simple Upgrades to Achieve a Chef-Approved Kitchen
By Becca Grady





A kitchen is more than just a space to prepare and cook food. Any good chef knows that it is a gathering area for friends and family, an entertainment spot and, ultimately, the heart of the home. Although most homes just need the basics – a refrigerator, sink, oven and stove – there are simple upgrades to ensure you have a pro-grade kitchen setup.

Whether you’re a food enthusiast or a seasoned chef, consider these tips for achieving a chef-approved kitchen.

Friendly Layout

An open floorplan and ease of movement is important for a well-designed kitchen. Although layout is sometimes out of your control, there are changes that can be made to better accommodate a good flow. If you have ample space in the center, consider adding an island to help alleviate any congestion and expedite meal prep.

Ample Light



Light is an important feature of an outstanding kitchen, and the more light, the better. Lighting can set the tone and have a large impact on ambiance. Having multiple sources of light – recessed lighting, hanging lights and under-the-cabinet strips – is best. sources for different purposes, you are able to easily adjust lighting to accommodate any need.

Surfaces

Any cooking enthusiast knows that a top-notch kitchen is all about the counter space, especially for spreading out all of the ingredients for preparation and plating the dish when it’s finished. Kitchen surfaces should also be easy to clean, heat resistant, durable and scratch proof. Selecting a countertop that is tough and fits within your budget is essential.

Faucets and Sinks



Sinks are one of the hardest working spaces in a kitchen. Upgrading your normal sink to one with a deep-set bowl is a must for any pro-grade kitchen. Additionally, consider replacing faucets with a gooseneck model and a pull-out sprayer. A gooseneck faucet allows you to turn on the water while having mess on your hands, while a pull out sprayer helps to clean off dishes with ease.  

Convenient Storage



Most professional kitchens will forego cabinets and drawers for storing utensils, dishes and pans, opting for open shelves. Open shelving systems allow for easy access to cooking tools and utensils. If you’re not interested in having your storage exposed, consider other storage options that improve accessibility. Look into installing a hanging pot rack, a magnetized knife strip or a handy roll-out shelf.


With limited budget and space, it’s important to decide what features matter most in a kitchen. To ensure the kitchen is worthy of an aspiring or skilled chef, try using some of these tips.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cooking Matters


Cooking Matters. Never did I think these two simple words would mean so much to me 10 years ago. Before I become I mom, I cooked occasionally with little thought on ingredients or sticking to a weekly budget. I had a good paying job. I cooked what I wanted and when I wanted.

Then I had kids. I was consumed with feeding them healthy food. We were on a strict budget. I made homemade baby food and tested new recipes with hopes they would adopt the same adventurous palate umdaddy and I had – and blogged about it along the way. Then I joined the team at ChopChop Magazine, embracing the mission of inspiring and teaching kids to cook real food as a way to combat hunger, poor nutrition and childhood obesity. Yeah, cooking matters. Big time.

So when I had the opportunity to hear about the work Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters is doing
Cooking Matters Alicia McCabe demonstrating
skills taught in a cooking class
here in Massachusetts, I didn’t hesitate. Cooking Matters teaches participants (many receiving SNAP and WIC benefits) to shop smarter, cook delicious meals, and how to make healthy choices. With the help of an army of volunteers, participants enroll in a six-week cooking course that include a grocery tour to teach how to shop, read nutrition labels, and stretch their dollars.

And the results are impressive. In a recent study on the impact of Cooking Matters:
  • Participants have increased confidence in the kitchen
  • Number of meals cooked at home increased
  • Families are eating healthier and choosing healthy foods (whole grains, low-fat dairy, low sodium)
  • Participants reported increase in their ability to stretch their food dollars

While there is evidence Cooking Matters is making an impact, there is still work that needs to be done. We need to reach more families. We need to demonstrate why cooking matters. How can you help? Volunteer. Attend a culinary event to benefit Cooking Matters. Teach someone you love how to cook. 
 
(credit: Share Our Strength)



Disclosure: Thanks to Share Our Strength and Kirkland Tap& Trotter for hosting the event, which I received free of charge. As always, opinions are my own.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails