Everything is going to the beat

Another milkshake victory. This may actually be one of the best I’ve ever made. Make it NOW.

1/3 cup 2% milk
1/3 cup (or a bit more) canned pumpkin
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
cinnamon, ginger, allspice (a few shakes of each)
1 capful of almond extract

…I’m in heaven.

Chaos is a friend of mine

With several more days of enviable meals and Boston fun under my belt, I’m back to tell some stories!

On Thursday I dragged Dan to the track to run, and he actually ran one mile with me. This is a bigger deal than you might think — I’ve been begging him for two years to run with me and he finally gave in. It was sultry out to say the least: the kind of heat that makes track running unbearable because the heat just emanates from below and sears your skin.

After a much-needed shower and leftovers for lunch, we went to Legacy Place, a shopping plaza in Dedham, with Dan’s mom. I discovered my new favorite store: Love Culture, where I bought adorable sandals, a dress, and some shirts. Around 4 pm, we returned home to get ready for…THE BOSTON POPS! But first, dinner at Tantric.

With our restaurant.com certificate, we needed to spend $45 to get $25 off. Needless to say, that was a ton of food. To start, we split a mango lassi and an order of lamb seekh kebabs (mint-infused, with cucumber chutney). For entrees, we ate saag paneer and aloo gobi, with basmati rice and roti on the side. Probably the only time Dan will ever eat a mostly vegetarian meal, but I think he secretly enjoyed it. The food was phenomenal. Sadly, we were stuffed halfway through, so we took the rest to go.

After a smartphone map fail, we made it to the Pops at 7:50, on time by the skin of our teeth. The concert was amazing and I absolutely loved seeing Julia Murney. Stephanie Block was also fantastic and so entertaining. Definitely a perfect introduction to the BSO, since I’d never been before but would love to go in the future! Afterward we tried Red Mango, which I thought was better than Pinkberry but still didn’t live up to the hype. I did like that Red Mango has all-natural ingredients though! My froyo was dark chocolate flavored, with banana, chocolate chips, raspberries and blackberries.

The next day (Friday) we went to the track again and I ran four miles while Dan had a conference call. We had a lazy afternoon and watched some HIMYM. His parents had to attend a funeral that afternoon, but his mom left dinner for us: sauteed spinach with soy/oyster sauce, apricot noodle kugel with cinnamon sugar on top, and a sweet brisket (I think also with apricot juice). We took the T into Boston and headed to the North End for a pecan caramel brownie at Mike’s Pastry before meeting my brother and his two friends for drinks at the Lenox Hotel.

There, I confirmed my love affair with gin. My first drink was a P/C Southside, made with gin, cucumber, mint, POM and lime juice. It was served with crushed ice (not my favorite thing in a drink) but hardly any noticeable alcohol taste (my favorite thing in a drink). The other drink was a Tom Collins, which will be my future go-to cocktail as I continue to morph into Betty Draper (the red 1950s wedges that I bought recently may be contributing as well). The T took forever that night, so we sat at Copley for a solid half hour before one came.

The next day was the Bruins parade, so we slept in a bit in order to avoid the traffic from that. For lunch, Dan and his mom and I made salmon burgers and a spinach salad with tons of veggies. We got into Boston around 2:30 after T delays and went to Mike’s Pastry again. The previous night I was craving a lobster tail (sfogliatelle), but Dan had a once-in-a-blue-moon chocolate craving so I took full advantage. ;) So we shared a lobster tail and it was to die for. Flaky, crispy pastry with sweet whipped pastry cream inside…yummm. I would eat one every other day if I lived in Boston, so it’s probably good that I don’t, so as to preserve my wallet and my waistline! We planned to go to Haymarket afterward, but suddenly the skies opened and it poured for half an hour. When it stopped, we strolled around Haymarket and bought some veggies for his mother and some cherries for ourselves.

Then we met my brother at the Common and went to Penang for dinner (my favorite!). Wonderful meal — roti canai (Indian pancake with chicken curry dipping sauce), coconut rice, lobster in a chili/shrimp sauce, fried pearl noodle (with shrimp, pork, sprouts, egg, etc.) and mango chicken. As per usual I had a huuuuge food baby afterward. Something about that place makes me overeat — maybe it’s because the food is out of this world…

We considered going to a Sox game that night, since I’ve never been to a major league game, but tickets stayed high because so many people stayed in the city after the parade. We also entertained the idea of going to a free Pointer Sisters concert at the Hatch Shell but ultimately we ended up just hanging out with my brother and then going home early to pack. I left at 7:30 am on Sunday. :(

I promise these last couple (ridiculously long) entries were exceptions — I’m going to try to keep things a bit shorter normally. Writing long posts is exhausting and I’m sure reading them is just as tiring!

Throw your soul through every open door

Hello from Boston (Newton, at the moment, if we’re being technical)!

I planned to update this at the end of my week in Boston with descriptions of amazing food and some pictures, but then it occurred to me that I can’t wait that long or I’ll forget half of what I ate. Also, Dan is watching the Stanley Cup game and I need to babble about food!

I got in two days ago (6/13) around dinnertime. Dan’s mom made flank steak with fresh tomatoes and peppers from the garden, served over brown rice (yummy). We took the T into Boston to meet my brother for drinks a bit later and went to the Charlesmark Hotel. While Jonah and Dan drank some ridiculous concoction with Patron XO Cafe and vodka (too strong for a lightweight like me), I tried an espresso/chocolate martini (it had coffee beans on top! So cute!) and a Negroni, which is gin, campari, bitters, etc. Both delicious, but I made the boys help me finish them. :)

So yesterday (6/14) was my 22nd birthday! Dan and I took the T into Boston and met a maintenance guy at Jonah’s apartment (he forgot his keys there). We went on a swan boat ride at the Public Garden and then shopped on Newbury Street forever. I bought a shirt at Marshall’s and some stuff at Forever 21 (my favorite store). The Forever 21 store was 4 stories and the line for the fitting room took over ten minutes…ridiculous!

I also tried Pinkberry frozen yogurt for the first time — coconut flavored, with mango, raspberries and blueberries. The fruit was good, as was the yogurt, but overall I think it was a bit overrated. So we shopped and killed time for awhile before heading to Cambridge, where we shopped at the Cambridgeside Galleria mall and met Jonah for dinner at The Helmand, an Afghani restaurant.

Now, I’ve never had Afghani food before. My brother loves it and he took my dad there when he visited Boston recently. We ended up ordering three appetizers, a carafe of house red wine, and three entrees, in addition to the bread. So much food! I’m not sure I can do it justice from memory, so I’m using the menu to refresh my memory about what exactly was in each dish (and maybe copy the descriptions):

So the bread was similar to a flat sourdough focaccia, I would say. They baked it in a brick oven right in view of the dining area and served it with three dipping sauces: a yogurt-mint sauce (similar to raita or tzatziki), cilantro-vinegar, and hot chili pepper. All three were delicious. I tried not to fill up on the bread! Then the appetizers arrived. We had kaddo (“pan-fried baked baby pumpkin seasoned w/sugar & served on yogurt and garlic sauce, Topped with ground beef sauce”). This dish blew my mind. It sounded really strange and was so, so delicious. We also had mantwo (“homemade pastry shells filled with onions and beef. Served on yogurt and topped with carrots, yellow split peas and beef sauce”) and sabzi (“spinach sauteed with onions, garlic, salt and black pepper”).

The entrees were called qabelee (“pallow rice baked with chunks of lamb tenderloin, raisins and glazed julienne of carrots”), chowpan (“Half Rack of Lamb marinated, grilled and served on a bed of Afghan bread with sauteed eggplant and pallow rice”) and Ma-He Berian (“filet of trout pan fried, served with sauteed eggplant and rice seasoned with dates and walnuts). SO GOOD. Pallow rice is one of two ways they prepare rice (“rice boiled then drained of water, seasoned with canola oil,cardomum, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin seed and black pepper and then baked”). So we were stuffed to the gills and then got back to Dan’s and had a cake that his mom bought — really dense dark chocolate with some fruit filling, maybe raspberry?

That brings us to today. We ate brunch before we left Newton and then shopped on Washington Street for a few hours. By four pm, we were both hungry and decided to split summer rolls and a shrimp vermicelli entree for a late lunch at Pho Pasteur. I only remembered to take a picture when we had finished the meal…oops. Afterward, we continued shopping before taking the T back to Newton and going to dinner at C. Tsar’s Mediterranean Bistro with Dan’s parents. Dan and I split a Greek salad to start, then had shrimp/asparagus/caramelized onion/fontina flatbread pizza and pasta with white beans, broccoli rabe and homemade chicken sausage. Unfortunately we barely made a dent in our entrees but made up for it when we got home by having more of the delicious birthday cake. :)

That brings us up to speed! More foodie descriptions and maybe some pictures tomorrow (there are some on my Facebook already). We’re planning to go for a run at the track, shop in Newton, and then go to dinner at Tantric India Bistro before going to the Boston Pops. Julia Murney is the guest artist for a Broadway-themed evening…I’m incredibly excited!

I saw your face and that’s the last I’ve seen of my heart

I am excited about three things right now:

1. My smoothie!
Today’s post-workout (hilly walk and Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred video) elixir, which resembles Peppermint Patty ice cream in appearance only:

1/2 cup skim milk (blend by itself so it gets frothy)
strawberry Greek yogurt (I used a 5.3 oz container of Brown Cow)
4 strawberries, sliced
ice (I used a lot)
leftover celery

Celery was an afterthought, since we have one new bunch and the remnants of an old bunch in the fridge. I used the innards of the old bunch…the parts that no one ever wants to eat because they’re yellow and wilty. Can’t tell the difference once it’s blended! Also, I made a great smoothie yesterday with celery, romaine, pureed pumpkin, frozen banana, and cinnamon. It’s really astonishing to me how well veggies blend in to a fruit smoothie.

2. Possible marathon in October?!
Ever since I ran the 13.1® New York half in April, I’ve been trying to plan another half-marathon to do because I had so much fun (and experienced so much soreness and pain after, but I conveniently forget that part). Now I may be doing a full marathon! Syracuse is hosting the first annual Empire State Marathon on October 16. I’ll have to start training next week if I want to do this, but I am definitely looking forward to it. Running a marathon has been a life goal for me since high school, or maybe even junior high.

3. Boston next week!
I bought my Greyhound ticket yesterday and will be heading to Boston on Monday, June 13th to spend my birthday (the 14th) and the rest of the week with Dan and his family. I plan to spend the entire week exploring Boston, shopping, swimming at Dan’s, and being a humongous foodie. Expect several posts about foodie adventures (and hopefully pictures, since I finally fixed my digital camera)!

Summer is the smoothie season…

A fantastic smoothie is a tough task. Every summer, I become obsessed with creating the ultimate milkshake or smoothie, to the point that I pressure myself to top the previous one I made.

Smoothies can be really simple, but mine usually aren’t. I pore over bizarre ingredients to concoct the perfect taste, the ideal texture, the appropriate temperature. Complicated? Of course. Delicious? Undoubtedly.

Frozen spinach has been the guest star of my smoothies this week. Mixed with other ingredients, you can hardly taste it. It adds great texture and some nutrients. It works really well with a banana/plain yogurt base and some berries for a breakfast smoothie. Also, it turns the entire smoothie green (because I’m secretly six years old).

Tonight I opted for a different spin: chocolate-spinach-banana milkshake. I know, it sounds disgusting. But it tastes like a cold, liquid version of my mom’s amazing chocolate zucchini bread. As with all my milkshakes, I improvised the recipe (warning: this does not always turn out well — I ruined one smoothie this week). Here it is:

1 banana (frozen or regular; this time I used regular)
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T oat bran
1/2 cup skim milk
frozen spinach (break it up w/ a fork so the blender doesn’t get stuck)
1 t blackstrap molasses
a couple of ice cubes

The molasses gives it just enough sweetness to balance the cocoa powder and the spinach. Meanwhile, the spinach taste defers to the other flavors. Tasty and (relatively) healthy, but sadly not green.

Miracle I made it through the things I did

Six days ago, I emerged from the haze of undergraduate life and returned to life at my parents’ house. A box of half-eaten food, a Bachelor of Science degree and a ridiculous amount of memories made the journey with me.

I begin a new chapter of my life in three weeks — grad school for broadcast journalism. Until then, I’m in limbo.

I turn 22 next week. I move into my new apartment on July 1st. I start class on July 5th. If anything can top the last four years, the next 18 months may be it.

Somewhere between child and adult, college and grad school, one chapter and the next, I suddenly find myself with too much free time and too many thoughts. Suddenly, 140 characters on Twitter seems too little space for my impending quarter-life crisis.

This blog is the first I’ve had since my LiveJournal days, so the posts will probably be all over the place. I expect there will be insane descriptions of my cooking & eating foodie adventures, philosophical musings about life & grad school, and the occasional quotation drop. Essentially, my Twitter in long form. Get ready to rock.