Chels’s Favorite Things:
While sitting at the Healthy Living Summit a couple weekends ago, I got a little hungry. I decided to look in our, ever so lovely, swag bags to see if there were any snacks I felt like munching on. A lot of the stuff in the bag I couldn’t really eat due to food allergies and I didn’t want to take any risks having some sort of allergic reaction in the middle of a conference, but I found a bag of popchips. I’d never heard of them and they seemed like the safest bet! Honestly, I don’t think I’ve shut up about these chips since. They’re so good! And they’re all natural. Texturally they sort of remind me of soy crisps, flavor wise they remind me of… I’m not really sure because I’ve never come across a chip so tasty 😉 The barbeque chips are my favorite so far, they’ve got quite a kick to ’em! I went to Whole Foods the other day to pick up a bag of the original version too! I’m excited to try all of the flavors… and you all know I actually will, too 🙂 Follow popchips on Twitter (@popchips)… they’ve got some pretty fun things to say!
My Favorite Photo… this week
I went to Crane Beach in Ipswich (another favorite place!) on Wednesday with two of my best friends, Kate and Melis. We normally take an annual trip to St. Augustine, Florida together so it was really nice to hit up one of our New England beaches together for once! As we were taking a leisurely stroll down the shoreline to go play out on the sandbars we came across this:
Considering it’s supposed to be about 69 degrees in Boston tomorrow, this was probably one of the last days I’ll head up to Crane Beach this summer… or any beach really. So this photo makes me all kinds of happy and the fact that someone took the time to create this sunflower in the sand makes me smile 🙂 I really wish I actually got to see them making it… I would have wanted to help 😉
Functional Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
There is nothing in the world that I love more than a gadget, or really anything, that makes sense. Just really simply designed, well constructed, things. So when I got a package for my birthday that was in a translucent Chinese take out box, stuffed with olive green tissue paper, and had a big brown bow on top (brown? olive green? just one of my most favorite color combinations!), that was enough to make me happy. But when I opened it and found some very cool kitchen tools, my little heart skipped a beat. I’m pretty sure I’m going to get a heck of a lot of use out of these things! I feel like I should frame them or something… it’s like art for the kitchen! This stuff makes me giddy!
These measuring cups by Chef’n are fantastic! I love them because you can push the cups into themselves so they lay flat and won’t take up a lot of storage space… which is great for city apartments, where space can often be limited. The more room you can save in your kitchen drawers the better! The measurements are written in really large numbers for easy reading, too. As I was looking on the Chef’n website I drooled a little because I now want every product they’ve ever made and every product they ever will make. What kind of brilliant brains created such an awesome company? Read about the Seattle based company here! I’d like to ask them to be my best friends.
Another gift in the package was this funnel that I’m pretty amazed by. I never quite understood the traditional kitchen funnel. They’re so hard to store in drawers since they’re so awkwardly shaped, and they’re not really pretty so I’m not about to display it out in the open. So I always just keep it in a large drawer with my pots and pans. My new funnel, by dexas, made with a silicon material, expands and collapses. Hello, brilliance? It pivots one way with with a handle…
then it pivots another way to make pouring liquids into bottles easy! Pretty sweet, right?
Six measuring spoons… in one!
So really, with this one adjustable measuring spoon, made by KitchenArt, you could probably get rid of all the others you own! All you do is slide the bar up and each measurement is revealed. I’ve been playing with this all week… I love it! So smart!
Sues’s Favorite Things:
The Fireplace Restaurant
Yes, I know it was one of Chels’s favorite things a couple weeks ago and that I’ve mentioned it a million times before (I swear we don’t work for them). But I just had another amazing meal at The Fireplace, so I had to share. Also, they just joined Twitter- so, follow them!! @the_fireplace. AND the owner and chef, Jim Solomon, is getting married on Sunday! So congratulations to Jim and his new wife Rachel 🙂 Hope the sun comes out for the big day!
Since I go to The Fireplace for brunch a lot, I rarely look at their drink menu, so I was excited when I went for dinner with my mom the other night to see a Cranberry Ginger Martini. How perfect! I loved that the drink had a strong ginger flavor rather than a muted one. It was delicious. And pretty too!
I decided to participate in Restaurant Week, which is also Restaurant Month at The Fireplace because it’s such a good deal (Appetizer, entree, and dessert for $33). I started with the Belgian Endive Salad with Vermont Goat Cheese, Apples, Watercress, Candied Cashews, and Raspberry Vinaigrette.
For my entree I had the Pan Seared New England Cod with Mustard Vinaigrette Over Chived Baby Carrots and Dried Cranberry Wild Rice. Love how cute the baby carrots are!
My mom got the grilled hanger steak with herbed blue cheese butter (YUM!), sauteed broccolini, and roasted shallots.
The cookie platter was absolutely splendid for dessert. It was a “New England Presidential Cookie Platter” and it consisted of cookies that corresponded to different presidents and their time periods. Oh, and a butterscotch dipping sauce as well. Amazing!
I’ll probably write about them the next time I go too. Sorry, I just can’t help it!
I never thought I would make the switch from peanut butter (Skippy!) to almond butter, but I think that for the most part, it’s been done. I haven’t been a huge fan of almond butters in the past and they always seem a little bland and pasty for my liking. But when I got a full-sized jar of Barney Butter at the Healthy Living Summit, I gave it a go. And I really love it! It’s totally flavorful and not dry at all. I also got a bunch of little packets of the Barney Butter in smooth and I’m totally loving that. Each packet has exactly 90 calories, making it perfect for portion control. And perfect for spreading on a whole wheat English muffin for breakfast (with a green monster, obviously!). Barney Butter is a bit pricey (much more so than peanut butter), but healthier too!
While we’re on the food theme (clearly I ate a lot this week), I will take this time to discuss my great love in life: Nachos. Seriously. Get me together with a few of my friends and we’ll even participate in nacho eating contests. Not kidding. We were once dared to eat a full-sized order of nachos at the Coolidge Corner Clubhouse and we totally did it. We don’t mess around. So, I definitely have favorite places in Boston for nachos; but I’m always looking for new ones. I love nachos from Sunset Grill and Tap the most (and delicious beer too!) But also CCC and Cactus Club. And while I haven’t had the ones from Rattlesnake yet, Chels loves them and I’ve heard only good things. Need to try them ASAP! And now, I just discovered the nachos at the Tavern on the Square (exhibit below). These (topped with chili) were simply amazing. As in, I wanted to eat the whole platter. But Chris and I probably only ate less than 25% of these before we realized we were too full to eat our whole dinners. So, next time, we need to bring friends clearly.
Where are your favorite nachos?
[Chels and Sues]