Sunday, January 29, 2012

Toast on Nantasket Beach

Saturday morning calls for a special breakfast. A celebration that you survived another work week and that two days off has begun!

We headed down to Hull to cash in a Groupon I bought a while back- time for some Toast!

Toast is tucked away on Nantasket Avenue right on the beach.

Look for the blue Ocean Place sign and take a left. There's parking across the street in a municipal lot, too.

Though you might encounter a bit of a wait, there's plenty of knick-knacks to see.

A bookshelf of cookbooks in the bathroom!

Soap shaped like buttered toast!

The owner, Audrey, did the hair and makeup for this photoshoot!

We probably waited about 15-20 minutes to be seated- we scored prime spots at the counter. I love sitting at the counter- all the hustle and bustle is right there and it feels just like an old fashioned diner full of locals and families. The waitstaff was friendly and attentive. Our coffee cups were kept full and warm.

We started with an order of grilled banana bread. It was served with a side of salty butter and it was divine. Soft sweet cake was encased in a crisp, warm exterior. Pretty sure we were lucky enough to get the last batch- so delicious.

There's only a chef and a sous chef in the back so it does take some time to get your food, but the main event is worth the wait.

Oh my stars, these were tasty. Sugared pecans and fresh blueberries topped three hearty, multigrain pancakes. Served with real maple syrup, these were the perfect breakfast treat. I got a side of fluffy scrambled eggs for a bit of protein.

The husband ordered the Cape Cod home fries. Shredded and diced potatoes were grilled to perfection with peppers, onions, and sausage. A sprinkling of cheese on top and a side of over easy eggs rounded out the plate.

As you can see, we both left very full and very happy. Our total meal was only $28- a definite bargain for the quality we received. The rest of the menu looked as good as the food we ordered, so we'll definitely be going back for more weekend eats.

Three cheers for Toast!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adventures in Babyland

Last week, these pink converse went on a little trip.

Liquid courage was needed. Decaf, of course. Yay for liking coffee again!

Baby Crap Central was our destination. Buy Buy Baby, while awesome, is completely overwhelming. Who knew there was more than one kind of baby nose picker? Or that you could need/obviously need a humidifier shaped like an elephant? The options for needless baby nonsense are endless.

The husband was in charge of the "gun" while we register. See that evil gleam in his eye?

I'm going to let you guess who picked out these gems.

We got some great ideas and picked out some things I think the wee one will enjoy. It's kind of a weird responsibility to be in charge of setting up someone else's entire life. So far, he's getting no say in his bed (because we picked one that will last him until college), his clothes (pretty sure he's wearing whatever his grandmothers buy him until he's 30), or his sleeping choice (dude will be swaddled).

Even though I can't set up his nursery, yet (the back bedroom is still serving as part of the impromptu kitchen), I like to take out his baby things from time to time. They're so small and sweet.

Nerd gear!

Norwich onesie from my brother-in-law and monster hat (complete with ears!) from childhood best friend. Sweet snugglies from Grammy and Aunt Laura.

Stuffed VEGETABLES!!! How cool are these?? IKEA rocks. The only weird thing about these is that the carrot is wearing shorts and the broccoli has a skirt on. Were clothes really necessary?

Kisses for the carrot!

We've been reading to him for a couple of months. Our personal favorite is Get Dressed Santa by Tomie DePaola. I don't want to spoil the plot, but at one point Santa is fully dressed but has to pee! What's the big guy to do??

Matching shirts for father and son! Yeah, I'm going to be that mom.

My coworker found the frame so we can save his hospital bracelet. The onesie on loan from cousin Isabella.

And this...well, this kind of confused me. My sister sent me a big box of swaddlers and onesies and socks- really useful stuff that my niece has outgrown. And in this box were about 5 or 6 of these things.

I examined it.

And opened it up.

And the only conclusion I could come to was...

Baby smoking jacket.

Turns out, babies don't wear smoking jackets. But they do wear kimono-style tops while they still have their belly button nub.

Who freaking knew?

Thank God for big sisters. Otherwise this poor kid might be propped up next to a glass of brandy wearing sheepskin skin slippers holding a cigar.

Monday, January 23, 2012

An improvised kitchen

The kitchen closed on December 26. Since then, we've been living off of toaster oven dinners, sandwiches, cereal, oatmeal, and takeout.

For a few weeks, the toaster oven and Keurig were set up on top of my washer and dryer in the basement. Not exactly convenient, but home renovation is an exercise in patience.

Before the counters were installed, I balanced ingredients on any stable surface.

Pita pizza was an easy way to use up some food in the fridge. Pita + sauce + mozzarella + spinach + olives = yummy.

The bottom didn't crisp up too much so this was more of a toasted, open-faced pizza sandwich. Messy goodness.

Now that Nick has installed the cabinets, the stove is finally back in place so we can cook upstairs again. Hooray for progress!

Tin foil packets have also been a lifesaver.

You can wrap up pretty much anything in tin foil, pop it into the toaster oven, and about 45 minutes later, it will be heated through. Not exactly fast food, but it works. I've used tin foil packets to heat up BBQ pulled beef, frozen vegetarian biryani, and frozen green beans.

An Indian-inspired meal from the Trader Joe's freezer section: vegetarian biryani, vegetarian masala burgers, and green beans.

A down home classic consisting of a BBQ pulled beef slider, french fries, and the Southwest salad, all from Trader Joe's.

And sometimes we get lazy and just go for takeout. One Saturday night we cashed in a Cheesecake Factory gift card and feasted on meatloaf and a cheeseburger. Did you know that Cheesecake Factory take out comes with two loaves of bread? Score!

This fancy meal came from our favorite local pizza joint, Napoli Pizzeria. We got the Greek salad and Gaetano Special pie- Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, Peppers, Onions, Pepperoni, Meatballs, Sausage, Salami, and Fresh Tomatoes. That was some good pizza!

What is your favorite convenience food??

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pregnant Lady Trail Mix

Pregnancy is a weird and awesome thing. It's weird to willingly allow a parasite to suck all the nutrients out of your body, but awesome because this parasite is actually a baby and babies rock. I've been blessed awesomely normal pregnancy, so far (*knock on wood*).

I've also learned more about my body these past 6 months than I had in the whole 27 years prior. I even know my blood type now- what up?! Chalk that up to the bajillion of doctors appointments pregnant ladies get to go to- I'm almost to my twice a month appointment phase! I've also given a few gallons of blood (or roughly 15 vials, but jeez, that is a lot of blood) and peed in more cups than I care to count.

At my last appointment, I got to give more blood and then I got a follow-up phone call from the NP. Diagnosis= low iron. This is hardly a strange or unusual thing for women in general and it's especially common in pregnant women. Even though I take my daily prenatal vitamin, I wanted to boost my intake of iron through food, too. Couldn't hurt, right?

My daily food intake usually has some kind of spinach or leafy green in it, so I was reluctant to go that route. A girl can only eat so many salads. A quick search on gave me quite the list of other iron-rich foods: lean beef, dark meat chicken or turkey, instant oatmeal, edamame, lentils, blackstrap molasses, apricots, nuts, seeds, raisins.

Armed with this knowledge, I went to my local Trader Joe's and started scanning labels. To get the most bang for my iron buck, I picked out a few things for a trail mix:
  • Dried apricots
  • Seedless raisins
  • Honey-sesame almonds (double whammy- nuts & seeds!)

Here are the stats:

A 1/4 cup serving of seedless raisins has:
6% daily value of iron
2% daily value of calcium
13o calories
2 grams fiber
1 gram protein

1/4 cup serving of dried apricots has:
8% daily value of iron
2% daily value of calcium
10% daily value of Vitamin C
20% daily value of Vitamin A
110 calories
2 grams fiber
1 gram protein

1/4 cup serving of honey-sesame almonds has:
10% daily value of iron
10% daily value of calcium
170 calories
1 gram fiber
4 grams protein
12 grams fat

I threw equal quantities of each in a Ziploc, shook it up, and took it to work where I munched on it all week. I serve this up in roughly 1/2 cup portions, so I estimate it's around 300-350 calories a serving with a nice helping of iron in each bite. Which is handy since you're supposed to eat roughly 300 extra calories a day during the second trimester and 450 extra calories a day during the third trimester. (source)

Now, I'm not a nutritionist but I have been trying to watch what I eat and not use pregnancy as an all-access pass to the buffet of life. I'm not too worked up about trying to stay within a certain weight range- I figure if I eat when I'm hungry and eat mostly nutrient-dense food everything will work the way it's supposed to.

I'm guess I'm doing something right because this kid is definitely growing.

Exhibit A: 5 weeks (Hi Gilligan!)

Exhibit B: Almost 25 weeks!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Frozen Fenway

What an awesome treat! Nick and I went to the Frozen Fenway hockey tournament yesterday. It was a double header- Boston College High School vs. Catholic Memorial High School and Northeastern University vs. Boston College.

We were lucky enough to be invited to sit in the luxury box with some of Nick's co-workers. It was amazing! Not sure I can go back to the bleachers...I kid, I kid.

It was seriously swanky. I totally felt like a little kid at her friend's parents house. I kept waiting for someone to ask me what exactly I was doing there- luckily, I played it cool and blended in with the rick folks.

The suite had a kitchenette and a full sitting area, with a flat screen in case you needed to catch up on some other TV watching during the game.

It was also fully catered and Fenway puts on an awesome spread! We enjoyed clam chowder, cheese pizza, Fenway franks, sausages, pepperoni pizza, Caesar salad, shrimp with cocktail sauce, popcorn, chips and dip, coffee, hot chocolate and whipped cream (!), brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. There was also a fridge full of soda and water. Beer and wine was served during the college games. Amazing!!

That would be me totally nerded out about the experience in the bathroom! There was a TV in there. Check out that 24 week belly- Nugget's getting big!

The suite was pregnant lady heaven. Easy access to the bathroom + an awesome view that I can enjoy from a heated room + all you can eat food + hockey = true love

Lots of people sat outside and there was stadium seating for them. With heaters above to keep them toasty, of course.

Once I pulled my crap together and stopped gawking at the suite, I used my all-access pass (from the best.husband.ever) to wander around Fenway Park. I even got to go onto the field!

In the Red Sox dugout!

Then it was time for some hockey!

BC High beat CM 4-0- woohoo!

Northeastern lost to BC- sad day for this Husky.

Totally a once in a lifetime experience- so grateful to be invited!