Sunday, January 31, 2010

Honey-Walnut Coin Cookies

I finally decided to start baking around 8:30 Thursday night. I realized when I was going to bed Friday morning around 1:30AM that I need to plan my baking better. The cookies were easy to make but there was a lot of waiting time that I didn't factor into my evening. Of course I forgot to take a picture so the picture is courtesy the Martha Stewart site which is where I got the recipe, in the Martha Stewart Living September 2007 magazine.

The cookies ended up coming out delicious! The reminded me of a shortbread cookie coated in a delicious, sticky honey caramel. Yum! They were a huge success over the weekend too! Hooray!

Matt & Lauren's review: A delicious keeper!
Final decision: Obviously it's going into the recipe box!

Honey-Walnut Coins


2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
3/4 t. coarse salt
1 1/4 c. coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. honey, preferably orange blossom, plus 1/4 c., warmed until liquid, for brushing *I used Tupelo honey which worked out great*
To toast walnuts, spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for ten minutes.

1. Pulse flour, salt and 3/4 c. walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
2. Beat butter with a standing mixer until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes more. Beat in 1/3 c. honey. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined (dough will begin to pull together). Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours (or up to 2 days).
3. Preheat oven to 325. Let dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Pinch off about 2 teaspoons dough, and roll into a 1-inch ball. Repeat, spacing balls about 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Flatten cookies to 1/2 inch thick with the floured bottom of a glass. Press one of the remaining walnut pieces into each cookie.
4. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are pale golden, about 2o minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and brush cookies with warm honey. Let cool. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

As long as you don't start baking these cookies late in the evening you will enjoy them!

Off to relax Matt with the last hour of our weekend. Hope everyone has a happy Monday tomorrow.

Chicken Piccata with Capers

Thursday was a crazy day! I've been so busy at work this week that I've been getting home a little later than normal. On top of that I didn't even go to the gym Thursday because my brain was too tired! After stopping by Trader Joe's to pick up some wine for the weekend I finally made it home around 6:45. After taking Bailey out for a quick walk I started to make dinner. Luckily the recipe of the night was pretty quick and dinner was on the table by 7:30.

Dinner was Chicken Piccata with Capers courtesy of Cooking Light, September 2006.

Matt's review: Good but not something that stands out. We've had more memorable meals.
Lauren's review: This was good! Much better than Wednesday's Cooking Light recipe.
Final decision: It is going to go in the recipe box until I come across a better Chicken Piccata recipe.

We also enjoyed a delicious bottle of Justin Cabernet Sauvignon. We love their wine!

Chicken Piccata with Capers


4 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
1/2 c. white wine
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 T capers
2 t. minced fresh garlic
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
4 c. hot cooked spaghetti
2 T. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Place each breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Place flour in a shallow dish, and dredge chicken in flour.
2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Add white wine, 1/4 c. lemon juice, capers, and garlic to pan; scrape pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve chicken over pasta. Top with sauce; sprinkle with parsley.

After dinner and a television show it was time to start baking for our weekend trip. Honey-Walnut Coin Cookie recipe to follow...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Orange Chicken

I've had a busy, stressful week at work. I'm exhausted... please excuse my blahness.

Yesterday started out with oatmeal with raisins, honey, flax seed and pumpkin pie spice. After working my butt off it was time for lunch. The old standard - half of a chicken and cheese sandwich with a handful of potato chips. My snacks yesterday included a Kashi pumpkin pie granola bar (YUM) and low sodium vegetable juice with a mozzarella stick.

After work I went to the gym. I've realized recently that the gym is my stress outlet. I did tricep, shoulders and ab strength training then kicked my own butt with my HIIT! I pushed myself! I started out at 5.5mph for the first five minutes. The first three 30 second sprints were at 8.5mph, the next three were at 9mph and the last one was at 9.5mph. It was the first time since my cough that I was able to push myself running. It felt great!

For dinner I made Orange Chicken which was from an old Cooking Light. I served it over brown rice and a side salad.

Matt's review: It was a Donovan's Special Special (his friend "Donovan" makes grilled chicken with brown rice, his "special") which also implies only slightly more special than boring
Lauren's review: boring!
Final decision: boring = trash

I think this dinner could have been a little better if the chicken was placed back into the pan with the sauce to absorb some of the sauce instead of just pouring what little sauce was remaining over the top.

Orange Chicken


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. olive oil
2 t. butter
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 c. orange juice

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound each piece to 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper; dredge chicken in flour.
Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; cook for 1 minute or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken; slice thinly and keep warm. Add wine and juice to pan; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 4 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken.

I'm off to watch the new episode of Bones with my husband while enjoying a glass of wine and baking cookies. Two more recipes to come - Chicken Piccata with Capers and Honey-Walnut Coin Cookies.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quick Chicken Cacciatore

Wow how the weekend flew by! It's already Tuesday?! I'll start where I left off... Saturday.

I slept in a little Saturday morning. It was so warm and cozy cuddling with Bailey! I just wanted to stay there all day. My stomach got the better of me and I eventually got out of bed around 9. After going for a little walk with Bailey I made myself banana oats. It was a perfect morning!

Later that day Matt came home! Completing our little family. Bailey and I were so happy to see him! Because of my late morning (and not knowing if Matt had a meal on the plane or not) I had a late lunch. Grilled cheese on whole wheat bread and a bowl of plain yogurt with some granola and agave syrup. Matt's family arrived shortly after I finished my lunch. His mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law joined us in Boston for the evening. Matt's sister and brother-in-law were visiting from Chicago and the family decided to have a night out in Beantown so that Matt could visit and still crash at home from being jet lagged. Stupid 36 hour trip to London ruined all of our fun!

For dinner we went to the Capital Grille. This is usually one of our favorite restaurants. We always know that the food is going to be phenomenal so it's a great place to bring guests to the city. Saturday was the first night we were disappointed. It was SO loud that we couldn't hear each other, our steak was over cooked and we didn't have our favorite server. Woe is us! It wasn't the quiet, perfect evening Matt and I had envisioned. Don't get me wrong the food was still delicious! I ordered calamari with hot cherry peppers for all of us to share as an appetizer. Matt and I shared a kona encrusted dry aged sirloin which is our favorite steak at the CG. Then we got a couple of sides for the table to share - mashed potatoes, parmesan truffle fries and asparagus. Last but not least, Matt and I shared a slice of key lime pie for dessert. Our meal was decadent! Sorry. No pictures. Too dark in the restaurant for any of them to do the food justice.

Sunday morning the family gathered one last time for breakfast at Mooo.... before Matt's sister and BIL had to head home to Chicago. Breakfast ended up being how I envisioned dinner at CG. Quiet, relaxing with conversations flowing over coffee and breakfast foods. I've said it before but I'm going to say it again! I love the cornbread that they bring to the table! I had two slices this time! As my meal I ordered the yogurt with berries and granola. It was good but too expensive ($16) for what I got. I could have made it at home for maybe $4. My last two breakfast meals here were better. I definitely recommend both the french toast and the "XV" eggs.

When we got home Matt and I started on separate organization projects. My main task was to go through all of my paper recipes. You saw that outcome in my last post. We were both so busy being productive that we lost track of time. We snacked for lunch around 4:00. Hummus, crackers, yogurt with granola and fruit. Late lunch ended up leading to a very late dinner. After being more productive we heated up frozen Kashi meals at almost 9PM. Ooopps! Late dinner meant going to bed late and being tired Monday morning.... damn! At least we had a productive Sunday!

My Kashi meal

(Don't worry I will eventually get to the recipe...)

Monday morning I had banana oats in my office and a boring half peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. Back to our normal food routine. Ick!

Dinner was definitely more exciting! My first recipe for the week "Quick Chicken Cacciatore" courtesy of the Martha Stewart Living, February 2006. It's definitely not as quick as I would have expected, it took me about an hour and a half, but it was worth the wait. This was the second recipe that I have had to make that called for chicken thighs. I'm not a huge thigh fan but I will say that this recipe was so much better than the recipe. The thighs were tender and juicy. I still prefer the taste of breasts over thighs so I think going forward I'm going to swap them in any future thigh recipes.

Matt's review: This is a keeper
Lauren's review: Love the flavor combination even with the thighs which is surprising!
Final decision: To the recipe box!

I served the chicken over a bed of whole wheat spaghetti with a salad on the side. It was a yummy, nutritious dinner!

Today I had oatmeal with honey, raisins, pumpkin pie spice and flax seed at my desk. Then for lunch Cacciatore leftovers! It was good but I realized that I'm not a huge fan of leftovers... I'm not a big fan of lunch in general actually! Least favorite meal of the day. But... I'm just repeating myself.

After finishing at the office I went to the gym for my bicep, chest and calf strength routine. Then I was off to book club to discuss our last book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. It was a great book! For dinner we had pizza from Upper Crust, cupcakes for a birthday celebration and wine. If we had also had a scoop of ice cream my night would have been complete. All of my favorite things in a couple of hours!!

Buffalo chicken pizza

Garden Veggie pizza

After Matt had frozen veggie burgers for dinner tonight he made sure that I would be around tomorrow to cook again. So, more recipes to come...

Quick Chicken Cacciatore


8 chicken thighs, skin on (about 2 1/4 pounds) *I used skinless, boneless thighs
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. EVOO
2 medium onions, halved and cut into 1/8-inch slices
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 c. dry white wine
3 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes, juice from one can reserved
1 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

Season chicken with 2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper; dredge in flour. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, skin side down; cook until dark-golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat.
Add onions, garlic, rosemary; cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add wine, and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, reserved juice, stock, and 1 t. salt. Return chicken to pot. Raise heat to medium-high and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; cover.
Raise heat to medium. Cook until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Serve sprinkled with more rosemary.

Serves 4

Monday, January 25, 2010

Further recipe analysis

Well, this is definitely going to be a long project!

Yesterday afternoon I spent two hours going through a stack of recipes that I have collected from magazines over the last five years. I got rid of probably half of them after realizing I probably wasn't actually going to make some of them ever based on my food likes and dislikes. After all of the purging I went back to the remaining loose paper recipes and sorted them into groups: poultry, meat, pork, soups & salads, appetizers, breakfast, cookies, dessert, sides & vegetables, pasta, seafood, and miscellaneous. Based solely on these loose paper recipes I figured out how many recipes per group per month I need to make to finish within a year:

1.5/mo breakfast
2.25/mo appetizers
3/mo soups & salads
2/mo sides & vegetables
1/mo cookies
7/mo desserts
2/mo miscellaneous
2/mo pork
1/wk poultry
2/mo beef
1/mo pasta
1/mo seafood

Then I also flipped through two additional books. One book I pasted recipes into that were cut out of magazines (without trying?! what was I thinking?!) and the other is a recipe binder of family recipes from my mother-in-law. This was my final tally from those two books:

3 appetizers
3 salads
1 bread
4 sides/veggies
12 entrees
19 desserts & cookies
19 breakfast

In addition to the paper recipes I have 4 online accounts holding recipes:
Allrecipes = 394 total recipes
Food Network = 248 total recipes
Epicurious = 307 total recipes
Tastebook (which is where I copy a lot of the recipes I find from blogs that I read) = 84 total recipes

My estimated total is about 1410 recipes.

I think I have a problem!

I could do one new recipe a day for almost the next 4 years!

So not only do I have a problem with the concept of my project but I apparently also have an addiction to food and recipes. My next step will be to go through all of my online accounts and get rid of any recipes that I don't have a desire to try. Then ignore all of the recipes I receive in the future from my food newsletters and food blogs (maybe save one or two that look really, really good!?)! Regarding my cooking project I am going to make all of my loose paper recipes first before I move on to the others. I'm lucky that my picky eater is willing to go on this journey with me!

I hope you're prepared for a lot of recipes!

More to come...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Garlic Shrimp and Lemon Pasta

Friday was my favorite food day of the week. Breakfast at work was a container of plain greek yogurt with my Kashi cereal crumbled over the top and then topped with a little honey, a satsuma orange (which reminds me of a clementine) and a big cup of Earl Grey. For lunch two of my co-workers and I went to Darwin's Ltd. I got their Magnolia sandwich on whole wheat bread. The sandwich is full of good stuff! Hummus, avocado, apple, carrots, tomato, sprouts, honey mustard and cheddar cheese.

I got a big bottle of my favorite sparkling water and ate half a bag of chips.

After work I had two friends over for a girl's night. On the menu for the evening garlic shrimp and lemon pasta with broccoli.

For dessert I made No Pudge brownies swirled with a mixture of Teddie's all natural peanut butter and a little agave syrup.

We had a couple of beers and a glass (or two) of red wine.

It was a fun night full of good food, drinks and lots of laughter!

Both recipes from tonight are going into the recipe box! We all thought they were delicious! The shrimp had a great coating of garlic and a nice little kick from the red pepper flakes. The pasta was light, lemony and so delicious! I hope you enjoy these recipes!

Lemon Pasta courtesy of Food Network (original recipe has a recipe for roasted shrimp that I did not make for this dinner)

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of angel hair pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 lemons, zested and juiced

Drizzle some olive oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add the angel hair and cook al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Quickly toss the angel hair with the melted butter, 1/4 c. olive oil, the lemon zest, 2 t. salt, 1 t. pepper and about 1/2 c. of the reserved cooking liquid.

Serves 6

Garlic Shrimp courtesy of Martha Stewart Living, April 2007

1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
1 T. unsalted butter
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant and golden (but not brown), about 30 seconds. Add shrimp; raise heat to medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often, until shrimp are opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Add butter, and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Orange Roughy with Basil & Lemon

If there is one distinctive difference between Matt and my taste buds it's that he can't stomach seafood and I love it! So with Matt on a business trip I decided that I am going to try some of my seafood recipes. Thursday night my next door neighbor, and friend, came over for dinner and to catch up on the last season of Project Runway.

I decided on making "Orange Roughy with Basil and Lemon" served with brown rice and steamed broccoli. My fish market didn't have Orange Roughy. Luckily, I had done some research into alternative fish before going to the market because I haven't seen Orange Roughy before. After talking to a couple of people and reading online I decided to go with Tilapia.

My neighbor brought over a delicious arugula salad. It was perfectly simple with a lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette and Parmigiano-Reggiano shredded cheese on top. YUM! It was the perfect compliment to dinner.

The fish recipe was simple and delicious. It allowed the freshness of the fish to stand out. A perfect meal for a warm summer night. Too bad it's the middle of COLD winter here in Boston!

We both agreed that this recipe was a keeper!

For dessert we each had two scoops of my favorite low fat yogurt, Stoneyfield's Organic Minty Chocolate Chip. It's chocolate frozen yogurt with dark chocolate chips and a hint of mint. It's delicious! Sorry the picture is so fuzzy!

The rest of the night was great! We caught up on two episodes of Project Runway and now we need to just watch the last two finale episodes then we can start watching this season.

Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did!

Orange Roughy with Basil & Lemon

3 T. butter softened
1/2 t. dried basil leaves
1/2 t. lemon pepper
3/4 lb. orange roughy, or any other white fish, fillets
4 lemon slices

Turn on broiler. In a small bowl stir together butter, basil and lemon pepper. Place fillets on a greased broiler pan. Spread half of the butter mixture over the top side of the fillets.
Place the fish 5-8 inches from the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. Turn fillets over and top with remaining butter mixture and lemon slices. Continue broiling until fish flakes with a fork, about another 5-6 minutes.

Serves 4

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dinner with Friends

Wednesday was a great day! It started out boring with my standard breakfast and lunch. Greek yogurt with Kashi crumbled into it for breakfast. Half of a chicken breast and cheese sandwich for lunch. Dinner however was memorable and delicious!

In the fall two of our friends moved into Boston from North Carolina. They had been traveling all over the country for their jobs, living in different locations for 3-6 months at a time. We met up with them last year when they were in Palm Springs working for a country club and we were visiting friends. We convinced them that Boston was a great place to be and they decided to settle in Beacon Hill, a couple blocks away from our home. They are finally settled into their place so they had us over for dinner as a thank you for all of our help with their transition.

Lucky for Matt and me, our friend went to culinary school and worked as a chef the last couple of years. Needless to say dinner was fantastic and over the top! Our entree was chicken in a blue tortilla chip crust served over quinoa pilaf and topped with caramelized onions and leafy greens (kale and swiss chard) served with dollops of homemade sweet chili sauce. (I hope I did his dinner justice by explaining it correctly?!) Dinner was amazing. His presentation was beautiful! For dessert he made homemade chocolate banana empanadas that were coated in cinnamon sugar and served with dulce de leche ice cream. YUM!!! Of course I don't have a picture of dessert but I do have one of our pretty dinner.

It was a perfect evening. Lots of fun and delicious food with great friends. We had to leave shortly after dinner because Matt had to get home to pack for his work trip to the UK. While Matt's gone I'm going to make seafood for myself so that Matt doesn't have to "suffer" through some of those recipes. Orange Roughy with Basil Lemon recipe coming shortly...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sirloin Tips

We had more snow today. I'm not sure that it will ever stop! Yuk!

I recently decided not to take pictures of my breakfast or lunch anymore because they're so similar day to day. For example, today I had a Chobani vanilla yogurt with a handful of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest mixed in. Then for lunch I had my typical half sandwich. One piece of whole wheat bread, mustard, American cheese and sliced chicken. Boring but satisfying. If I ever something new and exciting for breakfast or lunch I'll make sure to capture it to share with everyone!

Dinner tonight was a winner! Matt is typically not a fan of steak tips but we both loved dinner tonight. Steak tips over brown rice with roasted butternut squash, accompanied by a bottle of Curious Beagle Cabernet Sauvignon. Another reliable wine!

Matt's review: "I give it 10 out of 10!" Perfectly tender and delicious!
Lauren's review: The recipe was easy and delicious. However it is definitely not very nutritious!
Final decision: Into the recipe box it goes!

The steak tips were perfect. Next time I'll probably try to tweak the recipe a little to make it a little bit more healthy friendly.

Sirloin Tips


1.5lbs sirloin tips
2 T oil
1 clove of garlic, minced*
3 T Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper

Saute garlic in oil in a frying pan. Add meat and brown on all sides over medium heat.
Mix remaining ingredients and add to meat.
Cover and simmer over low heat on top of range for about 1 hour or until tender.

*I halved the recipe except for the garlic. I used two cloves instead of the recommended half. I like garlic and couldn't help myself!

Enjoy and goodnight!

Garlic Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon

Yesterday was my first day back to reality... snow, work and cooking. The day started out miserable. We had the craziest cab driver bring us to work the "long" way. Then when we got to work we realized that we had ordered, and paid for, two breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts and only had received one. On top of it all it was no longer sunny and warm outside, it was snowing and cold! I miss Aruba!

After I had a little pity party I enjoyed a cup of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest and my coffee at my desk while catching up on my emails. Before I knew it I was enjoying a cafeteria salad with a friend from work while catching up on the past week's events in Boston, in Aruba and in the blog world.

After I finished up at the office I went to the gym. For the first time in almost two months I completed my HIIT training session! The first five minutes I ran at 5.0mph then I started my 30 second sprints. I completed six sprint sessions at 8.5mph with a minute in between each session back at 5.0mph. Then I had a five minute cool down at 5.0mph and then the treadmills 4 minute "cool down". I ended up completing 2 miles in 23 minutes and I was exhausted!

I was so tired when I got home I didn't even want to make dinner. However that left me with the option of not eating and starving or make dinner while dragging. Food won and I'm glad it did!

On my recipe agenda for the evening was Garlic Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon served with a sweet potato.

Lauren's review: Delicious and easy!!!
Matt's review: *wide eyes* YUM!
Final decision: It's a keeper! Into the recipe box it goes!

Then we finished out the evening with a bottle of Kenwood Zinfandel while watching a train wreck, also known as the Jersey Shore. It was a good, reliable bottle of Zinfandel and a disaster of a show... I love it!

Garlic Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon


2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into large chunks
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 T fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from stems
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 T grill seasoning blend
1/2 c. dry white wine or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 450F. Arrange chicken in a 9x13 baking dish. Add garlic, rosemary, EVOO, lemon zest and grill seasoning (or salt and pepper) to the dish. Toss and coat chicken with all the ingredients then place in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Add wine and lemon juice to the dish and combine with pan juices. Return to the oven and turn the oven off. Let stand for 5 minutes longer then remove and serve, spooning juices over the chicken.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Aruba Recap

Last week we were in Aruba for 7 days with my family (mom, dad and both sisters). The trip was incredible and just what we needed to start 2010!

Matt and I met my family at Logan airport early Saturday morning. With all the increased security measures we had given ourselves extra time to get through security. It wasn't needed. Check-in and security was a breeze. Once we met up with my family we had breakfast, coffee from Dunkin Donuts and oatmeal from Starbucks. A great way to start the trip. Flight down was great minus the windy landing. Damn Aruban trade winds! By the way, we LOVE Jet Blue! Extra leg room, free movies on international flights, free baggage check (1 bag/person), great staff and free snacks! What more could you ask for!?

After taking a cab from the airport to our hotel, Tamarijn, we got to check in to our rooms. For some reason we didn't take a picture of our room but it was just like the below picture (courtesy of the Tamarijn's website) except our room was on the second floor with a balcony. The rooms were little but the view and balcony made the size perfect!

The rest of the vacation is sort of a haze of fun-filled days. Matt and I exercised every day. Either at the gym that had an amazing view of the ocean or swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling. In addition to those daily activities Matt and I played tennis every day, sometimes doubles with my sisters.

Again, not a picture we took of the gym but it was such a great view I had to share!

This picture Matt took from the gym with his iPhone.

This trip allowed me to do something that I haven't done in 9 years... SCUBA! My mom and I got certified at the end of 2000 right before we went on a family trip to St. Lucia... my freshman year of college... St. Lucia... last dive trip! Wow! It's so beautiful down there! If you ever get the chance you have to do it! My dad set up our trips through JADS Dive Center. I highly recommend this shop if you ever go to Aruba and want to dive. The instructors are so nice and fun! No pictures of myself in gear but I got one of my mom getting "helped" into the water by my sister and an instructor.

The food was surprisingly fantastic on the resort. There was an Asian fusion restaurant, Ginger, that had a lot of Thai and Japanese inspired dishes. Along with an authentic Italian cuisine (not American Italian) restaurant, Paparazzi and an upscale Caribbean restaurant, Red Parrot. We went off the resort one night to a restaurant called Queens in downtown Oranjestad near the cruise ship terminal. It was right next to Senor Frogs. Apparently, they don't have a website. If I can find any information on the restaurant I'll post it. We all thought the traditional Aruban food was amazing, the restaurant was so clean and everyone was so nice.

The rest of the trip is a blur of happiness. Matt and I went shopping downtown and ended up bringing home a new watch for Matt and additions to my Pandora bracelet, 1 Murano glass bead and two clips. I also got a David Yurman ring that matches a bracelet that Matt got me last year for Christmas. So beautiful!!!

Below are a couple of photos from our vacation. If you have any questions about Aruba or the resort we stayed at let me know. I will tell you everything I can! We hope to go back someday very soon!!! It was the most relaxing, enjoyable vacation that we have had in a long time!

Well, it's back to the real world. Tonight was the first dinner I made at home in over a week. Details and recipe to follow tomorrow...

Good night!

More Articles to Share

A couple more interesting and healthy articles:

10 Tips: Perfect Portion Sizes

Nutrition 101

A Guide to Choosing Lean Beef

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Photos of Drinks and Meals from Aruba

I'm back in Boston! Below are pictures of some of the food and booze from our family trip in Aruba. Stories, accompanied by photos, will follow in the next couple of days. I have to go through the 500 photos and pick the favorites to share! I hope you enjoy the below pictures which are not in any sort of order!