Out & About

First and foremost, I want to wish my boyfriend Mike a very Happy Birthday!

What better way to celebrate than with red velvet cake pops dipped in nutella and rolled in chocolate chip cookies? Yes, Mike has the biggest sweet tooth ever.

Because Mike and I have tests this week, we celebrated yesterday, and will be semi-studious today. It actually worked out well, since yesterday was sunny and gorgeous, and today is kind of grey and meh. We started out by going on our first spring hike. A nice 6.5 miles to start the day!

You know it’s spring when the skunk cabbage starts to bloom!

It was so nice out that about halfway through the hike, I took off my fleece. This long and arduous winter had me worried that I would never be walking around in just a t-shirt again! We relaxed for a little after our hike, and then headed to Port Jefferson for dinner.

This week happened to be Long Island Restaurant Week, which is always a great way to discover new places to eat. After doing a lot of research, I decided that Fifth Season was the best choice- they change their menu every 12 weeks in order to feature local and seasonal ingredients. The seasonal drink menu alone was fantastic. Mike got an apricot mojito that was delish. I think next time, I’ll try either the lemon basil collins or the ruby red martini.

I only took pictures of what I ordered, because I was too excited to dig in. To start, I had roasted spring vegetables with a kalamata vinaigrette, mesclun greens, polenta croutons and a percorino romano tuille. Mike devoured the tuille since I am not a cheese fan. The vegetables were out of control good. I absolutely love fennel, and roasting it really brought out the licorice flavor.

For the entree, I had Atlantic salmon with squash and zucchini, sweet potatoes, and a coconut ginger jam. I’m not normally a fan of cooked zucchini or coconut, for that matter, but the thin strips remained crispy and flavorful. The coconut was pretty subtle, and enhanced the ginger. I’m sure that you’re wondering why I ordered this dish if I didn’t like a few of the components. Well for starters, a few of the other dishes on the menu that were pescatarain friendly had chorizo and/or pancetta incorporated, and I am not ok with pork. I am also trying to challenge my taste buds to see if I can start to like some of the foods that I normally turn my nose up at.

When I looked at the menu online, I knew Mike would order the molten chocolate cake with caramel and vanilla bean gelato, so I asked if they could put a candle somewhere and write Happy Birthday in chocolate

Did I mention the cake was gluten free? I think because it was just chocolate and butter. Hey, no complaints, here!

My dessert was pretty outrageous as well. Bartlett pear and rhubarb cobbler with caramel mascarpone gelato. I’d never had mascarpone before, but after this gelato, I might have to experiment with it. I really wanted to try their seasonal sorbet, which was ruby red grapefruit and strawberry rhubarb, but I employed my rule of “don’t order anything you can cook at home.” I foresee grapefruit sorbet in my ice cream maker sooner than later.

After dinner, Mike and I took a stroll by the waterfront. I’ve been wanting to do an outfit shot for a while, and I finally worked up the courage.

 

This was so much harder than I anticipated, so I give all you style blog gals huge props.

Dress: American Apparel, Cardigan, Jacket: H&M, Shoes: John Fluevog, Peacock headband: NYC street vendor, Clutch: from my fabulous sister

 

All in all, I’ve had a pretty great weekend. What did you all do?

 

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Make Like An Onion!

I’m sure everyone has heard the saying “make like a banana and split!” Today, I made up my own saying that I’m sure will catch like wildfire as well. “Make like an onion and layer.” Anyone that’s seen Shrek will remember the scene in which Shrek explains to Donkey that ogres, like onions, have layers. Then, of course, Donkey says that instead of an onion, the analogy should be with parfait instead because “everybody loves parfait!” So if you don’t like onions, “make like a parfait and layer.” Maybe it needs some work…Its lack of a punchline might not make you chuckle, but it will serve as a reminder of how you can enjoy the outdoor sports that go hand in hand with the winter weather.

I’m finally home on a two week winter break! I have plans to cook, bake, clean, read, knit, reunite with friends, and SLEEP. I also want to exercise in order to maintain the strength and stamina I’ve worked to achieve. At school, it was easy- the gym is a 10 minute walk from my apartment, so I was able to set aside an hour and a half 3-4 times per week to get some running in. Given that I’m only home for a short period of time, I want to try to branch out from my gym routine to enjoy the colder weather. I know that enjoying the cold weather may seem like an oxymoron, but as long as you have the right “tools,” being outside can be refreshing and invigorating.

I will admit that at first, I was hesitant to run outside. It’s cold, windy, and grey, and completely outside of my comfort zone. Then I realized, that this was the perfect excuse for me to venture outside. Instead of New Year Resolutions, I’ve decided to set some New You Solutions for myself (more on that later!). One of my solutions is to try some activities outside of my comfort zone. So I layered up, grabbed my iPod and I was out the door. Running in the colder weather is just like anything else- the hardest part is getting started. I stood at the top of my driveway for about 30 seconds, and then I was off, and didn’t look back. Believe it or not, I took off my mittens about 15 minutes into the run.

Having proper tools is important, as is their quality.  I wear wool socks because they are comfortable and will keep your feet warm even if they get wet. I also wear 2 pairs of pants- a pair of spandex leggings underneath, and a pair of long underwear from EMS. On top, a short-sleeved wicking shirt from TJ Maxx, a long-sleeved thermal from The North Face Outlet, and a fleece vest.

Again, wool is your best friend for outdoor activities. A headband and gloves are vital when temperatures are low. Even though I know I’ll probably end up taking my gloves off, I never leave home without them. This is one of those “more is more” cases.

If putting on all the layers doesn’t get me amped up to run, I think about how great I’m going to feel at the end. If THAT doesn’t help, upbeat music is always the answer.

 

Does your exercise regime change during the winter months? What do you do to motivate yourself? Email us at apositiveregard (at) gmail (dot) com

–Ariel

No Business Like Snow Business

I must say that out of all the seasons, winter is not my favorite (even though it is my birthday season). I don’t really mind the cold, but the harsh wind and potential dangerous driving conditions are what gets me. That, and the fact that the 12+ inches of snow we got last night is inhibiting my ability to go out for a run. In the kitchen, I use the “use what you have” mentality, and I think the same applies for the winter weather. So while I may not be able to get my usual exercise by running, I have alternative methods.

That’s right, snowshoeing. My parents have had snowshoes for as long as I can remember, and although I don’t look forward to the snow, when it comes, I always look forward to snowshoeing. Yes, you can go walking or hiking in the snow without snowshoes, just make sure that you wear gaiters and boots with a good tread. The great thing about snowshoeing is that if you can walk, you can snowshoe. They even make shorter snowshoes that are meant for running. My family likes to race.

Shoveling is another great way to get a little exercise in. It may seem like a chore, but if you have some company, or some great music on your iPod, it will go by quickly. Make sure that you lift with your legs, not your back, and you’ll feel the burn in your arms and legs. Another great arm workout? Baking. Put away the stand or hand mixer for the day and use some of your muscle power to whip up a recipe or two. My arms got a great workout mixing up Alice Medrich’s chocolate chip biscotti recipe. If you haven’t already, borrow her new book “Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies” from your local library, or go out and buy it. There are some really stellar recipes in there. After a day of snowshoeing or hiking in the cold, there is nothing more satisfying than a big cup of chai or coffee. I thought that biscotti would make for a perfect afternoon snack.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Combine 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small bowl and whisk together.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 1/4 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar, 1/4 plus 2 T packed brown sugar,  and 1 tsp vanilla extract until well combined

Like so!

Add in the flour mixture, and then add 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nut you like. Don’t like nuts? Add more chocolate! Don’t like chocolate! Try some dried fruit!). I found that the easiest way to incorporate the flour mixture and the nuts and chocolate was to use your hands. They are your best tools!

The dough will be very thick. Scrape the dough onto a greased baking sheet into 2 skinny strips 16-17 inches long and at least 3 inches apart.

Bake for 35 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Let the biscotti cool for 15 minutes, leaving the oven on

Transfer the loaves to a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to slice the loaves into 1/2-inches slices. Stand the cookies up on the baking sheets at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy!

How do all of you deal with the inclement weather?  We’d love to hear from you at apostiveregard (at) gmail (dot) com

 

–Ariel

Field Trip!

So like Ariel mentioned in her last post, I went out to Long Island to visit her this past weekend. I love me a good field trip!

Unfortunately, I ended up leaving a lot later than anticipated, and got caught up in rush hour traffic on a Friday, so by the time I got to Ariel’s I was mighty hungry. Fortunately for me, Ariel suggested we get some of my favorite food: INDIAN!!

Now, Ariel and I have a history with Indian food, which to sum up in few words involved us previously having ordered Shrimp Vindaloo (the spiciest thing on the menu) and it taking us about 2 hours to share 6 shrimp… So when she suggested that we get some for dinner, I knew there would be a tasty challenge ahead of us.

Naturally, we ordered a spicy twist on a favorite. We love dosas, so when we saw the Mysore Masala Dosa (Rice and lentil crepe wrapped around potatoes cooked in a very highly spiced masala), we knew that was something we had to try.

Check this baby out! Large and in charge, in size and flavor!

The insides were flaming red and filled with a fiercely spicy filling.

Despite the fact that it was the size of the table, we were able to take that dosa down!

The next day we went outlet shopping, and we saw a lot of pretty (expensive!) things at Kate Spade.

How cute are these guys?

Ariel modeled this awesome ring. I think I might smell a DIY in the works…

These hats were fantastic. But I can’t help wondering if we could figure out how to knit these…

I love the GIANT pom poms!

Before I left on Sunday, we took an autumnal stroll around her campus and she pointed out this amazing tree. How fabulous are the leaves that change from the tips first? It almost looks like it’s on fire!

Without a doubt, this was a much needed weekend adventure!

-Marissa