Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall Traditions

Happy Halloween Eve!

I've unfortunately been closing out the month of October with a pretty nasty virus that has somewhat decommissioned me these past few days. I've done a whole lot of couch-laying and channel-surfing, but am finally feeling like the worst of this thing may be behind me!

With that being said...I cannot believe that tomorrow is Halloween and Saturday is the first day in November... where is this fall going?! I mean, we've already got a chance of snow in our ten-day forecast! Take it easy, November!

Before we're knee-deep in snow , Ryan and I have been trying to make the most of this beautiful New England fall. To honor Throwback Thursday today, I'm taking it back to our apple picking excursion from a couple of weekends ago.
One beautiful Saturday morning, Ryan and I, along with a group of our friends, caravanned our way up to Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, Ma. We had heard pretty great things about this particular orchard, so our hopes were pretty high. And let me just say that this place did not disappoint.

We didn't know when we planned this trip that we were going on the last day that apple-picking would be open for the year. To say that the pickings were slim would be an understatement. There were 5 times more apples on the ground around the trees than there were actually in the trees. And the apples that were still pick-able were perched as high up in the tree as they possibly could be. While some may have accepted defeat and headed to the gift shop to collect their pre-picked, pre-bagged apples, we took the harder way out, grabbing the rickety old ladders and climbing our way through the trees to some pretty delicious looking (and tasting) apples.




For an added challenge, Ryan and Corey took it upon themselves to hoist each other up. Ladder schmadder. #Division1ApplePickers


Once our bags were full, we hopped on the hayride to the other side of the orchard for some fresh and warm apple cider doughnuts.





We spent the rest of our time wandering around the orchard, checking out the resident goats, sheep, chickens, and pigs before deciding to pack it in and head back towards home. 

Another apple pick is in the books! Happy Fall and Happy Halloween, ya'll! 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall Chili Recipes, Ya'll

With the weather being cool and rainy lately (especially rainy at this particular moment), I've really been craving warm and hearty crock-pot meals for dinner. In the last few weeks, I've pulled my crock-pot out more times than I haven't. I've always been a huge fan of soups this time of year, but Ryan is convinced that soup does not constitute a "meal." Since he was never really on board, I rarely ever make any sort of soup, including stews, chili, and chowders. HOWEVER, we had friends over a couple of weeks ago to watch the Pats game and I made a big batch of chili to share. Surprisingly, Ryan actually enjoyed it! So, clearly with this sudden change of heart I have been making as many variations of "soup" that I can get away with. Tonight, I'm sharing two of my favorite chili recipes, which happen to be polar opposites of each other. The first is a traditional chili recipe I have made time and time again, tweaked from one of my favorite Southern Living recipe books. The recipe makes a TON... I mean a ton! But it can always be cut in half OR frozen to make TWO meals!

Traditional Big Batch Chili 


Ingredients: 

  • 4 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 3 tsp. Minced Garlic
  • 3 (14.5 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 (8 oz) cans Tomato Sauce 
  • 1 (6 oz) can Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 cup Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 (16 oz) cans Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
  • Toppings: Sour Cream, Cheddar Cheese, Green Onions 
Directions: 
1. Cook ground beef until no longer pink; drain. 
2. Place meat in slow cooker; stir in the rest of the ingredients. 
3. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or high 5-6 hours. Serve with desired toppings

Simple and Traditional! 


The next chili recipe is a little more unique. I had a couple of sweet potatoes in the house that I wanted to cook up and I thought they would be a great addition to a turkey chili, but I COULD NOT find a recipe online that I liked...so, I made one up! I was a little nervous about how this would turn out, but it was delicious! Next time, I will probably add more beans. (I didn't add as many this time because my friend Heidi doesn't like them and she was coming over for dinner.) 

Turkey & Sweet Potato Chili 

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, diced
  • 30 oz. Tomato Sauce
  • 30 oz. Diced Tomatoes 
  • 1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 2 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste 
Directions: 

1. Brown ground turkey and onion; transfer to crock-pot.
2. Combine remaining ingredients and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.


There you have it! Two very different, very tasty chili recipes to try out during this wonderful time of year!

Happy Hump Day, ya'll!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Visitors For Weeks

This past weekend rounded out our month long stint in the bed and breakfast business! We absolutely loved hosting each and every guest and getting to share our home away from home with our family and friends from all over! Our first guests came to us around mid-September and can be read about here

Week 2:
 
For our second weekend, we hosted our brother and sister-in-law, Brandon and Rachel. They came in on a Saturday afternoon and  after a rocky start to the day (missed flights and horrible customer service...), we decided it would be best to head STRAIGHT to one of the many, many bars in Boston. I mean, who wouldn't want need a beer or two after a morning like that?! We spent the day walking around the Quincy Market area before heading across the street to the North End for some drinks and dinner. Eliot and Lauren ended up making their way into the city to meet up with us at Fiore, where we sat upstairs at the rooftop bar, which was awesome! When we decided we were ready to eat, we made our way over to a restaurant called The Living Room for some seafood. Since it was such a nice night, we decided to sit outside once again to enjoy our dinner before calling it a night.

The next day, we drove out to Marina Bay for brunch at Captain Fishbones. This place is seriously our favorite brunch stop. I mean it's a $10 all-you-can-eat brunch buffet right on the bay. Need I say more? After brunch, we drove down to Newport to explore for the rest of the day! Before getting into the heart of this city, we stopped a town early at a local winery for a tasting or two. The name of the winery was super creative... wait for it... Newport Winery! It was a gorgeous day and the property was pretty amazing! We tasted five different wines before going on a quick tour of the property and barrel room. Needless to say, we had a pretty fun time. Once we finished up there, we drove into the heart of Newport to walk around the town for a bit, stopping for dinner at The Smoke House ( I think?) which was delicious! We went into a few shops after before deciding it was time to head back home for the night. We spent the rest of their trip at the Sam Adams Brewery and other places around Boston.

 





 
 
 
 
 

Week 3:
Brandon and Rachel left on Tuesday and my Uncle Dave and Aunt Carolyn flew in on the following Friday. Since I was at work, Ryan drove into the city to pick them up in my car, which they took out to explore Hingham's Shipyard for the afternoon. Friday night for dinner we went to a hibachi restaurant in Braintree.

Saturday morning, we woke up nice and early and I made a quiche for breakfast. Once everyone was dressed and ready to go, we drove into the city, stopping at the Christian Science Church, Trinity Church, Quincy Market, and Harvard Square/Yard. While Ryan and I feel like we know all of the super touristy spots by heart now (I mean... we could probably GIVE the Sam Adams brewery tour!) we had never been to the two churches, both of which were pretty cool experiences. For dinner, we met some new friends, one of which was in Uncle Dave's class and now works for his old company, in the North End at Fiore. We rounded the night out with a couple cannoli's from Mike's.




On Sunday we headed back into the city for one more day of fun. This time, we got tickets for a trolley tour which came with entry to a Boston harbor cruise. The trolley took us all over the town, but we only got off in Charlestown and the old Navy yard to pay a little visit to Old Ironsides. While we all really wanted to do a Duck tour, I highly recommend the trolley tour...I think you get more for your money, especially if you get tickets to the harbor cruise as well! We took the last cruise out into the harbor around 4-4:30, which was a perfect time to go out as the sun was setting. Since we were all wiped by the end of the day, we headed back home, stopping at Papa Gino's for some pizza dinner. Monday morning, I dropped our guests off at the rental car place so that they could continue their journey through New England for some fall colors!






 
While it's been a whirlwind of a month, we've enjoyed spending time with each and every one of our guests! We had a great time exploring our city even further with our families, but if I don't see Quincy Market for a while I'll be a happy girl.

To switch things up this weekend, we're leaving the city behind for some good old fashioned fall fun apple picking! Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The One Where The In-Laws Come to Town: Pt. 1

Hello Hello!! I know this is super late, seeing as we're going into weekend #3 of visitors up in Boston... but better late than never again, right? (Clearly I have not been very timely with my blog updates, but such is life.)

Anywho, a couple of Saturday's ago, Ryan and I drove in to Logan Airport to pick up Ryan's mom, Susan, and Aunt Jane for a long weekend of fun! As soon as we had our visitors in tow, we drove straight to Newbery Street for some lunch and shopping. We decided to eat lunch at Joe's on Newbury before walking up and down the street, checking out a couple shops and enjoying the beautiful weather. Once we had our fill of Newbury, we got back into the car and drove over to Quincy Market area. Around 4, we stopped in to the Red Barn Cafe for some afternoon coffee to take with us while we did some souvenir shopping in the area. Since the day had started pretty early for our guests, we decided to head back to the apartment fairly early to change into some comfy clothes, relax on the couch, order some pizza, and watch a movie before calling it a night.

In Quincy Market!
On Sunday morning, we woke up, ate a little breakfast, and headed to church in Quincy. After church, we made the short(ish) trip to Salem to explore the Massachusetts town known for killing off "witches" way back when. Neither Ryan nor I had ever been to Salem so this was a new experience for all of us! We showed  up in the town with empty stomachs, so our first order of business was getting some lunch. We walked around for a little bit before settling on Murphy's Pub (I swear we were in MA not Ireland!!). After lunch, we walked over to the Witch House to take a little tour of the former house of one of the judges in the Salem Witch Trials.

 
 
Also in Salem, we walked around a very, very old graveyard which would be very cool/creepy during the Halloween season. Actually the whole town would probably get pretty creepy for the entire month of October. We also searched high and low for the PERFECT souvenir for Aunt Jane to take home to Beth...with little luck. However, our search did bring us to some pretty interesting stores. One of them housed a real-life "witch" who had an alter set up in her store (which was full of potions and spells and other nonsense) to send messages and cigarettes to the dead, because apparently once a smoker always a smoker....
 

 


While Salem is known for some pretty messed up stuff, they really seemed to embrace their history. There were people all over the place dressing the part. However creepy the overall feel of the town was, we still really enjoyed our little visit and the areas we walked around were pretty cute! We would definitely go back at some point. Just not in October. I am not into the whole scare-the-bejeebers out of yourself activities.

On Monday, Ryan and I unfortunately needed to work, so Susan and Aunt Jane spent the day entertaining themselves around Weymouth. Shortly after I got home (to a pot roast cooking in the crock pot and an apple pie chilling on a rack- seriously love having mom's around!!) , the four of us headed to the shipyard to enjoy the beautiful weather and walk around for a bit.


 

We walked around the docks, Old Navy, and a couple other areas before heading back to the apartment to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal  and apple pie. We spent the remainder of the night hanging out and playing cards!


We had an absolutely wonderful time visiting with Susan and Aunt Jane and feel so blessed that they were able to get out here to spend a couple of days with us!! Miss you guys and can't wait to see everyone again around Christmas time!!

Tomorrow we get new guests for the weekend! Happy Friday, ya'll!!


 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

101 in 1001: Go To A Concert at the TD Garden

Last Monday (Better late than never on getting this post up, right?!?), Ryan and I were privileged enough to be able to take one of his customers to an Eagles concert at the Garden. This just so happened to be one of my 101 list items, which I can now HAPPILY cross off!

After work on Monday, Ryan and I hopped in the car and made the drive in to Boston with surprisingly minimal traffic. We parked at the Garden lot and walked about half a mile over to the North End, where we were meeting Ryan's customer and wife for dinner. We ended up eating at a new-to-us place called L'Osteria, which came highly recommended by the other couple. I am very happy to report that dinner definitely did not disappoint! With full bellies, we made our way back over to the Garden to find our seats and enjoy some music from one of America's legendary bands!

We didn't know this before we arrived, but the concert was basically a timeline of the history of the Eagles. The show started out with just Don Henley and Glen Frey sitting on stools, playing some of their first songs while giving commentary of how the rest of the group formed. One by one, Tim Schmit and Joe Walsh walked on stage, along with some other guys that played with the band but weren't credited members.

 
 
So you'll have to excuse the quality of these pictures... We weren't allowed to bring cameras into the venue or take pictures on our phones, so all of these pictures were pretty much taken while trying to hide my phone from the guards standing by! Not the best but you get the gist! Our seats were awesome and the music was awesomer (that's totally a word...right?!) 



The Eagles played pretty much every song of theirs that has even been popular plus a couple other songs that I assume were from their newest album released in 2007. The best part of the concert though was seeing each individual personality come out. I mean, they are all so different and each got to lead a section of the concert. Joe Walsh is a freakin' riot! Although, it's pretty evident that he has taken a drug or two in his day....




Packed House!

 
All in all, I can't think of a cooler band to see perform at the Garden! Not only did we get to listen to some AWESOME music all night long, but now I get to cross another item off of my list! Win and win!
 
Happy Thursday Night, Ya'll!! Friday is on it's way!!