food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Month: May 2013

Obsessed: Portabella Mushroom Burgers


So, I am really cracking down this week on making posts that can be categorized into TOPICS with some form of weekly structure, rather than random day-to-day posts that have no coherent organization or relation to anything in particular. Because, for real.
I like writing. Does what I write about always have a point? Not really. By making my posts a bit more purposeful to readers, I will be able to reflect on my own work and visualize the growth of the blog. Or lack thereof, let’s be completely real, guys.

With that being said, let’s talk portabella mushrooms. Up until about a year ago, I HATED mushrooms.

Mushrooms in a salad? Nope.
Mushrooms on a pizza? Picked ’em off.
Mushrooms in hot and sour soup? Didn’t order it.
Mushrooms– you get the idea.

Luckily, that was the past. My latest obsession is portabella mushroom BURGERS. Now that I’m not a meat-eater (Richard and I are pescetarians), and given that some veggie burgers are just downright terrible, I found myself wanting to give mushroom burgers a whirl. And oh my, do we love these puppies. We eat these at least once a week!



Portabella Mushroom Burgers with Roasted Red Peppers
Yields 2 burgers

2 hearty burger buns
2 large portabella mushroom caps, rinsed, stems and “gills” removed
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
olive oil
Any other toppings that your heart desires!
Hell, slap some bacon on that thing if you are a meat-eater!

Cover a sheet pan in foil (less cleanup later, woo!) and lightly coat the red pepper slices and the mushrooms (cap and underneath) in olive oil and arrange on pan. Sprinkle the veggies with coarse salt and cracked black pepper. Place pan under the oven broiler on HIGH (if you plan on hanging around the kitchen for a few minutes) or LOW (if you are going to run upstairs to put a load of laundry in, tidy up the bathroom counter, get distracted snuggling with the a kitty— oh wait, that’s just me) and simply watch for the mushrooms and peppers to get all bubbly and roasty and start to blacken around the edges. Using tongs, turn the mushrooms and peppers once or twice, allowing all sides to be exposed to the heat. Toast up your buns (or not, your call), prep your toppings, turn off the oven, perhaps throw together a quick salad? All set? (The mushrooms will release a lot of liquid, but I lightly pat my mushrooms with a paper towel before placing them on the bun, as I don’t like the bread too soggy.) Assemble your burgers, crack open a cold one, and enjoy!

Mental note: Time to relax


Lately, I find myself struggling with relaxing. I don’t often think of myself as a stressed-out individual, nor do I think I have “too much on my plate”, so what’s going on?! Given the long weekend we just had, I was hoping to kick-back, enjoy some good ol’ family time, and mentally sail far, far away from the real world. For some reason, I never quite got there. UGH.

Here’s a little of what we got into this weekend…

On Friday, we celebrated my best friend’s 25th birthday with her family (visiting from PA), a few close friends, and a number of cold pints (okay, you caught me… a couple of shots, too). Happy birthday, Rachel! For the rest of the weekend, Rich and I drove down to Topsail Island to stay with my parents and my sister Kara. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time, and the weather was (for the most part) amazing. Beach walks, reading, a little sunbathing, a shrimp boil, plenty of cold drinks to go around (not to make us all out to be lushes or anything…) – I mean, I must be a lunatic to not feel at ease, right?

I’m working on planning/scheduling (yeah, I know those are not relaxation words) more down-time into the evenings of my work week, in hopes of getting more comfortable with the idea that IT IS OKAY to do nothing. I will admit— I like to feel productive. Sometimes the idea of “doing nothing” actually makes me anxious. Am I wasting time? Isn’t there something I should be doing? What needs to be done? Should I plan something to do?

It’s exhausting how often I ask myself these questions.

I know, I’m a freak.

Hell, I am likely stressing YOU out now…

Does anyone else have trouble relaxing on vacation, or even just on a weekend? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for “checking-out” of the real world, feeling at-ease, and just being okay with being lazy!

Image via About Design USA

Date Night at Home

Sometimes, I get so excited about going out on a Friday night, until I remember how much I dread getting ready. Changing clothes, fixing my hair and makeup, painting my toenails, shaving my legs, picking out cute shoes…


Instead, I literally get so exhausted at the sheer thought of these tasks that I decide “I’d rather just stay in.” So yep, last night, Richard and I decided to be lazy have our weekly Friday date night at home!


We opened a bottle of red wine, I threw together a cheese platter for us to snack on, and made homemade pesto (which filled the entire kitchen with the wonderful aroma of the fresh-picked basil).

For dinner, I made pasta with scallops (OHMYGODILOVESCALLOPS), which is super tasty and super easy. We spent the rest of the evening (finally) watching Django (great film, go get it!) and taking pictures of the kitties (duh).




I mean seriously, how much of a ham is Merlin? And look! He was having a lazy Friday night of his own!

Penne with Basil Pesto and Scallops
Serves 2

1/2 box penne pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
12oz small Patagonian scallops, thawed (found in the freezer section of Whole Foods)
a few fresh basil leaves (for garnish)

And for the pesto…
3-4 handfuls of fresh basil
1/4 cup unsalted cashews
3/4 cup grated parmesan
olive oil to preferred consistency
kosher salt to taste
cracked black pepper to taste

1. Combine basil leaves, half of the cashews, and half of the cheese in a food processor. Continue adding the remaining ingredients to your preference. Set aside.
2. Pat dry scallops to remove excess water from thawing. Set aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat. Once oil is heated, add scallops, tossing every so often with a spatula, to keep them from sticking. Season with salt and pepper.
4. While the scallops are cooking, bring penne to a boil until it is ‘al dente’.
5. When the scallops turn crusty and golden brown, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, drain the penne.
7. Split penne between two bowls. Top penne with roughly 3 tbsp pesto and half of the scallops. Garnish with basil leaves. Enjoy!

5 7 6

Mother’s Day

What a fun Mother’s Day!

Rich and I just got in from a fun-filled afternoon and evening at my parents’ house.

My brother was unable to attend, as he is currently vacationing in Hawaii. Yep, you read that right. Hawaii. Can’t really feel bad for him, can ya?

(Kidding, we missed you, Patrick!)

We did, however, get to spend time with my parents, grandparents, and sister Kara. We enjoyed some spinach lasagna, red wine, great conversation, cheesecake (don’t worry, this cheesecake will be featured in its very own post pretty soon…), and fun photos!

Here are a few of my favorites…





Can’t forget little Lexi…


Happy Mother’s Day!

Cubicle Fashion

What a week it’s been!

First off, I can’t believe that May is here. Seriously, though. April was over in the blink of an eye!

It’s official, guys. I begin my NEW job on Monday! Nervous and anxious little butterflies aside, I am super excited to embark on this new journey in my life.
A new career, a fresh start, a different atmosphere at work… all of these changes feel so perfect for springtime.

Now for my real concern. FASHION.


I am in love with this outfit from The Golden Diamonds — so chic and modern, but so edgy and quirky!

I have a few cute pencil skirts. I recently purchased a couple of pairs of cute dress pants and flowy tops, but I am really planning on using next week to observe work fashion at my new job, so that I can start coming up with a list of go-to outfit ideas. Office attire can be tricky for women!

Does this shirt need to have cap sleeves or can it have no sleeves?
Can I wear open-toed shoes?
Do these sandals look TOO casual?
Is this pencil skirt too pin-up girl?
Can I roll the cuffs on this blazer?
Do I need to wear the blazer all day?

You get the idea.

Poor Richard was forced to endure all of these questions (and more) just for my INTERVIEW outfit.

Any tips for a girl who’s new to Cubicleland?

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