Monday, February 28, 2011

A Townie Treat

Anyone who grew up in our neck of the woods, or has stopped by at any point, knows about Cabot's Ice Cream. Cabot's is a town favorite. Their ice cream is the best around, their food is craveable, and the atmosphere is exactly what you would expect in a small town.

Growing up I went to Cabot's with my parents. Together and apart they went on dates to Cabot's when they were teens. Josh went there as a kid with his parents (who didn't even live in the area at the time). The day that Josh and I first saw our house and decided to make an offer on it, we, of course, went to Cabot's.

Cabot's is the kind of place we like to go when we are in the mood for a treat, craving ice cream, or just want to grab something quick. It is always fun, tasty, and a great place to run into neighborhood friends. If you are ever in the area, you should check it out.

Just that sign makes my mouth water. 

So many choices, so little time. 

I decided to have breakfast for lunch. 

Josh went for the veggie wrap.

Of course we had treats! I had the cookie dough sundae. 

Josh had the s'mores sundae 
Our meal at Cabot's was delicious. As always it did not disappoint. I can't wait until we get to go back.

Is there a local restaurant or ice cream stand that you just can't enough of?

Where To Begin

I have sat to write this post at least 5 times. Each time I was unsure about how to perfectly put what I wanted to say. For those who know me well, this is not an every day occurrence.

The last four days for me, and my blog, have been surreal. There was no way that back in July when I started writing MAM that I could have ever dreamed up an experience like this. Over the last few months I have been blown away at many milestones. I still can't believe how many loyal readers I have and how many new readers keep stumbling upon my writing. I can't believe that real companies have asked me to review their sites and products and most of all I can't believe how many interesting and unique people I have 'met' through blogging. But nothing hit me quite like what happened over the last four days. featured my post about Chobani yogurt on Thursday. I was very grateful. In one day I had well over 650 visits, blowing my previous high of 250 out of the water. Then on Friday, my post was still there in the 'Your Blogs' section. Again, more and more people came to MAM, upwards of 500. Both Saturday and Sunday saw similar results. For four days and Chobani gave me the greatest of all, exposure. I can not thank them enough, and I can not thank you enough. I am honored, humbled, and beyond excited.

For those of you who are loyal to MAM, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your devotion and support is more than I could have ever asked for. For those of you who are checking me out for the first time or just saw my post on, welcome.

Madison Ave Musings is a place where I share all that I can. I try to be open and honest about life and the trials and tribulations of being a newlywed and first time homeowner. I also talk a lot about what I like to eat and what Josh likes to cook, as well as the activities we do for fun including going to the gym. I try to explore the ways in which we get along best and my transition from not being so religious to helping Josh create a Jewish home.

I hope you like what you read and keep coming back...and possibly recommend it to your friends! I also genuinely would love any feedback you might have. I love to hear about other recipes, healthy living ideas, and just fun things that you are up to. So sit back, relax, and enjoy.

As always, thank you.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Whoopie! Whoopie!

The whoopie pies we made a few weeks ago were so tasty that we decided to make them again. In case you are new to Madison Ave Musings here is the recipe.


After seeing this article about the state of Maine's heated debate about whether or not to keep the whoopie pie as its state's official dessert or to change it to the blueberry (which is currently the state fruit) pie, I could not think of anything else but whoopie pies.

The whoopie pie is an ingenious dessert. It is cake meets cupcake meets a treat lovers dream. Since I LOVE whoopie pies and Josh loves all things Maine there was no way we were not going to make this crowd pleasing treat.

Whoopie pies are way out of my wheel house so I had to turn to my Martha Stewart bible Cookbook for help. Once again, Martha did not steer me wrong. The pies were decadent, the frosting was delicious, and the whole experience left me excited about trying more complicated desserts from scratch. If you are looking for a relatively easy and very tasty whoopie pie recipe, this is it!

Whoopie Pie Ingredients:
3 1/2 ups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Whoopie Pie Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder 
Set aside

In the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment 
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla
Beat until well combined

Slowly add in dry ingredients
Mix until well combined

Line baking pans with parchment paper
Using 1-ounce ice cream scoop (or small spoon) place cookies on baking sheets

Bake for 12 minutes
Remove to track to cool

Frosting Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water
Combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and egg whites
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 160 degrees for 2 minutes

Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
Beat mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous (about 5 minutes)
Beat in vanilla 
Use immediately

Whoopie Pie Directions:
Spread 2 tablespoons of frosting onto each of the cookies
Sandwich 2 cookies together

I promise that if you follow Martha Stewart's recipe to a T, you too will have 24 tasty Whoopie Pie treats to enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Friday to Remember

Last Friday night's Shabbat dinner was so wonderful that exactly one week later I am still smiling.

Josh and I had his college roommate Adam and his wife Courtney over for dinner. It was such a great night. Josh and Adam have not only known each other since they were 18, but they are so similar! It was great for Courtney and I to hear all about there college days and to get some insight on what these two guys were like way back when. We also found out just how much Courtney and I have in common. I hate that we don't get see them enough. Every time we hang out it is always a blast!

One of the newest fun facts that we all learned about one another was our mutual obsession with the Amazing Race. We also decided that the boys would make an unstoppable team. They are both very competitive and good at following directions. Josh is a great driver, good with maps, and a fantastic handy man. Adam speaks other languages, will eat anything, and can think a few steps ahead of the competition. They also have a great gimmick, which I do not want to spoil for you, but have you ever seen the movie Keeping the Faith? Watch out Phil, Adam and Josh are coming to win the Amazing Race!

Josh and I are going to miss Adam and Courtney terribly when they move all the way to North Carolina, but I have a feeling that the distance will make our visits that much more special.

With such a small group compared to many of our Shabbat dinners it was fun to be able to set our new dining room table. I was able to use all of our favorite dishes and serving pieces. It was fun to be creative with the table and the meal. Of course I wanted my favorite dish for dinner, sesame chicken :) It never gets old.

For dinner we had chicken, rice, broccoli, salad, and challah. And for dessert, brownies. YUM! There was no doubt that the food was just as wonderful as the company.

Want to know how to make Josh's Famous Sesame Chicken? It is so easy and beyond tasty!

Ingredients (sometimes we like to double it to have lots of extra sauce)

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes(depends on how hot you like your food)
  • 2-4 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
*For the vegetarians out there, try this recipe with Tofu instead.

  1. Cut chicken breast into 1 inch strips or bite size pieces.
  2. Heat a large non-stick pan that has been sprayed with Pam(or 2 tablespoons of sesame oil for extra flavor) over medium heat.
  3. Cook chicken for about 6 minutes or until no longer pink. Turn the pieces every couple of minutes.
  4. While chicken is cooking, mix together honey, soy sauce, water, corn starch, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  5. Whisk until no corn starch lumps remain.
  6. When chicken is no longer pink, add sauce to the pan with chicken.
  7. The heat should cause the sauce to begin to thicken. If the sauce is too thick add a little water.
  8. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
  9. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken starts to soak up sauce.
  10. When plating the chicken and sauce, Josh likes to garnish with some chopped scallions and of course more sesame seeds.


Yesterday was one of the best days I have had in a long time, and by far the best blog day I ever had!

Thank you so much Your Blogs section for featuring Madison Ave Musings for the whole the day on Thursday. What an honor! Thank you Chobani for being so receptive to my review. But most of all, thank you to YOU! The outpouring of support from readers, new and old, was amazing and inspiring. I can not thank you enough for reading and commenting. I appreciate you letting me into your world for a few minutes at a time more than you can imagine. THANK YOU!

As if having a rock star blog day wasn't enough, I got to see Pat Green live in concert last night! (More on the amazing show later) Talk about pure perfection. That man puts on a show like no other.

Some times I need to pinch myself. I look around and think "WOW, this is my life!"


And enjoy this Pat Green song. It is going through my head over and over today!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Throwback Thursday

For your reading pleasure check out one of my most favorite concoctions:

"Healthy" Grilled Cheese

In general my pallet has not changed all that much since I was a kid. I love candy, and cake, and peanut butter and fluff sandwiches more than anything else in the world. Unfortunately, as an adult I can't eat junk in the quantities that I used to and still stay in shape. Too bad my taste does not understand this.

Now that Josh and I are more committed than ever to eating healthy and living a more positive and active lifestyle, I try to find ways to still eat my kid food while trying to be more careful with what I put in my body.

One of my most favorite things to eat is grilled cheese. As a kid I ate them all the time. Now I try to stay away from them because they aren't so healthy. However, I finally figured out how to incorporate being an adult and eating like a kid. Healthy grilled cheese!

To make my healthy grilled cheese, I use a whole wheat sandwich thins instead of regular bread. Then I take one slice of regular American cheese and one of veggie cheese. Finally, instead of butter I used a touch of margarine on the outside of the bread. As a grilled cheese eating expert, this healthy grilled cheese tastes just as good as a traditional one...and with a fraction of the calories. Not too shabby.


Taste Test

Everywhere I look these days I see Chobani. At work, on TV, at the store. Everyone is raving about Greek yogurt, and not just any yogurt, Chobani. I finally caved and had to see what all of the fuss is all about.

When I came home from the store with 2 Chobani's for Josh and I to try, Josh was a little shocked. I am not a fan yogurt at all. I can't eat most yogurt that is made with fruit and plain yogurt never tastes as good as fruity yogurt. I also try to stay away from that much dairy, but like I said, Chobani is everywhere and I wanted to give it a whirl.

Josh tried his blueberry yogurt first. His review was pretty positive considering he too isn't a huge yogurt eater either. He said: "At first my stomach sunk because I saw that it was fruit on the bottom, and I really don't like fruit on the bottom. But when I tasted the yogurt it was delicious even though it had been fruit on the bottom."

I tried my vanilla Chobani next. I have to admit that I did not go into the taste test with an open mind. I was expecting not to like it. And at first I didn't. There was something about the texture and the flavor that I didn't love. But as I ate more and more of it, and mixed in raisins and granola, my opinion changed drastically. It was pretty tasty!

I am not sure if we are going to become a yogurt eating family, but if I do eat yogurt in the future, I would definitely go for Chobani again. And next time I will be armed with a better attitude and some mix-ins!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hot Food, Cold Day

There is something about a meal of hot dogs and baked beans that is so comforting. Maybe it is because I am from Boston, or because I went through a phase as a kid where the only thing I would eat for a very long time was hot dogs, or because they are just so good, but I love this meal. So does Josh.

Though, to be fair, I love baked beans, not so much hot dogs. But Josh loves hot dogs. And baked beans and hot dogs go together like peas and carrots, so on cold winter days when we are not in the mood to cook, hot dogs and beans it is.

I also have a not so secret obsession with my bean pot. And by my bean pot I mean the pot I 'borrowed' at some point from my parents and never gave back. I have had it for so long that a few months back my mom mentioned that she wished she had not gotten rid of it when she moved...five years ago. I finally had to confess that the best bean pot ever made is alive and well (and getting plenty of use!) in my cabinet. She was shocked and a bit surprised that I had the pot which led me to wonder if I had borrowed it or just taken it when I moved out. I'm not really sure at this point, but somehow the bean pot still lives with me. (along with the Pillsbury Dough Boy cookie jar, a taco platter, and some of my nana's old cookie sheets and brownie pans. What can I say? Sometimes things just stow away in cabinets)

And so, when the weather dipped back down low this week, dinner was an obvious choice for us, hot dogs and beans!

Best Bean Pot Ever!

I love Bush's baked beans. They are so tasty! But not even close to being kosher. The best discovery ever was when I learned that Bush's made vegetarian baked beans that tasted identical to the original ones and, best of all, were kosher. Let's just say I try to find ways to add them to as many meals as possible.

My mouth is water just looking at this picture.

No matter how cold, snowy, rainy, or raw it is outside, Josh is happy to grill any/everything he can.

Hot dogs on the grill is the only way to eat them.

I did not realize that we did not have any hot dog buns until the meal was just about ready to be served. Oh well, who needs buns anyway?

A delicious and easy meal. The salad definitely helped to make this not so healthy meal a little bit better.

What is your favorite comfort meal on a cold day?

Manic Monday

Our Mondays are anything but manic now that we have a routine down that works for us. 

Monday is our favorite day at the gym. Not only is it full of accountability, but one of our friends is generally working at the front desk on Mondays and it is always fun to see her. Plus, we take 2 classes with our favorite instructor and almost all of our gym friends. First we take a 45 minute muscle/weight lifting class - you should see our guns :) - and then an hour long spin class. It is hands down our favorite day of the week.

There is something about starting the week off on the right foot that motivates us to stick with our workout schedule each and every week. There is also something fun about seeing so many new friends in one place that makes the grueling 1:45 of serious exercise just fly by.

Of course Josh and I are not immune to Manic Mondays. We just found out that our friend who teaches on Monday nights will no longer be our teacher anymore. Good thing she is our friend too, or else we would be much more heartbroken than we already are. A change in any routine, especially at the gym, and especially on a Monday is not easy, but somehow I bet Josh and I will figure it out...and until then, we get to sing Manic Monday over and over and over and over....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birthday Dinner

Friday was my mother's birthday. In typical fashion we planned a fun, fancy dinner for Saturday night. I love having dinner with my parents. They always pick the best restaurants, we always have a blast, and I know I am going to have a good meal. Saturday night was no exception.

We went to AquiTaine in Dedham. They have a little bit of a bigger menu and getting out of our usual neighborhood was fun. When the 4 of us (me, Josh, and my parents) go out to dinner, there are a lot of issues to look at. Josh keeps kosher outside of our house and doesn't really eat mushrooms, I am not eating chicken (sort of) and limited amounts of meat, my mom doesn't eat red meat, both my mom and I have some serious food allergies, and while my dad is content eating a wider range of food than the rest of us, he is also a picky eater (where I get it from) and in theory is eating a more heart healthy diet. We are definitely a tough group to please. Which was why AquiTaine was such a good choice. The wide variety on their menu was a bonus and we were all happy.

As to be expected, it was a delicious meal with great company. AquiTaine did not let us down!

Every good meal starts off with a great drink! For some reason I am very in to martinis lately and this one did not disappoint.

My mom enjoyed the beet salad. Very Tasty! My dad had the French onion soup, but the picture didn't come out nearly as well as it tasted.
Josh and I split the tuna tartare. Trust me, this picture does not do it justice!

Josh had the special, the Hawaian fish wahoo! It was the most delicious thing he has eaten out in a long time.

My mom had the horseradish encrusted salmon. She always goes for the salmon and is never disappointed.

Shock of all shocks, my dad had the steak. He practically licked his plate clean, and for good reason. It was a great meal.

I had the butternut squash ravioli. Trust me, this picture barely captures how good this meal was.
All 4 of us picky/complicated eaters were thrilled with our meals. Every single one of us ate every bite on our plate. The atmosphere was pretty good too. It was loud in the restaurant (the tell tale sign of people enjoying themselves) but we were in a booth and had no problem hearing one another. Our server was great and Josh could not stop raving about his WAHOO meal.

Best of all, my mom enjoyed her birthday dinner! And her surprise dessert. You didn't think I would write a whole blog post about Party Favors on my mom's birthday without getting her a cake from there did you?

As always the cake was devoured!
Happy Birthday Mom! I hope this upcoming year is your best yet.

Close Call

Last week I had a major scare. I went to turn on my computer in the morning to update twitter, nothing happened. I tried pressing some keys to try to wake it up. I moved the mouse around franticially. I held down the power button for what felt like an hour. Still nothing.

I started to panic. My life is on the that computer. I got my laptop when I went to grad school. Every paper I ever wrote for school was on there, including the final draft of my thesis. Many press releases, articles, and letters from the many jobs that I have had are also housed on my computer. Pretty much anything I have ever written since I was 25 is saved on that computer.

It is not only school and job stuff either. All of my pictures are on there. Everything from our wedding is on there too. My blog posts, photos, and outreach letters are saved on my computer. Basically, my life is housed in that little black box. And when it did not turn on I jumped right to hysteria. I could not live without everything on my computer and in all of these years I have never backed it up (BIG MISTAKE!)

Thank goodness Josh has the magic touch. When he got home from work he was able to wake up my computer. I still have no idea what happened, but Josh bought me a portable hard drive real fast. He even backed up my entire computer for me. Yes, this took FOREVER.


This eGo Helium portable Hard Ddrive (1 iomega) 500 GB is my new best friend. Now all I need to do is plug it in once a week and all of my stuff is safe and sound. It is also very small so I can take it with me places. I could not be happier knowing that my electronic life is safe and that this time the massive computer melt down was just a false alarm.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike

I am extremely into spin class right now. I take between 2-3 classes a week and really just can't get enough of it. I love how challenging it is, how quickly an hour flies by, and how great I feel after. I also can't believe how great cross training has been for my running. Every time I run I am able to run longer, faster, and stronger than the time before. Spinning is great.

While I love this:
 I do not love this:
I would not say I have a fear of riding bikes per say, but I do enjoy a stationary bike much more than road bike.

Growing up in a small town with many culs-de-sac and without lots of traffic, bike riding was a fun, easy way to get around and get some exercise. I rode bikes with friends, at camp, and with my parents. But, the minute I turned 16 1/2 and got my license I swore I would never ride a bike again. And I didn't, for nearly decade.

When Josh and I got engaged, we went on a vacation to celebrate. It was our first vacation together and we wanted to do everything. We spent many hours planning our trip, reading travel books, and picking things that we wanted to see and experience. Vancouver is a city known for being green, among many other things. High on Josh's must-do list was riding bikes through Stanley Park. I just smiled and hoped he would pick something else to do.

Once we arrived to Vancouver and spent a few days touring the city, I got up my nerve. I finally agreed to join Josh on a bike ride. There had to be a reason why the saying "it's just like riding a bike" was so popular. We rented bikes and started our slow, but steady, tour of Stanley Park. It was early in the morning and in the middle of the week so the park wasn't too crowded. I slowly, but surely, gained confidence...sort of.

At some point Josh, who is an avid biker, has competed in multiple triathlons, and bikes to work in any weather, and I, the biggest weenie on the planet, decided to tackle this biggest bridge known to man.

Ok, it is not the actual biggest bridge known to man, but it sure felt like it. To be fair, Josh offered to turn back many times, but my competitiveness got in the way. I was determined to cross the bridge. After my second panic attack I realized that I was not even halfway across yet. I did manage to get all of the way to the other side without getting hit by a car or falling over and was pretty proud of myself.

Luckily after making it over once, my rational side kicked in and I walked my bike back to the other side of bridge. While it was a cool-ish experience, I have not been back on a bike since. Even just writing this post gives me some anxiety when thinking about how awful that ride was.

I will definitely be sticking to stationary bikes for at least another decade or two.

Happy President's Day

For this political nut, President's Day is by far my favorite of the 'monday observance holidays'. Honoring great men in our history is something we should do more than once a year, but on this day we should all be grateful for our forefathers and for the country that they left to us.

Oh yeah and be excited for school vacation to start. In case you were wondering, I did leave Josh a big To Do List for the week. The joys of being married to a teacher :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Treats

Nothing says Friday like a tasty treat!

I love treats. I just can't get enough of them. And of all of my favorite treats, none makes me happier than cake. And not just any cake, Party Favors cake. Party Favors is the most perfect store. They have the best cakes around, super cute cards and party supplies, and walking in is better than any visit to candyland.

When I first moved back to Boston I lived right down the street from Party Favors. It was a good thing I was already a dedicated gym rat because I definitely stopped in regularly for a cupcake...or two. Once Josh learned of my cupcake obsession, he too picked up the habit of bringing me regular treats. While I loved being spoiled, moving a little bit farther away from Party Favors might have been the best thing for my waist line. Though whenever there is a special occasion...or we just happen to be in the know where we will be.

These cakes and cupcakes are beyond crave-able!

Engagement Cake
Cheer me up cupcakes

Happy 1st Anniversary

For no good reason other than yumminess

2nd Anniversary

Are you wanting some cake yet? I sure am. I think I see a trip to Party Favors in my future :)

Do you have a favorite local bakery that's treats always brighten your day?