Monday, May 16, 2011

Juggling Life

While I like to fancy myself Wonder Woman

In reality I'm just a normal stressed out kid.

While I'd love to believe I can handle it all, my day job, my first university commencement as a staff member, my exciting new side project (teaser!), my always busy life, and my blog, I just can't. Something has to give. And unfortunately, that thing is the blog.

I love writing every day and sharing my stories and cooking adventures with you. In another 2 weeks I will be back in action. But for now, during this super busy time, I need to keep my head down and my nose to the grindstone.

I am so grateful that everyday you tune in for my latest installment. It means the world to me and I can not thank you enough. I truly am touched by your support and encouragement. I appreciate you sticking with me for the moment while things are super crazy and promise some great recipes(our best baking adventure yet!) and silly stories in a few weeks when things calm down.

Bye Bye for now Blogospehre! Don't miss me too much ;) I'll be back before you know it!

Meatless Monday: Guacamole

In honor of Meatless Monday, check out Josh's famous guacamole recipe. Trust me, this stuff is better than anything out there! And beyond easy to make. You can use it on everything and anything. It is perfect to dip chips or veggies in. It is the ideal spread on any sandwich or the perfect topper for Mexican. It is also an ideal compliment to all things tofu. DELICIOUS.

If you have never tried to make your own guacamole, you should really try this one.

Black Pepper
Lime Juice
Lemon Juice
Onion Powder
Garlic Power
*chopped onions and tomatoes for extra pizzaz

Cut the avocado in half and get rid of the pit
Score the avocado to make it easier to remove

Add in lemon and lime juice, then mash up the avocado really well
*add in chopped onions and tomatoes if you wish

Mix in the rest of the ingredients: pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder

I highly recommend this easy and foolproof recipe. You will not be disappointed.

A Crack of the Bat

The season has begun. That's right, I'm talking about Coed Jewish Softball. Yes, you just read that right.

You might be confused that I actually play a team sport. To be honest, I'm kind of surprised myself. Though not nearly as surprised as one of my oldest friends from camp. To quote her: "I still can't believe you are actually playing. I look at you and see that 13 year old girl trying desperately to get out of athletics." 

You see, I'm not really a sports person. In fact, growing up I tried every trick in the book to get out of team sports. I love going to the gym and dancing, but balls and bats near my head...not really my thing. 

However, as I say that, I have survived a few seasons of softball. And I have to say, I'm not as bad I was before. This week I even got a big hit and thankfully made it through the entire game without a single ball coming near me. I call that a successful game,

Oh yeah, and our team won. Not to shabby!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Long Blog Weekend

Between blogger being down and so much going on at work, I decided to take a long blog weekend.

Enjoy this oldie, but goodie and check back Monday for more Madison Ave Fun!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Did You Ever Wonder Why

Channeling my inner Andy Rooney, (he has been on my mind since I read his unbelievably touching, real, and fascinating account of his experiences as a Stars and Stripes reporter in World War II in My War) I can't help but think every morning "Do you ever wonder why... people cross busy intersections when they do not have a walk signal?"

I'm a true Bostonian which means I rarely wait for a cross light before darting from one side of the street to the next, even in traffic. Every day I take calculated risks and choose to sacrifice safety for time. But, every once in a while, there is an intersection that is just too busy and too dangerous to cross while there is traffic. One of those scary crosswalks just happens to be on my walk from the train to work.

At this one particular intersection there are many streets, people, and cars that merge together. Atlantic Avenue, Summer Street, 93 Surface Road, a detour for the Mass Pike, a couple of side streets, the Commuter Rail, Bus Station and the T all come together on one street corner outside of South Station. Every single morning, without fail, this part of Boston is a mob scene. Cars are trying to beat the lights while hordes of people pile out of South Station spilling over the sidewalk onto the street. Everyone meets in the exact same spot that politicians are shaking hands, newspaper hawkers are yelling out headlines, and pan handlers are asking for change. Basically, it is Samantha's Personal Hell. Armed with my ipod and the promise of coffee, I put my head down and push through the crowd.

In order to get to Dunkins, I have to cross the aforementioned major intersection. The pattern is easy: walkers have the right of way first, then the far lane of cars get their turn, followed by the near lane of cars. The entire cycle can not take more than 2 minutes. EVERY DAY a handful of people walk out in front of the near lane of traffic while the far lane drives, hoping to sneak across when the light changes. EVERY DAY the second light changes and cars in the near lane come flying through the intersection nearly missing pedestrians as they weave through the craziest corner in Boston.

This begs the question, what are these pedestrians thinking? These people are commuters. They make the same walk 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. How have they not learned? The near lane gets its light AFTER the far lane. And these cars are flying off of a winding exit lane with an obstructed view of the road from the highway. You will get hit.

Fortunately, I have not seen anyone get hit. However, I still make my patented Samantha 'are you kidding me?' face at these daredevil pedestrians. What are they thinking?!?!

To answer Mr. Rooney: Yes, I often wonder why...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More Reason To Smile

10 More Things That Make Me Smile

  1. Taco Night!
  2. Running
  3. Recycling
  4. Live Music
  5. Cute Shoes
  6. Delicious Meals Out
  7. Blogging
  8. Brownies
  9. Birthdays
  10. Iphone
What makes you smile?

Happy Belated Cinco de Mayo

I am a little behind this week, but that's ok. When there is so much fun going on, sometimes it's hard to stay up to to date.

Since Cinco de Mayo was in the middle of a very busy week, Josh and I decided to celebrate over the weekend. When it comes the Mexican food (or Tex-Mex) there is no place better than Acapulcos. It is just the perfect fun food for me. It has everything that I love to eat even though I know I shouldn't. Hey, everyone has to indulge sometime :)

Any good trip to Acapulcos starts with a big and tasty Margarita. Normally I'm a regular on the rocks no salt girl, but in honor of Cinco de Mayo I decided to go for a frozen strawberry one. YUM. 

And you certainly can't go out for Tex Mex without getting chips and salsa. They are the best part.

Especially when you add in some Chile Con Queso. Nothing is better! Every bite was beyond delicious.

After a beyond tasty appetizer, Josh had a spinach quesadilla.

And I had a cheese one. I love when there is an excuse to have a yummy dinner at Acapulcos.

And We're Back...Sort Of

You might have noticed that I have not blogged about the gym in a while. A long while. Well, that's because it has been a long while since I've been...sort of.

Just before Josh left for New Orleans I was a gym rock star. I was running longer and faster than ever before. Every time I was on the treadmill I was breaking my own person records left and right. Add that running to being a constant fixture in multiple spinning and zumba classes throughout the week and I had a pretty nice routine.

I was also feeling better and stronger than I had been in a long time. Josh was right by my side through all of it and he too was feeling great. We were both on our game and very, very happy. And then, our peak was over and we entered the valley. Since the end of March we have been off our routine. Josh was away, then home for a few days and then away again. I was filling my nights with dinners and drinks with friends. We had Passover, a family Bar Mitzvah, 2 visits to Albany, a wedding shower, plans with friends, too many nights working late, and countless other things. We did get a few work outs in, but nothing like we were used to. When life gets busy, the gym is the first thing to go.

In an effort to get back on track, Josh and I planned a serious, but not too strenuous, first run back. Boy was that a mistake. I started off way too fast and ran out of steam quickly. Then I landed funny on the sidewalk and hurt the bottom of my foot in a way that I still can't explain how. And as if that were not enough, I had trouble breathing the entire time thanks to the pollen and had to walk a ton. YIKES!

Good thing I'm still motivated and willing to push through. Hopefully there will be a lot more exercise posts in the near future because I need to get back on the wagon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Belated Mother's Day

After having such a wonderful experience for my mom's birthday, we decided to take my mom back to AquiTaine for Mother's Day. Only this time, instead of dinner we went for brunch.

If I do say so myself, this was a great idea! I am officially hooked on AquiTaine and I'm pretty sure that my family is too. Their food is delicious, the service is great, and the atmosphere is low key but very nice. I'm a huge fan.

My mom is a total brunch person (I think that is where I get it) and this brunch was great. Of course we started with coffee. Never does my family get together without coffee, especially in the morning. All 3 of us love coffee, can't get enough of it. It's one of the few ways Josh doesn't fit in :) As my mom says, he is already caffeinated enough.

Next we all enjoyed a tasty sweet treat, a very yummy cinnamon roll. And some orange juice. Not a bad combination at all.

Then my mom, Josh, and I devoured our French Toast; it was fantastic!

And my dad went for a more traditional scrambled eggs and potatoes. All 4 of us were beyond pleased with our meals once again. I can't recommend AquiTaine any higher. It truly is a great place to go for any meal.

It may be a few days late, but Happy Mother's Day!

Adventures Are Fun

Last night around 7 my cell phone rang. I picked it up to find Emily on the other end asking if I wanted to go to Whole Foods for a minute. I said, sure, and away we went.

Maybe some background is necessary. On Sunday Emily and I had the most interesting snack at her parents' house. It was a cross between a pop chip and a rice cake, only much better than both. We knew they were from Whole Foods and since Emily was driving by my house, she thought she would invite me to go get some with her. 

We went to 2 Whole Foods near my house, but could not find these allusive chips. Finally we drove to the largest store in the area. After 3 stores, a gas pit stop, and a ton of gossiping, Emily and I found our Coco Pop Cakes

The machine where they make this treat.
So cool!
After eating them with both peanut butter and cheese (separately of course) we confirmed that it was well worth the drive. Sure, it might sound a bit silly to drive all over creation looking for pop cakes, but they are really good. And really, what could be silly about spontaneously going on a random adventure with one of your favorite girl friends? 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meatless Monday: Smart Wings

In honor of Meatless Monday, check out this new kind of wrap.

With so many different veggie options out there, going meatless has never been easier. Before I had always been a little bit nervous to try some of the meatless projects. But then I fell in love with soy crumbles and tofu in general. After branching out from where I had been, I wanted more.

Finally, when I got a call from Josh saying that he bought something new for us try, I was so excited. I knew it would be some sort of meatless product. As soon as I tried it I was hooked. Since sampling Smart Wings Honey BBQ veggie protein wings, I have already gone out to stock up on more. They are so tasty!

If you have never tried Smart Wings, you should. They are so packed with flavor and beyond easy to prepare. It is a totally ideal protein substitute. Yum!

All we had to do was put them in a fry pan with some olive oil. Then we cooked them on both sides until the sauce was bubbling and the wing was hot.

Then we put them inside of a wrap to make a delicious protein packed meal.

Adding a little cheese was my idea. Hey we were going for protein!

Both Josh and I loved Smart Wings wraps. Look for many more posts on meatless meal starters :)

What Did You Do?

What did you do this weekend?


  • Enjoyed a delicious Shabbat dinner with friends 
  • Helped set up and clean up for a bridal shower
  • Celebrated with friends and family at a bridal shower
  • Watched the Kentucky Derby
  • Ate a yummy delayed Cinco de Mayo meal (more on that later this week)
  • Went for a crazy run (yikes!) 
  • Had a wonderful Mother's Day brunch (more on that later this week as well)
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Took a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond
  • Ran errands
  • Did 5 loads of laundry
  • Made a tasty dinner
  • Collapsed 
No wonder I'm a little tired. Sometimes I look back on weekends and think "Really? I did all that?" Good thing this weekend was jam packed full of fun stuff.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Childhood Favorite

When Josh was out of town last week, I spent some quality time with my parents. After a day of hanging out and doing some work, they made me one of my all time favorite meals, lamb chops!

I have not had lamb chops in forever. I forgot how good they are, how simple they are to make, and how fun they are to eat. I was so excited when my mom said she would make them for me. So lucky! She also taught me how to make them. I love learning how to make my mom's recipes and then being able to bring them home and enjoy them with Josh.

Step 1:
Sprinkle Lawry's on all sides of the lamb chops.
Let the Lawry's sit on the lamb chops for a period of time.

Step 2:
Grill up the lamb chops to your desired taste

Step 3:

Step 4:
Enjoy as a part of a delicious meal.

What favorite childhood recipes do you have? Do you incorporate them into your adult life?

New Bad Habit

I go to bed long before Josh. Some nights I will be asleep for up to 2-3 hours before he comes to bed. What can I say? I like to go to bed early and he likes to stay up late.

Generally when Josh comes to bed I mumble something incoherent and random. Lately, however, this is what he has come to bed to:

Me, sitting up straight in bed saying "Ok Josh, I think I'm going to go to bed."

So random! 2 hours after being asleep I feel the need to announce that I am going to bed. And the weirdest part, I don't even remember it in the morning!

Just once I wish the Josh would go to bed first and I could have a funny story about something he did. Maybe someday. But for now, it's just me being weird.

Good thing Josh is used to my weirdness.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stuck Like Glue

If it's summer, it's got to be SUGARLAND!

That's right, once again Josh and I will be up close and personal with one of my all time favorites, SUGARLAND!!!!!! Last year the show was amazing and I know this year it will be even better. How could it not? Jennifer and Christian are truly phenomenal performers.

This concert season has been amazing so far, and we haven't even made it to the big ones yet. Pat Green was out of the world! I know Sugarland will rock; they always do. And of course, the King of Summer, Kenny Chesney will round out another fantastic concert season.

I swear, nothing makes me happier than live country shows, especially outdoors in the summer.

Green is Better

Yesterday I shared a side that I love, French Fries. And I do love French Fries. Especially when they are made with a little paprika. Today I thought it might be fun to share a side, also made with paprika, only it is a bit healthier.

As they say, green is better.

Cut and clean green beans
Saute green beans until they start to brown with garlic/shallots and olive oil
Add- salt, pepper, paprika, and red wine viniger

That's it. Easy right? And delicious. It's amazing how versatile these few ingredients are and how much they spice up any dish!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Homemade Fries

I love French Fries. A lot. They are so tasty and really are the perfect addition to any meal. But also, they are often greasy. That sort of lessens the appeal of fries.

So it seemed like a good idea to figure out a way to make very tasty fries that were not greasy. If I do say so myself our first attempt was pretty much right on. Of course the fact that we made sweet potato fries helped too. Because as much as I like regular fries, I love sweet potato fries.

First up, we cut up the sweet potato into large steak fries cuts.

Then we got all of our ingredients together: black pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. I swear, paprika makes everything taste better. And it is truly amazing what a combination of our favorite spices can do.

Next we put everything in a plastic bag along with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and shook it up, shake 'n bake style.

Once everything was mixed together the fries were put on a cookie sheet that had been sprayed with cooking spray. They were cooked at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes (depending on desired crunchiness).

Finally we ate these taste full and grease free fries, and loved every bite. They really are the perfect addition to any meal.

Top Ten: iPhone Edition

In the short period of time Josh and I have had our iphones we have quickly become addicted. They follow us everywhere, are a huge part of our every day conversation, and we can hardly believe that we were ever able to live without them. We both love having our email, calendars, and phonebook at our fingertips, carrying our ipods around with us everywhere, having access to every media outlet on the planet, being constantly connected to social media, and being able to play games anywhere, anytime. The iphone is hands down the best modern day least of its kind. Like I said, we are addicted.

We also love, love, love the app store. Of all of the apps that we have downloaded and can't get enough of, below are our individual top ten favorite apps.


  1. Ping!
  3. Ijewels
  4. FoxNews - streaming video
  5. Online Banking
  6. Gas Buddy
  7. Run Keeper
  8. Spark Recipes - healthy recipes
  9. Today Show
  10. Pandora
  1. Words with Friends
  2. Star Walk
  3. Cardstar
  4. Gmaps
  5. Angry Birds
  6. Skee Free
  7. First Class
  8. Meebo
  9. Flixster
  10. Ielements
Is there anything we are missing? What apps can you not live without? 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Prince and the Scones

And now back to our regularly scheduled programing.

On Friday Morning, Kate Middleton married her Prince. While the world was watching a momentous milestone for the young couple and the British Monarchy, I was once again reminded of what a Prince I had married just about a year ago.

As I sat there ooohing and aaaahing over the guests, the dress, and the kiss, I was eating the most delicious, and most English, breakfast I had ever bed! That's right, Josh made me breakfast in bed, complete with homemade scones, English Breakfast tea, orange juice, and a flower. I was shocked and so, so excited. It was the most perfect morning, even if it did start at 4am.

As has become a bit of an obsession in our house, Josh used the scone recipe he found in my current favorite cookbook, The Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer. Once again her recipe was easy to make and tasted beyond fantastic. Honestly, I never knew scones could taste that good. I highly recommend trying them...especially if someone is willing to serve to them you on a tray!

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6 tablespoons of parve margarine, frozen for 15 minutes
2 large eggs, divided
1/2 cup parve plain soy milk
1/2 cup parve chocolate chips (or dried fruit or nuts)
dash of cinnamon and sugar (Josh's addition)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake dough in a 9 inch round baking pan
Grease with spray oil
Place 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, baking powder, and salt into a food processor
Pulse for 10 seconds

Cut the chilled margarine into small pieces and scatter over dry ingredients

Pulse for about 10 seconds, or until the mixture resembles sand

Beat 1 egg and add it and the soy milk to the flour and margarine mixture
Process or mix just until the dough starts to come together (about 5 seconds)

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour on the counter
Place the dough on the floured surface and gently knead in the flour until the dough is smooth
      (Josh just did this in the bowl)
Add in the chocolate chips

To bake the scones in the round pan, shape the dough into a ball and flatten it into a pancake
Place the dough in the greased pan

With a sharp knife dipped in flour, score the top of the dough into 8 wedges

*Josh added some cinnamon and sugar to the top of dough to add some spice*
Beat the remaining egg and then brush the top of the dough/scones

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden
Cut on the scored lines to make wedges
Serve warm or at room temperature or to your wife in bed!

 It's ok, you can be jealous :)

The World Stood Still

I try to keep this blog light and fluffy. There is enough negativity and darkness in the world; I like to use this platform as an escape. But every rule has to be broken at some point.

I came of age on September 11, 2001. As a sophomore at American University I was just as excited as my classmates to start my career on Capitol Hill. The world was literally open to us and we were ready to take it on. None of us ever once doubted ourselves and we knew exactly where we wanted our lives to go. Until the morning we woke up to find that the world, as we knew it, was no more. Friends lost loved ones in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Army tanks rolled down Massachusetts Avenue. Bomb threats had us running for cover. The devastation of what we saw and what we experienced changed us all. We were no longer young, naive, politico wannabes; we were all scared.

Over the next 10 years so much changed. But one thing always stayed the same, the heightened alert from that fateful day never left us. Some of us went off to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, learning to survive however possible. Others went to work on Capitol Hill and in the White House, learning to run as fast as we could away from the building when the alarm went off. More still scattered the country, always holding with them the memories of the day that changed everything.

I am a child of September 11th. I wake up every morning and, before I even go to the bathroom, turn on the news to make sure the world is still intact. I appreciate the heightened security at the airport. I can run better than most in heels, down stairs, and over barriers. I love and respect the brave men and women in our armed forces. I also view the police, fire fighters, intelligence officers, and government workers as heroes. We are all in this together. I am proud to be an American and believe with all my heart and soul that good will come out of this and that our government and military will protect us.

And today, for the first time in 10 years, I can finally take a deep breath. I can let just a little bit of the tension go that I have been holding inside of me for the last decade. Yes, I know that Osama Bin Laden's death does not mark the end of terrorism and that Al Qaeda is still a real and dangerous threat. But I also know that the world is a better place without him in it. And I pray that this small bit of justice brings peace to the families and friends who are still grieving the loss of their loved ones. I also pray that in this moment my fellow classmates and I can start to heal from, but never forget, the day that changed us all, the day that changed everything.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Meatless Monday: Tacos!

In honor of Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday has been officially moved to Mondays. It's just too bad that Taco Monday doesn't have the same ring to it.

I've talked many times about our love for tofu tacos. We could literally eat them every single day. They are beyond tasty, super easy to make, and fun to put together. They also make the perfect do it yourself meal.

When left to our own devices, Josh and I like to 'do it yourself' very differently from one another. Given the same ingredients to make the same meal, we each have our own special way of making the perfect taco. We both start in the same place but that is where the similarities end.


Guacamole goes on first as s nice base.

Then I sprinkle just a little bit of salsa for a little spice. 

Next I add on the soy crumbles. 

And finally finish the whole dish off with some cheese. 

This is how I make my perfect taco. 

First up, lots and lots of salsa.

Followed by a generous amount of guacamole. 

Cut tomatoes round out the taco first layer. 

Soy crumbles come next. 

And just like me, cheese goes on last. 

The final product is busting with flavor. 
How do you make your tacos?