Category Archives: friends

How to Beat the Heat: A Photo Essay

image_15It was hawwwwwt in Boston this weekend. 95 degrees-sweating by 8AM-get me near a fan rightnoworI’mgoingtolose it HOT. Mike and I spent the weekend beating the heat, and – despite the constant state of sweating – it ended up being one of our favorite weekends in Boston!

So you wanna #beattheheat? Here’s what you can do…

image_21Step one: ICE CREEAAAAM, duh. Rainbow sprinkles FTW.

image_17Step two: Get near the water, ASAP. We took the ferry out to Spectacle Island and it was perfect! It was pretty deserted and we found a little spot of beach to have a picnic and dip our toes in the water. image_18

image_19image_16image_13 image_12 image_11 image_9 image_8 image_14 image_7 image_6 image_5image_4Step three: Recruit someone else to make dinner for you. Why sweat in the kitchen when you can have your own personal chef making you grilled pizzas??! Thanks, Mike and Katy!image_3 image_2 image_1 imageimage_3Step four: Find some more water. Get in it. Try not to get eaten by a snapping turtle.

imageStep five: Find some shade. Get in touch with your natural side.

image_2 image_1Step six: YOGURTLAND. One just opened in Coolidge Corner and OMG. OH.mg. The flavors are out of this worrrrld and? Unlimited free samples. Get on it.

Step seven: Decide that the day your apartment reaches the highest temperature is the day you’re going to clean it out. Assist your roommate (ahem, MIKE) in cleaning out their closet (ahem, FIFTY T-SHIRTS [and one pair of soccer cleats FROM HIGH SCHOOL] LATER) and collect a dumpster-sized mass of garbage and donations. Feel suuper zen after ridding your apartment of all Mike’s the clutter.*

Step eight: Fall into bed after a full and glorious weekend and try to figure out how to sleep in a way that the bed/sheets/blankets/your clothes don’t touch your ridiculous left-shoulder, right-kneecap sunburn. Make a mental note to get better at applying sunscreen.

*This has nothing to do with beating the heat. I just needed the world to know that Mike has been hoarding t-shirts (and millions of various other items, see: this insane glove collection) and my intervention saved him.

Memorial Day in Maine

image_28Hi friends! How was your Memorial Day weekend??

Mike and I took the train to Maine on Saturday to meet our friends Liz and Dave in Portland. We hit up Shipyard and Duckfat (obv), then headed to camp for some good old fashioned relaxation. We sat around the fire, made peanut butter cup s’mores, visited Freeport to hit up the JCrew outlet 50% sale (!!), stumbled upon a field of frolicking baby cows (truly!), accidentally-on-purpose wore red, white and blue pants to showcase our Memorial Day spirit, and had a cookout on Monday just as the sun finally peeked out. Another awesome Maine weekend!

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NYC!

image11This past weekend Mike and I headed to NYC to hang with some of our favorite college peeps, and as always, it was a whirlwind weekend of food, friends, and FUN! We spent all day Saturday boppin’ around the city looking for the most delicious eats with my bestie Alix – we went to Doughnut Plant (finally!), Balthazar Bakery (felt JUST like Paris), Rice to Riches (graham cracker rice pudding FTW), and Momofuku Milk Bar (All. Everything.) Fooooood comaaaaa.

On Saturday night we went to a friend’s engagement party then to a Cornell young alumni event at the Bowery Hotel, which meant getting all fancy and catching up with so many people we hadn’t seen since college! On Sunday, we hit up Artichoke for the YUMMIEST pizza – they make a pizza with spinach and artichoke dip baked on top. It is ev-a-ree-thang and more. We took a nice long walk back (and obvi stopped for bagels) to Alix’s apartment before heading to our bus back to Boston. I love wandering around the city and just taking it all in; it’s my favorite way to explore!

More NYC visits, friends! MORE!

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I LOVE FALL: Vermont Edition

Apparently this year I made it my goal to experience fall in as much of New England as possible. Last weekend Mike and I headed up to Stowe, VT with our friends Liz and Dave for some autumn fun; we spent Saturday poking around Burlington (hello, Ithaca NY on crack!), where we stumbled upon the BEST farmer’s market (complete with thousands of samples, a pumpkin sweet potato fritter, hippie children dancing, and a morbidly obese bulldog being pulled around in a wagon) and hit up the Magic Hat Brewery. On Sunday we explored the uber-creepy Smuggler’s notch, then went to Cabot (FREE CHEESE), a perfectly Vermont cider mill (pictured above), and Ben and Jerry’s! A trip full of foliage and eating, just how I like it :)

(Sorry, Liz, about that spot of sunshine you are birthing)

{photo credit to Liz!}

If you can figure out what’s going on in this picture I’ll give you a prize.

 

 

Homecoming at Cornell {otherwise known as “The Weekend We Pretended to be in College Again”}

This past weekend Mike and I headed to upstate NY to relive the good old college glory days at Cornell’s homecoming. We packed as much nostalgia into 48 hours as possible and I’m STILL recovering. As much as I hate to admit it, we’re definitely not in college anymore…

Here are some snapshots from our weekend of fun!

Football game with my sister, carrying on the legacy!

 Let’s go Red!

We went to the Avicii concert. I felt like I was 21 again.

But not. At all.

Before heading back to Boston, we managed to squeeze in a quick trip to the farm in Mike’s home town to get some pumpkins!

*Sparkly* shoes for a *sparkly* weekend. Uhhhh huh.

It’s fall! It’s fall! It’s really really fall! #favoriteseasonhappiness

Um, can I be an undergrad again?

Colorado Snapshots {Part 2}

Hiking, scenery, continental divide-ing; I bring you Colorado Snapshots: Part 2!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Red Rocks

Loveland Pass & the Continental Divide

(PS- I didn’t edit these photos at ALL. It’s just.that.beautiful.)

(Mike and Fina are the teeny people in the cloud. Hellloooo up there!)

Coming up tomorrow: Part 3: VAIL BEAUTY. So pretty you’re gonna DIE.

Colorado Snapshots {Part 1}

You know I couldn’t resist! Now that I’m settled in vacationland stop #2 {the Jersey shore} and have gone through my Colorado photos 12353228 times, I’m so excited to share them with you! Today’s pictures come from our first couple days in Denver, which, surprisingly enough, were all about food.

{Mike posing with his own personal food truck}

{Award-winning Pinche tacos}

{Fine cuisine on a stick. Sign. Me. Up.}

{French fry-stuffed gyro uhhh HUH}

{Me & Fina}

{Cupcake truck}

{Bacon chocolate cupcake}

{Rotunda inside the state capital building}

{Blood orange soda, new favesie fave}

{Giant peeping bear}

{Flight of beers at Denver Beer Co.}

{Maple bacon, PB&J, glazed, chocolate crueller, s’mores, chocolate caramel pecan. Best. Donuts. Of. My. Life.}

Stay tuned for some s-e-r-i-o-u-s scenery in {Part 2}!

The Sweet Life is going on vacation!

As I type this post, Mike and I are flying over the Midwest on our way to Denver, CO to see my bestie from college, Fina! It’s the first leg of our month-long post-bar* hiatus from real life. We’ll be hopping around (Denver, Jersey shore, home(s) in upstate NY, Ithaca(!!!), and finally back to Boston to move in together!) for the month of August and as a result, I’m going to be a bit MIA from blogging. Though I probably won’t be able to resist doing some OMGEE CHECK OUT THE SCENERY posts, the recipes will likely be on pause. I hope you all have a wonderful summer, and I’ll see you in September!

*Because obviously Mike taking the bar was so taxing on me that I needed a month-long vacation to recuperate.

{Guest Post} Roasted Strawberry and Graham Cracker Ice Cream

Today’s post is coming to you from a fellow Boston blogger, teacher, upstate New Yorker, food lover and overall enthusiast of life; my real-life friend, Anna! Not only did this dear friend make me THE BEST ICE CREAM OF MY LIFE, but she also agreed to share her post right here on The Sweet Life. Girlfriend knows whats UP.

Thanks Anna, you’re the best!

Hi everyone! I’m Anna and I’m totally excited to be here today and totally PUMPED to talk about ice cream.

ICE CREAM! Who doesn’t love it? And MELANIE! Who doesn’t love her?!

Melanie and I have been blog friends for awhile now. We like to take the occasional trip to Weggies together, eat tasty foods around the Bean together, and most importantly, eat strawberry and graham cracker ice cream together.

Making ice cream was one of the things I put on my summer bucket list, and if you know me, then you know I am not messing around. This summer bucket list of mine? I’m taking it VERY SERIOUSLY.

VERY.

So when Melanie randomly tweeted “I want someone to make me graham cracker ice cream and I want them to do it NOW.” I just said to myself, “DONE.”

Short side story: Once upon a time there was a gas station in Upstate NY that sold an ice cream called “Crumbs Along the Mohawk”: graham cracker ice cream with caramel swirl. I KID YOU NOT. It was real. It was my favorite ice cream EVER, and still is to this day. For my birthday last year, my boyfriend Zan bought me an ice cream maker and actually found the recipe for Crumbs Along the Mohawk online. Best boyfriend ever? I THINK SO.

Aaaaaaaanyways, I made the ice cream back when it was my birthday, did a little happy dance because it tasted exactly like the ice cream from the gas station and then, when Melanie tweeted her need for graham cracker ice cream, I KNEW it was time to make it again.

PLUS is was on my bucket list, remember? Everybody was about to win here.

And by everybody, I mean me and Melanie.

Below you will find the two ice cream flavors I made the night Melanie came over. In addition to the graham cracker, I made a roasted strawberry as well, from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook. I decided to make two, well, because, WHY ever NOT? Plus, Jeni’s strawberry ice cream is made with cream cheese and buttermilk. HELLO, DELICIOUS. I like to call this combination “Strawberry Cheesecake”. YEAH. Get excited.

(You will, of course, need an ice cream maker. I have a Cuisinart, but I’m sure any ice cream maker will do.)

Jeni’s Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream (from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home)

Ingredients:

for the roasted strawberries-

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1/3 cup sugar

3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

for the ice cream base-

1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used half and half)

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 oz (4 tbsp) cream cheese, softened

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp light corn syrup

1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. To roast the strawberries, preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the strawberries with the sugar and place in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring to combine. Roast for 8 minutes, just until soft. Allow to cool slightly.

2. In a food processor or a blender, puree the strawberries with the lemon juice. Measure 1/2 cup of the pureed mixture and refrigerate the rest for another use (I threw it in a smoothie).

3. To make the ice cream base, mix 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl, mixing to make a smooth slurry. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt. Set aside.

4. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside.

5. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup, heating to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula, cooking until slightly thickened (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.

6. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, whisking until smooth. Stir in the 1/2 cup strawberry puree and buttermilk, mixing well. Pour the mixture into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag into the ice water. Allow to stand for about 30 minutes, until chilled.

7. Churn ice cream according to ice cream maker instructions. Pack the ice cream into an airtight storage container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Stewarts Shop Crumbs Along the Mohawk Ice Cream (from One Lovely Life)

Ingredients:

For ice cream base:

4 egg yolks

1/4tsp salt

2/3c sugar

2 1/2c half-and-half

2 tsp vanilla

For caramel sauce:

2/3c sugar

1/4c butter, cut into small pieces

1/2c half-and-half

1/4tsp salt

Additional:

1/2c-3/4c crushed graham cracker

1c graham cracker pieces

(This comes out to about 1/2 of my graham cracker recipe)

Directions:

Make ice cream base:

In a large bowl, beat together egg yolks and salt. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and half-and-half. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Pour 1/2c of the creamy mixture into the eggs and salt and whisk to temper the eggs. Return mixture to saucepan and stir over low heat until thickened to a thick sauce. It should resemble the consistency of light alfredo and should coat the back of a spoon well. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Strain into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate till cold. To speed up the process, set the bowl containing the ice cream mixture in a larger bowl filled with ice and water and keep in the refrigerator.

Make caramel sauce:

Pour sugar into a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat and let sugar melt to make an amber-colored liquid. Stir in butter and half-and-half and continue to stir over medium heat until mixture comes together as a sauce. Stir in salt. Remove from heat.

When ice cream base is cold, begin churning in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. For me, this meant about 30 minutes in the Cuisinart. At about 25 minutes, I added half of the caramel sauce and the crushed graham crackers. Before putting it in the freezer, I stirred in the remaining caramel sauce and the graham cracker pieces, then froze until ready (about 2-2 1/2 hours)

Makes about 1 1/4 quarts (about 5 1/2cups)

ENJOY!

Thanks for having me over here on The Sweet Life today, Melanie! And thanks for helping eat the ice cream!!