Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beantown: Duck Tour

On Saturday, we headed into Boston for a Duck Boat tour of the city. We saw kayakers on our way there.

We also passed a park on our way and I couldn't resist a photo op, especially considering the first rock photo happened the night before Rick and Sabrina got married.

Me on a rock!

The McHusband and I next to our Duck Boat, which would soon be piloted by our conDUCKtor, Duck Pin.

Rick returned the favor from the night before and hijacked our self portrait.

A couple churches we saw.

And the Massachusetts State House.

Once we made our way through the city, we hit the water for the second part of the tour. The Ducks are amphibious - they go straight from land to water.

I wish I could remember what our conDUCKtor told us about this bridge, but I got nothin'.

This was a great way to see the city and we appreciate Rick setting it up. He and Sabrina had taken the tour twice before but that's the great thing about the various conDUCKtors - they all have their own spin on the city's history.

I planned to do all of Saturday in one post, but the evening's gotten away from me and the McHusband has already headed upstairs to get ready for bed. The rest of Saturday - including street performers, a pot festival, a REALLY big Woodchuck, and a colorful Mexican restaurant - coming soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fail :(

No Boston post today. I mean, I planned to do one, but I'm not in the mood. See, I tried to make these Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bars because we had overripe bananas, and I've got a good stash in the freezer already.

Everything was fine until I took the pan out of the oven. I really don't know what happened. One second I had my silicone oven mitts on the pan, the next I was scrambling to keep the pan from tipping totally over.

I burned a knuckle in the process.

So I smooshed and smoothed the cake into submission and stuck it back into the oven for a few minutes. I really wish that were all it took to work a miracle these days, but my fairy godmother must've had the night off.

You can see that the bars are done around the edges. Everywhere else? Not so much.

The good news is that the taste was good so the recipe has potential for the next time I have two overripe bananas hanging out on my counter.

You know what the ironic thing is? I made these bars because I didn't want those two bananas to go to waste. At least they weren't alone. I also basically just threw away 3 cups of oats, 2 eggs, half a cup each of white and brown sugar, and a cup and a half of flour.

I'm sure Betty, Julia, and Giada all had baking blunders at some point in their successful careers.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Recipe Recap: Peanut Butter Cookies

My mom got me the Magnolia Bakery cookbook for Christmas. I've used it for a frosting or two and I have a few other recipes bookmarked. One of those was for peanut butter cookies. Turns out this month was the perfect time to finally make the cookies as the Magnolia Bakery was celebrating Peanut Butter Month.

I made the cookies to take with us to Boston. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures. I know, what a letdown. But if you want to see some good photos of someone else's version of these cookies, check out Smitten Kitchen's post.

Deb used chocolate chips in her cookies, but I kept my cookies as peanut buttery as possible with peanut butter chips. I also used crunchy peanut butter.

I have to say, these cookies were REALLY good. They were a perfect texture - thick and soft but with a hint of crunch as you bit into the cookie. If you like peanut butter cookies and are looking for an easy go-to recipe, give these a try.

{I'll be making them again and I promise to take pictures next time.}

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Beantown: Friday night

It's crazy that we had to travel all the way to Boston to hang out with Byron and Lisa. We live 45 minutes to an hour from each other depending on the time of day we're trying to get together and that plus busy lives means we don't see each other as often as the McHusband and I wish we did.

Byron and Lisa were in town because of a wedding in Byron's family the previous weekend. They stayed for the week so the six of us were able to go out to dinner together. Just like old times.

More fun with Picnik.


We had dinner at Vinoteca di Monica in the North End. The McHusband had gnocchi. Well, he had guh-nah-chee as far as he's concerned; everyone else eats nee-yoh-kee.

After dinner, we walked to Mike's Pastry for some cannoli.

The place was packed! It had to have been every bit of 10:30 when we got there, but you wouldn't have known it was that late by the crowd.

In true tourist fashion, I took pictures of all of us with our cannolis outside Mike's. The McHusband hijacked Sabrina's picture.

I got a chocolate-covered, chocolate cream-stuffed cannoli, and the McHusband got a peanut butter cream-filled one. Look at those happy faces.

Byron and Lisa veered off the cannoli path and got cheesecake and a whoopie pie respectively.

We walked to some nearby tables to break open our boxes. You didn't really think the dessert was going to make it all the way home, did you?

After our sugary pit stop, we walked through the New England Holocaust Memorial.

Then we got one more group photo as we made our way back to the T for the ride home.

Here I am putting $10 on our Charlie Card with Rick's assistance so that I could get home. Looks kinda like I'm buying my way out of a jail cell...

Dinner and dessert with a great group of friends - it was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

(Sorry for any strange formatting; Blogger was being difficult.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Beantown: Friday day

The McHusband and I spent this past weekend in Boston with Rick and Sabrina. They moved up there in June, and we were really excited to get the chance to see our friends and a new city in one fell swoop.

We flew JetBlue and I don't ever want to fly any other way. The airline offers extra legroom, Sirius radio, and TVs for everyone. I can hear Oprah, I mean the JetBlue bigwigs, now: "You get a TV, you get a TV, everyone gets a TV!"

Boston from the airplane:

Actually, that's Boston post-Picnik; I've been having fun with that web site and some of our trip's pictures. Just for comparison's sake, here's the original.

Cool, huh? I'm going to do a whole post soon with a few before and afters. Anyway, back to our trip...

We rode the longest escalator I've ever been on to get waaaaaaaay down underground to catch the T to Harvard Square.

We can officially say we've been to Harvard where we saw the statue of John Harvard, a.k.a. the statue of three lies.

I guess seeing him made us thirsty because our next stop was his namesake bar, John Harvard's Brew House.

There was this one huge round table tucked away in the corner that the McHusband couldn't resist sitting at.

We walked back to Rick and Sabrina's place along a popular jogging route. In addition to the runners and cyclists, we saw plenty of people rowing crew in the river.

We saw some gorgeous houses on our way back. Some were very traditional...

...and others were definitely much more contemporary.

I don't remember the McHusband snapping this photo. It's just one of the many times during the weekend that we were all hanging out on the curb waiting to cross the street.

That night, we had dinner in the North End with a couple more old friends. But you'll have to check back to see who that was...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ceiling storage

When our old neighbors moved, they gave the McHusband a bike storage...system. It's not a rack, it's a...system. Let me show you.

There's a hook for the seat...

...and one for the handlebars.

The McHusband installed the pulley system over Labor Day weekend. The best part was that he was able to do it himself; I didn't have to leave solid ground to help.

The system in action:

Ceiling storage in the garage isn't exactly new to us. We had a hood up there in the old garage. I like this much better, mostly because it doesn't require that I climb a ladder while holding my side of a Mustang hood before hoisting it over my head and positioning it just right on two of four hooks.

Yep, a pulley system operated from the ground is waaaaay better.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bachelorette Weekend: Saturday

On Saturday, we packed lunches then loaded up into two cars and went to the Lexington Valley Vineyard for a wine tasting and lunch on the deck.

We had the most gorgeous weather all weekend long so lunch al fresco gave us one more opportunity to enjoy a southern fall afternoon.

Guess who we got to hang out with at the winery? Katie Couric!

What, you were expecting someone else?

We picked up pizza and breadsticks for dinner on the way back from the winery.

After dinner, we walked down to the river.

Me! On a rock!

Kim! In a tree!

On our way back from the river, we picked up sticks so that we could have a fire in the fire pit that night and apparently people were inspired to sing. I think we saw a deer and that's what got us going. I was at the back of the group and my hands were full so I didn't get my camera out in time to catch the full song, which I regret. Even though it's super short, it's worth sharing, if not for the masses, then at least for those of us who were there.

We dropped our sticks off then headed around to the back of the house where someone had spotted a swing hanging from a tree. Self-portrait on the way.

The view of the house from the swing.

Bachelorette on a swing!

Chelle had my camera so she jumped on the self-portrait bandwagon and got a good picture of the swing with the moon.

Chelle and Ronna worked REALLY hard to get a fire going in the fire pit. The wood just wasn't dry enough. But they persevered and put any Boy Scout to shame with their fire-building skills.

Check out everyone enjoying the warm fire. Thanks, Chelle and Ronna - you guys did a great job!

We girls had a wonderful time together. It was just a fantastic weekend spent with friends celebrating the next exciting chapter of Kim's life.

Good friends, good times, and we can't forget the good food - they all came together for a wonderful weekend that I'll never forget.