Friday, March 26

To Market, To Market...

I realized last night I would be a terrible food blogger. I don't know how those food blogging enthusiasts do it. Why? Because I like to eat my food WAY more than I enjoy photographing it. To be more specific, I ravage it the instant it arrives at the table (well, technically, the second EVERYONE gets their meals at the table. I may be an animal, but at least one with etiquette), which is quickly followed by "crap! I forgot to take a picture of it!"

This happened no less than 4 times last night when I went to dinner at Market. It's Restaurant Week in Boston which is one of my favorite things to do around the city. Every year, the best and trendiest (and, as it so often translates, most expensive) restaurants open their doors to the masses by offering a 3 course Pre-fix menu for $33.10.

Market is in the new ultra-swank W Hotel in the theatre district and has been getting rave reviews all over the blog world for months when its name on the Restaurant Week list, I quickly made plans to go and was so excited to get reservations. super. duper. excited. In the interest of full disclosure, I may or may not have memorized the entire menu and known EXACTLY what I was going to get since February.

(this photo courtesy of, I did not sneak into Market early and ask customers to leave so I could get an empty shot of the restaurant, maybe next time)

Ohhhhh Market. How I love thee. They did not disappoint! First of all, I should mention the highlight of the evening came not from the hands of Jean-Georges (Market's creator and Head Chef) but by the doings of one Mr. Sean G, my fabulous and loving bf. Knowing his girlfriend SO well, Sean managed to call ahead (FROM IRELAND) to Market and have the first round of drinks covered by him. Isn't that the sweetest thing ever? Yes I am tooting my own boyfriend's horn. Toot toot baby!

Marie + long, crappy day at work + free Lychee Raspberry Bellini = pure bliss

I failed miserably at photographing both the first and second courses...I ordered the black truffle and fontina cheese pizza for starters and the parmesan crusted chicken with artichokes in a lemon-basil butter for my entree. oh. my. deliciousness. The pizza was SO tiny it was adorable. This is the type of place where you have to use your utensils properly so it was really funny trying to cut up a pizza the size of a small coaster into bite size pieces with my fork and knife (but you'd be proud mom!) I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland, trying to eat the tiniest meal ever.

While we were going through the courses, we did manage to sneak in a bottle of red too:

(notice that I couldn't capture ANY of my food, but I certainly made sure to get pictures of the alcohol...where are my priorities?)

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, came the desserts. We had two options: Cheesecake with a Cherry Compote and Mango Sorbet or Warm Chocolate Lava cake with Vanilla Ice cream. Both sounded aaaaa-mazing. So naturally, Kym and I shared.
(When Sean called, he told them we were having a mini celebration for my upcoming birthday, since I'll be in Ireland for it instead of Boston like I usually am! again, sweetest boyfriend ever, no?)

All in all, I loved Market! While my salary won't allow me to probably ever have dinner there on a regular night, I will definitely swing back through for a cocktail or two (or three) this summer! Especially when my foodie other half is back in the States. It'll be MY turn to buy HIM a drink!

Tuesday, March 23

Updates with some new stuff mixed in

As I struggled with a topic for this latest entry, I decided it would be best to revisit some open ended things I discussed in previous entries as I'm sure many of you have been anxiously awaiting news and/or you've recently started blog-stalking me. Join me, won't you, on this stroll down memory lane:

1. The Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Prince....oh man. This is what I'm currently working with:

What's a girl to do? Do I succumb to my masochistic desire to purchase another jar of this crack in peanut butter form...or do I sever all ties and never look back? I'm not quite sure I can go on in this world knowing that it's out there and I don't have it in my possession.

2. Still no blender for my Amazing Grass smoothies. Damnit Bed, Bath and Beyond. Where are you when I need you the most?

3. I have big news to share in the running world!!! I have signed up for a half marathon. 13 miles. 13.2 miles to be precise. yikes. EDIT: According to Rachel-
Bad news. A half marathon is 13.1 miles but you can run an extra .1 if you want
Yeah. No. I'm all set with 13.1. See? It just got a lot easier!!! This race scares me for a couple of reasons. The first being that I've never run that far before and the second is that I will be running it on my own. Sean won't be home from Ireland yet and my other running buddy, Jenn, will be out of town. So that leaves me. On the plus side, I have already drafted Mama and Papa Dukes to come up from the south to cheer me on as I cross the finish line (and take me out for a gigantic dinner and beers after- but they don't know that part yet).

My relationship with running is progressing quite nicely. I think we might move in together soon. We'll see how the half goes. It really is a love/hate relationship.

Things I love about running:
1. the fact that it's a challenge. I feel SO accomplished when I achieve my goal, whether its a time record, mileage record, or just getting out the door on a particular day.
2. the way my body feels during and after. I feel so strong and alive when I'm running. The burning in my quads and hamstrings reminds me I'm doing something good for myself (it also reminds me I get to eat like 500 extra calories when I get home to make up for it)
3. the ease of it. I have absolutely NO hand-to-eye coordination. If you throw a ball towards me, it WILL hit me in face. So I enjoy running because it simply requires me to lace up my sneakers and hit the streets.

Things I hate about running:
1. the fact that it's a challenge.
I'm stubborn and sometimes a bit lazy. Some days the last thing I want to do is push myself, other days I get really frustrated when I run past some smiling girl with her bouncy ponytail. I want to punch her. Why is she smiling? This is pain.
2. the way my body feels during and after. My legs feel like they might fall off as I'm running up the big hill near my house. and I swear there has been a time or two when I was absolutely positive I was, in fact, going to die out there on the road.
3. the ease of it (or lack thereof). My nose runs. I don't breathe the right way. What's my time? What are my splits? When should I stretch? What are GU packets? Oh man. The lists goes on...

4. I have decided to do Chew On This with my kids! We started a conversation yesterday about fast food and we are currently watching Supersize Me. I took a poll to see how often they eat fast food. Of the 69 students I've polled so far, 47 of them said they eat fast food MORE THAN TWICE A WEEK. That correlates to roughly 68% of my students. YIKES. (Rachel, did I do that math right? I'm pretty sure I did. You should be proud) I am really excited about this unit. In addition to the book, we are going to watch Food, Inc. and study some other news articles, magazines, and hopefully catch some of Jamie Oliver's special.

5. I still hate leggings.

Saturday, March 20

Leggings are NOT pants!

Ladies, please.

I cannot reiterate this point enough. LEGGINGS. ARE. NOT. PANTS.

(for the visual learners, like myself)

They should not be worn in restaurants. They should not be worn in the mall. They should not be worn in the streets. You should not, could not, please please I wish you would not, wear them at all. Sam I am. Green Eggs in Ham.

I don't know where this pant imposter phenomenon came from, but I want it to go away. I do not care if you are a size 2 or a size 20, I do not want to see your lady bits on display while I'm strolling through the produce section during my weekly grocery shop. Your camel toe doesn't belong near my cauliflower. I mean, seriously? When did it become okay to take clothing initially meant for sweatin' your way through the '80s out into the streets of daily metropolitan life?

Our grandmothers and great grandmothers did not spend generations defending the right to wear pants, only to see it all sacrificed at the hands of this barely-there, "I don't care what I wear" insanity. So please, the next time you consider taking yourself out into the world with some black spandex, and calling it an outfit, stop and reconsider. Ask yourself a few key questions.

1. Is it 1987? I can answer that one for you. No, it's not... so you should not be wearing pants made of stretchy fabric. Double NO if they have stirrups attached at the bottom.

2. Does my shirt cover ANY part of my body past my stomach? If the answer is no, you cannot consider it a dress. That means REAL ACTUAL PANTS are required in this scenario.

3. Will streneous exercised be unexpectedly exerted in such a fashion that you would have NO time to change beforehand? No? Okay so then perhaps you shouldn't wear them out and about at all times of the day.

4. Are you Lindsay Lohan? Now, while I do certainly realize that I am, in fact, quite awesome, I wouldn't be so bold as to assume that Lindsanity herself reads my charming little blog. So the answer is probably NO.
( does the girl even OWN pants???)

If you would like, please print this self-assessment out, put it onto index cards and keep them with you at all times so the next time you see a lycra-clad lass you can hand her one of these in hopes of spreading the good word.

and maybe, juuuuuust day these abomination of the modern world will be sent to the fashion graveyard to rest in piece alongside jean shorts, crocs, and socks with sandals.

Thursday, March 18

Food Revolution

"One of the most widely used color additives comes from an unexpected source. Cochineal extract (also known as carmine or carminic acid) is made from the dead bodies of small bugs...the little bugs are collected, dried, and ground into a coloring additive. It takes about 70,000 insects to make a pound of carmine, which is used to make processed foods look pink, red, or purple" - Chew On This!

gross. really gross.

As many people know, I teach high school in the poorest city in Massachussettes, 23rd poorest in the country. Across the street from my buidling there is a: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Dunkin Donuts, Wendys, and Subway. On average, I would say 99% of my students interact with fast food on a daily basis...either they eat it for a meal or they work there or both. What do these two things have in common? Well, I certainly have my own opinions on the topic, but for the sake of not alienating people, I'm going to stay somewhat neutral. Politics aside, what this issue is really about is kids today and food.

There seems to be a food revolution of sorts happening, which I find to be very exciting. Two big things I've seen happening are the First Lady's Let's Move Campaign, an initiative she has started to fight childhood obesity and revamp the foods served in schools and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution who is battling a similar platform. I love Jamie Oliver. Men who can cook are sexy. No contest.

Let us digress for a moment, shall we?

Jamie Oliver

Rocco DiSpirito

Todd English

Sam Talbot (I pine. I perish. I swoon.)

Mario Batali

(how can you resist a man in crocs? ha. just kidding. but the man CAN cook!)

I certainly cannot leave out my favorite chef who makes the most amazing pork tenderloin ever. He also makes a mean mango Margarita. and tequila lime shrimp. and pesto salmon with wild rice. yummmmmmm....

Whew! Okay, what was I saying? Oh yes. Food Revolution. Food is something I love. In the past year or so, I've gained a newfound appreciation for GOOD food (and by good I mean delicious, fresh, healthy for you but tastes like its not type of food). This is something I often share with people, like you lurkers (and yes, you are all lurkers, because I only ever get one commenter, so I just keep writing in the vain hope that there are secretly hundreds of you out there waiting with bated breath for my next posting).

So I want to share all of this with my students. I need to chose a novel to read for 4th quarter and I'm leaning towards Chew On This. They know more about the fast food industry than anyone and I also think there's a lot of multi-media stuff I could tie into it. But herein lies my dilemma, knowing that this is a population that lives off fast food, both literally and figuratively, is it wrong to ethically wrong for me to verbally destroy it? Or am I doing something good here and showing them that the crap they put into their bodies everyday is horrible?

I truly believe this is a conversation worth having with them...I'm just not sure if I should have it. Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I wish I was in Ireland still, drinking lots of these:

with this handsome Irish lad:

buuuuuut I have to wait another month til I'm back in Dublin. In the meantime, I'll be spending my St. Patty's Day here in Boston. This is the first year I don't have the day off (booooo) so it will probably be low key for me (double booooooo). In the meantime, go look at all my fabulous pictures from Ireland

Big thank you to Rachel, who showed me how to hyperlink. She is the best. and her blog is amazing. and her baby is SUPER cute. Although be warned, she gets to eat like 293820934832 calories because she's a mom and marathoner so you will have intense feelings of jealousy when you see the deliciousness she consumes. and how cute her baby is. Did I mention that yet? because he's REALLY cute. She also made my layout. She co-runs a fabulous blog business, you should have her create yours. Do you see how awesome I've become with this hyperlink business?

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand"

Monday, March 15

My first 5K!

I ran my first 5K yesterday! in a Nor'easter! That makes me a "hardcore" runner right? I think the driving winds and rain helped my running time as I happily ran the 3.1 miles in 25:39 (that's 8:19 minute miles, folks) The idea of knowing green beer awaited me on the other end wasn't too shabby either.

In all seriousness though, this race meant a lot to me. A 5K may not seem like a lot to most runners, especially those marathoners, but for me this race was personal and symbolic. It wasn't about the miles, it was about proving something to myself. Growing up, I was never the athlete. I hated being on teams and running was something I dreaded. I would break out into a nervous sweat whenever we'd have "races" in gym class because inevitably, I was always the girl in last place. Running is not something that has ever been natural for me. It's something I'm still in the process of learning to love. But I am getting there.

As the race neared, I became more nervous, but determined. I told myself there is no way I'm backing out, nor'easter be damned. So Sunday morning, I headed out into the elements for the race. By the time I had my number on, music blaring, standing among the throngs of racers at the starting line, I thought my heart was literally going to beat out of my chest. I had visions of myself being the last kid in line again, gasping for breath and looking like an idiot. As I studied the other runners around me, in their "hardcore running outfits" as I like to refer to them, I felt like an impostor.

But once that whistle blew, I was off and the next 3.1 miles were a breeze. Well, a wet, blinding rain, Hurricane force winds breeze. I started off fast and I was worried I'd burn out, but the energy of the crowd kept me moving. I had a woman in front of me as my marker and I was determined to pass her, once I did I picked someone else to pass and just worked my way through the crowd.

Somewhere along those miles, I BECAME a runner. It didn't matter that I don't have the super cool winter running pants (which I do fully intend to have for next year) or previous races under my belt. I looked around me and realized I'm not an impostor anymore. I'm here. and I did it. Crossing the finish line, I shed the layers of negativity that have weighed me down for all those years. Too slow, not built for it, wrong breathing...none of it mattered. It was just me and the road.

and a thousand other runners. and drunken Southie residents cheering us on. but hey- you get the idea.

Friday, March 12

Food Bloggers are liars (aka I'm a dummy)

I mentioned in a previous post my mission to try some of the healthy items on my list. Over the weekend I managed to pick up this bad boy from Whole Foods.
(do you like that I included the plant in the background. I felt like it was appropriate symbolism for the plants inside that jar)

I was excited for this for a number of reasons. It's all the rave all over the food blog world and I am bombarded with images of happy bloggers slugging their "Green Monsters", as they call these smoothie concoctions, and happily detailing the latest combos. More importantly, I was really impressed with the nutritional info:

spinach disguised in chocolate form? ummm yes please. sign me up!

Now, I tend to be a bit on the stubborn side. Those of you that know me personally, I'm suuuuure are shaking your heads in disbelief, "what? Marie, stubborn? nooooo" but yes, folks, it is true. So immediately after purchasing the Amazing Grass I wanted to use it. However, we don't have a blender. I scoured high and low for one of the 3948038409183 Bed Bath & Beyond coupons we get in the mail all the time so I could run out and get one (hey 20% off is a good deal!) but alas, I had thrown them all out. I decided to be frugal and wait on a new blender until the next coupon comes in the mail, since the usually come like every other day anyway. Of course, has fate would have it...its been almost a week and still no BB &B coupon.

So tonight I got stubborn and decided that food bloggers make it look so easy. I could probably do it in a food processor instead of a blender. ha. this is where the "they are liars and I'm a dummy" title comes from. complete and utter FAIL.

Yes that is chocolate liquid spilling out all over my counters and cabinets. oops.

I tried making two batches. The first batch was banana, almond milk, ice, scoop of amazing grass, and spinach. The food processor couldn't handle the ice and banana and spinach all at once so it was chunky and naaaaaasty. Needless to say, it ended up in the trash. Like any good chef, if at first you don't succeed, try try again. So I attempted a second batch but decided to simplify. I did:

1 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 scoop chocolate Amazing grass
ice cubes

It's much simpler than the actual "green monsters" and actually was lacking the "green" so I guess it was just a "monster"? but I could handle the chunks this go 'round. Overall, my assessment was that it was just okay. It wasn't AMAZING by any means (pun intended) but I think once I have a legit blender and can play around with recipes, I might find myself enjoying it.

In other news, on the dark chocolate peanut butter front:

Days the Dark Chocolate PB Prince has been living with me: 7
Days I've gone without eating any of it, straight from the jar: 0

Ohhhhhh PB Prince, you always do.

Tuesday, March 9

PBA (Peanut Butter Anonymous)

Hi. My name is Marie and I'm addicted to Peanut Butter. of all varieties.

gosh, I love peanut butter so very much. I'm not even sure where to my household at this very moment I have 4 different kinds of peanut butter (all natural thankyouverymuch).

I have my every day, go to variety. It's healthy, but I love it. Trader Joes Chunky Peanut butter WITH flax seeds. I like to tell myself that because its natural and has flax seeds in it, I deserve an extra spoonful here and there. Hey, I need my Omega-3s and healthy fats alright! After that, I have 2 different kinds of Almond Butter. Now, I know that Almond Butter and Peanut Butter are two different beasts, but for the sake of le blog, they are grouped together. Justin's makes Almond Butter in fabulous little packets that you can take with you anywhere. I looooove the Maple Almond Butter on my brown sugar/maple oatmeal and I use the Honey Almond butter for everyday things...some girls collect shoes, for others its handbags...for me, apparently, its Peanut based products.

but, my friends, above all else, the piece de resistance, if you will...HAS to be Peanut Butter & Co's Dark Chocolate Dream. ohhh hellloooo lover... It's chocolate. and peanut butter. combined in one jar. How can you NOT love it? let's just say, if peanut butter were a man, I've found my Prince Charming. and like any true, modern woman of the Millenium...I like to play hard to get with my Prince. So I hide him up waaaaay in back of the top shelf, the shelf that is SO high it requires me to stand on a chair to reach, and then use a large wooden spoon to wrangle towards me. It requires a lot of effort on my behalf. I like to think of it like burning extra calories on my way towards complete and utter gluttony. Because once I get my hands on Mr. Dark Chocolate Dream, that lid is off quicker than a dress on prom night (sorry Mom and Dad, I promise you my dress stayed ON Prom night). So we play this coy little game, where I pretend to be all interested and hard to get, but damnit, he just sucks me right back in.

oh Peanut Butter, you saucy minx.

Thursday, March 4

I have lots of updating to do, including my trip to Ireland and Italy, the case of the burning Hair straightener, and some exciting life news...but in the meantime, I felt this was a more pressing issue...

So I have this weird addiction to reading food blogs; they are a good balance of healthy recipes with amazing photography and great ideas to keep my diet (or "lifestyle" if you'd prefer) on track...but sometimes they scare me.

Often times, when I browsing through these blogs, I feel like the new kid in school, with nowhere to sit in the cafeteria. The recipes all look so delicious, but the ingredients list? I sometimes feel like I need a doctorate in nutrition to understand them...they are scary sounding. Over the past year of reading, the same ingredients keep popping up and every time, I get a step closer to trying them for myself.

Well, health food bullies: you've met your match. I may be the new kid in school, but I'll soon rise to Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls status in no time. I've compiled a list of "scary" health food ingredients that I'm going to take behind the school at 3pm and show them whats what.

On my list to try and conquer:
Almond Milk
Chia Seeds
Amazing Grass
Nutrional Yeast (if these foods were a gang, this would the mafia boss, and yes I'm mixing metaphors. The name sounds disgusting, but apparently its ridiculously good for you AND gives food a cheesy quality and I love cheese almost as much as I love wine and chocolate *and that is A LOT)

I am going to set out on a grocery shopping mission this weekend to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and see what I can accomplish. Have you tried any of these before? Do you have any tips, pointers, or recipes to share?
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