Happy Place and Cookies

It’s interesting to stop and reflect sometimes on the ways social media is changing the world.  I remember a time when pictures were taken mainly on special occasions and not so much in everyday life.  These days, people take pictures of any and everything and post on Instagram.  And I’m not complaining!  I enjoy it!  And I’m one of the main photo-takers/instagram-posters!  

Recently, my family and I got to enjoy something that to me seems to be a direct product of society’s need to capture amazing instagrammable photos…Happy Place!  It’s basically a popup exhibit hall for staging one amazing photo after another.  It’s a dreamland for anyone who has ever loved rainbows, hearts, smiley faces and anything else cheerful that you can think of!  It moves from city to city. We caught it in Toronto and I think it is headed to Boston next.

Among the major photo ops, you have giant stilettos covered with yellow m&ms and a room where the furniture is glued to the ceiling so you can take a photo that when rotated, looks like you’re on the ceiling! You step inside a dome that air blows from the floor of, swirling rainbow confetti all around you like a colorful tornado.  And there is a giant ball pit that you can jump into.  There was a whole room devoted to chocolate chip cookies with a giant cookie to pose with and the air even smelled like cookies!

Speaking of chocolate chip cookies, I’ve always wanted to be able to make beautiful delicious ones and never succeeded. They always turn out flat and ugly. Ha! But I tried a new recipe this week and it worked!! Check out these beauties!

The recipe is by a blogger that I follow now at @thebakingchocolatess! I will be using this recipe from now on any time I want to make chocolate chip cookies! Here you go! Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

We all loved Happy Place! even my reserved introverted husband…and it was right up my daughter’s alley! I’m glad we live in an age of capturing everything in photos! It makes life fun and interesting and brings about the existence of places like Happy Place. Catch it in the next city if you can! And try The Chocolatess’ cookie recipe soon!

Bermuda Fish Sandwich

Bermuda was an excellent destination to take our kids. Days of endless snorkeling, seeing amazing sea life, playing on sandy beaches and boating adventures proved to be enriching fun for the whole family.

Tobacco Bay Beach absolutely stood out from the rest as the most kid friendly, but fun for everyone! Shallow and crystal clear waters are surrounded by interesting rock formations. Fish of every shape, size and color swim around your feet and can be seen while snorkeling the surface. Live island-y sounding music plays on the beach all hours of the day and food and drinks are available at the tiki hut. I really could have spent every day of our trip just at this beach! The kids too!

The most interesting flavor we experienced in Bermuda was their fish sandwich. Savory and sweet usually characterize island food and this sandwich definitely lived up to my expectation for that! A filet of fish, lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce between two slices of raisin bread, yes raisin bread, make up this Bermuda style sandwich. Here is my version:

Fish sandwiches you order on the island will usually include fried white fish filets. My family loves salmon, so I made mine with it instead. I added lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced cucumber and tartar sauce. We enjoyed the flavor of Bermuda on a winter week night and I think you should try it too! All ingredients came from Aldi!!

When you plan your trip to Bermuda, look into renting a Boston whaler from Somerset Bridge Water Sports…that’s what that little boat is in the background. We had a blast driving it to secluded beaches and even a ship wreck! That’s the only thing you could have dragged me off of Tobacco Bay Beach to do! Ha!

Parsnip and Italian Sausage Skillet

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One of the best things my husband and I have done together is drive the Northern coast of Ireland.  I can’t even describe the beauty! Every direction you look is an overwhelmingly gorgeous view.

 

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Ancient ruins and dreamy beaches line the coastal highway.  We flew into Dublin and just drove North, starting with Belfast.  We stayed in bed and breakfasts in several small towns along the way and eventually ended in Dingle.

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When you’re driving in Ireland, you’ll be stopping at little pubs along the way to eat.  The weather is cool and wet, so the pubs are usually very cozy.  The food is rustic and hearty and often involves a meat and a starch.  One meal I remember well was a parsnip pie in Donegal.  Today’s recipe is inspired by that.

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Parsnip and Italian Sausage Skillet

Recipe

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 lb Italian sausage
3 parsnips (finely diced)
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp seasoning blend
(I use Basin Blend…get your’s here)
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1 (or 2) Tbsp chopped fresh dill

Method

Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Add the onion and garlic and stir to combine.
Add in the Italian sausage and chop to break it up and combine with the onion mixture.
Cook until most of the meat has browned and then add the parsnips, lemon juice, salt, pepper and seasoning blend.
Cook stirring for 5-7 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cover and cooking for 8-10 minutes…stirring two or three times during the process.  Watch and don’t let it burn.
Turn the heat off and top evenly with the grated cheese and sprinkle on the fresh dill.
Cook in the oven until cheese is melted and starting to bubble…around 8 minutes.
Serve hot.

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Whatever travels are on your bucket list, you need to move Ireland to the top!  It is the most beautiful, amazing place I have ever been!  Get there soon!…but try this Irish-inspired recipe in the meantime!

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For more travel and food inspiration, follow me on Instagram at @thefiligreefig!!

 

 

 

 

Beet and Black Bean Falafel with Basil Feta Tzatziki

I love this Super Bowl recipe from last year! So I’m bringing it back for this year! I hope you try it and that your team wins!

The Filigree Fig

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Party food rocks!  There is just no getting around it.  Who doesn’t love bite-sized snacks arranged on festive platters with sauces and dips to jazz up the spread?  The problem is, most of the time, party food is really bad for you.

In light of the upcoming Super Bowl weekend, I wanted to create a fun-to-eat party treat that is packed with nutrients as well as flavor.  Check out this recipe and get inspired to encourage healthy eating at your big sports event get-together!

Black Bean and Beet Falafel
with Basil Feta Tzatziki

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Recipe:

1 Beet
1/2 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Salt and Pepper
1 can Black Beans(drained and rinsed)
1 cup cooked Quinoa
2/3 (or more) cup Plain Breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ginger
1 Egg

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and cut the beet, onion and garlic…

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