Day Off Date!

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ConeyIslandJuly20161

Although I travel to NYC fairly often, and have seen nearly all of the more popular landmarks or attractions (and some of the city’s best well-kept secrets) more than once- there are still a couple of areas I’ve never been to despite barely needing to check my phone’s GPS for directions anymore.

Coney Island is one of those places.

When it comes to Summertime beach-side attractions- all I really need is a boardwalk, some funnel cake, and maybe a couple of old, rickety amusement park rides and I will be perfectly and completely content (which is why I adore Old Orchard Beach so much) so I’m actually a bit surprised I’d put off checking out Coney Island until this past Tuesday- where Sean and I, already planning on going to NYC for the day, anyway- headed all the way down on the D train on a whim.

The original plan was to head into the city specifically to try and grab one of the INSANE milkshakes at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in SoHo (seriously- just Google them and be amazed/horrified/fascinated)– since the weather heading into Manhattan was on the cloudier, rainier side- but once our train into Grand Central started rolling, the sky cleared up and the sun came out. Sean and I decided to embrace the change in the forecast by enjoying some time outdoors while we traveled- and the idea of checking out Coney Island once and for all popped into my head.

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My end game at Coney Island was to ride the Cyclone coaster. It’s been on my bucket list for a while now, although I didn’t think I’d really get around to doing it anytime soon until I was actually buying a ticket and waiting in a brief line to hop in- quoting ‘Captain America’ to Sean the entire time:

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And while neither one of us threw up- I think I may have bruised a rib coming around one of the bends. That thing hauls ass. It has way more kick than I originally gave it credit for- but it was fun! I’m glad I finally got to do it. The older roller coasters will always and forever be the best.

After a spin on the ferris wheel (with a really beautiful view from the top of the city skyline and the ocean)– Sean and I strolled the boardwalk and browsed some gift shops, arcades and food stands before we decided to head back towards Manhattan for dinner and to catch a train home at a reasonable hour since we both had to return to work bright and early on Wednesday morning.

Although we had gotten back into SoHo in what I thought was record time- the line outside Black Tap had already wrapped around the block. Famished at this point, Sean and I ended up popping by GATSBY’s for a pub style dinner that was really good and made the trek back to our train a little easier since I wasn’t stopping every few feet to whine about needing food (and their sweet potato fries are awesome!)

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Although I left NYC without a $15 milkshake smothered in cookies and/or M&Ms- I had a really good day and it was worth being a little groggy at work on Wednesday. It was the perfect way to wrap up my Fourth of July weekend (I even saw fireworks from my window on the train during my ride back home!) and I would absolutely love to go to Coney Island again someday- maybe just to ride the Cyclone until I throw up.

Thanks for another great adventure, NYC!

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xx

Quick Eats: Patriotic Cobbler.

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Happy Independence Day, America! Although the sky is looking depressingly cloudy today- I’m hoping it clears up by tonight so I can get an unobstructed view of some fireworks after a family cookout later on this afternoon. I did commemorate this National holiday by doing the most American thing I could think of last night- seeing “Magic Mike: XXL” in the theater with some friends (and it was really, really fun,) but I also wanted to bake or cook something with some red, white, and blue elements in it to offer up to visitors over the next couple of days.

Last year on the Fourth of July, I had whipped up a simple recipe with some strawberry and blueberry fruit bowls and smoothies. This year, using the same ingredients but taking it a step further- I created what I consider to be a very patriotic mixed berry cobbler that was easy to make in no time at all- and it tastes amazing!

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YOU WILL NEED:

* 9×13″ baking pan

* 1/3 cup of butter

* 1 1/2 cups of flour

* 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar

* 1 1/2 cups of milk

* 2 teaspoons of baking powder

* 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon

* 1/2 teaspoons of salt

* 5 cups of chopped strawberries and whole blueberries

* 1/3 cup of chopped nuts (any of your choosing! I used walnuts with the one I baked.)

* 1/3 cup of brown sugar

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OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F and add the 1/3 cup of butter to your baking pan. Place the pan in the oven to melt the butter.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, milk, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir/whisk the mixture until it is smooth and thin in texture and there are no lumps.

3. Once the butter has melted in the baking pan, retrieve the pan from the oven and pour the batter inside of it. DO NOT STIR. Some of the butter will pool along the edges and top of the batter- and that’s a good thing. That’s what you want!

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4. Sprinkle the strawberries and blueberries evenly over the batter and butter. Once you have the fruit where you want it- sprinkle the chopped nuts and brown sugar on top.

5. Bake the mixture for 45-50 minutes or until the top crust is a nice golden color.

6. Serve by itself or with a scoop of ice cream on top.

7. Enjoy!

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One of these cobblers can serve quite a few people, depending on how big a scoop they take, and what I really love about this recipe- apart from how delicious it tastes- is that you can substitute the strawberries and blueberries for other types of fruit and it will still come out great!

I’m actually going to grab a serving before I get ready to head out for the day’s festivities.

Have a great Fourth of July, everyone!

xx

Quick Eats: Red, White, and Fruit.

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Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans! Unfortunately for those of us on the East Coast, our day of outdoor cookouts and night of fireworks was rained out thanks to Hurricane Arthur barreling up the coast. We had a tremendous thunderstorm last night, and it’s been pouring out for most of today- limiting most of the festivities to the indoors.

While I will be braving the rain to attend a friend’s birthday party later on tonight, I’ve been settled in for most of this morning and afternoon- re-living the glory of past episodes of “The Walking Dead” during AMC’s “Dead, White & Blue” marathon (which spans seasons 1-4 and leads up to a Sunday night preview of the upcoming fifth season- for anyone who needs to catch up!)

I’ve also been whipping up some quick, healthy, delicious- and patriotic colored snacks, too- namely simple fruit and whipped cream bowls using fresh strawberries and blueberries:

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Using the extra strawberries and blueberries I didn’t put in the fruit bowls, I made smoothies by adding a sliced banana (for more flavor,) a couple scoops of non-fat vanilla yogurt, and a cup of milk into my Magic Bullet. Not to sound like an infomercial, but if you’re looking for a convenient, easy to use- AND easy to clean blending/shredding/chopping/slicing/dicing/mashing/whipping/etc. appliance, you have GOT to invest in one of these. The device does pretty much everything in a matter of seconds with no mess and no hassle, and it’s small for easy storage without taking up a ton of counter or cabinet space. The smoothies, after everything was added into the glass container- took all of 20 seconds to chop the fruit, whip up the yogurt and milk, and blend it all together for a delicious drink.

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The fruit bowls and the smoothies were so refreshing (despite the rain, it’s still stifling hot and humid,) were low in fat, and were healthy- which makes them even better. I’m hoping to share more detailed smoothie recipes shortly (I make a mean chocolate-banana one!) since I’ve been having such a blast playing around with the Magic Bullet.

I hope everyone has a great rest of the Fourth!

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