Warm Caprese Salad

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Lately I have just been loving tomatoes.  Odd? Probably, considering up until a couple of years ago I would only eat them in sandwiches and burgers.  A few weeks ago, though, I found a heavenly secret.  Pan sauted/roasted tomatos!  Okay, is it really that much of a secret?  Probably not, but it doesn’t change how awesome they are.  What I love about pan roasting my tomatoes is that I feel like it intensifies the flavor and somewhat sweetens the tomato.  It also softens everything inside, but keeps the skin firm so they’re kind of a burst of flavor when you eat them.  This got me thinking, what if I make a caprese salad with these pan roasted tomatos?  It’s like a mix between a traditional caprese salad and caprese pasta (less the pasta).  Thus, this recipe was born, and let me tell you, I’m loving it.  It’s quick, simple and delicious.

Ingredients:

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  • 3 C Grape Tomatos
  • 4 oz mozzerella diced
  • 1/4 C chiffonade basil
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 T good olive oil (garlic olive oil if you have it)
  • 1 T (generous) good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 t salt
  • a pinch (or two) of pepper

Step 1: Prep your mozzerella, basil and garlic, and preheat a large pan on medium high heat with your olive oil

Step 2: Add your tomatos and garlic to the pan, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the tomatos for 4-5 minutes. You want to get a decent char on the tomatos but you don’t want them all to burst.  If you start to hear tomatos bursting, then they’re done.

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Step 3: Remove the garlic cloves, since they’ve served their purpose, and mix the tomatos in a bowl with the mozzerella, basil (reserve a couple pinches) and balsamic vinegar.

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Step 4: Plate the caprese salad and garnish with basil and freshly cracked pepper, and you’re done.  How simple was that!

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Summer Sandal Wishlist

sandalswishlist 1. H & M Chain link Sandals – $24.95; 2. Report Ellenton Glitter Strap Sandal – $50; 3. Tobi Sunshine Studded Sandal – $36; 4. ZIGIgirl ‘Adorable’ Sandal – $49.95; 5. ZARA Studded  Strappy Sandals – $35.90; 6. Zealand Sandal – $78; 7. ASOS FIREWORK Leather Flat Sandals – $30.55; 8. Sam & Libby Karina 3 Strap Sandal – $24.99; 9. The Ascent of Glam Sandal – $32.99

Adventures in NYC

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{Times Square}

After a long and over extended busy season, my boyfriend and I finally got to take a much needed vacation to NYC.  Since it was our first trip ever, we decided to stay in Times Square, right in the middle of all the action.  I can definitely say that NYC is a whole new world compared to Hawai’i.  The middle of Times Square is ridiculous.  The lights shine so bright at night, it’s almost like it’s still daytime.  There are so many places to go and things to see that we obviously could not pack it all into our 5 day stay, but we did our best.

centralpark

{Central Park}

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{Halal Chicken and Rice}

Oh this chicken and rice.  What can I say about this chicken and rice other than it’s mindblowingly delicious.  Yes, I think I just made up my own word to help describe this.  When you walk around Times Square, I think there are Halal carts that sell this chicken and rice on almost every corner, but you need to find the one on 53rd and 6th.  There may even be another cart on that corner, but don’t be fooled, you’ll know this cart because it’s the only one with a line.  Don’t be skimpy with the white sauce because it’s what adds the mindblowlingly to the delicious.  Maybe add some BBQ sauce if you want too, but be warned the hot sauce is HOT.  They’re not lying.  So if you think you can handle super hot foods, I suggest you try a little first.  Don’t want to ruin your entire dish because you want to prove you can handle hot.

Eataly

{Eataly}

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{Rockefellar}

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{Radio City}

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{Subway Station}

katzdeli

{Katz’s Deli}

The infamous Katz’s deli.  This place is known for their pastrami sandwich, and let me tell you, it’s not overrated.  I’ve never had pastrami that’s so moist and almost melts in your mouth when you eat it.  They give you a small plate of pastrami to taste while you wait for them to make your sandwich.  The meat is so tender that it was falling apart when I tried to pick it up.  But now let’s talk about the lovely knoblewurst sandwich.  The pastrami gets so much hype that I feel bad for this ignored sandwich because it’s also sooo good.  It doesn’t get the attention that it too deserves.  I mean, how can you go wrong with a grilled garlic sausage people.  Yes, garlic sausage, nuff said.

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{Rice to Riches}

momofuku

{Momofuku Noodle Bar}

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{Hershey’s Store}

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{Cafe Habana}

Are you noticing a pretty dominant food theme yet?  Yes, we were determined to try as many food places as possible.  Unfortunately we didn’t make it to some of the landmarks that I wanted to see, like the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty or Ground Zero, but I can tell you that we ate good.  I’ll save those things for the next trip, along with the long list of food places that we didn’t have time to visit.

Russanddaughters

{Russ & Daughters}

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{Lombardi’s Pizza}

city

{Walking the streets}

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{Laduree}

Macarons, who doesn’t love macarons?! I mean how can you go wrong with two cookies, crispy on the outside and so soft and moist on the inside with a creamy filling.  I cannot begin to explain how determined I was to make it to this place.  I’ve heard so much about these macarons that I was literally power walking down 6 blocks at 6:55 to make it before they closed at 7:00.  Needless to say, picking what I wanted to buy was the fastest decision I’ve ever made in my life since I walked in at like 6:58.  Unexpectedly, I think pistacchio was my favorite, but all of them were delicious.  The worker recommended salted caramel, rasperry, pistacchio and rose so of course I got one of each.

Okay so after all the researching and planning that I did for this trip, I’ve come across a new monthly blog theme that I’m hoping to bring to life.  So starting in July, I’m going to try and do a monthly post on some of my foodie favorites.  Each month will have a new topic, like dessert, garlic or bacon, and I’ll be sharing some of my favorite foods/places.  Realistically, it will be skewed (just trying to be honest) since I’ve only traveled to a handful of places, but hopefully it will help some people plan their food destinations on any upcoming vacations.

Mens Power Cord Knot Bracelet

My boyfriend and I were browsing a local craft store the other day and came across these parachute 550 cords.  I’ve never really thought about it before, but did you know that these cords can hold 550 lbs?  Okay it sounds obvious because I called it a parachute 550 cord, but if I just said parachute cord, I bet you wouldn’t have known.  Anyway, it got him thinking that having cord like this on hand could come be useful if we’re ever out in the wilderness (as often as that happens) or maybe in the case of an emergency.   So he asked if I could turn it into a bracelet that he could just wear around his wrist.  That’s right, this bracelet is dual purpose, for fashion and also in case for some odd reason you need to carry up to 550 lbs of something via rope.

What you need:

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  • 17″ piece of parachute cord*
  • 70″ piece of parachute cord*
  • Parachute chord buckle

*Note: This is based off of a a 7″ diameter wrist.  If you’re making this for a bigger or smaller wrist, you should adjust the cord length accordingly.  Generally, I take double the diameter plus a 3-4 inches for the short cord, and four times the short cord plus a couple inches for cushion for the long cord.

Optional Materials:

  • lighter (for frayed ends)
  • scrap paper

Before we start, let me share a little trick I learned to get rid of frayed ends on the cords.  Please be careful if you do this since it involves fire.  Also, if you are below the age of 18, make sure you do this with parental supervision or just have your parents do it for you.  That being said, start by trimming the frayed cord.  Then using your lighter, burn the edge of your cord.  We’re not trying to set it on fire, like we’re lighting a candle, we’re just trying to melt the cord down a little so the ends can fuse together.  After you light the cord, use your scrap paper to push the outside of the cord in.

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Okay, now that we don’t have to worry about our cord fraying, let’s get started.

Step 1: Unbuckle the power cord buckle.  Take the 17″ cord, string it through one side of the buckle, making sure that the cord is now evenly split in half.  Then take the two ends and string it through the other side of the buckle, pulling about an inch through. You want the two ends to go in on the top side of the buckle and come out on the bottom side (this is to hide the loose ends on the underside of the bracelet).

Before we go on, make sure that the two ends of your buckle are facing the right way so that when you put the bracelet on they’ll click together.  Now is also the time to test that this length will fit around the wrist.  The length it’s at now will be the length it’s at when you’re done.

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Step 2: Take your 70″ power cord and fold it in half.  Take the middle point and put it around the side of your 17″ cord with the two loose ends.  Make sure the top side of the bracelet is facing you.  The side with the loose strings should be facing the ground.

Step 3: We’re now just going to make a simple knot (this process is similar to the bracelet made here).  Take the string on the left from the 70″ cord and put it over the middle strings and under the other end of the 70″ cord on the right.  Then bring the right cord under previously left cord, as well as the middle cords and through the loop we’ve created on the left, making a knot, and pull tight.

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IMG_4229Step 4: Push the first knot up to the buckle to make it as tight as possible.  Now we’re going to make another knot, but in the opposite direction.  Take the 70″ cord on the right and place it over the middle cords and under the 70″ cord on the left.  Then bring the left cord under previously right cord, as well as the middle cords and through the loop we’ve created on the right, making a knot, and pull tight.

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IMG_4235Step 5: Repeat steps 3 & 4 until you hit the bottom where the other end of the buckle is.  Make sure that your knots in the beginning go around the loose ends from the 17″ cord to secure them within the knots.  Also, make sure you alternate between left and right knots or else your cord will start to twist.

IMG_4251Step 6: Take your two loose ends and string them through the top side of the buckle and pull them out on the bottom (similar to Step 1 above).

IMG_4252IMG_4255IMG_4268Step 7: On the underside of your bracelet, you want to loosen the horizontal part of the last two knots that you made.  Note that if you prefer to just tie a knot and use some fabric glue, you could also do that, but I was challenged with finding a way to secure the bracelet, but still make it easy to undo it in case we need to use the rope.

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Step 8: Now string your loose ends through the two loosened knots and then pull so that the knots are tight again.

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Step 9: Cut off the excess cord on your two loose ends, but don’t cut it all the way to the knot it’s under.  I recommend leaving a little extra rope  just in case.  Once you do this, you’re done.

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