Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I love to cook, though technically I love baking even more. I don't think baking is a very good idea when there are only two of us. It creates way too many opportunities for some serious sweet snacking. So instead of trying out new dessert recipes, I am trying very hard to fulfill my resolution to try out new dinner recipes. It is part of my effort to be more health conscious. Since most of you haven't sampled my new skills, I'll continue to post about my efforts... with photos. (Cue saliva.)
My bravest endeavor thus far...
lemon pasta with roasted shrimp.
I substituted whole wheat noodles for regular, 
they have more protein and fiber, which keeps Amit fuller, longer!
This is definitely his favorite dish thus far.
I love my slow cooker.
Soups are fantastic and leave us with great leftovers for lunch.
Smashed potato soup was one of the first I tried.
I just found this new soup recipe.
Quick and spicy tomato soup, from Giada's 
Food Network site.
It is fantastic!! (And has quite a kick to it!)
It's amazing that it starts from a jar of marinara sauce.
We are having a great time finding and trying out new recipes, even though Amit isn't usually home to help me cook. I guess I'll just save my dessert recipes for when he's around on family dinner nights... That way we can send extra desserts home with our friends!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Resolutions

So I technically started this New Year's resolution before 2010 came around, but I haven't done a very good job of blogging this January. I can't believe it is almost February now! I do have a good reason for not blogging though, we have spent the beginning of 2010 with several trips and fun outings. I promise I will make up for my blogging laziness!

I'm not really one to make New Year's resolutions. I'd rather make a well-planned decision to make a change whenever I decide to do it. That being said, I figured January would be a good month to let you know some of our plans for 2010.

One fun resolution that we have is to blog more about what Amit is learning and doing at BU. Hiking story after hiking story is only fun for so long. I'm going to relinquish (a little) control and let him fill you all in on what his classes are all about. (Expect a very interesting blog in August about the first time he works on my teeth in the clinic!!)

Amit's personal resolution is to hike Mount Washington. We got about half-way there this summer with Mom and Nate, so he is planning to get to the summit by this summer. The boys have been talking about doing some smaller mountains during the winter, so all of us girls will enjoy some down time in the warmth of somewhere else!

My resolution? It is made up of a lot of little ones. Besides wanting to exercise more often, I want both of us to eat healthier. I'm making Amit cut out deli meats and canned soups (both have way too much sodium for him). We try to cut down on the number of premade dinners we buy; it is much healthier to make everything from scratch when you can control what goes into it. I also want to cut out high fructose corn syrup entirely, which so far we're doing a decent job of. My biggest vice is artificial sweeteners, so it is going to take a lot of dedication and effort to cut those out. I hope that by next year I will be sweetener free! (That will mean giving up my diet coke, yikes!)

The biggest diet change for us is a rather lofty goal, but one that I think I can meet. By next year, I hope to only be buying free-range beef and chicken, with no added hormones. I'm not sure how easy or affordable it will be, but it is part of my hopes to "go natural," at least in terms of food.

I think that's enough blabbing for now. I will definitely blog about our progress, hopefully all good blogs. Any one else have any interesting resolutions?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Yay for Family Time

So we've been back in Boston for almost a week now. Our visit was great, we spent so much quality time with family. Family time is the biggest thing missing in Boston. It was a super busy visit, we bounced from family to family, house to house, got up early and stayed up late, ate and ate and ate. It was exhausting!! Maybe next time everyone can take turns coming out here and then we can just spend our time chilling on the beach??

It was really great to see our friends and family. I was bad though, I ended up forgetting my camera most of the time. Some fun memories that I didn't get photos of - Matt's basketball game, his dad freaking out at the fact that he spent 75% of the game on the floor, eating some fried alligator at lunch, sitting around and talking with the guys until 2 AM, and all of the delicious food we ate! I wasn't camera-less all the time though... These are some of the highlights from our trip, ones that I actually caught on camera.
Nate came home on Friday after practice...
showing off his National Championship tattoo that he got the night before.
I was so excited I grabbed my camera and took a picture!
I love spending time with my little brother...
I just wish he'd let me take a nice picture of us!
We miss my cousins when we're out here...
so there's nothing like Nate inspiring us all to spend a little time close together.
Poor Melanie got the brunt of the weight.
Oh, how I love my girls!!
If only Nate and Amit could take a nicer picture!
I think this is after a good 3 minutes of posing.

One of the biggest highlights of the trip...
Having fun on the homemade ice rink at my Uncle and Aunt's house!
The boys had a lot of fun.
One thing Amit learned on this trip... Backyard skating rinks are fun. He wants one. ;-)  It was a great trip and we had so much fun. We were sad to leave, but we needed to rest. I think we are finally fully recovered. Thanks everyone for the very fun times!

Best Meal Ever

So I'm not going to say that Boston doesn't have great food. It does. We love all the fresh seafood options out here and there is an abundance of Chili's, which makes me happy. But there are certain foods that Boston doesn't have, that can never be replaced. One of which is Portillo's, which on last Thursday, was the site of our best meal ever!!
The table looked like this...
I didn't even get Amit's italian sausage in the photo!
We've been craving Portillo's for months now. On Thursday we landed, were picked up at the airport by Ron, grabbed Mom from home, and headed straight for Portillo's. It seemed like we almost ran to the counter. Of course, Amit and I had already planned out what we were going to order (there is no such thing as sharing a Portillo's meal), so we tried to get Ron and Mom to hurry up and decide. Once we got our food, there was no more small talk. We savored each and every bite, until there was nothing left. (Yes, I was nice and spared you from pictures of shoveling food in our faces!)

It was fantastic. It fed our souls. We knew we had to get some Portillo's, but we were surprised at just how much we missed it. If you are ever in Chicago or the surrounding burbs... You have to go to Portillo's, we highly recommend it. There is nothing quite like it.  

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One More Week!!!

Do we sound excited?? Well, we are! One week from today we'll be back in Chicago for a quick visit. It is the first time we've been back together since July. Needless to say there are a few things that we miss so much, that Boston will never be able to replace.


 Seriously, there is no food like Portillo's food. Amazing Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef, Italian sausage, fries, fries with cheese, chocolate cake, and don't even get me started on the vanilla malts! We've found some awesome restaurants here in Boston, but none satisfy the way Portillo's does. Can you believe we've actually gone 6 months without eating Portillo's?? We can't, which is why that is the first stop on our list for Thursday. If only they'd build one out here, we're sure it'd be a huge hit!

 Lou Malnati's

Well, it doesn't even really need to be Lou's, Gino's East and Bacino's are really good too! Amit's not as big of a fan of deep dish as I am, but it is seriously the best pizza!! I think Boston has more Uno's around than we do back in Chicago, but it is hardly real deep dish. It definitely does not take the place of Lou's... Only one more week to wait!! 

Nachoramas at the Village

  I'm sure you're thinking, what is with the crazy food theme here? Chicago definitely has more to offer than just food, but can I help it if most of my favorite memories are surrounded by food? I guess it mainly stems from the fact that I was the only girl hanging out with a bunch of big, hungry guys all through high school. Let me tell you, hang out time while eating the nachorama could get crazy. It was always fun to listen to the guys tell the same stories (over and over and over) while we all ate yummy nachos. 

Game Night

  I love game nights. Not even just playing Monopoly or Scrabble, you have to pull out the crazy games like Snorta and Whoonu! Game nights have become a favorite tradition of ours, we looked forward to them when we were in undergrad and are looking forward to hanging out again next weekend. The best part of our Schaumburg game nights? The fact that they started off as calm, laid back nights, and end with us all going crazy and becoming super competitive. At least the yelling never seemed to keep my parents up too late. 

My Boys

  I love my boys, and yes, they are my boys! We'll always find new friends, but there is no way we'll ever find another group of guys like these guys. I was so lucky to be the first girl in the group and have so many fun memories with them. I'm looking forward to hearing them retell every story from their glory days... The boys laugh just as hard the 100th time as they did the first time they told it!

 I'm not even going to both finding a photo with everyone, it'll be impossible. I'm ready for some quality cousin time while playing video games, dinners out with my parents, and laying on the couch with Max. Boston is great, but it doesn't have family here... Guess everyone just has to relocate to the east!

The Dog

  So Amit just informed me that the only thing about Chicago that he really misses is Portillo's... Oh yeah, and the dog. I can't blame him for missing the dog, he loves Max so much he wants one of our own. You can't really go wrong with a 100 lb golden who thinks he's a lap dog, the man of the house, and is willing to eat anything you give him. We love Max and will definitely be spending a ton of time with him... I'm just not sure how much he's going to love us after his visit and all the hiking he did.


See Nate. See Nate Run.

  Last year was great... I made it to most of Nate's cross-country and track meets. After being there for all four years of his high school running career, it was exciting to watch him run in college! His races were usually the highlight of my week. He's so talented and until he moves out to Boston or we have a child who runs like he does, there is no replacement for Nate the runner. Last spring was awesome, it was his first time as a steepler. I loved it! This year has been a major adjustment, I'm so used to spending Saturdays at meets. Saturday when we're back in Chicago, we'll most definitely be at his meet! It will be the first time Amit will have seen Nate run in college. We're excited!!

So those are just a few of our favorite Chicago things. There are lots more, but that would be way too much to blog about. If only Chicago had the oceans and mountains... then we'd consider moving back there. We're becoming New Englanders already!

Winter Beach Day

Yes, you read that correctly. We had a beach day... in December. Now, its not like we were out swimming or anything, we went with our very talented friend John (one of Amit's BU classmates) to take our Christmas photos. Now that everyone has seen our card, I'll share more pictures from our fun photo shoot.

Let me start by saying that we definitely procrastinated. We didn't decide on taking a Christmas photo until it was already cold... and windy... and super high tide. I think it made for even better photos, though. Thanks for getting the waves in, John!
We went and took some photos on the rocks.
This one is my personal favorite.
Yes we were cold... but we always have a good time together!
The cold was just an excuse to stand closer during photos...
We jumped over a giant puddle and dodged crashing waves 
to get to our next photo spot...
which turned out beautifully!
So we more pictures...
and enjoyed the view of the waves...
until they got a little too close for comfort.
We quickly jumped off the wall, the water was cold!
Getting back to the serious photos, 
the waves that day were HUGE!
We also took some photos in Hull, for a different setting. They turned out really nicely, even though it was the same day and not too far away, that area was sunny and very industrial. It was awesome!
I like the ones that John made black and white, too!
We had way too much fun doing this photo shoot!
All in all, it was a great day!! It would not have been possible without John's help. Thanks John!! I think we'll start volunteering to be photo shoot guinea pigs, it was a lot of fun. So give us a call if you want to practice your photography skills, we're up for it!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our Perfect Day

We have been enjoying Amit's break from classes, he started back on his internship yesterday. On Tuesday we spent a fun day together doing some of our favorite things. Since there wasn't enough snow to go skiing, we decided to go for a hike in the nearby Blue Hills. Before we went hiking though, we had to make sure we had enough energy. What better way to fuel up for a big hike than to make waffles?
Amit got special waffle mix for Christmas, 
they were delicious! He's really good at making waffles.
The ground was frozen in spots, creating some interesting crystals
We went up and down and up and down...
It was a beautiful hike... with fantastic scenery!
Here's another shot taken by my new tripod!
There are many different hikes to take in the Blue Hills and we decided to go up to the Blue Hills Meteorological Observatory. It was a chilly day, but was comfortable when we were moving. Well, I should say that it was comfortable until we got up to the top. It was super windy and cold! We had hoped that the tower would be open (they apparently have a gift shop), but it was closed!! We looked online and the wind speed that day peaked at 58 mph and the average temperature was 18 (it got as low as 8!). So our teeth chattered for the few minutes we wandered around before scurrying back down to the trees. They at least sheltered us from most of the wind.
Amit must have been too cold to open his eyes for this picture
Here's a photo of the tower...
check out the flags!
It was a very fun, but cold hike! It will be interesting to go back and see what it looks like when it is completely covered in snow!

Decked Out Halls

Christmas definitely snuck up on us this year. It is still so hard to believe it came and went already. We enjoyed our first Christmas in Boston, though. We've had our decorations up since just after Thanksgiving. Decorating our home was a fun way to celebrate the end of Amit's board exam study time. Christmas is our favorite holiday and Martha Stewart is my homemaker hero, so I was ready to go all out. I tried (quite successfully) to make some handmade ornaments to decorate our new 7 foot tree! The last few years I have made Christmas craft day into a tradition with Dylan and Krissy, but this year Amit had to substitute for them. I'm rather sad that everything is going to have to be put away in a few more weeks... but it is definitely tacky to have Christmas decorations up too long!

Since not everyone can be in Boston to see our holiday paradise, I thought I'd take a few photos to share:
Our beautiful tree
Our fuzzy Christmas pals...
From my holiday tradition with Krissy!
A couple ornaments handmade by me!!
Showcasing our collection of Christmas decor
So that's just a taste of our Christmas decor! Guess you'll just have to stop by if you want to see the rest of it.  ;-)