A Cuppa’ Cozy

As a northerner who’s gone south, there’s nothing I appreciate more during the holidays than cozying up with a hot treat like a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  There’s something to be said for wrapping your hands around an over-sized mug with swirls of steam whispering from its rim as you look out on to the streets which are slowly becoming dusted with a blanket of fresh snow.  My parents just recently relocated to the Manchester/ Bedford area of New Hampshire and I’m currently here visiting them for the holidays.  Being unfamiliar with the area, I decided to tool around the area and get a little lost.  It didn’t take me long to find a serious gem called Baked.  It’s a great little cafe with literally every kind of cozy food you can imagine.  From mac n cheese to sandwiches to soups this place has you covered.  But their unsung claims to fame?  Their hot drinks.  Let me show you what I’m talking about…

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(This is Baked‘s Hot Choconilla.  They use a perfect combination of milk chocolate and white chocolate to create the perfect sweet treat.  I’m not kidding, this hot chocolate may or may not change your life, or at least your taste buds’ definition of what hot chocolate is really supposed to taste like.  Oh, and check out the size of those marshmallows!)

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(This is Baked‘s signature cappuccino topped with both chocolate and caramel drizzles and a sprinkle of sugar just for some added sweetness and sparkle.  As a coffee fiend, this is a dream come true.)

If you ever find yourself in the Manchester area, I can’t stress to you enough how great this place is!  I promise you there isn’t a thing on the menu you won’t love.  The food is fresh, the servers are fantastic, and the atmosphere is something that warms the belly and the soul.

Keep thinking and clinking!

-Cat

Against All Odds…

I have found a way to prepare brussel sprouts that won’t have you gagging at the dinner table.  Even better news?  It’s literally the simplest recipe known to man.  My roommate and I have become devout eaters of the little mini cabbages and we make them at least three times a week.  Even on nights when we have no time at all, we’ll buy a roasted chicken from the grocery sore, make some uncle Ben’s 90-second rice, and finish with these veggies and before we know it we have something that at least resembles a well cooked meal our mothers would be proud of.  Suspend your disbelief, follow the recipe, and let your preconceived notion that brussels are nasty, bitter little bulbs melt away.

Grocery List:

  • One package of FRESH brussels
  •  4 Tbsp of butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp of Olive oil
  • Salt and peper (amount is at the discretion of your taste buds)

How To:

  1. Cut the ends of your brussels off and then cut them in half length wise.  Remove the outer layer of the leaves.  Some of the other leaves will just fall off but keep them!  They get all crispy and buttery and wonderful.
  2. Put your olive oil and 1 Tbsp of your butter in the bottom of a fairly large pan and cook over medium-high heat until the butter melts in to the oil.  Why both oil and butter you ask?  The combination together makes sure that neither one will burn off and, in turn, burn your veggies or whatever else you try to cook in the pan.  (definitely something to keep in mind when searing sea scallops!)
  3.  Once the oil and butter have mellowed out together it’s time for the main act.  Add in your brussels, salt and pepper the green lovelies, and nest your remaining 3 Tbsp of butter in the sprouts.Image
  4. Let the butter melt and coat the brussel sprouts as the sprouts them selves soften up.  You want to wait until the sprouts are fork tender which usually takes about 15 minutes, but keep taste-testing them every now and then just to make sure.  Once they’ve gotten a little brown on the outside and totally tender, it’s time to serve!Image

These veggies have a pretty bad rap, but I promise you that if you give this recipe a try, you won’t regret giving these greens the opportunity to redeem themselves.  Keep thinking and clinking!

-C