Food

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To read about my Just Add Cooking April meals, click here.

As I mentioned last month, Just Add Cooking has generously offered me a week of meals a month for three months to review the service. If you read about my first experience with Just Add Cooking, you’ll know that I was hesitant to try meal delivery services but then completely changed my mind once I tried it.

One thing that keeps standing out to me is how many local ingredients Just Add Cooking uses. It’s my favorite part of getting the box, diving in and seeing what companies I recognize locally and which ones I need to learn more about. I also really love that everything is portioned out and ready to go. Being primarily responsible for meals and having a busy day job means dinner burnout, and having this delivery on a Sunday takes away a lot of the thinking, prep, and urge to just order something over GrubHub! It makes healthy, quick meals easy and also really takes the guesswork out of cooking for novices in the kitchen. Below I have reviewed each recipe we cooked last week, also sharing photos from the Just Add Cooking website, since mine are not as pretty. . . Click on the photo to get the recipe!

Seared Prawns with Salsa - Just Add Cooking

Nola's Fine Foods Salsa shrimp and salsa recipe

Seared Prawns with Salsa – I thought this recipe sounded really interesting, and we love prawns, so we went with it. I was delighted that salsa from local company Nola’s Fine Foods was included. . . I could (and um, did) eat this salsa out of the container with a spoon. It’s SO delicious. Olive Connection in Brookline carries it!

This recipe was super quick and easy and filled us both up while also leaving some of the rice for the next day. I loved the contrast of the tang and spice in the salsa with the raisins. This is a dish I would definitely love to make again. I would probably double my salsa portion. In case you didn’t know, salsa is one of my favorite foods and would be prominent in my last meal if ever I had to design one.

 

 

 

Beef Burger and Green Beans- Just Add Cooking

Beef Burger and Green Beans – I didn’t get any photos of this one because mine turned out really un-pretty. As with the burgers we had last month, I thought these were missing a binder like bread crumbs. The flavor in them, however, was excellent, with a nice bite of earthy oregano. The real stars of this dish were the plentiful veggie sides. Fresh green beans with completely addictive fried onion sprinkles and carrots with caraway seriously filled our plates and made for great additions to lunch salads the next day. After my first experience with the brand, where I wanted more veggies, they have definitely responded by adding them in, which makes the meals even more complete.

 

 

Bondat Foods seasoning

Joe's Kitchen Chickpeas

cauliflower and chickpea tacos    

BBQ Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos

BBQ Cauliflower Chickpea Tacos – I was definitely most excited about this one, because, tacos! The green beans that came with didn’t make it to dinner; we snacked on them raw while we prepped because they were so good. The Massachusetts-made Bondat Foods taco seasoning mix added amazing flavor to chickpeas from Joe’s Kitchen in Vermont and yummy roasted cauliflower. The tacos were stuffed with a creamy coleslaw, which I actually made with purple cabbage we had that was about to go bad. We used the cabbage provided in the box for another coleslaw later in the week though! This was a seriously filling dish, and the mix of cauliflower and chickpeas made it a really hearty vegetarian option that my meat-loving husband could get behind.

All in all, another win for Just Add Cooking in our house! I think ordering the service will be particularly handy for those beach and boat weekends where we just want our meals to be easy and for the ingredients to be delivered to our doorstep.

 

My May Just Add Cooking delivery was provided free of charge in exchange for a blog post. I have been provided with the opportunity to share an affiliate code for new orders, where I receive compensation if the code is used. All opinions are my own.

Place your order using code TRAVEL, and I will donate my affiliate proceeds to Boston’s Forgotten Felines.

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Tags: cooking, dinner, Food, Just Add Cooking, meal planning, recipes

I dream of Puerto Rico around once a week since our trip to Luquillo and San Juan. Island time agreed with me, and the trip felt like truly getting away, which is really rare with me.

When planning, I asked around to friends who had traveled to Puerto Rico, and my friend Megan sent me the most amazing roundup of places to visit. La Estacion was one of the restaurants on the list, and once we read about it, we knew we had to make it part of our itinerary. On our outdoor adventure day, between our sailing trip to Icacos and our boat trip to the bioluminescent bay, we made sure we had time to visit La Estacion, which was conveniently close to both. It turned out to be the perfect plan , giving us just a little time after sailing to drive around and some time after dinner to grab a beer and walk  on the beach.

la estacion

As the name alludes to, La Estacion is on the site of an old gas station, which definitely gives for an interesting atmosphere. The cool space is sought-after. Definitely get a reservation if you can!

la estacion fajardo

They’re big on local ingredients, beautiful outdoor space, strong and yummy cocktails and a good time.

la estacion. fajardo

la estacion, fajardo

It was hot when we arrived for dinner, and while frozen drinks aren’t my normal choice, I enjoyed a piña colada or two while in Puerto Rico! Sipping on this slushy treat while smelling the smoky air and feeling the heat was just amazing. I love being hot.

 

 piña colada

In addition to putting a lot of time and care into food and beverage, La Estacion also has nice little touches throughout, including lots of beautiful flowers and accents, and great service.

flowers Since I was on vacation, I decided to go with the special grilled stuffed whole lobster, sweet potato fries, and coleslaw. How good does that look?!

I ate most of it and wanted to roll out of the restaurant. Buttery lobster with tropical flavors of the salsa made it just out of this world.

lobster

My husband went for the BBQ side of things with ribs and chicken and mac and cheese, also amazing. I am always glad that we love to share; here it allowed us to taste a little bit of both the seafood and BBQ food La Estacions is known for.

ribs

If you are headed to the Fajardo/Luquillo area in Puerto Rico, La Estacion is really a must-visit. From warm welcomes to delicious, satisfying cuisine, they have it all. It’s really quite the experience! We’re hoping to visit again next winter.

Until then, we’ll hope for summer weather in New England and dream of Puerto Rico sunsets. . . .

 

Puerto Rico beaches

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Tags: BBQ, Boston blogger, cocktails, Dining out, fajardo, Food, food blogger, lobster, Puerto Rico

Our weekend in Camden, Maine was one I would love to repeat over and over. It involved great food, gorgeous New England scenery, and fun friends. The Hartstone Inn was our home-away-from-home for the weekend and is the coziest little retreat for a relaxing weekend. Our friends have been going for a few years, and when they invited us, we jumped at the chance. We booked way back in September, and when the weekend finally came in April, we were so excited.

Hartstone Inn

We booked the Manor Suite, which was spacious and beautiful, with two bedrooms, a big Jacuzzi soaking tub, a fireplace, and a little foyer. It was in the same house as one of the couples we were traveling with, so we were back and forth all weekend, hanging out for snacks and drinks in the living room in their suite and enjoying their sunny balcony. 

Hartstone Inn

 

Hartstone Inn, Camden, Maine

Our room included a half bottle of wine and chocolates and some cute welcome literature like a recipe for one of the inn’s delicious cocktails.

Hartstone Inn, Camden, Maine

Downstairs, a sunny, enclosed porch welcomed us. Everywhere we looked there were beautiful little touches and cute details. I want the Hartstone Inn to come and decorate my house.

Hartstone Inn, Camden, Maine

 

Hartstone Inn, Camden, Maine 

The main house of the inn was home to reception and the dining room, along with some cozy little rooms for reading and relaxing. Our package included breakfast each day and a credit toward the tasting menu. Food is carefully prepared, creative, and focused on being fresh and local. And it was amazing.

Hartstone Inn, Camden, Maine

Happy Hour featured $5 specialty cocktails and small bites to get us ready for a feast.

cocktail hour

One at the table, we started with a little seared tuna amuse, which we paired with bubbly and a toast to the weekend.

tuna 

While others made some substitutions, I went straight off of the tasting menu.

MAINE SEAFOOD TIMBALE with  citrus aioli, pickled red onions, rye toast points
SWEET POTATO, RUTABAGA AND GREEN APPLE SOUP with maple cream
SORBET – Maine blueberry
PAN SEARED BISTRO STEAK with roasted fingerling potatoes, blue cheese butter
BLUEBERRY-ALMOND SOUFFLÉ with amaretto crème anglaise

It all looked so good to me, and I ended up devouring every delicious bite.

seafood timbale 

You can’t go wrong with Maine seafood, and I love pickled onions. Tart, tangy, refreshing, and light, this dish was a perfect starter.

 

sweet potato soup

Temperatures had dropped during our walk around Camden, and this rich and velvety soup was a yummy way to also warm up and get a dose of veggies. My eating has been terrible lately, especially when I travel, and I appreciate any way to eat vegetables that also tastes really good!

Maine blueberry sorbet

Maine blueberry sorbet cleansed our palates and gave us a taste of summer.

bistro steak

As it got darker, my photos did the food no justice. The bistro steak was perfectly cooked, and you really can’t go wrong with blue cheese butter and potatoes.

blueberry souffle

And then there was dessert. Swoon. The soufflé was hot and fluffy, and the decadent sauce poured over as the top was cracked open was just the icing on the cake, so to speak. Heavenly.

Hartstone Inn      

Breakfast at the inn was just as good. I only ate the first morning as I had some work to do the second day during breakfast hours. We started the morning with a cup of coffee in the parlor, enjoying the super cozy vibe. I rarely feel truly relaxed, and this was one of those moments.

Once at our breakfast table, I had a mimosa in hand and a fruity breakfast starter with a home baked scone followed by an egg strata with the best homemade chicken sausage ever.

breakfast

egg strata with homemade chicken sausage The Hartstone Inn Chef was not on property, but the food was some of the best I have had. I’ve heard that it’s even that much better when Chef is there. When not actually at the inn, you can find the Chef/owners leading culinary trips in Europe, which look like complete dream getaways.

If you’re looking for a lovely weekend away, I can’t recommend the Hartstone Inn enough. We’re looking forward to next year’s visit!

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Tags: Camden, Food, getaway, Maine, New England, Travel, travel blog, vacation

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