New England Road Trip: The Intro

Cliff Walk – Newport, RI

Better late than never, I’m recapping the week-long, New England road trip that I took with my mom and brother at the end of July. We wanted something drivable and agreed that New England, while within reach, was an under-explored destination for all of us. Also, since my goal is to see all of the U.S. National Parks in my lifetime, I loved that a New England road trip warranted a visit to beautiful Acadia National Park. It ended up being super relaxing, despite being action-packed, and it went a little something like this:

Philadelphia, PA

5 hour drive

Lunch in Newport, RI

2 hour drive

Cape Cod, MA
Duration: three days, two nights
Shelter: Airbnb

3 hour drive

Portland, ME
Duration: three days, two nights
Shelter: Airbnb

3 hour drive

Bar Harbor, ME
Duration: three days, two nights
Shelter: hotel

10 hour drive

Philadelphia, PA

Cliff Walk – Newport, RI

As you can see, we decided to stop in Newport on the way to Cape Cod. For starters, we wanted to break up the long drive. More importantly, while we initially wanted to spend two nights in Newport, we found the prices of accommodations to be very pricey during peak season. As such, we ultimately got our fix by making it a pitstop on our journey. First, we ate lunch at The Mooring, which has outdoor, waterfront seating and offers fresh, local seafood. It was a great way to kick off our vacation! After lunch, we moseyed over to Bowen’s Wharf to soak in the atmosphere. Finally, we ended our brief visit to Newport by walking along its infamous Cliff Walk. It was nice to stretch our legs while taking in the stunning oceanfront and historic mansions of Newport.

…Next stop, Cape Cod!

Cliff Walk – Newport, RI

Heirloom Cherry Tomato, Patty Pan Squash, Leek, and Garden Herb Ricotta Tart

Hi guys!

I’m back from vacation, currently on staycation, and I am feeling as refreshed as ever. As you’ll see in future posts detailing my family’s New England road trip, we ate like royalty. That’s not usually our style on vacations, but since we were surrounded by an abundance of fresh and delicious seafood, we couldn’t help ourselves. But, more on that later.

Despite eating very well, I was stoked to come home to new CSA haul. (Shoutout to my roomie Shanna for picking it up for me while I was away!) The haul included the heirloom cherry tomatoes, patty pan squash, and leeks that are featured in this recipe. The aforementioned produce combined with garden herb ricotta and flaky tart dough is delightful. Of course, any produce that you happen to have on hand can be substituted.

Happy hump day! :)

Part 1: The Dough

What you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pure cane sugar
  • 1.5 sticks cold, unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp. ice water

What you’ll do:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pure cane sugar
  • 1-1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp. ice water

What you’ll do:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar
  • Next, chop the sticks of butter into pea-sized pieces and whisk into the flour mixture
  • One tablespoon at a time, add the ice water to the mixing bowl; whisk into the mixture between each tablespoon
  • After all six tablespoons have been added, knead the dough together until thoroughly mixed and form into the shape of a disk
  • Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover; chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour
  • After at least 1 hour has elapsed, roll the dough into a 13×13 inch square and place into the tart pan; using your thumb, press the edges of the dough into the ridges of the tart pan border; chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour
  • Once at least 1 hour has elapsed, preheat the oven to 375°F and bake the dough for approximately 10 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and fill the tart shell with desired ingredients; bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown

Part 2: The Tart

What you need:

  • 2 cups. ricotta
  • 2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • Himalayan salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 patty pan squash, cored and sliced
  • 2 leek bulbs, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. avocado oil

What you’ll do:

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper; spread the mixture onto the bottom of a tart shell
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, squash, leeks, and avocado oil; arrange on top of the ricotta mixture
  • Bake as instructed above
  • Just before serving, garnish with additional Himalayan salt, cracked black pepper, and fresh herbs, if desired

July ’16 Alternative Playlist

For me, it’s not only the weekend, but also the start of two weeks of vacation. The first week will be spent on a New England road trip with my mom and brother (so excited!) and the second week will be spent staycation-ing. I’m fortunate enough to actually get a vacation from my vacation. ;)

Anywho, any road trip requires a good playlist. As such, I’ve compiled a playlist of the songs that I’ve been loving lately and want to share it with you guys. I hope that you enjoy it!

Grapefruit and Lavender Lemonade

Truth be told, this lemonade is the result of me trying to use up a bunch of lemons and grapefruits prior to vacation. I decided to add lavender because lavender lemonade is amazing! I had it once at a local cafè and I’ll never forget it.

Because grapefruit is naturally sweeter than lemons, the amount of cane sugar that I added is negligible compared to classic lemonade recipes. The end result is a relatively healthy, super refreshing summer beverage. And, since it’s Friday it can most certainly be used as a mixer. Personally, I think it would taste fabulous with gin. Happy weekend, guys!

Note: Recipe yields 1 liter of lemonade.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp. dried lavender
  • 2/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups cold water

What you’ll do:

  • Combine the sugar and hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved
  • Add the lavender to a tea infuser and allow to steep in the hot liquid for about 10 minutes
  • Remove the infuser and discard the lavender
  • Add the infusion to a liter bottle along with the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and cold water
  • Stir until combined and store in the refrigerator until chilled
  • Serve over ice and enjoy!

Blueberry and Lemon Chia Pudding

I looooove me some chia pudding. Simply throw some ingredients in a jar and you’ve got yourself a delicious, nutritious breakfast come morning. What’s not to love? Chia pudding is perfect for breakfasts on the go. I also love it as pre-run fuel because it’s packed with countless nutrients. 

My latest and greatest flavor combination for chia pudding is blueberry and lemon. Although a classic flavor combination, CSA blueberries and fresh lemon zest truly kick it up a notch. While my recipe yields one serving, I generally make four servings at a time so that I’m stocked for the week. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 half-pint (8 oz.) mason jar
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to a half-pint mason jar, adding the almond milk last
  • Shake vigorously until all ingredients are combined
  • Allow to cure in the refrigerator overnight