August 22, 2018

Cherry On Top Ice Cream Shoppe Review

Cherry On Top Ice Cream Shoppe-26 S Main St, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062


One random evening, it was approaching 5pm and my family and I weren't necessarily starving but we could definitely eat something. Clearly dinner was not planned for this night. I decided on a whim to just go for ice cream so we had an excuse to try the local ice cream shop.  I didn't want a huge dinner and I also didn't feel like eating ice cream shortly after.  My stomach tends to not like me whenever I do that.  My husband at first was iffy about doing that but eventually said, "you want to just do that then?  Yes, yes I do.  And my daughter looked at me and laughed and immediately loved the idea! 

This time we didn't do a bike ride.  We were conventional and drove. I learned the place is fairly new and not even a year old yet.  It's a cute shop with typical old time knickknacks and  a decent sized space to sit inside and eat your ice cream or there's a cute porch to sit on and a few tables to the side of the shop to enjoy your treat.  It was again particularly hot this day as well so we just sat inside.  I tend to get overwhelmed when it comes to good ice cream and also large menus because I just have zero willpower and want to try everything.  At this point I was pretty hungry and figured since I didn't have dinner, I would indulge and try three different flavors. YOLO!

My daughter ordered her usual which is the chocolate and vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles, my husband ordered a cup of their mint chocolate chip flavor with peanut butter sauce and whipped cream.  They both looked delectable.  I sampled a cookie dough flavor and a cherry vanilla flavor which is in season right now when I first walked up to the counter.  After about 5 minutes or so, I decided on a triple scoop of cherry vanilla, cookie dough and chocolate marshmallow flavors all atop a rainbow sprinkle cone that  was dipped in chocolate.  To say I was in heaven is a huge understatement. The ice cream was so creamy and not too rich either! You can taste the fresh ingredients and if you adore black cherries, you must get yourself or at least sample their cherry vanilla flavor. Chunks of cherries are sporadically spread throughout the creamy vanilla .  You don't  normally come across ice cream shops that make all their flavors from scratch.  Their soft serve is also homemade which really just seals the deal for me.

I finished it all except maybe three small bites of the cone and it was worth every lick! We will most certainly be back soon!



Blue Plate Restaurant Review


Blue Plate
47 S Main St, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062


My family and I recently moved to Mullica Hill and already we are in love with the town, the people, the quietness and of course, the great food spots!  We already found our local pizza shop Naples Pizza which is truly the best pizza  I’ve tasted in a long time and their onion rings…get the onion rings!! We tried a local ice cream shop as well on the same main street called Cherry On Top and it was stellar!  It’s hand-made ice cream so you just can’t go wrong with homemade.


The first week we moved in, my husband took off work so we could get settled in the new house, enjoy time together as a family and just enjoy the new house and the pool we now own!  We decided one morning to try a bike ride to Blue Plate for breakfast.  It was particularly hot this day and going up and down the hills made it extra fun, but once we got to the place and devoured our breakfast, it was all worth it. Blue Plate is a local eatery serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with unique twists on most American fare food items. From classic pancakes to unique omelets and breakfast wraps to crab cake sandwiches and salmon BLT’s; that I haven’t tried yet but just spotted on their menu. We were greeted fairly quickly by our server and ordered our drinks. We were able to order our food in a timely manner but it maybe took about twenty-five minutes to receive the food. It was well worth the wait.


My daughter always wants pancakes and she was delighted to hear that they served Mickey Mouse pancakes!  When we eat out, sometimes she’ll eat scrambled eggs and some fruit but this time, it was only the pancakes.  Which is fine and my husband and I both tried a piece of the huge Mickey ears and they were so fluffy! I am never quite sure what I want to order , especially if I go out to breakfast so I was lost for a few minutes but ended up going with their chorizo and scrambled egg with cheddar cheese on a toasted English muffin served along side their breakfast potatoes. The English muffin was toasted to perfection ( I like it really crispy) and the chorizo had just the right amount of spicy to it. The cheese was melty and the eggs light and fluffy.  I have never had a breakfast sandwich like that before. I devoured it in probably 5 minutes A) because I was quite hungry and B) it was FABULOUS.  My husband ordered a bacon , egg and cheese on a Kaiser roll.  He said it was really good but next time he’ll probably try it on a bagel.


Our first experience there was a great one and I’m looking forward to trying their other meals in the future. Blueplate is right on Main Street and walking distance to all the great little shops and quaint antique stores in downtown Mullica Hill.  Luckily and dangerously, we live 5 minutes from Main Street!

December 28, 2017

Spicy Cheesy Turkey Taco Soup



So, on a whim the other night, I decided to make a turkey soup. I then decided I wanted it to be healthy-ish, so I added almost an entire bag of fresh spinach, garlic and an onion. I need spice in my life right now because I have been congested and most likely will be catching my daughter's cold in the new year I'm sure.

This soup has a great kick in the pants spice thanks to the pepper jack cheese and red pepper flakes. It's comforting and filling for a frigid cold night and also makes an excellent lunch.  I love dipping tortilla chips in it. It's also crazy healthy because of the spinach.  My daughter doesn't care for many veggies, but when I am able to sneak any sort of green in something to where she won't notice, it's a win in my book! She also loves dipping the chips in it and putting the turkey on top of the chip. I hope you'll give this soup a try!  It's super easy and definitely hits the spot!


Ingredients

-1 can of diced tomatoes
-1 medium onion, chopped
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 medium bag fresh spinach
-2 cups chicken or veggie broth
-2 cups water
-1 tsp. red pepper flakes
-1 small can of tomato paste
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 lb lean ground turkey
-1 package low sodium taco seasoning
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 bag (4 ounces) of shredded Mexican-cheese blend or  one block of pepper jack cheese, shredded
-cilantro, sour cream, tortilla chips for garnish/toppings


Directions

 1. Heat  olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook the turkey down until all pink is gone. Add the taco seasoning and stir to combine. Set aside.
 


 1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Once hot enough, add the onion and garlic together. Cook down until brown in color. About 5 minutes. Season with a dash of salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and mix well.

2. Add the tomatoes, spinach, red pepper flakes, broth and water. Season to taste.

3. Cover and cook down for about 5-10 minutes over medium high heat until steaming and bubbly. Turn off the heat. Place hot soup mixture carefully in a blender and blend everything until well combined. Pour back in the pot and add the turkey. Let cook until hot and bubbly again. Add the shredded cheese to the mixture and stir well. Serve hot and with your favorite toppings.

Enjoy and stay warm!

* This soup is freezer friendly.







November 2, 2017

No Need To Get Back On Track


I have come across many different articles via all social media platforms recently that discuss Halloween candy, and how to burn off a snickers or milky way bar by performing 700 jumping jacks, and my favorite, "getting back on track tomorrow."  I want to vent about this topic for a moment because in my opinion, this is all utter bullshit.  We are human and we ALL have some sort of vice or favorite treat we adore.  So why not just be human and enjoy our favorite candy, not just on Halloween or any Holiday for that matter?  There is no such thing a a "bad food."  And there's no reason to "punish" yourself if you ate too much dinner or too much dessert or too much candy on one night.  Sometimes this happens on a regular old boring Monday night.  Again, we are human.

Let me state for a moment that I am not a nutritionist, a dietician or a doctor. I am just your average human being who believes in eating the things we love, those "sinful" desserts or foods that we hardly ever eat, and enjoying them in moderation.  I believe that when we eat too much of the same things, they lose their magic.  They lose their value.  Food, or anything else for that matter in life appear better when we don't do them often.  And when we finally do indulge in something or see a movie we haven't seen in years?  It's all so amazing and it's that much more special. Take me for example;  I am not a picky eater and love a variety of yummy foods. Therefore, I choose to space out the things I love and pick my days when I am going to eat them.  A muffin here, some candy there, pasta for dinner or ice cream for dessert.  I am still almost always, on most days, eating something I love.  But I choose to eat them in moderation.  This way of course doesn't work for everyone because we are different.  We are human. The difference is that when I go to eat a bagel or muffin for my breakfast, I am hungry and I know that will satisfy me more than just oatmeal or a banana alone. But afterwards, the difference is that I am not mad at myself for eating a carby muffin.  I am not thinking about the ways I can burn it off. I am not thinking about how that was a poor choice and how I should have just chosen the banana or salad instead.

I exercise for my overall health and well being, for my sanity, and to challenge myself some days depending on what exercise I choose to do.  I also swear it helps me be a better mom.  Okay, to quickly get back to the main reason of why I am writing about this and to sum up: There is no such thing as a bad food. Food is fuel.  Eat what you feel will satisfy you.  I also understand that if someone is actually trying to lose weight and really wants to make the effort to eat healthier, then yes, grabbing a banana with some oatmeal or a green smoothie for breakfast would be better choices than say grabbing that sugary muffin. But eating the things we want and love on the occasion, in moderation, will always top depriving yourself of the foods you love.  It's also simply not sustainable to think that never eating a piece of Halloween candy or a slice of cake will help you maintain or lose weight.We will always have to pick and choose when we want to eat the things we love because again, I personally believe moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle.  I have been on both ends of the spectrum, believe it or not and so I know how this all feels.

A quick example of choosing and picking when it comes to food is that I used to always use the phrase "I am going to be good until dinner."  I used it a lot. So yes, I practically would starve myself until dinner time but this wouldn't be just your average pizza night or Taco Tuesday.  This would be a birthday dinner with friends, where there would also be lots of alcohol and a cake.  So I would still eat breakfast that morning, but keep lunch very light.  I don't see anything wrong with that because I would want to save room for the delicious pasta dinner we were about to stuff our faces with and copious amounts of red wine, and of course later, cake!  I still eat this way depending on the occasion, but the difference now is that I never say those words again, " I am going to be good until dinner."  

So, just do you, eat what you want, when you want it, but try moderation.  Try to pick and choose what you'll have throughout the day because there's also a small thing that is big to others and it's called calories.  Try not to think of those calories, because again, food is fuel.  It's just food and it simply does its job by helping you out when you get hungry.  Try not to overeat and really try not to eat to the point of  being overly full.  It's not a pleasant experience. And yes, it's okay to always ask yourself " is that worth the calories." Because frankly, I love chocolate chip cookies like the next person, but if you offer me a slice of any kind of pie, its calories will always be way more worth it to me than a chocolate chip cookie.  Exercise for your health and sanity, not to punish yourself for indulging in pizza and oreos the night before.  

Again, we are human.  Shit happens.  We have to live and enjoy the things we love.  Just try sometimes in moderation.  You'll be happy again, I promise.  Maybe even  a little too happy.

October 26, 2017

A Glorious Baked Mistake



The other night I had the itch to bake.  That happens every now and then. But this time I was going to use a bar/cake mix from Betty Crocker.  Don't roll your eyes just yet, because A) shortcuts aren't always a bad thing and B) I had won a package at the pumpkin dessert contest a few weeks back and wanted to use it. And C) I'M SO GLAD I USED IT!  It gets better.  Keep reading.



Are you getting hungry yet?  So here's what I did and I started with having ZERO faith in this dessert.

- I wanted to use up a box of unopened graham cracker crumbles and I wanted to make a different type of treat with them. I'm also a sucker for a buttery graham cracker crust.  Can you sense I love cheesecake?  But hold the phone, this is far from cheesecake!

- I wanted to also the cake mix.  It's actually a bar mix and I have a feeling this is why this dessert actually turned out so good because the center is more dense like, well, a dessert bar treat.  I baked the crust for 8 minutes at 350 degrees after I added 1 stick of  melted unsalted butter to the mix and a 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, combined well.

- I had the thought of letting the crust cool for a few minutes before topping it with the Nutella I had in mind but after mixing together the bar mix, an egg and 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted, ( yes, this has a lot of butter in it but it's worth any and all calories)!!  I simply forgot and just started placing the bar batter on top.  So it goes, crust, Nutella, chocolate chips, bar mixture, more chocolate chips and Nutella.

- I put the Nutella in the microwave for about one minute and it was melted just enough to spread more easily and swirl.  By the way, I would use an 8x8 baking dish so you get a thicker bar.  Bake for 25 minutes, test with a toothpick to make sure all is well and baked ( it will be, promise).  Let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes and enjoy.  I recommend dolloping with some whipped cream and a light sprinkle of cinnamon.  Enjoy!!



Sometimes when you have zero faith in something, it turns out to be the most glorious thing ever.  That's one of the many funny things about life.
 
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