De-lish

another successful breakfast by schoolhouse maple

Breakfast

…by successful, I mean delicious dips in the warm maple syrup that my friends Jon & Dana Finny make. My mangled because I still can’t get the hang of flipping pancakes properly, still taste amazing, doused in this stuff:

Breakfast

Ahhh…warm fall balcony breakfast mornings.

Thanks Jon & Dana!

You want some? Get some! (Did somebody say holiday gifts?) Drop Jon & Dane a line:
schoolhousemaple@gmail.com
Mmm…

#LessStuffGoodFriendsHappyLife #Nosh #SmallBatch

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this week last year

Because I am a nerd, and I live a life of reflections, I thought I’d peruse the ol’ iPhoto today to see what I was up to during this week last year. I found photos of cocktails & dinner in Charleston during a work trip!

Check out our visit to Xiao Bao Biscuit- recommendation from an old foodie friend who lives in Charleston:

IMG_5032

Xiao Bow Biscuit is located in an old auto shop/garage and a cool, hip, clean space. The servers/bartenders were all attractive & fit young guys wearing simple grey v-neck t-shirts. (Ahem, single ladies- let’s just say charm, talent, and good bod be found here. Come one and all! Meow.) We ordered the recommended cabbage pancake from the menu, which I usually would have made the barf face at, until it came and I ate it- then we ordered a second one because it was that good:

Charleston Eats

Who likes cabbage?! I do now.

My silly partner in crime mimicked what the fish he ordered looked like:

Charleston Eats

I’m not a fish girl, so this was not my thing, but he was like a ravenous beast in heaven eating dinner. Results?

Charleston Eats

…just skin & bones, baby!

We had a great time here, then wandered the streets to the next recommended bar where we got yummy cocktails & dessert. Charleston is chucked full of endless delicious eateries and places to get good drinks. Mark your calendar and plan a trip to this little charming southern city- you will be glad you did.

#RoadTrips #Flashback #Foodies

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ewww! cauliflower?!

…that’s what I used to say as a kid about the white tasteless veggie. Don’t even get me started on brussels sprouts during my younger years. Thankfully the farm-to-fork/localvore/farmers market/back-to-basics/foodie movement has boomed over the past few years, so not only are we all eating a little bit better and more local (yay!), but chefs far & wide are creating all kinds of delish cauliflower and brussels sprout recipes, that are making big kids like me run back for more of those foods we once winced at.

We found a cauliflower recipe recently in Food & Wine Magazine that I’m in love with. This is our tray full of goodness:

Eat your veggies

So good. So cheap. So easy! I love when simple fresh stuff like this, tastes amazing and looks fahhhncy too.

To make you will need:

1 head of cauliflower
1 lemon
Parmesan cheese (shaved)
Fresh parsley (chopped)
Salt & pepper
Butter (for stove top option)

1.) Cut cauliflower into small pieces, leaving enough of stem to hold florets together.

2.) Cook on grill or brown with butter in a pan on the stove top.

3.) Place on cooking sheet.

4.) Squeeze lemon over each piece.

5.) Sprinkle with salt & pepper, parsley, and parmesan.

Voila!

Veggie tray

There you have it from the kitchen of Blue Lollipop Road!

Now I’m hungry…

How are are you reinventing your veggies?

#FoodPorn #EatYourVeggies #Foodie

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nola, jazz fest, and a beignet addiction

As promised…our road trip to New Orleans!

The weather was perfect for our trek to The Big Easy the first weekend in May. We rolled in for our long weekend on Friday:

New Orleans welcome sign

…dropped our bags off at the hotel and walked (safety first!) with mimosas to to Jazz Fest. Pit stop at Whole Foods for the bathroom along the way, and naturally I couldn’t resist this photo from their bathroom:

Whole Foods Bathroom

Can you see the “dance flo” text? BHAHHH! (I’m easily entertained. Translation; cheap date:)

Onto the festival, with people, parades, and music- oh my!

New Orleans Jazz Fest

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

Relaxing Jazz Tent:

New Orleans

New Orleans

I would’t necessarily think of Christina Aguilera when I think of jazz, but that girl with her big pregnant belly got me dancing:

New Orleans

New Orleans

Great long day at the festival, trolly ride back to hotel, and sunset:

New Orleans

After a shower and prep for dinner, we ran into this crazy fun and awesome parade of a wedding party one block off Bourbon Street, celebrating their nuptial NOLA-Style:

The next morning, completely random tree/sky/building “up” photo as we wandered around:

New Orleans

(If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I became slightly obsessed with sky/skyscraper/cloud photos while living in Chicago, and took a lot of photos there.)

We probably walked 20 miles on Saturday, just wandering…people, streets, and food:

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

…which is a good thing, because we at beignets 3 times that day. Three. Oh the heavenly beignets at Cafe’ Du Monde:

Beignets

Beignets

Jackson Square was a fun stop:

New Orleans

…for a balcony glass of vino and a perfect people watching spot at Tableau:

Tableau New Orleans

..and of course, a most random street “band” for entertainment:

Next up was R Bar where we met hometown chef Newton Blanchard, stirring up an enormous pot of gumbo:

New Orleans

New Orleans

This guy pulls to the side of the street, every Saturday, preps this giant serving of New Orleans best that’s ready for the taking “around 6pm” and people flock. No charge, just a donation. We chatted with Newton and sat around outside for a good 2+ hours and stuffed our faces. I mean stuffed:

The Big Easy

My sweet, sweet, boyfriend, who’s straight from French-Cajun Country himself- was in heaven:

Gumbo

(Yikes…I think this is the official first photo of us I’ve posted on BLR. Actually, I think this is the first photo I have ever posted of  my love life here and It’s been nearly 6 years. Clearly I’ve held out for someone who was well worth the wait:)

The food was super hot (temperature & spice) I could barely take little bites, but I had to dig in immediately after Newton served us:

New Orleans

New Orleans

I will say it here first. I have eaten and posted here about a lot of food over these years, but holy moses was this roadside, stirred from something that looked like a shovel and served in a styrofoam bowl with a plastic fork some of the best ever. (Good thing I’m living with a Cajun. I’m sold!)

*Side note the striped can in the background above is my total summer favorite. It’s Radler actually, by Stiegel. Beer + grapefruit extra cold = heavenly delicious and refreshing. It’s hard to come by, so if you can get your hands on a can- do. Then bring me one, please.

After the feast and time with the locals, I played with sidewalk chalk at the Frenchmen Street Market:

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

New Orleans

…and laid on the ground because it seemed like a good idea at the time and I was already filthy from walking around all day, anyway. I’m not scared of a little New Orleans, funk:

New Orleans

Love me some life on the Blue Lollipop Road!

One last stop for our 3rd round of beignets after-dark and our day was complete:

New Orleans

We made a good samaritan practice while noshing round 3, and tracked down a guy who had left his wallet at our table. He came back, the group next to us cheered, and missing wallet man from Tennessee gave us hugs. All love at the end of a day in The Big Easy with a full belly, a face full of powdered sugar, and the best travel partner in crime by my side.

I’m already ready to go again.

Where are you traveling to?

#NOLA #JazzFest #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad

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HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY BLUE LOLLIPOP ROAD!

YIPPEE!!!

Today is Wednesday October 16, and this makes b-day number 5 for BLR. Let’s celebrate!

Cupcake anyone?!

She-Daisy Cupcakery Cupcake

This is the perfect time to write about the above de-lish treat (sun drop pound cake with a sun drop glaze and lemon buttercream) that Wendi, Owner of She Daisy Cupcakery gifted me a few weeks ago after she bought a pair of my vintage Frye boots. (Craigslist rocks.) So yeah, I took a treat from a stranger. (I seem to keep breaking all those rules our parents told us to live by.) Wendi was a blast to talk to. She quit a career that was blah, followed her passion to the land of things sweet- and voila a cupcake company! Another good story about a random encounter with a hard-working, inspiring person who followed their heart. I love being able to share about these kind of people here.

Without a doubt the best part of these past 5 years on the Blue Lollipop Road, has been meeting new people, the kindness of strangers, and spending time with those already in my life that I love. What else is there, really?

Ahhh- yes, the people I’ve met along the way, who share similar interests:

Million Mile Joe

Hood River, Oregon travel people

Allen & Judy Kirkwood on Alaska Ferry Boat

Meet Jack Burrows: Blue Lollipop Road

…the cities I’ve fallen in love with:

Chicago skyline from my apartment

Toronto view

…my various office locations:

Blue Benn Diner Office

Coffee Shop Office

Finger Lakes Office

My BLR Chicago Office

Coffee Shop Office

Coffee Shop Patio Office

…the food I’ve noshed on:

Chicago Brunch de-lish

Food truck tacos

Bongo Room Pancakes

Blue Benn Diner breakfast appetizer

…the places that’ve helped me find the way back to myself:

Thank you Argentina! I found myself again

…the signs that make me laugh:

Signs at The Chocolate Barn

Signs In Bathrooms

Upstate, NY Road Signs

Farmer's Market

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

…the excitement, energy, and adorable kids (and adults) who keep the Strong Mojo alive:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

Ben & Sam with blue tongues

The Carter Girls playing mini gold in BLR tees

Blue Lollipop Kids!

Caleb & Carter with blue tongues

Scott & Sierra love blue lollipops

…the adventure from coast to coast and beyond:

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

BLR-Mobile at the Alaska Border

BLR in Bermuda

The original Blue Lollipop Road: Cafayete, Argentina

Henna in India

Bermuda sights

Iquazu Falls, Argentina

London

"Crabbing" in Ketchikan, Alaska

…the lessons I’ve learned:

BLR inspiration

…the special friends I’ve reconnected with:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2013

BLR PLay It Forward Day 2012

BLR PLay It Forward Celebration Cocktails 2013

…honoring lost friends by giving back to hometown female athletes, so they have the opportunity to go out and see a bigger world too:

BLR Memorial Scholarship recipients Hannah Patterson & Mercedes Chen

(Above left 2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson, and 2013 recipient Mercedes Chen at a recent soccer game:)

…events with good friends in beloved landmarks:

Cubs at Wrigley!

…the strangers out there who’re also on the Blue Lollipop Road:

BLR partners in crime

…the freedom I have found and felt:

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

…the truths I’ve come to know and trust:

Knowing what makes me richer

…the journeys and daydreaming in the sky:

Plane ride to Bermuda

…and on the road:

VA farm country

…the cheesy places I’ve been:

BLR-Mobile at South of the Border

…and the beautiful:

Napa hot air balloon mornings

…the nicknames I’ve acquired:

Nicknames

…knowing that there will always be bumps, so I better strap in tight:

Buckle up on the BLR

…never losing faith in things that I hope for:

I think so too

Things I wish

…and to wherever, and whatever- the road leads to next:

The Blue Lollipop Road

5 years ago today I drove down a road in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and “Blue Lollipop Road” popped ever so randomly into my head as I was brainstorming a best way to share my stories with more than just family and close friends. Who knew this is what it would become! I’ve managed all the above on a shoestring budget and with no plan whatsoever. I didn’t grow up with a trust fund, I never spent my childhood jet-setting the globe with my parents (I barely made it out of the state of Vermont until I was 15), I’ve never taken any writing or computer classes (I’m sure that is very obvious considering my regular grammatical errors and other:), and at the risk of sounding so cliche’- I’m just a small town wildly curious kid, that came from humble beginnings, learned in an heartbreaking incident at a very young age how short life is, and since then have decided that every day is a chance and a choice to live like I mean it. During my journeys on this Blue Lollipop Road, I’ve learned things that’ve absolutely changed my perspective and my life as a whole, I’ve seen places that’ve taken my breath away, and I’ve met people I wouldn’t have been able to in my wildest dreams- all because of this platform. Now that is something to celebrate!

I’ve written and shared here in and effort to keep myself in check and awake about what’s really important, to prevent myself from falling into the drone-zone, and to remember all the things that are possible. I hope by visiting here, you stay fired-up about life, like a kid in a candy store too.

Here’s to the next 5 years, and to going for it all.

What are you celebrating today?

#HappyBirthday #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #ThisIsWhatILove.

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because today national doughnut day

Because I too believe good things come in pink boxes:

VooDoo Doughnut pink boxes

Because I think having to decide on what DE-LISH to pick at a place like VooDoo Doughnuts in Portland, Oregon is nearly impossible, but so much fun:

VooDoo Doughnuts Menu Portland, OR

And finally, because the only thing that could possibly rival my Oreo with Nutella obsession- is an Oreo doughnut drizzled with peanut butter. (With a side of a yet another doughnut rolled in Captain Crunch of course.):

VooDoo Doughnuts Captain Crunch and Oreo Peanut Butter

Yeah, that.

I had no trouble eating these both on my visit to VooDoo during the summer of 2010 During my Alaska or Bust adventure. Holy yum-fest. If I were only on the west coast right now…

Happy National Doughnut Day!.

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one week left to vote!

Team Blue lollipop Road is holding tight in the 2nd spot for the Best of the Road Rally 2012 but we still need your vote!

CLICK TO VOTE FOR US HERE!

Don’t just vote for us, but submit your town, favorite places, food joints and other and celebrate where and what you think rocks in America too! Just a few of my favorites:

Diner breakfast: Sonny’s Blue Benn Diner in Bennington, VT

Beach: Outer Banks, NC

Italian dinner: Mamma Zu in Richmond, VA

Sicilian pizza: Miccuci’s in Portland, ME

Milkshake: Port City Java mocha java shake Wilmington, NC

Ice cream: Bev’s Espresso Oreo in Richmond, VA

…oh so many more. Stay tuned!

 .

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