Date Week

By some stroke of luck, Barry and I actually had like 9 days off… Together! For the past week or so, we had been working opposite schedules so we wanted to take advantage of the vacation.

The Philadelphia Zoo

Monday, July 15, we began the week with some monkeying around. Seriously, I love the primates at the zoo! We arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo around 11am or so to begin our wickedly humid day. I felt like I was 5 again! The entire drive to zoo, I was singing, “We’re going to the zoo! We’re going to the zoo!”

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Barry was starting to get a bit hungry, so we made a pit stop to the nearest kiosk and he ordered chicken finger n fries. I love this picture, mid-chew!

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Yeah, Barry, it is hot! Right out of the fryer! Barry and I both have little things that get us oddly enthused, especially when it comes to food. So when he saw the blend-your-own-ICEE wall, he needed to get one!

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Seaside

Tuesday began around 9am, with the Dunkin Donut breakfast sandwich for Barry. We spent the next 2 hours driving until we reached my favorite place in the world: Seaside Heights. I love being able to share this place with others. Although the hurricane wiped out all the rides, just being there and walking the boardwalk was a nice time!

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I introduced him to Kohrs Bros. Orange Cream, with jimmies, or course.

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Last week, I mentioned that place that fries everything so Barry got deep fried Reeses, and a deep fried cannoli to appease me. Not impressed….

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WP_003086He was reunited with Sawmill Pizza! MMMMM Buffalo chicken pizza and a beer! And I took him to few of my favorite games, like Shoot the Geek (its a paintball game that dad and I are obsessed with), the old carousel, and a few super ancient games, like Bimbo. And lastly, delving into his sweet tooth a bit more, I introduced him to Berkeley’s fudge!

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Valanni?

Thursday, begin in my house with one of my favorite shakes: White Chocolate Pear, inspired by Harry and David’s Chocolate covered pear collection. I made dad and Frank shakes, too.

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Rather than going back to Valanni as planned, I suggested we stay home, to save money (and calories), and cook. To stick with the Valanni theme, I tried my hands at those delicious Brussels sprouts! I found a recipe for Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprout and Toasted Walnuts and used that as my base.

WP_003112After buying a pound of fresh brussel sprouts and cutting them into quarters, I sprinkled black pepper, a touch of salt and granulated garlic, and 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar over them, shook them up, and let them sit. Meanwhile, I chopped 2 Tbsp of slivered almonds, and finely diced half a large granny smith apple. (The other half found its way into my tummy.)

I sprayed a baking sheet with non stick spray, emptied the sprouts on it and baked them uncovered for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, at 375 F. Sprinkle the chopped almonds over top and bake for another 5 minutes. Removed from the oven and toss with the apple.

While these were baking, I marinated some chicken breast in Annie’s Hot Chipotle BBQ Sauce and threw them on the grill.

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Although the sprouts weren’t like the ones at the restaurant, I still enjoyed them. I, did, however, learn a few things in the process of making these:

  • fresh brussel sprouts take much longer to roast than frozen ones
  • Valanni must dowse the sprouts in balsamic vinegar, because the sprouts that were well coated tasted the closest to the originals
  • try and try again… Since I know I’m on the right track, it only gives me more incentive to try to get this down!

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Harry Potter

Every night for the past week, Barry and I have watched a Harry Potter movie. Needless to say, when Barry found this shirt at the zoo, I just couldn’t stop laughing!

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I also truly love this glass! It took everything in me not to buy it! If you have to, click on the picture to enlarge it. Its hilarious!

To finish off Date Week, we watch Deathly Hollows Part 2, and each enjoyed a bowl of Edy’s Slow Churned Caramel Praline Crunch Yogurt Blend, topped with jimmies! We’ve been having a debate, since Seaside, as to call them sprinkles or jimmies…. Its okay, I know the truth… Jimmies (wink).

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Seaside Temptations

Kohrs Bros. Custard. Sawmill Pizza. Midway sausage, peppers, and onions.

These are things I crave every summer, only to be gotten at Seaside Heights, NJ.

The day began seriously early as Barry and I left the house around 5am, him for work and me for the shore.

Last night, I made a ton peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, using a variety of different jams and breads.

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This morning, before leaving to meet my cousins in Philly, I packed us up water and watermelon…

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All the sandwiches, carrot sticks, celery sticks, crackers, and pretzels to keep the 7 of us going.

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Once I arrived in Philly, we loaded the truck up with our crab cages and took a quick pit stop to Dunkin Donuts, where I grabbed a small sugar free caramel iced coffee and an egg white turkey sausage wake-up wrap.

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The drive up to seaside was filled with uncertainty, as it rained on and off. The drive into Seaside was quite different than normal. In the distance, growing up, I could always see the ferris wheel. This time… Nothing.

We arrived to Dock Outfitters. This is the first place I ever went crabbing and the first time I was ever on a boat. It was a tradition that poppop took everyone crabbing here. My cousin, Eddie, and I have so many memories of growing up in Seaside. We were greeted at the dock by some ominous clouds that quickly followed with some serious rain.

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The little girls were really into trying to learn the tricks of crabbing from Eddie and me. After grabbing hot chocolate for the little ones and and a coffee for myself to warm us up, the girls headed back to the car to warm up and dry off a bit.

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We packed things up around 11, when the lightening was supposed to hit (which it never did), and drove a few minutes into the borough of seaside to hit the boardwalk.

It was bizarre. My childhood memories destroyed and washed away by Hurricane Sandy. We drove around checking out all the damage and watched the construction workers clearing away debris and rebuilding the boardwalk.

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I was so happy to see that a few places still remained. The Sawmill was still there, with their massive 27 in pizzas! Yes, this slice is bigger than my head…

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Midway was rebuilt, and the Kohrs stands were still running. And I would have been devastated if Jimmy’s Breakfast was gone. Jimmy’s has been a family tradition since they opened. My grandparents would take us here for breakfast every morning.

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No rides remained, and half of the Carousel Arcade was wiped out! I was thankful that some of the old rides were salvaged. The chuck wagon  and the space ship were rides that have been around for over 35 years! I’m glad that the kids of this generation will get to love them as much as I do.

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Eddie took Cindy and the kids onto the beach. The sand had been so eroded, there was a wall of sand they had to climb to get back to the boardwalk. The water was much too cold for me!

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I really enjoyed walking the boardwalk with Eddie and his family. It was like old times, again, like when we were kids… Eddie and me  🙂

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As we continued to venture the boardwalk, it was sad, but still wonderful to see the new and old shops opening up and seeing all the hard work people were putting into “restoring the shore.”

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We found a small place called something similar to “We Fry Everything.” What it should have been called was “Danger, Sammy Bundo!” or “Sammy’s Fortress of Food Induced Panic Attacks!” I’ve had fried oreos before, we know how I love oreos… but fried kit kats! Nutter Butters! Cannolis! Reese and banana sandwiches!

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Oh, my goodness! I died of a deep fried sugar coma just thinking about its potential mouthwatering indulgence!

Eddie actually got a deep fried snickers, which him and his buddy loved!

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Despite all of the spectacular treats on the boardwalk, I was having a bit of a rough time eating. I could only bring myself to eat the half PB&J and baggy of celery I packed. I opened up to mom and dad when I got back home about having a hard time eating and made sure I ate… well I went to town on a bag of carrot sticks… like a lot of baby carrots! Haha! Better than nothing, I guess.

We headed back to the dock as the sun came out and as high tide approached to finish our day together. We only wound up catching about 15 crabs or so, but I loved watching the girls trying to learn the ropes from Eddie. Eddie and I decided that this has to become a tradition for us!

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To learn more about Restore the Shore, visit the website.