Happy Birthday, in Hershey.

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Brunch.

Brunch at it’s absolute finest. I’ve had brunch at many places in my life, and still, there are many more to try, but the Sunday brunch buffet in the circular at The Hotel Hershey hits home. It might be because I joke around while walking the hotel hallways saying .. “this would be the dream to live in this place like Eloise lived at the plaza.” It’s a dream, and while you are visiting, the staff does everything possible to make you feel like you are in fact in a living dream. The month of October is birthday month for both my parents, so we killed two birds with one stone, and celebrated in the best way we knew how. Along with Hershey being one of my favorite places on this earth, it is also my moms, and my father loves everything about brunch buffets. Of course it was a total win, win!

They dec the buffet out with everything you could imagine. It’s a food fantasy, and it’s unbelievable! The quality and freshness of the ingredients could never be topped. The room while you walk in is filled with a site of stations. Theres an omelet station to my left, an avocado toast station to my right, and you could never miss the seafood bar standing tall in the middle of both stations; created of raw oysters, mussels, clams, and a smoked salmon bar with toast points, and all the fixings needed!

Thats just the beginning…

They have two buffet lines on both sides as well, right behind the action stations. One line accompanied with breakfast beauties, and the other, decked with lunch/ dinner comfort foods. In between those two buffet lines, right in front of the luxurious bar in the center of it all, there sits an extraordinary cold food station and salad bar. This has to be.. by far my first choice food of life. I always loved how creative, delicious, and experimental you could be with raw flavors.

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I filled my plate like an artist fills their canvas..

Pilling and placing food in such a way that it looks super pretty because …lets be real, thats who I am lol but also, not leaving any texture, or food category out of site.

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The three of us had such a nice time enjoying and indulging, in down right amazing food!! Being together is so special as you grow, and life becomes more crazy… leaving less time for family. Hershey is the greatest place to make that time, to create memories for important occasions, and to leave feeling full of content and love.

        xoxoxo

 

Farms in the Fall

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Farmers markets in the fall, make me the happiest girl on earth. Fall in general makes me super happy! I’m obsessed with everything about it. The weather, food, activities, the colors of leaves changing, the fashion; its incredible. Autumn is me, and it’s when I am totally in my element. Honestly, I think this season has a special place in my heart because it reminds me on my childhood, being young and just having fun. It brings back memories with my family and I going to the farmers market to get fresh apple cider, and picking our pumpkins to carve at the pumpkin patch. I was also very into picking out my halloween costume. Every single year without question my parents would take me to party city to pick out the perfect costume for myself. I took it super seriously! lol I think as being a kid, since dressing up was something we looked forward to all year long, everyone tried to out do each other.. in a fun way, of course!

As the years went on and I grew into a young adult, dressing up doesn’t happen as often, but I still love prancing around the stores looking at the costumes, deciding what I would be if I were to dress up again. It’s fun to reminisce at times, especially when you feel like you’re getting older, and life goes by faster and faster! As that happens though, I make it a point to indulge myself in everything I love, and doing all that makes me happy. In the fall time shopping for produce, and things to create beautiful autumn dishes/ table scapes is what brings me peace and gratifies my life.

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Not only do I love decor in the kitchen, I also obsess over interior design as well. It’s something I have a passion for, so I think that this little corn bundles are the cutest accessory to put around your home. You can find them at any famers market during the fall season, and even at some local grocery stores! They’re on the inexpensive side too which is always a plus. While I was at the farm eying these beauties up, I noticed those beautiful beautiful bright red cherry tomatoes sitting right underneath!

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Tomatoes are known to be a summer staple. I do not disagree with that because for some reason when I think of summer produce.. thats one of the first things that comes to my mind along with watermelon, but these little babies are actually in full effect until the end of October.

 

There were many root vegetables and “nightshades” to pick from. ( tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, and potatoes) The carrots and potatoes looked absolutely gorgeous, along with the onions. I’ve truly never seen onions look so beautiful as they did when I made my trip to the farm.

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AHHH! honestly, just take a couple seconds to appreciate this beauty!

Farm days are one of my favorite days because I take all of my goodies home, wash them, and plan out my farm fresh menu! That makes me extremely excited. As I said in the summer about shopping farm fresh, that statement also stands in fall!! This season is the most important for shopping. If you have a root cellar thats where you’d want to stalk up for the winter. If not, which thats quite alright because I myself do not, so you want to shop smart for canning. Pickling, and preserving is what you want to do with your vegetables for the cold months to come!

  • cucumbers to turn to pickles
  • tomatoes to turn to salsa, stewed or jarred sauce.
  • Green beans that don’t get eaten can be turned into pickles garlic beans, or spicy beans.
  • cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and celery can be turned into chow chow
  • onions can be turned into onion jam
  • Lastly, baby pearl onions can be turned into pickled pearl onions.

Truthfully, you could pickle ANY vegetable.. turning it into something so different, yet incredible!

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Don’t worry.. because I deep down knew all of you were thinking… oh my gosh isn’t she going to mention apples? Yes, yes I am. I did not and could not forget about the apples! Apples of all kind swarm the farms in autumn. They are everywhere! We can’t escape them… and seriously I mean, who would want to? They are juicy, delicious little balls of fall goodness. The amount of how many different kind mind be over whelming to some. Why are there so many when they’re just apples? Shouldn’t they taste the same?

Absolutely not! All of the apples are very different. Some are sweeter, juicier, crisper and harder. It all depends on the type and of what location they were grown in.

Baking Apples:

  • Pink lady apples are best for breads, bars and cakes. Anything thick and floury!
  • Granny Smith apples are the number one baking apple, in my eye. It is THE apple to use when baking pies. You can also use to bake in pastries as well.
  •  Honey-crisp apples are best for apple dumplings which so so many Americans have such a soft heart for. They’re probably a top five fair food, for sure! 

To Eat !  You an choose to eat any apple, it will not hurt you, obviously! There are certain ones I feel like you should eat on it’s one just to munch on or dip into peanut butter/caramel sauce.

  • Red delicious! My top apple to eat whole without the skin! (I choose not eat the the skin on red delicious apples. I feel that the skin sometimes is too hard and I end up chewing on it, wanting to spit it out.)
  • Golden delicious– My second choice to just sit down and take a big bite out of!
  • Gala apples – Although you can certainly bake with this apple, or even all of them (thats up to you) this one is also great for eating due to the fact that it is so sweet. I love choosing the extra sweet ones for enjoying, for obvious reasons of course.

These three apples are also delicious to make into “fried apples” or cooked into a sauce to finish a plate off to make a perfect fall touch!

There are countless apples to choose from at your local farm, you just have to know how to pick them wisely, and to what they are being used for! There are so many kinds, that even I have never worked with before, or tried, so if it’s up to you.. spread your wings and test out some you never heard of before! You might be pleasantly surprised.

Happy fall & farm pickings, diamonds! 

 

Home away from Home

     The Hotel Hershey. 

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I can’t even try to say those three words together without smiling. As soon as the car pulls up in plain sight I feel instantly as though I entered a whole new world. This place never fails to amaze me; from the service, to how nice every single person treats you thats employed there, the presentation and taste of the high quality food. There’s so many different things that you could see, and do at the hotel. The list could go on, and the day could never end…until you finally fall asleep, of course.

There’s countless places that you go, and when you arrive you just pause, look up infront of you, take a step back, and breath in the joyfulness of how happy & at peace you are. I felt that was when I took this picture. My mom, sister-in-law, and I woke up at the crack of dawn, last Sunday morning, got ready with sleepers still in our eyes, and packed our bags for the day. One of the things I usually do in the morning before leaving the house, especially on a weekend, is enjoying a cup of coffee in front of the candles, and jotting down some blog post plans, BUT on a Hershey day, I save my cup of coffee for lounging in my rob on the balcony of the quiet room. It’s really one of the most tranquil experiences I’ve ever had. The reason for the trip was to have a nice spa day, and catch up on some relaxation. I definitely think thats something that we all don’t get enough of, which we should because just like water & food..it is essential to life!

Just as you suspected, our spa experience was nothing less of perfection, as always. Afterwards, we headed out onto the balcony to enjoy morning beverages, and views, while we waited for our lunch reservations in the Oasis. Now, picture an oasis, and thats exactly what this restaurant, lounge is; an Oasis! It’s an escape from reality before leaving the spa. Its another joy to the eye filled with a yummy fresh buffet, along with desserts made with fresh Hershey chocolate and candy bars. the selection of food is so unique that if you’re not a foodie or chef, you might not recognize, but all very delicious!

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The Oasis buffet in all its glory!

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Salad bar toppings!

  • cucumbers
  • cauliflower
  • parmesan cheese
  • bean shoots
  • banana peppers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cooked hulled barley – so so delicious on a salad if you’ve never had it! It gives it a kind of cool chewy texture from the crunchy & leafy contrast.
  • Black beans
  • shredded carrots
  • watermelon radish – it was my first time actually trying after so long of wanting to, and it was yummy! I wasn’t disappointed. It made my salad very very special. When I go there I always like to experience something that I hadn’t in my life, yet.
  • raisins
  • chopped cashews
  • olive medley

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Some mouthwatering cold salads and carbs!

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My plate after creating and concocting up at the buffet line; in my robe of course, and thats the best part of it all! Relaxing, eating, and enjoying conversations about when our next time up all together will be, in our robes. I mean come on.. when do you ever get the chance to lounge so much at home that you’re having a meal in your robe, on top of getting waited on? It’s simply the best, and if you have never been, do not hesitate! You will leave more than happy, after being at the sweetest place on earth.

Summertime farm fresh!

 

 

 To me, summertime is ALL about the fruits and vegetables. My mom and I simply, can not get enough fresh produce in the summer. Each year I look forward to strawberries and blueberries! In the cold months of the year, I find myself never reaching for them.. they are just not the same. If you live near a farm, or even of driving distance you must make your trip there! It will be SO much more beneficial to you, and the food you prepare! The colors are much more radiant, and the taste is extremely prominent. While shopping locally for your produce, shop the rainbow! Eating as many differently color combinations as you can, is the absolute best thing you can do for your body. Aside from the benefits of farm fresh produce.. going to the farm is fun for me! It gives my mom and I time to bond, adds a bit of shopping time (even though its for food & plants lol)  and it gives me reasoning to do an excess amount of food photography. Also, I’m unsure if its because of the fact that you’re in nature itself, or being around farm animals, surrounded by yummy smelling produce, but the farm makes me happy, while feeling at peace. 

     As you can see, I definitely shop quit a selection. Both fruits and vegetables, and to be honest with you guys.. theres not even any that I’ve come across that I don’t have a taste for. What I can tell you is.. NEVER eat an unripened plum haha! That is one of the very few fruit tastes that I do not care for at all. Although, who likes any fruit in the case that isn’t super sweet, dripping down your arm with juice, as soon as you bite into it? Messy, but so delicious! 

In the photo above: My farm produce Finds 

  • Nice and ripe, cherry tomatoes. NOTE – I love cherry tomatoes so much more than grape. IF you’re not a fan of grape, so you think you won’t have a taste for the cherry kind.. just trust me, and give them a try!
  • Beef steak tomatoes – perfect for slicing onto thick crusty sandwiches, or wedging onto big crispy salads.
  • Fresh russet potatoes – potatoes from the farm, to me, are so so fluffy and mouthwatering! 
  • A nice sized cantaloupe 
  • A vibrant green zucchini 
  • Farm fresh onions. – BEWARE – Onions bought locally from the farms are found to be much much stronger than onions boughten from the store. 
  • The juiciest peaches 
  •  Nectarines 
  • A dark violet eggplant 

Summer days off.. in a chef’s life

 

     On a day home from busy ; hot, hot days in the kitchen, I love to just unwind by making myself a good cup of coffee, catch up on the shows I’ve missed and have a fulfilling breakfast. Afterwards, I head out to the pool to soak in some vitamin D, with a drink in my hand. Even on these relaxing days in the sun, by the water, I still make sure to write in my planner for the week so that I am aware on what exactly to prepare my mind for. I also love getting inspiration by heading on Pinterest for new projects to work on.. and I can’t forget to mention cleaning and organizing rooms in the house, as well as other miscellaneous side jobs that need to be checked off the list! It’s necessary for me to be in a clean and tidy space, so that my mind is clear and my body is motivated to do great things. As none of you may know yet, but will grow to find out, I am very extra and glam, so playing around with new makeup, and watching beauty guru’s on youtube is always on the list.  Towards the evening,  If the plans are set, I get all dolled up and go spend some time with the best friends in my life. We get a really nice dinner, sip on some drinks, and catch up on our crazy lives! Also.. even though this is a “day off” I still find time to take a few hours out of my day to create new dishes and come up with extremely cool content for my website !