Dear everyone:

    Tomorrow Weston and I set off to the glorious city of Chicago, Illinois for an awesome and highly anticipated New Year's Eve. On the list of places to check out:

    Mercat a la Planxa (Iron Chef Jose Garcas owns and runs this establishment)
    Wow Bao (a tiny little kiosk in the mall, but don't be deceived - there are only 3 locations in the city)
    Ghirardelli (oh yes...Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae here I come)
    Eleven City Diner (apparently, this deli's got it going on)
    Toast (a cute breakfast place highly recommended by a friend who used to live in Chi Town)

    We'll see how many we actually make it to but this little vacation will be the perfect ending to my much-neeeded holiday vacation. So excited to ring in the New Year in one of my favorite cities! Maybe we'll make it to Navy Pier for the fireworks this year :)

Three Monkeys

    Still in Ann Arbor and blissfully happy being able to spend time with the special people in my life. When I come back to AA, I typically re-visit old haunts and eat with family - so recipes and pics have usually been posted already.

    So here's a little recap of a place in RVA which I tried before leaving for break.

    Three Monkeys is actually owned in part by the same people who own Kuba Kuba, so you know it's gotta be good. The vibe is exciting and also very local - you know the people coming through the door have been here before...well, except us...

    I got the California Burger with blue cheese. It was good although not the best burger I've ever eaten. I did love their french fries, though - pictures are pretty fuzzy because the bar is really dark!

    Weston got their pulled pork with an au jus. I really liked his because the flavors weren't so bold that you couldn't taste the meat, the meat was really tender, and the sandwich was clean (i.e. no lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, etc). He got onion rings and those, too, were delish :)

    Another aspect which I want to cover are the cocktails. Man are they good - but expensive. My drink cost us $10, as much as my burger. I think I got the "Hear no Evil" with cranberry juice, vodka, and pineapple juice, rimmed with sweet and sour sugar. In terms of beer options, Weston found they only featured one local beer which was a bit of a downer.

    Definitely give this place a try if you haven't already - it seems like a wonderful way to get to know the people who make RVA special.

Merry Christmas Pearls!...

    Hey pearls!
    I am wishing you all my faithful readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
    It has truly been a great year as i have grown personally and i am now more aware of what is important in life.

    You meet so many people in life, and make new friends, both temporary and permanent. I am glad i learnt my lessons in 2011, and i don't ever want to be taken for granted again due to the good i have done for some people. The best thing about life is that what goes around, surely comes around and the last time i had girl drama was in high school, sigh! .

    Girls talk man, it ain't no joke, and they all smiles when they see you, hahaha... good thing i focus on the most important things in my life and that is my husband, mom and sisters.

    That is why this festive season is all about family to me, 2012 will be my year of success and big dreams. Until then i will eat, pray and love abundantly.

    Been fun blogging this year and i will try to post whatever i can in these few remaining days.

    Much Love Pearls!....

Picture of the month

    As the message says, Use personal protective equipment". ever wondered what that meant? i'd assume it means cover up to avoid.......... or something.

    Oh dear, sexism!.

weekend look: Mariah Carey

Sass & Bide Spring 2012

                                                    My three personal favorites from the collection.

    Love the neon creativity on the shirt.

    Love love love it ALL and the shoes

    Pika boo

Preggers in animal print leggings: Beyonce

Waiting for Perfect...Sushi

    When one finds a good sushi joint, one must not let it go. I've learned this the hard way...being away from Sadako in Ann Arbor has made me miss it so much more. I still haven't been out for sushi in Richmond. I ask everyone I know where to go and yet I still haven't actually gone out. Part of it is price - why does good sushi have to be $10 a roll? At Sadako rolls run about $5 a piece and their sushi is so fresh it's insane. This place will always be my favorite for a number of reasons. I hope I do push myself to try a few in Richmond since I'll be here for another 4 years (at least), but in the meantime, I'm loading up at Sadako.

    For you Ann Arborites - my favorite rolls are the Spicy California and the Eel Roll. I know eel is a taste enjoyed by only some people, but Weston introduced me to both sushi and eel on our first official date and I loved them both. He took me to Sadako, actually, which might be another reason I love it so much. Note, I was out with girlfriends when I took this picture, and they each ordered only 2 rolls. I eat slow as it is, so I had to narrow down my usual 4 roll list to two but when I got with Weston, we usually pick 5 or 6 rolls to try.

    I love the ginger salad they serve before the meal - that dressing is to die for. I'm not a huge fan of miso soup but if I'm starving, I'll sip a few spoonfuls. I recommend ordering a light roll (cucumber avocado, California, etc) and a heavier one (eel rolls, a crunch roll, etc) and then one good straight up, clean fish roll (tuna, salmon, etc). I will say, I don't like anything deep fried when I'm in a sushi restaurant. I understand how the texture is a nice juxtaposition to the rice and veggies, but I have to be in the mood because I can really taste the frying oil most of the time.

    So grab a friend and go chow down!

RVA Visitor

    I'm baaa-aaak :)

    Exams are over, whew!, and so is my first semester as a dental student. That isn't such a milestone, I suppose, considering there are about 9 more to go - but I'm happy about it anyways.

    Anywho - before going home to Michigan, I was lucky enough to have a visit from my friend, Kristen. I knew her back at MCB, the dorm I lived in at the University of Michigan, and she's just recently moved to Virginia as well. She lives about 2 hours away and was finally able to make it down to Richmond so I could show her a good time.

    Her coming here made me realize there are a few places I haven't been to in RVA in a while and so I thought I'd recap the few I took her to for fun:

    1) Kuba Kuba: always a goodie and always on my list to take people too. I love the vibe and the food is killer. I think this place exemplifies Richmond eateries: small, intimate locales not bogged down in chain mumbo-jumbo. Walking into Kuba Kuba, you know someone's hard work and sweat goes into making it the best it can be day in and day out. That kind of place is one you want to root for. The picture above was taken while we walked around Kuba Kuba to whet our appetite. My camera was on the the fritz so I couldn't actually get a picture of the food we ordered.

    2) Bev's Ice Cream: homemade flavors, creamy, and super cute. I also love that's it's in Carytown so I can stop by Jeane Jacque bakery and For the Love of Chocolate. This chocolate store has every type of chocolate from every place in the world. I love it and I love taking people here and seeing their eyes light up...heck, my eyes light up every time, too. Kristen found Kinder bars and I don't think I've ever seen her so excited :)

    3) Anokha - good Indian food in Richmond? For the longest time I couldn't get the name of a good Indian restaurant, but last year when a friend brought me here for their lunch special, I was pleasantly surprised. Their lunch special really is awesome - $9 for soup, entree, and dessert. I always order their okra dish - sometimes it's not on the menu, so you have to ask for it, but it is truly tasty. Kristen had never had okra before and she said she really like it.

    4) Perly's: My favorite place in town for breakfast. Hands down. They never disappoint in the quality of their product, their biscuits were voted Best in Richmond (if I remember correctly), and the food comes out quick and hot. Plus I really enjoy the quirky decor and colorful servers.

    So there you have it, the food I fall back on when I want to showcase Richmond at it's finest. Tastebuds didn't make the list because it's more a couple-y or romantic evening spot. Same with Sensi, which I still feel has the best risotto in town. Next time, next time.

10 Tips For Maintaining A Weave

    A hair weave requires careful maintenance otherwise; you may spoil it much before its time. You need to be careful right from combing to washing it. Some of the ten common tips you should keep in mind while dealing with weaved hair are as follows:
    1. Most often you start to comb from base to the end but to comb weaved hair you should start from the end and then gradually move upwards to the base.

    2. Brush before you wash or shampoo your hair and rinse between the tracks to remove the residues.

    3. You have to abstain from washing the hair for two weeks to set the weave. Always use mild water while washing the hair, as too hot or too cold water may lock the hair at the base.

    4. Avoid using harsh products be it for washing, styling or conditioning.

    5. Use of alcohol based product mars sheen of the hair and you should not use them.

    6. Ensure professional weaver care and make sure you do not skip regular tightening touch-ups.

    7. Use of cotton pillowcases and sheets may adversely affect the shine of your hair so better use a silk or satin scarf to wrap up your hair.

    8. During blow-drying, you have to apply higher temperature to straighten and dry the hair. Use variable temperatures for the natural and commercial hairs.

    9. If you are on a seaside and wish to swim, either use a swim cap or saturate and rinse the hair by applying a cream rinse before plunging in.

    10. While you may undermine the intricacies involved in undoing of the weave, it is better to go for a professional?s hand.
    Sometimes, it may happen that you get too busy managing the weave and unconsciously neglect the scalp. An unhealthy scalp may lead to skin irritation and might culminate in various other diseases. Occasionally, an adhesive may not suit your skin so it is good to undergo a test if you are using it for the first time. Dirt, sweat, styling products and natural oils are some of the ingredients that interfere with clean hair condition. You should regularly shampoo and condition the hair to keep it clean. Excessive use of styling products have shown to shorten the longevity of hair extensions as well. Thus, proper care is needed to keep at bay the different types of hair problems associated with hair extensions.

Amber Rose graces her head....

    She is famously known for her blonde short hair by the camera's but she seems to be ending the year in a straight brunnete wig.
    i love her trademark hair more though, i hope its a temporary experiment.

Breakfast Bites

    Fair warning, y'all, my blogging schedule is off because it's exam time. I'll be back to regular weekly posting next term - promise!

    Here's a tasty treat my roommate made the other night - based off the yummy breakfast biscuit sandwiches at Perly's.

    Just take Grands Rolls and split them in half. Shape each into the cups of a muffin tin.

    In a bowl, mix about 6 eggs, 3/4 cups cheddar cheese (shredded), and 1/2 pound cooked sausage. Drain the sausage before adding it, please, and save yourself the arterial plaque. Season with salt and pepper.

    Mix everything together.

    Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, then increase the heat to about 375 and bake another 5 minutes - or until the bread and eggs are cooked through.

My time to stretch exams are finally over

    I am totally loving the stockings, like totally ummhhhh a christmas gift to myself someday. I had a period of madness as i was prepping up for exams with my usual excuse, " too much to read with little time".
    And today im glad its over, no more exams for me from University however my project paper will give me much more stress. Fall semester was a great semester for me as a friendship grew, i made more friends with lesser enemies. yeeiiiiii for me.
    I had a roommate who i will never forget and those memories will forever be with me. Im sitting at the airport now and i can't believe how fast time has flown, though its good anyways i am looking forward to ending 2011 and im looking forward to a blessed 2012 filled with success and positive energy.

    Over and out Pearls until..... tomorrow maybe.


Looking forward to fridays dinner

Look of the week: Leighton Meester

Sneaky Mac and Cheese

    I've posted on Mac and Cheese many a time, I'll admit - but that's probably because I am just so dang proud that a couple years ago I learned how to make a rue. It changed my life, y'all, and it'll change yours. The other day while making a yummy spicy version of this comfort food, I thought it needed some extra punch, so I threw in a little secret ingredient. Not only did it make the flavor better, it also added a nice rosy glow. And that's when I thought - this would be GREAT for moms who want to sneak in some veggies and make their homemade version look more like the box kind (although that orange powder kinda creepy me out). Can you guess what it was?

    If you don't want to read the whole post, the kicker is to just throw in a 1/2 cup of a non-chunky tomato sauce (or chunky if it's for non-picky eaters) into your end product. There you go. Surprise!

    If you want the full recipe, here it is - and it is different then my others so definitely worth a look-see:

    In a large saucepan melt 2 Tbs of butter. Add 1/4 cup flour and cook until the two come together.

    Add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of sour cream (this is the secret to a great tangy mac and cheese)

    Let this thicken up - keep whisking and it'll happen pretty quickly. Season with salt, pepper, and a squirt of Dion mustard.

    Add about 8 oz or so of a hot Jack cheese - I like to get the spiciest I can find because it is mellowed out by the cream sauce. Stir this in over medium-low heat and then add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.

    I store the cheese sauce separate from the noodles and just use it as-needed. This way I have a perfect, creamy bowl of macaroni and cheese whenever I want. I find a ratio of 1/4 cup cream sauce to 1 cup dry pasta is really nice.

Steak Scampi

    Yes, I said it: STEAK scampi.

    The recipe had been brewing in my head ever since a friend came over and I made shrimp scampi for her. I had leftover pasta, parsley, and lemons, but no shrimp, so I sauteed off my leftover London Broil and decided to add it in instead. The result was excellent and, I have to say, a nice change of pace from my usual bean-as-protein meals.

    I boiled off some spaghetti and tossed it in about 4 cloves of diced garlic, 2 Tbs fresh parsley, a squirt of lemon, and 2 Tbs of olive oil. A sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste and a few a pieces of seasoned beef and you're done. It takes all of about 5 minutes once your pasta is boiled. Definitely a good week-night meal.

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

    Happy early Thanksgiving!!!!!!

    This year I was lucky enough to attend a Thanksgiving Potluck right before classes ended for the break. I had it in my head to make some yummy pumpkin cheesecake bars and set off to the Interwebs to find a recipe. But, to my amazement, there were NONE for cheesecake bars. None that looked good, anyway. So I decided to just make my own. This recipe is extremely loosely based on this one by Williams Sonoma. Their recipe is for an actually circular cheesecake, and I made mine into bars which cut the cooking time in more than half!

    Graham Cracker Crust

    2 packages graham cracker, finely crushed
    1 stick butter
    2 tsp cinnamon

    Mix all this together and pack into a 9 x 13 inch pan that you've greased nicely. Push it into the corners and the bottom (but not up the sides because those bits will burn). You can use the bottom of a cup to help with this. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until it is golden brown.

    For the Filling

    2 packages cream cheese, at room temperature!!!!
    3/4 cup sour cream
    4 eggs
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup pumpkin
    3/4 cup sugar + 4Tbs sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg

    Cream together the cream cheese and the 3/4 sugar. Add the sour cream and eggs. Throw in a pinch of salt.

    Take a little over 2/3 of the mixture and put it in a second bowl. To this, add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 4 Tbs sugar. Taste the first and second mix for sugar and adjust according to your tastes.

    After the crust is completely cooled, pour the pumpkin mixture into the bottom. Then spoon over the white mixture (drizzle it around or make a pretty arrangement). You can take a knife and drag it through the pumpkin so the white forms a pumpkin trail behind them. You can kind of see this in the picture below - but basically you want to make a swirl between the two.

    Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Start checking it and wait until it just springs back to the touch. It make be a little wiggly in the middle, but that's fine. I didn't have that issue, but it's better to underbake it a little than overbake and burn the cheese.

    Make this a day ahead of time because it does need to sit for a while - or start early in the morning. Also, as I said before - get that cream cheese to room temp early! Sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.

    The bars were a huge hit at the party...and at my group meeting the next day. I got the compliment of my life when a friend from class asked me to post the recipe ASAP so she could make it for her family. I hope she does and tells me all about it :)

Jam Thumbprints - The Elegant Cookie

    The other day I had a practical on amalgam carving and...well, let's just say it started off slightly traumatic. I lost my practical tooth and you don't get a second one, so I was freaking out when this super nice faculty member found it for me. I wanted to thank him, and a few other faculty members, so I decided to make some jam thumbprints on my study break from Hell Week #2 (one week, 2 practicals, 3 exams). It also happened to be Rini's birthday and since I knew she loved coconut, these cookies would be perfect.

    I used my tried and true Ina Garten recipe, which I've included below. I must say, these take a lot longer when you make them by yourself - and you have to really watch the coconut so it doesn't burn on the bottom. I forgot I had that problem last time and it repeated itself...luckily it wasn't too bad and I learned for the second cookie tray.

    Making these again, I would only dip the top half of the dough ball in coconut - so no burning risk on the bottom. Also, these cookies are great for people who are lactose intolerant (as one of my profs is) - I was doing research and found that butter is usually ok, but check first since I am sure each case is different. My last tip is to use good jam and I don't mean that in a pretentious sort of way. I really think these cookies are super classy and since you're using so little jam, why not make it a nice flavorful one? I usually find awesome jams at great prices at Home Goods or Marshalls in their little foodie aisle.

    Jam Thumbprint Cookies

    What you need:
    3 sticks butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    pinch of salt
    3 1/2 cups flour

    To roll you need: 1 bag of sweetened shredded coconut (use sweetened because the batter is actually not too sweet), and 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbs water for an egg wash

    What you do:
    3 hours/1 day ahead of time, set out your butter. I never did this before and honestly, nuking it in the microwave isn't a huge problem, but if you know you're making cookies, set out the butter before heading off to work. That way it's the perfect temp for mixing when you are ready for it.

    Cream together the butter and sugar until it's fluffy. Add the vanilla.

    Add the flour about a cup at a time and mix until the batter just comes together - there is a lot of butter in here so if it looks like little crumbles, don't worry - it'll turn into a nice ball as soon as you pack it between your fingers.

    Turn the dough onto a floured surface and make one giant ball. Cut this in half and form 2 discs. Wrap these in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

    Make your egg wash and set out the coconut and jam.

    Take the dough out and form it into little balls.

    Roll each in the egg wash and then in the coconut (here is where I would just roll and dip half to avoid burning).

    Place on a cookie sheet and make a little indentation in the dough, forming a nice little cup for the jam. Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the cookies. You can put these fairly close together on the tray since there is nothing in the dough to help them rise.

    Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before serving (hot jam HURTS).

    I made about 36 cookies with this recipe, but I made them kind of small so they'd cook faster. It was getting close to midnight and I was getting sleepy ;) These make a super gift and I think everyone enjoyed them - I think I'll be making another batch come holiday season when my aunt and I get together to do our Annual Cookie Bake Day.

Craving Something Cheesy-Gooey?

    You'll thank me for this spin off of my previous "Sausage Biscuit Things" - it's super easy to make and totally hits the spot when you need some comfort food - fast. This is also a great entertaining Game Day meal, come to think of it. Can't wait to make this for my honey over Winter Break.

    So watcha need is a can of Pillsbury Grands Rolls - I was debating buying the Reduced Fat, but they only had 10 less calories, so I opted for the real deal. I am glad I did, too, because I found them to be more flaky than the Reduced Fat ones typically are.

    I formed the rolls into cups and smooshed them into a muffin tin, then filled them with a couple chunks of mozzarella cheese - fresh moz is best if you want that gooey pull. I topped each with about 1 Tbs of tomato sauce - whatever you have on hand, and baked them in a 375 degree oven until the rolls were cooked through - about 15 minutes.

    Serve hot and watch the smiles as people pop them into their mouths.

The Three "Ps:" Pizza, Party, Perio

    I wanted to give y'all a little update on homemade pizza-making:

    The other night some friends and I got together to go over some information for an upcoming Periodontics exam...and hey! the girls gotta eat so we got some Whole Foods dough, a giant 12oz chunk of fresh mozzarella, and a jar of pasta sauce (because I find marinara to be a little too bland at times and didn't have enough time to doctor it up). Nishal brought some olives and mushrooms for toppings and in about 40 minutes we had a delish dinner.

    Here's what you do:

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

    Dust your rolling area with flour

    Cut the dough in half and roll each into a rectangle using more flour so the dough doesn't stick

    Lay each half onto a baking sheet and poke holes with a fork

    Blind bake (as in, throw the dough into the oven with no sauce yet) until they have almost cooked through - about 15 minutes. The crust will clearly be cooked on the outside - it'll be hard, like crust should be) and a light brown color - you'll also be able to slide it around when you shake the pan. Just don't go too crazy with this step or you're dinner will end up on the floor.

    Take the crusts out and spoon over the sauce, layer on the fresh cheese, and sprinkle the toppings.

    Bake until the cheese is melted - about 10 more minutes. When you take it out, throw on some chopped fresh herbs - we used oregano - but basil would also be nice. This adds a great freshness and POP.

    Let rest for a while, then cut into squares and serve!

Hearty Beef and Barley Stew

    Time to make a recipe which has been sitting in the back of my mind for over a month. I saw it in my Martha Stewart Magazine in the "Healthy Living" section back in October but didn't get a chance to make it because I had neither beef nor barley. But after my last trip to Whole Foods I stocked up on some goodies and spent the week anxious for the weekend when I could make this beauty. My good friend Jeremy, came over for a night of "comfort" (plus a little awkward/hilarious/slightly sketchy trip to Blockbuster).

    Beef and Barley Stew - modified from Martha Stewart Living Magazine

    2 Tbs olive oil plus 2 Tbs butter
    1 pound London Broil, 3/4 inch pieces
    salt and pepper
    1 large onion, chopped
    4 medium carrots, chopped
    8 oz sliced button mushrooms
    2 Tablespoons minced garlic (4-5 cloves)
    2 Tbs tomato paste
    1/2 cup sherry
    4 cups chicken stock
    3 cups water
    1 cup pearl barley
    pinch of nutmeg
    1-2 cups fresh spinach leaves

    Heat 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp oil in a large pot over medium-high heat
    Season beef with salt and pepper and brown on all sides
    Transfer to a plate

    Reduce heat to medium and add remaining oil and the butter

    Cook the onion, carrot, and mushrooms until golden - stir occasionally so they stick to the bottom of the pan (15 minutes)

    Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until caramelized, about 2 minutes

    Remove from heat and add sherry

    Return to heat, bring to a boil and scrape up the brown goodies from the bottom o the pan

    Continue to cook down until the liquid has reduced by about half - 5 minutes-ish

    Add the beef and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Add more water if it gets too dry.

    Add barley and cook covered for 10 minutes, then uncover the pit and cook until the barley and beef are tender. This takes about 20-30 minutes. Stir in the spinach.

    Serve in a big bowl curled up in bed with a good book, a cute movie...or your bacteriology notes.

    Jeremy brought pumpkin muffins, by the by...which he baked in handmade parchment cups (just take a square of parchment and tuck it into the baking cup).

    I had some homemade cream cheese frosting in the fridge which we spread over top. Best combo EVER.

Carter Mountain

    Every year I try and make it to Spicer's Orchard close to my home in Michigan. I love this orchard. Ever since I was a tiny tot my mama would bring me there. I really think those experiences shaped my love of food - actually seeing it grow, then picking it to bring home, then using it in special recipes...these are the things I loved. For me, picking my own fruit is an extremely calming experience, which might make me weird, but what else is new? I'm a summer baby, so the tradition in my family is to pick blueberries in August- but what I really get excited about is fall, when the apples are hanging from the trees, gorgeous as ever, sweet and fresh.

    In Michigan I think we only grow a few varieties - Macintosh being the most famous - but here in Virginia there are many more and I was kinda excited about that, too. I love love love walking through the orchard, plucking an apple off a tree, and sinking my teeth in. Maybe you're not supposed to do that until the end, but I can help it. It's a feeling I look forward too every year.

    That... and donuts. Spicer's has the BEST donuts - we get there in the morning so they are hot and fresh. I was anxious to see if Carter Mountain were as good.

    Yesterday, after meeting with my friend Emilija at Chicken Fiesta (if you don't remember, we suffered through the CERT program together and she got into the medical school here), she mentioned offhand going to Carter Mountain. I was in. So in. So off we went.

    It was a gorgeous trip to Cville where we drove up a windy mountain to the orchard - and vineyards. It was really cool to see the trees surrounding us and overlooking the town below. After browsing through the Country Store we got a half dozen of their famous Apple Cider Donuts and a couple pumpkin ones as well. I couldn't pick my favorite because they were both very good. The pumpkin donuts were more dense and I liked the spices they added.

    We then looked over the bins of apples - they must have had 6 varieties - and I got one of each to sample. I had never seen these little guys, but they were Thomas Jefferson's favorite. When in Rome...

    The Pink Lady and Fuji apples were "pickable" this weekend, so we went down the hill to the Pink Ladies and picked us a few of those. I was pretty excited to use the weird bag-on-a-pole picker thing.

    Also, I was a little annoyed that people had allowed these babies to fall off the tree and didn't even pick them up - so wasteful... I hope they use these as compost or something.

    Before leaving we visited Wayside Deli for some of their famous Fried Chicken. It was pretty amazing, considering I've never really had fried chicken (please, close those dropped jaws...I'm from Michigan). The side of Mac and Cheese was also yummy.

    It was a great feeling leaving RVA for a day and getting lost in the mountains. I don't think I spend enough time out of the city and it's days like today that remind me how beautiful this state is - especially in the fall. Now...what to do with all these apples?

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