April 03, 2013

The Floridian - St. Augustine, FL

While on a long weekend get-a-way to St. Augustine, FL we enjoyed some delicious fresh eats at this gem of a restaurant tucked away on a not so busy part of Cordova street in historic St. Augustine.  The Floridian was suggested to us from a guy working at the Pit Shop surf shop in St. Augustine Beach after I'd ask his favorite places to grab a bite to eat.  One thing I can say about St. Augustine is that this area has no shortage of great places to eat!  We actually went to The Floridian twice in our short visit to the downtown area, once for drinks and the next day we welcomed the warm sunny weather as we enjoyed lunch on their quaint patio.     
After sharing cornmeal dusted fried green tomato bruschetta, I had a the fresh flounder "chipwhich" - as their menu says: "if you've never tried potato chips on a sandwich, you're missing out on one of life's true delicacies"- and I would agree, it was excellent.  JJ had another signature dish, the Not-so-Mac and Cheese.  It was a big bowl full of warm cheeses and fresh grains with seasonal veggies and blackened shrimp.  Simple, fresh and delicious - everything was top notch!  

An interesting note about this restaurant is that it is located across the street from a beautiful church, which according to the bartender we met is the reason why they can not serve alcohol directly to your table.  So the way they get around this little rule is to have patrons order drinks from the bar & carry them back to their individual tables (or you can sit at the bar).  Worked for us - we had some tasty craft beer from The Native brewing company.
This is an awesome place to enjoy lunch or dinner.  The people were nice & friendly, the service was good and it was a busy afternoon and evening when we were there.  For the two of us, it was a great fit to the type of place we love finding while on vacation to a new city.  So thanks to The Floridan staff for a great experience and to the young man at the surf shop who gave us the recommendation!  

December 29, 2012

Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

Made this for our Christmas dinner this year.  I've never actually made Mac and Cheese from scratch and found this recipe to be easy and it tasted delicious.  The only change I'll make when preparing this again is to leave off the breadcrumbs - I didn't think they offered to much to the dish and think it would taste fine without them.   
1 16 oz package large elbow macaroni, cooked 
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut up into small bite size pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 small onion, diced
2 cups of milk
1 can chicken broth
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
about 1/2 cup of extra cheese for topping
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large pot, boil water and cook pasta to instructions, but leaving pasta a little al dente.  About 3 minutes before draining pasta, add broccoli to cook in water with pasta. 

Grease a large 9 x 12 baking dish.  While pasta is cooking prepare the cheese and milk mixture. In large pot on medium heat, add butter and onion. Cook onions till soft, then add flour. Stir flour quickly to combine the flour and onion rue mixture. Add milk and chicken broth.  Allow mixture to come to a boil and sauce will thicken. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Drain your cooked pasta and broccoli and add to cheese mixture. 
Gently mix together and pour into baking dish. Add extra cheese and bread crumbs on top.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted with a nice crust.

(Credit to the original blog where I got this recipe - Here's a Link)

November 12, 2012

Caprese Lasagna Roll Ups

8 lasagna noodles, uncooked
14 oz freshly shredded, low-moisture part skim Mozzarella cheese, divided
3/4 cup Ricotta cheese (*I used cottage cheese*)
1 large egg white
1/3 cup freshly, finely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/4 oz)
freshly ground black pepper
3 - 4 medium Roma tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1/6 inch thick slices)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish (*I used dried basil, but would be delicious with fresh*)
1 cup Simple Marinara Sauce (*See recipe below*)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook pasta according to directions listed on package to al dente. Drain pasta (DO  NOT rinse with water) and align lasagna noodles in a single layer on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper.
For filling, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese and egg white until well blended. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Mix in 12 oz. of the Mozzarella cheese and season with black pepper to taste (I wouldn't recommend seasoning with salt just because the cheeses already have plenty of salt). 

Place 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture over each lasagna noodle and spread into an even layer, going from one end of the lasagna to the other. Align 4 thin tomato slices over cheese mixture then sprinkle fresh basil over top. Snugly roll lasagna noodles to opposite end. Spread about 1/4 cup pasta sauce in the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking dish. Align lasagna roll ups, seam side down in dish. Top each roll up with about 2 Tbsp of the pasta sauce (covering edges of pasta so they don't dry out while baking). Sprinkle top with remaining 2 oz. shredded Mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven, plate pasta and garnish with plenty of basil ribbons. Serve warm.

Simple Marinara Sauce
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add onions to hot oil and saute about 3 minutes until soft, adding garlic during last minute of sauteing. Pour in crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture just to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and allow sauce to cook for about 25 - 30 minutes (which will allow some of the water in crushed tomatoes to evaporate) while you prepare pasta and lasagna filling (you can freeze or refrigerate left over sauce in a small airtight container for later use, adding fresh basil if desired).

Recipe Source Credit: Cooking Classy

October 31, 2012

I am excited about my future!

On April 5th 2011 I took a leap of faith & wrote a quick blog post before I walked into my first class for Massage Therapy.

Today I am happy and proud to say that last night was my last class and I'm officially a graduate of  SHI Integrative Medical Massage school and will sit the state of Ohio licensing exam in a few weeks!

Here's a photo of my class:

Thanks to my family and friends for your support and encouragement along the way!  I am excited about my future!

July 08, 2012

Because I knew you...

I have been changed for the better...
For Good from Wicked:

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you...

Like a comet pulled from orbit

As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you

You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend...

Like a ship blown from it's mooring

By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you


Because I knew you


I have been changed for good


And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done you blame me for


But then, I guess we know
There's blame to share


And none of it seems to matter anymore


Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood


Like a ship blown from it's mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a bird in the wood


Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?

I do believe I have been
Changed for the better


And because I knew you...


Because I knew you...


Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
Dear Wendy,
Thank you for being my best friend.  
May memories of good and fun times fill my mind 
and may I always feel your spirit in my life.

May you rest in peace with no more pain and
may your family & friends always feel your love in our hearts.  

I love you and miss you my dear friend...

August 26, 2011

Blogging Break

Dear followers of Cincy Spin,

It has occurred to me that my life has gotten much, much busier over these past few months since I started massage therapy school. It's going absolutely great and I am so happy that I've started on this new path. Between two nights at school and my new job - where I've help launch a new website & some other social media outlets - I haven't been able to commit the time I'd like to posting here on CincySpin. So, I've decided to take a break from updating here on the site. I love this blog & I love the outlet it has provided me for the past 3 years. Thank you for following along my life's journey these past few years & for understanding why I need to make this change.
I will be back one day - full of things to say!


July 09, 2011

Johnny's Po-Boy Restaurant

JJ and I recently took a trip to New Orleans for a few days over the 4th of July weekend and on one of our many days filled with walking around the French Quarter we stopped at Johnny's Po-Boy on St. Louis Street for some authentic New Orleans sandwiches. Johnny's had been recommend to us by a friend who has spent some time in NOLA working with Give Back Cincinnati so I was very excited when we were able to visit the oldest family owned po-boy shop in the city.
We tried to hit up Johnny's on a Saturday around 1pm and we could barley stand inside the fairly small dining room, it was that crowded. So we changed plans that afternoon and hit up the shop the next afternoon when it was a little less crowded. After standing in line for a few minutes and staring up at the big white board filled with Po-Boy options, we decided to split a "Johnny's special" - roast beef, grilled ham, swiss & american cheese, lettuce, tomato, and pickle - all piled up on some french bread.
While waiting for our sandwich, I loved all the people watching. Tons of people were bringing out their phones to grab a photo of these huge sandwiches that they were about to consume. The dining room is small, but I did notice some people where headed to the back of the building so I'm guessing there was some more seating back there.
Johnny's is 1 or 2 blocks north of the Riverwalk along the Mississippi River, so JJ had a great suggestion to get our po-boy to go and head over for a picnic along the river. I once saw a show on the travel channel where some guy was talking about po-boys saying that the way to tell if it's a good one is when the juices run down your arm when you take a bit out of it and let me tell you Johnny's did not disappoint - it was totally awesome!

Check out Johnny's Po-Boy if you ever get to the historic French Quarter of New Orleans. Don't be discouraged if there's a line when you visit - it goes fast and if it's a nice day, then I recommend getting it "to-go" and heading over to the Riverwalk area where there are plenty of benches and open green space for a picnic.