Got my fill at The Capital Grill.

Working as a server has its perks.  Sure, making fast cash is nice and convenient.  But sometimes it can be a drag when it is a slow night or you wait on too many cheap people.  I could go on forever but that is for another time.
One of the best perks about working for a restaurant is the great discounts they usually offer.  Because I work for Darden, I can dine at any of their restaurants and get 25% off of the bill for up to 8 guests, not including alcohol.
The Capital Grill was recently added to the Darden family so we now have the privledge of using our discount there!  In case you aren’t familiar with The Capital Grill, it is a upscale restaurant that specializes in steak and seafood.  I wouldn’t normally be able to dine here because it is pretty expensive, but with  my discount my family was able to enjoy a great night out!
Mom & Dad
My sister Carrie & brother in law Ryan.

Jay & I
Dinner started off with a fantastic bread basket.  I actually skipped this part because  I knew I’d fill up too quickly to enjoy my meal.  But everyone said it was delicious.
I also had a Stoli Doli, which is The Capital Grill’s signature drink.  It’s pineapple infused vodka!  They make it on the premises and it is so refreshing and light.  I was expecting it to be a little strong but the flavors were so delicate and I wanted to drink buckets of this drink!
We tried two appetizers and this one was my favorite.  Prosciutto wrapped mozzarella with fresh tomato and basil.  The mozzarella was perfectly melted and the prosciutto was crispy so the textures were a perfect match.  The tomatoes were deliciously ripe and together everything just melted in your mouth.
We also tried calamari that was mixed with cherry peppers.  For whatever reason I didn’t catch a picture of it but I did get  a photo of my plate with the calamari so I figured it was the next best thing.  I like calamari but don’t love it.  So while  I enjoyed this dish it wouldn’t be something that I could finish on my own.  I did like the peppers with the calamari because it added another texture and flavor component that made it more interesting.
Right before dinner I ordered a glass of wine.  Their wine menu is so extensive and is actually longer than the actual food menu.  I talked with the server who recommended this pinot grigio with my main course.
Crab legs!  I’m not a huge steak fan so I stuck with my favorite seafood.  I really liked that they did all the dirty work and all you had to do was  pop the meat out of the half cut shells.  The crab meat was sweet and while I was worried this wouldn’t fill me, I was feeling great by the end.
All sides come a la carte, so if you order an entree it just comes as is, without any sides.  The sides are served family style so we tried the creamed spinach and lobster mac and cheese!  I also had a small piece of my Dad’s steak.
Jay had roasted chicken.  The literally give you a roasted chicken!
For dessert we had this massive tray of treats. I mentioned that it was my Mom’s birthday and was expecting them to bring a small treat or not even acknowledge the celebration.  And when the server brought out the tray I thought she was going to show us what we could possibly have but instead she offered us the whole tray!  So note to everyone, if you want a great birthday treat, The Capital Grill will treat you to dessert ;)
I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to dine at The Capital Grill and had such a great experience.  I’d recommend dining here if you have the opportunity for the food of course and also to enjoy the way the staff makes you feel like you are fancy.  Would I go back?  Most definitely!  Even if I didn’t have my discount :)

Newman’s Own Video + Recipe.

I recently participated in the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s program where I was given the opportunity to come up with a tasty recipe using a Newman’s Own product.
Several weeks after I entered I received a package that included these products:
3 jars of sauce: Tomato & Basil Bombolina Pasta Sauce, Cabernet Marinara Pasta Sauce and Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce.  3 bottles of salad dressing: Lighten Up Caesar Salad Dressing, Family Recipe Italian Salad Dressing ad Lighten up Raspberry & Walnut Salad Dressing. And last but not least, 2 coupons for 2 of Newman’s Own pizzas!
I have yet to make anything delicious with these products but I definitely plan on it and Jay and I have big plans to use the pizza coupons for a pizza night :)
Umm and I was also given a Flip camera!  The only catch was that I had to make a video that included a recipe and me making it.
So while I reluctantly show you  this…here is my video debut as a blogger.
I’m planning on making more videos now that I actually have a video camera!  Thank you again Foodbuzz and Newman’s Own!  Hope everyone has a great weekend :)

Aunt Carol’s Granola.

Before I begin, I wanted to announce that Erika was the winner of my Mobile Foodie giveaway contest!  Erika, contact me whenever you can with your address and I’ll get it out to you ASAP!  By the way, the product was from a site called or you can also find it on which is a really fun site that has a lot of well, uncommon goods!  I am in no way affiliated with either of these companies, I just thought it was a fun product!
Now for the food!
I recently discovered that not everyone is a granola person.  You would think this would be common sense because not everyone likes the same things, but I just thought it was one of those “everyone likes it” foods.  You see, this recipe is so tasty, it’s like candy.  If only candy were full of nutritious things and tasted this good.
My Aunt Carol was the one that got me into this granola.  Therefore, I have named it after her.  Just like Aunt Carol’s salad, Aunt Carol’s salad dressing…but those are for another day.  When I was interning in NYC, I lived with my Aunt Carol and Uncle.  I was only there a few days a week but she always made sure to treat me extra special.  Like when she would make her granola, adapted from an Ina Garten recipe.  She’d make a fresh batch and then put some in a plastic bag for me so I could munch on some on my bus ride in the morning, accompanied by a hot cup of tea.
I have such warm, cozy memories of this granola that I just had to share!
Aunt Carol’s Granola
You will need:
•4 cups old fashioned oats
•2 cups shredded coconut
•2 tsp cinnamon
•2 cups pecans
•1-1/2 cups dried cranberries
•1/3 cup vegetable oil
•1/3 cup honey
1.) Preheat oven to 350°.  Begin by combining oats, coconut, and pecans together in a large bowl.
2.) Pour vegetable oil and honey over the oats.  Then add the cinnamon until everything is coated.  Once everything is coated, pour onto a sheet pan and put in oven.
3.) Bake for around 30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.  In the last 10 minutes, add cranberries.

You will know the granola is finished when it is an even toasted brown color throughout.  Allow it to cool and store in a dry, airtight container.
You can throw it on yogurt, oatmeal, a smoothie…or in a plastic bag with a cup of hot tea!  And while it isn’t candy, I promise it’s so good you won’t want any.

I lose, you win.

Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart for voting for me and my POM Wonderful cupcake.  Blog friends, family and friends alike… you guys made me feel loved!
Unfortunately I did not win.  But life goes on and I had a blast making the cupcake and spreading the word.  Not to mention the fact that it brought some great opportunities!  I was featured in two local papers!  You can check them out here and here!
So I decided that just because I lost, it shouldn’t mean you should too.  That’s why I’m going to do a GIVEAWAY!!! 

At first I thought I should do something cupcake related.  But then while I was searching online I found this…

Mobile Foodie Survival Kit!  It includes a bunch of spices and seasonings for when you’re caught in a pinch and want to add that foodie touch.  I thought it looked so  interesting that I couldn’t not give one away.  How fun does that look!?!?
So I’m going to be giving one away to one lucky reader!
All you have to do is leave a comment, any comment. Tell me what your favorite cooking tool is.  Tell me when your favorite spice is.  Tell me you just want the darn giveaway!
I will choose one person randomly on Sunday 11:59 PM EST time. Oh and the contest is for US residents only (I know, I know, I’m sorry!)
Good luck and I promise I won’t be jealous you won and I didn’t.