Phill-ing The Love In Philly: Part 2

This month I took another quick trip to Philly and was able to take in more sites and eats! If you read about my last trip to Philly, I shared more of my historical and tourist recommendations. This trip, I was focused on food and other fun attractions. If you’ve never been to Philadelphia, I definitely recommend seeing all the historical sites like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell first – then take advantage of all the amazing food and other sites. Here are some of the places I got to check out this time around:

Elixr Coffee

A quaint coffee bar close to Rittenhouse Square. Stop by for a morning treat and cup of joe, you won’t be disappointed.


If you want a full breakfast or brunch spot, look no further than Located in AKA Rittenhouse and boasts one of the country’s most innovative wine and spirits programs. They’ve also been named One of America’s Best Wine Restaurants by Wine Enthusiast! Stop by for classic American flare or small plates to share, and don’t forget the wine.


Great spot for a happy hour or dinner. Located in Rittenhouse Square, this space delivers a fun atmosphere, authentic Mexican food, and an endless tequila menu. I went here for a group dinner and the service was amazing. The portions are pretty large, so I recommend sharing.

Zama Restuarant

Zama is a swanky sushi spot that offers a wide variety of a la carte fish flown in from around the world that changes daily, along with a large selection of specialty Maki and a sushi bar crafted from only the finest ingredients. The service was great and the cocktails did not disappoint either. If you go, you have to order the Philly roll! It’s a mini Philly Cheesesteak made into a sushi roll. Fun presentation and super delish. Highly recommend!

Bar Bombón

Coined a delightful bar on a popular corner, Bar Bombón takes authentic Puerto Rican recipes and adds a twist. The menu is plant-based meals that satisfy temptations in a healthy way – so you can fiesta now, siesta later. You have to get the chips and queso and the traditional tacos – es muy delicioso!

Now onto some must-see sites!

Boathouse Row

Boathouse Row is a historic site from the 19th century on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, just north of the Fairmount Water Works and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It consists of a row of 15 boathouses housing social and rowing clubs and their racing shells. They light up at night and create a picturesque reflection off the river. A must see!

Magic Gardens

Head to South Street and then you must, I repeat, you must go see Magic Gardens. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) inspires creativity and community engagement by educating the public about folk, mosaic, and visionary art through recycled materials. PMG preserves, interprets, and provides access to Isaiah Zagar’s unique mosaic art environment and his public murals. The gardens are truly magical! Before you go, buy your tickets online and reserve your time slot. Slots sell out quickly so I would get them advance. They are $10.

South Street

Take a stroll down one of Philadelphia’s most famous streets and experience a variety of eclectic dining, fun shops, artwork, and the city’s best cheesesteaks. Jim’s or Geno’s are my recommendations.

Unfortunately, a weekend trip is never enough time to check out all that Philly has to offer – but, if you make it to a few of these above you’re ensured a great weekend. Happy travels! Until next time, Philly.

My Thanksgiving Favorites

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! Ok, if I’m being honest – I love all the holidays. Any reason to celebrate and eat – I’ll toast to that!

Thanksgiving is so important to me because I love to cook and I love seeing my family’s face when they taste what I’ve made. In fact, I gave birth to my second son two days before Thanksgiving and still made sure I was home in time to make a turkey. That’s how die hard I am.

Ten years ago I could barely make a grill cheese, let a lone a turkey without catching the kitchen on fire….so I’d say I’ve come a long way. I wanted to share my top dishes that friends and family always request when they join us for Thanksgiving. I hope you’ll love them as much as we do.

Of course the number one item is the turkey. The key to a great turkey is brining it overnight.

  • In a large stock pot fill with broth. I’ve used vegetable and chicken in the past. Either are fine.
  • Add a cup of sea salt to the broth.
  • Add a few of your favorite seasonings like rosemary, sage, or classic chicken seasoning.
  • Place your defrosted turkey (after you’ve washed it off) in the stock pot, cover with foil and place in refrigerator over night. I like to at least give it 12 -15 hours to brine.
  • Next day remove turkey right before you’re ready to start cooking it.
  • Melt a stick of butter with garlic, pinch of chicken seasoning, thyme, rosemary and sage. Use this mixture to paste all over outer skin and inside the skin on the breasts. Cover the turkey with foil place in oven. I always put broth in the bottom of the pan as well. You can put your stuffing inside if you’d like too. Bake at 350 for however long it says for your turkey. It’s usually 3/12 to 4/12 hours for a 10-18 pounder. The last hour I remove the foil to let the top get crispy. I periodically baste the turkey with the juices that form in the bottom of the pan.
  • Slice up and serve. Delicious!

Next up – homemade mac and cheese. A must have especially with kids in attendance.

I use gluten free pasta and they don’t even know the difference. My favorite brand is Nature’s Earthly Choice Quinoa Pasta Blend Fusilli. You can find it at your grocer or even on Amazon.

  • Bring water to a boil and add in pasta. You can use any pasta you like. I usually do elbow or spiral. I add one full bag which is about 17 ounces so we will have lots of leftovers. Follow instructions on bag as to how long to boil. Make sure it’s nice and soft before straining.
  • While you’re waiting for pasta to cook – melt a stick of butter or ghee in a sauce pan. Stir in enough flour (I used gluten-free flour) to make a roux about 2 tablespoons should do it.
  • Slowly pour in milk (about 3 cups). You can use a milk alternative like coconut or Ripple, but it won’t be as creamy.
  • Add in 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan. Stir until desired consistency. No one will get hurt if you add in a little more cheddar if you know what I mean. Do a taste test to see if you like the cheesy-ness.
  • When you get to desired consistency add a couple pinches of salt and paprika.
  • Strain pasta and pour into baking dish.
  • Take cheese mixture and pour over pasta. Mix all together so pasta is in cheesy heaven.
  • Place in oven (or fridge covered if you made it early) and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • BONUS… if you want yummy bread crumbs on top – melt 1/4 stick of butter in saucepan, throw in the bread crumbs to brown and then sprinkle on top of the mac and cheese and then put it in the oven. So yummy and a Thanksgiving classic in our house.

Then we have creamed spinach. Yes, we do green bean casserole too – but I’m sure you’ve seen a million of those recipes. So, spinach it is.

  • Get two bags of frozen spinach (you can use fresh too, but remember spinach does a disappearing act when you cook it – so get a lot!), coat the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil and cook the spinach down. Empty on plate and hold off to side for now.
  •  Sauté a clove or two of garlic in some olive oil or butter in the saucepan.
  • Add diced white onion – about 1/4 cup. If you’re an onion lover you can add a little more.
  • When these are cooked to your desire add in 1/4 cup of butter and melt down.
  • Add in a few sprinkles of flour to create a roux. You don’t need much.
  • Pour in 3/4 cups of heavy cream. You can use milk as well but it won’t be as thick.
  • Grab your cooked down spinach and add it to the pan and stir.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese on top and stir.
  • Add a touch of salt and pepper and serve.

I find this is best served right after completed verses putting in fridge and re-heating later. Enjoy!

And for my last fav item on the menu – deviled eggs!

  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Add 6-12 eggs (however many you need for your attendance)
  • To boil to perfections it’s about 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove eggs and put in a bowl under cold running water for 2 minutes.

Now you’re going to LOVE ME.

  • Get a small plastic container (think Tupperware) with a lid.
  • Place 4-5 eggs in there and fill it half way to 3/4 way with water.
  • Put lid on tight and SHAKE like your life depends on it.
  • Open container and the egg shells you’ll see will be all cracked.
  • Start peeling and see how easy the shell just falls off the egg! NO more back breaking stance over the sink peeling these darn things for an hour!! I know…. you’re welcome.

Now back to making them.

  • Once you peel all the eggs. Slice them each in half and empty all the yolks into a bowl. Place open face eggs on serving platter.
  • Add a table spoon of mayo into bowl.
  • Add a few teaspoons of mustard to bowl.
  • Add a few hearty pinches shredded cheddar cheese.
  • Add (or not) bacon bits! I usually cook 3-4 slices and break it up.
  • Add pinch of salt.
  • Mix up the items above until you get a cream consistency. If you want it to be more creamy add a little more mayo and mustard.
  • Take this mixture in spoon fulls and add them to the top of the open faced eggs.
  • Once you’ve filled all the eggs, sprinkle paprika over all of them. You only need a little.
  • Another garnish you can add is thinly sliced green onion.
  • Try not to shove all of them in your face at once because they are so de-lic-ous!

I hope you’ll add these recipes to your family’s traditions! Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!