Honeymoonin’ in Ocho Rios, Jamaica @ Sandals Resort

“Wah gwaan!”

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Yes that’s right I now speak Patwa. Well… I speak two words which translate to, “What’s going on” but I like to think I got the hang of the lingo.*

If you’re interested in my YouTube vlog on this trip, find it here!

Patwa is still English, but with a Jamaican dialect. Natives will tell you it’s a lazier and faster way of speaking LMAO. Kind of matches their pace of life, which mimics the phrase they preach over and over again, “You’re on Jamaican (or island) time.” Meaning there are no deadlines and there is no rushing to make a dinner reservation. While you are on vacation, or just in Jamaica in general it seems, forget your worries and let time slow itself down. The conversations we had and the experiences we led seemed to take place in their own little world, a world void of crowded subway cars as you rush to work and talking over people to get your point across.

What I am trying to say is… time moved a little bit slower in Ocho Rios Jamaica, and for that I am grateful.

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Okay now into the juicy stuff – FOOD, BOOZE, ENTERTAINMENT. Jamaica doesn’t lack in any of these departments and you’ll quickly fall in love with “Jerk” everything.

We stayed at a Sandals resort in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for 9 nights as part of our honeymoon. We didn’t want to do a darn thing. I wanted to sit, relax, read a book (which I hardly even did lol), and just be… MARRIED! Sandals made all our dreams come true.

You are greeted with a romantic heart-shaped towel with rose petals in the middle, cheesy but sweet. A bottle of champagne and white wine chilled in the fridge along with a fully-stocked bar. Do you have the chills yet? Since the resort is all-inclusive, you can order as many drinks and food items as your heart desires.

img_20181106_184423.jpgRoom service at 9:00 pm after a long day of flights? Done. Breakfast buffet for an early rise at 7:30 am? YES PLEASE. Endless drinks on the beach and swim-up pools. I could probably stand in one location and see two bars either direction. You probably have goosebumps from how L U S H that sounds. Because I do just writing this.

We booked a couples massage at their Red Lane Spa – our first ever – and it was
AH-MAZING to say the least. 90 minutes of pure relaxation and stress melting from the body. All those wedding dilemmas and stressful decisions faded to nothing and the masseuses did. their. thing. And they did it well.One of my FAVORITE experiences – tho it is an additional $200 from what you pay for the resort *ouch* – is the private candlelight dinner for you and your honey. Listen, it’s your mf honeymoon, go on wit ya bad self. You will not regret it. I ordered surf n’ turf and the hubbs got steak and it was one of our favorite meals there. It was incredibly romantic having a private dinner and you get to choose one of several locations they can host them. Book this once you check in!

Another place to splurge, even just for a day is the BEACH CABANA. Not the ones by the pool, hit up those beach ones Oceanside. It will accompany a personal butler, 15 min neck/back massage, lunch brought to you, and endless shade for those of you with Irish skin like mine (catch what I’m saying). This is SOOOOO worth it for the experience and privacy you get on the beach with top-notch service from 10 am until 5 or 6 pm – I can’t remember exactly when it ends (island time, remember?)

If I had to choose my top three favorite restaurants on the resort, I’d say you must eat at Kimonos (hibachi grill), Le Gourmand (fancy French restaurant), and the private candlelight dinner. These are my top three choices for food. If you don’t want to spend the additional $$$ to do #3, which I can’t blame you, then I’d slide Kelly’s (seafood on the pier) or Sky Terrace (balance of all taste buds) into that third slot.

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Breakfast: Sky Terrace has a phenomenal buffet and I am still dreaming of their bacon ends and jerk sausage. Le Gourmand featured a scrumptious banana caramel French toast when I was there and it was so good I ate it twice during my trip.*Order a mimosa or two every morning for added fun.

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Sandals Ochi has 11 bars for unlimited service of all the beer, wine, and liquor you can handle. The bartenders are incredibly nice and will make pretty much anything. You can even order shots! HELLO – save the calories lmao. But be careful. They are a fun bunch and it can get rowdy quickly.
My recommended drinks: Miami Vice with rum on top, Dirty Banana, and the Hummingbird. If you’re a wuss with shots, ask for something fruity.

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Before you leave, plan at least one late night (if you’re grandparents like us and want to go to bed at 9 pm) and head to the speakeasy on the hillside. You need a passcode to get in but any staff member will tell you. And trust me, you will make friends with the staff, they are the nicest people I’ve ever met. After the Rabbit Hole, head over to the beach bar on the beachside that sits under the Italian restaurant. This place bumps hard after hours with all the jams you 20 somethings like to groove to.

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I think I have cover most (not all b/c I’d need a blog post: part 2) of my favorite things about Sandals Ocho Rios. We already want to go back and writing this has solidified my thoughts of it being the best vacation spot ever. It was a treat living a week in paradise and an honor to meet such sweet and caring people. It is definitely not goodbye, but a ‘see you later’ type place.Until next time, Ocho Rios.

Xoxo,
KS Lovesred lips isolated in white
I love to meet new people!
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Whhhaaattt – Real Neat Blog Award

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Off Her Mocha wrote a very enticing blog post after her nomination for a Real Neat Blog Award and if you’d fancy a read I’ma link that bad bittie here. Thank you so much for nominating me to do this next! I love sharing more about myself and hope anyone that stops by to read this enjoys my answers to learn a lil’ more about ya girl KS Loves…

THE RULES:
Put the award logo on your blog.
Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.
Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.
Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Out of all of your blog posts, which has been your favourite to produce?

You know what, I gotta say all of my Wanderlust Wednesday and Empties products posts. I flippin’ loooove reviewing food and trying out new restaurants on a regular occurrence. I also love writing empties reviews because who doesn’t love a solid review of something someone has completely used up and whether or not they’ll purchase it again?! Those are my holy grail posts.

What is your idea of a successful blog?

Engaging. I want to be able to excite others and entice people to have conversations over anything and everything.

What are your 3 most-played songs at the moment?

Shape of You and What Do I Know? by Ed Sheeran
Of All Things (ft. Too $hort) by G-Eazy

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?

I have this really bizarre dream of wanting to experience Whoville IRL – and yes I know that’s impossible but I want to. So I guess Cindy Lou Hoo.

What were your New Years resolutions and have you stuck to them?

I have to be honest here I never really make New Years resolutions. If I set my mind to something at any point of the year, I do my best to follow through!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Don’t ignore your gut feelings and your instincts. Have an itch to start something new? Do it! Feeling a bit of luck and inspiration? Go for it. Worried somebody or something is dragging you down? Ditch it.

What impact has having a blog had on you and your life?

Meeting sOoOoOo many new people from all over the world! I love it and feed off of the energy. Gives me so much courage and motivation to try new things and not be afraid of failure.

I’m going to nominate 3 people for this:

  1. Lulu over at Voudouri’s Views
  2. Katy from Something Different
  3. Sakshi at The NChanting whispers

YOUR QUESTIONS, LADIES:

  1. What’s your biggest blogging milestone to date and why is it so important to you?
  2. Dinner or dessert // favorite food from that answer?
  3. What is something you’d like all of your followers to know about you?
  4. What is your next goal for your blog?
  5. What is an activity you could spend hours doing?
  6. If I’m traveling for a week I cannot live without these three items: _______________
  7. Since starting a blog, have you stepped outside your comfort zone with a specific post/picture/etc. and how did that feel?

Xoxo,
KS Loves

red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
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White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

“I had to double this recipe for the holiday break.”

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Okay I’m bringing a delicious spin to a classic butterscotch oatmeal cookie recipe, and this one substitutes the butterscotch morsels for white chocolate instead. This proved to be a HIT over the holidays, and I would highly recommend for your next family function. Or even the next party you host with your friends!

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I’d like to start out with the disclaimer that: you need to chill the cookie dough for at least 3 hours prior to baking.
*
this will ensure that your cookies won’t flatten out during the baking process

To get started, here are the necessary ingredients:
This will make about 24 cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks of butter (salted or unsalted – doesn’t matter)
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar – packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips

Begin with the egg, sugars, butter, and vanilla. Mix however you prefer (I actually did this by hand and would highly recommend a mixer if you have access to one). However, it’s doable if you want to work for the calories you’ll be consuming later Image result for wink emoji

Once you’ve reached a creamy, even consistency you can move onto the next step. Add in your oats, flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix together until it looks evenly distributed. Now add your white chocolate chips and mix in until also evenly distributed.

Next you’ll want to spoon out 2″ cookies onto plates that you will put into the refrigerator. Finish spooning out the cookie dough until the batter is gone, and place into the refrigerator for at least three hours.

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Once your cookie dough is thoroughly chilled, it’s time to bake! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and use cooking spray on your cookie sheet prior to laying out your cookies. Next you’ll place the dough on the cookie sheet with at least 2 inches between each dough ball. Bake for 9-10 minutes, but no longer. Pay close attention to these – I bake them for 9 minutes as I always worry I’ll over-bake them.

Once you remove them from the oven, they will continue to cook on the hot cookie sheet. Leave them to set for 3-4 minutes before you remove from the sheet and onto a cooling rack.

And voila!

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever made a recipe like this! What’s your favorite cookie recipe? I’d love to chat about it, as I’m a diehard foodie like the majority of the blogosphere Image result for nerd emoji

Xoxo,
KS red lips isolated in white

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To see original butterscotch oatmeal cookie recipe, I’ve linked it here.

Wanderlust Wednesday: El Camino Real

“BBQ & Mexican food – what an incredible combo.”

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Located at 1040 N. 2nd Street in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia is this phenomenal Mexican/Texas BBQ restaurant called El Camino Real. I have had just about everything from this menu, and now I can say I’ve been there for brunch!

They offer BBQ, they offer Mexican, they even offer a combination of both! Think: pulled pork in a quesadilla (ie: “Pulled Pork-a-Dilla”). It’s a combination sent from above. Image result for praise emoji

For this particular post, I visited El Camino on a Sunday morning for brunch while my family was visiting. Thus, I have a few plates to share – and boy, were they delicious.

First and most importantly, my meal. LMAO. No but really, we’re starting with me. I got the brown sugar french toast, with bananas and sweet cream. This was so good. It was a large portion and filled me up, but did not overdo it.

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My mom also got the same plate – and totally enjoyed it.

My fiance went a little more “classic brunch” and got the huevos rancheros. This dish is topped with a fried egg, cheddar, scallions, and “crema” sauce. He loved it! Our expectations were definitely exceeded once we began to dig in.

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My dad was probably the most venturous of all and ordered sausage gravy over sausage and biscuits, eggs, and potato hash. And tbh, this looked the best OF ALL. So savory and delicious. He cleaned the entire plate.

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So that was our brunch! I would certainly return to this location – it was a hit with my family. On another note, prices are also reasonable. If you’re willing to do some brunchy boozin’ that option is also available with Bloody Mary’s and margaritas!

El Camino is well-rounded and should receive praise for being that way.

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Xoxo,
KS red lips isolated in white

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5 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars *No Bake*

“This took 15 minutes to prepare yet I feel a step closer to a certified chef.”

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Do you love peanut butter? How about a chocolate-y graham cracker-y goodness? Yeah, I thought so.

So.. you can kinda tell from the title where this is going. 5 ingredients, 15-20 minutes of prep, and you have some delicious post-dinner treats that took little time and $$ to prepare.

The recipe I used: https://chefsavvy.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-bars/

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

1. creamy peanut butter – 1 1/2 cups
2. powdered sugar – 1 1/2 cups
3. chocolate chips – 1 1/2 cups
4. butter (melted) – 1 cup = 2 sticks
5. graham crackers (crushed) – 2 cups

THE INSTRUCTIONS:

Start out by spraying your 9×13″ baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside while you prepare the mixture.

You’ll want your butter to be melted and your graham crackers crushed. You can crush the graham crackers in a Ziploc bag with anything heavy you have in the kitchen.

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Combine ingredients: 1 cup peanut butter, powdered sugar, melted butter, and crushed graham crackers. Mix together until everything is thoroughly combined, and you reach an even consistency.

Once finished stirring, let’s move this mix to your baking pan and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Let this sit while we prepare the chocolate spread.

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In a microwave-safe dish, add the chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter. Heat in the microwave in 15 second intervals (stirring in between), until the mixture is completely melted. Next you will want to take a spoon and drizzle this evenly over your peanut butter graham cracker mix. You can also use a spatula to coat the top of the mixture as well.

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Place your pan in the refrigerator and let cool at least 1-1.5 hours before you cut into bars. And now you have a delicious treat to share with all of your friends! Let me say.. this makes a lot. You’d have to have a HUGE sweet tooth to finish this on your own in less than a couple weeks. I’d highly recommend sharing to save the calories Image result for wink emoji .. or not!

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Have you made anything similar to this? Please let me know if you try it! It’s so yummy and takes little time to make on a Sunday evening before bedtime.

Xoxo,
KS red lips isolated in white

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Topsail Feature: Inlet 790

“This is my last post from vacation I promise.”

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My final restaurant feature from Topsail Island surrounds the Inlet 790, located at 790 New River Inlet Rd, North Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

This place had crab, chicken, and was a seafood lover’s dream – all located in a tropical setting along the water. It was raining when we went, so we didn’t have the luxury of sitting outside, but I wish we had!

This restaurant is located inside the Villa Capriani condos, and for that reason we could not find it last year and didn’t go LOL. So this year, we checked it out ahead of time and knew exactly where to enter. There is a parking lot across the street from it with plenty of free parking for you and your family.

I was feeling a lighter meal this night, so I first enjoyed a clam chowder, and then a Caesar salad.

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Both dishes were awesome. Great flavor, and exactly what I was expecting from a restaurant located along the water. Of course I couldn’t go without getting one dish that involved something seafood related.

For those non-seafood lovers, there is a great selection of chicken/beef options! My fiancé chose the caprese chicken with a balsamic glaze, accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. It looked so mouth-watering.

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Everything was cooked to perfection and presently beautifully. We had a great time and were thankful to find a stellar restaurant minutes from our beach house. I would highly recommend.

Cocktails were great as well!

That concludes my Topsail-related blog posts… hope everyone enjoyed. ❤

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Xoxo,
KS red lips isolated in white

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Bareburger

“Solid restaurant with a kickass menu.”

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This is the place I pigged out the day before a 10-mile race down Broad St. in Center City, Philadelphia. I didn’t stop running the entire time, and that’s unusual for me, so I’m giving all of the credit to Bareburger, located at 1109 Walnut St.

This place proved a lot more impressive than my first glance into the window. First of all, it’s a sit-down. Like a real restaurant – designated to burgers. Really quickly, please let this sink in because if it doesn’t sounds like an absolute dream already, lemme go more into detail.

We each ordered the “standard burger,” which is topped with Colby cheese, caramelized onions, dill pickles, and special sauce between a brioche bun. I added avocado and my boyfriend fiancé added bacon!

The burgers are outstanding. Very fresh ingredients and juicy beef patties. They weren’t too big or slim either, the perfect size. And if that’s not enough to convince you to stop by, take a look at the fried goodies we added to the order.

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Onion rings and fries, served with FOUR different sauces: smoke sauce, special sauce, habanero mayo, and curry ginger ketchup. Something for everyone’s taste buds.

Bottom line – the food is killer, the atmosphere inviting, and the wait staff are very friendly and willing to go into depth about their menu. I would highly recommend and will definitely be returning to this location. I’m so happy I got to try it out!

All my Philly friends: ever been here? Is there another place like it?

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Xoxo,

KS red lips isolated in white

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Recipe: Penne Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce

“I have an Italian colleague that I owe this whole recipe to.”

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Who’s ready to talk pasta? And vodka sauce? And ground sausage? Because those are kind of three things that make an amazing combo, and I’m about to share one bangin’ recipe with you all.

THE SAUCE:

  1. 1 tablespoon butter/olive oil
  2. 3-6 cloves of garlic (depending on your taste for garlic)
  3. 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  4. 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste (also depending on your taste)
  5. salt and pepper

REAMINING INGREDIENTS:

  1. pasta of your choosing – I use 8-10 oz. of penne
  2. meat of your choosing – I use 1 lb. ground sausage (but I’ve heard shrimp is an excellent choice as well)

Brown your sausage first, and let it sit on low while you prepare the sauce.

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Start by mincing your garlic. Heat the 1 tablespoon of butter/olive oil over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic. Stir consistently so that the garlic is cooking evenly and preventing it from burning. Once the garlic has softened, add the pint of heavy whipping cream and turn the heat up to medium-high. Bring this to a boil and then turn down the heat so that cream continues to simmer.

*In the meantime, start cooking that pasta.

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Cream will start to thicken after 4-5 minutes, but feel free to cook it longer if it has not reached your desired consistency. Once you are happy with it, start adding 1 tablespoon of tomato paste at a time and taste test until you like the mixture. I end up adding 3 tablespoons because I like the way it tastes – but it’s really up to you!

Add the sauce and meat to your pot and stir it all up.

And voila! A delicious meal for any pasta-lover. I make caesar salad and garlic bread on the side to complete the dish, and usually have to go back for seconds. Enjoy!

Xoxo,

KS red lips isolated in white

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Blue Apron Meal: Katsu-Style Catfish

 

“The meal was made for two people, but I ate both portions.”

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Here is a delicious dish for all of my catfish-loving subbies! This was my first time breading like, anything, and I think I did a pretty fabulous job. The catfish came out nice and crispy, but not too greasy. The side of rice paired nicely with the fish, and the cabbage slaw was a new eat for me! I’m not super picky when it comes to food, so I’ll be the first to congratulate a new side I took a liking to.

I had a blast making this dish – and did so all by myself! The other two Blue Apron meals I had help with. If you’re interested in my thoughts on the chicken meatballs recipe and the pesto pasta, feel free to check those out too.

This dish is fun because it surprises your taste buds.

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You start by marinating the cabbage slaw using olive oil, sweet chili sauce, and seasoning with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set this to the side while you prepare the remainder of your dish.

Next is the black garlic mayonnaise, which is right up my alley.

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Then you can bring a pot of water to boil and let the rice cook for roughly 10 minutes.

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Next we’re going to bread the catfish! My favorite part. All in separate bowls, you’ll need to beat the egg, prepare the flour, and lay out the breadcrumbs. You’ll want to dry off your raw fish with a paper towel or two, making sure to soak up all excess moisture. Moving on, coat each side of the fish with egg, flour, and then breadcrumbs. Toss in a pan with olive oil over medium heat and fry each side 3-4 minutes, until golden.

Plate up your dinner and chow down! This was one of my favorites after receiving three meals, and it was super easy to make. I enjoyed the process, and enjoyed eating it that much more.

I’ll put the recipe cards below so you can check out the recipe for yourself if you’d like! Alternatively, you can find it here online.

Xoxo,
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Blue Apron Meal: Pesto Pasta and Butter Lettuce

“This was a little underwhelming; it looked pretty though.”

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I wish I were more excited to write this post! It was the only pasta meal I ordered when choosing my three free meals from Blue Apron as a courtesy of one of my best friends. I loooove anything and everything pasta-related, and was really looking forward to a good homemade pesto sauce and a tossed salad combining fresh greens and chopped almonds.

Alas, it didn’t really measure up to expectations. If you missed my first Blue Apron post, you can read about the amazing meal we prepared of chicken meatballs and a sarda pasta. That one takes the cake as far as I’m concerned.

Back to the pesto pasta dish…

First you are to clean and prepare your fresh vegetables and the lemon.


The hardest part was probably chopping the almonds – they fly everywhere! Make sure you have a broom on deck. Next, peel the yellow part of the lemon with a grater, and slice the carrots a similar way. Then you will have to quarter and deseed your lemon. Next you need to sauté the greens!


When these finish cooking, you can start preparing the dressing and pesto sauce. The pesto sauce was so easy I’m almost skeptical. Though that could be the reason it lacked taste. You take the cooked arugula greens and chop them on a cutting board once they’ve cooled down. Then you transfer the greens to a small bowl and whisk around with some olive oil, creating a paste.
To me, this had no taste. Maybe I didn’t add enough salt and pepper, but considering it was already seasoned with red pepper, green garlic and lemon zest I figured that would suffice.

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You can find the recipe online here, but I also took a picture of the recipe sheets below!

So that was this dish! Although this dish was a letdown, I hope this still proved to be helpful. I am a HUGE fan of Blue Apron thus far, and will be soon writing a post about the delightful catfish and rice I made last night.

I just wish there were more taste to the pesto pasta, and less of a “cream cheesy” taste to the salad. Just not my cup of tea – that’s all!

Please let me know if you’ve tried this service before! I’d be so interested to see if anyone else finds it worth the $$, or whether there is something better I should look into.

Xoxo,
KS red lips isolated in white

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