Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

Welcome to my world!

Search for Recipes & More!

Subscribe via Email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Still Hungry?
my foodgawker gallery
Search for Recipes & More!


Subscribe to TAA by Email!

Delivered by FeedBurner


Follow the Food

The Pantry


School Daze


from top right: pretty, blank journals {target}; gelly roll metallic pens {sakura}; custom post-its {custom ink}; a fully loaded coffee card {dunkin' donuts}; casual but cool carry-all {the strand}; skull pocket tissue holder {dolphinblue on etsy}; bento lunch box {laptop lunches}; apple-scented hand sanitizer {bath & body works}; perfectly personalized hot/cold cup {tervis tumbler}


I can't believe September is here. Labor Day fell so early this year and it doesn't quite feel like summer's end, especially since it's forecasted to hit 90 degrees today.

Though Penelope already started her 'school' year, I know this week is a big one for sending those kiddos back to school. Or perhaps you're a student and are already back. Or a teacher prepping to leave your glorious summer vacation behind. Regardless of your place in life this week, I think we can all agree that there is certainly some excitement in the air for the new school year. And while I'm neither a teacher nor student, I can't help but get jazzed for school supplies. When I was a kid, I LOVED back to school shopping. And as an adult, I continue to appreciate the treasure of a really great, smooth-writing pen or a new, blank notebook with a pretty cover, just begging for to-do lists and creative ideas. Though I'm not starting a new school year, I wouldn't mind amping up my own supplies to start fresh and fuel my own excitement for the work day ahead, possibilities bursting with the right tools at hand. 

What are your back to school must-haves?


Five Things Friday

{a lovely glass of rose on the terrace}


It's just about summer's end as the last summer holiday weekend approaches. We are starting to feel the first signs of Fall, with a crispness in the air and a cool breeze on the city streets. I don't mind. I have had a wonderful summer and did so many fun things with my family. I'm ready to welcome Fall and all of its bristly leaves, tall boots, warm beverages and pumpkiny goodness with open arms. This weekend, we'll be celebrating the end of summer with a party at my parents house, followed by some relaxation and maybe some fun around Jersey City if the weather cooperates! I'm changing things up a little for Five Things Friday and including even more 'Five Things' toward the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy!

Have a truly wonderful and safe weekend! 


{my new TV obsession; Scandal! I started watching without Shaun and now I can't find enough time to continue my binge!}


{graphic tees that can be layered with shorts, jeans, leggings & a leather jacket. Forever 21 has a ton on the cheap}


{loving essie's fall 2014 collection; especially the perfect cover up, 3rd from left}


{fun city art that I'd love to hang in my home; ikea; found via create, bake, celebrate}



5 Things in Pop Culture This Week:

UpRoxx ranks the most evil character on Always Sunny…I was 5 for 5, though I think the order of top 2 are debatable.

I was so sad to hear that Joan Rivers is in the hospital. I have the Fashion Police Emmy/VMA special queued up for tonight.

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie got married. I actually already thought they were married, so…

Can it be true? And do we want it to be? 

It turns out Tony Soprano is


5 Food Links I Loved This Week:

copycat pumpkin spice latte. I can't wait to make this so that I can save $5 per cup at Starbucks and also not be poisoned.

sno ball brownies.

cool, summery strawberry pudding pops, perfect for the kiddos!

use up those extra berries on some sweet and savory balsamic soaked strawberries & goat cheese crostini 

amazing key lime pie popcorn, which just takes me back to siesta key


5 Other Things I Read This Week:

a great read: 7 things people with anxiety want loved ones to know

these paper box drawer organizers had me at hello

i will gladly work on these 10 behaviors to steal from your kids

after much debate in my office, we're glad catherine agrees: don’t put away your whites just yet.

couldn't have said it better myself: 8 things I’ve learned about marriage




Vacation in Siesta Key, FL

Earlier this week, I shared some awesome little donuts that we found in Siesta Key, but I thought it would be fun to recap the whole trip!


We traveled down to Siesta Key, FL a couple of weeks ago for a vacation with Shaun's family. Since the tiny area was located on the Gulf Coast, we flew into Tampa and it was about an hour and a half ride to Siesta Key from the airport.



We stayed at the Sarasota Surf & Racquet Club, a nice condo association right on the beach. Though our unit was a little bit of a walk from the beach, it was close enough that Penelope could walk from our condo (though I think she was probably ready for a nap by the time we reached the water!).



She acted like such a little big girl, I couldn't even handle it. We brought her puddle jumper, which has been a great floatie for her this year.

She is still skittish about floating on her own (which I'm fine with!) and in the ocean, she only went in to about knee deep, but I felt better having her protected in case she fell or dipped under somehow. As an aside, I also really love this float because it is a US Coast Guard certified life jacket as well! Though she was just under the suggested minimum weight for it (30 lbs), it fit her pretty well and I'm glad we will have it for next summer too (it goes up to 50 lbs!).

We purposely made little to no plans while in FL so that we could wake up when we felt like it (or when Penelope mandated), leisurely eat breakfast, allow Penelope to nap, and spend time lounging on the beach. 



Since August in Florida is low season, we had a lot of space on the beach. The shore line was so flat that we could easily sit near the water and let Penelope just wander around us a bit, and even walk down to the water line. 

The downside of low season? Storms!


We got caught in the rain more than a couple of times, and one day was a total wash. I really didn't mind, though. And the storms kinda came and went the rest of the time. It would be sunny and bright and then we'd suddenly see some scary clouds roll in with lightning and all. A few times we ran inside, and a few times we stuck it out. The storms were so fast and furious, that they left a few giant puddles in their wake. These also made great kiddie pools for Penelope (and Shaun) to run through.


They also spent lots of time digging holes and building sandcastles.

We went out in town a couple of evenings, which was great. We had dinner at the Daquiri Deck, and went back for post-dinner drinks one night. I had the blue, electric lemonade version...so good! I'm not usually a cocktail drinker but the heat made a glass of Malbec pretty unappealing. This was a great, refreshing (and booze-filled) beverage. We also enjoyed live music.


Late in the evening, the bar was bumpin' with a DJ to boot.

We also found live music at lots of the other local spots. This band did some fantastic Sublime covers. Shaun has always been a huge Sublime fan, and the music reminded me so much of our college days, when we were first dating. Great stuff.


The Siesta Market was a great, nearby spot for all food and alcohol things, especially in the wine and beer department. Is it me, or does it feel like I was walking into Clerks?


The area is so tiny that golf cars (in addition to cabs) actually serve as transportation for people from downtown to their hotels, resorts and condos. Shaun was pretty psyched to test one out and so we hailed a cart back to the condo one evening that we stayed out for a drink while my in-laws took Penelope back to the resort (in our rental car, safely strapped into her car seat).


On Saturday, Shaun had rented a red Mustang convertible, as a gift for his father's birthday. They had the car to tool around town for Saturday and Sunday morning. I took a few rides as well and though I'm not really a car person, it was pretttty sweet.


So fun to ride around with the top down and Bon Jovi blasting. Are we Jersey or what?


Travel-wise, Penelope did well enough. On the way there, she was super antsy and just didn't want to sit still. On the ride home, we flew at night and so she was tired, worn out, and ready to just kick back with some Frozen on the iPad. Generally, she has been a champ all 3 plane rides that we've taken her on thus far, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't glad that we have no flights on the radar for the coming months...and by the time we do fly again, P will require her own seat. Woop!


All in all, it was such a nice trip and always fun to explore some place new! I feel very lucky that we were able to do 2 big vacations this summer (the other one to Aruba!) and have one more on the horizon for next week...our annual trip to Lewes, Delaware! Though I must admit, I'm excited for that trip to be based in the car, not a plane ;)