If you're an avid follower of my blog or social media pages, it's not surprising that I'm talking about food again. If you're new here, welcome. I'm Allie, and I like food.
Over the summer, I developed an intolerance to gluten which seriously affected my diet. I love to cook, so eating at home hasn't been an issue; in fact, I find that some gluten free recipes are actually better than the wheat-based "originals". The big thing that has proved an issue for me though is eating out. Dan and I always would go out to eat on Friday or Saturday evenings for a date night. Being homeowners now, we sometimes just crave a chance for a change of scenery, but my diet really hinders that opportunity because there's a constant fear of getting sick, which just isn't worth the trouble. NO LONGER.
One of our favorite restaurants is The Melting Pot in King of Prussia, and we'd assumed (you know what they say) that I wouldn't be able to eat there but we were informed that it wouldn't be a problem. We had an opportunity to go in last night to test out their Restaurant Week Menu a little early, and friends, I was in heaven.
For those who might be interested, The Melting Pot in King of Prussia will be participating in King of Prussia Restaurant Week from March 5-11, 2018. Their special menu will be only $30 per person option to add on the chocolate fondue dessert for an addition $5 per person. Not only that, but a portion of the proceeds will benefit CHOP. You heard me right. You can give back to the community by eating cheese and chocolate. That's a win if I ever saw one.
Now, let's get to the good stuff ... what will you get?!
Kick off your night with the Monterey Alpine Cheese Fondue (or any other cheese fondue that suits your fancy). What it is: Gruyere, Raclette and Fontina cheeses blended with Rose wine, fresh spinach, Gorgonzola crumbles and shallots, topped with honey-roasted almonds.
The Monterey Alpine was really good though, and I thought had a unique flavor that paired well with the fruit dippers especially. I was extra excited when they brought out a bowl of gluten free crostini for me to dip as well!
Next up was our Spring Spinach Salad. I'm not a salad person, but The Melting Pot's salads always have me convinced I'll convert.
What it is: a bed of fresh spinach topped with Roma tomatoes, Gorgonzola cheese, golden raisins, roasted red peppers and candied pecans, finished with a balsamic glaze (or choose another salad).
You'll dream about that balsamic glaze.
As usual, the entrees were amazing. The third course of the Restaurant Week Menu allows you to choose from The Wayne (jalapeño filet mignon, pacific white shrimp, featured pasta & herb coated chicken), The King of Prussia (cold water lobster tail, filet mignon & sriracha lime shrimp) or The Audubon (sesame wasabi ahi tuna, pacific white shrimp, atlantic salmon & herb coated chicken).
Dan is a big seafood guy, so he opted for The King of Prussia. I on the other hand, am all about the land, so they customized a plate for me that was seafood free and gluten free (they even offered to give us a separate burner in case I didn't want to mix them in the broth we cooked them in!) and it was a mix of the chicken and jalapeño filet. SO GOOD!
These were served with fresh veggies (the mushrooms are my favorite, I let them soak for a while) and so many dipping sauces your head will spin (all delicious). You can cook the meat yourself, so it's cooked to your preferred temperature and we had so much fun doing this. It never gets old.
Naturally, we had to get the chocolate fondue as well, because THE MELTING POT. We opted for the Chocolate S'mores (milk chocolate melted with marshmallow cream and USUALLY topped with graham crackers). Because of my allergy, we omitted these, but our awesome server brought a dish of them to Dan so that he could still incorporate them into his.
Have you ever dipped a marshmallow into marshmallow? You really ought to try it, because as it turns out it's the best thing ever.
Throughout my experience, I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything because they had substitutions for just about everything (including gluten free brownies for the chocolate fondue) and still made sure Dan got everything he wanted (aka. all of the wheat).
You can't go wrong with The Melting Pot, and their Restaurant Week Menu was delicious. Make sure to visit March 5-11, 2018 to test it out for yourself!
If you're thinking about visiting the Philly Home + Garden Show this weekend (February 16-18) at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, you're in for a treat. Wondering what you'll be able to see and do? We've got the inside scoop!
1. Get inspired by the HGTV celebrities
If you haven't already heard, Trading Spaces is coming back (insert happy dance here), and its host, Paige Davis, is going to share her experience as well as some tips and tricks on design trends she has seen during her career. Rachel Street, who will be the host of a new DIY Network show will be sharing her experience into buying, renovating and decorating homes in and around Philadelphia.
2. Check out the new Smart Home
As a guest at the Philly Home + Garden Show, you'll have an opportunity to see the newly expanded full-size model home built by Rudloff Custom Building that is paired with cutting-edge home security and entertainment technology from Comcast.
3. Put up your feet
Make sure to visit the Backyard Lounge, which will be furnished by Pine Creek Structures and sponsored by Belgrade.
4. Get Garden Inspiration
If you're like me, you're plotting (no pun intended) your plans for this years garden, and the Feature Gardens are sure to give you plenty of inspiration. From koi ponds, outdoor television setups, a beer tap and more will make your backyard this years hotspot.
5. Pick Up a Bouquet
Is it a garden show without fresh blooms? I think not. Support Phoenixville florist Cameron Peters at her cut flower booth where you'll be able to grab a beautiful bouquet and gain insight into how to decorate with flowers in your home. Did you know that by shopping local vs. online you're not only supporting businesses in your community, but you're probably saving money?
6. Learn about Edible Landscapes
Did you know that you can incorporate vegetables and herbs into a perennial garden? Scott Baldelli Landscape and Design will show you how to create the perfect edible garden for your yard.
7. Visit Crafted
Looking for unique handmade household items that'll set your decor apart from the rest? Make sure to visit Crafted, a market-style area of the Show Floor.
8. Upcycle Challenge
We LOVE that the Philly Home Show incorporates an Upcycle Challenge, and this time around it's the Habitat for Humanity Garden Decor. Local DIYers are transforming old furniture into functional and cute backyard decor. We all have that one piece we don't want to part with in our basement or attic, so why not put it to good use??
9. Make-it, Take-it
Looking to get hands on? Participate in a hands-on demonstration at no extra cost that you'll get to take home with you!
10. Hero Day
On February 16, all teachers, nurses, first responders, firefighters, police and all active or retired military personnel will be admitted at not charge to the Philly Home + Garden Show.
11. Local Blogger + Designer Presentations
We live in such a creative area, and some of the those masterminds are going to be presenting their knowledge and experience with all of you at the show! Visit the Pottery Barn Main Stage to check it out.
12. Phoenixville Night
Support a local town and visit the Main Stage to see some of the finest goods and services from Phoenixville.
13. Take Action
The Philly Home + Garden Show is truly about the experience and inspiration. Get engaged with the professionals and feel free to ask the designers and exhibitors questions so that you feel confident moving forward with the project of your dreams!
Valentine's Day Cocktails + Mocktails With Sparkling ICE and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale | Philadelphia Housewives
Fresh and simple Valentine's Day cocktails and cocktails
I don't know about all of you, but I'm having one busy week and it's hard to believe that it's not later in the week than Tuesday.
I won't lie, this week has really gotten to me. Not only have the phone calls, emails and meetings already gotten the best of me but yesterday marked the start of a six month health transition for me. It's honestly so much more than that, it's truly going to be a grueling journey but one that will be so rewarding and will result in getting to the bottom of a lot of the health problems that I've suffered from over the years, but will also be a positive lifestyle change. I consider myself a pretty healthy person, but this afternoon I stocked my pantry with so many (very healthy) natural ingredients that were foreign to me, and I'm honestly a little bit nervous about all of this. Not that I don't think it's not going to be good for me, or that I won't enjoy it, but I know that there's a lot of changes ahead of me and I'm sort of bracing myself. Does that make sense? I sure hope so!
Anyway, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow being Valentine's Day. It's our fifth Valentine's Day together, and the first that we're celebrating together in our new home. We're planning to make dinner together after work and then will probably settle in on the couch to watch The Office (we already watched all of the episodes, but we've been rewatching and aren't disappointed).
That being said, I thought it would be fun to come up with something to make our normal habit a little more special and what's more fun than a specialty cocktail to instantly upgrade a meal?
Thanks to Sparkling ICE and Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, we have a couple of fun ideas for you to try out tomorrow! I decided to showcase a cocktail recipe, but also have a mocktail for the kids if you celebrate Valentine's Day as a family or if you're like me and can't have alcohol right now due to a hardcore health cleanse, ha!
1 1/2 oz vanilla vodka
1 tsp. simple syrup
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Sparkling Ice Grape Raspberry
Raspberry ice cubes, for garnish
Place raspberry ice cubes in glass and set to the side. In a cocktail shaker, add vanilla vodka, simple syrup, and fresh lemon juice- shake. Strain over ice and add Sparkling Ice Grape Raspberry.
Looking for a nonalcoholic alternative that still has tons of flavor? I put together this easy recipe for what I'm calling Mango Passion Punch.
Sparkling Ice Strawberry Watermelon
Sparkling Ice Pomegranate Blueberry
Bruce Cost Ginger Ale (Mango)
You should have 1 part sparkling water, 2 parts ginger ale, 1 part sparkling water. I personally poured the Strawberry Watermelon in first, added the ginger ale and then poured the Pomegranate Blueberry in. The result? A delicious nonalcoholic fruity mocktail! Not up for as much flavor? Omit the Mango Ginger Ale and opt for their Traditional. Still gives you a spicy ginger flavor without *as* much fruity taste.
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I remember being six or seven and getting an excited feeling in my stomach when the tv would click on and the sounds of the game would cry out. I remember, being around that same age, pit stopping at someones house one day while we were out running errands to catch the end of the game.
In elementary school, we'd have spirit days and everyone would wear green and I'd be in awe seeing my teachers in jeans (for some reason I always was fascinated by this - wait you're a real person?). I remember the energy in the hallway in high school when they'd play E-A-G-L-E-S over the loudspeaker and the whole school would chant along.
In college I briefly worked at a sports bar and game days were the best because the energy was infectious. One moment you'd be taking a tables order and the next everyone was hugging each other and jumping up and down.
My boyfriends family definitely got me more into sports than I was before. I look forward to Sunday's where we go and watch the game together. It's not just about the game, even though that's an important part, but about the fact that it's bringing us all together.
I think going into this years Super Bowl, that's what a lot of people who aren't from Philly didn't understand. It wasn't just a game.
You see, for fifty two years, Philadelphians have supported their team, have held out hope, have gone to games and religiously tuned in on Sunday during football season. We have opinions about the coaches, the plays, the players, but we'll also defend them to the end. We support our city and our teams no matter what.
On February 4, 2018 I, along with millions of other Eagles fans, experienced a wave of emotions.
This wasn't the first time the Eagles have gone to a Super Bowl, but it's the first time they've won. It's the first time they've won. That wasn't a typo, I just wanted to say it again.
Being in my mid-twenties now (eh, I guess late now that I'm 26? ugh) I realized the importance and significance of this game. As we get older, so do our parents and grandparents. Many of the "adults" in my life have been witnesses to the championships that the Eagles were a part of in the past, but they were also witness to the letdown. And that's probably the best way to word it. You see, it's not a loss, because in Philly it's an emotion not an action.
On Sunday, I sat (and stood and sat and stood) with Dan's family as we watched the game together, but this Sunday was different. For a week, the energy in the city was palpable. Reports of Philadelphia greasing the light posts only amped us up more. Not because we planned to go to the city and climb the lamp posts. Although wouldn't that have been some great PR? "Philly Housewife Allie Proko was arrested this evening for scaling a light post on Broad Street". Ugh, missed my chance. No, it was because we could feel the city preparing for the celebration.
All week long, our social channels were flooded with hype videos, pictures of peoples' kids going to school covered in as much green as their closets could produce, corporate offices throwing parties for their employees, etc. We had serious conversations about how the Super Bowl was actually stirring up a lot of emotions for folks who'd lost their fathers who wanted nothing more than to see the Birds victory.
We weren't just excited to win a game. We were excited to celebrate as a city and to experience that victory with the people we care about. When they say that Philly bleeds green, they mean it. It's in our blood. It's a passion that I'm not certain any of us can truly explain or put into words.
I'll be the first to admit that I've always been a fan, but I'm not as die hard as a lot of people I know (until now). We went around the room and answered the question, "Would you take $10,000 or the Eagles winning tonight?". I was the one who picked money (student loans and a new house y'all). After that night though, I'd change my answer.
As the clock ticked down to 6:00PM on Sunday night, I realized how emotionally invested in the game I really was. I started to get the jitters as if I myself was about to suit up and run onto the field. By the time the clock was at two minutes left, I had the chills and was standing with everyone else. When we won, it took us all a moment to realize what had happened. We were silent a moment, and then Dan's Dad screamed out, "THAT'S THE GAME!". And that was the moment that we all lost our minds. I even cried.
Again, I've always enjoyed sports, but I never wanted to allow myself to become too emotionally invested in them because I've just frankly always thought there were more important things. But then, in that moment, it all hit me. It hit me that sports are a part of my memories and that when I hear a game on in the background I feel instantly comfortable and at home. It hit me that we've made a tradition out of Sundays and Mondays. Are cheesesteaks and wings even that good? Yes, but even if they weren't, we'd love them anyway because they'd be pleasant reminders of these days. Youse guys, it hit me that I've been one of them all along.
The anthropologist in me feels sorry for the archaeologists who have to dig up our ancient remains and try to figure out why we all held onto our green hoodies. I guess we'll just have to keep passing on the tradition and passion so that they'll see that Eagles emblem on their excavation, stand up smiling in the dirt, and start chanting.