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Friday, December 12, 2014

Adventure Stops: Scoops on 5th

On Mike's and my visit to Mount Dora for their Christmas lights display, we walked around their downtown area and absolutely fell in love with it! So many great places to shop and eat, and all so close to home, it is quite exciting!

One particular place that we just had to try was right along the park area where the Light Up Mount Dora celebration was happening. As I have mentioned before, Mike and I are big dessert fans. Mike especially loves ice cream, so how could we say no to a place called Scoops on 5th??

The shop is a small place, which appeals to us also as being a local hangout. It was very colorful with a great sign that beckoned you in. The class display cases are filled with dozens of baked goods and that smell combined with freshly popped popcorn make for an interesting fragrance combination. 

See?! Huge Eclairs!!
I knew that Mike already had his mind decided on ice cream, but my mind wasn't made up until I saw that it was Hershey's Ice Cream! Being born and raised a mere hour and a half from Hershey, Pennsylvania, that name is near and dear to my heart. I love getting that ice cream whenever possible.  Oh, and not to mention the fact that this place has 36 different flavors!

After pain-stakingly deciding on a flavor (Midnight Caramel River for me and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for Mike), we went to the register to pay. Heading up to the register you get to see all of the amazing baked goods and other treats you can purchase. This place has cookies, cinnamon rolls, mini cakes, unique flavored cupcakes, HUGE eclairs, popcorn, floats, and smoothies. There is also a selection of coffee and fountain beverages.
Price wise, for a small shop, I really thought the prices were reasonable and I look forward to going back soon to try some of their baked goods. 
Some of the basic prices

Scoops on 5th is located at 130 E. 5th Avenue (who would have guessed, right) and is open daily from 12pm to 9pm. 

Have you ever been? What would you try first? Let me know in the comments below and head over to Scoops on 5th's FaceBook page for up-to-date information and pictures. You can also review them on TripAdvisor, which I will be sure to do after another trip there!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yet Another Potential Reason to Visit the UK

I had to post about this just because I found it VERY interesting...

I am not a huge television watcher. I like watching football, baseball and hockey and around this time of year, I will watch as many Christmas specials as absolutely possible. I used to watch Once Upon a Time, however I fell out of sync with it and just have not been interested enough to pick it back up.

I have recently started watching shows with Mike, ones that he has watched already but thinks I would really enjoy. The first, which we have been watching for probably about a year and a half now is Doctor Who. We finished the whole new series and I am anxiously waiting the Christmas episode. The more recent one is Sherlock, which we are beginning the third season on. Apparently, I really enjoy British shows.

Why do I bring this up and what the heck does this have to do with visiting the UK?!

Well, there have been several articles today that say Paramount is in talks with BBC and that a preliminary contract has been signed to have Doctor Who, Sherlock and Top Gear featured in a theme park.  Paramount is set to open a theme park in Kent in 2020 and would like to have these hit shows featured in attractions.

To read more, here is an article from The Independent in the UK.

Would you go to a theme park with those shows featured? I am picturing a flying TARDIS attraction and some mystery dinner theatre featuring Sherlock. As I said, if this pans out, it just adds another day onto my eventual trip to the UK.

Pixar's Inside Out Trailer: Intrigued

Ok, I have seen these posters for this movie in the Animation building in Hollywood Studios for the last couple years and, I will be honest, I was skeptical. I mean, all it had on it was a colorful face, what on earth were we supposed to get from that?!

Well, we finally know what to expect and I am finally getting excited about it! It also left me with many questions that makes me look forward to the next trailer; what makes different emotions in charge? Do they take different positions permanently or do they move around? Are these the 5 emotions that are always inside us or do they grow as we grow?

What questions does the trailer make you think of? See for yourself and leave your answers below:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Adventure Stops: Mont Dora Brewing

Mike and I went out for an afternoon drive to Mount Dora, which is about a half hour from my house. We were going that way to cross off another lighthouse on our list, the only freshwater one in Florida. On the way there, we heard on the radio about a Christmas light ceremony that was happening that evening, so we decided to stick around and see what it was all about. 

After the lighthouse and this awesome flea and farmers market adventure, we had some time until the lights came on. We did not know what would be in that area, so we decided to stop somewhere to eat.

Enter Mount Dora Brewing. It had brewery in the name, which is always a winner with Mike, and we were just looking for some small local place to eat, we love those! 

The inside just screams local hangout, and not just the fun deco on the walls, but this place was Cheers style, knowing peoples names as they walked in. There is the bar and a stage where local bands play but also a few sets of tables throughout. There is also a dining room in another part of the building that is open different hours, but they serve the same food as on the bar side. 

The first thing Mike and I wanted to try was the Pretzel bread and beer cheese appetizer. They come in a hearty portion and very warm. They have a light pretzel
flavor to them, and are very fluffy on the inside. The cheese is a bit sharp but it was still a great combo, I thought Mike might lick the cheese bowl clean. did have to be asked for. 

We both got burgers for dinner, a BBQ bacon one for Mike and a regular bacon cheddar for me. The bun was toasted, the burger was juicy and the fresh made kettle chips were pretty impressive for such a small place. Silverware and ketchup were not right at the table, those

While we didn't try any beers (it wasn't our cheat day and even with only eating half a burger we weren't doing so hot as it was) but the food and atmosphere was so welcoming and good that I am sure we will be back again to try them. Overall I was very impressed and look forward to finding more fun local joints like this to visit. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Adventures in the Kitchen: The First Thanksgiving Dinner

Ok, so not THE first Thanksgiving dinner, but certainly our first Thanksgiving dinner. Mike and I took on the foodie's favorite holiday of Thanks and here's how it went:

As Mike is an Italian, every holiday has to incorporate pasta in one form or another, so that was his job in the morning; making a lasagna. As I am slowly learning how to be Italian (absolutely no Italian blood whatsoever), I observed from a close distance. He was nice enough to let me grab pictures of the lasagna process and result, which was quite delicious I must say! What I did not get to snag was the recipe; he throws things in fast and doesn't measure, so I will have to pay closer attention next time.

After the lovely lunch was cleaned up, it was my turn to take over the kitchen! Thanksgiving dinners do not just prep themselves!

Our Thanksgiving menu:

The meal begins!
Turkey Breast (As there is only two of us, there was no point in cooking a huge whole turkey)
Stuffing (family recipe, my first attempt at it)
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Green Beans
Crescent Rolls (I wanted to make them from scratch, however there was already too much to do and the recipes I kept finding involved the dough rising twice and it was just too much for that day)

The turkey was pretty easy as it was just a breast; clean it up, butter the outside real good (I know that is not what the package says, but I have always seen my mother do it this way and I had always liked her turkeys), toss it in a floured bag and into the oven. For the size we had and since I thawed it out, cooking time was 2 hours.

Stuffing and sweet potatoes were immediately started next. I knew the sweet potatoes would take a while to cook and the stuffing is quite a process. For the stuffing, we use:

  • white bread with no crusts
  • onions and celery, chopped fine the day before, but not put in a food processor as this makes them soggy and harder to work with
  • chicken broth
  • butter
  • poultry seasoning
Butter, Sausage, Onions and Celery cooking up
Bread is added before the chicken broth to moisten
Ready to go into the oven!
Finished product
And for an extra ingredient this time around, I added some ground smoked sausage for Mike. He would have wanted Italian sausage, but it was quite hard to find. I thought the smoked worked just as well though. 

Once the stuffing was taken care of, I mashed the sweet potatoes and threw them in the oven as well with some brown sugar on top. 

The rest of the food was pretty easy; the veggies just needed to be heated up and the mashed potatoes were pretty basic once the potatoes softened. 

What do you think of my spread?

My thoughts: The turkey was just a tad drier than I would have liked, but came out well for my first time. The stuffing was AWESOME!!! I was so excited with how flavorful that was and how the sausage worked in the mix. The mashed potatoes were pretty good and the sweet potatoes came out well, though I really want to find some kind of topping to put on them next time. 
Not a typical Thanksgiving dessert, but how could you
say no to a deep dish chocolate chip cookie with ice cream?

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Anything you tried new this year? Any suggestions for me? Please leave me comments below!

I hope that you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your holiday season will be filled with Adventure!