Monday Munchies: Highland Kitchen- Somerville, MA

 

 As part of my Monday Munchies series, I will feature a different eatery for a review on the first and third Monday of every month. Hope you enjoy!

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I learned a very valuable lesson when it comes to having brunch at Highland Kitchen in Somerville, MA. When you read that brunch opens at 11am don’t just think “Hey! We’ll get there at 11 and won’t have a wait. Sweet!” Nope, no, no no. Wrong. Completely wrong. We pulled up at 11.04 and the line was insane. CRAP. We tried to come up with alternatives but knew that if Highland Kitchen looked like this we would have this problem elsewhere, plus the additional driving time to get to those places. So, we braved it out and waited 50 minutes instead. Oh, boy.

It was lame and annoyed but worth it. Oh, damn that was a good brunch. Such a good brunch. We had a blast while we enjoyed amazing food.

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As we stood around outside (my mom walked Autumn all over in her stroller to kill the time) we peered through the opened windows and to check out what others had ordered. We saw several ordered of Beignets ($4.95) so we knew we had to get some ourselves. The order came to our table piping hot and covered with powder sugar. They were really light and fluffy but they did seem a tiny bit under cooked in the center, hardly noticeable.

I really think you can’t beat freshly fried Beignets and fresh brewed coffee. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have an attentive waitress who keeps your cup of coffee freshly topped off!

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Autumn even enjoyed herself during brunch. She tried everything we ordered and loved everything she tried. She also enjoyed throwing that lid on the floor about a hundred times. And of course, I picked it up and wiped it off every time. Babies…

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Price and my mom enjoyed the Deviled Eggs ($3.50) and Bloody Mary’s. I’m just not a fan of deviled eggs, but they are so they each enjoyed halves that were loaded up with creamy, yolky goodness. We even gave Autumn some and she enjoyed it too.

Price thought that the Bloody Mary was good but very spicy with a lot of Horseradish. It was served with a wedge of lemon and a pickled string bean. The Blood Mary wasn’t very lemony but you could adjust that yourself, as you prefered. Sometimes we come across Blood Mary’s that are really thick and chunky, but it was very smooth. Price did think that it was quite weak and wished that he could have tasted more vodka.

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My mom saw an order of  Huevos Rancheros ($9.95) on another table and decided that she needed to try it. The serving was very generous and quiet tasty.  The plate was really loaded up with its 3 fried eggs, large serving of refried black beans, scoop of rice, corn tortillas & queso fresco. It was all topped of with a ‘rojo’ sauce that had a bit of zip.

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Typically, Price and I don’t order the same thing for brunch so that we can share but we each read the description of the Dirty Bird ($10.95) and we each decided to get it. No sharing. Ha! (I was debating ordering the Dirty Bird or the Shrimp and Grits ($10.95)… I’ll have to try the grits next time.)

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 This couldn’t have been called “The Napper” since you really would want a nap after enjoying this.

Holy Cow! or Holy Chicken. Or Holy Pig. I dunno. There were so much going on with this plate. You might just need to brace yourself when reading the components… get ready… Half of a buttermilk biscuit, topped with a fried chicken breast, a few slices of applewood smoked bacon, and a fried egg. That stack is topped off with the biscuit and the sausage gravy. It’s indulgent, rich, and  breathtaking. This will take your breath away once it’s put in front of you, but once you take a bit you will be blown away. The chicken breast is juicy with a crunchy exterior and the biscuit is tender with a dense crumb to it. The gravy was thick and filled with sausage and was great with a bite of chicken, egg, of biscuit.

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And this last picture is just to remind me that Autumn is just about as delicious as anything I could ever order. I could just gobble up those cheeks.

Get over to Highland Kitchen if you know what’s good for you! And be sure to get there EARLY so you don’t have to wait. Really, I swear, get there early because they don’t take reservations and there will be a line because the brunch is da-bomb.

Highland Kitchen

150 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02143

617 625 1131

Brunch 11am-2.30pm

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Turkey Shepard’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

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I’ve figured out the rest of the pies I am going to feature this year!!!

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so prepared when it comes to blogging before. Woohoo!! Price and I formulated the list and I think it’s pretty awesome! It was fun to go through my Pinterest boards to come up with ideas for what to make and when.

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I’m gonna keep the list a secret but I can share there are 4 apple pies on there. So many apple pies!!! Damn, I love apple pies. They are so good. And it’s even better when you get to use the apples that you picked right off the tree. Last week’s Deep Dish Apple Pie was pretty epic so I’m hoping that the rest are as great as I imagine them to be.

As well, I imagine you’re gonna like this one too. We realized that I didn’t make many savory pies this year so I’ve added a few of them to the list, like this one!

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Shepard’s Pie is one of my favorite casseroles. Ah ha… okay… so you caught me! Shepard’s Pie is a casserole and not a pie but I am going to take some liberties with the name.

Speaking of pie stealing names… Boston Cream Pie! Whoopie Pie! Boston Cream Pie is a cake and Whoopie Pies are a cakie cookie. Totally makes sense… ha!

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Anyway, I used to make this for myself ALL THE TIME when I was in high school. I loved having something ready for when I got home after my internship or after one of my babysitting jobs. It helped me not get something junky on the way home. I would have something healthy when I arrived home that I could heat up. I would always used lean ground turkey, fresh veggies, and a low fat garlicky mashed potato on top. I focused on keeping things really healthy by not loading it up with butter and cream so I would add herbs and other seasonings to amp up the flavors.

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And I think I pulled that off with this Sweet Potato Topped Turkey Shepard’s Pie as well! I used a lean ground turkey to keep the fat down, as compared to using ground beef chuck. But this recipe is more at my life’s current pace now with frozen veggies… hello convenience! As well, with keeping things nice and easy, I didn’t peel the sweet potatoes, but you certainly can if you prefer it that way.

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This is the best kind of recipe for back to school dinners and fall comfort food. It makes a big batch that is great to enjoy solo, with plenty of leftovers, or as a big family. Eat up!!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

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 Turkey Shepard’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 8 oz frozen pearl onions
  • 8 oz frozen peas
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 3/4 Cup water
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce

Process

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.
  2. Fill a medium sized pot with salted water, add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain, and return to the pot, removed from heat. Add the butter and mash together with a potato masher.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the carrots and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the ground turkey to the carrots. Break apart the turkey into small pieces while browning it. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the frozen vegetables, seasonings. Saute for a 2 minutes. Move the filling to the outside of the skillet to create a clear space in the center.
  6. Add the tomato paste in the center of the skillet, break apart and cook for 1 minute. Mix the entire mixture together and add the water and Worcestershire Sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Evenly pour the filling into a 8 x 13 pan. Top the filling with the mashed sweet potatoes.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.
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Life with a Baby: Baby Favorites @ 9 months

I don’t think Autumn ever sits still now. Well, she does sit still in the grass or on my lap when we are outside at night watching birds fly around as the sun sets, but that’s about it. She enjoys being outside as much as possible, and when she is inside and want to go out she lets you know. Her actions are very deliberate, she knows what she likes and dislikes, and she really lets you know about it either way.

These are some of the things that she really likes, and lets you know it!

Baby Favorites @ 9 months

 

Jellycat® Woodland Babe Cream Owl

My best friend’s mom got this owl for Autumn when she was a few weeks old. We always keptit in her crib and now it is her favorite thing. She sleeps with it every night, and in the morning often won’t let go of it until she has her bottle downstairs. When I put her in her crib she grabs tight to it and holds its body or wings. Sometimes she will stroke the eyebrow fluff as she falls asleep. It’s just adorable!

Since it basically is her best friend we bought an extra just incase our (jerkface) dog manages to get it and destroy it. We couldn’t risk not having one around for her, she just loves her owl too much.


Munchkin The Medicator

This was one of those things that Price put on the Amazon list and I didn’t get the point of it since Autumn’s medicines comes with droppers- it’s not like we lost them… yet. But once we used it I was a fan. She would often spit out medicine we would give her, no matter if it was cherry flavored Motrin or her 2x daily iron dose. So now we have this, which is similar to the nipple on her bottle so she will take it more easily, compared to getting medicine dropped. And we can mix breast milk or water with it so the tastes are diluted too.

 

Too Cute!

We don’t really watch many cartoons or kids programing with Autumn. We occasionally put some on but she is on the move and doesn’t pay attention to it and there is only so much Peppa Pig I can listen do while she crawls around the kitchen with a spoon in her hand. But if we put on Too Cute! she is in awe of it. She will at least sit for a few minutes to check out the animals. Sometimes she even claps around to show how much she loves it. It’s too cute! ha!

Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate

For our little girl, who is always on the move now, these baby gates are key to having her be safe. We have one located at the bottom of the stairs on our first floor and one that cuts Autumn off from the main living area to tiny hallway that leads to our first floor bathroom and to stairs to our basement. As well, we now keep the dog’s food and water bowl there to help prevent her from eating the dog food or play with Kemper’s water bowl.

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Click’n Learn Remote

Basically, Autumn wants whatever we have. If we are holding the remote, then she wants it. And, obviously, she will play around with it and the channels will change and before we know it we are watching our town’s loop of public ads or some spanish version of QVC. So we now have this toy remote that we can trick her with so she feels like she has what we have and we can still watch the news or other important things like… Extra!

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Check out more Baby Favorites:

@ 8 months

@ 7 months

@ 6 months

@ 5 months

@ 4 months

@ 3 months

@ 2 months

@ 1 month

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I’ll do a favorites post every month/stage as Autumn grows, changes, and develops.

What are some of your favorite things for 6 month olds?

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9.5-7: Weekend Recap

{Friday Night}

pick up Autumn from daycare | get beach read | photograph pie | go to beach |  Autumn gets a bath, dinner, then put to bed | Trader Joe’s pizza | blogging | start watcing Wolf of Wall Street | bed

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{Saturday}

Autumn slept very poorly- up a lot, slept on sofa with her | up early | chocolate chip muffins for breakfast | quick morning nap | go to work 10.15-2.45 | daddy, daughter time: playing, lunch, quick nap, playing | Taco Bell | 3.6 mile walk with Autumn | Price cleaned, showered | Autumn dinner, bath, bed |Pie for dinner | watch more Wolf of Wall street | NASCAR | bed

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{Sunday}

Autumn slept through the night | up early | Autumn has breakfast | get ready | walk around Fort Point while waiting for Flour to open | breakfast at Flour | passport paperwork and pictures at the post office | back home | drop price off for hair cut | Kappy’s for wine | Trader Joe’s for groceries | pick up Price | home | Autumn lunch | our lunch- chicken sausages with sauteed zucchini | Autumn naps | finish Wolf of Wall Street | Price napped- didn’t feel good | baking | blogging | dinner, bath, bed | more blogging | bed

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Kemper’s Fun Time Favorite Things

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Dogs are like babies. They require a lot of stuff.

From the crate to the bed, the toys to the clothes, the food to the treats. ALL OF IT!!

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Between our stuff, the baby’s stuff, and Kemper’s stuff it feels like our house is overflowing with things. Well, it doesn’t ‘feel like it’, it is overflowing with stuff as we’ve begun storing some things at Price’s mom’s house. Such a relief.

That being said, everything we buy for Kemper has to be affordable, small, durable, and provide a solution to a real problem. We even factor those things into his toys, esp when he has been known to rip up a new toy within 5 minutes of giving it to him. Ropes are a pretty good buy, but stuffed animals last just a few minutes so that’s not very economical or safe.

So we have been very careful with recent buys as we want things to last and be purposeful. Thankfully, we have found a great brand that works for us. Price first purchased a car seat protector from Kurgo and then we discovered more and more great things from them.

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This Wander Pail from Kurgo is a great storage solution for travel or weekend stay’s with Kemper’s dog sitter. We used it while we were camping as it has a storage part and a bowl part, which makes it compact and really useful as we don’t have to bring 2 things with us, just this one thing.

But how much does it hold? Of course, I tested it!

We weigh Kemper’s meals as he can gain/loose weight quickly. Plus his mischievous ‘sister’ Autumn likes to throw food at him from her high chair. So we monitor it closely by weighing out his meals… 75 grams to be exact!

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So I tared the scale. And then measured out one meal.

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And another. And another! That makes for 3 meals in the storage container.

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Then the serving bowl portion goes on. And another meal is measured out!

The Wander Pail can hold 4 meals for Kemper which is GREAT for a weekend away making it perfect for Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast. If you need a container to hold more food then be sure to get the Kibble Carrier as it holds 64 oz of food! Plus it has a food bowl too. That would hold 12 days of food for our monster! (Which would work perfectly for when we go on our cruise in January and he stays with our amazing dog walker…)

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Kemper really enjoyed using his Wander Pail while we were camping. And we enjoyed using as well since it was compact for our trip and was very easy to clean when we got back home as it is dishwasher safe.

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We also brought this Atomic Drop Treat Bag with us that is great to have on long walks, hikes, and trips to the dog park. It definitely has gotten a lot of use this summer as we have been enjoying the nice summer nights as we take 2 1/2 mile walks around town saying ‘hi’ to our local firefighters and muttering swears under our breath at the hills in town.

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Please?? Can I please have a treat!?!?!

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Plus now my pockets don’t stink like dog treats. And I don’t find random pieces of dried chicken in my coat pockets either. And if we are at the dog park I can leave this with the stroller outside the fence so that all the other dogs don’t try to sniff my pocket (and nearby crotch region) smelling the treats that we brought for Kemper.

The Atomic Drop Treat Bag keeps treats fresh, secure, and right at hand. You can hang it to your waist band or clip it to your belt loop or the leash loop/handle with it’s carabineer. Plus it has a tiny zipper pouch which is just big enough for storing some money and your keys. This is compact but very efficient.

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Awww, are you tired after camping?

This car seat cover has been a real life saver for our new car! LIFE SAVER! Well, seat saver… but you get my point!

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We always took care of our first car but being that it had fabric seats we could beat up a bit more than our new Rav4’s leather seats. First I was afraid of his nails damaging the seats, and then the dirt. Oh, so much dirt! Kemper gets filthy after we visit his favorite dog park, trail, park, or the beach. The sand! The dirt! The mud! Oh my!

We selected the Shorty Bench Seat Cover as Kemper is not one to lean against or jump up to place his paws on the seat back. If your dog might do then I’d suggest getting the Kurgo Bench Seat Cover as it fully extends up the seat back.

So far, everything we’ve received from Kurgo has been a big WIN for us. I think our next purchase will be a new harness as Kemper tore part of his current one that, surprisingly, has last for a year. Seriously, he destroys EVERYTHING.

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Kurgo provided us with the Wander Pail and the Treat Bag, but we purchased the car seat protector ourselves, to try and review. All opinions are my own.

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