It’s no secret that I love Orlando.
In fact, one of my many passions is educating the world that there’s more to Orlando than just theme parks. I’ve even dedicated an entire section of my blog to why Orlando rocks. (check it out here)
However, with all there is to do here – and no matter how much I love it – I still find myself drawing a blank on what to do when friends come to visit. My goal is to always make Orlando seem new and exciting and I’m always scared I’m going to disappoint. What I fail to realize is that the majority of the time when friends come they just want to see all the fun Orlando things I take for granted all the time. Like walking along Park Avenue or eating at my favorite restaurants.
So, that’s exactly what my friend Amanda (whose visiting from Detroit) and I did!
Maddie joined too.
We headed to Park Ave and stumbled upon the grand opening for a new candy store along the way.
Sassafras Sweet Shoppe is an adorable vintage candy store that sells just about anything you can imagine. It’s young, it’s girlie, and it’s fun.
I had a minute to talk to the owner and she was just as sweet and adorable as her shoppe. She’s a lover of candy and sweets and wanted to bring a touch of fun to the Winter Park area. I had to give her credit, she has good taste! Everywhere I turned there was something new I wanted to try!
Want to know the way to win my heart? Free chocolate. I had a bite of spicy chocolate, a piece of gingerbread, a cake ball, and a bite of apple.
Such a great candy shoppe! I know I’ll be back! Especially since she’ll be selling Sweet! Cupcakes. That fact alone sold me .
After we satisfied our sweet tooth, Amanda and I headed for lunch at “the restaurant that sells the big poofy bread” right next door.
Unfortunately lunch didn’t go exactly as planned. Here I was raving about how great my favorite restaurant and how it never disappoints when , of course, it disappoints. We ended up waiting 45 minutes for our food to arrive. Not cool. Especially since we had ordered an appetizer as our main meal. Our server was also nowhere to be found and we heard several other customers complaining about the same things we were (we even saw one table flat out leave after 30 minutes of waiting for food).
At one point we did speak with the owner (who made contact with us more than our actual server did) and she was great. Apparently the executive chef was in the hospital today and the kitchen was struggling to keep up with all the orders of lavas. She apologized profusely and promised if we stuck around lunch would be on the house.
Our server was awful, but the owner was awesome. She really saved the lackluster experience and thankfully from past experience I know this is very unusual for them, so I will me back.
We did stick around and while the food was tasty, by the time it arrived my stomach was starting to eat itself.
‘Big Poofy Bread’ or Lavas
Appetizer Sample for two
We killed it.
I ate my portion so fast I gave myself a stomachache. So good.
Then it started raining again. Boo rain!
Again, my mind was drawing a blank so we headed back to the apartment and bake instead.
Amanda is an expert baker. I am not. Basically I watched her do her thing and ate the crumbs along the way. I was in charge of the ‘mix-ins’ though!
Oatmeal Cookie Bars
- 3/4 cup Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 stick Butter
- 6 tbsp Sugar
- 6 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Egg
- 1 cup Oats
- 1 cup Mix-ins (we used a mix oh chocolate, peanut butter chips, & pecans)
Cream butter, egg, sugars, and vanilla.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and oats. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.
Fold in Mix-Ins
Spread dough in a 9×9 pan
Bake at 375 for 20 mins
Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Bars at your service!
Amanda may be the expert baker, but I’m the creative chef in the house.
Introducing Vegan Potato Lasagna
Somehow my desire to eat up my overstock of potatoes evolved from regular ole roasted potatoes to Vegan Potato Lasagna. Don’t know how that happened.
Start by slicing a dozen or so mini purple and red potatoes and roasting for 10 minutes at 400.
Set to the side.
Create a filling of
- 1/2 block of Tofu
- Nutritional Yeast
- Garlic Salt
Guess who opened the darn jar of pasta sauce?
Me! Thank you all for the hot water suggestion. Worked like a charm!
Spread the Pasta Sauce in a loaf pan
And repeat till you reach the top
I baked for 25 minutes at 375
Served with a side salad of spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, pepitas, and raspberry dressing.
This was my first time using tofu as a cheese like substitute and i was pleasantly surprised with how tasty it was. I also loved the starch texture the potatoes gave the ‘lasagna.’
For dessert I had a few edges from the Oatmeal Cookie Bars.
And I may be going back for a couple of more….