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House Guest Entertaining

by Meghann on February 5, 2011

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!

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Maddie joined too.

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We headed to Park Ave and stumbled upon the grand opening for a new candy store along the way.

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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.

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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!

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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. :)

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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.

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‘Big Poofy Bread’ or Lavas

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Appetizer Sample for two

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We killed it.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and oats. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.   

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Fold in Mix-Ins

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Spread dough in a 9×9 pan

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Bake at 375 for 20 mins

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Homemade Oatmeal Cookie Bars at your service!

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Amanda may be the expert baker, but I’m the creative chef in the house.

Introducing Vegan Potato Lasagna

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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.

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Set to the side.

Create a filling of

  • 1/2 block of Tofu
  • Oregano
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Garlic Salt
  • Basil
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Rosemary

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Guess who opened the darn jar of pasta sauce?

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Me! Thank you all for the hot water suggestion. Worked like a charm! ;)

Spread the Pasta Sauce in a loaf pan

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Potatoes

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Tofu Filling

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And repeat till you reach the top

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I baked for 25 minutes at 375

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Served with a side salad of spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, pepitas, and raspberry dressing.

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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.’

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For dessert I had a few edges from the Oatmeal Cookie Bars.

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And I may be going back for a couple of more…. ;)

Good Night!

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stacy @ Every Little Thing February 5, 2011 at 10:31 pm

I’m from Detroit, so yay for visitors from there! I draw blanks too, when people come to visit. I never want to do the super touristy things, but all our local stuff seems “not entertaining enough.” It’s hard to entertain out-of-towners!
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2 Dannielle February 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Potato lasagna…sounds delicious although spaghetti sauce can make almost anything tasty…I feel like we have the same weird tastes for food. (I’ve been reading your blog for forever and have finally came out of hiding) IE: I drench everything in ketchup and mustard! Wish you could make my lunches/dinners…you are way more creative than me!

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3 Maryann February 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm

I want to go to the restaurant with the big poofy bread! :) Seriously, it looks so good! and the oatmeal bars too!
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4 Katy (The Singing Runner) February 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm

That candy store is adorable! :) I love the colors!
Sorry to hear about the bad service! I hate when that happens!
The lasagna looks fantastic!
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..Back to Reality and Looking to the Future

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5 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 5, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I loooove using tofu as a ricotta cheese substitute! So SO SOOOO GOOD!
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..happy irish woman

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6 Lindsey February 5, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Great idea with the tofu!
Lindsey recently posted..unfinished

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7 Ali @ Ali on the Run February 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I am in awe of the “poofy bread.” That is insane/awesome. Whoa.
Ali @ Ali on the Run recently posted..The Best Weekend Ever

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8 Kiran February 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm

ArtFest has begun in Orlando! Head over to Bess’s blog for event info tomorrow and have fun with Amanda :)
Kiran recently posted..Simple Guacamole

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9 Michelle February 5, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago when I was looking for fitness/food blogs, and have been following you on google reader since. Imagine my surprise when my family went down to Orlando for our annual December vacation, we visited Winter Park for the first time and ate at that delicious Turkish restaurant, and I get home to read the blogs and see you were there the same day! I’m so jealous you get to visit regularly! I love to hear about Orlando from those who live there and have a non-theme park perspective – we head down for about a week every year, and do one day at a theme park, but look for other things to do the rest of the week.

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10 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 5, 2011 at 11:28 pm

You really are a creative chef, I love it! That sweets shop looks so good :)
Kate (What Kate is Cooking) recently posted..Hello- February!

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11 Alaina @ The Jogging Concierge February 5, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Baking is the best thing to do on a rainy day. :-)

And does the poofy bread deflate when you break into it?
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12 Jessica @ The Virtual Scrapbook February 5, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Those cookie bars look so good. As does the potato lasagna! What a great idea!!
Jessica @ The Virtual Scrapbook recently posted..You decide

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13 ezzie February 6, 2011 at 12:18 am

That poofy bread looks super cool!! And mmm, potato lasagna, yes please~ :D
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14 Alicia February 6, 2011 at 1:05 am

yum! everything looks great!
Alicia recently posted..Spring Dreams

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15 Gill (snaxandthecity) February 6, 2011 at 3:39 am

wow looks super yummy! Having friends visit is the best. Sorry your meal experience wasn’t quite what you hoped, though – poor service is so annoying! What’s the deal in the US with tipping if the service is that bad? Do you still ‘have’ to?
Gill (snaxandthecity) recently posted..Fish in Foil

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16 ~Jessica~ February 6, 2011 at 5:23 am

Thanks for the recipe! I love your creative approach to cooking and if you ever feel like more spontaneous vegan recipes then I’d be really interested to see them, as you seem to have a natural flair for vegan cooking. That tofu lasagne/potato dish is more innovative than many featured in the vegan cookbooks I own…I’ve been vegan for five years and veggie for ten before that, and could never come up with the ideas you do!

xxx
~Jessica~ recently posted..Meals and ahem Miles

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17 Katherine: Unemployed February 6, 2011 at 6:47 am

valentines shop! red and pink everywhere
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18 Kara February 6, 2011 at 6:58 am

When people come visit me, I draw a blank too, especially in the winter. There is a ton to do around here in warm weather (since it all involves the water) but it’s pretty boring when it’s cold!
Kara recently posted..My baby is my personal trainer

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19 katie February 6, 2011 at 7:41 am

Oh candy stores are great! We had one back home called sweets from heaven that my son loved! We would go once a week, it was in the mall so he was lucky because I would go shopping once a week at the mall ( more sometimes, lol ) and I would take him there as a treat for putting up with mommy dragging him shopping in clothing stores ; ) win win situation!

The dinner you girls made looks awesome and so do those oatmeal bars, glad your friend is having a good time! Im sure she is enjoying the weather even if it rained!
katie recently posted..Tuna Love Maker

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20 Allison @ OneWhiteTulip February 6, 2011 at 8:07 am

I really want to go to that candy store! lol. It looks so good!

And I have the absolute hardest time figuring out what to do with out of town guests! Nothing seems nearly exciting enough, and something inevitably happens to discount whatever “awesome” experience I say there is. Sigh.
Allison @ OneWhiteTulip recently posted..Too much too soon- Preventing Injuries

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21 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate February 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

You sure know how to entertain ;)
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22 Lee February 6, 2011 at 9:39 am

I am the same way about Atlanta. I really like it here but when guests come, I have absolutely no idea where to take them. I had some friends come over the holidays and took them to The World of Coke, which is kind of, okay really, cheesy.

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23 Heather February 6, 2011 at 10:31 am

I have such a sweet tooth, and that candy store looks awesome! such a fun idea.
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24 Melissa February 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Looks great! What size pan did you use for the potato lasagna? Love your blog!

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25 Ali @ Ali Runs February 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm

It’s never fun to have poor service! That sweet shop looks so nice–I wish we had one like that around where I live.
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26 Cassie @ grocerygirlrd February 10, 2011 at 12:17 am

I totally made the potato lasagna tonight, I loved it!! I used part yams and part red potatoes and it turned out really yummy! I too had never really used tofu as a cheese substitute, but it worked really well!

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