Two weekends ago, I attended my college’s 5-year reunion! It’s hard for me to believe I graduated 5 years ago from The University of Scranton, because it seems like just yesterday (isn’t that what all old people say?), but so much has changed on the campus since I was there as a student back in 2008. It was a lot of fun to check out the brand new science building, stay in one of the new apartment styled dorms, work-out in the amazingly fancy new gym, and reconnect with people I haven’t seen since the glory days.

The magic in the mountains!
The magic in the mountains!

My friends and I didn’t have much planned aside from the cocktail hour and class dinner on Saturday evening, so I took to the Internets (of course) to see what, if anything, was new in Scranton in terms of food to check out. I figured I might as well get some good eats while I was in the area! My college roommate and I headed to a Mexican restaurant that I had been to once before for dinner on Friday night, and obviously started things off the right way – with a margarita! I got the coconut margarita, which was delicious. It tasted like a lighter version of the typically creamy and heavy pina colada. It was a perfect match for my combination plate of enchilada, chalupa, and burrito.

Coconut Margarita

We were planning to race a cross country 5k on Saturday morning, but thanks to the rain and some flooding on Friday those plans were thwarted. I didn’t really mind too much, though, because we were staying in the dorm apartments, and I forgot just how uncomfortable dorm room beds are… so extra “sleep” was appreciated. We eventually got up and made our way to the new gym on campus – SO amazing! I spent my college years in a gym from the 80’s that definitely needed some updating… though I never complained while I was there because it served its purpose. But man, the new gym is spectacular – rows and rows of treadmills and elipticals, tons of free weights and weight machines, all in a well lit and spacious area. Plus, it’s on the bottom floor of one of the dorms, which is perfect for people that live in the building!

So fancy!
So fancy!


After our time at the gym, I convinced my roommate to check out Eden A Vegan Cafe for lunch. I found the restaurant on Yelp, and whenever I have the opportunity to eat at a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, I do it! It’s nice to be able to walk into a place and order anything I want, instead of trying to find what I can have. When we first walked in and looked at the menu, my roommate turned to me and said; “wait, I’m confused…” because everything on the menu seemed to be a meat dish (burger, turkey sandwich, BLT, etc.). It was funny, but at the same time I could understand how it was confusing – so tried to explain it to her the best I could. Eventually she settled on a tuna melt, and I went with a chili cheeseburger and a green refresher smoothie. The restaurant is actually right next door to a tattoo parlor (where I got my very first tattoo – looks like it moved a few blocks), and I was tempted to go and get something… but I didn’t! The food was awesome, and I have every intention of heading back on my next trip to the electric city!

No meat here!
No meat here!

After lunch, we wanted a little something sweet, so we headed to Northern Light Cafe a few blocks away. This was the place to go when you were trying to get your serious study on in college. It was a nice change of pace from the library, and sitting in a coffee shop typing or reading away gave us all a sense of being “grown ups.” I ordered a soy chai latte and a 7-layer cookie bar, and was definitely stuffed by the time we got back to the dorm where we were staying.

Northern Light Chai Latte

By the time we had finished gallivanting around downtown Scranton, we had to get ready for the all-classes cocktail hour and then class dinner. The university does their reunions in 5-year increments (obviously), so since I graduated in 2008, my class was there for their reunion along with any other class that graduated with a ‘3 or ‘8. So we had the opportunity to mingle with other graduating classes during the cocktail hour, and then sat down for a dinner with just our class, which was served by plenty cafeteria workers I recognized! It was fun to catch up with old classmates, but it was clear that being only 5 years out of school, the different groups of friends that hung out while we were in college still exist today. There wasn’t a ton of mingling, but I imagine that will change as the years go by.

After cocktails and dinner we headed to some of the local bars to continue the fun, and before I knew it the weekend was over and I was driving on route 380 and 80 back to good ‘ole Central Jersey. It was great to spend time with people I don’t see too often (and people I get to see all the time!) and check out some new and old favorites. I have every intention of heading back to Eden next time I’m in the electric city, and with all the changes and updates that are happening at the University, I can’t wait to see what’s new next time.

Where did you go to schoool? Do you still visit?
Have you ever been to a high school or college reunion? 

I’ll take you to the Candy Shop

Yes, those are in fact lyrics from a 50 Cent song, that I listened to many a times in a crowded Scranton basement in college. Candy Shop also happens to be the sub-brand of the Duncan Hines brownies I made tonight. I know, you’re thinking I’m a total cop-out for using a brownie mix instead of making my own while having a food blog. Well while wandering down the baking aisle at Target today, I stumbled upon a peanut butter brownie box and had to have it. Sometimes making mix out of the box is just as fun as making them from scratch? And by fun, I really just mean easy.

My fiancé has a seriously delicious salmon recipe that he got from his dad. It’s super easy, and I beg him every now and again to make it. So, after some coaxing this past week, he gave in and made it for me tonight, after letting it marinate overnight. We paired it with rice, and boy did it hit the spot! While I’m forbidden for sharing the recipe (so unfair, I know) I can at least show you how delicious it looked!

Back to the reasoning behind the post, the peanut butter brownies! I always find it interesting that brownie mixes provide you two options; one for fudgey brownies, and one for cake-like brownies. I always think to myself, “who wants cake-like brownies?! Fudge is where it’s at!” I suppose there are some people that would disagree, but I always go for the ultimate fudge-factor. That’s why I’m a huge fan of Ghiradelli’s mixes. For something that only required me to combine the brownie mix, a little bit of oil, water, and an egg and throw it in the oven for about 30 minutes, I’m impressed. Sure, I probably could have made better brownies myself, but it also would have taken me a lot longer. Sometimes a little sacrifice in authenticity is allowed for a quick treat on a weeknight. These badboys will be an excellent afternoon snack tomorrow during my 2:30pm “I really still have 3 more hours of work?” wallowing.

So I thought I’d end the post with a question: what’s your favorite straight-from-the-box dessert mix?

Happy nomzing!