Friday, December 28, 2012

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Just so you know, I still fully intend to blog about desserts that are bad for you but oh-so-good for your tastebuds.  Really.  Your tastebuds will thank you for these.

I constantly reaffirm how much I'm not on the "red velvet" bandwagon.  But these brownies are thought-provoking.  As in, "I think I may be in love with these red velvet brownies".

Let's break this situation down:
1. There's cheesecake involved.  Actually, there's cream cheese involved that turns into a cheesecake-like batter.  Gimme.
2. I melted some high quality dark chocolate all up in this piece.  Things went down like that.
3. I'm a sucker for a good swirled dessert.  It could be a simple marble cake that gets me.  In this case, it just happens to be a fudge-y, rich red-and-white brownie.

On a related side note, do you know what I DON'T have in my kitchen?  An 8- or 9-inch square pan.  Exactly the pan that I need to bake brownies.  I guess I just never bake brownies enough for this to be a problem.  For about 3 minutes, I entertained the idea of running to Target to pick up a new pan.  Then I realized I didn't have enough time to do that.  Then I tried to use two loaf pans instead.  Um, these will make thin brownies.  Thin brownies are no bueno.  Finally, I ended up using an 8 x 10 inch casserole dish.  So maybe I should have asked for a brownie pan for Christmas.  Only need to wait 360-something more days for it to come...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Candy Cane Vodka

This year, a few friends of mine decided to set up a Secret Santa exchange.  We got really into it and it ended up being more than awesome.  As I was deciding which gifts to give, Tracy from Shutterbean got all up in my face.  You know what she did?  She showed me how to make Candy Cane Vodka.  I was beside myself.

I'm not typically a fan of vodka.  Did you know that?  Probably not.  But I do make certain exceptions.  The first is for Strawberry Infused Vodka.  The second is for this Candy Cane Vodka.  I love the way it looks so pink and pretty.  It also tastes amazingly peppermint-y.  And it's hella strong.  Yeah, I said "hella".

Anywaysssss, I got super excited about this.  I knew I had to make this goodness for my Secret Santa and also the other ladies in the exchange.  Because why not share all this wealth?  I picked up some containers from Michael's (which, by the way, is the death trap for all things Christmas-y) and got to work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Honey Greek Yogurt with Pomegranates & Pistachios


Dessert for breakfast is where it's at.  I know this because I just experienced this fact this morning.  In fact, I may also experience this again tomorrow morning.  That's just how I roll.

I'm deeply involved in an illicit affair with yogurt, honey, and pomegranates.  Seriously.  I can't get enough of them.  I am writing this as I sit with a tub of pomegranate arils on my stomach.  I am force feeding them into my face with a spoon.  Things are getting real rough around here, people.  Real rough.  So I decided to roll all this fun stuff together.  Adding some pistachios ain't so bad either.  Oh yeah.  Make this happen.

I wish I could say I was clever enough to think of this all by myself, but I'm not.  I totally "borrowed" this recipe from Gina over at Skinny Desserts.  Let's be honest.  We could all use a low-calorie dessert/breakfast in these overindulgent times.  However, I still want something scrumptious.  And this is that.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Greek Chicken Stew with Cauliflower

I'm sick, y'all.  At least I was sick when I decided to make this dish.  Now, I'm on the recovery bandwagon.

One of the overarching reasons I decided to go with a chicken stew this week is that I was really feeling run down by the flu.  The flu! After years of only experiencing colds during the winter months, the flu bug finally bit me.  And it bit hard! I was incapable of making it to work for two whole days this week, and that's never happened in the 6 years I've had this job.  I could barely even make it to the next room.  It was bad.  So a few days after I was able to move around freely, I conjured up this beauty.

I really don't make stews a whole lot.  But I dug this recipe up from the NYTimes and decided I needed to make this for myself.  What better way to provide comfort than through food?  That's pretty much status quo for me.  Don't act surprised.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Black Swan: A Review

This post.  Uhhhh, yeah.  This. Post.

I had the best intentions.  I swear to you that I did.  I wanted to do another review post, complete with beautiful (albeit iPhone) pics.  I stepped into Black Swan and was swept away with the beautiful decor, the dark wood, and the homey atmosphere.  Though I've never actually been in an English pub, I would imagine that it looks something like this place.  I want to live here.  I took lots of pictures.

Get ready for the pretty pictures...


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Spinach Pie

I may or may not have completely skipped Thanksgiving recipes on this blog.  So little time and so many things to do.  Sorry friends, but I'm just going to twist things around and say that I was being a rebel.  This may also be known as "Oops.  I didn't get around to planning that far in advance."  Sorry.

But we press on...

You know those recipes you really want to make, but you keep putting off for some reason or another?  Yeah, I have those.  In fact, I have quite a few of them.  Most of those recipes involve yeast or phyllo dough.

Recently, I saw that one of those recipes that I have a love/hate relationship with, spanikopita, was remade by Beth M of Budget Bytes. Spanikopita is typically the second thing I order when I sit down at a Greek restaurant.  (Clearly, I order the saganaki, or flaming cheese first.  Seriously.  The cheese is set on fire.  You have to love it.  Hot, flaming cheese. Stop it now.)  I've always wanted to replicate the spanikopita I get at restaurants, but each recipe I took a look at required me to work with those dreaded phyllo sheets.  Nope.  Thanks.  Bye.

Then Beth turned things around with a single blog post.  I was introduced to the beautiful spinach pie.  It makes use of a puff pastry sheet, frozen spinach, and lots of cheese.  Yeah, let's do it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pizza Hummus

I'm in the middle of thinking about cleaning out my pantry.

I tend to have great epiphanies in the grocery store and I end up purchasing canned vegetables that I just KNOW I will use within the next week because I have all these amazing recipe ideas that I want to try out.

Now let's fast forward to about 10 months later, when that same can of garbanzo beans is still staring me in the face. Hmmmm...why did I buy this again?

Interestingly enough, I was browsing my old Food Network magazines the other day (no power in the aftermath of Sandy means you look through a lot of magazines) when I stumbled upon a writeup for three variations of hummus.  Jackpot!  Though I do love hummus, there are just so many other snacks out there that I want to try.  I also want to blog and share those recipes with you.  Truth.  I honestly could only get away with blogging about plain old regular hummus once.  Once and that's it.  Let that bad boy go.  So you can see why I was so excited to find other hummus options.

I had a really hard time picking between the three recipes, but I ended up choosing the pizza-flavored dip since everyone loves pizza.  By everyone, I mean me.  I won't tell you about the other hummus flavors just yet, because I want to make and blog about them later.  It's a surprise!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Apple Grilled Cheese

What do you do when you're stuck indoors in 50 degree weather and with no power?  You make quick and easy comfort meals.  And who would blame me if those meals happen to include bread, melted cheese, and apples?

Hey, I need to get my daily serving of fruit from somewhere, right?

Truth be told, I was attempting to channel Jessica's Caramel Apple Grilled Cheese which looks so so scrumptious.  However, since my internet options were severely limited and I also didn't have a source of power with which to charge my phone or tablet, I decided to just wing this recipe.  Apparently, that meant I missed an in-your-face key ingredient that may also be a part of the recipe name: caramel.  I have a jar of salted caramel just begging to be dipped into.  So yeah.  That may have been a slight fail on my part, but I think we can overlook that.  What really matters is that this sandwich made for an awesome and comforting lunch.  It was super simple to assemble and in no time I was sitting down to enjoy it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rosemary Pork Roast

Heyyyy!  If you haven't already heard, I weathered Hurricane Sandy about two weeks ago.  And while I emerged unscathed, I can't exactly say the same for my frozen meals (or the town of Hoboken, but that's a really, really long and sad story).  The freezer is pretty much empty now.  Sigh...I hate to throw away food but I've had food poisoning once and I don't actually feel guilty enough to want to risk getting food poisoning again.  I'll take a pass on that, thanks.

With this month's Secret Recipe Club's assignment, I knew I would need to start stocking up my freezer once again.  I figured I'd start with meat.  It's so versatile that it can be eaten alone, on a sandwich, with sides to make a full meal, etc...  This month's assignment gave me the opportunity to make something from Miz Helen's Country Cottage.

Miz Helen's a cool lady.  I can tell.  She has a ton of recipes for me to choose from, but of course my wandering eye strayed to a rosemary pork roast.  Who doesn't love rosemary?  It's one of my favorite herbs and I could eat it all day.  Don't make me prove it to you.  Let's get into this!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sabrina's Cafe: A Review

I apologize for my absence the last week or so. You see, I've been busy. I live in Hoboken and we sort of got hit pretty hard with the hurricane and storm surges. So yes, my apologies.

And now I'm back. I'm back with the review that I promised you about a week ago. There's this place in Philadelphia called Sabrina's Cafe. It's off the beaten path, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from the amount of people standing outside waiting.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Livin' the Life: 10/29/2012

Sandy's coming!

For those of you who may be living under a rock, Sandy would be that big hurricane coming toward us.  Well, technically it's not a big hurricane (it's a Category 1 out of 5), but it's big enough that NYC and NJ are freaking out and shutting ish down with a vengeance.  It took me over an hour to find a parking garage with an available spot in Hoboken today.  Let's not talk about it.

Let's discuss the awesome weekend I had in Philly.  I spent a few days visiting friends in the area and then went to a beautiful Citizen Cope show at the Electric Factory.

Bacon Avocado Omelette

I need to get back to my roots.  My roots include bacon.  And I can also never say no to avocado.

When it fell upon moi-self to whip up brunch this weekend, I set out to do two things:

1) Use up leftovers.  I have wayyyy too many leftover ingredients in this kitchen.  It's disgusting.  I need to eat more.
2) I'm back on my high-protein diet, so whatever I made needed to help out with that situation.

My roommate bought a crap ton of eggs so I snuck two of those to whip up an omelette.  Of course I have bacon in the freezer, Parmesan cheese in the fridge, and an avocado on the counter.  So we're going to add those into the mix as well.

Hello, fresh and healthy omelette. I like you.  I also threw in a side of mashed sweet potato.  Because I had some hanging around.  You know I can't quit that stuff.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Apple Picking at Terhune Orchards

'Tis the season!

Fall is my tippy-top favorite season of the year.  I can't wait to see the tree leaves changing colors.  I can't wait for any type of food that could potentially contain pumpkin.  I love slipping into my boots, a pair of leggings and an oversized sweatshirt.  So that's pretty much how I'm rolling around these parts.

Since I grew up in the Bahamas, it's pretty safe to say that there are no apple orchards there.  They may be one flourishing apple tree, but that would definitely be it.  So when I moved to Connecticut for high school (ahem...way back when), I was excited to be taken out for my first apple picking experience.  As expected, it was a ton of fun.  Since then I've been apple-picking a handful of times, but in the past year or so, I've promised to make this an annual habit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

There are few things that I get more excited about (food-wise) than sweet potatoes.  I eat them year-round, but there's something extra special about enjoying them during the fall months.  Every bite seems that much more enjoyable.

When it came time for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I confess that I totally did a search for sweet potato recipes.  I mean, fall IS in full swing, right?  So why not take advantage of it and whip up something containing one of my favorite vegetables?

This month, I was assigned The Tasty Cheapskate's blog.  In terms of concept, this blog really reminds me of my own.  I also think it's important to have tasty, fresh, and healthy (OK, so maybe that cupcake phase I went through wasn't entirely healthy) food in your home.  I wish I could have made several of the recipes I found there, but as I said before I was pretty focused on my sweet potato quest.  And thankfully, The Tasty Cheapskate came through for me!  Sweet Potato Chips.  Winner!

I can't even handle it.  I live for sweet potato chips.  I will eat them at a moment's notice.  And yet for some reason, I've never even thought to make them.  Let's fix that, alright?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Caramelized Onion, Chorizo & Goat Cheese Pizza

I've been running around like a maniac for the past week or three.  I seriously need a vacation like nobody's business.  But that won't happen soon.  And I was "persuaded" to take on another project that will finish up in November.  So until then, I'll once again be harried.  Story of my life.

Let's not dwell on that.  Let's dwell on something that I've never had on this blog before.  Pizza.  The main reason that I haven't made this food before has to do with the dreaded dough.  As I've mentioned in the past, I am not a fan of making dough so I don't do it.  I feel no need to challenge myself.  I'd rather get an extra workout in or grab a beer with a friend.  Facts.

After my trip to The Brooklyn Local last week, I found a package of flatbreads in my awesome gift bag.  At the event, these flatbreads were being used as wraps for cold cuts and cheeses.  I'm not such a fan of those but I decided that the bread would be excellent as a pizza crust.

Since I'm typically eating for one (or two when I'm just plain old starving), it's a pretty fair assumption that I have oodles of leftover ingredients hanging out in the kitchen.  That may be an accurate assumption.  I pulled together a few of my favorite ingredients to create this pizza.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sweet Potato Pancakes

I need to preface this post by saying that I do not prefer pancakes.  To really emphasize this point, I will have you know I have not made pancakes since I was living at home.  In the Bahamas.  When I was 16.

I will eat pancakes, but usually they're stuffed with chocolate chips.  I like chocolate a lot.

Another thing that I'm not a big fan of is maple syrup, which makes the whole pancake thing sooooo much more difficult.

I sort of stumbled into making these particular pancakes.  I actually wanted to make waffles with leftover sweet potato puree.  However, such an endeavor requires a waffle maker.  That would be one of the items that is absent from my kitchen, so I decided I'd just convert my waffles into pancakes because really, it couldn't be that difficult.  And it wasn't.  The batter ended up making pancakes that smelled and tasted like spices and autumn.  The texture of the pancakes was light and fluffy, which reminded me of cake.  You all know how much I love cake...cupcakes specifically, but I'm not too picky.

I ate these for brunch.  I ate these again for dinner.  And then I ate them in between meals as a snack.  Since I've already mentioned my sort-of-dislike of maple syrup, I decided to drizzle these with honey.


Who knew and didn't tell me?  Seriously.  Honey is the new maple syrup.  I can't go back.  I am in love with honey on any given day.  But when it's poured on top of sweet and savory pancakes...let's just say that things got real up in this kitchen.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

City Harvest's The Brooklyn Local: A Review

Freedom Tower from DUMBO

Last weekend my friend Katie and I visited yet another food festival in New York.  This time, we descended upon the lovely borough of Brooklyn for City Harvest's The Brooklyn Local.  The Brooklyn Local is an annual artisanal market which is very reminiscent of Smorgasburg.  Although we missed last year's inaugural event, this year's festival was graced with beautiful weather and oodles of quality vendors with tasty wares.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mushroom Pasta with Goat Cheese & Edamame Mint Sauce

The name of this post may or may not be a mouthful.  (Hint: it is.)  Sometimes I'm just not sure what to call things, so I go a little wild.  You like it.  I know you do.

I've been racking my brain for months.  Way too much time has passed by while I attempted to come up with a recipe for some mushroom pasta I snagged a while ago.  I like mushrooms, but I don't love them.  So why did I purchase this pasta?  I don't know.  That's the truth.  I saw a ton of pasta options in front of my eyes and my mind just went blank and I purchased everything.  This may be one of my faults.

Unfortunately, this meant that my mushroom pasta sat all by its lonesome in the pantry for more time than I care to discuss.  I felt a pang of guilt each time I opened the pantry door and pulled something else out to cook.

So I finally put my foot down.  It was time to make this pasta into something tasty.  Yes.  Yes it was.  By this point, I actually had a few recipes earmarked as potential "mushroom pasta" recipes.   I picked up the latest one that had caught my eye and set out to make this thing go down.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Livin' the Life 9/18/2012

I haven't done one of these lifestyle posts in a while.  I swear I've been doing fun and interesting things.  Promise!

This past weekend, I drove up to Boston to perform in a dance show.  What up beantown?

The view from my hotel room.  MIT's buildings, all up in my grill.

My Friday night post dinner drink and snack.  Yeah, that's how I was living.
Disclaimer: I also couldn't go crazy because I was saving my energy for the performance
on Saturday night.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Roasted Onion and Shallot Tart

Tarts.  It's time for tarts.  I can feel it in the air.  This is my way of easing back into the kitchen after a summer filled with sandwiches and salads.  I can't say that my sandwich-and-salad phase was a bad thing.  In fact, it was quite a tasty thing.  But now it's time for something different.

I found a few recipes for various tarts in my extensive stash, but this roast onion and shallot tart quickly jumped out at me.  I've been meaning to make this for months, mostly because (I'm not gonna lie) the pictures of the tart sucked me in.  It was just begging to be made, so I decided to take on the challenge.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Puffy Oven Apple Pancake

It's time once again for my monthly Secret Recipe Club post!

This month I had the pleasure of checking out The Double Dipped Life, which belongs to Krista alllll the way in Utah.  I had a great time looking through the recipes on Krista's blog. Maybe I was just really hungry this month.  That wouldn't be unheard of.

I was torn between making Mexican Street Corn or the Puffy Oven Apple Pancake.  I really just want to make it all! But there are only so many hours in a day and I can only eat so much.  In the end, I chose to make the puffy oven apple pancake.  I'm really excited about this decision for several reasons.  Want to hear them?  Here we go...

1) Shut up that this recipe is from Betty Crocker.  The Betty Crocker Cookbook is one of the first cookbooks I remember leafing through.  Ever.  My mom had an old cookbook that my sister and I would use when pretending to serve in our very own restaurant, complete with paper food cutouts that we made ourselves.

2) Hellooooo! Fall recipe!  Between the apple and the spices, I'm not sure what exactly I was more into.  Maybe the apple.  No wait, maybe the spices?  Oh hold up, brown sugar's in here too?

3) Can I get an amen for breakfast as lunch/dinner?  I love breakfast dishes but I don't love eating a meal early in the morning.  Of course, I then spend the day trying to squeeze breakfast into my other meals.

4) Finally, this recipe was laid back and easy. Just my style.  It took no time to whip together all the ingredients and produce this huge, tasty pancake.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Salad

Did you already know about the wonders of a rotisserie chicken?  Seriously, I only made this discovery this week!  I'm back on my high protein diet, but was feeling lazy, so what did I do?  I grabbed myself a whole chicken that somebody else roasted.  It was tender and juicy and I didn't to do a dang thing other than pick it up and pay for it.

But then I encountered a problem.  There's really only so much rotisserie chicken that one can eat just so.  After a few rounds, I was feeling the need to switch things up.  So I took this opportunity to create a recipe that I've had my eye on for a while.  This sweet and spicy chicken salad is actually an adaptation of the recipe I was really going for.  That's ok.  When you're at home on a holiday weekend, the last thing you want to do is run back to the grocery store for extra provisions.  Improvisation is your friend.  And yes, things worked out splendidly.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Roasted Beet Salad With Feta & Arugula

Just so you know, I have a humongous, stupidly long list of recipes that I want to make one day.  They happen to be saved in my browser's Bookmarks section, separated by categories and in order of my desire to make said recipes.  They also happen to be residing within the food magazines that I receive regularly and store in the corner of my bedroom.  It is also possible that I have a binder with categorized recipes that have been ripped out of other food magazines.

With this veritable derth of recipes at my fingertips (I'm feeling very verbose at the moment), why why why would I choose to make something that I don't already have a recipe for?  These are the questions one must ask oneself.  This is just crazy, folks.

Last week, as I was driving back to Hoboken from my client's office in Pennsylvania, I began to think about beets.  Specifically, roasted beets in a salad.  With this image in mind, I hit up the local farmer's market and was able to snag a bunch of red beets and another bunch of golden beets. The first step of this game plan was to roast these beets.  That took place here.

I also got carried away and grabbed some arugula, corn, and basil at the market.  These are perfect fixings to create a sweet, savory, and healthy salad.  Note that this salad is more of an "assemblage" deal.  I'm sort of liking that. It allows me to start eating sooner!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How To Roast Beets

Beets happen to be one of those things I sort of associate with an aluminum can (or in more recent years, a glass container).  Make no mistake.  I have no problem chomping down on those beets.  I have always been a fan of these lovely root vegetables.

However, I recently began wondering if I could roast my own beets.  I have no idea where this urge came from.  It's just one of those things I can't explain.  There are a lot of things I can't explain about myself, but let's not go there.

Let's talk about beets.  Roasted beets, specifically.  Roasted beets are tender and slightly smoky, yet slightly sweet.  They're one of my new go-to vegetables.  You can do a lot with them.  More on that topic coming in a future blog post...

This "recipe" is more of a guideline.  Before I woke up one day and decided to roast my own beets, I didn't realize how easy it would be.  I found out that the most difficult part was trying to get the red beet stain off my fingers.  After the first beet, I got wise and donned the latex gloves that I keep around to chop jalapenos.  This is a wise move, my friends.

I was able to find both red and golden beets at my local farmers market, so I snagged those and got to work on roasting them up!  Another smart move is to take those beet greens and saute them with some garlic and red wine vinegar.  Go on with your bad self.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Esca & Spiegelworld: A Review


This past weekend, my friend Katie and I decided to catch up over an excellent meal at Esca and an off-Broadway show called Spiegelworld.  Both were amazing and fascinating and I had such a great time.

Here's what went down at Esca:

Esca is a fantastic southern Italian trattoria specializing in seafood.  There is a beautiful patio space out back, and since it was a nice evening, that's where Katie and I chose to dine.  Interestingly enough, this restaurant is also a collaboration between Dave Pasternack, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich.  So already I had high hopes for my dinner.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cinnamon Streusel Muffins

I've been going all out lately.  I mean, I've been doing some serious travel and I just need to a take a breather.  At this particular moment, my breather happens to involve cinnamon and muffins and crispy crunchy streusel. Yes, I like this kind of breather.

In all my blog life, I've never made cinnamon streusel muffins.  I'm not sure why, especially because this is my go-to muffin in real life.  There's nothing quite like spicy cinnamon and sweet brown sugar topping melted over a soft, spongy cake.

Did you also know that you can freeze muffins?  Yes, you can.  Wrap them up and throw them in the freezer.  The next time you desire a warm, sweet treat for breakfast, pop one in the microwave oven for a few seconds and it's just as if it was freshly baked!

Don't sleep on this.  Make sure you whip up your own cinnamon streusel goodness.  This is not a game, folks.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pineapple Sangria

Dearest friends:  I apologize for being absent for so long.  You see, I've spent the past few weeks visiting the South (Huntsvilleeee, what up!), rehearsing (thinking about rehearsing) for a dance performance coming up in September, and traveling to Vermont to be a bridesmaid for my friend's wedding.  And when I wasn't doing any of that stuff, I was probably at work.

I will be so excited when I finally get to spend 24 hours within a 1hr radius of my home.  It looks as if that won't happen until this Friday.  As I patiently await that beautiful day, I will shower you with booze, courtesy of Camille of the Growing Up Gabel blog, which happens to be my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month!

Gee, what can I say about this liquid gold?  First of all, I love pineapple.  Second of all, I love wine.  And these two things happen to be the main ingredients in this awesome and simple cocktail.  I also happen to have quite a paltry selection of beverages on this blog.  And by "selection", I'm talking about my lone strawberry infused vodka beverage post.  I figured I should do something about that.  Really, who can say no to a fruity, sparkling (and boozy) drink?

That's what I thought.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Livin' the Life 8/6/2012

This weekend, I took my very first jaunt to my roommate's hometown of Huntsville, Alabama! The real reason for the trip was to celebrate my roomate's new nephew who will be arriving later this year. A group of 4 of us flew down to the South and we had exciting times filled with family, friends, and NASA.

Can you see the body of the plane reflected in the engine? I'm really into reflections lately.

My roomie's mom made the best lasagne...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oven Roasted Corn with Honey Chili Butter

Public Service Announcement: I'm always thinking of ways to make this blog better.  I'm also always thinking of ways to make it easier for readers to access these posts.  Recently, one of my friends said that she would read my blog more often if the posts were emailed to her.  Sooooo, I set up this snazzy new email feature which you can find in that box over to the right of the screen.  Sign up now!

OK, now on to this corn situation we seem to have here...

I love when I find a new way to make or serve corn.  It gets me all excited and I can't wait to share it with you!  You ready? Here we go...
  • Buy fresh corn.
  • Throw corn in preheated oven for 35 minutes.
  • Done.
Why am I just finding out about this cooking methodology now?  The corn is roasted in its own husk and is slightly firm and sweet once done.

Oh, and Beth also recommended that I make a honey chili butter to go along with this corn.  Why yes, Beth, I think I shall.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I may have a snacking problem.  Except that I don't really think of it as a problem.  I just really can't help it that I want to eat something every few hours.  Or every hour, but who's counting?

My most recent favorite snacks include the likes of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter (I blame Joy and Tracy for this one), Starbucks' bistro boxes, Starbucks' cashew and almond packets, Fage greek yogurt with honey, and grilled cheese.  In my defense, I usually put together a few of these items to form what I like to call a "meal".  So if you think about it that way, I guess I'm not always snacking, technically.

To be honest, this is how I make it through a whole week of traveling without gaining 10 pounds a month.  It's no big secret that I've been keeping.  Mostly, my diet developed out of a desire to eat everything in sight.  Eventually, I settled on having a little bit of each thing.  Here's an example of my lunch from earlier this week: small Whole Foods salad with hard-boiled eggs and grilled chicken, a California Roll, half a grilled cheese sandwich (it was a tomato and spinach grilled cheese!), and a small bowl of soup.  I'm accustomed to getting odd looks from cashiers.  This is the pure randomness of my food life.  Just let it be.

Usually the summer doesn't put me in a grilled cheese mood.  In fact, I'm usually only in a grilled cheese mood when I go out to a diner and someone else can make it for me.  However, I've been getting cravings for it in recent weeks so I decided to throw another concoction together.  And this time I threw in some asparagus.  I can't claim all the credit, though.  I got this idea from Kevin over at Closet Cooking.  He's got a great selection of grilled cheese recipes just ripe for the taking!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chefs & Champagne 2012: A Review

It's been a whirlwind weekend for me, friends!

First off, I drove to Central Jersey on Friday for a work training event.  Yeah, I got that 9-5 to think about too. Friday evening, the roommate and I drove up to Poughkeepsie to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday/going-away party.  Since what happened that night will stay within the 4 walls of the The Orient, I will just leave it at that.  The next morning we all had brunch, and then I was on my way to the Hamptons for this year's James Beard Foundation's Chefs & Champagne Event.

My friend Ya-Roo took me and another friend to this event for the first time last year and we had an amazing time.  We had so much fun that we decided to go back again this year!   To sum things up, JBF Chef's & Champagne is an annual tasting event with small plates created by celebrity and well-known chefs.  For the most part, the chefs are all affiliated with restaurants in the NY/Philly area.  This works out well for me, as I spend a lot of time in both locations and thus have the opportunity to visit these restaurants.  Last year and this year, I fell in love with new restaurants that I never would have even known about if not for this event.

Here's a photo collage of my food journey.  I'm hungry again just putting this post together!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Corn, Asparagus & Green Bean Salad

Maybe you've figured this out by now.  If not, I'm about to tell you:  I have begun an obsession with vegetables.  This means that you can expect to see a few veggie-related dishes on this blog in the near future. Just a heads-up.

Corn.  Let's talk about it.  There's nothing like a fresh ear of corn.  Or, in my case, fresh corn kernels.  I have an aversion to eating corn on the cob, even though I become obsessed with fresh corn kernels all summer long.  I have this burning desire to put corn in everything.  The end of corn season is a sad sad time in my kitchen.  (Although that means that Fall is right around the corner and that's my hands-down favorite season!)

This week, I was inspired to make a corn salad by Julia from Fat Girl in a Skinny Body. This is my first real taste of this year's summer corn so I wanted to keep things simple.  I didn't want to drown it in heavy cream like my scalloped corn with bacon from last year.  (Did I mention that dish turned out magnificently delicious?  I may need to make that scalloped corn again.)  But for now, I wanted to have a light side dish that really allows you to taste the corn and asparagus.  Don't forget the asparagus, since that's in season as well.  Oh, and I also tossed in green beans, just because I had them on hand.  Don't you cook like this too?   I can't be the only one.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spring Vegetable Pasta

Every once in a while I try to do an inventory of all the straggler items in the refrigerator and pantry.  This time around, I found some All Mixed Up pasta that I had purchased a while ago.  I think I may be turning into a pasta hoarder, because I know for certain that there's more pasta up there.  It's such an easy purchase to justify.  You never know when you need to whip together a quick dinner for house guests...

OK, so we rarely have house guests.  And when we do, since my roommate and I live in Hoboken we can either walk a few blocks to indulge in dinner or simply jump on the internet to have it delivered to our door within 30 minutes.  I'm working on getting my pasta issue in check.  Truly, I am. The first step is to use up the pasta which is in our pantry, willing and able to feed a family of 8.

As I was looking through the Adventures in all Things Food blog which was assigned to me this month by the Secret Recipe Club, I stumbled across a Spring Pea Pasta recipe.  Now, I've made some sort of pasta dish for several of my previous SRC posts.  I recently swore that I would move away from this approach and make something different.  Uh, but Andrea's pasta calls for peas, zucchini, and cheese.  You know how much I love those things!  Maybe I'll cave for just one more month...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad

Who the heck am I to tell you how to make a Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad?

I mean, it's pretty self explanatory, right?  Well, the goal of this blog isn't solely to provide you with new recipes and recipe ideas.  It's also to remind you of simple, tried-and-true recipes that you may not always think about.  With all the fancy food being slung around the food blogger-sphere these days, sometimes you just need to take a step back.

Also, (and this is full-disclosure) it's summer.  Let's be real.  At times I'd rather be out with friends enjoying this great weather instead of inside cooking.  This is just a fact of summertime life.  I still love you.  That is truth. I love you enough to give you this simple Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad to cool you down this July.  

...See what I'm doing here?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Livin' the Life 7/7/2012 & Giveaway Winner

The past few days have brought forth some "4th of July" goodness.  Yup.  Goodies.  All up in this blog post...and the SlimKicker giveaway winner will be announced!

 Making a Secret Recipe Club Recipe dish.  I've been trying to stay away from pasta since I've already made a few SRC pasta dishes.  Maybe next month...

Monday, July 2, 2012

French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

Whoever first came up with this idea was a genius.  Caramelized onions totally belong with melted cheese and toasted, crunchy bread.  That much is true.  I had heard of a French Onion Soup grilled cheese before, but it slipped my mind (I don't know how!!!) until I saw a post from Joy the Baker a few weeks ago which jogged my memory.

A quick trip to my neighborhood bodega yielded the ingredients, which I swiftly turned into caramelized balsamic onions.  Those caramelized onions were gooood.  I can eat them all by themselves.  What?  I had to taste test, ya know.

Now that the onions were ready to go, so was I.  On to assembling this sandwich goodness...

Btw...did you know that this SlimKicker giveaway is still going on?  Food for thought!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Balsamic Caramelized Onions

I've recently been introduced to the concept of "sprouted bread".  Did you know about this?  It's supposed to be good for you.  I'm into that.  I'm also into it being stored in the freezer.  Since I travel so much, I desperately need the freezer to store food so things won't spoil quickly.  I know, I know. I understand that this is not a new concept and you can pretty much freeze any type of bread you like. Don't rain on my parade.

Since this sprouted bread and I have been hanging out more often, I've become completely re-interested in grilled cheese. Grilled cheese with onions have been calling my name. Since I will eventually make French Onion Soup, but it's now summer and a hot soup may be out of the question, I will have to satisfy myself with a version of this grilled cheese. But wait! I need to caramelize some onions first. Let's make that happen so my grilled cheese dreams can become a reality.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Giveaway! -- SlimKicker Digital Scale

**This giveaway is now closed**

Hey. We're all friends here, right?  Good.

It's true that I've been sort of quiet lately about the fitness aspect of my life.  But really, I've just been  good about doing it instead of talking about it.  (I've also been on vacation in Key West.  More about that here!)

But now.  Now I'd like to let you in on a little secret.  Since we're close like that.  It's not all about physical fitness.  It's sometimes about the food you eat as well.  I sometimes blog about healthy food.  Right now, my favorites include baked pesto chicken, carrot ginger soup, chicken broccoli feta quiche, edamame hummus, and baked tilapia. There are more favorites but I could go on for a while...

The thing about eating healthy is that you need to know two very important things: how to accurately measure your food and how to accurately determine portion size.  The easiest way to do these things is to use a kitchen scale.  Wait, you don't have one?  Well, then, let me help you with that!

This is my very first Giveaway, y'all!  It's sponsored by the folks over at SlimKicker, which is a calorie tracker and healthy living and fitness app.  They're making it easier for you to live your life right by turning your health goals into a level-up game with various challenges that you take on for a pre-determined amount of time.  You can level up by tracking your healthy calories and exercises through their app and also by completing challenges such as "not eating processed meats for 14 days".  You can totally do that.  And you can use their fancy website tools, such as a calorie calculator to help you along your journey.

Doesn't that sound like a winning plan?

image from

SlimKicker is on the hunt for new health challenge ideas.  Here's the deal:

Giveaway Rules: Leave a comment on this post, describing a new and creative health or diet challenge that you would like to see as a part of their site.  It should just be 1-2 sentences.  SlimKicker will pick their favorite and that lucky person will win their very own digital kitchen scale. Sorry international readers.  This giveaway is only open to US residents.  Giveaway closes at midnight, July 6th.  I'll announce the winner on the blog after the comment period is over.

Get your creativity flow on!  And check out SlimKicker while you're brainstorming.  Use it to get and stay healthy.  Your body will thank you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Livin' the Life 6/27/2012

You may be wondering what I've been up to lately.  (Or maybe you're not)  If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know.  I took a little jaunt to Key West for 4 days to celebrate a girlfriend's bachelorette party.  I'm still working on piecing some of the nights together.  Here are some of the tame pictures I took.

Plane ride to Key West.  A bird's eye view of the Overseas Highway

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

Did I ever tell you about that time those lovely people at Patron sent me a care package? Yes indeed, they did.  Unfortunately, there was no alcohol involved in this gift.  What the heck, right?  Oh well.  I did receive the following:
  • 2 Tequila Patron champagne glasses (This pretty much elevates me to Baller status.)
  • Tangerine Rimming Sugar
  • Gingerbread cookie mix
  • Gingerbread house cookie cutter set
  • Mulling spices
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Caramel popcorn seasoning
  • Woven wood salad bowl

Monday, June 18, 2012

Livin' the Life 6/18/2012

I want to update you about my life. Like my everyday life. I take a ton of iPhone pictures but I recently realized that they simply hang out on my phone once I'm done taking them. So let me show you what I'm up to!

This type of blog post will be sort of sporadic. I'm pretty much planning on sharing pics with you guys when I have the time and inclination to post them. There will still be a ton of food in this blog's future. Never you fear.

Without further ado, here's what I've been doing recently:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Slow Cooker Hungarian Goulash

According to my Hungarian friend, I made this incorrectly.  Allegedly, if I were to make true Hungarian goulash, the result would be more of a soup instead of a stew.

Apparently, he thought I would care.  My kitchen isn't exactly a democracy.  When I think of goulash, I think of a beef stew, not a beef soup.  I also happen to like stews better than soups.  So I can make my goulash any which way I please.  And I did.  It was marvelous.  And I even "cheated" by using a crock pot.  So take THAT, you Hungarian.

There's also something new that I've been trying lately with my crock pot dishes.  I've been setting them up to cook overnight so they are done by the time I wake up in the morning.  This works particularly well for me because 1) I have no problems with taking down a bowl of stew for breakfast and 2) I typically work from home on Fridays, so this solves the problem of what to eat that day since my meal is already waiting for me in the slow cooker.  

You should try this too.  In fact, I encourage it.  Alternately, you could do something like on a Friday or Saturday night so that it's ready for brunch the next day.  That's convenience, I tell you.  Get with it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rosemary Fried Almonds

A few weeks ago, my friend had a beautiful and tasty birthday dinner at Aldea, an Iberian peninsula-inspired restaurant in NYC.  Although the food was quite excellent, one of the highlights of the night for me was the Marcona almonds that were brought out as a part of the "we're waiting for friends" appetizers course.  These almonds were lightly fried in oil, salted, and then presented to us.  I wanted to hoard the entire bowl myself.  I may have done just that.

I knew I wanted to recreate these almonds, so when I saw a similar item on my assigned blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club, I immediately chose that recipe to recreate.  New Yorker by Heart turned up the volume on these almonds by adding rosemary into the mix.  Why yes, I would like to have a little rosemary in there.  And it just so happens to be my second favorite herb (after basil, of course).