Thursday, April 25, 2013

Livin' the Life: 4/25/2013

Remember when I started this little series called Livin' the Life?  Well, as you can tell, I may have dropped the ball on this little gem.  Actually, I didn't drop the ball, I threw it out of the park if you want to know the truth.

After a short search, I searched and realized the last time I wrote one of these posts was end of October 2012.  You know, approximately 6 months ago.  Like, pre-Sandy.  That just won't do.  Let's fix this and fix this good.  I have tons of new photos for ya, so here it go!

I have a new love, and its name is TJ's Roasted Coconut Chips

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Indian-Style Meatballs

Take a look at these pictures, please.

This would be the last set of food photos I took in my old apartment.  As I mentioned before, I had a few recipes backlogged so that I could seamlessly transition to my new apartment without interrupting my posting schedule.  What can I say?  I was obsessed with being organized for this move.  (Let's not speak about that rogue bookshelf that I accidentally left in my roommate's storage facility.  It's still too soon.)

I did manage to take a few test photos this past weekend in the new digs and I'm sort of in love.  I hope to whip something up this weekend to make sure that it wasn't just a fluke and that yes, I can take decent food shots in my new abode.  Crisis averted.

With all that jazz out of the way, I have to say that these meatballs came out fantastically!  I love ground meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc) but I sometimes struggle with ways to use it creatively.  Enter Bev's Indian-style meatballs.  Ta-da.  This, my friends, is the beginning of a beautiful meatball relationship.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Guacamole Grilled Cheese

Last month, I was assigned to Jenny's Cookbook for April's Secret Recipe Club.  I immediately pored over Jenny's recipes to see what new meal I could whip up this month.  Almost immediately, I ran into this Guacamole Grilled Cheese.  Pump the brakes.  Let's take a look at this again.  Avocado, melty cheese, and a croissant?  Be still my beating heart.

AND...did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month?  I didn't either, especially since I chose to make this recipe back in March.  I think I'm psychic.  (Suuuurrrrreee.)  I typically can't keep up with all the special food days, food months, and what have you.  But a whole month dedicated to grilled cheese?  I think I can do something about that.  That "something" is going to be this guacamole grilled cheese.  I can definitely make this happen.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spiced Cocoa Brownies

In case you're wondering, I ended up in Target the other day.  Big surprise.  I seriously went in to get some candy and a few toiletries...

Let's cut to me in the Home Decor section, which, in case you were also wondering, is nowhere NEAR the candy and toiletries aisles.  You know how it is.  You just stop in for one or two things and the next thing you know, you get sucked into a vortex, your shopping cart is filled to the brim, and your credit card bill is atrocious.  I ended up purchasing a starburst mirror for my new place (new obsession), along with a set of pots and pans, a set of knives, utensils and a few small kitchen gadgets.

As I ran away from the store hiding my face in just a little bit of shame, I realize that I still. don't. have. a. brownie. pan.  Target trip fail.  Well, not a real fail, since I also didn't own a starburst mirror, a set of pot and pans, a set of knives, utensils, and a few small kitchen gadgets prior to this trip either.  I complained about my lack of a brownie pan in my red velvet brownie post from way back in December, and I still haven't resolved this situation.   I'll just have to "stumble upon" a brownie pan the next time I swing by Target to pick up some face cream or something else just as obscure.  Until that happens (probably next week), I had to make these spiced cocoa brownies in the trusty ole' casserole pan.  You just do what you need to do.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Smooth Hummus


I'm pretty certain I've figured out what can make people go crazy.

This hummus.

That's right.  This here hummus that I made nearly drove me crazy.

I know that I've made regular chickpea hummus on this blog before.  I generally don't repeat recipes, but this new recipe is worth it.  While the first hummus recipe was quite tasty, one of the things that drove me absolutely nuts was the texture of the hummus.  Not to compare my recipe to store-bought hummus (Heads-up: I'm going to do exactly that), but I found that I was getting some chunky hummus.  No major chunk-age, but most definitely not smooth.  Is it so wrong to have a smooth and creamy hummus?  But no matter how much I ran that food processor, the texture just wouldn't improve.  So I satisfied my hummus cravings with chunky homemade hummus.  And that was that.

Or so I thought until I read Deb's blog post a while back.  Apparently (and thankfully), I wasn't the only person facing this problem.  The culprit behind my texture woes turned out to be a part of the main ingredient itself: chickpea skins.  If you look closely, you can see a sheer outer layer to canned chickpeas.*  That layer needs to go in order to give you that super smooth hummus that I'm craving.

This leads me into the part where I wasthisclose to poking my eyes out: the de-shelling process.  Did you know that chickpea skins can and will stick to ever-y-thing?  Deb must be a de-shelling machine because she stated that it took her 9 minutes to do this.  My chickpeas took me about 45 minutes.  Is that ridiculous?  In case you're unsure, the answer is "Yes".  Yes, it is ridiculous.  However, once I started the process, I was committed. And once the hummus was made, I was glad that I went the extra mile to get exactly what I wanted.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cranberry-Almond Chocolate Biscotti

I want to let you guys in on a little somethin' somethin'.  I'm moving.

No, this blog isn't moving.  (At least not yet.  I actually do want to make it snazzier but that's not happening for a bit. Sorry!) I'm physically moving my junk from one apartment in Hoboken to another apartment in Hoboken.  I've been living in the same spot since I started this blog a few years ago, so this is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking, time for me.  I have a few blog posts lined up for the next couple weeks, so you most likely won't even realized I've been busy packing, unpacking, assembling furniture and decorating and the likes (crossing my fingers!).

However, you'll probably see a difference in the pictures that I start taking in a few weeks.  Will it be a good or a bad difference? Uh, that remains to be seen.  I actually previewed the new place at night-time, so I'm not certain of that situation just yet.  I'm hoping hoping hoping that I still have a good source of natural light.  If I don't, it will probably take me a few posts to figure out how to fix what I'm saying is that I'm possibly gonna need some slack here.  No judgements, right?  Fab.

Oh hey, and I also have this biscotti recipe for you.  In the spirit of cleaning things out of the kitchen, I found some dried cranberries in the cupboard and slivered almonds in the freezer.  I've been going through a huge carb-craving phase lately, so I was inspired to adapt Katie's cherry-hazelnut biscotti recipe based on the ingredients I had on hand.