Monthly Archives: March 2011

Processed

That’s it. I’ve been thinking about buying a food processor for some time now. There are so many doors it could open for me – hummus, easier soups, etc. I’ve been going back and forth on adding another applicance to my storage lacking apartment. Then I saw this recipe.

Now I need a food processor and your advice. I’d like to go on the cheap, but still have it work well. I don’t want a baby one, but I would need it to make only enough food for a few servings. Double points if its in red, because my kitchen is accented in red.

What food processor do you use? What food processor do you recommend for me?

How Not to Bake Cake Balls (in photos)

I keep hearing about Cake Balls. My friend Kelley told me they are going to be the new cupcakes. Well I love cupcakes. And I love the idea that Cake Balls are small, so you can have one, be satisfied, and be done. In theory of course. Pretty much the only thing I didn’t like about the idea of Cake Balls were the name. Yes, because I’m a 13 year old at heart.

I rarely bake sweets anymore – I used to all the time last year and then I would eat them and then I gained weight – but Chris’s two best friends were scheduled to arrive from TN last night. What better way to welcome them to the Northeast than with Cake Balls (don’t even think that’s what she said)?

I used this recipe and all was going well for a while:

1. Choose a boxed cake mix. Bake cake according to directions on the box.

I didn't mean to buy Sugar Free, but since I was mixing it with sugar-filled frosting and dipping in chocolate I figured it would be fine.

2. Crumble cake in large bowl as soon as it comes out of the oven. Watch to not burn yourself!

It felt a little wrong to crumble the cake, but it was fun.

3. Pick the frosting of your choice.

I recently realized how much I like vanilla frosting.

4. Mix in 1/2 to the entire jar of frosting. I used the whole darn thing.

Where things get messy.

5. Put the bowl covered in the freezer for at least three hours. I think that this may have been one of my mistakes, as I only left it in for two. It would probably be best to just leave it in overnight to be extra firm. Also, try not to eat to much “Spooey” when waiting for the cake-frosting mess to set.

Spooey = Pretzels dipped in Frosting. Anyone else call it this?

6. When firm, take out mixture and scoop out balls using a melon scooper. Here the mess really starts. I didn’t have a melon scooper so I just made balls with my hands. I made the balls way too large.

These are not melon ball sized.

7. Melt bakers chocolate in the microwave in a glass bowl. The recipe I used called for 3 oz. This was totally wrong. I probably needed 12 oz for the amount of balls the recipe produced.

I don’t have a picture, but just imagine what melted chocolate looks like.

8. Here the recipe calls for dipping the Cake Balls in the chocolate using either a fork or toothpick. I thought a toothpick would be nice, because then you could eat them off them later. Use the fork. The Cake Ball will not stay on the toothpick. Also, because I didn’t have enough chocolate the Cake Balls could only be dipped partially in chocolate or drizzled.

What a mess.

7. Put in fridge to harden. Do not give into your dog who thinks eating the Cake Balls would be a splendid idea.

Just one, please?

In the end my finish product was suppose to look like this:
But intstead, mine look like this:
And yes, I was up past midnight ruining these babies. I think I should leave baking complicated treats to someone else and stick with cooking.

All that hard work for that? I'm exhausted!

Scenes from Another Book Club

One of the first things I did when I moved was join a book club. I thought it would be a great way to read new books I never heard of and make friends in my new area. When I discovered a book club that combined all my loves- food, wine, and books – I was sold. There are two meetings held a month, but I usually go to one so that I have time to read books of my own choosing, too. Every meeting has a food theme based on the book. Every member brings one potluck dish and one bottle of wine. That’s right, a bottle of wine a person. All the leftover bottles are a gift for the host to keep, which I think is a neat idea.

This month we read Mysteries of Pittsburgh. This book was not for me. I immediately felt like there was a Great Gatsby element to it – a book I hated, sorry – and it just got further from my taste from there.

Apparently someone liked it enough to make a movie.

 Source

Still, the food at book club was amazing, and now I can say I read a book that was outside my normal literary taste. Book club this past week was a Sunday brunch and the theme was to bring a food that reminded you of your hometown. Immediately I knew that I wouldn’t be cooking for this one, but rather, buying bagels. When I lived away from the land of good bagels (namely DC – how can no one in DC make a decent bagel?!), all I craved was a good warm bagel with cream cheese. So bagels, I brought, along with some OJ for mimosas.

Clockwise: My bagels, homemade crepes, egg noodles with cabbage, french toast casserole.

Clockwise: Turkey roll-ups, Quiche, Bacon and Cheese Grits

Potato and Cheese Periogies

Rhode Island Pizza Strips

Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream Cake Cups

And I didn’t even got a photo of everything! What would you bring to represent your hometown?

This Weeks Loves #8

This is a weekly post where I take time to be thankful for the small extras that made me happy this past week.

I’ve been a little lax on posting This Week’s Loves. I realize that these are important posts, so here we go:

Enjoying dinner at a diner with some of my high school best friends. In high school, we spent most of our time at diners, so it only makes sense that we continue the tradition in NYC.

Diner food is my ultimate comfort food.

– Finding fun spring accessories: mint flower hair clips from H&M.

– Celebrating my 10 year Veggiversary all week long.

A Veggiversary creation.

– Going to services at a synagogue in my new neighborhood for the first time.

– Brunching at my current favorite NYC brunch-spot Good and ordering the bread basket.

Biscuits, pear crumb cake, and orange glazed donuts (not pictured).

– Having a sleepover with my mom.

– Coming home from the gym to find Chris home from work with pink tulips for moi.

They look just like these and are still going strong!

Source

Earning the right to call myself a lawyer (okay, probably not such a little thing).

What little things made you happy this past week?

Swearing-In and Awards

I’ve had a busy long weekend that I was sad to see come to an end. Friday I went to Friday Night services for the first time at a new temple, which I really enjoyed. I followed services with a long and leisurely dinner with two friends. We went to a new place selling itself on fresh harvest foods. It was also BYBO – always a plus. We split the guac and chips and I splurged on a pasta dish with fresh veggies and mozzarella. We ended the night splitting two desserts – both the molten lava cake and bread pudding were decadently delicious.

Saturday started with a wonderful brunch, which I plan to recap in a later Foodie Friday post. Then, I went out to visit my friends Michelle and Frank who just moved into a lovely new apartment together in Central Jersey. It was fun to visit and to hang out in some of my old haunts. Sunday started with book club – pictures to come tonight – and ended with my mom coming to spend the night. Chris, my mom, and I enjoyed a giant salad for dinner followed by mango sherbet for dessert.

Monday was the big event. I got sworn into the NY Bar. Officially lawyered! The ceremony was really nice. It was held in a beautiful courtroom and was short, sweet, and to the point. We got to recite the oath and then we were attorneys. Crazy. Call me esquire. 😉

Want.

Source

So after the nice long weekend, I wasn’t 100% looking forward to go back to the grind. But then when I woke up this morning and checked my blog, I was happy to see that I received my first blogging award! What a great way to start a shortened week. My Wandering Spoon – one of my favorite blogs for recipe inspiration – awarded me with The Circle of Friendship Award.

The Circle of Friendship Award goes out to 10 other bloggers whose blogs inspire me with their creative recipes, thoughtful posts, and amusing life stories. They also are bloggers who offer comments on my blog that are both encouraging and make this whole blogging thing worthwhile. I could probably make a list that goes on and on, but here are my ten bloggers for the Circle of Friendship Award:

–          Tiffany at Simply Shaka

–          Diana at My Marble Rye

–          Sarah at Every Day’s a Picnic

–          Ashley at Run With Me

–          Lofty Appetite

–          Hungry Child in the City

–          Stephanie at Love Life Project

–           Madeline at Greens and Jeans

–          Kristina at Life as Kristina

–          Alex at Healing Beauty

Foodie Friday: Veggiversary Week Edition

Instead of focusing on one restaurant today, I am going to highlight some of my favorite vegetarian dishes I’ve eaten in and around NYC.

– The classic: Veggie burger from Good Stuff Diner. This burger is HUMUNGO. It is also awesome. Even though it is the size of my head, it stays together with every bite. It’s homemade with lots of beans, rice, and veggie goodness. They don’t try to literally reinvent to burger here – they do their own thing. At a price point of $5.95, you’ve got to give it a try.

– The classic with a twist: Goat cheese stuffed veggie burger from Amity Hall. This pub that opened last year has an awesome menu in addition to their large selection of draft beers. When I want decadent, this is what I want. The cheese baked into the burger is bliss with every bite.

– The exotic: Dosa from Tiffin Wallah. This vegetarian Indian restaurant is the true thing. The menu features Indian food that you cannot find on many American-Indian menus. There are many options for dosas, and they are large enough to share with another person. Also, when I was there I spilt my entire Diet Coke all over myself, and they were really nice and even moved our table (it was that awesome of a spill).

– The even more exotic: Vegetarian platter at Massawa. This was my first experience with Ethiopian food, and I loved it. It was fun to eat the different vegetable and bean dishes off the spongy bread platter that it was served on. Definitely a good place to go to share food with friends.

The cheap: The falafel platter from the Hallal Cart at 53rd and 6th. Street cart food in NYC is hit or miss. This place is known for having the best Hallal food in the City. I totally agree with that pronouncement. The falafel is served over a heaping amount of rice with lettuce, tomatoes, and soft strips of pita. Make sure to ask for the white sauce – it is one of the best condiments I have ever tasted, and really ties the whole meal together.

– The best to share: The hummus and labneh at the Hummus Place. I’ve already mentioned many times how much I love this restaraunt, but I can’t neglect to mention it again. Go with a friend and try some of their amazing hummus, labneh, pita, or really anything on the menu. I have been several times, and have yet to find something I don’t enjoy. The portions lend themselves for sharing, but I’ve been known to polish a hummus and labneh platter off on my own.

The boat load of veggies: The Buddah Delight with Sesame Tofu at Precious Chinese Cusine. If you’re ever out in Hoboken (just outside the city) then check out this amazing Chinese restaurant. I didn’t even like Chinese food until I went here. That’s impressive. The dish is an insane amount of Asian stir fry fresh vegetables in a light brown sauce. Then it is topped with tofu in a sesame peanut sauce. You would think that brown sauce and peanut sauce doesn’t mix, but you would be very very wrong.

The Italian cuisine: The Penne Pisticci (aka ziti) at Pisticci. I already featured this restaurant in a Foodie Friday post, but this is my favorite dish at my favorite Italian place. The mozz is homemade, the sauce is seasoned just right, and the homemade pasta is fresh and amazing.

– The place I need to check out: The Tofu Guy in the LES. There are some things making me think this guy has moved. Anyone know? Apparently his tiny storefront was the top rated restaurant in the LES on YELP in December 2010.

These are some of my favorites. What are your favorite vegetarian eats in and around NYC? I’m always looking for new places to try out!

Veggiversary: Mexican Fiesta Rice Bowl

Veggiversary week continues! For lunch yesterday, I visited my college-favorite Au Bon Pain, or as we called it, ABP. I practically lived on ABP tomato basil bisque in college. Sadly they didn’t have that particular soup, so I went with Tuscan White Bean soup. I was disappointed – the beans were super soft and the soup had little flavor. ABP how could you fail me?

Why do you disappoint me?

After work, I returned to the treadmill. I haven’t run in nearly two weeks because of being sick and then wanting to give my body some extra time to recover. I left my IPod at work, so I had to run without it. This may easily be the hardest thing ever for me to do. Does anyone else have that problem? What do you think about when you are running? I tried to focus my mind on other things, but instead I kept focusing on how much harder running two miles was after my two week siesta. I ended up getting through it by playing with the speed every minute, but it was hard. I finished my gym sess with some foam rolling, so that I can keep up with the running.

When I came back from the gym, Chris surprised me by being home from work. He’s been working 24/7 lately, because of a case he is on, so it was a great surprise. It was made only better by the beautiful tulips he brought home for me. Isn’t he a good one?

For dinner, I was inspired by a throw-together meal I saw on this blog: a rice bowl. I used to make rice bowls all the time, but haven’t made one in a while. I love most any meal that includes rice, so I was happy to remember how much I like these. I still have lots of Mexican food ingredients in my apartment, so I went for a Mexican themed bowl.

Paired with TJ 3 Buck Chuck? Perfect.

Mexican Fiesta Rice Bowl

1 cup White rice

1/4 White onion

1/4 Green pepper

1/2 cup Refried beans

1/4 Mexican blend shredded cheese

1 dollop Sour cream

Taco sauce to taste

Boil the rice. I am a complete failure at making rice, so I stuck with the boil in the bag kind. Measure out your portion, and top with all the other ingredients, except the sour cream. Mix together. Heat in microwave for one – two minutes. Add sour cream. Scoop up with a tortilla, if desired. Enjoy!

Veggiversary Week: Mexican Pizza

For lunch yesterday, I repeated Monday’s meal of a chick salad sandwich on a toasted English muffin. Once again, yum.

Same thing, still good.

For dinner, I was craving pizza something fierce and decided to get creative in the kitchen. I didn’t have pizza sauce nor did I have a pizza crust. I did have taco sauce and a large tortilla. Thus, Mexican pizza was born:

Before going into the oven.

Mexican Pizza

1 Large Tortilla Shell (I used a version that came in at only 110 calories!)

Enough Mexican blend shredded cheese to lightly cover entire tortilla

1/4 Green pepper

1/4 White onion

2 TBS Black olives

Taco Sauce

Light Sour Cream

Lie the tortilla shell out flat. Sprinkle on a light layer of cheese. Don’t put cheese on the outermost part of the shell to create a crust. Slice green pepper and onion and layer on tortilla. Add olives. Drizzle taco sauce to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Allow to cool. Add dollop of Light Sour Cream. Slice and enjoy!

Out of the oven and ready to be devoured.

It came out wonderful and was a super tasty. I was afraid it would crumble when I sliced it with a pizza cutter, but it stayed together. Since the tortilla was huge, I got to feel that I was eating an entire pizza without the guilt of eating an entire pizza. I’ll be making this again!

Veggiversary Week: The NYT Agrees!

This week I am celebrating my 10-year Veggiversary. Yesterday, I wrote about how in the past few years, many more options have opened up to vegetarians. It is a whole lot easier being a vegetarian in today’s world than it was even 10 years ago. Today, my friend Ellen let me know that the NYT’s agrees with this statement in this article showing how mainstream restaurants are embracing vegetarian cuisine, especially by making the “ultimate” veggie burger. I’m pretty excited for restaurant wars in NYC to begin over veggie cuisine!

Source

Veggiversary Week: Monday’s Meals

Monday’s Veggiversary Lunch: Whole Foods Chick Salad

For lunch yesterday, I indulged in a favorite of mine: Chick Salad from Whole Foods. This stuff is seriously good. It also is seriously well priced at only $2.50 a container. I love its texture, and unlike some veggie meat products, it keeps me full for a long time. In my opinion, it tastes of chicken, but not so much as to freak me out. When a veggie meat tastes exactly like a meat product, I tend not to like it. The Chick Salad is mixed with mayo and celery to bring it all together. I enjoyed it on a toasted English Muffin. Super yum.

Monday’s Veggiversary Dinner: Whole Foods Butternut Squash Ravioli with Peppers and Onions

For dinner last night, I tried Whole Foods ravioli for the first time. They were priced at $3.99, so I decided I picked them up on my Sunday shopping trip. The ravioli were super simple to make. All I had to do was boil water, bring it to a low boil, and pop the ravioli in for 8 mintues. While it cooked, I chopped up onions and pepper and sautéed them in a little bit of butter with salt and pepper. I combined it all in the bowl to add an extra something to the ravioli. I really enjoyed the meal. The ravioli where sweet and the vegetables mixed in gave it a fresh edge. I enjoyed finding a ravioli option without any cheese, because that’s where extra calories come in. I would recommend this dish all year-round, but I am especially excited to continue to enjoy its fresh appeal during the warmer months.