Category Archives: dessert

Let Freedom Ring

My Fourth of July weekend was all sorts of fabulous. Let’s recap, shall we?

Friday: After work, I forced myself to run a 5K. I wanted to make sure I could do the length, since Chris and my first official 5K race (since I was in high school) is coming up soon. It wasn’t so bad! My biggest issue with the run was pacing myself. I went out too slow most of the time, since I was scared I couldn’t make the distance, and then ended up finishing with a lot more to give. I guess over time I will remember how to pace myself? When I ran in high school, I was able to autopilot whatever time I sought, but that skill is long gone. I guess there could be worse problems.

The run paid off. I already proved I will run for pasta. Well, I’ll also run for Mexican. Chris and I meet up with Lauren and her BF for Mexican food. It was finally good real Mexican food, none of that fancy NYC Tex-Mex that drives me nuts. We shared guac to start (fresh-made at our table = awesome), enjoyed sangria (BYOB wine and they do the rest), and I polished off my entire veggie burrito plate, rice and all. I paid for that with a food coma, but it felt so worth it at the time.

Insane amount of Mexi food.

After dinner, I watched my new obsession HGTV, and Chris and I fantasized about buying property all over the world. Julian Alps, I’m coming (one day) to you! We ended the night watching She’s Out of Your League. Good concept, but meh movie.

Saturday: Woke up early for a Saturday (before 9AM = early on the weekend) and headed down to my brother’s place near Princeton. Hadley meet bro’s adorable pup that he rescued last month, Rider, for the first time. At first Rider was timid, but Hadley showed him the ways of the good life. By the end of the weekend, Rider was all play all the time.

Hadley and Rider playing tug of war.

After introducing the pups, we took them on a hike that lead to a pretty waterfall. Hadley was even brave enough to follow us into the water, but then freaked out a little (water and kayakers are Hadley’s two big fears). Even with lifeguard Hadley (I swear he thinks that water is dangerous and only he can save us from it), it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

The evening was spent in New Hope, PA. My brother’s GF recommend an awesome garden restaurant there that offered American, Italian, Thai, and Mexican food! We all choose Thai, and I had my first yellow curry. Very yum. Dinner was followed by walking around the cute town, the bro and his GF trying out chocolate covered bacon, and then we all ended our food fest with ice cream. Homemade ice cream is always a good thing.

Teddy bear shaped rice with my yellow curry.

Sunday: Sunday was supposed to be a beach day, but it was raining. We slept in and then headed to a famous Princeton pancake spot, PJ’s Pancake House. We ate at the counter, which made me feel like a kid, so I went with that feeling and ordered a chocolate milk. It really hit the spot.

Chocolate milk goodness.

My egg white veggie omelet with a side of pancakes was huge. I ate two of the pancakes, but failed to eat the rest. Next time, I must remember that my eyes are bigger than my stomach (sometimes).

Too much!

We spent the rest of the afternoon food shopping (outside of NYC = real super markets) and playing lawn sports when the rain finally let up. My parents joined us for a pizza party at night and supplied a strawberry shortcake. Yes, this weekend was a fattening fest.

Monday: We were up early to head back to our apartment. Chris and I spent the rest of the day prepping for our Fourth of July party. We are lucky to have a view of the Macy’s fireworks from our apartment terrace, so we invited over friends to share in the festivities. It was the first time I saw the fireworks live (something I’ve always wanted to do), and it was really great to be able to do so surrounded by friends both old and new. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend.

Let freedom ring (they looked better in person!).

Now it’s back to eating healthy. Today so far = chobani kids yogurt with honey bunches of oat cereal for breakfast and a TJ’s frozen Indian meal for lunch. Some fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries are coming up soon for a snack. You know what, healthy is yummy, too!

How did you spend your Fourth of July weekend?

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Will Run For Homemade Pasta

I was short on time when I came home from work yesterday. I had to take Hadley to the dog park and be at dinner by 8PM. But, I also really wanted to take a run. So I decided to risk going to dinner a hot sweaty post-run mess, and after the dog park laced up my sneakers and went for a run.

I’m so happy I took the time – it was my best run yet! My legs felt stronger, my breathing wasn’t all over the place, and I really loved the feeling of pushing myself. When I was done, I was indeed a hot sweaty mess, but I also was filled with an awesome runner’s high. I used that runner’s high to jet back to my apartment, foam roll, ice, and take a super quick shower. Booyah. Yes, I said booyah. I even made it to the restaurant 5 mintues early, so it really was a booyah moment.

Oh, the restaurant. If you’re a fan of homemade pasta, and really, who isn’t, then you must check out Da Andrea in Greenwich Village. Our party of four was able to sit outside and take in the beautiful evening. We split one two carafes of the house red wine, which was a reasonable $25 as were we able to get more pours out of it then a typical bottle. All the breads and pastas are homemade daily and were delicious. I ordered cavatelli with shrimp and salmon in a light pesto sauce. I was glad I went running earlier, because I ate the whole darn thing. It was that good.

I was full, but I still found some room for a mini Pinkberry on the way home. I haven’t had Pinkberry in too long, so I couldn’t resist when Chris beelined for the glowing storefront.

Pinkberry = irresitable

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Tonight my exercise is coming in the form of awsome. Or specifically, in the form of swing dancing at Midsummer Night Swing. The event runs nightly until July 16th at Lincoln Center where a different type of music plays every night. Tonight is big band swing, and I’m super excited! I’ve no clue how to swing dance, but I’ve always wanted to learn.

I’m sure I’ll look just as cool.

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Can you swing dance?

Kickboxing kicked my tush

Yesterday, I got an email from Lauren saying that she was going to an outdoor kickboxing class along the Hudson, and did I want to join. Kickboxing? Pretty views? Outdoors? Sure, I’m there.

I was pretty excited for the class. The view was great and the weather was perfect. Still, the class turned out to be a bit of a mess for me. I’ve taken kickboxing classes in the past and loved it. This was different. We spent half the time doing bootcamp moves, such as squating, jumping jacks, and lunges. I can’t do any of these because of me knees, so I was the idiot jogging in place. Then we did a lot of ab work. My abs are fairly strong from Pilates, but we did these movements so fast and they didn’t take the time to show us form. Now my neck is killing me today. I know I should have just slowed down to do the moves properly, but the instructors were really into it and yelling, so I felt bad slowing down. Overall, it wasn’t a good workout for me, and I had to cancel Pilates today so that my neck can stop throbbing. Still, I’m always up for trying outdoor exercise classes, so it was worth a try.

After kickboxing, I came home to find a much awaited package. I ordered a cashmere/silk blend cardigan from the elusive Brooks Brothers. With the combination of sales reductions, a gift card, and a store credit, I paid $12 for this beauty. Cashmere and silk is bound to make any sore neck feel better.

Silk Cashmere Cable Cardigan

Chris made it home in time for dinner and volunteered to cook if I ran out for some wine. Done! He made a delicious dish of pasta with Morningstar Crumbles “meat” sauce.

Paired with my favorite type of wine Cotes de Rhone:

Lastly, I finally made banana softserve!!!

Mamoun’s v Maoz

Lauren and I are on a quest to find our favorite falafel place. To achieve this goal, we have to try lots of different falafel. Hard, I know. Two weeks ago, we tried out Mamoun’s. This week, it was time to try out a popular falafel chain, Maoz. I’ve heard good things about Maoz from friends, but in general I’m always weary to try out any chain place (including Mamoun’s which is a smaller chain), because I never find chains to be good as individual restuarants. Still, it was on the list of falafel places, so last night we hit it up.

One of their many locations.

We both order falafel pitas. I chose to add feta to mine (everything is better with feta) and paired it with a soda. It came out to a little under $9. This was more expensive than the uber cheap Maumod’s, but still cheap for NYC standards.

Maoz works by giving you a pita stuffed with only lettuce and falafel (and in my case feta). Then you hit up their extensive salad bar to stuff your pita. The only problem is, it was hard to choose from all their options. This is what happened:

How does one eat this?

 I learned that I cannot properly stuff a pita. My pita was so overstuffed that I lost a falafel ball to the floor. This was pretty sad, until I tried the falafel and decided it didn’t have much flavor. In fact, the whole thing just didn’t taste right. The feta was chewy and tasteless – I never don’t like feta so this was a big thing – and a lot of the pickled veggies tasted sort of sweet. Really, the whole thing was just odd and a disappointment. So Mamoun’s v Maoz? Definately Mamoun’s.

After our disappointing dinner, Lauren and I decided we needed something reliably tasty. We took a walk and grabbed Italian ices. Lauren was sweet and bought mine for my belated birthday, so I went all out and threw some custard on top to celebrate.

Mint chocolate chip and cheesecake ices topped with chocolate custard. Yum!

 When I came home, I found Hadley hiding from the heat. This dog just does not do warm weather. Give him snow, and he’ll play in it for hours. Give him sun, and you’ll find him here:

What? Caves are coolest.

Chris worked late so I took the time to do me-time things. I watched the Oprah finale I DVRed, which was a bit of a let down. Then I read Women’s Health in bed, and learned some great information. I just ordered a year-long subscription last night for $5 from a deal site. They offered me to add a subscription for Self for $2 additional. Lots of good magazines are coming my way!

What are your favorite me-time things to do? Favorite magazines?

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Just discovered a wondeful snack combination:

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Equal

The sweetness in the cream soda brings out the sweetness in the honey dew. I feel like I am eating quite the decadent dessert.

My Lunch is Better Than Your Lunch

I’ve been pretty stressed lately and as a result, I am constantly craving sweets. So I’ve been allowing myself some small luxuries. I present to you exactly what I wanted for lunch:

PB, honey, and chocolate chips open faced on an Arnold's Sandwich Thin.

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!