One Trick Pony

Matt and I have been completely surprised by the number if visitors we’ve had since we made the move to Hoboken. We thought that we would get people out to our place 1, maybe 2 times per year. Not that it is far from NYC, but you know, people don’t like leaving the island… especially to come to the dirty Jerz. But thankfully, we have awesome friends who either (1) like us a lot, or (2) are curious to see just how much space you can afford in NJ as compared to NYC.

As a result of these visitors, my skills have been put to the test. Armed with my Martha Stewart manual and an amazing kitchen, I’ve been happily playing hostess with the mostest. I found a recipe on pinterest that looked good and decided to make it for our friends Lindsay and Mike when they came over for dinner one night. It was easy and seemed to be a crowd pleaser so I decided to add it to the menu for Thanksgiving. And it went over well again that day.

When we were at home over Christmas, my mother sent Abby, Matt and me to the store to get some things for dinner. I picked up the supplies to make this now, go-to appetizer. And just as it had the first two times, it went over well. That is, until Matt chimed in.

Apparently he didn’t like it.

No, not just this time, but all three times I made it.

Not sure why it took him so long to say something… but my go-to appetizer is now benched. Looks like this pony is going to forced to learn some new tricks.

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Even though Matt doesn’t like it, I’m still a fan – give it a try and let me know what you think!

Spinach Artichoke Flatbread (from Pip and Ebby)

To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

The orginal recipe called for frozen pizza dough, but I just used a flatbread I bought at the store

One at a time, place a pizza dough round onto a pizza stone (I used a cookie tray since I don’t have a pizza stone). Top each round with:

1 tablespoon olive oil, spread out to 1/2 inch of edge of dough

3-4 tablespoons Sabra Spinach and Artichoke Hummus, spread out to 1/2 inch of edge of dough

1/2 cup fresh spinach, chopped

1/4 of a small red onion, sliced

1/2 of a 14-ounce can of quartered artichokes, drained and patted dry with paper towels

1/2 cup of crumbled feta cheese

Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown

Slice and enjoy!

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Last night I made the most amazing soup. I know, everyone who blogs about their food says that, but this time, I really mean it.

I found the recipe on Pinterest – my source for everything from recipes, to DIY projects, to even workouts. The original poster was Bev from BevCooks. I had never been to her blog before – which is what is so great about Pinterest. You are constantly finding new and exciting bloggers. In her post she goes on and on about how easy and delicious this soup is. Almost to the point where I was like “Already already Bev – the soup can’t be that amazing!”

But I was wrong. It is that incredible.

02-pinterest-daily.com-Coconut-Curry-Chicken-Soup-500x744(image via BevCooks)

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup:

Makes 4 large servings 

*3 Tbs. red Thai curry paste (or more or less depending on your heat preference)
* 2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
* 1 cup chicken stock
* 1 tsp fish sauce
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 2-inch strips
* 1 cup snow peas
* 1 cup frozen peas
* 2 bundles vermicelli noodles
* 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
* 1/2 cup sliced scallions
* 1 sliced chile, for garnish (optional)
* juice of one lime
* coarse salt

My Notes-

fish sauce: I couldn’t find fish sauce, and to be honest, it sounds gross so I left it out
vermicelli noodles: I used pad thai noddles because that is all I could find
shredded chicken: I used pre-cooked Perdue short cuts because when you are cooking dinner at 9pm after working for 10 hours and working out, that is allowed. I did my best to shred the pieces with two forks.
scallions: I didn’t have these
chile: I opted out. I had a jar of chilis in my fridge, but when I opened it, all that remained was the juice
Bring a large pot to a medium-high heat. Add the curry paste with 1/4 cup coconut milk; whisk until smooth.

  1. Add the rest of the coconut milk, chicken stock and fish sauce. Stir until combined.
  2. Add the red bell pepper, snow peas, peas, vermicelli noodles and chicken. Toss in a good pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on medium for about 8 minutes, until the noodles have softened.
  4. Add half the lime juice, stir and taste. Need more salt? Add it.
  5. Serve soup garnished with scallions and chile pepper and remaining lime wedge.

I promise you – the soup is good and it is easy.

Thanks Bev for this wonderful recipe.

I’m Cheating on My KitchenAid Mixer

My favorite kitchen appliance is my KitchenAid mixer. I coveted one for years. And then, after Matt and I moved in together and after I secured a new (and desperately needed) job, a KitchenAid mixer appeared in the mail. My mother, who never owned a one herself, bought me the cobalt blue mixer.

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From the minute I turned it on, I was in love. Making cookies became easier, beating frosting didn’t require holding a mixer for 15 minutes and after my mother-in-law bought me the ice cream attachment, the love affair escalated. I’ve purchased many off friends’ wedding registries and got one for my mom last Christmas. Honestly, I don’t know how she lived without for 60(ish) years. Nothing could tear me away from my KitchenAid.

That is… until my Crock-Pot came along.

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When Matt and I got engaged, registering fro Kitchen appliances, gadgets, pots, pans and dishes was a highlight. With my limited kitchen space in NYC, I hesitated to put a crock pot on the list. Thankfully my mom convinced me, saying even if I could use it now, I would want it in the future. So I registered for one.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law bought Matt and I our crock pot for our shower. I was super excited to receive this gift, but I knew there was no way I could store it at our apartment. So, sadly, like many of our other shower and wedding gifts, I packed it into my bedroom closet at my parents house. And then, I forgot about it.

Not because I didn’t appreciate the gift, but because I didn’t have room for it. However, every time I return to NH, I open that closet and feel an incredible sense of frustration that I have these wonderful, nice things that I simply don’t have room for. And pinterest made it worse.

When I joined pinterest, I immediately started using the site for recipes. And much to my chagrin, a huge number of the recipes I would come across were for crock pots and slow cookers. And I didn’t have one (in my possession). Eventually, it was just too much. After Thanksgiving, I hauled the large box back to NYC and spent a few hours strategically moving things around. Finally I found a spot for the crock pot!

A few days later, I pulled it out and fired it up. The first recipe I made was one recommend by Matt’s mom: white chicken chili (recipe below). I put the ingredients in  before work and by the time I came home, our apartment was filled  was delicious aromas and the cooking was done! It was amazing, delicious and the clean up was just one pot. After dinner, I hopped on my computer and started looking up more crock pot recipes. I was hooked.

It wasn’t long before the crock pot took the place of my KitchenAid. Baking cookies and making ice cream was replaced with chilis, pulled pork and soup. Matt didn’t complain by my co-workers started to question what was going on.

While I can’t say with conviction which is my favorite – I can definitely say that in our 800 sq. ft. apartment, I’m happy to designate at least 10 sq feet to my ever-growing collection of kitchen appliances!

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

2-3 boneless chicken breast halves (can be still frozen)

2 cans Rotel tomatoes

2 cans corn kernels, do not drain

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix(dry)

1 ½  T cumin

1 ½  t chili powder

1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

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Put the chicken in the crock pot.

Top with the tomatoes, corn, drained and rinsed beans,ranch dressing, cumin, and chili powder; stir to combine.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stir and add cream cheese.  Cook on high 1 more hour.

Shred the chicken into large pieces, stir to combine all.

From Scratch

Matt and I have been working out a lot lately, trying to get in tip-top shape for the various triathlons and running races we having this year. We have been spending most of our evenings at the gym which has pushed back our dinner time to 9 or 10pm. As a result, I’ve found myself becoming a little lazy and have been making lots of smoothies for dinner. While they are quick and delicious, they probably aren’t getting us enough nutrients and certainly aren’t helping me to win “wife of the year.” And clearly I want to win that award. This week, I tried to step up my game with some home cooked meals.

A month or so ago I purchased some lentils at Whole Foods. I wasn’t sure what I could make with them but they looked healthy. I let them sit for a long time in my cupboard until finally I researched a recipe (on pinterest) that called for lentils. There were a lot of options but I settled on this recipe for thai coconut curry lentil soup.

It was pretty easy to make and very tasty. I used 3 big teaspoons of the red curry paste so there was certainly a kick to it. but Matt and I like to keep things spicy (terrible pun intended) so it worked for us.

Normally, I am a fan of blended soups, but I decided to keep this one “rustic” with chunks of sweet potato and lentils. However, for round 2 (aka today’s lunch) I broke out my trusty immersion blender.

On my way to work this morning, I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket and picked up a whole wheat roll to go with my soup from the Hot Breat Kitchen booth. With more than five different bread booths at the market, you may be wondering what made me pick this one. Well, Hot Bread Kitchen is a Robin Hood grantee (meaning we fund them)! I spent the last 4 weeks researching, writing, editing and rewriting all about them for an article that will be featured in our e-newletter. It has been a very long writing/reviewing/approval process, so it was nice to see them in action and support their incredible work.

I haven’t tasted the roll yet, but I already know that my 50 cents is going to something great!

Delicious Banana Bites

Growing up, my sister gave me a lot of advice. It started with simple stuff. Wear your backpack on one shoulder, not both. Tight roll your stone washed jeans. Don’t buy hot lunch at school. As we got older it progressed into more practical advice. Which classes to take in high school. Run for Class Officer not Student Council. Park in “the pit” not on the streets. And now as we have entered our adult lives, and I’m married while Abby is living the single life, the advice comes, but maybe not as often and not as serious. Find a job you love. Watch My Red Neck Wedding (clearly we have the same appreciation for trashy reality tv). And texts saying “Turn on the Today Show! Now!”

But one thing that I rarely receive from Abby is baking advice. I have appointment myself as the baking guru of our family so, typically, I am the one making things and sending pictures to my family. However, ever since Abby moved to Virginia and started “nesting” things have started to change. She has started to encroach on my Martha Stewart talent and I am not sure I like it. I’m not going to lie – I feel threatened. And there’s nothing more threatening than the combination of peanut butter, chocolate and banana.

Pinterest has given Abby the ammunition she needs to over take my talents. She made chocolate covered pretzles during Christmas that she found on Pinterest. I think they were most popular than the Oreo truffles Matt and I brought to the table. She made a super cute paint chip banner, melted crayon art and don’t even get me started on the Birthday party she threw for her dog Bexley. But now, she went to far – she made these delicious banana bites and wouldn’t stop talking about just how good they were. Naturally, I had to make them myself.

I started by following the receipe –

1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter

While I melted them together I cut 3 bananas into bite size pieces.

Then I dipped the banans into the chocolate/peanut butter mixture and placed them on parchment paper. Now here’s where I took things to a whole new level.

I added sea salt to the tops. YUM!

Molly 1, Abby 0.  And all feels right in the world.

 

CrossFit and Bloodies, The Perfect Combo

Matt and I have started to settle into a 2012 weekend routine. And I like it.

Since I started participated in CrossFit with Matt, we now make a weekend activity out of it. We go to one of the morning workouts on either Saturday or Sunday and then enjoy a delicious brunch at one of the local restaurants n Williamsburg. This tradition is something that I now look forward too – especially if it involves a bloody mary!

This weekend, after our workout, we went to a new restaurant, Diner. I heard about this place from a co-worker (I think their cousin may own it, but I am not really sure) and after researching it a little more on Yelp, I decided this would be a good post-workout spot. Well, let me tell you, we were not disappointed.

Williamsburg is known as being a popular location with hispters, and The Diner certainly appeals to that character type. From the red, shack-like appearance, to the menu scribbled on a piece of paper, to our waiter who looked like he was a 70s gym teacher – it was amazing. We split a stick bun (diet, what diet?), and I got eggs and toast while Matt indulged himself with the country breakfast. The bloody mary was good, but it didn’t live up to the bloodies at Daddy-O’s, we favorite spot in the West Village. All in all it was a great experience.

We also spent some time this weekend celebrating some of our favorite friends. Saturday night started off with an engagement party for one of our favorite couples Jen and Nate. We are so thrilled for them and can not wait to hear more about the wedding planning process. I was particularly excited because I clued Jen into the wonderful world of pinterest – I hope she will spending hours on their looking for inspiration!

Afterwards, we met up with a lot of our friends to celebrate Mike Smeets’ birthday. It was quite a night filled with dancing, cupcakes, and a bar the promised “more fun” – Thanks for including us in the festivities!