Home

Summer Pumpkin Pizza

 :  


I'm convinced if you add basil and arugula to a thing, it can become a "summer" thing.  So even though I totally took a fall/winter vegetable such as pumpkin and added it to my pizza, once I topped everything with greens...voila...instant summer food!  Heck, even if I'm outvoted, you can't deny that this is basically a "salad".

I'm a big proponent of eating what I want when I want it.  In this case, I couldn't get the idea of a pumpkin pizza out of my mind.  This pairing was prompted by a find of both pumpkin puree and pizza dough in my freezer.  Once I saw both of them, I immediately knew what I had to do.  I wasn't sure this would be seasonally appropriate meal, but in addition to adding greens to this pizza, I also threw on some corn and sweet peppers.  Come on.  You can't deny it now.  Get on board this summer pizza/salad train as fast as you can!

Read More

Spiced Pear Quick Bread

 :  

 


Another month, another Secret Recipe Club post!  It's May!  How did we get here already?  I'm not a fan of this "time travel" thing we seem to be doing.  Something I AM looking forward to, however, is the warmer months.  Let's move it along Winter.  Let's allow Spring to have a few weeks so we can smoothly usher in Summer.  I need to come out of hibernation soon!

 

As I'm trying to move this process along, I figured I'd see if making a summer-y quick bread would help Mother Nature out.  Makes sense, right?  Please say yes.  Yes.

I was paired up with Renee from Renee's Kitchen Adventures this month.  Renee and I both love cooking and baking, though she has been doing it since she was a teenager and I've been doing it for only the past 8 years or so.  Renee has been on a quest to serve healthy and delicious dishes to her family.  Over the past few years I've come to feel the same way.  However, this blog DID start out as a cupcakes blog, so let's just say that I come from "humble beginnings".  And you will definitely find desserts scattered among my recipes because I am in a long-term relationship with sugar.

Several of Renee's recipes stood out to me: Crockpot Chicken Chili (I don't care if it's not crockpot weather!), Fresh Apple Cinnamon Quick Bread (I love quick breads and cannot get enough), Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (chocolate and pumpkin - I want!), Peanut Butter & Banana Streusel Muffins (have I mentioned how much I love muffins?).  The Spiced Pear Quick Bread eventually won out above all the other choices mostly because I wanted to incorporate a summer fruit into the mix.  Mother Nature needs a gently nudge!  Thanks so much for the recipe Renee!

Read More

Spicy Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

 :

 

I just got back from a trip to the Bahamas this week!  I loved being back home in Nassau, but now I'm back in the cold and rainy Northeast.  You can't have it all.  To cope, Ive been inhaling those Chili Nut M&M's.  Remember when I talked about them a few weeks ago?  Well, it's still a thing that is happening.

Since I've been obsessively purchasing bags of these candies for the past few weeks, I was reminded of the chocolate cayenne cupcakes that I made EONS ago (how has it been almost 6 years!).  I loved those, but I had totally forgotten about them.  I try not to make the same recipe twice, so I decided to make a cookie variation using the same flavor concept.  Since I also hadn't made cookies in a while, this actually worked out perfectly!

I have to admit that I ended up "taste-testing" quite a few of these cookies.  They were so delicious!  In spite of their crinkly appearance, the cookies were soft and chewy.  And of course there was the spicy kick at the end that I really enjoy.  I definitely recommend you make these and take them everywhere with you.  You can make a ton of friends in one day by sharing.  Or you could sit at home and eat them all.  I won't tell.

Read More

Pecan & Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken

 :

 


Let me describe to you how my first experience cooking in my new place went...

But first, a question: Have you ever wondered how loud a smoke detector can be at 9:30am on a quiet Sunday morning?  Pretty loud, just so you know.  My smoke detectors (plural!) come with a not-so-soothing robotic voice that screams "Fire Alert!" repeatedly.  This is followed by shrieking beeping noise, also on repeat. 

Cue a frantic search through the apartment for my smoke detectors (I had no idea where they were initially), followed by a search for a step stool so that I could reach them.  Once I was able to access them, I quickly pushed the "Silence" button, which, mysteriously, DOESN'T WORK!  Ugh. I finally pulled a fire detector down and realized it was hardwired.  I immediately looked for the fuse box, crossing my fingers that by turning off the switch labeled "Smoke Detectors", the incessant beeping noises would stop.  Nope.  No such luck.  The next stop was for me to actually pull the smoke detectors out of the ceiling.  That'll fix this problem, right?

Wrong.  Those suckers still kept screaming.  Keep in mind that there are 2 smoke detectors, which means that there are two of them going off at the same time and I'm moving the step stool from one room to the next in order to reach them.  I then realized there must be a battery in these things which needed to be removed.  After quickly popping the batteries, out, there was blissful silence.  Thankfully this ended up being the final step in this harrowing process.

Guess what I was doing when all of this went down - preheating my oven.  That's right!  I wasn't actually baking anything yet in my new kitchen.  I was simply 2 minutes into preheating the oven in preparation for baking this Pecan & Goat Cheese Crusted Chicken dish.  Suffice it to say that the smoke detectors have not been reattached after this debacle, as I'm still getting over my traumatic experience.  However, this chicken dish was so delicious and worth all the trouble that I went through to make it.  Pecans, goat cheese, mustard, and chicken are a few of my favorite things, so putting them all together is a winning combo for me!

Read More

Slow Cooker Asian Short Ribs

 :  

 

How can these short ribs be so easy!!  I swear I must have done something wrong, but I actually didn't.  That's a shocker.  There's typically at least one thing that i miss or screw up in recipes as of late.  It's a Christmas miracle that I can sustain a food blog!

In more exciting news, I'm heading to the Bahamas this Friday!  I'm super excited.  It's my mom's birthday and retirement party, all wrapped into one, so this will be quite a celebration.  Let's keep the pictures to a minimum after the 3rd drink, shall we?  Hmmm....I'm looking forward to warmer weather, ocean breezes, and home-cooked Bahamian food.  I'm not sure I'll get another recipe captured this time around, but I'll certainly try!

Final update: I've finally caught up with my old food posts and going forward, all my pictures have been taken in my new digs.  Ahhhh!!!!  I'm still fiddling around with lights/lighting.  Hopefully I will obtain a professional light this summer.  Game-changer!  But seriously, I do get pretty good lighting already in this place.  In fact, I made sure to search for a place with good lighting so I would need to do the minimum amount of work for pretty pics.  Can't front.  It's all about the lighting.

OK, enough rambling for one post.  You've come here for the short ribs.  I understand.  That's what I'm getting into as well.  This is my very first time making short ribs and I think they came out well!  What better way to ease into cooking this meat than to throw it in a slow cooker and let it be?  What other meat should I try to cook?  Tell me!  Tell me!

Read More

Easy Brown Rice Casserole

 :  

 

Alright.  Who knew that M&M's has 3 new peanut flavors and didn't tell me?  I'm currently testing out the Chili Nut flavor.  I actually saw the Coffee Nut and Honey Nut flavors as well, but in the interest of not carbing up by inhaling 3lbs of sweets, I decided to only pick up one.  While coffee is a VERY favorite thing for me, I decided that I really needed to pick up the chili flavor as I recently had a conversation with a coworker about chocolate and chilis and it reminded me of a wonderful chocolate and cayenne cupcake concoction from a few years back.  (Please note that at the time of picking these up, I didn't realize I could also purchase them in smaller packs, so I'll probably/definitely do that.  After all, coffee is my life and honey comes in a close second!)

So basically I've spent this weekend slightly burning my mouth with a whole pound of newfound chocolate goodies.  Now is the time to balance out this excessiveness with a Brown Rice Casserole that is out of this world!  This casserole is so easy to pull together that you won't have any issues whipping it up to be a part of a weeknight meal.  If you're really feeling daring, you can double (or triple!?) the servings and east this as a meal in itself.  I'm not saying I've actually done that, but just know that if you were to do that, you wouldn't be the first.

Read More

Coffee Ice Cream Bread

 :  

 

Have you guys heard of this thing called a 2-ingredient ice cream bread?  This was a completely new-to-me recipe that my coworker in London introduced me to.  Basically my coworkers and I talk a lot about food.  This is the foundation of our friendship.  And we talk a lot about work too, but that is not what this blog post is about.

I was immediately intrigued by the idea and set about making this bread.  I detest vanilla ice cream unless it has mix-ins or is covered in chocolate/caramel/booze/etc.  So, being the caffeine freak that I am, I snatched up some coffee ice cream while I was stocking up on movie theater popcorn in Trader Joe's.  That popcorn is my new "thing".  A TJ's cashier once wondered aloud why I needed 4 large bags of popcorn.  I told him this was my weekly supply.  Let's cool it on the judgement.  But once again, that's not what this blog post is about!

My mind is still processing how this recipe works, but at a basic level, all the required ingredients for baking a bread-type food item are present so why shouldn't this work out?  I am convinced the hardest part of making this bread is waiting for the ice cream to melt.  It's torture!  I actually left the ice cream out for a few hours the evening before I made this, and then just popped it in the refrigerator until I needed it the next morning.  I also spotted a recommendation to add mix-ins to the bread.  As mentioned, I love a good mix-in, so I couldn't resist tossing in some milk and white chocolate chips as well.

How did it taste?  OK, to be honest, it's not going to be the best bread you've ever made, mostly because we're not using fresh ingredients.  Ice cream from the grocery store can only be so "fresh".  But was it edible?  Yes.  Was it tasty?  Yes.  I think it's worth giving it a shot.  I'm not sure I'd make it again myself because I know I can make a tastier bread from scratch.  But if you are looking for a flavorful shortcut, then this is a good bet!

Read More

Zucchini Hummus

 :

Friends!

The "Big Move" is done!  I mean, I do still have to do a few more things to organize.  I also have to finish putting up my wall art/pictures/etc, BUT everything is in one building.  I consider that a win!

 

For blog-picture-taking, I played with my lighting situation this past weekend when I made a new dish (soon to come!) and it's been interesting.  However, I chalk that up to user error ... aka my error.  Must try again next weekend!  At any rate, I'm still getting through a backlog of dishes I already made and shot at my old apartment, so never fear, I still have content to post.  Seriously though, I have been trying to get these older recipes up for some time now, but between moving and working late nights I haven't been able to do so.  #Fail.

Can I bring you this zucchini hummus as a peace offering?  I'll also tell you a secret.  I put peanut butter in this!  Don't worry, you can't taste it, but in a pinch, peanut butter is a good substitute for tahini.  Tahini is actually sesame paste, which means it's a nut paste, which is pretty much the same thing as peanut butter!  The flavor of the tahini and peanut butter are different, but the difference is not noticeable once the peanut butter is mixed into the hummus.  And I say "use peanut butter in a pinch", but really, I've given up buying tahini for good.  Part of the reason I haven't made hummus often is because I always felt I needed to purchase tahini.  I would get the large container (which is the only size container I could find) and use maybe half a cup of the product before it went bad.  I just hated wasting all that money on something I knew I wasn't going to use up.  But now peanut butter has swooped in to save the day!  I'm not saying you're going to see an influx of hummus recipes on the blog now....but don't be surprised if you do!

Read More

Nai Tapas Bar: A Review

 :  


Tapas!  I have to admit that I have not extensively explored the world of tapas before.  I've visited a few restaurants and they were good but nothing that I would "write home about", so to speak.  But last week, I visited Nai Tapas Bar in the East Village and all that changed.

This was a complete culinary experience.  I'd never seen anything like it before.  To be honest, I had no idea what to expect from this restaurant but our whole experience was simply amazing.

The restaurant boasts a sit-down bar for 15 people.  The rest of the dining room seats about 75 people.  The decor is rustic and unique.  I loved that there was a silhouette of a face carved into one of the brick walls.  There is also an original Spanish mural near the back of the dining room.

Read More