Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vanilla Chia Pudding

I'm so happy that we're finally feeling the sunshine in NYC! It's been a rough winter and I can't wait for spring and summer to get here. So many things to look forward to, especially the 10K I'm training for on Memorial Day! Matt and I have started working out again and we're trying to be very health conscious, but of course that doesn't mean I can get rid of sweets in my life completely. I just need to be a bit more crafty about what to make to satisfy my sweet tooth. I saved this recipe for vanilla chia pudding on Foodgawker a long time ago, but never got around to making it. Finally I decided to give it a try because it's both healthy and a little bit sweet!

This is probably one of the easiest recipes I've ever made. Three ingredients - vanilla almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla extract. How much easier can it get? After mixing up the ingredients, I put it in the fridge and stirred the mixture every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes to avoid clumping. Afterwards, I just left it in the fridge overnight to thicken up and voila, you're done!

I left out the maple syrup so I could see what it tasted like without any extra sweetness. I think when I make it again, I would add in a little syrup because it wasn't as sweet as I would have liked. I did chop up strawberries and each bite was delicious from the sweetness of the fruit. There are so many options of fruit toppings - I'm thinking raspberries or mango next time. What would you mix into your pudding? Let me know in the comments section!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Choice Eats

Last week, Matt and I went to the Village Voice's annual event, Choice Eats, where we were able to try dishes from 70+ restaurants, imbibe ourselves with lots of beer, and enjoy some sweet treats too. It was so much fun and we stuffed ourselves silly!

By far, the best dish we tried that night was the beef brisket at Mable's Smokehouse in Williamsburg. The meat was so juicy, tender and full of flavor. I absolutely want to go there now that I know how great they are at smoking meat. 

Some of my other favorite dishes were:
  • Black pork curry at Banana Leaf - great flavor from the spices and a nice kick of heat
  • Mackerel crudo at Littleneck - refreshing bite of fish, complemented with the herb oil and sesame seeds
  • S'mores ice cream at OddFellows Ice Cream Co. - chunks of chocolate and graham cracker mixed throughout, bringing me back to my Girl Scout days by the campfire

I found a great beer, Five Hop ESB, by MOA Brewing Company based in New Zealand. The beer was so smooth, bordering on a bit creamy, and had a subtle honey flavor. I must have gone back at least half a dozen times to get a refill. Luckily, I can find the beer at Whole Foods so I'll be heading there soon!

After having experienced this all-you-can-eat glutton fest, I can't wait for their next event, Choice Streets. Choice Streets is a gathering of food trucks on the Intrepid - how does it get any better than that?! I really hope I'll be able to make it as I have a work trip right around the same time. I highly recommend that you all go and enjoy yourselves because it's bound to be a really fun time!

Monday, March 24, 2014

One Year!

When I was blogging earlier this evening, I didn't even realize it was my blog's one year anniversary!! I've certainly had my ups and downs with blogging regularly, but it's been so much fun! I can't wait for another year. Thank you so much to all of my readers - I would be doing this for nothing if it weren't for all of you :) 

What better way to celebrate then with a picture of a delicious Rocky Road ice cream cone?

Pizza Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Wow, it's been way too long since my last post, but I think life is going to start slowing down so I can focus on my blog again! I've been studying for a work-related exam and planning my sister's bachelorette party so unfortunately, my blog got away from me. I just passed my exam (woo!) and had a great weekend in Nashville celebrating with a bunch of awesome girls. Don't worry, I'm back now!

It's definitely time to start eating healthier and working out because I haven't been so mindful of it the last two months. Matt found some healthy recipes to make this week, including the one I made tonight, pizza stuffed zucchini boats! While the name may not sound healthy, the ingredients are all pretty good for you. Ground turkey, marinara sauce - which Matt made part of it himself - and of course, zucchini!

I wasn't thinking so clearly when I started making the recipe and thought 8 ounces of ground turkey is the same thing as a pound. Sadly, not so much, but I think it was better having some extra so I could really fill the boats up. I piled them as high as I could without everything spilling out. Topped with some mozzarella and voila, the perfect veggie and meat meal!

The zucchini was perfectly tender, easy to cut through with each bite. Of course, as I tried to eat my first bite, I dropped it on the couch and my pants, but that's par for the course. I've come to learn that I'm a very clumsy eater. Enjoy these fun boats - easy to cook and eat - well, for most people anyways!

Monday, March 3, 2014

New Discoveries

Living in New York, there are so many amazing places to go, sites to see and food to eat. Because of this, I want to start sharing some of the new discoveries I've made recently. Here's to exploring everything NYC has to offer!

  • Jacob's Pickles - beer, biscuits and pickles...I can't wait to try this place out!
  • Finally finding the Morimoto Soba Ale at Peculier Pub - I've been wanting to try this beer for so long and it was well worth the wait
  • The seasonal pickle plate at The Pickle Shack - I kind of really love pickles
  • This ice cream race I'm considering doing over Memorial Day weekend - am I ready for my first 10K?!
  • This awesome giraffe iPhone case (pic below) at C Wonder - I need this in my life

What do you love about NYC?? Tell me the great places you've discovered around the city!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Champagne Risotto

Happy three day weekend to all my lovely readers! I'm so happy that today is still my Saturday since I don't have to go to work tomorrow! I had a productive morning, running a 10 mile relay race with two girlfriends in Prospect Park. I definitely wasn't prepared for the cold - 20s with wind - I thought my toes were going to fall off! I was happy to have a delicious post race lunch - pulled pork sandwich, fries and a beer to wash it down.

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day as well! Matt and I cooked dinner at home and watched Rush, which was a really good movie. I would definitely recommend checking it out! Our dinner menu was comprised of bruschetta, champagne risotto and chocolate cake, with a lemon raspberry champagne cocktail to finish off the night.

The champagne risotto was definitely the star of the evening. After blanching the asparagus in the chicken broth and cooking down the shallot, the time intensive (but completely worth it!) creation of this dish could really begin. I was glad to have some extra chicken broth since I ended up needing more than three cups to cook the rice enough without being too chewy.

The absolute best part of this dish had to be the crispy prosciutto. I've had prosciutto on its own, or with figs, but never cooked to a crisp. The crunch, the smoky bacon flavor...I could go on forever. I'm going to have to find ways to incorporate this into other dishes, or maybe I'll start sprinkling it on top of all pasta dishes. I think that's the right way to go!

Matt approves!
The risotto turned out wonderfully. The dish was creamy and pepper-y, with a crunch and freshness from the asparagus and smoky crunch from the prosciutto. If you're willing to put in the time for this dish, you'll be so happy with the outcome!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Poached Pear Olive Oil Cake

You're all going to fall in the love with this beautiful, easy to make poached pear olive oil cake. I loved the cake so much that I made it twice within a few weeks! I may be hiding the reason why I made it twice since that's usually not my style. Here's the real story:

I was writing a blog post so I had to upload pics from my memory card onto my laptop. After I had finished my post, a few hours passed and I decided I wanted to bake something. I had already bought the pears for this recipe so I got to work. I was taking some great pictures of the cake before and after it went into the oven, really loving my shots. I was so excited to blog about this recipe! Well, maybe an hour or so later, it all of a sudden hits me that I never put my memory card back into my camera. All of those lovely pictures never even existed. I definitely went to bed angry that night.

So here we are, with cake number two. This cake could not be easier to make. The pears are cooked in sugar water for about five minutes to soften them up and add a little extra sweetness. The cake batter was quick to whip up in my food processor. Just like that, I'm ready to put everything together and stick this bad boy in the oven.

The big lesson I learned from the first time I made this was not to overfill the loaf pan. I had too much batter and filled it almost to the top, which led to a lot of burning batter on the bottom of my oven. The second time around, I used the extra batter to make individual cakes in my muffin pan...yum! This cake is really tasty on its own, a refreshing lemon flavor coming out from the lemon juice and zest added to the batter.

This one turned out much better looking than the first since I had some trouble getting it out of the loaf pan before. The cake just looks so beautiful once you cut into it. Each piece has a cross-sectional slice of pear and this moist, citrus-y olive oil cake that perfectly compliments the mild sweetness of the pear. I highly recommend you try this cake right won't be disappointed!