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Re-Energize

As I'm sure you have noticed my posts have been scarce lately... I'm on overload between jobs & school work. But this temporary scenario has actually led to me to this post... There are stretches of time between meals on some days and I don't feel my best when I load up on junky snacks to keep me going.

I found the perfect fix for this ~ I load up my kitchen with fresh fruits and veggies... create some combos... throw them into the blender... and fill up pitchers with fruit & veggie smoothies!  I mix them with some ice and a little bit of milk and sometimes fruit juice just to give it a more sweet taste.
  They're great to keep in the refrigerator ~ refreshing, healthy, and even filling!

Two of my favorite combos so far:  
Strawberry, banana, mango, ginger
 Beets & ginger (and a little apple juice)
...I try to incorporate ginger in any way I can since it is so good for you




Using Your Leftovers

I've never been one to throw good food away ~ I much prefer to find another purpose for what I have left over after a meal or for bits of cooked/uncooked ingredients... Maybe I picked that up from my Grandparents who lived through the depression ~ or maybe it's just my creative nature which believes everything has so much more than one use!  With millions of recipes out there, left over bits from one meal may be the star ingredients of another!
{What we had left over:  cooked bacon, uncooked chicken cutlet, shredded cheese}
To me this combo just begged to be made into a salad!   I grabbed some fresh baby spinach, crumbled up the bacon, grilled & sliced my chicken cutlet, hard boiled a couple eggs, and threw the cheese over it all ~ a little oil and italian seasonings {Or your salad dressing of choice!} and there's a lovely new little meal!!  Healthy & filling! 

You may have read in this past post my list of suggested items to buy when starting off on your own... Well, it's an ever growing list ~ and the more I cook and experiment the more I realize, I'm still an amateur!!    I don't own an egg slicer.... You would think this is not a serious object to lack ~  but let me tell you how annoying it is to slice hard boiled eggs by hand... Especially when they are hot and slippery! It just takes away from their enjoyment :) 
{Invest in an egg slicer!!}

A Little Spring in Your Step


Spring is here.....  This is a time for fresh starts ~ and all things New

Here are a couple photographs of the first buds I've found through out the garden ~ A time for new beginnings... Now things will start to become beautiful :)

  
  

Vineyard Inspiration...

Yesterday was a beautifully sunny day in New York... Today we'll be experiencing the same lovely weather. All this Vitamin D I'm absorbing is getting me hyped for the warm weather activities that will soon be approaching!!  Summer street festivals in NYC, Starbucks & shopping through the town of East Hampton, lazy days at the beaches along Long Island followed by dinner at the clam bars, and one of my favorites ~ Wine Tasting along the East End.  So until that warm weather finally approaches { ..and I can feel it, it is so very near! } I shall put together my inspired wardrobe on the computer screen :)   If I could make my way through my favorite vineyards today, this is what I would choose.... 

Shorts, Shirt, Shoes, Ring: TopShop - Hat: Helen Kaminski, Bloomingdales - Sunnies: Michael Kors - Necklace: Forever21


Pick up some literature in time for the all the fun.... 

Nonna Post : Burnt Toast

Google Images

Might I suggest that everyone taps into their most precious source of useful household & life information: Your Grandparents...    I shall periodically share some bits of wonderment that my Nonna has shared with me over the years.


Here is a simple one ~ but oh so helpful {especially for those of us who are too easily distracted by other things to properly work a toaster...}
    Don't scrape your burnt toast with a knife ~ Rub it against a grater ~ like a cheese grater, and it will take off the burnt surface layer.
Grandparents know everything*....   


Pick yourself up a grator  :)

Whoopie Pies





Whoopie pies, which have long been a lunch box staple, are now popping up in specialty stores and fancy bakeries – These humble little treats are fetching nearly $50 a dozen in certain locations… 

The popular and old-fashioned chocolate cake with vanilla icing version can now be found next to a collection of flavors… everything from pumpkin, to banana, to mocha pies.  The flavors you may come across are endless.

This sandwich-like treat also comes in a variety of sizes… with some baking up so large that both hands are needed to enjoy it.

No matter what side of the argument you support { whether it’s a cookie, a cake, a pie, or a sandwich } you’re sure to agree that it’s scrumptious!

Typically the cake portion of a whoopie pie is fairly dry compared to say, a cupcake...  the recipe I chose, however, called for Devils Food cake mix – so the whoopie pie was fairly moist, which is exactly how I prefer my baked delicacies... I also plopped less batter onto my baking trays than it suggested since I wanted smaller pies - Side Note: I no longer hunt through my kitchen drawers searching for a missing measuring spoon with these Magnetic Ones


Progressive International Set of 5 Stainless-Steel Magnetic Measuring Spoons


Read more for Recipe...


4EVERCHiC on Etsy


The Etsy website is chock full of amazing finds…

For those who are unfamiliar with Etsy, their site states that their mission is to “enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:
Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.”

So basically Etsy is filled with little shops showcasing their handmade goods, from pocketbooks to pashminas, paperweight to preserves & jams, glass vases to anything for your pets... and endless other treasures!

It’s a schmorgasboard of domestic loveliness!

One of my favorite shops to visit is “4EVERCHIC”.  The pieces are created by Natalia Lopez, and are a combination of “vintage, modern, and chic” as her description states.  There is only one piece of each available at a time ~ so may I suggest you jump on any item you like… and the prices will seal the deal for you if the delicate and whimsical look of some of the pieces don’t immediately.  I can picture a showcase of these items at Bloomingdales going for upwards of $70 each… (hence me starting up my collection of her things before someone scoops her up!!)





Above are my recent purchases – an amazing locket necklace with an owl.. and my beloved buddha head over a leaf, and this ring c/o Natalia which seems to match whatever I pick out to wear just perfectly!  They were delivered so quickly, and packaged adorably …   4EVERCHIC is 4ever one my favorite Etsy shops <3



Fresh Salsa & Pork Tenderloin



Despite my love for anything beef and chicken related, sometimes I have a craving for something a little different… and like the commercial says, this is the time for the “other white meat” ~ Pork

I’ve never understood those who dismiss any type of food entirely just because they decide they “don’t like it”, but especially any sort of meat…  depending on how foods are cooked they can taste different each and every time – so even if you’re one of those people who “don’t like pork” I suggest you just taste this dish.

It is a deliciously light homemade tomato salsa over cubed pork tenderloin –which is also astoundingly light and tender.  Put over rice ~ Top with a few cubes of fresh sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream ~ and this dinner will knock you off your feet!


White Hot Chocolate



It's a damp and windy day on Long Island ~ not particularly fond of this combination. The gloomy atmosphere called for something more soul soothing than my typical afternoon cup of coffee...

So while April's showers prepare to usher in May's flowers I shall wait calmly and sip on a warm & creamy cup of White Hot Chocolate ~ Indulge yourself in some also, Here's how:


Ingredients

  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups half & half
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips and heavy cream. Stir mixture continuously until white chocolate chips have completely melted. Stir in half & half and vanilla extract. Mix until warm.... pour in mug & top with whipped cream!

DIY Crepe Paper Roses



In an earlier post (this one) I mentioned that I made streamers using left over crepe paper from a project I had been doing...  More homemade decorations, which were these crepe paper roses.  They're beautiful and add a colorful and elegant touch to parties.

Materials:
       30" x 3" piece of crepe paper (which ever color you prefer)
       flexible wire
       spool of thread
       cotton balls
       glue & scissors

1. Cut a piece of flexible wire - Add a piece of cotton to one end and glue small piece of crepe paper around it

2. Fold long piece of crepe paper back and forth (accordion/fan style.. however you refer to that motion)
3. Draw a curve around the edge of the paper and cut along the line.. then unfold


4. Wrap the petals around the cotton ball/wire (I pinch the crepe paper tightly around the wire at the base of the flower)
5. Tie thread around the base of the flower and adjust petals (gently fold a few over)


...for an added touch use green crepe paper to cut out leaves and glue to the base of the flower... then to wrap the remaining portion of the wire ~ I was using my flowers to glam up a dessert table so I left that part out, being as the wire was underneath the serving trays.



Sunday Inspiration Jamaican State of Mind


I’ve brought something back with me from Jamaica, other than an overwhelming crave for anything jerk style and a glowing tan… I think the locals’ optimistic and sunny outlook on life rubbed off on me after 6 days

We learned a few Patwa/Patois phrases while down there.. among my favorite are Feeling “irie” which is great and feeling the love… and “madea” which is the typical response to someone saying “wa gwan” or whats goin on? and means I am here and it’s all good

If the laid back and happy disposition of the culture hadn’t been apparent in their dialect {and speed at which they move – which I had been informed may be either “slow” or “stopped”} then one of the breakfast chefs from Kingston demonstrated it for me…   Our last morning at the resort, while I filled up my plate with sunny side up eggs, he asked me how I was doing.  I was sad we were leaving and it must have shown as I sighed and said “I’m okay, we’re leaving today though.” He laughed and said “That’s ok! Smile, there are many more vacations to come!  That response immediately brought a smile to my face and even better, after I asked him how he was that morning he said, “The sun is not shining this morning and it is cloudy but that is alright because I am alive and that makes me happy!

So this post is dedicated to my beloved friend from Kingston, Jamaica – who has brightened my outlook into a more sunny-side up one….   And when waking up this morning to 40-something degree weather, itchy mosquito bites, a peeling tan, and loads of laundry had no affect on my smile – I say THANK YOU to him, because I have realized that I am alive and it is all good, ya mon!


April 2011 Featured Blogs


I'm very honored to have been selected as one of Blogging Women's Featured Blogs for the month of April.  

Blogging Women is a manually edited comprehensive directory, run by Fay, publicizing some of the best blogs written by women..   For women ~ By women, I love it!

Blogs are organized into categories which makes searching out your interest fast and easy.  I suggest if you're a female and you're blogging you Submit Your Blog.

The Otaheite Apple



With its deep red, almost purple, waxy skin and oval to pear-like shape - this fruit has stolen my heart.. This Jamaican apple has one large seed, and the flesh may be crisp or spongy and very juicy.  I was informed by one of the locals to choose an otaheite with dark flesh, since the darker the fruit the more sweet it will be.  

I had the pleasure of tasting this delightful fruit mixed into a smoothy with ginger root.  If I had to choose only one drink to have for the rest of my life it would most likely be this refreshing fruit drink.  I can only imagine the other wonderful recipes that the otaheite may be used for.  I've heard that a wonderful addition to a breakfast muffin is a otaheite jam complimented with brown sugar.


Riu, Montego Bay Jamaica


Spur of the moment, my fiance and I booked a trip on beachdestinations.com ... We landed in Montego Bay, Jamaica 48 hours ago. We're staying at the Riu, and so far loving it! This is the second Riu location we've had the pleasure of trying. 

I've had my first experience with jerk chicken and have found some other dishes that I can't wait to get home and try to recreate!! 
The food is great - the staff is friendly - the beach, heavenly

I'll get into a more thorough review at the end of our vacation ~ but I'm very much hoping the next 4 days drag by :)

Linzer Tart Cookies


These cookies are one of my favorite treats to enjoy with a hot cup of coffee and the New York Times in the morning... or as a treat to pull out of my lunch bag during my break... or after dinner with an ice cold glass of milk.  Such fabulously delicious cookies, there truly is no wrong time of day to indulge in them!  They'll steal your heart with their raspberry goodness :)


There is an endless supply of Linzer recipes on the internet - I have neither a surplus of ingredients, nor patience, to waste my time on subpar ones though so I went on a hunt for suggestions.  My occasionally fantastical karma kicked in for a moment while I was reading one of my favorite blogs (BlueSatinSash) - I'm very big on "old family recipes" ... so when I saw these girls were baking up some Linzer Love I asked if they would be kind enough to share their recipe - and voila!  A little while later I was spoiling myself with a little cookie heaven!


(Read More to enjoy such delightful treats!)     :)



Homemade Party Streamers



No matter what the occasion I love homemade decorations so much more than store bought ones!  They have a classic feel and add a personal touch to any occasion you may be hosting. 
I had a lot of crepe paper left over from a previous project so I began searching for other uses for it... 
  I came across these really simple streamers at http://jordanferney.blogspot.com/

Here are Jordan's instructions:

Step 1: Cut off about a 2"-3" section of crepe paper.
Step 2: Start on one side and cut fringe evenly spaced. Leave some space in the center.
Step 3. Turn it over and cut fringe on the other side, still not cutting too far into the center.
Step 4: Muss up the fringe on each side, separate the layers and scrunch it with your fingers.
Step 5. Et voila! Unroll and hang your fringey streamers and celebrate! 

 

I also had a couple rolls of crepe paper - so I adjusted the instructions to work for them also.  I would remove about a centimeter size of the roll, cut the fringes, fray, and unroll...




Prosciutto Pizza


This is by far the most delicious combination of ingredients that I have had on a pizza... ever!  I came across a picture of this pie on Flickr and simply needed to recreate it (http://bit.ly/fbAKx0) 

I'm not going to give specific measurements for each ingredient - just make it according to preference using each.  It's best when the dough is rolled out thin and becomes nice and crunchy. 



Ingredients:

Fresh pizza dough
Shredded mozzarella
Fresh spinach
Prosciutto
Portobello mushrooms, sliced
Grana padano cheese, shaved thin
Truffle oil
Extra virgin olive oil

My only suggestions are to brush a thin coat of EVOO onto the rolled out dough and bake for maybe 3minutes or so just to get the crunch going... then begin your layering with the mozzarella, after that it's your choice!  Drizzle the truffle oil very lightly over the pie, it's extremely salty in excess, but otherwise adds an outstanding flavor to this pie.

Bake for 9-13minutes depending on your oven at 475°

Monday Blues..

It's Monday & it's rainy here in New York.. Blue seems to be a fitting color for today ~ So here are some fun Blue* things I came across over the weekend

1. Headphones { Urban Outfitters }
2. Blue Couch Photograph { http://plushpalate.blogspot.com/ }
3. Zip Front Dress { Forever21}
4. Wide Leg Jeans { J Brand Bette Wide Leg }
5. Pillow { Pier1 }
6. Locket Ring { House of Harlow }
7. Sunglasses { Forever21 }
8. Tea Mug { Urban Outfitters }
9. Essie Nail Polish { Barbados Blue, Coat Azure, Mezmerised }

Sunday Inspiration


“Happiness is like a butterfly ~ the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder…”
{Thoreau}

Today... Think of some of the little things that you enjoy doing ~ find a moment to do them... and then you'll find the happiness that follows...


{ Take your moment today, and cherish it as your own }
After all, "Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths."  
{Etty Hillesum}



Orecchiette with Swiss Chard



This is a recipe that is wonderful for lunch or dinner.. and perfect for parties & picnics, since it tastes just as delicious at room temperate as it does right out of the skillet.  Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean, but it is also one of the most nutritious - following right behind spinach. Often overlooked in the produce section of the grocery store, I chose to highlight it for today's recipe  :) 

Ingredients:

1lb Orecchiette pasta
2 Bunches Swiss Chard
Ricotta Salata
2 Cloves garlic
Chicken breast, grilled and sliced (optional)
Salt & Pepper


·      Cook pasta until al dente
·      Lightly crush and sauté the garlic in olive oil. Once garlic is browned remove with a slotted spoon and discard
·      Chop and sauté Swiss Chard in the olive oil over medium-low heat…  about 5 minutes, or just until it begins to soften
·      Add pasta to skillet, some crumbled ricotta salata, and a bit more olive oil, salt & pepper  - stir and sauté until all ingredients are warmed (I add a lot of cheese, salt & pepper... but this can be done to taste!)
·      Place in large serving bowl and crumble more ricotta salata on top
·      Once plated I add a couple slices of the grilled chicken breast


Bon Appetit!

Spring's Approach!


Jeans: Gap; Shoes: TopShop; Wrap Bracelet: Michael Kors; Blazer: T by Alexander Wang; Striped Shirt: Day Birger Et Mikkelsen; Crossbody Bag: Coach.

March 20th marks the official start to Spring* ... The weather is already taking a turn for the more pleasant, and the late afternoon and early evenings are now filled with sunshine.  Time to break out the lovely Spring '11 fashion pieces!

Happy St. Patrick's Day


Happy St. Patrick's Day ~ or, Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig if we want to truly be in the spirit today...
I'm not going to give you a whole spiel about today's recipe for corned beef & cabbage ~
Just know... it came from my future father-in-law, and it is an Irish culinary masterpiece that you too may enjoy on this day  ~ So clank your beer mugs together at the dinner table tonight and say "Thank you Ed!"  :)



Ingredients needed: for about 5 people
3 lbs of corned beef brisket
8-10 small potatoes
5 carrots peeled & cut into 3 inch pieces-or- approx 2 cups of baby carrots
1 large head of cabbage-cut into wedges
1/4 piece of turnip
2 tablespoon of pickling spice (or bag of spice if it comes with corned beef)
Approx. 1.5 qts of water and Secret ingredient

Directions:
Place water, secret ingredient, corned beef, 2 tablespoons of pickling spice and 1/4 turnip slice in large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Add potatoes and carrots then simmer for 30 minutes more. Add cabbage and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

{ Secret Ingredient = 2 bottles of Guinness Stout }

Enjoy ~ CHEERS!

Green Inspired Favs

Here are a couple of things I've come across this week that I love and that are inspired by this week's holiday ~ St. Patty's 

                            1. Bairly Louche Top - Diane von Furstenberg
                            2. Boots - Hunter
                            3. Watch - Michael Kors
                            4. Pretty Edgy Essie Nail Polish 
                            5. Bobble Bone - quirky.com
                            6. DigiDude - keychain camera tripod - quirky.com