Page Navigation

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Welcome Fall!

Sweet Potatoes & Bartlett Pears

What better way to welcome Fall than with a side dish of baked sweet potatoes and Bartlett pears?? Martha, you done good yet again!

from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast I cannot sing the praises of this cookbook enough. Divided by season, color photos of every recipe, prep & total cooking times, and a great selection of 'basics' and how to make them.

*2 Sweet Potatoes *3 Tbl Olive Oil *1 tsp Dry Mustard
*1/2 tsp Ground Ginger *1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
*Coarse Salt *2 Bartlett Pears

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Scrub sweet potatoes. Quarter and slice, about 1 and 1/2 inches thick. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the slices with 2Tbs olive oil, mustard, ginger and cayenne; season with the salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until crip-tender. 20-25minutes.
(since I use a toaster oven, I set it on the bake setting and used a deep pan)
2. Core and quarter the pears; halve cross-wise. Add to the potatoes; toss all with remaining tablespoon oil. Continue roasting until potatoes are fork-tender. About 10 minutes more.
Serves 4

the Potatoes and Pears were a perfect side to Lemon-Parsley Pork Chops

*1 Lemon, zest removed and minced *2 Tbl chopped parsley
*1 Garlic Clove, minced *Coarse Salt & Ground Pepper
*2 Tbl Olive Oil *4 Bone-in Loin Pork Chops (abt 8oz each)

another great thing about the cookbook is the helpful hints & technique tips, like for this recipe, how to mice lemon zest: with a veggie peeler remove the zest in long strips (avoid the bitter white pith). Using a sharp knife cut the zest into thin strips and then cut crosswise.

1. Combine the minced lemon in a small bowl with the parsley, garlic 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set Aside. I put everything into my mini food processor to chop, mince, etc and it came out aok.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season pork chops on both sides with S&P. Cook in skillet until browned, 2-3 minutes per side. I used the grill pan...what can I say I love that thing!
3. Add 1/2 cup water to the skillet, bring to a boil. (hard to do this in the grill pan, shoot!!). Reduce heat to medium- low: cover and simmer gently until pork is cooked through. 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a platter or serving plates; drizzle with the pan juices as desired and sprinkle with the lemon parsley mix.
Serves 4. Prep Time - 10minutes. Total Time - 25 minutes.

For greens, I added some mixed greens from the 'floral salad mix', topped with sprouts. Such a good dinner, will be making it again!!


Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer

If you are like me, you wish you could wear flip-flops year round, but you love the place where you live waaaay toooo much to move somewhere more tropical. I'm so sad today is the last full day of summer. Sad. Sad Sad. BUT in CELEBRATION of such a fabulous summer, here is a post dedicated to my fabulous NYC and a place to experience summer food all year round -

New Yorkers...we've got tired feet. We do a lot of standing. Standing on a crowded rush-hour subway. Standing in line at TKTS for discounted same-day Broadway tickets, standing online for the ladies room at Penn Station (has the renovation at the LIRR level really done anything to help the line???). Standing on the street waiting to enter a Sample Sale. And finally...standing for food. Soup. Cupcakes and dogs.
Yes Hot Dogs. Yes Upper West Side.

Shake Shack started in Madison Square Park in NYC. It's a fun looking kiosk and there are tables and chair set up in the park for you to sit and eat at. They sell amazing hot dogs, hamburgers, fries & custard desserts. The line at the park location can get so long they have a web cam "the shack cam" so you can check the line before you start standing on it. Yes they really are THAT good! They now have 2 other locations - Upper West Side & out in Queens at Citi Field. Went to the UWS location a few times this summer for a fun Sunday night dinner.
I love the packaging - these simple green food pics remind me of neon signs. So simple.

There's the Shake Burger - mmm mmm good

And my favorite - the New York dog. Tons of mustard & kraut please.

While the UWS location has some nice indoor seating, I prefer to dine al fresco. So I head to this cute park across the street near the American Museum of Natural History.

Grab a bench, sit criss-cross apple sauce and have a little lap picnic.

So long sweet summer...but thanks to Shake Shack it's never that far away!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Getting ready for the week

Took a trip to the new Whole Foods on the Upper West Side at 97th & Columbus. Let me just say - I know it is new but it is faaabulous. 2 levels, wide aisles, great selection & helpful staff.

And look what I found in the produce section....

That's right FLORAL salad. There's flowers in there with that lettuce folks.

How excited am I for a salad at lunch this week?!?!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Keeping it Real

Some just want fries & a diet coke after work. You know you probably shouldn't but you do. So you get them anyway. As Wendy Williams says "It is what it is".

I have a lot of comfort foods and McDonald's is high on the list. Their food is, as I'm sure it is for many of us, tied to happy childhood memories. For health reasons of course I can't eat it every day. But when I want it, I WANT IT! Today was one of those days and it got me thinking about a time long long ago it was mommy, daddy and Michelle. Daddy worked nights :( On Thursdays, mommy took me with her while she babysat for a family on our street. She did it as a favor and never expected to get paid but the mom would give her $5 because it meant so much to her. On Fridays before kids club AWANA at church, mommy and I would go to McDonald's. Sometimes we'd meet with other families that went to AWANA with us, sometimes it was just us. Perhaps what comforts me now isn't the food (thought umm hello can we discuss how amazing those fries are?!?!) but that fun special time with mommy & I always had together. Chicken nuggets, fries and a diet coke --- I am 5 years old again :)

Do you have favorite foods from childhood? A comfort food you eat after a hard day?


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's For Dinner? Herb Crusted Salmon

Is this not the most delicious looking piece of salmon? YUM Thanks Peapod!

So here's what I did with tonight's delivery. First, I usually cook salmon once a week and was in the mood tonight for something other than just olive oil, lemon juice and some rosemary. I quick google search of "Herb crusted salmon" found me on with this great recipe using some fresh chopped herbs. But all I have fresh is rosemary? Hmmm

Enter a conatiner of dried herb mix from Marshall's of all places. That'll do. I AM Martha meets McGuiver after all :) So in the words of Tim Gunn I made it work. Put about a quarter cup of flour into a bowl and crushed the dried herbs in my fingers as I scooped them out. Mixed it all together. Few squirts of lemon juice on the fish, then dredged it in the herb mix and onto the grill pan. Perfection.
Awesome grill marks WAY TO GO ME! yes, I flip to the skin side for a little bit while it cooks
Served with some brown rice (some of the rice served Bronx style, a little brown & crunchy) and mixed greens. YUM

What is your favorite recipe that you don't follow exactly? Cook with a sense of adventure and your outcome will never be boring! While I love to use a recipe as inspiration you've probably noticed I don't always follow a recipe....and survive the meal to blog about it :)


Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to School!

Back to school time again! I'm back to work with a class of 13 fabulous 1st graders. This year we actually have lunch at a decent time, just after 11:30. So I can have a nice breakfast at home, a mid-morning snack and a healthy lunch! YAY!

This year, my goal is NOT to order lunch from the neighborhood stores. While I loved seeing my deli guy at Bravo across the street from school everyday, I think I can do some healthier things for myself...not to mention more economical things for my wallet buy bringing lunch.

Now, if you saw my tweet this morning you know I had PB&J today. Way to go, some cooking I did! Monday I think will be a difficult day for me to plan lunch and I see some more sandwiches in my future.

Last week though, I had a great start to the new school year. I made a big pot of penne pasta and divided it up into my Tupperware vent & serve containers. The containers have feet so when you microwave them the heat can circulate all around. There is also a vent to pop open to help the cooking process as well. I love them they were a great investment!

On my grill pan I cooked some chicken and at the end threw on some spinach to warm up and some sliced grape/cherry tomatoes. When they were done, I sliced the chicken and added everything to the pasta. I added some of my quick and easy homemade dressing for some added taste. I mix some Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, salt, pepper, and spicy mustard together to make my dressing - so simple I love it.

What do you have for lunch?


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Think of a Lovely Thought

Should I post something happy? Ok HAPPY!!!!
Seriously - when my mom, sister & I were moving baby sister in at college we - of course - started crying when it was time to go. In the midst of a big group hug she yells out "HAPPY!!! HUGGING" And of course we all started laughing! It's my new "happy thought"

So now when I'm a little blue - I just think to myself "HAPPY!!!!! HUGGING!!!!!!" and I giggle :)

SO ughhh Sunday night, work tomorrow, stress I don't need because we are one staff member short this year, US weekly didn't come bc I forgot to send the check in...oh wait "HAPPPY!!!! HUGGING!!!!!!!"

Works every time.....


ps- back to food blogging this week!

Friday, September 11, 2009

We Belong To Each Other

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
~Mother Theresa

Took this looking South from the top of the Empire State Building in 1999 the day after my Senior Prom.
Can you see the WTC in the distance?
I think for some it will always be there, in between the criss-crossing streets of Lower Manhattan, even if it's harder to see these days. Some people, places and experiences never really leave us...they stay in our hearts forever.


Monday, September 7, 2009

So Long Sweet Summer

So much to write, to remember all that happened this summer. Expect some posts about pizza bagels & homemade bread, because this summer it was all about the carbs apparently. Here's a quick summer run-down....
  • My sisters left home for college, my parents went to work & I baked a cake!
  • Publix - where shopping really is a pleasure & I start to remember how great a 'real' grocery store is (bc let's face it, NYC stores don't count!)
  • The great coffee creamer debate, dad vs girls!
  • Happy Hour at Sonic for Cherry Limeades
  • The H.E.B. near Baylor that had Minute Maid Cherry Limeade, ON SALE!
  • Eating on the road during our FSU & Baylor roadtrips
  • My 1st EVER Dr. Pepper Float in Waco, Tx
  • Bahama Buck's - most amazing shaved ice!
  • Revisiting mom's Gilmore Snacks - munchies set aside for watching (duh) Gilmore Girls (we had a marathon...)
  • Birthday celebrations for little sisters who are not so little anymore...
  • Stopping at Mon Delice for bakery treats before a beach day
  • Attending Taste of the Nation Orlando - a great food event to benefit Share our Strength
  • Stopping at the GIANT McDonald's on International Drive (tourist heaven!) for a large diet coke on our way home from Taste of the Nation haha
  • Last Sunday home = breakfast after church with mommy & daddy, I felt like I was 5 again
  • Mama's cooking - she's grrrreat!

Tomorrow is the official back to school day for teachers here in the city. I've been in an out of the school all last week. Wednesday the kiddos start. So all my corporate friends can stop hating, I'll be back to the 'office'. :) I have grand goals of bringing my own lunch this year. For REALS! Salads, sandwiches & dinner left overs. Now that I invested in some sweet Tupperware for leftovers there is no excuse. Salads with yum grilled chicken & my homemade dressing - that'd be so good. Lets see how long I make it!

While it is back to school, I refuse to call it Fall until its official start on Sept 22. Until then, I will still be rocking the flip flops while I order my Starbucks iced...and don't even THINK of asking if it's a Pumpkin Spice!