Archive for food

Weekend review: Homely

Part of the challenge of moving into my own place would be knowing how to fill my time and to be OK with being alone. Sometimes, I’m not OK with that, but it’s always a learning opportunity. Like last weekend when a lot of my friends were either busy or out of town, I had an entire weekend to fill with activities. To find a way to make my time valued and memorable. So what did I do? Exactly what I wanted to.

I’m an avid reader of Young House Love and find that their style inspires my own home decor, which has made it really fun to layer and build up my new apartment. YHL is also based out of Richmond, a mere 2 hour road trip away and this past weekend was the opening of Homerama. I’ve been reading about Homerama for months now over on Young House Love, as they helped decorate one of the houses, and I knew that even though I’d be off an adventure by myself…I just couldn’t miss out.

I didn’t get to meet John and Sherry, but I did geek out over all the little details of the house, and absolutely LOVED seeing something in real life that I’d been stalking online for awhile. Here’s a compilation of all my favorite details in the house. I think style really seeps out in the details and it’s the small pieces that make a statement, rather than the large…er, statement pieces.

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I even met up with a friend from college for a quick coffee and sweet treat down in Carytown while I was in Richmond. All in all, a successful road trip. Did I also mention there was beer and bluegrass at the Homerama? Oh yeah, that was a nice treat too. As it turned out, I was perfectly okay on my own.

Oh and I just have to share my latest baking adventure – Chocolate Whiskey Pecan Pie. It was a recipe I tore out of Real Simple a few months ago and since I had a bit of spare time on my hands, I thought I’d get crafty? Bakey? Something…

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Here’s the recipe for anyone that would like to try it too…

Whisk together:

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp whiskey
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Fold in:

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Pour into:

  • 1 unbaked 9-in piecrust

Bake at 350 until the center is set but still slightly wobbly, 40-50 min. Let cool.

Mine was done at 40 minutes and while the center was set and wobbly, it was gooey when I cut into it a few hours later (assuming that’s how it’s meant to be?). It’s definitely a decadent sweet treat and even with only 2 tbsp of whiskey, you still get that nice flavoring. My only mistake? I used a graham cracker crust, which I guess is technically not ‘unbaked’ but it still worked.

Food: Bridal Shower noms

This past weekend, I was in full party planning mode. It was finally time to put all my skills to the test as I hosted a bridal shower for 30 people. I was stressed to say the least and I was exhausted after driving 5 hours to North Carolina and preparing all the foodies on minimal sleep. But everything flowed and the bride-to-be had an amazing day. I was so overwhelmed that I only managed to snag one pic of the special lady and her future sister-in-law before all the guests arrived, at the Bellini bar, of course:

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But, I did manage to capture all the foodie noms to share with you. I have to admit, I was really proud. A lot of the items you’ve seen before and a few are new, but all are crazy simple. So if you need a few party nom ideas, here you go:

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The dining table was pretty much the holy grail of tasty treats, click through for a few of the recipes:

Everything else above is pretty self-explanatory, pinching some of the ideas from other bloggers or Pinterest. Probably the cutest was the Peanut Butter Spoons which featured mini chocolates to give you a mouthful of delight.

Any in case your mouth wasn’t watering already, another view of the Haystacks and PB Spoons; plus close-ups of the Caprese Salad Sticks and Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes.

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But no Southern bridal shower is complete without…Deviled Eggs! 48 to be exact, minus the few missing that had already been nommed. And of course, cheese, crackers, chips, and snack mix.

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And no matter how good the food is, don’t forget simple party decorations. We’re not fancy, so I opted for streamers and balloons. It all just worked for me and the bride-to-be loved it too which made it worth the effort and the stress.

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She said, and I quote, “This has been the best bridal shower I’ve ever been to!” It could have been the Bellini bar or the fact that we all went to a winery after for a tasting, but I have to admit as well, it was the best I’d ever been to as well! 🙂

Stay tuned for pictures from the wedding this coming weekend, which starts August’s adventure of 2 wedding extravaganzas!

Food: Lemon crinkle cookies

I’m a sucker for anything lemon. I’m especially a sucker for lemon recipes with less than 5 ingredients.

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I first discovered this crazy easy recipe on Pinterest, via Kitchen Meets Girl. And since the only thing I didn’t have in my pantry was lemon cake mix, the decision to make this cookie wasn’t even really a decision at all. It just had to be done and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Go ahead, gather your ingredients. It’ll take you 5 minutes. Here’s what you need:

    1 box of lemon cake mix
    8 oz cool whip (thawed)
    1 egg
    1 cup of powder sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 and then mix your cake mix, cool whip, and egg together in large bowl.

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Your batter will be sticky and awkward. Don’t worry, powder sugar will come to your rescue. Put your powder sugar in a small bowl and then place a dollop of batter in the bowl. Note: the original recipe recommended a tablespoon size dollop and that’s what you see below; however, I’d recommend smaller. Smaller cookies means more cookies.

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Cover your batter in sugar completely. Move from hand to hand to shake off excess sugar.

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Place your cookie on a greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 8-10 minutes until golden brown on edges. Because my cookies were probably larger than intended, my cooking time was probably closer to 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven and allow them to cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Now, the hard part – try to resist eating all of them. They are so perfectly soft and moist, I couldn’t believe it.

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I’ll be making these again soon and might even try other cake mix flavors!

Food: Strawberry shortcake cupcakes

I’d consider this cupcake experiment a direct product of fate. There were 2 things that happened in order to not only make this a delicious recipe, but also a healthy treat!

1. I found the idea on Pinterest, via Lady Behind The Curtain

But, I knew her awesome recipe was a little too complicated for me. Plus, I wanted to find a way to reduce the calories. That’s when #2 popped into my inbox.

2. An updated, healthy HungryGirl version of tie-dye (or funfetti) cupcakes

After a little planning, I instantly knew exactly how I was going to make this work. First, I started with a healthier cupcake option, using part of HungryGirl’s recipe. So simple, it fell under my 5 ingredient rule and made these perfect looking cupcakes…

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Cupcake recipe (servings: 12)

  • 1 3/4 cup of moist-style white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup of egg whites (4 eggs for me)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of water

Mix together until batter is smooth. Fill your cupcake liners at least 3/4 of the way so you get nice puffy cupcakes. Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes.

While my cupcakes were in the oven, I mixed together my frosting.

Cupcake frosting

  • 1 container of Fat Free Cool Whip (8 oz)
  • 1 box of Sugar Free Vanilla Jello pudding mix

Mix together and whip. Refrigerate after mixed thoroughly.

After the cupcakes have cooled, carve out the center and add a small strawberry.

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Next, put your frosting into a small ziplock bag. Cut the corner off and voila – instant piping bag. Swirl around and top your cupcakes with frosting.

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Add small chunks of strawberries to the top for a little extra color and flavor.

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And finally, it’s time to enjoy your low-calorie strawberry shortcake cupcake. Even though YOU made them, the little strawberry surprise inside is just divine and the cool whip/jello frosting is perfect without being too heavy.

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Nutritional facts:

HungryGirl puts her tie dye cupcakes at 135 calories which includes a modified real frosting and sprinkles. I don’t know the exact calorie count, but these should easily come in under 135 since a.) the center of the cupcake has been replaced by a strawberry, b.) the frosting is not only sugar free, but fat free, c.) we nixed the sprinkles. But just to be on the safe side, we’ll say they’re 135 calories.

135 calories for a strawberry shortcake cupcake? Sure why not! I might just even have 2.

Food: Tofu potato scramble

I love subscription boxes. They are definitely a guilty pleasure, but recently I’ve been trying to save every last penny so I cancelled all of them (All them being 3. Told you, guilty pleasure!). However, my mom passed on a $40 gift card to HelloFresh and I couldn’t resist, especially when there was a no commitment policy to their subscription service. Meaning, I could buy as many or as few boxes as I wanted before cancelling.

So, I signed up and bought their vegetarian box that contained 3 meals for 2 people for $59, but with my gift card it was only $19 (all shipping included)! To put it simply, the box I chose was the cheapest of all the options available, but you can choose boxes with meat, more meals, and for more people. The price is magically adjusted for you.

My first box arrived yesterday and I was excited to cook up a storm. The ingredients themselves are high quality and were packaged nicely with reusable cool packs and with a thermal wrapping. The meals are also broken down into different bags and each had a detailed picture recipe card. At one point, I actually laughed to myself as I felt like I was in a Ratatouille reality TV show as I said, ‘So simple, anyone can cook!

I think what I loved most is that the meals were different to what I’d make/dream up myself AND the nutrition value was listed right on the recipe card. Good for people like me who like to count their daily intake.

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So I started my HelloFresh journey with their tofu potato scramble recipe and I definitely had a happy belly at the end of the night.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • 8 oz firm tofu
  • 2 small white potatoes
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup lettuce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 wheat tortillas (not pictured)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (not pictured)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (no pictured)

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1. Prepare your veggies & tofu: cut potato into 1/2 inch pieces, shred the lettuce, chop the garlic, halve the tomatoes, cut pepper into strips, slice the scallions, and finally drain & crumble the tofu in a bowl. It all pretty much looked like this after:

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2. Next, put your potatoes in a pot & cover with water. Bring them to a boil and then let them simmer for 8 minutes. Wait at least 5 minutes before you continue with the skillet portion of the meal. You’ll need your potatoes there.

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3. When your potatoes are nearly done, start your skillet and add the olive oil, scallions, garlic, and chili powder and cook/stir for 2 minutes. Next add your peppers and potatoes, cook/stir for another 5-7 minutes.

Note: when you drain & add your potatoes, save 1 tablespoon of the starchy water for later.

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4. Next, add the tofu & that 1 tablespoon of water you saved. Cook/stir for about 3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

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5. Heat your tortillas (I used the microwave) and then divide your mixture in 1/2 since this recipe is for 2 people. Place your mixture on the tortilla.

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And then top it with the cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce.

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6. Finally, hone your inner Chipotle burrito wrapping skillz and roll that puppy up. My burrito looked terrible, but it still tasted great.

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One final note: If you don’t like heat/spice, then consider less chili powder, because the chili powder is added early on and it gives everything a nice deep heat flavor; the kind that sneaks up on you after a few bites. It was amazing!

I’ll definitely be making this recipe again!

Nutrition per serving (according to HelloFresh)

  • Calories: 527
  • Carbohydrates: 43g
  • Fat: 29g
  • Protein: 34g

Food: Haystacks

In honor of my upcoming trip home to NC, I decided to call on some of my fave childhood recipes for this week’s baking adventure. As I was digging through the cookbooks, I stumbled across an incredibly easy recipe (ONLY 3 ingredients) for haystacks. I couldn’t believe how much I used to love these and how, dare I say it again, easy these sweet treats are to make.

Fair warning, these are in no way healthy. But they are amazing, so eat in moderation. Or eat all you want and then get to the gym stat!

All you need to get started is:

  • 2 bags of butterscotch morsels
  • 1 can of La Choy chow mein noodles
  • 1/2 can of cashews (mine were lightly salted)
  • Wax paper

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I’m sure you can figure out how to make them based on those 3 ingredients but in case it’s not obvious, here goes:

  1. Roughly chop your cashews into pieces.
  2. Melt your butterscotch morsels in the microwave.
  3. Add your chow mein noodles.
  4. Add your cashews.
  5. Stir, stir, stir.
  6. Mix, mix, mix.
  7. Dollop your haystacks onto wax paper and allow to cool.
  8. Best stored in the fridge after they are cool.

The only trick to haystacks is getting all your goodies in before the butterscotch hardens again. If that happens, put it in the microwave for a hot (er, warm) second and then continue to stir, stir, stir. And mix, mix, mix.

After they’ve cooled – enjoy! On a day like today, I can’t wait to get home and eat at least 3 of these. No judgment, please.

Food: Holy moly cannoli cones

It wasn’t a particular goal of mine to start cooking/baking more in 2013. In fact, that’s never been a goal of mine. My food goals are usually directly related to the number that appears on the scale and are fairly simple like, ‘eat healthy’.

So, I have no idea why I’ve been on a food kick this month; but, I’ve really been enjoying it. In addition to the white bean & chicken chili of late, I’ve made a slew of healthy treats and today Hungry Girl’s holy moly cannoli cones.

I bought HG’s books last year when I thought for some reason I would love to cook more. Apparently, it’s only now kicking in. But hey, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, I’ll take the noms & notivation where I can get them. So without further ado, a 134-calorie speedy sweet treat.

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Only 20-30 minutes in the kitchen, no baking, and just sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving. If you fancy it yourself, you can snag the recipe here (without having to buy the book).

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