Archive for nom nom nom

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.

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Weekend review: Birthday celebrations

This past weekend was BF’s birthday and I waited until today to share because we didn’t finish celebrating until last night!

Like years past, BF’s birthday tends to fall on the Mid-Atlantic GAA finals, so it’s pretty easy to get all the lads together because everyone is already planning to go out. After many, many hours of sitting in the sun, we finally headed out in Baltimore for a good laugh. There were loads of birthday shenanigans and I even wore heels! It probably wasn’t my smartest idea, but I looked good. 🙂 Unfortunately, the only pic of the night, was a selfie I grabbed after a few drinks:

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I think we both look funny in this photo, since we’re trying to not act a little tipsy (but I lubs it all the same). I also think I’m biting my lip which isn’t normal at all. All in all, the night was really fun and BF said he really enjoyed his birthday…success!

But it wasn’t over just yet; I’m quite the fan of extended birthday celebrations! Since we both enjoy tasty noms and since it was Restaurant Week here in DC, we visited Filomena Ristorante in Georgetown last night for dinner. I couldn’t believe how good the food was, not to mention the size of the portions! I think we both ate the appetizers, brought home 2/3 of the entree, and at least 1/2 of the dessert. I won’t have to cook for the rest of the week!

I tried to snap a few photos inside, but I hate being that girl with the flash and it was romanticly lit (read: kind of dark inside) for dinner. None of those photos really turned out, but I did mange to get this photo of the “Pasta Mamma” upstairs making pasta as you walk in. Isn’t she adorable?

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So needles to say, if you’re in DC and looking for a really nice Italian restaurant – you can’t go wrong with Filomena!

And Happy Birthday boo, there’s no one else in the world that makes me smile like you!

Weekend review: Animal behaviors (and baby goats!)

This past weekend, I spent 2 days learning about animal behaviors (and playing with baby goats), all in an effort to work towards my big dream. As outlined in my 2013 goals, I began my new dog training course in March, but had only been working on the telecourse portion. This past weekend kicked off the monthly hands-on part where we get to go to a farm and dive into the fascinating world of animal behaviors and obtain practical experience.

This first weekend was about getting our feet wet and learning loads of terminology, overall knowledge, and what we can really do after we understand why animals act the way they do. I’ve been excited for this weekend ever since I found the course because I know now that my true passion lies in working with assistance and therapy animals (not just dog training). And it’s always exhilarating to be learning from the best in the profession!

One of the best highlights of the weekend was getting to pet and feed goats. We met goats at varying ages, but of course the most squee-worthy moments came with the baby goats. Here’s a photo of me feeding Bella her noms. She came up to me and bumped the insides of my knees looking for milk; apparently, this is what they do to their mamas. SQUEEEEE!

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Bella and her brother Murphy will go on to become therapy goats.

And because I couldn’t get enough of the goats, here’s Jake, nomming animal crackers from my hands. He was ravenous for the crackers and couldn’t get enough. Jake is a rescue and used to be on the kids party circuit where he often ate all the birthday cake. Lolz.

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The goats concluded weekend 1 of 6 and I’m already looking forward to May as we’ll get opportunities to work with horses, donkeys, and alpacas in addition to working with dogs, of course.

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).

Food: White bean & chicken chili

Sometimes to break up my day a bit in the afternoon, I’ll put the TV on in the background while I’m working. When I’m not picking up design tips or house hunting on HGTV, I’m usually tuning into Giada at home. Her show is definitely a guilty pleasure as I don’t really understand why I like it. Most of her food is heavily Italian and feels far too complicated; but, the other day she made white bean & chicken chili and I instantly decided I was going to make it too.

It did take me a good hour and a half to make (as estimated) and I certainly wasn’t as quick and graceful in the kitchen as Giada, but the chili was amazing and one I’m adding to my cooking repertoire. For added approval, BF loved it too!

I think the reason I’m raving about this recipe is because I’ve always been hesitant to make chili, maybe because I didn’t understand/appreciate it’s nutritional value? I know it’s meaty and all, but it still didn’t seem like a good way to use up my day’s calories. However, this chili just sits well in my own mindset of healthy eating. It’s packed with tons of healthy proteins: chicken, white beans, spinach, and corn. I did top it with Parmesan cheese as Giada suggests, but it’s a small amount and won’t throw you in to the deep end of food regret.

So here it is, my version of Giada’s white bean & chicken chili:

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You can get Giada’s recipe here & try it for yourself! I know she puts in quite a variety of spices, but I saw it as a good investment since I’ll definitely be making this again before spring rolls around!

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