Hello everyone! I’m back! Don’t worry – I didn’t forget about you. I took a break from blogging (longer than I’d like to admit) as life things started to pile up. Things happened while I was away! We moved – again! I know, every time we move somewhere I tell myself “we will be here for a good chunk of time.” But then something happens that steers us in a different direction, and we’re buying more moving boxes.
This time, we stayed in the same state (NJ) but moved a bit more North because I got a new job! And this job happens to be in New York City! I have to admit I never would have thought I’d work in NYC, but now I’m one of those Jersey commuters with a drawer full of shoes at my office so I can wear my sneakers during my commute. The job is wonderful, and a big transition from what I was doing previously. One of my favorite things about the job (besides a kick ass team of people I work with) is the company deals with food! So I get to think and talk about food for my job! I can’t use enough exclamation points! I’m really lucky to have found such a great opportunity to transition from working at various universities to a field that I hadn’t dipped my toes in yet.
J and I have had a lot of amazing adventures since my last post. We’ve traveled a lot, cooked a lot, explored our new town, and had some great dance parties at quite a few weddings. I’ll be sharing some of these adventures by doing some catch up with a few back-in-time “Month Through My Lens” posts soon.
Due to my new job (and commute), I have less time to spend in the kitchen. While I may not post as frequently as I had previously, my goal is to keep the time in between posts much shorter. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this NYC rooftop shot.
Happy Pi day everyone! For me, I like to view the holiday as Pi(e) day. As there will be many pies baked in honor of today, I thought I would add a couple to the mix. However, instead of doing a sweet pie, I decided to go savory. One is perfect for breakfast, the other perfect for lunch, a snack, or cocktail hour, and to top it off – they are mini! It might be a psychological thing, but I think mini things taste better somehow. Maybe it’s because you get everything in one bite.
The first is my breakfast ham and egg mini pie. Yes it’s kind of like a mini quiche, but today, it’s a mini breakfast pie. Super quick to throw together, with no pre-cooking required.
Next is a spin on a spinach pie mixed with a spanikopita. This little bite really hits the spot, and it’s a healthier pie because… KALE!! These will also be a good party snack for St. Patrick’s Day.
Look at how little 6 cups of kale cooks down to!
I also used store-bought pie crust dough as a shortcut. By all means make your own pie dough, but today was not one of those days for me. I used a circular cutter that was larger than the mini muffin tins so there would be enough for the sides. Or you can cut out the dough with a sharp knife.
Remember to poke holes in the bottom of your pie dough with a fork!
I used some extra pie dough and these cute little cookie cutters I got from my parents (thanks!) to cut out little shapes to put on the kale/feta pies. Continue reading →
There are a few things that I could live off of for the rest of my life. Sandwiches (or according to Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec; sammies, sandoozles, or Adam Sandlers) are one of them. They have never ending possibilities when it comes to fillings, spreads, and bread vehicle of choice.
Sandwiches are good any time of day, hot or cold, in summer or winter. From dainty little tea sandwiches to saucy messy meatball subs, I haven’t met a sandwich I didn’t like.
Here is a quick and easy open face sandwich that is great for a snack or light lunch. It is also a great vegetarian option.
Let me start off with a few things.
1. I’m sorry for the two month hiatus – I could blame it on the holidays/weather/travel… but the truth is I was just in a blogging funk.
2. Due to the break, my next Month Through My Lens will be epic!
3. While I was away, I experienced some firsts. I celebrated New Years in NYC for the first time which could have been hectic and crazy, but was wonderful and perfect and one of the best New Years to date, and I went to Disneyland for the first time and freakin’ loved it! P.S. get Dole Whip (pineapple soft serve) early in the morning when there is a short line. I think it makes for a good breakfast.
4. Okay, time to get down to business… Valentine’s Day!
Some people are not fond of Valentine’s Day. Even in my early days when most of my friends had boyfriends to buy them cards or flowers or chocolate, I have always liked the holiday. Maybe it’s because my inner craft child gets to emerge and make fun cards for people. I always liked making cards for all the kids in my elementary school class, and then after college, I enjoyed getting together with girlfriends for a crafty day making valentines for whomever (the addition of mimosas or wine also made this craft day more exciting). Even now that I’m married, I still like sending cards to my girlfriends because who doesn’t like getting snail mail!?
Another thing people don’t mind receiving is chocolate. Since chocolate is a common gift on Valentine’s day, I have a recipe that will sure get you some extra lovin’ this Saturday. Skip the chocolate boxes from the drug store and give a box of these fudgy brownies.
Nice and crunchy on the top, dense and chewy on the inside. The walnuts add a nice crunch. If you don’t like nuts in your brownies, you can add chocolate chips, or just go plain. Continue reading →
We are now in full swing of the holiday season. This means long lines at the post office, spending way too much time online shopping, food blogs are full of sweet recipes, and instead of working all I want to do is bake. However this is not a food post. Instead I thought I would share with you some of my holiday decorations ideas that are simple and add a bit of sparkle. If you are traveling for the holidays like we are, it may seem like kind of a waste to get a whole christmas tree to then leave it for a week. Coming home to a dead tree kind of kills the holiday spirit. However, I can’t imagine the holidays without the house smelling of pine. So instead I pick up some evergreen branches which are available at most grocery stores or tree lots. I arrange them in different sized vases and place them all around the house. For the larger branches, you can even hang a few ornaments for a makeshift tree. This is also helpful if you have a small apartment and don’t have room for a tree. Flat ornaments work well hanging off of vases. Just because you don’t have a big tree doesn’t mean your ornaments won’t go to waste. I take similar colored ornaments and place them in glass vases, bowls, or mason jars. For my mantle, I stuck with silver and gold ornaments. I also had this string of globe lights made out of thin wicker strips. I bunched them all together and placed them in a serving dish. I love the light it throws on the wall. You can also do this with regular string lights or small twinkly lights because you can never have too much twinkle during the holidays.
It’s a known fact that holiday season = baking season. While your oven works overtime baking all types of cookies, bars and sweet treats, don’t forget about some trusty standbys. This banana bread is one of them. Of course it is a little dolled up with the brown butter, so it can totally be invited to the party with the gingerbread. You can leave out the walnuts if you want, but I like having the crunch in the soft, moist bread. You can also add chocolate chips. I did both walnuts and chocolate chips in my second batch and oh man, it was crazy good. Definitely more on the sweet/dessert side, but I totally had some for breakfast too. Chocolate for breakfast is totally a thing in my book.
Above is after the batter is just mixed (don’t over-mix!) and the walnuts are mixed with the remaining flour. This is a little trick to help additions like nuts or chocolate chips not sink to the bottom of the bread while baking, but stay speckled throughout.
This bread is easy to throw together and makes your kitchen and house smell AMAZING as it bakes. Even if you aren’t a big banana bread fan, bake it anyway and give it as a gift so you can a) get the smell all up in your house, and b) the person you gift this to will love you forever. This recipe only makes one loaf, but you can easily double the recipe to make two loafs.Continue reading →
I’m doing double duty with this post today since I have been a little belated with my Month Through My Lens posts and showing you two months!
Above is a photo from lunch out on Long Island. We sat right on the dock on a beautiful sunny day.
At this lunch I had the largest lobster roll ever. I would say this is more of a lobster sandwich since it was on ciabatta, but still delicious and full of tons of lobster.
This was the view leaving my last farmers market in State College.
Awesome views driving from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.
A good way to start the morning.
Went into NYC and checked one thing off my bucket list.
Perfect day for a Brooklyn Bridge walk. Continue reading →
Once the leaves start to turn colors and the temperature starts to drop, the first thing that seems to pop up is not halloween costumes, but pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. Walking down the aisles of the grocery store, I’m pretty sure 1/4 of everything there is pumpkin spiced. Cookies, pasta sauce, coffee/tea, cream cheese, pancake batter, even mochi ice cream (you can find this at Trader Joe’s).
I won’t lie, I do love pumpkin flavored things… to an extent. I don’t need everything pumpkin flavored, but there is something comforting about a nice pumpkin bread or muffins. So recently I made some pumpkin chocolate chip bread (one loaf flew all the way to the West Coast) that left me with some leftover pumpkin puree. I couldn’t let it go to waste, so I made some pumpkin scones. These turned out a little cake-ier, more like a mix between a scone and a muffin top. Not that there is anything wrong with that – just wanted to let you know.
Using a pastry cutter to cut in the butter into the dry flour mixture. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two knives, a fork, or your fingers. If you use your fingers, work quickly so the butter doesn’t warm up too much.
Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and orange zest.
An ice cream scooper works perfectly for making similar sized scones.