Monday, August 1, 2016

A need for a Change

Hello Friends,

I've decided to take up a bit of blogging again - but have moved it over to a different site (as some day, I may come back to this one).

I am now at:  Welcome to the EmilyVerse - My Life, My Way.

Hope to see you there!!


Friday, April 25, 2014

I just ate my Chia Pet!

Hi Friends,

Its been quite some time since I've posted... Life kind of took me by the seat of my pants and ran away with me.  As things have slowed down a bit - I've come back to my blog.  It may be a slow re-start up...but it will be more consistent!  So, I guess I owe you all a Happy "Every Holiday I've missed wishing you well" from Thanksgiving to Easter!

Needing some time away, Dave and I are just back from a fabulous trip to Washington, DC.  We both haven't been there since we were kids and just fell in love with it as adults.  We just can't wait to go back! We picked a great time of year to go - the Cherry Blossoms were just at peak and the city was just so gorgeous, lush and green... and pink and white all over the place! 

We saw so much - but didn't see enough!  There is just so much to see and do in our nations capital.  The only museum we went into this trip was the National Archives - so there are about seventeen more to go!!  We loved strolling around Georgetown and the metro in DC is so easy to navigate!  Here are a few highlights!
Around the Tidal Basin - Glorious!
Never got a daytime photo of this place!


Happy but Exhausted after a rainy day!
It was a really exhausting vacation compared to the usual annual "sit on a beach at an all inclusive" that we normally do - but it was really one of the best we've had in a while!

Well, now that we're home and back to reality - I decided yesterday to (FINALLY) make a recipe that I saw in the Food Network Magazine.  I don't know why* it struck me when I read it like FOUR months ago...but it did - so of course I went out and bought the ingredients and they sat around for ever cause - like this blog - my cooking has gotten away from me as well!

Not that this is cooking, mind you...more like - putting together... but still - its Delicious!

*OK, that's not 100% true - I do know why it struck me.  One of the main ingredients of this dish is Chia Seeds.  I had no idea what a chia seed was when I read it, so I had to look it up.  I'm all for trying new things - and new healthy what could it hurt, right? 

Well, that is when I found out that the Chia seed is exactly the same seed used in the Chia Pet!  Hello 80's flash back! 

All I could picture in my head is eating this dish and then start sprouting green!  Maybe that's what took me so long to make the dish!

Well, anyway - I highly recommend it.  Its a great breakfast item and with a bit of tweaking, I'm thinking it will make a nice dessert too!

Chia Seed Pudding
serving is 4

  • 1 cup vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup plain low-fat (2 percent) Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably grade B), plus 4 teaspoons for serving*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
*It says grade B - I used regular Aunt Jemima and it was just fine.  Also - I didn't add the 4 extra teaspoons for serving - I think it would have been too sweet for my tastes with it.
In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt until just blended. 
Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. 
Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 4 teaspoons maple syrup. Mix in the almonds. Spoon the pudding into 4 bowls or glasses; mound the berry mixture on top and serve. 

An aerial view of my pudding (it was in a bowl)

From Food Network (so you can see the actual pudding)
The pudding itself has a texture of tapioca pudding and the chia seeds really don't have a huge flavor - just a but nutty.  But all the flavors combined was yummy!  This will be a regular breakfast staple for me in the future!

Stay tunes, friends...  I'll be posting again soon!  I swear!

Until Next Time...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Foodie Penpal REVEAL day!!

Hello Friends!

Remember I told you about the Foodie Pen Pals?  Well, FYI... I found it (through Pinterest) but it is on the blog of Lindsay - The Lean Green Bean.  Check out her blog!

Today is the day!  I can reveal what Nancy from Wisconsin sent to me!! I was super excited to open my box and see what treasures were in store for me, and honestly - I'm thrilled!! 

My box contained:
1.  Maple Peppercorn Mustard
2. Asian Nut Butter
3. Co-op Hot Sauce
4. Bacon Toffee
5. Chocolate covered cherries
6. Red Baby Rice Popcorn

Note:  Bacon Toffee IS open... Dave got to it!
And.... many recipes and items from around where Nancy lives as well as a edible Madison magazine.  I LOVED that Nancy included things from where she lives so I can get to see a bit of Madison Wisconsin here in NY! 

Let me tell you about what I tasted!

Maple Peppercorn Mustard - What a tangy spicy get a hint of sweet, but then the peppercorns hit your tongue... So delicious!  I've had it on a ham sandwich..and I've used it as a marinade on my pork chops.  This was a fantastic find and I can't wait to use more!  This would be fantastic in a vinaigrette too!!

Asian Jazzy Nut Butter - This has your classic peanut butter taste at the first split second...but then - all the spices...turmeric, cumin, cayenne... blasts in your mouth for such an interesting flavor!  I don't eat peanut better often.. like maybe twice a year... but this.... This has kick, it has depth.. it has texture and flavor depth.. This has transformed the peanut butter experience for me!!  I'm so happy!!

Co-op Hot Sauce - Who doesn't like a hot sauce?  I'm a spicy girl, so I loved this!  Even as simple as a few dashes on some scrambled eggs...  Yum.  Yum.  Wings are next!!

Bacon Toffee - It didn't last past the first hour of it being in the house!  It definitely smelled like bacon and tasted like bacon initially - and then the sweetness of the toffee comes in and cuts the salty of the bacon.  Having never had it before, I wasn't sure what to expect ... but it is something I'd absolutely have again!

Chocolate covered cherries - delicious!!  I have a thing for cherries, so adding chocolate to them - YUM!

Red Baby Rice Popcorn - Now, regretfully - one of the things I was looking forward to having the most - I never got to taste.  Guess who did...??????
Yup.  That's the Red Baby Rice Popcorn all over the dog bed...
and the sofa...and the floor.
Some one snatched it off the table and had a field day... Not sure which one, but I have my suspicions!
Pay no attention to the devil eyes...
They knew I was so mad, they put themselves to bed!
Delilah is just chilling out watching me clean up... Notice Sampson (whom I believe the guilty party is) has his head down... Tell-tale sign right there!

Well, I'm going to order me some Red Baby Rice Popcorn from online and try it out ... and its coming out of the Dog Treats budget!

It was a great box to get - and I can't wait to try some of the recipes that Nancy sent me.  I'm so happy I found the Foodie Pen Pal ... Hey - if you have any suggestions on what to add to a box...Let me know!! 

In December - they don't do a foodie box in and ask that you donate what you'd spend on the box to charity... So I'll be donating to Island Harvest - one of the largest Hunger Relief organizations on Long Island.  If you can.. whether it is $1 or $10 ... It will help.  Check out their site here...  Island Harvest.

Hope you've had a wonderful Thanksgiving...and are thankful for all you have around you.  I'm thankful... too much to list... but I am thankful!

Until Next Time...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Who could say no to a 16 oz Kobe Beef meatball?

Not me!!

Hello Friends!

So I want to tell you about a lovely experience I had on Friday Night.  My Friend Coreen and I had decided to go to dinner and a see movie...we ended up seeing Last Vegas at the Multiplex in Farmingdale (which was a very funny, light movie...Just what I needed!).  

We decided to meet earlier for dinner and here is the story of our little culinary adventure at Trento - Italian American Retro.  A new restaurant that colleague of mine had gone to Trento and she recommended the meatball so I knew I had to try that!  I suggested it to Coreen as it is very close to the theater and I knew she'd be game to try a new place with me!

We were there early - 5:45pm on a Friday night. After looking through the menu, Coreen and I decided to share some we both love trying new places, experiencing new flavors and enjoying what hoped to be a really good meal.    

To our table comes Carmela, our waitress.  She was such an energetic, professional young lady and was very informed on the menu.  We mentioned a few dishes we wanted to share and she was right in there with the why's we should absolutely do that and some great recommendations!

So we ordered for our first course... as Carmela described it, "a 16 oz Kobe Beef Meatball with a gorgeous sauce and a dehydrated ricotta on top".  

While we'd normally not have the two come out at the same time, due to time, we also ordered the Troffolini... "little purse like filled pasta with ricotta cheese and pear in a light truffle cream sauce".

In the back..that's still 1/2 of the freaking Meatball
(which was just as delicious and tender the next day!)...
And note what looks like shaved parm on the pasta... Nope!!
So, our dishes came to the table and Carmela jumped right in there and had separate dishes and served both Coreen and my self a little of each dish... Great service!!  Carmela then asked if we wanted some fresh cheese for the pasta.  I looked a bit quizzically at her (seeing on the dish some shaved Parm...but you all know I never say no to more cheese...) and said yes.  It wasn't until I actually took a bite that I realized what that cheese impostor was... thinly shaved pear!

But I digress... my first bite was the Meatball....a bit of the meat, some of the sauce and a touch of the ricotta - collecting the perfect bite.  Folks, you can just put it all in your mouth and it practically melts away!  I've never had such a tender more flavorful meatball!  The sauce was deliciously sweet but the ricotta's texture completely complimented each element of the dish.  I don't know how anyone can go to Trento and NOT order the Meatball...It is seriously that good...and yes, I dare say - the best I've ever had!

On recommendation from Coreen, she said "Just put one whole purse in your mouth - don't cut it...just eat"... so I followed suit. I built a 'perfect bite' of some sauce, the pasta and a shaving of that pear and boom!  I swear I had to close my eyes and just savor what was going on in my mouth...the pasta was so thin and al-dente... the filling was not too much, but so full of flavor...the sauce was so could taste the bits of pear in the filling but it all just accented the shavings of pear that was on top!  Oh My Goodness.  Sweet but savory and earthy but light as a feather...This was amazing.  This was "I don't want to stop eating it" delicious.  This was "if I didn't have 10 more ounces of meat ball to eat...and an entree coming to boot...I'd eat the whole plate and order another" delicious.  Perfection. 

After all that...(and wrapping up the left over meatball and pasta)... yes..we did have an entree coming out!  We decided to try the Black Sea Bass special... served on a parsnip puree with wilted spinach and a muffaletta olive sauce on top with a hit of tomato oil. The fish was cooked perfectly and was hearty enough to stand up to the flavors of the muffaletta sauce but not over power it.  The spinach was tender and delicate...but along with that parsnip puree - a fabulously delicious and light entree.  I could picture on a cold night, eating a bowl of that parsnip puree and being a very happy girl!  By the time Coreen and I were done, there wasn't a trace of it on the plate at all!!

Perfectly Cooked and Amazingly delicious!

So - my ratings:

Food: A - for our first time there, I was super excited to taste and try.  What I did taste and try was delicious and made me excited to bring Dave there to experience it with me.  Well done!

Price: Moderate - We had one appetizer and two entrees (yes, the pasta was an entree!) along with one cocktail each (yum!!) and the bill came to about 100.00.  For the food we got, I'd pay it again!

Service: A - Carmela was attentive, professional, knowledgeable and energetic.  She has a super "people" personality and it was a pleasure experiencing Trento under her guidance.  She even told the chef how excited we were and he came to the table several times to chat and see how we liked the food.  Well done, Chef Avallone!  I promised to be back with my husband... and we absolutely will!

Yes, friends - Trento is a must!  Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews are 4 stars + and I now know why.  I'm sure as a new restaurant there are kinks and growing pains happening, however we didn't see or experience any of that during our meal.  I do look forward to returning and trying more of this delicious food!

Ok - off to do some pre-Thanksgiving prep...

Until Next Time...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Um.. can we say - RIGHT UP MY ALLEY???

Hi Friends...

How are you all doing this crazy November?  Me? I'm shocked that its nearly Thanksgiving...Nearly Dave and my 3rd Anniversary...and I have to start Christmas Shopping in week and a half!  While I'm married to Mr. Christmas, who wants to decorate already...I hold off the beginning of the Christmas season until December 1st.  I need each holiday to have its own Month!!

So this will be the start of at least three...maybe four blogs in the next two weeks. Of course around Thanksgiving there is a ton of cooking going on...and I'm doing a few of my favorite side dishes for the big day...but more on that in a later blog.

This blog - is about a wonderful discovery I found all because of the "suck-me-into-another-vortex-of-time-wasting-searches-on-my-new-addiction-called-Pinterest".  I'm all over the food and beverage section of Pinterest...I mean, obviously with my affinity for food - that's of course where I'll spend my spare time, when I'm not in a grocery store, specialty store or in my kitchen cooking.  I've found some great recipes...and some great blogs from people posting their recipes. 

But seriously - the most favorite thing that I've found of all time...The Foodie Pen pal.  Yes.  You heard me correctly. FOODIE PEN PAL. Now you get it??  RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!!!!!!!

I stumbled upon a blog through Pinterest and some amazing recipes...and of course stayed on there to look around this amazing blog and get some amazing ideas when I saw the heading "Foodie Pen pal".  Uh.. What?  OK.. I'm in...One click...and a brief glance and I was hooked!  Signed up and then starting thinking, planning, plotting what I was going to send. 

Let me explain a bit.  The blogger collects names of people interested in participating in exchanging food from around the country and connects them with another participant.  The two participants email each other and gets to know each others likes and dislikes, dietary restrictions or allergies...and then by the 15th of the Month - they send out a package of goodies to each other (spending no more than $15!).  Seems "simple" and while it is... It was really hard to think of what to send...  Its challenging, creative and I had a blast participating!  I'm already signed up for next month!!

So, I got paired with Nancy from Wisconsin.  Now I can say I know someone from Wisconsin - a first for me!

Now...I can't tell you what I received from Nancy until November 29th (official Blog Day for Foodie Pen pal)... I can tell you what I chose to send Nancy...and why!

I wanted to encompass something very ... well... New York.  My first thought was a bagel is the IT thing for New York (other than Pizza!) and my favorite bagel is the "Everything Bagel".  So I decided to send some of "Everything" to Nancy.  I made the Everything seasoning and even got some fabulous ideas on how to use it in other recipes.

So, the seasoning is:
3 Tablespoons each of: Poppy Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Dried Onion Flakes, Dried Garlic Flakes
and 1 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher Salt.

Voila!  You can use it on any raw dough to make Everything biscuits or croissants.. You can toss it in with some scrambled eggs or even use with breadcrumbs to top mac and cheese.  I put some on top of my meatloaf the night I made it and it was delic! My next thought is to use it on Pork chops or Chicken as a nice rub before cooking.

I also sent a package of lentils ... If you've been reading my blog, you'll know I discovered lentils recently (No, I don't live under a rock...I just don't pay attention some times!).  Since I was sending some of my "favorites" I decided to include the lentils and the recipe for my Quinoa & Lentil Salad along with it.  I make this just about every other week and love, love, love it!!

Lastly, I decided on one of my favorite snacks... Spiced Snack Mix

Super delicious and flavorful...  Such a simple recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil.

In a small bowl, mix together:
1 tbs sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 - 3 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

Then - in a larger bowl whisk 1 large egg white until frothy.  Once that is done mix in your nuts! :)  You'll need 4 cups of nuts - choose what you'd like.  I used almonds, peanuts and cashews.  Also mix in 1 1/2 cups of mini pretzels and 1 1/2 cups of oyster crackers.

Sprinkle in your spice blend and then stir to coat each piece.  Spread evenly on the baking sheet and bake... stirring occasionally until golden brown (about 15 - 20 minutes).  

Really yummy...In fact, I'm snacking on some now!  

Stay tuned ... Nov 29th is reveal day and I can tell you all about what Nancy sent to me!

Until Next Time...


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pinterest will be the death of me...

Hello Friends!

Happy Sunday!  House is smelling delicious due to my crock pot cooking... House is sounding loud due to my husband watching foot all... All in all, its a good day (though will be a better day if the JETS can win today...but right now... 4 minutes left in the 1st quarter - I'm not thinking so...).

So - Have ya'll been on Pinterest?  I've heard about it...and had zero interest... 

That is, until I spoke to my sister in law who described it to me in such a way that I said to my self, "Emily - you have to at least look at this thing".  And Look I did... and looked... and looked... and created boards... many, many boards... and now I because I spend a lot of time looking on Pinterest - Its been weeks since I wrote my blog! 

But in Pinterests and my defense ... I'll have some great things to share with you because of it!  :) 

For instance... tonight's dinner was fully inspired by this nice, cool autumn weather and Pinterest.

Crock Pot Broccoli & Cheese Soup.....with Cheddar Bay Biscuits!

This morning, about 9am .. I got all my ingredients together...
One Onion - Minced
2 cloves of garlic - smashed
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
3/4 of a bag of shredded carrots
2 cups of milk ** Read my "redo" below
1 qt of chicken stock (low sodium)

Dump all of this stuff into the crock pot...
Add in one 10 oz box of chopped broccoli and one 10 oz box of broccoli florets or spears (or another of chopped broccoli)

Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours... (or on high for 4 to 6)

30 minutes before you are going to serve - use an emerson blender to very briefly (like 3 seconds) to thicken the soup and grind up some of the veggies (cut some of the broccoli spears if you used them like I did... you want chunks but not too much).  Let it continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

Re-DO!!!! **Do NOT add the milk before cooking. Hold it until you are adding the cheese...then add the milk!Add in your cheeses..

1 cup each of:   Cheddar (I used a sharp) ... Gruyere ... Jarlsberg

Stir together and cover again and let cook for another 20 minutes....

** Reason for the RE-DO... I wasn't thrilled with the texture/taste of the soup.  After some research... I realized that adding the dairy in the beginning and cooking it so long....curdled the milk!  So if you add the milk with the cheeses...and cook for 20 - 30 minutes (vs. 7 hours) completely changes things!!

The Cheddar Bay Biscuits I'm serving (another Pinterest specialty) were super easy to make... And what I like about them - you can make the dough and portion them out...and freeze them!  The night before you want to eat them - thaw in the fridge and bake at the below temp/time.  Or you can bake them right from the freezer, it'll just take a bit longer.

So the ingredients are:

1 3/4 cups of AP flour
1 tablespoon & 2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoons of salt
3 tablespoons of vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces
6 oz of sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup of milk

for the topping
3 tablespoons of melted butter (I used salted)
1 garlic clove smashed
1 teaspoon parsley (fresh or dried)
**redo - garlic powder too!

Preheat your oven to 425 and put your rack on the top 1/3rd of the oven.

Combine in the food processor all your dry ingredients and pulse 2 to 3 times.  Add in your shortening and pulse again to combine.  Add the butter and pulse 4 to 5 times until you get pea sized crumbs.  Add your cheese and pulse 2 or 3 times.  Add the milk and pulse again until moist and sticky.
Flour, Baking Powder, Sugar and Salt

Shortening and Butter

Pea size dough

With Cheese & Milk

Drop 1/4 cup measure dough balls on a greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. 

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, make the garlic butter by melting the butter with the smashed garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat... cook together for about 2 minutes.  

Remove from heat and add parsley.  Brush biscuits with garlic butter *and sprinkle with some garlic powder and serve warm.

The meal was good ... with the 're-do's ... much better! I've got many a recipe on my boards on Pinterest that I want to try!!  You have any?  Let me know!!

Follow me on Pinterest ... Emily (quill964)! 

Until Next Time...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Day of Autumn + Sunday Football =

The first pot of Sauce for the season!! (though I'm posting this a tad bit late)

Hello Friends!

There is nothing like the smell of a pot of simmering goodness on the stove as the air turns cool and crisp...any pot of goodness is fine, but on the first day of autumn (last Sunday), my pot of choice was tomato sauce.  I was lucky enough to get a mess of fresh tomatoes from my brothers garden and decided to toss them in as well.  So - let me share with you this version of sauce.  I say 'this version' because I don't have a real written down recipe for sauce so I never make it the same way twice! 

So, Lets begin.  I started off with browning up my meatballs, sausage and pork ribs.  I brown everything but do not cook it through... it will finish up in the sauce.

While the meat is browning, I chop up one onion, a mess of carrots, a bunch of stalks of celery, all those luscious tomatoes and 5 large cloves of garlic.

When the meat is done and out of the pan, add a bit more olive oil to the pot and toss in those veggies.
Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flake and Italian seasoning and let them cook down...add in some tomato paste at this point as well.
De glaze the pan with about a cup of red wine and some chicken broth...and a can of whole tomatoes and their juices...(I crush up the tomatoes by hand before adding them in).
Let this cook down for at least 30 minutes, until all of the veggies are tender. 
At this point, I'll use the immersion blender to break down the vegetables a bit and then add in two (or three, depending on how much I'm making!) of crushed tomatoes. I season with salt and pepper, dried oregano and three heaping tablespoons of pesto (I use classico).  I then will add all the meat back to the pot and let this simmer on the stove for ... oh.... three or four hours.  The longer the better!
A bowl of pasta, some meatballs, this rich and delicious sauce... and a win for the Jets.  A perfect start to this autumn season!

The colder it gets...the more I cook - I see soups in my future!! Have a good soup recipe? A Favorite soup?  Let me know!

Until Next Time...