Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Peanut Buttery Goodness

I am a peanut butter addict. I love eating it by the spoonful. I keep finding myself breaking into my jar. Sooooo, I decided to make myself some little treat, so maybe I will cool it with the spoon. I came across this recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter cookies. They are to die for!

This was a first for me, but the latest jar of peanut butter I bought was unsalted. This will be the first and last time I do this. It is really dumb because I now pour salt on top of pbj sandwiches kind of defeating the purpose. I think I will stick to buying the salted versions from now on! Anyways, because of this I had to add salt to the original recipe.

They are such a treat and so simple. I think I always have the ingredients needed, soooooo that probably means I'll be making these quite often from now on!

Here is the recipe:

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 tsp of salt

Just look at this bowl full of peanutty goodness:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix ingredients together
3. roll into balls
4. bake for 10-12 minutes (Mine took 12 minutes!)
5. Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good thing I don't work on 39th Street anymore.

Baked by Melissa has a new store front on 7th Avenue between 38th and 39th.

Having this around the block from work, would be DANGEROUS!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Pizza, but with Mexican Flair!

I really dig pizza. I also really dig Mexican food, so why not combine the two? This was my first time trying this out and I was quite pleased with the results. I drew inspiration from a post on Healthy Food for Living, but added my own little spin. For my sauce, I pureed black beans, salsa, chili powder, and salt in the food processor. For toppings, I added peppers, onions, corn, and a combination of provolone and cheddar. Basically it is all the fillings I would usually throw in a tortilla and have as a burrito. It was fun to mix it up and have them on a pizza!

Here's my recipe:

- pizza dough (Today I used TJ’s whole wheat!)
- 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/8 cup salsa
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup corn
- 1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup provolone cheese
- Salt to taste

1. Take dough out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 450°F and place pizza stone inside, if you have one.
3. Defrost corn in the microwave as directed on packaging.
4. Combine the black beans, salsa, chili, and salt in your food processor and puree.

5. In a sauté pan cook peppers and onions in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes.
6. Stretch dough out and place on preheated stone.
7. Spread bean puree in an even layer onto the pizza dough.

8. Top with cheeses and veggies

9. Cook for about 12 minutes
10. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pizza, Pizza!

I love pizza. It is, for sure, one of my favorite food, but what I love even more is making pizza! Growing up, my sis and I used to dabble in making pizzas. We were above Boboli and store bought crust, so we opted for Stop & Shop's fresh dough. We never stretched it very well, so it would come out super thick and with lots of crust (not that we really objected.) We would treat the crust as a side roll and put butter on it. We never got too fancy with topping and would just make standard cheese.

Today, I go crazy trying new topping pairings and try to add lots of veggies to them. I also invested in a pizza stone which I adore! When I first moved to NYC, I got the craving and went out to buy some pizza dough. I went to 4 supermarkets and was shocked to find not a single one had dough. I was pretty miserable! This sparked me to start experiment with making homemade dough. I tried a couple recipes and would discuss with my mom who was also trying out some recipes. Many were quite disappointing with basically no flavor! They didn't have enough salt and sugar! After experimenting, mom found this one, which has been the best dough recipe find thus far:

Homemade Pizza Dough


- Mix:
1 cup of flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
1 pkg of yeast

- Then add:
1 cup of hot tap water
2 tablespoons of oil

- And then add up to 2 more cups of flour to make a non sticky dough
- Knead for 5 minutes
- Place in oiled bowl, cover with towel and let rise for an hour
- Then punch down and divide in two balls ( I usually freeze one for later)

I did finally find other sources for dough in this big city, so when time is of essence, Good old Trader Joes and Whole Foods sell pizza dough!!!!! Thank god somebody out there in NYC can provide for me like Stop & Shop who never lets a girl down! They are also a steal. Trader Joes is .99 cents and Wholes food is $1.69. I usually have a dough ball stocked in the freezer, for back up.

After being away for the weekend, it is time to pull one of those balls out. Today's pizza was one of my go to classics:

Spinach Pizza


pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
1/8 cup tomato sauce
1 cup frozen spinach
dash of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese


- Take dough out of the refrigerator
- Preheat over to 450 degrees. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven to preheat it as well
- Defrost spinach in microwave for 1 minute; drain any unnecessary water from bowl
- Stretch dough out and place on preheated stone
- Cover with sauce, spinach, seasoning, and cheese
- Cook for about 12 minutes

Other Pizza Tips:

- Tomato Basil Sauce - I am weird and don't like tomato sauce when it comes to pasta. I solely buy it for using on pizza! My favorite kind tends to be Tomato Basil flavors. I hate a sauce which is too sweet. Tomato basil usually has great flavor!

- Italian Seasoning - I have some in the cupboard and love to sprinkle some on all my pizza. It really adds some pizzazz!

- Experiment with different cheeses - I used to always just stick with mozzarella, but now I have been having fun trying all different kinds of cheeses. Rachel Ray introduced me to using Provolone, which is quite good on pizza. Her all time favorite pizza

- Buy a Pizza Stone - While not necessary, I love mine. It makes the crust have a nice crisp to it, but allows it to still be soft inside. By preheating the stone with the oven, pizzas cook wicked quick, so you get to eat sooner!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

We had a rocky start, but now I am in love.

At the age of 22, I finally discovered the amazing-ness that is oatmeal. During my period of living out of a suitcase for 8 months, I made this discovery and it came in handy. From that day on, I would get anxious if I didn't have a box of oatmeal packets in my suitcase. Of course prior to this discovery the other staple that had to be in my suitcase was a jar of peanut butter, but that I think I discovered at birth I couldn't live without.

I dont know what provoked me to try it, but one day at a hotel's continental breakfast, I had a packet of Quaker's Maple Brown Sugar. It was to die for. Tasted like candy, it was so sugary. While growing up, I always hated oatmeal. I think this is because Mom always bought the plain old fashioned oat which you had to doctor up yourself. I guess they were not doctored up quite enough because I always thought oatmeal was so blant and boring.

Now that I have grown up a little, I now buy the old fashioned oats. I buy the huge tub too! Most cost effective way. I have perfected the art of doctoring it up and last summer made a new oatmeal discovery!

Overnight oats! Oatmeal is a staple breakfast for me, but when it is hot out, you don't always want a hot cereal. I stumbled across a recipe card at Whole Foods for an overnight oatmeal which sparked the idea in my head and now this is my new found favorite way to have oatmeal. The possibilities are endless too. I mix it up using different sweeteners (brown sugar, honey, maple syrup,) fruit (strawberries, banana, craisins,) and nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts.)

Here is the classic Brenda Overnight Recipe:


1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Handful of chopped almonds
Handful of dried cranberries


- Stir all ingredients together in a tupperware
- Put it in the refrigerator and enjoy the next day (or after a couple hours)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gonna have an EXCELLENT run today!

Here is some motivation thanks to NB on this fine Monday morning.

I had not been home since Boston, so my life had been deprived of gazing at NB's amazing ad campaign for the marathon. I am pretty obsessed and feel the need to share!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Mini Frittatas

Happy Mother's Day to all! I had the pleasure of being home this weekend and spending some short, but sweet quality time with my mom and sis! We indulged with a visit to Sweet Tooth yesterday! Still the best cupcake I've had to this day, but I will keep on eating numerous other cupcakes just in case there is an even better one out there! When we were a block away, I could already smell the deliciousness! I know it is boring, but I had a plain vanilla. The classic is the best!

This morning we made a delicious brunch before my sister had to depart. We made cute Mini Vegetable Frittatas. Check out how cute they are! They came out quite amazing and delicious!

Mini Vegetable Frittata

1/2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1/6 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper
1 teaspoons minced garlic (1 clove)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 scallions chopped

- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease 12 cups muffin tins
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Saute zucchini, peppers, and onion in olive oil adding 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and garlic
- Once cooked set vegetables aside
- With oil remaining in the sauté pan, add in scallions and cook for 1 minute over medium-low heat
- Add the vegetables to the pan and toss with the scallions.
- Add the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes over medium-low heat stirring.
- Pour mixture into muffin tin
- Bake for 15 minutes
- Using a rubber spatula to loosen the frittatas from the muffin cups and slide the frittatas onto a platter.
- Enjoy!

(Used tips from Giada mini frittata recipe for baking temp and time!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Homemade granola bars!

Foods that I really like and tend to buy, I like trying to make homemade. I enjoy experimenting with cooking, but more importantly, everything taste better homemade! Granola bars have always been a staple snack for me, so after doing some searching I found this recipe a couple years ago and really liked! Today I made some more and wanted to share!

I have to credit joyfulabode for the recipe idea! I made some alterations to her version and this is what I came up with:


• 2 1/2 cups oats
• 3/4 cup wheat germ
• 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1 cup almonds (or nut of your choice) food processed
• 2/3 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup honey
• 4 Tbsp butter
• 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
• approximately 8 oz. dried fruit


- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix nuts, oats, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds in a baking dish with sides. Toast them in the oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Move oat mixture into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Prepare an 11X13 baking dish by lining the bottom with wax paper.
- Combine brown sugar, honey, butter, and salt into a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

- Pour sugar mixture over oats and mix well

- Spread mixture in baking dish with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Cut another sheet of wax paper and place on top. Press hard so granola compacts.
- Let granola sit and cool for 2-3 hours
- Remove wax paper and move big bar to a cutting board.
- Cut with a big knife (not sawing)

They taste amazing and I have already eaten way too many today! I have to warn, this time they didn’t stay together perfectly. The original recipe had only 2 cups of oats. This seemed super sticky and wet, so I added another cut. I guess the extra glue is needed to hold them together! I think the best bet would be 2 ½ cups, a happy medium!

Congrats to Soul Daddy!

So as Top Chef All Stars ended, I had to find a new show to obsess over. NBC strategicly started airing their new restaurant show in the nick of time and I became completely hooked. Over the past few weeks I've been watching Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, and Steve, the owner of Chipotle (who feels the need to tell you he owns Chipotle in every sentence!) search of America’s Next Great Restaurant. Contestants pitched ideas for the next chain restaurant which the hosts would choose from to invest. The winner's idea would then open in three locations: LA, NYC, and Minneapolis.

My favorite concept left near the beginning: Meltwork. It was going to be a grilled cheese restaurant. Best concept ever! The brains behind Meltworks was not willing to take advise from the investors, so he got booted off. In the end it was down to three: Spice Coast, a modern indian restaurant, Brooklyn Meatball Co., and Soul Daddy. Brooklyn Meatball Co., was formally supposed to be called Saucy Balls. Enough said. I did not want Tony to win. Spice Coast, was a great idea. I personally do not like Indian food, but everyone I know loves it and there aren't any chain Indian places out there, so capitalizing on this seemed like a good plan. My hopes were for Soul Daddy and last night we found out Jamawn won!!!!!!! Of the three concept this was the one I most wanted to eat. Also, his story was really touching and made you really want him to win.

I can't wait to go visit Soul Daddy at the South Street Seaport. Will report back asap!