Friday, August 9, 2013

Oreo Dirt Cookies

I know I mentioned this in my Banana Peanut Butter Oreo Bread, but there is no greater feeling than moving a recipe to "Completed Recipes" on Pinterest. I have seen so many recipes for Oreo cookies and I kept trying to make them, but one group always stuck out to me.

I am a huge cookie fan.One reason, is of course the small portions so I don't feel like a total cow when I finish one or two or three. Also, they don't require a ton of bowls and a ton of different steps that involve me to freeze or wait. I'm impatient! I can't be waiting for those cupcakes to cool when I know just how good that batter tasted and how good the icing I just made is! With cookies, I can just pop them in and out of the oven (in about 15 minutes) and start devouring! They are perfect for weeknight baking too.

I had some Oreos left from the banana bread, so I knew what was coming!

Oreo Dirt Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreos

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese using a hand mixer until they are well combined.
3. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix until ingredients are well combined. Add the flour and mix on low until incorporated. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
4. Make the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in Oreo crumbs until it is covered. Place on baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden.
5. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes. ENJOY!! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

So I know I make fun of my boyfriend allll the time for never eating anything green. I still love him, I swear.

But the other day, nothing short of a miracle happened. We were in a cab going to an event and we had to grab dinner to go. I grabbed a chicken caesar salad from the pizza place and he grabbed two slices of pepperoni pizza, of course. I'm not a huge caesar fan in general, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Colin scarfed down his pizza and was just eyeing my salad like it was chocolate cake. He ended up trying it.....AND ENJOYING IT! I gave him the rest of my dinner because I was in such shock.

I found this recipe from Nikki at chef-in-training (I am borderline obsessed with all of her recipes). Colin had asked for Chicken Caesar Salad for dinner so I offered up this as a substitute because I have been dying to try out my new slow cooker. These were so easy and so good and so simple and I could clearly just rave on about them forever! Want to know the best part? My boyfriend actually was able to make them himself!

Slow Cooker Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (mine were frozen)
1/2 - 1 Cup of your favorite Caesar Salad Dressing
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups shredded lettuce
4-6 hamburger buns
4 slices of bacon cooked (optional)

Place chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker with 1-2 cups of water. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken from cooker and drain water. Place chicken on a cutting board and shred chicken. Place chicken back in the cooker and pour dressing, cheese, and pepper over top. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until mixture is hot. 
Assemble buns with lettuce and bacon and chicken mixture. Enjoy! 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Peanut Butter Oreo Banana Bread

I can tell you what one of the best feelings in the world for me is. It is moving a pin off of my 2,000+ different recipe boards to "Recipes I've Completed".

I, unfortunately, do not have one of those fancy cameras or the skill set in the kitchen, quite frankly, to make my pictures look as mouth watering as all other bloggers. I remember I saw a picture of this bread with the title "Peanut Butter Oreo Banana Bread" and just thought "YES". But, as always, it became lost in my black hole of 2000 pins and just kept getting pushed further and further on the back burner UNTIL I neglected 3 bananas and felt completely guilty throwing them out. This forgotten recipe came into my head like a light bulb and had my boyfriend run out to get all of missing ingredients.

Now, I love peanut butter. Like spoon out of the jar love peanut butter. This bread to me just tastes like banana bread with Oreos. Next time, I will probably double the peanut butter, but this could totally just be a "Jules Problem".

Peanut Butter Oreo Banana Bread (adapted from something swanky)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup peanut butter (double for a lot of pb taste!)
2 overripe bananas
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
15 Oreos, crushed (i used a food processor) 
4 Oreos, crushed (by hand)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 standard loaf pans.
2. Mix oil, peanut butter, and sugar with a stand mixer whisk.
3. Add in the bananas, eggs, buttermilk, and baking soda to the peanut butter mixture.
4. Slowly mix in flour until just combined.
5. Mix in the crushed Oreos
6. Divide batter evenly between the two loaf pans.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. (Mine had to bake closer to an hour FYI!)
8. Let cool & enjoy :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cookies And Cream Oreo Fudge Brownies

I have to admit...I am totally eating one of these as I type this. I had made these before (a year or so ago) at my old job and that was the icing on the cake of being the favorite office baker. I had men asking me for the recipe so they could tell their wives. I had never had such good reviews from anything I made before!

Now, this is probably one of the easiest recipes because...wait for comes from A BOX! There are a few changes to make it not just a boxed brownie but these are so good and everyone will love them!

My boyfriend, for one, is probably never breaking up with me after he knows I can make these. He has had 5 since last night. Including one for breakfast this morning which was totally like catching a kid with his hand in the cookie jar when I walked into the kitchen this morning.

The first time I made these I used birthday cake oreos. Those were incredible. This time I used double stuffed oreos. Also incredible. Therefore, use any oreo your little heart desires!

That broken oreo is so annoying in this picture! but check out those new counter tops!

1 box brownie mix (plus ingredients on box)
1/4 cup hot fudge sauce
1 package Oreos

Combine brownie mix and ingredients on box in one big bowl. Stir in hot fudge mix until well combined with batter. Pour about half of the batter and and layer Oreos over top. Pour the rest of the batter and cover oreo layer completely. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrating National Ice Cream Month at SMUSH!

I have been so busy recently with unpacking and moving that I haven't had time to do ANYTHING besides work and sleep. Cooking has definitely been sacrificed, but I did make my first home cooked meal in my new apartment recently...which leads me to a funny story.

My boyfriend was in charge of cleaning the grill and I was in charge of cleaning the kitchen. I finished my job and he brought the grill rack in to soak in the kitchen. I didn't think anything of it so I went to take a shower and when I came out I found that he was asleep in the bedroom. I got changed, did my hair, and then decided to wake him up. I walk out into the dark kitchen and living room area with him to hear, "Did you spill water?" I turn on the light and let out a scream from a horror movie. HE FORGOT TO TURN THE SINK OFF! For hours that sink had been running, overflowing, and SOAKING my brand new apartment with water. I literally wanted to cry...oh wait, I did. Hard.

But do not worry, a rug was the only sacrifice, and we dried everything off in time for the 4th of July party I am having tomorrow!

Anyway, did you know it was National Ice Cream month? and did you know that its been about 900% humidity in New York City? So many reasons for ice cream.

My boyfriend and I went to another FREE HowAboutWe date to "NYC gourmet dessert deli" called SMUSH. They make ice cream sandwiches that were absolutely incredible. 

I decided to go with a pre-made combination (pictured above). My "bread" was one chocolate chip cooked and one french toast cookie. The cookies were so soft and still gooey from the oven. They had free cookie samples while you waited too! My ice cream filling choice was vanilla and it was topped with a layer of fudge, marshmallow spread, peanut butter spread, and potato chips. I walked 3 miles to get to the store so thats ok, right?

My boyfriend went with a make your own option of 2 chocolate chip cookies, chocolate ice cream, banana slices, peanut butter spread, and a milk/white chocolate swirl. 

These looked so easy to make and they were so good. There are so many combinations that you can make so I think that ice cream sandwiches may be my new summer specialty! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Family Weekend

I wish I could explain how happy I am that it is finally summer. I don't know why I don't live in a place where it is summer all year round, but I guess that would make it harder to appreciate. This weekend I went down to LBI (Long Beach Island) for my boyfriends annual family reunion which was so much fun. His family reminds me so much of mine and it definitely tugged at my heart strings a bit that I can't be at my own family reunion next week.

Sunset on our first day

It was also great to see the Jersey Shore have such an amazing recovery after Hurricane Sandy this past year. The part of the island that we stayed at wasn't hit too hard, but you could still see all of the empty lots and homes for sale that didn't make it.

Since this family reunion made me miss my own, especially my dad, I felt like this recipe was appropriate. I had made a peanut butter banana chocolate cream pie for my dad a few months back since it was all of his favorite flavors combined. It was so simple and so incredibly tasty that its an amazing go to recipe! 

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Cream Pie
35 Nilla Wafers, Finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 oz. BAKER'S Semi Sweet Chocolate
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 bananas, cut in half, then quartered
2 pkg (3.4 oz) of Vanilla Instant Pudding
2 cups cold milk
2 cups Cool Whip
2 tbsp. salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix wafer crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan. Bake 5-8 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. Meanwhile, make chocolate curls for 1/2 oz chocolate. Refrigerate. 

Microwave remaining 1.5 oz chocolate and peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl on high for one minute. Stir until chocolate is melted and everything is well blended. Place bananas in the crust and pour chocolate mixture on top.

Beat pudding mixes and milk in large bowl with a whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup cool whip. Spread over the bananas and chocolate. Top with remaining cool whip.

Refrigerate for 3 hours. Top with chocolate curls and nuts before serving. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Exciting News Topped with Bacon!

I mentioned previously that my boyfriend and I joined a website called HowAboutWe. In case you forgot (and I love to do marketing for my friend), it has two different sides. One is for single people in which they post an idea for a date such as "How about we go to the Knicks game" and other people can either ask you out on that date and/or start a conversation based on the idea. You can also search for dates or just browse users. I think its a really unique idea for the seemingly endless possibilities of dating websites out there. Go sign up if you're single!

The other side is for couples in which they give you awesome discounted/free dates for you and your significant other. This is where we went to the Peanut Butter Co. and tried all of those awesome different peanut butters...for free!

Now before I get to the next date that we went on, I have some very exciting news to share. I AM A HOMEOWNER! It was a long process, but I can finally check that "Buy a home" line item on my 20 Things To Do Before I Die. I will be keeping everyone updated with my new decorations, so I won't spoil that by posting any pictures here!

Back to my date. I try to eat healthy as much as I can, but I am SUCH a sucker for bacon. I think that is a general consensus over most of the human population, but it really is incredible. Colin and I went to a place on the Upper East Side called The Baconery where every single thing on their menu has bacon in it. Every Thing.

We were given with our free date 2 bacon baked goods, 2 chocolate covered bacon strips, 2 bacon sandwiches, and a drink (bacon infused, if desired). I had no idea bacon could be incorporated in so many things and Colin was about the happiest I have ever seen him. My sandwich was bacon, peanut butter, banana, and honey and oh my GOODNESS was it heavenly. Colin actually couldn't keep his hands away and he had his own! Colin ordered a grilled cheese with bacon (boring!), but he still loved it. For dessert, we chose cookies and cream bacon (Colin's choice) and birthday bacon (my choice). I loved both, but Colin was a little creeped out by the chocolate and bacon combination. We also took home two bacon croissants for breakfast the next day which were heavenly. I also may or may not have ordered the bacon hot chocolate and may or may not have loved every sip of it.

If you love bacon as much as we do, its a definite stop for you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Fantastic Surprise in SoHo

Well work has been nothing short of a complete and total nightmare for the last 8 days. As I mentioned, I work for a small company and my boss has been on vacation to St. Barts. Besides my immense jealousy, I have been running accounting and operations by myself for the last week. My stress level, blood pressure, and pretty sure my weight from the emotional eating, has sky rocketed. He came back today, thank goodness, so there may be some cookies/bars/cupcakes in my future tonight!

I was wondering around Lower Manhattan a little while ago and literally stopped in my tracks when I saw a small, wall to wall glass shop with the words CHOBANI on top. I have always been a huge yogurt fan, even when I was a kid. I became even more of a yogurt fan as a weight conscious adult. I have hopped immediately on the Greek Yogurt band wagon as well (also the frozen yogurt one) so this made my heart do a little flip and left me zero choice but to walk right on in. Now, I anticipated it to be similar to those fro-yo stores where there are countless possibilities and combinations of self serve toppings and flavors and I was PUMPED. I was greeted by the wonderfully pleasant worker with a fancy touch screen iphone menu and order pad. First off, menu? You mean I can't just dump cookie dough pieces into my Chobani? Bummer. I was given a menu with seven options. Seven. At least there wasn't too much decision making involved. A few of the combinations were very intimating for my immature palette, so it was a no brainer to go with the peanut butter and jelly option.

Nails: Essie: Butler Please!

Seriously. Look at those pictures! My mouth is drooling just thinking about it. Needless to say I inhaled the entire cup and have been dreaming of either a store opening up in midtown or my office getting relocated to SoHo. If you pass by the Chobani store, please do yourself a favor and go inside. It is life changing.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Vanilla Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

See? I told you I would be better at posting! My roommate was supposed to come home from California last night, so I made cookies for her on my night off! I was trying to think of a good chocolate-less cookie that we both could enjoy, so I found a Puffy Vanilla Peanut Butter Chip Cookie from Six Sisters Stuff.. I love soft cookies. I will always buy the Chewy Chips Ahoy over the regular. I have also developed an obsession with pudding cookies. Mmmmmmm! These cookies definitely came out soft, chewy, and puffy! But, be warned, they are not kidding with the vanilla flavor! I'm not too sure if I had a heavy hand with the vanilla or if I should have been warned with the title of the cookie, but they are not shy about the vanilla taste! My roommate will be trying one today, so I will update it with her reaction, but I am a fan!

From Six Sisters Stuff

1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat over to 375 and grease cookie sheet. Beat together Crisco, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla until batter is creamy. Mix in cinnamon, salt, baking soda, flour and mix until just combined. Fold in chips. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Form 1 inch balls (they do not spread much at all) and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes and cool on wire rack. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chicken Fajita Pasta, a long weekend, and an apology.

I am just going to a quick apology for disappearing for months and months and pretend like it didn't happen. I am very sorry though! I will be doing much better with the posts now that tax and audit season have died down and I hopefully have more time to myself.

So, happy week after Memorial Day Weekend! Over here in the NYC/NJ area, Memorial Day weekend is one of the biggest holidays of the year. It is the official kick off to summer and EVERYONE goes to some sort of beach house or getaway. I usually spend my weekend at my beloved Jersey Shore, but this year, my dad conned me into going to the Lake House up in the Finger Lakes. It wasn't supposed to be the warmest (60 degrees!) in NJ, so I figured it was a good weekend to skip. I actually forgot how gorgeous it is up there!

View from the dock 

My lake house

Colin & I on the dock

My roommate is in LA for a nice extended long weekend, so I conned my boyfriend to being a sub roommate to me for a few days so I didn't have to be alone. It is always hard to try and cook something he likes to eat, but I figured that chicken fajita pasta (from picky palate) would work. It was very very good and made a TON. I have been eating it for every meal since to not waste the leftovers, so if you have 2 people I would halve the recipe. 

Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta

- 1 pound of your favorite small pasta
- 8 ozs of cream cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 2 boneless chicken breasts 
- 1 packet of dry ranch mix
- 1 package of pre-made Fajita veggies (I just cut up peppers and onions since my store didn't have them)
 - 1 tbsp olive oil. 

Cook your pasta according to directions. Boil or grill your chicken until done all the way through and cut up into small pieces (or shred). Whip the 8 oz of cream cheese until light and fluffy. While pasta is cooking, use a small pan to heat milk and ranch mix for about 5 minutes or until very hot. Slowly add the whipped cream cheese to the milk and ranch mixture. Stir until cream cheese is totally melted. Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil into pan and cook vegetables until soft, about 5 minutes. Strain pasta and combine with chicken and veggies. Pour over sauce and enjoy!! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all those that celebrate! I took a little bit of a longer break than I wanted to, but I have been so busy!

I went to Maryland this weekend with my boyfriend for the holiday to visit my family which was great. I really wish I was able to see them more often, but that is a downside of being an adult, I guess!

My mom has a gorgeous kitchen that I love to bake in considering my oven, stove, and dishwasher is from the 1900s. I made a few Easter treats to share the recipes for!

I knew my coworker had a soft spot for Cadbury eggs and, I mean, who doesn't?! I saw this recipe on une gamine dans la cuisine for Cadbury egg brownies and I was SOLD. Now, a perk of being able to cook at my moms is the gorgeous kitchen, but a negative is I always forget that she has a minimal amount of baking pans. I also always realize this when I am ready to pour the batter. Needless to say, she did not have the 8x8 pan that was recommended. I decided to change them into brownie cups by baking the batter in muffin tins and sticking the egg on top!

Cadbury creme eggs brownies

Ingredients 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips  1/2 cup room temperature butter 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 egg 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 12 mini Cadbury creme eggs, unwrapped

Directions Heat the oven to 350F. Spray non-stick into muffin tin.  In a microwave safe bowl place the chocolate chips. Microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until melted. Stir to combine. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and stir well. Pour in the melted chocolate and keep stirring. Slowly add the flour mixed with baking powder. Spread the batter on the bottom of the prepared pan and press in the Cadbury creme eggs. Bake for about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before removing. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How About We...

One of my best friends from high school decided to quit his job in finance and work for a start up company in Brooklyn (How About We).  The company has two different platforms to attract two different demographics of people. The first is a dating website in which you chose what you would like to do on a date, and they match you based on someone else that would like to do the same date. Pretty creative idea if you ask me!

The second platform is for people that are already dating (cha-ching!!). This is perfect for Colin and I because I am beyond paranoid that we are going to be that couple that gets locked into a boring routine. For this website, you pay 20 dollars a month and they give you a bunch of free dates and even more discounted dates. For example, one is you can rent out the Central Park ice skating rink and another is having a world class chef come and cook you dinner in your home! Both of these are out of my price range, of course, so my boyfriend and I stuck with the free ones.

The first one we went on a few weeks ago was to the Peanut Butter & Co down in Bowery, NYC. We sat down in this adorable little cafe and were immediately offered a Strawberry Daiquiri sandwich to share which was strawberry jam, white chocolate peanut butter, and marshmallow fluff. Colin wasn't a huge fan, but so I basically ate the entire thing. Afterwards we received a ten tub sampling of all of their peanut butters with celery, carrots, toast, and crackers to spread on. Can you imagine ten types of peanut butter?! It ranged from regular, to hot sauce, to maple, to dark chocolate. I wasn't a huge fan on the spicy one, but I had my fair share of sampling of the rest! They also give you coffee and a free jar of whichever peanut butter you want to take home! I also received two cloth peanut butter tote bags for the road. Here is the list of all of the peanut butters you can try! 10 Types of Peanut Butter

           I can not wait to try to incorporate some of the peanut butter flavors into some baking!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Burritos

I have a new obsession. Has anyone tried the Kmorr Buffalo Chicken flavor Rice Sides? It is amazing. Seriously, go out and buy it.

 I'll admit I wasn't the first person to jump on the buffalo chicken bandwagon. I hate spicy food and it was still a little much for me, but I am slowly attempting to incorporate it. Anyway, they don't sell this at the supermarket by me. Therefore, it can never be an impulse meal. I have to call my boyfriend and ask him to go buy it for me and then he has to bring it to me next time I see him.

This was an accidental miracle finding. My boyfriend hates most side dishes that aren't fried. He doesn't eat any vegetables so I figured this would be a good middle ground for both of us since he loves all things buffalo chicken. After I made this the first time, I knew I needed to stock up on it because I could use it in so many things.

First recipe I thought of was some sort of buffalo chicken burrito. Oh my goooooooooodnessssss were they good. So simple to make too! Perfect for any picky (or non picky) eater!

Just look at them! 

Buffalo Chicken Burritos (serves 2)
1 package Kmorr Buffalo Chicken Rice Sides
3 skinless thin chicken breasts
4 pieces of bacon
4 whole wheat soft taco tortillas
Ranch dressing (optional)
Guacamole (optional) 

1. Cook your rice according to package directions.
2. Cook your bacon according to your preference. Once bacon is done, coarsely chop into bite size pieces.
3. Boil your chicken in a salted pot of water until cooked. The chicken should be all white when cut through the middle.
4. Assemble tortillas on a flat surface by pouring a about 1/5 of the rice, 1/4 of the chicken, one piece of bacon and ranch/guacamole if desired. Roll up into a burrito and serve. Continue with other 3 tortillas.

I also have enough of the rice left over for lunch today at work :) 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

20 things that everyone should do before they die.

Bucket Lists intimidate me. They are either absurdly long or totally irrelevant to my life and I feel as if I will never complete them. I was doing my daily (hourly?) tour of at work and found an actually feasible bucket list that I enjoyed. I figured it would be a good thing to share for everyone to see and to see what I have done, would like to do, or probably never will.

1. Own your own business - Talk about intimidating! But yes, I would ideally love to own my own business. I think its something everyone strives to do. My ideal world would be to own and manage a horse stable that provides lessons and trail rides, but I honestly don't see that happening too soon as I sit on my trading desk on Madison Avenue. Great #1 for a bucket list though.

2. Live in a  foreign country - Check! I had mentioned previously that I studied abroad in Ireland, but I did way more than just study there. I became in love with the culture, the people, and their way of life. I would go back to Ireland in a heartbeat. I don't think Ireland is the only country to fall in love with. My college has a very high percentage of people that study abroad and every single person, from Italy to China, fall in love with their own country. I would encourage every person to do this. It truly helps you find yourself.

3. Buy a home - Hopefully in the very near future for me! Its a great investment opportunity and its something that can really save you money over renting....and I am allll about saving money. Its also something you can't help but fall in love with because it truly is yours. YOU are the one that has to fix that problem, but you also can't help but smile at every single compliment that comes your way. 

4. Drive coast to coast - Good God I wish. I hope I one day have the time to take a few weeks off of work and just drive. That sounds so peaceful to me. I also wouldn't hate a trip to California, but that is besides the point. 

5. Get your heart broken - Well, nothing like being a Debbie Downer, huh? I do think this is important though. Mind you, when I was 16 and my boyfriend broke up with me I literally thought the world was over...but I was also 16. I think finding love, or even just true affection for someone, and losing it will truly help you appreciate around you. I don't think this love or heart breaking should be limited to relationships either. Losing a friend is just as hard.

6. Be cheered on by a crowd: This has happened a few times in my life. Whether it was winning a big game, performing in my school play, or, most recently, setting a record for my college fundraising, these moments make you stop and think of all the support of the friends, family, and even strangers around you. Touche, MSN. 

7. Keep a journal -  You're reading it. Congrats.

8. Take a leap of faith - I honestly don't think I have completed this yet. I have always wanted to just pack up, move, and go to North Carolina. I hope that one day I will complete this.

9. Give something back- Check, again! My senior year of college, my roommates and I started a scholarship by raising money for a cause that is very dear to our hearts. I hope that the recipient will appreciate their time at Loyola as much as I did.  

The scholarship committee after we completed our goal

10. Design and build a house - One day.

11. Make a meal with food you raised yourself - Well this would definitely have to be a vegetarian dish, but I think one day I can handle it!

12. Buy a piece of art because you love it - Now, this is all dependent on what type of art were talking about, BUT I found this amazingly large picture of old school Manhattan at IKEA last year and bought it. It doesn't fit basically anywhere and is now hanging in my parents basement, but I did make that purchase.

13.Go wilderness camping - Maybe while I'm coasting across country?

 14. Take a sabbatical - Now, this is the picture MSN used to describe the "sabbatical"...

I mean...if I HAVE to....

15. Make a piece of furniture: I'll put it in that house that I build and design as well...

16. Go scuba diving or snorkeling: I did do this in the Bahamas when I was 9, but would love to go back to an exotic place and do it again.

17. Adopt a pet: My dog is my baby. She lives in Maryland with my parents, but she is coming for a visit this weekend!

18. Do something that really scares you: I fell in love this year, and that is something that used to scare me beyond belief. 

19. Take a stand: I need to work on this. Majorly. I care way too much about other people's perceptions and opinions. 

20. Do work you really care about: Horse stable in North Carolina with my home made house and furniture, here I come!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Inside out carrot cake muffins

It has been very busy at work these past few weeks. It was quarter ends, year ends, audits, financials, and everything in between. I work for a very small company, and there is one other person in my department. He was about 100 times more stressed than I was and he was sick on top of it. He made a special request for a carrot cake flavored treat. I secretly did a celebratory jump inside because I had this recipe from King Arthur Flour that I was dying to try but didn't know anyone that enjoyed carrot cake.Both my roommate and boyfriend don't like vegetables in their muffins so these were a treat solely for the office. Its a simple muffin with frosting inside (hence, the inside out name). Approval from all around so far!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. First, microwave 8 oz cream cheese and stir in 1/4 cup sugar for the filling.

Next, combine all your dry ingredients 

 Whisk together your wet ingredients, and stir them together. Note, you do not need to beat this! Just stir the wet and dry ingredients together until it is combined. Fold in your carrots. I actually coarsely chopped mine rather than shred it and it gives it a nice crunch! 

Then, pour about 1.5 tbs of the carrot cake batter into a muffin cups. Then evenly distribute the filling mixture between the 12 muffins and pour another 1 tbs of the muffin batter on top. Bake for about 20 minutes or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Filling
one 8oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large-medium carrots (shredded or chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line standard 12 cup muffin pan with liners and grease
2. For the filling. Place the cream cheese in a microwavable safe bowl and heat on low for 40 seconds. Stir in the sugar and set aside.
3. For the muffins: Whisk together all the dry ingredients. 
4. Whisk together eggs water and oil in separate bowl.
5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients
6. Fold in the carrots.
7. Drop about 1-2 tbs of the muffin batter into the liners. Spread to make sure it covers the bottom. 
8. Dollop about 1/12 (1 tbsp) of the filling into the center of the liner on top of the muffin batter.
9. Drop about another tbs of the muffin batter on top.
10. Bake the muffins for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin (not filling) comes out clean.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pizza Dip & Leprecon

Well March is a fairly big month for Irish people. Probably one of my favorites to be honest. I was in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day in 2010 and it was incredible. The city I live in, Hoboken NJ, has a yearly celebration called Leprecon for the glorious holiday for St. Patrick's Day.

I love hosting parties. If I could, I would be a party or wedding planner as a job. Now that being said, I love planning parties that I am expecting to have. That was not the case for Leprecon. I was given a few hours notice that people were coming over and had to do a quick run to the food store for everyone. The party was a success, don't worry.

I have a few go to dips. One is buffalo chicken that my boyfriend asks me to make for him weekly, which I usually oblige. Maybe I'll make a post about that later. Another is a pizza dip from Closet Cooking which I personally like because its a little less conventional. I made this for the first time a few years ago and have been making it ever since. It is ALWAYS a hit and I personally love it. I also couldn't eat anything this year do to the "no cheese" rule again, but everyone raved about it one again. Thanks for saving Leprecon, pizza dip!






Pizza Dip

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 ounces pepperoni, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons green pepper, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, sliced
  1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano and spread it across the bottom of a pie plate.
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on the cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and olives.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Celebrating the roommates birthday!

It was my roommates birthday this past Sunday. I had been planning what to make her for quite some time so I was very excited when I got out of work early on Friday and had some baking time.

I baked her these birthday cake cheesecake bars from My Prairie Window. They taste just like funfetti cake batter and are absolutely incredible! Did I mention they are ridiculously easy too? Ah-mazing.

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that these are very very sweet. I have found that a lot of guys do not enjoy them as much as the females. My boyfriend hated them, for one. My coworker wasn't the biggest fan either. They should probably be eaten in more fudge sized pieces than bars.

First you just take a box of rainbow chip/funfetti cake mix and mix it with 1/2 cup of room temperature butter. Honestly, my mixture just looked like a somewhat more crumbly version of dry cake mix, so I probably should have waited a little bit longer for the butter to be room temperature-ish. Save about 1 cup of this mixture for later.

You're going to take this mixture and just press it into a greased 9x13 pan to form your crust.

Then, you are going to mix your cream cheese, rainbow chip icing, and one egg at a time together. Just pour that delicious mixture over your crust.

Pour that one cup of the dry mixture over top. Bake @ 325 for 45 minutes and let cool in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.


Ingredients:1 box Party Rainbow Chip cake
1/2 cup butter – at room temp
1 container Rainbow Confetti frosting
2-  8oz. blocks of cream cheese – softened
3 eggs
Preparation:*In a bowl place the dry cake mix and the butter, mix until butter is incorporated, I use my stand mixer it works great.  Reserve 1 cup of the crumb mixture, and set aside.
* In a 9×13 pan or cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed, place the remaining cake mix crumble in the pan and press into a crust.
* In same bowl place cream cheese and frosting and mix until smooth, then add eggs one at a time until combined.
* Pour mixture over crust, sprinkle with the reserved crumb topping.
* Bake at 325 degrees for 45 mins- the bars will be set, but still slightly jiggly, and slightly golden.  Remove from oven and let cool completely. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours then remove and cut to serve

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Lenten Chronicles

I think its time for a post that is not food related. Since this is supposed to be about hobbies, I am deciding to expand on a few.

Did I mention that I gave up cheese for Lent? Thats right, cheese. I am going strong, but lets just take a minute to think of all of the things that has cheese. Pizza, mozzarella sticks, deli sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, dips, cheese & crackers, cheeseburgers, salads. UGH IT IS SO HARD! This weekend on my way up to my lake house, my boyfriend and I stopped at his college roommates house to have some dinner and break up the trip. Guess what they ordered us? Pizza. Guess who couldn't eat? This girl. First time I'm meeting this people and I can't eat the dinner they buy me. It didn't help that my excuse was "Oh, I can't eat cheese for 40 days." Silly Lent.

Anyway, I have a verryyyy fancy gala I am going to this weekend and I am quite excited to get dressed up. I really wouldn't call it a hobby to get dressed up, but I absolutely adore nail polish (currently wearing: merino cool by essie...LOVE), taking pictures, etc. I also haven't worn a full length dress since prom so I jumped right on that opportunity. These are the two dresses I have ordered for the occasion.

Rent the Runway came in clutch thats for sure! The gala also has all proceeds going to cancer which is a cause very near and dear to my heart so the donation of $200 was worth it to me.

Lets just hope the dinner doesn't involve cheese...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hiatus ended!

Woooo. I have taken quite a long break there. February has been very busy for me with the snow storm up here, work, valentines day this past weekend, etc.

Now, I baked these cheesecake cookies from Abby Sweets about two weeks ago. Reading the description they were supposed to be soft, pillowy, puffy, etc. I think I have mentioned my roommate doesn't like chocolate, so I decided to make these for both her and my office. They were fairly simple to make, but I immediately noticed they were not going to be the texture I had in my head. I didn't take any nice pictures of them, and they turned out hard, crumbly and totally disappointing for me.

On the other hand, my roommate ate all 20 of them. Not one cookie made it to the office. I come home the other day to one cookie in the cookie jar that she saved in case I wanted one. A direct quote was "all I want is those cookies and we don't have anymore!" So, maybe they just weren't for me!

Here is the recipe anyway:

Cheesecake Cookies
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
Graham Cracker Crumbs, for coating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese, and sugar. Mix in vanilla extract. Stir in the flour until well combined.
Scoop the dough and form into 1" balls. Roll in graham cracker crumbs so cookie is covered.
Place covered cookie balls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cookies & Cream Rice Krispie Treats

Well I previously mentioned that going to the gym was a "hobby" of mine...mostly because I am going to Miami in March, but that is besides the point. Anyway, two days this week have been GORGEOUS as far as January in New York City goes. I have pumped myself up to go for a run as I look out the window and see a beautiful 50 degree day. Two days in a row, I step out of the office and it starts raining. Now I understand that real "runners" go out in the rain and I applaud them, but probably one of the only times I went running in high school was right after a rain storm and I fell on a pile of leaves and couldn't try out for basketball.

Anyway, yesterday I got to leave work early because I had a photo shoot for the company website. Photo shoot took about 8 minutes and I got to leave to go home at 4! My options were either go to the gym, go for  a run, or go bake something for the office. Guess which won?!

I found this recipe for cookies and cream rice krispie treats  from Mallo & Co. Great blog for rice krispie treats too! I was pretty sure my new office was going to fire me if I didn't bake something so I figured these were nice and easy. Oh and DELICIOUS.

First, you crush your oreos in a nice big bowl. I always just put them in a ziploc and smash them. Good anger management therapy too.

Then you mix it with the rice krispies until they are evenly distributed.

Then, you melt some butter and one or two of those extra large Hersey's Cookies & Cream bars.

Add in your marshmallows and wit for them to melt. 
Make sure you wait until it a smooth consistency! 

Add a teaspoon of vanilla, and mix with your krispie & oreo combination. Then spread in a pan, cool for 5 minutes and add a chocolate drizzle if you desire!

Cookies and Cream Rice Krispie Treats

4 Tbsp butter
6 cups marshmallows
1 1/2 - 2 large Hershey's Cookies N' Cream candy bars (you could substitute with white chocolate chips if you must...)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups rice krispies
25-30 crushed Oreos
Chocolate Drizzle (recipe below)

In a large mixing bowl combine the rice krispies and Oreos. Set aside.

Melt the butter and Hershey's chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Once they're melted add in the marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are mostly all melted (this will take a few minutes--low and slow is key for perfect texture) then stir in the vanilla.

Once fully melted, take them off heat and pour over the rice krispy mixture. Stir lightly to combine. Dump the mixture into a greased 9x9 pan. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then with greased hands go in and flatten the top. Allow them to cool for about 20 minutes, then top with the chocolate drizzle. 

Chocolate Drizzle
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 tsp oil or butter

Melt chocolate and oil in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, Stirring between each one. Continue until fully melted.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

I think I lived off of mac & cheese when I was younger. I wish I was kidding. I revamped my diet to include things other than neon cheese in a foil packet, but once in a while I get that craving. My current craving has been lasting a few weeks so I finally pulled the trigger and decided to make it.

Guilty side note, this was on the same day that I made the butter cookies. I can't resist free time!

Anyway, my roommate doesn't eat chocolate. Therefore, I like to cook for her since she is much more adventurous than my boyfriend in that department. She also LOVES buffalo wings and I knew she was having a bad day, so I figured buffalo chicken mac and cheese from Pearls, Handcuffs, & Happy Hour could do the trick for both of us.

First, you just choose whichever pasta you'd like (I was always a fan of the shells) and cook/drain according to directions.Also, don't forget to cook your chicken! While that is cooking, make the sauce in a sauce pan. First, melt and let the butter bubble in a sauce pan. Then, whisk in some flour until it turns about golden-ish. Pour in your milk and let it thicken! (I may have missed the thickening step...). Add your cheeses until melty and smooth and then add the wing sauce. Yummmm.

Combine everything in a  9x13 dish....
Add some breadcrumbs to the top and some more cheese to coat...

then bake  @ 375 for 25 minutes until golden! 

Ingredients: 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
1 tbsp. flour
4-6 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups milk
4 oz. grated monterrey jack cheese
1/3 cup sharply shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
Ranch dressing (optional)

Bake @ 375 for 25 minutes in a 9x13 pan.