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 MSN.com 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...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.