Category Archives: Food

My Review: Amande, Almond Milk Yogurt

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So a few months ago I saw a post about Amande, a cultured almond milk yogurt that was being sold at a select few Whole Foods stores.  As someone formerly on a dairy-free diet, and a lover of almond milk, I decided that when I ran across it at the brand-spankin’ new Whole Foods on the campus of my alma matter that I should try it out. The following is my (unsolicited) review of the product!

Let me begin by saying that I am not much of a yogurt person, and when I have abstained from eating dairy products in the past (for asthma/allergy reasons) I developed a deep hatred of soy yogurt (ewwww).  I have long been a fan of almond milk, so I picked up my strawberry amande almond milk yogurt and a little baggie of bulk strawberry granola with deep anticipation.

When I opened the container I was a little skeptical.  I found a layer of separated watery yogurt at the top.  I mixed it in, and crossed my fingers that it would be fully incorporated.  Once I took a bite this is what I found: flavor-wise this yogurt is awesome.  It is not too sweet, definitely not sour, and it is definitely reminiscent of “real” yogurt.

My real hang up (and I suspect the issue for many), was the texture from a visual standpoint.  There is no getting around the fact that this yogurt is not smooth…it is, in fact, rather chunky.  This is a turnoff for me, but I took a bite anyways, and am happy to report that the texture doesn’t feel off.  Once I added some granola, it pretty much fully masked any chunkiness.

Overall, I found my experience with Amande very positive.  I would definitely eat it again (I would love to try some other flavors!) and I would highly recommend it over soy yogurt for the lactose intolerant/vegan out there.

So, if you spot some Amande at your local Whole Foods, definitely check it out!

 

 

Anyone else have any thoughts on “fake” dairy products?  I’m always on the lookout for great alternatives!

 

 

 

Salted Cinnamon Peanut Butter Cups

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Just in case you hadn’t noticed I am a pretty big fan of peanut butter.  I apologize to anyone out there with a peanut allergy…I can’t imagine how rough it must be to live without it (or to try to avoid it).  I will say the awesome thing about cooking for yourself is that you have the luxury of ignoring the world ‘peanut’ wherever I use it and replacing it with ‘almond,’ ‘cashew,’ or ‘sunflower.’  All excellent PB substitutes.

Anyways, since I love peanut butter and I love chocolate, I know that they are totally a match made in heaven. I am obsessed with Reece’s.  They were totally that candy that I would trade anything in my halloween candy stash for.  Today I decided I really wanted one, but I didn’t want to leave my apartment/spend money to get it, and I knew I had been neglecting my poor little blog, so I decided to hit the kitchen and make my own!

I tried really hard to come up with a good way to thicken up the filling with what I had on hand, so they would be closer texturally to a Reece’s, but never really got there.  That was totally fine though because they turned out delicious!  I also sprinkled some cinnamon and salt on top, because it sounded like a good idea.  And guess what?…

It totally was. Mmmmmmm.

So if you are okay with having a peanut butter cup that has a slightly less pronounced line between chocolate and peanut butter, I highly recommend making these.  If you are a purist, I would recommend searching elsewhere.  But really…just humor me and do the cinnamon and salt thing.  You won’t regret it….at least I don’t think you will…

Salted Cinnamon Peanut Butter Cups

*Makes about 12 pieces

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons (I used chunky) peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed cereal (golden grahams) or graham crackers or cookies
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • cinnamon
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Crush your cereal/graham crackers/cookies until fine using either a food processor or by putting them in a plastic bag and using a can.
  2. In a small bowl mix together peanut butter, sugars, crushed cereal, honey and oil until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl microwave chocolate chips in 15-second intervals until smooth and melty.
  4. Make tablespoon size drops of chocolate on a piece of foil or parchment paper.  Scoop a slightly smaller amount of peanut butter mixture on top or each drop. Cover the peanut butter with another scoop of melted chocolate; spread to cover and seal in the peanut butter.
  5. While still melty, sprinkle on cinnamon and salt, to your liking. 
  6. Place in the freezer for 10-15 min to allow candies to solidify.
  7. Enjoy! 

Linguini Alfredo with Bacon

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Okay…I am about to be real serious.

 

This is probably one of the most delicious pasta dishes I have EVER eaten.  I clipped it from a magazine and put it in my personal recipe collection, where it had been neglected for at least 1-2 years. Last night Tom and I were relatively sure that we did not have adequate ingredients to make anything at home.  Then I thought about the delicious maple flavored, applewood smoked bacon we had sitting in the fridge, and I remembered this baby…

We cooked this dinner up in about 20 minutes AND we had every single ingredient on hand!  Well, kind of…we did substitute linguini for fettuccine, but besides that we were all good!

So basically, you need to check this out immediately.  Nom nom nom (also, yes, there IS salad in the background!).

Linguini Alfredo with Bacon

Makes about 3 servings.  Adapted from Cooking Light’s Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package linguini
  • 5 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped (preferably maple flavored if you can get some!)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
  • salt, pepper, parsley and cayenne pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil and do any necessary prep work for sauce. Cook bacon; reserve grease (oh I know, this is bad), turn heat to medium-low. Begin cooking pasta.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add minced garlic to reserved bacon grease.  Let brown.
  3. Slowly add flour to pan.  Let brown.  Slowly add milk, stirring constantly.  Allow to thicken and bubble slightly.
  4. Add cheese slowly, stirring constantly.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Combine with linguini in medium size serving bowl.  Add bacon crumbles to top and stir.  Enjoy!

ALSO: I have a new Twitter account where I will be tweeting about other daily dabbling!  It is: @AlexIsDabbling !  Follow me, tweet at me, tell me what you want! xoxo

Meatless Mondays: Zucchini Parm

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So there is this little thing called “Meatless Monday” that has been going on for quite some time.  I, unfortunately, have never participated on purpose…accidentally: sure, but that clearly that is just a rotten coincidence and I can’t play cool like I am someone who really cares.

Well, last Monday was different.

As many of you may know, Football started up this last week, and with it, MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL aka the perfect opportunity to make a meatless dinner.

You may be confused right now…how can football night=good opportunity for Meatless Monday?

The answer to that question is: a local bar was (1) playing the New England Patriots game and (2) having unlimited Bud Light and chicken wings.  NOW.  If there are 3 things that I am not a fan of they would be (1) watching football, (2) Bud Light, and (3) eating anything that is still on a bone.I apologize if you are feeling offended by my distaste for these 3 highly American things…I try to make up for it with liking baseball, craft beers, and devouring anything covered in cheese.  That is all I can do! But, I digress…

Since Tom was out watching  the game with some Law School peeps, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to make something meatless and filled with squash (Tom=not a fan).  I saw a recipe for Zucchini Parmesan on foodgawker a couple days before that I decided would be a good option.  It was super simple to make, only required a few ingredients, and was relatively cheap to boot.  I only spent roughly $7 on the ingredients, and remember, I am living in a ridiculously expensive city.  Anyways, here is my take on the dish!

Alex’s Meatless Monday Zucchini Parm

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis
  • mozzarella cheese
  • 1 small box noodles (I did Macaroni because I had leftovers from Mac and Cheese, but you could use any type)
  • 1 can red pasta sauce
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic

Directions:

  1. Begin by cutting up your zucchini in half (long ways) and then into relatively thin slices.  Slice up or grate mozzarella.  Get some water boiling.   Add pasta to water (it should take about the same time to cook as it will take to make the sauce).
  2. Pour a thin layer of olive oil into pan on medium-high heat and add about 1-2 cloves of garlic.  Let garlic brown in pan, then toss in the zucchini. 
  3. When the zucchini is a nice light brown on both sides, push it all close together and place/sprinkle the cheese on top.  Let cheese melt.
  4. Add in pasta sauce.  Mix.  Don’t be afraid of mixing in the cheese–it will make it gooey and delicious. Season to taste. 
  5. Drain pasta, distribute into individual bowls.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Have a piece of toast with it because there aren’t enough carbs in this meal yet.  Pour yourself a nice glass of red wine.  Enjoy with reruns of SYTYCD…woops….

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

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Today is one of those days.

One of those wait all day for the electrician to show up kinds of days…

One of those boyfriend and cats need to nap kind of days…

One of those can’t focus on applying for jobs because I had a really great interview for a job I really want this week kind of days…

So, what is my remedy?

Baking cookies, of course!

I have accumulated a lot of recipes in google reader over the last…couple of years?  So that is generally my go-to place for any kind of recipe.  After parsing through that list of bookmarks and not finding anything that I (a) was really inspired by or (b) had all the ingredients for, I decided to check out my new love–Pinterest.

I had pinned this recipe from food + words and decided it would be a good starting point for my first adventure in making my own recipe.

I have been reading the book Ratio, by Michael Ruhlman and used his cookie dough ratio (1 part sugar; 2 parts fat; 3 parts flour) as my starting off point for this recipe.  After tweaking it as I went I came up with this recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Inspired by Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies by Jaclyn at Food + Words and the “Cookie Dough” Ratio featured in Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chocolate peanut butter*
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream brown sugar and butter in a medium size bowl.  Add chocolate peanut butter, mix until well incorporated.  Add egg and vanilla to mix and combine.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together (or sift) flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add dry mix to wet in small increments.  Use tablespoon of milk with last bit of flour mixture if necessary to combine.
  5. Use ice cream scoop to scoop cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Press down with fork.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes.

*Chocolate Peanut Butter

Adapted from the same recipe on Food + Words

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. canola oil

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in bowl.  Mix well. You can use a food processor if you have one.  I don’t in this apartment so I just hand-mixed and it turned out great! 🙂

These cookies are delicious!  The peanut butter and chocolate are both relatively faint, neither are overpowering.  If you really want to taste one or the other (or both!) I would recommend adding either peanut butter chips or chocolate chips.  Otherwise, they do not flatten out at all, are dense, and almost moist.  I am a fan of voluminous cookies and these definitely are! Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

 

 

Delectable Dinners!

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Hello again, my lovelies.

This afternoon I thought I would share some of the delicious dinners that the BF and I made last week in our sweet, little city apartment.  🙂

View out the living room window of our sweet, little apartment

First up:  The Pioneer Woman’s Mac and Cheese

Okay, so as food blog freaks and Food Network addicts might know, the Pioneer Woman recently got her own show!  I have been a massive fan of her site for the past…4 or so years, and I, for one, truly believe that her positive attitude and passion for butter were in need of another media platform.

To move along with this story, Tom and I were watching her show and had the image of her making some amazingly delicious looking Mac and Cheese burned into our heads.  Friday night we were invited to a dinner party with some fresh new law school people and decided that this was the time to make the full, behemoth recipe!

Fair warning: a group of 3 women and 5 young men barely put a dent in this massive amount of dinner delight.  I would HIGHLY advise halving the recipe if you are only trying to feed a small (or normal size) family or are not a fan of having a few days worth of leftovers.  As previously discussed, I love leftovers, so we are all good here!

My one and only change/suggestion would be to skip putting it in the oven.   You should have seen the ooey-gooeyness of this mac and cheese before the oven!!! While it was still tasty, I am pretty sure skipping the baking is the way to go.

Anyways, check this stuff out:

Now go make it!

NEXT: Thai Peanut Chicken with Rice Noodles

This is a favorite of Tom and mine.  Usually Tom makes the dish with coconut rice (OMG SO GOOD) rather than rice noodles, but alas we have neither rice cooker nor pot with lid, so we had to change it up.   We were really happy with how this turned out, and again, wound up with a BUNCH of leftovers.  I highly recommend trying out this recipe.  It is pretty cheap to make (although you do have to invest in a few more exotic ingredients), has VEGGIES, and could easily be made cheaper/vegetarian with some tofu instead of chicken.

Mmmmmmmmmm (and yes, that is a strawberry-kiwi mojito in the background….recipe to come if we ever get it just right…).

Well that is all for now!  xoxo ❤

Peanut Butter Banana Bread Bars (are what it’s all about)

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Oh hi, friends!

As you can see, I am back to being a pretty bad blogger…or a pretty good real person (let’s go with the second option…).  Either way I am posting now, so what else can I do? Also, I am posting something pretty freaking delicious, so this should make up for any hatred you were harboring toward me for taking so long to post again.

Let’s cut to the chase…

I have realllllyy been wanting THIS peanut butter banana bread from one of my favorite bloggers, Joy the Baker.  But, alas, we do not have her fancy-shmancy ingredients like flaxseed meal, all spice, dry roasted peanuts…

yogurt…

cinnamon….

baking soda….

brown sugar….

(okay, you can stop judging me now)

So instead I retreated to the google machine to seek out a more “back to basics” type of recipe and wound up with a base recipe that I could work with! Here ’tis!

Bare Minimum Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Bread Bars

adapted from Banana Peanut Butter Bread by Corwynn Darkholme on All Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • honey
 Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium size square brownie pan.
  2. Mash bananas in a small bowl.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat eggs and add to sugar and butter mix. Stir in peanut butter, bananas, flour and baking powder until blended. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Drizzle honey over the top.  Use a fork to swirl into batter.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove and let cool for approximately 15 minutes.
Voila!  These babies are not only a tasty way to use up some over-ripe bananas, they are also budget friendly (come on, even I had all these items on hand!), and go a long way.  Tom, Steph and I have been munching on these for the last couple of days and we still have nearly half a batch!  Also, according to the recipe a serving is only about 270 calories, and if you do them brownie style the yield is closer to 30 servings–aka only 135 calories per serving, and a lot yummier than those 100-calorie packs!

Root Beer Float Pops!

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Root Beer Float Pops!

One of the things that recently made the trip into our apartment from our awesome roomie, Stephanie’s old apartment was a popsicle mold!  After looking at it sitting sad and empty in the kitchen for a few days, Tom and I decided it was high time that we made some popsicles.  It is still summer, right?  Well, Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t seem to think so…and Stephanie and I are both DYING for a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, but it is still hot, humid and generally not Fall in NYC, so popsicles sounded fine to us!

After much debate between lemonade pops (Tom’s idea) and Chocolate pudding pops (my idea, mainly because of my love of chocolate and Bill Cosby), we decided to try out root beer float pops!

Using a rough outline we found all around the internet we made the easiest popsicles ever!  These are great because they only take 2 ingredients and almost no work! Listen up!

Root Beer Float Pops

  1. Open a bottle or can of root beer (we used Boylan’s), pour into a cup and let sit for 30 min to let it get a little flat
  2. Pour enough root beer into each mold to fill it halfway
  3. Put two small scoops of vanilla ice cream into each mold
  4. Top each mold with more root beer
  5. Freeze for at least 6 hours
  6. Devour!

Tom is much more excited about this than he looks. Cool as a cucumber, as per usual.

And because I love you I will give you a reel of ridiculous pictures of me putting these bad boys in the freezer:

Since the last time we chatted….

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Hello again friends!

The end of my week (not “weekend” because I’m counting Thursday) was really great!

If you  are a) a baseball fan, b) someone who associates with baseball lovers, or c) a resident of New York or Boston,  you might have caught that there was a three game series Yankees v. Red Sox this weekend.  Guess who is a biggggg Red Sox fan?

That’s right!  The boyfriend is a huge fan, and he has definitely transformed me into a pretty big fan over the last 4 years.

So, it is a given that we watched every night and it was awesome.

On Thursday night I decided that our final night of Red Sox and Yankees action deserved some classic baseball fare.  We decided on kielbasa with green and red peppers, onion (none for me, please!), yellow mustard and relish!

Oh, and beer, of course! Mine was the Blue Moon seasonal and Tom’s the regular.  I am a big fan of the seasonal right now.  Just awesome!

Well that is all I’ve got for now, but there are at least 3 other awesome things I am waiting to blog about within the next 24-36 hours, so watch out for that!

xoxo

Settle an internal debate

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I have a certain (awesome) college friend coming to dinner tomorrow night and I am trying to pick out something delicious to make!  I am leaning toward 2 types of enchiladas- corn and black bean (aka vegetarian) and ground beef with a red sauce, but am pretty tempted by these two other options…

Check out these links and vote on what you think I should make!

Creamy Caprese Pasta

Deep Dish Sausage Pizza

Thanks for the help!