I’m dreaming….

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Of having the money, or willingness to spend money once I do, required to procure this cardigan from Zara:

If you find a similar one at Goodwill and want to send it to me let me know.¬† Kthanxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ūüôā

PS this post is categorized under “budget” even though it is clearly a “budget killer” because I am thinking about trying to find it second hand, and therefore cheaper…also, it is a reminder not to go on Zara’s website anymore….haha mhmmm.

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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!

The rumors are true…

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Spinning is a pretty ridiculous workout!

This morning Steph and I woke up bright and early, had a quick cup of coffee each and jaunted on over to our local yoga/cycling center for spin class!

Steph was so kind as to pay my way since she wanted a buddy and I am unfortunately too broke to afford group fitness! ¬†I am gonna get her back as soon as I get a job…

ANYWAYS.

The class was intense! ¬†We were in there for 45 min and by the end EVERYTHING was burning! ¬†For those of you who haven’t ever taken a spin class, the basic concept is that you sit on an upright stationary bike, and go through different types of intervals at different levels of resistance.

In this particular class we started out with just straight pedaling at different resistances, then did some “sprints” (aka pedaling faster for 30 sec-1 min at a time), then did some upright/standing pedaling in a couple different positions, and then some more straight pedaling sitting down.

The really great thing about this class, and all group fitness really, is that being in a room with a bunch of other people doing the same thing really pushes you to keep doing the work.  I know that when I workout by myself I often slack when it starts to get hard.  In this setting there was no room to under-do it.  You can definitely go at your own pace, but I would say that for 99% of people, a group fitness class that is at/above your skill level will really push you to do a worthwhile workout.  The only thing I could think throughout my workout today is: this must be the way that people who lose a lot of weight do it.  It was without a doubt one of the most challenging workouts I have ever done.

Well that is all I’ve got! ¬†I totally recommend spinning as a workout for people who already have a decent level of cardio endurance and are looking for a challenge!

And afterwards you can do what we did….reward yourself with a pumpkin spice latte. ¬†Woops…

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!

Chili Cheese Topped Salad (with Fries…)

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So, we have been working with a limited number of cooking implements since we got to New York a few weeks ago.  Luckily the boyfriend has an awesome mother and cousin who brought out a bunch of great stuff for us to get started with, so I have been able to cook up a few delicious things!  Like this little number:

A Turkey, Brie, and Cranberry Quesadilla from my baking and cooking idol, Jessica, over at How Sweet it Is.  Genius.

This accidental favorite:

Graham cracker cereal (like Golden Grahams)+slightly past ripe banana+ milk= Banana Cream Pie Cereal.  It tastes just like it.  Trust me.

And finally, the “recipe” this post is all about: Chili Cheese Topped Salad (with Fries!).

Ingredients:

  • One head Romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 cups ground beef/turkey/veggie replacement
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 1-2 cups leftover french fries

Prep time: About 15-20 min

Hear me out on this.

My boyfriend called this creation “ghetto.”

BUT

I HATE wasting leftovers. And we had gone out to an awesome dinner the night before. ¬†One that included $4 frozen margaritas in pint glasses, queso fundido, a burger with scrambled egg on top, and some of the best fries ever. ¬†These fries were GREAT and when I reached my limit, some still remained….

I took them home, determined to finish them. I googled how to reheat fries so they don’t lose their crunchy deliciousness, and I succeeded in bringing them back to life! ¬†Like this:

All they need is a quick pan-fry. ¬†I bet they would turn out even better if you had a cast-iron skillet…

Okay, back to the salad.

Start out by rinsing your lettuce and cutting it/ripping it up the way you prefer it in a salad.  Give it a little bit to crisp up (pop it in the fridge for 10-15 min).

Throw those fries in the pan. ¬†They don’t need any oil or anything, just let them go. ¬†If you don’t have leftover fries, just pop your favorite type in the oven probably about 20 min. prior to starting the rest of this, depending on the cook time).

Grate up your cheese if you don’t buy the pre-grated type.

Take the pan you cooked your fries in and cook up your meat/fake meat. ¬†Since I used leftover hamburger (just sliced it up into small pieces), I didn’t do any kind of seasoning, but you might want to through in some garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. ¬†Just to taste. Whatever floats your boat. Drain out any grease from cooking.

Once that is all good and cooked add in your chili beans.  Mix it up.  Let the flavors mingle.

Lay out your bed of lettuce, top with fries and cheese

Next throw on that chili mixture, top with some more cheese, more fries, and you are good to go!

Hope you enjoy your leftovers!

‚̧


Hey! It’s been a little while…and a lot has happened!

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Hey Friends!

Sorry about my long absence and the cliffhanger I left you all on…I can explain though! Really, I can!

Let’s just list this baby:

  1. I moved across the country. ¬†Yeah, this is pretty self-explanatory…(for those of you not¬†privy,¬†¬†I just made the move to NYC, because the boyfriend is attending a certain Ivy-League Law School. Yep, he is a hot-shot for sure).
  2. My sweet, little Manhattan apartment didn’t have Internet hooked up when we arrived. Which was fine, but then…
  3. The cable wire for my sweet, little Manhattan apartment was cut and the cable guy couldn’t set it up…
  4. We had to wait a week for another appointment with a rockin’ cable guy who knew exactly what to do
  5. I was lazy/preoccupied with other things (namely looking for a job) and never got around to posting

So, there you go, the saga of how I started my blog at an inopportune time! ¬†But fear not, my darlings, I am here to stay now! ¬†I am currently going through a bout of “funemployment” (don’t let them fool you, it isn’t really fun..it is stressful), that I am turning into a time to work on cooking, crafting, and blogging!

Now that that is all done with. ¬†Let’s get into the meat of this post!¬†

I posed a serious question at the end of my last post.

How exactly are you supposed to pack the life you have accumulated over the course of 21 years into a limited number of suitcases??

My steps:

  1. Make some tough decisions. Goodness knows that I have a TON of stuff.  The first, and hardest step, is to decide what will come with and what will get to stay at home in your closet with your 17 year old sister.  This is what my pile looked like (it may have grown ever-so-slightly):
  2. Find the right bag/box combo.  I wanted to use one bag (just for the ease of getting it in/out of the airport) but wound up choosing to use 2 bags and 2 extra large flat rate boxes.  As much as I really wanted to jam all of my life into one LARGE suitcase, lugging a 70 pound suitcase up four flights of stairs to my new apartment sounded like a broken back waiting to happen, so I caved and threw it all into two medium size bags.
  3. Pack smart!In my opinion, the biggest reason people wind up checking too many bags/bringing too many boxes is because they don’t optimize their space. ¬†Just invest in these babies:

    I swear by these! https://www.spacebag.com/

    I promise you won’t regret it. ¬†I haven’t received anything from the creators of the Space Bag to tell you this. ¬†I honestly swear by them. ¬†They are one of the few gimmicky things that I have found really work, and they are a life saver! ¬†Plus it is an extra layer of security from anything in your luggage getting lost/stolen.

    4.  Keep trying until you get it right.  No one said packing was easy.  I unpack and repack until I maximize the amount of stuff I can fit.  In the end my final luggage looked like this:

    Stuffed to the brim!

    It took me about three times to get there, so don’t give up! ¬†It is possible and you can do it!

    That’s all on the packing front! ¬†Stay tuned for some sweet, easy recipes that

    I have been cooking up the last few weeks!

    ‚̧

Packing extravaganza

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So, I know this may appear to be a somewhat strange first post, however packing is among the more artistic endeavors that exists for someone making a cross-country move (or really any move with limited space and/or budget).  I have done the cross-country move in 2 bags (and a short-term international move in 1!) quite a few times, but as most out there know, moving into a dorm room is not the same as moving into a legitimate, grown-up apartment.

Moving out of my dorm room last Spring (2010)

So, that brings me to the subject matter of this post.  How do I fit the stuff I have accumulated after 21 years with me to my tiny Upper West Side apartment?

The answer: I can’t. ¬†I won’t. ¬†I have to make some ridiculous decisions!

I will have to post back later on with the answer to how I am going to make these decisions and stuff 2 bags and a few large flat rate boxes with my life, but here is a helpful wardrobe guide I will be using!  I think this could be really useful for people looking to pack  a limited amount or to accumulate a logical collection of clothes! Thanks to Real Simple (my favorite magazine) for the awesome list!