Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ramen Noodle Salad. For Realzies.

Hey All... I will post pics from the potluck soon but I also wanted to put up the recipe for the Ramen Noodle Salad that our friend Jenna brought over on Friday. I got such a kick out of this salad because it is made with ramen noodles. The most stereotypical college-kid-no-money meal is Ramen Noodles. So, now, a step up from that, we're at for a just-started-working-and-on-a-very-tight-budget meal, you can make a ramen noodle salad!

We all started to joke on Friday.... what if someone opened a restaurant with ALL recipes made from Ramen Noodles? The profit margin would probably be extremely high, no? Anyways... the Ramen Noodle Salad recipe is below. Thank miss Jenna for bringing this over!

Anybody else have a Ramen Noodle recipe?


Here is the recipe for Ramen Noodle Salad!!

1. A head of lettuce, chopped
2. 6oz mandarin oranges, drained
3. 1 pkg chicken Ramen noodles, uncooked and crumbled
4. 1 cup chopped mushrooms
5. 1 cup chopped celery
6. 1 cup green chopped onions

1. 1/4 cup salad oil
2. 1 tbsp sugar
3. 3tbsp vinegar
4. 1/2 tsp pepper
5. seasoning mix from the noodles

Mix together lettuce and onions. Add all other ingredients except noodles and set aside. Blend together dressing and just before serving, add the dressing and noodles to the lettuce mixture!!

and there you have it!!


I decided this weekend to throw a potluck dinner. While I love cooking, most of my friends love it too -- and they've been doing it for longer, meaning that their skills are a little more honed in.

One attendee brought a huge, delicious bowl of homemade guacamole (upon my request) and another friend brought a delicious mandarin salad with a surprise ingredient: dry ramen noodles! I made mini Italian club sandwiches and potato and squash pancakes while someone else brought a squash soup/puree.

While the food didn't necessarily go together, I don't think anyone left feeling hungry. I was perhaps most impressed by the squash soup. It was made from ingredients my friend found in my friend's kitchen! It was the most delicious squash-y, cumin-y, sweet and salty dish with a perfect texture. I'm still thinking about it.

There were several aspects of the potluck that were enjoyable: first, it was fun to see (and taste) what everyone brought, there wasn't as much pressure on me to provide all of the food for my hungry guests, and it was also nice to get a taste for some new recipes. Unfortunately Chris (squash-soup-chef) doesn't have a written set of instructions for his delectable concoction, but at least it gave me a new idea -- creating dishes from ingredients laying around the kitchen! It forces you to be creative, it's a great way to use up what you have, and it won't cost you anymore money than you've already spent! Who's interested in some avocado - apple - tortilla chip roulade?

Monday, December 14, 2009


The next few days will be pretty busy for me with work but I want to give a quick update on the Christmas miracle from this weekend.

It turns out, it actually was NOT a Christmas miracle. Well, not exactly. What it actually was, was the first issue of a two-year subscription to The Food Network magazine-- a Christmas gift from my cousin Heather. How awesome is that?!?! I got a card in the mail today explaining the gift and I am so happy and so thrilled and also feeling so bad that I still have Heather's birthday present from August sitting on my desk waiting to be mailed. Eeek.

Well, Heather dearest, thank you so much!! I already tried some of the cookie recipes from the magazine and will tell you all about them shortly. However, tonight I need to get some sleep before another busy day at work.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Christmas Miracle?

So upon getting the mail today.... I stumbled upon a Christmas miracle. In the mailbox, addressed to me, but was definitely never ordered by me, was an issue of the The Food Network Magazine! Holiday treats edition!

I do not know where this came from, or how The Food Network got my address, or why they decided to start sending this to me, but I am THRILLED.

There is only one answer here. A Christmas MIRACLE!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

From writer to chef: the story of unemployment.

Hi everyone!

I'm Katie's roommate, Jackie Sher. Not only do we share an apartment, bathroom, washer and dryer, but we also share a kitchen, utensils, cooking and love of all-things food. I have always enjoyed eating out, flipping through recipe books and looking at pictures of food, but never, ever thought that I would be able to assemble anything edible myself (unless it was in sandwich form with raw ingredients or made in a microwave).

I also love to write. Until recently, was paid to do it. Now I am a professional stay-at-home roommate. In my new found free time, I have learned that I *can* cook and that I absolutely love it! There is something deeply satisfying about trying a recipe that I found in a cookbook, or getting inspired by something that was made on the Food Network, and then trying it out myself. It is even more satisfying to feed these culinary inspirations to others.

Katie's mom bought her a slow-cooker a few weeks ago that was still sitting in the box. Every now and again, Katie and I would sit around flipping through recipes and picking out what looked good. Finally, we decided that this past Tuesday I would make something in the slow cooker. I picked out a chicken and mushroom merlot recipe from a crock-pot cook book. We thought this would be a nice dish because it sounded hearty and we were expecting our second snow fall of the year.

Preparation took about 40 minutes. The total cook time took about 7.5 hours. I served it with a huge spinach salad with veggies, fresh bread and some pasta that my boyfriend expertly prepared with seasonings we had laying around the kitchen. Voila! Dinner was served. And will be served again and again for the next 18 days. I made a lot of chicken and mushroom merlot.

It was (relatively) easy to make, with the exception of some cut fingers -- always use caution when working with knives -- and came out, in my opinion, deliciously. I would recommend this dish to anyone who is looking to make a hearty meal that doesn't take too, too much preparation and wants leftovers after.

Next project? I am throwing a holiday potluck tomorrow. I am going to try making three appetizers including zucchini and potato pancakes and mini Italian club sandwiches. If I'm feeling adventurous I might try my hand at making a cocktail for everyone to enjoy involving clementines and vodka ... We'll see.

As Julia Child would say, bon appetit!

(This photo was taken this past summer when I held a dinner party but ordered out all of the food. However, this is a thing of the past. Welcome to the new world of Jackie.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Much to be thankful for.

It is hard to believe that we are past Thanksgiving and finishing up our first week of December, yet that is exactly where we are. As I sit in my apartment and look out the window at the first real snow fall of the winter, makeup still on my face from my first holiday party of the season the night before, I am content and happy and filled with emotions. I am slightly overwhelmed that I have yet to really begin my holiday shopping. I am nervous, that my finances won't be able to cover all of the gifts I want to be able to give to the many people who have loved me and been there for me throughout this past year. I am satisfied, although I have yet to eat today, the $2.25 coffee from the Daily Grind coffee shop around the corner is running warm through my body, which is curled underneath my gray Syracuse University blanket. I am warm. I am happy. I am a tid bit anxious but I am comfortable. More so than anything else though, I am thankful.

I am thankful for an apartment that I love being in so much. I am thankful for roommates who help me with my makeup and accessories before a night out, who comfort me when I am upset, and who make me laugh. I am thankful for my family, that spreads from Rhode Island to Massachusetts to New Hampshire to California and back. My family, who loves me and protects me and pushes me to be who I am not matter what the situation. I am thankful for my network of friends, that spreads around the world and who have known me from a range of one year, five years, or twenty years. Friends that know me better than myself and who I have no doubt in my mind will continue to get to know me as I change and grow throughout the years. I am thankful for Skype and video chatting, which helps me stay in touch with those friends, whether they be in New Jersey or Indonesia. I am thankful for my own self-conviction. I am thankful for a lot.

This past Thanksgiving was a really happy one for me. It was filled with so many people I love, so many people that make my life rich and fulfilling and happy, so much goodness, and SO MUCH good food.

I ate my first Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday before the actual holiday at my friend Andrew's house. We had a potluck dinner, with everybody bringing a different dish. This is a tradition that I had the pleasure of taking part in for the first time in 2008. I don't know if it was my state of mind or the food itself, but this year's dinner at Andrews was perfect. Everybody's dishes complemented each other perfectly even though they ranged from Persian rice to mashed potatoes to pumpkin to chili to a variety of stuffings and then oh, my, gosh, the deep fried turkey. It was delicious.

My second Thanksgiving dinner was at Cumberland House of Pizza with my girls Erin and Meag. Although it may not have been an official Thanksgiving dinner and although our crew was missing some very key people, it is definitely something I am thankful for. Broccoli and mushroom pizza. Antipasto salad. Good conversation. Loud and boisterous. Yeah, it was definitely a Thanksgiving dinner.

My third Thanksgiving dinner was at my grandmother's in Massachusetts. A smaller crowd than that of years past, but the room was just as full with love and laughter and over-eating. Again, it may have been my state-of-mind or it could have been the actual food, but everything tasted more delicious than ever. And for the first time in my life, I ate gravy. Yum, yum, yum.

(if you know my family... tell me if you notice anything about the photos below... hehe)

My fourth Thanksgiving dinner, which was actually a lunch, was at my Dad's on Friday. Again, lots of laughter and love and food. This year brought new family members to the table and new excitement for all of us.

My fifth, and final Thanksgiving dinner took place at a bar in Manchester, NH with my sister, her husband, her sister-in-law, and her sister-in-law's boyfriend. Chicken fingers and potato skins. Not the most traditional, but it was fun. It was a meal that I am again, incredibly thankful for. I had a wonderful night visiting my sister and her husband. Our relationship has progressed so much throughout this past year and we have some amazing memories to take with us into 2010.

So there you have it. My Thanksgiving in pictures and food and memories. Outside, the snow continues to fall. Accumulating now and covering the rooftops and tree branches in a soft blanket of beautiful white. My coffee is finished and my stomach is starting to rumble. No big cooking plans today. Perhaps tomorrow. Today I am enjoying the beauty outside and am thankful for all the beauty within my life as well.

Happy holidays.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are you a Martha or a Rachel?

So Martha Stewart just had her first on-air interview and when asked about Rachel Ray, she was pretty harsh in dissing her skill sets and the the sophistication of her recipes and what is in her cookbook. Martha says,

"Well, to me, she professed that she could -- cannot bake," said Stewart. "She -- just did a new cookbook which is just a re-edit of a lot of her old recipes. She -- and that's not good enough for me. I mean, I really want to write a book that is a unique and lasting thing. Something that will really fulfill a need in someone's library. So, she's different. She's -- she's more of an entertainer than she is, with her bubbly personality, than she is a teacher, like me. That's not what she's professing to be... She does it very differently than I do, she's a totally different kind cook than I am. I don't know if she has a garden, I don't think so, but if she does, she doesn't show that on her show so much."

Now, I know that Rachel Ray gets dissed a lot and many, many people do not like her. However, I happen to be a Rachel fan. I cannot bake. I am not a formally trained cook, nor do I really desire to be. I have learned how to put together simple recipes or cook basic things that people enjoy and don't involve a heck of a lot of skill. This whole notion is basically why I started this blog in the first place. I know I haven't been putting up a lot of recipes, and I will try to do more. However, I wanted to post Rachel's response because I think it is pretty darn classy. I love classy responses. Her and Beyonce both have gold stars from me lately. Rachel's response was...

"Why would it make me mad?" said Ray. "Her skill set is far beyond mine. That's simply the reality of it. That doesn't mean that what I do isn't important too... I don't consider it needling. I really just think she's being honest. She does have a better skill set than I do when it comes to producing a beautiful, perfect, high-quality meal. I'd rather eat Martha's than mine, too."

Love it. I'm so a Rachel and am perfectly happy with that. What are you? A Rachel or a Martha? What do you aspire to be?

The full article via www.eatmedaily.com and found via @vasta's RT of @amateurgourmet

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chocolate Expo at State Museum

Chocolate? Wine? Specialty foods? Art? Jewelry? Live music? FREE?

Yes, I know where I will be on Sunday, December 6th. Who is with me?


"Eat everything in sight" days

So, recently I e-mailed the members of the Communications Leadership Development Program (CLDP) that I am a part of. The CLDPs have become somewhat of a family over the past 20 months, despite the fact that some of them I have only met in "real life" a handful of times. We talk daily about work, bosses, life, becoming grown ups, relationships and anything that one of us needs the other for. When I started this blog I sent a note around to the crew to check it out if they got a chance and also, to pass along any recipes or food ideas that they had.

The following is the e-mail chain that took place between me and the one male in my program after I sent out that e-mail. I found it funny and it went along with a few other conversations I've had recently.

Pretty much every girl I know can relate to the feeling of having an "eat everything in sight" day. In fact, one of my friends e-mailed me the after I posted about what to do with leftover Halloween candy (which happened to be the very next day after I had this e-mail conversation with Matt). She told me to save leftover candy for one of these days.

Is it really just girls that have "eat everything in sight" days? Do any other guys agree with Matt?

Benvie, Matthew (GE Infra, Aviation, US)
Tuesday, November 03, 2009 2:02 PM

To: Buress, Katelyn (GE, Corporate)
Subject: RE: Read my blog!

I made killer chocolate chip pancakes last night. Secret ingredient? Extra chocolate chips.

From: Buress, Katelyn (GE, Corporate)
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 2:31 PM
To: Benvie, Matthew (GE Infra, Aviation, US)
Subject: RE: Read my blog!

That sounds so delicious. I'm having an "eat everything in sight" day. Do boys have days like that or is it just girls?

From: Benvie, Matthew (GE Infra, Aviation, US)
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 2:36 PM
To: Buress, Katelyn (GE, Corporate)
Subject: RE: Read my blog!

I can only speak from anecdotes and personal experience... but boys treat every day like it's "eat everything in sight" day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Adventures of Vegetables: Brussel Sprouts.

So, I have decided that I want to explore cooking new veggies. My staples are asparagus and broccoli but I want to branch out more. I recently tried brussel sprouts for the first time and despite their bad rep as a scary and despised veggie, I actually liked them.

On my last trip to the grocery store I was intrigued so I bought some with the plan of looking up a recipe online. I actually didn't have to go that far and was recommended a way to cook them by my boss at work. I made them for dinner tonight and ate them alongside some risotto that I made (it's from a box, I'm not that good... yet).

Cooking the brussel sprouts isn't really a recipe but just a method so the amounts and the actual ingredients don't really matter. However, what I used was...

- brussel sprouts
- almonds
- olive oil
- butter

I started by cutting the white, stemmy end of the brussel sprout off and unwrapping the outermost layers of the brussel sprout and throwing it away. My boss advised me to clean them well and remove the outermost part because they can taste bad otherwise. I wasn't sure exactly how much to take off but I thought of it as a mini head of iceberg lettuce, and pulled off the first layer.

Then, I steamed the brussel sprouts for about 7-8 minutes using my flexible steaming basket thingy (don't know the actual term for it, but it is essential)... I figured out when they were done by pulling one out and cutting through the sprout. I tested a couple times and when I was able to cut through them easily, I decided they were done (I have no idea if this is an advisable method or not, but it worked for me).

In a frying pan, I heated a little oil and tossed in some chopped almonds. I was told to use almond slivers, but I adjusted that based on what we had in the apartment. I added so
me butter to the oil and just let that warm together and the almonds brown a bit. When the brussel sprouts were steamed, I cut the big ones in half and tossed it all in the butter/oil/almond mix. Voila!

My delicious meal, eaten by candlelight with a glass of wine and my Twilight book. Perfection.

It was quite delicious, I must say.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dinner for two.

When you are 23 and you work 10+ hours a day, this is sometimes how you eat dinner.

My meal:
- 2 Toasted english muffin with margarine
- Carrots and hummus
- Cheez-Its

Jen's (my roommate) meal:

- Goldfish
- Mortadella
- Some radish, celery, and mushroom with hummus
- Some pickles & olives
- Cup of shredded wheat cereal

This is all for today. We're going out for a celebratory drink in honor of Jen kicking some butt at work. Tomorrow I'll attempt to cook brussel sprouts. Seee ya!

P.S. Add a little pepperoni onto my list. Ooh la la!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What to do with all that candy

Yes, I know, my favorite thing to do with Halloween candy is eat it. However, in the spirit of being healthy, I found an article on the Albany Times Union Web site that offers some suggestions of what to do with excess Halloween candy.

We had some rain in the Capital Region on Halloween so people saw less trick-or-treaters coming around. If you've got bags of leftover Halloween candy, I suggest you check out this article. I love the idea of sending your candy to Operation Gratitude to be included in care packages for U.S. troops. It might even been a nice idea to pick up some of the 50-75% off candy and send over to this group anyways.

Hope you all had a great Halloween. We've got a few weeks before the holiday eating season really kicks off, so I'm going to try and be healthy before that! Some pics for your enjoyment from my Halloween...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Erin's Artichoke Pie

- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 cans non-marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
- uncooked pie shell and top
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 c grated cheese
- 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Saute finely-chopped garlic in olive oil. Drain artichoke hearts and add to oil. Brown lightly over high heat. Spoon into 9 inch uncooked pie shell.

In a bowl, beat together eggs and grated cheese until blended. Pour over artichoke mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese on top. Top with pastry, flute the edges, cut vents.

Bake in a pre-heated 450 degree over for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Cover outer edges with foil. Remove foil 10 minutes before end of cooking.


The recipe is my friend Erin's and she has always made this pie whenever there has been a potluck type event. It is delicious and I was excited to try and make it on my own.

Whenever I've had it, I've always been impressed with the presentation as well as the taste, so I was excited and surprised to find out that it was surprisingly simple to make! I make quiches often and it really wasn't all that different. I have never made anything that I'd call a "pie" though and somehow the word scares me. I'll tell you though, store bought pie crust is amazing.

I picked up some from the frozen food section and bought a package of two 9-inch ready to bake crusts, in convenient silver dishes also that you can bake and serve them in. Since this pie requires a top, I just used one of the two as the top of the pie. It didn't make for the prettiest pie, but I was still proud! The pie came out delicious... I shared it with my roommates and still have a ton leftover for meals the rest of the week. It is good served both warm and cold so it is good to bring to picnics or potlucks. I had a piece for lunch today cold so it is definitely a leftovers friendly meal!

And a few additional notes on my first pie baking experience...

I noticed after I put the pie in the over that I was supposed to wrap the edges in tinfoil. I wasn't sure if this was a really necessary step, but I wanted to be sure. So, I took the pie out, awkwardly wrapped the edges in tinfoil and put it back in until 10 minutes until the end. It seemed to work out well... not burnt crusts here! However, I have no idea if this was necessary or not.

Also, I am already thinking of the future and how I can personalize this pie and make changes to make it a little different. I think that if I add spinach to the pie, it would come out really good. And some melty, stringy cheeses... mmm... I feel like it wouldn't be too hard to basically turn this into spinach/artichoke dip wrapped up in pie crust. And how freaking good does that sound?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

A chicken chili feast!

We are deep into fall now, and as I mentioned, I am really into “fall” foods. Over the past few years, I have been getting more and more into the cold-weather classic, chili. I'm not the hugest fan of beans so when I was recommended a beanless chicken chili recipe by my colleague, Becky, I was game to try it!

When looking at a recipe, I try to look at them as a guideline or suggestion for the meal. I think one of the major things that people need to realize when they are starting out with cooking, is that you have the freedom to experiment and alternate the recipe to your tastes.

So with this dish, I used less onion and more red peppers than recipe called for. Based on my tastes, I figured I would like it more if I switched those things around. I also put a little more garlic in than the recipe suggested, because I just loooove garlic. When you are cooking (baking is another story), look at a recipe as a guideline and not a rule.

The recipe actually was from Ina Garten on the Food Network and has pretty simple ingredients and is low maintenance. I planned ahead and wrote out the ingredients before I headed to the grocery store, but wouldn't you know it, I left the list at home so I shopped off of memory. Luckily, the recipe is really simple, and after visiting the grocery store, I realized it is really cheap also!

Visit the link and read the full recipe for yourself, but what I purchased and the prices are below. I couldn't remember what kind of canned tomatoes to buy so I just guessed at what I thought would be best and ended up using them all.

- Small can of diced tomatoes .79
- Large can of smashed tomatoes .99
- Package of 4 chicken breasts 6.98
- 3 Red peppers 2.99
- Large red onion 1.29
- McCormick white chicken chili seasoning mix 1.49
- Skim milk .89
- 6pack of eggs .89
- Corn bread mix .47

The total for this complete meal is around $17 and it feeds a lot. I served 4, including myself, we all had seconds, and there was still some leftovers to put in the fridge. Definitely beats a restaurant price any day! Ingredients that I already had on hand were the very basics. I had garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Also, the milk and eggs were for the cornbread mix, which is totally optional. The ingredients for it all were really cheap, so why the heck not though?

You'll also notice that instead of all of the different seasonings, I bought a McCormick mix. Well, some may call that cheating, but I call it practical. I don't keep a lot of spices and seasonings in the house. I have a small kitchen I share with 3 other people, it is hard to keep things around unless they are used on a regular basis... which I wouldn't with my seasonings. The McCormick mix was a great way for me to still complete this recipe but not have to buy a bunch of seasonings I probably wouldn't use for a long time again. It was cheap, it tasted great, and nobody knew my secret when I served the meal :)

My dinner guests and critics on this day were my roommate Jackie and our two friends Ernest and Alex. We had a lot of fun hanging out, cooking, carving pumpkins, watching scary movies, and drinking pumpkin beers. It was a great weekend recipe and I highly recommend it for anybody. I think it would be good for large groups, movie nights or game days, etc. and it is also easily adaptable. Chili is a pretty common thing, but a chicken chili is a little unique and it offers a lot of possibility for you to make it your own. I so loved this recipe and so did everybody else, Jackie's exact words were, "This is the best thing I have ever eaten in my life." ... not too bad, eh?

Friday, October 30, 2009

This is why you're fat...

So, I just stumbled upon a few blogs and such that I had to post immediately.

First, off "This Is Why You're Fat". A Web site that I have heard about, but tried my best to avoid due to the nature of the site. I feared what I might find there. And yes, the Web site is all that the name promises it will be and I think I gained weight just by looking at the ridiculous deep-fried, chocolate-covered, bacon-wrapped creations that are within this site. If you thought that donut-bun burger was bad... you'll want to stay away from this site. View at your own risk.

Second, "The Ridiculous Food Society of Upstate New York." Well, one of this guys recipes was featured in the new "This is Why You're Fat" book, so he can't be all that bad! I haven't had a change to browse too much of the site but I'm excited to check it out.

Third, this challenge. Sponsored by "This Is Why You're Fat". Read for yourself and if you are in the NYC area... I dare you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alice's Teacup

So, another place I ate during my eating tour of NYC was Alice's Teacup. The lovely @KateSarah brought me there as well (she is too good to me) and recommended all the best things. Before I get to the food though, let me tell you a little bit about Alice's Teacup itself. It is completely and totally adorable. As soon as you walk in, you feel like you are in a 5 year old girl's heaven. There are big butterflies on the walls, characters from Alice in Wonderland, fairies, and everything is in pastel pinks and like purple. It may sound cheesy but it really was very sweet and cute.

Alice's Teacup has a huge variety of teas and we were there around brunch time so they were serving both breakfast and lunch. Kate got eggs and I decided to get the combo of 2 scones and a pot of tea that was around $10. Alice's Teacup is known for both these things and I wanted to try their signatures (plus, as soon as I walked in I saw the pumpkin scones out of the corner of my eye and they looked TO DIE FOR). We also ordered a side of their french fries because Kate said they were worth it. And my goodness they were. Pics are below from the food extravaganza at Alice's Teacup in NYC...

P.S. So the story with the last photo is... we had these two french fries left on the plate and TWICE waitresses walked by and asked if we were done. Both times, I let her them know that we were NOT done and I fully planned on finishing every last bite of the french fries. They were delicious.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fudge and licorice and gumdrops, oh my!

Last Friday through Wednesday I was in New York City visiting friends and then working at GE’s healthymagination showcase on 44th and 5th Ave. I always really enjoy visiting NYC due largely to the fact that many of my friends live there, but there is also something exciting and inspiring about being in the city that I love in itself. There is so much to explore, to see, to do, and my God, so much to EAT.

This blog is supposed to be dedicated to healthy and affordable eating, but you know what, sometimes you just need to indulge. And for me, this past weekend in NYC was the time and place to do it.

I stayed with my friend Kate (@KateSarah) from Friday to Sunday at her beautiful studio apartment she is currently sharing with a friend. After years of friendship, she has learned where my passions lie and therefore was eager to introduce me to something she knew I’d love. It is a little piece of heaven that is located right here on earth in the convenient location of the upper east side manhattan.

What I am referring to is none other than Dylan's Candy Bar.

Dylan’s Candy Bar is the Disneyworld of candy stores that covers every scale of the candy spectrum from fudge to gumdrops to giant lollipops, bulk candy, packaged candy, seasonal candies, and everything in between.

For someone like me, who is decends from a family with a rich heritage of a vicious sweet tooth (we’re talking annual family reunions that are built around when we’re going to visit the local penny candy store), this place was magical.

My $12 of twizzlers, chocolate covered cookie dough, sour watermelons, rock candy, Swedish fish, nonparrels, and peanut butter malt balls later, my friends and I left Dylan’s (and went across the street to see Where the Wild Things Are!). The bag of candy lasted me until the end of the weekend but the memories (and the calories) will be with me for much longer.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Empire State of Mind

Hey all, in New York City for the weekend... food stories to come. But for now, the song I can't get enough of. Miss Alicia Keys is such a rockstar and from what I heard, she completely kicked butt at the Keep A Child Alive Black Ball that took place Thursday night in NYC. KCA is an incredible organization and I've had the honor and pleasure of being able to attend the Black Ball a couple times in the past. Love KCA. Love Alicia Keys. Love NYC. Enjoy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eating American

It figures that the week that I start a blog about food and cooking, I actually do ZERO cooking the entire week. Lovely. But alas, such is the life. It was a pretty busy week at work straight through and with a moderately active social life combined with laziness and a dash of exhaustion, the result is a week full of Lean Cuisines for dinner. Hoorah!

Tonight, however, the frozen meals were left frozen and I met up for dinner with a few colleagues/friends that are in town from Munich. We actually ate at the restaurant with the truffle fries for dinner (at their request, I swear!) and it was just as good this time. However, what I am really thinking about now is the concept of "American" food and what it is like for someone from outside of the U.S. to go out to eat at an American restaurant.

I spent five weeks this summer in Germany and every time I went out to eat it was a struggle. I was constantly asking those I was dining with (whether or not they were a German native) for advice on what to get, what to try, and what tastes best at different locations. I was a foreigner and wanted the help of those around to try some authentic German food.

With my friends from Munich tonight, it didn't even feel as if I was dining with foreigners. They knew what they wanted (burgers), how they wanted them (one rare, one well done), and how to order them. It felt so normal, that I didn't even think to think that maybe it should feel abnormal. I didn't even think about their lack of questions on questions about what they should try or what was good, until, about.... 10 minutes ago?

Granted, they have both been to the U.S. and both speak English way better than I speak German. Which, isn't giving them enough credit because a parrot could probably speak English better than I can speak German. But, still!

I thought about it afterwards and thought about how both guys ordered burgers. It made me realize that I guess burgers are probably the most "American" food we have to offer. The menu at the Van Dyck only has one burger on it. So, was what their eyes gravitated to?

I'd like to go out with them again, but this time, take them to the Red Robin. If the most American food is a burger, than the most American restaurant has got to be the Red Robin. A menu full of greasy, meat-packed combinations, complete with a bottomless basket of french fries? Really? What could be more American than that?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Edamame and mommy love.


One of my new favorite things in life.

It is a great thing to keep in the freezer, is easy to make, is filling, and is delicious to snack on in front of the TV. I highly recommend.

That's all for today... I'm exhausted and have an early morning as well, but I just wanted to give a shoutout to my love for edamame. It came in clutch tonight.

AND a shoutout to my mom, as I now know she is reading :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Goodbye Gourmet

Last week Conde Nast announced that they would be closing Gourmet magazine, which has been a staple for foodies since 1941. I must say, I think that Gourmet is before my generation. I occasionally buy Cooking Light magazine, which I really enjoy and I occasionally buy the Food Network magazine, which I also enjoy. However, I am completely not surprised that something like Gourmet doesn't have sticking power any more. Just by the name of it, Gourmet doesn't seem like something I would want to buy. I just looked up the definition of "gourmet" on www.dictionary.com. It says...
1.a connoisseur of fine food and drink; epicure.
2.of or characteristic of a gourmet, esp. in involving or purporting to involve high-quality or exotic ingredients and skilled preparation: gourmet meals; gourmet cooking.
3.elaborately equipped for the preparation of fancy, specialized, or exotic meals: a gourmet kitchen.

Read that definition. Now, read it again. I don't have a desire to be a gourmet chef. If I want something gourmet, I'll go to a restaurant. In my opinion (which is why you're reading this blog), this is exactly how people of my generation DO NOT want to cook. I don't have the time or energy to seek out exotic ingredients. I do not have the supplies or ambition to master "skilled preparation". And I don't really care if my food would be described as "fancy".
I want to eat something simple, with easily acquired and affordable ingredients, that is DELICIOUS. And if it comes off as fancy, all the better, but that isn't my main goal.
USA Today just posted an article that confirms my opinion and explains how the internet, television cooking shows, and social networking has changed the world of food. I really enjoyed this article because it validated me starting this blog. Vain? Maybe. But listen up readers, so far, my opinions are right on :)
And, Gourmet, see you later. You may be missed, but not by me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Food Weekend

Since I graduated from college and joined the working world, I have come to have a new appreciation for the fall season. In the past, fall was about returning to school, new classes, friends, the return of homework and early mornings, etc. Now that I am working, the transition from summer to fall isn't so much about a lifestyle change but about the seasons themselves.

I have begun to much more appreciate all things fall. The crisp air, bright Upstate NY foliage, and of course, all of the seasonal fall foods.

On my Twitter page I've started to list out some of my favorite seasonal fall foods as I indulge in them, but I thought I would dedicate a special little post as well. I have been spending the past few weeks indulging in some of my favorites:

- Apple cider.
- Candy corn.
- Cinnamon anything.
- Cider donuts.
- Apples.
- Caramel covered apples.
- Pumpkin pie (just tried it for the first time this year!).
- Pumpkin spice coffee (love the pumpkin spice lattes at Panera).
- Soup.
- Chili.

The past two weekends I have spent my Saturdays going to Bowman Orchards in Rexford, NY, which has been really enjoyable. They have pumpkins, apples, an incredible bakery, petting zoo, etc. It really is adorable but in addition, one of the neat things that they have is a taste test of almost 20 different apple varieties. The apple experts at Bowman can help you find your perfect level of tartness, sweetness, and crispness. My favorites I've learned are Pinova and Ambrosia apples.

Head to an orchard and pick up some of your own. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!

P.S. I need to remember to get pictures for this thing. I actually took some pictures this day with my roommate, but not of the food. I'll get better. Pictures to come!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Truffled french fries? Yes, please!

On Tuesday of this week I went out to lunch with my team from work to a newly reopened restaurant in Schenectady called The Van Dyck. Although the entire meal was really delicious and I enjoyed all of the food, I have to say, one item on the menu stuck out. And that delicious and savory item was a little thing called truffled french fries.

Truffled french fries? Have you ever heard of this before? Because it is the first time I have seen them on the menu and I found it quite exciting.

My love of all foods involving "truffle" began when I studied abroad in Florence. My friends and I discovered the most delicious meal of all time that involved a pasta served in a "cappelo" of pasta with a sauce made with gorgonzola cheese, asparagus, and truffles. It is simply amazing and it wasn't until trying a pizza made with truffle oil at a different restaurant that we realized... it was the truffle that made the pasta dish absolutely divine.

So truffled french fries? Yes, please! I highly recommend.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I can haz cheezburger?

Has anybody seen the episode on the Food Network or perhaps just the YouTube video where Paula Dean makes a cheeseburger and uses glazed donuts in place of a bun?

I have for a long time thinking that only someone as ridiculous as Paula Dean would dare try that, but clearly I am wrong. Check out how pissed this guy is about the thought of a cheeseburger with donuts as a bun. He says it is the sign of an apocolypse... I love it.

Am I sick because I kind of want to try one now?

Change of Plans

Generation Y is notorious for changing their minds. It is said that college students will change their majors 2-3 times, young professionals are changing their jobs every 1-2 years, and we're constantly changing everything from hair color to sexual preferences to relationships. It is only expected that we change our minds about what to eat.

As I mentioned earlier, I generally just buy the basics when I do my weekly grocery shopping trips. I am probably abnormal from my many people my age in the fact that I have a very routine grocery shopping regimen. Every Sunday is my grocery shopping day and I stock up on lunch options, snacks, beverages, etc. There are some regular things like yogurt, fruit, vegetables, Fiber One bars (Oats & Chocolate are my favorite), and pudding that I always buy and eat throughout the week for breakfast and lunch. However, I have a very hard time determining on Sunday what I want to eat throughout the week for dinner. I find that whenever I TRY to make a decision and buy ingredients for a certain dish or meal, I end up changing my mind and not using what I bought.

Tonight for example, I had planned to have leftover chicken from a roasted chicken I bought this week and some broccoli for dinner. Not too glamorous, but it would have been a quick and really delicious meal. However, instead I got a text message from one of my roommates while I was on my way home... "Want to order out tonight? I'm craving Indian food."

Now, I had not been craving Indian food myself... but I changed my mind. Many forkfuls of rice mixed with palak paneer (and far too many calories) later, my leftover chicken and uncooked broccoli is still sitting in the fridge.

Hopefully I get through that by the end of the week...

I love food.

What's a girl to do?

I'm a Food Network addict, a wannabe cook, and a lover of all things edible that contain more than 5 grams of fat. I generally cook dinner for myself, am tired from a long day of work, and want something simple, healthy, yet delicious. My fridge generally contains the most basic staples of food. When I do a weekly shopping, even if I buy the smallest size containers of milk or packages of chicken, I never end up using it all and things go bad. I find comfort in eating foods I like and the foods that I like are generally bad for me.

So, I propose the question again... what's a girl to do?

I wanted to start a blog that explores this question a little bit. My adventures and relationship with food has grown a lot throughout the years. I've become more adventurous in what I will eat and what I will try cooking for myself and through that, I've learned a lot. I spend a large amount of my time thinking about food, talking about food, and now as I learn more, and as I eat my way through life, I will start to write about food. The good, the bad, and the delicious.

Open up!