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New Year’s Eve and a Cookbook Review

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Ahhh, New Year’s Eve. Parties, glittery nails, sparkly dresses, glasses of champagne….basically, not at all what my NYE looked like. Mine was more along the lines of staying in, cooking a massive feast, drinking wine, and getting into bed by 12:45. Jelly? You should be.

Instead of going out this year, we decided to stay in and do what we never ever do – spend too much money at Whole Foods, and too much time in the kitchen prepping and cooking a totally decadent meal. We hadn’t really decided on what to make, when I got an Amazon package yesterday from my mom with a new cookbook in it, Plenty. PERFECT timing, Mom! The book is INCREDIBLE, and I’ll get into more details later, but all there is to know now is that it’s filled with amazing vegetarian recipes that are both simple yet unbelievably tasty. We picked three recipes from the book, then set off to Whole Foods to stock up on supplies.

It took us about three hours to prepare and eat (inhale) everything but it was so, so worth it. Our menu consisted of:

– Fig, goat cheese and arugula salad

– Marinated bufala mozzarella and sliced tomatoes (photo below)

– Stuffed portobello mushrooms (with melted tallegio cheese, parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes. Photo below)

– A MASSIVE cajun rubbed steak (for Brian, obv.)

– Hazelnut S’Mores for dessert (photo below)

We also finaaaally opened a bottle of wine we picked up during our trip to Italy. It was delicious.

Now. Back to the cookbook. THE COOKBOOK. It was as if this book was MADE for me. It revolves entirely around vegetables, with a touch of dairy thrown in here and there. The book is split into chapters by family of vegetable – mushrooms, root veggies, beans, peppers, squashes, etc.  The photos are beautiful, instructions easy and (my favorite part) the recipes aren’t complicated. They each contain ingredients you have in your kitchen (garlic, salt, onion, oil, pepper), and all focus on the taste of the vegetable itself versus hiding it behind complicated sauces and spices. I can’t recommend it enough. GET IT!


Happy New Year!

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To a year of happiness, health and GOOD FOOD. YAY 2012!


Italy in Photos

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Food photos, I mean. (You didn’t actually think we went sightseeing or anything, did you?)

Brian and I went to Italy in April. We were there for a week and, well, we ate a LOT. A lot of cheese, wine, bread, pizza, and coffee. In fact, I didn’t consume a SINGLE green the entire week, which is pretty rare for me. Not even a side dish! Anyway, my body paid me back, because by the end I was sick, and I NEVER get sick (knock on….coffee table.) Brian made a funny analogy, and compared my body (the insides, people) to a Ferrari. Runs smooth about 99% of the time, but if a tiny thing goes wrong, the whole thing shuts down. Oops. I was definitely shut down by the end of the trip, and in fact, as SOON as I got home did a 2 day cleanse to restore my body back to what it was pre Italy. Phew. Definitely did the trick. Anyway, enough complaining! The food was incredible. These are all pretty self explanatory, so enjoy!

An Herb “Garden”

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Not the greatest picture, I’ll admit, but alas here it is! Our little herb “garden” aka plastic container attached to our window sill. Confessions: these were NOT grown from scratch! A few weeks ago, I suddenly wanted to grow my own herbs. Immediately. We went to a gardening store down the street, picked up a container, some soil, and then I went down to the farmer’s market and picked up already grown (don’t judge) sage, rosemary and basil. Came home, re-planted everything and sat  back to admire my (Brian’s) handiwork.

It’s been three weeks since we planted them and so far so good! I’ve used the herbs to make:

  • Rosemary baby potatoes
  • Roasted butternut squash with sage
  • Chopped basil for pasta
The best part about them (aside from knowing they’re fresh, organic, pesticide free, etc) is that I don’t have to worry about them going bad! Snip them when I need them, use, repeat. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to take care of. I was thinking they’d have croaked by now, but nonetheless, they are standing strong. Lesson learned? GROW YOUR OWN HERBS!

Anybody out there?

Anyone? Followers…you guys still there?

For those of you that have stuck around (Hi, Mom!) I won’t bore you with a litany of excuses as to why I haven’t been blogging. I just wasn’t feeling it, and didn’t want to force myself to blog. The good news is that I HAVE been cooking (and snapping pics) so there is new stuff coming! I can’t promise that I’ll go back to blogging 1x per day as there’s a lot going on these days. I’m training for a half marathon (!), doing more yoga and don’t have as much time as I did before….but fear not! There are good things coming :)

Oh! Another announcement: while I still stay away from all meat (chicken, fish and red meat), I have been incorporating some dairy and some egg back into my diet so don’t be surprised to see a recipe here and there with butter or eggs. Nothing crazy, and not too often but it’s definitely there.

Now….onto what I’ve been up to for the past few months….

Where I’ve Been

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I’m alive, I’m alive! A LOT of stuff has been happening over the past few weeks, and I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the kitchen as I’m used to.

  • I moved a week and a half ago to Hoboken, NJ (just for six weeks though! I’ll be back, NYC. Swearsies.)
  • The week before the move, I was packing the kitchen and ate out a lot (see: every night).
  • Now that I’m IN Hoboken there have been a lot of visitors, events after work, and….yeah, just not a lot home cooking.

I’m hoping this will change relatively soon. This week is another busy one plus I’m going out of town this weekend, so not making any promises, but hopefully I’ll have some good stuff to share soon!

A New Addition To The Family: Herbert

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Not much to say here except that:

  • I nabbed this thing at Trader Joe’s for a mere 2.99 (!). A box of basil from TJs costs about a dollar more — can someone explain THAT to me?!
  • I’ve been dying to grow my own herbs all season and now, I finally can!
  • I’ve had this for a week and have used basil in 80% of the meals I’ve made and it’s delicious.
  • After a week of basil consumption, Herbert’s stems are looking pretty barren. But thats okay! I water once a day, leave him in sufficient sunlight, and I have a feeling he’ll be back in shape in no time.

I’m hooked. Long gone are the days of packaged basil. If you’re one of those people that believes that adding basil to anything will make it tastes better (me, me, me) and you happen to be in a TJs or farmer’s market this weekend, pick a basil plant up. You won’t be disappointed!