Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Whole Wheat Waffles

Waffle Wednesdays! I made waffles for dinner the past 2 Wednesdays for my family and last night again with no complaints of the repetition so they are a major hit in my book. I usually prefer the white flour version of things, but these waffles were delicious!

If you are looking for a really easy recipe to make for breakfast (or dinner!) then this is the one for you. I just took pictures of the plain, but you can mix in anything you like.

Some of our favorites were
-Bananas, Coconut and White Chocolate Chips
-Blueberries and Raspberries (not a big fan of fruit in things, but these were wonderful with the whole wheat waffles)
-Chocolate Chips
Whole Wheat Waffles

3 Cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
3 cups milk
2/3 cup oil (I use smart balance)

1. Plug in/preheat waffle maker
2. In one bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In another bowl mix together eggs, milk and oil.
3. Mix wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients until mixed together (batter may be a little lumpy and that is OK)
4. Cook waffles according to directions on your waffle maker.

-The recipe that I provided is double the ingredients listed on the original recipes website. For a family of 5 this was just enough for everyone to have about 2 each.
-Make sure that if your pan is not nonstick you spray it with cooking spray, I had a couple of accidents with messy waffles
-For the mix-ins, after I poured the batter on the waffle maker I just threw on top whatever the person requested that I was making it for before I closed it.

Ozzie's Corner Italian

Last Friday my friend and I went to Ozzie's in Fairfax Corner. I know what you are thinking, really April- a Great American Restaurant in FFX Corner on a Friday night-have you lost your mind??. For those of you who are not from the area FFX Corner is a nightmare on the weekends but luckily Ozzie's does call ahead (571-321-8000) so you can put your name on the wait list-awesome. When I called there was about a 45 minute wait but by the time we arrived we were seated with in 5 minutes, perfect.

We both ordered water which they serve in carafes making it nice you don't have to wait for your water to be refilled.
They brought us out some bread. For those of you who have never had bread from a Great American Restaurant, you are really missing out. Those round breadballs are amazing.
For an appetizer, we decided upon the Fontina Focaccia Bruschetta grape tomatoes, cherry mozzarella & balsamic $9 on recommendation of our waiter (we were trying to decide between 3 things and he said this hands down). You could describe this as a fancy grilled cheese sandwich almost. It was good, the balsamic vinegar on it was amazing however I am not a fan of bruchetta served this way so I personally would not order this again. I would have also liked to see more then 3 balls of mozzarella on this.
We both ordered side salads to go with out meal. I ordered the Mixed Field Greens
Alissa ordered the Caesar Salad romaine hearts, Kalamata olives, focaccia croutons, capers and Parmigiano-Reggiano $6. She enjoyed her salad, but we both agreed it had a very heavy bite of garlic to it so if you are not a hardcore garlic lover it would be too much for you. 
I ordered the Crazy Lasagna pappardelle, tomatoes, ricotta, wild boar Bolognese, Provolone & a couple meatballs $17. I loved this "crazy" interpretation of the lasagna. Everything about this dish was awesome, including the meatballs. I ended up taking half of this home and eating it for breakfast the next morning...yum :)
Alissa ordered the Rigatoni with Shrimp, Chicken & Sausage spicy Amatriciana tomato cream & mushrooms $17. Sadly this dish was not up to par. It was not bad, but it was definitely not what was described in the menu. She let me try a bite so I grabbed a forkful of the pasta with a piece of sausage and chicken-it turns out I grabbed the one piece of sausage that was on her dish :( So there was only one piece of sausage on her dish and the sauce was not spicy at all. Not a winning dish at all. She did comment that the shrimp in the dish was cooked perfectly. 
For dessert we ordered the Tiramisu Ho Ho $7. Amazing. I have no complaints about this dish whatsoever-only wish I had more room in my stomach for this. If you have room for dessert you must get this (plan ahead and take part of your meal home so you do have room!). It is pretty big (bigger then the picture makes it look) so I would suggest sharing it with 1-2 other people, we were not able to finish it and we both pushed ourselves to the limit.
Overall the food was pretty good, but the service was slacking up until the end. One of my biggest pet peeves happened. As you can see in the photo below they overload us with food instead of waiting for us to finish each course. As you can see all the plates from our meal were there...empty bread basket, empty appetizer plate, salad plates, dinner plates. We got our meals when we were about half way through with our salads-I am a pretty fast eater so it's not like we were taking our time there. Luckily my meal with still really hot but Alissa's was pretty much room temperature.
At the end of the meal Alissa recognized one of the servers to be her old friend so the dessert we ordered ended up being on the house. Before they had their reunion/recognition of each other, he served the last part of our meal and things were a lot more prompt and clean (I am not just saying that because of the dessert-there were a good 10 minutes of them not acknowledging each other before any of this happened).

Anyways, while service was ehh and some of the items were not up to par this was still a good night out, keeping pretty much up to the standards that the Great American Restaurants boast. My only suggestion is to make sure you call ahead and put your name on the wait list or don't go on a friday night (where you will park ridiculously far away) and stay away from the rigatoni!

11880 Grand Commons Ave
Fairfax, VA
Ozzie's Corner Italian on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chevys Fresh Mex Grill

The other day I caught up with one of my old friends from college at Chevys Fresh Mex in Falls Church. I got there a little early so I got a nice booth seat and they brought me out some chips and salsa while I waited. Salsa was pretty good but the chips were overally salty.
Per usual I ordered a Mango Margarita, pretty much my staple at any restaurant and it was delicious. 
I ordered the Mesquite Grilled Tacos (homemade soft flour tortillas filled with grilled chicken or steak*, crisp lettuce, fresh pico de gallo, chipotle aioli and crumbled cotija cheese) one chicken and one steak. They also come with rice and beans but I don't like either so I ordered them without. I did get the sweet corn ball ?? (you can see it oin Lindsey s plate) which was yummy. These were delicious, I would happily order this again. 
Lindsey ordered the make your own combo-pick 2 with a chimichanga and an enchilada I believe and she was happy with her meal. She also ordered a strawberry daquiri which she liked.  
Although it is a chain, I would come back to Chevys for tacos and margaritas, they have decent prices-I think we both paid about $20ish for the meal (food+drink). The salsa was good and I am assuming that the chips are not always overly salty...whoever made them that day just had a heavy hand with the salt. My only complaint is that they charge you for sour cream, something that should be served with the tacos. I didnt get rice and beans with my meal and I still got charged for the sourcream. O well. Still a decent place. 

3052 Gate House Plaza
Falls Church, VA
Chevys Fresh Mex on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

With all the new burger places popping up lately, lots of them disappointing, its nice to just go back to a classic. While I usually try and stay away from chains, sometimes you just need to know what you are getting into, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries fits that bill.

Five Guys is the first burger place that I remember popping up, and although their first location opened in Arlington in 1986, it really began to get popular in the early 2000's which is when I began to hear people talking about them. According to their website they have over 1000 locations nationwide.

I usually just get a Little Bacon Cheeseburger with whatever free toppings I am in the mood for that trip. The also carry plain "little" burgers and well as normal size and hot dogs.
I usually love their fries, sadly this trip they were not crispy-soggy :( I would say they are good about 90% of the time. The fries portions are huge so you can share them with a couple of other people. 
If you are looking for a decent burger and fries at a reasonable price then I suggest stopping by your local Five Guys. The food is a little greasy, so if you want a slightly healthier option I would recommend Elevation Burger

Monday, May 21, 2012

Myrtle Beach: Nacho Hippo's & Coccadotts Cupcakes

Last weekend I was at Myrtle with my friend visiting her fam (ugh I miss the beach already) and we went out to a few places. One of the places I was most excited about was Nacho Hippo, just look at their menu, you will be excited too!

I decided to try the Ka Ka Ka Kia Taco (Korean Beef BBQ, seared with ginger, garlic, and scallion, kimchi, spicy chile sauce and sesame seeds) $3.95. This was delicious. I am not an expert on Korean food, but I loved all aspects of this taco.
anddddddd I got a side of their Guacamole $2.95 where I committed the ultimate sin-I didn't finish it (who never not finishes their guac?? usually its a fight between my friends/fam to get every last bit). It just wasn't my favorite type of guac, it was a little bland.
Fear not, I made sure to order a margarita-I mean who goes to a taco place and doesn't order one...certainly not me. I went with my usual, a Mango Margarita. I hated this Marg (made different then the majority of mango margaritas that I have had), and I asked the server if I could switch it out for just a plain, normal one and she happily obliged. I just got the plain house margarita which was only $3, a lot cheaper then the Mango one the waitress told me, def worth the $3.
Lili ordered the Love you Long Time (Orange chili chicken, melon salsa, mixed greens, spicy mayo and cashews) $3.25. I stole a bite of this and it was pretty tasty, but I liked my taco better.
We also split an order of nachos (after it is called NACHO hippo). We chose the *!# (Bleep) Hole Jerk chicken, mango salsa, shredded cheese, black beans, cilantro $9.95. We ordered this without the beans but it was sadly pretty much a disappointment. The chicken was really bland and didn't taste like any jerk chicken that I have had before. The queso on the bottom was the only redeeming quality of the nachos but not enough to save the day.
Lili's cousin ordered the Nacho Hippo Salad (Baby greens, black beans, corn, pico de gallo, shredded cheese,olives, crisp tortilla strips) $6.95 + Chicken $2.95. She said it decent, nothing to write home about.
Service was a little slow, but the waitress switched out my margarita at no extra charge which I really appreciated. She didn't complain or give me a look like other servers can tend to do when you don't like something. Nachos were ehh, but tacos were great, the highlight of the place in my opinion. They also do not give you chips and salsa which is key for restaurants like these. All in all, the food was decent and I would be willing to come here again-however I would not drive the 30 minutes that it took us to get here. This is the type of place you go to lunch/dinner if you are already in the area. 

1160 Farrow Parkway
Myrtle BeachSC 
Nacho Hippo on Urbanspoon

Earlier that day we celebrated mother's day and Lili's sister picked up some cupcakes for dessert from Coccodotts Cake Shop. She got a random assortment of cupcakes and cut them into quarters so everyone could try different flavors.
First thing I will say is that they do a great job decorating their cupcakes to match the flavor, my favorite in particular was the smore's cupcake which had fondant flame, hersheys bar and marshmallow on top.
The other cupcakes were decent, but being the non cupcake liker I was not super impressed with any of their flavors except for the Boston Creme. I will give them props that all the cupcakes that I sampled were moist-which is a key component in cupcakes. The favorites of the group were the Boston Creme, Carrot Cake and Key Lime Margarita. If I had to provide cupcakes for a party and didn't have time to make them I would def stop by here and order some.  

106 Sayebrook Parkway #2
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
(843) 294-2253
Coccodotts Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Finds: Trader Joe's Salsa Edition

Obsessed. That is really the only way I can put it. Here are a few more of my finds from TJ's.

1. Salsa Autentica. Really good salsa, I like how it wasn't chunky. I only like the chunky salsas if they are fresh.
2. Corn and Chile Salsa. A good twist on your typical salsa. I was again impressed with their salsas and how much I liked this.
3. Salsa Verde (no picture). I am not a huge fan of this salsa, it's not bad, but I would not buy it again. It was to sweet for my taste.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!!! I have a wedding Saturday and I am going sailing Sunday :) 

Do you have any fun weekend plans? Tried any Salsas from TJ's-what did you think???

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Strawberry and Blueberry Cobbler

I have found the perfect summer dessert. friend's mom found it, but as soon as I tried it I knew I had to get the recipe. I have made it several times over the years, and have even made fun variations ( my favorite is strawberry + peach)

This recipe is so simple and so delicious it will quickly become a favorite!

Berry Cobbler
source: People Magazine

2 pints strawberries quartered
1 pint blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 Tbsp melted butter
optional: vanilla ice cream, cool whip

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In a bowl combine berries, cornstarch and 1/3 + 2 tsp sugar and let sit for 10 minutes
3. In another bowl mix together 1/2 cup sugar, flour, baking powder and salt
4. In a third bowl mix together egg, milk, vanilla , butter and then add dry ingredients. 
5. Either in a 9x9 pan, 6 8oz ramekins spoon berries in and then put the spoonfuls of the mixture on top
6. Bake 25-35 minutes until tops are golden brown, take out and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

-You can top with ice cream or whip cream, but ice cream is my favorite! 
-As you can see in the picture below, my ramekins overflowed some - I used 6 oz ramekins so they were a little small. Whatever I end up putting the cobbler in, I always put a backing sheet under it in case it does overflow. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Winner of the taco set!!!!!

Congrats DB for winning the taco set, I will be contacting you for details later!! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Alexandria Cupcake

After a awesome birthday dinner, we decided to venture over to Alexandria Cupcake for dessert. We all know my weakness, not really liking cupcakes, but having the need to stop by any cupcake store I pass and try some out. Luckily this place was not a disappointing. 

Dark chocolate: Premium dark chocolate cake with a Belgian cocoa rouge buttercream frosting: Frosting was ok, but the cake was dry and not very flavorful
Red Velvet: Alexandria Cupcake's signature cupcake. Classic buttermilk cake with a combination of cream cheese and buttercream frosting: Moist flavorful cake, delicious cream cheese frosting
Chocolate Peanut Butter: Dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting: My mom liked her cupcake and the PB frosting was heavenly
I believe I got Jeff the Raspberry Vanilla cupcake which he seemed to enjoy.
Because I was dissatisfied with my cupcake and it wasss my birthday, I decided that I would try another cupcake. I went for the Guinness Cupcake with Irish Creme Frosting. WOW. Amazing, flavorful, moist, delicious. I can see why it is a top seller. I made my mom, Jeff and Jessie try it and they all liked it.
Jessie thought they were so good, that she bought the remaining ones (3) to bring home to her fiance and roommates. She also purchased a Lemon: Lemon cake with a lemon buttercream frosting because we overheard one of the workers recommending this to someone. I stole some of the icing off of this cake (Amazing) and she told me that the lemon was better then the Guinness.
I was very pleased with my experience here except for the glitch with the Dark Chocolate cupcakes. Out of all the places I have been in this area, this place has had the most consistent good, flavorful, moist cakes. I highly recommend this place.

1022 King Street
Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Cupcake on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Best Crockpot Chicken Tacos EVER! + a giveaway!

During my recent Salsa Spectacular party I figured that I would be busy making salsas for most of the day so I wanted to come up with a easy recipe for tacos. I have been experimenting a lot with the crock-pot lately so I figured that time/effort wise it would work out perfectly. I was at Target stocking up before the Spectacular and saw this salsa verde and decided that would be my seasoning for the chicken. Wow. BEST CHICKEN EVER. All you need are these 3 ingredients below. I have only experimented with this particular brand of Salsa Verde, but I am sure others would work as well. Last week I was eating the leftover meat, it was almost better then it was Saturday :)

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

~3lb Chicken
-24oz Salsa of choice (my case Salsa Verde from Archer Farms)
-1 packet of taco seasoning

1. Throw all ingredients in a crock pot, I liked to pour half the salsa on the bottom, the the chicken, taco seasoning and rest of the salsa. 
2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
3. After cooking for most of the day the chicken should be easily shreddable with 2 forks. After shredding stir around and then serve!

andddddddddddddd a GIVEAWAY!!!!!

To show my appreciation for all the lovely comments/views/support I have received lately, and because I LOVED these tacos so much I decided I would give the winning ingredient combo to one lucky person.  

This giveaway is open to anyone with a USA or CANADA mailing address. One winner will be chosen at the end of the day on Monday May 14th via and will be contacted via email (so no anonymous entries please). 

There are 3 ways you can enter
1) Leave me a comment stating your favorite salsa
2) Be a follower and comment telling me that you are one
3) Like me on Facebook and leave a comment saying that you do

Lovettsville Pizza and Family !

My stepsister and her family live out in the Leesburg area and during one of those visits Jeff discovered Lovettsville Pizza, currently his favorite pizza place. After watching one of my nieces play soccer we decided to pick up pizza for the family afterwards so I could try this coveted and wonderous pizza. 

Because J loves pepperoni we ordered a large 16'' $12.79 + $2.50.
My mom and I were looking for something a little different and I like variety so we ordered a small 12'' 1/2 cheese 1/2 onions $9.89 + $1.40. 
Then we split a garden salad to get some greens in our diet. Nothing special, just your run of the mill garden salad $4.99. 
Got a Large soft drink...this photo does not do the large drink justice-it was humongous! 
As far as the pizza goes, I liked it but it was not my favorite-I didn't have an instant OMGOSH this is the best pizza ever reaction. It is def better then any fast food pizza you can get and I wouldn't be upset visiting here again in the future

Some fun photos from that day that I found on my phone-my adorable twin nieces who at the time we just introduced to the camera function on the iPhone where you can reverse the camera and look at yourself while taking the pic. 

26 E Broad Way # D
(540) 822-5546

  Lovettsville Pizza & Subs on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pico de Gallo

This recipe is easy peasey. The only thing you have to worry about is making sure you reallllly wash your hands (I wash my hands... apparently not well enough though) after you cut the jalapenos...which I seem to never learn my lesson from. I always end up touching my eyes and going through that painful process.

Anyways, I made this spectacular and easy dish TWO nights in a row. Friday night I had a mini taco night with some of my friends were I tried a chicken liver taco....yeah it tastes like it sounds-not appetizing at all. This is the third time I have gone out of my box to try these and not liked them. Saturday was of course Salsa Spectacular, a smashing good time. I NEVER get tired of chips, salsa and guac. NEVER.

I managed to get some measurements Friday, but Saturday I just went with taste (which is one of the best things about this recipes) because I just bought a whole bunch of bulk ingredients for all of the salsas. My ingredients are a great guideline to follow, and just adjust them to your own personal tastes! I could eat this by the spoonful.

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients (serves 4-5)
3 Roma/Plum tomatoes
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 jalapeno (seeded and chopped)
2 juicy limes
~2-3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Squeeze the one lime over the mixture, taste to see if you need/want the other.
3. Eat with chips, spoon over a taco or some meat or put on a salad.

-If you want it really spicy you can leave the seeds in the jalapenos.
-I say two juicy limes, because recently I have been getting limes with very little juice.

Pete's New Haven Style APizza

I had a groupon for Pete's New Haven Style APizza in Clarendon, making it the second time I have been here. 

My friend and I split a pizza for carryout, 1/2 Wooster Square (Sauteed Broccoli Rabe, Hot Sausage, Soppressata, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano) 1/2 Edge of The Woods Sauteed Savoy Spinach, Caramelized Onion, Ricotta, Fried Italian Eggplant. Both Pizza's were delicious, I particularly enjoyed the Edge of the Woods, but eggplants one of my favorite foods. I do recommend that if you have leftovers of the eggplant half, it is not good cold so make sure you heat it up!
The first time I went, I ordered Edge of the Woods (you see my eggplant trend here) and Margartia. Both delicious and plenty of left overs. If you dine in, they have a really cool soda machine, Boylan Bottling Co Fountain Drinks-loved all the flavors and loved the fact that is was more then your typical pepsi/coke products. 
The pizza here may seem expensive at about $27 a pie, but it is worth the price. This huge pizza (picture does not do it justice) would feed 3-4 people comfortably. I love how you can get two different types of pizza on one pie-a very appealing factor. I wouldn't mind coming back here again to hopefully go outside my box and try a different type of pizza. 

3017 Clarendon Blvd
Arlington, VA
Pete's New Haven Style Apizza on Urbanspoon