Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hot Italian Sausage and Kale Fettucine

I have about a million cooking magazines with recipes marked that I need to try. Like 3 years worth. I'm on a roll though, last week Carrie and I made 2 different magazine recipes ...so this recipe makes 3 in one week!
This recipe is super easy to make, really flavor and just awesome overall. If you are looking to impress with a pasta dinner or get some extra nutrients in your system (Kale) then this is the recipe for you! 
This was the first time I've had Kale and it was pretty tasty. It seems to be all the rage in healthy eating right now.
When you look at the ingredients, I state I used 1/2 of a 16oz bag of Kale, I would have used the entire bag, but I have a really small pan so it would have taken forever to wilt. This recipe also makes a ton, I would say serves 5 people, 4 super hungry pasta eaters. It does not reheat well so if you are only making it for a few people/yourself make sure you half the recipe.


Hot Italian Sausage and Kale Pasta
source: Rachel Ray Magazine

Ingredients
1lb Linguine
1lb (16oz) Sausage
1/2 16oz bag of Kale (feel free to add the entire bag)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
Parmesan Cheese
Freshly Ground Pepper

Directions
1. Cook pasta until al dente and drain. 
2. While pasta is cooking start cooking the sausage/kale mixture.
3. If you buy sausage links, you need to take the wrapping off. Cook sausage on medium-low heat in skillet until browned. 
4. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup cream and simmer until reduced my half (approx 7-10 minutes).
5. Add kale and toss until wilted. 
6. Remove from heat and toss sausage/kale mixture with pasta. 
7. Put into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and freshly ground pepper.  


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Candy Corn Swirled Blondies

I know, I know....Candy Corn Swirled Blondies-don't X out just yet. Hear me out. I hate Candy Corn-ok maybe not hate, but I turn my nose at anything related to it. Sure they make cute Halloween decorations but taste wise-ehh. Never been fond of them.
However they are the ultimate Halloween Candy, what Peeps are to Easter, except more people like Candy Corn (barely). Getting the idea from the Rachel Ray Magazine (she made Candy Corn Nachos-bleh) I decided to take the melting down idea and swirl it on top of Blondies. 
At first thought, and chatting this over with my madre (who was opposed to the idea) I thought, well hey, even if they don't turn out well my crazy Candy Corn obsessed (and I mean OBSESSED) cousin will eat these.
 
I am impressed with my self-I found a way to make Candy Corn edible for haters like me. I don't know if it is the combo of the blondies & melted Candy Corn but these were awesome. I ate 2 of these, and my aunt, who scoffed at the Candy Corn on these kept sneaking bites. Of course the cousins loved them.

This is a great recipe for the kiddos, the Candy Corn lovers out there, Halloween(duh!)or if you have a whole bunch of Candy Corn that needs to be eaten/made use of. 
 
 
Candy Corn Swirled Blondies
Source: Rachel Ray Magazine & whippedtheblog.com
Ingredients
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
for the topping
1/2 cup Candy Corn
2 Tablespoons butter

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x9 pan with parchament paper (my fav here but its pricey) .
2. In a bowl mix together flour, soda and salt-set aside. 
3. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a saucepan/pot. Once melted mix in brown sugar until dissolved. 
4. Quickly whisk in egg & vanilla extract. 
5. Stir in flour mixture until just combined and pour into prepared pan. 
6. Bake for about 30 minutes until middle is set.
7. Take blondies out of oven and put on a cooling wrack for 30 minutes before cutting. 

For the Candy Corn Topping
1. 20 minutes into the blondie cooking, melt the butter over medium low heat in a small pan. Once melted add the candy corn and stir until candy corn is melted. 
2. Once the blondies are out of the oven and on the wrack, use a spoon/spatula to pour the melted mixture over the blondies. 

Comments/Tips
-You can use foil to line the pan, but some of the blondies may stick to the bottom which is why I prefer parchment paper

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lava Yogurt & Weekend Recap!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I sure did :)
 Last week when Rosie and I were grocery shopping when we stumbled across a new FroYo place called Lava Yogurt so we decided to stop by for dinner (sometimes froyo is necessary for dinner).
I have a strange love for frozen yogurt. None of the flavored kinds, just the original tart. Makes my day/night :) 

Anyhoo I am never super thrilled with the flavor selection at these self serve places (hardcore Pink Berry lover right here)-the flavors are to sugary for me, and there is not enough tart to go around. 

Lava Yogurt made me rethink my opinions on the self serve. They have plenty of tart options to pick from and their normal flavors aren't loaded with as much sugar as I have come across when I have been to other Froyo places (at least they didn't taste that way). 

I loved that they had little containters that you could sample the different flavors of yogurt before you tried them-I have never come across this, but I have been told that some other places do this. 

Along with paper cups, they also have cookie bowls, cones, brownies and other stuff to pimp out your bowl pre-yogurt. 
They have one of the biggest varieties of toppings I have seen, whatever your heart desires. 
Rosie and I both through this place was awesome, and I will be back. Their flavors are awesome, toppings are plentiful and their tables/chairs/interior is from Ikea, what more could you want?

7500 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA
Lava Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Finds

 I haven't done this in forever and its long overdue. I am also going to get back to doing it weekly. 

Without further ado...FRIDAY FINDS..Trader Joes Edition

1. Dolmas (stuffed Grape Leaves). Not bad. I think they are a little bland but they are a good, quick snack. 
2. TJ's Baked Snack-O's. Basically a healthy funyon. If you like those you should like these. Some things I prefer full fat and bad for you, and these are it-but it is just a personal unhealthy preference of mine :)
3. Ginger Peanut Noodle Salad. I thought this was ok but my mom really liked it. Once again it is a good quick meal fix.
4. Spicy Hummus. This was awesome, one of my new favorite store bought hummus'. It is spicy without being overly so. 

Other Friday Finds found here :) 

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!!! If you are from the NOVA/DC area check out Clarendon day tomorrow

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Banana Bread Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Muffins

I have a confession to make. I am a waster. I often buy produce and just can't eat it all before it goes bad or I end up forgeting about it. It's not something that I am proud of, and I am really trying to fix it.
I have been buying bananas like crazy recently. I have just retaken up running and have been getting charlie horses. It's been suggested that I eat bananas for their potassium hence the reason for the surplus in bananas.
It's really hard for me to eat bananas and I often end up with a pile of lovely brown ones.
Finally I decided to do something about it and I made these fun muffins. Eventually I will make them healthier by putting better ingredients in them. If you are not concerned with being super healthy then these are awesome! The chocolate and peanut butter chips really give it an extra oomph. 

The family loved these..even those who don't like banana bread 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Banana Bread Muffins
(woo quite a mouth full)
adapted from: all recipes
Ingredients
2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
~4 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup chips of your choice (i did 1/2 chocolate 1/2 peanut butter)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers or spray with cooking spray. 
2. In a big bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon). 
3. In a separate bowl cream together sugar and butter. Add in bananas, eggs and chips. 
4. Stir wet mixture into the dry mixture until just mixed together. Pour into pans.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffins.
6. Let cool in pan for about 10-15 min and then take out and put on wire cooling rack for about 30 minutes. 

So there you have it folks! Enjoy :) 



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Good Stuff Eatery and DC day Part 2

Woo! I've finally started to check stuff off my to do list for restaurants to try this year. Half way done. After an awesome morning seeing President Obama take off in Marine One, I decided that I would take my cousins around DC and we would get lunch. As soon as I made the decesion to stay in DC I settled on Good Stuff Eatery for lunch. 

We got there at the end of the lunch hour but it was still pretty crowded. We managed to snag a table outside...as in I saw an opening and made my cousins run outside to get it :)
When you enter, you order and pay at the counter and then are given a buzzer to come get your food when it is ready. They serve it to you in bags and give you trays so you can divide it up by person.
Zoe ordered the Farm House Burger with Cheddar Cheese $6.50. She loved her burger. Just your basic burger with cheese. 
We split an order of Sunny's Handcut Fries $3.69 topped with sea salt. They were ok, cousins loved them but I like my fries crispy so I was nit the biggest fan. 
Izak ordered the Spike's Sunnyside $6.98 with dairy fresh cheese, Applewood bacon, a farm fresh fried egg on a brioche bun with good stuff sauce. I tried a bite, but I can't handle eggs with runny yolks. The cousin loved it, and I overheard a passerby say that this was the best burger served here. 
I ordered the Colletti's Smokehouse $6.98 applewood bacon, sharp vermont cheddar, fried vidalia onion rings with chipotle bbq sauce. This was pretty good but I wish the onions didnt get soggy as quickly and that there was a little more crunch to it. 
Good Stuff boasts their dipping bar, so I of course had to try all of the dips. The chipotle mayo was the best, the mango mayo was interesting-not sure if I liked it or not and I was not a fan of the sirachi or the oldbay (but i don't like Old Bay) mayos.
We ended the meal with 2 Mini Moos $3.95 (kids sized milkshakes aka normal sized ones). One Chocolate, thick wonderful chocolate goodness, definitely one of the best chocolate milkshakes that I have had. The Oreo was good, but I have had better. They have other fun flavors that I would like to try eventually.
Good Stuff Eatery was good. Better then a lot of other burger places I have been to, Spike totally kicks Bobby's butt for burgers (both have been/are on food network). Eating his burgers, I could tell that it was good quality, and the patties were made perfectly. His burgers were flavorful and there area a lot of great options for flavor combos and healthy choices(like lettuce wrapped or turkey burgers). 

I have Spike's Burger cookbook so I was pretty pumped that I got to come and finally try the burgers behind the cookbook.

Next time it's off to try We, The Pizza, Spikes other restaurant conveniently located next door :)

303 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, DC
202-543-8222
  Good Stuff Eatery on Urbanspoon

Before lunch we had an adventure to work up our appetite. After spending the morning doing this, we decided to hit up the Mall/Smithsonian Row! 

We started off at the Butterfly Garden outside of the Natural History Musuem. So cool, and my cousin Zoe totally put me to shame on being able to name the butterflies. The employees/volunteers of the Butterfly Garden were super sweet/knowlegable/loved what they were doing which I thought was awesome and refreshing.
Took some fun pictures on the mall. 
Hung outside the Hirshorn Museum for a bit. Me with a dragon because the nerd in me thinks they are awesome and then a sculpture that reminds me of the cartoon Avatar.
Went to the Air and Space Museum and the Botanical Gardens. Love this picture of my cousin, I think with her dress she looks like a fairy :)
This was a great day in DC, although my feet are killing me because I spent about 8 hours on my feet in heels, did not plan that out very well. 

I always forget how much I love DC until I step foot in it. Hope you enjoyed my adventure and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marine One and Cosi Breakfast

My oh my, it has been a super busy/intense week so I have about a million posts to put up. Ok, maybe only like 7, but it feels like a million.

Monday morning my mom,  uncle, cousins and I got to watch the President take off in Marine One. They actually allow people to watch it on the White House lawn. It was a lot of standing around but it was pretty cool when the actual moment happened. No matter what political party you belong to, it's pretty cool to be able to see the President up close and personal. Ok maybe like 200 feet away, but still awesome. 
The helicopter of Marine One was super intense. I have never been around a helicopter landing, and we warned that it was super windy, and it was beyond super windy. Had to hold my dress down so I stayed decent. 
They actually have three helicopters fly when the president is in the air, makes sense to have two decoys so you don't know which one the president is in. 
The whole experience was awesome, and being that close to the White House, equally awesome!
Before hand we got breakfast at Cosi, a chain in the DC area. When I interned in DC, we ALWAYS catered from Cosi for our meetings. 

I ordered a Cosi Club Squagel Eggs, bacon, cheddar & tomato on a homemade Così Squagel( I chose and Everything Bagel). Pretty tasty, typical breakfast sandwich. A positive thing about the sandwich is that there was good quality bacon on it, instead of your usual microwaved hard as a rock bacon. 
Uncle got the "Sausage Sandwich Thingy" and he ordered it. In reality he ordered the Sausage & Pepper Frittata Squagel Sandwich Baked eggs, sausage, red peppers, creamy feta, signature T.B.M. spread on a homemade Asiago Squagel. He enjoyed it and I thought it wasnt bad other then the fact I don't like red pepper. 
Everyone else ordered bagels and were happy with theirs. I personally prefer thicker bagels if consuming with just cream cheese, but as far as using them for sandwiches they are good. 
We also got a Mojito Lemonade and  Strawberry Smoothie. The lemonade was good, but as far as the mojito part went, there wasnt any. Maybe a slight hint of mint from the mint leaves put on top? Strawberry smoothie was tasty, not overly sugary.
 
Breakfast was decent, better then fast food, and a quick stop. Good place to go when you are on the run. 
 
1700 Pennslyvania Ave NW 
Washington, DC
202-638-7101
Cosi on Urbanspoon