Thursday, January 31, 2013

Alexandria: Menchie's Frozen Yogurt

A new froyo place, Menchie's, opened up a few months ago near my house and I finally made the journey there. I loved it. Good flavors & great topping selection. 
Most of their flavors are typical of froyo places in this area, but they did have 2 flavors I haven't seen anywhere else that were amazing. Toffee & Ice Cream Sandwich. Sadly the toffee was not there on my second visit, but they still have a good selection of quality flavors.
They also have a frequent buyer card which is a big plus for addicts like me. I have only been 2 times, and I already got $5 off my next purchase (random-not because I have already spent $50-that would be intense).

6550 Little River Turnpike
Alexandria, VA
Menchie's Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pin Wheels

Buffalo Chicken. Is there a better party food? I am always trying to think of new ways to spice it up although the original dip is always fabulous. After seeing some delicious pizza rolls on one of my favorite blogs, Recipe Girl, I decided that I would put my own spin on them. 

I used this as my base (2-ingredient dough!), but any sort of dough would work (pizza dough, Pillsbury refrigerated dough, etc). I was pleasantly surprised that the two ingredient recipe for the dough tasted normal. 

Buffalo Chicken Pin Wheels
-Pizza Dough (Recipe I used here)
-Buffalo Chicken Dip
~I used 1/2 block cream cheese, 1/3-1/2 cup hot sauce, 1/3 cup cheddar, 1 can large shredded chicken (i left out the ranch bc I didn't want the dip to be wet)
-Sour Cream or Ranch for Dipping ( I prefer sourcream)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
2.Take dough and roll/lay out into a flat rectangle. 
3. Make buffalo mixture and spread out evenly. 
4. Roll up dough into a log and then cut so you have little spirals (check out the link above for directions)
5. Place onto prepared baking sheet (I used parchment paper) and sprinkle tops with cheddar. 
6. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until cheese crisps up and dough starts to brown.

-You can use whatever buffalo chicken recipe you want, just make sure its not to moist/wet so it stays in the pinwheels
-I like to spice up the ranch or sour-cream by adding in a little extra hot sauce! 
-You can really put any mixture you like in the wrap, get creative! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

East Wing Christmas Tour 2012

It's time to start focusing on some of the "adventure" parts of this blog. In December I got to go on a tour of the East Wing to see the Christmas decorations. This post is past due, but better late then never, that's what they always say...right? 

It was an awesome experience, being able to see the history of the White House was truly amazing. I mostly just took photos of the beautifully decorated trees. Here are a few of my favorites.

This is my perfect tree, love the array of colors :)
This is the East Room*. Has been used for state dinners, receptions, concerts, weddings and press conferences. Also where the bodies of Lincoln and Kennedy lay in state after their assassinations.
Blue Room*. A reception room. Monroe furnished the room in French style in 1817. Grover Cleveland go married in this room (only president to get married at the White House) 
State Dining Room. The furnishing in this room date back to Theodore Roosevelt. About 140 can be seated here.*
Christmas Trees with ornaments chosen by the first ladies. 
Outside of the White House :) They don't let you take pictures until you get outside of the chains so unlike those people you see behind me, I followed the rules. 
Hope you enjoyed the journey :) 

Other Random photos form the tour I don't feel like explaining/don't remember.

*all facts about the rooms have been gotten directly from the signs in said rooms

Friday, January 25, 2013

Arlington: The Italian Store

The other day I went to the Italian Store in Arlington for dinner. It's an amazing place owned by the same family for over 30 years featuring Italian specialties and products galore. Love Nutella? Try it straight from Italy, amazing. I picked up some bucatini (hollow spaghetti) which I have been looking for everywhere. 

I actually heard about this place a couple of years ago while I was watching some local cable network do a feature on food around the area. Walking into the store, it clearly is a neighborhood gem, it was packed. Single ladies (or gentlemen) it was also filled with young attractive men...the stereotype is true, guys really do like their sandwiches. 

They offer the choice of hard (hard outside, soft inside) or soft bread for the subs. I prefer the softer bread. 

Prosciutto and Fresh Mozzarella. Very good combo. I recommend adding the dressing or peppers to the sandwich to give it a little extra flavor. 
The Capri prosciutto blended with genoa salami, provolone cheese, capacola ham. Very good. I preferred this over the two-there was more flavor. 
Sicilian. Good, not the best, but worth getting if you are not in the mood for a sub or pasta. 
Steak Pizzaoilo with Pasta. Awesome, great flavors. Very Italian tasting (not out of a jar)
I was happy with this place, their sandwiches and pasta were delicious. I wasn't as thrilled with the pizza, it looked good but I have had better. Stick with one of the two and you will be a happy camper. 

3123 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA
Italian Store on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quinoa Jambalaya

I am currently obsessed with quinoa. I have literally been putting it in everything. Who needs pasta or rice? Ok, well I still do, but I don't mind the substitution of quinoa to make my everyday diet healthier. 

Last week I decided that I wanted to make a jambalaya and it is now my new favorite quinoa dish. I love it so much so that I had to make it again to take to work for my lunches for the week. This is also a great potluck dish that is easy and reheats well! 
This recipe is easily adaptable to your personal preferences, I have perfected it to my personal tastes and have fallen in love. 

I've decided that with some of my recipes I am going to start doing a step-by-step instructions which you can find after my normal instructions at the bottom. I've had a couple people tell me that it would be helpful so I hope you all enjoy!

Quinoa Jambalaya

1 cup uncooked rinsed quinoa
4 precooked chicken sausages (currently obsessed with Johnsonville Chipotle Chicken sausage)
1-2 cups cooked chicken, about 2 breasts (I shredded mine)
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 medium green peppers chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
14 oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper (less if you don't like spicy)
1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
3-4 green onions chopped (optional)

1. Slice sausages and put in a pot (dutch oven if you have one) to saute so they get a little brown. Take them out of the pot and put aside for later. If you need to cook your chicken do it in the same pot, the brown bits on the bottom will add to the flavor of your jambalaya (and less dishes!).
2. After taking the meat out, pour in EVOO and saute garlic for about 2 minutes. Add in pepper and onions and cook for about 5 minutes. 
3. Stir in quinoa and let toast for about 2 minutes. 
4. Add in broth, sauce and spices and stir. 
5. Bring to a boil and the turn to medium-low (3 if you have 1-10 on your stove), cover and let cook for about 20-30 minutes-stirring about every 10 minutes. 
6. Once quinoa starts to absorb the liquid and cook up add the sausage and chicken, stir and cover. Cook until the quinoa is done-about 5-10 minutes. 
7. Portion out and garnish with green onions. 

Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 286 / Carbs: 24 grams / Protein: 21 grams / Fat: 11 grams
Nutritional data calculated from My Fitness Pal

Photo Walk Through

1. Sautee/cooking/browning meat. Forgot to do this is the dutch oven so I did it in a seperate photo. 
2. Saute garlic for about 2 minutes
3. Add Peppers and Onions, cook for about 5 minutes, or until wilted some. 
4. Mix in quinoa, let it toast up for about 2 minutes
5. Stir in broth, tomato sauce and spices
6. Let mixture come to a boil and cover with a lid.
7. Simmer on medium-low for about 20-30 minutes until quinoa absorbs some of the liquid and is mostly cooked. 
7. Stir in meat and cook until quinoa is finished-about 5-10 minutes. 
 8.Portion out, garnish and enjoy :)