Posts Tagged With: Cooking

Quinoa Pizza Bites

I finally did it, you guys! I finally cooked with meat! Okay, not really COOKED…but this recipe does INCLUDE meat. It also includes my new obsession – quinoa.

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This was the perfect way to keep my New Year’s Resolution to cook more at home. I think the reasons a lot of people, including myself, don’t cook at home are that 1.) it’s time consuming and 2.) buying all those ingredients can get expensive. This recipe shatters those assumptions. I already had most of the ingredients on hand so all I had to buy was a package of pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and marinara sauce (which is optional, anyway). I also had to invest in a mini-muffin tin for these – which is totally fine by me because I already have 100 more ideas on ways to use it again…okay, 75 of them are other versions of these bites…

The preparation took some time because it was a new recipe, but now that I’ve got it down, I can’t imagine it taking more than 30 minutes + cooking time. They’re also SUPER healthy AND filling (rare combination!). The recipe made 45 bites – enough for more than 5 full meals! Mine didn’t come out looking all that wonderful the first time around, but once I brush up on the presentation I fully plan on making these for every party, pot luck, or gathering I can!

Another benefit is that you can really cater this recipe to your preferences. If you don’t eat meat, substitute diced tomatoes or spinach. Basically throw in whatever you like on regular pizza! I think next time I’m going to try it with olives and feta…or even sausage…the possibilities are endless!

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Quinoa Pizza Bites

What would you put in your bites?

-S

Recipe adapted from: So Very Blessed

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Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Resolution Season – S Style

Last week E posted her new year’s resolutions on the blog so I figured with 2014 officially underway that it’s time I posted mine too (plus, now all of you can help hold me accountable).

My main goal with resolutions is to make them extremely realistic. I hate setting myself up for failure and one of my mid-year resolutions this year (going rouge, I know!) was to be more self-aware. I’m constantly trying to better myself, but I also have to realize that I know myself best and I need to adapt any potential changes to what can realistically work for me. So these may not be the loftiest of goals, and they may not be exactly measurable – but they are all sure-fire ways to make me a more put-together and all around happier person.

1. Better monitor my spending

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or learn to grow one of these…..

I think I’m done pretending I can use budget apps and notebooks for now. I’ve tried every trick in the book and nothing seems to work – there’s just something that seems so inefficient to me about writing every little transaction in a notebook or opening an app every time I want a coffee. But I do need to start paying better attention to what I am spending. So that all being said, I’m vowing to start using cash more and lay off the debit card. It’s so easy to swipe your card everywhere, but with cash I have a much better picture of how much I am actually spending.

And yes, ending up with loose change is annoying…but hey, maybe this will lead to another resolution….saving coins for something big, maybe?

2. Cook more at home

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I love baking. This is no secret to anyone who reads our blog. But one of my ongoing goals is to cook more real meals (and healthier meals!). If I have skills with flour and sugar, who says that can’t translate to chicken and veggies? Plus, with cooking there are just SO many more opportunities to experiment and be creative! I’m not talking anything fancy, but grilling some chicken every once in a while probably wouldn’t kill me. I hope this can help me save some money on buying lunch out and lead to an overall healthier diet as well!

3. Get my morning act together

cereal

Like E, I have a track record for playing the ‘how quickly can I get ready and out the door’ game in the mornings.  And everyday I play this game, I feel and look like crap upon my arrival into the office – which is not really how you want to start the work day. There are literally COUNTLESS benefits to waking up a little earlier and spending a little extra time getting ready instead of having to rush through a morning routine. You can eat a real breakfast – the healthiest meal of the day, you’re more awake and alert, you look much better when you put effort in, and it’s no surprise that heading off to work looking good automatically puts you in a better mood and starts your day off right.

 I’ll never be the girl who wakes up early enough to hit the gym, shower, make a gourmet breakfast, and solve world hunger….but I definitely can manage to get my butt up in enough time to eat a bowl of cereal and put on some makeup.

4. No texting, tweeting, or facebooking when with friends

A wise man – okay, it was Andy from The Office – once said: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” But it’s SO TRUE. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to have a conversation with someone while they’re scrolling through their newsfeed reading about what so-and-so from high school made for dinner. But we’re all guilty of it. So this year I’m vowing to put the electronics down and focus instead on what’s right in front of me and building real relationships. I’ve met an amazing group of people here in DC, and it would be a shame to miss out on real fun because I’m lost in my phone. Plus, there’s plenty of time to catch-up on social media on those long metro rides into the city or on my way to the grocery store.

What are you resolving to do this year?

xO -S

Categories: Interesting, Motivation, Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Homemade Mac n Cheese!

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you may know that I’ve been VERY SLOWLY but surely attempting to expand my skills in the kitchen from just baking to cooking real meals. I’ve made a couple great dishes, including this amazing Mexican Quinoa and so I thought it was time to attempt a classic meal…but from scratch.

Alas….homemade mac n cheese!

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Nothing says rainy Sunday like warm, homemade macaroni. Which is exactly why I spent my last two lazy Sundays in DC trying and tweaking this recipe. I used a mini Crock Pot because a.) that’s all we have at the apartment and b.) I’m only 1 person. But even in the mini pot I was able to execute this recipe, which serves 4. It was super easy to make and has been incredibly well-received by everyone who has tried it!

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Homemade mac n cheese

This recipe is perfect for anyone who can’t seem to get away from Easy Mac or Kraft because they’re so easy and delicious. This doesn’t take that much more effort, and is 1000 times more delicious, I promise! Just don’t leave the noodles in for too long or they will get super mushy!

I’m actually getting really hungry writing this and I wish I had saved some for lunch today! Try it out and let us know what you think!

-S

Recipe from: Julies Eats & Treats

Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Mexican Quinoa

I keep telling myself that one of these days I’m going to learn how to cook meat properly. But until then I’m just going to make this Mexican Quinoa every week until I get sick of it. Which I think might be never.

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When I first set out to make this dish, a lot of recipes I found called for fresh cilantro, freshly chopped garlic, and all kinds of fancy things. You should note here that I totally cut corners and ended up buying minced garlic and pre-chopped jalapenos in a jar. But hey –  you can’t blame me for trying to be budget and time conscious! Plus, I can promise you it doesn’t lose any of the flavor.

This stuff is so delicious! And it’s extremely filling – I think I’ve eaten it for at least one meal everyday in the past two weeks.The best part of recipes like this is that you can experiment and add and subtract ingredients easily based on your preferences. Below are some pictures of the quinoa before and after I added extra toppings. You can tell I tried to stay on point with the “Mexican” flavor by adding diced tomatoes, jalapenos, and black beans. But if that sounds like too much – you can easily substitute other veggies or ingredients.

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Before Toppings

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Adding a little extra kick 🙂

Mexican Quinoa

Delicious, filling, and easy to make – no excuses not to give it a try! Look out for lots more quinoa recipes in the future – now that I’ve become obsessed with it I don’t think I’m going to stop experimenting with it anytime soon!

-S

Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Spicy Bean & Couscous Salad

I know I’m totally the opposite of most people when I say that I have less energy and drive in the summer. I prefer all things winter over summer in every sense. Cold. Darkness. Clothing. I don’t know what it is, but I live for those short, winter days where I have bounds of energy and feel like I can conquer the world. Food is no exception here. I generally don’t cook in the summer because it’s hot and I’m tired and I don’t want to work any harder than I have to. It’s just so much easier to throw some cucumbers on a salad and go out to a restaurant. However, I finally found a recipe that may change around my anti-summer cooking mentality.

It’s light, but filling, and super easy to make! Not going to lie, I first got the idea for this recipe from a side dish I bought at CVS when I didn’t have time to cook yet in my new apartment. But it was so delicious and looked relatively easy to replicate – so I gave it try!

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If you know me, you may know that I’m not a big fan of measuring when I cook or bake because I’m a firm believer that all ingredients should be added ‘to taste’ – which means as much as you see fit for your particular cravings. For this recipe, I’ve included the measurements that I used, but if you do try it out, you should definitely tailor it to your tastebuds!

Here’s what you’ll need:
-1 cup Couscous
-1 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
-1/2 cup Yellow Corn
-3/4 cup Black Beans
-6 tbsp Olive Oil
-6 tbsp Vegetable Oil
-3 tbsp Lemon Juice
– 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
-Salt
-Pepper
(this makes about 3 servings)

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Directions:

1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil
2. Slowly stir in couscous. Let boil about 2-4 minutes with pot covered.
3. Remove pot from heat, cover, and set sit. (The excess juice will be soaked into the couscous when you do this)

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4. In a separate bowl, mix oils, lemon juice, and cumin
5. Pour wet ingredients into the bowl of couscous
6. Add in beans and corn to entire mixture
6. Salt and pepper
(Here you can add things like peppers, vinegar, cilantro, etc…I’m just tryin’ to stay on a budget here…so I stuck to the basics!)

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Once you add the beans and corn, it actually becomes a full meal. I was surprised at how small of a portion it took to fill me! Here I thought I’d have to supplement it with something else, but I didn’t! I’m about to go eat some leftovers for lunch, and I’ll definitely be making this again in the very near future!

What summer recipes are your favorite?

-S

Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Mint Cookies

For those of you that follow us on Instagram you may have seen the teaser picture of some cookies I posted last weekend and you might be wondering where those cookies have ended up. The answer is in the bellies of myself, my friends, and my coworkers. OOPS. However, I did salvage enough to take a few finished product pics and share the recipe with you all!

These cookies are some of my brother’s and my roommate’s favorite since they are mint flavored and deliciousssss. The green color is totally optional, but it does make them way more fun!

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What you’ll need:
1 package of sugar cookie mix
1 stick butter or margarine (softened)
1 egg
1 tablespoon mint extract
Green food coloring
8 oz creme de menthe chips
8 oz chocolate chips

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Steps:
1. Combine softened butter, egg, and cookie mix in a large bowl

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2. Add mint extract, food coloring, and chips
3. Mix until fully combined

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4.  Roll into balls and place in fridge or freezer for cooling (at least 12 hours in fridge, at least 4 in freezer)
5. Pop them into the oven at 350 degrees – bake for 8-10 minutes and enjoy!

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It’s as simple as that!

If the recipe looks familiar it is because I did post it here earlier (cheating, I know) – BUT I made a few updates and I wanted to share them with you all! I have a feeling I’ll be doing this fairly often  since I’m always looking to improve my recipes. This is especially due to the fact that I’ve made a few cookies over the past few weeks that have just been so delicious that I’m now finding it hard for my old favorites to even compare so it’s about time I do some updating – let me know if you have any suggestions!

-S

Categories: DIY, Food | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Simple Spring Spaghetti

Is feta cheese a weird thing to have leftovers of? I feel like it is. Either way, I had some leftover feta cheese that I didn’t want to waste and since I’ve also been trying to cook more, I decided to find something fun to do with it. I bake all the time, but as far as actual food goes, I’m pretty much a stick-to-soup kinda girl. So this is my first step into the process of “cooking.” Although I guess this may not even qualify as “cooking,” since it’s more like just putting a bunch of things together and hoping it turns out well. But it at least makes me feel semi-accomplished.

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yummm

Here’s what you’ll need:
– Spaghetti (however much you want to eat – no judgement)
– Olive Oil
– Feta Cheese
– Minced Garlic
– Tomatoes
– Black Olives
– Whatever spices you like – I used garlic pepper (I’m obsessed with the stuff) & parsley

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I don’t list any measurements for the toppings because I believe that kinda stuff is all subjective. I personally like a lot of seasoning, so I’m pretty heavy on the toppings, but if you’re not, just keep sprinkling until you reach your desired amount!

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look at that steam!

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doused in olive oil

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Finished product – mmmm

The recipe is awesome because it’s so versatile. You can mix-and-match which spices and veggies you want to add – I’m thinking about throwing in some peas or green beans next time! The possibilities are endless! Also, the olive oil makes it a lighter meal – as opposed to some of the heavier alfredo or tomato-based sauces that you may not want to eat in the hotter months. It’s something you can whip up quickly on a busy day that’s not a microwave  meal so you can at least feel like you made SOME kind of solid effort. It’s all about taking baby steps into adulthood (ironic?).

-S

Categories: DIY, Food, Self Improvement | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thai Cooking Class

Thai food is a recent palette expansion of mine, but I now love it, crave it occasionally and  judge every place by their Pad Thai then try to order interesting things off the menu.

One of my birthday presents was a Thai cooking class hosted at the CulinAerie Cooking School in downtown DC.  Its quite the place–even Carla Hall from Top Chef is a frequent teacher there!

Perhaps this gift was a hint that my general cycle of pasta and meat dishes needed a change up but cooking is something that I want to expand my horizons on and always get a little nervous to try so I anxiously awaited this adventure.

Whatever I expected from the night, it was ten times better! When you walk in you’re greeted with a coat check & wine (red or white?) and asked to pick a seat for two (it was date night cooking after all).

2 TV screens one showing the chef’s face and the other her hands

the basic set up

Our lovely instructor Wendy went through the menu quickly while we took notes, then off we were on our own while she and the assistants gave us tips, answered questions and topped off our wine glasses.

On the list:

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)

Thai Fried Noodles (Pad Thai)

Roasted Duck & Red Curry (Kaeng Pehd Ped Yang)

Coconut Bananas (Kluay Namuan)

First up: Pad Thai with Shrimp.

Let me just say, that had I known Pad Thai was this easy to make, I would never be ordering in! While some of the ingredients are not that easy to find, the actual cook time takes about 10 minutes.

Pad Thai with Shrimp

Pad Thai with Shrimp

It was delicious and I accidentally put it all on one plate for us to eat off of which caused giggles and aw’s in the crowd. I really was not trying to be cute just not messy.

2nd: Green Papaya Salad  & Red Curry Duck

too much sauce?

too much sauce?

Who knew I could cook duck! Not I..
This disk was meant to only have a dribble of sauce on top of the rice veggies and duck but we only learned that afterwards. The curry was a bit spicy for me but now I know for next time!

wine wine & more wine… finally dessert — bananas with coconut cream. Mmmmmmm

Coconut cream bananas

Coconut cream bananas

This was the easiest part, take Coconut milk, reduce it to a cream and throw in some bananas to warm with sugar. Trala!

By the end of the evening I was slightly goofy..

I may have gotten a little loopy from the wine...

I may have gotten a little loopy from the wine…

All in all, the experience was amazing and I will have to go back! Maybe for basic classes next time.. I need to learn how to perfectly chop garlic and I figure that’s step 1.

Returning home found that an enormous tree had fallen across my street and crushed multiple cars as well as taken down electrical wires that were still live, so we headed to see Argo at the Uptown Theater. Although I walk past it often I had yet to go inside as it only shows one movie a month. Its a little old school but completely wonderful at the same time with a huge screen and balcony seating:

taken from the dcist

inside wrap around screen from the balcony

In my effort to continue to check things out in the neighborhood, the roommates and I also went to Ardeo Bardeo for the first time (the great pumpkin cocktail is perfection) and the Uptown Tap House where we hope to become regulars like something out of a movie 🙂

Gotta love Cleveland Park!

metro

-E

P.S.

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