Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turkey and Lentil Burgers

December's issue of Everyday Food is a great one! This is just one of many recipes I've made from it.

The original recipe is for burgers made with lentils and ground chicken, but I used turkey since we had some in the freezer.

Turkey and Lentil Burger
adapted from Everyday Foods' Chicken and Lentil Burger

Monday, January 30, 2012

Marissa's Despicable Me Birthday Party

I am the very proud Godmother to Marissa Jo, who turned 5 last month. When she was born in 2006 I got a picture message while in class and immediately cried my eyes out! How awkward is that in a lecture? 

Just a few months after she was born, I became her Godmother. Despite the college-face-pudge, this is one of my favorite photos of all time.

Rissa's birthday is in December so every year when I'm home for Christmas I throw her a party! You may remember her strawberry short cake party last year, if you've been sticking around that long.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Right around Christimas-time my friend Deanna judged me for not being able to properly boil an egg. She likes to run, which I don't understand at all, and I like to cook - ditto for her! So when she discovered that she can boil an egg better than I she got me Eggies!

You know - eggies!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Orange and Dill Orange Roughy on the Grill

Have you ever tasted something and been transported to a specific place or time in your life? It's happened to me twice! Once I ate some vietnamese food that included a lot of basil and was taken back to my (Italian) Great Aunt Marina's house as a child. The second time was recently - Bryce made this awesome Orange and Dill Orange Roughy and the first bite sent me back to Siesta Key Florida - where my parents and I went on vacation every single year until I moved to Hawaii! 

This fish is light, delicious, and beachy. It's seriously easy to make and tastes like something you'd get at a casual beach-front restaurant where Jimmy Buffett's Greatest Hits are on repeat and people are drinking Coronas from a bucket! It can be made with any white fish, fresh or frozen. 

Orange and Dill Orange Roughy
adapted slightly from the Better Homes & Gardens recipe and made for just 2 servings

2 (previously frozen) orange roughy fillets
1 tablespoon of dill
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 orange, cut into wedges
salt and pepper

If your fish is frozen thaw it before cooking, then rinse and pat dry with paper towel. 

In a small bowl combine the dill and olive oil, salt and pepper. Bush both sides of the fish with the delicious mixture. If you're a dill fanatic like me, this is where you add even more dill!

Task your roommate, husband, boyfriend, neighbor, or mailman with turning on the grill appropriately, to medium heat. Or, if you're smarter than me you can just do it yourself! 

Arrange the orange wedges directly on the grill and place the fish on top. 

Cover and cook for 6 to 9 minutes without turning over - or until the fish becomes flaky when tested with a fork. Transfer the oranges and fish to a plate and don't forget to turn the grill off!

Here's the fun part: squeeze the grilled oranges onto the fish!

We had ours with roasted potatoes. Then, a few days later, we had it again with the other 2 fillets that came in the package! I'm not a big fan of reheated seafood, ick.

Try this and then tell me which beach you're automatically transported to! If I didn't leave so close to the beach, I'd make this on a really cold day and pretend I was on vacation :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

White Bean Dip and Homemade Pita Chips

Happy New Year! 

We're three weeks into 2012 so far and I've been doing a great job of eating healthy lately. Not because it's my "resolution" but because we're getting married in the next year and we just got back from the longest and most gluttonous vacation of our lives! See here, here, and here - and I'm not even close to finished with the posts from the trip yet. Homemade and healthy, refreshing foods are so welcome in my life!

Don't judge this cookbook by it's dirty cover, it's one of my favorites! Honestly - who doesn't love Giada? As a fellow Italian with a gigantic mouth and passion for cooking, I certainly can admit my fondness for her and this cookbook. 

As you can see it was a Christmas Gift of mine from 2007 from my dear cousin Josephine! (You may remember her because she's the one who let me know about the don't-watch-the-Godfather rule.) 

I love books - especially giving or getting them as gifts with personalized notes. I also like to make little notes in my cookbooks for when my future self opens them! Thanks 2008 Ang for reminding me about this recipe. I remember borrowing a food processor to make it then, oh the joy of being a broke college student :)

White Bean Dip and Pita Chips
Adapted from Giada's recipe

white bean dip
2 - 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
1/2 cup of fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
olive oil

pita chips
1 package of pita bread
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
salt & pepper

Giada makes her chips first, then then dip, but I like the dip to be chilled by the time the chips are ready!

In a food processor (your own or a borrowed one!) combine the beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, and salt & pepper. Pulse until the mixture is combined. Slowly add olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Add salt & pepper if need be. Refrigerate the dip until the chips are ready to go!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush each pita half with sunflower oil on both sides. Using a pizza cutter, slice each pita half into 4 wedges and arrange on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with oregano, salt & pepper and bake for about 15 minutes, turning them once halfway through.

Once the chips are finished, get the dip from the fridge and enjoy! This is a simple and light recipe for an afternoon snack or a potluck. Of course the store-bought pita chips or crackers would work, too.

When someone asks me about this odd-looking green dip, I tell them it's basically hummus made with white beans! Is the color awesome or intimidating?

Here's to an awesome 2012!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

We're Engaged

It's officially official - Bryce and I are engaged! We tried to tell as many people in person as we could before letting it become public knowledge via facebook - the jumbotron of gossip.

Bryce and I celebrated our third anniversary (of dating) back in August. In our three + years together we've had many conversations about getting married, during which I'd mentioned several things (huge hints) that I didn't think were noted so well by my tricky fiance:

  • I'd always dreamed of a proposal/engagement somewhere romantic, outdoors, and crowd-free
  • Being so far away from my family sucks and if we were going to get engaged, I'd want to tell them in person rather than making a list of people to call
Bryce totally had me believing that we weren't getting engaged until after he finished school (in May) so when he popped the question on a hike on December 9, I was shocked and excited. Okay... maybe I had a feeling something strange was going on that morning, but no sooner than that! We went on a sunrise hike and he proposed at the top, it was incredible, romantic, and perfect - dirty sneakers and all.

There was only one other hiker around and he stopped to take some pictures for us. We had to catch him quickly before he left and I'm clearly still crying in these photos!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Welcoming Home

After 3 days in San Fran, Bryce and I went home (for me) to Pittsburgh. Our flight got in fairly late and Mom had some delicious comfort foods to welcome us home with: "Indy" chicken, which got its name because it is good cold and was our go-to meal for long road trips to Indianapolis, and homemade Italian wedding soup in my favorite Santa mug/bowl! What says welcome home more than homemade food from Mama and Christmas decor? That's right... nothing!

Well... maybe your best friend's adorable and happy baby! Meet Brody. I met him in July when I was home and he was 3 weeks old. He's much more fun now :)

I suppose a trip to a favorite restaurant would be welcoming, too. Enter Piper's Pub, my fav spot in the South Side of Pittsburgh. Here's a red pepper dip that everyone else loved and I didn't even try, damn you peppers!

My Mom's all time favorite menu item there - portobello mushroom stack.

Dad got salmon and didn't eat any of his green beans!

Bryce had a salmon BLT with dill mayo, what a good idea!

I got a totally weird craving for shrimp and got shrimp cocktail with these huge guys and soup. This wasn't the soup I ordered, but they brought me the correct one and I liked the first one best!

Mom's cooking, sweet babies and best friends, and my favorite restaurant with my parents and new fiance - what more of a welcoming could you ask for?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ghirardelli Square

The first time I went to San Fran I was in eighth grade and I got to leave school early one Friday to catch my flight. It was SO COOL then and it was SO COOL this year too, even as an adult. One of my favorite memories of the first trip was at Ghirardelli - specifically walking through the store's entrance with my Mom over and over again and collecting a free sample each time!

Despite growing up in California, Bryce had never been to nirvana that is Ghirardelli! I insisted that we go so we... took a trolley in the wrong direction, got off in a shady neighborhood, boarded a bus, rode for 30 minutes, walked for 10 more, and finally made it to Ghirardelli Square!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Mama!

Happy Birthday Mom!

26 years ago I tricked my Mom into fake labor and ruined her birthday, sorry Mom! Hopefully I've made up for it since. Carol has always been that Mom who does it all - works full-time, exercises 3 times a week, bakes piles and piles of cookies for special occasions, goes to Church, makes friends with everyone she meets, and keeps track of my Dad - all while wearing cute earrings and lipstick!

Since I went away to college at 18 (and then moved to Hawaii at 22), she's even managed to talk to me, her only child, daily! Mom - are there more hours in your day than there are mine?

It's truly a mystery of the Earth that someone who has so much baking talent can remain so tiny, but somehow she does it! Last year my parents were in Hawaii for our birthdays (mine is on January 15) and Dad and I ordered a new pizelle iron for Mom, which was shipped to the house. Her specialties include pizelles, 7 or 8 layer cookies, biscotti, and chocolate covered pretzels. Carol cooks, too, but she qualifies for baking all-stars!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sourdough Francisco

Hi there. 

Did you miss me while I was on the longest vacation of my life? Chances are, if you're a loyal reader, I probably saw you while I was visiting San Fran, Pittsburgh, or Boston, since I basically invited myself to each of my friend's homes at some point.

I ate more than humanly imaginable but I'll try to tell you about all of the fantastic food from the trip! Especially since it's a new year and I'll be consuming only healthy and boring-and-not-blog-worthy foods for the time being - I'll get caught up on blogging my travels while secretly sneaking (and not photographing) girl scout cookies from my freezer!

The first stop on our traveling adventure was San Francisco! Bryce and I arrived bright and early on a Saturday morning and his good friend/former roommate Morgan picked us up from the airport with his ADORABLE son Kaleb. We promptly headed to Fisherman's Wharf and stopped for breakfast at the famous Boudin Bakery.

These three lovely gentlemen were my company! Kaleb wasn't too excited to be up so early.

Sourdough bread bowls filled with clam chowder were the motivating factor for my trip to SF, but I thought I'd be a normal person and order breakfast food. Thankfully, breakfast options include sourdough at bakeries in San Fran - duh! The choice was simple... sourdough french toast with cinnamon sugar, whipped butter, maple syrup, and the added fruit option, making the whole meal totally healthy and calorie-free, right?!

Each order came with 4 slices and we should have just gotten one to share, it was so much food! MMMM bacon.

After breakfast we were off to Alcatraz (willingly), but not before checking out the giant sourdough alligator! He looks a little well-done, don't you think?

Mere hours later we were hungry again! We found a great little restaurant on the edge of the wharf...

...where I got my much anticipated sourdoughbreadbowlwithclamchowder!!!

Peek-a-boo! Notice the salad, another calorie-free meal :)

Yeah right! The chowder was so stinking delicious that I'll never eat any other chowder again because it won't measure up to this creamy and rich soup from heaven. The pieces of clam were big, tender, and so yummy. I scooped the bread bowl out so aggressively and precisely that it could have been made into a bread pinata - filled with croutons and beaten with baguettes!

On that note, I think I've said enough! More from San Fran to come - including the eating adventures of 2 year old Kaleb, Ghirardelli, and a stop to Chipotle,