Let’s face it, the traditional idea of taking lunch to work is boring (well, at least here in the U.S.). It usually involves a sandwich or some leftovers from last night’s dinner, and after a while it can get boring to even think about.
For me, I usually end up having no idea what I want to take for lunch, and if I don’t grab something I end up eating Jimmy Johns, or something from the food court in my building (which actually isn’t bad).
Last week, I came across a site that has awakened my excitement for making my own lunches again. Makiko Itoh of JustBento has wonderful guidelines and tips for getting into the bento-style (the Japanese way) of making lunches. The main differences to regular packed lunch is the focus on healthy food that can be eaten at room temperature, is packed compactly to avoid a messy lunch, and a great presentation. Some people like to get really creative and make charaben, a way of making your lunch into characters.
Wouldn’t you love a lunch that looked like this? Photo: Justbento.com
I thought I was going to make it through this winter without getting sick, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. On Thursday, I woke up with a scratchy throat, which – despite my best efforts – developed into a sore throat, headache, and stuffy nose by Saturday.
When I get sick, I’m pretty strict about the foods I won’t eat. While these may not be official recommendations you’ll hear from a doctor (if you choose to go to one), I have found that my recovery time is a lot quicker when I avoid these types of foods: dairy products (because they make you more phlegmy, i.e. help you produce more snot), anything with sugar (sugar feeds the cold), greasy foods, and I limit the amount of fruit I eat.
Nothing more comforting than homemade turkey soup.
This restricted diet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat anything though, and I find that soups are the best way to go because they let you pack a lot nutrients into one meal. Not to mention the heat helps soothe sore throats a lot. I combine this dish with regular doses of airborne and a lot of mint tea when I’m sick. Continue reading
Some dishes I make because I come across them in cookbooks or online while I’m searching for ways to cook a certain ingredient. Other dishes are made upon request, and this was one of them. A few weeks ago, the boyfriend mentioned that he wanted chicken pot pie, something I have never made before.
It would have been easy to just go to the freezer isle and buy one (I actually think that’s what he meant at first), but what would be the fun of that? So this past week, I decided to try my hand at this comforting dish. Some searching led me to this recipe over on Simply Scratch. I love her three rules for making chicken pot pie and will always follow them.
Rule No. 1: They have to be in individual portions.
Rule No. 2: No “cream of chicken soup” can be used, what-so-ever.
Rule No. 3: There has to be plenty of crust. So much crust you won’t notice that there isn’t a bottom one.
The crust isn’t perfect, but it was nice and flakey.
Here is my take on her recipe. I’ve added a few more spices and cook the potatoes differently. Continue reading
You know those days when you know at least one ingredient you want to use for a meal, but aren’t at all intrigued by dishes you usually make with it? That is exactly what happened to me yesterday, and is what led me to make this dish.
The ingredient in question was ground lamb. Now, lamb is one of my favorite meats, but I was not at all excited by the thought of burgers (we already ate some this week), meatballs, or a bolognese sauce, or anything to do with pasta really.
Lamb and sweet potato Shepherd’s Pie.
Enter the wonderful Google, where I came across a site that listed five recipes to make with ground lamb. As I scrolled down, Shepherd’s Pie jumped out at me, and I thought that is it! A perfect dish to make on a cold winter’s night. Continue reading
One of my goals for this year is to write more letters, and I have found wonderful tools to help me keep this goal.
Back in November, I joined the Letter Writers Association (LWA) and what Kathy and Donovan have created is just amazing. They give you the opportunity to connect with penpals, send mail by pigeon or pneumatic post (at some point, I plan on trying both), and much more.
There are also letter requests that MLL collects and sends to a person in need of some love.
And about a month ago I discovered More Love Letters (MLL), an organization dedicated to spreading more love in the world by leaving letters for strangers. Just last week, I left an anonymous letter in the elevator of an office building, and the next day I saw a tweet from the person that picked it up. It was such an awesome feeling to know that I put a smile on someone’s face. Continue reading
I love crab cakes and they’re my preferred method of eating crab. While eating a whole crab can be fun, sometimes it’s just too much work and somehow I always end up crunching on a piece of shell, which isn’t so fun.
Crab cakes also remind me of the summers I used to join my cousins down the shore. Every year, they would rent a house in Avalon, NJ and at some point crab cakes always made it onto my plate, contributing to fond memories I have of spending weeks at the beach.
Did you know that the consumption of crab cakes dates back quite a few centuries? According to Food Timeline, the “practice of making minced meat cakes/patties (seafood/landfood) is ancient. Minces mixed with bread/ spices/ fillers came about for two reasons: taste and economy.” But, crab cakes weren’t known as crab cakes until sometime in the 20th century. Continue reading
Happy New Year!
How were your holidays and how have the first couple weeks of 2013 been for you so far? Have you set any goals for this year?
My holidays were very enjoyable. I spent a few days up at my grandparents’ house and got to see the whole family (well, my mom’s side of the family) for the first time in a while. It’s just amazing to me how quickly children grow. My one cousin is five, about half my size, and speaking in full sentences. The last time time I saw him he was three. The difference is just amazing.
Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how I want to continue with this blog. Of course, I still be cooking and sharing the dishes I make, but I’d like to expand my content more.
So here are some of my goals for 2013. Continue reading
What a year it has been!
Officially, I have run this blog as you know it today for one year and three months. In that time, I have shared over 40 recipes with you all. What started out as an interest in making more than what comes in a box (the result of thinking I didn’t have time or anyone to cook for) turned into an exploration of food and the endless possibilities of each meal.
Here’s a look at some of my favorite recipes I’ve made, things I’ve seen, and events I have been to throughout 2012 (click on a photo to enlarge and view as a slideshow).
I hope you have enjoyed coming on this journey with me so far, here’s to another year of great food, and more books, and booze!
Lemon chicken salad (Jan. 2012)
Introducing smoothies as a part of breakfast. (Jan. 2012)
Turkey chili with blue corn chips. (Jan. 2012)
Balsamic baked fish. (Feb. 2012)
My first tuna pasta salad. (Feb. 2012)
Seeing mounted police in Rittenhouse Square. (Feb. 2012)
Discovering the deliciousness of skirt steak. (Feb. 2012)
Slow roasted pork over green papaya salad as demonstrated at the Flower Show. (March 2012)
Visiting Hawai’i at the Philadelphia Flower Show. (March 2012)
Trying St. Germain for the first time. (March 2012)
Making one of many turkey burgers. (April 2012)
Learning how to make things we buy from scratch and learning they taste better. (April 2012)
Recreating the dish that introduced me to lamb – Albóndigas in sherry-cream sauce with a salad. (April 2012)
Making hummus for the first time. (April 2012)
Making margaritas. (May 2012)
Lamb enchiladas with salsa verde. (May 2012)
Shrimp quesadillas. (May 2012)
Meatballs in a zucchini and corn cream sauce. (July 2012)
Discovering how easy it is to make ice cream. (June 2012)
What the inside of the feta and spinach chicken roll looks like. (July 2012)
Celebrating July 4 in AC with a 3D light and sound show. (July 2012)
Making almond cookies as a way of discovering the flavors of Morocco. (July 2012)
Taking part in the Foodie Penpals program. (June – July 2012)
Baileys white chocolate truffles. (Aug. 2012)
Seeing Nik Wallenda walk the high wire in AC. (Aug. 2012)
Experiencing the magic of Le Dîner en Blanc in Philly. (Aug. 2012)
Experimenting with my own recipe: Linguine and corn with almond pesto.
Finding out that fried chicken can also be baked – Spicy oven-fried chicken.
Swordfish with mustard and rosemary roasted potatoes. (Aug. 2012)
A peak inside lamb, potato, and cheese pierogi. (Oct. 2012)
Making pasta for the first time – Frascatelli with onions, red peppers, and spinach with a side of chicken. (Nov. 2012)
Meeting Chef Jose Garces, a chef I highly admire. (Nov. 2012)
Meeting Joan Verratti, owner of Pollyodd Liqueurs in Philly. (Dec. 2012)
Making cranberry shortbread. (Dec. 2012)
One of my favorite countries to visit has always been Italy. Whether Lake Cuomo, Vincenza, Venice, Rome, or Vatican City, the sites, sounds, and flavors of Italy are unique and unforgettable.
Some of these flavors can be found in Philadelphia, particularly in South Philly. On December 21, I had the pleasure of getting to know the latest flavor added in the form a Pollyodd, locally made ‘cellos that are currently available in four flavors – the traditional lemoncello, lime, orange, and chocolate.
Joan Verratti with her ‘cellos.
Pollyodd, produced by Noaj & Mot, Inc., is owned by Joan Verratti and Tom Cavaliere, and has been five years in the making. Five years of having all paperwork in order, getting the right licenses, and being investigated by the FBI. A law passed in February 2012 that allows micro-distillers (who produce no more than 100,000 gallons of alcohol per year) to sell their products from their distilleries and two satellite locations.
Thanksgiving is almost here, only one more day to get through until we can give thanks and break bread with family and friends.
Usually, I celebrate at my mom’s. She always pulls together a wonderful feast based on delicious bon appetit recipes from multiple years. But, this year she’s traveling and while I won’t be hosting myself, I decided it’s time to try out some dishes myself.
The finished deliciousness.
And, I’m starting with dessert. When it comes to the holidays, cranberries are definitely one of my favorites. It seems there are endless possibilities that combine tart and sweet (or savory in some cases) just perfectly. This is what happens with this recipe from bon appetit. At first, I was little hesitant to try it because grapefruit is used, and I’m not a fan of grapefruit. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this is.