fitroadie said: I love your blog!! Just stumbled on it this morning. I have been on a weight loss journey myself and I have hit a plateau. Did you ever plateau and what did you do to résumé weight loss?

Greetings,

So sorry if this is a late response! I’ve hit many a plateau and am at one right now actually. It took me MONTHS to get out of the 170s and then when i finally did i am now stuck in the 140s-150s. It’s annoying but you really just have to keep pushing through. Sometimes our bodies just need a break. Keep the cardio up and just keep a keen eye on what you’re eating. Change up your workout a bit! If it’s all cardio maybe try some weight training (i found that really helped me). 

I wish you the best!

Tommy’s 16’th Birthday Cake
Wanted to share a picture of our own S’more cake.  We opted for a thin chocholate cake instead of the layer of melted Chocolate and a blonde cookie for the bottom (mostly because we had so many people coming).  My son is a Life Scout and we just fell in love with this idea for his surprise party.  Thanks for the great idea.


This is awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing with me!!!

Tommy’s 16’th Birthday Cake

Wanted to share a picture of our own S’more cake.  We opted for a thin chocholate cake instead of the layer of melted Chocolate and a blonde cookie for the bottom (mostly because we had so many people coming).  My son is a Life Scout and we just fell in love with this idea for his surprise party.  Thanks for the great idea.

This is awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing with me!!!

Orange/Soy Marinated Pork Chops with Pineapple Mango Salsa

Between the previous pancetta and now the pork chops… I guess you could say I’m on a pig-kick, so I think I’m due for a break from the other white meat for awhile.

Billy mentioned pineapple salsa and it gave me the idea to make a pineapple mango salsa to pair with something a bit more bland. Since I was sick of cooking chicken breast I opted for pork chops (they were also on sale, win!)

They were out of this world!

No, but really… you’re oinkin’ for this recipe… so check it out after the jump…

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Tossed together a delicious wine & dine with my wonderful boyfriend on Friday evening. I picked up some fresh pancetta at the Italian deli in Chelsea Market to make pasta alla carbonara with the homemade ricotta I made the previous night.
What you’ll need:
4 ounces of pancetta, diced into chunks
1 small shallot, diced finely
1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
3/4 cup frozen peas
3 eggs
1/2 cup of ricotta (if you don’t have ricotta, use pecorino-romano or parmesan) 
Salt & pepper to taste
1lb pasta (of your choice), prepared per instructions (add salt to the water)
Before you start anything, prepare the pot/water for the pasta and begin heating to a boil. While that’s starting, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta.
While the pancetta is cooking combine the egg with half the cheese, salt & pepper, whisk thoroughly.
Once the pancetta is cooked, remove from pan and drain on a paper towel (you don’t have to drain it but it was nice to rid the pancetta of the extra grease).
Add shallots to  the same skillet & saute until tender. Add garlic & saute for 30  seconds.
When the pasta has about a minute left for cooking, add the frozen peas  to the boiling pot (you will strain these with the pasta).
Remove skillet from heat and add the hot  pasta to the pan with the  shallots & garlic.
Add the egg mixture & stir thoroughly until  creamy (be careful not to over cook the eggs - you don’t want them to  scramble). Add pancetta, parsley and remaining cheese - taste & re-season if needed. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

(photo credit: my super awesome sous-chef)

Tossed together a delicious wine & dine with my wonderful boyfriend on Friday evening. I picked up some fresh pancetta at the Italian deli in Chelsea Market to make pasta alla carbonara with the homemade ricotta I made the previous night.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces of pancetta, diced into chunks
  • 1 small shallot, diced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of ricotta (if you don’t have ricotta, use pecorino-romano or parmesan)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1lb pasta (of your choice), prepared per instructions (add salt to the water)

Before you start anything, prepare the pot/water for the pasta and begin heating to a boil. While that’s starting, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta.

While the pancetta is cooking combine the egg with half the cheese, salt & pepper, whisk thoroughly.

Once the pancetta is cooked, remove from pan and drain on a paper towel (you don’t have to drain it but it was nice to rid the pancetta of the extra grease).

Add shallots to the same skillet & saute until tender. Add garlic & saute for 30 seconds.

When the pasta has about a minute left for cooking, add the frozen peas to the boiling pot (you will strain these with the pasta).

Remove skillet from heat and add the hot pasta to the pan with the shallots & garlic.

Add the egg mixture & stir thoroughly until creamy (be careful not to over cook the eggs - you don’t want them to scramble). Add pancetta, parsley and remaining cheese - taste & re-season if needed. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

(photo credit: my super awesome sous-chef)

Creamy Homemade Ricotta

Apologies for the lack of cheesy photo - but I made homemade ricotta Thursday evening and it was delicious… and addicting. I’ll be making this a lot more often now, especially with chocolate and sugar for a dessert mousse.

I stumbled across the recipe over at Food52. Check it out below:

Makes 2 cups
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Add the ingredients to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, line a sieve or fine mesh strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a deep bowl or pot.

Once the curds begin to separate from the whey (you’ll see little specks of white bob to the surface), stir gently and set heat to the lowest setting (see NOTE). Cook for 2 more minutes, then remove pot from heat and set on an unlit back burner for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour. (this will help the curds further develop).

Gently ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined strainer (this helps produce a fluffier, creamier curd, than pouring it into the strainer). When all the curds have been spooned into the bowl, pull the cheesecloth up the sides to loosely cover the ricotta in the strainer. Let sit for 10 minutes to drain (this will yield a very moist ricotta. If using for a cake recipe, you may want to let it drain longer for a drier consistency).

Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

NOTE: I’ve learned it likes to be left alone to produce the highest yield, so resist the temptation to stir it frequently once the curds begin to separate from the whey. One stir is enough, and if you’re curious, you can dip the spoon in the pot once or twice to see how the curds are developing.

It’s summertime and the best thing about warmer weather is sitting around the campfire, enjoying scrumptious s’mores with good friends and family. Since I live in Hoboken and, clearly, can’t be making a fire pit in my non-existent backyard (or on my rooftop), I decided to bake these s’more cookies as part of the birthday gifts I gave to Billy. I yoinked the recipe and above photo from Sprinkled with Flour, and every single person who had a cookie decided that they were the best I’ve made so far. Serious caution: You’ll want s’more after the first few bites.
S’mores Cookies
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used cinnamon graham crackers) 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup brown sugar (use dark brown, you wont regret it) 2 tsp vanilla extract 2 eggs 2 cups mini chocolate chips 1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows, or large ones cut up 2 Hershey bars, chopped (I opted for the dark chocolate Hershey bars)
Preheat oven to 375F.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture, and mix until combined.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham crackers, salt, and baking  soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in  the chocolate chips.  Use 2 tablespoons or a medium-sized ice cream scoop to drop rounded  tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for 7 minutes and remove  from oven. Push a few marshmallows and pieces of chocolate into each  cookie and return to the oven to bake an additional 3-4 minutes. Allow  to cool on a wire rack before inhaling the entire batch!

It’s summertime and the best thing about warmer weather is sitting around the campfire, enjoying scrumptious s’mores with good friends and family. Since I live in Hoboken and, clearly, can’t be making a fire pit in my non-existent backyard (or on my rooftop), I decided to bake these s’more cookies as part of the birthday gifts I gave to Billy. I yoinked the recipe and above photo from Sprinkled with Flour, and every single person who had a cookie decided that they were the best I’ve made so far. Serious caution: You’ll want s’more after the first few bites.

S’mores Cookies

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (I used cinnamon graham crackers)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (use dark brown, you wont regret it)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups mini chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows, or large ones cut up
2 Hershey bars, chopped (I opted for the dark chocolate Hershey bars)

Preheat oven to 375F.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture, and mix until combined. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham crackers, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use 2 tablespoons or a medium-sized ice cream scoop to drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from oven. Push a few marshmallows and pieces of chocolate into each cookie and return to the oven to bake an additional 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before inhaling the entire batch!

I wanted to bake something a bit different for my boyfriend’s birthday BBQ, so I opted for a simple apple tart that I found at The Family Kitchen.
It was super simple and the glaze had a refreshing orange zest kick to it. You can use a pre-made crust, but I always prefer homemade crusts. Anyway… enjoy!

Simple Apple Tart (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen by way of Alice Waters)
for the crust 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 6 tablespoons cold butter 1/4 cup ice water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar
for the tart filling 3 granny smith apples 2 tablespoons melted butter 3 tablespoons sugar good pinch salt
for the glaze apple cores and peels 1/2 cup sugar zest and juice of 1 orange 1/2 cup water
In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, salt, and  sugar. Drop in the butter and pulse several times until the dough has a  sandy texture. Drizzle in the water and pulse just until combined. You  can also mix the flour by hand, and cut in the butter with a pastry  knife, and then mix in the water just until combined.
Scoop the dough out onto a lightly floured board gather into a round  disc. Wrap the  round in plastic and refrigerate for a half-hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll  the chilled dough into an 11” round, and then press it into a  well-buttered tart pan. Fold any excess dough into the sides of the  tart.
Wash and peel, and core the apples, reserving the peels and cores.  Slice the apples into 1/8” thick slices. Starting on the outer edge,  arrange the apple slices in a tight circle, working your way toward the  middle. Brush the apples with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Sprinkle the apples with the salt, and then 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and then into the oven. Bake  for 45 minutes, until the dough is golden and the edges of the apples  have browned. Rotate the tart pan halfway through. Let tart cool for 15  minutes.
While the tart is baking, combine the apple peels and cores, orange  zest, sugar, juice and water in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30  minutes. Add extra water if needed. Strain the glaze, cool, and brush on  the tart just before serving.

I wanted to bake something a bit different for my boyfriend’s birthday BBQ, so I opted for a simple apple tart that I found at The Family Kitchen.

It was super simple and the glaze had a refreshing orange zest kick to it. You can use a pre-made crust, but I always prefer homemade crusts. Anyway… enjoy!

Simple Apple Tart (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen by way of Alice Waters)

for the crust
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

for the tart filling
3 granny smith apples
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
good pinch salt

for the glaze
apple cores and peels
1/2 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup water

In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Drop in the butter and pulse several times until the dough has a sandy texture. Drizzle in the water and pulse just until combined. You can also mix the flour by hand, and cut in the butter with a pastry knife, and then mix in the water just until combined.

Scoop the dough out onto a lightly floured board gather into a round disc. Wrap the  round in plastic and refrigerate for a half-hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into an 11” round, and then press it into a well-buttered tart pan. Fold any excess dough into the sides of the tart.

Wash and peel, and core the apples, reserving the peels and cores. Slice the apples into 1/8” thick slices. Starting on the outer edge, arrange the apple slices in a tight circle, working your way toward the middle. Brush the apples with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the apples with the salt, and then 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and then into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, until the dough is golden and the edges of the apples have browned. Rotate the tart pan halfway through. Let tart cool for 15 minutes.

While the tart is baking, combine the apple peels and cores, orange zest, sugar, juice and water in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add extra water if needed. Strain the glaze, cool, and brush on the tart just before serving.

I made Huevos Rancheros for dinner… in mini home-made corn tortilla cups! I took the Epicurious recipe and simplified it a bit more and decided to test this out tonight because I’d really love to make it for my boyfriend this weekend. The recipe below yields six, but I only made one for myself and some extra tortilla cups for later use.
You’ll need:
4 tablespoons of olive oil
6 6- to 61/2-inch-diameter corn tortillas
1 15-ounce can pinto beans or black beans, drained
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
6 large eggs
3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Salsa and hot sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush six 10-ounce custard cups with 1 tablespoon oil. Stack tortillas; microwave uncovered until warm and flexible, about 25 seconds. Gently press 1 tortilla into each cup. Brush tortillas with 2 tablespoons oil.
Place pinto beans, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro in small bowl; mash coarsely with fork. Spoon bean mixture into bottom of tortilla cups, spreading and dividing evenly. Crack 1 egg into each tortilla cup atop beans. Sprinkle each with grated Monterey Jack cheese, covering egg completely. Bake uncovered until egg yolks are firm to touch and whites are set, about 27 minutes (yolks will still be soft inside).
Using large spoon, lift tortilla cups from dishes; transfer to plates. Top eggs with additional cilantro, salsa, hot sauce… even pico de gallo!

I made Huevos Rancheros for dinner… in mini home-made corn tortilla cups! I took the Epicurious recipe and simplified it a bit more and decided to test this out tonight because I’d really love to make it for my boyfriend this weekend. The recipe below yields six, but I only made one for myself and some extra tortilla cups for later use.

You’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 6- to 61/2-inch-diameter corn tortillas
  • 1 15-ounce can pinto beans or black beans, drained
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa and hot sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush six 10-ounce custard cups with 1 tablespoon oil. Stack tortillas; microwave uncovered until warm and flexible, about 25 seconds. Gently press 1 tortilla into each cup. Brush tortillas with 2 tablespoons oil.

Place pinto beans, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro in small bowl; mash coarsely with fork. Spoon bean mixture into bottom of tortilla cups, spreading and dividing evenly. Crack 1 egg into each tortilla cup atop beans. Sprinkle each with grated Monterey Jack cheese, covering egg completely. Bake uncovered until egg yolks are firm to touch and whites are set, about 27 minutes (yolks will still be soft inside).

Using large spoon, lift tortilla cups from dishes; transfer to plates. Top eggs with additional cilantro, salsa, hot sauce… even pico de gallo!


Ice Cream Maker

Finally, guys. After a year of wanting one… I finally got one. Stay tuned!!!

Jumbo Soft Pretzels

They’re probably my favorite thing about carnivals, amusement parks, sports events and NYC in general. I love pretzels. I love the taste, texture, the crunch of the salt… they’re probably one of the best snacks out there. I decided to whip some up for my friend Kim’s carnival-themed birthday extravaganza. I yoinked the recipe from Elissa over at 17andBaking but the picture above is actually from Lillian at Sweets By Sillianah. Both of them are wonderful and I highly recommend you checkout their blogs as well!

I made these Thursday night for the party on Saturday. I highly recommend you make them the DAY you will be serving them so the toppings don’t soak into the pretzels and they stay fresh and tasty. Mine ended up a bit chewy after sitting around for more than a day. Also - if you want to use cinnamon and sugar as a topping, put it on AFTER! I did about of them before and they ended up caramelizing and looking burnt. Womp womp.

Anyway, recipe is after the jump!

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