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Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Butter Baked Oatmeal

baked oatmeal
Apple Butter Baked Oatmeal
 When Musselman's contacted me, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to create another recipe using their apple butter. You might remember earlier this summer when I had some fun using apple butter in morning glory apple butter muffins, cranberry apple butter bars, and my personal favorite, the bacon apple butter flatbreads with caramelized onions and gouda.
Pin Itbaked oatmeal
I threw around a few ideas on what to make this time around with the apple butter, especially now that we're truly in apple season, and while I have a few more ideas up my sleeve, I couldn't stop thinking about baked oatmeal with apple butter. Amish Baked Oatmeal is a family favorite in our house, and a comforting breakfast we can all always agree on! 
baked oatmeal
Not only do I love this breakfast because it's a breeze to throw together (10 minutes, then 30 in the oven...or prep it the day before and just throw in the oven in the morning!), but in this version I omitted the sugar or butter and replaced it with apple butter, making it at least a bit better for you. Since apple butter already has some sugar in it, the oatmeal was plenty sweet...especially since I topped it with a bit of brown sugar just before baking. The apple butter as a butter replacement meant there was no sacrifice to the texture of the baked dish either.
apple butter
Served in bowls with a bit of warmed milk, this is the perfect fall breakfast! (If you love pumpkin, you should also give my pumpkin baked oatmeal a try!) Want to win your own jar of Musselman's Apple Butter so you can make this? They'll send one reader a jar with some disposable mini loaf pans so you can get baking! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me what your favorite thing about fall is! I'll accept comments through Wednesday, October 2nd (8 pm Central) and contact the winner thereafter! Danae@RecipeRunner was selected as the giveaway winner & has been contacted!

One Year Ago: 2012 Eat & Repeat: Bogart's Smokehouse
Two Years Ago: Zucchini Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
Three Years Ago: Pomegranate Banana Bread
Four Years Ago: Best Ever Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (really!)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Finding Time in 2013: Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant

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 Hey there! Popping in for a rare Sunday post to share our latest adventure via our Finding Time in 2013 challenge. We were up to visit a new restaurant this month although to be honest, we would've headed out that evening, challenge or not! I'd spent the day cooking and cleaning and couldn't stand the thought of cleaning another dish. I was ready to sit and let someone else bring me dinner AND clean up afterward!
ethiopian food
Heading to Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant was a no-brainer. Ryan and I had been saying for a few weeks that we were in the mood for Ethiopian. For those of you that have never had Ethiopian cuisine before, I highly recommend it...even the non-adventurous can likely find something they'll enjoy. I am drawn to the fact that you eat with your hands, picking up the food with injera, a sourdough flatbread. You can learn more about Ethiopian food on Wikipedia, but in short, the food is typically heavily spiced and featured a lot of meat stews as well as vegetarian dishes containing lentils or vegetables. Sounds right up our alley, huh?
Although Ethiopian restaurant menus are typically quite large, we usually opt for a combination platter of sorts, because it's way more fun to try a variety of dishes. This time we got two combo platters--one meat and one vegetarian--to ensure that we could try the largest number of dishes. Food is usually served family style, so as you can see in the photograph, it all came out together on a huge piece of injera. We then broke little pieces of our individual injera to pick up bits of the different dishes. I definitely couldn't tell you what most of them were, save for picking out the pain ingredient, but we basically ate the plate empty, which I'd call a success! In our case, the spicier the better!
Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant was larger than we anticipated (the other Ethiopian restaurant we've been to in St. Louis is pretty tiny) and pretty busy on a Saturday night. It's situated on (South) Grand Ave, which is essentially a mecca of multiculturalism in St. Louis. Service was fast and friendly, and our total dinner bill came to less than $40 (including tip and a beer for Ryan). I'm thankful we live in a city that has so many diverse dining options and I highly encourage you to seek out Meskerem (or another Ethiopian restaurant if you're not in St. Louis!) if you get the chance!

One Year Ago: Two Days in California Wine Country
Two Years Ago: French Onion Soup
Three Years Ago: Basil Parmesan Crackers
Four Years Ago: Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Odds & Ends

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1. You might remember a certain obsession I had with Friday Night Lights earlier this year. I don't know that I've ever been quite so addicted to a television show. Needless to say, I was pumped to see this list of Friday Night Lights trivia on Ali's blog!! Other diehard fans will get a kick out of the FNL related links she found around the web!

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2. You guys know I love making ice cream at home, but I can't keep production up with the rate at which Ryan can eat ice cream. Since I'm always on a mission to fatten him up, I usually keep our freezer stocked with his store-bought favorites. I recently bought the Breyer's Blasts Samoas ice cream for him (I found it at Target), and snagged a few bites...oh.my.goodness. I pretty much had to hide it from myself in the freezer, lest I finish it all off before he returned from his business trip. It's coconut caramel ice cream with a swirl of fudge and chunks of samoa cookies! I'll be recreating this next year during Girl Scout Cookie season! 

baby bargains
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3. Calling all parents, parents-to-be, and anyone else knowledgeable about all things baby! Ryan and I are starting to think about our baby registry and are a tad bit overwhelmed trying to figure out what we'll need come February! I bought the above book which has been helpful (albeit, an OVERLOAD of information), but I'd love any thoughts from readers...baby must haves? What did you have and not need? I can't promise we'll take your advice, but I'd love to hear it ;) 

s'mores bars
Golden Graham S'Mores Bars
4. I've been digging in the archives for some recipes lately, eager to give life to some of my old favorites. One such favorite? Golden Graham S'Mores Bars! I haven't made them in way too long and purposely had to make them for a church picnic so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the whole pan! (oooh, and these bars make me think of last year's Chocolate Covered S'Mores on a Stick!!! Another fun recipe!)

One Year Ago: Herbed Sundried Tomato Tapenade
Two Years Ago: Eggplant and Mushroom Veggie Balls aka "Meatless Meatballs"
Three Years Ago: POM Banana Blueberry Popsicles
Four Years Ago: Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cranberry Chicken Lettuce Wraps

chicken lettuce wraps
Cranberry Chicken Lettuce Wraps
I've done a really good job of cooking magazine recipes this past year. I'm slowly but surely working my way through my file folders filled with pages ripped from magazines. Of course, I'm also always adding to it, so I'll never completely finish that product...but that's the fun in cooking right? On the other hand, I've done a poor job of cooking from my ever-expanding cookbook collection. Perhaps that'll be a good goal for 2014?!
Pin Itlettuce wraps
My mom recently attended an event where Dave Anderson of Famous Dave's BBQ spoke and she came home with his Barbecue Party Cookbook, signed for me and everything! Even though one might argue that BBQ season is ending for the year (or is there such a thing?), I was eager to crack open this book and quickly selected his Cranberry Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
lettuce wraps
Although Dave's recipe calls for smoked chicken, I wasn't about to drag our smoker out on a weeknight so we opted for some baked and shredded chicken (to make it even easier, buy a rotisserie chicken!). I made a few changes to his recipe, but the overall concept was the same. We loved the wraps for a light dinner, but they would be a fun party appetizer as well! You could also serve the filling on bread or in a pita or with crackers.

What's your favorite cookbook to cook from?

One Year Ago: Black Bean and Grilled Corn Salad with Avocado & Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Filling
Two Years Ago: Nuts & Bolts Snack Mix & Whole Wheat Jam Filled Ebelskivers 
Three Years Ago: Maine & Boston Foodie Recap & Coffee Ice Cream
Four Years Ago: Praline Party Mix & Double Oat Breakfast Cookies

Cranberry Chicken Lettuce Wraps
adapted from Famous Dave's Barbecue Party Cookbook

-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-1/2 cup plain yogurt
-1/4 tsp paprika
-1/2 tsp seasoned salt
-1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
-1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
-1/2 cup dried cranberries
-1/2 cup celery, sliced
-1/3 cup green onions, sliced
-1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
-1 rotisserie chicken, hand shredded
-2 small tomatoes, diced
-2 heads butter lettuce leaves

1. Mix together mayo, yogurt, paprika, seasoned salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the grapes, dried cranberries, celery, onion, and almonds, mixing to combine.
2. Gently stir in the chicken and the tomatoes. Carefully remove (and wash) lettuce leaves from heads of lettuce. Fill heads with scoops of chicken salad. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling

pumpkin cupcakes
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling
A few weeks ago I mentioned on The Sweets Life Facebook page that I was in the mood to start my pumpkin baking for the season. Since then I've baked several different pumpkin recipes, some new, some old, but this was the inaugural recipe for the season!
Pin Itcinnamon frosting
If you've been reading here very long, you know that cupcakes aren't really my thing when it comes to baking. My issues stem not from taste, but from appearance. Thus, I was a little hesitant to bake with the cupcake tools OXO sent me. However, in exchange for a blog post they promised to donate $100 to the Cookies for Kids' Cancer foundation, and that is one cause I can't resist! I love how dedicated OXO is to supporting this mission, so much so that for each of their Bake a Difference products sold, OXO will donate 25 cents to pediatric cancer research!
cinnamon frosting
I was excited to use the new OXO cupcake corer to remove the centers of my pumpkin cupcakes so that I could stuff them with a cinnamon cream cheese filling. Unfortunately I couldn't quite get the hang of the corer; it cuts perfectly shaped pieces but the contraption didn't remove them in one fell swoop as I expected. It was no big deal--I just used a little spoon to remove the cut middle once I used the corer. (For those without a corer, you can just cut out a little section with a paring knife!)
pumpkin cupcakes
These pumpkin cupcakes were such a hit that I got a whopping one bite of one...the rest disappeared before I had a chance to sample another. From the bite I got, and what I heard, these have reinvigorated my hope in myself when it comes to cupcakes! They don't look half bad, and even if my frosting technique isn't perfect, who's going to complain when you're enjoying a spiced pumpkin cupcake with both a cinnamon cream cheese filling and buttercream!

Note--This post was not sponsored by OXO. They provided me cupcake tools, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

One Year Ago: Chicken, Apple, and Sage Pesto Sandwiches & Cinnamon French Toast Ice Cream
Two Years Ago: Mexican Baked Eggs with Black Beans, Tomatoes, Green Chilies, and Cilantro & Snack Bars
Three Years Ago: Cinnamon Raisin French Toast with POM Syrup & Cooking Lobster/Shucking Oysters
Four Years Ago: Apricot Bran Bread & Cinnamon Cranberry Almond Oat Pancakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling
cake from Color Hungry, frosting my own creation
Printer-Friendly Recipe
-1 stick butter (melted)
-1/4 cup canola oil
-4 eggs (at room temperature)
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
-1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
-1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt

for the cream filling
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup confectioners sugar
-8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

for the frosting
-remaining cream filling
-1 stick butter, at room temperature
-2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Add eggs to a mixing bowl and beat for 30 seconds. Add the melted butter, both sugars, vanilla, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat mixture until well combined. With mixer on low, add vegetable oil and continue mixing. Stir in baking powder, baking soda,a nd salt.
2. Add the flour a little at a time, beating completely before adding more and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
3. Divide batter between 24 lined muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow muffin tins to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing individual cupcakes to cool completely on wire racks.
4. To prepare the cream filling, beat whipping cream, confectioners sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth and creamy. Once cupcakes are completely cool, use a paring knife or an Oxo cupcake corer to cut out the center of each cupcake, reserving the pieces. Use a small spoon or a pastry bag to insert cream into the center of each cupcake. Use the reserved cupcake pieces (you'll probably have to cut or break off the middle and just reserve the very top) to cover the filling.
5. To make the frosting, add butter to remaining cream filling and beat until smooth. Add confectioners sugar, a 1/2 cup at a time, until smooth. Beat in cinnamon and vanilla (add additional cinnamon, to taste). Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Flash Roasted Broccoli with Spicy Crumbs

roasted broccoli
 When Ryan and I first started dating (seven years ago!), one of the first questions he asked me was whether or not I liked spicy food. I told him I didn’t really think I did and he was immediately concerned, since he preferred foods with a lot of bold, spicy flavors. As it turned out, I actually did like spicy food, I just didn’t know it. From the start of our relationship, we’ve been all about exploring new foods and as I tried different cuisines and expanded my culinary horizons, I discovered I was all about spicy food! Today, I’d go so far as to say I actually like a bit more spice than Ryan!
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Given this love of spice, I was curious to try this broccoli side dish. It’s definitely one of the more unique creations I’ve seen. Roasted broccoli is dipped in Dijon mustard and then rolled in a mixture of pepperoni, panko breadcrumbs, and spices. The process is a bit tedious, but completely worth the finished product. If you aren’t a huge fan of spice, reduce or eliminate the red pepper flakes. You’ll still be pleasantly surprised by the transformation broccoli makes in this recipe!
One Year Ago: Easy Crockpot Recipes for College Students
Two Years Ago: Peanut, Peanut Butter, Pretzel Bonbons & Pineapple Ginger Granola Bars
Three Years Ago: Greek Turkey Burgers & Sweet & Spicy Citrus Tilapia 
Four Years Ago: Frozen Peanut Butter Pie & Eggplant Lasagna

Flash Roasted Broccoli with Spicy Crumbs
from Food & Wine December 2012

-2 oz. sliced pepperoni
-1 sliced garlic clove
-1 cup panko breadcrumbs
-1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
-2 lbs broccoli, trimmed and cut into long spears
-2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 425F. In a food processor, pulse the pepperoni with the garlic until finely chopped. Add the panko, pulsing just to combine.
2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the crumb mixture, cooking over moderate heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until crisp and golden. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, toss the broccoli with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and season with salt. Spread the broccoli on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 15 minutes, turning halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown.
4. Spread the mustard on one side of the broccoli and press the broccoli into the crumbs. (I used tongs to dip in the mustard and then in the crumbs). Transfer the broccoli to a platter, sprinkle with remaining crumbs, and serve immediately.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Odds & Ends

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1. One of my high school mentors recently wrote on his blog about the "The 10 Experiment: A Week of Choosing the Simple Life". In short, for five days he and his family took steps to reduce extras and live a bit more simply...only 10 foods that they ate, 10 articles of clothing they wore,  10 items they must give away, etc. He has a whole list as well as how the four of them fared over the five days. It's obviously not impossible by any means, but an easy way to step back from life's craziness and try to approach it with a different mindset. I'm thinking about trying something similar myself one of these days!

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2. We got quite a haul in our swag bags at the Food Media Forum, but one of my favorite goodies was the bag of Poptions popcorn. I love popcorn and love making it at home (bacon bourbon caramel corn or spicy kettle corn, anyone!?). The Mojito Lime flavor came in my bag and I may or may not have eaten the entire thing for dinner one night. I'm dying to try some of their other flavors (salt and vinegar, monkey nuts, sugar and spice, and so many more!).

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3. When Red Gold sent me some cans of tomatoes a few weeks ago (which I used to make these divine turkey burgers), they also included a bottle of their Mama Selita's Jalapeño Ketchup. I am loving it!! We've been eating it on burgers, with fries (both homemade and my favorite Alexia fries), and I'm dying to mix it into some mac and cheese (am I the only one who loves ketchup in their mac and cheese?!). If you love ketchup and love the idea of spicy ketchup, you need to find a bottle of this!

4. It would be a huge mistake for you to NOT make these caramel apple nut bars sometime this fall! Don't say I didn't warn you!

One Year Ago: Chicken Vegetable Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado Cream Sauce
Two Years Ago: Artichoke Stuffed Turkey Burgers
Three Years Ago: Fruited Bulgur Salad
Four Years Ago: Eggplant Lasagna

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lemon Berry Parfaits

lemon berry
Lemon Berry Parfaits
On Wednesday I shared Ryan's birthday dinner, or the main dish anyhow, with you and today we're moving on to dessert. You might recall that, when given the choice, Ryan will always pick a fruity dessert. It's the reason previous birthday desserts have included a lemon tart, cream cheese fruit tarts, and mixed berries with mascarpone limoncello cream.  
Pin Itlemon curd
This year's birthday dessert was fairly similar to last year's, but the boy gets what the boy wants...on his birthday anyhow! This dessert comes together quickly...store-bought lemon curd is mixed with homemade whipped cream and then tossed with berries. It's creamy and tart and perfect for the fruit dessert lover! You could also add some chunks of pound cake or angel food cake and make it more like a trifle, if you're looking for something a little more substantial. Even though I'd almost always choose a real (read: chocolaty, peanut buttery, etc.) dessert over something fruity, I have to admit this was pretty darn good!
lemon berry
One Year Ago: Kale Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette & Extra Crumb Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake 
Two Years Ago: Cream Cheese Fruit Tarts & Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats 
Three Years Ago: Creamy Vegetable & Edamame Risotto & Tilapia with Black Bean Salsa

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grilled Salmon with Tomato Avocado Salsa

grilled salmon with avocado salsa
Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
Oh my goodness. If I could eat this dish weekly, I would. I won't, because the salmon at our Whole Foods doesn't come cheap ($15/lb!), but it is absolutely a treat that I'm willing to splurge for now and then. The occasion arose recently when we celebrated Ryan's birthday. As per our tradition, birthday boy/girl gets to select the meal and his request was, unsurprisingly, seafood. My mom made this recipe for us over the 4th of July and I'd been looking for an excuse to make it again!
Pin Itgrilled salmon with avocado salsa
I order seafood, salmon specifically, in restaurants fairly often. This is mostly because I don't cook it a lot at home and want to take advantage. This salmon, however? This is better than most salmon dishes I've ordered out! The spice rub adds a jolt of flavor that seems to usually be missing from restaurant dishes and the avocado salsa on top is just the thing to compliment the buttery fish. Break this recipe out next time you're craving restaurant-worthy seafood in your own kitchen! 

One Year Ago: Mixed Berries with Limoncello Mascarpone Cream & Sweet Potato Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls
Two Years Ago: Toffee Cappuccino Muffins & Sweet Potato Chorizo Empanadas with Avocado Cream Sauce
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Fudge Drops & Copycat Egg McMuffin
Four Years Ago: German Chocolate Cookies & Mediterranean Skillet

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mustardy Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple

Mustardy Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple
 Dare I say this is the salad of the season for me? You guys know I don't repeat meals, except for our absolute favorites, all that often. This meal? This is a repeater...I've made it four times in three weeks and can guarantee it won't be the last time it finds its way onto our table in the next few months.
Pin Itmustardy kale salad
Even Ryan, my mustard-hating husband, gave it his stamp of approval. That's really saying something, because the kale is covered in a mustard-based dressing and there's no hiding the flavor of it! He even went so far as to say he loved the dressing! I think the perfection of this recipe is something in the way the various elements work together. I wouldn't have necessarily combined kale (in a mustard dressing, no less), with roasted sweet potato, sliced apples, chopped almonds, and shaved parmesan, but the meeting of these ingredients is absolutely divine! 
kale salad
Has my gushing convinced you yet? If not, perhaps the fact that this is a 30 minute meal will! While the potatoes are roasting, dress the kale and set it aside to soften. By the time you've finished chopping the almonds, slicing the almond, and shaving some cheese, your potatoes are soft. Throw it all together and dinner is served! (Note: we've also sauteed the potatoes until soft instead of roasting them and they were just as wonderful that way!)

One Year Ago: Easy Meals for College Students
Two Years Ago: Portobello Mushrooms and Goat Cheese Sliders & Asian Turkey Sliders
Three Years Ago: Mexican Stuffed Mushrooms & Peach and Brie Panini
Four Years Ago: Homemade Kettle Corn

Saturday, September 14, 2013


NYC Skyline
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Instead of my usual odds & ends post today, I want to do a quick recap of our recent trip to New York City. This is the third time we've been to NYC since we've been married--first a 24 hour whirlwind in the middle of our trip to Connecticut and then last August we spent a weekend there visiting my friend Katie, who had recently moved there after her June wedding.
Central Park
Given that Katie's one of my favorite people ever and she happens to live in a city we really love, it was no question of whether we'd return this summer. We spent Labor Day weekend trouncing around Manhattan and the Bronx, where Katie and Matt live, and are already counting down until next year's trip! 

If you came for Odds & Ends or a recipe, come back Monday for regularly scheduled blogging! I like to capture our trips on The Sweets Life, both for the benefit of readers who might be visiting those places, and to capture memories via an online travel journal of sorts. 

A few of this year's NYC trip highlights...

Things we did:

  • Visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. None of the four of us had visited this art museum, and we had fun exploring for a few hours. Highlights included the Everyday Epiphanies photography exhibit, recognizing art from Degas and Monet and Van Gogh, and (some) of the modern art. Don't miss a visit to the rooftop, where you'll see incredible views of the city!
  • Meandered through Central Park. Walking through Central Park never gets old, in part because there is so much to explore. This was the first time we walked (not ran) through the park, and it was nice to enjoy the scenery a bit more. We ate a picnic lunch, people-watched, and checked out the conservatory gardens. 
  • Indulged my foodie self at the Union Square Greenmarket, Eataly, and Fish's Eddy. I drooled over the fresh cheeses and bright vegetables at the market, watched chefs make orecchiette pasta in Eataly, and wanted to bring home one of everything from Fish's Eddy! 
  • Saw Jersey Boys. I love (love! love!) musicals, and couldn't resist the opportunity to see a show on Broadway while we were there. We didn't realize how much of Frankie Valli's music we'd recognize, and it was fun to see the songs come to life on stage. All four of us were blown away by the talent these actors have! 
  • Went to the US Open. Okay, this was Ryan and Matt, not me, but it bears mentioning. It was by far the highlight of Ryan's weekend! The boys went Sunday night and saw Djokovic destroy Sousa as well as Li beat Jankovic in the women's singles. Ryan already has his hopes set on attending next year, and with all the hype, I'm wondering if I should join him!
  • Enjoyed quality time with friends. Although we did a lot of great things over the weekend, this was the primary reason we came. It was so fantastic to spend so much time with Katie, and fun to see the boys get to know each other much better too. It's always better when the husbands love each other too, am I right?! Distance hasn't hindered our friendship in any way, but there's nothing like spending time face to face. Love you Katie!
New York City Restaurants
Places we ate:
  • Bistro SK. Matt & Katie took us to this little French restaurant, located on City Island in the Bronx on Thursday night when we landed. Aside from a great ambience on the back patio, we all loved our meals. Matt will tell you that the burger there really is the best he's ever had (I sampled and have to admit...it was a darn good burger!), but I couldn't resist the French onion soup and beet salad. Ryan enjoyed the soft-shell crab, a special of the day, and liked it so much I didn't even get a bite!
  • Wrap-N-Run. We grabbed wraps to eat in Central Park at this little sandwich shop. It's crowded and tiny, but the employees were incredibly friendly and the portions were huge! It's a great place to grab a quick lunch if you're wanting to picnic in the park (probably a 10 minute walk from the park). 
  • Satya Eastern Kitchen. We were in need of a quick lunch before heading to our matinee of Jersey Boys and popped into this fast casual Asian restaurant. As disappointed as I was to not have time to wait in Shake Shack's lines, this hit the spot! I highly recommend their dumplings, and we were obsessed with the crispy seaweed and lotus root chips that came with Ryan's sandwich!
  • Shake Shack. I'm dying to know if this place lives up to the hype, but alas, it was not meant to be this trip! We did manage to grab shakes here (the ice cream line is much, much shorter!), but I'll be back to try the burgers! I was only half-impressed by the black & white shake (vanilla with fudge)...it's hard when you live in the city of the best custard ever. Next time I'll go with my gut and order one of their fantastic sounding concretes...I prefer eating with a spoon over a straw!
  • L'asso NYC. This funky little spot off the main drag in Little Italy was a great place to pop in for dinner. Their pizzas are looooong and rectangular, vs. round, and although they have a ton of unique sounding pizzas, I think some of their classics are their best. The tomato sauce here is to die for and my favorite pizza featured thick pieces of bacon and roasted brussels sprouts! 
  • The Wicked Wolf. While the boys were at Arthur Ashe stadium watching tennis, Katie and I grabbed dinner at this pub near their place in the Bronx. We both ended up with the hamburger, topped with cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions. The burgers were HUGE, but that didn't stop me from taking down nearly the entire thing, along with a plate of fries. Needless to say, it was a great meal to end our trip on, and one that kept me full for a good 18 hours!
So many fun things and good eats...can't wait to introduce Baby McLaury to NYC next summer!

One Year Ago: Caramelized Onion, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Pizza with Fig Jam
Two Years Ago: Pesto Berry Balsamic Flatbread with Goat Cheese
Three Years Ago: Hot Bean and Cheese Dip
Four Years Ago: Veggie Bagel Sandwich

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sloppy Joes

easy sloppy joes
Homemade Sloppy Joes
I’ve made sloppy joes a few different times over the past couple years. There were the rather unique Bombay Sloppy Joes, featuring pistachios, raisins, and cilantro (so good!!). Last year I made the Buffalo Sloppy Joes which are a must make for any buffalo wings fans! This time I stuck with a more traditional joe. These are hardly more difficult than opening up a can of the premade sloppy joe mix, but they taste infinitely fresher.

Pin Iteasy sloppy joes
The type of BBQ sauce you use will impact the flavor quite a bit, so use one you really love. I used a pretty spicy BBQ sauce, which added a lot more heat than most sloppy joes. These make a great weeknight meal because they’ll be ready in less than 30 minutes…save yourself some time this week, double the recipe, and reheat the leftovers!

One Year Ago: Green Bean, Grape, and Bacon Pasta Salad & Banana Mascarpone Muffins with Chocolate Chips
Two Years Ago: Baked Black Beans with Chorizo & Pappardelle with Vegetables, Basil, and Asiago
Three Years Ago: Blushing POM Holiday Cheesecake & Okra, Zucchini, and Tomato Saute
Four Years Ago: Pear & Blue Cheese Spinach Salad & Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels