Another Blog Award?

Gosh! What a wonderful surprise to wake up to! I want to thank Fae for nominating and awarding me with yet ANOTHER award! I am the winner of the Awesome Blog Content Award, awww shucks….I’m the luckiest blogger in the world.

Well, there are some rules for this award, so I thought I pass along some nominations so let’s get started!

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The rules for  Awesome Blog Content Award  are:

1   Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2   Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3  The recipient comes up with a word for each letter of the alphabet and writes about something relevant to that individual.
4   Nominate up to 15 bloggers for >Awesome Blog Content Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5   Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

A-Adventure Time. Okay that’s two words, but I like Adventure Time. I also love having adventures

B-Baker, for I am a baker

C-Chocolate, I am quite the choco-holic

D-Dogs, well in case you don’t know, I’m terribly obsessed with dogs

E-Elephants! I really really like elephants. They’re such majestic creatures

F-Feeding, I love feeding people. I really do

G-Good, I like to think I’m a good person. I really do.

H-Hyper, I am without a doubt a hyper child

I-Ice cream! Because when it’s hot, my freezer always has a pint or two of ice cream. What good, self respecting freezer wouldn’t?

J-Japan, well I was born and bred in Japan and I love that country

K-Kids, I love working with kids. I’m a babysitter and a camp counselor and I loved every minute of it

L-Languages, I can speak 2 quite fluently and am hopefully more fluent in a third. Plus I love languages

M-Musicals, I grew up on musicals and I did musicals all throughout high school. It was a big part of my life 🙂

N-Nails, I’m a nail biter, trying to break the habit though 🙂

O-Optimistic, to a fault

P-Plan, I like to plan things, I like plans. Plans are good

Q-Quidditch.I love Harry Potter and I am a seeker on the NYU Nundu Quidditch team

R-Reader, I love love love books. Ask Pat, I can spend hours in Barnes and Noble/Strand and still go back the next day.

S-Sweet, I have a terrible sweet tooth.

T-Travel. I absolutely LOVE to travel

U-Understanding, that’s me

V-Voice, I like to think I have an interesting voice

W-Water, I love swimming and I love the beach

X-X-rays, I’ve had quite a few of those growing up, luckily no broken bones 🙂

Y-Yummy, I think it’s one of the first English words I learned

Z-Zealous!

 

Now to nominate!

Chocolate and Zucchini

Evil Chef Mom

Picky Palate

How Sweet it Is

Just get off your butt and bake

Girl Makes Food

The Culinary Chronicles

Pencil Kitchen

Parsley, Sage and Sweet

Damn Delicious

Eva Bakes

Casual Baker

From my Sweet Heart

The Party Dress

Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

 

Raspberry Jam

The treat on the right is an apricot gallete, which I tried for the first time. I'll post a recipe once I've figured out once missing from it...raspberry jam perhaps?

The treat on the right is an apricot gallete, which I tried for the first time. I’ll post a recipe once I’ve figured out once missing from it…raspberry jam perhaps?

I love jam. Well more specifically, I love raspberry jam. Slathered on a piece of toast with butter? Yes please! Maybe it’s just me, but today I learned that making your own jam is possibly the easiest thing to make in the whole world. Honestly. I’m being so totally serious right now. It took me maybe less than 30 minutes to make this jam. It’s that easy. Okay, so maybe preparation wise, it takes a little longer, but other than that it’s a cinch. Plus you only need 2 ingredients, a mason jar or two (or more depending on how much you make) and a large pot of boiling water. I unfortunately didn’t have a mason jar, but I had a carton of raspberries that were too sour to eat on their own, so I just made the jam.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-1 cup of raspberries
-1 cup of granulated sugar

To make jam, you just need a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar. If you want to use a pint of raspberries or blueberries or blackberries or strawberries, use a pint of sugar. Yep. You will be using a TON of sugar. Weeeeeeeee

Directions:

  1. In a large pot (one that will fit all of your mason jars and can comfortably have them fully submerged), boil water and drop in the lids and the jars to sterilize them. Keep them in the water for a good 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and dry them thoroughly.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the raspberries in a pot and crush them with a potato masher, a wooden spoon, a fork (just mash them). Add in the sugar and stir them together. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue stirring, scrap down the sides if you need to. Lower the heat to a simmer and let the mixture cook until the mixture can coat a metal spoon. The mixture should be thick, but still able to drip off the spoon. In other words, it should drip off very very slowly.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared jars, but don’t overfill! There should be at least 1/2 an inch between the level of jam and the top of the jar. Screw on the lids and put them back into the large pot. Pour more water (if necessary) so that thee jars are covered with water. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, keep the jars in the pot for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the hot water onto paper towels, newspapers, or regular towels and let them cool for 24 hours.

See? Wasn’t that easy or rather doesn’t it sound easy? The processing (boiling the jars) is to get rid of any bacteria that may be in the jars that could potentially cause food poisoning. While some people may argue that it’s not necessary, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Because I didn’t have proper mason jars, I wasn’t exactly able to process the jam properly (the jar was too big for the largest pot Pat had). I did close the lid of the jar and put it in boiling water though. I’ll let you know if I get food poisoning or not. Hopefully, I won’t. Until then!

mmmm jam

mmmm jam

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

p.s Again, I’m so so so sorry about photo quality. I really really must get a nice camera soon.

Quick and Easy Lasagna

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So I’m a huge fan of lasagna and the last time I made it was in high school, where my dad helped me make the meat sauce from scratch and the end result was amazing. Unfortunately, I don’t have the access to everything needed for making lasagna totally from scratch (not to mention I’m still unemployed this summer. More time for cooking I guess?), so I did what any resourceful chef would do and decided to make the lasagna as well as I could make it. I made meat sauce from “scratch” for Pat and me a few nights ago, cooking ground beef and mixing it with pasta sauce, so I decided to do the same for the lasagna. Not only does this cut like 1 to 2 hours of cooking time, making it a weeknight friendly recipe, but it also makes shopping a little less hectic (You’ll probably already have most of the ingredients in your house). This may not be the best lasagna, but I can guarantee that it’s probably the quickest and easiest way of making lasagna that I know.

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-3/4 lb of ground meat
-1/2 onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, diced
-1 can tomato pasta sauce
-15 oz ricotta
-1 bag shredded mozzarella
-1 egg
-Lasagna noodles
-salt and pepper to taste
-Parmesan, topping

Directions:

  1. Cook the diced onion and the garlic until the onions are translucent. Heat a large pot of water with a little bit of salt. Add in the ground beef and cook until the meat is browned. Pour in the pasta sauce and cook until well heated. Reduce the heat to a simmer. IMG_3191Boil the lasagna noodles until slightly cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Make sure to stir ever once in a while so that the pasta doesn’t stick together. IMG_3192
  2. Set aside a bit of mozzarella (about 1/2 a cup) in a small bowl. In a mixing bowl, mix the egg, ricotta and the rest of the mozzarella together and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (or 190 degrees C)
  3. Drain the pasta and toss with a little bit of olive oil. IMG_3193Layer the bottom of a baking dish and add a layer of pasta. Spread the ricotta and mozzarella mixture over the pasta and top with another layer of meat sauce. IMG_3196Repeat until you almost reach the top of the baking dish. IMG_3195End with a meat layer and sprinkle the mozzarella that you set aside over the top. If you have any left over ricotta mixture, dot it along the top and sprinkle parmesan over the top.IMG_3197
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Let it cool for 15 minutes and enjoy!

This was a delicious lasagna. I apologize for the horrible photo quality, I was using my iphone. I really need to get a proper camera. After eating the lasagna, Pat and I were stuffed. I definitely recommend this. If you have the time, then make the meat sauce from scratch, but I thought that this recipe would be more cooking friendly to those of us who can’t spend 3 or more hours on dinner. By all means, add your own spices. I feel like the lasagna meat sauce could have used more spices like oregano and basil, but with a limited spice cupboard, what can a college girl do? I might even add some vegetables into the meat sauce like zucchini or broccoli to up the health content of this recipe…

Well until then, Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

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It’s a weekend morning and what’s a better way to start the day than pancakes for breakfast or even better, chocolate chip pancakes? I honestly don’t know. I mean pancakes, yogurt and some fruit makes one of the best breakfasts out there. Sure it’s not the healthiest, but hey, if you make it from scratch how bad can it be? To make these, I usually just follow a simple pancake batter recipe and then toss in some chocolate chips. You could also toss in raspberries or butterscotch chips or blueberries or any other fruit as well. I mean, pancakes are an awesome base. Seeing as Pat and I are pretty big Adventure time fans, I’m sure we’ll be making bacon pancakes sometime in the future as well.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-1 1/2 cups AP flour
-1 1/4 cups milk
-3 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1 tbsp sugar
-1 egg
-3 tbsp butter (melted)
-1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Mix together the wet ingredients (egg, milk, butter) until well combined. Add in the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix until smooth. 
  2. Butter a pan and once it’s hot enough (drop a little bit of batter in the pan and if sizzles, its hot enough). Pour the batter into the pan (you can use a ladle or measuring cup) and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Once the edges of the pancake is bubbled and looks dry, take a rubber spatula and flip the pancake. Once the pancake is nice and browned, remove it from the pan and repeat with the rest of the batter.
  3. Top with maple syrup or whipped cream and enjoy!

I understand that it’s a super easy recipe, but I thought it was better than nothing!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Barbecue Block Party

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That is indeed a whole hog

If any of you were in Manhattan this weekend and managed to wander by Madison Square Park, you wouldn’t have been able to resist the tempting, smoky aromas of brisket, pulled pork and ribs wafting from all the different barbecue stands. What was going on you ask? Well this weekend was the 11th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block party and boy was it delicious! If you don’t know what this block party is, let me enlighten you. It began over a decade ago to introduce New Yorkers to the real deal that is barbecue. There are multiple barbecue stalls sprawled across Madison avenue from 23rd street to 27th, surrounding Madison Square Park with a beer garden right in the center. This year it featured 17 of the country’s all-star pitmasters and me being a huge barbecue fan (more specifically pulled pork lover) I grabbed Pat and we made our way to the party.

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Why hello there you delicious sandwich, why don’t you come cuddle up to my tastebuds?

First up was, of course, the pulled pork. Now there were three places where you can satisfy your craving for a pulled pork sandwich: Blackjack Barbecue, Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q and Ubon’s Barbecue of Yazoo. I settled for Ubon’s and the it was absolutely delicious. They served the sandwich without any fixens, in other words, barbecue sauce. So that one could choose how much to put on at a time. Ubon’s special sauce, was a bit too sweet for me though, so I ended up filching some barbecue sauce from Hill Country’s stand where Pat grabbed some beef brisket (more on that later). The pulled pork shoulder sandwich was cooked to perfection. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender with a slight smoky hint that instead of overpowering the meat created depth. While it was delicious on it’s own, I did welcome the barbecue sauce which they give you the choice of adding on your own. But other than the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of their barbecue sauce, I still enjoyed it and honestly, I was more interested in getting my hot little hands on the sandwich itself.

Next, we got the beef brisket. There were a few places to get brisket, but we chose Hill Country. I, unfortunately forgot to take a photo of the brisket, but it was pretty darn good. It came accompanied with a cucumber salad, which was totally refreshing in the heat and the brisket slices smothered in barbecue sauce, with a hint of honeyed sweetness, was delicious. The meat was tender and had a perfectly seared crust that added a slight contrast to the soft meat underneath. However, being a fan of lean meats, I thought the brisket was a tad too fatty for my taste.

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Pat then got the whole hog from Skylight Inn, but I was too full to try it. He did assure me that it was good, so I suppose it was. A hodge podge of different meats from the entire hog, it’s sure to please anyone. In the sense of texture, it resembled pulled pork, but obviously it was quite different.

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Since I had a hankering for something sweet to wash it all down, Pat and I decided to split a fried fruit pie from Original Fried Pie Company (quite the original name I know). This stand probably had the longest line that I was in that day, but it was totally worth it. When I got there, I was given a choice of blackberry or cherry (my friend said that they had apple, peach, and cherry the day before, but I assume they ran out?). I settled on the blackberry pie. The pie was piping hot when I got it and delicious to boot. While it was obvious that they weren’t frying it right on the spot, the crust was still crunchy and yielded a sweet, gooey filling. Though I would have loved to eat it with ice cream, there was none and well, it was still delicious on it’s own! I found the filling to be a bit too sweet, but that wasn’t a problem at all. Despite being fried, the crust didn’t feel oily or heavy and it was such nice contrast to the smooth jam-like filling within. I’m definitely craving another one, but unfortunately there are no stores located in NYC. I guess that means I have a new baking project coming up.

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After that Pat and I, along with Pat’s friend (who ate the salt and pepper ribs from Blue smoke, I tried them last year and they were amazing!) headed to the beer section for some beers and hard cider for me. It was delicious and afterwards we headed off to get away from the throngs of people. I definitely can’t wait for next year’s barbecue block party!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Back in the U.S of A

Hello!

First of all, what a pleasant surprise! Thank you so much Fae for awarding me the Shine On Award & Versatile Blogger Award 🙂

I’ve actually been back in NYC for a week now. Unfortunately, I’m still not settled into my new apartment and well it’s hard to bake without a kitchen. I am currently staying with my boyfriend Pat 🙂 Unfortunately, his oven doesn’t seem to be working. But I will hopefully be cooking again soon. Though I can’t make any promises. I think the earliest I’ll be able to bake will be after all the move-in hullabaloo is over and that won’t be until after the 12th of June. Whew. But in other news, I will be going in for a kitchen trailing at Sweet Revenge this friday and hopefully after that I’ll be baking and cooking my way through the summer there 🙂 Though I doubt I’ll be able to share their recipes with you. Don’t worry, I’ll make stuff on my own too!

Until then I’m currently just making burgers and mac’n’cheese from a box on Pat’s stovetop! And the occasional 5 minute chocolate mug cake 😉

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi