Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chickpea and Tomato Salad.

Vampires Beware.

Happy Halloween everyone! Does anyone have any super cool Halloween plans? We are headed over to Damian's parents tonight for dinner and handing out candy. I love seeing all the kids and dogs of their neighborhood in costumes. Being a kid in NYC, on Halloween, is much different then it is here in the Midwest. We trick or treated from store to store/restaurant instead of houses. This made for an interesting loot at the end of the night. You could find anything from candy-to-money-to-items the store/restaurant sold. My favorite was always the giant Ice cream cones. 

Last night I made a salad that suddenly feels fitting for the night before Halloween. I added some extra garlic and it really made a difference. This recipe turned out great but I would not suggest going on a date after eating it, you may need to bring a few mints. 

Chickpea and Tomato Salad

What you need:
- 1 Can low sodium Chick Peas/ garbanzo beans
- 1 pint plum tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 10 leaves of fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving

Along side the salad I made a mesquite BBQ pork loin. 

Have a spooooky Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jalapeno Poppers.

The next three weeks cant go by fast enough.

I'm sad, very sad. I took a lot of nice photos of my Monday night dinner and they are all gone. I'm having some serious Iphone issues lately. In three weeks, I'm going to hopefully find an amazing black Friday deal on the camera of my dreams. Looking back I now realize why it was such a good thing I purchased the extended warranty on my Apple Care. I was starting to think that I threw $100 down the drain but have no fear I am still able to break my phone. Fun fact: I went threw 11 BlackBerry's in under 3 years. OH YEAH. So here is my apology for having crappy and non existent photos of what I made.  I will just fill the void with cute photos of animals and children taken from Pinterest

Jalapeno Poppers

What you need:
- 8 small jalapeno's, halved and seeded
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay (I did not have this nor do I know what this is)
- pinch of salt
- 8 pieces of bacon sliced in half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine cream cheese and spices in a small bowl. Spoon mixture into each pepper half. Wrap each in bacon and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes. 

This very blurry  photo is all I have... 

Hope these give you a few laughs!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween + Flan.

Get ready for a long post filled with A LOT of photos.

This past weekend was dubbed "Halloween weekend" at our house. I decorated the apartment, set out the candy bowl, and gathered my costume for a night of fun. On Friday night, Damian and I went over to Caitlin's house to watch The Mighty Ducks to prepare for the boys' costumes the following day. Sometimes relaxing on a Friday night is much needed after a long work week. Remember my negative Halloween feelings? This year was a lot of fun... I think my viewpoint might be changing :) 

First 7 photos courtesy of Neil, Thanks!
Caitlin and I went as Toddlers and Tiaras and Carly was Sophia Grace from the Ellen Show.

The mighty ducks were in full force quacking there way through the party. 

Jason was a hit at the party because we looked just like Psy, everyone loved it!

I had to include this photo because it seriously cracks me up! This is her impression of the toddlers. 

Caitlin made us the most adorable sashes!

He protected his Joey all night... 

The glorious Foosball winners 

Convinced Neil and Eric were cheating... 

Camera shenanigans... 

On Sunday nights, Damian and I head over to his parents house for our dinner ritual. This week was a special treat since his mom spent almost all day making her favorite dish- Pork Mole. I thought I would share some pictures of the meal and dessert. She even made flan for us (one of my favorites!), which is a Spanish desert that resembles a custard with caramel on top. I grabbed the recipe to share with you guys since it was so simple.

This salad was so good!

Pork Mole over egg noodles, orange and red onion salad, and a piece of delicious fresh bread.

Caramel Flan

What you need: 
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 eggs
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating place a 9 inch pie pan in the oven to warm. In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt the 1/3 cup of sugar. Shake and tilt frying pan rather then stir to melt evenly. Once melted, sugar will caramelize quickly and then pour into pie pan. Beat together eggs and the remaining sugar adding the milk and vanilla. Pour egg mixture into the pan and set in the oven. bake for 25 minutes and chill. After chilled, loosen edges with a knife and invert pan with a rimmed serving plate. The flan will slip free with the caramel sauce on top. Cut into wedges and serve. 

It was a more flat then usual flan but it tasted great!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Amore Victoria.

Restaurant Bucket List time. 

Last Sunday, my mom and John traveled from La Crosse to visit Damian and I, have some great food, and do a little shopping. This was their first time seeing the new place and brought a few fun presents along. For just about every holiday, my mom drops off some decorations, increasing my collection. Come check out our fun Halloween decorations and candy bowl! We ate lunch at Amore Victoria, a quaint Italian restaurant in uptown. The food was really good and we managed to snag the Minneapolis- St. Paul restaurant week deal. My mom and I both ordered the same thing off of the prefix menu while the boys switched things up. Afterwards we headed back to our place for some Apple Cider Sangria and a trip to the galleria. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day and I cant wait until the next visit! 

My mom and I ordered the Pumpkin Squash Tortellacci in brown butter, with dried cranberries, pine nuts, and crispy sage. 

We started with the cucumber and feta salad.

Delicious freshly baked bread!

Damian ordered the eggs Benedict with salmon and a side of hash browns.

John chose the Tortellacci All Panna- home style pasta stuffed with veal prepared in a organic cream sauce with mushrooms, prosciutto, and parm cheese

Finally desert came- Pumpkin creme brulee. Boy, was this good. Creme brulee is my favorite dessert so I knew this was a definite choice.  

I almost forgot- Amore Victoria has an awesome rooftop patio! You know where you can find me in the spring... 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

A spin off of childhood grilled cheese dipped in tomato soup. 

In my house, I cant make just any old grilled cheese sandwich. Damian would have to consume four grilled cheese sandwiches to be satisfied for the evening, therefore I loaded 'em up with lots of goodies. Gone are the days of buttery grilled cheese sandwiches loaded with salt. Recess has turned into TV time and going to bed hungry is not an option. This meal is actually pretty simple and you can add the ingredients that you prefer. I stuffed the sandwiches with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and ham. What about the butter? Spray your griddle with some olive oil cooking spray and you are G2G (good to go). 

Easy Tomato Soup

What you need:
- 2 (15oz) containers of chicken broth
- 1 can concentrated crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper for tasting
- Basil for garnish

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine broth and tomatoes. When soup begins to bubble, stir in yogurt and reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally  If you want soup to be thinner, puree soup with an immersion blender or food processor. Serve with basil garnish. 

I cant go on any longer living a lie, what is pictured above is not that recipe. This is low sodium roasted tomato soup from Trader Joe's. That recipe is my tomato soup recipe and I have to say...  I shouldn't have taken the easy way out. I wasn't really a fan of the TJ soup. 

Holy blurry photo while making the sandwich!

I also whipped up a simple salad- lettuce, arugula, fresh tomatoes, avocado, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. 

Dan was our dinner guest and brought this yummy french silk pie that took him all day to make, isn't that amazing? It was delicious!