Friday, October 30, 2009

Apple Cidar Yummyness


Sorry I'm still a bit MIA. I'm still working out the kinks with my apartment and I actually have no kitchen supplies (including a knife!) since I left it at my parents house. I'm going home this weekend to pick up some essentials so hopefully I will be cooking next week!

The farmer's market near my work sells apple cidar donuts among many other delicious fall treats. The other day I decided to splurge and spend the $1 which bought me two!

They're whole wheat donuts that come plain or with sugar.



Sooooooooo good!!! They didn't have any plain left the first time I went so I got the sugared, which was a tad too sweet for me. I went back again yesterday and finally tried the plain which was exponentially better! It's really not that sweet and is light and fluffy inside. It also has a hint of cinnamon in it - which I love. I kept them on my desk for about 5 hours and they weren't stale at all!

Fresh and delicious!

This may become a Thursday ritual :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beer Goes with IKEA


Katy came over last night to help me assemble my kitchen table and chairs from IKEA. Gosh, I love that store!

We knew that we were in for the long haul so we decided the pumpkin ale was in order. I had never tried it and Katy's been raving about fruit beers for quite a while.


This brew was quite enjoyable, I have to say. I usually never finish my beers and I had every last drop of this one. The first sip was quite surprising - it was very spicy with a hint of pumpkin. As I kept sipping though, the pumpkin flavor came out and I think I just got more used to the spice. Yum! Katy said that this was one of her less favorite pumpkin ales but I thought it was DElicious!!! Will try another kind, for sure.

And then we tackled this guy...



It's a good thing I was drinking alcohol while assembling these pieces because even though we ran into a few kinks here and there, I didn't mind at all! It was actually pretty easy to assemble (thanks to my power tools.) I'd like to add a disclaimer - I do not advise drinking and using power tools normally but I knew that I could handle it. And if you're saying to yourself, "one beer shouldn't really have an effect on someone's faculties," clearly you have never met me. In any case, it came out beautifully...


We then sat down to dinner at my newly built table:


Yup, that was dinner. And boy was it goooooood. Katy's mom made homemade German Chocolate Cake with a lovely coconut frosting. It was one of the best cakes I've ever eaten in my whole entire life. No joke.

Thanks, Katy's mom!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Guest Blogger: Spencer

Today was a very exciting day for me. Growing up one of my fondestfall memories has always been my mom's chocolate chip pumpkin bread!I have a major weakness for all things pumpkin and all thingschocolate. For the first time ever, I attempted to make my mom'sbread. The recipe is pretty basic. Basically amazing.

Here is everything that you need.


First, add 6 eggs, 3 Cups of pumpkin (2 small cans or 1 big can) and 1.5 C oil in a mixing bowl.

I love the look of pumpkin.



Mix well. Such a happy color!


Next add:
4.5 C flour
4 C sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cloves
I tend to sprinkle in a little extra spice no matter what I'm making. How beautiful is this? I was tempted to just eat the ground cloves, they smelled so good.

Blend everything together. Mmmmm.


Next, add 2 C chocolate chips. My mom used semi-sweet, but I went for DARK chocolate!


Sitr gently.


Pour equally into 4 loaf pans sprayed with Pam (or other non-stickspray). Bake at 350 for approximately 1 hour.


Check for doneess a little early with a knife, and watch until the knife comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before turning outonto cooling racks. So says my mother, but in my excitement I made the mistake of trying to turn out the first loaf too soon, and I tore off the bottom crust.


I also didn't wait for the loaves to cool before slicing, so there wasa little bit of crumbling. Once cool, it stays fluffy but firm. It was a big hit at the potluck I was rushing to get to! It brought backa lot of happy fall feelings from childhood. Leftovers store well in a plastic bag for several days, though it never made it that long in our house!











Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Post Has Nothing To Do With Food

Some people (ahem...Sonoko) have complained that my apartment post had nothing to do with food so I'm letting you all know up front that this doesn't either. Although I will say, that apartment post was an EXTRA posting.

In any case, some of you have requested to see photos of my new apartment. I went today to pick up my keys and took some pictures for your viewing pleasure!

Here's my kitchen...


My living room...


Hallway...


Bathroom in desperate need of a good Shion scrub...


Bedroom with two closets...



So there it is! I cannot wait to decorate!

I'm going to have to take a break from blogging for a little bit (hopefully not more than a few days) since I will be busy busy busy! In the meantime, feel free to send me a post my way at shion.newyork@gmail.com.

Woot!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Packing Up and Packing It In!

I have to say, packing up an apartment by yourself is kinda lonely :*(


Goodness, I am TIRED! I packed up about 3/5 of my stuff tonight, did a load of laundry, and cleaned out most of my fridge. I LOVE being productive although my back hurts a bit...

I just had some leftovers tonight so I thought I would shared last night's dinner with you all.

Erica came over and I again served her mac 'n cheese. That poor girl! Remember the last time I cooked for her? Ah well - I still had some mac 'n cheese that I wanted to eat up before I moved so I forced her to have it again :) Nicole came over to so I decided to make two boxes.

Ingredients:
2 boxes of Annie's Mac 'n Cheese
1 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cups of chopped veggies (I used red bell pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, and green beans)

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package.

Add 1 cup skim milk to packaged cheese and also add in shredded cheese in a separate bowl. Any cheese will do but I got cheddar since it was pretty cheap. Mix it all up.

Drain pasta and add cheese mixture. Stir in mixed veggies and add mustard and pepper. I forgot to add hot sauce but here is when I would have added it.

Mix it all up and serve!



Even though it was packaged mac 'n cheese, half of it was veggies so I felt good about eating it. I had all the veggies on hand so it was quick and easy!

I also have some mini-bell peppers so if anyone has any good recipes for it, please let me know!

I'm going to take a break from packing and call it a night with a book and a hot cup of tea. I still have no idea when my move-in date is and I'm hoping when I pick up my keys tomorrow there will be electricity. Oh, the joy of moving...

Good night!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries!


I've been wanting to make sweet potato fries for such a long time and with the weather being so cold and miserable on Saturday, it seemed like the perfect time to turn the oven on. I love fall vegetables - pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes... Not only are the flavors wonderful but I love the colors as well! I love celebrating seasons!

I had turned my computer on to try to look at recipes for sweet potato fries online but I got distracted and shut it down before browsing recipes so I was on my own for these fries.

First, I cut the sweet potato into strips. I had originally wanted to make them a little bit elongated but I've never cooked with a sweet potato before and didn't realize how hard it was! Cutting through it required a lot of muscle!

Once cut, I put it on a baking sheet and doused it with olive oil, salt, and pepper.




I baked them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes and tossed them around a little.

They weren't browning as much as I liked, so then I increased the temperature to 425 degrees for the last ten minutes.

PERFECTION!!!


I'm pretty sure I put too much olive oil in it so I would keep it to about 2 Tablespoons per medium-sized sweet potato.

I think the temperature increase midway through was a good idea because it was crispy on the outside and sweet soft on the inside. I'm not sure if that would've happened if it would have stayed that way had the temperature been consistent. But I'm sure it would tasted great regardless.

Of course I had it with a healthy dose of ketchup and sriracha sauce with egg whites.


This is definitely more than one serving of sweet potatoes but it was two meals in one so I wasn't concerned. However, in the future, I will definitely split this with someone else :)

Yummers!!!!!

FINALLY!!!

Guess who found an apartment?!
It's me! What do we think of either of these color schemes below?





The thought of having to repaint my current apartment is making me sick and I'm really not wanting to paint my new one...

I shared this post with my co-worker Katy, who was with me in this apartment search every step of the way, and she claims that this has nothing to do with food so now I have to say...

"I can't wait to see what fun, new recipes I come up with in my new apartment!"

;)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm in my late twenties! Eek!

I had a super special birthday weekend with friends and family. I've been celebrating my birthday since Tuesday, when I went out to dinner with 7 of my friends, and plan to continue celebrating until this Tuesday! :)

Last night, Spencer drove us to Jersey to have a family dinner...






The table was set beautifully by my sister, Sonoko.


She even made nametags for us!


The food was made by my wonderful mother, who made everything from scratch using fresh ingredients!


I made sure to stock up on LOTS of veggies since I haven't been eating very well the last week.



Spencer bought me a Grenache for my birthday and it went perfectly with the lovely meal.


I just can't seem to go wrong with Grenaches! LOVE it!

Spencer and I were on a special mission: decorate the birthday cake!





Yes, folks. That was designed by Spencer and yours truly. It tasted as good as it looks!

Then today, I met my friend Emily at Tea and Sympathy. I've been wanting to go for a LONG time and this was the perfect occasion! It's a very small place with limited seating but everyone there (patrons and wait staff) was very patient and accommodating.

Everyone who works there has a lovely British accent and in fact, most of the patrons were British as well. That's when you know you're at a true English tea!

We started with a pot of Earl Grey tea...


We decided to split the Afternoon Tea for Two, which came with finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of cakes.


The sandwiches included: egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, and cucumber. I was a little disappointed they didn't have smoked salmon sandwiches but maybe they're not authentic tea sandwiches? I think my favorite was the chicken salad sandwich.

We didn't eat ALL of it but we came pretty close!


Everything was so delicious! Clotted cream is something I haven't been able to make on my own so it's always a treat to have it.

Even though there were a few people waiting outside for seats, the waitress didn't rush us out, which is pretty rare in these parts. The atmosphere was so pleasant and even the patrons seemed happy and polite. Perhaps that's the British way? (Obviously, I'm making a lot of generalizations here) Give them a few years in New York City and I'm sure they'll be hardened ;)

I then topped off the night with my good friend Erica. I heated up some leftover peanut noodles that my mom had made and chopped up some cauliflower to dip into a sweet chili sauce.


Oh...and a little sauteed bok choy on the side, too. Everything went well together!


Yummers!

Erica brought over some Levain cookies for dessert! Yay! She brought over every kind for us to try.



All of the cookies were amazing (oatmeal raisin, dark chocolate with chocolate chips, chocolate chip with walnuts, and chocolate peanut butter) but my favorite is still the chocolate chip with walnuts. Erica agrees!

I had a fabulous birthday weekend with my loved ones and look forward to continuing the celebration! Yay for birthdays!!!