4.24.2017

Cookware Gifts | Personal Creations


While searching for Mother's Day gifts, I came across a website that had personalized cookware. I was more excited to buy stuff for myself, rather than my mom and mother in law! Being that I will be celebrating my 30th next weekend (!!!!), I did buy myself a couple things. I am so happy with how everything turned out; a pie dish for my sister in law Liz, a pot for my mom Nancy, a baking sheet and personalized cover for my mother in law Debbie (not pictured), and a casserole dish with chili bowls for myself! I highly recommend Personal Creations for their cookware gifts!
*This post is not a paid advertisement for Personal Creations, just a personal opinion*


4.18.2017

Blackened Chicken Pasta Salad


Recently, I went to a "mom meetup" from a group I am apart of. Five of us new moms and our babies met up at a house and we did a meet & greet. The host, Christina, made a delicious pasta salad that I could not stop eating! So here is my version tonight, topped with blackened chicken. Thanks for the recipe idea, Christina!


Servings: 4-6
Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the chicken - 
1.5 lb chicken cutlets or tenderloins
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp adobo
Salt, pepper to taste
1/2 stick butter, melted


For the pasta-
1 12 oz box of pasta (tri-color rotini)
2 tbs olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, sliced then halved
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tbs butter
Fresh mozzarella (~4 oz), either in balls or chopped up into bite size pieces
Scallions, chopped
1/2 cup italian dressing
Grated Parmesan cheese




Directions:

1. In a small bowl, mix seasonings for chicken rub. Coat chicken in butter, then dredge in the rub. Cook chicken on BBQ, medium high heat, for a total of 8-10 minutes - flipping halfway - until cooked through. Cut into bite size pieces (to later add to pasta).

2. Boil pasta per box directions. Strain and transfer into large serving dish.

3. Heat oil in medium sauté pan on medium heat. Cook shallots and zucchini for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add butter, and a pinch of salt. Add zucchinis and shallots to the pasta.

4. Add mozzarella, cooked chicken and Italian dressing, stirring until all pasta is coated. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and scallions on top. Serve warm to cool.

Boneless Short Ribs

Short ribs, the way to my husband's heart. Any restaurant that lists short ribs on the menu, Kevin is ordering them. I knew I had to perfect a recipe of my own so that I could treat him every now and again. I think one of the most important things about this recipe is the quality of meat you purchase. We have such a wonderful butcher near by called Cow Palace and their prices and quality are top notch. I like serving the short ribs over risotto, couscous, or mashed potatoes. One of our favorite restaurants (Frisky Oyster, Greenport NY), serves their boneless short ribs with an Asian sauce and pecans! It is divine.


Servings: 4
Cook time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours

Ingredients:
2 tbs olive oil
2 lbs boneless short ribs
1 large white onion, cut into large slices
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped in quarters
5 garlic cloves, whole
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth
6-7 sprigs of thyme, tied
Salt & pepper, to taste


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Cut meat into desired servings
Season meat generously with salt & pepper

2. Heat (an oven proof) large dutch oven on medium/high heat with olive oil. Sear meat until browned on all sides (~6-7 minutes total)

3. Remove meat and set aside. Add onion, carrots and garlic, cooking for about 3-4 minutes. Add meat back in, with red wine and bring to boil.

4. Lower to medium heat, adding thyme and beef stock. Bring liquid to a boil, then transfer pot to heated oven, letting cook for ~2 hours, until tender.

5. Remove meat from pot, and serve whole or shredded over risotto, couscous or mashed potatoes.

**Optional: Remove meat from pot, and use a hand mixer to transform onions, carrots, garlic and liquid into a gravy.

4.14.2017

Kiss My Apron: On the Menu

The weeks are flying by with this new child of mine! She is 10 weeks old and sleeping 7 hours at night. I am back to work part time which leaves me time to really plan dinners and cook for hubby again. Plus with no more nausea and sickness from pregnancy, I have been eating like crazy! Kevin is babysitting Kora for the first time by himself today because I had a meeting and our babysitter was sick..Wishing him lots of luck today!


The upcoming menu helps us plan out what we need to buy for the week, and allows us to focus on meals that use the same ingredients so they don't go to waste. This has been a true time and money saver. What day would you choose to eat over?

Friday: Date night! We are having our first dinner date tonight while grandma nanny babysits.
Saturday: Braised boneless short ribs with mushroom truffle risotto (Recipe from Uncle/Chef John)
Sunday: Happy Easter! I am making Brown Eyed Baker's Sweet Potato Gratin and my husband is making his famous Guacamole.
Monday: Hoisin Chicken Stir fry over white rice
Tuesday: Spicy Beef Tacos with tostones
Wednesday: One Pan Chicken, Zucchini, Potatoes by the Recipe Critic (this one has to be cook at a higher temperature than said, otherwise it doesn't cook thru! other than that, it is an awesome dish)
Thusrday: Crock pot Root beer pulled pork with bacon mac and cheese
Friday: Cheese Raviolis with a Spring Garden salad & Fried Goat cheese

3.26.2017

Kiss My Apron's Homemade Chili


My go to chili recipe! Usually served over white rice, or it goes great by itself (with fritos too - yum)!

Serves: 6-10
Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb ground beef
1/8 cup jarred jalapeños, chopped
2 tbs jalapeño juice
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 tbs ground cumin
1/2 tbs chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp red pepper flakes
salt & pepper, to taste
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can white beans
1 15 oz can pink beans
1/2 cup beef broth
Toppings: Cheese, Sour cream, Jalapeños, Fritos, Bacon, Scallions - the possibilities are endless!

Directions

1. In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat oil on medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Add jalapeños, jalapeño juice, carrots, and seasonings. Stir until throughly mixed.

3. Add crushed tomatoes, beans and broth. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes. Lower heat and simmer chili for about 50 minutes, until thickened.

4. Serve hot by itself or over white rice, and finish with your choice of toppings!






Hoisin Chicken Cashew Stir fry


This is a staple meal for my family. It is easy to make in large amounts in case you are having some company, and uses most ingredients that people keep at home. There is something about chicken and cashews together! Leave some feedback and let us know if you like it!

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serve over white rice


Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
2 egg whites
2 tbs corn starch
1 tbs sherry vinegar
2 tbs stir fry oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 cup carrots, sliced thin
4 oz sliced mushrooms
4 oz sliced water chestnuts
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt, pepper to taste
(*note: to make this recipe quicker, they sell bags of mixed veggies that can be used in place of fresh)

Directions:

1. In a medium size bowl, mix egg whites, corn starch, and sherry together. Place chicken in bowl, and mix until chicken is fully coated.

2. In a large wok, heat 1 tbs oil on medium-high heat. Add peppers, garlic, onion, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and water chest nuts. Cook about 5-7 minutes. Remove veggies from wok, and set aside.

3. In same wok, heat 1 tbs oil on medium-high heat. Brown chicken, about 2-3 minutes on each side, until almost cooked through. Add cooked vegetables, and cashews to the wok (with the chicken). Mix together.

4. Add hoisin sauce, soy, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir well. Simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Serve over white rice.







3.10.2017

Newborn Photos - Cooking theme

As a food blogger, this is one theme I had to go with! I can't believe baby Kora was tiny enough to fit in my mixing bowl. Today she is one month old, but these pictures were taken at just 9 days old! Already time is going too fast!


2.23.2017

Onion and Beet Salad


Love this salad that my mom often makes. 

Spring Lettuce Mix
Sliced Red Onion
Organic yellow beets
Honey roasted pecans
Feta cheese

Dressing: Extra virgin Olive Oil, drizzled with balsamic

Super Bowl Sunday 2017

37 weeks pregnant, my last "bump" photo!

Even though the New York Giants weren't in the super bowl this year, I was still excited for the game! I called some family and asked if we could get together for Sunday's super bowl, and we each could make a new recipe to try. They agreed to the good idea!

Since my baby's due date was today (2/23), I knew I had some time to enjoy myself the next couple of weeks. I decided to bring a Pillsbury recipe, pull apart bread with spinach and mozzarella (recipe here) - it's so good and I highly recommend you try it! My husband made two homemade salsas, one spicy and one salsa verde. We got to my aunt's house and started to indulge in the delicious apps. We planned to eat dinner right before the 6:20pm game start (Falcons vs. Patriots).


My big ole' belly was tightening with no pain (they call that Braxton Hicks), and my baby's hiney was sticking out high up on my stomach. I asked my grandma to feel it, and she did with light pressure. When she pressed my belly, I felt a weird pain causing me to stand up and head to the bathroom. On my way there after just a few steps, the flood gates opened - my water broke! My jeans were soaked down to my ankles, and it was not stopping! I was in absolute disbelief. At almost 3 weeks early, how could my water break already?! I've had zero changes, zero contractions. I had just been to the doctors office three days before, where they said my cervix was closed and it would still be a couple more weeks! WHAT?! My husband thought this was a joke, and my dad stared at me with a white, pale face. My eyes were bulging while I hold my legs together as tight as I could.

I panicked a bit, as we were about an hour and half away from the hospital. As a first time mom, I had no idea what was to come. I called the on call doctor, and the hospital to let them know we were going to be there in about 90 minutes. I knew I had to stop home first to get our bags. We quickly left my aunt's house, and Kevin drove about 85 mph on the expressway until we made it home. I got out of the car, and again, the flood gates opened! Where was all this water coming from?! lol We quickly grabbed our bags (thank goodness we packed them the week before), and grabbed our camera too. On the way to the hospital the on call doctor rang, and asked if I was having contractions. He mentioned maybe waiting at home until contractions were painful and close together, but I told him I was already on my way to the hospital (which was now 45 minutes away). He okayed me.

We arrived to the Emergency room where they had a wheel chair waiting for me. I got checked in to labor and delivery and I still couldn't believe I was about to meet this baby. Within 30 minutes, the contractions started and quickly progressed. Oh, the pain! I planned to go natural (no epidural). After 3 hours, I reached 4 cm dilation and the pain was pretty unbearable.  With each contraction, the baby's heartbeat dropped drastically and my body shook uncontrollably. We all decided an epidural would be best for the situation, and I agreed. We had to wait for the anethesiaologist and doctor to arrive (which conveniently was after the game ended)!!! I got my epidural and the pain disappeared as fast as I could blink. I thanked God at that point!!


Just hours later, I was fully dilated to 10 cm and the epidural had worn off. I could feel everything, and the doc came in and said it was time to push! 24 minutes of pushing, my beautiful girl was placed on my chest. My husband next to me, my mom with a front view next to my doctor, and the wonderful, helpful nurses on my other side. It was the most perfect experience of my life, I was feeling so extremely blessed.

Kora Rose, born at 4:14am on 2/6/17 weighing in at 6 lbs 8 oz and 19.5 inches long.




1.26.2017

Kiss My Apron: Bumpdate - 36 Weeks


Started off the new year in much better shape! My morning sickness has decreased from 7x a week to only 1x a week! At 35/36 weeks, I gained my first few pounds - finally! We have 4 short weeks to go until our due date, and I have already experienced contractions a couple of times. Other than getting sick once a week, I don't have many symptoms. All my tests have come back great, baby is measuring on track, and we are all ready for baby girl's arrival after the help from family and friends at our baby shower!


My baby shower was winter themed and it came out beautiful. It took a lot of hard work from my mom, aunt Tina, Kevin & I! We rented tables, chairs and linens, and I prepared all the activities myself. The shower was thrown at my parents house in Cutchogue, Long Island NY, and had about 40 people there. Here are some pics!







Head band making station


Elephant sign in guest painting





Time Capsule notes for Kora's Sweet 16                                             "Advice for the parents" cards
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Hanging clothes lines







"Guess how many kisses"                                                           The best cheesecake ever!


35 weeks pregnant


We also had a maternity shoot done by our friend, and neighbor, Ali O'Brien! She did a wonderful job, and I'm so thankful to have these belly memories. I had hired a photographer and scheduled a snow shoot, but it snowed a lot more than expected and the photographer was unable to make it! Our friend, Ali, filled in and was a real trooper standing out in the cold with us to get some shots! Kevin also took some of me at my parents house. Thanks, Ali!!