Hide & Seek

It seems that my camera cord and I are playing hide & seek, and it’s really really good at it. Unfortunately, this post won’t have any pictures that I’ve taken, so I hope that you’ll continue to read based on my charming personality and razor-sharp wit. No? It was worth a shot.

When I got home from Florida, my dad welcomed me with open arms and then held up a bunch of brown bananas and said “can you do something with these?” Aw, shucks, you shouldn’t have. You see, bananas and I haven’t really been the best of friends for the past 20-something years. There’s something about the smell and the texture that isn’t at all appealing to me. I truly enjoy the crunch of a crisp apple and the sweet juice that most fruit produces when bitten into. Bananas just don’t do it for me, but I was willing to work with them instead of tossing them in the trash. Upon opening the fridge, I saw a lonely zucchini and decided that if I could hide the bananas among a tasty zucchini bread, they wouldn’t be too terrible. Oh, and cinnamon. Lots of cinnamon.

A quick search led me to Anja’s Food 4 Thought recipe, which I adapted slightly because, well, that’s what I do. Since I scaled back on the oil in the recipe, I wanted to add a little fat in the form of walnuts and chocolate chips. Everything is better with walnuts and chocolate chips.  I was a little apprehensive to try one, but my family was chowing down on them quickly and they didn’t smell too strongly of bananas. I made mini muffins, so I carefully tore off the the top of the muffin (aka the best part) and took a bite. Even though I’m not a banana fan, these were pretty great. Am I switching to team banana now? Not by a long shot, but I may let it slide if one finds its way into my bread. But stay out of my smoothies, you hear me?

Chocolate Chip Walnut Zucchini Banana Bread

Adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 bananas, mashed

1 medium zucchini, grated

1/2 cup walnuts

1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F

1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2. In a medium bowl, mash bananas and stir in brown sugar. Add egg and yogurt and stir to combine. Fold in shredded zucchini.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mix until incorporated. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.

4. Pour batter into mini muffin tins and bake 10-12 minutes

Thanks for your patience through my lack of pictures. In the mean time, here’s an image from one of my favorite websites, catalogliving.net

Elaine immediately regretted putting small dollops of sour cream on everyone’s plate at her bird-themed luncheon.

–Ariel

Return to Normalcy

Hi, everyone!! Sorry for the leave of absence, but a vacation was in order. For the past week, Mike & I were in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. Mike’s aunt was incredibly gracious and offered to let us stay at the apartment that she has down there so that we could relax and recharge after a very hectic few months(years?). We had the most fantastic time, and I am currently on the hunt for my camera cord so that I can upload pictures to show you! Make sure to check back later today for pictures and a recipe!

–Ariel

Yeee Haw

Since September, I’ve had the privilege of interning with the best team of social workers, nurses, psychiatrists, and nutritionists I could have ever hoped for. Unfortunately, but fortunately at the same time, the school year is ending, so I wanted to make everyone a little something to show my appreciation. Keep in mind that I’m also on a tight budget since this was an unpaid internship.

I found a bunch of glass jars at Marshall’s for $2.99 each, so I  decided I would make something to put inside. I was going back and forth between jam, some sort of preserves, or Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate-peanut spread which my sister made me and I’ve had to use all my willpower not to consumer in one sitting. I remembered seeing cookie mix in a jar somewhere, so I bought a few 1 liter jars and starting searching for recipes

A quick google search lead me to Bakerella’s cowboy cookie post. I kept all the measurements the same except I subbed in butterscotch chips for m&ms (they were on sale) and I omitted the pecans (they were $10/lb! So not happening).

I used random scraps of ribbon I found in my apartment to tie on the little cards I made.

These were a huge hit. Not only do the layers look really pretty but everyone appreciates something homemade. I think I found my new go-to gift idea.

What’s your go-to gift on a budget idea?

–Ariel

Inspirational Excerpts

So I know I’ve been more than MIA the best few weeks, but graduation is right around the corner! Unfortunately, before I turn that corner, I have 2 papers to write, a test to take, an an oral presentation. C’est la vie. For one of my class readings, I was assigned the epilogue from David Treadway’s book Intimacy, Change, and Other Therapeutic Mysteries. The future is a scary thing, and while I’m excited at the prospect of becoming a therapist, I’m also experiencing some anxiety. Here are a few lines from Treadway that I found soothing and inspirational and can be applied to anyone’s life.

“..the only thing we can truly trust is that love hurts. The challenge in our lives is to risk loving anyway and not shy away or avoid responsibility when we do hurt each other.”

“Sometimes we have a great impact on people’s lives, and sometimes we’re just a forgotten name on old check stubs. It takes time for the impact of our work to take root. I remind myself that after the back-breaking effort of planting a new garden, the next morning when one looks out the window, all you’ll see is dirt. You have to give it time.”

“…you will always make mistakes, that the more you learn the more you’ll realize how much you don’t know. Our obligation to all who come to us is to learn from our mistakes, recognize our limitations, and resist taking ourselves too seriously. We need to be able to experience the joy of tears and the tears of joy”

Until next time!

Ariel

Better Nate Than Lever

To quote one of my favorite celebrities, Mindy Kaling, “sometimes you have to pretend it was your plan to be really emotional and not have your shit together.” I had every intention of posting regularly while I was on spring break, and simultaneously, completing a lot of my school work so that it’s no longer looming over my head. Needless to say, neither of those really happened. I am usually your stereotypical type A personality, who spends a lot of time planning and scheduling in an attempt to make the most out of my day. That being said, the past few months have been a real test to see how many punches I can roll with. I’ve been budgeting my time and making schedules, but to quote my mom, “compost happens.”

For the next few weeks (months?) I’m planning on not having a plan. Instead of getting frustrated that things aren’t going the way I anticipated, I’m going to take a chill pill (Xanax? I kid, I kid) and just tackle things as they come.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the various (delicious!) dishes that my sister, my cousin, my mom, and I made for Passover. If you need me, I’ll be over here flying by the seat of my pants.

Matzo Toffee (Crack) Recipe

Ali & I finally made macarons

The most delicious cheesecake I’ve ever made/had

Yeah, that’s right, I made fancy strawberries for the top. Martha, call me!

Alex’s phenomenal date truffles. Recipe to come(?)

Matzo crack + Macarons = omnomnom

Passover Time is the Best Time

Tonight is the start of my favorite holiday of the year- Passover. It is the one time of year that my entire family gets together, shares a looong meal and lots of laughs, as well as fantastic food.

Today will be spent cooking, cleaning, and getting ready for tonight’s seder, so expect some fantastic recipes this week! Just as I go to Marissa’s for Christmas, she comes to my house for Passover. It’s a good thing.

We’re taking advantage of all the delicious seasonal produce that’s available right now, but let’s be serious: in my mind, Passover is about the desserts.

My mom’s Mississippi Praline Meringues. Egg whites, brown sugar, and pecans. Easily my favorite cookie ever

Luckily chocolate is kosher for Passover

My sister and I have therefore dipped everything in sight. Did I mention I also have a cheesecake in the oven?

Be sure to check back for delicious updates. What are your favorite flour/yeast/baking powder free foods?

–Ariel

Out & About

First and foremost, I want to wish my boyfriend Mike a very Happy Birthday!

What better way to celebrate than with red velvet cake pops dipped in nutella and rolled in chocolate chip cookies? Yes, Mike has the biggest sweet tooth ever.

Because Mike and I have tests this week, we celebrated yesterday, and will be semi-studious today. It actually worked out well, since yesterday was sunny and gorgeous, and today is kind of grey and meh. We started out by going on our first spring hike. A nice 6.5 miles to start the day!

You know it’s spring when the skunk cabbage starts to bloom!

It was so nice out that about halfway through the hike, I took off my fleece. This long and arduous winter had me worried that I would never be walking around in just a t-shirt again! We relaxed for a little after our hike, and then headed to Port Jefferson for dinner.

This week happened to be Long Island Restaurant Week, which is always a great way to discover new places to eat. After doing a lot of research, I decided that Fifth Season was the best choice- they change their menu every 12 weeks in order to feature local and seasonal ingredients. The seasonal drink menu alone was fantastic. Mike got an apricot mojito that was delish. I think next time, I’ll try either the lemon basil collins or the ruby red martini.

I only took pictures of what I ordered, because I was too excited to dig in. To start, I had roasted spring vegetables with a kalamata vinaigrette, mesclun greens, polenta croutons and a percorino romano tuille. Mike devoured the tuille since I am not a cheese fan. The vegetables were out of control good. I absolutely love fennel, and roasting it really brought out the licorice flavor.

For the entree, I had Atlantic salmon with squash and zucchini, sweet potatoes, and a coconut ginger jam. I’m not normally a fan of cooked zucchini or coconut, for that matter, but the thin strips remained crispy and flavorful. The coconut was pretty subtle, and enhanced the ginger. I’m sure that you’re wondering why I ordered this dish if I didn’t like a few of the components. Well for starters, a few of the other dishes on the menu that were pescatarain friendly had chorizo and/or pancetta incorporated, and I am not ok with pork. I am also trying to challenge my taste buds to see if I can start to like some of the foods that I normally turn my nose up at.

When I looked at the menu online, I knew Mike would order the molten chocolate cake with caramel and vanilla bean gelato, so I asked if they could put a candle somewhere and write Happy Birthday in chocolate

Did I mention the cake was gluten free? I think because it was just chocolate and butter. Hey, no complaints, here!

My dessert was pretty outrageous as well. Bartlett pear and rhubarb cobbler with caramel mascarpone gelato. I’d never had mascarpone before, but after this gelato, I might have to experiment with it. I really wanted to try their seasonal sorbet, which was ruby red grapefruit and strawberry rhubarb, but I employed my rule of “don’t order anything you can cook at home.” I foresee grapefruit sorbet in my ice cream maker sooner than later.

After dinner, Mike and I took a stroll by the waterfront. I’ve been wanting to do an outfit shot for a while, and I finally worked up the courage.

 

This was so much harder than I anticipated, so I give all you style blog gals huge props.

Dress: American Apparel, Cardigan, Jacket: H&M, Shoes: John Fluevog, Peacock headband: NYC street vendor, Clutch: from my fabulous sister

 

All in all, I’ve had a pretty great weekend. What did you all do?

 

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