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

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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?

 

Ginger Kid

For the first time ever, I called in sick to my internship. I have been feeling pretty crappy for the past two days, but I was convinced that I would get better. Before I actually called it, I’m pretty sure I went through the 5 Stages of Grief. I denied up and down that I was sick. I even got out of bed this morning and went to the gym, only to feel exhausted and gross 5 minutes into my run. Then I got angry. I wanted to blame everyone with a sniffle for getting their tainted germs on me. I tried bargaining. “Maybe I’ll only go in to the hospital for a few hours and then ask my supervisor if I can leave early. Or maybe I can pump myself with DayQuil and come in late.” Depression came next- you know the whole “woe is me, I don’t feel well” whining. Lastly, I accepted that I have a nasty cold. And with acceptance, comes smoothies.

photo cred: the abundant life online


Last night, Mike was nice enough to drive my whiny butt to Trader Joe’s so that I could get some uncrystallized ginger. Whenever I was sick growing up, my mom would make me tea using freshly grated ginger, lemon juice, and honey. I wanted to try making the tea with uncrystallized ginger, but according to a Trader Joe’s employee, there is a ginger “shortage” and they aren’t sure when they’ll have it in stock. Crankyness ensued. I became frustrated with all chain stores, and decided that going to the tiny Oriental Grocery was our only option. While they were out of crystallized ginger, they sold fresh ginger for much less than the supermarket, so I grabbed about a pound. While I was waiting on line, a petite Chinese woman started chatting me up about all the ways I could use ginger. She told me that she usually makes tea with ginger and brown sugar as soon as she comes inside from the cold. She also said that she likes to add vinegar to help with digestion. As soon as I got home, I peeled and grated a small knob of ginger into a mug, added the juice of half a lemon, a drizzle of honey, and a little bit of cider vinegar. I then filled the mug with boiling water and muddled the ingredients a little.

After I made about 3 large cups of this concoction, I looked at the leftover ginger in the bottom of my mug. I didn’t want to just throw it away, but what could I use it for? Mike and I had already eaten dinner, so a marinade was out. Then it hit me. I’m going to use it in a smoothie.

Feel Better Smoothie – a Positive Regard Original
1/3 cup chopped fresh ginger (you can use less to suit your taste)
2/3 cup frozen blueberries
2/3 cup orange juice
6 frozen strawberries (that’s all I had left)
1/3 cup water
1 T cider vinegar
1 handful spinach
1 glug maple syrup or honey
Throw everything in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth! Or you can follow Alton Brown’s tips on smoothie making
When I first tasted this, I didn’t think it tasted like anything, so I asked Mike to taste it. One sip and his face perked up. I then realized that I had to blow my nose in order to taste anything.  This smoothie packs a lot of punch, especially from the ginger. Mike said that it really woke him up and gave him energy, and I certainly agree. I can see making this again as a great jump start to the day.
What are some of your home remedies?
–Ariel

Stir Fryday

Happy Friday, everyone! Is anyone else sick of the snow? Another day shoveling, slipping and sliding outside, plus work and dragging myself to the gym left me craving a massive meal. I had a craving for stir fry with a spicy sauce, and luckily had all the ingredients.

Marissa introduced me to Daily Garnish and told me to check out the post on peanut flour. If you haven’t already, read Emily’s post on peanut flours. I too am a nut butter lover and I think that this is a great alternative. Peanut flour has significantly less fat and calories per serving than peanut butter, while still containing a lot of protein.  Mike was nice enough to pick some up for me when he ventured out to Trader Joe’s the other day, and I must say, I am a big fan. I don’t count calories on a regular basis, but I am conscious of what and how much I put in my body. My running has decreased slightly due to my crazy schedule and because of the mass amounts of icy grossness outside. Using peanut flour allows me to get the satisfying taste of peanut butter with the benefits of protein, without the high calories. Win!

 

To make the sauce, measure out 2 tablespoons of peanut flour (or use 2 T of peanut butter). To hydrate the peanut flour, I added a few sprinkles of salt and 2 T of water

Ta-da! To the peanut butter, add 1 1/2 T soy sauce, 1 T warm water, a few drops of sriracha, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 T rice vinegar

 

oh! And 1 teaspoon maple syrup

 

Use the good stuff- it really makes a difference

 

Stir all the ingredients until combined.

I was worried that the sauce might not turn out as well as it might with peanut butter, but this out perfectly!

 

For the main meal, I chose the lazy microwave route. First I made some brown rice (1 part brown rice:3 parts water, microwave for 30 minutes), then chopped up kale, carrots, brussel sprouts, and peppers. For protein, I threw on a little tofu and a handful of edamame. Into the microwave for 6 minutes, and we’re good to go


 

Top with scallions if you like, and drizzle the peanut sauce on top.

 

This was very filling, fast, and delicious.

 

Peanut Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 T peanut flour or peanut butter

1 1/2 T soy sauce

1 T warm water

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 t garlic powder

1 T rice vinegar

1 t maple syrup

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or sriracha

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until incorporated. Drizzle over your favorite stir fry, chicken, or anything else you want to make more delicious!

 

Have you revamped any of your favorite recipes lately? We’d love to hear your new recipes!

 

–Ariel

No Business Like Snow Business

I must say that out of all the seasons, winter is not my favorite (even though it is my birthday season). I don’t really mind the cold, but the harsh wind and potential dangerous driving conditions are what gets me. That, and the fact that the 12+ inches of snow we got last night is inhibiting my ability to go out for a run. In the kitchen, I use the “use what you have” mentality, and I think the same applies for the winter weather. So while I may not be able to get my usual exercise by running, I have alternative methods.

That’s right, snowshoeing. My parents have had snowshoes for as long as I can remember, and although I don’t look forward to the snow, when it comes, I always look forward to snowshoeing. Yes, you can go walking or hiking in the snow without snowshoes, just make sure that you wear gaiters and boots with a good tread. The great thing about snowshoeing is that if you can walk, you can snowshoe. They even make shorter snowshoes that are meant for running. My family likes to race.

Shoveling is another great way to get a little exercise in. It may seem like a chore, but if you have some company, or some great music on your iPod, it will go by quickly. Make sure that you lift with your legs, not your back, and you’ll feel the burn in your arms and legs. Another great arm workout? Baking. Put away the stand or hand mixer for the day and use some of your muscle power to whip up a recipe or two. My arms got a great workout mixing up Alice Medrich’s chocolate chip biscotti recipe. If you haven’t already, borrow her new book “Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies” from your local library, or go out and buy it. There are some really stellar recipes in there. After a day of snowshoeing or hiking in the cold, there is nothing more satisfying than a big cup of chai or coffee. I thought that biscotti would make for a perfect afternoon snack.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Combine 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small bowl and whisk together.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 1/4 cup plus 2 T granulated sugar, 1/4 plus 2 T packed brown sugar,  and 1 tsp vanilla extract until well combined

Like so!

Add in the flour mixture, and then add 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or any other nut you like. Don’t like nuts? Add more chocolate! Don’t like chocolate! Try some dried fruit!). I found that the easiest way to incorporate the flour mixture and the nuts and chocolate was to use your hands. They are your best tools!

The dough will be very thick. Scrape the dough onto a greased baking sheet into 2 skinny strips 16-17 inches long and at least 3 inches apart.

Bake for 35 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Let the biscotti cool for 15 minutes, leaving the oven on

Transfer the loaves to a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to slice the loaves into 1/2-inches slices. Stand the cookies up on the baking sheets at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy!

How do all of you deal with the inclement weather?  We’d love to hear from you at apostiveregard (at) gmail (dot) com

 

–Ariel

A Partridge in a Pear (Cider Sorbet) Tree

I spent this weekend cursing up a storm working on my last paper of the semester. Let’s just say that I saved the worst for last. The paper was daunting and tedious, and the only way that I was going to get it done was by telling myself that I would get a reward at the end. That reward was sorbet.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve had cider sorbet on the mind. I found a recipe on The Kitchn and was going to follow it exactly, until Mike snagged some of this pear cinnamon cider from Trader Joe’s.

As I said I would last time, I decreased the sugar in this recipe from 2/3 cup to 1/2 cup. Add 1 1/2 cups of cider to the sugar, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 10-15 minutes. I just popped the thing in the microwave for 10 minutes.

Then whisk in another 3/4 cup cider and 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened applesauce

2 T of our old friend tequila

2 T triple sec. I’m starting to think these two are the new power couple

Stir together until ingredients are incorporated. Cover and refrigerate overnight. I know, this is the hardest part. If I hadn’t heated the cider and the sugar I probably wouldn’t have refrigerated it.

I waited about 24 hours, but that’s just because that’s how long it took me to write this stupid paper.

Add the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze for 20-25 minutes

Warning: you will have an intense urge to dip your spoon into the machine 15 minutes in. This is common, and is best remedied by succumbing to said urge.

After 25 minutes, the sorbet should be nice and thick and ready for eating.

Oh man.

This was phenomenal.  I know that I said the mango sorbet was great, and it was, but if I could only eat one sorbet for a year, it would be this. Mike said that there were 3 layers of flavor. At first, you get a taste of the applesauce, then the pear and cinnamon, and lastly, an aftertaste of tequila. Seriously unbelievable. I didn’t add any spices because the cider was spiced, but this would be great with some nutmeg, ginger, and maybe cloves.

 

Pear Cinnamon Cider Sorbet

Adapted from The Kitchn

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup pear cinnamon cider

1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup pear cinnamon cider

2 T tequila

2 T triple sec

Stir together cider and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat , stirring occasionally. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

Whisk in applesauce, cider, tequila, and triple sec. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Freeze as directed in the instructions for your particular ice cream maker.

 

Make this sorbet. Right now. What are you waiting for?

–Ariel

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