Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Target Giveaway!

Today I'm teaming up with some great bloggers for a giveaway!  Enter below - good luck to all!

Magen /// Brittany /// Kippy
Sarah /// Brooke
Erin ///  Kate
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Oven Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Panko Crumbs

Happy Monday all!  I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing weekend. 

I had a welcomed low-key weekend, and ended it with a low-key dinner Sunday night to match.  I'm always looking for new ways to prepare fresh vegetables, and thought i'd try roasting my broccoli instead of steaming it as usual.  Roasted broccoli has such a unique texture from steamed or sautéed version.  When roasted, broccoli has a crunchy, chewy, crisp-tender bite to it. Top it with some savory breadcrumbs and you have yourself a hearty veggie side. 

This recipe is impressive enough for company, but simple enough to put together on a weeknight.

Ingredients (serves 2 - easily doubled)

*2 small heads of broccoli
*2 tbsp. panko (japanese bread crumbs)
*1 tbsp. olive oil
*zest of 1 lemon
*1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
*1/4 tsp. garlic powder
*salt, pepper
*olive oil cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375.  Cut the broccoli into florets, leaving some of the stems in tact.  In a small bowl, combine panko, lemon zest, parmesan, garlic powder, and olive oil.  Arrange the broccoli on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once, or until golden brown.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chewy Chocolate Macaroons

When I was in college, I worked every summer as a hostess at a yacht club.  I had so much fun with that job! I actually met most of my friends working there as well. 

One summer, instead of mints, they started serving chocolate macaroons with the bills.  Ya'll, those macaroons were amazing.  The pastry chef would torture us night after night by only making exactly enough macaroons as reservations.  

As I was trying to think of something to make my friend Lindsey for her birthday this year, I thought, I could make my own chocolate macaroons! Lindsey is obsessed with all things coconut and chocolate, and since she worked at the yacht club as well, she most likely has the same fond memories of those delicious little cookies. 

These could not be easier to make.  It's a one bowl, stir it all together type of recipe.  A last minute dip in melted chocolate is just the added touch needed to take these cookies over the edge.  I used my leftover  milk chocolate easter bunny for the dipping chocolate, but dark or white chocolate would be equally delicious.

Ingredients (makes 1 dozen)
*6 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
*3 large egg whites
*1/4 c. sugar
*2 tbsp. flour
*1 tsp. vanilla
*2 tsp. cocoa powder
*4 oz. chocolate (milk, dark, or white will work)

Preheat the oven to 325.  Stir together all ingredients, with the exception of chocolate.  Use one heaping tablespoon to drop the cookies on a parchment lined sheet.  Arrange the top of the coconut mixture so that it looks like a small ball (they don't have to be perfect).  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just lightly golden brown (watch them carefully in the last five minutes).  Cool for thirty minutes.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 10 second increments, stirring in between each, until smooth.  Dip the cookies in the chocolate, or use a spoon to drizzle it on top.  If dipping the cookies, prop each on it's side to set. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until the chocolate is firm.  Store for up to 7 days in an airtight container.  Enjoy! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thoughts on Lilly for Target

Was anyone else as excited as I was for Lilly for Target?  Let me tell you, it was actually causing anxiety in my life.  There were just SO many pieces I wanted, and I knew how hard it would be to get them. I was especially excited about the homewares, since Lilly Pullitzer doesn't typically sell dishes or pillows. 

I'm feeling a little disappointed in the amount of stock our Target store had based on how much hype they were building.  They advertised in magazines, television and social media, yet only had two racks of clothes in the store.  What's up with that? Essentially, you just had to dedicate yourself to one section, whether it was bags and accessories, clothes, home goods, or toddler/girls, and be prepared to run. No time to roam! 

I'm also still drained from spending 3 hours awake in the middle of the night Saturday (because they wouldn't tell anyone what time the line was launching online, only that it would be "very early" which could mean basically anything!) dealing with a crashed site.  That was so incredibly frustrating! I got a random email that one of my (after 20 attempts) orders actually went through, so hopefully the bathing suit and shorts I ordered will fit. 

I will say, after running for my life and getting aggressive, i'm pretty excited about what I snagged.  I so wanted 8 plates and 8 napkins, but I was lucky enough to at least snag the last set of plates, bowls, and an adorable pineapple chip-and-dip bowl.  I really don't think they could have had more than 4 sets of plates in that store.   I tag teamed the sale with my two friends Magen and Salina, and Salina grabbed me the gold rimmed plates and pineapple juicer-which i'm loving.  

A note to Target:  Don't break our hearts next time.  I was lucky to get a lot of what I wanted, but if Target could at least give everyone a fighting chance to order online, it would be appreciated!  

Didn't get what you want? Try your best to resist exorbitant Ebay and Instagram prices. Remember - for the prices you see on those sites (double/triple/QUADRUPLE!), you can go to the real Lilly store and get even better quality. Target is asking everyone to boycott until the prices come down to original price or even lower.  I'll be checking Ebay in a few weeks for stragglers!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Nature's Way Goat Cheese

I'm so excited to share this month's Focus on the Coast feature - all about Nature's Way goat cheese!

I'm a bit of a goat cheese fanatic, and there is truly none better than Nature's Way.  Hand made locally, this cheese is the creamiest and most delicious goat cheese you'll taste.  Serve it as is, on a cracker, or in any of the recipes below. 

My Raspberry Goat Cheese Cigars in phyllo are such a buttery, sweet-and-savory treat.  Mike and I ate about half the pan when they came out of the oven, but they also make a perfect accompaniment to a simple green salad.
Photo by Jason Armond for Focus on the Coast
If you can believe it, goat cheese makes a wonderful frosting!  It's similar to a cream cheese frosting in these Orange Dream Cupcakes.

Photo by Jason Armond for Focus on the Coast
 Goat cheese also makes the perfect creamy pasta sauce, without being too heavy.  In my Creamy Pappardelle with Asparagus and Peas I use just a touch of goat cheese and thin out the sauce with starchy pasta water.

Photo by Jason Armond for Focus on the Coast

View the full article here and head over to Focus on the Coast for the recipes!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chinois Chicken Salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette

During the Oscars, I noticed Wolfgang Puck was hosting an instagram contest for a variety of categories.  I few of those included Best Plating, Best Cocktail, Best Decor.  Obviously, I immediately got to hash-tagging some of my photos and much to my surprise, I ended up being the third runner up!  Now, I realize i'm probably not going to be quitting my job because I won an instagram contest, but let me tell you, I was excited! Just to have Wolfgang Puck re-gram my photo was enough to set me over the edge. 

I wasn't actually recreating their dish, but i'll let Wolfgang think that! 

Even better, when I arrived home from work last week I found on my front doorstep an autographed copy of his newest book, Wolfgang Puck Makes it Healthy.  This book is so beautiful and the recipes look amazing.  

Everything looks so flavorful and delicious, and the book includes so many new and fresh ideas for lightening up some of our favorite things (even pizza!). 

I've been on a big salad kick lately so I thought I'd start by making a batch of his popular dish, Chinois Chicken salad with Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette.  The recipe did not disappoint - i'm looking forward to eating it all week.  I switched up a few of the ingredients that were hard to find, and the results were fantastic.  So many delicious flavors between the chinese mustard and soy sauce, with great crunch from the cabbage and snow peas. 

Chinese Mustard Vinaigrette
*1/4 c. rice vinegar
*2 tbsp. honey
*1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
*2 tsp. sesame oil 
*2 tsp. Chinese hot mustard (the recipe calls for dry Chinese mustard, which I couldn't find)
*2 tbsp. peanut oil (I used olive oil)
*salt, pepper

*4 c. shredded chicken (I used one rotisserie chicken)
*4 c. napa cabbage, shredded
*2 c. romaine, shredded
*1 c. snow peas, thinly sliced
*1 c. carrot, shredded
*1 tbsp. sesame seeds
*1 scallion, thinly sliced 

Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette in a mason jar.  Shake well to combine.  Taste, and add more salt/pepper as needed.

Toss together all of the salad ingredients.  Toss with dressing and serve immediately.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mandarin Pasta Salad with Spinach and Teriyaki Dressing

Last week, I saw the most amazing looking pasta salad on one of my favorite blogs, Designer Bags & Dirty Diapers.  She is always posting the best looking recipes!  As soon as she posted a pic I immediately craved it and knew I wouldn't be able to wait long to try it. 

After some digging, I found the original recipe on another great blog, Le Creme de la Crumb. Let me tell you - this recipe did not disappoint.  I made the dressing just as the recipe called for, but mixed up a few of the salad ingredients.  I chose to skip the cilantro, pine nuts, and craisins, and instead added salty feta and crunchy slivered almonds.  I've been eating this all week for lunch and have yet to tire of it!

This salad has kept really well in the fridge.  I tossed it immediately with just enough dressing so that the pasta wouldn't stick, and have been adding more dressing when I have it for lunch. 

Ingredients (adapted from original recipe found here):
*1/3 c. teriyaki sauce (I used the thicker, glaze style)
*1/3 c. rice wine vinegar
*1/2 c. olive oil
*1/2 tsp. garlic powder
*1/2 tsp. onion powder
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. pepper
*1 tbsp. sugar

*8 oz bowtie pasta (half a box)
*4 c. spinach
*1 (4 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
*1/3 c. feta cheese
*1/3 c. slivered almonds

Prepare the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.  Meanwhile, combine all dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake to combine.  In a bowl, combine all salad ingredients and toss with just enough dressing to ensure the pasta does not stick together.  Refrigerate, then top with more dressing when ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Crispy Oven Chips

Happy Monday all!  I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.  I also hope you were lucky enough to get a day off! Although that seems rare these days.  

Today I bring you crispy oven chips.  Who knew that you could make healthy,  restaurant style potato chips with just a little heat and cooking spray? The first time I discovered this it was actually by mistake.  I was trying out Martha Stewart's recipe for Muffin-Pan Potato Gratins  and I ended up with a plethora of extra potatoes.  Rather than making more gratins than I needed, I spread potatoes out on a cookie sheet and baked them.  The results?  Crispy perfection!  And I have to say, we actually enjoyed them more than the gratins (sorry Martha).  

With these chips, you'll end up with the perfect combination of super crispy (Mike's favorite) and crispy yet still chewy (my favorite), but if you want all crispy or all chewy, you could time the potatoes accordingly! 

*Russet Potatoes (one per person)
*olive oil cooking spray
*salt, pepper

Position oven racks in the top and lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400.  Slice potatoes as thinly as possible (I used a mandolin).  Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray and arrange potatoes in a single layer on the pan.  Spray the top of the potatoes with more cooking spray (they shouldn't be soaked, just lightly oiled).  

Bake the potatoes for 10 minutes, then flip the potatoes and also rotate the pans in the oven.  Bake for another 10 minutes, then remove any potatoes that are totally browned.  Continue baking until all potatoes are crispy (about 25-30 minutes total).  Serve with ketchup, ranch, or whatever you heart desires.  Enjoy!