frozen bananas with peanut butter and dark chocolate toffee bits

>> Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ummmm this might be one of the best things i’ve ever made. seriously. and you shouldn’t feel too bad about eating them. i mean you’re getting potassium from the banana, protein from the peanut butter and a little indulgence from the dark chocolate toffee bits. we all deserve a little treat every once in a while….right? that’s what i told myself and the two friends i served these to.

2 bananas, cut in half
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup dark chocolate toffee candies, broken into tiny pieces (you can get these guys at trader joe’s. if you can’t find them, substitute with your favorite candy bar)
4 popsicle sticks (i used chopsticks because it’s all i had)

heat peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. place each banana half on your stick of choice. once peanut butter has melted dip banana into pot, coating ¾ of the banana. garnish with chocolate bits and place on foil-lined (wax paper works too) cookie sheet. repeat with 3 other bananas and place in freezer. freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.


pulled bbq chicken wraps with cheddar

>> Sunday, August 28, 2011

irene has come and gone. sis and i are finished hiding out in her apartment and we can finally get back to normal life. nannying, blogging, and dreaming of what recipes i'll make next are all back on the schedule. earlier this week i promised you a recipe using only the trader joe's ingredients i bought on my grocery trip. well it's not really a recipe as much as an easy dinner you can pull together in under 15 minutes. here we go.

the ingredients all lined up:
whole wheat tortillas, broccoli slaw, parmesan ranch dressing,
pulled bbq chicken (found in refridgerated section) and cheddar cheese

combine 1/2 cup broccoli slaw with 1/4 cup ranch dressing.
let sit for at least 15 minutes until slaw has softened.

cook bbq chicken in microwave according to package directions.
preheat broiler.
layer 4 slices of cheese on each tortilla.
broil until cheese has melted.
remove from oven and top with bbq chicken and ranch coleslaw.

close up shot.
slurp this down with your beer.
you can buy individual beers at trader joes. perfection.


a trader joes trip.

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

grocery shopping in nyc is crazy expensive. i talking double the price than in dc. thank god they have a trader joe's here. it's cheap, carries great varieties of produce and the people are pretty darn friendly. oh and they always have free samples.

i frequent trader joes quite often. it's my new saturday routine. get up, make some coffee, walk 1 mile to the store and hope to find a cab back so i don't have to carry the grocery bags + bottles of wine i've snagged up.

anywho - here's a few pictures i snapped of what i bought this week. i'll be posting a recipe using only ingredients from my shopping trip in the next few days.

produce section (my favorite aisle)
1. baby bok choy
2. broccoli slaw
3. white peaches - get yourself some before summer is over
4. baby carrots - perfect for snacking
5. cut up pineapple - time saver
6. snow peas - great for hummus
7. bananas - made a dessert with these
8. 1 ear of corn - i'm single
9. red bell pepper - great for stir-frys
10. lime & lemon - get some everytime i go shopping
11. butter lettuce - aaaaamazing
12. broccoli - quick weeknight side dish
13. baby potatoes - just rinse & roast - no need to dice up
freezer section
1. chimichurri salmon - goes from freezer to oven to table
2. steelcut oatmeal - quick way to start the morning on a healthy start
3. best brown rice. ever.
4. raspberry, lemon and strawberry fruit pops. yums.
refrigerator section
1. low-fat parmesan ranch dressing. close second to hidden valley ranch
2. egg whites - part of my sunday routine
3. low-fat brie - who knew??
4. one beer - again i'm single
5. pulled bbq chicken - ready in under 5 minutes
6. best turkey bacon i've ever had
7. cheddddddaaaa cheese
pantry staples
1. sparkling waters - lemon and raspberry lime
2. whole grain tortillas
3. general tso stir fry sauce - great for all those veggies i bought
4. whole wheat couscous - a must
5. whole wheat bread - surprisingly really soft and yummy
6. raspberry jam - obvi to go with the brie
7. dark chocolate covered peanut butter wafer cookies - impulse buy
8. individual fruit & nut snack mix - curbs the 4pm hunger calling
9. peanut butter - paired this with the banana for a dessert


roasted jalapeño-tomato salsa with fresh cilantro

>> Sunday, August 21, 2011

nothing beats fresh salsa. especially really good fresh salsa. especially when the recipe comes from rick bayless - the mexican cooking connoisseur. i knew it was going to be good before i even made it.

roasting the vegetables gives an authentic taste, making you feel like you're eating salsa from a mexican restaurant and not that bottled stuff. i made this for the nanny family a couple weekends ago and they gobbled it up.


1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 10 medium), preferably plum tomatoes
2 to 3 fresh jalapeño chiles (1 to 1 1/2 ounces), stemmed
half of a small white onion (2 ounces), sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed
1 generous teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar


preheat broiler. place tomatoes and jalapeños on baking sheet. set pan about 4 inches below broiler and cook for about 6 minutes. (they should be darkly roasted). rotate tomatoes/jalapeños and cook for 6 more minutes on other side. (the tomato skins will split and curl in places) set aside to cool.

turn the oven down to 425 degrees. place onion rings and garlic on baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes. onion should be browned and garlic should be soft and browned in spots. set aside to cool.

in a food processor, pulse the jalapeños, garlic and onion. spoon into big bowl. add tomatoes (including juices from roasting pan) to processor giving them a coarse chop. add to bowl.  stir in enough water to give salsa an easily spoonable consistency. add cilantro. taste and season with salt and vinegar.

serve with your favorite tortilla chips and guacamole.


mini turkey bacon and spinach quiches

>> Friday, August 19, 2011

this is part 1 of a new series i'm working on over at clarendon patch. it's all about learning how to eat healthy on the go. this week is breakfast. you can make them ahead of time, freeze them and pop them in the microwave before you leave in the morning.

check it out at


grilled blueberry bbq chicken

>> Wednesday, August 17, 2011

i found this recipe over at how sweet it is. if you've never checked out her blog, please do. she is hilarious, a great writer and even better cook. and all of her recipes look amazing.

anywho - i started to make this non-traditional bbq sauce when i realized i didn't have a few of the ingredients she called for. so i improvised a little bit. the end result was a tangy bbq sauce with a little bit of a sweet bite. it's fun, it's seasonal and its really versatile - you can serve it on just about anything - chicken,  seafood, pork, beef.


1 pound chicken cutlets
2/3 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
couple dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper

in a small sauce pan heat blueberries over low heat. cook for about 10 minutes until berries begin to burst. mash with fork. add ketchup, both vinegars, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, dijon mustard, and hot sauce. season with salt and pepper. turn heat up to medium and cook until sauce begins to bubble. turn heat back down to low and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. sauce should be thick with visible blueberries chunks.

grill chicken however you normally do it. take off grill and slather bbq sauce on chicken with pastry brush. serve remaining bbq sauce on the side with your favorite vegetable.


curb the carbs: spaghetti squash salad

>> Monday, August 15, 2011

i'm a little behind schedule in posting this (i've been in rhode island and the hamptons for the past week). but here's my latest clarendon patch article from last week - an easy veggie side dish perfect for summer entertaining. recipe inspiration came from the one, the only, denise kessler.

check it out at:


rainbow cake in a jar

>> Tuesday, August 9, 2011

does life get any better? seriously.

1 - it's individual cakes baked in a jar, perfect for single use
2 - it's rainbow so you heart should be melting naturally
3 - they're so darn cute

i made these for my friend lynn's birthday last week.  i'm not going to lie - i had a mini meltdown when i took them out of the oven for the first time and they weren't cooked all the way through. i ended up popping them back in the oven 2 more times until they looked done. some of the gals ended up getting raw cake batter at the bottom but who doesn't love that? at least that's what i told myself to talk myself off the ledge.

they turned out to be a huge hit and the perfect birthday surprise for the perfect birthday girl.

i found the recipe over at babble - be sure to read through the editor's comments.  she talks about how to make sure you cook them correctly.

dyed cake batter all lined up.
ready to bake. 
view from the top.
birthday girl happy for cake. 
the moment you've been waiting for.


bbq chicken tenders with corn and lima bean succotash

>> Thursday, August 4, 2011

another meal for the kiddies.  nothing seems more like summer to me than barbecue sauce and some corn on the cob.  but I wanted to give this summertime favorite a little sprucing up. 

my nanny family (that’s my name for them) isn’t big on processed or premade foods so i decided to make my own barbecue sauce. 

it’s easier than you think.  really though – you combine 5 ingredients in a pot over low heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.  that’s it. 

1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
1 pound chicken breast tenders
4 ears of fresh corn
2 cups lima beans (frozen or fresh)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and pepper


preheat oven to 350 degrees.

combine first 5 ingredients in small sauce pot.  season with salt and pepper. cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

season chicken tenders with olive oil, salt and pepper.  place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, turning once. remove from oven and brush both sides with homemade barbecue sauce.  put back in the oven for 2 minutes.

bring large pot of water to a boil.  add corn and cook for about 7 minutes. remove from pot, let cool and cut off kernels with sharp knife. 

meanwhile, fill a medium sauce pot with 1 inch of water.  bring to a boil, add lima beans, cover with lid and reduce to simmer.  cook for about 5 minutes until tender.

in a large bowl combine corn kernels, lima beans, butter, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 

serve 3-4 chicken tenders per person with a heaping portion of succotash.


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