Sunday, September 30, 2012

On The Way, Week 25

{1} Veteran's Memorial, Holmdel, NJ {2} Green & Pink with Ocean View, Ocean City, MD {3} Boardwalk B&B (An Inn on the Ocean), Ocean City, MD {4} Sunrise, Ocean City, MD {5} Bull on the Beach, Ocean City, MD {6} Sitting Porch on the Boardwalk, Ocean City, MD

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The New Kid On The Blog, September 2012: Skinny Taste

Unlike most of the "new" blogs I've featured here, I did NOT come by skinny taste via shutterbean or joy the baker. Instead I found that the recipes on this site often came up in random searches I've been doing to find healthier meals and better eating tips and tricks. The blog is clean, straight-forward and chock full of great recipe ideas. I'm always skeptical because lousy-tasting diet food can easily look just as good as the real thing (i.e. fat-laden and over-salted)! However reading Gina's recipes, posts and stories, I can believe in most cases the simple substitutions and restraint she uses help deliver fewer calories and cleaner ingredients along with flavor and satisfaction. Not to mention - *bonus* - I only have to raid my pantry or visit the grocery down the street to gather all I need. I can be adventurous in cooking but it's great to have a resource like Gina for when I'm feeling lazy!

Monday, September 24, 2012

On The Way, Week 24

{1} Patriotic Home, Sugar Loaf, NY {2} Woodland Trail, Tuxedo, NY {3} Five Spice Pork Tenderloin/Zucchini Pie, Whispering Hills, NY {4} Pine Hill Rd, Florida, NY

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Waffle

This recipe is adapted from one of Prevention's most touted dishes. And why not? Who can say no to chocolate for breakfast? When I first made this I thought the cherries needed a little help to first, brighten the flavor and second, to prevent the waffle from getting soggy. Now I like to thicken the sauce and add just a touch of maple syrup but you can easily omit those if you want to hold true to the slightly leaner original recipe. Here's how I do it: Toast one Van's Lite Totally Natural Waffle. In the meantime place 1/2 cup of Cascadian Farms Frozen Dark Pitted Cherries in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of water, over medium heat. As the cherries start to defrost and release their liquid, add 1/4 cup of Smucker's Sugar Free Apricot or Peach Preserves. Stir frequently until the cherries are warmed through and the sauce thickens considerably. Slightly cool the waffle, then top with the cherries, 1/4 cup of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup. Have a sweet day!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crafty Me: Decor

First off - let me apologize for these pictures - it is so dang hard to get any kind of quality light in this room! I didn't get a handle on my photography this week but I did have time for 2 of my favorite things: a craft project and some new decor. When I moved into my condo 5 years ago I pretty quickly decided that I wanted a calming, serene, relatively dark monochromatic color scheme in the master bedroom. I painted all the walls a rich and neutral tan (Martha Stewart's Skylark), laid a very deep-tone, high-sheen mahogany floor and chose shades of dark cherry for all the furniture. I installed beautiful Dupioni silk floor length drapes (Pottery Barn's Clay) and bought a chocolate velvet tufted headboard (Ballard Designs' Squire) along with 2 different ensembles and about half a bajillion pillows for the bed. The only part of the decor that left me a bit stumped was the wall art. The ceiling slopes from the window wall at 8 feet to about 12 feet on the opposite side. The headboard is rather high but there is still enough space above to feel like it needed something. The most dire need was the wall over the vanity table which felt very empty. In the end I opted to fill the space with non-traditional decor. I found an elegant wall decal ("Everyday holds the possibility of a Miracle!") that perfectly fit the space over the headboard, preventing it from feeling either cramped or forgotten. Later, another installation - a flock of butterflies fluttering across the wall over the vanity and behind two embossed plaques - was inspired by a lovely stained glass piece I received as a gift {bottom, left}. Now, the last spot - on the 12-foot high wall - has finally been filled with a selection of fun chipboard signs I found at the craft shop. I bought a fleur-de-lis, the words "live", "laugh" and "love" plus a crown to top it all off {bottom, right} and painted them with the leftover wall paint for a subtle, relief look. I hit them with a soft spray of gold glitter paint so they catch a little light every now and then. I am really happy with how these turned out. They are just what I wanted: something that would be a little different, a little creative and thoughtful, but unexpected as well. Where do you look for inspiration when an odd space or a tight budget way-lays your grand decorating plans?

On The Way, Week 23

{1} Crafty Decorating, Whispering Hills, NY {2} Nachos, Chester, NY {3} Organizing, Whispering Hills, NY {4} Remembering Our Heroes, New York, NY (photo courtesy of Thomas E Franklin/The Record,

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pasta Salads

There are few things more satisfying or easy than a bowl full of pasta. I guess by now we've all heard this debunking of pasta as a high-calorie indulgence: "it's not the pasta but what you put on it." Well - kinda. It is certainly true that cream-based sauces and meaty additions kick up all the numbers in the Nutrition Info chart. But all alone pasta is, I think, still quite high in calories per ounce. This is an especially meaningful distinction if, like me, you come from a good ol' Italian household where a bowlful of spaghetti meant a bowl FULL of spaghetti. And I don't mean a little cup-sized bowl - I mean a big, nearly-serving-dish-size bowl! So rather than give up this beloved staple I have chosen to re-imagine pasta. It is now one of my go-to options for a great workday lunch. The key: start with a small serving of pasta (2 oz, dry) then layer in all kinds of goodness. I cook up a half (or sometimes a whole) pound of Rotini almost every Sunday. If I do half a package, I cook it, I drain it and I portion off 1/4 of the batch to each of four 2-cup containers and pop them in the fridge. Then in the morning I can grab one, throw in some flavor-makers and take-along for a very satisfying lunch at my desk, the park or in the lunchroom. Here are some of my favorite combinations:
{1} Mediterranean Olives, Applegate Farms Roasted Turkey, Crumbled Goat Cheese with Lemon Juice and Olive Oil {2} Avocado, Heirloom Tomatoes, a Crumble of Feta and Pine Nuts with Balsamic Vinaigrette {3} Pumpkin Puree, Sliced Cooked Pork, a Dash of Cinnamon Sugar, Olive Oil and a Sprinkling of Feta Cheese {4} Warm Chicken, Black Olive Tapenade, Gaeta Olives, Heirloom Tomatoes {5} Grape Tomatoes, Diced Celery and Carrot, Applegate Farms Maple Breakfast Sausage and a Dollop of Pesto

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On The Way, Week 22

{1} Kayla, Little Neck, NY {2} BLT Whispering Hills, NY {3} End of Summer, Chester, NY {4} Mombasha Lake, Monroe, NY {5} Mediterranean Pasta, Whispering Hills, NY {6} Bog, Monroe, NY

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On The Way, Week 21

{1} Sacred Heart Parish, Suffern, NY {2} Veggie Sausage, Onions & Peppers, Carrot-Currant Slaw, Whispering Hills, NY {3} Craft Decor, Chester, NY {4} Rainbow, Harriman, NY {5} Garden/Park, Chestnut Ridge, NY {6} Banana Split Muffin, Whispering Hills, NY