Saturday, May 31, 2008

Udon Soup

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

To the men and women of the US Armed Forces that risk their lives to protect this country, I thank you.

<3 Jess

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Soup and Salad

There's been a lot of cooking but not a lot of plating or preparing for pictures. What that means is that everytime I turn around to take a picture, the food is already gone or (if I manage to take a pic) the plating looks horrible. So much is going on at home I've been lacking. But I'm getting back into the groove. Here are two chicken meals I served recently:

Chicken soup with udon (Japanese wheat noodles)

Romaine, grape tomatoes, croutons and chicken breast with homemade dressing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Buying Our First Car

In case you've never lived in NYC, let me explain something: New Yorkers don't drive. There are no need for cars in a city that's built around public transportation. Hell, I could take the express train and get to most destinations faster than a car could. So it's understandable that my mother, grandparents, and I never learned how to get behind the wheel. It just wasn't necessary.

In case you've never lived in Florida, let me explain something: Floridians drive everywhere. From the corner store to the amusement park, there is no other way. We have an express bus that takes 45 minutes to get me to Walmart, an unbelievable amount of time when you consider it takes three minutes by car. To call public transport in Florida just "bad" would be like me saying the Titanic was a rowboat...

So it was only a matter of time before my mom buckled down and decided we needed a car. A few driving lessons and DMV visits later and we're ready. All we need is a car...

Easier said than done.

Right now I've got my eye on a 1997 Mercury Tracer Trio. It's midsize, no accident reports, only one owner (Thanks, Carfax!), and not too bad on the eyes either. So, here's hoping it'll be there on Tuesday. If it is...congratulate me! It's our first car!

<3 Jess

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

ChocaNana Bread

I should market the word ChocaNana. I think it could be the new big thing; last year it was cupcakes, this year it's ChocaNana! Actually I think this is the year blondies are big. Seriously. Look for my Blondie Madness Week coming soon.

But back to the topic at hand...I'm convinced one of the loveliest aromas in the world is the smell of my Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread. Something about it just makes everything in the world seems okay. It's thick, dense, not too chewy, not too melty, and has a rich taste of bananas, just like a good nana bread should.

Too bad the loaf I baked today is gone already. Sigh. I should have made several loaves.

You can mash the bananas with a fork (my preferred method) or process very lightly in the food processor. I think you'll find the fork method much better though. I like leaving a few chunks but you're welcome to mash into more of a pudding texture. Also feel free to add more chocolate chips and nuts if you wish. Just remember this is a very thick, heavy bread.

You'll need a loaf pan (9x5), lightly greased, and a few bowls.

ChocoNana Bread

6-7 overripe bananas, mashed (you want about 2 cups)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 brown sugar
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, add in flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, add the brown sugar and butter and mix together until just incorporated. Add in the eggs and whisk together until they are beaten and everything is creamy. Add in the mashed bananas, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Stir a few times.

Add the banana mixture to the flour and stir until everything is well moistened; you want to make sure there are no "pockets" of flour.

Add the mix into the loaf pan and bake for one hour. let the loaf cool in pan for fifteen minutes, then turn out into cooling rack. Serve warm or cold.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Tuna Salad (Sandwich)

I don't normally like tuna salad: Most times I taste it, it's made with bad tuna, too much mayonnaise, and not much else. I made some today, on a whim, to have on a sandwich. Paired with romaine lettuce, fresh tomato, and lightly toasted whole-grain bread, this makes a great lunch.

Feel free to add in more mayonnaise and a tablespoon of sweet relish if you want. You can also add in grape tomatoes and chopped lettuce to make it more of a salad.

Tuna Salad (makes four sandwiches or 2 servings of salad)

12 oz water packed solid white albacore

2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp onion, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/4 tsp brown mustard
1 tbsp parsley, minced

In a colander, drain the can of tuna. (I know you're all tempted to use the lid, but this makes for mushy salad). Lightly break up the mass of tuna, and put it in a medium bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until incorporated. Season to taste.

Notes: This kept overnight fine in an airtight container. You may wish to leave the mayonnaise out until the next day if you make it ahead of time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Massive Tomato

The garden is underway!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I've Got...

A stomach virus or something like it. This is why I have not cooked recently or uploaded many pictures (or posted period). Meh. But if you check my flickr, there should be some stuff there to tide you over.

My mom has a job interview today so if anyone reading this could take a moment to send some good vibes, I appreciate it. She needs the job.

I think that is all from me right now.

<3 Jess

Tuesday, May 06, 2008



Scrambled eggs with cheese on half a whole wheat bagel. Served with turkey sausage and grape tomatoes.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dinner Gone Wrong

Ribs broiled with sweet and sour sauce served with broccoli and white rice.

I didn't like this meal at all. My family did though so I suppose that's alright.
Back to the drawing board.

Friday, May 02, 2008

We're Going to Play A Game Called "Catch-up"

Boy, it feels like forever since I've posted here. What's that? It's only been a couple of days? Oh...I see. Well, on to the food then!

Kyle requested chili a few days ago and since he made Dean's List, how could I say no to him?

This is Red & Black Bean Beef Chili. Wow, that's a mouthful, ain't it? I sprinkled a bit of parmesan cheese on top and served with crackers. It was the right amount of spicy for the family (of course it was too mild for me but what I consider mild, some people consider deadly). Some day I'll post the recipe here. I just need to tweak it a bit more.

I finally booked my tickets to NYC! I will be arriving at my lovely hometown June 24th and will be staying until the 17th of July. I'm going to be staying with my father, mostly, but have every intention of crashing on random couches throughout my stay. So if you're a friend, get that sleeping bag ready for me.

In other news, I went food shopping today. I'll post my receipt/total tomorrow (like I have done in the past) but I have to admit, I went over budget on this one. Way WAY over budget. I'm almost embarrassed. Ah, well. The food will be tasty, that's for sure.

Also, I decided to post pictures of what my fridge and pantry look like. It was very spontaneous so do excuse the messes.

Tomorrow's dinner will be BBQ ribs with a side of cornbread and coleslaw or some other cabbage dish.

Until next time,
<3 Jess