Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Night

Hey all!

Last night the roomie and I hosted our 2nd Oscar's party! I was looking through my posts from last year and couldn't find one about our first party :(...sometimes I'm a really bad blogger. We went all out for the party this year so I wouldn't hesitate to blog about it!!

As always there was great food.

I took a few short cuts thanks to Trader Joe's and used their sweet potato bisque for my soup shooters and topped with soy chorizo.

I also used Trader Joe's pizza crust to make spinach and artichoke pizza.

There were also stuffed mushrooms,

fruit a plenty,

cheese, veggies, humus and more!

Can't forget about dessert! Banana pudding based off of Magnolia Bakery's recipe.

Everyone also indulged us for the most part and came dressed in their finest! The boys did a better job than the girls by far...aren't they snazzy ;)

And apparently at some point we began to have too much fun and John ended up spilling his soup all over Harvir...I have no idea how that happened!!

Oh we're oh so classy opting on the floor over furniture...

All in all a great success!!!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Redemption in the Kitchen

Hey all!!

After a week of quick meals it was nice to set aside time on Friday to cook and bake!

I started early Friday morning by baking a cookie pie for my coworkers birthday. I had fun with the sprinkles ;)

Friday evening started of with a glass of Malbec. Unfortunately, this was super acidic and pretty pungent.
So my friend was kind enough to try again with a great chardonnay from La Crema...much better :)

In the meanwhile I started dinner, with one of my favorite ingredients, sweet potatoes!!

I used Kath's recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi:

And paired it with peas and a sage butter sauce:


Friday, February 25, 2011

The ABC's of Nicole

The ABC’s of Me

A. Age: 24

B. Bed size: A double

C. Chore you dislike: Cleaning out the dishwasher-I know the hard work is done for me, but it's so easy to delay this task.

D. Dogs: None of my own at the moment :(

E. Essential start to your day: Breakfast! I don't know how people are able to skip, I get dizzy if I go more than an hour without eating when I wake up.

F. Favorite color: Purple

G. Gold or silver: Silver

H. Height: 5’4.5 (I think I should remeasure myself because I might just be 5'5)

I. Instruments you play(ed): The flute...I should start up again

J. Job title: Graduate Fellow

K. Kids: One day.

L. Live: in the best city in the world-NYC.

M. Mom’s name: Michelle

N. Nicknames: I hate nick names unless you give me a clever one that is unique to you and our relationship! As in my one co-worker calls me Cinnabon

O. Overnight hospital stays: None.

P. Pet peeve: Waiting for people who are late (though I've been getting bad with time management myself :-/)

Q. Quote from a movie: Hard to pick but I will go with one from a favorite movie-Willy Wonka

I've just decided to switch our Friday schedule to Monday, which means that the test we take each Friday on what we learned during the week will now take place on Monday before we've learned it. But since today is Tuesday, it doesn't matter in the slightest. Pencils ready!

R. Righty or Lefty: Lefty! Although I cut and play sports for the most part with my right.

S. Siblings: Much younger sister, Holly 14

T. Time you wake up: I like to be an early bird, so 5:30. However, my hours are starting to get crazy so lots of late nights makes it harder to wake up!

U. Underwear: Depends on the pants I'm wearing ;)

V. Vegetables you don’t like: I think the only one at this point is Eggplant-can't get over the texture (yet I like tofu, go figure!)

W. What makes you run late: Poor planning, or too much multitasking (mostly the latter)

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Ahh, torso, if that makes sense. The doctor thought I might have had scoliosis.

Y. Yummy food you make: I'm going to say my favorite thing to eat and make which is a simple PB sandwich.

Z. Zoo animal favorite: Giraffe!

Hey all, spent most of the week working on details for my lab meeting, hence the lack of post on my part. I hope in the meanwhile you learned a bit about me! I got this idea from Rah raw.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It may be "Cooking Light"...

But it's not "Cooking Easy!" Ok, let me explain. I subscribe to a few cooking magazines, and tonight's meal came from Cooking Light magazine. Here's the recipe:

Enchilada casserole. Sounds easy, right? Well, a lot of chopping, pre-cooking, and assembling was needed for the final product. It was a lot of work! This happens to me quite often, because I don't usually read the recipe beforehand. I just figure it should be simple enough. Despite the recipe being very involved and taking way longer to make than it said, it turned out really well!

Nice and brown on the top! (cooking time of 25 minutes, not 15 like it said!)

Just perfect on the inside!

So will I be making this recipe again? Probably not. Was it worth it? Definitely!

'Night all!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Band of the Week

Currently I'm loving the London quintet Yuck.

Check them out in session here, as part of Zane Lowe's program on BBC radio 1.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dinner in Jersey

Hey all!

Another week flying by...eekk where does the time go?

Last night I ran out of work early to fit in a 4 mile run before heading to Port Authority to meet up with my friend Ena and catch a bus to Jersey for dinner at our friend Crissy's. It was quite the experience....well, going to New Jersey always seems like an experience and somewhat of an ordeal. Whether it's taking the Path, catching a car ride, taking the ferry, or as in last night hoping on a bus-a first for me. Apart from Port Authority being a little, or maybe very seedy, it was actually pretty easy and the buses leave regularly and often.

Anyhow, once we reached Crissy's dinner was just about ready to serve. She decided to appease her vegetarian friend and try to cook tofu, and in order to give it flavor she wanted to add sweet and sour sauce. Well the grocery store was out so she thought she would try this cheriyaki sauce, that's cherry teriyaki. Thankfully she only tried it on a small amount of tofu because it wasn't the best tasting item.

I gave her a hand with the remaining tofu, pressing out the water, cutting it up into pieces, and sautéing in some basic seasonings. Combined with lots of fresh vegetables, and brown rice and we had a great quick healthy meal!

Oh, and I don't know how I forgot, we started with a bottle of Muscadet, which was a first for me. It was pleasant, similar to a Sauvignon blanc but less acidic.

For dessert we had these amazing oatmeal cookie sandwiches that Ena picked up during her lunch. They very yummy!
Also check out this blog post my mom sent to me about keeping a positive outlook.

Have a good one,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Single of the Week

First time hearing this song and it was love. The Strokes released the first single of their new album "Under Cover of Darkness" last week. This is the bands' first new piece of music in 5 years, and they didn't let me down!

What do you think?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Going crazy!

So, I had a moment last week that I'm sure many of you have had before. I wanted to upload some photos so I could make a post, but I couldn't find my camera cord anywhere! I gave up after a while and figured it would turn up eventually. I decided to look for it again on Sunday, and of course, it was right where it was supposed to be! I have no clue how I missed it before!

Anyway, I took a picture of my new favorite wine, from a local Winery. All their wines are good, but this is my favorite. It makes for easy drinking! I don't know if you can tell, but it's a pink, almost red-colored wine.

Hamburgers were on the menu for dinner one night last week, but of course I can't just make a plain-old hamburger! I decided on my own version of a "Juicy Lucy," a type of hamburger that originates in Minneapolis, MN. Instead of the cheese being on the top of the burger, it goes inside! I also added grated onion and Montreal steak seasoning to the meat. They turned out great! You can see the cheese oozing out! I used white American cheese, but you could essentially use any cheese you like. I was just thinking a turkey burger with brie would be a great combination!

Another meal last week was Indian food. I have yet to buy the 2o or so spices needed to make an actual Indian dish, so I buy jarred sauces instead. We had 2 different ones, so we made 2 Indian dishes.

They both had the same main ingredients: chicken, peppers, potatoes, onions, and cauliflower. The "mild" curry paste also got a habanero pepper added, because who wants mild Indian food!? I took the picture before adding the cauliflower, for some reason.

Both dishes were very good, and had the perfect amount of spiciness. We served them with basmati rice and garlic naan (indian flat bread).

That's it for now, hope everyone is having a great week!


Valentine's Day Treats

A recipe in pictures for chocolate cake balls!

1. A basic cake from a box except I used applesauce instead of oil.

2. Cut into large pieces.
3. Crumbled up.
4. Mixed in a small container of vanilla frosting.
5. Rolled into balls and refrigerated for 3 hours (enough so they are pretty cold).
6. And dipped into chocolate melted over a double boiler. As you can see some strawberries also made it into the chocolate!
Unfortunately the white chocolate gave me trouble again...I think a drop of water from a wet strawberry made it into the mix and seeded a downhill reaction.
Thankfully I split the bag of white chocolate chips into 2 so I was able to coat some cake balls and decorate a few others before destroying the rest.
7. Enjoy with friends, family, and such ;)

Hope you had a great Valentine's Day!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Too much playtime

Hey Bloggies,

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend! Mine was suppose to be mostly work with a little play, but I ended up playing a bit too much and somehow it's already Sunday night :( I somewhat miss the days of undergrad when deadlines were home and test that I couldn't put off, but when they come in the form of meetings that can be reschedule and such it's much easier to put work off and enjoy the rest of life. Anyhow, enough my work complaints...I probably talk about them way too much in this blog.

Let's get to the rest of my weekend...or week really. Last Thursday a few of my classmates got together for dinner and a movie. Dinner was at Alice's Tea Cup. I love Alice's and don't think I could ever get always brings a smile to my face!!

Samples while we waited for our table.

There was 5 of us for dinner. 4/5 girls decided to do more of a traditional tea with scones, tea sandwiches, dessert, and tea.

I went a little healthier and ordered a roasted veggie sandwich with a side salad. I also snagged a scone from the other girls. It was banana butterscotch and was the best scone I've ever had. The flavor combination was perfect and the scone was nice and moist.

I also had a pot of chocolate caramel tea, again amazing!

Then it was back to Jenn's apartment for a movie. Not that we needed more to eat but we passed the grocery store on the way to her apartment and blood oranges were on sale. As a result it was decided to make blood orange sorbet. I don't quite recall how the decision was made but I'm glad it was...this was delicious. It was also extremely easy to make, 2 cups of juice from blood oranges and 1/2 cup of sugar.

This Saturday I had brunch at Josie's West with Matt. No pictures but a yummy tofu scramble was enjoyed.

After brunch we took in the beautiful winter landscape of central park. I think I was able to appreciate it because I can feel spring approaching. It'll be near 60 by Friday!!

Frozen lake

Is this the ground or frozen water?
Probably best not to test and see...

More exploring. I always forget about the Belvedere Castle in Central Park. I think I've only ever been inside on one other location.
Views from the castle.
Shakespeare in the park theater
The castle!
And again looking down, more frozen water.
I spent the rest of my Saturday in lab and got in a 10 mile run...I was only planning on 7 but got into a good zone. I'm also getting faster, I was able to keep a pace of 8:36 min/mile. Then just as I was about to shower from my run and head back to lab or at least sit down for some reading my friend convinced me to meet up for a drink. Well, one drink turned into 2 and a night of dancing. Next think I knew it was 3:30 am and I caught a taxi back home and passed out!

Today I did a quick recovery run of 2.25 miles at a 9:02 min/mile pace. I also wanted to get some yoga in but I need to do some more work so I think I'll get in a quick session of either yoga or pilates and some upper body strength tomorrow morning.

See ya during the week,