Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lazy Lazy Days and Mini Pecan Pies

So..I'm home. And I'm so bored. But am I doing anything about this? Nope. Instead I am sitting on the couch watching Top Chef reruns and cooking and baking the days away. Don't judge me, it's called winter VACATION for a reason!

I would like to share with you a miracle! (in theory) These Pecan Pie muffins are only 120 calories andddd they tasted EXACTLY like a mini pecan pie!! Amazing right? That's what I thought, but the only problem is that they are mini-muffins and the more you eat that 120 calories just continue to multiply, but will still feel better eating these than a giant slice of pecan pie. And the recipe is super simple.

Pecan Pie Muffins
*makes 24 mini muffins*
120 calories per muffin

1 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
2/3 cups of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients together. (I did it all at once and they came out perfect)
Pour into mini-muffin pans. (or regular muffin pan if you'd like but you'll need to adjust cooking time)
Bake for 18 minutes.

That's it! Simple right? So what are you waiting for? You deserve these after a stressful holiday weekend!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas is Over =[

Wahhhh!! This is the worst time of year! The day after Christmas...Excitement has been building for the past few months for this one day and's over. But on the bright side, only 364 days until Christmas!

So I was a terribly deprived child and my mother never decorated Christmas cookies with me. (I now know why after this weekend. A: She's not very good at it; she gets way to frustrated with the piping tubes and tiny sprinkles and frosting that she ends up just angrily squirting it all over the cookie in no real order. B: For every 3 cookies she'd decorate, 2 would end up in her mouth. maybe I was guilty of that part too but shhhhh) So anyway, I was determined this year to have this quintessential childhood memory so we went to Walmart and bought A LOT of cookie decorating supplies with a gift card I got for Christmas and for the past few days I have been going to town!

This is my work space. Who knew "5 1/2 dozen" cookies was SO MANY COOKIES!! For real though..the number of cookies you see in this picture is probably only about a quarter of the total number that dang sugar cookie tub made!

Isn't my cow awesome?? Don't ask why we have a cow cookie cutter...Okay, I'll just tell you. My mom's a little obsessed with cows. ...Just a little. -__-

This is how my mother contributed to the cookie-decorating taking artsy pictures of me.

PS. Go Giants!!!

Christmas cow!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and Santa was good to you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Boston Pops and Pho Basil

I'M FREE!!!!!!
Wow, I can't believe I'm already halfway through my second year of college! I'm so old!!

Anywho, I am done with all of my finals and currently sitting on my very own couch in my very own home in Upstate New York, staring out the window and threatening Mother Nature to give us snow by Christmas OR ELSE! But before we came home, I surprised my mom with tickets to the Holiday Pops concert and it was amazing! I am actually currently listening to their rendition of 12 Days of Christmas. I paid $4 for this download because it was that awesome. For each day of Christmas, they sing it to the tune of a different song..some examples are "A Few of My Favorite Things," "Halleluja," "Swan Lake" (guess which day that one was), and even "Bohemian Rhapsody." It was brilliant. The Tanglewood Choir accompanied them. I highly recommend going to to download it, if you're the type of person who appreciates really good music.

And to make the night even better, we went to a delicious Thai-Vietmanese restaurant called Pho Basil on Massachusetts Ave. Overall, I was very impressed. Though it killed me, I went with the Saigon Noodle with tofu instead of my usual Vegetable Pad Thai, and I was very glad I did. It had the same deliciousness of the egg noodles and sauteed veggies with a little extra flavor. Very good!

My aunt and uncle shared the Spicy Basil with chicken. It was very tasty, but indeed very spicy! There was a LOT of red pepper flakes in it. That was kind of all I could taste after awhile (I know this because I accidentally ended up with their leftovers instead of mine =[ )

My mother decided to be adventurous with a dish that required her to dip rice paper in a bowl of hot water and then put the rice, shrimp and other veggies inside and then roll it up into a wrap. And if it wasn't already complicated enough, the didn't even peel the shrimp for her. Kind of annoying. And overall it was pretty tasteless. The vinegar sauce was good though!

And the grand finale....COCONUT ICE CREAM!! ...enough said.

I am so happy to be home so I can cook/bake/eat for the next 3 and a half weeks straight! 3 days till Christmas!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Week Until Christmas!

Happy Sunday! Now I would usually be too distracted with football to post right now, but the Giants are sucking it up big time, so I need something to distract me from this depressing, pathetic excuse for a game on my TV. And what better way than to talk about food?? Italian food nonetheless!

For dinner in NYC we went to Pietrasanta, on 9th and 47th thanks to the recommendation of my friend Vic. And let me tell you, we weren't disappointed! Food was very fairly priced...between $16 and $20 an entree. We started out with some yummy Italian bread and a delicious tomato basil hummus.

For our entrees, I ordered the Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto. Now, I have never had a risotto that I didn't love, but I wasn't really impressed with this one. It wasn't quite creamy enough for me and there was something, perhaps the Pecorino Cheese, that gave it an odd, almost bitter, taste. There were, however, giant pieces of mushroom which really impressed me. 

Delaney settled on the Fettuccine di Spinaci con Melanzane. This was very delicious, but it didn't have any roasted eggplant in it as promised in the description, but was still very tasty.

And what I thought was the most delicious entree...the Gnocchi Torrese. Oh my goodness I can't even describe how good this was! I was so jealous that I didn't order it, but luckily Vic let me have a bite...or four. The gnocchi itself was so soft and creamy and just overall amazing!

Then, even though our stomachs could not possibly fit another bite, Vic convinced us that their chocolate mousse would be worth any puking that it may later cause. And that was all the convincing we needed. And again, it definitely did not disappoint!

Just look at tasted as good as it looks. Enough said. And trust me, I am very picky about my chocolate mousse, and this was close to perfect. Bravo Pietrasanta, Bravo!

From here, we took a long walk up to Columbus Circle and around Central Park in a pointless attempt to work off some of that food. Then we kind of ran out of stuff to do. I know what you're New York City? But we were too cheap to go see a show and none of the movies were playing at good times. So naturally, we went back to Times Square to take more ridiculous pictures, but this night!

Have a great rest of your weekend! And Giants...GET IT TOGETHER!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

NYC Continued

Hello all and Happy Weekend!

I should be studying for my Ethics final that I have in an hour and a half, but I am the worst studier in all the land so I decided a new blog post was much more important. According to John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, my action is morally permissible because the total amount of pleasure (from sharing my wonderful stories and pictures of New York City and delicious food with you) outweighs the pain I will experience if I am not 150% ready for this final. See? I'm golden.

Anywho, I would like to continue discussing the amazingness that was my trip to NYC. After lunch, we headed over to Times Square and took a lot of dorky pictures to make ourselves look as much like tourists as humanly possible. I, personally, think we did a wonderful job of this.

Don't you agree? And then we went to the Disney Store (which used to be on 5th Avenue near the Apple Store and FAO Schwarz, but they moved it to Times Square and I must say...I was very disappointed. It was not nearly as amazing as the old one! It was all just kid crap. Now come on...there are plenty of respectable adults [and 19 year olds] who LOVE Disney, and although a giant stuffed Bolt is amazing, we want grown up things too. For instance, I got this awesome purse with rainbow Mickey heads all over it at the old store, and me and my mom would always get those antennae toppers with the characters head on them to put on my car. The new Times Square location...purse and antennae topper free. They also didn't have anything from Up, which is clearly the best Disney movie ever [okay, maybe top 5] Wow, this was a really long side note, I will end it now).

Did you know they left the 2011 ball up all  year? Me neither! From there we went to Macy's and looked at all the 5th Avenue windows. This one was my favorite because it reminds me of me and my mom baking, and I miss baking and cooking so much. One more week until I'm home in my own kitchen!

From here we went to the Rockefeller Center. It is absolutely gorgeous (and crowded!) at Christmas time. I can't wait for the day I get to go ice skating there.

And then my friend Vic finally took us to Magnolia Bakery after talking about how delicious the cupcakes and cheesecakes were all day! I got a plain vanilla cupcake because the pickings were kind of slim, and it had an adorable snowman and mitten on top and my friend Delaney got a pumpkin cupcake (ew!) Mine was actually really good! The cake part was a little bland but that could be because I didn't eat it until the next day and it sat in the fridge, but the frosting was amazing!! I also had a bite of the evil pumpkin cupcake just to say I did and I was pleasantly surprised. It didn't really taste much like pumpkin. The cake had a spice cake, fally flavor to it and the frosting was delicious mapley goodness!

My friend Vic got the Red Velvet Cheesecake, but of course I forgot to ask if she liked it and Delaney also got the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake which was also very good. It was the perfect, thick richness that every good cheesecake needs! I'm going to leave you hanging for now, because dinner was--by far--the best part of our entire trip! So if you're going to NYC tomorrow make sure you read my post before you decide on a restaurant for dinner, or you'll be really sorry you missed it! Have a great rest of your weekend and GO GIANTS!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of's finals week.. =[ Yeah, fun times. But before finals week, came the finals "study" period, which could only mean one thing...DAY TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY! I surprised my roommate with 3 Megabus tickets to NYC leaving at 6am and getting back at 3:30am for me, her, and our other friend. And SCORE! We got the most awesomest seats...front row on the top. Here was our lovely view going down 5th Avenue.

From there we took the Subway down to Wall St. and the South Street Seaport. (Side note: NYC subways are soooooo much more confusing than the T!! Like really...if my friend Vic hadn't worked in NYC before and knew her way around, it would've taken me probably 10 minutes of looking at the map before I figured out which subway we should get on. Like there's the 1, 2, 3, 4, F, R, J, Σ,...okay I'm just kidding about that last one, there was no Sigma Line, but anyway) From there we went to Batter Park and saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from across the water. And then we walked over to Ground Zero. I can't believe how far they have gotten on the new freedom tower!!

I guess it's just been awhile since I've been to the city. I was hoping I'd get to see the ponds and the memorial but have to pay to get within like half a mile of it!! What?? They are profiting off of national tragedy! Not cool New York..not cool! This was the closest picture I could get from some pedestrian bridge. The giant hole that everyone is standing around is one of the ponds where one of the towers used to stand.

From there, we went back uptown and began our search for lunch. We knew we wanted Asian cuisine but couldn't settle on a restaurant. It's a hard decision! I're only in NYC so many times and there are SO many awesome places to eat! You don't want to end up with crappy food, knowing you could have had so much better! Well we eventually stumbled upon the Lan Sheng Szechuan Restaurant and (mostly because we were just starving at this point) decided that this is where we would eat. Price wise it was pretty good! $7.30 for your choice of Hot n' Sour Soup, Egg Drop Soup, Wonton Soup or a spring roll, an entree, and your choice of brown, white, or friend rice. We each got a different soup.

The Hot n Sour tasted like your average hot n sour soup. It was good but nothing extraordinary. My egg drop soup was very...eggy. Now I know that sounds dumb, but trust me. I've had egg drop soup before and I usually like it, but this tasted like i was just spooning a raw egg out of its shell. I personally didn't try the wonton soup because there were only two wontons in it and that is kind of the deciding factor of wonton soup. But Vic and Delaney both liked that one the best and said it was really good. For the entrees, we all got the fried rice and Vic got Chicken and Broccoli and Delaney got Kung Pau Chicken.

The Kung Pao chicken was good, it was loaded with amazing peanuts, but there was quite a bit of ginger in it and I HATE ginger. The chicken and broccoli, however, was amazing!! It just had such a unique taste to it, not just your average chicken and broccoli take out. It was so good. The fried rice was also good, but pretty much just standard fried rice. I got the Shrimp Pad Thai (which I was a little skeptical about getting this at a Szechuan restaurant but I love it so much, that I had to give it a try).

Overall, pretty good. Not the best Pad Thai I've ever had. Not even close. But I still found it very delicious. My friend Vic LOVED it, but she had never tried Pad Thai before. So she's definitely in for a treat next time. By the end of lunch, we had completely cleared our plates and waddled out of the restaurant on to more adventures in the city that never sleeps. But the rest of my adventures are for another blog post, because it is finals week and quite frankly, I will have nothing else to do for the next 4 days! Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pizzeria Regina-North End, Boston, MA

Okay, so...if you live in Boston or anywhere near Boston, or heck...if you live anywhere in the United States and have access to an airport, get your butt to Boston and go to Pizzeria Regina! It is The. Most. Delicious. Pizza. I have ever had in my life! Now there are a million and a half little chains of it throughout Boston, but most go to the original restaurant smack dab in Boston's Little Italy-The North End.

Every time someone comes to visit me at college, I always take them to Pizzeria Regina. And, I think it's worth noting, that no one has ever disagreed with me that it is God's gift to mankind.

This is the very thing that will change your life forever.

I know it just looks like,, but don't be fooled. The crust is so thin and amazing, and the cheese and sauce together is just to DIE for! Now, I'm sure it would be good with all sorts of veggies and such on it, but of all the times I've been there, I've only gotten the Original North End Classic. It's really all you need.

This is me and my cousin sitting at the bar. (Note: the restaurant is rather small and I am not the only resident of Boston who knows how amazing it is. Therefore, I have never gone to Pizzeria Regina when there wasn't a line out the door and oftentimes down the block. Don't let this make you change your mind and decide to go somewhere is worth the wait! That being said, if you get asked if you mind sitting at the bar, simply say "No sir, I do not mind at all. Just get that pizza in my mouth!") Also, my cousin lives in Tampa Bay, so if she can come all this way for this amazing can you!

This is what it looks like from the outside.

And yet another example of a friend coming to visit me and going to PR. Also, I'd like to note that I expertly took this picture myself while holding the camera out in front of me and aimlessly snapping a photo and this is what I got the first time. I'm just that amazing.

But seriously..have you booked your flight to Boston yet?? What are you waiting for?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hello and Welcome!

Hello, my name is Nicole. I'm not going to just rehash everything that's in my bio, but I am a student at Boston University and I am obsessed with food! I've always loved sharing recipes and taking pictures of my food. And of course I love talking about myself and my interests so I've decided to start this blog so I can share my adventures with the world.

And what better time to start a food blog than smack dab in the middle of the holidays?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I'm quite positive that my stomach stretched itself out to the point of no return, because I am way hungrier now than I was before Thanksgiving Break, but I'm sure if I just keep eating, it will fix itself. Right? Right.

For my first post I'd just like to share our Thanksgiving table. Full of turkey, gravy (homemade by yours truly), mashed potatoes (made from scratch by my mother), squash (yum!), STUFFINNGGG (not made from scratch, but who cares because it's stuffing!!), and my mother's famous, amazing green bean casserole!

Thanksgiving is always hosted at our house, even though the guests change from year to year, but what doesn't change is me and my mom running back and forth between watching football in the living room (both the teams I was rooting for this year lost =[ ) and cooking in the kitchen. My dog also follows us from room to room and stares at us with those big sad eyes that you just about want to give the whole dang turkey to!

And this is him during the football breaks...

He leads a really rough life. I hope everyone's Thanksgiving were as delicious and restful as mine were. (Well, besides the whole "Hey, let's go to Walmart at midnight! They have a wireless router for $20!" Me: "Sure mom, whatever you say." And then there was a couple nights later..."Hey, they're having a drawing for a new car at the casino at midnight! We have good chances of winning let's go!" Me: "Sure mom, I'm sure you are definitely going to win that new car!" -__-)

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!