Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Sorry for the lack of posts from us, its been a bit hectic for us these days, and things are finally starting to settle down.  I'm getting back to my weekly routines and schedules which includes grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.  During my Sunday grocery day at Whole Foods, I decided to pick up some green bell peppers to make stuffed bell peppers which is also called "dolma" in farsi.  I found this recipe, but I didn't really follow it completely because I have watched my mom make "dolma" a few times, so I just mixed methods and ingredients from both recipes.  One major thing that I swapped was brown rice for white rice.  T told me about Uncle Ben's stove top brown rice, and I decided to experiment with it in this recipe.  The end result was pretty good!  To make it even healthier next time, I may substitute ground turkey for ground beef.   


Monday, June 18, 2012

Boston in a Day

I was in Boston a few weeks back for my sister’s graduation. Knowing that she would be leaving soon to return to DC, my sister suggested we walk Boston’s “Freedom Trail” for her last hurrah. Side note—the last time either of us have been on this walk was in eighth grade over TEN years ago. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walk that begins in Boston Common and ends in Charlestown [yes, the same “Town” in Ben Affleck’s last Boston flick].  Instead of paying for a guided tour, I downloaded a free i-Phone app that provided maps and quick summaries for each of the 16 historical sites. The cool thing about the trail is that you can never really get lost—the sidewalks are marked with a red line or red brick designating the path. There was a lot to see and at times I wanted to give up—the last two sites in Charlestown require crossing a bridge and A LOT OF WALKING. But the weather was great and with our mini oyster break in Little Italy, we actually finished it.  I definitely recommend this if you have lots of time to kill during your Boston trip and your pockets are on the lighter side.  Also, if you’re all about Instagram, these sites make for great pics.


 **Note--that tiny person is my sister, not me!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Doughnuts

After seeing one of my favorite bloggers make homemade doughnuts with her sunbeam doughnut maker , I knew I had to get one.  So I finally went to Target and found the exact same one, and I couldn't wait to start making fresh homemade doughnuts.  I found this recipe for homemade blueberry doughnuts with an orange glaze, and I knew this had to be the first recipe I would test out.  I promised myself that if I bought this doughnut maker, I would only bake it to share with others and only try to eat one (maybe two).  So I woke up early this morning before work to start baking.  The ingredients are pretty simple and prep time doesn't take long either.  The only thing that you have to wait for is the doughnuts baking because there are only 5 doughnut spaces and it take about 6-7 minutes per batch to bake, and this recipe yields about 4 batches.  Overall the doughnuts were pretty good and tasted very fresh and light.  I can't wait to experiment with different flavors and decorations.  Happy Friday!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Infinitely Adaptable Spanish Tortilla

Too lazy to run to the grocery store? Bare essentials staring you in the face when you open the fridge? Craving breakfast for dinner? Fear not! Spanish tortilla [the Spanish version of a frittata] may be what you need.  Back in college, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Madrid. While I enjoyed shopping at the Zara there more than the cuisine, I came back with a couple of recipes [okay, maybe just one] under my belt…thanks to my house mom, Maria! Tortilla [not to be confused with the Mexican corn tortilla] is an egg and potato dish that is, oddly enough, eaten for lunch or dinner. Maria would serve it for dinner alongside a hot bowl of veggie soup—something that really hit the spot, particularly when one is homesick for the U.S. [don’t judge me!] I should make this more often but I actually haven’t gotten a hold of flipping an “egg cake” over a hot stove. There have been disasters, yes, and there have been triumphs. The good news is you can tailor this recipe however you like. The traditional calls for onions and potatoes but there is definitely room to be creative. This past weekend I made a version with Vidalia onions [sooo “in” right now] and garnet yams.

Spanish Tortilla
Olive oil [in this instance, I used coconut oil because that was all I had--it works though!]
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 medium Vidalia onions, sliced
2 garnet yams, baked in the microwave and sliced. [ok so traditionally the potatoes are cooked in the pan with olive oil, but this takes wayyy too long and makes the dish heavier. I just pop them in the microwave at 6 min/potato]
6 eggs beaten
Salt to taste

In a frying pan, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and garlic and sauté until they begin to brown just a bit. Meanwhile, beat eggs in separate bowl along with some salt [I want to say 1 tsp. but as Rachel Ray says… just eyeball it]. When the onions are done, pour the egg mixture in. Move the pan around so that every nook and cranny has some egg in it. Cook until the bottom, middle and sides are firm. The top should still be runny. Turn off the heat and run a spatula along the sides of the pan to loosen the cake.  Put a regular plate on top, holding it firmly, and flip the pan. The cake should have popped onto the plate [expect some gooey egg to land on your countertop].  Heat the pan again and add some more oil. Slide the cake back onto the pan so that the runny part is now on the bottom. Cook for another 5-10 minutes…and flip it back onto the plate. I like to eat this with a simple green salad, but again, it’s really up to you! 


Friday, May 25, 2012

Homemade Iced Chai Latte

I love me some Starbucks especially on weekends.  But sometimes going to Starbucks every week can leave your wallet a bit empty with their 4 dollar drinks (and that's for the tall size).  I read some reviews on Chai Latte Concentrates and I decided to give it a try.  I went to my local wholefoods and they had to brands, Oregon Chai Latte Concentrate and Tazo Chai Tea Latte Concentrate.  I decided to try the Oregon brand because they had one that was "slightly sweet" with only 7 grams of sugar per serving.  The directions say to put equal parts of the concentrate and milk, so I did 1/2 cup of each and then poured over a cup of ice.  The result was pretty delicious.  It wasn't totally the same as what you would buy at Starbucks, but it was pretty darn close.  Next time I think I would add a little bit more concentrate and less milk to give it a stronger Chai flavor.  Wishing everyone a great Memorial Day weekend!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DIY Butterfly Wall Art via Gossip Girl

DIYing is what I do best! and when I walked into my little sisters room one day and saw her DIY attempt, I felt she needed an intervention. She was trying to duplicate the butterfly wall art as seen on Gossip Girl by Paul Villnski, but she didn't really execute it as well so I had to step in. I found out that its actually pretty easy, cheap and fast. 

1. Scrapbook Paper 
2. A hole punch (at least 2in wide)
3. Craft Tack (any brand but I prefer Aleene's)

The inspiration...
1. Punch out butterflies
2. Fold butterflies and add some tacky to the back fold
3. Start designing! If you want a circle in the middle like I did, trace on the wall with a pencil and start to scatter them further apart as you go out. 

before and after! 


Monday, May 21, 2012

M's Vintage Birthday Bash

M turned 25 this past Thursday, and we have been busy with celebrations this weekend.  I cant believe my little sister is already a quarter years old!  We always go to Mai Thai in Old Town, Alexandria for her birthday, and we went on her actual birthday on Thursday because it's sort of a tradition.  Then on Saturday we threw her a small vintage bbq bash which was inspired by the 1950's and we encouraged all of our guests to dress in 1950's vintage attire.  The decoration had a pastel color scheme with little touches of vintage.  Our food was all bbq food with the typical burgers and hot dogs but we added special touches such as vintage ketchup and mustard bottles and little trays for the onion rings and fries. Overall it was a great night and she said it was one of her favorite birthdays ever!  Here are a few photos from M's birthday weekend.

                                                  Dinner at Mai Thai in Old Town, Alexandria
Food and Dessert
Vintage Coke Bottles and Paper Straws
                                                           Making wishes and blowing candles