Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Confession time.

I love diet food. I hate diet food. I love that diet food makes me thin. I hate that it mostly tastes like bark & fungus. I love finding good stuff that has no Weight Watchers Points Plus and tastes like real food. Yes, I just called soda a real food. I've been meaning to try stevia sweetened soda for a long time and finally picked some up today at my favorite local grocery store, The Garden. This one was Dr. Pepper knock-off flavor and it was so good that I'm going back tomorrow for the rest of the flavors!

What are your favorite fake foods? Any gems?

Monday, January 30, 2012

NYC has so many treasures to stumble upon

I didn't get a very good look, but it looked amazing! I was too afraid I'd knock something over with my over flowing Trader Joe's bags that I was already in a bad mood about having to schlep home on the subway.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


 Fur babies & Carbs. Sleeping until 4 P.M. on Saturday and spending money on ourselves. We love adulthood.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


 Before Hurricane Irene, I panicked about the idea of rivers of water everywhere and a basement apartment that would suddenly turn into an amusement park wave pool. I bought the first pair of rain boots that I could find that came in my Paris Hilton size. They were some fugly-ass generico things from Payless and worked for the time being. Irene came and went and was lame, and I was left with character-less red boots.
 Enter Pinterest and it's wonderful advice. Some people accuse the site of being a huge waste of time, and it is, but it really is full of great ideas. I saw the bow-ed boots and knew they were just what my rainy day Ronald McDonald's needed. http://pinterest.com/pin/284360163941685481/
I can't tell you how many compliments I got on them yesterday! Bows make a lot of things better. Not everything, like mashed potatoes, but boots, definitely.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Exploring NYC

This weekend, one of our best friend's Charlie told us that his girlfriend was going to be in NYC for a conference, and would we please spend a little while with her. Oddly, I didn't take a single picture of any of us that went out, but I took lots of randoms of the stuff we saw!
 Trailer Park Lounge in Chelsea is one of our favorite places to take out of towers. Since Marla is from Florida, she felt right at home. She introduced me to X-rated liquor, which is pink grapefruit flavored, pink, and delicious.
 This lady guards the cans of PBR & bottles of High Life in a tub of ice.
 Elvis pours the beer.
 Home, sweet home.
 I might have to drunk ebay one of these mirrors.
 The ashtray outside.
 Tuck Shop! I've been wanting to try this place since I saw the Chelsea Market location, and was thrilled to find out that there was one in the East Village.
 Look at those!
 I had Guinness steak & mushroom. It was fantastic.
 Hop Devil Grill. Had a crazy amount of taps, like 24 or something. Met the owner, Markus, who was really nice and eager to make all the customers happy.
 Who would throw away such a great coin organizer?
 I want this cab to pick me up!
Sassy table tops at Yaffa Cafe.

I was amazed when we got home and realized that it was 4:30 A.M. These old fogies haven't been out that late in forever.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

 Oh, Plain Chicken, you are a never ending supply of of delicious ideas. This weekend we decided to try out the Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls. Instead of orange rolls, we used the Pilsbury Reduced Fat Cinnamon Rolls.
 I was pissed when I found out that they weren't actually "rolls" that could be unrolled. I carefully cut each one in half with a serrated knife.
 Dry blueberries on a paper towel so that they don't make the rolls soggy.
 Place 5 or 6 blueberries on the cut side of the bottom half of one roll.
 Cover with top half.
 Place in an 8 or 9 inch cake pan. I always like lining everything I bake with parchment paper. I'm too lazy to scrub pans.
 They smell amazing.
 And taste amazing.
There are 8 Weight Watchers Points Plus in two of them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bubble Up Enchiladas

Thanks, Plain Chicken! We loved these and can't wait to try the pizza version. We baked half of it and froze the other half. I'll let you know how those turn out after I've thawed & baked them next week!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Caramel Cookies, Weight Watchers Points Plus 2012, 1 Points Plus

These are delicious. I made them this evening for Ryan to take to work tomorrow for Hump Day and he has just run out of the kitchen with an entire stack. They are super thin and crispy. Ryan suggested adding cocoa and making some buttercream frosting so that we can make our own Oreos.

Caramel Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar*
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour*
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour*
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients and beat thoroughly.

Scrape dough out of dough and onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Roll dough into a log, about 2 1/2 inches wide; completely wrap dough in plastic wrap** and refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.

Cut dough into 1/8-inch-thick slices and arrange on several large ungreased** cookie sheets about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned around edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.***

Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for about 1 minute and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yields 1 cookie per serving.

* I didn't have enough brown sugar, so I had to use 9 tablespoons of dark brown sugar and 7 tablespoons of white sugar. I also didn't have enough all purpose flour and didn't have whole wheat flour at all. I used 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and 1/2 cup of cake flour.

** Because I didn't use enough flour, my dough was really sticky. Next time, I won't roll it out into a log. I had to drop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheets by the teaspoon full. I was also afraid to use ungreased cookie sheets, so I used parchment paper.

*** Too long. They will burn. 7 minutes was perfect.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Neighborhood Watch Committee

This is something I love about NYC. These are on the front of a house, and no one seems to give a damn. If we were in Cincinnati, everyone would know about "The Eyeball House."

On 5th Ave in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vegetarian Pepper-less Hoppin' John

Beans & Rice is our #1 go-to meal when we're broke. It's also one of our favorite things to make and eat, so we're in luck. Since we had to pay rent, both our student loans, 2 sets of plane tickets and a boatload of medical bills this past week, we're down with the poor food. Also, black eyed peas are good for the New Year.

And that brings us to my friend, Lara. She's an herbivore and doesn't like bell peppers. I thought I'd whip up this version of Hoppin' John for her. We couldn't believe how delicious this was. Ryan asked for it again tomorrow.

Lara's Hoppin' John

- one can of black eyed peas, drained & rinsed*
- one large vidalia onion, chopped
- one veggie bouillon cube
- one clove chopped garlic
- seasonings ( I like using montreal steak )
- one tablespoon of olive oil
- prepared brown rice

- throw first 6 ingredients in a crock pot with a 1/4 cup of water. Cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
- serve over rice.

*rinsing canned beans gets rid of 60% of the sodium or something crazy like that

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pretzel Chicken

This is one of our favorite meals. I know it looks like a pork chop, but that is because I pound the chicken into a super thin cutlet and I'm not very good at it. I also made red potatoes roasted with olive oil and black pepper, and creamed spinach from the Weight Watchers website.

I also usually make a cheddar mustard sauce with this pretzel chicken and I left it out for this particular meal because of the obvious calorie count. I missed it. A lot.

Anywho, I would make this pronto if I were you!

Pretzel Chicken
4 Chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/4 cup of flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of pretzels, crushed into course crumbs.
canola oil for frying (this is for the best result, but I used a very precise amount of olive oil because of WW)

- heat oil in skillet and pepper your cutlets
- place the flour in a shallow dish, the eggs in another shallow dish and the pretzels in a 3rd shallow dish ( I use pie tins)
- dredge the cutlets in that order <> and fry.

Enjoy. Lemme know if you want the cheddar mustard sauce recipe!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Things We Miss: Part 1

Ryan and I have been having a really good time getting to know the fun things there are to explore here in New York City that are new to us, culturally and culinarily. We've eaten at fun restaurants from world cuisine that we didn't even know existed. There are, however, a few things we miss about Cincinnati that we will be stocking up on on our trip there soon. Some things we'll stock pile to mail home, and others are perishable, so we'll have to eat as much of them as we possibly can while we're there. Some of the things have decent equivilants here, but they just don't taste as homey and the same. I've been compiling a list of what we'll be stuffing our faces with, and what will be giving the Postal Service our business with.
Snow Cream
Image via Calorilicious

Snow cream is hard to describe. It's primitive ice cream, for the most part. It's made of cream, sugar and vanilla (some brands do not include vanilla.) You would think it would be like plain ice milk, but it's whipped into a frothy concoction that is foamy and light. Think frozen Cool-whip, but without all the gross chemicals. (and we all know how much I loves me some Cool-whip) I love the taste and texture, and love it's low fat & calorie content even more. Of course, being a frozen item. We'll have to eat it while there at someone's house. My childhood BFF, Lucy, has stepped up to the plate to gather some up for us. It's mostly only sold at Christmas, so timing of it's acquisition is crucial!

Image via Cincy Favorites

Image via Roadfood

WTF is Goetta, you ask? I think Jane & Michael Stern, of Roadfood fame, describe it best as "Cincinnati's Offal Hash." But to get more specific, I'll let Wikipedia lay it out:

Goetta is a breakfast sausage of likely German-American origin that is popular in the greater Cincinnati area. It is primarily composed of ground meat (pork, or pork and beef) and steel-cut oats. Pronounced gétt-aaged-da or get-uh Americanized pronunciation, this dish probably originated with German settlers from the northwestern regions of OldenburgHannover, and Westphalia who emigrated to the Cincinnati area in the 19th century. The word "Goetta" comes from the Low German word götte. However, some believe that goetta originated as a haggis substitute, brought to Ohio via Scots-Irish migrants by way of Kentucky.[1]
Goetta was originally a peasant dish, meant to stretch out servings of meat over several meals to conserve money.
The modern popularity of goetta in Cincinnati has led to it being called "Cincinnati Caviar". Glier's Goetta, the largest commercial producer of goetta, produces more than 1,000,000 lb (450 metric tons) annually, around 99% of which is consumed locally in greater Cincinnati.

To say that Goetta has a flavor that's an acquired taste is an under statement. You just have to be from CIncinnati to understand it. Our favorite place to eat it out is Proud Rooster on Ludlow St. in Clifton.
Image via Cincinnati.com
Our favorite brand is Wassler's, which you can buy at Kramer's in Villa Hills, KY on Buttermilk Pike.

My Mother-in-Law is quite the Goetta fan & critic, so I can count on her to make for us for breakfast the couple of days we'll be staying with her.

Cincinnati Style Chili

Image via Free Republic
 What's that? you say. It's bolognese sauce on spaghetti with orange cheese. Well, yeah, basically that's what it is. Cincinnati style chili is a thin, soupy chili of ground beef and spices. The most popular way to eat is on spaghetti with finely shredded orange cheddar. It's called a 3-way. He he. Step it up a notch or 2 to make a 4 way with onions or kidney beans or a 5-way with both. Skyline is the biggest franchise for the chili, but there are a few others worth checking out, a great one being Camp Washington Chili, which is open 24/7, and if you really wanna do it all Cincinnati-like, also serves goetta! I personally like my chili in chili-cheese sandwich style, which is like a coney dog minus the hot dog part. They make dry mix packets of Cincinnati style chili seasoning, which I'll be buying at Kroger (another Cincinnati original) and bringing home to make with 99% fat-free ground turkey! I've asked a few people to mail them to me, but they keep forgetting. 

Husman's Chips (Sour Cream & Cheddar, specifically)
Image via Husman's

There is absolutely nothing special about these. I haven't even bothered to see if there is a good supplement to them here. I just like them. When my friend Karlen drove up to visit in September, she cleaned out her local grocery store and brought me 6 bags. They were gone in 2 weeks. I think they're extra salty, thick and each chip is really big and substantial. Ugh. I'm gonna gain so much weight on this visit home.

Ale 8-1
Ale 8-1 is a ginger ale from Winchester, KY that Ryan introduced me to when we first started dating. It has caffeine in it, so I actually know people who drink it instead of coffee for breakfast. I personally love it with Bourbon & lime juice. Yeah. I'm getting thirsty...

Opera Creams
Image via Facebook

I'm having a hard time finding information about these on the internets, but they are a cream cheese-y tasting confection sold at Easter in gas stations and corner stores. The original flavor is almost like a mild cheesecake shaped like a little egg and covered in chocolate. They also make flavored varieties and my favorites are pineapple and maple nut. I'm hoping the first week of February will be close enough to Easter that we'll be able to find some. 

And there you have it. Some of these foods don't seem so weird, but we never knew they were native to the 'Nati until we moved away and couldn't find them! I can't wait to go shopping for them! If we ever go to Cincinnati in a car, then I'm really gonna clean Kroger out. I'll stock up on Kim's Magic Pop, 35 calorie bread from Aunt Millie's and Kroger brand diet grapefruit soda. When it all comes down to it, I really miss eating in the town I grew up in!