Thursday, September 27, 2012

Remnants of a Food Blogger Named Me.

So today the strangest thing happened to me. My phone went away. No, it wasn't stolen. I still have the physical thing but when I attempted to sync it to my iTunes account because I thought I was being good it erased all of my information. That's right, contacts, text messages, setting, identity, and most importantly, my photos.

Because my regular expensive camera doesn't take good indoor photos as evidence from my London posts, I use my iPhone 4 for my recipes, product reviews, and practically my life. So not only did it delete everything it replaced it with Aaron's contacts, photos, text messages, and settings from August 2011. I guess one day he used my computer to charge his phone and my iTunes synced with his phone or something. Now I'm erased and so is everything I worked on for this blog. My photos, my notes on recipes, and posts all gone just like that.

I'm feeling really bad for myself right now and it seems silly since it is just a phone but it had all my photos including those of my cousin's son's first birthday where since we share a birthday we had his cake together.

I was also going to post my review of Enjoy Life's new Plentils Lentil chips tomorrow but now all of my photos from the unopened bags are gone. All I have are open bags now. (Don’t worry I will still post the winner of the chocolate contest in a few weeks when Designs by Francine makes the decision.)

Any encouragement or advice is welcomed but honestly I might have to take a break from the blogging for a few days as I have no photos of recipes or restaurants reviews I was planning on posting as they all lived in my phone.

I don’t know where to go from here it might take awhile for me to stock up of recipe photos again and feel better about myself. Chocolate will be involved.

Until next time…


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIAW #44: Roasted Acorn Squash

 How is it almost October I ask you? My biggest complaint is that I have yet to be able to wear the black boots I bought in England and practically lived in over there.
Why not hang out on the couch in pajamas?...and your boots. Okay, that’s a little much. Just like me!

This week I had a not very fun paper to write on the presidential election of 2008. And to answer your question, And to answer your question, yes, there is such thing as a fun paper! Well, this was not one of those and you will be hearing about What I drank Wednesday after I get the grade back. Yep me= a little too much information.

Because honestly, “drinking” for me means one glass of wine at home with dinner and then falling asleep. I’m a party animal can't you tell?


Now What I Ate this Week since I had some interesting one I must share with you!
I have really tried to reduce our (because let’s face it I make all of Aaron’s meals) sodium intake and continue to add the veggies even though it always proves harder to do so when it gets cold. Lots of squash this season baby! I’ve also been trying to be conscious about getting breakfast in even though it is definitely hard some mornings with time constraints!


Pineapple Chobani (the only one I will allow myself to buy 2%, come on Chobani, why is there no pineapple 0% available at my store?) with mix of granolas and chia seeds in the library amid reading the Great Gatsby.

Coffee- lonnnggggg paper!

Other breakfasts recently:

Peach Chobani 0% with a little Trader Joe’s ginger granola, chia seeds, and a fresh peach

Saturday: Scrambled eggs with low fat turkey sausage, red potatoes, mushrooms, lots of spinach, and onions. My last fresh peach on the side


Go Picnic Hummus and Crackers box
honey crisp apple, sliced
3 cups water

Highlights of my new favorite Go Picnic box- Hummus and Crackers:

I first discovered this variety and Go Picnic in general from my friend Jennifer who is gluten-free and loves their friendly options. Non-gluten-free people like me love it anyway!

This was my favorite type so far and they sell them at my school now! But I want to go to the grocery store to find them cheaper I think.

The crackers and hummus were great along with the Endangered Species supreme smooth dark chocolate square that I’m loving! (I saved the Sweet Perry Orchards Fruit & Nut mix for a snack tomorrow since that’s my favorite from the Turkey stick & crunch box!) I usually don’t like non-refrigerated hummus, but this Wild Garden Hummus dip was delicious and all-natural; I might have to change my mind….

I’m loving these dry roasted edamame from Seapoint Farms I got in my Go Picnic box. They are so crunchy and satisfying without making you feel guilty afterwards. And going with my September pledge to reduce sodium, these lightly salted edamame are a good alternative to the very salty snacks I could be eating. My mouth felt a little dry after eating but on a salad or in a trail mix with cranberries they would be perfect!

Other Lunches recently:

Two pieces of leftover homemade veggie-tastic pita pizza and leftover roasted acorn squash (recipe below)

Small bowl of Penne with homemade pesto sauce, fresh tomatoes and parmesan,
apple on the side


Homemade Quinoa Chicken and uber-veggie fried rice!
One of our favorite meals-super easy weeknight meal!

Other dinners:

Roasted Acorn Squash with homemade pesto sauce, side of quinoa with roasted mushrooms and basil, two tenders of crunchy parmesan chicken topped with Enjoy Life Garlic Parmesan Plentils Lentil chips! (Plentils chips review coming soon!!)

iPhone photo of amazing smoked marlin tacos at Alma de Cuba for Happy Hour on Friday with friends. Hey! These babies are normally $13.50 and we got them for $6 along with a couple other $6 tapas to share. Best way to go out on a college-budget!

I’ve eaten a lot of delicious things since we talked last and I love sharing them with you! If you like what you see, please leave a comment and let me know! I love hearing from readers, it makes my day!

Another goal of WIAW Fall into good habits month is for me to fall into good blogging habits again. I am making myself post a recipe at WIAW every week this month so enjoy!

Today’s recipe:

In honor of the U.S. Open Squash tournament in Philadelphia very soon, here's another type of squash!

Perfect for all of the amazing squash now available at your farmer's market! Neither Aaron or I could believe how good this was and really easy! Everyone with love this roasted squash. It is so nutty and slighlty sweet especially when you carmelize the natural sugars by roasting. The pesto drizzle plays nicely with the sugars and adds a little interest! Plus at less than $1 an acorn squash you can feel good and feed your family on one of these bad boys! Enjoy!

Happy Squashing!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Homemade Pesto Drizzle:
makes large 4 servings (Inspired by Smitten Kitchen)



One large acorn squash, top and bottom cut
1 tsp. Garlic salt
½ tsp. Black Pepper
1/3 cup of Homemade pesto (recipe here)
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. good quality balsamic vinegar (the type that isn’t “too” vinegary)
5 Fresh basil leaves, green and purple if possible, chopped


Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.

Wash whole acorn squash and then cut off top and bottom of the squash. Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds and clean out from the squash (set aside so you can make roasted seeds later if desired.) Carefully cut each half of the squash into ¾ inch slices horizontally.

In a bowl toss squash slices with garlic salt, black pepper and two tbsp. of olive oil. Coat the slices evenly.

In two large baking dishes, arrange squash cut side down, flat with a little overlap as possible.

Place baking dishes in the over for 25-30 minutes or until squash is golden brown on the bottom and easily pierces with a fork. Switch the position of the dishes in the oven halfway through cooking time.

While squash is cooking prepare pesto (according to this recipe) or use homemade or pre-prepared version. Mix pesto with remaining two tbsp. olive oil, and balsamic vinegar in a medium bowl.

When squash is ready arrange on plate and drizzle with pesto mixture. Top with fresh basil leaves.

Serve immediately while squash is still warm and crispy.


P.S. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest from Designs By Francine Artisan Chocolates! We had some great entries and I will announce the winner soon once Francine decides!

Didn’t get to enter? Check out Francine’s website for artisan tea-infused chocolates from the Greater Philadelphia Area-Brandywine Valley!


The College Cuisiner

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crockpot Curry Peach Chicken

I'm loving my new crockpot that my BFF Nicole gave me for my birthday. After the Chicken Chili I made I got excited to make a new recipe.

I looked around and saw a recipe for peachy curry chicken a few weeks ago. When I went to make this I couldn't find the recipe and all I remember is that it had chicken and peaches in it so this recipe is mine.

With the sweetness of the spice I wanted to add some spice to balance it out. I added some sriracha, chili powder, and pepper flakes to give it a little spiceness. I'm trying to be conscious of our salt intake so I recommend a low-sodium chicken both for this recipe since the spices and herbs give it so much flavor without the added salt.

I know I said my last peach recipe would be the final of the season but when I passed an old man with a farm stand in Maryland last weekend I gave in and bought up the last peaches and tomatoes. In retrospect he overcharged me big time but these chicken dish was worth it.

If you really like curry and have access to different types I recommend experimenting with different blends of yellow and red curry and spices. If not, a standard yellow curry will do. But as always, be creative! It's more fun that way!

And since we are coming into Autumn finally you could always replace the fresh peaches for sliced apples. Just remember to add a little more liquid to account for the water from the peaches. (A little more chicken broth will do just fine.)

As most of my recipes, this is for around two maybe three people for dinner. I like making small portions since it is just us and while I usually make a little more for leftovers we end up eating it right away! For a family sized portion, simply double the recipe. This is a great meal for any day of the week!

Crockpot Curry Peach Chicken


½ lb. chicken tenders
2 peaches, cut into chunks
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup red wine
½ cup gluten-free, low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. decent yellow curry powder or curry mix
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp cumin
½ tsp black pepper
A little garlic salt
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. sriracha hot chili sauce

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Garnish: top each plate with a couple peach slices and a little extra fresh cilantro


Add all ingredients into crockpot. Mix together well. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW 6-8 hours. For the most moist chicken in a hurry, try HIGH for 3 hours and LOW for 1 hour.

Once cooked, shred the chicken and mix together with the the sauce and peaches. Serve over your favorite grain.

Tip: You can leave the chicken unshredded as it gets melt-in-your-mouth tender when whole but you will have more sauce to account for.

I served this curry chicken over quinoa with sauteed asparagus.



The College Cuisiner

P.S. This is your last chance to enter the contest for your own tea-infused chocolates or truffles made by Philadelphia Area chocolatier, Designs by Francine. All you have to do give your idea for a tea-infused chocolate creation. Contest ends this Tuesday, September 25th!!

Here's Francine's latest creation: Dark Chocolate Cranberry Orange Truffles made with cranberry tea infusion and orange zest so be creative!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

WIAW #43: Stuffed Shells and Spaghetti Squash

I can feel it in the slightly crisp's almost Fall. My favorite season, time of the year, and face it, types of foods are associated with this season.

The only things I don't like about Fall:

  • Winter is Coming. (No Games of Thrones reference intended, seriously.)
  • The tomatoes and basil are dying.
  • Studying.
  • It's too short of a season.

Things I love about Fall:

  • Apples
  • Apple Cider
  • Pumpkins
  • Chilly yet not cold Weather that allows me to wear sweaters and boots
  • My shows are back
  • Squash
  • British Food is again accepted with the frenzy of baked chickens and gravies
  • Everything tastes better in Fall
  • Family Affordable Fun for the College Student!
  • Happiness

Aaron and I went back to Small Town for the weekend so I could work for my internship. The best parts about going back is stocking up on all the things I can only get there. Such as my favorite orchard's honeycrisp apples, the best pure apple cider, spaghetti and acorn squash and all of the clothes for Fall I haven't brought down yet. Not to mention the deliciously fresh tomatoes and peaches I found at a roadside stand in Maryland. Got to love it!
Now What I Ate this Week:
We are falling into good habits so that means more veggies! And less salt! Those are my goals.
BreaKfast with a Capital “K”, why? Just because:

Black Cherry O% Chobani Greek Yogurt with Trader Joe’s granola and a sprinkle of chia seeds at the library. No spoon available, notice the fork I ate my yogurt with?

100 calorie pack of unsalted almonds shared with Aaron (so maybe 40 calories?) Not that I'm counting though.


Leftover stuffed shells with spaghetti squash!! Scroll down for the recipe!

Tea time to rid off the sleepies at 3pm:

One Honeycrisp apple (from my home supply this weekend) with Justin’s honey almond butter mixed with chia seeds, extra crunchy fiber goodness!
One mug of black tea with a little half-and-half

Crockpot Curry Peach Chicken over quinoa with sautéed asparagus (recipe coming soon, OMG!)
Apple cider

Water before bed and a allergy pill (Don’t want you to miss a thing!)
Now back to those stuffed shells…. I haven't posted a WIAW recipe in a while so here it goes!

I love squash. I only discovered spaghetti squash a few years ago when I worked at the Orchard. I love it! It's full of vitamins and super low on calories. One thing is that it needs to be with something. Spaghetti squash by itself it can be a little light and leave you feeling really hungry in a few hours (but make you feel really full at first!)

We were low on supplies and ideas for dinner so I used the spaghetti squash and a packet of pre-made frozen stuffed shells my mother gave me as we left the house. Of course, homemade is always better but if you are looking for an easy semi-homemade meal to make for the family on a week night I recommend this method as it is A LOT easier! If you have some time and are expected company, why not make your own shells? Tell me how they turned out!

I wanted to make this recipe as easy as possible for busy families who are looking for a nutritious kid-friendly meal.  So the “optional” ingredients listed are things I added and love but you can easily do without if you don’t have them on hand or you think whomever you are cooking for won’t like them. If you don’t add the fresh herbs or wine, try some fresh or frozen spinach to green it up a little.

It’s a simple fact that kids, and many adults do not like to eat vegetables, especially those they aren’t familiar with. Spaghetti squash is a great way to add an extra punch of nutrition without the “ewww, what’s that?” face. The squash mixes well into the sauce simply making it heartier without a "squash taste" either. Spaghetti squash is also a great alternative to traditional pasta since the light flesh turns into “pasta” like strands, but I recommend adding a little more substance like some starchier vegetables and/or a protein of some sort. The prep might sound like a lot but it is actually quite simple. Spaghetti squash can be roasted, boiled, or easily microwaved.

I hope you give it try because spaghetti squash might seem strange at first you’ll love it once you try it!

Stuffed Shells with Spaghetti Squash:
  makes six shells with sauce


6 pre-packaged stuffed shells of your choice (or make your own)
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce (15. oz.)
½ cup mozzarella cheese
Black pepper
1 cup water
Olive oil

Sprinkle of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup red wine
10 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/8 cup fresh oregano, chopped


Carefully cut the top and bottom of your whole spaghetti squash. Next cut the squash in half length wise. With a knife and spoon cut and scoop out the seeds in the middle (if you want don’t throw these out as they can be roasted like pumpkin seeds!) Place both halves of the squash open side down in a baking dish. Pour 1 cup of water into the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 15-18 minutes until tender. (squash can over lap a little is needed)
Meanwhile preheat your oven for 350 degrees or otherwise stated for your stuffed shells directions.

In a large pan heat a little olive oil over medium-low and begin to sautéed onions and garlic. Once translucent add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, herbs, and wine. Mix well and bring heat to medium allowing the sauce to gently simmer.

Once spaghetti squash is done (you should be able to easily pierce the rind with a fork) carefully take out of the microwave and take off plastic (be careful, steam will come out.) Carefully use fork and begin to scrape the flesh of the squash creating noodle-like strands. Add all of the flesh to the simmering sauce a gently mix. Once mixed together start preparing to bake.

Cover the bottom of a large glass baking dish with a layer of the squash sauce. Place the stuffed shells evenly on top of the sauce, seam side up. Completely cover the shells with the remaining sauce. Top with a little extra chopped herbs if desired.

Bake shells for 35 minutes (or otherwise instructed by shell recipe.) 10-15 minutes before finished sprinkle cheeses on top of the shells and return to oven. Take the dish out once cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. The shells should be cooked completely through.
Serve shells immediately and enjoy your very (secretly) veggie-tastic dish!

The College Cuisiner

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my create-your-own-chocolate contest from Greater Philadelphia Area Chocolatier, Designs by Francine Artisan Chocolate! You have until September 25th to enter to win 12 pieces of your own fair trade tea-infused chocolate creation!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Brown Butter Peach Shortbread

As Fall approaches (not soon enough for me) I must come to turns with the end of peach season. I loooove peaches! Just look at my recipes page for goodness sake! Hopefully like me you still have a couple peaches left in your fridge you are dying to use.

I had been eating a peach a day for weeks until I read a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Peach Shortbread bars.

Immediately I stopped right before I ate my third-to-last peach and then waited for an opportunity to make them. That came a day before a sinus infection hit my world. No worries, the peach bars were still sooooo delicious.

This is an adaption of an adaption of a recipe. The amazing Deb from Smitten Kitchen wisely determined that the original recipe was one of those ah-doesn’t-that-look-good-too-bad-I’ll-never-make-it recipes. Instead the recipe she made is a lot easier with the gratification. I love this recipe because these bars are not heavy or overly sweet rather the perfect complement to a cup of coffee or tea and an instant favorite with everyone who tries them.
Why are these bars so good you ask? Two words: brown butter.

Someone said to me on Wednesday, I keep seeing brown butter in things on food blogs but I haven’t tried it much yet. That’s a shame because it is amazing. Growing up (after the casserole-debacle years) my mother always made sautéed spinach in brown butter as a side to every meal. I always had brown butter in savory things until some genius thought about putting it in sweets! I love the flavor you get from brown butter, reminiscent of crème brulee or caramel. About six months ago I had homemade brown butter gelato on top of a skillet brownie from one of our favorite Italian restaurants. I was in heaven. Ever since I’ve been thinking of ways to make the delicious yet subtle (therefore easily overpowered) flavor work in a sweet creation. If you choose not to brown the butter that’s fine (and sad too) but look at her recipe for alternate instructions.

Voila! Now my recipe is also identical to Smitten Kitchen’s except for two things:
First, I had some leftover fresh blueberries so I sprinkled them over top. I think it just added something extra. You could definitely use frozen blueberries for this one as well.

Second, her recipe calls for freshly grated nutmeg. For myself and most others I think this can be considered a specialty item. While so delicious, for the average person on a budget looking for a great dessert to share with family and friends, this might not be doable. Instead of adding dried nutmeg which I think most of us have leftover from Thanksgiving, I used a tablespoon of vanilla. If you have fresh nutmeg, go for it! If not the vanilla goes so well for a more mild taste so you won’t even miss it. Though, I haven’t tried these babies with nutmeg so who knows!
So without further ado my final recipe of summer.

Brown Butter Peach Shortbread Bars:
Makes roughly 20-24 bars depending on size
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen adapted from the Big Sur Bakery cookbook)


3 fresh peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (cut about 1/4-inch thick)

1/3-1/2 cup of fresh blueberries

2 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour (or you can measure 3 cups and remove 2 tbsp flour)

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Equipment: 9 x 13 inch rectangular baking dish, metal or glass.


First to brown the butter, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. The butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and soon after turn brown and have a nutty smell. Stir frequently, scraping any bits from the bottom. Be careful not to leave butter unattended as it burns very quickly after it browns. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30-45 minutes).

 Preheat the oven to 375° F degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch glass or metal baking pan. In a medium-large bowl, mix together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and cinnamon with a whisk. With a fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. Don’t worry, it will be crumbly.

Transfer 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly until a solid, even crust forms. Lay peach slices over the crust as close to a single layer as you can (there might be a couple extra slices you can lay over bare spots.) Scatter blueberries overtop making an even pattern.

Evenly scatter (DO NOT PRESS!) remaining crumbs over peaches creating a strudel topping and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Tip: I found the squares are actually better cold. You can definitely eat them cooled but refrigerated (and the next day if you can hold off!) makes the bars even better!

I keep these bars in the fridge for four days and they were still great. They should freeze well in a container, just be careful of stacking the bars as it crushes the strudel topping and makes then less pretty.

If you’d like to make these bars after peach season try 1- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries and 2 tbsp lemon zest! Or even something else! Let me know what you come up with!

The College Cuisiner

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my create-your-own-chocolate contest from Greater Philadelphia Area Chocolatier, Designs by Francine Artisan Chocolate! You have until September 25th to enter to win 12 pieces of your own fair trade tea-infused chocolate creation!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WIAW #42: Under the Weather Eats

Okay, this will have to be a short post as I’m feeling quite under the weather today. Since Friday I’ve felt kind of crappy and I think I have a lovely sinus infection. Yay!

Any suggestions for my ailments?

Since I was stuck in my apartment all weekend I actually did quite a bit of cooking. Whether or not I’m falling in to good habits yet I can’t tell. Sorry Jenn I’m falling behind on this one. I’ve been trying to consistently eat breakfast and be ever so conscious of what I eat on a regular basis, and not just because I recently bought my wedding dress. I promise!

Here are some of my Homemade-in spite-sickness eats.


Friday Night:

Fluffy Quinoa with mushrooms, chicken, asparagus, and tomatoes in a tomato white wine sauce.
Pretty good! Though I only ended up eating a little as I was already under the weather.



Matzo Ball soup Aaron went out and got me from our favorite Jewish deli.
Jewish Penicillin, yet that isn’t even working!

(Dinner, grilled cheese and more soup)

More water, tea, ibphrophen.


Breakfast: Homemade homefries with scrambled eggs and turkey sausage.

Brown Butter Peach Shortbread Bars from Smitten Kitchen…coming soon! Delicious! (My last peaches from home of the season)

Baked ziti with Sweet Italian turkey sausage, fresh basil, mushrooms, and veggies.



Pineapple Chobani with a little Trader Joe’s Ginger granola and chia seeds. Yay protein!


More homemade baked ziti for lunch and dinner

Water and mint tea

My last Turtle in a Shell Chocolate from Designs By Francine Artisan Chocolates! So good!

I’m afraid that’s all today because I am exhausted but one more thing!


I've had a few reviews/giveaways lately but I saved the best for last!

Enter my create-your-own tea infused chocolates CONTEST from Designs by Francine Artisan Chocolates, a Greater Philadelphia area chocolatier! Enter here and tell your friends! You have two weeks but enter now!

I feel so sick so to make me feel better you all have to enter this contest ;)… that’s fair right?

Wishing you all better current health than me! Time for more soup…


The College Cuisiner