Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall is here!

In honor of Fall, I thought I'd share my new favorite fall recipe. I combined several recipes to create this and made it for the first time and it was delish!

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash


  • 2 acorn squash
  • 3 links spicy italian sausage, you can use chicken, turkey or pork sausage
  • 1/3 cup rice
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup velveeta (or cheddar) cheese, I use velveeta b/c its easy to melt
  • 2 tbsp parmesaan cheese
  • butter
  • cinnamon
  • thyme

  1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half longways, from stem to tip. This can be difficult so be careful! Use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds and insides and throw that away. Arrange the halved squash in a baking dish cut side up.
  2. Melt some butter and brush the inside of the squash with butter. Dust the squash with a layer of cinnamon.
  3. Roast the squash in the oven until fork tender - 45-60 minutes.
  4. While the squash is cooking, cook the rice according to instructions.
  5. Remove the sausage from its casings and brown in a skillet, chopping the sausage into small pieces as it cooks.
  6. After the sausage has been cooking for a couple of minutes, add a dash of olive oil and add in the apples to cook.
  7. After a couple more minutes, add the cheese to the pan and stir in as it melts.
  8. Finally, add the cooked rice to the mixture and turn off the heat to the pan. Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Make sure everything is mixed well.
  9. Once the squash is tender, remove it from the oven. Fill the cavities with a heaping portion of the sausage mixture. Top each with a dusting of parmesan cheese.
  10. Return squash to oven for 15 minutes or so, the filling should be bubbly and the cheese on top should form a crunchy topping.
  11. Enjoy!
Feel free to add cranberries, onion, celery or whatever else you think might be delicious.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A New York State of Mind

Wow, the past two months since moving to NYC has been a whirlwind journey. Since I owe people about a million email updates, I thought I'd make things a bit easier and start blogging again.

We moved July 1, which was quite an overwhelming experience in itself. The month of July felt like a long vacation in the city. Z and I took every opportunity to enjoy (mostly) free things in the city such as parks, museums, outdoor movies, concerts, and long bike rides.

Z started his job at the beginning of August, just as we started to feel settled in and at home. He is teaching science to kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders at Success Academy Charter School in Harlem. He will tell you that it is a bit overwhelming and is going to be a very challenging task. The urban little ones require a lot different teaching methods than the suburban middle schoolers Z has taught before. But he's up for the challenge and the school gives him a lot of support.

I was offered (and accepted) a job yesterday at a small, family-owned, Public Relations agency in Tribeca. Many of you know that I spent a lot of time debating about whether I can handle working for another PR agency after a bad previous experience, but after spending time getting to know the people at this organization, I absolutely think its a good place to be. I'm really looking forward to it.

Many of you have asked for apartment photos, which I plan to post here in the next few days. For now, I thought I share a list of things I've learned so far since moving to New York:

1) You can fit a lot of things into a small apartment. When we first moved in I was extremely distraught. With everything in boxes, you could hardly move in our apartment. But I've learned that small spaces = big creativity, and with the help of IKEA, we've had a lot of fun creating comfortable space.
2) When people say the summer is hot here, they aren't lying. Being from Texas, I always thought that those yankees who complained about the heat were just wimps. But let me tell you, July was plain hot and miserable. When the humidity reaches more than 70% you know that you are going to spend your entire day drenched in sweat. Plus air conditioning is scarce here, so it't not like you can expect to walk inside and find immediate relief. Our poor little window units have gotten plenty of use.
3) New Yorkers are not mean. I can say that I meet and have a very nice interaction with a New Yorker almost daily. From the owner of the pizza shop downstairs, to the mail man, to our next door neighbor I've been pleasantly surprised at how friendly, welcoming, and open everyone has been.
4) Sidewalk Rage is real. On the other hand, the one place where you are likely to be yelled at is on the sidewalk. As New Yorkers walk everywhere, and most of them are always in a hurry, you are likely to encounter a bit of rudeness on the sidewalk if you don't keep up. The important thing to remember is to use your sidewalk etiquette. If you want to take a leisurely stroll, go right ahead! Just make sure you are moving out of the way for anyone who wants to pass by you. And remember, when you run across someone grumpy, its not personal.
5) If you haven't had brunch in NYC, you haven't had brunch.  Saturday and Sunday around brunch time is probably the busiest time of the week in  our neighborhood of the East Village. With a restaurant every 10 feet, you hardly ever have to wait for a table, but brunch can be the exception. But when you can pay $10-15 and get a delicious brunch entree of your choice along with coffee, orange juice, and a cocktail, it is totally worth it.

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a comment and let  me know how you are doing.

There are is much more to come as this adventure is just beginning, so stayed tuned.


Friday, October 14, 2011

M.E.'s DC Restaurant Picks

As somewhat of a foodie, and definitely a lover of eating out, I'm often asked for suggestions of where to go eat in D.C. I was working on a list of restaurants for a friend today, so I thought I would share my favs with all of you:

DC Faves - unique to DC and delicious, our most frequented spots
  • Two Amys (obvi) - best pizza in town (for more about pizza, check out this post here)
  • Pasta Mia (cash only - I would suggest getting in line at 6PM) - like being in a neighborhood restuarant in Italy
  • Cafe Oaxaca (they have at least 6 different mole sauces) 
  • The Argonaut - great fish tacos and southern fare
  • Bistro du Coin - lively atmosphere, good French food
  • Dukem - best ethiopian
  • Afghan Grille - who knew Afghan was so delicious?
  • Himalayan Heritage - Indian and Nepalese, great atmosphere
  • Regent Thai - love the pineapple fried rice

Solid DC area chains
    • Jaleo - Spanish Tapas
    • Matchbox - sliders and pizza
    • Busboys and Poets - American
    • Founding Farmers/Farmers & Fishers - Locally sourced American

      • Le Enfant Cafe - Love the souffle
      • Open City - amazing omelets
      • Cafe Saint Ex - they have cheese grits, need I say more?
      • The Heights - build your own bloody mary menu

      Cheap Eats
      • Shake Shack - my favorite burger
      • Shop House - The thai chipotle
      • Ben's Chili bowl - b/c you've gotta try a a half smoke
      • Astor Mediterranean - favs include the Astor burger and the chicken kebab sandwich
      • Taqueria Distrito Federal - authentic Mexican tacos
      • Pho Viet

      For a Special Night Out
      • Zaytinya - Mediterranean tapas
      • Ezme - Turkish tapas
      • Bistro Cacao - French bistro in an old house in capitol hill, one of the coolest and most romantic atmospheres
      • Coco Sala - They have mac and cheese topped with chocolate covered bacon bits
      • Vinoteca - 1/2 price Spanish wine on Sundays, with flamenco dancing and delicious food
      • MienYu - very cool place I recently discovered in Georgetown, each section of the restaurant is decorated like a different country, they have a huge menu from middle eastern to asian food

      Top on my list of places to try
      • Rasika - supposed to be the best Indian food in the city
      • Hill Country BBQ - Texans have recommended the bbq, plus they have Shiner on tap
      • Granville Moore's - Belgian, tried to go a few times but the wait is always soooo long!
      • Thai X-ing - This is a little restuarant in a basement of a row house where this one guy cooks for you. It is byob and the menu is set based on what is seasonal. I've never been but people RAVE about it and I've been dying to go. I think you need a reservation at week out

      Did I leave anything out? What are your favorite DC restaurants?


      Wednesday, October 12, 2011

      M.E.'s Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas

      This is a recipe I often get asked about and I recently typed it up for some friends, so I thought I'd share it online. This is definitely a favorite meal in our house, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

      3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
      2 cups grated Oaxaca cheese - you can use any semi-soft Mexican cheese
      1 cup sour cream (lite or fat free tastes just as good)
      1 can Hatch green chili enchilada sauce-medium (you could probably use another brand, but Hatch is my fav)
      1 4 ounce can of chopped green chilis - mild
      1 package flour tortillas


      1. Boil the chicken breasts in salty water. When chicken is cooked through, let cool and then shred with a fork or your fingers.
      2. In a large mixing bowl, combine shredded chicken and 1.5 cups of cheese.
      3. Fold in sour cream until mixture is thick, creamy, and wet enough to stir (at least one cup sour cream, but I never measure).
      4. Add a generous amount of cumin, enough to cover the top of the bowl with a dusting and change the color of the mixture from white to light tan, probably about 2 tsp.
      5. Mix in can of green chilis, 1/4 of the can of enchilada sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
      6. Pour some of the enchilada sauce into a shallow dish. One at a time, dip the flour tortillas in the sauce, coating both sides. shake off the excess and place the tortilla in your rectangle casserole dish. Fill tortilla with a generous amount of the chicken filling, about 3 tablespoons, and roll up the enchilada. Repeat until your baking dish is full or you run out of filling.
      7. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
      8. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Edges should be bubbly and cheese should be melted and turning brown.

      Additional options: I usually make them rolled up enchiladas for me and Z. If you want to make them as stacked enchiladas, which is easier for a larger group, double the recipe. Instead of rolling the tortillas, place the saucy tortillas along the bottom of the baking dish - tearing a few in half to fill in the holes. Spread half of the chicken filling over the tortillas. Cover with another layer of tortillas an repeat. Place a third layer of tortilla on top, and coat with remaining sauce and cheese. You may have to cook this for a bit longer as well.


      P.S. I've only failed to photo challenge if I quit. Although I took a little break, I am not giving up! Expect to see more photos soon.

      Wednesday, September 14, 2011

      Days 12 & 13

      I love finding beauty in odd places. The canal by my office is near empty and overgrown with moss, filled in with trash and misplaced items like an old lawn chair. But on the wall this vine grows:

      Up Close (day 12)

      From a Distance (day13)

      Sunday, September 11, 2011

      Day 11: Something Fun

      Today was Adams Morgan Day, a fun day where they shut down the major streets in my neighborhood for a huge festival with tons of art, food vendors, jewelry, crafts, and two music stages. One of our favorite days of the year! The background photo that is my blog's template is actually from Adams Morgan Day 2009. 

      Hope you all had an equally amazing Sunday.


      A week in Photos: Days 6-10

      Day 6: Childhood Memory

       Remember fudgsicles? Sooo good! They were always a special treat. I found since becoming a grown up that I still have a tendency to buy a few things at the grocery store that are considered "kid food". It just makes me feel happy to eat these things and remember the good ole days.

      Day 7: Something New

      New scarf from World Market, freaking love that place...

      Day 8: Technology

      From a show at the R&R Hotel.

      Day 9: Faceless Self Portrait

      Day 10: Something I Made

      We spent Saturday running errands in Arlington and stopped by the only local Chili's to enjoy an nostalgic lunch. It's crazy how you step into that restaurant and feel like you've gone through a space and time portal. I literally felt like I had stepped into the Chili's on University in Fort Worth, like if I walked outside it would be Texas in 2002. Our lunch was made complete with a chance to color a pepper for the wall - this is the best I could come up with.