Category Archives: we eat

all things food – from recipes to restaurant reviews

Gelato Making at Mia Chef Gelateria

A few months ago, pal Jess and I scored a LivingSocial deal for a gelato making class. Well, the timing couldn’t have been any better because it was definitely the perfect weather to make (and eat) the delicious, creamy, Italian treat. Mia Chef Gelateria, located on 3rd Ave between 27th and 28th in NYC, has gelato making classes as well as sorbet making classes. In today’s class not only did we learn some wonderful tips for making gelato at home but we made four fantastic flavors of gelato and took a pint of each home.

  • Cookies and Cream Gelato
  • Fig and Tequila Gelato
  • Snickers Gelato
  • Ferrero Rocher Gelato

Also we learned a neat tip on how to determine if a gelateria is worth eating at — taste test their pistachio gelato.  If you can truly taste the pistachio (as opposed to a substitute or filler), then it’s safe to assume that gelateria has invested in quality ingredients for the rest of their gelati as well.

So, if you’re in the city with nothing to do, check out Mia Chef. Here are some photos from our class.

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The ingredients: sugar, Dutch cocoa, hazelnuts, nucciola, dextrose, butterscotch, chocolate, peanuts, peanut butter, figs, tequila, skim milk, heavy cream and whole milk.\

 

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Mixing the ingredients.

 

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Pouring the mixture into the gelato machine (similar effect can also be achieved at home with an ice cream maker)

 

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The Base.

 

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Snickers Gelato

 

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Ferrero Rocher Gelato.

 

Now lets see if I can replicate any of this at home…

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Uh Oh… These Pants Used To Fit

I remember my ‘freshman 15’. It was not fun. I actually spent the better part of my twenties trying to work those pounds off. And I succeeded. With the help of MyFitnessPal (best calorie counting app EVER), a South Beach Diet-esque mentality, my wonderful trainer, and a little wedding anxiety I was able to walk down the aisle the thinnest I’ve been since high school. Well, I’m convinced now that there’s something called the ‘newlywed 10’ too, because guess who’s no longer at their wedding weight folks. Me.

I have a theory about how this happened. I was actually able to maintain my weight throughout most of my first year of marriage but then sometime around December, the battery on my bathroom scale died. You wouldn’t think so, but I’m convinced that derailed my weight maintenance. I’m one of those girls who weighs themselves every day. So without my daily weigh-in, with the holidays rolling around, and back to back vacations, I unknowingly put on some weight over the following 6 months. When I finally replaced the battery on my scale (that battery was harder to find than you would think), my fears were confirmed — the number on my scale had gone up by 10.

So this week, I’m recommitting to health and fitness and in an effort to boost my motivation, I’m on a very strict diet and workout schedule. I did not want to be derailed however, so I took every step to make sure there would be no complications. I cooked (or prepped) breakfast and dinner for the week, in advance, and made sure that I only had healthy food in the house. No alcohol. Very few carbs. No refined sugar. I’m keeping my daily calorie intake at 1200 calories per day and trying to get at least 45 minutes of cardio per day. Hopefully, this will give me the boost I need to get back to my wedding weight (and just in time for the summer).

So let’s check out the food I’m eating this week. Since this strict diet is only for a week, I’m not too concerned about variety. Fortunately, eating the same thing every day doesn’t bore me. Here’s the food list:

Reset Week – Food List

Breakfast:

Lunch:

  • English Muffin w/ Organic Peanut Butter
  • English Muffin w/ sliced turkey and low fat cheese

Snacks:

  • Raw Almonds
  • Polly-O String Cheese
  • Sugar Free Jello Cup
  • Celery or Carrots and Organic Peanut Butter
  • Roasted Chickpeas @ Kalyn’s Kitchen
  • Fruit

Dinner:

Dessert:

  • Jello 60 Calorie Chocolate Pudding
  • Carb Smart Ice Cream Bar

I’m eating a combination of food from this list (keeping my intake at 1200 calories) and making sure to eat a good balance of protein, vegetables and whole grains.  Some may argue that 1200 calories is not enough — but as long as I don’t feel deprived, I think it’s okay.  If I ever do feel like I’m starving, I’ll eat a healthy, filling snack (most likely, the raw almonds).  Here are some photos from my prep on Sunday and tonight’s yummy dinner.  I’ll let you know my progress next week.

Also, if you’re on MyFitnessPal feel free to friend request me — my username is ccandela — it’s always fun to count calories together :).

 

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The IT List

  • Franish found a cheaper version of the ever-popular J.Crew necklace we have been seeing everywhere! It looks amazing paired with red stripes! (find Franish on Twitter!)
  • City and Burbs is rocking the boyfriend jeans! She pairs them with neutrals and a few pops of neon for a gorgeous look! (find City and Burbs on Twitter!)
  • Rachel’s Look Book is showing us her Derby Style! Head over to see how she pairs that fabulous hat with a chic dress for a look worth betting on! (find Rachel’s Look Book on Twitter!)
  • Urban Frill rounds up her favorite neon pieces for summer! The best news? They are all under $45! 
  • A Fashion Fixation looks lovely in her pretty printed dress! She shows us just how easy it is to look fabulous!  (find A Fashion Fixation on Twitter!)
  • DahliaLynn Lane is going casual chic in a leopard maxi skirt! You HAVE to see this skirt! (find DahliaLynn Lane on Twitter!)
  • A Dash of Details tells us about her tried and true hair products that she swears by! Head over to find out what she uses to keep her locks looking beautiful! (find A Dash of Details on Twitter!)
  • Here & Now is obsessed with mixing prints! She looks seriously sweet in her polka dots and stripes! (find Here & Now on Twitter!)
  • Lipstick & Lollies mixes plaid and stripes for a quirky look! The perfect outfit for a cute, casual weekend!
  • Sweetie Pie Style is ready for Cinco de Mayo and is showing us what to wear, eat and drink! I wish I was going to her party!!  (Find Sweetie Pie Style on Twitter!)
  • Second Street East threw on some boots and a bow for a lazy, rainy day! Head over to see how this outfit translates into a cute living room! (Find Second Street East on Twitter!)
  • Olive & an Arrow puts on her cowboy boots for a bit of southern flair! She paired them with a girly skirt for a fun look! (Find Olive & an Arrow on Twitter!)
  • Good Life put together an amazing outfit and each piece is under $25! Yes, you heard that right – pop over to see where they are from! (Find Good Life on Twitter!)
  • 100 Inspirations shows us how to get Gwyneth Paltrow’s classic black and white look! Stop by to see the pieces she chose, all for under $80!
the IT list is brought to you weekly by Jill of Good Life and edited by Michelle of Second St. East.
 For more information on how you can be involved – click here!

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Bloggers Do It Better – RED

I really love Blogger’s Challenges.  They give me the opporutnity join my fellow bloggers on a creative journey and showcase of personal style.   Today I’m joining Kristina from Pretty Shiny Sparkly (one of my favorites!) on her Bloggers Do It Better Challenge to wear RED.  I went all out, even painted my walls red…just kidding.  

Here’s my contribution. 

Top: Elie Tahari, Pants: Express, Shoes: Cole Haan

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Salad – Inspired by Nordy’s

People say that it’s the water in Jersey that makes the bagels so good. And the pizza crust. And the sub rolls.  See a pattern yet?  Frankly, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m a carboholic — which is really unfortunate for my waistline.  One thing we lack in Jersey however, is a place that serves a mean salad.   Enter my “west coast bestie,” Sabrina of Sabrina and the City, who is responsible for introducing me to the Nordstrom Cafe – a lunchtime gem – and home of my go-to salad when I have to eat on the road — the Mediterranean Chicken Salad. Well, this salad is not just for the road any more because they sell the delicious, tangy dressing! Dijon Balsamic VinaigretteSo now I can recreate it at home!

 

Mediterranean Chicken Salad Recipe (makes 2-3 servings based on portion size)

ingredients:

3 cups chopped heart of romaine lettuce

1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup halved kalamata olives

1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese

1/4 cup Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

 

directions:

Toss lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and dressing.  Sprinkle feta cheese on top. Serve. Enjoy.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad

 

 

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Healthy and Chewy Coconut Macaroons

Ever since we got back from our French Polynesian honeymoon, I’ve been obsessed with two things – staying at my wedding weight and macaroons. Now, I realize that the latter obviously doesn’t facilitate the former but I was determined to find a compromise.

That compromise came in the form of this recipe I found in a cookbook I picked up at Barnes & Noble the other day – Everyday Light Meals (published by Taste of Home Books.)

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that they’re as amazing as the fresh macaroons we had at the Radisson Resort & Spa in Tahiti, but they are pretty good. They’re sweet, chewy and at only 45 calories per cookie, they don’t put too much of a dent in my calorie budget.


Chewy Coconut Macaroons
Yield: 72 cookies

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups flakes coconut
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 can (14 ounces) fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
In a bowl, toss together the coconut, flour and salt. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract until blended. (Mixture will be thick and sticky.)
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls 3 in. apart on baking sheets topped with parchment paper. Bake at 300 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

So, give it a try and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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My Thanksgiving Contribution

I’m not going to kid myself — I’m not up to turkey status yet.  Nonetheless, I wanted to dip my toe into the water, so to speak, and make a Thanksgiving contribution at my mother’s holiday dinner as well as my future mother-in-law’s dinner.  So, I chose to make cornbread — it’s not particularly difficult, nor does it take a long time to make.  As I begin almost every culinary adventure — I headed over to Google and did a search for “Best Cornbread Recipe” — and this is what I got: Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread.  I followed the recipe to the letter (although I used an iron skillet instead of a pan) and got a beautiful result.

I can’t wait to eat it share it with everyone!

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Pollo Saltado — The first of MANY Peruvian Inspired Dishes

I’m a lucky girl.  I was born in Peru and although I’ve lived in the US most of my life, I’ve always been surrounded by that culture.  The music, the customs, and most importantly – the food, God, the food.  Now I may be somewhat biased, but I honestly believe that some of the best cuisine in the WORLD can be found in my little country in South America.

 I could go on and on about the delicious meals like Papa a la Huancaina, Aji de Gallina, Ceviche (that’s ours by the way, not Ecuador’s), and the delectable desserts like Mazamorra Morada, Torta Helada, Alfajores and tons more… but I won’t — I’ll get to the point. 

Today is the first day that I attempted to make a Peruvian influenced meal.  Lomo Saltado is a super traditional Peruvian meal that consists of sliced meat sauteed with onions and tomatoes and is served with rice and french fries.  Some people also put the mixture in a roll and eat it for breakfast — something we did in our house on many Sundays.  Unfortunately, red meat has way more calories than chicken and since I’m trying to fit into a Monique Lhuillier wedding gown by April, I had to adjust.  I made the dish tonight with sliced up chicken instead.  I took this recipe, modified it a bit and replaced the meat with chicken.  And I’ve got to say, it was absolutely delicious.  And even M, who shies away from unknown foods, loved this as well.  Also, I’ve got a little extra in the fridge to put in a pita and eat for breakfast or lunch tomorrow! 

Pollo Saltado
3 Servings, approx 390 Calories per serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast (approx 14 oz) cut into 1/4 inch slices seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 10 Campari Tomatoes, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup White Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Aji Amarillo (Yellow Chili Pepper Paste)
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice

Directions:

  1. Sautee chicken strips in Olive Oil until fully cooked (usually you don’t do the same with red meat but with chicken, I didn’t want to take any chances)
  2. Remove chicken from pan and put aside.
  3. In the same pan, saute the onions until they are transparent.
  4. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and aji amarillo and cook until the tomato softens and vinegar and other juices reduce.
  5. Add the chicken back into the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes. 

 Serve with rice (and if you’re carb friendly, serve with fries as well) and enjoy!

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The Sandwich

It’s been quite a while since my last post, which indicates that I wasn’t being very housewifey.  And this is partly true.  You see, I’m very low maintenance when it comes to feeding myself.  When I lived alone, I was always able to throw something together for myself at the last minute.  However, M’s very particular preferences require a lot of thought and planning.  And while I enjoy it (and cooking is great fun), I sometimes long for the simplicity of a sandwich.  But I hardly make what you’d call a typical sandwich.

M went away for business this week and I thought I’d revisit my love for sandwiches.  Now this isn’t an explicit recipe — just an idea for you to spice up something that might otherwise seem boring.

I always start out with either whole wheat bread or a whole wheat wrap.  And then I usually add some turkey breast, or chicken breast, or ham — whatever sliced deli meat I have on hand.  Sometimes, I even use two.  Then, the cheese (it’s my favorite food group) — sliced deli cheese or fresh mozzarella or sometimes even shredded cheddar.  And then the fun begins.  A dry sandwich is not a good sandwich so next I look for something to moisten it up.  I love mayonnaise but my waistline doesn’t so I usually look for an alternative.

Alternatives to mayonnaise:

  • Hummus
  • Sliced advocado
  • Sun-dried tomato paste
  • Pesto spread
  • Salad dressing (although sometimes it gets a little messy so use it sparingly.)

And sometimes, I’m in the mood for something else entirely and I look for something to change it up.  I’ve added slices of apple, pear or mango to my sandwiches and it always gives it just the right amount of sweetness.

Then finally the last and most important step — pop it in the panini press.  And if you don’t have a panini press, you can put it in a skillet at low to medium heat and press it down with another heavy pan.  Another alternative, my favorite one, is to pop it in the George Foreman grill! I don’t have a panini press either and the GF does an amazing job at pressing everything together and toasting the bread.

God I love sandwiches.  If you have any more tips and tricks for enhancing them, please share!

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Grilled Caesar Salad

I know what you’re thinking.  The first time I read the name of this recipe, I thought they forgot the ‘chicken’ too.  But there’s no mistake.  The recipe I’ll be sharing with you today is for a delicious Grilled Caesar Salad — courtesy of the folks at Taste & Technique.  It couldn’t be any simpler and it’s super-tasty.  Let me know if you try this and what you think.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 6):

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  •  1 large garlic clove cut in half
  • 6 oil packed anchovies
  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water (or more, if needed to thin vinaigrette)
  • 3 hearts of Romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, add garlic, anchovies, grated cheese, vinegar, Worcestershire, mustard, lemon, and pepper.  Process until fully blended and then scrape down the sides of the processor.
  2. With machine on, slowly add olive oil.  If vinaigrette is too thick, add a small amount of water.  Transfer to a bowl with a pastry brush.
  3. Adjust oven rack to top shelf and preheat boiler. 
  4. Trim ends of Romaine hearts leaving the core intact. Cut in half lengthwise and place on baking sheet cut side up. 
  5. Brush dressing over the lettuce making sure that it goes between the leaves.  Sprinkle pine nuts on top. 
  6. Set sheet pan on top shelf in the oven and cook for 4 – 6 minutes.  The lettuce will start to wilt and brown lightly.  
  7. Remove promptly from oven and sprinkle the Parmesan shavings on top. Serve warm.

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