Wednesday, March 28, 2012

my favorite mac and cheese

one of my all time favorite foods has to be mac and cheese!!! growing up on kraft as a kid, there's just something about mac and cheese that makes it so irresistible and one of my favorite comfort foods.  i remember in high school my friend nicole and i would have debates over which mac and cheese was the best - krafts or valveeta....we never had a definitive winner...but i knew which one everyone liked more bahahah!  so now that i'm older, i've tried to eat more mac and cheese that would be a slight upgrade from kraft (as much as i still love it), oh i might also add that annie's white cheddar shells are awesome as well, but back to a more grown up version of mac and cheese, i've found the most amazing recipe - chiptole mac and cheese!  i have made this on several occasions and every time it's been a winner!  i've done several variations on it and it's worked out every time - adding sun dried tomatoes or bacon - even more amazing!  so monday was my friend spencer's birthday and he asked for this mac and cheese as part of his present.  i made it last night and it looked amazing...i had to hold back from eating it myself.

chipotle mac and cheese
  • 1 box of medium sized pasta shells
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 tsp chipotle seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 package (8 0z) shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 package (8 oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb bacon (optional)
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes (optional)
1. preheat oven to 350°
2. coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking sheet with cooking spray
3. cook pasta shells in lightly salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes, following directions on the package. drain

4. cut bacon into 1/2" strips and cook

5. in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
6. stir in flour until well blended.  cook for 1 minute making a rue
7. whisk in 1 cup of half-and-half, whisking continuously until very smooth.  whisk in remianing 1 cup of half-and-half and continue to cook, whisking until thickened and smooth - about 6 minutes
8. remove from heat and stir in chipotle seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic powder, 1 cup of jack cheese and 1 cup of cheddar cheese until smooth
9. stir in bacon or sun dried tomatoes and cheese sauce into pasta.  spoon into prepared dish and top with remaining cheeses
10. bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and lightly golden on top.  remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

potato hash

yesterday was the first day of spring quarter for all the uw students out there and it was my first day of not doing anything.  i've never really ever had this much time to do things ever.  i mean it's always been school and then work in the summers, but this is new to me.  now that i'm graduated i don't know what to do.  i mean i have a job that i love, working at the homework center at a local elementary school, but that gives me barely 8 hours a week, so i'm trying to think of things to fill the rest of my time.  it's weird, everything has always been planned out for me, or at least i always knew what i was going to do - after high school, go to college, but now after college....what's next?  anyways this is one of the things i've started to work on - a flog!!!  bahahaha and i also tried running for the first time in like 3 years....sore today bahaha!  and my number one goal is deff to try and get a job!  so between all those things, i'm hoping maybe i can pick up anther hobby like arts and crafts or reading - for fun now, not just for school!  we'll just have to wait and see how this spring turns out! 

anyways, so yesterday i decided to make a potato hash for breakfast!!!  it is literally one of my favorite things to make and super delicious!

hearty potato hash
  • one potato
  • half an onion
  • 3 strips of bacon - i LOVE turkey bacon so that's what i used but you could use whatever
  •  1 tbs of butter
  • salt and pepper for seasoning 
  • garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1. cut potato into 1 inch chunks and place into pot of water.  place pot on stove and let boil for about 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender

2. cut bacon into 1/4 inch chunks and fry in separate pan.  after getting to desired crispiness remove from pan and place to the side

3. mince onion and start sauteing in the pan you cooked the bacon in (add butter if needed)

4. once potatoes are fork tender, drain water, and add to pan with onions.  add a tablespoon of butter and the bacon.  add a little bit of garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste

5. sprinkle cheddar cheese on top once plated

i like an easy over egg with mine!  it's a great hearty breakfast!!  i hope you love it as much as i do!  :]

Sunday, March 25, 2012

a quest for the perfect sweet potato fries

so first off i'm really confused between a sweet potato and a yam.  looking at all these photos of sweet potato fries on pinterest, which side note - I AM OBSESSED WITH and spend way too much time on, anyways they have all these pics of sweet potato fries which look orange, yet all the sweet potatoes i cut open are whiteish, whereas all the yams i cut open are orange.  so are people really making yam fries and calling them sweet potato fries or what?  but enough about this confusion...if you know what is going on here please feel free to fill me in!  bahahah!

so coming back from seaside oregon i got a terrible craving for sweet potato fries...i'm just going to refer to them now as sweet yam potato fries (sypf for short), and i decided to go on pinterest and find an awesome recipe for some.  i was very successfull!  i found this amazing recipe baked chipotle sweet potato fries.

baked chipotle sweet potato fries
  • 1 sweet potato/yam - peeled and cut into 1/4" fries
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • sea salt - really any salt will do
  • ground chipotle powder
  • garlic powder
1. preheat oven to 425°
2. in a bowl, toss sweet potatoes/yams with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and chipotle powder

3. spread potatoes on a baking sheet.  avoid crowding potatoes so they crisp up

4. bake15 minutes then turn and bake an additional 10-15 minutes

koda took over my spot when i got up to turn over the fries.  isn't he a cutie?  his hair is also quite a lot mom gave him a haircut while i was away in new york.

these fries were some of THE BEST i've made!  they had just the right amount of seasoning and a little kick that left me craving more even after i was stuffed.  i'm not sure if it was the chipotle seasoning or just an extra perfect potato/yam, but it was exactly what i had been craving!  if you are ever in the need of good sweet potato yam fries and you don't have the trader joes ones sitting in your freezer, this is deff the next best thing!  especially if you enjoy a little kick to your fries!

also this weekend i had a chance to catch up with my friend becca.  becca is one of those friends who you can call up and have come over and literally spend the rest of the day together watching tv and pigging out on junk food.  it's absolutely great!  we enjoy pretty much all the same shows and i have no shame going for seconds or thirds on ice cream with her.  anyways we spent all yesterday afternoon watching movies on tv and catching up on some on demand shows.  after our intense afternoon of tv watching we decided to go out for dinner.  we both wanted to try something new and didn't want to travel too far.  after spending some time looking at yelp (side story - in oregon my friend and i were looking for a place to go and eat when we happened to run into some "locals" who told us to follow them to some restaurant they were planning on going to.  when said restaurant name was brought up i made a mention about some reviews i had read on yelp about there....the guy asked me what yelp was...immediate thoughts.."who doesn't know what yelp is...and where are we???" above restaurant was not very good...which had been expressed on yelp...lesson learned - trust yelp)  we decided to check out a local eatery - the wedgewood alehouse and cafe.

the wedgewood alehouse and cafe is adorable.  i'm thinking it's about to be one of my new favorite places!  everyone just seems like family there.  it had a great atmosphere and the staff was super friendly and welcoming.  one of the walls was lined with beautiful works of art, maybe by local artists or something, but they really made the place feel homey.  there was also a few pool tables in the back for the late night crowds.  i ended up getting the fish and chips, after taking a peek at the fish and chips the people at the table next to us had, and becca decided to go with the blt.
becca's blt
my fish and chips
my fish and chips were DELICIOUS!! the breading was flavorful and just the right crispiness.  and i know becca just couldn't get enough of her blt.  and the fries!  oh my goodness...i'm still dreaming about them!  you knew just by looking at them they were homemade and freshly cooked!  mmmmm by the end of the meal we both had joined the clean plate club!  i know i will for sure go back there and probably take my roommate theresa with me!  i know she would just love the place as much as i did!  as we were walking out i happened to notice a white board with live music and a list of events...very cool!  i am all for live music and good food!  i'll deff be checking out this place again soon and i recommend it to anyone in the area!  it's an awesome place to kick back and relax with friends or family! 

tomorrow is monday and the first day of spring quarter for all those uw students out there!  i wish you all good luck and a great quarter!  happy eats! 

    Friday, March 23, 2012


    seaside in the summer
    i just got back from yet another wonderful trip!  this time from the oregon coast...seaside!!!!!  seaside has to be one of my favorite places ever!  it's a super tiny town right along the oregon coast with about a mile and a half of beach front.  there is a really cute tiny town that's about 4 blocks long with a promenade at the end near the beach.  there's also a tiny aquarium and my all time favorite thing about this place are the swings that they have on the beach!  swinging on the beach with the wind in your hair and the smell of the salty air is something everyone needs to experience at least once!!!

    anyways, me and my friends, torie, janis, and munir headed down to seaside on monday morning.  it was a little cloudy as we made our way down.  we stopped off in portland first and grabbed some lunch there!  munir knew of this great place where a ton of food trucks gathered!  i am a HUGE fan of street cart food.  i watched both seasons of  the food network's amazing food truck race and was even lucky enough to see the nom nom truck (season 1) down in san fransisco this past summer!  also i should take this moment to express my LOVE for the food network!  it's my default channel whenever i'm not watching the office or law & order svu ahahah!  but really i cannot get enough of the food network!  but back to these food trucks...we each got something different!  i had an amazing philly cheese steak sausage, janis got some bomb looking chicken phad thai, munir got a delicious salmon pot pie, and torie grabbed a vegetarian falafel! 
    munir's salmon pot pie
    janis's chicken pad thai
    torie's vegetarian falafel
    my philly cheese steak sausage 
    everything looked and tasted amazing!  there were so many street carts to choose from i debated for a very long time!  i wish seattle had a place like this...i would probably be hitting that up ALL THE TIME!  bahahah!  so if you're in the portland area make sure to check out this corner for some tasty treats for a decent price!

    pasta with vodka sauce
    after our pit stop in portland, we drove the remaining hour and half to seaside!  it was nice to finally get there!  we stopped off at safeway on the way to the place we were staying to pick up some food for dinner that night.  we decided to make pasta with salad and garlic break.  side note - munir LOVES garlic bread!  after our shopping trip we headed to the worldmark at seaside and started cooking.  we made penne with a voldka sauce - i threw in some extra spices to make it a little more homemade, salad with balsamic vinegar dressing and of course garlic bread!  it was quite a feast! 

    garlic bread
    munir and his chowder
    the next morning we lounged around before finally braving the rain to check out the little town.  literally the town in 4 blocks long.  there are a ton of cute shops and little restaurants and cafes.  torie said that it looked like a movie set, and i have to agree it really does!  it might have been due to the fact that there was no one around, but it was still really cool!  after walking a block or two, we realized how hungry we were and stopped off at the pig 'n pancake!  I LOVE THE PIG 'N PANCAKE!!!!  i've only been there once before but it is the cutest, little restaurant ever!  back to my breakfast obsession...they serve breakfast ALL DAY and they have the most amazing eggs benedict....wait for it...WITH CRAB!!!  it is literally the best ever!  i am obsessed and i'll often find myself dreaming about it at random times!  oh gosh i'm dreaming about it now!  mmmmmm!! so obviously i got the eggs benedict with crab, munir got a steak, janis got the jalapeno burger, and torie got the veggie burger.  munir also got a cup of clam chowder and i got a taste...AWESOME!!!  my favorite chowder has to either be ivars or fisherman's seafood restaurant...and this chowder was deff up there!!!  mmmm

    my eggs benedict with crab
    munir's steak
    janis's jalapeno burger
    torie's veggie burger
    all the food was delicious and the onion rings torie and janis got instead of their fries were some of the best i've ever had!   they were truly amazing...i have no idea what their secret was but they were amazing!   i was stuffed after my eggs benedict!!  the crab meat just adds a little extra something that brings the benedict to a whole new level!  yummmooo

    after a little more wondering around we headed back to our room and spent the rest of the night watching tv and relaxing.  the next morning we packed up and headed back home to seattle.  it was a short little trip, but a perfect little vacation with good friends and great food!  hopefully it won't be too long before i'm able to head back to seaside!!! like my friend kellie says...who needs the jersey shore when you have the oregon coast?  (we are both huge jersey shore fans) 

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    hello new yorkkkk

    i just got back from an amazing trip to new york!  a really good friend of mine, manmeet, who now lives in houston doing teach for america has a sister, jaspreet, who is currently doing some rotations in new york.  manmeet and i were able to fly out a visit her for a few days!  it was my first time in new york and i was soo excited to go!  out of all the places in the us, new york was on the top of my list and i can now happily say i've been there!  i had an amazing time there and had quite the food adventure!  

    i arrived on tuesday afternoon and took a shuttle to grand central.  there i was able to walk around a little bit and explore before meeting up with manmeet and jaspreet!  i was a little hungry so i munched on a chicken caesar pasta salad.  it was pretty good, i'm usually not a huge fan of cold pasta, but this salad was good!  i waited around a little bit longer and around 7 i was reunited with my baby spoon!!  it was also my first time meeting jaspreet and it was soo nice of her bf to buy us cupcakes!  they were these tiny little cupcakes from a bakery called baked by melissa and boy, were they DELICIOUS!!! there was a cookies and cream cupcake and a smores one.  i'd say my favorite was the smores!!

    baked by melissa cupcakes 

    all i'm going to say is...why aren't mini cupcakes blowing up in seattle?!?!  this is literally the best idea ever!!! if i'm not able to find a job soon (being a recent graduate and all...and when i say recent i literally mean from like a week ago) i am about to open up my own business of baking mini cupcakes! 

    bbq chicken
    after catching up a little bit, we headed to dinner.  i'm so bad at directions so i really have no idea where we were when we went to dinner...i think it was somewhere near a mark's street...but that could be really wrong.  anyways we went to this little korean bbq chicken place called boka.  i've only had korean bbq chicken once before at the korean bbq chicken place on the ave and the chicken at boka was AMAZING!!!  we got bbq chicken, half with a spicy sauce and the other half with a garlic soy sauce, friend calamari, and some sushi.  all the food was sooo delicious!   
    korean kimbo roll

    on wednesday manmeet and i started our site seeing.  we went to rockefeller center, times square, central park, and even took the staten island ferry (to see the statue of liberty without actually paying).  the nbc store at rockefeller center was probably by far my favorite place.  i am a HUGE office/parks and rec/30 rock fan and that entire store was just made for me!  i wish i could have bought everything in there!  my roommates kelly and theresa are huge fans of those shows too so i wished i could have gotten the whole store for them as well!  bahahah!  for lunch we grabbed some street food hot dogs in times square
    manmeet enjoying her hot dog
    my street cart hot dog

    after our day of site seeing, manmeet and i met up with jaspreet and we hunted for a good happy hour spot.  we found latitude!  as one yelp review stated..."out of work early on friday = latitude"!  ahahahah!  it was a really cool place and if i lived in new york i would deff be hitting that place up on the regular!  the food was great and the prices pretty good!  the music was also pretty popping! we got some nachos to share - on a side note i have been craving nachos for days!!! and on a real big side note - if you are in the ballard area, the matador has the BEST happy hour nacho special - texas sized nachos for $5!!!  it's sooo good!!!  anyways these nachos were pretty bomb too!  jaspreet and i got the big bleu burger which was soooo delicious!  the onion rings really added an extra crunch!  it was truly a perfect burger!  manmeet got the the skirt steak tacos.  she is s HUGE fan of mexican food...and i think as much as those tacos were good, she still thinks her mom's are the best!  i would good as restaurant food is...there is nothing quite like a home cooked meal.  overall the food was delicious and the atmosphere of the place was very fun!  if you ever find yourself in new york and are in need of a good solid happy hour....this is deff the place to go! 
    big bleu burger -  8 oz burger topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, onion rings, and Blue cheese dressing. served on a fresh roll
    mini skirt steak tacos: marinated skirt steak, diced tomato, shredded lettuce and monterey jack cheese, served with chimichurri sauce and sour cream 

    candy bar pie

    after dinner we headed out to grab dessert at a little cafe in another part of town...again i'm not sure where.  apparently it's pretty famous.  it's called monofuku milk bar.  jaspreet raved about the crack pie, but i ended up getting the candy bar pie.  it had a chocolate crust at the bottom with some sort of peanut butter and caramel center.  the top was covered in chocolate and as you can see in the photo there was a pretzel on top.  the whole thing was absolutely amazing!!! everything just worked soo well together! 

    On thursday, manmeet and i went to times square again to see if we could get discounted tickets to a show.  also i learned that broadway is not just one's just a street with lots of theaters on it.  everything now makes a lot more sense! ahahahah!  we weren't able to get tickets that morning, so we went shopping instead.  later we met up with jaspreet for lunch in madison park (i think) at shake shack.  apparently everyone has heard of the place and has raved about it.  it was my first time hearing about it and it deff lived up to it's hype!  

    shake shack
     at lunch we got to meet up with alyssa, one of manmeet's friends from houston!  i've met her a few times when i've visited manmeet in houston, but it was so great getting to see her again!  for lunch i got the 'shroom burger which is a crispy-fried portabella mushroom filled with melted muenster and cheddar cheeses and with a little bit of shacksauce!  it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! it was probably one of the best burgers i have had ever!!!  
    'shroom burger...look at that cheese!!
    manmeet's and jaspreeet's burgers
    manmeet and jaspreet got the shack burger and shared some fries.  alysssa also got a 'shroom burger.  i got a chocolate milkshake to go along with my burger and it totally hit the spot!  i'm not a huge dick's burgers fan, but i do enjoy their milkshakes and shake shack's was pretty amazing!! i also loved all the outdoor seating!  it wasn't the sunniest day...nothing like wednesday when it was 65 degrees and beautiful out!  but it still beat the freezing cold/snow in seattle!  it was great just getting to sit outside and enjoy a burger, fries, and a shake with some good people in an amazing city!  

    after eating lunch we went back to times square to get tickets for rent!  i LOVE rent!  my friend sarah, totally introduced it to me back in high school, and i listened to all the music for years before i actually saw the college.  when i first bought the movie...i literally watched it every day for 3 i guess you could call me a pretty avid fan.  bahahah!  anyways we were able to get some discounted tickets to an off broadway rent show for that night!  we walked around for a while and even got to check out the new york public library which was beautiful!  and totally reminded me of gossip girl!!  after going to the library we headed to dinner at this amazing little italian restaurant!  it was called patzeria family & friends and it was just amazing!  i got the penne with vodka sauce, manmeet got the chicken parmesan (as aziz would say chicky-chicky parm-parm) and jaspreet got something that i don't remember the name of...or took a picture of.  my bad. the whole meal was just delicious and the atmosphere of the restaurant was very calming and intimate. 
    my penne with vodka sauce
    manmeet's half eaten chicken parmesan 

    after dinner we headed to the show.  i was SOOO excited to see it!!  it deff lived up to my expectations and was even better than i imagined!  there were songs i had never even heard.  it was an amazing evening that i will never forget!

    chicken and rice
    friday, was my last full day in new york.  we started off going to the metropolitan museum of art.  once there we got street cart food, manmeet and i got the chicken and rice and jaspreet got a lamb gyro. 
    manmeet eating
    jaspreet and her gyro
    after our lunch we headed into the museum where we met up with alyssa!  i was excited to check out all the artwork at the museum.  i didn't realize how many picasso's or monet's were there!  it was cool getting to see some of the works of art you have known about all your life, in person!  after the met we headed to sodo to experience the shopping there.  i'm not a huge shopper but it was very cool getting to go and check out what new york shopping had to offer!  while there we even got a chance to check out dash!  i've watched keeping up with the kardashians a couple of times but it was pretty awesome going to check out their store.  i mean i'm pretty sure most of the people who go in there just go to look around and then realize that the only people who can afford those clothes are kim kardashian her self...but it was cool getting to at least say i went!  ahahah!  

    gnocco fritto
    after shopping we went to dinner at this amazing little italian restaurant called bianca's.  it was super tiny and mostly lit by candles but the food was pretty cheap and extremely delicious!  first we had an appetizer of gnocco fritto which were these little fried puffy dough rectangles with a stracchino cheese to dip it in.  for the main course manmeet got the gramigna con salciccia e peperoni which was a pasta with crumbled sausage and red bell peppers.  jaspreet and i ended up getting the tagliolini ai frutti di mare which was pasta with clams, mussels, calamari and shrimp sauteed in garlic olive oil and a lite tomato sauce.  it was absolutely AMAZING!! just thinking about it now is making my mouth water. mmm it was sooo good!  i am all about seafood pasta and this one was by far one of the best i've ever had!  seriously, i know i've recommended a ton of places, but this is one that is definitely worth the wait and you should really check out! 

    tagliolini ai frutti di mare
    gramigna con salciccia e peperoni
    new york treated me well!  i got to spend a few wonderful days with amazing people and go a mouthwatering food adventure!  i will not forget all the fun things i got to do and all the food i got to eat!  i cannot wait till the next time i'll be able to come back to this legendary city! 

    some new favorites

    so...if anyone knows me, they know I LOVE BREAKFAST FOOD!  literally breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  i used to say lunch was because you could eat lunch food, breakfast food or dinner's the anything meal.  but recently i discovered my complete love for breakfast food.  you can have a sweet or savory breakfast; waffles with fruit and whipped cream or an eggs benedict with potato chunks.  eggs benedict is probably by far my favorite breakfast food!! YUMMM!!! just talking about it now makes my mouth water...mmmm. 

    anyways, last weekend i had the opportunity to check out a cool little breakfast place near my house in the u district.  i have a couple of friends who love breakfast just as much as i we got together and went to nook.  the seattle met, featured an article about them, along with others about seattle's new breakfast (you can check it out here).  nook is a super cute little cafe that pretty much only serves biscuits.  i got a biscuit breakfast sandwich with sausage gravy.  
    biscuit breakfast sandwich with sausage gravy
    it was absolutely wonderful!  there was this amazing tomato jam that added just a little extra something to the whole meal.  and despite it's size i was more than filled after eating this!  i totally recommend this place to anyone who lives near the u district or is planning on visiting!  

    also this weekend i had the chance to make some frozen trader joe's sweet potato frites!  first off, i LOVE trader joe's!  seriously that place has everything you could want and more!  i'm a huge fan of their flat bread and hummus and their pre-made pizza dough.  secondly, i just recently became a fan of sweet potato fries.  i used to really dislike sweet potatoes.  it was weird, i love potatoes and i love sweet food...but for some reason the two together just didn't work for me.  now i LOVE sweet potatoes!  i literally cannot get enough of them!  kelly, the roommate i mentioned before, makes awesome baked sweet potato fries.  i'll have to have her post her recipe on here sometime!  anyways i got these frozen sweet potato frites at trader joe's and made them this weekend.  COMPLETELY HOOKED!! if anyone loves sweet potato fries...GET THESE!! seriously these are amazing!  

    so last weekend was filled with tons of good food, good friends, and a couple of old school disney movies...vhs status! i seriously hope some of you get to check out nook and if you love sweet potatoes to check out these fries!!  
    happy eats!  :]