A flavorful combination of two of my favorite things
I wish I was lying when I said these tacos legitimately came to me in a vision like format. I was lying in bed, day-dreaming, before getting up and starting my day. Usually, and embarrassingly, a lot of this time is spent thinking about food. No lie, it is often the first thing I think about when I wake up. Moments like this, I’m grateful for these “visions”, because it gave me this incredible combination. I don’t know why I’ve never thought about combining these two delicious things (tacos and Greek food), but oh my God, am I glad I did. I have a recent, and serious, love affair with Greek food, and majority of it is centered around the flavorful punch lamb packs to a dish. These tacos are no exception.
A rundown of my favorite finds
Expo West – the land of free food samples, overeating, socializing, and high anxiety levels. For those of you who don’t know, “Expo West” is the Natural Products Expo that is held twice a year: once in the West (Anaheim, CA) and once in the East (Baltimore, MD). It is the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event and pulls over 85,000 attendees from around the world. These four days are jam-packed as attendees try to see as many booths as possible in the extremely overcrowded trade show floors. While I’ve now been to Expo East twice, this was my first West experience. Sweet Jesus, this thing is massive. Three years ago, I vividly remember constantly refreshing my IG feed to stay up-to-date with all of the posts that food bloggers were sharing from their trip and feeling extreme jealousy that I wasn’t able to be there due to my current job. As my first self-employed March rolled around, I knew it was the year I’d finally get my butt to California.
A new take on #FFTacoTuesday
This past week my girlfriend and her fiancé came over for a birthday celebratory Taco Tuesday and, when I gave her some meal options, she immediately jumped at the idea of a steak fajita night. Dare I begin #FreckledFoodieFajitas on top of #FFTacoTuesday!? Probably not, but it was a fun mix-up! Plus, oh steak, how I love you. For a food that so many people love, I find a lot of us are intimidated by the act of cooking it. Sure, having a grill is pretty damn sweet and makes the entire process way more simple, but after living in NYC for almost 6 years and relying solely on my cast-iron skillet, I think I may enjoy the end result more than a grilled steak. Surprisingly (or not, depending on who you ask), I find a cast iron steak to have more flavor. To help those of you intimidated by the task, I’m dumbing it down with a super at-home easy to follow tutorial of how I make my steak so crisped on the outside with that perfect medium rare middle.
Two delicious options for a great Valentine’s Day date night in
Let me start this post by disclaiming how much I love love. However, in my opinion, Valentine’s Day is up there with New Years… two of the most ludicrous excuses of a holiday. If you’re single, Valentine’s Day kinda feels like a personal attack by shoving everyone’s relationship, happiness, and love in your face. If you have a significant others, it poses this weird stress that I relate to New Years in the sense of making sure you have the “perfect” night. Luckily for us New Yorker’s, we have all the restaurants in the world to capitalize on this by creating pre-fixed menus at ridiculous price tags. Unless you plan on signing a pretty hefty check, I suggest taking this holiday to the four walls of your own home. In the five years Joe and I have lived in NYC, we have successfully avoided this mayhem by creating delicious at-home Valentine’s Day meals in our kitchen.
A glorified Valentine’s Day chocolate covered strawberry
Considering chocolate covered strawberries are basically only consumed on Valentine’s Day (okay, and maybe New Years, but that’s a bit of a stretch), I knew they had to be the hidden star of my V-day themed dessert. Instead of replicating the exact treat that I could purchase anywhere, I decided to get creative. As a girl who loves her layers, and thinks that almond butter is just about the perfect addition to any meal, snack, or dessert, my mind immediately led me here: chocolate covered strawberry almond butter cups. These three-layer treat are the perfectly creative dessert to cap off your meal with and the reinvented version of the oh so classic and (dare I say it?) kind of boring original. Make for your friends, loved one, or yourself – everyone will enjoy!
Why I stopped obsessing over miles and learned to listen to & love my body
Growing up, I never thought twice about working out. That’s not because I wasn’t doing it (hell, I was exercising basically every day), but because I was constantly playing sports and getting in some form of “work out” on the field. Playing soccer and lacrosse my entire childhood, my nights after school and weekends were filled with about as many practices and games as a schedule could possibly permit. Fast forward to college, where I went to play Division 1 lacrosse: one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and something that has shaped my character today, but a signed contract to exert some type of physical activity just about every day for the next four years. Again, “working out” was never something I thought about. We had practice almost every day, games twice a week (while in season), and lifts and conditioning sessions on top of all of that. Was I consistently working out? Duh. I was in the best physical shape of my life. However, these practices and games provided me with something that I never realized until after graduation: there was no contemplation about what I should do for exercise, I just had to show up. I thoroughly enjoyed the sports I played, and therefore it never felt laborious or as if I was doing it to stay in shape.
Dare I say better than the bagged options?
This weekend I found myself in a very unfamiliar situation: without any granola in the apartment. As someone who loves to add some type of crunch to all of my yogurt parfaits and needs that extra fuel, granola is something I rely on heavily. (That being said, I am especially pick about which ones I purchase and consume). Surprisingly enough, I have never attempted at making my own. Sure, I’ve heard it’s easy, and I know it’s delicious based on some of my friend’s creations that I’ve tried, but I’ve never been the one mixing the ingredients for a fresh new parfait topping. That is, until this past Sunday morning. Opening my fridge to tons of tasty yogurts and beautiful fruits and realizing I had nothing to top it with, I decided to get creative. Considering I always have a stocked pantry, it wasn’t too hard to whip up a combination I loved. I’ll still be purchasing a few of my favorite brands going forward, but, this one will definitely be added in to my rotation!
A big old bowl of coziness
There is something incredibly warming and comforting about a nice big bowl of stovetop oatmeal. Between the ease of the cooking process, the smell that fills your kitchen, and the physical warmth that fills each bite, it makes me feel all sorts of cozy inside. Although primarily a cold weather dish, it is something I enjoy all year round. In theme with the heat of the oats, I love to top mine with fruits of the similar temperature – fresh off the sauté pan with all of my favorite spices. Sure, I can write home about my love for almond butter and banana as a topping for any type of bowl, but when I want to cuddle on the couch with a blanket and feel all sorts of “Sunday morning” vibes, there is no better combination for this stovetop oatmeal than stewed cinnamon apples. Truly, my heaven. Perfect for a lazy weekend morning with a book or netflix, or as a pre-prepped breakfast for the office. No matter where you’re eating it, the comfort will commence.
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Behind the scenes look at hosting friends for my favorite night of the week
From following me on Instagram, you all know by now that there are two things that are very important to me: taco Tuesdays, and cooking for friends and family. Growing up in a family that continuously hosts others, it is one of my favorite ways to use our apartment. While Joe and my tradition of Taco Tuesday is consistently just us, and often times our weekly date night, there are many times we open our doors to any friends free to join us. Last week when I was heading home from Florida on a Tuesday morning, I realized it was about to be taco time. Firing out a quick text to see who wanted to join us, and put our new and very overdue dining room table to work, I realized this would be a perfect opportunity for a behind the scenes #FFTacoTuesday VLOG. In an effort to show how easy it can be to throw a dinner party together when serving this crowd-pleasing spread, I’m here to show you all the necessary steps. From creating a grocery list on the plane all the way to the final product, this video and corresponding recipe is here to assist you host your own classic Taco Tuesday with all the fixings.
The new GF breakfast option you didn’t know you needed
As a gluten-free gal, I am constantly missing what I call the “crunch factor”. For me, this one craving is what I find hardest to fulfill when not enjoying all things gluten and, interestingly enough, it is most commonly missed with my breakfasts (hence the reason why I typically turn to all things granola). Never the less, I find myself missing all the glorious toast combinations that fill my IG page and breakfasts of my past. Reminiscing over the delighted feeling that came over me when I discovered the idea of sweet potato toasts, I realized that there are plenty of other vegetables that can not only replace this bread base, but also pack some serious crunch. One of my favorite toast/bagel combinations of avocado, smoked salmon, and cucumber immediately came to mind. Then, ding went the lightbulb. Welcome to the world, cucumber boats (or toasts… unsure what we’re going with yet). This breakfast, or snack, provides all the things my morning self is searching for. Plus, slab on some cream cheese (of which my kitchen was not stocked with), and now you’re really talking. The cucumber boat/toast is your easel and you are Picasso! Get painting.