Friday Night Foodie

I arrived up in Albany on Friday night, and Mister and I tried out a new recipe I saw flying around my Facebook feed this past week.  I love these Tasty recipe videos that are being posted online; they simplify things enough that I’m not intimidated to try new methods.

For the Buffalo Chicken Potstickers we purchased the following items at Hannaford:

  • 1 package of wonton wrappers (recipe called for round, we only saw square)
  • 1 cold rotisserie chicken
  • celery
  • carrots
  • block of cream cheese
  • (We had some Hannaford brand “wing sauce” already in the fridge)

I shredded the chicken while Mister prepped the carrots and celery. Then, combine all the filling ingredients in a big bowl.

I love that the next part of the recipe always has to read, “Mix”.  Like I thought we were just throwing all this stuff in the bowl for fun.  But nope, we gotta mix this stuff up too.  Darn.

Once the filling is mixed, I lined a sheet pan with some foil to transfer the potstickers to as they were filled. (No, we didn’t have anything as fancy as wax paper on hand)

Filling them was a little tricky at first, and I’m not sure if it was because we purchased the square wrappers versus the recommended round. We could only put a minuscule amount of filling in each potsticker, so the ratio of filling to wrapper felt a little off in the final product.  Maybe the amount of cream cheese should be halved, or the carrots shredded?  This could use some tweaking.

Once we had a tray of filled potstickers, I heated oil in two large pans.  I essentially seared the potstickers in the hot oil, before adding water and a lid to finish them off.

We decided to freeze half the batch, prior to cooking, since we’re not quite bottomless pits.  I was particularly proud of how good the little baggie of frozen potstickers looked; I definitely pulled them from the freezer the next morning to show Mister.  Treasure the little things people.

 

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Some Bowls.

002Bowls of minestrone- veggie soup for lunch.

024.JPGTrader Joe’s whole milk maple brown sugar greek yogurt mixed with two scoops of Aria vanilla protein powder  = a cake batter consistency that I’m really enjoying.

087.JPGAn incredibly awful looking protein mug cake with peanut butter. (mix chocolate protein powder, baking powder, egg whites, cocoa powder, vanilla etc. in a mug.  microwave until cooked.  top with peanut butter and greedily stare at real cake)

 

Next week I’ll probably prep some burrito bowls to be eaten throughout the week. I still haven’t quite figured out what a smoothie bowl is, but they sounds pretty trendy.  For some reason when it gets colder I just want to dig into a big bowl of hot food; it doesn’t have to be nutritious, or particularly tasty.  Just hot and plentiful.

That’s not a great plan when Mister and I have vacation planned in a few weeks, and this belly needs to be seen on the beach.  Yikes.

What’s in your bowl?

 

No Snow Day

This weekend while downstate was getting walloped with snow, I had quietly escaped to Albany on Friday night.  I know I didn’t miss the shoveling, or the antsy trapped feeling, but I did feel jealous of cozy snowed in nights that I seem to have completely missed out on this winter thus far.

Mister and I made the most of our No-Snow Days by taking the dogs to the Capitol Hills Golf Course on Saturday. For anyone that lives in the Albany area, this is an amazing place to walk (its kept really clear even when it snows).

This is a great way to get in some exercise, while the dogs run and play with other dogs passing through.  Needless to say, they are always exhausted by the time we get home.  This time, the cold combined with the long walk meant out two bulldog ladies were tuckered out well into Sunday night.

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I texted Mister on Friday to insist he keep me accountable on my eating; I tend to treat weekends like a free for all in terms of treats and snacks.  This basically undoes all the great meal planning, calorie counting, and workouts I log during the week. With our trip to Puerto Rico in a few weeks, and a bikini in my not so distant future, I can’t keep inhaling cheesecake at this rate!

So we loaded up on salads, with only the occasional popcorn, fruit, or veggies for snacks.Where007.JPGSaturday night, we did treat ourselves to a strip steak dinner (courtesy of a sale at the Fresh Market), with roasted asparagus and a twice baked potato for Mister.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to limit my meat consumption, but felt comfortable with making this my weekend indulgence (instead of a parade of chocolate). For dessert, Mister had requested the do-it-yourself fruit filled sponge cakes from the Fresh Market, so I obliged.

I sliced some strawberries and let them soak in a balsamic, sugar, pepper mixture for about 45 minutes.  Then they were placed atop the little cake, topped with whipped cream, more berries, and a tiny bit of powdered sugar.

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Yum.  I promise I ate egg whites and veggies for just about every other meal. Balance baby.

 

A Miss and a Makeup

This past weekend in Albany, Mister and I didn’t have any real plans but we wanted to get out of the apartment.  I think we were both a little restless, and I’m always up to finding something to do.

Unfortunately, the cold weather put a damper on most activities, but on Saturday we were able to start with the Troy farmer’s market.  Sadly, I had made the mistake of bulking up on a huge breakfast at home, so Mister and I were having a hard time getting excited about any of the usual farmer’s market treats.

After walking around a bit, we mustered up enough of an appetite to try out Nibble Inc.  just a few blocks away from the Atrium.

Since we were nowhere near starving, we decided to split a doughnut an an almond milk latte.  (Yay lactose intolerance!)  After one bite each, we were so thankful we only ordered one doughnut.  This was a big ol’ nope for us.

I tried really hard here.  Hey its a cute place, and local, and small business, and quality ingredients.  I just hated what this tasted like.  It solidly reminded me of those first few, horrible attempts at using a bread machine. This mint chocolate doughnut was like when I try to pretend my protein pancakes (protein powder/egg whites/bananas) taste just like pancakes, cause for real they don’t.

The issue here; Nibble Inc uses a potato base for their baked goods.  Which can be great if you’re into that sort of thing.  I might very well be the only Jew from Westchester that hates knishes.  These are the doughnut version of a knish.  Mister gave up, I picked off the toppings.074.JPG

 

We tried to be sneaky about throwing away the rest of the sad snack.

I did not regret, however, following this up with a visit to Cheesecake Machismo for some sweet redemption. This place is always so good.

I didn’t hold back at all; ordered three slices and we split one per night for the three days I was in Albany.  That’s portion control, right?

Chocolate chip fasciana, s’mores, and peanut butter cookie.  We ate them in that order too. I love the thick bottom on the chocolate chip, the chocolate torte topping on the s’mores, and the peanut butter cookie crust on the third.  Those were all the things Mister didn’t like for each slice so we’re super awesome at sharing things.  Win Win Win.

Chelsea Creamline, NYC

While on a job site the other day, I decided to explore Chelsea Market a bit for lunch options.  There were crowds, I was getting cranky and I went for what looked like the only choice that didn’t have too many options, people waiting, or strange buzzwords [i.e. vegan, green, fusion].

Chelsea Market can be overwhelming and comforting all at the same time, so choosing somewhere to eat (without any help from a lunchtime partner/date/companion) was tricky.  Thankfully, Chelsea Creamline had easy, elevated comfort food listed on a menu I could quickly read.

I went with a burger (sans cheese) and appreciated that they offered tap water at no charge.  NYC is expensive enough, so I liked the option.  I settled myself at the counter area facing their dairy counter (milkshakes looked delicious, unfortunately dairy and my stomach don’t agree all that well so I tend to avoid it in the middle of the work day).  I opened a book and got barely two pages in when a man appeared with my order.

066The presentation left a little to be desired, I would’ve appreciated some form of a plate if I’m being honest.  Regardless, the burger itself had great flavor and my only wish is that the patty was bigger with more substance.  The small patty combined with a really airy bun left me feeling as if I’d just ingested a delicious burger meant for a Disney fairy; while I was no longer hungry, I wasn’t exactly full.  Maybe I should have ordered fries, but instead I decided to take advantage of some fresh air and grab a juice at JuicePress.

I’m fully aware that this is a hype-y, buzzword laden trend of juice cleanses and fresh juices; but there’s just something to this trend that I can get behind. I love a sour, citrus juice when I feel a cold coming on, or a green juice when I’m feeling stuck in a cycle of sugar binges.  They’re expensive, and probably all placebo effect, but hey, you do you folks.

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Weekly Meal Prep

I have no idea if anyone reads this.  Or if the people that do read this even care what I cook every week.  But if you do, this is what I “meal prepped” for this week.

  • 1 lb ground turkey cooked with chili powder, tomatoes, jalapeno
  • 1 lb ground turkey cooked with italian seasoning, onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes
  • half dozen baked egg muffins (liquid egg whites, diced canadian bacon, baby spinach, shredded cheese)
  • used veggie pasta shredder thing to make zucchini noodles

On the menu for this week:

  1. egg muffins for breakfast with either Puffin cereal, some berries, or oatmeal.
  2. Lunch/Dinner options: taco salad (ground turkey, romaine, Trader Joes super 8 chop, guacamole, pico de gallo), or zucchini noodles with turkey tomato sauce.

I’ve got a few bags of frozen veggies or burgers in the freezer to mix into the rotation too, just in case. I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s (frozen) grilled, marinated eggplant and zucchini slices.  They’re an easy meal base, or addition to simple sandwich. I also try to always keep some Trader Joe’s frozen, sliced, fire roasted peppers on hand; they are way more flavorful then plain frozen peppers, and are perfect for omelettes, salads, stir fry etc.

Heather Ridge Farm: Tour & Brunch

After seeing the Heather Ridge Farm brunch advertised on All Over Albany, I immediately put it on my calendar.  Animals and a hearty brunch? Yes, please!

Mister and I didn’t anticipate how cold it would be, but were glad we bundled up as much as we did.  The drive out from Albany was beautiful, about an hour of windy roads and historic houses.   We were surprised when we pulled up to the address, since the cafe and shop area isn’t directly adjacent to any obvious farm.

After checking in inside, we were told that the tour would start as soon as the owner was done with his coffee.  It was a warm group, and I was happy to have some time to build up my appetite.

There were only five of us, including Mister and I, joining the owner for a tour of his farm.  Since it was winter, we had quite the adventure of jumping right in his truck and driving over to the barns.

We started with the chicken coop/barn, which looked quite cozy compared to the windy field we were standing in.  I can’t emphasize enough that the folks running Heather Ridge Farm really love what their doing and it shows.  They have names for most of their animals, constantly stopping to pet and sweet talk goats and llamas.

There was story for every animal, where it was rescued from or the day it was born.  There was just so much love bursting out of each interaction.  After the first field/chicken area, we hopped back in the truck to drive a little further down the road to the larger barn and field area.

These two adorable donkeys were my favorite of the day, they were just so sweet and mellow, unphased by anything other than some treats.

We even had a chance to see the upstairs of the barn, where the hay was stored.  It was amazing to see how with so many generations of farming, the processes haven’t changed all that much.  The barn was designed for certain functions (i.e. taking hay in through the top to be stored for later) and was standing the test of time.

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All of this excitement, love, and enthusiasm definitely had me ready for brunch.  We were all pretty cold at this point, and I’m sure eager for some hot food.  I was impressed that some eggs we picked up from the chickens earlier, were carried right into the kitchen on our way back through.

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This past weekend was a brunch buffet, and the space felt like family.  It was warm and cozy, and everyone was happy to share a seat and introduce themselves.

Weekend Menu

Jan 2 & 3  New Year’s Brunch Buffet
$24/adult, kids pay their age

We appreciate you letting us know if you plan to come. Reservations are not necessary, but we need a head count!

Serving 11am-3pm
Farm Tour each day at 11

Caramelized French Toast
Thick cut challah bread baked in caramel sauce

Maple Chipotle Breakfast Sausage

Nitrate Free Corned Beef Hash

Eggs to Order

Irish Brown Bread
The everyday hearty bread of Ireland

Dublin Coddle
Our own nitrate free bacon and Irish banger sausages slow cooked
with potatoes, carrots, onions, and local cider

Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad

Lentil and Herb Salad

Lemon Tart

Baked Apples

Mocktails
Coffee, Tea, Orange Juice, Water

Mister and I certainly weren’t shy to try just about everything that was offered, starting with coffee (Mister) and chai tea (me). It seemed that by starting with the tour we hit brunch just right; the first wave of diners was just clearing out and the food was just being replenished with plenty more.

There were eggs cooked to order and we both requested two over easy, and they were brought right over to us with perfectly runny yolks.  The french toast was amazing, with crunchy caramelized bits and a ton of complex, sugary goodness.

Surprising, my favorite thing was the bread slathered in some butter that was readily available on our table (in a very cute little dish)

145.JPGIt looked like it would be too dry, but it was like a mix between a good whole grain bread and a moist muffin.  Even better, it was lighter than I anticipated.

There were baked apples and a lemon tart for dessert, and while I normally love sweetness after a meal, it was the perfectly sour tart that helped cut the richness of all that we had just ingested.

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I would highly recommend this experience, and am already planning on going back in the spring to enjoy the farm in another season.