Falafel at Home

I’m in love with the falafel from Tzatziki Grill in New Rochelle – they’re soft on the inside, crispy, spicy. I eat almost an entire order to myself every time we order takeout.

When I saw a box of falafel mix at Stop & Shop this past weekend, it inspired me to try making an at home version.  Falafel mix, tahini, some olives, and some feta for good measure.

It was surprisingly easy – and yes I know its because I didn’t really make the falafel from scratch. I get it.

Falafel mix + water. Set aside.

Scoop into the shape you want – fry in a lot of oil.

Drain. Layer on pita with lots of toppings.

Making the tahini dressing was only slightly more complicated.

Mix tahini paste, water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and salt. I had to keep tasting and adjusting to get it where I wanted it – which seems to be the basis of this recipe.

The flatbreads I also picked up at Stop & Shop; they were really good and the nutritional information was incredible. 15 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbs, and 180 calories per pita.

Flatbread, tahini, shredded romaine, sliced tomatoes, feta, red onion, falafel.

Olives and stuffed grape leaves [canned from Trader Joes] on the side.

I had one, Mister had 1.5 with the other 1.5 packed up for his lunch. I take that level of enthusiasm as the highest compliment.


Sometimes I impress myself with how well I pack up his lunch.

Leftover Salad Surprise

Leftover Salad Surprise is what I like to treat myself to most work days.

Here’s how to build it:

  1. Grab a tupperware that looks too big.
  2. some greens
  3. any leftovers you don’t mind eating cold



Yesterday this included baby spinach, leftover grilled vegetables, stuffed grape leaves (canned, Trader Joes), pitted mixed olives, grape tomatoes, and a snack pack of hummus.

Hummus is a great substitute for salad dressing, especially in a travel situation. No drippy oil on your work shirt, no spilled balsamic in your car.


Meal Prep: 5/22

This past weekend was on the busy side, so I didn’t have the time for a full meal prep, but I’m pretty proud of how I improvised.

Saturday Mister and I went suit shopping, he wanted a good basic suit that could be worn to a handful of weddings we have coming up. We went to Lord & Taylors, Rothman’s, and Nordstroms.  We eventually took a break for lunch at the Iron Tomato, and went back to Lord & Taylors for the first suit he tried on of the day.  I think he finally has an idea what wedding dress shopping has been like for me!

Sunday, we went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour on Broadway as a belated birthday present for my Mom.  We went to Liebman’s in Riverdale for dinner after, which brought us back to Mom’s house with little energy and less time.  I ran to the grocery store with a specific list, and managed to get my all the meals done in record time.

For this week, I relied on my pantry for breakfast; I’ve said it before, but I always have granola, almond milk, oatmeal, and protein powder on hand as a backup. This was perfect for this week, when I didn’t feel like baking something or eating anymore egg whites really.

Lunch was salad mason jars.  I know that mason jars have been done to death, but these particular size and shape are just so convenient.


I brought in a bag of romaine lettuce and a bag of arugula to be mixed as a base for these toppings.  Each jar has either chickpeas or red kidney beans layered with black olives, diced cucumber, and cherry tomatoes.

These new topper options, and I picked up some new salad dressings (Cesar vinaigrette and raspberry walnut).021.JPG

Every day I can toss together the contents of a jar, over some lettuce, add any of the toppings, and or roasted red pepper and or tuna or salmon. Its like a choose your own adventure salad.

I’ve learned that I can eat the same thing every day, but I can’t eat the same salad every day.  Even if they’re all practically the same, just the tweak of a different dressing, or a different crunchy topping, can make it a different salad for me.

As always, I made sure to grab some snack options as well; having my breakfast and lunches all planned out can still be a recipe for disaster when that 3pm sweet tooth hits if I don’t have a planned snack.

Snack options: sabra hummus single serve with pretzels, sargento balanced breakfs (cheese, nuts, dried fruit), and mini chocolate rice cakes.  I try my best to include options that cover salty, sweet, crunchy, and savory.  That way, no excuses for running out and grabbing a junk food alternative.

Weekend Catch Up

I know that my posting comes in waves; there are daily posts that dwindle to nothing for a month and then I’ll reappear.  I’m sure this is no way to garner an audience, but life happens.

I headed up to Albany after work on Friday, and Mister and I were both equally tired and hungry by the time it got dark out.  We agreed on take out from Rain on Lark Street, after having stopped in for a drink last week and agreeing the food smelled and looked promising.

We picked up our takeout, and ate it on the couch with our sweatpants on; which is the best way to eat any and all takeout.

This stuff was really good.  It wasn’t nearly as greasy as typical Chinese takeout, and didn’t leave us feeling like bloated, sweaty monsters.  There was flavor, texture, and quality to our order, and we would definitely order again.  The only thing I didn’t like, was their won ton soup.  Interestingly enough, the menu we were looking at online for ordering listed it only as “Shanghai style won ton soup.” The menu on their website lists it as “shrimp and pork won ton.” This additional shrimp information makes a world of difference; when I bit into the dumplings, the filling was almost sausage like in its consistency.  Lumpy and almost gristly, it was unappealing.  Knowing now that it was shrimp mixed with pork explains it enough, but I wouldn’t order again.

Saturday morning, Mister and I had our second wedding related planning appointment.  After a year of being engaged, we set a wedding date and booked a venue.  On Saturday, we also confirmed our photographer.  Since our wedding date isn’t until June of 2017, we’ve got plenty of time to worry about the small things, and I’m making sure to check off the big ticket items as soon as I can.

Sunday, was when the fun went into full swing.  We started the day off with a workout at Flight Trampoline Park, which I can’t recommend enough.  Want to work up a sweat, while laughing for about an hour? They have instructor led fitness classes Saturday and Sundays, where you get to jump around barefoot.

Following that class, I got to the serious business of meal prepping.

I like cooking, and I like eating.  But with my living/work situation I can’t always find the time to do both well.  So I’ve gotten in the habit of cooking up a storm for myself and Mister over the weekend, to last throughout the week.

This Sunday, I cooked up:

3 containers of lean ground beef, riced cauliflower, and mushrooms

3 containers of shredded buffalo chicken salad and broccoli slaw

3 beef burrito bowls with rice, beans, and veggies

4 plain baked/shredded chicken breasts.

1 dozen hard boiled eggs

This, combined with some leftovers, cut up veggies, and my office stockpile of oatmeal will get us both on a good start for the breakfast and lunches for the week.  Some will be eaten for dinner depending on our schedule, and I’m sure we’ll grab a sandwich or something else to add to the mix when necessary.  But my point is, this took about an hour of grocery shopping and an hour or two of cooking while watching TV.

With the wedding coming up, I’m trying to keep myself more accountable on watching the bank account and my dress size; so making sure we eat healthy meals on a budget is important.

Optimistic Salad

A salad can be an easy way to brighten up your day, which is essential during gloomy weather.  Soup and hearty dishes might be great, but sometimes your body needs some fresh veggies and pretty colors.  Yea, trust me on that one.


My best approach is to just grab all the produce that looks good.  Don’t worry about having a plan, or how its going to end up.  Broccoli, radishes, yellow and orange peppers, baby spinach, avocado, jalapeno peppers, cucumber.

I prepped a few salads at a time, which is a good plan of attack if your just one or two people: that way you get a few bites of everything in each salad, instead of being faced with the daunting task of forcing down a giant bowl of one or two ingredients.

058.JPGokay, so it wasn’t as pretty the next day. (I added a Boca Burger, and smashed the avocado on top)  But yum.  Some tea on the side and bring on the gloom.

Tea Party

This afternoon I had a lovely grown up tea party with a friend at the Tailored Tea in Latham. I’ve been waiting for an excuse to get up there for a while now , somehow I didn’t think Mister would be too please with dainty china or scones.

Today we were too early for afternoon tea, but enjoyed a leisurely lunch. It was perfectly light, allowing us to linger and not feel stuffed even after dessert.





The building breathed a heavy aura of history, with the original small rooms kept intact for service. It felt similar to visiting someone’s just slightly formal parlor for a visit. The china was mismatched and the napkins were cloth.


I went with a peach tea (that had several other descriptive characteristics on the menu). For lunch I had a the George Gershwin salad; the greens were fresh, the apples crisp, and the bacon was savory. It was enough to leave me satisfied without being an overwhelming plate.

The real winner of my afternoon was dessert. Strawberry shortcake. Macerated fruit layered with whipped cream and a perfectly savory biscuit. It was so perfect in taste and presentation.



My friend has the cream of mushroom soup with half of a sandwich, the salted caramel cake for dessert. The tea was kept hot for the duration of out meal over little warmers. It made me wish for a little more formality and whimsy infused into other meals.


Good quality, marinated grilled chicken is delicious. While there are variables in the source of the protein and what marinade choices you’ve made, grilled chicken is pretty much always something to savor.


This week I grilled a few breasts to be eaten cold with my lunches. The flavorful chunks were mixed in with arugula, tomatoes, white and red onions, quinoa, cucumber, and a big of fresh jalapeño.
The perfect combination of flavors and textures, dressing seemed superfluous.

Treat yourself

Sometimes this endless freezing cold, gray dreariness of winter makes me want to eat macaroni and cheese in sweatpants on the couch. All day. Every day.

But then you stop by Hannaford and see this


And then my inspiration explodes out of nowhere: rib-eye! Salad? Vegetables? Fancy dinner!
Everyone deserves a nice dinner to look forward to. It doesn’t need to be labor intensive, and it doesn’t matter if its just for you. You deserve it.

For the ribeye I massaged it with olive oil, pepper steak seasoning, and salt seriously, rub that in.


Then sear on each side in a very hot skillet, pop in a very hot oven and move onto the salad.


Arugula, red cabbage, red onion, tomatoes, lemon juice and a bit of dressing.
Chop that cabbage, it’s so pretty and holey moly is it crunchy and delicious.


Then store everything for lunch tomorrow in your Grandma Julia’s vintage Corningwear and glass.


Pull the steak from the oven and let it rest. It’s like massaging. It’s important and my years of impatience have been proved wrong; let meat rest.

Put it all on the plate, I topped my salad with a bit of this dressing:


And devour.