Refreshing Asian-Style Salad & Your New Lunch Favorite

Let’s be real for a minute. I’m a food and drink blogger, which means I eat crazy fattening or high-calorie meals sometimes just for the ‘Gram. But, behind the scenes, I (try to) eat pretty healthy to counteract all the yam and cheese ice cream or gin pasta that I eat to share with y’all. 

But as a self proclaimed foodie, it would be torture not to eat something at least mildly interesting. And I’m sure you’re tired of sitting at your desk, staring down the same ham and cheese sandwich or Wendy’s chicken wrap you’ve had every day for way, way too long. Food is supposed to be exciting! Not self-inflicted torture.

So, here’s where our interests collide, citizens of the Internet. You want to know how you can eat interesting but also healthy on the daily; I have the knowledge.

Voila! A huge salad, fit for a Kardashian, that is good for you and relatively easy to make Not to mention, the ingredients are relatively inexpensive. Eating on a budget doesn’t have to be boring. Plus, it’s tasty enough that you can put off day-dreaming about pizza and burgers for, like, 10 whole minutes.

Here’s how I make it.

1/3 of a container of mache rosettes, or spinach, or whatever your greens of choice are

1/2 a can of chick peas– by the way, organic chick peas at Whole Foods are 99 cents. Non-organic are even more affordable. Thanks, Amazon!

1/2 a can of baby corn

1 small or medium cucumber chopped into bite sized pieces– leave the skin on for extra fiber and nutrients!

1-2 chili peppers if you want a little kick

Toss this in a big bowl or Tupperware container.

Dress it with a splash of each: soy sauce (low sodium!), balsamic vinegar, and sesame oil.

Season with pepper as desired.

 

That’s literally all the effort it takes! Your lunch is prepped and ready to go in approximately 2-5 minutes.

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As always, I advocate for playing around with ingredients. Add croutons? Switch sesame oil for olive oil? Go for it! There are plenty of Food Police who think their recipe is the only way to cook. Everyone has different taste buds. Eat food that makes your taste buds happy.

Pesto and Gin Pasta

We all know what to do with liquors we like. It’s not very difficult to figure out what to do with something good. Well, if you do need help figuring out what to do with good liquors, I’m always available with a million ideas. But what do you do when you have a whole bottle of liquor that isn’t good, isn’t bad, but is just mediocre?

I came into this situation with a bottle of dry gin we bought recently. It was good in the first drink. It was alright in the second drink. But after the 3rd or 4th try, it was just like any other gin. There was no way I was going to throw it away.

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Fast forward through my brainstorming session to my bright idea to make pesto pasta with gin. I’m going to walk you through the steps of making this surprisingly good recipe. This serves 2 people, but can be doubled or tripled or quadrupled or… I think you get the picture. Also, the way I made it was completely vegan, but you can add meat or cheese as desired. As always with pasta dishes, get your pot of water heating up while you prepare other things.


First, I prepared the pesto. Not including shopping time, this portion of the recipe takes literally 2 minutes.

What you need:

1 cup of fresh washed basil leaves– when you’re filling your measuring cup, pack the leaves tightly to get the most flavorful pesto.

1/4 cup pine nuts– did y’all know how expensive pine nuts were?? It’s insane. Substitute with walnuts if you don’t feel like spending $8 on one handful of nuts.

1/4 cup olive oil– olive oil works best, but can be substituted for other oils.

1.5 oz. gin– If you’re making extra pesto to save for later, skip the gin.

1 pinch of salt– this is especially helpful in bringing out all the flavors in the basil, but if you’re going to use parmesan, you can skip this because parmesan is pretty salty.

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Take all these ingredients and pour them into the blender. Puree until it’s all in little bits. Don’t worry about it being perfectly and evenly blended; that will give a little texture to the food. Save this pesto mixture for a little later on in the recipe.


At this point, I diced some onions to add a little extra flavor to the dish. I like onions, so I did 3 ring-slices worth.

This is also probably the point you should drop your pasta in the boiling water. I used De Cecco Farfalline because the only thing better than bowtie shaped pasta is tiny bowtie shaped pasta.  Set a timer for half the recommended cooking time.

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Pro tip: if you cook your pasta at a rolling boil at all times, it’s less likely to get stuck together.

In a frying pan, put just a dime sized drop of oil (there will plenty in the pesto, remember?) and turn the temp to medium low. When the pan is warm and the oil is a little less viscous and rolls around in the pan like water, drop in the onions and 1.5 oz of gin. You can season with a little garlic, salt and pepper if you like. The goal here is to brown the onions slightly– not so much that they get mushy… unless that’s how you like them, whatever. Turn the pan down to the lowest setting.

 

Now’s a good time to put your pesto in the pan, but don’t worry about stirring it yet.

When the timer for your pasta is up, taste it. I know, it’s not done yet, that’s the point! When the pasta is still slightly too chewy for your liking, drain it. Pour the pasta into the frying pan with the onions and the pesto. Pour another 1.5 oz of gin in with everything and stir thoroughly.

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Aaaaaaand you’re done. Dish it up or eat it straight out of the pan! You’re the chef, you can do what you want!

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Now you’ve successfully made a delicious pasta and managed to improve a significant amount of gin. Happy eating!

 

 

Making Your Own Flavored Vodka

When I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Poland, one of the things that struck me was the prevalence of home-flavored liquors. Some were made with herbs, some with fruits, some with a mysterious mix of the two. But, something all these flavored liquors had in common was that they were much more interesting than chemically flavored vodkas that are so popular in the U.S.

Don’t get me wrong, regular flavored vodka has its uses. But think of it this way, if you want to drink a juice that tastes of grapes, do you pour yourself some Welches Grape Juice or Kool-Aid? Exactly.

So here’s how you make your own flavored vodka.

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Spicy Sweet Sausage Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

I love carbs. Potatoes, pasta, rice. You name a carb, I love it.

I also love finding new ways to eat carbs. I get that sauce isn’t a new way to eat pasta, but inventing new sauces is like a hobby for me. Ultra-specific, I know.

Usually, the sauces I make are savory and spicy. But when I got an adorable jar of honey from Catskill Provisions, (along with some honey infused whiskey) I thought, “Why shouldn’t pasta sauce be sweet?” Then I was reminded of the movie Elf when Will Ferrell pours maple syrup over the family’s spaghetti. Okay, so a totally sweet sauce is probably not the best idea. But maybe spicy and sweet?

And so my Spicy Sweet Sausage Spaghetti Sauce recipe was born.

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Bee Happy: Catskill Provisions New York Honey Whiskey Review

“Happy Bees Make Better Honey!”

This slogan appears on the jar of raw wildflower honey I received from Catskill Provisions, and I couldn’t agree more! Their honey is also infused into their New York Honey infused Rye whiskey.

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Soy Sauce Chicken Drumsticks and Potatoes… and Wine

This recipe was passed down from my Nana to my mom to me. When my mom was explaining the directions to me over the phone the night before, she remembered that this is how she learned the recipe from her mother too. As far as I know, my family has been making soy sauce chicken drumsticks and potatoes for decades without ever writing down the recipe. As this is one of my favorite ways to eat chicken and I’m a little bit absent-minded, I’ve got to write it down. For posterity.

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Kim’s Healthy Oven-Roasted Chick Pea Snacks

One of my boyfriend’s coworkers invited us for a barbeque on Long Island this weekend and we were asked to bring a side dish. It won’t be an ordinary cookout with hot dogs and burgers though– they will be roasting a whole (!) lamb.

So what do you bring as a side dish to a non-ordinary barbeque? It has to be something nobody else will think to bring too. Ever showed up to a BBQ with potato salad, only to discover there’s already 2 other variations of it there? I’m not looking to be that awkward third-potato-salad-bringer. Plus, I don’t even know how to make potato salad which means I’d have to stop at Whole Foods. Nah. Plus, I’m pretty sure it’s an adult-only BBQ, which means a bag of Doritos isn’t going to cut it either, as much as I wish it would… what to bring, what to bring.

Continue reading “Kim’s Healthy Oven-Roasted Chick Pea Snacks”