Valentine’s Day {Menu} at Home

Since we are expecting a nor’easter (which is the norm around here lately) tomorrow we’ve decided to cancel our reservations at Catch and enjoy dinner at home for Valentine’s Day. Adam will be taking over the appetizers & main course parts of the meal and I’ll be in charge of the drinks + dessert. Here is what is on our menu!

Appetizer:

Fresh Peach Crostini with Whipped Honey Feta & Balsamic Drizzle (via Iowa Girl Eats)

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Main Course: 

Caesar Salad with Heart Croutons (via Martha Stewart)

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Classic Shrimp Scampi (via Brown Sugar)

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Dessert:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (via The Yummy Life)

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Drink: 

Strawberry Heart Mojitos (via Young Married Chic)

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Eating in also saves money + calories and we could afford to save a little of both right now in anticipation of our 9 day trip to California! 3 more weeks til we’re out of this snow can’t come soon enough… What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? If you’re staying home, what’s on your menu?

 

Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese

Well it’s officially Christmas at the Kartzman’s!

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Yes, those M&M’s have been completely eaten already by yours truly. (#IAmUncontrollable) Since the weather is getting colder but Holiday season is upon us with plenty of chances to indulge, we should be eating healthy every chance we get! I usually make healthier style comfort food during the week so we don’t feel as guilty when we eat out.

 

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Buffalo Vegetable Quinoa (Mac) & Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lb asparagus, chopped
  • 1 lb zucchini, diced
  • Onion
  • Garlic Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (fresh is best)
  • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (I used Franks)
  • 1 cup rice milk (or regular)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Panko or Breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions

  • Saute your vegetables in an 8 quart pot with a little olive oil, garlic salt and pepper until partially translucent
  • Add your Vegetable Stock.
  • Add additional seasoning.
  • Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk, buffalo sauce, egg, and grated cheese. Pour in the quinoa mixture and combine.
  • Pour into a greased pan and top with breadcrumbs or more cheese (optional). I used panko and parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes depending on the depth of your dish.

Thanksgiving Ideas

Today is my Friday and tomorrow is one of the best days! Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because it means LOTS OF FOOD. I’m not really a Turkey fan but gimme gimme gimme those side dishes (aka carbs). Mashed potatoes, cheesy-broccoli rice, stuffing and pumpkin desserts GALORE! Yes, please. If you are hosting Thanksgiving or even just attending one, here are some ideas for you!

 Autumn Apple Cider and Champagne Sangria

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Thanksgiving Nails

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Thanksgiving Place Cards: 

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Thanksgiving Tablescape: Obsessed with gold

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Thanksgiving Dessert: Mini Cheesecake Shots

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Thanksgiving Dessert Table:

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Thanksgiving Side Dish: Grandma’s Cheesy Broccoli Rice

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Thanksgiving Decor:

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Thanksgiving Appetizer: Roasted Pumpkin Brie Fondue (sooo good!)

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Thanksgiving DIY: Wreath(s) — I couldn’t just pick one.

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Best way to use your leftovers: Breakfast Sandwiches; Biscuits, Cranberry, Mashed Potatoes, Turkey, Poached Egg.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Mock Mashed Potatoes

 

My Grandma makes the best mashed potatoes in the world. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and certain birthday’s she peels, chops and boils about 15 pounds of potatoes to make her family happy. I know they are loaded with butter, milk & sour cream (duh, that’s why they taste so good!) and those items combined, are things I like to “avoid” during the week. I have seen a lot of recipes floating around for cauliflower mashed potatoes so decided to give it a whirl. I think they turned out pretty well and I even got my husband to eat half of the batch. Veggies for the win.

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Mock Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I used vegan butter that was Soy Free)
  • A splash of Low Sodium Veg Broth

Directions

  • Boil a pot of water and steam the cauliflower until tender (about 10 minutes)
  • Drain cauliflower and add to blender (or food processor) with garlic, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and butter
  • Mix until everything is smooth. Here is where I add a bit of broth to give it a creamy consistency instead of rice texture.
  • Taste for seasoning.
  • After I placed the “mashed potatoes” in the serving bowl, I sprinkled more of the Smoked Paprika on top.
  • Enjoy!

 

Spooky Pasta

Happy Halloween!!

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Isn’t my baby cousin the cutest!? She has multiple Halloween costumes today… such a princess already 🙂

Last night I made “Spooky Pasta” which used mainly healthy ingredients (minus the cheese!) and it was a big hit. It also includes Pumpkin and has a TON of protein… Good way to get your children to eat something different (or your husband).

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Spooky Pasta

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces pasta (I used mung bean pasta which is Gluten Free and has 20 grams of protein per serving)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup rice milk (or whatever milk you use)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Cook the pasta as directed on the package.
  • Melt the butter in pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the milk, broth, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
  • Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  • Poor sauce over cooked pasta and serve on a plate.
  • Add 2 goat cheese circles for eyes. I had to use chocolate chips for the eyeball but an olive would work best!

Enjoy!

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Hope everyone has a fun Halloween! If you get a chance, watch this 2 minute video my brother sent me about giving children healthy candy.

Anniversary Weekend

10 days ago, we celebrated our 1 year Wedding Anniversary!

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We went back and forth on how to celebrate. Did we want to spend a week on the beach? Should we put our passports to good use and travel overseas? Should we drive up the California Coast? Or maybe we should go somewhere a bit closer for a long weekend? In the end, our indecisiveness made our decision for us.  We were staying home for the weekend but would plan some fun “excursions”.

We had a semi-lazy day Saturday morning so we would be wide awake for our plans that night. Adam said he had an errand to run and came home with a bouquet – my wedding bouquet, to be exact! He had a local florist recreate them and they were just as beautiful as I remember.

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We signed up for a couples cooking class at ICE with the theme “He said, She said”.  We originally thought we would be making 4 courses but we were surprised when we saw our menu for the night

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Um, how will we cook and eat all of that? Somehow, we did it. There were 6 couples in the class so we split into groups of 2 (4 people). Our group was in charge of making the shrimp caesar salad, the roasted butternut squash salad and the bruleed banana tartlets. We immediately started prepping our food so we could get to eating.

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So professional with the tucked fingers. The quicker we got to choppin, the sooner the wine came out. No drinking until knives are away… I thought that was a good rule.

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I took charge of the dessert (duh) and everyone said it was their favorite. With nutella, puffed pastry and whipped cream, how could it be bad?

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Once the groups were finished cooking we placed everything on the buffet table to make our plates.

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Food:

Butternut Squash Salad with Ricotta Insalata

Butternut Squash Salad with Ricotta Insalata

Ratatouille Crostini (with goat cheese!)

Ratatouille Crostini (with goat cheese!) 

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Grille Steak Salad with Spicy Grilled Peaches

Grille Steak Salad with Spicy Grilled Peaches

Duck Meatballs in Creamy Polenta

Duck Meatballs in Creamy Polenta

Roasted Head-on Shrimp with Creamy Caesar Salad

Roasted Head-on Shrimp with Creamy Caesar Salad 

Peanut Butter Ice Box Cake with chocolate crust and warm berry compote

Peanut Butter Ice Box Cake with chocolate crust and warm berry compote

Bruleed Banana Tartlets with Nutella Cream

Bruleed Banana Tartlets with Nutella Cream 

My favorite dish was the steak and peach salad. We’ve already created this at home, it was that good. I went from not eating meat for 2 years, to picking steak as my favorite meal. Adam’s favorite was the Duck Meatballs (which were last on my list). Everything was amazing and we had such a great time. Our chefs were a married couple as well, so it was fun to hear how they cook together. We can’t wait to go again!

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The next morning we dove into our year old cake! We were a bit nervous since it had been an entire year since it was made, but it was just as good as we remembered!

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We headed to the spa for 4 hours of relaxation. It was a dreary day outside so it was almost perfect that we planned these couples treatments.

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We had grand dinner plans but with all of the food from Saturday night, the cake for breakfast Sunday Morning and the mimosas during the day, we just felt like hanging around. We picked up some fro-yo (first pumpkin taste of the season!) and watched football for the rest of the night.

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It was the perfect weekend to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. Looking forward to many many more!

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Crockpot Chicken Pho

Ah, remember that time I made Pho, posted it on my Facebook page and promised to post the recipe very soon? Well, time got away from me but I’m still making good on that promise.

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For those of you who have never had Pho, it is a type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock (chicken in this case) and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added. It’s a kind of soup that cures your sickness and heals your soul. Is that too deep for 9am on a Tuesday?

Crock-pot Chicken Pho

Ingredients 

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (two 32-ounce boxes)
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 10 whole star anise ( I used 10 — But I would maybe use 9 next time)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 ounces rice noodles ( I used thin but I believe traditional is wide)
  • 6 cups chopped bok choy
  • Mung bean sprouts (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Thai chile or serrano, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Directions

  • Add chicken to bottom of crockpot (You can cook chicken before, but I put it in uncooked)
  • Combine broth, brown sugar, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, ginger and cinnamon stick in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on High for 4 hours (or on Low for 8 hours). (I did low FYI)
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Remove spices and discard.
  • Add noodles and bok choy to the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks.
  • When the noodles are tender, stir in the shredded chicken.
  • Serve bowls of soup with bean sprouts, basil, mint, cilantro, sliced chile and lime wedges on the side so everyone can add their own toppings.

This is not one of those recipes that you make with items that are “just lying around”, but I promise it’s worth the effort!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! This week went by soooo soooo slow. I am extremely happy the weekend is here, but unfortunately, the only things I have on my agenda is a root canal and going to the DMV on Saturday morning… Awesome!  In more exciting news, here are some of my favorite finds from around the blogosphere this week.

Favorite View: Favignana, Egadi islands, Sicily 

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Favorite Indulgence: Red Velvet Poke Cake

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Favorite DIY: Polka Dot Shoes

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Favorite Funny: Reasons My Son is Crying

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Favorite Hostess Gift: Beautifully Designed Cocktails with a Monogram

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Favorite Summer Polish: Essie – Mint Candy Apple

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Favorite Splurge: Jimmy Choo – Lance

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Favorite Fall Craving: Chicken Pot Pie Soup

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Favorite Quote: Work Hard & Stay Humble

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Favorite Memento: Loved Ones Handwriting on Jewelry

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Weekend Stuff

Easiest Dinner EVER.

Easiest Dinner EVER.

 

Crazy Friday night of shopping #jcrew

Crazy Friday night of shopping #jcrew 

 

Early Morning SoulCycle. My first Survivor class!

Early Morning SoulCycle. My first Survivor class! 

 

Champagne in a can

Champagne in a can 

 

Surprise tickets to see Kenny Chesney!

Surprise tickets to see Kenny Chesney! 

 

Turf Touchin

Turf Touchin 

 

There he is

There he is 

Sunset at Metlife

Sunset at Metlife 

 

Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast in Bed 

 

Free Kayaking & Paddle Boarding in Hoboken! (we didn't last long)

Free Kayaking & Paddle Boarding in Hoboken! (we didn’t last long) 

 

9 mile bike ride

9 mile bike ride 

 

Reading

Reading 

 

Sunday night Baking

Sunday night baking 

 

Homemade Cotton Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Homemade Cotton Candy Ice Cream Sandwiches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do This For a Million Dollars

65 degrees at 7am!? I felt like we were seeing signs of fall — Hope I didn’t wish it upon us! I woke up “late” today because we were out celebrating Adam’s grandma’s Birthday!

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We had dinner at Montmartre, an adorable french bistro that gave us prime seating on the patio.

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Home grown herbs surrounded the patio and everything smelled so fresh.

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I opted for “Le Burger”. This was my first time eating red meat in 2 years and I think i picked a pretty tasty option to kick it off.

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Burger with melted brie, peppercorn sauce and a side of pommes frites. There were also appetizers, wine & dessert which means I should have been at the gym this morning but hey – sometimes sleep is more important.

I woke up this morning with a craving for a smoothie. I’m still loving these blueberry cheesecake protein smoothies!

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Tonight I have a dentist appointment, a manicure AND a massage on my to do list for after work… Guess it’s going to be another long night! Today is our Friday and we’re off to the Hampton’s tomorrow for more birthday celebrations.

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I was recently speaking to some women at work about things we would and wouldn’t do for a million dollars. Here are some of the scenarios:

Would you eat a moldy sandwich? Yes

Would you give up television for the rest of your life? As long as I have the internet.

Would you go on a bread and water diet for 3 years? 3 years? No. 3 months…yes.

Would you never eat meat again? Absolutely. Although that burger was delicious..

Would you move to another country permanently? It must be a country whose primary language you can’t speak. No way. I can barely live 3 hours from my family in a state that speaks my language.

Would you live the rest of your life 250 pounds overweight? A 250 pound overweight millionaire? No thanks.

Would you tattoo your forehead? Never.

Would you have all of your teeth pulled? No, I have nightmares of this!!

Would you camp out in a bikini in the middle of December in NYC for 24 hours? Sure, why not!?

 

Which one of these things would or wouldn’t you do for 1 million dollars?