Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Reading

I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t believe that August is already here. I feel like summer just started! One of my goals this summer was to get some summer reading in! Summer is a perfect time to catch up on all those books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelves. Somehow summertime and books go hand-in-hand.
In my pre-mom life I used to read about a book a week. Reading was a routine for me. It was a way I would wind down. Rare were the nights that I was too tired to read even a few pages. There was no comfort like a book. Then I got pregnant, and lost all interest in readying, even the baby books. Then the first year of motherhood came along as well as separation and divorce which made me lose all concentration, and for the last two years I have been struggling to find the reading material that would keep my interest for longer than 1/2 a page.
Until recently, not sure what happened, but in the last 1.5 months I read seven books. Seven!!!! Crazy!!! My budget can't keep up with my reading habit, but this is one expense that is totally worth it. 
Today, I wanted to share with you some of the books on my 2014 Summer Reading List & maybe they might peak your interest too: ThriveHard Choices Vacationers#GirlBossTempting Fate, The One & Only, Talking with My Mouth Open ....

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Meatless Mondays and then some...

Oh Monday...I can't really complain, you were good....

But today I let something get to me...something that never in million years would I have ever cared about, but this new sensitive me suddenly cares, urgh. I wish I didn't, but I guess I do! Go figure! So instead of bottling up all the negative feelings, I came home changed into my running clothes, armed with my "move me" music and ran and ran until I couldn't run any more. And then I ran towards my kitchen and decided to embrace the Meatless Monday.

I have finally learned how to channel my frustration...the key is to go for a long run and then get lost in the kitchen. My gosh it only took me three years to figure this out, but I finally got it!

So being that today is the national meatless monday day and I had some tofu on hand, inspired by this, I embarked on making a totally new recipe [to me] and proved that I can really do anything in the kitchen. Not sure whom I was proving this to, except myself, but my gosh it felt good. 

And yes, it was easy, quick, tasty and may I add pretty. We all know I like pretty things, but taking pictures of pretty food is extra exciting! 


Black Peppercorn Stir Fried Noodles

For the Black Pepper Sauce:
½ tablespoon freshly ground black peppercorns
5-6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
1 1-inch piece ginger
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 tablespoons water

For the Stir Fried Noodles:
2 tablespoons sesame oil
8 ounces udon noodles (I couldn't find udon noodles, so I used the rice noodles I already had)
2 cups spinach leaves
10 ounces extra firm tofu
sesame seeds for topping

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the noodles and cook for 1-2 minutes (they should NOT be all the way cooked – just enough to barely soften). Drain and rinse with cold water – this removes starch and helps them stir fry without turning into a big blob. Set aside.

Place all the sauce ingredients in the food processor and give it a whirl. When it’s smooth, taste it and adjust to your liking. Cut the tofu into slices and press out the excess moisture several times with paper towels. Cut the tofu slices into cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet. When the oil is shiny, add the tofu. Stir fry very gently (breaks apart easily) for 5-10 minutes until deep golden brown. Add a tiny splash of black pepper sauce, a tiny splash of water, and ½ tablespoon oil and shake the pan around – everything will be all sizzly and awesome. When the tofu is cooked to your liking, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Heat the remaining ½ tablespoon oil in the skillet. When the oil is shiny, add the noodles and black pepper sauce. Add a splash of water if the sauce becomes too thick. Stir fry until the noodles are softened completely, covered with sauce, and piping hot. Remove from heat and toss with the spinach and tofu. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend Notes

Have you ever wondered what would your ultimate "ME" weekend be like...well I just had one of those. Since March, this was my first weekend home with no mommy obligations [read: it was Kiki's weekend with her dad] and I had no work travel. I think I forgot what those weekends are like. 

It all started with a delightful lunch on Friday at the beach at Sardinia...if you're looking for authentic Italian food, this is the place to go...firewood pizza is out of this world, but so is tuna and pasta ;)

followed by some shopping - Ann Taylor is having some incredible sales - definitely not to be missed! These babies came home with me!

drinks and dinner with friends at Wynwood Kitchen - as you can see, all of my favorites in one place:

greek salad with grilled octopus

black pepper calamari

sauté brussel sprouts and bacon bits

bread pudding with white chocolate and guava

sleeping in on Saturday, cuddling with the Sous-Chef and catching up with an old friend.
Not sure if the Sous-Chef is missing Kiki or enjoying the peace and quiet....but she took over Kiki's chair for the weekend!

Sunday was a spa day....hello Miami Spa - deal at the Trump International "trumps" them all [yup, totally non pun intended]

prepared the weekly menu and done some food prep, 

and a date with my DVR...is it me or is the summer schedule on USA absolutely incredible?!?! Have you seen Rush, Satisfaction, or Suits? I am in love...yes, guilty of liking the bad boy...no wonder I like all these shows!

And just in case you were wondering what's on the menu this week...wonder no more.... this week's menu is completely inspired by all the delicious blogs I read on a daily basis.

Wednesday: Chorizo Sweet Potato Skillet
Thursday: Avocado, Tomato, Corn with Lentil Salad
Friday: Homemade Pizza 
Saturday: Leftovers

As you can see nothing extraordinary, but it was truly a great "me" weekend! Exactly what the doctor ordered! I am ready for the week, whatever it may bring, but I know something good is coming...stay tuned!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekend Notes

Happy Monday!!!! How was your holiday weekend? 
As much as I love to travel and I feel most like myself when on the road, since I became a mom, I’ve become much more of a homebody. And as much as I love exploring new cities, nothing feels better than coming home from a trip and having the weekend ahead of me. This weekend I got lucky because I came home to an extra long holiday weekend. Wednesday was all about unpacking, getting caught up on housework and some personal emails; and the rest of the weekend was all about having fun, hanging out with Kiki and friends, a little bit of boating, getting cosy with my DVR, relaxing reading, some home cooking and overall recharging before the workweek. 

Baked Meatball Sub Sandwiches

2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or panko
1 Tbs. freshly chopped oregano
1 Tbs. freshly chopped parsley
1 pinch garlic salt
1 small pinch salt
2 cups favorite marinara, jarred
4 hoagie rolls, split and toasted
6 to 8 slices provolone cheese

-- In a large bowl, combine the soy, worcestershire, mustard, beef, egg, breadcrumbs, herbs, salts and crushed red pepper. 
-- Roll out little meatballs with your hands and place them on a baking sheet or tray.
-- Preheat your grill to medium-high. Arrange the balls on the grates and grill them until they’re cooking through and have grill marks on all sides, 20 to 25 minutes.
-- Let them rest about 5 while you toast the hoagies.
-- Also, in the meantime, simmer your marinara on medium-low for about 10.
-- Arrange 4 meatballs in the middle of each split hoagie. Top with tomato sauce and layer with a couple of slices of provolone.
-- You can put them back on the grill (or under the broiler) to melt that cheese.
--Garnish with basil and oh dear.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Five on Friday

Friday! I’m so happy it is Friday. This week, who am I kidding, the last 8 weeks have been a complete blur and I’m ready for three days to regroup and recharge. The theme of this weekend will be "rest and relaxation" – and playing catch up on a few to-do’s that have been on the back burner since...well, let's say for way too long now. 

In the ideal world I would like to have a lot of quiet moments like the one above, but the three days will be spent with a little gateway to a place near by (no airplanes required, yes please) - this is the "rest and recharge" portion of the weekend, a wedding, a coffee date, a wine date, a good book, fresh flowers, park time, soaking up some sun, laying by the pool and gearing up for the week away... never a dull moment in Faux Foodie home, but I think this is exactly how we like it.

what's occupying my mind this friday...well besides wanting some peace and quiet...

these coasters....just one more reason to drink up.

what chef's are keeping in their refrigerators...Take a look inside the fridges of 11 top NYC chefs here.

10 things you didn't know about Ina Gartner (still one of my favorite Food Network shows)

Yes, this is happening. AGAIN!

And because it is Memorial Day weekend after all, I want these....they are calling my name.

Hope your three day weekend is exactly what you want it to be!

Happy summer!