Thursday, November 29, 2012

Belgian Chocolates

As most of you know, for the majority of this semester, my friend Katie has been galavanting across Europe (feel free to check out her travel blog here). Whenever I'm feeling lonely or unadventurous, I snuggle up in a blanket and let Katie's blog take me through the various museums, coffee shops, and bars that she's been to.
One of my favorite posts documented her trip to Belgium, where she toured some of the world's best chocolate shops and I drooled onto my keyboard.
Much to my surprise, Katie foresaw my chocolate craving and sent me an early Christmas present - a box of handpicked assorted chocolates straight outta Belgium.

I love this bright red packaging - it even looks like a Christmas present!

This bright gold box looks positively royal.

And it's safe to say the chocolates inside are fit for a Queen. Katie was even nice enough to handpick the assortment, including tons of coffee-filled options! Perfect for me.

Thanks Katie!!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Crunchy Chicken Tortilla Soup

When winter rolls around, I'm an incorrigible soup fiend. You put everything that sounds good together in a giant pot, let the flavors blend for an hour or so, get creative with your spices, and a end up with a vat of delicious homey flavor. Not to mention, when finals begin kicking into high gear, having an arsenal of frozen soup servings to plop in your backpack and take to the library helps your wallet and your waistline.
Unfortunately, cold weather often gives way to bad eating habits. Walking through a blizzard and settling down to eat a frigid salad always puts me in a bad mood, and I tend to pine for comfortingly warm carbs and butter. However, when you mix veggies in a soup, just like this recipe, you can enjoy a hearty warm meal that doesn't fatten you up.

See! There are green things in that bowl!

To make a pot of this delicious soup for yourself, grab these ingredients and a large pot:

olive oil
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cans chicken broth
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
2 chicken breasts
tortilla chips
1/2 an avocado

Heat your oil in the bottom of the pot. Throw in your jalapeño, your onion, your  garlic, and your chili powder. Cook until your onions are translucent. (This part smokes the chili powder for a great flavor.)

Next, add your chicken broth, corn, black beans, and chicken. Cook on medium-high heat so that the chicken cooks through, about 30 minutes. When your chicken is done, pull them out and shred them with a knife and fork. 

Toss some salt and pepper into your broth for extra flavor and add the chicken back in. Break your tortilla chips into 1-inch pieces and toss them into a bowl. Layer your soup on top of the chips, add another handful, and top with sliced avocado.

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy belated Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S.! There's nothing like a holiday centered around stuffing your face full of comfort food. Thank goodness it only comes once a year, or else I'd find an excuse to make all these delicious flavors appear on my plate at least once a month.
Considering I run a food blog, I felt it was imperative that I share a little bit of my own Thanksgiving with everyone. This holiday is usually a relaxed affair for my family, which means all the joy of eating massive quantities of food without the wacky aunt and uncle trying to tell you about "back in the day."
We always start off with a fruit salad..

The salad features a cherry mayonnaise dressing - it's a Scandinavian thing.

Being morally opposed to the taste of mayo, I opt for a plain salad every year.

Next comes the main courses and side dishes. My mom puts out two different kinds of cranberry sauce - the canned and a homemade version. I'm partial to the homemade version due to its rustic prairie days feel. If you took the essence of a forest, covered it in sugar, and ate it, you'd get this dish.

My favorite side is the dressing, my family's take on traditional fatty stuffing. Instead of filling the bird with breadcrumbs, you put the stuffing mixture in a dish and bake it. Less fat, same great taste!!

And no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without the grand finale - the turkey...

If you're interested in re-creating my favorite healthy side dish, grab these ingredients:

3 1/2 loafs white bread, crusts removed and cubed
2-3 turkey wings, boiled, meat shredded
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
3 cans chicken broth
2.5 oz dried sage (roughly 4 tablespoons)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Combine your bread, meat, onions, and celery into a bowl. Slowly stir in your chicken broth, mixing well to combine. Add your sage, salt, and pepper in increments, tasting about 3/4 the way through to make sure the taste is to your liking. Pour the whole thing in a large buttered pan and cook for 45 minutes.

Happy belated Thanksgiving! And get ready for some Christmas recipes....

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

Fall is in full swing, which means Thanksgiving is only a skip, hop and turkey trot away. For most American's, that means getting your yoga pants on and stuffing yourself full with the most delicious comfort food you can imagine to make up for all the nights you settled for Ramen and Easy-Mac.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving also means being invited to parties and potlucks where what you bring is of the utmost importance. And not all of us can whip up a masterpiece in a split second.
So, if you're short on time and aiming to dazzle, direct your attention to the photograph below:

Sweet, salty, chewy and crunchy all in one. This bark is a super-easy no-bake recipe that has the power to silence a room (because everyone's too busy chewing it).

To whip this up, grab the following ingredients:

1 bag pretzels
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Nutella
3 tablespoons oil
1 bag caramels
coarse sea salt

To start the layering process, line a baking sheet with some parchment paper. Add a layer of pretzels, eating the broken ones as you go. Aesthetics are everything.

Next, combine your chocolate, Nutella and oil into a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir, then another 1-2 minutes until creamy.

Unwrap your caramels and put them in another glass bowl. Melt in the microwave for 1 minute, stir, then another 1-2 minutes until creamy. Sprinkle a large pinch of sea salt into your caramel and stir to combine.

Working quickly so your caramel doesn't harden, pour your caramel into the chocolate mixture and fold to combine.

Pour your chocolate-caramel mixture over your pretzels, using a spoon to spread it evenly over your tray. Press more pretzels into the top of the chocolate.

Finally, liberally sprinkle coarse sea salt over your bark. Trust me, it'll all taste good in the end.

Let your bark harden overnight, then use a sharp knife to slice it up into squares the next day. A simple, quick and absolutely delicious fall treat.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I'm trying something new here, so bear with me....

Lately there's been a backlog of food photos sitting on my phone, generally due to the fact that I take 10x the amount of pictures that I can feasibly blog about.

So, without further ado, I present my instagram food collection Part 1:

The delicious espresso sundae offerred at Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea (their version of an affogato). I swear the people in surrounded tables swiveled their heads and stared when I brought this baby back to my table.

A delicious chocolate shop in Royal Oak, Michigan actually sells chocolate Buddhas. Karmic chocolate? 

A picturesque cappuccino from Lab Cafe.

Fresh peaches at a fruit stand.

An absolutely DECADENT cupcake from Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea.

The classic Chipotle burrito. And yes, I did eat the whole thing.

Israeli couscous from J. Alexanders - is it bad that my favorite dish in the restaurant is a side dish??

When you order a chili dog from Le Dog on Liberty, this is what you get. No joke.

Sushayy from Totoro.

The iconic Ikea meatballs and potatoes meal. I mean, come on, you HAVE to get a plate whenever you go, right?

A decadent blonde brownie sundae from Diamond Jim Brady's.

Cinnamon roll I got from the farmer's market in Kerrytown. And yes, it was bigger than my hand. And yes, it was only $1.50.

Cider from the cider mill to kick off the fall season!

My holed-up-in-my-apartment-to-study-for-midterms meal. I like my steak rare.

My lightened-up version of Chicken Tikka Masala (I included a lot more veggies).

Mallory's enormous deep fried roll at Totoro.

My tempura udon.

Fantastic Kahlua mudslide at Pizza House in Ann Arbor.

....with a side of deep fried shrimp, of course..

Me dressed as Fionna from Adventure Time at Halloween Bar Night and enjoying a hard cider.

Olive oil for bread at Gratzi.

A veggie stew I baked topped with buttery rolls - a vegetarian's pot pie!

Mixed grill from Palio on Main St.

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