Cheers to 2014

Still in shock that 2014 is here…the year that I graduate from college seemed so far away just a few years ago. The expression ‘time flies’ exists for a reason. It really does.

BU Matriculation Ceremony, fall 2010. Might as well have been  yesterday.

BU Matriculation Ceremony, fall 2010. Might as well have been yesterday.

Anyway, one of my many New Years resolutions (I have a list of over 20 in a ‘note’ on my iPhone) is to update my blog more regularly. So we’ll see how that goes…

In honor of the New Year, I would like to share what I ‘cooked’ for the occasion: champagne jello.

I first had this marvelous concoction years and years ago at a family friends’ New Years party (though I was probably around 8 years old and likely had a nonalcoholic version). I don’t remember anything else from the party aside from how cool I was eating bubbly jello out of a classy champagne glass.

So here I am, however many years later, and I decided I should try to recreate this delicious memory–this time with the real stuff (I am 22 now, after all). I looked online and found a recipe in all of about 2 seconds, courtesy of Taste at Home. So here it is!

Ingredients (serves 8, though this depends on glass size)

  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups cold white grape juice, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups Champagne or club soda (my dad, who did the grocery shopping, splurged on the $9 bottle…)
  • 8 fresh strawberries, hulled

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Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup cold grape juice; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in sugar. Remove from the heat; stir in remaining grape juice. Cool to room temperature.IMG_3008
  2. Transfer gelatin mixture to a large bowl. Slowly stir in champagne. Pour half of the mixture into eight champagne or parfait glasses (I used 5 wine glasses because I’m on vacation at a condo and that’s all we have here). Add one strawberry to each glass (pick the prettiest ones). Chill glasses and remaining gelatin mixture bowl until almost set, about 1 hour (because I used wine glasses instead of champagne glasses, it took longer to set–more like 3ish hours).

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3. Place the reserved gelatin mixture from the bowl in a blender; cover and process until foamy. Pour into glasses. Chill for 3 hours or until set.

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Pre-blending

Post-blending

Post-blending

Pouring blended, foamy mixture on the now-set champagne mixture

Pouring blended, foamy mixture on the now-set champagne mixture

Back in the fridge for a few more hours

Back in the fridge for a few more hours

Also, fun fact, this wonderful website posts nutritional values. Even better! Nutritional Facts: 1/2 cup equals 96 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 9 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein.

The only downside is that, upon eating later, it didn’t end up bubbly. Not sure if that’s because I used wine glasses instead of champagne glasses so it took longer to set, letting more bubbles escape before setting. But that’s just my hypothesis. Who knows…

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You will never think of jello shots the same way again. Way prettier and way classier and way yummier.

How AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL does this look? Here’s to 2014–CHEERS!

Cheers!

Cheers!

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Chocolate Wasted

Well, fourth year’s the charm. Yes, that’s right, FOUR YEARS of dessert showcases. Actually, to clarify, Nikki has attended for the last four years; I had a retreat for my job last year that unfortunately coincided with the weekend of the showcase. So this was technically my third year in attendance. Still bitter I couldn’t be at two places at once.

Let me backtrack to how this tradition began. It was freshman year. Nikki received a Groupon email about the 2010 New England Dessert Showcase that was to take place at the Westin Copley Hotel in Back Bay. It sounded too good to be true. But it was freshman year and we really didn’t have anything else to do over the weekend besides homework (amiright Nikki?!) (we were both much less involved at the time…).

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Ironically enough, the Showcase coincided with Yom Kippur that year. So not only did we not fast that day, we pretty much did the polar opposite and completely gorged ourselves shamelessly with seemingly endless upscale, sugary treats.

Our first Dessert Showcase

Our first Dessert Showcase

Best Jews ever.

So that was the start of this wonderful tradition. Needless to say, this experience obviously made the “Freshman Successes” list (Yes, it is true, I do have a Word doc titled ‘Freshman Mistakes’ saved on my laptop, which also happens to have an accompanying list of ‘Freshman Successes.’ I’m thinking of passing it down to freshmen once I graduate in May.  Or publishing it. We’ll see.)

Sophomore year is a funny story. This second year, the Dessert Showcase did not coincide with a Jewish holiday that involved fasting. Thank god. Not sure why Nikki or myself did not think to check the location of the event (sophomore year mistakes?!); we just assumed it was at the same hotel in the same ballroom as the previous year. So that was mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was when we took a cab for about 45 seconds around the corner to the Back Bay Sheraton (if you’re familiar with the area at all, you should know the two hotels are literally around the corner from each other). I had a dumb phone at the time so we were relying on Nikki’s beloved Blackberry (RIP) to direct us and it just was not working. Getting frustrated, we impulsively got in a cab figuring the driver would know how to get from the Westin to the Sheraton.

In retrospect, I’m pretty sure he tried to just tell us how to walk there but we were too confused and dazed to function on our own. So the cab took us around the corner and we presumably paid probably $2.00 for the ride (of which $1.50 was probably just an initial rate). Pathetic. In any case, we made it to the desserts AND THAT’S WHAT COUNTS.

Yes we have the same photo taken every year.

Yes we have the same photo taken every year.

Nom

Nom

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

I’m going to skip year three because I was not there. I was instead in NH on a CSC Program Manager retreat eating crappy camp food (but s’mores totally made up for it).

This past weekend, Nikki and I went to the 2013 New England Dessert Showcase. And at least we learned from our mistakes. This time, we checked the address ahead of time—which was a good thing because it was at the Seaport Westin this year, much further away. Also, instead of taking the T for 45 minutes and having to transfer once to the red line and a second time to a bus, we cabbed it. But not only did we cab it, we tried Uber for the first time which was quite an experience.  If you’ve never tried Uber, I would recommend it—the cars are much nicer and we had a lovely, chatty driver who told us all about his diabetes on the way there.

Keepin' it classy taking Uber

Keepin’ it classy taking Uber

Unlike past years, this year’s event did not seem to have some sort of record-breaking dessert (freshman year there was a record-breaking Boston cream pie, sophomore year I recall a record-breaking cannoli). But similarly to the other years, we completely stuffed ourselves until we had to sit down and digest. And Instagram.

Some sort of attempt to break the record of largest Boston cream pie baked.

Freshman year–some sort of attempt to break the record of largest Boston cream pie baked.

Some sort of attempt to break a largest cannoli record

Sophomore year–some sort of attempt to break a largest cannoli record

The best foodie friend.

Senior year with the best foodie friend.

There are baking demos each year by the local chefs. Dessert and a show! If only my favorite Food Network stars had made an appearance…

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We agreed the best dessert was the molten lava cake from Chart House, warm and gooey on the inside, topped with crunchy toffee bits and a drizzle of chocolate fudge. In a close second place: delicious, rich mini chocolate mousse cakes from Finale.

Lava cakes from Chart House. Nikki is pleased.

Lava cakes from Chart House. Nikki is pleased.

Mini mousse cakes from Finale. NOM.

Mini mousse cakes from Finale. NOM.

Still remains unclear why every year there has always been these sheet cakes out front, obviously untouched because who wants sheet cake when there's a ballroom full of fancier desserts?! #America

Still remains unclear why every year there has always been these sheet cakes out front, obviously untouched because who wants sheet cake when there’s a ballroom full of fancier desserts?! #America

For the record, I am completely aware that, as a nutrition major, this is not the healthiest of activities in which I could be partaking. But life is all about balance, and, once a year, I’ve come to accept this. In addition, I ran the BAA Half Marathon the following day–so let’s just consider this time as necessary carboloading shall we?

Nikki—just because we graduate this year doesn’t mean we have to stop attending these events. In the words of Miley, “we can’t stop, and we won’t stop.”

Here’s to many more years of fun foodie traditions!

Not much has changed over the years...

Not much has changed over the years…

An Apple a Day

Remember that time I started a food blog over the summer and then the fall semester started and I had zero time to keep up with it? Whoops. Well, I’m back. And, per usual, putting off homework for a couple minutes to share an awesome food-related adventure from this past weekend.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like this fall in particular, all of a sudden apple picking was THE cute weekend thing to do. Between all the Instagrams, tweets, and Facebook posts I’ve seen, it’s like all of my social media outlets have become one continuous L.L. Bean fall catalogue.

So. Much. Plaid.

FYSOP reunion! (note all the plaid)

FYSOP reunion! (note all the plaid)

I obviously had to jump on the hay-filled bandwagon and figure out how to get out of the city and to one of the many nearby(ish) apple farms. The problem, of course, is that nobody here has a car and the commuter rail didn’t seem like a viable option. So it was looking like it was a no-go. But then, *cue heaven/angelic music* CAS Student Government saved the day by organizing a group trip out to Belkin Family Lookout Farm in Natick. Did I care that I’m not even in CAS? Nope.

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For just $7:

  • I got to ride a school bus (flashback to the good ol’ McDonogh days) with a bunch of college kids (who are too tall for those seats by the way—even my 5-foot self was cramped) dressed in plaid
  • I got a clear plastic bag for my apples (which, we came to find out, could fit either 6 or 2 apples depending on if you chose monstrous ones like I did or baby ones like Hannah/Nikki)
  • I got about 23402938 potential new Facebook profile pictures out of the day #DIFTP (#doitforthephoto)

In conclusion, the experience was priceless (cue Mastercard advertisement).

Nommm.

Nommm.

Big apples vs baby apples. Photo cred: Steph

Big apples vs baby apples. Photo cred: Steph

Let me begin by saying how great it was to get out of the city for a few hours. I absolutely love Boston, but sometimes we forget how beautiful suburbia can be. Driving through the town of Wellesley, we were ooh-ing and ahhh-ing at the fall foliage (the city is a couple weeks behind the suburbs as far as leaves changing colors go) as if we have never before seen an orange tree. I equate this scenario to when you see a baby/child in the dining hall or anywhere at BU—since we are literally always around people our own age, it’s funny how noticeable it is when you see a baby and suddenly realize you haven’t seen anyone under age 18 in however many months (I blame this odd metaphor on a BuzzFeed I just read that obviously involved cute babies).

After a 40ish-minute drive, we pulled up to the farm, received our tiny plastic apple bags, and got in line for the ‘train’ that takes farm visitors to various designated stops throughout the 180 acres. The ride, completely surrounded by vines upon vines of plump, wine-smelling grapes was definitely a highlight. We got off at the first ‘stop’ and made our way into the rows upon rows of 60,000 perfectly aligned trees organized by type. Immediately we started picking and eating the apples, myself included (despite my OCD and not having a sink to wash them in—eek!).

How cute are we?!

How cute are we?!

Grapes everywhere!

Grapes everywhere!

We made our way through many different rows to sample various types of apples, Asian pears, grapes, and even peaches (Nikki was The Most Pleased about the peach situation, even having to do away with some of her apples to make room).

Nikki rearranges her bags to make room for the peaches (very last of the season) we discovered on our way out!

Nikki rearranges her bags to make room for the peaches (very last of the season) we discovered on our way out!

What we didn’t know ahead of time, however, was that the Farm was full of entertainment aside from apple picking. The last stop on the train was the Children’s Play Area which contained farm animals, face painting, a maze, a hay pyramid, hay rides, camel riding (guess what day it is?!), a playground, and food. We obviously participated in most of the aforementioned activities #YOLO.

Jeremy, Hannah, and Nikki are only slightly excited.

Jeremy, Hannah, and Nikki are only slightly excited.

Hay pyramid

Hay pyramid

"mikemikemikemikemike"

“mikemikemikemikemike”

We fit just fine.

We fit just fine.

Nikki and Steph got their faces painted.

Nikki and Steph got their faces painted.

Once the Children’s Play Area had tired us all out and we’d worked up quite an appetite (clearly the 234291038 apples didn’t fill us up for very long), we took the lovely train back to the entrance where the farm’s store was located. After one final pumpkin-filled photoshoot, we bought apple cider and apple cider donuts and went outside to a picnic table to enjoy the apple-themed snack before the buses were to head back to the city. The cider was essentially autumn in a cup, refreshing after the long day. And perfect to wash down the cakey donut whose cinnamon sugar managed to completely coat my fingers as well as the picnic table surrounding me. It was worth the mess.

Family photo.

Family photo.

Apple cider + cider donuts=perfection.

Apple cider + cider donuts=perfection.

We then had to say bye to Lookout Farm as we rode back to BU, peach/apple-filled bags resting on our laps the whole way.

While one can obviously just eat apples nonstop for two weeks post-apple picking, we thought it would be fun to at least use a small portion of them in an apple-themed meal. So the next day, I went to Nikki and Hannah’s apartment in the swanky Student Village II (my poor microfridge wasn’t gonna cut it) for dinner. The menu you ask?

-Apple and goat cheese salad

-Apple-maple chicken

-Apple crisp

Apples on apples on apples.

Apples on apples on apples.

Needless to say, there were still plenty of apples leftover.

the giving tree

Outside the Box

There are so many benefits to living in a city. Public transportation (ehhh…), shops, internship/job opportunities, and FESTIVALS.

I know this seems random, but seriously–one of the perks of city living is simply the amount of random festivals that take place. Free Shakespeare performances in The Common? Sure, why not? Free Selena Gomez concert at Government Center? Well okay then.

There are so many that I feel like most of the time I don’t even know about them. Or I find out after the fact on Boston.com. But lucky for me, there was one this weekend that I thankfully did not miss out on. Earlier in the week, my friend Nikki sent me a link to this event called “Outside the Box” that would be taking place over the weekend–perfect timing especially considering my sister was in town visiting. It consisted of 9 days of free music and performing arts.

Live music while we dined.

Live music while we dined.

One portion of the event (catch the food pun?), though, was specifically targeted toward the foodies out there. Stationed in Government Center plaza, the Fork Lift Food Festival (“a festival within a festival”) consisted of live music, cooking demos by local and celebrity chefs, and dozens of tents with gourmet single-portion tastings.

Celeb chef Todd English casually setting up his demo 10 ft away from us.

Celeb chef Todd English casually setting up his demo 10 ft away.

It worked like a fair: you purchase a number of tickets and different items at different tents cost you varying quantities of tickets. We decided to be strategic in our plan. Because food is serious business to us (amiright Nikki/Corinne?!). We first walked around to see what each chef was offering, taking copious mental notes for our upcoming go-round.

Once we’d walked around in a full circle, it was time to buy our tickets. It was $1 per ticket which kept things simple. We decided $15 each would hopefully be enough to allow us to try everything we really wanted to, and we could always go back and buy more later if we so chose. And then we were off on our second round, this time actually ordering the small plates that had looked so good a half hour before.

Nikki and Corinne toughing out the heat for the sake of good eats.

Nikki and Corinne being troopers through the insane heat, all for the sake of some good eats. My kind of people.

The portions were mostly sample size, costing between 1-4 tickets. I really appreciated how local and seasonal the dishes seemed–many including lobster and other New England-y things. Also, considering it was well in the 90s outside, I was grateful for the lighter dishes especially.

Needless to say, between the three of us, we tried a lot of awesome food. Though portions were tiny, because the food was clearly high quality, we all felt the $15 was well worth it. Also a plus, for some reason it wasn’t crowded (probably due to the heat) so there were no waits whatsoever. I’m just upset I missed out on seeing some of the famous chefs’ cooking demos and book signings. But one could only stand that heat for so long…

Now to the fun part, the food…

1. Legal Seafood: New England clam chowder

Nikki proving that it is, in fact, never too hot for clam chowdah when you live in Boston.

Nikki proving that it is, in fact, never too hot for clam chowdah when you live in Boston.

2. Carly Cakes: Lemon raspberry mini cupcake

Corinne's excellent dessert choice.

Corinne’s excellent dessert choice.

3. Salvatore’s: Arancini caprese strollers

Arancini are simply fried risotto balls. Cheesy, salty, warm, and with a perfectly fried and crispy coating. Props to Corinne for finding the best ‘bang for your buck’ item offered–this portion was significantly larger than all the others.

Arancini. Corinne's a happy camper.

Arancini. Corinne’s a happy camper.

4. Barrio Cantina: Spicy chicken tacos

Chicken tacos.IMG_9056

5. Batch ice cream truck: salted caramel & cinnamon ice cream

The perfect way to try to cool down.IMG_9053

6. Tresca: Heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho

Gazpacho, one of my favorite summertime dishes, was the perfect light, refreshing, cool dish to sample. The addition of watermelon was a unique touch. Also, as a bonus, they gave anyone who came over for a taste a gift bag containing a $20 gift card. Sooo who wants to dine with me in the North End…?

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7. Bokx109: Pear and mascarpone sacchetti

Although the portion was tiny (an amuse bouche, if you will), this pasta dish was very well done. The baby fork may have been a highlight, as well. Sacchetti is simply a tortellini-like pasta meant for stuffing. Mascarpone is a type of spreadable Italian cheese. You may recognize it as the cheese typically used in making tiramisu.

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8. Artisan Bistro: Lobster sausage with johnnycake, brown butter, and corn

Never before had I had lobster in the form of sausage! Luckily, the chef hadn’t ground it and there were still decently sized chunks of lobster (ground seafood seems a bit strange to me) held together by some mixture of binding agents. It paired beautifully with the savory pancake and made for the perfectly balanced amuse bouche.

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9. Kowloon: saugus wings

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I’m not much of a wings person but Nikki seemed pleased. Also, decent portion size was appreciated.

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10. Society on High Les Zygomates Sorriso: Lobster martini with avocado puree and plantain chips & fig tart

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11. Chart House: Crab crake with remoulade & avocado, crab, and mango stack

Corinne went against our rule and ordered crab outside of Maryland, but it was actually very decent (despite the fact that it’s in pancake form, not cake form).

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Food festivals FTW.

SoWa: The hidden gem of the South End

I wrote this piece for my summer session 1 Feature Writing class and got an A on it (YAY!) so I figured if my journalism professor thinks it’s okay, it must be decent enough to publish on my blog. I  haven’t had time to do much cooking since summer session 2 started, so here’s something for the time being…

A swarm of people, dogs, and running children surround you as you walk toward white tent after white tent. From far away it’s difficult to distinguish them, but up close, under each tent, there is something unique—a fellow Bostonian proudly displaying his or her craft, each item one of a kind.

Your olfactory senses go on overdrive as hundreds of different smells waft toward you with each food truck you pass—the scent of a wood burning fire pizza oven, rosemary dusted French fries, butter browning as it forms the perfect crust on the cheesiest grilled cheese sandwich you’ve ever seen. The colors too are vibrant and in every shade imaginable—whether it’s a pint of just-picked strawberries so juicy they temporarily stain your finger tips red, to an overstuffed red velvet cookie with purple cow ice cream sandwich, to the rainbow of brightly-painted, eye-catching food trucks, virtually every color on the wheel is represented. Movement is constant as people, children, and dogs flow from vendor to vendor oooh-ing and awww-ing, picking up, trying on, smelling, tasting, and ultimately purchasing items that please them.

Strawberry, goat cheese, caramelized onion, and arugula pizza from Vesta Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza

Strawberry, goat cheese, caramelized onion, and arugula flatbread from Vesta Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza

The largest ice cream sandwich I've ever seen: red velvet cookie with purple cow ice cream.

The largest ice cream sandwich I’ve ever seen: red velvet cookie with purple cow ice cream.

Every Sunday at 460 Harrison Avenue, three ordinary paved parking lots are transformed into this bustling market for those seeking fresh produce, handmade arts and crafts from local artisans, a unique food truck meal, and much more. Now in its tenth year, this open market, which stands for “South of Washington Street,” is open every Sunday in the South End from 10am-4pm. New this year, the market is separated into three different lots; the handmade crafts, farmer’s market, and food truck sections are all separated by a block or two, allowing the market to have expanded and making it easier to navigate for customers.

“I was pleasantly surprised with the number of artists and the crowd size,” said Boston University student Nikki Jenner. There are all kinds of vendors at SoWa—farm and food, gourmet and kitchen products, bath and body, antique and vintage, fashion trucks, fair-trade, and eco friendly handmade import vendors.

The SoWa Farmers Market is a juried market, so it is required that independent designers submit an application and pay a fee in order to become a vendor. Additionally, they must commit to a minimum of five dates. And the open market does go on rain or shine. According to Helen Schroeder of Linden Leaf designs, “getting accepted to sell at SoWa is quite a stamp of approval in the Boston indie arts community—almost like a rite of passage. I get the sense that having this opportunity under my belt will open doors in other places.”

The market appeals to people of all ages, from kids enjoying the gourmet food samples being offered to them, to the elderly checking out vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, to all ages in between. “[The market] was set up in a neat way, and to just aimlessly meander and look at some of the trinkets and thingamabobs was really cool,” said Ethan Rimdzius, a student at Boston University.

Ethan was hungry.

Ethan was hungry.

The open market is an unusual place for both customers and crafters alike. Schroeder sells most of her work—handmade paper designs—online and on wholesale or consignment, so she typically does not get to experience much customer interaction. However, SoWa provides her with a means to communicate face-to-face with customers.

“I believe there’s something so valuable in being able to look at and question and talk to the person who has made the object you hold in your hand, whether it’s art or furniture or food,” said Schroeder. From the opposite perspective, too, it’s also valuable for artists to observe customers interacting with their work, to see what gets them particularly excited and what they’re specifically looking for. As Schroeder says, “It’s the best kind of ‘market research’ there is.”

Since the artists must commit to several Sundays, visitors, such as Jenner, have the chance to come back and check out any booths they previously enjoyed and to see if anything new was added. “There are a few artists’ booths that I look forward to keeping up with to see upcoming creations,” she noted.

Admiring the plethora of local designers' jewelry. Photo courtesy of Ethan R.

Admiring the plethora of local designers’ jewelry. Photo courtesy of Ethan R.

While some visit SoWa to shop for gifts, others, such as Jenner, simply stop by for a bite to eat. “Nowhere else in the city can you find a gathering of [food trucks] this size and with such variety. There is something for everyone to eat and it’s all so delicious,” she continued.

“The food truck culture in Boston is amazing and I love getting the chance to trade food with other trucks and meet new people at SoWa,” said Emily Sanchez, Assistant Manager of the popular Roxy’s Grilled Cheese Truck.

While working SoWa can be exhausting, it is also a rewarding experience for those inside the truck or behind the craft table. “SoWa shifts can be a million times crazier than any other shift—which is part of the fun I think,” disclosed Sanchez. “You just have to keep working for four to five hours nonstop, and of course by the end you’re sort of brain-dead, but so are your coworkers and it’s okay.”

Fresh produce from the SoWa farmer's market. Strawberries so ripe and juicy they stain your fingers red immediately. Photo courtesy of Ethan R.

Fresh produce from the SoWa farmer’s market. Strawberries so ripe and juicy they stain your fingers red immediately. Photo courtesy of Ethan R.

As a downside, the hand-made crafts at SoWa can be a bit pricey as they are all homemade, thus they could potentially be out of the typical college student’s price range. However, the market is not in an area of Boston that is dominated by that age group. The other drawback about SoWa is its location. While the vibe of the market does mirror the general feel of the South End—eclectic, artsy, edgy—the market’s location is less than convenient, making the journey there and back a bit unappealing for those residing in Back Bay, Fenway/Kenmore, Brookline, and Cambridge. However, the MBTA bus system can get you there without too much hassle.

Despite the location, taking part of your Sunday to check out all that SoWa has to offer is “a great way to support local, smaller businesses,” said Sanchez.

Boston is very lucky to have such a well-run open market that seems to draw an enormous crowd every weekend to a part of Boston that typically is under-recognized. According to Schroeder, “To me, a morning at SoWa is the quintessential summer day in Boston.”

Click here to see the SoWa website!

Banana/Reese’s/Nutella Swirl bread

I saw this recipe on another wonderful food blog and immediately knew I just had to try it. I love a good banana bread–moist (sorry, Nikki, had to say it), with a hint of cinnamon, made even better if there are tiny chunks of mashed bananas in it just so you know it’s homemade.

But I had never come across a version quite like this. Separately, bananas, Reese’s, and Nutella are amazing on their own–but just imagine the possibilities when the three harmonize in a 350 degree oven for the longest fifty minutes of your life, anticipation building as the smell of peanut butter and banana permeate your entire apartment. Bananas and peanut butter are a classic combination. I probably had that for lunch every other day in lower and middle school. I can’t think of a better, more creative, or more delicious way of bringing back this medley of flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Reese’s mini cups (NOT the bite-sized Reese’s, the smaller MINI ones. Or use 3/4 cup chopped regular sized Reese’s Cups)
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 heaping tablespoons Nutella

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or spray loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg and sugars.IMG_8330
  • Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Batter will be very thick. Don’t overmix. Fold in Reese’s Mini cups and chocolate chips.IMG_8334
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Drop 3 tablespoons of Nutella on top of bread.IMG_8336
  • Swirl with a knife.IMG_8338
  • Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Let cool in loaf pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack.IMG_8341
  • Makes one loafIMG_8342

I’ve taken my fair share of science classes at this point and have a lot of lab reports under my belt. In a lab report’s conclusion section, it is typical to mention things you would’ve done differently or factors that may have gone wrong and could be improved upon in future experiments. So I’m going to do that here because, as I’m always told on Food Network, baking is, after all, a science:

  • I doubled the recipe, so there’s some chance of error with ratios shifting a bit
  • I’m using a teeny-tiny BU apartment oven and was too lazy to check the thermometer so I’m not quite sure if the temperature was exactly at 350 degrees
  • I first checked on the bread after 40 minutes because the top had already significantly started to brown. However, the inside was clearly still raw. I covered the pans in aluminum foil before putting them back in the oven, in hopes that the tops wouldn’t brown too much more before the inside was fully cooked.
  • When I swirled in the dollops of Nutella, it didn’t get it swirled too deep into the thick loaf and the Nutella was all still relatively close to the surface (which is probably why it browned so quickly). Next time, I would try to make sure the Nutella got swirled throughout the entire loaf so it was distributed evenly.
  • I was too excited to make this recipe and didn’t wait for the bananas to brown enough. Next time, I would either buy slightly overripe bananas or wait until they had browned more, just to ensure the maximum sweetness possible.

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I am aware that I deemed this to be a food blog with a healthy focus and yet my first posted recipe is clearly not. I promise to not make a habit of this, but I do admit that baked goods are my weakness. Here are some ways to potentially make a healthier version of this recipe (note, I haven’t actually tried the below suggestions with this recipe…just brainstorming…):

  • Try using Splenda or half Splenda/half sugar
  • Only use half the peanut butter
  • Replace half the Reese’s with walnuts instead
  • Avoid putting the Nutella in the bread itself; instead, measure out a teaspoon or so once you’ve cut a slice of bread
  • Use half the amount of chocolate chips
  • Pour the batter in a small muffin pan instead of a loaf pan for better portion control
The best part about baking with Nutella? Getting to eat what's left stuck to the spoon.

The best part about baking with Nutella? Getting to eat what’s left stuck to the spoon.

 

HAPPY COOKING!!

Being Punny

I had an epiphany on the walk home from class.

It would be fitting to have one of my first posts discuss how I came to the title I finally decided upon.

So once I decided to make this blog idea official, I was in search of the perfect blog title, and it had to be punny–whether the pun dealt with a particular food or the city of Boston or nutrition, it just had to be something worthy.

So, naturally, I opened a new tab and like any good college student, looked to Google for the answer. I literally typed  “nutrition puns” into Google. And, like magic, I got some great/entertaining/hilarious/corny ideas.

After 20 minutes or so of ‘extensive’ research, I turned my attention back toward Facebook, deciding to ask two clever friends who were both conveniently online at the moment for some brainstorming help. Even though I didn’t end up picking any of these titles, they were funny enough to still be worthy of some blog attention. Here goes:

From Chris R.:

  • Bitch, peas! (clean version: Chick, peas!)
  • I’m kind of a big dill
  • Grape to meet you
  • Jello, goodbye

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From Harrison S.:

  • BosTON of lard
  • Gut reactions
  • Wishful shrinking
  • Mind over platter
  • The Nobelly prize

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Welcome & Introduction!

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3!

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Modeling my favorite apron (birthday present from my friend Lauren) as I deal with my least favorite chore, handwashing dishes.

I’ve wanted to create a food blog for awhile; it was only a matter of time. And of course I would finally get around to creating it during a time when my schedule is packed with work, class, and volunteering. Here’s to productive procrastination!

In any case, here’s a bit about me before I delve into future actually food-related posts. My name is Alyssa and I’m a rising senior at Boston University (go Terriers!). I’m working obtaining two degrees at the moment: a BS in Magazine Journalism from the College of Communication and a BS in Nutrition/Dietetics from Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. So, naturally, food blogging is the perfect fusion of my diverging interests.

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Proud Terrier Fan

When I’m not in class, I work at BU’s Undergraduate Admissions Reception Center and BU’s Community Service Center and am the Food Editor for BU’s Buzz Magazine. And when I’m not in class or at work, I like to shop, run, ski, explore the wonderful city of Boston, take tons and tons of photos, and watch Pride and Prejudice over and over again. Oh, and I (obviously) enjoy cooking, baking, reading about food, watching the Food Network, eating food, and critiquing food.

For the record as we go forward, I will just state some of my favorite foods here: chocolate, avocados/guacamole, mangoes, sushi, Nutella, and cereal. The list goes on…