Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

Welcome to my world!

Search for Recipes & More!

Subscribe via Email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Still Hungry?
my foodgawker gallery
Search for Recipes & More!

 

Subscribe to TAA by Email!

Delivered by FeedBurner

 

Follow the Food

The Pantry

Thursday
Feb052015

TBT: Greek Layer Dip

Once upon a time, when I was just a married gal, my husband and I would really go all out for football Sunday. We'd spend the morning shopping and prepping an array of dips, baked chips, appetizers and cocktails. It would usually just be the two of us with more food than we could possibly eat, but we would have so much fun cooking together in the kitchen, dressing in our respective team jerseys, settling in for a day on the couch and picking on yummy game day eats all the live long day.

It was a simpler time.

Shaun and I stayed in for the Superbowl and it was a production. We ordered food in, which was a smart move on our part. But the third member of our party, lil' Miss P, refused to stop chatting through the entire first half, had a few meltdowns causing us to continually have to get up and deal with, and fall behind on watching. This also led to not being able to go on social media or answer any text messages or group chats about the game, since it was so close and we were so behind.

So...watching sports is not quite the event that it used to be. Instead, we had Frozen on the iPad in the background and toys all over the living room. We were both too lazy to go out for more chips, so we had a container of onion dip with nothing to dip. Luckily, we had a lot of booze leftover from Penelope's birthday dinner the night before. Score 1 for parents.

One of my favorite dips that we used to make back in the day is this Greek layer dip.

sigh.

It is super fresh and full of amazing Mediterranean flavors. It does take a bit of work, since you have to brown the meat that goes into it. I don't recommend skimping on that part, but if you are in a pinch, this dip would probably also be awesome if it was meatless.

I love this dip because it also feels like a meal. And personally, I could and would choose to eat dip for dinner for all the meals if it were socially acceptable. Maybe when I rule the world, that can be a mandate. Dip for everyone!

But seriously, this dip is filled with hummus, tzatzikes, onions, tomatoes, olives {!!!}, lettuce, ground turkey...what is better than that? Though football is over, I think I'm going to make this dip this weekend. Maybe for Sunday dinner while we watch the Grammy's...that would be normal, right?

What are your favorite dips?

Did you watch the Superbowl?

 

Wednesday
Feb042015

Do You Bring Lunch to Work?

One of my favorite Facebook feeds that I follow is The Onion. Sometimes just the headlines are enough to have me laughing out loud. Earlier this week, I came across this article:

"Man Brings Lunch From Home to Cut Down on Small Joys"

"Making your own lunch each day is a great way to reduce your simple pleasures throughout the week-it's already made a huge difference for me," the 38-year-old insurance underwriter said as he unwrapped a plain turkey sandwich from aluminum foil that he had woken up 15 minutes early this morning to prepare. "I used to go out for lunch with coworkers and actually enjoy myself every day, but now I just sit at my desk and eat something I packed from home. It's quick, easy, and has cut my weekly sense of gratification by at least half."


I couldn't help but laugh and share the article with Shaun. He is incredibly diligent about bringing lunch to work everyday, while I ebb and flow. Most of the time, I bring lunch though lately I've been pretty lax about it. I've been choosing a warm soup from Hale n Hearty instead of a homemade salad or leftover chicken breast.

In a typical week, I try to bring lunch at least 3 of 5 days, and when I'm trying to be more healthy and lose some weight, bringing lunch from home is definitely the go-to. In that case, ordering in or going out for food gives me anxiety because I know that I just won't find the right food to be satisfying and on plan.

But I couldn't agree more with this article. Somehow the simple joy of eating a yummy lunch during the work day can be a majorly exciting point, and often homemade lunches just don't cut it in my opinion.

Now if we were discussing my daily dose of Dunkin, then I would absolutely never give up that simple pleasure. That is one that I just refuse to give in on...it's right up there with cream in my coffee or red wine on a Friday evening.

Do you bring lunch to work? Do you keep it exciting as a 'simple pleasure'? Or do you tend to order in/go out?

Monday
Feb022015

On Penelope's 2nd Birthday

 

my dear sweet Penny Jane,

I don't know what happened, but I blinked and you went from being a tiny little baby to a full blown little girl. Today, you turn 2 years old and I'm in disbelief. I could go on about how fast this last year went, but I will probably say that every year for the rest of all the years and so let's not get hung up on that part.

I've watched this year as you took your first steps which turned into walking and now running with reckless abandon. I've heard your first non-crying sounds become lots of jibberish and more recently a lot of real words and phrases. Just this last week, you've begun chatting all the time and stringing words together. Daddy says he cannot wait for you to really talk so we can know what you are saying, but I keep telling him that he should be careful what he wishes for. I know you are going to be a non-stop talker, just like he is...and then I'll have two of you!

Some of my favorite recent words & phrases are:

"It's messy!"

"A big mess!"

"Sheeee!" (--->cheese)

"Mama, mama!" (--->obviously my favorite)

"I see you!"

 

One of our favorite weekend activities is going to the park. Your dad and I love it just as much, if not more, than you! I've watched you go from being terrified of the swings, to climbing up the jungle gym and refusing our help to go down the big slide. I've watched you learn how to use a fork and spoon, and how you love to clean up when you've made a mess. One of your favorite past times is throwing away garbage.

 

You are such a good girl. You play so nicely for hours with all of your toys, your favorites being your baby dolls and your play kitchen & food from Santa. You always make breakfast and dinner for me and these are the moments that I look forward to each day. You recently discovered bath finger paints and so bathtime has gotten exponentially more fun. We paint up the tub and listen to a variety of Disney music every night. You love music and dancing. Sometimes we do 'our dance' which consists of wiggling, twirling and, your favorite, dipping. You don't want to miss out on anything and you have serious FOMO. You love playing with bigger kids and it makes my heart want to burst watching you chasing and playing with other kids.

You are rambunctious and you know what you want, when you want it. I hope that you never outgrow that. My hope for you in life is to always know what you want and that you go after it and make it happen for yourself. Don't wait for things to happen, or for someone else to get things for you. Get things for yourself.

 

While I can see that we are entering the terrible twos (evidenced this week by some hitting and lots of 'mine!'), I know that you will grow up to be a nice girl. I can see already how you share with friends, how you give so many hugs & kisses, how you love to help Mom clean up or in the kitchen, and how you just want to be a part of everything that goes on. I hope that you will always be kind and always see the good in others. You never know what kind of day someone else is having or what they are going through. 

 

I hope you will always be happy in whatever you do. No matter what it is, life isn't life without happiness. I hope you find joy in small things in life and always appreciate what you have and recognize what others might not have. My dad, your Poppy, always told me to make good decisions. I hope that you will always make good decisions. But even if you don't, I'll be here.

 

This last year has been the most fun of my life. It's often hard and exhausting and caffeine-ridden and unshowered and bleary eyed, but Penelope, you've brought so much joy, light and laughter to my life and you are the best thing I've ever done. You make me laugh, you make me cry and you make everyday better. After a rough day, I forget it all when I come home to you. And I usually can't wait for you to wake in the morning because I've missed you already. I think my absolute favorite time of day though is when we do post-bath, pre-bedtime snuggles on the couch with a good movie.

 

 

You really love school and that makes me so happy. It's so hard to leave you everyday, but I know that you are having fun with your friends at school. I go to work for you and for me and for our family. I hope that I make you proud. I hope that when you are grown, you are ambitious and do the things that you love and work hard at those things. One of the aspects of motherhood that I never anticipated is the realization of my own mortality and not to get morbid, but I often just sit back and think about how much I hope that I'm around for a very, very long time to see everything that you do in life.  

 

Most of all, Penelope, THANK YOU for being the sweet, adorable, amazing little girl you are. Thank you for making everyday special. I can't wait to see what this year brings! 

love, Mommy