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!

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Entries in Cooking (4)

Monday
Mar262012

The Weekend.

This weekend flew by in an instant, as it usually tends to do. I feel like we packed in a whole bunch of things and so here's just a little peak into the weekend dish!

We ate pizza. You can never go wrong with this on a Friday evening.

We watched Fringe on Friday evening. Man I love this show. I have a feeling it will not be back next season, so I'm trying to soak it up while it lasts!

I got a haircut. Nothing too drastic. Just a nice shortening and thinning. I like it a lot. Thanks to The Art of Hair for an affordable, solid haircut!

I met my new cousin. So adorable and tiny!

We ran a 5K with our friends. The race was organized by my great friend Kristen. It was a fantastic race for a great cause. I forgot to snap a photo, but here's one from last year's...

I napped. This almost never happens.

I watched The Notebook. Ah this movie. It's been such a long time since I've seen it and when I came across it on ABC Family while Shaun was watching basketball, I couldn't help but get sucked in. It was just as good as ever. It never gets old.

I listened to the Ghost soundtrack! Ah full blown obsession commencing...

I watched like 6 episodes of Pioneer Woman. I'm starting to really enjoy this show. I would never make most of her dishes because they are unnecessarily butter-laden, but I enjoy her creative eats and living on a ranch just looks like fun.

 

I realized that Easter is in 2 weeks! Fun. I love Easter! I can't wait to get in the kitchen and make up some fun eats, like my Peepza Pie from last year. You can also find these and many other Peeps recipes on Love From the Oven today.

 

So that was my weekend. I crammed in quite a lot, didn't I? I can't believe Monday is already here. Let's make it a great week, shall we?

How did you spend your weekend? Share some highlights!

Thursday
Nov102011

Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner

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This morning I'm blogging from my sister Kimberly's apartment. Last night we went to a cupcake making class at NYC's Butter Lane and I slept over her place afterwards. She had gifted me with this for last year's Christmas, but due to scheduling, we only just got around to going. It was so much fun (and super gluttonous!)! I'll have a full roundup for you once I get my photos uploaded, but just know this: I'm sugared and buttered out this morning :)

So this Saturday, I'm hosting a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner at our apartment for a few friends. I started the tradition of making a mini Thanksgiving dinner for Shaun and I in advance of the big event so that we could enjoy delicious turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing for more than just one day (don't you hate that? We wait all year for Thanksgiving food!).

We are also always traveling all over the great state of NJ on Thanksgiving, and so I always like to have a calmer mock Turkey Day for the two of us. Of course, the first year I did this, I'm pretty sure I used boxed stuffing, turkey cutlets and maybe even boxed mashed potatoes (yikes!). My, how my repetoire has grown.

Last year, we celebrated with our great friends Lindsey and Eric. Lindsey and I cooked the entire dinner...the turkey, buttery, creamy mashed potatoes (the real kind), sausage laced stuffing (no boxed version here), sweet potato casserole and pumpkin cheesecake. It was quite the feast!

the brined & roasted bird, ready for eating

creamy & wonderful mashed potatoes; my mom's no-fail recipe!maple mashed sweet potatoesI used Ina Garten's herb stuffing and fell in lovePaula Deen's pumpkin cheesecake recipe. oooooh my.This year, we've expanded the group to 8 people and set it up as more of a pot luck dinner so that everyone can join in the fun! I'm making turkey (and 18 pounder...help!), gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce. I can't wait to see what everyone else brings to the party! Tonight I'm going to start setting up the apartment (and cleaning up the joint since we've had a painter in alllll week...and side note, it looks amazing!) and will start getting my cook and bake on tomorrow! Meanwhile, if you want any of the recipes above for your own dinner, simply click on the photos. I can't wait to hear about what you all are cooking up for this holiday. I can't wait to share the recipes and roundup with you next week!

Questions of the Day:

How do you spend Thanksgiving?

Do you wish it was more than just one day, if only to enjoy the food longer?

 

for even more Thanksgiving recipes and ideas, check out our Recipes page, under the Holiday section!

Monday
Feb082010

It's a Date

Shaun and I aren't big on Valentine's Day. Though a great excuse to celebrate during the post-Christmas season filled with bitterly cold days, there's something so...unromantic?...about forcing romance. Since this will be our tenth Valentine's Day together, we've moved past the over-the-top dinners and instead, use the day as a great reason to do something fun together; something we've been wanting to do but just haven't set aside the time to get 'er done.

Last year, Shaun and I headed into Manhattan for a relaxed day of strolling on the Upper West Side, eating Shake Shack burgers, fries, and milkshakes, and catching a showing of Gran Torino at Lincoln Square cinema. Greasy food and a nitty gritty Clint Eastwood flick - romantic, no? We topped off the night with a trip to the grocery store and a dinner at home for two. In fact, it was the first of many, many appearances of my Shrimp Sautee with Orzo. And the consensus of the day? A resounding 'yes, this is the best way to do Valentine's Day'. No stuffy restaurants, no spending a fortune on a fancy steakhouse dinner. Instead, just a day of things that we had wanted to do for months - see a decent flick at my favorite New York City movie theater and test out the highly touted chic fast food at the Shack.

Since it was such a success, we decided that this year should follow suit. And since Valentine's just so happens to fall on a three day weekend, we can have a mini-vacation without ever leaving a 5 mile radius. Here's what's on tap:

1. Visit the Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA
2. Revisit Shake Shack or somewhere equally as delicious and inexpensive for a seriously decadent lunch
3. Make dinner together at home and enjoy while watching one of the many films on our To See list (this includes but is not limited to: Inglorious Basterds, The Big Lebowski, I Love You, Man...)
And since the specifics of the day are not set in stone, it got me thinking of some fun and relaxing things to do on any day, let alone Valentine's Day. And the best part? You don't need a significant other to enjoy any of it! Whether with a significant other, your mom, a friend, or even solo, here's some low key Vday ideas:

 

Early morning movie sesh. And by early, I mean first showing of the day early. Not only will you pay half price, but you're likely to have the theater to yourself! (tested and proven!)

 

Cook together. Fortunately, Shaun and I have found a mutual love of all things food which include preparing it and, of course, eating lots of it. Is your man or lady kitchen-deficient? No worries. Put on a fun iPod playlist and divy up the tasks. If one of you makes a mean pasta, but the other can't even boil water, hand over some simple tasks to the culinary-challenged, like setting the table or slicing up cheese for a wine & cheese aperatif. Are neither of you kitchen-savvy and don't care to learn? Set a pretty table and order in!

 

Drink delish cocktails. If you want to get out, but don't want to break the bank, head out for an early evening cocktail before heading home for dinner. Places like Sweet Revenge in the Village offer wine pairings with, wait for it, cupcakes. One drink can really be a fun and special treat. (And yes, I do plan to hit up Sweet Revenge in the very near future so stay tuned)

 

Make a list of fun things to do together over the coming year, not just on a special occasion. Why only make the effort on Valentine's Day? By making a list of things that you want to do together, it keeps the fun going all year long. Shaun and I recently created a list of places we've been wanting to go and restaurants we want to try. Our list ranges from visiting the Statue of Liberty (yup, both born 'n bred in Jersey and currently live in the same town as Lady Liberty, and neither of us has been since we're kids) to enjoying fondue at Artisinal to exploring the Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA (which we hope to scratch off the list this weekend) to testing out Bobby Flay's burgers at Bobby's Burger Palace in Paramus (a place I've yet to venture). 

 

And now, in the spirit of the season, check out a major throwback image of Shaun and me...

So what are you doing this Valentine's Day? Getting gussied up for a night on the town? Staying in with your besties? Continuing a special tradition?