Running Forward

Surviving the Snow

I love snow and don’t mind winter, but I’m ready for the temperature to consistently reach at least 30 degrees every day. Considering it’s almost March I don’t think I’m asking for too much. Luckily, summer in New York is my favorite because the city truly comes to life. So, to get me through the last few weeks of winter I’m making a list for summer of all the things I want to do before the snow comes back around.

5.17.1417

  • Go to the beach
  • Read out on the pier
  • Go to the weekly Hoboken movies on the pier
  • Find a go-to rooftop in the city
  • Go to a Yankees game
  • Check out the frying pan
  • Eat a Mister Softee
  • Eat at Big Gay Ice Cream
  • Start an herb garden on my “porch”
  • Go to the farmers market every week
  • Attend some outdoor concerts
  • Ditch the treadmill and finally run outside again
  • Go to street festivals
  • Avoid falling asleep outside in shorts (like so)
  • consume mind-numbing amounts of watermelon

7.10

I think that covers the basics. So, for now, I will cuddle with my electric blanket and sip hot beverages until the ever-present ice patches melt and summer makes its appearance. Please hurry.

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Jiggy With It

Today is my roommate Jillian’s birthday. She’s responsible for picking me from Craigslist and is easily one of the funniest, genuinely nicest girls I know. The big celebration is tomorrow, but I got a jump start by baking her requested cake (vanilla with lots of vanilla frosting). I gathered all my ingredients Thursday night after work and put it together in no time. Boxed cakes just can’t measure up to a homemade one. So, please ditch the box, put on your apron, and make a cake from scratch. It’s super simple and so worth it.

Of course I’ve made plenty of cakes in the past, but this was my first time making true buttercream frosting to cover it. I had to get over my butter phobia for this one! After beating the ingredients for a few minutes I found my frosting to be really thick and dense. I decided to just keep beating it in an attempt to make it fluffier and it worked. I ended up with plenty of icing and definitely licked the bowl afterwards. You just have to be patient. I mean, it’s butter and sugar- it’s going to taste great no matter what.

This cake itself turned out perfectly light and reminded me of a pound cake. So, if you’re in the market for a cake recipe I would definitely recommend this one. Enjoy!

Vanilla Cake

1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

5 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together the butter, sugar, and oil on medium speed with an electric mixer until well incorporated and fluffy. In a separate bowl mix together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Go back to your wet mixture and gradually beat in the 5 eggs and vanilla extract. Next add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until incorporated. Add half the milk, then continue alternating until everything is mixed together. Grease and flour two pans, then pour the mixture accordingly. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 sticks butter (room temperature)

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla and milk then continue beating on a high speed until it’s fluffy and increased in volume. Simply spread in between your two cake layers once the cake has cooled. And cover the cake in frosting as desired.

Much to my delight, the birthday girl was ready to dig in as soon as she got home from dinner with her boyfriend. We let him do the honor of cutting everyone a piece, which somehow left the cake looking like a tetris game (few too many drinks at dinner???). We all had multiple pieces and snacked on it again the next morning. Eat up!

2.19.15

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Football Food- Round Two

Time for the cheese dip! It’s ridiculous how simple this recipe is and how much better is tastes than restaurant cheese dip. Unless, of course, you’re at Sabores in Hoboken. Queso was never a temptation to me growing up- I always found it rather tasteless and a waste of calories. But a few months ago I went to dinner at Sabores with some high school friends and one of the girls insisted on cheese dip. Great decision. Instead of a thick, white sludge with hardly any resemblance to real cheese, this was so different. The waiter brought the dip out in a little cast iron skillet and the texture was nothing like the cheese dip I’d grown up with. It was real cheese! It had a stringy, texture and a sharp, salty bite that made it hard to stop eating. In fact, at one point I ditched the tortilla and went at it with just my fork. So good! The dip stuck with me, so I knew I needed to make some form of it for my Super Bowl party. I didn’t measure (per usual), but the recipe is more like a basic formula and is easy to eyeball. Once the dip is done, you have to eat it when it’s still warm and reheat as needed. Feel free to add more milk with each reheat if the mixture becomes too solid. Make it today!

Real Cheese Dip

Small block monterey jack cheese with jalapeños (grated)

milk (I used almond milk)

2 tbsp all purpose flour

1 tbsp butter

Place a small saucepan over low heat and melt the butter. Once almost completely melted, add the flour and use a small whisk to make sure it gets completely incorporated. Next, add a small amount of milk (start with maybe 1/2 cup) and make sure the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps left from the flour. Start gradually adding your cheese while continuing to whisk the mixture. Continue adding the cheese and milk as needed depending on the texture you’re looking for. Just make sure that the milk never comes close to a boil. Feel free to add any additional add-ons near the end (shrimp, chicken, more jalapeños, mushrooms, etc.)

See? Super easy and way better than the sludge you find at most Mexican restaurants. Enjoy!

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Football Food

I should start by letting you know that this post isn’t nearly as meaningful as the last one, but, hey, football food is tasty. Before I give you my chili and cheese dip recipe, though, thank you to those who reached out after my last post. It means a lot. 🙂

Now onto the football food! My parents host a little Super Bowl party every year and it’s always one of my favorite events. In fact, I consider the Super Bowl a holiday. I worked all weekend last year and was happy just to watch the game at a bar in Manhattan, but this year I was ready for a party. Luckily, my roommates agreed and made it happen. Here’s a list of our menu:

  • turkey chili
  • cheese dip
  • pizza
  • chips & salsa
  • veggies & hummus
  • rice krispie treats
  • banana bread
  • beer

I was in charge of the chili, cheese dip, rice krispie treats, and banana bread. Since rice krispie treats are simple and I posted the banana bread recipe a few weeks ago, I’ll share the chili and cheese dip recipes. Confession: I have a problem following recipes, so these are an estimation of what I did. Use your judgement and taste as you go!

Turkey Chili

1 pound ground turkey (I went with the 99% lean)

1 can petite diced tomatoes

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

1 small can tomato sauce

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

chili powder

cumin powder

hot sauce

salt

Start by sautéing the onion in a pot with a little bit of olive oil. Once they’re translucent add the ground turkey and minced garlic. Keep stirring and mixing the meat so that the onions and garlic get mixed throughout and the turkey breaks into small pieces. Once the meat is cooked through, let the pot cool of a few minutes and drain the grease. Side note: please don’t pour the grease down your sink- bad things happen when you do that. Moving right along…

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, and start adding some of your spices. Since I don’t measure, be sure to add a good bit of cumin and chili powder, taste, then adjust as needed. Then repeat with the salt and hot sauce. Let the mixture simmer until it thickens and enjoy! We served it with some tortilla chips and cheese dip.

Homemade cheese dip (way better than the stuff from a jar!) coming next time, so stay tuned.

2.1.15

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