First of all….
Yes, I am the proud owner of Barney Butter. And yes, it lives up to all of its food blog hype. Barney Butter is exquisitely smooth, almond-y, and has a perfect consistency. While I loved Maranatha AB for it’s grittiness, it’s nice to have silky smooth almond butter that spreads easily on bread. Yum! I can’t say it will be a regular part of my shopping list (the small jar was $5…on sale), but it will be a lovely treat every once in a while!
I keep saying I’ll post more often so I won’t have such monster length posts, but alas, I never get around to posting during the week, so once again, this is going to be another MONSTER post. I’ll organize this by days….
Sunday: It was rainy and glorious. The weather is FINALLY starting to cool down to the upper 70’s. I spent my day doing homework (duh), baking and going out to eat with work friends. What did I bake, you ask? I made DELICIOUS “Pumpkin” Banana Walnut Bread. Pumpkin is in quotation marks because I actually used frozen butternut squash puree, which ended up being a perfect substitute for pumpkin. I used this recipe; the only additions I made were about 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts and a sprinkling of raw oats on the top of the dough before baking. If I make it again, I might increase the sugar a wee bit – it wasn’t quite enough for my taste. It smelled heavenly as it was baking and everyone at work loved it.
That night, I met Adam, Chris and Kathy at a tapas restaurant called Casa Mia. It was great to finally get to go out to eat with them again, and this restaurant was perfect for sharing and tasting each others’ dishes. I ordered Avocado Chicken Salad Arepas, which are grilled corn pockets stuffed with delicious, creamy avocado chicken salad.
I also had a side of mashed sweet potatoes. The actual arepas were alright, kind of chewy and bland. The chicken salad and mashed sweet potatoes were awesome, though. Adam ordered a sampler plate full of empanadas, ceviche (cured tilapia), chorizo (SO GOOD!), and fried yucca. Speaking of fried yucca, I’m pretty sure those were our appetizer (either that or fried plantain chips), along with a tasty dipping sauce. It was even more addictive than your typical chips and salsa appetizer. Anyways, Kathy ordered a really unique dish: Latin Sushi Rolls.
These rolls were fried plantains stuffed with chicken and drizzled with avocado sauce. The plantains were fluffy and creamy, which was an excellent texture contrast to the meaty chicken. Chris ordered a steak quesadilla; it was nothing out of the ordinary, but still really tasty!
Monday: I literally took a page out of Rachel Ray’s book (magazine) and made Paprika Chicken Thighs with Spinach and Egg Noodles.
Paprika Chicken Thighs with Spinach and Egg Noodles
Courtesy of Everyday with Rachel Ray, Serves 4 (The noodles probably serve 5-6, depending on how much spinach you make..)
– 1/2 lb extra-wide egg noodles
– 2 tbsp tomato paste
– 1 tbsp smoked paprika
– 1.5 tsp worcestershire sauce
– 1 tsp hot sauce
– 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (my chicken thighs were big, so I just made one for each person, which meant more sauce for each thigh)
– Olive oil, salt, pepper
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 1/2 onion, finely chopped
– 2 bunches spinach (or half a bag of baby spinach)
First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the egg noodles. Cook according to package directions. Start heating up 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. In the mean time, mix the paprika, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup of the pasta water in a small bowl. Once your skillet is hot, add the chicken thighs, seasoning each side with salt and pepper. Cook until one side is brown (5-7 minutes), then flip the thighs. Baste the browned side with the paprika sauce, then flip again after five minutes and baste the other side. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. I used pretty much all of the sauce, which prevented the chicken from getting a pretty glaze, but they had tons of flavor, so whatever. Once your egg noodles are done, heat up another skillet, pour 1 tbsp of oil in, and saute the chopped onion for 5 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. After the onions start to brown, add the garlic, then the spinach in batches until all the leaves have wilted. Serve the spinach on top of the noodles with one chicken thigh.
The paprika sauce was EXCELLENT; it was kind of a cross between BBQ sauce and steak sauce, if that makes sense. This was actually the first time I knowingly ate chicken thighs, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Chicken thighs are much more flavorful than chicken breasts and are slightly juicier. It’s easy to cut the fat off the thighs before cooking them, so I imagine their nutrition stats are about the same as breasts. The spinach and egg noodles were nothing revolutionary, but nothing beats buttery egg noodles and garlicky spinach.
Tuesday: WE HAVE A YOFORIA!!!!! And it’s awesome. They are so sneaky though, making their cups the size of freakin’ quart containers. I was very aware of their money making schemes, though, and was skimpy with the yogurt (Cookies and Cream + Peanut Butter) and toppings (granola, Cap’n Crunch, chocolate chips, graham cracker, Reese’s)…perhaps too skimpy – my bowl clocked in at $2.55. Now I know how much I can get away with, though.
Thursday: Milk and Cheese food lab. I heard rumblings of lactose-induced stomach aches, so I came prepared with proper medicine. The food was delicious, my Welsh Rarebit (British cheese sauce) turned out beautifully, and my stomach was fine. I think people in earlier labs failed to stick to small portions, especially with the nine cheese cubes we had to try – I mean, I know what sharp cheddar tastes like, so why wolf down three different varieties when I can instead nibble a corner and skip a stomach ache? So yeah, I stuck with smaller cheese portions, except the Brie cheese. Creamy, delicious, bacteria ripened cheese heaven.
Friday: We had a Jersey Jungle party. It was pretty fun, but a lot of people went home this weekend so it was kind of small.
Saturday. Homework. Then I had chili at Shelley’s house (so delicious – chili speaks to my heart) and then we (Shelley, Kerry and I) were off to the Stars concert in Atlanta!!!!!! Stars is an indie pop band that’s been around for ten years; I’ve been listening to them since senior year of high school. Their music is so unique and has an eerie quality to it, but it’s so awesome. It was definitely the best concert I’ve ever been to, even better than the Muse concert. I mean, I LOVE Muse, but they were kind of impersonal (they didn’t talk to the audience at all). Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing concert and they can definitely put on an awesome show, but Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan sang with such raw emotion!! Torquil was DRENCHED in sweat two songs in from jumping around, while Amy had such a stage presence, similar to Jenny Lewis. They sang ALL of my favorite songs (Ageless Beauty, Your Ex-Lover is Dead, Take Me to the Riot, Wasted Daylight, Dead Hearts) and sang a 10+ song encore because they loved the audience’s spirit so much! They threw out roses to the audience throughout the show (Kerry caught one!) and had awesome lights and effects. Both singers sounded great (especially Millan during Ageless Beauty – I wasn’t sure she would be able to pull it off live). So awesome.
Set, preshow. Those angel statue banners are so creepy, but they match their new CD so well…
Well, that’s the end for this weeks edition of monster fancy tuna food post. Oh, and I found canned pumpkin (!!!) at Kroger, so I’m going to have some DELICIOUS pumpkin oats this week!!
PS – I want to win this giveaway!!