Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Recipe Review- Baked Meatballs

For my new recipe this week, I tried Alton Brown's baked meatball recipe from the Food Network. I had wanted to try doing something out-of-the-ordinary with meatballs for a while, but I had trouble finding any original recipes. They were all basically ground meat, egg, Italian bread crumbs, garlic, basil, and Romano cheese- which is the same way I've always made them. There had to be something different out there!

So when I found this recipe, I definitely thought it had what I was looking for.

Of course, I made changes. We're trying to be a bit more health-conscious (and budget-friendly for goodness sakes!), so I just used ground turkey instead of the ground lamb, sirloin, and pork. I also chopped up and sautéed some mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini for extra veggies, in addition to the spinach. I think I made them a bit bigger than the recipe called for, since I only got 16 instead of 20 (and had to bake them a couple minutes longer). I put them in the crockpot with the tomato sauce on low for about an hour to mix the flavors.

 Yummy sautéeing vegetables.

Meat- GOOOOD, cheese- GOOOD, veggies- GOOOOOD. (ha, at least how I see it!)

 All ready to bake

Get in that sauce!!

I served them over linguine, and they were really good! I know this sounds crazy, but I think the veggies actually gave them a meatier flavor (especially with using turkey instead of beef). It wasn't much more difficult than regular meatballs, so I'll probably be making them this way from now on!

Original recipe can be found here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What a Weekend!

This past weekend was quite the busy one!

On Saturday morning, I ran in my first 5K race. It was for the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Assistance Fund, which helps breast cancer patients in the South Jersey area with the cost of prescriptions, treatments, and prothesis. My mom had been running in this race for a while (go mom!) and since I had finally started running again, I decided to do this one with her this year.

My goal was to come in under 30 minutes, which I thought I was reasonable because my Nike plus band said I generally ran between an 8:40 and a 9:20 minute mile. But apparently the calibration of those bands is an important step, not to be skipped (which I did) and I am really running closer to a 10:00 minute mile. Oh well, I ended up coming in at 31:09, which isn't bad at all. I really pushed myself and was very proud of my performance. Next time I'll be under 30:00!

Here's a photo of the start. This race has grown like crazy  in the past couple years; my mom said that the first year she ran in it, there was only a couple hundred people.

The next portion of my Saturday was spent in the garage (open, of course!) with a few cans of spray paint. See, H's parents got a brand new set of patio furniture- which is awesome for them. And as it turns out, not too shabby for us either! They gave us their old set, which included a good-sized table, four chairs, an outdoor umbrella, and umbrella base. It was green, which I wasn't all that fond of, and a bit rusty, but structurally there was nothing wrong with it. I decided that a coat of black spray paint would work wonders on it.

First, I rinsed it down with the hose and rubbed all the dirt off. Then after it dried, I sanded to get the rust off and to rough it up a bit. And after that, I just sprayed away with a can of flat black Rustoleum brand spray paint. It took quite a few coats to finish each pice, but it looks seriously brand spankin' new. I cannot wait to finish it up. Here are a few pics from the process:

The original umbrella base. 

Hm, I'd say it looks a bit better.

 The original chair, rust and all.

And here it is now.

And as if that wasn't enough activity for one day, we met up with friends in Philly for dinner and drinks. (I actually wore my happy-hour-outfit from a couple posts ago!) We went to El Rey, the newest Stephen Starr restaurant, which is traditional-Mexican-diner-inspired. The food was awesome- seriously, so flavorful, melt in your mouth deliciousness. And it was SO much more reasonably priced than many other Starr endeavors.

And El Rey is apparently associated/connected via the kitchen with a Prohibition inspired bar. The real entrance was in an alley, the waiters were dressed in period attire, and it was lit entirely by candlelight. So cool! And the specialty cocktail menu was filled with  rye, bourbon, and campari. Also very cool, I felt like I was back in the 20's (or at least what I'd imagine them to be like!).

Now, I certainly don't fancy myself a photographer, but the candlelit atmosphere was just begging me to take a few (or twenty pictures).

Needless to say, I was so ready for the relaxing Mother's Day dinner with family on Sunday! Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Paint it Red!

One of the other projects I tackled this weekend (besides sorting through my closet!) was painting the front door. I didn't think the color was too bad before- just a little faded, but BOY was I wrong- what a difference the fresh coat of paint made!

Anyway... I love red front doors- I think they're classic, yet fun, so that was my color of choice. We also got new hardware for the door- the old, yellow brassy hardware was tarnished and screamed 80's. I was so excited to get this done, and love the way it looks. The color stands out from the street so much better, and looks great.

The old door- not the greatest picture.

Um, wow, what a difference!! Goodbye faded, dingy pink- hello RED!

The end result. Lookin' good!

Mixing Patterns

Over the weekend, I decided to take inventory of my closet. With the summer months coming up (it's actually already started to get quite warm!), I really wanted to get a few go-to outfits for various occasions that I can throw on, look great, and not spend a lot of time figuring something out. Ideally, I'd like to not buy too many new things as well!

One of the things I had been wanting to try lately is mixing patterns. It's been a trend for quite some time now, but I've steered clear. It honestly looked like one of those things that can look great on a model, but the average person wouldn't be able to pull off- and not just because the model is 6 feet tall and 120 pounds, just that the average person would look like a hot mess in a bunch of different patterns!

But I decided to bite the bullet and take a few risks. And I'm actually quite happy with the results! Of course, I didn't do anything too crazy, but I'm still proud of myself.

I think this first outfit would be perfect for a Friday happy hour in the city. I love this skirt, which is from Target. I debated on whether or not to get it, since it looks like something my mom may have put me in during the early 90's in elementary school. But floral is another trend I wanted to try, so I decided to give it a try. So glad I did!

This one would be great for a day-to-night date on the Boardwalk. Comfy, casual, and a cardigan for the possibly breezy night. I love these Old Navy cardigans (both outfits), I wish I picked more up before they all sold out.