Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Recipe #4: Salmon Cakes

This is delicious!!

I checked out the book Weeknights with Giada by: Giada De Laurentiis at the library. I wanted to try a recipe from it. There are a lot of good recipes in this book, but I wanted to make sure I picked something that my brothers would like (considering it was for the three of us for lunch). 

Salmon cakes it was!

I adapted the recipe a little bit to make it my own. 

1 (14.75 ounce) can boneless, skinless pink salmon, drained
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives 
25 saltine crackers, crushed (1 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup corn
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ground lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 

Using a fork, flake the salmon into 1/2 inch pieces into a medium bowl. Add the egg, chives, 1/2 cup crushed crackers, corn, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and pepper. Mix gently until just combined. Form into 5 patties or 10 mini patties. Carefully coat the patties in the remaining crushed crackers and refrigerate for 20 minutes. 

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil and butter together over medium heat. Add the salmon patties and cook for 7 to 8 minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. 
Serves 5. Total time: 45 minutes 

- The original recipe didn't have pepper so I added a little spice. If you need more spice feel free to add other kinds.
- MAKE SURE you buy the can that is skinless and boneless. I made the mistake of buying one with all that...not fun picking it all out!
- Homemade fries were our side which fit perfect with these cakes!
- The original recipe called for mayonnaise, not yogurt and vegetable oil, not olive oil. You choose which one you like better. 


Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Parts of The City

Yesterday was a fun day in The City, NYC that is! I went with some family friends for the day. They get their haircut in Chinatown in lower Manhattan so I decided to go along. 

We ate at an authentic Chinese restuarent called Golden Unicorn. We had Dim Sum which is where the servers come around with trays and you pick what you want. So you don't order off a menu. It was delicious and a really cool experience. Swee, someone who I went with, is fluent in Mandarin so she spoke to all these people and ordered for us. Pretty cool! I forgot to take pictures but this is basically what I ate...

From: Yelp

Don't ask me what I ate or what it was called! Ha! It was really good though. So I have to share that I tired chicken feet. I was being adventurous so I decided to do it. The sauce was good but the texture and picking out the bones was no appetizing. I can now say I tried chicken feet, but will no longer eat chicken feet in my life. 

While they got their haircut, I took a short walk to South Street Seaport. I actually had to walk under the Brooklyn Bridge to get there so very close to that. It's an area with shops and restaurants. Plus ships that you can tour. I was only there for an hour so I just meandered. Some things still weren't open because of Sandy.

Before we left Chinatown I was taken on a tour of a Chinese market. They have a lot of fish, fruits, and vegetables not native to the United States which was interesting. 

Overall it was another good day in the City exploring places I've never been! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

CT Wine Trail



Top Left-Glass and wine from Walker Road Vineyards
Top Center- Tasting the red wine at Walker Road
Top Right-Glass and wine from DiGrazie Vineyards
Bottom Left- Wine Trail passport
Bottom Center- Barn at Walk Road
Bottom Right- Digrazie's wine list 
I went on the Connecticut Wine Trail Today!

Connecticut has a wine trail all over the state. I went to two with my parents today. They have this cool program where you can get a passport and get it stamped every time you visit one. If you visit 16 out of 36 then you can be entered into a contest to win a trip to Spain. How cool! 

The first one we visited was called DiGrazie Winery in Brookfield, CT. We went inside and started some wine tasting. There was a list of 16 wines. We were allowed to circle 6 to taste. Of course I picked that ones that looked sweet. They were all very sweet and nontraditional. A lot of them weren't made from grapes and had extra fruits and spices added. My favorite was called Wild Blue which is made from blueberries and has brandy added to it. It is so sweet that it almost tastes like juice, not wine. I also liked one that was made from pumpkin. It tasted AND smelled delicious! We ended up buying the Wild Blue and Winner's Cup, which my dad liked (drier white wine).

Great Sunday afternoon!

Next stop was Walker Road Vineyards in Woodbury, CT.

This place was very small and we thought, wow! is this really a winery?! It was! It is run by an older man, pretty much all by himself. He only sells two wines, a white and a red. They are both table wines that are made from different kinds of grapes from different places. The wines have won national awards. He has a few acres of vines on his land (pictured above) which was a beautiful setting. He has a small barn where he does wine tasting, which was really cute. These were more traditional with a definite bite compared to the sweeter wines at the other vineyard. I preferred the white wine. My parents bought both wines when we left. We also got wine glasses from both places which was neat. 

And on the way home we stopped for ice cream. The tiramusu gelato hit the spot!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Phone Dump -Lately

I forgot to share that I finally got a smartphone! That was my graduation present and now I officially have one. I got the Samsung Galaxy S4. I love it!

Here are some images of what has been going on lately...

The Hilltoppers for Life invitations were sent out this week!
First raspberry of the summer! Chris is a great gardener.
Chocolate Cake for Nick's Birthday and Father's Day.
Happy 21st Birthday Nick! Mickey Mouse shirt from Chris. Ha!
Happy Father's Day, Dad!
Visited Grandpa for a couple of days.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Recipe #3: Chickpea Salad with Feta and Basil

 I tried a new recipe today!
"Ten-Minute Chickpea Salad With Feta and Basil"
From: Herbivoracious by: Michael Natkin

My mom had a few friends over for lunch today so I thought I would look for a side dish that was appropriate. I got this book from the library yesterday and decided to try this recipe. I thought it was quite delicious and great for a summer afternoon. It was very simple!

2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Half red onion, finely diced
Half cucumber, finely diced
1 jar roasted red and/or yellow peppers, coarsely chopped
8 ounces feta, crumbled
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced (or from a jar)
1 handful fresh basil leaves, torn
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1. Combine the chickpeas, onion, cucumber, roasted peppers, feta, garlic, basil, lemon juice, and olive oil in salad bowl. Toss well.
2. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. 
3. Serve right away, or refrigerate up to a few hours. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Recipe #2: Extreme Chocolate Trifle

Happy 50th Birthday Mom!!

I made this original dessert called Extreme Chocolate Trifle. It's extreme because it contains brownies, chocolate chip cookies, fudge, heath pieces, and chocolate mousse! (Extreme sugar coma afterwards if you ask me!)

I always have fun baking and creating new desserts. So this was it!

1 box of brownies (Ghirardelli is the best)
16 chocolate chip cookies (homemade or nestle mix is the best)
1 jar of fudge
Package of mini heath bars
Chocolate mousse: 1 package of chocolate pudding, 1 1/2 cups of milk 1 16oz. thawed Cool Whip.

Make the chocolate mousse first. Add the pudding mix and milk in a bowl and stir. Then add the cool whip. Refrigerate until thick. Set aside 14 mini heath bars. Crush the rest of the bars. Make the brownies and cookies according to package and let cool completely.  When everything is cooled and ready, start layering!
1. Brownies
2. Cookies
3. Fudge
4. Crushed Heath pieces
5. Mousse
5. Brownies
6. Cookies
7. Fudge
8. Crushed Heath pieces
9. Mousse
10. Decorate with the remaining heath pieces and full mini bars.

Refrigerate and serve! :)

Best looking 50 year old around :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Belmont Stakes

Yesterday I went to the Belmont Stakes in Long Island, NY. Belmont is the the third leg of the Triple Crown. This was my first triple crown race I've attended. I lived in Louisville for a long time and never did go to the Kentucky Derby. I will one of these days!

I went with my brother, Nick, and Nick and Nick. Yes, I went with three Nicks. They are friends of Nick (my brother that is). It was a fun day and this was the first time that I've ever bet on horse racing.

We left mid morning to take the train to Grand Central. Then we walked to Penn Station and took a train to Belmont. The train rides weren't bad at all! A lot easier then dealing with traffic on the road. We arrived just before two and began watching some horses! I made my first $2 bet on a horse to show. And it won the race! I won 60 cents. Woohoo! Better than nothing, right? I was pretty proud and excited. We watched another 4 or so races before the actual Belmont race. I won one other time, winning $1.90. We lost more money than winning, that's for sure. Before the Belmont, we went down to the first floor and watched the horses walk around. I made my bets on #9 Revolutionary and #3 Overanalyze. They didn't even show! Boo!  All the Nicks and I didn't win anything, so dumb! Oh well, it was exciting to watch and cheer on our horses. After the race we ran out of there to catch the first ride back. It was a lot of fun and I'm really glad I went! 

Race track (infield in the back)
Horses getting into the gate
My bet was on Revolutionary...too bad he didn't win!
Outside the stands
The signature drink: "Belmont Jewel" (Woodford Reserve, Pomegranate Juice, and Lemonade)

All of us
Nick and I
Warming up before the race
 Here are the results according to NBC
112Palace MaliceMike SmithTodd Pletcher
27OxbowGary StevensD. Wayne Lukas
35OrbJoel RosarioShug McGaughey
46IncognitoIrad Ortiz Jr.Kiaran McLaughlin
59RevolutionaryJavier CastellanoTodd Pletcher
613Unlimited BudgetRosie NapravnikTodd Pletcher
73OveranalyzeJohh VelazquezTodd Pletcher
811VyjackJulien LeparouxRudy Rogriguez
914Golden SoulRobby AlbaradoDallas Stewart
1010Will Take ChargeJon CourtD. Wayne Lukas
114Giant FinishEdgar PradoAnthony Dutrow
128Midnight TabooGarrett GomezTodd Pletcher
132Freedom ChildLuis SaezTom Albertrani
141Frac DaddyAlan GarciaKen McPeek

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Week at the Beach

Number Two book of the summer completed. I read A Week at the Beach by Virginia Jewel. Ehhh, it wasn't really that great. Typical chick lit, predictable and lots of romance. I wouldn't really recommend it, but it wasn't terrible. But hey, it was a free book for my Kindle. 

Here's what it's about (from: Amazon)

Thanks to a scandalous affair, NYC girls Chrissy and Cami were banished from their usual beach vacation in the Hamptons. Needing to get away, Chrissy begged her stepfather for the keys to his family’s Outer Banks beach house. Darren needed to get out of LA, and his best friend Nick was delegated to keep an eye on him. Hoping to stay out of trouble, the boys flew off to the Outer Banks to spend a week at the family beach house. When the boys discover that the house is already occupied by two beautiful NYC girls, the fun begins. 
What happens when these four very different, and very headstrong, people are forced to share a beach house? Will wild child Chrissy set her sights on one of the eligible bachelors? Has Darren learned his lesson and learned to behave himself? Will Cami and Nick survive the week with their undisciplined friends? More importantly, what will they each take with them from their week at the beach?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Feeling Like Great Gatsby

On Sunday my Dad and I made a short trip to Greenwich, CT for the Concours d'Elegance Car show. It was a beautiful hot and sunny day. The ride was an hour long and we took the scenic route. Gorgeous mansions were everywhere, huge homes I'm telling you! Lots of ritzy people in the area. The car show was really busy with expensive and nice old cars. I'm not a car expert, but according to my Dad these were the best of the best in the country. 

It was a fun day, and by the title of this post I sure did feel like Gatsby. Riding around in an old convertible and in a very nice area of town reminded me of the movie! I felt pretty cool! Ha!

My personal favorite
Dad's Jaguar we rode to the show

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer Recipe #1: Zucchini Pasta Salad

I found this recipe on Pinterest and the recipe is adapted from: Sweet Pea's Kitchen


1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 2 1/2 zucchinis), sliced very thinly
1 teaspoon salt
13.5 ounce box of whole grain rotini pasta
2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cup kalamata olives, cut in half
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced with a peeler
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled (toast at 300˚ for about 10 minutes)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt


Combine zucchini and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large colander set over a large bowl or in sink; let it sit for 20 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions in salted water; drain and cool.
In a large bowl combine zucchini, cooled pasta, tomatoes, olives, cheese and almonds.
In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, black pepper and salt together. Toss with salad and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve chilled. 
It turned out delicious and a great summer food for lunch or dinner. I highly recommend it :)