Monday, April 14, 2014

Small cake, big news!

To locals, this comes as no surprise at all.  To those of you who aren't in the know, pay attention -- this Pittsburgh cake is a big deal!

[image via Huffington Post]

What you see is the famed and fabulous-tasting burnt almond torte from local bakery Prantl's.  It's one of those cakes that e'eryone -- and I do mean everyone -- who has tried it simply loves it.  Matt surprised me with one at work on my birthday when we first started dating.  We had one at the dessert bar at our wedding reception.  And, heck, we even had one last weekend for my mom's surprise birthday party!

Check out the full Huffington Post article here.  And, if you're within traveling/shipping distance, get yourself one of these cakes.  Now!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Recipes I'm loving from around the web

While I frequently try to come up with new recipes on my own, sometimes it's nice to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor and bake as a spectator.  There are so many talented chefs, cooks, and bloggers whose dishes (and gorgeous photos!) are too enticing to resist.

Rather than tweak their recipes -- that happen to be perfect just the way they are -- and write about them, I've decided to simply link back to the original sources.  This way the creators get the credit they deserve and you get a bunch of delicious recipes to enjoy with my seal of approval ;)  Enjoy!

  • Baked Oatmeal with Bananas & Blueberries by Skinnytaste - I first made this for breakfast on New Year's Day and have made it three times since then for lazy weekends and even a potluck brunch at work.  Healthy and mega-filling, this baked oatmeal is tasty and will stick to your ribs in the best way possible!

  • Tuna & Hummus Melts by Perfecting the Pairing - I love tuna melts.  I've only ever had them at a kosher dairy restaurant in LA -- where they are to die for, btw -- and loved them so much I resisted ordering them elsewhere and making them at home.  In an effort to change things up for Friday dinners during Lent, I gave salmon a break and turned to tuna for a quick and simple meal a few weeks ago.  Who knew that replacing mayonnaise with hummus could yield such a flavorful tuna salad?  Delicious!  If you can't find the cheese specified (sadly, I could not), Swiss worked well.

  • Zucchini spaghetti noodles - A little late (and out of season) to the party, but I could no longer resist the oodles (see what I did there?) of recipes using zucchini to make spaghetti-shaped noodles.  This has become a go-to lunch on the weekends for me.  I add some ground turkey or beef meatballs with a little sauce and parmesan for an irresistible meal that always makes me a member of the clean plate club.  If you have a mandoline cutter, check out Gina's post.  If you would prefer to use a box grated to make the noodles, visit Top with Cinnamon for instructions.

  • Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread by Girl Versus Dough - Inspired by this book and my friend Pat, I decided to try my hand at making whole wheat bread from scratch.  I've made sweet and savory breads but never sandwich bread.  I'd also never worked with whole wheat flour.  Who knows why neither occurred to me, but the reason is irrelevant.  Making sandwich bread is incredibly easy, inexpensive, and so rewarding.  But I know you want to know about the only thing that matters -- the taste.  Out of this world good, you guys!  Hearty, too.  One bite and Matt and I both swore we'd never go back to the spongy wimpy store-bought stuff again if we could help it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Haluski (cabbage & egg noodles) with bacon

Almost 4 years ago, I skipped town on vacation and temporarily handed over the reigns to my blog.  My then-boyfriend offered to cook, photograph, and write about one of his favorite recipes to share  with all of you.  How sweet of him!

So much has changed since then, like the fact that I no longer have a boyfriend but a husband.  An awesome husband who insisted upon cooking dinner every single night (!) last week.  We had tacos, sausage with peppers and onions, huevos rancheros, chicken Caesar salads, and -- Matt's specialty -- haluski with bacon!  Despite having eaten many versions of haluski, we both agree this is the best version, thanks to the bacon.

Here's the updated recipe with some new pictures and the original post written by Matt:

I have to start by applauding Katy for her skills and organization in the kitchen.  My attempt to prepare a meal, take pictures, and make mental notes about what I was doing can best be described as a maelstrom of chaos (this description brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department).  Bear with me, as this is my foray into the food blogging world.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Five: Training favorites

We made it!  The first Friday in April... and I couldn't even manage to show up for work.  Way to start the month off on the right foot, huh?

Lest you think I'm some kind of delinquent, I actually requested today off nearly two months ago.  My mom's turning 65 (!) on Sunday, and I've planned an entire day of fun surprises for her around the city.  The first arrived at my parents' house last night -- my grandma! -- who will be celebrating with us all weekend.  I hear my mom was quite surprised, which we consider a major victory since she's easily the most observant (and hard to surprise) member of our family.  No more details since she reads this (hi, Mom!), so I'll just say we're going to have a fabulous day! :)

Speaking of long-term planning, you know what else is just around the corner?  (One month from today to be exact.)  The Pittsburgh half marathon!  It will be my second half, and I feel so much more prepared this time.  The biggest lesson I learned during training was that one size doesn't fit all, so I tweaked and adjusted my plan until I found the magic formula for me.

If you're considering signing up for a half marathon, lacing up for your first 5K, or just psyched to start running outside as the weather gets nicer, today's Friday Five list is right up your alley.  Here are some of my favorite training essentials.  Happy trails & happy weekend, friends!

1. Really good socks - I'm normally a cotton-wearing gal, but longer runs require fabrics with more bells and whistles.  I was looking for socks that kept my feet (relatively) dry and blister-free.  It's mind-boggling (wrote "blogging") how advanced sock technology is these days!  Thankfully, I found socks made of moisture-wicking wool blends with elastic support bands around the arches and no-slip tabs on the back of the heels... and they are a dream!  Happy feet at last.  I recommend Ballega and Smart Wool for serious running socks.  Target's C9 brand also makes great performance socks at a smaller price tag.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Peeps doughnuts!

Do you believe in miracles?  If you didn't before, surely you will at the sight of these:

Peeps doughnuts!  Brightly colored frosted doughnuts with sweet little chicks on top.  Walk Run Hop to Dunkin' Donuts to get some before they're gone.

(Somehow, I think this is one seasonal treat Matt won't oppose.)

What's your favorite springtime/Easter treat?   You know I can't resist Whoppers Robin Eggs, though I do love Peeps, too.