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Midnight Snack: ABO Balls

Ever since I recently wrote about the PBNO Balls I made, I haven’t stopped eating nut butters since.

(Nut butters meaning peanut and almond butter.)

After I wrote that post, I made my way to Trader Joe’s one night after work. My mission was clear: find some amazing almond butter to bring home.

I found myself in the nut butter part of one of its aisles staring at all of the different kinds of nut butters. I was fascinated. There were all kinds of varieties of not only nuts, but creamy or chunky choices too. I was then approached by a very friendly employee who guided me in my search. We spoke for several minutes about which almond butter I should choose: creamy, chunky, sea salt, no sea salt.

After showing me the several types the store had, I ended up choosing the creamy one with sea salt in it (see picture).

If you asked me if I prefer creamy or chunky nut butter, honestly I have no preference. I love both just the same.

I’ll admit, I was curious about the salt content in the butters while standing there speaking to the employee. However, the man assured me that there wasn’t a ton of salt in the salted almond butter if you’re watching your salt (if you’re curious now too, it has 60 mg of salt in a 2 tbsp serving, not bad!), and the non-salted one doesn’t have that same flavor the salty one has.

The night I bought it, I opened the jar and mixed it for awhile with a spoon (as the oil of the natural butter can separate). I haven’t had almond butter in a long time, and to take that first taste was magical. A very grainy texture, with a hint of that sweet-salt taste, but not overly sweet.

Rich.

Thick.

Delicious.

So now, I’ve been alternating these past few weeks, between having a spoonful of almond butter on occasion, or having a spoonful of peanut butter with an oreo placed in the middle of the spoon on another occasion.

Which brings me to tonight’s midnight craving. My love of chocolate was calling my name, and I immediately started thinking about the almond butter and how I could combine the two to make ABO Balls.

My next thought: “Hey, I can put these in the freezer to harden them up a bit!”

And here’s what resulted:

ABO Balls.

ABO Balls (a sister to PBNO Balls):

-1 heaping tablespoon of almond butter of your choice (I chose Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter with sea salt)

-2 chocolate sandwich cookies (I chose some Oreo Double Stuf’s. Oh, yes.)

-chocolate syrup (for decor)

Method:

1. Crush the chocolate sandwich cookies onto a plate.

2. Spoon the almond butter on top of the cookies.

3. Roll almond butter and oreo’s together to make two ABO Balls.

4. Place ABO Balls in freezer (covered in plastic wrap) for 20-30 minutes (you can even let them sit for longer if you want them a little crunchier).

5. Take ABO Balls out of freezer and spritz a little chocolate sauce on top for decor.

6. Enjoy!

These balls, like the PBNO Balls, had a great texture and a great balance of sweet and savory. Because this nut butter in particular was grainy and thicker than a regular store-bought nut-butter, it thickened up quickly and very well in the freezer. It had a good consistency to pick up in your hands and not get too messy.

You’ll still want that mug-o-milk to wash it all down!

A fun, quick, easy snack to make in the middle of the night, or any time of day.

Enjoy!

Live Tweet Food Reviews!

The waffle with the gingerbread spread - Wafels & Dinges NYC

Within the past week or so I’ve been trying out something new in addition to blogging. A new experiment per se, regarding my food reviews. I’ve been live tweeting reviews from restaurants and food trucks in my travels!

So far I’ve reviewed three places in NYC: the Morris Truck that serves delicious grilled cheeses and an amazing homemade hot chocolate with cinnamon fluff (that I’m obsessed with!), Korilla BBQ where I tried one of its burritos that reminded me of a mix between a fancy moo shu and a Vietnamese spring roll, Wafels and Dinges where I had one of its Belgian waffles covered in a gingerbread spread that reminded me of peanut butter minus the nuts, and tonight I reviewed the Bagels ‘N A Whole Lot More store in Stony Brook on route 347 which had an amazing crowd, a wonderful sandwich deal and great service.

 

The burrito I had at Korilla BBQ, NYC

I am having a blast writing these, as they’re even faster ways to let you know what I’m eating!

For all of my latest quick updates and foodie-tweets, please check out my Twitter, either at the link above in my blog at the top right hand corner, or click here.

I look forward to having you join the food conversation via another wonderful social network.

Breakfast Snack: PBNO Balls

Ah, peanut butter.

The sticky, sweet and savory treat.

Have you ever turned on the TV, heard commercials and TV shows talk about a product and then all of a sudden you really crave it?

Last night this occurrence (somewhat) happened to me.

I was watching television and speaking to one of my friends via Twitter. She had mentioned how she was having almond butter with Fuji apple slices. This sounded so delicious, and we got into a discussion of almond butter and what to make with it.

I pondered the idea of an AB&J (almond butter and jelly) sandwich. And AB & chocolate.

But then the 90’s cartoon show “Hey Arnold” came on around 1 a.m., and all the characters were talking about peanut butter. My mouth started watering. I went to the cabinet, grabbed the jar of peanut butter and a spoon.

My next thought: “how can I jazz this up and not eat the peanut butter straight?”

A delicious assortment of nuts and dried berries from the cabinet.

Which inspires my recipe this morning.

One of my favorite things to eat as a kid were peanut butter balls. One of the nannies I had as a kid used to make them.

So for a great breakfast snack, why not take the nuts and PB and make a ball out of it?

And add some chocolate for pizazz and a great kick?

Here’s what resulted: a crunchy, sweet, savory, tangy ball of goodness that’ll give you some extra energy and nutrients for your day! According to an article by LIVESTRONG, peanut butter has protein to help build and repair muscle tissue, fiber to help regulate your digestive system, healthy fats that help lower your risk to heart disease and type 2 diabetes and potassium in it to counteract the negative effects of too much salt in your diet! Berries can help lower your cancer risk, according to a Huffington Post article, and Harvard Medical School researchers said that eating nuts are great for your cardiovascular health!

Eat on! And here’s my recipe for what I decided to call PBNO (peanut butter/berry, nut, oreo) balls!

PBNO Balls

1 tbsp peanut butter of your choice

1 tbsp nuts and berries mix of your choice (could be from a can or bag)

1 chocolate sandwich cookie of your choice

 

 

What I used today!

1. Combine peanut butter and nuts/berry mix in a bowl.

2. Crush down chocolate sandwich cookie into crumbs.

3. Roll peanut butter, nut and berry mixture into two balls.

4. Roll the two balls into oreo crumb mixture.

5. Serve.

 

 

 

 

 

Mug o' milk!

And be sure to have that mug of milk handy to wash it all down.

Enjoy!

PS: Your hands will get messy from this concoction!

LONG ISLAND — Chicken Pot Pie by Town and Country Market, Miller Place

Have you ever seen a restaurant, or perhaps a deli, driven by it several times, yet never have gone inside?

This was the case for me when it came to the Town and Country Market in Miller Place. I had driven by it several times, yet had never gone inside. Not because I didn’t want to go in, I just always ended up going to the usual spots.

But not until a few days ago. My dad started going into the market a few weeks ago and now it’s his new favorite breakfast spot. He always tells me how the owner and the staff are very nice, how he always gets an egg sandwich on a whole wheat roll and amazing coffee to go with it, and how he keeps seeing homemade chicken pot pies there that we should try for dinner one night.

So a few nights ago, I ended up going into the market to get dinner for my parents and I.

I’m so glad I did.

The man behind the counter was very friendly, and told me all about the homemade pot pies and how there are big ones, small ones, ones with regular pie crust and ones with cornbread crust. He told me how the small chili cornbread crusted pot pie is “rediculously good” (see last post for reference), and how it’s very filling and delicious. I need to try this one next.

But for now, I got a large chicken pot pie.

I ended up getting a sandwich the first night I went to the market (which was amazing too!). But tonight, since my parents were very won over by the pot pie a few nights ago, we ended up getting another one for dinner again, so I could try it.

After heating it in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees, here is the beautiful, golden brown pie:

This pie, from first glance, looks like a beautiful seasonal fruit pie from the bakery. But lo and behold, this pie is magical. Its warm, buttery, melt in your mouth crust, with its creamy chicken vegetable filling was incredible.

The chicken was fork tender, juicy and moist. It was very flavorful and the creamy filling mixed with the fluffy potatoes, juicy string beans, peas, corn and diced carrots, made for an amazing dinner meal. It most certainly was filling, but like the counter person told me, wasn’t as filling as the chili cornbread crust probably would be.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy meal to bring home and heat up for yourself or for your family, a chicken pot pie like this one (or maybe a chili cornbread pot pie!) would be an excellent inexpensive meal idea.

And if you’ve been curious about that restaurant in your area that you haven’t been into yet, definitely stop in! You may be happily surprised.

Town and Country Market

85 North Country Rd., Miller Place, N.Y. 11764
Phone: (631) 403-4383

MONDAY – SATURDAY
5:00 A.M – 7:00 P.M

SUNDAY
5:00 A.M – 6:00 P.M

FREE DELIVERY SERVICE UNTIL 3PM
CURB SIDE ASSISTANCE

LONG ISLAND — Freshly Baked Desserts at Heritage Diner, Mt. Sinai

(This post is entirely dedicated to the love of sweets.)

I’m a sweet tooth, I’ll come out and say it. Put chocolate and/or sweets in front of me, more than likely I’ll eat it.

Tonight my parents and I headed to another one of our frequent spots, the Heritage Diner in Mt. Sinai.

I’ve always had a fascination with diners. The little jukeboxes that play old hits (and the sing-alongs to go with it), the amazing food no matter what time it is, and most especially, the desserts.

I’ve always grown up going to diners, whether it be in N.J., C.T. and now L.I.

The Heritage Diner in Mt. Sinai, however, is different from most diners I’ve ever been to. Not because they are open 24 hours, because unfortunately they’re not, and to me, that doesn’t really make it a diner-diner. This diner branches away from the normal diner food and has a ton of gourmet options. In the past I’ve had some amazing dishes there, including a grilled chicken avocado mustard sandwich, turkey artichoke ciabatta panini, balsamic chicken over spinach, and tonight, a favorite dish of my grandma’s, chicken scampi.

But what really blew me away tonight? The freshly baked desserts, baked right on the premises.

One of the owners, Peter, told me to try the banana cream cake:

And he decorated it himself too: chocolate syrup, whipped cream and all. This cake was different than any cake I’ve had before: the creamy, yet light banana cream frosting, with the carrot-cake like cake, except it was more of a cinnamon-nut cake taste to it. This was an awesome cake and I recommend it if you go.

My mom got the lemon meringue pie which she loved:

And my dad? He was craving mocha cake, which was delicious as well, very light, fluffy frosting.

So if you are looking to fulfull that sweet tooth craving, head to your nearest diner. You never know what you may find. Something new may just strike your fancy.

(And I read on the menu this diner does birthday and wedding cakes too! How cool.)

275 Route 25A

Mount Sinai, NY 11766

1 631.642.3700
Hours

Mon – Thu: 7:00 am 1:00 am
Fri – Sat: 7:00 am 2:00 am
Sun: 7:00 am 1:00 am

LONG ISLAND — NATIONAL PIZZA MONTH – Vegetable Personal Pizza at Miller Place Pastaria

Have you ever had an “a-ha!” moment? That moment when you’re doing something (or eating something), where everything just clicks and you want to burst out and say “A-ha!”

This happened to me while eating pizza with my dad this afternoon.

One thing I’ll tell you about myself and my family: we have a lot of places we frequent in our area where we live. Is it the same for you all, where there is that group of familiar neighborhood restaurants you head to because they are just that amazing?

One place my family and I go to often is Miller Place Pastaria.

Not only does the pastaria have amazing Italian pasta dishes and entrees, but it also has fondue (which is very popular), amazing seafood dishes (salmon francese!), and of course, pizza.

This morning dad told me he was craving a vegetable pizza from the pastaria, so we immediately hopped in the car and headed over to the pastaria. We were greeted by the owner / chef, Charles Zein, who showed us our table.

We decided on splitting a personal sized veggie pizza, as the only other option was an 18″ large, which to us was way too big for two people.

This pizza was worth our wait:

Never have I tasted a vegetable pizza with vegetables tasting so…fresh…not salty…not processed or preserved. It was the perfect size for two, we each had three tiny slices that filled us right up. The broccoli was soft and texturally mixed well with the sweet red onions, tangy and sweet green peppers, and the meaty mushrooms. The sauce was sweet, tangy and flavorful, not too tart and not too sweet.

It was the crust and dough gave me the “A-ha!” moment, though.

The dough was so light, yet had a very slight crisp on the bottom at the same time. The crust was light with a slight crisp too, but it was particularly sweeter than most doughs I had. I actually thought of zeppole’s when I ate it. But I liked it.

“A-ha.”

Besides the pizza, the pastaria has a very warm, inviting atmosphere with the golden yellow hue on the walls, the gorgeous paintings and the soft classics playing on the speakers overhead. There are specials there almost everyday, including prix fixe Early Bird menus, Two-For-Tuesdays and different pizza specials throughout the week. Not to mention the amazing, friendly staff!

If you’re around the MP area, Miller Place Pastaria is a must try.

343 Route 25A

Miller Place, N.Y. 11764

1 631.928.4467

http://www.mppastaria.com

http://www.facebook.com/MillerPlacePastaria

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin.

When you hear that word, what first comes to mind?

Jack-o-Lanterns, pumpkin pie, Halloween?

Or how about chocolate chip cookies?!

Today I felt like baking, and I came across the following recipe (click here!).

It was for a dark chocolate chip pumpkin cookie.

Now you may be thinking, “Pumpkin and chocolate chip cookies? Really? How does this work?!”

Well, I will tell you. Last year around this time I went to a Halloween party with my friends from my Arts Journalism program. One of my friends, Diep (hi Diep!), made these AMAZING chocolate chip cookies and my friend Samantha and I spoke about how amazing these were.

I asked Diep how she made these and she told me how the “secret ingredient” was pumpkin. There was actually no pumpkin taste to these, however, the cookie itself was more of a cake-like texture and very soft.

So I found this recipe today and baked this evening. Here are the results!


Me with the cookies!

These cookies are chocolatey, soft textured, and while there is a light taste of pumpkin, you can still taste that hint of cinnamon spice! I loved making these. The cookies were very easy to make. Here’s the recipe, a huge thanks to GoodLifeEats.com! A great fall-centric cookie.

http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2011/10/dark-chocolate-chip-pumpkin-cookies.html

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

Yield: approximately 2 dozen

Prep Time: 10

Cook Time: 10-15

Total Time: 20-25

Ingredients:

Wet Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Dry Ingredients
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Chips)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheet and set aside.

Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and mix. Sift in dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate.

Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 10-13 minutes or until bottom of cookie is lightly browned.

Guest post and recipe by Allison of Some the Wiser.

National Pizza Month — Your Stories (Part 1)

Courtesy of grubgrade.com

Happy National Pizza Month!

To celebrate… I will be sharing your stories on my blog about your memories of great pizza.

And here’s the first! From one of my friends, Maegan:

Best pizza story has to be the first time my bf and I cooked a meal together… it was pizza. Fresh dough, fresh ingredients. We made a BBQ chicken pizza with great sauce and goat cheese. It was perfection!!

 

Doesn’t that pizza sound incredible? It’s truly amazing how pizza making is more than just two people together making a pizza, it’s an amazing memory.

I look forward to hearing (and sharing!) more of your pizza stories on here! And if you have any pictures/videos of you eating/making pizza, I would love to share them too!

Happy Pizza Month!

 

(PS, I definitely ate pizza today…It was “John’s Favorite” from Papa John’s with extra sauce….Incredible! I loved the mix of the crispy pepperoni, the meaty, tender sausage and the herbs and spices on top of the cheese!)

Kat

National Pizza Month — What’s your story?

Recently I received an email from one of my favorite pizza chains, UNO, about this month being National Pizza Month.

Courtesy of blastmagazine.com

After reading it, it sparked me to dig deep and think about how my love for this delicious savory pie originated from.

I’ve spoken on here about several national food holidays, but a whole month dedicated to pizza? There is full cause to celebrate this entire month! And I hope you do, too.

So before I pose the questions to you all in the hopes of starting a pizza-filled daily conversation for the next month  (but hey, I could speak about pizza any time, any day!), I wanted to share with you a few thoughts about pizza itself.

I’ve always had a huge love for pizza, but now that I’ve really taken the time to think about my pizza-filled experiences, it really did start at a very early age.

Courtesy of dcomposing.com

I remember reading a children’s book when I was really young about where pizza came from. A little girl asks a grandmother-type figure about where pizza comes from and it turns into a beautiful story about its origin and and how its made. I remember it being a favorite book of mine, and after some research, I believe it’s the book called “How Pizza Came to Queens,” by Dayal Kaur Khalsa. (Anyone remember this book? If anyone can help me with this, please let me know!)

Another childhood memory of mine involving pizza is a board game I used to play called “Pizza Party.” Anyone remember this too? A memory-styled game involving toppings on a pizza.

Courtesy of metalsucks.net

But it wasn’t only the books and games that got me hooked-on-pizza. It was the pie itself.

I grew up in C.T., now live on Long Island and at the very early ages of my life (0 – 4) , I lived in New Jersey. While I may not have been old enough to remember everything about my time there, I have distinct memories of a few things. One being pizza.

In the beautiful town of Wayne, N.J. lies a pizza place with a truly distinctive name: Bachagaloops.

I remembered this name so well I used to sing the name when I was younger. And now that I’ve been pondering this for the past few days, I definitely think it was to the tune of the Addams Family theme song. (Brother, correct me if I’m wrong, please!)

I don’t remember how the pizza exactly tasted, but I remember going there often and recall it being delicious. And when I had moved away from N.J. into C.T., I remember going back there and trying it again with my family and the pizza being delicious.

Food to me always sparks conversation, but I’d love to hear more from you all about your memories of pizza. It could be what your favorite pizza is, or even your first memories of pizza.

Why? Because everyone’s story will be different.

And to start it off, here’s my latest vlog with some of my pizza memories.

I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your stories.

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