Friday, October 30, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 30th, 2009

Lindor Truffles Hot Chocolate

At the Lindt store the other day, I came across some simple Recipe Cards at the register.  One card in particular struck me as a simple and cute idea: Lindor Truffles Hot Chocolate.

The basic recipe is as follows:

- 1 cup milk
- 3 Lindor Truffles

1.  Heat milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat or microwave it for 1 minute.
2.  Unwrap 3 Lindor Truffles, add to the milk, and whisk.
3.  Continue to heat until desired temperature- do not bring to boil.  Enjoy as is or garnish with whipped cream.

I especially liked a few of their recommended flavor combinations, like:

- White Hazelnut (1 Hazelnut + 2 White Chocolate)
- Ultimate Chocolate (1 Milk Chocolate + 1 Dark Chocolate + 1 60% Extra Dark)
- Dark Peppermint (2 Peppermint + 1 60% Extra Dark)

I could see this also going with the Peanut Butter truffle + Chocolate,  or just White Chocolate truffles, etc. etc. 

So simple, but sounds really delicious!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 29th, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Restaurant List

This is a running list of restaurants that I haven't been to slash want to go to- if I don't write it down somewhere I'll never remember them all.  Thanks to N for the idea of keeping a list on my blog!  This list can also be found from my main page, via "View my Complete Profile" on the sidebar, then to "Wishlist".

Lunchtime Links for October 28th, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 27th, 2009

Recipe Review: Ina Garten's Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

Mise en place- now with 328743% more BUTTER.

I took a break from my Pumpkin Baking Fest '09 to try out another Ina Garten recipe from her Back to Basics cookbook.  This Honey Vanilla Pound Cake sounded simple and delicious, so I gave it a whirl. 

Recipes like this one are when a stand mixer really really comes in handy.  I mean it wouldn't be difficult to do this with a hand mixer but it's nice to let the mixer blend one thing while you're putting together another bowl to throw in there also.  Two things you may have to prepare for is getting your butter to "cool room temperature" and eggs to room temperature.  I put the butter and eggs out on a plate before heading down to the gym, which worked out well. 


Smell-o-vision would come in handy here.

The pound cake started out flat and almost caved in for the first 20 minutes or so, but as you can see it puffed up and cracked nicely on top by the end of the bake time.  This is a v. rich (hi, 2 sticks of butter + 4 eggs) and delicious pound cake.  The vanilla and honey combined made my kitchen smell AMAZING and you could really taste both in the pound cake.  I would highly recommend you try this recipe out- but make sure you have friends to share this with- might be dangerous to leave a whole loaf at home to yourself, haha. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 23rd, 2009

Review: DCI's "I am not a paper cup"

Indeed you are not, Not-Paper-Cup.

I drink tea and water about 293749238749237492387432473 times a day, roughly, at work.  Therefore, I find myself going through a fair share of mugs/travel mugs/etc. This one falls into the "definitely don't need, but I LOVE IT" category, and with good reason.  I mean who else would appreciate a paper cup that is NOT a paper cup, but a porcelain mug + silicone lid made to LOOK like a paper cup?  Yeah, figured as much.

DCI makes a bunch of cute items that would be fun gifts for people that appreciate these sorts of things- like a glass water bottle shaped like a plastic bottle, a Hot Man shaped trivet for holding hot pots, a porcelain milk carton shaped milk holder, etc.  I've had my eye on this mug for a while, and decided to get it when I saw it at the MXYPLYZYK kiosk in the Time Warner Center.

It's a hefty mug, definitely heavier than most travel mugs due to the double-walled porcelain, I'm assuming.  It keeps tea nice and warm for a long time, although I drink so much that I've never actually tested it out for hours untouched, so not sure about that aspect of the insulating properties.  It really does resemble a paper coffee cup from afar, so be careful if someone picks it up assuming it is, because it's absolutely breakable, haha.  Price-wise, you're definitely paying for the design and the novelty of it mostly, but so far it's been a great mug for having tea at work, and fun to look at also.          

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 22nd, 2009

  • More Pumpkin: Review of Jamba Juice's Pumpkin Smash.
  • The City: NYMag recap of Tuesday's episode.
  • Cakespy: Putting more Fun into Fun-size candy.
  • The Hills: NYMag recap of Tuesday's episode.
  • Regretsy: Wow, whose crazier- those selling or buying??

Recipe: Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Mise en place.

Continuing on with my quest of Pumpkin Everything, I decided to try out a savory (aka not baking something) route for the next recipe.  E referred me to this Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food.  I made a few changes: 1) No fresh rosemary (too lazy to buy); and 2) Subbed in skim milk for the half-and-half (thought it might be healthier, plus, too lazy to buy).   


Cheesy and Pumpkiny.

This recipe was v. simple and didn't take long at all to complete.  Martha isn't kidding about adding salt at the end- if you don't, this will be a bland bowl of blahhh, considering pumpkin puree really doesn't have much of a strong flavor on its own.  The texture was similar to a light mac n' cheese, and probably would be even closer to a mac n' cheese if I had used the half-and-half.  This would make a great side dish to a roasted protein, even a great new item to add to the Thanksgiving table.      

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 21st, 2009

Anna Sui/Gossip Girl for Target Collection

More orange-y in person.

Considering how excited I was for a Gossip Girl-Target-Anna Sui mashup, I have to say the Anna Sui for Target collection was a pretty big disappointment.  There were a number of cute-seeming pieces online, but they either: A) were not so cute in person; or B) were not available.  I checked three different Targets when the collection first came out, and it seemed like each one had a limited/different selection with the exception of a few overlapping pieces.

I got the Starburst Top above because I liked the design and the piping along the collar.  I thought about wearing it to work but the color is really really bright- not too sure about that yet.  It does go well with dark jeans, under cardigans, etc. though.

Overall, the pieces that I did see at Target were sort of meh with a touch of wtf for the prices.  I realize the pieces were specifically made for Target so you're not getting luxury materials, but still.  I find cute stuff at Forever 21 that are cuter, fit better, and cost way less than some of these pieces.       

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 20th, 2009

Love, Love, Love: Shake Shack, NYC

Another trip to NYC, another chance to get Shake Shack!!  You know by now how much I love this place, so this post will just be about the photos, no reviews :o)

October Custard Calendar + Menu.


M's Fries + 1/2 Pumpkin 1/2 Chocolate Custards


My Order: Shackburger + Pumpkin Custard.



One comment on the Pumpkin Custard- DELICIOUS!  Creamy and smooth like all their custards, but with a hit of fall spices and pumpkin flavor.  Not overwhelming, just the right balance.  So happy it was available on Saturday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 19th, 2009

Review: Bouchon Bakery, NYC

Chef Thomas Keller is definitely one of the big names in the culinary industry, mostly due to The French Laundry restaurant.  It's definitely on my lifetime To-Do List, that's for sure.  Another Keller establishment is Bouchon Bakery, where the menu has a mix of classic items plus a few special items that are Keller-ized :o)   The NYC outpost of Bouchon Bakery is located in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.  More importantly, it is v. close to my friend E's apartment, and she was happy to try out a few items with me for breakfast.   

One portion of the bakery selection.

So cute- Pumpkin Cupcakes!

Coffee Cake + Pumpkin Brioche

We wound up getting two items to share- the Coffee Cake and the Pumpkin Brioche.  The Coffee Cake had a great crumble topping and was v. sweet- went really well with my unsugared latte that I also got.  It was dense as most Coffee Cakes can be, but didn't feel heavy.  It was a great size for sharing.  The Pumpkin Brioche was really delicious!  I wasn't sure exactly what to expect, but it had a great flavor and not really sweet at all, which I liked (especially since we also had the Coffee Cake).  It was slightly salty and I thought it had a really great depth to it, although I am pretty biased towards loving anything pumpkin these days, haha. 

Caramel Macaron.

We also bought a Caramel Macaron to save for later.  I'm not a huge macaron person, but this one tasted great.  I loved the caramel filling and the overall taste of this macaron- it's just too bad I carried it in my bag all day and it got pretty squashed by the time we ate it, haha. 

Overall I'm v. happy I got to try out the NYC store, and it was a delicious way to start out a fun day in the city!  Next time I would like to eat at the sit-down section of the Bakery, and/or try out more of the prepared meal items like the sandwiches, for sure.   

NYC Weekend

I trekked up to NYC last weekend and had a fabulous time, as usual.  Fun times, some shopping, lots of eating, haha.  A few photos that didn't fit in with the specific review posts are below: 

Pumpkin Stand at the Madison Square Park Market.

Another Shot of Madison Square Park Market.

Kinako Ice Cream, Cafe Zaiya.


Freebie Dylan's Chocolate from Juicy Couture.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 16th, 2009

Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mise en place. (side note: I finally realized I should turn my stove light on for these photos, haha).

Continuing on with my quest to overdose on anything pumpkin through the month of October, I was on the lookout for an easy but interesting recipe online.  I came across this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies via Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site.  If you aren't familiar with Pioneer Woman or Tasty Kitchen, I highly recommend it- lots of great photos, stories, and of course recipes to look at/use!  

These cookies were v. easy to make and don't require a ton of ingredients.  The raw dough comes out a lot softer than most cookie dough, due to the pumpkin puree.  But, they were easy enough to drop onto cookies sheets without blob-ing (you know what I mean) all over the place.  It was a little difficult for me to gauge when they were really done- It says to take them out once they're browned, but... they're already brown!! I guessed as best I could, and poked a few with a toothpick to check for done-ness, and I think they turned out ok. 

The cookies remain very soft and pliable due to the pumpkin, I think, even days after baking, if you keep them stored properly.  You might want to keep that in mind if you plan on just throwing them into a ziplock bag- they will probably break off into pieces really easily if you don't store them carefully. 


These cookies taste AWESOME.  I loved the pumpkin flavor with the semi-sweet chocolate.  Not too sweet, but definitely satisfying.  I would absolutely make these again- and v. likely will, since I have another giant can of pumpkin from Wegmans that I need to use.  I highly recommend you try these out!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 15th, 2009

Love, Love, Love: Free-ish Stuff

Better late then never, Mr. or Mrs. Buitoni.

Remember this?  I finally got them in the mail last week! 

I know some people think it's dumb/worthless to use coupons/get rebates/enter for free stuff- but the way I figure it, why not? Fun times all around. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 14th, 2009

Funfetti Cookies

I heart you, Dough Boy.

Like I've mentioned before, a lack of eggs in my apartment is a common occurence.  I don't like eating eggs on their own (aside from Japenese egg salad sandwiches, weirdly enough), so if I buy a carton it's pretty much a) strictly for baking something; and b) a short 6-egg carton. 

But, the good thing about my self-imposed egg shortage is that I've now tried two recipes that involve little to no eggs.  First was the Allergen-free cupcakes, and now the Funfetti cookies.  I was planning on making Funfetti cupcakes, but realized I only had 2 eggs left, and I needed 3.  I flipped the box over and found this recipe on the side of the box- only 2 eggs needed?  Sweeeeeeet.   
These cookies were super simple to make, just a little mixing and some rolling needed.  It took a while to get the cookies into uniform sizes but I got the hang of it after a while.  The texture was v. similar to play-doh and they were easy to mold. 

Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the finished product- I thought I had uploaded it to my computer already and deleted it from my camera, before realizing that I hadn't uploaded it yet.  Sad times, but you can click on the link for the recipe above to see what they should look like.  I used chocolate fudge frosting, which made these taste v. v. similar to Berger cookies, if you've ever had those before. 

Final verdict?  These were a delicious and easy alternative to Funfetti cupcakes, and I'm glad that my egg-less ways led me to making them.  Of course, that's assuming you like the flavor of Funfetti cake to begin with, which you really should if you are any friend of mine.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 13th, 2009

Georgetown Cupcake Is Shipping Nationwide! - Part TWO

As I had previously posted, Georgetown Cupcake is now taking orders for nationwide shipping.  In an amaaaaaaazing turn of events, my friend A was literally THE FIRST recipient of an out of state order, all part of a little thing I like to call the BEST ENGAGEMENT STORY EVER!!  I asked her to provide some first-hand feedback on the order- take it away, A!

"(Georgetown Cupcake) shipped them overnight mail through the cutest box ever!!! The people were SUPER nice to David- he called weeks ago and they said they didn't ship, but to call back and they could 'see what they could do'.  He wasn't supposed to be able to get his shipment on Thursday either (bc I guess they hadn't officially started shipping then), but John (he's the manager or something) pulled some strings after David told him his story and he had them shipped overnight mail on Wed to be delivered on Thursday. yay! We're the first people to get Gtown cupcakes delivered haha!! John also provided him with the extra little box to put my ring in :o)

They come in a plastic container that has space for each indiv cupcake and the container is sealed on the sides with the cute GTown Cupcake stickers.  Then inside the pink box they usually put a dozen cupcakes in (I'm thinking) and then inside the fun box! David also said that the box was delivered on ice and everything and was cold when he got it. He said he was very impressed with how they shipped them.

They are extremely fresh and you can freeze them for up to a week. I ate two last night of the pumpkin flavor that I froze (you are suppose to let them dethaw for an comes with a cute card that explains all of this) and they still tasted heavenly. (and this is over 4 days after they have been shipped). Also David likes to eat the chocolate hazelnut straight from the tastes really good!!! The only downfall of the shipping I would say is that David had requested a dozen red velvet and the man in charge told him he couldn't take any special orders. So David had to pick between the seasonal package (which includes 6 pumpkin..which I'm obsessed with pumpkin, so I love them!!!), along with 6 chocolate hazelnut.  The other option is I think 3 red velvet 3 chocolate 3 vanilla and 3 of something else..I can't remember. (Editor's (that's me) note: Georgetown order/flavor info here).

Overall, I would say that it's not terribly priced for the fact that they do an excellent job with the shipping and the cupcakes are extremely fresh. For a special occasion I think it's perfect!"

So there you have it, a first-hand review of the delivery service.  Sounds like it worked out perfectly!  Congratulations again to A and D on your engagement!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 12th, 2009

Review: Stonyfield Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

Who dun lahk a Pah? - Chef Art Smith

  • I Paid: 88 cents (Harris Teeter)

  • Description: Organic; Pumpkin Pie Flavored; Limited Edition.

As you can tell from most of my previous posts, I'm a huge fan of/sucker for/easily swayed into purchasing limited-edition food items.  I saw the Pumpkin Pie flavor on the Stonyfield website and knew I had to try it out.  Problem was, I couldn't seem to find it in the 3 grocery stores that I frequent.  I was starting to think that they had already came and went (which would be odd, considering it's still mid-October), but then I came across the yogurt at Harris Teeter - woo!

The yogurt smelled faintly of pumpkin pie spices, but not overwhelmingly so, which made me hopeful that this would be a winner.  The yogurt is creamy and it's hard to believe it's low-fat, considering its relative thickness.  Taste-wise, it was a great mix of pumpkin pie flavor with vanilla- like eating a pumpkin pie with ice cream, in a way. 

Final verdict?  Stonyfield is awesome, definitely did not disappoint with this flavor.  It's more about subtle pumpkin flavors with this one, which I like better than super sweet cloying flavors.  If I can find it again, I'm definitely buying more while they are available!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 9th, 2009

Martha Stewart's Allergen-free Chocolate Cupcakes

Mise en place.

This recipe is yet another in the Martha Stewart Cupcakes book, but to be honest it wasn't one that I thought I'd be making.  Fortunately neither myself or any of my friends have severe food allergies (that I know of, anyway), and I've also never had an issue bringing food into work either.  That being said, I'm glad that a recipe like this exists, if only for my "I want to bake something but I'm too lazy to go buy eggs" mentality.  I had literally every ingredient on hand, and I didn't have to wait to make it - like how I normally do when I realize that the butter has to be room temperature. 

So, allergen-free in Martha's book means no eggs, milk, dairy, or nuts.  I found a similar if not identical recipe online, except the one in the book did not include the frosting.  This recipe is very straight-forward and simple.  Like the recipe says, the batter will be a lot thinner than regular cupcake batter- but don't freak out, it will all work itself out in the oven, haha.   

It's Choco-tastic!

Final verdict?  These are delicious, light, and very chocolatey without being painfully sweet.  The ingredients might seem sort of strange (white vinegar?) but I can say that these were very delicious and you don't miss any of the usual ingredients at all.  They were a big hit in my office, and several people talked to me about having family members that are vegan or had food allergies.  It's nice to know that recipes like this exist, because it would def be sad times if I had to give up all baked goods because of a food allergy, that's for sure.  And, if you're like me and don't like eggs enough to always have them on hand, this is a great pantry-only recipe to keep on hand!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lunctime Links for October 8th, 2009

Review: Jell-o Boston Cream Pie Pudding

  • I Paid: $3.00 (2/$6.00 at Giant)

  • Descrption: Jell-o Sugar Free, 60 Calories, New Flavor, Boston Cream Pie

I am a HUGE fan of Boston Cream Pie.  I love custard, chocolate, and cake- what's not to love??  Now, I am not that easily duped- I realize that this Jell-o cup is not going to Really taste like a slice of Boston Cream Pie.  That being said, I have enjoyed chocolate and vanilla sugar-free Jell-o puddings before, so I figured I'd give this new flavor a try.

This new flavor is a big "win" in my book for the Jell-o brand.  It's fantastic!  That is, if you're already used to the somewhat artificial-tasting flavors of sugar-free Jell-o pudding.  I like that there's two levels of flavor so you can mix it all up yourself, eat one layer at a time, or do what I do and fit both layers onto each spoonful, haha.  The vanilla portion does taste a little different than regular vanilla- I imagine they did something to make it more custard-y to match the Boston Cream Pie influence.

Final verdict?  I wouldn't eat this ALL the time, but I am glad I got it and wouldn't hesitate to buy another pack again.  If you are a fan of sweets but need just a little something to curb your sweet tooth, this would be a great option.  I'm not sure how long Jell-o's planning on keeping this around- I imagine it would depend on the popularity/demand.  I for one hope it sticks around!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 7th, 2009

  • NY Bagels: A round-up review of some notable bagel shops.
  • Cranberries: A celebration of Ocean Spray cranberry-ness- looks like fun!
  • The City: Recap of last night's episode from NYMag.
  • Chanel Nail Polish: The upcoming new shade.. sorta love it, sorta meh?

Review: InterMetro Chef's Cart

One tricky thing about being so obsessed with food/kitchen-related stuff is figuring out where to put it all.  Unfortunately my current apartment kitchen is v. narrow and doesn't have much in the way of storage space, much less countertop space.  I've been looking for a good kitchen cart/storage unit for some time now, and luckily for me, I found this lovely piece in an advertisement for the Container Store's Shelving Sale

This InterMetro Chef's Cart is easy to put together (no hardware necessary), feels v. sturdy, and goes well with the rest of my kitchen appliances/look (light wood/silver finish). The butcher-block top will come in handy as extra cooking/prep space, especially for rolling out dough (something I def couldn't do before), and I can roll it in and out of my kitchen as needed.  Also, now I finally have some storage place for random appliances, woo!       

If anyone is in the market for a portable storage option for their kitchen, I'd highly recommend it, especially since it's currently on sale, haha.  Not cheap, but then again, this cart doesn't feel or look cheap either, like some other ones I've seen at housewares stores.  A great option for someone with limited kitchen space!  

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Georgetown Cupcake Is Shipping Nationwide!

Just came across this lovely bit o' info: Georgetown Cupcakes can now be shipped outside of the DC metro area! 

The Good: Makes a lovely gift, and everyone should be able to try the deliciousness that is GC.

The Not-So-Good: Limited flavors, CRAZY shipping rates (it just about doubles the order price). 

Meaning?  This would be an awesome awesome gift to send someone, because in my book no one else can knock GC off the throne of "OMGTHEBESTEVER" cupcake.  But shipping rates are super duper expensive (which is expected for delivering perishable/fragile foods), so maybe it'd be best to just come to DC and try it out yourself :o)

PS- In addition to the Bethesda location (!!!!!!!) opening this year, GC will also be moving to 33rd + M in Georgetown at some point, according to the Best Bites Blog tweet.

Lunchtime Links for October 6th, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 5th, 2009

Review: Kashi Honey Sunshine Cereal

  • I Paid: $0.00 (free sample from Kashi)

  • Description: 6g of fiber; Nothing artificial. 

What can I say, I LOOOOOOVE free samples.  Any chance I come across for something to be mailed to me, you can bet that I'll take it.  Kashi ran a tv commercial a few weeks back for people to pick one of their cereals to sample.  The Honey Sunshine cereal was the only one I hadn't tried yet, so I chose that one to sample. 

I hoped that I would like this cereal- I like honey-based cereals, and they looked like little honeycomb pillows which was cute.  Unfortunately this cereal just didn't really do it for me.  They got soggy v. easily and turned into bland nuggets with faint traces of honey or anything sweet.  I would much prefer to eat the Heart to Heart cereal if I was going with a Kashi brand.

Final Verdict?  I'm glad I got to try it out for free, at the very least so I know now that I don't like it.  It seems like it might be a good kid's snack option (small stubby shape, sorta sweet, etc.), but not for me.   

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 2nd, 2009

Japanarama: Kit Kat Jasmine Tea Flavor


This Jasmine Kit Kat bar was a purchase back from my trip to Japan in May of this year- I figured I shouldn't/couldn't be hoarding these forever so I decided to give these a try.  Also, the cooling temperatures makes me think more of tea items inadvertently haha. 

The packaging is cute and v. feminine/frilly, as you can see.  If you can't tell just from looking at it, it's pretty much assumed that this is marketed 100% towards women.  On the top of the box it says "We support your calorie control!" and each portion (there are 4 bars total in the box- 2 packages of 2 bars each) is 109kcal according to the front of the box.  You always hear about the health benefits of tea and I'm assuming that they really were pushing for people to associate that with this product.

As far as the taste- I've had Earl Grey sweets before, so I assumed it would be similar to those.  The smell is nice- if you think you haven't had Jasmine tea before, think of the tea you normally get at Chinese restaurants- that's what these smell like, haha.  The first bite is a little weird, to be honest.  It looks like a regular milk chocolate Kit Kat but then you realize there's this somewhat-bitter-tea-leaf-smokiness coming from somewhere.  After a few bites though, it becomes a pleasant melding of chocolate with a background of tea. 

If you're a fan of tea in general (without the liberal dousing of sugar and milk, haha) you will probably like this.  Unfortunately in order to try one you'd have to do one of the following:

1) Go to Japan
2) Be there when this limited edition flavor is available
3) Contact me and get the other 2 bars I still have left over.

Although I will say, you're in NYC or another major city with lots of Asian markets, there is a chance they sell these at specialty candy stores/Japanese supermarkets.  I LOVE all the fun limited edition Kit Kats, can't wait to try more whenever I can get my paws on them, ha.     


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lunchtime Links for October 1st, 2009

  • The Hills: Recap from Tuesday night's premiere.
  • The City: Recap from Tuesday night's premiere.
  • Cheap Olive Oil: Interesting review of easily accessible olive oils.
  • Ooooooh: Christian Louboutin + Champy = YES please!
  • Flipping Out: Recap of Tuesday's episode. 

DSW Online Discounts for October

From October 1-31st, get $5 off any purchase of $49 or more.

Online Code: OCTPKG

They frequently have free shipping with minimum purchase as well, so if you're looking to save more money, you can use this when that code is available also.

Which... there is! Through November 9th, get free standard shipping on any purchase of $35 or more.

Online Code: FALLSHP