Category: This Week on Instagram

This Week on Instagram

My first full week back, and I wasted no time drafting up a ridiculous looking to-do list. I baked a special birthday cake, made my date truffles and hosted a potluck Arabic Breakfast (which actually took place around brunch time), among many other adventures.

 

First thing’s first. Upon my return from travel, one of the first things I did, was head to my absolute favorite grocery store, Wegman’s . I was so excited when I saw this tomato dispenser. There’s a real sense of excitement when you have the ability to dispense multi-colored cherry tomatoes.

 

I love it when my dad decides he wants to make something for dinner, but then doesn’t actually know what he’s doing. He brought home this tuna steak and wanted to have it for dinner. My mom, dad and I spent a good 15 minutes discussing and researching how to crust, sear and cut tuna steak- YouTube video tutorials and all. It was a success! Thank you YouTube for being one of the best platforms for how-to’s.

 

This week I made a very special cake for a very special birthday boy. Truth be told, he’s my friend’s son and I couldn’t wait to make something special for him. We celebrated at our weekly movie night, and he was just over the moon with excitement. I’m going to guess it’s because he had a 4-layer triple chocolate cake with oreo frosting to enjoy to himself! I will say though, the baking, frosting and assembly were easy compared to the anxiety and work I put into transporting the cake. Note to self, never go into cake delivery.

 

Does anyone else go to Costco with the intention of buying 2-3 items and leave spending at least $200? I went into Costco intending to pick up bread, coffee cups and eggs. I left with beach chairs (it’s March in DC, by the way), a 100-pack of razors and tank tops – among many other things I did not have on my list. Oh yea, and I lunched on the samples.

 

We’re still snacking on the delicious almond biscotti I brought back from Rome. It goes perfectly with my coffee and hazelnut creamer.

 

Finally getting around to testing some of the olive oils from Rome. I bought olive oil made from black olives. It’s has a thicker, creamier taste, but goes perfectly with Italian Pane bread.

 

I decided to join my mom for yoga on the weekends, starting this last week. The yoga classes are part of the gym we’re both members of. I woke up and with only half a cup of coffee in, I made my way to class thinking it would be great to have a relaxed class. Surprise! I walked into “broga.” As the instructor explained, it’s yoga developed by “bros” and involves more active participation. So basically, I was doing pushups and burpees in yoga class!  

 

I posted my first Instagram story video tutorial for my date truffles. I’m not great with video, and I definitely did not primp ahead of time, because I had my “home bun” as I like to call it. The date truffles are really easy and really fun to make. One day, when I have my YouTube channel all set up and I start recording and editing recipe videos, you all will be the first to know about it.

 

Sunday I invited over some friends for a potluck brunch. The potluck brunch turned into an Arabic Breakfast and it was amazing. We had fool (فول) fattet hummus (فتة حمص), falafel (فلافل), manaeesh (مناقيش), cheese assortment, egg station, labaneh, quiche, hash brown casserole. We even had fig walnut bread. It was fabulous.

 

Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

 

This Week on Instagram

Roma! My first international trip of the year was spent in Rome, Italy, home of pizza, pasta, gelato and the most fabulous wines. Oh, right, and ancient ruins, of course.

I only spent a few days in Rome, but I walked and ate my way around the city. See, the Italians, they know how to live! Everyone is skinny, and beautiful and all about being in fashion. They also enjoy time at the dinner table, where nothing is rushed. So let’s get started with this week’s wrap up. Disclaimer, it’s my full-time job that actually sent me to Rome for a conference. Those days were long and busy, but I evened it out with a little bit of my own free time, and obviously food.

 

Upon arrival in Rome, I took the train from Rome Fiumicino Airport to the Termini Station, which was only a couple blocks from my hotel. Despite the fact that I try really hard to travel light, I ended up with a rolling carryon bag and a medium suitcase. I just can’t help it!

 

I didn’t waste any time that first day. After checking in and freshening up (I’m pretty sure I took a minimum of 3 showers a day), I headed straight to Trevi Fountain, where I dug out a quarter and did what everyone does – made a wish. They say, if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain with your right hand over your left shoulder, with your back to the fountain, that it will ensure your return to Rome.

 

Not far from Trevi, are the Spanish Steps. While they hold much historic significance, I admit I was more captivated by Piazza Spagna where the designer shops line each of the streets leading to the steps. The view from the top of the steps though, is breathtaking.

 

I’m pretty sure I walked most of the inner part of Rome by dark. With pending dinner plans, I didn’t want to spoil my appetite too much. Just a little, three-scoop, gelato from Come il Latte. Not only is their gelato absolutely delicious, the interior of the gelato shop was super cute. They have milk bottles up on shelves lining the interior walls. My three scoops of choice: hazelnut, raspberry and pistachio.

 

After walking up and down what seemed like endless hills, I finally had dinner at San Marco with a few of my coworkers. We started off with house wine all around, and decided we were all ordering pizzas. But before digging in, we also got bruschetta.

You may not know this, but classic bruschetta is actually just garlic roasted bread with olive oil. We learned that lesson real quick. Namely when we all waited around for tomatoes to arrive, only to be told we ordered “classico,” DUH!

 

I opted for a white pizza. Pizza here in the U.S. has nothing on Italy’s Pizzas.

 

To end the night, we were treated to lemoncello shots, to be sipped and enjoyed as dessert, as opposed to chugged. Lemoncello  was everywhere in Rome. And while I so badly wanted to enjoy it, the alcohol content was just too strong for my weak little taste buds.

 

The best part of the hotel, the breakfast view. And breakfast of course. I started each of my days off staring at Rome’s skyline with my cappuccino, eggs, some cheese and focaccia bread.

 

A trip to Rome is not complete without a trip to the Colosseum. It’s absolutely astounding to think about how they build these massive structures in ancient times without the help of our modern technologies.

 

Rome’s charming streets and narrow alleys were always filled with pedestrians, cars and mopeds. The mopeds are so popular, you could easily find them parked lining an entire street. I seriously considered renting one. But considering Roman drivers, I decided to pass.

 

Aside from the Colosseum, I also made my way to the Roman Theater (not photographed) and the Pantheon. I’m telling you, Roman history is fascinating.

 

What’s even more fascinating? The shops along each of the small roads around Rome filled with goodies waiting to be bought.

 

I found this delectable place filled with breads and cheeses and wines and meats. I settled for a caprese sandwich on focaccia bread, and sat across the street on the steps facing the Pantheon.

 

Because I don’t already have a problem with shopping, I find these shops filled with pasta, olive oil, spices and, naturally, lemoncello.

 

Did you know that most Italian coffee shops offer you coffee at a bar? That it’s widely accepted to drink your coffee standing while talking to the barista? Now you know. Here I am sipping a cappuccino while some businessmen are doing the same and chatting just a few feet away.

 

I’m wrapping up two of my dinners into one. Basically I ate tons and tons of pasta in Rome. Mind you, I generally don’t order pasta dishes here at home. When in Rome!

 

Can we talk about how my cheese and pepper pasta was served in a parmesan bowl?!

 

Incase you were wondering, yes, Barilla is the pasta of choice in Italy. How do I know this? I just had to visit the local grocery store.

 

One of my nights in Rome, I was treated to a visit to a local, chic bar, Salotto 42 . The vibe was very chill, everyone was dressed to the T, and the wine was off the hook! (Do people still say that?). They even offer free appetizers. There’s something in Italy called Aperitivo. It’s kind of like happy hour, but better.

 

I just had to share this photo of a tiny car with Roman cobble stone roads. Yes, someone owns and drives that car, and they fit four people inside. I saw it with my own two eyes.

 

Rome was a blast. I loved every moment, even the really hectic and busy moments doing real work for my day job. I did not leave Italy empty handed. I left with tons of pasta, spices and olive oil, because I’m a food blogger of course.

 

Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

 

This Week on Instagram

Guys!!! Before we begin, I have an announcement to make …

Measuring Cups Optional, more specifically, my Labaneh Rounds, were featured on a National Cheese Day Roundup by The Kitchen Addiction and featured on Buzzfeed last week! Tell me that’s not exciting. There are so many other great recipes in the roundup, so don’t forget to scroll through the whole post. 

And now back to our regularly scheduled weekly feature.

 

Cinnamon Tea

I was visiting Tayta early last week when she offered me cinnamon tea. It was delicious by the way! I debated long and hard about whether or not to post a recipe for cinnamon tea. I thought maybe I’d make a it a post about unusual or out of the ordinary, easy to make teas. Have you heard of White Coffee? It’s not what you think. Unlike regular tea, in which tea leaves are steeped or boiled in water, Cinnamon Tea is just that — Cinnamon. If I do post a cinnamon tea recipe. You’ll be the first to read about it.

 

Healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I tested out some cookies with natural sweeteners. Don’t forget to check out the full recipe for my No Added Sugar Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.

 

Lamb Kabob Marinade

I somehow on Wednesday, I was able to squeeze in a Wegman’s run and prepping marinade for lamb skewers between the end of the workday and getting ready for girls night. Stay tuned for Lamb Skewers coming to the blog within the next couple weeks …

 

Greenhouse Bistro

This week we had girls night at Greenhouse Bistro. I heard good things about this place. My brother even suggested I check it out because it’s “so cute.” Yes, the atmosphere is super chic, and they even grow their own herbs on the back wall of the restaurant. I was surprised, though, that it was fairly empty at 7:30pm on a Wednesday night. I’ve been told they have a DJ and shisha on the weekends. I’ll have to go back to see what that’s all about.

 

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

I’m working on some recipes for an upcoming dinner party. I have an entire menu planned, but I’ve got to try everything before the actual dinner. Last week, I tested lemon roasted potatoes.

 

Cake Frosting

Apparently I’ve become the family cake icer. How, you ask, did I come to gain this title? Well, because over the last couple years, I’ve baked cakes for everyone’s birthday. My skills started out really weak. I made several rookie mistakes, like, oh I don’t know … trying to frost a cake before it cooled, only to have it start falling apart completely. NBD. Then I started watching cake icing tutorials. Pro Tip: start with icing in the middle of the top of the cake and spread outwards and around the sides. Then, once you’ve added all the layers, even out the outside.

 

Until next week …. follow along on Instagram

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