Do you deal with headaches? If so, bring it in for a hug because I totally feel you on the pain.
I have battled with terrible headaches over the years which left me seeing a bunch of doctors which led to tests which led to needles which led to MRI machines which led to expensive pills which led me to cry in bed with a pain throbbing in my head so bad it felt like it was going to shoot through my eye.
I still get these headaches. Although I try to battle headaches with diet, limiting my stress (terrible at this), acupuncture (I can do it from home now with this mat!) and headache medication (I take Maxalt, it’s the best headache medicine ever prescribed to me), I still get them. Just this week I had a horrible 36 hour headache that made working, or even walking down the street, difficult. The worst is when you are finally able to sleep, and think that when you wake up the next day will be great…. and then you open your eyes in the morning and that headache is still throbbing.
As much as I want that caffeinated Aged Earl Grey tea in the morning I found a simple and herbal solution to my headaches, mint tea. This tea isn’t guaranteed to erase your headaches, but it does a fantastic job at limiting the side effects I get from them, while helping me cope with the pain. Whenever I feel one of my headaches starting I immediately make a cup of this Mint Herbal Tea. The way that it works is that the mint opens up the brain’s constricted blood vessels, bringing relief to your headache. Pain killers act in the same way by relaxing the blood vessels (although, usually with caffeine with leads to caffeine withdraw… a brutal cycle!). I try to limit my prescribed headache medicine for the times when I think I’m a goner and instead reach for a few fresh mint leaves.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Emerald®. This is my honest opinion that I’m obsessed with their Dill Pickle Cashews!
Based on my multiple pickle recipes (hello, hello again) I guess you can say I love pickles. We grow cucumbers in the garden specifically for pickles. I never leave any pickle untouched when they come on the side of a sandwich lunch. I love peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. So when I heard that Emerald® came out with Dill Pickle Cashews, I was like YES YES YES YES!
I have been on a kick for Chinese food lately. We went to Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown a few weekends back and stocked up on dumplings, fresh udon and low mein noodles, bok choy of all sorts and more. I was a happy girl in the checkout line!
There’s been one favorite Chinese dish that’s been hard for me to conquer in the kitchen over the years, lo mein. I love the noodles, the sauce and all the fresh vegetables that are chopped up in it. I love ordering a plate full of lo mein and shocking everyone as I eat every single noodle. I love lo mein. From the Chinese restaurant to my own kitchen has been hard though. First you have to find the right noodles, and then you have to cook them just right. The most important part is making the sauce. The sauce needs to taste authentic while gently coating the noodles and vegetables.
But finally… finally…. I got it! I’ve made Chinese restaurant quality lo mein noodles at home! And now I’m sharing with you so everyone can get their lo mein on!
If you’ve been online, or watched TV you’ve probably seen the East Coast get hit by a major storm this weekend. Since late last week I have been cheering on the snow telling everyone we were going to get snowed in, while people said we wouldn’t get much more than half a foot. Weather reports varied. NYC might get 2 inches or 20 inches. Well looks like everyone was wrong. NYC got a 1 day snowfall of 26.8 inches! That’s .1 inch off the all time record that happened in 2006. In Brooklyn we actually got close to 29 inches, so maybe we can say the record did get broken this weekend, but not officially. Either way, on Saturday morning and throughout the day I was either walking the streets completely soaked and getting burned on the cheeks by the harsh wind, or watching with cats and a cup of tea in the windows.
Being snowed in brings me to this recipe for Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. As a kid Mom would always make me cookies or hot chocolate when I came in from a day of sledding. As a adult, there’s nothing better than a cookie and a cup of tea on a chilly day, especially when it’s a day of comfort where everything is closed so you have no guilt of not getting out of your pajamas or sitting on the couch all day long.
Late last year I had the pleasure of cooking in the Bon Appétit Kitchen at 1 World Trade Center for Hunt’s Tomatoes! There I made Ricotta, Basil, and Tomato Tea Sandwiches and Cheesy Taco Casserole while admiring their beautiful kitchen and dreaming it was my own. During the day I created 2 how to recipe videos, while working with a great team who wheeled in carts full of props that I got to ogle at.
First, let me show you the videos! I hope you like them both!
Cheesy Taco Casserole
Ricotta, Basil, and Tomato Tea Sandwiches
Here are some photos I took during the day. Everyone was so nice on set and I loved watching the food stylist work her magic.
This year when it was Christmas tree time we decided that we were going to start a new tradition. We would find a live tree, keep it for Christmas and then plant it on our land. Our hope is that we repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat (…) for a long time so that we eventually have a family of trees on the land that are both beautiful and hold special memories.
After I called multiple farms and struck out, I found a nursery in Long Island that sold live Colorado Blue Spruce trees with the ball still attached. So we drove out there, picked a favorite and loaded him into the car! Our little car by the way has carried alot in it’s short life so far. (You can see the container we bought off to the right too. This will be used every year to keep the tree in.)
There he stayed for a few weeks while we dressed him up and cats slept nearby.
A few days after Christmas we started to plan to take him (it’s a boy) to the land but the temperature difference between inside and outside Upstate NY would be a big shock so we had to harden him off (just like seedlings). We wrapped him up and took him to the stairwell of the roof to start getting used to the chill. He stayed there for 5 days before moving him to his final destination.
We have 4 heads of kale growing in the garden right now. They are hearty plants so they can hold up with Winter temperatures and a dusting of snow that might fall on their pretty little heads.
But I’m going to tell you something that might make me a bad gardener. Please don’t hate me. Kale isn’t a favorite food of mine. In fact if someone offers me a kale chip, I will take one because I’m nice, but in the back of my head I’m thinking “Oh, gee, a fake potato chip, great”. Now don’t get me wrong, kale chips can be good, but I don’t trust anyone who is going to pick a kale chip over a delicious kettle potato chip. You know those people who tell you they’d prefer a green kale smoothie instead of a chocolate milkshake? Yeah, never trust them.
So here’s my predicament. We grow kale because the plants themselves rule. They grow big and they always produce. Now comes the hard part. It’s usually hard for me to find something to do with kale that knocks our socks off in the kitchen. Out of the hundreds of recipes on this blog, there’s less than 10 that feature kale (and you can find them here). These are our favorite kale recipes, but you can tell the majority of them use kale in a way of “hiding” it (for example, kale meatballs are one of our favorites, but it gets the help of the meat and spices). There’s nothing wrong with that, I mean who cares how you get your greens in, right? But I feel like those recipes don’t give kale the respect it deserves. I need to respect the kale more. Kale does a awesome job in the garden and here I am not making it a star. While all the other plants end their garden season, kale stands out there in the freezing temperatures to keep growing for us. Gosh, I feel like a horrible garden mom now. I’M SORRY KALE. I WILL LEARN TO LOVE YOU MORE! I WILL LEARN TO EAT YOU MORE!
Say hello to “Potatoes and Kale”. A basic, easy recipe that taught me to respect the kale, love the kale, eat more of the kale. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m in love with this simple meal. I super can’t believe I’m saying this but I ask for kale for dinner now. Matthew is all “What should we have for dinner tonight?” and I’m all like “Kale! Kale! Kale!”. This little dish changed my feelings towards kale. Also I should give credit where it’s due, thank you Matthew, because this is his recipe. He’s the chef behind Potatoes and Kale. After asking this for the 3rd night in a week I got him to write out the recipe which I’m sharing here.
The ingredients are simple. Potatoes. Kale. Olive Oil. Salt + Pepper. That’s it. Eat it as a side dish or throw it on a little bed of noodles and call it dinner (that’s what we do). Not only is the meal delicious and easy, but it makes you feel like a all-star afterwards because you just ate a healthy meal and you loved it!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VivaLaMorena #CollectiveBias
This Chipotle Lentil Dip is smoky, flavorful, and brings a touch of heat. Use it to dip chips, crackers or vegetables in! Or use it as a spread on a sandwich! Either way, you can’t go wrong!
Do you snack when you get home from work (or school)? Or do you have the willpower to wait until dinner? I often get scolded because even if dinner is only 30 minutes away, I usually spoil my appetite just a touch with a snack. Usually it’s a piece of string cheese, a big handful of almonds, a banana or crackers. One of my favorite snacks is candied jalapenos on a small slice of cheddar on top of a cracker, but sadly I’m all out of candied jalapenos (weep, weep). So while I was looking for something to become best friends with my beloved salted crackers I came up with this simple Chipotle Lentil Dip.
This is a type of dip that keeps giving. You get one taste in your first bite but then it develops into a new taste as you continue. First you’ll taste the smokiness, then a slight sweetness and finally a hint of heat due to those chipotle peppers. Some people fear spicy foods so this isn’t a heat overload. It’s not going to burn your mouth, or even make you wince. It’s a good middle in the road dip that spicy food lovers and haters can both enjoy. But if you are a heat seeker, add in 2 chipotle peppers and you’ll get double the kick. With some major football games coming up be sure you make enough if you have guests coming over or are going to a friends house. This dip is completely veggie friendly and is a good alternative to snack on instead of those greasy finger goods we all eat while watching the big games.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Redpack Tomatoes for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
The love of lentils is a recent phenomenon for me. It wasn’t until I stopped eating meat that I realized how amazing (not to mention delicious and filling) they are. I usually put dry lentils in the mind frame of dry beans. Dry beans are cheap and tasty, but I never want to wait to soak them (or should I say, I always forget to soak them). Then I realized that dry lentils don’t have to be soaked overnight. Cook them for 30 minutes and they’re ready to go. Once I found that out, it was official: I was in love with lentils.
I’ve been enjoying these Lentils in Crushed Tomato Sauce for a bit now. They have slowly risen to my top 10 current favorite meals. It finally feels like winter here, so we curl up with these lentils on sandwich rolls or alongside some french-fries, and it’s the perfect quick dinner while we watch whatever basketball game is on that night.
Buying land was the result of wanting a garden that came with no rules. So it’s no surprise that the first thing to build on the land is a garden! It’s funny to think about where the garden started from. In 2009 it was 32 square feet and then it became a few hundred square feet, getting bigger by the year. Now it has a few acres to grow!
The future garden is 56×40. That’s huge! We started smaller but I complained it wasn’t big enough so we expanded another few feet (thanks Matthew!). Now that I can stand inside the garden space I realize how big it is and how many plants it would take to fill up the area. Maybe I went a little crazy, but at least we have room to grow!
It’s hard to figure out what steps to do first when you’re starting from the beginning (and in Winter). I suppose our steps could have been in a different order to make things easier on us, but with us spending sporadic weekends up there and wanting to use the equipment when we have it to avoid extra rental day costs we’re doing things as we can. For example, over Thanksgiving we put in the fence posts because the weather was nice and we had a free weekend. Now that the posts are up, there’s no way a truck is going to be able to empty soil/compost into it easily when Spring is here. That means they will have to dump it nearby and we’ll have to move it into the garden ourselves. It’s extra work, but we think in the end it’s going to make the process completed quicker. Plus to be honest, the process is sometimes much more fun than the complete project.
With the garden being the first thing we want completed we wanted to get a jump on turning the soil. We rented a skid steer for a weekend to remove the top layer of grass and turn the soil under neath. We are in the Catskills so we knew it was going to be rocky but we weren’t sure how rocky it was going to be. Our land is former farm land, but it sure is rocky too. Over the next few visits we’ll be removing as many as the rocks as we can. There’s lots of rocks. I guestimated millions. There’s no way we are going to be able to remove all the rocks, but there are some big ones (that I can’t even lift) that need to be removed as well as endless smaller ones. The goal is for every rock that’s larger than a tennis ball to be removed. You might think this sounds easy, but there’s tons of rocks and we dug deep to turn the soil… so rocks are everywhere. I see them in my nightmares! I tried to find a easier way to do this but without some heavy duty farm equipment, it seems by rake and hand is easiest. You’ll see me sitting in the dirt often in the next few months. It might look like I’m not doing anything but I really am! I’m going to become a expert rock picker. The rocks are going to be used to line the exterior of the garden too, we’re trying to give back to the land whatever we dig up. We think lining the outside of the garden with rocks will help keep pests from digging into the garden. Since we won’t be able to guard the garden on a daily basis we’re trying to protect it however we can. It’s going to be a learning process with some heartbreak involved.
In the pictures below you’ll see our garden posts up. I’ll be doing a whole series on how we built our garden fence. Right now the fence posts are in (hard work). Next, the fencing material and wood needs to be attached to make a complete fence. This is going to take time, some friends and some hopeful warmer days. I’ll be documenting all the steps so by end of Spring you should see a entire DIY fence post coming!
Now let’s first see the damage we did over the weekend.
Yup, the title is correct. We picked tomatoes in January. It’s crazy!
If you live in the Northeast then you probably have witnessed this confusing “Winter” weather. Usually in November you can feel the weather start to change but this year it didn’t hit. Then December came and I thought “Well, now it’s going to feel like Winter”. And on a few days, it did. But the majority of the days did not feel like Winter. Oh Christmas Eve we took a walk, me in short sleeves and Matthew in shorts. It was in the 70’s! ON CHRISTMAS EVE. I have to type that in caps to understand the craziness. December set temperature records across NYC, including Christmas day. Now it’s the beginning of January and I think it’s finally starting to feel like Winter. Winter, are you here? It’s me, Pamela. Snow if you can hear me.
Because of the lack of near frost temperatures and our schedule getting busy, this year we didn’t cut down our tomato plants like we usually do at the beginning of November. There were still some green tomatoes on the plants and the weather was still changing daily so we left the plants up. November came, December came, and the tomato plants stayed up. During the Winter we don’t visit the garden everyday so you can imagine my surprise when I checked it out one day and I saw all these tomatoes on the plants! Can you believe it? I thought the plants would be dead by now, but instead they’ve been on the roof making tomatoes! What busy plants…!
So with it finally feeling like Winter (40 degrees out today) and seeing the upcoming night time temperatures I took a basket to the garden this weekend and picked pounds of tomatoes. I can’t believe we were able to pick tomatoes in the beginning of January!
That’s probably going to be your reaction when you take a sip of this hot cocoa. It’s double chocolate so you may need to add 15 minutes to your treadmill routine, but trust me, it’s worth it. And with the recent weather change from shorts (It was 75 degrees last week!) to Winter gloves (It’s sleeting outside) I’m totally going to enjoy a big cup of this hot cocoa!
I love the combo of chocolate + sea salt, so I wanted to share this recipe because it’s the perfect combo of sweet and salty. Just a sprinkle of sea salt on top helps balance out the richness of the double chocolate. Throw some marshmallows and holiday sprinkles on top and you’ll have your new favorite Winter drink.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Feliway® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Last, last weekend we went back to Pennsylvania we went back to visit my family. This is my annual pilgrimage to Pennsylvania where Dad feeds us calories to last us a month, while I poke around in picture books and share memories of where I grew up with Matthew. Since my Dad hasn’t been up to NYC in a while that means he hasn’t seen his favorite Meowza girl, Xanadu. My dad has a sweet relationship with Xanadu and Xanadu loves being spoiled by him. Since he was missing her, we decided to take Xanadu back to Pennsylvania with us. She’s done this road trip before so we figured she’d be fine again. We also took Toes because my Dad hasn’t met her yet and she’s a awesome girl.
Not to tell you the outcome of the story this quick but Xanadu didn’t like her road trip. Actually she really hated it. She didn’t like any part of it, except when we left my Dad’s a day early to come back to NYC because of how sad Xanadu was. Something upset her during this road trip and she didn’t take well to the car ride there, or his house. On the flip side, on the car ride back to NYC she was purring and kissing me like a baby, so maybe Xanadu just used her Siamese powers to get what she wanted and tricked us all. This was on the trip to Pennsylvania….. and these were her subtle meows.
In the What I LOVE series, I’m sharing current things that I love. Maybe it’s a new restaurant, maybe it’s a new cookie, maybe it’s a new cat toy, maybe it’s… anything!
Remember Savage Garden? Remember their lyrics:
I want to stand with you on a mountain. / I want to bathe with you in the sea. / I want to lay like this forever. / Until the sky falls down on me
Yeah, well that’s how I feel about all the popcorn from Pop Works & Company right now, especially the Cookies & Cream. It’s really good and I mean reaaaaaaaaaaaalllly good. It’s so good we’re basically tackling each other to get the few pieces left in the bag. There’s side eyes being shot at one another when someone says they finished the bag without you knowing it. This popcorn is popped just right and seasoned with all the sweetness you need.
If you’re looking for a Winter soup that will warm you up then look no further – this Cheesy Vegetable Soup is it!
*First of all – Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas to everyone! I want to wish you and your family a happy and relaxing Christmas. I’m virtually sending you a gift wrapped hug and hot chocolate! *
This soup has it all – tons of vegetables, tons of flavor and lots of creamy cheesiness! When I made this and saw people were going back for seconds (and thirds!) then I knew this soup was a hit. While spooning a cheesy taste into their mouth and muttering “This soup is really good!” then I knew I had to post this recipe!
Vegetable soups are usually thought of more broth based, but I love cheesy vegetables. I was able to use our frozen garden green beans and carrots in this recipe. It’s the best feeling when you can use your Summer veggies on cold Winter days! For this recipe I’m using frozen green beans, frozen corn and fresh carrots and potatoes, but you can throw whatever frozen vegetables you want into this. Frozen broccoli, cauliflower, California blend, carrots or peas would all taste great! If possible, don’t skip the potatoes! It gives the soup a heartiness that will fill you up.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MinionsMovieNight #CollectiveBias
I don’t really know what more to say but I’m in love with this recipe. I love them so much that I’m sitting her writing this post with marshmallow cream on my pinky finger because I just ate one. If I could talk you into making 3 recipes from Brooklyn Farm Girl, this would be one of them.
These Whoopie pies are perfect for desserts, parties, bake sales, holiday gifts and movie night! To celebrate the Minions movie DVD release I made a batch of these whoopie pies, grabbed a blanket and we had movie night on the couch.
Whoopie pies were a big thing growing up. We would head to the auction market every Sunday. Sometimes it would be one nearby, sometimes we’d head to the Amish Market in Lancaster. It didn’t matter where we went because whoopie pies would always end up in our basket. Now with a whoopie pie craving happening but no whoopie pie seen at my local grocer I headed to the kitchen.
I’ve made chocolate whoopie pies and pumpkin whoopie pies in the past but I never made vanilla. Vanilla cake is one of my favorite treats so these pies have a cake like texture with being soft. And the filling. AND THE FILLING. The filling is incredible. Marshmallow was always the filling for homemade whoopie pies at the market so I went classic with this recipe and kept the marshmallow cream that made me fall in love with them 25 years ago. The cream filling is now a kitchen favorite and I probably ate 5 (or 10) spoonfuls of it while making these pies. Because of the marshmallow, the filling is light and fluffy, perfect to go with the soft pies.
The title of this recipe was a combination of Matthew’s “scrumptious” description and my “DA BOMB” peanut butter frosting because people love it a lot. Also the phrase DA BOMB isn’t used as much anymore and I think we should bring it back. Occasionally, not all the time, let’s not get crazy.
Chocolate cookies aren’t appreciated enough in my opinion. Usually when you hear chocolate in a cookie you automatically think of chocolate chip cookies, but how about straight up chocolate cookies? Chocolate cookies are a thing of beauty when you bake them and they get that cracked texture on top. Now throw on some frosting (that’s right) on top and you have your new favorite cookie. The holiday season is all about comfort food and cookies are on the top of this list. Who else receives cookies as gifts from their mother, aunt or sister? It’s the best! This year I decided I’m going to make cookies and chocolates as gifts to family and friends. There’s something real special about handing a nicely wrapped tin of cookies that still smell like they came straight from the oven to people you love.
It’s almost as good as unwrapping a Goblin for Christmas. Almost.
If you guys can’t tell I’m obsessed with peanut butter frosting right now so I asked why do cupcakes and donuts get to have all the fun? Cookies need decadent frosting too! I’m sure noone will disagree with this… right?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendHallmark #CollectiveBias
Donuts + Holidays = that card. Don’t you agree?
I have a thing for donuts. Ever since I was a little girl I loved heading to the local bakery to get a freshly made vanilla frosted donut with sprinkles. On mornings when I was lucky, Mom would take us to Dunkin Donuts where I’d get a blueberry frosted donut. Now, grown up (sorta) and living in NYC, I’m exposed to some of the best donuts in the world. I have a confession. When I’m out by myself in a new neighborhood I will open Yelp and type in “donuts” to see if there’s any new spots nearby that I haven’t visited. Just a few blocks away from me is the dangerously delicious DOUGH. DOUGH is the best NYC donut spot. No arguments allowed, they are the best! They are these pillowy soft donuts with the best icing. They taste light but you know you just ate a whole meals worth of calories. It’s worth it. When I’m home and craving a sweet, or need to bring a dessert to a party, I usually grab my handy donut pan and get to work. Sometimes I’m feeling vanilla, other times chocolate, and maybe I’m feeling crazy so I add some tea or berries to make a new flavor. If you don’t have a donut pan, buy one, it will be a life changing moment when you make donuts for the first time.
That’s how these Fudgy Milk Chocolate Donuts With Peanut Butter Frosting happened. I needed donuts.
We try to make as many things as we can. Matthew is a handy man so that means our dinner table, bed, living room tables and more were all made by him. On our walls are photos we’ve made or illustrations we’ve commissioned artists to do. Even my favorite sweatshirt has sweet Goblin’s face on it.
When it comes to the holidays for gifts and decor I’m all about customizing as much as I can. I hand stamp the wrapping paper. I made the gift tags. For our greeting cards, we always like to personalize them as much as we can to make them stand out and cause the recipient a smile.
For this year’s cards I decided to try to dress Goblin and Xanadu up… and you can see it went great. So instead of scrapping the idea, why not use the failed photos for a laugh?
Can I tell you how annoying it’s been trying to work find clothes for working on the land that actually fits me? We went to a outfitter store a few weeks ago to buy work clothes and the store should have been called “Made for Men” Matthew had no problem finding overalls, jacket, boots and everything else. Their women’s section had dresses, scarves, exercise pants and cashmere sweaters. Ok, that’s real fair.
They had no women’s overalls.
They had 2 jackets.
They had 3 pairs of women’s boots while Matthew had 2 walls filled.
I had to try on men’s jackets and overalls which weighed 10 pounds. How was I going to swing my ax with this extra weight? Ok maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Maybe there will be no ax swinging in the near future, but how was I suppose to move with this extra 20 pounds on me?
So I became frustrated and didn’t buy anything.
I threw Matthew’s overalls on at home, sauntering around like weighed down zombie, mumbling how nice he had it in life.
I have no shame in saying this. Not only do I want work clothes that fit me, I want them to be pretty too. Yeah, take that. Give me purple. Give me blue. Give me pink. Let me match my nails to my overalls. It’s like they’re saying that if you want to work hard then you need to dress like a man. Whatever. I have an ax.
When I was seeing darkness finally there was light! There she was, my Carhartt Full Swing Sandstone Winn Jacket! It was nice looking. It was light. It actually fit my body correctly. It wasn’t going to make me sink to the bottom if I fell into a pond. I was in love.