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Thursday, 16 May 2013 18:15

TND: Greek Easter/Passover Dinner

Happy Thursday! A few weeks ago my darling Jewish boyfriend, Dave, and I had a combined Greek Easter/Belated Passover holiday dinner.



We've been having many conversations lately about what it means to have a reformed interfaith relationship and this was our first attempt at really coming together and combining our two family traditions. We both dug out our family recipes, I got on the phone with my Uncle Greg for grilling instructions, and we spent two full days preparing for our giant feast. Our friends arrived one by one, I put on Shovels & Rope (because obviously that is the perfect Greek Easter/Passover music), we poured wine, and it began.

greekeaster-IMG 1259

After some of the more complex discussions we've had about what our possible, future family would look like we took all that we had learned thus far and came together and shared our favorite traditions with our nearest and dearest. We spoke Hebrew and Greek and ended the night with our favorite American dessert, s'mores.

greekeaster-IMG 1254

greekeaster-IMG 1253

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By the end of the night, we were all making plans for the next one.







Grilled Greek Lamb
by Stephania Stanley

What you need: 

  • lamb (1/2 lb per person)
  • olive oil
  • fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

Coat the lamb with olive oil and generously salt and pepper both sides. 


Assemble charcoal around the edges of the grill (so that the heat will be around the edges of the grill and not directly in the center). Place an disposable aluminum pan with 1" of water in the center. Heat up the grill. Grill lamb until the center of the meat reads 140°F. We grilled a butterflied 7Lb lamb and it took a little over an hour. 


Once the lamb is ready, let it rest for about 20 minutes and slice diagonally in 1/4" thick slices. Pour the liquid from the aluminum pan into a serving bowl (now au jus) and add a spoonful or so over the lamb when serving.


Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 18:38

Our 3 Most Favorite Chili Recipes

It's freezing cold outside and the Superbowl is only days away...baby it's chili time! Colleen and I have never been big football fans, but we are most definitely fans of the food and craft beer that often comes along with game day.  We'll take any excuse to eat comfort food and drink in the middle of a Sunday afternoon and the Superbowl always seems to amplify our hunger for bar food, artisinal bar food, but bar food nonetheless. This year I'm even more excited, because I've gotten myself hooked on Friday Night Lights and am therefore convinced that I'll understand what's going on in the game without having to ask one of my very patient friends. Somehow, each year after fully understanding the game by the end of the previous season, I completely forget the following year. Perhaps I'm always just distracted by the food?

In honor of all things football, here are our three very favorite chili recipes! 



$100 Deer Chili

by Ruth and Michael Pryor

What you need:

  • 2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 1 lbs ground venison
  • 1/2 pound pepper crusted salami chopped in small pieces
  • 3 links of columbian or mexican chorizo
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 habaneros, deseeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp corn meal
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 28oz beef broth
  • 28oz whole tomatoes (blend quickly)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 bay leaves

What to do:

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté for three minutes.  Add the sirloin, venison, chorizo and samali.  Mix often to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly and sauté for about ten minutes or until meat is cooked through.  Carefully pour fat out of pot (making sure to leave onions, garlic, and turkey in the pot).  Return pot to heat.  Add one beef broth,  tomatoes, habaneros, chili powder, cumin, corn meal, and garlic salt to meat mixture. Then place the  cinnamon stick and bay leaves to mixture.  Stir to mix and let it simmer for about 3 hours. Before serving remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Serve in big bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan.

Serves 8-10.


Beer and Honey Chili

by Stephania Stanley 


What you need:

  • 1 ½ lbs ground turkey meat
  • 1 ½ bottles of beer (ambers are great)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
  • 1 16 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Grated Parmesan (optional)


In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté for three minutes.  Add garlic and green bell pepper and sauté for an additional three minutes.  Next add the turkey meat.  Mix often to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly and sauté for about ten minutes or until meat is cooked through.  Carefully pour fat out of pot (making sure to leave onions, garlic, and turkey in the pot).  Return pot to heat.  Add one bottle of beer, honey, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne to turkey mixture.  Stir to mix and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.  Now it’s time to add the remaining beer, but add to taste.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes and then add black beans.  Stir to mix and simmer for a final 30 minutes.  Serve in big bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan.
Serves 8-10.


Sweet ‘n Spicy Veggie Chili
by Colleen Reilly and Derek Ingersoll
What you need:
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 30 oz can of dark red kidney beans
1 8 oz can diced tomatoes (with green chilies)
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
4 oz tomato paste
1 lb veggie meat crumblers
24 oz low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Nickel-size diameter uncooked spaghetti
1 pack chili seasoning
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp honey
What to do:
Sauté onion and garlic in a large, deep pot for 8-10 minutes or until onions are
clear. Add remaining ingredients (except spaghetti and meat crumbles) and let
simmer for at least 1 1/2-2hrs (feel free to let it simmer for up to 5 hours), adding
small amounts of water as needed and stirring occasionally. Finally add the
spaghetti and the meat crumbles and let cook until the noodles are tender adding
water if necessary (about 20 minutes), don’t cook too long as noodles will get
mushy. Salt, pepper and add hot sauce to taste. Serve it up in bowls and enjoy!
This will make about 6 servings.

Sweet 'n Spicy Veggie Chili

by Colleen Reilly and Derek Ingersoll

What you need:

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 30 oz can of dark red kidney beans
  • 1 8 oz can diced tomatoes (with green chilies)
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 4 oz tomato paste
  • 1 lb veggie meat crumblers
  • 24 oz low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • Nickel-size diameter uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 pack chili seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp honey

What to do:

Sauté onion and garlic in a large, deep pot for 8-10 minutes or until onions are clear. Add remaining ingredients (except spaghetti and meat crumbles) and let simmer for at least 1 1/2-2hrs (feel free to let it simmer for up to 5 hours), adding small amounts of water as needed and stirring occasionally. Finally add the spaghetti and the meat crumbles and let cook until the noodles are tender adding water if necessary (about 20 minutes), don’t cook too long as noodles will get mushy. Salt, pepper and add hot sauce to taste. Serve it up in bowls and enjoy!

This will make about 6 servings.



Published in THURSDAYS Blog
Thursday, 24 January 2013 10:49

TND: Brisket Tacos from Jezebel

Happy Thursday! Well after many hours of research, dozens of emails, and twice as many text messages we finally have our 30th birthday trip planned! Colleen and I are heading to Miami with the original Thursdays girls, Emily and Kate. Since none of us are really Miami kind if girls, we've decided to fully embrace the trip and really get down with the city. It will be kind of like when my friends from home dress up for the Indy 500 and wear cut off jean shorts, fake mullets, and drink exclusively Coors Light. After all, if you can't beat them, then join them, right? In all seriousness, I am pretty excited to lounge by the pool, perhaps strap on a pair of gold heels and go dancing, and explore the enticing world of Cuban food that I've heard so much about.  Then half way through the week, I'm off to Puerto Rico to meet Dave for our very first vacation. Ever since we clicked "confirm" on Orbitz, all I can think about is sunshine, a new bikini, cocktails, and feeling the sand between my toes. Heaven.
Until then, I'm going to do my best to embrace the bitter cold and continue to plug away at my New Years resolutions.  This week I'm trying out this recipe that I shot for an article at DailyCandy featuring one of the best Kosher restaurants in town, Jezebel.  Let me just say that I am indeed not Jewish, have no interest in keeping Kosher (or any other regulation on my diet), but would go to this resaurant any day of the week. So in honor of my New Years resolution to try at least one new recipe per week, I'm going for these brisket tacos.

Brisket Tacos with Apple Jicama Slawjezebel-IMG 1699
by Chef Chris Mitchell of Jezebel 

(makes 24)

What you need:           

For the brisket: 

  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin 
  • ½ tsp. ground fennel seed 
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 lb. first-cut brisket
  • 2 cup tomato juice
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beer

For the slaw: 

  • 2 granny smith apples with skin, juliened 
  • 1 large jicama, peeled and juliened
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For the salsa: 

  • 1 cups cherry tomatoes, rinced
  • 1 jalapeno with seeds
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ½ bunch basil, roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of 3 limes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

What you do:

    For the brisket: 

    In a small mixing bowl, combine first five ingredients. Stir to mix.  Coat brisket with marinade and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to 24 hours. 

    Preheat oven to 400° F.  Roast brisket uncovered for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat to 225°F and add tomato juice, orange peel, vinegar, and beer to pan. Cover and continue to cook for about 90 minutes or until meat begins to fall of the bone.

    For the slaw: 

    Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Stir to mix. Add salt to taste.

    For the salsa:

    Add ingredients to a food processor.  Pulse together, but leave mixture chunky.  Add salt to taste.

    To assemble tacos: 

    Lightly toast tortillas.  Add salsa first, then brisket, and top with apple-jicima slaw to each taco. Garnish with cilantro and lime juice. 


        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Tuesday, 24 January 2012 10:53

        TND: Beef and Goat Cheese Empanadas & Sewing 101

        Happy Thursday everyone! As you can probably imagine, this week's theme, Winter White, has been on my mind and it got me thinking about the whole "no white" rule between Labor Day and Memorial Day. I'm always disappointed when Labor Day comes and goes and I have to say goodbye to my favorite white linen pants, even though it's still 75 degrees outside. Do you guys still follow that rule? Thankfully, no such rule exists for dressing up our interiors. As some of you may know, my mom gave me a sewing machine for Christmas and I have been practicing away to complete the decorating for my house. My next project is curtains and wouldn't you know it, white curtains. Since I have yet to take a proper sewing class, I have been scouring my favorite DIY blogs for a  how-to on long, flowing curtains and finally found the perfect tutorial this morning.  

        I'll be following the basic curtain steps from here.  And then I'll be adding on this cute fringe detail in red from here.  I also found really great tips about the proper measurements for all different kinds of curtains here.

        Photo: marthastewart.com

        For dinner we're doing beef and goat cheese empanadas topped with pickled onions. These guys are seriously delicious and the pickled onions really give them this lovely zesty punch. You can definitely make them on your own, but Caitlin and I found it easiest to set up a little system where she rolled and cut the dough and I stuffed and closed them. You can deep fry these, but we went for the baking approach.  Let me just say, they didn't taste one bit like we went the healthy way!




        Beef and Goat Cheese Empanadas

        by Stephania Stanley 

        What you need:empanadas-3188

        For the dough:

        • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
        • 2 sticks of butter (cut into 1/2" cubes)
        • 2 large eggs
        • 3 tsp salt
        • 2/3 cup ice water
        • 2 tsp distilled vinegar

        For the filling:

        • 1lb ground beef
        • 6 oz goat cheese
        • 1/2 onion, diced
        • 1 garlic clove, minced
        • 1 dash cayenne
        • 1/4 tsp chili powder
        • 1 dash salt
        • 1 dash pepper
        • 1 tbsp olive oil
        • Optional: Top with pickled onions
        Note: I used a food processor for the crust, but you can also mix the crust by hand.  I also topped each empanada when they were ready to eat with pickled onions.  You can find the recipe I used here.

        What you do:

        Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  

        In a food processor (or by hand) combine the flour and butter for the dough.  Mix until it's similar to cornmeal and make sure to not overmix.  Stop the processor and add eggs, salt, and vinegar. Turn the processor back on and slowly pour in the ice water.  Mix until ingredients are combined (should start rolling around in a big clump of dough).  Divide dough into two pieces.  On a lightly floured surface, form each half of dough into a rectangle with your hands.  You just want to get a basic shape here so that it's easier to roll out later on.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and either refrigerate for an hour or freeze for 10-15 minutes.  

        While your dough is in the fridge, make the filling.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and saute for two minutes.  Add garlic and saute for one minute.  Add ground beef.  Use a spatula to break up the beef and mix it with the garlic and onion.  Add seasoning and continue to break apart and mix.  Once the meat has just turned brown (about 10-15 minutes) remove from heat.  

        Roll out one of the rectangles of dough on a lightly floured surface so that it is about 1/8" thick.  Use a knife to cut it into a circle that is about 5" thick.  Next, place about a 1/2 cup (I used a plastic mixing spoon size) onto the bottom half (of the circle) of the dough.  Add about 1 large tablespoon of goat cheese.  Break it up into smaller pieces so that it will be spread throughout the empanada.  Then simply fold the top half of the dough towards you forming a half-circle and enclosing the contents.  Close the edges by pitching the two edges together and turning them (similar to forming the edge of a pie crust).  Repeat until all of the filling is used.  You may have some extra dough, which you can store in the freezer for future empanada making.  Place empanadas onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes on each side (or until golden brown).

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Friday, 20 January 2012 10:23

        Friday Feature: Talking Beautiful Things with Shani Gilchrist

        As you know, at Thursdays we love finding women who are doing awesome work in the world. When we came across the blog camillemaurice.com which focuses 100% on documenting beautiful things, weshani_gilchrist_headshot knew we had to sit down with the woman behind it, Shani Gilchrist. Here Shani gives us a glimpse into her world of “conversation, musings, and beautiful things.”






        1. Tell us about Camille Maurice.  What is the concept behind the blog and how did it start?

        CamilleMaurice is a blog about the ideas and objects that make our lives the ones we want to live.  It is about decorating a home with objects that will add stories to tell, it is about connecting everyday life to the arts, and it is about living life fully and beautifully.  The tagline is “Conversation, musings and beautiful things” because they form strong connections between people.  Sometimes the blog is silly and light and at others it is more analytical as interior design and artistic projects are discussed. My intent is to get people talking and thinking.

        I didn’t have a fixed idea when I decided to try blogging.  I knew that I wanted to get back into regular writing, and when I sat down at the computer a character came to mind whom I had written into a few fiction pieces in high school and college.  “Camille” was a smart, bossy, stylish and intuitive girl navigating her way through life as a sophisticated soul in a small, Southern town.  She was a bundle of contradictions who managed to spin both good luck and hardships into a beautiful, interesting life.  As I kept her voice in my mind, the blog quickly evolved to focus on design, the arts and (briefly) cooking. The whole thing took on a life of its own and there have been times that I’ve felt that I’m just along for the ride!

        2. Why did you decide to start a blog and what is your favorite thing about being a part of the blogosphere?

        When I started CamilleMaurice I was in a midst of a transition.  I had just left a job that did not suit my personality to stay home with my son. The pieces just weren’t fully falling into place the way I imagined.  I knew I did not belong in an office job and really wanted to spend as much time with my boy as possible before he grows up into a middle schooler who will sometimes find me embarrassing! Writing has always been an important part of who I am and I had all but abandoned it, and for no real reason.  I was craving a creative outlet and wanted to start working in the field in which I had actually trained. First I needed to re-acclimate to the practice of writing, which is hard!  The night I sat down and started writing with Camille’s voice guiding me, I was hooked.

        Being a part of the blogoshpere is amazing because it offers chances for truly amazing exchanges. The thing about writing is that it can be a very selfish act. You are alone in a room with a computer, not thinking about anything or anyone except how the thoughts in your head are going to transfer to the screen. When you send your writing off to an editor or hit the ‘Publish’ button, the next step is to fret over what you just did! The blogoshpere takes that lone act and turns it into an instant conversation.  I learn so much from the people who read my blog and talk with me on Twitter and Facebook.


        3. You are a write by trade. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

        I honestly don’t remember a time that I haven’t wanted to be a writer.  My godfather, Robert E. Johnson, was a founding editor and journalist at Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago (publisher of Jet and Ebony magazines). He would visit us and would always encourage me to read and write.  Then we would drive to Chicago some weekends (we lived in Wisconsin at the time) and I would love to go into his study.  It always smelled of old books and ink, and he had the most amazing photographs of the people he had interviewed or worked with.  It wasn’t that he was the one who steered me into the direction of being a writer, but rather that he placed the assumption upon me that I would be a writer one day. For me it is a natural and even comforting assumption. Godfather passed away from cancer when I was a teenager, but when I am writing –especially when I am writing well—I feel like he is sitting in the room with me. He’s been my guiding force.

        4. Where do you find the inspiration for your blog, which is about all things beautiful?

        Inspiration is everywhere! We are surrounded by beauty every day. The hard part is staying in the mood to notice it.  I try to keep up with newspapers and magazines (mostly The New York Times, Vanity Fair, ELLE Décor, Vogue, The New Yorker, Architectural Digest… I’m burying my family alive in print publications). I read blogs that feature great thoughts on design or the arts and try to keep up with news of the art world.  I stay involved in the arts community in Columbia, SC, where I live, where there is always talk and ideas to mull over.  Mostly, though, it is the conversations that I have with people that keep me inspired.  People have so many different ideas of beauty that get infused into everyday conversation. It’s fascinating to listen to what creative people do to keep their lives full and happy.


        5. What do you see in the future for Camille Maurice and what can we look forward to on the blog in the coming month?

        Camille is feeling a surge of energy lately!  Over the next year the blog will present more profiles of creative people who have interesting things to say about making a lifestyle that works for a busy schedule.  I’ll especially be focusing on women who have built their everyday lives to incorporate everyday beauty by incorporating personality-filled home space, work-lifestyle balance, and philanthropy.  We live in an age where women are expected to do it all, which is what our mothers taught us, but now we are left to create our own coping tools.  There are many creative women out there who have examples to show.

        In the next month I will be posting a couple of interesting, outside-of-the-box design projects, discussing New York Fashion Week and I plan on an interview with an author who recently published a groundbreaking book on Vincent Van Gogh.  There will also be a post introducing some Southern interior designers who have been doing noteworthy work.  It is going to be a fun and busy month!


        Shani's most recent favorite recipe...

        This is a fairly new recipe for me, that I took from Epicurious.com and adapted to my own tastes.  My husband and 11-month-old loved it (obviously the alcohol was all cooked out!). My 5-year-old doesn't eat anything but fruit, yogurt, grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I've enjoyed the dish with a smooth glass of chardonnay... my relaxing moment before the hubbub of getting ready for the next day full of reading, writing, correspondence and carpool lines. - Shani


        Chicken with Champagne Sauce

        by Shani Gilchrist (adapted from Epicurious.com)

        What you need:

        • 3 whole boneless chicken breasts with skin (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved
        • 2 tbsp olive oil
        • 1/2 cup champagne
        • 2 garlic cloves, minced
        • white part of 4 leeks, halved lengthwise, sliced 1/4" thick crosswise, washed well, and drained
        • 2 cups chicken broth
        • 1 28-to32 ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
        • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
        • 1 cup drained Niçoise or Kalamata olives
        • 1 cup orzo pasta, prepared according to directions, using chicken stock instead of water and 1 tsp minced rosemary
        • salt and pepper to taste

        What you do:

        Rinse chicken and pat it dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  In a large heavy flameproof casserole heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown chicken in 2 batches, transferring with tongs as browned to a large plate.

        Add champagne to casserole and boil, scraping up browned bits, until almost evaporated.  Add garlic, leeks, broth, tomatoes, zest, and chicken with any juices accumulated on late and simmer, covered, turning chicken once, until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

        Transfer the chicken to a platter.

        Add the olives to the tomato mixture and boil sauce until thickened slightly.  Season sauce with salt and pepper.  Place the orzo on the dinner plate, the chicken on top, then smother both with the potato mixture.  

        ***all images from camillemaurice.com

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Tuesday, 17 January 2012 16:10

        Stewed Chicken with Mustard-Cream Sauce

        One of my new favorite Sunday afternoon traditions is making a big meal that I can eat for lunch over the next few days.  After our friends, Phoebe and Cara, from BGSK invited us to their Slow Cooker Challenge I went on the hunt for a little inspiration and finally landed on a recipe that sounded like the perfect chilly winter's day dish, Stewed Chicken with Mustard-Cream Sauce.  I just adore what the French do with chicken and this recipe is no exception.  The chicken came out tender and full of a lovely creamy, yet bold mustardy flavor.  I've amended the recipe a bit to add a bit more flavor and color to the dish.  This is a total low stress kind of meal that can be made in a crock pot or a large soup pot.  You can make the sauce in less than five minutes right before serving and voilà! You have a scrumptious Sunday night meal and plenty of lunches to last you the week! To get the most bang out of your buck, I suggest saving your chicken broth and using it for a soup later on in the week.

        Make sure to check out the other recipes for the Slow Cooker Challenge below and hop on over to SKC for the totally awesome Slow Cooker Giveaway!  




        Stewed Chicken with Mustard-Cream Sauce

        by Stephania Stanley (adapted from "Van Gogh's Table" by Alexandra Leaf and Fred Leeman)stewed_chicken-3231

        What you need:

        For the chicken:

        • 1 free-range roasting chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed
        • 2 medium onions, quartered
        • 4 carrots, cut into thirds
        • 2 leek (white and light green parts), trimmed, washed, and cut into thirds
        • 2 celery stalks, cut into thirds
        • 1 celery root, peeled and quartered
        • Several leafy sprigs of fresh thyme
        • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
        • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

        For the mustard-cream sauce: 

        • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
        • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
        • 3/4 cup hot chicken stock, strained
        • 1/2 cup heavy cream (can use low-fat as well)
        • 2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
        • 1 dash of dry white wine
        • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

        What you do:

        In a large soup pot or crock pot, combine all ingredients for the stewed chicken.  Fill pot with enough water to cover the chicken, cover, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked (about one hour).  Pour 3/4 cup of the chicken stock and strain in through a fine sieve.  Keep warm and set aside for sauce.

        For the mustard sauce, melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan.  Quickly whisk in flour (stirring constantly) for 30 seconds.  Continue to whisk and slowly pour in the chicken stock.  Continue to whisk until sauce begins to thicken (about 45 seconds).  Next, stir in the cream, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Stir until ingredients have blended and transfer into a serving bowl.  

        Remove chicken and vegetables from pot and cut into serving pieces.  Serve immediately to individual plates with a piece of chicken, vegetables, and two to three tablespoons of sauce poured over it.  



        **Participating Websites**

        Aggie’s Kitchen


        Big Girls, Small Kitchen


        College Candy

        College Lifestyles

        Cookin’ Canuck

        Cooking with my Kid

        Dinner with Julie

        Early Twenties

        Eclectic Recipes

        Families in the Loop

        Family Fresh Cooking

        Fine Cooking

        FN Dish

        Food for my Family



        Gluten is my Bitch


        Her Campus

        Laura’s Best Recipes



        Mrs. Wheelbarrow

        Not Derby Pie

        NY Family Magazine

        One Bite At A Time

        One Hungry Mama


        Savoring the Thyme

        Simple Bites

        Sugar Free Mama

        Talk Nerdy 2 Me

        The Daily Meal

        The Family Dinner

        The Kids Cook Monday

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Thursday, 12 January 2012 08:24

        Cute Headbands and Beef and Potato Croquettes

        Happy Thursday everyone! I am happy to report that my sewing machine has safely arrived from Indiana and that I am back on track with my New Years Resolutions.  I've joined my first running group (we'll be meeting at 6:45AM tomorrow morning!) and now I'm on the hunt for fabric to continue on with my sewing lessons.  I'll be making a pillow for my bed and long white curtains for the two windows in my room.  If any of you have any cool fabric store recommendations or fun sewing projects for beginners, please leave a comment below! 

        This week we are having a special Thursday Night Dinner at Tandi's house.  I made my favorite tomato based pasta sauce a few days ago and wanted to try something new with it so I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks, Apples for Jam, by Tessa Kiros.  

        Photo: Amazon.com

        She divides up the recipes by color, which I find most helpful when I'm planning a dinner party and want to make sure that each plate comes together perfectly.  I was thumbing through and found this recipe for Beef and Potato Croquettes that I had marked ages ago.  They were really simple to make and are absolutely scrumptious! We will be serving these with the pasta sauce as a dipping sauce and a big green salad.  

        For the craft this week, I wanted to share one of Emily's DIY Christmas presents that she gave to me this year, a flower headband.  I am now totally obsessed with sewing projects and can't wait to try this one out myself.  Emily has been sewing for years so she is far more advanced than I am, but I think that I could pull this project off.  She also used this adorable headband as the ribbon for the packaging too! 




        Beef and Potato Croquettesbeef_and_potato_croquettes-3139

        by Stephania Stanley (adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros; 2006

        What you need:

        • 4 red potatoes
        • 1 lb ground beef
        • ½ cup grated Parmesan
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 1 dash of pepper
        • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
        • Olive oil
        Note: I used a food processor to mash up the potatoes to make them extra smooth, but you can also mash the potatoes by hand. Also, if you wet your fingertips with water before forming the meatballs it will help with the sticking.

        What you do:

        Bring a pot of water to boil and add potatoes.  Boil potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Once the potatoes are done, strain them and finely mash them in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add beef, Parmesan, egg, salt, and pepper.  Using your hands, mix together.  On a large edged-cookie sheet drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Spread with a spoon so that the entire surface is covered.  Wet your fingertips and make little meatballs a little smaller than golf balls.  Place on cookie sheet and gently smash down a little bit to form a tiny pancake.  Continue until the cookie sheet is filled.  The croquettes do not spread too much, so feel free to pack in as many as you can onto a sheet.

        Bake for 25 minutes or until bottom surface is crispy, golden brown.  Flip croquettes and bake for an additional 10 minutes.




        Emily's Flower Headbandmer_headbandIMG_2883

        by Emily Ross

        What you need:

        • 1 scrap piece of fabric for flower
        • 1 scrap piece of fabric for leaves
        • 1 30” scrap piece of fabric for headband
        • Matching thread and needle
        • Sewing machine (optional)
        • Fabric scissors

        What you do:

        Fold the headband fabric in half lengthwise and pin down the middle to hold in place.  This will help you cut the fabric evenly on both sides.  Starting from the folded edge cut lengthwise along both edges so that the center of the headband is 2 ¼” wide and it gradually narrows down to the ends to be 1” wide.

        With the design side face up fold under and pin in place ¼” of the edges.  Sew hem around edge to hold in place.

        Cut two leaves from the leaf fabric and set aside.  Next, form flower by twisting and tightly spiraling flower fabric.  Stitch to hold in place as you go until you form a flower that is about 1 ½” in diameter.

        Layout the leaves and flower onto the center of the headband and pin the leaves in place.  Make two rows of stitches about 1/8” in from the leaf edge with white thread.  Sew flower in place by stitching the flower from the back of the headband.

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Wednesday, 21 September 2011 15:17

        It's a Beer and Honey Kind of Thursday

        Happy Thursday! Well what a week! I have been running around all week trying to get my life a bit more organized.  There is this line from one of mine and Colleen's favorite books, The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster, where the main character, Nathan says something like, "At that moment I wish that I could have split myself in two to give myself a good pat on the back for a job well done". I remember the first time I read that line when I was reading before bed and had a good hearty laugh out loud.  At this moment I feel a bit like Nathan.  I've conquered my giant list-to-do's with sheer determination and finally now that the week is almost over I can look back and really feel proud.  There is just nothing like that, you know?

        My main project has been my room.  Its getting completely revamped and has been my main focus throughout the week. The lovely Sara Lowman is guiding me through all of the arranging, organizing, color choices, and all of the little decision in between.  I've decided to start documenting the process and I'll go through each part as a separate DIY project throughout the next few weeks.  The major task that I have been chipping away at this week is discarding old clothes, furniture, knick knacks, etc.  I definitely recommend doing this with a decisive girlfriend.  It is the most effective way to really do get rid of the exploding items in your closet.  Caitlin very kindly volunteered for this job and couldn't believe how easily I was throwing anything that I haven't touched in a year into my giant donation bag.  There are some great places to take your unwanted clothes.  If you're in the NYC area, Beacon's Closet is an amazing second-hand store.  They will go through your clothes and buy what they want from you.  You even get the choice of taking cash or using it as store credit. They will happily take the remaining clothes and donate it to Goodwill for you.  Another great option is a clothing swap.  This is something that you can arrange with your friends or you can go to one that is organized for you.  Spacecraft hosts clothing swaps from time to time and just so happens to be hosting one this weekend.  

        And this isn't even half of it! 


        While I've been simplifying my life, my dream closet has been in construction all week.  (Instead of a pat on the back, I decided to treat myself to a closet.) The amazing contractor, Earl, from Kimco and their amazing builders have been here each day constructing away.  They are doing a magnificent job.  It is truly a thing of beauty.  I highly recommend these guys to anyone in the NYC area! 

        Now for dinner...

        After feeling very indecisive about what to cook for tonight's TND, I finally decided that it is officially time for chili.  I love, love, love this recipe.  It is the perfect fall meal.  We especially like it served with cornbread, but I'll bet a nice focaccia would be very nice too. 

         Beer and Honey Chili
        by stephania stanley

        What you need:chili_339B4986

        • 1 ½ lbs ground turkey meat
        • 1 ½ bottles of beer (ambers are great)
        • ¼ cup honey
        • 2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
        • 2 6 oz cans of tomato paste
        • 1 16 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
        • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
        • 1 onion, chopped
        • 2 cloves garlic, minced
        • 2 tbs chili powder
        • 1 ½ tsp cumin
        • 1 tsp cayenne
        • 1 Tbsp olive oil
        • Grated Parmesan (optional)

        What to do:

        In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté for three minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for an additional three minutes.  Next add the turkey meat.  Mix often to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly and sauté for about ten minutes or until meat is cooked through.  Carefully pour fat out of pot (making sure to leave onions, garlic, and turkey in the pot).  Return pot to heat.  Add one bottle of beer, honey, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne to turkey mixture.  Stir to mix and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.  Now it’s time to add the remaining beer, but add to taste.  Simmer for an additional 30 minutes and then add black beans.  Stir to mix and simmer for a final 30 minutes.  Serve in big bowls and garnish with grated Parmesan.
        Serves 8-10.
        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Wednesday, 07 September 2011 18:14

        It's a Meatball Sub Kinda Thursday

        Happy Thursday to you! Well, it has been one rainy, yucky week here in NYC.  It's been a bit cooler here, which is making me crave some good ol' comfort food.  Tonight I am going to do a little spin off of Jessica's recipe, Bubby's Meatballs, and make a very scrumptious meatball sandwich.  I think it will be just the thing I need after a long week of work.  Follow the recipe below, but add a fresh and lightly toasted baguette and mozzarella cheese.  I think that I'm going to pair mine with a simple arugula parmesan salad and a lovely Pinot Noir.  For the craft this week I am going to start a pretty major project.  My room in Ft. Greene has been serving as the communal living room and a bedroom for me once a week when I stay over, but now the family room has moved upstairs, so I will finally have the space to really make it a functional place to suit all of my needs (office, bedroom, and living room).  I started considering my different options for the space and began to feel overwhelmed by it all and then I realized, "Hold the phone! I know someone who is an unbelievably talented interior designer...the lovely Sara Lowman!".  Sara has some brilliant ideas for the space already and I cannot wait to really make it something great.  I will be posting updated photos along the way to share with all of you.  Wish me luck in my first major project, which will be fixing my oh-so-broken Ikea wardrobe!

        Happy cooking & crafting!


         Bubby's Meatballs 
        by Jessica Ader 

        What you need:bubbys_meatballsIMG_5865

        • 2 lbs of hmeat
        • ¼ cup Matzo Meal
        • 1 egg
        • 1 slice of bread
        • 1 cup onion, chopped
        • 3 tbsp ketchup
        • 1 can Rokeach tomato sauce (Jewish tomato sauce that can be found in any Kosher markets or the Passover section of your local grocery store)
        • 1 jar of Heinz chili sauce
        • 1 package of Lipton onion soup mix
        • 1 dash of Lawry’s seasoned salt
        Note: These are absolutely fantastic over white rice or over egg noodles.  The meatballs just continue to get better as leftovers, so you’ll be set for a few lunches as well.

        What to do:

        In a large mixing bowl, mix the meat, matzo meal, egg, Lipton onion soup, and seasoned salt.  Soak the slice of bread in water, tear it into tiny pieces, and then add it to the meat mixture.  Now, it’s time for the messy part! Take about four tbsp of the meat mixture at a time and shape them into the meatballs using your hands.  Set the meatballs to the side.

        Next take your large soup pot and add enough water to just cover the surface of the pot.  Toss the onions into the pot and cook over medium high heat.  After five minutes, add the meatballs and cook for 10 minutes.  Roll them around until they are brown on all sides.  Next add the Rokeach and chili sauce.  Take the now empty Rokeach can and fill half of it with water.  Add the water to the pot.  Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally and then eat your heart out.

        Serves 6-8.


        Jess always got so pumped to make her bubby’s meatballs.  The moment that the weather turned cold, she would get so excited to make these.  Just try and imagine her cute little head of curls bouncing up and down when she would do a little dance in the kitchen as they cooked.  Jess also has a hilarious habit of making up songs while she cooks.  She would sing “Mmmmmm I love meat balls…mmmmmmm I love meat balls”.  I told her maybe we should record her and send her songs to Columbia Records.  -Stephania

        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
        Tuesday, 03 May 2011 19:20

        Thursday Night Dinner: Cinco de Mayo Style

        In honor of Cinco de Mayo we are doing a special Thursday Night Dinner this evening.  Tonight we’re going to have skirt steak tacos and then for the craft we get to smack our bird piñata with a baseball bat (kids don’t always get to have all of the fun!).  This should be a pretty good night! However, before making your tacos, let me first recommend to you my new favorite hot sauce: See Jane Burn (they all have very silly names).  To back up a bit my youngest sister, Meredith, goes to Tulane University down in New Orleans.  New Orleans has got to be one of my all time favorite cities.  If I had to describe New Orleans’ food in one word it would be: immaculate.  I just can’t get enough of the duck and the oysters and the shrimp po’ boys! I think I leave that city a few pounds heavier after every visit.  One of my new favorite things to do in New Orleans is to buy and then try all of the different hot sauces.  There is a little shop down in the French Quarter that sells dozens and dozens of different kinds of hot sauce.  Last time I bought See Jane Burn (they also had See Dick Burn), Ass Kickin' Hot Sauce, and some kind of Obama (yes, even Obama) hot sauce.  I've only scratched the surface and I can't wait to go down and try some more.  I highly recommend topping off your skirt steak taco with a dash of hot sauce. 

        Happy Cinco de Mayo to all of you! 


         Skirt Steak Tacos
        by stephania stanley

        What you need: 

        • 1 lb skirt steak (sliced into ¾” strips)
        • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
        • 2 cups of red cabbage (diced)
        • 1 lime
        • 1 cup sliced Gruyer
        • ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
        • 1 tbs. of butter
        • ½ tsp cumin
        • 1 dash chili powder
        • 1 dash salt
        • 1 dash ground black pepper
        • 6 – 10 corn tortillas
        Note: This recipe comes together quickly. We recommend having almost everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking the steak. We suggest serving this with our Chunky Monkey Avocado Dip, hot sauce, and diced jalapeños (for some extra heat).  

        What to do:

        Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  Place your tortillas in the oven and let them sit until you are ready to serve.  Take out a large skillet and put it over medium-high heat.  Add butter and once the butter is melted throw the garlic into the pan.  Saute the garlic for about two to three minutes and then add the steak.  Add the cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Cook the steak for about 7 minutes for medium rare (leave it on for another minute or two if you like your steak more cooked) and remove from heat.

        Squeeze ½ a lemon over the steak and divide the remaining ingredients to make your tacos.

         Chunky Monkey Avocado Dip
        by Colleen Reilly

        What you need:avocado339B2582

        • 4 ripe avocados
        • ½ red onion, diced
        • 3 cloves garlic (finely diced)
        • 2 roma tomatoes
        • 1/4 cup cilantro (finely chopped)
        • 1 lime
        • Pepper
        • Salt
        • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
        Note:Serve with blue tortilla chips and salsa as a snack while you’re preparing the rest of your meal or as a side with burritos or tacos.

        What to do:

        In a small mixing bowl, add diced onion and garlic. Slice roma tomatoes in half. Over a trash can, squeeze out their guts. Do this for each half. Dice what is left of the tomato into very small pieces and add to the bowl. With a sharp knife, slice each avocado in half long ways. Hold the avocado in both hands and turn each half away from the other to separate the halves. Run your knife around the pit to loosen. Using a spoon, gently scoop out the pit. If the avocado is ripe, the pit will pop right out. Slicing between the skin and the avocado’s insides with your knife, plop the insides into the bowl.

        Using your (washed!) fingers or the back of a spoon or a potato masher, mash up the avocado mixture carefully so you don’t crush up the tomatoes. Because you aren’t using a food processor, this dip will be chunky. Once the dip is to the desired consistency, grind or sprinkle on pepper and add a tiny dash of salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Slice the lime in half and squeeze one half over the mixture, seed side up so the deeds don’t fall into the bowl. Mix all ingredients with a spoon until they are evenly distributed and you’re ready to go!

        This will make about 2 cups of dip. Easily doubled or tripled—just add more of everything!

         Cuckoo-Ca-Choo Pinata
        by stephania stanley

        What you need:cuckoo-ca-choo2

        • 2 balloons (one big and one small, size will depend on how big you want your bird)
        • 8x10” sheet of card stock
        • At least 4 large sheets of tissue paper (3 colors for beak, body, and wings)
        • Newspaper (at least 5 sheets)
        • 2 cups water
        • 1 cup flour
        • Glue
        • Paintbrush for glue
        • Scissors
        • Scotch tape
        • Pencil
        • Exacto knife
        • Thread
        • Strong needle

        What to do:

        Blow up both balloons and secure with knot.  Tape the smaller balloon to the top end of the large balloon.  This will be the head and the body of the bird.  Now its time for the paper mache! In a small mixing bowl, combine flour and water.  Stir until well blended and set aside. Tear newspaper sheets into 2x 5” strips.  Submerge one strip into the flour mixture.  Wipe off the excess flour mixture between your index and middle finger; this will prevent a longer drying time. Lay strip flat over balloon and repeat until you have covered the entire bird two times.  If you want the piñata to be a bit more challenging to break open, we suggest making three to four layers of newspaper strips.  Set bird on a plastic surface and let it dry over night.

        Cut the colored tissue paper that you have chosen for the body into 2x 2” squares. Once the paper mache is dry, dab a thin strip of glue with the paintbrush at the back end of the bird. We suggest working from the back to the front so that the tissue paper pieces layer nicely.  Repeat with glue and tissue paper around the bird in a circular motion.  Begin a second row of tissue paper gluing just ¼” above the first row so that the tissue paper pieces layer (this will prevent the newspaper from showing through).  Repeat until the bird’s body and head are completely covered with tissue paper.

        For the wings, cut slightly longer strips of tissue paper of the body and wing colors you have picked out.  We cut ours to be about 2 x 4” long.  We find it easier to establish the shape of the wing by starting at the top of the bird this time.  The rows that you make for the wings can be made slightly further apart (about ½”) than the rows of tissue paper for the body.  Make sure to glue each row underneath the previous row while you work towards the bottom of the body.  Use the colors in a 4:1 ratio so that the primary color used is the one you have chosen for the wings.  It’s helpful to look at a photo of a bird to get the shape of the wings correct.

        Next, it’s time to make the beak.  Draw a curved triangle shape that is about 2” long on the cardstock.  Cut out the triangle with your scissors and then trace and cut a second triangle so that that you have two rounded triangles cut.  Using the cardstock as a template, trace and cut two rounded triangles from the tissue paper you’ve put aside for the beak.  Apply a thin layer of glue to one side of each cardstock triangle and glue down the tissue paper.  Cut and trace another two rounded triangles from the tissue paper you used for the body and glue those pieces to the other sides of the cardstock triangles.  At this point you should have two triangles with one side the beak color and the other side the body color.  Layer triangles together so that the body color is on the inside and the beak color is on the outside.  Use your hands to curve the triangles, forming a beak shape.  While holding the beak shape with one hand, hold it up to the bird where you want the beak to go and trace each side with a pencil.  Use an exacto knife and cut a thin slit on each line you traced and fit the beak snuggly into the slits.

        For the eyes, trace a quarter and cut two circles from the cardstock and two circles from the tissue paper used for the body.  Using your paintbrush, apply a thin layer of glue and affix one circle of tissue paper to each cardstock circle.  Dab two small circles of glue where the eyes should be on the piñata and glue down the cardstock.

        Using your exacto knife again, cut a three-sided opening on the top of the body,  which will be the opening for the candy.  Don’t be surprised if you pop the balloon here.  Going through the candy opening, thread one long loop of thread through the top of the body so that you can hang our piñata.  Secure thread tying a knot; hang that bird up, and smack away!
        Published in THURSDAYS Blog
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