Archive of ‘Things I Like’ category

Monkey Bread

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The first time I had Monkey Bread was at the restaurant Jones in Philadelphia. It was a revelation! It tasted like donut holes and the inside part of a cinnamon roll. And then I promptly forgot about it – until JenS and I were browsing through Home Goods a few months ago and I found a boxed mix of Monkey Bread. When we were making it, she told me that she used to make it for her kids all the time but she used canned biscuits instead of using a mix or making them from scratch. It’s probably no surprise that I had to try that out for myself. I made this Monkey Bread for a charity event that I worked last weekend. It was a huge hit!

If you’ve never made it before, I highly encourage you to try it out. You won’t be disappointed!

Monkey Bread!
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans Grands biscuits
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick melted butter

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bundt pan with shortening or cooking spray. In shallow bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.

Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Roll in cinnamon sugar to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts among the biscuit pieces.

In small bowl, mix brown sugar and melted butter; pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate. Try to share.

Optional Mix-ins: Chocolate chips, toffee bits, other nuts like almond slivers, or pecans, cranberries or raisins – use your imagination!

Antelope Canyon // Page, AZ

Visiting Antelope Canyon has been on my life list for ages. The photos I’ve seen are surreal and I always thought they were photoshopped to look so, well, amazing. I’m here to say it’s all natural. The photos practically take themselves.

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We started the tour with Lynette, who was amazing. She was super knowledgeable about how the canyons were created, discovered, and even the best way to shoot inside them. She had all the photographers set their cameras to the right ISO and shutter speed before we went in. I was giddy with excitement and words cannot explain how breathtaking the interior is. I teared up a little bit as I walked through the orange glow and almost really cried when we spotted a sunbeam later in the tour. After walking through with our group for about 30 minutes, we were given about 20 minutes to spend some time exploring on our own before meeting the group back at the entrance. Overall, a dream come true. Check out some of the snaps I took with my new Nikon 1 camera. With the exception of the black & white shots, these are straight out of the camera.

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Recipe // Nana’s Beef Stew

Growing up in Florida, cold, winter days were few and far between, but when there was a chill in the air, my Nana would make her beef stew. This was hands-down my favorite meal that she cooked. It’s probably because it was so rare that we had it. It’s been in the 20s here in New Jersey for about a month now. I’ve been making soup regularly, but I wanted something a little more hearty this weekend. I decided on Nana’s Beef Stew.

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Here’s the recipe with a few tweaks. It was delicious and will be even better tomorrow. For some reason, stews are always better the second day. Must be that overnight flavor mingle that happens in the fridge.

Nana’s Beef Stew
Serves: 12 (or 6 big bowls)

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch piece
2 T vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 c flour
3 cloves minced garlic
1 c red wine
3 c beef broth
1/2 t dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 t dried thyme
4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch slices
3 large red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled (or unpeeled and scrubbed clean) and cut in eighths
1 14oz can cut green beans
1 c frozen peas
1 T red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

Preparation:
On medium-high heat, add oil to a large heavy pot.
When the oil begins to shimmer and smoke slightly, add the beef and brown it. If necessary, brown the beef in batches.
Once browned, remove the beef with a slotted spoon set aside.
Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add a pinch of salt to help them sweat.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. The flour will start to thicken as it comes to a simmer.

Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary. Return the beef (and any juices collected) back to the pot.
Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook on low for about an hour.

After an hour, add potatoes, carrots, and celery, and simmer covered for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, salting and peppering to taste.

Turn off heat and add peas, green beans and stir in vinegar.
Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired. Serve with bread and butter and a side salad.

 

Oscar Movie Catch Up

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I’m nearly caught up on all of the Best Picture nominees! Tonight I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. It wasn’t my favorite of the Oscar pics, though Leo DiCaprio was pretty convincing as sleezy stockbroker Jordan Belfort. Jonah Hill was surprisingly excellent. I thought the film was excessive and bloated (It’s THREE HOURS) but I guess that’s the point. I read that the original director’s cut was FOUR hours! Scorsese could use an editor. #justsayin

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Finally, the last three Best Picture noms I need to see are Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, and Captain Philips. I’m hoping I can knock those out this weekend. Rumor has it that Captain Philips is already at Redbox. I see a trip to 7-11 in my future.

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