Best Brooklyn Eats (So far) Part 1

I have officially spent three months living in Brooklyn (not in student housing) in my own apartment, making my way. While I still haven’t found a journalism job, I have been working a lot at the restaurant. I am fortunate enough that they offer a “family meal” before every shift, but that has mean my cooking has dropped to a very low level.

However, my love for food has not stopped me from trying new food, even if I’m not the one doing the cooking. When most people think of New York City restaurants, they think of Manhattan, but surprisingly I have spent minimal time in the concrete jungle. Living and working Brooklyn has given me the opportunity explore Brooklyn’s culinary joys.

I am going to do a round-up of some of my favorite spots so far, starting with breakfast.

Breakfast

Brooklyn Roasting Company 

img_2779

Cinnamon sugar donut featuring an iced latte

I have become quite the coffee lover — give me a latte any day — and Brooklyn Roasting Company has given me everything I can dream of in a coffee shop. It’s right on the water in DUMBO, which is also a nice perk. They also have Dough donuts, the fluffiest, biggest, tastiest donuts I have ever had.

The Bagel Pub

img_2675

BEC on an everything bagel

It wouldn’t be breakfast in NYC without a bagel spot. Finding this bagel spot was one of the best (and worst) things I did because it is less than a block from my grocery store. It makes for the perfect pit stop before Sunday shopping. These bagels are LARGE, and oh so tasty. They have the perfect combo of softness and chewiness, and they hold up great to a mound of bacon, egg and cheese. Bonus perk: they have stellar iced coffee!

Week 11: Day 2

March 30, 2015

A real day of this whole eating healthy thing. I had all good meals and tried out a new recipe for good measure. I also made it to the gym today. Double-win. I am starting the week strong, and I hope it continues

Breakfast

I decided I have been eating too many eggs, but because I love eggs for breakfast, I made a compromise. I am going to be going the egg white route. Cuts out a lot of the fat and cholesterol. Luckily, I am a huge egg white only fan, so this isn’t a real disappointment. This morning I had a spinach, green onion, mozzarella cheese egg white omelette. Oh, so divine.

Lunch

What would lunch be without some chicken and mayo? Not my kind of lunch. My go-to lunch of chicken breast with some blue corn chips and organic salsa. Hit the spot.

Dinner

IMG_2024

This is the exciting one. I made buffalo chicken soup, following this recipe. As we all know, I am a sucker for anything buffalo flavored, so I had to try this one out. I am also a huge fan of one meal lasting the whole week — cue this soup. The only  modification I made was I used Anchorbar buffalo sauce (obviously) instead of Red Hot. The soup had just enough of a kick, but wasn’t too overpowering where I couldn’t enjoy it. I used the stovetop method because I didn’t have my ingredients until dinner time. Verdict: I am looking forward to eating it the rest of the week.

Week 10: Days 1-4

March 22-25, 2015

So this week has been pretty decent, but not very excited. I also started out the week having not gone grocery shopping, which did not bode well for creating meals. It actually got to the point on Tuesday where I didn’t eat lunch because I legitimately didn’t have anything to eat that would constitute a lunch. I have gone shopping, so it has made things slightly easier.

Even though I have gone shopping, my creativity and effort level has been way down. I haven’t made anything new recently, and everything has been relatively boring.

To start off the week (Sunday), I was working on my campus magazine, which didn’t really mean any meals. Leftovers and snacks and no dinner. Normally I go shopping on Sundays, so Monday meant I did not have anything planned to eat and most of my food had been eaten. I had eggs for lunch and a lame ass turkey wrap for dinner. It should have been considered a snack it was so small.

Which brings me to Tuesday — no lunch day. I did make the sweet garlic chicken again for dinner, which wasn’t half bad. Chicken was the only thing I had in the freezer, so it was not a by-choice meal.

And then shopping happened! But Wednesdays are my busy night, so it still wasn’t very exciting. I got back on my chunk chicken lunch grind, and then made a chicken quesadilla for dinner. I have to admit, it was a top notch quesadilla, but I was a little chickened out at that point.

I have a real dinner planned for tonight, so that is exciting. I am even doing recipe research for tomorrow night’s dinner, so I should have a wonderful, or maybe not so wonderful depending on how it goes, story to share. Fingers crossed.

Week 6: Day 3

Feb. 24, 2015

Another decently solid day. I wore a dress today that I tried on last year at this time and couldn’t wear because I didn’t think it fit. Guess what, today it fit! I wore it, and I wore it proud. I think that was the first time I was able to tangibly see the progress I had made. Here’s to hoping it happens again and wearing my belt another hole smaller.

Breakfast

IMG_1981

A new breakfast! This doesn’t happen very often, so I had to share a picture. I made a banana, peanut butter quesadilla. My inspiration came from this recipe. I used one tortilla shell folded in half, peanut butter and one banana and it was very filling. I probably wouldn’t have been able to eat more if I wanted to. I heated each side for a couple of minutes in a skillet and ended up with this gooey, crispy, hot heaven. And you can probably guess what I am going to say next, the best part was how easy it was. It probably took a max of 5 minutes to make.

Lunch

Kinda boring, but it got me through the rest of the day. Just some leftover tune with carrots and ranch. So. Sick. Of. Tuna.

Dinner

So with my boyfriend’s parents being in town I had to brave the dreaded restaurant menu for dinner. All of those wonderful pasta dishes staring back at me but unable to indulge in any. Luckily, I did have a kick-ass wedge salad that I will need to go back for. It consisted of a nice big wedge of iceberg, bacon, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, blue cheese and homemade ranch dressing. It was divine and filling. I did cheat a bit and have a slice of bread with the restaurant’s marinara, oil, garlic dipping concoction. It was sitting right in front of me and was still steaming. How do I pass up steaming bread? The answer: I don’t. I do however feel good about the salad I ate despite my desire to eat everything else on the menu.

Week 4: Day 3

Feb. 10, 2015

Another solid day of meals, but I keep getting hungry. All I want to do is eat, even though after my meals I am full. Snacking used to be my downfall, and I don’t want to fall back into that trap. Granted, I haven’t bought any of the traditional “snack” foods like chips or cookies or brownies, but I’m sure I could find a way to make due. Here’s to hoping tomorrow I don’t want to be eating every moment of the day.

Breakfast

eggs

I actually made breakfast before I had class this morning. Win for me! Just a couple scrambled eggs with pepper jack cheese (and ketchup of course). Nothing fancy or exciting, but it was a good way to get going before my morning class. God knows I can use whatever I can take in the morning to help me through Mass Media Research.

Lunch

chunk chik

Gotta love leftovers. I had my leftover chicken breast and mayo with some multigrain chips and salsa. For whatever reason this meal feels me up quick, and I didn’t even finish the chicken. This also requires no effort, which makes it even better.

Dinner

garlic sesame chick

I knew I needed to cook chicken tonight (I had it on my meal plan), but I had no idea how to cook it. I had some leftover garlic sesame sauce from the stir fry last week, so I threw my chicken breasts in a ziplock back this morning with the sauce and let it marinade in the fridge. Normally I never plan far enough in advance to marinade. I baked the chicken breasts in the oven for 35 minutes at 400 degrees F and they were still juicy. I also roasted some cauliflower at the same time with some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Sometimes my roasted cauliflower is great other times it isn’t . Tonight was so-so. I have yet to perfect it. The chicken was decent, but boy do I miss my breading.

Week 4: Day 2

Feb. 9, 2015

Another good day is in the books. I felt like I ate healthy, and I went to the gym. Double win. I keep getting hungry throughout the day, which isn’t the best feeling, but I am trying to curb it with some small healthy snacks. I’m trying not to go over board, but man do I love my food.

Breakfast

broccoli omelette

I haven’t made an omelette in ages, so this morning was quite the treat. I made a broccoli, scallion and pepper jack cheese omelette. I softened the broccoli in my pan for a couple minutes before I added the eggs and scallions, and then right at the end I added the cheese. This was a tasty, fresh way to start my morning.

Lunch

ham and smoothie

I felt like I have been eating too many carbs lately, so I decided to forgo the pita for lunch today. Instead, I just heated up my ham with cheese and ate it with a fork. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but I thought it was necessary. I also made a small smoothie with my tropical frozen fruit blend, orange juice, yogurt and chia seeds. It helped fill me up.

Dinner

grilled wrap

Dinner was a rockstar. I tried making cauliflower “mashed potatoes” for the first time, and it wasn’t a complete failure. I boiled the cauliflower for 8 minutes, drained it and added a dash of butter, milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder. I think I added too much milk because they were a little runny. The taste was good though, so I will be trying them again. My main course was a grilled chicken wrap. In my wrap was canned chicken breast with mayo, tomatoes, lettuce and colby jack cheese. I heated both sides in the pan for a few minutes, and I had the perfect golden brown crust on the outside. For whatever reason these wraps are one of my favorite meals, and tonight’s didn’t disappoint.

Week 2: Day 3

Jan. 27 2015

Today was a pretty boring day in terms of meals. Nothing fancy, nothing new and no new recipes to share. Even though my food was boring today, I am starting to feel better about myself. I am glad I have stuck with my plan for a week and a half, and I have a regular gym schedule. I am excited to go work out tomorrow, and I don’t know the last time that happened.

Breakfast

Breakfast today was one of the ham cups that I made earlier in the week. It still tasted great after sitting in the fridge for 2 days after 30 seconds in the microwave. Before class, I scarfed that down with a few scoops of low-fat vanilla yogurt and some chopped walnuts. I tried the Trop 50 orange juice, it’s suppose to be healthier, and it definitely tastes like it. I didn’t notice it in my smoothie, but I definitely noticed it drinking just a cup. I wasn’t the biggest fan.

Lunch

One of the best parts of cooking dinner is leftovers. I ate my leftover caprese chicken and broccoli. Absolutely no effort, but a very tasty lunch. It’s generally always worth it to make a little bit extra to last one more meal. However, my leftovers generally don’t make it out of the fridge past day 2 or 3.

Dinner

Tonight’s dinner was probably the worst dinner I have made since starting this challenge. I made simple cheese and chicken quesadillas. Easy. I have made them before with no issue. However, my oven at school is slightly unpredictable. In no more than five minutes I had a burned quesadilla on top and a soggy one on the bottom. Both layers didn’t even stick together. Luckily I had some salsa to partially save the day. Nothing about it was picture worthy, just sad.

My Go-To Smoothie Recipe

Smoothies are the bomb. If I had the money to buy the ingredients, I would probably have a different one each day. However, as a college student I have to make do with what I have, which is one pretty damn good smoothie, which I started my morning with today.

The best part of this smoothie is in never tastes the same way each time I make it. Depending on the fruit or the yogurt there is always a slightly different taste. I also normally estimate on the measurements for each ingredient, which contributes to the flavor.

Ingredient List

Serves 1
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen fruit
  • 3 tbsp low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • handful of spinach
  • desired amount of orange juice depending on how drinkable you want it

smoothie before

Continue reading

Week 2: Day 1

Jan. 25, 2015

This blog idea didn’t come to me until week 2 of my process, so that is where we are coming in. Trust me, nothing was really missed during week 1.

Breakfast

ham cup

This morning’s breakfast recipe came from Pinterest. I followed it exactly as written and this ham cup came out perfect. Next time I think I would add some salt and pepper to the egg to give it a little more flavor. I’m always a fan of eggs in the morning, so I made a few extras to eat for breakfast throughout the week. I paired this with a bit of Wegmans low-fat vanilla yogurt with some chopped walnuts. If you are not from the Northeast or have never experienced the heaven that is Wegmans, I am sorry. Wegmans is the grocery store of all grocery stores and will always hold a special place in my heart. Wegmans will be frequently making an appearance on this blog. If you want to learn more about its wonderfulness check out this list.

Lunch

tuna pita

I frequently eat last night’s leftovers as lunch, but last night I ate out, so I whipped this up for myself. Half of an organic multi-grain pita, tuna fish with mayo, sweet pickles and a little bit of cheddar cheese. I paired it with some blue corn tortilla chips and organic salsa, of course Wegmans brand. Even though sweet pickles aren’t the most healthy addition to my sandwich, I am a sucker for the tuna-pickle combo. It brings me right back to my childhood. I decided to cut out white bread from my diet, so when I can’t avoid a sandwich I have replaced it with multi-grain pita. The multi-grain is much healthier than white anything and  is heart healthy.

Dinner

lemon tilapia

This may  not be the most visually appealing meal I have ever made, but taste wise it was spot on. One the menu tonight was garlic roasted cauliflower, lemon butter tilapia and a small romaine lettuce salad. Both of the recipes I used for tonight’s dinner, I altered slightly. For the cauliflower, I put the parmesan cheese on the cauliflower after I mixed it halfway through the cooking time. And if I were to make it again (which I will), I would forgo the lemon juice. It didn’t really add anything to the flavor. For the tilapia, I used a tuscan blend seasoning instead of the recommended seasoning because that’s what I had on hand. Because I was only making it for myself I guessed on most of the measurements and went heavier on the lemon than the butter. Definitely a solid dinner to start my week off before school.