Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Southern Comfort Balls

Alcohol and chocolate - what more do you need? :)

I'm back with a recipe that my mom makes for Christmas but would be perfect for a New Year's Eve party.  These are an EXPECTATION every Christmas and it wouldn't be the holidays without my mom staying up late to "dip her balls".  Yes, making these ensures a lot of "balls" jokes.  

Southern Comfort Balls
(this recipe was given to my mom by my Aunt Cindy, but its original origins are unknown)

3 1/2  cups Nilla Wafers
2 T cocoa
1/2 cup powdered sugar 
1/4 cup light corn syrup 
1/3 cup Southern Comfort (or your favorite liquor of choice)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups chocolate chips
1 T vegetable shortening 

Crush the Nilla Wafers with a rolling pin into fine crumbs.  Place the cookies in a large ziplock bag to ease cleanup - 

Combine crushed cookies with cocoa, powdered sugar, corn syrup, alcohol, and nuts.  

Chill the mixture in the fridge for a few hours to make them easier to roll into balls 
After rolling them into your desired size, chill the balls in the fridge to help them preserve their shape during the dipping process.  (I'm sorry for the lack of photos in this area - but this step took place at 1 am - haha).  Melt your chocolate in a double boiler with the shortening and dip the balls - setting them on waxed paper when finished.  Store in the fridge.  

Love, Allison 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Where Did Christmas Go?

I have really enjoyed this Holiday Season!  Sometimes in the past, I am too busy/forget to take the time to do all of the things that make me love this time of year.  This time around - I made sure to savor each day from Thanksgiving till Christmas!  And I am so sad it is over!  Here are some pictures from my Christmas in California!  I'll be back with a recipe that will be perfect for your New Year's Eve celebrations.  

Santa came!

Stocking were MIA this Christmas - we got creative and used boots and paper bags! Haha!

Double Chocolate and Cherry Cookies from Mama Pea and my Mom's signature fruitcake!

Don't let the electric knife fool you! This fruitcake is not the brick that most people joke about - my mom's fruitcake is the best you'll ever have and soooooo delicious!

Christmas Dinner was a Vegan Wellington Loaf from Native Foods - Native Foods is a inventive vegan cafe with a few locations around southern CA.  All of their dishes are unique and they offer this yummy take on a beef wellington for the holidays!  

Look at this massive log!  You really could have killed someone with this thing!  It was heavy and frozen solid!  The directions were to place it FROZEN in a 425 degree oven for 50 min.  Well....... after an hour in the oven - the center of the wellington was still 34 DEGREES!  Dinner was FINALLY served after TWO AND A HALF HOURS  of baking!!!!  

Here is what it looked inside - seitan, mushrooms, kale, yams, stuffing, carmaelized onions, all wrapped in pastry.  It was delicious, different, and came with mushroom gravy!  However, if you buy one - remember to bake it WELL in advance of your dinner party!

Our Christmas dinner consisted of the Native Foods Wellington with mushroom gravy, double potato mash, and maple glazed brussel sprouts.  

Scouty Paws was STUFFED!

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with their families!  I am lucky to be here in CA till Friday and get to bypass the crazy NYC snow for another week!

Love, Allison 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Healthy Takeout Delivered

Hey Everyone!  

What could be in this bag? 

Since Christmas is coming FAST and I had sooo much end of the month paperwork to do for work - I decided it would be fun to order dinner in.  I have never had any food delivered to our apartment so I was dying to try it out!  For some reason food delivery is a symbol of New York to me... I'm not sure why, maybe it has something to do with Seinfeld?!

Anyway - I decided to order something from Lite Delights since delivery was free for orders over $10.  It is literally one block away - but I get excited about food delivery! Hahaha!  So, I ordered it anyway.  

Lite Delights is an amazing small neighborhood cafe that serves fresh and healthy wraps, salads, juices, smoothies, frozen yogurt, and snacks.  I had tried it a few times in the past but kept forgetting about it!  I ordered from the Colombus/85th st location in NYC and it came super fast!

Tonight I ordered the Vegetarian Delight: whole wheat wrap, tahini, sunflower seeds, raisins, sprouts, romaine, tomato, jarslburg cheese!    I LOVED IT!  I was worried there would be a lot of seeds and raisins which are not diet friendly, but there was just the right amount!  

To make the order $10, I ordered a green juice since I have been neglecting my vegetables this week as I clean out my fridge (plus I have been majorly overdosing on nut butters this week!).  I can't wait to go back - I want to try their granola/fruit/yogurt wrap for breakfast one morning! 

Paperwork is now complete - can't wait to get through all my work and errands tomorrow so I can go HOME!  Yay!

Love, Allison 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Clean Fridge Challenge!

Are you seeing things?  Did I really post twice in one day?  I have been really getting into blogging lately and have a lot of new recipes planned for when I get back from Christmas break! Just wanted to leave a few pics of my dinner tonight - the mission this week: don't waste food/money by throwing it out before leaving!  

So... tonight's dinner consisted of 

1) One tomato sliced with Eatwell Heirloom Tomato Salt (from the San Fran Farmer's Market), pepper, and some parmesan cheese

2)  4 egg whites scrambled with some parmesan cheese and ketchup (I have been OBSESSED with ketchup on my eggs lately!)

3)  Sauteed mini bell peppers with wilted spinach - this is my first time trying the mini bell peppers from Trader Joe's and they were delicious and the perfect size!  I had one of each color!

For anyone on the WW PointsPlus Program - this was very low in points - 
1.5 pts for the egg whites
2 pts for the chesse


(dinner was low in PointsPlus today due to my eggnog scone obsession!)

I used cooking spray to cook the eggs/bell peppers - therefore I did not need to add any oil!

I felt so good after this meal - I went to the gym and used the treadmill for the first time since I developed plantar fasciitis.... let's hope the new shoes helped!

Love, Allison 

Countdown to Christmas

I hope everyone is enjoying the last bit of the weekend!  This weekend was marked by a few exciting happenings:

1)Kendall (my sister) made Mama Pea's Vegan Eggnog Scones -- these should be illegal.  This is the first year I have tried drinking eggnog and now we are putting it in everything!  I keep nibbling on them so I do not know how many I have actually eaten... ignorance is bliss!  This was my breakfast this morning:

2)  I have NEW glasses!!!  I have had my old pair for FOUR years and while I love them dearly, it was time for a change!  And, boy was it a change!  I am still getting used to them but I think they are fun.. in a nerdy sort of way!  Scout, on the other hand, could care less about my glasses.....

With my new glasses and new ring (can you see it in the pic above?)  (And, no it is not an engagement ring.....) I took Scout for a winter walk through central park to check out all the frozen ponds!

Last night my sister and I stayed in... many pictures of the dog were taken....

3)  I finally got the awesome RAW yogurt parfait from One Lucky Duck.  It comes with raw granola, coconut "yogurt", and fruit.  This time, the fruit was sweetened cranberries - a great festive and tangy choice!  it was delish - it was also $11 :(

Only four more days till California!!!  I plan on wearing flip flops EVERY SINGLE DAY I am there! 

Love, Allison 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Our First Snow!

Excuse my excitement - but --- it SNOWED last night!  Living in So Cal and Las Vegas my whole life has made me extremeley sheltered from cold weather.  However, I am getting a crash course in it this week!!  It has been COLD and WINDY and it SNOWED!  

While it is COLD - I am excited to try out the snow!  Here are some pictures from my walk to work!

This weekend was filled with many Christmasy activities around the city!

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes!  Much better than expected!

The Charmin restroom in Times Square!  Yes - I am weird getting excited about a huge public restroom but....

 - it only is put up before Christmas
- it features fun things to do such as getting your picture taken on a large "throne"
- each bathroom is decorated and is cleaned after each use!
- I LOVE FREE RESTROOMS - probably because I have the world's smallest bladder and am always looking for the nearest place to "go".  

It was not as good as the one two years ago but it was still entertaining!

Shopping at the Holiday Market, near Columbus Circle - note my boots in the pic -- my very first pair!

The famous Chocolate Orange - I absolutely love whacking it on the ground/table, etc!

There was one slight disappointment among all of the fun.....

I LOVE Sarabeth's jams - especially the blood orange marmalade!  So I decided to go to the famous cafe for breakfast located just a few blocks from our apartment.   The boyfriend loved his french toast (which I should have ordered) but I was not too happy with my pumpkin waffle :(  Sounded great on paper but didn't quite deliver.  I was intrigued because it was served with raisins, pepitas, sour cream, and honey...... but it just did not come together.  

This next week should be quite busy!  9 days till I leave for CA!!!  So excited to go home and see my parents and Holly!

Love, Allison 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Levain Bakery - My Heaven on Earth!

Well, its about time!

I live exactly 10 short blocks from the famous Levain Bakery and I have finally tried the magic that is the chocolate chip walnut cookie.  This is the best cookie I have ever had (sorry Mrs. Fields at South Coast Plaza!) and I hope to make this a weekly, monthly, bi-weekly (that sounds better!) habit!

As soon as you walk in this place - the smell of butter is so prominent you can almost taste it!

It was still warm and cookiedough-ish on the inside and the chips were all melty!  I enjoyed mine with a glass of milk!

The bakery itself is  cozy with just a few seats at the counter - it has a wonderful upper west side neighborhood feel to it.  They sell other baked goods as well - the selection varies each day, so its a surprise every time you come!  They are always baking the cookies fresh and I would love to try the softball sized cookie dough balls I see them put in the ovens!  Next time you are in NYC - make sure to stop by the Levain Bakery!

After Levain some shopping was in order at Bloomingdale's!  In addition to some Christmas sightseeing around this beautiful city!

Love, Allison  

P.S. Here is a breakfast shot from this week - 

Kath's Whipped Banana Oatmeal topped with more sliced banana, a packet of trail mix from Trader Joe's and brown sugar!