Ginger-Coconut-Dark Chocolate Bark

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Have you ever made chocolate bark? It’s super easy and you can customize it in an almost endless number of ways. I’ve been snacking on this dark chocolate bark studded with candied ginger, coconut flakes, and macadamias nuts all week and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I’ve barely even touched the big bowl full of Halloween candy that we bought for trick-or-treaters (usually by this point I’ve eaten so much that we’ve had to buy more… please tell me I’m not the only one with this problem!)

This ginger-coconut bark would be perfect for holiday entertaining, or just to have around to snack on with a mid-afternoon cup of coffee or tea. Tied up with a pretty ribbon, it would also make a great  gift for unexpected guests or last-minute get togethers. Let the kids have all the Halloween candy – it will just mean the grown-ups will be able to keep this all to themselves.

Three Bean Crockpot Chili

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I’ve recently developed a dinnertime problem that will surprise friends and family that I have known me for a long time: I haven’t had time to cook as much as I’d like to because I’m too busy exercising. I know.

I’m the girl who grew up hating gym so much that she joined the tennis team just to get out of it; the girl who managed to fall in love with a form of dance where you only move half of your body. I don’t know what’s gotten into me, but I’m suddenly obsessed with yoga and hulafit. Which means that, two nights a week for the past few months, I haven’t gotten home until 8:30. And when I do get home, I’m starving and don’t want to spend time actually cooking.

NYC Wine and Food Festival & The Art of the Taco

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I can’t believe it’s already been almost three weeks since the NYC Wine and Food Festival! I really hate when bloggers say that they’re going to post about something another time and then never do, so I’m really sorry that it’s taken me so long to post about it. It’s just that the event was so big and so amazing that I really didn’t know where to start. So I guess I’ll just dive right in…

Saturday started bright and early with a presentation by Alton Brown, one of my favorite Food Network personalities. He definitely didn’t disappoint! His presentation focused on wine and molecular gastronomy, and it was interesting to see how easy some of the fancy tricks you see on TV really are to do at home. The first thing he made was little caviar-like port spheres, which he served over steak. It really didn’t look difficult to do at all, and I might try to replicate them some time when I’m feeling adventurous. He also made frozen bellinis using a stand mixer and liquid nitrogen that was fun but a little less friendly for the home cook. Alton has a great sense of humor and had a fun Q+A session following the demo where he let us in on a few secrets like that he doesn’t actually have a sister named Marsha and that he does in fact know who the net Iron Chef is (but he’s not telling).

Homemade Pumpkin Bagels

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Last weekend, a few friends and I went out to Ithaca to visit with Julie. I hadn’t been to Ithaca in years, and it was so nice to go back and spend the day there. We went to lunch, visited the annual library sale (where I bought a few fun new cookbooks for a song), walked around the commons, and ate cheese fondue.

It was pretty much a perfect day except that I didn’t get a pumpkin bagel. We had gone to the Ithaca Baking Company for lunch and although my pear and blue cheese sandwich with thyme-infused balsamic was amazing, I was jealous of Julie’s toasted pumpkin bagel slathered with Nutella. We went back a little later to get drinks for our walk back to Julie’s (their Fall chai, which involves apple cider, still haunts me) and I attempted to buy a few bagels to bring home, but they unfortunately had none left. It didn’t take me very long to decide that I’d just have to make my own, the very next day.

Roast Honey-Chipotle Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Black Beans… for One

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A few weeks ago I didn’t feel like cooking dinner so I unearthed a bag of Alexia chipotle roast sweet potatoes and a veggie corn dog from the depths of the freezer and called it a night. (I know.)

It was good, but considering both elements of the meal were already prepared it was awfully fussy. The potatoes required me to stand over the stove for longer than I would have liked to and by the time they were done, my corn dog was cold. It also made me feel lazy – especially considering this meal of sweet potatoes, black beans, and roast chicken with a honey-chipotle glaze requires less energy, tastes fresher, and is cheaper to make. You don’t even have to stand over the stove while it cooks.

Chicken Riggies

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Have you ever had Chicken Riggies? It’s a dish that originated around Utica, New York (about an hour away from us here in the Capital Region) and I’ve never met a person who tried it and didn’t love it.

In it’s simplest form, Chicken Riggies is composed of rigatoni, chicken, spicy and sweet peppers, and a tomato cream sauce. It’s quick and easy to make and is a terrific weeknight alternative to more traditional pasta and red sauce. My favorite version includes lots of mushrooms and is lightened up with fat free half and half. It’s also one of the first recipes that I’ve shared as a blogger for ShopRite, so if you want my recipe pop on over to their blog, Potluck.