Weekend Update

Saturday, March 31, 2012

This is Weekend Update with your host Shari....

Just want to apologize for my lack of posts this week - it's not a sign that my blogging was just a phase, I promise.  Since my computer's Hard Drive broke on Monday I have been trying to recover data and figure out my next move.  The other computer we have is a netbook, so the small screen and keyboard make it a little more difficult to write.  Plus it's just not the same as the HP that I'm used to. I also like to keep my posts interesting by having some pictures, and without my HP I've not able to download pictures I want to go along with my posts.
Thanks for all the positive feedback I've gotten about the blog - I didn't forget about you all!  And don't forget to leave your comments, including content you like or don't like, or what to hear more from me about. Supposed to have a new hard drive by April 5, so until then my posts may be a bit more sporadic.

Shariously, stay tuned for the next update.

Roasted Potatoes (Recipe Monday)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sorry for the late posting of this, as I was writing it last night, my computer died :(

I first learned this recipe at a friend's 21st birthday party/cooking class at Sur la Table.  The original recipe was called "Rosemary Roasted Potatoes" but since I don't like Rosemary very much, over the years I've changed it a bit to my liking.  There are two versions of this recipe, the quick version and the super quick version.  You also could make your own not-as-quick version which would include the use of fresh herbs instead of the cupboard variety. Also, you can use whichever blend of spices goes with the meal; Mexican flair to accompany something spicy or the Tuscany Blend (below) for an Italian inspired dish.

Ingredients (2 servings):
2 Large Idaho Potatoes or 6-8 Small Red Potatoes
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp spice blend, like the ones below, use more to taste

I like this Dean Jacob's spice blends for the potatoes
(Although, I ran out and have been using one of Emeril's Blends until I buy a new one of these)

Quick Preparation:
  1. Preheat oven to 425º
  2. Cut potatoes into 1"-2" pieces
  3. Toss potatoes in a bowl with olive oil and seasoning.  If your seasoning blend does not have salt you might want to sprinkle some salt as well.
  4. Spread potatoes out on a baking sheet and bake for 45min-1hr tossing them every 15 minutes.  An hour will get you almost french-fry crispness, 45 minutes for something a little softer.
Super Quick version just out of oven
(Pardon my old baking sheet)

Super Quick Preparation:

Substitute 2- 15oz cans of whole, sliced or diced potatoes for the fresh potatoes. Cook for 20-30 minutes depending on desired crispiness.
For a Shariously quick and easy side dish, give these a try!

Castle (TV Pick of the Week)

Friday, March 23, 2012

For the second week in a row, my TV pick of the week comes from a show that airs at Monday at 10pm. I’m surprised I know that, since thanks to the invention of the DVR it usually takes me a whole season to actually know the day and time all the shows I watch are on.  By then networks move all the scheduling around for the next season.

On to Castle.  For those of you who don’t watch, Richard “Rick” Castle is a murder mystery writer who, for inspiration, hangs out with some NYPD murder detectives, led by Kate Beckett.  He concocts crazy stories, thinks outside the box and usually helps solve the case.  Although a drama, I’ve enjoyed the show from day one because it really is very light, mostly limited in gore and violence.  It also has very likeable and fun characters.

Ninety percent of the episodes follow a tried and true formula: someone dies in the beginning, there is lots of questioning and investigating until they decide who the suspect is.  It’s never the first person they suspect, usually someone who seemed benign during initial questioning.  Only about 10% of the episodes actually have any character development, which is OK, we all know Castle and Beckett will end up together.

This week’s episode was no different from the 90%.  The case was the murder of a contestant on a So You Think You Can Dance-like show. There was some comedy with Martha (Castle’s Mother) trying to convince a theater critic who 30 years ago wrote a scathing review of Martha, to include a write-up of Martha’s new acting school.  Alexis (his daughter) is still interning with Lanie in the forensics lab and Castle is proud that she figures out some game-changing infor on an old autopsy report. I won’t include any spoilers in case you haven’t caught up on the DVR yet.  This week’s Castle was a solid typical episode but I am looking forward to next week when Castle finds out Beckett remembers him telling her “I love you” just after she got shot in last year’s season finale. 

Shariously watch Castle, such a great show!

The Misto! (Want it Wednesday)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

As you will see in many of my "Monday Recipe" posts one kitchen tool I love is the Misto. The Misto is a substitute for cooking sprays such as Pam. Here's why I love it:
Misto Olive Oil Sprayer
The Misto

It's cheap - I'm on my second one.  The first was a hand me down which broke (sort of, the outer casing came off) after a few years of use.  The second, purchased a few months ago at Le Gourmet Chef outlet for $8. The current one seems to be made better where there is no outer casing (Misto must have fixed a common problem) so I think it will hold up better.  Cheaper than continually buying cooking spray.

It's easy - fill it up half way with olive oil (or any kind of oil) pump and spray. Olive Oil is my go to cooking oil.

It's fun - pump it! give it a few pumps and spray away - sprays just like an aerosol can of cooking spray would but without the aerosols. 

It's healthy - although olive oil is a healthier option than most types of cooking oil, it's still easy to go overboard when cooking with it. The spray helps control the use.  I use the misto on anything from coating a baking pan to using on sauteed veggies.  

Another tip, if you buy plain old non-buttered, no-salt popcorn, spray some of the misto and it's much better than lathering up with real or fake butter.

This also makes a great gift combined with some fancy olive oil or balsamic. Shariously, you don't want to missto this one!

Chicken With Avocado Salsa (Recipe Monday)

Monday, March 19, 2012

This is a staple dish at my apartment because it's quick and delicious!  Here is all you need to know to make it yourself.

Chicken with Avocado Salsa and Roasted Potatoes 

1lb Boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 Avocado
1 Large Tomato
1/2 Onion
1/4 C. Lemon Juice 
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 C. Chicken Broth
Pepper and/or cupboard spices

  1. Preheat oven to 350º
  2. Spray a baking dish with Olive Oil (I like using the Misto*) and place chicken breasts in dish. Pour 1/4 cup of lemon juice over the chicken.  The lemon juice quantities are just approximates, I usually just give it a couple of squirts.  Add the chicken broth then sprinkle with some spices), I use McCormick Perfect Pinch Salt Free Original All-Purpose Seasoning*).
  3. Bake Chicken on each side for 8-12 minutes depending on thickness, until no longer pink inside. 
  4. While Chicken is baking, chop avocado, tomato and onion. Mix in bowl with 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and refrigerate. 

Avocado Salsa Topping

5.     Top cooked chicken with avocado salsa, serve and enjoy!

As a side dish to this meal, read next Monday's post, my Roasted Potato Recipe, the quick and super-quick versions!

*Disclaimer - I am in no way associated with or paid by Misto or McCormick, I just like their products.

Shariously, this dish is quick, easy and delish and you need to try it!

Coffee with treats (NY Friday)

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm on a mission to find cafes that serve coffee with treats:

When I spent a semester in Brussels, our go-to chocolate shop was Leonidas.  Leonidas is like the Pinkberry of Brussels, while there isn't one on every corner there's always one in walking distance. And it was so cheap!  When I came back I brought everyone chocolate pralines, a 1KG box (that's 2.2lbs!) was maybe 30€.  A 2lb box in NY it's $72, and if you stop in the store  a handful of pieces can be a dollar or two a piece.
A friend devouring chocolate bunny in Bruge

I stopped in their Madison Ave shop with a friend not too long after we returned from Brussels because we needed a yummy memory, but I had never returned because it was so expensive. I hadn't smelled the Leonidas air again until about a year ago.  I was at a meeting in the Financial District, where they have one of their 4 US stores and decided to stop in because I noticed they sold coffee as well.  I walked in to the cute shop and up to the mezzanine level where I ordered a coffee.  To my delight, when handing me my coffee the barista asked if I would like a chocolate with that.  She then asked me if I wanted milk, white or dark.  She saw how excited I was that she even offered me another piece getting to try two of the flavors.  Yay! Just like in Belgium, where you always get a chocolate with your café

Last Friday, I was in the FiDi with a co-worker who asked to stop by Starbucks on our way back to the office.  I had a better idea - Leonidas! Why get Starbucks when you can get a coffee drink with Belgian chocolate on the side?

Then, this morning, after another FiDi meeting, I asked if he wanted Starbucks or Leonidas.  I was glad his response was that after last week's deliciousness he wouldn't be going to the Starbucks when Leonidas was right across the street.   As we were walking over, we noted a bunch of other cute places and decided to stop in the Financier Patisserie. We opted to try a new place turning down a delicious praline, but to our delight we noticed the customers on line before us were getting little madeline cakes which turned out to be Shariously delicious!

From Financier Patisserie

We'll be back downtown next week so if you know any other places (anywhere in NYC) that give out fun treats with coffee drinks leave a comment and let me know where I can find them!

Smash (TV Pick of the Week)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Since Smash was so heavily promoted and I walked by a set for it about 5 times before the premiere I decided to get on board to watch.  The first episode was good, but typical for a premiere it was setting up the story line and not too exciting.  The second episode I found boring, so I didn't watch the third until a week after it aired when I was scrolling through the on-demand menus looking for something to watch. That got me back on board to watch episode 4, and then could not wait to watch 5 (this past Monday). Now I'm hooked!

I'm rooting for Karen to get the part, she's hard working and  Ivy thinks just because she has the blond Marilyn look she deserves that part.  Of course it's the show's writing that makes Karen likable and Ivy not, but I also think this should be the only backstabbing duo on the show.  I hope Ellis isn't up to something stupid and evil. Although they always make it seem like he is up to something evil in every episode I hope he's just trying to brown nose his way to the top.  I'm interested to see where that goes.  Eileen might be my favorite character so far, but I wish I knew more why everyone doubted her.

The only plot line I'm not a fan of is Michael and Julia (which I think is a bad name for Debra Messing, she doesn't seem like a Julia). Not a fan of affairs, Julia and Michael should stop theirs.  I know they won't and it will be predicable.  

Overall, usually characters on TV shows are perfect or way to screwed up to be relate-able.  So far I feel like Smash is providing the right balance of how people really act and drama.

Shariously, if you don't watch you should!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Welcome to my new, first, experimental blog.  This is a place where you can learn all about me and how to become just like me, (j/k stick to being yourself).  I have no idea where this blog will lead but here's what I'm thinking:

I will have a blog topic every day of the week, some weeks I might blog about each topic and some weeks only a few will come up. Here is the preliminary schedule (subject to change or subject to me writing a post about anything I want that doesn't fall on a specific day):

  • Monday - Recipe of the week, most recipes will be quick healthy meals to make between work and the gym and catching up on the DVR
  • Tuesday - Travel Tuesdays Deal Day Tuesdays [Updated 4/3/12]
  • Wednesday - Want it Wednesdays: about products I like. Some things I already have, so it's you who should want it. 
  • Thursday - TV Thursdays:  my pick show/episode of the week.  Sometimes it's Entertainment Thursdays when I talk about a movie or live show instead. [Updated 8/31/12]
  • Friday - New York, NY: thoughts on daily ventures through the city
  • Saturday - Weekend Activities
  • Sunday - Anything I want or Get to Know Me Day   [Updated 8/31/12]

I hope you will have to continue reading to find out just what each of these posts entails and more importantly leave me feedback so I can write posts that you enjoy.
Thanks for reading!

This is a picture of me, just in a tree while apple picking