Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kung PAO Chicken - WW Style!

A friend shared an AMAZING recipe from Weight Watchers - Kung Pao Chicken. 5 ingredients, 15 minutes prep, 7 PP value per serving (for those of you tracking that sort of thing). And seriously delicious!

Ok, so I modified it a wee bit. My modifications are in parenthesis.

1 (8 oz) package uncooked Chinese curly noodles (I ditched these for some plain white rice)
Cooking spray
1 pound ground chicken breast (I diced up boneless, skinless chicken breasts - go for 1 inch square pieces!)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
6 tablespoons stir-fry sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (double it - this amount has no Pao! I like some Pao in my Kung!)
1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts (I used cashews, I like them better)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
lime wedges - optional (totally forgot about these!)

1. Cook noodles (rice) according to package direction, omitting salt and fat (WHAT?)
2. While noodles (rice) cook(s), heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan. Add garlic, saute 1 minute. Stir in stir-fry sauce and crushed red pepper (and cashews)
3. Plate up! start with the noodles (rice). spoon chicken mixture evenly, sprinkle with cashews and green onions. Garnish with lime wedges

Serving size: 2/3 cup noodles, about 1/3 cup chicken mixture, 2 teaspoons green onions and 2 teaspoons peanuts

Saturday, January 19, 2013

EDR - The Food Part 1

You guys overwhelmingly voted for the food as the topic of my next wedding-related post. Ask and you shall receive!!

I've mentioned one of the priorities for our wedding/resort choice was the food. Neither my husband or I wanted average buffet food. El Dorado Royale (and all of the Karisma resorts) bill themselves as Gourmet Inclusive - and that is an accurate statement!!!

So let's take a food tour through EDR. This post includes photos we took while we grazed during our stay:

These dishes were from their Mexican restaurant - Rincon. Admittedly, it wasn't our favorite, but it wasn't bad, just not great.

The starters were good:
Calamari - some of the best I've had!

Duck confit

Sweet corn & pepper chowder - this was yummy too!

This was my DH's lunch one day - I think it was a fish quesadilla. This was from Las Olas - which is a little lunch spot in the Casitas 31 buildings. They had yummy wraps, paninis and smoothies too!

My caprese panini

My DH's roasted duck panini

Our absolute favorite restaurant was D'Italia Casitas. here are a few reasons why:
My DH's double portion of seared tuna

My beef carpaccio (sooo tender!)


osso bucco  (veal shank)

and my favorite dessert - chocolate surprise and bailey's ice cream. I was happy with just the ice cream!

we were lucky enough to have a candle light dinner on the beach one night, thanks to our amazing travel agent Pammy!

Aside from the alto sax serenade - to Bohemian Rhapsody no less! - it was really wonderful.

spinach salad w/ mango

lobster cappuccino - this was amazing!!!

my DH's crispy skin chicken

my filet with potatoes au gratin (they were soooo yummy)

and our lovely dessert

and another lovely dessert that our favorite waiter at D'Italias Casitas brought us on our last night in Mexico:

One other neat tidbit - there's a huge greenhouse at EDR and they grow the vegetables (and many fruit) that are used at the Karisma resorts in the area. They are big on going green, which I really loved!

We never expected the food and artistry we saw coming out of those kitchens at a resort. It was one of the factors that sold us on the All Inclusive experience - although EDR has certainly spoiled us with their high quality!!

The next post will highlight the food from our wedding events - the welcome dinner and our reception dinner.

Happy eating!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Welp. Yeah - here I am!

3 months, a wedding, a hell of a lot of work later, here we are.

The last 3 months haven't really flown by in a blur, they flew by with a lot of craziness and zero creativity. I really think the wedding sucked it all out of me.

I made a bet with my friend Amber (coincidentally, one of the BEST photographers, EVER) that if she tweeted for 5 days in a row, I'd blog again. And since this is a new blog post, you know how this turned out.

I'm an old married hag now, and I will be among the first to tell you that our wedding? It was everything I ever dreamed of, and more. We were surrounded by our family and friends, and threw one hell of a party (with the help of Lomas Weddings and El Dorado Royale Spa Resort).

I figured I'd natter on about some of the details of the wedding. If you're easily bored by that sort of thing, stop reading now and go back to your Twitter feed.

Still here? Ok, settle in, and let's talk a little about planning & details. In March I posted about the details and the progress HERE.  In April, I shared some truths & myths about destination weddings at Big Day for 10K. and in May, I talked about why I wasn't talking about a ton of the details HERE.

Now? 2 months after our big day I'm ready to spill all the beans, starting with the resort itself.

Our choice of the resorts was largely driven by these priorities: 1) food quality, 2) adults only, 3) all inclusive.  Since both of us like GOOD food, we did not want a resort where the main meals are at a buffet. And since neither of us are huge "kid" people, we wanted an adults-only oasis. We also didn't want to be nickel and dime'd to death with a la carte pricing. Early in my research I came across El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Casitas Royale. Trip Advisor had great reviews, and I hadn't heard any huge negatives. We considered a lot of different options, but in the end, EDR was the resort for us.

I can honestly say I've never been to a nicer resort. The photos are so gorgeous, and they don't even do it justice. The fact that it's all inclusive - yes, all of the restaurants, all of your booze (except maybe bottles of wine if that's your thing) - PERFECT. Everything about EDR was amazing. The food is gourmet, the service is 5 star, and the accommodations are dreamy.

here are some photos of the resort:

We had a Casita swim up suite. Boy, it was sweet (see what I did there? HA!). yes, that's a jacuzzi in the corner. we also had an outdoor shower. it was waaay cool!

our swim up (yes, that's a bed on our patio!)

the fountains outside the main EDR lobby

EDR Lobby

drinks at JoJo's bar

our swim up again - see how close it is to the bar? 

area by building 1 on EDR side, near the Health Bar (newly renovated)

The staff at EDR was AH-mazing. Their motto seems to be "in Mexico, anything is possible". What? you want bacon with that fondue for dinner. NO PROBLEM!

I can't say enough about how wonderful our stay at EDR was. We can't WAIT to go back. And that says a lot - we are big on traveling, and yet, we can't imagine going to another caribbean resort besides EDR. it's spoiled us now.

I know, I raved about the food and then didn't say anything about it. Don't worry, I'll devote a whole post to the food.

Ok, it's your turn to pick the topic. I have so much I can share about the wedding, what do you want to hear about next:
1. The Food dammit!
2. The DIY projects & details
3. The wedding ceremony (I wrote it myself y'all)
4. The par-tay (aka the reception)
5. The par-tay music (cuz our DJ kept me dancing all night!)
6. Just show me the pictures and shut up

Let me know...I'll tally your comments on Monday night (1/7) and the topic with the most (err, any) votes will win.

Enjoy your new year!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Culinary Genius

Guess what time it is boys & girls!

Yes, time for the monthly post. Today I'm sharing with you the amazing experience we had at Fearing's 5th Anniversary dinner.

Fearing's Restaurant is located in the Ritz Carlton, Dallas. That should give you a clue as to the caliber of food they put out. Fine dining at its best!!

This amazing arrangement greeted us on our arrival at the Ritz:

We started with a champagne reception on their patio lounge, and oh did the bubbly flow!

Dean Fearing's special guest chef for the dinner is none other than the incomparable Hubert Keller. Foodies everywhere will recognize both as being James Beard award winning chefs. They greeted us as part of the reception, and were gracious enough to allow this photo op:

I was hoping just a smidgeon of their culinary genius would rub off on me. I'll keep you posted on the outcome...

After the reception, we were seated in Dean's Kitchen area, where we were able to observe all of the plating and preparation. It was awesome!!! Artistry in action.

Here's my handsome husband to be in our cozy booth for 2:

(see the pastry chefs behind him?)

Here is our menu for the evening:

Our first course: Green Apple Gazpacho with Maine Lobster Tartar and Sturgeon Caviar

Second course: Pan Seared Sea Scallops, Bacon (BACON!), Napa Cabbage with Julienned Truffles, accented with Mushroom Broth Consumme

Main course: Braised Kobe Beef Cheeks and Parsley Puree, Pickled Onions, Red Wine Sauce infused with Lemongrass and Ginger

And last, but certainly not least, dessert: Silky Cowboy Hat, Chocolate Chipotle Mousse Cake, Chocolate Creme, and Jack Daniels Chocolate Milkshake (I died!)

This was one of those meals of a lifetime. Everything was SO GOOD. Complex flavors, and beautifully constructed plates. Thank you to Fearing's for hosting this amazing experience!!!

Enjoy your new day!

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Holy moly, it's September. Summer is over, the days are getting shorter, and it's still hot outside (gee, thanks global warming).

It's also 2 months until our Big Day. HOLY CRAP!

Most of the big things are done, but there are a number of small things left. Thank goodness my mom &  best friend will be visiting at the end of September. Yup, I'll be putting them to work!!

cupcake toppers, seating cards, welcome letter - the list goes on. And I can't wait to be in Mexico, on the beach. and married to Mr. NYC. I'm focused on that part of it, and not "the list".

Work has been really busy, so most of our meals are pretty quick and easy. Not a lot of experimenting or fancy cooking. Mr NYC has been super helpful and grills a couple of meals every week (YUM! GRILLED FOOD!).

The pugs are good, just as lazy and rotten as ever.

I did confess this week that I have a keurig on my desk at work. I'm a coffee snob - the stuff they have at work is AWFUL. And then there's the occasional day when the Keurig just isn't enough:

BTW - did you know that college football is here? Hell YEAH! FSU rolled over Murray State yesterday - 69-3. Yeah, I know. I feel sorry for Murray State too, just a little bit. I will be sporting my FSU TOMS this fall:

Check out Campus Classics by TOMS and get your own.

What's on your plates for September?

Enjoy your new day!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meal Planning - Week of July 8th

Yeah I hear what you're saying. "So much for 'regular' blogging Allie". And you're right. My bad.

Here's this week's menu:
Sunday lunch - salad (I did a spinach caprese salad - spinach, fresh mozzarella cheese and cherry tomatoes).

Sunday dinner - Korean BBQ pork chops and green beans

Monday - Green Chili Chicken Tostadas (one of my favorite cheater-chicken recipes, and it's healthy too!)

Tuesday - steak & grilled corn on the cob

Wednesday - parmesan chicken (this is a Pinterest find - can't way to try it!)
Photo & Recipe from

Thursday - burgers

Friday - roasted chicken thighs

Saturday lunch - calzone

Saturday dinner - out

So planning a big week of eating in, wish me luck!!

What are you cooking this week?

Enjoy your new day!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Meal Planning: Week of June 17th

I thought I'd try something new to keep me in the habit of blogging - sharing my weekly meal planning with you guys. Now, I never claimed it's super healthy, organic, or anything else. Mostly it's just quick and easy. And yes, we plan to eat out a couple of nights a week. Don't judge!

Sunday lunch: spinach salad (note - this got changed this week because the spinach in the store looked sad!)

Sunday dinner: steak & grilled corn on the cob (my honey is a Grill Master!)

Monday: out (working late, and I have a hair cut after work = we will get home late. so out it is)

Tuesday: pork chops and green beans

Wednesday: Sausage with peppers & onions

Thursday: chicken thighs & spanish rice

Friday: burgers

Saturday: play it by ear/out (I know..awful).

I find myself repeating the same meals week after week. I definitely need to mix it up a bit. Any suggestions for quick & easy dinners?? We're trying to stay low carb too, so that's a challenge for me.

Oh, and baking cookies on Sunday night probably doesn't help.

Enjoy your new day!