Dining, Food, Fun, Holiday, recipe, Sweets

Ree titled this one her perfect pot roast and after a perfect pulled pork… I believed the Pioneer Woman would do this one justice.  I did not list the amount of each ingredient as you should refer to the link for the original recipe.  The only changes I made were due to the limitations of my kitchen supplies (fresh herbs, veggie stock etc).  I shared this one with friends and it was received very well.  I can’t wait to make it again.

  • 3 cloves garlic


    Plated with root veggie mash

  • thyme (I used dried)
  • rosemary (I used dried)
  • salt/pepper
  • 4 lb Rump Roast
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • 3 C Vegetable Stock
  • 1 C Wine

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast.

Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions to a plate.

Throw the carrots into the same very hot pot and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so. Reserve the carrots with the onions.

If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pot. Place the meat in the pot and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.

With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the roast back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.

Add in the onions and the carrots, along with the fresh herbs.

Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours for a 3-pound roast. For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours. The roast is ready when it’s fall-apart tender.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/perfect-pot-roast-recipe.html?oc=linkback


Ree’s Perfect Pot Roast

Food, Fun, Holiday, recipe, Sweets

Molasses Spice Cookies

Soft & Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

Although I made this recipe during the holiday season, it is now one of my favorite cookies.  The Cook’s Illustrated version is so perfect I would not change a thing.  Although Starbucks’ version is decent and does not contain many artificial ingredients, it is still expensive and pre-packaged(ingredients below)…that’s where #theRealWendy comes into play.

from Cook’s Illustrated

  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (i didn’t have any)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup molasses, light or dark

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 1/2 cup sugar for dipping in a shallow, wide bowl.

Whisk flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in medium bowl until thoroughly combined; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter with brown and granulated sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add yolk and vanilla; increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to medium-low and add molasses; beat until fully incorporated, about 20 seconds, scraping bottom and sides of bowl once with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to lowest setting; add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl down once. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure that no pockets of flour remain at bottom. Dough will be soft.

Using tablespoon measure, scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and roll between palms into 1 1/2-inch ball. Roll ball in sugar to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are browned, still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overbake if you want the cookies to be soft and chewy.

Cool cookies on baking sheet 5 minutes, then use wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Starbucks Ginger Molasses Cookie


enriched unbleached wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), shortening (palm oil), sugar, molasses, brown sugar (sugar, molasses), water, invert sugar, corn syrup, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger.


Food, Fun, NYC, savory, Uncategorized

Improvised Stuffed Peppers

Since there were not many ingredients at the store due to the high demand before the storm, I made an improvised stuffed pepper.  Also lets be honest it’s all about making a meal with ingredients you like or already have on hand.  In this case I bought and roasted red peppers in a 400 degree oven cut side up for 10 minutes.


sauté in the front and simmer in back

Sauté onions, mushrooms, and kale set aside.  In another pot cook 1C quinoa with 2C water and seasoning to taste (I used chili powder and salt).  Combine cooked quinoa with mushroom mixture and sprinkle in cilantro.  Sauté ground meat (I used turkey) and once cooked stir in 1 jar of salsa (I prefer Pace hot).  Combine all ingredients and stuff in pepper.  Top with cilantro and serve.

Better yet I combined all the veggie scraps I used throughout the day to make a simple vegetable stock!  I just kept adding to the pot and let simmer a few hours before straining and portioning into separate containers.


Dining, Food, NYC, recipe, Sweets, Uncategorized

Snow Day Date-Nut Bread

Since it is the storm of the century here in NYC, I decided to post some of the things I cooked today while happily stuck in the apartment.  Since I was aware of the storm earlier in the week I pre measured and froze buttermilk.  I waited a bit too long to go to the grocery store as the line was wrapped around the block just to enter and the line to checkout was another half hour wait winding throughout the store.  In the end I found plenty of ingredients to make dishes ranging from a greek yogurt kale dip, to stuffed red peppers, roasted artichoke hearts, and even managed to make a homemade vegetable stock.

Date- Nut Bread from ATK Healthy Cookbook

This recipe comes from a favorite cook book America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.  I ended up making this recipe as directed but baked in an 8X8 in pan since I didn’t have a loaf pan.  I learned that the dates can turn tough when baked so it is important to soak in hot water and baking soda to weaken the skins to remain soft while cooking.

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups pitted dates, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk, chilled
  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9x5x2¾ inch loaf pan (I greased and placed parchment along bottom of an 8X8). Tip: to make baked bread easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine boiling water, baking soda, and dates. Cover and set aside about 30 minutes or until the dates have softened and the water is lukewarm.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, brown sugar, melted butter, and egg; whisk together until well blended. Stir in the date and water mixture. Add flour mixture; stir just until blended. Stir in nuts.
  4. Bake: Pour batter in the loaf pan. Bake 60 minutes (mine took 25) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and let cool about 15 minutes. Grabbing the top edges of the parchment paper, lift bread from loaf pans and place on a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Remove parchment paper and discard.
Food, Fun, recipe, savory

Beet Burgers

blended "burger" mixture

blended “burger” mixture

For the second way to use beets, I am making a burger reminiscent of that at 5 Napkin Burger here in NYC.  Although they have not revealed the recipe, it is definitely a beet based burger.  The conclusion I made after cooking a batch was that the are a LOT of work so prepare to use every pot and pan in the kitchen and spend quite a bit of time assembling the patties before enjoying.

Burger based off the recipe from http://www.eatliverun.com

Plant Burger

  • 3 beets (peeled and chopped)
  • 1T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • mushrooms (I used 1 lb mixed varieties)
  • 1/2 onion minced
  • 1/3c raw walnuts
  • salt/pepper
  • dried thyme and rosemary
  • 1/2C  green lentils, uncooked
  • 1/2C bulgur, uncooked


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the chopped beets on a lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.

assembled patties

assembled patties

While the beets are roasting, combine the lentils with 1 1/2 cups water in a small pot on the stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until lentils are tender.

Also on the stove, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add the bulgur then turn off the heat and cover for 10 minutes. The bulgur should absorb all of the liquid and be tender when done.

Heat one tsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add minced onion, mushrooms and thyme and cook for about 6 minutes. Both onions and mushrooms should be softened.

served atop a bed of lettuce

served atop a bed of lettuce

When you have all of your ingredients prepped and ready, start making your burgers! Place raw walnuts in a food processor and process until they become a flour. Then, add beets, bulgur, onions, mushrooms and rosemary and process until combined.  Add cooked lentils and continue processing until everything has combined but still on the “chunky” side. Remove mixture from either food processor or blender and place in a large bowl.

Heat up the remaining tablespoon of oil over high heat. Divide mixture into six veggie burger patties and carefully cook each side for about 5 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Food, Fun, recipe, Sweets

IMG_3642The next two posts are dedicated to beets. They are a great veggie to enjoy in the fall and winter months and can be used in anything from a juice to burgers and even brownies.  I have tried many varieties of brownies in the past with little luck but I loved the result of these moist, decadent brownies.  Beets are not that outrageous as I have heard everything from mayonnaise, black beans, applesauce, and even diet coke mixed into a batter.

Beet Brownies

batter red as a beet

batter red as a beet

post-baked pre-sliced

post-baked pre-sliced

  • 2-3 medium size cooked and pureed beets, to equal 1 cup
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tablespoons strong black coffee (optional)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F  Grease an 8 x 8″ pan.  Set aside.

Combine butter and sugar.  Add eggs, vanilla, coffee, and beets.

Whisk dry ingredients.  Flour and cocoa powder.  Fold in beet mixture, add chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 22-25 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before cutting.

*My batter was much more runny than that of the blog I referenced so check out the link below to get their take!




Beets Sweet and Savory

Food, Fun, Ohio, recipe, Sweets

Neighborhood Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

Banana Bread From A Friend

Loaf packed with crumble topping

Loaf packed with crumble topping

I love this recipe because it came from a recent visit to a neighbor who claimed it was the best banana bread which she received from another friend.  I tried a bite and had to agree.  I couldn’t find where the recipe came from, but it is pretty simple as banana bread should be.  The only issue I had was the baking time which I happily enjoyed the slightly undercooked middle slices while sharing the perfectly baked and moist outer edges.


  • 1 egg
  • 1C Sugar
  • 1/2C room temp. butter
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1/2C buttermilk (I used milk and lemon juice replacement)
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed (I used 3)
  • 2C AP flour (I used Bob’s Redmill)
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • I added 1/2C chopped walnuts

Crumb Topping

Crumble topped slice

Crumble topped slice

  • 1/2C Powdered sugar
  • 1/2C AP flour
  • 4T melted butter
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt


  1. Beat egg, sugar, vanilla. Add butter.  Beat in buttermilk and bananas.
  2. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder,and cinnamon.  Slowly stir dry into wet.
  3. Spray loaf pan with oil before pouring in batter.
  4. Combine crumb topping with your hands and sprinkle over loaf.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes.  Mine took much longer and was still underbaked.  I ate the gooey middle pieces without complaint but when making for a crowd allow extra baking time.


This one falls under #theRealWendy umbrella as Starbucks makes a similar loaf replacing the crumble with a walnut topping (I added chopped walnuts to the batter).  Although the ingredients are better than most packaged foods, it is still very overpriced for a packaged slice of bread.