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Your Christmas Eve Dinner.

Growing up, our family tradition was fondue by the fire, Christmas music and we'd make peanut butter and birdseed ornaments to hang on the tree outside the kitchen window for my "forest friends", who would show their thanks by leaving a present under that tree - it was always a board game, which we'd play into the night - as an only child it was a special treat around the holidays when family was in town (my only complaint as an only - most board games needed 4 players!).

We were in a rural area, so fondue felt fancy and special. And now that I'm older and do my own holiday dinners, I can appreciate how that was a minimal-effort project for my mom before a big/stressful cooking day. This carried throughout college when I refused to allow my mother to ditch her old fondue pot ...

My mother in law passed this year, so our recent Christmas Eve tradition of spa and fancy food at the ritz will be discontinued, and im thinking about bringing my old family tradition back, with various stray neighbors (deployed husbands, far away families, etc) ... And a slightly fancied up menu.

Dec 03, 2013
alexajord in General Topics

South Jersey Afghan

We went this weekend and really enjoyed it. He had lamb, I had a vegetarian dish. We both ordered it "spicy" and it was flavorful-spicy, not nose-run spicy.

Service was great, food was outstanding, will definitely be back. Was dismayed to see only one other table when we were in there, around 7:30 on Friday night.

Apr 20, 2009
alexajord in New Jersey

Need Recs for Cheap-Not-Too-Unhealthy Central Strip Las Vegas

Since I know people will slam me about what I'm suggesting, when we go our priorities are usually drinking, gambling a concert or a show (we usually go out for Buffett) and eating as healthy as we can in the time that is remaining, other than one or two nice meals. We never plan ahead so rarely make reservations and pretty much go wherever happens to be close to wherever life has taken us at any given time. We're both pretty low maintenance. So while these may not be gourmet suggestions, they are affordable, convenient and not chains, for the most part.

There's a new place (I got a press release about three weeks ago, we just went Sunday) that I would consider "walking distance" from you - but we walk the whole strip. It's in the Luxur, called Tacos and Tequila. Upstairs, across from the IMAX entrance. We had chips, dinner (huge burrito for him, three slightly small tacos for me) and four signature margs (at $13/each) for $75. Our food was great for what we paid ( the margs made up nearly $50 of the bill). We ate at the bar and service was great.

I usually go to Witchcraft in MGM for a sandwich (I'm a vegetarian and it's nice to have some different eats) when we're on the run. Sammies are about $10 there, which although not cheap are not what they could be on the strip. It's nice to get something other than a cheese sub or grilled cheese when we're on the go or laying around the pool.

Diablo's is near the Monte Carlo and I think it's average. But my SO loves it so could just be me (but from reviews, I think most side with me). But, it's also not expensive (we usually order a pitcher of margs ($50ish), an app and two entrees and the bill is, again, around $75 or $80). One reason we go back: Good location, decent price and fun atmosphere. Plus outside dining.

People on here knock the burger bar at mandalay place, but, again, being a vegetarian and not looking to spend a lot of money, it's nice for me to have some options that extend beyond the basic so it's usually somewhere we hit. Coupla beers each and food for $60ish.

Oct 24, 2008
alexajord in Southwest

Vegas Restaurants on Strip with Happy Hour

FASHION SHOW MALL near treasure island may be your best bet:

4-6:30: Maggianos (it's a chain, but ...)
$1.95 appetizers; ½-price drinks

4-7: Café BaBa Reeba
$3 tapas and ½ off sangria

4-7: Ra Sushi
½ price apps; $2,75 Bud Light; $4 Kirin

Off the strip, Firefly on Paradise has some specials, and always looks like it would appeal to me, being a vegetarian. Can't speak to a meat eater

Oct 07, 2008
alexajord in Southwest

Mac and Cheese w/ lite cheddar?

I do the casserole style ("bahamian style," actually) with FF cond. milk, low-fat cheese, finely chopped jalapeno peppers/onion/celery and half whole wheat and half regular pasta. It binds great (I do "overcook" my mac n cheese because I lovelovelove crusty edges) and you can eat with your hands. I cut the corners because I don't notice much of a difference — and I'd prefer to do it when I can so I can eat without guilt when I want to, or when we're out and about.

Sep 08, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Best Casual Dining options in Atlantic City?

The two times we've grabbed a bite there before a concert, I've enjoyed the HOB food (once at the bar, once at a table).

That said, leave plenty of time to get into the show - it was crowded and service wasn't too fast (but not particularly slow) ... I imagine that's a norm for a show night there.

Aug 14, 2008
alexajord in Mid-Atlantic

Newark, DE lunch spot along 95

I can second this - it's a "small" (very small) chain; I'm a salad snob (to the point where I rarely eat them unless i make and wash myself) and they were huge and fresh. Be warned: It seems it can get a little loud at lunchtime, though.

Aug 11, 2008
alexajord in Mid-Atlantic

Flour tortilla taco salad "bowls"

I finally bought two "shapers" to bake tortilla shells in the oven with - I was having horrible luck finding just the right thing to shape them on so the $15 was worth it to me - I spray them with PAM and bake for about 10 minutes. A little more chewy and less crisp than fried, but less guilt ;) and still darn good. These are the ones I bought:
http://www.amazon.com/Chicago-Metalli...

You can also find a similar cage-like contraption for the fryer - just search for "taco salad bowl fryer" and a lot of options come up.

In either case you can use a pre-made 8-plus-inch tortilla

Jul 09, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Veggie "Meat"loaf???

This might be a little too basic but i made it a couple of times and really enjoyed it. Could likely work as a base for you to customize. I know I've made some changes to the recipe, but don't remember them all - I think I used some mustard, used 1/2 salsa and 1/2 bbq sauce and varied the veggies according to what I had/wanted. Second time I used it I baked in muffin tins to freeze for lunches. My meat-eating significant other loved it both times.

* 2 cups water
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup lentils
* 1 small red onion, diced
* 1/4 cup celery, chopped
* 1/4 cup shredded carrot
* 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
* 1/4 cup slivered almond
* 1 cup quick-cooking oats
* 3/4 cup grated cheese
* 1 egg, beaten
* 4 1/2 ounces salsa (or BBQ sauce)
* 1 tablespoon dried parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
* 1 teaspoon mustard
* black pepper, to taste
* paprika, to taste
* chili powder, to taste

Add salt to water and boil in a saucepan. Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of water is evaporated. Or, use canned lentils and omit this step.Remove from fire.

Drain and partially mash lentils. Scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly

Sautee onion and garlic in olive oil. Stir in onion, carrots, green pepper, almonds celery, oats and cheese until mixed.

Add egg, salsa, garlic, parsley, seasoning salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder. Mix well.

Spoon into pan that has been generously sprayed with Pam. Smooth top with back of spoon.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown.
Sprinkle cheese on top and cook until melted.

Jul 01, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Requesting Rehoboth Recs please

My very favorites: (disclaimer, I'm a vegetarian, some I'm skewed)

Breakfast:
*Royal Treat on Wilmington Ave

*Starboard on Route 1 in Dewey Beach (with a child, however, go early on weekend mornings, it's a big-time party bar, but it's my favorite spot for breakfast - their specialty is "eggs delmarva" I love their french toast; that said, my parents took me there often when I was growing up and I believe they'd seat you appropriately - away from any rowdiness - but before 11, you'd be safe)

*The Lighthouse in Lewes (great setting on the water)

Lunch:
Arenas in Rehoboth (Village by the sea shops right off rehoboth ave). Get the Nachos.

Louies on Rehoboth Ave (still there? haven't eaten there in years).

Iguana Grill is good for sit-down lunch or casual dinner. Fresh salads, good black bean soup, good atmosphere.

Casapulla's Subs: On Route 1 behind the outlets between rehoboth and lewes.

Snacks:
Thrasher's Fries. Some people disagree, but they are a must-buy every time I go home. I am lucky I exercise a lot because I buy the big tub and eat most of it myself.

Snyder's Candy Store: Rehoboth Ave, on the right side looking toward the boardwalk maybe two or three blocks up

Mack's Ice Cream: Between Rehoboth and Dewey. PB Swirl Ice Cream. Or a Triple Thick Shake (there was a for sale sign last year, if they're closed, I'll cry)

King's Ice Cream: In Lewes

Pizza:
Ah, the great grottos vs. nicola's debate. Do a slice from each and see for yourself. I always loved the nicobolis from nicola's, plus the atmosphere. Don't mind Grotto's now that I don't live there - and you're there, so you might as well have a slice. Its white pizza is pretty good.

Dinner:
Adriatico: casual italian, downtown location
Planet X on wilmington ave.: funky decor, good, fresh food.
Cultured Pearl: great setting now, I don't eat sushi so can't speak to that
Dos Locos: decent mexican right on rehoboth ave.
Nage & Eden: also great choices

Jul 01, 2008
alexajord in Mid-Atlantic

Shelf-stable healthy food?

I always keep a box 100-calorie packs of microwave popcorn and a tin of lightly salted almonds in my desk and a package of 2% milkfat string cheese in our small office fridge.

If I'm getting snacky, or if I forget my lunch, I pop the popcorn, split the string cheese in tiny bite-size pieces and dump it and the almonds in the popcorn bag, shake and eat. Not very chowy, but not a bad nibble when you need one.

I usually have individually wrapped servings of quality dark chocolate for sweet tooth cravings.

Other things I often keep at my desk include peanut butter, rice cakes, dried fruit (which can also join almonds and string cheese in the popcorn bag).

Jun 11, 2008
alexajord in General Topics

Dispatching live lobsters?

I thought they screamed when they boiled? I seem to remember that from my parents' forays into fridge-to-pot lobster murder.

At the age of 12 on a trip to Maine my cousin and I were so traumatized after the first lobster-cooking incident we freed my parents' night-before-we-left lobsters. Walked them - rubber bands around claws and all - down the rocks to the water and let them go. My poor parents (and poor lobsters!)

Jun 03, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Best foods to donate to food pantries

I've always heard that baby foods are a good one. Boxed macaroni and cheese is also apparently popular.

Our local radio station has a big drive every year and the food bank people always come on saying one thing they're always short on is women's sanitary products (if yours supplies those as well, it may be worth considering)

May 09, 2008
alexajord in General Topics

Easy recipe

I first learned lasagna - an easy recipe (like cheese lasagna - you could even make the meatballs yourself if you wanted them) can then grow with her as she gets more adventurous (meat lasagna, vegetable, white sauce, red sauce, make your own sauce, different cheeses, garlic bread, vegetables for the side ...). It's easy, fun and - with the most basic options - pretty hard to get hurt doing or screw up in the the process.

Apr 09, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

What to do with baby portabellas?

I don't really like shrooms either. But I'm a vegetarian, so I sort of make myself eat them. One of my favorite ways to get them down is with cheese and bread. You've got that foreman, so use it. I'll cook them (actually I usually use a big portabella and then slice thin, but you could do it with the little'uns) with some onions and red pepper on the foreman, and then put in the middle of some quality cheeses on some quality bread and cook that on the foreman.

Basically, it's the only way I can do it, on a sammich, or strongly marinated.

Mar 24, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Favorite Rehoboth Restaurants

My two favorites are Planet X and Espuma.

Planet X for the funky setting, good food with several veggie options and always-friendly staff; Espuma for consistently great food and service.

Mar 21, 2008
alexajord in Mid-Atlantic

The Wisdom of the Empty Outbound Carry-On

I just have to add - my SO is a pilot in the air force (so, no carry-on restrictions for him) and goes to Australia frequently. The one staple requested for return: As much VB as you can carry. We usually go through a few cases a year. Another one too ... Redback?

Otherwise, he also works for an airline and our flights, although free, are standby. So when we travel, we can't take anything perishable. (The one time I brought cheese back, we got back two days after schedule).

It's usually beers, wines or liquors that we like (or bottles with "personality") that we can't readily find in the states, to add to the variety of our bar - whether by taste, variety or sight. (When I know this will be happening, I pack a roll of bubble wrap in a rubbermaid container in a duffle bag so I can protect items on the way home)

Mar 19, 2008
alexajord in General Topics

the best vegetarian food "products"

I like the Kashi frozen dinners (I believe there are two veg ones) and the whole foods 365 brand frozen dinners. Both accompany me as lunch meals when I'm in a crunch.

Mar 07, 2008
alexajord in General Topics

Thanksgiving-style hoagie?

They are called the "Bobby" at Capriotti's. It started out in this area, so there are plenty around:
http://capriottis.com/Locations.htm

(apparently if you show them a delaware ID in the vegas shop, you get a free hoagie. Wish I'd known that ... they just sold a share of the shop though, so I don't know if that holds true!)

Mar 05, 2008
alexajord in Mid-Atlantic

Where are you going for S Jersey Restaurant week?

I'm doing high street grill too - they have a veggie option for me (most don't) and good options for my SO.

Tortilla Press is excellent. Last Friday we went to Tortilla Press Cantina (in, uh, Pennsauken? Sort of near the CH Mall), which was also great.

Mar 04, 2008
alexajord in Mid-Atlantic

BBQ odor for Vegetarians

I went veg at 10. Now, 20 years later, I love the smell when I'm not confined in a small space with it. A passing whiff, an open-air restaurant, etc.

I'm weird though - I quit because I never liked the taste as I was growing up - meat never, ever appealed to me. At times wish I could go back and I try, but it still just doesn't TASTE right (we travel a lot and I HATE being a PIA in the Bahamas or islands where pretty much all I can eat when we eat "out" is french fries and grilled cheese).

That said, when the large lady next to me on the plane opened a family size bucket of KFC, I nearly gagged. But I do love BBQ smell.

Mar 04, 2008
alexajord in General Topics

Mac & Cheese Disaster!

I, like you, have a mac n cheese weakness. BF, like yours, is mr. healthy eater. (And I am, usually, too). So, I make all my mac n cheeses with low fat options. I am speaking for "baked" mac, not stovetop ... I like it crusty! (Met my BF when he was 36 and he never had anything BUT the blue kraft, now he rarely even buys it ;))

I find that the pre-shredded kraft works (even the FF cheddar version works OK, which I typically mix with a 2% version - usually a mexican blend, always top with 2% or better because it melts better). Always use skim milk, or FF condensed if it's the bahamian version. 2% block kraft melts almost better (more gooey, which I love) than the full fat.

I once made, and very much enjoyed (but keep forgetting to make again!) a "tofu 'tuna' casserole" from Vegetarian times. It was excellent, even to the meat-eating boyfriend - and mac-and-cheesey enough to satisfy my desires. Here's the recipe: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe... .

Feb 26, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Fruits that can be used in Pies?

we've done green papaya before; for a weekly potlock at a bar in the Bahamas. No recipe, couldn't repeat it, but it was very well received. Might be worth a try. Granted these were picked and then cooked, so they were extremely fresh ... but could be interesting.

Feb 26, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Baked Macaroni as a main...what sides?

For me, it's easy:
peas, baked beans and potato chips. Can NOT eat baked beans without potato chips to scoop them up with. Bush's beans if I'm in a rush; homemade more often than not.

My mom always did stewed tomatoes with mac n cheese.

Feb 21, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

What do you put on your bagel?

Breakfast: Peanut Butter and Banana or cream cheese and sliced strawberry
Lunch: Hummus, sprouts and cuke
Sweet: Cream cheese (or butter) and cinnamon, browned under broiler.

Feb 18, 2008
alexajord in General Topics

10 more days w/o counter & water - help!

Thanks you all for the thoughts. I have seen those Indian meals in the store before; could be worth a try. (And boil in a bag rice was my significant other's staple before I brought real rice into his life ... we still have a few boxes because he would never let me toss them)

I, too, keep trying to think of camping cooking strategies, and keep getting stuck. When I was growing up, it was spam and baked beans.

Had I thought more effectively ahead of time, I would have pre-frozen some dishes. But I thought eating take out would be a "fun break" - it was; for a long weekend.

Seriously, thank you all. I spent my entire day obsessing, and not progressing, over "what can I make" thoughts.

Feb 11, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

10 more days w/o counter & water - help!

Sorry, I'll clarify: Problem is we have no running water or countertops in the kitchen. Since my only cleaning options are doing them in the bathtub or going outside in 12-degree weather, I would be forever indebted for "creative" solutions where I can still feel we're eating somewhat well with minimal "dirt" (so as not to clog the bathroom sinks). Ideally one-dish, minimal mess *and minimal prep) meals. Anything I can think of is limited to Italian-type dishes, and I know there has to be more out there.

Feb 11, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

10 more days w/o counter & water - help!

As our kitchen renovation nears completion (most of it is now back in place, as opposed to the living and dining rooms), I am getting antsy - and the water has only been turned off since last Thursday!

I have NO countertops - other than a big cutting board I put on a cabinet for lunch prep. I have NO running water, including in the dishwasher: With current temperatures, I refuse to 1) wash dishes in the bathrooms and 2) wash dishes with the garden hose. So, I am a contributing member of the throw away society fro two weeks.

So it's either keep it simple and disposable, or order out. We both like to eat well (read: lowfat) and I'm a vegetarian (read: eggplant parm from the takeout joint isn't lowfat); so we'd like to avoid ordering out EVERY night.

Thinking with throw-out aluminum baking dishes, I could do a decent amount of casserole type foods. But all I can think of are red-sauce italian dishes (lasagna, manicotti, etc.), which so happens to be the easiest (almost only) takeout around us.

So I turn to you for help: Any other super-easy suggestions, with minimal use of actual pots,, pans, counter space and cutlery?

ETA: I do have every other kitchen staple, such as the stove, microwave, etc.

Feb 11, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking

Thai food in South Jersey

I've been wondering about Singapore - we hadn't been since it switched from "Monsoon," which we very much enjoyed.

Feb 06, 2008
alexajord in Mid-Atlantic

I just got a charcoal grill and I'm veg... now what?

all great ideas - we grill almost every night in the summer because it's one of the easiest ways to cook for both of us (I'm veg, he's not).

kabobs are super easy - meat and veggies for him, veggies and tofu for me.

hot peppers with a little bit of provolone (or cheese of choice) tucked inside

peppers stuffed with rice or couscous/feta and a veggie mixture (meal for you; side for him)

marinate zuchini, eggplant, red onion, shrooms, tomato in balsamic/olive oil/garlic mixture and grill. Layer biggest to smallest (so usually topping with rounds of zuke) with a few sprinkles of parm or mozz between the layers. Serve over angelhair with favorite sauce

fruits to serve over ice cream

grilled vegetable pizza (I usually put them on the za and then cook that in the oven; however, you could cook the whole thing on the grill)

salad greens topped with grilled veggies (and choice of meat for him)

Feb 05, 2008
alexajord in Home Cooking