Sunday, October 20, 2013

Super Easy Homemade Marshmallows [no corn syrup]

I have been wanting to try to make marshmallows for a long time.  Its been one of the things on my list that I have never really gotten to until this weekend.  I have been working on a super secret project that I will reveal around the Holidays and I needed to test recipes for Rice Krispy treats.  I went to my local small grocery store and what do you know they were completely out of Marshmallows (as in not a single package anywhere --- I went searching).  I then stopped by two local deli's and they also had nothing so I decided to turn lemon's into lemonade (or in this case sugar into marshmallows) and try to make them myself!

This was the best happy accident, because after this first batch I have vowed to never buy store bought again.  They are so soft, fluffy (almost like little pillows) with the most sweet vanilla flavor.  If you had a birthday this weekend and/or you sit near me at work you may be receiving a few of these fluffy sweet treats tomorrow!

I also made this delicious hot chocolate mix (its totally divine).  I was looking for a vessel to showcase these beautiful marshmallows and on a cool brisk fall day hot chocolate just felt right!  This recipe is SOOO easy and SOOO decadent.

Marshmallow Recipe


  • 2 tbsp gelatin (2 envelopes Knox - which my grocery store had, go figure)
  • 1/2 cup + 8 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (if you put off making these for a few months, you can make your own extract here)

  1. Dust an 8X8 or 9X9 square pan with powdered sugar and set aside
  2. In a small bowl, soak gelatin in 8 tbsp cold water, set aside
  3. Combine sugars and 1/2 cup of water in a large heavy sauce pan and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved (stir constantly) 
  4. Add gelatin and bring to a boil (don't worry if gelatin is hard, add it all at once) 
  5. Remove from heat and add into your stand mixer bowl and let cool slightly 
  6. Add salt and vanilla extract 
  7. Beat with your stand mixer on medium until soft and double in volume (10 to 12 minutes) 
  8. Pour into prepared pan 
  9. Dust top with powdered sugar 
  10. Set aside to "dry" and "harden" on your counter for a few hours (3 to 4 hours) 
  11. Cut into squares (as big or small as you want) and roll each piece in powdered sugar 
  12. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks 
  13. Enjoy ---- with hot chocolate, s'mores, rice krispy treats, alone...whatever you fancy you will LOVE them!  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Taste of Brooklyn Bridge Park

Today for lunch Jason, Sophie and I ventured out to the first ever Taste of Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The BBP is a new hidden gem just beyond the Brooklyn Bridge across the east river from lower manhattan.  We have a special bond with this park as we walk through it almost every day and shockingly have NOT yet (until today) tried all the food vendors.  It was absolutely the perfect way to enjoy a lot of calories in preparation for the Staten Island half marathon (tomorrow) and get to know additional local food options.

Stop 1: Ample Hills

Just before the Soccer fields on Pier 5 and next to the public grills sits this little ice cream gem.  With a lot of interesting flavors to choose from and a the gorgeous view of lower manhattan in the background this was the perfect first stop on our BBP food crawl!  The ice cream was scrumptious (says my husband as I couldn't partake).  

Stop 2: Calexico 

After a short refreshing ice cream stop we ventured down to pier 1 to visit the Calexico food "truck".  I use the word truck loosely as its really just a small unassuming food cart that is always parked on pier 1.  The unassuming part is merely an illusion because this little cart packs a big punch with their food.  We each had one Chicken Taco and in a word it was AMAZING.  There is something magical about soft corn tortillas wrapped around seasoned chicken, pico de gallo and topped with avocado creme and a lime wedge.  This small truck = BIG flavor!  

Stop 3: No. 7 Sub 

After the taco we strolled over to the No. 7 Sub stand.  The sub stand is located just under the bridge and the small brick building can be missed if you are not looking for it.  The menu houses some of the most delicious looking sub combos with awesome names!  The taste of BBP featured a mini Godfather Part II sub and it was tasty.  What I love about this adventure is that I would have never ordered that combo but I got to try a little bite and actually liked it (adventure eating for Kirstin)!  

Stop 4: Luke's Lobster

Of all the stops we were most excited about having a mini lobster roll.  I am not a huge Lobster roll fan mostly because I don't love mayo (I should do a post of all the things I do to avoid substitute other things for mayo).  We have found many delicious lobster rolls in and around NYC and I will even tolerate my nemesis (mayo) for some delicious lobster.  To my surprise this roll did not have any mayo (or it had so little it was unrecognizable).  Large chunks of lobster dredged in an herbed butter compote and served on a mini buttered roll...heaven!  Run don't walk to Luke's (it's on the back side of the sub shop and we found out today that they deliver...hello delicious can I start a delivery account).

Stop 5: Fornino

After a mile walk back to Pier 6 we discovered Fornino.  Discovered is relative as we have walked past Fornino for the last few weeks (it just opened) and have just not had a chance to try it.  Pizza is my absolute favorite food (especially when I am training for a marathon...which I am).  The carbs, veggies (as in sauce) and cheese are just my perfect combination (and I have found is the best food for carbo loading).  To my pleasant surprise we each got a whole personal pizza and to my amazement it was one of my favorite pizza's I have ever had!  They have an amazing pizza oven on the roof of the restaurant (as well as picnic tables) and its likely the secret to the perfect pizza.  Crispy on the outsize chewy on the inside and perfect in the middle.  The good news is this place is rather close to my home, the bad news is I am likely to get obsessed with this place and request to eat here more than once a week!  

Honorable mention:

We sadly didn't stop a both Blue Marble and the Brooklyn Bridge Garden Bar, however we have been to both before!  They are both amazing and are must stops (the only reason we didn't stop is I can't have the offerings at either place at the ice cream and I'm not drinking again until after the marathon).

I HIGHLY recommend every restaurant in the Brooklyn Bridge Park and had an amazing day exploring!  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Thoughts

I have been slacking a bit on my postings!  Its not for lack of content and beautiful photos, its a time issue for me.  I have been traveling a lot for work and just can't seem to sit down a finish a post to hit publish.  I do LOVE this blog and am committed to keeping it going and 

1) I have been testing recipes for a fun but secret project I am working on called Sweet [Two]oth.  I am always so excited to photograph recipes and don't try them until after beautiful photos are taken.  The project I am working on requires new recipes to be created/cut down to bake in a 6" cast iron skillet.  I needed to create a brownie and was SO excited at how it looked when it came out of the oven.  I immediately grabbed my fresh lavender (isn't it gorgeous) and clicked away.  After the mini photo shoot I tasted the brownie and what do you know, it was NOT GOOD!  Oh well, I guess I'll just have to try again :) 

2) I think the brownie was not good because I tested it with freshly ground whole wheat flour from the farmers market.  The flour was not super finely ground and I think the texture is what caused the brownies to not taste good (and maybe it was also because I tried to cut the sugar in half and add apple sauce...).  I am still talking about and gunning for a grain mill, if I had one I could have put the flour through the mill and made it finer for baking!  Its still on my amazon wishlist!    

2) I sold my first item on eBay!  I am selling more than half of my wardrobe as I want to simplify and minimize!  Since I am a new seller eBay will only let me list 5 of any one item at a time (and since I mostly own dresses) this may be a slow process but none the less pretty exciting!  Keep checking out my listings, I am going to list more items this weekend!

3) I am working on my expenses today!  I can't think of anything more that I hate doing than expenses.  Does anyone know of a solution to solve spending hours on expense reports???  Help (I am writing this post in procrastination of expenses...don't tell).

4) I am running the NYC Marathon in three weeks!  I can't believe its almost here (and I can't wait for it to be over).  I have been training and fundraising since June and while I have enjoyed the discipline and health benefits I am ready for a lazy weekend (not focused on eating enough so I can run for 4 hours straight)!

5) My dog now has 15,000 fans on Facebook!  Her last post (which is below) was a #throwbackthursday post from when she was 8 weeks old and over 2,700 people liked the post.  I can't believe I live with a celebrity!   


Happy Friday/weekend, more recipes are being posted this weekend and next week so please check back! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dog Treats [Apple, Peanut Butter, Oat)

I want to start by saying if I could come back as anything I would want to come back to life as my sweet five year old puppy Sophie Chunk.  She has 14K fans on Facebook and is a mini-celebrity; yes she has been recognized in multiple places by strangers (and even voted one of the cutest french bulldogs in NYC).

This past weekend my husband and I took our Spoiled Monster (as we lovingly refer to Sophie) apple picking in the Hudson Valley (I should say we went apple picking and brought Sophie with us).  We had an awesome time roaming the grounds and picking apples.  I LOVE sweet escapes from the concrete jungle and this little trip was the best medicine from the stress of work, life and marathon training.

In preparation for our apple adventure I started a Pinterest board called Apples (I needed inspiration for all the delicious things I was going to bake with all these apples).  I had also been thinking about making dog treats for the longest time and finally decided to embark with the apples we picked as a family.  I did some research on dog nutrition and decided that my ingredients were going to be simple; oats, peanut butter and fresh picked apples.  I found a few recipes online that I used to create this master piece.

And for my mini-celebrity-diva-french bulldog, I would give her nothing less than homemade peanut butter, fresh picked apple, freshly ground oat flour dog treats (I guess I am officially a crazy dog if I was not before).


  • 1 1/2 cups oats (plus up to 1/2 cups of oats for rolling the dough out in)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter  
  • 3 - 4 tbsp apple sauce (I used homemade apple sauce from our fresh picked apples)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees (F) 
  2. In a food processor blend oats until they are a course flour consistency 
  3. Add peanut butter and 3 tbsp of apple sauce to food processor 
  4. If your dough is not fully together in a ball add the additional tbsp of apple sauce until dough is of a soft together consistency 
  5. Take two pieces of parchment paper and place a sprinkling of oats on one side.  
  6. Place dough on the oats on the parchment paper 
  7. Place another sprinkling of oats on top of the dough and place the second piece of parchment paper on top
  8. Roll dough out between parchment paper to aprox 1/2 inch thick 
  9. With a dog bone shaped cookie cutter cut out bones and place on baking sheet (recommendation is to bake on parchment paper).  If you don't have a dog bone cookie cutter you can just cut the treats into squares (or whatever shape you want).     
  10. Bake for 30 - 50 minutes (depending on the thickness of your bones).  After 30 minutes check your treats and if they are still soft set oven timer for another 10 minutes.  Once they are hard they are done! (Beware, they will smell amazing and will make you hungry as they bake in your oven)
  11. Let cool and let your favorite puppy enjoy!    
**Please note that only you know what nutrition is right for your puppy.  Some dogs can be allergic to various foods and I can not be held responsible for knowing this for every dog (Sophie Chunk is not allergic to any of the above ingredients).  If you are at all concerned about what to serve your dog please consult your vet***