Menu Monday

Feeling uninspired to come up with dinner ideas for your week? Believe me, I have been there! I hope my menu can give you some inspiration and eliminate some stress from your week.

MONDAYBanh Mi Flatbread served with asparagus β€” **New recipe for us this week! I am planning on changing this recipe up a bit. I am going to use this recipe for inspiration as well (I am planning on using chicken instead of meatballs and adding radishes). I am also planning on swapping out the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt or avocado. Can’t wait to report back and let you know how this tastes!

TUESDAYSloppy Joes served with green beans and Trader Joe’s frozen mashed sweet potatoes β€” The last time I made this recipe, I followed the instructions for cooking it in the crockpot, and it turned out great!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

WEDNESDAYBroccoli Cheddar Chicken β€” The last few times I have made this recipe, I have been adding in zucchini and yellow squash in addition to the broccoli. The extra veggies help fill you up faster!

THURSDAYEnchilada Skillet

FRIDAYCornflake Chicken Tenders served with steamed broccoli and sweet potatoes

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚

NYC Year 2 Reflections

And just like that, another year has passed in NYC. I can still remember the first few days in the city so vividly. Thankfully, life has settled down and become much more “normal” since then.

Year two in NYC has been all about finding our groove and how we fit into city life. You have a better idea of what to expect, yet some circumstances will still catch you off guard. Adjusting to life in NYC takes a long time, and I would be lying if I said we don’t still feel like we are in an adjustment phase.

This year has included greater involvement in our church, deepening friendships and creating new ones, continued exploration of NYC and the areas surrounding the city, learning more about ourselves through the challenges and joys of city life, and so much more.

NYC Year 2 Reflections

  • Getting in and out of the city will always be the cause of great turmoil for us. β€” Unless you leave before 6 am, getting out of the city will always take longer than the GPS says it will (most likely adding an hour to your trip). To combat this problem, Ryan and I have utilized bus companies (mainly Greyhound) to visit places close by. However, throughout this past year, we have only had problem after problem with the bus. The incident that pushed us both over the edge was when we were traveling to visit my parents in Baltimore at Labor Day. Our bus was on time and sitting at the station at Port Authority (this is a miracle in and of itself). Our driver was a little late, but we all got loaded onto the bus fairly quickly and were on schedule to leave pretty close to the scheduled departure time. Out of the blue, our driver comes over the loud speaker and says that he can’t drive this bus. He didn’t give us any explanation, just that we would have to wait for another bus. We then proceeded to sit on the bus for an hour before action was finally taken to get us another bus. After that experience, we decided that we would consider other options if we are traveling to a place close by.
  • International travel is more affordable and easier to do living in NYC. β€” At the start of our second year in NYC, we were on a trip to the UK and Ireland that we had been planning for years! (If you are interested in our trip to the UK (London, Edinburgh, and Scotland) and Ireland check out the Tanis Travels section of my blog to see all those posts!) Living so close to JFK made finding international flights a whole lot easier.
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  • Trying new foods is still one of our favorite things to do. β€” Most of the time, I cook six out of the seven days of the week. That doesn’t leave us much time to try new things and explore new places to eat. However, whenever we get the chance to try something new, we jump on it! One of our favorite discoveries this year was an Israeli place (Pahal Zan) in Forest Hills close to our church. This food is authentic and tastes so good. The only hard part is the restaurant closes early on Friday and is closed on Saturday in observance of Sabbath. β€” Along those same lines, it is very important to be aware of when the Jewish holidays fall for a few reasons. 1. If you have a favorite Kosher restaurant, they will not be open on Saturdays (Sabbath) and Jewish holidays. 2. A lot of the markets where I get my produce here are Kosher markets, and they close on those holidays and Sabbath as well. Which also means, if you go to the market the day before a Jewish holiday…It. Will. Be. Madness. (trust me, I have made this mistake more than once!)
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  • Discovering brunch in NYC is a game changer. β€” Back at the beginning of the year, we realized that we weren’t taking advantage of living in such a great place to enjoy brunch. Ryan and I are huge brunch fans and decided that this year we would try out a different brunch place each month. We have been keeping track of the different places we have tried, and I plan to write a blog post about our brunch spots for 2018 as well as our thoughts about each one in just a couple of months!
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  • Navigating the subway has become so normal that it almost seems strange. β€” Back when we first moved to NYC, the subway was a source of stress for me. I am not very good with directions to begin with and then you throw this confusing subway system at me; I was toast. After learning that my phone could give me step by step instructions, I slowly began to get braver and venture out on my own. Two years later, I can easily go somewhere new and find the trains I need without much thought. At times when I show up to a platform so easily, I get nervous that I must have done something wrong and am at the wrong place. My confidence has grown exponentially as I have slowly become more familiar with the subway system.
  • Christmas is still my favorite time of year to live in NYC. β€” Although I am still not a fan of the cold weather, nothing beats Christmastime in NYC. There is just something about bundling up to go into the city and see all the lights and window displays. I love it.
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  • Getting a parking space is a big deal. β€” I will finish with one of the biggest changes this year has brought. Back when we first signed the lease on our apartment here in Queens, we asked to be put on the waiting list for a parking space in our building. Nearly two years went by, and we heard nothing. Ryan and I were beginning to think that this list was a myth. Then at the end of September, Ryan got an email from the management company saying that they had a parking space available. We quickly snatched it up and have been enjoying the luxury of having a parking space instead of struggling to find street parking! (Even though we now have a parking space, we still enjoy walking the majority of the time. From October 26, 2017, to October 26, 2018, I have walked 863 miles!)

Some days I look around and still can’t believe that I am living in NYC. Most days I don’t feel like I belong here. In fact, I have been told by various different people that they can tell that I am not a native New Yorker. But you know what? That is OK with me. Because no matter if I feel like it or not, I am a part of this incredible city, and I am determined to make the most of it for however long God chooses to keep us here.

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Photo by Third Floor North Photography

Thanks for a fun two years, NYC. Looking forward to what you have in store for us next!

Menu Monday

Happy Monday! Your weekly dose of dinnertime inspiration is here. Enjoy!

MONDAYItalian Orzo Spinach Soup served with a salad and bread β€” This is my favorite soup recipe. I am sure this recipe will pop up on my weekly menus on a regular basis from now until spring!

TUESDAYSpaghetti Squash and Meatballs served with asparagus β€” I use store-bought spaghetti sauce to help this meal come together even quicker!

WEDNESDAYAvocado Black Bean Quesadillas served with roasted cauliflower β€” You can season your roasted cauliflower with taco/fajita seasoning to add even more flavor!

red and yellow capsicums
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

THURSDAYPotato Soup served with a salad β€” This is another favorite soup recipe of mine! I swap out the bacon for diced ham when I make this recipe.

FRIDAYPulled Pork [after clicking on the link, scroll down to number 4 to find the recipe for pulled pork] served with mashed sweet potatoes and green beans β€” The frozen mashed sweet potatoes are back at Trader Joe’s! I am planning on enjoying these as much as I can all season long.

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚

Menu Monday

Fall has arrived here in NYC! As much as I love the warmer weather, I am excited to start making my favorite soup and chili recipes again.

MONDAYOven Chicken Fajitas β€” This meal is so versatile and can be adapted to fit each person’s preference. Serve in a corn or flour tortilla, over rice, or on top of a big bowl of greens!

TUESDAYSlow Cooker Asian Turkey Meatballs served with rice and sautΓ©ed veggiesΒ β€” Subbing cauliflower rice for jasmine or brown rice is a great way to sneak in some extra veggies!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

WEDNESDAY – Chili served with Trader Joe’s corn chips and a salad β€” I always make my Aunt Anita’s chili recipe. I love that it incorporates a little pumpkin, because who doesn’t love adding in extra pumpkin this time of year?!

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz. can pumpkin
1 green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 t. chili powder
2 t. honey
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 t. salt
Brown ground beef in a large pot over medium heat, stirring to crumble; drain. Stir in remaining ingredients; reduce heat to low. Simmer covered for one to two hours, adding water as necessary. Can also be combined in a crockpot and cooked on low for 6-8 hours.

THURSDAY – Frozen Pizza served with roasted cauliflower

FRIDAYSlow Cooker Chicken Gyros β€” Serve this in a pita or over rice and add your favorite toppings (cucumber, tomato, lettuce, red onion, etc.).

What are your favorite fall recipes? Comment below and share them with me!

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚

NYC Fall Favorites

Here in NYC, the summertime weather has been sticking around a little longer than normal. I, for one, am not upset about it; however, I know that this weather will not last forever, and the cold temperatures will be here before I know it.

After experiencing 1 1/2 fall seasons in NYC, I have a much better idea of what to expect and how to prepare for the changing temperatures.

Comfortable Shoes – I’ve talked about the need for comfortable shoes on the blog before, but I just need to stress that again here. When I first moved to NYC, I was definitely a little more concerned with style than comfort. Let’s just say that changed pretty quickly πŸ˜‰ I decided to get a neutral pair of tennis shoes about a year ago, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner! (the shoes I have are similar to these ones!) I also like to wear boots during the fall and winter months. There are so many options out now with lower heels to keep the comfort level high!

Vests – This is one of my favorite layering pieces for the fall. Vests are perfect for days when I will be walking a lot and want to ensure that I will stay warm but not too warm. πŸ™‚ I only wish the milder fall temperatures would last longer in NYC so I could wear vests longer!

Rain Jackets – If you live on the East Coast, then you understand the necessity of investing in multiple rain jackets. I got a fleece-lined rain jacket last fall that I used constantly throughout the fall and winter! However, on slightly warmer days, my fleece-lined jacket is too much, and I need to wear something lighter. The bottom line is that the weather is unpredictable here, so it is better to be prepared for whatever may come your way.

A Fleece Jacket – This is my go-to layering piece during this time of year! Whether you need an additional layer under a rain jacket or just need something lighter to throw on before heading out the door, a fleece jacket is the perfect staple for the fall and winter. There are a lot of trendier options on the market right now, but I tend to lean toward a good, neutral fleece since I have limited closet space in my apartment.

Water Bottle – It is important to stay hydrated no matter what season it is. I absolutely love my CamelBak Chute Mag Vacuum water bottle! My favorite features are the wide grip to make it easy to carry around with me and the magnetic top to keep the cap away from my face while drinking out of it.

This list is not exhaustive in the least, but these items are essential to help me survive the ever-changing weather that is fall in NYC.

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Menu Monday

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you have a great week and even better dinners πŸ˜‰

MONDAY – Spaghetti served with steamed broccoli and Trader Joe’s garlic naan bread

TUESDAYHawaiian Shredded Chicken Rice Bowls β€” We like to top our rice bowls with purple cabbage, cilantro, shredded carrot, green onion, and avocado!

WEDNESDAYRoasted Chicken and Veggies served with sweet potatoes β€” To help cut down on prep time day of, chop up the veggies and chicken the night before. This recipe is very simple and delicious!

tomatoes carrots and radish on the top of the table
Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

THURSDAYAvocado Black Bean Quesadillas served with roasted cauliflower

FRIDAY – Breakfast for dinner β€” Scrambled eggs served with bacon and avocado toast. I love adding veggies to our scrambled eggs; some of my favorites to add are diced bell peppers, spinach, and green onion.

Happy Cooking πŸ™‚