Wicked Domestic has a new look! After almost a year of blogging, we’ve upgraded to a new design. We love it and hope you do too! Thanks to Krystyn at Kryzzy Designs for her hard work. We’re thrilled with the results! Enjoy the new site!
After almost one year of Wicked Domestic, we’ve finally upgraded to a wonderful new look! You like? Elizabeth and I have been working with Krystyn from Krizzy Designs for a couple of months to perfect our new look. I hope you all like it! And a special thanks again to Krystyn for all of her hard work!
Throughout this dreary, neverending winter, I’ve been in the habit of treating myself to a fresh bouquet of flowers each week. It’s such a nice way to brighten up a room and lift your spirits. Trader Joe’s has some really beautiful buds for small dollars. Can you beat $3.99 for a decent bunch? Or $6.99 for a pretty great one? It’s totally worth it. In my quest to keep each bouquet fresh and thriving from one grocery store trip to the next, I’ve googled ways to keep cut flowers fresh.
There are a plethora of different suggestions out there, such as:
* put a penny at the bottom of the vase
* add bleach to the water
* put sugar in the water
* add lemon juice to the water
* mix vinegar in with the water
* put an aspirin in the bottom of the vase
[Is there anything more lovely than a hydrangea?]
In my experience these past few months, this is the most effective way to keep flowers fresh:
* change the water every 2 days or so, and use cool/cold (not freezing) water
* ration the plant food that comes with the bouqet so that you add a little bit to each new batch of water
* each time you change the water, rinse the stems well, removing any slime and loose leaves
* each time you change the water, trim the stems just a bit and at an angle
I’ve found this combination of efforts to really work well in keeping my flowers alive longer. Of course, it does also depend on the quality of the flowers and how fresh they are when you buy them.
This photo was taken after I’d had this bouquet for 2 weeks! TWO weeks! If you really scrutinized it, you’d find that some of the blossoms were a little worse for the wear. But overall, it was still in really good shape.
If your home needs a little lift, invest in a beautiful bouqet. With a little work, the flowers should stay fresh for at least a week!
Oh-em-gee. I have a serious love affair with fish. If you told me that I could never have red meat or chicken ever again, but I could have fish, I’d shake your hand and say okay. Maybe it’s because I live on the coast where seafood is a-plenty, or maybe it’s because my Mum always served fish for dinner when we were kids. But, who cares? It’s delish and uber healthy, so bring-it-on.
I’ve been eating a wicked lot of salmon lately, so I thought I’d throw some lovely, briney scallops back into the ring. I saw a recipe recently for sweet potato rosti at one of my fav blogs, Healthy Food for Living, and have been drooling over the thought of crisp, shredded pieces of sweet potato goodness. I didn’t happen to have the patience to make the “rosti” part so instead I made hash.
I threw some nice wilted spinach on top of the hash, a few pan-seared scallops and a generous drizzle of chipotle lime yogurt drizzle. I’m totally loving the idea of using plain, non-fat greek yogurt as a base for creamy sauces instead of sour cream or mayo. Toodle-loo fat, what up creamy deliciousness? Here’s what I did (serves 4):
1 HUGE sweet potato (probably about 3 regular sized)
2 shallots, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
3 eggs, beaten (I didn’t have any eggs, so I used 3/4 cup of liquid egg whites)
1 small frozen package of frozen spinach, defrosted
1 lb. sea scallops
2 cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 T. chipotle powder
I told you the sweet potato was huge, right? It totally Beetlejuiced Jameson’s head in comparrison.
First off, I made the chipotle drizzle first, so that the flavors could marry a bit. Take 2 cups of the greek yogurt, add in the chipotle and a nice squeeze of lime. Mix and set aside.
Meanwhile, either sautee or micro the spinach until nice and warm. Keep it warm until you’re ready to serve.
Then you want to dice up the shallots and jalapeno (I left the seeds in) and sautee in a little olive oil on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
While that’s working away, shred the sweet potato on a box grater (until you have a mini Mt. Everest), put it in a kitchen towel or cheese cloth and squeeze the living hell out of it to express all of the water. Once that’s done, add the potato to the shallots and jalapeno.
To get a nice crisp char on the potato, make sure it’s getting as much contact with the hot pan as possible. Sautee and flip the potatoes for about 10 minutes or so.
While the hash is cooking, grab your scallops and pat then dry with a paper towel (the dryness attributes to the crispness when you pan fry). Sprinkle on some salt and pepper then add to a medium hot saute pan with a little olive oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes a side.
Now onto assembling! Take the hash and make a little bed of it on your plate. Then top that with a hefty helping of the wilted spinach, top with scallops and drizzle the chipotle/lime mixture.
Queue the instant hunger pains. The crispy sweet potato hash and the creamy chiptotle cream make this dish feel decadent, but it’s totally healthy and filling. Scrumptuous!
I’ve always steered away from stir fry dishes because I’m not a big fan of soy sauce. But when I discovered that Trader Joe’s makes a sweet chili sauce, I thought that would be the perfect compliment to a wok full of chicken and vegetables. (Okay, I don’t actually have a wok, on account of the not really making stir fry very often. A sautee pan works just fine.) I do looooove chili sauce – such a delicious combination of heat and sweet. In order to balance out a couple of recent junk food junkie weekends, I’ve been trying to eat extra healthy midweek. This meal was loaded with veggies, lean protein, and brown rice, and as per usual, I made enough to last me several lunches. There is nothing better than having a good lunch to look forward to at work! Added bonus: it was really really easy.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
about 1/2 cup (maybe less – I’m totally guessing…) sweet chili sauce
Sorry – I know that that is an extremely lame and vague ingredient list. But this is such an “open” recipe – do what works for you in whatever amounts fit your needs.
First, I baked the chicken with a little of the sweet chili sauce to bake in the flavor – about 25 min at 350.
Next, I shredded the chicken into bite size chunks.
For vegetables I bought a pre-mixed bag of stir fry vegetables and two fresh peppers. I was a bit wary of the mix, but it was really convenient and really fresh and worked out great. I sauteed all the veggies in olive oil, then added a couple tablespoons or so of the sweet chili sauce. I didn’t want to coat everything, just spread the chili sauce throughout.
Once the veggies were almost done, I added the shredded chicken and let all the flavors meld for a few minutes.
I had cooked up some brown rice, which rounded out this super healthy meal.
This dinner was so easy and really good. I highly recommend the sweet chili sauce! A little goes a long way and it’s packed with flavor. No need for soy sauce – I’ve found my stir fry staple!
For a moment, please consider the lentil. The protein packed legume is used heavily throughout the vegetarian world for its hardy flavor and beefy consistency. As my wedding date slowly creeps up, I’m trying to eat super healthy by excluding a lot of animal fats and proteins, so vegetarian and vegan meals right now are totally up my alley. I’m even considering the idea of the “vegan until dinnertime” diet by Mark Bittman of the New York Times. It’s exactly how it sounds: you eat a vegan diet until suppertime rolls around and then anything goes! I don’t know if I can ditch my Chobani yogurts as my mid-morning snack, but we’ll see what happens. Anyways, back to the lentils.
Of course, my bff Martha Stewart had an ab fab recipe for mediterranean veggie burgers with mint yogurt sauce and a carrot salad that I thought sounded awesome. Particularly because they feature my other new bff, lentils! This burger was super satisfying and truly delicious. Here’s what I did:
4 medium carrots, grated
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 whole-wheat hamburger buns I used 100% whole wheat sandwich thins)
2 cups lentils, cooked and cooled
1 large egg
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup plain low-fat greek yogurt
1 head Bibb lettuce (I used baby spinach leaves instead)
First off, I made the mint yogurt sauce so the ingredients had time to marry. In a bowl, combine yogurt, half of the mint, and one tablespoon of the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. I also threw in a few chopped scallions too. Set the sauce in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
To make the carrot salad, grate the carrots (either by hand or if you’re blessed enough to have a large food processor with a grater attachment) and put in a large bowl. Toss with two tablespoon of lemon juice, one tablespoon olive oil, s&p and half of the scallion. Set that aside.
Now onto the burgers! Take one of the hamburger buns (unless you are also using the sandwich thins, then I would use two buns since they are less dense) and pulse it in the food processor. To the bread crumbs, add half of the lentils, remaining mint, remaining scallions, egg and s&p and combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add remaining lentils. By processing only half of the lentils, it gives the burgers some nice texture since half of the lentil are still whole.
Divide the mixture into fourths, form into patties and grill for about 4 minutes on each side. Toast the buns and top with the spinach or lettuce and the mint sauce. Don’t forget the carrot salad on the side!
These burgers are wicked tasty and seriously healthy. If you wanted to omit the bun and just serve on a bed of baby spinach, that would be great too! This meal may not be vegan, but it’s probably one of the tastiest vegetarian meals I’ve had in a while.
Have you ever had one of those elusive nights where everything is smooth, seamless, and works out perfectly? Tough parking? Empty spot in the otherwise-full lot. Crowded bar? Two mysteriously vacant stools. Estimated hour long wait? Actual wait only 35 minutes. A meal every bit as delicious as you hoped and expected? And then some. These nights are rare, folks, so enjoy them you must. And I did.
Matt and I have a bad habit of coming up with great ideas for restaurants we want to try… when we’re not actually going out to dinner. Then on nights when we do want to go out, we’re somehow at a loss for where to go. It’s supid, really. So a few weeks ago we made a master list of restaurants to try (such as Hungry Mother, Eastern Standard, and Myers and Chang) and restaurants to return to (Picco, Metropolis, and Tupelo, among others). The rule is 2 off, 1 on. So far we’ve tried Sportello and now Highland Kitchen. Not sure who might take their place – it’s a tough competition.
Our dinner at Highland Kitchen in Somerville on Saturday night was awesome. Awesomely gluttonous. I ate way more than I normally do and I ate most of the foods that I typically try to avoid (dairy, red meat, refined sugar) and I totally paid for it that night AND the next day. Was it worth it, you ask? Unequivocally, YES.
We started with an appetizer of potato gnocchi with braised short rib. I looooove gnocchi and it goes so well with short rib. This app was absolutely delicious. The broth that was leftover after I had shoveled the gnocchi into my face was perfect with the french bread that they serve.
[Please forgive this poor, poor display of food photography. It was so dark in the restaurant I couldn't see through my viewfinder and had to just guess. My dining companion wasn't digging the idea of waiting until I took 14 pictures to finally get it right.]
Perfection in a potato pasta pillow.
Now, what I ordered for dinner is extremely unlike me. I had a plan – a simple chicken dish. But then the guy at the next table ordered the papardelle bolognese and I couldn’t stop staring, mouth agape. I knew what I had to do.
The pic really doesn’t do it justice. It was insanely good. I’m sure that was partly because I don’t normally eat creamy, meaty sauces, but it really was delicious. Great consistency to the sauce – thick enough to coat the pasta, but with plenty of meaty chunks to scoop up with the papardelle, and a hint of heat. I did have the self control to stop myself halfway through, and Matt reveled in the leftovers the next day (while I was writhing in bed, cursing Highland Kitchen and their delicious food).
Matt ended up getting the chicken dish, which was a boneless half chicken with broccoli rabe, sweet potato hash, and gravy. I didn’t try it, but every other sentence out of Matt’s mouth for the past 2 days has been “That meal was SO good!”, so I guess we’ll take his word for it.
[Note the impatient fingers and fork in the background, ready to dig in.]
You’d think that after such a heavy app and dinners, we’d have called it a night. But we felt that everything was so good, we owed it to ourselves to try dessert. Hell, we owed it Highland Kitchen and to you, blog readers. We did it all for you. Every bite of the banana bread pudding. Heaven.
A perfect meal from start to finish. Probably one of the best I’ve ever had – and I’ve dined often and well.
Our server was also excellent. She was knowledgeable and attentive and really nice and was wearing a cool pistol necklace. The manager was very present and cleared some plates for us and brought us the bill. That place really runs like a well-oiled machine. And the music was awesome – Black Keys, Elvis Costello, Rolling Stones, Beatles, to name a few. The crowd was a mix of young hipsters (we were definitely not part of that crowd), 30 somethings with babies, and life-long Somerville locals. I love restaurants like that, and I love Highland Kitchen! As I type, Matt is hovering in the background muttering “that place rocked” and “I want to go back there – SOON”. Guess I should immediately put it on the “return to” restaurant list!
Cheesecake happens to be one of those desserts that I zero interest in making myself. My fiance dreams about the stuff nightly, yet there’s no way I would put the time and energy into the tasty treat. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s easily 300 plus calories and countless grams of sugar, it’s not exactly on the menu of my wedding diet.
While flipping through Bethenny Frankel’s book, “Naturally Thin“, she has a recipe for faux cheesecake including whipped cottage cheese and dark chocolate chips. It’s sweetened with vanilla extract and honey. BINGO! Game, set, match. This is my kind of cheesecake. Here’s what I did:
1/2 cup whipped cottage cheese or low-fat ricotta cheese (I accidentally got regular low-fat cottage cheese and it was still really good. I think the texture was a little off, but it did the trick)
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. honey
1 T. dark chocolate chips
Mix it all together and serve chilled in a ramekin. This serves one, but it’s easily doubled.
You couldn’t find an easier dessert recipe…well maybe other than “take fudgicle out of freezer and eat”. Which sounds pretty delicious.
You can swap out a few different ingredients with this recipe too. Instead of vanilla extract, try almond extract. And instead of chocolate chips, try slivered almonds. Don’t have honey? Use Maple syrup.
I love all of Bethenny’s super healthy recipes that are basically lower fat versions of our favorite foods. Next recipe on my list? Low-fat mock-a-mole (made with mashed peas in place of a lot of the avocado). Check out some of her recipes here.
This healthy faux cheesecake is definitely going to be a repeat!
I do love me a good reuben sandwich, but I can never figure out which is my favorite ingredient. Is it the salty corned beef? The tangy sauerkraut? The rich Russian dressing? Does it matter? No. They’re just delicious. So when I found a slow cooker recipe for a “chicken deli casserole” that seemed to mimic a reuben, I was sold. I made some changes to the original recipe, and recommend a few more.
31 oz jar/can of sauerkraut (approx. – see warnings)
1 cup Russian dressing
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tbsp yellow mustard
Swiss cheese slices
dark rye bread
A word on sauerkraut. I had never bought it before, so didn’t really know where in the store to look. (And I still don’t know exactly what it is – pickled cabbage, maybe?) I ended up finding it in the aisle with jarred tomato sauce, much to my surprise. I couldn’t find any fresh or jarred, so I reluctantly (and only after debating ditching the entire recipe) ended up with this can of “Silver Floss” sauerkraut. Since I don’t eat much sauerkraut outside of reuben sandwiches, I’m not a good judge of quality and I think that in the end, the Silver Floss sufficed. Either that, or it’s slowly eating away at my stomach lining and I’m about to buy the farm. If so, thanks for reading.
ANYWAY. Once you get past the Silver Floss situation, the recipe is a breeze. First, dump (there is no word more apt) about half of the sauerkraut on the bottom of the crockpot. I didn’t use the entire jar – probably only 3/4 of it (for the entire recipe, not just at this point), and it was still more than enough sauerkraut. Drizzle about 1/3 cup dressing on top. I really didn’t measure too carefully – just eyeballed it.
Place the chicken breast halves on top, spread the mustard over the chicken, and top with remaining sauerkraut (or however much you’re brave enough to eat). Drizzle the rest of the dressing over the top.
Cook on low for about 4 hours. The original recipe served this as a casserole with rye bread on the side, but I shredded the chicken inside the crockpot and mixed it all together to make the filling for a sandwhich.
The mixture was definitely heavy on the Silver Floss, so you may want to cut it down a bit. As I heated up the panini press I baked some sweet potato fries. At Trader Joe’s I found a perfect mini-loaf of rye bread, and though I was wary of the seemingly too-thin slices, they were dense enough to stand up to the sandwich filling. I loaded up the rye with Swiss cheese and the delicious mixture, and panini-pressed until they were crispy and melty. Mmmmm…
Even though it’s early morning as I blog, I totally want a chicken reuben sandwich right now. Yowzah, were they good!. We made two good sized sandwiches with plenty of filling left over for the freezer. Next time I’d use less sauerkraut, but this recipe is mos def a keeper!
What almost as fun as cooking and crafting? At home spa treatments that is! You most likely have a ton of ingredients in your cabinets and fridge to make for some stellar face masks and scrubs. Last week I was feeling kind of lazy and didn’t want to hoof it over to CVS to buy my beloved St. Ives facial scrub, so I googled to see what I could throw together for an at home version. I found a wicked simple corn meal and rose water (I just happened to have rose water, but feel free to use regular water, milk, yogurt…whatever) and it was amazing. Better than St. Ives! So it got me thinking….what other at home spa treatments could I conjure up?
Corn meal and rose water facial scrub:
mix together 1/4 cup of cornmeal and whatever liquid you have. I had rose water which gives it a great smell. You could also use milk, yogurt, water. Apply the scrub to your face and scrub away. Wash with warm water and you’ll be sparkling clean and fresh in no time!
Oatmeal and milk moisturizing mask:
combine 1/2 cup plain rolled oats and 1/4 cup of milk (or water or yogurt) and gentle mush up the oats so the mixture becomes a paste. Apply it to clean skin and leave on for 20 minutes.
just take a small amount of olive oil (probably 1 tablespoon) and apply to each cuticle and massage in. Done! No need to wash off!
mash-up an avocado and apply to dry hair. If you have a lot of hair, add an egg yolk and/or olive oil. Keep in hair for about a half hour, under a towel or plastic shower cap. Your wintery bone dry hair will drink with the moisture!
the aspirin acts as an anti-inflammatory and also removed dead skin cells, so this is perfect for puffy eyes. Crush up 5 aspirin, add a touch of water to make a paste and apply. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes and wash off with warm water.
Hello glowing hair, skin and nails! We’ve missed you since last summer.
When I had told my friends about my new face scrub, they all chimed in with some great at home tricks they’ve use: beer for dry hair, mayonnaise for dry hair (quiver) and the list went on and on. Take advantage of what you have in your cabinet! These at home treatments are considerably less expensive than the products you buy at the pharmacy and I think are just plain better because there aren’t any additives or toxins.