Brace yourselves because you are about to be inundated with pictures! (Consider yourself warned.) Two friends and I just got back from a trip to New York City and boy do I have the pictures to share.
We squeezed as much out of our 3 day trip as we possibly could - Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Broadway Shows, Times Square, Chelsea Market, Shopping in Chinatown, Pizza in Little Italy, Strolling through SoHo, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, 911 Memorial, Wall Street, Walking the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Taxi Rides, Subway, Ferry Boats and that doesn't even begin to cover the food that we tasted while we were there. (It's no wonder that we were exhausted when we got home.)
I decided to break this blog post up into several days - so as to not overwhelm you with hundreds of photos all at once. Where, oh where do I start with these hundreds of pictures of my trip? I guess I'll start with pictures from when we first began our adventures in the Big Apple. We got off the plane at and within just a few hours, we had checked into the hotel, had lunch at the Carnegie Deli and were wandering through Central Park.
These are just a few pictures from our stroll through Central Park.
It was almost like going back in time because the trees in New York were just starting to bud, the daffodils were blooming and the air was crisp. (My polite way of saying that it was chilly!) It looked like Atlanta did about 3 weeks ago.
It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a week since we were in the heart of New York City's Central Park. I'm still having trouble getting my brain out of vacation mode.
We had so much fun in New York City and we definitely ate WELL while we were there. We had some great meals at Bar Americain, Sardis, Fig and Olive, the Carnegie Deli and Lombardi's Pizza just to name a few.
It's taken a couple of days but I think I'm finally getting back into the swing of having dinner prepared by 5:15 every night. I am definitely using the fresh strawberries that we picked on Monday as inspiration for our meals this week. Monday night, I made a strawberry balsamic chicken dish that was outstanding. (If I do say so myself.)
Last night, I made tacos for dinner and buttermilk biscuit strawberry shortcakes for dessert!
This dessert is definitely worthy of being served in a fancy New York City restaurant. I found the recipe for the buttermilk biscuits in Southern Living. (A magazine that I borrowed from a friend on the plane ride home.)
Whether you like your biscuits smothered in honey or butter or jam or made into a shortcake, you are going to LOVE these biscuits. I modified the recipe to make them even easier to prepare and they are as light and fluffy as any biscuit that I've ever tasted.
1/2 cup butter, frozen
2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 cup buttermilk
Transfer to a bowl and add flour. Stir to combine. Refrigerate 10 minutes.
Place circles on a silpat lined baking sheet with sides touching.
Perfect with honey or butter or jam. OR... slice up some fresh strawberries and whip of some cream for a decadent dessert.
Sooo good. So maybe there was no white tablecloth on our dinner table last night, but we did have a fabulous dessert. Easing my way back out of vacation mode slowly.
Strawberry Balsamic Chicken
I got the much anticipated email from the strawberry farm last Monday that the fields were open and the picking had begun! Since I was out of town for a few days last week, I wasn't able to get there to pick my first bucket of berries until yesterday. I was soooo exicted. And to make it even better - I had a partner to help me.
It didn't take us long to fill up 2 buckets with juicy, ripe berries. There were lots of strawberries!
Long stem strawberries can only mean 1 thing really - they have some chocolate in their future.
I had been saving this recipe for Strawberry Balsamic Chicken from gimmesomeoven.com until I had some really fresh strawberries so last night I finally made it. It was really yummy.
I changed up the recipe a little and cooked my chicken on the grill instead of in the oven and it it was the perfect meal to kick off strawberry season.
Strawberry Balsamic Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
salt and pepper
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
4 oz. fresh mozzarella ball (or shredded mozzarella), roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Meanwhile, bring the remaining 1/2 cup vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Remove and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together strawberries, mozzarella and basil to make a caprese topping.
When the chicken is ready, transfer to serving dishes. Then top with the strawberry caprese topping, and then drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar.
What a great way to kick off strawberry season! There is nothing like eating the strawberries just hours after they've been picked from the field.
Oh and just in case you're curios, my Courtney ate her chicken sans strawberry caprese. She prefers her grilled chicken dipped in ranch dressing. (A travesty in my book but whatever it takes to get her to eat it.)
Pizza Factory Breadsticks
For those of you that don't already know this about me - I am a self confessed bread junkie. I LOVE homemade bread. I bake bread all the time and I thought that I was pretty in touch with the latest and greatest in the world of bread. I am always researching new bread recipes and flours, etc. The other day I just happened to be on Pinterest when these twisted breadsticks from www.sweettreatsmore.com caught my eye.
I had what Oprah would call a "light bulb moment." Why had it never occurred to me that I should be twisting my bread dough around a skewer to create a delightfully playful little carbohydrate treat? It seriously is a genius idea. I'm not sure I would call it life changing but I don't think I can ever go back to making plain old straight breadsticks ever again.
Pizza Factory Breadsticks
1 Tbsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. melted butter, divided
3/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
8 - 12″ skewers
Divide dough into 16 equal parts (about 4 oz each). Lightly cover your hands with flour and roll each part into a 12 inch long snake.
Moisten the skewer or dowel with water at the top where you will start wrapping the dough. Wrap the dough around the skewer or dowel down to the bottom. Moisten the skewer where the breadstick will end as well. ( Leave about 1/4 of an inch at the top and bottom and about 1/4 of an inch at the top.)
Place on a silpat lined baking sheet and let rise until doubled again.
Brush with 1/4 cup melted butter.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Or in a pretty dish!
These breadsticks will look great no matter how you serve them.
Greek Chicken Skewers
Well she did it. Courtney scored three goals for her varsity soccer team last week. (Maybe you heard the excessive cheering coming from our house.)
Proud momma moments watching this girl do her thing on the soccer field.
Last week we had 3 soccer games and 3 baseball games in 4 days - needless to say, we only ate dinner at home 1 night all week. We had dinner at the field most days which sounds like a complaint but to be perfectly honest - I am sad that their seasons are over. I am going to miss cheering on my favorite teams but I'm not going to miss packing our dinner every night.
I packed these Greek Chicken skewers along with some orzo salad to take to one of the soccer games last week. In case you missed the orzo salad recipe that I posted on the blog yesterday, you need to check it out. It is amazing.
The perfect compliment to the orzo salad - Greek Chicken Skewers from Taste of Home magazine. These are super easy and really yummy. As an added bonus - they make great picnic food for the ballpark too.
Greek Chicken Skewers
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound boneless chicken, cut into strips
Serve with orzo salad.
Super yummy summertime and easy meal to serve on a warm spring (or summer) day.
How can it be possible that the kids wrapped up both soccer and baseball season last week? Courtney's very first varsity soccer season and Ryan's senior year of baseball - I swear - I blinked and it was over. Ugggg - somebody make them stop growing please!
There are so many things that I am going to miss about seeing Ryan on the baseball field but on a more positive note, at least I won't have to pack up our dinners to eat while sitting on the bleachers anymore. Picnicking at the ball field gets old after about a week. Lets just say - I'm over it.
Last week, I made a batch of Greek Chicken Skewers and some orzo pasta to take to one of Courtney's last soccer games. It was a nice change from the sandwiches that I normally pack to eat at the field.
Both of these recipes came from my Taste of Home magazine and I really liked them both. The beauty of the orzo salad is that it's really good warm, at room temperature and even cold. I just never know when I might get the chance to eat during the game so temperature is always an issue. It was especially good with the chicken skewers and I'll post that recipe on tomorrows blog.
1 1/4 cups orzo pasta
15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup feta
1/2 cup pitted Greek olives, halved
1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons red onion, chopped (I had to substitute a white onion.)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tablespoon olive oil (I used pecan oil.)
1 Tablespoon graten lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Serve warm, room temperature or cold. (My favorite is warmed orzo salad.)
Don't forget to check in on yesterday's blog so that you can get the chicken skewer recipe too. They are the perfect compliment to this orzo salad. If you're not getting my blog updates on facebook - click the link on the right side of the blog to become a facebook follower of My Story in Recipes.
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