Wednesday, February 29, 2012

i'm a believer: microwave potato chips

say whaaaaat??

yes, the title totally means what you THINK it means.  i made potato chips in the microwave.  

and it... 

i first heard about it here on, read the comments, and was convinced it just wasn't going to work for me.  

i'm here to say i was pleasantly surprised!  
they were crunchier than Lay's, almost like kettle-cooked chips, but used NO OIL!!!  
we sprinkled salt on for the heck of it, but really they don't need anything on them.  
they are pretty tasty just by themselves.

Microwave Potato Chips

the recipe says to slice them as thinly as you can, so we used the thinnest setting on our mandolin (slicer).
then, soak them in water for a few minutes, then rinse until the water runs clear.
then, pat dry with a towel and place on a plate with a few paper towels beneath them (don't let them touch!)
sprinkle on some salt (or, if you MUST use oil, spray with your misto)

microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.
flip the chips.
microwave on 50% for 3 minutes.
microwave on HIGH in 1 minute increments until chips are completely dry and crispy, and starting to brown.


(it's a LOT of microwaving... but... don't try to short cut it.  i did the second batch with 2 rounds of 3.5 minutes on high, and ended up with chips that were burned AND floppy on the same chip!  bad news bears.)

NOW... it's YOUR turn to try (then tell me how it turned out!)
(because it takes NO cooking skills, besides slicing a potato if you don't have a mandolin)
the good thing (or bad thing, depending on how you look at it) is that you can't make many at a time... only what will fit without touching on a plate...

on another note, not only did we save money by making our OWN potato chips tonight, we saved about $100 by cutting each other's hair :D
( brave souls, we are)


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

the day job

remember the times i get excited because "date nights" mean "date night shoes"?

(yeah, so what? i wear those all the time, what's the big deal?)

well... i really like to wear those date night shoes, because THIS is what i wear at my day job:

cute, right? this is why one day when i came home, mr p blatently goes "whoa, babe, you look so MANLY today"

(ok ok, not EVERY day) but i'm still in an office of engineers that look at me funny when i wore this:

...and this:

each of which i thought were totally cute, not revealing, and just as professional as my normal v-neck and cardigan combo.

(sigh) if only there were more women in this profession... any takers?   or, do any of you girls in the field wanna come back !??


Sunday, February 26, 2012

just another weekend

this past weekend was a much needed good food-, good friends-, lots of relaxing- kind of weekend .

friday: happy hour at Qi, a thai restaurant in manhattan on 14th between 5th and 6th avenues with great happy hour specials and drinks at Lilium, the bar beneath the union square W hotel. all of course with some great friends :D  then, surprise late night visit to McD's by the grove st path on the way home.

(don't worry... i made up for the bad eating habits by running 5 miles the next morning)

saturday: night in new brunswick with the girls from work at the stress factory comedy club. fat sammiches (from a knock-off R-U-Hungry? "grease truck"... it closes literally as we walked up to it) and george st ale house first, though, for a few drinks and food.

never thought woman engineers could be so stylish , huh?

sunday: deli sammiches before star wars half-marathon round two (though we only got through episodes I and II, and will probably watch episode III during the week...)  mr p made a delicious pork chop dinner for us, zack, and the neighbors :D  ....if you want to make your next pork chop amazing, just top it with a mixture of whole-grain mustard and real maple syrup (your significant other is sure to be impressed)

those are the highlights of OUR weekend... tell us about YOURS!


Friday, February 24, 2012

what's up with the name change?

why did you change the name of your blog?

well, there are (quite) a few reasons:

1. "Two Peas Teeny Pod" was super cheesy (but when i started the blog, i just wanted to come up with a name quickly so i could get started!)

2. the saying "two peas in a pod" is totally overused.

3. "Two Peas Teeny Pod" doesn't reflect anything about our lives, besides that we live in a TINY apartment.

4. i didn't want the name of the blog to have anything to do with mr p and myself (other name ideas were "a guy and a girl", "just the two of us" etc.. basically all the SAME thing, instead of something different) 

5. A "stoop" is a pretty common term for those of us brownstone-dwellers, and implies we live in a city. (and for those of you that DON'T know, it's the set of stairs at the front of the house, usually to get you to the "first" floor of the building, and above the "garden" level)

6. mr p LOVES our stoop, and when he moved out here that was his only lofty request: to find an apartment with an awesome stoop.  well, that definitely didn't happen then!  but, now we have a stoop, and live together in a cool apartment, but what next?  " beyond the stoop" means i will take you a few steps further into our city lives together. it's not ALL about living in a cool city and having sweet curb appeal.

7. i wanted a URL without "blogspot" in it, and if i was going to get one, i certainly wasn't going to get one with a name i didn't like!!

8. because i kept coming up with more and more and more reasons why i wanted to change the name!!

...and just so we're clear... it's JUST a name change. 
i'm still jenn, and he's still mr p. 
we still cook a lot, eat out a lot, and like to tell you about our lives as long as YOU keep on reading! (thanks, btw)

keep in mind you can follow us by:
1. Like-ing us on Facebook
2. "Join this Site" link at the top right (for those of you with google/gmail accounts)
3. Get posts sent to your email (by submitting your email into the box also at top right)

have a good weekend, kiddos!  start it off right with a good belly laugh here (thanks Theresa, for the link a while back, i watch it regularly)


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Spinach Experiment

between mr p and me, i think you ALL know who is better in the kitchen (that master chef he is... psh)

but, yesterday i had to pat myself on the back for what i will call my "spinach experiment". 

we have a BJ's within walking distance from our house that has rockin deals on some things (not all, but some).  mr p and i discovered that they sell organic salad greens in bulk for super cheap, and we have been getting a 1 lb package about every week since we got the membership.  last week when i made strata, i needed spinach, and got the huge container of it, expecting it would force me to eat the rest of it.  well, i'm totally a spring mix kind of girl when it comes to eating a salad, and the spinach just didn't satisfy my tastebuds like i thought it would.

(just to give you an idea of how rockin the deal on spinach is... our local "big box" grocer has organic baby spinach for $3.99 for a 5 oz. bag, making it roughly $12.75/lb .  BJ's sells their 1 lb bags for just $4.99 craziness!!)

so, yesterday i tried something AWESOME .  i put the spinach in my pyrex lunch container with the rest my lunch, pulled pork and brown rice.  the container has a little steam vent for the microwave.  when i packed my lunch, i misto-ed it with some olive oil (because who uses Pam anymore, really...), chopped up 1 small garlic clove, and sprinkled it with salt and pepper.

( before: fluffy fresh spinach with garlic, salt, pepper, and a quick spray of olive oil)

anticipating that it would nicely wilt in the microwave as i heated up my lunch, it did JUST THAT!   i microwaved my lunch for 1 minute, then stirred everything around and folded the spinach so that the wilty part on the bottom was now at the top, then microwaved for another minute and a half.  presto! "sauteed" spinach in 2.5 minutes.  and it was soooo good!

( after : perfectly wilted and delicious spinach)

mr p and i have been spending more on groceries since we have been trying to eat healthier, so we really tried to cut back this week, and we were definitely successful!  here's a breakdown of our lunch and dinner costs for the week:

(1) 5.5 lb pork butt @ $1.99/lb = $10.95
1 lb spinach = $4.99
brown rice (already had, though i will estimate we are eating about $3 worth all week, and that's probably high)
(3) cans of black beans @ $1.99/ea = $5.97
(3) baguettes from the bodega = $1.00 (for mr p's pulled pork sammiches)
(1) frozen bag of Brussels Sprouts = $1.00
(2) green peppers = $1.50
(1) large yellow onion = $0.70

Total:  $29.11 (let's round to $30 when we add in the price of condiments and spices)

That means for 2 meals for 2 people for 5 days, $30/2 meals/2 people/5 days = $1.50/meal.
(take THAT, Wal-Mart)

what are your best money-saving tips for cooking at home?


Monday, February 20, 2012

i survived

i survived a half marathon!

(no no no, not THAT kind of marathon... i'd totally die if i tried to run 13.1 miles in one shot)

i survived the STAR WARS half-marathon!!  as you know, mr p and i spent our entire sunday snuggled up on the couch watching episodes IV, V, and VI, all while we had a big pork butt roasting in the crock pot for pulled pork all week!  it's a feat if i stay awake through a single movie, let alone 3 in one day! 

i didn't shut my eyes once, and i actually enjoyed watching them :D

NOOOO!!! don't kiss HER !!!

stay tuned later this week for mr p's recipe for pulled pork.  it can be some of the cheapest, most delicious food you will make at home!

happy monday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

go on adventure, i will

(don't mind my attempt at speaking in the backwards sentence structure mastered only by the jedi master)

two episodes done, one to go!  mr p's valentine's day gift from me was kit kats (of course, any gift to him from me is accompanied by kit kats) and all 6 episodes of star wars.  he's, of course, seen them all, and practically knows them all by heart, but I'VE never seen them (nor did i have an ounce of desire to see them either), so my budget-friendly-but-totally-awesome V-Day gift to him is watching them with him!  (i was deemed the title "best girlfriend ever"....thanks for the sneaky help last weekend in philly, zack!!  you can have the title of mr p's "best best-friend ever", too)  so today we are watching the "first" three movies: IV, V, and VI.  mr p wanted to do 6 in one day, but i said that was totally pushing the limits!!

after the first movie, we took a break at the warehouse cafe a few blocks away from our house.  i heard it had intelligentsia coffee, and it looked super cute, so what a better time to get out and get some fresh air, than a day when we intentionally planned to be cooped up on the couch all day?

does this bring back childhood memories for anyone?
we totally had one of these, except it wasn't spray-painted silver.

yesterday, however, we planned an adventure! adventure in BROOKLYN!!

(before that, though, mr p and i were very productive in getting my car serviced, getting some necessary necessities at lowe's and pc richards & sons, and couldn't pass up on some white castle on our way home....  and ate it in the parking lot of BJ's... classic)

most of the time, we don't venture past that "other island" in between us and brooklyn (i.e. manhattan). but, if we take the world trade center PATH train, getting to brooklyn is just as quick (or even quicker!) than getting to some of our regular neighborhoods in manhattan.

we planned a first stop at buschenschank, a relatively new german restaurant/pub in between the carroll gardens and cobble hill neighborhoods.  what a great starting spot!  we all tried delicious german beers, and munched on a meat and cheese platter and a homemade pretzel with a brie/beer cheese sauce.

this new neighborhood had so many fun places, we couldn't help but stop in what looked like a very authentic italian bakery.  court pastry shop totally won our hearts. and our tummies .  nick got a HUGE and very tasty lobster tail, while mr p got a similar pastry that was filled with a not-super-sweet ricotta filling, and christina and i got cookies.  

i've become a fig fanatic lately.  and last night totally satisfied my fig-tooth.  there were figs on the meat and cheese plate at buschenschank, and fig cookies at the bakery (totally better than fig newtons, of course).

as we headed to the next destination, it began to sprinkle, so we popped into the closest bar and grabbed another drink.  they had my favorite "indulgence" beer on tap... lindeman's framboise.  it's hardly classified as a beer in my book, but totally delicious... tangy, sweet, more like a bubbly juice than a beer.

(and sooo red!  even the bubbles were red!)

next up was another bar close by called the brazen head (no no no, totally not the same as brazenhead in columbus, but equally as awesome)  

but what made this a destination, you ask?

$1 oysters and $5 bowls of clam chowda!!!

i've recently decided that i like those slime-y fishy things, and (brace yourself) i had  NEVER  tried clam chowder before!!  ...though i was positive i was going to love it.  ...aaand i did.   and helped myself to 2 bowls of it.

last stop (totally unplanned, but mr p couldn't help but be lured in by the bright sign and smell of burgers and fries)... CHECKERS!!

that floor made me feel like i was walking into a fun house.

....and those fries!!  ...all seasoned and battered, i couldn't help but steal a few from mr p!

as we got back to jersey city, the plan was to go home and have a few more "free" drinks, though mr p had his eyes set on a mcd's shamrock shake, and the rest of us were set on going to park and sixth (since it's only 1 block from home and i've been dying to try it out)

we ordered drinks and mr p came in later with his shamrock shake (i warned the waitress he's be in with some food from "another restaurant")  since we all ordered drinks, we decided to throw in some vodka to the shamrock shake! (who DOES that?)  to complete my night of figs, i ordered a special cocktail from the menu that was FIG VODKA and pineapple juice!  so delicious (but not worth the hefty price tag...)

mr p also decided that all the food we had that night wasn't enough, so he ordered mac and cheese 10 minutes before the kitchen closed... so good... it was, just... you have to try it...  

a little sweet for "everyday" mac and cheese, but totally hit the spot last night

all that, and the adventure ended before midnight ... now that's our kind of night! (god, we're getting old)

so... 1 more movie to go, today!  i guess they aren't so bad, afterall :D

(doesn't he just look so stinkin' cute in his old-man hat?)

cheers to a great week ahead!