Oatmeal Banana Yogurt Breakfast Muffins

Oatmeal Muffin | Rookery

I’ve been making these muffins for the past few months and I can’t seem to stop. Part of the reason is that they require pretty much zero planning — I always seem to have the ingredients in my pantry, and they don’t need any special prep. And because they actually have some rather wholesome ingredients, it allows me to justify their constant presence in our kitchen. Oh, they’re breakfast muffins. Okay then.

Normally I loathe recipe substitutions and I’ve been suspicious of applesauce for that very reason: “If you just replace the butter and oil with applesauce and false hope, you can hardly taste the difference!” But I tried it and even though you can technically taste the difference, it’s still good enough to justify the sub. For those of you who care, I believe these are also gluten-free (just oat flour).

So to review, this recipe is chock-full of wholesome goodness, like:

– Bananas!
– Yogurt!
– Oatmeal!
– Flax seeds!
– Applesauce!
– ………………………………………………………………chocolate chips! (shhh)

Normally this combination would make me flee. Who needs another healthy (read: gross) muffin? But these are really really good.

Continue reading

Pies-N-Thighs Fried Chicken Biscuits

Chicken Biscuit | Rookery

We usually stay in on Valentine’s, but this year we had an even more legitimate reason to do so…House of Cards. Was Netflix doing the world a favor by letting us all spend February 14th binging on new episodes? I like to think so.

And, a few days before, I’d found the recipe for Pies-N-Thighs’ Chicken Biscuits, one of Jesse’s all time favorite foods. (Pies-N-Thighs, for those who don’t know, is a restaurant in Williamsburg that serves an array of amazing fried-chicken-and-biscuit combinations…and pie, of course).

It’s like the stars had aligned to make our Valentine’s day as blissfully decadent as possible. And what better way to show my love than by giving my husband a coronary delicious dinner.

As a very appreciative Jesse put it, “this recipe gets to your heart in more ways than one.” Continue reading

Spanakopita (Spinach) Quiche

Spinach Quiche | Rookery

If you’re stumped for what to cook for dinner, might I suggest the lowly quiche? It’s easy, you can make it ahead of time, it’s great left over, and if you add enough veggies you can sort of forget about the hidden doses of milk and cheese.

I had always dismissed quiches as kind of stodgy, but in the past few weeks I’ve been on a quiche honeymoon. I’ve made four of them – four! February will do weird things to people.

Continue reading

Do It Yourself Thin Mints

Thin Mints | Rookery

I couldn’t resist this recipe. The promise is so great – that you can make your own thin mints in fifteen minutes without any baking. It sounds too good to be true, but at its core there’s an ingenious trick.

If the sleight of hand worked, it would be amazing. And if it didn’t work, I would still be left with chocolate-covered Ritz crackers, and how could that be bad?

Well, I needn’t have worried because — eureka! It works! Add this to your list of Important Things To Know: coating Ritz crackers in chocolate and peppermint extract gives you a crazy thin mint doppelgänger. They do not taste like crackers. Except for the fact that the inner “cookie” is white rather than brown, I don’t think I ever would have guessed something was amiss.

Thin Mints | Rookery

I pondered this, as one is wont to do while eating an entire roll of thin mints at the kitchen counter. The crunch — yes, the crunch was perfect. The flavor was indistinguishable. And so here I am with one more dessert recipe made from a classic cracker…maybe that’s a blog within itself.

I grant you that these are not technically “homemade” and they do have some rather not-so-wholesome ingredients in them, as packaged foods do. And yes, it’s possible to make your own thin mints from scratch without any partially hydrogenated anything.

But when a shortcut like this comes along, it’s really too good to pass up. Continue reading

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie and the Saltine Challenge

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie | Rookery

Sometimes the idea of a food and the reality of that food just don’t match. That’s what I learned when I made this pie for a picnic. For me, lemon pie evokes summer, outdoors, barbecues and iced tea, which made it seem perfect for the picnic we were going to in Stern Grove. I didn’t really think critically about this until I had baked it and it was time to leave the apartment.

Then I realized how totally impractical lemon pie is as a picnic dessert. You can’t transport it without smooshing it. It requires refrigeration. And forks. And plates. And whipped cream on top, which you will have to transport separately. What was I thinking? Why couldn’t I just bake cookies like a normal human being?

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie | Rookery

On the plus side, what the dessert lacked in transportability it made up for in ease and deliciousness. The saltine crust is a revelation. You could probably skip the filling and just eat the saltine crust and be happy. In fact, maybe I’ll just make that for the next picnic.

Continue reading

Shrimp and Green Onion Pancakes

Green Onion Pancake | Rookery

So it’s probably not fair to complain about a recipe when I didn’t actually follow the directions that closely.

I got excited because I love green onion pancakes, so the idea of making them myself was intriguing. I especially liked that I didn’t need to buy a lot of new ingredients that I would only use once.

But then I fell into the trap that’s pretty common when recipes just show one beautifully food-styled photo of the end result, with no pictures of the in-between steps. I had absolutely no idea what looked right so I just had to wing it. Oh, and I blatantly ignored a couple of pretty direct instructions. There was that too.

Green Onion Pancake | Rookery

Even so! These weren’t so bad. They were good [said in that over-excited way when someone asks you how their new haircut looks]. I think they could be better with practice, especially to get them nice and crispy. The thing is, though, I can’t imagine myself spending time practicing. So I post the recipe and the steps with that sort of disclaimer, and shall file this under “kitchen experiments.”

Continue reading

Goodbye, Ikea Sofa

Rookery | Ikea Couch

This morning, we said goodbye to our old faithful Ikea sofa, Ektorp. It was the first major piece of furniture that Jesse and I bought together ($200 on Craigslist). It carried us through countless dinner parties, overnight guests, episodes of 30 Rock, and, yes, a few nights of comfort after some big arguments.

In its place, we have a beautiful Room & Board York sofa bed. It’s the first piece of new, non-Ikea furniture that we’ve ever owned. It’s also the first time I’ve been able to choose the fabric! How far we’ve come!

Smidge testing out the new, cushy couch.

Smidge testing out the new, cushy couch. Probably wondering why there’s no white dog hair on it yet. 

I posted Ektorp on Craigslist yesterday, after trying to get it to stand up straight for a couple of photos (its slipcover never wanted to fit quite right). I wrote the standard pitch (no cats, no smoking, clean….) but what I wanted to say was “This couch is awesome and it will be your friend.” I feared that might drive away the more normal inquiries, though. The photo didn’t quite do it justice. Or maybe it did, which made me feel worse. Had my couch always been so…schlumpy? Continue reading