turkey meatloaf

I recently put in my two weeks’ notice at work and have already handed off weekly duties and wrapped up all my projects. Therefore, my days have been filled with thoroughly reading all my favorite fashion, food, and beauty blogs, online shopping browsing, long lunches, and g-chatting. Tough life.

Food and recipe blogs feel the most productive because at least I can discover new recipes and then execute. I think Fall is almost here in New York and thank GOD. That humid spell we had last week was god awful and I’m ready to arrive at work NOT drenched in sweat. I’m equally excited about boots, denim and sweaters as I am about fall-friendly recipes. I’m waiting until October to break out my crock-pot, so I thought that meatloaf was a good gateway-to-fall food.

Buying ground meat is always a grab bag – you usually just buy it as stock and then decide what to do with it later. Will it be meatballs, burgers, chili, a casserole, tacos or meatloaf? So many choices. Ground turkey is particularly challenging since it can be so bland if not seasoned adequately. I’m happy to report that this Turkey Meatloaf recipe defies these ground turkey stereotypes – it is moist, flavorful, and great for leftovers.

Turkey Meatloaf

Adapted from Fed&Fit

The loaf:

1 lb ground turkey

1 small yellow onion, chopped

½ bell pepper, chopped

½ cup fresh tomato, chopped

¼ cup almond meal/whole wheat flour

1 egg

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt/pepper/any other seasonings of choice to taste

The sauce:

½ jar of marinara sauce (I LOVE Rao’s Homemade Marinara)

½ can tomato paste

3 tbsp grainy/spicy mustard (Dijon works well)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 375. Combine all loaf ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix (definitely use your hands!) until well combined. Add mixture into 1 large loaf pan or form a loaf on a turkey roasting pan. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.

In a separate bowl, mix all ingredients for the sauce together. After the loaf is done baking, remove from oven and turn the heat up to 450. “Ice” the loaf with the tomato sauce mixture, covering all sides (or just the top if you’re using a loaf pan). Once the oven has reached 450, place the loaf back in the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. When finished, the tomato sauce should form a thick “icing” on top of the loaf.

meatloaf 1

meatloaf 2

I’m still enjoying my loaf from this weekend, but I’m set on turning my next purchase of ground meat into Erin’s Buffalo Chicken Chili.

sriracha honey baked chicken wings

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I just spent my 3rd weekend in Rochester. This was weird given that I’ve lived here since June. I’ve been escaping to camp, or Baltimore, or home all summer.

I subbed a Body Pump class on Saturday- that’s right, finally found a job teaching! I legitimately stalked the group fitness director at a gym like 20 minutes from my apartment, going so far as to request that they put a note with my phone number on her locker. As my mom would say, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil!” It was a success. They gave me (wait for it) the class at 5:30 AM on Mondays. I bet all the other instructors were fighting over that time slot.

It’s not so bad though. I think it sets a good tone for the week in terms of getting up to work out, because usually Monday mornings are the hardest to get out of bed. But since I HAVE to be there, I get there. I’m really looking forward to the winter months when I’ll have to wake up at about 4 AM to shovel the snow off my car and crack the ice on the wind shield and navigate the snowy roads in order to get there on time.

Didn’t you hear? Apparently I didn’t move to Western NY, I moved to Greenland.

Weekend highlights also included visiting the Rochester Public Market, which is amazing. I didn’t buy anything because I was pretty overwhelmed. Just took in the sights- I’ll be back for sure. I finished another t-shirt quilt for a Baltimore friend on Saturday night. Then I made these chicken wings on Sunday so that I could go over to a friend’s house (read: my only friend in Rochester) for football. I showed up in a Ray Lewis jersey to hang out with a bunch of Bills fans, so I figured chicken wings were a good way to get in the door.

Sriracha Honey Baked Chicken Wings

4-5 lbs chicken wings or drumsticks

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sriracha- your own, or from a bottle

2 tbs honey

juice and zest of 1-2 limes

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1-2 scallions, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt it aggressively. Add the chicken in, and allow it to return to a boil, then cook for 2-3 minutes.

photo 1

Place the wings on a wire rack to drip dry, then pat them dry with a paper towel. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. Turn them over, and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes. The skin should be pretty crispy.

While they’re baking, combine the mayo, sriracha, honey, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Toss the wings in the sauce. At this point, you can refrigerate the wings if you’re making them ahead of time. Otherwise, place the wings back on the wire rack (with a baking sheet underneath to catch any sauce drips) and stick them back in the 450 degree oven for another 5 minutes or so to caramelize the sauce.

photo 2

Top with chopped scallions, and serve! You can use this cooking method for any wing sauce you like. My drumsticks were pretty hefty- you may be able to lessen the cooking time a little if you’re using wings because they have less meat on them.

photo 3This is a pretty high maintenance way to make chicken wings. Your other option is to skip all the boiling, baking, and basting- and just fry them.

But I put the leftover meat into a salad, so I guess I’m kind of a high maintenance chicken wing eater.

how to: make your own sriracha

photo 3

Otherwise known as…

“How to: Turn your one bedroom apartment into an eye-watering, nasal-passage-opening vortex.”

“How to: Mask the smell of marijuana leeching over from your disgusting next door neighbors.” I hope I made their eyes water, too.

“How to: Make your hands feel like they’ve been doused in Icy Hot.”

Seriously. Please wear gloves. I’m an idiot. It’s been over 12 hours and my fingers are still numb.

I’m not even a huge sriracha person- I like it, but it’s not a constant in my fridge. I thought it would be a fun thing to try, especially since one of the things I snagged from the LDW Camp Fridge Cleanout 2014 was a bag of frozen peppers.

I’m not exactly sure what kind of peppers they are- it looked like an assortment of sizes but they were all red. So it worked.

Plus I had two heads of garlic given to me by a patient (don’t ask). So it just made good sense!


adapted from Cooking Light

2 cups assorted red chiles (fresno, serrano, etc.)

8-10 cloves garlic, peeled

3 tbs white sugar

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4-1/2 cup hot water

WEARING GLOVES remove the stems and seeds from your peppers. It’s hard to catch every single seed, but do your best. It’s going to be spicy enough without them.

photo 1

Put the peppers in a small saucepan with the garlic, sugar, and vinegar.

Simmer over very low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

photo 2

Pour into a blender with about 1/4 cup hot water, adding more as you blend to get to your desired thickness.

photo 3

This should stay good in the fridge for about 7-10 days. I’m planning to do something exciting with it this weekend, so stay tuned!

For more of my riveting how-to posts, see here and here and here.

grilled salmon

photo 3

Back to the grind, post Labor Day Weekend fun.

As a birthday present to myself, I took my first paid vacation day EVER on Friday, and headed to camp after work on Thursday. I had two IPAs and Kevin gave me a baseball card with his face on it so it was a pretty solid way to ring in 25.

On said paid vacation day, I played 18 holes of golf, went water skiing, and drank wine slushies. It will be tough to top for sure.

It was nice to have more than 36 hours with the GS, which has been our usual routine since I moved to Rochester. We had a cloudy day on Sunday so we went to a couple breweries, Two Goats and Roosterfish.

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photo 1Two Goats was really cool and has a gorgeous view of Seneca Lake, and Roosterfish is a hidden gem in Watkins Glen. Free tasting and they had live music! Sold.

That night for dinner I fixed this salmon- which is very similar to the salmon that Kelly, Aaron and I threw together for my birthday dinner. I’m always a little wary of grilling fish because it tends to fall apart, but keeping it in a tin foil packet is a good solution.

Grilled Salmon

6 salmon filets

1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

1 lemon and 1 lime, sliced thinly

handful of cilantro, chopped

olive oil, salt, & pepper

Place the salmon filets on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil, and a little squeeze of lemon and lime juice. Top with the sliced lemon, lime, and onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

photo 2Top with cilantro and fold into a packet. You want it to be pretty secure so that the fish will steam inside the packet and not get dried out.

Place on the grill for about 15 minutes. We ate ours with this orzo dish. I actually didn’t even eat any of the salmon I made, because it got scooped up pretty fast so I opted for a black bean burger instead. This is why I don’t have an “after” photo. Meals at camp are always kind of a hodge podge of excessive grilled food plus leftovers. I love it.

Just because we can’t wear white pants anymore doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take advantage of your grill for the next few weeks and make a summery fish dish.

I also came home with about 10 pounds of leftover vegetables and random food that would have otherwise been thrown out in the LDW camp refrigerator clean-out. The next week of recipes could get interesting.

aunt diane’s italian cookies



(In case I have any followers that don’t actually know me in real life.)

My sister is engaged!!

engagedIt makes me nostalgic for my pre-GS third wheel posts with Kelly and Aaron. Now they’re getting married!

My cousin, Hannah, is also getting married (in less than a month!) and I volunteered to make all the cookies for the wedding. I live alone and don’t really have friends in Rochester, so I’m perfectly fine spending the week before with my hand mixer pre-making cookie dough. I made a bunch of cookies this weekend so that we could taste test for the wedding at camp, and also so that Aaron would meet his cookie quota as he’s been missing my baking since I left Baltimore.

I made double chocolate, two kinds of oatmeal raisin, and these Italian cookies. My Aunt Diane (my godmother) makes these cookies for all McDermott holidays and they always  vanish.

And last night I made another batch to bring to work today for my birthday, as I’ve developed a personal tradition of making my own birthday dessert. This is the first time it hasn’t included chocolate, so you KNOW these must be good. Or it means I’m turning 25 and can branch out a little bit with my sweet tooth.

Last weekend I made the cookies with buttercream frosting, but I tried out a lemon glaze this time to see which one will be better when I make them for the wedding.

Italian Cookies

5 eggs

5 cups flour

5 tsp baking powder

3 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

2 sticks softened butter

1/2 cup milk

Aunt Di says this makes about 5 dozen cookies. That’s a lot. If you’re in a pickle and only want to make half of the recipe like I did- you can crack 5 eggs into a glass measuring cup, and pour out half. Scramble up the other 2 1/2 for dinner.

Combine the eggs, butter, vanilla, milk, and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until a sticky dough forms.

Roll the dough into small balls- about a teaspoon, and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Aunt Di recommends the air baking sheets so that the cookies don’t get too brown on the bottom. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.



Once they cool, frost each with a little buttercream. You can use store bought frosting, or make your own and use food coloring to make it pretty. Lemon glaze is just fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, and powdered sugar. You can add the sugar gradually until you reach a consistency you like.

I’m guessing there’s a more ladylike way to glaze cookies, but I’ve always favored speed and efficiency over being ladylike.


So cute and poppable!


kale salad with cured lemon dressing


Thank goodness I found a blogging buddy, I’ve been on hiatus. Welcome, Tori! Love your avocado mousse.

I went to Baltimore last weekend to visit the GS. Audio book for the trip: Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I’d give it a 4 out of 5.

On Saturday we went golfing and I got some special deal that included a cart. I never take a cart when I golf, although I did used to love the golf cart rides my dad would take us on when we were little. One time, Morgan fell off the cart when we were going down a big hill and Kelly jumped off after her as if she were drowning. I stayed put. I’m not sure what this says about sisterly relationship between the three of us.

Anyway, we had a great time in spite of the fact that A) my driver and putter were missing- pretty sure Kevin stole them, B) golf is NOT like riding a bike, and all of my varsity golf “talents” have escaped me, and C) our golf cart died on the 11th hole. I pushed it while the GS steered, which earned us a lot of strange looks from everyone else out on the course. What can I say? We know our strengths.

Saturday night we went to Fork & Wrench which was a.mazing. My previous favorite Baltimore meal was at Liv2Eat, but F&W might be edging ahead. We ordered the kale with cured lemon & torn bread (today’s inspiration), steak tartar, and an arctic char dish that was like a deconstructed fish and chips. Highly recommend.

I attempted to re-create the kale dish we had, and came pretty darn close if my memory serves me after 2 double IPAs.

Kale Salad with Cured Lemon Dressing

to cure the lemons

1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup salt

for the salad

1 lb kale, chopped well

4-5 slices crusty bread

for the dressing

cured lemon slices

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp black pepper

Slice your lemon very thin and take out as many seeds as you can. Mix the salt and sugar together, then toss with the lemon slices. Keep in a sealed container for 3 days, shaking it occasionally. You can definitely cure more lemons as I’m sure there are millions of things to do with them, but I had a one track mind for kale. The salt and sugar amount would be enough for 2-3 lemons.


Using a fork, pull out the cured lemon slices and place them in the food processor. (Do not add the juice!! Too salty.) Add the mayo, Greek yogurt, garlic, and pepper. Combine until mostly smooth. You’ll have some tiny lemon pieces in there.


Rinse and chop up the kale really well. Toss with the dressing- you want the dressing to barely cover the kale. No Paula Deen style salads here. Toss the bread into tiny pieces (GS quote: “like you would feed to a tiny baby bird!”) and combine. If the pieces are too big- like crouton size- they’ll get soggy.

I ate some immediately because I have no patience. However because kale is so hearty, I recommend dressing it at least a couple of hours before serving it. It will break down the kale a little bit which is fine- it doesn’t get soggy like lettuce. You can also add the bread later if you want it to be bigger pieces.

The curing of the lemon adds some salty flavor to the dressing, and it’s a good mix of mayo and Greek yogurt. I thought the version at F&W had a pretty obvious mayo flavor which was fine with me, but I tried to cut it with the yogurt here for health and for the benefit of Hellman’s haters.


But really, we’re eating a plate of leafy greens. It’s healthy anyway. Bring on the mayo. And cookies.


introducing tori – and avocado mousse!

Thank you Erin for the warm welcome! Having been a loyal Spill the Beans reader since its inception, it’s a thrill to be a contributor! Here’s a recent not-“hein” photo of Erin and me:

Erin and Tori

As Erin mentioned, I’m an NYC inhabitant and I have the smallest kitchen counter space known to man. But, with a little ingenuity, I came up with some space-saving solutions and still manage to cook and bake more than the average city dweller. I’m also a fitness enthusiast and have come to develop a serious SoulCycle addiction to fill the void of Body Pump. For those who are unfamiliar, SoulCycle is indoor cycling re-invented – a full-body workout with hand weights and choreography. I can’t get enough. Beyond cooking and fitness, I work in the media industry and I try to take advantage of all the cool, exciting things to do in the city.

In the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with Paleo eating. Simply put, Paleo is about eating whole foods that are found in nature. This includes foods like meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. These foods are full of nutrients and are free harmful additives and chemicals. When we remove these inflammatory foods from our diet—foods that were not part of our ancestors’ daily meals, such as wheat flour, gluten, sugar, and even supposedly “healthy” foods like grains, dairy, and soy—we reduce the risk of diseases and best of all, we feel better, our energy levels rise, we digest easily and we sleep better. If you’re interested in learning more about the Paleo lifestyle, I recommend the book Wheatbelly by Dr. William Davis.

So, being on this Paleo kick, I, like Erin, can’t resist the need for dessert. When I first came across this Avocado Mousse recipe, I was a little grossed out. How could this possibly work? Trust me, it’s DELICIOUS and there is no avocado taste. I made it for my family and didn’t tell them what was in it. They were shocked when I revealed the secret ingredient.

Avocado Mousse

2 ripe avocados
¼ cup of cocoa powder
¼ cup of almond or coconut milk
2 tablespoons of almond butter or peanut butter
¼ cup of Truvia® Natural Sweetener
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Get out your food processor. Add your avocados, cocoa powder, milk of choice, nut butter of choice, sweetener and vanilla and blend on high until smooth and no longer green. If the consistency is too thick, add more milk. Spoon into bowls and refrigerate for two hours or eat right out of the food processor (no judgment). I like to garnish with toasted unsweetened coconut or fresh raspberries.

Avocado 1

Avocado 2

Avocado 3

I also made this for my GS and he loved it, but also challenged me about its Paleo integrity – “Do you think ancient man made avocado mousse?” Touche.