Food and the City Yum

October 16, 2017

Quick + Easy 30 Minute Marinara Sauce

I'll just be the one to say it:

I feel like society doesn't care about tomato sauce anymore.

With all of the different specialty pasta dishes that you find in restaurants these days (seriously -- creamy truffle everything), good ol' tomato sauce isn't celebrated nearly as much as it used be. When's the last time you walked into one of the newest and hippest Italian joints and saw "pomodoro" on the menu? If I had to guess, I would say probably not in the last 12 years, give or take.

KIDDING.. but only slightly.  Now, everyone's main concern is going for that WOW factor, and traditional pomodoro sauce almost seems like a thing of the past.

That being said, a few of things run through my mind whenever I start think about this heartbreaking situation:

1) why am I even thinking about this?

2) is a tiny bottle of truffle sauce really worth $29.99?

3) exactly *why* is truffle sauce so expensive?

4) do I really need to change my bedsheets out once a week?

Err, forget that last one. ADHD is a hell of a disease.

October 10, 2017

Lemon Rosemary Chicken With Balsamic Veggie Pasta

You guys.. I'm officially knees deep in an "obsessed with pasta" phase again. Not to be confused with my also current "obsessed with coconut" phase, but my new obsessed with pasta again phase has started thriving ever since we made this bowl a couple of weeks ago.

And boy... do I need to talk to you about this bowl today.

This big bowl of noods, balsamic veggies, and a lemon-rosemary pan seared chicken that is going to blow your ever living mind. It comes together fairly quickly + keeps well in the fridge to ensure leftovers, making it the perfect weeknight meal.

Convenient, quick, and just downright freaking delicious. What else could you ask for in a big ol' bowl of fall comfort food?

Now, for full disclosure - I do not eat regular pasta anymore. The noods shown here are the ones that went to my boyfriend, as I've recently had to switch to a low-carb variety, but that still doesn't diminish my love for all things pasta in any way, shape, or form. I just have to be a bit more selective with the brands that I use, or else it will not be pretty. And why intentionally cause an un-pretty tummy situation after creating a very pretty dinner situation?

However, the best part about this recipe (or any pasta recipe for that matter) is that it's totally adaptable and customizable since each ingredient is cooked separately. If you're like me and need to have two different types of pastas boiling on the stove whenever you're cooking dinner for multiple people, you'll still be able to enjoy the other parts of this dish without compromising any of its flavor.

Low-carb pasta for like ya'll. My stomach is a much happier place now.

October 09, 2017

REVIEW: Oreo Thins Coconut

I'm going to publicly state this once and for all:

I, Mel Rose, am a certified coconut addict. 

And if you happen to know me in real life, (i'm sorry in advance) then you most certainly have encountered one of my crazy coconut phases, in which anything and everything that I consume must be of coconut flavor, coconut coloring, must resemble a coconut in some way, or otherwise at least say coconut on the packaging.

I am currently in one of those phases right now and I'm driving everyone around me fucking crazy. It's been real fun, you guys.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't only consume coconut flavored foods during these phases (I still eat this for dinner 400 times a week), but if whatever I'm about to eat does happen to come in a coconut variety, you best believe I'll be choosing it. 

This, of course, mainly pertains to desserts and alcoholic beverages (helllllo coconut mojitos/margaritas ily), and over the course of the last couple of months (i.e since this phase has started), I've tried a ton of coconut flavored products that I've been eager to review for you, whether good or bad.

Starting with these coconut Oreo Thins.

I can't take credit and say that I stumbled upon these myself. My dear boyfriend actually saw them and picked them up for me during one of his recent CVS trips. He knows how real the coconut addiction is. He has seen the wrath of me borderline throwing a tantrum if the supermarket was out of my favorite coconut yogurt or a bar we were hanging out at didn't have coconut rum.

He knows. He gets it. And he's actually a saint for putting up with it. Iluhyoubae.

ANYWAY-- needless to say that I had no idea that Oreo released a coconut flavor into their Oreo Thins line, so this was a very exciting surprise and I was very excited to try them.


At 140 calories per serving, which is 4 cookies, these Oreo's are obviously much thinner than those from the regular line. In fact, when twisted apart, the cookie is so thin, it was hard for me to even get a photo that remotely showed just how thin they are. For reference, regular Oreo's are 140 calories per 2 cookies, so 4 of these just basically make up two regular sized ones if we wanna go there.

The taste? As routine Oreo eating protocol goes, I twisted apart each wafer and immediately licked up the coconut cream off of one side. 

* Which by the way: what kind of lunatic bites straight into an Oreo? I can't trust these types of people. They are too loose with their ways.

The result: I was prettttty let down to be completely honest with you. Granted, coconut desserts, especially a cookie, should have some sort of balance and not be super overpowering. However paired with the Oreo cookie itself, the chocolate aspect kind of takes over and you soon forget you're even eating a coconut cookie at all. If someone were to put these on a plate and left them unlabeled, I would just think I was eating regular Oreo Thins. 

I think they did a good job with the cream itself, because it does have a nice hint of coconut flavoring, but the cookie as a whole fails to standout as something I'd go out of my way for.

Overall, these are delicious, because at the end of the day, they are still freaking Oreo's. And everyone loves Oreo's.

I just prefer my sweets to taste like the actual flavor label they are sporting, and not like the brand got bored and decided to slap the word coconut on the package and market it towards psychos like me.

Purchase again? Probably not.
Would eat again? Most definitely.

Final rating: 6.5/10

September 29, 2017

3 HEALTHY Snack Ideas & The Wine To Pair Them With

Home entertaining season is upon us, friends! Whether you're the type to host #footballsundays or #winewednesdays with your BFF's, as the temperatures drop, so do our social lives. Or maybe that's just me.. because me + the cold = nuclear was. Not only is outdoor drinking a thing of the past, I tend to leave my apartment less and less for basically everything, just in the attempt to not freeze to death. 
I would much rather cocoon up in a blanket at home with a good bottle of wine than bundle up and brace the cold. 

So, if you're like me; semi-antisocial, semi-introverted, and semi excited for the colder months ahead, here are 3 simple AF snack ideas (and the wine to pair them with!) that you can throw together in a pinch when you and the squad decide that no, you will not be going to the club tonight.

Bachelor in Paradise marathon, anyone?

1) Ok, APPLES. Let's talk about god-damn APPLES. Apples are your best friend this time of year and you need to get on board with them. Ditch the pumpkin spice nonsense and get back to falls original superstar flavor. And then spread on some soft swiss and give it a generous drizzle of honey. You'll cry at how good the balance of flavor is here. 

It's wine BFF, you ask? Cabernet.

2) Everyone is once again losing their minds over queso cheese ever since Chipotle decided to start offering it in their stores. Side note: did we all forget about the huge salmonella scandal that Chipotle went through seemingly not that long ago or are we all just pretending to not remember? Regardless -- amp up the heat at home with this simple spicy crostini - creamy queso, hot sauce + cilantro. DONE.

It's wine BFF? Pinot Noir (or even a red sangria!).

3) For the #basicbetch inside of us all, keeping it classic never fails to impress. The rich flavors of mozzarella, tomatoes, and balsamic will forever be a winning combination, so don't be a afraid to go the traditional route and settle on this long-time favorite. I used a soft mozz that's been combined with sun-dried tomatoes (laughing cow has an awesome one!),  cherry tomatoes sliced in halves, and a heaping drizzle of my homemade balsamic reduction.

It's wine BFF? Chianti.

So there you have it! 3 simple snacks that are both easy to throw together, AND light enough to go back for seconds. Or thirds... or fourths..

September 27, 2017

LIGHT + QUICK Chicken & Broccoli Teriyaki

Chicken & broccoli is not only a staple in millions of households across the country, it's also a staple in my heart. As in, if one day I woke up and found out that chicken & broccoli was no longer "a thing", well, I'd go right back the hell to sleep. 

I don't want to be awake in a world where chicken and broccoli doesn't exist. 

Except, when I think chicken and broccoli, I immediately think take-out, which then makes me immediately think unhealthy. However, the real truth is that creating similar dishes at home is so simple, that I almost never order take-out anymore. That way, I actually know what's going into my food, instead of sitting around and wondering but what do they use to make their sauce so damn good?

MSG !!

MSG !!


HOWEVER -- make no mistake -- I definitely still order takeout every now and then, and I definitely still love it, (balance, you know?) but recreating it home most definitely makes it lighter and most definitely makes it healthier than the restaurant version. 

September 26, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

I officially present to you the greatest thing that you can make for football games this year. 

Buffalo. Chicken. Meatballs.

I repeat, buffalo. chicken. meatballs.

Balls of m e a t held together with a few other simple ingredients, baked to perfection, and then smothered in hot and tangy buffalo sauce... get ready for your mind to be blown

And by blown, I mean buh-lown. Like, the more intense version of your mind being blown. Because these are just - that - good.