Friday, May 28, 2010

Stuffed Green Peppers

I have never been a big fan of bell peppers, be it green, red or yellow! The only time I would eat bell peppers is when it's grilled up together with onions on a Philly Cheese Steak or when it's cooked in pasta sauce. I remember visiting Kevin's parents house many years ago (I believe it was one of the first few times he brought me home) and horror upon horrors, they made stuffed green peppers for dinner! Now, I have never tried stuffed peppers before but since I knew I didn't like bell peppers, I was pretty sure I wouldn't like it. Anyways, I didn't want to be rude so I gave it a try and guess what? I loved it! It's been a while since Kevin and I had stuffed green peppers, so we decided to make some for dinner last weekend. Here's how we make our version of stuffed green peppers.
First, you would need to prep the green peppers. Cut off the tops of the green pepper and save the tops. We will use the edible part of it later on.
Using a spoon, scrape off the insides of the pepper. Wash the peppers under cool running water, dry them off and set them aside.
Now, it's time to make the filling. Start off by browning some minced beef in a large pan. Once it's done, drain away all the excess grease and set aside.
Using the same pan, melt about 1/4 stick of butter and saute some chopped onions.
Then, add in the green pepper that we saved from the tops earlier. Just cut off the edible part of the top and chop into tiny pieces.

Next goes in the minced beef. Mix everything together.
Season the filling with a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce, some paprika powder and garlic powder.
Give it a quick stir and add in some cooked rice. We used one packet of Lipton's Instant Spanish Rice. Just cook it according to the directions of the packet and you are set to go. You can pretty much use any type of long grain rice, it doesn't even have to be flavored. Of course it taste so much better if it is. Uncle Ben's is pretty good too.
After you have mixed the rice in with the filling, add in some tomato sauce. We used Ragu's 7 Herb Pasta Sauce in a bottle, since that's what we had in our pantry. Any type of tomato/pasta sauce will do. Mix it all up and set aside.
Using the same sauce, pour some of it into a baking dish and spread it evenly to cover the whole bottom of the dish.
Now, it's time to fill the peppers! Using a small teaspoon, just scoop the filling and start to fill the peppers til the top. Remember not to over stuff them.
Place them onto the baking dish. Use a spoon to press the filling into the peppers. Make sure that its packed in tight.
Then, top each of the peppers with some tomato/pasta sauce.
Pop it into a 350F oven and allow it to bake for about 50mins to an hour.
Remove the baking dish from the oven just about 5 minutes before it's done and sprinkle on some shredded cheese. Pop it back into the oven and allow the cheese to melt. Once the cheese is fully melted, the stuffed green peppers are done! I must say that it's really yummy to eat. Try it (even if you don't like peppers). How knows, you might learn to love them too!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Simple Raisin Bread Pudding

It's been a while since I have last posted a dessert recipe, so I figured I should go search the Internet for one. I found a really yummy looking and easy to make Raisin Bread Pudding recipe from last weekend and I decided to try it out. It turned out to be another home run recipe, really simple and quick to whip up. Check it out!
The recipe called for 6 slices of moist white bread or rich egg bread. I decided to kick it up a notch and use some raisin cinnamon bread instead. Remember to let your bread sit out for a little if its too soft, we want the bread to be at least a day old. Even though the recipe said 6 pieces of bread, I used 8 pieces and found out that it was just right.
Cut up the bread into small pieces (remember to remove the crust) and place it all into an 8" square baking pan.
Next, drizzle about 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine over the bread. I used butter but I think margarine works too.
Then, sprinkle about 1/2 a cup of raisin over the bread. This is entirely optional. If you are not a fan of raisins, leave it out. It doesn't really matter.
Now, in a separate large bowl, combine 4 eggs with 2 cups of milk and 3/4 cups of sugar. Beat it until it is mixed well.
Add in about 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. If you like, you can also add in about 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Since I used cinnamon raisin bread instead of regular bread, I decided not to add any more additional cinnamon. If you are using regular bread, I would suggest that you add some to spice things up.
Once you have mixed everything up, pour the mixture over the bread.
Lightly push the bread down with a fork until the bread is fully soaked and covered with the egg mixture.
Place the baking pan in a 350F oven and allow it to bake for about 45 minutes. You will know that it's done when the top springs back lightly when you tap it.
Mmmm mmmm mmmm, the whole kitchen just smells so wonderful with the freshly baked bread pudding. Doesn't it look yummy? I really cannot believe that it's so easy to make and that it turned out to be so delicious. Allow it to cool down for a bit and you can either serve it with vanilla sauce or ice cream (we served it with french vanilla ice cream!).

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tribeca Film Festival Family St. Fair (Final Part)

After we were done walking around the Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival area, we headed over to Greenwich St. From the looks of it, I guess this is where all the action is. Apart from food carts/trucks, there was also a Green Market along this street. The highlight was of course all the booths (sponsored by various corporations and agencies) that offered free stuff and activities.
The Time Warner cable booth was a big hit with the kids! They could get their faces painted (either by hand or spray paint) and their hair dyed for free. All the artists were so skillful and talented, it was so much fun to just watch them work. Oh, Road Runner was hanging around the booth too. I didn't take a picture with him cos the line was just too long. Beep Beep! :D
Here is another cool booth. You could charge your phones for free at the At&T booth. However, that's not the highlight of the booth. You see the green screen at the back? Well, you can stand in front of the screen and they will take a picture of you. Then, they will superimpose famous NYC sights behind you and you get to take the photo home for free! Cool, right?
This must be one of the most popular guys at the fair. Every kid wanted to buy a balloon from him. Seriously, almost every kid had a balloon. I wonder how much he made that day?
There were a few Broadway and off Broadway musicals that were represented that day. This is the Wicked booth. You could help yourselves to the props behind that table and they will take a souvenir photograph for you. Yes, of course it's free. That's whats so fun about this fair....almost everything offered at the booths is free! Tons of freebies for everyone :D
Ahhh, I love this booth. The Polaroid Red Carpet booth. You could just step up and they will take your 'red carpet' picture for you, using their Polaroid camera. The picture was really tiny but it was a cool souvenir. Wanna see our 'red carpet' photo?
Isn't that just awesome?!? Sorry that it's a tiny bit grainy. I scanned it with my scanner and tried to blow it up, hence making it grainy. Grainy or not, I still loveee this pic.
The kids (especially the little boys) loved this fire truck. It was part of the FDNY booth. All the kids were given a bright red plastic FDNY hat and they could go on the fire truck to explore. Boy, there were kids everywhere! Inside the truck, on top of the truck, behind the reminded me somewhat of ants, tiny little red ants running all over the truck :P
This is a pretty fun booth too. There were all kinds of supplies available for anybody who wanted to sit down and make some art and crafts. Paper bags, glue, color pencils, paint, name it, they got it! The kids here were more under control and better behaved (unlike the fire truck kids :P). I think that it's really good that the kids were given an opportunity to get creative and express themselves.
We were happily walking along Greenwich St. when we saw this super long line. It's so long I couldn't get the whole line in frame. This was only half of the line! We were like "Wow, there must be something good in that booth at the end of this line". So, we walked up to the front to check it out.
The booth is sponsored by Fandango and they had this little 'wheel of fortune' thing. Everyone gets one spin and everybody wins something, be it just a Fandango sticker, a Fandango t shirt, DVDs or movie tickets! Sure, it's cool that everybody wins something but seriously, I wouldn't line up for over an hour just to spin that wheel and knowing my luck, I would just win a sticker :P So yeah, we moved on.
Ahhhh this was one of our favorite booths that day. Bloomberg was giving out free popcorn! I guess we were lucky cos there wasn't really a line when are got there. I guess maybe it was already almost the end of the day and the crowds have gone home. Who knows.
Mmmmm, looks yummy, doesn't it? We had a choice of Cheddar Cheese or Chocolate popcorn. We asked for one each, so we could try both. Yuummmyy yummmy! Oh and you can see Kevin holding our free Polaroid souvenir, Yeah, it's THAT small.
The popcorn wasn't the highlight of Bloomberg's booth. This is! We were given an opportunity to take a 3D photograph. How awesome is that??? Yes, the line for that was pretty long but we decided to get in line anyways. How often do you get a chance to take a 3D photo?
We stood in line for almost 45 minutes and at last we made it into the 'studio'. They had a make shift 'set' with all kinds of props that we could use. Since it's the Tribeca Film Festival, they tried to make it look as though we were on a movie set, filming on location. Very very cool.
Since it wasn't just a straight forward snap and print job, we had to wait quite a while to get our 3D photo. Look at all the people waiting for their photos.

Yay! Our turn! Here is a photo of the technician working on our photo. I am not sure how it works but he somehow converts our colored photo to some black and white photo and if we look at it with 3D glasses, Kevin and I will pop out from the photo! Too bad I cannot show you the photo here. It's like super coooool....definitely worth waiting in line for. By the time we got our 3D photo, it was already past 6 and the fair was winding down. Overall, we had an awesome time and yes, I agree with all those who say that this is the ultimate NYC street fair! I'm glad we went to check it out and we will definitely return next year!!! - Your Secure Online Storage

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Tribeca Film Festival Family St. Fair (Part II)

From Washington Market Park, we walked over to Duane St to check out the Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival section of the fair. The guys from the American Express Guest Information booth told us that we should totally check out the Dave Voelker BMX Stunt Show that will be starting soon, so we hurried over there to check it out.
The Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival section must be one of the more popular sections at the fair. All of the major NY/NJ pro sports teams had booths with all kinds of games, sports clinics, celebrity appearances as well as meet the fans sessions. Among some of the big names represented were the NY Giants, NY Jets, NY Knicks, NY Rangers, NY Red Bulls, Brooklyn Cyclones and of course, the boys from our neighborhood, the Newark Bears :P
When we arrived, we realized that we were a little bit early and the BMX show has yet to begin. In fact, they were just starting to set up. So, we decided to walk around to check out the booths first. This is a cute little play section sponsored by ESPN. There were all kinds of bouncy balls in all sizes as well as hula hoops for the kids to play with. Oh how I wished I was still a kid. Looks like they were all having such a great time, just bouncing around!
The folks from the NY Knicks booth were having some sort of hoops shooting competition for kids and the winners walked away with some cool NY Knicks merchandise. Nice! Apart from having competitions, they also had quite a few hands on basketball clinics by basketball pros through out the day.
A large crowd was gathering at the NY Knicks booth and we were wondered what was going on. So, we made our way over there to check out the scene. Looks like the Knicks City Dancers were giving out autographs and having a meet and greet session with their fans. Geeezzz...all this commotion just to get autographs from a bunch of cheerleaders??? I wonder what will happen when the real basketball pros come out. I bet it will be a mad house!
They also had quite a number of this big bouncy things all over the ESPN sports section. This particular one is sponsored by the NY Jets. It was quite fun to see the kids running and bouncing through the 'big guys', trying to make it to the end zone and go for that touchdown. :D
The NY Rangers also had quite a lot going on at their booth. They too had those big bouncy things and little kids would try and score a goal by hitting an over sized puck into the goal. The bigger kids had a chance to try their hand at box hockey. The first guy to hit the puck into the goal wins. The NY Rangers also set up a street hockey rink where there were clinics as well as competitions through out the day. While we were there, they were just getting ready and suiting up the kids ( I think they should be about 3-4 years old) for a game. We didn't stay for the game though, should have. They were so cute. The goal keeper was so padded up, I didn't think that he could even walk!

Ahhh the NY Red Bulls booth. It's actually quite sad and pathetic to see the lack of interest for the game among Americans. All the other major league booths were filled with people but nobody really cared for the only MLS team that was represented that day. In fact, they didn't even get a spot in the main sports section. They were out over by themselves, outside of the sports section. Hopefully America does well in the upcoming World Cup (actually, maybe not too well. they are in the same grouping as England and I'm an England fan!). Maybe Americans will start to take notice and give soccer a chance if Team USA shines at the World Cup. Who knows. Anyways, from the Tribeca ESPN Sports Film Festival section, we headed off towards Greenwich St (which is the main section of the whole festival). Will blog more about that next!