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Paris, Part Deux

…In which my mom and sister go to the Chanel Couture show, we meet Terry de Gunzburg, sit next to Lenny Kravitz at lunch, enjoy the Musee d’Orsay and travel to begin some serious wine-tasting in Bordeaux. 

Pretty much everyone should start off their day like this. La Maison Favart has one of the best and prettiest showers I’ve ever experienced in their Carmen suite, and a breakfast worthy of the same adjectives.

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And then, NBD, my mom and my sister went to the Chanel Couture Week show. Seriously unreal. The crowd was amazing, the show was completely over the top (so I hear) and my mom got to cross one of the top items off her bucket list. I hung out for almost an hour after dropping them off to people-watch (who were among the best-dressed crowd of my life) despite being dressed in neon workout gear and enduring a solid 45 minutes of papparazzi screaming at me in French, ‘GET OUT OF THE SHOT!!!”  Oh, settle down, crazies.

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Paris, Part Un

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I haven’t been back here since I was 21 years old, but it didn’t take long for me to remember why this is my favorite city in the world.

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Angelina’s has the world’s best hot chocolate, and their salads aren’t too shabby either.

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The boat pond in Tuilleries is my favorite place in the world. I could (and have) sit here for hours and just soak it all in.

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My old street!

My mom and my sister, to make a very long story short, were invited to the Chanel show during Couture Week. I’ve rarely seen my mom more excited than when their invitations (which, without question, I’m sure were more expensive than the cost of an entire wedding) were delivered to our hotel.

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The Hinchey girls a Paris!

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Oooh, la la

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Honestly, I don’t know why I always seem to get so lax about posting during the summer, but it’s probably because there’s so much more going on.

For example.

Late Sunday night, I got back from a 10-day trip to France with my mom and my little sister. We spent a couple days in Paris, went down to Bordeaux for wine-tasting, then back up to Paris again. I used to live there in college, and I hadn’t been back since, and honestly, I forgot about how much that city makes me feel. Everything is so vibrant and beautiful and exciting and – most importantly – grounding in a way I can’t even fully describe. Paris brings out the best in me.

This was the first girls’ trip my mom anIMG_9909d sister and I have taken in a really long time, and we had a blast. We had experiences, dinners and wine among the best of my life, scenery that could have been out of a movie and I also got some serious quality time with two of the people I love most in the world.

This post is a two-parter, for sure. It may actually end up being a three-parter, since I just spent 40 minutes editing pictures and I’m not even to Bordeaux yet (and I’m still on Paris time, which means it’s 8.18 p.m. EST and I’m exhausted.) Happy Bastille Day, France!

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Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie




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Ohhhh, the Nutribullet is just about the best thing I’ve ever purchased in my life. It makes eating (or drinking, I guess) healthy the easiest thing ever. Brendan and I have a smoothie every morning, and if I don’t, I feel like I’m missing something all day long.  This smoothie tastes as if it has 4 times the calories than it actually does.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE  (makes 1)

  • 3 ice cubes
  • Almond milk (1 cup)
  • 1/4 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. honey (I’ve been using Newkirk Honey, which is locally made and 100% incredible)

Blend everything together really well. Serve with a straw and enjoy.

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How To: Poach an Egg

(I look really pretty in the screenshot above. I know.)

I don’t know about you guys, but poaching an egg always seemed really intimidating to me, until I actually tried it. There are a couple little tricks:

1. Make sure the water is at the perfect temperature – not boiling, just gently bubbling

2. Add a tiny bit of white vinegar to the pot while the water is warming

3. Once the egg is in the eye of the tornado, leave it alone. After 2 minutes remove it with a slotted spatula and gently touch the yolk to make sure it’s set but still pretty wiggly.

Enjoy on just about anything, but one of my favorites is eggs benedict in all forms. The recipe in this video is a fantastic smoked salmon and polenta eggs benedict with a lemon-dill hollandaise sauce. Thanks for your video editing, JBG!

Lasagna with Kale and Bechamel



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Lasagnas are a labor of love, especially when you do them right. When I take the time to make one of these, especially when it’s entirely from scratch, I double the recipe and freeze another one, just because they take so much time and effort. And then, on days when NEPA misses breaking the record for coldest day ever by one degree, and I’ve spent the day before with a wicked stomach bug that made me feel like I was dying, barely slept because of it, woke up at 2.45am for a 4am taping of morning show (with Ryan Leckey, who, admittedly, I love) at the hospital, then coordinated five more interviews – one of which includes scrubbing up (?? in? what’s it called when you just observe) with a reporter and photographer for a VERY graphic, and incredibly advanced, knee replacement surgery – and am now waiting to connect the final interview of the day so I can just take a freaking nap already, do you know what I do?  I take that second lasagna out of the freezer and start letting that beautiful thing defrost. This is homemade with love right here – my Mom’s meatsauce, noodles from scratch, a nutmeg-y bechamel, some kale and fresh parm…dinner’s going to be the best part of this day.

LASAGNA WITH KALE AND BECHAMEL (Makes one 9.5 x 11 inch delicious pan of lasagna) Continue reading

Chinese Pork Dumplings


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If I could pick one food to eat for the rest of my life (pasta is a given), it would be these. I love dumplings, especially the really good ones. Unless you live in a city, good-quality dumplings are really hard to find – most of the ones I order around here are either too thick, not flavorful enough, or some sort of variation on Asian pierogies.

That said, these are fantastic. Perfect consistency, great filling, light and super tasty. Brendan and I made them together, and it was amazing how many of them we got out of 1 lb. of pork. I gave in and stuck to the basics with this recipe, but I’m already planning what version we’re going to make next. These were a really fun kitchen project, AND they froze really well too. Who needs city Chinese food?? Ok, me. I do. But when I can’t have it, this is a pretty great substitute.

CHINESE PORK DUMPLINGS (makes a ton. Freeze whatever you don’t make in an airtight container)

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • Pot Sticker wrappers (I found these at a little Asian specialty store)

1. In a large bowl, combine the pork, scallions, sesame oil, salt & pepper and minced ginger. Mix to combine.

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Creamy Tomato Pasta with Artichokes




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My mom had a pretty rough time throughout December, so before I went away for Christmas, my parents, my sister and I all made a Saturday afternoon lunch and just hung out for a while. My mom’s a vegetarian, and we all needed some comfort food, so this pasta and artichokes in a creamy tomato sauce was perfect. Everything tastes better when you eat it with your family. <3

CREAMY TOMATO PASTA WITH ARTICHOKES (4 servings)

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 shallots, sliced pretty thinly
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 14-oz can chunky crushed tomatoes
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped and seeded
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • freshly grated parmesan (about 1/3 C., plus more for topping)
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 lb. linguini

1. Melt the butter and EVOO over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and onion, cook until translucent, approx. 5-7 minutes.

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2. Add the wine, stir everything together and keep stirring sporadically until the alcohol has burned off.

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3. Add the artichokes (drained).

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4. Add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook a bit until their skins are looser.

5. Add the can of chunky crushed tomatoes, then the cream, stir everything together.

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6. Get your pasta water up to boiling, then cook your pasta. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water before draining.

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7. Stir in the handful of chopped parsley, about 1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese, then taste and season as needed. Thin with the pasta water if needed.

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8. Add the pasta to the saucepan, combine everything so the pasta is evenly coated.

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9. Serve and enjoy (my mom got the “You’re the Best” plate, of course).

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Mushroom “Meatballs”




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These were the first thing Brendan ever made me, and they’re one of my very favorites. Meatballs are one of the best foods ever, but these are vegetarian, and they honestly stand up to the real thing. Plus, anytime I get Bren in the kitchen is a done deal. He’s an awesome cook.

MUSHROOM “MEATBALLS” (makes about 20 – recipe via allrecipes.com)

  • 1 lb. white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C. quick-cook oats
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 C. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 C. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO

1. Finely chop mushrooms, then heat the 1 tbsp. EVOO in a large skillet over medium. Add mushrooms and a pinch of salt, cook and stir until the liquid has evaporated.

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2. Add butter to the mushrooms, cook until golden brown.

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3. Add onion to the mushroom mixture and cook until it’s translucent, approx. 5 minutes. IMG_6834

4. Remove from heat, add garlic and stir approx. 90 seconds. Add mixture to a mixing bowl.

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5. Mix in the oats, approx. 1/3 C. parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley and, when the mixture is cool, 1 egg. Add the salt pepper, cayenne pepper and oregano, then mix until combined. Stir in the other egg.

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6. Heat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then roll the mixture into little meatballs.

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7. Bake for approx. 15 minutes or until mushrooms are golden brown. Eat alone or over pasta – these are the bomb.

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Out With the Old, In With the New

2014 Highlights:

Dad’s retirement. Girls’ Gift Exchange. Cape May winter weekend. Inaugural Scranton Half Marathon. Parade Day Rooftops. Modest Mouse at Ommegang. Otesaga in Cooperstown. Garden parties. Hosting Mother’s Day Brunch. Cape Cod. Biking, hiking, running, flying. Girls’ Lake Weekend. Jazz on the river. Strawberry Picking. Blueberry Picking. Brendan’s first MLB game. Diamond Club seating with the girls. Pittston Tomato Fight. New Apartment. New Car. New hair color. Cohabitation. Brendan meets Abe Lincoln.  Gibbons visit from Colorado. Puerto Rico for EM and Kristina’s wedding. Colorado for Christmas.

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Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, dream-fulfilling year. 2014 was wonderful, but I’m feeling like 2015 is bringing a lot of positive events with her.

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