Maggiano’s Little Italy


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I and my husband are very big fans of italian food! We just love all the fresh flavors, and the comfort that comes with each dish. We have been to many gourmet, high end restaurants in NYC, including Mario Batali’s Del Posto – which by the way was amazing, but we still keep returning to our beloved Maggiano’s Little Italy in Hackensack!

They have great service, and the restaurant is very nicely decorated, it always feels like Christmas in there and in a good way! Everytime we go, let it be just lunch or a celebration, the holiday spirit is there and we end up very happy afterwards!

For my husband’s 27th birthday we decided to go again to Maggiano’s and let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions ever!

We had a great time and shared some delicious food! Our feast started with some Calamari Fritte with marinara sauce, which were great! Crispy but not oily, with some lemon and marinara they were pure perfection! For our appetizer, we also shared the Pepperoni & Arugula Flatbread, with roasted garlic and truffle alfredo sauce! The flatbread is very delicious, crispy, with a peppery taste from the arugula that balances very nice the pepperoni, the alfredo sauce is like a blanket of goodness, that you just can’t get enough!

Pepperoni & Arugula Flatbread:

My drink of choice was a Raspberry Lemonade, which was too sugary for my taste, but diluted with some water was very good!

For my entree, I went with the Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Orzo. It was a great dish, the salmon is baked on a cedar paper, the glaze is very good and everything is served with a warm orzo salad, with spinach and sun dried tomatoes mixed in – I can’t wait to recreate it at home!

My husband went with the Lobster crusted Tilapia with orzo, and this dish by far was the highlight of our evening! I had a few bites, and it was pure heaven! When they say lobster crusted, believe it, it is indeed lobster crusted, you will find big pieces of lobster on top of two filets of tilapia all in a creamy sauce! If you have to pick one dish, please go with this one!

Obviously we couldn’t finish all of the food, so we asked for the leftovers for to go, and as you can probably guess we still had space for some dessert. Since their desserts are amazing, we decided to go with the Tasting plate, which had Apple Crostata, Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake and Creme Brulee, it was supposed to come with a piece of cheesecake too, but since they were out of it, we got an extra tiramisu!

Everything tasted super fresh, and very delicious!

Creme Brulee:

So here I am, telling you, that if you like italian comfort food, fresh, with great flavors, lots of options, great service and unforgettable desserts go to Maggiano’s! The prices are affordable, and the portions are great, so you can count on leftovers for the next day! There is a vide selection of seafood, chicken, pasta and vegetarian dishes! The wine and cocktail list is very nice, and one regular dessert easily feeds two people! Great atmosphere, and very nice staff!



Disclaimer: The restaurant staff was not aware that I will write a review afterwards, all the opinions are my own, and we paid for our dinner!

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Caramelized Apple Tart


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Nothing probably screams more autumn, than having apple and pumpkin dessert! Last week I shared a transitional recipe from summer to fall, by making a Pumpkin Ice Cream, today I am bringing to you Caramelized Apple Tart!

I am a crust girl; I just love the flaky and buttery stuff! And there is nothing worse to me, than a DRY apple tart! Maybe some people like it, but not me! That’s why I cook my apples, well, to be precise I caramelized them – with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, for a few minutes! By doing this you will achieve a great consistency and your tart will taste amazing!

I also added one pear to the mix, since the pear cooks faster and gets softer that the apples, it blends very well with the brown sugar from caramelization and when the filling is added to the tart, it kind of glues together all the pieces!

This tart can be easily made vegan, just use soy butter – make sure you chill it very, very wel, since it tends to have a softer consistency! Also, instead of the cream and eggs wash you can just use oil and sugar!

This tart would be a very nice addition to any holiday menu, or to just have a slice waiting for you in the fridge on a week night!


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks cold butter
  • 2 tbsp butter at room temperature
  • ¼ ice cold water
  • 5 apples
  • 1 pear
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp rum
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream


  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. In a food processor combine: flour and butter until crumbles are formed, add the cold water.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour at least.
  4. Wash, peel and chop the apples and the pear.
  5. In a pan, on medium heat add 2 tbsp of butter, chopped apples, the pear, 4 tbsp of brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract and rum. Mix well everything and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Let the mixture cool at room temperature.
  6. Roll ¾ your dough to fit into a 9 inch round tart form. Mine was too crumbly, so I just pressed it with my fingers into the tart pan.
  7. Using a fork, puncture the dough, add one cup of uncooked beans or rice and bake it for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the tart pan from the oven, discharge the rice/beans, and add the apple filling to the tart. With the leftover dough decorate the tart.
  9. In a bowl, mix 1 tbsp of brown sugar with the egg and cream to create the egg wash for the tart. Reapply a few times while the tart is baking
  10. Bake for another 40 minutes.
  11. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, or chilled by itself!

Pumpkin Ice Cream with Acorn Squash Caramelized Pieces


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Hello my friends! I hope you are all doing well! My last blog post was in August, and in two month so many things happen! I am very exciting to share my trip to Moldova and Turkey, the beautiful places we have explored and the delicious food we enjoyed, hint: LOTS of baklava was consumed in Turkey! So stay tuned, I will try to sort through all the photos and have some recap posts for you next week!

But since it is fall outside, I would like to celebrate my comeback with a Pumpkin Ice Cream Recipe, and to make it even better, I should mention that this ice cream is loaded with caramelized pieces of sweet acorn squash, which by far is my favorite!

Did you know that the nutrients in acorn squash protect you body from illnesses? Yes, that is true, one more reason to eat this ice cream! Also, it contains vitamin A, B-12 and C, potassium, folic acid and manganese! Make it a part of your diet can help prevent heart attacks, lung diseases, arthritis, high cholesterol and it helps you fight depression! If you a lucky expecting mama to be, the nutrients in acorn squash can help avoiding birth defects in babies!

With all these benefits, I say lets eat this ice cream, which by the way has a good dose of Calcium from the dairy!

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker


 Ice cream:

  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly-grated ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups roasted acorn squash, chopped – see recipe below

Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 1 small acorn Squash
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp warm water


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the acorn squash in half and place cut side up on a baking sheet.
  3. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon with the warm water, and drizzle the mixture over the acorn squash.
  4. Cook for 50 minutes or until the flesh is tender.
  5. Let it cool completely before chopping.
  6. Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nest a smaller metal bowl (one that will hold at least 2 quarts) inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top.
  7. In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and salt. Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam.
  8. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly.
  9. Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  10. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl nested in the ice bath. Mix in the brown sugar and stir until cool, then chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
  11. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Add the acorn squash cubes, and with a spatula mix until well incorporated.
  12. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies with Reese’s Cups


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There are things in life that are just right! Like ice cream, cheesecake, creamy potato soup with bacon, pizza, shoes, chiffon dresses and many others! One of the best, is by far a decadent flourless dessert, and since we all know that PB + Chocolate is a match made in heaven, this is the route I took!

These cookies are amazing, very, very dense, you like almost have to wash them with a glass of milk, or in my case  vanilla almond milk, which by the way, pairs so well with Chocolate & PB!

Each bite is filled with mini Reese’s cups that hide some extra PB!! And, as I mentioned, there is no flour in this recipe, so you can totally enjoy and get lost in the Peanut Butter flavor!

One factor that I like about this cookies is that they are ready in 30 minutes start to finish, and you need only one bowl to mix all the ingredients! And if you are a PB lover, you may already have all the ingredients for this recipe, one more winning point – you only need 4 ingredients, yes, only 4!

Even if you are not a PB lover, I would recommend trying these cookies, since they may totally change your mind, and since they have enough protein to keep you full for a few hours they are totally welcomed for breakfast or as a snack! :)


(adapted from

  • 2 cups creamy PB
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup Reese’s cups or chocolate chunks


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the peanut butter, eggs and sugar until well blended, add the Reese’s cups. Using an ice cream scoop, take balls of dough and lay them on a cookie sheet. Press with a for to make the cookies 1/2 inch flat. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies


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Ever since I saw these brownies on Recipe Girl, I couldn’t take my mind off them! And can you blame? Well, no – since they are definitely dreamy! A layer of gooey brownies, topped with cookie dough, what can be better!

I made some changes to the recipe: to save some time I used a box mix for the brownies, this amazing Double Fudge Brownie Mix by Duncan Hines, and added a cup of chocolate chunks! I loved how rich, dense, fudgy and “chocolatey” these brownies turned!

While the brownies were baking to heavenly perfection, I started making the cookie dough layer, I used the recipe from Recipe Girl, and doubled it! Yes, I did double it!! :) I wanted a very, very thick layer of cookie dough!

Once the brownies were done baking, I cooled them and topped them with the amazing layer of cookie dough, and some mini chocolate chips! I found it, that they tasted better once chilled overnight!

These brownies are the perfect dessert to please both: a chocolate lover and vanilla one! Fun to eat, and oh so cute! Definitely a nice addition to any party or a delicious sugar fix during the week! Do yourself a favor and make them! :)

Cubby’s Barbeque – Restaurant Review


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Note: I wasn’t rewarded in any form for writing this review. I haven’t received any coupons or discounts, the food was purchased with my own money and the staff was not aware that I will be blogging about my experience.

Me and my husband, are very big fans of smoked ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. Since our road trip to North Carolina and Tennessee, I became obsessed with barbeque meat! Living in NJ doesn’t help, since it is so hard to find a really good barbecue restaurant! We have tried several places in NYC, some of them very overpriced and we were never happy with our experience! One place, that was even featured on Food Network, had the most disgusting ribs I have ever had, if seemed more like were we eating rubber, not meat!

And a few weeks ago magic happened, we decided to go for lunch at Cubby’s Barbeque in Hackensack, NJ to satisfy my crazy craving for a pulled pork sandwich! I said a prayer, and hoped for the best, well, and it didn’t disappoint!

We both loved the place, the decor is very nice and funky and you don’t wait a lot for your food to be ready! We ordered a pulled pork sandwich on garlic bread, ribs and some mac & cheese!

The pulled pork was very nice, sweet, juicy and with a spicy kick:

Same thing about the ribs, they were sweet and tender, you didn’t have to bite hard to get the meat from the bone, which is always a good thing! The meat fells off the bone! A nice smoke and spiciness too!

The Mac & Cheese was delicious too, a lot of hot, bubbling cheese :)

The portions are big, and the prices are reasonable for the entries! The only thing I didn’t like, is probably the a little overpriced side items!

Overall, we had a great experience, and if you are looking for a great barbeque place in NJ don’t hesitate to visit Cubby’s Barbeque!

Question: What is your favorite barbeque restaurant? Let me know, since we are always looking for great restaurants in different cities!

High Protein Peaches and Cream Popsicles (Sugar Free)


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Peaches and Cream is one of my favorite flavor combinations! I still buy the quick oats in this flavor and have them as an afternoon snack! Since in August may be too hot for my beloved snack, I decided to come up with a cooler version, which by the way is even better!

I used creamy vanilla greek yogurt in these popsicles and organic peaches, and no sugar! So yes, these are sugar-free and super delicious! My only advice would be, if you decide to make this recipe, don’t substitute the vanilla yogurt for regular original yogurt, since there is no sugar added, the vanilla yogurt adds some sweetness! If you want your popsicles sweeter, add 2 tbsp of honey or any sugar substitute based on taste!


2 cups of chopped peaches

1 1/2 cups of vanilla greek yogurt

2 tbsp heavy cream


  1. In a bowl, mix the peaches with the yogurt, add the heavy cream.
  2. Pour the mixture into popsicles mold.
  3. Freeze for at least 6 hours or until frozen solid. To release popsicles, run hot water on the outside of popsicle molds for a 2-3 seconds.



July Foodie Penpals


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Finally the last day of the month is here and I can show you what goodies I have received in my Foodie Penpals gift exchange! First, I wanted to thank Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean for all the hard work, and for maintaining this fun program!

I have received a very lovely package from Jenn who is blogging @ A Runners Story! She sent me the most amazing package ever, its like she knew exactly what I like, and to be honest what I am obsessed with! :)

I got lots of delicious and aromatic teas:

More teas, nut butter samples, a kind bar and organic chocolate:

A delicious Organic Vegan Almond Bar, as a nice post workout snack:

Annie’s Organic Mac & Cheese and some Organic Italian Wild Rice, that I am very excited to try:

Some delicious Maple Pecan Crunch Cereal and Vanilla Almond Fit Granola! Let me just say, that both taste amazing, the cereal box was gone in two days, and I like adding the granola, to yogurt and smoothies! It is very low in sugar, crunchy and with an exceptional almond vanilla flavor!

Jenn, also included a note and this beautiful necklace:

Again, thank you very much Jenn, the gift box was amazing, very personalized and full with items that I enjoy!

Beet and Goat Cheese Dipping Sauce with Veggies


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Are you tired of the celery sticks and raw carrots served with ranch sauce, or humus? Ad much, as I love these “sauces”, sometimes I just get bores, and crave something more fun and new on my veggies!!

I love beets, they are so sweet and pair so well with so many things! Just think about caramelized beets on a spinach and walnut salad, or boiled beets in this delicious Russian Salad? How about beets and goat cheese? Yes, I know that an amazing combo! :) So, this is what I have for you today, a delicious creamy dipping sauce made with goat cheese and beets, put this on veggies and you will find yourself snacking on carrots and celery sticks all day long! oh, and if you don’t like goat cheese you can make this with farmer cheese!


  • 400g beets
  • 400g creamy goat cheese
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper


Boil the beets and shred them. Once shredded mix with the goat cheese, smashed garlic, salt and pepper. Serve with your choice of veggies.

This sauce is especially good served with smoked salmon and some dill! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


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