Won't You Please Butter My Leftover Biscuits

I was going to title this piece My Biscuits Bring All the Boys to the Yard, but I am not a liar. I am a gentlewoman and a champion of the truth, so you should know that my yard could not be more empty and it is filled with biscuits baked for friends and leftovers for myself.  I try not to make a habit of eating biscuits too often, for my simple belief in moderation, but if I could eat biscuits every day and not turn into a pile of squishy dough on my couch as I lay clad in puppy patterned flannel and buried in my blanket fort with my remote control, I would. I’D EAT ALL OF THE BISCUITS. My life is a balance of green juice, smoothies, salads, biscuits, baked goods and just being. After re-reading this paragraph it is also quite clear as to why my biscuits are not bringing any boys to my so called yard; I’d have to leave my blanket fort to do so and at this juncture in time I am not prepared to.

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AWARD WINNING Kitchen Sink Cookies

Although I cannot promote these cookies from a health standpoint - they’re loaded with butter, potato chips, pretzels, peanut butter and white chocolate chips - I can tell you they are holiday cookie swap award winning. I just took home a Starbucks gift card for having won my friends 2018 cookie swap. I couldn’t be any more proud. Take that Martha Stewart. You might have a line of glitter and be queen of stylish living, but I am a cookie swap queen dammit!!!!

So, originally I was going to make a healthy treat or some sort of organic dark chocolate bark, as I’d done in years past, but I wanted a win this go around. I knew the only way to win would be  to go for the junk food jugular. That’s right, I walked into the Dollar General purchased my contraband, walked up to the cashier and announced “Do you see all of the goodness and badness on this counter right now? (I didn’t give him a chance to respond) It’s because I’m about to win a cookie swap.”

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Mom's Carrot Cake

When I was growing up and still, to this day, my mother makes a carrot cake that is to die for. As a child I would sneak slices in the middle of the night while no one was watching; it was just me, my carrot cake and Arsenio. I imagined I’d one day make it on my own, that I wouldn’t have to eat it alone in secret or in shame and that day came. The first time I made it was for Susana’s birthday where I was gathered with my friends in celebration of life and cake. Then another opportunity arose in the summer of 2014. I was dating a man. Yes, a man. Not just any man, but a man whose favorite cake was that of the carrot variety. We were quite a few dates in so I thought it time to share some different gifts I possessed - those that unfold when I’m alone in the kitchen listening to Prince, Stevie or Lionel Richie. I baked for this man. I baked in the heat, turning on both of my air conditioners and preparing carrot, walnut and raisin speckled batter with laughter, joy, shoulder rolls and booty bouncing. After going to the movies on a Saturday night, we came back to my place and I couldn’t wait to surprise him. It was with the happiest heart that I shared my beloved carrot cake. I watched with pride as he ate his slice while I sat alongside him enjoying my very own. He looked over and said “this is delicious, it might be the best I’ve ever had.” Our movie date wasn’t our best by far, but I was sure the cake response was the truth. Later that evening I sent him home with a healthy

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9 New Looks For Your Leftover Roasted Vegetables

Post Thanksgiving you might have one of two thoughts …

  1. What can I do with leftovers? 

  2. I’m done with food and I’m battening down the hatchets until Christmas cookies are thrust upon me!

Here’s the good news - there’s no need to go to extremes, my sweet. I’ve got a mealtime strategy that may very well help you with thoughts 1 and 2 because, believe me, I have them too. Frankly, I’m still eating the triple layer carrot cake I made for Thanksgiving dessert and I’m still grazing on stuffing, but I’m also trying my best to pack veggies into my day so I can feel balanced all around. My skin and body are desperate for hydration between this chilly NYC weather and the last few days of standing, cooking and drinking a little too much coffee and wine.

With a little planning, thought, and Pillowpia’s french market bag to make grocery shopping fashionable and functional, you’ll be sailing through your week of food and choices in no time.

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tina corrado
Pasta with Peas

Lately, I feel like it’s a miracle I’m even cooking. My spirits have been struggling, my energy low, although I’m working to wear smiles on the outside. After a day of substitute teaching, I sometimes want to close my eyes and nap, but most days I confront the light, my kitchen and make peace with myself. The realities of what it means to start life over again are settling into my heart and spirit as I wonder if I’m doing the right things and where I might end up. Everyday is a mental exercise to live in the moment, to not get lost in the past or worry about the future. As of late, telling myself that I am enough and I have enough just isn’t enough for me. The ceremonious plating of meals for one, vibrant with color and rich in emotion; they continue to fill me because there is no love, dating, or the possibility of it in my life right now. I’m aware I’ve been living in phase of an extremely long and somewhat never ending right now.

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10 Minute Skillet Granola

I closed in on a quick granola for the yogurt, muffin, oatmeal and fruit topping win! And I baked some apples that were looking sad in my fridge!

Most days in my kitchen, cooking is about using what I’ve got in order to survive hunger, mealtime and loneliness.

Lemme not go down the emotion path and keep this on the quick cooking tip!

The great part about granola is that you can make it from any nuts, seeds and/or . dried fruit you have around. Build it from what you have and get that skillet hot! This is yet another reason to have that pantry of yours stocked with nuts and goodies, so you can freestyle your very own granola like a kitchen boss!

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Split Pea Soup Smiles

In a celebration of food and friendship, which if you ask me is the me is the main reason to revel in every day we’re blessed to be on this earth, last night I made soup for dinner. Not just any soup, but a soup that harkens the fondest of childhood memories alongside my mother and father in an old world Brooklyn that no longer exists. I weep over these memories; tears flooding my food alongside a swell in my heart and untamable emotions. Most nights I cook only for myself, but last night I made a pot unparalleled to any other. I proudly shared this pea soup, carrying old memories whilst making new ones.

Writing and cooking for my blog began back in 2008 when my co-worker created a tumblr account while I was in a meeting. I suppose Ross believed I should find a place to catalog my stories, meal accounts and leftovers. Tina’s Nom Noms began as a project to build a story/recipe relationship as every meal, at least to me, has a life or lives behind it. I made it a space to write my food diary from the heart,

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Do You Know The Muffin Man?

A client of mine recently asked if muffins were ok to eat and particularly on a weekend because her son loves them.

My answer, absolutely. Yes and yes. All food is all good; however, the challenge may come to eating it with balance in mind. That was always my own challenge and still is. I’m not a big fan of packaged or processed foods,  but I frown upon nothing for I have my first and long lasting loves like Reeses in all of their gorgeous holiday shapes and sizes and Russell Stover Chocolate at Valentines Day. I’ve remade Reese’s and Coconut Russell Stover Clusters but, quite frankly, the drugstore variety is way more delicious. I love placing my dollar on that counter for that single Reese’s and eating it on my walk home when I have a hankering. So, I advised my client to make the muffins from scratch if she had the time so she can bond with her son and bake them together, but if a box mix is used so be it. Whatever gets us closer to feeling around food.

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tina corrado
Butternut Squash Sauce

My grandmother used to make a sauce from Birds Eye frozen winter squash. Bright orange, garlicky, cheesy in flavor, silken in texture - I can still picture the way the thick sauce coated broken pieces of pasta in the bottomless bowls she served on a weeknight. The summer I went to live on the farm in Connecticut, I spent half the time recreating her lentils and the other half perfecting this sauce. When I wouldn’t get it right I’d eat it alone as a mash and sit in silence. I enjoyed it even when it wasn’t perfect and particularly by the heaping spoonful. Heaping spoonfuls of frozen squash made gourmet. What I adored most about my grandmother’s cooking were her kitchen concoctions - I also  know it’s where I get my recipe free beliefs from and my throw it together and see if it works mentality.

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Banana Almond Cacao Cookies

These banana almond cacao cookies came about from a few brown bananas, a quiet morning sipping tea and a need to go slow and recover from the week. They’re totally passable for breakfast, you know, being as they’re made with flax meal, bananas and almonds. A simple breakfast cookie that can be frozen and grabbed on the go - these pair well with a plain yogurt and some fruit, a quick scramble (if you need a sweet chaser during that PMS week) or enjoy them for dessert or as a snack with tea.

I cannot tell a lie, I had two for breakfast and I couldn’t be happier - even as I sit here typing … sorta sick and sorta tired. My belief has always been that no one can take care of us better than us, so even through being sick and working a few jobs - I’ll always be able to depend on myself.

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Tomato Soup Happiness

Today I had my favorite kind of day; a day spent cooking with a kind hearted, hard working and beautifully spirited client I can call my friend. My clients aren’t people I work for, they’re people I consider friends and those I teach and learn from through shared experiences. Julie and I spent 4 hours in the kitchen making soup, sauce, roasting vegetables, creating mini-frittatas, toasting breadcrumbs and making list of meal permutations for the next week of eating. I came home happy in heart despite laryngitis and what’s been a pretty upsetting past few weeks in my world.

Cooking with Julie, sharing time together and getting her feedback on our day together lifted my spirits in a way that only connection and work of the heart can do. I was so inspired

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Farro Salad

There are few things I find as warming as a bowl of soup and as comforting as pasta. I love foods that make me feel satisfied, a lot of texture, hearty and that stick to my insides. I need to stay padded for winter, you see. Grains are up on my list of foods I try to fit in a few days a week into at least one meal. From buckwheat to quinoa, cous cous to millet - these grains can be quickly prepared and made in the base of a bowl topped with veggies, meat, fish - you name it. Tonight my grain of choice was farro. Farro is a whole grain variety of wheat, it is not gluten free (for those of you that may be wondering) and it can be eaten on its own, in salads and in soups. Sometimes I throw the leftovers into my spaghetti squash bakes, I’ve been known to eat with eggs as often as I enjoy it as a side for my fish.

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Saturday Night Squash Soup

I’ve just now realized it’s Halloween weekend and I’m home on a Saturday night in a solo soup slurping contest with myself. I like to keep it really real.

3 reasons to stay in, stay safe and Saturday night soup when you’re 38:

  1. It’s miserable out, my best friend is pregnant and my other best friend is likely napping.

  2. I’m still awake, and I didn’t fall asleep as I type from my blanket fort while wearing a hooded sweatshirt nightgown and sip on mint tea. I’m meeting some serious personal goals right now.

  3. Practical Magic or Hocus Pocus have gotta be streaming somewhere …

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A Hearty Bean & Kale Soup

Today it was 65 degrees and gloomy all day in NYC. A slight chill was in the air, a slight chill only soup could solve.  I’ve been on somewhat of a grind to find work, so I’m a little slow in body and mind these days, but still feel happy and pretty hopeful overall. It’s when I step into my kitchen to cook that the most hope fills me up. I’ve made my kitchen my space, the heart of my little home where I hope to remain for a little while longer. When I scan the room with my eyes I see a big burgundy butcher block I built in my last apartment, a peg board inspired by Julia Child - painted a sunny bright yellow and hanging on my white wall - it holds some of my grandma’s and mom’s cooking tools. Then there’s the metal rack I put together last September on what would  have been my grandmother’s 100 birthday. I believe she’d be proud that this is the spot where I honor her; where I make soup on a gloomy day when I’m tired.

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Happy National Taco-ish Day

Because, sometimes, a spicy beef bowl is so necessary and so simple to put together on a Thursday night after long day of work. I’m still working, who are we kidding because having 3 jobs ain’t easy. Being single means you can work all night if you don’t give yourself a time to stop and working from home means you do this in comfortable leggings, but then you may look down and realize you haven’t changed pants in two days or you catch a fearful glimpse in the mirror - one that reveals smudged mascara and sorta jacked up hair.

I digress.

Today is National Taco day and, sure, this isn’t a taco - but this spicy beef bowl can be stuffed between a soft flour tortilla or between a hard corn shell. It was made with a combo of my freezer, fridge and pantry staples - which are always a late dinner time saver. Way faster than take out wait times and healthier too.

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Three Ways with Tina: Eggplant Option #3 Whole Roasted Eggplant

Little Frankie’s in NYC makes a fantastic whole roasted eggplant, served with a giant douse of oil and warm bread - the charred skinned and soft flesh of the eggplant separate; allowing the oily eggplant goodness to be spread all over a thick slice…

For our third eggplant preparation for the  week, I pay homage to the whole roasted eggplant. No slicing, no salting, no preparation needed - a whole eggplant can be popped in the oven and ready in about  30 minutes on a weeknight or roasted ahead, on a weekend, and warmed up later in the week. But, I’m not going to lie - it is best hot out the oven, oiled, salted and served.

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Three Ways with Tina: Eggplant Option #2 One Tray Chicken and Vegetables

On Monday I gave you a recipe for one of my three ways with eggplant, and I’m doing this so the cook that I know lives inside of you can start to look at their food a little differently. The concept of Three Ways with Tina was born out of my long term singleness, weight loss maintenance and joy of cooking; creating and shedding new light on mealtime so as to not get bored of eating the same thing all week long while I’m also on a budget. Cooking for one often doesn’t seem worth it, and my hope is maybe - just maybe - this can change that for some. So whether you’re exploring your kitchen on a solo adventure, cooking as a couple or family - learning how to make one protein, starch, veggie, bean, spice or herb three ways will only help you out in the kitchen and build more curiosity to explore your inner domestic diva or God.

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Three Ways with Tina: Eggplant Option #1 Vegetable Tart

With summer officially gone, so with it goes seasonal eggplants and many of my other farm fresh favorite vegetables. The eggplant will likely be prepared in my kitchen in the coming months,  clearly not locally sourced (don’t produce shame me), so I scooped up three purple beauties at a farmers market last week. So, what’s a woman to do with three eggplants? As a single, self-diagnosed compulsive produce picker with three eggplants, I need to constantly find new ways to feed myself; reexamine my food and keep meals interesting.

Yesterday I used an eggplant 3 different ways and I’ll give them different looks throughout my week of lunches and dinners because a classic meal prep of grilled chicken, broccoli and grains and/or eating the same dish all week long doesn’t work for me.

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Bagels. Yes, I Eat Bagels.

Bagels. Yes, I Eat Bagels.

Here’s the thing, I’m an Italian woman who grew up in a predominantly Jewish and Italian neighborhood, so, suffice to say, I don’t just like my carbs - I love my carbs. Paint my world in pasta, pizza, bialys, bagels and babaka and color me happy. Now, here’s the other thing, if I ate these things in unlimited quantities as I did when I was Teenage Tina, I’d certainly be struggling to keep off the weight I lost.

A few things about carbs:

  1. They will not kill you, although we’ve been fed information that they will, the key to enjoying anything and everything in life is moderation and there’s certainly an art to it.

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Soft Breakfast Taco

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day. I go to sleep thinking about eating breakfast because I look forward to quiet mornings and setting up my day. Breakfast time allows me to put myself first before my time becomes someone else’s - be it school or a client. And if you’re not into cooking or trying to take some steps toward healthier habits, breakfast is a good place to start.

Part of the standard staples in my home from week to week ; or some items you’ll never find me without:

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