Friday, May 29, 2009

Menu Week: June 1

Since it is June 1 that means the start of my summer of mostly vegetarian eating. I will be allowing one meal of chicken, steak, or pork. I will try to work in one extra meal a week for seafood. The rest will be vegetarian. Mainly this is what I do anyway. I have a diet rich in egg whites, veggies, salads, nuts, whole grains, limited refined sugar, yogurt. So, this won't be much of a change, but we'll see if it makes that much of a difference.
I'm going strawberry picking - so I'll be having some good salads this week I do believe.
Monday - green beans with tomatoes and pesto (leftovers from last week), hard boiled egg whites, yogurt
Tuesday - curried zuks, strawberry spinach salad with an egg
Wednesday - tuna salad on whole grain, salad
Thursday - red lentil salad, yogurt
Friday - whole wheat pasta and vegetables (for race on Saturday)
Saturday - Papaleno's in Berea post-race Italian
Sunday - lunch out with a friend

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Taste of Baltimore

I spent this weekend in Baltimore, MD - Inner Harbor to be exact. It was nice being able to walk to restaurants that were right on the water. The company was great for all these meals - definitely making it a reminder that meals are more than the food! Here are the places I went:

PotBelly's Sandwich Works: with Kelli and her family on Saturday for lunch. I had a great chicken salad salad. Huge croutons that were their bread just chunked up - nice diced. Good parmesan vinaigrette.

PF Changs - "we're going to feverishly devour this food so fast it will make the chef weep". This was a pretty direct quote. We got there about 730 and left about 930 - great food. Wonton soup with dumplings and shrimp, lettuce wraps, calamari (I loved them dipped in the salt), kung pao shrimp, mongolian beef, and Chang's chicken - topped off with some coconut ice cream. We did it all family style. Good stuff!

7-11 - I went here twice. Sometimes its the only place and cheapest place to go. Now, maybe not for every meal - but I was quite thankful for the 7-11 this trip!

J. Paul's American Grill - I got the crab cake salad. So moist - not much filler. Lump crab was throughout it. Their pretzels were great too - definitely hit the spot.

Viccaro's Italian Pastries - I heard these were great, so I got a few. Lemon Drop cookie (ok, took a bite), almond topped amoretti cookie (great, but still took a bite), chocolate topped cream puff (not great, have had better, mini bite), chocolate almond white dipped biscotti (didn't think this was all that great), mini canolli (ok, so what they were known for was pretty good - had 2 bites). It was good to get to taste these as I was sitting on the waterfront. Couldn't ask for more!

Hard Rock Cafe - first time I've eaten at one. Won't get again any time soon. The carrot cake was good (split that), I had the chicken salad which was good. But, it was expensive, horrible service (Chase was just having a bad day), took us forever. The music was loud too, but provided some impromptu conversation starters. But, the company was great!

Caribou - Some dude came and told me there was one not a few blocks away. Later (after I went and got an iced chai and dark chocolate graham), he came back with a 5$ gift card for me. I'll definitely be using this later! Some of life's little blessings. I love it!

So - Baltimore food was good. I walked everywhere and didn't eat a ton. Much better than I did in NC!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Menu Week: May 25

I'm doing this well ahead of time because I'll be gone to Baltimore having fun this weekend. Be sure to watch for the updates of where we eat at cool places while there!
Monday: Baltimore
Tuesday: a frozen kashi meal b/c I don't have really anything else in my fridge and pesto green beans with tomatoes for dinner at W-3 out of Foster's The Foster's Market Cookbook (I'm branching out from Fresh Every Day) - for the recipe of the week.
Wednesday: yogurt and granolas and a salad with egg whites for dinner because I still won't have had time to go grocery shopping
Thursday: pbj and a salad for dinner from Founders probably - and I'll get to go grocery shopping - how exciting is that!
Friday: making something for a bday dinner I'm going to on Saturday and a Lean Cuisine pizza b/c I'll be working in the housing office for the entire night - and some kettle corn.
Saturday - Hubers! Getting strawberries and whatever other veggies they may have! And a birthday dinner!
Sunday - last day of non-vegetarian for Sunday. Think I'll cook a pork chop with veggies. That sounds yummy!
Keep sending the vegetarian ideas!

Must Have Snack!

These are a few of my favorite things (are you singing the song yet?). I think chips are the perfect salty snack. I love their crunch (as long as they are not stale) and their taste (provided they aren't generic. Yes, I think most generic chips do not have as good a flavor as name brand. I'll pay a little more for good flavor. These are a few of my favorite. Why waste the calories and sodium on anything less?

1. (New Fave) - Flat Earth Tangy Tomato Ranch. Their flavor is much better than I thought it would be. I was pleasantly surprised. For 13 chips - 130 cal, 5 fat, 2 fiber, 200 mg sodium. 3 points - not bad.
2. (New Fave) - Brickman's Salt and Pepper Chips. Amazing. Crunchy and full of flavor - especially the bottom of the bag. About 200 cal, 11 fat, and 2 fiber for the bag. Not bad for amazing chips
3. Kettle Jalepeno Chips - another amazing chip! Love the spiciness of them
4. Baked Cheetos. I actually like these better than the regular because they are not as dense and greasy. 32 chips for 3 WW points. Can't beat that - and you get to lick your fingers!
5. Santitos White Corn Tortillo Chips - 2$ a bag at Wal-Mart. Gotta love great chips for cheap!
6. Tostitos Gold - these are perfect for thicker dips.
7. Stacy's Pita Chips - these are perfect with hummus (and especially hummus with salsa like I had at CG the other night).
8. Rold Gold Honey Wheat Braided Twists. 8 twists for 2 points - the sodium is a bit much, but still very good with a slight bit of sweetness.

And there you have it - life's perfect snack!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Say's Yellow Cake with Warm Chocolate Glaze

This is from Fresh Every Day - Sara Foster - of Durham fame. I got to see her this weekend and told her how I loved her cookbook!
Anyway, if I had buttered the crease of the round pan this would have been great, but all of it didn't come out so I made a trifle out of it. Still, the yellow cake is a winner and how can you go wrong with chocolate sauce?

6 T softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
2 T unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk

Cream butter, sugar, add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. alternate dry ingredients with buttermilk. 350 - 25 minutes, round cake pan - well greased.
While that is cooking, melt down chocolate, sugar, and milk over low heat. Add butter when it is completely melted and off the burner.
Poke holes in the top of the done cake and pour 1/2 the glaze over the top. Then let cool 5-10 minutes, dump it out, and serve with the rest of the sauce.
Sara Foster has another winner!

Asparagus and Mushroom Citrus Salad with Peppers (2009.20)

This was the recipe of the week - and finally we have a winner (first time in a few weeks). This was my first recipe out of a new Vegetarian cook book. Excellent, colorful, healthy, little sweet, little spicy, all the good things in life. Ok - maybe not all - but this was great! And the cookbook has great pictures and was only 2.99 at Borders!

1 bunch asparagus, ends off, cut on a diagonal
1 T stone ground mustard
2 garlic cloves, crushed (I just crushed these with a knife and then took them out with the mushrooms)
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 lime (zest and juice)
1 carton mushrooms, sliced
1/4 (or less) honey
1 red pepper
salad greens
Cook asparagus for 1 minute and then set aside to cool
In a large saucepan, mix the rest (to honey) and bring to a boil. Add in mushrooms and stir for 2 minutes. Take mushrooms out and return sauce to boil for 3-5 minutes until thickened. Mix the red pepper, mushrooms, and asparagus over the salad greends and dress the salad.
Really good. If you like it less sweet - lessen the honey.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Ok - I want to try something.
I do not want to be a vegetarian because of animal rights or the fact that I think of screaming cows when they are being slaughtered.
I don't want to become a vegetarian because its the cool thing to do.
I want to try being a 90/10 vegetarian this summer (giving it three months) to see if it really does help my body, make me feel better, help my budget, give me more energy, etc.
So, does anyone know of good articles, books to get from the library, recipes, guidelines, etc? I want to allow one day a week to eat meat: pork, chicken, or steak) - but the rest is vegetables and vegetarian stuff!
I don't like tofu or eggplant. Most everything else I can do.

Weekend of Eats in RDU

I love the Triangle. It has many great places to eat - many of which I have already blogged. But, here is a joing post for the rest...
Friday: The Flying Biscuit for breakfast. Cafe Carolina for lunch. Dinner was Moe's at Crabtree Valley Mall, Vanilla Creme at Bux, and a bojangles boberry biscuit at 1030 after the Re:Think Conference.
Saturday: The Well Coffee House (bacon and cheddar panini, and apple slices), the NC Farmer's Market, The Olde English Tea Room (chicken and rice soup, market spice tea, 1/2 chicken salad, and mom and I split the carrot cake), dinner at Weathervane.
Sunday: granola bar and fruit, Carabba's in Apex (chicken marsala with spinach), dark chocolate graham and iced chai at Caribou, dinner was cuban toasties, salad, chips and salsa, and angel food cake with chocolate marshmallow ice cream, fresh picked strawberries from Creedmoor, and cool whip.
Monday: Foster's fruit salad and banana, Chai's Chicken Pad Thai, MadHatter's ginger spice cookie and hot chocolate.
No wonder I gained 2 pounds this wknd. Now, to eat healthy and right and exercise before heading to Baltimore on Friday!

Taste of Raleigh: Cafe Carolina & Bakery

Since Dad and I had the breakfast meeting, Mom and I went to lunch together during my break of a conference. We went to one of my favorite chains (again, a small one, but fab).
Cafe Carolina. There is one in Cameron Village. I remember Jen Treece and I hanging out there once. Maggie and I usually pull up the Chapel Hill one.
They are a great bakery cafe, so of course you must get dessert!
Mom chose the chicken artichoke spinach panini and I chose the chicken salad wrap and we split them. They each came with a bag of Rold Gold pretzels. Then for dessert she chose the inside out pb cub (amazing thing) and I got the carolina blue vanilla cupcake. So, we split those. I took the wrap off of my chicken salad and just ate the filling. I only ate one bite of the cupcake (it was dry). But, still - Mom and I probably had 1200 calories just in lunch. It was very good though!
The Inside Out PB cup - chunky pb brownie in a muffin tin, drilled hole in the middle with chocolate ganache in it. So good! Good choice mom!

Taste of Raleigh: The Flying Biscuit

My friend and former hairstylist, Casey, recommended a great place for breakfast in Cameron Village...The Flying Biscuit. Now, usually I don't like chains, but this one is unique enough and a small enough chain - I loved it. It is in Cameron Village off Oberlin/Peace/Clark in downtown Raleigh.
Their biscuits are huge - so Dad and I split one and took one back to the hotel for Mom. They came with this cran apple butter - so good.
I had the Hollywood omelette - egg whites, basic, spinach, mushrooms, goat cheese, parm cheese, and cheddar cheese. So delicious. My side was a bowl of fruit - so glad it wasn't all melon. Good mix. I also had the ice chai tea - so good, even better than my drink I got at Caribou on Sunday.
Dad got the Piedmont omelette. His looked great. And the grits. They were the best restaurant grits I have ever had! Dad also got a coffee and raved about it - he loves his coffee!
The service was great, quick service too, loved the decor.

Menu Week (Short): May 18

Well, I had a fabulous wknd in NC - many restaurant food blogs to come with pictures! This coming wknd I am heading to Baltimore to enjoy a conference for work, great preaching, and good friends and food. So, this week will short and lite (because of all the eating previous wknd). Only gained 2.5 pounds - but now have to take it off! Must do better in Baltimore!
Monday: Foster's fruit salad (and meeting again Sara Foster) and a bite of her lemon raspberry muffin. I bought two scones to bring back to KY with me for a friend. Lunch was Chai's chicken pad thai - amazing! Then I went to MadHatter's for a ginger cookie and hot chocolate. For dinner in the ATL, I had apple and new Sun Chips (Peppercorn Ranch).
Tuesday: Leftover frozen (thawed) raisin bran muffin, yogurt, fruit jello.
Wednesday: Say's Yellow Cake because I didn't get to make it last week. This is for our fun night at CG. Asparagus and Mushroom salad from a new vegetarian cookbook I got (Step by Step Delicious Vegetarian Food).
Thursday: more of Tuesday with some of Wednesday salad thrown in there.
Friday: meatballs from last week and don't know what I'll have in Baltimore on Friday night.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Taste of Chapel Hill: Weathervane

(This post will contain pictures on Tuesday).
My Mom loves Southern Season. It is a great store for all things kitchen and gifts in Chapel Hill. Since we were planning on hitting there while we were all in town this wknd, we planned on dinner at their restaurant, The Weathervane.
According to our waiter, Michael G., you never know what you are going to get. Not only do they use local and fresh ingredients - there is a variety of cooking: French, Italian, Southern, etc.
We had some drinks and appetizers to start us off. The appetizer was spicy and sweet Thompson Farm Prawns. I thought they were great and sweeter more than spicy. The microgreens and fantastic polenta cake completed the dish. The bread was fantastic and served with a great evoo, fresh and fruity tasting, found at Southern Season: M. Barbera Figli from the country of Sicily.
Mom and I got a small plate and a dish to share. We had the beet carpaccio with asparagus, chevre cheese, and red onions. Beautiful presentation, goat cheese was wonderfully creamy and offset the crunchy asparagus tips.
We split the roasted chicken with asparagus and fingerling potatoes. The fingerling potatoes were actually the best thing on the plate - just needed a little salt. Chicken came already split for us and was a perfect size.
Dad had one of the dishes of the day: grilled (but he had it blackened) mahi mahi with a tomato remoullaide. He got a huge portion and said it was wonderfully cooked. It must have been - he didn't want to share.
My only complaint about the meal was the dessert. We all shared the brown sugar cake with lemon curd and blackberries. The curd and berries were wonderful! The cake was slightly frozen and still cold. Didn't have much flavor and seemed to be overwhelmed by the lemon curd. "Want to scrape off the rest of that curd" was said as our plate was cleared.
All in all - a delightful, quiet, fun experience at The Weathervane.
Thanks to Michael G and the guy at the bar making the brandy alexander for my mom!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marinated Chick-Pea Salad (2009.19)

I got a new vegetable cookbook this past weekend at a consignment shop here in the Crescent Hill community of Louisville. James Peterson's Vegetables. The first recipe I made from it this week - while easy and full of flavor - just didn't do anything for me. The dish may be good over a salad or actually ground up (like a hummus), but oh, well. I'm sure some more in there I found will be great!

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced or zested
1 T lemon juice
2 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
parlsey to top and serve

Mix all and marinate over night.
Again - like I said, while easy and flavorful - just didn't do anything for me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Turkey and Sausage Mother's Day Meatloaf Muffins

I asked my mom a week ago what her favorite healthier meal was. And she said her sister's meatloaf with okra and tomatoes. So, that is what I made today for her, on mother's day. My Aunt Sandy lives in CA and we see her every now and then. Probably 5 times in my life - but, hey she's cool!

2 lbs ground turkey breast
1 lb spicy pork ground sausage
1/2 c chopped green pepper
1/2 c chopped onion
1 cup bread crumbs (I used most of 3 pieces of whole wheat bread)

2/3 cup ketchup (how do you spell this word?)
2 T worcestershire sauce
2 eggs
1 T A-1 steak sauce
1 t dry mustard
1/2 tsp ground sage
s/p to taste

Mix the first, add in the second group. Bake in 24 muffin pans - 400 for 20 minutes. Take out and put on paper towels to let drain a little. Enjoy!
If you use the two types of meat I did, these are 3 points each. The sausage makes these different than your normal meatloaf. I liked it.

Menu Week - May 11

This week will be short because I'll spend the wknd in Raleigh! :) Can't wait!
Monday: leftover meatloaf (from Mom's on Sunday) and greens and chicken for dinner
Tuesday: chickpea salad for lunch (recipe of the week from my new Vegetables - James Peterson - cookbook I got yesterday for 5$!) and chicken salad on greens for dinner
Wednesday - meatloaf and mix greens for dinner. Say's Yellow Cake with Warm Chocolate Glaze for CG (out of Fresh Every Day by Sarah Foster)
Thursday - chicken salad for lunch and travel for dinner.
Friday-Monday (great meals in Carolina): Flying Biscuit, Cafe Carolina, WFCCo, Old English Tea Room, Weathervane, Caribou, Foster's Market Durham, Chai's Noodle Bistro.
Oh, can't wait!

Things I like right now...

Things I love right now. I may actually start doing this regularly - just to show you some things I'm enjoying! Especially as the farmers markets get going!
1. Vanilla Yogurt. I love it - fat free, calcium, multiple uses! This morning I had it for breakfast with fruit and walnuts. Cheap too!
2. Skippy All-Natural Creamy PB. This is usually my breakfast of champions.
3. Bananas. I always have loved bananas - and they are great after a race. And I've learned that I love organic ones so much more - but the price. We shall see!
4. 2 point granola bars. Especially Quaker Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut. Good, transportable, healthier snack, stuff! I have a few recipes for granola bars - I need to try to make them myself!
5. Greens - I love mixed greens, just plain spinach, baby greens. Whatever - usually dinner of choice if I am eating by myself
6. Salsa. Medium. Think what would make a good salad dressing for #5! And its fat free!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hershey's Cinnamon Applesauce Cake

I got a new cookbook yesterday - and I couldn't wait to test it out. So, I made this cake for one of my friends to give to someone! :) It is Hershey's 3-in-1 cookbook. This is a sweet cinnamon cake. I left out the pecans - you never know with people and nuts!

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup ap flour
1 2/3 cup cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped pecans if you want

Cream sugar and butter, add eggs and vanilla. Then applesauce. Slowly add in the ingredients. Fold in the chips and nuts (if you are using nuts).
I am currently baking mine in a fluted tube pan, at 350, for 45-50 minutes or until done (greased and floured of course). Then invert it to cool. When ready to serve - sprinkle with powdered sugar or glaze (10x sugar mixed with milk or water).
Yum! I love cinnamon!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Strawberry Cobbler

I found this recipe about a year ago on one of the blogs I read - but didn't have any more strawberries. Well, I now have some and used some this morning to make this crisp - cobbler - whatever you want to call it for a work lunch today.

3 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 scant sugar
1 1/2 T flour

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick unsalted cold butter, chopped

Mix the top 3 together and place in a greased 8 in square pan. Top with the crumble mixture. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Enjoy with ice cream or cool whip.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Oatmeal Carmelitas (2009.18)

Ok - this is out of a really old cookbook (1967 - Pillsbury Bake Off) - but oh so good! how can you go wrong with oatmeal, brown sugar, chocolate, and caramel? Huh? Well, I haven't actually tasted it because it has to chill before I cut it - but you can't go wrong with these things...

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
3 T flour

Mix crust - half goes in bottom of 11x7 pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350. Top with chocolate then pecans. Then mix the topping and flour together - spread over the pecans and chocolate. Top with the other half crumbles of the crust.
Bake for another 17-20 minutes. Take out and chill for 1-2 hours, cut into bars. Serve room temperature.
They smell real yummy!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Menu Week: May 4

This menu is a little later because I've been housesitting, have had no time to go grocery shopping, and need to get with the program this week!
Monday - eating lunch out today while out getting some body assessments done. Dinner will be an egg white omelette and a healthy choice ice cream bar!
Tuesday - Cinco de Mayo. But since I have something to do early in the night - my celebrating will come just by salsa on protein - I know, really specific. I do need to do some baking tonight out of the cookbook of the week - Pillsbury's Bake Off Cookbook from 1967. I am making Oatmeal Carmelitas. Brown sugar and oatmeal - can you really go wrong? These are for community group on Wednesday.
Wednesday - We are having a secretary lunch and I'm making a strawberry cobbler. Egg white omelette for dinner after a bigger lunch.
Thursday - chicken salad for lunch, yogurt, fruit and granola for dinner.
Friday - chicken salad on bread for lunch and mac and cheese and peas for dinner - carb load.
Saturday - bagel and pb before my 5k. And I get to take dinner to friends on Saturday following her minor surgery. I'll have to find out what she wants today.
Sunday - Mother's Day - muffin meat loaf and okra and tomatoes - one of my mom's favorite meals since I can't see her till the next week.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Health Benefits of Foods

I find as I eat different things, some things are better for me than others. No surprise there. But, I also like knowing that what I put in my body is doing something good for it! Fuel to live - not living to eat!
So....right now on my desk is part of my lunch. Yogurt (free Trix yogurt, but fat free and only 90 calories), 1/8 cup walnuts (yum!), and blackberries and strawberries. I first love the texture changes in my little bowl.
Here is why these things are good for you:
Yogurt: Good bacteria in your system means good digestive tract - we all need to stay regular and healthy in that department. Calcium and vitamins that come from animal protein. Calcium and its absorption helps with reducing the chance for osteoperosis. There are studies that show yogurt helps control blood pressure. You do need to watch the fat and sugars of most yogurts (including the one I am eating, but it was free). I really like vanilla yogurt - and then I add the fruit, granola, or nuts. Find more info here.
Walnuts: They have a high dosage of healthy omega 3 fatty acids - the good fat that helps reduce cholesterol (I'm getting mine tested on Monday for the first time). Walnuts are also high in protein and fiber - both which help you feel fuller - longer (thus you eat less). Just make sure you don't eat a ton at a time! More info here.
Blackberries: I get to pick these this summer. Huber's has golf ball sized fruits. They taste amazing. But, these I got on sale at Kroger. I'll just have to wait till July. But, they are good for me (except the seeds getting stuck in my teeth)! Never knew blackberries contain the plant form of estrogen - called phytoestrogen - and can help reduce certain female cancers. These berries are also high in fiber and are antioxidants (good when the swine flu is going around). These are healthy little critters - I may have to pick more in July! Find more info here.
Strawberries: I hale from the winter strawberry capitol of the world: Plant City, FL! I love strawberry season (end of February through March). They are amazing. These things are really good for you too! One cup of strawberries only has 43 calories and has almost 15 grams of fiber and tons of Vitamin C. These yummy red berries are good for the heart and are loaded with antioxidants. And they help your eyes - helping preven macular degeneration (which runs in my family). I must eat strawberries! You can find more info on Plant City's favorite fruit here.
I hope you can see, that even with a small thing as yogurt with fruit and nuts - I am doing my body good. It tastes yummy too! And it is much better for me than other things I love: Macaroni and cheese, barbeque chicken pizza, sweet potato fries from Havana Rumba, Cold Stone Creamery, any pasta from Macaroni Grill, Moe's quesadillas. God made these thing: walnuts, blackberries, and strawberries - he gave them to us for our good.
I guarantee it we looked at a more healthy intake of these good for us foods (in moderation) - we would be a healthier nation and our cost of healthcare would go down!
Enjoy whatever you are eating today. May it be fueling your body for service!