The Best Sea Bass Ever

Sea Bass is a pork belly of the sea.

 

Who wants chicken when you can have pork?!

It especially appropriate that Heather, Kirk and I had pork belly of the sea together rather than the chicken.  Heather hates chicken.  All poultry, really.  But I digress.

First, a strange wine.  This Abraxas Vin de Terroir from Robert Sinskey had a glass cork!  (And can we all agree that cheese is awesome?)

Abraxas Vin de Terroir from Robert Sinskey

 

The the pièce de résistance - Kirk’s Miso Glazed Sea Bass.  I saw this recipe on Heather’s blog nearly a year ago and never forgot it.  It struck me as strange because I always prepare my sea bass simply, with lemon, pepper, and maybe a few herbs.

When Kirk suggested it for dinner, I was beyond thrilled.  It did not disappoint!  Talk about #strangebutgood… look at this thing of beauty:

Miso Glazed Sea Bass

 

I took one bite and sat in stunned silence.  It was unreal how buttery and delicious this was!  It literally melted in my mouth.

The soy and miso combined with mirin and a little brown sugar created the perfect balance of sweet and salty.  After it was over I went back to the serving plate to drag some veggies through the left over glaze.  In hindsight, I probably should have licked the plate.

Miso Glazed Sea Bass

In conclusion… you should head on over to Heather’s blog for the recipe and make this.

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How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

Sprint 2 the Table

 

 

Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)



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I can’t believe I have to go home soon… I’m so sad!

Are you a sea bass fan?  How about chicken of the sea (tuna)?

What is the strangest thing you ate this week?

 

Low Alcohol Drinks & Spicy Bubbles

I took a lot of classes this weekend.

 

If only high school had been this much fun.

Atlanta’s Food & Wine Festival is my favorite event of the year.  It’s not just another tasting tent cattle call.  Food and wine experts come from all over the Southeast to teach classes, host tastings, and showcase their best on the tasting trails.

Food and wine are also great bonding agents.  I tend to go to these event alone, which has lead to meeting a ton of great people.  This year I went with my friend Stephanie, whom I met at last year’s festival in the beer and doughnut pairing class!

Atlanta Food & Wine 2014… 

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France: What I Ate (and Drank) in Burgundy

Eating and drinking wine are my 2 favorite activities.

 

Well, the 2 that are most appropriate to blog about.

I took a whirlwind trip to France during my travels last week.  The purpose was (obviously) wine.  Burgundy is one of France’s most notable wine districts.  It’s home to red and white Burgundy wines – better known to many as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Specifically, I was in Côte d’Or.

Burgundy_Areas_France… 

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Strange But Good Bison Cakes + WIAW

Fast food wine shakes?

 

Something about liquor and dairy scares me.

Red Robin ain’t skeered.  They are rolling out a boozy little ice cream number mommy can enjoy.  Wine.  Ice cream.  The shake?  A Mango Moscato Wine Shake made with wine, vodka, mango puree and vanilla soft serve.  Hmmmm…

Moscato Wine Shake

Photo: Red Robin

The target market is 35- to 49-year-old moms “in need of a break.”  A $7.49 break.  It better be a big shake!

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This WIAW I had a seriously fun day of food.  You can’t go wrong with pancakes for dinner!

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Read on for my eats, and then check out Jenn’s blog for everyone else’s delicious creations!… 

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Keeping it Healthy in San Francisco

 Vacations are an important part of staying healthy.

 

Mental health is no joke!

I took Monday off of blogging because my friends and I impulsively decided to extend our stay in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  My sanity and I needed it.

It was a fun-filled weekend… there was plenty of debauchery, but we stayed active too.  Curling giant bottles of wine counts, right?

Blue Ridge

 

We braved rain and chilly weather to go paddle boarding.  It was my first time!  I think it would be more fun if it had been warm amd sunny… and you best believe I’ll be trying again!

I didn’t fall in once!  Fear of cold water will give you balancing super powers.

Paddle boarding

The dog (Milo) went down the river too!

 

The more “traditional” relaxation activities ensued as well.

The cabin’s hot tub was well-loved.  We refueled with a feast cooked by the lovely Latina women on the trip.  And we played board games that involved poetry writing.  Have you ever heard of Quelf?  Good fun!

The poem for me. :)

 

I may not be a natural at everything, but relaxing?  Relaxing is my jam.

Kat is having her own relaxation time after taking the Bar Exam.  Of course, her version includes winning races in San Fran and running a 50K.  You know, for fun.

Read on for this force of nature’s adventures and healthy travel tips!

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My San Francisco To-Do List – Keeping it Healthy

Because I’m not working full-time yet, I am actually taking some time to relax, enjoy life, go on a couple of trips and maybe do a little conferencing.  This week I am in the San Francisco Bay Area (Editor’s note: Color me jealous.  This is one of my favorite parts on the country!) for the annual Lavender Law Conference, but I tacked on the weekend to do essential “Kat” things.

To Do List

 

As many of you know and experience, it can be hard to stay healthy on vacation.  Laura did a great job on her birthday trip with running, and some healthy meals (Editor’s note: Shameless plug… this is the post I did about that on my California trip).

I’m having a similar trip, and still enjoying cool food (Editor’s note: I’d break up with you as a friend if you didn’t ;) ).  I’m also enjoying the cider, wine, and cocktails, but nothing to excess.

 

My favorite tips for keeping a healthy vacation:

  • Find rock-star baby-sitters for your fur-babies.  It can put your mind at ease, and keep stressors low.  I could not be here with out Khristina and Tara helping me out.
  • Try to stay with a friend, if possible.  It makes many of the following tips easier.  (My friends Sara and Jenny are angels for hosting me for 10 days).
  • Go to the grocery store and pick of some of your favorite healthy staples!  (I immediately got apple cider vinegar and bee pollen).
  • Plan a few nights to have meals at home.  You know what’s in your food, and can make healthy (and delicious) choices.  (Doesn’t hurt that Sara is also an awesome cook!)
  • Make or find fresh juices and don’t have a heavy breakfast every day. (Oh, and Sara juices with fresh fruit and veggies every morning… I’m in heaven).
  • Plan to be outside!  It’s the easiest way to stay active – weather walking, running, biking, hiking, etc.  (I planned two races and 3 other day trips!)
  • Breath Deeply.
  • Actually try not to think about work!  I didn’t check email all day today.  Laura can attest to this, as she thought a blog was not coming for Thursday!
  • Give yourself a break.

 

I know a lot of them overlap, but how many of you still sometimes work (even a little) on vacation?  I bet more of you than want to admit it.  But time off, to renew and regenerate is key to happy, healthy living.  It can help you be a better girlfriend, wife, employee, mom, friend, etc., etc. when you get back.

Note To Self

 

I know breathing deeply doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is.  (Editor’s note: I have to remind myself of this on the regular.)

Sara and Jenny have taken me to 3 overlooks, just to enjoy the views, breath, smile, and relax.

Wildcat Canyon Road Overlook from Berkeley

Wildcat Canyon Road Overlook from Berkeley

San Francisco From Twin Peaks – check out how the fog opens up!

San Francisco From Twin Peaks – check out how the fog opens up!

(all photos taken from the same spot within 5-7 minutes)

San Francisco from Sausalito

San Francisco from Sausalito

 

I also decided to keep it active and fun by exploring tons of new trails!  I first had a Cinderella 30K race at Joaquin Miller Park and the Redwood Regional Park on Sunday (and I placed in my age group!), then I did some exploring in the city on Monday (who knows how many miles Jaime and I walked).

Tuesday I ran/hiked all the trails on the southeast side of Tilden Regional Park, and Wednesday I went to Half Moon Bay for a walk on the beach, and to Huddard Park for the MOST FUN run of the week.  I was flying.

Joaquin Miller Park

Joaquin Miller Park

Tilden Regional Park

Tilden Regional Park

Halfmoon Bay & Huddart Park (redwood central)

Halfmoon Bay & Huddard Park (redwood central)

 

Next weekend, I get to participate in the Mount Tam 50K.  It’s got limited entries, and I got in off the waitlist!  yay!

I could go home now and not be disappointed.  But the conference starts today, and I’m super excited to network, learn a bunch, and maybe even party a little with the folks from the conference!  (Editor’s note: My career counselor in grad school taught a class called “Networking or NOT working” – SO true.)

I feel compulsive about wanting to share my adventures with you guys (Editor’s note: Welcome to being a blogger)!  But I guess there will be more in two weeks!

Random Vacation Pics

Random Vacation Pics

***

Kat’s post this week is making me want to go back to SF!  Also, I giggled while posting the hot tub pic… ;)

How do you stay active and healthy on vacation?  Do you turn off your cell phone?

Any tips for more stuff to do in the San Francisco area?  There might be zip-lining in Sonoma on Sunday!

 

Work It Out On Vacation

Vacation is a time for relaxation.

 

I would say rest and relaxation, but I’m not good at being still.

Taking a break from your exercise routine doesn’t have to mean being sedentary.  Being active away from home is one of the best ways to explore a city!  Today’s Work It Out is dedicated to a few of the ways Lisa, Heather, and I stayed active in Napa* last week.

*Raising a wine glass doesn’t count as lifting.  But not for lack for trying.

sprint2table-workitout

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The cottage we stayed in had bicycles available to guests, so on day 1 of our trip Lisa and I decided to cycle from winery to winery.  There was plenty of entertainment, as neither of us bicycle.  As we were pulling out of the cottage area, a couple stopped to tell us we needed to take a few practice laps before we got on the road.  Haha!

It was a blast – we went up and down some hilly roads on the cruiser bikes (read: no gears or handle breaks).  Talk about a killer quad workout!  The unexpected value add was that it kept us from buying too much wine – you can buy more than you can fit in the basket on the front of the bike!  That is, until we discovered a winery that offered to deliver to our cottages.  Tee hee.

Bicycles

Photo courtesy Lisa

 

On day 2 we’d planned to take a break from wine gluttony enjoy the town.  We set out on a 7 mile hike up Oat Hill Mine Trail.  The trail was filled with flora and fauna I’d never seen before.

This tree’s red bark fascinated me:

Calistoga hike

 

We were rewarded for our hard work up the winding trial with a stunning view:

Oat Hill hike in Calistoga

 

Then we were rewarded again with a mud bath that afternoon.  No pics of that (it was a nude area), but it was certainly a fun experience (if not a teensy claustrophobic).

 

Heather arrived the next day.  She is doing the Live Fit program right now and needed to run 30 mins of sprints.  I tagged along and pointed us down the Silverado Trail.  I hadn’t been in that direction on the bike, and it was fun to watch the fog lift from the valley in the cool morning air.

I don’t normally run with other people, so it was also a nice change to have Heather there.  I definitely wouldn’t have done 30 sprints without her encouragement!

Photo courtesy Heather

Photo courtesy Heather

 

Added bonus: after being so fit you can feel good about flexing in front of a giant bottle of wine from Del Dotto Vineyards called “The Beast.”

Nevermind the fact that the winery owner was looking at me like I was nuts. #shameless

Del Dotto Beast

 

Finally, we took one long, long walk to dinner.  I thought we could cut down a side street to get to dinner… it ended up making a 3/4 mile walk more like a 3 mile walk.  I don’t recommend this method of exercise unless you have very patient friends.

The upside was seeing a gorgeous sunset over the vineyards.

Calistoga sunset

The downside was walking the last mile in the dark… rockstar Heather ran the last mile to get them to hold our reservations.

***

Exercising without knowing you’re exercising is a blast.  So is getting home and back to a routine… vacation wears me out!

How do you stay active on vacation?

Have you ever taken the long way on accident?  I’ve gotten lost on runs more times than I would like to admit.

 

What I Ate On My 30th Birthday

Birthdays should be drawn out.

 

I’m celebrating mine for a solid week.

Today I leave for a fabulous birthday trip with two of my best wine-os friend: Lisa and Heather.  At 21 we celebrated with cheap shots and beer, at 30 we spend too much money on fine wine and taking mud baths.  I choose 30.

The celebration have been on going though!  Later in the post are some birthday eats, but I wanted to share my favorite treats first.  My actual birth DAY was fabulous – I was totally overwhelmed by the comments on this post and on Instagram.  If you get a chance, look back at everyone’s “lessons learned” in the post comments.  So much wisdom!

I had a wonderful dinner with my family, including my best friend who is basically my sister.  We missed my Portland sister though!

Mallory, me, Mom, and Madison

Mallory, me, Mom, and Madison

 

Mom nailed the gift department – I told her not to buy clothes or anything.  There’s not much I need… but I wouldn’t turn down a little Napa spending money.  She made that happen in a rockstar way.

Nothing says “I love you” like cash credit!

 

Just when I thought the night couldn’t get better, I received this gem from Lauren.  Lauren’s fur babies, to be more precise.

Does it get any cuter?!

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This WIAW is actually what I ate on my birthday.  I had some favorites, and some indulgences.  It was exactly as it should be on one’s 30th  birthday.

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Read on for my celebration eats, and then check out Jenn’s link up for everyone else’s delicious days.

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Breakfast:

My morning cocktail (apple cider vinegar, water, Glutamine, and Fitmixer Aminos) was served martini-style in honor of my birthday.  Who doesn’t want to start their 30th year out with a draaaank?

Morning-tini

Morning-tini

 

This is an old favorite.  I don’t know why it’s been so long since I’ve made PB & Ceggs, but it’s what I wanted for my birthday.  This is the perfect time of year to make it because the carrots are so sweet and juicy!

This is the version with an egg scramble, not the tofu in the linked recipe.  It’s good both ways though!  Even better with sprinkles:

PB & Ceggs

 

Lunch:

This was a desperation meal.  I leave for Napa today and I knew I’d be eating out for a couple of meals due to birthday celebrations so I didn’t do my usual grocery trip.  Bring on the canned tuna!

This mix is tuna, nutritional yeastcayenne, cumin, pepperherbs de provence, turmeric, and balsamic vinegar.  I tossed it with the end of a bag of spinach and ate it with a slice of P28 protein bread… on a ZooPals plate to preserve my youthfulness. ;)

Dinner:

Finally time for my birthday meal!  My mom treated baby sister, my best friend, and me to dinner at Seed Kitchen & Bar.  I was really excited because I got to try a new-to-me fish: Wreckfish.  Wreckfish is like a cross between Sea Bass (my favorite!) and Halibut.

Wreckfish at Seed

We did have to send my dish back (wayyyy overcooked), but on the second round it was perfection.  Our server was nice enough to give me the sides from another special, so I was able to have caramelized brussels and roasted cauliflower on my birthday.  It was a giant plate of my favorite things!

 

Dessert:

Simple and delicious.  As my “cake,” I ordered a fresh-baked and slightly undercooked chocolate chunk skillet cookie a la mode.  Mom and baby sis were allowed one bite each. ;)

Birthday skillet cookie

***

I forgot to take a picture of the 3 cards I received at dinner.  All were related to boobs.  Way to go, Family! ;)

Have you ever tried Wreckfish?

What is your favorite thing to eat on your birthday?  

 

A Food & Wine Weekend

3 days of all the food and drinks imaginable.

 

It’s like how I envision heaven, except in heaven you never get too full.

This weekend was my favorite event in Atlanta: The Food & Wine Festival.  Many of you have probably heard of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.  This event was modeled after that.  It’s in its 3rd year, and this was my 3rd year attending.  It just keeps getting better!

Kat, my friend and bi-weekly guest blogger, came with me to the first day:

Kat and Me

 

I can’t even being to recap everything from the weekend, but today I wanted to share some of the eats (and drinks) with you.  You will be shocked at the volume… but one thing you learn is NOT to clean your plate.  Take a bite and toss it.  It sounds wasteful, and I had a really hard time (read: failed) doing it in my first year… but if you ate everything you’d explode.  Those starving children in Africa aren’t going to benefit from you finishing every dish.  I was stuffed from the millions of bites!

The kickoff was on Thursday night at JCT Kitchen in Atlanta.  It was set up like a tailgate party where you went from table to table sampling foods and drink created by chefs and mixologists around the Southeast.  It was aptly named Pig Out.

Food & Wine Atlanta Pig Out Dinner

Clockwise from top left: Tito’s vodka with , bonal, aperol, lemon, cucumber, tonic from Paper Plane in Atlanta; Southern BLT Slider with pimento cheese and bacon jam from The Hungry Peach in Atlanta; Pork ribs with moonshine BBQ and peach slaw and a deviled egg from JCT Kitchen (this was my favorite… and I don’t even like ribs!); Cupcake heaven: coconut with marshmallow icing, strawberry, and red velvet by Sugaree’s in Mississippi; Shrimp with rhubarb and summer pea sauce

 

Atlanta Food & Wine Pig Out at JCT

Clockwise from top left: tailgate scene; Four Roses bourbon with marsaca cherry paste, lemon, and orange blossom from The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill, NC; Blood sausage queso fundido with corn tortillas from Underbelly in Houston, TX (blood sausage is not my favorite… but I tried a bite); Grilled andoullie, cheese grits, and sauce piquante from Restaurant Iris in Memphis, TN (the piquante was amazing); Cherry Old Smokey moonshine cocktail (I loved the ‘staches); Country sausage with Southern kraut and beer mustard from Local Three in Atlanta (mustard WIN).

 

Friday and Saturday started out with workouts.  A good sweat to begin the day is a must during this weekend!  I got in a great weight session and ran some stairs in the park on Saturday.  They sky looked threatening, but it cleared up by the time I walked to the event!

Workout

 

We had classes each morning, then it was on to the tasting tents!  More on the classes later – I learned a LOT!  For now, the gluttony.

I wish I could remember each restaurant, but it’s hard to juggle food, wine, cameras, and taking notes.  #bloggerfail

Atlanta Food and Wine 2013 Tasting Tents

Things to note:

  • Strawberry moonshine is delicious.  And dangerous – it tastes like candy.
  • The bottom left pic is a piece of pork belly… with a Pop Rocks crust.  Literally an explosion in your mouth.  That’s what she said.
  • The bottom middle is the Pine Street Market table, which was my overall favorite each day.
  • The bottom right was a collard-wrapped sweet potato tamale from Acre, a restaurant set to open this fall in Auburn, AL.  It was really, really good.

 

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival 2013 tasting tents

Things to note:

  • The BBQ taco in the top middle was from Fox Bros. BBQ and was enough to convince me I actually do like some BBQ.
  • The salad on the bottom left was incredible – it was topped with blueberry-lemon-thyme jam from Sallie’s Greatest.
  • Honeysuckle Gelato continues to be good.  Their honey-fig is my favorite!
  • Frozen Pints is beer ice cream.  I SWEAR I had this idea to do this when I was 16.

 

2013 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival tasting tents

Things to note:

  • The salmon in the top middle is crave-worthy.  I’m considering a trip to Louisville, KY to get more from Proof on Main.
  • Mole Negro Chocolate (bottom right) from French Broad Chocolates in Asheville, NC was impressive – at first I thought it was plain… and then a full 5 second into the bite the kicker came – a delicious wave of chili and spice.

 

2013 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival tasting tents

Things to note:

  • The Lazy Goat in Greenville, SC made the dish on the bottom left.  It was a Moroccan braised lamb shank with cucumber yogurt and a plantain chip.  It stands out in my mind because I loved the warm sauce and rich lamb again the fresh, cool yogurt.
  • I wish I could remember where the dish in the bottom middle came from.  It was a cucumber wasabi sorbet with shrimp and mango sauce.  Light and delicious.

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The Atlanta Food & Wine Festival is what’s marvelous in my world today.  Check out Katie’s link up for everyone else’s highlight reels!

Marvelous Monday

 

Annnnd… salads are also marvelous.  Sunday I sold my pass – I was stuffed!  Instead, I played 3 softball games (we are 8-1 for the season!) and spent $50 on veggies alone at the farmer’s market.  There will be a lot of this happening this week:

Salad

***

Stick a fork in me, I am DONE.

Have you been to a food festival?  Are any of the restaurants I mentioned in your hometown?

What was the most marvelous part of your weekend?

 

Economic Woes + WIAW

Today I am going to complain about an improving economy.

 

Yes, I’m finding a dark cloud despite the fact that my condo value may actually one day recover.

As the economy got worse and worse, I noticed a positive.  The service at restaurants was improving!  Servers were more polished and professional, and they were able to speak intelligently about the menu.

Recently this pleasant restaurant experience has come to a halt.  Read more for an (extreme) example and my theory.

An Example:

Kat (my good friend and frequent guest post-er here) and I went to dinner for her birthday at the nicest restaurant in Atlanta, Bacchanalia.  If my meal is going to be over $100, it damn well better be flawless.

bacchanalia bar

The bartender was clueless about the wine program.  To his credit, he sent another – presumably more knowledgable – employee over to speak with us.  That would have been fine is the second guy had been knowledgable.

Server #2 didn’t know several of the bottles I inquired about, and then I had to correct their menu.  They had listed an Amarone as being from Barolo.  It’s from Valpolicella.  I’ve been there.  Amarones are my favorite.  At first he tried to tell me I was wrong, but he did come back over to admit the mistake.  Don’t challenge me on that one.

bacchanalia cheese cart

We ordered cheese; however, it took at least half an hour (and 2 inquiries) for the cart to be brought out.  We were waiting to order after our cheese course, but apparently almost missed dinner service… which the bartender acted like it was OUR fault when we would have been ordering much sooner had our cheese come out in a timely manner (we told him when we first sat down we would be having dinner).

When our food began to came out, we were rushed AND I had to send a dish back (over cooked Halibut).  They did replace it with a phenomenal snapper dish, and I was already done.

 

I realize this is a silly rant where there are starving children in Africa.  But really.  If I’m at a special occasion dinner and paying that much money… I expect the performance to be superior.  I’ve had (much cheaper) meals at chain restaurants with better service.

My Theory:

When the downturn occurred, many educated individuals were not able to find jobs in corporate America, and turned to the service industry for employment.  Their advanced capacity/skill levels resulted in a higher level of service.  Now that companies are beginning to hire again, the service industry is losing that talent.

bad service negative tip

My Plea:

Restaurants, know the value of having educated, capable staff!  Customers appreciate them, and will likely spend more money as a result of having a server with the knowledge and skills to sell.  Consider the ROI when you talk salary and benefits with potential hires!

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It’s WIAW time!  I’m still trying to keep it green with my protein-filled meals.

WIAW GOES GREEN

Check out my 7 green-ish, protein-filled meals below, and then click here to head over to Jenn Peas and Crayons to get to see how everyone else is green-ing up their food this month!

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Meal 1:

I – as always – enjoyed my morning cocktail (apple cider vinegar, water, Glutamine, and Fitmixer Aminos).  I headed to the treadmill for a quick incline walk.  It’s a rest day, but I knew I’d be glued to a conference room chair all day so I wanted to get some movement in… and I like to watch GMA.

Post-walk I was starving and VERY glad to have made overnight oats.  And coffee.  There’s something about drinking out of a “Be the Change” mug first thing in the morning that’s motivating (thank you to The Universe Knows and FitFluential for sending this!).

My “oats” were a bit #strangebutgood.  They were TVP overnight oats!  The cinnamon and extracts in these make you feel like you’re eating cookie dough!  I know some people dislike cold oats – overnight oats are also fantastic warmed in the microwave too.  I heated these for 45 seconds before eating.

 

TVP Overnight Oats

Greek TVP Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 C Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 C TVP
  • 2 T raw oatmeal
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp butter extract
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grate nutmeg
  • Stevia (or other sweetener), to taste
  • ~1/2 C Liquid of choice (you may need to adjust amount depending to the yogurt thickness)

 

Mix it all together and allow to soak overnight in the fridge.

In the morning, stir, adjust liquid as needed.  Add fruit if desired (I added fresh blood orange and blackberry juice).

 

Meal 2:

Despite being #strangebutgood, I’m also a creature of habit.  I ate salmon and fruit again.  It was lemon-dill salmon mixed with blueberries and pepitas… but I forgot to take a pic so you’re getting a recycled one made with grapes… but grapes kind of look like blueberries… ;)

Salmon and Grape Salad

Meal 3:

I have a new favorite veggie creation.  BBQ Cauliflower Bites.  It was awesome tossed with purple sweet potato!  I used my healthy (no sodium or sugar) BBQ sauce and added some nooch to cheese it up.

Tangy and creamy, this sauce was meant to be used for roasted things (in the original I roasted with tempeh)!  Recipe is at the end of this post.

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

 

For my protein, I enjoyed the Turbot fish I made last night – for that prep check out this FB post.  Lauren introduced me to this delicious fish – it’s incredibly light and buttery.

This is also a recycled pic from last night… It’s much prettier than the Tupperware I ate out of today at work.

Turbot

 

Meal 4:

I am back on the salt-free deli turkey this week.  I love the Plainville brand from Whole Foods.  Today I mixed it with red pepperbroccoli, red onion, and a quick nutritional yeast dressing (nooch + apple cider vinegar + cayenne)

salt-free deli turkey

 

Meal 5:

One of my favorite local spots is a order-at-the-counter spot called Metro Fresh.  They change their menu daily based on the ingredients they have.  Everything is fresh and healthy.  Perfect for a non-cheat meal out with a friend!  And it’s walkable from my house!

Tonight I ordered the seared salmon and a mixed greens with peaches, blackberries and goat cheese with a whole grain roll.

metrofresh salmon

 

Unpictured was wine and a cinnamon roll.  It was housemade and they gave it to us for free (I should add that the service here was fabulous)… we split it and it was divine.  After that extravaganza… there was no room for meals 6 and 7.

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BBQ Cauliflower

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

  • 2 T BBQ sauce
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 C cauliflower

 

Pre-heat oven 400 degrees.

Mix together BBQ sauce, nutritional yeast, and herbs.  Toss with cauliflower to coat.

Place on foil-lined pan and bake for 15 mins, tossing once half way through.

Enjoy!

***

The protein count for the day: not sure with the meal out, but I’d say I probably hit 140g of fuel. :)

Have you noticed a decline in service at restaurants?  Other services?

What is the best thing you’ve eaten this week?

 

Roasted Butternut Chips and Curried Banana + Grand Spiced Milk

Speaking of being balanced…

 

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

I’m excited to describe one of the most delicious, fun meals I’ve ever had.  Heather and Kirk have done several pairing dinners for at-home “date nights.”  When I knew I was coming to visit them in Colorado, and that Lauren and Greg would be in town too, I immediately requested a Blends pairing dinner.  My fabulous hosts obliged with a (vegan) “Taste of Europe” dinner.   Katie even stopped by to say hello and share a drink with us!  It was great see her again, even if it was only a short visit!

 

Why do I always feel I have to crouch down in photos? My towering height isn’t blocking anyone… (Photo courtesy Heather)

 

The concept for these tasting dinners is that each person comes up with a couple of courses and a pairing.  Heather and Kirk did the bulk of the work, but I was given the opportunity to make the Petit Bouche.

I decided to make Roasted Butternut Chips with Caramelized Curried Bananas.  My pairing was a warm drink I like to call Grand Spiced Milk.

 

Photo courtesy Heather

 

All of this was created on the fly, which was interesting when I nearly burned the chips.  Despite the uncertainly, I was really happy when the way everything turned out!

The dish had a hint of heat and a little sweet from the curry and caramelized banana combo.  It paired well with the almond milk drink, which was laced with Indian spices and a hint of orange from the Grand Mariner, then rimmed with crushed cashews.

 

 

The remaining courses were the stuff of dreams.  Each dish and it’s pairing was better than the last.  We traveled from my Indian appetizer (yes, I’m aware India isn’t part of Europe… but it was a British colony for a long time!), we went to the UK, Italy, France, and Germany.

German Chef Heather makes a killer dessert!  Lauren and I kept sneaking more tastes of the almond pastry filling.

Photo courtesy Heather and her fancy camera skills

The Menu

  • Amuse Bouche: Strawberry Puff Bites and Lavender Rosemary Black Tea Reduction with “One Shade of Grey” Martini
  • Appetizer: Mushroom Tortellini Soup with Smoky Truffle Vodka
  • Entrée: Tourtière with 2010 Chateau del la Coste Margaux
  • Dessert: Marzipan Schaumrollen with Frangelico Martini

 

My favorite?  It’s hard to choose, but I have to says Heather’s Tourtière blew my mind.  Only this girl can take a traditional, meaty French dish an make it vegan and better than “real” thing.  The wine pairing was also spot on; a drinkable wine laced with dark fruits and a hint of cinnamon.

My French is so terrible that I spent half the day thinking she was going to make a tortilla.

 

 

I miss these guys.  Check out Heather’s recap here.  She’s also gradually posting the recipes for each course on her blog.

Happy Belated Birthday, Heather!!!

______________________________________________________________________________________

 

Roasted Butternut Chips with Caramelized Curried Banana

  • 1 Butternut squash
  • EVOO
  • Cumin
  • 1 small banana
  • Curry powder
  • Parsley (for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the neck of the squashes off of the base.  Peel the neck and slice it into thin slices (~1/8th of an inch thick).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper before spreading the slices across the sheet.  Brush with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle on a little cumin.

Bake the chips ~25-30 minutes, flipping half way through.  Watch them closely and remove them when they turn brown and crispy.  Timing can vary depending on you oven and the thickness/moisture content of your slices.

They may not seem fully crisp while they are still warm; take them out of the oven and let them cool for ~5 mins. They should crisp up, but If they still aren’t crisp, put them back into the oven for 5 -10 mins.

While the chips cool, cut the banana into ~1/2 in slices and spread it evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with curry powder and place under the broiler for 2-3 mins.  WATCH these closely, because they will burn quickly!  Remove from oven when the tops are browned and caramelized. 

To assemble, place a banana slice on top of each chip and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Servings will vary depending on the size of the squash.

 

Grand Spiced Milk

  • 1/2 C vanilla almond milk
  • 3 oz Grand Mariner
  • 3 oz vodka
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • Crushed cashews (to rim)

In a small pot over medium heat, warm the milk.

Whisk in the alcohols and spices, adjusting to your taste.

Spread the cashew dust on a plate.  Moisten the rims of the shot glasses with lime juice and dip in the cashews.

Carefully pour the warm milk into each glass and enjoy!

Makes 5 shots or 1 big glass to sip on by the fire.

Note: This can be made non-alcoholic, but you would want to add an orange flavor from extract or zest.

***

In all my spare time (hahahahaha!), I need to host one of these dinners at my home.

Do you ever pair drink with meals at home?

What are looking forward to this weekend?  I might get a new car!!!