Tag Archives: dinner

Mud, grass, sauce & sprinkles

How do you like that randomness for a title?

After leaving Ginger at home on Sunday for 9+ hours I felt like I owed her one. So after work I sucked it up and put her in my car for the 2 mile drive to the bike trail. I had done a quick 25 HIIT run on the treadmill earlier and wasn’t feeling much else besides a walk.

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Doesn’t she look thrilled? For 2 miles I had one hand on the steering wheel and the other keeping her wet little nose from touching my dash everywhere.

The damage:

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And I thought I lost a lot of hair! You can bet I wiped that off within 2 minutes of being home. I kind of have OCD tendencies with keeping my car clean. It probably stems back to my childhood and a father that wouldn’t let us eat in the car or get in with dirty feet. I blame you, dad.

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Ginger enjoyed the hour walk minus the bikers. She’s a little skittish around them. Not sure what a bike has ever done to her but she apparently found them scary enough to hide between my legs anytime one would pass. Wuss.

We stopped by the creek that runs under the bike path at one point to let her have a drink since it was kind of hot out and she was panting like crazy.

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And this is the payback I got.

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A bike went by on the bridge above us while she was drinking and rang it’s stupid little bell horn which freaked Ginger out and she jumped out of the creek, flinging mud all over me. So then I had a wet, muddy dog and muddy sneakers going into the car! We both got hosed down when we got home.

Oh, but the fun did not end there! Fast forward about an hour and I’m outside grilling dinner when Ulysses comes home and Ginger runs onto the deck to see him. That’s when he points this out.

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Can you see it? ASS GRASS!  And yes, I’m holding her tail up so I can get a better picture. Wouldn’t you? This has happened before so Ulysses knows full well I draw the line here. Ass grass removal is his job. I just take pictures and blog about it. That piece of grass ended up being a good 6 inches long (guess we don’t mow the grass often enough). Perfect dinner time entertainment.

Speaking of dinner, we had roasted vegetables and tofu on the grill with Mmmm Sauce. I’m starting to think I should rename the blog to “Running to Mama Pea’s Kitchen” considering how many recipes I make of hers. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it though, right? I actually saw Caitlin post about it yesterday and finally decided to take matters into my own hands and make it myself instead of drooling over everyone else’s.

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There’s a reason it’s called “Mmmm Sauce”. It is tasty! So tasty that I was lamenting the fact I couldn’t get it all out of the blender without risking some digits.

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Does it drive anyone else crazy that you can’t get the stuff under the blade out?

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I pretty much slathered it on everything. This was the first time I grilled tofu and all I did was season it with olive oil, salt & pepper. I purposely kept it simple because I knew this sauce was going on top of everything anyway. It reminded me of a sauce you’d find in an Indian dish. Loved it. Glad there is at least a cup left in the fridge.

And since it was the first day of summer and all, this was necessary.

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And promptly devoured in about 3 minutes.

Happy Summer!

 

Sprinkles or Jimmies? Sprinkles!!!

Would you pull grass out of your dog’s butt? Heck no, that’s what husbands are for!

37 Comments

Filed under Around the house, Around town, Dinner

Spinach & cheese stuffed portobello mushrooms

Alternately titled, “creamy delicious bites of heaven”. Seriously, this dish came out way better than anticipated. Make it.

In Florida we had this horribly phallic mushroom, apparently called a “stinkhorn” according to Wikipedia, that would occasionally grow in our front yard. As if it’s shape wasn’t bad enough, the smell it would give off was, let’s just say “appropriate” for it’s appearance. If that doesn’t make sense, google it. mushroom

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How something like this can be related to the amazingness of an edible mushroom like a portobello baffles me. Fungus is a weird one.

I love mushrooms, at least edible ones. When I see grocery stores with a section for all types of wild mushrooms I can’t help myself. This is why it’s probably a good thing that there is no whole foods even remotely close to my house. Mushrooms aren’t cheap and I have no self control.

I’ve been craving a calzone lately and that gave me the idea to basically use the stuffing of a calzone but in a mushroom cap instead when I saw these at the store.

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The thing is, I’ve made plenty of calzones at home before and they usually come out disappointingly bland, so I didn’t have incredibly high hopes for this. I shouldn’t doubt myself so much, these were amazing.

First, I just cleaned off the mushrooms and removed the stems. Drizzled them with some extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper.

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Portobellos remind me of eggplant. They soak up a ton of olive oil. I was pretty generous with it because of this and I think all that olive oil gave it great flavor when roasting. I roasted them for about 20 minutes at 450.

In the meantime I got the filling together.

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Added all these goodies plus some sautéed onion & garlic to about 1.5 cups of ricotta.

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I used whole milk ricotta. Could you use part-skim? Yes. Do I recommend it? No. Ricotta is one of those things that I don’t think the “low fat” version tastes nearly as good. Mayo is another. There’s only 1.5 cups of it, split among 6 mushroom caps it’s 1/4 cup a serving. That’s not enough to worry about in my opinion. Winking smile Whole milk ricotta is so incredibly creamy and almost “sweet”. Part skim just doesn’t live up.

By this time the mushrooms should be all roasted and shriveled up.

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They lose a lot of water while roasting. If there is any excess water in the pan, drain it out before stuffing them.

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Want to know about the perils of food blogging? An ant climbed into the tray while I was taking these pictures outside! I’m a firm believer in the 5 second rule. I figured it was about to get roasted at 450 for another 10 minutes anyway.

During the last minute or so, I sprinkled some bread crumbs on top to give it a little crunch. And voila!

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I think the sautéed onion & garlic really helped bring out the flavors in the filling. And let’s be honest, when there are 3 cheeses involved it’s hard to taste bad. This could be a great side to some grilled chicken or eat 2 and call it a day like we did!

 

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Makes 6 stuffed mushroom caps

  • 6 portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1.5 cups chopped baby spinach
  • 1.5 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 14 oz. can artichokes in water, drained & coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450. Arrange mushroom caps on greased baking sheet and drizzle with evoo, season with salt & pepper. Roast mushrooms at 450 for about 20 minutes. While mushrooms are roasting, combine spinach, 3 cheeses, artichokes and sun dried tomatoes in large bowl. Sauté onion & garlic until soft and then add to bowl. Mix to combine all ingredients and season with salt & pepper. Once mushrooms are done roasting, drain any excess water and then fill caps with stuffing generously. Put back in oven for another 10 minutes. If topping with breadcrumbs, do so in the last 1-2 minutes.

 

Fungi lover? Yes or no? 

21 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Meals, Recipes

Tao NYC

Oh, New York City.

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You will forever be a place I regret not living for at least a year.

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When I was 22 and graduating college, more than anything, I wanted a job in a city, where I could work in a glamorous high rise building, pay exorbitant rent, take a subway to work, have drinks outside in the summer with friends & coworkers and eat at every amazing restaurant around. I got 3 job offers my senior year, 2 in cities and 1 in Madison, CT. Guess which one I picked? In retrospect, I probably picked the best “job”, but I will always regret not living in a city at some point in my life. Ulysses absolutely despises cities. Part claustrophobia, part obsession with land, garages, and cars. So we will never live in a one, and to be honest, at this point in my life it wouldn’t make sense but, at 22 and single it would’ve been cool for a little bit.

Living only a little over an hour away by train, I try and find any excuse to get into the city and yesterday I had a good one! I met my friend Corinne, who I hadn’t seen since her wedding in November, for dinner at Tao. Corinne actually lived in Florida the same time we did. She was my only friend down there and we bonded together over our hatred for FL and desire to move back north (my, how things have changed since then, for me at least Winking smile). We both enjoy food as much as the other so our get togethers are usually centered around a good meal.

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The atmosphere at Tao is pretty cool. It’s almost pitch black inside (hence the dark pics) but then there is this giant buddha statue that is literally 2 stories high with those colored lights around it. We ate upstairs and with a 6pm reservation were one of the first people in there but it was packed by the time we left.

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I started with a Bamboo Gingerita.

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Delicious. Kinda strong, but that just means I only need one then. Smile 

I try to take advantage of any chance to have tempura. It’s one of the few fried things I actually really like, mainly because it’s usually so light. So we decided to split a sweet potato tempura as an appetizer.

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Unfortunately, it was super greasy. Still tasty, but I’m pretty sure tempura is supposed to be a bit lighter than what we got.

We also split a spicy tuna roll that was really good.

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Shoestring onions on top? Yes, please.

Ok, I have a pad thai weakness. Anytime I see it on a menu I feel like I have to get it. It’s something I would never make at home and I just absolutely love it. Funny side note though, although I’ve never had any allergic reactions to food, I’ve been tested for allergies multiple times for my shots and each time it comes back saying I’m allergic to soy and peanuts. The doctor doesn’t get it and I continue to eat both without any reactions. Every time I order pad thai though I think to myself, “what if this is the time I react?” and then check to make sure I have my inhaler with me before I stuff my face. Well, I saw pad thai tonight and came sooo close to getting it but ended up with the wasabi filet with tempura onion rings instead. Corinne actually got the pad thai though so I got to taste it. Both meals were great. My beef was cooked perfectly and the wasabi crust was just enough to taste, not incredibly overpowering as wasabi can sometimes be.

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Neither of us was really feeling dessert, although the people next to us had this giant fortune cookie filled with chocolate mousse that looked pretty cool.

Corinne caught a cab to the bus station and I had enough time to walk the 16 blocks back to Grand Central day dreaming about the city and pretending I lived there.

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Maybe in another life?

 

Do you live in a city? Love it? Hate it? Where was your first job?

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Filed under Dinner, Meals, Restaurants

Pea & radish risotto

More continued fun with the camera at breakfast time. Smile

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That would be a variation of Ashley’s amazing buckwheat bakes. If you haven’t made one yet, check out her recipe page for a whole section dedicated to them. I made a bunch of modifications to this morning’s bake but it included banana & blueberries on the inside with an almond butter, coconut butter and almond milk frosting on top. Worth every one of the 30 minutes it takes to bake!

This weekend was kind of a wash weather wise. Yesterday, it was cold and rainy and today, while a little warmer, was still gloomy. Instead of normal summer foods I was craving something more comforting. Risotto is one of those dishes that defines “comfort food” to me. My mom makes a wonderful dried porcini mushroom and sausage risotto in the winter that is creamy, cheesy and everything risotto should be. So many times I’ve ordered a risotto dish at a restaurant only to be served something that is masquerading as a rice pilaf. The difference is in the method. People say risotto is time consuming but it’s really not. Rice takes the same amount of time to absorb the necessary liquid whether you set it all in the beginning and walk away like a typical rice dish or, you slowly add the liquid in stages like a risotto. Risotto is not any more time consuming, it just needs a little more tlc. And I can assure you that added tlc is more than worth it when it results in this.IMG_0291

Since it’s at least supposed to be warm weather season, I decided to keep this risotto on the lighter side with peas and radishes. This was served as a side dish to some grilled steaks but could definitely steal the show as main course if you wanted it to. In fact, it would be excellent with some grilled shrimp as a stand alone dish.IMG_0204

I actually found some brown Arborio rice at the bulk bins last time. This was the bottom of the container though so it was mixed with a little bit of regular, longer grain rice that was left when I poured it in. They technically have different cooking times, like different shaped pastas would, but I just rolled with it. I wasn’t about to pick apart the different shaped rice.

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Aren’t those radishes cute with their little tails? They kind of remind me of tadpoles.

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Anything that starts with butter has gotta be good, right?

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Some diced onion, garlic and shallot.

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You know where this is going…sauté.

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Once the mixture has softened, add the rice to toast and absorb all the oil & butter.

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And if you haven’t yet been convinced to make this. Maybe this will help.

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Some for the risotto, some for you. It’s only fair.

After the risotto absorbs the wine (anywhere from about 1/4-1/2 cup will do)  slowly ladle some heated chicken broth (or veggie) into the pan with the rice until it just covers it. Once it’s almost completely absorbed, add more until all the broth is gone and the rice is fully cooked. Here’s where I’ve heard many an Italian swear by different methods. Some say do not touch or stir the rice at all while it’s going through this process. My mom and family fall into this group. Others say to stir every now and then during the cooking process to release the starches in the rice which makes for a creamery risotto. I’ve tried both and actually prefer the latter. Sorry mom. This works especially well with white rice as it breaks down easier than brown.

While the rice is cooking, prep the veggies.

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And grate the cheese.

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When the rice has absorbed all the liquid and it’s fully cooked (taste test here, ours was a little al dente last night) add the frozen peas, radishes, some fresh chopped herbs and grated cheese.

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Season to taste and top with some crumbled bacon.

Why?

Does bacon even need an explanation? I didn’t think so.IMG_0287

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Pea & Radish Risotto

Makes 6 side dishes

  • 1 1/4 cup brown Arborio rice
  • 40 ounces chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup diced radishes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley & mint)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked well until crispy (optional)
  • salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat chicken broth in small sauce pan over low heat. In large skillet, heat evoo & butter on med heat. Add shallots, garlic and onion and sauté until softened. Add rice and toss to coat. Let rice toast for 1-2 minutes. Add wine and stir rice until wine is completely absorbed. Slowly ladle chicken broth into rice until just covering the top of the rice. Let the rice absorb the liquid, stirring occasionally. Once liquid is mostly absorbed, add more broth again covering only to top of rice. Continue until broth is used up and rice is fully cooked. Add radishes, peas, herbs and cheese to cooked rice and mix. Season with salt & pepper and top with crumbled bacon.

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Filed under Dinner, Recipes, Side Dishes

Things that made me happy this weekend

Lazy mornings that allow for breakfasts like this. Homemade blackberry waffles with yogurt and fruit on top.

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Hot summer spring days that make a root beer float an acceptable treat. Smile

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3 consecutive days of running. More to come on the book behind the Garmin tomorrow.

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A dog that always makes me laugh. Her water bowl was about 20 feet away. I guess the fountain was more intriguing.

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A man and his lawn mower. Seriously how can this not make you laugh? Headphones that look like he should be on the tarmac doing ground control at JFK, rain boots in case the floods come, and a big goofy grin. Besides golf and his dogs, tending to the lawn may be his favorite pastime.

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Icy cold drink on a hot day.

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First cherries of the season.

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Grilled corn on the cob.

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This guy preparing said corn.

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Grilled eats. Side note: these chicken sausages from Sam’s Club are amazing!

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Bright flowers. Sometimes I feel like an old lady by how happy I can be just sitting on the deck looking at potted flowers.

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A good book. Picked this up after one of Jenna’s book reviews and am loving it so far.

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Back to the grind…

What’s something that made you happy this weekend?

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Filed under Around the house, Family, Meals

Ireland Day 4 & 5: Cork and Kinsale

We spent all of Monday getting the local’s tour of Cork by Liam, an uncle of a friend who lives in the city. We even met the mayor. The Lord Mayor actually. Doesn’t he just sound way more important with “Lord” in front of the title? Liam knew pretty much everyone in Cork as we walked through the city, the mayor included because we had an 11am appointment to meet him! We definitely weren’t expecting that and probably would’ve been dressed a little nicer or at least prepared with some sort of semi-intelligent thing to discuss but, instead we sat there talking about his recent trip to NY with mayor Bloomberg for the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the Queen’s visit a couple of days prior. He also had the biggest beer belly I’ve ever seen and actually rested his hands on top of it much like a pregnant woman would. I found myself staring more than once and had to force my eyes away. It was a quick visit as I’d hope he has more important things to do than meet with 4 young lads from the states but it was fun to say we met him nonetheless.

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The Lord Mayor’s room across from his office.

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Liam taught us all about the old city and how it was surrounded by rivers and walls back in the day. We pretty much walked the entire city seeing the old walls, churches, the University and my absolute favorite, the English Market. It was kind of like a smaller scale La Boqueria for anyone that’s been to Barcelona. The best part of the tour was when he took us to where he was born and raised and showed us the river they used to swim in as kids. You could tell how emotional and nostalgic he was about his youth and even though all the buildings and history are interesting, I thought that was one of the more insightful things we learned all day.

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The food in the market looked so good from the fresh seafood, to the butcher shops, to the produce stands. I wish we had a kitchen to cook it all in!

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Adrian finally got his wish Monday night when we found a pretty legitimate Irish pub and drank our dinner. Smile 

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Dark, dingy and everything a pub should be.

Tuesday morning we knew we wanted to hit up the English market for breakfast. After some fresh juice, scones, and coffee we were on our way to Kinsale, about 30 minutes south of Cork for the day. Kinsale seemed like the Irish version of a Rhode Island shore town. Quaint, beautiful water views and expensive.

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We walked around the cute shops, tried on hats a la the Royal wedding and contemplated buying handmade woolen blankets, gloves and scarfs but eventually decided against them and their price tag (sorry Mom, it would’ve been for you).

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After the shops we went to check out Charles Fort. More amazing views.

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We ended the day at Café Paradiso back in Cork. Doreen and Adrian saw this show on Food Network a couple of weeks ago where Bobby Flay went to Ireland and highlighted a bunch of different restaurants throughout the country. We’ve basically been following in his footsteps since we got here. It started with fish and chips at Leo Burdocks, ice cream at Murphy’s, smoked fish at the English market, and finally dinner at Café Paradiso. It’s a vegetarian restaurant with a local sourcing flare that was insanely delicious.

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They had a pretty reasonably priced “theater menu” that included 3 courses for 30 Euros. The wafer looking chips were a sunflower seed brittle with sea salt. A nice deviation from the usual bread basket starter.

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First course starters of wild garlic gnocchi, mixed salad with green beans & fennel, and sweet potato curry spring rolls and brocolini.

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Main dishes of beet root risotto with arugula & cannellini beans in a lemon thyme oil, feta pistachio couscous cake with a coriander yogurt, spiced eggplant gratin with fennel in a citrus cream sauce (or as Doreen referred to it: “sunshine sauce”). Adrian was a rebel and ordered off the main menu with the caramelized mushroom gnocchi dish. It was hands down the best one of the four and they were all really good, this one was just mind blowing. I’ve never tasted mushrooms like that before. They almost tasted like a roasted sweet potato, but even better. I could be a vegetarian in a second if all my meals were from here.

Dessert:

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Vanilla ice cream with Italian cookies and a shot of espresso. Chocolate pecan brownie with white chocolate ice cream. There’s really nothing to say here, they were both as good, if not better than they look. Great, great dinner. It was actually the first “real” dinner we had on the trip and I’m glad we saved it for a place like this. It’s been a week now since I’ve run, my pants are getting tighter every day, and it’s been worth every single indulgence. Smile

Killarney, The Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, and Cliffs of Moher are up next!

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Filed under Dinner, Meals, Restaurants, Travel

Cleaning out the fridge

I have 3 goals before we leave on Thursday.

  1. Clean out the fridge
  2. Fit in as much exercise as possible
  3. Pack

As of yesterday morning this is what we needed to eat our way through:

-5 leaves of kale

-3/4 block of tempeh

-1 block of tofu

-1/3 cup of cottage cheese

-1/2 of a big container of plain yogurt

-1/2 gallon of milk

-3 muffins

-2 lbs of strawberries

-1.5 pints of blueberries

-2 kiwis

-3.5 bananas

all that coleslaw

-1 pint of grape tomatoes

-4 green onions

-handful of arugula

-handful of grapes

All of that in 2.5 days. Think we can do it?

Here’s a look a day 1. It’s random but, I’m determined to not throw anything out!

Breakfast

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Don’t be fooled, these are no ordinary pancakes. I wanted to use up the cottage cheese but wasn’t really in the mood for it straight up. So, I improvised. Usually on weekends I’ll make pancakes from scratch. The weekdays just don’t afford that much free time though. Enter Trader Joe’s multigrain pancake mix.

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I’ve tried a ton of mixes and this is by far my favorite. It’s not perfect but at least seems a little better than Bisquick. I just halved the recipe on the box, added the cottage cheese, and cut back on the milk just a little since the cottage cheese gives it some moisture. I also always add a splash of vanilla and cinnamon to pretty much any baked good so that went in too. They quickly became blueberry pancakes once I realized how much fruit we have to get through. Half a pint of blueberries down, 1 pint to go! Smile

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Topped 1/2 banana, 4 strawberries, chia seeds, pepitas, and of course maple syrup.

Lunch

Tempeh, goat cheese, bacon and arugula sandwich with grapes and coleslaw on the side.

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This was good! I’m not gonna lie, frying up the bacon and then heating up the tempeh in the bacon grease kind of just felt inherently wrong. I got over it after the first bite. Try it!

Dinner

Green onion, tomato and goat cheese frittata with kale chips on the side.

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I love frittata’s. They’re simple, tasty and anything that involves goat cheese is a winner in my book.

So after Day 1 the list looks like this:

-5 leaves of kale

-3/4 block of tempeh 1/2 block left

-1 block of tofu

1/3 cup of cottage cheese

-1/2 of a big container of plain yogurt

-1/2 gallon of milk

-3 muffins 2 muffins (1 was an afternoon snack Smile)

-2 lbs of strawberries

-1.5 pints of blueberries  1 pint left

-2 kiwis

-3.5 bananas 3 left

all that coleslaw

-1 pint of grape tomatoes 1/2 pint left

-4 green onions

-handful of arugula

-handful of grapes

Not bad right?

As for #2 on the to do list, I fit in a 20 minute yoga for runners session, an easy 3 miles on the treadmill and 15 minutes of abs/core work. Good enough for me!

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Ginger supervised.

Packing didn’t even get touched. I always end up procrastinating with that one. Eye rolling smile

2 days!

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Filed under Around the house, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Meals, Running