Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Carrot Purée

Since getting back on track, I have been trying to pack my meals with tons of veggies, and as much as I love roasted brussels and asparagus, it can get boring. So I have been experimenting in the kitchen. Before we get to the recipe at hand, I want to share what I have been eating to keep me on track for this WIAW.


Breakfast:

Since, I haven’t been training at Achieve anymore, my post workout breakfast has needed to change, but it hasn’t. Less intense training means I don’t need such an intense recovery meal. I have been sticking to oats, but have cut out the peanut butter. A friend suggested egg whites in my oatmeal, but I just can’t seem to do it, so I have it on the side. In my oatmeal is slivered almonds. I plan on adding pistachios but don’t have any on hand.

Lunch:

Lunch is usually a sweet potato, or half of one if it is particularly large, some green veggies, usually broccoli, and some sort of protein. The protein is usually grilled chicken, chicken sausage, fish (I prefer salmon and cod) or black bean burgers.

Snacks:

Fruit, I love watermelon, apples, and banana’s. Sometimes I will make a green smoothie, or just have plain yogurt with a teaspoon of honey.

Dinner:

This is where I struggle, I always make a large salad with lots of raw veggies and a dressing of oil and balsamic vinegar, a small portion of protein, and then I have lots of veggies on the side. We love asparagus, broccoli, and brussels sprouts in our house, but I can only eat so many stalks of asparagus before I start to feel like one of em.

I don’t want to get bored with my veggies, especially the ones I love the most. While food prepping this week I decided to get creative.IMG_3841

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Milk (I used Califia Farms Toasted Coconut Almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 lb Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 lb Parsnips
  • 1/2 lb Carrots

Instructions

1. Peel, Cube, and Prepare the Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes, and Carrots to your liking. I prefer to steam them, but you can boil them as well. You want them soft, but not falling apart.

2. Once your veggies are ready load your vitamix or blender with the ingredients in the order they are listed. Make sure that if your veggies are hot you leave the vent open on your blender.

3. Blend until smooth, make sure you taste and add salt and pepper if you need it. This makes about 6 servings, so it is also a great side dish for a dinner party!

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For me this is a perfect side, it has a few of my favorite veggies, and I don’t have to share with Nick, the crazy man hates sweet potatoes AND parsnips. I think next time I will try mashing it, but this was simple and easy, perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

A Marvelous Weekend: Seasons 52, Pure Barre, & MiniLuxe

First things first,THANK YOU to everyone who commented and shared on yesterday’s post, it means the world to Nick and I. Secondly, I have to say Happy Birthday to my dear sister. She is my best friend and I love her to pieces.

456_mandk2012The food and drinks featured in this post were received free of charge. I had no idea that would be happening until I finished my meal, and all opinions of my experience are my own. This post is not sponsored. 

As you have read, the past few months have been extremely difficult, lots of loss, and emotions and it’s just been hard. Through it all I have had amazing support in some of local friends and blends.

This past Friday, Caitlin invited me to Seasons 52 with her to try the new spring menu mini indulgences. I will always jump at the chance to go to Seasons, Cait went with me on first visit (to the Burlington location), Nick and I went once to celebrate a very belated Valentine’s Day, and this past weekend I tried the Chestnut Hill Square location.

Seasons 52 is all about seasonal food. Seasonal usually means the freshest, healthiest options. Caitlin introduced me to this amazing chain restaurant and I am so glad she did, it is now one of my favorites.

source: Cait

source: Cait

I was, of course, running late to our scheduled meet time because of that pesky route 9 traffic. Luckily Lydia, our amazing server for the night, was able to give Cait a few tastes of different types of wine before she decided on her drink while she waited for me.

As soon as I got to the restaurant I ordered my standard prosecco and we were greeted by a few different members of the staff and given suggestions on what they love on the menu.

IMG_8203We started with the special flatbread, Greek of course, it came with lamb, cucumber, tomato and feta. A member of the staff suggested to get some tzatziki on the side and I think the should automatically on the side, it was phenomenal and I am a pretty tough critic.

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For my main meal I had one of the menu staples at Seasons 52, at the urging of Cait and Lydia. It was the cedar-plank salmon with roasted vegetables, crushed potatoes, and a lemon dill sauce. I’ll admit that I am usually very wary of ordering salmon at restaurants because it can be dry and I hate that. But I knew I loved Seasons’ food and I knew Cait wouldn’t steer me wrong. It was of course phenomenal, the salmon was perfectly cooked and the dill sauce was amazing. What really sold me was that there were beets in the roasted veggies.

IMG_8207Peanut Butter Torte Mini-Indulgence

Since we were there to try the new Spring mini-indulgences, I had to have dessert. Honestly, I couldn’t decide between this one, the s’mores, and the key lime… so I went with my standard combo and it was wonderful. The flavors were bold and delicious, a perfect blend of salt and sweet. The dish was also very light and I didn’t feel too stuffed after our meal.

I can’t say enough good things, not just about the food but also about the staff at Seasons 52, if you haven’t been yet, make your reservations ASAP!

The rest of my weekend was just as wonderful. I started Saturday morning at Pure Barre with Jane, then got my first manicure & pedicure at MiniLuxe in Lynnfield. I can’t recommend MiniLuxe enough. It is on the pricier side, but I will always pay more for cleanliness. The staff was extremely nice, and the color selection was large, especially the gel selection. Also, the lemonade lotion is the perfect smell for spring and summer!

IMG_8209Call me crazy, but I prefer the places without the massage chairs

Then Nick, B, and I went to CT for some family time and a bridal shower. It has been awhile since I had such a wonderful weekend. Not that there weren’t wonderful moments, but with all the sadness I needed some uplifting things, and this weekend was perfection. Thank you, ladies <3

Have you ever been to Seasons 52? Thoughts?

 

Weekly Updates: 04/14/14 – 05/04/14

I know…. it has been approximately forever since I posted a weekly update, there has been so much traveling on Sundays that I just haven’t been able to get to my computer to write it all down, so here is a condensed version.

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04/14 – 04/20

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I went to Pure Barre. Thursday evening we headed to CT for Easter weekend, which included a few walks and lots of important family time…and of course B being very cute.

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04/21 – 04/27

I went to Pure Barre on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. We are still having sleep issues with B man so I ended up cancelling some classes so I could be the one getting up at all hours of the night with him. Again we jetted to CT for the weekend on Saturday for a memorial. I am glad I was able to get a good number of workouts in, but I don’t regret the ones I didn’t, family will always be #1.

04/28 – 05/04

Pure Barre was Wednesday and Saturday, not great on my part. B was getting a cold and his sleep is even worse during that time, so I knew I would need to not be able to just rally in the morning, because the daytime would also be rough and I would need all the energy I could muster. We headed to CT…again but it was an amazing weekend of friend, family and fun. I don’t hate going down there all the time, but I do not love the 2 hour drive.

 

In terms of food lately, I haven’t been talking about it, because I haven’t always been super impressed with myself. We don’t eat terrible at home and we don’t eat out a lot, BUT my downfalls have been more carbs than usual, waaaay more, and chocolate. Those two things have always been comfort items and so I am not surprised, but I can’t keep them 100% out of my house either. I need to get better at the will power, and better at saying no to the piece of chocolate or piece of bread, etc…

 

How do you say no to your comfort foods?

Just Add Cooking!

 Disclaimer: I was provided the Just Add Cooking box free of charge, all opinions and injuries are my own.

  I love cooking and I am just starting to get the hang of this meal planning thing, but the last few weeks have been hard. There has been a lot going on behind the scenes, so spending an hour meal planning and a few hours meal prepping were just not in the cards. I am grateful for one of the weeks I was able to try Just Add Cooking. Just Add Cooking is a meal service that provides meals that are pre-measured and high-quality, plus it is delivered straight to your doorstep. They are a Boston-based company and the ingredients are sourced locally to ensure freshness and support the local economy. When possible, ingredients are also locally produced and may be organic. JAC Logo_Normal_RGB     Just Add Cooking recently launched the 2 person box, there is also an option for a 4 person box, but this new launch is what we tried. Prices are very reasonable, for a 2 person box it is $79 for 3 meals, $89 for 4 meals, and $99 for 5 meals. The 4 person boxes are $109 for 3 meals, $129 for 4 meals, and $139 for 5 meals. Vegetarian boxes are available in 2 and 4 person boxes, but you can only receive 3 meals. There are no other dietary restriction boxes available (gluten or dairy free for example) but you can see what is available the following week and see if those dinner options fit your needs. The boxes include almost everything, it is expected that you will have things like salt, pepper and olive oil on hand, but almost everything is included and pre-measured. Alright, so let’s get to what I ordered. I decided to pick 2 vegetarian meals and one fish meal. Since we are fasting, I wanted to try out some meals that could maybe become staples in our home. The box arrived at our house between 2 and 6 pm on Sunday evening. I was supposed to get a text when it was out for delivery but for some reason I didn’t. Unfortunately, we were in CT last-minute and we didn’t get home until Monday morning. Luckily, the delivery person placed the box in a shaded area on our back porch and the temperatures were cold, so the fish never warmed up. Included in the box is a packet, each recipe has its own sheet of paper with instructions and cooking instructions. They let you know what the recommended cooking order is for the items as well.

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I went a bit out-of-order, I cooked the Mexican Cod on Tuesday night. I can easily say that the cook time was spot on, it only took 30 minutes  and it is a meal that will easily be kept in the rotation for a long time.

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I added asparagus, but it came with the potatoes, the only thing I didn’t include with the meal was the olives. I just don’t like them, but Nick ate them right out of the bag while he waited for dinner. Nick told me it tasted like a meal you’d pay $60 for in a frou frou restaurant. Success for sure! I also like that they included other types of fish that would taste great with the same recipe.

JAC's photo of the black bean burger!

JAC’s photo of the black bean burger!

On Wednesday I decided I wanted to try the Black Bean Burgers. I am always on the hunt for a burger that has minimal ingredients, and nothing complicated, like 3 different types of beans and flours.

The cooking timeline for the burgers

The cooking timeline for the burgers

When I made the patties they seemed very dry and it felt like I had way to much stuff to make 2 normal sized patties. I followed the directions, but the patties were falling apart in the pan. I decided to blend up the mixture and make smaller fritter type patties. I ended p making six smaller patties and Nick and I just stacked two in our sandwiches. I saved the leftover ones for Friday’s lunch.

What my burger looked like #reallife

What my burger looked like. Black Bean patty/fritter on the top and bottom, lettuce, avocado & tomato in between. #reallife

Because of the burger issue this meal took more like 45 minutes start to finish. I don’t know where I went wrong, but I am glad that I have experience cooking because that definitely helped.

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This is on every recipe. Degree of difficulty, serving size, time it takes, calories and type of meal. This is for the burgers.

The last meal I made was the Red Bean Chili, I make a lot of chili but I use the same recipe every time. I was looking forward to trying something new!

JAC's Red Bean Chili

JAC’s Red Bean Chili

I made this on Friday, again it was another fasting day and this was perfect. The chili had kidney beans, tomatoes, and lentils. The directions were easy to follow, however I had to let mine cook longer and add more liquid because the lentils were nowhere near done at the end of the cook time. Also, the bread that was supposed to go with it was stale by the time I made this. I think rolls might be a better option, the bread was cut from a long loaf so both ends were exposed causing it to dry out extremely fast. The other issue is the hot pepper, I don’t cook with them, ever. I can’t handle a ton of spice. I cut it an de-seeded without wearing gloves, I am sure you know where this is going, and I didn’t think anything of it until my contact needed adjustment and I touched my eye. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER. I learned my lesson and will always be prepared.

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My Chili

I just have a few issues, for the items I chose, not a single one came with a veggie on the side that wasn’t a carb. I love veggies at dinner time, and I think those are items that a lot of people struggle with knowing how to prepare. The other issue is that I used A LOT of pots and pans when I was cooking. Normally, not a big deal but when I want this to be quick and easy, I don’t want to spend longer cleaning dishes than I did cooking.

While some recipes did not turn out exactly as planned, Nick and I loved every single meal and came away from the experience with 3 new recipes to add to our rotation and two new recipes to add to our fasting recipe index. I also must note that every meal had leftovers, this might not be the case for everyone, but it was for us, some B ate and some I saved to have as part of the next days lunch.

If you become a regular customer of JAC you can plan your meals up to two weeks in advance. This week they have a great looking Leek & Potato Soup as well as Poached Salmon and in the next two weeks they have items like Carrot Patties, Flank Steak with Grits, and Dill Chicken!

Overall, I really like the concept of Just Add Cooking. I think it is a great way to learn your way around the kitchen and learn how to cook. Or a way to find new recipes, and I definitely did that! I love that the meals are constantly changing and they are reflective of what the company can find around them.

On Friday I am giving away a box to one lucky person! They will receive the same size box that I did, a 2-person, 3 meal box. For all of you who don’t win Just Add Cooking is giving you a $20 discount first order (new customers only). This is a credit on any sized box and is good until 5/31/14. Use code SPRINGBLOG.

 Have you tried Just Add Cooking or a service like this?

Orthodox Lent and Fasting Recipes

Growing up Catholic I never really though too much about other religious sects within Christianity. I didn’t know any Orthodox Christians and I didn’t know a ton about how things were different. Fast forward to college, not only is Nick’s family Greek Orthodox, but we had friends that were Orthodox as well (Russian, Serbian, etc…)

There is definitely a lot to learn about Orthodox Christianity, and I think I understand most of the basics, but one of the areas that is vastly different is Lent. For Catholics, the more public aspect of Lent is mostly about giving up one thing for the duration as a sacrifice. For Orthodox Christians you fast during Lent, not a fast like no eating or drinking, how you usually associate the word fast.

Keeping it just about the food for WIAW, you fast every Wednesday and Friday. Everyone I know does fasting a little bit different, but for the most part you don’t consume meat or dairy, this also means no eggs or seafood with a bloodline. There are obviously exceptions, pregnant women, children, women who are breastfeeding, etc…

I thought I would share with you some recipes and ideas that follow those guidelines. Recipes that I’ve tried, recipes that friends and family members have tried. If you have any you would like to share please link them below.

Breakfast

For my morning coffee I tend to use almond milk or coconut milk and I use almond milk in my oatmeal. Obviously you can use soy milk as well, but for me personally, I prefer almond or coconut.  Vegan butter can be used as a replacement for regular butter. Personally, I find breakfast to be the hardest meal to keep dairy free, so many breakfast foods have some sort of dairy/meat component, the one that always slips my mind is eggs.

Mindy’s Banana Bread Muffins

 Iowa Girl Eats Immitation Starbucks Oatmeal – like she did, I would use almond milk instead of dairy

Kammie’s Slow Cooker Apple Pie Steel Cut Oats

Lunch and Dinner

In previous years, I have lived on peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and pasta. Not exactly healthy, but I didn’t know nearly as much about cooking as I do now. Now, I have more carbs than I do most weeks of the year, but I try to keep it to things like quinoa and brown rice. I try to load up on lots of veggies and to make sure I find a way to get protein. My favorite family recipes are spinach and rice or lentils. Both recipes I need to write up and share with you. I tend to eat the same stuff for lunch and dinner because it is easier then prepping four different meat & dairy free meals for each of us. Try some of the recipes below if you are fasting this Lent.

Thug Kitchen’s Basmati Stuffed Grilled Peppers, I prefer tomatoes to peppers and might even leave out the rice.

Laura from Mommy Run Fast has a ton of great recipes but here are some highlights: Quinoa Minestrone, Soba Noodles with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Tofu, and Crockpot Black Beans.

Wildly Fit’s Lentil Stew – lentils are such a great way to get protein!

Two Peas & Their Pod’s Black Bean and Enchilada Quinoa Bake – this is a family favorite. You can either use vegan cheese or just omit the cheese altogether. It also makes A TON of servings, you can make a whole pan and freeze some so you can take out the servings you need instead of eating it all week.

Burgers – There are a ton of black bean burger recipes out there for you to make the following ones are ones that either I or my family members have made and loved. Maria’s Spicy Black Bean Burger – just omit the cream sauce and Girls Gone Sporty’s Spicy Buffalo Black Bean & Quinoa Burger with Vegan Blue Cheese Sauce. You can also try a Greek Veggie Burger or an unfried Falafel Burger.

Still want pasta, but want something to add to it? Try these quinoa meatless meatballs!

Try slow cooker Curried Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

And if you need something sweet at the end of the day? Try these Crockpot Baked Apples!

Find more recipes at Jenn’s WIAW Linkup!


What are your favorite meat and dairy free recipes? 

Weekly Updates: 02/24/14 – 03/02/14

Weekly WorkoutsMonday – 

I took Monday off, we were traveling over the weekend and when I do that I like to use Mondays to prep for the week.

Tuesday -

I took Poise Fusion XPress at Studio Poise. I forgot how much I love and hate that class. I do get frustrated with how I do struggle with a lot of the moves, but I know that with consistency I will get better at pushing through the pain.

Wednesday -

I was supposed to do an at-home workout, but I was feeling like garbage, I ended up doing an at-home yoga video instead, thanks Cait those have really come in very handy.

Thursday – 

I was still getting over my sickness from Wednesday, so I decided to sweat it out with a HIIT workout from Sarah’s YouTube channel. It was quick and effective, and even though I wasn’t feeling 100% it felt good to get my sweat on.

Friday -

I started with my favorite class, Pound at Studio Poise, I love this class – I hate going a week without! I also took yoga at night at Balance Yoga Studio, they have this awesome $5 drop-in community yoga class every Friday night. I had been once before and there was a great turnout. Thankfully, I had pre-registered for the class because they were at max capacity and I was the last person to show up. On top of it all Amy, a local Boston blogger who I met at HLS two years ago was the yoga teacher. I loved her style, and I can’t wait to try another class of hers. The perfect ending to my week.

Saturday -

I needed a rest day and a family day and we had that. It was a blessing because B ended up spiking a fever late and it was good we were all home.

Sunday – 

I had plans to go to The Remix at Studio Poise with Jane, but B’s fever was still hitting 103, I decided that I should stay home with and make sure things were getting better and not worse and we wouldn’t have to make an emergency trip to the doctor.

Food

I got a bit sick of salad last week so I am prepping some sweet potato baked oatmeal and egg bites for lunch. I also bought some fish that was on sale, and hopefully I won’t get bored. I also prepped for this awesome Black bean and quinoa enchilada bake!

How were your workouts this week? Any new recipes?

Toddler Time Workout!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or trainer, please consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise routine.

Let’s catch up on last weeks food and exercise first. I posted my plans last week, they were Tuesday – Achieve Kettlebell Class, Wednesday – at home workout, Thursday – Achieve MetCon, Friday - Studio Poise Pound, Saturday – Studio Poise Zumba & Pound Xpress.

So how did I fair? Tuesday, Friday & Saturday went as planned. Wednesday was a crazy day and it just didn’t happen so I figured I would hit up a Sunday class at Studio Poise instead of taking a rest day. Wednesday night my ulcer started flaring up, again. I went through everything I ate and there was no caffeine, no acidic foods, no stress. It was extremely frustrating. On the plan for dinner was spicy chili. It was already made and I needed to eat, so I ended making a grilled cheese. Not exactly on the plan, it was extremely frustrating. As one Instagrammer pointed out, it’s not me falling off the plan, it is me taking care of myself which is #1 on the plan. Because of the pain, lying down is actually very painful, so I ended up going to bed late and not getting up at 5 am to get to the gym. I ended up pulling together a short but sweaty at-home workout.

I didn’t end up getting that Sunday class at Studio Poise because B ended up very sick Saturday night, including a fever, throwing up, and feeling very uncomfortable. He wanted his momma and I was more than happy to oblige.

Here is the workout I ended up doing on Thursday:

 

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What you need:
A set of weights
One kettlebell
TRX (or you can modify)

Warm Up:
Stretch
3 rounds of 15 squats and 15 push ups

Workout:
Each section has 3 exercise done three times.
1. squat press, one arm kettlebell swing, sit ups
2. knees to chest, squats, TRX rows or pull ups
3. Right Side Plank for 30 seconds, Plank for one minutes, Left Side Plank for 30 seconds.

For the kettlebell and TRX portions please make sure you have had practice with these as you can get injured if done with incorrect form.

It’s not a long workout and you can make it as hard as you need and if you have a toddler like mine, you know the one that sometimes won’t take a nap, it’s easy to do while they play with their toys.

My plan for this week is to eat healthy for the week. We are hosting a Superbowl Party on Sunday and I would like to be able to indulge in a few of the less healthy things. So far so good.

For workouts: Monday – Strength at Achieve, Tuesday – KB’s at Achieve, Wednesday – preview class at a new barre studio in the area, Thursday – at home workout, Friday – Pound at SP, and Saturday – Yoga & Zumba at SP. Because of B’s stomach bug (it got worse and included a late doctors visit) I haven’t made any of my scheduled workouts. I might change my schedule, just to get in some great workouts in.

What are your workouts this week? Have you ever trained with kettlebells or a TRX?

Back on the Wagon

I made no secret that I was letting many things slip after the miscarriage. For the first week or so I wasn’t working out I was obviously very depressed and I definitely turned to the comfort of sleep and eating. Not exactly the healthiest ways to deal with things, but it is what I did. The holidays came quickly after that, followed by a nasty bout of the flu, and here we are today.

I learned a lot about nutrition and how to eat well for my body when I met with Amanda, and I know I need to get back on the eating right plan.

I have a few tools that I plan on utilizing.

loseit

I love the Lose It! app, it helps Nick and I take accountability for the food we eat and for portion size. I love that it has both a web and app for you to use. I like that it keeps things real, losing weight is not something that happens overnight, you input your weight, goal weight, and can choose between 1/2 lb and 2 lb loss per week. It can be a bit daunting to see you won’t get to your goal weight for 6-8 months, but it is the healthiest way to get there.

Turkish Get Up - Proud Moment Photo!

Turkish Get Up – Proud Moment Photo!

I write out my workouts, and I plan on blogging about them here, just for accountability’s sake. This week my plan is: Tuesday – Kettlebell class at Achieve, Wednesday – at home workout, Thursday – MetCon at Achieve, Pound Workout at Studio Poise, Saturday – Zumba and Poise Xpress at Studio Poise. I am hoping to throw in a yoga class at some point this week, because honestly, it has been doing wonders for my mind and stress.

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I also need to meal plan. This is something that I really struggle with. I like to see what the sales are, but I also prefer to shop on Monday or Tuesday’s because it is less crowded and there is usually a shipment in the morning. This makes things a bit hectic since I don’t have X amount of hours to meal prep sans kiddo. I do my best but it can big a struggle.

The last thing I need to do is keep up on my water intake. I used to be so so good at getting 90-100 oz of water in a day, but for some reason I haven’t been great about it lately. I know that I can do it, I just need to get better about it.

So that is my plan, what do you do stay on track or get back on the wagon?

WIAW: Pinterest Wins!

As anyone in a relationship or marriage knows planning holidays in order to spend time with all family and friends can be very…trying to say the least. Nick and I were spending Christmas with his family and in order to have a special celebration with my parents and sister, I planned a dinner at our house the weekend before Christmas.

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I think we need a train around our Christmas tree…

Menu planning can be a bit tricky though, my sister’s boyfriend has two allergies: all nuts and poultry. The poultry one means that your usual Christmas dinner ideas (chicken or turkey) or using any sort of chicken stock is out of the question. For me that was actually a good thing, I’ve never cooked a chicken or turkey by myself and I didn’t want to have to do it for the first time for 12 people or for a holiday.

I went with my family’s standard holiday favorite: Meatloaf. I used grass-fed beef and doubled this recipe. It is very east to make and the meat was still nice and juicy, I love the flavor that the glaze adds, but you could easily leave it off.

I ended up going with a couple of carb-filled sides. All of these ideas I had pinned to my pinterest boards for a while, and I needed to try them. This was the perfect place.

The first was a new-to-me risotto. I tried an asparagus and spring pea risotto last Easter. I decided to try one that was a bit more hearty for Christmas. I went with Kerstin’s French Onion Risotto. I doubled the recipe and I used swiss cheese instead fontina, mostly because the cost of the fontina was way more than I was willing to spend. This dish was a lot of the guests favorite side dish of the night. I liked it, but it was heavy for a risotto, and that coupled with a few other heavy dishes didn’t make it my favorite, but I would make it again!

The second was this lighter buffalo chicken mac & cheese. Obviously, I did not use chicken, I used ground pork, because the flavor profiles are most similar to chicken and because we already had plenty of ground beef with the meatloaf. I doubled this recipe and it turned out wonderfully, again it was a heavier dish, but I loved it and I wish I had some right now!

The third recipe is the creamy corn pudding with crispy onions and herbs. Ever since my date with Caitlin at Agave Grill I have been wanting to try my hand at making a type of corn pudding. This dish surpassed all of my expectations and I can’t wait to make it again. I left the herbs off the top, mostly because I forgot, but to me it didn’t make a difference. The pudding had that sweet and savory taste I was looking for without being overly heavy.

I also had a large salad and roasted brussel sprouts on the side… we needed some green up in here.

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For dessert we had the classic christmas cookie (at least in my house), the snickerdoodle, and I tried my hand at Baked by Rachel’s mini cookies & cream cheesecakes. The flavor was on point, but for some reason they didn’t bake up like Rachel’s did. All that matters is that they tasted good!

Make sure that you check out all the other great food recipes and ideas on Jenn’s blog for WIAW!


I apologize for the lack of pictures, it was my first time hosting & cooking 90% of the food (thanks mom for making sure the risotto made it from the recipe to the table) and I was a bit crazy and running late so pictures just didn’t happen. I hope you try some of these recipes, I fully endorse them all!

What are your favorite successful recipes from Pinterest?

WIAW: Three Meals Out

Thanks to Jenn for hosting another wonderful What I Ate Wednesday. I am going to share three wonderful meals that I have eaten out recently.


The first was dinner, girls night out style, with Cait at Agave Grill in Hartford.

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We started with drinks, which was a bit confusing, either our waitress didn’t know the menu that well or the menu was outdated. Regardless, we ordered the “skinny” margarita. Which was just tequila, lime juice, and agave nectar, I call that a regular margarita…

Agave is also famous for their table side guacamole, but Cait isn’t a huge fan so the waitress offered to just bring me a small order which I enjoyed with the chips. For not table side guar, the spice was just right.

I had looked at the dinner menu prior to our visit and the Agave Street Taco’s kept jumping out at me. Cait told me they were pretty famous for them, and they were at the Taste of the Nation, but apparently I missed them. I am glad I was able to have them, as they were just what I wanted. The double taco was really filling so towards the end I ditched them and just ate the filling.

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However, the real star of the night was the Cornbread Pudding. Ever since our honeymoon, where I had my first corn cakes, I have been obsessed with trying any corn foods when I find them on a menu. This dish paired with the Mango Sauce from Cait’s tuna was perfect.

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The second was brunch with Nick at Peels in New York City.

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I love when restaurants give you your own water and you don’t have to wait for anyone to refill your tiny glass.

We started with coffee and split the Cinnamon Sugar Donut. The donut was a bit dry for my liking, but I just dunked it in my coffee. For my meal I had the SPA Eggs which was an egg white omelette with goat cheese and herbs and a side green salad. The omelet was wonderful, the cheese was throughout the entire thing, which is a rare find.

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The third meal I am sharing was a surprise dinner for my Dad’s birthday. Nick, B man, and I made the trek to VT to surprise my dad and my step brother for both of their birthdays, we met them at the Fair Haven Inn.

FairHavenInn

We, along with my sister and her boyfriend, headed to the restaurant early so we got started with a drink – brut prosecco for me.

Once the guests arrived we ordered, Nick and I started with Saganaki (Imported Kasseri Cheese, dipped in eggs, sautéed in butter, & served Flambe table side) and with the appetizers the wait staff brought fresh loaves of bread, chickpeas and beets.

For dinner, I went with the Grecian Baked Scrod (a filet sprinkled with crumbs, feta, and butter then baked). I had mine served with roasted potatoes and a garden salad. The appetizer and salad were great, and my entrée was wonderful. My only two issues were that the kids pasta was huge noodle and the bowl was too gigantic for even an adult, and frankly I wish the waitress would have told me. The second was that my sister took one bite of her salmon and got a mouthful of bones. They gave her a new entrée, but for the price of the meal there should have been zero bones.

Where Fair Haven Inn went above and beyond was that my sister and I made cakes for my dad and step brother and for a small charge they allowed us to bring them in and cut the cake and handled all the candles etc… for us.

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Woah that is a lot of food. Have you had a great meal lately?