Monthly Archives: April 2010

Salad Success!

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Happy Friday! So glad to be saying that. I thought I would share with you a funny cartoon that B’s mom sent to me. I think it describes things well:

Snoopy's Typical Work Week

Hehe cute right?! So last night I went to my old roomie Lauren’s NEW place for dinner. She lives with her fiance (newly engaged!) and we got together with my current roommate for dinner and drinks. I was in charge of bringing a salad and knew I wanted to do something summery since shore season is almost here! My #1 top salad is my mom’s strawberry spinach salad with poppyseed dressing. It is AMAZING. So I decided to put my own twist on it and came up with a salad like this!

Into the salad went:

  • mixed greens
  • fresh strawberries
  • slivered almonds
  • broccoli slaw
  • Lemon Vinaigrette

The dressing I adapted from a recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen . It was super easy to make and turned out Ah-mazing! And I must say, if you haven’t been over to Tasty Kitchen, head over immediately there are SO MANY awesome looking recipes!

Along with my salad (which everyone enjoyed!) Lauren made baked ziti (that may rival my own mother’s!) bruchetta and crusty bread. It was a fantastic meal and it was so good to catch up and hang out with my friends.

Hi Roomie!

Our wonderful hosts – Brett, Lauren and Charlie!

Me and Charlie!

In other friend related news, former roomie Lauren asked me to be in her wedding! I of course said yes! Here is the best part – her wedding is planned for THIS fall! So exciting – lots of planning and parties for the next 6 months!! This will be just my 2nd time as a bridesmaid (I was MOH in my best friend from HS’s wedding last June) and I can’t wait. Congrats again Lauren and Brett, I can’t wait to celebrate with you!

See you all later for Kombucha Friday!

So Close

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It has been almost two months since my trip to Nicaragua. It was such a relaxing, beautiful and eye opening trip.

It made me miss the beach.

Last night B and I had dinner at his parent’s house and I couldn’t help but get excited talking with them about this summer at the shore. I do not have my own shore house but I have friends and family who are gracious enough to put up with me most weekends from June-August; B’s parents being two such people.

Memorial Day weekend is the official “kick off” to summer down the shore and I could not be more excited. I can’t wait for early morning runs on the boardwalk, pancakes and fruit for breakfast, napping on the beach, trying to catch waves, bike rides to nowhere in particular, HH beers on the deck and the salty smell of the ocean as you cross over the bridge.

Just one more month!

Stella Blu

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Last night I had the pleasure of dining with my friend Meghan for drinks and small plates at Stella Blu in West Conshohocken. Stella Blu and The Star Bar is described as a friendly and upscale atmosphere featuring small and large plates with a Global flair.

(source)

Each weeknight Stella Blu has Happy Hour specials from 5-7pm. Meghan and I decided to take advantage of the $8 wine flights and 1/2 off small plates.

We both started off our wine flights with a glass of the Sebastiani Pinot Noir from Sonoma. It was very good, with a hint of berry flavor. The bartender was very generous in her tasting pours and we ended up enjoying three glass about this size:

After enjoying our first glass of wine we anxiously waited for our small plate orders. We went with four different and delicious sounding options. We started with the Grilled Asparagus

The asparagus was served with roasted red peppers, shaved parmesan cheese, poached egg, and olive oil. It was a delicious combination and although I was hesitant about the egg at first, the texture went along nicely with the peppers and asparagus. Along with the asparagus we also enjoyed Stella Blu’s Spicy Mussel Pot; made with sauteed tomatoes, basil, chipotle white wine sauce.

The mussels themselves were tasty, but every so often I would get a mussel that had a little too much sand in it still. What lacked in the mussels was 110% made up for in the sauce. This sauce was so delicious. It was tangy and spicy and would have made a perfect topping for pasta. Luckily the bartender gave us some bread to enjoy the broth even more 🙂 .

At this point Meghan and I ordered our second glass of wine. I went with the Hardy’s “Nottage Hill” Shiraz, from South East Australia. Shiraz is definitely on the top of my list of most enjoyed red wines and this one did not disappoint. It had nice berry flavors with a hint of spice at the end.

Next up on our small plate journey was the Lobster and Fresh Porcini Mushroons with butter, black pepper, and fettuccine.

I will be honest when I say I did not enjoy this dish. The noodles were very thick and slimy from the butter/oil sauce and had no taste whatsoever. The lobster itself was OK, on the dry side and the mushrooms were too chewy. Meghan and I had a hard time getting over how oily the noodles were! So much so that we did not use our plates for the final dish, as to avoid drenching it in the butter/oil.

Although the lobster dish was not so good, the last small plate we ordered made up for it. We had the Shrimp Pad Thai which was stir fried rice noodles, shrimp, peanuts, beansprouts, egg, chili, and fresh lime.

This dish was GREAT! It had all of the components of a traditional Pad Thai but also had an awesome tangy flavor to it. My thought is that chili brought out the new and tasty flavors.

Meghan and I finished our happy hour wine flight with a glass of the “El Portillo” Malbec. I know I just said this about the shiraz, but Malbec is also on the top of my list. Malbec is a wine that you traditionally find in Argentina, although Francis Coppola (the film director) has a wonderful Malbec from California that he made. I found it in stores about a year ago and have not found it near me since! I hope to enjoy a bottle of it sometime soon.

This meal was so delicious and affordable at the Happy Hour prices. Spending $20/pp for a generous wine flight and four reasonably sized small plates is definitely something worth checking out here. The Mussels were probably my favorite with the Shrimp Pad Thai coming in at a VERY close second.

If you are looking to explore the restaurant scene outside of Philadelphia, please come to Conshohocken and check out Stella Blu!

My Personal Tipping Point

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Just like I had hoped for, my dinner last night was veggie filled. Got to B’s a bit late (had to drop his car off to be worked on) so we threw together a meal of mushrooms, zuccini, tomato and rice. B is really good with adding spices to make things taste good. He usually goes for garlic, tumeric, cayenne, salt, pepper, oregeno, etc.

While the meal was cooking I had some of the leftover salsa from my sister’s party on Sunday. When I say salsa I don’t mean the red stuff; I’m referring to my Mom’s awesome salsa with corn, beans, onion, tomato, avocado, oil, vinegar and italian seasonings. It looks a little something like THIS:

Of course it is best enjoyed with tortilla chips (hello TJ’s Baked Blue Corn Tortilla Chips!!) but this stuff is so good that I usually enjoy it by itself or on top of a salad too! Definitely a nice alternative to regular ole’ salsa.

Back to dinner-it turned out well! The zuccini was cook perfectly and the tomatoes were not mushy – job well done in my book!

I wanted to touch on something that has been on my mind for awhile now. I am sure many, if not all of you know Caitlin’s blog Healthy Tipping Point; and if you haven’t read it yet, hop on over immediately! Anyways, when I first saw her blog title a lightbulb went off in my head because I had read a book in college called  The Tipping Point: “How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell. It was actually the first book I was required to read as a Communications major. I can’t tell you what the entire book was about but the message that is coursing through the book is obvious – when the  many small things in life build up to the point that change is inevitable. I love Caitlin’s thought behind her blog and what it stands for – it is such a fabulous concept; one that has me thinking of where I stand in my own personal Healthy Living Tipping Point.

Since college I have made many changes in my lifestyle that have put me on the road to being my healthiest self.  I eat a lot of fruits and veggies, whole grains, seafood and up until this year, lean protein like chicken and turkey. I have also incorporated fitness into my life more whether it is running, biking, going for walks or trying out a new fitness DVD. I can see and feel the positive changes that my body (and mind!) have gone through and for that, I am thankful.

Even with such positive changes, I still feel like I have not reached my “healthiest self”. Let me paint a picture. I feel like I am standing in the middle of a giant see saw. On one side is a lifestyle filled with processed foods, too much dairy, little exercise, an upset tummy and low self-esteem. On the other side is a lifestyle filled with awesome, healthy whole foods, lots of energy, regular fitness and an overall feeling of contentment. I am standing in the middle of this contraption trying to inch my way towards the healthy lifestyle but it seems that the unhealthy lifestlyle is still weighing down, causing my journey towards healthy to be slower than I had hoped.

Now if THAT isn’t a grand metaphor for ya, I don’t know what is 🙂

What I am trying to say is that I KNOW I have the knowledge and tools at hand to be my healthiest self, so why do I feel the need to fall into old habits of unhealthy eating and little exercise? Now I want to be clear in my intentions here; I am not looking to live a life eating spinach and apples. I have a serious sweet tooth and like they say “Everything in Moderation”, but I have found myself leaning on the side of over indulgence a little too much recently. I’m talking big family dinners on Sundays, snacking before dinner and while preparing it, and not making the healthiest choices.

This is not a pity party friends, I want this to be my jumping off point , or shall I say, my very own Tipping Point. That little “kick in butt” that I need in order to gain that momentum so that the change to a fully healthy lifestyle is 100% INEVITABLE. So please, feel free to leave any tips, advice, thoughts etc. below on how I can make this change happen. You all have already had such an impact on my life and how I view eating and exercising so THANK YOU!

I hope you all have a great Tuesday. I have to finish up this Cherry Chocolate Bomb (obsessed with them, can you tell?) and get back to work! Check back tomorrow for a fun dinner review!

Rainy Day Blues

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Hey All!

I  hope everyone’s Mondays were a bit nicer than mine! Well my day wasn’t too bad, it was the weather that gave me a small case of the grumps. Nothing like sitting in the office and looking out on a grey sky!

Lets back it up though shall we? Yesterday was a busy day spent at home with the family. I went with my mom to a sorority function my youngest sister’s sorority held for families. It was fun and totally made me reminisce about my sorority days in college 🙂 .

Afterwards B and I ran around picking up a few things for my middle sister’s birthday dinner! On the menu last night was chicken and shrimp tacos, chips and homemade salsa and ice cream cake for dessert! I didn’t snap a whole lot of pictures, mostly because I was enjoying my time with the fam. My sister on the other hand got a few shots…

I actually had a great time cooking! It wasn’t anything terribly complicated to make but I just love being in front of a stove, mixing things up while chatting with friends/family! Everything turned out great as you you can tell by all the smiles!

Hey there good lookin’!

Happy Birthday to my middle sis Lindsey (who is in the middle!)

Everything tasted so good – maybe too good because I think I filled up on too many chips and salsa to fully enjoy dinner! Instead of making tacos, I decided to make a Mexican shrimp salad and it was perfect. I wish I had leftovers!

Although I was quite full from dinner, I did manage to squeeze in a piece of one of these lovlies:

Home made ice cream cakes! They are so super easy to make and taste waaay better than anything store bought. I love making them and they usually make an appearance at all our birthday’s thanks to my mom! I was able to get my hands on the scene today and help out with making them.

Today I definitely felt the after effects of over indulgence. That’s OK though because today is a new day full of Cherry Chocolate Bombs, Smoked salmon and broccoli slaw wraps, apples and Chobani! I have nothing planned yet for dinner, but I am definitely craving veggies! Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

ta-ta!

Girls Night – Take Two

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Hello hello!

I hope everyone had a good Friday night – I did! I had mentioned yesterday that I did not have any plans for last night and was really excited about it. When I got home from work my roomie was there and we decided that on our “no-plans” Friday night we would make some homemade pizza and watch oh, 40 episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress”. We ran to the grocery store to pick up some essential ingredients in order to assemble our pizza:

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For this pizza I used whole wheat dough, pizza sauce, part skim mozzarella, spinach and on my half, mushrooms and garlic as well. This pizza is so easy to make and always comes out tasting delicious. All you have to do is roll out the dough to fit in your pan and spread the tomato sauce. I like my sauce almost to the edges:IMG_1561 

After the sauce was spread I sautéed some mushrooms with a quick spray of olive oil and a little garlic:

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Once the mushroom were done I put them on my half of the pizza and then covered the pizza with the mozzarella cheese:

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Last but not least I sprinkled some fresh baby spinach on top and baked it in the oven at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. It came out bubbly and crisp on the edges!

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It was the perfect dinner for our Girls Night Take Two. I enjoy about a 1/4 of this pizza and there were tons of leftovers—lunch this weekend perhaps?!

This morning I headed down to Kelly drive to get in a run. Broad Street is next Sunday and although I wouldn’t say I am scared, I am definitely a bit nervous and excited. I have never run in a race so big or long (a 5k is the longest race I’ve run in and there wasn’t 30,000 people running it with me!). Today I did a decent 6 miles and enjoyed the scenery. Everything is so green and running right along the river makes me happy 🙂 . I have some cleaning/organizing to. do around the house and then I am off to waitress for the evening! I am heading home to my parent’s place tomorrow with B to celebrate my sister’s birthday which was on Friday.

HAPPY 25th LINDSEY!!

See you all later!

ta-ta!

Kombucha Friday – Raspberry Rush

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Hola!

Up this week for tasting is GT’s Raspberry Rush:

At first taste it had the typical kombucha flavor- tangy and fizzy. I took a big sip anxiously waiting for that RUSH of Raspberry Flavor annnnnd…. Nada. It had a hint of sweetness but other than that no raspberry flavors were to be found. I was quite sad about this because of all fruits out there Raspberries are my #1. In fact, after having several sips of this flavor, it started to take on an apple juice-like taste. Like sparkling cider. Weird huh? Also this flavor was super fizzy; I like that little punch of fizz (like the MANGO has!) but this was a bit much.

So, all in all this flavor was a flop. I did not dislike it because I like Kombucha in general, but as far as the fruit flavors go, it gets probably a 4.5 out of 10.

I only have a few more flavors to try of GT’s so check back next Friday to see what’s next!