Five Things Friday {8/29}

I figure this post is better late than never and this week has been awesome so I thought I’d share a few highlights.

  1. Mom and I got to spend time with Jilly Bean. She’s the best.
    Jilly Bean

    Look at those big blue eyes!

    Jilly Bean Mom

    She looooves her Bubbie!

  2. We got to head to our favorite bar, Max’s, where I had one of my favorite beers, Southern Tier Pumking Ale. And we spent time with my “cousy from another Bube” as she put it ;)
    Nathan Me Nicole Kirk Awkward Family Photo

    Awkward family photo..

    Nicole Me

    That’s better!

    Maxs Southern Tier Pumking Ale

    Smells like biscuits!

  3. I went to a special lunch with my parents.. CRABS!!

    Baltimore Maryland Old Bay Blue Crabs

    When in Maryland..

  4. Spent some time at the happiest place on earth.

    Nathan Dad Me Baltimore Orioles

    Another awkward family photo.. that’s what happens when I say “PICTURE TIME!”

  5. And extra Jilly Bean time!!
    Jilly Bean Cheerios

    She was digging those Cheerios.

    Jilly Bean Matt

    With her papa :)

    Jilly Bean Me

    We were super excited about the place mat!

  6. Plus an extra.. Mom’s home cooking. Love it.

    Salmon Acorn Squash Salad

    I could eat like this everyday!

I can’t believe it’s already Friday and this weekend is going to be NUTSO with wedding shenanigans but I’m so looking forward to it. Have a great weekend!!

Food for Thought

What’s your favorite part of going home?

What I Ate Wednesday #100: The Birthday Food

I think birthday food is the perfect way to celebrate 100 WIAW posts, don’t you? I’m glad we agree.

Luckily for me, I had 2 full days of birthday meals—one on my actual birthday, last Thursday, and another on the following Saturday. And let me tell you, it was gooooood!

Thursday

Lunch+
Nathan came home from work to take me out for a sushi lunch. I got the sashimi bento box [no rice, extra salad] and it was wonderful.
Sashimi Bento Box Miso Soup

I had a feeling I’d want to save some room for our favorite ice cream around the corner. I had the lime meringue pie [with graham cracker crust pieces] and Nathan got the cardamom rose pistachio.
Ici Ice Cream

Dinner+
For dinner, we went Kanishka’s, an Indian Neo-Gastro Pub, where we started out with flights of red wine Belgian beer.
Kanishka Syrah Trempranillo Garnacha Wine Flight

Kanishka Belgian Beer Flight

The restaurant offered tapas-style dishes, so we split a few, including the Tandoori-tini,
Kanishka Tandoori-tini

Chef’s 6 ‘O’ Clock Cravings [street-style rolls],
Kanishka Chefs 6 O Clock Craving

Chicken Korma Poutine,
Kanishka Chicken Korma Poutine

and Nicoya Breeze Salad.
Kanishka Nicoya Breeze Salad

And if that wasn’t enough, we topped it off with another brew.
ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop

But it didn’t end there!

Saturday

Lunch+
We went over to Perdition Smokehouse, a new BBQ joint around the corner from us, and split a 2 meat plate with brisket, pulled pork, coleslaw, and Texas caviar. And beer, of course.
Perdition Smokehouse Brisket Pulled Pork Coleslaw Texas Caviar
The brisket was awesome. The pork was ridiculous.

And then we had to top it off with a slice of peach pie.
Perdition Smokehouse Peach Crumble Pie

Dinner
The big night out to NOPA! We started with a little amuse bouche—apples with honey yogurt and sea salt.
NOPA Amuse Bouche

Next up was the tasso spiced ham with pluots, almonds, and balsamic. We were both hoping for a more flavorful pluot, but the dish was pretty darn tasty.
NOPA Tasso Ham Pluots Smoked Almonds

I ordered the king salmon with creamy corn, trumpet mushrooms, green beans, and roasted cherry tomatoes. The salmon was so perfectly cooked, the mushrooms gave the dish a little extra meatiness, the corn had that little bit of decadence, and the green beans and tomatoes really helped to lighten it up so it didn’t feel too heavy. I loved it!
NOPA Salmon Corn Green Beans Trumpet Mushrooms Cherry Tomatoes

Finally, for dessert [because birthdays require 2 desserts in 1 day], we split the fig and peach tart with cognac cream, walnut crust, and melon sorbet. Totally different than anything I’d typically order, but it was light and flavorful. That said, I’d go for the crumble from Perdition ;)
NOPA Peach Fig Tart Cognac Cream Walnut Crust Melon Sorbet

I’d have to say, it was a pretty successful birthday in the food realm! Couldn’t have asked for anymore.

Food for Thought

What’s your favorite birthday meal and dessert?

Link Love #50

Home. It just feels so good. We just got in last night but were able to meet up with my parents when we got in and it was so good to see them. It’s going to be a busy week with everything we have planned, trying to see as many people as possible in such a short amount of time, but it’s just so worth the craziness. Time to soak it in..

Health

The Second Wind of Dreaming Big Cotter Crunch

The Second Wind of Dreaming Big – Cotter Crunch

The Second Wind of Dreaming Big – Cotter Crunch
Speed Round Time: SLEEP or SWEAT? – Carla Birnberg
Define Your Healthy – JillFit
6 Easy Ways to Be Healthier Today – I Heart Vegetables
5 Reasons You Need Strength TrainingXen Strength via Yahoo! Beauty

Fitness

Fun and Effective Strength Training Workout Routine The Lemon Bowl

Fun and Effective Strength Training Workout Routine – The Lemon Bowl

Fun and Effective Strength Training Workout Routine – The Lemon Bowl
Legs 4 Days Workout: Bodyweight Workout For Your Lower Body – Lifting Revolution
Sexy Arms Dumbbell Circuit Workout with 10 Minute Cardio HIIT – Fit Foodie Finds
Target It All Workout – Fit ‘n’ Cookies
Got a Dumbbell and 30 Minutes? You Can Do This Workout – Trainer Paige

Food

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons The Law Students Wife

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons – The Law Student’s Wife

Skillet Tomato Casserole with White Beans and Parmesan Croutons – The Law Student’s Wife
Slow Cooker Spiced Lamb Gyros with Frites and Mint Aioli – Climbing Grier Mountain
Summer Panzanella with Watermelon, Pesto Cornbread, and Feta – Eats Well With Others
Farmers Market Sesame Miso Noodle Bowls with Garlic Chips – Half Baked Harvest
Move over fig newton cookies, hello fig newton bread – Purely Twins

Food for Thought

What’s one of your favorite posts from the past week?

A Pretty Sweet Weekend

..in more ways than one!

For Nathan and me, birthday celebrations [and most other celebrations..] are centered a lot around food and drink. It was a very nice celebratory weekend, for sure.

It all started on my actual birthday on Thursday.. a quick lunch, post-lunch ice cream, and dinner/drinks out.

The Kombucha Shop Brewing Kit

Here, take my picture in the middle of a tiny sushi restaurant real quick!

Ici Ice Cream

Nothing goes with sushi like a little birthday ice cream.

ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop

A little post-dinner brew-ski.

Friday we kept it quiet and stayed in in preparation for Saturday.

Perdition Smokehouse Berkeley

An amazingly flavorful bbq & brew lunch [with dessert, obviously.]

Jilly Bean

Skyping with this sweet little nugget! Can’t wait to get my hands on her soon!

Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine

Pre-dinner drinks at Toronado.

NOPA Kitchen

Scoping out the kitchen at NOPA with my new chef friend who likes to pose for pictures.

NOPA Kitchen View

Best seat in the house [in my opinion!] I couldn’t stop watching them cook.

NOPA Salmon Corn Green Beans Trumpet Mushrooms Cherry Tomatoes

A fabulous salmon dish.

Barrel Head Brewhouse Birthday Cake Shots

And capping off the night with a birthday cake shot. At least now I can say I’ve had one…..?

Yesterday was a lazy day full of packing because we’re headed back to Baltimore today!! I can’t wait to get back home and see everyone again. It’s hard to believe that we’ll be there for a week and a half and are having trouble fitting everything in. Need. More. Time! We’re not only going home for more family time, but for our friends’ wedding! We’re both in the wedding and I’m so excited for all of the festivities that are starting on Friday. This is going to be a really fun trip :)

And when we get back, I’ll have a gallon of home-brewed kombucha waiting for me! I might need the whole gallon after so many more celebrations at home ;) I’d say this is a pretty marvelous Monday, yes?

No meal plan this week.. who knows what we’ll be eating?!

Food for Thought

What did you do over the weekend?
Have you ever brewed your own kombucha?

Foodie Friday: Carrot Cake Energy Bites {Recipe Redux}

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes yesterday! It was a great [an delicious] day and I’m excited to continue the celebrations this weekend! To kick it off, I have a tasty treat for you. I’m sure by now you all know how I feel about my protein bites. I’ve made peanut butter powerballs, dark chocolate powerballs, blueberry lemon cookie dough bites, apple pie protein bites, dark chocolate berry protein bites.. I think you catch my drift. So I was really excited when I saw this month’s Recipe ReDux topic:

Bars & Bites for Brown Bags

Whether you pack your lunch in a bento box, a brown bag or a retro cartoon character lunch box, don’t forget the bars and bites. Small squares or round bites can pack nutrition into a sweet or savory taste. Show us your favorite way to jazz up any type of lunch box.

A reason to make another flavor of bites? Done!

Carrot Cake Energy Bites

Makes 48 bites

Carrot Cake Energy Bites - Barr & Table

 

Ingredients
- 2 cups shredded carrots
– 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
– 3 tbsp almond meal [I used Bob's Red Mill]
– 3 tbsp coconut flour
– 1 scoop protein powder [I used Vega Sport Vanilla]
- 1/3 cup nut butter [I used Peanut Butter & Co. Old-Fashioned Crunchy]
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– 2 tsp cinnamon
– 1/2 tsp salt

Directions
Place carrots and coconut flakes in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Add the pulsed carrots, coconut, and the rest of the ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix everything until combined thoroughly. Using a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon, measure out and roll your bites. Store in the fridge or freezer.

Nutritional Information
Per 1/2 tbsp bite

27 Calories  /  1g Fat  /  3g Carbs  /  2g Sugar  /  1g Fiber  /  1g Protein

I love using the chunky peanut butter in these.. it’s like a 2-for-1 rather than adding the nuts separately. Plus, the Old-Fashioned Crunchy is one of my favorites from PB & Co. because the only ingredients are peanuts and salt. These bites are not only great for a little pre-workout treat, they’re great to pack up and take with you on the go or in a lunch bag. They’re slightly sweet and the almond flour gives them an extra nuttiness. All this to say you should definitely make these bad boys!

If you really want to kick them up a notch, add some raisins and roll the bites in shredded coconut. Yum!

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

What’s your favorite dessert?

27 Years

Isn’t it funny how your birthday really just sneaks up on you as you get older? When you’re young, it’s a whole big to-do.. your parents bring Dunkin Donuts munchkins into school, you get a big party with lots of cake, and you get a whole day about you. Well, I decided to take the day off of work today, Nathan’s coming home early to take me to lunch, and Saturday [after work] is all birthday fun! It’s the little things that make me realize how lucky I am.

This birthday is definitely a bit different for me; it’s my first in California so it’s going to be full of all new experiences. Last year, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a ton of family and I loved it.

Grandpa

This year already kicked off with a great startI skyped with my mom who sang happy birthday to me at 12 am EST. The time difference is still weird sometimes but she is always there to remind me that I was born in Eastern Standard Time ;) And I’ll be back in Baltimore for more celebrations in just a few days.. I can’t believe it’s here already and I’m so looking forward to it.

My 26th year brought quite a bit of change with the big move across the country. It’s really taught me a lot about my life, myself, my marriage, and so much more than I could have imagined. As someone who isn’t a big fan of change, giving up my career to explore what I think I want to do with my life next has been really scary. And while it’s been difficult, I couldn’t have asked for a more supportive husband to encourage me and cheer me on throughout the process. In the last year, I’ve learned even more that Nathan truly is my best friend; we couldn’t have done this move without each others’ support and I’d say that’s a hell of a lesson to learn.

Stinson Beach Brittany Nathan

I may not be with my family and friends this time around, but I think I’ve got a pretty great group of people to celebrate with out here.

Tone It Up TIU Mission Dolores Park Clueless

Not to mention how special it’s going to be when I get to see the fam again.

Orioles Dad

Orioles Mom

Jilly Bean Smiles

Matt Jilly Melissa

Things seem to really be falling into place and 26 was a hell of a year. I can’t wait to see what 27 will bring!

No questions today, just thoughts :)

What I Ate Wednesday #99: Happy Food

Quick note to all nut butter addicts: there’s another recall due to the potential Salmonella contamination of the glass and plastic jars. Check out the list of all of the nut butters being recalled.

Good news! I woke up yesterday and my ankle was less swollen and felt pretty darn good! I even made it to the gym for a light workout before spending hours on my feet at work again. Which lead to Nathan’s reaction of “eeeeeshhh that does not look good” when he got home. [Mom, stop yelling at me.] So we’re back to raising and icing. BUT! I’m off of work on Thursday [because psh! Who wants to work on their birthday?!] so that’ll really give me some good rest time in.

In the meantime, my taste buds were pretty darn pleased yesterday. Even though I do have an oatmeal obsession. Though I guess that’s a pretty healthy obsession, yes? Good.

[Breakfast]
Protein Oatmeal Macadamia Coconut Cashew Almond Butter Coffee
Toppings these days include: macadamia butter with cashews, coconut cashew peanut butter, and protein almond butter. Word to the wise: regular almond butter is better. Every time I try something new with a nut butter, I remember I’m really a purist and much prefer the roasted nut with a little salt. Maybe one day I’ll remember.

[Lunch]
Smokey Peruvian Chicken Sugar Snap Peas Brussels Sprouts Carrots Avocado Heirloom Tomato Balsamic
I must really love Nathan to have given him the rest of the lettuce! I ended up having a lettuce-less salad with all of the rest of the veggies in the fridge and a smokey Peruvian chicken thigh. It was pretty awesome and, of course, the brussels were the star of the show.

[Afternoon Snack]
Kiss My Broccoli Peanut Butter Mug Cake
Yea.. recylced picture from yesterday’s post, but I was too excited to dig into my peanut butter mug cake to snap a picture. Whoops!

[Dinner]
Char Siu Vietnamese Pork Bowl Crushed Peanuts Red Wine
Nathan’s been begging me to make my Vietnamese pork bowl again for a while. I did it a little differently this time though, by using a jarred char siu sauce to marinate the pork instead of the regular marinade. It was darn tasty but it was agreed that the regular marinade is the way to go. I also took some very serious advice from Laura and Lindsay on how to help my ankle get better and poured myself a glass of wine ;)

Evening Snack
Plum
Plums have been so crazy good lately. Actually, fruit in general has been pretty spectacular but we just picked up some awesome plums from the farmers market on Saturday and we’ve really been enjoying them!

Food for Thought

What’s the best meal/recipe you make?

Link Love #49

Yesterday started out with a bang.. or really a little snap, crackle, pop. I was doing high knees in only the second set of my workout and my ankle rolled. The side of my foot was practically perpendicular to my leg and I was definitely seeing stars. I took it easy and ended up being able to finish my workout. Very carefully.
Swollen Ankle

Looks good, right? Ugh. You bet I got my feet up and ankle iced when I got home from work though.
Kiss My Broccoli Peanut Butter Mug Cake
A little peanut butter mug cake action didn’t hurt either. Heather’s recipe is legit my favorite. You should definitely give it a try! <– A nice little segue into some more favorites from the week..

Health

25 Things I Do To Love My Body And How You Can Too Corinne Dobbas

25 Things I Do To Love My Body (And How You Can Too) – Corinne Dobbas

25 Things I Do to Love My Body (And How You Can Too) – Corinne Dobbas
10 reasons your weight is not shiftingDiet Duchess via Food & Nonsense
What We Eat to Maximize Recovery and Fight Oxidative Stress – Cotter Crunch
Your Body: Are You Accepting Or Settling For Your Reflection? – Lifting Revolution
5 Simple Diet Changes – The Lean Green Bean

Fitness

Basic Strength Training Workout Fit2Flex

Basic Strength Training Workout – Fit2Flex

Basic Strength Training Workout – Fit2Flex
5 Calorie Torching Crossfit Workouts to TryCarrots ‘N’ Cake via Health
Fitness Pilates Circuit Burner Workout – Housewife Glamour
6 Ways People Make Running Harder Than It Has To Be – Shut Up + Run
The Simplest & Most Challenging Arm/Ab Workout – The Almond Eater

Food

Triple Layer Fat Bomb Nut Butter Cups Peachy Palate

Triple Layer Fat Bomb Nut Butter Cups – Peachy Palate

Triple layer fat bomb nut butter cups! – Peachy Palate
Honey Pecan Sweet Potato Muffins – Nicole Culver
Poached Egg + Crispy Proscuitto Avocado Toast – According to Elle
Roasted Garlic Eggplant Lasagna Boats with Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage – Half Baked Harvest
Grilled Romaine with Caramelized Onion Noodles, Blue Cheese and Greek Yogurt Balsamic Dressing – Inspiralized

Food For Thought

What’s one of your favorite posts from the past week?

Liquid Diet

Hi friends! Hope you had a great weekend. We certainly did over here.. it started out a little like this:

Eureka Red Wine Sierra Nevada Porter

Eureka Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA Rye Whiskey

We hit up a new-to-us restaurant for happy hour called Eureka! I planned on sticking with the 1 glass of wine but when I saw they had a Bear Republic Racer 5 with a shot of rye, I couldn’t pass it up. And I’m so glad I didn’t.. what a great combo! After dinner, we made our way over to another bar where a little more beer, a shared slice of pizza, and gelato happened. So much for sticking with 1 glass of wine, huh? ;) It had been quite some time since Nathan and I went bar hopping and it was a really fun night.

That night that subsequently resulted in a nice, quiet Saturday morning.

Protein Egg Oatmeal Almond Macadamia Cashew Butter

Got myself all snuggled up on the couch before hitting up the farmers’ market, wandering Berkeley, and having a relaxing Saturday that ended in our favorite Indian food.

Viks Chaat Tandoori Chicken

And if we didn’t get enough on Friday, we had a nice Sunday Funday. We made our way into the city and grabbed brunch at Pork Store Cafe.

Pork Store Cafe

Pork Store Cafe Eggs Benedict Grilled Tomato Avocado

The mimosa was a surprise.. Nathan decided to order them and I put up no fight at all. Besides, it paired perfectly with the fabulous benedict with avocado and grilled tomato. Yesssss! We took to some more relaxing, this time in Dolores Park.

Dolores Park

Never forgetting our sunglasses again! Haha. The day started a bit gray, as usual these days, but turned out to be perfect weather. It was so nice to just sit in a park and enjoy the day and people watch. It was a really great weekend and I’m sorry to see it end. But it just means we’re that much closer to heading home again! :)

Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday – Grilled balsamic chicken thighs, roasted brussels sprouts, & balsamic basil heirloom tomato salad
MondaySmokey Peruvian chicken with roasted carrots
TuesdayChar siu pork bowl
WednesdayGreek chicken souvlaki with side salad
Thursday – My birthday! Going out!
Friday – Leftovers
Saturday – Big birthday dinner at NOPA!

Food for Thought

What fun things did you do over the weekend?

Foodie Friday: Crispy, Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders

It all started with a love for this quinoa crusted chicken strips recipe. I’ve said it before but Nathan is a huge fried chicken fan so anyway that I can find a healthier way to get him his fix [sort of..] is good in his book. I made these chicken strips once before and he loved them so he was more than happy to see them on the menu again this week. Well, all is well and good assuming you don’t forget to buy the right ingredients.. like quinoa.

I could have sworn I had a ton of quinoa in the pantry! I practically tore the place apart only to find that I used up the last of it. Ahhh yes, now I remember! Crap.

Well luckily for me, we did have a few ingredients I could use to substitute and make an equally crispity, crunchity [peanut-buttery? ;)] chicken tender. I whipped up the same BBQ honey mustard sauce, adjusted the breading ingredients, and went to town!

Crispy, Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders

Adapted from Quinoa Crusted Chicken Strips
Serves 4

Crispy Crunchy Baked Chicken Tenders  Barr & Table

Ingredients
BBQ Honey Mustard
– 1/3 cup dijon mustard
– 1/4 cup honey
– 3 tbsp your favorite bbq sauce
– 1/2 lime; juiced

Chicken Tenders
– 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast; sliced into tenders
– 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
– 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
– 1/2 cup steel cut oats
– 1/2 cup almond meal [can sub more panko or another flour]
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 450°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and a cooling rack, sprayed with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the BBQ honey mustard.

In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and 1/4 cup BBQ honey mustard. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the chicken to the buttermilk mix, shake off excess liquid, and dredge in the panko mixture. Lay the pieces flat on the cooling rack and lightly spray the chicken.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, flip the chicken tenders, and spray the other side. Bake for another 8-10 minutes, then broil for 2-4 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with more BBQ honey mustard and devour!

Nutritional Information
For 1/4 recipe of chicken without extra sauce

200 Calories / 6g Fat / 13g Carbs / 1g Fiber / 0g Sugar / 18g Protein

This will definitely be a recipe I’ll be creating again in the future. Love when the substitutions work out! And if you’re ever looking to shake it up in the kitchen, I couldn’t recommend Half Baked Harvest more. Tieghan’s recipes are amazing and never fail to impress!

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?
Any fun plans for the weekend?