Link Love #64

Have you entered my Peanut Butter & Co. giveaway?

After staying with my parents for 2 weeks in Baltimore, it feels downright strange to be back in California. I’m a little confused as to where I actually live and why my parents aren’t around watching tv at night. Ha! Of course, Nathan and I made sure to get a little pick-me-up after we landed.

Anchor Brewing Winter Wheat Steam

Well, that pick-me-up really ended up making us even more tired after a 3 a.m. wake up call so we just made our way to the grocery store and then back to the apartment to unpack. Just in case we didn’t have enough beer in our lives, we successfully hauled about 12 more beers back from Baltimore! Do you know how hard it is to find Bourbon County Stout?!

Goose Island Bourbon County Stout Stillwater Stateside Saison Brewers Art Ozzy

It was a long, tiring day so I was more than thankful for a delicious bibimbop carryout dinner from around the corner. Success!

Spoon Bibimbop

I knew it was necessary when the thought of even microwaving the meatballs in the freezer seemed like too much. Yep. But now we’re back to the daily grind.

Health

10 Tips for Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season Eating Bird Food

10 Tips for Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season – Eating Bird Food

10 Tips for Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season – Eating Bird Food
All About Cider Vinegar – The Lean Green Bean
Mindful Monday: Herbs for Winter Wellness and Immunity – The Foodie Dietitien
The One Thing Top Nutrition Experts Do to Stay Healthy During the Holidays – Greatist
6 Ways Perfectionism is Sabotaging You – Too Much On Her Plate

Fitness

Fast Paced Upper Body Workout Peanut Butter Fingers PBFingers

Fast Paced Upper Body Workout – Peanut Butter Fingers

Fast Paced Upper Body Workout – Peanut Butter Fingers
The 25 Reps Of Christmas Workout {Bodyweight} – Lifting Revolution
Why I love Drop Sets & Why They Are Effective – Powercakes
30-Minute At-Home Workout – Pumps & Iron
My Top 3 Exercises to Build the Glutes โ€“ and Why Squatting isnโ€™t One of Them – Trainer Paige

Food

Pomegranate Sesame Chicken with Ginger Rice Pilaf Half Baked Harvest

Pomegranate Sesame Chicken with Ginger Rice Pilaf – Half Baked Harvest

Pomegranate Sesame Chicken with Ginger Rice Pilaf – Half Baked harvest
Bourbon Peanut Butter Gingerbread Healthy Bites {Cyber Monday Giveaway} – Cotter Crunch
Crepe Cake with Pistachios And Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting – Food Faith Fitness
Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Farro Salad – Fit Foodie Finds
Peppermint Pretzel Marshmallow Fudge – Joy the Baker

Food for Thought

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

Guest Post: The Smart Kitchen Crunchy Spinach Salad with Salty Sweet Tahini Vinaigrette

I’ve recently found a new favorite blogger and I knew when I was looking for guest bloggers that she was one I had to share with you! Sarah of The Smart Kitchen is always sharing delicious recipes and fun tidbits of her life. And she’s clearly a nut butter-lover like me.. she even has her own line of nutty butters! [Note to self: buy some soon!]

The recipe that Sarah is sharing with us today sounds so tasty I almost can’t wait to come home to make it! …..almost. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Hi y’all! My name is Sarah, but the ladies of the healthy living blog world--or at least the handful who consistently read my blog–know me as Miss Smart. I blog over at The Smart Kitchen, where I spend an absurd amount of time using my food processor, shopping at every grocery store in town on the hunt for manager’s specials, attempting to figure out four thousand ways to use the same ingredient, eating an excessive amount of nut butter straight from the jar…and, literally, licking my plate in restaurants. [No. Seriously.]

I was thrilled to have Brittany ask me to submit a guest post as she is honeymooning this month, and while I would rather be honeymooning myself–heck, y’all, I’d settle for a nice boy taking me out to dinner ๐Ÿ˜‰–I am happy to be able to take a little virtual vacation.

I say “submit” instead of “write” a guest post, because what I often like to do when I go ‘a-visiting’ is find and old post or recipe that deserves to see the light of day Google reader again. Today’s recipe and post is a Glee-style mash-up of a nostalgic family favorite, reinvented not once, but twice, both for my blog, and the blog of a local magazine I was writing for last spring.

My aunt Elizabeth is a master hostess. She is the kind of woman who can decide one afternoon to throw a cocktail party for 50, and by 6 oโ€™clock, have drinks at the ready, appetizers laid out, and be dressed and ready to greet her guests with such nonchalance youโ€™d think sheโ€™d been preparing for four weeks, instead of four hours.

So when it comes to recipes for entertaining, I always turn to her tried and true formulas--stored (not very safely) in my binder of family recipes-of ease, taste, versatility and appeal.

And there right on top, in the section labeled “salads,” is the unnamed, known only as “that salad Aunt Elizabeth makes,” deliciousness that once, at a potluck where I served it, inspired a guest to proclaim, “I don’t even like salad, and I’m going back for seconds!”The original recipe calls for a base of spinach and shredded cabbage.As all great hostesses know, what shortcuts you take are between you and the four walls of your kitchen, so you can buy bags of baby spinach AND bags of shredded cabbage and save yourself time. [The original recipe, in fact, calls for that.] Since cabbage happened to be on sale, and lasts for years in the fridge,* I went ahead and shredded half of a head in my food processor.

*I am not a certified doctor. Do not trust me on this.All that’s left to do now is chop up somegreen onions…. …and sprinkle on some sliced or slivered almonds, sesame seeds, and the dry ramen noodles (sans seasoning packet) stereotypically favored by starving artists, twenty-something bachelors, and Brother Smart when he was 15 years old.

Except I forgot the ramen.

I did, however, have a number of green apples that had accumulated in my lunch bag throughout the week as, whenever I walked through the teacher’s lounge it seemed appropriate to take another one. [They were free. They were there. I obviously subconsciously knew I would need them later.] Since I was already changing things up from the original, I decided I might as well just keep on Smart Kitchen-izing the traditional. Once I had photographed the standard salad and dressing, I added the aforementioned apples, and got to work on a NEW dressing.Instead of adding canola oil to the combination of vinegar, pepper, sugar, and seasoned salt…

Aunt Elizabeth would use Lawry’s. Penzey’s was found in my moving boxes first.

…I took a hint from the sesame seeds in the salad and added tahini (and tahini oil) instead!Now the salad was good before. But this Salty Sweet Tahini Vinaigrette concoction? Well that is the stuff of tastebud tantalizing dreams, I tell you!Before serving—and Aunt Elizabeth says to always serve a salad dressed*–whisk it up quite a bit to make sure the tahini has inflitrated the vinegar.

*Makes sense, really. You wouldn’t show up to the party naked, would you?But since this whole ‘whisking’ of dressing in a bowl concept doesn’t really do it for me, I filled up a jar and shook it out instead.

And yes, I did go back for seconds.*

*And pack thirds for lunch!

Crunchy Spinach Salad w. Salty Sweet Tahini Vinaigrette*

*Note: I’ve cut the recipe down here for a 2-4 serving size.

For the salad:

  • One half 10.oz-package baby spinach (or regular spinach, loosely chopped)
  • 2-3 cups shredded cabbage (or 1/2 package angel hair cole slaw cabbage)
  • 3 green onions, sliced (whites and light greens)
  • 3 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 1 small green apples, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
    Ramen noodles, dry, crumbled (optional)

For the tahini vinaigrette:

  • 4 Tbsp. tahini
  • 1 1/3 cup cider or rice vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Layer salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl (or jar), whisk (or shake) together dressing ingredients. Just before serving, whisk (or shake) dressing again and pour over salad!


Like I said, I almost can’t wait to come home to try this salad. I have a feeling it’ll be a new go-to. Thanks again, Sarah!

Food for Thought

What is your favorite salad combination?

What I Ate Wednesday #17 – Holiday Recovery

I love getting together with my entire family for meals. It’s great to see everyone, catch up, and eat good food. Ooooh, the food!

Jewish holiday meals always include brisket, some sort of poultry, whether it’s chicken or turkey, often there is fish, usually salmon, matzah ball soup, vegetables, kugel, an assortment of desserts, and the list could go on and on. To say I overeat at these dinners would be an understatement.

I always tell myself, “1 piece of this, 1 piece of that, a couple little bites of this, a couple little pieces of that… you can always go back for more.” And I do. I take a little bit of everything and always go back for more. What can I say? My family knows how to cook and I’m going to take advantage of it when I can!

So after two Rosh Hashana dinners, I find myself trying to recover and pick up the pieces of my “has-been” healthy eating habits.

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peas and & Crayons Tone It Up TIU Pumpkin Protein Pancake Peanut Fluff Bombshell Spell Premier Protein Salmon Salad Chipotle Honey Lime Chicken Coconut Oil Roasted Brussel Sprouts Broccoli Chobani Apple Cinnamon

[Breakfast]
Tone It Up pumpkin protein pancake topped with peanut fluff and, with all of the benefits of ACV (courtesy of Brittany at Eating Bird Food), I knew I had to have my bombshell spell. Steering clear from the grains for a day or two will definitely help, so I put the oatmeal on the back burner. Get it?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

[Snack] Not Pictured
I found out that I’m not a huge fan of vanilla Greek yogurt without any fruit or granola in it. And unfortunately I had no fruit or granola in sight, so I went for the next best thing. I mixed in a tablespoon of no sugar added Swiss Miss. What, you don’t have a container of Swiss Miss at your desk?!

[Lunch]
The only good picture of the day. Salad topped with veggies and roasted salmon. The salmon was leftover from Rosh Hashana dinner and man, my mom did an awesome job! It’s a little smokey and a little sweet. And luckily I have some more leftovers to hold me over through the week!

[Snack]
It was a sad, sad day as I finished my very last Premier Protein shake. The vanilla is awesome and I will definitely be making my way over to Sam’s Club as soon as I can to get more!

[Dinner]
Chipotle honey lime chicken with coconut oil roasted brussel sprouts and broccoli. This chicken was so good! Nathan tasted the sauce and I got an “oh yea!” in approval and that’s when I knew I’d have to share the recipe with all of you! You know what that means.. check it out this Foodie Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

[Snack]
I just feel the need to apologize for this picture. It’s not a pretty one, but it was so tasty and hit the spot after a hard interval workout, courtesy of Julie at PBFingers! I mixed 1/4 cup Chobani vanilla Greek yogurt with 1 tbsp peanut flour, 1 packet stevia, and 1/2 tbsp vegan carob chips. Then I mixed in a chopped up apple and sprinkled a little cinnamon on top. Yum!

[Goals]
In the spirit of continuing with my previous goal of beating my 5K time of 26:08, I ran my second 5K on Sunday. Unfortunately, this one didn’t have a chip time, only a gun time. But according to MapMyRun on my phone, I had the exact same time and pace as my first 5K. And I have to say, that while I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t beat my time, I’m still pretty pleased that I did just as well. Next up, 5K on September 29th. It’s on!

Speak Up!

What is your favorite holiday meal and what are your favorite foods that go along with that meal?

What I Ate Wednesday #16 – Oatmeal Obsessed

It’s true, I’m obsessed. Oatmeal is by far one of my most favorite breakfasts and if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve noticed!

What can I say? They’re warm and sweet and delicious! So I’m sure you won’t be surprised to find that not only am I including them as part of my WIAW post (again!), but I will soon have a new recipe for you! You just wait.. I’ve hopped on the Fall train and am taking you to a pumpkin paradise.

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peas and Crayons Pumpkin Spice Latte Coach's Oats Oatmeal Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Oikos Greek Yogurt Gnu Fiber Bars Salmon Salsa Guacamole Protein Plus Fluff[Breakfast]
Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Oatmeal (protmeal, if you will). Yep, I went there. I couldn’t handle all of the pumpkin recipes I’d seen popping up on Pinterest, so I had to hop on the bandwagon! Also had a side of the always wonderful Tone It Up Bombshell Spell out of an old coconut oil jar. What, you don’t reuse your jars?

Look for my protmeal recipe this Foodie Friday! ๐Ÿ™‚

[Snack]
I know everyone raves about Chobani, but I have to admit, my favorite Greek yogurt is Oikos. Blueberry, to be exact.

[Lunch]
Salad monster! Romaine and spinach topped with green peppers, cherry tomatoes, grapes, cucumber, chicken, and a packet of 100 calorie Wholly Guacamole. That stuff is great!

[Snack]
Gnu Foods Espresso Chip Bar. I recently won a box of these from Anjali at The Picky Eater and lately they’ve been my go-to snack bars on non-PM workout days. They only have 140 calories but 12g fiber and 4g protein! Not to mention, they’re delicious!

[Dinner]
Romaine wraps with quinoa, roasted salmon, pineapple chunky guacamole, & salsa plus corn on the cob. A tex-mex inspired meal and I was a happy camper!

[Snack]
Cottage cheese, cinnamon, dark chocolate chips, and protein fluff.

[Goals]
Last week I mentioned wanting to get my race time faster for my next 5K on October 21. Well, people, things change. My next 5K is this Sunday! Ahh! So now I’m pushing my goal up by, oh a month and a half, and testing myself this weekend. To finish in under 26:08.. gotta do it! Wish me luck!

Speak Up!

What goals are you setting for yourself this week?

What I Ate Wednesday #14 – Rainy Day Adventures

We had some awesome plans last Saturday to rise and shine super early and head to Rehoboth Beach for the day. We haven’t been to the beach at all this summer so I was looking forward to it all week!

And then the weather forecast changed. To rain. All day. What do you even do when you’re at the beach and it’s raining? Exactly.

Well, fine then! We slept in, had a nice, relaxing morning, and then packed up and headed over to Alexandria, VA for the day! For what, you ask? Wine.

But not just any wine. Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck. Yep. We drove 1.5 hrs each way for Trader Joe’s wine. Don’t worry, we got some good eats on the way too!

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peas and Crayons Coach's Oats Pop's Ice Cream Caphe Banh Mi Alexandria Virginia VA Trader Joes

[Breakfast]
Cinnamon protein Coach’s Oats, topped (of course) with Earth Balance coconut peanut spread and fig. Naturally, I had my Tone It Up Bombshell Spell and some coffee with almond milk on the side. Perfect way to start the day!

[Snack]
A relaxing morning turned into a very late lunch, so I munched on some baby carrots in the car. Nothing exciting.. or worth picturing.

[Lunch]
Here’s the exciting part. We googled for a good 30 minutes looking for the best place to go for lunch and ended up at Caphe Banh Mi. If you’re in the Alexandria area, definitely go!

We started out with a vegetarian summer roll with tofu, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, and other veggies with a peanut dipping sauce. The sauce made it for me.. anything peanut [butter] related is a big green light! For our meals, we both tried pho (our first time!) Nathan got the traditional and I got the chicken. Traditional is the way to go! The beef was so rich and delicious and I could have eaten all of his! But instead, I ate all of mine. Topped with bean sprouts and fresh Thai basil. YUM!

[Snack]
Old towne is such a cute place! We walked around looking for a place to get a sweet treat and found Pop’s. Peanut butter chocolate pretzel ice cream. This is no joke. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of it (because I ate it too quickly), but that sample picture will do. I would make the drive for the ice cream.

[Dinner]
Late lunch + snack = lateย [lazy] dinner. Steamed some broccoli in the microwave, topped it with chicken and bbq sauce, and called it a day!

[Summer Staple]
Wine! Yep, I went there. Every summer day is better with a glass of wine.

Trader Joe’s in Maryland doesn’t sell wine and we’ve heard so many good things about it. But the biggest thing is that we’re trying to find every way to cut back on our wedding budget, so when Nathan heard about Two-Buck Chuck taking home a big prize, we knew we had to give it a try.

Results are in! And it was totally worth the drive. Wedding attendants, get ready for some Two-Buck Chuck! ๐Ÿ™‚

Speak Up!

Where is your favorite place to day-trip? Have you ever taken a day trip for a meal? … Or a drink? ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I Ate Wednesday #13 – Birthday Edition!

It’s my birthday!

Or, at least it was yesterday. And what better way to celebrate then with some of my favorite foods and sharing them with you today.

Barr & Table Chocolate Protein Coach's Oats Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Fig Tone It Up TIU Bombshell Spell

[Breakfast]
For such an important day, I had to make sure to have my most favorite breakfast. Chocolate protein Coach’s Oats, topped with Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread and a fig, plus my Bombshell Spell on the side!

And no worries, I would never keep something so delicious from you. The recipe is coming soon ๐Ÿ™‚

[Snack]
Grapefruit (not pictured)

Barr & Table Brio Wood Grilled Salmon Salad Chicken Tomatoes Feta Crispy Onions Mixed Greens

[Lunch]
My lovely friend, Jessie, offered to take me out to lunch for my birthday. I decided to check out Brio, which happens to be right around the corner from both of our offices. I’d never made it over there, but I will definitely be going back! I got the Wood Grilled Salmon Salad, exchanging grilled chicken for the salmon. I was shocked when it came out; so many times I’m disappointed in the size of “entree” salads at restaurants, but this salad was huge! And super delicious. And the steaming hot sourdough bread to start out didn’t hurt either!

Barr & Table Vega One Chocolate Nutritional Shake GNC Shaker Blender Bottle

[Snack]
Vega One Chocolate Nutritional Shake. I have to say, I was quite impressed with the flavor of this shake. It was my first time trying this brand, and really any vegan brand of protein for that matter, and I’m looking forward to trying the other flavors!

Barr & Table Birthday Flowers!

[Birthday Flowers!]
He done good. Real good ๐Ÿ™‚ Nathan definitely knows me well enough by now (almost 9 years!) to know that I’m not interested in a bouquet of roses. I just love all of the colors!

[Dinner]
Oh heyyyy awesome birthday dinner!

In the spirit of trying new things, we went to Dogwood for dinner last night. Neither of us had ever been there before, but we’ve heard so many good things about it over the years and I’m so glad we finally made it!

Barr & Table Dogwood Restaurant Baltimore Maryland MD Summertime Squeeze Irish Bread Mango Butter Grilled Summer Ratatouille

The meal started with a deliciously dense homemade bread served with mango butter; a little bit of sweet and a little bit of savory. I ordered the Summer Squeeze, a cocktail of watermelon juice, lemon juice, basil, and house-infused citron vodka. I’m a sucker for any kind of watermelon or cucumber cocktail so I had this one picked out before we even sat down!

For my first course, I chose the Grilled Summer Ratatouille.

Local summer squashes, eggplant & tomato, fresh basil

Nathan described this as a “hug in a bowl.” It was so fresh and flavorful; it was really the perfect comfort dish for a summer evening. Not to mention, it is vegan and gluten-free. For those of you Baltimorian’s out there that are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free, I would highly recommend Dogwood; everything on their menu is noted, and they even have an entire vegan prix-fixe menu!

Barr & Table Dogwood Restaurant Baltimore Maryland MD Pan-seared Wild-caught Swordfish Coconut Cake Prosecco

For my entree, I was between a few options, but landed on the Pan-seared Wild-caught Swordfish per our waiter’s suggestion.

North Carolina swordfish served with ruby grapefruit, jicama and avocado salad, baby arugula and yukon gold potatoes

He definitely did not steer me wrong! The fish was cooked perfectly, the salad was light and fresh, and the potatoes were creamy and flavorful. And those sauces were divine. I topped off my entree with a glass of white wine recommended, again, by the waiter; a little sweet to play off of the sweetness of the fish.

Dessert was an amazing coconut cake. And if you’re like Nathan or me, you immediately just thought of the coconut cake episode of Good Eats. I will be trying Alton Brown’s recipe very soon.. I couldn’t get enough of the cake!

Oh, and that glass of prosecco? On the house.

As if the food wasn’t wonderful enough, the service at Dogwood was the icing on the (coconut) cake! They were all very attentive and friendly, and always willing to share a recommendation. This restuarant gets a huge Barr & Table seal of approval. I can’t wait to go back!

[Summer Staples]
FIGS!

Barr & Table Chocolate Protein Coach's Oats Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread Fig

I completely forgot how much I love fresh figs and have reminded myself in the past week. I could have eaten the entire box in one sitting, but instead I decided to space them out and savor them. Oh, and Nathan doesn’t like them. Darn.. more for me!

Speak Up!

What is a food for which you’ve recently re-discovered your love?

What I Ate Wednesday #12 – Baltimore Restaurant Week

Baltimore Restaurant Week is one of my favorite weeks of summer. I guess winter too, but someone summer just seems better!

I absolutely love trying new restaurants and this is the time to do it. You get to taste 3 courses for $30, and if you choose the right place, you’re really getting a steal! Often, the restaurants on the list serve entrees ranging from $20-$40, so to add an appetizer and dessert to that makes it all worth it.

This time around, we decided to check out Salt. It’s a trendy little restaurant that we’ve been to before, but it’s been years. And while we usually use restaurant week as an excuse to try something new, we just couldn’t pass up the incredible menu.

Being that we went out on a Friday, the first part of my day is uber normal. Aka not so exciting. Except for this awesome pancake!

Barr & Table Chocolate Coconut Protein Pancake Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread PB Tone It Up TIU Bombshell Spell Bragg's ACV Apple Cider Vinegar

[Breakfast]

Chocolate coconut protein pancake topped with Earth Balance Coconut Peanut Spread, coconut, and cinnamon plus Bombshell Spell with ZICO. I’m absolutely obsessed with the coconut peanut spread. It’s like a little taste of heaven melted over chocolatey goodness!

[Snack]

(not pictured)
Apple

[Lunch]

(not pictured)
Mixed green salad with cucumber, tomatoes, onions, green bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, diced avocado, & chili sesame tofu. This tofu recipe is divine and so simple. I’ll be sharing it soon!

[Snack]

(not pictured)
thinkThin Creamy Peanut Butter Blizzard + a few pieces Almond Maple Pecan Snackle Mouth. The blizzard was a fun way to mix up my usual protein bar and the little chunks at the very bottom were so tasty! And the Snackle Mouth is really something special.. I was lucky enough to win a couple boxes and I hope to be featuring these (or some new products soon to launch!) in a giveaway very soon!

[Dinner]

The most exciting part of the day. Everything on the menu sounded absolutely phenomenal and we couldn’t make any decisions without asking for recommendations (of course!)
Barr & Table Baltimore Restaurant Week Maryland MD Salt Tavern Fells Point Primaterra Pinot Noir Red Wine Roasted Red Pepper Tapinade Bread Cool Vichyssoise Soup Dungeness Crab Pommes Frites Chive Oil
Primaterra Pinot Noir โ€ข Roasted Red Pepper Tapinade with freshly baked bread

Cool Vichyssoise Soup
Dungeness crab, pommes frites, chive oil

Country Pork Terrine (not pictured)
Pistachios, figs, dijon mustard

I went for the soup, Nathan for the terrine. We were both equally pleased with our choices and it was something new for each of us to try.

Barr & Table Baltimore Restaurant Week Maryland MD Salt Tavern Fells Point Grilled Swordfish Charred Gazpacho Vegetables Lemon Olive Quinoa Avocado Puree Crispy Creek Stone Farms Beef Belly Confit Ginger Glaze White Kimchi Asian Pears Spicy Sriracha Creamed Corn
Grilled Swordfish with Charred Gazpacho Vegetables
Lemon and olive quinoa, avocado puree

Crispy Creek Stone Farms Beef Belly Confit
Ginger glaze, white kimchi with asian pears, spicy sriracha creamed corn

The swordfish had been recommended to me by a friend and the side dishes sold me. It was delicious and I savored every last bite. But Nathan totally won. The beef belly confit was rich and savory with a slight sweetness from the creamed corn, which wasn’t all mush, as some would assume. If I went back the next day, I’d get the beef belly confit, hands down!

Barr & Table Baltimore Restaurant Week Maryland MD Salt Tavern Fells Point Key Lime Tart Coconut Meringue Blueberry Coulis Goat Cheese Donuts Lavender Honey Vanilla Sea Salt Coffee Ice Cream
Key Lime Tart

Coconut meringue, blue berry coulis

Goat Cheese Donuts
Lavender honey, vanilla sea salt, coffee ice cream

Finally, the best way to end a wonderful meal; with an even more wonderful dessert. I opted for the tart while Nathan chose the donuts. Really, he’d choose anything fried, but drizzled with honey and ice cream on the side? He couldn’t say no! They were fantastic, but I definitely preferred my key lime tart. It was light, sweet, and tart, and just the perfect ending to the meal.

[Summer Staples]
Fresh fruits and veggies. Not a day goes by that I don’t get my fill of all of the freshness that summer has to offer and Salt definitely feels the same way. All of my favorite restaurants are those that take advantage of the freshest ingredients available and plan their menus around that. Why offer farm-raised tilapia when rockfish are jumping?

Speak Up!

What would you have ordered? Are you a meat-and-potatoes kinda person or a sea-foodie?

What I Ate Wednesday #11 – Day Tripper

I bet you have that song stuck in your head now.

No? How about now?

Over the weekend, Nathan and I were tasked with seeing 2 wedding bands. The first one was in DC and with that being at least an hour away, we decided to make a day trip of it. Clearly the first thing to do when deciding on a day trip is to pick out where we can stop for lunch, drinks, and dinner. Who doesn’t plan their day around food?

Breakfast

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Chocolate Coconut Zucchini Protein Pancake Tone It Up TIU Bombshell Spell Peas and Crayons

Typical.. a chocolate coconut zucchini protein pancake (similar recipe to this guy!) topped with the new Earth Balance coconut & peanut spread, coconut, and cinnamon. Of course, I ha my Tone It Up Bombshell Spell and Chocolate Coconut coffee with almond milk. Between the coconut & peanut spread and the chocolate coconut coffee, I was in heaven!

P.S. Make sure to check back soon.. I’m hoping to be doing something fun with Earth Balance!

We made our way off to DC where we had reservations at Oyamel, a Josรฉ Andrรฉs restaurant. I love tapas restaurants and being able to taste a bunch of things makes it such a fun experience. I would definitely go back!

Lunch

Oyamel Cocina Mexicana Jose Andres ThinkFoodGroup Washington DC Mimosas Chips Salsa Mexican Squash Salad Queso Fresco Peanuts Chicken Fish Tacos Guacamole Pico de Gallo Mexican Coffee

We had to do it fancy and got a pitcher of Farmer’s Fresh Mimosas with plum and lemon verbena. Delicious! I could have had the whole pitcher myself ๐Ÿ™‚ The fresh salsa was wonderful and the Mexican squash salad was light and delicious. I loved the topping of queso fresco and crushed peanuts. This is definitely a dish I would consider a summer staple.

I followed that up with a chicken taco with their homemade guacamole and grilled scallion. I have to admit, the guacamole might have been my favorite part of the meal (other than the mimosas!) Next time, I’m definitely getting that to start! I also had a fish taco with pico de gallo. Once again, so fresh and light. We each finished off our meal with Mexican coffee. Full of flavor and a nice jolt to our systems! It was a great meal and so nice to have a light lunch before hitting the town!

After lunch, we explored DC a bit. We took a nice walk over to the Lincoln Monument and then found some much needed air conditioning at the American History Museum. The heat must have messed with our heads; once we cooled off at the museum, we realized we’d much rather cool off with a beer. Off to RFD! After splitting the pitcher of mimosas, I decided to keep it at one beer. What was that beer you ask? Oh, I can’t remember because I forgot to take a picture! Professional blogger over here ๐Ÿ˜‰

Don’t you worry though, I definitely didn’t forget to take a picture of my froyo!

Snack

froZENyo Washington DC Froyo Zombie Coffee Barr & Table

I don’t mess around with froyo (also a very important summer staple.) Mostly peanut butter with a touch of cheesecake, dulce de leche, and coconut. And of course I had to top it with peanut butter cups. I have a slight obsession with chocolate and peanut butter. Can you tell?

Dinner

Matchbox Pizza Washington DC Barr & Table Oven Dried Tomato Fresh Mozzarella Roasted Garlic Artichokes Pecorino Romano

Since Nathan indulged my obsession, I indulged his and we went for pizza for dinner! Matchbox features tons of pizzas with a thin, crispy crust. We started off with the large apple/pear salad. I would give the salad a big miss next time. I wouldn’t call it a large and, unfortunately, I had no desire to take a picture of it. But at least we got a little veggie!

When it came to ordering the pizzas, we went back and forth with what we wanted to split. They have so many different kinds and they all sounded wonderful! If we could have, I would have gotten a different kind of pizza for each slice, but since we could only split it in half, we went for the Oven Dried Tomato with Fresh Mozzarella (their version of the margherita pizza) and the Veggie with roasted garlic, artichokes, oven dried tomatoes, pecorino romano, and mozzarella. We each tried a piece of each and went our separate ways. He finished the margherita and I finished the veggie. It’s why we work ๐Ÿ™‚

And dessert? Oh right.. had that before dinner. Whoops! (I would have had another one if I had my chance!) We did finally make it to see the band, but the food was the real highlight of the day trip!

Speak Up!

Where is your favorite day trip? Do you plan where you’re going to eat before you head out or just see where the road takes you?

What I Ate Wednesday #10 – Out on the Town

Saturday was a rainy, gross, stay inside kinda day. But we just don’t like to do that. It’s the weekend.. gotta have fun!

I started my Saturday with a workout, a hair chop, and a dress purchase. But this wasn’t just any dress purchase. My friend, bridesmaid, and college roommate announced last week that she is getting married. Next month.

Say whaaaaaaattttt?!

I know! And I’m also a bridesmaid! With all of 4 weeks to prep, she asked for the bridesmaids to wear black or silver and she didn’t care what it looked like. And I’m pleased to say that I was successful in a short amount of time! (Thank you very much White House Black Market!)

Barr & Table White House Black Market

I wish I could say my night out on the town involved dressing up in my new fun dress, but sadly, it did not. It did, however, involve some delicious eats and drinks!

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peas and Crayons Peanut Butter Fingers PBFingers Banana Bread Protein Pancakes Cherries Bang Bang Mongolian Grill Babas Mediterranean Grill Hummus Quinoa Shrimp Pita Greek Salad Tripel Karmelit Hennepin Red Wine

Breakfast
I’m still way too obsessed with the banana bread protein pancakes from Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers. They’re just my favorite pancakes and I can’t stop wanting them! I also had my Tone It Up Bombshell Spell and since it was the weekend, I topped it off with my favorite coffee. Get this. Chocolate coconut coffee. Seriously, what could be better?!

Snack
Also on my obsession list, cherries. And they were on sale last week! We stocked up.

Lunch – Outing #1
A little while back, I got a LivingSocial deal to Bang Bang Mongolian Grill. If you enjoy cooking and controlling your ingredients, this place is for you! You grab a bowl, load it up with protein, vegetables, sauces, and spices, then give it to the cook and choose your starch. They cook everything on a flat top and hand you a steaming hot bowl of deliciousness! It’s like cooking at home without having to actually cook! And without the mess.

I loaded up on salmon, shrimp, tons of veggies, zesty orange garlic sauce and went for the brown rice. It was delicious and super easy. Definitely going back soon!

Snack
Not pictured, but super delicious. Vanilla greek yogurt with Great Grains Cranberry Almond Crunch. If you’re a cereal or granola lover, this one is for you! But beware, it’s addicting! (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Dinner – Outing #2
Baba’s Mediterranean Kitchen. Oh yes.

If you’re in the Baltimore area, make your way over. We started with a sampler.. hummus, baba ghanoush, spanikopita, and falafel. Nathan said it’s the best falafel he’s had since Israel. It was all amazing though. For my dinner, I got the shrimp ouzo over quinoa with a side greek salad, hummus, and pita. My only complaint is that they don’t make their own bread.. and we’re bread people. Beyond that, I would go back in a heart beat! (And the prices are awesome!)

After Dinner
Since we were with some friends, we headed over to The Wine Market; an adorable little wine shop (duh!) and bistro. The girls got some wonderful assortments of red wines (not pictured) and the boys shared 2 beers. A Tripel Karmeliet to start; an amazingly delicious Belgian tripel that pretty much can’t be topped. But why not try? They followed it up with an Ommegang Hennepin; this one is a Belgian-style Farmhouse Saison. Another winner. And while I was definitely enjoying my wine, I’m clearly much more intrigued by beer. Can you tell? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fitness
After reviewing that dinner, I’m really quite pleased that I got up for my workout Saturday morning! I hit up my Tone It Up girls for a couple of my toning faves – the Sandcastle workout and the Itty Bitty Bikini workout. Don’t let these names fool you.. it burns! Especially that total ab tone up at the end of Itty Bitty Bikini!

Tone It Up TIU Itty Bitty Bikini Workout Abs Toning Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAWTone It Up TIU Itty Bitty Bikini Workout Abs Toning Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW

Tone It Up TIU Itty Bitty Bikini Workout Abs Toning Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW

I paired that up with a favorite HIIT elliptical workout from SELF Magazine I was ready to hit the town!

Speak Up!

What’s your favorite type of cuisine? We love Mediterranean! Saturday was our first time trying Baba’s and we’ll definitely be back.

What I Ate Wednesday #8 – It’s Hot Out There!

Last weekend was a hot one. And calling it a “hot one” doesn’t even do it justice. I believe temperatures reached close to 110ยฐ with the heat index! Needless to say, we did not have a very eventful weekend trying to stay inside the whole time. It was a perfect mall day so we ventured out to Bass Pro Shops to fill up on some fishing equipment.

Nathan loves to fish and I, too, enjoy fishing. But I’m not sure Nathan always enjoys fishing with me. It goes a little something like this..

1. Nathan hooks the worm for me
2. I cast out
3. I catch a fish
4. I call Nathan over to take the fish off the hook for me because I do not want to touch that thing!
5a. Nathan throws the fish back in the water and hooks another worm for me
or
5b. I let the hook set for too long and the fish swallowed the hook so Nathan has to re-tie me on and hook another worm for me

What?! Don’t judge! (I also usually end up with a plastic worm after 2 or 3 times of Nathan having to hook a worm on.)

Now he thinks he can try to get me to go stream fishing with him. All of this happening while we’re walking through a stream? I’ll have to report back on how successful this is.

In the meantime, let’s get to my Saturday eats, shall we?

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW DuClaw Brewing Company Mysterium Tone It Up Protein Pancake TIU Bombshell Spell Chili Peanut Sauce

Breakfast
A pineapple protein pancake and bombshell spell courtesy of Tone It Up. Any surprise here? No? Great!

Lunch
Before our trip to Bass Pro Shops, we made a quick lunch stop at DuClaw Brewing Company. They are a brewing company out of Maryland that have a few brew pubs in the area. The foods good and the beer is great! The Mysterium is a Belgian-style spiced ale and I love it. Alright, so this may be Nathan’s beer, but I had a few sips! I also had a delicious strawberry salad with chicken.. definitely recommended!

Snack
Not pictured, but super tasty.. baby carrots and mango curry hummus from The Wild Pea. Once again, highly recommended! They have so many delicious flavors, both sweet and savory. Ever seen peanut butter chocolate chip hummus? Get on it!

Dinner
Look familiar? It’s my tilapia stir-fry with chili peanut sauce. And it was delicious! I’m planning on making a big batch of that sauce to have around for everything. So good! You should really try it ๐Ÿ˜‰

And we’re talking fitness, eh? Well if you know anything about a Tone It Up girl, you know that we love our bootycalls!

If you just gasped, you clearly don’t know what a bootycall is!

I get up at least 45 minutes early every morning to get in some cardio and abs. It was rough when I first started, there’s no doubt, but now I can’t start my day without it! My favorite cardio workouts in the morning are typically pulled from the SELF Drop 10 Challenge, created by the lovely Tone It Up ladies themselves, Karena and Katrina.

Tone It Up TIU SELF Magazine Drop 10 Challenge HIIT Barr & Table

These cardio workouts are called HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. It’s such an awesome way to jump start your metabolism in the morning and burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than a regular steady cardio workout. If you’ve never tried a HIIT workout, definitely check it out. They’re all the rage! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Speak Up!

What’s your favorite workout? Do you like to workout in the morning or the evening?