Five Things Friday {12/26}

Happy Friday, friends! I hope everyone is able to enjoy a nice 4-day weekend!

  1. We kicked off our Christmas day with our second annual dim sum brunch at Lai Hong Lounge. We figure there’s a reason Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas, but we wanted to one-up it with dim sum and it’s just so darn good! We kept a bunch of faves from last year, too.
    Lai Hong Lounge BBQ Baked Pork Buns

    BBQ baked pork buns.. these are my fave!

    Lai Hong Lounge Dry Braised Green Beans

    Dry braised green beans are SO good.

    Lai Hong Lounge Garlic Pea Shoots

    Garlic pea shoots.

    Lai Hong Lounge Pan Fried Mixed Mushroom Bun

    Pan-fried mixed mushroom bun.

    Lai Hong Lounge Roast Peking Duck

    The prettiest Christmas duck I ever did see.

    Lai Hong Lounge Roast Peking Duck Roll

    Duck bun all wrapped up!

  2. No trip into Chinatown is complete without a stop at Rogue and a walk by the water.
    Rogue The Bruery Seven Swans a Swimming Quad

    The Bruery – Seven Swans a Swimming Quad

    Nathan Brittany Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco California

    Such a clear, beautiful [and windy] day!

  3. I’ve been powering through some sort of cold or something this week so I’ve spent a lot of time on the sofa the past couple days. I’ve also done my best to make sure I’m getting my greens and proper fuel to get better fast. I decided to whip up this smoothie on a whim and it was awesome!
    Chocolate Cherry Protein Green Smoothie
    Skoop Core Power Mamma Chia Chocolate Cherry Green Smoothie
    Ingredients
    – 1/2 bottle Cherry Charge Mamma Chia Energy drink
    – 1 bottle Chocolate Light Core Power
    – 1 scoop Skoop A Game
    – 1/2 english cucumber
    – 1-2 handfuls spinach
    – 4-6 ice cubesBlend it all up and enjoy! It would also be awesome with some frozen cherries in there too.. next time!
  4. We watched The Interview on Wednesday night. I’m not really sure what all of the craziness was about but I’d say if you’re in the mood for a silly, chuckle here and there kind of Seth Rogan movie, go for it. Pretty much what you can expect from him. On the flip side, Gone Girl. Watched that last night; you need to watch it, too. Best movie I’ve seen in a while.
  5. If you are in the bay area, or know anyone in the bay area, looking for a personal trainer, I’m running a special in January. First 1-hour session is $50, normally $80, and if you purchase a package of 10 sessions, you get 10% off. If you’re not in the bay area but still want to train with me, check out my 4-week personalized training package!

Hope you enjoy your last weekend of 2014!

Sprint 2 the Table

Food for Thought

Any fun weekend plans?

Our Jewish Christmas

My family has never really been the typical Jewish “let’s have Chinese and go to the movies on Christmas” kind of family. But since Nathan had the day off and we have so much to explore, we figured we might as well take advantage! I had the whole day planned.. and when I say the whole day, I mean where we were eating 😉

First stop, Chinatown! Yelp is huge in San Francisco [maybe more of California too?] so I really looked to that to figure out where we wanted to go. When we visited last year, we went to Yank Sing for dim sum. It was our first dim sum experience and we both absolutely loved it but we wanted to try a new place. Thanks to Yelp, we ended up at Lai Hong Lounge.

Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Not even half of the crowd that was there when we first arrived!

It was nuts! I had to fight the crowds to make my way up and get a number for a table. She told me it would be about a 2 hour wait.. good thing we weren’t hungry! I grabbed a ticket and we went for a walk; it was such a gorgeous day, we were happy to find a park.

Washington Square Park San Francisco California CA

Christmas day in sunny San Francisco!

As we explored, we grabbed a little appetizer of some coffee and a baked bbq pork puff and made our way to Washington Square Park. I have to say, the sun in California is definitely more intense than in Maryland. I actually took my jacket off and it was only in the 50s at that point.. that never happens! When we started to get antsy [and hungry], we made our way back in hopes that it was time to sit down! Only another 20 minutes or so went by before they called our number.

Time to feast!

Garlic Pea Shoots Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Sauteed Garlic Pea Shoots

Baked BBQ Pork Bun Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Baked BBQ Pork Buns

Baked BBQ Pork Buns Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

The delicious pork bun filling. YUM!

First to the table were the pea shoots and pork buns. They were both recommendations from Yelp-ers and they were fabulous! The pea shoots were crunchy with a nice, light garlic flavor and we were happy to find that they weren’t very oily. The pork buns were something special; we’ve only ever had steamed pork buns but these were baked which gave them a nice crunch on the outside. I also really enjoyed the ratio of filling to bun. I often find that there is too much bun for the amount of filling but this was perfect. Both were repeat dishes, for sure!

Pan Fried Mixed Mushroom Bun Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Pan-Fried Mixed Mushroom Buns

Next up were the pan-fried mixed mushroom buns and the pork and mushroom noodle roll. Again, having only had steamed buns before, this was a nice change. The pan-fry with the sesame seeds on the bottom gave it an awesome crunchy texture and flavor; we’d get it again just for that crunch! Unfortunately my picture of the noodle roll was too blurry to share but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Although it might have been our least favorite of the dishes, it still had lots of flavor from the brown sauce and an added crunch from the noodles.

Peking Duck Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

Our Christmas [Peking] Duck

Peking Duck Bun Lai Hong Lounge San Francisco California CA

All made up and ready to devour!

The star of the meal was the peking duck. Nothing beats the crispy skin paired with a perfectly cooked duck and plum sauce all packed up with green onion in a little steamed bun. So many textures and flavors! This was another recommendation from Yelp and I’m so glad I saw it because it’s not on the menu! As soon as it came out, everyone was looking over at our table asking about ordering it.

Yelp was such a great tool to use for lunch and I’m thrilled that it worked out so well.. plus we have leftovers for dinner tonight! YES!

Post-dim sum-stuffing, we made our way back to East Bay and headed to the movie theater to see Anchorman 2. Honestly, this movie was just as ridiculous as expected. It definitely had its funny moments, but if you consider the first Anchorman movie and the cast, you should know what to expect. It was a fun way to break up the day but I could have waited until it came out on DVD to see it.

After the movie, we drove into Berkeley for another Yelp-recommended restaurant; Himalayan Flavors. I’m glad Lai Hong Lounge worked out so well or Nathan may never trust me to make a restaurant decision again! Unfortunately, dinner was a miss.

Himalayan Flavors Berkeley California CA

Clockwise from the top: Mixed tandoor, Buckwheat pancake w/ onion, herbs, & spices, Mushrooms & eggplant in onion tomato sauce w/ garlic & ginger, and Lentil soup

It took about 10 minutes to place our order and another 20 for me to get my glass of wine. The most flavorful dish that we had was the lentil soup and that comes complimentary with each entree. The food was cooked nicely but lacked any flavor. We also ordered the dishes medium hot and there was no heat at all. Each dish came with either basmati or brown rice so we ordered one of each but they only brought out basmati. Seeing as how it took over an hour for our food to come out, I didn’t bother asking for anything else.

Like I said, it’s a good thing lunch worked out! But the night ended on a high note when we got back and Nathan turned the TV on.

Mariah Carey Christmas Michael Buble

Best. Christmas song. Ever.

Mariah Carey saved the night with her duet with Michael Buble. All I Want for Christmas is You is obviously the best Christmas song out there and I made Nathan suffer through it. So maybe it ended on a high note for me 😉 Regardless, we’re going to have a fabulous dinner of dim sum leftovers tonight and I’m psyched!

I hope your holiday was just as wonderful as ours!

Food for Thought

Do you celebrate Christmas?
What was your favorite part of the day?

What I Ate Wednesday #66: Cheers!

I have to be honest, if I posted my eats from the past couple days, it would be less than interesting. So I think I’ll spare you 😉

Nathan and I do have some pretty big Christmas plans, however, and I’ll be sharing those pictures soon. Dim sum for lunch and Indian for dinner with Anchorman II in between.. it’s the Jewish way to celebrate and it’s going to be a delicious day! In the meantime, if you’re celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Acetaia Pedroni di Modena Italy Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Lunch 2

Breaking out the honeymoon pic!

Cheers!

Food for Thought

How are you spending your Christmas day?

What I Ate Wednesday #28 – A Jewish Christmas

I can’t believe it’s the last WIAW of the year! 2012 has flown by faster than I ever thought possible and I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season. I have absolutely loved seeing all of the posts and pictures with all of your holiday traditions. It definitely made me wish I was celebrating Christmas this year! But since we don’t, yesterday was a pretty normal day for us.. besides sleeping in on a Tuesday 😉

Barr & Table Christmas Holiday What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peas Crayons Carrots N Cake Sweet Breakfast Scramble JIF

[Breakfast]
I reached the end of a jar of JIF Natural, so naturally my sweet breakfast scramble was dumped right in there! And of course, it was topped with a little extra PB and some homemade almond butter (I started with Chelsey’s recipe as a guide). A side of freshly brewed cinnamon coffee was more than welcome.

[Lunch]
I didn’t snap a shot, but we went to my parent’s house for “brunch”.. aka bagels, lox, whitefish, etc. Imagine it looked something like this..

Jewish Christmas Brunch Bagels Lox Salmon Whitefish Cheese

Except I had a salad with chicken on top and some lox and whitefish on the side. My mom makes all of the fish herself, so I can never pass it up!

I also brought over a blueberry crisp that made almost exactly like my apple crisp. This time, knowing that it would be going into the oven the next day to warm it up, I decided to bring the blueberries to a boil on the stove with lemon juice, lemon zest, xylitol, and cornstarch to thicken it up. Then I refrigerated it overnight, topped it with granola right before going in the oven, and baked for about 20 minutes. It was heavenly!

And since I didn’t get to snap a picture of my lunch, I decided to share with you my gangster look. What can I say, it got warm in the car!

[Snack]
Homemade almond butter mixed with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter on celery sticks. Try this.. you won’t be disappointed!

[Dinner]
Leftovers galore! I mixed the last of my roasted squash and turkey stew with some Asian style tofu macadamia nut stuffing, quinoa, roasted broccoli, pecans, and a little chili sauce. It was delicious!

[Dessert]
Sliced apple with peanut fluff and 1/2 crumbled white chocolate cherry macadamia nut cookie.

I certainly didn’t have the typical Christmas day meals but they definitely hit the spot!

Food for Thought

What was your favorite dish this holiday season?

White Chocolate Cherry Macadamia Nut Cookies

The holidays are a time for baking and I’m always looking for new cookie recipes to try. I’ve recently seen tons of cookies with dried cranberries but in my house, we’re big dried cherry fans. They’re bigger, juicier, and more flavorful than cranberries so wherever I can substitute, I do!

White Chocolate Cherry Macadamia Nut Cookies

Makes 20-24 Cookies
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Barr & Table Christmas Holiday Cookies Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chunk Dried Cherry Macadamia Nut

Ingredients
1/2 cup unbleached cake flour [I use King Arthur]
1/8 cup vanilla protein powder [I use PlantFusion]
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup Brummel & Brown
1/4 cup xylitol* [You can sub regular white sugar or other sugar substitute]
1/4 cup demarara sugar* [You can sub regular dark brown sugar]
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup white chocolate chunks [I use Ghirardelli White Chocolate]
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries

*These ingredients can be found on iHerb.com. Use code ZAF482 to receive $5 off of your first order.

Barr & Table Christmas Holiday Cookies Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chunk Dried Cherry Macadamia Nut

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, protein powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream Brummel & Brown, xylitol, and demarara sugar until light. Add egg white and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Finally, gently fold in oats, white chocolate chunks, macadamia nuts, and dried cherries.

Roll dough into 1″ balls, place on baking sheets, and flatten tops just a little. Bake about 12-14 minutes until slightly browned, turning halfway through. Let cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Nutritional Stats
Per cookie

75 Calories  /  3g Fat  /  9g Carbs  /  1g Fiber  /  4g Sugar  /  2g Protein

Food for Thought

What is your favorite holiday cookie?

What I Ate Wednesday #27 – A Day of Rest

I’m extending my Just My Imagination giveaway! You now have until Thursday, 12/20 at 11:59 PM EST to enter! Get your entries in 🙂

Who’da thunk running around non-stop for 2 weeks would completely wear you out? It just doesn’t make sense, right?!

Sunday was the first time we actually had a chance to rest and even though we planned on going to the outlets (the week before Christmas, no less) we never made it out of our PJs. I have no idea the last time this happened but there were no complaints! And I’m not sure I even realized that we literally did nothing all day until I went to lock the door before bed and it was still locked from the night before.

I happily laid around on Sunday and made some delicious meals. But before sharing them with you, I have to congratulate Jenn for celebrating her 100th WIAW “birthday!” And thanks for including everyone in your fun parties 🙂

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peas and Crayons Carrots N Cake Sweet Breakfast Scramble Baked Eggs Kale Spinach Delicata Squash Chicken Cacciatore[Breakfast]
I just can’t stop! The Sweet Breakfast Scramble is a habit hard to break.

[Lunch]
Kale & quinoa salad with a baked omelette on top! For whatever reason, I was in an egg kinda mood, so I decided to try and recreate a baked HUMONGOUS omelette I had in Florida. Unfortunately, it was not even close to as fluffy and large as the one I had before, but it was still delicious.. filled to the brim with sauteed broccoli and feta cheese. Yum!

[Dinner]
Another kale salad! This time topped with roasted delicata squash and a lightened up version of chicken cacciatore. I started with a Martha Stewart recipe and added tons of extra red bell pepper, red onion, and a splash of white wine. It was full of flavor and so easy.. definitely recommend trying this recipe!

[Snacks]
Clementines, celery, peanut butter, dried figs, and dried apricots were consumed over the course of the day. I could eat those things all day long!

As this week continues, I find myself hoping for another Sunday in my PJs. Oh how I love the holiday season 😉

Food for Thought

Have you been running around like crazy lately or have you found yourself with time to relax?