What I Ate Wednesday #80: How Bizarre

You’re welcome.

Apparently Nathan sent me this video last week and that’s why I’ve had it stuck in my head. And it totally applies to my food for the past few days too. You’re in for a real treat today! Haha I realized that I’ve been doing a lot of “roast and throw into a bowl” recently and while I often make it a point to make my plates look nice, it’s been pretty comical lately.

Day drinking on Sunday called for a random throw together dinner. Neither of us felt like cooking..

Kabocha Carrots Garlic Avocado Egg

Roasted kabocha with nutritional yeast, microwaved egg,
baby carrots, roasted garlic avocado spread.

Frozen bananas and leftover fresh mint made a delicious, but not so pretty dessert.

Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Ice Cream

Mint chocolate chip protein banana “ice cream”.

And a busy day running around with only time to throw more leftovers into the microwave for lunch looks a little something like this..

Spaghetti Squash Casserole Frittata

Spaghetti squash casserole, leftover frittata, peas, and sriracha.

And finally, last night’s dinner. Another crazy day and working late turned into buffalo kabocha and brussels.

Buffalo Kabocha Squash Brussels Sprouts Nutritional Yeast

Roasted kabocha and brussels with buffalo sauce and nutritional yeast.

I was going to make a joke about how nutritional yeast “really does taste like cheese!” It kind of drives me nuts when people substitute so many ingredients and say it tastes the same as the real deal [note the “ice cream” in quotes above] and then I realized that it honestly is a darn good substitute to make mac and cheese. Good deal for vegans πŸ˜‰

Also, I’m wondering if it’s possible to roast a kabocha squash and not eat the entire thing in one day. Has anyone had such luck? I have not, but I’m kind of ok with it.

Food for Thought

What’s your favorite bizarre meal?
Any interest in the mint chocolate chip protein ice cream recipe?

What I Ate Wednesday #75: We Did It Right

I think in the process of running my parents all around the bay area, we ran ourselves into the ground a little too. Unfortunately, they’re heading back home today and as much as I may need a little more sleep, I don’t want them to go. It has really felt so much more like home with them here. If I had my whole family with me, I wouldn’t think twice about where I was. Anywhere. I miss ’em already but Nathan and I both made sure we did it right!

There was some healthy food…
The Plant Cafe

Venus Breakfast Berkeley California

…some home cooked meals…
Sweet Potato Zucchini Red Pepper Frittata

Black rice bowl chipotle orange chicken Half Baked Harvest

Jerk shrimp fried plantain wheat berries Half Baked Harvest

…some brunching…
Challah French Toast Tomate Cafe

…a little pizza…
Zacharys Chicago Style Pizza

…more than one ice cream/gelato trip…
Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Chunk Gelato

Coffee Break Chocolate Peanut Butter Tuckers Ice Cream Alameda

…LOTS of Asian food…
Coffee Ribs Lai Hong Lounge

Eel Clay Pot Lai Hong Lounge

Pea Shoots Lai Hong Lounge

Sake Jime Salmon Iyasare

Iyasare Berkeley California

Drunken Noodles Spice I Am

Spicy Grilled Pork Bibimbop HRD Coffee Shop

Chisari Yojimbo Alameda

Sushi Yojimbo Alameda

…a few drinks all around…
Bear Republic Beer Sampler

Lagunitas Beer Sampler 2

Lagunitas Beer Sampler

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee

21st Amendment

…and so many incredible memories.
Bear Republic Cheers

Buena Vista Cafe Irish Coffee Cheers

I absolutely cannot wait to see them again. It’s been such a great week. Cheers!

Food for Thought

Where is your favorite place to take out-of-town visitors?

Foodie Friday: Balsamic Tasting in Modena

You think you know balsamic vinegar? Think again.

One of my most favorite meals and overall experiences from the honeymoon was in Modena, Italy. It was another recommendation from Anthony Bourdain and it was absolutely worth every calorie!

Pedroni. It’s the only name you need to know. We drove from Florence to the Osteria in Modena. As we walked in, we were greeted by the owner; an older, 80-something man, who speaks strictly Italian. And when I say we were greeted, I mean Mr. Pedroni yelled at us in Italian for a few minutes, picked up a rotary phone, dialed a few numbers, hung up, and then continued to yell at us. If you could only see the stunned look on our faces.. Luckily a woman came out speaking English and was ready to take us on a tour.

Acetaia Pedroni di Modena Italy Balsamic Vinegar Tour

We learned all about the process of making balsamic vinegar from start to finish, which, in their case, is sometimes over 25 years! At Pedroni, they do everything in-house, all the way down to the bottling, so while they are making large batches, they only produce 80-100 bottles per year. The rest of the vinegar gets to sit in the wood barrels and continue to age. After the tour was over, it was time to taste!

Aceto Balsamic Tradizonale di Modena

We started small; balsamic vinegar jam. Holy moly, that stuff was so tasty! The first thing Nathan and I both noticed was that we didn’t get that pucker in the backs of our mouths that we often get from vinegars that we buy at home. It was very smooth and as we continued down the line, it got even better! We tasted four different vinegars; we started with the Italo, aged for 12 years, it was like nothing we had ever tasted before. Followed by the 15-year aged Umberto, this vinegar was aged in oak and juniperwood barrels giving it more of a spicy flavor. The Giuseppe, or the “Extra Old” vinegar, is aged 25 years in oak and chestnut woods. And finally, the Claudio. This cream of the crop “Extravecchio” is aged over 25 years in chestnut and cherry woods. It is so silky, smooth and has a slight fruity flavor. If only it weren’t so pricy, we would have taken home a barrel! πŸ˜‰

We did, however, bring home a bottle of the Italo and a few jars of the jam. We just couldn’t leave without it; there is nothing that we’ve ever tasted before that could compare. And we will definitely be ordering more when we sadly finish this bottle!

Happily, the tasting didn’t end there. It was lunch time! We started with a bottle of their homemade sparkling red wine. YUM! [We will also be adding that to our online order.] The pasta was served family-style but it was just for the two of us so we had no problem digging right in!

Acetaia Pedroni di Modena Italy Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Lunch

First Course
Fresh ricotta tortelloni drizzled with the Italo vinegar. Have you ever had fresh pasta? It completely melts in your mouth. I could have eaten the whole plate myself!

Second Course
Tagliatelle with ragu sauce drizzled with the Umberto vinegar. Northern Italian ragu is completely different then what you’d expect. It’s more of a meat sauce with just a touch of tomato. Pasta ragu was definitely one of my favorite meals to get on the entire trip. We added a little extra vinegar for those last little bites πŸ˜‰

Third Course
Chicken with onions, a couple ribs, and frittata drizzled with the Giuseppe. To say that this frittata was the best I’ve ever had would be an understatement. Nathan, who never ate eggs before, asked me if I would kindly follow the recipe and make him one at home. He devoured it!

Dessert
Crema gelato drizzled with the 25+ aged Claudio. Good golly! We practically licked all of our plates and bowls clean, which is a very good thing because Mr. Pedroni does not let you leave without finishing everything on your plate!

And if that wasn’t enough, they brought about 9 or 10 bottles of different liqueurs, one being their homemade grappa. Being the polite guest that I am, I promptly began tasting! I might have had 1/10th of a shot of each.. I don’t think I could handle any more but I sure am glad I tried all of them.

Acetaia Pedroni di Modena Italy Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Lunch 2

Nathan and I wrapped up our amazing [and incredible filling!] two-hour meal and concurred that this was one of our top experiences of the trip. If we do make it back to the Tuscany area, you can bet we’ll be heading to Pedroni for lunch!

Food for Thought

What is the best experience you’ve ever had at a restaurant?

When you return to a travel destination, do you go back to the same places, or do you try something new?

What I Ate Wednesday #18 – FitBloggin’ Eats!

This past weekend was spent at FitBloggin’ and it was a weekend full of fun workouts and delicious food. So delicious that I was often going back for seconds. But that’s ok because of all of the workouts, right? Right!

And you bet I tasted everything on the menu!

Weight Watchers Quinoa Strawberry Muesli Fruit Chicken Bean Salad Turkey Sandwich Pear Celery Root Puree PopChips Oatmeal Granola Salmon FitBloggin 2012 Baltimore Maryland MD

[Breakfast]

Friday – Sponsored by Weight Watchers Cheese

  • Hot breakfast quinoa
  • Cheese-stuffed turkey breakfast sausage
  • Cheesy quinoa frittata
  • Strawberry whipped cream cheese muesli [big time fave! I’ll be creating this one at home!]
  • Fresh fruit
  • Coffee

Saturday

  • Oatmeal and quinoa bar with fruit fixins
  • Hardboiled Egglands Best eggs
  • Coffee

[Lunch]

Friday

  • Puree of Celery Root Soup With Apple Mascarpone and Chive Oil
  • Mixed Green Salad With Sliced Almonds, Cranberries and Pears in a Lemon-Champagne Dressing
  • Five-Bean Salad With Chickpeas, Soybeans, Kidney Beans, Black Beans and Crisp Green Beans With Red Onion and Tomato in a Sherry Vinegar Dressing
  • 15-Spice Slow-Roasted Chicken
  • Prairie Grain Baguette with Roasted Turkey, Gouda, Butter Lettuce and Dill Aoli

Saturday

  • Mushroom Tea Soup
  • Local Greens With Shaved Fennel, Radish, Tomato Confit and Basil Dressing
  • Quinoa Salad With Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Red Onion and Cilantro
  • Broiled Salmon With Wilted Greens
  • Grilled Mediterranean Vegetables on Focaccia With Hummus and Sprouts

[Snacks]

There were so many snacks in between sessions and after workouts that I couldn’t keep track. But they were all delicious and included some of the following:

  • Hardboiled Egglands Best eggs
  • Bagel thins with The Laughing Cow cream cheeses [Cinnamon cream cheese people! I need to find it!]
  • SoyJoy bars
  • Popchips! Soooo many popchips!

[Dinner]

We were on our own for dinner, so Friday night I met up with Nathan and we headed over to our favorite bar, Max’s, for German Beer Fest (so FitBloggin’-appropriate, right?!) I essentially had a liter of beer for dinner because I didn’t like the way the food menu looked. NBD.

Maxs Taphouse Broadway Baltimore Maryland MD

P.S. Nathan did get another liter after his baby beer πŸ˜‰

Saturday I went with a bunch of the lovely bloggers over to Blue Agave, a local restaurant with a Mexican-inspired flare, and had a house salad and a skinny girl margarita. Or 3. That gathering was followed by the FitBloggin’ reception, sponsored by Unilever. They passed some delicious bites, but my favorite was the orange-glazed turkey meatballs. They will definitely be making an appearance in my kitchen soon!

FitBloggin Baltimore Maryland MD Blue Agave Blogger Dinner Gathering

[Goals]
While my past few weeks goals have been fitness-oriented in pushing myself for a better time in future 5K races, this week I want to concentrate on food. I’ve definitely found myself falling off the healthy-eating wagon over the weekends (see the liter of beer for dinner above!), so I want to challenge everyone to a healthy weekend ahead! That’s not to say I won’t have a few drinks over the course of the weekend, but like the Tone It Up girls say, weekends make up almost half of the month. That’s a lot to fall off of the wagon! So let’s do this πŸ™‚

Speak Up!

What are your goals this week? Do you have trouble staying on track over the weekends?