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?

Spaghetti Squash Kugel

Every year, Passover sneaks up on me and I’m never quite prepared. But over the past couple years, I’ve really learned a lot about food and nutrition. So this year, especially, I was excited to put my new knowledge to work.

Kugel is a traditional Jewish dish make with egg noodles, but that’s obviously a no-go on Passover. Seeing how people have been using spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute, I thought this could be the way to a successful Passover kugel.

I made 2 single-serving kugels, but this recipe can easily be multiplied to make a full dish.

Spaghetti Squash Kugel

Makes 2 servings

Spaghetti Squash Kugel Passover Recipe Barr & Table

Ingredients
– 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash
– 1 egg white
– 1/2 tbsp Brummel & Brown
– 1 tbsp xylitol [You can substitute raw sugar or white sugar]
– 2 tbsp light cream cheese
– 2 tbsp 0% plain Chobani
– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
– Pinch of salt

Optional Mix-ins
– Raisins
– Apples
– Sliced almonds

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, whip the egg white into stiff peaks and set aside. I highly recommend whipping the egg white with an electric mixer.. unless you want a really good arm workout!

In a medium bowl, melt Brummel & Brown. Mix in xylitol, salt, cinnamon, cream cheese, and Chobani in that order. Fold in spaghetti squash and raisins and taste. At this point, adjust any seasonings to taste if you like it sweeter. Finally, gently fold in the whipped egg white.

Divide the mixture equally into 2 greased ramekins and sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon. Bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked through and serve immediately.

Nutritional Information
Per single ramekin without mix-ins

96 Calories  /  4g Fat  /  13g Carbs  /  1g Fiber  /  4g Sugar  /  5g Protein

Food for Thought

Do you have a favorite Passover recipe?

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?

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?! 😉

[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! 🙂

[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?