Foodie Friday: Charoset. The Jewish Larabar.

One of the staples on the sedar table, and part of the sedar plate, is the charoset. It is meant to represent the mortar used by the Israelites in Ancient Egypt. There are 2 main kinds of charoset; Ashkenazi, made from chopped apples, walnuts, honey, and spices, and Sephardic, which is more of a paste made with dates and figs.

Growing up, my family always had the Ashkenazi version, but in more recent years we’ve also had the Sephardic version on the table. As soon as I tasted this, I instantly fell in love. I’m telling you, it’s like a homemade Jewish Larabar! How could it be bad?

Charoset

Makes approximately 4 cups

Sephardic Charoset Passover Jewish Homemade Larabar Barr & Table

Ingredients
– 1 cup pitted dates
– 1 cup figs
– 1 cup dried apricots
– 1 cup golden raisins
– 1 bananas
– 1 cup pistachios
– 1/2 cup crystallized ginger
– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1 tsp cardamom
– Rind and juice of 1 orange
– 1 cup or more port or Passover wine
– Honey to taste

Directions
Add all ingredients into a large food processor and process until relatively smooth. You do still want to have some bits of pistachio and dried fruit. It’s like a delicious surprise 🙂

I’m telling you, if you’re a fan of Larabars, you have to make this! It is definitely a crowd pleaser and I plan on having it on hand year-round now! So glad I got the recipe from my cousin, Amy!

Sprint

Food for Thought

Have you ever made your own homemade fruit and nut bars? What is your favorite combination of ingredients?

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 • 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 #9 – Wedding Crashers

Remember when I said I found the best part of wedding planning? Well I think in the last 2 weeks I’ve found 2 more things that rival for the best part—dress shopping and band shopping!

First and foremost, I got a dress! And I love it and I want to wear it all the time and I can’t wait to put it on again! Wanna see pictures?! You got it! On May 12, 2013  😉

After it took 5 months to find the right venue, I was worried that dress shopping was going to be a complete nightmare, but it was so much fun and it only took me 2 trips to say YES to the dress! (I had to.. really, I did.)

Secondly, band shopping has been a bit frustrating to start off. We’ve just been listening to tons of cliche demos all the while, trying not to laugh. Once we picked out a few bands we liked, we were told to go check them out. Sooooo we crashed a wedding! Yes, we were invited by the band management company, but not by the bride and groom. We got dressed up, turned it into a full on date night and had a great time!

Barr & Table Wedding Crashers Kaleidoscope Band

Now onto the eats..

Breakfast
Lately, I’ve been in love with protein pancakes. I was on quite a roll for awhile with the Tone It Up pineapple protein pancakes, but decided to switch it up. Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers has a recipe for banana bread protein pancakes that I tried awhile back and absolutely fell in love with! So now, I’m on a banana bread protein pancake kick that I just can’t seem to shake. And I’m totally ok with it! Top it off with my favorite Tone It Up bombshell spell and I’m in heaven!

Barr & Table What I Ate Wednesday WIAW Peanut Butter Fingers PBFingers Banana Bread Protein Pancakes Peanut Butter PB Tone It Up TIU Bombshell Spell

Lunch
A delicious spicy Asian chicken and vegetable dish with whole wheat couscous. So delicious, that I didn’t get a picture!

Snack
Strawberry yogurt bites. A little something sweet that I whipped up in no time!

Barr & Table Strawberry Yogurt Bites Chobani Dannon Oikos Vanilla Greek Yogurt Banana Almonds Cinnamon

Dinner
Since we had to get all dressed up anyway, we figured we might as well head to a new restaurant for an impromptu date night!

Seasons 52 was the restaurant of choice. This restaurant uses seasonally inspired ingredients with a menu that is updated weekly. (Get it? Seasonally updated.. 52 weeks in a year..)

Nathan chose it because he loves me.. aka everything on the menu is 475 calories or less. And it doesn’t hurt that the menu sounded awesome!

Barr & Table Seasons 52 Restaurant Salmon Salad Jicama Watermelon Refresher Flatbread Pizza Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Mocha Macchiato

I ordered the organic arugula salad with watermelon, grilled golden beets, jicama, toasted pistachios, and a side of lemongrass salmon. The salad was amazingly delicious and the salmon tasted like it was totally indulgent, but it wasn’t! On the side, I enjoyed a wonderful watermelon refresher. I’m a sucker for any kind of watermelon cocktail!

Nathan got the ripe plum tomato flatbread with fresh basil, roasted garlic, and parmesan cheese, and a mixed green salad on the side. The flatbread was everything a flatbread should be. Super thin, crispy crust, not a ton of cheese, and nice and light.

And because our meals were so light and wonderful, we topped it off with their mini indulgences. I had the chocolate peanut butter mousse and Nathan ordered the mocha macchiato. Both fantastic, but I think I won the dessert round! He kept trying to sneak little bites!

My one complaint about Seasons 52 is that the closest one is an hour away. That said, we might have to visit friends in the area more so we can go back 🙂

Fitness

Jess Blonde Ponytail GNC Lean Legs Circuit Tabata Workout Barr & Table

I’m not gonna lie, I totally killed it at the gym the other night. But my favorite part of my workout was the GNC lean leg circuit from Jess at Blonde Ponytail. If you watch the video, she tells you to do 3 rounds of this circuit, but if you’re up for the challenge, you can do it tabata style, or 8 times through.

As I got through the first 3 sets, I thought “alright, this isn’t so bad.. let’s take it to 5!” Got to 5 sets and thought “I’m doing it.. I’m going for all 8 sets!” I finished all 8 sets in 20 minutes and felt awesome! And 2 days later, I’m remembering each and every one of those moves every time I stand up. Hurts so good!

Speak Up!

Have you tried a new restaurant recently? What was the best part of your meal?