Foodie Friday: Southwestern Black Bean Salad

There are some nights where s’mores, wine, and popcorn are dinner. Last night was one of those nights and I have no complaints. I met up with the Tone It Up girls again for a bonfire night. The fire took a little while to get started, but in the meantime, the wine kept us quite happy. And once we got the fire roaring, the s’mores were flowing!

Tone It Up TIU SF Bonfire

Confession: This wasn’t our fire. We stole someone else’s for the picture. #firefail

Tone It Up TIUsf Bonfire

This was our real fire! Yay us!

Smores Tone It Up TIU

YUMMMMM!

I’ve been seriously craving some s’mores recently with all of the posts about s’mores cookies, ice cream, etc. so this was way past due! And there may or may not have been a second.. with banana. If only I could say this cured the craving. I think now I just want more! But it’s all about balanace, right? So that’s why I have a super healthy salad post today. Chococolate, marshmallows, and black beans.. why not?

Southwestern Black Bean Salad

Make 8 side servings

Southwest Salad Black Bean Edamame Corn

Ingredients
– 1 can reduced sodium black beans; drained & rinsed
– 1 cup edamame
– 1 cup corn [I used Trader Joe’s Frozen Roasted Corn]
– 3 roma tomatoes; diced
– 1/2 lime; juiced
– 1 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– Salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and fold together until thoroughly mixed. Serve as a side, on a salad, as a dip, etc. and enjoy!

Southwestern Black Bean Edamame Salad

Nutritional Information
Per 1/2 cup serving

111 Calories  /  2g Fat  /  18g Carbs  /  5g Fiber  /  4g Sugar  /  6g Protein

Sprint 2 the Table

I don’t know how strange it is, but it certainly is good!

Food for Thought

Have you had banana s’mores before?
What’s your favorite s’mores combo?

What I Ate Wednesday #41: My Bridal Shower!

I love “special editions” of WIAW and this week’s is definitely special. Sunday I started out my day at the opening day of the Baltimore Farmers’ Market where I enjoyed a fresh beet, carrot, apple juice [I’m obsessed now] and a coffee from Zeke’s [they’re famous around here!] After that I headed out to my bridal shower; it was incredible! My two aunts put the whole thing together and they did a wonderful job. There were 35 people there to celebrate with me [I couldn’t believe it!], my parent’s house was completely transformed, the food was delicious, and everyone had a great time. It was a success, for sure.

There were tons of pictures from that day [mostly very embarrassing faces while I’m opening gifts!] but I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

Quinoa Caprese Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Sundried Chicken Salad Barr & Table Bridal Shower What I Ate Wednesday WIAW

On the Menu
– Mixed greens
– Fresh tomato, mozzarella, & basil salad
– Quinoa and pea salad [so good!]
– Sun dried tomato pasta salad
– Lemon herb chicken salad
– Chocolate kiss truffles


– Mini jeweled shortbread cookies
– Raspberry lemonade cupcakes

There was a serious spread and it was all homemade! I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for days.. definitely not complaining about that! All of the food was so light and fresh; I don’t know that I had one favorite in particular. I do have to say I’m usually not a chicken salad fan but this one was great. I’ll have to get the recipe 🙂

Barr & Table Bridal Shower Gifts What I Ate Wednesday WIAW

A little gift opening fun.. of course I super excited about my brand new Calphalon grill pan! Living in an apartment, one of the biggest disadvantages is not being able to grill. Hopefully this will help us get by a little easier. And check out my awesome bouquet! Can’t wait to use that for the rehearsal.. though I might skip the head piece 😉

I’m pretty sure this last picture was my “speech”. I’m so articulate and eloquent [and sarcastic..]

Barr & Table Bridal Shower What I Ate Wednesday WIAW

And finally, pictures with some of my favorite people. My mom, my friends, my bridesmaids, and of course, a picture with the Tone It Up girls. I’m so happy everyone was there to celebrate with me! It was such a fantastic whirlwind of a day and I’m so thankful for everyone that came and helped get it together!

And in case you need a little something sweet..

Chocolate Kiss Truffles

Makes 60 truffles

Ingredients
– 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
– 1/4 cup butter
– 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 60 unwrapped chocolate kisses or hugs
– 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
– 1 tsp vegetable oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Remove from heat. Add vanilla, flour, and nuts and mix well.

Shape one tbsp of dough around each candy kiss. Place one inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes. Do not overbake!

Remove from cookie sheets and cool until firm to the touch. Melt white chocolate and oil together. Drizzle over cooled truffles.

Food for Thought

When was the last time you threw a party for someone? Did you make all of the food yourself or did you have it catered?

*Many thanks to Kate for letting me steal some pics! 😉

A Soup in Review

As you may or may not have realized, I’m a creature of habit. I definitely like to try new things, but have my “regular” breakfasts that I make as well as regular meals I order when I go out.

Panera is one of those places that I stick to my regulars. I usually go for one of their Signature Salads, but every now and then I get a little crazy and get a “You Pick Two.” A chilly night calls for a bowl of soup and the Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto was calling my name!

A low-fat vegetarian soup with diced tomatoes, sliced zucchini, yellow beans, fresh Swiss chard, cauliflower, bell peppers and pearled barley in a tomato broth. Garnished with a dollop of nut-free basil pesto.

Panera Bread Low Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable Soup Pesto Thai Chicken Salad FoodBuzz

Of course, I also went with one of my staples on the side; Thai Chopped Chicken salad, and I was glad that I did. While the soup was good, the taste didn’t quite live up to the description. It was a decent vegetable soup, but I definitely felt like it was missing something. I’m not sure I would really recommend this soup to anyone, unless they were looking for something light with not a ton of flavor.

Looking back, it was definitely missing something.. see that dollop of nut-free basil pesto? Yea. Me neither.

I’ve enjoyed the soups at Panera before, so I wouldn’t simply pass judgement on all of the soups on the menu from this one experience. And even though it was a bit disappointing, I think I would go back and give this soup a try again. With the pesto!


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Foodbuzz. I was provided a gift certificate and compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.

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?

What I Ate Wednesday #6 – Heavy Seas Ale House

I love nothing more than trying new things.. especially when it comes to food! I’ve been mixing up my meals a bit this week and trying new easy recipes. I also got to try a new restaurant in Baltimore; Heavy Seas Ale House. The food was delicious and the drinks were even better! So let’s get to it, shall we?!

Breakfast

Perfect morning quinoa with blueberries & almonds and a Bombshell Spell. All directly from the lovely Tone It Up Nutrition Plan!

Barr & Table Tone It Up Perfect Breakfast Quinoa Raisins Banana Almonds Almond Milk Bombshell Spell

Sensible Snack #1

1/2 grapefruit sprinkled with stevia. Alright, so not everything is getting mixed up this week, but what can I say? I’m a fan of the grapefruit!

Barr & Table Tone It Up Sensible Snack Peas and Crayons Grapefruit

Lunch

Summer shrimp salad.. another one from the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. This is such a great meal for warm days! It’s so light and delicious and frankly, I’m a fan of topping anything with avocado!

Barr & Table Tone It Up TIU Summer Shrimp Salad Tomato Corn Avocado Zucchini

Sensible Snack #2

GT’s Guava Goddess Kombucha is one of my absolute favorite drinks lately! If you have never heard of or tried Kombucha, get on it! And I would highly recommend the Guava Goddess, Gingerade, and Gingerberry flavors.

I was also so excited to try The Good Bean Chocolate Berry bar. These bars are full of fruit and no nuts! Typically I love almonds and cashews and other nuts in my bars, but this one replaces that crunchy texture with chick peas. So delicious and you really don’t miss the nut! (And how can you top dark chocolate and berries?!)

Barr & Table Tone It Up TIU M4 GTs Synergy Guava Goddess Kombucha The Good Bean Chocolate Berry No-Nut Bar

Dinner

We celebrated my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary at Heavy Seas Ale House. Nathan and I had only been there once before for drinks, but had been wanting to return and try the food; we’d heard so many good reviews!

Heavy Seas has become known for their beer cocktails. The first time we went there, I got the Gold Ale Cucumber Margarita. Holy yum!

“Heavy Seas Gold Ale”, resposado tequila, fresh lime juice, cucumber and house made golden ale syrup with a salted rim.

This time I had to try something new.. here we haveAny Port in the Storm. Again, holy yum!

Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, house made ginger syrup, lime juice, and “Heavy Seas Gold Ale”

Barr & Table Heavy Seas Ale House Any Port in the Storm 8.25  Gosling's Black Seal Rum, house made ginger syrup, lime juice, and "heavy Seas Gold Ale"

We started out with 1/2 dozen raw Washington oysters. I’m not a big oyster fan, but I always try one when we get them. My parents loved them! I much preferred the Spicy Beer Nuts. I would definitely recommend them, but watch out.. they’re addicting and the spice builds!

Pecans tossed with sweet spices and “Marzen”

Barr & Table Heavy Seas Ale House Appetizers Raw Washington Oysters Spiced Beer Nuts Pecans

My mom and I both got the Crispy Rockfish Special over mussels and cockles, topped with zucchini, roasted corn, & bacon in a tomato broth. Delicious! I was happy to learn that crispy didn’t mean fried. It was cooked in a pan, skin on, so the skin was nice and crispy, but the fish was not at all oily.

Barr & Table Heavy Seas Ale House Rockfish Corn Zucchini Tomato Bacon Mussels Cockles

We finished off with a lovely Flourless Chocolate Cake with bay leaf chantilly creme on a beautifully (and deliciously!) decorated plate. And to our surprise, every table gets to end their meal with these wonderful homemade mini chocolate chip cookies with a touch of spice! I have to say, I think I preferred the cookie to the cake!

Barr & Table Heavy Seas Ale House Flourless Chocolate Cake Bay Leaf Creme Chantilly Mini Chocolate Chip Spice Cookies

I will definitely be returning to Heavy Seas to try some more delicious food! I hear the burgers and oyster po boy sandwiches are out of this world, so I think next time we’ll be trying out their lunch dishes. Can’t wait to report in on that!

Speak Up!

What’s the best dish you’ve had a restaurant recently?

Barr & Table Guest Post! Spicy Chili Shrimp & Green Beans with Avocado Salad

Check out my guest blog for Bess Be Fit!

Bess Be Fit

Hi everyone, I’m Brittany from Barr & Table. I’m so excited to be doing this guest post for Bess while she’s putting her feet up with a drink in her hand. Me? Jealous? No way! 😉

I want to share a delicious recipe that I’ve created for days that you just have no time and need to fit a quick dinner in between work and the gym. This honestly may be the fastest dinner I’ve ever made. I tweeted Bess a little sneak peek and I think that took longer than making the entire dinner.

Spicy Chili Shrimp & Green Beans with Avocado Salad

Ingredients

Spicy Chili Shrimp & Green Beans
¼ lb thawed shrimp
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 cups green beans

Avocado Salad
½ avocado, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
¼ – ½ onion, diced
1 clove garlic…

View original post 286 more words

5-Minute Chunky Guacamole

Guacamole is one of those condiments that makes just about everything better. It’s definitely a summer staple in my house!

Whether you’re eating it with chips and salsa or as an accompaniment to a protein (a tortilla-less chicken enchilada, maybe?) it just gives everything that little extra bit of flavor and creaminess. And this recipe could not be any easier!

5-Minute Chunky Guacamole

Makes about 3 cups

Barr & Table 5-Minute Chunky Guacamole

Ingredients
4 ripe Haas avocados, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced; preferably red, but white or vidalia works too
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 tbsp lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

Directions
Dice the avocados, onion, and tomato into 1/2″ chunks. Toss into a bowl with the lemon juice, to prevent the avocado from browning. Add your minced garlic clove and jalapeno, plus salt and pepper to taste, and toss gently. You just want to mix enough to combine all of the ingredients well, but not mash anything up.

Enjoy this as a dip, on top of fish tacos, or any other way you prefer!

Barr & Table 5-Minute Chunky Guacamole

Speak Up!

Do you prefer your guacamole chunky or mashed?

Summer Salad with Peach Mango Dressing

I love summer and of course the deliciously fresh fruits that come along with it!

I’m always looking for ways to spice up my salads and after a nice grocery haul at the farmers’ market last weekend, I had the ingredients to whip up a light and flavorful side dish for dinner.

Summer Salad with Peach Mango Dressing

Peach Mango Dressing

Yields about 1 cup

Barr & Table Peach Mango Dressing

Barr & Table Peach Mango Dressing

Ingredients
1 medium peach
1/2 mango
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 tbsp EVOO
1/2 – 1 tbsp honey to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Directions
Slice up the peach and mango. Throw all of your ingredients into a food processor except EVOO. As the processor is running, slowly drizzle the EVOO into the mixture, allowing it to emulsify.

Be sure to taste as you’re adding the honey, salt, and pepper to be sure you get the right sweetness and saltiness that you’re looking for! It’s that easy!

Summer Salad

As far as it goes adding fruits and veggies to your salads, I always try to choose the freshest ingredients I can get. This week I was able to find strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, tomato, green pepper, cucumber, vidalia onion, and crisp green onion. The lighter flavors of the vegetables I chose really accent the fresh fruit!

Barr & Table Summer Salad

Toss it all together with a fresh spring mix (my favorite!) and top with dried cherries, sunflower seeds, and your delicious Peach Mango dressing.

Barr & Table Summer Salad with Peach Mango Dressing

Speak Up!

What are your favorite fruits and veggies of summer?