Posts Tagged ‘restaurant review

07
Mar
11

75% and apple chips

We’re nearly to Orlando – in Savannah, GA as a matter of fact.  As often as I visit Georgia, I have never been here and intend to eventually come back just to see the historic area and to mosey down River Street, eating a yummy praline from River Street Sweets

Ever had one of these?  My aunt occasionally brings them when they visit during the holidays and they make me so happy to be Southern!  If you need a chocolate fix, they can handle that too!  Their bear claws are simply amazing and more than enough richness to satisfy a sweet tooth!

Salivating yet?  Sadly, with only one night stay here, there’s no way I’ll get to their store this time around.  Trust me, I’m ok with that since we’ll be sitting in Orlando later this afternoon under sunny skies, unlike these that we saw nearly the whole way here:Don’t let those birds or the peek of sun fool you.  Those skies spelled doom for drivers and we had an onslaught of vision-hindering rain for at least an hour.  We did sidetrip to B.F.E., NC to see my parent’s new property.  They invested in it a few years back, right before the real estate market took a nosedive. 

It’s seen progress in the 3 years since, and by “progress” I mean 3 developed properties on a total of 100 lots. 

Great views.  Few neighbors. No amenities.. yet.

In any case, meandering sidetrips and speed-decreasing weather mean that car snacks are a necessity.  Luckily enough, I managed to whip up a convenient, healthy snack for the road (and I got to break out the food dehydrator again).  I really don’t use that machine enough!  I give you… dried apple chips!

Apple Chips

2 large sweet-tart apples (or any will do)

Food dehydrator

6 hours

Slice thinly and arrange on the tiers of your dehydrator.

Take a peek 4 hours into drying.

Bag ’em up 2 hours after that (less or more depending on your own machine) and throw ’em in the fridge.  Easy peasy! Just try keeping your travel buddies hands off of them.  Not so easy peasy!

Two large apples yielded a good sized bag and completely filled all tiers of my dehydrator.  I’d like to eventually buy a couple more levels and dry more at a time.  I also intend to do more experimenting with veggies.  I really have no reason for not using this thing more often!  The apple chips are amazing and very easy to throw into my gym bag for a post-workout treat!

We’re getting ready to see what’s in store for us at the continental breakfast.  I never have high hopes for such things, but we’ll see..

Until tomorrow… and Orlando!

06
Jan
11

New Frontiers

I have not been to a (strictly) vegan or vegetarian restaurant since approximately 2002.  I had ventured up to northern VA to visit my dear Pamela and she introduced me to Sunflower restaurant.  I’m fairly certain that it was my first attempt at eating tofu in the form of their Sweet & Sour Sensation and I vividly remember savoring the leftovers for lunch the next day.  Without that experience, I would not have been nearly as eager to try Quenna’s Raw & Vegan restaurant when she suggested it last week.

We visited for lunch one afternoon and were welcomed into a small, yet warm and inviting space with an open view of the kitchen and a handful of cozy tables.  It was perfect for spending a few hours catching up with one another while enjoying lunch at a slower pace.  We split the seaweed appetizer, described as

“Marinated Kush (Bulgur Wheat), Crushed Dried Hot Peppers, Onions, Garlic, and Parsley wrapped in Nori Seaweed”

The filling was perfectly spicy and very hearty.  Even splitting this dish, it would have sufficed for a full meal!

For my entree, I ordered the Mushroom Madness sandwich:

“Mushrooms, Marinated Tofu, Onions, Romaine Lettuce, Carrots, Beets, Spinach, Alfalfa Sprouts, Sesame Dressing and Tomato Sauce in a Pocketbook”

Holy moly! The veggies were deliciously crisp and fresh (the best beets I have ever had!) and the pita bread was perfectly soft with a great flavor.  I would LOVE to know exactly how she prepares the tofu as well.  It had a ton of flavor (I detected dill, but couldn’t pick out anything else) and was so filling!!  Pam ordered the Olamex burger

“Kush (Bulgur Wheat) marinated in Tomato Sauce, Marinated Tofu,Mushrooms, Onions, Romaine Lettuce, Tomatoes, Carrots, Beets, Spinach,Alfalfa Sprouts and Sesame Dressing in a Pocketbook”

This also had the kush that was in the seaweed appetizer, and a taste of the tofu that I had in my sandwich.  We were so impresssed with the combination of fresh veggies, the sauces and the bread.  I will certainly be back – I just wish there was way to successfully ship their food to Miami where Pam resides.  I know she would absolutely love it!

I’d say the full-on yumminess of those photos would be inspirational right?  It was for me, so I got my butt into the kitchen and whipped up some of my own marinated kush (bulgur wheat).

I started with this:

 

and ended up with this:

I literally giggled when I tried a bite and Belly-Laughing Bulgur was born.  It even took me only one container, one knife and one cutting board to make – so easy!

Belly-Laugh Bulgur

1 C dry bulgur wheat
2 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
1 tsp curry powder
2 Tbsps Bragg Aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
1 C warm water
1/2 C chopped fresh parsley
1/2 small white onion, finely diced
1/2 C shredded carrots
In large bowl (or container), pour in bulgur.  Sprinkle in garlic and seasonings and add Aminos (or soy sauce) and water.  Stir and allow to sit until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. 
Pre-soak

Post-soak

Meanhwile, chop parsley, dice onion and shred carrots. 
Stir into bulgur and refrigerate. 

The longer it sits in the fridge, the better it gets.  I’m on day #3 and it tastes amazing!  HEARTY belly-laugh amazing.  I can’t wait to use this method and change up the veggies and flavors, depending on the seasons.  I think a southwest version is on the agenda – with fresh cilantro, onion and tomatoes.  Those meat-free days are gonna be a piece of cake (or a piece of tasty tofu).

15
Mar
10

Spring has returned!

We have had some amazing weather over the past few days, so I have been trying to avoid my computer and embrace it as much as possible recently.  After some odd snow days and unbearable cold temperatures, we earned the sunshine!  Unfortunately, the avoidance of the computer was more due to the full schedules over the past few days as opposed to the weather.  Sad, huh?

Friday was a very long work day, but it was preceded by a great cardio session, some fabulous meals and a sweet shopping trip.  When I hit the gym in the am, I did 25 minutes on the elliptical, ran 2 miles on the treadmill and finished with another 15 minutes on the crosstraining elliptical.  My legs spent the rest of the weekend yelling at me for this workout! 

Check out the good eats (although, they don’t look so purty..)

 

1/2 C rolled oats, 4 egg whites, 5 drops of stevia and some defrosted Trader Joe’s strawberries.  Heaven!

Lunch was also yummy, but far less photogenic.

2/3 C of Morningstar Sausage Style Crumbles + 4 egg whites + 1/2 C frozen spinach.  It looks like the remnants of a meal, but it was so tasty!

That shopping trip resulted in new goodies for my pantry –

A new blender bottle was desperately needed.  I finally found some Nutritional Yeast (aka “nooch” – stay tuned for fabulous recipes to result).  And I splurged on the liquid Stevia.  Let’s face it – I’m sick of opening individual packets and find the amount of paper that I throw away from them to be wasteful.  The liquid is so easy to mix into ANYTHING.  Sometimes, when I use the powdered form in oatmeal, it forms incredibly sweet, icky clumps. They are not fun to bite into!

I started Saturday with a very long class and ended with a CPR and AED certification. Sweet!  I don’t think the man that I rescued will be able to tell you how awesome my skills were, but trust me, I rocked it and am now certified for 2 years!

I was hoping that when we attached the AED and it provided the shock, he might do a little dance, but no luck.  Perhaps the rubber body..

When I returned Saturday, my new furniture had arrived and Steve was very hard at work assembling the tables.  He did a great job and we are both so happy with how cozy our living room is now!

It would have been so much better if we had it for the super cold winter and the times when our heater was broken, but I’ll take it now!  It warms up the wood floors.  Next upgrade?  Tall plants and a throw rug! Hubby & I soaked up some time on the new couches and headed to dinner at our fave Mexican joint, Plaza Azteca.  I had a yummy Azteca salad – lettuce, sauteed mushrooms and onions, chicken and shrimp.  I had just a couple of chips and their delicious salsa.

Sunday was an incredibly full day that started with an early call time at work and another morning full of cheerleaders and their moms.  After work, we relocated our old furniture to it’s new storage place at Omah’s garage and I hit the gym for an AMAZING upper body circuit that kicked my butt.  I had picked up the new Muscle and Fitness Hers mag and it had a bikini body, 4-week workout plan. 

I got through 3 circuits after a 15-minute elliptical warmup.  Each exercise was performed for 15-20 reps with no rest until after the 5-minute cardio.

  1. Barbell Chest Press (30# + bar)
  2. Dumbbell Overhead Press (15# DB’s)
  3. Bent-over Dumbbell Row (20# DB’s)
  4. Dumbbell Bicep Curl (10# DB’s)
  5. Lying Tricep Extension (12# DB’s)
  6. Exercise Ball Crunch (to failure)
  7. Reverse Crunch on Bench (to failure)
  8. Exercise Ball Bridge (to failure
  9. 5 minutes of treadmill running

3 rounds of this and I was pooped.  It was a very easy circuit to complete in one area of the gym, so I could keep my rest time minimal between exercises.  I plan to keep up with the 4-week routine and see where it goes.

Sunday night was GIRL’S NIGHT with a few of my favorite girls from dance.  We hit up Cheesecake Factory – a restaurant notorious for huge meals and insane calorie counts.  I ordered the Weight Management (yes, they actually call it that..) Asian Chicken Salad with no crunchy noodles or nuts.  I was so engaged in chatting that I forgot to take a pic, but it looked a bit like this:

(source)  I absolutely loved it!  After dinner, we walked to a gelato shop called Melt and indulged our sweet tooth.  We were not about to eat one of those ridiculous cheesecakes!  As soon as I walked into Melt, I was in love.  It’s a very open space that looks really great for having some ice cream or a coffee and catching up with old friends.  (It was a bit too nice outside so we walked).  The trays of different gelatos were stunning!  Most had delicious toppings like chopped up PB cups, lady fingers (Tiramisu), coconut shreds, chocolate chips and fresh fruits.  I was feeling like playing safe so I got a mix of raspberry and mango sorbetto.  The raspberry was a bit tart so the sweetness of the mango balanced it perfectly.  Their menu also boasts paninis, coffee concoctions and both sweet and savory crepes.  I will definitely be returning!  I haven’t tried a savory crepe so I am intrigued.  My sorbetto mix was halfway gone before I remembered my camera!

 

This certainly made for a perfectly sweet end to an amazing weekend.  I’m hyped up for the week – I leave tomorrow for a 2-day orientation for a NEW JOB in Fredericksburg.  I’d share more details, but its top secret.  No, seriously.. it’s a Department of Defense position that will require travel, but I am so eager to dive in!  Both of my parents are retired civil service employees and my mom worked for the DoD, so I am excited to start working for an organization that treated them both so well. 

Tomorrow’s agenda includes much packing and grocery shopping for healthy, hotel room eats!  Luckily, the hotel has a 24-hour gym and free Wi-Fi!  Can’t wait.  See you in a few days!

PS:  Got a granola craving?  Heather over at Hangry Pants might help you solve it with her granola bar giveaway!  Not only that, but there’s also an awesome PB giveaway over at Simply Life.  To top things off, Lara is celebrating 2 happy blogging years and having an Amazing Grass giveaway .  Go get in the game!




Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!