Tag Archives: D.C.

Making My ‘Scape

I finally made my ‘scape…. my garlic scape concoction! Hi!! I hope you had a great fourth of July!! My weekend has been quite busy, but I’ve had lots of fun. Here’s a recap!

Friday:

Having a Friday off is such a lovely thing. I got up, had a leisurely work out, and then I finally got around to mixing up a batch of garlic scape bean dip. You might recall that I bought some garlic scapes at the farmer’s market a long time ago, and I promised to share my favorite recipe. The original recipe was published in the New York Times last year, and the recipe can be found here. I’ve lightened it up a bit by using only 1 Tbsp. of olive oil, and I don’t think it’s missing a thing! The Times also had a very interesting article, that I really enjoyed. You can check it out here if you’d like to read more about scapes.ScapesScapes are the stems that grow out of the top of a garlic bulb, and they are the part of the garlic that would flower if left intact. They have a very strong garlic flavor, and can be used much as you would use garlic. The tips of my scapes had gotten a bit dried out from all of the time spent languishing in the crisper, but otherwise, they were good to go. 

I removed the dried out parts, and then chopped up 1/3 a cup of scapes. Those went into the food processor with 1/2 tsp. of sea salt and 1/4 tsp. of black pepper. The scapes have a pretty serious heat on their own, so it doesn’t take a lot of black pepper to spice it up. I also added the juice of a lemon. I whirred it around in the food processor until the scapes were pretty finely chopped.

BlitzThen, I added a can of great northern beans that I had drained and rinsed. I didn’t have cannellinis in the pantry, and I knew that these white beans would work just fine. Hooray for the pantry!!

BeansI continued to puree the mixture. When it was pretty well blitzed, I drizzled in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil with the processor still running and continued to puree until it was smooth.

Mmmm....I love this stuff and eat it as I would eat hummus! The scent of garlic really hits you when you take off the lid. Scapes are amazing!! If you can’t find scapes, you could make a similar mixture with a few cloves of garlic in place of the scapes. 

I put some scape dip into a La Tortilla Factory wrap (I was so excited to finally try these!!), along with some sliced cucumbers and Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar, and voila! I had  a tasty wrap to take to a little pre-National’s game tailgate. 

It's A Wrap!

I was wearing a new dress, and you can see part of it in the photo. It loved it because it had a lot of crazy colors, but… it might look like a tablecloth. 🙂 

I also made a batch of butterscotch blondies (sitting in the chair in the above photo), using a recipe from an old Cooking Light cookbook, “Low-Fat Ways to Cook Family Favorites,” and took some to share with my friends. Sadly, the recipe isn’t on-line and it isn’t my own, so the best I can do is tell you about the cookbook. It’s a good one, by the way!

Butterscotch BrowniesThe Nat’s lost to the Braves, but the game was still fun. The racing President’s are always a highlight.

Poor Teddy!Poor Teddy Roosevelt never gets a break. At least he keeps trying! Way to be a role model, Teddy!

Saturday:

Saturday morning, I went for a walk with my friend, Mrs. W, and then she and I went to the farmer’s market. I loaded up on berries this week, as well as cherries, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some chive cheese. Yum.

After our walk and our visit to the market, we lunched on leftover gratin, garlic scape and white bean dip, farmer’s market cucumbers and tomatoes, and some Berry Cherry “Ice Cream.” It was a tasty lunch. I love having leftovers that I feel good about serving to a good friend. She happens to be a vegetarian too, so it was awesome that I had my vegetarian gratin to share. Yum!

Last night, I had another friend, MG, over for dinner. I “griddlered” a farmer’s market pork tenderloin, basted in a bit of barbecue sauce, along with some zucchini and yellow squash. I made some oven fries– both sweet and regular potatoes, and boiled up a couple of ears of corn.

Happy Fourth!It was a healthy dinner, but I think it had a fourth of July feel to it. Oh, Griddler. I love you! Did you eat something festive on the fourth?? I forgot to get watermelon, and I was bummed about it!

For dessert we had more blondies and more Cherry Berry “Ice Cream.” Then, we headed up to the roof of my building to watch the fireworks on the National Mall. There is a clear view of the mall and the monuments from our rooftop, and it’s fun to see all of the smaller displays along the banks of the Potomac as well. I wanted to show you my view, but I never figured out how to take a good photo. This should give you some idea:

Boom!!Directly below the fireballs, you can kind of make out the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building if you try. We have a great view, just not an awesome photographer. Ahem. 

While MG was over, I also made an overly gooey batch of brownies to repay him for watering my plants while I was in Alaska. I do have my kitchen flops, from time to time, and I shouldn’t have tried to do a minor tweak to a previously untested recipe! Silly junior mints. The brownies tasted good, but a spoon might not be a bad choice of utensil. 😦 Sorry, MG. I say– microwave them and top with with ice cream. Yes. I’d eat that for sure!

Sunday:

I woke up with a serious hankering for French toast. I haven’t had it in ages! I mixed 1/4 cup of eggbeaters, 1 1/2 T. of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze, 1/4 tsp. of sugar and 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract together. I soaked two slices of multi-grain bread in the eggbeater mixture, and then I cooked the slices in a nonstick skillet coated with butter flavored cooking spray. I had some lovely raspberries that I bought at the farmer’s market yesterday as my side dish, and there was a little bit of maple syrup on the top. I love that I could taste the vanilla in the egg mixture. I didn’t completely drench it in syrup, the way I would have back in the old days, and I like that it stayed a bit crisp as a result. It really hit the spot!

French ToastAfter my special breakfast, I decided to take Coby out for a ride on the Custis Trail. Get ready for a quick switch from French toast to feet. I thought I’d warn you. There was no good segue that I could think of for this one! 

Along the way, I did something rather ungraceful while turning abruptly onto a little wooden bridge on the trail. Yes. My toenail is purple. Coby is fine, and the rest of me escaped unscathed, but I’m just not sure what this purple toe is going to do. I guess we will wait and see. I strongly suspect the toenail will not be with me much longer. Ewww, right? I hope I didn’t gross you out too much. At least I didn’t post a photo. I thought about it. 🙂

Ok, back to food…

I wanted to use the rest of my garlic scapes as well as two eggplants I bought at the farmer’s market so I decided to make a quick stew for dinner. I had to improvise a bit to avoid taking my purple toe to the store, so I used things from the pantry. Here’s what I came up with:

Din Din“Not Going to the Store” Garlic Scape, Eggplant and Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

cooking spray

1/2 medium sized onion, chopped

1/4 cup of garlic scapes, chopped

2 medium sized eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (undrained)

1/3 cup dried red lentils

1 1/2 cups of water

Salt to Taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a deep sided skillet. Add the cinnamon, chili powder and cumin, and heat the spices, while stirring, for thirty seconds. They should become fragrant. Add the onions, garlic scapes and a few sprays of cooking spray. Cook over medium high heat for seven minutes, or until the onions start to soften.

Add the eggplant to the pan, along with 3/4 tsp. of salt, stirring well to incorporate the onions, and let the mixture cook down for eight minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the can of tomatoes, the lentils and the water. Stir well. 

Increase the heat as needed to bring mixture to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes, testing to be sure the lentils are tender. If the lentils need longer, make sure that there is still some liquid in the pan, adding a splash more water if necessary, and let it simmer a bit more. Mine were done in 20 minutes.

Give it a nibble and add extra salt, if needed, to suit your tastebuds.

Red lentils are key in this dish when it comes to using dried lentils. They cook the fastest of all of the lentils, and they will get tender in the time it takes for your veggies to nicely stew. If you wanted to substitute any other lentils, I would recommend cooking them first. If you decide to do that, I would reduce the water in the stew to 3/4 a cup.

Makes approximately 6 one cup servings

FinThis stew made a yummy dinner atop a bowl of rice, and my apartment smells amazing!! I’ve used the rest of the scapes, and my eggplants have been saved from a few more days in the crisper drawer. Hooray!

I worked out with my trainer this evening, despite the purple toe, and I think I may need to put some ice on it now. The pain wasn’t bad during class, but now it is not feeling so happy. I’m off to find an ice pack.

Thanks for making it to the end of this very long post. I had a lot to tell you about!

I hope you have a great week!! Ciao for now, y’all. 🙂

23 Comments

Filed under Cooking Light, D.C., Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Vegetarian Recipes, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story, Weight Watchers

Sweet Watermelon Sorbet, Peruvian Chicken and a Leftovers Pizza

Hi! I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth, but I have been super busy! It was so nice having my parents here last week. We had a great time, and we had some yummy eats too. 🙂 I didn’t snap photos of all of my food last week, but I did take pictures of a few of the highlights. I mentioned a sweet frozen treat that we whipped up in my last post, and here it is:

Sweet Watermelon SorbetWe made a big batch of watermelon sorbet using my long neglected ice cream maker. Why haven’t I been using this kitchen gadget on a regular basis??? I vow to put it to good use this summer for sure.

A large watermelon arrived in my vegetable box last week, and if I hadn’t been expecting guests, I’m not sure what I would have done with a whole watermelon! I was so glad to have company here to help me eat it. Unfortunately, when we cut it open, we found out that it was already a bit on the “super ripe” side. It was a little mushy, and, even though we are all watermelon fans, it wasn’t very appealing. My mother suggested freezing it and using it in smoothies. Food waste avoidance definitely runs in the family! I remembered the ice cream maker lurking in the back of the cabinet, and we hatched a plan.

Sweet Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups of seeded and pureed watermelon

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. lemon or lime zest

The juice of one lemon or lime

Directions:

Place 1/2 cup of the watermelon puree and the sugar in a saucepan. Heat it to a simmer, and remove it from the heat. This creates a simple syrup. Stir in the lemon/lime zest and the citrus juice. Allow this mixture to cool for 20 minutes. Add the sugar mixture to the remaining 4 cups of watermelon puree. Place the mixture in your ice cream maker, and follow the machine’s instructions. It took about 30 minutes in my Cuisinart ice cream machine, and then we put it in the freezer to firm up some more overnight. 

Freeze-o-matic!Inga’s parents (you know… Inga, my favorite dog…) invited us over for dinner on Thursday evening, and we had this sorbet for dessert, along with some cute little lemon cookies from the store. Inga’s parents made some awesome steaks, tasty Israeli couscous, yummy asparagus and a nice fresh salad for dinner. It was a delicious meal– as always, and it was nice for my favorite parents to meet some of my favorite friends! 🙂 

As you can see from the photo at the top of the post, this sorbet wasn’t smooth like a sorbet that you might buy at the store. I let it sit out a bit before serving because it was quite hard, and I kind of broke it up with a heavy spoon while I was dishing it up. I think it would have been smoother if I had let it sit out a bit longer, but I was too impatient! Maybe I’ll experiment with letting it warm up a bit more the next time I make a batch. At any rate, it was a sweet, clean and refreshing end to a nice meal with family and friends. 

On Friday, I decided to take my parents to check out one of the Peruvian chicken joints in the area. We went to Super Pollo in Ballston, and it really hit the spot!

Peruvian ChickenI had 1/4 of a chicken, white meat only, with some chickpeas and fried plantains. Yum! The green sauce was nice and hot, and it was the perfect contrast to the creamy yellow sauce. I love stewed chickpeas, and the cumin flavored chickpeas might have been my favorite part of the meal. The plantains were sweet and tasted, well, pretty sinful. They were nice and caramelized, and there were even a few super sweet little crispy bits. So good! I decided to go crazy and try an Inca Kola with my meal, and I was a bit disappointed to discover that it tasted just like cream soda. I do love cream soda, but I guess I was hoping for something a bit more… interesting. 

Super Pollo has moist, tender and delicious chicken worth standing in line for, and the price can’t be beat. It was less than $25 for three plates like mine and three drinks. Around here, that’s pretty amazing! If you live in my area, this place is well worth a visit.

After our tasty lunch, we did a bit of shopping and made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s. While we were at TJ’s, I decided to grab one of their whole wheat pizza crusts (out of the refrigerator case) so that we could make a quick pizza for dinner. We did a bit of a fridge clean-out, and it made for a pretty tasty pie.

Pizza PieFirst, I put some Country Bob’s sauce on the crust. Then, I topped it with some spicy ground turkey leftover from the taco salads we had on Tuesday evening. I chopped the leftover grilled veggies from our Wednesday night meal and added them to the mix. Finally, I crowned the pizza with the rest of the ball of smoked mozzarella (leftover from grilled veggie night) and a bit of low-fat cheddar. After eight minutes in the oven on my hot pizza stone, we had a yummy dinner— and a bit of breathing room in the fridge! 

Din DinI had a great time with my parents. We didn’t really do anything very touristy during this visit, but we did see quite a bit of Arlington and Alexandria. They are pros at visiting DC now, and I guess we’ve hit most of the hot spots! I have to say that the leisurely pace they set for the week actually suited me just fine!

I enjoyed lots of delicious food during their visit, but I made plenty of reasonable choices along the way too. I really tried to make sure to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and I tried to exercise a bit of moderation when it came to the sweets. There was an impulse Moon Pie purchase that could have been a problem, but I made it through. Perhaps it was easier given the fact that I’ve never seen a Royal Crown cola in these parts. If you are a southerner, you know that those things DO go together! 🙂

I know that my posts have been super sporadic lately, and I think I’m in the process of finding a good balance. I love posting (and reading other blogs!!!), but the warmer weather has me spending more time outdoors away from my computer. Things may continue to be sporadic for awhile, but I’m still here! I hope you will keep reading! 

Now, I need to get to bed. Ciao for now, y’all, and have an excellent week!

11 Comments

Filed under Arlington, D.C., Food, Peruvian Chicken, Recipes, Sorbet, Uncategorized, Washington, Watermelon, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Little Brown Box

What do you think is in this little brown box? 

Little Brown BoxIf you want a hint, just check out this earlier post. As for the specifics– I’ll get to that in a minute! 🙂

First of all, I have to say that I’ve done a pretty good job of healthy eating this week. Usually, when I’m in vacation mode (mine or my parents’…) I tend to eat waaaaay more than I should. My parents arrived on Saturday, and I’ve had some treats but not gone completely bonkers. That’s something I’m proud of! I’ve found a decent balance this week. 🙂 Woo hoo!

Yesterday’s little indulgence came in the form of a trip to The Pita House in Old Town Alexandria. I’d been once before, and I remembered how good it was. We weren’t looking to have a heavy lunch, and this was perfect. First, we started off with an appetizer:

Fool M'DammasWe shared a bowl of Fool M’Dammas, which is simmered chick peas and fava beans flavored with garlic and lemon juice topped with olive oil. We had some delicious warm pita bread to go along with it. 

Then, we each got some sort of sandwich and shared a plate of fries.

The Pita House

I ate my share of fries for sure. I think it’s funny that “back in the day,” before I started really paying attention to what I was eating, I would have shnarfed down some fries without thinking too much about them. Now, I have them so rarely, that they really are a treat. I’m happy that I’ve moved them into the appropriate category– “treat”!  Along with the fries, I had chicken shawarma, my dad had beef shawarma, and my mom had a very tasty chicken and cheese combo. Delish!

Lunch was lovely, and then we just sort of strolled our way up King Street popping into random little stores here and there. I had planned to get a cupcake at a nearby cupcake place, but realized I was too full so I decided against it. Progress!

I was still thinking about cupcakes today (… not unusual really… I do love cupcakes…), and I decided that, while I was at Tangy Sweet with my friend, G,  during lunch, I’d pop over next door to Red Velvet and get a little box of treats to bring home and share with my parents. G and I split an amazing peanut butter cup cupcake while we were there, but I forgot my camera so I can’t show you a photo. Trust me when I tell you that it was quite good! 

I can, however, tease you with this one:

Carrot Cake!Before I tell you all about the rest of the tasties in the box, let me show you the much more virtuous dinner we enjoyed before we got to the sweets. 

Din DinI grilled some green and yellow zucchini and an eggplant on the Griddler, with cooking spray, salt and pepper, and piled them up on a platter. Then, I grilled some sundried tomato and basil chicken sausages and tossed them on top. I added some roasted red peppers, for a bit of color, and my mom snipped a little sprig of basil for a garnish.

Pretty PlatterI love all the pretty colors, and I love the flavor that grilling gives to these humble veggies. If you are on Weight Watchers, I have to tell you that this kind of meal was a common one for me when I was counting points. It’s a great and filling low point meal– and it’s beautiful too! I drizzled a bit of balsamic vinegar over the top of my veggies. I love them that way!

I also toasted up the last two pieces of Trader Joe’s naan from the freezer, topped them with bruschetta sauce and smoked mozzarella, and then popped them under the broiler. Smoked mozzarella might be one of the best foods ever!! 🙂

Cheesy BreadAfter dinner, it was time to open our little brown box. Here’s what was inside:

Cupcake QuartetThe obvious chocolate one is called “b-day” and the website describes it as American yellow butter cake and milk chocolate ganache. In the bottom corner, we have “summertime,” which is a lemon cake with coconut frosting. The next cupcake, moving counterclockwise, is a carrot cake cupcake. They don’t describe it on the website, but I can attest to the fact that this is a pretty classic carrot cake. Finally, there is “key west,” in the top corner, which is a key lime cake topped with white chocolate buttercream.

We had a whole quartet of cupcakes to sample, and we decided to make a little contest out of it. We split each cupcake into thirds, and had a tasting party! My dad and I polished off each section as we went, but my mother kept a little nibble of each so that she could do a more proper job of judging. She was thorough when it came to the frosting. She took her duty seriously!

Serious JudgingLuckily, I didn’t need to taste any of them a second time. My number one choice was a very easy one to make! My mom decided pretty quickly too. My dad, well, he said that they were all good. We tried to get him to pick a favorite, but  he resisted until the very end. I’d say that his desert island cupcake choice would be a magical cupcake with carrot cake, lime cake, lemon cake and b-day cake sections in each one. Come to think of it, that might be a pretty smart way to go!

If my mother and I found ourselves stranded on the proverbial desert island and could only have one cupcake (although, I would prefer a dessert island if given the choice…), we would choose…. drum roll please…

The Champ!“Summertime”

The cake was dense and moist with a lovely citrusy tang, and the icing was rich and sweet. I like just about anything that includes coconut, and this cupcake did not disappoint. It really did taste like summertime. Not only is it my favorite of the four we sampled this evening, I’d say that it beats the peanut butter cup, red velvet, and vanilla bean cupcakes I’ve tried from Red Velvet too. 

Now, of course, I need to figure out the best way to make a healthier version of this little gem. 🙂

So, that’s what we’ve been up to the last couple of days. Tonight, we whipped up a batch of a summery frozen treat, but I’m going to save that for my next post. I hope you are having a great week, and that you’ve enjoyed a special treat and lots of healthy eats today too. 🙂 Ciao for now, y’all!

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Filed under Cake, D.C., Food, Washington, Weight Watchers

Weekend Recap

Hi, y’all! I’m having a great time with my parents, but I haven’t taken time to post since they got here. I just uploaded the photos I’ve snapped  over the last few days, and realized that I haven’t taken very many! So, get ready and hold on tight. Here’s a quick recap. Really. It will be quick. I’ve got parents to hang out with! 🙂

Saturday, I met up with some friends for brunch at Le Pain Quotidien. I need to be a “lovely lady who brunches” more often. It was such fun! You might remember that I tried LPQ for the first time back in April, and I loved it! The food was awesome, and I always appreciate places that provide me with calorie counts for Pain au Chocolat. Hee hee!  I was excited to go to LPQ again and to try a couple of different things from the menu. First, I had coffee:

CoffeeThe coffee was followed by an Apple Pear Turnover. Yes, I had dessert first!

TurnoverThen, I had the Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad with avocado, bacon, Fourme d’Ambert and lapsang souchong vinaigrette. YUM!! 

Sweet Salad LoveThis salad has tons of things on it that I love, and it had very reasonable portions of each one. The dressing, which I couldn’t wait to try, had a distinctive flavor and was sweet and tangy. This salad was yummy, and filling. It was the perfect pick since I had been for a run and was HUNGRY! I needed some protein and some volume to fill me up. Check and check! 

Now, here’s where things start to get scattered. My parents’ flight was delayed a bit, and I took the opportunity to make a quick pasta salad for them to nibble on if they were hungry and for me to have for lunches this week. I’m not taking the whole week off, since I used so much leave during my recent vacation, and I needed something to go in the lunchbag. 

Pasta SaladI cooked up six servings of dried tricolor cheese tortellini that has been in the pantry for… awhile. Then, I added a small chopped onion, some chopped roasted red bell pepper from a jar (as usual!! ), as well as a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Then, I dressed all of that with 3/4 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt mixed with 1 Tbsp. of rice wine vinegar and a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix. Not fancy– but quick and yummy. Sometimes that’s the way to go! I had 1/12 of this big bowl for my lunch today, and it was even tastier than when it was fresh. Using Greek yogurt in place of mayo makes a HUGE difference in the fat and calorie count, but leaves you with a delightfully creamy dressing nonetheless. If you haven’t made that switch in your salads, I want to encourage you to give it a try!

On Sunday, I woke up and decided to make a batch of muffins using one of the Southaven Farm Baking Mixes from the pantry. If you aren’t familiar with these baking mixes, let me just tell you that they are all natural, whole grain and VERY versatile. I first learned about them on the Weight Watcher’s message boards, and I’ve been a fan for a couple of years now. The mixes are unsweetened, which gives you the opportunity to decide on the type and quantity of sweetener. There are also suggestions for the moisture component including non-dairy suggestions on the back of the package.

Southaven FarmThe most basic recipe suggested on the package involves sugar, yogurt and milk. I like to mix up a box of sugar free fat free chocolate fudge Jell-o pudding and use that in place of the yogurt and milk, and then reduce the suggested amount of sugar down to 1/2 cup. I usually toss in a couple of Tablespoons of sugar free Torani syrup too, and a bit of instant espresso is a great addition to the mocha mix. I’ll admit that these muffins are pretty heavy on the artificial sweeteners by the time I’m done with them, which is not ideal. However, the smaller calorie count per muffin made it possible for me to enjoy some of the bacon that sat alongside the fruit and hardboiled eggs on the little buffet I laid out for Sunday breakfast!

BrekkieThese could be made with all natural ingredients and tweaked to suit whatever your particular dietary preferences might be. As far as I know, the mixes are only available for purchase on-line, but I think these mixes are a worthwhile purchase. In addition to the mocha flavor, I really like the cinnamon mix and the ginger spice. The ginger spice is awesome made with pumpkin in the fall!! As you can see from all of the recipes on their website, people get creative with these mixes. Have you tried them? Do you have a favorite recipe? I’d love to know!!

After our little brekkie, we decided to go and walk around at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill.  I love going to the market, which was built in 1873, and strolling through the flea market held on Sundays in conjunction with the usual array of permanent vendors selling fresh produce, exotic meats, beautiful flowers, yummy baked goods and a host of other items. There are also many craftspersons with a huge variety of cool creations for sale. It’s a lively and fun place to spend a sleepy Sunday afternoon. I don’t know why I didn’t snap more photos of the market itself, but I promise to do better next time!

When lunchtime rolled around, we decided to keep it simple, and we grabbed sandwiches from a little Italian deli. I had ham with provolone on a fluffy white sub roll. Yes, I had mayo too. I was indulging a bit, and I enjoyed every bite! 

SandwichI also got a cookie with oreo cookie in it, which I split with my parents. It was only so so. I wasn’t that impressed with this cookie in a cookie, but it was still a nice bite of something sweet. 

Cookie CookieWe also nibbled on cherries and surprisingly luscious peaches from the market.

Cherries

PeachesAfter our little al fresco lunch, we walked around a bit more and eventually found ourselves at one of my favorite little used bookstores: Capitol Hill Books. I caught my dad posing in front while we were waiting for my mother to make a couple of purchases:

Looking LiteraryThis little bookstore is packed from floor to ceiling with books, books and more books!

Just a Few Books...The books are organized, and, while chaotic, it still makes some sort of sense. The shelf tags are the key to this organizational system, and I love the humor in many of them. Check out this one:

Tag, you're it!We had a great time poking around the bookstore, and checking out the market. I think that Eastern Market may be one of my favorite Sunday destinations. I’ve never had a bad time strolling through the market on a sunny Sunday, and I have to recommend it if you are looking for something to do on a weekend in D.C. 

Those are the highlights of my weekend. As for today? Well, it was a Monday. There wasn’t anything very noteworthy, although I did make a homey dinner:

Din DinPlease ignore the hotdog. I bought a pork tenderloin at the farmer’s market on Saturday to go along with one that I had in the freezer. I forgot to thaw out tenderloin #2, and I didn’t have as much to go around as I would have liked. I decided to let my guests have most of the pork, and to supplement my tenderloin sample with a Hebrew National 97% fat free beef hot dog. They are my very favorite low fat hotdogs. I love them!

There are also some roasted turnips (LOVE) on the plate, along with their tops, which I cooked down yesterday. I’ve always LOVED turnip greens. Just the smell makes me happy! 🙂 I also steamed some red potatoes and fresh peas from the farmer’s market, and then tossed them in a bit of peppery milk gravy. I made my gravy with a small amount of butter, flour and skim milk and then seasoned it with plenty of salt and black pepper. I’m sure that bacon grease would have been tastier, but this was definitely a healthier version of an old favorite. Having my parents here must have put me in the mood for some southern fare! This was also a quick dinner to throw together once I got home. Perfect!

I worked all day today so that I can take all day Friday off. I’m working a half day in the morning, and I need to get to sleep so I can get an early start (and an early finish.)

I’ll apologize once more for my sporadic blogging. I think I’ll get back in the groove eventually! This week, I plan to enjoy my parents and not worry about it too much. I’m sure y’all understand! 🙂 Ciao for now, y’all and have a great week!!

16 Comments

Filed under D.C., Farmer's Market, Food, Salad, Washington

If you like Pina Coladas… and Getting Caught in the Rain…

Hi, y’all! You know that song, right? It seemed like a good title for this post. You will see why in a bit.

Well, I’m not doing very well with keeping up with my blogging lately. That’s for sure! Other things seem to be taking a bit of priority, but I’m hoping that everything will settle down soon, and I’ll get back in the kitchen. I haven’t been cooking much lately either, and I’m missing my kitchen therapy time! Cooking is so relaxing! I’m sure that many of you would agree. 🙂

I thought I’d do a quick “two fer” of a post– two days for the price of one post. I’m not going to post all of my eats from yesterday and today, but I am going to give you some highlights.

I’ve had the same breakfast the last two days:

Gritsy BranI love my “gritsy bran!!” I have really been enjoying it with some vanilla whey Jay Robb’s protein powder, agave nectar, almonds and a crisp pink lady apple on top. I mentioned this before, but I realized, during my cruise, that I really like crisp apple or pear on top of my bowl even more than when I cook the fruit in with the oats. It’s kind of like gritsy bran apple dip! Yum!!

Yesterday’s lunch and today’s lunch have a component in common: Refried beans. I opened the can the other night when I made a frittata to feed a craving for Mexican, and I’ve been enjoying the rest of the can over the last couple of days. Yesterday’s lunch:

Lunch #1I topped a bowl of beans with some feta and salsa, and had a quick salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh basil from the pot on my balcony. I topped it with salt, pepper and rice wine vinegar. Basically… I was out of lettuce, and needed some veggies in my lunch bag. This salad was quick, easy and fresh!

I also tried yet another Clif bar, my third this week, and the Chocolate Chip bar was yummy! You might recall that I tried the Carrot Cake bar a couple of days ago, and I had the Maple Nut bar on Tuesday. If this was a race, Carrot Cake would be winning. It is still my favorite so far. 

Today’s lunch:

Bean BowlI cooked  a big batch of brown rice this morning, and topped a serving with the leftover veggies from frittata night. I sauteed twice as many as I needed on Tuesday, thinking that I’d make another frittata. Instead, I made a bowl with brown rice, veggies, refried beans, feta and salsa. I added a dash of chipotle Tabasco too for a little more flavor. Yum!

Yesterday’s snacks included a bowl of Greek yogurt with berry jam and strawberries as well as a bowl of afternoon instant oatmeal. I think you know what they look like by now. 🙂 Today’s snacks, however, were a bit more interesting. I tried two new things, and I also had a smoothie in the mix. 

SmoothSmoothie: half a pack of chocolate Weight Watchers smoothie mix, 3/4 cup of milk, strawberries and two ice cubes. 

New thing #1:

MojoI liked this Clif Mojo Peanut Butter Pretzel bar! It was a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. The best part was the peanut butter chips! Chippy goodness aside, it also packed a nice amount of protein, and made for a satisfying snack.

New thing #2:

Pop Goes the ChipI’ve been trying new salty snacks lately, partly because I’ve been trying not to eat so many sugary snacks. I tried the barbecue flavor of Pop Chips the other night while I was watching my movie. Today, I decided to try the Parmesan Garlic flavor. My opinion? These were good, but the barbecue flavor was better. These had more garlic flavor and less parmesan taste than I was hoping for. They were good, but they probably won’t be my first choice the next time I’m at the store. I do think they make for an interesting photograph!

Now, hopping back to yesterday (I really hope I’m not making you dizzy going back and forth!), I had dinner at a new place and loved it!! I met up with my friends AW and JB to grab a bit of dinner before heading to a reception for alumni of our law school. AW suggested Sandella’s, which is a cool new flat bread place at 19th and I. She mentioned that they have their nutritional information on-line. Score! I checked it out, and it looked amazing! I decided to order the Brazilian Chicken Grilled Flatbread– grilled chicken and mozzarella on top of a Brazilian sauce. Now, I know where I’ll be going if I have a craving for pizza!

Sandella's LoveI had already eaten about 2/3 of my flatbread before I remembered to snap a photo. I was having too much fun talking to AW and JB. Oops!

I’m not a fan of really thick pizza crust, so a grilled flatbread is perfect for me. Yes, I eat my pizza for the toppings. I’ve been known to just pick the cheese and other yummies off the top and leave the bread alone. Do you like your pizza crust thick and doughy or thin and crispy? 

This flatbread was thin and chewy, and the Brazilian sauce was sweet and spicy. The cheese was perfectly melted, and the chicken was nice and tender. For 459 calories, it might be a little heftier than a dinner at home, but it is certainly a better choice than many other pizza options I could choose. Plus, I got to eat the whole thing! JB got the Aloha flatbread, and when I saw the pineapple, I knew what I’d be having on my next visit. I kind of wanted to steal his, but I restrained myself. 🙂

After dinner, we started walking to the reception and got caught in a major rainstorm. AW and JB were both in suits and serious lawyer shoes, and I was wearing a silk dress and sandals. Running clothes and rain panchos would have been preferable. We found ourselves trying to huddle under a tree at one point, because we were in a park near the White House with no building for shelter, but this rain was no joke and no match for a tree. Just imagine a wall of wind and water. Umbrellas were no use, so we finally just made a run for it. Unfortunately, there was a fatality:

R.I.P.I borrowed this book from Inga’s mom and dad, and it is demolished! Ugh! Getting caught in the rain while trekking around the city is a definite hazard of city life. My work papers are all crinkly and weird too.

Getting caught in the rain was an unexpected twist to the day, which might be part of the reason it made me laugh. I’m not sure that my friends would agree, but it was actually… kind of… fun. I splashed in some puddles, and laughed and squealed as the water soaked me through. It isn’t every day that I show up to an event with the ability to wring water out of my hair, my sweater, my dress and my book. There were no pina coladas, but I had definitely earned a bit of wine. I don’t have any photos, so just imagine a plastic cup full of sauvignon blanc and you will have the picture. If you imagine me looking as if I’ve had a bucket of water poured over my head, you will have an even better idea of the scene. 🙂

Tonight’s dinner wasn’t followed by a frolic through the rain, although, it has been raining all day. I’m hoping that the rain will be over by the time my parents come to visit. Sometimes I really do like the rain, but sunshine is much better for playing tourist! I had a simple salad with grilled chicken and feta. I also whipped up a quick dressing with mustard, honey and lime juice. I got a veggie box last night so I have lettuce in the fridge again. 

SaladI had a little bowl of gelato for dessert after that. Then, I made the executive decision not to work out tonight. I made a deal with myself that I will go to the gym tomorrow night, and I’m sure I will unless last minute cleaning preempts it. Fridays are usually a night off, but it is always good to know that I have Friday in case I do need a back up day.  

I just didn’t feel like going tonight. That’s all I can say about it. My upper body, and especially my shoulders, are still quite sore from Tuesday night’s work out. I also feel sort of tired today. Going to the gym sounded like torture, and, uncharacteristically, I just didn’t go. I know I mentioned my bad workout on Tuesday night, and the fact that I don’t think I always allow time to recover properly between workouts. I’m hoping that I will feel awesome tomorrow, and I suspect I will have a better workout after another rest day anyway. 

So that’s about it for me. I’m tired and need to get to bed. I’m so glad that tomorrow is Friday! I hope to post regularly while my fam is visiting, but I guess we’ll see what happens. I can at least say with certainty that I’ll be able to spend some time in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to it!!

Here’s wishing you all a great Friday and an awesome weekend. Ciao for now, y’all!

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Filed under Beans, D.C., diet, Fitness, Food, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

We Need to Get Caught Up!

Red VelvetCome on in! It’s nice to see you. It’s been awhile. 🙂 I’ve been a bad blogger this weekend. I got home on Friday night after another busy day, and all I wanted to do was crash on the couch and watch one of the Netflix movies collecting dust on top of the television. I took photos of my food all day, but I decided I needed to just relax and stay away from the computer for a bit. Instead of blogging, I watched “Juliet of the Spirits,” put my feet up, and kicked it. Yesterday was just busy! I hope you understand. 🙂

Now, are you wondering what Red Velvet is? Here’s a hint:

I Saw the SignIt would be a long post if I showed you everything I’ve eaten this weekend, so I’m just going to tell you about cupcakes, fro yo, shortcakes (with a recipe) and a few other things sprinkled in as a garnish. Yum! Some garnishes are tasty!

Friday:

Friday was a busy day at work. I wrapped up a few things, which is always good on a Friday, and I was ready to celebrate the start of the weekend with a special treat. My law school friend, Mr. M, works in an office close to mine, and he agreed to meet me for some frozen yogurt at Tangy Sweet after work. You might recall that I tried Tangy Sweet’s fro yo right before I went on vacation. I really couldn’t wait to go back!

The flavor du jour was chocolate. Chocolate isn’t usually my choice when it comes to ice cream flavors, but I tried a little sample. As it melted on my tongue, I realized that it tasted a bit like chocolate cheesecake. I decided to have a cup of it with some fresh strawberries on top.

Fro Yo!Check out the rain. There was a serious gully washer outside! I braved the weather just for you! 😉

This was gooooood!! I’m still kind of amazed at the way Tangy Sweet’s fro yo doesn’t taste very sweet during the first few bites, but then the flavor transforms and becomes sweet as the tang fades away. It’s like magic– tasty, tasty magic! 🙂 

Speaking of magic, cupcakes are one of the foods I consider to be the most magical. They are adorable, delicious, and they hearken back to childhood fun in a very lovely way. Red Velvet is a “cupcakery” next door to Tangy Sweet. If you are in the area and are interested, both places are at 7th and E in Penn Quarter. Here is a glimpse of the cupcake case:

Cupcakes!On my previous fro yo excursion, I stuck my nose in the door at Red Velvet, but I didn’t make any purchases. This Friday, I decided to get a couple of little cupcakes and take them for a spin. I was hoping to find a cupcake to rival the one I recently had at Sugar Mama’s in Skagway, Alaska. Those were SO good!!

Here’s another peek in the case at Red Velvet:

CupcakesThe cupcakes I chose were called “Southern Belle” and “Vanilla Bean.” Southern Belle was a traditional red velvet cupcake topped with a whipped cream cheese icing. Vanilla bean was a vanilla bean cake topped with a Madagascar bourbon vanilla frosting. 

Yum one and Yum twoMr. M was kind enough to agree to split each cupcake with me, so I had half of each. What a nice guy! I know it was a sacrifice. 🙂 While it would be hard to fit two whole cupcakes into a day of healthy eating, two halves work out just fine! Yes, I love cupcakes, and NO, I don’t plan to ever make them off limits. I’d rather figure out how to work them in with my nutritious eats so that I can… yep… “have my cake and eat it too.”  That’s a balance worth striking!

Check out the thickness of the frosting!

Aaaaahhhh!Southern Belle’s cake was delightfully moist, dense and rich. The beautiful color was matched by a beautiful flavor. I loved the cake! As for the icing, well, I don’t think I prefer my cream cheese icing whipped. It was good, but I like my frosting to be thicker and a bit more solid. That’s my personal preference, and I’m sure plenty of people prefer it whipped and gooey. If that describes your preference, this is the cupcake for you! 

Vanilla Bean was my favorite of the two. I love vanilla cupcakes, and this cake was moist and sweet with a nice, strong vanilla flavor. I think that I was expecting buttercream (note: read signs more closely!!), so I was surprised when I first bit into the frosting. It wasn’t the buttercream I was craving after my Alaskan cupcake, but I really liked it nonetheless. The vanilla flavor came on strong, and it really was a great cupcake.

I still haven’t found my DC Sugar Mama’s, but I’m looking. 🙂 Since Red Velvet is close to work, I foresee more samples in my future. I need to try their buttercream for sure! 

When I got home, I had a bowl of sauteed spinach, broccoli and smoked tofu. I liked having dessert first! Later, while lounging around watching my movie, I decided to open up this little bag and take these barbecue flavored Pop Chips for a whirl.

Pop ChipsI’ve wanted to try these for a while, but I hate buying big bags of chips. Since I don’t tend to choose salty snacks very often, a big bag of chips often goes stale before I get around to eating them. I was excited to find a single serving bag of these in a nearby deli, and they seemed perfect for movie munching. I really liked them. They were barbecue sauce sweet and deliciously salty at the same time. Perfect! The texture is much more like regular chips than the baked chips I’ve tried, and they aren’t made with any weird Olean type chemcials. I’m sold. These are good! If you find them where you are, give them a shot!

My other movie watching snack was a tiny bowl of chocolate chip cookie oat bran.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Oat Bran

I made half a serving of oat bran, added a bit of vanilla extract and some brown sugar to the bowl, and then topped it with chopped almonds and mini semi-sweet morsels. It was a good way to satisfy a craving for something sweet without having another real dessert. Since I’d already had the fro yo and the cupcakes before dinner, I thought I’d dial things back a bit. I’m doing my best to keep my sweet tooth in check, while still enjoying plenty of treats. This is an example of my attempt to balance things out a bit!

Saturday:

Saturday morning, I woke up to find the sun shining and a nice breeze blowing through my balcony door. It was going to be a great trip to the farmer’s market for sure! I got ready, and headed to the market armed with my reusable shopping bags, some cash, and my camera. I missed the market last Saturday. I knew that the Westmoreland Berry Farms people had been there with strawberries for sale because A Daunting Tale of Scale Warfare was at the Courthouse market last Saturday, and she featured a photo of her haul (including the berries) in her post. Grrrr!!! I was so sad to have missed the berries… and so jealous! 🙂 Luckily, there were plenty of berries waiting for me this Saturday!

BerryliciousI made up for missing the market last weekend by buying a ton of things today. I got two big containers of the berries along with: garlic scapes, radishes, tomatoes, asparagus, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, Greek yogurt, low-fat ricotta sweetened with honey and vanilla, eggs and an oregano plant.

If you haven’t heard of garlic scapes (they are the green things curled around the eggs), I’ll be posting one of my favorite scape recipes soon! I’ll tell you all about them then.

The BootyIt was quite a haul! When I started looking at all of the berries, I realized that I might have gotten a bit carried away. While freezing the berries was a definite option, a phone call from my friend, Inga’s mom, led me to a better plan. Remember the lovely Inga? My favorite dog friend?

Inga DingaInga’s parents were going to fire up the grill, and I promised to bring over some strawberry shortcake for dessert. I also promised to bring Inga her present from Alaska. 

Hello, Squeaky Moose!Hello, Mr. Squeaky Moose! I think he knew he was doomed, so he was lying on his back in defeat.

Chewy!Mmm…. chewy! I didn’t expect for this flimsy little moose to have a long life, and she had already de-squeaked him by the time I headed home last night! I’m so glad that she had fun with him, and that Mr. Squeaky Moose will no longer be squeaky. I felt like the aunt who gave her niece a noisy drum set for Christmas. Hee hee! 

I mentioned shortcake. Here’s the finished dish:

Strawberry ShortcakeWhen I started looking for a lightened up shortcake recipe, I found a ton to choose from. None of them were exactly what I wanted, so I sort of combined ideas from several in order to come up with my version. Here’s my recipe:

Sweetie’s Olive Oil Shortcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups of all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup skim milk

1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup egg beaters (or one egg)

2 tsp. Turbinado sugar (or granulated sugar–  for sprinkling on top)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. I used a silpat, and I sprayed it with cooking spray as well.

In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine the ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, vanilla, egg and oil. 

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir just until moistened. Turn the dough out on to the baking sheet. Spray the top with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to your fingers, and use your hands to shape the dough into an 8×8 square. Then, using a sharp knife, cut into but not through the dough, dividing it into 16 squares. Give it another spritz with cooking spray and then sprinkle the Turbinado sugar over the top.

BeforeBake for 15 minutes or until golden. 

After

Cut along the lines to separate the cakes, and then top with sweetened berries and the whipped topping of your choice.

This makes 8 servings with 2 squares per person.

I liked these, but I think the shortcakes would have been yummier if they had been warm when I served them. Since they are lower in fat, they got a little bit chewy when they cooled. I also underestimated the amount of berries we needed, and I would have liked a few more berries and a little more juice on my shortcake.

I quartered 1 1/4 pounds of berries, and added the juice of half a lime as well as 2 tsp. of sugar. There were only six people at dinner, and we ate all of the berries. Next time I make shortcake for eight, I think I’ll probably prepare at least 2 pounds of berries– maybe more. You can never have enough berry goodness!

I’m kind of happy that I had a couple of cakes leftover. I already put one to good use today in a big bowl of berry jam sweetened Greek yogurt and berries:

Yum!I like having a shortcake recipe up my sleeve because you can top them with so many different things. Summer fruits are the obvious choice, but not the only good one! I’m so glad I was able to share my haul with my friends, and I had a great time hanging out at their place– as usual! 

So, now you are pretty much caught up– cupcakes, fro yo, berries, farmers market shopping and Inga. Those are definitely the highlights of my weekend so far. I need to say Ciao and go and run some errands before what’s left of the weekend evaporates! I hope you have a great week, and I can’t wait to share my garlic scape recipe with you soon!! Ciao for now, bloggies. 🙂

What was the best thing you ate this weekend??

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Filed under Baking, Cake, cooking, D.C., diet, Farmer's Market, Fitness, Food, Frozen Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Recipes, Washington, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Success Story

Alaskan Cupcake Gold, Hungry Animals and the Nats

Get ready for a grab bag of a post! It’s a bit here and there, just like I have been myself!

While walking past an ice cream store in Skagway, Alaska (and considering whether or not to make an ice cream stop…), my friend and I heard this conversation between a mother and child leaving the store. The kiddo had ice cream:

Kiddo: Mom, why didn’t you get ice cream?

Mom: Because I want a cupcake from Sugar Mamas.

What’s that? A cupcake? Yes please! I did what any good cupcake hound would do and tailed them down the block and around the corner. I was rewarded with this sight:

Sugar MamaInside this adorable pink store, my friend and I were treated to a selection of luscious looking cupcakes as well as some fun little treats for sale and a very friendly dog. I believe his name was Carlos. The pup took the time to ask my friend to toss his stick back and forth. I should have snapped his photo, but I have this one for you instead:

Lovely!Look at the icing!! You may be able to read some of tags in the case. There were carrot cake cupcakes, fresh strawberry cupcakes with sprinkles, and several other kinds. It was NOT an easy choice, and I wish I had gotten a few to try later after I realized how great they really were. We both chose the Not So Plain Jane white chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and it was one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. This icing was buttery and sweet without being overly greasy and heavy (I hate greasy buttercream!!), and the cake was perfectly moist and sweet. I’m so happy that I was eavesdropping at just the right time. 😉 If the carrot cake had been equally as good, which I suspect would have been the case, I might not have gotten back on the boat!!

Now that you’ve had a little dose of Alaska (and you can expect some more for a few days more…), let me tell you about the Saturday I spent playing tourist in my own backyard. Of course, when you live just across the river from NW Washington, D.C., it’s pretty easy to find plenty of things to do.

A friend of mine, we’ll call him Mr. T, got a big new lens for his camera, and he thought the National Zoo would be a good place to try it out. I don’t love the zoo, typically. I especially dislike the apes. The way they stare back gives me the creeps! Primate issues aside, the weather was nice and the idea of walking around with good company for an afternoon sounded pretty good to me. Off I went! 

I took a ton of photos, but I’ll just share a few. Since this is a food blog, here are Tian Tian’s eats for the day. 

BambooliciousMmm… bamboo. I will spare you a photo of the Magpie’s eats for the day. Watching him chow down on dead mouse was pretty disgusting, but to each his own. Here is an elephant munching on some grindage (points if you remember that movie…) with me in the foreground. I think my diet might closely resemble the elephant’s!

Elephant DinnerThis tiger was just lounging in the shade, which is what I felt like doing after walking around all afternoon!

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright...I think these flamingos needed a snack. They seemed to be having some issues, and the vibe was NOT a happy one… Low blood sugar?

Fighting FlamingosIt was such a nice day to be out and about, and I can’t wait to see the photos Mr. T took! I’m sure to be quite jealous of his new gadget!! The weather was so nice that we decided to go and catch a National’s game after the zoo. 

NatsThere was a pretty big crowd for a Nats game since the Nats were playing the Baltimore Orioles. There were lots of O’s fans in town for the game, and there was a lot of orange in the stands. Unfortunately, the Nats did not win 😦 , but we had a great time anyway! I’m not a big sports fan, but I do like going to baseball games. There’s just something about it! Usually, I pack healthy snacks before going to the ballpark, but since it was a spontaneous decision, all I had left in my bag was a little package of dried apple snacks. Those would certainly not do as dinner and wouldn’t even fill me up as a snack. What to eat? Well, here’s what I came up with:

Ben's ChiliBen’s Chili Bowl is a Washington, D.C. institution, and their chili is really great. It’s nice and spicy with lots of juicy beef and plump beans. I have found that chili can be a pretty healthy choice, and it seemed like a better option than many of the other choices at the park. As much as I would have loved a big boat of French fries underneath my chili, I just got mine in a bowl with a bit of nacho cheese sauce and some chopped onions on top. I added a bit of yellow mustard, because I kind of like that in my chili sometimes. Anyone else do that? Is it just me? 

Of course, I needed dessert. There were tons of ice cream options, but Cracker Jack seemed like a better choice. It also didn’t hurt that the nutritional information was on the side of the bag so I didn’t have to guess at the number of calories I was about to eat. I appreciate knowing things like that most of the time! This whole bag (3 servings) was 350 calories. 🙂 I was a happy– and full girl!!

Cracker JackI would have photographed my prize, but it was so LAME! I miss the lick and stick tattoos and the games with tiny plastic ping pong balls in a maze. My prize was disappointing, but at least my Jacks were good. 🙂 I wanted something else, but managed to settle for a camera shy fountain Coke Zero. I’m not much of a diet soda drinker at all, but I like Coke Zero. Since I rarely see it as a fountain drink option, I decided to go for it. What is your favorite stadium food– healthy or… not? I do love a good hot dog, and the new stadium has Five Guys burgers, which are always an enjoyable treat. 

Saturday was such a nice day! I managed to keep my eating on track while staying in motion. I worked out in the gym on Saturday morning, and followed that up with several hours of walking around. It was definitely the sort of active day I needed during my “cruise recovery” program. 🙂  As for my Sunday, well, it has been a pretty laid back day. I still need to go to the grocery store, so I haven’t really done much cooking. I did make a sweet little treat that I wanted to mention: Chocolate covered bananas!

First, I peeled two bananas, sliced them in half, inserted some skewers, and put them on a plate covered with waxed paper:

Pre-FreezeI popped the plate in the freezer to let the bananas firm up for about three hours. Then, I melted 3 ounces of 77% dark chocolate with cocoa nibs (yummy), in the microwave in a small pyrex measuring cup:

Melted ChocolateI used to use the double boiler method whenever I melted chocolate, but, unless I’m making something super fancy, I think the microwave method works just fine! I’d say that you need about 1 1/2 ounces of chocolate per whole banana. Put the chocolate in a microwave safe dish and zap it for 30 seconds. Take it out, stir it, and zap it for 30 seconds more. Repeat this until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Then, dip the bananas. I decided I needed to use a rubber spatula to make sure I got the chocolate all over the bananas. After they were coated, I put them all back on the plate and popped them back in the freezer. You can see that the chocolate was already pretty much hardened up even before the second freeze:

Chocolate Covered BananasYou can see the bumpy little nibs too. Yum! Theoretically, these should stay in the freezer for awhile to allow the banana to re-freeze after being dipped in the hot chocolate. Realistically, I decided that 10 minutes was long enough!

Yum!I considered dipping these in nuts right after they took a swim in the chocolate, but the cocoa nibs in this chocolate bar gave it a crunch so I decided I didn’t need anything more. These are so easy, and quick. I’m not sure why I never made my own! I’ve seen some pricey ones in the freezer section at my Whole Foods, and those just seem extra silly now that I know how easy they are to make. Plus, I get to pick the chocolate I want. 🙂 

That’s the scoop on my weekend, and I’m so happy to have a bonus day off. I need another day like today to get things back in order after my trip, and I’m happy to be able to sleep late too!

Before I go, Christina made a batch of my cabbage nests and topped them with, get this, GRAVY! Genius! I’m so flattered, and so glad that other people are enjoying my recipe. 🙂 This really is a versatile recipe. Remember my barbecued chicken pizza nests? How about when I topped a nest with a fried egg? I feel like the possibilities are endless!

Now that I’ve got you all caught up, I’m off to bed with a book, Underworld by Don Delillo, that I’ve really been enjoying. Since I don’t have to work tomorrow, I may stay up late with my book. I love when I’m able to do that! Ciao for now, and I hope everyone has a lovely Monday.

Happy Memorial Day!!

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Filed under Alaska, Bananas, Chocolate, D.C., Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Washington, Weight Loss