Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dinner Omelets and Picnicking

I know it is a random pairing, but I grouped these two topics together, omelets and picnicking, because they are two of my favorite food activities.  I wish I could add food trucking to my list of tops, but they just don’t make the grade, mainly because I like to sit comfortably while eating my meals and food trucks don’t really cater to that…unless you are near an area with picnic tables...?  My digression has some meaning, I will circle back to food trucks later. 

I think my favorite part about picnicking is that for me, it always comes with wine.  Last weekend Travis and I drove out to the boons of Virginia to a cute little winery called Pearmund Cellars.  We enjoyed a tasting of about 12 different wines - much more generous than the California wineries we used to frequent.  And the wines were delicious.  We purchased a Viognier, a Cabernet Sauvignon and an awesome late harvest white wine which tasted like a softer version of the heavy ports we like to enjoy on cold winter nights.  We got free glasses of wine from the fermenting steel barrels (not sure if that is correct wino terminology) to pair with our picnic.  It was great because it was still on the sweeter side and went perfectly with our cheese and sourdough.  BTW we finally found REAL San Francisco sourdough at Trader Joes – they don’t have the real stuff in the grocery stores out here on the East Coast.

Later last week I was craving breakfast for dinner so I made some hearty omelets with a plethora of leftover meat and veggies we had lingering in our fridge.  So random, but it definitely hit the spot.

Now back to the food truck craze.  I honestly have never been wowed by food truck food until this particular lunch.  It just seems like a “dirty” concept and I am totally all about the ambiance when I dine out.  But this food was MIND-BLOWING.  The truck is called Hula Girl and it serves Hawaiian food.

I had to get the huge “Mixed Platter” because I wanted to try everything.  So glad I went for it – this $13 lunch lasted for three full meals.

So maybe I wrote off the food trucks too soon.

And one last random note.  Never buy your baby cabbages still on the log.  As if the prep work for roasting those guys is not enough already...

Check back soon for an awesome chili recipe I am working on this weekend!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I see the word charcuterie and I instantly retreat into this little cave of foodie self-doubt.  But I am taking a stand.  Now that I have the pronunciation down pat, I am ready to start ordering charcuterie menu items when I am out for drinks.  Last night, I started simple.  We ordered the charcuterie sampler platter at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, District Kitchen.

We absolutely love this place.  The food is amazing, the vibe is welcoming and unpretentious and they have the best cocktails in town - I always order the "Paper Heart" - bulleit bourbon, cynar, orange, grapefruit bitters. 

I love going to happy hour on Fridays, so it is nice to have such a great spot so close to home.  It allows us to sit for a couple of hours, enjoy some delicious drinks and snacks, then venture home for a hearty dinner.  Lucky I had a snack to hold me over before happy hour.  Am I the only one who craves the texture of a mashed up homemade pumpkin muffin mixed with plain Greek yogurt? MMMmmmmm!

Topped with a heap of pumpkin butter of course.

I pre-cooked dinner during the day yesterday, so we came home from happy hour and just feasted!  I love cold dishes for dinner, especially on hot days.  This was one of the best meals I have prepared in a while, a real stand-out...

Cold Shrimp and Quinoa Bowls

1 cups uncooked quinoa
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
Jumbo shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Garlic salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon honey
couple small squirts of siracha (optional)

Rinse the quinoa in cold water.  Add to a pot with the chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until broth is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy (stir occasionally).  Season shrimp with garlic salt and pepper and sear in a skillet (sprayed with cooking spray or oil).  Careful not to over-cook the shrimp (no body like chewy shellfish!).  I usually let them go about 3-4 minutes per side and only flip the shrimp once in the pan.  Whisk together the soy sauce and everything else on the ingredient list.  When the quinoa is finished, pour the sauce over top (reserve some for the shrimp as well), and gently toss the quinoa to fully coat it.  Let the shrimp and quinoa come to room temperature, then chill in the fridge until dinner time.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday is Bride Day!

I was never that girl who grew up dreaming about her wedding day.  I never envisioned myself walking down the isle, and I never dreamed about what my gown may look like.  But for some reason, I am COMPLETELY obsessed with Fridays on TLC.  From "Say Yes to the Dress" to "Four Weddings" to "I Found the Gown", I just can't seem to get enough of TLC's Friday lineup.

Which is why I was so excited to attend a real wedding last weekend!  My close friend and her long time boyfriend tied the not in Temecula, CA on Saturday.  Travis and I flew out to California to attend.  Saying we had a "good time" is quite the understatement.  Weddings are fun to watch on TV, but a hundred times more fun to actually attend.  Not to mention, I finally got to try out Rent the Runway, an awesome online service that allows you to rent a designer dress for a special occasion.  I couldn't have been happier with the dress I chose - they even send you multiple sizes to ensure one of them fits!  I am also happy to report that I wore the larger size and I didn't even feel bad about it. On the contrary, I felt amazing!

After a great weekend in California, we were happy to get home to our little DC apartment. Fall has just begun and the colors of the leaves are slowly changing, each day I notice a very slight shift in their shade.  Being a California native, it is always so neat to see.  And it always makes me crave pumpkin.  This week, I decided to experiment with a new muffin recipe.  As you know, I am all about my pre-workout muffins.  And these were an AMAZING success.  Fluffy, melt in your mouth - pure pleasure :)  By the way, the picture below shows all the muffins I have left... I have got to stop eating the batter.  I swear, if I drop dead, you can probably assume it was salmonella. 

Bakes 6 muffins
Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes
Mix wet and dry ingredients separately and then combine (careful not to over-mix)

1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/2 cup of whole wheat flower
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.4 cup stevia extract
1 teaspoon bakng soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 egg whites
1/2 cup almond milk of choice
1/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt of choice (I used plain, but vanilla would be good)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of canned pumpkin


Now tell me, do you like weddings?  

Any ideas for leftover canned pumpkin?

Did you dream about your wedding day growing up?