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Eating an Award Winning Sandwich: Fat Rooster Review

I ate an award winning sandwich this past weekend, and my taste buds fully agree. I tend to have one fully indulgent meal and this week it was Saturday brunch following an entirely calorie-blasting workout at Orange Theory. (I ate all the calories back and then some, but that is besides the point.)

Gary Rack’s Fat Rooster, which opened several months ago, was our cheat meal of choice.

I had the “Hen Loving Waffle.” A fried chicken thigh on sweet potato waffles, with a peanut, benne, and Granny Smith apple slaw and frisee. There is crunch, there is sweetness, there is awesomeness.

This is an award-winning sandwich if I ever ate one
This is an award-winning sandwich if I ever ate one

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Josh had the “Fat Hash — The Farmer”. A sweet potato hash, with scrambled eggs, cheddar, avocado and veggies.IMG_4137

Confession…we also started with “Lucy’s Chicken Biscuit Oh My!” which is fried chicken on a biscuit with apple pepper jelly. IMG_4130IMG_4129

All of it was supremely delicious. It was a perfect indulge meal.

Healthy Eating: Stuffed Peppers

I’ve been eating stuffed peppers for as long as I can remember. My mom used to make them when we were younger. I am pretty sure I used to take them for lunch sometimes. They are just such a good Sunday meal prep option, that are also good for lunch leftovers.

I’ve stuffed them with pretty much everything at this point….they’ve been vegetarian (with Morningstar Crumbles), they’ve had rice or quinoa, and then of course other ground meat…turkey, chicken, buffalo. You can really stuff them with almost anything.

I used to have to get creative in how I positioned the peppers to bake. Then I got a fantastic pan for our wedding, literally designed for peppers. It’s awesome.

 

Below is a recipe I’ve been using recently, it’s clean, simple and tasty.

Italian-Style Stuffed Bell Peppers

What you need:

4 bell peppers

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1/2 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned

1 pound ground beef, bison, turkey, or chicken

Go ahead and preheat the oven to 375 F. While that is preheating, let’s get to chopping.

Peppers 002

 

In a large skillet heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they are translucent and slightly brown. You can lightly season the onions with salt and pepper. I also like to add a little more pepper and saute those.

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Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook for about two minutes.

Peppers 005

 

Now we add the meat and cook until fully done. I usually add a little heat here with some red pepper.

Peppers 006

 

Fill the peppers and pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes. This will leave the peppers soft, but still a little crunchy.

Peppers 008

 

Peppers 007

WIAW: Sur La Table Cooking Class

Last night we had the opportunity to attend a cooking class at Sur la Table. It was the first time I had ever been to a formal cooking class, and I was so excited. I made sure we were front and center…because I wanted to take everything in.10647398_10105641241079471_1033180862_o

Aaron, Jenna, Josh and I took turns making everything for our dishes. We should have waited for instructions (my bad on over dressing the salad), but overall I think we learned at least three things.

Our menu was surf and turf and included scallops, steak and a banana pudding. Since you wanted the dessert to set, we started off with that first.

Bourban-Banana Pudding with Candied Pecans

Double teaming the candied pecans
Double teaming the candied pecans
It took a lot to caramelize that bourbon
It took a lot to caramelize that bourbon
Assembling the pudding
Assembling the pudding

 

Pan-Seared Scallops with Oranges in a Ginger Vinaigrette

In addition to learning how to properly cook scallops (something I have always wanted to make at home but was just too darn scared), I also learned the trick to chopping shallots and onions…and using a paring knife on oranges to create a garnish. That last one needs a little more work.

You have to remove the membranes before you cook. Sometimes that makes for a not so round scallop.
You have to remove the membranes before you cook. Sometimes that makes for a not so round scallop.
Learning to chop
Learning to chop
Making the ginger vinaigrette
Making the ginger vinaigrette

Herb-Crusted New York Steak with a Red Wine-Peppercorn Sauce 

I feel like I am still a newbie to steak. It certainly isn’t something I feel comfortable cooking. Last night I learned that you should let the steak come to room temperature to cook (same apparently goes for fish). Also, and this was a big learning for us…we need to be using vegetable oil instead of olive oil.

I jumped at the chance to learn how to make the sauce. I want to be a better sauce maker…and last night I got my chance.

You place the steak away from you
You place the steak away from you

 

Making sauce
Making sauce
There is serious concentration here
There is serious concentration here

We also made green beans to accompany our steak. They were roasted and were delicious.

Seasoning the green beans
Seasoning the green beans

Our finished products

Which we actually ate and didn’t die from…

Scallops
Scallops
Steak and green beans
Steak and green beans
Banana pudding
Banana pudding

 

I believe this was a success…and of course am now addicted. Private pasta making class anyone?

The chefs!
The chefs!

 

WIAW: Snack Bar Edition

The Landsman-Household is a true believer of bars as snacks. Sometimes they even accompany a yogurt breakfast, mostly though they serve as mid-morning or afternoon snacks, or the emergency food source when we don’t have immediate access to food.

See we get a little hangry over here and we try to be as prepared as possible. Over the years we have tried a myriad of bars. It all just depends on what is on sale, what we read recently and taste preference. There are some that we had that left you with a gross chalky feeling in your mouth and that just isn’t fun.

Taste is kind of the important part for me. I am not a huge chocolate fan so I tend to stay away from those, and I don’t really want ones riddled with sugar (we are talking about 15 grams).

Enter 2 Degrees. I received these via a blogger outreach program and got a trial box of their four flavors — Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cherry Almond, Chocolate Banana and Apple Pecan. Each bar uses natural ingredients, is low sodium, gluten free and GMO free.

Since we had a long travel day ahead of us for Tahoe I threw them in my carry on as our go-to snack (glad we did that since our hour layover in Denver turned into 20 minutes).

Overall the bars were a lot crunchier than the ones we have been eating recently and that is always a plus in my book. I like my snacks to be crunchy. There is quinoa and chia seeds among other grains that make the cunchiness.

Cherry Almond was absolutely my favorite and Josh really liked the Apple Pecan.

I feel like you can see the crunchy yumminess here
I feel like you can see the crunchy yumminess here

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Both had this almost dessert like taste to them. All the tastiness, none of the guilt!

Eating for a Cause — 2 Degrees abides by a “buy-one-give-one” model. So for every bar you buy, the company feeds a hungry child.

 

 

 

Weekend Eats: Lucali

I feel like we are going to have to spend one weekend a month in Miami. So far it has worked, and we’ve gotten to do some fun things down there with our friends.

This last time, we went to dinner at Lucali, a pizza place in the Sunset Harbor area of Miami Beach. Originally from Brooklyn, they focus on the pizza more than anything else, but have calzones, salads, and a few vegetable options.

We chose to start with the kale Cesar salad, grilled artichokes and meatballs. In the simplest of terms the artichokes were supremely delicious, but I love artichokes and pretty much anything with melty cheese on it.

The meatballs were almost melt in your mouth delicious. Not the least bit dry and honestly almost light.

The kale salad was good, the dressing wasn’t too heavy.

We got a pizza with the pepperoni, hot peppers and onions on it. Now, they really only have one size and that is 20inches. I like a good crunch on my crust and this did not disappoint. The texture was fantastic with just the right amount of crevices to hold the homemade sauce and mozz. The toppings were also perfectly spread out, making each bite supeerb.

We also indulged in a calzone. The cheese was so good. I am honestly still thinking about it and regretting my choice to only have a few bites.

Of course, it isn’t cheap, but it don’t really care. If I wanted cheap pizza we know what delivery service I would be calling. No, I go for Lucali offering me a meal where I eat a lot but don’t feel like I need to be rolled to my car, any day.

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Weekend Eats: 3rd & 3rd

Since it was our second weekend as Florida residents we had a bit more flexibility with our schedule. This basically means most of the chores around the new apartment are done and we can start exploring our area a bit more.

On Friday, we headed to dinner with my BIL and soon-to-be SIL in our neighborhood. We decided to check out 3rd & 3rd. The menu changes regularly, and the drink menu was really intriguing (to me this means there is a good beer list for the hubby and more than one gin drink).

When we got there at 8 there were a few people ahead of us, but they couldn’t give us the standard “about 20 minute” wait time. I’m always a little wary of spots that don’t take reservations or provide wait times, mostly because there is a tendency for some people to get a little hangry, and I try to avoid that at all costs, but everyone was game so we went with it.

Sitting at the bar we had the chance to survey the space. The walls have eclectic art choices and it isn’t a really big restaurant at all. There is a small outdoor area in the back that has “brick-size” Jenga. The bartenders were all very friendly, and I got a little razzing for yawning before I got my drink.

I chose the Polo Match, made of gin, grapefruit and Campari. Quite refreshing and delicious.

We really only had to wait 20 minutes for our table, which isn’t bad at all for a Friday night. The menu itself is a bit small, but have enough meat and fish options to make most people happy. They say you can share the plates, skewers, and jams. So that’s what we set out to do ordering: grilled haloumi, gravy frites and crispy chicken.

Gravy frites
Gravy frites

Of those three, the gravy frites were definitely my favorite. They essentially take a meatloaf, break it over fries and drizzle gravy over it. Heavy? Yes. Worth it? Yes.20140413-151711.jpg

20140413-151654.jpgThe haloumi I could take it or leave it. Nothing really stood out to me about the dish, and the crispy chicken was a bit mushy on the inside.

 

For mains, we ordered burgers, short rib and fish.20140413-151811.jpg

The burger was pretty tasty. The brioche bun was an added bonus point for me and the it was cooked perfectly.

The short rib was an incredibly heavy dish. The meat was fall away perfect, and it sat in almost a fondue-style cheese sauce. Josh had a really good description, calling it a “cheesesteak fondue.”20140413-151831.jpg

Overall, the atmosphere was great, the staff was friendly, and the food came quickly.

I don’t know that we would rush back, but if something on their rotating menu peeks my interest I would try to make it over there.

Bringing Breakfast Back

I was never big on breakfast. I started being bused to school in fifth grade, which meant early wake ups and not a lot of time to. Enjoy a hot breakfast. Throughout middle school and high school I relied on breakfast bars and fruit….by the time I was in college breakfast was something I had on the weekends only, and to be honest that wasn’t very often.

Eating before heading to the office usually meant I was hungry by 10, so I started eating breakfast at work. Oatmeal, cereal and when I was really adventurous microwaved eggs. Basically, I ate breakfast because I had to and very rarely enjoyed it.

My lack of breakfast imagination and desire for something quick lead me to toasted PB&J, waffles, my trusty oatmeal and Greek yogurt. Wasn’t the best option, or healthiest.

To reintroduce a healthy breakfast into my life I’ve started making egg dishes that I can re-heat. It’s a nice easy way for me to have a “grab and go” option without relying on carbs.

So far we’ve made a spicy breakfast casserole and little egg muffins. Pairing those with berries and breakfast sausages have made for some delicious mornings.

Mini-muffins (uncooked) and the tasty casserole
Tasty-casserole
Mini-egg muffin
Mini-egg muffin

Below are the recipes for both.

Spicy Breakfast Casserole 

½ onion, diced
1 lb. hot Italian turkey/chicken sausage (approx 4 links, casings removed)
3 c. broccoli florets, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 medium sweet potato, shredded
1 ¾ c. liquid egg whites
5 whole eggs
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 Tbs. Sriracha
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. fresh black pepper
1 tsp. coconut oil or olive oil, to grease pan and sauté onions
½ c. smoked pepper jack cheese, shredded (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×9” or 9×13” glass baking dish.

In a large skillet, add ½ tsp. oil and add chopped onions.  Saute until translucent.  Add sausage, breaking it up with a spatula and stirring occasionally until evenly browned.

Bring a sauce pan of water to boil over high heat.  Add broccoli florets and blanch for 2 minutes.  Immediately empty to a strainer and let drain.

In a large bowl, combine eggs and egg whites and whisk with a fork until blended.  Add shredded sweet potato, garlic salt, Sriracha, and salt & pepper. Whisk until incorporated.breakfast 006

Shredding sweet potatoes is a workout
Shredding sweet potatoes is a workout

To your greased baking dish, add the blanched broccoli florets and the onion-sausage mixture.  Pour the egg and sweet potato mixture evenly over the top and sprinkle lightly with cheese (if using).

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until center is set and eggs are no longer runny.  (If you use a 9×9 baking dish, it may take slightly longer to set in the middle.)

Let cool for 10-15 minutes.  Slice into squares and serve.

Mexican Turkey Frittata 

1 (20-ounce) package JENNIE-O® Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast
¼ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cups sliced small mushrooms
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped (we used Siracha)
2 cups egg substitute or 8 eggs
¼ cup milk
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup shredded low-fat Mexican blend cheese
⅓ cup green onions
Mexican Turkey Frittata (Continued) 3 of 3

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Mist 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Cook ground turkey as specified on the package. Always
cook to well-done, 165°F. as measured by a meat thermometer. Sprinkle with cumin; stir to mix.breakfast 014 In large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil, green pepper, mushrooms and chipotle peppers. Cook 5 minutes, stirring
occasionally, until mushrooms are cooked.
In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk and cilantro until well mixed. Stir in turkey, cheese, mushroom mixture and green onions.
breakfast 017Spoon mixture into muffin cups, filling approximately ¾ full.

Bake 20 minutes or until set.

I’m In Need of a Detox

This isn’t the first time I’ve contemplated a detox, but lately I’ve just really been feeling like I need it. I’m cranky, sluggish and feeling a little bloated…like all the time. Maybe it is the stress. Maybe it is all the travel. Whatever it is I need a swift kick in the butt to start feeling like myself again.

The last time I cut refined sugar out of my diet it went pretty well. So I think I will start there. Otherwise, my diet is pretty focused on non-processed foods.  I don’t do white flour and surprisingly have been able to cut rice out too. Dairy (aside from my ice cream) is plain, nonfat yogurt and even my milk is almond-base.

Juice cleanses intrigue me, and I’ve always wanted to try them because they sound so simple and people rave about them. Here are your juices. Drink them every 2 hours, drink lots of water and go forth and be energized. The problem is all the work that you have to do BEFORE you start…cutting out the meat and what not. I would essentially be zapped of energy before I even start.  (TRUTH: I have filled out forms and then closed out of the browser window more than once on some of these.)

This month’s SELF featured a 7-Day Detox that includes a meal plan with real food AND a workout plan.

The Plan
The Plan

The meals are a little intensive and the workout plan includes AM and PM sessions, which is a little daunting, but I think this might be the right thing for me. Plus, since it includes real meals, I can possibly get Josh on board for at least the dinner plan.

Cardio in the AM, plus these in the PM
Cardio in the AM, plus these in the PM

So that’s the plan beginning this weekend. Hopefully, come October I will feel back on track.

 

 

 

Can’t Resist: Spring Runs, Chobani and More

I can’t resist running in this weather. I am literally exhausted with tight quads and an aching back and the mid-60 weather and clear blue skies call to me.

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When you see that, you have to run

I am still getting used to running in my Kinvara 4 from Saucony and because the weather was super perfect I ran a bit longer in them than I had before.  My first run this week had me out for almost six miles and I swear I was running faster than I have in years, despite the tightness in my legs.

These shoes are miracle workers. Even today when I went out for my four miler that I was only doing because it was too pretty to be inside, I was cruising.

This week also marked the first time I tasted Chobani’s new key lime flip. I don’t know how I survived without these delightful little snacks for so long. (Side Note: Even though I have been a yogurt eater for a long time I never knew that those types of yogurt containers were made so that you can flip the topping…stop I know.) Key lime is my ultimate summer flavor, and these glorious little 170 calorie fun pack is going to help me keep my summer sweet tooth in check.

mmm key lime, white chocolate and graham cracker (can't resist)
mmm key lime, white chocolate and graham cracker (can’t resist)

I am a fruit lover. And lately I have been craving fruit in my salads. It can be pretty much anything, but mostly I have been dropping apples in there. The combination of apples and chicken has become my absolute favorite, but now that strawberries and blueberries are on sale I am buying them in spades to add to salads.

Some of my favorite spring salads are:

  • Shrimp, green apple, avocado with lemon juice (easiest thing you’ll ever make)
  • Berry Delicious Summer Salad (blueberries & walnuts, amazing)
  • Watermelon, feta and basil with lemon juice
  • Strawberries, walnuts, goat cheese and spinach (balsamic vinegar)
Watermelon and feta = amazing combo
Watermelon and feta = amazing combo

Basically lemon and balsamic vinegar become staples in my house during the spring and summer.

Finally, our current go-to treat comes courtesy of Skinny Cow. It is their limited edition ice cream sandwich in Snickerdoodle flavor. If you haven’t had them, run now to your grocery store.  I don’t feel guilty indulging in these at all since they are only 140 calories. We are talking low-fat cinnamon ice cream between two oatmeal cookies. You can’t go wrong.

Deliciousness
Deliciousness

 

Exercise As A Threat?

Over the last few years we have acclimated to seeing calories next to our favorite food items. At first it seemed to deter some people, but eventually you just shrugged it off and ate it because you wanted that personal-size Uno pizza that is like a  1,400 calories. (Not me, because I just can’t, but I know there are people out there that do.)

Fries are my weakness
Fries are my weakness

So if this doesn’t deter people like everyone hoped, what’s next? Displaying how much exercise would be required to burn it off. A new study tested this idea and found that when restaurant menus listed the amount of brisk walking required to work off each dish diners we less likely to overeat.

Personally, I don’t like to think about what is required to burn it off after I eat. I think that just makes eating less enjoyable and more guilt ridden. Yes, there are times when I over indulge and think “I am so going to need to run an extra mile tomorrow,” or I might switch a yoga day for something more intense, but I don’t like to think about it until after I am completely satisfied with myself.

It is important to me to overindulge from time to time
It is important to me to overindulge from time to time

I know I am a rare breed who enjoys exercising for the endorphins I feel during and after, but come on no one is going to learn to enjoy a healthy lifestyle if we keep making it a chore or a punishment.

You have to separate the guilt from eating. That is the only way you overcome food demons or avoid creating new ones.