May 28, 2009
Last night, I met my cousin for dinner at Joe Fish in North Andover. It’s a nice, casual restaurant with ocean-themed decor. I’ve been to this restaurant once before and they have awesome lobster rolls! In fact, they come in three sizes (I think the largest is a few pounds!). I’m kind of picky about lobster rolls because I don’t like them with much mayo – just a little is fine with me – and that’s how Joe Fish’s are. Anyway, I was thinking of getting a lobster roll for dinner but it was cold and dreary so I decided on a hot meal instead. I don’t understand how it’s almost June yet it feels like early spring. Luckily the sun should be back tomorrow!
I decided on the Baked Haddock Florentine for dinner. It was a good size piece of haddock topped with a spinach and cheese mixture and crunchy breadcrumbs. I was able to choose two sides so I went with the garden salad with vinaigrette and rice pilaf. The garden salad came first, with rolls! It was a high quality version of a typical garden salad (fresh lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and onions) but the dressing was very tasty! I think it had peppercorns in it too, yum! The multigrain roll was also excellent – warm and fresh.
The haddock was good (I’m giving it a 8 out of 10). I wasn’t crazy about the spinach and cheese mixture and would have preferred spinach topped with a little goat cheese instead of the creamy spinach flavor. The meal was tasty, don’t get me wrong, but I think changing the spinach and adding tomatoes would make it outstanding! Maybe that’s just me and my love of tomatoes (and dislike of any type of cream sauce). The rice pilaf included mixed vegetables which was a nice surprise.
Overall, a flavorful and filling meal. I drove home stuffed to the gills! 😉
May 27, 2009
It’s a rainy day here in Massachusetts. It’s feels like early spring but it looks like we’ll have sun again for the weekend. I thought I would share one of my favorite weekday breakfasts with you. It’s Cinnamon Puffins (Barbara’s Bakery brand) with mixed berries and skim milk. This breakfast is high in fiber (cereal and berries) and low in calories and fat. The skim milk also provides protein. This is even better during summer because berries are fresh (and usually on sale) around here. I love this breakfast because it’s quick and healthy! The entire breakfast is under 300 calories.
Puffins also come in an orginial flavor, peanutbutter, multigrain and honey rice. The only other version I have tried is the orginial which are tasty as well! I ❤ puffins!
Have a great Wednesday!
May 26, 2009
I hope you all had a nice long weekend. Overall, the weather was great in the Boston area. I was lucky to see a lot of my friends and some family this weekend. I even saw friends who were visiting from Washington, DC. It was nice to have a little extra time off too! On Sunday night, my roommate and I hosted a cookout. We have a nice roof deck so it was great to hang out there and catch up with everyone. We asked our friends to each bring a dish and everything was delicious! We had quite the variety: guacamole, pico de gallo, spinach dip, veggies and dip, chips, fruit salad, potato salad, pasta salad…all the staple cookout foods.
Our contribution were the hot dogs and hamburgers as well as a variety of beer and I also made sangria (I modified the linked recipe, my recipe is posted below). For beer we bought a few summer flavors – my favorites right now is the new Harpoon UFO White and Magic Hat #9. The UFO White has an orange flavor and is very refreshing. Magic Hat #9 is a pale ale with an apricot flavor.
The sangria started out as a recipe from allrecipes.com but I changed it a bit and increased the quantity to 18 glasses (from 6). It was very tasty and was nice switch from my normal favorite, traditional sangria with red wine.
Here’s my version:
Raspberry-Peach “White” Sangria
2 liters white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1.5 c. peach schnapps
1 container of frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 c. white sugar
1 c. frozen raspberries
1. In a large pitcher, mix together wine, peach schnapps, frozen lemonade and sugar.
2. Stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Add frozen raspberries and chill 2 hours.
4. Serve (with or without ice) and enjoy!
In addition to sangria, I made Raspberry Oatmeal Bars for dessert. I actually didn’t realize the raspberry theme until now! One of our friends also brought eclairs and whoopie pies. Yum! Or should I say whoopieee?! 😉
The Raspberry Oatmeal Bars were so quick and simple to make! I followed the recipe but made a few slight modifications (surprise, surprise!). I used lemon cake mix (instead of yellow) and replaced the margarine with applesauce (for health reasons). I also added a few splashes of milk to the mix to get the batter to stick. They were really tasty and could (almost) pass for a breakfast treat!
Here is my modified recipe:
Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
1 – 18.25 oz. lemon cake mix
2.5 c. quick cooking oats
3/4 c. natural applesauce (no sugar added)
3 Tbsp. milk
1 c. raspberry jam
1 Tbsp. water
1. Preheat oven to 375*. Grease 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, oats, applesauce and milk. Stir until there is no dry mix left. The mixture should be thick but moist.
3. Coat the bottom of the pan with 2/3 of the oats mixture.
4. In a small bowl, combine the jam and water until smooth. Add the jam mixture to the pan as a layer on top of the oats.
5. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 of oats mixture over the raspberry jam.
6. Bake for 18-20 mins.
7. Cool completely before cutting.
May 22, 2009
My week has been interesting to say the least. It has included technology troubles, a parking ticket and last night I locked myself out of my apartment when rushing off to the Red Sox game. Luckily the Sox won so my night wasn’t a total disaster!
Yesterday, my mom met me near my work for lunch. We wanted something healthy and I remembered reading about a organic cafe in Lowell, Life Alive, so that’s where we went. Life Alive is located in downtown Lowell but still felt off the beaten path a little, which was nice. It’s a small place with lots of color and character. The staff was friendly and the atmosphere was very chill even though we visited at a busy time.
The menu is vegetarian and the menu is fairly small with a focus on “unprocessed, whole foods.” We decided to share two wraps from the “Cool Meals” section of the menu. My mom chose “The Seeker” which was described as “spring mesculin greens, garlic-lemon hummus, granny apple slices, cashews, cucumber, shredded carrots, sunflower sprouts and a dollop of our Ginger Nama all rolled into a whole wheat tortilla.” Who would think to put all of that in a wrap? Especially nuts. It was really tasty though and the nuts gave the sandwich an extra crunch.
I decided on “The Mystic Mountain” which was mesculin greens, sweet corn, celery, shredded carrots and beets, cucumber, sunflower seeds, sprouts, granny apple slices, and lemon parsley hummus in a whole wheat wrap. It was also really good with lots of flavor! The beet juice was a little drippy (is that a word?) and soaked through the wrap a little but that’s my own fault for not eating it fast enough! 😉 Sorry about my photo quality on this one.
We quenched our thirst with Life Alive’s homemade iced tea of the day which was refreshing with a hint of mint. They have seating inside and outside and with the temp near 90 degrees yesterday, we chose to eat indoors. I would recommend this place for a healthy wrap made with care! They have salads and other healthy items too. 🙂
HAPPY FRIDAY TO YA!
May 20, 2009
Leftovers were the name of the game today. I had a good amount of grilled veggies left over from last night’s dinner. I made a spinach salad for lunch, topped with the grilled veggies, cucumbers and goat cheese. For a little dressing, I mixed a little olive oil and red wine vinegar. It was tasty for a random mix!
For dinner, the grilled veggies made yet another appearance. (But, I think I’ll take a little break from them after today). I whipped up a little dish of whole wheat spaghetti, grilled veggies, olive oil, goat cheese and a spoonful of pesto. I just popped it all in the microwave for 2 minutes and dinner was served.
I have to say my dad would be very proud of my use of leftovers since he’s normally the leftover man in the family. 😉
PS – I came home to working cable and Internet tonight plus Comcast has reached out to me twice today. You know what they say about the sweaky wheel! Anyway, I still don’t understand why the issues keep happening but my opinion of Comcast is better than last night.
May 19, 2009
I am so aggravated with Comcast (my cable and Internet provider) right now! I came home from work to find both my cable and Internet out of service. What?! I swear I am on the phone with Comcast more than I even watch TV. Of course they couldn’t help me over the phone so a technician needs to make a visit during my work hours (fabulous). Honestly, I don’t blame the customer service reps because they are only doing their job but Comcast is not my friend. Luckily, my grill is!
A couple Christmases ago, I received a Cuisinart Griddler, which is great. See, Santa does listen. (Maybe I should ask for working cable and Internet this year!) 😉 The Griddler is a table top grill/panini maker/griddle all in one. Pretty cool, especially for those of us in apartments (it’s compact!).
Tonight, I made (with modifications) the Grilled Ciabatta sandwich from June’s Cuisine at Home (great magazine!).
The recipe makes 8 servings so, because I was eating solo, I cut that down to 2 servings (one for leftovers, of course). I try to incorporate leftovers as much as I can so I can get two meals for the work of one. I also didn’t have fresh mozzarella cheese so I used provolone and I used a hearty multigrain bread instead of ciabatta – to be a little healthier. So, wa-la, here’s my Grilled Ciabatta Multigrain sandwich creation:
I know, I know. Not as pretty as Cuisine at Home’s version but still really yummy. It was a little messy to eat but totally worth it!
Here’s the recipe:
Grilled Veggie Sandwich on Multigrain (Obviously, I can’t decide on a name)
Time: 20 minutes
4 slices of hearty multigrain bread
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
1 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
1 small red onion, slided into strips
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. pesto (pre-made or store bought)
2 slices of Provolone cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat grill to medium high.
2. Brush olive oil on both sides of vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper
3. Grill vegetables until tender (3-8 minutes depending on vegetable and grill power).
4. While grilling veggies, brush olive oil on both sides of the four slices of bread. Grill for 1 minute on each side.
5. Remove vegetables and bread from grill.
6. Spread pesto on two slices of bread, top with onions, peppers, squash and zucchini. Top with cheese and other slices of bread.
Here are some pictures of my creation in the making….
May 17, 2009
Is this weekend really almost over already? Time flies. I’m gearing up for the Desperate Housewives finale tonight then it’s back to the grind. Ok, onto the food…
For dinner yesterday, I made an easy chicken dish from Emeril along with a Berry Goat Cheese Salad, a recipe I found on the Whole Foods website a while ago. The chicken dish was simple but flavorful (I marinated the chicken for almost four hours, as the recipe suggests). I also used chicken breasts instead of thighs and baked the chicken instead of grilling it. Very tasty and moist!
For a side dish, I made the berry salad which was excellent. I love berries, not only are they tasty but also a sign of summer! All berries were on sale at Stop & Shop yesterday so blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all made it into the salad. I wouldn’t normally think to mix berries, roasted onions and tomatoes together but it was great. The dressing was also simple to make and very complementary to the dish. I didn’t use quite as much goat cheese as the recipe suggested but it was still plenty. I do love cheese! 🙂
Because most of my recipes make leftovers (like this one), it’s always great to have a quick meal for the next day. Today for dinner I made a dinner salad consisting of the leftover salad topped with chilled chicken. Yum! I will definitely make both dishes again, you just can’t go wrong, especially with the salad. Ok, no salad rant today, although I do seem to be on a salad kick these days!
Have a good Monday!
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