Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tale of Two Marinades

Sunday was a good day. It was nice out, I didn’t have anything I had to do, but I did get some chores done, as well as eat really yummy food! Win, Win, all around!

It’s also amazing what you can accomplish when you find yourself incapable of sleeping in!! Grrrr. I mean I know it’s better for me to be on a “regular” sleep schedule, even on weekends, but when you’re wide awake at 6:45AM on a Sunday morning when you were planning to sleep in, is a little…I don’t know, annoying!

However, I just went with the flow and got up. Brian wasn’t too far behind and then we attacked the first floor of the house and did some major cleaning :) Yay for a clean house (well downstairs anyways haha…my clothing explosion is a days task all in it’s own.)

We set out for lunch to a place I’ve been wanting to try for a while: “
Za in Arlington.

They do pizza and salads, and that's it! (well a few desserts too).

We were thinking of ordering salads first, and our waitress explained that only 2 of them were lettuce based, and they weren’t very big. At first I was annoyed that we couldn’t just get 1 to share and it be enough…but I’m SO SO glad we ordered 2 salads…

Hass Avocado, Black Bean, Tomato, Red Onion, Cheddar Cheese, Bread 'n' Butter Pickled Jalapeno, Red Pepper, and Cilantro Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette, Sour Cream, and Tortilla Crunch

IMG_9161 IMG_9162

Cucumber, Tomato, Kalamata Olive, Verrill Farm's Radish, and Potato Salad with Feta Cheese, Fresh Oregano, and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette IMG_9163

Those salads were incredible. Beautifully presented, so flavorful, and a perfect size.

I was confused at first as to where the “potato salad” was going to come into play in my cucumber-tomato-olive salad, but it’s the white-ish puree on the bottom!! SO GOOD! It’s like purred potato salad, which sounds gross, but tasted awesome! I’ll go back just for that salad!

Next up, our pizza.

Bosc Pears, Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola, Toasted Walnuts, Craisins, EVOO, Thyme, and Scallions IMG_9164 IMG_9165

Crisp, airy, chewy crust. The toppings were mostly subtle flavors aside from the gorgonzola which was awesome. I can’t wait to try their other pizzas!

Now for the marinades.

It was nice out which = grill time.

I had a pound of chicken to work with and didn’t really know what I wanted to I did two marinades and split it up half and half.

Marinade 1:

  • olive oil (just a little…maybe 1T)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • lime zest
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • siracha! Ummm don’t really know how much, just squeezed some in until it looked kind of orange/red. I’d say it came out medium spicy.
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh cilantro


Marinade 2:

  • approx. 1T olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • fresh dill
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon zest

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also tried to roast some carrot “fries”

  • 2 large carrots
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • maple syrup



We also grilled some zucchini and green peppers with a brush of olive oil, salt and pepper



The chicken came out SO good



I ate mine with a tortilla which I stuffed with the siracha chicken, salsa, sour cream, and green pepper…like a fajita!



I also whipped up some Granola! It’s been far too long to go without some homemade granola.

My new addition was crisp brown rice cereal! I love the crunch it adds!

I honestly can’t remember the exact measurements (bad Bridget!)…but you get the jist:

  • pre-heat oven to 250-275
  • 2 – 2.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups crisp brown rice cereal (it’s like rice crispies)
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup slice almonds
  • few shakes of cinnamon
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 1 single serve container applesauce (6 oz)
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 T maple syrup (or agave)

I usually always heat my oil + sweeteners in a small pan over low-med heat. I do this to dissolve any honey clumps, or if you used another crystallized sweetener. It also thins it all out so it distributes more evenly.

Baked for about 1 hour at 250…stirring 1 or 2 times during the baking process.


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MMmmmm good batch! I think I had more overall bulk this time and therefore would of maybe added another Tbsp of oil and maybe another of honey or maple syrup…but still really good!

Happy Thursday…almost Friday!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weekend: Slowfest and Bootcamp

Funny, those things (Slowfest and Bootcamp) are pretty much polar opposites!

Friday night Brian and I attended Slowfest in Boston’s South End. This was a festival of local food and “session beer”. I had never really heard the term “session beer” before, and I think it’s something that is just starting to become popular now. Basically, session beer is a beer that has an alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage of less than 5%.

Here is a definition from

“session beer
Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish - a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes, you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.)”

In the past when I’ve attended beer fests with the boy, there are usually lots of high ABV beers and other “extreme” beers, as that’s been the big thing lately. As someone who can get buzzed off a few beer samples (oh how things have changed since college), I think session beers are just what I need!

I tried various beers on Friday, but I have to admit I was more there for the food :)


Some highlights…

When Pigs Fly Breads: Red Pepper Hummus with Sesame Seeds & Garlic Bread


Yeah this bread tasted JUST like hummus…but in bread form.


Cheese! Various cheddars from Whole Foods


Gelato #1 – Firenze Artisan Gelato…my first sample was the Watch City Chocolate Porter Gelato.  Chocolate+Beer+Gelato = awesome!


From The Independent restaurant in Somerville (my old apt was so close to this place): roasted pork and cole slaw on an Iggy’s brioche bun!


So good!!

Pizza and organic salad from Stone Hearth Pizza (they brought in little portable grills to freshly bake their pizza’s)



The dressing on this salad was awesome!  It was a mustard-apple cider vinegar vinaigrette!  So good!


Gelato sample #2 – Lemon Sorbetto


Perfect refreshing bite at the end when I was getting so full!

The best thing I had there, and of course no picture, was a Burrata cheese made by Fiore Di Nonno

Out of Somerville! This cheese was fresh mozzarella stuffed with MARSCAPONE! O.M.G. So creamy and delicious! I went back a few times for this cheese!

I think my favorite beer of the evening was Grey Lady by Cisco Brewers which is their Belgium White Ale…it was so refreshing! I’ll have to find some of this beer for the summer.



After that I was in need of a good sweat session! Saturday morning I had signed up for a Bootcamp Blast!

These are great because you just sign up by the day before whenever you want to join. It’s an intense 90min outdoor workout.

Before bootcamp I had a muffin and coffee for some energy. I wanted one of my Berry Muffins but didn’t want the cheese inside (dairy + exercise usually is not good with me)…so I scooped out the goat cheese and added some almond butter!





Bootcamp was just what I needed…the weather was GORGEOUS! Sunny and just about 70 degrees. This one wasn’t as cardio intense as I remember the last one I did to be, but I still burned 600 calories and my abs and legs are still nice and sore today :)
This reminds me that I need to re-focus my abs workouts…I haven’t felt sore abs in far too long.

Post workout I had a late breakfast/early lunch.



Egg Sandwich with ham, cheese, and tomato. Plus a side of fruit

  • Watermelon
  • Kiwi
  • Banana

Watermelon just tastes like summer to me.


That’s my Friday/Saturday…I’ll save Sunday for later. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Falafel and Berry Cheese Muffins

After my busy week last week I decided that I was going to take an afternoon off this week and you better believe that I planned my time off around the weather forecast so I could enjoy the nicest day possible!

Unfortunately I felt like I spent a better part of the afternoon in the car, but that’s just what happens to me…I have delicious visions of driving into Boston or Cambridge for an extra special lunch, then hit traffic, can’t find parking, and decide to abort the mission.

Oh well, I was still headed in the right direction to hit up my FAVORITE market around: Russo's!

After stocking up on produce (and their seafood salad), I headed home (well I may have made a stop at Whole Foods as well to get some other things).

I knew 2 things: I wanted to run and I wanted to cook dinner and bake something!

I was planning to make the following:

Cooking Light’s – Falafel with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

And a muffin based off this recipe for muffins with a GOAT CHEESE filling!

Before my run I whipped up the cucumber yogurt sauce so it would have time to sit and get more flavorful! My old roommate made these falafel’s for me once and I just remember them being delicious, especially this yogurt sauce!

So easy and at only 8 calories per Tablespoon, you don’t have to go light on the sauce. This would make a great veggie dip too!


Just 4 ingredients:

  • Red Onion
  • Cucumber
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Lemon Juice


Then I headed out for a nice run. I did the route from my house, to the pond, around the pond, and back…about 4.8 miles :)

Felt great, I feel like I haven’t had a good outdoor run in a while. My legs are definitely feeling it now!

Then I got cranking on the falafel batter!

Once again, super easy, just throw everything into the food processor. I also added a couple cloves or garlic, but next time I’d even add more and maybe some hot sauce for more of a kick!


You then form patties and pan fry them in a little olive oil. Because I needed to make them in batches I didn’t use all the oil called for at once…added a little each time I added new batter to the pan.


The batter doesn’t stay together too well, but just enough if your delicate with them


I had a small side salad with an olive oil + lemon juice dressing, with a little extra cucumber yogurt sauce!



Great dinner! Easy, flavorful, and had leftovers…score!

then it was time to make some muffins :)

Mixed Berry Goat Cheese Muffins!

Like I said before I used Lauren’s recipe for Maple Cranberry Goat Cheese Muffins and the Eating Well recipe that initially inspired her!


My alterations:

  • My goat cheese filling was a mixture of plain goat cheese + approx. 1T honey + 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • I used Lauren’s muffin base, but only added a few shakes of cinnamon
  • Also used 1/4 c. maple syrup + 1/4 cup Sucanant
  • Fresh black berries + strawberries as my fruit
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I reduced the overall milk slightly because I was using fresh fruit which will at moisture anyways)
  • and a little lemon zest to the batter



LOVE these! Warm from the oven the goat cheese was all gooey :) However, cooled the cheese got more crumbly than creamy…need to figure out what to do about that. Maybe a mix of goat and cream cheese.


These would be awesome as Carrot Muffins + cream cheese center!! That’s my next task ;) IMG_9121


Brian and I are headed to the SlowFest in Boston. I’ve been to many beer fests with him in the past, and while I do enjoy those, I’m really excited that this one includes local food! Also, all the beers are Session Beers which means they are all less than 5% ABV… perfect for me haha.

With all that beer and food I’m in need for a good calorie burning session tomorrow. I just signed up for an Ultimate Bootcamp tomorrow morning! Perfect :) Last time I did one of these I got my butt kicked hard!