Wednesday, August 24, 2011

make a healthy lunch!

Today I tried out a recipe that I had been thinking over in my head. I enjoy a good wrap and dislike mayo and mustard on wraps so I thought of something new! My taste-buds were tingling for something that had explosions of flavor so here you having your southwest-ish wrap:

1 Whole Wheat Wrap
1/2 small avocado
1-2 table spoons of salsa
3-4 pieces of turkey
Handful of chopped lettuce
Handful of Grape Tomatoes
Drizzle of LF or FF Ranch

1. Smash the avocado with a fork.
2. Add salsa to avocado and mix well. Add salt & pepper to taste.

3. Spread mixture on the wrap.

4. Lay turkey on top.

5. Lay lettuce and tomatoes on top of turkey.

6. Drizzle with ranch and roll!

It tasted pretty good although I don't think my salsa was spicy enough to tickle my taste buds! My rolling skills also need to improve because it got kind of messy. I will definitely make this again and maybe even mix it up a bit. A delicious lunch for today though! :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tour de Yogurt: Kiwi

I am actually a frequent visitor to this yogurt shop, but I went again to make sure my facts were up to date! ;) After dinner tonight Gareth and I went to Kiwi in Oldsmar to get some yogurt. I was pretty full from dinner so I opted to take it home.

Kiwi shares a store with Greenwise Market Cafe which is a healthy-option Panera-like restaurant. I have had the food once when they first opened and was not blown away. The yogurt, however has been my favorite! Their signature flavor is "Taro". Taro is a root vegetable but when blended with yogurt makes just a sweet...different flavor. It is my go-to flavor here and tastes good with all of the toppings available.

Today I ordered a Taro. They were out after she filled the cup 1/3 of the way. I told her to go ahead and put my toppings in the middle while the yogurt was chilling. I had strawberries, mango and kiwi. The girl helping me was VERY generous with the "toppings" and I was wondering where the rest of the yogurt was going to go. She ended up pumping it out still a bit melty. It made quite a mess and since I was bringing it home I had to eat half of it just so it wouldn't flood the car. Side note: If this were my first time I probably wouldn't go back due to the mess/inconvenience, but I know they usually have it ice cold and ready to go! Once I got home I dumped it into a bigger bowl and stuck it in the freezer.

At this point it's still pretty soupy but it's alright I can wait. In my experience the yogurt from Kiwi does not freeze very well. It still tastes good!

I would have to score Kiwi a solid 7. It is above average due to the interesting flavor and mounds of toppings but I can now compare it to Pinkberry and I think that it is much more heavy tasting, and doesn't seem as healthy.

Pros: GENEROUS toppings, good selection of toppings, Facebook deals (mention an ad get a yogurt free!), close to the main road we use for restaurants, and close to the movie theater
Cons: Lacking a FRESH flavor, today it had bad consistency, do not have different toppings, only have 6 flavor options (but they do change regularly).

Ok, so it was good...but if I could have gone to Pinkberry I would have! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

cook and eat vegetables like crazy!

When I decided what to cook tonight my decision was based on the over-full pantry and refrigerator! I had a ton of spaghetti, a 1/2 jar of sauce and veggies! The only logical answer was spaghetti! Once I told Gareth what we were having he was not all. He asked if there were going to be meatballs, and that gave me the idea to use up the hamburger meat from last night's hamburgers. Shooting lots of birds with one stone! Yahoo!

I was excited to make a veggie-packed pasta dish for myself but I also wanted to try a recipe for baked zucchini chips! Since I had bought zucchini on Sunday, and I had the rest of the ingredients on hand it would be a great pairing with spaghetti.

They weren't hard to make at all (unless you count getting egg/breadcrumb/egg/breadcrumb fingers hard)! I cooked the meat with some garlic before adding the rest of the jar of marinara. I also added 1/2 a jar of water for a couple of reasons: 1) My mom taught me that it gets the rest of the sauce out 2) It made the 1/2 jar go a bit further! I let that simmer on the stove while I prepped my chips and cooked the spaghetti.

Since Gareth does not eat vegetables like I do and I wanted to add them to my spaghetti, I steamed some zucchini and broccoli and poured some sauce on top of it. I then poured that on top of my spaghetti. It was delicious!

The chips turned out just like they were supposed to. I liked them and would make them again but I wasn't crazy about them. I used panko breadcrumbs so maybe that made it taste too bready to me, but I didn't LOVE them. I dipped them in the marinara and it made a pretty healthy/good appetizer. I think you should try them if you are into that kind of thing!

I was prepared to give you a review of the next stop on my tour de yogurt this evening but upon inspection...they have not opened yet. I guess I will have to head to another place on the list this week! If all else fails I can go to Pinkberry again. I mean I have only been back once twice since they opened!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tour de Yogurt!

I am not going to say I am a yogurt connoisseur or anything...yet; I just really love froyo! As hot as it has been in Florida I couldn't imagine having anything else for dessert (except maybe a milkshake or a bowl of ice cream...but that's besides the point). There is a current trend out there and I am willing to participate!

TCBY, Kiwi, The Yogurt Spot, Yogurt Mountain, and Pinkberry...just to name a few. I am definitely one to judge a book by it's cover unless it's dessert. I am willing to try a yogurt from each of these until I find the best in the area. Consider this a favor I am doing for all of you readers. You won't have to waste your time at the no-good yogurt spots (do those exist?!).

Tonight I started my tour with my yogurt-loving sister in tow. She decided the tour should start with Pinkberry...boy was that a mistake; quite possibly the best mistake I've made!


After a filling dinner in Westchase we did a lap around the block to ready ourselves for the deliciousness we were about to encounter.  Pinkberry is the famous and possibly ORIGINAL frozen yogurt shop. Originally in New York and California, this is a popular spot for the celebs! Now in Florida, we can all enjoy.

The decor is really what gets me. They have pebble-y floors and glass walls. Very modern. We were greeted by super friendly employees all very eager to help us. We both decided that we wanted to taste the chocolate and the mango. My sister nearly collapsed at the taste of the chocolate. To. Die. For. I thought the mango was super fresh and the perfect amount of fruitiness. We also tried the watermelon yogurt which was fruity but not necessarily watermelon-y.

Karen decided on a side-by-side of original (tart) and chocolate with the following toppings: brownie bites, strawberries, and fruity pebbles. I decided on the mango and original side-by-side with strawberries, blueberries, mango, and raspberries.

This was the best yogurt I have ever eaten. The fruit was fresh and the yogurt itself was delicious. I ate a whole medium serving. The best part was not feeling stuffed afterward. We knew going into this that we would favor Pinkberry, so it probably wasn't a good idea to go there first. Oh well, I have to go back to fill up my punch-card. Plus, they opened a Chipotle next you know Gareth will want to go back soon!

Pros: DELICIOUS, one price no matter how many toppings (and they had a TON to choose from), decor, friendly staff, take home size and they put it in a cooler with ice for you (how cool? literally!), they have freshest fruit, they CATER, super clean and tidy environment.

Cons: You cannot fill your car to the top and take it home, there are not many flavors to choose from: chocolate, mango, watermelon, salted caramel, original, and coconut (this wasn't an issue since they were all so good!).

Fun Fact: Pinkberry employees always hand you your delectable dessert with two hands and the pinkberry logo facing you!

This one definitely scores a 10 out of 10 on my yogurt scale...and Karen's too!

Stay tuned for the next yogurt review!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"have a fiancé that cooks dinner"/eat green gloop!

I have been so neglectful of blogging lately, it's terrible! On top of full swing wedding-mode I haven't had much time to whip up an exciting dinner. There has been a lot of carrots & pineapple with yogurt and lunch/dinner combos including a bowl of Panera soup on Tuesday followed by a Chipotle salad last night.

Before I explain the green gloop, I must mention the delicious home cooked dinner I had on Monday night! My sister was coming over and I had to work until 7 so I asked Gareth if he could cook something. He agreed and we had settled on the most simple meal but it was really good and really hit the spot! On the menu: grilled chicken breasts, grilled pineapple, broccoli (for me...did you really think I got him hooked after one dinner?), corn, wild rice, and some leftover Cuban bread from Gareth's belated birthday dinner at my parent's.

Gareth actually didn't like pineapple until we started grilling it. It is SO delicious! The chicken was cooked perfectly and seasoned great too! Usually Gareth and I buy the organic chicken breasts because they package two large breasts in a package and it is cheaper than us having leftovers that we don't ever eat. I was telling him how much I prefer the organic chicken when he told me he had bought the regular since he found a two-pack! So maybe it is all in my head...

I only got to eat half of my piece of chicken because my sister showed up early and hungry. Since she is on a CRAZY diet (hey, at least she is getting her skinny on!) I had to share the only thing she could eat: chicken and broccoli. I was happy to share but it was pretty tasty! ;)

Now...for the green gloop! My sister went through a guacamole phase a few years ago buying store-bought guac weekly. I never took a liking to it. It was always tangy and spicy. In an attempt to take a liking to Chipotle (Gareth's favorite go-to restaurant) I tried some guac on my tacos about a year ago. After deciding everything on Chipotle's menu was simply too spicy for me we laid off the burrito runs for a while.

After going through SERIOUS Barbacoa withdrawals Gareth begged me if I could try it again and he suggested maybe a salad. After finding the PERFECT combination for a delicious salad, we are both two VERY happy campers! The salad goes something like this:
  • Lettuce
  • 1/2 scoop rice
  • 1/2 scoop black beans
  • Barbacoa...but not too much
  • Small handful cheese
  • Sour Cream (on the side)
  • GUACAMOLE (on the side)
  • Honey Chipotle!
Seriously, this salad is absolutely the most delicious thing in the world. Or at least...close. The guacamole is for the chip dipping. They give you a small...pathetic if you ask me...cup full. I think I all buy licked the cup clean last night. Their recipe is just so simple but so good. The avocado it buttery and you can taste hints of lime juice and cilantro. You will not regret ordering a cup...unless you regret not ordering more!

In addition to Chipotle's guac another to compete is Flamestone's table side-made fresh guacamole. We went here for Gareth's birthday and it was great! They muddle all of the ingredients in a stone bowl then let us dig in. Mmm!

I don't think I will ever purchase guacamole from the store...I mean is it even real guacamole? But you better believe I will be devouring some Chipotle guac from here on out!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

plan a wedding/make an edible dinner!

Yes, that's right! I am getting married on October 29 to my best friend. We had our meeting with the florist today and WOW! He made some nice arrangement based on what he thought I wanted. The hour and half we were there I changed EVERYTHING. The poor guy was all over the place trying to figure out what I want, what he can get, etc. We finally settled on a beautiful pallet of colors and flowers. I am SO excited to see the final outcome.

After we left the florist we went to the jeweler to pick up Gareth's ring. It is just what he wanted! He went to order the rings Monday and since I couldn't be there he ordered mine without me seeing it one last time. When we were in getting his I tried on the sample of mine and fell in love all over again. I am so happy with what I chose. Just marking another thing off the list.

In addition to all of that we sent out our invitations too! A little bit early but we have a lot of out of town guests, so we wanted to accommodate them! It seems like every little step makes it more real. I keep saying "wow" each time I complete another task. Today was a big WOW!

When it came to making dinner tonight I stuck to what I knew (especially after last night's ordeal)! If you don't know how to make grilled cheese then I am not sure there is much hope for you! I make a mean grilled cheese and we had all 2 ingredients so my mind was made up! Since I am not a tomato soup kinda girl I cooked some sweet potato fries because they are so good healthy...err kind of?

So, was tonight's dinner delicious? You betcha! Was it easy? Heck yes. Was it healthy?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

NOT cook.

Ok let me begin this by saying I found this recipe in TWO blogs. Both people raved about it. Maybe I didn't prepare it correctly but it was a MAJOR fail. I made it at about 3pm and even had a helper:

I then stuck it in the fridge to keep while I went to the gym and out with my sister. When I got home I popped it in the oven for 20-25 minutes and took it out. It looked done but upon further investigation it was still cold in the middle.

Not only did Gareth say it was gross, I agreed! We sat at the table looking at each other and down at our plates for a while before we decided to raid the fridge for something else. So....yes tonight was a bomb but I did get to eat SOMETHING:
This week is jam-packed. Tomorrow we go see the flowers for the wedding, Thursday we are going out for a birthday, and Friday we are going out. I guess that gives me time to find some recipes for next week!