Recent Eats 4/18/15

Breakfast

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Have you ever heard of potica? If not you’re missing out. It’s a Slovenian pastry/bread that’s a holiday tradition in Jon’s family. His dad surprised us on Easter by bringing us Easter leftovers, including some potica!

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Last weekend I had a friend’s wedding to attend. I knew the night would be filled with food and drink so I wanted to start the day off healthy with one of my fav smoothies: 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp. almond butter.

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One of my standard breakfasts…eggs, turkey sausage, avocado and yes ketchup. Does anyone else put ketchup on their eggs? I always have and love it, but Jon things it’s gross, ha!

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I haven’t had much appetite in the morning lately so my breakfasts have been light. This one morning toast with Peanut Butter and Company’s Cinnamon Raisin sounded good to pair with my morning latte.

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We’ve gotten into the habit of making our own oatmeal, but I’ve been craving instant oatmeal so I picked up a box. I like the texture better…I can never get my homemade version that smooth!

Lunch

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You can never go wrong with a hearty sandwich! And there’s avocado hiding under those tomatoes.

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This was the same day as the wedding I attended. I wanted a healthy but filling lunch and didn’t have anything in the house…so Publix turkey sub it is! And those chips are one of my fav chip brands: Cape Cod. A new sweet chili flavor that was awesome!

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Salad and soup is a favorite lunch of mine. Salad included chicken, spinach, beets and new goat cheese crumbles I found at Publix. I love love love Pacific brand soup. Their flavors are tasty and natural!

Dinner

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This was a Jon dish. Roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and roasted green beans. So simple, but oh so good.

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Another yummy Jon dish! Chicken Parmesan with pesto angel hair and salad. The pesto was a gift from his sister who got it in Spain…SO good.

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My friend Lora and I had a dinner date where we picked up food from Fresh Kitchen in Tampa. If you haven’t tried them yet you must! Their food is delicious and everything is healthy…it’s a great way to load up on protein and veggies.

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This was what I picked up at Whole Foods one day after a long work day. Meatloaf, green beans and mashed potatoes. Easy and yummy, but NOT cheap…thanks Whole Foods…

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THIS. This will forever be one of my favorite meals that Jon makes. Mojo pork with black beans and rice. His black beans are perfection and I could literally eat them all day every day if I had to.

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I attended Flicks and Food Trucks in downtown Tampa for a work event this past week. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet. There’s 15 local food trucks that come out, live music and a big blow up screen where they show a movie. It’s super neat. While I was there I got the Che-Bacon from the Grilled Cheese truck. This thing was heaven. Pure, absolute, cheesy heaven.

What have been some of your recent eats?

 

Recent Eats 4/7/15

I’m personally not a fan of sharing what I eat every single day (who has the time???). However, I’m going to start doing weekly posts about some of my recent eats that are worth sharing. Hopefully they will help you with some future meal planning!

Breakfast

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Can I just tell you how much I LOVE avocado toast? I only just decided to give it a try a few months ago and it was one of those moments where you go “What the hell have I been missing out on?” I do it simple…whole grain toast, mashed avocado, salt and pepper.

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More eggs and bacon. Eggs and some kind of protein (either bacon or turkey/chicken sausage) is one of my normal breakfasts. This day I also had one of my homemade banana coconut walnut muffins that I had made the night before. Anytime I leave bananas out for too long it’s either banana muffins or banana bread!

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I recently visited the St. Pete Trader Joe’s for the first time. I go to Tampa for work a lot so I’ve been going to the Tampa location until the excitement of the St. Pete store died down. On this trip I had grabbed a package of cranberry orange tea scones. They were quite delish with a cup of tea, however I think I prefer an actual scone (sans frosting).

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The next few months are going to be very busy work wise. I’ve had some early mornings lately and I like to keep any extra minute of sleep that I can. Which means sometimes I eat breakfast in the car…For a quick breakfast I LOVE Bobo’s Oat Bars. Seriously I am obsessed. For locals, I buy them at Rollin’ Oats in St. Pete. They come in a bunch of different flavors and they are all awesome. They are also guy approved…one reason I kept buying them was because Jon loves them too and it’s one of the few things I can make him eat before he rushes off to work.

Lunch

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Jon and I have pretty opposite schedules, but every now and then it will work out that I work from home the same day that he’s off. Obviously, I have to work so there’s not much we can do together, BUT we can take a break for a fun lunch. On this particular day I had to run up to Tampa and on my way back I stopped to get sandwiches at Mazzaro’s. I got us the Muffalatta to split along with some spicy artichoke salad and tomato chips that looked interesting. We decided to have our lunch with a view at Maximo Park, which is just down the road from us. Lunch break done right!

Dinner

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This was a yummy dinner my dear friend Lora made one night using her new spiralizer! Zucchini noodles with chicken and pesto…SO good.

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This was a bit of an indulgence night. I keep eyeing the Niman’s Ranch pulled pork at Rollin’ Oats and one day I finally bought it. Paired with sautéed kale and Annie’s mac and cheese.

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Another night dining with friends! Our friends Kyle and Jesse invited Jon and I over for dinner. Jesse made an amazing brisket with polenta. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again!

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In an effort to try to reduce my carb intake at night I picked up a spaghetti squash to use as “pasta”. I paired it with some turkey meatballs that Jon had made, marinara sauce, kale and mozzarella. Recipe coming to the blog soon!

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I was craving pesto and found a super simple chicken pesto recipe on Pinterest. Literally all I did was top chicken breast with pesto and baked for about a half hour at 375 degrees then topped with mozzarella and broiled for another 5 minutes. Perfection. Paired with roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted spicy sweet potatoes from Rollin’ Oats.

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I had a lot of work events last week, which meant when I got home I wanted something fast and easy for dinner, but still healthy. That’s how I paired these two together: Seeds of Change Caribbean Rice and Bilinski’s Cajun Chicken Sausage. I LOVE Seeds of Change and I use their instant rice frequently in recipes because it’s fast, the rice tastes awesome and they use natural ingredients. I also love Bilinski’s (at Rollin’ Oats). Their chicken sausage is so tasty and they have some great flavors. All I did for this meal was heat the two up together and paired with some leftover veggies.

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I had been craving buffalo wings and found this recipe on Pinterest for Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole. This was definitely a healthier way to crave my buffalo wing craving! Despite the cheese and bacon, but oh well.

What have been some of your recent eats?

 

Burgers & Tapas

I have always loved living in sunny St. Pete, FL, but I love it even more than ever. St. Pete is quickly turning into a foodie’s paradise. It seems like every week now I’m hearing about a new restaurant opening up, and they all have their own unique concepts to keep your tastebuds happy.

The other week we got to try Engine Rose, which is the new sister restaurant of Engine No. 9. Engine No.9 has been my go to place for a big juicy burger for a long time. Their burgers are inventive and the meat they use is very flavorful. And they always cook at perfect temps, which means if you order medium rare they will give you medium rare…something that doesn’t always happen at other restaurants.

Engine Rose took over La Crepiere (a place I never got to try) and abuts Cappy’s Pizzeria. You can spot it by the airstream trailer, which they use as their kitchen. There’s an inside seating area, but outside is where the atomosphere is at. A small bar with TVs if you want to watch the game, and a few specially made picnic tables with string lights as mood lighting. Apparently they still have some build out to do so very curious to see what’s to come!

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The food? A-mazing. We started with an order of wings, which were HUGE and had just the right amount of heat for this gal. Jon and I split two burgers…he got the Black N Blue and I got the Tzatziki Turkey Burger. I was in love with my turkey burger…the yogurt bun was a great compliment to the meat and the cucumber, pickles and sundried tomatoes were all perfect toppings.

We also got to try a new to the area Spanish tapas restaurant the other week called Pata Negra. Jon’s brother and sister-in-law were in town and we had met up with to watch a bit of the Grand Prix race.

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We had only seen the race once before a few years back so this was a real treat. I can’t see sitting there all day watching the races, but it’s definitely fun for an hour or two.

And I was elated to find a bloody mary stand!

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After the final race we ended up at Pata Negra for an early dinner. This was another amazing meal all around.

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We tried a variety of different tapas including the tabla sampler, ceviche sampler, gambas pil pil (shrimp), albondigas (meatballs), piquillos rellenos (stuffed peppers), empanadas, pork belly and sea scallops. Uh, ya, we were pretty darn full.

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Each dish had great flavor and there were lots of “mmm”s going on around the table. We also tried both the red and white sangrias. The red had hints of cinnamon (which I love) and we thought the white maybe had some cayenne in it for just a slight kick.

There are so many other new restaurants I’ve been wanting to try. Some on the list: Noble Crust, The Burg Diner and Sea Salt. And I’m anxiously awaiting for a few others that haven’t opened yet!

What new restaurants have you been to lately?

 

Stuffed Pepper Casserole with Turkey and Brown Rice

When I saw that we had leftover green peppers in the fridge one dish came instantly to mind: Stuffed Peppers.

After searching Pinterest for recipe ideas I came across one for Stuffed Pepper Casserole…mmm, sounds good! Any time I have stuffed peppers I end up cutting everything up and mixing it together anyway, so why not just take the casserole route? I decided to put a healthy spin on it and swapped out ground beef for ground turkey, as well as white rice for brown rice.

This is an easy dish to make during the week for a quick dinner. And leftovers make an easy lunch during the week too!

Start by cooking the turkey over medium high heat. Once fully cooked set aside. Add diced peppers and onions and cook until soft, about 10 minutes or so. Add corn, tomato sauce (Hunts is my preferred brand), diced tomatoes, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Feel free to add any other spices that might kick the flavor up a notch. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

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Mmm…I was tempted to eat it just like this!

Add rice (I like to use Seeds of Change instant rice) and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until cheese is ooey and gooey.

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Perfect.

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If you love stuffed peppers this is a great twist on the original…and healthier too! Enjoy!

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St. Pete Bachelorette Weekend

I always look forward to the weekend…but when there’s a celebration involved? That’s even more of a reason to look forward to Friday! This past weekend my friend Sam had her bachelorette party and I was so excited to be able to celebrate with her. Can you believe I’ve only been to one other bachelorette party in my lifetime?? I guess that’s why I was extra excited about Sam’s! She is also one of the sweetest people I know and I was so happy that she was getting a day that was all about her.

Saturday was a full day celebration. I knew it was going to be a day filled with drinks and food so I started my morning with a hearty, healthy smoothie. One banana, one cup almond milk, half cup rolled oats and a tablespoon of almond butter.

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We started off at Sea Hag’s on St. Pete Beach for lunch, where a certain someone’s significant other is the chef *wink wink*.

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I had one of my favorite dishes there, the blackened fish tacos.

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After lunch we headed to the beach for some sun. It was spring break this past week so the beach was really crowded. We still were able to find a good spot and it was fun people watching.

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I can only stand the sun for so long so after about an hour I headed home to clean up and change for the night’s festivities. My friend Lora met up at my place and we took an Uber to Sam’s hotel in downtown St. Pete. This was our first time using Uber! It took a little bit for me to figure out how to use it (and I still don’t know how you choose a driver, it just chose one for us?) but overall it was pretty easy. And I love the fact that you don’t have to mess with money (although we weren’t sure if we were supposed to tip?)

After a quick lingerie shower (oh la la!) in Sam’s hotel room we walked to dinner, which was at Station House.

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How cute is the bride-to-be???

Station House is a new tapas style restaurant that has been open for about a few months and I’ve been dying to try it so I was so glad we were going. And they really took care of us! There were 12 of us total and they set us up in a private dining area, which was perfect. We were able to talk loudly and be silly!

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We started the night off with a toast to the bride and delicious drinks!

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I started off with champagne and later had a Violet Rickey, which was amazing. It was a twist on a Gin Rickey with violet petals. The violet flavor was a great touch…if you like elderflower liquor you would dig this drink.

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The food menu is divided into shareable plates, entrees and sides. It’s a great way to try a few different things.

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Lora and I started off by sharing the Bell-Ringers, which were bacon wrapped medjool dates, chorizo, apricot and pink peppercorn. Yum!

We also shared the Radicchio Salad, which had bacon lardons, pecorino romano, roast garlic croutons and was topped with a poached egg. I’m not normally a fan of runny yolk, but mixed in with the salad it really made the dish. The saltiness of the bacon mixed with the bitterness of the radicchio and texture of the egg really made this an interesting and delicious salad.

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For my main dish I got the Grits and Grunts, which was lightly fried local grunt filets atop grits with a sauce that had blistered tomatoes and cremini mushrooms. The dish was a bit on the salty side, but I still really enjoyed it.

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After dinner we headed to The Canopy for drinks and unbeatable views of downtown St. Pete.

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With good food and good friends it was a great night celebrating Sam!

How many bachelorette parties have you attended? What was the most memorable?

How Give & Grub is Striking Out Hunger

Did you know that more than 700,000 people go hungry every day in the Tampa Bay area? And that most of those people are children?

The Laser Spine Institute is trying to lower that number, one meal at a time. They are the brains behind the Give and Grub food truck. The Give and Grub food truck donates a meal to a child in need for every meal someone buys at their food truck. How amazing is that? The Laser Spine Institute and Give and Grub are striking out hunger in our local community. In fact, they recently announced that they reached 25,000 meal donations!

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The Tampa Bay Bloggers were recently asked out to a special Give and Grub event where we learned all about the idea behind their food truck and even got to taste some of their amazing food!

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Give and Grub are also partners with the Tampa Bay Lightning and all of their dishes are named after Lightning players.

Their menu includes:

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How amazing does all of that look??

And while we were there they introduced two new food items…a steak sandwich and sweet potato fries!

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The name for this sandwich is TBD…they let us put in some suggestions though!

We got to try the Chicken Parmkos, Hedman’s Steak Tacos, Callahan’s Mac Slam and some of the new sweet potato fries. Everything tasted fresh and full of flavor. They make their own bread and you can definitely taste the difference.

Not only does Give and Grub serve up fresh, tasty food, they’re also giving back to their community. That’s a win win in my book!

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If you want to try out Give and Grub, request the truck for an event or help out visit their website at: http://www.giveandgrub.com/

Disclaimer: I attended this event as an opportunity with the Tampa Bay Bloggers. Our food was comped in exchange for Facebooking/tweeting/Instagraming during the event. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Spring Styling at Anthropologie

Happy daylight savings time!

Sunday morning was *rough* but I do love the longer days of sunshine that lay ahead of us! They always make me feel like I can get more accomplished during the day.

One thing that helped me jump out of bed Sunday morning was the date I had set with my dear friend, Lora. Lora was invited to a special event at Anthropologie, where we’d get to shop and sip mimosas prior to their normal open hours. Shopping? Mimosas? Sign me up!

We were welcomed at the door with a smiling face of one of the store associates, who also served as our personal stylist for the day. In the dressing room area we were greeted with mimosas and lovely madeleine cookies.

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There was also a rack set up with current pieces that are trending for spring.

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With mimosa in hand we began to scour the floor for our favorite spring fashions. What I love about Anthropologie is the versatility and timelessness of their clothes. You can easily dress most of their items up or down. And an item you buy today will look just as pristine a few years from now. Truthfully my wallet always takes a small gasp at the sight of their price tags…however, I know when I buy something from Anthropologie I know I will get a lot of wear and use out of it. And that is worth the price! Plus, they always have a great sale going on in the back! If you’re looking to stock up on some lightweight long sleeved tops or sweaters for the next cold front, head over there now!

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Time to try on!

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I really liked this black dress. It was simple, fun and flirty. I can totally see dressing this up with a cute pair of heels and a statement necklace.

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I love my curves, but still have some trouble fully embracing them sometimes. I prefer fit and flare skirts and dresses, but Lora convinced me to try this skirt on. I loved it! It was so comfortable and you can easily pair it with a variety of different colored tops.

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This was my favorite top of the day. Loved the detail and the color.

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Loved this top too!

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This top comes in a variety of colors and is SO soft. Seriously…I want to live in this shirt. The collar is a kind of satiny material so again you can dress this up or down. This is where our stylist helped out and showed me how I could pair this with a fun necklace or a funky scarf.

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I saved the best for last. I loved everything about this dress. The style, the colors, the material. Love love love!

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I highly recommend setting up a free session with a personal stylist. They can really help you find exactly what you’re looking for, how to enhance their pieces and more.

As we left we were given an adorable succulent to take home as a party favor.

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Thanks for having us Anthropologie!

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 After our shopping excursion it was time for brunch! We headed down the street to one of our favorite places in Hyde Park, Piquant. Piquant is a charming French themed restaurant and they have a nice variety of breakfast and lunch items ranging from traditional omelets, sandwiches on fresh bread, salads, flatbreads and of course pastries.

Lora and I ended up sharing one of the brunch specials, a Brie and Pear Flatbread with Smoked Chicken. Delish!

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After brunch I made a stop at Nordstrom’s at International Plaza to see my friend Ashley, who’s a fit specialist in the lingerie department. She helped me pick out something special for my friend Sam, who’s having her bachelorette party this coming weekend.

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If you’re in need of a gift, or if you need something for YOU make sure to stop by and see my girl Ashley. She’s an excellent fitter and loves what she does!

Butternut Squash Risotto with Kale and Pancetta

butternutsquashrisotto I hope everyone had a nice holiday!

It seems to be clear that blogging has not been a top priority for me recently. Life just continues to be busy, busy, busy. I have tons that I want to catch up on…a trip to Cleveland, our week in Blue Ridge, GA…and I’ll get to all that. But for now…a recipe!

I’ve gone through a bit of a phase lately where I haven’t been in the mood to cook much. I’ve been going out to eat a lot lately or just picking up something at my local health food store. I knew that the cooking bug would bite again…I just needed to be inspired.

The other night I had my heart set on making risotto. After searching through Pinterest I decided on butternut squash risotto. I had kale to use up so I thought I’d throw that in. And I felt like it needed something else…boom! Pancetta!

To make prep a whole lot easier (ain’t nobody got time to cut up a squash) I found pre cut frozen butternut squash at my local health food store (for locals: Rollin’ Oats). I also was able to find chopped pancetta in the deli section of the grocery store.

I basically started off with a simple risotto recipe. I cooked off the pancetta and set it aside. I heated the butternut squash in a pan with olive oil and once it was cooked through I added seasoning and the kale. I stirred the mixture until the kale was slightly wilted (it will wilt more when stirred into the risotto) then set the mixture aside. Once the risotto is fully cooked I stirred in the pancetta and squash and kale mixture. The standard risotto recipe calls for 3 cups of broth, but I ended up using more. I recommend taste testing along the way to make sure you don’t undercook the rice. You don’t want it to be crunchy at all.

I served my risotto with baked chicken and a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Without further adieu, here’s the recipe! Hope you all have a Happy New Year!

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Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

I have a confession…

While enjoying a cocktail last week at our new favorite bar, Jon and I got to talking to a small bachelor party (they were quite entertaining). We had some good banter going on and in reference to a drink he was drinking one of them asked me, “Do you like pumpkin spice lattes?” In response I leaned in and said “Are you calling me a basic bitch?” Laughter ensued.

My confession? You guys…I most definitely am…a basic bitch. Because yes, I do like pumpkin spice lattes. I love pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. Give me ALL THE THINGS pumpkin spice. Yes, I am one of THOSE people.

My excuse? I live in Florida. And I grew up in Connecticutt…so I know what REAL Fall feels like, looks like and tastes like. I miss the changing leaves, the brisk cool air…so if a little pumpkin spice brings me a little Fall happiness then so be it!

I will admit…some of the pumpkin spice things have gotten a wee bit out of hand, but there’s a lot of yummy pumpkin spice items out there. I’ve tried my fair amount and here are some of my favs!

Tazo Chai Pumpkin Spice Latte

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I love the spicy notes of chai so chai mixed with pumpkin spice is heaven in a cup to me. A little bit spicy and a little bit sweet.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Waffles

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Trader Joe’s has done me right in the pumpkin everything department. These pumpkin waffles are SO good and they’re actually the best frozen waffle I have ever had. The flavor is perfect and they are perfectly soft and fluffy.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

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My new favorite snack to munch on. Yum, yum and yum.

Trader Joe’s Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli

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This was definitely an impulse buy since once I got home I wasn’t sure how to prepare them.

I ended up getting some chicken sausage and after sautéing it I added alfredo sauce and tossed the cooked ravioli in it. Served with roasted asparagus.

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Next time I think I’d try doing a lighter sauce, like a butter sage sauce. The pumpkin and the alfredo was a bit too much together.

The Fresh Market Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice Gelato

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Love this gelato from The Fresh Market. Has a TON of pumpkin flavor and is smooth and creamy. Makes a perfect light dessert.

What are your favorite pumpkin items?

Fresh Tastes at California Pizza Kitchen (Review)

I attended a tasting of California Pizza Kitchen’s new menu items on behalf of Tampa Bay Bloggers. California Pizza Kitchen gave me a complimentary meal in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a big fan of chain restaurants. One of the reasons why is that there seems to be a lack of healthier options. And if there is something on the healthier side it is typically an uninspired chicken, rice and vegetable dish. California Pizza Kitchen has recognized this and in turn they are turning over a new leaf this Fall. They have added new dishes to their menu that are not only healthy, but also seasonally inspired. No bland food here! California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen in Tampa invited myself and other bloggers to a tasting so we could check out the NEW California Pizza Kitchen. Unfortunately, I had some kind of weird stomach bug the day of the tasting so I had to back out. But luckily I was able to come back a few days later and still enjoy a tasting! First things first…drinks! California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen I love me a good cocktail. I was able to try the new Blood Orange Sangria, the Blueberry Ginger Smash and a third that unfortunately I forget the name of. It was my least favorite though, so that may be why! My favorite was the sangria. It was light, sweet and refreshing. Now to the food glorious food… Harvest Kale Salad California Pizza Kitchen I loved seeing this salad. I usually don’t order salads out because they’re borrr-ing. Not this one! With my favorite green as the star, faro, roasted butternut squash, pear, cranberries, pecans, goat cheese and citrus vinaigrette this salad was packed full of flavor. Roasted Garlic Chicken Crispy-skin chicken breast in lemon-garlic sauce with hearth-roasted fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and Mediterranean herbs. California Pizza Kitchen Overall this was a great dish. The chicken was a bit too salty for my taste and I wish there were more Brussels sprouts because I love them so! Hearth Roasted Halibut Wild caught halibut from the Aleutian Islands, roasted on a cedar plank with butternut squash faro, baby kale and grilled asparagus. California Pizza Kitchen This was my favorite main dish. Halibut is meatier fish, so paired with the butternut squash faro this was a nice, hearty dish. It was light, tasty and satisfying. I also loved how California Pizza Kitchen has incorporated faro into some of their new dishes. It’s not a grain you see on a lot of menus and it’s not to have something outside of the norm. Fire-Grilled Ribeye 12oz USDA choice ribeye grilled with housemade Pinot Noir sea salt and topped with creamy bleu cheese butter. Served with roasted fingerling potatoes and lemon arugula salad. California Pizza Kitchen Mmm, mama loves a good steak. I’m totally a meat and potatoes kinda gal so I was into this dish as well. The steak was cooked perfectly and had great flavor. The butter on top was tasty, but I could have lived without it. Pumpkin Cheesecake California Pizza Kitchen Self explanatory! One of my favorite desserts is cheesecake and I love pumpkin everything so this dessert was perfection to me. The menu isn’t the only thing that has gotten a face lift at California Pizza Kitchen. Check out their new digs! California Pizza Kitchen California Pizza Kitchen The new décor definitely gives California Pizza Kitchen a less “chain” look and more of an authentic vibe. California Pizza Kitchen The Tampa location is one of a small handful of restaurants that is trying out California Pizza Kitchen’s new concept. From what I saw and tasted I hope it moves to all of the other locations! Do you dine at California Pizza Kitchen? Have you tried the new menu items?

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