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Cheese Rules!!! As it happens…

25 May

I’m at this rad cheese event and you get to see my live notes about cheese and same, wine and spirits pairings.

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Eat through the cold!

5 Jan

First, don’t forget to enter the fun little giveaway this week for a wonderful start to your new year!

A view from our table on the patio, while we sipped French 75's.

Now, I wanted to boost the mood for you all, with some fabulous summer shots of a local Seattle favorite restaurant of mine, Maximilien in the Pike Place Market.

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Inspiration: If you need some, open your eyes!

21 Jul

Last night I was at the grocery store after a pretty long day. I was tired, hungry, tired and hungry (uh, wait….okay I already said that….that’s how tired and hungry I was).

I needed to buy something for dinner last night as well as something for dinner tonight, as I’m having a couple of friends over and one is a vegetarian.  I headed over to the cold case where I knew they kept the tofu (just wait to see what I’m making with it! I’ll post the full method tomorrow, after I’ve made it).  As I walked over there, I saw a little “turn style” (not sure what it’s really called), on top of this podium thingy (real specific, Siir’, thanks!)…..

I thought to myself, I wonder why they are selling seed packets next to the tofu?  Right.  That makes sense. So I looked again and realized it was a rotating kiosk full of recipe cards!  And the podium had a reference guide-book on it with divider tabs that showed how to cook every kind of meat and vegetable! I could NOT believe my eyes. Here are some free resources for EVERYONE to use, just sitting there in this little corner. I have been in that store at least 100 times and have NEVER seen it sitting there.

So, of course I took full advantage of what I saw.

Here’s a list of recipe cards I picked up to try:

Grilled Halibut Raspberry Vinaigrette
Chive and Rosemary Filet Mignon
Roasted Cauliflower Gratin
Baba Ghanoush
Minty Watermelon Salad
Brussels Sprouts Vinaigrette
Sweet Ginger Carrots

Tonight I’m making the Sweet Ginger Carrots to go with the tofu and then I’m doing a Kale pesto pasta salad. Can you say YUM?

For the tofu, I’m going to bake it like it’s my crispy baked chicken (the same recipe that I used for my Food Network YouTube Challenge Video) and just sub out the chicken for tofu, and reduce the amount of yogurt so it doesn’t get soggy (I drained it last night).

I’ll show you how I did it tomorrow!

Next time you’re at the grocery store, keep your eyes peeled for these cool, free resources.  Most stores have something of this nature, whether in the deli, butcher counter or produce department.  When you are short on inspiration, borrow some!

Onion Dip: when I dip, you dip, we dip!

14 Jun

If you’re too old or young for the reference in the title, then here. That is very 1998, and reminds me of high school whenever I hear it.

And it makes me want to dance, and I love to dance in the kitchen, while I cook. And so, naturally (right?) I want to make this aromatic and rich onion dip that Baking Banter posted. (I CAN’T get enough of them lately, I know!!!!!)

Image credit to King Arthur Flour Company

Here is how they made their version of the onion dip.

I would say my only switch up would be a healthy swap out of the mayo and cream cheese (sorry fatty dairy products….I love you, but the seams on my bikini and everyone at the beach in Bali that will have to see my fat, white thighs? not so much!)

I would, instead, keep the non-fat sour cream, because it’s really not that bad, and that zip it adds is unmistakable, and I would make the rest from (you guessed it) my lady in waiting, non-fat plain yogurt. Strained or not, it keeps it creamy and filling, without a million extra calories that I won’t have time to run off before August.

I may just have to make this over this weekend…and try it out on my subjects, er, friends.

Hummus Remix

11 Jun

Thanks again to the folks over at Baking Banter for posting a quick and easy tutorial for hummus. I LOVE the stuff. And I love it regular, roasted garlic, red pepper or jalepeno, anyway you can make it! (of course that opens the flood gates and there are a ton of other variations you can do as well).

I wanted to post their tasty looking batch and link to their basic hummus, but I also plan to make a batch this week with stuff I’ve got in my kitchen already, except I need some Tanhini (sesame paste).

Doesn’t this look irresistable?!

Image credit to King Arthur Flour Company

Great photography too! What’s not to love?!  Tastes good, looks good, IS good!

NOTE TO SELF: Try this with roasted Cerano Peppers from McPheresons Market on Beacon Hill.

PS: To the 5 readers out there, I have found a great way to enjoy oodles of my dip without oodles of calories. Don’t skimp on the dip, skimp on the crackers! Because summer is right around the corner, I’m using cucumbers, carrots, snap peas, or baby bell peppers in place of crackers.  It helps you get closer to your daily quota of veggies and it tastes great while reducing calories. I’m sure this is a note mostly for the ladies….but guys, no reason you can’t up the anti on the veggies too, right?

Also you can try cutting up a yam or sweet potato, roasting with olive oil, salt and pepper, in the oven on 425 for 25-30 minutes to make sweet potato fries and use those as your dippers! Still healthier and I think tastier than a cracker!

Spring and Summer easy entertainers: Dip it

9 Jun

I just found out that the King Arthur Flour Company has a food blog: Baking Banter.  I am really liking it!

They have a whole series of fun, easy dip ideas I had to share with you for three reasons:

  1. I’m REALLY hungry right now and they make me want to bite my screen.
  2. They’re easy to make and cheap, and you probably already have some of the stuff needed at home.
  3. You can improvise which means you don’t need to necessarily follow the recipe to a T, which is always a requirement for me!

So the first one I wanted to share from their blog is their pesto, made with parsley rather than basil. Don’t cringe yet, it’s actually fresh and green tasting, and still just as satisfying. Check it out:

Parsley Pesto

image credit to King Arthur Flour Company

For the whole post about the method and what they used, check it out here!

Great dining out quick tips for the summer

27 May

I was logged into MyRegence this morning, which is the online component for people like me that have Regence Blue Shield for health insurance, and I came across a great little article I wanted to share.

7 Tips to Eat Out for Less
Learn how you can dine out for less money — while still making healthy choices.
by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN

Finding good-for-you food and good value isn’t always easy when dining out these days. Too often, the less you spend for a meal, the more calories you’ll end up buying — and consuming. For instance ordering nachos, a big burrito and a sweet tea might cost you six or seven dollars — and about half-a-day’s worth of calories. This might seem like a good deal at first. But you probably won’t feel that great about it afterwards.But it is possible to get good value while making healthy choices. Here are some strategies:

  1. Pre-plan: You can find menus for many restaurants online. Many chains often post nutrition facts on specific menu items as well. Research Web sites and user comments before you go out to eat whenever possible.
  2. Don’t leave home too hungry: People tend to order more food when their stomachs are growling. Eating something light an hour or so before a meal will help curb your hunger. A piece of fruit, sliced veggies, a small bowl of cereal or a glass of low-fat milk are all good options.
  3. Go for the appetizers: Order up one or two as a meal as long as they’re not fried or drenched in cheese or butter. Try meat-free appetizers that feature fresh vegetables, whole grains or local seafood.
  4. Share with friends: Splitting dishes with friends saves you cash — and calories. Most restaurants offer portions large enough that one entrée and a small side are more than enough for two. When you share with larger groups you can get more flavors into the mix. Just be sure your friends are open to healthier menu options!
  5. Drink smart: Ordering beverages can make your bill climb in a hurry. Especially alcohol. If you order tap water (maybe with a slice of lemon or lime), you’re paying nothing, adding zero calories, and maybe filling yourself up so you don’t overeat. Smart call!
  6. Have a strategy for dessert: When you skip dessert you’re saving money — and usually excess calories. If you do feel the need for a sweet finish, consider something fruit-based. If you make a more indulgent choice, share it with a friend. Or cut it in half when it gets to the table and save the rest for later.
  7. Look for bargains: Last but not least, become a bargain shopper. Many restaurants offer deals during off-peak hours or on mid-week days. Early bird dinner specials can offer significant savings. This is good time to get a group together for a meal.


Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University.

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