Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sweet & Savory Rice Bowl

Sweet & Savory Rice Bowl... So there's a cafe in my hometown called Active Culture, they make the most Dahlicious rice bowls, yogurt & fruit parfaits, and super fresh frozen yogurt. It seems that everyone in town has their "go-to" bowl at Active Culture, and the one that I just never hear the end of is the LB Rice Bowl. This epic mixture of goodness includes organic brown rice, prosciutto, goat cheese, dates, apples, and basil. The sweet dates, salty prosciutto, creamy goat cheese, crisp apples, and aromatic basil are a combo to crave and last night I just had to make my own rendition at home.

I kept some things the same, the organic brown rice for instance as well as the prosciutto and basil (mainly because I had both already on hand). My bowl differed slightly though. On the sweet front I had recently procured a bag of large mixed medley raisins from TJ's which I diced up in place of the dates. For the creamy cheese, I went with crumbled feta... again mainly because I had it on hand and it was perfection. For the crispy bite I went in a pretty different direction from the tangy apple that AC includes in their bowl and instead went for warm burnt broccoli. Burnt broccoli, by the way, is a staple in my home - florets coated in olive oil/salt/pepper roasted at 450 for 20 minutes on a sheet pan until slightly crispy. They added a heartiness and warmth to my bowl that made this a scrumptious and filling dinner! I topped the whole bowl with a big squeeze of lime juice for a little acidity and moisture to bind all of my toppings.

This bowl will definitely become a regular of mine, the pop of flavor with each bite was addicting to say the least! Now go grab some sweet & savory toppings for your homemade rice bowls and report back on any great new combos!!

Starting the bowl, minus the broc

Too pretty not to post multiple pics!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Grilled Tofu/Zucchini Lettuce Wraps w/ Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Grilled Tofu/Zucchini Lettuce Wraps w/ Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce... It's a short week for me and I am doing everything I can do eat light after a weekend of stuffing my face and the 4th coming up. Summer is hard man! I feel like I can't find inspiration to cook because the evenings are so beautiful I want to be sitting out at a lovely restaurant dining al fresco or I'm running to a later in the night workout class and trying to grab a quick bite on my way home. Seems that those dark winter months were more inspiring to this wanabe chef. Anywho, I am trying this week to make at least 3 healthful, new meals. So here goes night one.....

What I used for the Wraps:

  • Firm Tofu (I like these sprouted Tofu pack's from TJ's I used one half of the 2 pack)
  • 2 Zucchinis (there were leftovers)
  • 5 lettuce cups (got mine from TJ's)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Cilantro

What I used for the Sauce:(which was way more than I needed, cut this in half for 1 person)
1/2 cup chunky peanut or almond butter

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/4 cup warm water

For the sauce just whisk all of those ingredients together, I topped mine with some sesame seeds at the end.

For the wraps, simply slice your tofu and zucchini into wrap sized pieces and grill for a few minutes over high heat. Layer them into your rinsed lettuce cups (note I had to rinse and pat dry my lettuce cups before using) and then add on your herbs. I just tore up a combo of the mint, basil, and cilantro and sprinkled over the top of each wrap. Then dig in!!

This meal literally took 10 minutes max - it was super light and super flavorful!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

May Roundup

May Roundup... I really like these roundups because it's giving me an opportunity to look back on all the Dahlicious things I've consumed in the month... and it's giving me an opportunity to fully accept why I am not 10 lbs lighter. Without further ado, here is what I stuffed my face with in May of 2015:

The Angry Crab: The first of a new series of "Adventure Date Nights" with our couple friends. I found this place via instagram and let me tell you it did not disappoint. After a lengthy drive to a part of town we were not familiar with, we sat down at this BYOB locale to enjoy bags of shellfish tossed in yummy sauces galore.

Shrimp, Crab Legs, Craw Fish

The aftermath with my namesake beer

Shrimp Roll by the pool: Such a perfect summer bite. Hunks of tender shrimp tossed in mayo and fresh herbs like dill and spicy arugula, stuffed on a super buttery roll and served with salt & vinegar chips. Yes please.

Portillo's: This was one of those nights where my eyes were way bigger than my stomach. I normally order an Italian beef but that night I thought I needed a BIG BEEF as well as a hot dog as well as cheese fries. I am proud to say I finished the beef, had half the fries and took at least 2 bites of the dog.

Look how iddy biddy the hot dog looks next to the Big Beef!!!!

Cinco De Mayo: What a perfect night to treat yourself to the most simple, buttery, cheesy treat - a quesadilla. I was all too pleased to scarf this down with some shredded chicken for lean protein (jaja) and a glob of sour cream because, why not??

Shredded Chicken: The rest of that shredded chicken was used another night that week for a dinner that included a large arugula & buratta salad with a side of chicken vodka fusilli.

Brekkie at The Palace Grill: This place is just around the corner from us and came highly recommended by a friend. It's a total classic diner, and a great spot for a big Dahlicious over hang skillet.

Sauteed onion and bacon hash topped with American Cheese & Fried Eggs

Pork Chops in a Brine: This was interesting. I have never used a brine before but I followed what I thought was a simple one. I let it brine for 24 hours and while the chops were tender and juice and not overcooked they were the saltiest things I have just about ever eaten. I'll have to work on that one.

Jon & Vinny's: While these are not pictures from my actual meal, these are two of the dishes we did order and LOVE at this LA hot spot. I could potentially survive on those meatballs with ricotta and focaccia.

Trader Joe's Cabernet Pot RoastThis was easy and super Dahlicious. It's not a lovely picture but I served this pot roast over wide noodles (aka lasagna noodles I snapped in half before cooking) along side roasted Brussels. Oh and a small glob of sour cream and some fresh chives mixed in... kind of made it stroganoff-esq.

Simple Stir Fry & Pot Stickers

Shredded Beef Super Burrito from De Pasada:  I had like 3 nights in row where I couldn't fall asleep because I was dreaming about a perfect burrito. This is one of my favorite things in the world... a soft stretchy tortilla, wrapped around shredded carnitas, a little rice, a little beans, a lot of guac, sour cream, pico, cheese, and a bit of super shredded lettuce. But I had not been able to find such a treat in the Chicago area, despite knowing it had to exist. Anyways, when I couldn't take the craving any longer I started the Yelp hunt and found this gem. I have ordered it twice since and have been happy each time... now I need to visit in person!!

Pizza by the pool: A favorite summer past time, am I right?? This one topped with Prosciutto & Arugula

Lunch at Home Baguette Style: I love me a good open faced sammy. One side used up buratta, roasted bell peppers, and prosciutto. The other was slathered in pesto topped with marinated artichoke hearts and shaved Parmesan.

Roasted pork chop over lentils & kale : This was actually pretty Dahlicious even though it looks outrageously boring

Ellie's: Lunch with my mom in San Clemente featured a trio of salads and sandos!

Egg's Anna at Anastasia Cafe: My favorite breakfast to have when I'm home is the Eggs Anna which is sourdough toast with proscuitto, arugula, poached egg and a yummy light creamy thyme sauce. Note that my dining partner had their special benedict which is italian sausage over hash browns with poached eggs and holandaise. YUM. Plus their signatute side of french toast which is one of the best things I have ever eaten. That crazy dark sauce is their caramel syrup.

Tula Market: And this my friendsis the place that serves up the burritos I have been craving. This place is a gold mine, its a small Mexican market that dishes out the most outrageously huge and incredibly Dahlicious food... for super reasonable prices. This was a post lunch, pre dinner "snack" so I couldn't indulge in the full burrito but the taco featured below is roughly the size of a small child's head.

Nando's Peri Peri: This a new spot on our block that has been MOBBED ever since they opened their doors. They serve up South African style grilled chicken with fun sauces and an assortment of sides. I got the grilled chicken with lemon sauce, smashed peas and coleslaw.

Radish Round Two: Coffee Rubbed Pork Shoulder, Braised Kohlrabi, Turnip/Carrot Salad. Check out my first experience with this awesome Chicago based food delivery service here.

Charred Beets & Buratta: You guessed it, by the pool! Topped with pistachios. Perfection.

Egg white Omelette with Fresh Spinach & Fruit: Probably my healthiest meal of the month

Sunday Breakfast at Home: Greek Yogurt, Watermelon, Blueberries, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Organic Blue Agave

Sunday Feast: Basically a brunch that has everything you could ever want from salads to waffles to an oyster bar to mac n cheese. The desserts are outrageous and so are the meatballs.

Meatballs, italian sausage, lasagna, roasted tomatoes, mac n cheese, brocolini

That's all friends! I'll be back soon for with some more Dahlicious Eats!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola... This is one of those things I have been interested in making multiple times but just never got around to it. I have been following this instagram account  called CleanFoodDirtyCity and there are tons of awesome recipes and such on their website. Anywho yesterday I decided to make granola which was inspired by this recipe of theirs.

What I used:

  • 2.5 cups rolled outs
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup organic blue agave
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2-3 handfuls raw coconut flakes

Add everything except the coconut flakes to a large bowl and mix well. Then spread evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, giving it a toss with a spoon or spatula every 10 minutes so that it browns evenly. While baking in the oven, toast the coconut flakes by tossing them in a dry saute pan over medium heat and stirring/fluffing until golden brown. Remove the coconut flakes and put them in a bowl to the side until the granola is ready to come out of the oven (so that they don't burn sitting in the hot pan). Toss it all together, let it cool and store for the week!!

You could easily substitute any other nut you like instead of the almonds - say walnuts, cashews, pecans etc. And just as easily could substitute other types of seeds for the pumpkins - like sunflower or pepitas. And lastly the sweetener, I used organic agave but the original recipe called for maple syrup... I think honey could be a great option as well.

It was so easy and all of the ingredients were things I was able to buy in sizable bags so I can keep making this Dahlicious topping for breakfast on the reg!!!