Friday, September 30, 2011

142.8…Brownie Business

After yesterday’s fabulous tasting at Noodles & Company, I was not hungry for dinner. The tasting ended at 4PM so it was just about dinner time anyway. :)

This morning’s breakfast was an egg on a toasted English muffin smeared with a Laughing Cow cheese wedge. I also had three clementines.

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This kids were off school again today so I was able to relax for a bit before I went to Cardio Muscle class. After class I ran a few errands and came home to meet my husband for lunch. I love impromptu lunch dates!

We went to Delicias in Rancho Santa Fe. I splurged and went with the Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Parmesan fries.

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Check out how huge it was! The sandwich consisted of grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, arugula, tomato slices, brie and pesto on sourdough bread. It rocked. I (unlike myself) did not finish it and my husband ate half my fries. So I guess I was only half bad right? :)

When I got home it was time to get to baking brownie business. When I bring these ingredients out it can only mean one thing:

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Crack Brownies! (aka Toffee Brownies)

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If you haven’t tried these yet, please do. They will change your life.

I’m making two batches for my brother’s birthday party in Los Angeles tomorrow and one batch for Lisa who needs them for a party she’s going to (she ran out of time to make her own). I felt like I worked at a brownie factory (which doesn’t seem like a bad job to have!).

My husband is working tonight so I’m having leftovers for dinner. Tonight’s leftovers courtesy of Creamy Taco Mac!

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Tomorrow we are all off to Los Angeles for the weekend to visit family and go to my brother’s party. We will be watching football and eating a ton I’m sure! Have a great weekend!

What are your weekend plans?

 Do you have a favorite brownie recipe you want to share?

Noodles & Company Tasting

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a tasting at the Noodles & Company restaurant in Encinitas. Back in May, I had stopped at Noodles & Company for the first time for lunch. I met Michael, one the managers, who invited me and a few friends  to come back for a tasting of a few of their menu items.

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When we arrived at Noodles & Company, we were greeted by a clean, well-lit, inviting environment.

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I loved that they had a Community board where people could pin up their business cards and flyers. I added one of my blog’s business cards. Great way for local people to find you, by the way!

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You can order your noodles with an Asian, Mediterranean or American flare. But if noodles aren’t your thing, they also offer salads, soups and sandwiches too!

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Noodles & Company serves real food with real ingredients. They have 14 different fresh vegetables that they chop and prepare fresh everyday. Actually twice a day….they prepare their vegetables and their pasta fresh in the morning for their lunch crowd and then again in the afternoon for their evening crowd.

You can customize anything! Most of the dishes are vegetarian but you are able to add your favorite protein: chicken, beef, shrimp, meatballs or tofu. You can also make your dish more or less spicy or add, subtract or substitute veggies.

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Cara, the general manager, greeted us and showed us to our table. We were excited to go on their culinary tour!

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That’s Cathi and I….and Lisa was behind the camera. My husband also joined us!

Right away were we served Chicken & Vegetable Potstickers.

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The potstickers were perfectly prepared with a delicious soy sauce based dipping sauce. The sauce added a bit of a kick with the addition of red chili pepper flakes.

We were lucky to try one of their summer salads: Very Berry Spinach Salad.

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Strawberries, bacon bits, blue cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar all on top of a bed of spinach. I’m sure you know that I pushed the strawberries aside but loved everything else!

Our pasta adventure commenced in Asia with the Bangkok Curry.

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Sweet coconut curry, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, onion, mushrooms, a light portion of rice noodles, served on cabbage with black sesame. This is actually what I ordered the last time I was here and I loved it just as much the second time.

We moved onto our Mediterranean pasta: Pesto Cavatappi which was served with their Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breast.

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The Pesto Cavatappi consisted of curly pasta, basil pesto, garlic, mushrooms, tomato, wine, cream, parmesan and Italian parsley. As soon as it was brought to the table, the aroma was intoxicating. I knew I was going to be a fan. Sure enough, the first bite won me over. The addition of the parmesan-crusted chicken was the perfect compliment. The chicken was pounded thin and crispy on the outside, moist on the inside.

The next stop was home base: America! What’s more American than Wisconsin Mac & Cheese?

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A blend of cheddar and jack cheeses, cream, elbow macaroni all topped with tomatoes, bacon bits, homemade bread crumbs and meatballs. I was in love. Talk about decadence! 

Just when we thought we had experienced pure bliss, dessert arrived. Rice Krispy treat, Chocolate Chunk Cookie and a Snoodledoodle Cookie (Snickerdoodle).

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Lisa put a fork down so you could see the size of these bad boys! Noodles & Company makes their Rice Krispy treats & cookies fresh every day. The cookies were so soft and chewy…the Snoodledoodle won me over!

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Thank you to Cara (pictured above with me), Michael and the rest of the Noodles & Company Crew for hosting my friends and I in such a fabulous tasting! I cannot wait to return so I can enjoy some of the dishes I tried today as well as some new ones. They have a Mushroom Stroganoff dish on their menu that caught my eye. ;)

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

142.8…Sweet Stadium Eats

I am not a fan of baseball. I think it’s a boring game. After a few innings, I’m over it. But what I am a fan of is eating at baseball games.

Last night at Petco Park, the food did not disappoint. I was glad to see they had wine.
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And a ton of delicious looking options for food. I told my husband I’d split something with him and he came back with the most drool-worthy French fry concoction I had ever seen. Carne asada fries. The fries itself were perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They were topped with perfectly cooked carne asada, nacho cheese, chopped tomatoes and cotija cheese. 

This is what was left of them by the time I remembered to take a picture:
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It may look like a mess now but trust me, it was a beautiful creation. My kids enjoyed pizza, French fries, cotton candy and peanut M&M’s (I stole some of those). Everyone was happy. :) Oh yeah, San Diego won.

There was no school today so I got to sleep until 7AM (a luxury) and there was no mad rush to get out the door. I leisurely enjoyed a cup of coffee and ate breakfast two hours later than normal.
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I sautéed some onions and a jalapeno, added egg beaters and topped everything off with shredded cheddar cheese and stuck it all on a La Tortilla wrap with some taco sauce. I rolled it up  and ate each bite with Cholula hot sauce.

I went to Zumba and came home to change. I found a frozen challah in my freezer from last September. I had made two and froze of of the doughs. I decided it was now or never…either bake it or throw it away. I defrosted it and added some egg wash and a bit of sugar and cinnamon to the top.
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It looked kinda sad. You couldn’t even tell I braided it before. It’s bad enough that it’s been in the freezer for a year but what’s even worse is that it has been defrosted and re-frozen THREE times. Once when my freezer broke, once when the power went out and another time when the freezer door was left open all night.
So….I baked it and it turned out ok. Doesn’t look or taste like challah though. Maybe more like a sourdough? :)

I just got back from an awesome tasting at Noodles & Co restaurant in Encinitas. I cannot wait to tell you all about it tomorrow! Stay tuned!

What’s your favorite stadium food? I normally eat hot dogs but those fries were too good to pass up.

Do you make your own bread? Favorite kind(s) to make?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

143.8…At Least It Was For A Good Cause

Before I got ready for our dinner out last night, I snacked on an apple. Just in case you were wondering, I always eat Gala apples (unless Honeycrisps are in season). They are the best apples!

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My husband and I attended a dinner benefiting the San Diego Hospice. The proceeds of the event go towards bereavement programs at their Center for Grief Care and Education. They offer support to families after the death of  their patients. They also provide an annual weekend summer camp to children who have been impacted by a death.

When we arrived, we were greeted by cocktails, passed appetizers and a silent auction. I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine and a few of the appetizers. I tried the spanokopita, grilled shrimp and a tuna tartare. They also had chicken on skewers with a bright pink sauce that scared me so I avoided it.

Eventually it was time to sit down to dinner. The first course was Spinach and Mixed Greens with Strawberries, Goat Cheese, Candied Pecans and Balsamic Dressing.

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The dressing was great! I loved this salad. I pushed the strawberries to the side of course. :) When I got down to a few bites left, I didn’t see the strawberries anywhere on my plate. I was so confused as to where they went! My husband saw me rooting around and asked me what I was doing. I told him that the strawberries were gone and I didn’t remember eating them! I thought maybe I had had one too many glasses of wine. He then informed me that he ate them when I wasn’t looking. :)  I thought I had lost my mind.

I was really hungry by the time the main course arrived. I had already eaten a lovely warm roll with some butter but I was ready to get down to business. The main course was served family style.

Snapple Tamale with Cilantro Lime Butter and Mango Chutney

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Stuffed with Cheese

Penne Pasta with Grilled Vegetables, Garlic, Olive Oil and Balsamic

Coconut Rice and Grilled Vegetables

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I took a little bit of everything. By the time the chicken made its way around the table, there wasn’t any left for my husband, my friend or myself. They were kind enough to bring us each a piece but sadly, they were not stuffed with cheese. I felt a little sad.

I was even more sad to discover that I really didn’t like anything on my plate. :( The snapper was WAY too sweet, the pasta was bland and the rice was undercooked. The vegetables were ok. At least the roll and salad were good!

Dessert was Pineapples Foster and Assorted House Made Truffles.

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The Pineapples Foster was pretty good but the truffles were awesome. They didn’t make it on film….I ate them too fast. I was pretty hungry at that point.

I’m glad that I was able to support such a worthwhile cause but I wish the food had been worthwhile to eat. Oh well…you win some and you lose some.

I did enjoy my breakfast this morning though! Toasted English muffin with Teddie peanut butter and watermelon. The watermelon is getting a little weird looking….I need to hurry up and finish it.

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I took the kids to school and went to Cardio Boot camp class. Before walking into class, I was discussing with a friend (Hi Denise!) how sore I am from Monday’s Cardio Muscle class and was hoping we would lay low on the weights today. Well, lo and behold….today was ALL weights. Hopefully I can walk and use my arms tomorrow.

I ran some errands and picked up the kids from school. They had half day today and have no school Thursday or Friday. Yeah for not having to wake up super early for the next two days!

I came home starving and made lunch.

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I made an awesome wrap using a La Tortilla low carb tortilla, turkey slices, low fat Swiss cheese, lettuce, shredded carrots and the El Tortito Cilantro Pepita Caesar dressing. I’m really in love with this stuff!

Tonight we are taking the kids to the Padres baseball game. It’s the last game of the season and I have a serious hankering for hot dogs. :)

When you go to an event (wedding, charity dinner, etc.), what type of food service do you prefer? Buffet, Table Served, Family Style, etc.?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

143.2…A Dreamy Dressing

Yesterday on the way to pick up my son from school, I had a non-filling Fiber One 90 calorie bar.

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Tastes good but apparently turns into air when you eat it.

I took my daughter to her doctor appointment. I did something there I had never done before: I got a flu shot! I always thought they made you get sick but last year I got really sick at Christmas time and vowed this year I’d get a flu shot. I think my daughter was really tripped out that I was getting a shot from her doctor.

I was excited for dinner because I had a new product to try:

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El Tortito’s Cilantro Pepita Caesar dressing. I had it before on the salad at El Tortito and loved it but have never bought it before. I’m glad I did. I think I’m in love.

The dressing helped make my dinner of leftovers more exciting. I reheated some Mexican casserole type thing I found in the freezer. I added some salsa to it and the fabulous salad I made with my new dressing.

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The salad consisted of chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, Trader Joe’s roasted corn, black beans, cucumbers, shredded cheddar cheese and the fabulous El Torito dressing. Awesome salad!

For breakfast this morning I tried another new Fage flavor:

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Total 0% with Strawberry Goji. I topped it with Trader Joe’s High Fiber cereal, strawberries and raspberries.

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I took the kids to school, went to spin class and ran some errands. When I got home I made lunch. I had the El Torito dressing on the brain so I made a big salad.

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Butter lettuce, Trader Joe’s Just Chicken, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots and the fabulous dressing. The dressing bottle recommends using it as a dip, spread on a sandwich and a whole bunch of other things. 

I need to pick up the kiddos from school and then get ready for a charity dinner we are going to tonight. Have a great rest of your day!

Do you get flu shots?

Have you ever tried that El Torito dressing?

Monday, September 26, 2011

144.6…Weekend Bliss

Wow…that weekend flew by! Maybe it was because I was having an absolute blast! You know what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun!

Friday night I kept things easy and heated up some Chicken Taco Chili that I had in the freezer. I added shredded cheddar cheese and onions.

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I also made cornbread for my husband but I didn’t eat any. I was saving my calories for the weekend!

Saturday morning I woke up early, got dressed and packed and my friends picked me up. We stopped at Starbucks for some coffees.

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And Einstein Bagels for breakfast. I had a whole wheat bagel thin with egg whites and cheddar cheese.

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Then we hit the road for Orange County. We went straight to South Coast Plaza (one of the best malls ever) to do some serious shopping. After awhile we were hungry so we stopped at Z Tejas for lunch.

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The group:

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From left to right: Ann, Dina, Annette (one of the birthday girls), me and Julie. Lisa was taking the picture, Nicole is not in the photo (that’s her hand stirring her margarita) and the other birthday girl Lauren was still shopping.

I enjoyed a lovely glass of wine:

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For lunch I ordered their Chopped Southwestern Salad. It was loaded with all kinds of goodies and was tossed tableside. Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it before it was tossed. After it was tossed it looked like a huge mess but it tasted really good!

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We shopped a bit more then headed to our hotel: Marriott Newport Coast. Lauren & Annette got us a villa so we had plenty of space for all seven of us. We also were treated to a photo session from a professional photographer! We all got dressed up and took some nice pictures! I can’t wait to share them when I get them. For now you’ll have to deal with the few pics I do have. :)

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Dina, Nicole and myself.

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Top row from left to right: Annette, Julie, Dina. Bottom row from left to right: Lauren, Nicole and myself.

I had a blast….Lauren and Annette cooked us dinner which never made it to my camera. I think it’s because we were all being too silly. Guess what happens when you leave a bell cart in our room?

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You ride it of course!

We may have had a dance party too.

Sorry the video is sideways. I have no idea how to fix that.

We finally got ourselves together and made our way to Sutra, a dance club.

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After a whole lot of dancing we sat down outside on the patio until the club closed at 2AM. I can’t tell you the last time I was up that late.

I also can’t tell you the last time I partook in late night fast food either.

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Yep. That’s about a million tacos from Jack in the Box. Not all for me of course but close. :)

By the time I fell asleep it was probably close to 4AM. When we finally got up around 9AM, I was ready to eat again. Lauren and Annette whipped up some eggs, turkey bacon and potatoes. I made an outstanding breakfast burrito using a spinach tortilla, guacamole, eggs, turkey bacon, potatoes and some Jack in the Box hot sauce. :)

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We packed up and hit the road for the mall again! Annette found some awesome stuff at the Michael Kors store and they gave us all champagne. Now, that’s the way to shop!

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We stopped for lunch at this little cafe that made the best paninis.

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I ordered the prosciutto and cheese panini. It rocked my world. The cheese was so buttery and melty.

All good things must come to an end and we hit the road for home.  What a fabulous weekend with my friends!!

This morning it was back to basics. Whole wheat waffle with Teddie peanut butter and watermelon.

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The kids were off to school and I went to Cardio Muscle class. It was a good one today…I’m going to be sore tomorrow!

After class I went to Trader Joe’s. We really needed some food in this house. When I came home, I made lunch: Grilled cheese with turkey slices and tomatoes and some roasted red pepper and tomato soup:

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I just got back from picking up my daughter from school. The rest of the day involves picking up my son, taking my daughter to a doctor appointment, dropping my husband off to pick up his car from being repaired and make dinner. Whew!

What was the best thing you ate all weekend? I have to say that there was a tie between the panini and the tacos. You may think I’m crazy but I love those tacos!