Dining Experience at The Cowfish Sushi~Burger~Bar

The Cowfish Sushi ~ Burger ~ Bar

Last night Brandon and I decided to go out to dinner to a new restaurant in Charlotte we’ve been wanting to try for awhile now…The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.  We have heard from friends that they have great sushi, burgers and also offer something called Burgushi–a tasty combination of both the components used to make a burger and the components used to make sushi.  We thought we must try this!

I loved this depiction of ginger and wasabi on the wall.

It was pretty packed and we had to wait a bit for a table, but we knew sitting at the bar was first come, first serve so we anxiously were watching the bar to hope seats opened up there first.  Sure enough, 2 seats opened up and we were able to get our dining experience started.  We were pretty hungry so we started with an appetizer, Blackened Ahi Tuna Nachos.  Our server recommended these nachos and we both love Ahi tuna, so we thought we’d try them!

Blackened Ahi Tuna Nachos

Menu Description-5 crispy wonton chips topped with our famous Crab Rangoon Dip, spring mix, homemade pico de gallo with avocado, and sliced seared rare blackened Ahi tuna.

Mmmm….soo good!  The tuna tasted sooo fresh and yummy and had a great flavor mixed with the pico de gallo and avocado.

Next was our entree.  Here is the description from The Cowfish’s menu of their food style and selections.  “The Cowfish introduces a unique fusion of burgers and sushi! Burgushi items are served in various formats, including sushi rolls created utilizing beef & burger components and non-traditional ingredients, and sandwiches created using sushi components. The Cowfish bento boxes offer a sampling of both burger and sushi! Open your mind and your taste buds as you experience these originals brought to you by The Cowfish.”

Bento Box

While we were waiting for our food to get here, we played some really cool games on what was like a large individualized iPad full of games, screen savers and things to do while you wait for your food.

Matching game

Trapping the mouse…seriously.

 Then I figured I’d give myself a free plug, you never know who might be reading this!

We knew we wanted to pick a traditional sushi roll but we also wanted to try the much talked about, Burgushi.  So we asked our server again what was her favorite and what they were known for.  She suggested the Taste Explosion Roll from the Burgushi Menu and the Firecracker Roll from the traditional Sushi Menu.  So we tried both!!

The Taste Explosion Roll (bottom)

Seasoned natural Angus ground beef, applewood bacon, fresh jalapenos and spicy cream sauce inside of a sushi roll coated with tempura flakes. Each piece is topped with marinated Roma tomato and pepper jack cheese, then baked to perfection. Drizzled with cashew cilantro pesto to finish.

Firecracker Roll (on top)
Shrimp tempura and kani roll coated with tempura flakes, topped with fresh yellowtail and salmon. Finished with spicy cream sauce, tobiko and scallions. Served with ponzu dipping sauce.
Professonial
They were both very tasty!! But yet again, there’s not much sushi I don’t like!  The Taste Explosion Roll had a great burger flavor with the added spiciness of the pepperjack cheese and fresh jalapenos.  The Firecracker Roll was also yummy!! The yellowtail and salmon it was topped with were both super fresh and paired well with the spicy cream sauce and scallions.
Semi-Pro
Overall there were sooo many options on what to order at Cowfish that we will definitely be back again to try something new!  Next time I’d like to try either a hand roll, bento box or a different type of sushi roll.

Wheatberry & Beet Salad and Avocado Seafood Medley Pasta

Wheatberry & Beet Salad

Today I was eager to try out 2 new recipes I’ve been wanting to make for awhile now.  The first one is a delicious beet, sweet potato and wheatberry salad.

Wheatberry & Beet Salad

Wheatberry & Beet Salad

Adapted from KathEats.com

Serves 4 | Prep time 10 minutes |
Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

3 medium-large beets

1 large sweet potato

2 tbsp sunflower seeds

2 handfuls of raw baby spinach

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 grinds black pepper

Method

  1. Cut greens off beets. Loosely wrap
    beets in foil and bake at 425* for 45 minutes.
  2. Allow to cool and peel the skin
    off. Chop.
  3. Chop sweet potato and rub with oil,
    cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Bake with beets for 45 minutes.
  4. Combine 1 cup dry wheatberries
    with 2 cups water. Bring to boil and simmer for 45 minutes, until tender to the
    taste.
  5. Sautee spinach in 1 tsp olive
    oil and some garlic.
  6. Combine beets, sweet potato,
    wheatberries, spinach and sunflower seeds in a bowl.
  7. Combine syrup, vinegar, mustard,
    garlic, salt and pepper in a jar. Shake to combine.

Avocado Seafood Medley Pasta

With the next recipe, I mentioned to Brandon that I was making this 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta, and I sent him the link over Windows Live Messenger.  He said it looked good to him, but he needed some protein added to it.  So I thought we would go with either seafood or grilled chicken, I conveniently picked up a seafood medley at Trader Joe’s.  The original recipe is a vegan recipe, so you can omit the added protein if you wish.

Avocado Seafood Medley Pasta

Adapted from OhSheGlows

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced + lemon zest to garnish
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Basil
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 servings/6 oz of your choice of pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Seafood Medley (shrimp, calamari, and scallops) –optional

Directions:

1. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add in your pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook until Al Dente, about 8-10 minutes.  At this time you may also toss shrimp, calamari, and scallops in a sautee pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil.  The seafood is done cooking when the shrimp appear pinkish-red.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth. Now add in the pitted avocado, basil, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy.

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined.

Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper.  And toss with seafood or chicken.  Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Please note: This dish does not reheat well due to the avocado in the sauce. Please serve immediately.

I served this dish with a yummy caprese salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  It was a hit!  We will definitely be making both of these quick and tasty dishes again!

Running a 5k and Hiking a Trail

A few days ago, I took a much needed complete day off of waitressing, and this is what I did instead.  Brandon and I signed up to run a 5k–which is only 3.1 miles.  Well…if you haven’t been running consistently 3-4x/week, you may not get the time you want to run it in.  So I’ve been running when I can with my running gear, but still not enough to break any of my own records.  So I thought I’d just wing it and see how I do in hopes for the best.  To my surprise, I did much much better than expected.

Ready to run!

Before the race I had looked up all my previous ran 5ks and the times I ran them in.  They are as follows:

9/29/07  Hit the Brixx 5k ran in 30:30

10/06/07  Komen Charlotte Race for the Cure  33:15 (I remember this instinctively being PACKED with people and I blame my slower chip time on that).

11/03/07  Dowd YMCA 5k  30:06

08/29/09 Greek Festival 5k  36:00 (slowest time yet…taking 2 years off is a factor here)

06/18/11  Summer Breeze 5k 33:20 (As you can see, a much improved time since 09, but still not quite as fast as I was in 07)

Brandon’s chip time for Summer Breeze 5k  was 24:00–which is awesome!! I was so proud of him and he was so proud of me, b/c I wasn’t expecting to break 35min!

Before the race I also was researching how to run a negative split and running tips.  These sites give great advice on running and truly inspired me before the race.  

This is my favorite tip from Angela (OhSheGlows)

5. Boot it: Expect to haul majah booty during the last few minutes! No matter how fast I try to run during the first 90% of the run, I always have to make up for lost time during the last few minutes. And anyways, it’s fun to sprint hard the last bit! I often have negative splits when running short distances with tough goals…it literally forces you to run faster at the end.

I did exactly this during my race and killed it at the end of the race.  I believe that’s how I broke 34minutes was finding every last bit of energy left in my body and sprinting thru the finish line.  I told Brandon after the race, that I felt like everyone at the finish line was clapping for me and yelling my name!  haha…funny

Hiking the trails at Wilson’s Creek

So after running our 5k, I was still determined to go to Wilson’s Creek, a wilderness and hiking area in North Carolina.  At the end of the hiking trail there is an awesome waterfall you can climb down into and sit at with beach blankets, so we were excited to do that at the end of the hike.  We got our puppy life jacket, water bottles, sandwiches for the ride, and backpacks and were ready for our hike!

Brandon and Lacey led the way thru the trail.  I liked to follow in Brandon’s footsteps behind him to make sure I was stepping in the correct spots on the path.  Wrong false move and I was slipping on a slippery rock and breaking my knee…again.

There's nothing more masculine than this!

Apparently Lacey’s been here before in her past doggie life.  She led the entire way there to the waterfall, like she knew right where to take us.

Today was Lacey’s big day to get as dirty as she wanted to.  Many times when we go out for walks I pull her back and have her avoid walking through mud and rolling around in worms…but today was her day and she was allowed to do all that, if she wanted to.

I love when Lacey makes this smirk!

There were several other dogs, kids, and families around hiking and at the waterfall.

Lacey met a new friend, Callie.

I saw a stream so I knew we were getting closer to the waterfall, so we kept hiking…

and kept hiking….

 and hiking…past a smaller waterfall…

Until…we finally made it!!!

First things first, the little one needed her life jacket put on, and I’m not talking about me.

Lacey must have known we were taking her for an adventure, because she didn’t fuss at all with us about putting this contraption on her.  She just let us, like she’s worn it before.

Now to get down to where the waterfall is from the trail, you must climb down a large rock backwards and hold onto a rope connected to a tree with both hands.  We weren’t sure how we were going to get Lacey down at this point….but good thing she had a handle to hold on to her with at the top of her life jacket!  I watched Brandon carry her down then back up the steep rock like he was carrying a briefcase!  He was very gentle and careful with the sweet girl of course, so she wasn’t jostled around.

Happy puppies like going on hikes!

So we made it safely down to where the waterfall was, I laid out my beach blanket, and sat down with Brandon and Lacey…

Looking down on the waterfall

and what do you think happend next?
WE GOT RAIN DUMPED ON US!!
If for some reason you can’t tell, when Lacey is wet, her cute powder puff chinese crested look goes away and her tiny chihuahua look comes out.  At this point, I could not capture anything else on camera.  We were soaked, our puppy was soaked and her teeth were chattering and the last thing I could do was get my camera out of a bag when I was trying to keep the inside dry.  So after the rain let up after 15 min or so, we climbed back up the rock with the rope….puppy and all.  I had some personal problems getting back up though and decided I’d try it barefoot.  It worked much much better barefoot and not having slippery sneakers going up the wet rock.  But…it didn’t feel so good…YUCK!
Later on, we cracked up laughing about how we got dumped on with rain and our plan to lay out and relax by the water got ruined.  You have to laugh…really.  So the lesson learned here is….next time don’t forget your doggie raincoats to wear along with your doggie life jackets!

Tofu Tacos and Tri-Colored Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Tofu Tacos and Tri-Colored Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

Let me start off my saying YUM!  I loved this dinner and will definitely make it again!  I found the recipe for the Tofu Tacos from Peas and Thank You, one of my favorite blogs.  The tofu was delicious in the marinade and really had a good ‘taco’ flavor because of the chili powder and cumin.

Tofu Tacos

 This recipe is so simple but I had a slight problem with my tofu being too wet still even after pressing it.  So instead of following the recipe exactly, I made tofu scramble instead of tofu slabs.  But check out the original recipe here.

Spicy Tofu Soft Tacos

Adapted from Peas and Thank You

Print this recipe!

Makes 6-8 tacos

Marinade:

  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 T. agave or maple syrup
  • 1 T. water
  • 1 t. garlic, minced
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. cumin

Soft tacos:

  • One 14 oz. package organic, extra firm tofu (drained and pressed and cut into slabs)
  • 6-8 whole wheat soft taco-size or corn tortillas
  • 2 c. shredded cabbage
  • 1 batch Almost Chipotle Guacamole or 1/2 c. other guacamole
  • 1/2 c. prepared salsa

Directions

Prepare your marinade in a container with a sealable lid so you can add the tofu easily.  Just whisk together the ingredients and add the tofu.  Gently shake your container so the tofu is evenly coated with the marinade.  Leave your tofu in the fridge marinating for a few hours.  Your tofu should be evenly coated and will have absorbed most of the liquid.

If making tofu scramble, put skillet on medium heat and place all tofu and remaining marinade in skillet.  The remaining marinade will coat the skillet nicely and help with heating up the tofu.  I turned the tofu a few times and heated it up for about 10 minutes.  While the tofu was heating up, I made a quick guacamole, got out salsa and cut up my cabbage to top the tacos.  I also heated up the tortillas by putting them on a flat skillet for 10-15 seconds on each side.  We then easily made our tacos with the tofu, cabbage, salsa and guac!

Until I purchase a tofu press, I will probably be making my tofu tacos as a tofu scramble, although I love the idea of tofu slabs.  As a side item, I made Tri-Colored Quinoa & Black Bean Salad, adapted from Eat a Plant.  I used the tri-colored quinoa I bought at the bulk section of EarthFare, but any quinoa would work.

Tri-Colored Quinoa BEFORE

Tri-Colored Quinoa AFTER

Tri-Colored Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Adapted from Eat a Plant

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa (tri-colored or regular quinoa)
3 ½ cups water
pinch of sea salt
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, peeled and sliced for garnish

Dressing
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
Add quinoa to medium pot with water and sea salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer 12-14 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Place quinoa in a large bowl to cool. Combine oil, juice, salt and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk and pour over cooled quinoa. Toss well. Add cilantro, green onions, jalapeño, red pepper and black beans. Toss.  Garnish with avocado slices and serve.

After realizing I still had my bulk items in the bags I bought them in, I figured I better do some kitchen organization.

Thank You Mariah (pictures pups and pies) for the idea of using these cheap and convenient jars!

One last picture to leave you with….

Lacey's Victim #5

My Green Monster, Much ‘needed’ new items, and Brandon’s Tennis Match

My Green Monster

First of all, let me introduce you to the leader of the Green Monster Movement, the author of OhSheGlows.com, Angela Liddon.  Her blog has inspired me in many ways to create healthy meals for myself and my boyfriend and live a healthy lifestyle.  She has also inspired me to make Green Monsters which are essentially, green smoothies full of fresh fruit, veggies and other add-ins which improve skin, hair, nails and enrich our bodies full of nutrients. UPDATE—I just got my Green Monster recipe posted on the GreenMonsterMovement.com!! Check it out HERE!

Deuce's Green Monster

Ingredients

*1 handful of ice

*1 handful of frozen fruit

(I used strawberries, mango, pineapple, bananas, and papaya)

*1 c. almond milk

*2 handfuls of spinach

*1/2 c. to 3/4 c. of vanilla or plain yogurt

*1 tbsp. of chia or flax seeds

*1 tbsp. of honey

(omit yogurt and honey, if needed)

Place all ingredients in the blender and VOILA!  An easy and healthful smoothie!

I loved seeing how green my smoothie came out, by adding lots of spinach.  Just recently I have been making sure I always have frozen fruit on hand, in order to make last minute banana soft serve or smoothies.

Some other tasty add-ins would be…coconut flakes, granola, almonds or almond butter, sugar-free vanilla syrump, carob or chocolate chips…and the list goes on.

I brought my smoothie to drink at work as a meal replacement.  Everyone asked me how to make it and said it looked like a Smoothie King creation.  Smoothie King drink your heart out!

Here are a few more websites that have great smoothie recipes!!!

Sometimes I “Veg”

Pictures Pups and Pies

Oh She Glows

Much ‘needed’ NEW items 

While I was out running errands today, I got real excited about some much wanted needed Target finds…although some I needed more than others.  Here is a before picture of the measuring cups and spoons I was currently using.  Let’s just say my dishwasher had melted them, and I had been using them still for a few years now with holes in them….seriously.

Ruined measuring cups

New Item #1

Measuring cups and spoons and small colander for draining canned goods.

New Items #2 and #3

Next I treated myself to a new convenient roll-up picnic blanket to bring to Pops in the Park, if we don’t get rained out again this week.

Roll-Up picnic blanket and MUCH NEEDED Mimosa/Sangria Carafe

and…if you give a mouse a cookie girl a picnic blanket, she more than likely needs a carafe for mimosas or sangria!!!

New Item #4

Bird Feeder and NOT NEW PURCHASE Hummingbird Feeder

So…let me explain this next purchase…a bird feeder to feed hungry birds BECAUSE THIRSTY HUMMINGBIRDS ARE NOT COMING TO MY HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER!  My friend, Mariah, was having such good luck getting cute hummingbirds to come to her feeder in her backyard that I bought a nearly identical bright red(because that’s supposedly what they like best) hummingbird feeder and I haven’t seen 1 hummingbird yet!  Does anyone know what’s wrong with my feeder?  or the location?  or my fresh nectar (made with 1 part sugar and 4 parts water)?  Well anyways, while my hummingbird feeder stays empty, check out my friend’s cool hummingbird pics…and one day maybe I’ll have a good hummingbird update.

 Brandon’s Tennis Match

So…if you have been reading my blog, my last post was about how Brandon and I were practicing playing tennis more so, so I could learn how to play the game.  Well to help cheer him on, Lacey and I attended one of his mixed doubles matches this past week.  Here are some pics from our adventure!

And..Brandon and his partner wore matching outfits…I’ve forgotten to ask if he sent out a memo on wearing blue shirts and black shorts or not.

The park that Brandon played his match at also had tons of beach volleyball games consecutively going on.

Lacey had a good time checking out other people and dogs.

 And then she saw Brandon tying his shoes and remembered how much she missed her Daddy.

Until she found a stick….

and was preoccupied for a bit.

What a happy puppy!!

If you were wondering about the outcome of Brandon’s tennis match…no they didn’t win this time, but he’s still a winner in my heart!…aww

Tennis, Quinoa Burger, and Visiting with Friends

Tennis

Over the weekend, Brandon and I enjoy doing some sort of physical activity together every Saturday.  Either we go to the gym and I let him train me and give me a series of workouts and reps I need to complete or we go for a run or walk in the nearby park, Freedom Park.  Since Brandon is a member of the USTA  and now plays in a mixed doubles league in Charlotte, I’ve been trying to “brush up” on my tennis skills so we can actually play and practice together.  Here are some pics of us playing.  Notice his semi-pro positions and how it looks more like I’m just posing for the camera.  haha

Semi-Professional


Beginner

Needless to say, Brandon is helping me learn the basics of tennis so I can better develop my skills to hopefully play with him and help him practice for his future matches.

Quinoa Burger

I love this food scale I bought for Brandon last Christmas.  It makes it convenient to evenly portion out burger patties.  You can set it to ‘grams’ or ‘ounces’.

So here are my quinoa burgers all equally portioned out and ready to cook later in the day.

Quinoa Burger and Balsamic Green Beans

The recipe for this Quinoa Burger came from my friend, Mariah’s blog, Pictures Pups and Pies.  She also mentioned how to easily make this quick balsamic green beans on another post.  Please check out these recipes!!  We topped this quinoa burger with Mache (lamb’s lettuce), tomato, avocado and whole grain dijon mustard.

We loved this quinoa burger and will definitely make it again!

Back to my other new favorite healthy treat—VEGAN OVERNIGHT OATS(VOO).  If you have not tried them yet, you must!! So many people mention how they were never breakfast eaters before, but after trying these you will become addicted!!

  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, I use vanilla almond milk

Blueberry soft serve pairs wonderfully with overnight oats.  Do you remember how to make your non-dairy soft serve?  Slice 1 banana and place in fridge overnight.  The next morning put the frozen banana in a food processor for 5 minutes.  You may add blueberries, if you would like.  This is what I did for this recipe.  Just make sure you food process the banana and blueberry mixture for 5 entire minutes!  It will not come out correctly if it is not in the food processor for 5 full minutes!  Layer the banana soft
serve and oat mixture in a glass or mix together in a bowl.  Another shoutout to Pictures Pups and Pies for giving me this wonderful recipe and idea for a blueberry breakfast!

Vegan Overnight Oats and Blueberry Soft Serve

Visiting with Friends

So to end our weekend we had plans to go to Pops in the Park, which is a local event where the Charlotte Symphony performs and you are encouraged to bring a blanket and picnic basket full of wine and snacks to relax and enjoy their music.  Well…it rained…like it tends to often on Sundays in June from 6-9pm.

So I wanted to show you our papaya we cut up to make fruit kabobs along with mango, strawberries, and pineapple.  I’ve never bought a papaya so I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to cut up, if it would be soft like an avocado or firm like cantelope.  It was definitely a very ripe papaya because it sliced like butter.  Seriously….Sooo sweet and yummy!!

Mmm...fresh papaya

 
Fruit Kabobs

Our fruit kabobs we planned to take to Pops in the Park to share with friends….until it rained.

We had our picnic basket full of wine, snacks and a little white dog ready to go!

But because of the rain, we figured we would just hit up Whiskey Warehouse instead….

Whiskey Warehouse bar

Brandon watched the final NBA match-up between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks….which resulted in the Mavericks winning the championship, in case you have lived in a box since Sunday…

While I visited with my good friend and college roommate, Julia, who just got back from working in Hawaii for 3 months.

Me and Julia

All in all, it was a good weekend playing tennis, enjoying good food and friends.

EarthFare, Carob Vegan Overnight Oats, Sushi, and Beer Review

EarthFare’s Bulk Section

If you’ve never been to EarthFare’s bulk section of grains, rice, nuts, barley, etc, you must go!!  After being referred to go there from Mariah , I felt so dumb for always walking right past the bulk section when I could’ve been saving $$ buying bulk goods there!  Here is my receipt from bulk shopping at EarthFare.

I picked up black chia seeds, rolled oats, tri-colored quinoa, and red wheatberries all at low prices by buying bulk.

Next I picked up some Zesty Nacho Kale Chips, because after making my own, I’ve been eager to try new flavors of this delcious and healthy treat!

I also picked up this yummy peanut sauce that I would like to add to a tofu or grilled chicken with veggies and brown rice.

And then picking up lunch from their salad bar, sounded like a great idea!  Look at what I got!  Yummy israeli couscous salad, sweet potatoes, broccoli salad, dolmas, and curry chicken salad.

While I was eating lunch, my little begger, Lacey, was jealous of me.  So I gave her one of her Blue Bars from the Blue Buffalo Company, which is an all natural, healthy and holistic dog food company.

Puppy Treat

Vegan Overnight Oats

Then I thought I’d whip up a batch of Carob Vegan Overnight Oats, also known as VOO.  These are all the ingredients you need for the delicious, healthy yummyness!

  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, I use vanilla almond milk
  • 1.5 tbsp carob powder (or sweetened protein powder)–optional

Ingredients for Vegan Overnight Oats=VOO

Directions: Mix together all ingredients in bowl and place in the fridge overnight.  Stir well in the morning & add maple syrup to taste.

I did not have any bananas at the time to create banana soft serve to implement this mixture, so I added a tbsp of almond butter and gave it a swirl around with the carob oats.  It was delicious and Lacey loved it too!!

Mmm--and healthy too!!

Check out these blogs to see more mouthwatering overnight oats pictures and recipes!

http://ohsheglows.com/2011/04/07/vegan-overnight-oat-parfaits-12-recipes-to-kick-off-the-season/

http://picturespupsandpies.blogspot.com/2011/06/blueberry-breakfast.html

Sushi Buffet

Now, I am a sushi lover and critic!!! So…eventhough it sounds skeptical to go to a sushi buffet, I promise this one at Rusan’s in Charlotte is award-winning!  For $9.99 you get an entire sushi buffet that is loaded with fresh sushi, all sashimi grade.  There are many types of different sushi rolls, maki, and nigiri.  Here are some pictures I want to share of my time at Rusan’s today.

Kirin Light and Low Sodium soy sauce

DELICIOUS!! and BEAUTIFUL!!

I do not use or need that much wasabi, FYI, I just accidently piled it on.

I met up with my good friend and co-worker at school, Genie and her 7 month son, Joseph.

Genie and Joseph

Joseph

Beer Review

Mud Slinger Spring Ale

Mud Slinger Spring Ale is a beer from Red Hook Brewery, located in Woodinville, WA (outside Seattle).  I’ve had the pleasure to visit this brewery and go on their brewery tour, so I’m partial to Red Hook.  This beer was my favorite of theirs on the tour.  Mud Slinger has a slightly sweet nutty taste and being that it’s medium brown in color, it’s a little heavier than a lager.  On the tour, I learned that this beer has just been created and gets it’s name from the slang term, mudslingers, or mountain bikers who ride around the Cascades, in the Seattle area.  Here are some more pics of when I visited this brewery.

Check out those copper kettles of beer behind me!! And Flat Stanley came along with me!

Me, Becky, and Brian at Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville, WA (April 2011)

Victims of Lacey, the Mighty Chi-Chi

Today’s blog is an ongoing joke between Brandon and I about how Lacey treats her toys.  I’ve gradually taken photos of all her toys she’s “tortured” and want to share them with you.

First lets see this cute, “innocent” puppy as she seeks out her next victim.

Cute, innocent puppy...or so it appears

Victim #1

Drowned Gingerbread Man

Drowned Gingerbread Man was found on Friday, June 4th at approx. 8:15am.  He had been submerged in Lacey’s water dish, biopsy reports claims for 6 hours.  With a few hours of drying out, his squeaker was working again and he was given a second chance at life.

Victim #2

Trapped Monkey

Trapped Monkey was found with his legs stuck underneath the door on Tuesday, May 31st at approx. 7:30pm.  He had been stuck there for less than an hour fortunately, otherwise he would’ve been a goner.

Lacey decides to rescue her 1st toy, monkey.

Victim #3

Beaten up badly Bear

Beaten up Bear was found on Monday, June 6th at approx. 2:00pm.  His nose has been biten off and he had bruises all over his face and body.   His knee has also been sliced open and needs mending.  We hope we can restore this bear to it’s original likeness and quality.

Victim #4

Dalmatian with a broken heart

This dalmatian was found Tueday, June 7th at approx. 10:35am.  His heart has been ripped off his body and needs to go to the cardiac center for intensive treatment.  We hope he has as a speedy recovery with this major surgery.

The taste of victory.

Kissing him before he has to get on the stretcher and off to the E.R.

Short blog today as I’m heading off to work soon.  I hope to include a few quick recipes tmw and catch up on my blogging.

Flying Biscuit Cafe-Playing Frisbee in the park-Speciality Beer Reviews

Flying Biscuit Cafe

We were late risers this morning due to staying up like vampires last night watching junk TV and surfing the web, so we decided to go out to eat at the Flying Biscuit Cafe for brunch.   I was going to bring my camera to take pictures of what we ordered, but I knew it would be super busy and didn’t want to risk being scooted up close to another couple eating like we were last time.  So I’ll tell you about what we had.  It was delicious!!

Brandon ordered the Egg-Stravaganza…
Two large farm fresh eggs served with our chicken sausage, crisp turkey bacon, creamy dreamy grits, plus whole wheat French toast topped with raspberry sauce and honey crème anglaise.  He ordered his eggs, over-easy.  And then asked me, “why do they ask how I want my eggs?  I just want them to cook them.”  I, working in restaurants part-time for 13 years now, told them there are TONS of ways people want their eggs specifially made to their order.  Scrambled (#1 most popular), over-easy, over-medium, over-hard, sunny side up, poached, egg whites only scrambled, egg whites only scrambled add cheese, etc, etc, etc, etc.  At that point, maybe you should just stay home and cook for yourself if you have to be so specific?

I ordered the Clifton Omelette…
Three large farm fresh eggs stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms, topped with warm tomato coulis and basil, served with creamy dreamy grits.

I’ve been keeping goat cheese in the fridge recently because we love to add a touch of goat cheese to our omelettes in the morning, but I also loved the idea of the mushrooms and the tomato coulis and basil on top.  The tomato coulis was a blended mixture of tomatoes and spices.

(Now I waitress at Brazwell’s Premium Pub, a restaurant in the MECA of Myers Park on Montford Drive.  At Brazwell’s we have a full dinner menu as well as a brunch menu we offer on Sundays from 11am-3pm.)  There’s your plug Brazwell’s, that’s the least I could do, right?

Playing Frisbee in the park

Next I wanted to take our puppy, Lacey Lou, to a new open grassy field/park that has just been laid with sod literally overnight.   Here are some pictures of Lacey and Brandon playing Frisbee!

Sit- good puppy

I love Lacey's facial expression in this one...she looks like a stuffed animal.

Fetching the frisbee

Good puppy

Sweet girl

Happy Puppy

Sweet father/daughter photo

Happy Puppy Lucky Lady

Speciality Beer Reviews

Acai Berry Wheat and Bad Penny

Earlier this week, Brandon picked up a few speciality beers at Total Wine for us to try because we think we are beer connoisseurs or something.  The Acai Berry Wheat was for me and is brewed in Scotia, California at the Eel River Brewing Company.  It is Certified Organic.  My review, “It has a good wheat flavor with a hint of berry.”  I would purchase this beer again.

Brandon picked out the Bad Penny Brown Ale for him.  Bad Penny, a local beer, is brewed in Raleigh, NC at the Big Boss Brewing Co.  Brandon’s review, “Now this looks like a good beer!” (based on the rich, dark color alone)  Tasting review- “It has a good dark and smooth flavor.”  He would also purchase this beer again.

All that playing makes for a tired puppy.

Spaghetti Squash w/ Vodka Sauce and Turkey Meatballs or not

National Running Day- June 1st

Before I start my blog for the day, I wanted to recognize that I just read in CarrotsNCake.com, that this past Tuesday, June 1st, was National Running Day.  I just think it’s so ironic that RUNNING was what I COINCIDENTALLY decided to write about that same day.

Enough about working out, now for some dinner and dessert.

Spaghetti Squash w/ Vodka Sauce and Turkey Meatballs or Not

Here is the Original Recipe adapted from www.foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 1 whole spaghetti squash
  • A drizzle of safflower or olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • 3 cups prepared (jarred) marinara or vodka  sauce
  • Turkey meatballs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Split the squash in half and scrape out seeds.

Line an oven tray with aluminum foil. Season the spaghetti squash with safflower oil, salt, and pepper.

 Place flesh side down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until fully cooked.

Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile heat the marinara or vodka sauce in a large saute pan.  Add turkey meatballs, if desired.

w/o Meatballs

w/ Meatballs

When squash is cool enough to handle, using a large kitchen spoon scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin.

Toss the spaghetti squash in the pan with the sauce and turkey meatballs for just long enough to get hot.  Serve and enjoy!

Next time try serving the spaghetti and sauce in the empty squash skin!

I’ve seen it served that way before, but we knew our meatballs would be too heavy to put in there.

We love making this simple and quick meal as a replacement to pasta.  It’s only 41 calories per cup of cooked spaghetti squash!!!  You can jog in place for a few minutes to burn that off! 🙂  Spaghetti squash is also very high in Vitamin C and B6.  Vitamin C is important for promoting a healthy immune system and Vitamin B-6 is needed to break down stored energy.

Here is a link from LiveStrong.com about the benefits and nutritional value of Spaghetti Squash.

After having a delicious dinner we treated ourselves to some fresh peaches Brandon brought home from a local farm near his job and some strawberries and blueberries I picked up earlier in the week from the King’s Drive Farmer’s Market.

Fruit Salad with drizzled Raw Honey

Cloister Honey--Whipped Cinnamon and Raw

We LOVE to get different varieties of Cloister Honey from our other local Farmer’s Market—Atherton Mills Market. 

 One last photo to leave you with—Happy puppies LOVE spaghetti squash too!!!

Happy Puppy