Posts Tagged ‘dinner’

Mmmm…Mildred’s <3.

As luck would have it, my blonde Californian flatmate happens to be a fellow vegetarian with a love for all things chickpea. The chances that we got placed into the same flat are probably relatively astronomical and very fortunate since I now have someone to share my soy and hummus-loving ways with. Yesterday night marked week number two of our newly-minted weekly ritual involving veggie love at Mildred’s in Soho. Mildred’s is all vegetarian (and mostly vegan) and has a pretty solid variety of vegetarian fare.

Mildred'sI had some of the best tostadas ever (aubergine + courgettes  + guac = heaven) and Lindsay’s chickpea, pumpkin & beetroot burger looked amazing! Plus, the side of sweet potato fries is intensely amazing if you love sweet potatoes. {Side note: For anyone that’s yet unaware, sweet potatoes are the most amazing food of life and, thus, my favorite food on the planet. Sweet potato pie, sweet potato latkes [for the Jew in me], sweet potato casserole… delish.}

Lindsay

Check out Mildred’s main courses here — even for the carnivores out there, you’d be surprised at how delicious vegetarian food can actually be when prepared properly! Can’t wait for next Wednesday!!

Does anyone know of any other London-based vegetarian spots worth hititng up?

Sending lots of veg love your way,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

New Toy.

Crock Pot

Whilst shopping at Argos for a coffee maker a few days back, my eyes landed upon a mini 3L crockpot in the kitchen section. I quickly began daydreaming about the days when I owned a slow cooker… I was a champion at making (meatless) chicken tortilla soup and veggie pots of goodness. As luck would have it, Argos’ basic crockpot (not an investment piece) was a mere £7.50. Now that I have this bad boy in my kitchen, it’s calling my name. For anyone looking to save some cash and make super simple meals at home, here are some awesome (and inexpensive!) recipes that I’ve run across:


Crock Pot Curried Rice & Lentils
{courtesy of Jolinda Hackett}

Ingredients:
1 cup rice
1 tbsp curry powder
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup lentils
2 vegetarian bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 onion, diced

Preparation:

Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Makes four servings.

Nutritional information:
Calories: 309, Total Carbohydrates: 6.4g, Dietary Fiber: 9.0g, Protein: 14.6g


Sweet Crock Pot Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

2 butternut squash
1/4 cup margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup raisins

  • Preparation:

Peel squash and remove the seeds. Place the squash in the crock pot or slow cooker, then add remaining ingredients on top. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.


Rice Pilaf

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups seitan, cut into pieces {non vegetarians can use real meat!}
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup green peas
1 carrot, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups rice

Preparation:

Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.


Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large carrots
2 large celery stalks
2 onions
2 400g cans low sodium chicken broth
5 cups water
200g egg noodles (or any other variety of pasta)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried dill
½ tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Preparation:

Cut carrots, celery, and onions into small pieces and place into slow cooker.
Cut chicken into one-inch pieces and add. Add broth, water, bay leaf, and all of the spices to the slow cooker.
Set the slow cooker on low, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
When soup is almost done, boil noodles in separate pot until they are al-dente (slightly firm).
Drain noodles and add to slow cooker.
Set slow cooker on medium and cook for thirty minutes or until noodles are tender.

Super easy & cheap! I’m gonna see what’s up with the Curried Rice & Lentils tomorrow night!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Nana’s Pre-Birthday Birthday!

For some reason unbeknownst to me, the world has decided to wake me up before 630A both weekend mornings. Not that it much matters anymore, honestly, because every morning is like a weekend morning for the next few weeks: aside from a couple of mid-morning flights, or an incredible early-morning sale, there will be very few reasons for me to be up this early until school starts on October 5th. I have four short days until liftoff and the primary reason that I decided to leave on the 17th of September (instead of heading out earlier) is because my grandma’s birthday falls on the 15th. Since this will be the first birthday that she’s celebrating without my grandpa here, I knew it would be difficult and duly important that I be here for support. Plus, I love birthdays.

We decided that since her birthday falls on a Tuesday (a workday for most), that Saturday would be more appropriate for a celebration. Around 11A yesterday, we headed to Red Hawk Casino for a day of fun and potential gold-striking. Although my grandma, mom and I typically relegate ourselves to the slot machines (2 to 5c, normally… we’re real high rollers), my mom ended up branching out a bit and joining my dad at the Blackjack table. Although her luck wasn’t so great, dad ended up winning $50 on the $100 that he had put down and left sufficiently happy. My grandma… well, she managed to lose $40 in one sitting at a single penny machine. I really didn’t know such a thing was possible.

Nana&ShanniDadBlackJack

Afterwards, we met up with Tiffany and got ready to go out to dinner! After much deliberation, we decided to check out Lucca, a Mediterranean restaurant on 16th & J Streets in the downtown area. Despite the somewhat mixed reviews that we had read & heard, we were pleased that the menu had something for everyone and their raspberry mojitos were delish!

Dad&Girls2

We ended up with outside seating and the atmosphere was perfect!

LuccaNana

LuccaBirthday

After dinner, the birthday girl (a whopping 84 years old!) got a special birthday cobbler that I generously helped her devour.

LuccaLucca's MojitosAfter a load of mojtios, an awesome dinner and spectacular service, we all left in a top-notch mood. The birthday girl was particularly happy — we all pitched in and got her a roundtrip ticket to El Salvador so she could visit her family in October!

I’m definitely glad that I stayed for the birthday celebration! To see more fun pictures from nana’s birthday, check out my album on facebook here.

Hope everyone’s weekend is sensational!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Pleasant(on) Weekend.

I’m currently sipping some delicious coffee in our Pleasanton, California hotel room and am pleasantly surprised by how comfortable our hotel has been! I joined Chris in the East Bay for the weekend and though it’s only 2:50P on Saturday, it’s already been amazingly relaxing. Surprisingly so, actually. We checked into the Residence Inn on Dublin Canyon Road last night and the room is spectacularly roomy, especially when you consider the price range of these rooms ($89 – $129ish per night).

IMG_5909This is only half of our room — the ‘bedroom’ part of the place.

IMG_5907IMG_5917There’s also this fully equipped kitchen!
Fridge, freezer, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, stove, plus pots, pans and silverware for cooking.
{Plus, there’s a big screen TV and lounge area, of which I didn’t get a shot.}

After checking in, we headed out to grab some dinner — sushi! — my new most favorite food. After a two-year stint as a strict vegetarian, I have switched to pescetarianism to increase my protein intake; accordingly, sushi has jumped back to the top of my favorite food list. I have never really met sushi that I didn’t like. Perhaps I have only eaten at good sushi places, though, and have thusly taken the quality of sushi for granted because last night’s sushi was far from good. Even the edamame was overcooked — soft and mushy. How do you mess up edamame?!

IMG_5914

IMG_5910It actually looked decent when it was plated, but it was super bland. I’ve never had sushi that didn’t really taste like anything… possibly poor quality fish? I can’t be sure, but after spending $30 for our two rolls (plus an order of tempura) we were highly dissatisfied. If you happen to be in P-town, skip this joint. There’s a cool Indian place next door that’s much more enticing.

To make up for the grossness that was our sushi, we hit up Coldstone Creamery for a bit of ice cream. I haven’t enjoyed Coldstone’s amazingness for at least five years, so let me just say this: cake batter-flavored ice cream with butterfinger is possibly the most delicious morsel I have ever tasted in my twenty-three years of existence. Seriously. I don’t know what they put in that ice cream (highly-addictive drugs, perhaps?) but it hovers in another realm of deliciousness. Mmmm. They do have some healthy indulgences, but seriously: split a small and go for the good stuff. Ahhh-mazing.

After hitting Pleasanton’s 24 Hour Fitness this morning for a good sweat sesh, I spent the early part of the afternoon poolside, enjoying the amazing sunshine and catching up on my pre-sessional readings for classes in the fall. Such an awesomely relaxing weekend!

Hope everyone else’s is equally fantastic,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Mmmmm — It’s a Winner!

Manicotti

So, I have been trying to come up with new ways to make delightfully delicious vegetarian dishes; something that not only I will like, but something that my carnivorous boyfriend would also enjoy. Well, I just finished whipping up the most delicious manicotti dish ever! We’re not huge pasta fans, but I like the fact that with manicotti, the pasta is just being used as a shell to house the real stuff! Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike will love this!

Shannon’s Veggie & Tofu Manicotti

10 – 12 manicotti shells
10 oz. package frozen spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (I limit onion because I’m not a huge fan!)
8 oz. package of mushrooms, sliced
14 oz. box extra firm tofu (I use Azumaya)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. chopped basil
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 c. alfredo sauce
2 – 3 c. prepared spaghetti sauce
Parmesan
salt and pepper, to taste
pine nuts, to garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta shells according to the package directions (9 or so minutes.) Meanwhile, put frozen spinach in a microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high about 5 minutes (rotating once); let it cool (be careful, some parts will be super hot!) In a non-stick skillet with a lid, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute onion for 3-5 minutes, until brown on edges. Reduce heat to low and stir in garlic and mushrooms. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. While the mushroom-onion mix is simmering, place tofu in a mixing bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over tofu and mash with a fork (or your hands!), crumbling tofu into small curds so that they resemble ricotta cheese. In a separate bowl, mix up eggs; mix them into the tofu mixture. While the tofu settles, squeeze all the excess water out of the spinach, if you haven’t done so already. Once mushrooms have finished sauteing for 10 minutes, add in the tofu, spinach, olives, chopped basil, salt and pepper. Add in 1/2 c. to 1 c. of Alfredo sauce to taste. Simmer over low heat another 10 minutes. (Note: Snag a taste of the filling at this point and add salt or sauce to taste — if the flavor is lacking, the dish won’t be nearly as good!) Preheat oven to 375. Spread thin layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 12×8″ baking dish. Spoon vegetable-tofu filling into the shells VERY GENTLY — the shells have a tendency to break, so be careful (if they do break, don’t fret; you can easily camouflage them and your guests won’t know the difference). Arrange in tight rows on top of the sauce and cover with spaghetti sauce and thin layer of Alfredo. Sprinkle with Parmesan, to your liking. Cover and bake for 15 minutes on the middle rack. Remove cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Sprinkle shells with pine nuts and broil for 3 – 5 minutes. Serve warm.

——

The filling makes a load! I had a lot left over, but it is so good, I could eat it on it’s own! My boyfriend couldn’t even tell it was tofu and not ricotta. Like I mentioned, I’m not a huge pasta fan, but this gets me really pumped for the Italian leg of my journey in the coming year! If you’re digging the vegetarian Italian dishes, check out this website for other delicious veg recipes from other folks around the world!

Enjoy!
Signature Stamp - Shannon

Capitola to Carmel!

Saturday’s Adventure.

Saturday was a total blast! After kidnapping Tiffany on Saturday morning, we landed in Capitola at around 10A after a pretty short drive! Capitola Beachwas absolutely darling! I visited another neighboring beach last year when I went with Hilary, but Capitola Beach is much livelier and there are loads of nearby restaurants, coffee shops and stores! We parked right on the town streets and took a two minute stroll down to the beach!

Hanging out on the beach (pre-sun!)

Hanging out on the beach (pre-sun!)

Tiff & Dad waiting for the sunshine <3.

Tiff & Dad waiting for the sunshine <3.

By 11A, the sun had come out and we were able to spend a few hours hanging out on the beach, soaking up the sun!
Afterwards, we strolled around Capitola for about an hour before deciding to move on to Pacific Grove to check in to our B&B. It was a short 40 minute drive from Capitola to Pacific Grove and we we were able to check it at around 2:30P at the Gosby House Inn. Our rooms were darling; large enough, cozy and a great value for the otherwise pricey area.

The Gosby House Inn

The Gosby House Inn

Our Room, Room #9!

Our Room, Room #9!

We loved our stay at the Inn (sans the treacherous staircase that scared my grandmother)! The service was great and we even had wine and hors d’oeuvres, which were complimentary for guests between 430P and 630P. It gave us some time to relax before heading down to Carmel for dinner.

My sister chose to check out The Forge in the Forest for dinner (check out the menu here) after perusing four restaurants that we had picked out. The atmosphere was awesome and the food was delish! Outside seating (if it’s not too chilly) is absolutely gorgeous. My sister and I each had a bowl of portabello mushroom soup and split a salad. Mmm! Plus, the atmosphere was such that we were able to get all prettied up and not feel out of place while there were other patrons totally dressed down dropping in for a bite to eat.

Tiff at the Forge!

Tiff at the Forge!

You can see how cute the outside area is in the background :)

Sisters at Dinner

Tiff & I at dinner!

After dinner, we went back to the hotel to enjoy the Baby Cakes that I had ordered from a little bakery in Monterey called Layers; we got two red velvet, two lemon love, and two strawberry cream. They even wrote “Happy Birthday” on one of the baby cakes:

Our Baby Cakes -- Mmm!

Our Baby Cakes -- Mmm!

We had such a blast all around on Saturday — after playing a few rounds of blackjack, we ended up passing out around 930P (such partyers, I know) to get ready for our fun-filled day in Carmel on Sunday. More about that tomorrow — stay tuned!

Signature Stamp - Shannon

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Facebookers: Check out the entire album from Tiff’s birthday weekend here!

A Splendid Saturday <3.

Due to the fact that my birthday fell on a Friday, we decided to really celebrate my birthday on Saturday! The day was brilliant from start to finish and we had an absolute blast! We started the day by heading out for breakfast and coffee and then headed to Arden Hills for a workout sesh (mandatory!) and some pool time. Although we were 50/50 on the weather, it ended up being absolutely perfect — 75 degrees and sunshiny all afternoon!
It always feels like vacay here!

It always feels like vacay here!

Tasty Treat

Tasty Treat

After relaxing poolside for a few hours, we headed home for me to enjoy my homemade facial mask and then headed out to dinner and the theatre! We decided to dine at Sofia’s for the special occasion and it was amazing (as usual)! There are a number of spots we frequent for dinner, but Sofia’s on 11th has been seriously taking the cake the last few times — the food is always spectacular (amazing gnocchi and salad last night!) and the service is always spot on!

Chris & I pumped to head to Sofia's!

Chris & I pumped to head to Sofia's!

At Sofia's for my Birthday!

At Sofia's for my Birthday!

After Sofia’s we headed to The Lion King at the Community Center! I cannot even begin to put into words the experience! The entire performance was breathtaking. Aside from having the most fantastic performers (the kids were darling & incredibly talented!), the costumes, the lighting and the stage design was remarkable. It was, hands down, the most amazing performance I have ever seen. In fact, I’m trying to snag five tickets to another performance this year to take my family to see it.

So excited!

So excited!

The Lion King!!

The Lion King!!

This was our first time not sitting in the Orchestra section of the theatre. Our tickets were on the first tier and I have to say — although we were a tid wary — I really liked our seats (1st tier, Row L). We were able to actually absorb the entirety of the performance. I find that sitting up front narrows your view of the stage and the performers; you don’t really have the opportunity to grasp the totality of the experience. If you have a chance to see it before the 28th of June, I highly (highly!!) recommend it!

Has anyone else see The Lion King? What did you guys think?

Lots of love,

Signature Stamp - Shannon