Sushi and Mai Tai’s

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! I spent it working (boo) but still found the time to go for a hike with my boyfriend and spend a day at the beach with my family. I also went to lunch on Saturday with my friend Gary, which I needed to blog about since I realized I have not yet posted about sushi (and it’s in the title of my blog…) We went to Sapporo, which is an awesome Korean and sushi restaurant if you’re in Central Massachusetts! We ended up splitting 5 sushi rolls and salmon sashimi, along with edamame and Mai Tai’s. All of the sushi was sooo delicious. I probably could have eaten there all day! Their house Mai Tai is killer, but I also tried a Paleo Mai Tai, which replaced the sugary syrup with agave nectar and didn’t have orange curacao; just rum and pineapple juice! Still packed a punch 🙂

Here are the rolls we tried:

Firecracker: Shrimp tempura and spicy tuna topped with ebi shrimp, eel sauce, and hots. Served in foil, flaming hot, and definitely spicy!

Caterpillar: Spicy tuna topped with avocado, tobiko, and spicy sauce. The avocado on top made it so creamy and delicious!

Philadelphia: Salmon, cucumbers, and cream cheese. Always a favorite of mine!

Sapporo Special: Shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, and spicy sauce. Basically a bunch of deliciousness in one roll!

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All of our sushi!

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One of each roll…yummmm

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The Firecracker roll came out in tin foil over a flame (of 151 rum, naturally)

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The Firecracker!

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Sapporo Mai Tai!

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The Paleo Mai Tai!

What’s your favorite type of sushi? I’m always looking for new rolls to try!

Three-Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake

So I will start with a confession: dairy-free May failed 😦 However, I would say I at least succeeded in less-dairy May! I did well for about a week or two, but then I really started missing the feta in my salads, had a family party with pizza, etc. Yet I am glad I found the soy shredded cheese, because I think I will continue to use that in place of typical shredded cheese in many recipes! With that in mind, here is this week’s recipe, a tried-and-true favorite of mine (but it does contain dairy)! I have recently been making it with spaghetti squash, but I have also made it with traditional pasta and it is just as good. It’s a very filling dish with a tasty sauce that is easy to make and gets in some veggies as well as lean protein. And if you use spaghetti squash, it’s very low carb! I usually bake spaghetti squash, but this time I tried it on the crock pot since I had recently seen it done on Instagram…I thought it was much easier since I could cook it the day before. It does get a little mushy, but I still liked the taste! I put instructions below for both squash cooking methods.

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Three-Cheese Chicken Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb chicken tenderloins, raw or pre-cooked
  • 1 large spaghetti squash [or pasta, cooked (about 3 cups)]
  • 1 package spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp basil leaves (or Italian seasoning)
  • 1 jar (14.5 oz) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tbsp diced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  •  2 oz cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat or Neufchâtel cheese)
  • Shredded soy/mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan or feta cheese

1.) Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook pasta**.

2.) Heat olive oil and minced garlic in large skillet on med high heat, add spinach and cook until wilted. Add chicken (if raw) and basil, cook for about 3 minutes. Add sauce and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Simmer until chicken is done, then cut into bite size pieces. Stir in cream cheese.

3.) Drain pasta, pour into baking dish/Dutch oven (if chicken was pre-cooked, add bite-sized pieces of it here). Stir in sauce mixture with a handful of shredded cheese.

4.) Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan/Feta cheese on top and bake for another 3-4 minutes.

**If you want to use spaghetti squash instead of pasta:

Oven directions: cut a spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and pulp in middle. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray/brush olive oil and salt and pepper onto the inside of each half. Lay each half of the squash, open side down, on the sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes until the sides/bottom get slightly brown, the flesh can be easily poked, and the insides can be easily scraped out with a fork. Let cool. Scrape out all the “spaghetti” and put into a pasta strainer lined with paper towels to soak up excess water. Then use in place of pasta!

Crock pot directions: cut a spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and pulp in middle. Put both halves into crock pot, open sides touching, with 1/2 inch water in the bottom. Cook on high for 2.5 hours (don’t overcook, it will get really soggy!) Take halves out with tongs and let cool. Scrape out all the “spaghetti” and put into a pasta strainer lined with paper towels to soak up excess water. Then use in place of pasta!

Also, my sister sent me this article written by a fellow dietitian (I say fellow like I already am one); it is definitely a true and interesting read about nutrition and diet “fads” and why people think they may be doing something healthy that isn’t working!

The Eight Nutrition Trends That Drive This Dietitian Crazy

Happy Thursday!

A (Long) Weekend of Celebration!

I haven’t had a lot of time to post over the last week, but for good reasons! I spent the whole weekend with the family, including my sister and her husband, who came up from Myrtle Beach for my brother’s graduation. We had a weekend filled with craft beer, good food, and a great graduation celebration. Still can’t believe my little brother is a college grad, and Summa Cum Laude no less! I’m so proud of all he has accomplished and can’t wait to see what he will do next.

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I also celebrated my 24th birthday yesterday, which means it has been 2 years since I graduated from college myself. Where has the time gone?! I had a great day full of cake, birthday wishes, and tickets to a Red Sox game (thanks to my awesome boss)!

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My family also got me a Fitbit Flex for my birthday! I am still playing around with all of it’s fun capabilities, but I will put up a review soon. So far I love it!

I hope everyone else had an amazing weekend…May is flying by! Summer is almost here 🙂

Current Jewelry Obsessions

So anyone who knows me is well aware that I never leave the house without some sort of jewelry on…usually that includes a statement necklace, my Michael Kors watch, and earrings! I bought a few new jewelry items in France, but here are a few things I have been eyeing for this summer…

1.) Monogram

Image of 18K PLATED GOLD IN STERLING SILVER INITIALS CIRLCE NECKLACERocha Ring, Round, Size 7, Gold

Itchelita Jewelry                                                                              Mark and Graham

2.) Nautical

Kiel James Patrick                                                                                         Kiel James Patrick

3.) Statement

Pearl Cluster Necklace

Shop Dandy Boutique                                                            Charming Charlie

4.) Preppy

Kiel James Patrick                                                                                Kiel James Patrick

Please share with me any jewelry you’ve been eyeing…we all know I could drool over lots more options!

Sunday Morning Egg Scramble

Happy Mother’s Day! Unfortunately I don’t live near my mother and I work on Sundays, but I’m excited to see her tomorrow and take her out for the day. Although in reality, I think every day should be Mother’s Day, because my mom is awesome and I hope she knows that! Since I wasn’t there for the family breakfast, I made myself an egg breakfast at home. Eggs are a perfect way to start your day, since all the protein will keep you full and you can add plenty of veggies for more health benefit. Hope everyone enjoys this lovely Sunday!

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Egg Scramble

Ingredients:
3 eggs, scrambled
Veggies! (I used onions and peppers, but use anything you would like)
1 tbsp olive oil
Handful shredded cheese (I used soy)
1 slice 100% whole wheat toast
1 tbsp butter/margarine (I use Earth Balance organic buttery spread)

Heat olive oil on a skillet at medium high heat and add veggies, cook until tender. Lower heat to medium and add eggs; scramble with the veggies until cooked. Top with cheese and mix, then remove from heat. Add a piece of toast with butter and a piece of fruit and you’ve got a balanced, filling breakfast!

Dairy-Free May and a Stir Fry Recipe

Happy Friday! I’m still adjusting to being back in the US, but it’s nice to be back to my normal schedule…although it was tough to get used to cooking for myself again! I decided to challenge myself this May by giving up dairy, because I’ve recently realized that some dairy gives me a stomach ache. I’ve been dairy-free since Tuesday, and I have to say that I certainly miss my feta! I found some shredded soy cheese at Trader Joe’s, which actually tastes and melts just like real cheese (it’s sort of a mozzarella-cheddar blend). However, I couldn’t find any soy feta…anyone know if that exists?? If so I need it!

For my meals this week, I decided to make a chicken and veggie stir-fry with pasta sauce. I needed a break from carbs after my baguette-filled week, so I wanted to make a filling meal that didn’t require the addition of any pasta, rice, etc. The stir-fry was perfect and had a lot of flavor, plus the chicken and veggies kept me full!

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Ingredients (makes 2 servings):

  • 1/2 lb chicken tenderloins (more or less if you wish)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets (I use steam fresh bags so I can steam them in the microwave!)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, cut in strips
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut in strips
  • 2 tbsp diced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (I used Newman’s Own Basil and Garlic)
  • Red pepper flakes/garlic powder (to taste)
  • Shredded soy/regular cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake chicken breasts with olive oil and seasonings for about 20 minutes, or until fully cooked. Cut chicken into small pieces.
  2. Steam frozen broccoli in the microwave per package instructions. While broccoli is steaming, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, and peppers, cooking until tender. Add the broccoli and chicken and stir together. Add red pepper flakes and garlic powder to taste.
  3. Remove from heat and add to a bowl with pre-heated pasta sauce. Stir together and top with shredded cheese, if desired. Enjoy!

NOTE: I recently discovered that they sell bags of frozen diced onions with strips of red and green peppers, all in one bag! It’s basically a frozen stir-fry, and you don’t have to cut the veggies, just throw the frozen ones on the skillet and cook them. I love this because I hate cutting onions; this prevents the smelly hands and crying! I used that in this recipe instead of fresh veggies, but either will work!

 

 

 

Paris: Day 7!

Our trip is already at an end…it flew by so fast! We headed out on the train from Forbach to Paris Sunday morning to spend the day in Paris before flying out on Monday. Once we arrived in Paris, we went right to the hotel, 5 large suitcases in tow! Rachael had to bring 3 big bags with her, one of which had a broken wheel, so we were having a bit of a struggle getting through the metro and streets of Paris with all that luggage. But after dropping off our bags, we took off to the river seine to go on a boat cruise. I grabbed a tuna and cheese panini and we took our food with us as we walked. The boat cruise was about an hour long and it took us along the river to see many of the famous Parisian landmarks, some of which we had already seen but it was cool to see them from the water. We also had a tour guide, so it was interesting to hear stories about each site. It was a bright and sunny day so we got a little sun up on the top of the boat, too!

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After the boat cruise, we headed to a nearby park and grabbed some ice cream. We sat in the park and watched the kids racing boats in the fountain. I was shocked by how many people were just milling around the park relaxing, especially for a Sunday! We then went to Saint Sulpice church, which was the church in the Da Vinci Code where the monk had to break open the rose line in the floor, so it was cool to see in person! We then headed off to find a local bar for our last happy hour…they served the drinks with glow sticks as stirrers, which was really cool. After having a few drinks we headed off to Cafe Jade, a restaurant Rachael really liked, for dinner. We had escargots for an appetizer and I ordered a croque madame again for dinner. We grabbed one last drink at one of Rachael’s favorite bars, Bastille, before heading back to the apartment to get some sleep. Tomorrow we head back to the US! We had such an amazing trip, and we definitely had a busy week, but I wish it could have been longer!

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