B.L.A.T’s!

I have to say, I LOVE Thursdays. Ever since Thirsty Thursdays in college, Fridays’ eve has held a soft spot in my heart. You’re over the hard part of the week and the weekend is so close you can smell it (it smells like brunch). Even though my Thursdays are no longer thirsty, they are very much enjoyable, sans half price margaritas.

These days, me and the boy don’t really get a night together until Thursday (after dinners with friends/family, basketball for him, gym for me, working late, etc.), so we try to make it special. We’ll make a point to sit down to a nice dinner. Usually, I’ll try out a healthy meal. This Thursday however, Michael has decided he would like to make our meal. After I excitedly accepted his offer for a kitchen free evening for yours truly, I panicked over what he would make. Michael, bless his carb loving can-eat-anything-and-not-gain-weight soul, specializes in Rice-a-Roni and tortellini. Luckily, my panic was simultaneous with Michael’s realization that I’m not the San Francisco treat’s biggest fan. He said he wanted to make something healthy enough for me (yeah, he can be pretty cute).

Upon thinking about what we have in our fridge and something that we would both enjoy, I remembered we had bacon in our freezer- something we never have. We also happen to have an avocado, tomato and baby spinach. My brilliant idea? B.L.A.T’s!! Some veggies, healthy fats, and sprouted grain bread for me and bacon for Mr. Not Quite As Healthy Pants. Everybody wins!

 

It’s bit more of assembling than cooking BUT it was delicious. I used to dislike avocados, which I think was my mind playing diet tricks with me. They are high in calories and fat but it’s the good fat that you need and will help satiate you as well as help you absorb nutrients better (and avocado is packed with ’em). They’re great to keep on hand- you never know when a BLAT night could be your future, and you do NOT want to miss out on that.

I forgot to mention that a very important part of our Thursday evenings (and basically our relationship in general) is sitting down to enjoy some shamelessly terrible reality TV. Tonight’s DVR line up? Real World and Khloe Lamar!! Happy Thursday 🙂

But you love breakfast for supper!

I never grew up saying ‘supper’ but after seeing Juno, whenever I have a typical breakfast meal at the end of the day, I will always think of Pauly Bleeker’s mom.

I love having breakfast for dinner. When I was young, there was nothing better than when my dad would randomly whip up a batch of blueberry pancakes and call it dinner. They always tasted amazing and I think it was partly due to the fact that they didn’t belong there- it was the wrong meal!  I mean my dad is no joke in the kitchen, but still, we were breaking the food rules and it tasted gooood.

These days, I love nothing more than having eggs for dinner. It’s a great way to get in a high protein meal at the end of the day and eggs are incredibly versatile. I should also mention that I have the cutest egg pan in all of the land, compliments of mama Clemenza.

 

The egg actually is pretty incredible. It has to be since a baby chick needs all of those important nutrients- kind of weird to think about but it’s true! Eggs contains things like choline which promotes brain function. While that is not only great for those of us living outside of a uterus, pregnant women should especially focus on getting this nutrient if they want to make smart little babies (you can start forcing your offspring to be geniuses even before the Baby Einstein program!). Then there’s the folate and riboflavins which are B vitamins that help the body convert food into energy. There are also vitamins A and C which help promote healthy skin and prevent damage to the body by those pesky free radicals.

Heavy on the vitamins and light on the calories. Plus, eggs are CHEAP and that makes me smile. It can be confusing, however, to know which egg carton is the best. They are all boasting free range, chemical free, omega 3’s, etc. etc. A lot of times, manufacturers will stamp these buzz words all over cartons in order to trick consumers. Well, I will not stand for such trickery.

Which Eggs Should I Buy?

The best places to buy eggs are from local farmers who raise chickens on wide open pastures with plenty of space. You wouldn’t think NYC would be an ideal place to find such magically delicious eggs, but you would be wrong. Check out LocalHarvest.org, enter your zip, and track down some natural eggs. Chickens kept in battery cages produce a lower quality egg, which is not surprising. If you were sad and concealed in a small box while being fed crap, not allowed to run around and play, you would not produce your best work either. When hens are kept on pastures where they can exhibit natural behaviors, they lay eggs with higher vitamin and omega-3 fatty acid levels compared to commercially fed, caged hens.

Cage-Free:

Now this might bring to mind chickens pecking away on a sprawling green on a sunny day, free to run around and lay eggs as they please. Often times, cage-free is not as ideal as that lovely country scene I just painted for you. It’s still much better than battery cages but often times the hens are kept in enclosed buildings. This at least means that the chickens can spread their wings and nest in boxes, although it does not necessarily mean that antibiotics have not been used.

Free-Range:

Chickens are allowed outside of barns or warehouses but farmers aren’t required to provide any specific amount of time outside and there are no third party restrictions.

Organic:

Hens are fed organic feed (no pesticides, antibiotics or animal products) and are offered access to the outdoors. Although not guaranteeing that the animals ever go outside, they are not enclosed in cages and annual inspections are required.

Natural:

Really doesn’t mean all that much, which is pretty standard these days. This basically means that nothing was done to the finished product (the egg) but it doesn’t tell us anything about the life and treatment of the chicky.

Pastured:

These chickens are housed in portable shelters that are frequently moved to give chickens fresh pastures. Again, no inspection is required but your best bet is to buy eggs from hens at a local farm that raises hens organically.

Certified Humane:

Chickens are not kep in cages but can be kept indoors. The Human Farm Animal Care program sets limits on the number of hens allowed in a certain space but there are no regulations on whether the hen must be fed organically.

You should also know that there is no difference between white eggs and brown eggs. White eggs come from chickens with white feathers and brown eggs come from chickens with brown feathers.

Woo so that’s A LOT of info. But go out and get your hands on some yummy, nutritious eggs. And maybe have ’em for supper if you’re feeling really crazy.

Cinco de Mayo Pregame

I haven’t really celebrated Cinco de Mayo since college- that I can recall at least (and with my track record with Jose, it’s very likely that my recollection is way off). I loved any excuse during that magical time in my life to binge drink in theme.

Throw on a sombrero and chug margaritas until brain freeze is the least of your worries? Sign me up!

As soon as graduation hit, my underappreciated superpower ability to drink and not get hung-over pretty much dissappeared. All of the sudden, the love/hate relationship between me and Mr. Cuervo got a little more serious on the hate side of things.

This week, some girlfriends  and I were trying to get together for dinner and Thursday worked best for everyone. Thursday, May 5th you say?

That’s right folks. Break out those sombrero’s and dust off your party pants, because tequila shots are happening!

Just kidding- it’s a school night! I just don’t bounce back like I used to… But I am hosting dinner so I wanted to be able to offer some yummy Mexican food that might not be quite as bad for you as Mama Mexico (and margaritas will definitely be making an appearance). On the menu we have shrimp tacos and black bean and cheese quesadillas. I speak less Spanish than the average person but my favorite phrase is “con queso”.

Oh baby.

Bring on the queso (Did I say healthier?).

Mikey needed food tonight so I decided to test drive some snacks for tomorrow on him. Shrimp Quesadillas it is!

I tossed some peeled, de-veined shrimp in 1 tsp of chili powder, 1/2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt.

I let those suckers cook for about 2 minutes per side, then chopped them and put them aside while I grilled some chopped onions and peppers.

Throw your tortilla in a pan and let it get hot on one side (about a minute or 2) and then flip over. I used one tortilla for myself so once I flipped I layered on some cheese, chopped shrimp and grilled veggies and then folded over. If you’re anything like me, you will want to serve this with heaps of guacamole and fresh salsa.

Ole!

girls night out at The Social Table

On Thursday night, a bunch of girlfriends and I decided to go to a cooking class with a company called The Social Table. Typically, classes are announced and people can sign up based on the dishes they’d like to prepare. Being that we were a group of 8, we had our own private class and got to choose our own menu.

The list that was sent to us of menu items was HUGE. We decided to do a secret vote by choosing our top 3 entrees, sides, and dessert and then narrowing it down from there. This proved to be the hardest part of my week. Everything sounded amazing.

In the end, we ended up making cod in parchment paper over julienned veggies, spicy smashed broccoli, goat cheese soufflés (clearly the highlight of the night) and fresh strawberry shortcakes.

I should also mention that these classes are BYOB- and ohh how we brought our own bottles.

The class was amazing and dinner was delectable. The founder of The Social Table and our chef teacher for the night was Rebecca- by the end of the night we were sloppily asking if she could be our friend and I may or may not have invited her to a birthday celebration I’m having in a couple of weeks. Rebecca is really fun and we had such a great time while still learning some valuable stuff in the kitchen.

While teaching us how to prepare a delicious meal, Rebecca also managed to refill our wine glasses constantly. Let’s just say Friday  morning was not an easy one…

It’s a little blurry (I mean was a few glasses in before I remembered to photograph this experience!) but here are the goat cheese soufflés .

Sadly, I don’t have a picture of dessert because I inhaled it. I’m going to have to try to re-create that at some point though, because the shortcake was nothing short of amazing.

I definitely recommend The Social Table for a great night out!