Don’t Egg Me On: Breakfast Edition

Recently, I asked one of my best friends what my food “spirit animal” would be.  She said she could think of two different answers: cookies or eggs.  I usually eat eggs for a protein filled breakfast to power me throughout the day.  And I have the biggest sweet tooth ever.  If I make homemade cookies I can easily eat 10 in one sitting.  It’s a gift.

But this post is about the former food spirit animal, eggs.  Over the summer I have had three different amazing breakfasts that you should try!

Uncommon Grounds 

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Uncommon Grounds is a cute, small restaurant located in Watertown, MA.  It has a diner feel, but the menu has more variety, and more fresh produce.  This was their Salmon Avocado Toast, and it was a daily special.  Toasted bread was topped with greens, avocado, tomatoes, smoked salmon, and a poached egg.  Talk about a beautiful plate!  I also ordered a side of fruit salad instead of the home fries.  While I love eggs, avocado, and smoked salmon separately, I think combining all three was a little overwhelming.  Each of those ingredients are rich, so next time I’ll order their plain Avocado Toast.

The Friendly Toast 

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This is the Greek Scramble at The Friendly Toast with delicious cinnamon raisin bread, and a side of fresh fruit.  The scramble has tomatoes, feta cheese, kalamata olives, baby spinach and black pepper.  The bread was sliced thick and buttered.  Just look at the cinnamon swirl, it is huge!  And the fruit salad was a step up then your standard melon mix.  It had blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries too.  I also loved the Friendly Toast for its eclectic ambiance.  I went to the Back Bay location on a Tuesday night, and trivia was going on for diners to participate in.  The menu has funny names for the dishes and the decor is bright and funky.

The Wayfarer 

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I think this is my favorite place to go for breakfast.

A. Because it is in Maine, more specifically Cape Porpoise, which is such a beautiful and hidden spot.

B. Because I grew up coming here as a child.  One of the waitresses Bert wore sunny side up egg earrings when I was younger, which I always got a kick out of… and she still does today!

C. Because the food and atmosphere makes you feel like you are eating at home.

This is the veggie omelet with tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, avocado, and goat cheese.  A side of fruit salad and cinnamon raisin toast with strawberry jam.

The Wayfarer is small enough that it feels cozy, like a real Maine breakfast place should.  But it was renovated a few years ago, so the interior is beautifully furnished.  As a friendly warning, it gets VERY busy.  So if you bring a large family, arrive early!

 

Don’t Be Blue Salad: Easy Meal Edition

This salad is full with nutrient dense foods, such as spinach, avocado, blueberries, extra virgin olive oil, and walnuts.  It is very easy to whip together and would be a great lunch to bring to work.  The creamy avocado is a nice contrast to the crunchy walnuts.  The blueberries add sweetness.  Next time I will add feta for its salty flavor, I just didn’t have it this time!

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Place fresh spinach in a bowl.  Add blueberries, sliced avocado, and walnuts.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.

Mix and enjoy!

I Love Olives: Easy Meal Edition

As I said earlier this summer, I worked far away from my home.  So I relied on quick’n easy meals filled with healthy ingredients.  Olives became one of my favorite ingredients to use because I love salty food🙂

Green Machine Salad

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Place a few handfuls of fresh spinach in a bowl.  Add pitted green olives, Samira’s hummus, a handful of Biena’s Chickpea Snacks, and an avocado.

Quinoa Spinach Salad

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Cook around 1/4 cup of tri-colored quinoa according to the instructions on the bag.

Place spinach in a bowl.  Add quinoa, pitted kalamata olives and crumbled feta.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Greek Power Bowl

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Place spinach in a bowl.  Add kalamata olives, Samira’s hummus and spicy grape leaves, and Watusee Chickpeatos.

Enjoy!

 

Dancing Queen: Quinoa Power Bowl

This queen-oa power bowl will give you all of the energy you need to be the queen of the dance floor!  Roasted chickpeas, tri-color quinoa, and fresh avocado are the three main ingredients of this dish, and it can be made in 30 minutes.

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First start with the roasted chickpeas.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Open and rinse a can of chickpeas.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Place the chickpeas on the parchment paper.  Grind black pepper on top of the chickpeas.  Drizzle olive oil on the chickpeas and make sure they are thoroughly coated.  Roast for 30-35 minutes.

While the chickpeas are roasting, start the quinoa.  Rinse 1/2 cup quinoa in a small sieve.  Place in a small pot along with 1/2 cup water, plus a little extra splash of water.  Bring this to a fast simmer.  Then reduce to a low simmer and place a lid on top.  Cook for 17 minutes.

Place quinoa, roasted, chickpeas, and avocado in a bowl.  Mix throughly.  Add sea salt to taste.  Enjoy!

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Healthy Noodles: Easy Meal Edition

This summer, I had a full time internship, with an hour and a half commute to and from work.  By the time I got home, I wanted to work out, and then eat a quick, healthy meal.  At the beginning, I mostly made monotonous salads.  But I soon grew bored of spinach leaves, and tried to be more creative.  Here are three quick and easy noodle ideas… that do not use traditional pasta!

Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs 

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Have you ever heard of spaghetti squash before?  It is an oval shaped squash that produces stringy threads when baked, which are reminiscent of thin spaghetti!

This meal is really easy because all you have to do is bake the squash.  My mum had made the meatballs in bulk beforehand.  And the sauce is Rao’s Marinara.

To bake the squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Carefully cut your spaghetti squash in half.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Sprinkle salt and black pepper on top of the fleshy side of the squash halves.  Then rub olive oil so the fleshy side is completely covered.  Then lay the squash flesh side down (The “fleshy side” is the interior of the squash).  Bake for 1 hour.  Then, using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash to create spaghetti!

Top with warm marinara and meatballs.  Add some grated parmesan on top.  Then you are all set!

“Puttanesca” Spaghetti Squash

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While puttanesca sauce is now popular, and an esteemed dish, that was not always the case.  Puttanesca translates to as “in the style of a whore.”  There are theories as to where this tarnished relation came from… Puttanesca sauce is very easy and quick to make.  The intense aroma of the pasta would lure men off of the street.  Etc, etc.

Puttanesca generally consists of tomatoes, garlic, olives, and anchovies.  It has a saltier bite than a traditional marinara.

This version is not a traditional puttanesca, but it has similar salty, briny flavors.  I used Rao’s Artichoke sauce, which is very similar to their marinara, but artichokes are added!

Prepare the spaghetti squash following the above recipe.

Chop kalamata olives and remove the pits.

Mix the spaghetti squash with the sauce.  Add the chopped olives.  Crumble feta on top. And serve!

Butternut Squash Noodles with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Roasted Chickpeas 

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Start with the roasted chickpeas. Preheat your over to 400 degrees.  Open one can of chickpeas, wash thoroughly, then pat dry.  Lay parchment paper on a baking pan, and put the chickpeas on top.  Salt and pepper the chickpeas.  Then drizzle olive oil on top and mix all the chickpeas together. Bake for 30 minutes.

Drizzle olive oil in a sauce pan that is on medium high heat.  Place the sweet potato noodles in the pan and cook until the potato is cooked through.  Around 3o minutes.

I used Seggiano Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto.  Toss the pasta in the sauce.  Sprinkle the chickpeas on top.  And enjoy.

 

We Got the Beat: Beat Brasserie

Walking around Harvard Square, there is an abundance of eclectic restaurants, that create a unique atmosphere.  Beat Brasserie is one of these restaurants, with a retro sign that illuminates at night.

Beat Brasserie is the sister restaurant to Beehive in the South End.  It has a beautiful interior of crystal chandeliers, luxurious fabrics, different height tables, and bright colors.  A stage is towards the back of the restaurant where live music plays, creating a hip vibe.

Beat Brasserie serves dinner, week day lunch, and week end brunch.  Their menu changes seasonally, and has both carnivore and vegetarian options.  The menu has a lot of original pairings that distinguishes it from other local restaurants.

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To start, I ordered the Chickpeas with a Romesco Sauce.  The chickpeas were beautifully baked so they became crispy on the outside, while maintaining a creamy interior.  Romesco sauce is made out of red peppers and nuts, so it is very similar in form to a traditional basil pesto.  It just has a more smoky flavor.

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For my main course I ordered the Bowl Azteca, consisting of Adobo-Spiced Quinoa, Tomatillo Salsa, Corn, Squash, Green Beans, Avocado, and Baby Spinach.  It was fresh, well seasoned, and satisfying.  The Tomatillo Salsa was really great.  Tomatillos look like green tomatoes and have a more tart flavor.  The shrimp was perfectly cooked and the seasonal vegetables added a brightness to the dish.

Beat Brasserie is one of my favorite places.  The food is guaranteed to be good, and you’ll enjoy the ambiance.

Imma Make You Scream: Ice Cream Edition

Over the course of the summer I managed to eat a plethora of delicious treats, and this post will give you the break down.

Frozen Hoagies

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What started out as a food truck now has a brick and mortar location in Somerville, MA.  Frozen Hoagies offers many different ice cream and cookie combos.  I decided on the “The Hoagie” size, which equals two cookies and two scoops of ice cream.  I ordered the peanut butter cup cookies with cow tracks ice cream (vanilla ice cream with a fudge swirl and peanut butter cups aka moose tracks) and of course… sprinkles.  It was MASSIVE.  The cookies were a little dry and cakey, but according to my little brother I like my cookies to be barely cooked, so that’s up for you to decide.  It was a really cute place and had indoor seating that my cousin and I took advantage of.

Scoop N Scootery

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If this is not the cutest sundae you have ever seen, then props to you.  My sister and I decided to try out Scoop N Scootery in Arlington after plans fell through.  Scoop N Scootery offers walk in store hours 3-7PM from Tuesday to Sunday.  But their delivery and pick up hours are 3PM-2 AM from Tuesday to Sunday.  We ordered pickup by going online and typing out our order on the website.  We then got a confirmation email with an estimated time of completion.

I ordered the Peanut Butter Bomb which had peanut butter cup ice cream, chopped Reeses, chocolate syrup, a peanut butter shell, and then I added whipped cream and Kit Kats.  The peanut butter shell was AMAZING.  It did not harden completely like a normal chocolate shell does, but it was creamy and rich.  The whipped cream was not your average Cool Whip and was perfectly light and airy.

Goose Rocks Dairy

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The Goose Rocks Dairy is my old stomping ground, and where I worked for five summers of my life.  I tell everyone that it was the best job I will ever have.  Although I have sampled every flavor, this time I ordered the Campfire Smores; toasted marshmallow ice cream with a graham cracker swirl, and chocolate chunks.  This is one of the dairy’s richest and sweetest ice creams.  My other favorite is Moose Tracks; vanilla ice cream with a fudge swirl and peanut butter cups.  I ordered the kiddie size in a waffle cone… Be warned our serving size is larger than most!

Cabot’s 

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A traditional favorite, Cabot’s has been serving Newton-ites since 1969.  They serve all meals of the day, but dessert is what you should go for.  This is their “Hey you got chocolate on my peanut butter!” sundae.  Moose tracks ice cream with peanut butter sauce, peanut butter cups, and whipped cream. (If you haven’t noticed, I love chocolate and peanut butter).  Cabot’s not only serves up delicious and beautiful sundaes, but you feel like you are whisked away to another era.  It’s an old school sundae parlor that is the perfect place for a celebration or just another hot summer day.

Toscanini’s 

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Toscanini’s is a well known ice cream shop located in Cambridge, and its cousin is Rancatore’s.  One fateful night I walked in to discover they had FLUFF ice cream.

When I was little, I was addicted to fluff… I might still be addicted.  I would make the classic fluffernutter to bring to school (bread, peanut butter, and Fluff), put Fluff on ritz crackers as a snack, and put it in my hot chocolate instead of marshmallows (it’s a game changer try it).

This ice cream tasted exactly like Fluff and had the typically sweet gooey marshmallow flavor and texture.  Since it was so Fluff-y, when I ordered it a cone, the ice cream proceeded to dangerously slide off, so I quickly threw it in a cup to save it.  I hope they make this a standard flavor because it was so amazing.  The only thing that could have made it better was peanut butter, to make a fluffernutter sundae!

 

 

Pon de Replay: Life Edition

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Growing up, sports were one of the ways I could tell time.  In the fall, I played soccer every year since I had started kindergarten.  Then, as the days grew shorter, and snow started falling, my weekends took place in basketball gyms.  Spring brought on a reincarnation of soccer, softball, and then track.  Summer days were spent on hot tennis courts.

My teams gave me close friends, mentors, confidence, and life lessons.  Sports defined me, and were worth more than the games themselves.

However, the routine cycle of those sports, also represents the routine filled life I had the first seventeen years of my life.  Since kindergarten, I moved from one sport to the next for each change of season, without question.  Similarly, I attended school, hung out with friends, and did extracurriculars, all without question.  I never really stopped to think WHY I was doing anything.  Sure I was happy with the way my life ebbed and flowed.  But it was not purposeful.  My actions did not have intentions behind them.

Junior year of high school, my varsity soccer team was playing really well, and we were expected to go far in States.  We had already finished regular season and were gearing up for the tournament.  As we showed up to a rainy practice, our coach told us we were going to a mom’s studio to “stretch.”  At this point, most of us were beat up and hurting, and a break from running was already a miracle to begin with.

This was the first time I attended a class at BodyTrio, the first time I did yoga, and the first time I met Donna Ognibene (my friend’s mum).  She started us off by stretching, worked in some yoga poses, and then at the end she had a meditation/ reflection period.  During this time she gave anecdotes relating to our soccer ambitions, and encouraged us to play hard, but also to listen to our bodies.

Donna has such a way with words, and her voice alone soothes you.  I think it is due to her genuine nature.  Upon ending the class, I felt so calm and happy.  That hour had given me time to reflect, stretch, and try something new.  Meeting Donna also introduced me to a kindred spirit that I wanted to get to know better.  Donna is caring, reflective, and strong, and I knew from the beginning that she was someone who I could learn from.

That winter, instead of playing basketball, I decided to take classes at Body Trio.  I continued taking classes throughout high school.  And still take them today, whenever I am home from college.

BodyTrio was the first place where I was able to reflect on my intentions; encouraging me to live deliberately.  It is a place for me to build up physical strength, flexibility, and inner self confidence.  Every time I walk through the door my mind instantly relaxes and  forgets about any stressors.  That hour is mine to think, move, and chill out.

Since then, I have really tried to grab onto the reflective spirit found in Donna and her classes.  As I went on to BC I jumped at the chance to go on retreats, service trips, and am more willing to step outside of my comfort zone.  BodyTrio made me pause and think about WHY I live and HOW I want to live.

Donna, and the whole BodyTrio family, has continued to show me wonderful support and guidance.  Their impact has continued to mold me, as I move through college, and think about what I want to do with the rest of my life… Would you be surprised if I said I wanted to open up my own yoga studio?  :P

I will be forever grateful for that one soccer practice and BodyTrio.

 

1,2,3 Like a Bird I Eat: Health Edition

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Recently I’ve been thinking about how so many people claim to not count calories, but in fact, still have distorted views of food and themselves.  Sometimes even making an off handed comment such as, “I don’t even care that this ice cream probably has so many calories!”clues into the fact that yes, they do care because they are bringing light to the fact they are eating it versus never discussing the unhealthiness at all.

Without sounding preachy, I’ll first handily admit to being a perpetrator, and am part of the group that adds to this paradoxically unhealthy mantra.

This ideology fosters a lot off of the environment you put yourself in, which then can act as a snowball effect when you fall victim to worsening thoughts.  Similar to the idea that you want to surround yourself with positive people, so you will then have positive thoughts, surrounding yourself with people who have healthy relationships with their bodies will influence you to do the same.  Sadly, this works conversely as well, so if the majority of your friends limit and restrict themselves, this becomes the norm, and you follow in suit.  Especially in high school and college, when you are constantly surrounded by peers, I think this cycle is very prone to happen.  Friends feed off of each other (no pun intended), so pay attention to the comments at and beyond the table.

Lastly after reflecting from my own experiences, I realized how grateful I am for those friends that will always revel in a late night ice cream adventure, but at the same time, know the importance of nourishment and taking care of their health.

I am grateful for my parents who love me unconditionally and teach me everyday how important it is to love myself in order to truly those around me.

I am grateful for conversations about food that educate and celebrate, rather than vilify.

I will be more aware of my thoughts and ask if I would want my little cousins to hear what I am saying before I speak.  I do not want them to grow up eating like birds.  I want them to grow up eating like strong healthy girls.

I will be more aware of the people I surround myself with, and will feed them positive thoughts, if they do not have any for themselves.

I challenge you to do the same.🙂

 

 

 

 

Empire State of Stomach: New York Edition

Over Easter break I was lucky enough to go on an adventure with a wonderful accomplice to the Big Apple.  This was my first time in the big city even though I am from nearby Boston.  As a beantown native, my family has an obvious disdain for New York, which deterred me from visiting during the first twenty years of my life.  And while the city is large and busy, the sights and food make it a great place to visit!

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This post has quick analysis on the food we ate.  We averaged around three desserts and multiple attractions a day.  But the desserts are what truly kept us going.

At South Station before we boarded our train we fueled up on the “healthy” dessert option, Pinkberry.  I ordered pomegranate with tons of fruit and a shot of sprinkles on the side.  I hadn’t been in a while and forgot that fro yo actually does act as a fulfilling dessert.  The fresh fruit adds satisfying sweetness and the yogurt adds a tart bite.  The sprinkles just were for cuteness.

My friend’s lovely mother had cupcakes waiting for us at the apartment we crashed at.  She had bought a red velvet and chocolate vanilla cupcake at City Cakes.  The frosting was really thick and rich, and piled high, which I approved of.  I prefer a high frosting to cake ratio.  The red velvet was my favorite of the two because the cake was really moist and the cream cheese frosting was not too sweet.

My friend’s parents took us to lunch on our first day in NYC to Cookshop. My friend and I both ordered the Breakfast Bowl, which consisted of kale, spinach, falafel, feta, farro, sesame seeds, hazelnut, walnut oil, nigella seeds, and a sunny side egg.  It was the perfect fuel for a long day of walking around. The farro added some hearty substance, the feta had a salty bite, and the runny egg broke acting almost as a rich dressing for the salad.

My favorite meal was at a small place called Beyond Sushi, which serves vegetarian sushi.  We both got a combo of some sorts, which included a roll and a wrap.  My wrap was called the Nutty Buddy which had Baby greens, Buckwheat noodles, Cashews, Carrots, Cilantro, Jalapenõ, peanut butter, Avocado, Sesame oil, and Tofu.  My roll was the Sweet Tree which had Six-grain rice, Avocado, Sweet potato, Alfafa sprouts, and a Toasted Cayenne sauce.  This was hands down one of the best things I have ever eaten, and I wish we had a location up in Boston.

At Momofuku Milk Bar, I ordered the Compost Cookie which is packed with pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch and chocolate chips, this cookie strikes the perfect balance between salty & sweet. BUT the best items were ordered my companion.  The Birthday Cake truffles and cereal milk ice cream were heavenly.  So order those when you visit!

Also pictured, vanilla caramel filled cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes, Acai parfait from Liquiteria, and a salad from Roast Kitchen.