What Do You Mean?: Health Edition

This past week Boston College hosted a Nutrition Night, where a panel of experts lent their expertise to help students become health-savvy with minimal effort, and without sacrificing their favorite foods. The well versed panel included Red Sox Nutritionist Nancy Clark, BC Nutritionist Sheila Tucker, and BC Professor Dr. Hogan.

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Clarke led the talk by stating, “Be as nice to your body as you are to your car.”  Her talk was centered around teaching students how to fuel their bodies for life at college, especially if they were involved in exercise and sports.  She discussed common barriers that hinder optimal fueling, such as fears that food is fattening or the enemy, and sleep deprivation.  One of my favorite lines she used was, “Fat is not a feeling.” In fact, when people feel “fat,” most likely they are feeling imperfect, inadequate, or out of control.  It is important to remember that food is fuel, protects your health, and that you can eat well and be lean.  Over the past year I have had to remind myself of these facts by looking at food as nourishment, rather than the enemy.  One cheat day, or a day off from exercise does not make you “fat.”  A healthy lifestyle is just that, it takes place over the course of your life.  So as long as most days consist of nutritious foods, good sleep, and exercise, you are living a healthy lifestyle!

Similarly, Lynne Anderson talked about broadening not only the ideas surrounding food, but the literal foods you eat.  Some many students think that healthy eating means Greek yogurt for breakfast, salad for lunch, and grilled chicken for dinner.  But there are other options at the dining hall, and beyond, that allow you to eat well, while experimenting with your diet.  She suggested trying one new food a week.  For example, swiping around the colors and type of plants you eat.  Instead of grabbing the apple you eat EVERYDAY, grab some edamame, carrots, or a banana.  Try to use dining hall food to your advantage and be your own chef.

Lastly, after hearing all of the experts views, I have some ideas I wanted to express.  I think people tend to go to the extremes with their diet, myself included, which makes eating healthy seem unattainable or intimidating.  Eating healthy does not mean no dessert, all veggies, 24/7.  A good diet means everything in moderation.  Some days I just really wanted a slice of cake, homemade cookies, or 7 layer bars.  And that is ok.  Those treats make my day happier and taste darn good.  You do not need to cut out foods from your life.  You just need to have balance, so that the majority of food you eat, gives you nutrients, energy, etc.  We all need good wholesome food to live.  And we all need not so wholesome food (like cake) to live a little bit more 🙂

 

 

 

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

What started out as an esteemed food truck in 2011, now has several “brick and mortar” locations around the greater Boston area, including in Allston, just a few minutes from the Green B line.  Roxy’s does not just slap together American cheese between two slices of Wonder Bread, but takes it to the extreme, with delicious add ins, such as avocado, fig spread, and caramelized onions.

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Walking in, you are greeted with solid wooden tables and metal chairs, creating a tough guy feel, but the amazing sandwiches will surely make your heart melt.  I ordered the Allston which had herbed goat cheese, fig jam, caramelized onions, and arugula.  Biting into the sandwich instantly sent the cheese oozing outwards and fig jam started running down my fingers. FYI make sure you have many napkins within reach before digging in! The tangy goat cheese was a perfect compliment to the very sweet fig jam that almost tasted like a glaze. The bread was buttered and perfectly toasted, providing a nice texture element to the otherwise soft interior.  My lovely companion ordered a side of hand cut truffle fries which were very addictive, as she let me share.  Roxy’s also offers poutine, which is french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds, and I have to try that next time!  Roxy’s is located next door to two of my other favorite hang outs… Whole Hearted Provisions and FoMu.

Bottega Fiorentina

Bottega Fiorentina is a Florentine dining experience located in Coolidge Corner, just a short walk away from the C Line.  It serves a large number of pasta dishes, sandwiches,  fresh ingredients by the pound, imported grocery items, such as cookies, chocolates, drinks, desserts, and espresso and cappuccino.

Bottega Fiorentina sits on a small corner and when you walk inside, you are greeted with a picnic table, hanging lights, Italian related posters, and delicious smells, as if you were dining at a cafe in Italy.

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Everyday there are featured specials, and the menu is so extensive that anyone would be able to find something worth ordering.  I opted for the spinach gnudi topped with pesto.  Gnudi looks like gnocchi, but instead of having a potato base, its base is ricotta cheese.  Gnudi translates to nude because gnudi is “nude ravioli” since it does not have the outside layer of pasta dough, it just has the ricotta filling.

The pesto was very fresh and light compared to the oil ladened versions you find in the freezer section of your supermarket.  The gnudi were soft and pillow like, and were not overworked at all.  Bottega’s pastas are all reasonably priced, which makes this the perfect place for a college student on a budget.

The staff are very friendly and mandate a “pay once you have eaten policy,” trusting their customers to enjoy their meal and be loyal.  The only caveat to Bottega is that there is no bathroom for customers, since it is mostly a takeout place.

 

Rosebud Kitchen

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From the outside, Rosebud Kitchen already portrays the traditional American diner, sporting a trailer with a retro sign on top.  Unbeknownst to outsiders, it also expands into a connected building, and has patio seating for warmer months.  The interior is dressed with rich luxurious leather booths and chairs, a beautiful bar, and personalized mugs, table mats, etc.  The ambiance alone would make anyone book a reservation for the next available seating.

Rosebud Kitchen is open for brunch on the weekends, lunch on Friday, and dinner everyday.

The picture above was the Croque Madame off of their brunch menu, and it was heavenly.  Toasted bread with béchamel, mustard, ham, gruyere cheese, and an egg.  Talk about decadence on a plate!  The béchamel is creamy and combines with the tangy mustard.  The gruyere cheese has a nutty salty flavor that pairs well with the slightly sweet ham, and the egg oozes all over the sandwich when you cut into it.  This meal is perfect for a cold winter Sunday and will stick to your ribs!

I have also been to Rosebud’s for dinner where I had the grilled swordfish served with butternut squash, mushroom & parmesan risotto, which was also delicious.  The swordfish cut like butter and the risotto was a perfect balance from the added saltiness of the parmesan and sweet butternut squash.

Rosebud’s is definitely a place I will return to time and time again.  Check out their wonderful menu here and then make a reservation ASAP.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts seem to be popping up on menus everywhere, whether they are fried, shredded, or my favorite… Roasted.  The once stigmatized vegetable is now fashionable, and for good reason.  They contain a lot of Vitamin C and K, and have a high number of antioxidants.  Brussel sprouts  are quite filling even with their small size because they have so many leaves compacted together.

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By roasting the Brussel sprouts you take away some of their bitterness, and are left with a soft interior with crunchy leaves on the outside.  You can put these in a salad or have them as a side dish by themselves.

Ingredients

Brussel sprouts

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Directions 

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and chop off the hard stems of the Brussel sprouts.  Then slice them in halves.

Place parchment paper on a baking pan.  Place the Brussel sprouts on top.

Drizzle and massage with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Bake for around 30-40 minutes or until the Brussel sprouts are golden.

 

 

Bagelsaurus

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 9.12.09 PMThis small bagel bakeshop in Cambridge churns out delectable bagels that blow all local competitors right out of the water.  What started out as a weekly pop up at Cutty’s, turned into its own establishment, which speaks well of the product and hard work of the owner, Mary Hyatt.  The bakeshop is open only until the bagels sell out, so I suggest going on the earlier side.

The bagels have a slight crackle on the outside that gives way to a chewy soft interior.  I choose the sea salt bagel, as advised by my older cousin, but then went a step further and ordered it as an eggspanola sandwich.  This added an over-medium egg, Maplebrook feta, pimenton aioli, parsley gremolata, and avocado to my bagel. The slight heat from the aioli was balanced by the creamy avocado, the feta added a nice briny note, and the sea salt from the bagel added crunch.  If I could start every morning with this sandwich I would!

I have yet to go back, but really want to try their cinnamon raisin as a “t-rex” sandwich, which has bacon, banana, honey, and house made almond butter… Sounds to die for.

Definitely check out Bagelsaurus and grab a few extra bagels to go for later in the week.

 

 

 

 

“The 7 Things I Love About You”: Food Edition

My apologies for a lack of posts this past semester. I became too infatuated with Instagram for its quickness and ability to reach my people.  But still give me a follow @sweetolympia. 2015 was a year of many new beginnings and I am so blessed for all of the memories and opportunities I was given.  I thought I would give a recap on the this year with “The 7 Things I Love About You”: Food Edition.

  1. Seven Layer Bars

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What can I say? These things are addicting. The sugar rush you get from the sweetened condensed milk alongside the hodge podge of toppings is like no other.  The butterscotch chips are my absolute favorite because of the creamy rich flavor they add.  Added perk? You can make these in less than an hour.

2. The Croque Madame at the MET Bar 

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This is one of my favorite dishes of all times hands down.  Please pardon the picture quality as there was dim lighting and I had the older version of my phone.  This meal is uber rich and is perfect for a cold winter’s day when you want bone sticking goodness.  The sandwich itself is bread slathered with béchamel, gruyere, ham, more bread, more gruyere, and finally a sunny side egg on top… If this was not enough to satisfy your savory palate, there is also a side of truffle fries with an aioli dipping sauce.  All for $13 dollars!

3. Chocolate Fudge Cake from Arlington Bakery 

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I am going to let you in on a little secret… If you want to make me fall in love with you, just buy me this cake, and my heart will be yours forever! Actually, until I finish it.  Then I will want another.  If the Croque Madame above is one of my favorite savory meals, this heavenly slab literally takes the cake regarding all desserts!  The chocolate frosting oozes out as you cut into it, with chocolate ganache covering all of its sides, and I can never put my fork down once I start.  Seriously, to treat yourself right in 2016 buy this cake.  You will thank me.

4. Greek Mezze at Pier 77 in Cape Porpoise

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This appetizer turned main course, with the addition of salmon, is my go to at Pier 77 in Cape Porpoise.  Not what you would expect from a Maine restaurant covered on the outside with lobster traps over looking Goat Island Lighthouse.  The hummus is one of the creamiest I have ever had, flanked by grilled flatbread triangles that are bread like in the middle, but crunchy outer edges.  Tzatziki adds a luxurious creaminess, and a spread of stuffed grape leaves, olives, and roasted peppers stud the plate.  The salmon is always cooked perfectly and melts in your mouth like butter.  PS: Order the blueberry crumble for dessert and DON’T split it.

5. Baked Goods and Ice Cream from FoMu in AllstonIMG_3229

FoMu is a wonderful plant based dessert-erie (just made that into a word), filled with decadent ice cream and baked goods.  What makes them unique is that their ice cream is not made from cow’s milk.  Rather coconut or nut milk. Please don’t let this deter you traditionalists. Trust me when I say you can’t taste the difference. If anything it makes the ice cream more creamy!  I’ve had their peanut butter chip, peanut butter brownie, magic bar, and sampled quite a few more.  Out of their baked goods I’ve had their ginormous nutter butter, pictured above, and their magic bar (7 layer bar).  Grab dessert here and dinner beforehands at Whole Hearted Provisions or Roxy’s Grilled Cheese located next door.

6. Avocado Toast (it’s the most trending @sweetolympia item)

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What an easy meal and yet, avocado toast has been so popular this year.  Literally all you have to do is toast your favorite type of bread.  Top it with your favorite type of cheese.  Smash half an avocado on either slice of bread.  Add a sunny side up egg.  And BOOM.  You’re done.  Throw that on Instagram and people will be amazed by your beautiful looking masterpiece. Cut the egg so it runs down seductively, and you will have people going crazy. I apologize in advance if avocado toast makes it onto my top dishes of 2016. While the trend may die out, I certainly will not get tired of eating it.

7. Squid Ink Pasta at Ports of Italy in Kennebunk

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Squid ink pasta is one of the most “out there” dishes I have ever eaten, besides fresh out of the shell sea urchin. This pasta was on my “To Try” list for some time. Partially for the adventurer in me, partially because I thought it would be delicious.  And by golly it was.  The squid ink adds a briny underlying note to the pasta, which had mussels, shrimp, and calamari. Sadly, this was a special, but if we all call Ports of Italy and suggest it be added to the menu I think they would comply!  Also, order the tiramisu for dessert. The best I’ve ever had. Fair warning, I’ve never been to Italy.

Cheers to an even more delicious 2016… although I am not sure that is possible. May your days be filled with family, friends, and good eats. Stay classy and be grateful for what you already have.