Pizza Express

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A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my little brother about the food options in Scotland, and he was horrified that there were not that many good pizza places. Before speaking to him, I had only eaten from the local St Andrews Dominos to fill my Italian cravings.

So, I rounded up a friend and we headed to try Pizza Express, an Italian chain in the UK.

I ordered the Fiorentina, which consisted of spinach, free-range egg, mozzarella, tomato, garlic oil and black olives, and finished with Gran Milano cheese.

This was obviously much better than Dominos, and the salty olives reminded me of Bertucci’s back at home.  However, the dough was quite thick, and next time I think I will get their Romana style, which is stretched thinner.  The atmosphere was family friendly, and it was nice seeing kids running around with their parents.

You can make reservations online, to make sure that you get a table.

Up next on my list of restaurants to try is Little Italy, the last Italian restaurant left in St Andrews!

 

 

 

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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!

 

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

One of these days I hope SweetGreen discovers my food blog and names a salad after one of my inspirations… that day has yet to come!  This salad is unique because the shrimp is marinated in an herb and salt mixture, Aglio Olio, that my cousin mailed to me from California.

Aglio Olio

Aglio Olio

She knows I am a big foodie and she usually mixes the seasoning with olive oil as a dip for bread.  I took the liberty of repurposing it and was met with success.

"Shrimp My Ride" Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad

“Shrimp My Ride” Salad (for one)

6 shrimp washed and deveined

olive oil

Aglio Olio seasoning

half an avocado (or full if you’d rather just go for it)

half a yellow bell pepper (chopped)

carrot (chopped)

1/4 cup feta

handful sunflower seeds

6 Greek olives (pitted and chopped)

2 cups romaine lettuce

2 cups spinach

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Place the shrimp in a bowl.  Pour olive oil on top to cover it.  Sprinkle on the Agli Olio salt and herb mixture to season the shrimp.

Grill the shrimp until each side is pink and cooked through.

Place spinach and lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl.  Cut the tails off of the shrimp.  Place everything on top of the greens.  Drizzle on balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dress the salad.  Dig in!

 

 

Nectarine Spinach Salad

I know I tend to go through phases with my posts, so I will try and make this the last salad you see for at least a little while.  I liked the pairing of salty feta to contrast the sweet nectarine, but I think the dish needed something with a more robust flavor like blue cheese which I will try out next time!

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Nectarine Spinach Salad

nectarine sliced thin

spinach

sunflower seeds

feta

balsamic vinegar

Place the spinach down on a platter.  Lay the nectarine slices on top.  Crumbled the cheese and sprinkle the seeds on top.  Drizzle on the balsamic vinegar.  Enjoy!

Summer Spinach Salad

This dish was a take on my favorite spinach salad with cranberries, feta, and walnuts, but I added some leftover grilled corn that I had from the night before.  I made it quickly for a family dinner so I did not record the exact proportions, but I don’t think you can mess it up!

SALAD

Summer Spinach Salad

spinach

grilled corn

cranberries

chopped walnuts

salted sunflower seeds (shelled)

feta

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

Cut the grilled corn off of the cob using a sharp knife.

Place the spinach in a large salad bowl.  Sprinkle on the grilled corn.  Crumble the feta on top.  Add the walnuts, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.

For the dressing mix 1/3 part balsamic vinegar and 2/3 part olive oil.

Pour over the dressing and toss the salad.

Spinach, Mushroom, and Cheddar Scrambled Eggs

I think eggs are the perfect basis for a quick healthy meal.  Easy to pair with other ingredients the options are endless.  Today I made a scramble with fresh ingredients in my fridge.  This recipe is easily adaptable to whatever you have on hand.  Try serving Home Fries alongside it!

 

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Spinach, Mushroom, and Cheddar Scrambled Eggs (serves 1)

2 eggs

butter to coat pan

cheddar cheese

spinach

sliced button mushrooms

Whisk the eggs in a dish with a fork.

Put butter in a skillet.  Turn on stovetop to high heat and melt butter until it coats the whole pan.  Add the eggs.  Immediately turn heat to medium.  Add the cheese, mushrooms, and spinach.

Using a spoon scramble the mixture until the eggs are cooked according to your preference.

Spinach Pesto Pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite foods and I love how you can cater it to specific preferences to make people feel special!  For example, I am a big pesto fan and use it instead of the traditional red sauce.  Feel free to make your own dough, but I buy it from Bertuccis.  Whole Foods also has pre-made pizza dough or you could try your local pizzeria.

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Spinach Pesto Pizza (1 serving)

ball of dough to form 8 in pizza

1 tablespoon pesto

1-2 oz. feta cheese

1/2 cup spinach

4 kalamata olives pitted, roughly chopped

flour for dusting

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Using your fingertips spread the dough onto a baking sheet until you reach desired thickness.  I found sprinkling flour on the dough as well as the sheet helps.

Spread the pesto over the dough.  Add the spinach.  Sprinkle on the olives and cheese.

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the dough is cooked through.  It took me around 15-20 minutes.

Cheese and Spinach Omelette with Home Fries

This meal could be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.  The omelette is quick to assemble and can be adapted to whatever fillings you have on hand.  The home fries take a little longer, but the wait is definitely worth it.  I could eat the home fries alone, but the omelette is a nice healthy addition.

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Cheese and Spinach Omelette (serves 1)

2 eggs lightly beaten

handful of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1-2 oz. cheese (I used slices of Dubliner which is a sweet nutty Irish cheese)

butter to coat a pan

Heat the butter in a pan at high heat.  Pour in the eggs and turn down the heat to medium/ low.  Cook until the edges are set and the eggs look almost cooked through.  Using a thin knife or spatula pry the egg from the pan and flip over.  Be careful!  Reduce heat to low.  Add the spinach and cheese to one half of the egg circle.  Flip the other half of the egg on top.  Cover the pan and cook until the cheese is melted.  When plating I folded the omelette once more in half to make it look pretty.

Home Fries (serves 6)

6 yukon gold potatoes

olive oil to coat bottom of a large pan

1-2tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place potatoes on a sheet tray.  Bake until a fork goes through easily, around 2 hours.  Let the potatoes cool.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into small cubes.  Pour olive oil in bottom of pan at medium/ high heat.  Add butter.  Add the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  While cooking the potatoes allow them to crisp up.  Then use a spatula to flip them, so they get crispy all over.  Keep repeating the process of waiting for the potatoes to get crispy, then flipping until they are golden brown.  The outside of the potatoes should have some crunchy bits, but the middle is still soft.  If the pan starts to get dry, add more olive oil and/ or butter.

Now, you can eat the potatoes just like this, OR you can take it one step further to get them extra delicious.

Place the cooked potatoes back on the sheet tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes more.  I know this recipe looks like a lot of work, but if you bake your potatoes beforehand, the final 2 steps in the pan and oven only take an hour.

And these home fries are amazing so you will not be disappointed.  Serve them alongside eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc.  The options are endless.unnamed-2