Saturday, February 28, 2015

Blueberry Banana Oatmeal

Ever since I first discovered the convenience of microwavable oatmeal my freshman year of college, I've been hooked on the stuff.  Luckily, the microwave phase only lasted through my dorm years, because the real stuff is so much better tasting and better for you!  It's kind of like a blank canvas with unlimited topping possibilities!  On a normal day, I'll jazz it up a bit with some cinnamon sugar, raisins and walnuts.  But on the weekend, when my heart says blueberry pancakes but my brain tells me egg whites and a smoothie, I can compromise and make blueberry banana oatmeal!  With sweetness from fresh blueberries, banana, coconut and brown sugar, a little crunch from walnuts, some spice from ground cinnamon and a boost of protein, calcium and omega-3s from chia seeds, I have the perfect breakfast to satisfy my sweet tooth while staying on track.  It's seriously SO GOOD!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Magic Peanut Butter Cake

You will never believe what I'm about to tell you.  This lovely little cake I have pictured is made of 3 ingredients.  3 super healthy ingredients.  Did I mention it only takes 1 minute to "bake" in the microwave?  I'm naming this my Magic Peanut Butter Cake because, with 9 grams of protein and less than 130 calories, it really is magical.  Finally a healthy dessert that can actually satisfy my sweet tooth!  And it legitimately tastes good.  Trust me: when it comes to sweets, I'm a very judgmental critic!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Asian Potsticker Stir-Fry

Whenever I'm looking for a quick dinner to make for myself after a long day at work, I almost always turn to an Asian stir fry!  They're one of my favorite things to cook because they're a) super fast - less than 20 minutes, b) super healthy - high protein and lots of nutrients from the veggies, and c) versatile!!! - I can mix-and-match anything I might have in my fridge at the time.  Not matter what I add, it's always yummy!  Last night, I had to stop at the grocery store after work for some ingredients, so I decided to put a spin on my usual chicken or beef stir fry with pork potstickers.  Keep reading!  I promise this recipe does not involve 3 hours of making homemade potstickers - or anytime time, actually.  I totally cheated and bought Annie Chung's Organic Pork & Vegetable Potstickers, which are fairly low-cal and high-protein for a frozen food, and take less than 10 minutes to sauté to a golden crisp on your cooktop.  Add some fresh sautéed veggies in a Korean Teriyaki sauce and serve everything over rice, and you have yourself an awesome and healthy Asian dinner for 2.  I know all you health food fanatics...brown rice is better for you.  I just like the softer texture of white rice better!  You gotta try this!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Sunday!  I peaked out my window and it's still looking a little gloomy today, so I thought I would share a recipe that reminds me of the warm spring days we're all longing for right about now: Lemon Meringue Pie.  I baked this dessert on Valentine's day for Howie because he isn't a huge fan of chocolate (apparently these type of creatures exist??), and he absolutely loved it.  How couldn't you?  There's nothing else quite like a tangy lemon custard filling over a crunchy, buttery graham cracker crust, topped with fluffy, sweet meringue that gets lightly toasted in the oven.  Try baking Lemon Meringue Pie this afternoon to bring a little fresh springtime flavor into your kitchen!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Brite Winter Fest

I know that you can tell it's absolutely freezing outside just by looking out the window...and that it's actually colder here than on Mars today... and that you're going to think I'm crazy for advertising an outdoor event in Cleveland in the middle of February...but you have to go to Brite Winter Fest tomorrow in Ohio City.  It's an amazing night filled with bonfires, food trucks, beer, crowds of people and a ton of live music, all set up at various places throughout Ohio City.  I braved the elements this same time last year, and had the time of my life!  When we live in a city that has winter for 6-7 months out of the year, we might as well embrace the season!  Besides, the high tomorrow will be 37 degrees, which is about 45 degrees warmer than today.  Yikes!  If you get cold, I can name at least 5 breweries in walking distance of the festivities, one of which is releasing the Chillwave (or "Schill"wave, as I like to call it) Double IPA tomorrow, just in time for the festival!  Brite Winter starts at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow in Ohio City, and lasts until 11:00 p.m.  Be sure to check out the awesome Ohio City bars afterwards!  See you there!

Here are a few pictures of last year's event from the Brite Winter Fest official website...enticed yet?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yerba Mate: My Miracle Beverage

I have a major life announcement.  I found a miracle drink, and it's called Yerba Mate. Miracle is right: it has "the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoria of chocolate all in one beverage," according to the Guayaki Yerba Mate website.  Yes that's right, after being absolutely addicted to coffee for the last 8 years, I found a healthier substitute that still provides me with 85 mg of caffeine!  I've been drinking it in the late morning and late afternoon every day this week, when I would normally turn to the office Keurig machine, and it has worked wonders on my mood, energy level and productivity.  The benefits of this beverage may seem pretty unbelievable, but it's actually been produced and consumed in South American countries from the leaves of the rainforest mate tree since the mid-17th century.  The taste?  Very similar to a black tea.  Where can you buy this?  I found it at the Giant Eagle Market District in Solon after work on accident, but it is a little difficult to find in regular groceries stores.  Try your local Giant Eagle, or order it online on Amazon.  I swear your life will be forever changed!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mortar and "Pesto"

I don't know about you, but I have a mild obsession with pesto!  Seriously though...on bread, on pasta, as a marinade...the list could go on and on.  Because I crave it almost on a weekly basis, I usually end up buying those jars at the grocery store that "claim" to be pesto for a quick fix.  Sure the labels says it is, but after you've made this recipe, you will forever be a pesto snob!  I've made this recipe in a blender before, but if you have a mortar and pestle, please use it!  The process of making it definitely requires a little extra elbow grease with the mortar and pestle, but I promise it's worth it.  Did you know that the stainless steel blade in the blender actually neutralizes the flavor of the garlic?  Who wants that?!  Not this girl.  Do it the old fashioned way, and it will forever change your view of pesto!

If you don't have a mortar and pestle, it's a pretty cool gift to ask for on your birthday or Christmas because it's a splurge item that you might not necessarily buy for yourself.  In addition to pesto, its great for mashing guacamole or muddling mint and lime for mojitos.  Hmmm, I spy I a Mexican dinner night blog post in the works...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pepperoni Pizza Grilled Cheese

There are few things I like more in life than grilled cheese.  Or pizza.  Hmmm anything involving cheese and carbs apparently?  Anyway, after I finished up at the gym last Monday, Howie cut our phone call short because he was being summoned to half-off pizza night at Angelo's Pizza...only my favorite pizza place in all of Cleveland!  Pizza was officially on my mind, and this epic sandwich was born.  I took the typical grilled cheese sandwich topped with American cheese and turned it up a notch, adding provolone, pepperoni, spinach and some Italian herbs.  It tasted just like pizza, especially when dipped in some warm marinara sauce on the side.  YUM.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

D.I.Y. Ombré Nails

If you couldn't already tell from my posts this week, I love Valentine's Day!  I get the whole argument that you should show people you love them every day (and I try my hardest to!), but it's nice having a dedicated fancy date night in the middle of winter when a lot of people choose staying in over going out.  I don't have my outfit picked out just yet, but I definitely have my nails done!  If you've met me, you've probably noticed that my nails are always red; I love how classy and feminine it is.  Well, I finally tried something different!  I painted an ombré look for the occasion, and I totally love it!  A fiery red subtly transitions into a girly pink, making a perfect color palette for Valentine's Day!  Best of all, you can do it yourself and avoid paying salon prices.  Though I'm definitely an advocate for a good manicure once in a while...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lilly Handmade Chocolates in Tremont

With only 3 days until Valentines Day, it's time for everybody to get out and start buying chocolates for the people you love.  I don't know where you usually shop for your chocolate, but it feels like I've gotten into quite the Malley's rut over the years.  Don't get me wrong, Malley's always tastes great, but I feel like I've had it enough times to know what filling is inside each piece of chocolate just looking at it.  Time to mix things up a bit!  Last Valentine's Day, Howie bought me these gorgeous hand-painted truffles from Lilly Handmade Chocolates in Tremont that were almost too pretty to eat!  Almost being the key word.  With exotic flavors like Tiger Lilly - molasses, coffee, candied ginger and cocoa nibs, all coated in milk chocolate - they're too delicious not to indulge.   Visit the store and support an incredibly talented local business...and of course load up on chocolate for all the people you care about.  The store is open from 12pm-8pm through Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

Even though I'm constantly sharing pictures and recipes for delicious, not-so-healthy-looking food while simultaneously eating and drinking my way through the Cleveland restaurant scene, the truth is my diet revolves around green smoothies and salad most of the time.  So boring, but, unfortunately, so true!  I'd be lying to you if I said I don't get sick of it, so I'm always testing new combinations of ingredients to spice up my everyday, non-blog post meals.  I came up with a gourmet salad recipe last week with ingredients that I always have on hand: chicken, spinach, granny smith apples, walnuts, and Craisins.  I even splurged and bought a little Gorgonzola cheese to crumble on top for some extra flavor.  Serve it with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, and you have a super healthy meal that tastes like it's restaurant quality!  

Monday, February 9, 2015

Layers of Love Trifle

Valentine's Day is only 4 short days away!  That means you guys have to get cracking on coming up with a Valentine's Day gift for your sweetie.  Howie and I don't usually buy each other gifts, but rather food or wine-related gifts that we can enjoy together.  Last year he took me out to a fancy dinner at Chinato on East 4th Street and bought me a wine and chocolate pairing from Lilly Handmade Chocolates in Tremont.  If you haven't been to Lilly, you must try it!  The chocolates are handpainted and absolutely gorgeous!  I got Howie some Malley's chocolate, and made him a phenomenal after-dinner dessert: Layers of Love Trifle.  What is it, exactly?  Layers of Bailey's infused chocolate cake, chocolate mocha mousse and crunchy Heath bar bits.  I add the Bailey's and espresso after the cake cooks, so you get the benefit of a dessert, coffee and after dinner cocktail rolled into one.  I could've named it Heaven on Earth instead of Layers of Love Trifle, but had to do the latter because there's nothing NOT to love about this recipe!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

LOOP Coffee Shop

Happy Sunday!  I hope everybody had a fun weekend.   I know I did, and now it's time to RELAX.  I had a busy Friday night trying out the new Barrio Tacos downtown for dinner with friends, which quickly turned into a late night at the Butcher and the Brewer on East 4th.  Then I was intending a quiet night in last night, but ended up having a tasty dinner at Market in Rocky River instead, with a little side-trip to 16-Bit Bar+Arcade afterwards for a few games of centipede.  Lots of fun, but I definitely woke up needing a big cup of coffee today, I'm beat!  That's why I'm at LOOP Coffee in Tremont this morning.  The coffee is the bomb, but the atmosphere is even better; think hipster coffee shop in Seattle meets indie music store.  Clean colors, abstract art, rows and rows of records and a full house of people working on their laptops fill the space.  Seems like the perfect backdrop for some serious blog-redesign work...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Wine Trivet Art

If there's one thing to know about me, it's that I'm pretty artsy. It's kind of inevitable when you spend 6 years studying design with 100 like-minded people in your class.  The second thing you should know about me, I love a good glass of wine.  After a couple of years, I had almost 100 corks that I collected from friends, parties, restaurants, basically anywhere I could get my hands on them.  I started a hobby making beautiful wine trivets for my family and friends, and of course, myself.  It's a very thoughtful and functional gift that doubles as a piece of art!  What I like most of all, is how little it costs to make!