fitness · food

Diet Changes for Colder Months

Hi everyone! I went grocery shopping yesterday and I couldn’t help but notice the higher prices of some of my favorite fresh fruits and vegetables. Yes, summer is officially over and that means that the things I enjoy will cost a bit more since they are no longer in season.

That isn’t a problem, per se – we all make adjustments for our preferences from time to time – but I know that the foods that make me feel light and healthy during the summer don’t necessarily give me the same feeling during the colder months. In fact, I generally crave heartier, warmer foods during the fall and winter, and my body doesn’t feel as nourished by my typical summer fare.

veggie

I figured that now would be a good time to assess my diet and transition from my warm weather palate to my winter one. I’m still doing intermittent fasting (IF) so the timing of meals won’t change. I’m still on a 8-hour (more or less) eating schedule and I enjoy whatever I want during my window. But what I’m choosing to eat will be more suitable for the season.

I decided to consult a website to see which vegetables and fruits are in season during this time of the year. Lifegate has a very convenient breakdown of the fruits and veggies in season by month. I’m finding the website very useful for my dietary planning.

For starters, I’ll be putting most of my tropical fruit preferences (kiwis, mangoes and papayas, specifically) on hold. Instead I’ll reach for pineapple (which, despite being a tropical fruit, is in season right now), apples, and grapes. As far as vegetables go, I’ll still have the occasional salad but it won’t be my go-to lunch. I’m going to incorporate more gourds (squash, pumpkin) and root vegetables (carrots, turnips, potatoes) into my recipes. I’ll also be cooking more beans and legumes, as I find these very satisfying during the chillier months.

Because I’ll be doing a lot more cooking during the winter, I’ll be sharing some of the recipes that I’ve created or tweaked. If you have any meal recommendations, let me know: I’m always looking to try something new! In the meantime, I’ll be shopping with the Lifegate list in mind, and focusing on eating the foods and meals that leave me feeling full and cozy this winter.

I hope you all are doing well! Talk to you all tomorrow.

 

food · international

Review: Himalayan Soul Food Truck

Have you all been missing food truck posts? I know that I missed reviewing the various food trucks that I enjoy during my lunch breaks. However, I hadn’t been eating at any new trucks recently, so I didn’t have anything new to review. . . Until now.

I picked up my most recent box of Laderach chocolates from Chocolate Chocolate DC, my favorite DC candy shop. While over on that side of town (near the Farragut North Metro station) I saw that the food trucks were lined up around Farragut Square. I couldn’t resist checking them out, since this area has a few trucks that don’t come over to the area near my job (Union Station and Gallery Place/Chinatown Metros). I saw a few trucks that I’d never seen before, then I laid my eyes on Himalayan Soul Food.

A Himalayan food truck? A truck that describes itself as having “soul food”? This was too intriguing to pass up: I had to check it out.

I ordered the vegetable momo, a dumpling entree, with potatoes as a side. The momo was served piping hot, but the potatoes were cold/cool, almost like a potato salad would be. The entree had generous portions: 12 momos and a large scoop of the potato (almost) salad. Each dumpling had cabbage, carrots, and other goodness inside. The flavor? Out of this world. I ate half of the meal for lunch and saved the other half for dinner.

After eating a couple of momos.

Down to my last bit of food

I’ve never tried Himalayan food before but this restaurant has made me a believer! I can’t wait to return

food · travel

Review: Another Broken Egg Cafe, Morrisville, NC

Back in August, I spent a few days in Raleigh/Durham, NC. While I was there, my friend and I stopped for brunch at a little restaurant that I’d never heard of before: Another Broken Egg Cafe. This restaurant – located in the small town of Morrisville, NC – features a variety of breakfast delights. My friend and I decided to try a few dishes and here’s my review of the experience.

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It took a while before the server greeted our table, but the restaurant was very busy so we understood why there was a delay. We got coffee and ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, Lobster & Brie Omelette, pancakes, fresh fruit and biscuit beignets.

Pancakes and berry medley

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(Clockwise from top) Crab Cake Benedict, Lobster & Brie Omelette, toasted English muffins

Everything was cooked to perfection, piping hot and delicious. I was particularly fond of the omelette: it was flavorful, fluffy and sumptuous. The portions were generous and everything tasted wonderful. The only thing I’d change about my visit would be coming at a different time, so I could have more interaction with the server. But other than that, it was a great experience.

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Biscuit beignets

If you’re ever in the Durham/Raleigh/Cary area, you should definitely check out this restaurant! Or, you can always go to the one nearest you, since it’s a nationwide chain.

That’s it for today, folks: I hope I haven’t made you all too hungry! Talk to you all tomorrow.

food · international

Review: Awaze Ethiopian Eritrean Restaurant

My first day in Raleigh was great! Along with the main event I attended (more on that in a couple of days), I also got to try a new Ethiopian restaurant. Despite coming to this area several times, I’d never known about any restaurants specializing in Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine until today, when I researched it and discovered one less than 10 minutes away from my hotel.

Awaze Ethiopian Eritrean Restaurant sits unassumingly in a strip mall. Its simple storefront doesn’t begin to capture the deliciousness that lurks inside. I was greeted by a friendly young man and was seated immediately. I ordered the veggie platter, which, according to the menu, had 4 different vegetable sides. My order arrived quickly and everything looked delicious. To my surprise, there were actually SIX sides on the platter. I was delighted!

(from left to right) Misir azifa (sauteed lentils), fasolia (green beans), kik alicha (yellow split peas), miser wot (red lentils), tikil gomen (cabbage), gomen (collard greens)

The order came with a generous side of injera (flatbread). I ate to my heart’s content. As I ate my last few shreds of injera, the waiter asked if I wanted more – his timing was impeccable! However, I was stuffed and couldn’t eat another bite, so no more injera for me.

Mmm, injera

I was thoroughly pleased with the quality and flavor of my food, as well as the great service. I noticed that Awaze had been awarded for being the best Ethiopian restaurant in Raleigh. The honor is obviously well deserved. I can’t recommend this place enough! If you love Ethiopian food and you’re in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area, you must visit this restaurant. You won’t regret it!

food

No More Food Deliveries!

Happy Thursday friends! I’m coming to you all with a (mini) gripe. I don’t usually complain on this blog: after all, I believe that life is wonderful and good things are all around us. As a rule, I don’t complain.

However, I have my limits. And, because I have my limits, I feel that it’s time to put my foot down and turn over a new leaf. As we go into this next blogging year, I felt it was important to tell you all the change that I’m making.

You’ve read the title, so you have a clue what I’m talking about. As you all may know, I love food. Like, I really love it. I’m a huge fan of international cuisine, such as Thai, Indian, Kenyan, Jamaican, Ethiopian and (authentic) Chinese. As a result, I tended to order a lot of takeout and I enjoyed – for a time – having food delivered to me.

food

Well, doesn’t this look yummy!

Unfortunately, I’ve had a string of poor experiences over the past few months. Missing items, incorrect orders, food not being spiced/seasoned to the level requested … It was clear that something had to change because the quality of delivery orders that I received has steadily declined.

So, I’ve decided to quit ordering delivery and start making more dishes at home. I only have a surface-level knowledge of foreign cuisine, so it’ll be fun to learn more about how to prepare dishes from around the world. I’ll be blogging about these recipes and sharing my tips, tricks, and (yes) even my fails! I hope that you all stick around for the journey.

I’ll still be dining out and reviewing different restaurants, but as far as delivery goes? There will be a moratorium on that for an indefinite period. It’ll be more fun to learn how to cook and to share what I learn with you all. We’ll have fun together – I promise!

food · international

Trying My Hand At Portuguese Food – Vegan Caldo Verde

I’m still studying the Portuguese language (more on that in a future post) but I know that part of learning about a culture includes exploring the cuisine. And, as a self-proclaimed foodie, I find that immersing myself into the culinary aspects of a culture does wonders for my overall excitement. So, I tried my hand at preparing a traditional Portuguese dish. Here’s my story about it.

I looked through various online sources to find out what makes up the bulk of the typical Portuguese diet. What I found was a lot of seafood and vegetable dishes, and a wide array of pastries. Fortunately, I love ALL of these, so I was excited. I wanted to start with something simple, so I decided to try making caldo verde, a traditional Portuguese soup that gets its signature green color from its sole green ingredient, kale.

Only one problem with caldo verde – it normally contains chourico (chorizo), a type of pork sausage. I don’t eat any pork, so I had to adjust the recipe. I tried making it twice, and both times turned out well, though my second attempt (using a combinations of Trader Joe’s soy chorizo and Field Roast Italian Sausage, though next time I’ll replace the Italian sausage with Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage) was more of a success.

First try: caldo verde with Field Roast Italian Sausage only

I also used a blender, as opposed to mashing the potatoes by hand. It’s much easier for me to get the consistency I desire by using the blender. It also made the food prep portion easier – I could chop the potatoes and onions coarsely because the blender would take care of the rest of the work for me.

The soup is luscious, filling and very easy to make. It’s also pretty inexpensive: it contains a lot of common ingredients and can easily be tweaked for your taste. I’m going to share my recipe below, as well as the recipes I reviewed while coming up with my own version of caldo verde.

Second try – even tastier since I added the Trader Joe’s soy chorizo along with the Field Roast Italian Sausage slices

Caldo Verde (serves 6)

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (approximately 2-3 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 gold potatoes, chopped into large pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 4 cups kale, chopped into bite-sized or smaller pieces
  • 1/2 pack Trader Joe’s soy chorizo, sliced to the size that you prefer (it’ll crumble up so the sizing doesn’t matter)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 pack Field Roast Sausage of your choice
  • salt and pepper
  • Add oil to a large pot, and warm over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and stir. Cook until translucent (about 4-6 minutes).
  1. Add potatoes, water and veggie broth to the pot. Stir to combine, cook until potatoes are soft (about 15-20 minutes).
  2. Turn off heat, and scoop out potatoes and onions, using a slotted spoon or straining spoon. Place potatoes and onions into a blender, along with some of the broth. Blend until smooth.
  3. Return blended ingredients to the pot, and stir well with the remaining broth. Add chopped kale, and cook over a low heat. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until kale softens. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Add chopped sausage, and stir well. Warm for an additional 5 – 10 minutes (make sure the the sausage is heated thoroughly).
  5. Serve while hot.

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Close up of the finished product, second time around

I used AllRecipes, Olivia’s Cuisine and Leite’s Culinaria to create my recipe. Many thanks to them for such clear directions! I couldn’t have done it without their recipes as templates. Muito obrigada!

 

food

NuVegan is Coming to RVA!

I am beyond excited to share this news with you all! One of my favorite vegan restaurant, NuVegan Cafe (formerly Woodlands Vegan Bistro) of Washington, D.C., is opening a restaurant in my hometown of Richmond, VA! I spend a lot of time bouncing around in the Midatlantic region but when I’m home, I am always eager to try new vegetarian options. This technically isn’t new to me – I’ve been enjoying NuVegan for at least 4 years – but I’ve always had to be in either D.C. or Maryland if I wanted their food. Having the restaurant so close to home is going to really have me spoiled!

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The Richmond location will be opening on June 30, 2018. Part of me wants to attend the grand opening . . . The other part of me is pure introvert and would rather avoid any potential crowds! We’ll see how I’m feeling on June 30th and if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll make a special stop to check out the restaurant.

vegetables

Plant-based foods are awesome!

If you want more information about NuVegan Cafe in Richmond, VA, be sure to follow the NuVegan Cafe Richmond Twitter page @NuVeganRichmond.

Have any of you eaten at NuVegan yet? Let me know what you thought about it in the comments below!