food

Food Review: Tsubi Soup

Hi everyone! It’s Friday, so let’s have a little fun and do a food review.

I recently ordered some vegan miso soup from Amazon because so many of the instant miso options available in stores contain bonito (a type of fish that is a traditional miso ingredient). Previously, I tried Miyasaka miso soup, which was tasty but lacked the flavorful “punch” I craved.

While searching through the miso mixes, I came across Tsubi Soup, a soup company that prides itself on using simple, fresh, authentic ingredients to create superbly flavored soups. I was really impressed by the fact that the company has such high standards for its ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.

I ordered the spicy red miso soup with mushrooms (the company offers several other flavors). The soup mix arrived in two days because I have Amazon Prime.

I made the soup by adding hot water and allowing the ingredients to re-hydrate. After about two minutes, it was ready to eat.

OMG, this was delicious! I didn’t miss the bonito flavor at all. This has to be one of the most delicious vegan miso soups I’ve ever tasted. I ended up each the entire box within 3 days LOL! The spice is abundant but not too hot. The mushrooms plumped up perfectly and give the soup great variety in texture.

Now, one major difference with this and the previously reviewed miso soup mix is the price. Tsubi Soups has 4 packets for $12.99, while Miyasaka Soups has 12 packets for nearly the same price ($14.28). But, you get what you pay for. Tsubi Soups are far tastier than Miyasaka Soups and, in my humble opinion, worth every penny.

I haven’t tried the other Tsubi Soup flavors but I intend to. If the spicy red miso with mushrooms is any indication, the other flavors are probably excellent, as well.

That’s my review for today. If you love Japanese foods or curious about them, let me know in the comments below. Thanks, and have a great Friday!

 

food · life curation

What Happens When You Take a Break From Intermittent Fasting

Hey friends! This is my post to tell you a bit about how my body reacted to a recent deviation from my intermittent fasting (IF) eating plan.

As you recall from my first post about my recent cruise, I couldn’t stick to IF for the entire trip. There was so many good food options! I wanted to try everything and I couldn’t do it in my 8 hour window without being parked all day at the different eateries. So I put IF to the side while I vacationed.

When I got back home, I noticed several differences in my appearance. Firstly, I put on 4 lbs. That wasn’t too surprising: I was eating anything that my heart desired, and I was eating my favorites whenever I wanted. However, I noticed that I was also bloated and just had a general icky feeling when I came back home. I wasn’t sleeping as well and I wasn’t as satisfied when I ate.

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I love food so much LOL!

Most of that yucky feeling resolved when I went back to IF. Now that I’m back on schedule, the bloat is pretty much gone and my energy levels are starting to return. I’m mentioning this because it’s important to note how your body reacts to dietary changes. For me, abruptly stopping IF really made me feel less healthy. So, if I ever decide to stop eating this way, I would probably choose to wean myself off of the plan and increase my eating window incrementally instead of going crazy and eating however I want (like I did on the cruise). The more you know, right?

That’s all for today. If you have any experiences with IF and changing your diet after doing IF for a period of time, let me know in the comments below. Talk to you all tomorrow!

 

 

food

Restaurant Review: Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar

Last weekend, I got together with a few friends for lunch. It’s been a few months since our last get-together, so I was ready for some time with the ‘gang’.

We decided on Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, since they appeared to have a little something for everyone. The restaurant is conveniently located right off of Interstate 64 West in Henrico County, Virginia. I’m glad that this one is so close to my home because, while the chain has a few other locations, most of them are over one hour from my home.

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The restaurant describes itself as contemporary Italian food, and I’d have to agree. There wasn’t an abundance of traditional Italian dishes on the menu, but what I did notice was a focus on giving a fresh take on an otherwise simple dish. I ended up trying the zucchini frite (fried zucchini slices) and the shrimp messina with a side of Brussels sprouts.

Travinia’s Shrimp Messina

Both dishes were tasty albeit not strikingly unique. The flavors were good and, while the restaurant puts a new spin on traditional Italian cuisine, they don’t stray so far away from the standard seasonings and flavors that the food doesn’t fit the Italian flavor profile. I appreciate the adherence to tradition while still injecting creativity into the dishes. Good job, Travinia, for walking a thin line and doing it well!

I would return to the restaurant, though I’d probably choose to go in the evening as opposed to lunchtime. I’m curious about the wine list and I generally prefer pairing wine with dinner over pairing it with lunches. It’ll be nice to see how the after-five crowd differs from the lunch crew.

That’s all for my quick review of Travinia. I have to get back to my writing (NaNoWriMo calls!) so that’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow.

international · travel

Cruise 2018: Dining on the Sea

If you all didn’t know, I love to dine out. I actually think I like eating out a bit too much, which is why I’ve cut down significantly over the past few months. That being said, I still got excited at the dining options available on my latest cruise.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The Allure of the Seas (a Royal Caribbean ship) has multiple restaurants on board, as well as several cafes, wine bars, and snack bars. My family and I dined regularly at the main dining room at American Icon Grille. This restaurant  published a luxe menu every evening, featuring various appetizers, entrees and desserts. The restaurant changed up the menus every day, so there was always something new to try. There are also a few other themed restaurants, such as Silk (Asian foods) and The Grande (American foods).

KODAK Digital Still Camera

A typical breakfast that I’d order from room service

There is also a buffet located near the pools (the Windjammer Cafe), which has a few of the food items featured in American Icon Grille but also other dishes that aren’t available in any of the dining rooms. To be honest, I had the best time dining at the Windjammer in the evenings. The buffet had a different chilled fruit soup every night which were delicious and I could literally eat every day without getting tired of them (think the world’s smoothiest, most delicious smoothies . . . yes, it was as tasty as it sounds).

KODAK Digital Still Camera

A menu from one evening at American Icon Grille

Oooh, not to mention, there is a Sorrento’s pizza, which makes fresh pizza until 3 AM. Who doesn’t love pizza? And the room service has lots of delicious fresh options available all day long.

I won’t continue to talk about the foods: let’s see some pictures, shall we?

Lobster bisque and Tiger shrimp

Left: Shrimp ceviche; Top right: Shrimp and potato salad; Bottom right: Lobster

Desserts!!!

Enjoy your Friday, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

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.

 

international · travel

Fall Vacation Part 1 – Cruise Overview

Happy Monday, friends! Today’s post will be an abbreviated one, because I’m going to flesh out some more of the details over the next week or so.

As you all recall, I just returned from a cruise. I’ve cruised many times before: please don’t ask me to count them, because I can’t LOL! It’s something that my family enjoys doing, so I participate because I enjoy spending time with them. We have done several Caribbean cruises and this most recent cruise also took us back to the Caribbean.

cruise

This isn’t a photo from our ship, but the sunset looks so much like the ones that I saw!

We cruised with Royal Caribbean on the ship, Allure of the Seas. The ship is large, beautiful and has lot of activities for all age ranges. Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do on the ship was get cotton candy on the boardwalk area. There are several videos you can view, if you want to see the ship and its features.

We visited Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; and Costa Maya, Mexico. We cruised for 7 days, and we sailed out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. My family has found it prudent to arrive one day prior to sailing and leave one day after arriving back, just to have a bit of a travel “cushion” in case there are any unexpected delays. So, I also have a post reviewing the hotel where we stayed coming up pretty soon.

I tried to stick with my IF eating plan but I gave up two days into my vacation! There were so many great dining options that I have to discuss those in a separate post.

 

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.