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Archive for February, 2011

Keeping Things Simple

I realize I was so busy sharing recipes with you over the weekend, we hardly talked about the weekend at all! So let’s do that now. Having spent the last few weekends in Cleveland, with my brother in town for our birthday party and then celebrating my actual birthday – I was ready for a quiet couple of days. You have to take a break every now and then when you get old :).

Saturday morning I went for a run and then spent the day working on some Dining and Dishing-related materials: check out this post, my new “About” section and Facebook page! In the evening I picked Louisa up from work and we had a nice sister supper at Lebanese Taverna. I’d never been before but I lurve Mediterranean food so was eager to give it a try. We got two Mezze plates and shared the goodies between us.

Here’s mine: Traditional – hommos, tabouleh, baba ghanouge, a kibbeh, a grape leaf & two falafel. Really, really delish. I love the freshness and intensity of  flavors in Lebanese food. And tasting little bites of a variety of things is always a fun way to eat dinner :).

Served with some warm puffy pillows of pita bread.

And some coconut green tea to drink.

We kept dinner light and boxed up our left-overs because the REAL reason we went for dinner where we did is this:

 

My one true love. All Lovin’ No Oven ice creams (cake batter ice cream, cookie dough, whip cream, with peanut butter instead of fudge). Every now and then Coldstone is absolutely a necessity :). And if you haven’t tried this combination, you must. It has changed my life! (For the better??)

Sunday was the most gorgeous day. We went for a glorious run outside and then basked in the sunshine forever and ever. Good weather = automatic great mood, no?? Then it was time for some shopping! More on that tomorrow as I have lots more to share and I’ve kept you long enough :).

See you then!

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Sweet Breakfast Quinoa

Morning Bloggies!

For the last year I’ve had a subscription to Food and Wine magazine. Every month I love flipping through and marking off pages of recipes I’d like to try. The terrible thing is though, I’ve never actually tried any! But I changed that at breakfast this morning. Jill Donenfeld’s Sweet Breakfast Quinoa in February’s issue really caught my eye. It’s a nice change from oatmeal and a good use of my box of red quinoa which has been sitting in our pantry perhaps a little too long!

For the original recipe: Sweet Breakfast Quinoa

In my version, I subbed slivered almonds with whole almonds, cashews and walnuts. I also subbed orange zest with lemon.

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The textures and flavors in this bowl were wonderful. Slightly crunchy and lightly sweet with little pockets of dried fruit and toasted nuts. 005

And a creamy dollop of ricotta on top, sprinkled with fresh lemon zest.

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Sweet breakfast heaven :).

This meal is full of protein and fiber and would easily store in the fridge if you made a big batch on the weekend to enjoy during the week. Plus it looks totally gourmet, no?? 🙂

It’s been a lovely relaxing weekend over here which is just what I needed after the last few! Weather dependent Louisa and I are off for a run or on our way to the pool in a few. Personally, I’m crossing my fingers for some sunshine.

See you tomorrow!

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Dining and Dishing (finally) has its own Facebook fan page! Please hop on over and like :). But hurry back because this one gets GOOD!  

When I worked a little later in the day, my very favorite part of the morning was taking the time to make a special breakfast. A delicious, fancy breakfast always starts the day on the right foot :).

Now that I have to leave the house by 6:30, weekday fancy breakfasts are a thing of the past. Not only do I not want to get up any earlier than I already do, my stomach is just not ready for so much food! I actually love my new hours as it means I have a big chunk of time to myself in the evening but I sure do miss those breakfasts. And blogging about them! Which is what makes the weekend extra, extra fun.

One recipe I’ve had bookmarked for a while now is Ashley’s Oatmeal Breakfast Bake. The pictures are just divine.  What I made this morning was based on Ashley’s concept, although the ingredients were a bit different. Here is my version:

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Bake

(serves two)

  • 2/3 cup of oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. of ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of vanilla soy milk
  • splash of vanilla
  • shake of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg

First, preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mash peeled banana with a fork.

Next, add milk, vanilla, oats, flax, baking soda, spices and egg. Mix together.

Lightly grease two small, oven safe dishes and split mixture between them. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

And top as you like! I topped mine with dried coconut and cranberries, peanut flour sauce and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Ooh la la!! How gorgeous is that?

AND it was absolutely delicious!! A firm, chewy outside with a gooey-soft interior. Indeed, the very best way to begin a weekend :).

I hope you’re all enjoying weekends on your own! I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Changes are Coming

Hi Bloggies! Hope your weekends are going swell. I’m currently sitting in Panera, hard at work on a little project. Having just celebrated the arrival of my 26th year, I’ve decided to set some new goals for myself. One that’s really important to me is buckling down and making this blog the very best it can be. As of now I’ve done a culinary program, a food writing course and a photography class. I’ve been taught all the skills I need to become an accomplished food blogger and I think it’s time to stop wishing and start getting serious!

The past few days I’ve been reading up on all sorts of tips from successful bloggers. I realize there’s so much that they did to become successful that I can easily start doing. So now is the time. I’ve mapped out a plan, including:

  • find my niche: what makes my blog unique from the hundreds – thousands that are out there?
  • recommit to posting once every day
  • learn more about improving my SEO
  • bring my camera everywhere
  • get more involved in the blogging community, away from my computer

To name a few!

In regards to finding my niche, I’ve been brainstorming hard. What I originally intended for Dining and Dishing to be is a blog about living my “healthy” lifestyle in DC. But as I grew into life here, I think health has increasingly taken a back seat to fun. There’s nothing wrong with having a ton of fun and I’d never want to stop! But I do think there’s a way to find a good balance between a social life and a healthy life and I’d really love to find it. I think it’s something a lot of people struggle with after college, before mature adulthood, especially in big cities where the fun is so endless it’s easy to get caught up. So I hope the concept is relatable and I hope it’s a good direction to take.

I’ve revamped my “About” section to explain a little further. In the coming days and weeks I hope to carry on making some big bloggy changes.

Anyway, I’ve done enough talking in this post so I’ll leave you with that for now. I made a pretty epic “new and improved blog ” celebration breakfast this morning so stay tuned!! 🙂

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Pancake Photo Shoot!

Boy oh boy am I sad that Trader Joe’s is discontinuing their peanut flour. It makes the BEST pancakes!! Since they won’t last for much longer, I’ve got to save my precious peanut flour pancakes for special occasions. Like my birthday :). Does anyone know if peanut flour is made by anyone else besides Trader Joe’s? I’ll be so sad to see it go!

I cooked a total of one time all weekend. This was it! Luckily I had my little sous chef to help out.

As you can see, there is a lot of discipline in our house when it comes to cats on the counter.

The morning sunshine made for a perfect opportunity to practice all my new photography skills from class. Before we ate, a little pancake photo shoot :).

Such fun with food. I used some of these photos in our final class homework assignment. The course was one month long for three hours a week – so just like that it’s over already. Time FLIES and I don’t like it one bit!

One more post and we’re all caught up from the weekend! Just in time for the next. Stay tuned for the final installment: Passionfish.

See you then!

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Wine Tasting Party

And NOW the wine tasting party.

I’ve heard of these parties before and always thought they sounded like lots of  fun. So when Louisa’s friend said he was having one on Saturday night, I made sure to get on the invitation :). The idea varies slightly from party to party – for this particular one, everyone brings a bottle of domestic red under $15. Each bottle is covered and numbered. Having no idea who brought which wine or what each wine is, everyone tastes each bottle and takes notes.

 

 Louisa’s notes were amusing. 🙂

 

Please note a few of the highlights: “Awful. Straight up no to the o.” “Extra old. Looking for aged.” and “Like kissing a smoker.” She is quite a proffessional.

I was the evening’s DD as I didn’t want to wake up with a hangover on my bday. Our host was kind enough to give me just little tastes of each wine and therefore I took the activity a little more seriously :).

At the end we picked our three faves and took a vote. The winner received a lovely prize, although in other versions of this party the winner gets a duplicate bottle of all the wines that were tasted. Then each bottle and its owner was revealed!

Would you believe #2 was ours?? I had no idea and I loved it the most! Particularly weird because no one but Louisa, her friend Emily and myself voted for it. Everyone else said it was bad! (But I think we were right 🙂 ).

And then we came home at 10:30 because the party was starting to get wild and in my 26th year I’m making an effort not to be. 🙂 Instead we had a beer and waited for midnight. Because at midnight we could have official birthday cupcakes! Baked for me by my very kind roomie Anna.

I blew out three sets of candles this weekend and made the same wish every time. So it better come true!

And that was Saturday night. Peanut pancakes when I see you next? I think so.

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Firefly DC Brunch

I told you there was a wine tasting party up next but I lied. Instead we have Saturday morning brunch :).

I’ve been to Firefly a couple of times before – it’s across the street from my old house so the location was very key! I’d only ever been to dinner though (very good) and have since had my heart set on brunch. So when my former roomie (still current resident of my old place) Nicole suggested a bday brunch I had the place in mind!

Mostly because I needed to have the Elvis Sandwich. It’s peanut butter, bacon, banana, and maple-honey on pan-fried challah bread. I’ve heard of this sandwich many times although never seen it on a restaurant menu. I’ve even made a bacon-less version myself but was convinced it would be far superior done here!

While we drank coffee and $2 mimosas (hooray!), a bucket of bread was delivered.

 

Little slices of banana bread and doughy-soft rolls. Heaven! A good bread basket is always a very good sign. And then came the meal.

 

Along with my Elvis sammie, truffle fries. Since I love love LOVE anything truffle I just had to opt for the fancied version of their french fries. Perhaps some of my most favorite ever! The sandwich lived up to all of my dreams, buttery and crispy on the outside, warm and gooey in the salty sweet center. This whole plate was completely divine!

The food is fabulous and I love the atmosphere inside Firefly. I feel like I’m in the woods of Dupont Circle. If there was such a thing as woods in Dupont Circle :).

 Another weekend meal success. Great food in even lovelier company :). I’ll see you tomorrow!

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