Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Elliot Bay Book Company and the EBC

Okay, one more post before bed.  :)
If you live in Seattle, I'm sure you know.  Elliot Bay Book Company (aka my most favoritest book store ever) has relocated (closer to my house!).
Within the last week I have visited (ahem) several times.  One time I even brought my own book so I could just hang out.  The thing is, it's Seattle.  It rains here, a lot.  Or at least it has been this year.  We all know what that means right?  Coffee, rain, and the bookstore?  They go hand in hand! 
The thing is, this bookstore is just sooooo good!  They always have authors coming in to speak (many of which are free events), they have amazing book recommendations from the employees (I have found many of my most favorite books due to that recommendation wall), and though this is a new location, it still smells like the old one, only this one has the addition of amazing skylights.  Needless to say, it is love.  (I think I need to join one of their book clubs!)
Oh, and the new EBC (Elliot Bay Cafe), they still have my favorite salad:  Arugula, pear, goat cheese, and roasted pine nuts.  I'm listing this as restaurant #4 for the year, because well, I told my boyfriend that if I am ever missing and he can't find me, I am probably here.  :)
'Night all!  :)

Smoothie mix-ins

I'm wondering what you think of Amazing Meal or Amazing Grass?
I keep seeing people in blogland adding this to smoothies; you know toss in a few handfuls of spinach, 1/2 a banana, some fruit, ice, soy milk and Amazing Grass - tada!  they are drinking a VERY green smoothie that everyone seems to love!  What is the scoop?
The ingredients seem okay, nothing too crazy in there, so I wandered over to their website and ordered some samples.  Samples!  What a great idea right? 
Boy am I glad I tried before I went hog wild and bought a tub!  lol... I started the experiment with wheat grass, which prior to this I had never tried before, so maybe it was just the shock of something new?
Let me tell you, wheat grass is not good.  I mean really bad!  lol.....
But that is the only bad thing I have to say.  :)
I have learned that I don't like wheat grass on it's own, but the rest of my sample pack was mighty tasty!  I, like Jamie over at Embracing Balance liked the Original better than any of the flavor varieties (the rest seemed too sweet for me), and I am not quite up to adding in spinach, but the addition did make for a tasty and nutritious smoothie!  :)
What are some of your favorite smoothie additions?

The Bloedel Reserve

I've been wanting to post pictures, but you know, busybusy.  :)
The Bloedel Reserve is amazing, have you ever been?  We had tried to visit before, but were unsuccessful, so I've been lusting after it's beauty for some time. 
With David's parents in town we had the perfect excuse for a ferry trip and trek about the reserve.
Here's the thing that makes this place so amazing:  It used to be someone's retirement home.  People lived here, loved this place, the grounds, the space, the view of the ocean, the zen garden and Christmas pond, bridges and orchids, all of this beauty belonged to someone.  And now you can wander through.
It was the perfect afternoon, a long stroll through a beautiful space, a perfect place to take family or out of town guests. 
....and there is a wishing bench.  :)
What would you wish for?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blueberry welcome muffins

David's parents arrived last night for their annual visit, so I had baked some blueberry muffins, added some fruit and magazines, a few 'hello and welcome!' treats.  :) 
I feel like it is always nice to have a basket of homemade/healthy snacks when you are staying in a hotel on vacation.  How do you wlecome family?

Blueberry Muffins
I' m not sure where I found this recipe, but I use it often.  The muffins come out so large and fluffy you would think they are store bought, but the secret is in the yogurt! 

3 cups flour (I have mixed this, half white and half wheat with good results)
1 TBSP baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

10 TBSP unsalted butter (1 1.4 sticks) softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt - I just use whatever I have, plain, vanilla, lemon, blueberry, greek, I have even had to supplement my yogurt with a little lite sour cream - it all works.  :)
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1 1.2 cups blueberries (don't add extra here, your muffins will fall apart!  lol....)
1 TBSP flour if you are using defrosted frozen berries

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Wisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Beat butter sugar and eggs together, one egg at a time.
Add 1/2 of your dry ingredients to your wet, mix.
Add 1/2 of the yogurt, mix.
Mix in the remaining dry mixture, and then then last half of the yogurt. 
Gently fold in your blueberries and lemon zest if using.

Fill a standard 12 muffin tin - it will look full, but trust me, they bake up beautifully!  You can sprinkle a bit of sugar on the tops of the muffins if you are going for that coffee shop experience.  :)
Bake muffins until golden 25-30 minutes.  Let muffins cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning them out to cool completely. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

TJ's Fake Fried Rice

After reading TJ's Test Kitchen last night I knew dinner had to be 'fake fried rice'!  I didn't have all of her ingrediants, so I made a few adjustments, but you've got to try this - so easy and SO TASTY!  :)

TJ's Fake Fried Rice
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup egg beaters (I used one egg)
green onion-diced
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed veggies-defrosted
splash (or two) of soy sauce
1 clove of garlic-pressed
2 teaspoons olive oil
splash (or two) rice vinegar

I didn't have any green onion or frozen veggies, but did have regular onion, baby carrots, some broccoli, and about 10 shittaki mushrooms.  I diced everything very small, sauteed the onions, carrots, and mushrooms until tender, and then proceeded to her directions:

"In a large skillet or wok add oil, garlic-toss in rice and stir to mix & coat rice with oil/garlic. Add veggies (this is where I added the broccoli) and cook until heated through. Make a hole in middle of pan; add egg beaters and scramble until cooked. Stir entire pan, mixing egg into rice. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, and green onion."

I also added about 10 or so roughly chopped shrimp at the end - we buy the cleaned and pre-cooked frozen variety from Trader Joe's so they are super easy to thaw quickly in a bowl of water, and then toss in your dish of choice.

Yum!  This was an awesome treat, I am excited for lunch leftovers!  :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I've been away!

After a sunny week in Las Vegas, I am so thankful for my Seattle clouds, but I had a great time visiting my friend Carrie and her family!  We walked the Strip, had dinner in Paris (lol... the casino!), relaxed at a (FABULOUS) spa, shopped 'til I dropped, admired the roses, ducked fire at a Japanese restaurant, and enjoyed a girly craft day.  Whew!  It was a whirl wind trip (and by the end I really missed my honey!), but we had so much fun!
Do you have any fancy vacations planned?  I would love to hear about them!  :)

Pan Africa Market with Amanda

Let me just tell you up front, prior to visiting this restaurant I wasn't too sure about African food, I guess I was just worried that it would be too spicy, or mostly curries which I am not too fond of, but after hearing my friend Amanda go on about how she loves the Pan Africa Market, I agreed to meet up for a sampling.  :)
I am so glad I did!  I ordered the Mango Pineapple Chicken, which was broiled in a mango pineapple curry sauce and served with rice, half an avocado, black beans and a fruity salad.  I loved it and ate every bite!  lol...  Give it a try if you find yourself down by the pike place market, it was delicious!  :)