Monday, January 26, 2015


You probably noticed that Brian and I were just in London and Dublin thanks to Instagram. Work sent me over there, and Brian was able to come along as he was in between projects of his own. I can't tell you how happy I was that he could come along. I've been to some pretty great places, but nothing is ever as much fun if you're alone.

While I worked most days, Brian did lots of exploring around the city. I'd get off work and meet him to try some fun restaurant and have a few drinks. We were lucky enough to get to spend 2 weekends in London, so shopping at Harrods, walking around neighborhoods, perusing Portobello Market and lots and lots of eating were on the itinerary.

Take a peek at our restaurant and fun list -- we ate at some really awesome restaurants. Next up is Dublin, so stay tuned!

Chor Bizarre - Fancy (but delicious) Indian
Bill's - Lunch and Dinner spot (afternoon coffee or great dinner)
Ember Yard - Tapas Basque-style grill (our favorite)
Antidote Wine Bar - Charcuterie and wine
Fernandez and Wells - Sandwiches
Barnyard - "Modern British" (best chicken wings ever)
Portobello Market - Antique Market and Food Stands
The Spice Shop - Awesome spice market at Portobello Market
Côte Brasserie - Chain brasserie
Harrod's - Rotisserie (fun stop while shopping)
The Market Tavern - Fish and Chips and other British Fare
Salt Yard - Charcuterie Bar (Sister restaurant to Ember Yard)


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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Here comes the end of football season, and for me, the end of eating like it's not making me fat. But, this recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip is so good, I had to share it before I start posting all my healthy recipes. Make this one for your upcoming Superbowl party. The smell of it baking alone will drive you mad.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
makes 1 dish for game day

1 6 oz. can artichoke hearts in water
1 10 oz. package frozen spinach (thawed, chopped and squeeze all excess liquid out)
1 cup 0% fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp course Dijon mustard
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated mozzarella + 1/4 cup for topping
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 lemon (juice)
2 tbsp dried onion or 1 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
salt and pepper 
for serving:
Tortilla Chips
Pita Chips
Celery and Carrot Sticks 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start by thawing and chopping the spinach. Wrap up in a clean towel and wring the heck out of it until almost all of the water is gone. Toss into a mixing bowl.

Chop up the artichoke hearts into small pieces.  Add to the mixing bowl. Now combine Greek Yogurt, mayo, Dijon mustard, Parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, minced garlic, lemon juice, dried onion, pine nuts, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. 

Add mixture to a small baking dish and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over the top. If you need more than 1/4 cup to cover it, just go for it. 

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until cheese on top is golden. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving to set and cool. Serve with chips and veggies! 

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Three Chili Chunky Beef Chili

Okay, I'm back. It's been a really long time since I've posted. Christmas, my birthday, New Years, trip to Ohio, trip to London and Dublin. Yes, it's been a LOT since the the last time I posted. Too much. I'm ready to hang out in San Francisco for a while. 

I'll be posting about my adventures in London and Dublin, but first wanted to share an awesome recipe I made before leaving.

I hope this ingredient heavy recipe doesn't frighten you away. It's one of the best chili recipes out there. I used lots of inspiration from a Food52 favorite by the blogger behind lastnightsdinner. Chunks of beef replace ground beef, and deep flavors come from toasted chilies, espresso powder and Porter. If you've got a lazy Sunday and some time, consider making this. It's so yummy.

Three Chili Chunky Beef Chili
makes 1 big pot
prep time: 45 - 60 mins; cook time: 3 - 4 hours

2 dried ancho/guajillo chiles
4 dried chili de arbol
2 cups boiling water
1 poblano chili (charred)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chipotle powder or 1 tsp chipotle flakes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp espresso powder
1 tbsp olive oil
2 - 2 1/2 lbs London Broil (fat trimmed, cut into bite sized cubes)
1 yellow onion (diced)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 15 oz. can white kidney beans (drained)
1 15 oz. can red kidney beans (drained)
1 28 oz. can diced fire roasted tomatoes (with juice)
2 cups low sodium broth (beef or chicken)
1 cup stout (whatever kind you have)
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
salt and pepper

Step 1: Make the Chili Puree
Start with the chilies. First, put the poblano pepper on a gas flame on your stove top, turning with tongs when each side has charred.  Alternatively, put under the broiler, turning with tongs when each side is charred. Remove from heat to a plastic bag and let steam for 5 minutes. Remove stem and transfer to a blender

Now for the dried chilies. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add the dried chilies to a dry pan and let warm and brown for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat, cut off stem, and cover with 2 cups of boiling water in a bowl. Let soak for 5 minutes. Add liquid and chilies to the blender. 

Add cumin, coriander, chipotle powder, cinnamon and espresso powder to the blender. Puree until smooth, no clumps. Set aside. 

Step 2: Brown the Meat

On to the meat. Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a tbsp of olive oil and drop in about 1/3 of the beef cubes with a pinch of salt. Let each side sear for about 2 minutes, until brown. Remove to a plate. Repeat process 3 times. The point is to not crowd the pot so the beef can brown up. 

Step 3: Finish the Chili

Lower heat to medium. If your pan is caked in bits from the meat, it's fine. Deglaze quickly with a splash of that Porter. Add onions, garlic, oregano salt and pepper. Let cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and let cook for another 3 minutes. Add the meat and any juices accumulating on the plate back to the pot.

Now dump everything else in aside from the tortilla chips. Add the drained kidney beans, diced can of tomatoes with their juices, chicken/beef stock, porter and a good pinch of salt and pepper. 

Cover and bring to a low simmer. Let cook for 3-4 hours over low heat, just barely simmering. Taste the meat after 3 hours to see if it is super tender. Mine needed about 3 1/2 hours to be perfect. Add the crushed tortilla chips 20 minutes before serving.

Step 4: Serve the Chili

Serve the chili with your favorite toppings. We used fat free Greek Yogurt, green onion and cilantro! 

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

[Genius] Mashed Cauliflower Bake

Mashed potatoes out of a box were hands down my favorite food as a child. My mom and dad will vouch for that. I'm pretty sure it's the first thing I learned to make. And by make, I mean microwave. 

So that leads me to this recipe. Mashed potatoes are a favorite of mine. Instead of using potatoes though, I subbed in cauliflower. And instead of all the cream and butter, I have used mostly non-fat Greek yogurt. I'm so addicted. I will be making this at home for the holidays. 

Stay tuned for a lemony, garlicky slow roasted chicken recipe I'll post later this week. You have to serve it with this recipe.

Mashed Cauliflower Bake
makes 4 servings

1 head cauliflower (leaves removed, rough chop)
1 tbsp dried, roasted garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried shallots or 1 tsp onion powder
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/2 - 3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add chicken broth and a few cups of water to a pot. Bring to a slow boil. Add salt, dried garlic/garlic powder, dried shallots/onion powder, a big pinch of salt and pepper. Add cauliflower, cover and let boil for 5-7 minutes. Cauliflower should be fork tender. 

Drain cauliflower in a fine mesh sieve, or something that will catch all the little pieces. Return to pot with no heat on. 

Mix in Greek yogurt, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Puree with an immersion blender until there are no big chunks of cauliflower left. Transfer to a small baking dish.

Pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and serve with something with lots of sauce!

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