Apr 27, 2010

Foodie Sunday: Part II Featuring Santo

After the successful blogger meet up, I met up with another foodie friend: Santo! We discussed having lunch and seeing Date Night, but once we got downtown the weather was too nice to be indoors. We stopped at Caviar & Bananas for lunch. Located right outside my alma mater's campus, Caviar & Bananas is a gourmet market and cafe. They offer prepared foods, charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, sushi, salads, baked goods, coffee & tea and so much more. They also have a selection of packaged food items for sale, shown here:
That's just one small section of their packaged items. Here's where we found our hungry selves: charcuterie & cheese!
We chose to split the charcuterie baguette from this menu:
and the Spanish antipasto board from this menu:
The sandwich: sopressatta, black forest ham, hot coppa, oven roasted tomatoes, olive tapenade, Gorgonzola dolce mousse. This was a killer sandwich. The baguette was really crisp, toasty and not too thick as to overwhelm the inner elements. The olive tapenade was mildly salty but the gorgonzola mousse was what really pulled this sandwich together...it was so warm and creamy!
And the Spanish antipasto board:
Marcona almonds (!!!) and candied walnuts. Spanish marcona almonds are incredible. Very salty.
Walnut-fig relish. Very figgy. Santo was like "Um, is this a fig newton?"
Baguettes, asparagus, Serrano ham, pomegranate molasses:
We tried all different combos and decided that baguette + Serrano ham + manchego was the tastiest.

Dessert is never an option, always a requirement. Two spots over on George Street is FreshBerry! I've seen some of Erica's FreshBerry treats and have been ready to make my own creation.
FreshBerry is a small, but brightly lit, almost futuristic looking cafe.They have seven different all-natural frozen yogurt flavors and tons of toppings to choose from. They also make smoothies and fresh pops.
Fresh fruit toppings:
Cereal, nuts, and candy toppings:
Santo immediately picked his toppings and I sat there and salivated for like a whole television episode before I could decide. Big surprise. 

Santo's sugar-free vanilla fro-yo with captain crunch, mango, and blackberries:
I took the sweeter route to fro-yo heaven with sugar-free vanilla, graham crackers, oreo, and reese's pieces:
Ummmmmm yes yes yes yes is all I can say. So good. We were both totally 7 months food pregnant. Judging by how far my dress was sticking out after this event, I might have been 7 1/2 months. Wait...maybe that was just the wind?

So totally bloated and energized from the food overdosage, we skipped and frolicked down King Street for some non-food-related adventures. Just kidding about skipping and frolicking - Santo walked like a human being and I, you know, walked/stumbled down the brick streets. First stop was a jewelry store to try to find a new silver ring...instead we found some really fancy headbands:

Exhibit A:
Exhibit B: I am so creepy in this pic.
But not as creepy as this window shopper...errr...
And then the predator played some more in a toy store:
And finally, Brookstone, for lots of exercise:
After all that eating, playing, and exercising, I was tired and in need of a nap/blackberry cyber sesh:
Can you believe they didn't kick us out?
Caviar & Bananas on Urbanspoon
Freshberry Frozen Yogurt Cafe on Urbanspoon

Apr 25, 2010

First Blogger Meet Up!

Today was such an important day in my blog life -- I met two Charleston bloggers! First, we have Erica @ Itzy's Kitchen. I've been reading Erica's blog since I started mine back in July of 2009. I was first attracted to her blog because of her healthified treats and she's so freaking adorable. Erica is also a fitness instructor at a local gym, but unfortunately not the one I'm a member of.  Second, we have Lindsay @ Pancakes and Pajamas. Erica introduced me to Linday's new healthy-eating & fitness blog because she was also from our area. Erica was nice enough to arrange a meet up at her usual Sunday brunch spot, Charleston's Cafe.
After seeing Charleston's Cafe on Erica's blog several times and being totally ready to try a new brunch place, I was more than ready to make the .01 mile drive from my house to the restaurant. Really, I am that close to it. It's a cute, little restaurant that was pretty busy when we went, and Erica said it was usually busier.

I ordered the Blueberry Breakfast Parfait with yogurt, granola, bananas, blueberries, honey, and slivered almonds. 

I had a sweet potato biscuit (!!) on the side. 
The parfait was looooaded with honey and tons of granola. Next time I go I think I'll try the parfait that Erica had with apple, craisins, and cinnamon.

Both girls were so sweet and friendly and their men were just as awesome for supporting our nerdy blog habits. I can't wait to do it again! Please visit their blogs and give them both some lovin!

Please stay tuned as to why just a few hours later I found myself in this position:

Charleston's Bookstore Cafe on Urbanspoon

Apr 22, 2010

Peanut Butter & Cottage Jelly Sandwich

Did you pose with a tree today? 

Or stop to smell the roses?

At minimum, I hope you used your purse as a grocery bag.

If none of the above, what change did you make to celebrate? 

After today's training session, I ran to Publix to pick up the cottage cheese shown above. I cannot stop eating this stuff. It's good plain, but I've also been adding jam to it. I love peanut butter + jelly, and also love cottage cheese + jelly...so why not mix all three into a sandwich? Sounds totally weird I know, but I had to give it a try.

Using my new favorite peanut butter, Naturally More, and my farmer's market Very Berry Jam, I made one heck of a messy sandwich.

Side one: peanut butter. Side two: cottage cheese + jam.

Mushed together:

Honestly, this was pretty good. It was a sweet + salty + creamy = love combination. But messy it was!

As soon as I made this, I dragged myself, the sandwich, and some leftover sweet potato fries to my bed. Unfortunately, my new Forever 21 purchases became my tablecloth. 
As far as the new goodies are concerned, Forever 21 needs to get a reality check on what a size small is. Ugh! These were trash bags on me. Luckily the blue shirt is 100% cotton so I will be "putting that bitch in hot water" as my roommate suggested, and taking the pink top to be altered. It's too pretty to return. The yellow flower ring appeared to be a lime green color online (like I needed more lime green trash), but it's more like a pale yellow. I still like it. And yes, those are my sheets underneath. If you think they're cute, you can find them here.

Earlier today I tried a another Gnu Bar: Banana Walnut Bar.
Holy mama, I thought I loved the Orange Cranberry flavor, but this one made my heart skip a beat. Just a little beat, not a Lil Wayne kind of beat. The Banana Walnut flavor tastes just like Banana bread straight from the oven. It's a really moist flavor. 
I appreciate you ignoring my chipped nail. It's been a rough week.
If I wasn't driving in the car while eating this, I would have popped it in the microwave to intensify the fresh-baked banana bread sensation...so good. I'd give both of the flavors I've tried a 10+ rating.

What are you ladies and boys up to this weekend? Tomorrow night Ashley (flower girl above) and I plan to get our dirty dancing on. Saturday, we'll probably partake in some more booty grinding, and Sunday will be my first blogger meet up!! Woohoo! We're having brunch in a cafe that's walking distance from my apartment. Yay!! I'll be meeting with 3 other Charleston bloggers. If any of you are interested in joining, please email me at christinaorso@gmail.com. After brunch, Nugget and I, along with some other friends, are going to the Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival. What the heck is this you ask? Don't worry - I just found out. Apparently this is a festival to bless the shrimp boats before the season. Uhhh okay, whatever Charleston, just give me another reason to down Coor's Lights. Thank you so much.

Apr 20, 2010

Spicy Thai Chicken...and I'm Busted

Friday night I abstained from drinking going out and cooked instead. My inner-Asian wanted rice (so typical) so I attempted to re-do a recipe that Brandon and I made a few times last year. This dish is HOT! Spicy girls love spicy dishes but shoot, 5 serranos is 5 serranos too many! My mouth was on fire.
  • 1 lb of chicken, bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass 
  • 5 deadly serrano peppers
  • fresh basil leaves
  • sweet chile sauce
  • soy sauce
  • honey
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet chile sauce, the soy sauce, and honey. I didn't measure this at all - just kept adding some here and there. The majority of the sauce should be sweet chile sauce, with a little bit of honey, and just a tad bit of soy sauce.
2. Cut up all the peppers, lemongrass, and the garlic. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
3. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and serrano peppers.
4. After a couple of minutes when the steam from the serranos is making your eyes bleed, stir in the chicken, bell peppers, lemongrass, and slowly add your sauce mixture.Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Unless you like salmonella poisoning. 
5. Once cooked through, throw in as many basil leaves as you'd like and heat until wilted. Serve over hot jasmine rice.
If you don't like it spicy you a) are crazy and b) shouldn't add so many serranos. Two to three is enough to give it some kick, but 5 is uncalled for. This left me weeping over my plate and no, it was not because I wasn't hanging out with my nugget.

On Saturday, I made up for my night in and went on some man's boat all day. Some man = a friend of Julius whose name I no longer remember, but did have a nice boat if I may say so myself. Note to self: when it's going to be a long day, put down the vodka and pick up the beer. The definition of Xtina might be lightweight because after just a few happy drinks, I took a 2-hour nap. On the boat. They were nice enough to wrap me up in a towel with my sunglasses and check on me occassionally as they went OUT TO EAT! Funny, yes...but what isn't funny is when we were walking back home after getting off the boat, my ego took over. I decided it would be a great idea to RACE MY TRAINER. Not only is Julius a man, but he ran track in high school and his leg muscles are probably the size of my whole body. Why, why, whyyyyyy would I want to race him in a gravel parking lot? The "race" went a little something like "1, 2, SPLASH" according to Julius. I wiped out and have the most amazing busted knee. 

OF COURSE I have pics...
Immediately after the incident:
Post Clean Up:
Lesson of the weekend: Keep drinking, just don't try to race someone who is a bajillion times faster than you.

Apr 15, 2010

A Day in the Life of Xtina's Mouth

There are bloggers out there who post every single thing they eat. That's just not for me. I'd rather blog about my own creations or highlight new, fun products. One of the reasons for this is that I'm a very random eater. When I'm not making a recipe, I'm pretty much just throwing my favorite items together and calling it a meal. With that said, I thought I'd document a whole day of eats. So welcome to a day in the life of my mouth. 

I packed all my treats for the work day and realized that I am a tupperware hussy.
Breakfast, 8:45 AM
Last night at Publix I found a new oatmeal: Quaker True Delights. It was BOGO, and there were two flavors so I picked up one of each: hazelnut latte and wild blueberry  muffin. Today I tried the hazelnutt latte.
I made it with skim milk and a little bit of water. Milk makes a huge difference when making any kind of oats - they turn out much creamier and thicker. 
This flavor is, well, hazelnut. The taste was lightly sweet, and it had bits of real hazelnut in it. The nutritional stats weren't too shabby either: 150 calories, 2.5g fat, 4g of fiber, and only 9g of sugar. I probably wouldn't buy this again but it was fun to try! I prefer to make oatmeal with my own mix-ins. For only 4g of fiber, this left me surprisingly full.

Snack, 10:30 AM
Out of sheer boredom, I snacked on some grapes that I bought from the Farmer's Market on Tuesday. These are delicious! I can't wait to go get more. And you can't beat $1.99/lb for local produce. :)
Lunch, 12:30 PM
Publix also came out with salad kits in four new styles:  Italian, Makoto Honey Ginger, Waldorf or True Bleu. I picked up the Makoto Honey Ginger as it was the healthiest of the bunch. This particular kit comes with mixed greens, carrots, dried pineapple, troasted soy nuts, with a Honey Ginger dressing. The kit is 2.5 servings, but I split it into two.
YUM! The honey ginger dressing was good and the toppings were perfect together. Like every single day, I threw in my hard-boiled egg for some protein. I liked this a lot. This is definitely something you could recreate on your own. 

Post-Lunch Dessert, 1:30 PM 
Chocolate is a necessary evil in my life. I am pretty sure I have some form of it daily. Annelies at Attune Foods was sweet enough to send me three of their probiotic wellness bars:
Today my coworker Victoria and I split the Blueberry Vanilla flavor. 
Victoria has had Attune Bars before and loved them so she was excited when I offered to share. After eating her piece she said, "If I was craving ice cream, that would be a great substitute." Delicious! This 100-calorie bar was flavored equally with blueberry and creamy vanilla. And it was the best kind of chocolate - CRISPY!
And the nutritionals kick butt:
It's a perfectly sized bar for when you just need a little something without overloading on calories and sugar. Keep in mind that these bars are all natural and have 5x the amount of live active cultures in yogurt. Healthy chocolate - it's true! Attune Foods also makes granola bars and granola clusters. Be sure to check them out!

3:30 PM 
I started to get hungry again -- lunch didn't fill me up and apparently I need food every couple of hours. Thank goodness I'm tupperware lady today. I pulled out the carrots & my faaaaavorite Sabra Roasted Garlic Hummus.
My breath was probably pretty rank after this but I don't mind. Neither does my boyfriend. HA HA, that was a joke. My poor trainer is the only one that gets to suffer from my  nastiness. When I got home around 5:30 PM, I had a pre-workout snack:
This GNU Bar was awesome! As soon as I opened it I smelled the orange juice in it. Even my roommate said "Wow, that smells like you sliced an orange." This bar was really flavorful and I loved the cranberries in it. GNU Bars are so soft and chewy! But eating this before the gym wasn't a smooth move. 12 grams of fiber means serious business. Especially when you're doing SPRINTS THEN PULL UPS. I warned my trainer about my snack and told him, "I'm gassy today!" He responded with, "It's OK - just don't toot on me," then proceeded to call me Tutti Fruity as I ran. He was lucky I didn't have any slip-ups.

After Heather and I got our booties whipped, I rushed home to eat dinner. I was ltierally throwing stuff on my plate so I could eat. Here's my smörgåsbord of eats:

It's now a little after 9 PM and I am tired!! Blogging everything I ate was interesting and a great way to show off my favorite products, but I still love my random posts. How about you guys? TOMORROW IS FRIDAY! I will be making a seriously awesome dinner tomorrow, so be ready for typical Xtina blogging!