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Welsh Pork Cake. Yes, I Said Pork.

Welsh Pork Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas quickly approaching, I was thinking about one particular holiday recipe. Gareth and I came across this recipe and made it together on Christmas day last year. The cake was actually so yummy that we decided to make it a Christmas tradition for us to make this cake together every year. This cake will really surprise you because you can’t actually taste any hint of sausage, it is a completely sweet desert. Who knew pork in cake could be so good? Well… I guess the Welsh did!

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Bienvenido a Miami.

As it gets colder and colder outside, I’ve been thinking about one of the hottest weekends of my life when Gareth and I went to Miami in August 2010 for a weekend getaway. Miami is not really known for its food, but we did our best to explore and try new things. Only one meal really stood out to us, and it was one of the best meals we’ve ever had!

This delicious, stand-out meal was at a restaurant called Prime One Twelve in South Beach. (www.prime112.com) This restaurant was simply amazing. Great service, great atmosphere and GREAT food! I wanted to order fish since we were on the ocean, so I ordered this dish:  jumbo crab cake crusted grouper with wilted spinach and horseradish butter. The flavors were rich but the horseradish and lime cut the heaviness and gave it a punch. I drool just looking at this photo!

Gareth ordered slow braised boneless short rib with buttermilk mashed potatoes, collard greens and crispy onions. See the before and after below- he clearly enjoyed it!

The Easiest Guac Around.

This is a simple and easy guacamole that takes just minutes to make. By combining fresh avocados with store-bought fresh pico de gallo (pico de gallo is uncooked salsa made from chopped tomato, white onion and jalapeno) it allows you to get all of the fresh flavor but you avoid having to buy and prepare the various ingredients. I serve my guacamole with reduced-fat tortilla chips. Easy and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 container fresh pico de gallo (found in the grocer’s refrigerated fresh food section)
  • salt/pepper

Slice 2 fresh avocados and place in a mixing bowl. Use a fork to mash avocados to a smooth consistency and then combine with the juice from 1 lemon, the pico de gallo and salt/pepper to taste.

Chicago Sushi Adventures.

There are so many amazing sushi restaurants in Chicago. If you’re a sushi lover, the options are endless! These are some of my favorite sushi experiences over the last couple of years.

Sushi X (www.rollingatsushix.com)

Sushi X  is probably my all time favorite place to get sushi in Chicago. Their roles are creative and beautifully presented. They’re a bit pricey, but worth it! This order included the Red Dragon (tempura shrimp, mayo, roe, sriracha, jalapeno, topped with spicy tuna and scallions), the Honey (white tuna, tempura flakes, cucumber, honey sesame mayo), the Yellow Jacket (hamachi, shiitake mushrooms, wasabi mayo, mango black sesame seeds) and the Spicy Shrimp (shrimp, roe, chili oil, mayo, scallions.) Delish!

Toro Sushi  (www.torosushi.biz)

Quite a while back, my friend Becca and I went on a sushi date to Toro Sushi in Lincoln Park. The sushi we ordered was on a specials menu and included fish eggs wrapped in salmon and topped off with a quail egg! Becca was mystified as to how to eat this… it was a bit messy, as seen below.



Mizu Sushi (www.mizurestaurant.com)

Mizu is a great sushi spot because all of their roles are very fresh and affordable! This was a take-out dinner Gareth and I had for Valentines Day this year. It included Spicy Tuna (tuna with spicy mayo), the Sake (fresh salmon with cucumber or avocado) the Chicago (tuna, yellow tail, avocado, & cucumber) and the Pink Maki (fresh salmon, white tuna, kanikama, spicy mayo, scallions, and tobiko.)

Cafe Sushi (www.grubhub.com/chicago/cafe-sushi/)

I like to go to Cafe Sushi in the summer time because they have great outdoor seating and it’s BYOB! This was a great summer afternoon lunch complete with the Honey Bee (white tuna, avocado, cucumber, honey sauce with tempura crunch outside), the Spicy Tuna (tuna and scallion with spicy chili sauce), the Bagel (smoked salmon, cream cheese and scallion), the Dragon inside (shrimp tempura, cucumber. outside: unagi, avocado) and Shrimp Tempura (shrimp tempura with avocado, cucumber and masago.)

Fruit Snacks.

I love to snack on fruit, especially mango and watermelon. Unfortunately, both fruits can be a bit of a hassle to deal with. Mangos are surprisingly difficult to peel and slice, and watermelons are awkward because of their size. Luckily, I discovered that Trader Joe’s sells pre-sliced, fresh watermelon and mango that make it really easy to enjoy these fruits. They’re much  more affordable than the pre-sliced fruit you find at other supermarkets, too! Yum.

A Dinner For Ashley & Kelly.

Creamy Pasta Primavera With Lemony Arugula, Avocado & Toasted Garbanzo Bean Salad

One of my best friends, Ashley, just got engaged, so to celebrate I made dinner for her and our friend, Kelly. I wanted to make something vegetarian so I chose a pasta dish made with hearty vegetables and paired it with a light and fresh salad. It was a great night with great friends… and the food was a hit!

Serves 3-6.

Lemony Arugula, Avocado & Toasted Garbanzo Bean Salad 

Ingredients:

  • 1 5-oz bag of arugula
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • garlic salt
  • black pepper

Heat a pan on medium-high heat and add the drained garbanzo beans (no oil needed) and cook for 5-10 minutes until they looks slightly dried out and toasted. Lightly season them with garlic salt and black pepper and then remove from the heat. While they are cooling, combine 1 tsp crushed garlic, the juice from 2 lemons, 3 tbsp olive oil and salt/pepper in a small bowl and mix well. In a large mixing bowl, add the cherry tomatoes, avocado, arugula and garbanzo beans. Toss the ingredients together with the dressing and shaved parmesan.

Creamy Pasta Primavera
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 10 leaves fresh basil (chopped)
  • 1 yellow onion (diced)
  • 2 medium zucchinis (sliced)
  • 1 medium eggplant (diced)
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 8 oz whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic

In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp crushed garlic and the diced onion and sauté until the onions have become a translucent color. Then add your zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant and continue sauté medium heat. Put a lid on the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes. After vegetables have browned and condensed, turn the heat on low and keep the lid on.

While the vegetables are heating on low, cook your spaghetti as directed on the package. After the spaghetti is cooked, drain all excess water and add the spaghetti directly into the pan with the vegetables. Combine the vegetables and spaghetti together and then mix in the sour cream, parmesan and basil.

Congrats to Ashley and Bob! 

FBB Thought Of The Day.

As I continue to post on FBB, I want to remind my readers what FBB is all about. I don’t believe in dieting or restricting yourself from certain foods, I believe in tasting and enjoying food, but always in moderation. No food needs to be off limits if you have a small portion or taste, or if you find a way to make it yourself with healthier ingredients. If you ignore your cravings it will end up doing more harm than good, I have learned that first hand! I love to try new foods and restaurants, especially when traveling, so those are the meals where portion control really comes into play. If I have a hard time controlling portion size for an extra yummy or special meal, then I hit the gym! You can’t beat yourself up for being human. You’ve got to enjoy life and not restrict yourself from things you enjoy—that is what FBB is all about!

This was a meal that I had at Sofra in London. (www.sofra.co.uk/) This was a “Chef’s Sampling” which was a small bite of many different foods, including hummus, falafel, tabbouleh and spinach and feta pastry. This was a great way to try and taste a lot of different menu items without overeating- a very FBB way to enjoy a nice meal out!