Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Restaurant Review: Mellow Mushroom, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Happy ALMOST New Year!

Josh and I just went out for a great dinner at Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers in Mount Pleasant. We ordered the following:

Hummus Appetizer:
My dinner: Build Your Own Salad with romaine, cucumbers, onions, broccoli, sun dried tomato and feta. The dressing shown is Greek but I ended up using balsamic vinaigrette instead.

Josh's dinner: Individual Pizza with ham and artichokes. He ordered it with no sauce and a garlic/olive oil base. He also choose a beer from their EXTENSIVE beer menu, Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale.

My Review:
Funky atmosphere with great service and good food! The hummus appetizer was great! It was topped with basil which added a little something special to the mix. The pitas were warm and light. I love that they have a build your own salad option. I went a little light on the salad because I ate a large amount of the appetizer. They offer tons of options for the base of the salad (romaine, spinach, spring mix, etc etc), veggies, proteins and dressings. If you're into sports, there are tons of TVs visible all over the restaurant. The beer menu is HUGE and you can even join a beer club! We will definitely be returning here!
Josh's Review:
We must have taken parking for granted in Maryland, because apparently in SC parking lot designers were the first to get pink slips in Economic (Media) Crisis ’08.
While the atmosphere was great, people were extremely nice, and the food was edible.... Mellow Mushroom’s score was handicapped due to a lack of prosciutto on their ingredients list for make-your-own-pizza. Some may view that as picky, but to those I challenge to eat an artichoke heart and prosciutto pizza (what I consider “Josh Special”) and not be in love with the compliment the prosciutto adds to some delicious artichokes. Mellow Mushroom apparently requires I settle for ham.... honey baked, at that, which is not nearly as tasty as prosciutto in the combination of consumable perfection.
What kept scores high (despite incoherent parking and lack of salty Italian deli meat) was their ENORMOUS beer list (I capitalized enormous because I feel it adds more emphasis to just how large the beer list actually was). I pride myself on trying multiple beers are restaurants, but the Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale was worth the opportunity cost for multiple pints of the same beer. It had a delicious after taste, not to mention received Erica’s (typical) “eh, pretty good” comment. I love hops. Hops are so good that if I were president, I would ensure all liquor licenses included verbiage that contractually obligated establishments to carry IPAs on draft. Vote Josh 2012.
Rating: 7.2008/8
And, just for fun- Frank (looking a little irritated):
We're going to watch Wanted now and then (hopefully) watch the ball drop! Hope you are having a wonderful New Years!

Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon

A fun gift and a yummy lunch

Happy New Years Eve everyone!!

Today I am working from home and am loving it! I got up early and began working. Around 11, I decided to take a lunch break and go to the gym. I did a 30 minute run and then did 30 minutes on the elliptical. When I came home I found a very fun package at my doorstep from none other than the AMAZING Veggie Girl! I tore into the package to find this lovely gift, organic crunchy almond toffee....ummm YUM!

The gift was from Allison's Gourmet. They have all kinds of amazing treats that are all organic and vegan! What a cool concept! I will definitely be placing an order with them in the future. Of course, I had to try a piece....its incredible :) Thank you sooooo much Veggie Girl!
Although I wanted to have a full toffee lunch, I decided it was probably best not to :). I pulled out some veggies, hard pretzels and hummus and I may have had another piece of toffee. I served them all on this beautiful plate/platter that my MIL got me for Christmas- isn't it beautiful?

I also had some grapes. Hope you're having a great day ;)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sloppy Lentils

Hope you had a nice Tuesday! Mine was pretty good. Usual work, came home and did some house stuff, taught Body Step and then made a dinner of sloppy lentils:

On the side I had an apple and some tortilla chips (which I dipped in the lentils). It was VERY good. One of my favorite easy meals!

It sounds like most of ya'll are still on vacation! I am a little jealous ;). I hope you are enjoying yourselves! Do you have New Years plans? Josh and I are still exhausted from Christmas traveling, so we may go out to dinner and then just do a movie/hang out. We're so lame ;)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Beef Soup

Hi everyone! Hope you're doing well today. I had to go back to work and boy was it tough! I felt like I was dragging all day. Once I got home, I had tons to do- laundry, ironing, cleaning, cooking, baking ahhh! I also ran out and took Body Pump. For dinner tonight, I made beef soup. I based it on Zesty's recipe, but left out the barley and added more veggies (hence it came out as a soup rather than a stew ;) ).

Are you still on vacation or did you have to go back to work/school? Or are you a full time mommy and always at work???

Time for a shower!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back at it!

Phew! Christmas flew by! We had a wonderful time with Josh's family in Nashville! There were presents (tons and tons), great meals and lots of good times! I received some amazing and thoughtful gifts and can't wait to use them! I will feature some of the food friendly gifts on the blog in the coming days! Here are just a few of the highlights from our trip:

Christmas dinner- All I can say is YUM! Josh's mom is a great cook and makes very creative and delicious meals. For Christmas we had lobster tail, shrimp, steak, salad and tortellini covered in a balsamic vinegar, feta and sun dried tomato sauce. I took a picture of Josh's plate because it was a lot more interesting looking (and larger) than mine ;) :

One of the nights we were in Nashville, Josh's parents invited some of their friends over for dinner. Here is a pic of me, Josh and Josh's Mom prior to dinner. Josh's dad is hard at work in the background.
We also went out to an incredible dinner at a steakhouse in Nashville. Here are a few pics from dinner. Josh's Dad and Josh:

Me and Josh's sister:
The whole fam:

Hope you had a great weekend! We drove back today and it took 10 hours- bleh! I am running around trying to get things put together for the week. I promise a food post tomorrow and comments on all of your blogs! What was your favorite part of the holidays?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another workout for my oven..and me ;)

Hi Everyone! Happy Christmas Eve Eve! Last night and this afternoon, I got all my baking done!! Josh and I leave tomorrow for Nashville and I wanted to bring along some tasty treats to share with his family.

First up, I made a Coconut Banana Bread from Baking Bites. It turned out really well!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (2 med-large)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven 350F and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well combined, then whisk in the mashed banana, coconut milk, butter and vanilla extract. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined, making sure no streaks of flour remain. Stir in shredded coconut and pour batter out into prepared baking pan.Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached.

Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
I actually ended up making two loaves of this bread since I had extra ingredients. Next I made four dozen of my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.
Last night I also made two batches of Suite Apple Pie's Granola with added craisins.

This afternoon I also made pumpkin bread....but it was from a William's Sonoma mix (I cheated ;) ).
Here are the three loaves together...
Someone took a slice out of that last one....I wonder who that was ;)

After all my baking was complete, I ran out to the gym and taught Body Step. Josh made dinner tonight (thank you Joshers!!). He made his turkey stir fry with Asian veggies, pine nuts, and stir fry sauce. It was very yummy. Are you ready for all the holiday craziness?
Note: I may take a few days off from blogging...or maybe not ...I haven't decided yet :) If I do, enjoy the holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cheesy Orzo Pasta

This afternoon after work, Josh and I ran to the DMV and got our new licenses! Afterwards, we came home hungry! Josh asked if I could make him dinner early. I dove right in and made Rachel Ray's Cheesy Orzo. I mixed in peas and chicken for him.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans (14 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth or stock
2 cups orzo pasta (enriched rice may be substituted)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add oil, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.

I ate a slice of bread from last night and am about to head to the gym for Body Pump. I will eat my orzo mixed with chickpeas (instead of chicken) later! What are you having for dinner?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Salad Sunday

Hey guys! Hope you had a nice Sunday. I slept in this am and then headed to the gym. I did an hour on the treadmill (about 5.5 miles from a mix of running and walking). I then ran out for a few errands. I came home and did some laundry, packed for our trip, and then relearned some choreography for Body Step this week. For dinner tonight, I made salads and this bread.

Josh's Plate: Spinach, broccoli slaw, chick peas, pine nuts, craisins, cheese and bread. I also made him up some chicken (baked in the oven and covered in buffalo sauce) topped with cheese on toasted dinner rolls:
My plate- similar salad with romaine instead of spinach and walnuts instead of pine nuts and bread (sorry its blurry):

Now we're watching football/relaxing, getting ready for a short two day work week! Did you do anything special today? Are you taking any time off this week?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I wish every day was Saturday!

We had a nice day today and it makes me wish every day was Saturday! I got up and took Body Step and half of Body Pump (it was nice to not have to teach today!). Food shopping and errands followed. I came home and made a nice lunch of fruit and hummus and veggies/crackers for Josh and I. We then cleaned the apartment and ran a bundle more errands. Along the way we picked up the Dark Knight. The effects in the movie are very cool and I thought it was great (although a little long).

For dinner, we had mini burgers and fruit. I just mixed ground beef with cavenders seasoning and a little bbq sauce (HFCS free!). I cooked them in the oven at 415 degrees (it took about 6-7 minutes per side). I served them on fresh dinner rolls, some with low sodium provi cheese some with mixed shredded mex cheese. My plate:

Josh's Plate (he had one more mini burger after this ;):

On a side note, Josh and I decided to buy ourselves health themed Christmas gifts this year. We each got a new pair of gym sneakers and we purchased BPA free water bottles (for birthdays we usually surprise each other and for Christmas we usually decide on a gift we both want/need). For sneakers, I purchased Ryka Cross Trainers/Fitness Shoes. They are actually Kelly Ripa's (design, inspired??). I am really loving how light weight they are! They also seemed to fit perfect on first wear- no breaking in! Do you have a particular shoe you love?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A workout for me and my oven!

Hi everyone :) Thank you all for the well wishes yesterday! You guys are the best ;) ;). My procedure went well and they determined the cause of most of my digestive issues! I felt great after waking up from the procedure and was sooo happy to eat again! I was also very happy to get back to normality today! I went into work and then came home and got a start on my baking! Josh and I are going to a party at one of his coworkers houses tomorrow. I told them I would bring cookies and could not decide on a single recipe, so I made three!!

My favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies:

Hershey's Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroon Bars:

3-3/4 cups MOUNDS Sweetened Coconut Flakes
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup HERSHEY'S MINI KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates (I just used regular chocolate chips)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9-inch square baking pan.

2. Stir together coconut, sugar, flour and salt in large bowl. Add egg whites, egg and almond extract; stir until well blended. Stir in chocolates. Spread mixture into prepared pan, covering all chocolate pieces with coconut mixture.

3. Bake 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover with foil; allow to stand at room temperature about 8 hours or overnight. Cut into bars. About 24 bars.

Pecan Pumpkin Butter Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups oats, uncooked
3/4 cup walnuts (they used 1 cup raisins)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter. Beat well. Combine flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix in flour mixture, oats, and raisins. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and flatten dough if desired. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool several minutes on cookie sheet and move to wire rack. Makes about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Final cookie plate for tomorrow (I also have another to bring into work tomorrow!!)

About half way through my baking, I ran out to teach Body Step and take Body Pump! It felt soooo good to workout since I couldn't really do so Monday- Wednesday! For dinner, I made something quick and easy- English Muffin Pizzas served with Fruit. Josh's plate:
My plate:
Mmmm the muffins got so doughy in the oven! Delicious! Phew! I'm ready for a shower!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Suite Apple Pie's Roasted Applesauce

I took a nap this morning to try and ignore my rumbling belly and had a dream I ate an apple. I woke up in a panic...did I eat something? And then I realized it was all a dream! Phew! I knew I was going to want some food as soon as I was allowed to eat this afternoon. Since I apparently had apples on the brain, I decided to make Suite Apple Pie's Roasted Applesauce.
4 large apples, cored and chopped
1/4 cup water
1/2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare the apples and toss them in a baking dish. Add the water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and toss to coat the apples. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the apples are very mushy. Shmoosh (yes, shmoosh) the apples with a spatula or potato ricer to the consistency you desire. Allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge in an airtight container.

Just wonderful Sarah!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not my dinner

Hi all! Thanks for the well wishes :) My actual procedure is tomorrow, today I just had to live on a liquid diet and take a lot of pills- yuck! Cooking dinner tonight for the husband was a little painful as my tummy was rumbling! I made him a mish mosh of things- Annie's shell's and cheese, a sammy melt, artichoke hearts (which are Josh's favorite!). It doesn't look too pretty but he says its excellent.

My dinner tonight is broth and Gatorade...yah you're totally jealous I know ;) Did you all know gatorade has HFCS in it??? I didn' t know this until today! Since the doctor highly recommended I drink a lot of it, I have to overlook the HFCS today but don't think I will be drinking gatorade in the future. Hope everyone had a good one!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Paella and Frozen Yogurt ;)

Tonight I made Paella based on this recipe from Robin Miller. I used the same sausage I used in last night dinner but I only ate the veggies.

After dinner, since I can't eat tomorrow (although I just found out I can have jello- yayyyy), we went and got frozen yogurt! I got vanilla with heath bar on top. It was very good!

How was your Monday?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ahhhhhhh we relaxed most of the afternoon and it felt INCREDIBLE! I haven’t sat down for hours of relaxation in forever! I caught up on blogs, responded to emails, called friends and family, and watched football and movies! I also made up a beautiful looking dinner. While catching up on blogs one day, I came across an awesome blog, Boston Chef. I fell in love with a bundle of the recipes listed, but in particular a recipe for Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash. I decided to make it up for dinner tonight, but omitted the pasta (since I figured Josh would have his fair share tomorrow from my bake).

2 Acorn Squash
Sausage (I used a spicy turkey/chicken sausage)
Corn (or other veggies of your choice)
Pasta sauce

Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise (not around the equator) and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish flesh side up. Put a little bit of water in the dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40-55 minutes or until the squash is just fork tender (not mushy!) (Note: I did not have a glass baking dish so I used metal and they turned out fine).

While the squash are cooking, sauté sausage and mix with corn (or other veggies) and pasta sauce.

When squash are done, remove from pan, dump water, return squash to pan. Top squash with sauce mixture (and pasta if desired- see Boston Chef’s original post) and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes (or until the cheese starts to brown).


WHAT a great dish! You must check out Boston Chef’s blog!

What is on tap for the week? I have my yucky procedure on Wednesday to see whats going on with my digestive track. This means I cannot eat Tuesday and most of Wednesday (ahhhhh!).

Aggie's Baked Mexican Penne

Happy Sunday! Hope you’re having a nice one. I started off my day with a 5 mile run at the gym (followed by 10 minutes of walking). I ran out and did a few errands and then came home to make up Josh’s potluck dish. I had a tough time deciding between all of the awesome recipes you suggested, but finally decided to make Aggie’s Baked Mexican Penne. I loved the idea of this recipe because it was easy and fun twist on baked pasta. Here is the recipe:

1/2 lb of whole wheat penne (1/2 box)
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 jars of salsa
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper
2 cups of shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring pot of water to boil for pasta, cook according to directions.

In large heated non stick skillet, add oil, garlic, peppers and onions. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add ground beef and brown. Add spices, salt and pepper. Drain and add to a large bowl with black beans, salsa and pasta. Toss to combine.

Pour half of pasta mixture into casserole dish. Spread 1 cup of shredded cheese over pasta. Add rest of pasta over cheese and top with remaining cheese. Place in oven and cook for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is golden.

The results:

I think Josh is going to have one of the best pot luck dishes! Thank you Aggie!