I got called by my old employer to work the lead nuclear tech's maternity leave. Naturally, this would happen during the last two weeks of class. Also during the week of my grandmother's 91st birthday. But fortunately after Nora's birthday! I'll do my best to enjoy the time at work (but away from my daughter) because change is good for variety, especially if you're in a rut.
We dined out in Nashville at The Wild Cow, a vegetarian restaurant that came well recommended. Crazy name aside, this restaurant has a pretty good menu and a decent steady flow of patrons. We had quite a hard time choosing items from the two page menu. There's also a great kid's menu that I kind of wanted to order off of myself.
OK, first off, I don't have a grill. But you can get near it by cooking the veggies in a skillet over medium-hot flame. Secondly, I repeated this recipe a few days later as marinated vegetables. We didn't like it as well. Thirdly, I encourage you to really review my cost analysis. I knew it was a good week at the stores, but $3.00 to feed 5 people dinner is incredible! It proves you don't have to break the bank to eat healthy. It also highlights how much you can save by bringing your own lunch to work.
Recipe for Mediterranean Vegetable Pitas
5 Pita pockets, cut in half
3/4 cup Eggplant, diced
1/4 cup Onion, sliced thinly
5 Sweet peppers, sliced thinly
2 small Zuchini, sliced
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 teaspoon dried Herb of choice (sage, rosemary, or Italian blend, for example)
1 Small tomato, cut into wedges
5 (heaping) Tablespoons Hummus
Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions, stirring until slightly softened. Add eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. When vegetables are starting to brown, season with herbs. Toast pita pockets if desired. Spread with hummus. Fill with vegetables. Garnish with tomatoes. (Although there's nothing that says you can't cook the tomatoes, too. As they cook down, they'll make a yummy sauce for the veggies.) Another idea, my father asked for his sandwich to be served with balsamic vinegar.
Our first night eating local started off pleasantly in at a great little restaurant on Orange Ave. in downtown Orlando. Virgin Olive Market used to be on Clay, and I think the change in location surely must have increased its exposure. There was a nice, steady stream of customers during our entire dining experience. Virgin Olive makes the grade in a couple of areas. First, it is a fast, very friendly, and significantly cheaper restaurant than the two restaurants it's sandwiched in between.
While out with my mom one Friday, we stopped at a bookstore and ran into our pastor's wife. She asked us if we wanted to join her for lunch and recommended a health-food store like Whole Foods called Chamberlin's. I'd never been there before, but I once heard a patient rave about their yogurt. I was excited to give it a shot, but was saddened to learn that they no longer offered frozen yogurt.
I finally decided I could handle going back to my favorite old lunch standby of Suzie's flatbread crackers, carrot sticks, and hummus. Likely, I will need more food than that, but I'm learning to eat more smaller meals. So, I shopped Target's selection of hummus today and found three brands, but only Sonny and Joe had a plain traditional hummus available.
After my first ultrasound, we headed over to Park Ave. in Winter Park for a lunch. I knew immediately I wanted Powerhouse Cafe. On a hot midday in the scorching Orlando summer, I wanted the coolness of a cold sandwich and a smoothie. Not to mention, frozen fruit in general makes me very happy right now.
The Pampered Chef is a company similar to Mary Kay where people come to your house and host a party selling their wares, but it's even more like Tupperware because the focus is selling items for the kitchen. I have only had two experiences with Pampered Chef, only one included a party. The other was someone handing me a catalog. Do you know where the products are that I purchased from the catalog? Me either.I suspect they're buried deep in a drawer because they weren't very useful when I brought them home. Do you know where the item I bought at the party is? Believe it or not, the cookbook is right beside me. . .but not for long.
This is a small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a Mediterranean food store attached. It has a Greek menu and has been voted Orlando's Best for a few years, with framed advertisements above the cash register. However, when you look at the plastic table covers with pictures of different kinds of pasta and the "silk" leaves and plastic grape clusters hanging from the ceiling, you might get slightly confused. Paul had a falafel sandwich in a great thick bread wrap. I had the hummus and tabouleh sandwich. Both had lettuce and tomato added with a creamy cucumber dressing coating every bite.
Chicken Noodle Soup has always been a favorite to me. My mom has had this recipe forever and when my grandmother had a day care center, she cooked it for the kids. And the moms could never understand why their kids refused to eat the soup they warmed from a jar. Those were good memories.
For an all-girls mini party, I needed a simple mid-afternoon snack to be more of the main dish for a small group. I already had some crackers made of a variety of seeds--flax, poppy, sesame,etc. The crackers have a great and unique flavor. I simply wanted something to add to them. I then selected a plain, but well seasoned hummus and a medium salsa as dips.
Not much surprise, here. The food was awesome. I have to say I liked my wrap better than Paul's black bean burger, but I'm sure it's just cause black beans aren't my favorite. I do love sprouts and although the menu said sprouts came on the sandwich, I was unlucky to visit on a day when they were out of sprouts. But don't complain yet. These people pride themselves on freshness. So, who am I to complain about not getting sprouts when it's better than getting nasty sprouts?
Paul took me to lunch on Friday to a wonderful restaurant we haven't been to in ages. The set-up is modern and cafe-ish (sometimes with live music or readings) and. . .vegetarian! Vegan items are clearly marked. In Florida, it rarely gets cold enough to enjoy a good cup of HOT tea. Logically, Infusion serves cold meals to offset the heat of the drink. There are many more tea options on the menu than there are food options. The choice of the day was a camomile (non-caffeinated) tea brewed in front of your very eyes for as long as use wish. Three hour-glass timers help you decide the strength of your tea.