Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Taste of Peru

Sunday afternoon we celebrated Valentine's Day early with a meal at Andina Restaurant in The Pearl with Donna and Pierre. This was a new experience for all of us and the staff made us feel right at home. The menu was explained and "interpreted" along with sharing some great recommendations.
I love being adventurous in trying new things ... well, I have to admit that I was a bit timid about the octopus listed on the menu : )
Each dish served was a rich combination of tastes and aromas. From our beverage right down to the beautifully created desserts -you do not leave disappointed. We will definitely go back. The menu is full of an array of food and beverages waiting to be experienced. Check out this adventure of Peruvian cuisine and culture here. You'll be glad you did!

Thursday, February 09, 2012


Last week we enjoyed a Christmas gift treat. Tim and Rae gave us cooking classes at Sur la Table for Italian Family Favorites with Chef Ben Witten (thanks again!). This was a wonderful gift idea. Now I would like to take more classes. It's a great gift idea for empty-nesters and would be fun to take with family or a group of friends.
We worked in groups of four on a full Italian menu that included: Saffron Risotto, Sicilian Fennel Salad with Oranges and Arugula, Chicken Cacciatore, and Tiramisu for dessert. We also enjoyed bread with dipping oil, wine and brushetta. It was amazing!
Not only were we instructed in how to make these recipes but we learned about kitchen tools, ingredients and a few new ways to work in the kitchen. The bonus was the end product ... we got to enjoy the meal we prepared. Every recipe turned out so delicious but I was quite surprised to discover that I probably liked the fennel salad most of all. It's something I've been hesitant to try and it tasted amazing!
You have an opportunity to shop between prep and dining. Sur la Table includes a 10% discount for a week following class. I had a gift card (thanks, Brian and Michelle) and picked up several kitchen tools and accessories. You leave class with all of the recipes, a list of equipment and products used to prepare them.
Sur la Table has a calendar of classes available each month. Check it out at and grab a friend or family member to join you. We'd love to go again some time!
We still have a date night for an Italian dinner @ Bugatti's and a movie to look forward to ... thanks to Matt and Kathy. Oh, how I love Christmas gifts that keep on giving : )

Friday, February 03, 2012

What Have You Got to Lose?

Since I have been spotlighting intentional eating, I thought I would share my meal plan. Following my surgery I have been eating the same foods before and during work. I know these agree with me and are very filling. I recently read an article by Dr. Oz stating that people who eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch tend to lose and keep weight off. So, this has a dual bonus! Perhaps many could not do this due to boredom but I actually look forward to these meals every day.
Being intentional in this area of my life has made a few changes. My alarm now goes off at 5:20 a.m. and while putting my salad together I have my breakfast simmering. I keep all ingredients gathered together to enable my morning routine to go a little faster. Some items I have prepped, cooked, or packaged in advance.
Here's my eating plan breakdown:
Breakfast includes a Better n Eggs omlette filled with a mixture of precooked peppers, celery, onion, steamed sweet potatoes, 2 pieces of Canadian bacon and a slice of toast ... all for under 200 calories
Mid-morning snack: 24 almonds 163 calories
Lunch: Salad with tomato, cucumber, olives, shrimp, croutons and ranch light dressing, 3 Wasa crackers and a triangle of Laughing Cow or Sonoma Jack cheese. All for under 350 calories
Afternoon snack: After working out at the gym I enjoy Soy Energy Blend mix 1/4c. = 150 calories
I have been eating a variety of foods for dinner (no boredom there!)
Evening Snack: Sugar-free chocolate pudding 150 calories ... it's like having ice cream : )
This is the first time since my surgery eight years ago that my "symptoms" have calmed down! An added bonus ... I've dropped one pant size.
Give Dr. Oz's idea a try ... what do you have to lose?