Life has been hectic lately to say the least. Working a full time job, planning a wedding, keeping up with the blog, getting in my crossfit workouts four days a week and juggling my very busy personal life is not an easy task. Is it rewarding? Yes, but certainly not simple. In the midst of falling behind with Behind the Plates posts and social media updates I have also hit an innovative block. I started to be more serious about my wedding diet once the New Year came around. In addition to taking an overall healthier approach to meals, I also have decided to give up one thing entirely each month in order to keep up the motivation. Last month it was alcohol. February has been a dairy free (to the best of my ability) month. Next month the attempt to give up gluten will start.
Helllllo My Lovely readers!
I’ve officially returned from my month long hiatus! It was a very busy month full of travel, weddings, and work. It was great to get some time away and come back with a fresh start! I’ll be bringing you quite a few California related posts that I’m excited about in the upcoming weeks. But first, a fun festive Fall salad to kick off the season. It even provides all you pumpkin lovers a little dose of your favorite autumn flavor.
I have an exciting NJ restaurant update. Laboratorio Restaurant in Montclair, NJ. They have announced that they will now offer lunch on Thursdays and Fridays from 12pm to 4pm in addition to their regular dinner service Tuesday through Saturday.
During the summer I tend to eat a lot of salads. They are a cool and crisp relief on those sticky summer nights. With salad the possibilities are endless. Yet, I tend to fall into the same hum drum everyday salad routine. This year I have tried to break out of the monotony. First came, the Watermelon and Arugula salad (which was a big hit with all of you!) and now…. the Crab Cobb Salad Stacks.
I made a dreamy little zucchini and feta pie recently and I just had to share it all of you. I’m salivating just thinking about it. It was fluffy and light like a soufflé, rich in flavor from the cheese, and vibrant and fresh with the farmer’s market zucchini! It truly tasted like there was so much more effort put into it then just dumping all the ingredients in a bowl, pouring it into a pie plate and baking (it’s that easy folks!). I ate this for breakfast (my rationale: it has a few eggs in it….), lunch and dinner the week I made it. I’ll be making this little number again and again!
A few weeks ago I went to a restaurant in Red Bank, NJ called Dish. It’s a great little BYOB that serves up inspired meals with an Italian influence. One of the specials on the evening we dined there was a watermelon salad with ricotta salate. Our table was intrigued with the combination and ordered one salad to share. It was a sweet and salty delight. I knew it would be an easy dish to recreate and I bookmarked the idea to take home to the kitchen.
The beach outings, backyard barbeques, and park picnic time of year has arrived. I cannot believe this weekend kicks off our summer season, and I cannot be more excited for it! Our weekend schedules are about to get packed up with parties. And these parties will most likely be full of beer, burgers, and hotdogs. They are the staples. While I love them all, having them week after week doesn’t do wonders for my healthy eating routine. This summer I hope to share some recipes for you to incorporate into your weekend meals that bring a healthier option to the table.
If you haven’t read one of my recent posts, then you might not know I have gone Paleo for the month. My Crossfit gym is hosting a 30 day challenge that not only includes this caveman diet, but also a daily water intake test, a mile run benchmark and extra points for daily gym workouts. The winner gets a whopping $380 (2/3 of the challenge sign-up fee pot). Aside from the fact that I’ll pretty much join in on most challenges because I’m a major sucker for competition; I’m also saving for a wedding. Needless to say, I hopped on the bandwagon. This challenge has not only tested my physical agility and mental stability (I’ve had some pretty close calls on completely losing “my ish” due to sugar, carb and dairy withdrawal….lol); but it has also set me to task in the kitchen. I am not someone who is ok with eating just grilled chicken breast and steamed vegetables every night. For that very reason, creating innovative recipes that meet the Paleo requirements is necessary and it has been an adventure.
This whole wedding budget thing is harder than I expected! While attempting to save for our dream day the fiancé and I are trying to learn to cut corners. In the past we thought nothing of going to grab a casual weekend lunch because we were simply too lazy to cook (and by we…I mean “I”). One of the easier ways to save a little extra is to cut out unnecessary expenditures like these lunch outings. I would much rather go to one or two awesome dinners out a month then use up our restaurant outing budget on small lunches here and there. Now that we would no longer be dining out every weekend for lunch I had to start coming up with ideas to whip up at home. The key word for these meals was that they needed to be simple. After long, busy work weeks, I want nothing more than to make my life easier on my two “rest” days.
I have found that one of the coolest parts of writing a blog is discovering who reads it. It’s so rewarding to get notes from readers that they have read a post and it has resonated in some way with them. I recently reconnected with a college classmate who I have not seen in years. She had been following along with Behind the Plates and messaged me with a generously supportive note about my content. A few months later she posted to my personal Facebook wall about an exciting restaurant opening she had heard about and said that BTP should go because it would make a great blog story. Ironically, the restaurant was opening in Princeton, NJ which is where I currently work. I responded with my own excitement about trying this new place out and mentioned it was so close to where I work. I soon found out she also worked right in Princeton. We immediately set up a lunch date to catch up at the new restaurant, Mamoun’s Falafel.