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Spicy Turkey Pitas with Squash Fries

13 Jul

So I’m a huge fan of Middle Eastern food: kofta, falafels, shish taouk, the list goes on and on. I mean, how can you not like it? Pillowly pita bread, wide varieties of highly seasoned meat, baba ganoush, hummus – all delicious. (And yes I had to look up the spelling for the majority of those words).

I also love gyros although that’s more towards the Mediterranean side of things, but gyros are variations on shawarma and doner kebabs and no matter what they’re called I think they’re tasty. One of our favorite restaurants to bring people to/meet people at is Taz in Mason because, barring being a vegetarian (although there’s still super delicious meatless fare), everyone we’ve ever brought has enjoyed it. How can you go wrong with meat, bread, sauce, and some veggies to make you feel better about what you’re eating?

But since I try to cook healthy to counteract the times I treat myself while eating out, I wanted to do my take on it at home. I also happened to have some whole wheat pocketless pitas in the freezer (saw them at Findley Market and couldn’t resist picking them up because where else do you find whole wheat pocketless ones?) and I wanted to use them. And I really, really, wanted to play with my new, completely awesome, immersion blender. I just got married two months ago and it was a wedding gift – I squealed when I got it, I really did. Apparently I’m easily excited.

I think from start to finish the whole dinner took me about 45 minutes, and that was with making the sauce, meat, side, and warming the pitas. It was nice because it felt like an indulgence and I could be happy knowing that it was on the healthy side. So here it is; Spicy Turkey Pitas with Toum (Lebanese Garlic Sauce) and Squash Fries.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken Thighs with Mango Salsa

12 Jul

White sand beaches, ocean surf, and palm trees – why aren’t I in Jamaica/the Caribbean relaxing somewhere right now?!

Maybe because it’s been crazy hot weather, but the humidity has got me remembering warm tropical places and ocean surfs.  We took a cruise a couple of years ago and had about 8 hours in Nassau and I was so excited to go and find some amazing street food or a sit down meal but the hubby put the kibosh on that *sigh*.  He was worried about getting sick so we ended up eating at the Hard Rock Café.  The Hard Rock Café!!!  Not where I was really wanting to go in Jamaica.  Where’s the jerk?  The conch?  The culture?

Although we did just honeymoon in Cancun and both got horribly sick.  Like, didn’t get out of bed couldn’t be more than 10 feet away from the bathroom kind of sick that for me lasted a whole day and for the man lasted a couple.  Favorite quote, we’re laying there sick and my husband goes, “Well we said in sickness and in health.”  The next day I’m snacking on cheese fries and a chocolate malt (hey I wanted something fatty, I hadn’t eaten in over a day and a half) and he’s so frustrated, “Why are you so much better already?!” (I also didn’t get sick until eight hours after him) Ha, yay for my strong constitution.

We went to Xel-Ha, an eco-park, and I’m not sure if I blame the sickness on the food there (it was a tourist destination and I tend not to trust touristy area foods because it’s not like the cooks are worried about building a repeat clientele) or the fact that we were jumping/swimming/snorkeling/zip lining in the saltwater of the bay/lagoon and kept accidently swallowing some.  My philosophy in other countries is that it’s better to go off the beaten path and find where the local’s eat because those cooks and chefs tend to take more pride in their food…they also don’t want to risk poisoning their neighbors and have to face angry mobs.

If anyone has read Steve Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue book, I completely want his job.  To travel around to all those different countries, eating and writing about it?  Yes please, sign me up.  I know anytime I’m in the Philippines I’m always grabbing ihaw or palamig and I’ve never had an issue (disclaimer: those are not my images/pages and are the property of their original owners).

So due to the hot and muggy weather, what seemed like the perfect meal (and considering I had chicken thighs in the fridge)?  Jamaican Inspired Jerk Chicken!  I also had some mangos since I can’t resist buying a couple every week in the summer (they call out a siren song in the grocery store), and I figured a nice mango salsa along with rice would make a perfect meal.  I can’t vouch for the authenticity of my jerk; I’ve never actually had it unless I’ve made it.  There’s a newer Jamaican place that opened up in Clifton and I need to get down there to try theirs for comparison (I’ve heard its good), but until then, here’s my version:

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Creole Chicken and Okra – Clean Eating

1 Jul

I love Clean Eating Magazine.  It’s a fantastic idea and doesn’t rely on gimmicks.  Do I follow the Eat Clean diet step-by-step?  Eh….no.  But I like cooking the recipes from the magazine.  They’re usually pretty quick/easy and nutritionally balanced.

So as I’m writing this I’m thinking, I love food and cooking.  I mean, that’s why I have this blog but here’s how I know it’s something I truly enjoy.  I never watch the clock when I’m cooking something, it’s almost zen like.  I never really had a hobby/talent/skill growing up but cooking really appealed to me because well, you can eat it when you’re done.  But it’s only the last two years that I’ve really started to do it often and realized how much I actually enjoy it.  Now are there times I’m super stressed and trying to throw together something quickly?  Definitely.  But if I’m not under a time constraint it’s super relaxing. Continue reading

Sesame Ginger Pork Patty with Grilled Pineapple – Eating Well

30 Jun

Last night I was exhausted, but since we had nothing to eat and we just ate out Tuesday, dinner still needed to be made.  I was also supposed to be in class but I’m still sick, although the antibiotics are helping, and just feeling worn down in general.  On the plus side, I didn’t feel as crazy as I did Monday when I saw the doctor, but I definitely wasn’t 100% yet.  I’m sure everyone out there has felt the same way at one point, you’re sick/tired but the world doesn’t end because you’re not feeling well and there are still responsibilities to be handled.  Sometimes it sucks having to be a responsible adult (side note – I’m 27).  Apparently getting married and working full-time turns me into *gulp* my mom (who is an amazing woman that I completely love but wasn’t ever planning on morphing into).  Funny how the lens changes the older you get and you start to realize everything your parents were dealing with.

So normal dinner dilemma experienced by thousands around the world.  I got home at 6:15, and after putting away laundry and straightening a bit, what was I actually going to make?  As I’ve mentioned previously I’m a bit anal retentive on the meal planning so at least that part was done.  Every week I always have four dinners planned out and groceries bought, but last minute plans change so I try to be a bit more flexible on what I cook on each actual night.  Yesterday was supposed to be a slow cooker night, but after my disastrous morning (refer to previous post) I didn’t have time to actually get the slow cooker going before I left the house.  Continue reading