Posts tagged ‘Italian food’
No wonder I woke up feeling like death today.
Or, more specifically,
I have a teeny apartment, and two kitties. Indoor dust and dander is bad enough as it is…yeesh. I need to vacuum more frequently, but sometimes I honestly think vacuuming makes it worse!
Dinner last night with my family (for Dad’s birthday) was great! We went to this old school Italian place in Little Italy called Salatino’s — note the checkered red tablecloth! The weather was perfect so we sat outside and enjoyed each other’s company as well as the nice breeze and the great view of the city. I ordered their homemade rigatoni dish, with San Marzano tomato sauce (the best kind!) and homemade sausage. I initially ordered it with whole wheat pasta, but at the last minute switched it back, thinking the boxed whole wheat wouldn’t be anywhere near as good as the homemade. I was right!
The portion was huge! I think I ate between 1/3 and 1/2, but I wasn’t paying super close attention because we were having such a good time. I also had some rapini that I ordered on the side for some green. It wasn’t that great — too much olive oil, no salt and red pepper flakes — whaa?? Weird preparation.
I also sipped on a glass of prosecco throughout the night, and nibbled on 3 small pieces of tomato sauce-dipped bread. YUMMM.
Going to pick up my race packet (!!!) after work today, then hitting up the grocery store because I ran out of veggies — even my frozen backup stash!! Heavens no. Instead of writing down a second list to copy what I had on my dry erase board, I just took a picture on my phone. Because I’m cool like that. And lazy.
Technology: 1, Laura’s handwriting: 0. (Do you like how it says email grandma? Haha)
Sometimes I have to laugh at the ridiculousness of my life. I was in the middle of my lunch and realized that I needed to go downstairs to switch my laundry out. Since my cats are fatty vultures, they will immediately jump up and sniff/lick/consume any food or drink that I leave out, regardless of what it is. For this reason, I am always balancing or hiding my food in weird places when I walk away. Today, my lunch was perched on top of the fridge for ten minutes.
I had a delicious open-faced turkey sandwich with TJ’s sliced goat cheese and 1/3 of an avocado, and a salad with chopped romaine, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow bell pepper and TJ’s champagne pear vinaigrette. I just picked up some sliced turkey from the deli yesterday after finishing off the gross pre-packaged turkey I bought last time when the deli was closed. It was the natural, no preservatives kind, but still — that stuff is so slimy and just not tasty. I prefer Boar’s Head ovengold much more :)
See the little flecks of Gorgonzola in the dressing? Mmmm! It’s pretty low-cal too, I think only 45 calories in a serving. I always keep this stuff in the fridge because it makes any salad taste like it came from a restaurant.
Half a banana was also enjoyed on the side.
I was able to sleep in and work from home today (yayyy work-from-home Wendesdays!) and it’s a good thing too, because it’s bleary and rainy out! It seemed like it was actually pretty nice out up until about 1 o’clock, but I was a good little worker bee and stayed inside near the computer, so I can’t be sure. Now it’s raining pretty steadily though, and it’s nice to have the sound in the background while I’m working away.
Yesterday after leaving work, I hopped on the bus to find that it was uber-crowded, so I had to stand up at the very front next to the driver, and it felt like I was playing a video game or something. I was RIGHT up against the windshield. Traffic was bad, so I downloaded a new phone app that is similar to the Hipstamatic for the iPhone and played around with it. Here is an overly-Hipsteresque shot of my ridiculously treacherous-looking spot on the bus.
Crazy, no? That happens from time to time on the bus because it’s the very last stop before it runs express up Lake Shore Drive. It was a beautiful day with tons of people running and biking along the lake shore path, with lots of sailboats out on the water too, but I couldn’t snap a decent enough shot. Sorry! Here’s another.
This app is so neat, I can’t wait to play around with it more. Expect many more hipster-y, vintage-looking pictures in the future!
When I got home, I made a quick run (hah!) to the grocery store to pick up some supplies for the evening’s activities. I seriously don’t think I can leave a grocery store with a bill under $50. Honestly. I think it’s impossible. Thankfully it was still lower than it would have been normally, because strawberries were $1.50 a pack!!! Talk about a kid in a candy store — I went nuts, and left with four packages :D
My friend Laura met me in front of my apartment soon after, and after dropping off the groceries, we walked over to a new restaurant that just opened in the neighborhood called Taverna 750. Immediately after seeing the signs and menu go up a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try this place. It had lots of small plates, homemade cellos (limoncello, orangecello, etc) and a fantastic drink list, all with an Italian twist.
I started off with their signature 750 cocktail, which was very similar to a cosmopolitan, but was made with homemade limoncello and came with a sidecar!
It was STRONG, but very delicious. And how cute is the little sidecar in a bucket of ice? The drink was $10, but I felt like I really got my money’s worth with the extra little carafe. Of course I shared with Laura, and she got a shooter of homemade pistachio-cello. It was sweet and very smooth!
Next we each received our own antipastos. She got a chilled carrot soup, and I got a mozzarella dish wrapped in phyllo dough…they were both amazing.
We shared two small plates after that: a slow-roasted pork shoulder in a tomato sauce with creamy polenta and a pesto drizzle (OMG), and a “pizzette” with brie, figs, pepperoni and poppy seeds (OMG!). This is my kind of restaurant.
The polenta was SO creamy and amazing, and paired with the savory meat and sauce, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I will never turn down slow-roasted pork shoulder, it’s one of my favorite dishes. The pizza was amazing too, and I thought the poppy seeds (typo alert – I wrote “poopy seeds” at first…heh) were such a neat and unexpected addition. I can’t wait to come back and try everything on their menu!
For dessert, Laura and I planned on making strawberry rhubarb pie (!) after I texted her earlier in the day saying that it sounded really good (drawback of looking at food all day for work). When we looked at some of the recipes, though, it seemed like the combination of a few tired girls and my very small kitchen might mean we should pick something a little easier. We decided (after a stiff cocktail, of course) that Emeril’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble with Irish Whiskey Butter sounded perfect to these two lushes.
I have to admit, this dessert was very good, but it was far too sweet for my tastes. I have never been a big dessert or sugar person, and hardly eat much of it from day to day, so when I try something really sweet, it usually turns me off. While the taste was fantastic, I had a hard time adjusting to the sweetness with that first bite. The sauce was also very sweet, so I needed to gulp down a gigantic glass of water after a few tastes.
I think next time (if there is a next time), I’d make this with 1/3 of the sugar or even less, since the strawberries were so naturally sweet. I would also try to figure out a way to make the sauce with less sugar, because once that melted into the crumble, it was just that much more sugar. If you’re a big sweets fan though, this would definitely be for you!
I decided to have dessert after my lunch today, and mixed a small portion of leftover SR crumble into a big blob of Fage 0% and sprinkled a little cinnamon on top — I think this was the key here. The yogurt’s tang really set off some of the sweetness of the dessert, and the insanely indulgent creaminess of the Fage (seriously, this stuff is worth the splurge — it is leaps and bounds beyond every other Greek yogurt out there) contrasted nicely with the crunch of the crumble.
You better believe I licked the bowl clean! Yum.
I have a bit more work to do today, and I’m multitasking by doing some long-overdue laundry that has been staring at me for weeks. There are about nineteen piles of clean clothes on my bed, and every hanging surface available is covered in clothes hanging dry. I’d like to get to the gym at some point before it gets too late, but I have a feeling this is going to take a looooong time tonight…wish me luck.
Catch ya later!
Hi friends! Phew! Are you glad we’re already 1/5 through the week? I surely am :)
I had a nice, albeit interesting weekend. I spent some time Friday night doing the whole pizza and PJs thing to keep the mood light with a sad friend. We had a blast sipping wine and watching terrible horror movies, although I made the mistake of starting my glass (or 10) of wine post-workout but pre-dinner. Needless to say, I was a hot mess by the end of the evening. Glad I was among friends when I made a fool out of myself… *blush*
Saturday night I went out to dinner at Francesca’s Pizzeria on Clark and, as always, it was uh-mazing. If you didn’t know, I have a crazy obsession with Neapolitan pizza. I strayed a bit from my usual Bufalina (Margherita with bufala mozzarella) and got a Parmigiano with eggplant and parmesan subbed my favorite bufala for the regular mozzarella! Yum! My dinner companions each took two (albeit smallish) pieces home, but I sinfully gobbled down the entire thing. And it was soooo worth it.
That’s right, you’re reading that correctly: I had pizza two nights in a row. And I loved every second of it :D
Sunday was spent sleeping in (and sleeping late in my dictionary means LATE), hitting the gym and running errands. After a quick shower, my parents came into the city and took my brother, sister-in-law and me out to dinner! It was so much fun and the food was delish. We went to Mia Francesca in Wrigleyville, and between the three of us, got the same two dishes! So funny. I had a penne pasta with sausage, broccoli (which was subbed in place of peas, ick!) and a creamy tomato cream sauce. Of course I topped it with a healthy dose of fresh shredded parm as well :D It was good, but it was a bit difficult on my tummy because I’m moderately *gasp!* lactose intolerant!
I can handle most yogurt and a little bit of cheese, but ice cream and milkshakes, etc. are my enemies. It’s a good thing I don’t really like sweets! But this pasta from dinner Sunday night was heeeavy on the cream, and my tummy was not happy. I had leftovers for lunch today (along with a salad), but made sure to take a lactose pill beforehand :)
Chicago is on the brink of a blizzard, so everyone at work spent the day discussing how we were going to handle it. The news kept telling people to get their errands done today, because one the heavy snow starts tomorrow evening, they’re expecting white-out conditions! I should have hit the gym after work today since it’s unlikely I will get there tomorrow, but I have been dealing with some nasty knee pain that told me it’s time to give my knees a little rest. I think I am having IT band issues (a previous physical therapist had guessed this was the problem), so I made an appointment to see a chiropractor on Wednesday. Hopefully the impending blizzard won’t keep me from getting there!
For lunch last week as an attempt at redemption after my salty (semi) disaster, I made a modified version with no added salt, more veggies and shrimp! It turned out perfect. I mixed about 1/4 cup dry quinoa (whatever that translates to cooked!), two cut up kumatos, about 3 oz. cooked, peeled, de-veined shrimp (from TJ’s, eyeballed the portion), some sauteed leeks from cooking the shrimp and some fresh spinach to cook when reheated. I also topped it off with some Garlic Gold.
I just love quinoa. I can’t get over how easy it is to cook! A little after my lunch today, I cut up a blood orange for a snack.
Isn’t the color lovely? I learned today that blood oranges get their color from anthocyanins, which are heavy duty antioxidants! They prevent cancer and do all sorts of other fabulous things for your health.
I couldn’t help myself, they were so pretty!
For dinner, I switched up my recipe plans a bit since the chicken I had on hand smelled a bit funky. I’m nervous about chicken + salmonella, so I stuck it in the freezer to be inspected later… (this sounds even sillier when I type it out). I did make some shrimp though!
Spaghetti squash is surprisingly easy to make! All you do is roast it on a cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Then it’s time to shred, baby.
The flesh just sort of strings along as you scoop it out with the fork. It was fun!
It has a sort of crunchy texture, and a subtle, but buttery squash flavor. I popped the finished strands in the microwave to cook them a little more since it was still a bit crunchy, and that seemed to help. While that was happening, I was doing this:
Shrimpies, zukes + leeks! Can you tell that I love leeks? They are easier to slice than onions, have a sweeter flavor, and add a nice crunch to just about anything! The final product had a splash of veggie broth and a handful of spinach, some cut up red and yellow bell peppers and was topped with some Garlic Gold and an almost decadent amount of freshly grated parmesan.
How AMAZING does that look?? And see my lovely new microplane in the background? :)
It tasted even better than it looked. I think I would eat every single meal with garlic + parmesan cheese if I could. Well, maybe not my chocolate oatmeal!
It was a long day because I didn’t get very much sleep last night. I felt exhausted and sluggish at work, and had more on my plate than my brain could handle. I was very happy to head home, put on some pajamas, and pour myself a glass of wine.
It has already started snowing, so it will be quite an adventure waking up tomorrow. Although I can’t imagine we’ll get more than Tina over at Carrots ‘n’ Cake has been getting in Boston!
Bedtime for this girl. Goodnight!
…and threatening to ruin my workout again this evening. And again, it comes in the form of pizza.
Surprisingly, I’m really good about working out on Fridays (for context, today is essentially Friday for me — no work for this girl tomorrow!). Maybe it’s the laid back feeling of having two and a half days of free time ahead of me, or maybe it’s just wanting to start the weekend off on a good foot. Regardless, I almost always make it to the (nearly deserted) gym on Fridays after work and get in a really good, sweaty workout.
One tip I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in keeping up with my gym “schedule” is packing up my gym bag and taking it to work with me in the morning. It sometimes feels silly, because my gym is literally 3 blocks from my apartment, and to drag this (admittedly cute, but so not matching with my all-black work vibe) pastel purple Puma (alliteration!) duffel all the way down to the Loop with me, only to bring it back and stop just a few streets short of my original starting point point seems…well…like a lot of effort. But, I’ve figured out that if I don’t go to the gym right after work and before getting home, the chances of going drop off severely…almost alarmingly so.
You’ve got dinner…and since dinner is taking a while to cook, well, why not have just a little glass of wine while you wait? And ooh, those chocolate covered pretzels you made for your party over the weekend are still sitting on the counter. They’re small, I can have a few. By this point you’ve already finished your wine, and obviously need another glass to go with dinner. And hey — Jersey Shore is on! Would be nice to lean back on the couch and relax — just a bit! have to go to the gym after this still — while you finish your dinner. Of course, you have to wait for your food to digest before working out and jostling it all in your stomach, otherwise you will just burn the food off and it won’t be effective. Oh my goodness, what’s that? It’s already 9:30? Well, getting your beauty sleep is important, maybe a night off from the gym would be beneficial if you go to sleep early and work out in the morning instead. That would really feel good. I’ll just get into my pajamas and watch a little Netflix on my computer to fall asleep. Wow, this documentary is fascinating…I can’t stop now What? It’s 1:30 in the morning? I really should sleep in tomorrow…can’t be going into work without my wits about me.
Yeah, you all know this game. I can’t be the only one.
But I digress…I actually have my gym bag here at work with me, and I didn’t even forget a sports bra like I did a few weeks ago (but still worked out!). It’s the start of my holiday break, and I have all the tools to start it out healthy – but – my friend Megan is coming over to visit tonight, and we, like always, are already talking about food. Food porn, you know how it goes. We want pizza. If I go to the gym after work, I won’t have time to shower and get ready to head out to dinner with her. Gotta make a choice.
I think pizza wins.