Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wednesday With the Guys and the Food

Last week our good friend Phil was in town from Springfield, Missouri. Phil is one of those people that I just want to be around. He is kind, funny, and intelligent and who wouldn’t like spending time with someone like that? We always have great conversations so I take every opportunity to see him when I can. Since Dan, Phil and Jason had a meeting about an hour north of here I drove up with them so I could talk in the car to get extra time with the guys. I am definitely a talker in case you hadn’t figured that out. When I was little my father’s nickname for me was “Chatty Cathy” which was popular talking doll in the 60’s. I have been a talker a long time.

Here is a picture of the guys chatting with others before the meeting.

While the guys were meeting I was busy reading my favorite magazine “Donna Hay”. Those of you from Australia and New Zealand know this magazine I am sure. I stumbled across it in my dentist’s office of all places and was immediately thrilled with the content. This magazine takes food porn to a new level and as you can imagine I love that. If you try to order this in the states I will warn you that it crazy expensive (for a magazine) because of the international shipping. I think we are paying $97 a year for it but it is so worth it to me. The magazine is NOT vegan but I get ideas from every issue.  Here is an example of the ideas I get from the magazine. Doesn’t rice pudding with ginger crumble sound absolutely amazing? I really love this magazine. She has written cookbooks if you can’t find the magazine for sale on a newsstand near you look for her cookbooks.

After I finished reading the magazine I decided to check out the surroundings and found myself in the gym of all places. ;-) The facility was small but well stocked. Apartment living is really not what it used to be is it? If I lived here you know where you would me every morning right? I would either in the gym or the pool or maybe a little time in each. LOL

Once the guys were finished with their meeting we headed back to Baltimore and stopped for lunch before I went home and they went to the office. Unanimously we decided to call Ian and head there for lunch. Poor Ian we only gave him 45 minutes notice that we were coming in but he managed to accommodate us. We are SO lucky to have Ian. I know that I say that all the time but I really mean it. I have no idea what I would without Ian some days.

We started with a curried cauliflower soup that was finished with almonds and green onions. Nice job Dani we loved it! Thank you for having a vegan soup on the menu every day. We really appreciate that!

Next Ian made us a delicious organic salad of: mizuna and cilantro with radish, avocado, and pomegranate roasted tomatoes which was light dressed with apple cider vinegar. This salad was perfect for the heat and humidity we had that day. This particular day was one of those scorchers were the temps were over 100 and the humidity felt like it matched the temperature. But even with the weather it was still great to spend time with the guys.

Jason ordered the lamb burger which includes harissa and enjoyed it. We aren’t often at the restaurant for lunch so I never think of burgers. However I did notice that there wasn’t a veggie burger on the menu. I am going to see if I can convince Ian to try making a house-made version of veggie burger to see how it will sell. Wish me luck as I think it will take some fast talking to get him to give it a try. ;-)

After the guys were finished at work we back to the restaurant for dinner. We had given Ian a few days warning so we had time to contemplate dishes for us and he outdid himself like usual.  Only for dinner Walid joined us instead of Jason.  We had a great time chatting and eating, basically just hanging out and goofing off.   

Our first course was a salad of black beans, corn, avocado, tomato, and jalapeno on a bed of mizuna. He finished this with crispy tortilla strip. The contrast of the soft and crispy and the sweet and spicy was perfect. This was a great dish for a hot humid evening.

I loved the second course which was saffron potatoes, garlic scapes, sun-dried tomatoes and lacinato kale. Garlic scapes are the top of garlic, the items that look like green beans in the photo. They taste like garlic only very mild. Since I typically use them raw to make pesto I loved the idea of cooking them.

The third course was very creative and was hands down Dan’s favorite. I loved this one too but it is hard to top garlic scapes in my book. ;-) This dish was cucumber noodles with lime and cilantro that was topped with Szechuan mushrooms with peanuts. Why does Ian say he can’t do vegan? ;-)

So…What Changes Do you Want to Make?:

This is a follow up to my post yesterday about why we eat the way that we do. Lots of people talk about wanting something (like to be healthy, lose weight, change their diet, etc.) but something happens and they don’t follow through. That has happened to me many times in the past. Has it ever happened to you? I have spent a lot of time trying to understand my motivation, or demotivation as the case may be and have learned a few things that I want to share in case they help you.

The first thing I have learned is that unless I am truly committed to doing something it never happens. Many times in the past I have tried to change (like New Year’s resolutions) and somehow I didn’t get the results I was looking for. Looking back at those learning experiences (aka failures) I realized that I wasn’t invested in the change. For me the trick to making change is to be 100% committed to that change. The problem I run into is how to get myself to commit.

Depending on what my goal is my motivation can be quite different. Lifestyle changes always come down to knowledge. I need to do my own research so that I thoroughly understand the impact of my actions before I was going to make any significant changes. However once I “get it” there really is no turning back.

For other types of change it needs to be something that I passionate about. For example I adore my husband. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. It is very easy for me to commit to things that will benefit Dan. Again it always comes back to home much I really want something.

You all know that one of the things that is very important to me is sharing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. I would definitely say that I am passionate about this “cause”. I wake up every morning looking forward to doing research about health. As crazy as it sounds research really gets my blood pumping. Now I am wondering, what gets you pumped?

Finally are you struggling to make any changes to your life? If they are lifestyle related and you want to bounce things off me send me an email. If there is anything that I can do to help you get moving the right direction I am happy to lend a hand. I only ask that you be patient since my calendar is a little full currently.

Happy Thoughts:

There are days when I am so happy that I don’t want to do with myself. Our Saturday has been a very good one which means that I have plenty to be thankful for today.

• My feline children were so precious today I almost couldn’t stand it. I am so fortunate to have three adorable little fur children in my life. Do you have any furry children in your life?

• Dan and I are having a wonderful and relaxing weekend together. I love my weekends with my sweetie.

• Everything with our “new family member” is coming together very well. We are staying very busy preparing for the arrival but things are going great. I guess this is where be prepared comes into play. I love it when a plan comes together.

• Listening to jazz always puts me in a mellow mood. We have Steve Cole playing on Pandora now (as I typed that) as we are sipping white tea with tulsi and roses. What a great way to spend Saturday afternoon. This is what weekends are made for in my opinion.

• The weather has been cooperating today and keeping the rain away. It is always nice when we get enjoy the outdoors over the weekend. Given the nice evening we went downtown to watch the sunset over the harbor. We found a little out of way spot last weekend which was great. Here are a couple pictures I took of the harbor while we were there. Gorgeous isn’t it?  I hope you are starting to get a better feel for Baltimore as I post more pictures of the city.

• Dan asked me if I had time to spend Monday with him. Isn’t that nice that he likes to see when whenever he can? How lucky am I to be married to a man who loves to be with me?  I guess you know what I will be doing on Monday now right?  :-)

Signing out:

The farmers’ market comes early on Sunday so we need to turn in soon. I hope you had a great Saturday. Talk to you again soon.


  1. Wow. All three of those dishes look simply amazing. I think I'm inspired to make some sort of taco salad for dinner tonight (it's too hot to even turn on the stove!).

  2. Jackie,

    Ian is very talented isn't he? And to think he always tells me he can't do vegan. Really? He seems to do it really well to me. I bet you are starting to see why I often get lazy and let Ian do the cooking. Not only is it always delicious but I get tons of ideas. I hope his food inspires you too.

    Enjoy your taco salad tonight! Sorry to hear it is that hot where you are.



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