The Barrel Thief, Hommage, and the undomestic goddess.

I know I say this ALL THE TIME, but I need to say it again: the weekends just aren't long enough. To which Michael will always reply, 'Well, it is only two days.' That may be true, but I wish it were longer, and the week days quicker. I am seriously going stir crazy with my upcoming trip just around the corner. Like, why can't it be here already?

Okay, enough of my complaining and back to my blog post. This weekend I got to check out some new places, but I must have had a brain lapse or pre-vacation fever because I took zero photos of it, so I've linked their websites.

On Friday I hung out with my friend Lisa who recommended 'The Barrel Thief' in Fremont. I'd never been, but immediately liked it upon entering. It had a really dark and cozy vibe that made me feel like I was in some sort of UK pub rather than Seattle. They also had a coravin which made their wine selection diverse. Not to mention they had fresh air-popped truffle popcorn. YUM.

On Saturday night, Michael's parents took us to Hommage. Hommage used to be called The Book Bindery and was my favorite Seattle restaurant. For my post on The Book Bindery, click here. I was a bit apprehensive, thinking that maybe Hommage wouldn't live up to The Book Bindery. But with the new che, I was in for a surprise: it was better! Looks like I have a new favorite restaurant. What made me like it so much was the atmosphere, service, and the creativity of the menu. Everything tasted so damn good. Every little bite took me by suprise. So instead of just delivering great food and great services, they took it even further by getting us excited about the meal. If you are ever in Seattle, check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Again, I'm really sad that I missed out on taking photos. However, photos I do have are from my cooking attempts these past two weeks. This is kind of a big deal and blog post worthy because if you knew me, you would know that I hate to do all sorts of domestic things: cooking, cleaning, etc. But because Michael has been working a lot, I've taken over the cooking, meal planning, and grocery shopping. Nonetheless, the photos are not the best quality, rather they are proof that I have made some tasty stuff thanks to some food bloggers!

Butternut squash soup, Annie's crackers, and lemon pepper green beans.

Alfredo pasta not made with alfredo, also pictured below. Toppings inspired by Simply Clean Cooking and sauce by Nutrition Stripped. 
I paired it with a herb salad with a lemon vinigeratte. Though I learned I'm not much of a sun-dried tomatoes person


Pinch of Yum's enchilada casserole. I paired it with greek yogurt as a sub for sour cream, avocado, and limes!  

Pinch of Yum's Alfredo pasta bake using Nutrition Stripped's Not Alfredo Sauce and NS's Carrot, Orange, Ginger soup!

Rice paper to the rescue!

The miracle of rice paper? They can make leftovers appetizing. Thank goodness for that, because I had spaghetti squash, baby carrots, and celery leftover from the week and I needed to get rid of it. However, eating them all week didn't make them anymore appetizing.

Nonetheless, I cut up the celery and carrots threw into a pan to cook, then added the cooked spaghetti squash.

To season, I added 1/2 a tablespoon of Hoisin Sauce and chili paste. Then I used rice paper (Three Ladies Brand is the best, in my opinion) and rolled them up. Although, I do need to work on my rolling/folding skills.

Nevertheless, the rice paper saved me from my leftover slump! Yumm! If you're ever in a rut, I suggest you try it!

Loaded Veggie Soup

I'm not too good about eating my vegetables. Fruits, I love. Veggies, not so much. I try to incorporate salads or soups into my day as much as possible to compensate. So for this week I made a batch of soup to eat for the week instead of to-go salads. I'm a total newbie to the soup scene, so I just threw whatever sounded good in (the same approach I have to salads ;]).

1 box of broth of your choice (low sodium)
1 medium zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 cup of cut green beans
1 can of kidney beans (rinsed)
1 cup of cut baby carrots
2 large celery stalks

Seasoning of your choice (I used black pepper, Mrs. Dash-Fiesta Lime, Chili paste) (weird combo! But that's all I had at the moment).

Wash, peel, and cut veggies while bringing broth to a medium boil. Add carrots to the boiling broth first to give them a head start. Then add everything else. Stir occasionally.

Add seasoning. It's done, when the veggies are tender. Don't overcook it or you'll end up with mushy veggies (unless you like it that way).

~makes about 8 cups at 75 cals per cup

BASIC Cauliflower Fired Rice

I will just say now that I am a basic cook. I like to be as simple as possible. When I heard about cauliflower as a substitute for rice, I had to give it a go! I'm trying to get as much veggies in as possible, so I thought fried rice with mix veggies would be perfect.

So I use an eco non-stick pan that doesn't require cooking spray or oil, so if you must, add it accordingly.

I medium head cauliflower
1 Can of mixed vegetables (Although, I prefer frozen over canned, but seeing as I didn't want to wait for it to defrost, I went with canned this time)
2 eggwhites
black pepper and soy sauce for seasoning

Like I said, this is a very basic recipe. Feel free to add garlic, green onions, your choice of protein, and other additions to your liking.

To prepare the cauliflower, either put it in a food processor to chop, or you can cut it yourself if you have the time.

Rinse/defrost your mixed veggies.

Medium-heat a large pan.

Cook the cauliflower first (or rather, give it a head start) then add the mixed veggies, egg whites, and the seasoning.

I thought it was pretty good, considering I was eating a plate of veggies! I can't wait to use the cauliflower rice with something else. Maybe curry? Hmmm....

Spaghetti Alfredo with Shrimp and Asparagus!

So for lunch I was really craving Alfredo pasta, so using whatever ingredients I had, I came up with this!

Voila! It was definitely yummy, nutritious, and completely hit the spot!

2 cups of spaghetti squash
1 serv. shrimp
12 asparagus spears, cut inch-sized
1/4 cup of Classico, light creamy alfredo sauce

Prepare spaghetti squash.
Steam asparagus and cut when cooled
Boil shrimp.

Mix together with alfredo sauce on the stove. Put crushed red peppers and black pepper to taste.

~269 cals


Salmon Cakes and Asparagus with a Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Sauce

I was definitely in the mood to cook today! After stalking for ideas I decided I wanted to make salmon cakes. Then I had to have some form of vegetables too, so my coworker Monica suggested asparagus. But then I wanted to add something moist like a spicy sauce, and since I usually put greek yogurt on everything and I had a jar of sliced jalapenos, I thought why not. Thus, an original recipe is born!

(Sorry for the bad photo quality! I need to work on my picture taking skills for my blog:P)

This was a lot for me to eat so I put half of my dinner in a tupperware container to bring to work tomorrow.

Below is the recipe, but it's flexible enough that you can add more seasoning or ingredients to your liking to fit your preferences. This is just what I had at the moment. Maybe if I make it again, I'll modify the recipe later.

Salmon Cakes and Asparagus with a Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Sauce

Yields 1 Serving; Approximately 223 Calories

1 Serving of Asparagus (about 8 medium spears) (~24 cals)
1/3 cup of Chobani plain non-fat greek yogurt (~47 cals)
1 serving of sliced jalapenos (about 18 slices) (~5 cals)
1 serving of eggwhites (3 tbsp) (~25 cals)
1/4 large purple onion (diced) (~11 cals)
1.5 Cups of spinach (~11 cals)
4 oz/113 g Salmon (~100 cals)

For the seasoning, you can use whatever you want, but I used:
Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend (to taste-1tsp)
Pepper (to taste-1/2 tsp)
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime Seasoning Blend (to taste-1-2tsp)

The sauce is easy. Dice the sliced jalepanos and mix with the greek yogurt. Simple as that. Set aside until plating.

For the salmon cakes, I made sure to defrost the salmon before working with it. You can either place it in a food processor to shred, or you can do it by hand by just cutting the salmon into bits and pieces which is basically what I did. Place it in a mixing bowl. Boil the spinach lightly until slightly wilted (about 2 minutes) then drain and pat dry. Once dry, dice the spinach and place in the mixing bowl with the salmon. After, dice the onion and place it into the mixing bowl as well. Almost done! Just add the eggwhites and season the way you like. I put a lot of cayenne pepper because I like spice, about 1-2 tsp and 1-2 tsp of Mrs. Dash fiesta lime, and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Mix it all together, then divide the mixture into three so you end of with three salmon cakes. Shape them into patties and pan fry them on medium heat in a skillet with cooking spray until golden and cooked on both sides. (Hint: Cook the asparagus while you cook your patties so they can be ready at about the same time).

 Make the asparagus however you want! Steamed, grilled, or oven-baked! I would have preferred mine grilled, but I placed mine in the oven at 375 degrees sealed in foil dressed with cayenne pepper and Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb to my taste. I guessed I used about 1/4 tsp of each. I put it in for about 6 minutes or until it was tender.

Plate the asparagus on the bottom, then spread the sauce over it, and place the salmon cakes on top! Yummm. Feel free to add anything else you like to the recipe! Make it yours! If you have any suggestions to my recipe, please e-mail me so I can try it out/modify it!