Thursday, February 24, 2011

Best Breakfast Ever!

I make sure to eat a good breakfast every single morning. A cup of coffee and tiny nutrigrain bar just doesn't cut it for me. This is my go-to breakfast, especially after a morning workout. I start with low fat yogurt. I like Yoplait, usually either blackberry, blueberry, or vanilla. I top the yogurt with either fresh berries or frozen thawed berries, depending on what is in season. I went to the grocery store today and a 1/2 pint of blackberries was $7! Yikes! I refuse to pay that much for 12 blackberries. Instead, I buy a big bag of frozen mixed berries. When I get home from the grocery store, I divide up the big bag into individual baggies and put them in the freezer. When I wake up in the morning, I grab a bag from the freezer and just let it thaw on the counter. Usually by the time I'm ready for breakfast the berries are thawed. If not, I throw them in the microwave for a few seconds. Today, I also sliced half a banana to add to the mix. I top the fruit and yogurt with a 1/2 cup of low fat granola. I usually buy Special K low fat honey granola. Granola can have A LOT of calories, I am always careful to not go overboard. Sometimes I  divide up the box of granola into individual baggies as well. This helps a lot with portion control and also is great for days when I am rushing out the door and need to eat breakfast at the office.

I do this with other snacks too. I keep a big bowl in the cupboard filled with baggies of low fat crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, and other healthy snacks. I keeps small baggies of grapes and other fruit, low fat string cheese and 60 calorie dark chocolate pudding cups in the fridge. These snacks can be lunch or dinner on some of my crazy days. For example on Tuesdays I go straight from work to Spanish class and don't get home until after 10:00pm. My only dinner option is a pastry from a French bakery or something out of a vending machine, so it really helps to plan ahead. Anyway, the yogurt, fruit and granola combo makes a great breakfast. It keeps me full all morning and tastes as great as it looks.

Dixie Quicks Birthday Brunch!

Last Saturday while in Omaha, we had brunch reservations at Dixie Quicks. Being the day after our 25th birthday, Angela was pretty concerned that we would all be too hungover for brunch and reminded us to hydrate throughout the night. Surprisingly, everyone felt fine the next morning and we were probably the least hungover people at the whole restaurant. Dixie Quicks is located in an unassuming store front with only a small sign in the window. However, judging from our experience there, they don't need a bigger sign. The restaurant was completely full and reservations are mandatory. Most of its popularity stems from its spotlight in the Food Network's Guy Fieri's book "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives".

The restaurant is BYOC (Bring your Own Champagne). So accordingly, we picked some up at the local Plattsmouth liquor store, which also offers tanning salon services and a porn shop (strange?). When we arrived at the restaurant we were asked to enjoy the connecting art gallery space while we waited for our table, which was located in the middle of the gallery. The Southwestern inspired menu, which changes according to the availability of fresh ingredients, is written on a chalk board in the main dining room. It was a little awkward to stand in the middle of the dining room trying to decide what to order, but definitely expedited the decision making process.
Our server, who was quite affectionate toward his "darlin" Dan, was super energetic, funny, and most importantly, knowledgeable. Angela and I chose to share the Fruit French Toast and the Chilaquiles.

Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican dish of crispy tortillas that are smothered in pulled chicken sauteed in a red or green salsa and topped with queso fresco. At Dixie Quicks, they served the Chilaquiles with eggs and black beans on the side. These definitely weren't the best or most authentic Chilaquiles I've ever had, but it was a good attempt. The eggs were cooked perfectly. Everyone else at the table enjoyed their dishes. Jamie had the "Cactus Scramble" which looked amazing. If there is one thing I've learned from loyally watching "Top Chef" every week, it is that cactus is an incredibly hard ingredient to cook with. So bravo to Dixie Quicks for their triumph. Overall it was a good experience and if I am ever in Omaha again, I would definitely go back.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Birthday Seafood Boil

This weekend I visited Angela in Omaha, Nebraska to celebrate our 25th birthday. On Saturday night Angela hosted a Seafood Boil at her house for us, her boyfriend Dan, his sister Christy, and her husband John. A Seafood Boil is exactly what it sounds like. We didn't have a pot big enough to boil everything together, which would have been ideal, but we made it work. We boiled king crab, shrimp, spicy beef kielbasa, baby red potatoes, and fresh corn with lemon wedges and Zataran's seafood boil seasoning.

The entire meal is served on newspaper lined trays with sides of melted butter. People gather around the seafood platter and pick and choose what they want. Needless to say we devoured pretty much everything. It is a super easy and fun meal to entertain with. I am definitely going to try it again in the future.