Oktoberfest!

Tonight my dad took my sister and me to a mini-Oktoberfest near his home. It was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that German food usually consists of beef or pork–the only types of meat I don’t eat. I still got to try some potatoes, and my dad and my sister were kind enough to give me their pickle spears.

I was sad that I forgot to take pictures of the food. I guess I didn’t even think about it because I wasn’t the one eating it. I did, however, get a few pictures inside the giant tent.

My family ate dinner before people filled the tent.

After walking around for a bit and riding a few rides, my sister was ready to participate in some people watching. We figured that since there were a lot of people, at least a few were likely to start dancing soon.

This ride terrified me.

Turns out, my sister and I took part in some of the dancing too. We were on our way to buy some pizza (since I hadn’t eaten yet), when a konga line passed by us. I couldn’t resist. And I’m glad I didn’t. It was fun!

The tent was packed later in the evening.

This was my first experience at any sort of Oktoberfest. I’m glad we went. It was like a carnival and an overgrown family gathering smacked into one event.

Simply amazing.

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Dinner plans, anyone?

I was worried I would have to scrounge for food tonight, when I got a wonderful text from my friend.

“Dinner plans anyone?”

I was pretty excited. I did not feel like eating alone–or even cooking, for that matter–again. We met at a local pizzeria. I’d only been there once and really liked it, so I was pretty okay with her selection.

Last time I was there, I ordered a hot sub. It was good, but huge. So this time I decided to try their pizza. I ordered thin crust with feta cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. It was decent, though I think I was expecting something more.

The experience honestly wasn’t all I had hoped for either. The workers were generally rude to my friends and me. It kind of irked me that my pizza was burnt and I had to rake the ingredients to cover the entire pizza. I realize that might be a bit petty, but I think it bothered me mostly because of the unpleasant atmosphere.

After eating at the pizzeria, we walked to TCBY for some frozen yogurt and coffee. One of my friends had a few coupons, and coupons always make me happy.

I had Tart Pomegranate Acai (I think that’s what it was called) with blueberries, blackberries, and granola. It was fabulous! This was my first experience at a TCBY, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s the first of many.

My frozen yogurt was amazing!

I’m so glad the night ended the way it did. I had lots of fun with my friends. It was nice to chill for a few hours.

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Mexi-burgers are fantastico!

My ex actually came up with the idea for this type of burger. This summer we spent the day at the beach and decided we would cook some dinner at his parents’ beach house before heading back home. He wanted tacos without the messiness of taco. Thus, we created a taco burger. But his rendition was slightly different from what I make now. His is like a regular burger with taco seasoning. Mine is more like a taco on a bun.

The burger was amazing. The chips--not so much.

I simply mix a taco seasoning packet into some ground tukey meat then cook it like a regular burger. Instead of adding ketchup, mustard, and/or mayonaise, I load it with salsa and guacamole (my favorite is Wholly Guacamole Classic). Since the salsa already has tomato and onion in it, I don’t even bother putting those on my burger–a little lettuce is good enough for me.

I’m sure your wondering why it’s called a “Mexi-burger,” especially since I called it a taco burger earlier in the post. Well, my sister is a very creative person. That’s why. I told her about my taco burgers and about the new ideas I had for it, and she told me I should call it a “Mexi-burger.” Then she told me I needed to make some for her. Well, she said I should make it so I could post it on the blog. I knew what she really meant.

So what do you think? Have you ever tried anything like this before? If so, how did it turn out?

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I have the best roommate!

My roommate is seriously awesome. Seriously.

Mondays are always really busy for me, so I asked her if she would cook tonight. We planned to have breakfast for dinner. All she told me was that she was making french toast. So that’s all I was expecting. But, because she is so amazing, she went all out.

She made french toast (the best she’s ever made, by the way), eggs, and seasoned potatoes. I picked up some fruit on my way home so we could have a little something refreshing. Plus, that’s what I generally rely on for my breakfast every morning.

My roommie makes the best brinner!

It was all so good! If you’ve never tried french toast, blueberries, and syrup together in one bite, you are definitely missing out. It’s one of the best combinations I’ve ever tasted. I’m seriously salivating just thinking about it.

She said she made all the extra stuff simply because she was bored, but I think there was more to it–she totally loves me. So go send her some love too. Read her blog and comment, like, or retweet it (or whatever you like to do).

So what about you? Have you had an especially yummy brinner lately? Or has anyone cooked something else delicious for you?

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Is Greek Yogurt Any Good?

I’ve heard Rachel Wilkerson talk a lot about Greek yogurt. I try most of the food ideas she posts, so I had to try this. I saw some Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt one day when I was grocery shopping and decided it was time to give it a try.

Greek yogurt tastes better with lots of blueberries and granola.

 I was really excited because I’ve heard lots of good things about Greek yogurt.

I guess I don’t know how to eat Greek yogurt, because it honestly just tasted like sour cream to me. I ended up covering the taste with lots of blueberries and granola.

Maybe I just didn’t like it because it was plain yogurt. I saw a few other flavors–like honey, which sounds yummy–in the yogurt section. I think I’ll try those next time.

Does anyone have any other good ideas for eating Greek yougurt? Or do you feel the same way I do about it?

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My Delicious Labor Day Weekend

Let’s talk about all the awesomeness that went into this labor day weekend. And, oh my, it was amazing.  

Friday:  

My homemade pizza tasted fantastic!

I started out the weekend by cooking a pizza. I already made the sauce and had stored it in the refrigerator. All I had to do was chop up some tomato, mushrooms, and green and red bell peppers, and shred some mozzarella cheese. Since the crust was store-bought, I simply followed the baking directions on the packaging. My mom absolutely loved it. And I can’t lie–I though it was pretty amazing too.  

Saturday:  

Saturday's lunch was at P.F. Chang's.

Saturday my mom and I went out for a day of shopping. Our first task: eat at P.F. Chang’s. Neither of us had ever been to P.F. Chang’s, so I was super excited. My roommate talks a lot about how awesome it is, so I’ve wanted to try it for awhile. I was so glad I did.  

We started with some egg rolls.

We started the meal by sharing a couple egg rolls and Auntie Chang’s Frappe, both of which were really good. The frappe had a mixture of several kinds of fruits; I remember biting into a banana slice at one point. It was topped with whipped cream. Yum!  

The Canton Chicken & Mushroom, and brown and white rice were good.

For the actual meal, my mom and I split the Canton Chicken and Mushrooms, which came with a side of brown rice and a side of white rice. We had actually contemplated ordering from the “P.F. Chang’s For Two” menu, but I’m glad we didn’t. The meal we ordered was more than enough for the two of us!
 

This cheesecake was tart and sweet and amazing!

After walking around an shopping for awhile, we decided to stop by The Cheesecake Factory. We split a Mango Key Lime Coconut cheesecake. I couldn’t find it on the menu; one of the waitresses suggested it to us. It was one of the best cheesecakes I have ever tasted–no lie. This was our first trip to The Cheesecake Factory too. It was definitely worth it.
 
Sunday:
 
I’ll be honest–my camera sat in my apartment all day Saturday, so I have no good pictures to show for most of what I ate. Luckily, I had it ready to take pictures of dessert!
 
For Sunday’s lunch, I met up with two of my close friends (they’re sisters) and their parents, as well as a large group of our friends. We ate at Olive Garden and called it “family lunch.” One of the guys eating with us said he had never been to Olive Garden. At first I didn’t believe him, but the way he ate the food proved me wrong. It was so fun, and because it was Olive Garden, it was very good. (Let’s be honest–I’ve never had anything from Olive Garden I didn’t like). I ordered soup, salad and breadsticks and tried the Minestrone. It was good, but I had already filled up on salad, breadsticks and raspberry tea by the time I started eating the soup.
 
For dinner my mom, my sister, and I ate at Panera Bread (if you haven’t noticed, I pretty much love Panera). I had a Turkey Artichoke panini, my mom had a Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich, and my sister had a Bacon Turkey Bravo sandwich. I usually order the Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich–which is why I so easily suggested it to my mom–but I was feeling a little adventurous. I loved the Turkey Artichoke panini, though I will say that it is not so great as leftovers. Definitely eat this one all at once. Regardless, I really liked it and plan to order it again sometime. But I think I’m going to take a break from Panera for at least a few weeks so I don’t overdo it.
 

This was extra-yum because I hadn't made it in months!

 For dessert, I made peach cobbler. I got the recipe from my granny years ago, and I still love making it. She calls it a “dump pie” because she dumps all the ingredients into the middle of the pan. And, let me tell you, it is amazing. My rommie was really excited. She said she’s wanted me to make peach cobbler for awhile. Honestly, I made it for her. She’s been there for me through some rough times these past couple of weeks, and I really wanted to show her how much I appreciate her. Food is one of the best ways I know how.  

 Monday:  

I actually woke up to cook. Incredible, I know.

This morning, my mom had to pack up to go back home. You see, there’s this pesky little thing she needed to do. She called it “work,” I think. Anyway, while she packed/relaxed I cooked the hot breakfast I promised her. I made cheesy eggs, bacon, and toast. I’m not used to eating first thing in the morning, so I wasn’t very hungry and didn’t eat much. But my family and roommate seemed to enjoy what I cooked.
 

This was my favorite part of lunch.

On her way out of town, my mom went to lunch at Applebee’s with my sister, my roommate, and me. We split into pairs and order from the “2 for$20” menu. My roommate and I ordered Spinach and Artichoke Dip for our appetizer. My entree was the new Florentine Ravioli with Chicken. My roommate ordered the new Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine. The Spinach and Atrichoke Dip was so indulgent–definitely my favorite. The ravioli was decent. I probably wont get it again, but it wasn’t gross either. It just wasn’t what I really wanted.
 
 

My roommie ordered the Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs with Fettuccine.

So that was my food-filled weekend. Did anyone else have anything delicious this Labor Day weekend?  

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A Week As A Vegetarian?

A few months ago (I think it was in April, but I’m not totally sure) I decided to stop eating red meat and pork. I stopped eating red meat because I’ve read it can prevent Alzheimer and heart diseases (and possibly some other diseases too); the pork just always made me feel gross and bloated anyway, so I figured I could simply do away with it as well. My decision was purely based on the fact that I just wanted to feel better and get healthier while I’m still young and more flexible to those sorts of changes.

I feel so much better since I made that change. The gross, bloated feeling I used to get after eating pork: gone. And what about the nasty, greasy mess of burgers? Not a problem.

But I think the best reward I’ve gotten from my switch to no red meat is the change it’s made in the people I love. First of all, my roommate has lost so much weight; I can tell she feels better too. I’ve noticed that she has much more energy than when we first started living together over a year ago. She pretty much eats the same things I do, so she quit eating red meat for the most part when I did. The only time she veers from our red-meatless diet is when she eats out and is just craving a burger or steak, which is very rare (from what I’ve noticed).

I’ve also noticed that my family eats much healthier, even if only when I’m visiting (I really don’t know what they cook when I’m not around, since I’m not there). My mom will go out of her way to buy turkey meat and organic milk when she knows I’ll be visiting. She even asks me to cook some of my favorite meals for her, which I gladly do. I love sharing my food styles with my family.

I will say, though, that I am not one to try to push my lifestyle changes on other people. I love that my loved ones go along with it, but I won’t try to convince them to change too. In fact, I would even cook red meat for my roomie if she asked–thankfully she hasn’t.

Fruits and veggies are yummy!

And now to the point: I’m thinking about trying vegetarianism. It will most likely only be a week-long trial, but we’ll see how it goes. I was already interested in it, but I just read 7 Things that Suck About Being Vegetarian and 75 Ways Going Vegetarian Has Made My Life Better by Matt Frazier. Matt peaked my interest in vegetarianism, so my week as a vegetarian may come sooner than I thought.

I want to research it a little before I start so I can get it right, but I’m really pumped to try this. Who knows? It might turn into a long-term thing.

So a few questions: Would you be interested in reading about my week as a vegetarian? Have you tried a different diet that you want to share? Any vegetarians have advice for my week as a vegetarian?

Answer in the comments, and have a great weekend!

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To-Go, Please!

I really thought tonight’s dinner was going to turn out to be a disaster, and it almost did.

For starters, my kitchen was an absolute mess. I was so embarrassed and had to spend some time cleaning before I could even start cooking (I can’t stand cooking in a nasty kitchen). Once I started cooking, I pretty much tried to set the apartment on fire. I had no clue there was oil sitting on the stove. Of course, once I turned on the heat a lovely little flame enveloped the pan I was about to use. I freaked. Luckily I got everything under control with no more damage than turning the bottom of the pan black.

So, after that nightmare was over I finally got to cook a very yummy dinner. I was afraid the chicken would taste good because I had no breading (I attempted to make my own with flour and some spices) and I had no clue how I would cook it.

The simple salad

I ended up making chicken with spaghetti, salads, and garlic toast. I made my spaghetti sauce a little differently this time. Instead of just putting in raw onion and mushroom bits, I sauteed them with some minced garlic. Oh, yes!

Thankfully, everything turned out amazing. I swear my sauce gets better every time I make it.

Chicken & Spaghetti

I'm not sure what to name it, but my sister refered to it as Chicken Parmesan.

I took the food to my sister’s place for us to enjoy the food while we studied. I think it was a nice break for her, and I enjoyed spending some time with her. Until yesterday, we hadn’t seen each other much.

Is it just me, or does good food just have a way of bringing people together?

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I Miss My Kitchen

It’s been one of those days.

I’ve had plans to cook pretty much all day. It never happened. It’s not that I didn’t want to, because I totally did, but I just didn’t feel like it. At all.

I was busy all morning, so by the time lunch rolled around I was starving. I was tempted to settle for some greasy fast food mess, but I knew I would regret it if I did. After a little thought–and some persuasion from my mom–I decided on Panera Bread. I’m so glad I did. I’ve been craving a tomato and mozarella panini and some raspberry tea for a few weeks (yeah, it’s been building up for a while now). Like I said, so worth it.

Panera's tomato & mozzarella panini

Lunch was so good!

Since I went out for lunch today I promised myself I would cook tonight. I even invited my sister over for dinner and a possible movie. Umm… yeah. That didn’t happen. We spent about two hours in Hobby Lobby (no joke) and worked up quite the appetite. She’s been craving Chick-Fil-A for two weeks, so there was no questioning where we would go to dinner.

Funny story there: I guess we were so hungry that we just weren’t paying any attention to what food we picked up (it was a Chick-Fil-A Express). Honestly, I only go to Chick-Fil-A for the awesome waffle fries, and that’s what I was hoping for. So we each grabbed some lemonade, a box of chicken nuggets and a bag of what we thought were waffle fries. We devoured our nuggets and excitedly opened the waffle fry bag only to be disappointed by no waffle fries. We had accidentally picked up a couple of chicken sandwiches. We were pretty sad. But it turned out just fine because we had those sandwiches for a late night snack.

Hopefully I’ll get back to cooking tomorrow. I feel like my kitchen misses me. And, to be honest, I miss it too.

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The Feast

My roommate and I love to read Rachel Wilkerson’s blog, which is where we got the idea for tonight’s dinner. A couple weeks ago, Rachel mentioned in a post what she calls “The Feast.” It doesn’t really look like much, but she guaranteed it to be a filling meal. It looked so light and refreshing, so my roommate and I really wanted to try it.

"The Feast"

My version of "The Feast"

Totally worth it!

Now for the ingredients: We made a huge meal of just a few simple-yet-filling foods. We split a banana, and each got three strawberries, three slices of tomato topped with mozzarella and basil (also an idea from Rachel), some cubes of colby-jack cheese, a stick of peanut butter-topped celery, a handful of grapes, some Wheat Thins Garden Valley Veggie, and some Tostitos Creamy Spinach Dip.

Thanks to Rachel for this amazing idea! I’m definitely thinking this is going to be my go-to meal while the summer continues to beat me up.

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