Relax Grill on Lake Eola (My new favorite place.)

I did a whole lot of nothing this weekend. By the time Sunday rolled around, hubs and I were dying to get out of the house so we went to lunch. We had one criteria for said lunch: it had to be outside since we couldn’t remember what daylight was like.

After staring at each other for 10 minutes with no ideas, hubs remembered this little cafe called the Relax Grill on Lake Eola that we’ve wanted to try for years but can never remember we want to go there when it’s time to think of a new restaurant (so we end up at Chilis).

It was a beautiful day.

We had to walk around the lake to get to the restaurant from the parking garage, so we inadvertently walked through the farmer’s market that goes on every weekend. I’ve never been but it was super cute. How have I missed out on this for so long? There were also tons of people out and about walking dogs, exercising, or laying on blankets chilling in the shade. When I saw all the people enjoying their day, I realized I can’t remember ever going on a picnic or spending a day in the park. That seems weird to me but maybe it’s because I’m so fidgety. In my mind I want to relax but when I try, I get bored and impatient. < — also why I hate yoga. I need someone to teach me to relax.

Anyway, here was our view from the restaurant. Nice and shady with good people watching.

The menu was American/Mediterranean, so they had a little bit of everything. I started with the Spicy Asian peel and eat shrimp and hubs ordered the loaded tater tots.

The shrimp were grilled, which I didn’t expect. They were good even though there was a bit too much sauce on them. I guess I’m more of a cocktail sauce dipping girl than a Spicy Asian girl (sounds naughty) but I just like shrimp in general so they all made their way into my belly. Hubs ate half his tots and planned to take the rest home until Hurricane Paula came through and took care of that too.

My main dish was the gyro salad platter.

I always feel bad when I eat lamb and have to apologize to my food before I eat it. They are so adorable but it is their fault for also being so delicious. The tzatziki sauce was a little bland but everything else was amazing so I didn’t mind.

Hubs ordered the chicken and shrimp plate.

He gave everything a thumbs up as well. The service was so good and there were so many things we wanted to try on the menu that we’ll have to go back soon. I didn’t drink but there were Happy Hour specials every day including $2 off all drinks when it’s raining. (?!) I’m going to need to make this place a habit because we loved it and the view is amazing. If you’re in Orlando, definitely check it out.

After lunch, we walked back around the lake and checked out all the ducks and swans that had no problem getting up in our biz.

Don’t mind me.

We walked back through the farmer’s market where a vanilla bean cupcake was whispering sweet nothings as I passed by. We like to support local business and expanding waistlines.

The frosting was amazing but the cupcake was a little dry. I still ate it all because that would just be rude to the cupcake not to.

Afterwards, we were so full we had to take a two hour nap and then only had enough energy to sit on the couch and watch Parks and Rec the rest of the night. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m all caught up (we’re almost done with season 5). I might have to find a hobby and do something useful with my life. < — just kidding, I would never do that.

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can thank me for this one later. Actually, don’t thank me for it. Thank this girl because that’s where the recipe came from. She also has pictures that look delicious instead of like the little turds you’re about to see.

Pale Choc Chip Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup almond butter (I used the roasted smooth version from Whole Foods.)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whenever I see 1/2 tsp of salt in a recipe, I omit it, but I just learned recently that a little salt actually brings out the natural sweetness of foods. Who knew? Probably everyone but me. Just don’t skip that.

1. Mix all the ingredients except the chips.

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2. Fold in the chips.  (Before you do, it’s best to sample them to make sure their safe. Never can be too sure.)

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3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

4. Spoon about 1 tbsp of batter for each cookie.

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5. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes and then let cool.

I used a heaping tablespoon to make the cookies, but they turned out a little bigger than I wanted, so next time I’ll use a not so heaping tablespoon.

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The batter made 13 cookies.

This is about the easiest recipe ever. I had serious doubts these would even taste like cookies since they’re flour-less, but they are crazy soft and delicious. These are especially good if you’re looking for a lower carb/no added sugar option when you want to eat healthy but need something sweet so bad you’d punch a baby for it.

Omelets for Dummies

I haven’t posted a recipe in a long time and you’re all probably better for it. But I made something this morning and when that happens, I take pictures just in case it doesn’t happen again. And if we’re being honest, it usually doesn’t. Homegirl made herself an omelet! I always thought omelets were reserved only for those who know how to cook and iHOP. Not so. Even the biggest dummy can make one. Here’s how:

First, find yourself a dummy.

Then, crack two eggs and beat them like they stole your money.

Pour some salt in their wounds while you’re at it. (No really, add some salt.)

Next, get yourself a small pan, spray that thing with some cooking spray, and pour those eggs in there.

At this point, I hope you realize the stove should be on. Medium heat should work.

Wait until the bottom half of the eggs are cooked, kinda like at the point you’d flip a pancake. Then put some veggies and shredded cheese on there. Or put meat in there. I don’t know what you like in your omelets. I’m just trying to help you here.

Before you say chopping veggies is too hard and you couldn’t possibly make an omelet, note that I feel the same way.

Let the eggs cook the rest of the way through and then fold it in half.

Put that omelet on your finest china and enjoy.

I put salsa and hot sauce on top of mine. But you put whatever you want on yours. I’m not going to tell you what to do. You’re an adult and I think you should make your own decisions.

10 Reasons I Might Avoid the Scale this Week

You know, it all started so innocently. I was going to spin classes, I was watching what I ate. Then Thursday night at Calypso happened in downtown Encinitas. And Friday night at Miyabi (which I didn’t get pictures of because all Japanese Steakhouses are the same). And Saturday brunch at The Tractor Room. Thanks to those 3 places, I give you the 10 (pictured) reasons I might avoid the scale this week:

1.  Brie in a puff pastry with caramelized apples, candied pecans, and  a marsala sauce. The sauce was really sweet and probably created from puppy tears. It tasted like a dessert.

2.  Crab salad with ahi tuna. The ahi tuna punk’d me because I thought it was tomatoes when I took a bite. I don’t like raw anything but ate everything I put on my plate so I didn’t look like a wimp.

3.  Blue fin tuna. (Here we go with raw food again. My brother ordered this and made me try it because he’s a bully. And it was probably one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.)

Side note: My brother asked the waitress what the difference between the blue fin and ahi tuna was and she said, “they are two different kinds of tuna.” < —– helpful

4. Thai Chicken Salad with a peanut salad dressing on the side. This was my attempt to eat healthy but salads aren’t healthy when you eat off other people’s plates, 2 appetizers, and a dessert with them.

5.  Carrot cake. Easily in the top 5 most delicious carrot cakes ever, and I have had a lot of carrot cake.

On Sunday, my brother went to LA with my niece for her volleyball tournament, so I went to brunch with his friend/business partner/brother from another mother, Oran, his girlfriend, and some of their co-workers at The Tractor Room at Hillside.

No one ever likes dishonest meat.

6. Most of their specialty drinks had bourbon. I can’t do bourbon but there was one drink that looked good. After they told me they didn’t have all the ingredients for it, I ended up with this bourbon/cinnamon/whatever else was in it concoction. It was strong. Really strong.

Still drank it. Still don’t like bourbon.

7.  Bloody Mary’s with freakin’ steak in them. Notice that drink comes with 5 “sides” and is served on a platter.

8.  Lamb scramble with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, and potatoes.

9.  Peach brown sugar giant pancake. (This one was so good that now I want to know how their banana chocolate pancake compares.)

This is how far we got with 5 of us sharing it.

10.  Drinks at Bully’s after brunch that matched our shirts. (That’s Oran’s girlfriend, Denise.)

Brunch was at 11:30 and I still wasn’t hungry by 9:00pm. The food was so delicious and the portions were so gigantic. I had to look online to see if Man vs. Food had been there (he hadn’t) after seeing the BLT that Sarah ordered.

How do girls stay so skinny here? I need to get back to the same old boring food I eat every day in Orlando before my pants revolt.

Sushi Pop

Last night, the Hubs and I went out to dinner with our friends K and Steve to Sushi Pop in Oviedo.

Sushi Pop is an ultra modern anime-themed sushi restaurant and comes extremely recommended from Hubs, Steve, and K, so I couldn’t wait to try it out.

The interior is small but adorable.

There are at least 4 televisions playing anime movies.

And all the servers dress up in an anime or Harajuku theme.

I want that backpack.

K and I were wondering how it’s possible something this cool exists in Oviedo…and next to a driving range.

The hostess had a purple wig on that we loved. You can see her walking by behind K and I.

Sushi Pop only serves beer, wine, and saki. But they do have sakitinis. I tried the Kiwi Sakitini.

It was good, but not great. K tried the Chocolate Truffle Sakitini, which was awesome. It tasted like Yoo Hoo. Yum!

I like the pink noire Veronica Mars look of the pictures from the partition we were sitting next to. I might need to come back here and solve a mystery. And make out with Logan. Wait? What are we talking about?

For dinner, Hubs and I started off with the Edamame.

They didn’t give you too much, which I liked, and you could choose whether you wanted sea salt, truffle salt, sautéed garlic, or sautéed shichimi pepper and garlic on the Edamame. (I went with sea salt.)

For dinner, I chose the Oviedo Chicken roll (tempura chicken, Japanese mayo and avocado drizzled with honey mustard), the Yee-Haw! roll (seared wagyu beef with avocado, toasted peanuts, chives and peanut hoisin sauce), and K and I split the Volcano roll (crab with spicy mayo baked on top of a cucumber and asparagus roll).

Hubs had the Bananarama roll (eel, tempura flakes, lump crab and avocado, topped with sliced bananas, honey and toasted sesame seeds) and the Two Kings roll (can’t remember what was in it, but it had salmon on top).

No pics of the Hub’s rolls, sorry. How about an aerial view of my food instead?!

I’m gonna be honest here. I tried 5 different rolls, and I didn’t care for any of them. I thought they were boring and lacked flavor. Even the Volcano Roll – which is my go-to roll at any sushi restaurant – disappointed. The baked seafood on top was crunchy in areas which was off-putting.

Everyone else loved what they ordered.

For dessert, we had the P.M.S.

Again, I didn’t care for it. The molten chocolate cake was dry and lacked flavor. Now that I look at the picture, the chocolate looks like a skid mark and I’m not sure I’m crazy about that look in my food. However, I thought the salted caramel ice cream rocked. It was very different and delicious.

In a weird turn of events, Hubs hated the ice cream and liked the cake, so at least that worked out for us since we were sharing.

Steve had the ice cream sampler, which I thought had a cute presentation.

Steve special ordered the candied bacon on top of the ice cream. *shudder*

The checks look like little gift cards. Well, the worst gift cards ever because you owe money when you open those. :-)

Overall, I thought the atmosphere was great. Because I am the only person out of four that didn’t want to rub the food all over my body like I just discovered land, I’m going to say to try this place out if you live in the area.

Steve and K have been there numerous times and are never disappointed. Our trip was the second for the Hubs and he loved it both times too. Personally, I wouldn’t go back by choice, but I would give it another chance if my friends or the Hubs really wanted to go. Maybe I’ll reevaluate then. Smile

Do you like sushi? (I love it, but won’t eat anything raw after a spicy tuna roll/food poisoning incident that scared me off.)

Logan or Duncan? :-)

Tofu Ice Cream

Workout: Ran outside 4.2 miles  (40 min) (9:33 pace) – Ignored my Garmin the whole run…and it was good.

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Well, it’s happened. My favorite jeans are tighter and my relationship with chocolate lava cake has grown stronger. Sweets = my greatest weakness.

I need to give up sugar. So I will.

For a week. (I don’t want to get crazy or anything. Baby steps.)

For me, no sugar means all the processed stuff: no bites of cheesecake for Breakfast, no Dove chocolates or cookies after lunch, no Nerds, no marshmallows dipped in Nutella, no dipping myself in Nutella, no graham crackers with cream cheese frosting, no cupcakes, no Oreos and no ice cream with eleventy billion toppings for Dinner.

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I must find a way to cheat. Pronto. I’m only on Day 1 and I’m already becoming more snarky.

Enter Tofu ice cream. I highjacked this easy recipe from my personal trainer and I love it.

Tofu Berry Ice Cream

  • 16 oz silken tofu (My Publix stopped selling silken, so I use soft now. It just takes a little longer in the blender or food processor.)
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 cup of fresh or thawed berries

Directions: Blend all ingredients together and freeze.

I used half a cup of strawberries and half a cup of blackberries. If using soft tofu, I’d suggest breaking it up a bit first so it blends more easily.

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I like putting them in individual serving containers. Once they freeze, they are really hard, so it’s easy to pop one of these in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it a bit.

Tofu Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 16 oz silken (or soft) tofu
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 oz of semisweet chocolate chips melted

Directions:

Blend tofu, honey, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt together until creamy. Melt chocolate chips in microwave for approx. 90 seconds. Mix melted chocolate into tofu mixture and freeze.

The Berry Tofu Ice Cream tastes a lot like a smoothie. You could even drink it as one once it’s blended. I love them both, but the chocolate  is the best in my opinion. I’ve even made it without the chocolate chips and it tastes just as good.

Have a great night! I’m off to stare at the Hubs while he eats a Klondike bar and jelly bellies in front of me like I didn’t just give up sugar for a week.

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Can you tell the difference between these two pictures?

Yeah. Me either.

But I’ll give you a hint. One of the pictures, I rolled out of bed and didn’t shower. The other is after three hours in a salon getting my hair highlighted, trimmed, and styled.

Still can’t tell?

Yeah. Me either.

As I was leaving the salon, a girl walked by and I wanted to grab her head, rip it off, and keep it with me at all times because her hair was so cool. But I guess carrying a head around isn’t exactly “legal.”

Whatever.

Stupid laws and morality.

It looked like this, but with platinum blonde instead of red.

Now I wanna get my hair done again.

At least my breakfast was delicious this morning. Delicious and blurry.

Toasted english muffin topped with a piece of my famous crustless quiche, a sprinkle of goat cheese, and some hot sauce.

Can you believe this picture was taken with the same camera? I’m having camera issues.

By the way, the crustless quiche is the easiest thing to make. I pour a bag of frozen veggies (this time I used frozen stir-fry veggies) into a glass 8×8 baking dish, pour an 8-serving carton of eggbeaters over it, and bake on 375-400 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Delish!

By the way, my quiche isn’t really famous. I just said that.

Apple of My Pie

It’s Christmas Eve! One of my favorite days ever. I just wish it was cold so it would feel like Christmas Eve.

Tonight, I’m making dinner for the in-laws for the first time ever. I’ve only been with my husband for 9 years, so I figured it’s time to prove to them I can do more than just sit around and look pretty. Nine years of looking pretty, sure. But ten. No way.

I got this one from Hungry Girl – one of my favorite places ever for recipes. I am cooking challenged and most of their recipes are super easy. If you click on the link, you can get a printable version with the ingredient list – which is much better than what I can give you.

Slice two sweet apples thinly, and sautee 3/4 of the slices. Set the other 1/4 of the apple aside.


Mix the dry ingredients together. I didn’t have any nutmeg at home, so I used pumpkin pie spice instead. <—lazy

Mix in the wet ingredients until the batter is smooth.

Make sure you get it all over the floor like I did.
Add in the sauteed apples.

Put the batter in a pie tin. Make sure all the apples in the batter are covered.

Place the uncooked apples on top with a little cinnamon.

Bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees and wa-lah!

I haven’t tasted it yet, but it smells pretty good. Hopefully the in-laws won’t ask me to wait another 9 years before I make something again.

Oreo Truffles

This morning I ran the OUC Half Marathon. It was a good race and I PRed, but more on that later.

Right now, I’m going to rock your world and the little world all your taste buds live in with the easiest Oreo truffles ever. They are probably the most time consuming thing I make but really, how can you go wrong with a 3ish-ingredient recipe?

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 package reduced fat Oreos
  • 8oz (1 block) fat-free cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 package semi-sweet Baker’s chocolate


Yes, Baker’s coconut is in there but that’s why I said “3-ish ingredients”
Oh, don’t use regular cream cheese or Oreos because you think it tastes better. I’m telling you now…you cannot tell the difference. 1 out of 3 of my husband’s/future husband’s agree.

Here’s what you do:
Take that package of Oreos and put them into a gallon Ziploc bag. Feel free to sample the Oreos to make sure they’re safe.

Now beat those Oreos like they’re trying to steal your purse. You want to make sure they are ground up pretty well. I’m sure you could use a food processor too, but I like punching Oreos.

The consistency should look like this.
Mix the softened cream cheese in the Oreos until they are completely coated and look like a present your dog left for you.

Roll the Oreo/cream cheese mixture into balls with your hand until it looks like a large bunny invaded your home.
This gets messy. I’m warning you now. I used powerdered sugar on my hands to roll them for the first time and it helped with the mess a lot.

Melt the Baker’s chocolate completely. I used the microwave.


Using a spoon, put about half a spoonful of Baker’s chocolate on top of each truffle.

Close up pics of food always look so artsy. Why does my attempt look like someone lost a fight with fiber?
Optional: Add a topping to the truffles. I used coconut but I’m sure you can get more creative than me.
Put these babies in the fridge for a little while so the chocolate hardens…and enjoy!


If you “cook” like me, your kitchen will probably look like this afterwards.

And if you “clean” like me, you used a Dyson to clean the kitchen counter.