Last summer when I was in Vietnam I had an experience we now call the “Mue Ne brie cheese incident” and it changed my diet drastically. Before our travels I was somewhat of a cheese addict, I added it to EVERYTHING, even when the dish probably didn’t need a cheesy addition. But in Asia, cheese or any dairy for that matter are rarely incorporated into dishes, so by the time we reached French-influenced Vietnam I couldn’t wait to chow down on my old friend again. Alas, I should have known by then that cheese really isn’t Asia’s strong suit, and in my opinion, one really shouldn’t consume cheese in 105-degree heat. I did both…and it didn’t end well.
In the end, it was probably for the best. When I returned home I decided to cut out cheese from our weekday meals. Now, I only eat it occasionally and only when the type of meal actually warrants it, like some Mexican meals and of course, pizza. And you know what, I feel better! Now, 90% of the time the meals I make are either Mediterranean or Asian inspired and I’ve been forced to get more creative in the kitchen and build flavor in my meals without the help of cheese.
One of our favorite carry-out meals is chicken shawarma with rice topped with cucumber tomato salad and hummus from Sultan’s Market, so I decided to create a healthier version at home. In the old days, I might have been tempted to add some feta cheese to this recipe, but instead I added some tang with the help of a homemade tzatziki sauce with non-fat Greek yogurt, fresh cucumber, lemon and chopped garlic. The recipe serves two, but is easy to double for a family!
Meal planning seems to be all the rage these days. It doesn’t matter if you do it all yourself on Sunday evenings or if you do it nightly with the help of a meal subscription service like Blue Apron or Meez Meals, there is no doubt that people are looking to make their mealtimes easier. Other options such as joining a local food co-op or signing up for a protein subscription box are also becoming more and more popular. Recently I was introduced to a company called Butcher Box, a service that partners with a collective of small farms to bring you 100% grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and all-natural pork each month.
I’d say that on average I likely cook dinner four solid nights a week with the weekend consisting of a relaxing mix of carry-out and restaurants. During those stay home evenings it’s either go with an old standby that may be delicious, but we’ve had just a bit too often lately, or use my creative juices to come up with something new.
I don’t know about you, but there is always at least one night a week (usually more) that I come home tired from a long day at work and even more exhausted from a grueling class at the gym. The slow cooker is perfect for these occasions and so is this recipe for lazy chicken enchiladas. With just a few ingredients and mostly a lot of mixing of sauces and cheeses, even the most skillet-shy can master this recipe!
With only four nights in San Francisco and hundreds of great restaurants to choose from, we knew many tough decisions were upon us! After some serious menu stalking and consulting San Francisco’s Eater website, we settled upon a couple of restaurants, one of which was Stones Throw.
Located in the Russian Hill neighborhood and actually near where we were staying, it was a great choice after a very long day of walking! When we walked in the staff was friendly and I loved the urban-rustic décor of the exposed rafters and overall atmosphere as it was hopping on a Thursday evening.
Many of you don’t know that besides my food blogging, I also do public relations as my “day job.” One of my favorite things about blogging is that besides trying lots of great food, I also get the chance to see how other PR professionals promote the brands they represent. So today this post doubles as both a food post and PR post!
About two weeks ago I got an email from an account executive at a big Chicago PR agency who said she’d love to send me over some new sandwiches from a brand she was representing, but she couldn’t tell me where they were from. I resisted the urge to stalk the PR agency’s website and see what national restaurant chain brands they represented, because not knowing was the part that really built up the excitement for my surprise Tuesday treat. I used to do food drops for a large restaurant chain brand as well and we always told the news outlets ahead of time exactly what they had coming and where we were from. Now that I think about it, not knowing anything is a great tactic because if I did know what and where I might have said no, so could other news outlets.