Monthly Archive: August 2012

Two non-recipes

I hesitate to even use the word recipe in this post because these are more like ideas that you can take and use how you want.  But that’s too long of a title.

The first is creamy broccoli soup.

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teese mozzarella cheese is a solid cheese, so it needs liquid in order to combine with broccoli.  Or a food processor. 

I steamed a bunch of broccoli, and then pulsed it in the food processor with the vegan cheese and plain almond milk until I had a decent texture. 

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It was a little bland, so I ended up adding in garlic infused olive oil – and BAM – delish soup.

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It’s good on it’s own, but also great when mixed with rice or quinoa.

The next idea came to me in a moment of pure fridge scraping.  You know…those moments…when you haven’t been shopping in a while…and you’re down to the bare minimum…thinking what can I make from these random odds and ends? 

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Veggie burger tacos.

We had frozen burgers, but no buns or bread.  But we had tortillas.  Light bulb!

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I crumbled the Sol burgers in the pan, added frozen corn, some Mexican spices (paprika, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, etc.) and let it cook until it resembled taco meat.

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Then I scooped it in the tortillas, topped it with avocado and a squirt of lime and called it dinner. 

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Kyle’s had cheese.  Not that you need it.

Sometimes I feel like I could really do well in cooking challenges like Chopped given my ability to find ways to use random ingredients together.  But then I remember that I don’t have a ticking clock harassing me as I cook.  Or meat.  I don’t think I’d know what to do if I opened a basket and it had some cut of pig. 

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How are you at creating something out of nothing?  Any desire to go on a cooking show and display your skills?

Iced tea & grazing

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As you can see, I like my iced tea reallly almond milky.

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How I make it is recipe-free, but I brew pitchers of tea at a time (no sweetener) using 4 tea bags for my 2 liter pitcher.  I add boiling water to it, let it steep for a while then put it in the fridge to cool (but continue to steep) overnight.  In the morning I remove the teabags.

Then, each day I pour some over 3-4 ice cubes, and then add maple syrup and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

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Sometimes I can get the milk to balance on top, separately, which is a totally random way I amuse myself.

And then I stir it all up and sip sip sip.  So good.  I almost always make black tea (which has caffeine so that’s why I make it so weak).  Every once in  while I mix it up though.  I just got a big box of decaf English Breakfast, so we’ll see how that goes.

[Edited to add: I threw up after the decaf English Breakfast tea so I tossed the rest of the pitcher and gave the rest of the tea bags to my mom]

For my favorite teas, see this post.

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Anyway, this breakfast was tomato & egg on toasted sourdough sprinkled with sea salt.  As tasty as it is gorgeous.

Since this was a yoga day, I had a small snack around noon before heading off.

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These nuts own me.  I have a love/hate relationship with them to say the least.  If you’ve never tried Blue Diamond’s smokehouse almonds, I think for your own good you should just stay away.  They are the definition of addicting.

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After yoga I got a juice from Whole Foods and a soft pretzel.  And then I went shopping.  I was on the hunt for new workout clothes, and Old Navy wound up being my savior.  Cheap and comfortable are the only things I care about.

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By the time I got home I was hungry enough for a real meal so I sandwiched on this guy.

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Smoky tempeh.  Romaine.  Tomato.  Mustard.  Vegenaise.

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I waited for Kyle to get home for dinner since I leave the grilling to him.  We had BBQ corn and vegan sausages.  On the side I also had my leftovers from Fig & Olive.

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This actually was consumed in two sittings since I never got that hungry between my late afternoon sando and Kyle getting home.  It’s easier for me to graze anyway.

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Dessert.

Reuniting with the fam

As I previously mentioned, Kyle and I were in Nor Cal (Elk Grove) for a family reunion this past weekend.  It was for Kyle’s mom’s side of the family…and over 50 people (!!!) made the trek.  Part of the reason I had been waiting to share my pregnancy on the blog was because we wanted to tell people in person at this reunion…and you know how once things leak online they make their way to facebook two seconds later and then the whole world knows (not that that’s a bad thing, we just wanted to have the pleasure of sharing such fun and exciting news face to face).  So that’s what we did!  As you can imagine, the love we felt was incredible. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Back to the start of the weekend.

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Kyle’s parents rented a van so we could all carpool up on Friday…they had been babysitting the girls for a week (helping my brother and sister in law out after the arrival of their new one).  I think they had planned on leaving San Clemente early-ish in the morning…but things don’t quite work out as you plan them when a 3 and 4 year old are involved. 

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I had time to eat a relaxed breakfast.

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Uid’s GF hamburger buns were on sale last week, so I have been enjoying them instead of toast in the am.  They were way cheaper than the bagels and basically taste the same.  Plus they don’t have holes in the middle.  More carbs for me!  I added Earth Balance and fried eggs to the breakfast plate.

I choked down my prenatals with a greek yogurt an hour later (I didn’t want to have to deal with the hassle of taking them on the road).

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I had a big bag of snacks for the road (never know what I’m gonna be in the mood for).  I had ordered a shipment of goodies from Swanson Vitamins the week before and they arrived just in time to make the snack bag.

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The company reached out to me recently, and after checking their products and prices online I was so excited to order some items right away.  Because I was a first time customer I got 10% off (everyone does), so this entire order cost me $25. 

  • Glutino GF pretzels (I love these but they are always so PRICEY in stores)
  • kaia foods sea salt & vinegar kale chips (impossible to find in stores)
  • Swanson organic sunbutter (so cheap for organic!!!)
  • Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter
  • MaraNatha no stir creamy almond butter

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It was a treat to buy nut butters since I really only make my own nowadays, but the sunflower seed butter was too cheap to pass up…and it’s hard to find organic no stir (healthy pure nut) nut butters in the store for a reasonable price.  All the quality natural store bought kinds separate and cost a ton (except for at Costco – but we cancelled our membership). 

So I made a AB&J for the road with the Maranatha almond butter and my mom’s apricot jam (on Udi’s GF buns).

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So delicious.  I love Maranatha almond butter.  I can’t wait to bust into the sunbutter next.

The road trip was exactly how you’d expect it to be with 2 toddlers.

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I don’t think Braelynn has ever met a food she doesn’t like.  She’s also photo friendly.  Ferrah, on the other hand, is beyond camera shy and about as picky of an eater as they come. 

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She’s also in the “why” phase…which makes for some interesting (and often repetitive) car conversation.  They were good sports though, and aside from a short term melt down (caused by a million flies entering the car at a gas station/rest stop), they did really well while being cooped up in the car for 8 hours. 

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Sleepy time.  :)

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For dinner we went to Nugget Market in Elk Grove.  I got vegetarian sushi rolls and a seaweed salad.  The avocado looked so good.

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Balloons for the girls. 

Kyle and I spent the night at Kyle’s grandmother’s house but Kyle’s parents took the girl to a hotel. 

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The next morning was the reunion.  We hit up Starbucks for breakfast on the way to the hotel.  I got a (way watered down and therefore not very tasty) iced tea.  The sugar in the raw didn’t dissolve so it was basically unsweetened water with soy milk and chunks of sugar.  Not so great.  I got the oatmeal and ate it slowly over the course of the morning (they ran out of oatmeal bowls so it was in a tall cup).

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Now that I tihnk of it, I should have used the extra brown sugar from this in my iced tea…maybe that would have melted better?

Anyway, after Kyle finished eating, we met up with his parents at their hotel.

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We played with ponies and watched creepy children’s programs on TV while waiting for the rest of our posse to arrive.

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And then we got to meet Scarlett!!  Can you believe she is only two weeks old??  She’s gained over 2 pounds since birth already!

Ok ok ok…since I haven’t posted any of ME yet…here I am with my big baby bump.

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Not really.  I’m still waiting for a true bump to arrive.  This photo is from the day I announced we were expecting, so I’m 16+ weeks.  Yes, I’m in bigger clothes, but they are still non-maternity clothes.  I can tell the difference in my body and how it’s changing, but others may not be able to notice.  Naturally this leads to plenty of (well intentioned but slightly annoying) questions about if I’m getting enough protein, nutrients, etc. (I am). 

Here’s a side shot.

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I promise there’s a baby in there!

Then it was off to the reunion!

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B sizing the other kiddos up.  Then rocking the water wings.

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Sipping some Juicy Juice. 

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If you’re wondering about the haircut, it’s her own doing. 

I got an arm workout holding all the babies.  I seriously think I’m going to have to start pumping some iron because holy moly my arms were about to break off after just a few minutes with each kiddo! 

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As for the food…  In addition to the fruit and veggie platters, there were four different layered bean dips (great minds?).  I avoided the sour cream and cheddar cheese portions and dipped some Trader Joe’s veggie flax chips into the refried bean and guacamole layers.  I’m finally able to do Mexican food again now (after our vacation in Cabo – which was at the height of my morning sickness – the very idea of it made me pretty nauseated). 

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Lunch!  Aside from the obvious (hummus and veg), someone brought a delicious vegan quinoa salad.  Hooray!  I almost finished this whole plate.  An hour later I went back for more fruit.  I also consumed 6 water bottles over the ~4 hours we were there.  It was HOT and I was getting a headache so I was trying to keep myself plenty hydrated.  Too bad it meant I was making trips to the bathroom every 15 minutes. 

On the way home my headache went from bad to worse and I knew the heat had triggered me.  Unfortunately I’m all too familiar with the resulting symptoms…usually a banana helps, but the hotel didn’t have any.  Kyle rested with me in the air conditioned lobby so I could get myself together and then we went to the shopping center across the street in search of something.

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Jamba to the rescue.  After a few sips I felt a million times better.  I only had half of it because I get reflux when I have too much fruit or smoothie.  Kyle helped finish the rest. 

Once back at his grandmother’s house we had an impromptu second reunion (this time with Kyle’s dad’s side of the family).

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Everyone wanted to meet Scarlett (and see my baby “bump”).

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Kyle’s dad BBQ-ed for dinner.  I had snacked on bread and roasted edamame leading up to dinner, so I wasn’t starving.  As a result, I only had a little bit of salmon (and gave half of mine to Kyle).  The salad was superb thanks to the fabulous lemon goddess dressing.  I MUST find this Drew’s brand in Santa Monica. 

After such a crazy day, I could hardly keep my eyes open past 8:30, so I showered and hit the sack. 

On Sunday morning we went to Sprouts for breakfast.  Having never been to a Sprouts before, I was really excited to see what they were like.  I’d heard them compared to Whole Foods before, but I have to be honest, this store is no Whole Foods. 

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Kyle unsuccessfully avoided the pic.  :)

There weren’t any ready-made vegan options.  I got a box of almond milk and decided to get the oatmeal from Starbucks again instead.

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Yes, I actually bought a carton of almond milk just for my oats and Chai tea.  What can I say, I like Almond Breeze?! 

 

The road trip home was WAY different since we didn’t have the girls.  We made such great timing that Kyle and I got home with enough time to go for a walk before dinner. 

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I watched football while enjoying vegan pizza and salad from the co-op.  Best Sunday night activity. 

After dinner we had our first fantasy draft and it went SO well.  Our team is gonna dominate.

Weeks 0-12

[written on 7/31/12, at the beginning of the 13th week]

Honestly, the reason I didn’t blog about being pregnant for the first trimester is because I’m extremely paranoid.  You never know what can happen in those early weeks and being a nurse made me overly cautious (ignorance is bliss…I still had my maternity books…not good).

But beyond that, I knew I was seriously sparing you all from some really not good stuff.  Cabo was an interesting vacation, for lack of a better word.  I had quite a bit of nausea and my energy level was pathetic.  The week that followed it was the most miserable I’ve felt to date.  Fortunately, I’ve been doing much better since then, with only a few blips of morning sickness here and there.

During those few weeks that I was struggling, I was cursing the fact that I had a food blog.  I detested food.  I didn’t want to eat it, let alone think about it.  But the weird thing about being nauseous, is that food alleviates it.  So I was forced to think of things that didn’t sound horrible…which was hard.  And changed constantly.

Poor Kyle had to do a few on demand grocery runs.  One day I had naked juices and nothing else all day.  It was the only thing I could stomach.

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Lots of OJ and Kombucha too.  [FYI I did a ton of research before consuming Kombucha to make sure it was safe]

And then there were the days I lived off organic saltines.  There were a lot of those.

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My saviors.

But I think this is my favorite conversation of all time.

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After throwing up twice in the airport in Cabo, my poor empty stomach was struggling.  I only barely held down the in flight snack.  And by the time we got home it was late late late and all I’d eaten the whole day was five mini pretzels.  The idea of pizza sounded not only tolerable, but actually good.  Dare I say yummy?  What a foreign feeling.  I seized it and sent Kyle to the co-op.

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Vegan Daiya pizza in bed.  It was almost like I wasn’t pregnant.  :)

I know people are always curious about cravings, but the only thing I can really think of is tomato stuff.  I’ve never been a huge fan of marinara sauce – or tomatoes in general.  But lately I seem to be enjoying tomato soup, pizza, and pasta in a major way.

You may recall my random spaghetti-o’s purchase.  And the few times I made lasagna and manicotti.  And there have been many co-op pizza runs.  But I’ve also had kinda a lot of tomato soup too.  Crock-pot and canned.

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So friends, that’s that.

And for all the people who commented on my non-FODMAPs meals over the last few months…now you know why I was eating abnormally.

I’m choosing food that I can tolerate because I need to eat.  My choices impact another person now.  So if the only thing that sounds good is wheat bread with hummus, I’m going to eat it, because this little chickpea needs nutrition.  :)

A lot of people have been asking questions, so rather than continue to answer them individually in the comments section I’m going to cluster them into Q&A sections within my posts.   So feel free to ask whatever (as long as it’s not judgmental) and I promise I’ll give it my best shot.

Our early celebration

Well, you guys have blown me away.  The comments on this post literally brought tears to my eyes…I felt so much love.  I want to say thank you to every single one of you who wished us congratulations (and I will get to it…).  Obviously Kyle and I are beyond thrilled and it’s been sooo hard to keep this a secret (I’m shocked nobody was on to me earlier!).  I will probably blog more about the earlier pregnancy stuff in time, but for now back to regular posting…

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Since we were away this weekend (upon which our true anniversary falls), we celebrated our two year milestone a weekend early.

We spent the day together doing errands, so romantic.  The main task was getting me a new wardrobe.  I’ve been slowly inching my way out of my old clothes and whining about it every step of the way.  Kyle’s been a saint about listening to me, but I finally had to consent.  The time had come…for maternity clothes.  I’ve been resisting this step for a few weeks now.

Anyway, before I get into all that (there are so many emotions it’s impossible to know where to start), I’m just going to show my breakfast(s).

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Iced tea with almond milk and watermelon.  On the side, my constant morning duo of folic acid and DHA.  [I do those in the morning because they are easier on my stomach…my prenatals are way worse and so I suffer through them with whatever my biggest meal of the day is.  I hate hate hate taking them and basically dread the arrival of dinner time all day long.]

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Breakfast number two came a while later.  Vegan cinnamon roll with Earth Balance melted on top and two fried eggs.

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A few people have commented on the [huge] increase in egg consumption.  It was never a conscious decision in terms of adding protein into my pregnancy diet or anything like that.  The answer is far more basic.  I’ve become a savory morning person.  It’s the one real food thing that has totally flip-flopped since becoming pregnant.  I used to crave sweet breakfasts every morning – oats, toast with nut butter, anything in the pastry family – but eggs seem to be one of the only things that keeps my nausea at bay and satisfies my appetite.

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Yes, I did have quite a bit of morning sickness during my first trimester.  But that’s for another post (or not).

Anyway.  On this particular day I woke up hungry, but not as starving as I usually do (which is why I was able to have watermelon as a first course and wait to have a more substantial meal later on).  Most days I don’t have that luxury.  I wake up haaaangry and I need to get food in me asap or I feel like I will seriously pass out.  I get shaky and sweaty and dizzy almost instantaneously nowadays (realllllly annoying when I’m at work).

After breakfast we decided to hit up the brand new Target (city store) in Westwood.  Their maternity selection was minimal, but I did find some stuff in the women’s section that could still work.  Kyle was so patient as I tried one thing on after another…unable to recognize my own reflection in the mirror.

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Whole Foods lunch break!  Kyle got two different vegetarian pizzas.  I got a vegan slice and green beans.

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I had about half of each and saved the rest for my next mini meal.  I get full so quickly, but I get hungry again very soon after.  I’m basically a grazing cow (FYI, I’m the only person allowed to say things like that about myself).

After lunch we went to the Century City mall…for Macy’s, Gap, H&M, Bloomingdale’s, etc.  Macy’s was the only success story.  I’m almost embarrassed by my first reaction to seeing the maternity jeans (it was a look of disgust and horror), but I was definitely singing a different tune once I tried them on.  Wow.  For looking so funky hideous, they really were pretty awesome.  They almost made me believe I was actually pregnant (I keep having periods where I am in disbelief about this whole thing).  I got a few shirts too…I feel like they all make me look WAY more pregnant than I actually am, but whatever.  I’m almost half way!

On the way home, Kyle got a cold coffee mocha whipped something or other from Peet’s (I looked on in longing withdrawal).  I made a decaf iced coffee back at our place.

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For dinner, we had a reservation at Fig & Olive.  We’d been to the NYC location before and loved it, so for our first wedding anniversary Kyle’s parents gave us a giftcard for the new (at the time) Melrose location.  The only problem was it became insanely popular after Obama went there during one of his LA visits.  So we had a hard time getting in…until now, almost a year later, for our second year anniversary.

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It is very big and spacious.  And although it looks empty in this photo, it filled up pretty quickly.

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We were seated in the back outside(ish) area.  It had so many sky-lights I felt like we were outside, but I think we were actually technically indoors.  Kyle went alcohol free with me.

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After we had ordered, they brought us a selection of three olive oils with rosemary bread.  This made us very very happy since there was no sampler to order on the menu (we were looking because the walls are covered in bottles of olive oil…what they are known for!).  I can’t remember the specifics (we got a very detailed explanation on what notes of what are in each), but the closest was from Spain and the middle was from Greece.  I liked them all.  As well as the bread.

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Crab cakes with a spicy mayo on the side.

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I squeezed lemon over it.  So fresh and crispy and well seasoned.

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Kyle got a risotto with black truffles.

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I got a salad plus three vegetable sides.

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From front to back:

Sautéed spinach with figs and marcona almonds.

Grilled asparagus.

Mashed potatoes with chives.

All with the most delicious olive oil!

Unfortunately, the service was really horrible and these sides didn’t arrive until WAY after we got our main plates.  Kyle was already done with his risotto.  I felt bad for our waitress because she was seriously overworked, but we couldn’t even flag someone down to ask about the other dishes for a long time.  Then, when they finally did arrive they were wrong (I wanted the roasted fingerling potatoes not the mashed potatoes).  At this point, I was already full though, and didn’t want to wait another [however long] for the correct potato dish.

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As you can see, the salad was not exactly a small portion (the dressing had dairy so I got it on the side and asked for olive oil as a dressing instead, which I never got).  It was still delicious, but the poor service definitely took away from the meal.

Even though we never did mention the potato dish was wrong, the waitress was already so far behind that she gave us a dessert on the house to make up for the slow service.

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It was a marzipan with olive oil ice cream and olive oil emulsion poured on top.  It had orange slices and candied pieces of almond brittle on the side.

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Considering this was a dessert I never would have ordered on my own, I was so pleased with it.  Kyle pulled the ice cream portion to the side for him, and I ate the un-dairy-ified part of the marzipan.  Wow.  It was chewy and soft and sugary and wonderful.  And the olive oil emulsion on top was really good too – lemony and light.  I really love how everything you can do with butter, they do instead with olive oil.  It’s great for lactose free people.

We got the delayed dishes boxed up to go and headed home to snooze.  Spending all day with Kyle just makes me so happy…I could retire and do this every day.