Just a small break.

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Wow. Okay. So, I haven’t posted in…almost six months? What have I even been doing in that time? Let’s see, not getting married, not having kids, really not doing anything of any real importance. So for that, I apologize. I have no good excuse. I’m trying to get my life back on track, as it were – weight loss goals, figuring out where I want my career to be, that sort of thing. This post is going to be pretty quick.

It’s a food feature, since I haven’t really made anything too worthy of writing about lately, and I don’t have any pictures of anything I’ve made recently anyway.

 

If you’ve read any posts of this blog, you may know that I’m a pretty big fan of the Gardein mock meat products. Yeah, they’re “cheating”, depending on how you view vegetarianism; but it’s quick and easy to make, and most of them are pretty delicious. I present to you:

 

Gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n.

Image

 

Oh man, this stuff is so good. The texture of the “chicken” isn’t overly chewy or meaty, nor is it soft and stringy, like some mock meats tend to be (I mean, they’re made from vegetables, what do you want?). The sauce is absolute perfection. I could probably drink it by itself.

…that might be a stretch. Anyway, so this “chicken” is pretty spot on, right? Low fat, tons of protein. You could do what I did once after a particularly hunger-inducing gym session and just eat the entire bag (which apparently has 3.5 servings in it…if one serving is feeding a very small child?). Alternatively, you could make it into a delicious meal! I really like it over Annie Chun’s Rice Express Sprouted Sticky Brown Rice, which takes one minute in the microwave to prepare. Yeah, it’s a fairly expensive convenience food – but you get what you pay for, which is the ability to have dinner done in less than ten minutes, which is nice. Plus, Annie Chun’s is a pretty great brand in general; there are usually coupons for the rice products in the sleeves of the soups – I’m a pretty big fan of the udon noodle soup.

So. Make your “chicken” in the pan according to directions (also good with some chopped pepper added), heat the brown rice up, throw some soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos and maybe some garlic salt on it, toss the “chicken” on top, and serve with some salad, or roasted vegetable, or something equally good. Bonus: the mandarin chicken reheats really well. I usually get two meals out of the rice and chicken when I make it, so should you be able to restrain yourself from eating the entire bag of “chicken” (seriously, the sauce is freakin’ delicious), save some for lunch tomorrow. You’ll be glad you did.

 

I promise I have more posts in the works: restaurant review for The Vortex in Atlanta, a wonderful little bakery called Bon Appetit in Fort Walton Beach, and some beer reviews. How exciting.

 

Also, if you use My Fitness Pal, find me and friend me on there! I’m striving to eat healthier and be more active, and the more the merrier!

Winter wonderland.

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Ah, winter. A magical time of cooler weather – I can’t say snow, because here in the south, we’re lucky to get down to freezing. It’s currently 50°F (that’s 10°C or ~283°K for all you non-Fahrenheit fans) as I write this, and while that is a nice, pleasant, temperature, it’s simply unacceptable for this time of year. I want horse-drawn sleighs and walks through a snowy park under twinkling lights.

 

Isn't that special. Photo copyright whinny.org.

Isn’t that special. Photo copyright whinny.org.

 

I’m getting carried away. Suffice to say chili is a winter tradition, as it’s easy and dirt cheap to make, it’s warm and filling and like all soups and stews, pretty much endlessly customizable.

This one is best made in a slow cooker, which means it’s no effort and will make your entire house smell delicious. If you’ve never worked with dry beans before, they’re much different than prepared, canned beans. To use dry (raw) beans of any kind (black, pinto, kidney, etc.), place them in a colander and rinse with water, removing all the dirt and dust. Make sure to pick through and remove any pebbles, rocks or other debris. Place the beans in a large bowl with at least enough water for them to at least double in size while still being covered with water, and soak for 6-8 hours. Also note, the fresher your beans, the less time it will take to soak and cook them.

I originally wrote this recipe for a friend who’s completely un-American who took the time to, er, correct, my measurements, so as a result you get two different measurements. It’s like Bill Nye is a chef – or maybe that’s Alton Brown?

Over the hills we go

Breakfast, salad, and science.

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Hello there! Long time no see, my internet friends. This is my fault, I know. It’s not you, it’s me, we want different things, etc. Really, I’ve been busy with things like work (the holidays are passively killing me), social things (way too many people with December birthdays – what were all our parents doing in March?) and taking a whole one online class. Phew, it’s hard to be me. Anyway, to make up for my absence, I have a few different things for you today. I still have a whole to-do/to-post list, so keep your eyes open, and if I don’t get locked away in an asylum at some point in the next two weeks, there shall be more things happening here at ye old blog.

Today, as the title indicates, is pretty multi-faceted. Let’s start with a couple recipes, shall we?

Take me to Candyland!

Restaurant review: McGuire’s Irish Pub

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Okay guys. Time to write about one of my all-time favorite restaurants. Have you ever had a restaurant that, when someone asks you if you want to go to, not only is there no hesitation in your voice, but sheer joy and excitement? That’s what McGuire’s is for me. I was lucky enough to grow up on the Emerald Coast of Florida, which is beautiful but also packed to the gills with tourists who don’t know how to drive and apparently have never seen buildings before. I digress. This place is home to not one, but two locations of this charm-filled combination brewery, pub, and restaurant.

McGuire’s first opened in Pensacola, Florida in 1977, and celebrated so much success that they opened a second location in Destin, Florida in 1996. As you might be able to guess, McGuire’s offers traditional Irish fare, such as shepherd’s pie, potato skins, and Irish boxtys, with a variety of other dishes like pastas and burgers available. Any time of day is good to visit McGuire’s, as they have a lot to offer.

Image is not mine. No copyright intended.

A beacon in the night. Calling you to eat all the food and drink all the drinks.

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Restaurant review: Two Friends Cafe & Market

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Tucked away in an unassuming business and retail park, Two Friends Cafe & Market is a restaurant located in Valdosta, Georgia. I’ve been here only a handful of times, always for dinner, yet each time I go, I am impressed with everything that arrives at my table.

Getting to the restaurant can be kind of difficult if you don’t know where it is, as it’s off a main road and nestled well within other business with no real clear signage from the road and only lettering on the front of the building boasting its name. Once you find it, you’ll be glad you did.

 

Image taken from twofriendscafe.net. No copyright intended.

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Quick.

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What’s your favorite comfort food?

Mine, easily, is shepherd’s pie. Yeah, mac & cheese is up there too, but something about shepherd’s pie is just so right. I haven’t made this dish in a really long time, and of course I choose the time when I’m out running around town and my blood sugar is so low that I’m nearly shaky to make it.

Do not fright, dear readers! This one is a snap to put together – I think it took me under 30 minutes to have this on the table – and tastes delicious. Most of the measurements are approximate, as always, as my general rule of thumb is “throw stuff in ’til it looks good.”

More on the way soon, I promise! A couple of restaurant reviews in the works and I’m sure I’ll have other fun stuff for you guys. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Shepherd’s Pie :: serves 6

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Short and sweet.

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As the title suggests, I shall do no jawing this post. Today, I give you French Toast for one. This recipe features some really good cinnamon I got from a friend for Christmas but had not yet used. Enjoy!

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