Weekly Eats

Hey, hey, hey.  My father shared a fun factoid (obviously) with me this morning as we were discussing my upcoming trip to Portland, Maine this week.  Apparently Portland has the most restaurants per square mile over any other city in the United States.  For a foodie, this is perfect.  Tim and I have already gotten so many restaurant recommendations on where to eat that we don’t have enough days to try them all!  The next Weekly Eats post will be a good one, I promise you that.

Anyways, I wanted to share this week’s eats with you guys before I leave you!

Breakfast

Our best breakfast last week was hands down the blueberry and strawberry pancakes we made last weekend.  Sundays are just the best pancake day, aren’t they?  For these pancakes we used some Bob’s Red Mill mix that I won in a blog giveaway a while ago.  If you have some of this at home, I just blended 2 cups of the mix with 2 eggs, 2 tbsp of coconut oil, 1.5 cups of coconut milk, and 2 tsp of chia seeds before mixing in the blueberries and strawberries.  This recipe makes about 6 pancakes.

Blueberry and Strawberry Pancakes

Lunches

At the beginning of the week, we used up some of our fruit and greens and ate fruit and barley salads.  The greens were a combination of baby spinach, kale, and arugula.

Barley fruit salad

Toward the end of the week, I tried out a new spin on quinoa.  Quinoa tabbouleh!  This was so incredibly simple to make – just combine cooked white quinoa with some halved cherry or grape tomatoes and diced cucumber, then mix all together with some lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.  My group at work is having another salad club lunch soon, and I am considering bringing this as my dish!  I thought the cucumber added a nice crunch to an otherwise “soft” kind of meal.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Dinners

Sunday
Broccoli tacos.  Yes, I said broccoli tacos.  These may sound a little gross, but they were actually really good!  We have been closely following this season of The Next Food Network Star, and I am rooting for Nikki Dinki because I really like her viewpoint of “meat on the side.”  Also, she started out as a blogger, turned her blog into a cooking show on You Tube, and now could potentially be the next Food Network Star!  Anyways, these broccoli tacos are a recipe I found on her website and adapted for a different kind of Sunday night dinner.

Broccoli Tacos

Monday
It’s dinner like these that make me really appreciate my boyfriend that loves to cook!  Check out Tim’s citrus pesto swordfish.  The flakiness of the fish allowed for the pesto to really sink into every bite.  We enjoyed this seafood dinner with a side of the same summer squash and zucchini ribbon salad that I loved so much last week.

Citrus Pesto Swordfish

Tuesday
Burger night!  Double bean veggie burgers topped with avocado and sliced tomato, with leftover summer squash and zucchini salad on the side.

Double Bean Veggie Burgers

Wednesday
Tim stuck his hand into the chicken butt!  Ewwwww.  Having the beer helps to keep the chicken moist while cooking, but it still retains a crispy outside.  We paired this with a side of sweet potato and beet hash.  It was a pretty Thanksgiving-ish meal for July, but that’s okay.  All we were missing was the cranberry sauce!

Beet and Sweet Potato Hash

Thursday
On Thursday night, Slesh invited me over for a dinner date.  I was bummed that Bridget and Karla couldn’t make it, but Slesh and I had a good time catching up.  We ate marinated turkey tips with some quinoa and a salad topped with some of my farm share goodies.

Turkey Tips

The rest of the night was spent snacking and drinking wine!  I just couldn’t resist picking up these Effie’s treats on the way over.

Effie's Homemade

Friday
Friday night was much needed girls night with Ashley and Monique after the very crappy day I had.  We met up at Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square.  I had been to Russell House before, but only for drinks.  Boy have I been missing out!  We started out with some cocktails at the bar while waiting for our table to be ready.  I went out on a limb and ordered the “So What,” which was a refreshing gin and cucumber and lime drink with soda water.

Cucumber and gin

After we were seated, we split a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.  Also, Monique randomly knew the owner of the restaurant, so lucky for us we got three small plates on the house!

Small Plates Russell House

From left to right:
– The smoked pig’s tail pierogi with parsnip purée and an apple cider reduction
– The Fiore Di Nonno burrata, which included black garlic, heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, and thai and opal basil
– And a crispy soft poached farm egg which had pecorino aioli, toasted brioche, and pancetta

We decided we were having so much fun sampling all these cool small plates that we wanted to order a couple more:

Small Plates Russell House 2

-Crab cakes over a candy striped beet and apple salad and a sweet pickle tartar
-Braised beef tongue meatballs with roasted Tomato, taleggio, and crispy sage

Since we each only had a few bites of each small plate, we finished up the night with a pizza!

Sprout Pizza

Half was the sprout pizza and half was the smoked chicken.  Everything we ate was so delicious (the perfect foodie night), and I had so much fun with two of my favorite gym friends!

Me Monique and Ashley

Saturday
Saturday was a throw together dinner, as we had SO many farm share veggies we wanted to use up before vacation.  The solution?  A gigantic veggie stir-fry.  With a little teriyaki and served over couscous, it made for a good throw together dinner.

Veggie Stir Fry

Some other fun things worth mentioning…

Favorite treat…

Definitely the ice cream we got for National Ice Cream Day!

National Ice Cream Day

Chocolate chip and almond.  Yum!

Favorite beer…

The Cambridge Brewing Company’s summer hefeweizen.  Perfect.

CBC Summer Hefe-Weizen

And one last favorite…

The pineapple mango peach smoothie that I enjoyed this morning at Cafenation with Liz, Emily, and Theresa after Emily’s 20/20/20 class.  Hit the spot.

Pineapple Mango Peach Smoothies

Okay that’s it!  Make sure to check in this week for my guest bloggers’ appearances on F&F.  They have some good posts coming your way!

Product Review & Giveaway! Effie’s Homemade Semolina Crackers

Good morning!

Recently my good friends over at Effie’s Homemade sent me some samples of their new line of Semolina crackers.  You guys may remember Effie’s from when they gave away a gift box of their oatcakes, nutcakes, and corncakes on Fitness & Feta back in October.

Well, Effie’s is back with three new flavors of Semolina crackers after years of recipe tweaking, ingredient sourcing, and lots of sampling!  These crackers are inspired by a European flat-bread that Effie’s made in their old catering shop, and let me tell you they definitely make for a fab snack.

Here are some facts about the new line:

  • Rustic crackers inspired by flavors and traditions of the Mediterranean
  • Key ingredients — semolina and extra virgin olive oil
  • All-natural and delicious
  • 9 month shelf life
  • Consumer friendly, resealable bags
  • Easy to cross-sell with cheese, dips, etc.

By the way, if you’re wondering what the heck semolina is (I definitely was!), it is the flour from durum hard wheat.  It is high in protein but lower in gluten than regular wheat flour.

I don’t keep many snacks in the house, but I do usually have some kind of cracker on hand.  Most of the time I go for reduced-fat Wheat Thins, reduced-fat Triscuits, or the Kashi TLC 7 grain.  It was nice to change things up with not one, but three new types of crackers!

Let’s talk about each flavor.

Roasted Garlic & Coriander
The Roasted Garlic & Coriander balance the flavor of subtle roasted garlic with bright, lemony coriander.  Effie’s recommends pairing with tapenades, bold cheeses, and cured meats.  I really liked this with some Laughing Cow cheese wedges spread on top!  Yum, yum, yum.

Lavender & Sea Salt
If I HAD to pick a least favorite, I guess this would be it?  I think only because I am not the biggest lavender fan?  I think I was nervous that the lavender flavor would be too much, but honestly it wasn’t overwhelming at all.  These crackers had a nice herbal hint to them and the sea salt was perfect.  Effie’s recommends pairing this flavor with creamy brie and goat cheeses or trying alongside dips, pâté or crumbled over your favorite soup.

Sunflower & Sesame
These seeded crackers are a MUST TRY.  They are not only super addictive on their own they easily pair with hummus, dips and your favorite sharp and creamy cheeses.  I definitely enjoyed all three flavors, but the Sunflower & Sesame were hands down my favorite.  I think I accidentally ate wayyyy more than just one serving at once!  Straight out of the bag, I chomp chomp chomped away.  😉

Effie’s Homemade Semolina Cracker FREE Giveaway

The folks at Effie’s have once again kindly offered to give away a free gift box to one random commenter on this post.  The gift box will include one package each of the Roasted Garlic & Coriander, the Sea Salt & Lavender, and the Sunflower & Sesame Seed crackers. 

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me which flavor you think you’d like best. 

Each person who enters the giveaway can receive up to THREE additional contest entries by doing any of the following:

  1. Linking to this giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter with the following:  “I just entered to win fun all-natural crackers from @EffiesHomemade and @FitnessandFeta.  You can too!  http://fitnessandfeta.com/2012/05/09/product-review-giveaway-effies-homemade-semolina-crackers/”
  2. Liking BOTH Effie’s AND Fitness & Feta on Facebook.  (1 comment for both please)
  3. Following BOTH Effie’s AND Fitness & Feta on Twitter.  (1 comment for both please)

Just make sure to leave me separate comments (that’s a max of four total comments, folks!) for each additional option you do.  The contest ends Sunday at noon EST, and I’ll announce the winner on Monday morning.  Good luck!

Disclaimer/Disclosure:  I did not receive any financial contributions for this review; however, I did receive free products from the company so that I could test them out and then tell you my thoughts.  All opinions are my own.

Another Giveaway! Effie’s Homemade Cakes

Good morning, readers!

I am excited to announce that I am holding another free giveaway for all of you!

This should make your Monday mornings at least a little more exciting, right?  I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff?

A couple weeks ago I attended the Boston Local Food Festival and had the privilege of sampling so many delicious locally grown and produced products from all over Massachusetts and New England.  One of my favorite booths was Effie’s Homemade, where I got to taste three different flavored samples of their wholesome and all natural cakes!

What stood out to me about the cakes were how good they were for something so simple!  And this is exactly what the Effie’s Homemade owners, Joan MacIssac and Irene Costello, try to accomplish with their products.  The inspiration for the company comes from Joan’s mom (that’s Effie!) who grew up on a rural farm in Nova Scotia.  During her childhood she learned to bake oatcakes and has since passed on the recipe as a family tradition through the generations.  Oatcakes were such a simple flavored staple in farm homes then, and Joan and Irene continue to use this as a basis when giving new spins to old-fashioned recipes.

Effie’s Homemade products (and the ones I sampled at the festival) include oatcakes, corncakes, and nutcakes.  Below is a brief description of each and a link to their product pages on the Effie’s Homemade website.

Oatcakes
Effie’s Oatcakes are a 4th generation family recipe with origins in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  Crisp, lightly sweetened, with a nutty flavor, oatcakes are a perfect snack any time of day.”

Corncakes
“Inspired by regional recipes of the Americas – cornmeal flatbreads, corn pones, johnnycakes – Effie’s Corncakes are crisp tea biscuits with a homey, toasted corn flavor and a hint of anise.”

Nutcakes
“We combined the sweetness of Southern pecans with stone-ground whole wheat and wildflower honey to create these irresistible nutty tea biscuits.  Effie’s Pecan Nutcakes have a comforting flavor and buttery texture that make them perfect with your favorite hot or cold beverage.  Try topping with stone fruit preserves, or pair with goat and blue cheeses.”

Definitely click on each of those links to read more about the products – each product page includes pairings, fun facts, ingredients, nutritional information, and recipes!  Really cool, huh?

When Tim and I were driving home home from the festival, we couldn’t decide which of these three we liked best.  I think my favorite were the oatcakes – but they really were all so good.  Since I enjoyed the oatcakes so much and also have been really into making anything with apples lately (see Apple Topped Pork Chops and German Apple Cake) I decided to try out one of the recipes listed on Effie’s recipe page.

A couple fun facts:  While I was reading through the recipe link, I learned that the cakes can be substituted in any recipe that calls for graham cracker crusts or crumb toppings.  Most of the recipes they post also come with an instructional video!

Anyways, I decided to go with the oatcake topped apple crisp.

Individual Apple Crisps with Oatcake Topping

Ingredients

  • 4- 8 oz. ramekins
  • 1 t. butter
  • 5 crisp tart apples
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ½ t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 t. corn starch
  • ½ pkg. Effie’s Oatcakes
  • 2 T. melted butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter the ramekins and set aside.
  3. In a bowl combine the apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Toss the apples to macerate then add the cornstarch and toss to coat. Taste the filling. Add more sugar or lemon juice to taste. Set aside.
  4. In the meantime place the Oatcakes in the bowl of a food processor or Cuisinart and pulse to a coarse crumb. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the melted butter forming a moist meal.
  5. Pour the apple filling evenly into the 4 buttered gratin dishes and top with the Oatcake topping.
  6. Transfer the ramekins to a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cover the gratin dishes with aluminum foil and continue baking for 15 more minutes or until there are syrup-y bubbles oozing to the top.
  7. Cool and serve with a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.


Interested in giving Effie’s Homemade a try?  Well, one of you will be in luck because they have kindly offered to give away a free Effie’s gift box to one random commenter on this post.  The gift box will include one package each of the oatcakes, nutcakes, and corncakes.

These gift boxes are perfect with the holidays right around the corner, don’t you think!?

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me which flavor you think you’d like to try the most and why!  You get a double entry if you share the link to this giveaway on Facebook (but you need to leave me a second comment on this post telling me you did so). 

I will announce the winner on Wednesday.

Good luck!