Chef Time #5: Four Smoothie Bowl Recipes

Chef Time #5: Four Smoothie Bowl Recipes

In this Chef Time post, I tell you about four different smoothie bowl recipes I made. Recently, I’ve been inspired by all of the smoothie bowls I’ve been seeing online and in restaurants. I love how healthy they are (obviously depending on what you put in them) and how pretty they can look depending on what toppings you use.

None of these recipes have exact measurements- you get to decide how much you want to put in! The Dragon Fruit has a pretty strong flavor, so it will cover up any veggies you try to sneak in 🙂

Here are the four recipes I created:

Recipe #1

This is my favorite smoothie bowl recipe- I think it had the best base in terms of taste and consistency. For the base, I used: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, some almond milk, 1 Avocado and some mixed frozen berries. You can’t taste the Avocado, but it makes the bowl nice a creamy. For the toppings, I used: a spoonful of almond butter, chia seeds, fresh strawberries and granola.

Recipe #2

In this smoothie bowl, I mixed: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, some almond milk, 2 frozen bananas, some frozen raspberries and some frozen mango chunks. The base came out too soupy, so if you use almond milk or something similar, make sure to watch for this. The toppings I used were granola and chia seeds.

Recipe #3

In this smoothie bowl recipe, I used: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, 1 frozen banana, some riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s, some frozen raspberries, some frozen mango chunks, and some almond milk. I promise that you can’t taste the cauliflower; I put it in to provide some additional nutrients. For the toppings, I used chia seeds, granola and almond butter- I love how the almond butter accidentally came out looking like a flower!

Recipe #4

In this recipe, the bowl ingredients are: 1 Dragon Fruit pouch, 1 frozen banana, some frozen mango chunks, some frozen raspberries, and 3 strawberry yogurts. The toppings are chia seeds and granola (I like Udi’s granola!). I used yogurt to give the bowl a creamier texture, I don’t like it when the base gets too soupy.

I hope that these recipes inspire you to make smoothie bowls at home. If you do make them, tag me in the pictures on Instagram @thecrosscountrymillennial- I would love to see them! Also, a great spot to look for the dry goods (granola and chia seeds) used in these recipes is Thrive Market – I’m obsessed with the prices. If you use this link, you’ll get 25% off your first order (this post is not sponsored, I just love Thrive Market). Bon appetite!

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

What Happens When Age is Thrown Out the Window?

I’ve always had two philosophies in life 1) age is just a number and 2) you can learn something from everyone you meet. I chose to participate in the Bridging the Gap campaign with this mentality, but I was hesitant that I wouldn’t be able to relate to my partner. What would I truly have in common with someone double my age, and who’s lived in countries I’ve never been to? However, once I started talking with Renata, founder of Fashionably Fab Fashion Tips, I realized that we had so much more in common than I initially imagined.

Renata was born and raised in Australia, but she followed her dreams and at age 50 she moved to France. She has a son, and she is getting married to an Italian man in November. Now, age 52, she has traveled to over 40 cities in Europe – something I aspire to do some day. Some of her favorite places are: Antwerp, Paris, the countryside in England, Austria, and Switzerland.

Renata started her blog because she thinks “it’s important to just see people for who and what they are regardless of age, height or shape. People have a hard time nowadays to see people without labels or status.” You feel this intention when reading her blog; the wisdom woven into posts from her personal life and fashion communicates everything at a humanistic level and it feels refreshing. Everything she writes is authentic, and it’s noticeable. This tone makes sense because Renata is an artist with words – she’s written a book (again another life goal of mine).

I learned from our conversations that we both share passions for traveling, food, helping others and the relationships we have with family and friends. Renata is an expert in European cities; she can tell you where to eat, sites to see and the value of traveling to each country. I think she would write an awesome travel book about European cities. I hope to have this much knowledge about places within the United States. Renata and I both believe that traveling is awesome and that it forces you to truly live life. She says it best, “experience is life,” and I completely agree. Paired with traveling, is her passion for good food. Whether it’s a home cooked meal by her future spouse or dishes she’s discovered while traveling around Europe – she loves it all.

After talking with Renata, I realized that our values, passions and desires are the same; no matter your age. Two lessons I took away from our conversations are that you need to live in the now and make sure to become your best friend. I also hope that one day I have the wisdom and willingness to live my dreams despite my fears. Remember that beauty is ageless, and age is just a number. Renata and I bridged the gap, and I hope that we can meet in person – maybe I’ll travel to Europe!

To check out the other posts, click here!

Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

Chef Time #4: How to Make an Egg Sandwich

As I mentioned in my post about my experience at Egg Slut, I am on a mission to figure out how to make the best egg sandwich at home. After I went to Egg Slut, I figured out the missing ingredient- avocado!

Cook and Prep time: 10 minutes

What You’ll Need:

1 or 2 eggs

1 Tbsp. of garlic olive oil (I use the Trader Joe’s version)

1 or ½ an avocado

2 slices of Gouda cheese

1 English muffin or roll (I like the Euro Classic Hamburger rolls)

Single Egg Pan

I like to start by prepping the bread, so that way once the egg is cooked I can just put it on the sandwich and it’s ready to eat. Here are the steps:

  • Lay out both halves of the bread
  • Slice up the avocado and put it on both sides of the bread, so the sandwich is balanced.

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  • Put the two slices of Gouda on top of the avocado- this way they melt once you put the freshly cooked egg between them!

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Now that the rest of the sandwich is ready, then I start with the tasks related to cooking the egg(s). Here’s what I do:

  • Put a little bit (about 1 Tbsp.) of the garlic olive oil in the single egg pan- I like to put enough that I know the egg won’t stick to the pan, but not too much where it will spit back out at me while hot.

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  • Crack the egg into the pan- I like to cook it sunny side up

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  • Once the egg whites look cooked, then I like to flip it

When you think, the egg is done, take it off the stove and quickly get it onto the prepared sandwich. Once you put both halves together, it will melt the cheese.

I hope that you enjoy my super easy and healthy egg sandwich recipe! Comment below with any recipes that you’ve created and feel like sharing 🙂

 

 

Food Guide: Portland, ME

Food Guide: Portland, ME

One of my favorite things to do is visit my friends in the cities they now reside in. My very best friend, 207 Foodie, resides in Portland, ME and I thought that the winter time was the perfect time to escape Los Angeles. To start off my trip, she had an ugly sweater party, so obviously, I had to scour Amazon for the perfect ugly sweater.

Day Two

The next day, we decided to walk to brunch in downtown Portland. We went to brunch at Sur Lie, and it was delicious. We had mimosas, the Golden Potato Hash Brown, Croquettes, the Fat Boy Breakfast, and Apple Cider Donuts- all were heavenly. The next time I’m in Portland, I must eat at Sur Lie again*.

One of my bucket list Portland destinations was L.L. Bean. I mean as someone that loves outdoor gear, L.L. Bean is like heaven. While at L.L. Bean you must take an obligatory picture with the boot outside the store- if you didn’t’ take a picture, did you really go?

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Another bucket list item was getting an authentic lobster roll. I know that winter isn’t the best season for lobster, but the lobster roll I had at Linda Beans was still delicious. I decided to get a cold lobster roll because I’ve only ever had a hot lobster roll; so, in Portland, I decided to try something new!

After spending the day at L.L. Bean and eating lobster rolls, we went on to have a quintessential New England evening at an outdoor ice skating rink, called The Rink at Thompson’s Point. It was a nice rink with a bar inside. They also had a food truck called PB&ME, that served fried cookies, so I got the fried chocolate chip cookies. They were the perfect addition to outdoor ice skating, beer, and good friends.

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Day Three

The next day we wandered down to the Old Port downtown to try an amazing sushi restaurant called Miyake. I got the pork belly, chef’s pick bento box, and chocolate cake with miso caramel sauce and it was great. Some of the items in the bento box I definitely wouldn’t have ordered on my own, but that’s the joy of the chef picking your menu- you get to try new things. The food was super fresh, and I loved the sushi. My friend and I also split the chocolate cake, and it was heavenly. After this delectable lunch, we walked to a different part of the city and went to Shipyard Brewing Co. We learned about the different beers and got to try a few. To finish a great day, we ended up at happy hour at Bar of Chocolate, and we got the Chocolate Martini and Hot Chocolate.

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Day Four

One of the things I hoped would happen while I was in Portland was that it would snow, and I got exactly that. There was enough snow that I was nervous that I might not be able to leave the next day, but luckily it stopped. Once it stopped snowing, we went to lunch at Pai Men Miyake, which is owned by the same people who own Miyake.  We split the pork buns and tuna and salmon rolls, and I got the Ramen as my main course. To finish off the day, we went to trivia at a local restaurant, and I got Beer BBQ wings.

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Day Five

To round off the trip, we went to lunch at a great place called Little Tap House, and I got the Beer for Breakfast Sandwich; the sandwich is comprised of two fried eggs, bacon, beer cheese fondue, grilled bun, and house chips. Then I was on my way back to Chicago. One thing that I’ve learned since graduating college is that visiting your friends is one of the best ways to relax and just allow yourself to be carefree. Being Bicoastal Besties can be hard, but trips together make it seem like time has never passed. Also, I definitely want to visit Portland during the Fall or Summer, so I can try different foods in the correct season!

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Comment below with your favorite trip you’ve taken with friends!

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*Unfortunately, they no longer do brunch 🙁

Los Angeles Brunch Time: The Church Key

Los Angeles Brunch Time: The Church Key

Recently for a friend’s birthday brunch, I ended up in West Hollywood at The Church Key; this restaurant is a bit outside of my normal geographical stomping ground. I had never heard of the Church Key before, and I was excited to try a new restaurant for brunch; it’s always good to a have a few different restaurants in your arsenal to pick from. To start off, we got the Brioche Donuts. They have a Brown Butter Glaze with a dribbling of Cinnamon Caramel. They were amazing, and something I definitely will get again. Then on the more savory side, we got the Toad in the Hole “Croque Madame.” It comes with two eggs, gruyere fondue, and smoked bacon. It honestly hit the spot to balance out the sweetness from the donuts.

For my entrée, I got the “Another” Avocado Toast. It comes on sourdough with house citrus cured salmon, fennel, oranges, and chives. I added the fried egg added to the dish for extra protein. I loved how all of the different flavors mixed together to make this avocado toast 100% not another basic avocado toast. The combination of flavors in this entrée make it more for someone who’s willing to be adventurous in their food choices, because not everyone loves fennel, but it was truly delicious and worth trying. For the amount of food, you get, I would say that $15 for this delectable entrée is perfectly fine.

 

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Another perk of going to the Church Key, is that they have a great mimosa deal and are very attentive. You get unlimited mimosas for $15.95 vs. $10 for one mimosa- definitely a deal.  They make sure that you always have a full mimosa and if they run out, then they give you other options. For drink service, they have some of the best service I’ve ever experienced. I highly recommend the food and drinks at The Church Key. Bon Appetit!

Ktown Hidden Gems #2: CottonHi

Ktown Hidden Gems #2: CottonHi

 

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As I mentioned in Ktown Hidden Gems #1, one of my favorite things about Koreatown is that just by walking around you discover so many different places and learn so many different things about where you live. Recently, I discovered CottonHi, which is an organic cotton candy and soft serve dessert place a few blocks away from where I live. The dessert is amazing, and what adult doesn’t love cotton candy?! Seriously- it instantly makes my day better. I’ve had the Tiramisu and Rock’n Pop soft serve cups with coffee flavor cotton candy (it really does taste like coffee). All of the soft serve desserts are under $5; I love an affordable and delicious dessert. CottonHi is always busy when I’ve gone, but the wait is short and you can always get a seat.

If you’re ever in Koreatown in Los Angeles and you’re looking for a unique dessert place, you definitely need to check out CottonHi!

Beginner’s Guide to Nashville

Beginner’s Guide to Nashville

This past weekend, I escaped Los Angeles and headed to Nashville for the long weekend to celebrate my birthday with 207foodie. We didn’t really know what to expect, but we had a great time the five days we were there.

Here are the must- dos for visiting Nashville:

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Pork Sandwich and Fries

  • Try BBQ! Seriously, how can you go to the land of BBQ and not have some?! We went to Edley’s Bar-B-Que, and I got the Pork Sandwich, basket of fries with the most amazing seasoning ever, and to drink I had the Oh Honey. All of them were amazing, and the pork sandwich might be the best pulled pork sandwich that I have ever had.

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  • YOU MUST BRUNCH! We had no idea that brunch was such a big deal in Nashville before our trip, and by the time that we left we were brunched out. On Saturday, we went to Biscuit Love, and it was AMAZING! We split the Bonuts, East Nasty, and Egg Plate…all of which are to die for and will make you have the highest brunch standards for future brunches…nothing will live up to your brunch expectations once you go to Biscuit Love. I also ordered an Iced coffee which rounded off the most perfect meal ever. There typically is a long line on the weekend, but it really does move fast, so don’t get discouraged.

On Sunday, we went to Urban Cookhouse for brunch. This time our goal was a filling brunch, but not as intense as Biscuit Love. We both ordered the pancakes, a cup of fruit, and the Strawberry Lemonade Mimosa. It was simple, but delicious. They have a nice porch to eat on, and it was relaxing to be able to eat outside and just enjoy the Sunday morning weather.

  • Go out! Nashville night life is like no other city I have ever been to. The first bar we went to was McCabe’s Pub, and they have a great late night happy hour and beers are super cheap! Another bar we went to was The Gold Rush, I got a cider and chicken tenders and fries. The food was good, the bartender was really nice, and the kitchen is open late! This is a huge plus because we skipped dinner and sometimes you just need a late-night meal.fullsizeoutput_9b9
  • Go to the Grand Ole Opry! Even though I’m not a huge fan of country music, and I definitely don’t know older country music; I appreciate experiencing historical places and learning new things. The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running radio show- the live show is played over the air and the host really makes it sound like you’re listening to the radio even if you’re in the audience. Hearing the different types of music was cool, and I’m glad I went and learned more about the history of country music.

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  • Take pictures at the murals around the city! There are TONS of murals around the city, and you can find the addresses for the more famous ones online, but you definitely stumble upon cool ones while you’re walking around. The Gulch and 12 South have some unique ones, and it makes walking around more fun because you’re taking in everything the city has to offer.

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  • Do a Nashville Peddle Tavern tour! I think that doing peddle tavern tours is a fun way to explore a city, and experience the night life. Peddle tavern tours usually take you to three or four bars, and you have to peddle from one location to another. This way you get exercise and experience the city! They usually take you to historic or off the beaten path bars, and you get to experience places that locals usually go to and not tourists.

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  • Finally, hit up the restaurant scene! Nashville has a diverse restaurant scene, and you can find basically anything you want. We went to Fin and Pearl for seafood, and it was amazing! We loved the Dip appetizer and salmon entrée, both had amazing flavors. Another restaurant we ventured to was, Marsh House. I loved the three types of oysters I got for an appetizer, the Sweet Jesus, Wellfleet Petite, and Bama Beauty, and the Squid Ink Garganelli was an amazing entrée too.

We stayed in an Airbnb and I think that they are great way to experience a city, you get a feel for that specific neighborhood and what’s around it. I suggest trying to walk around the city as much as possible, because it allows you to notice things you wouldn’t see in a car (like hidden murals!). There are tons of Uber and Lyft cars in Nashville, and the drivers are super friendly and the rides are cheap (compared to Portland, ME and Los Angeles, CA). If you’re looking for a great weekend getaway, then Nashville is a great city for you to visit!

Bon voyage!

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Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

Chicago’s Hidden Gluten Free Cafe

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When you think of food in Chicago, you typically think of meat and potatoes, not a gluten free café. When one of my friends took me to Wheat’s End in December, I was in awe that such a place existed and that it was absolutely delicious. Before I went to Wheat’s End I knew that certain brands of gluten free products were good, and that items on a restaurant menu could be decent, but I never expected to crave gluten free food. I have a pretty sensitive stomach and I recently decided to cut out as much gluten as possible to see if that helped keep things calm; I also can’t have a lot of dairy or rich foods.

When we went to Wheat’s End, I decided to have a yolo moment and order and eat anything I wanted to. To start off our feast I ordered a mimosa and a soy latte, because you can’t have brunch without a mimosa and coffee. Next we each got a Popover with mushroom gravy, which was AMAZING! I couldn’t tell that I was eating gluten free, and the gravy perfect- it wasn’t rich and had the right balance of mushrooms and gravy. We split the breakfast potatoes and nitrate free bacon (probably some of the best bacon I’ve ever had). To top off our meal we split a pumpkin cinnamon roll, which hit the spot. It tasted and had the same consistency of a non-gluten free cinnamon roll, and the pumpkin flavor made it the perfect cinnamon roll.

During this meal had more food than I typically eat in two meals, and I didn’t feel stuffed or like I over ate. The food was amazing, and I have been dreaming of it since December and I can’t wait to go back in April! If you’re gluten free and live or are traveling to Chicago, then you definitely need to go to (or live at) Wheat’s End!

Let’s Talk About Goats

Let’s Talk About Goats

2016 was a big year for the City of Chicago and goats. The Cubs FINALLY WON THE WORLD SERIES, breaking the curse of the Billy Goat, and it was the year I discovered Girl and the Goat and Little Goat.

Girl and the Goat

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During my time home, I went to Girl and the Goat with my BFF and her BF, and it was probably my favorite foodie adventure with her. When we initially sat down, it was 10:15pm, and we were just eating dinner. Seriously who eats dinner at that hour- my parents thought we were crazy, but the craze about this restaurant was worth the late dinner time. I immediately noticed the vibe of the restaurant, modern but comfortable, and I knew I was going to like it. Our waiter was probably the most helpful waiter I’ve ever had, he thoroughly walked us through the menu and marked his favorite dishes under each category. This made the experience for two newbies much more pleasant and less overwhelming.

We ended up ordering the Sautéed Green Beans, Roasted Cauliflower, Escargot Ravioli, Pig Face, Goat Belly, and Caramel Corn and Malt Balls and the Dark Matter Pot De Crème for dessert. All the food was AMAZING! Every bite is designed to please each taste bud, and balance each type of flavor (sweet, salty, bitter, etc.). I have never enjoyed each bite of a meal like this before, so it was worth it to wait until 10:15pm to eat. For the amount of food, we ordered and one drink per person, the bill was quite reasonable- which surprised us! Since I loved this experience so much, I made it my goal to go to Little Goat when I came home for the Holidays in December.

Little Goat

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Flash-forward a few weeks, and I’m back in Chicago, and ready for my next exciting dinning adventure. This time my friend and I went to Little Goat, which has more of a rustic diner feel. We arrived a bit early, and went to the bar on the other side of the restaurant to wait. I got the Moscow Goat and my friend got a Pinot Noir. The menu at Little Goat is even more overwhelming/expansive since they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I knew that we had to get the Tempura Mashed Potatoes, but really had no idea for how to tackle the menu. We decided to each find an entrée and then we found some sides that we were intrigued by and just selected three. We ordered the Bi Bim Bop Breakfast Bowl, Bull’s Eye French Toast, Tempura Mashed Potatoes, Goat Chili Cheese Fries, and the Hot Crab Dip.

Everything at Little Goat felt more like eating creatively made and presented comfort food. It was delicious and we definitely over ordered for two people. I would say my two favorite items at Little Goat were the Bull’s Eye French Toast and the Goat Chili Cheese Fries. I loved the combination of flavors in the Bull’s Eye French Toast- sweet, salty, and savory all in one bite. As for the Goat Chili Cheese Fries- I a) had never had goat on fries before b) loved how all the flavors just made one amazing bite. Little Goat is also affordable- just make sure you don’t over order 🙂

If you’re going to be traveling or live in Chicago- I highly suggest that you make reservations at one or both restaurants. If you want to go to Girl and the Goat at a normal time, then you definitely need to book it months in advance. Both restaurants have amazing food, and I suggest that you pick one based off either your desire to try something completely different or if you want more unique comfort food. Happy Eating!

Chef Time #2

Chef Time #2

As someone who’s trying very hard to learn to cook, I thought I would share two of my new favorite recipes.

 Tuna Fish and Noodles

I know this recipe seems a bit bland or unusual, but for me it tastes like home. It possible is my favorite dish that my mom makes.

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Ingredients
8 oz. wide or extra wide noodles
6.5 oz. tuna fish (you can use 2 small cans or 1 large can)
Cream of Mushroom soup

Steps
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring pot of water to boil; add noodles and stir.  Cook until done, drain & rinse with hot water.
Drain tuna and break chunks up.
Add ½-3/4 cup milk to soup.  (I usually put soup in 1 qt. pot over low heat and gradually stir in milk.)
Grease casserole dish with butter or margarine.
Layer noodles, tuna, soup (thin), & repeat, ending with soup.
Cook 1 hour.

*If you want to add peas or another veggie to the recipe, you definitely can!

 

 

Eggplant and Mozzerella

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Ingredients

Eggplant Recipes – use a rimmed cookie sheet for both
Eggplant Sorrento Style
2 medium to large eggplants (approx. 2 lbs. total), sliced about 1/4-inch thick
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced approx. ¼-inch thick
1 lb. mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
24 large basil leaves

Steps
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggplant slices on lightly oiled baking sheets. Brush both sides with olive oil (you can use olive oil spray instead).  Bake until softened, about 10 min.  Turn & bake until almost tender throughout, about 5 min. more.  Remove from oven.  Add salt & pepper (I don’t use this). Top with 1 slice of tomato, 1 slice of mozzarella and a basil leaf. Bake until cheese melts (5 min. or so).  Serve immediately.

 

If you have an easy recipe you want me to try, please share it! Enjoy!