Kale salad

So you guys may or may not remember the kale salad I had a little while back when my life was changed.

You might remember me droning on about how delicious it was.  Totally not super bitter.  Right balance of sweet and savory.

Well, I made it my goal to try to replicate it for myself.

And I did.  Kind of.  My kale salad is not an exact replica of that at Local Foods, but it was yummy all the same.

Here’s the super simple cast of characters:

Yeah.  That’s it.  Raisins, shredded parm, lemon juice, olive oil, and kale.  There will also be a nut addition; I’ll get to that in a second.

The method:

Finely chop about 12 ounces of fresh kale (I used a food processor).  To the kale, add the juice of 1-2 lemons, ~1/4 cup olive oil, ~1/4 cup raisins, ~1/2 cup loosely packed shredded parmesan, ~1/4 cup nuts of your choosing.  Toss it all together, and boom.  There you have it.

As you can see, this isn’t exactly a recipe so much as a method.  The measurements aren’t exact, so you can go according to your preferences.  The original salad had pine nuts in it (which was fantastic), but being so expensive, pine nuts aren’t really something I’m willing to invest in.  I ended up trying a small bowl with chopped almonds (good) and later mixed chopped hazelnuts into the whole batch (even better).  I imagine pretty much any nut (and seed for that matter) would be lovely.

Additionally, you could totally use grated parmesan in place of shredded to get lots of parmy goodness in every bite.  You could also try switching out the raisins for currants or dried cranberries.  You really can’t go wrong!

This salad gets better and better the more it hangs out.  It’s been chillin’ in my fridge for the past few days and it’s only gotten more delicious.  It’s super simple and a light and healthy salad perfect for summertime.  Get into it!

Chills

Today I got the opportunity to attend the graduation of the 2011-2012 dietetic interns of the site I will soon be interning at!

All I can say is that it was totally surreal seeing those interns up on that stage, talking about how quickly the time flew by, reminiscing on all their memories, and celebrating the futures that lie ahead of them.  It gave me chills!

I can’t believe that in just a little over 2 weeks, I, along with 7 other individuals, will be embarking on a new journey to become registered dietitians!  I am just beyond thrilled for what’s in store for us.

But until that point in time, more museums and coffee shops for me, please. 🙂

When in doubt, find a coffee shop

I’ve been in Houston for about two weeks now and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned it’s that when you’re in doubt, go find yourself a coffee shop.

Seriously.

Most coffee shops have something on the menu suitable for any palate, even non-coffee drinkers like myself.  (Tea for the win!)  In addition to this, a coffee shop is always a great place to hang if you need a break from whatever you’re doing.

I’ve gotten lost more times than I’d like to admit in my time here thus far, but I like to think of botched excursions as learning opportunities.  Optimism.  My learning is reinforced by mistakes. 😉

I’ve visited a slew of coffee joints so far and thought I might share with you!

The first I checked out was Antidote in the Houston Heights area.

(Source)

I enjoyed an iced chai latte.  They had a seating area inside, but also had ample seating outside on a terrace with big fans to help keep things cool.  Really nice atmosphere, really friendly people.

I had met up with a couple of my fellow dietetic interns and we ended up getting into a discussion with a stranger about nutrition.  Love it when random people ask questions about the field!

Second place up was Inversion Coffee House.

Chai latte.  Again.  This one tasted like cinnamon toast crunch.  In the best way possible.

It was pretty busy when I got there.  Not many seats open inside, so I kicked it outside.  I’ve been blessed with mostly nice weather here, save for sporadic downpours of rain (which I actually like).

Super hipster vibe going on at Inversion, but I expected no less from a place in the Montrose area of Houston right next to an art gallery.  Fun place to visit for sure!

Next up: Black Hole Coffee House.

(Source)

Again, we have a very hipster vibe and an eclectic, artsy theme (Lindsay Lohan art on the wall!?).

I grabbed a regular iced tea from here and split a peanut butter cookie with my friend.  We had just come from exploring The Jung Center and sought refuge here from the sudden onslaught of rain.  We chilled for an hour or two at a little table right by the window.

Definitely a cool place to check out while you’re in the Museum District.

Finally, this blog post comes to you from the wifi provided in Boomtown Coffee in the Heights.

I yelped this place as I was wandering through the Heights and I’m very glad I decided to come.  I ended up with a plain iced tea (I’m telling you… I’m a creature of habit) as well as a signature item on their menu – a fried egg taco.

My horizons are totally expanding because not only do I dislike egg yolks, I’ve always been turned off by RUNNY egg yolks.  It’s always been one of those things where I just think, “I’m not going to try it.  I know I won’t like it.”

Although still skeptical, I’m all for trying anything and everything at least once, so I decided to give it a shot.  It was good, but I still wouldn’t consider myself a fan of the runny yolk.  Aside from that though, the salsa was the bomb and anything with fresh avocado is bound to be yummy.

Anyways guys, the moral of the story is… if you’re lost, find a coffee shop.  If you’re not lost, find a coffee shop.  They’re always perfect places to hang, people-watch, work, socialize, and eat and drink!  All good things.

Have a blessed day!

[[Edited to add: I also visited Brasil!  My friend works there and as she was showing me around town a little bit, we swung by for a quick visit.  They had both indoor and outdoor seating, delicious looking baked goods (I was eyeing a carrot cake), and they have live music on certain days!

I think it probably goes without saying… but I had an iced tea.  Thumbs up!]]

Things i like: urban outfitters

I’m coming back at you with another Things I Like post!

The thing of today is Urban Outfitters.

Urban Outfitters has been one of my go-to clothing stores since high school.  They never fail in providing me with cute and stylish clothing – sometimes vintage inspired, sometimes trendy, all the time awesome.

Let’s just be real for a second.  Urbz can be kind of expensive.  And by “kind of” I mean “really” because I’m suuuper frugal and I don’t have boatloads of cash to go spending willy-nilly.

Because of this, anytime I go to Urban, I beeline straight for the sale section.  It’s really rare that I pay more than $10-15 for any item – jeans, dresses, tank tops, shoes, you name it.

Not only is Urban Outfitters good for clothes, shoes, accessories, etc… it’s also good for things I totally didn’t know I needed in my life!

Like:

Girl scout cookie stationery.  Yeah.  Totally unnecessary.  But then you see it.  You pick it up and see that it’s on sale for less than 5 bucks.  Then, it suddenly becomes vital to your existence.  I wrote a letter and sent it out the same day I purchased this because I was so stoked.  [[My love for girl scout cookies extends far and wide.  Favorite = Samoas.]]

Tina Fey’s Bossypants.  Because, well, she’s funny.  And everyone could use a good laugh in life.  Besides this book, I’ve been able to score many other books that I love from UO: The Scarlet Letter, The Secret Garden, and The Bell Jar, just to name a few.

Finally, it might be questionable whether or not these are unimportant, because they are truly fantastic cookbooks.  Get Cooking by Mollie Katzen, Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, and Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moscowitz.  Win, win, win.  These are the three cookbooks I brought with me from home, leaving tons behind.  It must be because I like them the most.  I got them all at Urban Outfitters for 50% or less of their original price.

And yeah, I still have holiday tea from last year’s holiday.  No judging.

Here’s to frugality, style, and things you didn’t know you needed!  Thanks, UO.

Life changer

Have you ever had food so good you knew your life would never be the same because of it?

As in… you’ll crave that particular food for the rest of your existence?

I had that happen to me once.  Last year in Seattle.  The Cuban sandwich I had at Paseo was a total life changer.

My life was changed once again today.

I guess I really dig sandwiches.

I found Local Foods Houston through Yelp while I was roaming around in Rice Village.  (Side note – what on earth would I do without Yelp?  That thing rules.)  Their menu features sandwiches, salads, soups, and sides made with, as the name suggests, local ingredients.

The vibe kind of reminded me of Whole Foods mixed with Chipotle.  Interesting art and fixtures, and lots of fresh colorful food on display.  A couple of the workers had the most ridiculously awesome mustaches.  You know, the kind that twirl upwards at the end.  Yep.  Totally real.

Anyways, per many Yelpers’ suggestions, I ended up trying the crunchy chicken sandwich.  Per the cashier’s suggestion, I chose the tuscan kale and the succotash for my sides.

Guys.  There are no words.

Okay, maybe there are some words.  This sandwich was basically off the chain.

In case you forgot what it looked like, here’s the picture again. 😉

Pecan-crusted grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and melty provolone all stuffed into a pretzel roll.  You see those things just below the top half of the roll?  Those are house-made potato chips.  [[Did anyone else think putting chips in your sandwich was the cool thing to do when you were a kid?]]

This sandwich was one of those kinds of things where you have to say “mmm” after pretty much every bite.  It just happens and nothing can be done about it.

So the succotash… Let me just say really quick… I’m not a huge fan of lima beans.  BUT, I was persuaded to try this due to the fact that the cashier raved about it and also informed me that it would soon be off the menu because of seasonality.  I’m glad I was persuaded because it was awesome.  It had fresh sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, some sort of dressing I’m sure will forever be a mystery to me, and plenty of fresh herbs.

The kale was hands down the best kale anything I’ve ever tried.  With golden raisins, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, the sweet, salty, bitter, tastes ended up working perfectly together.  This also had some kind of mystery dressing that just further enhanced my flavor experience.

I would say that although for me, this place is a little on the pricier side for lunch, it is well worth it.  However, this “lunch” totally ended up being both lunch and dinner for me, so it works out.  If anyone from out of town comes to visit me, I’m definitely taking them to Local Foods.

Have you ever had a life changer food experience?

First (real) houston outings


I’ve been here in Houston for a solid week now and have just recently started my explorations beyond the grocery store for peanut butter or Target for toilet paper.  First things first, right?

Since I know that you’re dying to know, here’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to lately!

Rain.  Lots of it.  I’m learning that this is just normal.

My first venture led me to the downtown area where I stumbled upon a really rad tea spot called Path of Tea.

I might have become a little obsessed with it.  Even though I love tea, I’m certainly no aficionado.  This place could totally run me into one, though.  They have 60+ different types of tea broken into broad categories including black, green, white, rooibos, etc.

They regularly run tea tastings where you get to taste something from each different category of tea, as well as learn about potential health benefits.

While I was enjoying my time at Path of Tea, I had what was quite possibly the best lemon bar I’ve ever had.  It included coconut and green tea which made it totally different than any other lemon bar I’ve tasted.  I hope I can figure out how to recreate it myself someday!

The lemon bar kind of stole the show, but the strawberry sencha tea that I had was rather amazing as well.

After I finished up my tea, I made my way over to Houston’s museum district and checked out the Menil Collection.

The Menil Collection was free and had tons of interesting sculptures, artifacts, paintings, and photographs to look at.

Houston has TONS of other museums that are also free and I definitely plan on checking those out soon!

[[Quick side note: I’ve been a bit of a busy bee since I got here, resulting in a lack of blogging.  As I get myself more oriented to everything, I’ll be back with more regular postings.]]

Are you into art museums?
Do you have a favorite tea?

Antics

Can I just say… carrying 8 million boxes and bags and tables and chairs up three stories is a better workout than any bicep curl or walking lunge.

I know this to be true because I did it.  Just take my word for it.

In addition to moving in and attempting to get settled, I’ve been goofing off (per usual).

I made my first trip ever to IKEA.  I had such an urge to run around and play house in here, but I had no Joseph Gordon-Levitt to run around with me.  (I hope someone gets this reference.)

I also tried swedish meatballs for the first time because I heard that’s just a thing you do when you go to IKEA.  I’m not fighting it.

I’ll spare you the picture though.  IKEA’s priority is not presentation when it comes to their swedish meatballs.

All I know is that a store is a good store when it sells cutesy food-related stuff and look what I found at IKEA!  The cutest broccoli and carrot pillows I’ve ever seen.  The skirt the broccoli is wearing totally kills me.

Is it weird that I just turned 22 and I’m way into these pillow pets?  (Secretly I must be 5 years old.)  These little guys made the trip with me to my new place.  They’re from my brother/sister-in-law and my best friend, so we can blame my attachment on sentimental value. 😉

I have about a month until my internship starts… so stoked!  My exploration of the city will start tomorrow and I plan to include you guys on all my adventures!

There’s so much green here compared to desert Vegas, that I find everything to be lush and beautiful – even vacant lots haha.  But, I’m super excited to check out the pretty parks and hiking trails they have here.

Also, kolaches.  Does anyone know what these are?  I don’t but I’m going to find out sometime soon, that’s for sure.  Kolache bakeries run rampant here!

Have you been to IKEA?
Have you ever had swedish meatballs or kolaches?
Am I alone in my love for cute stuffed (animals/foods/pillows)?

I hope you are all having a great day!