Week 6: Winner, winner chicken dinners

Well, our second favorite team won the Super Bowl (the first day of week 6: winner, winner chicken dinner) so we celebrated with chicken for dinner all week.

What’d we have? Let me tell you…

Salad with canned chicken (a nice detox from the unhealthy fare of the Super Bowl):

Chicken salad | Megan's Island Blog

Chicken marsala:

Chicken marsala | Megan's Island Blog

I love, love, love this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It’s my go-to for chicken marsala and it’s been far too long since we’ve had it. We had it with orzo and asparagus and will be putting this one back in the rotation.

Penne with a sweet chicken sausage tomato sauce and a bottle of the Davenport Cellars Malbec:

Pasta deliciousness | Megan's Island Blog

And we made a new concoction, similar to this quinoa salad with chicken, avocado and oranges we had during orange week, and we will absolutely make this one again. However, Brandon had it for leftovers and said it wasn’t as good as the first time because of the spinach.

What is this delicious meal? 

Quinoa, spinach, chicken, avocado | Megan's Island Blog

We rubbed some chicken tenderloins with jerk seasoning and then grilled them. While the chicken was cooking, we cooked two servings of quinoa.

The magic of the meal is really in the presentation. We used my most favorite plate bowls and plopped down a handful of spinach. We placed the hot quinoa directly on top, allowing the spinach to wilt a bit. We added some crispy shallots, avocado and some fresh-squeezed orange and lime juice, with salt and pepper to top it off. Delicious.

Beignet mix giveaway!

I brought a bit of NOLA back with me and want to thank you, my readers, by rewarding you!

Enter to win this box of Beignet Mix from Cafe Du Monde

Enter to win this box of Beignet Mix from Cafe Du Monde

Enter my Rafflecopter giveaway to have a bit of NOLA sent your way,with this box of Beignet (French doughnut) Mix, straight from New Orleans. Enter as many times as you’d like! The contest ends at midnight on Monday, February 24, 2014 and the winner will be contacted via email.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and enjoy those beignets!

Mix + powdered sugar = Delicious! Enter to win your mix now

Mix + powdered sugar = Delicious! Enter to win your mix now

My long weekend in NOLA

I can’t believe its been almost a month since my long weekend in New Orleans, celebrating my friends Jenny and Nick’s wedding. Things have been so busy that I’m finally getting around to writing about it. You can thank this nasty cold I’ve got for giving me daylight hours to do some blog writing. I love being at home, but I hate being sick. Hopefully it goes away soon. Besides, I’ve cleaned out the DVR.

Back to NOLA. More than 250 people flew down to New Orleans for this destination wedding and it turned into a really fun reunion of sorts. It was great because the whole group of friends was in a single location, living it up. We walked Bourbon Street (in both the daylight and the wee hours of the morning), we strolled the waterfront, we explored cemeteries and we ate and drank and then ate some more. The best part about New Orleans, besides celebrating the bride and groom? Walking and drinking. It was so great to grab a drink “to go” as we headed to your next location or explored pop up markets as we waited for our table for dinner.

Enough words. It’s photo time!

The sights!

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

New Orleans selfie!

New Orleans selfie!

A pretty courtyard in New Orleans

A pretty courtyard in New Orleans

Getting ready for Mardi Gras!

Getting ready for Mardi Gras!

Loving the New Orleans architecture

Loving the New Orleans architecture

The scenic view of the river

The scenic view of the river

Cafe Amelie in New Orleans. Best meal I had in NOLA!

Cafe Amelie in New Orleans. Best meal I had in NOLA!

And the food!

Shrimp and grits with corn and andouille maque choux

My favorite meal of the trip: Shrimp and grits with corn and andouille maque choux

Pulled pork sandwich from Cochon Butcher. Delicious. I also had a side of Brussels sprouts and mac 'n cheese.

Pulled pork sandwich from Cochon Butcher. Delicious. I also had a side of Brussels sprouts and mac ‘n cheese.

Check back tomorrow for a special giveaway in honor of my most recent trip! Have a great week!

Adventures in barre

The Dailey Method Barre Studio

The Dailey Method Barre Studio

The other night I was driving home from the park and ride and I spotted a new business on Megan’s Island: the Dailey Method barre studio. I did some research when I got home and discovered they have been open a few short weeks and were offering a tremendously amazing grand opening special. (The special runs through Feb. 15. Get your deal and join me!)

I have so many friends who love barre method and swear by it. I’ve been interested to try it, but the cost (typically $20 per class) and locations (not Mercer Island or close to my work) have deterred me… until now! The grand opening special was six weeks of unlimited classes for $100.

I went to my first class on Saturday and I had a pretty good run before coming down with the plague. I was terribly sore, but I kept going back, so that’s good, right? On the plus side, I’ve found muscles that I didn’t know existed and everything seems to be firming up. (I’m sure a lot of it is the work out itself, but I also give credit to actually working out so frequently.)

I’m planning on doing “bar-ray” (as Brandon calls it) very regularly for the next six weeks (minus the past 3 days when I’ve barely left my couch infirmary). Depending on the results, I may continue the bar-ray. If not, this will be a nice little jump start to my at-home workouts. I’ve taken “before” photos and plan on showing them off, once there is something to show off. Until then, I’ll keep you updated on the fun things I’m learning throughout this six week process. This is what I’ve got so far:

  1. They weren’t joking about those see-through Lululemon workout pants. Wowza.
  2. Turns out not everyone got the memo about their sheer qualities. (I’m looking at you, Ms. Downward Dog in front of me…)
  3. There are about 1 million uses for those karate belt/strap things.
  4. Saving your neck from strain is one of them. I’ll be using the strap a bit more today.
  5. It takes a completely frozen water bottle one hour in a warm room to start to thaw. (Not to self: remember thawed water bottle next time)
  6. Being sore is a state of being.

I’m really looking forward to getting well and jumping back on the bar-ray bandwagon.

Week 5: Seattle-themed eating

Cruciferous crunch from Trader Joe's

Cruciferous crunch from Trader Joe’s

On the week leading up to the Super Bowl, we decided to celebrate the spotlight on our city with a Seattle-themed week of food.

We had all sort of delicious items and Seattle week turned into more of a salmon week, which was ok for us too.

My favorite dish of the week were the salmon tacos that I put together on my own, based on a lot of flavors from the quinoa dish a few weeks ago. We used Tom Douglas (a Seattle legend)’s fish rub and grilled the salmon, adding some orange and lime juice and zest as the fish was resting. I added some cilantro and lime to some sour cream and added that with some steamed ‘cruciferous crunch’ veggies from Trader Joe’s: kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and green and red cabbage.

Citrus-y salmon tacos with cilantro

Citrus-y salmon tacos with cilantro

We steamed these veggies later in the week and they turned out really well. I plan on steaming some shredded Brussels spouts this week. It would be a first for me. Weird, right?

As I mentioned, it sort of turned into salmon week. We had smoked salmon pasta the following day, with shallots and peas in a light cream sauce.

Smoked salmon pasta in a light cream sauce

Smoked salmon pasta in a light cream sauce

The last salmon dish of the week was a delicious chop salad from Juno that I plan on making again. This salad included baby arugula, cous cous, tomatoes, salmon lox, parmesan cheese, pumpkin seeds, black currants, dried sweet corn, pesto buttermilk dressing. It’ll be perfect in the summer, eaten out on the patio with either lox or grilled salmon and a crisp glass of Efeste’s Riesling. Yes, please.

Juno's chop salad

Juno’s chop salad

To bring it back to Seattle week, I had the fun opportunity to enjoy one of Seattle’s newest and hottest restaurants: Din Tai Fung. There was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it. Everything we ordered at the dumpling house was fantastic and while we felt like we ate for hours, the bill was reasonable and we weren’t too full. We had soup dumplings, chicken fried noodles, the pork chop fried rice (hands down my favorite), sauteed green beans with garlic, and the rice and pork shao mai. Man, was it good. And re-writing it here makes me crave it even more. I visited Din Tai Fung with some girlfriends and I’m eager to take Brandon. I know he’d love it!

Din Tai Fung

The Din Tai Fung spread. So delicious!

We capped off Seattle Week with a visit to Molly Moon’s. Seattle/Salmon week was a huge success. Up next week? “Winner, winner chicken dinner” in honor of the Superbowl. Our second favorite team won, so we’ll celebrate them. Besides, that way it’s the perfect set up with Seattle Week!

{Gone Pinning} Valentine’s Day

GonePinning

Man, what a week! First, our beloved Broncos humiliated themselves at the Super Bowl and then Seattle blew up in excitement over its first Super Bowl win. As a result, more than 700,000 people trekked downtown to help celebrate the Seahawks. To put that in perspective, that’s more people that even live in Seattle along 20 blocks during a workday. Yowza.

As you can tell, it’s been a long week and Valentine’s Day is already less than seven days away. So, it’s time for some quick planning…and a trip to Pinterest.

Brandon and I try to avoid the jacked up prices of the typical Valentine’s Day gifts and restaurant menus and this year is no different. It’s pretty nice to be on the same page and we celebrate just as much our way.

So, for Valentine’s Day, we’re going to enjoy a romantic dinner at home. Here are some of my ideas…

Valentine's Day pizza? I think yes. Maybe with heart-shaped pepperoni?

Valentine’s Day pizza? I think yes. Maybe with heart-shaped pepperoni?

Romantic AND healthy: strawberry roses

Romantic AND healthy: strawberry roses

Chocolate heart rice krispie treats. Don't these look amazing!?

Chocolate heart rice krispie treats. Don’t these look amazing!?

These s'more cookies look SO good!

These s’more cookies look SO good!

Another delicious cookie: Hot cocoa cookie

Another delicious cookie: Hot cocoa cookie

And, of course: Carrying on with the chocolate and marshmallow theme: BOOZES!

And, of course: Carrying on with the chocolate and marshmallow theme: BOOZES!

Maybe this pop-up card with the menu or a sweet message?

Maybe this pop-up card with the menu or a sweet message?

We’re also planning on giving one another cards, little gifts (think sweets) and an afternoon wine tasting and sight-seeing in Woodinville. I’ve pinned a ton of great card and gift ideas, along with some tasty recipes on my “Valentine’s day inspirations” board on Pinterest.

Have a great weekend and happy {almost} Valentine’s Day!