Category Archives: Foodie

Disappearing Act–It Happens

Here is the thing.  I have been busy.  And also, sometimes, I just want to eat my food instead of snap photos and document every flavor.

Does that make  me a horrible food blogger?  Probably, but deal wid it.  😉

I go back forth between wanting to really delve into the foodie world that is Salt Lake or hover around it in my own voyeuristic way.  Most of the time, I am happier sitting on the edge, keeping it under wraps, and telling you what I like or don’t like in a pretty basic way–without any real deadlines.  The truth is, other sites do that better–and some worse–than I do.  It is what it is.  But then, the disappearing act happens and a month goes by where I just don’t feel like telling anyone about anything I eat.  And that may or may not piss you off. 🙂  My ultimate goal was to one day write for a food and wine magazine….and to start some kind of professional portfolio, which this blog sort of serves as.  But, I am not sure my path is heading that direction anymore. So, I think and I think and I think…..

So, here is a brief recap of some things from the past month:

Key West Vacation–it was pretty wonderful.  Full of sun, beaches, and great seafood (the fresh Lobster roll below was to die for).  Also, a lot of Landsharks and Pina Coladas showed up at our table.  Key West is a great place if you want a Caribbean vacation and don’t want to pay to get your passport renewed (like myself).  The island is small, tropical, and if you make your way to Bahia Honda State Park and Beach you will truly feel like you are in another world.  My thought, while standing in the ocean, white sand under my feet was, “this really exists?”  It does.  And it was magical.

After Key West, there wasn’t much down time before my sister came to visit from Alaska.  I hadn’t seen her in 9 months, which is far too long to go without hanging out with your best friend.  So, you can understand I have been in family hang out mode for the past 8 days or so.  We had a fun BBQ at our house–and even went old school with the charcoal grill.  It just tastes better.  We ate a lot of Mexican food as well.  Baja Cantina in Park City is a favorite spot of ours, and my own baby sister made enchiladas one night.  I have had a lot of guacamole in the past week.  I am not sick of it.  Also, as a life-time resident of Utah, I had never been to the Salt Flats, so a nice little drive got us out there and we had fun taking photos.  Dear Sister, I miss you already.

I am considering how to cross my love of food into my love of other things (in writing).  Currently, I have multiple blogs for my multiple personalities.  I have this little food blog here, which has been pretty successful so far, but I also have a blog dedicated to my poetry (Engel Poems) and I also have a normal blog for ranting and raving and things I find beautiful and lists I make (Calculated Changes by a Math Illiterate Feminist).  I have yet to come up with a way to combine all of these into one cohesive idea.   They all have different readership.  And I am not sure if my food fans would want to read a poem, or vice versa.  And do you all have any interest in reading about what really irritates me or how ridiculously good looking my boyfriend is?  I just don’t know…

So, there are some Nosh Maven thoughts on the first of June (what the hell…it is JUNE!).  Maybe it is time for a Nosh Maven facelift–and attitude adjustment.  We shall see.  Until then, I will keep reading Rilke and try to find some inspiration.

Now, where to go for lunch?

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Stuffed Anaheim Peppers!

It is no secret that I HATE bell peppers.  They ruin everything they touch. I don’t care what you say–I will never like them.

However, the idea of stuffed peppers is one that I love.  So, I have been making a few different kinds of stuffed Anaheim peppers instead.  Anaheim peppers are usually the kind of peppers that most chile rellenos are made with.  They have little to no heat, but a flavor that I love: very fresh, crisp, and almost sweet.  And, rather than stuff them with a large amount of cheese and then soak them in batter and deep fry them, I have been trying some more healthy options.

This week I stuffed the peppers with shredded chicken (made in the crockpot), black rice, green chilies, and a small amount of cheese.  Here is how it is done:

First, you have to cook your shredded chicken.  The easiest way to do this is to use about 4 medium/large boneless chicken breasts, put them in the crockpot, and then add a can of your favorite salsa.  Cook on high for at least 4 hours and then shred the chicken with a few forks.  Easy. As. Pie.  Just make sure you allow the chicken to spend a good amount of time in the crockpot.

Once your chicken is done, you can start your rice and preset your oven to about 350.  We like really dark/black rice, but I suppose you could use whatever rice you prefer.  Any kind of brown rice or Mexican rice would also work.  But, you should probably stay away from that white stuff–it just isn’t good for you. 😉

Once your rice is done, mix your shredded chicken (you may want to drain the chicken a bit so it isn’t super wet), your rice, a can of diced green chilies, and some shredded cheese in a big ol’ bowl.  No real measurements here–just go with your gut!  This is your finished stuffing!

Cut the peppers down one side and then slice off the end with the stem.  Run the pepper under cold water and gently remove the seeds.  Once the seeds are removed, start stuffing.  🙂

Then, put your stuffed peppers in a baking dish.  Cover with a can of diced tomatoes and some more cheese.  Then, BAKE!  The peppers will take about 15 – 20 minutes to cook.  Depending on how crisp you like your peppers, you might want to check them once or twice to make sure they are to your liking. I like mine a little softer, and my cheese a little crisp–so these babies baked for 20 minutes or a little more.

Add some homemade guacamole and a dollop of sour cream and you are set!  Delish!  These also heat up wonderfully the next day.

Enjoy!

I hope everyone is planning on having a great week!  5 days until Russ and I are on the beach in Key West–drinking margaritas and doing some serious relaxing!

–Nosh

Plum Alley–It Brings Out the Happy!

A ceiling full of paper lanterns, cozy family-style tables, citrus and spiced meat flavors wafting from the kitchen, and smiling faces.  This is the atmosphere you will enter when you open the door to one of Salt Lake’s newer restaurants, Plumb Alley.

Plum Alley just opened a few months ago.  Ryan Lowder, the genius behind The Copper Onion is also the brains behind the menu at Plum Alley.  This fact alone told me I was in for a treat, as The Copper Onion is one of my favorite eateries in Salt Lake.  However, you will find a very different flavor, literally and metaphorically, at his new restaurant just a few doors down.

Plum Alley is an Asian inspired restaurant with everything from Steam Bums to Dtom Ka Gai soup. Flavors served here are anything but underwhelming. And, the family style seating makes it really easy to tap your neighbor on the shoulder and ask for a recommendation–which we did.  We also gave some ourselves as new guests were seated next to us toward the end of our meal.  My first reaction to family style seating is one of “no thanks, I don’t want to have to talk to people I don’t know”….however, something about Plum Alley makes you friendly, and I honestly enjoyed eating in close approximation to others.  Go figure!

The menu at Plum Alley is great because you can go all out, or you can taste around and still keep your bill modest.  Most things are meant to be shared and come tapa style. Plum Alley has a great selection of wine and beer and some great original cocktails as well (the Pickled Cow sounds interesting with stoli, soju, Worcestershire, and pickled beef…that’s right, pickled beef).  I enjoyed a light and refreshing glass of Bouchard Pinot Noir and Russ, that man of mine, kept it classy with a “Larger” can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I had heard great things about the Steam Buns ($6 for 2), so that was first on our list to try–we started with the Pork Belly.  The buns were perfect–spongy and light and the Pork Belly was rich, as I was expecting.

We also ordered the Shrimp and Grits ($7) to start as well.  This was a surprising dish, as the shrimp were large with the heads still attached and the ‘grits’ were actually polenta squares.  The flavor was mildly spicy, evened out nicely by the polenta.  I didn’t even mind pulling the heads off my shrimp. The sauce was rich, creamy, and great for dipping the polenta in.

Of course, I always have to order Dtom Ka Gai soup ($9 for 2) if it is available, because I am obsessed with it. Plum Alley did a fine job–although the flavors were much more complex and spicy than I was expecting.  The red chilis hit your mouth like a bomb of fire, however the coconut milk and tender chicken brought the heat back down.  It was certainly more intense than your average Dtom Ka Gai, but outstanding.

Next up we ordered the Vermicelli Noodles & Crab ($11).  This dish was also different than I was expecting.  The crab was fresh and the noddles were light, but the flavor was a little more earthly than I had anticipated. It was good, but probably my least favorite of the items that we ordered.  Something about the cilantro, crab, and sauce wasn’t working perfectly for me–but Russ still ate the entire thing, he loved it.

We decided on one last item:  the Duck Steam Buns ($6 for 2).  These were BY FAR the highlight of our dinner.  The duck with the preserved orange was the perfect combo of savory and sweet.  I could have not eaten anything else the entire evening and had a wonderful dining experience just with the Duck Steamed Buns–they were phenomenal.

For dessert, who can pass up a homemade donuts?  Yeah, not even this girl who has been avoiding sugar at all costs.  We had to get one–the folks dining next to us wouldn’t have let us get away with passing it up.  Fluffy, not too sweet, lick your fingers, delicious.  The dipping sauce was to die for.  WORTH EVERY CALORIE!  😉

Check out Plum Alley on 111 East Broadway the next time you are looking for a dining experience that is different, unique, tasty, and fun.  Enjoy the atmosphere, the great service, a delightful glass of wine (or even a tall boy of PBR for all you hipster kids), and sit back, chat with some new people, and leave happy and full.  We will definitely be going back soon.

111 East Broadway
Suite 190
801-355-0543

Plum Alley on Urbanspoon

(please excuse the photo quality in this post–my camera’s battery died upon arrival and I had to resort to my HTC…so frustrating!!)

Quick Update–Almost to the 15 Lb Mark!

Good Afternoon!

Just wanted to give a quick update.  🙂

As of Sunday, I am down a total of 13 pounds…and people are starting to notice.  That is the best part–when other people besides you can tell that you are getting thinner.  Clothes are fitting better–and having to buy new jeans isn’t too far off.  It is a really good feeling.

I have become a bit more flexible with my diet as well.  Including fruit has been great.  Last night I had a few friends over for dinner and we even got a delicious dessert – fat free whip cream, mixed with fresh berries and lemon, and then left in the freezer for about an hour.  It was awesome.  A very low-fat, low-sugar treat.  Who needs ice cream?

Other than adding some berries into my diet, nothing much has changed.  I have incorporated plain Greek yogurt–but for the most part, have kept to the veggies and low fat proteins.  We didn’t eat out as much over the weekend, but managed to get in a great brunch at Market Street Grill.  I ordered the Crab Cake Benedict, minus the english muffin and with sliced tomatoes on the side.  The crab cake had a very mild amount of breading–so I wasn’t too concerned about that.  Everything was amazing and it is such a welcoming realization that you really don’t need that english muffin at all.  🙂

Another new meal for this week?  Some awesome bratwurst, saurkraut and pickles!  Brats are certainly something you don’t want to eat in the first 2 weeks of the diet, as they are higher in fat than you should be eating.  However, they are still carb free and I find that adding meats like sausage and bacon after that intial cleanse are ok in moderation.  Yum.

I am officially 3 weeks and 2 days into the diet.  The thoughts of a glass of wine have subsided immensely.  Even with a small dinner party last night, no alcohol was present–and we all still had a great time.  Whoda thunk?  (And thanks to some awesome girlfriends who were ok with lemon/strawberry water!)  I am really enjoying how amazing I feel, watching the pounds drop, and getting up in the morning with no problem.  I haven’t slept this well or been so ready to wake up early in years.  The change in how my body is functioning is almost surprising.  This is definitely a change in my way of life that I don’t want to give up–and “getting back into the groove” of week day drinking or bad snacking just simply won’t happen.  I feel resolved, and that is a good feeling.

Enjoy the rest of your week!  We have a packed weekend of fireworks at Brighton Resort and dinner with friends ahead of us.  It will be nice to get out of the house–my hermit days are starting to get to me. 😉

-Nosh

Plugging Along

You know what is fun on a Friday morning?  Putting on a pair of jeans that were tight in December, that are now LOOSE!  That is a feeling I would give up sugar and carbs for any day!

This week was also a little frustrating.  On Wednesday I had gained back a few pounds and I wanted to scream.  I am not sure why exactly, as I hadn’t cheated on the diet at all.  I think maybe it was water weight or something like that. But, instead of screaming, I chilled out and ate super well the past few days.  Russ and I celebrated our one year anniversary on Wednesday as well, so we were going to the Copper Onion for dinner.  I really wanted to enjoy myself, but at the same time, didn’t want to add to the 3 lbs I had gained back.  I didn’t drink.  I didn’t eat bread.  I didn’t have dessert.  But, I still had amazing food…which I forgot to take a photo of.  (You know, sometimes I just want to enjoy my food without having to document it all the time.)  We enjoyed some cured meats and cheeses as well as their homemade pickles, which are so amazing. Then, for my meal, I ordered the pan-seared trout, which came with nuts, lemon, and butternut squash.  Perfect.

Also, this week, I made a version of Chicken Parmesan that was pretty good.  Instead of using bread crumbs to bread the chicken, I crushed up sunflower seeds and used that as the crust.  Take the chicken breast, dip in both sides in butter (while on this diet, I use Smart Balance butter) and then cover both sides in the sunflower seed mixture.  Bake the chicken on 350 for about 25 minutes.  Then add marinara sauce and cheese on top and bake for another 15 minutes or so.  Then, for the side dish, I made zucchini noodles and added more marinara sauce and cheese.  Tasty dish–and very filling.

Also, today I added some fruit for the first time in over two weeks!  Blueberries with plain greek low-fat yogurt.  I also added a little bit of spelnda brown sugar on top.  It is amazing how sweet fruit tastes after not having it for so long.  It was a welcome treat!

I want to note how obsessed I have become with sparkling water.  It is a little out of control.  But, it makes me feel like I am ordering something fancy when I am out and about and also, it keeps me full.  There is nothing quite like bubbles!

I am not getting on the scale until Sunday, but I will definitely update you all then!

Happy eating!  –Nosh

A Weeked of Delicious Food

I was a bit worried to get on the scale this morning–not because I had cheated, but I had so many delicious meals this weekend, that I thought for sure I hadn’t lost.  I was wrong.  I lost 2 more pounds, which means in 13 days, I have lost 10 pounds total. 🙂  Happy!

For breakfast, you can pretty much gather by now I have some kind of egg and a sugar-free jello or pudding…so unless I have something special, I am going to start leaving those out.  Today I made a delicious quiche, however–so I wanted to mention that.  Making a quiche on the weekend is great (I had today off work for the holiday) because you can eat it the rest of the week…just pop it in the microwave for a minute or so and you have a great breakfast before work.  My quiche is pretty simple.  6 eggs, 2/3 cup of milk and then any ingredients you want.  Today I used artichokes, sausage, tomatoes and goat cheese.  Cook on 350 for about 30 – 40 minutes or until you can stick a knife in it without anything on it when you remove it.  Quiche, or mini quiches made in muffin tins, can get you through the week.  Also, this weekend I went to brunch at Eggs in the City with a great friend and ate huevos rancheros–minus the tortillas.  YUM!

Lunches consisted mostly of leftovers….boring, but necessary.

Dinner was where the fun was this weekend.  Friday we went to see a movie at Brewvies, which also has pretty great food.  I ordered the Spinach Salad without the cranberries and it was tasty–and left me pretty full.  And even though I was at Brewvies, no beer was had!

On Saturday, we decided to go to the Pizza Factory because they have these amazing zucchini noodles.  I swear, sometimes veggie noodles are better than the real thing.  I have the zucchini noodles with alfredo (probably not the best choice) and artichokes.  Ok, yes, I have an obsession with artichokes.  They are God’s nectar, I tell you!  🙂  Another great meal, out on the town, that stuck to my diet–but maybe with some added fat I could have done without.  But hey, I didn’t see it on the scale and the important thing here was to avoid carbs and sugar.

Sunday night I made chicken tortilla soup.  I made enough to give me lunch 3 times over. 🙂  This is pretty basic, and you can add in a lot of things according to your taste.  I start with one can of fire roasted tomatoes, 1 can of regular diced tomatoes, 2 cans of “tri-bean blend” beans, 1 anaheim pepper, 1 can of mild green chilies, about 1 cup of fresh chopped cilantro, 1 can chicken stock, 2 chopped tomatoes.  You can cook your own chicken breast, but a great short cut is to purchase a rotisserie chicken already cooked from the grocery store and shred the chicken off of that.  It is already moist and tender, and you don’t have to cook anything separate (just don’t get a flavored one–a BBQ chicken might not taste awesome in tortilla soup).  I always remove the skin and only take the best meat–and it takes a lot of time off the soup.  Bring to a boil for at least 20 minutes.  Then add whatever else you like!  We garnished with fat free sour cream, low fat cheese, and some diced avocado.  Yum.

So, if anything, let this post help you to realize that YOU CAN eat tasty food on a diet.  Once you figure out the ingredients that are allowed, you can be creative to make or alter many recipes.  And, seeing that scale steadily decline is quite the motivation.

This week, I can add a little fruit.  So, I purchased some blueberries and also some plain fat free yogurt.  It will be nice to have some sweetness.  Still no carbs or alcohol at this point however!  Let’s hope to see another 10 shed off in the next 3 weeks or so!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

-Nosh

Happy Updates!

As of this morning I am 8 (EIGHT!) pounds down!  Happy morning to me!

Here is the food from the past few days.

Day 8

Breakfast: sugar-free jello, hard boiled egg

Lunch:  shredded chicken with buffalo hot sauce (Franks and also some low sugar bleu cheese dressing) in lettuce wraps, sugar free caramel pudding

Snack: celery with sharp cheddar cheese spread

Dinner: chicken breast stuffed with pesto & goat cheese with tomatoes and zucchini (super easy, stuff the chicken, add one can of diced tomatoes on top, and then add zucchini on the sides–cook for about 30 – 40 minutes on 375).  I also put some parmesan cheese on top as well.  Pretty tasty.

Day 9

Breakfast: cauliflower with low fat ranch

Lunch: celery sticks and 1/2 a caprese salad from Toasters!

Dinner: black beans, pico, 2 over-medium eggs, and low fat sour cream.  This is one of my favorites….(sorry, I was bad at taking photos yesterday).

I am getting sick of chicken.  I think I could up the eggs though–and veggies.  Last night I wanted a chocolate chip cookie so bad I almost didn’t want to eat anything else.  Oh well!  Eventually, sugar-free chocolate chip cookies will be added (and yes, I have found some that are tasty enough to actually eat!).

Now, I have a 4 day weekend!  Hope you all eat yummy things!

-Nosh

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