Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend of food in photos...

Day 64

The weekend thus far has been absolutely blissful.  We're visiting family just outside of chicago and though I didn't have a definitive game plan on what I was going to be eating while away, I must say I have been doing alright staying on the right track.  

Saturday morning Abel and I had a stop to make in Chicago to deliver a parcel of my robots to the art store which sells them.   Considering we were up by 4:30 a.m. to make the 5 hour drive, its safe to say I wasn't fully awake enough to even THINK about getting photos of the lovely Lincoln Square area nor the adorable art store.  

Arriving an hour prior to the store opening, we found ourselves killing time at the corner Starbucks.  

We both opted for skinny versions of our mochas but the taste of the fake sugar was pretty dominant and I didn't bother finishing mine.  Prior to leaving our apartment in Cincy we had packed a good nutritious breakfast pita so we weren't too tempted to check out their delicious pastry options which is of course a good thing. 

We were also waiting for a friend  to meet us and spend a little time together before Abel and I made the rest of the drive to see our families.   After making the drop off and spending some time in the art store we went across the street to a corner restaurant/pub named "Fork"  for brunch.   (Again I didnt even think to take a photo but you can actually see the restaurant with its brown canopies in the background of the photo above)  

Of course it finally dawns on me to pull my camera out once we are just about to eat... and instead of taking photos of our friend or each other, I only think to take photos of the food.   Sometimes I wonder if its in poor form or manners to take pictures of our food in public but... heck does it really matter?  Food is nourishment and deserves the spotlight....  

I did refrain from photographing my friends food because... well because it wasnt mine! Abel also snapped a shot of his choice of brunch... the way we figure, we have this blog where food is a major star.  Its only natural! ;0) 

As much as the turkey and panini with garlic cilantro fries was calling my name, I opted for something that would have been slightly easier to fit into the 5-piece puzzle:

Tomato Basil Omelette with a side of potatoes
Abel in turn went with this awesome little dish: 
Truffled Eggs
Scrambled eggs with shitake mushrooms, truffle goat cheese and arugula on a puff pastry.  (After having a bite of his I was a little less than impressed with my omelette.  The puff pastry his eggs were on was divine.)

I did what I could to keep my portions with the 5 piece puzzle in mind, ate two pieces of the small potato, half a slice of bread and half of my omelette. 

Surprisingly enough I was pretty satisfied with that amount of food.   The goat cheese was a little overkill in terms of my portions but I wasn't about to stress on that.  We're on vacation dammit ;0) 

The friend who joined us ended up ordering the bacon and turkey panini with the garlic cilantro fries (I think in part to torture me;)  but after all was said and done I asked how the panini was and his answer was a basic "eh, it was good"... but apparently not ground breaking which made me feel a little better for not ordering it.   He did share some garlic cilantro fries though and all I can say about that is "heavenly".   

Potatoes never disappoint :0) 

As for the rest of our foods, well Abel and I split up to see our respective families so he's taking a break from the 5 piece puzzle while I am trying a little experiment to see just how hard it actually is to stay on the plan when youre not at home in your own kitchen. 

Sunday morning my mother went to mass and on her way back home made a stop at the local Mexican store and picked up some "carnitas" for the family to enjoy.  Its pretty much a ritual she does whenever any of her kids are in town for the weekend.   These are the foods we used to eat every Sunday morning growing up.  

And not just our little household, it was the entire family.  Every Sunday.   15-20 of us in whoevers house was chosen for the week eating and spending quality time together...  you know the deal -- the cultural deal where food is a staple for any and every occasion.  Its no wonder I was tipping the scales all of my life! 

Sometimes the menu varied but when one didnt feel like cooking, it was always the traditional "carnitas"... meat, beans, tortillas, nopales, salsa and sometimes even a few dozen tamales.  And of course mexican sweet bread for those who wanted "dessert".... 

These days the Sunday breakfasts aren't celebrated much due to recent deaths in the family, but my parents will still pick some up when we are in town.   Now though, we nix the sweet bread and stick with just enough meat and nopales (cactus) for the handful of us. 

I'm not sure how commonplace "Nopales" are for many but they add a perfect amount of freshness to the tacos.  A vegetable from the prickly pear cactus, not something we used to eat as children because well.. because it was a vegetable (ewww) but as an adult it's a must have for family sunday breakfast. 

Our tortilla of choice is generally corn but on a recent trip to Mexico my mother was introduced to tortillas made from this same prickly pear cactus- dried,ground up. and combined with the corn tortilla recipe:

The color is so vibrant and the taste doesn't differ from corn tortillas at all (not to me anyway).  Each tortilla has a mere 20 calories and the packaging boasts that 4 of these tortillas are the equivalent to one corn tortilla.  We've scoured the internet to see if we can find these available anywhere in the states but the closest thing we've found is a company in California whos calories are still twice as much as these. 

Not that we're counting calories but as usual, I like the variety of foods and I'm taking a few packages back home with us.  The only questionable thing is the ingredients.  The packaging only mentions they are 60% nopal, 40% corn.  Due to the bright green hue I question whether there are dyes involved but I will have to ask my cousins in Mexico to find out from the supplier.  

Either way you look at it, they make for beautiful tacos: 

Could these perhaps be deemed Incredible Hulk Tacos?   I'm thinking yes....   just remember, you saw them here first ;0) 

So wait a second, this is memorial day weekend.. wheres the cookout food? The burgers? the hot dogs? the potato salad, the drinks, and the baked goods? 

Well, they were there too but to be perfectly honest, I didn't exactly enjoy them with as much gusto as I thought I would.  I got halfway through a burger before my body gave up interest in eating the rest.  Its been a while since we've eaten red meat and about an hour later my head was starting to hurt.  Could have been the red meat, could have been the oversized bun, or even the half serving of rice.   Grain overload?   

Who knows, all I know is a few hours later I got back to my parents house, prepared a mock strawberry crisp and right after eating it my headache ceased.  

Amazing the way our bodies communicate things to us....  its nothing new, nothing revolutionary... just natural.  Whats really amazing is how long I've gone without paying attention to its signals... aside from hunger that is.