One meal out and One meal in

Each week is mixed with home cooked meals in and delicious restaurant meals out.  Some weeks are more on the out than in side, but with me cooking twice weekly, it seems like there are more at home meals.  Monday night is usually pizza night.  Not sure why, but it just is.  In fact, we have pizza lined up for tonight.  Tuesday and Thursday nights are now the nights I cook.  Wednesday can go any which way, and Friday night is what equates to date night.  The weekends are a completely different story.

This brings me to 1516, which is a Beer House in Angra, the main city of the island.  This was a Friday night dinner.  We have not been here in quite some time, and I needed to do an updated review for my other blog, AKA my side project, which is specific to the island.
Yes, yes, yes, warm bread to start.
This is with the local, fresh goat cheese.
This butter is the reason I like butter now.  This is about as local as I can get with butter without churning it myself.
This is an essential part of dining at 1516.  This is Erdinger, which is a German beer.  They also have Chimay here, which is fantastic.
I couldn’t resist ordering some olives.
Ryan had the steak, served in the traditional Portuguese way.  I have posted this before, but can you guess all the components of the traditional steak.
I had the abrotea, which is a lightly battered and fried white fish.
As always, a meal is not a meal around here with a coffee drink to end it.
Another Friday night dinner success.  I love trying the local food and restaurants.  I will always have an excuse to want to dine out.

Next up is a meal I prepared at home for myself on a Wednesday night, which if you remember from above is a wild card night.  Ryan was going to make a breakfast burrito with some non-vegetarian items, so I decided to jump on the breakfast burrito bandwagon and use up some leftover veggies I had in the fridge.

I started with red pepper and onion.  This is the perfect way to start off a breakfast burrito.
Then I added some soy crumbles for protein.
Next, in went the eggs.  I made a nice scramble.
Then I layered it in my tortilla, which was one of those La Tortilla Factory tortillas, and topped it off with some cheese.  I will say that was a fair tortilla, but not the best I have had.  On the other hand, I can’t complain when it has 70 calories less than my other tortilla.  I know people will find this “healthy” because the package says low carb, high fiber and high protein, but this is extremely processed, and is only high in protein and fiber because they have been added to it.  You can see it in the ingredient list.  So, those are not naturally occurring grams of protein and fiber.  Again, not a complaint, I like the fewer calories, but I am pointing out that this product has been made to meet those needs desired by people looking for a product just like this.
This is Ryan’s non-vegetarian burrito, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
QUESTIONS:  Have you ever heard of Erdinger?  Chimay?  What is your favorite burrito filling?  More on burritos to come.  I am working on a burrito recipe for tomorrow night.

The good, and then the…

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  We went to a friends house and celebrated with some other people from the base.  There was a ton of food, and lots of video game playing.

This post is an attempt to get rid of some of the pictures I have piling up on my computer.  There are a lot of them, so here is the good, and then maybe some of the not so good.

Mary's Gone Crackers are wheat free and gluten free.  I picked up this sample at FNCE, and then got back to the base and was surprised to see this product was now on the shelf at the commissary.
They are small, round, and as you can see, packed with seeds.  The verdict: GOOD!  These were actually good and I would recommend trying them.
Next up is the Kinder Happy Hippo.
We bought these last year once because you have to admit, they just look cute.
They are not only cute, but so good, and filled with creamy chocolate, like nutella, minus the hazelnut flavor.  The verdict: GOOD!
This is a new Powerbar product.
I like cranberries, so I thought this might be good to try, and I liked that it only has 130 calories, where so many other similar energy type products are much higher in calories.  I like the original PowerBar, probably because I liked the chewiness of it and it took forever to eat, but now I find that not only some what gross, but too high in calories for a single snack food.  The verdict: GOOD!  It could have been better, but I would eat this again, and even buy it for a snack to carry in my purse.
Mixed in with food goodies are some other FNCE swag.  This is my PB jar scraper.  I think I put this picture up once before, but I think this is so cool.
This is an avocado tool, so it cuts it open and peels it out.  I think some guacamole making is in my future.
 Food Should Taste Good is a company I know many of you have heard of or tried already.  Over here on the base, we do not have access to this at all.  I was excited when I tried it at FNCE, and of course, the verdict there was GOOD!  I took this bag to go.  I must be saving it for a rainy day, and I am just really not ready to give this up yet.  Yes, I know if I don’t eat it, I will never enjoy it, but there will be no more after that.  Ok, that might be a little lie…I bought Ryan a bag of the jalapeno chips when I went grocery shopping stateside, but after that…no more.
This is Late July, organic chips.  Stay tuned, I tried this last night, so a review will be coming.
I still think my Pepsico cooler bag for groceries is pretty neat.  Do you ever use one of these?
These are from La Tortilla Factory.  I’m not gonna lie.  The only reason I took these home was because it only has 100 calories and my usual product has 170.  I have no interest in whether it is fat free or carb free, I only wanted to try these and see how the 100 calorie tortilla tasted.  Bet you thought I was going to tell you know what I thought.  That meal is coming up, so stay tuned.
ConAgra was all about the food safety at the convention, so I was pleased to grab this set of cutting boards, with separate boards for meats, veggies and fish, etc.
Next up, and do not laugh, but this is my homemade From Scratch Mac and Cheese from last March.
I froze the leftover because that many hours of labor for fresh, homemade mac and cheese did not belong in the trash.  I came home from Boston and was looking for something to eat, and I decided to try this out.
Look at the pretty ice crystals. 
I heated this up and it took quite some time.  Verdict: ALMOST GOOD!  It was good, but that was once you got past the consistency of the crumbly noodles.  They did not reheat so well, but the cheese was very good.  I am just glad I got a chance to eat this and it had not gone bad and did not go to waste.
Vitatops: These are sugar free, low fat muffins with around 100 calories, and vitamins and minerals added to it.  I get this product every year at FNCE and every year I think that maybe I will like it better.
Verdict: NOT SO GOOD!  I do not know what it is about this, but I find it too dry and not really chocolatey.  I try and try, but I just did not like this, or the other flavor I tried.  I did eat the entire one pictured here, but I had to through out the banana nut one I also tried.  Any thoughts on these?
At least after that I have a good one to show you.  I bought these at the hotel gift store in Boston.
These are chocolate covered little patties of cranberries and cashews covered in caramel.  Verdict: GOOD!
I love cheese and salty snacks, so I was excited to be able to give Barbara's cheese puffs a try.  Verdict: GOOD!  Aren’t you glad I have more good products than not so good products.  I have never had any issues with Barbara’s products, and if you have not checked this company out, go ahead and give it a try.
Anything labeled Snickers will probably taste good, and there is no doubt I have enjoyed the Snickers Marathon bar before.  Do I think this is healthy?  Heck no!  But at 150 calories, if I want a Snickers, this could be a way better option that eating a more calorie dense candy bar.  I eat these kinds of things very rarely, but I was glad to see that it had about the same amount of calories as my usual morning snack (usually 100-150 calories in the form of some kind of snack bar just before I head to the gym).
Verdict: GOOD!  Did you really think this was going to be anything other than good?  Not a healthy choice, but not bad for an indulgence.
Hooray for Annie's.  I never eat snacks like this, probably for the sheer fact that they often have gelatin.  The beauty of organic products is that you will not find gelatin, so I am good to go and can enjoy these. 
Only 70 calories, although not a huge portion.
But they were so cute.  Verdict: GOOD!  Yes, of course I liked these.
How funny that my next picture is a giant steak?  No, I did not give in and eat a steak.  Ryan was proud of his beautiful steak, so he wanted me to take a picture.  Since I never make meat, Ryan sometimes gets a craving and will want to cook a steak.  I do allow steak cooking in the house, so lucky for Ryan, he could do his thing and prepare this.  The dog was thankful too.  Verdict (from Ryan): GOOD!
My treat then was a nice bottle of beer.  Meet Super Bock, a Portuguese beer.  This is not an ordinary Super Bock, this is Super bock Gold.  I had never seen this flavor before, so I decided to give it a try.  Verdict: GOOD!
I really just had to take a picture of this because I found it so cute.  If you are trying to figure out what exactly is going on here, this is a shwarma, like the thinly sliced meat you find in the middle east.  This is the Portuguese version.  I found it in the prepared foods section at the local grocery store.  I don’t eat meat, but I can still think a product idea is cool.
This will make you drool.  I enjoyed this chocolate filled churro a few months ago, but I never posted the picture.  A food cart from Lisbon came over for a local festival and set up her cart by the marina.  This was sooo good.  Haha, verdict: SOOO GOOD!
I have just a few pictures left to get caught up on.  This is a giant salad Ryan made one day for lunch.  It is so nice to know that my husband loves veggies as much as I do.  No, he was not able to eat this in one sitting.  This was to be for his lunches for a few days.
Last up: These are pods for the Dolce Gusto machine we just purchased.  More to come on that!
 QUESTIONS:  Have you ever tried any of the products I featured here?  If you are a vegetarian, do you allow meat cooking in your house?  Have you ever heard of Dolce Gusto?  What is your favorite new product?

Thanksgiving Quinoa

I am skipping the Thursday Thoughts today because the only thought I have right now is a day off and spending time with my husband and some friends.  I hope you are all going to do the same too.

I will share with you my new signature Thanksgiving dish, which will make it’s way on my table every Thanksgiving from here on out.

Here is what I started with.
I made 2 cups of quinoa in 4 cups of liquid.  since I was making a sweet dish, I used 2 cups water and 2 cups apple juice, in place of all water.  A big thank you to my sister, Rachel, for that suggestion.  As I brought that to a boil I added 1/3 cup (and a tad more) of dried cranberries and a 1/3 cup (and a tad more) of dried cranberries.  I put them in early on so they would plump up nicely and add to my dish.  Since it was a double batch of quinoa (2 cups dry), it took a little longer than the anticipated 15 minutes, it was more like 20.
At this point I mixed everything up, brought the dried fruit to the top and distributed it, then I added 1/2 cup cashews and mixed it all up again.  Because the dish was hot the cashews will soften but will not be mush because they were only added at the end.  Then I packaged mine up to take to a Thanksgiving party.
It was amazing and I am so impressed that I came up with this dish all on my own.  This is truly a Thanksgiving worthy dish.

QUESTIONS:  What are you doing for Thanksgiving?  What is your signature Thanksgiving dish?