From Casual to Fancy

Casual: Friday night dinner from the cafe at Whole Foods.

Just me, a slice of cheese pizza and some steamed vegetables.

Greg was going out with friends, while I felt like being the homebody that I am and spending the evening by myself. I decided I wanted pizza for dinner, but didn’t want to order a whole pizza just for myself. Even when I split a whole pizza with Greg, I’ll end up eating more than I should. So I needed a place where I could get a single slice. Whole Foods is really the only place in Mt. Pleasant that I know of where you can get pizza by the slice at dinnertime. 
Fellow Charlestonians- do you know of any others?? A lot of places will do it at lunch, but not dinner.

Anyway, this slice was huge! The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but it was really more like two slices in one. Fine by me 🙂 The steamed veggies were perfect on the side to balance everything out.
Whole Foods Market on Urbanspoon
Even before I finished my dinner, I knew where I would be getting dessert. Menchie’s
I did part Dulce de Leche and part Cake Batter yogurt, then topped it off with marshmallow sauce, caramel sauce, cherries, sprinkles and a couple of the frosted animal crackers (<–LOVE those things). This was one of the best mixes I’ve made in awhile. 

Fancy: Saturday night dinner downtown at Leaf.  

We had plans to go out to dinner for a friend’s birthday. Greg felt like dressing up and told his friends he was going to wear a suit. They all agreed to do the same. 

We watched a beautiful sunset as we drove over the Cooper River Bridge. It’s awfully easy to live in a place like this.
I had never been to Leaf before, so naturally I had looked up reviews beforehand. The reviews weren’t outstanding, especially regarding the service. I was trying to keep an open mind anyway. 

Greg and I split a bottle of Malbec and munched on a few Frickles (fried pickles) that our friend ordered as an appetizer. Off to a good start!

The service was pretty dang slow though. We probably waited at least ten minutes to get our wine after it was ordered, and another twenty minutes until our server came back to take our food order.

Greg had the Leaf Burger and added pimento cheese and bacon. For his side, he chose the Parmesan Truffle Fries (a favorite ever since CPH entered our lives).

I ordered a large Greek Salad. 

The food was good and we had a great time with our friends. Although our server was very friendly, the speed of service could definitely use some work. 
Leaf on Urbanspoon
Today is back to the casual life with cereal for breakfast, homemade sandwiches for lunch, and probably some kind of pasta for dinner. 
What’s on your menu today?

Whole Foods and a Sweet Veggie Cashew Stir-Fry

I’m off to a good start with this whole foods/plant-based diet thing. Since I’m literally just getting started, it has actually been more fun than anything, because I am exploring new foods and recipes. I have even convinced Greg to make some changes with me. That couldn’t make me happier because the times it is most difficult to eat healthfully is when G (or someone else that I’m with for that matter) is chomping down on a burger, creamy pasta dish or slice after slice of three-meat pizza. Mmmmm.

Where else to start our grocery shopping than the most stereotypical place we could choose?
Whole Foods of course. 
We went right at lunchtime yesterday and needed to fill our bellies at the cafe before we could shop. I headed straight for both the hot and cold salad bar.
I filled my bowl with a mix of baby spinach and spring greens, red onion, grape tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, chopped boiled egg (one food that I will most likely continue to keep in my diet despite cutting out most other dairy), and an edemame and pea salad. Finally, I had a couple of rosemary sweet potato wedges on the side. I just LOVE those things!

G had a pimento cheese sandwich from the deli counter. The sandwich obviously contained dairy, but was also topped with bacon. He isn’t quite ready to eliminate all meat, and asked me, “Is one piece of bacon okay?” Haha. I told him he can do whatever he wants, but one piece of bacon should be fine 😉
I took a bite too, but avoided getting any bacon in my bite.
Greg was feeling extra healthy by keeping hydrated with a gigantic bottle of water to drink.

The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was a big bottle. And only 69 cents! WHAAAAT? Bottled water is never that cheap. Too bad I couldn’t say the same for the rest of Whole Foods. After our lunch, we browsed the aisles for a good ten minutes, but decided prices were a little to high for our liking. Sorry Whole Foods. I love the cafe, but would rather save more money on groceries. Trader Joe’s here we come! We stocked up on all kinds of fresh produce, whole wheat tortillas, nuts, brown rice, and wine (duh). 
I cooked a veggie and cashew stir-fry for dinner made with TJ’s Island Soyaki Sauce (a blend of soy and teriyaki with other flavors like garlic and pineapple- YUM!). The nuttiness from the cashews and the sweetness of the sauce was delicious and filling. Meat is not missed here!

Sweet Veggie Cashew Stir-Fry
Makes about 3 servings
1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked
1 zucchini squash, diced
5 small bell peppers (any mix of yellow, orange, red or green will work), diced
1/4 yellow onion, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup cashew halves
1/3 cup Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki Sauce
1. Prepare rice according to package directions. While it is cooking, chop vegetables.
2. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add all vegetables and Soyaki sauce. Stir to coat veggies in sauce. Continue to cook about 5-7 minutes, until veggies start to become tender.
3. Add cashews and stir. Cook another 3-4 minutes. 
4. When rice is finished cooking, add about 1/2 cup to each plate. Top each with 1/2-3/4 cup of vegetable mixture. Shake with more sauce if desired.