Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend Eats

This weekend was delicious.

DSCN3430

Picked up tons of fresh food at the market.

DSCN3432

Went all out and bought raspberries. That tiny container cost $5, but I only buy them a couple of times each summer.

DSCN3433

I have a feeling zucchini bread is in my future :)

DSCN3434

Kale and corn. Can't live without 'em!

DSCN3435

Breakfast links and incredible local cheese.

DSCN3437

Potatoes and peaches. I'm on a serious potato kick these days.

DSCN3438

There are the potatoes, onions and peppers. I always make my hash browns by first sauteeing in a pan (peppers, onions, potatoes and garlic) because I feel like I can meld the flavors a little better. Then into the oven at 425F to get them nice and crispy.

DSCN3441
 
Potatoes and breakfast sausages with some local eggs. On weekdays, I'm all about the small meals and snacks. On weekends, though, I LOVE a big breakfast and this will usually hold me through to dinner with a snack or two in between.

DSCN3440
The fresh fruit made an apperance. Another part of weekend breakfasts that I love. This usually only happens in the summer.

DSCN3428

This pesto pasta was fun. I made fresh pesto using this recipe, but I upped the pepper (and used a green one) and I pureed about 1/2 cup of spinach in too. Then I kneaded up some fresh pasta dough and also stirred in 1/2 cup of spinach puree. Extra green and extra veggies. So good.

Friday, July 26, 2013

It's a Splurge

This is a fun one. 

Anyone else like fried food? It can't just be me. I love ALL THINGS fried. I could never try a deep-fried Oreo or butter because I'm afraid I would like it too much! 

I try to keep my fried foods to a minimum and enjoy them occasionally. It's pretty rare that I'll eat french fries if I go out for lunch or that I'll eat doughnuts on a weekend, but then sometimes I go all out with fried green tomatoes and fried chicken all in one meal. It happens!

And, it happened last night.

I've had po boys on my mind for awhile now. At the farmer's market by my office, they sell po boys during lunch and a friend of mine had one recently. It looked SO good. I usually pack my lunch, but I still had a craving.

I had some scallops in the freezer from when they were on sale at Whole Foods not too long ago, so I decided to pull them out and put together some scallop po boys. But wait! The po boy stand at the market sells veggie po boys made with squash blossoms.

DSCN3422

Bought 'em. 

I put together the coating and set up all my stations, then it was actually a pretty quick process. I took the unconventional route and used Old Bay seasoning for flavor. 

DSCN3423

Easy and delicious!

Scallop Po Boys

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay
  • 1/2 pound scallops
  • 3 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Vegetable oil (up to 1/4 cup)
  • 2 rolls
  • Lettuce (just a few leaves)

Directions

  1. Combine corn meal, flour and Old Bay in a bowl
  2. Roll each scallop in the corn meal coating and place on a plate 
  3. Combine mayo, ketchup, mustards and chili powder in a small bowl
  4. In a large frying pan, pour in oil to about 1/8" deep and turn on heat to medium high
  5. Allow the oil to heat up. Drop a few crumbs from the corn meal coating into the oil- when it sizzles immediately its ready
  6. Place the scallops into the hot oil and allow to cook for about 2 minutes per side, until a nice crisp forms
  7. Remove scallops from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate
  8. Prepare buns with lettuce leaves and 2 tablespoons of mayo, then top with scallops

DSCN3424

Amazing!

Now, don't forget the squash blossoms either (or maybe be more practical and split them into two different meals!). I used the same coating, but dipped them in egg before dropping them into the corn meal mixture.

They turned out pretty good too,

DSCN3427

Not to worry, I served these guys along side some other veggies- sautéed peas-in-their-pods and (seriously burned) sweet potato fries.

DSCN3426

In case you were wondering, this meal received Brian's full approval too!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rock Star Salmon

I've been making an effort to incorporate more fish into my dinner menus. My goal is for one meat entree per week, one seafood, one night of take out and four nights veggies/beans/tofu.

Salmon is like the rock star of fish. We've all heard about how salmon provides Omega-3 fatty acids for cardiovascular health, joint protection and a potential decreased risk of cancer. Lucky for us, Coho Salmon is in season right now and its wild-caught, which means more of the good stuff (wild-caught fish has higher nutritional content) and none of the bad stuff that comes with farmed fish (pesticides, antibiotics, lower nutritional stats). I'm able to buy it for $13.99/ pound and I usually get about three-quarters of a pound for Brian and I, so it's a good deal.

When I arrived home with my Coho Salmon last night, I wanted to put together something different (even pesto salmon can loose its pizzazz after a few weeks in a row). I had a few random ingredients that I thought might work out.

To start, these whole wheat panko bread crumbs,

Breadcrumbs
I almost always make my own crumbs from homemade bread, but this is a good back up option with a  decent ingredient list. Far shorter than any other I've seen!

I used another fun ingredient as well- nutritional yeast. It's something that I wasn't familiar with until I started reading vegan food blogs. It has a nutty/ cheesy flavor and just adds a little something extra- I usually use it to replace parmesan in a recipe. I find it in the bulk section of Whole Foods and it's pretty inexpensive.

DSCN3414

I also had a bag of sun-dried tomatoes and some walnut pieces (also full of hearth-healthy Omega-3s!) and I decided to work with that. The end result was pretty fantastic.

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Salmon

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato peices
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 salmon filets (about 3/4 pound total)
  • 1 egg white
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Chop walnuts into very small pieces (you could also use a food processor) and then do the same with the sun-dried tomatoes (just do your best on this one!)
  3. Combine walnuts, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, basil and nutritional yeast in a bowl
  4. Place salmon on a lined baking sheet and brush lightly with the egg white
  5. Sprinkle the breadcrumb topping on the salmon and press down so that it forms a crust
  6. Spray the top of the breadcrumbs with oil (I use a Misto
  7. Bake salmon for 15 minutes at 400F
DSCN3416

It was delicious. I have never seen Brian eat salmon so quickley, so I'd say he agrees :) The coating was crunchy from the panko and the walnuts (do not leave out the walnuts!) and the flavor was spot on with the basil and nutritional yeast. If you don't have nutritional yeast, you could easily sub some parmesan.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Corn Cakes

There are some foods that I could eat unlimited quantities of. Things I could probably eat every single day for ever. Oatmeal (which I actually do eat 5 days/ week), peanut butter, bananas, Chipotle, etc. Also on that list would be pancakes and fresh corn.

So, why not combine the two?

Corn cakes!

DSCN3410

These savory pancakes are a perfect appetizer or side dish. I enjoyed them with just a little butter, but they would be fantastic with some salsa or a fresh relish too.

Corn Cakes

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup corn bread mixture
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/4 onion, diced small
  • kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients, corn meal through salt
  2. Stir in the milk and the egg then add the pepper, onion and corn to combine
  3. Brush a frying pan lightly with some oil, then bring the heat up to medium high
  4. Spoon a spoonful of the batter on to the pan and allow to cook until the edges of the pancake begin to solidify, then flip
  5. Cook for another minute on the other side then remove from heat
  6. Repeat with remaining batter

This recipe should make about 12 small pancakes. I served them on the side of a salad entree, but have definitely used them as a first course before too. Most of all, I recommend you serve immediately because the pancakes do start to get soft if they sit around.

DSCN3409

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's For Dinner?

I hadn't made a plan for last night's dinner because I was supposed to have a Junior League meeting so I figured I would pick up some sandwiches or salads on my way home. When the meeting was cancelled last minute, I decided I could come up with something simple to make.

We had some leftover buns from our burgers the night before and if I don't plan well, we sometimes let those extras go to waste. Trying to avoid that, and knowing I didn't want to eat meat two nights in a row, I picked up some portabella mushrooms at Whole Foods.

Typically, I marinate the mushrooms and top them with some sautéed onions and cheese, but I also wanted to use up some leftover fire roasted tomatoes that I had in the fridge and I came up with this:

DSCN3404

Portabella Parmesan Burgers

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 portabella mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce*
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 buns
* I used 1/2 cup fire roasted tomatoes, 1/4 tsp each of: basil, parsley and oregano

Directions

  1. Place mushrooms in a large pan over medium high heat and cover
  2. Allow mushrooms to cook for about 5 minutes, flipping halfway
  3. Remove mushrooms from pan and place on a baking sheet
  4. Top each mushroom with 1/4 of the sauce and cheese
  5. Place pan under broiler on high for about a minute to melt the cheese, remove
  6. Place buns directly on the oven rack and broil for about 30 seconds, until just warm
  7. Plate the buns and add your mushrooms

Loved it! I actually have one saved for lunch today. I don't think it will reheat spectacularly, but I'm sure the flavors will still be there.

DSCN3403
I served with our favorites- sweet potato fries and kale chips.

Dessert was exciting too. I'm not turning on the oven or stove anymore than I have to, so I knew I needed a raw dessert.

DSCN3406
Fudge babies! The recipe is from the blog Chocolate Covered Katie and the ingredients are amazing- walnuts, dates, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Nothing to feel guilty about. I love cocoa powder because it has all the health benefits of chocolate and none of the sugar, which means you can add your own sugars and choose health ones like dates and bananas :)

Ignore the fact that these look like something you might find on the ground in the woods. They taste like brownie bites!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Must Try!

With the start of another week, I can't say that I am disappointed by how quickly July is going. We are closing out on the hottest month of the year and I am so grateful for that. Apparently, we've been experiencing some record-breaking heat this summer. Longest streak without any temperatures dipping below 80F. I prefer record-breaking snow falls!

Other than sweating profusely, we had a pretty low-key weekend. Celebrated a friends birthday and ate some good food. This week kicks of Eat Local First week here in DC, and while I'm not sure if I'll be attending any formal events, I will certainly be eating tons of local foods  throughout the week!

My stop at the Farmer's Market yesterday ensured that our kitchen will be well stocked. This week we have many of the usual suspects- lettuce, kale, corn, peaches, potatoes, beets, zucchini, cheese, ground beef, cucumber- and one seasonal addition, okra.

NewImage

[source]

I had not tried okra at all until last summer. I am from New York, not the south, and okra sounded like some weirdo southern food. Considering my love for things like fried chicken and fried green tomatoes, I should have been a little more open-minded. Okra is actually delicious if you cook it well! I haven't branched out and tried any kind of okra stew (I'm nervous about it being slimy), but I can't imagine not liking okra when it's cooked like this!

DSCN3399

The texture is definitely unique. It's more like a squash than anything else- a little chewy on the outside and some gooey seeds on the inside. This is one of those vegetables to go on your 'must try' list. 

Roasted Okra

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh okra
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. Cut okra into 1" pieces and spread on a baking sheet
  3. Toss okra with olive oil and then sprinkle salt and pepper on top
  4. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, stirring halfway

Brian made dinner last night and it was an absolutely perfect summer meal!

DSCN3400

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lunching Out

Jury duty continues!

Sadly, I don't have that lovely 10 AM start time today, so I'm going to head out soon. Hopefully, we'll get out a little early to get the weekend started!

Yesterday, I almost went back to Protein Bar for lunch. It is SO hot out that I just didn't want to walk. The Yelp app came to my rescue again though and I saw a place called Merzi that was described as an Indian chipotle. Sounds like my kind of place.

They offer rice bowls and rolls made on naan bread. I opted for a vegetarian rice bowl and it came with chick peas, veggies and some sauces. 

Indiana

It was REALLY good. I'm not an Indian food expert, and I opted for all mild sauces which is probably not authentic, but I would absolutely go back. 

Merzi also happened to be next to Pitango Gelato, so then this happened.

Gelato

It is really hot out! Stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate chips) is delicious and this was gone so fast. It was really good, but I don't think the gelato was as good as the gelato at Dolcezza. It just wasn't quite as rich. 

When we got out for the day I headed out for some food and drinks with a friend.

Marg

Love $5 margaritas at happy hour!

Happy Friday :)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Civic Responsibility

I seem to be saying this a lot lately- but, this week is turning out to be a little hectic.

I have jury duty, for one thing. And I don't just have jury duty, I actually am on a jury! There were hundreds of people summoned yesterday and somehow I managed to get on an actual trial. Everyone always says to act crazy and you can get out of it, but all the ask is where you live and what you do for a living, etc. I don't see how you can swing that!

The first day wasn't too fun- we had to be in at 8 AM and I wasn't able to get a run in beforehand. We had an hour lunch break though and were able to leave at 4:45 PM so that isn't too tough. Today, I don't have to be at the courthouse until 10:15 AM so it's a nice leisurely morning.

I didn't bring my lunch with me yesterday because I didn't know what to expect. I don't plan on bringing anything again today because I don't really want to be sitting around the courthouse eating my food- I'd rather have a chance to get out and sit somewhere for an hour.

I used the Yelp app on my phone to see what lunch spots were near the court house yesterday and a place called Protein Bar came up. I had heard about it and saw they had some healthy options and smoothies so I decided to try that.

Photo2
I ordered a grilled Bar-rito (not sure what the deal is with the spelling) filled with quinoa, marinated tofu, beans and cheese. They use quinoa instead of rice to increase the protein. I also got the PBJ smoothie, which had milk, peanut butter, blueberries, strawberries and agave.

Photo
The bar-rito was pretty good. I felt like the seasoning relied a little too heavily on the salt, but other than that it was good. I'm not sure it was anything special (like, say, a Chipotle burrito), but I liked it.

Photo3
The smoothie was decent, but just too sweet. I wanted the 'jelly' to be a little more tart and I think the agave probably countered that. I liked that when I ordered they asked me what kind of milk I wanted (2%, skim, soy or almond), but I was a little thrown when they told me I could get a 'boost' for free. I ended up choosing an energy boost, but I have no idea what that means- it wasn't on the menu- and I really don't like putting random things into my body. Next time I'd probably just turn down the 'boost.'

I'll likely try somewhere else today, but they do offer fresh pressed juices so I might swing by for one of those!
After jury duty I headed over to Glen's Garden Market for a kick off event for Eat Local First Week. It's coming up next week! I learned a little bit more about the event and some of the sponsors, AND I had a chance to chat with the new chef from Glen's who was very cool. I plan to try out some of the foods we discussed and get back to you on that!

If you're not familiar with Eat Local First Week, it's basically a week long celebration of local foods. You can imagine, that's kind of my thing. I'm not sure which events I'll be able to attend yet, but if you're looking for something fun to do after work next week or during the day next Saturday, you should definitely check out the website. For example, if I drank beer I would almost certainly be heading to Meridian Pint next Thursday for some local brews! More to come on all this soon :)

Heading out to do my civic duty!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Voluminous Noodles

Is it normal to use a crock pot in the summer? I always think of it as a winter kind of thing, but plugging in the crock pot means not turning on my oven, so I've actually been using it a fair amount this summer.

 Including for my chicken the other night.

After months without any chicken (that's some serious suffering), I took my whole chicken and plopped it into the crock pot with some barbecue sauce. That seems to be the go-to plan these days. It's just too easy. Five hours on high and we were good to go.




DSCN3386
Delicious. Fingerling potatoes and corn on the cob as sides.



Julysalads
Also good as leftovers on a salad!

While this was super delicious, another meal stole my heart recently. I saw a recipe on the Clean Eating Magazine website for Soba Noodle Chow Mein. I don't think that I have ever had chow mein, so I can't vouch for it's authenticity. But, with a few adaptations I think this recipe turned out pretty well. The servings were actually Kim-sized, too. Most recipes for four people serve Brian and I for one meal, but we actually got two dinners and three lunch servings out of this!



The veggies in this recipe add a ton of volume. I love volume- eating because it fills my stomach with out a ton of calories. If your unfamiliar, it basically means you consume a large quantity of low-calorie foods versus a small quantity of high calorie foods. I usually try to add as many veggies as possible to grain and pasta dishes, and as much fruit as possible to my oatmeal!



I used scallops in this recipe, but only because they were on sale at Whole Foods. Shrimp would be great and so would chicken or tofu. 



Chinese Noodles with Scallops


Serves 4 (or more!)


Ingredients


  • 8 oz soba noodles (1 package)
  • 
1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

  • 1 tablespoon tamari

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon oil (safflower, sunflower or vegetable)

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 1 onion
2 bell peppers, sliced (I used orange and yellow, but red and green would work just fine)

  • 1 package sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • 
1 bunch rainbow chard, roughly chopped

  • 1 teaspoon oil

  • 1 pound scallops (or chicken, shrimp or tofu)

  • Salt and pepper



Directions


  1. Prepare noodles according to the directions on the box

  2. While the water is heating up for the noodles, stir together the hoisin sauce, tamari and 1 tablespoon of oil in a bowl

  3. Add teaspoon of oil, garlic, ginger and onion to a large frying pan and saute for about four minute on medium high until fragrant. 

  4. Add peppers and mushrooms to the pan, cook another three minutes

  5. Add chard to the mix and stir in to wilt
  6. At this point, heat up another pan over medium-high and add your remaining teaspoon of oil
  7. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of your scallops, then add to the pan for a quick sear (about 2 min per side)
  8. Once the scallops are done (opaque white through the middle), remove them from the pan.
  9. Pour the hoisin/ tamari sauce over the veggies and stir. Add the noodles and toss.
  10. Plate the noodles and veggies, then top with scallops

DSCN3374
There are a lot of moving parts to this recipe, but it's GOOD. I promise its worth it. and it helps that you'll have tons of leftovers.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Market Days

Now that summer is in full swing, the farmer's market has SO much to offer. The options change all the time, strawberries were around a few weeks ago, but now we're on to blueberries and soon it will be blackberries that are in season. As I was buying some snap peas today, they told me it was the last week they'd be around- I'm glad I was able to get them at least once this summer!

What was particularly exciting about this week, was that they had chicken again! It's been months since I've seen chicken there. I grabbed a whole chicken and later this week you'll see what I did with it. I almost always buy a whole chicken because its so much more economical than buying the parts.

DSCN3377
So many of my favorite foods in this picture!

DSCN3378

  • Lettuce: I bought a lettuce mix that Brian loves for a dinner salad this week, as well as the Loudon Lettuce blend that I pack for my lunch salads during the week. 
  • Beets: I always buy beets with the greens attached because beet greens are incredibly delicious. I think everyone needs to buy more beets!

DSCN3379

  • Snap Peas: I'm looking forward to sautéing these with some garlic and probably snacking on a few raw while I make dinner that night.
  • Zucchini and Squash: These are regulars. Typically we'll roast it in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper or slice it up to go into a pasta. When I was younger I would only eat yellow squash and not the green. Now I don't think they taste any different! 

DSCN3380

  • Corn: I love corn. Have I mentioned that before? Fresh corn is by far my favorite part of the farmers market in the summer. (I almost said all year, but then I remembered fall squashes and Christmas trees)
  • Blueberries: These blueberries are perfect. This week must be the peak of the season because they are about as good as it gets. 

DSCN3381

  • Fingerling Potatoes: I buy these and then I don't even have to chop them up to go in the oven. So easy. There's a stand at the market that offers a few different types so I just mix and match them.
  • Potatoes: I'm not sure what the official name of these potatoes is, but they made some delicious home fries yesterday morning for breakfast.
  • Pepper: This guy went into the home fries- I like to use a full pepper and a full onion to amp up the flavor, volume and nutrition.

DSCN3383

  1. Tomatoes: Yum! There are some 'seconds' in the mix that I'm going to turn into a pasta sauce. Regular tomatoes are $3.99/ lb and the seconds are $1.99/ lb. Obviously that $3.99 adds up, so I want to try buying seconds unless I'm going to be eating them raw.
  2. Onion: This is a candy onion and it went into the aforementioned home fries (along with that garlic, which was not purchased at the market- although you can!)
  3. Peaches: Yay! I've officially moved on to my summer peach oatmeal. Pumpkin lasted through March this year, but peaches are only in season for a limited time so I won't be able to enjoy this one for that long. I'll get the recipe your way soon!

And, with that I feel prepared for the week! I'll probably stop by Trader Joe's on my way home from work tomorrow to get a few other items that aren't available at the market (avocado, bananas, etc.) and pick up local milk at the market near my apartment, but other than that I'm pretty much set for the week!

On the menu...

  • Sunday: BBQ chicken, corn and fingerling potatoes.
  • Monday: Salad with leftover chicken, black beans, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, cheese and edamame with creamy avocado dressing.
  • Tuesday: Baked fish with sautéed beet greens and snap peas.
  • Wednesday: Po Boys with zucchini and citrus beet salad.
  • Thursday: I'm going out with some girlfriends!
  • Friday: Pasta or ravioli with homemade sauce.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Summery

I hope the rest of your holiday weekend was as wonderful as mine! As planned, I did nothing. It was incredible.

I shouldn't say nothing, because Brian and I did watch an entire season of Mad Men this weekend and I think that's a pretty big accomplishment.

Other than that, grocery shopping was the number one weekend activity. Doesn't sound like much, but the past few weekends wore me out and it is 1,000 degrees outside. Any outdoor activities require an immediate shower! It's so gross.

On Thursday, we went to Glen's Garden Market to pick up ingredients for a 4th of July dinner. On Friday, Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for that night's dinner. On Saturday, Trader Joe's to stock up on supplies like oats, nuts, oils, and frozen fruits and veggies. And, finally, on Sunday, to the farmer's market for fresh produce, meat and eggs. Sometimes that's just how it goes!

Let's start with Friday night, because that was probably the best meal of the weekend.

DSCN3363

Summery Cilantro Salmon

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 filets of wild-caught salmon 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Add all of the ingredients through the lime juice to a food processor and blend into a pesto
  3. Place salmon on a baking sheet and use a spatula to top with the pesto
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 400F

Summer Veggie Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can black beans
  • kernels from 2 ears of corn on the cob (~1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of one lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado, diced

Directions

  1. Add tomatoes, beans and corn to a large bowl
  2. Toss with olive oil, lime, salt and pepper and cilantro
  3. Allow to sit for at least one hour, then add the avocado and serve

I highly recommend serving these together! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fireworks

Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!

We had an excellent day off. Took it easy in the morning, got some salads and ate them on the grass in Dupont Circle for lunch and finished season two of Mad Men!

After lunch, I figured that dessert was really important and made some B-Raw-Nies. Yum.

DSCN3360
Around 4 PM, we figured it was time to start to think about our dinner/ fireworks plan and decided to pack up some food and bring it with us to picnic before the fireworks started. I have had zero motivation to walk to the grocery store lately, so we just headed across the street to the market to pick up some supplies.

I made a kale salad by slicing the kale into thin strips and massaging in some Sundried Tomato and Roasted Garlic dressing. We bought the dressing at the market, but I wish I had made my own because this didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. Still good, but a little bland.

Kalesalad
We also made some calzones with cheese, sauce and fresh-from-the-fire-escape basil. I wasn't sure about the bake time on these guys, but it turned out to be just right. We wrapped them up in foil and napkins then packed up a bag and a blanket to head downtown.

The last time that Brian and I watched the fireworks on the mall was in 2008. We've spent the in-between years watching the fireworks from friends apartment rooftops, but I was ready to come back for an up-close view. We weren't sure exactly where we were going to sit, but then we saw some people parked on the lawn in front of the Federal Reserve building and realized that they were set up to enjoy a really nice view. We joined!

DSCN3333

DSCN3343 DSCN3337
It ended up being far better than we had even expected! The fireworks were literally in front of us and we had one of the best views. The best part was that since we weren't technically on the mall, we didn't have to wait in the long security line.

It was such great night!

DSCN3354
DSCN3349
DSCN3351
DSCN3353
DSCN3355