The Perfect Recipes for Your Mexican Dinner Party

The weekend has definitely improved since yesterday’s long run.

I spent yesterday cleaning the apartment, relaxing some on the couch, putting my muscles through a much needed deep tissue massage, finally taking allergy medicine, and hosting a dinner party for our friends with Bo and Meg!

Oh yes, in case I forgot to mention it on the blog, Bo’s sister Meg is living with us for the next month. While it took some adjusting during the first 24 hours to figure out where things go and such, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun! She was the chopping guru yesterday, helping in the kitchen, and this afternoon she was a yoga sidekick!

The dinner party was a huge success and while I failed royally at taking pictures, I want to share the items we chose for the party. It was a perfect mix of flavor without a lot of work. Though the chopping and prep work took quite a while, the rest of the process was easier than normal.

Mexican Dinner Party recipes

I pinned the recipes on my Pintrest board yesterday which made it really easy to reference them when we were grocery shopping and cooking.

It was such a fun night complete with some dancing and funfetti birthday cupcakes! I think the bottom picture was during their rap off of Welcome to Atlanta. So fun!

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This morning we slept in and spent the morning organizing, enjoying delicious omelets made from last night’s leftover shrimp and peppers, and watching Friends season 4.

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Around 2, the three of us decided to head out for an easy 3 mile run along the East River. It was definitely hot out and super sunny but it was just wonderful being out there enjoying the views, company, some good music, and running pain free. Yesterday’s massage definitely helped as my lower back and hamstring muscles were way too tight. He thinks that running primarily outside this year versus indoor last year could be one of the contributing factors. In addition, he recommended more yoga which seems to be a common theme I’ve heard from everyone and anyone these days.

Inspired by his suggestion, Meg and I enjoyed an evening vinyasa yoga class at the Meatpacking Equinox (17th and 10th) tonight with Kristin McGee who was substituting for the regular instructor. As normal, she was wonderful. The class was a perfect mix of inspiring, challenging, featured a wonderful playlist including Dave Matthews and Simon & Garfunkel. and the views of the Highline didn’t hurt. I wish she taught more classes at Equinox!! In case you’re not able to enjoy your own dose of Kristin, here is a great yoga for runner video she posted on her blog a few weeks ago.

Question: What is your favorite Mexican recipe?

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Five Minute Asian Dinner

I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to easy, weeknight meals. After a long day of work sometimes I lack creativity when I get home, especially if it’s after an evening event or workout. Therefore, you see lots of omelets, veggie burgers, bowls of cereal, or salads around the blog.

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But, last night, after a five mile run in Central Park and a Pure Barre class with some fellow bloggers, I was not only ravenous but I was also craving an actual meal. Since it was already 9pm, there was no way I was going out to dinner. Instead, on the subway ride home, I started thinking about what was currently in our refrigerator and pantry that could create a nutritious and easy meal.

Thanks to the Asian Sea Bass we enjoyed Sunday night, the refrigerator was filled with ingredients such as minced garlic, ginger, bean sprouts, and vegetables. Within ten minutes of walking through the front door I had prepared a warm, satiating meal fondly called a Five Minute Asian Dinner.

Five Minute Asian Dinner

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Ingredients:

1 package shiritaki noodles

1/2 package defrosted Asian vegetables

1/3 cup bean sprouts

Drizzle of sesame oil

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp minced ginger

1 Tbsp scallions

1 Tbsp peanut butter

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp orange marmalade

 Directions:

1. Par boil or microwave shiritaki noodles, according to directions, drain well

2.. While noodles are par boiling, defrost package of Asian vegetables.

3. Set aside 1/2 package of vegetables and well drained, par boiled noodles in a bowl together.

4. Drizzle sesame oil in a small saucepan on medium low heat on the stove.

5. Quickly saute garlic, ginger and scallions in saucepan.

6. Once warm, add peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and orange marmalade.

7. Stir with a whisk over medium low heat for a few minutes until combined and melted.

8. Pour sauce over noodles and vegetables, mix well.

9. Enjoy!

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Dining in Manchester Center, Vermont

I’ve been up since 3:45 this morning and am currently getting ready to board a Delta flight to Cincinnati. I’ll be there until late Thursday spending the week in our General Offices moderating one of our training programs, College 1, for the week. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity but know it means that this week will be a bit of a wild ride between trying to keep up with work back in NYC, focusing on the students in College 1, catching up with Cincinnati friends, and early morning runs.

While I’m still half asleep right now, having a relaxing weekend in Vermont was exactly what I needed before this crazy week. While we spent the vast majority of our weekend in the fresh air reading, hiking, bike riding, and chatting the rest of our time was spent dining our way around town.

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While we normally eat all our meals at the house when Bo and I bring our friends up in the winter for the annual Ski Weekend, since this weekend was a vacation of sorts for both my parents, aunt and uncle, and me we decided to enjoy some delicious meals dining al fresco in Manchester Center. Some of these spots were go to favorites where I’ve been dining for over 10 years while others were new to us. Below is a round up of Manchester Center restaurants we enjoyed this weekend in addition to our dinner at Graze on Thursday night.

Brasserie L’Oustau:  A new addition to the Manchester dining scene, this is an authentic French brasserie found unexpectedly situated on Depot Street right outside town. The restaurant includes a large outdoor patio complete with large umbrellas during the day and a fire pit dining area in the evening which pairs perfectly with the bright stars and a nice glass of wine. The service was very attentive and helpful in making our lunch decisions as we navigated through their large menu. The owner, Michel Boyer, was visible the entire time, greeting guests and keeping an eye on the tables. They were more than happy to allow our group to split a few entrees as we didn’t want too large a meal since many options were quite rich. My dad’s croque-madame was one of the better ones I’ve tried, their pomme frites were perfectly salted and crisp, and the nicoise salad my mom and I shared was HUGE and piled high with olives, hard boiled eggs, pears, green beans, and mixed greens. We will definitely return here when we’re back in September!

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The Dorset Inn: Dorset is an adorable, historic town minutes away from Manchester Center and is therefore often somewhere we visit when we’re in town. During the summer months my family often enjoys a show at the Dorset Playhouse during the Dorset Theatre Festival and in the fall and winter months the roaring fire places in the Dorset Inn are the perfect backdrop for a hearty, game filled dinner. The Inn, which is the oldest running hotel in Vermont, has been serving delicious meals for more than 215 years! The service is always wonderful, their wine list is one of the most extensive in the area, and the menu features New England favorites along with some unique New American dishes. My meal this time was one of the highlights of the trip! My dad and I enjoyed the fresh, poached lobster as our entrée and per my mom and aunt’s recommendation I started with their roasted beet salad which was paired perfectly with local Vermont goat cheese and a balsamic reduction. Whether you’re looking for a casual evening in their bar area or a romantic evening in one of their intimate dining rooms, The Dorset Inn is always a great choice.

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Gourmet Deli & Café: While Up for Breakfast remains our favorite local breakfast spot, sometime their wait is just plain annoying. We chose to dine outside next door at the new Gourmet Deli & Café versus spend 45 minutes in line Saturday morning. While our experience started off on a great note due to the outdoor patio seating, our waitress’ attitude quickly ruined the experience. Her service and personality was not conducive for her job as a waitress and she left us wanting to leave before we even received our order. I was starving after a challenging bike ride and therefore decided to enjoy something a bit richer than my regular egg white omelet and fruit. They offered a breakfast egg sandwich on your choice of bread with your choice of meat. I figured that a toasty English muffin paired with Vermont cheddar cheese, eggs cooked over medium, and a vegetarian sausage patty would be delicious but when I received it the cheese wasn’t melted and the sandwich was very dry. While the prices made the taste a bit more palatable, we wish we’d just dined at home on cereal and fruit versus giving Gourmet Deli & Café a chance. This was our first and last time at the restaurant due to lackluster food and horrific service. 

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Sherrie’s Café: Located at 709 Depot St in Manchester Center, Sherrie’s is an easy breakfast or lunch spot for people who are hitting the outlets in search of a deal, ski bunnies in the winter, and locals year round. They offer outside dining and inside alike and since the restaurant is larger than the famed Manchester Center breakfast location, Up for Breakfast, their wait is far less than their nearby competitor. Their menu includes local and traditional favorites ranging from homemade corn beef and hash, crab cake benedicts, pancakes and French toast paired with Vermont maple syrup, fruit smoothies, and a number of different omelet combinations. Most dishes are under $10.95 and are large enough to share between two people, depending on hunger. I enjoyed the vegetable omelet, served egg white style and was impressed with the amount of spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms filling the fluffy egg white omelet. In addition, their bread options range included English muffins which always makes a breakfast better! Overall, I would suggest this for anyone looking for a reliable and inexpensive breakfast in the area.

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Green Giant Vegetable Challenge Recap

So, remember earlier this month when I told you about a little challenge I was participating in with Green Giant? Well that challenge has come and gone so now it’s time for me to share my thoughts and reflections.

1. Vegetables additions don’t have to be hard! I already eat a lot of vegetables on a daily basis so adding even more took some creativity. During the challenge, I did my best to mix up my salads to include more vegetables versus proteins, cheeses, and dried fruits. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t part ways with my beloved grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, or cheese, I just switched things up. It had been ages since I put broccoli, red peppers, or green beans in my salad! I really believe that bulking up my salad with more fibrous vegetables helped make it stay longer too! Keep in mind that raw veggies can add crunch to a salad just as much as that fun crispy noodle or crouton!

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2. Get your soup spoons ready! These days, soups come in all shapes and sizes. You can find low sodium, low fat, high fiber, canned, fresh, and boxed soup in your local grocery store. In addition, you can find soups that have more than a serving of vegetables in each portion! I remembered this fun fact this week while fighting a nasty cold. Next time you pick up a can of soup, check the label to see if it offers a full serving of vegetables!

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3. On the side…When we were traveling in Hawaii, it was easy to get in vacation mode in terms of eating. Words like, “while on vacation…or while in Hawaii” crept into our vocabulary very easily but luckily, within a day or two I caught myself and used vegetables to help control my eating. Plate meals are common in Hawaii, normally consisting of a protein and then coleslaw and beans or rice on the side. Many days, I asked for a salad on the side instead which was often free or only an extra dollar. While in New York, I often start meals with a salad to help ensure I get some delicious vegetables incorporated into the meal. If you’re dining out, check out the side options on the menu to see if there is a vegetable that you haven’t tried like sautéed spinach in garlic or grilled artichoke before going with the same old potatoes. Restaurants often feature delicious vegetable side dishes that are fancier than your average week night option.

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4. Just chill As you guys know, my schedule fluctuates on a daily basis. Stocking any produce other than my morning banana and mid-day fruit is difficult as it often rots before I can use it. Therefore, I stock our tiny fridge full of frozen vegetable options. Sometimes I buy things as simple as spinach, broccoli, or peas to have on hand for recipes or just to eat plain. But, when I’m craving something more interesting or fresh & spicy I’ll try new things like Green Giant’s Teriyaki Vegetables or Broccoli in Butter sauce which tastes very rich and indulgent but it far healthier than it’s name eludes.

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To be candid, I didn’t have the opportunity to try eating more vegetables at the office during the challenge since I was on vacation for over half the challenge and sick for part of it. But, I’m continuing the challenge on my own terms for the next few weeks. During this time I hope to try your awesome suggestions for making veggie bean “hummus”, bringing raw vegetable snacks, and frozen edamame for afternoon snacks!

Do you eat more fruit or vegetables? I’ve craved fruit like no one’s business since my trip to Hawaii. Just this evening I downed a handful of grapes, half a banana, and a mango!

*Disclaimer:  I am receiving a small stipend for my participation in the program and a few coupons for Green Giant products. Since my blog equity is my #1 priority, my thoughts and opinions will be open and honest. If I try a product I don’t like, you’ll be sure to know!

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