Foodie Itinerary: New Orleans, LA

Since Jazz Fest is right around the corner, thought I'd bring back an old post that will help you eat your way through your time in New Orleans if you're lucky enough to be heading down for some fun!  I had an amazing time last year and I have to say the fried chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House and oysters and gumbo at the bar at Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House were spot on, so I strongly recommend both of those from last year's full itinerary below.  I also strongly recommend the pork rinds at Jazz Fest itself...seriously the best pork rinds of my life.  Some also swear by the fried chicken at the festival but I thought Willie Mae's was even better.  If you want to see the post-New Orleans blog post with pictures of all of the food from last year you can check it out here for some inspiration to get you hungry. Happy Eating...oh yeah, and enjoy the great music too!!   Originally Posted on April 17, 2013: New Orleans has a very special place in my heart...the first and only time I've ever been there was 11 years ago on my cross-country road trip to move from my hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts to San Diego, California.  Since we were tight on cash and camping our way across the country, New Orleans was the only big city on our 2-week trip and I totally fell in love! I'm finally heading back for a work conference and Jazz Fest, so while my time will be tight I'm going to make the best of it! Luckily I know a few locals so my 11 year gap shouldn't slow me down at all.  Between all of the conference meals and Jazz Fest food I will only have a few meals to explore on my own, but in typical SavoryGirl style I'm going in prepared and sharing my full itinerary for all of the places I would want to check out if I had the time. So next time you're heading to New Orleans go ahead and use this foodie itinerary as a starting point to plan all of your great culinary adventures in the Big Easy and then let me know what you think.  The drinking and nightlife version will be coming next week, so stay tuned.  If you like what you see, feel free to check out my past foodie travel posts here.
Weekly Menu: April 20-26, 2014
Sunday: Easter Ham & Cheese Enchiladas (recipe below)
Monday: Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew
Tuesday: Leftovers: Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew   
Wednesday: Leftovers: Enchiladas
Thursday: Dinner Party at a friend’s house...
Friday: Leftovers: Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew
Saturday: Eat Out
Ahhh, Easter Sunday.  Holidays when you're living on your own are a bit challenging particularly when you love cooking and celebrating for holidays as much as I do.  But making a huge ham for myself seems a bit silly so instead I'm going to go out for a nice Easter Brunch before the Bruins game and then make a yummy meal for myself that incorporates ham at the very least!  These ham & cheese enchiladas are an old family recipe...but totally DIY.  Simply roll some pepper-jack cheese & ham slices inside of flour tortillas (with some canned jalapenos if you prefer) and fit them all snuggly into a baking dish.  Then make a béchamel sauce (I add a bit of yellow mustard, nutmeg and cheese to mine) and pour it over the top, sprinkle with some cheese and jalapenos, cover with foil and pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350. Easy breezy but oh so delicious.

Then I'll mix it up with one of my favorite dishes, Curried Cauliflower & Chickpea Stew and since I have a dinner party later i the week that about does it for the cooking.  Love those leftovers!

As always if you're cooking for more than one or want a bit more variety please visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week. Happy Easter everyone...hope you have a great day!  
The Key to My Healthy Eating…Sunday Prep
Sunday prep sets every week up for success!

Sunday prep sets every week up for success!

It's really easy to fall into the trap of "too busy" and let the simple but important things in life get left behind.  You know what I'm talking about...the gym, taking walks, reading for pleasure and most importantly for me, healthy home-cooked food. It happens to the best of us, but the Girl Scout in me knows that preparation is your best friend for these situations.  So over the years I have developed what I consider a fool-proof plan to ensure that at the very least I'm eating healthy, homemade breakfasts, lunches and dinners throughout most of my week (leaving room of course for spontaneity and fun!). I'm not going to go into the dinners...because honestly that's what my weekly menus that I post every Sunday are all about so I think you all get my strategy there.  Plan the full week of dinners in advance, do all of the grocery shopping at once and then just stick to it ensuring you plan your leftovers for the busier nights of the week. If you're new to SavoryGirl here is my original post explaining my weekly dinner menu philosophy. What I haven't shared is what I do for weekday breakfasts and lunches...it's pretty simple and many might call it boring but I figure weekends, dinners and eating out are where I get my variety so if being a bit boring during the weekdays keeps me healthy so be it!

Breakfast...my go-to  choice here is a smoothie and a hard-boiled egg.  The beauty of this plan is that I make a full batch of smoothies up and boil/peel all of my eggs on Sunday so all I have to do is grab them out of the fridge in the morning and enjoy while I'm getting ready (see - efficient with morning getting ready time too!).  My smoothies are pretty straightforward...for 5 smoothies I puree 2-3 bananas, a mix of 2-3 frozen fruits (blueberries, pineapples, peaches, mangos, whatever you prefer), about a cup of OJ, another 1-2 cups of almond milk, a Tablespoon or so of wheat germ and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.  If you want higher protein then you can also add a couple spoonfuls of almond butter or peanut butter. Basically you want a full blender to make 5 servings...then pour them into 3 glasses (freeze the other two so they last until the end of the week) and put saran wrap on the top, making sure to push the saran wrap down to the surface of the smoothie so no air gets in and pop them in the fridge.  For the eggs I simply boil them up, peel them, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and pop them in an air-tight container in the fridge.  In the morning I just microwave my egg for about 20 seconds (I prefer them a bit warm, stir up my smoothie  (they can separate a bit in the fridge) and enjoy!  All of this prep takes 20 minutes max once you get in a routine.  Easy breezy.

Weekly Menu: April 13-19, 2014
Sunday: Spicy Bean & Wilted Green Stew
Monday: Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs with Wild Rice
Tuesday: Leftovers: Bean & Greens Stew
Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner
Thursday: Leftovers: Chicken, Veggies & Wild Rice
Friday: Leftovers: Bean & Greens Stew
Saturday: Eat Out
It certainly feels like Spring has sprung here in San Francisco, but lucky for me it's pretty much always soup and stew weather here.  Even when we have our amazing weather and rare heat waves (both much more often than people give us credit for!)...there's always a chilly or fog-filled day not too far behind.  That's good news because I love me some soup...especially as a Sunday meal.  So this Sunday I'm trying out a new Bon Appétit Stew that is healthy and hearty.  Then I'm bringing a little Spring into the menu by grilling up some chicken & veggie kabobs.  The rest of the week is easy breezy with leftovers and one night where I'll make breakfast for dinner.

As always if you're cooking for more than one or want a bit more variety please visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week.  Happy cooking!
Cocktail Animals…My Own Little Dose of Happiness
My Newest Little Cocktail Animals!

My Newest Little Cocktail Animals!

I haven't seen a cocktail animals in years...and honestly, haven't thought about them for years either.  Until the other day when I found myself at Kona Club tiki bar in Oakland with some friends and my drink came served to me with a little plastic pink elephant alongside the required paper umbrella.  Surprisingly, the sight of this cocktail animal stopped me in my tracks and immediately brought me back to childhood.  Yes childhood.  No, I wasn't an underage drunk and my parents weren't big drinkers either.  So what gives?  And then it hit me...as a child my mom had this big metal cookie tin (a red animal crackers one I believe!) just filled to the brim with every colorful cocktail animal and adornment you could imagine.  Blue monkey?  Of course!  Green lion?  Tens of them!  Red mermaid? Definitely.  Wow did I love playing with that tin of cocktail animals as a child...likely having no idea what they were really for until I got older and started hanging them from our glasses around the dinner table for fun.
Cocktail Animals in their Native Setting

Cocktail Animals in their Native Setting

So as I sat in that dark tiki bar...a lifetime removed from lying on the floor in my parents living room playing with a tin of cocktail animals it stuck me.  Sometimes the greatest joys in life are about the littlest details.  As I sipped on my tropical drink the fact that there was a yellow giraffe partially poking me in the face (ok, ok...I was on drink two and had moved on from the pink elephant) brought my intense joy.  Because it triggered such a simple, happy memory that I didn't even know I had.  So much so that I continued to play with and think about those cocktail animals for the rest of my Sunday and they continue to happily sit perched on the bar in my kitchen as I type.  Ah, the simple things.

So next time you're having a party or even just feeling festive (or the opposite and need some cheering up!), try adding a few cocktail animals to your drink and enjoy your own little dose of happiness. Tropical tiki drinks entirely optional.

Now to go pester my mom to see if she still has that tin of cocktail animals...I need to grow my budding happiness collection!
Weekly Menu: April 6-12, 2014
Sunday: Pasta with Homemade Sauce
Monday: Leftovers: Pasta
Tuesday: Citrus Rosemary Steamed Snapper with Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes
Wednesday: Dinner & Movie with a friend
Thursday: Leftovers: Fish Tacos and Roasted Veggies
Friday: Leftovers: Pasta
Saturday: Eat Out
For my first week getting back in the groove of things I'm keeping it pretty simple with the cooking. I have a tendency to over-do things sometimes so I'm trying to avoid that trap so I don't get frustrated or discouraged in my new adventure of cooking for one.  Sunday I'm making a nice meal out of a gluten-free spinach pasta that I picked up and simply whipping up a homemade pasta sauce with canned roasted tomatoes, garlic, basil and some fresh sauteed mushrooms.  Simple, healthy and delicious.  And if you've never made homemade pasta sauce, try it sometime...for a small portion it really only takes 10 minutes and is so much better than the thick, goopy, high-sodium jarred stuff!

Tuesday I'm making up my own recipe and pulling out my chinese steamer to steam some Red Snapper along with orange slices and fresh rosemary to infuse with flavor lightly.  I'm going to sauté up some thinly sliced kumquats and caramelized onions to serve over top.  The kumquats looked so good in the store I just couldn't resist so I had to work them in somehow!  For a side I'll roast up halved brussel sprouts and chopped sweet potatoes with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

The good thing about cooking for one is that leftovers stretch very far...so that's it for this week, just cooking two yummy meals and then repurposing them throughout the week along with some fun with friends peppered in.  Of course, if you're lucky enough to be cooking for a larger crowd please visit my menu archives and recipes to find other meals to round out your week.  Happy cooking!