#WRW16 skinnyshae Preview

Wichita Restaurant Week starts today!

I already have lunch plans with a friend next week to eat for the first time at one of the participating restaurants downtown — you’ll have to wait and see!

Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to every restaurant. Full-time job, full-time house, full-time not leaving my house very often…

(Some day I’ll write a blog about how much I love being in my house and not in public.)

Since I can’t eat at every restaurant this week, I have a preview of restaurants I’ve eaten at in the past and can say  for certain that I love the food and support them with all my food-loving self.

Delano Barbeque Company

If you know the Midwest, you know about our barbeque. If you know about me, you know I love barbeque.

Evidence (again): This bucket of ribs.

Ribs

One of my favorite places to get barbeque and my absolute favorite place in Wichita is Delano Barbeque Company.

It’s on my list for Wichita Restaurant Week — I’ve never met the pit master, and it’s about time I had another Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich. During #WRW16, at lunch, it comes with two onion rings and choice of side. (Hint: I’m getting cole slaw.)

Jon and Michelle Suddeth, owners
Jon and Michelle Suddeth, owners

Here’s hoping I can find some BBQ-loving friends to go with me!

The Monarch

Not the butterfly, but I love those, too.

The Monarch is chill, has a great patio, great sandwiches made with smoked meat and cheese THAT THEY SMOKE THEMSELVES and a fantastic beer selection.

They have Gutch on tap. I love Gutch.

They also have this giant cheese ball — not on tap, on the menu.

Monarch Cheese Ball

While the cheese ball isn’t on the #WRW16 menu, all of the other greats are:

  • Peppadew Hummus (recommend)
  • Fried Green Beans (seriously recommend)
  • ANY OF THE SANDWICHES — My favorite is The Roundabout.

And, apparently, on Monday, it’s $2.75 Mystery Beer, and that sounds like the most fun game in the world.

It’s $30 for two people, excluding drinks (get the Gutch), tip and tax.

Public at the Brickyard

Oh, Public, I love you — as a restaurant.

Public at the Brickyard
…because without beer, things do not seem to go as well…
I have about 3,000 pictures of this drink. You know, about.
I have about 3,000 pictures of this Bloody Mary. You know, about.
Salmon Benedict at Public at the Brickyard
I have eaten this dish approximately 3,000 time. Pretty sure on this number…
And I've read "user comments" in their ticket books too many times to count :)
And I’ve read “user comments” in their ticket books too many times to count :)

I. LOVE. Public.

It’s my favorite public place. Hah!

My husband and I are deciding where we want to go together to dinner, and Public is at the top of the list. It’s always on the list. Every day.

I MEAN HAVE YOU HAD THE PICKLES?

You should. (They’re not on the special menu, but just remember that you need to go during #WRW16 AND again just for the pickles.)

Wine Dive

Wine Dive is in my neighborhood. So, of course, I’ve eaten there. Often.

For #WRW16, they’re featuring an Italian tasting menu with wild mushrooms, arugula salad and tiramisu with a choice of one of two entrees — and the Tuscan Grilled Strip Steak sounds like a little piece of food heaven.

I’ve also eaten at The Hungry Heart, The Hill Bar & Grill, AVI, Chester’s Chophouse, Playa Azul and River City Brewing Co.  (another favorite).

There are 25 participating restaurants on the list, and I think I’m going to get to five.

Ugh. Decisions…

I am taking non-biased recommendations.

Deli meat: Packaged or fresh?

I do not often visit my supermarket’s deli counter.

One time I asked for lamb shoulder, and the butcher looked at me like I was nuts. Apparently, lamb was out of season?

Whatev.

I usually just shop the meat sections and grab the usual: ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, pork chops and veal (if it’s on sale). I only buy frozen fish: salmon and tilapia.

I did not, however, realize that the supermarket deli sold sliced meat for sandwiches. I avoid packaged sliced deli meat unless it’s on sale. Not just because I don’t want to pay full price, but also because I don’t actually like deli meat that much. It’s so salty.

But if I can get fresh sliced deli meat from a butcher?

Um. Yes.

According to Recipe.com, the only instance you should visit the deli counter is when you only need a few slices of a product.

And, really, packaged deli meats come in 8- and 16-ounce portions. Husband and I do not eat that many sandwiches.

The next time I decide to make Italian Turkey Sandwiches, I’ll get my sliced turkey (and pastrami for Husband) from the deli counter.

Buy dinner for a week with $50

My monthly grocery budget is huge.

Feeding Hobbes, Ivan and Husband (and myself!) can get expensive. Ivan and Hobbes eat pricey pet food but don’t eat that much, and neither of them like people food… unless, of course, they’ve sneaked it out of the trash.

Then it’s a treat.

But Husband and I have ever-changing palettes. Some weeks we want veal and duck, and other weeks we’re happy with ground beef and Kroger chicken.

However, veal or chuck, the grocery budget is still huge.

Admittedly, I do purchase pricier food items than I used to buy. I spend an enormous amount of money on Greek yogurt, granola, Kashi cereals and power bars. (I usually hit a 10-4-$10 on Greek yogurt and a 10-4-$6 on Husband’s yogurt with coupons, but I can still spend upwards of $20 on yogurt alone.)

Fresh fruit and vegetable costs vary weekly and meat is always a different price per pound. Eggs got more expensive, and I’ve given up on fancy cheese and nuts.

But why not just buy cheaper food like I used to advocate?

Well, I research and blog about diet and health, and I post recipes (that may or may not be that healthy)… I just feel like I ought to eat what I preach, you know? Husband is on board, and the dog has been eating expensive food since birth for his health.

…the cat licks his own business… he doesn’t get to vote…

The point is that I spend way too much money on groceries weekly. I want a smaller grocery budget, and EatingWell created one way I can put some greens on my plate and keep some in the bank.

EatingWell designed a five-night dinner menu made up healthy food for $50. The magazine even created the shopping list including what I would have in my pantry.

I am ALL about Stir-Fry Thursday.

What’s your grocery budget like? Do you coupon? If you don’t, you really have to obsess yourself with it. I find my shopping trips to be happily more stressful! ;)

Microwaves (do not) ruin all food

Microwaves ruin everything. Here’s proof.

When I use a microwave, I am reheating my coffee in the morning or steaming vegetables for a quick meal.

Otherwise, I really hate what microwaves do to food. Microwaves even ruin popcorn!

However, according to EatingWell, microwaves are good for these seven things:

  • Microwaves are good for cooking fish, which is good news for me because I tend to overcook on the stove and undercook in the oven. (I don’t know how I do it either.)
  • Microwaves sanitize kitchen sponges. I don’t have sponges, I have scrubber-brushes and I wash those in the dishwasher.
  • Microwaves are good for making potato chips. It’s just too bad potato chips are bad for you…
  •  Microwaves steam vegetables!
  • Microwaves soften brown sugar. When I made Monkey Bread, I had hard brown sugar and had to beat it to death to get it to soften. Well, now I learned something.
  • Microwaves cook bacon. My grandparents have cooked bacon in the microwave for as long as I can remember, but I don’t think I can get Husband on board with this one. We’ve also switched permanently to turkey bacon.
  • Microwaves act as a proofer. Also would have been good to know in the Monkey Bread situation…

I associated microwave cooking with TV dinners, which is my least favorite form of cooking and my least favorite form of food. (Pssst! I’m a fan of real food.)

I suppose I can put my microwave to use for the brown sugar, and I will continue to use it to steam vegetables, but I’m not putting fish in there. I’ll figure out the stove top first.

Lazzzzzzzzy Me

I am not purposefully being a bad blogger.

I’m just really busy with the end of the semester and work and students and grading…

…and it’s CRAZY!

So I’ll be back soon (I hope) possibly blogging about some awesome giveaway I won because, even though I’m busy, I’ve got time to enter contests for free stuff.

Love,

Shae

In this picture, I look like I’m wearing a flower in my hair.
I’m not. It’s the shower curtain :)

P.S. I never win. Don’t get your hopes up.

Trail Mix Honey Balls

Husband and I are skipping Thanksgiving celebrations to spend the day relaxing.

Because of the holiday, both work (for me) and school are cancelled! Hallelujah! For the first time in weeks, I slept in. I pulled myself out of bed at 9:30 a.m.

I woke up to a hungry puppy and a sleepy husband. One got breakfast, the other went to bed. They’re both adorable.

Last night, I planned for a long run in the late morning. I would have plenty of time and the weather was supposed to be gorgeous. I could run for hours in my new shoes.

(Shoe review coming soon, I promise!)

After breakfast, coffee and the 7-Minute Warmup, I prepared for my run. Then, I decided to take my dog.

My dog. The 110 lb. German Shepherd with four legs and a lot of dragging power.

German Shepherd DogOur run lasted just 15 minutes.

When I run or walk with Ivan, I do not go at my pace. I go at his, and he’s fast, especially when squirrels are about. I felt like we spent the entire run sprinting. His gait was quite relaxed and gentle.

So much for my endurance run.

Work out with your dogYesterday, at work, I noticed that I… work in an office… with a vending machine. The vending machine happens to have inexpensive salty sweet snacks from heaven.

This is a problem.

I am a grown-up lady. I do not need to eat Snickers. I do not want to eat Snickers, but I do want to eat salty sweet snacks. I have to snack or I will gorge myself at dinner.

I know.

I’ve seen me do it.


I’m snacking on dried cherries right now.

How can we make this happen, folks?

Enter Super Snacks – healthy munchies to curb cravings!

  • When you crave salt, eat popcorn.
  • When you crave sweets, eat dark chocolate. (See below.)
  • When you crave something crunchy, eat roasted peanuts.
  • When you crave a cold drink, drink tart cherry juice.
  • When you crave something filling, eat cereal and milk.

In my unhealthy opinion, popcorn is only good covered in melted butter. I love dark chocolate and peanuts. Cereal and milk… I’m craving some right now.

However, I came up with my own snack ;)

I bought some trail mix at Dillon’s a while back. In the mix: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whole almonds, dried cranberries, dried papaya (or mango?), dried pineapple and dehydrated bananas.

I picked out and ate all the sweet dried fruits.

I had handfuls of pumpkin and sunflower seeds and a few almonds. What am I supposed to do with these? Not as awesome without the fruit!

While staring mournfully at the loss of my sweet-fruited trail mix, I got an idea. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are small. I have slivered almonds and Chex in my cupboard.

If I were to mix them together with some sort of sticky substance, such as (oh, I don’t know) honey, perhaps the leftover trail mix could become…

Trail Mix Honey Balls
Ingredients

  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • slivered almonds
  • Wheat Chex
  • honey
  • dash cinnamon and sugar
  • pinches sea salt
  • bits of whatever was left in the original trail mix

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients, except sea salt, together with as much honey as necessary, until its saturated.

Cook in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the honey is all melty and all the parts are sticking together.

Let cool so you can handle the mixture. Spoon into small piles on a parchment-covered baking sheet, or roll into awkwardly shaped balls. Top each with a pinch of sea salt.

Bake for 10 minutes or more based on how many you make. Keep a close eye. That honey will run if you bake them too long.

trail mix recipetrail mix recipeI made 12 little piles of trail mix . I would have made balls, but this is a first time recipe and the balls didn’t hold. Ergo, piles. Next time I have leftover trail mix, I will also have in my kitchen parchment cupcake paper.

trail mix recipetrail mix recipeSalty, sweet, crunchy, happy.

I also went grocery shopping and worked on my project on my day of relaxation. I bought dried fruit, more trail mix and dark chocolate so I still feel relaxed.

Dove dark chocolate… You know what that means!

Dazzle your sense of flavor.
So. Dazzled.

Indulge your sense of amusement.
I sense a theme.

Renew your sense of discovery.
I knew it!

Don’t settle for a spark… light a fire instead.
But be careful with those deep-fried turkeys.

Calories only exist if you count them.
No. I’m pretty sure they exist regardless…

Happy Thanksgiving!

How are you celebrating? Turkey, stuffing, creamed corn? We’re having Spicy Black Bean Chili! (Yes. I’m trying to cook chili.)

I am thankful for my husband, my dog, dark chocolate and warm autumn weather. And I am thankful for this day of relaxation.

Happy Birthday to Me! I’m 1.

It’s my birthday!

Well, not my birthday, but it is skinnyshae’s birthday. My blog is 1-year-old today!

I feel like skinnyshae and I have grown a lot in the past year. Cooking, (not) dieting, hating exercise, loving exercise, hating exercise again… it’s been a real whirlwind, folks.

In the beginning, there was darkness…

I wanted to learn to like my body. After some time together, learning how to live with each other, I thought I might like-like my body, and then, possibly, move on to a more mature, less high school type relationship.

My body is currently going through some ance breakouts skin issues that are not helping our relationship. Of course, it’s all my fault. The Acne Treatment therapy classes seem to be helping. We’re working through our issues one tube of Clearasil at a time.

Proactiv Face MaskBaby steps.

Then, through the darkness, I saw light.

Before I could enter said light, I had to make a few changes… For example, while my personality is chaotic and slightly crazy and pretty weird, the blog needed direction.

Nerf Machine GunPlus, I cannot walk around with a rapid fire dart gun. (Unfortunately.)

In attempt to be less odd, I wrote a few weight-loss show review blogs. MTV and A&E told the stories better than I could, though.

Finding my own blogger style did not change the fact that I was still mad at my fat.

After struggling with Insanity – both the mental and physical kinds – and facing some anxiety issues, I finally reached my turning point.

I found a regimen that worked with my schedule and a great workout buddy.

My tag line: “Diet, fitness, beauty, and how much it all sucks” became less depressing.

One day, I decided I would be a cook.

(Sometimes) I am a good cook.

Occasionally, I mess up recipes. I do that often. A lot, actually. But cooking real food still brings me so much joy.

Baking can totally go die…

One day, I fell in love with running.

No. I am not lying. I love it. I love every second of it.

So much so that I bought new shoes.

Here are my retirees…

Now that I have a big girl job, I put more effort into making myself look presentable. Makeup, clothing, hair… It’s this whole new world.

And you get to be a part of it, my friends.

Lucky ducks.

Because of skinnyshae, my friends (IRL and non-IRL) and my stellar husband, my attitude toward my body has changed significantly.

I cook real food. I love running. I lost 10 pounds. I feel pretty in glasses (bright red ones) – accomplishments in my book.

Now, instead of wallowing in self-pity about how ugly I thought I was, I pay attention to the parts of me and my life that are awesome, such as my awesomeness.

skinnyshae ready to workout to Insanity DVDNo humility needed. I am super cool.

Through the workout FAILs and FTWs, through the stress eating and not dieting, through the eyebrow-plucking and world-ending journey that is skinnyshae…

Well, let’s just hope next year is awesome, too.

(Nudgenudgewinkwink: I think it will be.)

How should I celebrate this most amazing day? Cake. It is my birthday, after all. Birthday… giveaway? Dana, can I steal an idea from you… again?