Healthy Eating Out – Seasons 52

It’s rare that my husband and I REALLY love the same restaurant.  He loves seafood, steak & potatoes.  And, I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t like mushrooms.  (Seriously, have you ever driven within 5 miles of a mushroom farm?  The smell…ugh)

We both love Seasons 52.  It just came to Kansas City a couple of months ago.  It’s a restaurant where they promise that each dish is under 475 calories!  They use fresh, seasonal ingredients with healthy cooking methods to keep calories down.  Not only do they focus on healthy, fresh food but they have a separate vegetarian & vegan menu!!!

The vegan menu is on the opposite page that is not shown.  I’ve tried about 5 different dishes and my favorite is the Housemade Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli.  It’s really a perfect dish.  The pasta is delicate, the goat cheese creamy & the grilled bread has a wonderful charred taste to it & I use it to sop up the organic tomato broth.

It really is such a treat as a vegetarian to have so many choices.  I’m always so disappointed when there is no vegetarian dish on the menu at restaurants.  Then, when the chef says he’ll make something for you it comes out with pasta, a ton of garlic & rubbery vegetables with no flavor.  Seasons 52 did such a great job for both a vegetarian & a seafood lover.  My husband loves their Ahi Tuna & Scallops.  In fact, the 4 times we have been he has gotten those 2 dishes every time.

Check out their website here.  It may even inspire you to try and cook their dishes at home.

Plaza Art Fair

The 80th Annual Plaza Art Fair in Kansas City is so far my favorite event since we moved to Kansas City a year ago.  We do live within walking distance so that adds to the appeal. My husband & I went down there Saturday night and then I went down and got lunch on Sunday when he had to work.

The streets are closed down and packed all weekend.  There are a lot of tiny & massive dogs weaving through the heavy crowds.  It was a cool 70 degree weekend so all the pretty women were in full force with their tall, fall boots.  With 3 stages there was not many places where you couldn’t hear live music.  At any time during the day you could look up and see at least one escaped red balloon flying in the air.  While we were chowing down on chips & salsa, we counted 7 on Saturday night.  There was of course…art.  They had photography that looked like paintings & paintings that looked like photography.  I saw beautiful scarves & sweaters.  The artisan jewelry booths seemed to always be packed.

Then, there was the food & drinks.  Yum!  Saturday night we hit up a lot of restaurant booths.  It reminded me a lot of Disney’s Epcot with the quality of the food and the creativeness in the booth design.  Check out Brio’s booth:

Now, to the food.  There were a lot of vegetarian items for me.  Well, I had low expectations being in a city where BBQ is king.  I was SO excited to try a dish that combined 2 of my favorite foods:  french fries & gouda cheese.  Blanc Burgers (website here) had just that dish.  It said on the menu that they were Gouda Fries.  Man, were these delicious and I pretty much unattractively shoveled them in.

As I was chowing down I saw specs of what looked to be red pepper in the cheese sauce.  I checked the website and the official name of this side dish:  Smoked Gouda Cheese Fries + Bacon.  Clearly, as a vegetarian I don’t dig on swine.  I’ve learned my lesson.  When eating street food be sure to always ask if an item is vegetarian.  I did really still enjoy these.

My next stop was a new Mexican restaurant opening soon on the Plaza, Zocalo.

They had a vegetarian taco but I really wanted their Guacamole.  I chose wisely!

The chips, salsa, guacamole were all delicious.  Especially washed down with the Dos Equis. Then, we got their Patron Margaritas and I am officially very excited for this place to open! One of the best margaritas I’ve had.

Next, we hit up the Starker’s booth.  Starkers is a fabulous restaurant and I love eating there.  Check out their website here.  I got their fried green tomatoes which I really enjoyed.  The breading was not too heavy or greasy and it paired well with the tartness of the tomatoes.  The sauce was a creole remoulade.  I also had the vegetarian gumbo from Starkers which I was so excited for —  Big disappointment.  I took a couple of bites and threw it out.  It could be that Louisiana creole cooking has never catered to vegetarians so I’m not used to the flavors.  Usually, their rice & beans have some sort of animal fat in them so even they are not safe.  Perhaps I’ll have to try and find a recipe to make it myself. Finally, I got Creole Beignets for dessert from Starkers as well.

These were delicious but I could only have one.  I found them a bit dry.  I would have preferred to have a fruit sauce or a glaze with them.  I wish I had gone with the fondue from the melting pot instead for dessert.  Next year.  We also had delicious red sangria but I cannot remember which booth it was from.

I really wish that they had events like these more often on the plaza or even downtown.  It was fantastic and I will know for next year to go every day to make sure I try everything & to double check for bacon!

I leave you with this serene view of a couple enjoying a romantic gondola ride on Brush Creek during the Art Fair.

Weekly Weigh In

Weight Loss (Gain) Results-

Laura + 2 lbs (Goal -2 lbs/week)

Well, I got the number correct but it went in the wrong direction.  I’m not surprised.  I celebrated turning 35 (also seeing my husband for an entire weekend) from Wed-Sun.  We ate out and had dessert every night!

So, I’ll take my 2 lb weight gain.  I am now planning out my healthy menu for the week and headed to Whole Foods today on this beautiful 60 degree Labor Day in Kansas City.

If you ever make it to Kansas City or Pittsburgh or New York.  I’d check out Lidia’s.  This is where we went for my birthday dinner.  Check out the website here.  Click on the restaurants tab to see the different locations.  In Kansas City, Lidia’s is located near Union Station in a former railroad house.  Here’s the view from our corner table:

They bring you out these delicious cheese sticks & rustic bread with 2 dipping sauces.  They have a great wine list with a lot of Chianti options.  Everyday they have 3 fresh, homemade pastas that they bring out to the tables and it’s called Pasta Tasting.  The assistant waiters walk around with sauce pans and tongs freely doling out pasta!  Since, I’m a vegetarian they made all 3 vegetarian for me.  We had goat cheese raviolis, creamy rigatoni & a pasta with tomato sauce.  My husband had shrimp and a sweet Italian sausage in his.  A small touch that I appreciate is the quality of the cheese that is sitting on your table to add to your pasta.  And of course, they had delicious homemade desserts.

Here we are before our 2 bottles of Chianti:

On Friday night we headed to Cheesecake Factory to use a gift card I received.  I had their new Veggie Burger which was very good.  I really enjoyed it.  It is on their Skinnylicious Menu and it is served with a small salad but being my birthday weekend I requested fries instead.  Also, we got desserts to go.  I always get a cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory, Duh!  But for some reason the tiramisu was calling me.  This was the BEST tiramisu I’ve ever had.  I can’t wait to get it again.  If you want to splurge you have to give it a try.

So, I am back to Cinch and I’m excited to rid my body of all the salt & sugar and get back to my “new” normal.  I may do a 2 day fast forward some time this month but I’m not feeling like it today.  Also, my other sister really wanted to read Cinch.  It’s only $14.99 on Amazon right now.  I’m going to order her one this week.  If you don’t have a copy yet what are you waiting for?  Check it out here.  Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds & Lose Inches. Let’s Go People!

Grilled Peach Salad

My husband was working Saturday night and I was about to head out to California Pizza Kitchen and pick up my favorite roasted vegetable salad curbside.  I went online to order and saw their new salad, Caramelized Peach Salad.  You can find it at CPK.com.

I then realized I had most of these things at home with a few substitutions.  I grabbed my indoor grill and here’s what I came up with!

  • Produce:  Arugula; peach; shallots; dried cranberries
  • Whole Grain:  1 slice 100% Whole Grain Sprouted Sourdough Bread
  • Lean Protein:  Goat Cheese
  • Plant Based Fat:  EVOO; pine nuts
  • SASS:  Garlic, lemon juice, oregano, rosemary, black pepper

I didn’t measure everything out too much.  I winged it and probably used too much olive oil.  I mixed olive oil with lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, oregano & rosemary.  First, I heated up the grill and sprayed it with olive oil Pam & brushed the slice of bread with a little of the oil mixture.  Then, I threw the shallots, peach, pine nuts & bread on the grill.

I dressed the arugula with the oil mixture then topped with a little bit of cranberries, goat cheese, peach, pine nuts & shallots.  This was SO delicious and I will have to make it again when my husband is home.  I’m thinking I will put some chicken or shrimp in a citrus-garlic marinade and top his salad with grilled chicken or shrimp since he’s not a vegetarian.  This may be added to the dinner rotation about every 2 weeks now.  I’ll have to check out CPK and see how their salad stacks up against mine.

I’m a Weekday Warrior

Man, I really blow all my weekday efforts on the weekends when it comes to dieting & exercising.  The past month I’ve been a weekday warrior but come Friday night it’s a slippery slope and I have been a weekend waverer.  Just like Rebecca Black says (http://youtu.be/CD2LRROpph0) You gotta get down on Friday!  (It’s such a bad song but sometimes it does make me want to shake my moneymaker.)  That’s what we do.  Cut loose, have fun and enjoy our weekend.  Fun, fun, fun, fun.

Ok, ok, back to the problem.  It’s gorgeous outside now in Kansas City with vibrant green grass and clear blue skies.  So, my husband & I have been heading to restaurants with outdoor patios and having some delicious adult beverages.  I try to order small plates, appetizers or eat half of my dinner to watch my calories.  But then, my husband gets a dessert to go.  And in my tipsy weakness and against my better judgement I indulge later that night.  Ugh.  It gets worse.  We do it again on Saturday night.  Then Sunday I’m too lazy to grocery shop so we order take out.  I’ve been losing weight but not as much as it should be due to my bad weekend habits.

I have been really good during the week.  I’m mostly staying on track with the Cinch diet.  I have my shelf of dark chocolate, nuts, beans & dried fruit when I need something quick.  I’ve stepped up my exercise, and good thing I do the way my weekends have been going.  I try to do an hour on the treadmill 4-5 times a week.  Also, I do some yoga as much as I can.

What’s the solution?  Is it just lack of self-control?

A new lunch spot at Noodles & Co

I had a wonderful, filling lunch today at only 510 calories.

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It’s The Veggie Med sandwich with a cup of their Tomato Bisque from Noodles & Co. It’s not perfectly Cinch but its close. The soup is good. It’s not my favorite tomato soup but the sandwich is so yummy. It comes on a warm flatbread with mushrooms, spinach, red pepper, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, feta & this Delish med dressing. I don’t like mushrooms so I left those out. Everything is customizable and they sauté it to order. You have to try it. They also have a really good passion fruit unsweetened ice tea. It’s counter service and they bring it out to you when it is ready. The manager brought out mine and was so nice, introduced himself and spoke to me a little while. There’s no tipping and you don’t have to clean up after yourselves.

Another fantastic thing I love about this restaurant is they have 15 vegetarian dishes. I’m lucky to have one entree available at a restaurant when I eat out (especially in Kansas City).

You would think I owned the place by how much I love it. I just feel it serves a need for a healthy place to get a quick lunch. I can’t go to Panera every day. Has anyone eaten here before?