A Salad I Can Get Behind And, Most Important, Eat

Autumn Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette - Photo and recipe via Sprouted Kitchen

Autumn Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette. Photo and recipe via Sprouted Kitchen

I know this blog is called “Utterly Smitten” and all, but I’m going to admit it right here and now, I am not utterly smitten by salads. I think it boils down to the lettuce, really. I just can’t see the point in it. I even take it off of my sandwiches most of the time.

That’s why I was pretty excited when I discovered this Autumn Salad over on Sprouted Kitchen. It’s not only amazingly yummy, but also allows for as few or as many greens as the eater desires. And I have a sneaking suspicion it’s fairly healthy, too. A tip if you decide to partake — which I highly recommend you do — make twice the dressing (but with just the one portion of horseradish as it can get pretty intense).

On a Roll

Photo by Rachael Narins via LA Weekly

 

Despite the fact that I’ve made it abundantly easy for me to have a healthy breakfast at work (tasty low-fat granola and coconut milk at both of my two desks) cinnamon rolls keep calling my name. At this point, I’m starting to worry that I truly am addicted. No matter; I’ve now found 10 more  reasons to indulge — even on the weekend! — thanks to LA Weekly’s list of the 10 best cinnamon rolls in Los Angeles. Uh oh …

Lunchtime Sandwiches

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My workplace is all about packing lunches and eating around a big table together. It’s such a money-saving alternative–and a great way to hang out together–except I’m usually not that I excited about what I have to bring. If I’m lucky, I’ll have restaurant leftovers from the night before, but most of the time I’m either eating a typical salad or making either turkey or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for five days straight.

Then I saw this Whole Living feature on 50 sandwich recipes and was totally inspired by all of the simple, healthy ideas that I actually don’t feel too lazy to try them. From Artichoke and White Bean to Tuna and Quinoa, they look genuinely delicious.

And there’s also always the Spring Sandwich pictured above, with boiled egg, seared asparagus, and pickled onion.

Do you guys bring your lunch to work or go out for food? What do you normally eat? I’d love to hear any easy recipe suggestions you’ve got!

Homemade Ice-Cream Recipes

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I’ve had ice-cream on the brain lately. And it doesn’t help that Kim recently introduced me to Graeter’s Coconut Chip ice-cream (oh my goodness!). If you haven’t tried it, you must! I dare you to not want to inhale an entire carton.

If you’re feeling on the adventurous side and want to try your hand at making your own ice-cream or homemade toppings, Daily Candy has a collection of  mouthwatering ice-cream recipes, including Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee Ice-cream and Malted Vanilla Ice-Cream with Peanut Brittle. Who wants to lend me their ice-cream maker this weekend? :)

{photo via Pinterest}

Summer Bucket List #21: Give Me Mo’ Momed

Arabic coffee and Baklava bread pudding from Momed

I crave Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food like nothing else – and ever since my trip to Egypt and Jordan, I’ve been craving Arabic coffee even more. So it was only natural that my first stop on Los Angeles Magazine’s list of 101 Cheap Eats (Summer Bucket List item #21) was Momed.

Nestled among designer fashion stores and ultra modern cafes lined with rows of glimmering luxury cars, Momed, on Beverly Hills’ Beverly Drive, doesn’t exactly give off the “cheap” vibe. And to be honest, it actually isn’t all that cheap (perhaps by Beverly Hills standards). But it’s worth it.

From the moment we walked in, I couldn’t take my eyes off the brightly colored meze (salads) beckoning to diners from a refrigerated glass case. In fact, my first thought was to start with the $16 three-item meze combo. The boy reeled me back a little and suggested we start with just one meze before the main dish. I reluctantly agreed and before long we were devouring the muhammara, a subtly sweet blend of roasted red pepper, walnuts and pomegranate served with wheat pitas.

As I eagerly anticipated my main course — the absolutely delicious and return-worthy duck shawarma with oven-dried tomatoes, figs and garlic spread – I was pleasantly surprised to see mint lemonade, just about the most refreshing thing you can drink, on the menu.

We wrapped it up with Arabic coffee – just the way I like it, with a hint of cardamom, although I could’ve used just a pinch more – and three desserts. Yes, you read that right. We simply couldn’t decide. With a baklava combo that included regular and chocolate versions of the honey- and pistachio-filled filo dough treat and baklava bread pudding on the menu, who could?!

All in all, it was an incredible meal. Cheap? No. But worth every penny.

This Will Be My Summer

One of the many candidates for that "cool graphic" I was telling you about. Still ... not quite right.

My goal was to post this on Wednesday, the official first day of summer, but that didn’t quite pan out. (Not a good start to my jam-packed, goal-filled summer.) I have an excuse, though: I wanted to find the perfect background picture with which to create an awesome graphic that would surely inspire me to zoom right through my 30 summer bucket list items. I’m still working on that part, so in the meantime, I’m making this official …

I’m doing a summer bucket list!!!

Summer has a way of biting me in the butt and making me want to go on a thousand adventures. I think it’s the extra sunshine. I pretty much run on solar power. So I decided to create a list of all the fun things I have in store for myself  this summer. The best part is I’m planning to blog about all of it, so you’ll have a front-row seat to my adventures and, I’m sure, misadventures. And maybe you’ll even create a bucket list of your own and post it in our comments. Wouldn’t that be just delightful?! Before I use any more exciting punctuation, let’s get to this list:

  1. Go paddle boarding
  2. Go to Catalina Island
  3. Take a SCUBA diving refresher course
  4. Learn to windsurf
  5. Host a retro beach party
  6. Find a cute retro swimsuit to wear to said beach party
  7. Go sailing
  8. Ride my bike somewhere new
  9. Wake up early to see the pros surf at the U.S. Open of Surfing
  10. Go surfing
  11. Read these books: Girlchild, The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir), The Violin Face, Atlas Shrugged
  12. Become a better photographer
  13. Attend at least one outdoor cinema and one beach concert
  14. Start writing a story (or maybe write a whole short story)
  15. Do something with that canvas that’s been sitting against my wall all year
  16. Check out some local markets
  17. Make some of Real Simple’s fabulous-looking summer cocktails
  18. Take a nap in a hammock
  19. Buy a plant – or create an herb garden – and keep it alive all summer long
  20. Give back
  21. Try as many of Los Angeles Magazine’s “Cheap Eats” as possible
  22. Give an unexpected gift
  23. Indulge in a local tourist trap
  24. Learn a new skill
  25. Figure out what to do with all my travel photos
  26. Take a spin in some new car possibilities
  27. Start learning a new language
  28. Write a letter to someone special
  29. Spend an entire day disconnected from all technology, and see what happens
  30. Blog about it all …

Sounds pretty cool, right? I think so. Let the summer officially begin!

Melty Goat Cheese Salad

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I’m normally not a fan of goat cheese, but this recipe from Smitten Kitchen–officially named Warm, Crisp and A Little Melty Goat Cheese Salad Croutons–looks delicious. Maybe, just maybe, that’s because the cheese is fried. ;) Panko-breaded on the outside, hot and savory on the inside, and served atop a cold, fresh salad. Mmmm…Saturday lunch in your backyard?

Have a great weekend, guys! xx

{photos by Smitten Kitchen}