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Posts from the ‘Tips’ Category

Five Things I Learned While Eating My Way Through Spain

In 2016, I finally took my taste buds to the Eastern Hemisphere for the first time.  This chic travelled solo to Spain.  While in Spain, I visited 4 cities (Madrid, Barcellona, Valencia, Seville) and had a ball.  Spain is beautiful.  The people are amazing.  And the food is even more amazing.  While eating my way through Spain, this is what I learned:

  1. ‘Menú del día’ is a wonderful thing.  Menú del día means menu of the day.  Monday through Friday restaurants will serve a three course meal (includes bread & your choice of beverage for one price for lunch.  The choice of dishes are prepared with thought & precision.  And the  portion sizes are hearty since lunch is typically the largest meal eaten in Spain.  I found these meals my most enjoyable.  Below are pics from my menú del día at Toro Tapas in Madrid.
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    Vegetable & Potato Salad topped with Tuna

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    Grouper Fish in Green Sauce with Clams

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    Apple Pie

  2. A spanish tortilla in Spain has a different meaning.  Spanish tortilla in Spain is different than the tortilla made for tacos.  If you see ‘Spanish Tortilla’ on the menu, this is a dish made with eggs, onions, and potatoes.  I ate spanish tortillas almost every morning for breakfast at my hotel.
  3. Food tastes fresher.  It is what is.  Potato chips from a corner store tasted as if they were made with ONLY potatoes fried in oil with minimal salt without any extra added preservatives.

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    My Chip Fix

  4. Siesta is a ‘real’ thing.  Pay attention to the hours of operation for restaurants, shops, & other businesses you would like to visit.   Some places are closed for 2 to 3 hours before they reopen during siesta.  Side Note: You might want to carry a few snacks in your bag to tide you over until you can find somewhere to get a meal.
  5. Sometimes the best made plans occur when there is a change in plans. Piggybacking on lesson 4, I had 1 restaurant picked out.  I had studied the menu; but I failed to check the hours of operation.  Good thing that they were closed or else I would not have found a  vegetarian restaurant, El Estragón Vegetarano in Madrid.  And of course, I ordered the menú del día 😉
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    Salad with Feta Cheese

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    Broccoli Burger with Trimmings

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    Vanilla Custard topped with Chocolate

This was only a snippet of what I ate while in Spain.  And yes, I ate tapas & drank wine while in Spain.  But I will save that for another post.

I am looking forward to returning to Spain.  But in the meantime there are a ton of other places I must cross off the Dish Destination list first 😉

Smoothie Me Crazy: Tips for a Great Smoothie

Detoxing for a week was hard. I set out to detox for seven days but my mind broke down. I must say that I detoxed for 5 1/2 days which isn’t bad at all :-). During my detox, I ate a combination of raw or cooked fruit and vegetable dishes when I wanted pizza, burgers, and wings.

During my detox days, I decided to drink smoothies rather than drinking juices. I drank smoothies to ensure I received the maximum benefits of eating raw fruits and vegetables without having to eat each fruit and vegetable individually.

I learned a lot about making smoothies during my detox. Let me share some tips with you.

ONEBuy the freshest produce possible. When you use fresh ingredients, fresh is the difference between a good smoothie versus a great smoothie.

TWOMix fruits and vegetables. Adding green leafy vegetables increases the amount of essential vitamins and minerals in a glass.

THREEDo not shy away from fresh or dried seasonings. Fresh mint, fresh or ground ginger, and ground cayenne pepper are great additions to any smoothie for you to add extra flavor.

FOURIce is not essential to smoothie making. I didn’t use ice for not one smoothie. Instead of ice, juice, or water, I used coconut water.

FIVEThoroughly clean your produce. The worst thing that could ever happen while sipping on your smoothie is for you to crunch into a dirt ball of any size. YUCK!!

SIXIf you choose one tip to adhere to, pay close attention to this tip. An awesome blender is essential to making a great smoothie. My counter top blender failed to deliver a smooth drink that didn’t consist of rough bits of fruits and veggies. I had to pull out my immersion blender to get my smoothies to the texture I desired.

I used the following ingredients in various combinations to create a different smoothie each day:

Spinach
Cucumber
Mint
Ground Cayenne Pepper
Ground Ginger
Fresh Ginger
Pineapple
Apple
Banana
Kiwi
Flax Seed
Strawberries

Smoothie Me Crazy

Smoothie Me Crazy

Lesson Learned: Food Presentation on a Dime

I don’t have a digital camera; but I am saving my coins to invest in a serious camera to help me take incredible photos of the foods that I cook. In order for me to save my money for that camera, I have to cut costs some where. I cannot skimp on the ingredients that I cook with. Skimping on the ingredients can compromise the quality and the taste of the dish. I don’t want to skimp on my restaurant visits. If I skimp on the restaurants, I may miss out on a wonderful experience.

So I can save my coins for that camera, I choose to save money on the dishes and the backgrounds that I use for plating my presentations. This past weekend, I purchased a salad plate, place mats, and scrapbook paper for under 10 bucks (Yep, $10 USD).

When I am in my favorite stores, I love to rummage the clearance section. I always score big when I eye the clearance shelves. I found a white salad plate with an intricate design on the shelf for $2 at Marshalls.

The counter tops in my kitchen are not the best. To mask the counter tops, I use place mats or scrapbook paper as a background. I found place mats at Target and scrapbook paper at Michaels. Below is a picture of the items I purchased this weekend:

Weekend Finds

Weekend Finds

Target, Michaels, and Marshalls are only a sample of places where you score some awesome finds on the cheap. Check resale shops or even rummage sales. A neighbor was moving out of the United States and had a moving sale. I purchased a complete 4 piece bright yellow and orange dinner set.

Next time you are out shopping, be sure to stroll over to the kitchen section. Check out the clearance section to find amazing deals that won’t put holes in your pockets; but people will think that you did.