Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

Seasonal Eats: Spring Edition

12 Mar

I’m trying a new series on the blog this year and I’m really excited about it!  Around Western PA, the snow is melting and the daffodils trying their hardest to force spring into existence. I thought it would be an appropriate time to roll out a seasonal recipe spotlight.  I hear the same thing from a lot of people: “I want to eat locally and seasonally.”  Seems simple, right?  Just hit up the local farmer’s market, grab some veggies, and done?  It is and it isn’t…

You might be interested to know that not all the veggies sold at your local farmer’s market are local.  Or seasonal actually!  While I’ve gotten plenty of resistance with this tactic, I don’t ever hesitate to ask my local farmer’s market vendor if they are re-selling produce or if it’s home-grown.  I’ve touched a few nerves over the years, but I don’t see anything wrong with expecting transparency from a grower.  I’m not a snob about it and it doesn’t stop me from purchasing out-of-season food (farmer’s have to make money during he slow seasons, too!), but I like to know as much as I can about the food I buy.  If you want to eat locally, make sure you ask if you’re eating locally.  Either way, you’re supporting a local food producer/grower/vendor – but educate yourself about what you’re buying and why.

If you’ve ever grown your own food, you know that some things don’t just spring up year round.  In Western PA, there is a very limited amount of seasonal product that’s available from March-April.  It’s still early spring and that means LOTS of greens, but it also means some staples like broccoli, carrots, beets, mushrooms, rutabagas, and turnips.  There are some things I usually pass over because they seem a little intimidating – like artichokes, kohlrabi, even endive is a mystery to me.  Well not this year.  This year I’m embracing all the things I’ve never embraced before.  That’s what 2015 is about, remember?  So this year, I’m not only embracing local, seasonal eating – I’m going to try as much of the produce that my region has to offer!

March-April in Western PA:

Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Beets, Beet Greens, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli Rape, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cardoons (not sure I’m this adventurous yet!), Carrots, Cauliflower, Chard, Chicory, Collards, Cress, Dandelion Greens, Endive, Fava Beans/Greens, Fennel, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Onions, Parsnips, Pea Shoots, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Sunchokes, Tatsoi, Turnips

If you have been curious about how to work with any of the ingredients found in this list, shoot me a comment and I will make sure I find a great way for us to get comfortable with them.

Keep an eye out for the new series on Twitter and Instagram, I will be posting under the hashtag: #springeatsSFTS

Seasonal-Eats-Spring-Edition

Advertisements

Reviews: Muddy Cup and Good L’Oven Cookie Shop

26 Jan

So, it’s basically Snowmaggedon 2.0 this week if you are anywhere in the Northeastern part of the United States.  I’m into it.  I wish we had this weather in December, but you know what, I’M NOT IN CHARGE OF THIS STUFF.  But you know what I am in charge of?  Finding AWESOME coffee spots in my new neighborhood. Because delightfully tasty, warm drinks and baked goods go well with a blizzard, ya dig?

If you’re from the Avalon or Bellevue area, I am happy to report that there is a new Muddy Cup on Lincoln Ave. and it’s got a delicious little neighbor.

Muddy-Cup-Good-Loven-Exterior

 

I absolutely love the charm of Muddy Cup.  I liked the old Muddy Cup and I love the new Muddy Cup just as much.  My eyes didn’t know where to settle, I wanted to take in everything!!  I found that they had lots of drink options and the pricing was right in line with most of the other coffee places I frequent.  I decided to try something completely different than I normally order (an iced Americano) because sometimes you just need some hot comfort on a cold day, amiright?  I ordered a specialty latte, the Banana Foster.  Ummmm YUM.  Banana and cinnamon?  Hell yes.  All of it, give it to me.

Muddy-Cup-3

Unlike some other coffee places which shall not be named, there is tons of light in this place so you could actually read a book or a newspaper without going blind.  If you know me in real life, you know that I’m a huge coffee snob and I give this place 2 very enthusiastic thumbs up!

Take a look:

Muddy-Cup-1

 

Muddy-Cup-4

Muddy-Cup

 

Adorable, all around.  Bonus:  the owner is super friendly!  Check out the Muddy Cup Facebook page and give them a like – I love supporting small business owners, don’t you??

While she was making our drinks, we noticed that the Good L’Oven Cookie Shop was in an adjoining room.

Good-Loven-1

Both spaces had such a wonderful mix of antique pieces, one-of-a-kind vintage charm, and just oozed character.  I could’ve hung out all day and checked everything out!  Actually I kept joking with the owner that I wanted her to decorate my apartment.  Not only did Good L’Oven have JARS FULL OF GIANT COOKIES, granola bars, and biscotti, they had an assortment of other items for sale by local artisans.  Jewelry, jams, honey, I mean I couldn’t even tell you everything she had!

Good-Loven-3

 

Good-Loven-4

Can you even?  I can’t.  You should check them out on the Good L’Oven Facebook page, which they seem to keep up-to-date with what baked goods are in stock.  She does special orders for events if you’re in need of something specific.  I can’t wait to try all the different flavor and I will absolutely be picking some up for Valentine’s Day.  You know, for myself.  Because I’m single.  It’s okay to eat your feelings on Valentine’s Day – that’s a universal rule.

If you’re in the area, I absolutely insist that you stop by and try a cookie.

419 Lincoln Ave.  Bellevue, PA 15202

 

Review: The Taj Mahal

7 Jan

Moving to a new area can be extremely stressful, but luckily it also offers plenty of new restaurants, coffee shops, and local haunts to try out.  A friend of mine invited me to check out one of her guilty pleasures the other day:  The Taj Mahal Restaurant on McKnight Road.

10

 

Now ya’ll know how much I love Middle Eastern food, so I was very hopeful that I would like authentic Indian cuisine.  I mean, we all know my addition to Patak’s sauces, right??  Well imagine my surprise when we were seated and I noticed tons of Indian people dining around us.  That’s usually a good predictor that the food is going to be on point.  The day that we happened to go, the only option was the lunch buffet.  Which…I mean….now my expectations are totally out of whack because buffets are usually gross, right?

WRONG.  You guys, buffets aren’t always gross!  This one was really really delicious!!!  The buffet was extensive and included cold/salad type options, entrees side dishes, appetizers, and desserts.  They included vegan and gluten-free options too, plus did I mention that it’s between $8.99-$9.99 depending on which day you go for lunch?  There is way more to the buffet than what these photos show, you should just go there and see for yourself.

6

7

First, I thought it would be a good idea to try a little bit of anything that didn’t look familiar.  How do you know if you don’t like it if you don’t try after all?

8

I didn’t remember to take pictures of all the names of these things, but I tried different chicken, lamb, tofu, and even goat dishes!  I can’t even tell you what most of these things are but I definitely ate $9.99 worth of all of it!  And to be completely honest, the tikki marsala was on point.

Dessert was equally delish!  I got the rice pudding dish and these balls of goodness, but my real favorite was the MANGO PUDDING.  I mean come on.

9

Whew!  I spent the rest of the day in my fat pants, that’s for sure, but I regret nothing.  Bottom line:  delicious, affordable, authentic, and YOU SHOULD GO.

Race Recap: Great Race

29 Sep

I don’t even know where to start with this recap other than to say this was such an awesome race!!  I had built this one up so much in my head that I had been nauseous for DAYS, I mean I’d been running but I definitely did not stick to my training plan.  Oopsie?  The night before I tried really hard to just relax, but of course I want to fuss over everything when I’m stressed out.  I ran down to the expo on Saturday and grabbed my bib, I did a few laps around and talked myself down from buying anything because I wanted EVERYTHING.  I did stick around and play with the kitties at the ARL booth and say hi to the Greyhounds.

Great-Race-2014-Expo-Bib

I made sure I ate something carbaliciously familiar the night before and somehow managed to get an awesome night’s sleep.  I woke up at 6:30 and at a pumpkin english muffin (who knew those existed?!) with peanut butter, a bottle of water, and a banana.  Then I paced around my house for several hours.  I finally decided to head to the starting line super early because I thought it would be better to just stretch and people watch.  As soon as I parked my car I realized that my phone armband thing was broken which was soooooooo annoying.  The stupid velcro just came completely off so it wouldn’t stick together anymore.  I guess if something had to go wrong on race day morning, I’m glad it was just that!

great-race-2014-starting-line

The starting line was insanity.  This was by far the biggest race I’ve ever been to.  The relay didn’t seem crowded to me because I started at an exchange point and the crowd was pretty small.  It looked like this in front and behind me.  I seriously could not stop people watching, I’m such a creeper!  The crowd started slowly walking towards the starting line and I was so so so nervous because this race starts with a hill.  As the people crossed under the start, the tempo picked up a little bit and they were blasting the song “Shout.”  It was seriously the perfect time in the song as I started, the way the crowd was picking up speed at that exact moment – I seriously can’t even explain how awesome that feeling was!  I was totally not nervous anymore and I killed it up the hill.

I felt like I was pacing myself pretty well, which was easy since it was so crowded.  I tried to just find someone who looked experienced and was running around the same pace I wanted to be at, then just tried to stick with them!  That worked like a charm for the first 2.5 miles.  As we got into the Oakland, I was shocked that the first 1/3 of the race went so fast.  I started to struggle around UPMC because I felt like my bladder was about to pop – luckily that’s right where the 5K starting line was so there were bathrooms available.  I seriously wished there had been at least one other bathroom available  before the middle of the race.

The second half of the race was a LOT harder than the first for me.  It was getting really hot and there is not much shade from Oakland until you get downtown.  I made sure to walk through every water station.  The first actual walking break I had to take was right at the mile 5 marker because I started getting a side stitch.  My legs felt like jelly as soon as I started walking so I kept telling myself to push through it because ain’t nobody got time for that.  I think I SPRINTED down the hill on the Boulevard of the Allies and I knew I would be okay when I was still passing people as we pushed into downtown.  I just remember thinking – “OMG, this is the coolest thing EVER!” as I ran into downtown.  That was another big first for me!

As soon as I saw the finish line banner I gave it all I had and finished strong.  I was actually kind of nervous at the mile 6 marker that I would be crawling across the timing mat because I was just so done at that point.  Of course the crowds and the adrenaline wouldn’t let that happen though. 🙂

finish-line-photo-great-race-2014

It was really disorientating after the finish line because it was just a massive crowd of confused, tired, sweaty, disoriented zombies wandering around a grassy knoll.  I made a bee-line for the water station, which was really understaffed if you ask me.  All I wanted was a banana and people would. not. move.

Starving

I grabbed 2 bananas and an apple and headed directly for a shady spot closer to the point and away from the crowds.  I just laid there and couldn’t move.  You know I’m just exhausted when there is a squirrel within 15 feet of me and I literally don’t react.  (I do NOT like squirrels.)  I laid in the grass, ate my apple, and listened to my favorite cool down music.  I want to always remember those few minutes and that feeling:

great-race-2014-point-park-view

It was seriously so awesome!  My Garmin said I finished in 1:07:22, but my official time was 1:09:55.  Since this is my first official 10K, I’m considering this my PDR race AND since I ran basically this same distance in the relay in May – it was a PR too!  Just a great day all around and an absolutely awesome race.   Definitely didn’t have the energy for a full smile though!

great-race-2014-finish-red-face

I took the shuttle back to the starting line where my car was and I will NEVER do that again.  I underestimated how badly a city bus full of sweaty runners could actually smell.  I will run this race again and again and again though!

 

Labor Day Weekend Recap

2 Sep

You GUYS.

How was your holiday weekend?  Mine was awesome!

On Saturday I managed to do absolutely nothing since Yoga In The Square was cancelled because of the rain.  I got caught up in a Lord of the Rings marathon (with commercials, that’s a pretty big investment) and drunkenly live tweeted all the gay moments.  You’re welcome.

Sunday was a bit more productive, once I slept through the worst part of my hangover I mean.  My friend had an extra Pirates ticket for that day and luckily the rain held out for the entire game!  The Reds ended up getting an unanswered home run in the last inning and winning the game.  Boooooo!  It was a pretty good game and the weather was sort of perfect end-of-summer baseball watching weather.

Pirates-Reds-Labor-Day-Weekend

On Sunday evening, I finally had dog jog orientation at the Animal Rescue League!!  We learned about the program and went through some behavioral lessons about dog body language, etc.  When we did a walk through of the kennels, my heart was basically exploding the entire time.  The first few times you run with the dogs, you are paired up with someone just to make sure you are okay handling them and are comfortable with procedures.  I wanted to sign up for my first session like ASAP but of course Monday was Labor Day.

The woman who ran the orientation was available Tuesday (today) morning, so I jumped at the chance!  I hardly slept at all last night and arrived like 20 minutes early because I’m insane and now I’m obsessed with dog jog.

Animal-Rescue-League-Pittsburgh

How could you not want to take that face for a run?!

I actually didn’t run with her because she wasn’t cleared for dog jog today but, I had snapped this picture during orientation.  I ran with Panda and Bonnie this morning, both of whom where just angels.  More on this to come – ready or not!

PS – I did absolutely nothing on Labor Day because I pinched a nerve or something at the Pirates game and it was acting wonky all day.  I tried to rest and hydrate all day!

%d bloggers like this: