Good morning and happy Monday! How was your weekend? I’ve got to say, I’m a little tired of Chicago’s cold, cloudy weather…I’m craving sunshine and outdoor activities. Despite the weather, we had a nice little weekend: a lovely dinner date, a trip to a cute, new-to-us coffee shop, and lots of relaxing. (I think that’s the upside of long, winter days…the cold is the perfect excuse to stay curled up on the couch engrossed in a good book or movie). Okay, here are a few highlights from the weekend…
Friday we joined my parents at the United Center for the Bulls vs. Miami Heat game. If you follow NBA teams at all, you know the Bulls have had a rocky week, and Friday was no exception…even their best players were off and it just wasn’t the exciting game we were hoping for. Still, it’s always fun to watch a game live and soak in the energy of the fans (which didn’t last too long in this case).
Saturday began with the usual giant cup of coffee along with a delicious green smoothie comprised of banana, mango, almond milk, spinach, Greek yogurt, and ice.
I gravitate toward smoothies as my morning meal, since they are refreshing, easily digestible, and chock full of nutrients. After breakfast, I got ready and headed off to the dentist. Don’t you just always feel better after a dentist appointment? Luckily for me, everything looked good and I was in and out within 30 minutes. I headed off to do a quick Whole Foods run, where I grabbed ingredients for a beef stew dinner for Sunday night along with a few other weekly staples.
Saturday night, Matt and I hit up Frontera Grill for a dinner date. We don’t go out to dinner often, so this felt like a special treat. (Quick tip: if you’re trying to save money, but appreciate getting out to a fun restaurant every once in awhile, ask for gift cards to different, hip restaurants in your city for birthdays, Christmas, etc. Matt and I do this and it’s always nice to have gift cards on hand when you’re in the mood for a night out).
We started off with dos margaritas and the Chef’s special guacamole and chips. The addition of bacon and pomegranates to this classic dip provided a delicious twist.
I knew I wanted to order enchiladas and although I had my eye on the chicken ones, our waiter suggested I try the Chef’s special option which included braised pork shoulder with a black bean sauce. They were SO tasty! I highly recommend this dish if you ever try out Frontera Grill. Matt ordered the Chipotle-glazed ribs and also said his meal was amazing.
Overall, I love Frontera Grill’s food and I appreciate the restaurant’s commitment to using ingredients from local sources (they actually list the farms where they get most of their veggies, fruits, etc from). The ambiance of the restaurant isn’t as intimate/romantic as I typically like for a date night, but it’s still cool and the food definitely makes it worth the trip!
And finally, a few highlights from Sunday…I prepped and got our beef stew in the slow cooker so it would be ready by the time the SAG awards came on (I absolutely love awards shows).
As I was starting to prep the stew, I realized I didn’t have any potatoes, so I decided to try out brussel sprouts instead and was quite pleased with the turnout!
Matt and I decided we need to bring back our neighborhood of the month club, partly because it gets us out and exploring different parts of our city and partly because we know it will help us narrow down neighborhoods, when we start to think about house hunting. We ended up in downtown La Grange and popped into the cutest little juice and coffee bar called Owl & Lark. This little cafe has the coolest vibe thanks to some colorful artwork, photographs, unique lighting, and lots of greenery (my obsession with indoor plants continues).
How neat is this lighting? And the artwork? So awesome.
I ordered the Green Detox juice: a combination of kale, apple, cucumber, celery, spinach, ginger, and parsley.
And one more…just a really lovely place to grab a coffee, a sandwich or salad, or a juice. I love finding little gems like this! It made our trek out to the burbs worth it!
Once we were back home, I made myself some avocado toast, checked in on the stew, then began working on some blog posts while watching Designated Survivor (we are majorly struggling to find a show that keeps us both entertained). Later in the afternoon, I continued to read my book (almost done) and did a little food prep. No workouts for me this weekend…usually I take a rest day either Saturday or Sunday, but this week it was both. I always try to listen to my body and give it the rest/recovery it needs!
The evening was comprised of comforting stew and the SAG awards! A nice little Sunday indeed!
And now for the weekly dinner menu…as always, please feel free to share what you’ve got planned as well.
- Monday: Spiralized Sweet Potato Pizza Skillet from Detoxinista (http://detoxinista.com/2016/08/spiralized-sweet-potato-pizza-skillet/)
- Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole (There are several recipes for this meal, I am sort of mixing and matching from a few, trying to eliminate as many ingredients as possible to keep it cost-effective)
- Wednesday: Brown rice pasta with marinara and crumbled Italian chicken sausage
- Thursday: Greek Chopped Salad (chicken breast, red onion, tomato, cucumber, feta, and garbanzo beans)
- Friday: Most likely, pizza from Whole Foods
There you have it! Here’s to a happy, healthy, productive week ahead!