Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Root Cafe

So some of you may of heard of this new cafe that opened up in Little Rock called The Root Cafe. I had be anticipating their opening for some time now. They have been at the locally grown pick up station where I have been getting my produce for the past couple of months now. They serve coffee and baked goods and have some really cool T- shirts so it made me wonder what they were all about. It turns out that they had this vision to open up a café that only served local ingredients. They buy food from local farmers cook it and serve it. In the winter they will use a lot of canned produce that they can themselves. I was super excited about it because not only does this support the local farmers it also guarantees no processed junk. Yay! I decided to try it for the first time this Friday since I had the day off.

 

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It was just what I expected;  laid back atmosphere, cool people and delicious food. We went during their lunch hours so it was pretty packed. It was a tiny little place with cute seating outdoors. You walk up to the register and order your food. You are then told to walk over to get your drinks, silverware and napkins. They had things like homemade soda, ginger lemonade, unsweetened tea with pure cane cubes if you wanted sweetener and coffee. I got an iced vanilla coffee! Kyle got the drinks while I searched for a table. I didn’t think we would find one since it was so busy but just I as I walked outside I saw an empty table. They have mix matched chairs and tables, dried rosemary hanging on a clothes line around the café and fun bluegrass music playing in the back ground. The napkins were all cloth and all different patterns ( I loved that). The drinks are served in all different sized mason jars. Kyle and I sat and waited for the food and people watched a little.

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The food came shortly. I ordered an egg salad sandwich that came with a side salad with their homemade dressing. Every bite was delicious. I don't know what inspired me to order the egg salad sandwich but it was a tough decision. I wanted to try everything on the menu. They have lots of vegetarian and vegan options. I know some of you blog readers would appreciate that.

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Kyle ordered one of their famous burgers that came with a side salad and he ordered their homemade fries to go with it. I had a good ole bite of his burger and decided that I’m ordering that next!

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The café was just as cute as could be and I have a feeling I will be going back very soon.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Grilling Fun

So… I lied. I told you I would have a post about a yummy meal I made about a week ago. Well I do have a yummy post for you but I lost the photos of the previous dinner. Sad face! I promise I will make it again because it was a keeper! I will give you a hint, it involved stuffing chicken.

Well this past weekend Kyle and I had a fun filled couple of days. We headed home for the weekend to visit family. We got to see parents, grandparents, siblings, and  great aunt and uncle. It turned out to be a good trip. We started the trip at Kyle’s parents house.  I will be sharing the meal we had over there (well…Kyle will actually be sharing it with you because he did most the work). We then celebrated my sisters birthday and then Father’s day on Sunday.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend!

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Hey there guys, its Kyle.  As Ramona mentioned, we went to visit my parents last weekend.  Saturday afternoon we cooked a couple New York Strip Steaks that we had gotten from Little Rock Locally Grown, www.littlerock.locallygrown.net,  so it was both grass fed and hormone free beef.  Ramona had originally ordered round steaks but the farmers forgot to deliver them so we got the NY Strip for the price of the rounds; can’t complain about that!  We also had some chicken breast tenderloin but those just came from Kroger.  Our sides consisted of  organic corn on the cob, squash, and zucchini, all of which came from Little Rock Locally Grown.  In order to “kick it up a notch”, I decided I would try my hand at making a marinade for the steaks using a recipe that was inspired by www.allrecipes.com.

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Steak Marinade

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

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Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and you’re ready to marinade your meat;  I let the steak marinade in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.   I was super excited about a meat tenderizer I had recently purchased but I forgot to use it :(

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We cooked the corn on the cob, squash and zucchini in the oven while the steaks were on the grill.  The corn we just wrapped in some aluminum foil with some salt and butter and I just put the squash and zucchini on a baking sheet topped with a little EVOO and salt and pepper.  My mom made a salad which included mandarin oranges, almond slivers, purple onion, and black olives; she was nice enough to leave the olives out of my salad.    My dad manned the grill and cooked the steaks for about 8 minutes per side.  After he pulled them off the grill he let them sit for about 10 minutes to cook on there own before we served them.

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I was really happy with the marinade recipe and the steaks were cooked to perfection.  This meal was delicious,  everyone chipped in and everything turned out great! It was so much food!!

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We then took a little snooze after lunch.

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Ramona here again! I’m super excited about going to eat lunch today at The Root Café!  Stay tuned for a new post on our adventures of eating “real food” at a new restaurant here in  Little Rock.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tilapia With a Side of Pesto Pasta

Tonight was an easy dinner night. I made something really yummy for dinner last night but all my pictures are on my cell phone. My cell phone is not working properly at the moment. Hopefully I will be able to post it soon! I hate dealing with cell phone problems! I called Verizon yesterday and they told me that I could upgrade early! Yay! It should be coming in tomorrow.

 

Today was a busy day at work so I wanted something easy to fix. I like to have some type of fish at least 1 time a week so I remembered the tilapia I had in the freezer. It’s perfect for a quick meal and it thaws out pretty fast. I also had some pesto that I had left over from the last time I made it and thawed that out as well. I originally was going to cover the tilapia with the pesto but after talking to Kyle about what he wanted I changed my mind. You see, Kyle is very picky! I normally have to change it up just for him. Smile

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I boiled a couple servings of penne pasta and used the pesto for  some flavor. I also drizzled a little olive oil and a few pine nuts.

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The tilapia was seasoned with a little cavenders and Italian bread crumbs. It was baked at 375 for about 15 min.

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Kyle choose baked okra for his veggie and I chopped up a fresh cucumber from the downtown market for mine. The fresh cucumbers reminded me of my lovely friends in Russia. I miss them very much. We had fresh cucumbers with every meal there. The Russia team is on their way back from the trip this year. I pray they have a smooth and safe trip back.

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I had to have a little okra  and of course some sweet tea!

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I even got a “good dinner tonight, baby” from Kyle. That’s always a good sign.

My Moses likes to help me type up blog posts!

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Have a good night and remember to keep it fun and healthy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pan Seared Pork Chops

 

Hey there everybody, it’s Ramona’s wonderful boyfriend Kyle and being the wonderful boyfriend that I am, I cooked dinner tonight.  Tonight’s menu consisted of pan seared pork chops, baked sweet potato, and sautéed zucchini and squash.  The zucchini, squash, and sweet potatoes are all organically grown and purchased from local farmers through a local farmer’s market known as Little Rock Locally Grown.  This is run by the Arkansas Sustainability Network and is based out of Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Little Rock.  How it works is you place your weekly order at  http://www.littlerock.locallygrown.net and then just pick it up at the church between 9am and 12pm.  Everything is locally grown, organic, free range, and/or grass fed; it’s super easy and always delicious.

So here’s the breakdown of tonight’s meal:

Using a fork I tenderized the pork chops and then marinated them in a mixture of orange juice and salt and pepper in Zip-Lock baggies for a couple of hours.

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While the pork chops were marinating I baked the sweet potatoes on 375 for about an hour and a half.  The sweet potatoes were baked so well that you could just tell by touch that they were baked all the way through!

Next I threw the zucchini and squash into pan with a little EVOO and sautéed them in on a medium to low heat.

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While the zucchini and squash were sautéing I began to cook the pork chops.  I pan seared them on high heat in a little EVOO; I added some of the orange juice marinade in order to give them some extra flavor.

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Voila! 

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Until next time, keep it fun and healthy!