Monday, December 9, 2013

A Serious Meal and a Picnic Lunch

Well, we need to have a really serious talk...about the meal I devoured for dinner last night. It was ridiculous and delicious and perfect for a Sunday.

Jenn, Justin, Terry, and I have been trying to get together for a double date for what feels like (and might actually be) months. Between Terry's business trips, my new part time job, and Jenn and Justin's hectic schedules, we finally found time last night to enjoy a meal at their apartment.

Jenn and her family are Italian and mostly from Buffalo, New York; on occasion a few of them get together to make Sauce. (Jenn simply refers to it as "sauce," and I deemed the capitalization necessary after tasting it last night.) A few weeks ago, they made a few big batches, and Jenn saved some so we could try it. This stuff is insanely delicious. It may look like a typical pasta sauce, but the components are anything but ordinary: homemade meatballs, sausage (from Buffalo--they flew it out here last time they visited), stew meat, and ribs. Yep, full on ribs thrown right in the Sauce. It's all spicy, tender, flavorful meat, and it just melts in your mouth. I didn't even take a picture of the stuff.

Anyway, Jenn served the Sauce with brown rice pasta and roasted asparagus and a fresh Italian salad (mozzarella, peppers, artichoke hearts, cucumbers, greens, and a simple vinaigrette). We all went back for seconds of the Sauce and pasta, and I really think I could have even eaten a third helping.

But then it was time for dessert and some Euchre, a card game Jenn and Justin have introduced us to before.

I swear this baby (actual child, not the apple crisp) is using up all my brain cells because I just could not grasp some of the most basic concepts of the game, even though I've played it before. Luckily everyone was patient with me, but I felt so frustrated asking the same questions over and over.

Thankfully, I think my dessert compensated for my ridiculous case of baby brain. I made Lisa's Cinnamon Apple Crisp, topped with homemade cinnamon ice cream. We all thought the dessert was phenomenal. It couldn't have been easier to make, too! Terry helped with chopping the apples and pecans. I made a few changes:
  • We used ramekins instead of glass jars.
  • We omitted the step where she adds melted butter and honey to the apples themselves--and we all agreed it was sweet enough without!
  • We used 3 apples for 6 ramekins (6 servings), so half an apple per serving, and therefore 1/6 of the crumble topping per serving (instead of 1/8 as she suggests). 
  • We used almond flour instead of whole wheat flour. If you do this and use gluten-free oats (TJ's oats are gluten-free), the whole dish is gluten-free, which is why it was the perfect dessert at Jenn's.
  • We used chopped pecans instead of walnuts.

I left the extra two servings with Jenn and Justin to eat for breakfast this morning, which I now regret because it was just so yummy that I want more for me! Luckily we have one more apple, so I might whip up some of this for me and Terry another day before he takes off again.

This morning I had a little extra time before subbing a half day, so I tried Tina's newest workout (every Monday she posts a workout and they're always awesome). I used her moves and threw in a few of my own for what felt like a pretty decent strength workout for a Monday morning. I also packed up a hodgepodge of a lunch for me a Terry, scraping together every last edible morsel in our house for a picnic:
  • 1 orange, to share
  • 2 apples, sliced, with peanut butter on the side
  • whole wheat pita (3) with eggplant hummus
  • Greek yogurt with a little honey to share
  • about 2 cups of popcorn
  • some almonds and sliced cheddar cheese
I told Terry it was a "creative" lunch, but at least it hit most of the food groups (er...except for veggies). Terry grabbed dinner at Chipotle since I wasn't home tonight, a good idea given the state of affairs in our fridge. 

Tonight I worked at the store for a few hours, but tomorrow I have (so far) the entire day off--except for grocery shopping! And I just got word that Terry doesn't leave tomorrow! Hooray!

Do you prefer multiple items for lunches or just one big serving, like a sandwich? I actually enjoy a snack platter now and then, as long as I feel satisfied afterward. I was nervous that today's lunch wouldn't be enough for us, but we were stuffed before we finished!


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