Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Birthday WLA2

Be nice to your siblings. 
They're your best link to your past 
and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
- Mary Schmich

the fact that my brother is one of my best friends is one of the things i am most thankful for in life. 

so, happy birthday to the one person who has been there with me the longest and who i know will always be there for me - my big brother. here's to all the crazy times we have had, and to many, many more!

yeah, um, don't ask:)

Monday, July 30, 2012


we recently returned from a family vacation. it was the first time my side of the family has taken a vacation together since high school (that's roughly 15 years - yikes)!

this was a true vacation in every sense of the word. we (my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, husband and myself) ate, we slept, we ate, we napped, we drank, we ate, we slept some more and we managed to find time to do a little reading, canoeing, kayaking, tennis, hiking, and card playing in between all the eating, sleeping, and drinking.

the other reason it was a true vacation is we were "off the grid." as in no television, no internet, no cell phone reception, and no phone. if you are looking for such an experience (with amazing food to boot), look no further than arrowhon pines in algonquin park, ontario.

here's a peek at our week:

p.s. thanks mom and dad for all the planning and making this wonderful trip filled with memories possible - love you!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thought for Sunday

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Steak Salad

i love a great steak. it's one of the 101 reasons i, personally, could never be a vegetarian. (among the other reasons, bacon, shrimp, crab cakes, bacon, cheese burgers on the grill, bacon . . . )

what better way to feel good about enjoying a juicy steak then on top of a bed of field greens with fresh, local tomatoes and avocado. note to self, a little crumbled, crispy bacon would have made this salad even better - feel free to add it yourself.

i happened upon this marinade out of desperation. i was simultaneously out of chili powder and cumin, which meant i couldn't make my old standby favorite steak marinade. what i did have was a packet of fajita seasoning. i know, i know, shame on me but at least it was a simply organic seasoning packet. anyway, i simply added the seasoning packet to orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, and garlic and let it sit overnight.

in a pinch, or even with plenty of time, this is an excellent marinade!

Summer Steak Salad
makes 2 salads

4 cups field greens
2 tbs lime juice
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
garlic salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, diced
2 small-medium tomatoes diced
1/2-3/4 lb steak marinated in steak marinade (below) overnight and grilled/seared

in a medium bowl whisk together lime juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. toss with field greens and divide among 2 plates. arrange avocado, tomatoes, and sliced steak over field greens and enjoy.

Steak Marinade

juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lime
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 packet simply organic fajita spices

whisk all ingredients together and add beef. let sit in fridge 2-24 hours.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

White Bean Tuna Salad

i have been debating writing this one post because i am afraid i may fail. and, in turn, if i do, i'd have to admit this to all of you instead of just beating myself up about it privately. but, i think it's time to come clean.

i am on day 4 of a self-imposed 31-day clean-eating challenge. i am taking a paleo approach to the next month - as in, if a cave man couldn't have eaten it, neither will i. that means nothing from a box, nothing processed, no gluten, no diary, no sugar, and no alcohol. but, it means i can eat unprocessed meat, seafood, fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, and seeds. i am also allowing myself spices, vinegars, and olive oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil.

my decision came after a super-indulgent vacation spent mostly eating, drinking, and sleeping (with the occasional break from those activities to hike, kayak, play tennis, and swim). while i loved every minute of our family vacation, i felt tired all the time and lacked energy even though i was sleeping up a storm. i also want to try and get rid of my migraines (or at least discover my triggers) once and for all.

i will undoubtedly miss cheese, chocolate, and wine the most (not necessarily in that order) but i keep reminding myself it is only 1 month - and dang, will a cocktail taste good on august 22nd.

the reason i am telling you this is you will see this reflected in the next month of recipes here at good clean fun. i figure this is okay considering the last couple months seem to be pretty dessert and cocktail heavy. hopefully you will still enjoy the recipes - if not, see you in a month!

this white bean tuna salad is the perfect lunch for this month as it is full of protein! this salad takes me back to my first apartment right out of college. i remember by roommate at the time (still one of my besties now:) made this tuna salad and i loved it! the tuna and white beans keep me full for hours while the light vinaigrette dressing and zing from the red onion give this salad the zip it needs.

sometimes i eat this straight from the bowl but i usually have it on a bed of field greens or wrapped in a piece (or 2) of crisp romaine. luckily, this salad is just as good (if not better) the next day. just stir well, and enjoy!

White Bean Tuna Salad
serves 3

2tbs olive oil
2tbs red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
5oz can tuna, drained
1/2 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped

whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. stir in tuna, beans, onion, and tomatoes. stir leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Appetite Adventure - Gertrude's, Hopkins/Homewood

if you are just joining me for my appetite adventure and aren't really sure what it is, find out about it here. you can see the full list of reviews so far here or by clicking the appetite adventure tab at the top of this page - right next to "home" and "about PW".

Gertrude's has found the perfect home in the baltimore museum of art. the bright, light-filled restaurant (thanks to a wall of floor to ceiling windows) is teaming with character - from the twinkling stars on the ceiling to the beautiful patio complete with sculptures and waterfalls. this charming restaurant features local, chesapeake fare and $12 specials on tuesdays which is the day we were lucky enough to go.

i ordered the special cocktail of the night - the forbidden fruit martini because the fig-infused vodka sounded intriguing. it was more of a fig pureed vodka martini that tasted like liquid fig newtons. not my favorite of drinks but i did enjoy my glass of cava with dessert. it's worth noting that their wine and beer list was quite extensive with a good selection of wines by the glass and local brews from heavy seas and brewer's art.

we went with another couple and i think we all ended up ordering off of the "tuesdays with gertie" special menu. the menu had everything from traditional maryland crabcakes, to classic fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy as well as some unexpected surprises like fried alligator tail and chilled honeydew and avocado soup. Gertrude's also has options for vegetarians with their veggie linguini, moroccan chickpea couscous, and even 'can't believe it's not crab' cakes (although i have a hard time those a big sellers in a place like baltimore, hon).

i started out with the berry and goat cheese salad upon the recommendation of the server and couldn't resist ordering the single-fry oysters with grilled potatoes and coleslaw. the slaw and potatoes were pretty disappointing (both were dry) but the cornmeal crusted oysters more than made up for it. they were cooked perfectly and with just the right amount of cornmeal breading and their remoulade dipping sauce was tangy with a little kick.

be sure to save room for dessert as this was my favorite part of the meal! unfortunately the creme brulee sampler was sold out by the time we ordered but we weren't disappointed with our choices of the chocolate lovers sampler and the peach crumble. the chocolate edged out the competition in my book with decadent small samples of decadent flour-less chocolate cake, rich, creamy chocolate creme brulee, chocolate mousse, and delightfully not-sweet chocolate panna cotta.

i have said this before, but i'll say it again, the atmosphere and who you dine with can make of break a place. we were lucky enough to share our dinner with wonderful company which made Gertrude's even better. it had a couple of bumps (the martini and the side dises) but overall it's a very enjoyable place with loads of charm, lots of menu options, and excellent dessert. i suggest going on a beautiful tuesday evening in the early summer (before it gets too hot) to enjoy the "tuesdays with gertie" specials and, of course, dessert.

* all photos courtesy of Gertrude's as i forgot my camera

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Weekly Nightcap - Wailua Wheat

okay, okay, this may not be a cocktail but in my book, it's just as delicious.

let me put this into context by saying i am not a beer lover. i enjoy the occasional beer (preferably while watching the orioles win at camden yards or with a table full of steamed crabs) but it's not my go-to beverage by any stretch of the imagination.

however, kona's hawaiian-brewed wailua wheat is not only delicious (it's brewed with a hint of passion fruit), it also brings back memories of our trip to maui and the scenic road to hana.

if you are ever luck enough to find yourself exploring the beautiful island of maui (and it's colorful beaches), i highly recommend driving the road to hana. the mostly one lane, curvy, coast-hugging road is slightly terrifying (hello one lane bridges on sharp turns) but oh so beautiful. the 68-mile long stretch of road is dotted with waterfalls and natures plunge pools, as it winds along the lava cliff coast of east maui from kahului to hana.

at the end of the impossibly beautiful drive, E and i ate lunch in hana. he ordered a wailua wheat and my life has never been the same. it was love at first sip - light and refreshing with just a hit of a passion fruit finish. upon return, i searched high and low for the passion-fruit brew to no avail. it was finally one of E's co-workers who tracked it down for me years ago at the perfect pour in columbia, md. although i have found it in a couple other places since then, the perfect pour remains the only place i can consistently find it - when it is in season that is. wailua wheat is only seasonally brewed in the spring and summer. it may be hard to find, but once you track it down, it's worth it.

now, every time i sip this fantastic wheat beer, it takes me back to breathtaking hawaii and the memories of our trips there.

the recipe to enjoy this drink? ice cold, outside on a warm summer evening with friends.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

African Zucchini

because i have deemed july national zucchini month, i figured i better give you all some more zucchini recipes.

full disclosure, i have posted this recipe before but it was with another recipe and my photography was even worse then than it is now, so i thought i'd re-post it for you all. it's worth it.

this recipe is quick and easy yet still packs a flavor punch. i adapted the recipe from cooking light and they called it african zucchini, so i will too. if you like your zucchini spicy, add a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce - i love sriraccha.

African Zucchini
serves 4-6

3 large zucchini
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1-2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta
juice of 1 lemon

preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

chop zucchini into small cubes. add zucchini, onion, and garlic to a greased baking sheet. sprinkle with chili powder, coriander, salt, pepper, and olive oil. toss well to evenly distribute oil and spices. spread into a thin layer and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once.

remove from oven and mash slightly with a fork. toss with feta, squeeze lemon juice over top, and serve immediately.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cold & Refreshing Frozen Dog Treats

i'm not sure about where you live, but here on the east coast it has been hot, hot, hot!

i have been taking roxy for walks first thing in the morning before it gets too unbearable but even just going outside to pee, she comes back in panting. we truly are in the midst of the dog days of summer (pun intended).

i was talking with my neighbor the other day and she had just heard about a cold, easy to make treat for dogs. i came right home and whipped up a batch. with just two ingredients, chances are you already have what you need to make these cold treats.

i just stirred together plain yogurt and peanut butter, poured it into paper bathroom cups and froze them. when your pooch needs a cold treat, just tear the cup and it pops right out.

try making these, your pooch will thank you - roxy sure did!

hey, you got any more??

Cold Peanut Butter Dog Treats
makes 9-10 treats

2 cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup peanut butter
paper bathroom cups

whisk both ingredients together until smooth. fill cups 1/3 to 1/2 full, place in a baking dish and pop in freezer until frozen (mine were ready in about 4 hours). to remove frozen treat, simply tear cup and pop treat out.
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