The weekend started off with a lunch date with daddy-o to one of our family’s favorite home-style restaurants. After 28 years of serving the best mashed potatoes (besides my mother’s, of course), the Brick Oven Bistro will no longer be serving their delicious Louisiana Cajun Gumbo (dad’s favorite), their decadent homemade cheesecake, or their infamous open faced sandwiches. Or as they put it
“After 28 years, Mom and Dad are flying the coop. You kids are all grown up and it’s time you learned to cook for yourselves. We love you, and thank you for being such a wonderful family!”
-Brick Oven Bistro
Sad news for the Treasure Valley, but it gave dad and me an excuse to make time for an overdue father-daughter date and discuss future New York plans. After waiting about 45 minutes in a line that went clear out the door, we finally enjoyed our last meal at the Bistro. I got the Petite Citrus Roasted Chicken which came with a mini salad, sunflower bread, and a naked bowl of mashed taters.
The next day I had to work early and due to the home game against Colorado State causing the Boise State Rec to close early, I was unable to get a workout in at the gym. The Broncos beat the Rams 42-14 though, I suppose the early closure was worth a nice victory! After work, I enjoyed hot yoga two days in a row which was a much needed break from weights and cardio for the week.
After purchasing the most striking piece of salmon I have ever laid eyes on, I have been inspired to find the perfect salmon recipe. I debated between a maple and brown sugar glaze and a spicy cayenne pepper mix. Baffled, I decided rather than choosing between the two, why not make a maple glaze with some sort of kick to it. I decided to combine a couple of recipes and hoped it would meet my exceedingly high expectations. Little did I know my taste buds were in for a delightful treat.
Kickin’ Maple Glazed Salmon
1 lb salmon fillet
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp brown sugar
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Agave Nectar Maple Syrup (Also can use maple syrup, I prefer agave because it is a natural sugar and has less sugar in it)
1 tsp coconut oil
I decided to combine this with a recipe I found for butter-pecan sweet potatoes. I changed a few of the ingredients so instead it ended up being with almonds, coconut oil, and brown sugar. Whenever a recipe calls for butter, I try to switch the ingredient to a comparable oil or fat that provides more health benefits. Often times I substitute coconut oil which is inexpensive if you find it at Walmart or your grocer.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Almonds
1 medium sized sweet potato
1 medium sized yam
1 tsp coconut oil
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ cup almonds (You can either use sliced or ones cut into small pieces. I prefer the small pieces because it gives the potatoes a nice crunch.)
1 tbsp brown sugar
I wanted to have both of these finished at the same time, so I had to make a few adjustments but this is what I was eventually able to come up with.
- Preheat oven to 375. While the oven is preheating, wash the potato and yam and cute each in half lengthwise. Then take each half and slice them in half again. Then start to slice across about ½ inches thick so you have sliced them into quarters. Take 1 tsp of coconut oil and spread it over the pieces of sweet potato and yam. I had to warm mine up in the microwave for about 15 seconds so it was easier to spread. Sprinkle with ½ tsp sea salt.
- Place tin foil over a baking sheet and spray with canola oil. The tin foil allows for easy clean up for you and I’ve found also helps speed up the cooking process. Place sliced potatoes and yams on tin foil and place in oven for 20-25 minutes.
- While your sweet potatoes are cooking, take out your salmon and prepare to season it. Combine paprika, chili powder, ground cumin, brown sugar, and sea salt and mix ingredients well. Place tin foil over another baking sheet and place your salmon on top of the tin foil. Begin to rub your spice mixture on the salmon until the entire surface is covered in spices.
- Microwave coconut oil and agave nectar maple syrup for about 10-15 seconds. This allows for it to pour smoothly. Remove from microwave and begin to pour over salmon. Pour slowly and work from the middle out, occasionally stopping to allow the syrup to absorb into the spice mixture so it doesn’t just fall onto the pan and you lose the best ingredient to your tin foil!
- When your sweet potatoes have been in the oven for about 20 minutes, remove them from the oven and place the salmon on the lower rack while you sprinkle the sweet potatoes with brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and almonds. Immediately place the sweet potatoes back in the oven on the top rack. Allow the salmon and potatoes to cook together for 10-12 minutes. I ended up having to take the potatoes out at 10 minutes and allow the salmon to cook for about 4 more minutes. It depends on your oven though. You’ll know your salmon is done when it begins to flake easily upon touching it.
Luke and I were both absolutely in heaven with the combined taste of sweet and spicy and paired it with a sweet white wine. Luke loved it so much he even finished his larger portion before me, which never happens! I’m the fast eater who ends up watching him enjoy his meal…I need to start savoring these meals more often. There was enough for us to have a generous portion and then had some for leftovers. It didn’t sit heavy but still filled us up for the rest of the evening, which I consider an ideal meal!
Given the continued rainy and gloomy weather outside, we decided to enjoy a night in and play the game we have realized will make us a pretty good old couple, cribbage. After a tough fight, I, ahem, let him win 2 out of 3.
This morning the sun looked as if it was going to continue to remain M.I.A., which put a slight damper on my plans to enjoy a long run to kick off the start of Thanksgiving Break. Just as I was ready to hit the snooze button, I was proven wrong and a lovely November morning was in the process of being one of the most gorgeous mornings Boise has had all month. Knowing Boise weather, I knew if I waited too much longer the weather could take a 180. I laced up my Newtons and grabbed my neon pink running jacket and headed to take Sunni out on an overdue run.
Sunni and I haven’t ran longer than 6 miles together, so I wasn’t sure how well he would handle running much farther than that. The thing that I love most about running with Sunni is first off, it’s nice to have a change of pace from being alone and running for an hour and a half. Also, Sunni is a trooper and always smile, no matter how much drool is coming out of his mouth, causing me to smile continuously during our run. I find myself in a better mood than usual around him and even catch myself singing out loud to him at times. Today’s sing-a-long was Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way” which Sunni seemed to enjoy, despite my out of breath and slightly off key voice as we trucked our way up the steep hills. We took a pit stop at the dog park and as usual, Sunni made a friend named Billy, small little dog who acted as if he was three times the size of Sunni and ruled the park. When we made our way back, I was pleased to see that we made it 11 miles together and Sunni was still hanging in there! Who would have thought he was a distance dog as well. I’m going to really miss him when I’m in New York next semester. Looks like I’ll need to find a new temporary running partner while over there. Sunni isn’t too happy about that idea though.
Since I was at my parents place, I had to adjust the breakfast I had planned and use whatever ingredients I could round up. I decided to make another rendition of protein pancakes.
Cranberry Greek Yogurt Protein Pancakes
2 egg whites
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
2 tbsp cranberries
1 cup crumbled bran flakes (I wanted to use oats but couldn’t find any in the house)
Place a pan over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes on each side. I split the pancakes with my dad and enjoyed with a side of 2 egg whites, roasted habanero salsa, and a cup of Yogi Lemon Ginger Tea.
While I worked on my blog, Sunni decided to spend the afternoon laying by the fireplace and watching one of my favorites, My Fair Lady. Perfect first day of Thanksgiving Break!
Random Fact of the Day
Ocean farmed salmon is an excellent source of protein. You probably assumed that by now though, but did you know that this fish also has one of the lowest levels of mercury? It’s also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help your brain to function and also reduce blood pressure. But remember, everything in moderation! What are some of your favorite salmon recipes?