Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fall Harvest

  Any one else getting sick of those pumpkin blogs and posts. For the first year in a long time pumpkins have been in abundance and people are not only noticing they are acting as though it will never happen again by ignoring every other squash, fruit and vegetable that flourish during this time of year. I love fall to some extent because of the seasonal veggies I get the chance to find. They other reason is the great weather here in San Diego (although my heart does go out to all my east coast friends and family. I have been able to go out to the market on a beautiful breezy sunny day and find some unique foods and I plan on sharing.
  As I mentioned pumpkin has been on every ones minds but there are numerous squashes you may find at the market this fall. Some of the squash you can find this season are Autumn Cup Squash, Butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Delicata, Fairytale Pumpkin, Gold Nugget Squash, Hubbard, Spaghetti, and Sweet Dumpling squash. It;s a lot to take in and to be honest you will only find a few of these around and that all depends on how well the season has been for the squash and where you live or where your grocery store or market gets the squash from. I have had the luxury of attempting quite a few of these. Spaghetti squash has been great year round I like to roast it and substitute it as spaghetti. The flesh is stringy enough to do so just take a fork and play with the squash a little, a Delicata squash I just ate as is after roasting it and I had the amazing idea to bake some Carnival squash stuffed with curried rice here is the recipe for that one:

1 small-medium squash
1 serving of rice
yellow spicy curry powder
a spoon full of tomato paste
a dash of chili powder and green dill weed

in a pan par cook the rice with all the seasonings.  stir in the tomato paste with a small amount of water if needed. with the squash cut enough of the top off to scoop out the seeds. after scooping those narly seeds out place the rice inside. in a pan place the squash with the top coving and cook it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until soft. after cooked add a little extra dill for some green and freshness. The squash itself is so buttery you don't really need to much oil or added butter, the squash does the work for you.

although squash is the popular plant based food to go to this season we cannot forget about the rest of the food out there. How about your greens? or your fruits? I have seen more spinach and kale in the grocery store lately than any other green aside from cabbage. Costco even has out a kale salad they are selling and let me tell you have attempted it and it is one of the best salads I have eaten. It is a crunchy delicious salad that everyone should try. and I have been making spinach salad and sauteed spinach almost everyday this past week. Nothing is as simple as putting spinach with some garlic in a pan for some delicious sauteed spinach. If you jar and pickle your own veggies or want to start get some rice wine vinegar, Fresh Ginger, Salt and some of your favorite sweetener (try going with minimal bitterness, a mild honey, stevia can be good if you pick the right brand or even experiment with adding some fruit pectin or just plane fruit then add in some peeled Diakon Radish of the season for a unique flavored pickled Diakon. One of my favorite veggies looking perfectly white and large this season is the Cauliflower. You can do just about anything with cauliflower even make it into ice cream or "risotto". My favorite recipe is my mustard drenched Cauliflower. Some how this one always changes on me with the seasonings I choose but here is one I just did:

1 Cauliflower
Yellow Mustard
jarred horseradish
garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, Cut the leaves and clean the Cauliflower, Mix all the other ingredients together to your liking and enough for a good generous spread on the cauliflower and lastly place it on some foil rubbed with some oil (this time around I go for EVOO), set it in the oven for about 15 minutes for a crunchy goodness then lower the temp to 350 degrees for another 20-30 minutes. (FYI Mustard is also in season if you go for all organic fresh mustard).

Of course we can't forget about our fruits. Grapes, Kumquats, Jujubes (yes they are a real fruit), Crab apples and sugar apples, and Cranberries are just a few of the fruits out their this season. My favorite fruit out though is the cactus fruit also known as the cactus pear. The cactus fruit is something very popular in the Middle East including a small country I am going to be going to in December called Israel. It is also a fruit that is growing popularity here. the best way to enjoy a cactus pear is cutting it in half grabbing a spoon and scooping out the meat and seeds and cherish the moment you taste the sweet pomegranate like fruit.

I know it's tough for some of you out there with the storm to even go grocery shopping for any of these yummy foods. but this has been on my mind and I know you are all going to pick up life right after plus you have to celebrate survival some how and why not with some scrumptious fruits and veggies. Anyways I was honestly writing this blog before the storm got started and finally finished but I am thinking about you all with all my heart so stay strong for me and do me a favor and let me know how you all are doing.

Till Next Time

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sea World with the cousins

  I have just made a visit to the fun filled Sea World San Diego. It was a great day spent with my cousins who have been visiting with us for Israel. We saw most of the shows from One Ocean with Shamu, Blue Horizon with the dolphins, and a special spooktacular with Seamore and Clyde. In-between these cute amusing shows we went on Manta and Journey to Atlantis (both twice), some little kiddy ride, Shipwreck Rapids, pet the stingrays, stared at some starfish and many other fish, took a glimpse of the Cirque De La Mer theater, watched Pirates 4D, and walked through some of the shops.
  I have come up with two different discoveries while at Sea World. First off I have forgotten how different it is during the school year. When kids are in school there are not as many shows and the park is EMPTY!! Summer time the park is so packed that you have to arrive  at a show 30 minutes early and pray you get decent seats. This time around we got to shows maybe two or three minutes before it started and we were able to find prime seating. Even going to the One Ocean Show with Shamu we were able to get the perfect seats maybe 8-10 rows up where we were in the soak zone section but far enough up where we won't get the full feeling of soaking Shamu water all over us and close enough to the center of the stage where we can see everything but are not to far into the center so that our view is altered by that weird center section where the killer whales come up to say hi. To top that off there were no lines at all! We literally just walked onto all the rides we went on which is always a great way to enjoy any theme park. 
  The second discovery of mine, which is more of a realization is that I have no idea where you can find healthy food in Sea World. Could you imagine me not knowing where to find healthy food in a place before arrival. It's not something that occurs often today. After this realization I figured I would make a blog about where you can find some healthy eats in Sea World San Diego. I really Have to first tell you how this all came to be. The first thing that I notice was right up front there are the booths that sell Dip n' Dots, Popcorn, and some other junk food. Then as we kept on walking I realized that the booths are always there. There are booths for ice cream, popcorn, hot dogs, those ginormous turkey legs and whatever else can be sold in a booth or cart. Then it came time when we walked passed Mama Stella's, an "Italian" restaurant. Notice the quotations? Mama Stella's is a place where you can get ridiculously oily pizza, raw over sauced pasta (and the sauce is just sugar with tomatoes), a tiny little house salad or caprese salad, or you can get the eggplant  parmesan smothered in sauce and cheese. With little girls who haven't hit puberty yet you could imagine them seeing the images of the pizza and pasta and immediately wanting to go there for lunch and that is unfortunately what we did. luckily I have all my food issues so I snuck in my own snacks that I munched on instead but I did come to the thought while eating my snacks and while they are complaining that the pasta is actually disgusting that I should know what I can have here and what is healthy here just in case. The rest of the day was great but my mind was on writing this particular blog, so here I am writing to you all. 
  Yesterday I decided to have a look at the menus of the restaurants and little shacks that are in sea world and have actually found some healthy choices. To be honest I thought it would take a little more digging but it really didn't, as I looked around I started to remember a few things which I am glad I did because now I know what I can get if I decide to spend a ridiculous amount of money on food. If you dig a tiny bit into what is in Sea World, dig just a little underneath the funnel cakes, ice cream, the funnel fries that looked so yummy, and the hamburgers and pasta drenched in oily, fatty cheese and this is what you will find: 
  For breakfast I honestly don't think you would need to worry considering this time of year Sea World opens at 10:00 and it would be great to do breakfast at home or even go out to a restaurant like Broken Yolk in various locations, The Naked Cafe in Point Loma or The Olive Cafe right by Santa Clara Point. However, if you really want some breakfast food in Sea World they do have some. They have a fruit and yogurt bowl at the Seaport Market and eggs as well. To top that off you can find a cup of fresh fruit in just about any restaurant and shack in Sea World.  
Keep in mind three restaurants. First is Calypso, which has a fun tropical vibe to it. For healthy variety not your best bet but they do have a veggie wrap and a side salad you can enjoy if you want to go for the environment. The second restaurant is Shipwreck Reef Cafe. This is where I would most likely be for healthy and any other kind of food I want. It is a meat lovers paradise with burgers, sandwiches hot dogs and other choices. To stay healthy at Shipwreck you can get some Grilled Salmon, Carved Turkey (ask for it with a sandwich and eat a slice of bread with the turkey if you need the extra carbs to re-energize) and if you are a veggie lover they offer the garden salad, veggie salad, house salad, and a veggie burger and lastly a seafood salad. As you can see the choices are numerous in Shipwreck Reef Cafe. The final restaurant in the top three you should check out is Seaport Market which I have mentioned. This restaurant is almost hidden. It's right by the entrance on the way to Journey to Atlantis but it really doesn't look like a place to eat. They made it look like stables and they do hold horses along with other animals in the area but hidden is Seaport Market with a few tables to relax and they have some healthy choices as well.  you can get a veggie wrap are some carved turkey deliciousness with a house salad here and as mentioned before they have some breakfast options as well you can enjoy. If you want to splurge a little have fun and dine with Shamu. At night you get to be in a secluded little area right by Shamus tank and enjoy a healthy dinner that includes oven baked tilapia, caprese salad or panzanella vegetable salad or go for that juicy tri tip and ax the sauce and ad some local veggies. and for dessert if you are like me and usually want more than just plane old fruit go for the fruit tart (although they do serve fresh fruit).  
  Don't forget to just enjoy it there. The weather is cooling down for some prime Sea World time and there is nothing better than a day laughing at the terrible yet amusing acting done while watching Seamore and Clyde, feeling like your about to throw up after you just got of Manta, and learning about new creatures like the Cownose Ray, known for it's pectorals. I know ridiculous but it is really cool they are pectoral fins that split into two.They are known to be rather shy so they tend to be nonthreatening unless someone does something stupid and believe it or not if you are out in the ocean and you think you have seen a shark it might just be a Cownose Ray. Their wings sometimes hit the surface of the water scaring people off. That is your Seaworld lesson of the day and you can get plenty more while enjoying a fun filled healthy day at Seaworld San Diego or any Busch Garden theme park in the country.

Till Next Time!