Girls on Food

Pregnancy Cravings

Take Me, I’m Yours Morgan Street Food Hall & Market in Raleigh, NC

Recently, food halls have been popping up all over the country. When I heard Raleigh was getting not one, but two, my immediate reaction was “great, a glorified mall food court” because really, when was the last time you felt cool eating at the food court, amiright? But there are a couple huge differences at play here, so put your worries aside!

First, food courts are so often chains and standard fare. Morgan Street Food Hall & Market is, for the most part, neither. Rolled ice cream anyone? Poke bowls, empanadas, and ramen were the first things to catch my eye. Cousins Maine Lobster (the only option I would consider a chain) is slightly more accessible here, and with a lot more seating options! The line is still out the door but with a beer in hand and a bustling crowd, a far cry from the hot food truck rodeo lines you’re usually waiting in! Last time I tried that, I was “red as a lobster” by the time I ordered my Connecticut lobster roll!

Raleigh Rolls rolled ice cream, which is a treat for all! (yeah, I shared with the baby!)

When you first walk into Morgan Street Food Hall, you’ll see a bustling crowd and tons of seating options, from picnic tables to couches and arm chairs, and finally, 4 top tables with chairs. There are indoor and outdoor seating options, with a couple bars to frequent as thirst arises. There are 18 dining options, ranging from southern to Mediterranean to Asian; comfort food and hangover food and on to desserts and bubble tea. For our family, this is the perfect place for all of our meals out: we have 2 picky preschoolers who think the margarita pizza at Bella’s Wood Fired Pizza and Tapas is out of this world (and less than $10, thank you!).

For me, I get the “adventurous” foods I can’t talk the whole family into – ramen and poke bowls, while hubby gets to fill up on empanadas, which he loves! We have an Italian au pair living with us this year, and she has enjoyed working her way through the options Morgan Street has at her disposal. Currently, her heart resides in Raleigh.

I’ve now eaten at Morgan Street 3 times. Hubs and I met a group of friends here one night before an Umphrey’s McGee concert downtown. There were a lot of empanadas and some curry plates, a kick ass looking pizza, a whole lot of beer, and my amazing delicious tuna poke bowl, with fresh tuna on their California bowl (from The Bowls), loaded with amazingness and topped with avocado! It was incredible, and I couldn’t wait to go back!

So the next weekend, a girlfriend and I met up there, and she got ramen and I went back to The Bowls for round 2 – this time trying their spicy tuna on the Malibu bowl, which has spicy seaweed salad in it. The biggest difference was that the tuna was chopped up instead of chunks, so I would probably go regular tuna in the future.

We also ventured over to the bar, and I tried the Deep River Brewing Company’s (out of Clayton, NC) pumpkin pie porter, which was oh, so good and also very seasonal! It was delicious after a long afternoon of shopping and enjoying the suddenly cooler temps here in NC! Finally (maybe the first finally), we waited in line at Cocoa Forte Desserts for chocolate dipped cheesecake, which we were saving for when we got home, and then I talked my friend into trying out Raleigh Rolls, the rolled ice cream place! It’s a little bit Coldstone Ceamery (you get to choose 3 flavors that go into your ice cream, and then 3 flavors for the toppings) meets a sushi roll (because in the end, they hand you a bowl with 6 rolls of ice cream). So good news – you can sub flavors – I subbed in coffee flavoring for the graham cracker in my s’mores ice cream, and it was the.best.thing.ever! Little man ate way too much but also thinks I’m the coolest mom ever for sharing my ice cream with him, ha! (Verdict on cheesecake – its on a stick, so go ahead and eat it immediately. I waited a few hours to eat mine, and it fell apart really fast. Pretty sure it was user error though).

So the next day, my hubs was still out of town (he went on Phish tour last weekend), and I needed to provide food for my little ones for the 4th day in a row. So…I started thinking about that pizza, and the fact that cow burger has hot dogs. Surely they could find something to eat…

Here’s the deal – I was nervous to bring a 5 year old and a 3 year old and a 5 month old into such a busy place. But…they loved it! My son is begging to go back, my daughter can’t stop talking about the ice cream, and the baby slept thru the thing. We also found an awesome place for our family photos in 2 weeks. So all in all, a great trip. I will send you all day every day to Bella’s pizza – it was incredible, and the kids ate every bite of that pizza. I loved the portion size of the burgers (I got the classic cheeseburger) and I’d heard great things about it, but I would definitely trust your gut on that place. First, the line took F O R E V E R which I’m not really into, and wouldn’t have waited in it but our au pair and I both wanted a burger so we stuck with it. Second, we waited F O R E V E R for our buzzer to ring. Like it took the entire time the pizza cooked to wait in the line and order. Then the kids ate the whole pizza. And I took them back over to Raleigh rolls and waited for someone to turn melted ice cream into frozen ice cream rolls, and then the buzzer sounded as I was paying for them. So the burgers were delicious, great bun to burger ratio, and overall very satisfying, but with so many faster options, I’m not sure I would wait for it again.

Also, pro tip – if you have a picky child who only eats vanilla ice cream (I know, I know, its super weird but what I’m dealing with right now), there is another small ice cream scoop place in the food hall. Don’t waste your $7 on plain vanilla with a tiny sprinkling of rainbow sprinkles. Spend that money on the whole experience and all the toppings, and get Sir Picky something from the cheaper place!

So final verdict – run, don’t walk, to the Morgan Street Food Hall if you’re in Raleigh. Bring an appetite. Check out the unusual places, especially the bowls, the broth, and curry in a hurry, and take the time to wait in line for Raleigh Rolls! I’m looking forward to heading down there again next weekend after the International Festival to try out some new places!

S&W Organic Black Beans with Ancho Chiles Mushrooms and Garlic

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Being a pregnant foodie is tough! Upon finding out I was pregnant, I was shocked to learn how many foods I would be discouraged from eating. I’ve been working on finding substitutes for items like pasta, which is full of carbs but lacking in nutrients. I’ve been replacing the pasta in some of my favorite recipes with healthier starches likes beans.

One of my favorite recipes is from Lesley Téllez’s Eat Mexico cookbook, her Pasta with Ancho Chiles, Mushrooms and Garlic is fantastic with fettuccine noodles, but I decided to try it out with S&W Black Beans instead.

First off, cooking with canned beans is so much easier than cooking fresh pasta, the time shaved off made cooking this dish speedier. Also, S&W Black Beans are versatile as a good carbohydrate category and as a source of protein (8 grams per serving). These beans are also rich in essential nutrients, such as fiber (9 grams per serving) and folate (40% daily value). They have different varieties in their black beans including their main black beans and low-sodium. I chose to use S&W Organic Black Beans specifically because I feel good about eating food that is sourced in natural soil.

S&W Beans have been in my life since I was young. My mom cooked with them when I was a kid and now I’m passing these beans onto my kid. The quality of the beans from their cans have always been solid, beans are in full form with skins still on and never have I gotten a can of mushed beans from them. So not only are they tasty and nutrient-packed, they make every dish look Pinterest-ready.

Get $1 off 2 cans of S&W Beans in any variety here

This recipe can be made as a side dish, but it also makes a great vegetarian cool-down meal if you’re hungry after a workout.

S&W Organic Black Beans with Ancho Chiles, Mushrooms and Garlic

Ingredients

large dried ancho chiles
11 cloves of garlic
1 can S&W Organic Black Beans
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra if needed
1 large bunch (about 13 1/2 ounces) oyster mushrooms, torn into very thin strips (any mushrooms work here)
1/2 cup chopped, lightly briny black olives
1/2 cup grated queso añejo for garnish
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Snip the stems off the anchos and cut an incision in each. Scrape out the seeds and veins with a spoon or knife. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for about 20 minutes, until the flesh has softened.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and slice thinly.
  3. Cut the softened chiles into 1/2-inch strips—I do this by rolling them up like a burrito first, and then chopping width-wise.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the chiles and stir quickly, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Lower the heat if you need to.
  5. Once the chiles have become aromatic, stir in the mushrooms and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes, adding salt once the mushrooms have released their juices.
  6. Drain 1 can S&W Organic Black Beans and add to your mushroom mixture, with a little extra oil if you like. Serve immediately in shallow bowls, topped with chopped olives and a dusting of cheese.

See additional recipes from S&W Beans here.

Check out S&W’s site to see if you can find them at a grocery store near you.

Spumoni Mama Lactation Bites

Holy moly, I’ve finally hit 37 weeks of pregnancy (insert the nervous looking emoji here).

After reading the research on how oats, flaxseed and brewers yeast are considered active ingredients to help boost lactation in nursing moms, I wanted to come up with a quick bite that was tasty and full of nutrition. Bake-free “balls” and “bites” are trending (do you want to be baking with a newborn?) but I wanted to add a little variety of flavor to the mix. I’ve noticed many of these recipes use dark chocolate and dates as the sweet flavors.

This time around, I went in a more Spumoni ice cream-inspired route with pistachio butter (in addition to peanut butter, cause it’s expensive), dried cherries and milk chocolate. Spumoni is a famous gelato, a gift from Naples, but many Americans will recognize this frothy treat as the palate cleanser from The Old Spaghetti Factory, and that is where I fell in love with it. #noshame!

Please note: if you’re looking for an Instagram-ready, beautiful ball shaped bite, this isn’t that recipe. Frankly, bless those women who have the time and patience to make them so picturesque but I can’t imagine having the energy to make them that perfect when I start feeding.

Spumoni Mama Lactation Bites 

Makes 25 medium-size bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons brewers yeast
  • ½ cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 teaspoon coco powder (extra for garnish, to taste)
  • ½ cup organic Italian honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup pistachio butter
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup dried Montmorency cherries (much healthier than Maraschinos)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In the 10.75 qt. Culinary Junction Steel Mixing Bowl combine the oats, brewers yeast, flaxseed meal and coco powder.
  2. Mix in the Italian honey, peanut butter, pistachio butter and coconut oil.
  3. Fold in the dried cherries and chocolate chips.
  4. Spritz hands with a coconut oil spray and roll 2 tablespoons of mixture into balls.
  5. (optional) Dust a little coco powder on top of bites if you’re craving it.
  6. Place bites on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with coconut oil, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to set.
  7. Pop them in your mouth and enjoy!

I’ll be coming up with more lactation-boosting recipes soon, so stay tuned for those!

I also wanted to note that you don’t have to be a mom-to-be to enjoy these! My husband couldn’t stop eating these too!

Ginger Peach White Sangria Mocktail For Moms To Be

The night before I found out I was pregnant, I was out at happy hour enjoying a nice glass (or two) of sangria. That was about 5 months ago, and I now find myself sometimes missing the good ol’ days when I could indulge in a nice glass of that beautiful red or white fruity-with-a-kick glass of goodness! Can any of you mom-to-be’s relate?

Now at restaurants, instead of ordering wine, I’m asking the waiter if the bartender can whip up a mocktail. It’s actually fun seeing what fun drink they can come up with. Recently, I decided to try out my own mocktails and I’ve been experimenting with different flavors to find fun “fancy” juices that I can drink out of classy glasses. I’m telling you, even drinking water out of a champagne or wine glass really helps you not care that you have to give up the good stuff for the next nine (cough **ten** cough) months.

This past weekend I tried my hand at a white sangria and was pleasantly surprised with the results. I combined a non-alcoholic Moscato, peach juice and ginger beer for a sweet but spicy concoction. The non-alcoholic Moscato can be found in the grocery store in the section where they sell cocktail mixers and it’s called FRE. If your local store doesn’t sell it, white grape juice would be a good substitute.

Ginger Peach White Sangria Mocktail

The recipe as is will provide a sangria on the sweeter side. If you like a really strong ginger taste, just add a bit more ginger beer.

Ingredients

750ml bottle of FRE non-alcoholic Moscato (or about 3 cups of white grape juice)
2 cups peach juice
1 cup ginger beer
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup frozen mangos
1 cup frozen strawberries
Seltzer water

Directions

Step 1: Add frozen fruit to a pitcher.

Step 2: Add the non-alcoholic Moscato or grape juice, peach juice and ginger beer to the pitcher and mix well.

Step 3: Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Step 4: Pour sangria into a fancy glass and top with a splash of seltzer water and more frozen fruit.

Step 5: Put your feet up and enjoy!

This recipe is so easy and really really good! Enjoy 🙂

Kinilaw For a Mom-To-Be

I’ve finally hit 35 weeks of pregnancy and I can confirm the fast food and other gluttonous urges are hitting me pretty hard! But I have been in the kitchen creating recipes that are meat/poultry-free, clean and using sustainability conscious ingredients.

When asked to develop a recipe with Blue Harbor Fish Co I jumped at the chance!

Their products tuna is MSC certified sustainable and dolphin-safe. Plus, I love the pouch option, they save so much room in my well-stocked cabinet.

Kinilaw is traditionally a Filipino dish similar to poke or ceviche. I wanted to create a pregnancy-friendly recipe for those of us out there who are missing our raw fish.

Kinilaw For a Mom-To-Be

1 serving

In a small mixing bowl, combine the following:

1 3 oz. pouch Blue Harbor Wild Albacore – No Salt Added

2 tablespoons Calamansi juice

1 tablespoon grated ginger

3 tablespoons thinly-sliced red onion

1 tablespoon coconut vinegar

1 Thai chili sliced and de-seeded

1 tablespoon coconut milk

Pinch of fresh cilantro (extra sprigs for garnish, if you like)

Salt and pepper to taste

Serve alone or with tostadas for a crunch.

Enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Blue Harbor Fish Co; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. 

Island Mama Lactation Bites With The Culinary Junction’s Stainless Steel Bowls

Being a 31-week pregnant lady, I’m hitting that point where I’m realizing:

A) “pregnancy brain” is very real

B) waddling isn’t exclusive to penguins

C) everything is just becoming so much harder.

Not only am I carrying more weight than I am used to, but carrying items of heavier weight has become tougher for me. Even everyday kitchen items like my standard glass mixing bowls are becoming a pain to carry.

When our friends at The Culinary Junction reached out to me to product-test their 6-Piece Stainless Steel Nesting Bowlsthe timing couldn’t be more perfect! I had an inkling to get a head start on prepping my recipes to help boost lactation (for when the time comes), so I knew I’d make great use of these bowls.

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Postpartum Weight Loss: The Struggle Is Real

Postpartum weight loss is no joke. Let me just get that statement out of the way.

During my pregnancy, I convinced myself that I was going to eat organic, garden fresh vegetables and follow a very strict eating regime that would fuel my body full of nutrition and not hop on the unhealthy weight train. (While being pregnant, you should never worry about gaining healthy weight and always follow the advice of your physician, let me just clarify myself.) My visions of strolling through Whole Foods and local farmer’s markets were quickly blurred by the bright lights blinding me in the Super Burrito drive-thru.

Pregnancy is beautifully strange. You crave things you never thought you would eat in a million years. Trust me, I became the fast food junkie of Reno, shamelessly devouring double cheeseburgers and smothered chile relleno burritos at random times throughout the day. There are some things you just cannot control, nor would want to.

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Katie’s Crock-Pot Fajitas: Perfect for Busy Moms!

I’m obsessed with this new (Crock-Pot) recipe, it turned out so much better than expected! Before settling in for the evening last night, I cut up my veggies, and when I woke up this morning, I sprayed my Crock-Pot with coconut oil (from Trader Joe’s), and tossed in my onions and peppers, added a pound of chicken, and spices.

 

 

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Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant: 20 Years Strong in Toronto

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant
195 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5G 1C7
http://hongshingto.com/
https://www.instagram.com/hongshingto

Hong Shing Chinese Restaurant is family owned and is celebrating 20 years of operation in downtown Toronto! This restaurant is the most modern but traditional Chinese restaurant that I have ever came across, and that is why it’s my favourite! Just over a year ago, they modernized their sign from your typical old school Chinese Restaurant neon sign to this beautiful modern design. In addition to the modern exterior, they have updated their “Specials” board with lettering created by local artist, @angelita_gel.

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KABOOM Chicken: The REAL KFC in Toronto

KABOOM Chicken
722 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1H2
http://kaboomchicken.com/
https://www.instagram.com/kaboomchicken

KABOOM Chicken is one of the newest and hottest Korean street food spots in Toronto! Starting from various food festivals over Summer 2016 to now a brick and mortar shop at a new and upcoming block, KABOOM Chicken is definitely exploding out in the Toronto food scene. They definitely define and bring out the REAL KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) to Toronto.

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Make a Dash to Holler & Dash in Celebration, FL

Holler & Dash Biscuit House
6288 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., Celebration, FL 34747
http://www.holleranddash.com

On a recent trip to Florida, I stumbled upon Holler & Dash Biscuit House…a quick glance at the menu and I knew I needed to put some south in my mouth! The brand currently has 4 locations in Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee, and is a fast-casual concept from parent company Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc.
Holler & Dash Biscuit House
Tucked inside a small shopping center, Holler & Dash is conveniently located near Orlando-area attractions and theme parks, while being off the beaten path.

They serve up a variety of Southern-style biscuit sandwiches, and other specialties like grit bowls, tot bowls, and beignets. While hearty options abound, they also offer lighter options, such as half biscuits, or a bed of kale in place of biscuits on their signature menu.

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