Picnic Penarth <3 Foodie Heaven in the Welsh Coast

Last weekend was my first foodie event since I arrived back in the UK. And oh boy, do the Welsh know their foodies! I attended Picnic Penarth, in Penarth, Wales.

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Penarth is a town in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, 5.2 miles south-west from the city centre of the Welsh capital city of Cardiff and lying on the north shore of the Severn Estuary at the southern end of Cardiff Bay. I am in love with the area and hopefully, if all goes as planned I can move there into a lovely house/flat. But more about that later.

Picnic Penarth is a free, kid and dog-friendly congregation of fantastic local food trucks and restaurants offering delicious food “al fresco” thankfully the Welsh weather was on our side and it allowed everyone to enjoy in the sun (and some clouds now and then, you know, is the UK after all)

IMG_2766I was pleased to see so many dog parents with their furry babies, SO CUTE! the atmosphere was fun, relaxed and vibrant. The aromas emanating from each single corner of the place were amazing! Hard to decide which to try first. The queues were long, I am not gonna lie, I had to wait 20+ minutes for crispy avocado tacos but I promise you it was worth it.

So about those tacos. The Beaded Taco Truck had some Scrumpti-licious food! I went vegetarian with the super fresh, and tangy avocado tacos. Cooked to perfection with the delicate crispy tempura style avocados. No spice tho, but they had sauces you could add if you needed to add some fire to your meal. Two tacos for 6 pounds, perfect street food. LOVE THEM.

Then there is Pizza Pronto Team. These guys are amazing not only at making pizzas but at giving back to the community. (more on that in another blog post soon) Their fun, quirky pizza menu had them at the center of everyone’s (belly’s) attention. That and their giant vintage pizza sign and baby blue car.

Another winner for me (sweet tooth) was Dawn’s Pantry with their stricking looking cakes. I had a slice of heaven with their Strawberry Milkshake cake. The right amount of sweet, moist and tasty. The little sour rainbow gummy was a trip to childhood memories and a zesty bang to an amazing cake.

…Let’s not forget the Greek food truck, that although I did not try their food I saw many many satisfied fellow picnic goers finger licking and devouring their meaty treats.

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And these fellows… with a burst of flavour and exotic spice…

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Overall Picnic Penarth was an amazing foodie experience, filled with tasty treats, yummy food and a fantastic atmosphere. I am sure next year will be a blast too!

Do you know of any other foodie events around Cardiff? Let me know! (If vegetarian options available even better)

Until next time

xoxo

Jihane

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When I say Yummy! You say? Happy #InternationalPieDay

… Not to be confused with Pi Day (pi = 3.15.) that’s in March. 

Pies! yummy pies in your tummy pies! National Pie Day is celebrated annually on January 23rd so go right now and get yourself some pie to celebrate. National Pie Day was created simply to celebrate the grandiosity of the pie.

Pies in the UK and pies in the USA are very different tho. When I first came to the USA I was confused to find savory pies here are not as common as they are there. Also very confused about “pot pies” to me those are just pies, no need for the word “pot” there.

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Chicken “Pot” Pie Basalt, Co.USA.

 

In medieval England, they were called pyes, and instead of being predominantly sweet, they were most often filled with meat — beef, lamb, wild duck, magpie pigeon — spiced with pepper, currants or dates. Historians trace pie’s initial origins to the Greeks, who are thought to be the originators of the pastry shell, which they made by combining water and flour. The wealthy Romans used many different kinds of meats — even mussels and other types of seafood — in their pies. Meat pies were also often part of Roman dessert courses or secundae mensea. Cato the Younger recorded the popularity of this sweet course, and a cheesecake-like dish called Placenta, in his treatise De Agricultura. – A brief History of the Pie (Time.com) 

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Dutch Chocolate Cream, and Bavarian Chocolate pies 

 

A cookbook from 1796 listed only three types of sweet pies; a cookbook written in the late 1800s featured 8 sweet pie varieties; and by  1947 the Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking listed 65 different varieties of sweet pies.

According to British chef, Jamie Oliver, the pie we know and love today has its roots in Northern Europe. Back in the day, olive oil was scarce to nonexistent in the region. Instead, butter and lard were the fats of choice in the harsher and colder climes north of the Mediterranean. The use of these solid fats created a pastry that could be rolled and molded – and so the true pie was born.

Pie Facts: By the American Pie Council

  • There are 231 varieties of apple pie.
  • Pumpkin pie – Contrary to grade school theater productions across the United States, there was no modern-day pie — pumpkin, pecan or otherwise — at the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621.
  • Pecan pie,  is the third most popular choice in The USA.
  • The first pies appeared around 9500 BC in the Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age.

 

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Apple Pie with Crumble
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Buttermilk Pie

All the sweet scrumptious and yummy pie pictures you see here, I took at House of Pies in Houston, Texas. I went on a little pie eating expedition with some friends (Shout-out to Jess, Jack, and Dennis as well as Ariana for being my pie companions) Sadly they don’t do any savory pies there, however, if it is a sweet pie you are looking for THIS is your place. They have more than 20 different types of pies there!

Anyway,  make sure you celebrate with a yummy slice of your favorite pie, either sweet or savory, American or British. Happy International Pie Day!

Gluten Free Pie Pumpkin Pie Recipe by The Minimalist Baker

Healthier Pie Recipes by Eating Well 

xoxo
Jihane

 

Coffee Talks, and Taste Buds :: #NationalCoffeeDay

You guys! I have been MIA from the blogging-sphere! So busy, but always thinking of you (my readers)  And because I love you all so much I decided to be a little more open-minded about this whole coffee-loving business.

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I am not a coffee person.  I LOVE tea, all types, all colors, and all flavors. I am one of those rare creatures who doesn’t like the bitter taste of coffee lingering in my mouth. I live a coffee-free life. Yes, yes it is possible.

However today September 29th is National Coffee Day! So let’s celebrate all things caffeinated. I invited my friend and  blogger colleague Jess from Reinventing Jess to go out and taste some unusual and special coffee. I asked her to take me to her favorite coffee spot in town, and that she did! She suggested The Doshi Coffee House and I can tell you I was not disappointed!

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The place is nice, small, cozy and intimate. It isn’t too loud and the natural light that comes in is just perfect. A small vintage piano sits in one corner, and a bookshelf with tons of books (double yes!) You can find comfy couches and small tables next to the windows. It is perfect.

I asked the owner to suggest some coffee for someone who doesn’t usually like coffee. He nailed it with his suggestions. We tried the Pistachio Latte, the Hawaiian Coffee (with coconut milk) and the African Toba.

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“French press is the best method to use when making coffee at home”

Pistachio Latte: creamy, sweet, nutty, not bitter. It’s light and silky. The pistachio milk is made in house. It is perfect for the non-coffee lover. THIS coffee right here might transform me into a coffee drinker.

Hawaiian Coffee: slightly bitter and a little stronger, this coffee is like a soft kiss in paradise. Creamy, and toasty with a light coconut taste. The coconut is light enough to let the coffee flavor come through but strong enough for you to know there is coconut in there.

African Toba: this one doesn’t taste like coffee at all. According to the owner this coffee is usually used for medicinal purposes. It has considerable amounts of cloves grounded with the coffee and natural sweetener. Very light, very aromatic because of the cloves, it almost feels like tea.

Three perfect choices for a non-traditional coffee person. Huge thanks to Doshi Coffee House! We had fun talking and tasking coffees.

Overall I enjoyed the whole experience. Many thanks to Jess and her awesome husband and kid for coming along. Their insights into the coffee world were very educational. Jess talked about her early days working as a barista and how she came to appreciate the full taste of coffee. It is always interesting to see how different people like different tastes, while Jess and I enjoyed the exotic tastes her husband went for a familar and more traditional latte, which was also good but has that lingering taste I don’t like.

Am I a transformed person? yes, and no. My mind has opened into the world of coffee and I can’t wait to try more. However, I feel I have a flair for the exotic and wish to try more Indian, African and South American coffees rather than traditional brews. But regardles of it all, tea remains king in my kingdom!

How do you like your coffee?

PS: Doshi Coffee House serves vegetarian food!! It doesn’t get any better than that!

Happy National Coffee Day!

xoxo

Jihane

Plant-Based Diet Made Easy! with Micaela Cook Karlsen’s Book

If you follow my blogging rambles, you probably know we are mostly vegetarian (my son and I) – and I say mostly because we still eat some dairy (yogurt, cheese) and the occasional chicken as well as fish and seafood. However, we do embrace the plant base life as much as we can. Our diet is 75% plant-based at the moment, and it consists of much more than only salads.

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Spinach and Puffed Quinoa on Toast, and Jasmine Tea ❤

Last week my son traveled to L.A with my parents, so I decided, since I was child-free and living the crazy life (right?) to do a whole 100% plant based week diet last week. That meant no dairy! I equipped myself with a variety of vegetables, cereals, and legumes and I started my plant-based week.

Why? well, I was inspired by the book “A Plant-Based Life” by Micaela Cook Karlsen, which I received a few weeks ago and which is now on sale for you to grab. The book, unlike many others, offers way more than just recipes. It offers a comprehensive and detailed list of things to consider when going plant-based.

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Micaela, a doctoral candidate in nutritional epidemiology has crafted a book easy enough to understand so all you need is the will and the desire to learn more about the plant-based diet.

“Going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to give up meat and chicken totally,” she says ” but if you make fruits and vegetables the main part of the meal and use meat to support the many, you’ll be well on your way to switching to a mare plant-based diet”

Micaela recommends you start by finding your motivating force, what is it that motivates you about a plant-based diet? some people have personal goals such a healthier lifestyle, others have environmental and ethical goals such as to end animal cruelty. So whatever your reason is embrace it! Micaela then guides you through the process of adding little by little more and more plant-like elements to your daily eating habits. Then she provides a nice long list of recipes and food variations for you to try.

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“When you build your meals primarily with plant foods, you fill your body with fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats and a host of needed chemicals and nutrients that most people simply don’t get enough of,” Karlsen says.

I loved the amount of information in the book because it helps me understand the nutrients I get from food, and it also gives me ammunition against anyone who comes along with the eternal question “But, where do you get your protein if you don’t eat meat” – Oh the joys!

My plant based week included:

Drinks: coconut milk for my tea, green tea, jasmine tea and lots of water.

Meals: eggplant parmigiana, beef-less beef (tofu based) sauce and veggie pasta, spinach and quinoa on toast, salads, carrot and coconut soup, cauliflower au gratin*, potato-leek soup*, homemade rice cakes, oatmeal, veggie bowl (from Chipotle) and vegetable sushi (from HEB)

Snacks: fresh fruit, nuts, bliss balls (dates, pistachios, dried cranberries and quinoa)

* recipe in the book. 

I loved my plant-based week! and I am looking forward to continuing to develop the healthy eating habits needed to sustain a long term diet change. If you want to start and don’t know how I strongly recommend “A Plant-Based Life”. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive. With some organization it is possible!

TIP: if you run a busy life and don’t have much time to cook through the week, consider prepping all your food on a Sunday. It makes life much easier.

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Environmental facts to consider:

Meat, fish and dairy products have the heaviest environmental footprint of all food groups due to their effect on greenhouse gas emissions, water, and land use. Avoiding them or reducing their intake significantly makes a sustainable future possible for the whole world.


A free copy of this book was provided for reviewing purposes . Opinions are my own 

Consult your doctor before you make a significant diet change in your life. 

Homemade Hope: Warm Meals & Smiles PLUS Cooking with Luby’s Restaurant.

Last week I was invited to an event with Homemade Hope, and I immediately jumped on the wagon when I knew what they do.

Homemade Hope, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, is an organization focused on the culinary arts, which is something I am passionate about. Teach your children about the joys and benefits of healthy home cooking from an early age. But, Homemade Hope is more than that. They bring a taste of home to homeless and at-risk children living in Houston’s shelters and transitional living centers—fostering creativity, developing life skills, and nurturing every child’s belief that life has hope.

In partnership with local transitional shelters, Homemade Hope harnesses the sensory power of the kitchen to create a loving and supportive environment where children build self-esteem, develop traditions, and experience the simple pleasures of childhood.  Using food as a canvas for expression, Homemade Hope creates a space for connection while educating them about nutrition and empowering them with skills they can use outside of class.

Their programs include weekly sessions, cooking classes, tutoring, holiday celebrations, trips and educational advocacy. For detailed info about their programs visit: http://www.homemadehope.org/programs

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In this occasion, Homemade Hope partnered with Luby’s restaurants for a fantastic behind the scenes tour of the place. My 10-year-old son learned all about what it really is to be in a restaurant kitchen, and how hard chefs work to provide delicious meals.

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Kids also got to make their own combination of Mac & Cheese and spend some time with Luby’s chefs.

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I can’t express how important I think getting children in the kitchen is. Our next generation needs to understand where food comes from and need to have the tools and the knowledge to make informed decisions about the food they eat. It is our duty as parents to provide them with a healthy path. Let’s not leave it all to the schools. (and don’t get me started on school meals)

Also, it is important our kids learn and understand that so many other children are not as privileged as them. Many children out there are homeless or living in shelters. The circumstances they are in are not their fault, and they shouldn’t be stigmatized for it.

Get your children involved with their community, and teach the power of helping others. Compassion is not a weakness is a strength. 

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Big thanks to Luby’s restaurant in Post Oak, Houston for having us and for my blogger friend Lisa Carey for inviting me to be part of this fantastic cause. If you want to help either by becoming a volunteer for Homemade Hope or by donating please contact them here http://www.homemadehope.org/get-involved-c19nb

Wordless Wednesday

 

Just a sweet little recap about the Houston Fajita Festival! I wished it hadn’t been raining all day because the rain kept us inside for the most part of Saturday. However at around 4pm we decided to head out to the Festival! We enjoyed a short visit filled with Fajitas, Spiked Lemonade, and friends! Big Thanks to Houston Latina Bloggers, Houston Fajita Festival, and Grandmas Lemonade!

Parking was easy which is a blessing in Houston. The festival had lots of eating options with food trucks insight, and a special buffet for VIP members. Nom, nom!!

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Houston Fajita Festival June 4th + GIVEAWAY Tickets

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Houston Latina Bloggers

Fajita Festival Brings Food, Fun, Entertainment to Humble on June 4

HUMBLE, Texas — The much-anticipated Fajita Festival is coming to the Humble Civic Center on June 4 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Featuring live music, top-notch entertainment, exciting contests and, of course, mouth-watering fajita tacos, the Fajita Festival is shaping up to be the can’t miss event to kick off the summer of 2016.

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Picture credits Houston Fajita Festival

 

A celebration of Mexican culture presented by Modelo Especial and Grandma’s Boys Lemonade, the Fajita Festival features live entertainment from Salsa, Blues and Rock bands, live DJs, Baile Folklorico, as well as a jalapeño eating contest and midget wrestling.

Of course, the main attraction of the Fajita Festival is all of the delicious food that will be available to the up to 5,000 attendees. The Festival will feature food from the best home cookers, restaurants, food trucks and grill masters as well as sizzling fajitas from a variety of vendors. There will also be a Beer and Spirits Garden where a mixologist from Grandma’s Boys Lemonade will create refreshing spiked lemonade, margaritas, and micheladas.

Festival attendees will also be able to enjoy the finest tequilas and rums as well as many thirst-quenching beer options.

Over 60 local, regional and national companies will be participating at the Fajita Festival, including Bullritos, Nova Mex, Telemundo Houston, and ESPN Deportes. Sunny 99.1 FM morning host Dana Tyson will be hosting lunch with radio contest winners in the VIP Lounge from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. ESPN Deportes radio personalities will be hosting a fajita dinner with radio contest winners in the VIP Lounge from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets for the Fajita Festival are on sale now and are available at www.thefajitafest.com Tickets are $10 for general admission, $60 for VIP access. Children 4 and under can attend for free while tickets for children ages 5-12 are $5. Parking is free.

Houston Latina Bloggers  and OnixJ (yours truly) will be there! and we are giving away a Family Pack (4) tickets to the Fajita Festival! Giveaway entries open for UNTIL June 2 ONLY! TWO days to enter! Winners will be contacted directly and we can arrange a pick-up delivery option that suits you and reaches you just in time for the event.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The Fajita Festival benefits La Rosa Family Services, which assists victims of domestic violence with housing, job placement, and social services.


About Grandma’s Boys Enterprise

Grandma’s Boys Enterprise and partner Stack Marketing Group are producing the Fajita Festival. Grandma’s Boys Enterprise also produces Arts & Drafts Houston (ArtsandDraftsHOU.com) and the International Bacon Fest.

Drew@GrandmasBoys.com

Summer Series: Pool Snacks

Summer is here! With its hot long days and kids filled with bouncing energy. What a better day to spend a summer day but by the swimming pool. Not only is a very good activity for both little ones and adults alike but it provides a chance to soak in those precious sun rays (always wear sun screen tho) and to have some easy and refreshing food.

We like to keep it simple and fresh at the pool with things like Lemonade, Limeade, Pineapple juice or simply with water. My son doesn’t particularly like plain water so I “spicy up” for him adding lemon wedges, fresh cut strawberries and mint. We do indulge in some salted chips (I try to use the baked variety) or chips and pico de gallo for a crunchy and tasty snack. Fresh fruit such as pineapple chunks or watermelon are perfect to the pool side too! Freeze seedless grapes for a healthy alternative to popsicles, or make your own popsicles at home without the added sugar and nasty additives.

Let me share some simple ideas!

Summer drinks. 

Summer Fruity Snacks

Homemade Ice-creams and popsicles

Summer food is easy and uncomplicated. Keep it fresh, full of color and just play with it!

Make Vegetable pizzas on the grill using a Pizza Stone (see bellow) or re-vamp a classic grilled cheese sandwich by filling it with fresh cherry tomatoes and avocado! yum!

Any questions or ideas? Use the comments area and ill be happy to answer!

Xoxo

OnixJ

Summer Series: Delicious Avocado Lime Pesto

Oh Summer! finally here… time for freshness, swimming, sun bathing and fun! also time for the kids to be off school (oh dear!) So ill be working on a few family friendly recipes for summer days starting with this one.

I love avocado, but some people consider it too bland. Regardless we have discussed before why Avocado is the King of vegetables. If you are one of those not convinced yet I think you should give this recipe a try before you quit on avocado.

Avocado Lime and Coriander Pesto sauce for your pasta. You can use whole grain pasta or for an extra kick of vegetables I recommend a Vegetable based pasta. Yes veggie pasta! vegetables in disguised for those who aren’t too fond of them. We absolutely love vegetables so no need to disguised but its nice to have a healthy pasta alternative.

Recipe for two portions. You need:

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1 medium avocado (room temperature so that your sauce isn’t too cold)

1 handful of cilantro (and a few extra why not! be generous)

1/4 of an onion

2 table spoons of virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of water

salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste

1 small tomato

2 limes (juiced)

You simply add everything on a high speed blender or food processor and mix until a smooth paste. And thats it! sauce is done, no cooking required.

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Make your pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Mix with sauce. Serve with an extra portion of tomatoes and cilantro on top if desired. Super fresh, easy, creamy and healthy way to enjoy pasta this summer.

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