Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mediterranean Deliciousness as My Lunches This Week (#12)

First note: I have the hardest time spelling Mediterranean. Every single time, I over-think it and add in an extra syllable. One would *think* I'd come up with some mental clues as to how to do it, but thanks to the miracle of spell-check, I guess and red squiggly line it to get the correct spelling. #FirstWorldProblems

<clears throat>

This week's lunch was inspired by last Friday's lunch, which was eaten at one of my fave local joints, Mazah Mediterranean Eatery, with a particularly lovely colleague, Meg. I love Mazah and discovered them via another particularly lovely friend, Angela, in 2010. The restaurant recently moved to a slightly larger location, basically around the corner from where it's been since it opened and just YUM. 

The food is fresh, homemade in so very many cases, service is friendly and I'm not only supporting a local business, but a locally owned family business. Total score. 

I will say, the new & larger location is awesome and the food was delicious, but I will say, I think they are experiencing some growing pains. The new location is easily twice the size, and so the service on this visit was pretty slow and not that attentive. It was also lunch, although a bit later than rush, and still busy - everyone seemed to be really busy and a touch flustered. 

Also, if you have a sensitive nose to smells - the tables were all made for the restaurant by one of the owners and stained recently. They are gorgeous, but still off-gassing, so either wait or try to snag one of their sidewalk tables. 

Ok, so my favorite thing to get at Mazah is their vegetarian grape leaves. They are simply delicious - flavorful, tender and just delicious. I don't ever see myself undertaking making them because I just don't think I'd ever be able to do them justice. Plus, with Mazah not terribly far away from home or work, why would I? 

A few weeks' ago, I stopped into Trader Joe's to pick up the two things we only buy from them (as opposed to the many items I always impulse buy there). I had quickly picked up the bag of shredded parmesan cheese, and was headed to get their green chilies, when a few shelves below, I noticed Trader Joe's had vegetarian grape leaves in a tin

First, I find it odd to buy entree-like-items in cans. It smacks of Spam or beef stew. Second, MAZAH! But curiosity got the better of me, especially after reading the label and not finding anything horrible in it. 

I'll be honest, I've looked at the tins in my pantry the last few weeks.....but gone past them, due to nervousness. 

I am a 

Connecting story to my canned vegetarian grape leaves: Last week was our bi-monthly (as in every two months, not twice a month) work gathering for my floor. Work hasn't exactly been *challenging* of late, so with full disclosure to my bosses, I've started a group dedicated to fun in the workplace. It's maybe 6-ish people and I email them my hare-brained ideas, they say yay or nay, and we go about making stuff happen. I have titled us the Renegade Fun Group. 

We meet in the communal area on our floor, everyone brings in whatever they want to share, we stand around, chat, make up a reason to be gathering, and generally have a fun time with our colleagues. Last week was our third gathering, and the first with a theme, which was Healthy Snacks. 

Another colleague, Leslie, made and shared a delicious concoction of Greek yogurt, cucumber, avocado, tomato with dill, salt and pepper and garlic powder. She had taken part of the avocado and smashed it into the yogurt so that it was the pretty green color of the avocado meat, then chunked the rest of the avocado, as well as the chopping the cukes and maters. It was pretty scrumptious. 

Put all of this stuff together and you basically have my Lunches This Week. 

Had a small head of Bibb lettuce and a larger head of romaine. After washing and spinning it dry, chopped it up and put 2 cups of the lettuces into 3 lunch containers. 

Cracked open the delectable veggie grape leaves and put 6 on top of each container with the lettuces. 

Took my Homemade Greek Yogurt, and did what Leslie did, only in lieu of maters (The Chez was out), added thinly sliced carrots (after I peeled them o'course). I also added some lemon juice, as well as some of the marinade that was in the tins with the grape leaves. It was scrumptious!!!!

For my lunches, I'm taking a 1/2 cup of the yogurt/avocado/cuke/carrot mixture to plop on top of the salad, essentially so there's no other dressing. The total calorie count is 311 calories. 

So freaking tasty!!!
Just had today's lunch and I'm already lamenting that tomorrow will be the last. We need to pop over to Trader Joe's in the next few weeks, so their Dolmas tins are now added to the regularly shopped items list I keep. 

Sorry, long-winded, but STORIES!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday - 2 cups lettuces, 6 vegetarian grape leaves, 1/2 cup of avocado yogurt dip + 1 cup of homemade Greek yogurt and 6 oz organic blueberries. 

Thursday - a section of my freezer friendly quinoa/wild rice/spinach/kale casserole + 1 cup of homemade Greek yogurt and 6 oz. organic blueberries.

Fridaya section of my freezer friendly quinoa/wild rice/spinach/kale casserole + 1 cup of homemade Greek yogurt and some sort of fruit from the freezer (kiwi? peaches? strawberries?). I really need to do an inventory this weekend. 

Have you discovered an unexpected food in a tin/can/container of late? 
Share your favorite find!!

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