Weekend Recap – Family Fun

We had such a great time with Niel and Neelam (my BIL and his girlfriend) this weekend.  I really wish we could go back in time and relive all the fun (and delicious food!).

After picking them up at the airport on Friday evening, we went to Nikko by Sunshine for dinner.  Neelam and I weren’t in much of a sushi mood, so I ordered Pad Thai while Neelam ordered soup.  Vishnu and Niel shared a couple of sushi rolls and my leftovers.  I’ve been looking for a decent sushi restaurant, and according to Vishnu, we found it!  We’ll definitely be back.

Niel in Miami 009
Just check out the presentation!

The next morning, we got up, ate breakfast, talked for a couple of hours, and slowly got ready for the day.  Not surprisingly, this involved more food!  Since Vishnu, Niel, and Neelam all love seafood, we drove to Joe’s Stone Crab in South Beach.

Niel in Miami 012
Thankfully, the salad I ordered was fresh and refreshing.  The server even recommended I try Joe’s dressing, which is award-winning and delicious!  The seafood eaters also enjoyed their meals.  Vishnu and Neelam said their crab cakes were pillowy and delicious (as evident by their perfectly clean plates!), and Niel said his fried oysters tasted “great!”  If you love seafood, this Miami institution is a must visit restaurant!

Since it looked like it was about to rain any minute, we headed home after lunch and decided to play Taboo.  We started off with the boys teaming up against the girls.  After the girls dominated and destroyed the boys, we changed things up.  Vishnu and I coupled up against Niel and Neelam and walked away with a narrow victory.  Note that the common denominator in both scenarios was ME!  I’m pretty much a Taboo wizard!

Later that night, we met up with a few friends for dinner at Batch.  Good food and good company!

Niel in Miami 015
Before heading home, we stopped at Area 31 to check out their rooftop bar.  The bar was actually closed but the view was still amazing.

Miami view
Sunday morning looked a lot like Saturday – woke up, talked, got ready, went out to eat.  Only this time, instead of lunch, we went to Fado’s Irish Pub for brunch.  The food was good, but the conversation was better!  We talked about everything from football, soccer, religion, movies, etc.  So much fun!

Niel in Miami 021
Brothers!

Niel and Vishnu were craving something sweet after our very savory meal, so we stopped at Amore for gelato.  I wasn’t planning on getting anything because of my whole dairy-free thing, but when I heard someone say vegan gelato, my ears perked up!  Apparently, gelato can be made with water and no eggs/milk.  After sampling it, I made everyone else try it too!  It was so creamy and chocolaty.  Love it when I’m not left out!

No visit would be complete without a walk around mine and Vishnu’s favorite spot…Brickell Key.

Niel in Miami 028

Niel in Miami 029
I think we successfully convinced Niel and Neelam to retire in Miami with us one day!

And just like that the weekend was over.  But because fun times were had by all, I think it’s safe to say that our visitors will be back sometime in early 2015!

I, for one, am really looking forward to the short work week and our trip to Houston next weekend.  One more 2014 wedding to go!

Par’s Picks – 20

I hope y’all are enjoying the weekend.  It’s a bit rainy here in Miami, but I’m not complaining, especially after seeing pictures of Buffalo and other cities that have been hit hard with a lot of snow.  Sending warm thoughts to all of you who need them right now!

I’ll be back with a full weekend recap on Monday, but for now, enjoy my picks of the week!

LIFE/SELF:

The Morning Routines of 12 Women Leaders

Instead of Complaining, Remember These 10 Things

9 Good Reminders that Will Change the Way You Think 

26 Things Every Person Should Do For Themselves At Least Once A Year

5 Ways to Bounce Back From a Horrible Day

100 Motivational Quotes That Will Inspire You to Be Successful

HEALTH/WORKOUTS:

The Best Free Workout Videos on YouTube – So many great workouts…all for FREE!

Healthy Swaps for Thanksgiving – Love this mindset and philosophy!

This Is What Looking Down at Your Cell Phone Does to Your Spine 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Why People Cry When They’re Happy – I’ve always wondered!

10 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lifetime – I want to make my way through this list.

Realistic Barbie Now Has Acne, Cellulite & Other "Imperfect" Stickers – Thoughts?  I’m saving mine for a future blog post.

26 Pictures Will Make You Re-Evaluate Your Entire Existence – READ THIS!  IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!!!

BLOGGING:

How to Write Well About Controversial Topics

How to Write a Funny Post

FOOD:

5 Vegetarian Meals for Thanksgiving (Beyond Side Dishes) – YUM!

Simple Kitchen Hacks for Everyday Cooks – Love this list!

RELATIONSHIPS:

5 Things Newlyweds Need To Adjust To Quickly – Yes to all of these!  With time everything works out, but it takes just that…time!

INSPIRATION:

buddha quote

Happy weekend!

Dairy-Free Product Discoveries

It’s been exactly 15 days since I started my dairy-free experiment. And I have to be honest, it’s going ok. I haven’t had any major moments of weakness or die-hard cravings. Of course, there’s always a part of me that wishes I never had to experiment in the first place. But it’s all good!

Anyways, I think it’s been going ok because of the great dairy-free product discoveries I’ve made. Of course, there is no good substitute for real cheese, but that’s the name of this game I suppose.

So let’s get started.

My beloved Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk

Silk Almond Milk

Technically this isn’t a new discovery but whatever. Coming from someone who used to drink 3-4 glasses of cow’s milk for the first 27 years of her life, you have to trust me when I say this stuff is good. BUT you do have to give it a fair chance. It doesn’t taste like regular milk, but when included in smoothies and other foods, you really can’t tell the difference. In fact, a year or so ago, I made our morning protein smoothie using regular cow’s milk and it tasted gross. Vishnu even went as far as saying it made him feel like he was going to vomit (just being honest!). So yeah, this is and has been my favorite dairy-free product for almost three years now. I love it!

SO Delicious Coconut Milk Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (aka “ice cream)

So Delicious Ice Cream

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen me profess my love for this stuff. It’s good. The flavor is absolutely spot on (at least the Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl was), but the texture isn’t as creamy as regular ice cream. But for someone who can’t/isn’t eating dairy, this is a great little find. You may or may not find yourself standing in front of the fridge, spoon and container in hand, swearing to eat only a little bit only to find that you finished off whatever was left. Again, you may or may not find that to be true…

Trader Joe’s Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds

TJs vegan shreds

I love love love cheese. Almost as much as I love chocolate. So I had pretty high (and probably unfair) expectations for this “cheese.” When I tried it straight out of the bag, I didn’t like it at all. But obviously wanting to make it work, I used it later that night on some eggplant “pizzas.” And honestly, it was ok. It melted nicely (almost too nicely) and was gooey in texture. And while it didn’t taste like mozzarella cheese, it had a nice buttery flavor to it. I’m not sure if I’ll be buying this brand again. I think I want to try some other “cheeses” first. Or maybe even make my own. (Please feel free to recommend your favorite “cheese” in the comments section.)

 SO Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer

photo 2 (1)

We don’t drink a lot of coffee at home, but when we do, both Vishnu and I like to add a touch of cream to it. And put simply, this creamer does the trick. It doesn’t have an overwhelming coconut flavor to it, it’s thick and creamy…what more do you want!

Cashews

Cashews

Cashews are obviously not a non-dairy product per se. BUT, when you’re making your own food substitutes at home, this particular nut is great to have on hand. Now, I have to say that cashews are probably my least favorite nut. But for some reason, when soaked and blended together with a bunch of other ingredients, they are the perfect base to delicious sauces and even cheesecakes (I have yet to make a raw cheesecake but have tried Robin’s creations). I made this sauce last week and put it on everything…literally. My favorite way to use it is as a cheese substitute on nachos. SO SO GOOD! I ate said nachos at least five times between last week and this week.

If you have any favorite non-dairy product and/or recipes, PLEASE share in the comments section.