flower child – atlanta, ga

last weekend tori was in town for some baby andrich festivities, and if anyone knows our family, they love going out to their favorite atlanta restaurants when in town.  don’t get me wrong:  birmingham has a buzzing food scene that is making waves these days, but we all have those must-have or must-try spots when we go to a new city or visit a familiar one.

well, last sunday we decided to take her to flower child, a new restaurant around lenox.  i’d noticed it when we were eating at another restaurant near there last month, and after taking a look at the menu online, i knew it would be the perfect spot for a delicious lunch on a hot summer afternoon.

we arrived right at noon on a sunday, hoping to beat the out-pouring of church crowds.  however, it seems that everyone else in buckhead had the same idea.  our wait wasn’t too long, thank goodness, but the restaurant was already full of folks and looked like it had been busy since open.  flower child is a “fast-casual” restaurant, where you order at the register and they bring your food to you.  don’t worry, though, with a long line you’ll have plenty of time to decide on what to eat.  plus, they had infused water available to help keep you hydrated in that lovely august heat.

to no one’s surprise, we all had trouble deciding what to have, as nearly everything on the menu made our mouths water!  we eventually made our selections, paid, and found a table right next to their charming and colorful “choose happy” wall.  if that doesn’t make you smile, i don’t know what will!

already excited about this new restaurant experience, our minds were blown when the bowls and plates started to arrive.  i’m not going to go through each dish one-by-one (mainly because all you need to know is that everyone loved what they ordered), so what i will say is that everyone was in the clean plate club that afternoon.  i kid you not when i say not a single morsel remained!

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can you find me back at flower child again?  most certainly!  and most likely after a sweaty soulcycle class.  further, do i recommend you yourself try flower child?  absolutely!  i already mentioned it to my friend marty and insisted he invite us when he wants to go.  🙂  if you are looking for fresh, fun fare that gets you excited to put aside your typical greasy meal out, please do yourself a favor and try flower child.  and tell me when you go.  cause imma wanna be there.

the juice you chew

okay, before you go running for the hills about a post called “the juice you chew”, i implore you hear me out on this one.  this past saturday i was at orangetheory with our coach alana, and after a sweaty 55-minute endurance class, we were stretching when she said she had a treat for us.  ooh, there’s nothing better than a hard-earned treat!  well, i couldn’t quite hear everything she was saying about this chuice stuff, but the bit i did hear was something along the lines of “you take a sip, you chew, take a sip, chew, so on and so forth.  it’s only 150 calories per bottle and it is healthy!  the chewing process helps you digest your food, and having something in a bottle for on-the-go lifestyles is perfect.”  out of respect and intrigue i figured i had nothing to lose, so i made my way to the front of the class to grab a bottle for myself.

now, i’d be lying if i said i wanted to chug it down right away.  the thick texture and very green color had me a little worried that i might not even be able to choke down a swallow of the stuff.  however, i’m usually down for trying something new at least once, so i went for it.

i cannot even begin to tell you how pleasantly surprised i was, but i shall try!  first, i enjoy kale, so getting to chomp on it along with some crunchy pine nuts didn’t phase me at all.  and, along with all the other fresh fruit and vegetables, it was quite a flavor explosion.  also, i don’t usually have a texture aversion when it comes to what i eat, so that was something i didn’t really have to get past.

i will say that drinking (or maybe eating?) chuice isn’t the most graceful of acts, in that sometimes you’re slurping up a piece of vegetable while also trying to sip.  just imagine that while trying to drive home.  oh, and here’s a pro-tip when enjoying chuice:  be sure to shake after each sip to make sure the thinner liquid actually mixes in with all the more solid ingredients.  the reason i say this is because if you do not you’ll end up with a big clump of vegetables and fruits at the bottom of the bottle that you cannot get out, which is a shame because all those vegetables and fruits are so tasty!

now, you might be thinking “eh, that evergreen flavor doesn’t look like my cup of tea.”  well, have i got news for you!  they also have one called heart-beet!  seriously!  i cannot make up this stuff, and you all know how much i love beets, so i am convinced it is fate.  you can purchase chuice online or, if you got to their locator page, you can find a store near you where you can indulge.  lucky for me there are plenty of nearby whole foods that carry them, so i just cannot wait to stop by.  do your body something new and good and give chuice a try!

the humble beet

folks, this post is dedicated to the humble, the delicious, the underrated and widely unknown beet.  i’m not sure i could pinpoint in time for you when and where my beet obsession began, but it feels like such a natural pairing to me and it’s almost as if i can never get enough!  i think if you were to ask my friends about my love for beets, they’d probably say the same thing.  i mean, it’s so known among my personal circle that whenever beets are on the menu at a restaurant, everyone immediately hollers, “kelsey!  there’s beets on the menu!  are you going to get them?”  and, i always and happily reply, “of course!”

i love my beets cold, cooked, or now, as i recently discovered, in cracker form!  that’s right, it’s the cracker i’ve been waiting for my entire life.  i was just doing my weekly shopping at the local disco kroger when i moseyed into the cracker aisle, trying to make a snack selection.  i could always go with the traditional cheez-its or ritz crackers but then a beacon of light shone directly in the right spot and called me to the good thins beet crackers.

i squeaked in excitement, left my buggie in the middle of the aisle, and rushed over to the shelf.  i could hardly believe what my eyes were seeing!  i immediately threw them into the cart and rushed home so that i could give them a taste.  now, as a beet-lover, i had high expectations for these crackers.  as i began to munch away, i was waiting for the classic beet flavor to hit me like a ton of bricks but it didn’t quite happen.  it really is more of a hint of beet after you take a few bites and, if you didn’t know they were beet crackers, you probably wouldn’t be able to identify them as such.  however, i am still ecstatic that the cracker industry is trying to raise awareness about this incredible root vegetable that really has so many health benefits and is quite versatile in the kitchen.  from gold beets to red beets, just cook ’em up, pour on some balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle on some goat cheese and you’re good to go!  #beetsforlife!

mmm, halos!

in an effort to get a jump start on the tried (and tired) tradition of resolving to eat healthier with the new year, i’ve decided that if temptation is out of sight then it is out of mind.  so, while cruising the local publix this past weekend, i returned the santitas chips, velveeta cheese, and can of ro*tel back to their shelves with much discipline and instead opted for something more natural and, overall, healthier for the body:  halos!

you may be familiar with halos because of all their cute advertisements lately.  for example, take my favorite commercial airing these days.

gaaaah, i about died when i first saw it!  now, it may be true that the target audience for halos is your average six year-old, but that doesn’t mean that we adults can’t enjoy them also.

i toted the five-pound box of citrus treats back to the condo and got to work.  i figure the easier i make it to eat well the more i will do it.  so, having healthy food in the house is step one.  step two?  make those halos even easier to enjoy by pre-peeling them!  getting those excuses out of the way will help hold me accountable to whatever wellness goals i may have.  the big question, though?  how long will it be before i give in to the stash of oreos in the kitchen?  keep your fingers crossed for me!

 

au naturale!

earlier this week i needed to whip up a quick dinner for phillip and myself.  we’d already done some serious work on my mom’s famous chicken tortilla soup, so i was in the mood for something summer-y and easy.  i knew bratwursts were a good choice along with some velveeta shells and cheese.  i needed something a bit healthy to go on the plate, though, so, in a moment of inspiration, i decided asparagus would be an excellent idea.  it’s one of those vegetables i don’t usually prepare too often for myself but very much enjoy whenever i have it with my meal.

after a quick trip to publix, i got home, lopped off the rough ends of each piece, and lined them up nicely on a foil-covered cookie sheet.  i coated them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and then popped them into the 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  it was just enough time to get them crisp and crunchy, avoiding that soggy, chewy texture that no one likes in their asparagus!

the oven beeped loudly to announce that its job was done, and after setting the tray on the countertop, i kind of stood and admired what was before me.  okay, maybe admired is the wrong word to use here, but the beautiful color of this natural food that had come from the earth almost mesmerized me.  i mean, sure, i love a good processed and pre-packaged guilty pleasure just as much as the next foodie, but every now and then i eat something so simple and fresh and flavorful that i just have to stop and appreciate the moment.  join me, won’t you?

almost risotto

risotto

tonight i was jonesing for something delicious and hearty, something healthy for me, too.  i came upon this recipe, a risotto remake, through active.com, since i sometimes like to call myself a runner.  the dish was flavorful and, as i mentioned, quite hearty.  it makes a very large potful, so you will have plenty for your family or enough for leftovers all week long.  i served mine with pork tenderloin, a great pairing to round out this meal.  enjoy!