Canned Champagne, Sushi & a Smoothie

12 Mar

{Scroll down for Lean Green Quinoa Smoothie!}

Monday again already?? That was a quick one.

Could have something to do with the dreaded “spring forward” of Daylight Savings Time. But we won’t talk about that here because you probably already read enough about that through the smattering of Facebook statuses that went up about it.

A more exciting topic:

CHAMPAGNE IN A CAN! With an attached straw!

 This weekend featured back to back birthdays of friends, and canned champagne made its debut at get-together #2. Needless to say, I approved.

On top of birthday fun, the weekend including some tasty restaurant adventuring. Friday night took us to a Lebanese restaurant in the River North neighborhood called Kan Zaman, where an aggressive belly dancer and a table of friends tried bullying me into a dance. I however had a little too much hummus and bulgur wheat for bellydancing of any kind 😉 It’s a rare occasion when I don’t seize an opportunity to shake it.

Saturday night JC & I enjoyed a one on one dinner at another River North establishment — this time a sushi spot by the name of Union Sushi & Barbecue. 

We were seated on a “floating ledge” looking over the restaurant. The hostess told us we’d feel like hippies. Given our recent {fruitful} track record with hippies, we decided to heed her advice.

This time the hippies steered us a bit sideways, considering our floating ledge situation meant dining on metal stools. Don’t know about y’all, but I prefer a back when I’m gulping down some sushi. At least the view was fun … though John thought it’d be more fun if we could throw objects into that silver mesh decorative thing.

As for the food, it was dynamite. First of all, that edamame you might have noticed above was complimentary, kind of like the Asian version of chips & salsa. This, we greatly enjoyed.

In addition to a sushi bar, Union features a 600 degree grill on which they barbecue meats ranging from the classic spare ribs to scary kangaroo and alligator.

I dared JC to walk on the wild side and bite into some ‘gator, but he rolled with the beef tongue instead:

Tongue & tongue (plus slight mustache.)

The beef tongue was topped with rice puff for texture – I had a little nibble and deemed it delicious.

I enjoyed the black rice sushi sampler:

With a “Skinny Geisha” cocktail – basically a fancied up vodka fresca.

The black rice was an amazing experience – I had to do some googling beforehand to figure out what the heck it was. I was delighted to discover it is whole grain and full of antioxidants. Score!!

After a weekend of dining out, I like to kick off the week with a meal plan that maps out a week of whole foods to keep me energized and balanced. No matter how well I try to eat when I dine out, I rely on meal plans and trusty favorites.

I thought I’d share one of my recent creations to help you guys get your weeks off on the right foot. This breakfast is lean, it’s green, and it’s a delicious, energizing, satisfying machine.

Lean Green Quinoa Smoothie

Large handful of spinach (1-1/2 cups)
1 banana
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 C. cooked (& cooled) quinoa
1 C. milk (I use unsweetened almond)
1 TBSP Chia seeds
1 TBSP almond butter
dash of cinnamon

Soak chia seeds in a small cup of water for 5-10 minutes.

Combine all ingredients and blend 😀

I know it sounds a little bizarre – quinoa in a smoothie?? But the texture is wonderful — the quinoa doesn’t get completely ground, so this smoothie eats more like a chew-able meal. Plus it’s an amazing way to sneak in some serious veggies without even noticing.

I like to make a big batch of quinoa in the rice cooker at the beginning of the week to have on hand for smoothies, salads, stir frys, etc.

What are you doing to start the week off on a healthy foot?


One Response to “Canned Champagne, Sushi & a Smoothie”


  1. Two in One « Upbeat Eats - March 14, 2012

    […] an effort to stick with my eat something green idea for March, and in keeping with Monday’s Lean Green Quinoa smoothie,  I plan on rounding out the week with green and/or St. Patrick’s Day-ish recipes.  Are […]

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