Author Archives: Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)

Our Honeymoon in Greece: Part One Athens

Here we are one month after returning from our honeymoon in Greece and I am finally getting around to tell you guys about it! As you know, life has been a tad bit crazy for us with our cross-country move last month, but I was able to go through and edit all of our honeymoon photos this weekend so I feel much more caught up.

I brought my DSLR camera with us on our honeymoon, but I ended up leaving it in the room for the majority of our vacation for two reasons. #1: It was really hot in Greece in September, and lugging a heavy camera around just wasn’t very comfortable. And #2: I consciously tried to be fully present throughout our honeymoon, and sometimes spending time setting up the “perfect” shot prevents you from doing that you know? It was a lot easier to keep my iPhone in my small cross-body purse and pull it out quickly if I wanted to capture something. So that was my long way of explaining why the majority of the photos that I’m going to share from our honeymoon actually came from my phone (although I am wishing the iPhone X was out at that time…have you seen that picture quality!?).

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

You may want to know: how did we select Greece as our honeymoon destination? Travis and I both always wanted to go to Greece, so we considered it along with Southern Italy for our honeymoon. We wanted a honeymoon that included delicious food and wine (duh!), and a mix of sightseeing and beaches. In the end, we selected Greece because we found a ridiculous flight deal that we could not pass up. Normally, Travis and I spend a long time researching our future vacation destinations, but when we were alerted to the flight deal, we ended up booking our flights to Greece that same night! It was pretty spontaneous and out of the norm for us, but with roundtrip flights to and from Athens for less than $500 per person, we knew we’d have a good amount of flexibility in our budget for hotels, activities, and meals.

Per the suggestion of a few of our friends, we only spent two days at the beginning of our trip in Athens, and allocated our remaining time to the Greek islands. To keep things organized (and to prevent this from being 50,000 words), I’ve decided to break up my honeymoon recap into three posts: Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. So in today’s post I’ll share highlights from our brief time in Athens including where we stayed, what we did, and where we ate. If you’re planning a trip to Greece I hope you’ll find this helpful, and feel free to reach out to me with additional questions.

 

Where We Stayed:

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

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We stayed at the Amalia Hotel in Syntagma Square for three nights. We booked the hotel because it is located right in the heart of Athens, and it’s walkable from all of the main tourist sites and many fantastic restaurants. We were welcomed to our room with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and fruit platter, which was very appreciated after a long day of traveling. The hotel and guests rooms are modest in appearance, but very comfortable. We had no problem falling asleep in our queen-sized bed at night and greatly enjoyed the view of the National Garden from our balcony.

Like most hotels in Greece, the Amalia offers a complimentary breakfast buffet. Given that the breakfast was included in the room rate, our expectations of it were fairly low, but we ended up being pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was. There were so many different selections of bread, eggs, breakfast pastries, cereals, jams, and more. It was so helpful to be able to fill up with a hearty breakfast and plenty of coffee before sightseeing both days.

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you’re looking for a well-located and reasonably priced hotel in Athens, I highly recommend the Amalia Hotel. All of the activities and restaurants that I mention below were walkable from the hotel, and the only time we took a cab was to travel to and from the Athens airport.

 

What We Did:

Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Athens. It was built in 330 B.C. for the Panathenaic games, and it is the only stadium in the world made entirely out of marble! It was refurbished in the late 1800’s and hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the first modern Olympics in 1896!

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We loved climbing our way to the very top of the stadium because the view looking down was incredible. Make sure to take the free audio guide tour because there aren’t many signs within the stadium, so the audio guide explains everything you see along the way. If you’re feeling up for it, you can even run a lap or two around the track (seriously, you can!).

Pro tip: Wear shoes with good traction and be EXTRA careful if you’re visiting after a rainfall. The marble steps are extremely slippery, and I took a tumble down some steps even wearing sneakers.

 

Tour the Acropolis

The Acropolis is an ancient fortified area located on top of a rocky hill in Athens. It contains many historically significant buildings, the most famous of which is the Parthenon. Visiting the Acropolis was a must-do on our list, and it was amazing to finally see it in person. I tried to remember everything I could from my 7th grade ancient history lessons, but I honestly wished that I’d done a little refresher before visiting. There are many guided tours available, which we likely would have done if we had more time.

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Depending on what time of year you go, the Acropolis can get very hot, so make sure you wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Also, you’ll be walking up rocky, steep hills throughout your tour, so I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to wear sneakers or hiking shoes.

 

Walk Through the National Garden

Our hotel was located just a short three minute walk away from the National Garden, so we spent our second morning wandering through its beautiful maze-like twists and turns. You really can’t take a wrong turn in the National Garden because every corner has something new to explore, and there are so many amazing photo-ops. There is even a small zoo inside, which is great if you’re traveling with kids.

 

Visit the Temple of Olympian Zeus

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The Temple of Olympian Zeus was an ancient Greek Temple dedicated to Zeus. Construction of the temple began in 470 BCE and what we are standing in front of in the photo above still exists today. You really have to visit in person to understand how incredible (and enormous!!) this temple is. Our Acropolis tickets included entrance to this site, but I’d say you don’t need more than 20 minutes here.

 

Where We Ate:

Ergon

Ergon was an adorable outdoor café located down the street from our hotel, and the meal we had there our first night really hit the spot after 14+ hours of traveling! We devoured every slice of bread in that bread basket with a variety of Greek dips, and we shared a small grilled whole fish for our entrée. The flavors were simple, yet totally authentic.

 

Mono

Mono was one of our favorite meals of our entire honeymoon. When we made our 7PM reservation, we felt lucky to get a good time slot considering how popular we’d heard the restaurant was. It turns out that NO ONE in Athens eats as “early” as 7PM, so we had the place to ourselves for our whole meal. Needless to say, we had fantastic service given that we were their only customers, ha!

For our meal we shared an amazing Peloponnesian white wine, a Greek salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, homemade croutons and balsamic, and moussaka for our entrée. We were very impressed by both dishes, and no bite was left untouched.

 

Avocado

Avocado is a vegetarian café located right outside of Syntagma Square. The menu has an emphasis on clean, healthy, plant-based dishes, and reminded me of something I would see in Los Angeles. Travis and I shared a fresh-pressed green juice, (a giant serving of) avocado hummus and pita, and a salad. The menu is pretty extensive, so if we were staying longer I would have liked to try more of it.

 

Athinaikon

Read all about our Honeymoon in Athens! Where we stayed, what we did and where we ate. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

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We went to Athinaikon on our last night in Athens, after window shopping at the hundreds of stores in Syntagma Square. For our meal we shared a whole fish, grilled vegetables and the house white wine. One thing we noticed throughout our time in Greece is that the house wine at most restaurants is very good! It’s served in a carafe and usually offered in a 500ml portion, which is about 2/3 a full bottle of wine. It’s a great option if you don’t want a full bottle and don’t want to spend a lot of money. For the most part, we found that a 500ml carafe of house wine was only around 5 to 6 euros (about $7 USD)!

 

Up next: I’ll be sharing parts two and three about our time in Mykonos and Santorini next, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

What I’m Loving Lately: November 2017

You guys, I just realized that my last monthly “What I’m Loving Lately” post was from JULY! Where the heck has time gone!?

When I look back on the last three months, it’s crazy to think about how much has happened. Let’s recap: I decided to spend the last few weeks of August (right before our wedding) with my parents in Maine. I had numerous wedding-related appointments on the east coast, so it didn’t make sense to fly back and forth from Los Angeles multiple times. Travis and I were married in Boston at the beginning of September, and spent the following two weeks honeymooning in Greece. When we arrived back home in Los Angeles at the end of September, we immediately started looking for an apartment in NYC (remotely) and packing up our apartment. It took us longer than we would have liked to find an apartment, so ultimately Travis had to fly to New York to start his new job, while I finished packing in Los Angeles and handling all of the little details that go into a cross-country move. So needless to say, the last three months really have been a whirlwind.

I am relieved that we finally found a (great!) apartment in NYC and got here smoothly. I just wish our movers would get here already with all of our boxes and furniture from Los Angeles. Even though we aren’t totally settled here yet, there are still plenty of things I’m loving, so let’s get this monthly series back on track, shall we!?

 

Our New Apartment (and Location!)

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When looking for an apartment in NYC we had a lot of must-have criteria on our list. Since I spend a heck of a lot of time in the kitchen, we needed a place with a gas stove, a good amount of counter space, and lots of cabinets and storage. We also wanted a large(ish) living space because we love hosting dinners and get togethers with friends. And finally, we wanted to be near some sort of park for Bessie because we were worried how she would adjust to the “Concrete Jungle” after being surrounded by greenery in Santa Monica. It’s fairly well known that our three main criteria: a large kitchen, large living area, and close proximity to a park are generally pretty hard to find in NYC, unless you’re ready to spend $$$$. Well, thanks to Travis, we somehow managed to find all three, and I feel extremely lucky. In addition to being close to Central Park, we’re also walking distance from multiple train lines, a Whole Foods, a TJ Maxx and HomeGoods (my jam!), pharmacies, a veterinarian, and basically everything else we could ever need. Once we’re all unpacked and the apartment is furnished, I think we’re going to feel great.

 

Whole Foods Sales Flyer

I am a big bargain hunter (hence my love for TJ Maxx and HomeGoods), so even though I love shopping at Whole Foods, I also try to make sure we buy products that are on sale. Did you know that Whole Foods publishes a sales flyer on their website every week? You can filter by your specific store to see what’s on sale in your area. The sales are updated on Wednesdays, so I like to check the flyer that morning to see what’s on sale for the week, and I often plan our dinners around some of those items. For example, if I see that wild salmon is on sale (something that’s usually pretty pricey), I’ll make sure to incorporate salmon into our dinner plan that week. It’s a really helpful tool if you didn’t know about it before.

 

Easy Storage Collapsable Dish Rack

I recently bought this collapsable dish rack for our kitchen and am so happy with it so far. It takes up very little space on our counter, and I love the idea of being able to collapse and hide the dish rack when we have company over or just need more counter space. Despite its small size this dish rack is pretty deep, so it’s able to hold multiple bowls, cups and cooking utensils at one time. If you have a small kitchen, I highly recommend this one!

 

Siete Grain-Free Tortilla Chips

After Travis took his Pinnertest and learned that he’s intolerant to corn, he’s been trying to eat as little of it as possible, which doesn’t exactly pan out well for his tortilla chip obsession. I’d heard a lot of good things from other bloggers about the Siete Grain-Free Tortilla Chips, so I grabbed a bag at Whole Foods last week and we flew threw it in two days! Siete chips are made with cassava flour (cassava is a root vegetable) and only real, good ingredients. After one bite, we were both hooked! These chips have a delicious salty flavor and that perfect tortilla chip crunch. They’re seriously addicting!

 

Joseph Joseph Slotted Turner

Isn’t it funny how the smallest invention can make you so happy? That’s how I feel about the Joseph Joseph spatulas. There’s a built in elevated rest that keeps the main portion of the spatula off the counter, reducing mess that would otherwise be created by letting it rest flat on the counter. I love these spatulas so much that now own three! So many spatulas start to peel or wear over time, and these don’t. Our longest lasting Joseph Joseph spatula is going on 6+ years now. We’ve used it almost daily, and it’s been run through the dishwasher hundreds of times with no problems. It’s perfect for flipping everything from roasted vegetables, pancakes, fish, and chicken. This is one of my most-loved small kitchen tools and you can find it for less than $10 at Target!

 

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds

This recipe is sponsored by Australis Barramundi. I am a longtime customer of their fish, and I am very excited for the opportunity to collaborate with them. As always, all content and opinions are my own. 

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds ll A delicious, healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner that comes together in under 25 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Hey there! I hope you had a great weekend. It was pouring in NYC yesterday, so we spent a good chunk of the afternoon and evening continuing to furnish our new apartment. Travis assembled two new shelving units, and I searched the web for a few more items that we need (while also offering him moral support, of course!).

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds ll A delicious, healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner that comes together in under 25 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Because I knew we’d have a couple of weeks here in NYC before our movers arrived with our belongings from California, I tried to photograph and prepare a few posts for you guys while we were still in Los Angeles. I’m really excited to finally share my second barramundi recipe in collaboration with Australis Barramundi! If you missed the first recipe, Barramundi with a Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce, you can find it here.

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds ll A delicious, healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner that comes together in under 25 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

For this recipe, I used a different cooking method than pan-searing because I wanted to show you how versatile this fish is. I cooked the barramundi fillets in parchment paper, which is a delicious and healthy way to cook white fish. This cooking method allows you to use very little oil, and if done correctly, results in perfectly flakey and juicy fish. If you’ve never cooked fish in parchment paper before, don’t worry! It’s very easy, and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds ll A delicious, healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner that comes together in under 25 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The fish is cooked on top of a bed of baby spinach, so there’s no need to make a separate side dish. You have a complete meal just in the parchment paper alone! I prepared a mixture of chopped dates, toasted almonds, and lemon zest to serve with the barramundi. It adds a nice hint of sweetness and varying textures to the dish.

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds ll A delicious, healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner that comes together in under 25 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There are so many delicious ways to prepare barramundi, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite fish. One of the best parts about this recipe is that it takes less than 25 minutes from start to finish. I love quick and easy weeknight meals that appear far more complicated than they really are!

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds ll A delicious, healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner that comes together in under 25 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • Two 6 oz. barramundi fillets
  • 1 whole lemon
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Dry the barramundi fillets with a paper towel and sprinkle each piece generously with salt and pepper. Set aside. Zest the entire lemon and then cut half of the lemon into 4-5 thin slices. Juice the remaining half of the lemon into a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Lay two large pieces of parchment paper (about 12" x 12") side by side. Divide the sliced shallots and baby spinach between each piece of parchment, and sprinkle the spinach and shallots with a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay the barramundi fillets on top of the spinach and shallots, and top each fillet with the thin lemon slices. Drizzle about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the fillets. One sheet at a time, close the parchment paper packets: bring two opposite sides of the paper together and fold them together several times to create a tight seal. Then fold up each end of the paper to create a tight seal on all sides. It's fine if the seals loosen slightly in this process.
  4. Place the parchment paper packets on a large baking sheet and bake the barramundi on the middle rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish is tender and flakes easily.
  5. While the fish is cooking, bring a small skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, and once hot add the chopped almonds. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add the dates and cook until warmed through, stirring regularly, about an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, or to taste.
  6. Open the barramundi packets and transfer the fish, spinach, shallots, and lemon slices to two plates. Top each piece of barramundi with the date-almond mixture and serve immediately.
Barramundi in Parchment with Lemons, Dates and Toasted Almonds ll A delicious, healthy, gluten-free weeknight dinner that comes together in under 25 minutes! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

My Favorite Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier

Let it be known: I traveled A LOT in 2017. From our EuroTrip in February and March, to regular flights to and from Boston for wedding planning, and then our honeymoon in Greece, I’ve spent a lot of time on planes, in hotels, packing and repacking. I’ve always been an over-packer. I’m that person who packs the new-with-tags top that’s been sitting in my closet for three months, thinking that maybe I’ll just happen to wear it on my upcoming trip (guess what? I never do!). By the end of a trip I’ll usually stare at my suitcase and kick myself for bringing way too much stuff. However, because we traveled so much over the course of the last year I’ve gotten MUCH better at packing. I can attribute a lot of that improvement to the packing essentials I’ve found that really make traveling easier. Because these items have helped me so much, I decided to do a roundup of my favorites to share with you. Hopefully you find something new that helps you for an upcoming trip!

 

Samsonite Softside Spinner Suitcase

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Travis and I each got one of these suitcases to use as our checked baggage before our Eurotrip earlier this year. These Samsonite bags are extremely lightweight and the four wheels at the bottom allow you to cruise through the airport easily. They’re very roomy without looking massive, and they fit our packing cubes (mentioned below) perfectly. Pro tip: you can usually find similar Samsonite luggage at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or Ross for even less than you’d find on Amazon!

 

Longchamp Expandable Bag

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’ve always loved Longchamp tote bags. I used one in college to carry my books and have another that I use as a beach bag. About five years ago my mom gifted me with a black expandable Longchamp bag that I’ve used basically every day since. It’s a great multipurpose tote because it expands into an even larger size that’s great for traveling when you’re carrying bulkier items such as a laptop and neck pillow. I always use this expandable tote as my “hand baggage” that goes under the seat on the plane. These bags are so durable — I’ve given mine a pretty good beating over the last five years, and it’s still going strong!

 

Bag Bungee

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I use the Bag Bungee to attach my Longchamp (or other carry-on bag) to the top of my rolling suitcase when I’m walking long distances through a city or airport. It’s very secure and it allows you to keep extra weight off your back or shoulders while you’re traveling.

 

Bagail Packing Cubes

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Packing Cubes, where have you been all my life!? I first read about packing cubes when we were preparing for our trip to Europe earlier in the year. I’ll admit, at first I didn’t get the hype. I thought: So what, you put your clothes in cubes? What’s the big deal?

Well packing cubes have completely changed the way I pack. I use each cube for a different “category” of clothing. One cube is for pants, one is for tops, another for sweaters, and another for miscellaneous items. The cubes basically act as dresser drawers, so if you’re looking for one pair of pants, all you have to do is take out that specific cube and the rest of your items stay folded and organized in your suitcase. Packing cubes really help if you’re traveling from city to city because you won’t waste time unpacking and repacking your suitcase.

 

Wet Ones Antibacterial Wipes

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There are so many germs on planes, and being stuck close together with other passengers for long hours is one of the easiest ways to get sick. I recently started bringing antibacterial wipes in my carry-on bag, and I wipe down everything around me as soon as I sit down. Knowing that my armrest, TV screen, tray table, and headrest are clean makes me rest a lot easier, and ever since I started this I haven’t gotten sick after a flight.

 

Protein-Packed Snacks

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The food on long haul international flights can often leave much to be desired, so I try to pack healthy protein-packed snacks whenever we travel. Some of my favorite travel snacks include Chef’s Cut Chicken Jerky and RX Peanut Butter Bars because both have lots of protein to keep you going for a couple of hours. If I’m able to, I like to pack us turkey and avocado sandwiches on whole wheat bread for cross-country flights since most airlines do not serve any complimentary food anymore. Having healthy snacks as a backup saves me from getting hangry, and then I’m less likely to reach for an unhealthy food option.

 

Bobble Water Bottle

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’ve talked about my love for Bobble water bottles a bunch before, but if you’re new around here, the reason I love this water bottle is because it filters the water as you drink it. Think of it as a Brita filter in your water bottle. I drink water like a fish, so I love having my Bobble with me to fill up in any sink or water fountain.

 

Cabeau Neck Pillow

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’ve tried a lot of neck pillows and this one is by far my favorite. It’s made from thick memory foam and the pillow has an extra raised layer that offers just the right amount of support for your head and neck. It’s the first neck pillow that’s allowed me to sleep for more than one hour at a time on a plane. Travis and I both have these pillows and we’ve even purchased them as gifts for others because we love them so much.

 

Microfiber Travel Towels

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I bought these towels when we went to Israel in the spring of 2016 because the trip required that we bring our own towels for swimming and other activities. I knew we’d constantly be on the go throughout our ten days there, and I hated the idea of packing a large, wet towel in my suitcase and having to reuse it (hello mildew!).

Welcome the travel towel! This particular brand comes with a set of two towels: one large bath/beach towel and another small hand towel. Here’s why I love these towels: They’re very thin, yet incredibly absorbent. They take up as much room in your suitcase as a t-shirt, making them easy to pack even in a small carry-on. The best part about these towels is how fast they dry. They’re basically completely dry within an hour or so from using them, which would be next to impossible for a regular cotton towel.

 

Tide Travel Sink Packets

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

These Tide Travel Sink Packets are a fairly new discovery, and I used them often throughout our honeymoon in Greece when we didn’t have access to a washing machine. These packets are great for hand washing delicate garments in the sink or when you just need to clean a couple of items during your trip.

 

Medicine

Packing Essentials That Make Traveling Easier ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There is no question that traveling long distances, especially through different climates and time zones, is an easy way to get sick. I always like to be as prepared as possible and pack a variety of medications and first-aid items in my suitcase. Most often this includes: Vitamin C capsules, NyQuil, Advil (or other Ibuprofen), anti-diarrhea and laxatives (just keepin’ it real, you never know!), Tums, Benadryl, cough drops, blister bandaids, and Neosporin.  Some people might think that this is a waste of space in your suitcase; however, if you’re traveling in a different country and not feeling great, the last thing you’ll want to do is have to look for a pharmacy and decipher medication labels in a different language. Trust me, it isn’t fun!

 

Disclosure: I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite packing essentials. While none of these items are sponsored, this post does include some affiliate links, which means if you buy one of these products I may earn a tiny commission. As always, thank you for your support!

Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, and White Wine Sauce

This post is sponsored by Australis Barramundi. I am a longtime customer of their fish, and I am thrilled to collaborate with them today. As always, all content and opinions are my own. 

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I am SO excited to share this Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, and White Wine Sauce recipe today. This dish was inspired by the flavors we sampled throughout our honeymoon in Greece last month.

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Many of the ingredients in this recipe are ones you likely have in your fridge and pantry already. I made sure to take advantage of the Santa Monica Farmers Market one last time before we move to NYC and grabbed a pint of cherry tomatoes and bunch of fresh basil for this recipe.

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’ve mentioned my love for the Australis Barramundi before. Travis and I have been buying it from Whole Foods for years and we always have a couple bags stocked up in our freezer. Because we’re that hooked, I even checked to see if it’s sold at the Whole Foods near our new apartment in NYC (answer: it is!). You can find Australis Barramundi at many Whole Foods locations and specialty grocery stores nationwide.

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you’ve never tried barramundi before, it’s a meaty, buttery white fish with a very mild flavor. I love that it soaks up the flavors of whatever you serve it with. Barramundi is also very high in omega 3s and an EXCELLENT source of protein (I’m talking 34 grams in a 6 oz. piece!).

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Australis uses super freezing methods to lock in the freshness and flavor of their fish, so once the barramundi is defrosted it tastes just like it was fished that week. Technically speaking, this flash-frozen method actually makes the barramundi fresher than “fresh” fish since there is zero loss of flavor or spoilage during transportation! That’s why we’ve always felt as though we’re eating a restaurant quality meal when we cook it at home.

The fish comes pre-portioned in 4-6 oz. filets, and it’s very easy to defrost. Simply place the vacuum-sealed filets in a large bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes and voila! The pre-portioned pieces are also great if you’re just cooking for one.

 

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This barramundi recipe is easily one of my favorites on the blog right now. I would happily eat this dish every day of the week. The kalamata olives add a nice salty element to the sauce, but if you’re not an olive person then you may want to substitute in one tablespoon of capers in their place.

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Fresh basil is also a must, and the more the better!

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I know you’re going to love this recipe! Make sure to look for Australis Barramundi in the frozen fish section at Whole Foods. It’s fantastic!

 

Barramundi in Tomato Basil White Wine Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 6-8 oz. Australis Barramundi
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, thinly sliced
  • ⅛ cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the frozen barramundi (still in its vacuum-sealed plastic packaging) in a large bowl of cold water and allow to defrost (about 15 minutes). Once the fish is defrosted, use scissors to remove it from the plastic and place the fish on a large plate. Use paper towels to remove excess water from the fish and set aside.
  2. Heat a small pan over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and then add the crushed red pepper flakes and garlic, sautéing constantly for about 1 minute. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for three minutes, until they're soft and blistering. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper while they're cooking.
  3. Next, add the kalamata olives to the pan and cook for one minute. Add the wine and scrape up any bits that have accumulated at the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a light simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest and basil. Taste the mixture and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
  4. Heat the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Season both sides of the barramundi with course sea salt and ground black pepper. Place the fish in the pan and cook for about four minutes on one side, and then flip and cook on the second side for an additional four minutes, or until the fish is lightly golden brown and cooked through.
  5. Place each piece of barramundi on a plate and serve the tomato, olive, white wine sauce over the fish. Serve immediately.
 

This Barramundi with Tomato, Olive, White Wine Sauce Recipe is so healthy and incredibly flavorful! It's easy enough to throw together for a quick weeknight dinner, but also impressive enough to serve to guests! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Healthy Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins are perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast or yummy lunchbox treat.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins. A delicious and healthy snack or after-school treat! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

These Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins are a recreation of one of the very first recipes I made for this blog all the way back when I was a senior in college. I remember placing two muffins on a white plate and carrying the plate outside to the concrete steps of our off-campus house, hoping to secure some good natural light for my photos. Back then I used a small point-and-shoot camera and after snapping 5-6 photos of two lonely muffins on a white plate with a beautiful concrete background, I called it a day and posted the photos online. Looking back at those pictures, I’m pretty…well…horrified!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins. A delicious and healthy snack or after-school treat! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’d say things have come a long way since then! Now, some years later, I’ve changed the recipe ever so slightly, and I think you’ll love this new and improved version. If you love a good PB & J sandwich, then these muffins are for you!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins. A delicious and healthy snack or after-school treat! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I like to eat these as a midday snack, but they’re also a great option if you have to run out the door quickly in the morning.

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins. A delicious and healthy snack or after-school treat! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Feel free to use the jelly of your choice, whether that’s strawberry, grape, or reduced-sugar. I personally love the taste of real raspberry jam, so that’s what I used in this version.

 

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut sugar*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cup milk of choice (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter, melted in the microwave for 30 seconds
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Raspberry Jelly (or jelly of choice)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour through salt). Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the wet ingredients (milk through vanilla extract). Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and mix in the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
  4. Fill each muffin cup halfway with the batter. Then place 2 teaspoons jelly in the middle of each cup. Pour the remaining batter on top of the jelly in each cup.
  5. Bake for 16 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the muffin pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
*Can substitute brown sugar
 

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins. A delicious and healthy snack or after-school treat! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Major Life Updates: We’re Married & We’re Moving!

Hey guys, it’s been awhile! And A LOT has happened in the last few weeks, so it’s about time that I get you up to speed.

Wedding!

Travis and I were married in Boston on Labor Day weekend! Our wedding day was everything I dreamed of and more. It felt so special to be married in the city I grew up in, and to celebrate with our closest friends and family. Once I receive the professional photos from the photographer, I will write a full wedding recap. In the meantime, here are a few photos I collected from our guests.

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Rachel Pattison and Travis Winkler Elm Bank Wedding, Boston MA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Honeymoon!

Two full days after our wedding, Travis and I flew from Boston to Greece for our honeymoon! We visited Athens for two days, Mykonos for six and Santorini for another six. It was a perfectly long and relaxing vacation with my favorite person and travel buddy. Since we had plenty of time in each location, we never felt rushed and we were able to take our time exploring each area.

Mykonos Honeymoon ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I have so many photos and Greece travel tips I want to share with you all, but in effort to keep this blog post a reasonable length, I’ll save all that for another day.

Honeymoon in Santorini, Greece ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And lastly…we’re moving!

And finally, our new BIG piece of news. We’re moving to NYC! Travis accepted a job in New York that we really could not pass up. The role combines two of his favorite things: sports and media, so I’m thrilled for him. Everything is just moving so fast! We just got back from our honeymoon and now we’re in the midst of packing up our apartment here in Los Angeles and trying to find an apartment in New York.

Santa Monica Boardwalk ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This move is certainly bittersweet. When I first moved to Los Angeles five years ago, I regularly told Travis how much I would love to move back east to be closer to our family and friends. But now, five years later, I finally feel settled in Los Angeles. We’ve both made incredible friendships and love the sunny, healthy and active lifestyle here. Los Angeles, specifically Santa Monica, is where Travis and I have spent the majority of our relationship and built our first “home” (ahem, one bedroom apartment) together. It’s where we fostered over twelve dogs and ultimately found Bessie, our favorite furry family member. It’s where I taught myself food photography and decided to turn my blog into a little business. We are really going to miss this city.

Bessie ll Chihuahua Terrier Mix Rescue Dog from Los Angeles, CA ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There are, however, SO many things about New York that I am looking forward to. I can’t wait to be just blocks or a quick subway ride away from so many of our friends. I look forward to countless dinner parties, holidays, birthdays, and many other celebrations with people we love. We’ve had to miss out on many of these events over the years while we were on the west coast. I also look forward to being able to take public transportation just about anywhere and not sitting in traffic on a regular basis.

A few people have asked me if I am ready to go back to the cold winters. The short answer is not so much, but I do look forward to having seasons again. I think having seasons makes you appreciate the good weather days even more. In Los Angeles, I rarely check the temperature because it’s pretty much 75 degrees and sunny every.single.day. I will miss being able to jog to the gym at 7AM on a January morning in just leggings and a thin long-sleeved top.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This has been an absolutely crazy, fun, exciting year for us. From quitting my job, to traveling throughout Europe, to getting married, and now moving across the country, I can honestly say that 2017 was our best year yet.

Thank you for reading and following along. I appreciate it more than you know! I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule with you guys. Stay tuned for some delicious recipes coming atcha this month!

Carrot Cake Granola

I can’t believe this week is finally here! It’s our wedding week! Travis and I have been engaged for about one year and a half, and after so many months of wedding planning and thinking about our special day, we are both thrilled that it’s here.

We are getting married in Boston (where I grew up) on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, and flying from Boston to Greece for our honeymoon a few days later. If you’ve been to Greece and have any recommendations with us, be sure to let me know! I know the next week is going to be a whirlwind, and I am going to do my best to soak it all up.

If you love carrot cake, then you're going to love this healthy Carrot Cake Granola! It's gluten-free, vegan, and packed with delicious carrot cake flavor. Eat it with yogurt, milk, or just on its own! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…food!

I’ve been on a major granola kick recently. After months of regularly making my favorite Cardamom Granola, I decided to change things up a bit. For this new granola recipe I wanted to make something reminiscent of my all-time favorite dessert: carrot cake.

If you love carrot cake, then you're going to love this healthy Carrot Cake Granola! It's gluten-free, vegan, and packed with delicious carrot cake flavor. Eat it with yogurt, milk, or just on its own! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This granola has all of the essential elements of a good carrot cake (minus the frosting, of course!). It’s packed with freshly grated carrots, walnuts, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. It’s also an ideal recipe for anyone with dietary restrictions because it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free.

If you love carrot cake, then you're going to love this healthy Carrot Cake Granola! It's gluten-free, vegan, and packed with delicious carrot cake flavor. Eat it with yogurt, milk, or just on its own! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you love carrot cake like I do, then I know you’re going to love this carrot cake granola. Serve it on top of yogurt, with milk, or just snack on it right out of the container!

 

Carrot Cake Granola
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • ½ cup unsalted pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted walnuts, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves (optional)
  • ⅛ cup maple syrup
  • ⅛ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, grated carrots, pecans, walnuts, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves (optional). In a separate small bowl mix together the maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Pour the maple syrup mixture into the bowl with the oats and carrots, and toss until well combined.
  3. Spread the mixture out evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan and stirring the granola halfway through the baking time. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool until the granola reaches room temperature. Then add raisins and toss to combine. Store the granola in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
 

If you love carrot cake, then you're going to love this healthy Carrot Cake Granola! It's gluten-free, vegan, and packed with delicious carrot cake flavor. Eat it with yogurt, milk, or just on its own! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

My New “Products I Love” Page!

Hey guys! I hope you’re having a great week so far.

I am popping in with a quick post today to let you know about my brand new Products I Love page. I wanted to make it easier for you to reference products I mention in blog posts, so now you can find them all in one place instead of searching through old posts.

The new page is located at the far right end of the menu bar at the top of my site. If you hover over Products I Love you’ll see a dropdown menu with different categories.

 

I’ve separated the products into four categories: Cooking and Baking Equipment, Pantry Staples, Small Kitchen Tools, and Natural Cleaning Products. I am sure that as time goes on I’ll add more categories as needed, but for now, hopefully you’re able to find what you’re looking for.

When you click on a category you’ll be taken to a new page that shows products I love and use on a regular basis.

My New Products I Love Page -- www.littlechefbigappetite.com

In some cases I’ve included a bit of commentary to let you know how I use the product or what I love about it.

As I discover new products I’ll make sure to add them to these pages. There are some products for which I was unable to find a reasonable price online, so I haven’t added those to these lists (because no one wants to spend $43 on 2 boxes of cereal!).

I hope you like these new pages and find a new-to-you food product or cooking tool that you love. Please note that if you click on a product image, all of the prices listed are the actual selling prices. While I may receive a tiny commission if you purchase one of these products, there is no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting this little blog!

 

If there are any categories or products that you want to see, just be sure to let me know in either the comments below or by emailing me.

Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios

This Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese and Pistachios is the perfect healthy, summer salad! Add grilled tofu or chicken and you’ve got yourself a protein-packed workday lunch.

Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios is a summertime crowd pleaser! Even your pickiest eaters will love the combination of sweet and tangy in this delicious and healthy salad. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I love cherries in the summer. They’re best between May and August, so I take full advantage during the summer months and buy them almost weekly. While delicious just for snacking, cherries are incredibly versatile and can be used in many different dishes, both savory and sweet. This Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts remains one of my all-time favorite summer recipes. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend you do!

Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios is a summertime crowd pleaser! Even your pickiest eaters will love the combination of sweet and tangy in this delicious and healthy salad. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Pro tip: when selecting the perfect bunch of cherries, look for the ones with shiny skin and green stems still attached. They’re the best.

Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios is a summertime crowd pleaser! Even your pickiest eaters will love the combination of sweet and tangy in this delicious and healthy salad. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This spinach salad has all of the necessary elements: sweetness from the cherries and blueberries, a bit of tang from the goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette, and a delicious crunch from the pistachios. Serve it alongside grilled chicken or fish for a healthy summer dinner.

Spinach Salad with Cherries, Goat Cheese, and Pistachios is a summertime crowd pleaser! Even your pickiest eaters will love the combination of sweet and tangy in this delicious and healthy salad. ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

For the full recipe and some additional tips to perfecting this salad, head over to SoFabFood! I’m sharing the recipe on their site.

Let me know if you try this salad. I think you’re going to love it!

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