Author Archives: Rachel (littlechefbigappetite)

Where to Eat Healthy in Vienna

We’re finally back in the U.S.! Travis and I arrived home to our apartment in Los Angeles exactly a week ago, and I’d say it’s taken us this full week to really adjust. I don’t know about you, but jet lag really affects me. Even at the beginning of our time in Europe, I was constantly tired and it took forever for my body to adjust to the nine-hour time difference. The same thing happened when we got back to LA, and the first few nights we were crawling into bed at 8PM exhausted. 

Now that we’re finally back to a routine, I am excited to talk about the next city on our trip: Vienna!

Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Travis and I really didn’t know what to expect from Vienna, but we did have a feeling that the food was going to be much heavier than what we had in Amsterdam. Austria is known for their wiener schnitzel (fried, breaded veal) and pastries, specifically apfelstrudel (apple strudel)…so not exactly green, healthy salads that us spoiled Californians are used to ;-).

I won’t lie to you. If you’re a relatively healthy eater, eating at restaurants in Vienna isn’t that easy. It’s even harder if you’re vegetarian or vegan (beef, pork, and poultry dominate restaurant menus). The upside is that most restaurants offer an English version of their menu, so you don’t have to guess or rely on a translation app.

We did our best to scope out some of the “healthier” restaurants in the city, and I think we hit the jackpot. So without further ado, here’s my list of where to eat healthy in Vienna:

Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

Naschtmarket

Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Naschtmarket is the largest and most popular market in Vienna. Here you’ll find a variety of vendors selling everything from fruits, vegetables, nuts, prepared foods, pastries, olive oil, and handmade soaps. If you’re renting an apartment with a kitchen, this is a great place to pick up some healthy produce for your stay.

There are also many restaurants within Naschtmarket. We loved the Naschtmarket Deli for brunch on a Saturday morning. The atmosphere was very lively and fun, and there was a DJ playing music in the corner. The menu is expansive and I enjoyed a delicious falafel salad, while Travis loved his turkey kebabs. They have plenty of healthy options, including vegetarian and gluten-free choices.

 

Hungry Guy

Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Hungry Guy is on many of the top lists of Vienna restaurants…and deservingly so. It’s located right in the center of the city, and it’s constantly packed with locals. We went during the lunch rush and had to wait a bit for a seat, but it was definitely worth it.

The owner, Eyal Guy, moved to Vienna from Israel and brought with him some of the best-tasting Mediterranean food we’ve ever had. Travis and I tried the Fensenjen (Persian chicken stew) and the Chicken Schwarma Pita. Both knocked our socks off.

Holy moly, their pita is amaaaaazing! It’s thick, soft, and doughy…and we talked about it throughout the rest of our trip. They bake it in-house constantly throughout the day, so you know you’re always getting a fresh one. It was the perfect vehicle to hold the chicken schwarma, and we also used it to soak up all of the delicious sauce in the chicken stew. The pita sandwiches are hefty (I honestly would be fine splitting one), and we had some of the chicken stew leftover to take with us. You really get a great value here.

If we had more time, we would have gone back to Hungry Guy again to explore more of the menu. It was that good. Seriously, don’t skip this place.

 

Nguyen’s Pho House

Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Vietnamese food can be a great option when you’re looking for a healthy meal. Traditional dishes usually contain lots of veggies and you can most often substitute tofu for chicken or beef in any dish. We loved the mango salad and pho at Nguyen’s. The salad was light and refreshing and the pho was perfect on a very chilly night. There are plenty of other healthy dishes on the menu for you to choose from.

Also, if you’re looking for a splurge, the house white wine was delicious and less than $3 USD a glass!

 

Swing Kitchen

Where to Eat Healthy In Vienna ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Swing Kitchen is 100% vegan fast food and the menu contains a variety of plant-based salads, wraps and burgers. There are three locations, we visited the one on Operngasse.

The restaurant is super popular with locals, who all came pouring in during their lunch break. The two ladies at the counter spoke great English and were extremely helpful in explaining the menu. I highly recommend the Swing Burger, which comes with a house-made BBQ sauce. Tip: if you want to skip the bread, you can ask for the patty on a salad instead.

Swing Kitchen also really cares about where they source their ingredients and their impact on the environment. They use renewable, raw materials instead of plastic packaging, and make an effort to use regional, fair-trade ingredients in their food.

 

Disclosure: In some cases, I received a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review. All content and opinions are my own. I would never include any restaurant that I didn’t genuinely love. As always, thank you for your support!

Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam

As I mentioned in my last post, I think that Amsterdam’s food scene is way underrated. It’s difficult to define the city’s cuisine in just a few words because they’ve gathered influence from many different countries, so I guess I’d just call it global.

From cheap eats to fine dining, we loved every meal we had in our four days there. If I really had to narrow it down, here is my top list of where to eat and drink in Amsterdam:

Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

De Biertuin

De Biertuin ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We found De Biertuin on a whim the day we arrived. Travis wanted a good beer and I was craving something relatively healthy…and luckily for us, De Biertuin had both. I can’t think of another beer garden that puts the same level of care into their vegetarian dishes as they do their burgers and beer selection. We went twice, and both times the restaurant was packed. It’s the perfect spot for a casual meal, and there is something on the menu for everyone (including wine for the non-beer drinkers like me!).

What to order:

The spit-roasted half chicken. It comes with a variety of delicious house-made sauces.

The Veggie Burger with Mango Chutney, which was without a doubt the best veggie burger I’ve ever had.

 

Restaurant De Kas

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I wrote a full review here, so I won’t go into too much detail in this post. If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience in Amsterdam and appreciate farm-to-table dining, go to De Kas.

What to order: The menu is fixed, but the chef is able to accommodate food allergies and dietary preferences. Make sure to opt for the wine pairing, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Restaurant Blauw

Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Image source

An Indonesian rijsttafel is a must in Amsterdam. The Dutch word literally translates to “rice table” and a traditional rijsttafel consists of many (in this case 16) small dishes accompanied with rice. Most restaurants will offer both a meat and vegetarian rijsttefel, and in some cases there is a fish option as well. Restaurant Blauw was our second rijsttafel experience, and while it provides a more high-end dining experience, the quality absolutely matches the price. One tip: go hungry! Each dish is remarkable in its own way and you won’t want to pass up on a single bite.

What to Order:

Soto Ayam: a soup with turmeric and lemongrass

Chicken Spring Rolls: NOT your average fried spring roll. These were so fresh and flavorful.

Selera Blauw Rijsttafel: includes 16 different small dishes with chicken, beef, and vegetables.

Foodhallen

Foodhallen ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com
Foodhallen is an indoor food market located in De Hallen, which originally was where the first electric trams in Amsterdam were serviced. Today the building has been given new life, and now it’s a center of music, film, culture and food.

There are a wide variety of food exhibitors in Foodhallen. I’d recommend dedicating a couple of hours to your visit and splitting a few dishes among friends. That way you’re able to try more of what the food hall has to offer.

What to order:

Hanoi Chicken Banh Mi from Việt View

Foodhallen ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Mezze Plate from Maza

Foodhallen ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The Dutch Ginger from The G&T bar.

Look at all these cool gin and tonic combinations!

Foodhallen ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Ask for bartender, Sjo. He can tell you all about Amsterdam and the history of Foodhallen while mixing you a mean G&T.

Foodhallen ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

 

 

Pho 91

Pho 91 ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Pho 91 was recommended to us by a local and it really hit the spot on a rainy night. The restaurant is small, so get there early to avoid a wait. The staff is very friendly and the kitchen is fast, which is nice if you’re looking for a quick meal in between sightseeing.

What to order: The Grilled Aubergine Salad and Pho 91 with beef, chicken, and meatballs.

 

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The Breakfast Club has a couple locations, and we visited the one in Amsterdam east. The portions are large, which is great if you have a busy day ahead. We chose one sweet and one savory dish to share and loved both.

What to order: Buckwheat Pumpkin Pancakes with Pecans, Blueberries, and Blackberry-Sage Jam. Unlike American pancakes, these were not overly sweet, and with the delicious jam there was no need for maple syrup.

 

The Cold-Pressed Juicery

The Cold-Pressed Juicery ll Where to Eat and Drink in Amsterdam ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

After loading up on carbs and protein, you’ll begin craving something green. We came across The Cold-Pressed Juicery at the perfect time. Travis was trying to get over a cold, and he swore that the Reset Juice from the Cold-Pressed Juicery is what cured him.

What to Order: The Reset or The Pret a Protein. Both are easy drinking and perfectly balanced.

 

Up next: what to eat in Vienna! Stay tuned…and in the meantime, make sure to follow my latest travels on Instagram.

 

 

 

Disclosure: In some cases, I received a complimentary or discounted meal in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. These restaurants are all places I would immediately visit again in Amsterdam, and I hope you have the chance to visit them, too.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amsterdam: Restaurant De Kas

Amsterdam’s food scene is completely underrated. People rave about the incredible cuisine in cities like Paris and Tokyo, but you rarely hear the same praise for Amsterdam. After spending four days in this beautiful city, I became increasingly aware of this.

Since food is such a big part of both of our lives, Travis and I spend a good amount of time (okay, a lot of time) researching restaurants before each city we visit. After reading about Restaurant De Kas’s farm-to-table concept, it quickly became the first restaurant I wanted to try in Amsterdam.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The restaurant is attached to a greenhouse, where the staff grows a variety of lettuce and herbs. These are picked fresh every day and used in their daily fixed menus. Since the nursery isn’t large enough to grow everything needed, the chefs source additional produce from local farms.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The restaurant opened in 2001, and at the time there were very few restaurants placing such a strong emphasis on “farm-to-table” dining.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The lobby connects the greenhouse to the main dining room. As soon as we walked in, we were mesmerized by the gorgeous natural light coming in through the floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

We visited on a rainy, cloudy day and it was beautiful, so I can’t imagine how amazing it looks when the sun is shining.

The decor is clean, light, and airy. I wanted to pack up all of the tableware and bring it home with me. (Seriously, I was flipping over all of it to look for brand names…).

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

De Kas creates one daily fixed menu. The daily lunch menu consists of two courses for 39 Euros, and the dinner menu includes three courses for 49.50 Euros. You also have the option to supplement your meal with wine pairings. For the portion size, quality of ingredients and level of service you receive at De Kas, I believe these prices are extremely fair.

We visited for lunch, so we had the two-course fixed menu, which included three small starters and a main course (so it really felt like a four-course meal!). We also opted for the wine pairing, which I highly recommend you do.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The chef will do his best to accommodate for any food allergies you have, and if you are vegetarian he can also make a special menu for you. Travis and I do not eat pork and I am allergic to quinoa. Luckily for us, there was no pork on the menu that day, and the kitchen was easily able to leave out the quinoa from one of the dishes.

Before our meal, our server brought us freshly-made sourdough bread, green olives, and roasted, seasoned celeriac (celery root). I love celeriac, so this unusual preparation was a real treat for me.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I could go on and on about how delicious our meal was, but I thought I would let the photos show you instead.

First starter: Beetroot soup with duck, yogurt and quinoa

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Second starter: Baked haddock with brussels sprouts and sweet and salty onions

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Third starter (to share): Chicory tart with blood oranges and fresh herbs

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Main course: Brill fish with little gem lettuce, potato gratin, chanterelle mushrooms, and carrot purée

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Our main course was paired with a delicious Spanish Rioja. Other Riojas I have tried would be much too tannic and bold with white fish, but this wine was medium-bodied, and the perfect accompaniment to the brill fish.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Since we had an afternoon of sightseeing ahead of us, I ordered an espresso at the end of the meal. To my delight, it arrived with a small plate of bite-sized treats, which were just the right amount of sweetness I needed after a savory meal.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

There isn’t enough praise in the world that would do our meal at Restaurant De Kas justice. We loved everything from the creative (but approachable) food preparations to the beautiful interior design.

And this review would be incomplete without mentioning the fantastic service. Our server, Benjamin, spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable about the restaurant, its history, and each ingredient used in that day’s menu. Each course was paced perfectly, and we never felt rushed. In fact, we ended up having a two and a half hour lunch, but didn’t realize until we checked our phones upon leaving the restaurant.

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you are looking for a unique dining experience and appreciate farm-to-table cuisine, Restaurant De Kas is the one restaurant you must visit in Amsterdam. As we walked back to our hotel, Travis and I joked about stopping through Amsterdam at the end of our trip just so we can have another meal there!

The One Restaurant You Must Visit in Amasterdam: Restaurant De Kas ll Amsterdam Restaurant Review on www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

 

I received a complimentary meal at Restaurant De Kas in exchange for an honest review. All opinions, photos and comments are my own. I absolutely loved my meal at Restaurant De Kas and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam.

 

 

Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris

Hello from Amsterdam!

We arrived here on Sunday evening and are loving everything so far. We’re headed to the Anne Frank House this morning, but before we go, I wanted to stop by to say hi to you guys and share some highlights from our time in Paris last week.

It was Travis’s first time in Paris, so he wanted to make sure he saw all of the main attractions, and I think we covered a lot in one week. The major highlight for me was the chance to see my dad’s side of the family, who lives in Paris! Given the distance, we don’t see them as often as I’d like, so it felt very special to be reunited after a year and a half.
Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

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Whether you’re planning a trip to Paris for five days or two weeks, make sure you know where to go and what to eat. Here are my suggestions:

Where to Go in Paris:

Notre Dame Cathedral. Make sure you climb to the top. The line is long, but the view of Paris is beautiful and worth the wait. Plus the 387 steps to the top will help burn off all the baguettes you’re going to eat.

Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Eiffel Tower. Yes, this one is obvious, but necessary. Skip the long line to go to the top and instead head across the Seine at Place de Trocadero and view the Eiffel Tower from there. The spot is fantastic for photographs and undeniably breathtaking.

Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Le Marais and the Jewish Quarter. There are countless little boutiques and plenty of delicious food options in the area.

Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Walk up the Champs Elysee for high-end shopping and to check out the Ladurée for their famous macarons. From there walk to the Grand Palais. Even if you don’t go inside, you can still marvel at its beauty from outside the palace.

Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Meander down Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement. There are so many authentic French brasseries, cheap eats, and little shops to check out.

Rue Montorgueil Paris: Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

(Source: TripAdvisor)

What to Eat in Paris:

Frenchie’s Wine Bar 

Frenchie's Wine Bar: Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Travis is the one who discovered Frenchie’s on a French restaurant review site. It was tucked away on a little side street right around the corner from our Airbnb in the 2nd arrondissement. We read online to get there ten minutes before it opens since they don’t take reservations and it fills up quickly. Luckily for us, we were the first ones to arrive and we got the best seats overlooking the kitchen. I would consider the cuisine French with global influences. Every bite was unique and special.

What to order: The menu changes regularly, so it’s difficult to suggest one thing. If there is burrata on the menu, order it. And get a second helping of the bread. You won’t be sorry.

 

L’As du Fallafel

L'As du Fallafel: Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

You’ll likely find this place listed on all of the top Paris restaurant guides, but it’s worth mentioning again here. Travis and I love falafel (especially after eating the authentic stuff in Israel last year), so we knew we wanted to visit this hotspot during our trip. If you’re walking around the Jewish Quarter in Paris you can’t miss L’As du Fallafel because there is always a giant line of people waiting to order. Don’t let the line scare you, though! They have the ordering process down pat, and we didn’t wait more than five minutes to get our food.

What to order: The falafel in pita as it comes. Just let them know if you want it mild or spicy.

 

Eric Kayser

Pain au Chocolat from Eric Kayser: Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

A Parisian might read this and think I am nuts to include Eric Kayser because to them it is probably consider a “chain”… but if you’re like me and don’t eat fresh baguettes and croissants on a daily basis, then this is place is a DREAM. There was an Eric Kayser Boulangerie in every area we walked through, so you’ll be sure to find one wherever you’re staying. I had a Pain au Chocolat almost every day, and we purchased their fresh bread for our breakfast every morning.

What to get: Pain au Chocolat (it seriously is the BEST) and the pain rustique or pain aux cereals for breakfast.

 

Experimental Cocktail Club

Experimental Cocktail Club Paris: Where to Go and What to Eat in Paris ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

(source: ECC Facebook)

Travis and I visited the Experimental Cocktail Club in NYC a few years ago, but it has since closed down (rumor has it they’re looking for a new location). Travis and I are typically solely beer and wine drinkers, but when a friend suggested we try ECC in NYC we were blown away by how unique and creative the cocktails were.

We knew there was a location in Paris, so we made a point to stop by after our dinner at Frenchie’s. If you go, make sure to look for the lead bartender (I’d prefer to call him a mixologist), Max. He speaks perfect English and will help you select the best cocktail for your tastebuds.  Even if you aren’t a cocktail person, I can’t recommend ECC more. Each drink is so unique, you’d be crazy not appreciate what goes into each one.

What to get: The Experience 1 cocktail, if you’re going for something refreshing and not-too-sweet. But you can also just tell the bartender what you typically like and he or she will guide you in the right direction.

 

That’s it for Paris! See you later this week with more from our time in Amsterdam…

 

 

Juicero Review: What is Juicero and How Does it Compare to a Regular Juicer?

I recently had the opportunity to try Juicero, and I loved it!

What is Juicero, you ask? Think of it as a luxury, super high-tech juicer.

Juicero Review: What is Juicero and How Does it Compare to a Regular Juicer? ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I don’t think this review would be completely fair without mentioning that I do not own a “regular” juicer. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely been very interested in buying a juicer. No one can deny the incredible nutrition that a daily fruit and vegetable juice can provide, but I’ve been put off buying a juicer for a few reasons:

  1. They’re expensive.
  2. You have to buy A TON of fruits and veggies to make a decent amount of juice. Plus, if you’re buying organic produce, the cost can really add up.
  3. After you make the juice, you’re left with a giant amount of fruit and vegetable pulp, and I hate seeing food go to waste.
  4. Cleaning. Need I say more? Does ANYONE enjoy cleaning their juicer?

Many of my friends and family have purchased juicers with the intention of using them daily, only to stop using the machine after a month or so because it’s just too much of a pain.

Is this you? If so, I don’t blame you! Sometimes I do everything possible to avoid pulling out my food processor because I hate cleaning it. Yup, #lazypants right here. I won’t deny it.

So, when I was given the opportunity to try Juicero, I was very intrigued because it seemed to solve all of the at-home juicing issues that put me off in the first place.

 

Juicero Review: What is Juicero and How Does it Compare to a Regular Juicer? ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Here’s how Juicero is different:

  1. No grocery shopping. The juice packs are delivered right to your door.
  2. No peeling or chopping produce
  3. NONE of the dreaded cleanup

Juicero creates cold-pressed juice by “pressing” juice packs filled with organic fruits and vegetables.

The packs are purchased through Juicero on a subscription basis. At the time of this post there are about 10 different flavors, including two seasonal offerings. Each pack ranges in price from $6-$8, and contains one juice.

Juicero Review: What is Juicero and How Does it Compare to a Regular Juicer? ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I tried five different flavor varieties and I loved ALL of them. Now that is saying a lot because I am pretty picky when it comes to cold-pressed juice. I find that a lot are either too sweet or WAY too bitter. These were “just right” (ahem, thanks Goldilocks).

Juicero Review: What is Juicero and How Does it Compare to a Regular Juicer? ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Using Juicero could not be easier. You hang the juice pack from the top of the machine, close the door, press the button and out comes the juice.

When you’re done, all you do is open the door, remove the used juice pack and chuck it in the trash. There is NO cleanup involved. Can I get a HALLELUJAH!?

So, if you’re wondering if Juicero is right for you, I’ve broken it down below:

Pros:

  • You don’t have to grocery shop for produce
  • No peeling or chopping
  • No pulp mess leftover = NO cleanup!
  • The juice combinations are delicious, so if you don’t like creating your own recipes, this machine is your dream
  • The back of each juice pack lists complete nutrition information, so you know exactly how many vitamins you’re getting with each juice

Cons:

  • The machine is expensive. Even though Juicero recently dropped the price of the machine from $699 to $399, it’s still on the high end when it comes to the price of juicers
  • You can only use Juicero-branded packs and must order them exclusively through Juicero.com. Each pack (or juice) ranges in price from $6-$8.
  • You can’t make your own juice recipes
  • Each pack produces a smaller amount of juice than I expected (5-6oz. as opposed to the standard 12oz.+ juices I’m used to purchasing)
  • The machine is large and takes up a lot of counter space…but in reality, so does a regular juicer

Juicero Review: What is Juicero and How Does it Compare to a Regular Juicer? ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you want to try Juicero for yourself, they’re offering 10% off the price of the machine through February! To redeem this offer, use the code RP10 at checkout.

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Juicero, but all opinions and content are my own. I always aim to be completely transparent and will only share products that I personally love and use myself. Thank you for your support!

I Quit My Job. And We’re Going to Europe.

In all honesty, I’ve started and stopped writing this post so many times in the last week. Little Chef Big Appetite has always been about my recipes, healthy eating, and tidbits of my daily life. I know you guys aren’t coming here to read about my career or philosophies on life.

But, over the course of the last month there have been a couple of big changes in my life that I feel need some extra explaining, hence this post.

For as long as I can remember I have been incredibly jealous of anyone that I know or read about that quits their regular full-time job and goes off to travel the world. This includes the people that take a gap year between high school and college to get more “real life” experience, or those who graduate and move to a far away country to teach English to kids in need. I would always look at those people and think, “Wow, that sounds so daring and exciting…but I could never do that.”

But why? Why am I incapable of doing those things? I love to travel and I clearly am happy for others when they do it, so what’s stopping me?

Throughout my whole life there has been a “path” to success that I had to follow. Do well in high school and athletics to get into an excellent college. Study hard in college and secure summer internships to get the “right” job after graduation. Work very hard in your job to get a promotion. And it continues…

I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with this path. Until about a month ago I thought that this path was the only one I was meant to be on. I wouldn’t have had the countless opportunities or drive to succeed if it wasn’t for my parents. They’re the ones who encouraged me and showed me that all of the above was possible. I am forever indebted to them for all that they’ve taught and given me. I love you M & D.

Right around the New Year, I had a very enlightening conversation with Travis that really opened my eyes and showed me that maybe there was more to life than I was letting myself see.

I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel Across Europe. And You Can Too! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I told Travis that there was so much of the world that I wanted to explore, and I just wished I could get up and go like some of our friends or other bloggers I read about.

He looked at me frankly and asked why we couldn’t be “those people”. At first I gave a couple reasons:

It’s not practical. What about our jobs?

It’s too expensive. How will we afford it?

We’ll come back and be broke.

What about our apartment? What about Bessie?

But those weren’t the real reasons. The real thing holding me back was simple. It was fear. I was scared of the unknown and scared of breaking off the only path that I knew how to follow.

Travis is incredibly practical and career-driven, so to be honest, I was surprised when he started listing the reasons why we should go travel. Neither of us studied abroad in college or traveled afterwards, and there are so many places in Europe that we want to see. We don’t have kids yet, so at this point there is really no one depending on us. And, making money is great, but we will have the rest of our lives to do that. In that moment, I thought, “Okay, if Travis, the king of practicality, is telling me that we can do this, we have to.”

Later that day, we started doing some research and realized that traveling to Europe in the winter could be very smart. There are far fewer tourists and everything is much less expensive than in the busy summer months. So after talking to our families, our minds were made up. We were going to do it. The decision was really that quick.

I gave my company three weeks notice, so I could help make sure there was a smooth transition, and my last day at work was January 27th.

I realize that by the way I am writing this (and by reading the title of this post), it might seem as though Travis and I are leaving Los Angeles, packing our lives into backpacks and traveling halfway across the globe for the foreseeable future. We’re not. We’re going to Europe for a month. With full suitcases. And staying in inexpensive AirBnBs and hotels. But you know what? Baby steps.

We want to see the world, so we’re starting small. And who knows, this could be the start of something really exciting for us.

I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel Across Europe. And You Can Too! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Travis and I spent the last week mapping out our month-long trip. First up is Paris, and from there we’re headed to Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague, Berlin and Copenhagen. So if you have any recommendations for any of those cities, please share them in the comments below or email me! I’d love any tips or advice.

We leave in a week, so the next few days are all going to be dedicated to planning and packing.

Our good friend will be apartment sitting for us, and Bessie is going on her own little vacation to the east coast to stay with Travis’s family while we’re away. We are very grateful to them that they’re willing to take care of our little Bess for so long.

I Quit My Corporate Job to Travel Across Europe. And You Can Too! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I am ridiculously excited about our upcoming adventure, and I definitely plan to blog regularly throughout the trip to share lots of details of where we are, what we’re seeing, and most importantly, what we’re eating. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram because I will be sharing lots of daily snapshots over there.

And in case you’re wondering, I am not sure what exactly my plan is when I come back, but for the first time in my life, I am okay with that.

One thing is for sure, though, you’ll be hearing from me much more often on here. Blogging consistently while having a demanding full-time job is no joke, and I am very grateful for the next month+ to have the time to dedicate to growing this hobby of a blog into something much greater.

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, thank you for you reading, and thank you so much for your support.

Brown Ale-Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions

I don’t know about you, but I always prefer to stay in on Valentine’s Day, rather than go out to eat. Sometimes Travis and I will go out to dinner the weekend before February 14th, so we can avoid paying crazy prices for prix-fixe menus at our favorite restaurants. But on Valentine’s Day evening we always prefer to open up a bottle of wine at home and cook a delicious meal together.

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

When I was brainstorming Valentine’s Day recipes for the blog, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try Meat the Butchers‘ delivery service. If you haven’t heard of Meat the Butchers, they provide the highest quality raw (never frozen!), grass-fed, and free-range proteins, sourced from sustainable American family-owned farms. (Woo, that was a mouthful!)

If you didn’t catch that, just know that their proteins are REALLY darn stinkin’ good quality. I’m pretty picky about where Travis and I buy our beef, poultry and seafood. Both of us have had one too many bouts with food poisoning, so we are always willing to pay a slight premium for quality meats. Sure, there are other steak delivery services out there, but those steaks are usually frozen, and are not the same quality that Meat the Butchers guarantees.

While Meat the Butchers offers much more than beef, I was really eager to try their steaks. After browsing through the company’s wide range of proteins, I finally selected the 8 oz. USDA Prime Hanger Steak.

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The ordering process couldn’t have been easier, and the steaks arrived on my doorstep the very next day (they ship all over the US within 48 hours!). The contents of the box are carefully packaged in cooler packs to ensure they stay at a safe temperature during transit. So no need to worry if the box is outside for a few hours while you’re at work or out of the house.

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Hanger steak isn’t a cut that we typically see at our local Whole Foods, so I couldn’t wait to experiment with it at home. Since it isn’t grilling season, I wanted to make a recipe that could easily be cooked on a stovetop inside.

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I marinated the steaks in nut brown ale and paired them with delicious caramelized onions. I love caramelized onions on just about everything, and their sweet flavor paired perfectly with the savory hanger steak in this recipe.

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

When cooking steak, I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. You can find inexpensive ones on Amazon, and they’re a big game changer if you don’t already use one. I removed the steak from the pan right when it hit 140F, and let it rest on a cutting board for five minutes. When I sliced it, the steak was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and incredibly juicy after marinating for four hours.

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I love this recipe because everything cooks in one pan, which makes clean up a breeze. The end result is restaurant-quality taste for not a lot of effort. What better for a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with your loved one(s)?

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

And guess what!? Meat The Butchers is offering a coupon code for $30 off a purchase of $75 or more! Head over to their website, www.meatthebutchers.com, and use the code BIGAPPETITE at checkout.

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends!

 

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. hanger steak
  • 1 bottle brown ale (I used Samuel Smith's), divided
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ⅛ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Instructions
  1. In a large ziploc bag, combine ¾ of the bottle of brown ale, 3 cloves of minced garlic, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Swish the contents of the bag around to mix. Add the hanger steak to the bag. Place the bag on a large plate and put in the fridge to marinate for 3-4 hours.
  2. Remove the steak from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Add the onion and turn the heat to low. Let onion caramelize, stirring every couple of minutes, for about 30 minutes. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of the remaining brown ale to the pan and scrape the bottom to deglaze. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and stir. Allow onions to caramelize for an additional 10 minutes. Taste and add more brown ale or sugar as needed. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
  4. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry. Season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
  5. Bring the pan back to high heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and once the oil is hot and smoking, add the steak to the pan. After 4-5 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes on the other side, until desired temperature. The steak should register 140F for medium-rare. Remove the steak from the pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  6. In a small bowl combine the parsley, lemon, and remaining one clove of garlic. Mix well.
  7. Slice the steak against the grain and layer on a serving dish. Top with the caramelized onions and parsley mixture.
 

Thank you to Meat the Butchers for partnering on this post! All of the content and opinions are my own.

 

Brown Ale Marinated Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions Recipe -- Perfect for a Cozy Date Night In! ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats

It’s Thanksgiving week, my favorite time of the year! I am so excited to be writing this post from my parents’ home in Boston. I am here for the week, celebrating Thanksgiving and spending lots of time with my family.

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats -- your pup will LOVE these! ll Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Fiber-Packed ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I couldn’t wait to share this Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats recipe with you! We recently started incorporating pureed pumpkin into Bessie’s food after we read that it can help reduce itchiness and stop dogs from licking their paws.

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats -- your pup will LOVE these! ll Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Fiber-Packed ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Bessie has a few food allergies, so we have to be careful with what we feed her.  I am especially happy with this recipe because it’s very allergy friendly for most dogs. These Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats are gluten-free and dairy-free, plus the fiber from the pumpkin and carrots is great for a dog’s digestion.

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats -- your pup will LOVE these! ll Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Fiber-Packed ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I also added parsley, which helps freshen up stinky dog breath, and egg, which can add shine to a dog’s coat.

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats -- your pup will LOVE these! ll Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Fiber-Packed ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’ll admit, Bessie isn’t necessarily the fairest taste-tester because she loves ALL FOOD (seriously, this dog will eat anything). But her tail was wagging even faster than usual for these treats, so I think they were a big success!

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats -- your pup will LOVE these! ll Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Fiber-Packed ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you have any leftover pumpkin after Thanksgiving, I’m sure you know a pup who would love these homemade pumpkin pie dog treats!

 

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 16 square treats
Ingredients
  • ½ cup gluten-free flour
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • ½ ripe banana, mashed
  • ⅛ cup carrot, peeled and grated
  • ½ egg, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper. Spray paper with cooking spray.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth to a ¼ inch thickness. Using a pizza cutter (or sharp knife), score the batter into 16 squares (3 lines horizontally and 3 lines vertically).
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  4. Using the parchment paper, lift the bars out of the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack. Use the pizza cutter to break the bars into 16 even squares. Store the pumpkin pie treats in a refrigerator. Since my dog is small, I froze half of mine to use at a later time.
 

Pumpkin Pie Dog Treats -- your pup will LOVE these! ll Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Fiber-Packed ll www.littlechefbigappetite.com

 

FITzee Foods Delivers Healthy Pre-Portioned Meals

Last month I had the opportunity to try FITzee Foods, a healthy pre-portioned meal delivery service. FITzee is different from services like Blue Apron and Plated because the meals arrived already prepared, and all you have to do is heat them up.  So that means no grocery shopping, meal planning, or cooking.

 

FITzee Foods Review l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Admittedly, when FITzee Foods reached out to me about trying their service, at first I wasn’t sure if it was the best fit for me. I LOVE to cook (duh!) and I actually enjoy grocery shopping and meal planning. However, I began to browse their website and I became really impressed by their story, meal options and choice of ingredients. FITzee meals use only clean, fresh ingredients and they don’t add scary chemicals or preservatives for added shelf life. Plus, the meats are grass-fed, hormone-free and free-range. So while at first I was expecting an upgraded version of a frozen Lean Cuisine, these meals are far from it.

FITzee is based in San Diego, CA, but they ship nationwide. The meals are shipped 2-Day Air or Ground and are packaged with plenty of ice to keep them cold for 48 hours, so you don’t have to worry about being home when the box arrives. Mine was plenty cold when I arrived home late that night.

FITzee Foods Review l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Sorry for the blurry photo, but Bessie wouldn’t stop moving! When I carried in the box from outside she was going nuts and started sniffing (and practically licking) the box! Her reaction told me that I was in for something good.

FITzee Foods Review l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Each meal is pre-portioned and the labels include the ingredients, nutrition information and reheating instructions. I don’t count calories or track macros, but the meal information is also available on MyFitnessPal, if that interests you.

FITzee Foods Review l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

All of the meals come in small, medium, large and “family” sizes. I received 14 of the “small” meals (8-10 oz. per serving) that ranged from about 200-300 calories each. The small portion size was perfect for me because I prefer to eat 5 or so small meals throughout the day. Travis tried the meals as well, and while he liked the various recipes, he needed more than I did to hold him over until his next meal. I think the medium or large sizes would have been better for him. Just something to keep in mind when ordering.

FITzee Foods Review l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I preferred to reheat my meals in the oven or on a skillet, but I think microwaving would be fine, too.

FITzee Foods Review l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I have to say, I was REALLY impressed by the meals I tried. The recipes and flavors were delicious and reminded me a lot of the meals that I cook at home myself. Until now, I hadn’t tried or heard of a service that provides healthy pre-made meals that actually taste good. Normally it goes one of two ways: healthy and tastes like cardboard OR faux-healthy and super processed and tastes just okay.

For the record, the Chicken Ratatouille and Chicken Enchiladas were my favorite of the meals I tried. Plus, the menus change monthly so you really can’t get bored if you order regularly.

I also loved the gluten-free pumpkin spice pancakes, they were perfect for breakfast on a fall morning.

FITzee Foods Review l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

The meals are meant to stay fresh for 5 days (the use by date is marked on each box), so I froze my remaining meals and I love having them in my freezer as a healthy backup when I don’t have time to cook.

I think FITzee Foods is GREAT for:

  • People who want to eat healthy, but don’t like to cook or don’t have time to cook
  • Anyone who is counting calories or macros and doesn’t want to eat the same old chicken and broccoli every day
  • Individuals, couples, and families because the meals come in a range of sizes
  • Anyone with specific allergy requirements. There are paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and low-carb meal options, so there is something for everyone.
  •  

    If you’re interested in trying FITzee Foods, you can use the code littlechefbigappetite15 for 15% off your order! The code expires on 11/30/16.

     

    If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email.

     

    FITzee Foods provided my meals in exchange for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for your support.

This Week’s Meal Plan 11/7/16

Hi friends, happy Monday!

Did you enjoy your extra hour of sleep over the weekend? As nice as I thought it was on Sunday morning, I was super bummed when I looked out the window last night at 5PM and saw that it was dark already. Wah! Where did all the daylight goooo!?

Since I’m now in total fall mode (despite it being 80 degrees in Santa Monica tomorrow…), I’ve got lots of cozy dinners planned this week. We just did a small grocery shop over the weekend because we’re headed to New Jersey this weekend for a wedding, so we tried not to buy too much.

 

Healthy Turkey Chili l www.littlechefbigappetite.com l Gluten-Free, Low Carb, Low Sugar

Here’s what’s on our meal plan this week:

Saturday: Healthy Turkey Chili (an old recipe that I finally got around to rephotographing this weekend!)

Sunday: Persian Chicken Stew

Monday: Salads with Roasted Carrots, Farro and Grilled Chicken

Tuesday: Barramundi with Lemon-Butter Sauce and Sauteed Spinach

Wednesday: Pea Soup with Mint and Feta

Thursday: Leftovers / Use what’s in the fridge

Friday: Away for Meredith and Eric’s wedding!

 

P.S. Thanks to everyone who entered the Milk and Eggs giveaway last week on the blog! We randomly selected a winner (congrats Marissa!) and she’s been contacted. Stay tuned for more awesome giveaways on the blog!

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