Cheat Day

Everyone deserves a cheat day.  I have been training for a half marathon for the past few months & am elated that I get to run alongside my fellow itsnachoblogyo.com bloggers on May 10th in the Santa Barbara Wine County Half Marathon.  I’ve been pretty strict about my training, following the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon Training program.  I’ve put off running errands, declined dinner invites with friends, left work strictly by 5pm everyday all in the name of training.  This past weekend was my cheat day (okay, cheat weekend!).  It was Easter and I was missing my family- the baking traditions, egg hunts and polish sausage that made our family Easter celebrations amazing.  So, I indulged a little-did a quick 3.5 mile run on Saturday and then spent a leisurely morning at our neighborhood farmer’s market which had lovely fresh fruits & veggies and beautiful flowers which led to grocery shopping at my favorite high end markets (Bristol Farms I love you!) and an evening of baking.  Sunday was supposed to be my 1o mile run, but it got pushed off for church and Easter brunch…and mimosas…and wine…and lots of jelly beans.  Needless to say the run never happened, but I had a beautiful rejuvenating day.  I try not to feel guilty when I have a cheat day, I just jump back on the training regime the next day.  I think my younger self used to let a cheat day ruin me, to take it from a cheat day to a cheat week and so on.  My current self recognizes that being flexible with myself and my routine leads to a healthier sense of self and the ability to continue running long after the training is over.

Here are some links to my Easter brunch recipes-they are all delicious and fairly easy to prepare.  Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Easter Popcorn from Two Peas & Their Pod-I might play around with the caramel sauce and ratio to the dry ingredient mix.  It was pretty sticky, but did dry up a bit by the next day.  I’d also half the amount of M&M’s in the recipe since it seemed a bit dominant.

Katie Lee’s Apricot Glazed Ham from RachelRay.com-hands down the BEST ham I have ever eaten.  It might have also been due to the high quality smoke, bone-in ham I bought at Bristol Farms, but the glaze recipe was sweet, tangy deliciousness!

Beecher’s Kale & Brown Rice Gratin with Smoked Cheese Sauce from Iowa Girl Eats-I changed up the recipe a bit & used hash browns instead of brown rice to make it a more “traditional” Easter brunch recipe, but it turned out a bit gloppy & heavy, although still delicious!  I love the carmelized onion paired with the smoked gouda & fontina cheeses.  I think I will try it again with brown rice or quinoa instead.

Green Green Spring Vegetables from Ina Garten- The perfect use for my fresh farmer’s market veggies!  I haven’t blanched a lot of vegetables in my time, but I think I’m hooked.  Theses were so crisp and flavorful I could make them all Spring long!

 

El Vez, Nacho Mamma – Philadelphia, PA

Andy and I visited El Vez about 2 years ago and had the nacho mammas at that point and since then had always held them as a very high standard for nachos. We were a little concerned when we visited on Saturday that maybe they were over-hyped in our memory but that was not the case!

Toppings:  Pretty standard for a nacho including black beans, a mix of cheeses, sour cream, a very spicy hot sauce, and tomatoes with a leafy green on top.  Although standard, the mix of all the ingredients was excellent and they complimented each other nicely and weren’t too heavy which many times sour cream is on nachos.  Add this to in-house made tortilla chips and it’s a recipe for success!  4.5/5

Toppings to Chip Ratio – This was also done perfectly and we had absolutely no leftovers except what was sitting on Anne’s plate since she doesn’t eat anything!  5/5

Freshness: The chips were very fresh and I really enjoyed the addition of the “mystery greens” on top of the nachos.  We also ordered a side of guacamole,which is a little annoying it didn’t come with the nachos, but it was excellent and you could tell it was made to order (cause it took a while to bring it out).  4/5 – marked down cause we had to order the guacamole separately.

Crunchiness of Chips:  The chips were truly excellent – one of the best parts of the nachos!!  5/5

Creativeness:  I gave them a couple stars for the creative use of the “mystery greens” and a drizzle of hot sauce instead of using the standard jalapenos but overall not extremely creative nachos, just nachos that were executed very well! 4/5

Final ranking of 22.5 out of 25 or 90%

 

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Firestone Happy Hour Nachos – Wilmington, DE

Although one of my favorite happy hour spots in Wilmington especially when it’s nice out and you can be on the River, I’ve never been a huge fan of Firestone’s food.  The nachos proved no different and although the picture looks like they were enjoyed, I spoke to other nacho fans and they also did not rate them very high so I believe the almost empty plate is a product of amount of people…not nacho taste.

Toppings: It was a very strange mix of toppings including andouille sausage, crab, shrimp, and queso.  I personally thought the sausage was chicken and someone else mentioned that they thought it was a hot dog cut up . . .  Probably not the taste they were going for.  I also realized that I enjoy shrimp a lot, but not necessarily on nachos and the queso reminded me a little of cheese whiz  0/5

Toppings to Chip Ratio:  The picture shows some extra queso but overall I think this was the strong part of the nachos  4/5

Freshness:  I think I might be a little biased but when using queso, the nachos just don’t seem very fresh 0/5

Crunchiness of Chips:  If not queso soaked, the chips kept their crunch pretty good and I liked the use of blue corn tortilla  3/5

Creativeness:  I appreciated that they tried to be creative with the topping choices it was just the execution that was lacking 3.5/5

Total stars of 10.5 out of 20 or 53%

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