....two of my favorite activities. And don't they go together so nicely?
Today's shopping trip was much nice than the hectic rush job shopping trip right before Christmas. Normally I'll treat myself to a nice lunch on these days to myself, but that day I was so rushed I went through the Burger King drive thru! Ack!
I visited Jefferson Pointe in Fort Wayne - a new, more upscale, outdoor shopping mall. I sure hope that this is a trend that continues - our area could use more places like this. It really felt like Fort Wayne was moving up in the world when Williams-Sonoma and Ann Taylor Loft came to town!
Not only do I love to shop there, but they have some great eateries too. Now, you have to keep in mind that we are living in foodie wasteland, so it doesn't take much to get me excited. The mall has mostly chain restaurants, but nice chain restaurants. Like Biaggi's, my favorite, Panera, Eddie Merlot's, Puccini's Smiling Teeth and Flat Top Grill.
Flat Top Grill is often my pick because it is yummy and full of healthful choices. That certainly fit the bill today, after indulging so much over the holidays. For those who are not familiar with this restaurant, it's a create-your-own-stir-fry joint. You pick all the ingredients and they cook it for you. It was sooo nice to walk in and have such delicious choices as brown rice, seitan, edamame, broccoli, and many other veggies. They have also added tuna and calimari to their ingredient choices. Kudos to Flat Top for being a healthful alternative in a sea of junk food!
I often follow my healthful lunch with a visit to Cold Stone Creamery, which is right next door. Tempting indeed. Today I passed on that and opted for a hot chocolate with skim milk at Panera, skipping the whipped cream. It was a nice little pick me up without the guilt. Not only a nice dose of calcium, but I've been reading wonderful things about cocoa as well. Hot chocolate is practically health food!
Part of my shopping trip involved returning the fryer that I just got for Christmas. Sadly, it was a dud. Even after an hour of heating, the oil never got over 200º. Disappointing. After looking at different fryers I decided that I would pass - they all look quite flimsy. The sturdier models have the heating element right in the oil container and I just know that I would feel hassled when it came time to clean a unit like that.
In the end, I decided to trade it in for a waffle iron. We have a Belgian waffle maker, but it doesn't do a very good job with a moist waffle like a pumpkin waffle - the outside gets overcooked before the insides are done. I'm hoping that a regular waffle maker will work better. I ended up with the Cuisinart - will be giving it a test run this weekend, no doubt.
One more thing before signing off tonight....a clarfication about TSN's Virtual Recipe Club. January's theme is not limited to quick breads and muffins - it can be granola bars, waffles, pancakes, etc. I'm most interested in things that are portable, like muffins or bars, but any whole grain breakfast food will do. After all, I do need more recipes for my new waffle maker.....