Saturday, November 5, 2011

EAT OUT: Baba Ghannouj @ 2200 W Main St - Durham, NC

A couple of Sundays ago was my birthday and I happened to be craving some Mediterranean food! So I went to my good friend Yelp to search for a local Mediterranean restaurant, and this is where it lead me to. I chose the vegetarian plate because I LOVE baba ghannouj and falafal! My husband chose the lamb shawerma, but unfortunately my hunger surpassed my blogging desires, and I quickly dug in and started eating before I got a chance to get his plate intact! 

The food was good, but not spectacular. I thought the menu was a little limited, without a wide range of options. The falafal was good, the grape leaves were wonderful, but the baba ghannouj I've definitely had better! Which is kind of ironic given the name of the restaurant :-/

The restaurant is cozy and more of a deli feel than a restaurant per se. When we arrived (around 1pm) the place was empty. At first I didn't know if this was a good thing or not. But it actually worked out perfectly for our very active 11 month old daughter, who just walked none-stop all over the place, exploring every corner of that restaurant, and making the ladies at the counter smile!   

I'll continue to be on the  look out for  mediterranean restaurants in the area to try out, since this one was not quite what I was looking for.  But this will probably be a good to-go place with our little one! Very child-friendly, and will satisfy your cravings for basic mediterranean dishes in a jiff! ;) 

Ohhh, but how I miss the restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area!!!   

 Cute Middle Eastern Decoration

 Outdoor Patio 
Little one loved looking at the squirrels eating the "leftovers" on the ground!

 The counter where the friendly ladies were. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Awesome Healthy Carrot Cake Cupcakes/Muffins

My daughter's first birthday is next week, and I'm SUPER excited about it! 
This has driven me to look for the perfect cake to bake for her. She's had all kinds of food intolerance since she was born. Wheat or gluten (never quite figured out which) and dairy being the big villains! Recently I found out that little amounts of lime juice in her food will give her bad rashes, and coconut yogurt seems to have done it as well! But the Doctors and studies assure that most kids  grow out of these food intolerance by age one, and if not, by each year they greatly increase their chances of growing out of them. So I decided to try the one year "mark" and make this carrot cake cupcake recipe and test it out! So far little bits of it has not caused any apparent issue! YAY!

What I loved about this recipe is that it's very healthy and I would feel very comfortable giving it to her (although I will decrease the amount of sugar, I thought it was a bit on the sweet side). 

Based on my "thorough research" with Dr. Google ;) it seems that pastry flour is lower in protein content and higher in starch, which in her case, if she is gluten sensitive, it will have less gluten. Something for us to check out!

As for the icing, I tried a cashew butter recipe I found online that turned out pretty good, but I didn't follow the recipe exactly because I halved the  amount just to have a taste for it. Also didn't have Earth Balance butter, so I used the Earth Balance margarine. Still tasted amazing! But I have to say that cashew butter by itself was just as good. I still need to try out the cashews with her this week to make sure she's fine with them as well.
As you can see I ended up making them as mini muffins instead of cupcakes, which worked out great! Perfect bite size...but I end up having to eat 5 of these! heheheheh.... Impossible to eat just one.

Few things I loved about this cake:
Super moist
Healthy ingredients
No Dairy (Vegan)
No oil (except for icing-optional)
No eggs (still unsure how she tolerates them)
No Cholesterol
Taste GOOD!


For carrot cake cupcake: Happy Herbivore
For the cashew icing: Cashew Butter Buttery Icing

The shredded carrots on top added texture to the bites, SO GOOD!!!

Bake it!
You have nothing to lose...oh wait, substitute a regular cupcake for this and you may actually do!