Gimme Music, Sweet Music…

There’s been something in the works, behind the scenes, here at What’s For Dinner for the last, oh, month or so.  No, it’s not more foodie jewelry. I’ve been working with SonicTap to help my recipes and dinners go from mere words and pictures on a computer screen to a full experience.

How?

SonicTap is run by the man known as Ren Man to MizFit readers, and what he’s done is taken meals, recipes, workouts, etc. and made the perfect music playlists to go with them. Are you confused? I thought you might be… so I bring you the man behind SonicTap to explain it all.

Dining vs. Eating: Dining is an experience you seek to satisfy a desire, to fit a mood, to share a moment.  Eating is something you do to fill your belly.  Dining is more than the sum of its parts.  Meatballs and marinara can be something you eat in front of the TV… or you can set it atop handmade pasta on good china, paired with a medium bodied red and some candlelight.  Setting is as important to the experience as the food itself, and music is a key ingredient of setting; music is the final ingredient to a great meal.  Are you rolling out pasta and mincing vegetables for a Bolognese sauce?  Try some Louis Prima.  Serving your creation atop a checkered tablecloth?  Maybe the Rat Pack captures the sentiment.  Are you grilling something spicy for a gathering of friends?  Serving sleek appetizers over cocktails?  Cooking all afternoon for a large Thanksgiving meal?  Just like a crowd-pleasing white wine goes best with your Thanksgiving turkey, there is a perfect playlist match for every meal.

For most of us, finding the time match the right music with the food we are serving is too complicated and time consuming.  We’re already spending so much time in the kitchen preparing the perfect meal, who has time to search for the right accompanying sound?  That’s where Sonic Tap comes in.  The Sonic Tap service provides professionally designed playlists for any dining experience (along with playlists for exercising, road trips, or just listening and enjoying).  Sonic Tap is powered by DMX, a leading providing of commercial music services to restaurants, hotels, health clubs and retailers around the world.  Sonic Tap takes more than thirty years of music programming expertise to produce thousands of professionally designed playlists.  So, whether the cuisine you’re serving is Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Hawaiian, Irish or good old American comfort food, we’ve got the perfect playlist to turn that food into a dining experience.

So, try it out! Want to see the perfect playlist to go along with my Orange-Glazed Spicy Baked Tofu? Click here! There are more playlists to come to go with more recipes, and explore SonicTap! There are playlists for just about anything…browse by Designer to find your new dinner mix, workout mix, or heck, just a “driving in the car to work” mix.

As I was eating my BBQ salmon salad at Champps last night, I realized exactly how much music really does influence the dining experience. I was in a great mood as some of my favorite songs were playing, and I swear, this salad tasted SO much better than normal.

Mmm... BBQ-y goodness

Mmm... BBQ-y goodness

Thanks SonicTap for hookin’ up the tuneage (sorry, Pauly Shore moment)!

Have a great Thursday!

Posted in dinner out, friends, guest post | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Splash Landing

I was a BIG winner at camp today! We had two counselor contests, and while I always participate, I rarely win. Today, however, was my lucky day! I won first place in the splashdown contest after this jump off the 10 foot high-dive:

I can't believe I just posted this picture...

I can't believe I just posted this picture...

And then my group won for “most creative” for our “TP Your Counselor” contest for making me this beautiful wedding dress!

Maybe I should trade for this one?

Maybe I should trade for this one?

It was great for my girls, because while I just got bragging rights, they got to get 2 treats from our “treasure chest”! When I got home from this productive day, Adam and I set about making pizza to put on the grill. The final product was good, but the process? Kind of a joke!

Now, when I was about 16, my good friend Mary and I started a tradition of making grilled pizzas as soon as it was nice out. She’d make the dough, and as vegetables in our respective moms’ gardens grew, they would become the toppings. We’d always use olives and feta cheese too. Mary’s house was the first place I remember having kitchen disasters, but also some of my best cooking memories were there with her. She larned to cook much the same way I did: with her mom.

What I forgot today, though, was that Mary and I would put the naked crusts on the grill, THEN top them once they were partially cooked. What did I do today (despite Adam-who’s-worked-at-two-pizza-places’ advice)? Definitely topped the pizza dough then tried to get it on the grill. It didn’t happen. I ended up putting the (not greased enough) cookie sheet on the grill and cooked it that way. It came out delicious (though hard to get off the pan!), and was topped with:

  • pizza sauce
  • low-fat mozzarella
  • fresh spinach
  • black olives
  • fresh tomatoes
  • fat free tomato basil feta cheese
  • drizzle of olive oil

It was easy and fantastic, and something I’ll be trying again soon, in the correct procedure order. Oh, and did I mention it was GORGEOUS?!

It was "just" frozen crust. Next time: homemade!

It was "just" frozen crust. Next time: homemade!

After dinner, I decided to finally use up the frozen bananas I have had in the freezer for a week to make Gena’s infamous raw banana soft serve.  First step: scrub out the food processor. Next step: pulse frozen bananas til creamy. Then: eat!

I topped it with the last of my almond butter packets:

delicioso!

delicioso!

I do agree with both Jenn and Heather that it is absolutely a delicious treat! My only gripe is that it needed to be 2 bananas to be anything substantial. Oh well, it was fantastic! Thanks Gena!

In other exciting news, one of my photos was accepted on Photograzing! See it here! I hope its not the last…

OH! And the girls saw Steve today… he says “bbbrrrrtbbttttt”. He also has a new friend whose name I can’t remember. It was something like Klooby or something similar.

Since it’s the exact middle of the summer (well, as of noon tomorrow), all this work is catching up with me… I’m off to bed THIS early! Happy almost hump day!

Posted in friends, grilling, Italian, simple recipe | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

Splish Splash!

Happy Monday all! While I’m exhausted after the day we had today, it was so much fun, I’m ok with it! We spent the day here:

Nothing like a water park!

Nothing like a water park!

Doing a lot of playing and splashing here:

fun stuff!

fun stuff!

What is it about a day spent swimming/playing in water that just drains me so much?? It’s a good thing I had dinner plans with a coworker from school for dinner, because I was in NO mood to cook. We met at the Chili’s up the street and I had their guiltless black bean burger with broccoli.

Definitely not as good as my recipe!

Definitely not as good as my recipe!

All this parmesan made me think of Miss Gliding Calm!

All this parmesan made me think of Miss Gliding Calm!

Then, my favorite part of going to Chili’s: their shot glass desserts! I got a mini key lime pie dessert, and it was *just* enough.

You all know how much I love tiny food!

You all know how much I love tiny food!

I did realize something while I was out to dinner with my friend… it really wasn’t the food that was fun; it was the company! I’m proud of my decision to get the bean burger rather than the more caloric and fat-laden entree I was thinking about. It made me annoyed though too, because I could’ve made that SAME meal for fewer calories and fat grams, and it would’ve tasted better… though the restaurant was a better meeting point. I need to keep in the forefront of my mind that EVERY meal is not an event! My birthday dinner, sure… but not just a dinner out with a coworker! How do you keep your eating in check with meals out that are NOT events?

I’m looking forward to visiting Steve tomorrow! Have a great Tuesday!

Posted in dinner out, friends | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Beach, Fro-Yo, & Delicias (And Coconut Flour Winner!)

Today was a fun day.

I know. It sounds trite and simple, but, hey, it was a FUN day!

I started out the day with my mom and my sister here:

Ok, I took this picture another day, but I forgot my camera today! The beach is the beach :)

After lazing and lounging for about 2 hours, we decided to pack up and head for some Red Mango fro-yo. I hadn’t had it in over a year, and had forgotten how wonderful it was! I got a regular size with watermelon and raspberries:

so refreshing!!

so refreshing!!

Then, I headed downtown to pick up the fabulous and adorable Coco from Balance, Joy, and Delicias for a blogger dinner! She is absolutely as sweet and kind as she seems on he blog! We spent a good amount of time speaking in Spanish, which was quite fun (and a challenge, since I’m so out of practice!) and we headed up to one of my favorite Mediterrannean food restaurants. When I lived in the neighborhood where the restaurant is, I frequented it fairly often. It’s been a couple years since I’ve been there, and was excited to go back! Since the last time I was there, a few things had changed, but for the better! They now have a salad bar, which included hummus, falafel, and Persian salad with cucumber, tomato, and mint. This was my appetizer plate:

2 falafel, pita, hummus and persian salad

2 falafel, pita, hummus and persian salad

Then, for my entree I got a combination plate with a lamb loin kebab and a spiced ground chicken kebab. Oh, and about 3 cups of dill rice and lima beans. Needless to say, 90% of that rice stayed on the plate!

Grilled veggies, rice, lamb and chicken

Grilled veggies, rice, lamb and chicken

We took a photo together on Coco’s camera, but I don’t have it yet! I’ll add it here when I get it! After dinner, we did some driving through Chicago neighborhoods, and then we hit the road to bring Coco back to where she’s staying. There was a glorious sunset, and I came home to Adam’s open arms. *sigh* What a great day…

Before I announce the winner of the Coconut Flour Giveaway, the amazing people over at Tropical Traditions have given me not one but TWO special offers only for What’s For Dinner readers! You can click here for 2.2 lbs of coconut flour for only $3.50, and here for 32 oz. of virgin coconut oil for only $10! There is a minimum purchase of $16, but shipping is free! These offers are only good through tomorrow! Take advantage of them…they’re seriously amazing products!

NOW, the winner of the 2.2 lbs of coconut flour from Tropical Traditions is:

Comment #15, AlliJag from GreenDogWine! Congratulations Alli! I’ll send you an email, and then pass your information onto your benefactor!

Im off to enjoy one of the treats from the lovely Krista, who sent me the most fabulous care package from Canada!

Have a wonderful night!

Posted in dinner out, family, friends | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

One Year Ago…

One year ago last night, Adam and I got engaged! Since it was LONG before I started blogging, I thought I’d share our engagement story with you all… I wrote this out within a couple days of getting engaged last year, while the details were fresh in my mind. We returned to our favorite sushi place (where we got engaged!) last night to celebrate with these:

IMG00050-20090711-2145IMG00049-20090711-2123

But, a year ago, I wish I’d been a blogger because I would’ve taken way more pictures! In any case, here’s our story, with the few pictures I *did* take!

Adam and I got engaged on July 11, 2008 at our favorite sushi restaurant. I never, in a million years, thought I’d have a “cool” engagement story, but lo and behold, I do!

On July 10, Adam sent me an email that said “Matt (a friend) and his girlfriend are joining us for sushi tomorrow night, so I got us a tea room.” I didn’t think anything of it. That day, Adam went to a Cubs game with work, and called on his way home to say that Matt had gotten way too drunk to come to dinner, but the restaurant was going to charge us $20 to cancel the tea room reservation, so why don’t we just use it? Still, I didn’t think anything of it.

When we got to the sushi place, we were led to the very last tea room, and it was already set with beautiful plates, chopsticks on tiny pink paper cranes, and water in wine glasses. I still thought nothing of it, and assumed that this is what they’re doing in the tea rooms now.

We had a great dinner (as always), and Adam was very anxious and not himself. He blamed it on not eating enough during the day and having a few too many at the game. After dinner, the maitre ‘d came in with a HUGE platter of fruit and cheesecake and said that it was a thank-you for being such loyal customers for 3 years (we go every friday). There was a whole pineapple on the plate, and the pineapple had a handle on it. Adam opened it up, and my ring was inside!! He got on one knee, and said “I love you, will you marry me?” I of course, started crying and said yes! The host came back in with a huge bouquet of gladiolas for me, and the whole restaurant applauded when we left.

The ring was in there!

The ring was in there!

I came to find out that night that Adam had been in cahoots with my dad, a jeweler, for months. He had my dad design and make my ring, and my dad helped him get a beautiful diamond. My mom had known for months too! Adam later told me that the time he “went to the bathroom” during dinner, he was really going over details with the sushi chef, our waitress, and host. The waitress did have to come in a ton of times… and the sushi chef did smile really big when we walked in.

moments after (when Adam started breathing again!)

moments after (when Adam started breathing again!)

The ring, about a month later, when I figured out how to take a picture of it!

The ring, about a month later, when I figured out how to take a picture of it!

Now, we’re 139 days until the wedding! But who’s counting… “see” you all later for a super-exciting post, and giveaway winners!


Posted in sushi | Tagged | 22 Comments