BEST SELF, NUTRITION, WFPB LIVING

Good Eats // Plant Based Whole Food Style

10/05/2016

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This past weekend we came across a new restaurant that we adore! I mean seriously, it is awesome! In truth,  I had been there one time a few months ago with a friend and loved it then too, but because we aren’t in walking distance to any of them it fell off my radar. Plus, at the time we were not focused on plant-based living and so despite coming home raving about it, my husband’s enthusiasm to try it was less than stellar.

This weekend though, the timing was perfect. We went to Bethesda to visit some friends who were in town from Orlando. After meeting up with them we walked around the area to check out the downtown scene. We passed a restaurant that we considered eating at, but decided we would walk around for a bit first to build up an appetite and I am so glad we did!

Within 10 minutes our stomach’s were grumbling and we decided rather than walking back to the other restaurant, we would simply head home and cook dinner there. But on our way to the parking garage we passed by a place called Sweet Green that peaked our interest. We decided to poke our heads in and check it out.

The atmosphere was great and reminiscent of the farmhouse style.  The walls were donned with white vertical subway tiles and planks and the decor was a mix of pipes and butcher blocks.  There were fresh veggies everywhere and greens lining the shelves.  

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The concept of Sweet Green is fresh and healthy bowl creations.  They have the option to design your own or you can choose between a warm bowl or cold bowl of their creation.  The cold bowl is essentially a large salad and the warm bowl contains greens and some sort of a warm grain.  The kids chose the Apple, Pears, and Cheddar bowl, which has mixed greens, organic cheddar (which is not plant based I know, but baby steps), basil, kale, pears, apples, and balsamic dressing. My husband had the Harvest Bowl, which is made up of kale, wild rice, local goat cheese (which he asked to omit, but they didn’t hear him so he just ate it as is), sweet potatoes, toasted almonds, apples, and balsamic vinaigrette.  It also came with chicken, but he chose to substitute a Vegan falafel instead. And I chose the Shroomami – which is Vegan! – and full of wild rice, kale, basil, sunflower seeds, beets, been sprouts, tofu, and a warm portobello mix with a yummy miso sesame ginger dressing.  It was AH-MAZING!!!  Seriously.  So good!

We ate these bowls up so fast! The kids loved it, my husband loved it, and I was having a not so secret love affair with my own bowl!  It hit all the right notes. We talked the entire way home about how good it was and how we wanted to work to recreate these meals for ourselves.

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In fact, we liked it so much, the very next night we decided to go again! We left feeling completely energized about our choice to focus on a whole foods plant based diet. Being introduced to these bowls opened up a real possibility of meals that we could easily create at home and we were committed to making it work.  My husband noted that instead of feeling like he is constantly having a salad for dinner, he feels excited about the bowls because they seem like a hearty meal.

The very next day I ran around town in search of extra large salad bowls and a huge stainless steel (9 quart!) mixing bowl to mix up our chopped greens and bowl components.  Last night I attempted my first bowl.  Since my husband seems to be the hardest to please and raved about his bowl, we decided to attempt our take of the Harvest Bowl.  With our rendition we stuck to 100% whole foods plant based and skipped all cheese and meat.  I baked sweet potatoes medallions, whipped up a batch of homemade falafel patties, chopped kale and apples, and cooked up a big vat of wild rice.  I even toasted my almond slivers.  I threw the components together (minus the falafel) in the big silver bowl, added the balsamic dressing and thoroughly mixed them together.  I then added the goodness to each dinner bowl and topped them with falafel.  

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Although the end result was obviously not identical – mainly because removing goat cheese takes out a powerful flavor source – we LOVED it!  SUCCESS!!!! The bowls were eaten up in no time and without any nagging on my part!  Woohoo! [#momwin] As always, I asked for feedback from the crew, which included making the apple chunks bigger and the falafel patties smaller.  Simple.  Done.  Yay!

And as silly as it may seem, eating in these new big bowls was such a high for me.  I’ve had the same bowls for probably 15 years, so having these fun new uber large bowls was exciting.  Not to mention having a family that was completely enthusiastic and excited to eat what was in them!  I feel so lucky that we came across this restaurant and even though we are working to emulate their creations we completely plan to be loyal patrons of their establishment too!  Their motto is “Inspiring healthier communities”….swoon 😉  If you have a Sweet Green in your area, I highly recommend checking them out.  

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I am super stoked to try out another bowl creation of our own tonight!  And I should also mention that I made enough to make extra bowls this week (easy food prep!) and I’m literally chowing down on another Harvest Bowl for my lunch as I write this!  YUM!

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