Meal Planning for Two

Recently, my husband came home from another deployment.  Since living in New Jersey, it is either 6 or 7, but I can’t remember.  Homecomings are always great, and since then we’ve had an incredible time together.

Getting back into a routine (for both of us),  takes a couple of weeks.  It’s a bit of challenge going from one person to two again in the house.  Things like making dinner for two or meal ideas change.  With my husband’s short but frequent deployments, I never quite get into a routine of making dinner for one or two.  We’ve learned to cook more together and you can see more from culinary lab.

Recently, I discovered Frelii which is a monthly subscription service that provides a customized exercise and dietary plan based on your personal needs.  This post is sponsored by Frelii, but all thoughts, and opinions are my own.

What is Frelii?

Frelii is a preventative medicine is designed to give the best options for a healthier lifestyle.  Preventative means it’s not meant to diagnose a health condition or concern.  It does not take the place of a doctor or medical professional.

Like with running shoes, every person is unique and different from one another. Frelii aims to provide people with the knowledge, recipes, and even products to leave healthier lives.

For many people that is losing weight or even gaining weight.  For my husband and I, it was to prepare meals that were best fitted to our needs both physically and mentally but not as a dieting program!  Frelii helps each person differently.

After filling out a short questionnaire, each Frelii member is made aware of any potential health hazards and risk factors in their life.

They tailor meal plans, foods, and the entire program to what will help lead to a more balanced life. There is even an option to purchase vitamins and supplements that help your specific needs.  As a public health major in college, I appreciate Frelii recommends people get their blood work done before buying vitamins/supplements.  It never supports anything in the place of a doctor.

It took about 20 minutes to the complete the survey but when I finished it listed one of my health hazards as mood and depression.  It was spot on, as I’ve talked openly about having both anxiety and college through college.

Just as they provide meal plans, Frelii also recommends exercise plans for those who want it.  Personally, I have stuck with the meal and recipe side because I do prefer that for running but it’s nice to know it’s out there!

The Meals:

By far my favorite component of Frelii is the meal plans and new recipes they provide.  There are a lot of new and fun recipes that I would have never thought twice to try but once they recommended them…I figured might as well!

Another thing, I appreciate about Frelii is how quick meals can be made.  I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and will also choose healthy, fast options, over the top dinners that take an hour or two to cook.  They are simple, easy, and affordable.  We could make time to spend an hour or two in the kitchen, we would instead make time for other things.

Here are a few meals we chose to make:

We’ve made several more and Frelii has a database of hundreds so there is something for everyone.

Peanut Pancakes Using Almond flour and Eggs:

Spinach, Kale, and Farmers Quiche

Roasted Cauliflower and Beets.

Before cooking cauliflower, I had one bad experience and never tried cooking it again.

roasted cauliflower and beets

Sausage and Spinach Pasta with Mozzarella

We’ve made several more and it’s been a fun and unique experience.  Thank you Frelii for sponsoring this post!

Questions for you:
How long on average do you spend to cook dinner?
If you or your spouse travels or is gone, do you find it difficult to get back into a routine?

 

Treno Pizza Bar

Recently I’ve had a few more opportunities to go to local restaurants in South Jersey.  This particular time, my husband and I were invited to go to Treno Pizza Bar in Westmont, NJ.

We’ve been before, and it’s one of the best pizza spots in the area, but we were invited to try the new menu.  When looking at possible days, I thought after the Runners World Festival would be ideal.  The last thing I really want to do is cook and Treno sounded much more appealing.  But really, when doesn’t it?

We arrived at Treno around 5:30 pm.  The area of Westmont has had lot of construction lately, including brand new shiny high rise apartments next door.  Honestly, if my husband didn’t need a garage, I would love to live there.Those apartments are in a prime spot to walk to several bars or fancier restaurants that serve alcohol such as Treno.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the hostess, and since it was a beautiful evening, we opted to sit on the patio. Treno pizza bar westmont nj

The manager came over and gave us personal recommendations including the veggie pizza and Treno Board.

As I mentioned, Treno serves alcohol including craft beer.  I immediately noticed Flying Fish beer, which I ran a local 5k at the brewery last month.

After chatting with the manager, the Treno board came out quickly with a variety of different bites including prosciutto di parma, house-cured meat, robiola, caciocavallo, roasted peppers, olives, crostini.  Everything on the board was delicious.  As someone who loves olives, they were my personal favorite.  The types of cheeses were both unique and I hadn’t had either.  Definitely a great starter! Treno pizza bar westmont nj board

As the manager recommended, I ordered the Veggie pizza.  Veggie pizza isn’t typically my first choice as I love pepper, sausage, and meat pizzas.

Heck, I even like pineapple pizza but I always like trying new things, and the Brick Oven Veggie Pizza came with butternut squash, onions, and goat cheese.  It reminded me a lot of a flatbread and something that would be perfect for a half marathon or marathon.  The pizza itself isn’t huge, which I appreciated.

Treno pizza bar westmont nj

My husband ordered the new Wood Oven Calabrian pizza which had house-made chili sausage, red onion, mozzarella, roasted corn, red sauce.  The manager mentioned a lot of people have come in loving spicy foods, so they want to incorporate more of that and to be honest, I agree.  I’m all about anything spicy.

Treno pizza bar westmont nj pizza

Both pizzas were great and I would order either of them again.  In fact, I think the veggie pizza might become a staple for before races for me.

We also decided to split the Tiramisu dessert and scoop of their vanilla gelato.  The Tiramisu came in a mason jar and had whipped cream (you know I love that!), fig jam and a biscotti cookie.  Both the gelato and tiramisu were great.

Treno pizza bar westmont nj pizza tiramisu

I had such a pleasant experience at the Treno, and I appreciate the invitation to try their new menu.  Everything from the food, to the service to the atmosphere, is so welcoming.  I like the idea of having smaller plates to split and snack on.  As someone who likes to try a lot of different items, this is awesome.  Plus, serving alcohol, many people need food but don’t want anything heavy.  If you are ever local, I recommend it.

Thank you for the invitation Treno and I look forward to coming back!

Questions for you:

What is your favorite type of pizza?

Have you tried tiramisu before?

Redz Restaurant (Mount Laurel)

Recently I went to Redz Restaurant in Mount Laurel.  I’ve driven by Redz a thousand times on the way to work but had never been.  For those not local, it’s also walkable distance to exit 4 on the NJ Turnpike, and one of the most accessible restaurant stops you can make.  While certainly not an NJ diner, Redz quickly became one of my favorite local restaurants.  

Redz invited me to try their bread pudding, as most readers know is one of my favorite desserts.  Sadly, my husband had a last minute trip, but I was able to go with one of my close friends who is also a pilot.  Funny enough, her flight was also delayed and it made her able to go because 2 days before, I thought I was going solo.  Which bread pudding is always worth it.  Planning anything these days has become laughable, but it all worked out.  

As mentioned, Redz is easy to find, as it’s directly off of exit 4 on the turnpike and attached to a hotel.  The inside is modern, clean, and with a full-length bar.  I would bring my husband for a nice meal, meet friends, or even bring my parents. 

While they do have a full-length bar,  I stayed sober since I was racing in the morning.  I didn’t pass up an opportunity to try their coffee.  Not that that is different from a typical restaurant!.  Their coffee was definitely one of the better coffees I’ve had in the area, which says a lot for an upscale restaurant.  

The meal started off with complimentary bread with butter as well as a oil dipping sauce.  I always appreciate unique bread baskets.  

In addition to looking forward to the bread pudding, I’m a big seafood fan, so I was looking forward to their newer healthy menu.  For an appetizer, we ordered the shrimp and scallops to split.  I will say the scallops were by far the biggest scallops I’ve had at any restaurant.  The entire appetizer was fresh with a ginger dressing.  Immediately I knew if we were starting there, it would be tough to beat.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

I ordered the ahi tuna as my entree.  I haven’t had tuna in awhile, but I appreciated how well seasoned it was.  I had it cooked as recommended and I’m glad I did.  I would order it again.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

The waitress still brought out the dessert tray, which to be honest I wanted everything.  Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

I had made my mind up days ago to get the bread pudding, and I’m glad I did.  She also included vanilla ice cream too.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

The bread pudding changes weekly, so there is always something new and different.  Last Tweek was cranberry and rumor is next week its pumpkin.  The bread pudding was everything I dreamed of.  It was extremely rich with a caramel topping.  It was definitely one of the best I’ve had (even as someone who grew up in the south).  The waitress commented I was “the first person ever” to finish the entire thing.  I guess that is a runner’s problem…but it was that good. 

Everything from the service to coffee, to dessert, was top notch and both my date and I agreed our only regret was not coming sooner.  In case you wondered, I did well at the Dragon Run the next day so I would come here before races too (something I’m more picky about…). 

Will I be back?

Well, I promised my husband (since he already saw the bread pudding on Instagram) that we could go again…so I will be back in the next month.  Even if you’re traveling through NJ and need a quick stop off the turnpike; it’s a good option.   

I had a great experience and I cannot thank Redz enough for inviting me to try their menu!  While my meal was paid for, all thoughts are my own.

Urban Griddle (Newark)

Urban Griddle (Newark)

Recently I went to the Urban Griddle in Newark. Spoiler, I enjoyed it so much the first time, I’ve been back again.  My good friend Devon and I met up at the Urban Griddle since it’s right off the highway and a good meeting spot between North and South Jersey.

When we arrived around 11 am, it wasn’t too busy.  There were several tables and booths available.  We were sat quickly!

Atmosphere: B
The outside is a typical restaurant building.  It’s not the old, metallic retro style but has a more modern vibe (similar to the Harley Dawn in Hammonton).  I enjoyed how open and well lit the restaurant is too.  It reminds me more of a bistro vibe than diner vibe.

The restaurant sign could use an update, as it looks like it’s been through a few storms, and faded.

Service: A
Between the two of us, we had a lot of questions about menu options and choices, and our waitress was extremely friendly and helpful.  She gave us plenty of menu advice and always refilled our beverages.

Coffee: A
The Urban Griddle has a full coffee bar as well as a standard bar with the ability to make alcoholic drinks as well.

Urban Griddle Newark

Each cup of coffee was brewed perfectly.  It was hot and fresh.  Definitely some of the better coffee I’ve had recently.

Food: A
The Urban Griddle serves local and fresh ingredients.  The menu has several unique diner options including “matcha pancakes” and avocado toast.  It reminds me more of a bistro style menu.  There is a large selection of vegetarian and vegan options too.

As many people know, I am a big grits fan.  Since living in Alabama, I’ve been trying to find good northern grits.  The second time I went, I ordered breakfast which came with a side of grits.  So far in New Jersey, they have been the best I’ve had.  The rest of the breakfast: toast, eggs, and bacon was equally as good.  One of my favorite diner breakfasts to date (but that was mostly because of the grits!).

Urban Griddle Newark

Cost: $
I was actually quite surprised with how inexpensive the food is.  For my entire breakfast, the cost was $10.

Overall thoughts/Summary:
I enjoyed the Urban Griddle, and it’s definitely one of my more favorite diners in the area.  I’ve already been back, so it clearly is one of my favorites!

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $8-12
Overall: A

Nearby diners: 
Tops Diner
Tropicana Diner
Mark Twain Diner

Questions for you:
Do you like grits?
What is your favorite breakfast? (no dad, coffee doesn’t count)

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with friends and family.  If you are running a Turkey Trot, good luck with that too!

If you are running a Turkey Trot, good luck with that too!

thanksgiving meme

I’ll be spending Thanksgiving running a local turkey trot and cooking a turkey again with my husband.  Last year we wrapped ours in bacon but we shall see what we decide this year.

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