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Portobello Mushrooms

One of my favourite vegetarian foods is the portobello mushroom. As a vegetarian, it is versatile, full of texture and flavour. My recent discovery is the portobello Caprese. With a blend of mushroom, garlic butter, mozzarella cheese, basil and tomato and a smattering of spinach, it satisfies the taste test and is really easy to prepare. Within minutes of gathering and chopping/slicing ingredients, it can be heated beneath the broiler for a filling dish in less than half an hour. Delicious!

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Universal’s Islands of Adventure Afters

On Monday, our family tackled the Islands of Adventure. I could detail every aspect, but I won’t because most people are already familiar with the place. Most people are also already aware of the park’s policy of not allowing outside food, thus forcing families to pay a small fortune on feeding their brood during a long and hot day. There are some options for slightly healthier options (although still not terrifically affordable!). Our option was the Burger Dig in the Jurassic portion of the park. I was able to select a vegan burger and had a few options on the side, but chose to share fries. (It was hot and I walked a heck of a lot – don’t judge me!).
For us, the highlight of the days food (aside from the avacado and egg toast I made for breakfast.) was when we left the park and headed back towards Westgate Lakes on Turkey Lake Road. We called a restaurant we’d seen called “Thomkos Tavern” and ordered two pizzas: a thin-crusted vegetarian and a mushroom, green pepper and pepperoni pizza. They were excellent! Reasonable prices and gourmet taste, a great way to end a busy day at Universal. 5/5

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Birthday tradition

We have somewhat of an annual event. Since my birthday occurs during our annual vacation, we have a tradition of doing sonething enjoyable as a family and goon to the local Cheesecake Factory – wherever we may be. This year, we were in Orlando. I was able to choose flatbread from the Skinnylicious menu. Along with this, I also had a lower carb cheesecake. Delicious!

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Breakfast bagels

Before setting out from Miami back to our Orlando home base, we needed to eat. We were at the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort (soon to be reviewed on TripAdvisor). A close location that wasn’t too expensive was Einstein Bros Bagels. As a Canadian, I will always prefer Montreal-style bagels, but these New York-style bagels were okay.

I chose avacado toast with a decaf coffee, while my daughters chose different selections such as: a spinach mushroom Swiss with bacon added: a cheese Mac breakfast : and a green Chile egg with sausage. My husband selected a ham & Swiss w extra bacon on sesame bagel.

As a breakfast, we were left full and were encouraged to walk down Collins ave in Miami in order to burn some of the calories. Reasonable pricing and appetizing food in a coffee – shop style environment. Perhaps speaking to the area, it is a little embarrassing to be asking for the combination to the rest room.

Otherwise, a very reasonable meal in a classic environment. A solid 3.5/5.

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From Miami with Love

We’ve taken a couple of days out of our Orlando visit to drive up the coast to Miami.  We arrived yesterday and were not impressed by our dinner venue.  This morning we opted for a local breakfast option called First Watch.  Healthy alternatives abound at this breakfast, brunch and lunch chain.  Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and allergy-sensitive options are served by friendly staff in a clean, healthy environment.  Our server, Natasha, was very helpful and friendly – even with killer fingernails!  :).

After breakfast, we drove further to Key Largo before turning around and heading back.  A boat tour by Miami Boat Tours signalled our return in the afternoon and lunch and supper were combined at Taco Rico.  Delicious and very affordable!  (I love horchato and the veggie bowl was divine!)

Our final splurge before heading back to our hotel was a small gem called Serendipity – a frozen yoghurt cafe.  Variety and cool flavours such as pecan pie and toasted marshmallow were a huge hit with the family and at $25 (including tip) for five of us, pretty reasonable.  More detailed reviews of all of these locations can be found at Trip Advisor.

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Travel cuisine done healthily

I’ve been remiss lately.  What with my husband choosing to redecorate RIGHT before vacation to planning said vacation, not much spare time to blog – I did mention I have four kids, right?  So, enough for the excuses… my husband and I, along with three of the aforementioned kids are back in Orlando, Florida for some R&R.  We arrived yesterday and stocked our fridge for a few days of sundry meals along to save our precious vacation budget.  Breakfast was a planned accident of onions and green peppers fried in butter served with sliced tomatoes and sliced avacado, slightly seasoned with lemon juice and salt with pepper and sunny side up eggs.  A healthy smattering of no-sugar whole wheat toast kept my meal within keto limits.  More challenging was the worry about lunch.  A small restaurant on Sandlake Rd close to Turkey Lake Rd appealed to our sense of whimsy.  Zoe’s Kitchen (one of my daughters has a best friend named Zoe, whose mother often sends food my daughter’s way.). The cuisine was Mediterranean and it was very easy to find vegetarian – and even vegan – selections.  The lentil soup and quinoa salad were very filling and flavourful – I’m salivating recalling the taste and texture combinations!  Two of the kids chose spinach and mushroom paninas with added chicken with sides of fruit.  My husband was disappointed that his selected Moroccan chicken would have required a half hour wait we had no time for, but overall, we all left very satisfied.  As for pricing, it was reasonable – hitting about $51 US for five of us.  The staff was super friendly and brought the food to the table immediately as it became available.  Down side would be the counter-style ordering, but the food and pricing, along with the friendly staff, more than compensate for any criticism I may have – in fact, we hope to visit again so my husband can try that Moroccan chicken!  A solid 4.5/5.