ancient arabic treasure chest

Swiss Chard Is One of the Most Nutritious Veggies – Why Not Try It?

Swiss chard is in season once again and readily available at local farmer’s markets as well as in many grocery stores. Swiss chard looks similar to collards, but has bright red veins and stems and the flavor is a little different.

We learned that it’s quite nutritious, and also readily available year-round, not just in the spring. We also did some research and found out that Swiss chard is one of the most nutritious vegetables, ranking second only to spinach in total nutrient richness.

Here’s a simple recipe we tried for sauteed chard with onions and garlic.
-1 bag of Swiss chard (14-16 oz.)
-1 medium onion (any type)
-2-3 cloves garlic
-2-tbsp. olive oil
-1/8-tsp. red pepper (optional)
-Salt and pepper to taste
Food Prep:
Mince garlic and dice onions. Remove stems from chard and chop stems into 2-inch pieces. Roll leaves and cut every 1-2 inches.
How to Cook:
Add oil to heated saute or fry pan. Add onions and garlic  and saute until soft and lightly browned. Add chard stems to pan, and cook for about 10 minutes until tender. Then add chopped chard leaves, cooking one panful for about 2-3 minutes before adding more leaves to the pan. When all leaves are cooked, add salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste. Serve warm.

ancient arabic treasure chest

Finding Favorites at Virginia Beach

Making the most of a drizzly rainy day sitting on the beach overlooking the Atlantic in 2016.

After using a friend’s timeshare in Virginia Beach for a week a few years back, we found the beach to be a good place to unwind and liked the fact that it didn’t take a lot of travel time to get there and back from Richmond. Not only are we a short walk from the ocean, but there are lots of excursions and day trips that you can take from the beach if you want more variety.

We now own the timeshare, and soon we’ll be going back for the third time as a couple. Our week hits right before the Memorial Day rush so it’s not as crowded when we’re there. Every year we try to include a few new things in our plans – last year we took a day trip to the Norfolk Harbor, took a dolphin watching boat trip on the ocean, and rented bikes and spent half a day biking up and down the boardwalk. Once was probably enough for the dolphin watching trip, but riding bikes along the boardwalk was a lot of fun and definitely something we want to do again. We also stumbled across a great little restaurant in Norfolk that we’d like to try again – The Green House Kitchen.

Continue reading “Finding Favorites at Virginia Beach”

ancient arabic treasure chest

Little Pallet Houses that Can Make a Big Impact

Using pallet houses made of wooden shipping pallets to temporarily house refugees and people in all types of emergency situations like natural disasters is a really cool concept. Not only are wooden pallets available all over the world, but they are typically readily on hand in crisis zones because they’re used to ship food, water and supplies. And often they’re just discarded or burned.  Lisa recently spoke to the New York city architect who came up with the pallet house concept, along with her partner, about how these tiny structures have the potential to house people in crisis situations all over the world. Lisa did the interview for Pallet Enterprise magazine, and you can check out the article here.

ancient arabic treasure chest

Takara Ramen

We’ve watched a lot of cooking shows about ramen noodle soup, and are intrigued by the versatility of this Japanese staple. Ramen is basically Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a fish- or meat-based broth with some basic add-ins like pork, dried seaweed and scallions. Though relatively simple by nature, there are apparently endless ways to add complexity and layers of flavor to this soup. In fact, nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of it.

You can often get a basic ramen soup at many Chinese or Japanese restaurants, but we were really excited when we stumbled upon Takara Ramen, a restaurant dedicated almost exclusively to authentic Japanese ramen, right here in Richmond not far from home a few months ago. We’ve returned several times since then, and like the service, the food and the casual atmosphere. And don’t worry if you’re not sure of the correct way to eat ramen, the directions are displayed in bold text across the bar at the front of the restaurant. And yes, slurping your noodles is an essential part of the whole ramen experience.

We’ve tried several of the different soups offered as well as the appetizers, which are extremely delicious, even if the portions are a bit small. The soups are served in really large bowls, and are delight to all the senses, including smell and sight. The only dish we haven’t really, really liked so far is the curry beef and rice, ironically one of only a few items offered on the menu that’s not ramen.

Takara Ramen is open for lunch and dinner, and is located at 9468 W. Broad Street in Henrico. Prices are affordable – we give it $$ out of a possible $-$$$$$.