Riding down Hill #6

Video0057 a video by dishinanddishes on Flickr.

here we go!

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Coolgreens – A Truly Cool Place

6475 Avondale Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK 73115
 2nd location:  N. May & Memorial Ave.
Website:  mycoolgreens.com
Price Factor: $$
Taste Factor: ****
Open Monday -Sunday 11a.m. to 9 p.m.

Kayla is finally home from India, and my girls and I spent some time together going to lunch.

Driving up to Coolgreens, you know this is a happening place, because the two patios outside are packed at noon on a Monday.  You know it’s the place to be when you drive up and Barry Switzer is sitting in front of you on the patio.

Conversation between me and the girls…

Me: Look!  Barry Switzer is here!

Them: Where? Is that him? Are you sure?

Me: I lived in the 80’s. I saw the national championships. I know a legend when I see one.

Them: Are you sure that’s him?

Me: (Deep sigh)  Nevermind.  Let’s go in.

But I have proof.

So there!

There are two patio areas outside the restaurant.  One out by the parking lot, and another outside the main doors up another level off the parking lot.

Upon walking into the restaurant, there’s a lot to take in.  First off, there’s the line of people waiting for some of Coolgreens numerous choices of ingredients.

You’ll see an L-shaped counter that you step up to to build your salad, pizza or wrap.  If you’re not a seasoned Coolgreens customer, you’ll probably want to take a look at the menu to your left (on the wall) before you try to wade your way through things.  Or there is a little container of to-go menus hanging on the counter.  If you don’t look ahead of time,  all those people behind you might get a little miffed.

Here is the concept, You can either build your own salad, wrap or pizza from hundreds of fresh ingredients ( the possibilities number into the thousands!).  Or, you can get some help from the Signature Menu.

Being Coolgreen virgins, we opted for the Signature Menu to begin.  I couldn’t decide between the Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad or the Smoky Tomato Basil Soup, so I opted for the combo and ordered both.  I was relieved that Kayla ordered the Coolgreens Skinnyflatbread pizza, because I also had my eye on that.  Tori was feeling a bit under-the-weather and decided to play it safe with the Formagio flatbread pizza.

As you walk through the line, you are a bit overwhelmed (but in a good way) with all the fresh ingredients before you.  Everything is either organic, or locally bought and looks really fresh and tasty.

There is everything you can dream of to choose from.  Behind the bins on the counter stand a ready, polite and eager to help waitstaff and behind them a wall of homemade dressings to choose from that really wow’d me.

Dressings like Asian Ginger, Lime Jalepeno Vinaigrette, Red Wine Tarragon Vinaigrette, Smoky Chipotle Ranch, and Thai Curry Vinaigrette stand in pristine bottles and are labeled with their goodness.  All their dressings are made with extra virgin olive oil as well, an added health benefit.  There is no sugar in their dressings either, but if necessary, they are sweetened with organic honey.

Move on down the line and you’ll see some unique offerings in drinks.

But pay attention soda fans, because Coolgreens is not going to contribute to ill-health with soda and you won’t encounter any high-fructose corn syrup here.  They offer flavored waters, some carbonated, and a trio of teas along with their own bottled water or a giant stand of iced water with lemon and lime slices.  If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, go for one of their great smoothies from the staff at the other side of the L-shaped counter.

We took our number and took our seats in the bright and airy, well-populated dining area.  It’s horribly hot right now in Oklahoma City, and we didn’t relish the thought of the patio.

Speaking of the dining room, Allan McMurrain, one of the owners,   had told me that they truly live their “green” name. By using as many recycled products as possible, from the cork floor to the bio-degradable to-go containers, they live up to the name.  According to something pulled off of their website…

The use of reclaimed woods, environmentally friendly products, bio-degradable packaging and wind-energy add to the overall theme of healthy, sustainable living.

Each table has a pretty little vase with a fresh flower floating in it when you sit down, a nice touch to us girls.  Our food came out very quickly.  I was enthralled at the sight of my order.

My Ahi Tuna Nicoise salad had perfectly-done slices of tuna, plus little fingerling potatoes on a bed of mixed greens and arugula.  It was accented with some lovely pickled red onions, capers, grape tomatoes, crisp snap peas,  and a sprinkling of calamata olives.  For some reason, I didn’t get the hard-boiled eggs listed on the menu, but the salad was fantastic and I really liked the raspberry vinaigrette dressing it was drizzled with.

The huge bowl of Smoky Basil Tomato soup was great.  It tasted of fresh tomatoes, and it had a little bite of something spicy in it that I really enjoyed.  When I finished, I felt as if I had eaten really healthy, didn’t have a overfull feeling ,but I was very satisfied.

Then I took one bite of Kayla’s Coolgreens Skinny flatbread pizza.

And I decided I would go ahead and make myself a bit uncomfortable.

Whoever made this combination was genius.  First of all, Alan told me that the crusts are made of whole grain or rye and the crust was delicious. And the toppings?  There was  basil pesto, roasted grapes, sundried tomato, figs, walnuts, goats cheese, arugula.

Sound weird? It was perfect. The savory of the pesto, tomatoes and nuts with the little bit of tartness of the goat cheese was balanced out by the sweetness of the grapes and figs.  It was magnificent.  We both ooh’d and aah’d over it and I snuck another couple of bites when she was full.

She also ordered a combo and her salad was the Chicken Ceaser.

The dressing on this was super good and doesn’t contain raw eggs.

Tori also ordered a flatbread pizza – the Formagio which had four cheeses and was very yummy.

The crust is toasted perfectly and the cheese mixture was lovely.

We sat and watched people pour in for a good hour-and-a-half while we sat, ate and talked.  Many people had the sorbet with fresh fruit on it that Alan has told me about that contains no sugar or fat.

Feel like fresh-squeezed juice? They have that too.

If you care about the food you put into your body, and you love fresh ingredients, you’re going to love Coolgreens.  It’s priced to match those kind of ingredients, so be prepared to pay a minimum of $10 for lunch, although some of the pizzas are $7 or $8.  But, in my opinion?

It was well-worth the treat.

I’ve already informed Mr. Wonderful it’s going to be a date-night regular.

Did you know us bloggers love comments? Please leave me a comment below on your thoughts on Coolgreens!

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To My Dad

This is my Dad.  He’s the World’s Best Dad.

I have a lot of memories of my Dad over the years.   He’s also a great Grandpa.

I remember my Dad sleeping with each one of my kids laying on his chest shortly after they were born.

I think I inherited the sleeping with your mouth open thing…just like that too!

I remember him loving to hold them.

I also remember those early 90’s huge glasses he wore! And those two boys?  He now wrestles with them…

My parents have always been caring, loving grandparents.  They took my kids to the petting zoo, the dairy farm, swimming, and yes, my Dad even braved the cold to pull them around on a sled in Michigan in the winter.

He builds great campfires and makes the best browned and golden marshmallows for S’Mores you ever saw!

It was so interesting to go through these pictures and see all the styles and colors of hair I had…and how I seemed to be pregnant forever!

So today, I want to wish my Dad a Happy Father’s Day!  Thanks for being the quality Dad and Grandpa all these years Dad.

We love you!


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Homemade Granola

It’s Saturday morning and I love to pour myself a cup of coffee and browse through my cookbooks and magazines for a new recipe.

I’d seen a recipe in one of my Bon Appétit magazines for granola by Molly Wizenburg. Molly writes for the magazine, and also has a blog called Orangette.  She always has earthy, wonderful recipes that I love, so after scanning the ingredient list, I realized I had everything I needed in my pantry, and set about making this granola.

I started out by roughly chopping up some walnuts.  Molly’s recipe calls for pecans, but I’m partial to walnuts and this is the beauty of granola.  You can switch it up and play around for a recipe that’s perfect for your taste.  Swap out the honey for some maple syrup for a new flavor.  Add whatever makes you smile.

Measure three cups of oats into a large mixing bowl.  I used quick cooking oats, as I didn’t have any old fashioned in the house, which worked just fine, but next time, I’ll use the whole  oats.  I think steel-cut would be amazing as well.  Add in three tablespoons of brown sugar.  Also add in one teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Stir this all up with a large spoon, taking care to get the spices mixed all into the oats and nuts.

In a small saucepan, add in two tablespoons of canola oil and 1/3 cup of honey.  Warm this over low heat on the stove until it’s nice and thin and the honey has melted a bit.  Whisk it together.

When the honey mixture is nice and warm and thin, drizzle it right over your oat mixture and then taking your spoon, mix it all up again.  Your oats will get moist and darken a bit from the honey.

Spread this onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat mat.

Take your large spoon and really spread it into an even layer.

Pop this into a 300º oven for 40 minutes.  Set a time for 10 minutes.  Take your pan out and give it a stir.

Continue to do this two more times.  Each time your oat mixture will be a little toastier looking.  That’s where the flavor lies my friends.

Just before the last 10 minute bake, Stir in one cup of your dried fruit of choice.  I used cranberries.  I love their tartness.

Stir everything up one last time and bake for the last 10 minutes.

You’re supposed to let this cool before you eat it, but I love it warm.

I like it with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top.  You could also make it without the dried fruit and serve it with vanilla yogurt and berries.  Yum!

Kayla and her roommate Brettley  are coming home tomorrow from India.  Brettley’s parents are driving here from Iowa and then staying over Sunday night, and I thought this would be a nice healthy breakfast treat to have Monday morning.

I hope there’s some left by then.

Katie’s Printable Recipe – Homemade Granola

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