Conversations about optimal health.

Restaurant Review – Family Meal, Frederick, MD

Usually I don’t write reviews but I’ve been so inspired by the cuisine at the Family Meal that I have to tell someone. So, you, my faithful blog readers get to enjoy my first Restaurant Review ever. The Voltaggio brothers came to my attention when they competed on a reality TV show for Chefs. During or after their TV debut, Bryan Voltaggio remodeled a lovely old office building in downtown Frederick and opened the VOLT restaurant for high-end foodies from around the country. Of course the menu is posted outside of the restaurant without prices which is a signal to my budget that I’m not goin’ there.

Fortunately for Frederick, we now have another medium priced restaurant opened by Mr Voltaggio in an old car dealership which has been vacant for years on the industrial side of town. The Family Meal provides a diner style atmosphere with standard menu items that have been given a Voltaggio remodel.

I tried the Chicken Pot Pie Fritters as an appetizer and they were a delightful surprise. Just a bite of authentic potpie taste and texture. I could have eaten a whole mountain of them but would have been too full for the next course. The chopped greens salad with country ham and hard cooked eggs was fresh, beautiful to look at and didn’t taste like a typical chef salad. The combination of ingredients and salad dressing gave every bite  a complete combination of flavors.  Along with the salad I ordered french fries cooked in peanut oil with 3 dipping sauces. The perfectly cooked fries and the dipping sauces were sublime. The spicy Aioli was my husbands favorite and I loved the Smokey Ketchup and Cilantro Oil as well.  At this point I will apologize to the restaurant for not listing the exact names off of the menu. My memory will have to suffice.  Red Velvet Cake served like a trifle with rich frozen custard and raspberry jam finished the meal.  I accompanied my desert with coffee served in a diner mug with a tin creamer shaped like an open milk box. The roasted coffee has just enough flavor to be distinctive rather than Starbucks burned.

Overall, there were only 2 disappointments.The menu listed country ham as part of my salad, and in this part of the country that would have been sugar-cured ham. This was not the case. And the concentration of flavors in my dessert were in layers so in order to experience them together I would have needed a very tall spoon.  However, these disappointments are not enough to keep me away. Now, I want to go back to try the Fries in Duck Fat, Fried Chicken with Buttermilk biscuits and the Apple Crisp with Ice Cream.

The cost was in the medium range. A satisfying meal for 2 with tip was 54.00. Thank you Bryan Voltaggio for providing gourmet meals for frugal foodies like me. Looking forward to the next . . .


Tea with the Governor

One of my all time favorite teas used to be served at the Governors’ Palace in Historical Williamsburg.  When I was a teen, which was too long ago to figure out, my family and I bought tickets to tea on the lawn.  The tea was steeped in china teapots served by women in period costume.  It was black tea with orange peel and cloves, absolutely delicious.  The only tea I can find that comes near the taste is Constant Comment by Bigelow.

Write to me with the memories invoked by your favorite teas.  I’d love to hear from you.

90 Day Vegan Adventure Day 33 – How To Stay On the Vegan Wagon

Let’s face it, this Vegan Adventure is not easy.  Living in the US means there are lots of quick, unhealthy choices everywhere you go, even in your own freezer.  So how do you stay on the Vegan Wagon? . . . Great cookbooks, planning meals, shopping for fresh ingredients, and COOKING.

Case in point, last night my husband was out-of-town,  the rest of the family was tired from a busy week.  I had planned to fix veggie fajita ( Nutrilite Fat Trimmer Recipe)  and realized too late that the last shopping trip was disorganized and did not include pinto beans.  So, it’s pouring rain and my 9-month granddaughter is sleeping.  It’s not a good time to run to the store for just one item.  I made a healthy green salad, however, threw chicken nuggets into the oven, thinking that I wouldn’t eat them.  Just for the rest of the family, right?  Wrong, when I am tired and hungry, I’m weak.  I actually ate chicken nuggets, blech, I don’t even like them and they are definitely not part of the Adventure.

Staying on the V-Wagon begins with great cookbooks.  See the Library category, plus Nutrilite has three Weight Management Plan cookbooks based on your genetic predisposition for weight loss.  The recipes are simple and delicious.  The books can be found at>shopourstore.

Planning meals and shopping your plan not only keeps you eating healthy but also saves gas, time and money.  Keep healthy choices on hand and have a list available for whenever you run out of something.  Buying food for a family means stocking choices that aren’t necessarily vegan, hence the chicken nuggets. However, if  you make sure your own choices are in the freezer it’s easier to make food for everyone.

Then, cook your plan.  Prepare what you can in the morning, for example, put the beans on to cook, or place ingredients in the crock pot.  If  you leave early for work a crock pot is really helpful, or you can prepare some of the ingredients the night before and refrigerate them.  It’s so helpful to have dinner partially ready in the evening when you are tired.  Following these guidelines helps me to continue to eat in a healthy way, staying on the Vegan Wagon.

Do you have tips for staying on the Wagon?  Please leave your comments!

90 Day Vegan Adventure Day 13 – Passing the test

Yesterday was a major test of the vegan eating plan.  My extended family met at the Utica Picnic and had a family style fried chicken and ham dinner.  The Utica Picnic is a yearly fundraiser for the Utica Lutheran Church.  It takes place in a wooded area that has hosted this picnic for decades.  The locals come out in droves and the church members serve lots of home cooking, family style and ala carte.  From hot beef sandwiches and full fat ice cream to fresh garden vegetables and country ham it is a major test of willpower.

This year I made it about spending time with family, and not about the food.  Avoiding the meats, rolls, and cake left lots of room for fresh garden tomatoes, potato salad, pepper slaw, peaches, apple sauce, green beans, homemade beet and cucumber pickles.  The food was delicious but not necessary for a great time.

So, I passed the test and really enjoyed seeing my family.  No one asked why I wasn’t eating meat or gave me a hard time, though my brother did offer me a piece of vanilla cake with peanut butter frosting.  I wasn’t even tempted.