This was the perfect Yelp Elite to start off the new year. Especially after two months of holiday parties. Fresh Millions is a fast-casual “eat healthy” concept food chain that has endless combinations available from their menu. They offer lunch or dinner entrées that include made-to-order gourmet salads with a variety of mix-ins, hot bowls, soups, and grilled paninis. They first opened in 2015 and locations have been popping up all over the Valley since then. People love choices these days and Fresh Millions allows you to choose what you want on your entrée. You basically order on one side of the stainless-steel counter, pick your toppings, pay at the other side of the counter and take your food to a table. For bowls, you choose your base (brown rice, noodles, spinach, romaine, etc), a protein (chicken, shrimp, steak, tofu), a sauce (basil pesto, Thai peanut, green curry, etc) and four mix-ins. You can even go half-and-half base and do rice and romaine/spinach. The cooks will mix and sauté up your creation and you can watch the magic happen right over the counter as they are an open kitchen. For the little ones, they have a healthy fresh kids’ menu. If you are in a hurry and don’t want typical unhealthy greasy fast food, this is the place to go.
We had a Yelp Elite event at Fresh Millions to celebrate their grand opening location in Gilbert. I love these events that introduce me to new places around the Valley. I also love getting more acquainted with my fellow Yelp Elites as these are the people with the most knowledge of where the best eats are in the Valley. We were given sandwich and salad samples and able to create our bowl. For dessert, we had a table full of yummy cookies to choose from. This was a fun event and I look forward to a return visit.
My friend and I love looking for good finds at Trader Joe’s. She is the master at coming up with great party snacks from there. Here are a couple of recent items I picked up lately. The first is their pesto and quinoa in a jar. I love putting this on chicken or salads. Quinoa is obviously a big thing these days and I enjoy coming up with new recipes that include it. But to pair it with pesto (one of my favs), I have enjoyed this product. The Kale sprouts have been a great new side item for me. I made them for a friend the other night and we both agreed they are a hit. I’m looking forward to digging up some more extra goodies at the Joe’s.
My friend Katrina introduced me to a new coffee shop – Sip Coffee & Beer House. I can totally seeing this becoming my south Scottsdale hangout. They are all about bringing the coffee and beer crowd together under one roof. They have about 20 beers on tap alongside their large selection of bottled beers. For coffee, they use Cartel coffee and serve up a variety of espresso drinks, cold brew and teas. In addition to coffee and beer, they have a light menu that includes sandwiches, salads, breakfast and a cocktail menu. The best part of this place for me is the laid back atmosphere. It’s a great place to read a book or meet with friends while getting a great cup of coffee. The staff was great for my first visit! They were super nice and answered any question I had. I got their cold brew which was super clean and smooth. If you want to sit outside, the patio area is nice and shaded. Thanks Sip Bar for creating a great space for us quiet busy bodies that appreciate good beer or coffee. Definitely check out happy hour from 4-7 or some hear some live music in the evenings. There’s usually available parking spots behind the building on Bishop Ln. Old town Scottsdale is just a few blocks away if you are up for a stroll after your beverage.
I checked out Jimmy & Joe’s Pizzeria recently with a group of friends before a concert. They are located in Chandler and have been around since 2006. They try to keep their menu simple by having a limited menu consisting of pizza, wings and salad. But they are serious about their slices. They have several pizza creations you can chose from and if you are serious about size, order their 24″ Big Jimmy size. We ordered the Popeye. This pizza creation has spinach, basil, garlic, feta, tomato and mozzarella. Jimmy & Joe’s also serves Eegee’s – a popular frozen drink chain from Tucson. Their other location is in the Mesa area.
I found another recipe from Pinterest on my friend’s gluten-free menu. This Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla casserole is a Martha Stewart recipe. It was pretty easy to make and I enjoyed eating it. I hosted my group tonight and I made a salad with tomatoes and strawberries and a ranch/bacon/cheese dip with chips to go along with it.
Mushroom and Black Bean Tortilla Casserole
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 cups reserved cooked black beans from Spicy Black Bean Soup, or 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
8 corn tortillas, warmed and halved
2 cups salsa
1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces)
I added shredded rotisserie chicken to this *
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned, 7 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Add black beans and stir to combine. Cook until beans are warmed through, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Arrange 5 tortilla halves in a 2-quart baking dish. Top with half the bean mixture and 1/2 cup salsa, then sprinkle with one-third the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortilla halves, bean mixture, salsa, and cheese. Top with remaining tortilla halves, salsa, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake until center is hot and cheese melts, 10 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbling, 5 minutes.
Chicken-Chickpea Salad with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
Freshly ground black pepper
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped cooked chicken breast
1/4 cup pitted olives, sliced or halved
8 grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and oregano; season with pepper. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Combine in a large bowl with chicken, olives, tomatoes and onion. Add dressing and feta; toss to combine. Serve immediately, alone or over lettuce.
I enjoyed this light snack with some green tea on my new patio set while reading and doing homework. It was was easy to make and very good and healthy. I’m looking forward to spring and having many quiet moments like this eating and making time for God.