Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Weekend Recap: Aiken Steeplechase

We had so much fun this weekend with friends down in Aiken at the Steeplechase horse race.  The weather was perfect, mid 70's and sunny.  T and I are no strangers to a horserace (we're actually going to another one this coming weekend) but this was our first time at the Aiken Steeplechase.






While we there there, I tried this Champagne Limincello Cocktail for the first time.  It's so simple, limoncello and lemon juice topped with a dry champagne and a lemon twist.  It was so refreshing and light.  We'll be making this one again this weekend for sure!  Find the recipe here.


Hope your weeks are going great! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Meal Planning For the Week

Happy Monday!  I'm still working on getting all of my pictures from the weekend together, so a weekend recap post will be happening closer to Tuesday or Wednesday.  We had the best time with friends this weekend at the Aiken Steeplechase horse race.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect.  Sunny and in the 70's, I even got a tinge of sunburn on my shoulders which I'm not hating.

I wanted to go ahead and share what we've got on the menu for this week, because I'm pretty excited about it.  This is the week leading up to my birthday, so I'm pulling out all the stops.  Calories don't count on your birthday week (DUH) and I'm going to be treating myself a little more than I usually do.  Bring on the maple syrup.

http://www.grandbaby-cakes.com/2014/03/homemade-chicken-and-waffles/


Monday - Thai Beef with Basil

Tuesday - Thai Beef with Basil

Wednesday - Chicken and Waffles (adapted from this recipe)

Thursday - Out to dinner with friends


Friday, March 20, 2015

Five On Friday

Happy Friday!  This week has flown by, and I could not be more ready for the weekend.  We have a fun weekend with friends planned, and I'm counting down the hours until 5:00.  Today I'm joining up with April, Darci, Natasha, and Christina for their Five on Friday link up.  Here are my top five things for this Friday: 

- 1 - Yesterday I took my car in for an oil change and some regular maintenance.  North Hills Automotive recently opened up right around the corner from our house, so I decided to try it out.  I was so pleased with the quality of service and their facilities that I just had to share.  I've never seen a lobby at a car repair shop that was so beautiful, and their entire staff was so friendly.

North Hills did not ask me to post about them, but I was so happy with everything that I had to share.  And Greenville friends, if you do decide to give them a shot, tell them that I referred you.  We both get $50 credit if you do! 


- 2 - Spring his here and I'm craving a new pair of sunnies. I've got my eye on a classic pair of aviators, and I think I may just have to pull the trigger soon.






- 3 - This week I've had so much fun playing around with new materials for my necklaces.  I bought some horsehair tassels, and I've had the best time experimenting with different combinations.  I rarely let myself keep necklaces that I've made, but I just had to keep one of these for myself.  It's the perfect everyday necklace that goes with just about everything.  Check them out at my Etsy site here.




- 4 - I'm not a big snacker, but recently I've fallen in love with these Cocoa Roast Almonds 100 calorie packs.  I had to go to two different stores to find them last weekend, and was able to snag the very last box that they had at Walmart.  I must not be the only one who loves these things. They're the perfect combo of sweet and salty, and I've been enjoying them as an afternoon snack this week. 



- 5 - After work today we are hopping in the car and heading to Aiken, SC for the weekend.  We'll be going to the Steeplechase horse race with friends, and I'm so excited!  The weather is supposed to be perfect.  Mid 70's and sunny.  Hallelujah. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tomato Basil Linguini

T and I rarely cook pasta, but when we do I look forward to it all week.  I grew up in a low-carb household so pasta always seams like a treat to me.  One of my favorite pasta recipes to make during the warmer months is a Tomato Basil Linguini.  The best part about this recipe is that you don't have to cook the sauce.  It goes together in less than 15 minutes and the flavors are exquisite.

I posted a picture of the "sauce" earlier this week and had a few requests about the recipe. 

 

// Tomato Basil Linguini  //

4 large, ripe, fresh tomatoes, chopped and drained*
1 pound Brie, torn into irregular pieces (remove rind)
1 cup cleaned fresh basil, cut into strips, or roughly chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pound linguine, uncooked
Parmesan cheese (optional) 
*To drain the tomatoes, chop them, dump them in a colander and toss with salt.   Let them sit for a few minutes and they will start to sweat some of their moisture out.  This is a key step in making a sauce that's not too watery.

Combine tomatoes, Brie, basil, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature for several hours to allow the flavors to blend. (I usually try to prepare this in the morning or at lunch on the day that I'm making it, but if you don't have time just let it sit for as long as you can.)

Boil pasta according to directions on box, drain, and toss with tomato and cheese mixture until Brie is melted. Top with black pepper and shredded Parmesan if desired.

If this recipe isn't good enough already,  it's also just as tasty leftover.  The noodles don't bloat like they do with other watery sauces.  I think since the sauce is more oil-based it helps preserve the original integrity of the dish.  Major plus in my book because we are big on leftovers in our house.

Do you have a favorite pasta dish for the warmer months?  I'd love to hear yours if you do!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lunch At Pomegranate On Main

Over the past few months, I've been in search of some new lunch spots.  I work downtown and have plenty of options within walking distance, but I was finding myself revisiting the same old places over and over.  One thing I love about the lunch hour is that you can go to a higher end restaurant and pay the same thing you'd pay at a sandwich shop, but get a much better meal and experience.

Last week I had lunch with a few girlfriends at Pomegranate On Main.  I've had dinner at Pomegranate before, but never lunch.  Their lunch menu was very reasonably priced, and the service was excellent.

They start every table out with a traditional Persian breakfast of warm flat bread, salted butter, feta, radishes, and mint.  I'd never had this combo before, but it was incredible.  The saltiness of the pita and butter combined with the mint was a totally unexpected tasty flavor combination. 

Maybe it's just the cheapo in me, but any time a restaurant gives you something complimentary other than a typical dry bread basket I'm immediately impressed.  Knowing that they've taken that extra step is always a plus in my book.


For my entree, I had the Chicken Wrap.  Marinated chicken, tomatoes, onions, pickles, parsley, mayo, and Persian citrus dressing served in a flat bread.  Oh my.  Chicken wraps are typically dry and uninspired, and this sandwich was far from either of those.  The chicken was perfectly cooked and juicy, and the acidity of the pickles and citrus dressing were just the right addition.   It's also served with a lightly dressed side salad, a bang for your buck at it's $9.00 price point.


I love finding new lunch spots downtown, and will be returning to Pomegranate very soon! 


Pomegranate on Main on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Weekend Recap

Weekends at home are very rare for us.  When I know that we've got a weekend ahead with nothing planned, I try to take advantage of every free moment. I went to my favorite yoga class on Saturday, and even got T to join me.  We did lots of work around the house, and even planted several annuals in our front yard.  T and I both loathe yard work, but when I found these flowers at Walmart for 98 cents each, I couldn't resist picking up several to plant all around our yard.  I love knowing that they'll come back every year, too. 


On Saturday, we went downtown to Connelly's Irish Pub to celebrate the holiday in style.  I was a little disappointed with the St. Paddy's celebrations on Saturday in downtown Greenville.  Growing up in Columbia, we always had a huge St. Patrick's celebration in 5 Points downtown.  Greenville didn't have anything major organized for the weekend, which I think was a major miss for them.



We also pulled out the grill for the first time this year.  Since the weather has been so nice lately, T and I have been loving spending time on our porch.  Last year we didn't use it enough. We're hoping to make the space more inviting this spring, so that we're more likely to use it. 

We made yakitori, one of our favorite Japanese appetizers.  It's basically just skewered chicken with a sweet soy glaze on top, and it was very tasty.  We served it with sticky rice and salads with ginger dressing. I found there recipe here.


I also was able to make several new necklaces for my Etsy shop.  I just started using horsehair tassels, and I'm loving the look.  I even had to keep one for myself, something I rarely let myself do. I have two posted right now if you're interested! 



Hope y'all had a great weekend as well, and happy St. Paddy's Day! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bar Pies Recipe

At the end of the day, pizza and french fries are two of my favorite foods.  Always have been, always will be.  I'm an adventurous eater and a pretty darn good cook if I do say so myself, but there's just something so tasty and comforting about pizza (and fries) that always keep me coming back.

T and I both love a thin crust pizza; the thinner the better in our books.  A few weeks ago a coworker suggested a recipe for bar-style thin crust pizzas made on a flour tortilla.  I was intrigued.

T and I finally tried out the recipe this weekend and it was a huge it.  The tortilla takes on the flavors of the pizza, you'd never know it was a tortilla.  It crisps up so nicely, too. 


Bar Pies

// Ingredients //

1 teaspoon EVOO
1 large flour tortilla that just fits inside your cast iron skillet (you can also use whole wheat)
1/3 cup store-bought pizza sauce
1/3 cup shredded whole milk low moisture mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
thinly sliced pepperoni
any other toppings you wish to add


// Directions //

Adjust oven rack to 6 to 8 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over high heat until shimmering. Reduce heat to low and wipe out excess oil with a paper towel.

Place tortilla in skillet with the rougher textured-side facing down. Spread sauce evenly over tortilla all the way to the edges. Spread mozzarella and half of Parmesan evenly over tortilla all the way to the edges. Scatter with toppings.

Place skillet under broiler and broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown in spots,about 4 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Using a small metal spatula, gently pry edges of pizza, releasing the cheese from the skillet.  Place skillet over medium-heat and cook, swirling pizza and peeking occasionally, until desired crispness is achieved, about 4 minutes.  If you'd like the pizza to be a little crispier on the top, you can also put it back into the oven and broil on high for an additional minute.  Slide pizza out onto a cutting board. Cut and serve immediately.

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