Monthly Archives: May 2010

Holiday Weekend!

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

We’ve been busy playing in the sun, eating good food and doing what should be done on long holiday weekends – having fun!! 😀

Let’s back track to Saturday shall we, remember that homemade bbq sauce I made?

Well it sure did make a pretty delicious bbq chicken dinner on the cast iron grill (love this thing)…

Next best way to get that “grilled” taste in lieu of an outdoor grill 😉

Served up with a side salad & some mac n’ cheese, this was everything I wanted in a comfort dinner and more!

 

The homemade barbecue sauce was based on some recipes I found online & my own tastes as I went along.  It included:  onions, garlic, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, agave, honey, cayanne, chili powder and apple cider vinegar.

So. Good.

Yesterday I woke up early and got to work on the dessert that I was bringing to the Memorial Day cookout…

Oh yes, that would be fruit pizza.

Sugar cookie crust, cream cheese/sugar/vanilla frosting, fresh fruit and strawberry jam topping.

So freaking delicious.  Such a great hot weather dessert choice if you ask me, and I think everyone else thougt so as well 🙂

We spent the day/night over at The Man’s parents house with a bunch of friends…

They have a big backyard, a pool and tons of games.  Love it especially during the summa time!

Dinner was cookout style…

Hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, potato salad, tuna salad, fresh veggies, bean/corn salsa, corn on the cob.

Everything was delicious!

There were also just a few adult beverages enjoyed over the course of the weekend 😉

This beer seriously kicks a$$, I must find more!

Question for you before I head off to the pool to soak up more of these gorgeous Virginia rays…

In the south (or at least in Virginia) we use the word “barbecue” in reference to pulled pork covered with bbq sauce.  However in the north I have noticed that the word “barbecue” is used in reference to the actual act of cooking out on the grill.

What do you use the word “barbecue” for where you’re from?!

Don’t ask me why, but I am curious about this 😛

Enjoy your day off!

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The Wine Loft

Happy Saturday everyone!

Well the rain has held off for this gorgeous weekend day and I couldn’t be happier 😀

Sunny & hot = favorite weather ever!

I woke up this morning with a strange urge to make homemade bbq sauce… bc I am normal and doesn’t eveyone wake up thinking of bbq sauce?! ha.

I’ve been craving bbq chicken for some time now so tonight is going to be the night!  Lil’ sneak peak action shall we 😉

Homemade bbq sauce, get in my bellyyyyyyy…

After that kitchen adventure it was time for a P90X Kenpo workout and some lunch at Einsteins Bros. Bagels.

I’ve been dying to try their new Bagelthin sandwiches and we had a BOGO coupon… yes please!

Wheat bagel thin, deli turkey, tomato, lettuce, onion & veggie cream cheese (?!?!) —> I can’t find the ingredients for this sammie anywhere?

Although I will say that with 250 calories and 24g protein the nutritional stats aren’t too shabby 🙂

But enough about today, how about last night’s trip to The Wine Loft with our good friends Tammy & Louis?!

The Wine Loft

Loved loved loved this place 😛

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With glowing bars and comfy couches to relax on, the atmosphere was seriously fabulous.

We started off by looking through their wine menu, I selected the Veritas Viognier (Virginia wine represent!) and The Man selected a white blend called Ménage à Trois.

Side note, on our first dinner date The Man and I split a bottle of said Ménage à Trois… how’s that for fun facts?

Both wines were served chilled & tasted yummmmy!

Then it was onto the food, The Wine Loft’s menu is pretty darn impressive and although not lengthy, we all had quite time deciding.

Final choices:

Baked Brie en Croute for 2

Vanilla Infused Honey, Spiced Pecans & Balsamic Reduction with sliced baguette

Every bite of this dish was pure love, I kid you not.  Who knew that brie/honey/strawberries go so beautifully together when served atop some crisp bread?!  Not I, at least not until last night 😉

Shrimp and Lump Crab Four Cheese Empanada

Served atop mango chutney with chipotle pesto drizzle.

This dish was fabulous too, the sauces at this restaurant were really spectacular! 

After we stuffed our faces it was time for dessert wines, I chose the Prosecco and The Man a Zinfandel Port… the port took the proverbial cake for best wine of the night as far as I’m concerned 🙂  So rich & delicious, served in a little goblet glass and just wonderful.

I wish I had taken more interior pictures of this place though, maybe next time?

We will definitely be going back to this spot again, the service was impeccable, the food delicious and wines were fabulous.  On top of all that the prices were extremely reasonable for the portions that were served, both food & wine!

All in all it was a great way to relax on Friday night with our friends and we had a great time 😀

See ya back soon!

Semi-Homemade

Hello everyone! 😀

Well I just had to go MIA last night, sorry about that… let’s just say that yesterday was a very “trying” day for this girl and I’m just glad it’s over with…

Anywho, I do hope you understand 😉

But you know I wouldn’t leave ya hangin’ on our most delicious semi-homemade pizza dinner now would I?!

Sandra Lee style?

It all starts with the sauce, which even after a long & late day even I can muster up the energy to make something semi-homemade —>  because we all know it just tastes BETTER!

  • 1 can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic (unpic), chopped
  • fresh basil, torn
  • dried oregano
  • S&P

Just combine all the ingredients and let heat up on the stove while you prepare the rest of dinner.  This gives the flavors their chance to make friends and the end result is fabulous!

The pizzas were made using the following:

  • TJ’s pizza dough (great runner up to homemade!)
  • fresh mozzarella
  • grated Parm (unpic)
  • fresh basil
  • black pepper, red pepper flakes, whatever spices you like

Let’s play a little guess game shall we? 😉

The Man’s was topped with sauce, lotsa cheese (both), red pepper flakes & black pepper.

Mine was topped with sauce, lil’ bit of cheese (both), fresh basil & black pepper.

Into a 350F oven for 12 minutes, cranked up to 400F for about another 5 and voila! 

His & hers pizzas are served.

We love pizza night in our house, we each get what we like to top our pizzas & they are fun to make together 🙂

Mmmmmm….

This was awarded the “best homemade pizza yet” award last night, for real.

Don’t know if it was the fresh cheese or the sauce or what, but it was fabulous!

Of course there were side salads to go with, gotta get our veg on 😉

  • organic baby romaine
  • organic grape tomatoes
  • black olives
  • roasted red peppers
  • feta
  • white balsamic vinegar/olive oil (obsessed!)
  • dried oregano, S&P

Perfect way to end the day.

And then I proceeded to fall asleep on the couch at 9:15pm… yea, seriously who am I?  But no worries, I was up again by 10 to watch my homegirls in NYC crazy it up haha!

We also got some CRAZY intense t-storms throughout the night last night, I’m talkin’ ones where you literally feel the thunder shake your house.  I think there are alot of folks w/out power this morning so I’m just thankful we didn’t lose ours!

And with that, I’m out.  Another busy day at work but at least tonight I have a fun event to look forward to tonight including some good friends & a new wine bar 🙂 🙂 🙂

Totally pumped!

Happy Friday friends 😛

Urban Farmhouse

For my farewell lunch with my old group at work today, the group decided to treat me to a restaurant downtown called Urban Farmhouse.

I had heard about this restaurant a few times and was very excited to try it out!

Urban Farmhouse on 2010-01-22 at 15-05-56 (1)

Their menu consists of fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients including naturally raised meats from local suppliers —> do my coworkers know me well or what?! 😉

There were so many great choices, I seriously couldn’t pick?!  But I finally decided that I’d go with the twosome, half sandwich and half salad. 

Half Mango Turkey sandwich with half Asparagus and White Bean salad.

Mango Turkey sandwich – turkey breast with homemade Mango Chutney and caramelized onions on The Flour Garden’s Campagne bread

Asparagus & White Bean salad – Lemony white cannellini beans, fresh early spring asparagus and crumbled feta tossed with organic mixed greens, served with our homemade Basalmic Vinaigrette

LOVE LOVE LOVED THIS MEAL!  Served w/ carrot sticks and chips on the side, this sandwich was no joke.  There was no deli cut meat here, this was thick cut legit turkey breast!  The salad was divine as well, creamy w/ the beans and feta and crunchy w/ the asparagus (which I adore asparagus but don’t get to eat it often bc The Man hates it) 😛

It was funny because the guys were a bit hesitant, shall we say, about this place but they all ended up really liking it!!!  Urban Farmhouse, changing minds about “frou frou” restaurants one meal at a time 😉

My coworker was excited to show off his yummy meal!

Q Bleu ChickenThe Farmhouse version of barbeque with a snappy vinegar based sauce and bleu cheese crumbles

It was pretty much a ginormous buffalo chicken sandwich and the guys agreed that it was plenty of food and quite delicious at that!

I also couldn’t resist a chocolate chip cookie for dessert either… could you?!

Yep, loved this place.  Would go back in a heartbeat! 😀

One of my coworkers was also so nice and brought me a little going away present!

Her mom makes these wonderful soaps and sells them at our local farmer’s market every weekend!  And now I get to try some of my very own, which I’m really looking forward to bc they are natural and they smell heavenly 😀

The same coworker also forwarded me this article today, which I found to be quite the interesting read, so I wanted to pass along to you friends.

It has to do with the benefits of grass fed beef and it’s potential cancer-fighting properties vs. the conventional grain-fed option.  Just add it to the list of reasons why making the switch is so important to us!

Alright friends, well you know I’ll be tuned into the season finale of American Idol tonight 😀

If you watch American Idol, who are you rooting for to win?!?!

See you tomorrow, we have a fun dinner planned that I’m already looking forward too (you know you’re a food blogger when…?!?!)

Not just any old stir fry

Hey hey everyone!

Well it’s Tuesday, nothing crazy special to report here but no complaints either.  I’ll take it 😉

Tonight’s dinner plan was for a stir fry, but not just any old stir fry…  oh no no no.

A seafood stir fry!

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen TJs harvest hodgepodge
  • 1 bag frozen TJs seafood blend (shrimp, scallops, calamari)
  • 1/4 cup sweet ginger chili sauce
  • 1 tblsp virgin coconut oil
  • black pepper to taste
  • brown rice to serve

I picked up this seafood blend of shrimp, scallops and calamari during my last Trader Joe’s adventure and was really excited to try it out.

Although I must tell you that both The Man and I were a bit hesitant on how the calamari would turn out – as we all know it’s very easy to make calamari rubbery and chewy!  We’ve really only had it fried too, so was intrigued on how it would be stir fried…

Only one way to find out, right?!

Let’s get starteddddddddd 🙂

Chop the onion.  Add to a hot wok with 1/2 tblsp coconut oil.  Stir fry about 2 minutes.  Add in frozen veggies and stir fry until just starting to brown.

Remove veggies from wok.  Add another 1/2 tblsp coconut oil and seafood, stir fry until close to done.

Then toss everyone together and add in the sweet ginger chili sauce and black pepper to taste. 

Voila, your dinner is done!

Served atop brown rice and with some soy sauced garlic bok choy alongside!

So what was the verdict on the stir fry? 

Perfect.  The Man was mmmm’ing and yummm’ing through the meal as was I.  The seafood cooked up perfectly, no rubbery chewy textures to be found.  The scallops were really sweet too.  I was seriously impressed by this dish!

The Man also commented on how the choice of sauce was perfect for this mixture of flavors.  I really think a soy sauce base would have just been too much too.

Ahhhh perfect Tuesday night dinner, enjoyed with some Viognier, my new favorite white wine these days.

And now, it’s time to devour one of these yummies from Candy Valley Cake Company and catch up on American Idol 😉

Cake Pops - BOB

Chocolate Peanut Butter – chocolate cake laced w/ chopped peanut butter chips, coated w/ peanut butter candy shell

I die.

I seriously buy these every single week at the Farmer’s Market, we just adore them!  Some of the most moist, flavorful cake I’ve ever had and the portion size is perfect 😛

Oh and get this, there may be an upcoming giveaway for you to try some too courtesy of the company’s owner being so awesomely kind!

Have a great night 😀

Italian take 2!

Well guess what ended up on our menu tonight?!

None other than another Italian inspired meal using some of the fresh vegetables that I purchased at the Farmer’s Market!

Veggie Pasta w/ Chicken Sausage

  • 1 can TJs tomatoes w/ basil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 small summer squash/zucchini, sliced
  • 3 small cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tblsp EVOO
  • fresh basil & Italian parsley
  • dried oregano, S&P
  • 2 TJ’s Italian chicken sausages, sliced
  • pasta
  • black pepper Parmesan cheese, grated to serve

So here’s what I did —> got the sauce started before my planned workout so it had time to simmer away and let all the flavors blend.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about a tomato sauce, it’s that it really gets better with time.  At least in my opinion 😀

Begin with a saute of the onion in some EVOO while you continue slicing the other veggies.

Then add in the summer squash and cover for just a few minutes until it softens up.

Throw in the garlic towards the end too, yummmm 😛

While this is cooking up, give the sliced chicken sausage a quick saute in cooking spray until browned on the outside.

This will add an additional layer of flavor to the sauce.

Now comes the messy part, tomato squishin’!!!!

Since the tomatoes in this can were whole, I just stuck my clean hands right into the can and squished the ‘maters right up until they were “sauce worthy.”  Then added to the sauce pot…

Something about this was just wayyyyy too fun haha, call me weird 😉

In go the browned chicken sausages, fresh basil and Italian parsley, sprinking of dried oregano, salt and pepper and on goes the lid… let it simmer on low while you go get your workout on!

A quick Yoga Meltdown session later, walk into a fabulous smelling kitchen and uncover your surprise!

Oh yes, what could be easier? 

Perhaps boiling up some pasta to serve then shredding some TJs black pepper parmesan on top?!?!

Easy peasy, no?

And prepping a quick side salad w/ roasted red peppers, black olives, feta, fresh herbs and homemade white balsamic vinaigrette to go with…

This isn’t rocket science here 😉

Reasons why I loved this meal:

  1. It was delicious, tasted fresh & homemade which always ends a work day nicely.
  2. It was not labor intensive, preparing it before my workout meant that I was basically ready to eat once I was done.
  3. It wasn’t heavy on the meat, adding veggies to sauces like this is an easy way to really bulk them up in a healthful manner.

So there you have it!

Time for a pretty awesome line up of shows tonight, Monday night tv is probably my favorite tv night overall!

Now if only I could choose between The Bachelorette and 2.5 Men/Big Bang Theory… life decisions, right? 😉

See you tomorrow friends!

P.S. Thanks for all your wonderful comments on my dress last night, glad everyone liked it and was so kind to tell me so! 😀

A Taste of Italy

Happy Monday everyone!

Gotta love the start of a new week, no? 😉

Well I have a fabulous restaurant review for you today that will hopefully entertain you for at least a few and make your Monday tastefully brighter?!

Last night The Man and I had dinner with both his parents and my parents at A Taste of Italy, a restaurant owned & operated by one of his good friends!

Of course I had to sport my new dress for the occassion, obviously 😛

A Taste of Italy

Everything we had was absolutely delicious, and since it had been some time since we’d had really good Italian food out, this was definitely a treat!

Note:  their website only contains a sample menu, once we got there we realized that there were so many dishes to choose from!  So some of the descriptions below had to be written from memory best that I could…

I’ll take you through the meal start to finish, how about it?

Bruschettatoasted garlic bread topped w/chunks of fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil and mozzarella cheese

Served warm and toasty, this was superb.

Fried Mushrooms – served with homemade marinara sauce

The smudged marinara sauce is a result of butter fingers over here dropping her camera into the marinara sauce plate haha oooops! Official food blogger now, no?

This dish was my favorite of the night 🙂  The warm freshly fried mushrooms dipped in a most outstanding tomato sauce was seriously pure bliss for my mouth!

Side saladserved w/ homemade Italian dressing

Loved the dressing, mmmmm!

Eggplant RollatiniEggplant rolled around ricotta cheese topped with marinara & more cheese (best description from what I remember) served over pasta

This was my entree and it was richly fabulous in every sense of the word, their marinara sauce is truly delicious and enough said with the cheese & eggplant combo 😀

Pasta Fra Diavolo – a spicy marinara served w/ shrimp, scallops, peppers and olives (once again, best description based on what I can remember)

This was The Man’s entree and of course I snuck a taste, it was fantastic as well!

Other dishes ordered by the table, all with rave reviews:

  • Eggplant parmigiana
  • Veggie lasagna w/ meat sauce (only my Dad would request this, love him! 😉 )
  • Veggie lasagna
  • Penne a la vodka

And there may or may not have been a few bites of cannoli to top things off as well, just sayin’ 😛

All in all it was a great time out, a few drinks, some great food and fantastic company really made for a perfect end to the weekend.  We will definitely be eating here again!

Alright, with that I’m out… enjoy your Monday and see you back tonight for perhaps another Italian inspired dinner 😉