Monday, May 2, 2016

The Weekend


So I'm trying to get back into shape. That sounds so odd. What does it even mean, 'get back into shape'? What I really mean is that I'm forcing myself to stop being lazy and actually get up and get moving. When John and I were planning our wedding, we did a pretty good job of going to the gym and getting outside to go on our daily walks. It seems as though since we have no wedding to get ready for, we've sort of lost our drive to get out and stay active. Well, that laziness has come to an end. Last week we went to workout together and it was great. To keep up with the momentum, I decided to go to a barre class on Saturday. I've been to one before and was highly surprised at how it was definitely nothing like how my calm ballet classes used to be. Anyway, I say all of that to say, the barre class was great and it definitely kicked my butt.

I'm sore but sort of looking forward to continuing the schedule of working out. Even though my body is sore, it feels good.





Happy Monday!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Traveling to Canada

Photo: Leeroy, StockSnap

Later in May, John and I will be frolicking to Canada for the first time. We're both super excited since neither one of us have ever visited. Before we decide on where to vacation, John and I usually have a conversation towards the end of the year or the very beginning of the year and talk about places on our travel bucket list and discuss a time of the year to go. Even though our Portland trip was sort of sporadic and wasn't in our yearly travel planning, most of our trips are carefully planned and executed.

Anyway, I'm so excited about Canada. Well...let me narrow it down a bit; we're traveling to Toronto and Montreal. Originally, our plan was to travel to Paris but it seems like every single time we start planning a trip there, something tragic happens. Not too long ago, I read an article on Travel Noire entitled 5 Reasons to Skip Paris and Head to Montreal.

Sold.

Don't get me wrong, we'll get to Paris sooner rather than later, I hope. I mean, I even added it to my 34x34 list, which let's be honest, won't happen this year (womp womp). We've heard lots of great things about both Montreal and Toronto and I'm looking forward to spending time there, seeing some sites and eating some crazy delicious foods. I already have a list in my phone of all the places we should eat. Of course after we return, I'll share our 'travel diary' of where we ate, drank and frolicked.

Have you been to Toronto or Montreal?

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Around the Web


I'm pondering starting a podcast - will you listen? 


Remember Digable Planets? They're going on a reunion tour (eek!) - via Pitchfork

How to do a gin and tonic the right way - via Dinner: A Love Story

We're ruining the health perks of coffee. See how - via Eat Clean

Drake will soon get in the alcohol business, he's launching a whiskey - via Huffington Post Taste

Are you considering a group vacation? Here's how to handle it - via New York Magazine

The science behind napping - via Infographic a Day

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Chicken Enchilada Dip


Sometimes you come across recipes so easy that it makes you do a double-take. That's how I feel about this chicken enchilada dip. I wish I could take full responsibility for this post but unfortunately, it's not mine. Thanks to the blog Creme de la Crumb, I was able to whip up this amazingly delicious dip in no time.

On the evening that I made the dip, I remember John tasting a little then putting it away because we had plans. Later, we sat in bed after midnight and demolished it. So delicious. I remember blowing John's mind when I told him exactly how simple and easy this dip was. On another note, here's my problem with most dips: they seem to always contain a TON of cream cheese and other white, yucky foods that I don't particularly care about on the ingredient list. That doesn't mean I haven't cooked with cream cheese before, I have, but in the back of my mind, all I can think about is the cream cheese that's inside of the dip. It's sort of like a mental thing for me. Whatever.


Anyway, I say all of that to say that this dip has no cream cheese in it and that makes me very happy. If you're having folks over soon and want to make some snacks, please add this to your list. You won't regret it and your guests will definitely ask you for the recipe.



Chicken enchilada dip - adapted from Creme de la Crumb

1 small can red enchilada sauce
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken from Publix)
1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed
2 tablespoons Old El Paso hot & spicy taco seasoning*
1½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterrey jack, whatever you like)
cilantro, roughly chopped
tortilla chips for serving

*regular taco seasoning can be used if you're afraid of the spice



D I R E C T I O N S

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a pie pan (or any type of shallow baking dish), pour in the enchilada sauce.

Add the beans, corn and chicken. Sprinkle taco seasoning on top and top with cilantro.

Add the shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Serve with tortilla chips and yum! 

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Weekend


This weekend was the opening weekend for the Chattanooga Market - it's really my most favorite time of the year. The market is a smorgasbord of food, fresh produce, entertainment, flowers and a million other things. I love it! Now is the perfect time to go and enjoy the market because the weather is tolerable. Last summer, John and I didn't go to the market as often as we liked simply because it was so hot. It was so hot that not even luring me with delicious food trucks and donuts would even work. There was that one weekend last August where I had the honor of judging a food competition. Yes, it was hot but I got to eat a lot of food. So, it balanced itself out.

This weekend we celebrated a lot of birthdays, hung out with friends and I even made my way into the kitchen to whip up a few dishes. I'm hoping that my streak of productivity will continue throughout the week. The next two weeks will be quite busy for us but I'm most looking forward to seeing the Alabama Shakes tonight! Ahhhh!



Got these cute plates in the mail this weekend. Ordered them from T&M Design Shop. I've been obsessed with all things pineapple lately.

Our friends, Hannah & Josh's, super cute home


Ended the weekend on a sweet note, donuts!

Happy Monday folks!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Grapefruit Mojitos

Mojitos are perfect for summer, patio sipping.

Summertime means enjoying refreshing drinks while hanging on a patio. I think the summer is the perfect time to experiment with different beverage flavors...especially with lots of fun herbs and fruits. I love grapefruit. Some of the common complaints I hear about grapefruit is, of course, the fact that it's 'too citrusy' but that's silly to me. It's a citrus fruit. That's how I feel about people who say that fish is too fishy, well, it's a fish. Am I crazy?

Anyway, my love for grapefruit can easily be seen throughout my blog. For example:

Spicy grapefruit margaritas

Rosemary grapefruit bourbon smash

Broiled grapefruit gin spritzer

Broiled grapefruit

See? I told you I loved grapefruit. Today's cocktail is great for getting your ready for the weekend.


Grapefruit Mojitos - via Let's Talk Evergreen (makes 2)

1 grapefruit, cut in slices
1/4 lime
1 1/2 tbsp cane sugar
10 mint leaves
1 lime, juiced
1 1/2 grapefruit, juiced*
4oz rum
sparkling water

*you can cheat and use store-bought grapefruit juice


In a glass or cocktail shaker, add the slices of grapefruit, lime, sugar and mint.
Muddle until it's crushed but don't overdo it.
Add the fresh juices and rum. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour into two glasses filled with ice and top with sparkling water.


Cheers - happy Friday!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Around the Web


Taking some risks and having no regrets.


Instagram's new video update is a good thing...I think - via Brit & Co.

How to save money on travel expenses - via Thrillist

So what exactly is the difference between seltzer water and club soda - via Huffington Post Taste

The details behind Snapchat's new update (also, I'm on Snapchat: eatdrinkfrolic) - via Buffer

It's allergy season. Make sure you're breathing easy in your home - via Martha Stewart

Why your mouth burns when you eat pineapple (this happens to me all the time) - via Spoon University

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cheesy Breakfast Biscuit


Little known fact: John and I *almost* considered serving breakfast at our wedding reception. Even though I was super happy with our taco truck, breakfast would have been a delightful choice. My love for breakfast is pretty monumental but I have to admit that I don't eat it on a daily basis. A lot of things contribute to me not eating breakfast in the morning and it's mainly because I don't wake up early enough to even prepare anything. I marvel at those folks who are able to just wake up, eat breakfast and get their day started. I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but I seriously have some struggles with actually eating it...during the week.

The weekends are much easier for me to navigate through breakfast. Whether it's preparing it at home or heading out to one of our favorite breakfast spots, the weekends are just easy for breakfast. I recently came across an article on PopSugar about easy grab and go breakfast foods you can make yourself; I'm hoping to try some of these very soon.



OK, enough about my inability to eat breakfast during the week. I love biscuits but I have a huge secret. Until recently, I'd never, ever made a biscuit from scratch. It wasn't because I didn't think I could follow a recipe, of course, I can. It was mainly because I just didn't want to deal with the time and in my opinion, drama, that went into it. Flouring the surface, kneading dough...it just all seemed so tiring, therefore, I didn't bother. When I decided I wanted to tackle the daunting task of biscuit making, I put my big girl pants apron on and got to work. Not to brag or anything [insert brag] but I can't believe I waited so long to try to make homemade biscuits - these were so good. I used Chrissy Teigen's biscuit recipe as a guide but added my own flare to it. Enjoy these biscuits on their own or take a page from my book and make a breakfast biscuit. A good breakfast biscuit should always have a protein and something cheesy to bond it all together. Here's how I put together an amazing breakfast biscuit.

Cheddar + jalapeno biscuits - adapted from Cravings

1 stick cold, unsalted butter (cut into cubes)*
3 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, shaken

*keep butter in the fridge until you're ready for it

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Put butter in a small bowl and toss it with 2 tablespoons of flour then put it in the freezer for 5 minutes.

In a food processor, combine 3 cups of flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda then pulse in the cold butter (about 20 pulses).

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add in the jalapeno, cheese and buttermilk. Stir until moistened - do not overmix.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface, flour your hands and carefully knead the dough. Pat the dough into an 8-inch square and cut into squares or rounds - whatever you prefer.

Arrange biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.



Note: I roasted some bacon for my breakfast biscuit and should you decide to do the same, you can use some of the leftover bacon grease to brush on top of the biscuits before you pop them in the oven.

When the biscuits are done, let them cool for a bit then cut them open and stuff with your favorite breakfast items. How do you like your biscuits?


Monday, April 18, 2016

The Weekend


This weekend was both productive and unproductive. It was productive in the sense that I was able to do a little bit of [much-needed] cleaning along with forcing myself to go to a coffee shop on Saturday to get some work done. I feel like it had been such a long time since I've propped myself up at a coffee shop and really got some stuff done. I'd like more of those days but for some reason, life and other things keep happening, forcing me to balance what feels like a million things.

Sometimes an impromptu dinner party can also hamper plans. John and I had our entire Sunday planned out: he would go into work for a few hours while I organized my closet. We would then head to a coffee shop and work together for a few hours. Well, that didn't actually happen. My friend Jennifer is prepping to close on a new house so we went to check it out, that led to drinks afterward then later in the evening Jennifer and her boyfriend, Walter, came over for dinner. Even though it wasn't planned and my to-do list is still sitting with things uncrossed, sometimes the unplanned plans are the best ones. My list will get done and everything will be OK.






Happy Monday!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Creole Chicken Pasta

This is an easy pasta that can be made all in one dish.

I love pasta. Spicy pasta, veggie pasta, cold pasta - you name it. Not too long ago, I made a Creole shrimp and grits dish that was TO DIE FOR. Or to live for...however you want to look at it. Actually just thinking about that meal is making my mouth water. It was that good. If you haven't tried it yet, please visit the post and make it.

Anyway, preparing that dish called for making a Creole sauce, which consisted of butter, green onions, beer, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. The recipe yielded quite a bit of sauce. Since I didn't want to waste it, I refrigerated it and used it as a base for a pasta at a later date. Ooooh, that was a good idea. I'm not going to ramble on much longer. It's Friday and we're all ready to start the weekend.

This pasta is very versatile and any of your favorite veggies and herbs can be added to it.


To try, you'll need:

Creole sauce
Onion, chopped
Poblano pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Butter
Heavy cream
Cooked chicken, shredded
Fettucini pasta (pasta of your choice), cooked

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic in butter until it softens.

Pour in Creole sauce and heavy cream. Stir, taste and adjust the seasonings. Add salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you may like.

Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes then add in the chicken and the pasta. Toss to coat.

Add in chopped parsley and top with cheese, if desired.

There you have it, a really easy weeknight meal!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Around the Web


Taking over the world in 5...4...3...2...


Southern Living's list of bloggers to follow - via Southern Living

The best aluminum free deodorants - via The Everygirl

Actress Joy Bryant on why she doesn't want children - via Lenny Letter

Why is happy hour called happy hour? - via Huffington Post Taste

How to turn leftover greens into a delicious soup - via Food52

Easy and time-saving grab and go breakfast recipes - via PopSugar Food

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What happened when I stopped pressing snooze


Yes, it's true. I'm one of those people who presses snooze even though I know that I shouldn't. I wouldn't describe myself as a morning person but I'm more of a late morning person - does that make sense? I don't see the need in sleeping until noon or later and quite honestly, when I have slept that late (as a 30 something), I almost always have a terrible headache. I like to think of the headache as an evil reminder of why I shouldn't ever sleep that late.

Once I actually get out of bed and get adjusted, I can generally get myself together and make some strides in my day. I noticed that pressing snooze was becoming a part of my daily morning routine and it shouldn't have been. For Lent, I decided to give up pressing snooze.

Yes, you read that correctly. I gave up pressing snooze.

So what does that mean exactly? I made a conscious decision that when my alarm went off, I would actually get up. Not lay for another 10 or 15 minutes but get up and start my day. What happened when I stopped pressing snooze?

Photo: Annie Spratt, StockSnap

I had more time to myself in the morning. It doesn't matter what type of job you have or whether you have children or not, having a few extra minutes in the morning to yourself is a beautiful way to start your day. It cleared my head and gave me a bit of a head start on the day.

I felt like I had more time in my day. Yes, I know we only have 24 hours in the day but starting the morning off slowly, without all of the rushing around, felt like it gave me more time.

I also felt accomplished.

I hate to say it but this accomplished feeling that I had hasn't been enough to keep me from pressing the snooze button after Lent ended. However, I've become more aware of that pesky snooze button and when I choose to press it. I've learned from this experience and I know for sure that I want to get back my 'no snooze' lifestyle. I'm positive I'll get there soon. I just need to get back into the habit again.

Are you a constant snoozer?


Monday, April 11, 2016

The Weekend


I know, every time I write a weekend post, I always lead with the weather. That's mainly because the weather is a huge part of how I choose to spend my weekends. For instance, if it's raining, I'm probably less likely to go anywhere unless I've made a prior, very important commitment. If it's sunny and warm, I'm more likely to run errands and possibly enjoy a cocktail or a meal outside. A few weeks ago, when it was still winter, the weather had been unseasonably warm even for us living here in the south. Now that spring is actually here, the weather has somehow gone backwards and it was quite chilly this weekend.

I say all of this to say, I was not as productive as I should have (or could have) been and I'm blaming it all on the weird weather. Anyway, John and I went to two birthday celebrations this weekend...one of which was a surprise. Surprise parties are always fun, don't you think? I love them for some reason. I don't think a person needs a million surprise parties in their lifetime but one or two will be fine. I did finally face my fears and baked some homemade biscuits this weekend. They turned out wonderfully and I was quite surprised. I'll share the recipe soon.






Hope you all had a great weekend - happy Monday!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Around the Web


Thinking of starting a podcast...are you in?


What exactly is turbulence - via Travel & Leisure

Phrases to stop saying at work - via Brit & Co.

Household items to think twice about keeping in the kitchen - via Martha Stewart

Amy Schumer pitches an idea for a Betsy Ross musical (think Hamilton) - via Entertainment Weekly

Food & Wine name their choices for best new chefs - via Eater

Trader Joe secrets revealed from a former employee - via PopSugar Food

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Honey Whiskey Sours

An alternative to a classic whiskey sour.

Historically, whiskey sours have a dash of egg white in them, which to some can be offputting but it's really not that bad. This particular whiskey sour does not have the infamous egg white and I'm fine with that. I love whiskey but for some reason, I never order whiskey sours when I'm out. I decided to play around with the idea of a whiskey sour after finding an article on Pinterest, by way of The Kitchn, on different ways you can sweeten up your whiskey sour.

Hmmm. I'm intrigued.

I came across the honey whiskey sour and it seemed super easy and all of the ingredients I already had at home. Before life got crazy busy, I always had Sunday night cocktails at home for John and me. I decided to reintroduce this idea with these honey whiskey sours. I think it was a pretty good choice for slowly working ourselves back into our Sunday cocktail hour.

Ready to try it for yourself? 

Honey whiskey sours, a sweeter version of the classic whiskey sour.

Honey Whiskey Sour - from The Kitchn (serves 1)

2oz whiskey
3/4oz lemon juice (fresh)
1/4oz honey
1/2oz hot water

Add the honey to a cocktail shaker then add the hot water. Stir to combine.

Add in the rest of the ingredients then add ice. Shake for a few seconds then pour into a glass.

How easy was that? Cheers!

If you're looking for a whiskey sour sans egg white, try this honey recipe.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Weekend


I'm feeling like this weekend went by really quickly. I mean, this is a feeling that I'm often plagued with but for some reason this weekend went by at lightning speed. My new mentality of trying to live for Monday's instead of dreading them is getting more and more difficult but I'm committed to feeling optimistic about Mondays...one day.

This weekend John and I went to see Batman v. Superman (snores). I'll admit, my opinion should not be taken into "real" consideration. Yes, I've seen the Dark Knight Rises and another Batman movie that I can't remember but that's pretty much it. I don't know a lot about the series. Knowing that I'm no an expert and not truly a fan, you can take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I should probably also say that I fell asleep during some of it. It seemed really slow and there wasn't a lot of Batman which depending on how you look at it, could be a good or bad thing? Any Affleck fans out there?

*crickets*





Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend - happy Monday!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Basil Chicken // Cravings Cookbook


I love Chrissy Teigen. In my mind, we're best friends and we have so much in common. The only problem with that scenario is that we've never met and she has no idea who I am but one day...right? When I really think about it, we really only have like two things in common: we both love food and we're both married to men named John. I think that's quite enough to make us best friends.

Alright, enough about my obsession with Chrissy. Let's get to the cookbook.

I was SO EXCITED when I found out she was writing Cravings, I could hardly contain myself. There was lots of buzz on the interwebs surrounding Chrissy's book: Is it worth it? Why is a supermodel making a cookbook? You name it, I've read it and rolled my eyes at most of it - I mean it's ridiculous. If you've ever read her blog, you know that she can cook. In fact, one of my favorite (easy) recipes is from her blog; a chipotle marinade that is to die for with chicken. It's spicy and the recipe makes enough to have leftover. So yummy, try it. OK back to the book...



I loved it. Yes, I know you may think I'm biased because I just said we were best friends but I really did enjoy her cookbook. Besides the recipes, I really liked the commentary in the book. There are funny stories and anecdotes that accompany each recipe, which for me, makes the cookbook much more enjoyable. Another reason why I love this cookbook is because she proudly admits her love for regular food chains just like the rest of us. She loves Waffle House and has been known to enjoy a taco or two from Taco Bell. I tagged quite a few recipes in this book that piqued my interest. Recipes like Chrissy's mac & cheese, drunken noodles and French toast casserole.



The recipes are easy to navigate and most of them feature ingredients that aren't terribly difficult to locate. On page 90, is the recipe for mac & cheese and there's an awesome story about how she and John have a healthy competition about each other's mac & cheese. It's pretty funny and I won't attempt to tell it because I won't do it justice.

For my first recipe from Cravings, I decided to try the crazy easy pad grapow chicken better known as basil chicken. There are less than 10 ingredients and John (my John, not John Legend), really liked it. It also took me no time to throw it together. See for yourself.



Basil Chicken - from Cravings Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts - sliced into thin strips
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
5 cloves garlic
1 serrano chile
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups fresh regular basil
cooked jasmine rice

In a bowl, toss the chicken with the oyster and soy sauce and marinate for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is marinating, mash the garlic and the chile in a mortar and pestle until finely smashed. Alternatively, you could just mince them with a knife.

In a large skillet (I used a wok), heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the garlic and chile mixture and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds)

Increase the heat to high and add the chicken. Cook until thoroughly cooked through (stirring occasionally). Add the basil and cook until wilted - about 1 minute.

Serve with rice.

So good! Go grab a copy of Cravings - you won't be disappointed. It's fun, it's delicious and really funny. I can't wait to try the rest of the recipes - stay tuned!



Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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