My Five Favorite Pins of this Week

It just so happens that this week it’s all about food and drink.  But that doesn’t really surprise me.  Food and drinks are my hobbies.

 I could spend hours looking at restaurant menus and day dreaming about my next weekend adventure – near or far.

1. Pomegranate Rum Punch

I think this little cocktail would be the perfect remedy for all the cold weather we’re having.  And perhaps the rum will convince Spring to hurry up and arrive!

2.  Blackberry Salad with Creamy Feta

The flavors!  Creamy, salty feta is combined with sweet and tart blackberries with a smidge of acidity from pickled red onions.  This salad screams spring.

3. Bacon Wrapped Oysters

The oyster months are coming to an end but the presentation of this appetizer blows me away.

4.  No-Bake Peanut Butter Eclair Cake

A low-maintenance dessert that remind me of my grandmother’s signature dessert, chocolate eclair.  This recipe just takes it up a notch with the addition of peanut butter cups.  Sometimes simple is all you want.

5.  Stewed Mushrooms and Polenta

Talk about a comforting dinner.  Add a glass of red wine and we’d have ourselves a date.

Peanut Butter and Bacon Burger {with a Vietnamese Salad on the side}

You read that right.  Peanut butter on a burger.

And it was epic.

The whole burger thing came about after I purchased the meat grinder attachment for my mixer.  There was no way that the attachment was going to sit around the house for more than a week without being used.

We picked up some beautiful beef at Whole Foods on Sunday and Big Guy got to grindin’.  It was cook knowing exactly what the meat looked like before it was ground.  The key is to make sure that the attachment and the meat are very cold before you begin the process.

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The burger patties themselves were simple.  Meat.  Salt.  Pepper.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Building the burgers were rather simple, too.  And the ingredients aren’t that crazy.  It’s just the combination that’s crazy.

Crazy good.

The buns were Udi’s gluten-free buns.  Totally delicious but sometimes a little dry.

On top of the buns, Sriracha sauce followed by cilantro.

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On top of the cilantro came the perfectly cooked burger.

burger 008This is where things got weird.

A spoonful of peanut butter on top of the warm burger plus bacon.

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I ended up adding more Sriracha.

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The peanut drizzle.

That is where it’s at.

I know!  So bizarre.

I can’t even handle it.

But it was so incredibly delicious.

And to make myself not feel so bad about this decadent burger, a salad on the side.

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In the salad mix:  bok choy, cabbage, cucumber, basil and cilantro.  The dressing was a mix of lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, salt, sesame oil, honey, garlic and ginger.

Talk about a flavorful dinner.

Our taste buds didn’t know what was happening.

But they liked it.

 

6 Years of Dating

I believe in celebrating the small things.

The ones that everyone else doesn’t celebrate.

our first pic on FB as a “couple”

Most people know they’re supposed to celebrate February 14.

Not everyone celebrates March 1.

For us, that’s our date-iversary.

And I never want to stop dating this guy.

Ever.

So this weekend, we’re going on a fancy date.

I’m going to drink champagne and thank the good Lord that for whatever reason we started dating 6 years ago.

Because we’ve got something special.

And I like it.

Smoooothies {reader request}

In the past two weeks, I’ve had multiple people ask me for smoothie recipes.  I regularly post my smoothies on Instagram and so I thought I’d share the recipes for two of my favorites.

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie 

1 cup almond milk (or your favorite milk)

1/2 to 1 whole banana

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (currently using a plant-based protein powder)

1 tablespoon peanut butter (or almond butter)

shake of cinnamon

Couple handfuls spinach (optional)

ice

Simply place all the ingredients into a blender.  Blend until smooth.

Bernardo’s Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
(recipe from It’s All Good cookbook)

almond milk

roasted sweet potato flesh

pitted date

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

pumpkin pie spice

ice

Simply blend and enjoy.

(p.s. this is Big Guy’s favorite smoothie)

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe that I’ve just GOT to try?

So Pin-teresting.

It’s a busy week.  But busy weeks aren’t all that bad.

a.)  I’ll appreciate the weekend more once it gets here.

b.)  When the work days are busy days, they seem to go by a little faster.

c.)  I promise I’m not wishing my life away.  But seriously, can’t we add another day to weekends?

And even though it’s Wednesday, I thought I’d share with you a few of my latest and greatest pins on Pinterest. 

This tomato salad and a glass of rose.  Summer, please hurry.

Speaking of rose, I would love to have a glass on this front porch.

I’ve been bit by the travel bug.

If only I could perfect the imperfect bun.

Summertime shoes are the best.  I can’t wait to wear sandals all day, every day.  And these kicks are fantastic for all summer outfits.

I want to bake something this weekend.  It’s been awhile.  How about Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes?

I’m in love with this kitchen.  The perfect mix of black and white.  And don’t think I didn’t see the extra island sink.

Thinking about summer makes me think about burgers.  And a Turkey Burger with Gorgonzola and Chili Garlic Slaw sounds amazing.  I even suggested having a “summer of burgers” to Big Guy where we would cook a different burger every Sunday (or one a week).  How fun would that be?

And someone needs to have a birthday because I need these Cake Batter Martinis in my life.  Like now.

And just because it’s Wednesday…

Weekend via Instagram {plus Meyer Lemon Pizza}

Can you believe it’s the last week of February?  I’m ready for Spring.  Especially after such a gorgeous weekend (what a tease).  Bring on the warmer weather and sunshine.

Come March, our weekends are slammed pack with plans.  So this past weekend we enjoyed a slow-paced Saturday and Sunday.

On Friday night we headed up to the country club for dinner.  I love eating there on Friday and Saturday nights because there are Chef’s Specials.  This weekends specials included monkfish.  A super ugly bottom feeder.  Despite being an ugly fish, it tastes delicious.  Especially when wrapped in bacon.  Big Guy even snagged a bite (or three) from my plate.  The monkfish was served over collards along with roasted tomatoes.  The collards were awesome.  Chef Ryan – here’s your shout out…Thanks for such a fantastic dinner.

We started Saturday being super productive.  But once the afternoon hour struck, it was time for a cocktail.  I saw some Meyer Lemons at the store earlier in the week and I couldn’t resist grabbing a handful.  I used the Meyer Lemons to make a sparkling cocktail that includes rosemary simple syrup, vodka, Meyer lemon juice and sparkling wine.  So refreshing!

Saturday evening we had an arrangement of cheeses as an appetizer.  We picked up this bottle of cava when we were at the Raleigh Wine Shop and it was suggested to enjoy with a cheese plate.  It’s also cheap enough you won’t regret using it for sangria, or in my case, the Meyer Lemon cocktail.  The cheeses included a balsamic parmesan, a buttermilk blue, champagne cheddar and a goats milk cheese.  I love a cheese plate.

And on Sunday evening it was all about the pizza.  Meyer Lemon Pizza to be exact.  I know, lemons on a pizza seems rather bizarre.  The flavor combinations were incredible.  The pizza also has sauteed spinach, prosciutto and honey goat cheese.  Every bite was amazing.  I used a stand-by gluten-free pizza recipe and instead of cooking it in the oven during the second phase of cooking, we fired up the grill.  This just might be one of our favorite crusts to date.  Chewy with crispy edges.  Just the way I like it.  And yes, you can eat the lemon peel.

Such a beautiful weekend that came to an end far to quickly.

Insta-Lately

Here’s the details behind a few of my ‘grams this past week:

With all the snow last week, I had to find a way to get in a workout without leaving the house.  Thankfully I have some at-home-workouts “pinned” on Pinterest.  This one had me sweating up a storm.

Last Saturday, during our adventure in Raleigh, we dined at Platesa fairly new restaurant on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.  The menu changes weekly, so I have a feeling we’ll be going to this lunch and dinner spot more than once.  To start, we shared the  Charcuterie Plate.  I was pleasantly surprised with the plate.

Assorted pâtés, terrines, cured meats, turkey
and rabbit rillettes, cheese, toast, pickles.

Since we had an appetizer, I kept my meal simple with the Roasted Beet Salad.  The colors on the plate were incredible.

Red roasted beets, chèvre, beetroot puree,
beetroot reduction, croutons, herb jus

 Along with the beets, some heirloom tomatoes.  Big Guy ordered a panini and it was amazing.  Super crunchy on the outside with ooey-gooey cheese on the inside.  Sandwich perfection.  To be honest, I was a little nervous about going to Plates after a not-so-pleasant encounter at plates about a month ago.  But the service was impeccable and the food was local, fresh and delicious.  I can’t wait to go back for dinner or to just snag a specialty cocktail.

My Valentine flowers are still looking gorgeous on the kitchen table.  I’m thinking these may be my new favorite flower (sorry, tulips).

On Tuesday night, I had dinner plans with some gal pals.  Not only was this wine necessary but it was appropriate.  Tuesday was National Drink Wine Day.

Sushi is always a good idea.  Especially with wine and gal pals.

Check out the color of this smoothie that I had Wednesday morning.  So vibrant.  Whole Foods had purple sweet potatoes and I just couldn’t pass up buying one on Saturday.  It made it’s way into my smoothie on Sunday morning, too.

TGIalmostF!

Four Citrus-Herb Chicken

This may be one of my top chicken recipes to date.

chicken 025

 

The recipe starts with a whole chicken (I purchased the chicken at whole foods and asked the butcher to “break it down’ for me) and four pieces of citrus.

Ruby Red Grapefruit.

Lemon.

Cara Cara Orange.

Navel Orange.

The chicken marinates in the citrus zest, a little lime juice, a swirl of olive oil, garlic and minced jalapeno for several hours.

Might I mention, zesting and segmenting citrus makes your kitchen smell amazing.

After marinating, the chicken is seasoned with salt and pepper and broiled for 30-40 minutes (turning after 20 minutes) until cooked through and delicious.

To prep the citrus salsa, the citrus segments are mixed with lime juice, mint, red onion, salt and pepper and olive oil.

I wish I would have doubled this mix.

It’s incredible.

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Mouth-watering.

chicken 022Perfectly cooked.

chicken 023A pop of color and flavor.

chicken 024Perfect chicken dinner.

 

 

 

Rewind {the weekend}

It’s Tuesday.  The weekend is far behind us.  In fact, I’m already counting down the hours until Friday, 5pm.  But this past weekend was a good weekend.

Valentine’s Day isn’t the most important day in the world to me.  In fact, I never really liked it until Big Guy came around.  But I do like a card.  Not only did I get a card but he also came home with gorgeous flowers (I’m not a rose kind of girl) and a bottle of Dom.

I drank my fancy champs with homemade spring rolls.  This dinner was so much fun to make!

chicken 004

Ready to roll!  Inside the spring rolls, sauteed shrimp, avocado, cucumbers, bibb lettuce and cilantro.

chicken 005

We had a lot of fun putting together the rolls.

chicken 006

chicken 007

The best part of the rolls was the dipping sauce!  That’s where the flavor came from.

But I mean, pretty much anything would taste good dipped in a peanut butter sauce with ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce and sriracha.

chicken 009

We enjoyed this dinner picnic-style.  Making it even more fun and different than a typical night at home.

Saturday was a fun day from beginning to end.  Lunch in Raleigh, visiting a new-to-me wine shop, grabbing a drink with friends and we finished with a shopping trip at Whole Foods.

I had a wine dinner planned for Saturday night that was inspired by a wine club dinner I attended back in January.

The dinner started with a Four-Herb Green Goddess Salad.  The flavor of the tarragon was really prominent.

For dinner, Kona Coffee Crusted Steak served over a Cauliflower Mash.  To drink, one of my absolute favorite red wines of all time: 2011 Terra d’Oro Deaver Zinfandel

And for dessert, candied bacon, blue cheese and poached vanilla apricots with a glass of the Terra d’Oro Port.

The dinner was full of conversation and laughs and was one of the most perfect Saturday night’s at home that I could imagine.

Back to day dreaming about this weekend…

Amazing Flour-less Brownies

Valentine’s Day is really just an excuse to eat chocolate, right?

Oh, and say “I love you” a few more times than usual to your loved ones.

(p.s. – I love you, Big Guy.)

With all the wintery weather we’ve had the past few days I had to find some things to keep me busy.  Thankfully I had all the ingredients I needed to make Amazing Flour-less Brownies.

I’ve made flour-less brownies before but these are by far the best ones yet.

And the secret ingredient – black beans.  You heard me right, black beans.

These are divine.

Super fudgey (not a word but they are) and intensely delicious.

And the best part, the food processor does most of the work for you.  (I bet a high-power blender would work just as well, too.)

Full of chocolate from the cocoa powder and chocolate chips (and coffee grounds which bring out the chocolate flavor).

Insane, y’all.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.