Pear and Gruyère Strata

Visits with your grandparents should always end with a something sweet.  When we made plans with Mawmaw and Pawpaw a couple of months ago for them to visit, I immediately started planning our short but sweet visit.  I knew that I wanted to send them home with a full belly on Sunday morning so that they wouldn’t have to worry about stopping to grab lunch on the way (because, well, there’s nothing in between here and there worth stopping for until you get the Wilmington).  Also knowing that our Saturday was pretty full, I decided to pick a breakfast that could be prepped before they ever arrived.

The Pear and Gruyere Strata is incredibly easy to prep and involves no cooking before the strata actually cooks the morning you plan to eat.  Cinnamon bread (I used a gluten free cinnamon raisin bread) is layered on the bottom of a baking dish and then topped with a mixture of sliced pears (I left the skin on), butter and sugar.  On top of the pear mixture goes shredded gruyere and then a final layer of cinnamon bread.  In a bowl, combine milk (I used 2%), eggs (I used 1/2 cup eggs that were whisked instead of egg substitute), sugar and cinnamon.  This all mixture gets poured over everything.  Cover and place in the fridge for at least eight hours (mine sat in the fridge for almost 24 and it worked perfectly).

The next morning, simply uncover, sprinkle with sugar and bake for about 50 minutes.

Breakfast is ready!

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Serve with copious amounts of coffee!  And bacon if you really love your grandparents.

 

 

Weekend Review {plus Banana Nut Bundt Cake}

Another beautiful weekend has come and gone.  I swear, this one flew by faster than the one before.  On Friday night I had dinner date plans with one of my best gal pals.  We attended a French wine dinner where we enjoyed four courses.  My favorite wine of them all was a sparkling wine.  I would imagine you’re not surprised by that.

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I was up fairly early on Saturday and was quite busy getting things in order before my grandparents arrived early morning.  Between assembling a breakfast casserole and getting myself ready, I managed to squeeze in a quick walk.  My grandparents arrived a little after 11am and after letting them stretch their legs a bit, we headed to lunch.  After lunch, we spent the afternoon enjoying the amazing weather on our back porch.  I loved having some one-on-one time with my grandparents – I share them with seven other grandchildren and three great grandchildren.  While we were enjoying each others company, Big Guy was hard at work on the ribs.  I had planned a menu I knew Mawmaw and Pawpaw would love including Big Guy’s “famous” ribs.  I refuse to give that recipe away but we also enjoyed a Green Goddess Potato Salad, Dill Pickle Slaw (SO GOOD) and a banana nut bundt cake.  We enjoyed dinner in between the two basketball games on Saturday evening.  The banana cake was incredibly moist and I loved the addition of walnuts (I typically go for pecans in my banana baked goods).  The frosting was sweet but so creamy and rich.  We were all stuffed to the brim after dinner.

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The meal was incredible but the company was even better.  My grandparents are seriously two of the most hospitable folks around.  Their beach house is a revolving door of grandkids and their friends during the summer.  It was a treat to be able to spoil them – even if it was for less than 24 hours.

On Sunday morning we enjoyed one last meal together before they packed up and headed out. Mawmaw is a huge college basketball fan so she wanted to make sure she was home in time for the games.  Big Guy and I straightened up the house and then headed out on a long walk at a new spot in town.  The weather couldn’t have been better.

The rest of Sunday was spent relaxing and watching basketball (Go Gamecocks!) and making pizza.  We also finally caught up on some DVR:  This Is Us and Criminal Minds (crazy storyline right now).

And now it’s Monday.

Thankfully I have a fun surprise visitor tomorrow which will be a fun break in the week.

 

 

The BEST Avocado Toast

I know, avocado toast is nothing new.  But I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon.  I probably was a little late to join the avocado bandwagon, but that’s nothing new – I’m late to all trends.  Anyways, during one of our trips to Drift last weekend, I ordered the avocado toast for breakfast.  In between sips of coffee and bites of my bread, I told Big Guy that I was going to recreate their avocado toast at home.  And I didn’t wait long to get in the kitchen with some avocados and toast.

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Now Drift did not give me any secrets or recipe, however, I’m sure they would if I asked.  So this is my interpretation of their toast based on taste and sight.

Mash 1/2 an avocado in a bowl.  Season with a little salt (more will come later!).  Toast your bread.  Top the toast with the avocado.  Spring with salt and pepper.  Finely chop a few mixed nuts.  Sprinkle those on top along with pumpkin seeds.  Drizzle with 1 teaspoon of your best EVOO.

Oh, and a poached egg on top kind of makes this insane.

In a good way.

 

Weekend Review {3.21.17}

Oh, hey.  Totally pulled a disappearing act but I’m not apologizing.  This past Friday we hit the road after I taught barre for a weekend at the beach.  It was our intention to come back yesterday but Big Guy ended up working from the beach and we left bright and early this morning so I could make it in time to teach my 11:15am class.  Deciding to leave on Tuesday was a very, very good decision.  The weather at the beach was windy but we enjoyed long walks each and every morning along with coffee and breakfast at Drift.  Not only did we get to see my parents but we were able to spend some time with my grandparents and Big Guy’s stepdad.  Oh, and I got to play dominoes and Yahtzee with my parents.  Big Guy refused to participate.  Here are a few outtakes from the weekend:

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avocado toast from Drift (p.s. I’m recreating this ASAP and promise to share my recipe)

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Sharky’s on Sunday for cocktails and March Madness

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watching the sunset with Big Guy and my Momma

It was a good mix of dining out and dining in.  Here are the recipes we whipped up:

Mustard Burgers with Crispy Goat Cheese and Fig-Onion Compote (SO GOOD!)

Coconut Honey Lime Filipino Chicken Adobo Skewers with Coconut Rice and Pineapple Slaw (Incredible!  Big Guy claimed the rice to be the best he’s ever had.)

And finally, HAPPY 36th ANNIVERSARY to my parents!  We love you OH so much.

 

 

 

Friday Favorites

Hey friends!  If you’re not wearing green, consider this your PINCH.  I’ve never been one to go crazy over St. Patty’s Day.  I mean, I wear my green and if I’m on top of my game I plan a fun dinner but to be honest, I have no idea if I’ll eat anything remotely Irish today.  But I’m wearing my green.  Well, after I change out of my gym clothes.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you next week!

Here are my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Round Up:  St. Patrick’s Day Recipes.  Just in case you need some inspiration for your day of eats!

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Favorite Obsessed:  Samoas Ice Cream Sandwiches.  Y’all.  I haven’t had a Girls Scout cookie yet.  And now I want a samoa with ice cream squished in between.  Ooo, I bet thin mints would be good this way, too.

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Favorite Upgrade:  Rockingham Chelsea Boots.  The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.”  And while I love my Hunter boots, I’m in need of something shorter that’s easier to take on and off.

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Favorite Weeknight Dinner:  Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli.  I love that this dish is made in a crock pot instead of a wok.

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Favorite Read:  “Why I Don’t Recommend Whole30.”  Preach.  I 100% agree with everything this blog post says.  Plus any diet that makes me take out foods that are good for you is just plain cray.

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Favorite Brunch:  Tater Tot Waffles with Bacon, Eggs and Truffle Oil.  Oh my.  Totally putting tater tots in my waffle iron ASAP.

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Favorite Craving:  Shrimp Cakes.  Someone find me some shrimp.  I’ve had a hankering for about two months now.

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Favorite Over Budget:  Fig Leaf Sconces.  I want to have a reason to need these.  I just love the print.

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Favorite DIP:  Avocado Hummus.  Two of my favorite things in the world – TOGETHER.

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Favorite Bring on Summer:  Sparkling Grapefruit Bikini Cocktail.  I can just see myself sipping this by the pool…

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

5 Favorite Drugstore Beauty Products

As I get older, I find myself spending more money on beauty products in an effort to “turn back time” and find the “fountain of youth.” (I blame my Momma for my current Clarins obsession.)  However, despite all the more expensive brands there are still a few beauty products that I use on a day-to-day basis that can be found at your local Walmart, Target or CVS.  When I saw Kristen post about her five favorites, I was inspired to share my five drugstore beauty products.

  1. The gold star beauty product that I purchase at at drugstore would be my mascara.  I use a lot of higher quality makeup but I have yet to need a reason to pay more than what I do for my beloved CoverGirl LashBlast mascara.  I typically purchase “black” and I never, ever buy waterproof mascara.  For years I have been asked what mascara I wear and people are always shocked for my under $7 answer.

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2.  About a year ago I started trying out various brands of toner to use after washing my face.  I spent way too much money trying different toners and micellar water and in the end, I realized I only needed to make a quick trip to Target for Garner SkinActive All-in-1 Micellar Water (another under $7 product).  This product removes any and everything that is left on my face after washing using my cleanser but it’s not drying.  I seriously use this at least twice a day and it leaves my skin so fresh and hydrated.

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3.  Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment is my equivalent to Windex in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  It fixes everything.  I use it on my lips.  I use it on my hands.  I use it on my feet.  I’ve even used it on my nose.  I use it on any skin that is dry or irritated.  It’s safe enough for babies and at less than $7 it’s a steal to be such a miracle worker.

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4.  I first used Neutrogena Rainbath Refreshing Shower and Bath Gel after I forgot my body wash on a trip to the beach and this is what I borrowed from my Momma.  The scent is what first got me hooked.  I have no idea how to describe the scent – spices, herbs, fruits – but I love it.  It doesn’t dry out my skin and I love that I can buy a HUGE pump bottle at Sams Club.  The regular size is under $10 (for 16 ounces) at Walmart but I like to spend a little more ($20) and get a whole lot more (40 ounces).  The bottle will last you forever.

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5.  And finally, my favorite chapstick.  I’ve tried them all and I’ve found Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm in Vanilla Bean to be perfect alone or underneath lipstick or lipgloss.  And at less than $3, I am not completely devastated if I happen to loose a tube.  Plus it smells amazing.

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Do you have any must-have beauty products that come from the drugstore?

Indian-Spiced Pea Fritters

A freezer staple gets a make-over and becomes a delicious meatless dinner.  We all have sweet peas stashed in our freezer.  Some of us may eat them and others may use them as an ice pack.  As for me, I always have a bag or two but I rarely put them to use.  This recipe happened to be in the latest Cooking Light magazine and I was flipping through on Sunday thinking of our meal plan for the week, I couldn’t help but make this since we had ALL the ingredients on hand.  My bank account appreciates me not needing to buy anything else.

About one and a half cups are pea need to be thawed for these fritters.  Once thawed, lightly mash the peas.  (Honesty, I think I should have mashed mine a little more than I did.  So don’t be scared of mashing too much.)  To the peas add in breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free), sliced green onions, garam masala (love this spice!), a little red pepper, salt, and two eggs.

Heat up a little oil on the stove top and then add in half of the fritters, about 1/4 of a cup each.  The fritters cook about 3 minutes on each side, carefully flipping to keep together.

The pea fritters are served with 2% Greek yogurt.

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I rounded out the whole meal with a simple salad.

The pea fritters gave me a little trouble on the stove-top (fritters ALWAYS stress me out) but they were delicious.  So simple yet the peas were completely transformed.  If you don’t have garam masala, I highly recommend you give it a try.  It’s a mix of spices: cardamon, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, fennel, mustard seeds, cloves and red chile peppers.  So don’t be scared of the spice name.

Oh, and since St. Patty’s day is Friday, this is the perfect GREEN dinner.