Friday Favorites

Can you believe that fall will officially be here (according to the calendar) next Thursday?  Despite my desire to live in a place where it’s summertime all the time, I’ve found some inspiration on the web that has made me a little excited about changing of the seasons.  Here’s what I am excited about for fall:  dark nail colors, comfort food and red wine.  Oh, and the wishful thinking that it will be cool enough to enjoy our fire pit and back deck.

Here are my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Transition Meal:  Late Summer Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes, Corn and Figs.  I adore risotto.  In the summer, in the fall, in the spring and in the winter.

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Favorite Fall Must-Read:  Present over Perfect:  Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living.   “You’ll be invited to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.”

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Favorite With a Spoon:  Creamy Thai Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup.  This soup looks like it could warm the soul.

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Favorite Drool:  Bubby’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich.  Can we just have a moment of silence for the above sandwich?

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Favorite Brunch:  Caramelized Onion Spinach Feta Savory Breakfast Casserole.  This prep-ahead one-dish recipe would be perfect for our next noon game or the next time we entertain and have overnight guests.

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Favorite Quiz:  What’s Your Home Decor Personality?  I’m Classic Glam.

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Favorite 5 Ingredients:  Brie and Bacon Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam.  1.) Brie 2.) Bacon 3.) Fig Jam 4.) Fresh bread 5.) Butter

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Favorite Break-the-Fast:  Baked Sweet Potatoes with Almond Butter, Banana and Chia.  I vow to switch up breakfast with this stuffed goodness before the end of October.

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Favorite Upgrade:  Churro Apple Pie Bowls.  Holy cow.  Apple pie filling + crispy, cinnamon-y churros.  YES!

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Favorite Fall Cocktail:  “Fall All Over.”  It reminds me of a Moscow Mule but with gin and it may be my new house signature cocktail for the coming months.

 

Cheers!

Tailgate Thursday {build a biscuit + bagel chips and dip}

Last Saturday was probably our biggest tailgate of this football season.  And I have to say, we did it up – enough so that we won Piggly Wiggly’s Tailgate of the Week.  I’m not even lying.

When ECU plays any other North Carolina football team (or South Carolina for that matter) it’s considered a “big game.”  Everyone loves an in-state rivalry.  This past weekend we went up against NC State and we WON!  Not only was the tailgate fun but the game was a good one to watch.  Though it was a little close for comfort up until the very end.

We knew we would have a crowd so I started planning our tailgate spread weeks in advance.  Since it was a noon game and tailgating started at the early hour of 8am, we planned a “breakfast” themed menu:

Bloody Mary Bar

Mimosas

Build a Biscuit Bar

Bagel Chips + Dip

Breakfast Casserole

Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake

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For the Bloody Mary Bar we had a homemade mixer plus an assortment of hot sauces, celery, pepper jack cheese, olives and cornichons.  Mimosas are the simplest AM cocktail:  bubbles plus some OJ.  We also had an assortment of nonalcoholic drinks and plenty of water that we encouraged everyone to drink.

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On the biscuit bar we took a short cut and purchased Bojangle’s biscuits that were lightly buttered and split (and I don’t feel guilty at all for that) along with lots and lots of toppings:  sausage patties, bacon, country ham, pimiento cheese, jellies and mustard.

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I really wanted to have a bagel and biscuit bar but we realized that not being able to toast the bagels was a problem so we improvised with two types of cream cheese dips and some bagel chips.  I made a roasted veggie cream cheese and a smoked salmon dip.  I ate my weight in salmon dip!

Oh, and some fresh fruit on the side.

We had such an amazing time with our friends and family.

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Peach-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin

If you’re stuck in a “chicken for dinner” rut, try putting pork tenderloin on the menu.  Peach-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin is perfect for any night of the week and the flavors are incredible.  The original recipe called for apricots but I was unable to find any so I went with peach – I thought it worked perfectly.

The glaze starts by sautéing shallots and rosemary in a little olive oil.  You then add in brown sugar for sweetness, vinegar for a pop of flavor, mustard for some tang, salt and the sweet peaches that are chopped.  Simply cook until thickened.

The pork tenderloin is seasoned with salt and pepper before being seared in an oven-safe skillet.  Once browned on all sides, top with some of the glaze and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the pork and top with more glaze and bake for 6-8 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

While the pork rests, whip up a super simple salad to serve alongside the pork.  A dressing is made by whisking together some olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper.  Toss greens, red onion, and pistachios with the dressing and then top with pecorino-romano cheese.

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We both LOVED this dinner.

It was a great “between summer and fall” dinner and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you give it a try!

Spicy Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Potato Greens

Did you know that North Carolina grows more sweet potatoes than any other state?

Did you know that you can eat the sweet potato greens?

I adore sweet potatoes and we grew them for the first time a few years ago.  Each year we look forward to our small crop of homegrown sweet potatoes.  But this year I refused to let the greens go to waste.  We won’t harvest the sweet potatoes for a few more weeks but last night I used the greens in our dinner.

The greens are more tender than collards and sweeter than spinach.

Spicy Coconut Shrimp was a perfect pairing for the sweet potato greens.  Here’s how it’s made:

First I chopped up a couple of sweet potatoes, tossed them with a little coconut oil and salt and put in the oven to roast.  The sweet potatoes served as the bed for the spicy coconut shrimp.

Next I sautéd chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, a diced jalapeño, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and hot curry powder in some more coconut oil.  Once those were tender and fragrant, I added in one cup of coconut milk and allowed it to simmer for five minutes.  Add in the shrimp and cook for two minutes and finally wilt in the sweet potato greens.

The spicy coconut shrimp is served on top of the roasted sweet potato greens and then topped with green onions for some freshness.

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This dinner was absolutely amazing!  I’m hoping that I can used the greens in at least one more recipe before we harvest the potatoes.

The perfect balance of sweet and spicy and so many textures in this bowl of homegrown goodness.

Tailgate Thursday {grilled kale BLT dip}

I enjoyed Tailgate Thursday so much last year that I couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring it back in 2016.

Between cheering on the Pirates on Saturday and trying to keep up with the Panthers (for the sake of our family text messages) on Sunday, I find myself watching a lot of football.  And with football, comes tailgates and delicious food.  Let’s be honest – those are my favorite parts about football.

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Last Saturday we kept our tailgate simple since most of our friends had other Labor Day plans.

On the menu:  chicken salad with pita chips, a veggie tray, some nuts and an an amazing grilled kale BLT dip.

The BLT dip was loaded with smoky grilled kale, salty bacon, and tomatoes that were bursting with flavor.  The base of the dip was an equal amount of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise and the only real seasoning you need is black pepper.

I served this dip with some ruffled potato chips because when I think of a BLT sandwich I want a handful of crunchy chips on the side.

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Go Pirates!

So tell me:  What team are you cheering for this fall?  And what’s your tailgate specialty?

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Toast just got an upgrade!  And this cashew-carrot toast is perfect for breakfast, lunch or as a snack.

First your going to make carrot ribbons with a vegetable peeler.

Then marinate the carrot in a mixture of EVOO and apple cider vinegar.

Crisp up a slice of bacon.  Yes, bacon.

Toast your bread!

Slather on some cashew butter (if you haven’t tried cashew butter yet, don’t wait another moment!).

Pile on the carrots.

Sprinkle on the bacon.

Top it all with some salt and pepper.

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End-of-Summer Cheeseburger Salad

Oh, it feels like Monday.  Thankfully the stars aligned and what I thought was going to be a crazy, disjointed day just became a little more relaxed.

Last night’s dinner was a nod to the end of summer.  While the weather will continue to be hot and summer-like, we’ve officially left the summer months.  Last night we threw together a salad with all the flavors of a cheeseburger:  shredded cheese, ground beef burger, lettuce, tomato, a ketchup & mustard inspired dressing and some crunched up potato chips.

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The salad starts with a base of lettuce.  Then comes a sprinkle of chopped tomatoes.  The burger patty is simply two burgers that were seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled until your desired doneness.  Then chop up the burgers and add that to the pile of lettuce.  Then a little cheese – we used fontina and the dressing.  The dressing is a mix of mayo, tomato sauce, mustard and a sprinkle of salt.  And finally the entire salad is amped up with some crushed potato chips for the ultimate crunch.

Such a fun twist on a classic summer favorite.