Friday Favorites

This Friday is extra sweet because the only thing standing between me and a little “adult Spring Break” is teaching two classes this A.M.  Whether you’re taking a little time for yourself in the coming week or not, I hope you take the time to remember what Easter is really about.  While I’m the first to gush over being able to wear my white pants and spend the morning dying Easter eggs there’s so much more to this weekend.  He is Risen!

And with that, my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Obsessed:  Cadbury Mini Eggs Skillet Cookie.  When it comes to my Easter basket, there’s only ONE candy I want:  a mini bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs.  They are my favorite.  (Don’t worry, Big Guy, I bought you a pack or two to throw into my basket).  This cookie is basically my dream come true.

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Favorite Tropical:  Pineapple Ice Molds.  How cute are these?!?!?!

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Favorite Festive:  Toasted Sesame Sriracha Deviled Eggs.  I honestly have no intention of making deviled eggs this year…but these are making me want to change my tune.

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Favorite Read:  Slightly South of Simple:  A Novel.  This author is compared to one of my absolute favorite authors, Elin Hilderbrand.  It sounds like the perfect beach read.

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Favorite How To:  Sourdough Bread:  A Step-By-Step Guide for Home Bakers.  This is a fun addition to my “kitchen bucket list” and I love how approachable Jen made it with this tutorial.

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Favorite Fun:  Lemon Tree Earrings.  I’ve always loved unique earrings and these are just adorable.

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Favorite Dinner:  Roasted Rack of Lamb with Basil-Goat Cheese Sauce.  This will definitely be on the menu soon.

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Favorite List:  5 Dream Kitchen Must Haves.   When thinking of a new house, the kitchen is a top priority because of all the time we spend in that room.  I am totally on board with ALL five of these requirements.

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Favorite Dinner for One:  Shoyu Ahi Poke.  I cannot want to get my hands on some sushi-grade tuna and make this delightful bowl.

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Favorite Cocktail:  Frozen Mimosas.  Or in my world, FroMo.  I don’t think any other explanation is needed.

 

CHEERS!

Grilled Flank Steak with Salsa Verde

It’s grilling season, y’all!  The weather has been absolute perfection here in NC the past few days and it looks as if it’s going to stay gorgeous for awhile.  I savor these few weeks of Spring before the humidity hits and the bugs come out of hiding.  So between now and whenever that happens (before Memorial Day, if I had to guess), I’ll be enjoying as many meals al fresco as possible.

Warmer weather also brings about the desire to fill my plates with salads and fresh flavors from the garden.  Last night we enjoyed grilled flank steak served over homegrown greens with a salsa verde on the side that was packed with herbaceous flavors.

The flank steak is marinated in a EVOO, red wine vinegar, garlic, parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper.

After grilled to perfection (medium-rare, please), serve it with salsa verde that is a mix of fresh herbs (I used parsley, basil, chives and cilantro), garlic, a splash of red wine vinegar, capers, EVOO plus some salt and pepper.

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So simple yet so incredibly delicious.  Especially with a side of fresh air and the end of a beautiful Spring day.

 

Thai Beef and Basil Noodles with Shiitake Gravy

Well, hello.  I had no intention of disappearing after Thursday but it happened.  And then yesterday Chris hijacked my computer for work after his had to take an emergency overnight trip to California.  We did, however, take full advantage of him not having his work computer and went on an epic walk and planted our herbs.  I even had to breakout the SPF for the first time of 2017 after my shoulders started showing signs of a little sunburn.  All that to say – I’m here and thriving.  I also have an awesome dinner recipe for you that can replace the takeout noodles you picked up last night.

Thai Beef and Basil Noodles with Shiitake Gravy comes together super fast so like any stir-fry, prep all your ingredients before you ever turn on the stove.  Make sure to cook the ground beef over a medium-high heat so that it gets a little crispy on the outside.  Thankfully rice noodles are hard to overcook – simply pour boiling water over them and allow them to soak until tender.  If they get sticky, simply run more hot water over them. Easy peasy.  Bok choy and shiitake mushrooms fill your bowl to the brim with vegetables and if you’re like me and love ‘shrooms, fill free to go a little heavy.  In fact, we doubled the amount of mushrooms because we love them so much.  The fantastic flavor comes from lots of fresh garlic and ginger along with oyster sauce, soy sauce (or tamari) and crushed red pepper flakes.  Finally before serving and after you’ve taken the pot off the heat, add in lots and lots of fresh torn basil.  I adored the freshness that the herb gave the whole bowl of noodles.

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Chopsticks are totally optionally but they totally made eating much more fun.  Seriously scrumptious and we felt as though we had been “transported to a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in Manhattan” (direct quote from Big Guy).

One-Pan Broccoli-Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese

I’m balancing out the pound of kale I’ve eaten this week with pasta and cheese and bacon.  In all honesty, this mac ‘n cheese is a little sneaky because there’s not only broccoli in this dish but there’s another veggie hidden amongst all that cheese.

Can you guess?

PUMPKIN!

Yes, pumpkin.  But you honestly can’t taste it at all.  The original recipe called for butternut squash but canned pumpkin is way more readily available (you could even use mashed sweet potatoes).

And not only is this mac ‘n cheese full of good for you stuff, you only need one pan to make this dinner.  And you don’t have to wait for water to boil.  So good.

Here’s how fast it all comes together:  Cook your bacon and then reserve for later.  Sauté the garlic in the bacon fat then add in the chicken stock, milk and pumpkin.  Bring to a boil.  Add in the pasta and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.  Add in the broccoli.  Cover and cook for 3-5 more minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add in the bacon and cheese.  Cover and cook for 1 minute or until the pasta is cooked to perfection.  DIG IN.

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I love mac ‘n cheese.

Marinated Kale Salad

Just like avocado toast, kale had it’s moment of being the “it” food.  And while I enjoy kale, it’s not necessarily my first choice of greens.  However, over the weekend my Momma prepared a “killer kale” salad and I couldn’t help but want more kale this week.

While I was putting together my menu for the week yesterday, I came across a recipe in my Cooking Light binder and decided it was the perfect dinner for meatless Monday.  Marinated Kale Salad is made my first massaging the kale with EVOO and a little salt and allowing it to “rest” at room temperature for up to an hour.  The kale is then seasoned with a mixture of lemon juice, mustard and garlic.  I sliced a red onion and soaked it quickly in hot water before tossing it with lemon zest (instead of sumac) and sesame seeds.  The kale is finished by tossing in a can of chickpeas and some pepper.

I topped my salad with an egg for a little extra protein.

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This salad was hearty yet light, a little zippy from the lemon and full of flavor from the garlic and the red onion.  By massaging the kale with EVOO and allowing it to marinate, the kale softens just a bit but stays crunchy.

And while this salad might not be quite as incredibly as the one my Momma made (walnuts, sautéed mushrooms, bacon and goat cheese took hers over the top) I sure did feel healthy eating it.  And since kale is so hearty, the leftovers will make perfect lunches this week.

Kale yeah!

What’s Gaby Cooking Cookbook Club {skinnytaste FAST AND SLOW}

I have a new favorite weeknight cookbook thanks to Gaby’s March Cookbook Club.

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I have been a follower for the blog SkinnyTaste for years and I was excited when Gaby featured her as her cookbook of the month.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve cooked several recipes and I’ve LOVED every single one.  Half of the cookbook is filled with quick-fix recipes and the other half is filled with slow cooker recipes.

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The Slow Cooker Chana Masala is a meatless slow cooker recipe that was the first recipe I cooked from the book.  The chickpeas are spiced with coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masalas and cardamom.  This recipe made awesome leftovers and I found myself eating this all week long.

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Last week I made Korean-Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps when my sister-in-law visited and they were the perfect quick-fix dinner after an evening barre class.  The ground chicken is seasoned with soy sauce (or tamari), sesame oil, brown sugar, crushed red pepper plus some garlic and ginger.  The lettuce is topped with cooked brown rice, the chicken mixture and then a sprinkle of green onions and sesame seeds plus sriracha if you like some heat.  These eat-with-your-hands wraps are delicious!  Incredibly light yet satisfying.

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And finally, the Egg Roll Bowls I made for Big Guy and I last Friday night.  I picked this recipe because it only made two servings and since we were heading out of town I didn’t want a lot of leftovers.  The flavors are that of an egg roll but without the weird ingredients and greasy egg roll taste you might find at a Chinese restaurant.  The bowl includes pork (I used 93/7 beef), onion, napa cabbage, bok choy, carrots and shiitake mushrooms.  The flavors come from soy sauce (or tamari), ginger, garlic, dry sherry and sesame oil  It was light but I loved that the portion size was huge.  I think we both loved the mushrooms the most.

There are so many recipes I have my eye on, including:

Spicy Seared Tuna Sushi Bowls

Slow Cooker Bahn Mi Rice Bowls

Spicy Lump Crab and Charred Corn Flaco “Tacos”

Slow Cooker Blueberry Slump

 

Have you cooked from any new cookbooks lately?

Friday Favorites

And here we are, the last day of March.  This past week one of my sister-in-laws popped into town for the night to go to my barre class as well as go to my morning class the next day.  It was such a treat to have her in town and I loved catching up with her on all the happenings in her much-more-exciting-than-mine 20-something life.  I hope to see more of her (plus the other three sisters) soon!  The rest of the week was pretty uneventful minus the fact that I found myself in the middle of a police chase on Wednesday afternoon.  True story.  It was incredibly scary but I drove away unharmed.  I have a full morning of teaching before getting myself ready for a whirlwind weekend in Charlotte.  I hope you all have a fantastic last day of March/first weekend of April and I’ll be back Monday with #WGCcookbookclub – woot woot!

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Favorite Inspiration :  11 Outdoor Spaces to Inspire You This Spring.  Lately I find myself daydreaming about our next house (ignore this, Big Guy) and I’m currently obsessed with porches and patios.

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Favorite Spring:  Strawberry Salsa.  Spring = Strawberries and I’m really hoping that I can get my hands on a few really juicy ones to make this delightful salsa.

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Favorite Flavors:  Caramelized Wild Mushroom Pizza.  Pizza Sundays at home are my favorite,

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Favorite Fashion:  Shoulder & Squares.  Love this look from a gal I went to school with growing up.  I’m so ready to pull out my white pants in a couple of weeks.

 

Favorite Procrastinating:  Do a Supermarket Shop and We’ll Reveal Your Deepest Desire. Apparently I want to be rich.

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Favorite Tips:  Anatomy of a Well-Styled Bookshelf.  Once again, daydreaming of my next house.

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Favorite Rich and Buttery:  Puff Pastry Donuts.  I workout and eat well during the week so I can splurge on the weekend.

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Favorite Life Hack:  How to Get the Lingering Smell of Fried Food Out of Your Kitchen.  You can always tell when we’ve been home all weekend cooking…

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Favorite Layers:  Mint Coconut Chocolate Cake.  Quite possibly the best flavor combination ever for a cake.

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Favorite Cocktail:  The Ginger Rogers.  Grapefruit + Ginger + Gin.  Super refreshing and super spring-y.

 

Cheers!