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.

winedinner

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.

grandparents

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.

avotoastoib

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.

 

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.

peafritters

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.

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon

I’m a big fan of “bucket lists.” In fact, I have multiple lists.  I have my travel bucket list:  Italy, Spain, Austin.  The list goes on and on.  My largest list is a restaurant bucket list:  Maude in LA is at the very top.  And then there’s my “kitchen” bucket list.  We’ve tackled homemade pasta and ciabatta bread and I really want to take on homemade croissants.  But this past Saturday we checked Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon off our list.

The recipe takes some time (you’ll need a good 4-5 hours from start to finish) but it’s worth it.  We popped Julie and Julia into the DVD and got to work in the kitchen.  Our house was filled with the most amazing aroma and we were in heaven as we enjoyed each and every bite.  I served our boeuf bourguignon with roasted potatoes and an amazing bottle of red wine.

juliasbeefbourg

“Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.” – Julia Child

 

Spicy Veggie Hash {plus WIAW}

Hey friends!  I have an incredibly busy day ahead but I wanted to pop in and share an easy yet delicious recipe plus WIAW (What I Ate Wednesday).  I am intrigued to read what other people eat on a day-to-day basis whether it’s a celebrity, a dietician or just another blog I read.  So here’s how yesterday’s food looked:

coffee

6am – Coffee (with almond milk creamer) & Jesus.  After my alarm goes off and I fully wake up (face washed, teeth brushed, contacts in), I head straight to the kitchen and start the coffee pot and take my vitamins.  I spend about 15-20 minutes doing my bible study questions for the day (still in John!).  I used to scroll through Instagram first thing in the morning but I’ve learned that’s not the best way for me to start the day.

yogbowl

6:30am – Time to break the fast and watch the news.  Greek yogurt + KIND Granola + Peanut Butter was the bowl of the day (and a typical breakfast two to three times a week).

vitalproteins

6:45am – More coffee and creamer.  I add a scoop of collagen to this cup.  You can read all about the benefits of collagen here.  I did quite a bit of research before biting the bullet.

orange

10am – I am currently fighting off germs.  I have a fever blister and I had the feelings of a cold coming on.  If you follow me on SnapChat, you know that I put together a “cold chaser” shot:

1/4 tsp. oregano oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. honey
Pinch of Himalayan salt
It was absolutely horrific and I pray that it works.  Immediately after this shot, I reached for an orange for extra vitamin C and to get the awful taste out of my mouth.
spicyveghash
12pm – I found myself with some extra time yesterday so I spent a little time in the kitchen preparing lunch. I typically reach for a smoothie or leftovers for lunch but I’m glad I pulled out the knife and put some effort into lunch.  I prepared a Spicy Veggie Hash and it was deeeelicous.  Plus I have leftovers for the rest of the week.  You do have to dirty up two pans – but it’s worth it. This recipe is incredibly filling and I loved the combination of the sweet potatoes with cinnamon and cumin.
Changes I made to the recipe:  I left out the tomato; I used a different cheese that I had on hand.
muffin
3pm – As usual, an afternoon snack!  I paired one of the muffins I made late last week with 1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter.
salads
 6:45pm – Following a walk with a friend, I threw together a salad that consisted of mixed greens, strawberries, avocado slices and avocado.  This combo is one of my absolute favorites and it totally made me crave spring.
teatime
7:10pm – Tea time.  I wanted something to sip on and reached for a warm cup of tea while I watched E! News.
In addition to the above, I also enjoyed two lime flavored carbonated water (similar to La Croix but an off brand) as well as lots of water.
Oh and a pickle around 4:30pm.

five ingredient banana muffins

This may be the easiest recipe with the easiest clean-up I’ve ever posted.  I’ve been staring at the bananas in our kitchen since Monday wondering what I want to make with them (the freezer is fully stocked with frozen bananas for smoothies – that’s what usually happens to brown bananas).  I researched a few that I had pinned on Pinterest but I wasn’t sold.  Then on Wednesday I was browsing Instagram and came across these five ingredient banana muffins.  And the best part – they are made in a food processor.

Here’s what you need:

3 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
3/4 cup pitted dates
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda

That’s it!  I did add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few shakes of cinnamon (a last minute addition).

Simply add all the ingredients into your food processor and whirl until smooth.  If your dates are super hard and/or your food processor isn’t super strong, soak the dates in some warm water for a minute or two before adding them to the processor.

Scoop some batter into a muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes (anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes).

bananamuffins

Your house will smell amazing.  And you are done cleaning up before the muffins are done cooking (well, if you have a dish washer).

These muffins have less than 130 calories each and are the perfect snack or breakfast.  I recommend pairing with a good smear of nut butter.

Ground Beef and Pasta Casserole

A one-pot dish that is sure to be a winner on the dinner table.  It’s healthy comfort food that’s also husband and kid-friendly.  I recommend this dinner on a night when you have a little bit of time to prep (30 minutes) but once it goes in the oven, the work is done.

I love that this recipe makes prep easier by using a food processor to chop up the carrots and onions.  Simply place the veggies in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Let the dishwasher clean the food processor.

Sauté the onions and carrots for about 4 minutes and add in the finely chopped garlic, allowing that to cook for 2 more minutes.  Then add in the Italian seasoning – I made my own Italian seasoning using dried basil, thyme and oregano, some red pepper flakes and a little salt.  Add in the beef.  I find that Trader Joes as some of the best ground beef.  I try and stock up when I got and throw several packages in the freezer for nights like this.  Cook the beef for 5 minutes, breaking it up as it cooks.  I like using a potato masher for this.  Seriously.  Then goes in the chicken stock, fresh basil, tomato paste, vinegar, pasta (I used gluten-free brown rice pasta) and the tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and cook about 13 minutes or until the pasta is almost cooked through and the pasta has thickened a bit.

At this point I decided to transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish knowing we would have lots of leftovers.  But you can totally keep this a one-pot meal and starting the whole recipe in an oven-safe pot.

Top the pasta with mozzarella and bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Sprinkle with basil and dig in!

groundbeefcasserole

So yummy!  Absolute comfort food – carbs and cheese.

Like a said, a true winning dinner that everyone will love.