{Virtual} Coffee Chat

If we were having coffee this morning…I would order the largest possible cup to help get me through the day.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you how much I loved having my parents in town and that I hate saying “goodbye” to them.  Thankfully we’ll be reunited Easter weekend – so I have that to look forward to.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that our living room make-over is going strong.  We’ve had the walls painted, new floors installed and the entryway wallpapered.  Big Guy’s favorite part thus far is the look of the new floors.  My favorite is the wallpaper – I’m obsessed.



If we were having coffee this morning…We’d talk about the other little items I’ve picked up to help transform the space.  The entry way is almost complete – it needs a new rug but I’m waiting on some other things to come together before I do that.  Our furniture should arrive in 2-3 weeks and that’s the hardest part of this process – waiting!

If we were having coffee this morning…I tell you all about taking my parents to SoCo for dinner.  They loved the quaint vibes of the restaurant and can’t wait to come back and visit again.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that my favorite course of the night was the second course.  The ginger puree was insane.

Seared Mid-Rare Verlasso Salmon with sea-salt and herbs, fried capers and sweet ginger purée

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d talk about our Saturday with my parents.  We headed to Raleigh and looked for some house accessories and grabbed lunch at Cantina 18.  I’m fairly certain Cantina was my Dad’s favorite part of the weekend (well, other than seeing me).  Seriously the best sangria E.V.E.R.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that we celebrated PI day with pizza pies.  The crusts turned out perfectly and we had a savory pizza and a pizza with a little more sweetness.  On the right is the Bacon Brussels Leek Pizza and on the left is the Pear Goat Cheese and Italian Sausage Pizza.  My favorite was the pear and goat cheese pizza.  So good!

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d share all my plans for the week – it’s a good one!

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you to have a wonderful week and don’t forget to wear green tomorrow!

Friday Favorites

Good morning and Happy Friday!  It’s been quite an exciting week around our house with our living room makeover and now I have to be patient and wait for the new furniture to be delivered.  (We still have our old furniture – so it’s not too bad – I’m just ready to see the final result.)  Per usual, I’m very excited that the weekend is here.  My parents will be arriving into town this evening and I can’t wait to spend a weekend with them.  I know what tonight entails but I still can’t decide what we should have for dinner on Saturday.  I know – the things that keep me up at night.  I also hope we’ll be able to find a coffee table and some end tables we like.  Despite the rainy forecast for Saturday, Sunday looks gorgeous – and as long as there is no sn**, I’m a happy girl.

And here are my favorites from the week!

Favorite Crave:  Italian Meatloaf.  I have no idea why but meatloaf has sounded so good to me the past couple of weeks.  Comfort food at it’s finest.

Favorite Fresh:  Smoky Romaine and Avocado Salad.  I love the combo of the smooth and buttery avocado paired with a smoky vinaigrette.

Favorite Creamy:  Roasted Jalapeno Hummus.  This dip only makes me yearn for our garden even more and our homegrown jalapenos.  I need to bring hummus back into my lunch rotation.

Favorite Brights:  Yellow + Pink.   I’m adoring this fun combination of colors.  It screams “Spring”!

Favorite Throw-Back:  Homemade French Onion Dip.  There’s a picture of my brother that was taken about 22 years ago of him with an entire bag of Ruffles potato chips and Dean’s French Onion Dip.  Every time I see French Onion Dip I think of Taylor.  I think we could both devour this bowl of French Onion Dip.

Favorite Layers:  Mint Chocolate Chip Ice-Cream Cake.  Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream (the green stuff) was what I would order anytime we went to an ice cream shop growing up.  It was hands-down my favorite.  And with St. Patty’s day next week, this cake is totally appropriate and necessary.

Favorite Slice:  Bacon Brussels Leek Pizza.  Yes, yes, yes.  That is all.

Favorite Whoa:  Roasted Carrots with Chile Yogurt and Cilantro Sauce.  Quite possibly the most beautiful carrots I’ve ever seen.  Salty, sweet, tangy and tender.

Favorite Bling:  Long Gold Necklace.  I’m on the hunt for a similar style.  I love how it can be worn with so many outfits.

Favorite Cocktail:  Bruleed Grapefruit and Gin Fizz.   Sweet.  Tart.  Bubbly.

Let’s get this weekend started!


Friday Favorites

I’m ready to get this workday over and get my weekend started, how about you?  There is no snow in the forecast and that makes me happy.  And although we lose an hour of sleep this weekend, I welcome the extra hour of sunlight that I’ll have on Sunday evening.  We technically have a plan-free weekend so I’m hoping we get some of our “to-do” list knocked out while also relaxing and enjoying the weekend.  I won’t hold you back from the day any longer so here are my favorites of the past week (or two).

Favorite “Appy” Hour:  Beet Dip with Hazelnuts + Goat Cheese.  Not only is the color of this dip gorgeous but the flavor combination sounds too good to be true.  I just can’t seem to get beets off my mind since the salad at the Black House last Sunday.  I can’t help but think that a glass of  chardonnay from Sonoma would pair heavenly with this appetizer.

Favorite Up-Grade:  Brussels Sprouts Caesar with Crispy Pancetta.  Big Guy is probably drooling over this up-grade on the traditional Caesar salad that he loves so dearly.  I’m drooling over the pancetta.

Favorite Irresistible:  Brownie Cake with Salted Caramel + Peanut Topping.  I’m lusting over this cake.  And I’m pretty sure that one bite would make me fall in love.

Favorite Indulge:  Pepperoni Meatballs Spaghetti.  Sometimes you just need a plate of carbs.  And pepperoni.  All things Italian have been screaming my name since I made lasagna last week.

Favorite Daydream:  Spring Fashion! I could live in white pants, a tunic and wedges.

Favorite Spin:  BBQ Meatloaf with Grilled Fontina Cornbread Stacks.  Yes, please.  I would devour this meal.

Favorite Weeknight Dinner:  Oven-Baked Sesame Chicken.  This chicken dish is easy, inexpensive, and hard to mess up.  It’s the perfect dish for any night of the week.

Favorite Wake-Up:  Cheddar and Bacon Waffles.  This would make me jump out of bed on a Sunday morning.

Favorite Intrigued:  Tahini Date Shake.  This week I’ve been hooked on my go-to smoothie for breakfast.  I think I need to change it up and try something new.  I rarely find something that seems “weird” to me in the food world so I obviously must give it a try.

Favorite Cocktail:  Cucumber Basil Gimlet.  Not only does this drink scream Spring but it’s perfect for St. Patty’s Day.

Happy Weekend, friends!


The Black House at Straw Valley {restaurant review}

SoCo is hands-down one of our favorites restaurants.  I’ve raved about the food and the atmosphere and the wine more than once and it’s a place we frequent quite regularly.  So regularly that we’ve become good friends with the owners/chef.  Being friends with restaurant owners can be a little tricky.  Our time away from the office is when their slaving away and when they have a few moments of down time, it’s a typical work day for Big Guy and me.  For months we’ve talked about trying their favorite restaurant together and we finally made time to go.  On Sunday evening we headed to dinner at The Black House at Straw Valley with Jeremy and Kimberly for an incredible night of wine and food.

black house

The Black House offers a truly unique fine dining experience in a mid century home comprised of several small, intimate rooms.  The space was originally the private residence of Robert Black and Ormond Sanderson, artisans who lived and worked here from the late 50s through the early 90s. Mid century style is evident throughout the dining room and artwork from both artists hangs on the walls.

Executive Chef and owner Adam Rose’s menu features New American cuisine using fresh, seasonal ingredients from nearby farms and providers.

We left the wine decisions up to Kimberly and Jeremy took the lead on the food.

The Black House is the perfect place to order lots of plates and share with the table.  We were able to try so much food without ever feeling too full.

To start, we ordered a couple of salads (the guys didn’t quite understand this – but it made us ladies feel better), a pasta dish and bone marrow.  The beet salad and the bone marrow were out of this world (and regrettably I don’t have pictures of our first round of food).

A bottle of wine later, it was time to share more food.  




a standout pasta dish with lots of fresh garlic, basil and pine nuts along with fresh, local sausage

fried fish

fried fish unlike any fried fish i’ve ever tasted.  the sauce was incredible.


wok fried spinach (with lots of garlic) and roasted mushrooms


chateaubriand – sliced foie gras torchon with sauternes reduction

Everything was delicious with flavors that I’m still thinking about.  Two of my favorite dishes were the mushrooms (I literally woke up on Monday morning thinking about them) and the beef with foie gras.  The beef was cooked to perfection and the foie gras was silky and rich.

We decided to share a couple of desserts to end on a sweet note.

cheese plate

cheese plate

key lime

key lime pie

I beg you to visit The Black House – it’s a food experience that will stay with you for awhile.

We are already planning our return for a warmer weekend so that we can sip wine in their outside seating area.


Cheers!  To good friends, juicy wines and unforgettable bites of food.

{Virtual} Coffee Chat


If we were having coffee this morning…We would not talk about the weather.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would prove that wallpaper is SO in right now by showing you this blog post.  

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you how excited I am to have our entryway wallpapered in the next few weeks.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would show you the wallpaper we picked out because I can’t keep it to myself.  It’s bright and I’m obsessed.


If we were having coffee this morning…I would bring you a slice of cake.  Triple Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake to be exact.  It’s incredibly over the top but also incredibly delicious.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would want to show you the fabric I want to use for curtains but I wouldn’t be able to because it’s not a done deal yet.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that our new floors are a done deal and they’ll hopefully be installed next week.

If we were having coffee this morning…We would talk about how much I miss my niece and nephew.  My sister has been sending us pics and videos this week and while they make me smile, they also make my heart ache just a little.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would give you the recipe for my new favorite cocktail:  Blood Orange Gin and Tonic.  And with all this sn**, we might actually be having a cocktail date instead of a coffee date because icannottakeitanymore.  

If we were having coffee (or a cocktail) this morning…I would tell you about the most incredible Goat Cheese Gnocchi that Big Guy and I made last weekend.  It reminded me of one of our favorite appetizers – bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese.  It was totally delicious and worth the mess in the kitchen.  But I think Food Network got it wrong by saying this is an “easy” recipe – this is definitely for the intermediate home cook.  For the recipe, we ended up using a Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma and it worked perfectly.

If we were having coffee this morning…we’d talk about weekend plans.  My weekend is going to be a 3-day weekend including a double-date to a new-to-us restaurant.  I am SO excited I can’t wait to share the food and wine with you guys.

If we were having coffee this morning…we’d say goodbye but only after scheduling our next coffee chat.

Moroccan-Spiced Pork Chops with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Lemony Green Beans

Sometimes I set my expectations too high and I am disappointed.  Other times I don’t really expect much and I end up being blown away by the end result.

Whether it’s food or people, I’m sure we’ve all experienced this in life.

And on Friday night, I was blown away by a dinner that I wasn’t sure would be anything special.

Pork chops.  They can be boring.

And mashed sweet potatoes – been there, done that.

I don’t think I even have to explain why green beans could be seen as dull.

But boring and dull are not how I would describe Moroccan-Spiced Pork Chops with mashed sweet potatoes and lemony green beans.

In fact, this dinner was worthy of a glass of wine.

morrocan pork chops

To ensure that the whole dinner is ready at the same time, get started on your potatoes first.  I cut up the potatoes (the last of our sweet potato stash) and placed in a pot of cold water.  Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook until fork tender.  While the potatoes were cooking, I made the red pepper sauce that was incredible and should totally be in the title of the dish.  The red pepper sauce is a mix of roasted red peppers, almonds (for a lovely texture and nuttiness), garlic, coriander and cumin whirled together with a little bit of EVOO to bring together the sauce.  Once the sauce was prepared, I seasoned the pork chops with all the spices that were going to be in the potatoes (this is an extra flavor addition that isn’t in the original recipe):  coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper.  The pork chops are seared until cooked through.  Once the sweet potatoes are tender, drain and mash them along with coconut milk (I had an already-opened-can that was begging to be used) and all the above spices.  The green beans are simply steamed and then tossed with a pat of butter and the juice of half a lemon before being sprinkled with salt and pepper.

This wine-worthy dinner comes together in about 40 minutes and is truly special.  So many flavors from the Moroccan-inspired spices.

For our wine, we poured a 2012 Meredith Estate Pinot Noir.  

merry edwards

The aroma had hints of berries and wildflowers while the wine was incredibly smooth on the tongue.  Despite being a Pinot Noir it was rich and full without being heavy.  An incredible wine that I highly suggest sipping.


Friday Favorites

Well that was an interesting (and cold) week.  I’m so happy to be back to my regular schedule today.  As much as I love catching a few extra zzzzz’s, I do love my 5 am workouts and the tone they set for my day.  Our original weekend plans fell through because of the weather but we’re going to make use of a “free” Saturday to do a little searching for wallpaper and furniture.  #welcometoyour30s

Favorite Colorful:  Winter Chopped Salad.  There are officially 28 days left of winter.  And this bright salad could possibly take away my winter blues.

Favorite Bite:  Mini Lasagna Cups.  How stinkin’ cute are these little two-bite appetizers?  Cheesy, saucy, crunchy, and handheld.

Favorite Truth: 

Favorite Obsession:  Thibaut Wallpaper.  How am I ever going to choose one?

Favorite Take-Out Fake-Out:  Spicy Sesame Basil Noodles.  Noodles are having a moment in my life right now.  And can we walk about all.the.flavors in this dish?

Favorite Inspiration:  {link to photo}

Favorite Sunday Dinner:  Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder on Flatbreads with Minty Yogurt Sauce.

Favorite Sip:  Blood Orange Gin and Tonic.  Last weekend Big Guy squeeze some blood orange juice for a mimosa bar.  The color was stunning and now I want to mix it up with a little gin.

Stay warm out there!