Friday Favorites

May Day!  Can you believe it’s here?  It is and it’s a busy month.  But I love May.  The warmer days, cooler nights, flowers and gardens.  And when we don’t have plans (which we kind of have too many right now) we are planning to enjoy those lovely aspects of May.  Big Guy is really looking forward to a Saturday afternoon on the back deck.

To kick off May, here are some of my favorites from the week:

Favorite Wake-Up:  Vietnamese Iced Coffee.  When we were in San Fran I had a Vietnamese coffee at The Slanted Door and I immediately was hooked.  But make it iced?  How perfect for the warmer days of May.

Favorite Read:  Why Everyone Should Chill Red Wine Wines for Outdoor Drinking.  I know there are some people cringing right now.  But I can get on board with the reasoning.

Favorite Bundt:  Banana Pineapple Cake.  I plan on baking this very soon so that I can display it in my cake stand.  It drives me crazy when it’s empty.

Favorite Twist:  Tomato and Egg Breakfast Pizza.  Pizza for breakfast?  Yes, please.  Especially now that Big Guy is on board with the whole “runny yolk” thang.  Would it be too much to add a mimosa on the side?

Favorite Comfort:  Chicken and Dumplings.  Chicken Dumplings vs.  Chicken Pastry.  Which side are you on?  Big Guy and I are on different teams.

Favorite From Scratch:  Homemade Bagels.  I used to adore bagels (hello, I still adore bagels) but I just don’t find myself eating them very often.  Making them at home would give me the perfect excuse to indulge in #allthecarbs .

Favorite Light:  Brown Rice Shrimp Summer Rolls with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce.  The textures!  The color!  The freshness!  Yes. Yes. Yes.  And we can’t overlook that sauce.

Favorite Truth:  

Favorite Crave:  Pineapple Sangria.  Big Guy has been talking about sangria for weeks so I think it’s high-time I make that sangria happen.  Though I wish I had a pineapple from Miami…

Happy May Day!

 

 

 

{virtual} Coffee Chat

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If we were having coffee this morning…I would want to transport us to Miami where the sun is shining and the air is warm.  We would order iced coffees because it’s so hot.  And The Ritz-Carlton did their iced coffees up right:  iced coffee plus coffee ice cubes means no watered down coffee.  It was even more delicious because I splurged and added cream.  Oh, and the fact that I had a 75 minute massage before the iced coffee made it even better.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would confess that there hasn’t been a lot of cooking going on this week.  I got home on Monday night and the rest of my week nights were full of social commitments.  And the fact that Big Guy hasn’t been home since last Wednesday doesn’t make me want to cook any more.  But don’t worry – I’ll be back in action next week.

If we were having coffee this morning…I might try to recreate my favorite breakfast in Miami.  On Saturday morning we were up bright and early (literally before the rest of Miami) and went on a walk.  My request:  fresh-pressed juice.  The fruit is unreal in Miami and I had been dreaming about green juice for weeks.  We stumbled across Sunset Juice Bar and were the first customers of the day (it was still before 8am).  I ordered a cold-pressed spinach, kale, collards, cucumber, apple and lime juice along with a yogurt bowl that was studded with the most gorgeous berries and crunchy nuts.  What I would do to be able to walk to breakfast every Saturday morning.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would recommend that you read The Husband’s Secret.  It was the perfect beach read – with a mojito on the side.

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that is not meant to be read…

My darling Cecilia,
If you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…

book

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you how much I adore Big Guy.  Don’t get me wrong – our life isn’t all mojitos and trips to Miami – there’s real life in the middle of all that but I couldn’t imagine going through this wild ride with anyone else.  And as demanding as his work life can be, we were both able to relax and enjoy this past weekend.  Oh, and he was that guy that went to Miami, realized that he forgot a hat and then proceeded to buy a camo hat.  I had nothing to do with that purchase – I was getting a massage. Camo, the preppiest bathing suit at the pool and a frozen drink – that’s my guy.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you about one of the “hottest places to drink” this summer.  And “hottest” is used both figuratively and literally here.  Bar Centro at The Bazaar  at the SLS boutique hotel was not only the place to be but it was quite warm.  Don’t worry – I cooled off quickly with a gin and tonic.  We also didn’t have dinner reservations until later that evening so we also grabbed a few nibbles while we were there.  Most notable:  Foie Gras PB&J – foie gras torchon, peanut butter, raspberry jam.  The fanciest peanut butter and jelly I’ve ever had.  But oh.em.gee.  It was unreal.  Melt-in-your-mouth with the most true PB&J flavors.  I’m drooling just thinking about these little sandwiches.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that our weekend in Miami may be over but it won’t be soon forgotten.  #cottoninmiami was the perfect way to celebrate 2 years of marriage along with many, many years we have ahead of us.  Cheers!

Friday Favorites

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Hello Friday!  OH, and hello to all you guys.  Can you believe that this weekend marks our 2 year anniversary?  Craziness.  Some day’s if feels as if it happened yesterday and other day’s it feels like decades ago.  But every day it feels pretty amazing to be married to someone that makes you laugh every.single.day.  Anyways, we’re celebrating our anniversary all weekend long with sunshine and sand but we did follow the “cotton” tradition when it came to gifts.  I got amazing new curtains for our living room makeover and he got new bath towels (hah!).

I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend and I think I’m going to go find a mojito.  See ya next week!

Favorite Lust:  I’m dying (in a good and bad way) over the print.  I simply can’t justify that amount for a piece of cloth that is going to get sandy and ultimately end up at the bottom of my beach bag.  Hey, Tory, why don’t you make a line just for Target.  (If you know me, you know I’m being incredibly sarcastic.)

Favorite Lessons:  5 Things I Learned from Working in  at Test Kitchen.  My dream job.

Favorite Wake-Up:  Havarti Breakfast Biscuits with Jalapeno, Bacon and Arugula.   This is SO happening in my house.  Preferably with a mimosa on the side.

Favorite Indulge:  Crispy Avocado Fries with Melty Cheese Dip.  Avocados are so healthy, why not trash ’em up?

Favorite Travel:  Spain is slowing inching it’s way up my list of “Travel the World” – especially after reading this article.  

Favorite Slice:  “Hot and Honey” Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  I know I’ve made pizza similar to this before but I just love pizza so much.

Favorite Flavors:  Sliders with Jalapeno Burger Sauce.  With homemade potato buns?  Stop it.

Favorite Fashion:  I’m kind of obsessing over this tank.

Favorite Sweet:  Banoffee Pie.  Just don’t tell Big Guy it’s vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free.

Favorite Buzz:  Champagne Mojito.  Weekends are meant to be celebrated and mojitos are meant for warmer weather.

Cheers.

Toasted Coconut and Pineapple Granola

Tropical to me means palm trees, sunshine, bikinis and coconut cocktails.

And I’m in need of somewhere tropical.

But until that weekend comes, I’ll just crunch my way through toasted coconut and pineapple granola.  

granola

Seven ingredients.  That’s it.

Not many store bought brands can say that.

Oats.
Coconut.
Almonds.
Coconut oil.
Maple syrup.
Vanilla.
Dried pineapple.  

In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut and almonds.  Heat the coconut oil (you can use vegetable or canola oil), maple syrup (I reduced the amount from 1/3 cup to 1/4 cup) and vanilla until warmed and then pour over the oat mixture.  Stir to combine.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring every 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and toss with the pineapple and allow to cool before storing.

Crunch away.

I enjoyed some of the granola over a bowl of Fage 2% Greek yogurt (the creamiest, richest, most dreamy!).

And coffee.

Because I’m not in the tropics and a mimosa before work might not be the best idea.

Weekend Review {SoCo, Chapel Hill and basil x 5}

Good morning!

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On Friday night we went to our favorite little spot in the country for dinner.  They had a new menu (a new one debuts every month) and Friday night was the only night we could make it work before it changes again (when did we get so busy?).

I started off our dinner at SoCo with bubbles – I don’t think I need to explain that decision.  This menu was awesome!

SALAD
Roasted garlic-potato purée, wheat berries, Holly Grove Farms goat cheese, dry-cured olives, shaved sweet onion, herbs, and deep-fried SoCo farm egg

SECOND

Crispy NC Pork torchon, pimento cheese grits, sweet kale, and red wine gastrique

ENTREÉ

Moroccan-style Chicken Pastry with SoCo Farm Chicken, herbed dumplings, golden raisins, and almonds

SWEETNESS

Bittersweet Chocolate SoCo Farm Duck Egg Pot de Creme with Italian meringue

My favorite course of the night was actually the dessert – which is really unusual – I’m a savory girl all the way.  But when Jeremy has two chocolate desserts on the menu – you know you’re in for a treat.  My favorite pairing of the night was the entree.  The wine that Kim chose to go with the chicken pastry was perfect.  And the dish that intrigued me the most was the crispy pork torchon – the grits were amazing.

Saturday started early with a sweat session at the gym before coming home and getting ready for the day.  First stop, sushi!

I ordered a seaweed salad, the roll of the month and fresh NC Bluefin that literally just came out of the water.  So good – I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of sushi.

On Saturday evening we met up with Big Guy’s sister who is a senior at UNC to take her out for dinner and drinks.  A good time was had by all and Sarah and I enjoyed quite a few Elderflower Sours.

Let’s just say that I totally felt my age on Sunday morning.  I can’t hang like I used to!

We had such a fun night out with Sarah and her friends and I am so thankful to have the best sister-in-laws.

Sunday was spent doing a whole lot of nothing.

But Big Guy did start our Spring plantings and I know have a basil garden!  He made a spot just for an assortment of basil including Thai basil(!!!), sweet basil, cinnamon basil (say what?), purple basil, and spicy globe basil.  I have a feeling you’ll be seeing lots of basil in the coming weeks.

I hope your Monday is short and your coffee is strong!

Friday Favorites

This week has been dragging.  I’ve been daydreaming of trips to anywhere warm with sunshine.  I had a daydream on one particularly long day about moving to a secluded island with pineapples and coconuts and palm trees.

Unfortunately Big Guy didn’t “jump” on the idea so I’ll just have to stick to my daydreams.  Hopefully your Friday isn’t too rough and the weekend will be here before we know it!

Favorite Flavors:  Jessica’s Favorite Greek Salad.  Feta and olives are having a moment in my little world right now.  This salad is perfection.

Favorite Devour:  Insanity Burger.  Ridiculous, I tell you.  Can someone go start the grill?

Favorite Slice:  Pineapple Dream Pie.  This is a pie made for Sunday afternoons.

Favorite Fried:  Cheddar Croissant Donuts with Honey Mustard.  I know.  I can’t get over this brunch idea.  It’s crazy.  And crazy is a good thing.

Favorite List:  Top 10 Spring Books.  I’ve read Nineteen Minutes and it remains one of my favorite books.  I think A House in the Sky may be on my list of books to read this Spring.

Favorite Ladies Night:  Red Wine and Chocolate Tasting.   What a fun idea!  Who’s in?

Favorite “Appy” Hour:  Everything Bagel Cheese Twists.  A portable puff pastry stick with cheese.  What’s not to love?

Favorite Crave:  Roasted Strawberry and Dumpling Skillet Cake.  I am so ready for strawberry season to be here.  The only thing missing:  vanilla bean ice cream.  Am I right or am I right?

Favorite Sip:  The Painkiller.  I’m still stuck in my daydream.

Happy Weekend!

Sautéed Dates {and my favorite hour}

Spring just might finally be here to stay.

Crisp, cool mornings.

Warm, sunny evenings.

And my favorite hour in the springtime is “appy” hour.

It typically happens on Friday and/or Saturday night and it’s the perfect way to unwind from the week.

No stress.  No worries.

Just a glass of bubbles, my favorite guy, and an appetizer.

A couple of weekends ago (when Spring was teasing us) we were able to sneak in an “appy” hour on the back deck.  And dare I say that it was one of my favorite “appy” hour spreads to date.

Blueberry goat cheese (a Trader Joes must-have items), crackers, a blue cheese for Big Guy and sauteed dates with Greek yogurt.

You heard me right – sauteed dates and Greek yogurt.

When I first saw this recipe I was incredibly intrigued.  I love dates (especially stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon) and could only dream that they would be as luscious sauteed.

And they are.

A small amount of olive oil is warmed on the stove-top before adding in the dates.  They are sauteed a few minutes (making sure to turn to prevent burning) before being sprinkled with flaky sea salt.  I served the sauteed dates with 2% Greek yogurt drizzled with the olive oil from sauteing the dates.

Salty, sweet and incredibly luscious.

And the perfect match for a sparkling glass of champagne.