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

Good morning!

{image via instagram}

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!

Almond Butter Chicken Satay with Cilantro-Lime Rice

Let’s start with a few random Thursday tidbits, mmm kay?

Skewers are one of the few items that I misplace around the house.  Don’t ask how that happens.

– Satay means “a dish of seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat, served with a sauce.”

– Leftover coconut milk tastes amazing in overnight oats and smoothies.

– Speaking of coconuts, coconut butter + almond butter on a toasted waffle is unbelievably delicious.

I’m currently obsessed with the coconut flavored La Croix.  Big Guy thinks it tastes like sunscreen.

– On the subject of sunscreen, I just bought a new bathing suit.  I’m less scared about how I look in a bathing suit and more scared at how skimpy bathing suits have become.

– And I’ve created a new rule that I think all women should follow:  If you wouldn’t wear something in front of your brother/Daddy/grandfather, you probably shouldn’t wear it in public at all.

Interesting how my thought process started with skewers and ended with a fashion rule.

Moving right along…

Can we talk about the deliciousness of almond butter chicken satay?  This dinner needs a little bit of prep work but the prep work can be done in advance.

Sliced chicken breast is marinated in a mixture of coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar, fish sauce, ginger, curry powder and crushed garlic for at least 2 hours.

After it’s marinated and soaks up all the incredible flavors, the chicken is skewered before being grilled.

While Big Guy manned the chicken, I put a few finishing touches on the rice.  Brown basmati rice is fluffed and then cilantro and lime juice (about half a lime) is added into the rice for even more fresh flavor.  I adore cilantro – if you’re not a fan, leave it out or try parsley.

The chicken is served with an almond butter based dipping sauce.  I adore almond butter (I’m almost out and I am planning my Sunday around stocking up on my beloved breakfast staple) and it’s the perfect complement to curry-dusted chicken.  In the sauce, along with almond butter, more of the coconut milk, water, hoisin sauce (I used tamari) and Sriracha.  Ugh.  So good.

And for even more freshness, fresh cucumber on the side for a pop of color and flavor.

I served the chicken with a squeeze of lime before liberally dipping each and every piece into the luscious almond butter sauce.

Okay, seriously.  I need more almond butter.

Currently.

{image}

Eating / sushi.  Every opportunity I get.

Drinking / Counter Culture coffee.  Local and delicious.

Practicing / barre.  I love the burn!

Mastering /  meal planning.  Hey, I’m good at all things domestic.

Learning / to let go of things I cannot control.

Trying / to not over-commit socially.  Big Guy and I are homebodies (shocking seeing how we go-go-go) and we love having weekends with zero plans.

Playing / outside.  Gotta take full advantage of this weather.

Finishing / the living room makeover.  The furniture should arrive this week and the curtains should be done in a couple of weeks.

Reading / Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult.  Must.finish.soon.

Remembering / “If you want to be happy, be.”

Wearing / white pants.  And bright tops.

Cooking / on the grill as much as possible.

Working / for the weekend.  Duh.

Traveling / to Miami.  It’s an unexpected getaway and I am so excited for sun and relaxation.

Wanting / to work as a recipe tester for Cooking Light.  Seriously, it’s my dream job.

Mint and Cumin-Spiced Lamb Chops + Pistachio Crusted Asparagus with Feta

Good morning and Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend.  My weekend flew by at the speed of lightening.  On Friday, Big Guy and I headed down to Ocean Isle Beach and made a pit stop in Wilmington for sushi.  The weekend was full of family and it was exactly what I wanted.  The weather was gorgeous and I even got to share a bottle of wine with my sister.

Iron Horse is my favorite bubbles these days and this bottle came all the way from Sonoma.  This 2007 Brut Rose was light and bright with hints of fruit with every sip.

On Saturday we enjoyed coffee and yogurt bowls at Drift before I got to work in the kitchen with Momma.  Deviled eggs…pea salad…biscuits…and a delicious pineapple-coconut cake.  We were busy ladies.

That evening we headed to my grandparents house for dinner.  I wish I could transport myself back so that I could spend another weekend with these fun kids.

Yesterday we packed up the car and headed back so that we could enjoy the sunshine on our back deck. A glass of wine and some tunes and I was a happy girl.

For dinner, we kept with the Easter “theme” and had Mint and Cumin-Spiced Lamb Chops with a side of Pistachio Crusted Asparagus and Feta.

lamb

The lamb chops were rubbed with a mixture of mint, cilantro, parsley, onion, cumin, paprika, allspice, crushed red pepper flakes and garam masala that had been pulsed in the food processor.  Grilled until cooked to desired doneness and then sprinkled with parsley.

The asparagus were seriously the best asparagus I’ve ever add.  Salty and nutty with a little bit of brightness from the orange-vinaigrette.  I loved the freshness of the parsley on top but I have to say pistachios + feta are the perfect combination as an asparagus topper.  You must try this recipe if you love asparagus.

dinner

To end the weekend on a high note, we uncorked a pinot noir from Papapietro Perry and toasted to another wonderful weekend.

And if you’re on Spring Break – I’m jealous.

 

{virtual} Coffee Chat

If we were having coffee this morning…We would meet up at Drift and enjoy a large cup of piping hot coffee.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would be so thankful that Spring is finally here.  I know we’re going to have some rain here and there, but I just love the sunshine and warmer temps.

If we were having coffee this morning…I might bring along a little one with me.  I am SO excited to be spending the weekend with my niece and nephew.  I plan on snuggling them both but I can imagine that Haines will be bouncing from one spot to the next so I’ll take what I can get.

If we were having coffee this morning…We would chat about my dream of being a recipe tester for Cooking Light.  Seriously.  My dream job.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would update you on the living room…furniture should arrive next week (waiting on that darn leather chair that Big Guy wanted – wink wink) and I’m hoping that the curtains will arrive soon after that.  Eeeeek!!!!

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you how I’m looking forward to some sister-time.  In fact, I have a bottle of Ironhorse pink bubbles that’s reserved for us two tonight.  Because being together is reason enough for me to celebrate.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you how thankful I am.  For everything.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you to enjoy today.  And tomorrow.  And soak up all the sunshine this weekend.

Happy Easter!

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.