Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds, Beets and Manchego

It’s 6:46pm on Monday and honestly feel like the past few days have been a whirlwind.  This past weekend I inched myself a few steps closer to reaching one of my 2016 goals.  I attended a 3-day/16-hour training on Core Barre in Charlotte and I couldn’t be more excited.  I learned SO much – I honestly can’t remember the last time I used my brain so much on a weekend.  But I’m also anxious about what’s to come.  After the course, we took the written test which I passed with a 94 (woot! woot!).  The hard part is what’s happening now.  I’m studying and practicing so that I can submit my final practical which is a 35 minute video of me teaching various aspects of the syllabus.  I have so much to work on but I’m determined to be able to say I’m a Core Barre instructor by July 31.

So yea – that’s what my weekend looked like.  Plus a little family time including dinner with my parents, brunch with the family and then another dinner with my parents and brother.

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I arrived home at about 6:30pm last night to Big Guy working hard in the kitchen.  He was in charge of dinner and he sure impressed me.  He whipped up a salad and pizza that was absolutely incredible.  The salad included roasted beets, candied pecans, raspberry, manchego and a homemade raspberry vinaigrette.  The pizza (I forget his creative name for the pie) was topped with a garlic-olive oil base along with sautéed spinach, bacon, figs, toasted almonds, cheeeeese (goat and Monterey jack), and he finished the whole thing off with orange zest.  Weird but absolutely delicious.

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After a full day of work, I whipped up a simple meatless Monday dinner that used up a few ingredients in the fridge.

I made a quinoa salad that included toasted almonds, thyme, fresh basil and then used that as a salad topper along with leftover roasted beets and manchego.

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Salads are a great way to use up leftover ingredients in a new way.

I adored the bites of quinoa with almonds and a little manchego.

But then again, I love any bite that includes cheese.

 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday and first day of April!  I have quite the busy weekend ahead.  Last night I drove to Greensboro for a quick “pit stop” (aka – dinner with one of my favorites) and I’m currently on my way to Charlotte for the weekend.  Unfortunately I won’t be spending much time with my family but it’s for a good reason – I’m in Charlotte for a 3-day, 16-hour Core Barre training.  I’m anxious and nervous but mostly excited.  Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak in a dinner or two with my family and perhaps even breakfast on Saturday with my Mimi.  This is one of the few weekends that’s less play and more work but I’m hoping to learn a ton and really hoping I pass the exam.  So…I’m off to the barre.

Here are my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Egg On Top:  Burrata Breakfast Pizza.  Oh man.  Cheesy, melty deliciousness.

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Favorite Reminder:  So true.

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Favorite Refreshing:  Cashew and Basil Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  The perfect Tuesday night dinner.

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Favorite Crave:  Spring Cheese Board.  Candied Meyer Lemons!!!  Pickled Green Onions!!!!

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Favorite Fascinating:  Palms Springs house untouched since 1969 hits the market.  I’m obsessed with the pool and back yard and I love the vibrant green throughout the house.

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Favorite From Scratch:  Roasted Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese and Herbs.  Absolutely gorgeous.  We’re planning a pasta night in the near future and this is definitely a contender.

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Favorite Light and Airy:  Lemon Poppyseed Macaroons.  The flavors in this little sweet treat makes me want to run to kitchen and bake.

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Favorite Want: A Look Inside the Homes of the City’s Coolest Collectors.  I am lusting over this eating area.  Especially the flamingo print.  I die.

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Favorite Unexpected:  Savory Cheesecake with Roasted Vegetables.  This makes me so excited for the garden to be flourishing.  How amazing would this be for an “appy” hour al fresco?

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Favorite Night Cap:  Coconut Milk White Russian.  The perfect end to a perfect date night at home.

Cheers!

 

 

 

whole-grain veggie burrito bowl

Happy Spring, y’all!

After a weekend of wine, eating with out friends, and pizza I was more than ready for meatless Monday.  This veggie-filled bowl starts with a base of brown rice.  The brown rice is sautéed with garlic and cumin for a smoky flavor.  On top of the rice, lots of toppings!

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Let’s start with the tomato salsa!  In a bowl, combine chopped tomatoes, diced red onion, chopped cilantro, a little salt and diced jalapeño for some heat.

The black beans are simply canned beans that are only partly drained and chipotle chiles.  More smokiness, more heat.

And to cool it all off, creamy avocado and goat cheese plus a fresh squeeze of lime.

I adored this burrito bowl not only because of all the flavors but also all the different textures.  Every bite was different from the last bite.  My favorite bites included the tomato salsa and avocado.

Burrito bowl FTW.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I apologize for my lack in posting yesterday – just not a whole lot to report.  In an effort to celebrate St. Patty’s Day, I wore green, ate a green salad for lunch, and drank La Croix out of a green can.  Obviously it’s a very important holiday to me. < insert sarcasm here >

But something I’m never sarcastic about:  my love for the weekend.  This weekend is crammed full of being social.  We have a wine dinner tonight and another dinner out tomorrow night with friends.  And on Sunday, my only real plan is to hang out with Big Guy, make pizza and watch ALL the shows that have gone unwatched on the DVR (Nashville, Criminal Minds, Law and Order:SVU, The People vs. OJ).  Sunday is going to be a big day.

Let’s get this weekend started!  But first, my favorites:

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Favorite “Appy” Hour:  Homemade Fruit and Nut Crisps.   A perfect Friday night would include these homemade crackers, cheese and wine.  Big Guy would be an added bonus.

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Favorite Date Night:  Homemade Orecchiette with Yellow Tomatoes and Bocconcini.  Big Guy, let’s get our next date night in on the calendar.

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Favorite Scoop:  Thai Peanut Hummus. I am dying to make these dip.  And I will find an excuse to make it very soon..

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Favorite Fashion:  Abella Top.  In fact, I’m so obsessed with the off-the-shoulder trend that this shirt has been ordered.  Crossing my fingers it fits!

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Favorite Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner:  Avo Toast, Elevated.   Avo + Chimichurri + Chives + a Poached Egg.  Yes.  Just yes.

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Favorite Salad:  Raw Spiralized Beet and Mandarins Salad with Mint. I just can’t stop thinking about beets.  And I really need to use my spiralizer more.  Plus, it’s just a gorgeous plate of food.

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Favorite Crave:  Brussels Sprout and Prosciutto Pizza.  Fried brussels sprout leaves?  Done.

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Favorite Cast-Iron Dinner:  Honey Dijon Skillet Chicken.  Lusty Monk mustard is begging to be used in this chicken dinner.  Speaking of which, I think it’s time I restock that mustard.

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Favorite Copycat:  Homemade Thin Mint Cookies.  One of the most perfect cookies on the face of the earth.  Especially when eaten straight from the freezer.

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Favorite Cocktail:  Meyer Lemon Collins.   I see a batch of these happening one Saturday very, very soon.

Cheers!

 

Baby Kale and Golden Beet Salad with Salmon

I’m not quite sure what took so long or why I was so intimidated by the idea, but yesterday was the first time I’ve cooked beets.

I know.  I can’t believe it either.  I mean, I adore beets (not the canned stuff, y’all) and order them when I’m in a restaurant but I’ve always just kept on flipping the page when I would see a recipe with beets.

And now I regret all the recipes I’ve overlooked.  Because prepping the beets was so easy.

Simply trim the beet and then stab a few times with a knife.  Wrap in parchment paper and microwave until tender.  (Mine took about 12 minutes in the microwave – I think they were a little bigger than “medium.”)  Once they’re cooked, using a paper towel simply remove the skin by gently rubbing.

That’s it!

While the beets were cooking, I made the quick pickled red onions with a simply pickling liquid of apple cider vinegar, water and honey.  I also prepped the dressing which was a mix of honey, olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard.  I tossed the baby kale (along with some random herbs that I didn’t want to go to waste) with the dressing before plating.

The kale is topped with some pickled onions, beet wedges, flaked salmon and sprinkle of walnuts.

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This salad is everything.  It’s bright and tangy, it’s nutty and herbaceous, it’s sweet and crunchy.

I’m obsessed.

{virtual} coffee chat

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If we were having coffee this morning…I would apologize for being MIA yesterday.  We had a crazy-busy weekend and the weekend kind of spilled into Monday and I was too busy spending time with sister and her family that I just couldn’t blog.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that I cooked over the weekend but I didn’t take any pictures.  We had some cheese on Saturday night along with carrot soup and butter basted pork chops with pickled balsamic blueberries.  And on Sunday night I made short ribs for the adults.  Oh, and there was more cheese.  Because Maggie and I heart cheese.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that the Garth Brooks concert was so much fun!  I knew so many more songs than I thought I would and we had great seats.  Oh, and beforehand we grabbed dinner at Tazza Kitchen.  We had some regrets with our order but we all loved the meatballs, the spicy sausage and black pepper pizza and the chorizo tacos.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that this week is a busy week!  But that’s a good thing.  And the weekend is just as busy.  I think we’ll finally get to slow down on Sunday.  And pizza is most definitely happening.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d bring you a slice of cake.  Actually, I sent the cake home with my sister but I highly recommend this lemon blueberry layer cake.  I think I was Haines’ favorite person ever on Sunday night when she got to frost and decorate the cake.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would promise you a recipe this week.  Despite being busy, the kitchen is one of my favorite places.  So be on the look out for a recipe.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d hug you tight.  I’d tell you to have the best day every.  And I’d tell you to slow down.  Enjoy the moment.

Paloma with Salty Habanero Sugar {thirsty thursday}

TGI-almost-F!

So let’s have a cocktail.  But not just any cocktail.  I deem this the best paloma I’ve ever had.

Yes, yes I do.

The difference between a paloma and a margarita is the lack of Grand Marnier in a paloma.  Which is probably why I’m voting paloma > margarita.

The key to the best paloma ever is a.) fresh grapefruit juice and b.) grapefruit-lime syrup.  Oh, and a side of the best guacamole ever doesn’t hurt either.

I mixed some of the habanero sugar we brought back from a spice shop in Asheville with a little salt for my glass rim.  But you can totally follow Jessica’s lead with the salty chili sugar and it will be equally delicious.

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These are dangerous.  AKA – you can’t taste the tequila.