Mortadella Pizza + Pear, Date and Burrata Pizza with Crispy Sage

On Friday I said that the week had flown by.  And here I am on Monday telling you that the weekend flew by even faster.  Why does that happen?  On Saturday I taught before we headed to get pedicures.  That’s right, Big Guy requested we get pedicures and they were awesome.  We had plans in Raleigh on Saturday evening and we headed that way early afternoon.  Before heading to dinner, we had a little happy hour at Vivace complete with wine and a delicious cheese plate.  We had the best time hanging out.

vivace

We didn’t want to leave but we needed to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.  We had reservations at Second Empire, an amazing restaurant that we love but haven’t been in years.  I didn’t snap in pictures at dinner because I really just wanted to enjoy my time with the husband.  It was an incredible dinner and I am so thankful for our date nights.

Sunday ended up being incredibly fun after a last minute decision to invite some friends over for pizza.  The recipe for the dough requires a little time but it ended up being a great crust.  One of the pizza was topped with mortadella, an Italian sausage that is studded with pistachios, as well as mozzarella, parmesan and a pistachio-oil drizzle.  The other pizza was full of flavor with juicy pear slices, sweet dates, creamy burrata and crispy fried sage.

The pizzas were so different but super yummy.  I will never get tired of pizza Sunday.

pizza

And now it’s back to the grind.  This week is a busy one but I’m looking forward to a few dinners at home and a fun weekend that lies ahead.

 

Cider Cheese Soup in Pretzel Bread Bowls

Hey, friends!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  Ours was wonderful but went by way too fast.  Doesn’t that always happen, though?  Good news:  I have lots of food to share with you this week.  But first, CHEESE.

So no one felt the need to give me a heads up on National Cheese Day last week.  I was bummed that I was unable to celebrate but we made up for it yesterday with lots of cheese.  The soup is similar to beer cheese soup that is popular in pubs but instead of beer, apple cider is used.  We used an Angry Orchard hard apple cider – the alcohol cooks out but you could totally use a non-alcoholic apple cider and it would be equally delicious.  The soup was served in homemade pretzel bread bowls.  Bread bowls have been on our “kitchen bucket list” for a couple of years now and I’m not sure why it took us so long to check it off the list.

cheesesoup

The soup starts with crisping up some bacon and then cooking onions and garlic in the bacon fat until softened and translucent.  Butter and flour are used to thicken the soup and then the cider is added and cooked until slightly thick and the alcohol is cooked out.  Add in the half and half for the ultimately richness and then comes the cheese.  The recipe called for cheddar and colby jack – if I were to make this soup again I might use a monterey jack for a little heat.  I felt like it was missing that.  The crisped bacon is added and then serve in the bread bowls.  We topped our soup with a little bacon, fried sage (!!!) and some chives for freshness.

The ultimate comfort food = cheese + carbs and that’s just what this dinner is all about.

Pumpkin Chai Muffins

It’s that time of the year again…pumpkin EVERYTHING!  I tend to lean more towards the pumpkin candles than the pumpkin spice lattes but I can’t resist making a batch of pumpkin muffins at least once during the fall months.

These pumpkin muffins are full of pumpkin along with lots of flavor from the spice combination of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.  This recipe only requires two bowls and 10 minutes of prep before their in the oven and ready for you to devour.

pumpkinchai

I made a few changes to the recipe:  I used almond milk instead of milk; I used 3 tablespoons of canola oil instead of coconut oil and I left off the crumble because I wanted to muffins to travel well.

Moist and full of pumpkin flavor, these muffins are perfect for fall!

 

 

Tailgate Thursday {grilled kale BLT dip}

I enjoyed Tailgate Thursday so much last year that I couldn’t resist the opportunity to bring it back in 2016.

Between cheering on the Pirates on Saturday and trying to keep up with the Panthers (for the sake of our family text messages) on Sunday, I find myself watching a lot of football.  And with football, comes tailgates and delicious food.  Let’s be honest – those are my favorite parts about football.

laborday2016.jpg

Last Saturday we kept our tailgate simple since most of our friends had other Labor Day plans.

On the menu:  chicken salad with pita chips, a veggie tray, some nuts and an an amazing grilled kale BLT dip.

The BLT dip was loaded with smoky grilled kale, salty bacon, and tomatoes that were bursting with flavor.  The base of the dip was an equal amount of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise and the only real seasoning you need is black pepper.

I served this dip with some ruffled potato chips because when I think of a BLT sandwich I want a handful of crunchy chips on the side.

kalebltdip

Go Pirates!

So tell me:  What team are you cheering for this fall?  And what’s your tailgate specialty?

White Pizza with Garlic Sauce and Herbs

Good morning, friends!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  Friday night was super low-key and we were definitely in bed before 9pm.  I was up early on Saturday to teach a “Saturday Sweat” circuit and then I quickly beautified myself and headed out to a baby shower.  Our group of friends is about half pregnant, half not at this moment.  A few years ago it felt like we went to a wedding  month, now it’s a baby shower a month.  Saturday night we were absolutely spoiled and got treated to an amazing dinner with some fantastic wine.

merryedwards

Yesterday we enjoyed some fun in the sun before heading home for pizza night.  Pizza Sunday is the best and I was super excited to bring it back after a few weeks of not “celebrating.”  We went with a White Pizza that was loaded with cheese and fresh herbs and a garlic sauce that was soooooo good.

Unfortunately I had to leave off the burrata because it’s just not a cheese I can get my hands on around here and I left off the provolone but used a little more parmesan.  You could use any herb you have in your garden and I ended up chopping some basil, parsley and thyme to sprinkle on top of our pizza pie.

whitepizza

Yum.

And now I’m fueling with coffee and about to tackle the to-do list including menu planning, grocery shopping, preparing the workouts for the week and squeezing in a workout of my own.

Have a great week!

 

Greek Marinated Flank Steak + Hummus Platter

This is my new favorite plate of food.  So many flavors.  So many textures.

hummusplate

We put together this plate last Saturday and every bite was epic.

On the platter:

Greek Marinated Flank Steak

Homemade Pita Bread

Roasted Red Peppers

Tzatziki

Garlic Hummus

Cucumber, Tomato and Feta Salad

I prepped a lot of the food the day before so it really came together fairly easy.  I prepped the salad the day before (added the feta the day of); I marinated the flank steak overnight (it uses the same dressing as the salad) and I made the tzatziki the day before (super easy – simply throw it all in the food processor and whirl).

The key to homemade hummus is tahini and peeling the chickpeas.  Yep, peeling the chickpeas.  If you follow me on SnapChat, you know this already.  It takes a little time, but it’s totally worth it.  I added a bunch of garlic to the hummus because I heart hummus.

The pita bread is a lot like making pizza dough.  The big difference is how you cook the pita.  The dough is split into smaller pieces and rolled as thin as possible.  Once you’re ready for the pita, heat up a cast iron skillet and cook until bubbly, flip and cook for about a minute and flip one more time until browned and crispy.

I am now obsessed with homemade pita bread.

I can’t even pick my favorite part of the plate – it was all amazing!!!!!

I’m looking forward to many more bites like these when we’re in Greece.

 

Shrimp Burgers with Chipotle Cream and Coconut-Pineapple-Strawberry Salsa

Happy First Day of Summer!  I hope you had an amazing weekend – ours was pretty awesome.  Unfortunately Big Guy got stuck in Atlanta on Friday evening for a little while due to weather but other than that, we spent the whole weekend hanging out.  We pooled it, we celebrated “appy” hour, we laughed, we bought a new umbrella for the back deck (maybe the best party of the weekend), we went on a long walk and played yard games.  Oh, and we ate some epic food.  Like this shrimp burger.

You guys!  I can’t even explain how delicious this burger is.  Like, I’m speechless.  And I’m warning you, I may make this again very, very soon.

shrimpburger

The only thing that would make this burger even better would be local shrimp from our favorite seafood shack at the beach.

Shrimp is chopped in a food processor and then mixed with Panko breadcrumbs, an egg, some dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, dried basil, smoked paprika and onion powder.  The burgers are cooked in a little olive oil on the stovetop.

The bun is a Hawaiian hamburger bun that I cooked in a little butter on the stovetop.  On top of the bun is a chipotle cream that’s simply sour cream, chipotle sauce and lime juice.  So smoky, so good.  After the sauce, a shrimp burger.  And then some sliced avocado for creaminess.  And finally, I piled on some of the fresh salsa that’s a mix of strawberries, pineapple, red onion, cilantro, toasted coconut (!!!!) and lime juice.  So refreshing!

This burger is everything.