Friday Favorites {on Thursday}

Good morning!  It’s a long weekend in our household and I’m so looking forward to a few days without Big Guy working.  We’ll also be seeing lots of family – many of them haven’t met Blakely Gray (who was 2 months!!! yesterday) – so it should be a fun Easter weekend.  Since I know I’ll be silent on here starting now, I thought I’d share some of my favorites today.  I pray you all have a lovely weekend.

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Favorite Mail Day:  The Pretty Dish.  This gorgeous cookbook from one of my favorite bloggers arrived in the mail yesterday.  Not only is she hosting a book club but so is Gaby.  Be prepared to see lots of recipes from this book.

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Favorite Flavor:  Lemon Cream Hummus.  I’m lemon obsessed.  Not only do I love the addition of that to hummus but she also added cream cheese.  Count me in!

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Favorite Mouthful:  Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  I love a chewy cookie.

Favorite Sweat:  Go-To Strength + HIIT At-Home Workout.  Totally trying this workout next week while all my clients are on spring break.

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Favorite Spring Appetizer:  French Onion Deviled Eggs.  What are you making this weekend?  These may make an appearance on Sunday.

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Favorite Twist:  Lasagna Verde.  Curry, raisins and homemade lasagna noodles.  Sounds like a fun Sunday project to me.

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Favorite Craving:  Sesame Falafel with Ginger Tahini and Jalapeño Sauce.  I have falafel on my brain apparently.  I had several recipes saved to mention on Friday Favorites and they were all falafel…

And while there weren’t any cocktails that made me wild this week, I’m obsessed with some of the drinks in my new cookbook.  And I’m also pretty pumped to open a bottle or two of rosé this weekend.

Cheers!!!

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Spiced Guinness Pretzels with Irish Cheddar Fondue

It doesn’t have to be St. Patrick’s Day for you to enjoy these delicious homemade pretzels.   Don’t get me wrong, it was the perfect way to celebrate on Saturday but I could devour these soft pretzels any weekend.  The pretzels are different from the other pretzels we’ve made at home in that there’s beer in the dough (Guinness) along with cinnamon in a non-sweet kind of way.  The cinnamon pairs perfectly with the Guinness and saltiness.  Don’t be intimidated by making pretzels at home.  The dough rises like any other dough and then you portion it out and form into a pretzel shape – or you could even make little nuggets (which is probably what I would do next time).  The dough is boiled in water with baking soda for 30 seconds and then brushed with an egg wash and baked until beautifully browned.

The pretzels are served alongside a cheese sauce but would be equally delicious with a little spicy mustard on the side.

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And for dinner, slow cooker beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots.  This “corned” beef is by far the BEST I’ve ever made or tasted and will definitely be a repeat for years to come.  The only change I made to the recipe was roasting the carrots and potatoes instead of boiling them for more texture.

Did you celebrate St. Patty’s Day?  Our celebration was definitely low-key but it was quite delicious.

 

Guacamole Buffalo Chicken Pizza

We’ve survived two weeks of being parents!  But let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy.  Don’t get me wrong, Blakely Gray is the sweetest, most adorable baby (I know, I’m biased) but she has her moments.  And as I expected, it’s been a whirlwind.  Every time I think I’m a step ahead, I realize I’m two steps behind.  Ya’ll know I’m a schedule gal and while I am 100% on board with Baby Wise, you can’t really go full speed ahead with the schedule the first few weeks.  Some days she stays right on schedule and then other days, she’s in control.  It’s amazing how a six pound baby can be the boss of two grown adults.  My prayer is that we can merge two of the night time feedings so that I’m getting up one less time in the middle of the night.

Anyways, I’ll do a full check-in once we hit one month (which will be here before we know it and makes me want to cry).  What I really came here to do was share a pizza recipe.  Yesterday we wanted to have our first pizza Sunday as a family of three and while little miss wasn’t really interested in our plans, we absolutely devoured this pizza and somehow the crust turned out better than usual despite using the same recipe as we always do.

The pizza starts with the best ever crust and then topped with a layer of ranch dressing followed by fontina cheese and buffalo chicken.  I used shredded rotisserie chicken and then tossed it with the buffalo sauce and melted butter.  On top of the buffalo chicken, a sprinkle of gorgonzola cheese, sliced green onions and the rest of the fontina.  Bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted to perfection.

While the pizza is baking, whip up your guacamole by mashing together an avocado, lime juice, salt, pepper and cilantro.  When the pizza comes out of the oven, slice and then top with dollops of guacamole.

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Such a fun twist on a pizza!

And for there record, I started typing this post over two hours ago but a feeding plus projectile vomit caused a little delay.  #truelife

 

BBQ Meatloaf and Grilled Fontina Cornbread Stack

If I’m not going to have pizza on Sunday, then please let me have bbq meatloaf with grilled fontina cornbread.  It’s the ultimate comfort food and the perfect ending to any weekend.  And please, grill the cornbread in your cast iron skillet.  It’s the Southern thing to do.

I prepped the cornbread in advance because you want it to be able to cool before you slice and grill.  The cornbread is FULL of fontina cheese.  This is not a sweet cornbread and I think that a little bit of diced jalapeño would be incredible in this loaf.

For the meatloaf, which by the way is a horrible name for food, we decided to live on the wild side and used a blend of ground veal and ground lamb.  But you could totally use ground beef like the recipe calls for or you could even use ground turkey.  To the meat you add sautéed onions and garlic along with breadcrumbs, worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, S&P plus an egg.  Don’t over mix!  Form the meatloaf into sliders in the size of your choice.  The meatloaf is baked and then topped with a BBQ-tomato sauce mixture and then baked a little more.  I broiled for a minute before removing from the oven.

Slice the cornbread and melt some butter in your cast-iron skillet before grilling the cornbread to perfection.  We tried the cornbread once it was cooled and while it’s delicious there’s nothing quite like cornbread cooked in butter.  Just sayin’.

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On the side, simple roasted brussels that are seasoned with salt and pepper plus some chopped pecans for nuttiness and crunch.

I mean, I can’t even deal.  This is not “your mama’s” meatloaf.

A Farewell to Summer {plus a strawberry pizza with bacon and caramelized onions}

Tomorrow officially marks the first day of fall.  Summer 2017 is one that I’ll never forget.  And while I didn’t check everything off my “Summer Bucket List,” it was a great summer.

Here are some of the highlights of the past few months:

  • Memorial Day Weekend at OIB (AKA my last sips of wine for a long time – little did I know that I was pregnant)
  • Finding out I was pregnant the Tuesday after Memorial Day
  • Pizza Sundays
  • Logan’s wedding weekend at Lake Norman
  • Long 4th of July weekend at OIB
  • Ice Cream Date at the beach
  • Reading SO many books…
    • “Two by Two” by Nicholas Sparks
    • “The Sunshine Sisters” by Jane Green
    • “Secrets in Summer” by Nancy Thayer
    • “I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places” by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
    • “On Mystic Lake” by Kristin Hannah
    • “Distant Shores” by Kristin Hannah
    • “Another Piece of My Heart” by Jane Green
    • “Night Road” by Kristin Hannah
    • “True Colors” by Kristin Hannah
  • Telling the “world” our exciting news about Baby Watson
  • A “last” beach weekend, just the two of us
  • An incredible 34th birthday dinner at Crawford and Son in Raleigh
  • Getting the ball rolling on some home renovations (I’m beyond excited about my new “office nook” and a screened in back porch)
  • Our Gender Reveal Party

Honestly the summer flew by and it’s hard to believe we’re almost done with September!  And while the “summer” temperatures will probably stick around for a while, I’m really excited for what the fall and winter have in store.

This past Sunday, Big Guy and I said our “final farewell” to summer with a very summery pizza.  I’ve been wanting to make this pizza ALL summer long and when I saw some pretty red organic strawberries at the grocery store, I knew it was a sign.

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Even though strawberries aren’t in season here, this was quite possibly my favorite pizza that we made ALL summer.  The pizza is topped with ricotta cheese plus lots of mozzarella and then comes the fun toppings:  fresh strawberries, bacon and caramelized onions (that were caramelized in bacon fat!).  The cooked pizza was finished with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, oregano and basil.  This strawberry pizza TOTALLY hit the spot and I could not get over the flavor.  Sweet and savory.  Super cheesy.  Crunchy bacon.  And rich caramelized onions.

I definitely suggest you keep this pizza recipe for next May when strawberries are ripe and you can buy them local.

Adios, Summer!

Creamy Goat Cheese and Arugula Pasta Salad

Happy Monday, friends.  Can you believe it’s the last week of June?  This past weekend we spent some time at the pool, went on a couple of long walks, enjoyed sushi, and cooked some epic summer dinners.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I made a pasta salad but this goat cheese pasta salad has been on my brain since Memorial Day weekend and I finally made it last night for dinner.  The verdict:  my new favorite pasta salad.

The goat cheese adds so much creaminess and tang to the entire salad and the olive oil + lemon juice “dressing” adds a little zip that I adored.  The salad is studded with sweet, homegrown tomatoes as well as briny olives (perhaps my favorite part).  Peppery arugula adds just the right amount of spice and green to the dish.  This dish is best served warm or at room temperature but you can totally reheat in the microwave.

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Big Guy and I both adored this summery pasta salad.

Buttered Rosemary Smashed Potatoes with Burrata

Also known as my new favorite way to eat potatoes.

Let’s rewind one more time to the weekend, okay?  On Sunday night Big Guy really wanted steaks.  And instead of grilling steaks, we decided to try reverse seared steaks.  Basically the steak cooks over low heat in the oven before being seared for under a minute on each side on the stovetop.  The end result is a beautifully cooked steak with the best “crust” on the outside from the sear.  We served the steaks with a garlic herb butter that tasted so sinful.

On the side, these perfect smashed potatoes that are topped with creamy burrata.  These potatoes are evvvvverything.  You start by boiling the potatoes until fork tender.  Place the cooked potatoes on a baking pan with some EVOO.  Smash the potatoes ones with a fork so that they flatten out a bit.  Drizzle a little more EVOO over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Bake at 450 degrees until the potatoes are browned and crispy, about 25-30 minutes.  Once baked, spoon the rosemary butter over the potatoes (yes!) and then top with torn burrata (more YES!).

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I cannot even explain the deliciousness of these potato bites.  They’re rich and butter, smooth and creamy, and herbaceous.

Basically the perfect potato.  And then we proceeded to watch a chick-flick on the couch as we were in a potato and steak coma.