A Restaurant Review – 82 Queen

As I mentioned on Saturday, Greg had some family in town this weekend. Visitors usually means eating out. Friday’s dinner was at a restaurant we had been to before, so I was especially excited to try someplace new. Greg’s aunt made reservations for us at 82 Queen.
I have always known 82 Queen is relatively famous in Charleston, but hadn’t heard much about the food specifically. From my online research before heading out on Saturday night, I was a little nervous. I read a lot of negative reviews on several different sites. There are some good reviews out there, but overall I had pretty low expectations going into the evening.
Boyyyyyy were my expectations WRONG.
To start, we were served cheddar and chive biscuits. So freaking good. Ohmuhgosh! They were extra soft and fluffy. Perfection in a biscuit. 
Then, without me even knowing, Greg snuck in an order of the Southern Fried Green Tomatoes as an appetizer. Again, perfection. No picture (sorry), but trust me when I say they were awesome. They were extra crispy and served with a bit of pimento cheese! Winner winner. 
For my entree, I had the Duo of Vegetables, which included spaghetti squash topped with a twice-baked Portabella cap, stuffed with mashed potatoes. 

I definitely strayed from my norm with this one, but it was a great choice. I know the picture doesn’t make it look special, or maybe even appetizing, but it really was yum in the tum. With the biscuits and appetizers, I knew I wanted something lighter so I could still have room for dessert. It was the perfect portion. In a world (country) that has become so accustomed to enormous, unhealthy portions, I loved that I could eat the entire plate and not feel completely stuffed. I was perfectly satisfied and ready for dessert!
Although the chocolate pie on special was tempting, I just HAD to try the Bourbon Pecan Pie. Once again, the portion was perfect. At first I wanted Greg to split something with me. But since it wasn’t an over-the-top huge slice, I was very happy when he only wanted one bite 🙂
If you are looking for a nice restaurant to try in Charleston, I highly recommend 82 Queen. If you have read any bad reviews, please ignore them and give it a try for yourself. I bet you won’t be disappointed!
82 Queen on Urbanspoon

Sunday Blessings – Time

Time with family and friends.

Time with myself.

Time spent working.

Time spent playing.

Time being happy.

Time being sad.

I am thankful for the time I have been able to spend with all of the people in my life. While I’d rather be playing than working, working is what allows me to do the things I want to do in my spare time. While I’d rather be happy than sad, the sad times make the happy times even better.

I am so thankful that I was finally able to make the time commitment to write this blog and have been able to continue to do so over the past several months.

Today, I am keeping it short and simple so I can spend even more time accomplishing other things I need to get done before going into work this afternoon.

I hope you all have a great Sunday and be sure to come back tomorrow so you can read all about the awesome dinner I had downtown last night!

Crab Cakes and Pudding

Hola, friends. How was your week? I only had a four-day workweek since I took Monday off to be at home in Columbus, but it felt longer than ever.

Before we go any further here, let me just clarify that the title of this post involves two SEPARATE dishes. They may sound gross when put together, but I promise it was nothing close to gross.

Greg has some family in town so we all met up for dinner at Uno Mas as soon as I got off work. I have been once before and was looking forward to try something else on the menu.

I normally don’t order any type of seafood from Mexican restaurants, but with a successful shrimp quesadilla last time, I took a chance and ordered the crab cakes that were on special for the night. The two cakes were served with a side of Mexican rice and a small salad. I really enjoyed my meal, especially the crab cakes.

By the time we got home for dinner, I was ready for dessert! I bought some ‘Nilla Wafers and bananas the other day after seeing banana pudding recipes all over the place recently. With the Banana Cream Jell-O Pudding Mix that I have had for months now, I was all set.

The recipes I had seen in magazines used made-from-scratch pudding, but since I already had the boxed mix on hand, I opted for the easy route. 

I love a nice creamy dessert and this definitely fulfilled that craving. Since I used the sugar-free mix and reduced fat wafers, this dish was extra light too. 

I will not be forgetting about this simple, sweet dessert anytime soon.
Banana Pudding
(Adapted from Jell-O package recipe)
Makes 3-4 servings
1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
1 package Banana Cream Jell-O Pudding mix (I used sugar-free)
1 1/2 bananas, sliced
16 ‘Nilla Wafers
1/2 cup light whipped cream
1. In a medium bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for about two minutes. Let sit at least 2-3 minutes to allow to thicken.
2. In a separate bowl, place a layer of 8 wafers on the bottom. Top with alternating layers of sliced bananas and pudding. Add remaining 8 wafers on top, then spread whipped cream on top of that. 
3. Refridgerate at least 30 minutes. 

Oops! I did it again.

My name may be Brittany, but it is not Britney Spears. I don’t know what she was referring to when she “did it again” in 2000 with that song, dancing in a red leather jumpsuit. But I’m sure you’re curious what I did again…

This is what.

In second grade, I was in a race on “Field Day” (did you ever have Field Day in elementary school??) Anyway, I slipped on the gravel and cut up my knee pretty badly. Well, it actually wasn’t that bad. I didn’t need stitches, but the doctor did wrap it up for a few days.

When this happened a few months ago, I thought it might just be able to outsmart my clumsiness in the future. But then last night, on my BIRTHDAY, I took another fall. Great birthday treat, huh?

Right after work, I convinced Greg to go on a run outside with me. The weather has been so unusually warm for the middle of winter that am continuing to run outside instead of the treadmill to take advantage of it. We were on our way back towards home, only about 50 yards away, when I followed Greg through a cut-through in the middle of a large cluster of trees. I tripped right over some tree roots and toppled to the ground.

WHYYYY?!?!? Why does this always happen to me?

I told Greg maybe I’m just meant to stick to the treadmill. But now that I have been outside so much, the treadmill seems more boring than ever. I’m not naturally an “outdoorsy” girl, so I guess it just takes some work 🙂 Sidewalks are fine, but when it comes to these bumpy dirt/rock/tree paths, not so much.

Anyway, Greg helped me up off the ground, and my frustrated, dirt-covered self stomped back home, and cleaned up for dinner. The good news was that it was in fact still my birthday. And I still had dinner to look forward to.

Nothing that a hot shower and a pretty dress won’t fix!

I picked out the restaurant Long Point Grill (new for us) a week or so ago and had even decided on what I would order. This way, Greg wouldn’t have to deal with me going back and forth between three entrees for 20 minutes at the table.

LPG Macaroni n’ Cheese for me! Menu description: Smoked Gouda, peas, mushrooms, apple-smoked bacon, onions, grilled chicken. Deeeelish. I have to say, while I really did love it, it comes second to this mac and cheese (also seen here).

Greg had the LPG Shrimp & Grits. Menu description: andouille sausage, scallions, basil, shellfish gravy, stone ground grits. I took a bite, and Greg and I both thought it was just decent. It would have been better if it was a little spicy or something. Overall, it was a bit too bland. 
After filling up on dinner, it was time to pick a dessert! They had a wide variety of cakes and pies to choose from. While I was tempted to try the pecan pie, I figured I should keep with birthday tradition and get a slice of cake. Red velvet it was. Since I ordered it to go, the waitress brought it already packed up. It wasn’t until I got home and sat down to dig in that I realized how GINORMOUS of a slice I got. 
This picture doesn’t do it justice. It was seriously huge.
And I was seriously happy. 
Oh, I also have to mention that the restaurant has half-price bottles of wine on Tuesdays and Wednesdays…finally something good about a mid-week birthday! 🙂 
Long Point Grill on Urbanspoon

Cupcake Party!

Are you ready to celebrate another birthday?? You better be, because this time it’s MINE! Happy Birthday to me 🙂

I had such a fun weekend at home with my family. We spent most of the time celebrating Brooke’s big day, but on Sunday night we had a joint get-together with some of our cousins. Cupcakes and milkshakes for all!

There isn’t much I love more than baking and decorating cakes with my mom. This time, she had done the baking while I was out of the house. But when I got home, it was time to get to business. Things got a little messy, but that’s what makes it so fun.

After all of the decorating, we were ready to eat! Dinner was none other than the birthday party staple: PIZZA! Yum yum yum.
That was all and good, but the cupcakes were so gorgeous I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.
Ohmygosh, I can’t get enough. 

Brooke and I have spent just about our entire lives celebrating our birthdays together, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

We are totally in love. 
Now I am back in Charleston, back to work, and back to being separated from my familia. Tear. 
But, the good news is that even after all of the fun last weekend, it is just now my birthday! So I still get to ride that train for the rest of the day. Lucky me 🙂 And lucky Greg. We are going to try out a new restaurant for dinner tonight, so I’ll let you know how that goes!

Sunday Blessings – The Power of Prayer

Happy 21st Birthday to my one and only beautiful sister Brooke!!!

Today is the official day, but we have already celebrated in a few different ways. First of all, I AM HOME in Columbus! As far as Brooke knew I was just spending another typical weekend at my home in Charleston. That is, until she found me hidden under a blanket on the couch when she got home from dinner on Friday night. Freaked out and shed tears of joy=successful surprise visit. 

First of all, BRRRR!

For almost a year now (since I saw snow last winter when I was here), I forgot how cold snow is. And how awful it makes it to drive. No me gusta. What’s that you say? It’s in the 70’s in Charleston??? Take me backkkk!

But I guess I can stick it out for Brooke’s big day 🙂

I am here for her, so we’re spending just about every waking moment together. Yesterday morning we painted our nails…

…drank some tea, then headed to breakfast at First Watch. 

I had this omelet when I was home over Christmas, and hardly even glanced at the menu before deciding this is what I wanted again. It tastes so fresh and healthy, but is so satisfying at the same time. A banana nut muffin on the side helped fill me up too though. And you can bet that wasn’t quite so healthy. The best part was that I had signed up for the restaurant’s eNewsletter recently and they sent me a birthday coupon, so my meal was free! 

Later in the day we visited my brother Austin at the boxing gym he works at part-time. He wanted to put us through a little workout and I wasn’t about to turndown some exercise. 

Turns out I’m not so great at being aggressive in the ring. I just don’t like hurting people, okay?! I know what you’re thinking, my weak punches probably couldn’t hurt many people, but just look at my face in that picture….looking angry doesn’t come easy and acting that way is even more difficult. 

Unless you mess with my cupcakes, then that is a different story.

Saturday night we headed to a Mexican restaurant for dinner with my dad, stepmom, stepsister, niece, and some of Brooke’s friends. Since my birthday is right around the corner, they surprised me with a little treat too!

Brooke and I were given sombreros and tequila shots while the wait staff sang us Happy Birthday.

The night wasn’t quite over, because hey, Brooke still had a few hours until she was technically 21. We met our cousins and some friends on OSU’s campus and had some fun counting down the last few hours until it was official.

Me and the Birthday Girl. Love love love.

It was quite the eventful night, but for the most part very fun and definitely memorable. 

I’m looking forward to the rest of my time home, celebrating even more with family tonight!

Most importantly, I feel so blessed to even be here at all. It has been a great weekend and it is a miracle that I made it home in the first place. You may have seen on the news about the massive snow storm that went through Chicago on Friday. Well, just my luck, because my flight to Columbus was scheduled to connect in Chicago. 

I prayed my heart out that I would make it home. I had my mom and Austin in on this surprise trip, so I know they were praying for me too.

I was trying to remain as patient and carefree as possible in the airport, knowing that the weather was so bad and it wasn’t looking promising. Even still, I kept praying that I would at least make it home by Saturday morning. 

God was right there, on my side like He always is, and I had no reason to doubt everything would work out. Wouldn’t you know it, but a connecting flight through Baltimore (with no bad weather or delays in sight) was supposed to leave right about the same time as my Chicago flight and the lovely people at Southwest switched me before I could even ask! 

I realize this little miracle may not seem like a big deal. And there are much more important prayers to be answered, but an answer from God like this is just another reminder that He will never leave us stranded or alone. 

I want to end with this Bible verse that I found to speak directly to me this weekend:

“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.” -Psalm 107:28-30

The power of prayer is an amazing thing.

Crispy Chicken Fingers

Once again, we have made it to the end of the week! I’m especially excited because I have been extra busy at work and was starting to get too stressed out for my own good. But now the weekend is in sight and I have nothing but a smile on my face.

Another reason to smile? Crispy breaded chicken fingers.

Of course you can get delicious breaded chicken anywhere- Chick-Fil-A, Zaxby’s, Cane’s, etc. But I have such a hard time letting myself eat three or four chicken fingers, or a whole chicken sandwich, without thinking about how much I just ruined my efforts to eat well. Like I always say, moderation is key, but even still, just a few chicken fingers will set me back at least two-thirds of my days calories…factor in breakfast and lunch and all of a sudden I don’t have room for dessert! (Well, we know that’s not true!)
Making homemade chicken fingers lets you control exactly how much oil and bread you use with your chicken. 
Instead of greasy fries that chicken restaurant usually serve with the entree, I served my chicken fingers with about half a plateful of steamed broccoli. 
I kept these babies simple, since I didn’t have much experience breading and frying the chicken. But now that I am more comfortable doing it, I will definitely spice these fingers up to make them more flavorful in the future. 
Breaded Chicken Fingers
Makes about 3-4 servings (16-18 fingers)
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, cut into long, thin slices
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs 
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Meanwhile, begin breading chicken by dipping each piece in flour, then egg, then coat in breadcrumbs. Set pieces aside until all have been coated (they will cook relatively quickly so you don’t want to be dipping/coating and have to watch the chicken at the same time! *I learned the hard way)
3. Once all chicken pieces are coated, place in even layer in skillet. Cook until browned on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip to opposite side and continue to fry until cooked through, about another 3-4 minutes.
4. Remove from skillet and serve immediately with ketchup (or sauce of choice: BBQ, ranch, honey, etc.)