Happy, Happy, Happy

Thank goodness for Friday and thank goodness for peanut butter banana toast. Am I right or am I right?
pb toast

It’s been one of “those” weeks. Not to say it’s been a bad week, just busy, busy, busy. But you know what makes me happy, happy, happy? It’s duck hunting season! Jussssst kiddingggg. I don’t hunt and want nothing to do with it actually.

Okay now I’m just confusing you. Let me explain. Do you watch Duck Dynasty? It’s one of the few “man” shows Greg watches that I actually find entertaining too. Si! Oh my gosh, Si. He CRACKS ME UP! The rest of the show seems so extremely scripted, it only drives me a little crazy, but Si is so funny I don’t even care. The new season just started and one of the new episodes focused on the start of duck hunting season. Phil, the dad/grandpa on the show, always says, “happy, happy, happy.” Maybe you just need to hear it for yourself.

Anywho.

One reason I am happy, happy, happy is because I had such a great evening throwing a bridal shower for my friend and co-worker. We went to Uncorked Wine Bar for drinks and appetizers.

photo 2(6)

It was so much fun celebrating Kaitlyn’s upcoming wedding and made me even more excited for my own. I had a flight of three different red wines – a malbec, merlot and syrah. We munched on spinach dip, a variety of cheeses, mac and cheese, chocolate truffles, and some chocolate chip cupcakes I brought for everyone. So delicious! Oh, and they manager was so kind to bring us all a complimentary glass of champagne! It was the perfect touch.

Uncorked Wine Bar on Urbanspoon
Another reason to be happy, happy, happy? More cupcakes! Not that I really need another cupcake right now, but hey, I’ll take it. 
photo 5
Did you know today is National Employee Appreciation Day? I don’t think there is anything better for our management to express their appreciation like a red velvet cupcake! I’ll be eating this for dessert tonight and cannot wait.

I am also happy, happy, happy, because in a couple hours Greg, Zoey and I will be on our way to North Carolina for a last minute weekend getaway at his parents’ house. I’m looking forward to relax and do a bunch of nothing 🙂 
Have a good one!

Weekend Eats 2-18-13

Hello, hello! It’s been a little while and a lot has happened in the past few days so let’s catch up.

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. I did. It was amazing, maybe even the best ever. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen I was surprised on my lunchbreak on Thursday when I came home to box of a dozen Cupcake cupcakes from Greg.

cupcakes
I could not have been more excited. Thankfully I had some family in town this weekend to help me eat them all. I loved every bite, but I am also glad they are gone now. I had plenty. My favorite flavor always seems to change with these, but this time around I was loving the Cookies and Cream. 
Another thing that made my Valentine’s Day so great was the Rascal Flatts concert! Greg got me tickets for my birthday, which conveniently served dual purpose for Valentine’s too. Rascal Flatts put on an amazing show. Our seats were about four rows back from the stage, which didn’t hurt either 😉
The weekend brought lunch at Black Bean Co. on Friday. 
bbc
And a dinner date with Greg on Friday night at Sesame. We started with the pimento cheese appetizer. 
pimentocheese
I had the Napa Valley Black Bean Burger (in a bowl) – fig and bacon jam, bleu cheese, and a red wine reduction. 
sesame
Yes, it was as delicious as it sounds. And the patty was enormous, making for great leftovers the next day. 
On Sunday, I took my family to Triangle for brunch after church. It was PACKED. Greg and I go here often for Sunday brunch, and I haven’t seen in that crowded in a longggg time. It was worth the extra wait for our table and our food. Sipping on $1 mimosas helps pass the time waiting. 
mimosas
I had blueberry pancakes that I scarfed down before getting a picture. You can say they were mighty delicious. 
My weekend ended after saying goodbye to my family and making a simple meal at home consisting of a vegetable medley (chopped portabella mushroom cap, broccoli, onion, sun-dried tomato, chipotle sauce, shredded cheese), and a couple slices of a garlic herb baguette. 
veggies
What was the tastiest thing you ate this weekend?

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt

The word “cupcake” alone drives me crazy, in a good way that is. Say it with me. 
Cupcake. Cup cup cup, cake cake cake. Cup. Cake. Cupcaaaaake. It’s so cute and puts a smile on my face. 

As Greg and I were trying to decide on a puppy name, I might have even suggested we name the girl Cupcake. Okay, I wasn’t completely serious. Greg would never have gone for that in a million years anyway (he’s still convinced the girl doesn’t need a pink collar…we’re working on that one!). 
My other suggestion was Pancake. Can you imagine a puppy named Pancake? Oh em gee. Too cute. Don’t worry though, that’s not happening either.
I’ll reveal her real name when we pick her up in just about 10 days or so. Yay! 
In the meantime, let’s eat cupcakes together, shall we?  These are the perfect balance between dense and fluffy, they are not overly sweet, and they are low-fat to boot. 
What more can we ask for?
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt
(Adapted from Undressed Skeleton)
Makes 8 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt 
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1/2 tablespoon red food coloring
~1/2 cup whipped cream cheese frosting (I used Pillsbury)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine yogurt, applesauce, butter, milk, vanilla, egg whites and food coloring. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients while beating on low speed. Beat until just combined. Scrap down sides of bowl as needed.
4. Pour into cupcake wells, about 3/4 the way full. Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. 
Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Frost as desired. 

Death by Chocolate, Revived by Vegetables

Death. By. Chocolate. 
That’s the name of this overloaded chocolate cupcake from Cupcake here in Charleston. The name couldn’t be more perfect. This thing is chocolately perfection. So perfect you could die. They describe this as “dark chocolate cake, chips, and chocolate butter cream icing dipped in ganache.” AH! 
It was about 3:30 yesterday afternoon and my afternoon was draggingggg. Then, a representative from a local hotel stopped by to speak with my coworker about an event our company might host there. She brought a few of these cupcakes to help make the sale, and I’ll tell you what…she won my vote!
This baby turned my Thursday mid-afternoon frown upside down. It felt like Friday had already arrived! I have had not-so-stellar cupcakes from Cupcake before, but as a frosting fanatic, it’s hard to deny this was anything but good. 
Cupcake Mt Pleasant on Urbanspoon
I can’t say the cupcake has been the highlight of my week though. On Wednesday night, Greg called me on his way home from work and said, “I’m making you dinner!” He had been saying that since last Sunday and was finally making it happen. I was excited to see what he had planned. 
My lazy self laid on the couch while he cooked away in the kitchen. Hey, I offered to help but he wanted nothing to do with me. “You just sip your wine,” he told me. Then I got a little nervous when he said, “Things are getting crazy in here!” but he still didn’t want any help. 
About 30 minutes later we sat down at the dinner table (which I love doing so much more than eating on the couch in front of the TV) with plates full of delicious food. He made boiled corn on the cob, sauteed garlic asparagus, and cheese ravioli covered in a chicken and mushroom marsala wine sauce. 
Every single part of this meal was so good. The best part was that Greg made it all for me! 

I mostly avoided the chicken when scooping out my serving from the pasta pan, but figured since Greg took the time to make it, I should at least have a bite or two 🙂 
For dinner last night I reverted back to my meatless ways and made myself a big bowl of sauteed veggies on top of some spinach. Sometimes the thought of a meal like this can seem so plain and boring, but it honestly never disappoints once I sit down and take a bite. I added just a touch of my Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki Sauce (also used in my stir-fry here) and just about inhaled that bowl.
Veggies included zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion and leftover asparagus from the night before. Doesn’t get much better (or easier) than that!
As you can tell we do not have a vegetable shortage in this house! We have plenty of fresh produce in the fridge after biking to the Daniel Island Farmers Market last night. So instead of going out to eat tonight, I’m thinking another home cooked meal is in store for us! 
Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

Sunday Blessings – Back to Blogging, Farmers Market and Cupcakes

I’m back!! You might not have even noticed I was gone, but for the past two days my internet connection at home has not been very friendly, preventing me from doing any blogging whatsoever. It’s been rough, but I think I may have fixed the problem. At least temporarily. So if I can get this post up before the internet goes out on me again, then I will just be the happiest girl.

This has been a great weekend so far, because I had some family in town! I loved having them here, especially Brooke for quality sister time. I miss my family so much and am so thankful they (well, some of them) were able to make it for a few days. We fit in a lot…food included, obviously.

Friday night we went to Daniel Island Grille for dinner for my dad’s FAVORITE burger: The Hammering Hank, topped with bacon, cheese and a fried egg. Yes, Greg and I were just there for brunch less than a week before, but it’s the best place on the island. It’s hard to get too much of DIG! And my dad has been talking about it for weeks so there was no way we could pass it up.

I chose the Ladder #1. It’s on their burger menu, but you can swap grilled chicken for the beef on any of their burgers. I LOVE this. The Ladder #1 is a spicy sandwich with jalapenos, salsa, cheese and an avocado ranch dressing. It was extra spicy, more than I remember, but ohhhh so good. Unfortunately I was too hungry and forgot to get pictures of all of this 😦

Saturday we went downtown for the Farmers’ Market in Marion Square. This is one of my favorite things about Charleston.

I’m not really sure what that guy is doing on all-fours, but this definitely wasn’t the weirdest thing about the day. We saw quite the interesting group protesting through the park. I don’t like politics and don’t have too strong of opinions with political issues, but seriously people, get a life. I hope I’m not offending anyone, but I just don’t see the point. 
That’s enough of that though. The food is where we need to focus here. We started off with some not-so-local fair from Starbucks. 
It was pretty cool outside when we left our house for downtown. Brooke and I had nonfat Chai Lattes to warm up. Turns out, we didn’t need a hot drink to do that, because the sun was shining and heated the day up quickly. 
We got a late breakfast from Charleston Crepe Company. 
I know this isn’t the prettiest thing, but don’t worry. The crepe wasn’t burnt, it was just filled with black beans. And cheese, and egg. The menu said it included salsa as well, but I think they forgot to give me that part. 
My dad picked up some sweet potato fries sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, but I was too full from my crepe to enjoy them. They sure looked good though!
We spent the rest of the day on a carriage ride around the city and watching (disappointing) football games. 
Oh yeah, and Brooke and I ate cupcakes. 
Cupcake is currently featuring a cotton candy cupcake for a fundraiser, so we grabbed one of those and one red velvet. 
They were just as good as they look. The cotton candy frosting was amazing, but the red velvet cake was so moist. I don’t know which I liked more. Some hot chocolate with marshmallows on the side made it quite the exciting night. 
We finished our weekend together this morning at our go-to breakfast place on Folly Beach. I’ll save that for tomorrow 🙂
Have a great Sunday! I’ll be lounging around and watching more football today. And taking advantage of this internet connection that has been so rare recently.