{Weekend Eats} Pancakes, Ice Cream and Margaritas

The best weekends involve:
Blueberry pancakes. Blueberry cornmeal pancakes, that is (recipe at end of post).
Pancakes are my thang if you didn’t know. We go way back. With a sweet tooth like mine, it’s no wonder my favorite breakfast food has the word “cake” in it. But I will only indulge if I know they’ll really be worth it. I anticipated these cornmeal pancakes would be more savory than your typical everyday pancakes and I was right. While these were good, I will stick with the more traditional, sweeter variety next time. 

Ice cream. Preferably Publix ice cream, of the cinnamon cookie variety. If you know how much I love pancakes, than you probably also know my obsession with Publix frozen yogurt. I talk about it all the time. They could pay me for all of the advertising I do for them, but I don’t mind doing it for free when it’s this good. For the first time this weekend I stepped outside of the Publix froyo bubble and ventured to the real deal – ice cream. This cinnamon flavored ice cream has cinnamon and molasses cookie pieces mixed it, and finished with a cinnamon swirl. Delicious by itself? Yes. Even better with a slice of warm apple pie? You can be sure that’s coming next.

Strawberry margaritas. One from a restaurant, one homemade using Jessica’s recipe. Thanks to her, my first homemade margarita was an extreme success and I may start raving about it more than I do Publix froyo (insert clenched teeth emoji here). Plus, when your country’s soccer team lost the lead in the most disappointing and annoying way possible, it doesn’t hurt to be sippin’ a strong margarita. And I’ve never even liked soccer!

What are your favorite weekend eats and treats? 

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
(Adapted from A Thought for Food)

Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup finely ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
Syrup for serving

Directions:
1. Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
2. Add wet ingredients to a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk until just combined (don’t over mix, you want it to be somewhat crumbly). Fold in the blueberries.
3. Lightly butter a large griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Once pan is hot, add pancake batter by the 1/3 cup full and cook until batter just begins to bubble on top. Flip with a spatula and cook other side until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

July Blog-A-Day #22: Puppy Surgery, Scripture and Comfort Food

This morning Zoey and I went on a walk, but it wasn’t just any walk.

Do you see the look of concern on that face?

It was Zoey’s last walk before her womanhood was taken away from her. That’s right. This morning, Zoey underwent surgery to be spayed, as well as have another minor procedure done to prevent “stomach flipping” issues that are common in Great Danes and other large bread dogs. 
Greg took the baby girl to the vet while I got ready for work and ate my breakfast. I was so excited to tear into yesterday’s mail this morning because my prints from Sacred Made Shop finally arrived. My semi-new friend Becca and one of her friends run the shop featuring scripture prints that are are gorgeously designed. Check it out!!

The highlight of my breakfast was a thick spread of mashed avocado on top of crispy whole wheat toast. A single scrambled egg added an extra kick of protein. 

Then it was time for work. Work, work, work. I spent much of the day wondering how Zoey was doing, what she was thinking about, and how cute she probably was. I arrived home at the end of the work day to this adorable face…

She was so out of it then, but slowly getting her energy back and hasn’t wasted a second chewing apart a new toy I got her in anticipation of this rough day. 
Even though I didn’t have surgery, I felt the need for comfort food. BFD was calling my name.

I used Trader Joe’s Multigrain Pancake Mix to make a short stack for myself. I filled the cakes with sliced banana, then topped it off with leftover blueberry filling (from this cheesecake), and some whipped cream for good measure. 
Perfection.
Here’s to hoping Zoey stops whining tonight and we can all get some much needed rest!!

Doughnuts, Pancakes and PB&J

doughnuts
I know I’m not the only one who can’t live without doughnuts. I don’t eat them often, but they are an extremely welcomed indulgence whenever I feel like really treating myself. For all of you doughnut lovers out there, have you ever heard of Spudnuts, or any other doughnuts made with potato flour for that matter? Spudnuts is a doughnut shop in Panama City Beach (along with many other cities across the country) that I discovered thanks to Greg and his family on one of my first trips to the city a few years ago. Oh my word, they are heavenly. 
This past weekend, we were in PCB and I couldn’t wait to get my Spudnuts fix. The cream-filled (NOT CUSTARD!!) long johns are my absolute favorite. I also split a cinnamon sugar twist with Greg. 
Love, love, love.
Spudnuts Donuts on Urbanspoon
Pancakes are another welcomed treat for me. I have pancakes much more often than doughnuts, but I still have to have an excuse to opt for pancakes rather than a more nutritious meal. Last week, I met with my good friend Hannah at The Village Bakery for breakfast and some good spiritual talk. As my first time at the restaurant for a sit-down meal, I knew I had to do it right. Pancakes it was! 

pancakes
It was so worth it. The fruit on the side cancelled out any negatives, right? These pancakes, and my time with Hannah of course 😉 , were the highlight of my day. 
Village Bakery Cafe on Urbanspoon
Doughnuts and pancakes are great, but you know what never gets old? Good old fashioned PB&J.
pbj
Eating a PB&J sandwich while driving is optional. Driving or not, it only takes one bite to realize it’s a classic for a reason. If you use whole wheat bread, all-natural peanut butter and all-natural jelly or preserves, there’s no reason to feel guilty either. Paired with an apple or some baby carrots and you’ve got a perfectly simple and satisfying lunch. 
You + PB&J…make it happen. You know you want to. 

Sunday Blessings – Bachelorette Weekend with My Best Friends

This weekend my best friends and I gathered in Charleston for my bachelorette party. I put together a little welcome gift for the girls including a bottle of wine with a custom label (from Etsy and I’m totally in love) and a praline. 
wine bottles
Everyone got into town super late on Friday night, so we just chatted for a bit then went to bed in order to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for a long day on Saturday. 
I knew I wanted to show off all of Charleston’s amazing food. We started off on the sweet side with donuts from Glazed.
photo 4
We got a Cinnamon Twist, Chocolate with Sprinkles, Maple Bacon, and the star of the show: Berry Mascarpone. 
donuts
We ended up having to go back and get a second Berry Mascarpone donut. It was unreal. 
After strolling through the Farmers’ Market (it was the first weekend they were back up and running for the year and it was packed!), we continued to stroll down King Street for some shopping. We worked up an appetite and grabbed lunch from Verde before calling it a day downtown. 
photo 5
Time for the beach!
photo (1)
We got a little bit of sun, but since it was already late in the afternoon, it was cooling down outside and we didn’t last too long. We headed home to get dressed up for dinner at Crave
photo (7)
I’m do a full review of the meal tomorrow, so I’ll spare you more pictures now. I will tell you this – it was one of the best meals I’ve had in awhile. We were all raving over our different dishes. Love this place! Love it so much in fact that I’m going back this week with Christina and Erica! (I hope our plans are still on girls!)
We went out for some drinks on Market Street downtown, but we didn’t get too crazy…not really my style 😉 But we had a great time talking about life. I could tell you that we went around the table and shared our five-year plans, but then you’d think I’m a loser. Whoops. Too late now! But that’s exactly what we did. 
I loved talking with my best girlfriends about our lives…where we are and where we’re headed. For some of them, it was their first time meeting. So I thought it’d be nice to get to know each other better. Plus, since I don’t get to see or talk to my out of town friends as much anymore, even I felt like I didn’t really know their current wants and desires in life. 
bachlorette drinks
After all the girl talk, we went back to my place where my friends had surprise gifts for me to open. They really are the best friends in the world. 
One by one, the girls started to make their way out of town, back to their homes. By late morning, it was down to my sister, mom, and cousin. We went to church, then brunch at Charleston’s Cafe, where I had the most amazing whole wheat blueberry pancakes EVER. 
pancakes
Going, going, gone!
Finally it was time to say goodbye to the last of them. As expected, this weekend went way too quickly, but we really did squeeze in just about as much fun as we could have asked for. I am so grateful for all of them making the trip to celebrate this weekend – coming from Indiana, Ohio and Florida, I know it wasn’t easy. 
God has blessed me with the best group of girls in my life and I can’t wait until we’re together again for the big day in just over a month!

A Restaurant Review – Charleston’s Cafe

My mind has been a little preoccupied since Sunday when these pumpkin pancakes entered my life.

Greg and I went to Charleston’s Cafe for brunch, a change from our usual brunch spots. I had only been there once and Greg had never been there at all. I know he was skeptical and really just wanted to go with what he knew was “safe.” He was also very hungry so the crowd of people waiting outside didn’t make things better. But I assured him that was only a good sign and he wouldn’t be disappointed. 
The cafe is kind enough to provide extra chairs and free coffee for all of the people waiting outside. They definitely win even more points for that one, not like they need them. Because seriously, these pancakes were to die for. 

They were so moist, thick and dense. I couldn’t get over how good they were. I still can’t actually. The whipped cream and candy corn pieces on top made them extra adorable too. Oh, and they were drizzled with a caramel syrup. 
Total and complete perfection. 
I did my best to practice self control and managed to take home half of my plate in a to-go box. Then, several hours later, dinner had come and gone, but the pancakes were calling my name from the fridge. That’s when I had a brilliant idea. 

I smeared a little vanilla frosting directly on top of the cakes (it’s Halloween frosting, that’s why it’s orange, but I promise it’s just plain old vanilla). I didn’t even heat them up, I just ate them chilled. If I wasn’t in love with these pancakes at brunch, I sure as heck was in love now.

If you’re in the Charleston area this fall, get yourself to Charleston’s Cafe for these pancakes. For that matter, I’m sure their other pancakes are great too in case you don’t make it during pumpkin season.

And by the way, Greg had the Biscuits and Gravy with a side of bacon. After dousing in blood red hot sauce, his dish wasn’t especially photogenic. Let’s just say after being skeptical to begin with, he walked a way a very happy man.

Charleston's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Veggie Nachos and a Blueberry Crumble Pie

Vacation is calling my name. This time next week I will be in an airplane on my way to St. Kitts for an entire week.

Coincidentally, Greg just found this article that ranks St. Kitts #3 on the list of top 10 islands… IN THE WORLD!

I seriously get to go there? Is it too early to say this will be the best vacation I’ve ever had?

But first, Greg and I are taking a short weekend trip today and tomorrow to North Carolina for his brother’s graduation from UNC.

I have to hurry up and pack my bag so I’ll leave you with this quick look at some of my favorite meals this week.

I have been craving pancakes like crazy. Earlier this week I whipped up a small batch of banana oatmeal pancakes. They may not look like anything special, but trust me when I say they were perfect. My pancake craving was more than satisfied.

Starbucks is doing Happy Hour from 3-5pm this week with half price Frappaccinos. I actually never ever get Frappaccinos. But you can bet I was going to take advantage of trying one while they were cheap! I wasn’t sure which flavor to get, but the barista recommend the new Mocha Cookie Crumble. I requested skim milk to keep my guilt to a minimum, but opted to stick with a bit of the chocolate whipped cream. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t life-changing.
Next up was Daniel Island Grille for dinner on Thursday night. It was such a beautiful evening outside and Greg and I had a nice casual date outside on their patio. Urban Meyer Vegetable Wrap for me. Sweet potato fries on the side. Never gets old!
For dinner last night, I was still tasting those sweet potato fries from DIG and made my own modified version. Then I made one of my new homemade favorites- Vegetable Nachos! 
Vegetable Nachos

Makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients:
About 8-10 tortilla chips
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I have used both Mexican blend and mozzarella)
1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2-3 tablespoons salsa

Directions:
1. Lay chips on large plate in an even layer. Top with half of the shredded cheese.
2. Heat skillet over medium heat and add butter/margarine. Once hot, add chopped vegetables. Let cook about 2 minutes. Add chili powder and stir. Continue to cook about 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are tender and brown. Remove from heat.
3. Add vegetables directly on top of chips. Top with remaining cheese and salsa. 
Finally…dessert! A quick and easy Individual Blueberry Crumble Pie ended my night week on a sweet note. 
Individual Blueberry Crumble Pie

Makes 1 serving
Ingredients:
1/8 refrigerated pie crust
1/2 cup blueberries
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons rolled oats or granola
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 5-inch tart pan. 
2. Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut out 5-6 inch circle from pie crust. Lay in bottom of tart pan. 
3. In a small bowl, add blueberries and sugar. Lightly crush berries with fork and stir thoroughly. Pour into tart pan. Top with oats/granola. 
4. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Pecan Pancakes and My Favorite Macaroni

Another Sunday. Another stack of pancakes. Only unlike last Sunday, I ate these pancakes myself. Greg and I took his family to Triangle for brunch before they headed out of town yesterday. I had my mind set on pancakes since that picture Brooke sent me last week. Triangle’s Toasted Pecan Pancakes and a side of fruit sounded perfect. Not to mention a $1 mimosa…or two. 
We had a great brunch, but Saturday’s dinner at Coleman Public House is tough to beat. You may have read about their decadent mac and cheese from my posts herehere and here. Yes, it is THAT good. 
For an appetizer, Greg and I split a basket of french fries- Garlic and Truffle & Parmesan. We couldn’t decide between the two so our waitress offered to give us a mix of both!

Wanting to keep to my commitment of eating little to no meat, I couldn’t decide if I should skip (GASP!) the mac and cheese topped with grilled chicken like I normally do and just order a salad or veggie flatbread instead. But Greg talked some sense into me. “Go with what you know is good,” he said. 

So I did. I ordered the mac and cheese, but skipped the added chicken. The dish does contain some bacon pieces, but I was able to compromise with myself. And that stuff is worth every bite and compromise. It has never failed to be just as delicious as I remember. 
When I ordered, I was surprised that my waitress remembered me from our previous visits and said, “Don’t you normally get grilled chicken on top?” Why yes! Thank you for remembering! She said her and the other waiters still love that combination that I have opened their eyes to. 
You’re welcome.
Other highlights of the weekend included riding around all over Daniel Island on our new bikes, watching Greg’s brother finish a half Ironman (such an amazing accomplishment!), shopping, and a nice longggg, hard nap. 

Now it’s time to work away for another week. Looking forward to next weekend already!