Weekend Eats 7-21-14

Today is double the fun with Weekend Eats from the past two weekends. Hey, it was too good not to share. First we’ll back up to two weeks ago.  
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, based out of Columbus, Ohio (my hometown if you didn’t already know), recently opened up shop in downtown Charleston. Yippee! With so many unique flavors, they not only will let you have as many samples as you want, they highly encourage it. 
I had to go with the taste of my hometown with The Buckeye State – peanut butter ice cream with an abundance of dark chocolate pieces throughout. I paired it with Salted Caramel. For a size small, you actually get to pick two flavors. How awesome is that? The ice cream isn’t cheap, but if you’re ever going to spend $5 for two small scoops of ice cream (sugar cone included), Jeni’s is the place to do it. 
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams on Urbanspoon
Also last weekend, Greg and I rekindled our love with grilled pizza. It had been a month or so since we took the dough to the grill, which was far too long. Greg wants nothing to do with goat cheese on a pizza, or anywhere for that matter, whereas I think goat cheese has never tasted better than on pizza. The pizza ended up being half pepperoni and half thinly sliced tomatoes (from our garden!), onion, goat cheese and a blend of seasonings including sage, thyme and crushed red pepper flakes. 
If you’ve never grilled a pizza, get on it! 
Side tracking from food for a second, Zoey Girl went on her first college campus tour. We have high hopes for her scholastic future and wanted to show her around our alma mater, the beautiful College of Charleston. 
Now onto this past weekend. I convinced Greg to try Collective Coffee Co. for lunch on Saturday, a place I have been several times but he had never been.
I sipped on a cappuccino, my new thing. Although, this one was very strong and I quickly realized I’m only used to the American-ized cappuccino, not the authentic, fancy Italian style cappuccino. I had to add a couple packets of stevia before I could sip it down without scrunching my face. I’m sure true espresso connoisseurs would have appreciated it much more though. It’s going to take me some time.
The food on the other hand, was fan. tas. tic. I ate the veggie wrap with bagel chips. This is seriously the best veggie wrap ever and it’s one you can feel good about too – romaine, tomato, corn, black beans, TONS of avocado and a brown butter sauce (okay, so you can feel pretty good about it), all rolled up in a soft and chewy spinach wrap. I have always known how much I love this wrap, but I swear it’s gotten even better. Greg had the pimento cheese biscuit sandwich – brown sugar & pepper bacon, eggs, and cheddar cheese. Also quite delicious and something I would for sure get again. 
Collective Coffee Co. on Urbanspoon
What was the tastiest thing you ate this weekend?

Top 5 Vegetarian Super Bowl Party Foods

Although I don’t care about the football part of the Super Bowl this year, I’m always looking for an excuse to make party foods. I’ve got to have something to munch on while watching three or four hours of commercials…I mean…football.

Here’s a lineup of my menu ideas, all of which are vegetarian (or can easily be made vegetarian):

1. White Pizza with Spinach and Bacon. What’s a football party without pizza? I realize bacon doesn’t qualify as vegetarian, but you can simply leave that off.

2. Crispy Healthy Baked Zucchini Fries. I think a Jalapeno Yogurt Dip would be great with these.

3. Skillet Black Bean & Veggie Nachos. One of my personal game day favorites. Crunchy, cheesy, filling and down right delicious.

4. Spicy Corn and Potato Chowder. Nothing like a hot bowl of soup during these cold winter days.

5. Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. I don’t know about you, but it’s been far too long since I’ve made cupcakes. These little gems are calling my name. Plus, after eating all these veggies, we deserve it!

What are you making for the Super Bowl?

Weekend Eats 11-19-12

Normally I wouldn’t be so excited on a Monday morning, but it’s the week of Thanksgiving! Can you believe it? I can’t. At the risk of repeating what everyone else is already saying, I’m saying it anyway- the holiday season has totally and completely snuck up on me this year. Time flies!! Just a couple of (hopefully) quick workdays to get through and I’ll be on my way to spend time with my beloved family and eat some of the best food we eat all year.

Until then, let’s talk about what I had this weekend.
Friday night was spent at home with pizza and a movie. I had two small slices of DiGiorno with a bunch of steamed broccoli and cauliflower on the side to fit some nutrition into my meal. 
Greg had to work Saturday morning so Zoey and I had some playtime and snuggle time by ourselves (our favorite). I left her for a bit while I went for a run and came home to find her fast asleep, not even moving when I walked in the door. She is so precious. I promise to share more about her soon!
A bit later, Greg and I went to work our on wedding registry some more before returning home for lunch. With plans to make homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner, I figured I would squeeze healthy veggies in while I could. My big salad had black beans, tomato, onion and some shredded cheddar, all tossed with raspberry merlot dressing.

Sunday breakfast was deeeee-licious! I’ll be sharing the recipe this week so you’ll have to come back in the next day or two to see details!
Since I hadn’t eaten out all weekend (very rare!), I decided I might as well keep the streak going and eat dinner at home too. I made a vegetable wrap with zucchini, onion, green pepper, tomato, spinach and cheese. I only had mini tortillas so not all of my mixture fit inside 🙂 The remainder made a good side dish though, along with some pretzels. 

Finally, I wrapped up my weekend with a creamy bowl of Publix Roadrunner Raspberry frozen yogurt with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Even when it’s cold and rainy outside, I can down some fro yo…just wrap me under a blanket and bring it on! 
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Sourdough Pizza and a Marshmallow Sweet Potato

When I got home from work yesterday, all I wanted to do was lay down and not move a muscle. I felt extra exhausted and instantly threw out the idea for another evening bike ride, like I had planned on this morning.
Normally the first thing I do when I get off of work is call Greg to see where he is/when he will be home and see what he wants for dinner. Last night, I was too tired to even think about dinner. It’s not that I wasn’t hungry at all, I just didn’t have any desire to prepare anything.
Greg came home shortly after I had planted myself on the couch and said he wanted to make homemade pizza for dinner. We have had a giant bowl of bread starter in the fridge that Greg made last week for his mom’s sourdough bread recipe. We already made a loaf this past weekend and haven’t stopped thinking about what else we will use it for. Just like the last time we had this starter, we knew homemade pizza was at the top of the to-do list. 
Once Greg got going in the kitchen, I figured I could try to get up and help. I was in charge of the pizza dough and followed the directions from my Not-So-White-Pizza (halving the recipe). But I decided I wasn’t really in the mood for pizza (I told you I wan’t feeling so hot!). Since we already had the crust dough coming together and the toppings chopped, I figured it only made sense for Greg to take this one on his own. Keeping things extremely simple for me, I wrapped a sweet potato in foil and stuck it in the hot oven for about 45 minutes. 
Greg’s sausage, onion and cheese pizza finished cooking first. This iPhone picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was so rustic looking. I loved it. 

My roasted sweet potato finished cooking just a few minutes later. 
I sliced it open, stuffed mini marshmallows inside and sprinkled with cinnamon. On the side I had a heaping cup of spicy steamed broccoli- spicy because it was seasoned with red pepper flakes. So good. 
This light, healthy dinner boosted my energy and I felt so much better. Or maybe it was the few bites of one of these and the bowl of cookies and cream fro yo for dessert that made my night ten times better!

Mid-Week Vegetarian Review

Goooooood morning! It is quite a good morning for me, because even though it’s only Thursday, it is my last day of work until next Tuesday. Greg and I are meeting our families in Panama City Beach for the holiday weekend. No, it’s not the party scene you’re thinking. His family has a house in the more “local” area that isn’t necessarily flooded with crazy college kids on spring break. We’ll be avoiding that as much as possible and enjoying some quite pool/beach/family time.

That being said, I know this weekend is going to be challenging. Eating out is sure to bring temptation…cheeseburgers here, french fries there. Not to mention the Easter brunch staples like baked ham, bread rolls and desserts galore.

Since I started my new way of eating last weekend, I haven’t had much trouble making good choices. I have found creative ways to enjoy more vegetables, beans, and other whole foods in my diet.

Like I said before, I haven’t ruled out eggs or cheese completely. An over-easy egg was perfect on top of these home fry style potatoes, complete with bell pepper, onion and ricotta cheese. Can you say, “Yum.”? 😉

Then, for two nights in a row, we had veggie pizza for dinner! Using almost the same method as these Sausage and Pepper Flatbreads (obviously using different ingredients), these babies were ready in no time. 

Yesterday was the first Wednesday of the month. You know what that means, right? Well, probably not unless you have amazing memory from last time I mentioned this. It means cake at work! Cake is most definitely not on the list of whole or plant-based foods. Buuuuuut, rules are meant to be broken. We actually get bagels at the office for breakfast too on these days. I skipped the bagel and stuck with my own breakfast of oatmeal, so at least I only splurged once. (These are the things I tell myself that let me sleep at night…j/k.)
Of all of my meals this week, last night’s dinner wins the blue ribbon. Greg insisted on Sweet Potato Quesadillas. I have to admit, this is one of my specialties. Probably one of the best things I make. But I just wasn’t in the mood (I had made a bean/corn wrap for lunch and wanted to switch it up).
So after throwing together some ‘dillas for G, I added some of the remaining filling mixture- sweet potatoes, black beans, onions, corn and spices- to the skillet with a large handful of spinach. I let everything cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until the spinach was wilted and all ingredients were hot. 
The mixture went right on my plate with a few tortilla chips to scoop. 
If I find something this delicious in Florida this weekend, I’ll be a happy semi-vegetarian camper! 

Doughnuts, Omelets and Pizza!

Wow. What a weekend. It started off with a quiet Friday night in with a Subway grilled chicken salad for dinner. The excitement really picked up on Saturday morning with these beauties…

After a long morning run, I headed downtown with Greg for the Southeastern Wildlife Expo. His company exhibits at the event and he had to work, so I figured I would tag along to explore my “wild” side, but more importantly do some shopping while I was down there (of course). 
I wasn’t about to miss out on breakfast from Glazed while I was in the area. You may remember my sister and I made our inaugural visit a few months ago and I have been looking forward to going back to try some different flavors. 

I was more than pleasantly surprised by the Strawberry Champagne. I figured it would be good, but didn’t expect it to be GREAT.

Don’t mind me. I’ll just be here expressing my love to the doughnut. Very normal.

Just look at that strawberry filling. It tasted so real and authentic. Glazed only uses natural ingredients and this doughnut is testimony to that. 
I also tried the Sweet Potato doughnut, which was delicious in its own right. I made sure to get some simple doughnut holes for Greg since he doesn’t get into any of the more exciting flavors. (Shhh don’t tell him they are actually called “Chinese 5 Spice” holes. The name might scare him off).
Glazed Gourmet on Urbanspoon
As if a breakfast like this wasn’t good enough for the weekend, Sunday started off just as great. 
After church Greg and I stopped by Triangle Char & Bar for their famous brunch. Locals talk about this place all the time, but we had never been. I knew it was popular, but I was shocked to see the restaurant already more than half-full by the time we arrived at 10:55am, five minutes before they are even scheduled to open!
You really can’t beat $1 mimosas. 

You all know how much I love pancakes, and it was definitely difficult to pass up the Toasted Pecan or Blueberry Pancakes. But I managed to convince myself a more healthful option would be just as good and opted for a vegetable omelet on the specials menu made with asparagus, red pepper, artichoke hearts and goat cheese. I loved that it came with fruit on the side by default; usually fruit is something extra you have to ask for. Greg ate most of the hash browns along with his main dish of Biscuits and Gravy.
The main reason we went to Triangle was because I had a gift card to use, but we will be back to spend money of our own too. The food was good, the mimosas were great and the atmosphere was fun. 
Triangle Char and Bar on Urbanspoon
I’m glad I made a healthy choice for brunch, because dinner was a different story.
The boy and I shared a large pepperoni, pineapple and onion pizza from Mellow Mushroom to make a great end to the weekend. 
Mellow Mushroom (Mt. Pleasant) on Urbanspoon
Now it’s time to get on with the workweek…

Not-So-White Pizza with Homemade Crust

Cupcakes are out and pizza is IN!
After the fun times (sarcasm, people, sarcasm) I had with cupcakes this weekend, I think it may be a little while until I make some again. Cupcakes and I need a break. I’m mad at them. 
Meanwhile, you can find me eating this pizza every. single. day.
Ok not quite every day, because it’s already gone. But I wish that weren’t the case. Greg and I both agreed this was better than DiGiorno and that’s hard to do. 

Greg has been dying to make his mom’s sourdough bread with a recipe passed down in his family for generations. We have had a large amount of sourdough starter sitting in our fridge for a couple of weeks now. We have made three or four loaves of bread. It has been quite the experiment and had to throw away some, but I think Greg finally got it right. 
Anyway, I was thinking of other things we could make with the starter and pizza crust was the first thing that came to mind. I have made homemade pizza on pita bread and tortillas, but never on a homemade crust. I realize sourdough isn’t your typical pizza base, but pizza on any kind of crust is yum in the tum. 

I made a few pizza crusts in 9-inch round cake pans. The crust turned out thick, chewy and simply perfect. 
I set up a pizza building station on our counter so Greg and I could each make our pizza just how we liked it. I stole the idea from Thom, my step dad. We used to do this when I was younger. It is always so fun to “decorate” a blank canvas of pizza crust and compare what you make to others. 
I topped mine (as seen in the first two pictures of this post) with a couple brushes of olive oil, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions, pieces of ham, pineapple chunks, and a small handful of shredded mozzarella on top. Finally I sprinkled some Italian blend spices on top. I love a good white pizza, but I don’t know if it exactly counts when I add red and yellow toppings? So it’s a “not-so-white pizza.”
Greg started with a tomato sauce base, then added caramelized onions, pineapple, bacon, and shredded mozzarella.
For the third pizza, we combined our two ideas and topped it with tomato sauce, onions and pineapple. We named this the “community” pizza, because it was ours to share. Even though I let Greg have most of it for a leftover lunch the next day. I’m so nice. And I still had half of my white pizza, so it was not big deal 😉
Both of ours were awesome, but I liked mine more 🙂 I have included the recipe for mine below. 
Not So White Pizza
Makes 3-4 servings, depending how much pizza you and your significant other can eat at a time
2-9 inch pizza crusts, homemade or store bought (homemade recommended! See my recipe below)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
1/2 cup sliced onions, caramelized
1/2 cup pineapple, cut into chunks
2/3 cup ham, cut into chunks
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons Italian blend seasoning
2 teaspoons hot sauce, for topping
1. Prepare crust (if using homemade crust, use round cake pan for an even circular shape). Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Brush each crust with one tablespoon of olive oil. Top with fresh mozzarella, followed by onions, pineapple, ham and shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle with Italian seasonings evenly.
3. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until crust becomes a light golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
4. Remove from oven, top with hot sauce, slice and serve.
For the sourdough crust:

Makes 3-9 inch crusts
1 cup sourdough starter
2-2.5 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously spray 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray.
2. Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Stir with wooden spoon until a soft dough is formed (you may have to use your hand).
3. Let the dough rest about 30 minutes. 
4. Divide dough into three equal parts. Press each section into round cake pans until dough is touching all edges of the pan. 
5. Pre-bake for about 5 minutes.
6. Top as desired (see recipe above) and bake again!