Our First Harvest

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and remembered the reason for the season. Jesus’s death on the cross for us to be forgiven and saved from this sinful world is such an amazing thing. Definitely cause for a big celebration! Greg, Zoey and I spent the weekend visiting family and friends in Panama City Beach. While the weather wasn’t ideal – cool, rainy and windy – we managed to have a great time anyway with lots of catching up, good food and of course a beautiful worship service.

After we returned home on Sunday evening, Greg let me know our first crop was ready to harvest from our garden. The 2×1 foot area of mixed greens was lush and, well…green! What better way to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection than with new life from our garden?

We also have one tiny strawberry beginning to form, the tomato plants are quickly going up-up-up, and the onions look nice and strong. We are also still tending to several different varieties of peppers and even two asparagus plants.
We have at least a few weeks until the next plants are ready to harvest, but these greens were a promising start. Greg gets the credit for any and all success we have. He works on the garden every day and I’m so thankful for that. I don’t think I have a gardening/plant-growing bone in my body. Like my grandma told me, I’ll be doing my part of the work in the kitchen. Amen to that!
Although we don’t have our own locally grown, organic onions, tomatoes and sweet potatoes yet, I used the store-bought variety to compliment the greens. I chopped, drizzled in olive oil, seasoned and roasted the mixture for about 30 minutes before adding on top of our bowls of greens. I finished mine with a sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese to complete the meal. 
Here’s to many more fresh and healthy harvests! 
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Roasted Italian Potatoes

Tender Roasted Italian Potatoes served over a bed of crispy greens, topped with pine nuts and fresh lemon juice is what I like to call my solution to wanting a hot meal with almost as little effort as possible.

As I’m typing this, my Zo-girl Fresh (that’d be my dog Zoey by the way), is snoring up a storm while flopped on the couch next to me. I swear that girl sleeps more than she’s awake, and snores louder than most humans. And now that I’ve given in to her sneaky ways of climbing on the living room couch and into our bed in the past several days, she’s becoming quite the spoiled princess. Not that she hasn’t always been one, but she acts so distraught when I don’t let her up.

She’s all, “What? You think I’m going to lay on this shaggy rug when I know perfectly well there’s a cushy couch or bed filled with blankets to keep me warm?”

And I’m like, “Zoey, I know you’re fricking adorable and I want to snuggle but you’re too big and it’s just not going to….” (as she nuzzles her head into me)…”Ok, come on. Get up here.”

She’s just a dog. I won’t be so easily persuaded with my children one day, I swear.

Okay so all of that dog talk was just a completely random side note to the main focus of this post. POTATOES! These potatoes are the star of the show today.  Just thinking about the generously seasoned potato chunks has me craving them all over again right this very minute. That’s saying a lot considering I just ate a tiny piece of homemade brownie and trying my best to resist going back for another piece. With the taste of chocolate still lingering in my mouth, it’s not often I would also have a desire for real food. But these potatoes, both crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, are oh so savory and simply perfection.

Roasted Italian Potatoes

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
10 small red potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, for serving
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add potatoes and olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to coat potatoes evenly with the oil.
3. In a small bowl, combine oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary and salt. Stir well to combine and add to potato bowl. Mix well to evenly coat potatoes with the seasonings. Gently shake potatoes onto the foil-lined baking sheet in an even layer. Cover the entire pan with a sheet of foil and place in oven.
4. Let cook for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender, removing pan from oven about halfway through to gently shake/turn potatoes. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Divid potatoes among plates of lettuce, then top with a squeeze of lemon juice and a heaping tablespoon of pine nuts.

Weekend Eats 2-4-13

Hello Monday. Off we go into another week…

First of all, thank you to everyone who gave me feedback yesterday on a rehearsal dinner dress. Y’all were so helpful and had great suggestions! I’ll be sure to let you know when I pick one.

Here’s a recap of the weekend:

I treated myself to Menchie’s during my lunchbreak on Friday to get myself through the afternoon. They just released their Red Velvet Royale yogurt. Oh my gosh this stuff is GOOD! I swirled it with cheesecake fro yo and topped it with sprinkles and cool whip. Simple and sweet.

I started my Saturday with a toasted english muffin topped spread with mashed avocado, and an apple on the side. Then later on, Greg and I were out car shopping for myself (Eeekkk! So excited about this, but trying not to get my hopes up yet!). He wanted Bojangles and thankfully there was a Panera right next door. Win-win! I had the You Pick Two with Black Bean Soup and the new Spinach Power Salad.

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Later on Saturday afternoon we went to an adorable baby boy’s 1st birthday party! It’s Greg’s boss’s baby and he is so precious. I wish I had a picture to share. They had a carnival themed party with popcorn, cotton candy, hot dogs and plenty of traditional carnival games for the kids. It was the cutest thing. 
I had a busy day in the kitchen on Sunday. I am so excited to show you what I was up to, but that will come later on this week (if you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you already got a little preview).
Since I was busy preparing other things, I kept lunch easy by heating a bowl of creamy chicken noodle soup Greg and I bought from church as part of a fundraiser that morning. Now that’s a meal I can feel good about 😉 I mixed in some steamed broccoli too. 
We went to a friend’s house for a low-key Super Bowl get together. I made a giant bowl of guacamole to bring along and ate that with some chips along side of my salad creation from Harris Teeter. 
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I had a cupcake and bowl of strawberry fro yo to finish off the weekend. Not bad if I say so myself!
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Weekend Eats 12-17-12

We are so close to Christmas/vacation time that this particular Monday morning doesn’t feel too bad at all! All weekend I found myself saying things like, “This is the last Friday night we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Saturday we’re in Charleston until after Christmas!” and, “This is the last Sunday….” 

Okay, you get it. 
I’m excited. Can you blame me? I know you are too, right?! 
I kicked off the weekend by cooking a pot of my Tempeh and Bean Chili, with a few modifications. I subbed black beans for the red kidney beans, skipped the garlic, and used a can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers rather than using tomato sauce. 
 I love this stuff. It’s so filling and full of nutrients, not to mention just plain delicious. Win win win!
On Saturday, Greg and I spend most of the late morning and afternoon running errands. It wasn’t too long before we were ready to refuel and grabbed lunch from Chick Fil A. 
I got the Southwest Chargrilled Salad with Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing…surprise, surprise. 
Gorgeous. 
Saturday night was spent at my company holiday party at an art museum downtown. We had a great time. I sipped on wine while eating a mini roll with turkey and cranberry sauce and a pork slider on a delicious little biscuit. There was also a do-it-yourself mashed potato bar. Think: Menchie’s (or any other self-serve frozen yogurt place), but for mashed potatoes. Toppings included gravy, shredded cheese, chives, sour cream, sauteed mushrooms, etc. So fun! 
I spent Sunday creating a few different holiday treats. I’ll be sharing those in more detail later this week, but here’s a preview…
Finally, Greg made venison patties for dinner with meat one of his clients gave him (just like last year). 
I feel so adventurous when I eat venison. Kind of like a cave woman too. Regardless, it’s pretty good. And even though I had already eaten more meat over the weekend than I normally like to, Greg made a point that it’s lean and just about as organic as you can get. 
Okay, fine. 😉
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

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?

Weekend Eats 11-12-12

That coffee is looking awfully good this morning. I thought I had been coping well with my new sleep (or lack thereof) schedule with the puppy. We are up every couple of hours throughout the night to let her outside and last week I really didn’t have too much trouble. All of a sudden it’s hit me and this morning I’m not quite sure I can make it through the day without crashing. I’ll have to trust a big cup of coffee more than ever to keep me going through the work day. 
I spent Thursday through Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida at a conference for work and took advantage of the opportunity to sleep straight through the night. It was nice while it lasted, but there’s still no place like home 🙂
While in Jacksonville, I ate out at a few different places. The first of which being breakfast from Einstein’s as you can see above. They call their coffee “Darn Good” for a reason! It really was darn good. Now I know why my grandpa spends many mornings reading the paper at Einstein’s 🙂 I’ll have to join him next time.
One day, we went to Vito’s Italian Cafe where they served buttery garlic rolls while waiting for lunch.

I had the Spinach Salad, which came with roasted red peppers, onions, goat cheese and bacon bits. Balsamic dressing on the side. 
A good road trip almost always involves fast food of some kind. That doesn’t mean you have to be unhealthy either. Chick-Fil-A has great options and I couldn’t pass up my favorite salad. The Southwest Chargrilled Chicken Salad is one meal I will allow meat into.

Around all of these salads, I munched on chocolate chip cookies that I had baked the night before leaving on the trip and some Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Cup Trax Mix.
I had a great time getting to work out of the office for a couple of days but am so glad to be home. 
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Warm Seafood Salad

This past Friday was date night for Greg and me. With Restaurant Week going on all around us, I’m not too sure why we chose Carrabba’s, but by the end of the meal I didn’t feel like I missed out on much. Between the bread and olive oil, antipasti plate, and seafood salad, I was perfectly happy without true “Charleston” food. 

My main entree was the Insalata Johnny Rocco, which has quickly become one of my favorite salads. It’s filled with shrimp, scallops, roasted red peppers, olives and ricotta salata (for those of you like me who didn’t know what this meant, it’s a type of ricotta that has been “pressed, salted and dried.”) So good!!
What’s not so good are leftover salad greens that have already been coated in dressing and the juices from the  vegetable toppings. Soggy and gross. No thanks.

So when I started getting pretty full about half way through my salad (bread and an appetizer will do that to you!), I realized I needed to strategize. I focused on only eating the greens and other veggies from the bowl. I ended up saving about half of the shrimp and scallops to bring home. 
Fast-forward to lunchtime on Saturday and the leftovers were calling my name. The seafood amped up my usual sauteed veggie plate in this warm seafood salad. I used completely different vegetables than what the seafood was originally served with at Carrabba’s, so it had a completely different taste. 
It filled me up almost just as much as the salad at dinner the night before, but I still a room for one or two – ok, two and a half – of my Snickerdoodle Bars.
Warm Seafood Salad
Makes 1 serving
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter or margarine 

Assorted shrimp and scallops, about 8 pieces total or 1/2 a cup
1/2 of a whole zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup onion, sliced
1/2 medium green bell pepper
3 cups raw spinach 
Salt and pepper to taste 
Directions:
1. Melt butter on a medium skillet over medium-low heat. 
2. Add shrimp and scallops. Cook for about 3 minutes, flipping occasionally. Add zucchini, onion and beller pepper. Cook another 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables become tender and just begin to turn brown. 
3. Turn heat down to low. Add spinach and stir everything together. Cook about 1-2 minutes, or until spinach leaves begin to wilt. Season with salt and pepper and stir one final time. Serve immediately.