Archive for March, 2010

So glad it’s the weekend 🙂

I was so confused when I woke up this morning. I kept thinking it was Friday and that I overslept and never turned on my alarm clock!

Maggie, Roxy, and I had a girls night last night, and it was a great way to end the week.



Nick was doing sound at a concert last night, so I came home to hang out with Maggie while he was gone.

I heated up the last of the meatballs for dinner and had them on a small sweet potato.


Marinara on sweet potatoes is awesome! I need to remember this combination.


Maggie and I played after eating dinner and then watched What Not to Wear and Food Revolution before falling asleep on the floor 🙂 She may be crazy sometimes, but Maggie is a good cuddler.

Once Nick got home, I got out my sourdough starter to feed it so we could have pancakes today!


It’s been a while since we’ve had the time to make pancakes, so I was more than ready for this breakfast.


Coffee – check.

Sourdough pancakes with maple syrup – check.

Cara cara orange – check. (Definitely past their season, though. I’m ready for berries!).

Unpictured bacon – check.

We just finished eating breakfast and I’m about to mix up some pizza dough for lunch with friends before we go out on an easy hike today with our dogs. Should be fun!

Nick has to head into the lab today before they  come over, so I’ve got to get this dough ready and clean up a bit before they get here.


Any fun plans today?

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Food Revolution

I am so excited to watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution series!


I just can’t wait to see what is going to happen after this – I know he’s done a lot of work and has helped make some amazing changes in his home country, and I’m so excited that he is bringing his passion to the U.S.

Since this generation of kids is the first one to ever be expected to die before their parents, this is something that needs to be addressed.

From his website:

I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals, and that every family deserves real, honest, wholesome food. Too many people are being affected by what they eat. It’s time for a national revolution. America needs to stand up for better food!


It starts tonight at 9 pm (Eastern) on ABC.


Are you ready for a Food Revolution? Will you be watching?

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Chocolate Mint Cookies

Want to know one thing I’m obsessed with?


Mint + Chocolate.

Peppermint Patties.

Girl Scout Thin Mints.

Andes Candes.

Christmas Mint M&Ms.

Lindt Dark Chocolate and Mint Truffles.

Grasshopper Cookies.

Grasshopper brownies.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Mint moose tracks ice cream.

If there’s a candy or dessert with mint and chocolate, I’ve probably had it. And I probably loved it.

And I don’t want mint-flavored things to be stuck in the holiday season. I don’t understand why those Mint M&Ms are only a Christmas deal, but I guess it is a good thing since I can (and often do) eat them by the handful.

I’m not sure what it is about mint and chocolate together, but I can never turn it down.


I love the mix of rich chocolate with refreshing mint. The mint just lightens everything up enough so I don’t feel like I’m eating something horribly decadent…even if I am.

But who can eat Girl Scout cookies all the time? I don’t even know a Girl Scout around here. And I don’t work with Girl Scout moms who sell cookies in the office for their kids. I don’t think I’ve had a Girl Scout cookie of any kind in 3 years. I’m not horribly sad about that, but I do love a good Thin Mint.

So I came up with a Chocolate Mint Cookie recipe to fulfill my cravings and, as crazy as it sounds, it’s actually pretty healthy.

And aren’t green chips in cookies just fun?


Chocolate Mint Cookies, makes about 1.5 dozen

  • 1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate + Mint Chips
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and chips.
  3. Add in maple syrup, vanilla, oil, and almond milk and mix until batter comes together.
  4. Drop by tablespoon onto a baking sheet, about 1” apart.
  5. Bake 11-12 minutes.


I thought about adding peppermint extract to the cookie dough, and I may try that in the next batch.

But I also love chocolate + mint more than Nick, so I didn’t want to overpower him with mint in these cookies. At least not until I knew what he thought of this batch as-is.

Nick came home after I made this batch of cookies and grabbed one on his way through the kitchen.

The one thing I heard through his mouthful of cookie?

Tastes like a Thin Mint.

Not “tastes like a healthy thin mint”.

If you can fool a boy, I say the recipe is perfect.

Mission accomplished.


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Breakfast and Brunch

Thursday is flying by for me! Work is just so busy that I don’t even realize how late it is until I look at the clock.

For my meals today, I’ve basically had breakfast + brunch. Just the way I like it.


I made a big bowl of apple oatmeal for breakfast today. Nick and I went through 2 pounds of strawberries in just 2 days, so apples are the only fruit in the house that will work in oatmeal.


I diced up a small (local!) apple and cooked it in the microwave with cinnamon for about a minute.

Then I added the apple to my oatmeal with more cinnamon and topped it with some almond butter.


This almond butter with flaxseeds from Trader Joe’s is so good! I love how crunchy it is.

And lunch today is leftovers!


We had one piece of the frittata leftover, so I heated that up with some broccoli for a quick lunch. I love the pockets of goat cheese! I think I’ll use even more the next time I make this.


Now Maggie and I are watching some HGTV while I’m eating 🙂


I think I could eat breakfast-type meals all day, every day. I just love ‘em! Maybe I’ll change my dinner plans tonight to include more breakfast food…I guess we’ll see 😉


Do you like having breakfast-for-dinner? What are your favorite things to make?

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Meatball Remix

Happy Humpday people!

One day closer to the weekend 🙂

My lunch today turned out great today, but I forgot my camera! I was doing a trial run on a recipe idea that my little sister gave me, and we’ll definitely be having it this weekend or early next week, so I’ll be posting it soon.

I did get pictures of our dinner the past two nights, though. I like when I come up with a recipe in my head and it actually turns out good. 😉


Have you ever used Israeli Couscous? We love it. It’s so doughy – like little round pillows.


Nick likes Israeli couscous much more than the regular couscous, so I almost always have it in the house.


Tuesday night’s dinner was some Israeli couscous and Swiss Chard that we topped with some meatballs.

The couscous was just cooked in broth and I added the chopped chard near the end to cook it down a bit before serving. Easy!

And I make my meatballs the easiest way I know.

Basic Italian Meatballs

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup fine ground cornmeal
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large bowl, mix everything but the ground meat.
  3. Add in meat and mix with your hands until combined.
  4. Roll into balls, place on cookie sheet, and bake about 15 minutes or until cooked through.


I mix the cornmeal, egg, and spices together first and that makes it so much easier to get it all distributed in the meat!


I also used my collapsible colander – I love this thing! Nick bought me this and a matching mixing bowl a few years ago, and I use them all the time. I love that they fold flat – it saves so much room! And that’s important when you have a small kitchen.

Tonight turned out to be pretty busy for us. We had a chiropractor appointment after work, so we got home, let Maggie out and had to leave the house again for another 30 minutes.

But the meatballs from last night turned into another great dinner tonight.

I took the leftover meatballs and heated them up in a pan with the rest of some pasta sauce I had in the fridge while I put together a simple salad.


Nick made a meatball sub and I had mine along side the last of the couscous/chard and a simple salad.

I love meals that morph into new ones – saves me time + work!

Nick and I also went to Dairy Queen tonight, and I had my favorite: a chocolate dipped dish of ice cream. I love the ring of chocolate shell that forms in the cup – yum.


Are you an ice cream cone person? Sundae? Shake?

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Hakuna Frittata

First of all, thank you.

Thank you for every comment, email, and phone call after my post yesterday. Each comment I saw just reinforced what I wrote, and I’m so thankful to each and every one of you.

I loved reading your stories of how you’ve gone through the same thing and have come out on the other side better for it. More creative. And, more importantly, happier.

So, thanks for that.

Strangely enough, my creativity is back 😉


I made an awesome frittata-type dish the other night and wanted to share the recipe.



Goat Cheese and Potato Frittata

  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 cups diced potatoes (mine were leftover roasted potatoes, but you could start with raw)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a casserole dish. (If you’re starting with raw potatoes, you can saute them first to crisp them up/cook them almost all the way through OR roast them in the oven before you’re ready to assemble the frittata.)
  2. Saute the mushrooms in a teaspoon of olive oil until browned.
  3. Add in diced red onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened.
  4. Mix in potatoes and dump veggie mixture into casserole dish.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, goat cheese, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  6. Pour egg mixture over veggies and mix together to distribute the eggs and cheese.
  7. Sprinkle with smoked paprika.
  8. Bake at 375 30-40 minutes or until set.



I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to buy goat cheese!

We had so much of it in Spain (on pizza, sandwiches, salads) and, after having it in most of the appetizers at the Celebrity Chef Tour dinner the other night, I knew I needed more.

Nick and I loved the little pockets of goat cheese in this frittata. It’s just so tangy and creamy and it went really well with the mushrooms and smoked paprika.

I’m pretty sure smoked paprika makes everything better, actually. If you don’t have any, you need some! You’ll wonder how you ever cooked without it.


Major Excitement!

Chef Walter Scheib posted a shoutout to me on his blog! I’m speechless. The meal was amazing and I loved doing my recap, but I never imagined that my post would be featured in this way.


What’s your favorite savory egg dish?


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Change Is Blooming


After such a long and dreary winter, I was beginning to wonder if Spring would ever get here. In the 6 years that I’ve lived here, we’ve never had as much as snow as we had this winter. And because we kept getting hit by these huge storms, it took over 2 months for all the snow on the ground to finally melt.


But all of a sudden, spring is here! 70 degree days, flowers popping up in the yard, and a lot of play time outside.


Even Roxy is enjoying the weather. We can tell she’s happy when she never wants to come inside.


And Maggie can’t stand being in the house, either.


She pouts until you finally take her out. But she only wants to be out there to watch the birds in the trees, listen to the chickens across the street, and chase a few bugs in the yard.

And how can you say no to that face?

But on to the topic at hand.

I feel like I’m going through a bit of an identity crisis. This feeling goes beyond the blog, but I’m not going to get into all of that.

Maybe, like our new daffodils, I’m just blooming. Doesn’t that sound better? 🙂

While this post has been looming over my head for a while, it was these four posts here that made me sit down and finally get it out.

I guess I’m just trying to figure out what I want with this blog. I love blogging, but I’ve been boring myself lately…and that can’t be good. Eating leftovers for the third time in a week isn’t terribly exciting for me, so I know no one else wants to see it or read about it.

I’m not a dietician or a marathon runner or a published author. I don’t juice or have a movie deal or make a living from my blog.

It’s just me – a small town girl with a big city appetite. Obsessed with all things food, interested in health, armed with sourdough starter. Learning to cook on my own in a small kitchen without a dishwasher. A college football fanatic that is going crazy waiting for the season to start when it’s still 6 months away.

I know my posts have been lacking and I guess I’m just missing inspiration…enthusiasm…time to put something great together. I used to write all the time, and most days I feel as though I’m pushing myself to put something, anything, together just to get a post up. And I don’t like that.

I mean…I wrote a sequel to Snow White that’s sitting in my parent’s attic along with my homemade book about the beach, one where I play favorites with my sisters, and (my personal favorite) the short story of how a hippopotamus ate my teacher.

I want to write about things that actually mean something to me again. I want to find the creativity I used to have and do something with it.

I also just can’t bring myself to sit in front of the computer 3 times a day when the weather is beautiful and we have time to go hiking or take Maggie to the park or work gets in the way.

I’m not going anywhere.

I just want to be proud of everything I post, whether it’s a new recipe, a restaurant Nick and I try, or random new pictures of Maggie for my Dad to see while he’s in Guam.

I want to get back to why I started this blog in the first place: to have a creative outlet, to share recipes, to tell stories, and to enjoy something that is completely mine.

And seeing how I’ve read a few posts along these lines lately…maybe Spring really is the season for growth and change?

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Recovery Monday

I’m telling you…after that meal Saturday night, it’s been tough eating the normal food coming out of my kitchen 🙂 Nothing compares to a meal like that!

But it turned out to be a good day.

Nick was traveling today for a meeting/interview, so he was home for breakfast!

I made myself some oatmeal / egg white pancakes.


I used Kath’s Oatmeal Pancake recipe and topped them with some dark chocolate peanut butter and strawberries.


And I was finally able to have some coffee this morning! Nick made a pot for us to share and my stomach did fine with it. I was still feeling a little off this weekend, but it seems that the stomach flu is out of here for good.

I worked this morning while Nick got ready and he got on the road right before lunch. He did have lunch before he left, though! We both had some leftovers from the other night.


I made a chili-mac type dish with chicken sausage, whole wheat shells, beans, tomatoes, and corn.


I like chili with pasta. I like chili regardless, but I really love pasta in chili.

Work was nuts today. That’s all 😉 It was crazy – tons of emails, letters, problems…but 5 pm finally came!

Nick and I were supposed to go to the chiropractor today, but he ended up getting back a little late so we had to move it.

But no appointment gave me time to bake cookies 😉


And make a great dinner.


I had a slice of this frittata type dish with some broccoli. After having all these veggies today, I feel like I’m getting back to normal after this crazy stomach flu.

The Hokie game is almost over! Gotta jet!


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Saturday night turned out to be one I will never forget.



A few months ago, I noticed an announcement on The Palisades website: The Celebrity Chef Tour was kicking off its 2010 season right here in Eggleston, VA!

After looking at the website for the tour, I knew Nick and I had to attend.

A dinner made by a former White House Chef?

A foodie tour that’s put on by The James Beard Foundation?

And this – our little corner of southwest Virginia – was the starting point for the tour this year? We could not miss this.


After applying through FoodbuzzFoodie Correspondent Program, I waited (on pins and needles, no less) to find out if we would be able to attend.


When we heard back from Foodbuzz, they had some good news and some bad news.

The good news was that we would be able to go! The bad news was the dinner was completely sold out, so we were only able to get in to the welcoming reception.

Even without dinner tickets, Nick and I were extremely excited to visit the reception to taste appetizers, mingle, and take pictures of the set up for this 5-star dinner.



Walking into The Palisades that night was so exhilarating.

There was so much excitement in the restaurant, and seeing the place set up for this dinner was fun for us.

We’ve eaten here plenty of times, but this dinner was different. Special. And it was great to see the local support and enthusiasm that filled the rooms.





As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by servers and appetizers! I didn’t get pictures of all of them (it was crazy in there!), but I did get some of my favorites of the evening.


White Cheddar with Grape and Pistachios



When Nick first bit into his, we had no idea there were grapes in the middle. I loved the combination of the creamy cheddar and the sweetness from the green grape. Definitely not something I’d put together!


Dried Figs with Roasted Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Can you believe this was my first time ever having figs like this? The tangy goat cheese was amazing with the figs and walnuts. I really enjoyed the different textures in this one – chewy from the figs, crunchy from the nuts, and creamy from the goat cheese.


Marinated Feta with Olives and Mint

This was my favorite of the night. The feta was coated in sesame seeds and layered on the sticks with a slice of cucumber, olive, and a mint leaf. The olive and mint together were delicious!


Mousse de Foie Gras with a Rhubarb Compote

After attending this reception, I can now say I’ve tried foie gras. I actually loved the rhubarb compote on this dish – it was so colorful! – but I’m not sure I’m a foie gras convert just yet.







At this point in the evening, people were starting to take their seats so Nick and I were finishing up our appetizers and drinks, and I walked over to get a few pictures of the Chef while he was signing cookbooks.



All day leading up to this, I was secretly hoping we would be able to stay for the meal. I knew the dinner was sold out, and I knew that we probably had no chance, but this was a once in a lifetime experience.

While we were waiting for everyone to get seated, Nick and I met Jeff Black, the President of the Celebrity Chef Tour. He thanked us for coming, talked to us about the night and the meal, and told me they were about to introduce the Chef and start the dinner.

I was ready to take pictures of Jeff and Chef Scheib as they made their introductions, and right before they started, Jeff told us that they had some room for us to sit and eat!

You have no idea how excited we were. The reception itself was fun enough, but now we were really about to eat a meal made by a former White House Chef?!?




Jeff Black, Celebrity Chef Tour

Jeff started the night off by introducing himself and telling everyone more about The James Beard Foundation and the Celebrity Chef Tour and how he got involved.



After learning more about the Foundation, Chef Walter Scheib came out to tell us some of his background and get the meal started.


He was so entertaining! Before every course, he came out to tell a story of where the dish originated. Each course in this dinner came out of his time working at the White House under the Clinton family and the Bush family. Hearing the funny stories of how he was hired and how he came up with the dishes we were served wasn’t what I was expecting, but it made the entire night even better.


He was a great storyteller! He was so animated, and his stories and jokes had everyone laughing.

Nick and I also had a great group of people at our table. We made some new friends and shared a lot of laughs during the meal.

Our first course was a soup he created for Chelsea Clinton when she went vegetarian. He apparently also served this soup to Tony Blair, who then requested this soup anytime he was visiting the White House.


Sesame Crusted Halibut with Red Curried Sweet Potato Soup paired with La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007


This curry soup was perfectly balanced – the heat from the curry was there, but it wasn’t overpowering. The soup was velvety smooth and had thin strips of carrots and zucchini underneath the halibut. You know your halibut is cooked perfectly when you eat this entire dish with a spoon. I’m not sure how they cooked the fish, but it was light and tender.


To cleanse our palates from the curried soup, we were served a Pear and Riesling Granita. It tasted like there was a bit of nutmeg in this? The little scoop of icy, sweet pear was a great transition to the next course.



Tequila Glazed Smoked Certified Angus Beef Tenderloin with Warm Fruit Salsa and Chipotle-Corn Sauce paired with Point West Touriga Nacional 2005

This dish, according the Chef Scheib, was concocted for a last minute dinner party for the Bush twins. Apparently, the twins typically had smaller get-togethers (40 people) and often had easy picnic-type foods, but they wanted a sit down dinner for 80 on a weekend that they were supposed to be out of town!

Caught off guard by their plans, Chef Scheib decided to take beef tenderloin (a mainstay of the Bush family diet) and slowly smoke it, which would keep the meat from shrinking in size, leaving more portions to serve.

After glazing the meat in a lime juice, honey, and tequila mixture (which Jenna told him was a waste of a perfectly good margarita), it was slowly smoked, sliced, and then served with green beans, a fruit salsa, and a charred corn and chipotle pepper sauce.


This was Nick’s favorite dish of the night, hands down. I still can’t decide what I liked best, but I will say this was the best piece of beef I’ve ever had.

Every single bite melted in my mouth – I barely needed a knife!

The beef was so smoky, and I loved the combination of the spicy sauce, smoky meat, and sweet fruit salsa. My favorites bites had some beef, green beans, and pineapple.



Forever Cheese Manchego Tamale Tart with Avocado, Orange, and Charred Onion Salad paired with Stella Artois and Murphy Goode Liar’s Dice Zinfandel 2006

Chef Scheib described this dish as a non-green green salad he made up for President George Bush. According to the Chef, President Bush wasn’t a fan a big salads or anything “green” unless it was covered in cheese.

But to make both the President and the First Lady happy, he had to come up with a way to serve a salad that they would both enjoy.


The tart was basically a mini quiche, but it had a cornmeal/tamale crust instead of a traditional dough. The filling of the machego cheese and scallions was so creamy. It actually reminded me of the texture of a souffle! The cheesy middle was so light and fluffy.

The salad base was a ring of charred sweet onions and topped with diced avocado and oranges (tossed with cumin and coriander) and some spring mix.

Whether you call this a salad or not, it was delicious. I love Mexican seasonings, and I’ll eat anything with avocado. But I really enjoyed the mix of hot and cold in this dish. The tart was warm and creamy while the salad had the cool chunks of avocado and orange. The perfect combination!


And then…dessert.


Peach and Blueberry Cobbler with Honey and Lavender Ice Cream paired with Kendall Jackson Late Harvest Chardonnay

Cobbler is a fairly common dessert (especially in the South) and is something that the Bush family loved.

One thing they couldn’t get in D.C. was their beloved Blue Bell ice cream. I’ve had Blue Bell, and I understand why they missed it. That was one brand I could always buy at the store when I was going to school in Arkansas.

At their request, Chef Scheib contacted the Blue Bell company for their recipe so he could make vanilla ice cream for the Bush Family, and it somehow morphed into this lavender honey vanilla ice cream.


I scream for this ice cream.

The lavender honey ice cream was simply incredible. I have never had ice cream that had so much flavor but still tasted so pure.

I would like to just have a gallon of the ice cream, to tell you the truth.

After the meal was over, I scrambled downstairs to get a picture with the Chef!


Chef Scheib and Shaena Muldoon (Owner of The Palisades)




And I snagged a picture with Jeff Black from the Celebrity Chef Tour!


Nick and I had an amazing night and a meal that neither one of us will ever forget.

Thank you Foodbuzz and the Foodie Correspondent Program for setting this up for us! We were extremely excited we could attend such a huge event for this area.

A big thanks to Chef Scheib for the amazing meal!

And a special thanks to Jeff Black not only for the work he does with the Celebrity Chef Tour, but also for welcoming us and somehow finding room at a table so we could enjoy the entire meal.


After attending this event, I’ve realized just how much I love good good. I love celebrating what can be done with food and allowing great American Chefs like Walter Scheib to work his magic in the kitchen.

In a country overtaken by microwave meals and drive-thrus, it was refreshing to have such a flavorful meal that truly utilizes food and the flavors in each dish.

I’m pretty sure I could do this for the rest of my life – food is my passion. I think about it all day long, dream about it at night, and talk about it with anyone who will listen. If I could make this a job, I would.

I know I’m already looking forward to next year.


Make sure to check out the Celebrity Chef Tour website to see if it’s coming to a city near you!


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I’m stuffed, but ridiculously excited.

Nick’s asleep on the floor, and I’m on the couch…in my pajamas.

We just had one of the best meals of our lives.

Details tomorrow.

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