Monday, February 28, 2011

E: White Bean & Spinach Crock Pot Soup & Blogger Meet up

Normally, I would be sad that it is Monday “already”….but I’m so excited for our doctors appointment later this week…that there are no complaints from over here today! I’m thinking about doing a guess the babies sex giveaway. The prize would be a homemade baked good (your choice: vegan almond butter chocolate chunk cookies, vegan chocolate, chocolate chip pumpkin muffins or peanut butter flour chocolate chip cookies)- would y’all be interested? If I get a good response, I will put the giveaway up on Wednesday!! Two things I want to share with you:

1) Blogger brunch at Charleston’s Cafe.


I had been looking forward to this get together for quite some time! Unfortunately, a few people couldn’t make it last minute, but a great time was had by all who made it out. The cafe already had a longgg line at 9:30:


I started my meal with a great cup of decaf:


And ordered oatmeal with strawberries and skim for breakfast:



All the ladies!! Me (+bump), Blair, Lindsay and Mandi:


2) I made a very tasty & healthy soup the other night that I must share! I found this crock pot/slow cooker white bean & spinach soup recipe through The soup does not contain a lot of ingredients but packs great flavor! I followed the directions almost exactly. I did use a TJs rice mixture instead of just brown rice and I added in 1/8 teaspoon of ground red pepper (for just a tiny bit of kick- I’m a red pepper addict ;)). The outcome:


Not gorgeous- but so good! Josh loved it too. Along side our soup, we each had fruit (peaches for Josh, cantaloupe for me) & a baked tortilla (cut into “chips). Josh also had a string cheese and two peanut butter flour chocolate chip cookies:


A wonderful meal! We had this for dinner on Friday and enjoyed leftovers on Sunday. I’m off to teach Body Pump. Enjoy the last day of February!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

E: Weekend & Pregnancy Update

I always consider the weekend to unofficially start on Thursday afternoon :). Thursday, I met up with Lindsay to walk the bridge.  It was SO much fun to catch up with her. The walk started off sunny and ended with rain!! It was actually quite comical. It was raining so hard by the time we got back to our cars, we didn’t even grab a picture. Here is a soaking me:


Thursday night, we had breakfast for dinner. I had scrambled eggs in a tortilla (needed more protein for the baby) and made a batch of Beth’s Peanut Butter Flour pancakes for Josh. He said they were yummy (I had a little nibble and concur!):IMG_1463

Friday was the usual: gym, work, food store, errands & time with Josh! Fabulous :)

Saturday, Mandi, Bryan, Josh, myself & friends headed to Brewvival (aka Beer Fest). We all went to Brewvival last year and had a blast.  This year, I was obviously DD, but still enjoyed the bands and beautiful weather. Pictures from the event: It was crowded right from the start:


They had tons more vendors this year and fun food, including two food trucks:


The weather was perfect (sunny and almost 70 degrees) and everyone enjoyed the beer (while I enjoyed my water ;)):


Adorable Mandi and her beer can necklace:


Me & Mandi:


Mandi & Bryan:


Josh & I:


I snuck a few snacks into the festival including these EatStrong products (disclaimer: we received these samples for free):


I love that they’re “made from all natural, rich and nourishing ingredients(from the EatStrong website).” The consistency of the bar is very interesting and melts in your mouth. The snack mix is a fun combination of nuts, seeds and chocolate drops. They were perfect for the festival.

After the festival, we went out to dinner at Mellow Mushroom and then called it a night.

Today, we have a blogger meet up at our favorite spot, Charleston’s Cafe!! I’m excited to see all of the ladies. More information to come tomorrow!

Pregnancy Update:  Week 18


I find myself starting to spill things on my stomach more often these days :) I forget its there sometimes ;). We get to find out the sex of the baby this upcoming week and we CAN’T wait. Whether pink or blue, we’re super excited- but the more details we find out about this little guy/girl, the more excited we get! Things that have surprised me: Random bouts of hunger.

Tell me about your weekend!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

M: Honey Basil Vinaigrette & Chobani Greek Yogurt

Ever since I had 5 Loaves’ sweet basil and honey vinaigrette I have been searching and experimenting to find a recipe that tasted just like it! I do believe I successfully did that – still not quite as good as theirs, but hey, it gives it a run for it’s money =)


I used Crisco’s Light Olive Oil, which was a perfect base for the dressing (disclaimer: we received this product for free from Foodbuzz and Crisco). Final product:


And served drizzled atop a salad made of baby spring greens and spinach, chopped asparagus, walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, and mandarin orange segments. Yum!!! Sweet and full of basil goodness!


Honey Basil Vinaigrette

slightly adapted from All Recipes

3/4 cup olive oil

scant 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup honey

3 TB chopped fresh basil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Secure top and shake until well combined. (You can also just whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl as well if you don’t have a jar available.) Can serve immediately or after it’s been chilled in the fridge!

Erica and I also recently received an incredible opportunity to sample Chobani’s new Greek yogurt flavors! (Disclaimer: we received these products for free) We were so excited for this since we both LOVE Greek yogurt, especially theirs! And how adorable is that lunch box?


Erica’s review:

“Josh and I were very excited to try the new Chobani flavors, as we’ve been Chobani fans for years. Of the flavors we tried, our ranking is as follows:

1. Black Cherry

2. Honey nana

3. Mango

4. Very Berry

5. Lemon

The black cherry and honey nana flavors were our absolute favorites! In fact, I’ve been trying to purchase the black cherry since sampling, and it’s often sold out! The honey nana was a close second! I love the smaller size (great as a side at lunch) and the flavor is subtle, but tasty. My go-to Chobani right now is the 0% plain and I add in a little maple syrup! You can’t beat the creaminess, taste, and protein packed awesomeness of Chobani!”

As for Bryan and myself, can I just say that we are now officially Chobani-exclusive in our household? Once Bryan saw the protein factor he was completely sold. Usually the Greek yogurts we try tend to be sort of runny or somewhat flavor-less or overly-tart. Chobani gets all of these factors perfected!

The honey nana was by far our favorite! Even though it is marketed for kids (which is great! Who doesn’t want to feed their children more healthy foods?!) it is a perfect snack for adults alike! Fantastic atop a breakfast parfait =)


Our ranking was exactly like Josh and Erica’s, except a little switch-a-roo between the honey nana and black cherry.

Go out and try these new flavors! They get a A plus on the thickness/creaminess/texture factor as well as their great flavors, and the additional protein packed goodness is such an awesome plus! They are really unmatched by any other Greek yogurt (in my opinion of course) =)

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

E: Taco Salad- Two Ways & Honeycomb Cafe

Wahooo for Friday! I’m so excited that its finally here!! How has your week been? Mine has been pretty busy (work wise) but good.

This week, I made taco salads on two separate nights, once for me and once for Josh. My version involved Hokan’s Chili Sauce with Garlic:


I had never used this sauce, but was excited to give it a go! I boiled up a batch of fresh shrimp, tossed them in a tablespoon or two of the sauce and put them in the refrigerator to chill.


Later that evening, I chopped up half of the shrimp and placed them on top of a large taco salad of sorts (spinach, broccoli slaw, chopped apple, salsa and a broiled tortilla):


Not pretty, but delicious :)

Later in the week, I used Crisco extra virgin olive oil (disclaimer: I received this olive oil for free from Crisco and Food Buzz), to make a steak marinade for Josh.


I followed a simple marinade recipe from Simply Recipes: olive oil, lime, garlic, cumin and chopped jalapenos (I eliminated the cilantro). After the steak had rested in the fridge for a few hours, I cooked it up in a pan with a touch more olive oil. I also added corn and jalapenos to the mix. I then placed the steak/corn/jalapeno mixture on a bed of spinach and broccoli slaw with broiled tortilla chips:


Josh really enjoyed this salad.

And last, Mandi & I tried a new brunch spot recently, Honeycomb Cafe on Daniel Island (yes, we felt like we were cheating on Charleston’s cafe ;)).


The restaurant is still relatively new and was very quiet.


They have a great, traditional breakfast menu that includes everything from pancakes and French toast (which I heard a few people raving about) to huge omelets:


M & I started with coffee (decaf for me, regular for her). I loved their mugs and that they offer skim milk instead of cream (if you’d like it). My only complaint was that the coffee was just warm…I like HOT HOT coffee ;):


They also have free wifi (as you can see by the cords in the above picture ;)). We both were “boring” and got the yogurt, fruit & granola bowl. The difference? This bowl was made with GREEK yogurt (YUM!) and topped with honey. The fruit was very fresh and the granola was tasty:


The restaurant was also super clean and the service was fabulous. Mandi & I plan to visit Honeycomb cafe again!

Honeycomb Cafe on Urbanspoon

Do y’all have weekend plans?? Tomorrow, Mandi, myself, Bryan & Josh & friends are headed to a beer festival. On Sunday, we have a blogger brunch! Enjoy your weekend :)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

M: Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata and a Cocktail

I do have to thank Cooking Light for these recipes – this month’s issue is fantastic! I tend to have a love-hate relationship with this magazine. Sometimes there is not one recipe I would even think about trying, but most times there is at least a few. This month, I’m pretty sure I want to make every single recipe!


This dinner was seriously amazing. Of course, being Cooking Light, it’s a slightly lighter version of a normal chicken piccata. But, the lemon flavor was spot-on. Not overwhelming, just perfect. And, since Meyer lemons are in season right now and I bought a ton of them at Whole Foods (and apart from squeezing them into my sweet tea) this was definitely the best use for them! Let’s do this…


Sprinkle your cutlets with salt and pepper and dredge in a shallow dish of flour. Melt 1 TB of butter in a large hot skillet. Add your cutlets to the pan and cook about 2 minutes. Turn cutlets over and cook for about 1 minute. Cook your remaining cutlets the same way.


Add wine to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for about 1 minute or until the liquid almost evaporates (Please excuse the permanent brown stains on my pan – my set has seen lots of wear and tear!).


Add chicken broth, cook about 4 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and capers. Then serve over chicken and sprinkle with fresh parsley! I served with mashed potatoes and a brussel sprout casserole (which deserves its own post – will be coming soon!)


And to perfectly compliment my Meyer lemon chicken? Why, a Meyer lemon champagne cocktail of course! (recipe below) So good!


Meyer Lemon Chicken Piccata

from Cooking Light

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or 4 cutlets)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup AP flour

2 TB butter, divided

1/3 cup sauvignon blanc, or other crisp white wine

1/2 cup fat free/low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

2 TB capers, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Split chicken breast halves in half horizontally to form 4 thin cutlets. Pound each cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle cutlets with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge cutlets in flour.

Melt 1 TB butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cutlets to pan, and cook about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook about 1 minute or until cooked through. Remove cutlets. Melt remaining TB of butter in pan and cook last 2 cutlets the same way.

Remove cutlets (I placed onto a plate and wrapped with foil to keep warm). Add wine to pan, bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook about 1 minute or until liquid is almost evaporated. Stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cook until broth mixture is reduced to about 2 TB (about 4 minutes). Stir in lemon juice and capers. Serve over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.


Sparkling Meyer Lemon Cocktail

from Cooking Light

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

1 rosemary sprig

1 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice, chilled (about 8 lemons)

1/3 cup chilled vodka

2 cups chilled sparkling white wine, chilled

Combine first 3 ingredients in a microwave safe dish. Microwave for about 2 1/2 minutes; stir until sugar dissolves. Let sit 10 minutes; discard rosemary. Chill.

Combine sugar mixture, juice, vodka, and sparkling wine, stirring gently. Serve immediately.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

E: Applesauce Bread

Josh and I love grab & go breakfasts. I’m always looking for new bars or breads that can serve the grab and go purpose and can be a yummy snack. I searched online for bread recipes and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. So, I combined up a few, made adjustments, and came up with the following:

Applesauce Bread:


Dry Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oats, ground (or oat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Wet Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup honey (or pure maple syrup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix wet ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in a second bowl. Combine wet & dry ingredients.


Spray a loaf pan or Pyrex dish with non-stick spray. Pour batter into pan and bake for 40-50 minutes (check with a knife or toothpick to make sure its done). Other optional add ins: raisins, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries or sunflower seeds.




Any yummy bar or bread recipes to share???

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

M: Chocolate Chunk Mocha Cookies

So before I get to these incredible chocolatey-mocha gems of goodness I just wanted to share a few photos from a MUCH needed day spent together with the hubs on Saturday. First up, a beautiful afternoon on the beach (as you also saw from Erica’s post on Sunday!)


And some pretty awesome sand art courtesy of the hubs:


And an AMAZING evening spent at 17 North sitting outside listening to some fantastic live music (yes that is Bryan is roasting marshmallows in their outside dining area where they have a fire pit and free s’mores fixins) =)


Ok, enough about that, now onto these cookies. Now, I will warn you, they are a little rich. But, what do you expect from a cookie named “chocolate chunk mocha cookies”? Ya gotta like chocolate and ya gotta like a little coffee!


These are seriously out of this world good. I love the coffee hint the icing provides and the chocolate cookie is one of my faves that I’ve tried yet! Let me just take you through this real quick =)


Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl (I usually whisk)


Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and gradually add flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks.


Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lined baking sheets. Bake for about 10 minutes or until puffy.


Cool completely on wire racks. In the meantime, combine icing ingredients in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want. Ice your cooled cookies and enjoy every bite!


Chocolate Chunk-Mocha Cookies

from Southern Living


2 1/4 cup AP flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 package semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a bowl

Beat butter and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffy. Cool on baking sheets a couple of minutes and remove to wire racks to cool completely. Spread cookies with mocha frosting (recipe below).


Mocha Frosting:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/4 cup hot strong brewed coffee

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (I suggest using a little less than this – mine got a little too stiff)

Stir together first 4 ingredients until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until creamy.