Sunday, August 28, 2011

tea time with Ellie and Ollie

nothing sweeter than sharing a weekend with family.
last weekend, brian, amy, and ellie came down for a visit. i seriously believe oliver and emme had the most enjoyment from spending time with sweet ellie.
oliver followed her everywhere. she laid in the floor and he was right beside her. she used him as a chair, played doctor and examined his ears, and they even had a tea party... just her and ollie.

i wish i could keep this sweet girl with me all the time! she is the best kid! 
the weekend went way to fast, as they always do. we had great meals together - peach and blueberry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream, a breakfast frittata with fresh tomatoes, and a fabulous dinner at chicora alley - my favorite restaurant in greenville.
we took ellie around downtown and through all the shops. she especially loved the toy stores! we went to falls park and she and uncle david watched for fish swimming in the water.
after dinner we sat by a fountain and played in the water. street musicians were playing covers next to us, the weather was perfection... a perfect day!
 just look at that smile... she will melt your heart!
i wish i could have captured her face when she pulled a carrot from our garden, but unfortunately i didn't have my camera... shame on me!
when we were back inside, i did get this shot of her admiring her great treasure -
before leaving on sunday, we took a stroll through the lawns of converse college and had lunch at mellow mushroom. it was a perfect weekend and only left us longing for more time together!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

chicago style pizza pot pie

this past march david and i celebrated our second wedding anniversary in chicago. it was a fantastic trip, loaded with lots of shopping and LOTS of eating. the best thing we ate on our trip was pizza pot pie. we were stunned when they brought our dish to the table in a bowl, then flipped it onto our plate. after eating every last crumb, we both agreed that we would try to make our own version once we were home. 
and that is what we did. 
and it was a HUGE success!!!!
there is no real recipe for what we did, just a few simple steps which i will share.
all you need is an oven safe bowl and all the ingredients you wish to use.
 start by coating your oven safe bowl with non-stick spray. also get the outside edges of the bowl.
add sliced muenster cheese to the bowl. (this is definitely not a healthy dish.)
prepare your dough, and slice in half to make two pot pies.
add shredded havarti cheese, roasted red peppers and onions, or whatever you would like.
we also added some baby bella mushrooms.
and some italian sausage ;-)
add your pizza sauce on top.
then stretch out your halved dough on the tops of the bowl. stretch over the top and onto the edges.
bake in a 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until your dough is browned to your liking. 
when the cooking is complete, your bowls should look like this! nice, huh.
the best way we have found to 'flip' your pot pies on a plate: put your plate on top of the pot pie. pick up your bowl and while still holding the plate of top, flip so that the plate is on the bottom, and the bowl is on top... make sense? use two forks to separate the bowl from the dough.
lift your bowl off and be amazed at your delicious homemade pizza pot pie!!!
Sunday, August 14, 2011

ultimate beef braciole + lemon arugula angel hair pasta

i will begin by stating that this recipe is the most complicated we have ever made.
we were in the kitchen FOREVER.
and it was one thousand percent worth every second.
seriously, i can't even tell you how ridiculously amazing this dish was. it made a lot, and provided lots of leftovers... even soup.
yeah... you just wait!

HERE is the link to the braciole recipe by tyler florence, one of my favorite chefs on the food network.
and HERE is the link for his angel hair pasta with fried chili flakes, lemon and arugula that accompanies the dish.
another piece of fantastic info... he is from Greenville, South Carolina. so who knows... maybe one day i'll run into him if he is visiting.
(when you look at the link to the recipe on tyler's page... the level of the recipe is rated EASY... seriously???)


For the Braciole:

  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup buffalo mozzarella bocconcini balls, sliced in half if large size
  • 1/2 cup store-bought, drained and roughly chopped roasted red peppers
  • 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-pound piece flank steak
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise

For the Braising ingredients:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, gently smashed
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
  • 8 vine-ripened tomatoes, separated from vine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish


To make the Braciole: Toast the panko bread crumbs in a dry skillet with a little olive oil over low heat, until golden. Add to a large mixing bowl along with the anchovy, garlic, bocconcini, red peppers, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper, to taste. Stir together until well combined.

Set the flank steak on a piece of plastic wrap. Make a deep horizontal slice along the steak almost all the way through and fan open like a book. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently flatten the steak until about 1/2-inch thick; take care not to tear. Discard the top sheet of plastic wrap; rub the surface with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread the stuffing evenly over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Arrange the eggs lengthwise down the center of the meat and roll up like a jelly roll log, using the plastic wrap as support. Tie the roll with kitchen twine in 4 to 5 places to secure - this will help hold the shape and keep the filling from falling out.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put a roasting pan across 2 burners and heat over medium heat. Add a 3-count of olive oil and add the thyme and garlic. Cook for about a minute until fragrant. Carefully add the braciole and sear until evenly browned all over, approximately 2 minutes each side.

Add the sliced onions and bay leaves, then stir in the beef broth to deglaze. Add the canned tomatoes over the top, then nestle in the whole vine tomatoes around the braciole. Bring to a simmer, then cover with foil and put in the oven to braise for 45 to 60 minutes. When done, remove the foil and remove the braciole to a carving board to rest. Carefully remove the whole vine tomatoes, with a slotted spoon, to a plate. Let the sauce cool for about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaf, then add the sauce to a blender and puree. Pour the sauce back into the pan and set over medium heat to bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add the balsamic vinegar. Remove the kitchen twine from the beef and cut into 1-inch thick "pin-wheel" slices. Arrange the slices on a platter and arrange the whole vine tomatoes around the beef. Pour the sauce over the top, garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

and the recipe for the pasta:



In a dry skillet over low heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the panko bread crumbs and toast until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Put into a bowl and set aside.

Set the skillet pan back over medium heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic and the red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes to infuse the oil and cook the garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the lemon zest and remove from the heat.

In a large pot of well-salted boiling water, over medium heat, add the angel hair pasta and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl. While still warm, toss in the arugula, the infused oil, the bread crumbs and the cheese. Using tongs gently fold everything together and transfer to a large serving bowl or platter to serve. If desired, serve with braised braciole.

Monday, August 8, 2011

{ new look }

thought i would change things up a bit... 
and i'm absolutely in love with the new blog layout! 
hope you love it as well. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

lotsa juicin'

well, for those of you curious to know how our juice fast is going... i will update. 
it shouldn't really be called a fast anymore considering we are having dinner. we are still doing juices for breakfast and lunch and throughout the day, and then trying to eat a small, healthy dinner. so i am very pleased with the progress. 
my only complaint, and it's a big complaint... i am SICK of living in my kitchen and washing the juicer and cutting fruit... and then doing it all over again... three times a day. 

with that said, we will continue to have juice for breakfast and lunch as long as we can. when we are sick of it or wanting something different, we will have something else. we are just happy to incorporate the fresh, no preservative juice into our lives. if there is a day that we go without, no big deal. but we plan on getting lots of use from this juicer. 

and if any of you have or want a juicer.. here is a fantastic tip for you...

line your pulp container with a bag so cleaning will be a breeze... trust me, when you are cleaning your juicer three times a day, every little skipped step counts.

here are some of the great juices that we have learned to love:

watermelon and lime breakfast juice -

juice from a watermelon is delicious on its own. very fresh and tasty! but when you juice one lime with it... it's over the top. 
try this one. you'll love!

strawberry-kiwi-orange breakfast juice - 
one container of strawberries
three kiwis
two oranges

our version of a Mean Green juice - 
one VERY large handful of kale
a large handful of spinach leaves
one stalk of celery with the leaves
half a cucumber
handful of parsley
a big bunch of green grapes
one pear
one orange
small piece of peeled ginger

lots of ingredients in this one, but it does taste really good. we got some rubbermaid containers that have an airtight seal, and they have been a lifesaver for storing homemade juice. i fill mine with green juice 3/4 full, and when i'm ready for a juice break at work, i fill it with crushed ice and enjoy! 

i have been making this juice everyday for lunch since last monday, but adding an orange instead of an apple makes it taste a lot sweeter. both are good... i just prefer the orange.

i have just gone through my photos and will be posting 'food' blogs in the coming days... these were all dinners made before we began this journey... and just looking made me very hungry for all that deliciousness! 
Friday, August 5, 2011

sweet summer time...

nothing in the world is better than spending time at the beach with your favorite kids in the world!
i have been so busy lately with juicing and all, and have never blogged about our beach trips with our families. in a nutshell, we were surrounded by loads of beautiful, giggly, bouncy children for two weeks. (exhausting, and perfect all at the same time). 
here are some of my favorite photos of our time with our amazing nieces and nephews...
we also had the time with david's family to throw anita a bridal shower. it was the perfect beach setting, and we had the best time!
since we have been back home, the heat is worse than ever. there are days you cannot even bear to sit outside... going through these beach photos makes me miss the sand and water, but surprisingly, i am ready for fall and cooler temperatures. and sweaters and tall boots!!! we do have more travels coming up to look forward to - mark and anita's wedding in california will be here before we know it. i am very excited to be back in the gracious california weather and more than pumped for their wedding day! i am sure it will be spectacular. after the wedding and before we fly back to the south, we are going to take advantage of where we are and make a trip to the island of Catalina. that is something i am VERY excited for!
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

day one... {epic fail}

today i was out and about for awhile... not nearly long enough. i always find myself wishing for more time in the day. NOT TODAY!
this has been a rough go, but we are still hopeful that the overall experience will be a good one. how ever long we make it through this journey, we will be proud.

this was our menu for the day, and the cost breakdown. (breaking down the cost makes me feel somewhat better about the fact that we are spending loads of money on this cleanse)-

breakfast: pineapple/mango/orange juice
one small pineapple 1.99
one mango .79
three oranges .81
1/2 cup filtered water (free)

juice that up and chill in the fridge. this juice was seriously delish. the total cost to make was 3.59 and it made three 10 ounce servings. so breakfast for one cost only 1.20... pretty amazing.

again, this juice was probably the best i've ever tasted, but why wouldn't it be? all fresh and natural ingredients, nothing else. i drank around 9am, and was very much missing my two cups of black coffee by this point in the day. before my stomach started screaming for food, i decided to make and can tomato sauce. (yes, ridiculous idea)... yesterday i picked around 5 pounds of tomatoes from my garden, so i needed to fix them so nothing would spoil. if you have ever prepared a sauce and canned it, you will understand the lengthy period of time this process takes. needless to say, i was in the kitchen ALL DAY LONG.
not a great place to be when you can't eat.
somehow i managed to get everything finished and now have 12 half pints of spaghetti sauce ready to be stored for the winter.

lunch: our version of a mean green.
one stalk of celery with the leaves .33
lemon .33
lime .17
large handful of kale .50
pear .40
cucumber .49
2 apples .60
small piece of peeled ginger .10
handful of grapes .67
2 ounces of filtered water (free)

juice it all up and serve over ice.
i was really surprised at how good this one tasted. happily surprised. total cost for 32 ounces was 3.59. not bad for a lunch for two.

how am i breaking the cost down of all this fruit???
summertime is THE BEST for fruits and vegetables. locals and markets and even grocery stores sell for dirt cheap because the production and volume is so high, so we have got tremendous deals on everything we have bought. example: a bag of five pears at 1.99 = .40/pear. a large bunch of kale at 2.00, we will use that in 4 different servings so it rounds out to .50/serving... that is how i am calculating our cost.

the afternoon is where the hunger pangs sat in. maybe i wasn't really hungry, but i just wanted to chew something! a mild headache was also starting in, but it was deal-able. around 3pm, i received a text from david that read "kind of struggling."
ME TOOOOOOOOOOO! he told me of his headache and we decided to have a cup of coffee. he had his at work, and i went back to the kitchen to brew up a small pot of sumatra. the headache went away... only to return a short while later. i was starving. i didn't feel like myself. ABSOLUTEY NOOOOOOOO ENERGY. i tried watching tv, but all the commercials advertising delicious food make me die on the inside. i put my earbuds in my ears to let ray lamontagne drown out my sorrows... even ray couldn't help me this time.
my stomach was screaming for food. just for the smallest amount of anything solid.

david returned home from work and he was in the exact mindset as me. we contemplated eating a small something, then decided to make a juice and keep going. so we did.
i love tomato juice, so we made a v8 concoction.

2 large tomatoes
1 celery stalk
1 garlic clove
handful of parsley
4 carrots
large handful of spinach

it looked decent... it tasted ok? not really, but when you are this hungry you will 'drink' anything. i got about 3 ounces down and just gave up. it really wasn't that good...
we made a small meal. we devoured it. and after that all was ok, or so we thought. you have heard of the term called 'crash and burn,' and that is exactly what happened. after we ate david was immediately asleep on the couch, woke up 30 minutes later and looked like a ghost, then went straight to bed. at 8:30. yes, that is a crash and burn. i felt ok, a little disappointed that i couldn't go a whole day without solid food, but when you have eaten this way for nearly 30 years, what else could you expect for a first go?!?!

all in all, i feel ok for day one. most people doing any type of juice fast spends a few days in preparation... which we did not do. tomorrow we will resume the 'juice fast' with breakfast and lunch, and by dinnertime, if we are THAT hungry again, we will make a small healthy meal. chicken or fish and a green veggie. on days that we get more hungry around lunchtime, we will eat a small lunch, then a juice for dinner. i'm ok with this new plan. and then when we/our bodies are mentally and physically prepared, we will try a complete juice intake.

Blog Template by