Friday, January 30, 2015

Five On Friday

Happy Friday!  I'm joining April, Darci, Natasha, and Christina for their Five on Friday Linkup. Here's my five for this Friday.

1. For the last few months, I've been getting up and making smoothies every morning.  Neither T nor I are big breakfast people, so if our breakfast options are not simple and portable we won't eat.  I've been having fun playing around with different smoothie recipes, and I've really been liking the chocolate peanut butter banana ones we've been having recently.  


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
(Serves 2)

1 banana
1 heaping Tbsp Peanut Butter
1 heaping Tbsp Reeses Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread
1 cup milk
1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

2. Yesterday I posted about finally making a recipe from my Charleston Receipts cookbook.  I have had this cookbook for years, and just made my first recipe from it, which by the way was a complete success.  Last night I thumbed through the entire book and made a list of all the recipes I'm wanting to try.  I'll be making at least one next week, and I'm already looking forward to it! (Check out yesterday's recipe here)

3. For a girl on a budget, I sure have been doing a lot of shopping lately.  While I was in Key West a few weeks ago, one of the wheels on my rolling suitcase bit the dust, which made for an embarrassing walk through the airport with my janky suitcase.  I'll be doing some travel for work this month and next, so buying a new suitcase was a must.  I found this Jonathan Adler one on major sale, and fell in love with the pattern.  Can't wait to put this baby to use!

4. If the suitcase purchase wasn't guilt-inducing enough, I also scored some major deals on Piperlime this week.  Thanks to Katie at Miss Dixie for the heads up that they were doing an additional 60% off their final sale items.  I scored $515 worth of clothing and shoes for a whopping $75.  Two of my favorite purchases were a pair Loeffler Randall sandals for $43 down from $175, and a snakeskin printed top for $9.99 down from $80.  Score!

5.  We'll be spending yet another weekend at home, hallelujah.   Last weekend we tackled fixing the hole in our wall (again) and this weekend we'll be stripping paint from doors and trim.  Not the most glamorous work, but when we're done it's going to make such a difference!  Here's the before and after shots of our wall.  Still need to touch up the trim paint, but it's MUCH improved.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Charleston Receipts + Curry Chicken Recipe

A few years ago I picked up a Charleston Receipts cookbook at a local antique shop. This cookbook was first published in 1950, and is the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print.  Since it's original print date in 1950, over 650,000 copies have now been sold.

There are some very dated (and odd) recipes in this book.  Like the Roasted Calf's Head for example, we probably won't be making that one any time soon. Doubt I'll be serving the Rabbit Pie or a Roast Opossum either. The cookbook does however have some really good classic recipes in it, and I just love thinking that women were making these very recipes in the 1950's. 

I've had this book for almost three years now, and as of last weekend had yet to make a recipe from it.  This week I challenged myself to thumb through the book and find at least one thing to make.  I actually found quite a few, but decided on Mrs. Norman Scott's Curry to try first.

I chose this recipe because it called for simple ingredients that I already had at home. And I'm always down to try a new curry dish.  It doesn't really fall into the typical recipes that come to mind when you think of low country cuisine, I'm sure this was quite an exotic recipe back in the day.

The chicken turned out beautifully.  So full of flavor, and the sauce was so tasty you could eat it with a spoon.  We served our chicken over rice with a side of roasted broccoli, which I thought was a great accompaniment. 

I halved the recipe, which ended up being enough for T and I for two meals. Instead of using a whole boiled or baked chicken, I substituted 4 skinless thighs and threw them on the grill pan to cook before adding them to the sauce.  I also added a dash of cayenne to give the chicken a little kick.  We'll be repeating this one soon!

Next on my list of recipes to try from this book are the Spinach Souffle, the Shrimp Pie (only because the cookbook's previous owner marked this one with a star), and the Hugenot Torte.

If you're interested in picking up a copy of Charleston Receipts for yourself, you can find one here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grits and Groceries

After months of saying we were going to go, T and I finally made our way out to the town of Belton to eat at Grits and Groceries. The restaurant is owned by a husband and wife who were chefs in New Orleans. He worked with Emeril Legasse, she's a classically trained chef who even spent time studying in Paris. And now they've moved back to the quaint town of Belton to raise their family and run this small restaurant.

We arrived on Saturday around 11:45 prepared to wait, but luckily they had a few open spots at the bar.  T and I usually prefer to sit at a bar when it's an option at a restaurant.  You get better service, and in the case of G & G, you get to see what everyone's entrees look like before they go to the tables (the restaurant's bar faces into the kitchen). On Saturday, they serve from both their brunch and lunch menus.  T and I both opted for lunch items, but after seeing the Red Rooster Breakfast- a fried chicken breast with fried eggs, smothered in country gravy, served with grits and a biscuit- we both second guessed our ordering decisions.

I ordered the Fried Catfish Sandwich, T had the New Orleans Shrimp Po Boy, and then we both shared an order of their hand cut fries.  As we expected, both sandwiches were incredible and so were the fries.  The fish was cooked to perfection, and the creamy remoulade sauce served on it was just the right accompaniment.   T's Po Boy was just as great, although not as pretty to photograph.  The shrimp were lightly battered and fried, served on a toasted hoagie with the same remoulade and their house-made pickles.  I've never had pickles on a po boy before, but after trying it I may never order another one without.  Their pickles are so tasty, crisp and sweet with a hint of heat.

After our lunch as we were heading back to the car, we spotted this little jar on their front porch area.  We put our dollar in the jar and filled a small cup up with goat food.  Just across the street from the restaurant there was a pasture with several goats, so we headed over there to feed them.  Weirdly enough, I've always had a love for goats.  I've dreamed of having a lot of land one day with goats in the yard,  so getting to feed and pet the goats was one of the highlights of my weekend, along with those pickles.

G & G also has a great outdoor seating area, that's even dog friendly.  We can't wait to come back and sit out there in the spring.  In the warmer months they also serve their tomato pie, which I have heard is amazing.  I was bummed to not see it on the menu this time, but can't wait to try it when we return.

The town of Belton is about a 45 minute drive from downtown Greenville, but trust me, it's worth the ride.  People come from near and far to visit this place, and it's gotten a lot of local and national attention in the last few years.  I've inlcuded some links below to some probably better written, more descriptive, write-ups about this place.  You know, the professional versions.

Garden and Gun


The Greenville Journal

Our Upstate SC

Grits and Groceries on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Recap

I just love a weekend at home.  Don't get me wrong, I love a getaway just like everyone else, but there's something so relaxing about spending an entire weekend in your hometown.  This weekend we did just that, and the entire three days revolved around house projects and food.  My kinda weekend.

-We tried out Grits and Groceries for the first time, had an amazing lunch, and got to feed some sweet goats afterward.  (More on this in a later post). 

-Made the yummiest steak sandwiches for dinner on Saturday.  Just thinly cut leftover steak, arugula, and horseradish mayo on a bun.

-Celebrated the first cans of beer that were ever sold.  That's right, on January 24th 80 years ago the first beer cans were sold in the US.  We observed the holiday with a 6 pack of some of our favorites.

-Enjoyed the chess set that we got for Christmas this year, even though I still have yet to win a game.

-Started the process of recovering 2 chairs that belonged to T's grandmother.  We removed about 500 staples, and we're still not done.  

And now it's time to tackle the week.  Hope y'all had a great weekend as well!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five On Friday

 Happy Friday everyone! Today I'm linking up with April, Darci, Natasha, and Christina for a Five On Friday Post.

1. I've just added more necklaces to my Etsy shop.  It's been so much fun making these necklaces, most nights I race home, pour a glass of wine, and get to beading.  I usually have enough time to make a necklace before T gets home from work, so I can take over the entire den for an hour with all my beads.  I'm keeping these necklaces as simple as I can to keep the prices down.  Each necklace is only $20, quite a difference from the $70+ prices I've been seeing in local boutiques.

2. I got a little stir crazy with being cooped up in the house for several days, so I went through my cabinets to see what I could make with what I had on hand.  I had a box of quick oats,  flour, sugar, eggs, and a whole bag of Reese's peanut butter cups in the fridge leftover from Halloween (don't judge me).  After doing some Googling, I found this recipe and made a batch. They were so good, and they're still chewy after a few days. I also froze half of the dough to use later, so I'll be interested to see how it keeps.

3.It's only taken us 4 years, but we're finally going to try out Grits and Groceries for brunch this weekend.  It's a 45 minute drive from our house, but from what I hear it's well worth it.  This little restaurant situated basically in the middle of nowhere, but people drive from near and far to try it out.


4.  Have y'all watched My Big Fat Fabulous Life yet?  It's hilarious.  The show follows Whitney and her crazy hilarious family.  Whitney's fame rose when she posted this video about a year ago, which currently has over 6 million views. She now has her own show (that's filmed in her hometown of Greensboro, NC) and she's an absolute hoot.  If you haven't watched it yet, you must.

5.  Our puppy George is one year old today!  T and I plan to celebrate with him this weekend.  We'll be taking him to the park, going on several long walks, and we have a huge bone filled with peanut butter waiting for him.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lunch at the Pickwick Pharmacy + Tomato Pie Recipe

The Pickwick is an old-fashioned pharmacy and lunch counter that's been iconic to the Augusta Road area of Greenville for decades. The pharmacy first opened in 1947, but in the 80's decided to close its soda fountain.  In 2007, they opened it back up, and restored it to its original beauty.  This fall, Food & Wine Magazine wrote an article about the the best soda fountains in the US, and the Pickwick made the list!

This summer, I spontaneously entered a Tomato Pie contest that the Pickwick Pharmacy was hosting. It was a spur of the moment decision to enter the contest, so I was thrilled to find out that I won third place!  My tomato pie has always been a family favorite, but knowing that it placed among other tomato pie enthusiast's recipes was a huge compliment.

As part of my 3rd place prize, I received a gift card for free lunch for two at their lunch counter.  T and I recently cashed it in, and had our first dining experience at the Pickwick.  Their menu is simple, they have classics like Peanut Butter & Jelly, Pimiento Cheese, and Chicken Salad, but they also have a few oddities on their menu like the Cream Cheese & Pineapple sandwich. Still can't wrap my head around that sandwich combo.  T and I ordered chili dogs and bags of chips, and washed it all down with hand-spun milkshakes.

We felt like little kids as we ate our hot dogs and slurped on our shakes at the counter.  At no surprise to us, the food was great.  When a restaurant has such a simple menu you hope that everything they do offer is fresh and tasty, and the Pickwick did not disappoint. 

Although it's not quite the season, if you're interested in trying out my Tomato Pie recipe I've included it here for you, as well as a few pictures from that fateful day.  I'll also be working to perfect my recipe so that I can enter again next year and hopefully come home with another ribbon!

Tomato Pie

4 tomatoes, peeled, deeseeded, and cut into bite size pices
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup read or yellow onion, chopped
1- (9 inch) prebaked pie shell
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup Duke's Mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350.
Place cut tomatoes in colander in the sink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, and allow the tomatoes to drain for at least 10 minutes, up to 2 hours.  Layer the pie shell with tomato slices, basil, and onion.  In a mixing bowl, combine the grated cheeses and mayo and spread mixture over top.  Bake 30 minutes until lightly browned.  Cut into slices and serve warm. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Vacationing Key West

Last weekend I took a trip to Key West for a bachelorette party with some of my best girlfriends. We had such a great time together, and the weather was just perfect. I went to Key West in college for a spring break trip my senior year, but this trip was quite different. While we did spend our fair share of time in the bars, we also made a point to explore and get a taste of the local culture while we were there this time.

We all arrived on Thursday evening, went out to dinner together, and then came back home to rest up for the weekend ahead. We woke up bright and early on Friday morning, and found a coffee shop around the corner that served coquitos. I had never had Cuban coffee before, but these things were amazing. Cuban coffee is well known to be very sweet, and the coquito is a mixture of equal parts sweetened espresso and milk. So tasty! After coffee and breakfast we walked to the beach at the Southernmost Beach Cafe and spent the rest of our afternoon there. 

Kate, the bride, brought each of us girls tank tops with different sayings on them.  Aren't they so cute?  We had so much fun walking around and posing for pictures in our neon tanks.

Kate's sister Allison planned the entire weekend and did a fabulous job.  On Friday night we cooked dinner at the house and threw a lingerie shower for Kate.  After dinner and the shower we headed to Aqua for a drag show which was SO MUCH FUN.  If you visit Key West, this is a must.

Saturday morning we got up and had brunch at the cutest place, Blue Heaven.  They're known for their Eggs Benedict made with key lime juice in the hollandaise which were indeed amazing. 

Later that afternoon we took a catamaran out to the coral reef for a snorkeling trip.  Even though it was January, the water was surprisingly warm.

And on Saturday evening we mustered all of the energy we had left to go out for dinner and drinks one last time. This trip was a perfect escape from the miserably cold weather we've had in South Carolina recently.  Getting to spend quality time with my best friends was perfect, and knowing that we were escaping the frigid weather back home made it even better.

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