Monday, June 27, 2011

Ciao from Chucktown

I'm officially in love with Charleston. Right now we're at Folly Beach, but I would have loved to stay in downtown Chucktown. It is the prettiest thing EVER! So many lovely old fashioned homes.

Today we ate lunch at Cosmic Dogs. My family acted like it was the best thing ever, but I thought it was just OK. The hot dogs, the milkshakes, the fries, the slaw-i think you could make just as good or better food at home. I did like the vintagey atmosphere of the place. Overall, it gets a B.
In Charleston we went on a carriage ride. Biggest. Ripoff. Ever. The old homes are beautiful, but we could have looked at them for free and not listened all the boring details. Plus, it was sooo hot. By the end I was too sweaty to go to any shops, but maybe tomorrow.

Overall, I'm pleased with Charleston and Folly. I'll blog more about it later. Bye!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm Back!

I'm back from camp! I went to Bigstuf, which is an amazing Christian camp in Panama City Beach, FL. I had such an awesome week and I am NOT ready to be home again. It didn't feel like 5 days.

While I was gone, something great happened in blogland:

Courtney @ semisweet gave me this award! I feel honored. I have to answer the following questions: 

1. Favorite cartoon character: Then, probably VeggieTales characters. Now... it's the same.

 2. Favorite thing to photograph: I like taking pictures of food, because I like making the food look pretty. It tastes better that way!

3. Favorite thing to cook: I like baking better than cooking, because it uses exact measurements. I hate it when my mom tells me to add a drizzle of this or a handful of something! It's hard to pick just one thing, but I really like making yeast breads

4.Favorite way to exercise: I don't like exercise that much, but I do like Pilates.

5. Favorite Movies: I can't pick just one! The Blind Side, The Bucket List, The Princess Bride, Gone with the Wind, and The Last Song.

6. Clothing:  I really like summer dresses.

7. Flower: Pale pink roses, and hydrangeas

8. Breakfast: Hmm that's tough! I do love scones, muffins, and quick breads.

9. Book: Again, I can't pick just one! I love The Mark of the Lions series by Francine Rivers, The Russians  series by Judith Pella, The Last Song and A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks, and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
and then I have to add another question for the people I award it to:

 What is your least favorite food? I'm not a picky eater, but I can't stand asparagus! Never have, never will! Blech!

Now I have to pass on the award. I don't want to! This is hard! I like all the blogs I read! And some people who I would like to award have already been awarded. That's what I get for waiting so long, I guess. OK, here goes:

1. Kat @ katshealthcorner,

2. Lynne @ milk n' cookiezzz

3. Erika @ the teenage taste

4. Sami @ a teenage gourmet

Ughhhh that was hard! I feel mean.

In other news, I'm going to Folly Beach and Charleston next week. I'm excited because I love going new places! It's still inside my little 6-state bubble though. One day I will break out! but anyway, I promise to share recipes and restaurants.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ed Boudreaux's Bayou BBQ

Oh how I love Asheville. I grew up in a biggish (that's a word, because...I said so) small town and now live in an even smaller town, but my heart belongs to the city. And Asheville is a great size-large enough to have the  rush and energy of a city, yet small enough to have less traffic.
I absolutely adore downtown. I love, love, love, love it. It's so funky and unique. I love those Bohemian dresses the hippie women wear. I love the art. I really love the boutiques. And of course I love the food. 

Last weekend, I visited my family in Asheville, and on Friday night we went to Ed Boudreaux Bayou Barbecue. We went back in November and I had some amazing barbecue and the best sweet potato fries I've ever eaten. These fries are the perfect doneness, and slightly sweet and salty. And they must be eaten with Alabama White BBQ sauce. This sauce is divine-mild, tangy, not really sweet. I also tried Rajun Cajun BBQ sauce and it was good but it paled in comparison. 
This time, i decided to get a portabello melt, because I'd never had portabellos before. It was delicious- it had portabellos, avocados, lots of swiss cheese, red onions, tomatoes, balsamic ailoli, and sprouts. It was absolutely amazing. I only ate half but it was really satisfying. (I managed to eat all my fries though-they are that amazing!) They also have other vegetarian options like black bean burgers, avocado melts, and a couple of sandwiches with tempeh.

Afterwords we went to the drum circle. That's just what it sounds like- a place where all the hippies dance and play drums. People come from all over to participate. They look really ridiculous and a little creepy-but it's really cool.

I love Asheville. But I guess you probably figured that out. 

Have a good night,

Monday, June 13, 2011

Southern Charm

The other day, I wanted to bake, but I didn't go to the internet, or to our endless supply of old Taste of Homes.   Instead, I went an even better direction, one I don't go nearly enough.
 This is my grandmother's recipe box. All the recipes are written in her lovely old-fashioned handwriting, and all of them are 100 times better than anything modern. Last week, I made her pound cake. This is the best pound cake I've ever eaten, hands down.

There's something nice and old-fashioned about pound cake, isn't there? It seems like something Scarlett O'Hara would nibble on, sitting under a magnolia tree, surrounded by young men.

(Don't be hatin' on Gone with the Wind just because it's 75 years old and over 700 pages long. It's my favorite book, and I don't care how old it is.)

I had high hopes for this cake. It's only the 3rd scratch cake I've ever baked all by myself. And it fell. I cried when I opened the oven and saw.  And I'm not ashamed.
Here are some reasons it could have fallen:1. i didn't use a really good pan, 2. I had to chill the batter before baking, and 3. I forgot to flour the pan.

Here's the recipe. It is the richest, most delicious cake you'll EVER eat!!
Pound Cake
3/4 lb butter, at room temp.
6 eggs, at room temp.
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
3 c sifted flour
3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and flour. Bake in a greased, floured bundt pan at 325 for 1-1 1/2 hrs. Makes: one large cake.

oh my my my. :)

Have a good night,

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Banana Bread #2

Banana bread is so cliche, but how could you get tired of its moist, not-too-sweet, amazing goodness?
 There are soo many variations- blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut are just a few things people add to make a delicious bread even better.
It's so easy to make! It was one of the first things I ever baked by myself. Of course, I messed up a few times-once I used all purpose flour, and another time I left out the bananas. Don't judge.
I know I already have a banana bread recipe on this blog, but I decided to share this yummy version I made last week. It is the best recipe I've ever had, period. The hint of lemon sets it apart from other banana breads, without being overpowering.
Don't be bored by banana bread! Make this!

Banana bread
from Jan Karon's Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader

3/4 c sugar
1/3 c butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 c sour cream
2 tsp lemon juice
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 c self rising flour
1 c walnuts, opt

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beat well after each addition. Add sour cream, lemon juice, zest, and bananas and beat well.  Stir in flour until just blended. Add walnuts, if desired, and mix till just incorporated. 
Pour into a greased 9x13 in loaf pan, bake at 350 for 55 min.

Trust me, you want to make this. You really do!

Have a good night!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mexican Pizza

Too many recipes!!

I'm not kidding. Even if I cooked five new recipes every day for the rest of my life, I would never get to try every good thing that I saw. If I posted five times a day every day, I would never get to share every recipe that you should make. There are too many!

That's why I'm posting today, even though I posted yesterday. It's time for me to grow up and get a life. I can't help it. I don't like it. But it's just how it is.

Anyway, aren't you glad that I don't have more of a life? If I had more of a life, I wouldn't have time to share this Mexican pizza recipe with you. I made it up by myself! I feel accomplished. Not to brag, though. I don't have much culinary imagination. I'm not going to wow you with an out-of-this-world creative, gourmet recipe. It's simple, but it's delicious!

I made my pizza extremely spicy. You may want to go easy on the spices, or use mild salsa. But that would be boring. 

Here's the recipe!

1/2 batch ERM pizza crust  <--(I use half whole wheat flour now)
several sprigs fresh cilantro
several sprigs fresh oregano
chili powder
cayenne pepper
medium salsa
1/2 can black beans, drained
1 (4 oz) can green chiles, drained
freshly grated pepper jack cheese
mozzarella cheese

Mix some of the fresh herbs in with the dough. Roll out on a greased baking sheet to desired thickness. Bake at 425 for 10 min. Add salsa and other toppings. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Makes: one thin pizza

Who wants Dominoes or frozen pizza when you can have homemade pizza in less than an hour? 
Questions of the day: what are your favorite pizza toppings?

Have a good night!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

R and M Sandwich Shop

Today I ate one of the best lunches-no, meals period, that I've EVER eaten. And that's saying a lot.
A while back, my mom and sister went to Canton, GA and came back raving about the downtown, especially this amazing sandwich shop. Then, today we went shopping and Mom and my sister insisted we go here for lunch. And I fell in love.
I was thinking it would be one of those girly places where you get a light little sandwich and soup. Was I ever wrong. The sandwiches are every bit as filling as big thick burgers. And the atmosphere isn't like a girly sandwich place. It's very vintage-y ; they have old Coca-cola decorations and stuff like that. I just love those types of places. 
But you don't care, you want to know about the food! OK. First off are the french fries. They were really tasty; They tasted like Arby's fries. They weren't too soggy or too crisp.
My mom and sister split the donna special, which is grilled roast beef on rye with Swiss and mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, jalapenos, mustard, mayonnaise and tomatoes. O my goodness. To die for!
I had grilled salami and swiss on rye. It was soo good, but ugh, it was so greasy! I used like four paper napkins and didn't get even a tenth of the grease off. But it wasn't one of those greasy foods where grease is the only flavor- it was like there was a treasure buried underneath. The salami was good quality.I didn't eat nearly all of it but I was soo stuffed!
You should go to R and M!  It's quite amazing. And downtown Canton is actually pretty. I'm more interested in the city part though. :)

What could be better than a day with good food, good books, and shopping?

Questions of the day: What are your favorite independent/local restaurants?

Have a good night!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Weekend Book Review

Hey! Hope everyone's first week of June was better than mine. Well it wasn't all bad, I guess. It was the first week out of school, after all.  But, let's just say it better not be an indication of how the rest of the summer is going to go.
Anyhow! This week's book review is for a very exciting, suspenseful, thrilling book called And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Wow. It was so good! It gave me shivers! It is about ten people who go to an  island, and there's no way off, and each person is murdered, one by one. Squeamish people shouldn't read it, not because it has gory details about the bodies, but because of the sickness of their minds. Not just the killers mind, but all the victims, as they go crazy, thinking: "I could be next." "Who can I trust" "Oh my gosh i'm going to die!"
I wish authors today would write more suspenseful stories instead of gruesome ones. And Then There Were None is a page turner in a way that today's stories about vampires and that stuff just can't top.

Question of the day: Do you like suspenseful murder mysteries or gruesome ones? Or do you read sappy love stories? I must admit, I love those too, but we need excitement in our lives. I get bored reading the same things.
Have a good week!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Staying Active

One of my goals for the summer is to exercise more. I always either don't have time or don't feel like it. Unlike alot of bloggers, I don't really like exercising- I just do it because I know I should and so I can justify eating ice cream. However, I've made it my goal to increase my exercising from 3 or 4 times a week to 5 or 6 times a week. So far, I've exercised 3 times this week, so if I do it today and tomorrow, I will have achieved my goal! :) Yay! 
If I had to pick a favorite way to exercise (I really don't like any of it that much) I would say Pilates. I really like this DVD.  But the other day I tried the 10 Minute Solutions Slim and Sculpt Pilates  DVD. It includes five 10 minute workouts:Upper body Pilates, lower body Pilates, Pilates for abs, total body Pilates, and Pilates for flexibility. I did total body Pilates and it was a pretty good workout. I like the instructor (Suzanne Bowen) because she is smiling and encouraging you, without being annoyingly cheerful. And this DVD would be really convenient if you didn't have a lot of time to exercise. The only thing I didn't like is that it doesn't have a warm-up/cool down. That's the only thing- but it's a big thing, because warming up and cooling down is so important. Overall, I would give it an A-. 

Questions of the day: Do you like to exercise? What are your favorite ways to exercise?

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hello, Summer!

I love summer! I love the beach, the pool, the freedom from school, the warm weather, the beach, the flip-flops, the flowers, the fireflies, and most definitely the beach.

I also love the food.  Fresh produce from our garden or the farmers market...lime and sweet tea...grilled chicken, hotdogs and burgers...oh, and ice cream. DEFINITELY ice cream.

Ice cream. It's cold and creamy (obviously), sweet and refreshing. I don't have a problem with store-bought ice cream (as long as it's a good brand) but there's just something about homemade ice cream, you know? Something about it that sets it apart from all other ice cream.

This recipe is amazing. It's supposed to be very creamy, almost like a Wendy's Frosty. I wouldn't recommend it for ice cream sandwiches or pies. And it's extremely rich and satisfying.

 I personally don't see why plain old vanilla gets such a bad rap. I guess people are used to bad brands that taste like nothingness. But if you get a good, super vanilla-y vanilla ice cream like this one, you will become a vanilla lover, I promise!

Ice cream
(from Southern Living's Summertime Magazine, 1996)

 2 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk
1 qt half and half
 4 tsp vanilla extract

 combine alll ingredients, mixing well. Pour into container of a 1 gallon ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Makes: 2 1/2 quarts.

You can add any flavor you want. I don't have a favorite flavor, really, but I love coffee, cookie dough, lemon, and raspberry, to name a few.

And Nutella on top of raspberry ice cream is absolutely divine. In fact, I can't think of an ice cream nutella wouldn;t be divine on- well it wouldnt be good on lemon or lime, but nutella and all other flavors are a match made in heaven.

 Make this today! And kiss your bikinis good-bye. No one likes them anyway. :) lol.

 Questions of the day: Whats your favorite ice cream?
What's your favorite part of summer?