Monday, March 17, 2014

Sometimes I Just Eat

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, I've been too busy eating to write anything. No,'s true.
My birthday was on Monday and those who love me know how much I love to eat so they arrange ample opportunities for me to do so. 
Shrimp Boil on Sunday night
It all started Saturday night when Cara took me to Chuy's and we overindulged on the creamy jalapeno dip. Then Sunday my parents took Ciana and me to Texas Roadhouse before Ciana left for a mission trip. That evening we had a shrimp boil for my official family birthday dinner and we burned our tongues off on the spicy but delicious shrimp, potatoes, asparagus, corn, sausage, and mushrooms.
The Philly Cheeseburger from Lankford Grocer and the remnants of my ice cream!

Me and Mom at Lankford was a beautiful day!

My birthday started off with my student bringing me my favorite drink from Starbucks (so sweet!), then my parents took me to lunch at Lankford Grocer in Houston and we had some seriously great burgers. We followed that up with ice cream at Amy's Ice Cream. Then we rolled over and died. Ok, not really but we felt like it. 

That night, I went to dinner with my Aunt Cindy. We've shared a birthday for 28 years and have never celebrated just the two of us. So to remedy that, this year we decided to try out Allo, a French bistro and it was fantastic. We had such a fun time!
The birthday glutton-fest continued on Tuesday when Lyndsey and the babies and I met up with Katie and Eve for brunch. It was so fun to see Cash and Eve interacting! The festivities finally ended that evening when Ashley and Marsha made one of my favorite meals and we played Nertz for a couple of fun-filled hours.  I think as energetically as we play card games we probably burned a few calories off!

All in all it a standout birthday. Good food, good friends, and a wonderful family make it easier to face drawing closer to the ever-dreaded 30!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Failure

I attempted to make an Eggs Benedict dish today to post on Monday.  As you can see above, the hollandaise separated and  it was a complete failure!  Oh well, I guess that's a hazard of food blogging.

Thankfully, my brother is kind and will eat Eggs Benedict no matter how bad it is!  

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Monday, March 3, 2014

Macaroni & Cheese

I once remarked that Paula Deen could quite possibly be my soul mate.  Anyone who loves butter and the South the way she does will always have a special place in my heart.  
My plate at the Lady & Sons in 2011
I've been fortunate enough to eat at her restaurant, The Lady and  Sons, three times.  Each time, the Mac & Cheese was one of the highlights from the buffet.  And that's saying something.  The buffet is filled with fried chicken, collard greens, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes, grits, fried fish, and more.  Not to mention the biscuits and johnny cakes served at the table.  It was all delicious.  And totally healthy.  Totally.
Me, Paula, and Ashley in 2011
On our second visit, I purchased a set of recipe cards that included The Lady's Cheesy Mac.  I've made it several times since and it was a big hit at the Southern Miss baby shower we threw for my sister when she was pregnant with Rosalie.  I cut it in little squares and served it in cute muffin liners.  Everyone loved it.  Now, this Mac & Cheese is one of Cash's favorite foods. He ate three servings just the other day!

I've adapted the recipe just slightly because my family prefers a creamier Mac & Cheese than what Paula serves.  I think mine is actually less healthy than the original...what does that say about me? 

Macoroni & Cheese
Adapted from The Lady and Sons

1 (1 lb) package elbow macaroni
4 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
4 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
3 eggs
¾ c. sour cream
1 ½  c. half & half
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper

Cook macaroni according to package directions and drain.  Stir in the butter and top with 3 c. of the shredded cheese.  Mix together the eggs, sour cream, half & half, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Mix into the pasta and cheese until the cheese sauce forms.  Pour into a buttered 9” x 13” baking dish and top with remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Favorites

It's Friday!  The meaning of Friday as lessened a little for me since I started working Saturdays but I still rejoice for the rest of you!

A few of my favorites this week...
Sherlock...I can't get enough.  Ciana and I have binge watched the first two seasons and we just finished the second of the current season.  I want to be friends with Dr. and Mrs. Watson.

This sweater.  Hopefully winter will last long enough to justify it.

Essie's Cocktails and Coconuts...because I don't have enough neutral nail polishes in my life.

Source: How Sweet Eats Blog
This Spinach and Bacon Pizza was great.  Cara made it for our Super Bowl commercial viewing party and I've been craving it again ever since.

Well, this couldn't be any more accurate.  Unfortunately I am all twelve of the above characters wrapped up in one, totally unproductive, mess.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Works for Me Wednesday- PB&J

Please forgive the over-Instagrammed photo...I got carried away and lost the original!

I'm linking up with Kristen's Works for Me Wednesday to talk about what works for me when I travel.  When Cara, Jennifer and I went to Canada in the summer of 2012 we made every effort to keep costs as low as possible. One of the ways we did that was by eating sandwiches for lunch almost every day.  By packing things for breakfasts and lunches we were able to splurge on dinners and still keep costs down. We splurged on things like lobster, by the way!
Our Waitress wasn't the best photographer but the food was awesome!

We stuck to peanut butter and jelly most days because we didn't have to worry about keeping lunch meat and cheese cold.  As uninteresting as a good ol' fashion PB&J might sound, it's amazing how your surroundings can influence the taste of something.  We would eat lunch on the beach each day and our PB&J, chips, fruit, and water might as well have been a gourmet meal for as much as we enjoyed ourselves.  Keeping it works for me!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chicken Pasties

Before I go any further, I want to keep you from making the same embarrassing mistake I did. When referring to a savory hand-pie that is popular in the UK, pasty is pronounced past-y, not paste-y.  You’re welcome.

I’ve visited the UK twice and both times I ate more than my fair share of pasties.  Pasties come with fillings like chicken and veggie, chicken curry, beef and mushrooms, pork and apples, and many more.  My favorite was the chicken and veggie.  It was a hand-held chicken pot pie...what’s not to like?

I ate my most memorable chicken pasty the day Cara and I visited Chatsworth House. Chatsworth was used as Mr. Darcy's Pemberley in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley. My obsession with Jane Austen began in elementary school when I caught part of the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice on PBS one night. You know, the Colin Firth version. Go ahead and take a second...sigh. I even joined an online Austen community when I was 14 and I still visit Pemberley almost daily. Needless to say, when I had the opportunity to explore "Pemberley" for myself I was more than a little excited. The house and grounds were spectacular. It was everything I'd imagined and more. Chatsworth has such a rich history ranging from scandalous Georgiana Cavendish, the 5th Duchess of Devonshire to the inspiring, Elvis loving, Dowager Duchess, Deborah Cavendish.

As you can see from the outdoor pictures we visited on a cold, cloudy day.  After we explored the grounds we were more than ready for something warm and yummy to eat.  Chatsworth has a restaurant and small snack shops for hungry guests.  It was at one of these snack shops that Cara and I each ordered a chicken pasty.  It was the perfect thing.  It was simple and warm and flaky and completely delicious.  The best part?  They kept our hands warm as we ate them!  

The recipe below is just my basic chicken pot pie recipe wrapped in delicious flaky pie dough. I used a dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it is FANTASTIC. So buttery. So flaky. So perfect.

Chicken Pasties
Serves 6-8


½ medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 large red potatoes, chopped
4 Tbsp butter, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ (12 oz) bag of frozen peas
2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
4 Tbsp flour
1 ½ cups chicken broth
½  tsp nutmeg
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 batch All Butter Pie Crust Dough from Smitten Kitchen
1 egg
1 Tbsp water


Bring the chopped potatoes to a boil in salted water and cook until just fork tender.  Meanwhile, saute the onions, carrots, and celery in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil until tender.  When the potatoes are done, drain them and add to the sauted vegetables.  Add the chicken and remaining 3 Tbsp of butter.  Once the butter is melted, sprinkle the flour over the mixture and mix everything together.  Cook for a minute to cook out the raw flour taste.  Mix in the chicken broth, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.  Cook until the mixture has thickened to a “pot pie” consistancy. Remove from heat and place in refrigerator to chill, at least one hour.  
When mixture is chilled, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and roll out half of your pie crust dough out to approximately ⅛”.  Using a 6” biscuit cutter (or bowl, if you’re cool like me.) cut out 7 rounds.  Roll each circle a little more then put ⅓ c. of the filling on half of each circle.  Wet your fingers with a little cold water and dampen the edges of half of the circle then fold over and seal close to the filling.  You can either use a fork to seal it or use the method I prefer.  Simply press down firmly to seal the dough, then starting at one end, fold the edges up and over to create a twisted edge look.  After filling and sealing all the pies, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to re-chill.
Repeat with second half of dough.  Whisk together the egg and 1 Tbsp. of water to make an egg wash.  Remove the pies from the freezer and brush liberally with the egg wash.  Bake for 20-22 minutes until golden brown.  Remove immediately to cooling racks then serve.

Note: You will probably have filling left's delicious eaten on it's own or you can make more dough for additional pasties or a great chicken pot pie.

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