If it's called a slider, I don't feel so bad about eating 6 2 of them, furthermore as far as I am concerned anything smaller than a McDonald's burger, even remotely smaller is a slider...But I contend these really are sliders, so eat as many as you want! I made them the other weekend for a football game viewing, but they would be great at a party or lunch or even just a weeknight dinner, and the recipe could easily be doubled or quadrupled. I made the BBQ Chicken in the crock pot, which was easy, but if you wanted even easier you could totally buy BBQ Chicken at the market. The best part - the leftovers were was even better the next day!
Few things make me feel better in life than a list, not just a "to-do" list but a grocery list, a goal list, a who's coming to the party list, who I like the most list any list really; specifically I like these lists on index cards or post it notes - durable paper. Each day before I leave work I write down the top five things I need to accomplish the next day on a post it and stick it right in the middle of my desk. I find it's a great way to end one day, get the work stuff out of my mind, and then the next day I'm ready to jump right in. At any given time I have at least 3 index cards in my purse; usually there is a grocery list index card, an I need to buy this at Big Lots the next time I go card, and some card planning whatever social engagement is coming up next - could be a packing list, party list, or wine list...
Saturday we are having four couples over for lunch. Our friends Joey & Crystal who moved to California are in town to visit with their baby Jack! Since they live in California this is the first time all of us Georgia people get to met the baby, so its sort of his debut party. Because of this exciting time almost all my index cards are about Saturday. I have a grocery list to make this turkey sandwich and this ham sandwich and some blanks for some other sandwich I am going to make, along with notes to figure out an appetizer and make cookies for dessert - which I checked off last night, along with eating half of some dough. A successful party is all about preparation. I have a list of what I need to clean before Saturday because every southern girl knows you have to have a clean house when you are having guests. Finally, I have a list that I have been working on for weeks with tailgate ideas that I want to use this year...see this list thing is serious business.
Are you a list maker? Does it help you relieve stress to write it all down or does it stress you out more to see everything you have to do staring you in the face? What is your favorite appetizer for a casual lunch? Do you like a crudité tray? Are you a chips and dip fan? Do you just head to the bloody mary bar? I can't decide what to do...
Sincerely Loving Food, Lainey
Thanks to the rainy, rainy, rainy weather this weekend I was super productive. Saturday involved a morning Blast session, luck fell my way when I was able to score a Chick-fil-a biscuit at 10:50am (side note - why does breakfast service stop at 10:30 and not 11), I used one whole Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 4 cups of vinegar and half a roll of paper towels making my kitchen so clean I would eat off the floor, and then rounded it all off with a trip to a Buford Highway LEGITIMATE taqueria. It was called Taqueria Los Rayos, they don't have a website, the cashier spoke very broken English, it is in a building that was for sure a Dairy Queen at one time, and the tacos are savory slow cooked amazing treat served on 2 corn tortillas. I had the beef, chorizo and chicken - all 3 spicy delicious. The place is in between Buford Hwy and Clairmont right at the Skyland Rd. intersection - if you are in the area and wanting some legitimate Mexican food you should totally try it out!
Yesterday was about canning and planning. Planning the meals for this week, a lunch with friends for next weekend (2 BIG sandwiches ham and turkey) and the first tailgate of the year only 2 weeks away. With a trip to Costco, Kroger and Big Lots in the books I think I am ready for the upcoming challenges. Dinners this week will be pretty simple because Thursday our friend is coming to town and as a special treat taking us to Bone's for dinner, so gotta cut calories in advance. Bone's is like the signature Atlanta, man's club, steak house - think wood paneling, cigars and scotch...I'm not really into cigars or scotch, but I'll take wood paneling and a delicious steak any day!
Annie at Annie's Eats inspired me to do some canning this weekend, in honor of Can it Forward Day, so I made this zesty corn relish I found on tasty kitchen and tried my hand at pickling okra that I picked at my friend's farm last weekend. I know the corn relish will be delicious since this is the second time I made it and if the okra turns out well I will share the recipe!
Everyday the fabulous door man at One Buckhead Plaza
greets all the little worker bees coming in to start their day with a smiley hello, and on Fridays he really ups the ante by telling everyone, "Happy Friday!" I really love it, not a huge deal, but just a little something extra to get the day started off on a fabulous foot. So, HAPPY FRIDAY TO YOU! And let's take a look back at the four most fabulous things that happened this week.
1. Tuesday I started a month unlimited membership at Blast 900. It is one of those crazy boutique gyms with a daily hour long work out. I have been 3 times and I'm completely in love, like one of those It Hurts So Good kind of loves, I am so into interval training kind of love, I might even start juicing for some meals kind of love. I can hardly sit on the toilet, not to mention get back up, sorry tmi...but I just remember how skinny my thighs are getting with every squat...I am so looking forward to the next 28 days and all my workouts!
2. Old Navy is having an amazing active wear sale. I figured since I will be working out like crazy for the next month I should look good doing it. I totally scored some $10 sports bras, $14 tanks and $12 capris! Budget Friendly! I realize these aren't like lulu lemon quality or anything...but this girl loves deal! Especially when the deal is cute stuff!
3. COOKIE BARS holy moly bat man! My girl Ashley brought these over last Friday for our taconight dessert and it was literally one of the best cookies I have ever put in my mouth AND they are really easy to make. Definitely a winner!
4. Suits - If you don't know Harvey Specter you need to log onto Netflix and learn, or usanetwork.com. He is the best "closer" aka gutsy, witty, handsome, smart, charming, hot attorney, in Manhattan and I am so pumped because SPOILER ALERT after this week's episode he and his side kick Mike are back on good terms, so all is right with the world. This is the best summer show ever! Fast paced, hot, conniving, smart, just a great, great show. I am counting the hours until Tuesday at 10pm for the next one...
Friday night I had some girl friends over for tacos and sangria. It was a complete blast! The girls brought over chips and dips, tons of dips: Texas Caviar (a variation of my Redneck Caviar), Trader Joe's Cheese Dip and even homemade guacamole and a delicious dessert...maybe I can get her to share the delicious chocolate chip cookie bar recipe! After we drank five a couple rounds of sangria I made Tilapia Fish Tacos and heated up my favorite refried black beans that I had prepared earlier in the day. These beans have literally become my go to Mexican side dish, where ever I take them people LOVE them and ask for the recipe...they are waist line friendly (high in protein/low in fat) and so delicious I didn't have time to grab a picture before they were all gone. This recipe is also great to cut in half if you are only cooking for 2 or just as easy to double or triple if you are cooking for a large group. I hope you enjoy!
Sincerely Loving Food,
After my family vacation, eating approximately 3,583 calories before noon a day, I like to do a detox of sorts and try to eat healthy, clean, low calorie meals. At least for a day or two…My first night home I used one of the zucchini that had grown while we were gone, pre bugs, and some pantry staples to make teriyaki zucchini stir fry served over quinoa. Very filling, quite tasty and it came together in less than half an hour. I was a little nervous about the quinoa substitution, but I didn’t have any rice in the house, and I’m really glad I went with it. I think this is a healthier choice I will make again! Since this was a dinner for one I left out meat all together, but if you really need meat some chicken or shrimp would pair beautifully!
Recipe after the jump. Sincerely Loving Food, Lainey
The Good – My tomatoes are doing wonderfully well! I have probably picked about 2 pints of cherry tomatoes and new fruits are still growing on that plant. I haven’t harvested a purple heirloom yet, but there are about 9 on the plant now and I think 3 of them will be ready at the end of the week; I can’t wait! Finally these little guys have been my favorite, Bonnie’s Better Boy. I have picked about 10 of them and there are another 10 or so on the plant. They are about the size of a baseball and are perfect for slicing to eat with salt and pepper as an afternoon snack (just did that) or good for a family of 2 to each have 2 slices on a sandwich or burger. Very, very good.
The Bad – I guess it’s not bad now, but it rained like every day for the past 5 days. Ok, enough of the disgruntled teenager voice but seriously, this rain was out of control. Normally I’m ok with a rainy weekend, but this was a 4 day holiday weekend and it rained the whole time. Fireworks were cancelled, BBQs postponed and the festiveness that usually encompasses the 4th of July just didn’t seem to exist this year. We still partied on the covered front porch, ate hamburgers and hot dogs and set off fireworks in the driveway making the best of it, but I really could have done without the rain. Thanks to the peeps who did come over to celebrate America’s 237th and my 30th; it was fun, even with the stupid rain! The Bugs – AHH, these little @*%$#ers. From my research I think they are baby cucumber beetles which grow on the leaves, eating and destroying them as they grow. Luckily we got 3 zucchini off the plant before they took over, but I’m scared that the plant is a goner. So far I have pulled off and squished at least 15 of them, but every time I go back there are more. And yes, they are gross, think yellow slug with lots of black hairs – VOM! I hate you bugs and the yet to grow zucchini which you stole from me!
See the little buger right in the middle?
You can really see the damage on the bottom leaves with all the holes.
I think this coming week will involve pulling up the zucchini plants and getting the bed ready for a late summer something, maybe a Japanese Eggplant, a red bell pepper, or some snap beans? At least I enjoy planting new things #silverlining #lovetoplayinthedirt.
What have been your favorite summer veggies? Do you have a garden? What’s growing well and what’s not? Do you see the sun today like we finally do here in Atlanta? I hope so! Sincerely Loving Food, Lainey
I’m convinced that the best kept secret dinning spot for a foodie is the chef’s counter at Buckhead Diner. The diner isn’t even close to a secret, the place is hopping most of the time, celebrities stop by to eat while in town and its part of one of the most well known restaurant groups in the country, Buckhead Life Group. People literally wait over 2 hours to get a table at Buckhead Diner, it is that good. But, what blows my mind is there are 8 stools at a counter overlooking the grill, garnish station and expo center, and they are usually empty. Last night they were quoting a 45 minute to an hour wait and the hubs and I walked right in and sat down at our favorite 2 stools in the back with a perfect view of the grill. The service is exceptional at the counter, like it is at all the tables, and since you are close to the bar I think drinks come out even a little faster than at a traditional table. Not to mention the entertainment, watching this guy cook anywhere from 2 to 12 steaks at a time along with pork chops, chicken breasts, and any other protein.
Last night we started with the crispy rock shrimp tacos and white truffle deviled eggs. The eggs were served on a bed of bibb lettuce and the vinaigrette on the lettuce really made the dish a winner. It was great to have a bit of acid to cut the creaminess of the yolk mixture. The tacos were also delicious, each one had 5-6 shrimp in them which made for a very healthy portion and the “pow pow” sauce really bough the “pow,” just spicy enough to hit your palate but not too much to overpower the shrimp.
Side note – my drink is the “Best Wine Cooler Ever” from the specialty cocktail menu and it really was the best wine cooler ever – dry champagne, soda water, lemon twist and St. Germain Elder Flower Liqueur – what a winner!
Since it was my birthday the main dish was my favorite restaurant dish – Steak & Frites – hanger steak cooked perfectly, medium rare, with French fries. The steak was soo good…as are the fries…I wish I could have them again today.
Buckhead Diner is a winner no matter where you sit, but with a seat at the chef’s counter in the middle of all the action, it’s a food lover’s paradise!
Happy 4th of July everyone!
Sincerely Loving Food,
Obviously there is no bun...I used 2 big butter lettuce leaves instead and surprising to even me, it was pretty good! Honestly, yes I missed the bun a little but since the burger is so flavorful it really was great ok it really was good, but I keep thinking about bathing suits and it helps. You can see the zucchini slices peeking out from the side which I grilled to go along with the burgers - very South Beach friendly! Modified recipe after the jump!
Sincerely Loving Food,
Short and sweet: last night I made this recipe from Peace, Love and Low Carb and it was totally awesome! Basically a green bell pepper stuffed with sauteed garlic, onions, mushrooms and get this: roast beef lunch meat! So easy, really filling and quite tasty, a lot like a Philly Cheesesteak without the bread. Cut the peppers in half, clean out the guts, saute your veg until soft, cut up the lunch meat throw it in the pan for a minute or two along with some Worcestershire and Dijon, stuff it all in the pepper, cover with cheese and bake until bubbly. How easy is that? I served it with a blue cheese dressed spinach salad. Totally South Beach Diet friendly and a great change up from the normal roasted meat and veggies.
Finally its Friday! Wishing you all a great MINT JULEP filled weekend!
Sincerely Loving Food,
Wowser...so its been a while...I could apologize and say it won't happen again and let you know that I have been busy and all that other blah, blah but we all know its just life and that's the way it is. All of that being said, let's ease back into this. A few random thoughts for the day and hopefully another post will follow in the not too distant future.
The hubs has been umpiring baseball games like crazy! He has a dream that one day he will be a major league ump, for now he is sticking to little league and high school but it's a start. I am so proud of him for working to achieve his dream job...can't say that about too many people. Side note: who's dream job involves getting yelled at by fat men in little boy's clothes...
We went to Daytona for a family wedding 3 weeks ago and my bathing suit had shrunk! It was crazy small...so I have been following the South Beach Diet for 2 weeks now and I am down 4 pounds! Thanks to Kalyn's Kitchen for some great recipes that follow the diet I have still been eating well. I hope to share some real winners soon!
I can now say I have eaten at Empire State South and the food was all it has been cracked up to be, not to mention the atmosphere and service - it was an all around winner. I can't wait to go back. And for the record this was one of our 13 in 2013 - hooray check it off the list! Humm..now that I think about it dinners like this are probably why all my clothes have shrunk...
Due to some unexpected home issues, don't ask it involves "critters" best left unsaid, we have modified our 13 in 2013...more on that to come: The Modified 13 in 2013!
Everyone must be busy because I have been missing some of my friend's blogs lately...not going to call you out but you know who you are - write on your blog even if it is only a post of 5 bullet points..
A few months ago, my Birch Box included "$25 off" a rental from Rent The Runway. I had been wanting to try this awesome site for a while and the combination of a formal event coming up and the coupon pushed me over the edge. The concept of Rent the Runway is brilliant - you can rent dresses for formal events, weddings, girls nights out, etc, wear them once and return them. Let's be honest, we don't really wear these formal dresses over and over again and the prices are usually ridiculous, so renting at a fraction of the price is really the way to go. The customer service I received was out of this world, and I will for sure use the service again. Here is how it went down:
Back in early January I scoped out the website (you do have to "sign up" to see the dresses, but they really don't spam you all the time) and picked out the Badgley Mischka Flora Chiffon Gown. For me the most helpful part of the website were the past customer reviews. Girls who had previously rented the dress uploaded their picture along with their: height, weight, bra size, typical dress size and any comments. This was so helpful because you could see real people in the dress, look for some one that was similar to your height, weight, and build, how smart is that? It made me feel so much better about the sizing.
The price tag for rental was $125 and for that price you get the dress delivered in 2 sizes (side note for an additional $25 you can get a 3rd size of the same dress, or a completely different dress all together, so cool!). You get to keep the rental for 4 days, so since my event was on Saturday I scheduled delivery for Friday, and was told to return the dress on Monday in their prepostage-paid envelope. I used my $25 off coupon, thanks Birch Box, paid my bill and patiently waited for the event.....
Fast forward 5 weeks and on Friday when I got home from work the box was sitting on the porch.
I was so excited, I carefully opened the box
and inside was the $900 dress I had rented for $125, in 2 sizes! The dresses were freshly dry cleaned and came with a little sample size of moisturizing bronzing lotion and some fabric tape. After trying on the dresses, complete with hubs wrestling a tough zipper, and realizing I needed to wear the tallest 5 inch heels I own to keep the dress from dragging, I was so satisfied with my purchase rental and began getting super excited for the next day.
Here is the finished product, it was like prom, getting dressed up and taking a photo on the porch...The event was a great success, we had a great time, and I have literally never gotten as many compliments on a dress as I did on Saturday. Like I said this particular dress was quite long, but I am all of 5"3 so this is a problem I am used to dealing with. The condition of the dress was great, and you would never know that it was a rental by looking at it.
Yesterday I folded up the dress tucked it into the pre-postage paid envelope that came along with the dresses and dropped it off at the post office - so easy!
I loved Rent the Runway! The dresses selections are great. The customer service is amazing, they are so responsive, I love their "live chat with a stylist' to discuss sizing. The prices make it possible for me to wear couture that I could never normally afford. And the process is so easy! I totally recommend it! Let me know if you have any questions!
Sincerely Loving Food and Fancy Dresses,
PS - I was not compensated in any way for this review, I just had an awesome experience I wanted to share!
LOVE - It's the 3rd word in the title of this blog, a short name I call the hubs, and the reason justification for eating 14 pounds pieces of chocolate on the 14th of this month. Any kind of love: love of others, love for pets, romantic love, friendly love, supportive love I am excited about celebrating all of them in the next week. It always surprises me the number of people who hate on Valentine's. Whenever I hear people say they hate Valentine's I think - wow, how original. Especially the people who say, "I show my _(insert gf/bf/spouse/whomever here)___ I love her everyday, I don't need to do something special on the 14th." Well you know what, I love Jesus everyday, but I celebrate Christmas, just like I love hubs everyday and we still celebrate Valentine's. I just don't get that, maybe because I am a half full kind of person, but I love celebrating, anything really, and this month I am celebrating love. Here is what I have done or am planning for the next little while
And I'm gonna do something cool for my friends, but I can't tell you because you might read it...
All of this to say, you can do whatever you want on February 14th, stay home, alone, drinking 3 bottles of wine and watching WWE or you can take a bath and read trashy magazines, or you can go out to dinner with friends and special people and order more dessert than you need, or you can eat only the fudge filled candies out of the box and leave the lemon ones for others, really whatever you want. But me, I'm celebrating love and the people I love. It makes me happy and I hope it makes them happy as well! I'll be a lover not a hater. So please don't hate on me for loving on love.
I still remember my first quinoa experience, circa Memorial Day 2009, a lovely quinoa and summer squash salad at a winery in Sonoma, served by a nice hippy wine owner as part of her "tasting experience".
I swear we were asked 35.456 times if we were on our honeymoon and we weren't even engaged...I was so discouraged, but its cool because we are now happily wed!
The salad was delicious, but honestly I got home and sort of forgot about using quinoa again....fast forward 3.5 years later and now its is ALL THE RAGE!!! At my first Costco trip of the year I decided to jump on the band wagon and over ambitiously bought a 20lb bag of the stuff. Ok, its probably more like 2 pounds, but still, for just 2 people it will probably be a year supply. I have used it twice already so we have made a small dent in the giant bag, and both times it has come out well so we are on our way! The first time I cooked the quinoa in some chicken stock, simultaneously sauteed some onions and mushrooms and at the end added a little balsamic vinegar, then mixed it all together - easy and delicious, just my style! Yesterday I made The Novice Chef'sCheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole and it definitely did not disappoint, with a crunch on top, cheese and relatively waist line friendly - winner! I am looking forward to creating some more quinoa recipes to share with you and would love any suggestions for how you use this new, all the rage, super food!
Sincerely Loving Food,
Chicken and Dumplings is one of my favorite comfort foods; more hearty than a soup, but still warm and creamy; it is really a great thing to sit down to after a long, hard, cold day. I was inspired to make chicken and dumplings in the crock pot after seeing this recipe from Bubble Crumb. That recipe is great, but I wouldn't be me if I didn't change it up a little, and I gotta be me, ya know? Truth be told that recipe is a true chicken and dumplings, it is pure unadulterated chicken and dumplings, but I like to add a few veggies to make it a more well rounded meal, or at least make me feel better for eating thirds seconds...whatever you want to do is up to you...whatever sets your panties on fire (what up Duck Dynasty?). Sorry, if you don't watch Duck Dynasty, in which case imagine I just said whatever makes you happy. Back to the point - make this chicken and dumplings, it is good, really good, quite easy and when you get home from work it will be sitting there on the counter waiting for you to dive in.
Sincerely Loving Food,
Last night after work I hurried from work to tennis practice, which starts at 6pm on the other side of town. reminder I don't actually live in a town I live in a pretty large city called Atlanta, so by the other side of town I might as well mean the other side of the moon, especially in the 5 o'clock hour on a weekday...anyway...I left my office at 5:20 knowing full well I wasn't going to make it on time, but none the less dedicated to going, wearing a super cut tennis outfit, despite the cloudy skies, because of the 65 degree temperature actually looking forward to it. Well, wouldn't you know, 55 minutes later, when I pulled in the parking lot 15 minutes late I saw the team walking off the court. Apparently the slight drizzle had become enough of a problem that the courts were slippery and practice was cancelled. Isn't that freaking great!?! 55 minutes in stop and go traffic to travel 12 miles all for nothing...except for my fab hubster and his awesome idea of trying a new place to eat on the way home. I knew there were tons of reasons I love this dude! So we stopped at Athens Pizza near the intersection of Clairemont Rd and North Druid Hills. We had a 10 inch Mediterranean Pizza and a Spanakopita, hubs drank a beer and we got out of there for right at $20 with half the pizza for leftovers! The spanakopita was quite good: crunchy filo, creamy spinach and just salty enough, covered with feta cheese crumbles. The crust of the pizza was divine, chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside covered with perfectly cooked gyro meat, salty kalamata olives and thickly sliced tomatoes. We will definitely be going back to try the extensive menu: gyros, pasta dishes, more pizza (they come in 6, 10, 14 and 18 inch sizes), and the FAMOUS Greek salad. I love the "cornerstones" of Greek food: olives, lamb, feta...such divine ingredients, it would be hard to do bad things with those...If you live in Atlanta I would encourage you to try this place out, it is so good and very reasonably priced, and has enough options on the menu to make the whole fam damily happy!
Sincerely Loving Food,
Disclaimer: Athens Pizza doesn't know me, they probably don't even know I was there last night, I was not compensated for this post in any way.
I made these fish tacos for the first time about 2 months ago, and they have already made 3 repeat performances. They are that good, and thankfully that easy. This is a fantastic weeknight meal as it really does come together in about 30 minutes, it is new years' resolution friendly a.k.a. not super fatty, not that I believe it that stuff - see here, and won't kill the budget - pretty perfect meal, huh?
The first time I made some baked parmesan zucchini fries as the side, recipe to come, and I have also done black beans - both are delicious but really you could serve whatever you wanted; chips and salsa would also get the job done. I hope you try these and enjoy them as much as we do!
Sincerely Loving Food,
You know what I say? Forget resolutions, you never keep them anyway and personally, I am always trying to loose some where between 5 and 35 pounds so let's just sweep all that new year new me stuff under the rug. What I am into though is goals, especially when those goals are fun! The Mister and I decided to come up with a list of 13 dates in 2013 - so these goals include entertainment, sports, restaurants and drinking - my kind of goals. We are up to 7 items...I didn't know coming up with 13 would be so hard. So please comment with anything you think we should add to our list. We are trying to do things that are a little different, or we haven't done before...I am so excited!
13 in 2013 for the 3 of us!
1. Plan a trip to Chicago for our 30th birthdays. Yes, birthdays plural. Ryan is 16 days older than me, haha old man, and this year we turn 30...so this isn't exactly a date, more of a weekend get away, but we listed it as it is the top priority for this year. I would love to hear of any specific suggestions of things to do in Chicago.
2. I can't believe I/we have never done this, but apparently it is an Atlanta tradition: getting dressed up, drinking over priced drinks and watching a semi-educational movie on a GIANT screen: Martinis and IMAX at Fernbank Museum
3. It might be high schoolish, but we are looking forward to a night of fun and games at Dave and Busters
4. Thanks to my awesome sister for her awesome Christmas gift we will be having dinner at Local 3