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,