Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Faves

Summer days are my favorite. As each season rolls around I say "oh this is my favorite!", but I really mean it about Summer. Summer, I love you.

The great salad debate of Charlotte seems to be Chopt vs. Crisp. I had my first Crisp salad this week and I have to say, they have the superior salad.  I'm officially on their side. SO FREAKING GOOD. 

My favorite beach wrap towels from Pottery Barn Kids are on sale right now! I just scooped up this flamingo print for Kate.

La Croix's newest flavor, Tangerine, tastes like Summer in a can. 

Snapchat! I have embraced it fully and I LOVE it. Also, I want the flower crown filter in real life. 

This is the sweetest little children's book- one of my favorites that was given to Kate as a gift before she was born. 

Charlotte locals- if you ever see Wooden Robot's Good Morning Vietnam on tap, GET IT. It's a Coffee Vanilla Blonde Ale and it's one of the best beers I've ever had.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sausage + Veggie Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This is hardly a fancy dinner post and the photo doesn't do dish justice, but easy and healthy dinners are worth documenting- and sharing! I made these sausage + veggie stuffed sweet potatoes the night before I did a weekly grocery shopping haul so this dinner really came from nothing! I surveyed the kitchen to see what I had and this is what I came up with. Baking sweet potatoes and stuffing them with a protein and some veggies is a great way to use up your produce from the week. I almost always have some sort of sausage in the freezer so I pulled that out, too. A little cheese on top is a tasty addition when you place the stuffed potatoes under the broiler but you can leave that off to make this a Paleo/Whole 30 compliant meal! We loved this!

Sausage + Veggie Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

2 Sweet potatoes, baked
2 cups broccoli, chopped (fresh or frozen)
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 links mild Italian sausage 
1/2 cup marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Wash potatoes, dry and poke holes all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1-1.5 hours, or until potatoes are soft. 

In a large skillet, heat some olive oil (a few swirls of the pan). Cook sausage and break apart while cooking. Once sausage is cooked, add garlic and onions and saute until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add remaining veggies and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add marinara and stir to combine.

Cut potatoes down the middle and mash the inside with a fork. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with sausage and veggies and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Shawarma- Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt

I snapped this photo and posted it on Instagram the night I made it. I tagged Skinnytaste, hoping she would see it and what do you know...I was her regram of the day! Giada replied to a tweet once and you know what? This was just as great! A social media shining moment for sure and a fun way to connect with one of my favorite bloggers! That's the fun thing about social media.

Skinnytaste never fails me and is one of the very first food blogs that I ever started reading. Her recipes and fresh and mostly simple and perfect for weeknight dinners. This recipe is packed with TONS of flavor and the chicken marinade will be one of my new go-tos when we grill chicken. This would be the perfect chicken to grill a lot ahead of time and eat throughout the week on salads for lunches! 

I cannot express my love for this recipe enough. The spices are complex and great for Summertime grilling. I topped my chicken on a bed of chopped romaine, cucumbers and grape tomatoes and served baby roasted red potato wedges and grilled onions on the side, with a friendly helping of the garlic yogurt on top! 

Shawarma- Spiced Grilled Chicken with Garlic Yogurt
recipe from Skinnytaste

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Garlic Yogurt-
1 7oz. container of 2% Plain Greek Yogurt
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
chopped parsley, for garnish

Place chicken breasts in a ziploc bag.

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and spices and pour into the bag with the chicken. Move the chicken around in the bag to coat it in the marinade. Refrigerate and marinate for 3 hours, up to overnight. 

Over medium- high heat, grill the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side. Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes after cooking before serving. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Faves: Baby Edition

I've had my eyes on these pom pom bins from Petit Pehr for months now and I finally gave one of them a home in Miss Kate's nursery. LOVE. 

Freshly Picked had one of two major sales of the year last week and I grabbed a gold pair for the little one. 

The mesh feeders are a pain to clean and I am excited to give this Kidsme one a try! 

Kate LOVES these Chewbeads. They stay clipped onto her carseat for on the go play. 

If you have a baby girl and love bows as much as we do, check out Little Poppy Co. for their monthly bow subscription! Three bows, every month, for $11.99!

I am loving all of the new patriotic designs from Honeybee Tees

My favorite online kids boutique, Sugar Bit, is offering FREE SHIPPING today only for National Donut Day! Use code: DONUT

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

The strawberry patch saw us a few times this Spring and we loved the constant supply of freshly picked berries. Too many strawberries are never a bad thing! I had my heart set on making the Strawberry Dream Cake from the cover of May's Southern Living but it never happened!

My friend Katie sent me this recipe as back up and I must say, this Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake was a stellar runner up! I had all of the ingredients on hand and the cake is TO DIE FOR. It came together easily and I didn't mind licking the bowl clean once the batter was poured into the cake pan. I can imagine that this cake would be just as good with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a mixture of all of them. 

Make this cake. It's perfect for Summer!

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
recipe from A Spicy Perspective

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2.5 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep a 10 inch bundt pan with grease and flour (I used butter).

Sift together 2 1/4 cups of the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, then stir in 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing until just incorporated.

Toss the strawberries in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter. 

Pour the batter into the bundt pan. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for 60 minutes, or until when a toothpick is inserted it comes out clean. 

Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes on a cooling rack. Turn pan over onto cooling rack and cake should slide out. Once the cake is cool, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over cake.  

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Faves

These Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins were so tasty and made for easy breakfasts and snacks this week! 

Spiked Seltzer. This stuff is light and refreshing...and really sneaks up on you. Obsessed. (grapefruit is my fave)

My Saturday Happy Hour is going to include this Strawberry Gin Smash

I finally found a great pair of white skinny jeans and bonus points because they are still on promo this weekend! I recommend sizing down at least one or two. 

I love a good milky pink mani and Essie's Romper Room fits the bill! I'll be adding this to my collection. 

JT, I love you. You never let me down. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What Kate Ate: Baby's First Food Essentials

I am in total denial that she is even old enough for this, but here we are. Little Kate has entered the world of real food and when she had her first blissful taste of Avocado shortly after she turned 6 months we knew that she was more than ready. She was so excited with each bite and kept pulling the spoon to her mouth! She's tried tons of different vegetables and some fruits already and is doing so well with new flavors and textures. Another little food lover- I'm so proud. 

Pulling out all of my baby food making supplies made me so happy. I love cooking for my family and having little mouths to feed, although challenging at times, is so much fun. Here are some of my favorite baby food making products!

Beaba Babycook Pro- while not necessary, it certainly makes the entire process much easier! I love having one appliance that steams and purees and that is only used for baby food. Cleanup is easy, too. I love this thing!

Oxotot Baby Blocks- the best containers for food storage as well as taking on the go. They are freezer and microwave safe and also stack neatly in trays for tidy storage in the fridge or freezer.

Beaba Silicone Multiportions Container- These trays are my favorite for freezing purees. Each section holds a 2oz. portion and pops out easily when you are ready to use. I also use these to freeze my marinara sauce for pizza! I pop two out which is enough to cover a pizza and dip pizza knots in!

Beaba Silicone Spoons- the best baby spoons!

Cooking for Baby- This book is great! It was my go to for Will. The recipes are organized by baby age making it easy to work through and experiment with different flavors and food combinations.

Little Foodie- My newest discovery this time around. I'm loving this book and the Baby Foode blog is one of my favorites right now! 

Additionally, these mesh feeders are great for frozen fruits and veggies for teething babies. Bumkins bibs are easy to wipe down and throw in the wash. 

I'm looking forward to many more first food adventures with this little princess!