Thursday, May 31, 2012

{Saturday,June 2} East Boulevard Sidewalk Sale!

Dear Charlotte family, friends and readers,

Make sure you check out the East Boulevard Sidewalk sale THIS SATURDAY, June 2, sponsored by
Scoop Charlotte! Waltz down to East Boulevard for street-wide savings from some of Dilworth's favorite small businesses in. 

Pour Olive is participating and will be selling their summer balsamics for 20% off all day. If you live in Charlotte, this is the perfect time to stock up at Pour Olive and get inspired for your summer cooking! How can you resist these fresh, summery flavors? My food obsessed mind is going crazy with all of the possibilities.

::Blenheim Exquisite Apricot::
Sweet, crisp and tart with an intense aroma of honeysuckle. Great with grilled chicken, as a glaze or served with cheese and honey. Like summer in a bottle.

::Alfoos Mango::
The Alfoos mango cultivar is considered by many to be one of the best in sweetness, richness and flavor. This vinegar is fantastic with everything from shrimp to scallops to salsas. Pair with Persian Lime or Harissa oils for an excellent compliment!

::Sicilian Lemon::
Playfully tart and pleasantly sweet, Sicilian Lemon offers a perfect balance of acidity woven with crisp lemon flavor and aroma. Fabulous with seafood, in dressings or try it in mixed drinks. 

::Cranberry Pear::
An absolute delight; clean, crisp and tart. The complex bouquet shines in a multitude of culinary applications. Dressing for fruit or vegetable salads, a glaze of poultry or with gelatin for delicious fruit aspic!

Crisp with a touch of sweetness. Our peach vinegar is extremely adaptable. Pair it with any of our olive oils to make a light, tart vinaigrette!

If you pop into Pour Olive this weekend, make sure you tell Sophie, Doug and their sweet baby, Jack that I sent you!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Corona O'Clock

I'm sure by now you all think I have given up wine but that is not the case. No, I'm just having a seasonal love affair with a different beverage of choice. I make no apologies for my absent Wine of the Week posts...because the truth is, when Summertime hits, this girl likes to cool down with an ice cold beer. And I can't leave Mark to sip alone without a beer buddy, right!? 

Corona Light with extra lime is usually the brew of choice around here. It's light, refreshing and easy to drink. Our fridge is almost
always well stocked. 

Our sweet friends came to visit from Georgia last night and Krista taught me a new trick- adding a bit of salt to the mouth of the bottle! I was clearly missing out on something fantastic and now I cannot get enough. Just coat the top of the bottle with lime before you pop it in the bottle and sprinkle some coarse salt on the top. It's a game changer. 

Wishing you all a delightful mid-week Happy Hour and like the Corona commercials say, "find your beach". 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Yummy Find: Cooking Light's Big Book of Salads

Check out this new book from one of my favorite food magazines, Cooking Light! This popped up in my e-mail recently and since salads are a way of life around here, I couldn't pass up sharing it.

Salads often get coined as "rabbit food" but I think that they are hardly that. A typical dinner for us almost always includes some sort of salad creation- and it doesn't always include some leafy lettuce and vegetables. Our easy summer favorites include...

 Chopped avocado, tomato, cucumbers and jalapeno tossed in a spicy vinaigrette. 

Peaches and prosciutto with white balsamic over a bed of arugula. 

Brussels sprouts slaw with pistachios, lemon zest and shaved parmesan tossed in lemon oil. 

Watermelon, tomatoes and basil with feta and aged balsamic.

Salads are a great way to add color, flavor and tons of nutrition to your plate. I make no excuses for myself when I say that I could live on salads. All it takes is fresh ingredients and a little creativity. 

If you need some salad inspiration, this book is for you! Inside you'll find over 150 recipes for "weeknight meals, fresh sides and mouthwatering starters". As Summer produce stands start popping up, now is the perfect time to experiment with new ingredients and flavors.

Purchase Cooking Light's Big Book of Salads HERE, or wherever books are sold. For more Cooking Light recipes, visit

Friday, May 25, 2012

Long Weekending

There is nothing quite as lovely as a long Summer weekend. Lazy days, lots of sun, seasonal sips and striped maxi dresses.

If you're in need of something sweet for your Memorial Day celebrations, I will leave you with my very favorite Summer dessert. (also mentioned HERE) My mom makes this for all of the red, white and blue holidays and the best part is eating it for breakfast the next day. A salty pretzel crust, creamy filling and sweet cherries and blueberries make you forget that there are fireworks filling the skies. The party is in this dessert and happening in your mouth. 

(this recipe is so old that there is not an image to be found on the Pillsbury site. Just trust me on this one...)

Happy Memorial Day! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Caprese Salad + Balsamic Reduction

I make no apologies for my love affair for what I claim to be the holy trinity of all food pairings. If I had it my way, I would make certain that some form of tomato, basil and mozzarella would make its way into my life daily. However, since everyday can't be Christmas, I figure that this, too should be enjoyed in moderation, only to appreciate it more. 

...With Summer upon us and fresh produce abounding, I foresee Caprese in copious amounts. Like in a Christmas everyday kind of way. (the bright colors of red, green and white are rather appropriate, too. No?)

We normally opt for a simple Caprese Stack with layers of basil, tomato and mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Now that I have some fun oils and vinegars to play with, I decided to spice things up and add a sweet balsamic reduction. I brushed sliced mozzarella and tomatoes with good quality olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, topped with fresh basil and assembled it all on top of a bed of baby greens tossed in oil. I finished it off by drizzling with balsamic reduction, making for a beautiful summer side dish. 

Balsamic Reduction

1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

In a small saute pan, heat the vinegar to medium-high heat. The vinegar will start to heat up, boil and bubble. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar has been reduced to half of the original amount, about 10 minutes. The vinegar will be sticky and syrupy. 

Let reduction cool and drizzle over the top of your caprese salad, grilled meats, vegetables and even vanilla gelato!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses: Week 13, Vol. 9

Stop and Smell the Roses

It's officially mid-week and what has become one of my favorite days thanks to everyone's cheerful smiles I watch on the Stop and Smell the Roses vlogs every week! I've noticed some new readers stopping in to say hello so if you're new here, WELCOME! I'm so glad that you stopped by.

This week, I'm thankful for some extra Vitamin D in my life and taking some time to unplug and be "present". I work in Communications and Social Media, and have every type of technology at my fingertips literally all day long. I have found that some quiet time without all of that extra noise is truly a good re-charge for the soul. Sometimes it's nice to just sit and be.

A few other things I'm loving this week. 

THIS SONG. On repeat. It's closely rivaling my 1998 anthem. Really, how great was this dance (which I proudly learned). Britney Spears, I will never quit on you.

Afternoon snack of berries drizzled with sweet Mission Fig Balsamic and raw coconut.

The return of Monday night dates with Chris Harrison. I'm loving this season of the Bachelorette, especially since it was filmed in the Queen City!

P90X ab-ripper (I hate it, but I love it and how strong I feel) Hello bikini season!

Lots and lots and lots of neon. In moderation of course. I'm re-living life as 5 year old Nina. 

See here:

I hope you all are finding something to smile about this week! Check out all of the smiling faces over at Mandy's blog, House of RoseHave a fantastic Wednesday!

P.S. Don't forget to wear sunscreen. Duh.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Morning Fuel

When a photo of my morning smoothie makes its way onto Instagram or Twitter, I seem to get tons of questions asking "what do you put in it"!? Because I'm pretty passionate about my morning fuel, I thought it would be fun to break it down and share my thoughts on smoothies. 

On a typical morning, I wake up, Mark and I drink coffee together for about 30 minutes, then I dress myself from head to toe in neon and workout. I don't have the biggest appetite in the morning, but after an intense hour or so of gym time, I know it's important to get some calories in- especially after working out on a nearly empty stomach. Protein smoothies have become a staple in my weekday routine because they hydrate, fuel AND cool me down. A good triple win in my book.

I start with unsweetened almond milk and a scoop of vanilla protein as my base. EAS Vanilla Whey Protein is my favorite. The flavor is great and it's very low in carbs and sugar. I buy this at my local market and I have also seen it at Target. 
I buy fresh bananas and berries in excess so that I always have them on hand. When my bananas start to get extra ripe, I freeze them in halves and freeze the berries whole. This also makes for an icy cold smoothie. I stick everything in the blender and mix it all up. If I want that extra chill, I throw in 4-5 ice cubes. Once my smoothie is blended to perfection, I pour it in my trusty Appalachian State Tervis Tumbler and sip with a straw. 
Here's a roundup of my favorite morning smoothies:

If you're not careful, a seemingly healthy breakfast can end up being loaded with sugar and extra "junk" that your body doesn't need. Fruit juices and even fruit flavored Greek yogurt, I try to steer clear of. I only buy natural peanut or almond butter, meaning the only ingredients are either peanuts or almonds and a minimal amount of salt. As for the Cocoa Powder, I stick to unsweetened. The natural sweetness of the other ingredients bring out the chocolatey goodness and it's super tasty. 

Blend, sip and enjoy! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sundried Tomato, Artichoke + Mushroom Stuffed Flank Steak Pinwheels

I actually love Mondays, and the freshness of a new week, but this doesn't mean I'm not sad when a carefree weekend ends... 

Deep dish pizza and ice cream date night. 
Sipping on morning coffee a little bit longer than usual.
Lunching and sipping cold micro brews in the Saturday sun. 
Deck reading on a towel while wearing a polka-dot bikini.
Popcorn popped on the stove and a movie night at home.
Couch naps and golf on TV.
Sunday evening thunderstorm that cancelled grilling plans but it's okay- THIS was yum.
Freshly cleaned towels and sheets.

This is why I always plan something a little extra special for Monday night dinner to welcome in the new week and make sure we are properly fueled.

If it isn't already obvious when I post my weekly menus, we LOVE flank steak in this house. It's very lean and when cooked the right way, it's tender, flavorful and seriously delicious. My parents used to buy similar pinwheels at the Fresh Market for grilling and when they befriended the butcher and saw how easy they were to assemble, they became a special summertime staple. Flank steak pinwheels are not nearly as complicated as they seem. From start to finish, this was on the dinner table in slightly over an hour. Prepared ahead of time, this also makes an excellent main dish to entertain with. Just assemble everything early in the day or a day ahead and it's ready to pop in the oven or on the grill when your guests arrive. I sauteed artichokes, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and garlic to use as the filling. Fresh basil added the perfect little kick. Don't let these little pinwheels intimidate you. Give these little guys a whirl and you'll wonder why you waited so long.

Sundried Tomato, Artichoke + Mushroom Stuffed Flank Steak Pinwheels

1 flank steak (1.5 - 2 lbs.)
1 pint mini bella mushrooms, washed and diced
1/2 cup vacuum packed sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup artichoke hearts (canned, in water), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Butchers twine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, add olive oil, about 3 turns of the pan. Saute mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichokes and garlic on medium-high heat until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

To prepare your flank steak, lie it out flat. With a knife, BUTTERFLY the steak. This is essentially cutting the steak in the middle, horizontally, making a larger, thinner steak, stopping to leave about 1 inch from completely cutting through. The steak will then open up like a book. Cover the steak with the filling, leaving about 2 inches at the end. Roll it up tightly and tie off in 2 inch sections with butcher's twine. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Using a meat thermometer, make sure the inside of the roll measures at least 145 degrees.

Let roll sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Blackened Chicken Rub

It's time to officially welcome in the weekend and if you're like us, there is some deck sitting, sun soaking, cocktail sipping, grilling up some yumminess in your 48 hour future. Yes, please!

I recently came up with my own spice rub for blackened chicken and we cannot get enough. The flavors are bold and really stand up to the smoky flavor we get from our (read: Mark's beloved) Komado Joe. In addition, I discovered that by letting your chicken hang out in a brine for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking takes otherwise boring boneless, skinless chicken breast to a whole new level. Simply mix 1/8 cup kosher salt and 1/8 cup sugar in a quart of ice cold water and bathe the chicken. Life changing, I tell you.

This rub also works well on pork, beef, fish and even scrambled eggs. Wait...what!?  I like making my own custom spice mixes because I can control what goes in it! Most of the pre-mixed varieties are packed with sodium and so many other ingredients that I can never pronounce. Weird words and unknown ingredients are never a good thing in the world of food so why not control what you can?! 

Blackened Chicken Rub

1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp. chili powder

The beauty of making your own spice mixes is that you can play around with flavors and add whatever you want! Here are three add ins that often find their way into this rub. 

Crushed red pepper for extra heat, chipotle chili powder for a hint of peppery smoke and cinnamon for something warm and sweet.

Cheers to the weekend and all of the happy things that come with it! Before you head for an extra early Friday happy hour, pop on over to my friend Mandy's blog, House of Rose! Check out my guest post, where I'm sharing my Top 11 Kitchen Must- Haves!

Happy weekending with the ones that you love.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fresh and Easy + Wine of the Week

Tuesday night's dinner was totally restaurant worthy. And the best part? You don't have to spend hours in the kitchen for a delectable dinner for two- the entire meal came together in about thirty minutes. This dinner incorporated all of the elements to the perfect summertime meal; lean and healthy protein, a creative salad and something from the grill.

Protein: Roasted salmon with lemon, garlic and olive oil. When in doubt, this is how our salmon gets cooked! I top a fillet (a little over 1/2 lb. for the two of us) with some minced garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon slices. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.

Salad: Roasted grape tomatoes, artichokes and red onions on a bed of arugula. I'm really into warm salads lately. I love slightly wilted greens! I tossed halved grape tomatoes, artichoke hearts and red onion together in a small baking dish with some olive oil and Herbs de Provence. I threw these in the oven to roast as the salmon roasted. 20 minutes was perfect. I served this on top of some baby arugula. 

Grill: Eggplant! While the salmon and veggies were roasting, I brushed the eggplant slices on either side with a little olive oil, then sprinkled with salt, pepper and oregano. I turned the grill pan up on medium-high heat and grilled those little guys for about 6 minutes on each side.

Everything was tasty and the variety of color on our crisp white dinner plates made for an extra lovely presentation!

This meal called for a glass of wine! When the weather warms up, I like to add more whites into the wine rotation. Twisted wines are often on sale at the market with a two bottles for $12 price tag. I don't normally buy wines without corks- not because I'm a wine snob- but because I like the save the corks and display them in a clear hurricane in the kitchen. I finally gave Twisted's Pinot Grigio a try and it's pretty good for the price. You can't beat a cool, crisp white when it's warm out. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses: Week 12, Vol. 8

Stop and Smell the Roses

I heart Wednesdays! It's fun to really check in with everyone and makes me smile knowing that we have a wonderful group of bloggers stopping to take in the little things, too. Thank you, Mandy, for starting something fantastic!

My morning started out with a great workout and a ton of productivity. Thank goodness because I quickly got sidetracked when my little sister texted me letting me know that Chris Harrison was co-hosting with Kelly Ripa this morning. Chris Harrison on my television set on a non-Monday!? Yes, please! Natalie also told me to listen to this (yes, that link is me telling you to listen to it, too!), and I've been dancing in my living room for a bit. Really. It's an instant mood boost. I suggest you do the same. 

I'm loving all kinds of random happies this week.

Items in this post:

Return address stamp from Expressionery 

Essie quick-dry top coat, Good to Go!

 Atom Art Serving Bowls (Anthropologie kitchen pretties)

I hope all of you are taking time out of your day to smile about the little things. Are you inspired to link up with us yet? Check out Mandy's blog, House of Rose, for all of the details and join the fun.

Also? Please find some time today to turn up some music and go dance in your living room. Do it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Salted Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate + Toasted Pecans

It is no secret that Mark and I are ice cream people- I'm beginning to think it's our love language. 

We have a sweet weakness and we allow ourselves to indulge in a giant helping about once a week. When I asked Mark what he wanted for his birthday dessert, I had a feeling (and was secretly wishing) that he would request a homemade batch of ice cream. His only specifications were the following ingredients; caramel, nuts and chocolate, otherwise known as Mark's holy trinity of all sweets. 

As soon as he gave me the official ice cream request, I knew exactly what I wanted to churn up in our trusty
ice cream maker. Thanks to Katie, I was recently reminded that when boiled for a few hours, a can of sweetened condensed milk turns into dulce de leche ("candy of milk"), a smooth and creamy caramel sauce. Quick and easy? No. Worth the time and patience? Yes. I tweaked my vanilla ice cream recipe by omitting the sugar and vanilla, adding the Dulce de Leche for the flavor base accompanied by two simple mix-ins, per the Mister's request.

The end result was a salted caramel ice cream laced with rich dark chocolate chunks and toasty pecan pieces roasted to a nice happy place. The birthday boy was over the moon happy. Up until now,
Nutella Gelato claimed the prize for best use of our ice cream maker thus far but as of May 5, Salted Dulce de Leche is officially wearing the crown. We won't be waiting for another birthday celebration to make this again. 

Salted Dulce de Leche Ice Cream with Roasted Pecans + Dark Chocolate

1.5 cups dulce de leche (recipe below)

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup good quality dark chocolate chunks
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
Sprinkle of sea salt 

In a heavy bottom saucepan, combine cream and milk and cook on medium-high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, remove from heat, and whisk in dulce de leche until combined. Let this mixture come to room temperature. 

Churn ice cream mixture according to your ice cream maker's instructions. When the ice cream has become frozen and thick, mix in chocolate, nuts and salt. Ideally, let the ice cream harden a bit more in the freezer.

Serve with warm dulce de leche on top.  

Dulce de Leche
2 cans (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

Remove the labels from the cans and poke two small vent holes in the top. Place cans in a heavy bottom sauce pan and fill with water until the water comes up about 3/4 up the cans. Turn the heat on medium-low and simmer for two hours. Add more water as necessary. The longer this simmers, the thicker it gets. For the ice cream, I kept mine slightly runny but not too thick. Let the cans cool before opening. The dulce de leche should be a nice caramel/tan color.

Then have a moment of silence.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Weekly Eats

Happy Monday, y'all! I do hope everyone enjoyed the weekend as much as we did. My Monday started off with an easy three mile run, some strength training and my favorite protein smoothie. I have already planned our meals for this week and made my weekly trip to the market, in addition to tackling an extra long work related to-do list. I would say this week is off to a productive start!!

Last week's menu looked a little something like this.

Flank steak pinwheels are much simpler than they sound, and are easy enough for a weeknight meal, but will impress dinner guests, too! Look for the recipe later this week. As most of you know, every Friday night is typically homemade pizza night at our house. I make my Neopolitan Pizza dough and our bellies are left with giant food babies! We always make roasted mushroom with arugula, prosciutto and mozzarella. This week, I used some new Black Truffle Oil from Pour Olive which was easily a life changing moment. Mushroom is a standard so the second pizza we usually mix up. I have Molly to thank for Pizza #2 with the Italian sausage, bell pepper and basil pesto. We absolutely LOVED this and will be making it again soon. Another food note? I'm currently loving experimenting with roasted fruits! I roasted some fresh mango slices with lemon olive oil for our salad last night and it was so unique and tasty! I hope this some of you inspiration for future menus at your house. 

Wishing you all a delicious week!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Princess {Fashion} Diaries

The Duchess can do no wrong in my book. I have been obsessing over these images for the past 24 hours and even though I don't typically post a lot celebrity fashion, I wanted to be sure and document this. Her style is timeless and classic with the perfect mix of modern elements.

I love everything about this look. The details of the Jenny Packham dress, the glam Jimmy Choos and the intricate up-do that is fit for a princess and has everyone swooning. Kate's signature smoky eyes and nude lips are perfection...she's my inspiration for quite some time now for my everyday makeup look!

I hope you all are enjoying the weekend! We have already worked out, brunched outside at one of our favorite spots and now doing the Saturday lounging type of thing. Ice cold Coronas with extra lime are in our near future. 

Happy Saturday! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Avocado + Olive Oil Hair Mask

My love affair with all things avocado is no secret. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then every snack in between. Currently, my favorite breakfast consists of two poached eggs and half of an avocado with some sea salt and lime juice. I throw sliced avocado in my lunchtime salads and when grilled chicken needs a little kick in the pants, I mix up some avocado with a tablespoon of Greek yogurt, lime juice and sea salt and we have avocado mousse. Heaven and Christmas and my very first NSYNC concert and all similarly wonderful feelings right on my plate. The little guys are filled with tons of good vitamins, nutrients and the "good fats". Call me crazy but ever since I have added avocado to my daily diet, my hair is shinier and my skin is clearer. I swear to you, I am not making this up.

Well my haircare loving friends, avocado scores again! This time, starring in an at home hair treatment. 

I have AP to thank for this incredible concoction of creamy, dreamy avocado smashed with the nectar of culinary life (olive oil) that leaves your hair extra shiny, healthy and oh so princess like. I have been singing songe of praise to the angel choirs of the hair gods regarding this hair mask since I talked about it HERE, but I never posted an official tutorial. And since my hair is due for some of this delicious TLC, I thought this would be the perfect way to round out the week.

Adjust this recipe accordingly, depending on how long your locks are. 
My hair is long and I used slightly over half of a large, ripe Haas avocado (the big ones).  

1. Mash the avocado, then whisk in approximately 1/4 cup of olive oil. I recommend doing this over the kitchen sink so that you don't clog your bathroom sink. 

2. Run the hair mask through your hair, coating your whole head. 

3. Wrap it up in a shower cap and hang out with your guacamole head for 30 minutes or so. 

When you're ready, hit the showers! Rinse out the mask in its entirety, and shampoo and condition then style as you normally would. This hair mask is recommended once a month.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses: Week 11, Vol. 7

Stop and Smell the Roses

Olive oil is a kitchen staple. I often say that my kitchen should be stocked with plenty of red wine, dark chocolate and olive oil. I almost never run out of these three things. If we run out of olive oil...well...I don't know because that's never happened. Ever. It's like the starting point of every meal. And it kind of makes the world go round. 

Well, my love for oil has grown exponentially over the past few months as my blonde sister and brother in law (Sophie & Doug) opened up an artisanal olive oil shop of their own last week in Charlotte's Dilworth neighborhood. Pour Olive is sleek, chic and a perfect addition to East Boulevard. Among a list of nearly forty oils & vinegars sold at Pour Olive, you can also find various gift items fit for a foodie or to bring along with you as a hostess gift to your next dinner party. I have my eyes on some oil dipping dishes and metal martini glasses. And those oils & vinegars that they sell? Well, they're good enough to drink straight from the bottle. 

Persian Lime. Black Truffle. Dark Chocolate Balsamic. Wild Mushroom Sage. Tuscan Herb. Mission Fig. Cinnamon Pear. 

Has your jaw hit the keyboard yet? It's okay, drooling is only human.

Charlotte friends & readers, head into Pour Olive the next time you are in Dilworth. Make sure you tell Sophie and Doug that I sent you, and they'll send you home with a mini bottle of oil to try! Along with a Bottle Rewards Program, Pour Olive also has a great "green" initiative. If you bring back an empty bottle, you get $1 off your next bottle. 

I've been working on marketing and social media for Pour Olive, so you will be hearing more about this "family business" in the coming weeks. This has been such a blessing to be a part of thus far. I have so many new recipes in the works. To top it off, not only is it out of this world delicious, but olive oil has known health benefits that probably deserve a blog post of their own. You all know I'm a fan of healthy living! Have you had your two tablespoons today?

Please let me know if you check out the shop! And, if you are not local to Charlotte don't forget that you can call the store- they will ship!

1528 East Boulevard
Charlotte, NC  28203
Twitter: @PourOliveOil
Facebook: Pour Olive

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grilled Romaine with Roasted Tomatoes + Feta

Let me introduce you to my newest food obsession: grilled salad. When I discover something new, I want to eat it a lot of it and I want it all. the. time. Such has been the case with grilled romaine, as we have been enjoying it every which way. 

It's quick, simple and a nice way to remix an otherwise typical side dish. (and it's still healthy!) The romaine becomes slightly wilted with a hint of smokey flavor, while retaining the perfect amount of crispness. Roasted grape tomatoes add extra oomph, but if you are short on time, this step is certainly not necessary. 

Grilled Romaine with Roasted Tomatoes + Feta

Romaine heart, halved longwise
Grape tomatoes
Crumbled Feta
Good olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt + pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut grape tomatoes in half and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Roast for 15- 20 minutes. 

Preheat grill pan on medium-high heat. Cut romaine hearts in half vertically. Brush flat side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Grill romaine for 2-3 minutes. Top with roasted tomatoes and feta, then finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Smiles, Sequins + Champagne

Source: via Nina on Pinterest

...a perfectly lovely reminder for a Monday evening if you ask me. 
I couldn't have said it better myself.

Weekly Eats

Last week was a busy one at the Moore house so I quickly made my grocery list and hoped for the best. This is very un-characteristic of me but it was sort of like a Top Chef challenge every night. And I went with it.

The star of last week's creations was definitely Tuesday's roasted vegetable salad. I could eat it every day. I roasted asparagus, green beans and grape tomatoes using my lemon fused olive oil from Pour Olive and a little salt and pepper. I mixed in some pistachios and finished it off with a splash of balsamic. This was the perfect side to our grilled flank steak. 

Mark's birthday on Saturday started with a delightful brunch, Coronas for lunch, and continued with a late afternoon margarita & fajita date al fresco- Cinco de Mayo style. The day ended with a batch of homemade ice cream. Do the words salted dulce de leche do anything to your tastebuds and heartbeat? More to come on that soon.

Wishing you all a delicious week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy, Happy!

Happy birthday to the one that I love!!!

...You can find us somewhere, preferably on an outdoor patio, celebrating. Mark-a-ritas in hand, of course!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Eats

In case you are looking for some fiesta inspired cuisine for your Cinco de Mayo weekend, here are a few things I rounded up from the Peace, Love & Good Food recipe archives.

Cinco de Mayo is also Mark's birthday, which means we have double the celebrating to do! I foresee extra margaritas & coronas being consumed on an outdoor patio somewhere tomorrow.

Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wine of the Week: Dancing Bull Red Zinfandel

This Zinfandel reminds me of drinking with my parents. Dancing Bull is one of their favorites and when I found it at the market, I grabbed a couple of bottles for my wine supply. Dancing Bull Zinfandel was one of my first wine loves when I started to actually enjoy the art of sipping on a nice glass of red.

I purchased Dancing Bull at a special price of $7.99. (I think the normal price is around $10 a bottle)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DIY: Food Photography Board

This is a DIY project fit for a foodie! With the help of my handy husband, and a little inspiration from an idea I found via Pinterest, I now have a homemade food photography board that I have started to use for my food photos! I am no professional by any means, but I'm starting to read and educate myself in the subject of food styling, play with my camera and focus on using natural light. The photography board has been fun to play around with! It provides a neutral background that makes everything look fresh and bright.

To create the board, Mark picked up some wooden stakes from Lowes. He sawed off the pointed ends and glued them together using wood glue. On the bottom of the board, he added two more stakes, glued the opposite way, to make it more sturdy. After the board was complete and dry, I painted it an antique white. 

The tutorial we used can be found HERE, on Shop Cook Make. Thanks to my hot DIY assistant for his help. I'm so thankful that I married a handyman!