Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sweet Home Carolina

Mark and I are safe and sound in Charlotte! We said goodbye to the Midwest on Wednesday, spent the night in Lexington, Kentucky, and drove the remaining 7 hours to Charlotte on Thursday. It feels so surreal and I don't feel like we are actually LIVING in here. I'm in more of a vacation mindset and I suppose it will feel like this until we close on our house in August. 




Leaving Bloomington was far more teary than I imagined- after all, it's where we spent the first nearly two years of our married life. I will never forget our Midwest adventure and all of the memories that came with it. 


We're so happy to be back in the sweet (and sweltering) South! Our first order of business yesterday when we woke up? Going back to our "roots". Read: re-joining the YMCA...where we met!


We are off to a wedding in Greenville, SC this afternoon. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Free 4th of July Cupcake Toppers from The Polka Dot Posie!

As I gushed over my lunch date with Jen yesterday, I completely forgot to mention that she and her mom recently opened an Etsy shop called The Polka Dot PosieThe name alone makes my heart smile. I saw the handiwork in person on Jen's camera bag and I was so impressed with the quality. I am especially loving the iPad cases and rosette necklaces. All of the items are darling and make perfect gifts for the posies in your life.





Are you in need of a festive touch to put on your Fourth of July treats? Head on over to The Polka Dot Posie's site to download the cupcake toppers below. The toppers are made to fit a 2" circle punch. You can also cut them out as squares and use them for tags. Enjoy!
{via}

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses: Vol. 11


Stop and Smell the Roses

Oh how I have missed Mandy's link up! This moving this is no simple task. Make that a move from basically one end of the country to the other and it's a little bit like a jigsaw puzzle that has to be carefully put together. When we were not packing, we were house hunting and when weren't house hunting, we would hop in the car, drive 13 hours back to Charlotte, and house hunt some more. Because? Well...HGTV's House Hunters is a far cry from the truth. I'm still in the middle of a boycott. 

BUT
 thanks to our fantastic realtor we BOUGHT A HOUSE and we close on our little Charlotte gem in August. In the meantime, we are thankful for family (ahem...Hi, Mom & Dad!) and a place to rest our heads in the transition period because as soon as we clean up our house this morning and tie up loose ends here in Bloomington, we are headed to Charlotte today! Meep!

I was in need of a break from packing last week and a fun lunch date was to my rescue! I actually still can't believe it really happened. On Friday, I met Jen (
A Daily Dose of Davis) in a "small random town between our two house" for a delightful lunch! Jen and I met through Mandy's link up and have been friends ever since. I was practically in tears as we finally met in person and we had the best afternoon together. I think we laughed the entire time- long lost friends for sure! We only wish we would have gotten together sooner while we live in the same state. I know the perfect cure to that though- Girls Weekend!

Of course we had to film a vlog for all of our Stop and Smell the Roses girls...ENJOY!




I'm so thankful for blogland and all of the friends that I have made through it. 


Don't forget to take a moment and find a reason to smile this wek, too. Better yet, film a vlog about it LINK UP WITH MY FRIEND
MANDY! Next week, I'll be vlogging from Charlotte! Love to you all!






Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chocolate Almond Raspberry Tart via Cooking Therapy

It's a busy week in the Moore household. We are knee deep in boxes, our moving truck arrives today, and sometime TOMORROW, we will drive our black SUVs to Charlotte for good! We are so thankful for this new chapter and a bonus that it's bringing us within minutes from friends and family.
My kitchen is officially closed, but luckily, my dear friend Julie has shared a recipe here on my slice of the internet that I am so excited to be posting today. Julie and I met in college where we lived two doors down from each other in our Boone, NC condos and watching Elf and drinking vanilla lattes was nearly a daily occurrence. Snowberries, anyone!? 


Julie spends her days teaching but when she comes home, she unwinds in the kitchen. Her little slice of the internet,
Cooking Therapy, is one of my favorites! Julie's recipes will always leave you with a smile on your face and in your belly. They really are as delicious as they look on the flawless pictures. I love the stories and background she gives with each recipe. Julie has a giant heart and I'm so lucky to call her a friend in real life. You're going to want to make Cooking Therapy one of your daily reads!

You're welcome.

...



There are times to make simpleeasy desserts. And there are times to make more complicated beauties, because you need to think or be creative or simply want to do something that yields the desired result. I find that I do some of my best thinking, praying and contemplating in the kitchen, working through a recipe. This is why cooking is somewhat therapeutic for me, it gives me the outlet to be creative and craft something with immediate results. More often than not, if you follow a recipe, you'll achieve the desired results. Cooking is one of the few areas of life where that is consistently true!

Though a dessert like this can seem complicated, it's really not. It has several steps that require waiting, which is often the hardest part for me. (My husband has a running joke that I will never burn anything because I'm so impatient that I usually take things out of the oven too soon!) Waiting for the crust to cool allows for good thinking time, and the ability to wash dishes while you go.  

Not only is this tart relatively simple, it is also impressive in both taste and appearance. The bittersweet chocolate filling is complemented by the almond and fresh raspberries, making a delicious combination. I hope you enjoy both the process of making it, and the end result. Be sure to visit me over at 
Cooking Therapy!


Chocolate Almond Raspberry Tart 
adapted from bon app├ętit 
Some notes: The raspberry glaze I will probably do without next time. It was difficult to brush over the fresh raspberries without them falling over, and didn't add too much flavor. Almond paste is not the same as marzipan- it is less sweet and has a richer almond flavor, which you want in this tart. The original recipe called for the almond paste to be crumbled and then pressed on to the crust. I found it easier to roll it out into a think layer and place the whole thing on the crust. 

Ingredients 

For the crust:
1 1/4 cup chocolate wafer cookies, finely ground in a food processor or blender
5 TBS unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
8 oz. almond paste 
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate 
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pint or so of fresh raspberries 

Optional raspberry glaze: 
2 TBS raspberry jam
2 tsp. water

Special Equipment: 9 in tart pan with removable bottom 

Preparation

Make the crust: 
Preheat oven to 350. 
Combine cookie crumbs and melted butter in a medium bowl until the crumbs begin to stick together. 
Press in a thin layer onto the bottom and up the sides of your tart part. 
Bake crust until set and beginning to crisp, about 15 minutes. 
Cool completely on rack. 

Make the filling: 
Once crust is cooled, roll out almond paste into a thin layer and press on to the crust. 
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. 
Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then pour over the chocolate. 
Let it stand for about a minute, then whisk until melted and smooth. 
Pour the ganache over the almond layer, spread out until even. 
Chill tart until chocolate is cold and set, at least 4 hours. 

Once tart is chilled and completely set, arrange raspberries pointed side up on the top. 
To serve, use a small sharp knife to loosen crust from pan sides. 
Push the pan bottom up and set on a serving dish. Serve cold.
Keep tart refrigerated. 

Optional glaze: 
Combine raspberry jam and water in a small pan over low heat until blended and heated. Brush over berries before serving. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saturday Salad

We are knee deep in boxes and our house is almost packed up, but the kitchen? It's still fairly intact and open for business until Wednesday, when it officially closes for business in Bloomington and re-opens in Charlotte.


After a long day of packing, we fired up the grill for some grilled chicken thighs. I sauteed mini bella mushrooms and I made a warm vinaigrette with Wild Mushroom & Sage olive oil. I tossed it all together with cherub tomatoes and arugula, then finished with some crumbled goat cheese. Warm vinaigrettes are SO GOOD. By sauteeing some garlic with olive oil, the oil becomes infused with flavor and the slightly warm dressing hugs the salad ingredients in the best of ways. The goat cheese becomes creamier, the greens are slightly softer and everything tastes better.


Warm Vinaigrette


1/4 cup good olive oil (I actually use somewhere in between less than 1/4 cup but more than 1/8 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper


In a small saute pan, heat oil and add garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until garlic is soft and fragrant (be careful not to burn!) Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Pour cooked garlic and olive oil mixture into a small mixing bowl and whisk in vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. 


Makes enough to coat a medium sized salad.  


Note: For different dressings, try mixing up your oil flavors and the tangy (vinegar) taste. Vinegars can be substituted for fresh squeeze lemon, lime or even dijon mustard. I also like to use balsamic and champagne vinegars.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Put an Egg on that Burger!

My little sister cannot get over the fact that Mark and I recently enjoyed eggs atop our grilled Jalapeno Basil Burgers but my response to her was why the heck not!? Don't knock it till you try it.

I actually despised eggs (except for omelettes) up until the past couple of years and now I cannot get enough. I'm just in time, too, because it seems as though the incredible edible mainstay has become somewhat of a trendy ingredient. I can dig it. 


We typically skip the bun when but our grilled burgers are far from naked. We like to load up on fresh toppings of all flavor families. Guacamole, grilled onions, pesto, roasted mushrooms, arugula, heirloom tomatoes...we can now add fried eggs to the rotation. A slightly runny yolk of an over-easy adds fantastic texture but if you are like Mark and prefer your liquid chickens fully cooked, fry it up on both sides- it's just as delicious! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wine of the Week: Middle Sister Drama Queen





My love for Middle Sister wines was professed on my blog here, but this week, I have been reminded just how much I love this stuff. Maybe I'm just subconsciously missing the Middle Sister of the lovie trio who is studying hard in Michigan as she finishes up Physician Assistant school in less than TWO MONTHS. Andi- Cheers! I'm so proud of you. This week's wine is dedicated to you.






I wandered into Harris Teeter to find Middle Sister wines on sale this week for $9.99 a bottle! I usually pick up Middle Sister at Target, where it's $9.99 all the time. This week, I'm sipping on the Drama Queen (Pinot Grigio), but you can't go wrong with any of these. I may be partial to the three sisters on the front, too.


Cheers!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Watermelon + Mint

We have been in Charlotte the past few days finishing up the house hunting process and while at my parents' house, I always pick up new nuggets of food tips and recipe ideas. 

My mom has been adding fresh mint to watermelon and it is seriously delicious. Nothing says summer like biting into a cold, juicy watermelon and the addition of fresh mint makes this treat even sweeter. I'm loving this new food discovery! 

For another watermelon and mint creation, and to make good use of all that Farmer's Market loot, add tomatoes, crumbled feta and red onions for a fun seasonal salad.




Monday, June 18, 2012

Newest Essie Love: Good to Go!

I vlogged about this Essie product HERE, but I just need to re-iterate, again, how great this top coat is. Another essie love product for the win!

If you are like me, and skip weekly manicures in favor of J. Crew orders and extra deniro in the grocery budget, you must pick up this stuff immediately. At $10 a bottle, I think Good to Go! is worth every penny. Not only does it leave a shiny coat to finish off freshly painted nails and provide no chip protection, but within 15-20 minutes of painting my nails, I can go digging in my purse! 



Does $10 seem a little steep for this bottle of magic? Sign up for Ulta coupons to save $3.50 on your purchase of $10.00 or more! This week I'm wearing my all-time favorite, Ballet Slippers.



Friday, June 15, 2012

Peach + Blue Cheese Pizza



A pizza post on a Friday is most appropriate, wouldn’t you agree? Whoever decided that pizza tastes best on Fridays deserves a hug and a kiss (and an extra slice or two!) If you like to indulge at the end of the week like we do, I have the perfect Summer pizza to share.

Summer is the perfect time to find creative ways to use all the fresh produce brought home from the farmer’s market. Tomato, watermelon & feta salad. Roasted beets with pistachios, goat cheese and olive oil.

And peach pizza.

Do not stop reading here. Peaches on pizza may sound like the sort of food marriage destined for dumpsville but trust me on this one. It just works. The peaches roast as they cook atop the pizza pie and when paired with salty, pungent blue cheese, they provide a perfect balance. Add some slivered red onions and shredded mozzarella and this one is good to go.


Peach + Blue Cheese Pizza

Neopolitan Pizza Dough (recipe here)

1 large peace, diced
½ cup shredded mozzarella
Red onion, slivered
Crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt + pepper to season

Preheat pizza stone at 500 degrees.

Roll out dough, and place atop preheated stone. Brush crust with olive oil. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella on top, this will hold all of the toppings in place. Arrange peaches and red onions in an even layer. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Finish with a layer of crumbled blue cheese.

Bake for 8 minutes.

**Check out my friend Julie’s blog, Cooking Therapy. She recently posted my Neopolitan Pizza Doughand halved the recipe! Mark and I have been doing this as well, and make two small pizzas. It’s perfect for two with lunch leftovers on Saturday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PourOliveOil.com Has Launched!

For everyone who asked for more information about Pour Olive, the sparkly new site is now live for your viewing pleasure. Make sure to check it often for new flavors, store specials and one of my favorite features, "recipe of the moment". I can't believe that in just a few short weeks, we'll be living within minutes of this sweet little Dilworth spot! 




If you live in Charlotte and still have not checked out Pour Olive, you must do so immediately! I just wrote up the list of the Summer Harvest and the seasonal flavors are incredible!


Peace, love + olive oil!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Arugula with Roasted Mushrooms, Apples, Crispy Prosciutto + Truffle Vinaigrette


This salad is the result of re-creating something we enjoyed at one of our favorite Windy City spots, The Purple Pig. Their menu is always fresh and ever-changing. I'm glad that we hit up the pig when a salad similar to this one was featured on their Spring menu.

One of my favorite things to do after I devour something delicious at a restaurant is to try and create my own version at home. It's a good challenge and a great way dive in and develop your own recipes. Whenever I'm in a meal planning slump, or am looking for something different, I always turn to the menus from some of our favorite restaurants. This is a great way to inspire your cooking!


Roasted mushrooms and crisp apples sound like a strange food pairing but when mixed with peppery arugula and tossed with a truffle vinaigrette, it all just clicks. A salad that one would expect to be sweet is actually more savory and the mushrooms and truffle oil give way to an earthy symphony of flavors. Hints of crispy prosciutto and sweet Fuji apple round it all out, making each bite perfect.


Arugula with Roasted Mushrooms, Apples, Crispy Prosciutto + Truffle Vinaigrette

Recipe inspired by The Purple Pig


Fresh Arugula
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 small Fuji apple, diced
1 slice prosciutto
Good olive oil

In a skillet, add a quick pour of olive oil. When the oil is heated, add mushrooms. Season with pepper and pan roast for 4-5 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and fragrant. Remove and set aside.


In the same pan, cook and crisp up prosciutto, about 2 minutes on each side. Prosciutto should be crispy.


Mix Arugula, mushrooms, and diced apple together. Crumble crispy prosciutto on top and toss with Truffle vinaigrette. (recipe below)


Truffle Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. black truffle oil
2 Tbsp. red wine or champagne vinegar
Salt + pepper to season



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses: Week 15, Vol. 10


Stop and Smell the Roses

HUGE news in the Moore house this week!!! We are beyond excited. As in pee your pants, scream at the top of your lungs dance around because you don't know what else to do kind of excited.

And NO.  Not the kind of news that will involve me becoming huge, living in maxi dresses and having weird random cravings. 

Cue the music...




I'm thrilled that this news can finally be out in the open! It's been so hard to keep it in for the past several weeks as all of the logistics with Mark's company (Johnson & Johnson) have been worked out. I cannot tell y'all how happy we are. 

Mark, I do not have enough words to say how proud I am of you and how much I love you. We make the best team and doing this thing called life together makes my heart full.




Illinois, it's been fun. Carolina, here we come! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wine of the Week: Naked Unoaked Chardonnay

Here's a crisp Summer white to add to your rotation. It's refreshing, easy to drink and the lemon on the label was a bonus for me. I love the clean look of this bottle.


I purchased Naked at my local market for $9.99

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fresh Berry Pie



This fresh berry pie is a Nido family Summertime favorite. I remember summer nights, curled up on the couch with my sisters and parents eating our pie and laughing hysterically in between bites while watching Cosby Show re-runs on Nick at Nite's Summer Block Party. And the next morning, we would eat pie for breakfast. Such sweet and happy lovie memories. Memories that revolve around food. Naturally.

Mark and I hosted our good friends who came to visit for a night last week from Georgia and I knew this berry pie would be the perfect dessert to top off our dinner. (Kevin, Krista, Addison & Ansley- we so enjoyed your visit!! What a treat.) My mom typically makes this entirely with blueberries, strawberries or blackberries, but since the berries at the market were extra beautiful, I decided to make my pie with all three. I called my mom for the recipe and said a few prayers while making it, hoping for the perfect pie!

You cannot beat this fresh berry pie in the Summer. Fresh berries, piled high, sit inside of a cookie type crush that is light, flakey and slightly sweet. A quick glaze cooks on the stove and is then poured on top of the pie that when left to sit in the fridge for a few hours, makes a picture perfect dessert. I served my pie with vanilla bean ice cream with a drizzle of Tri Cicolotto (triple chocolate) Balsamic Vinegar.



Fresh Berry Pie
recipe from My Mom :)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Crust:
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. milk
1.5 cups flour
1.5 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Mix flour, sugar and salt together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together canola oil and milk. Slowly add the flour mixture to the oil & milk mixture. Mix until it becomes thick and dough like, then transfer to a 9" pie dish. Starting from the center of the dish, spread the crust until it is covering the entire dish. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until crust starts to brown. Let cool.

Filling:
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
1 Qt. fresh strawberries, sliced
3 Tbsp. corn starch
3.5 Tbsp. Mixed Berry Jello
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/4 cups water

Wash and dry berries, then place inside crust. 

Combine starch, Jello and sugar, then set aside. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Slowly add Jello mixture, stirring constantly. Return to a boil and keep it there for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool.

Drizzle topping over berries and refrigerate for 4-5 hours before serving.'





Friday, June 1, 2012

Baby Greens with Grilled Peaches, Gorgonzola & Almonds + Serrano Honey Vinaigrette

Salad munching is clearly a way of life around here -I'm starting to think I should start a new blog solely devoted to salads. As I said on Tuesday, salads should not be shoved into the timeout corner and called names like "hippie food" and "rabbit food". No. They are much, much more. Fresh produce is at it's peak this time of year and I always enjoy thinking of crazy new combinations to add to our dinner plates. 

Grilled peaches made an appearance in our salad
here, but I think last night's salad is the newest peachy winner. Sliced peaches, slightly grilled and served over baby greens with crumbled gorgonzola and crushed almonds. I tossed it all together with a spicy Serrano Honey vinaigrette courtesy of my newest Pour Olive shipment. We loved this flavor combination so much, that it might find it's way onto a homemade pizza tonight.


I served this salad alongside seared flank steak with chimichurri

And Mark went back for salad seconds.


Baby Greens with Grilled Peaches, Gorgonzola, Almonds + Serrano Honey Vinaigrette

Baby Greens
Sliced peaches
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Almonds, crushed

Serrano Honey Vinaigrette (for two small salads)
1/8 cup good olive oil
1/8 cup Pour Olive Serrano Honey Vinegar
(Substitute with 1 Tbsp. honey and 1/8 cup white balsamic, and add crushed red pepper)

Season with salt