Babies are exhausting!
I know this may be stating the obvious to some of you.
Babies are exhausting!
I know this may be stating the obvious to some of you.
The best part about blogging is the friends you make.
Some of my “real life” best friends are bloggers.
Really I just wanted to meet this munchkin:
Like I ever need any luring into the weekend…
However, I was excited for the events of this past weekend. I’ve recapped the best parts below, including purple basil, watermelon salad, my BFF’s baby’s 1st birthday (remember when he was born?), and dinner at the latest #ATL seafood hot spot.
First I want to take a moment to express my condolences to the people of Aurora, CO. It is beyond me how anyone could do such an evil thing. Furthermore, I don’t understand why it’s legal to buy those guns. I know some people consider shooting to be a hobby, but we as a society have proven to ourselves over and over that assault rifles bring nothing but harm.
On to brighter things…
I found this delicious herb at my local Saturday farmer’s market:
Purple Basil is not quite as sweet as the green variety, and a bit heartier. Much closer to a romaine lettuce leaf in texture. I loved it on a P28 Protein Bagel with some Greek yogurt and an heirloom tomato (also from the market). served with a side of these Indian Roasted Chickpeas – an old recipe, but one I return to often!
My nest friend’s little boy, Jackson, had his 1st birthday this weekend. I’m sure he won’t remember any of it, but we have a fantastic time celebrating with him! Doesn’t he look just like his daddy (pic below)?
We had a some tasty eats compliments of the baby’s grandmother. I brought a new take on this cotija-watermelon salad that I made for his mamma’s baby shower a little over a year ago.
This new twist contained:
Of course there was cake. Ever the gentleman, Jackson wasn’t about to face-plant into that baby cake
like his Aunt Laura would have.
My friend Keith and I headed to the latest restaurant concept by Fifth Group (an Atlanta restaurant group), Lure. This group is one of the best in Atlanta, due largely in part to their staff. The serve and attention to detail is always top-notch, and Lure upholds that tradition.
We began the meal with a couple of small plates:
The seared scallop crudo with sugar snap peas and horseradish was a huge win. I can’t recall ever having a more fresh piece of seafood. The slightly sweet, crisp snap peas was the perfect light pairing with the scallop, and the dollops of horseradish gave a nice kick to the dish. This was my favorite dish of the night – love at first bite.
The next dish was a plate of French Horn mushrooms with baba ghannouj, chickpeas, and a parsley salad. I loved the mushrooms, and the bright lemon juice the dressed the parsley. I found the baba ghannouj to be a bit salty (I’m sensitive to salt, so you may think it’s perfect).
For round two, we ordered one more small plate and a main. We were absorbed in conversation, so we didn’t notice our second dishes were taking a while to come out. That didn’t stop a manager from coming out to apologize and off us free soup! I didn’t get a pic of the Tom Yum Shrimp Bisque, but we very much appreciated the gesture.
Our entrees did arrive, and they were beautiful:
The small plate we chose was grilled octopus & pork lettuce wraps with basil, cilantro, red onion, rice noodles, and spicy Vietnamese sauce. I loved the heat in the sauce. The octopus was good, not too chewy… but I barely remember the pork.
My main was a sautéed black grouper served atop silver queen corn, curry, yogurt sauce, and a spicy lime pickle. I was surprised at how well the strong flavors worked with the flaky fish. It was perfectly executed. The spice from the curry was excellent with the sweetness of the worn and the slightly sour citrus of the lime pickle. It didn’t top the scallops, but it was close!
We were comfortably full… but it was my cheat day… how could I pass up dessert? After polling everyone via Instagram, I selected the guava and coconut bread pudding.
This deliciousness was served with a creme anglaise and toasted hazelnuts. We loved the bread – a brioche from the famed H&F Bread Co. The toasted hazelnuts we like the icing on this cake. Ever the texture lover, I enjoyed their nutty crunch with the chewy toasted coconut that coated the soft bread pudding. It was also the perfect size and sweet-level. Just enough to hit the spot without regrets.
Overall, this 5-day old restaurant impressed me. As I said, the service was perfect. The food was solid as well; it has a distinct “Fifth-Group” feel. In comparison to The Optimist (the other new Atlanta seafood restaurant I wrote up last week), it is different. The Optimist is more “farm-to-table” seafood; it uses few ingredients and allows the main ingredient to speak for itself. Lure focuses more on spices and offers many dishes with of an “ethic” twist. Both good in their own way.
Side note: Lure’s wine list is much better, another signature of this restaurant group.
I didn’t just eat my way through the entire weekend! I stuck to my workout plan and was very good about getting in my 7 meals after admitted last Wednesday to not being excited about eating anything. This week’s workouts were pretty exciting to me – I’m starting to notice bigger gains in my arms. I was able to do preacher curls with an EZ curl bar that I couldn’t think about curling a month ago!
The real boost happened Saturday at the farmer’s market. I was walking around, eating free samples (it was cheat day!), and one of the women working looked at me and said “flex.” I said “excuse me?” and she repeated herself. I thought she was kidding, but she was serious! I blushed hard… but obliged. LOL! It made my day. Thank you, free sample lady. 🙂
Workout Recap (7/16- 7/23):
I also cooked a lot this weekend. I cannot wait to share some new recipes this week, including one reader request! 🙂
What was the best part of your weekend?
What new item have you tried recently? Have you ever had purple basil?
I got to see my baby this weekend!
Relax – I didn’t become the Virgin Mary on you
(and that would be the situation at this point).
Remember with my BFF had her baby? Jackson is now 6 weeks old and SO cute. Big blue eyes, chunky little cheeks… he doesn’t look like a monkey at all!
I took the new parents dinner Friday night and had a great time catching up and hearing all the fun new parent stories.
We had a Whole Foods rotisserie chicken. I love you, WF… but your rotisserie chicken is ALWAYS dry.
I also made some bulgar and pesto to go with it.
Please ignore the terrible picture. This is what happens wthen you eat after the sun goes down.
Clearly I can’t make anything too normal… this pesto contained smoked almonds and avocado!
Who doesn’t love a creamy sauce?
Crisco was nice enough to send me 3 of their olive oils to taste.* I was excited to have the opportunity to use the Extra Virgin variety in this pesto.
It was good – it’s not a $30 bottle of rich, buttery olive oil (oh, how I’m looking forward to Italy!), but it is perfect to mix into items such as this. It blended well and didn’t fight the other flavors.
A few things to think about when making and dip/sauce:
*I received Crisco’s Olive Oil as part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker Program; however, all opinions are my own!*
Place all ingredients except the olive oil, salt, and pepper in food processor. Blend until just combined.
Slowly add olive oil with processor on low speed. Adjust flavors, salt and pepper as needed.
Use as a dip or a topping on your favorite grain/pasta/salad.
My calf feels so much better… except when I was icing my knees tonight it seized up. Weird.
Do you have a favorite herb or spice to add to foods?
Has anyone ever had weird calf pain? Any advice?
It’s Weekend Recap Monday!
Saturday I got to see the now 1 week old Jackson – how cute is he?!
Mommy, Daddy and baby are all doing well. They are all so cute together – I can’t believe the girl I used to run around the softball field with now has a baby. Totally surreal.
Of course, I couldn’t drop by empty-handed.
I brought the new parents some of the treats I made to take to a friend’s beach volleyball party.
These baller-friends built a sand volleyball court right in their own backyard. It stays there year-round. Coolest. Idea. Ever.
We braved the heat and played for hours. I was impressed at the skill level of my friends! After a few rounds (and a minor injury), I decided to play it safe and spectate.
My thumb is a hard-core shade of purple today.
The Chipotle Corn Hummus made an appearance at the party.
Heat + charred, sweet corn + hummus = Mmmmm.
Oh… did you want to know about that treat?
I put the Edge Brownie Pan mom gave me a few years ago to a whole new use.
S’more Brownies. Complete with graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallows.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I like to sneak “secret” ingredients into foods. (I swear by these brownies).
Betcha can’t guess the secret in S’more Brownies…
Rather than adding the called-for water and oil, I added a can of Diet Coke. You can stop there, but I added an egg to achieve a fudge-ier brownie that would be a bit more reminiscent of melted s’more chocolate.
The chocolate chips in the batter give it added texture and make this even more
This may be one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. (And I make a lot of desserts.) They’re your childhood s’mores
on crack made better.
I can never make these again.
For at least a week.
Preheat oven to 350 and grease brownie pan (I used the edge brownie pan).
Mix together melted Earth Balance (or butter) with crushed graham crackers. Press on to bottom of brownie pan. Bake for 8-10 mins.
*Here’s where I stopped and froze mine overnight. #1 I didn’t have time to make it all at one and #2 sometimes freezing a crumb-y crust help it to crisp up/not be too greasy.*
Mix together brownie batter (except marshmallows). Add the soda in fourths to be sure batter doesn’t get too runny.
Pour batter into the brownie pan on top of the crust.
Bake at 325 for 35-40 mins, until batter is set.
Set over to broil and top the brownie with just enough of the marshmallows to cover (they will expand as they warm). Place in oven for 30-45 secs, until marshmallows are browned. Watch them closely!!!
Let cool COMPLETELY before cutting.
I love how desserts can be re-thought and made even better than the original.
What is your favorite dessert re-make?
Do you re-create them on your own or try them in restaurants more often?
You might be a food blogger if…
…You make party-goers wait while your mom holds a
burning tray of so you can take a pic of your triple chocolate red velvet birthday cake cupcakes.
…You get unnaturally excited that you got an action shot photo of the Souper Jenny employee adding bacon whipped cream to the tomato tarts. Yes, it was as fantastic as it sounds.
…Your new favorite band is a the hodge podge of chefs that jammed out after all of the food was eaten at the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival. Chef Ford Fry can rock a festival and a guitar, yo.
…The only thing that is more exciting than tomatoes prepared 50 different ways on a Sunday is getting to hold your best friend’s beautiful new 6 lb 11oz and 19.25 inch baby. Welcome to the world, Jackson Gregory.
Last week was crazy at work and this weekend with all the festivities! I’m looking forward to getting back on track this week – both in the kitchen, in terms in my routine, and catching up blogging/blog reading!
The weekly recap tradition lives on! Check back later in the week for a new leg workout – it’ a good one!
Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes! The birthday weekend was incredible – I wish you all could have been there too!
Do many of your friends have children?
Do you like to take them on outings and spoil them? I can’t wait! 🙂