Monday, July 29, 2013


Our house is located fairly close to lots of decent restaurants, one of the newest being Crust. They specialize in wood fired pizzas (and have a really good S'mores dessert), with a nice thin crust. Service is a little lacking, but the pizza is always good. My favorite is the butternut squash with porcini mushrooms (in truffle oil), caramelized onions, and arugula.

I'm totally trying this at home soon.

On a Roll

I've been making egg rolls at home more lately (I love a good spring roll!) and basically just follow the directions on the eggroll wrappers.

It's a package of cole slaw (I like the shredded kind with cabbage, radish, and carrots, broccoli slaw is good too) mixed with a tablespoon or so of oyster sauce and cooked until softened. You stuff and roll them up, brush them lightly with olive oil and bake them at 400 for about 12 minutes. Not as crispy as deep frying but still pretty satisfying.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Beaufort - Day 2

My husband joined us for day 2 in Beaufort, which started with breakfast at the hotel coffee shop and a walk through some local galleries. Before he got to town my mom and I drove out to Hunting Island park and walked around the beach. It was really wild and pretty, and reminded me of Daufuskie Island.

When we got back, I took advantage of the fact that the hotel loans out bikes for guests--I ended up taking three bike rides around the pretty (waterfront) historic neighborhood behind us before we left.

 I forgot how much fun it is to ride a bike! I totally want this one too, it's a Jamis Cruiser, which is pricy but definitely on my wish list. Maybe I can find a used one somewhere? I digress. Up next was a belated birthday trip I booked for my mom on the Annalee, a wooden 1930s boat. We cruised around the harbor for an hour or so and they provided a picnic lunch while we listened to music. My dad would have loved it.

 For dinner, John and I drove to a Thai/sushi place right down the road, where we had some great local shrimp and I got down on some very good veggie sushi.

Despite the spotty weather it turned out to be a great trip. I got some quality time with my hubs and mom and enjoyed all the cool new stuff in Beaufort (combined with its small town charm). Can't wait to go back!

Beaufort - Day 1

My mom and I drove down to Beaufort, SC on a Friday to visit my cousin and his son, who were vacationing in nearby Hilton Head. After catching up with them for lunch, we checked in at the killer City Loft hotel. The rooms were colorful, contemporary, and super comfortable.

There's a gym and coffee shop, and with only 22 rooms it has a really intimate feel. They even come around at 5:00 with cookies and turn down service. Plus, it's affordable! With great cable. There was even a tv in the bathroom, where you can soak in this ridiculously huge bathtub while you catch up on HGTV (which is precisely what I did--"World's Coolest Pools," anyone?). There were complimentary bathrobes, and the four different shower heads come out of the ceiling. Love, love, love.

It's the little things :). After we strolled around the downtown area and got a tasty seafood dinner at Wren, we checked out Lowcountry Produce, a cafe in an old post office across the street from our hotel to get our sweet fix (I'm going to go ahead and blame my insatiable sweet tooth on my mother).

I got a natural creme soda and a red velvet cupcake, both were tasty. And the place couldn't be any cuter. As the name suggests, they sell local produce, cheeses, meats, and other fun stuff also. I haven't been to Beaufort in a few years and it's really cool to see how many new, fun things there are to do here. Day 1 = success!

Greek Shrimp Bake

This recipe just keeps getting better and better. It's fast, it's easy, and so many of the ingredients play nice together you can really add in whatever you have on hand. And you could make it ahead and freeze in a Ziploc bag until you're ready to bake. Looks fancy, but is great for weeknights.

It's really easy. Honestly. You just mix a bunch of stuff in a baking dish and let it go. This is another recipe that is easy to adapt based on what's in your fridge. I added different veggies based on what we had this week and it always turns out good!

1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp (preferably local)
1 cup (or so) of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
Scallions, rinsed and sliced (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, or one or two stalks)
Roasted red peppers (I actually roasted one whole pepper, but you can use jarred)
Big handful of fresh spinach, chopped or cut into a chiffonade with kitchen scissors
Fresh basil (if you've got it)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced (jarred is fine)
Feta cheese (one of those small containers, about a cup--I like low fat)
Heavy drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Mix everything together in a baking dish, like so.

Stick that baby in the oven (on 400) for about twenty minutes and then YUM! I served it with some boxed parmesan risotto and it was awesome. It's great by itself too. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


I had a doctor's appointment in Mt. Pleasant, right next to this awesome organic cafe I had been hearing a lot about lately. I gave it a go and it was amazing. I ordered the Bento Bowl (sans avocado) and it was so flavorful I forgot I was eating tofu and a big bowl of greens. Soooo good. And fresh. I'm definitely going back soon!

Operation Bake Sale

I've been a vendor at the Lowcountry Artist Market many times in the past with my jewelry but this time my friend Laura (who also loves to bake) and I decided to sell our homemade goodies. We stayed up late, cranked some tunes, and made tons of tasty treats--salted rice krispy treats, mint chocolate cookies, banana bread, brownies, fruit crumbles, and more.

The day started off pretty slow but by lunch time we had lots of visitors (including several of our generous friends, family, and co-workers) and the day flew by. On the way home we dropped a big basket of unsold desserts at a local fire department and their reaction totally made my day. There were shouts, high fives, and lots of gratitude. I thanked them for their service and nearly cried in the car...they put their lives on the line every day and I was so happy we could do something teensy like this to brighten their afternoon :).

Can't wait for the winter Market!

Grown Up Fish Sticks

I got some panko covered frozen fishsticks (the most natural ones I could find) from Publix and decided to make myself some healthyish fish tacos. Whole wheat tortillas, melted cheddar, torn spinach, and fresh pico de gallo. All in all, pretty good!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Xiau Bao Biscuit

Ermehgawd...this place is amazing. Xiau Bao Biscuit opened fairly recently in an up and coming part of downtown and there has been lots of buzz about it. It totally lived up to the hype.

I had two veggie sides for my meal, but my hands-down favorite was the Okonomiyaki 'So What You Like' cabbage pancake with fried egg on top. Sounds weird but it was soooo good. Everything was on the spicy side, but the flavors were so good and everything was so vibrant and pretty. Definitely going to be back soon!

Busy Bee

The Artist Market is going to be here soon, so I've been up late crafting some new jewelry to sell. Aren't these lockets cute?

So True

Persimmon Cafe

I was intrigued by Persimmon Cafe, which I had heard about on Facebook. It's a gourmet sandwich/soup shop inside of the local college laundromat downtown. I swung by recently and was happy to see lots of yummy vegetarian choices on the menu. I got a panini with brie, roasted asparagus, and fig jam. It was really good, just a little sweet for my palette (I like my sweets sweet and my main courses savory). The ingredients were really fresh and I would totally go there again. There was a lump crab sandwich on the menu that sounded awesome and I'm hoping it's on the menu next time I'm over that way!

Oh, To Be a Dog

Dogs remind me to appreciate the simple joys in life. Here's Meaty on the way to the park for a walk, with her head hanging out the window enjoying the breeze <3.

Orzo Salads

This week I made not one, but two delicious orzo pasta salads. Both were excellent. The first one is cooked orzo with quartered cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, yellow bell pepper, local green beans, onion, garlic and corn, and feta cheese. I also mixed in some lemon juice, sea salt and olive oil.

My next attempt was a Greek version, this time with kalmatta olives, carrots, orange cherry tomatoes, spinach, sundried tomatoes, and lots of feta. I added red wine vinegar, sea salt and olive oil and it came together beautifully. Orzo is such an easy pasta to experiment with and it's great hot or cold. I love it for summer salads and it packs well for lunches and leftovers too.


Our friend Laura got us tickets to the local Riverdogs July 4th baseball game where there was a big fireworks display scheduled for afterwards. A few days before the game an announcement was made that A-Rod (aka Alex Rodriguez) was going to be playing as part of his injury rehab, and immediately tickets sold out. So us lucky duckies arrived in time to see him play two innings, which were pretty uneventful.

We were about to write him off as a diva for taking someone else's jersey for the night (and supposedly commandeering the team's locker room), but he did come out and greet fans and sign a bunch of autographs, so that was cool.

Then there was some rain, and some overtime, but eventually, some FIREWORKS! Good time with good friends, and the meat eaters got to enjoy the infamous Homewrecker Hotdog at the stadium. All in all a fun night!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bombshell Brownies

If you're looking for a chewy rich brownie, this is it. I added some leftover toffee chips on top, which made them even better!

1 cup butter, melted
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish.
2. Combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually stir flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
4. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.

Original Recipe:

Corn Crab Potato Chow-dah

This is hands down one of my favorite recipes and a total crowd pleaser. It's great in the summer time when we have tons of corn, peppers, onions, and potatoes coming in the CSA bag. Plus Costco has really good quality crab meat for like $6.99 that works perfectly for this. It's time consuming but sooooo worth it.

Adapted from this original recipe at

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium chopped onion
1 chopped green or red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery (optional)
2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is good)
1 teaspoon sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil (fresh is even better!)
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (again, if you have fresh, use it!)
Old Bay seasoning (to taste)
Sea salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups fresh corn kernels (frozen is fine)
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced (I used a bunch of mini fingerling potatoes)
1 1/2 quarts veggie stock
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups heavy cream
1 pound fresh lump crab meat, shell pieces removed

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 10 minutes. Pour in the white wine and sherry, and bring to a simmer. Season with the basil, pepper, cayenne pepper, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the corn and potatoes, then pour in the veggie stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes.

2. While the soup is simmering, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour has turned the color of peanut butter to make a roux, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir roux and cream into soup mixture and heat through. Stir in crab and warm, then serve.