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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Things We Love: Cheap Thrills

Last week, Josh and I both took time off of work to recharge. We went down to Atlanta for a few days (more on that later!), and then spent some time at home. It was seriously an awesome week. So very needed.

While our trip was our big treat, I did still buy a little happy after we had come home. I saw a blogger that I follow post a picture of some shoes from Target on instagram (I’m sossawoman if you want to follow!), so I decided that we needed to go to our local Target so I could try them on before they ran out of my size. It happens.

Behold, my sweet new purchase:

So fun! I’ve been wanting to buy a pair of menswear inspired shoes, but since I don’t know just how much I’ll wear them, I hated spending much. I think under $20 makes it justifiable. Plus, they have pink soles. Done.

You can check them out here.

Anybody else buy anything cute recently? Even though it’s crazy hot here, I’m still starting to gather things for fall!

Foodie Friday: Bacon Corn Hash

Last week Allyn sent me a link for the recipe below. We both knew it would be a great meal that both our husbands (and us as well) would love. Better yet, it dirtied only one dish, featured fresh veggies, and wasn’t too difficult.

This past week has been rather difficult for Bryan and I. Our beloved dog died. I never thought of myself as a dog-person until Bosco. That dog was my kid. Not to get all emotional or I-love-my-dog on you, but we needed some comforting and this was the meal to do it.

Bacon Corn Hash from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into small dice
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 to 3 1/4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 medium-large ears corn, kernels cut from the cob (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 bundle scallions, thinly sliced

Toss bacon into a large skillet over medium heat, no need to heat the pan first. Let rest for a few minutes until it starts sizzling, then move the bits around so that they begin to brown evenly. Again, wait a couple minutes before shuffling the pieces around; you’re looking for them to get evenly golden and crisp. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan and transferring the bacon to paper towels to drain.

If your bacon is like mine, you’ll be left with a spectacular amount of fat behind. You’ll be tempted to drain it off. May I ask you not to? The potatoes that cook in this will be gorgeous and you will have a chance to remove this extra in a bit. It will mostly stay in the pan.

Heat the pan to medium/medium-high, making sure the bacon fat is nicely sizzly, then add your potatoes all at once in a single layer. Sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon table salt and several grinds of black pepper. Let them cook for a few minutes in one place and get a bit golden underneath before turning them over and moving them around. Repeat this process until the potatoes are browned on all sides; this takes about 20 minutes.

At this point, you can push aside the potatoes and pour or spoon off all but a small amount of the fat. I won’t tell you how much I was able to remove but it rhymes with shmoo to shmee shmablespoons. If you save it, you can use it to fry an egg in a bit.

Bump up the heat a little and add the corn to the skillet. Saute the potatoes and corn together until the corn gets a bit brown but stays fairly crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the drained bacon, and stir the mixture together until it’s evenly warm, about 1 more minute. Remove the skillet from the burner and sprinkle the scallions (reserving a couple spoonfuls if you’d like to use them as fried egg garnish) over the hash. In two minutes, they should be warm and mellowed. Season with more salt or pepper to taste, if needed.

Add a fried egg to it: Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and swirl in one to two teaspoons bacon fat or butter. Crack one egg into the skillet and reduce heat to medium. I like to cover the skillet with a small lid at this point, as it seems to help the egg cook faster and more evenly. In one minute, you should have a perfect sunny-side-up egg. Season with salt and pepper, serve on top of a pile of bacon corn hash.

Make it today! Your soul will thank you.

Foodie Friday: Meal Plan

I thought I’d take a little break from our normal recipe posting and show the method behind our meals.

In the past, I never though about meals in a long-term sense. Most of the time, one of us would come up with the idea during the day, text the other to make sure it sounded good, and then swing by the store on the way home.

This resulted in multiple, multiple trips to the store every week, and a lot of wasted produce. We’d buy a large bunch of cilantro, use a small handful for a recipe, and the rest of it would sadly wither away.

Our freezer was stocked with meat that we never cooked because we never gave ourselves enough time to thaw it out.

Basically, we were wasting a lot of time and money.

I decided that we needed to stop.

So, I started thinking about how much money I thought we should spend each week on food. This would include the breakfasts and lunches that I make ahead for us at the beginning of each week, plus I planned for 5 dinners (we have one night a week we always have to grab something quickly, and typically we’ll go out at least one night). I also thought about what was important to us when it comes to our food. I wanted us to be able to buy as much as possible from our incredible local farmers, and the items we couldn’t get from them I wanted to be of the highest quality. As I told my sweet husband, I didn’t want this to feel restrictive, but I did want us to be aware of where our money was going.

The funniest (and most surprising) part of this whole thing is that now we’re shopping almost exclusively at our farmer’s market and at Whole Foods, and are spending less on a weekly basis than I thought was possible. So not what I expected, but so so great! Also, our meals are amazing. We both feel better, and I love the relationships we’ve made with the people from whom we buy our food. It’s important.

So, down to the nitty-gritty:

I keep a Google doc going of a huge list of recipes. Any time I find a new one I want us to try, I just add a short description on to the page with a link to the original recipe. I love reading comments on recipes to see how people have modified the original, and I’ll often make notes on my doc to include some of the ideas that I’ve read.

Then, I have another doc where I break down the week into the proper categories, and what meals I have planned for each of those. I try to keep in mind what’s currently in season, since those ingredients will be the easiest to find and the tastiest. I also include the link to the original recipes, so that I don’t have to go searching around. Josh also has access to this doc, so he can make dinner too without having to ask me where the recipe is from. I include any notes I’ve made, since I usually wind up incorporating those into the recipes.

Here’s what this week’s meal plan looks like:

Week of July 15-July 21

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Dinner:

Typically I’ll make a grocery list on a Friday night, then we hit the market and the store on Saturday morning. We get as much as possible from the market before we get to Whole Foods, and I try to stick to the list when we get there. Whole Foods is very dangerous to wander around in.

It’s nothing fancy, and I don’t assign any meals to certain days of the week, but it’s nice to know that I have everything I need to make us really great meals.

It also means more time for lolling each night, and that’s never a bad thing.

Anyone else do meal planning? Do you feel like you’ve turned into your mother when you do it, or is that just me?

 

Wasted Wednesday: Bourbon and Peach

***Whoops-a-daisy! It has recently come to my attention that it is not Wednesday! Obviously I am in need of bourbon this morning. Carry on….***

This is not a recipe. I repeat this is not a recipe.

Part of the Lolling About lifestyle involves winging it sometimes. A few weeks ago I made brandied peaches and ended up with a lot of leftover peach syrup. I know, it’s a real hardship. I’ve been thinking about all the wonderful things I could put it in or on. One of the ideas I couldn’t wait to try was mixed with bourbon.

I’ve sort of been on this bourbon kick lately after I first sampled a mint julep. Southern girls just love their strong drinks. So the other night while the guys were making mint juleps I mixed a couple of tablespoons of peach syrup with a good helping of bourbon. I topped it off with crushed ice and stirred.

Gracious, it was delicious. Refreshing, light yet strong. Yummm….

What have you mixed with bourbon lately?

 

Garden Grows: Chapter Six

To say that our garden has taken off would be quite the understatement. We’ve harvested snow peas, green beans, and loads of squash already, and there are still other things that we’re waiting patiently for them to ripen!

I managed to run outside in between rain showers yesterday and snap a few quick photos before it started pouring again.

SO THANKFUL for the rain.

Acorn squash and bell peppers. Not sure why the peppers seem to be glowing

So much squash!

The basil is growing like crazy. I think I’ll be freezing some pesto soon

Broccoli. Not really sure what it’s doing. Maybe one day we can eat it?

Lots of San Marzano tomatoes. Can’t wait.

Cherry tomatoes

Anyone else had gardening luck this summer? Or have any really bad luck?

Virginia Vacation Recap

I totally owe ya’ll a vacation recap post! I’m sorry! Prepare yourself for a ridiculously long post to make up for it!

Bryan and I got up super early and flew into the Norfolk area on a Thursday. Bryan’s brother, sister-in-law, and some close friends live there and we slated a day to spend with them, to see where they live, where they work, and just get to see their faces.

We had a great group dinner together and then hung around at our friend’s house. Is there anything better than spending time with close friends? I think not. It makes my heart happy.

Friday we had a great breakfast together before seeing where Bryan’s brother and sister-in-law lived and worked. It’s kind of sad that in two years we hadn’t seen their apartment or pictured their workplaces. After the Norfolk tour we stopped by the Harborfest. I had requested to see some of the water area and Harborfest happened to be going on.

Harborfest, Norfolk, VA

It was amazing! Beautiful boats and handsome sailors everywhere!

Harborfest_Norfolk_VA

After enjoying some Harborfest (it was too huge to see it all and we were on a schedule) we parted ways and Bryan and I hit the road to Charlottesville.

My cousin had lived in Charlottesville last year and she gave us some great tips on where to eat and what to do, and most importantly, the best winearys to visit.

Downtown_mall_Charlottesville_va

I loved Charlottesville. It was my favorite part of the trip, besides seeing friends, of course. It has such a cool vibe about it. Its hard to put into words.

Needless to say we ate some amazing food while we were in town.

Saturday morning Bryan and I got bagels and coffee and walked around UVA’s campus. This wasn’t on the top of my list, but I’ll admit, it was pretty dang awesome.

After we finished our coffee and campus touring we met up with Bryan’s brother and sister-in-law who drove up that morning and drove up to Monticello.

I was most excited about Monticello, and especially the gardens. The house was cool to see, but the grounds were amazing. I’m currently reading A Rich Spot of Earth and am dying to go back and spend some more time in that garden!

In the afternoon we drove out to one of the vineyards my cousin had suggested. Bryan and I had never been to a wine tasting, but our traveling companions are very much into wine. The tasting was nice and all, but the views were amazing. We got a glass of wine and spent some time on the patio soaking it all in.

Sunday we had an amazing breakfast before hitting up our next vineyard. This one came with ruins and a wineary tour! At Barboursville we tasted over 20 wines, toured the facility, and bought a few bottles to bring home. The family home burned many years ago, but the ruins are still there to admire. We took pictures.

This was totally spontaneous. I didn’t know they were doing the same thing behind me.

We parted ways again with our family and Bryan and I took off down Constitution Highway (I can’t make this up) towards Washington, DC.

Bryan had never been to DC and he’s kind of a history buff, so I let him take the reins for this portion of the trip.

One thing we both wanted to do was to see some of the monuments at night. They were beautiful.

Monday we did the total tourist thing: monuments, monuments, and more monuments. It was ridiculously hot and I was melting down. Bryan suggested we rent bikes, which we had seen everywhere. Not much of a biker (or anything that requires physical excursion, I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but I caved and let him try it.

Best idea ever! These bikes were easy to ride and we created our own breeze!

My favorite part of the DC experience was riding the bikes down a footpath along the Potamac towards dusk. It was beautiful, peaceful, and fun to see the locals being active. We ended our bike ride on a boardwalk, drinking beer, and people watching.

Before leaving town Tuesday, we went to Arlington. On the previous family vacation I went to (the required 8th grade Washington DC tour) we hadn’t made it to Arlington so this was new for me too.

As we approached the tomb of the unknown solider it started to rain. It was a moving moment. Bryan also enjoyed Arlington (or Lee’s) house.

After lunch in old Alexandria we headed back towards Norfolk. We had one last group dinner in Norfolk to cap off the great vacation.

Here’s what I recommend if planning to visit some of these areas:
Norfolk: Public House, Harborfest, Omar’s Carriage House
Charlottesville: visit the Downtown mall, Mas tapas, Local, Bodo’s Bagel, Bluegrass. Vineyards: King Family and Barboursville
Washington DC: Founding Farmers, Old Ebbitt, Capital Bike Share

Sweet Relief

Posted on

You guys, we were totally woken up by a thunderstorm last night! It was amazing!

Middle TN has been in the midst of a drought, and we’ve been praying for rain.

We’ve still got a long way to go to get back to normal water levels, but let me just say, I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to be woken up in the middle of the night.

Anything else exciting happen this weekend?

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