Monday, December 31, 2012

Charleston, SC Day 3

After my run in the morning, we lounged around before heading into Charleston for our cooking class at Charleston Cooks!  This place is a fantastic cooking store that also hosts demonstation and participation cooking classes.  The participation classes were totally booked, but we were able to get a spot in one of the demonstration classes.  It was a fabulous time!  We watched Chef Marcus cook up some Shrimp and Grits and Upside Down Apple Cupcakes.  Everything was fabulous and we even got a glass of wine with our food!  It was so much fun.  Also, I learned some fun times on how to hold a knife, how to cut an onion, and tons of fun facts about eggs and baking!  It was really cool!

After our class, we walked around the Market for a bit before dinner at Slightly North of Broad.  This place books up fast and if you don't have a reservation you can just forget it...however, we were able to walk in right at 5 when their bar opened and put our name in for one of the few tables they keep open for walk ins.  The table we ended up at was actually the "chefs table" where you eat your dinner while watching all the action go down in the kitchen.  It was pretty cool.  Also, the food was fabulous! Oh my was it delicious!  My dad got the tilefish (the special), my mom and I split a pear salad and flounder dish, and Zack and Bri got the gnocchi.

The Grits on the Side 
Butternut Squash Custard on the Side
Following dinner, we were too full for dessert (which was hard to walk away from...) and we went to a fun bar down the street to watch the end of the Packers game.  We are pretty avid Bears fans, being from Chicago, but we needed the Packers to win in order for the Bears to go to the playoffs.  The bar we found was called Mac's and was a great find since it was a "midwest bar" that specialized in hosting midwest and big 10 games.  It was really cool to see so many Wisconsin-ites and Chicago-ans in Charleston!  Unfortunately for the Bears, the Packers lost.  So, we decided to comfort ourselves with some ice cream (we were feeling less full at this point).

We drove to the Marble Slab Creamery (I even found a groupon!), which was known for some of the best ice cream in Mt. Pleasant.  We had amazing creations and proceeded to feel crazy full once again.  It was awesome.  My dad also got ice cream, but ate it before I got a picture...Here are some of the treats we indulged in:
Birthday Cake Ice Cream with Twix, Cookie Dough,
and Fudge (Zack's)
Red Velvet Ice Cream with Brownies and Fudge (mine)

Coffee Ice Cream with Health and Snickers (mom's)
Now it's time to digest and play Hoopla!  Good night!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Charleston, SC Day 2

Today did not get off on the greatest foot.  First thing in the morning, we were woken up by the fire alarm at the crack of dawn.  We waited outside in the car since it was raining until we had the all clear to go back in about 45 minutes later.  Turns out it was just a faulty alarm.  I was exhausted, but I couldn't go back to sleep.  It was already 7 and so I headed out for a run.  This helped a tad since the rain had stopped and I felt good about getting in a work out.

After my run, I did absolutely nothing for a few hours.  Then, I finally showered.  By then, my family was up and we proceeded to do absolutely nothing for another few hours.  I love vacation!  We sat around, watched movies, and read books.  It was amazing.
Mom and Dad on the Boardwalk 
Zack and Bri on a Rocking Chair Bench! Those two were
having way too much fun :)
After we decided that we should really get up and get going, we took a walk down to the boardwalk and saw the beach.  Then, it was off to the mall for some retail therapy and frozen yogurt!  I didn't buy anything, but I did thoroughly enjoy that froyo.

After our relaxing afternoon, we got all spruced up and ready to go out for dinner at The Boathouse. This was an AMAZING meal.  If you are ever in the area, stop by this place.  The service was great, the food was fantastic, and we all had a great time.  Here are some of this dishes that we ordered:

Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese
Crab Corn Chowder
Lobster Tails and Crabcake 
Scallops in Honey Dijon
Pasta Primavera
Scallops in Lemon Basil Aioli
Roasted Flounder
After dinner, we drove to the Festival of Lights that is nearby and a holiday tradition for the Charleston area.  It was super cute.  You pay per car and then you drive in this giant circle where a ton of cute lights are set up for the holidays.  Along the way, you can stop and park for various activities such as gingerbread houses, s'mores, and a carousel   We decided just to do the drive since it was sort of late and most of the activities were geared towards young children.  Still, it was a very cute activity.  By the time we got home, I was exhausted from being up since that dumb fire alarm and so ready for sleep.  Can't wait for tomorrow! 
Their tribute to Hanukkah! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Charleston, SC Day 1

I got up early today for a nice 4 mile run through Wild Dunes.  Then, after a much needed shower, I got ready to go out with Bri and Zack.  We headed into Charleston to meet up with Bri's friend, Genevieve from school.  She lives just outside of Charleston and was ready to show us the sights.  But first, check out the view from our room!

First we did lunch at Hominy Grill.  This was yet another restaurant on that Food Network On the Road app and I was excited to see what it was all about.  After an appetizer of fried green tomatoes, sandwiches all around, and a fantastic dessert of hot fudge brownie sundae and famous chocolate pudding, we were pleased and stuffed.
Roasted Eggplant and Goat Cheese with Tomato Pudding

Pimento Grilled Cheese with Coleslaw

The Turkey Club

The Big Nasty: Fried Chicken and Cheddar Cheese on a
Homemade Biscuit with Grits (my brother's choice!)
Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae

My Favorite: The Chocolate Pudding
Genevieve proceeded to take us into Charleston where we checked out the University of Charleston campus, King Street Shopping, the King Street Market, and then some of the famous old houses.  There were tons of sights to see and it was a lovely afternoon...not to mention a great way to walk off some of that lunch!

After our tour, it was time to meet back up with the parents.  We went back to our room and rested for a bit.  After all that waking and a short nap, I was actually hungry again and it was time for dinner!
We went to dinner at Poe's Tavern.  This is like The Edgar Allen Poe's Tavern.  The place is known for its great burgers, chicken sandwiches, and fish tacos.  We were all quite pleased with our meal!  Bri even found a good veggie burger!  I ended up getting the swordfish tacos, which were fantastic!  In fact, the food was so great, I didn't have time to take pictures before everyone scarfed the food down!  After dinner, we had a little family game night.  Scattegories was our game of choice.  My mom and I were a team against the boys.  We ended up tying so we are going to have to have a rematch at some point!  Until tomorrow...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Asheville, NC

Day 2 of driving commenced without a snowstorm an was therefore a much nicer day.  We started our day off with a nice breakfast at the hotel and then got on the road! I started out driving today to give Bri a little more time to wake up and a break from yesterday.

The first 5 hours of driving got us into North Carolina.  The views were amazing!  Driving through the mountains is beautiful, however it is also tedious! Also, I hate trucks who drive a little in both annoying!  Finally, we made it to Asheville, our lunch destination.
The Biltmore Estate
I have this sweet app on my phone called, "Food Network on the Road."  You can find all the restaurants near you that Food Network has recommended.  It's pretty fantastic.  We found the Tupelo Honey Cafe this way.  It was a great place for lunch.  The food was fantastic and I finally got to try my first Fried Green Tomatoes!  We had biscuits, fried green tomatoes, and then I got the veggie melt with sweet potato fries.  Everything was delicious!  If you are ever in Asheville (known for the Biltmore Estate) go tour that house and then grab some lunch here!  We had already been to the Biltmore so we just did lunch and got back on the road.

We arrived at our final destination in Isle of Palms around 7:30, got settled, went grocery shopping, and then went to sleep.  I haven't seen the ocean yet, but I can hear it! I can't wait to explore a little tomorrow!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lexington, KY

It's the first day of our roadtrip to South Carolina and it has already been an adventure.

First, there was a fairly epic snowstorm in Indiana that made driving rather difficult. We stopped for lunch at a Steak and Shake because it was the only thing still opened in good old Lebanon, Indiana. I haven't had food from that place in ages and it was pretty delicious! Then it was back on the road for more crawling along through the storm.

Road conditions eventually improved and we finally made it to Lexington. We had a yummy dinner at the Smashing Tomato and then got dessert at Coldstone! They have frozen yogurt now! It was a stressful driving trip, but ultimately nice day.

We returned to our hotel where Bri and I were able to get in a workout at the fitness center and then we all got some sleep. We gotta get ready for more driving tomorrow as we make our way to South Carolina!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Today we are off for South Carolina!  My family and Bri and driving to South Carolina for a week for a little vacation.  I can't wait to get on the road and get going!  I am going to share all my adventures here.  If you have any suggestions or are familiar with the Charleston area, please let me know! I would love some good ideas :)

But, before we head out, I want to share one more recipe with you!

I had ton of ripe bananas on hand.  So, after I made the Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread, I also make this Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread.  This stuff is so good! It's got it all: chocolate chips, peanut butter, peanut butter cups, and nutella swirled on top!  WOAH!  It's fantastic.  Plus, I used whole wheat flour and greek yogurt to lighten things up a bit.   This is quite possibly the yummiest banana bread gotta try it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread (adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction)

3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup non-fat vanilla greek yogurt
1/2 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped miniature reese's
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
3.  In a large bowl, mash the bananas, beat in the peanut butter, yogurt, sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat until well combined.  Beat in the egg until well combined.  Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in the reese's and chocolate chips.
4.  Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan.  Drop a few spoonfuls of nutella on the top of the batter. Then, using a knife, swirl the nutella into the the top of the batter.  Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Great Vegetarian Dishes for Christmas

Christmas was celebrated at my Aunt's house this year.  It was a great night filled with good food, loving family, and a nice boys vs. girl's game of Trivial Pursuit.

For dinner, my Aunt brought in food from one of her favorite restaurants.  It was amazing! We had salmon, green beans, roasted potatoes, and chicken marsala.  The food was delicious, but it wasn't the most vegetarian friendly.  So, I was asked to make two of my favorite vegetarian dishes to bring along for the vegetarians, children, and anyone else who might want some.

I went for Scalloped Tomatoes and Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

Both of these dishes are super tasty and easy to make.  They are a great addition to any meal as a side or main course!  If you are ever looking for a good dish to please a vegetarian, these are perfect!  For the Scalloped Tomatoes, I followed the recipe, but we used wheat bread instead of french, and I julienned the basil leaves before stirring them in.  For the Macaroni and Cheese, I used cheddar for the cheese sauce and parmesan and panko bread crumbs for the topping.  I used skim milk and I added a dash of hot sauce.  Everything was a huge hit!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Another Snow Day?!?!?!

That's right! The weather was so bad that the buses are not running for a second day and school is called off again!  That means, I am on Winter Break! WOOO! I made it!

Yesterday was super duper fun.  It was Bri's birthday and we celebrated snow day style!  First, we slept in.  And for me, that means I slept until about 7:30!  Sad right?  Then, we didn't do anything for a few hours! It was great! We just relaxed and took our sweet time getting up.  Next, we met up with friends and headed to Bascom Hill to frolic   We made a snowman, had a little snowball fight and then, when we were cold, headed home to make hot chocolate, eat banana bread (recipe below), and watch a movie.

After the movie, we took a look outside and started talking about how there might be a second snow day.  I mean, the snow was intense, but the wind was even worse! We turned the news on and waited.  FInally, they announced it! SECOND SNOW DAY!

I was crazy excited!  Bri and I, then, got ready for dinner at S2Pizzabar.  This place is delicious and it was opened!  Plus, it is less than a 5 minute walk away and we had not intention of traveling very far in this weather.  Dinner was lovely and it was followed by a trip to our favorite bar, The Red Shed.  We spent the evening with friends and it was a great night.  Bri said he had a very happy birthday!

When we got home, we watched an episode of Sherlock (my latest TV obsession) and then fell asleep.  It was the perfect snow day!  Now, let's get ready for snow day take two!

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread (adapted from Food Network)

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup non-fat, vanilla greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
cinnamon and sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3.  In a large bowl, beat the sugar, brown sugar, butter and greek yogurt until well combined.  Beat in the eggs and the bananas until well combined and bananas are mashed.  Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.
4.  Pour half the batter into your prepared pan.  Sprinkle sugar over the batter and then sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Pour the rest of the batter in.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday: Robyn's View

This week, Foodie Friends Friday is back with some great prizes from Robyn's View!  Robyn will be giving away three Peppermint Foot Scrubs!  Just follow the rules and link up your recipes!  This week I am linking up my latest cookie creations: Kissed Peppermint Cookies, Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, and Soft Gingersnap Cookies!

Last week Foodie Friends Friday was sponsored by Natural Living Mama and here were the winners:

And, of course, here were your top 3 voted recipes!

Voted Top 3:

Enter below and you might be a lucky winner of this awesome foot scrub!!

But first, here are this week's co-hosts:

Foodie Friends Friday
Tracy at Busy Vegetarian Mom
Marlys at This and That
Lois at  Walking on Sunshine
Michelle at  From Calculus to Cupcakes
Cynthia at Feeding Big
Jodie at Binomial Baker
R Dawn at Spatulas on Parade
Angie at A lil Country Sugar
Jutta at HungryLittleGirl
Cindy at Cindy's Recipes and Writings: : 
Joanne at Winelady Cooks:
Marlene at Nosh My Way:

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