And just like that it’s Monday again. They always come back around so quickly don’t they? Robert and I had a great, full weekend. We went on a dinner date Friday night, spent Saturday on the boat with friends and spent Sunday at the beach celebrating the first birthday of a friend’s darling daughter. It doesn’t get much cuter than a baby at the beach. Except maybe a baby Renly at the beach
On a serious note, I realized today that summer break is half way over Four weeks down, four to go. Most of last summer was so full of wedding craziness that this one has seemed so much more laid back and relaxing. A girl could really get used to this! I am always ready and excited to start the new school year when it is time, but I will definitely miss all the sleeping in extra time in the kitchen.
During the school year I typically go to the gym in the morning on my way to work. This means waking up VERY early and packing my breakfast to eat at school. I relish weekend breakfasts during the school year because I actually get to take my time making something a little more laborious, and enjoy it with my husband!
Baked oatmeal is a great dish to enjoy slowly on the weekend, fresh out of the oven, BUT it is also perfect for the work week because it re-heats beautifully. Mangoes can be tricky to cut, so if you are struggling (and haven’t youtube’d it yet) let me show you how I do it. The easiest way I have found to cut a mango is to basically slice it into thirds. The pit of a mango is flat and in the middle. You will want to place the mango upright on the cutting board and cut along the sides of the pit (from top to bottom) so you are left with three pieces. The middle piece which contains the pit, and the two outside halves.
These halves are where you will get your fruit. I then like to score the halves, vertically and horizontally, taking care not to cut all the way through the peel.
Happy Saturday! This might be the first time in a while that I’ve posted a “Slow Saturday Breakfast” on an actual Saturday. ASB2k15 allows you to be on the ball like that.
ASB2k15? Adult Spring Break 2015 (Hey-O)! You may be wondering how adult spring break differs from that experienced during your younger years. There is significantly less drinking, A LOT more sleeping and since the weather has been positively terrible in Tennessee this week, a lot less sunburn. After a weekend in Hilton Head with my mom, we both packed up and headed back to Chattanooga on Monday. Since we’ve been back it has rained non-stop which means instead of playing outside with Renly, walking/shopping downtown and laying out like I planned to do, I have been napping, reading and playing lots of indoor tug-of-war with Mr. Ren and his favorite toys. I miss the sun but napping in my childhood bed like I used to do after a tough day of high school (hah) is not a bad alternative. File this spring break under ‘lazy’ ‘relaxing’.
Another thing I have been doing a lot of this week is eating breakfast foods for as many meals as possible. It’s only fitting since I’ve spent the majority of this week in my pajamas (I know, I am SO fun and exciting, right?!?). If I didn’t have my darling husband to cook for, I could easily eat breakfast for all three meals a day. Robert doesn’t mind the occasional pancake dinner but he’s more of a traditionalist when it comes to mealtimes. Unfortunately for him, ASB2k15 is not one of the perks of his job. He’s been stuck home working all week while I’ve been binging on oatmeal and egg sandwiches. That of course means he’s probably been binging on all the unhealthy stuff I try to limit when I’m around, so he might actually be enjoying this ASB2k15 almost as much as me
Before you start worrying about me actually turning into a pancake, I have made it out of the house a bit this week. On Wednesday my mother, sister and I drove down to Atlanta for some girl time. We shopped at some cute boutiques in the Virginia Highlands area and then made our way to the Westsides Provisions District for a little more shopping and some lunch. We ate at Star Provisions, which is more or less a deli counter/bakery in the front of Bacchanalia, one of Atlanta’s most beloved restaurants. We each ordered a sandwich, Reuben for mom, Muffaletta for my sister and I got the Banh Mi, my first. Holy wow, I wish I had stopped to take a picture of our lovely sandwiches but we were so hungry that they were gone before I even considered it. My mom declared her reuben the best she’s ever had and my banh mi was outstanding. We all liked the muffaletta the least and agreed it would have been better toasted. If you’re in Atlanta and into sandwiches (who isn’t into sandwiches?) I highly recommend Star Provisions. They also have some gorgeous kitchen wares and linens to peruse while you wait for your food, and last but not least, a Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams across the street. Ice cream is my favorite indulgence and I have been itching to try Jeni’s. I took advantage after our meal and followed up my lunch with two scoops: brown butter toffee crumble and brambleberry crisp. Delicious. It was the perfect ending to a lovely mother daughter day. It also fueled us for our final stop, Ikea. If you’ve never visited an Ikea, I can best sum it up by saying that it’s an experience. A very large, somewhat overwhelming, maze like experience. I’ll leave it at that.
Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was full (as always) but fun! I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for my sweet friend Annie on Saturday. Robert and I met Annie and her husband Ben at church two years ago and they have quickly become some of our very best friends. When they told us they were expecting back in October I immediately started mentally planning the baby shower I wanted to throw them. I love to entertain and while planning this shower I was finally able to convinced Robert that we needed new living room furniture, double win! It all came together nicely and I can’t wait to meet their baby girl! I forgot to take pictures (such a bad blogger) but my mother in law snapped a few on her phone, excuse the poor lighting!
On Sunday we got a reprieve from the cold (finally!) which was so nice. Robert and I took full advantage of the time change and slept in, had a late breakfast and then took Renly to the beach for the first time in months.
The tide was so low that we were able to walk for miles and Renly found an Australian Sheppard who may or may not be his new best friend. They chased each other and romped through the waves for almost an hour, hence his wet sandy ‘do above.
Pancakes are a given after sleeping in on a Sunday, and they were on my mind the moment I woke up. Since I had random leftover ingredients from the baby shower, I decided to throw together some impromptu protein pancakes and they came out surprisingly great! If you are thinking “cottage cheese in a pancake? GROSS!” I get it…. but hear me out. I know it sounds weird, but ricotta cheese pancakes are a thing (and a yummy one at that) so making the jump to using cottage cheese instead doesn’t seem quite so out there. Cottage cheese is also lower calorie and lower fat than ricotta, although protein content is the same.
Merry Christmas week! Is that a thing? Like a birthday week? If it isn’t then it should be because Christmas is a lot more fun than your birthday.
I am officially on Christmas break and let me tell you it is just as glorious at 27 as it was at 17, or 7 for that matter. I think I still believed in Santa at 7 so maybe that was slightly more fun. I KNOW I didn’t appreciate the power of sleeping in and naps at 7 though so on second thought, it’s just as good now.
Now that Christmas break has begun, I’m finally getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s been a little tough this year for several reasons. For one thing, I’ve been sick and it’s been unseasonably warm and rainy…not ideal Christmas wellness or weather. For another (and this is probably the main reason) this is the first Christmas ever that I won’t have spent with my family. My mom tearfully reminded me of this on the phone a few days ago, that she won’t have either of her girls for Christmas this year FYI moms, reminders of this sort are not terribly helpful in cheering your children who are far away for the holidays. Since our families do not live in the same place, Robert and I navigated new married people territory this year and had to choose holidays. My family got Thanksgiving, his family gets Christmas and next year we swap. For those who haven’t crossed that bridge yet, as easy as you think it will be, even if you’re a holiday grinch, it isn’t. Every family has their own unique traditions and holiday quirks and no matter how wonderful the traditions you step into (or start anew) are, they still aren’t yours. I adore my in-laws, and I’m really excited to experience their Christmas (especially because my niece and nephew still believe in Santa!) but I know part of me will still be nostalgic for the holidays of my past. I KNOW this is part of life and growing up yada yada, but if your WHOLE family lives in the same place, count yourself lucky! I will get to see my parents on Tuesday as they plan to stop through Hilton Head on their way to see my sweet grandparents, so that is a definite plus!
Looking forward to all the festivities of this coming week, and enjoying all the fun we had this weekend has finally put me in the spirit! Not only was Friday my last day of work for two weeks, but my grandparents surprised Robert and I with an overnight visit on Friday evening! They drove over ten hours round trip to literally just have dinner and spend the night with us, did I mention they are the best? We took them to dinner, drove around to see Christmas lights and then came home to give them their Christmas gift and enjoy a piece of my favorite cake that my sweet nana made. An entire cake is pretty much the last thing I need right now with all the other holiday goodies I’ve been consuming but the fact she that she baked it and brought it just for me pretty much melts my heart.
My grandparent’s left around noon on Saturday and Robert and I quickly tidied the house and ran errands before his family holiday party. His mother’s side of the family gets together each year on the weekend before Christmas to enjoy dinner and a White Elephant gift exchange. It’s always a great time and this year was no exception! Robert’s cousin and her husband spent the night with us and Sunday morning we all reconvened once again for breakfast to see everyone off. I was tasked with providing the breakfast casserole, an oldie but always a goodie.
Yum. It’s Sunday and I just ate a delicious egg sandwich, but just typing that title already has my mouth watering from the mere thought of yesterday morning. My love affair with breakfast on the weekends is all encompassing, but it’s hard to dispute that Saturday was made for pancakes. Pancakes scream, “It’s the weekend! Eat me in your pajamas and then go do something FUN! I’m practically dessert…for breakfast!”.
I remember not caring much for pancakes as a child (I know, I was clearly disturbed). I’m not sure what my problem was, but I do know that one fine day in graduate school, I got a craving for whole wheat banana pancakes, which in turn led to me eating them for dinner every night for a month and never looking back. You can do things like that when you are in school. You can also do things like that when you don’t have a meat loving husband who also must be fed nightly. Robert used to play tennis on Tuesday evenings and then go out for wings with the guys afterwards. What did I do with the night off from cooking? If you guessed ate pancakes for dinner and watched trash television you would be 100% correct. Breakfast for dinner and reality television will always hold a special place in my heart.
Over the years my love for whole wheat pancakes has evolved into a mission to turn pancakes into a still delicious, much healthier version of themselves. This has led to me experimenting with all sorts of non-traditional pancake ingredients like cottage cheese, applesauce and even spinach. The great thing about pancakes is that they are pretty hard to screw up. You can mix a lot of weird (read: healthy) things into your batter and they will still taste pretty great…and in the event that they don’t there is this wonderful thing called maple syrup that can save almost any bad pancake.
My most recent foray into griddled breakfast territory has been quinoa flour. I went on a savory quinoa dish bender a while back and then got suddenly very sick of it. I went from quinoa lover to quinoa hater and was left with an expensive bag of it sitting forlornly in my pantry. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, but the thought of eating it again in the near future made me gag. Then one day, while perusing food blogs I came across a recipe for quinoa energy bars. Not only were they sweet rather than savory, but they used uncooked quinoa. These were the opposite of everything that caused me to tire of quinoa the first go round, so I decided to give them a go. They were scrumptious, and filling and made me totally retract my hatred of quinoa. Thank you quinoa energy bars.