The Easiest Way to Shred Chicken EVER & Musings on Life

Happy Belated President’s Day! I celebrated the under appreciated holiday by attending a Professional Development Day at school. Sitting through seminars isn’t really much of a celebration at all so if you were lucky enough to be off I sure hope you enjoyed it!

Even though my holiday was less than, I have had a pretty enjoyable last couple of weeks. I got to catch up with my girlfriends from graduate school at a speech convention. Then Robert and I attended the lovely wedding of a family friend complete with an Elvis impersonator which was pretty entertaining to say the least.

After that I got to spend a few days in Charleston visiting and volunteering with my Aunt Vanessa. She is my decorating guru and we have very similar interests in cooking and healthy eating so time spent with her is always lots of fun (and tasty!). We shopped, enjoyed a lot of delicious meals out, a few delicious meals in (including these delectable overnight oats topped with agave, fresh fruit and freshly ground nutmeg…drool!)

oats

*Has anyone ever seen a nutmeg grinder? This was new to me and I think I need one…

AND last but not least, milkshakes from a magical milkshake machine!

You choose your flavor, pop the top off and the machine sucks your cup up and returns a perfectly thick milkshake to you. So. Good. Thankfully I don’t know where one of these exists in Hilton Head or otherwise I’d be in trouble.

We did do more than just eat (hard to believe, I know). We also spent Friday evening volunteering at an event at Vanessa’s church called Night to Shine. Night to Shine is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and is an amazing prom night experience for individuals with special needs. There’s dinner, dancing, a red carpet, limo rides, paparazzi photos, make up and shoe shines, literally everything you can imagine to make the attendees feel like Kings and Queens. Vanessa and I were food servers which was wonderful since we got to interact with many of the adults as we served them their meal. It was truly a magical night and I can’t wait to volunteer again next year. If you hear of this event taking place in your area and you have a heart for people with differing abilities I HIGHLY encourage you to find a way to help out. You will not regret it!

I came back from that trip to Charleston with a renewed desire to cook! I love to cook, but after a sad December and thus a few weeks feeling awful mentally and physically and doing minimal cooking, I really hadn’t had a huge drive to get back in the kitchen. It was exciting to finally be feeling like myself again. My immediate thoughts were, ‘Oh hello old friend! I’ve missed you! Let’s make something!’ But then the age old question, what exactly to make?

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A “Different” Date Night & Tips From a Chef

Happy Thanksgiving! I woke up this morning thankful for the smell of breakfast casserole wafting upstairs and even more so to have my husband in Chattanooga finally! Poor Robert had 3 or 4 flight delays to deal with yesterday before he finally made it to Tennessee. We held dinner for him so we were equally as hungry as we were happy to see him when he finally arrived around 9:00 pm. Renly most of all Smile One of the best parts of having a dog has got to be how excited they are to see you after an absence. In Renly’s case an absence can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 weeks. Sometimes I get the full “You’re home!I love you!Pet me!Pick me up!please please please” jumping barrage after a trip to the mailbox. Sweet (simple) boy.

 Renly

Despite Renly’s doggy daddy withdrawals, we have had a great few days at home. Renly has had a ball playing with my parents dogs, and running laps around their huge yard. I have enjoyed catching up with friends over lunch, eating cheap tacos at my favorite local Mexican restaurant, doing a little shopping and spending time with my sweet grandparents.  I also got to spend most of Tuesday with my mama who treated me to a great mother-daughter date night. Last year my sister bought my mom and dad a gift certificate to Mia Cucina, a gourmet kitchen retail store who also hosts weekly cooking classes. As so often happens with gift certificates, my parents didn’t use it right away and therefore promptly forgot about it. When it was recently discovered (and about to expire!) my mom signed us up for Tuesday’s class. Classes are offered nightly, each with a different theme. Our class was titled “Recipes From Restaurants We Love” and consisted of four courses, each from a different local restaurant.

Corn Chowder 2
Poblano Corn Chowder

 

Spare Ribs and Shrimp and Grits
Molasses Braised Beef Short Ribs and Shrimp and Jack Cheese Grits with Tomato Ragout

 

Lava Cake
Dark Chocolate Lava Cake

 

Classes are BYOB and are either “hands on” or “demonstration”. In a hands on class, you actually make your own meal under instruction from a chef. A demonstration class, which is what ours was, consists more of watching and learning. I think a hands on class would be a blast but the demonstration was a lot of fun. We sat around the kitchen and sipped wine and beer while watching our chef, Hannah, prepare the meal. Hannah talked through each step and answered questions and offered helpful cooking tips along the way. Two assistants served each course to the crowd as it was ready.  The food was delicious and plentiful, one round was enough to have me feeling stuffed but seconds of each course were offered to those with larger appetites. You are also provided with a copy of each recipe and pens before the class begins so you can take notes and later prepare the dishes at home. I noticed that everyone dutifully took notes at the beginning of the class but after a few courses (and glasses of wine) the eating took center stage and the note taking became less diligent Smile Continue reading