Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wanna Drive To Asheville For Some Lobster Mac & Cheese?

Several weekends ago, the husband and I had a weekend to ourselves. The boys were spending time with their grandparents. 
After not really planning anything special other than maybe a motorcycle ride we were at that point like....

 "What do you want to do?"
"I don't know, what do you want to do?"

You know you can always think of a million things to do when you can't do them! This was one of those moments.

Well, then my husband says "Let's drive to Asheville and have some of that good lobster mac & cheese."

I was like "Really, drive to Asheville for dinner?"

He was like "Why not?"

So after about 15 minutes of me thinking and checking the Internet for other options and him waiting for me to make a decision along with a few comments about how I have lost my spontinaeity............

Well during this 15 minutes of thinking, I began to think about this post and how I should take more risks and have more fun, so I thought to myself, why not? So the husband booked a hotel for the night and we packed a few items and left within 30 minutes. During this time all I could think about was that I was going to forget something but then I also knew that if I did, it would not be a big deal.

While gathering our items and on our way to Asheville we discussed places we wanted to visit while there, one place I wanted to visit was Finders Keepers of NC so we decided to stay at a hotel in Hendersonville so the next morning we would check out this store first then head to Asheville.

We got to Hendersonville late, very late. So trying to find a place to eat at 11pm was a little of a challenge. I was driving and we have never been to this town so we did not know where anything was located and we were just looking for what was open. After going down a one way street, the WRONG way, we found a Sonic. The after eating we went to the hotel. Guess what? they gave us a smoking room. Let me be was horrible, that smell slapped you in the face the second you opened that door. There was no way that we were going to stay in that room! So back down to the desk we went, after some discussion we were given another room. A nicer ,larger room. The next morning after breakfast we headed to the Finders Keepers of NC, which by the way is only open like twice a year. So make sure you check the dates before you go.

So we headed up the road to Asheville. Love Asheville, could live there, I think. Minus the snow and cold winters.

Anyway, downtown Asheville is awesome, so many people walking, shops, and good food!

Our first stop was at a small cafe, Old Europe Cafe on Broadway Ave. for coffee, tea and pastries.

Then off to visit all the shops, saw lots of interesting, useful, fun and vintage items. Some items were priced really high and some were reasonable depending on where you went.

During our time there it began to rain, yep, walking the streets without an umbrella and a chill in the air makes for a little uncomfortable time but honestly, we did not mind one bit. My husband had on an Under Armour sweatshirt that was waterproof so he stayed nice and dry.  Many shops/stores were out of umbrellas (imagine that) but my husband did find one for me. (Please excuse the wet look).

It was either a frog, ladybug or fish. We agreed the frog would be best, once we were home I passed that umbrella on to our youngest. He had been wanting one for a long time like his older brother.  At this point it was nice to have an unbrella the rain continued for the rest of the day.

We picked up a bottle of wine at Dolce Vita on Wall Street, which will be featured on my blog soon under Wine & Dine Wednesday! So stay tuned!

Then we ate at the Early Girl Eatery. This place is so yummy! Everytime we go to Asheville, this is a must! This time my husband had the BBQ Pork Sandwich & I had the Vegan Bean Burger. Both were really good. I must say that this Vegan Burger is the Best!!

After eating we decided to check out a few flea market type stores. The first few had a few cute items but mostly overpriced (in my opinion). Here are two items that we came across that I really liked.

I thought this was cool, since seeing this I have seen a similar one online on Pinterest. This would be cool in a child's room or playroom.

I liked the horse photo and the letter A (of course!). You could easily replicate this if you wanted.

Then after a long and adventurous day, we headed home and enjoyed sleeping in the next morning. It is amazing how long you can sleep in without kids in the house.

Even though we didn't get our Lobster Mac & Cheese, the trip was still worth it. A spontaneous trip alone with my man, oh yeah! it was worth it!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Almond Shortbread

I am a HUGE fan of sweets, chocolate, cookies, cake, anything with sugar actually. However I was doing well keeping my sugar intake in moderation till I made these! 

I first made this recipe for dessert at Easter and it was great then so I decided to make it again but this time I added a little chocolate on top. Everything is better with chocolate on top right?

Well anyway, I saw an episode of Trisha Yearwoods' new show on the Food Network. You can find the original recipe here.

Her recipe is cooked in a skillet, however I do not own a cast iron skillet, so I just line my casserole dish with foil or parchment paper and still cook as directed.

But here is the recipe anyway and you can revert back to  Trisha's Recipe  if you need to:

Almond Shortbread

1 & 1/2 cups plus 2Tbsp of sugar
3/4 cup of melted butter
2 large eggs
1 & 1/2 cups of all purpose flour.
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp of almond extract
1/2 cup of sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your dish with foil or parchment.

Mix in a large bowl, 1 & 1/2 cups of sugar, butter, adding eggs and beat well, mix in flour and salt and almond extract. Pour the batter into dish and sprinkle sliced almonds on top & 2 Tbsp of remaining sugar. Bake for 35 minutes until slightly brown on the top. Let cool then remove from dish by lifting the paper, then cut into wedges or bars. But if you add chocolate wait before cutting!

I added chocolate this time!!!

In a medium mixing bowl:

1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/3 heaping cup of cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. almond extract

Mix and drizzle over almond shortbread. (you may need to add more milk to make it thinner, but if you do only add a small amount at a time till desired consistency)


Linking up to Taste of Tuesday! at Let's Get Bananas and Blissfully Miller!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday

Napa Cellars 2010 Napa Valley Merlot has a great flavor combination, one that we had not yet experienced before. This wine taste of plum, coffee and chocolate with flavors of blackberries and spice.

I have to say that this one was a must when I heard "coffee & chocolate"!

It was smooth to have so many flavors and we enjoyed this bottle with red meat & stews.

I am starting to think that I only have one wine glass, I promise I have more, but apparently this one fits well in my hand and is the glass of choice.

Hope you are having a good week!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Roasted Asparagus Pasta

Asparagus is one veggie that I love, just wash, break off the ends, add olive oil, salt & pepper, lay all the spears out in a single layer and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for approx. 10-15 minutes and you got one quick and easy side dish.

Well on this night I was looking for something a little different. After a little Internet search I came across this recipe and it was so good!

The original recipe found here on Food Network. I changed a few things for our taste.
Here is my version:

Roasted Asparagus Pasta

1 (box)pound of elbow pasta (this is just what was in the pantry)
1 pound of asparagus (roasted as stated above)
4 Tbsp.Olive Oil
Salt Pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Zest  & juice of one lemon
1 (4oz.)container of Feta crumbled cheese
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Cook asparagus as stated above in the oven but cut into 1" pieces before roasting & cook the bacon (I cook bacon in a single layer on a foil lined pan in the oven at 400 degrees till crispy, to our taste) & cook pasta.

In a small bowl, mix the dressing, add the olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon zest & juice and salt & pepper to taste, mix well and add more salt & pepper if needed.

In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta,  roasted asparagus and crumbled bacon & feta. Pour the dressing over the pasta mixture and mix well.


Linking up to Taste of Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday

Hello! It's Wednesday!

Today I am sharing another new favorite wine!

As I have stated previously, Gervasi Vineyard is amazing! Each wine that my husband and I have tasted is smooth and full of flavor. One of the best I must say!

The Abbraccio is a new one for us and let me tell you that it is also a great wine if not my new favorite from this vineyard! I think the reason that it is a new favorite is because of all the fruit flavors this one offers. Flavors of black currant, plum and black cherry.

I imagine that this wine would pair well with any meat or fish but for us, we almost finished up the bottle while I was preparing dinner! It is that good! If you notice there is only a small bit in the bottom of my glass, I almost forgot to take a photo!

Hope you are having a great week!

Anyway, have you tried any new wines lately?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry season is upon us, the urge to find a strawberry patch is tempting and while I would love to go an pick my own I decided that Saturday I was going to venture out to our local farmer's market to purchase some for myself  my family.

First stop, the farmer's market. NO STRAWBERRIES! I walked through that  market like a woman on a mission with no success. Discouraged that I may not be making the strawberry pie I had been craving, I decided to try across town where I had seen a local farmer set up his own personal strawberry stand. But first I had to stop at a store for a quick run in to pick up an item that I had forgotten earlier in the week and as I pulled into store, I took a quick glance and did not see that man at his strawberry stand. Disappointed and aggravated that it is strawberry season and I wanted fresh strawberries not the ones in the plastic containers at the supermarket. Not there is anything wrong with them but I just wanted fresh, picked today strawberries, full of flavor and yummy goodness!

I got what I needed in the store then as I was leaving the parking lot, there he was, putting is buckets full of strawberries out to sell. YES!!!!! I whipped my car in and purchased one bucket full of strawberries!

Home I went, smelling those sweet strawberries, sunroof open, windows and rocking out to LMFAO in the new minivan. Oh yeah, moms are cool even in minivans. You know, within the last week, I have been passed by more people since driving this minivan than I EVER have. And I will be honest, I am a speeder   good driver and obey all limits within a range if you will. Just because I drive a minivan does not mean that I drive slow! Anyway, where was I?

So I got home and washed all the berries and waited for them to dry a little then I made 2 pies, one for us and one to share. The second one went to my mother-in-law for Mother's Day.

This recipe is from an old country church cookbook and it makes 1 pie, I doubled the recipe and made 2 pies.

I purchased a packaged pie crust to save time but I am sure that this pie would be absolutely yummy with a homemade crust. The recipe calls for a deep dish pie shell, but the only ones I had on hand were the regular pie crust and it worked just fine. Just be careful not to overfill the pie with the jello mixture. Oh and I added as many strawberries as I wanted which I am sure was more than 1 qt. like the recipe called for.

Ready for the recipe?

Strawberry Pie:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 qt. fresh strawberries
1 T. cornstarch
1 (3 oz.) package of strawberry jello
1 deep dish pie shell, cooked
Container of Cool Whip

Boil sugar, cornstarch and water till thick and clear. Add jello and stir well. Set aside. Place strawberries in cooked pie shell then pour the jello mixture over the strawberries. Place in the refrigerator to cool and set up. When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator and top with Cool Whip. Serve.


Linking up with Taste of Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wine & Dine Wednesday

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were able to have a Saturday and Sunday all to ourselves. Thank you Papa & Nana!

On this day we did some shopping and had a great dinner uptown. I love walking in the city and this was no exception, I love this city!

To finish a great day, we had a great date night  with drinks and dinner at RiRa Irish Pub.
For starters we enjoyed drinks and nachos. My husband enjoyed beer while I enjoyed THE BLACKBERRY. Let me just say that this is one of the best drinks I have had in a while. This is one of those drinks that you can drink ALOT and not fully feel the effects until you stand up, it is that good and smooth! You just wanna keep drinking one after the other! Anyway, I only had two but like I stated previously I could have had more and would have liked to but I knew we had the entire night to ourselves and wanted to make sure I was able to carry on an intellegent coversation and enjoy our time together.

With all the mint growing in our raised beds, this is one drink I will be able to enjoy the entire summer in my own backyard, Horray!!!

After drinks we had dinner, my husband had the Jameson Glazed Tips and I had the Chopped Salad. Both were very good and we would order them again.

So the next time you are uptown, try RiRa Irish Pub. You'll be glad you did!

Have you been to any fabulous restaurants lately?