Monday, March 26, 2012

Ryan and Liz’s Weekend Eats

You’ve already heard about our delicious dinner at Erin’s restaurant… but I thought you might like to see a few more pictures from our childless weekend. 

After I taught Zumba Thursday night, we met for a late dinner at The Red Bowl.  I couldn’t decide what to get, but ended up with sushi and Pad Thai Noodles…

Ryan and Liz Weekend 001

Ryan and Liz Weekend 003

On Saturday, I got up early to watch the Today Show.  My sister and her husband and some of their friends were in New York and they were going to attempt to get on TV outside NBC.  They were successful!  My sister’s friend Ellen was even selected to ask Hoda and kelly Pickler (guest host standing in for Kathy Lee) a question! 


Ellen is in the front on the left (green and blue stripes) and you can see half of my sister Meredith—in black and white stripes.  After the Today show aired on Friday, Today posted this pic via Instagram!  So fun!

(By the way, if you are on Instagram, you can follow me-- “couchpotatoliz” to see what I am up to each day!  Many of the pics you see in this post are Instagram pics.)

The weather was beautiful, so we enjoyed shopping at some local outdoor spots.  We also stopped by and traded in Ryan’s Blackberry for an iPhone.  It’s so funny how… just a few years ago… Blackberries were a very “cutting-edge” technology.  And now… not so much.  The hubby is having fun learning how to use it and find apps that he likes. 

Ryan and Liz Weekend 005

Ryan and Liz Weekend 004

On Saturday morning, I headed to Charlotte for a quick workshop on Cueing and Breakdown of Zumba moves.  Thios is one of the most challenging parts of being a Zumba instructor.  You have to be able to not only KNOW the routines backwards and forwards, but you also need to  be able to cue every move ahead of time, and break down the moves so that anyone can follow them.  Sound hard?  Well, it is.  Our company works hard to try and make sure all our instructors are able to do these things really well. 

After the workshop, Ryan came to meet me and we grabbed lunch at Lebowski’s. 

Fried pickles…

Ryan and Liz Weekend 006

and a Jerk-Style burger.

Ryan and Liz Weekend 007


We decided to keep it low-key for dinner.  We ended up at another Asian Bistro, Liu Liu’s.  We couldn’t decide what we felt like, so we had appetizers for dinner:

Ryan and Liz Weekend 009

lettuce wraps, calamari, California roll, and a Crunchy Tuna Roll.

Ryan and Liz Weekend 008

And a cocktail.  :) Cosmopolitan.

So… we weren’t productive at all on our long weekend, but as you can see, we ATE really well and we enjoyed the time together. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Local Restaurant Spotlight: Dinner at Erin’s

Happy Sunday, friends!  I hope all of you have had a wonderful weekend!  As I type, hubby and I are driving to go pick up our little munchkin from her grandparents.  We’ve just enjoyed a child-free weekend!  We have missed our little munchkin, but we’ve had a great weekend relaxing, shopping, and eating out!  In fact, we did so much eating out, I am going to have to split it among a few different posts. 

The weekend really started for us on Thursday night.  We had a day off of work on Friday, which was so nice!  This is one advantage to working in the same school district: shared days off.  We enjoyed sleeping in Friday and then having lunch and doing some shopping together.  We were really looking forward to a dinner reservation Friday night at Erin’s Restaurant!



Erin’s is a local restaurant that I have been wanting to try for about a year, but we just haven’t made it there yet.  Erin’s is unique for many reasons, the first being that it is located in another restaurant, Kinch’s!  During the day, it is Kinch’s and at night (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays) it is Erin’s!  Erin’s also serves Sunday Lunch. 

I love the way all the dishes were different—I thought it gave the table character.



Erin’s serves organic and locally-grown foods.  It is really one of the few true farm-to-table restaurants in York County, where we live.  There is an a-la-carte menu, but we chose the chef’s table option.  The chef’s table is family-style servings of whatever happens to be fresh and available that day.  It typically includes 4-5 salad options, several veggie/side options, 2 meats or main courses, and dessert options.  Here are some of the dishes we tasted…

Crunchy Strawberry Salad…



Salad with apples, craisins, feta (I think)…


My plate of salad selections—my favorite was the Thai Cucumber Salad.  It was tangy and had just the right amount of heat/spice.  But really every salad was delicious!


Next up: veggies.  I am very picky about collards, but I really enjoyed these.  I think they had some cinnamon or nutmeg, which sounds weird, but they were actually very good.


These roasted carrots and cauliflower were also delicious.  I don’t always like cooked carrots, either, but these really had great flavor and looked so beautiful whole. 



We also enjoyed mashed sweet potatoes, roasted broccolini, and macaroni and cheese.


Our main dishes were pot roast and mashed potatoes, and baked chicken with a sweet jalapeno sauce (not pictured).  Both were delicious!



Finally it was time for dessert: bread pudding and bakes apples.  These were so delicious.  I absolutely love bread pudding, so that was a great surprise.  (And I found that the bread pudding with the apples on top also was wonderful!)



It was a wonderful night with friends and my sweet hubby. 


And great food, of course!  If you are local, this is a spot you should check out.  Erin is actually very close to opening up her own restaurant space!  But for now you can visit her in Kinch’s.  They do take reservations, and actually reservations are recommended.  Check the website for all the details!

You never know what you’re going to have because the food selections change depending on availability.  I liked how, as each  dish was served, we were told where the food came from.  We heard, “This is pot roast from ____’s farm.”  That’s something you definitely don’t hear at the many (MANY) chain restaurants in Rock Hill, where we live.  It’s great to find a local gem like this.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dixie-Style Dining: Shepherd’s Pie

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day weekend!  It was actually a bit of a busy weekend for us here at the Confessions house.  It’s Monday night and I have to admit, I’m pretty tired for 8:30 p.m.!

We spent the weekend celebrating some special birthdays, including my nephew Jerry’s 4th birthday! 




I got to dance with some friends at a fun St. Pat’s Zumba class… and then another fun class on Sunday!



And I even had time to make a special Irish meal for our family.  This recipe for Shepherd’s Pie is really special to my family.  My grandmother would make it for us when we would visit her and my grandfather in Philadelphia.  It was always one of our very favorite meals.  We would spend the day out shopping or visiting relatives and when we would come home, the Shepherd’s Pie would be ready to go in the oven. 

We loved asking her, “Did you go out and kill a shepherd today?”  And she loved to play along and say she did.  Don’t judge our weird family conversations, please.


Dixie’s Shepherd’s Pie

I know Shepherd’s Pie traditionally has peas and carrots mixed in with the beef, but my grandmother didn’t make it that way, so I didn’t either.  I’m actually not even sure whether her version had onions with the beef, but I went ahead and added some for flavor. 


  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used extra lean)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • worchestire sauce and/or any other flavorings you like (Our family likes Maggi’s seasoning.)
  • 5-6 potatoes peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup skim milk (use more or less for mashed potato creaminess)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • salt, to taste
  • medium cheddar, sliced (enough to cover casserole)

Prep: Place potato in boiling water.  Cook until fork-tender.  While potatoes cook, brown beef and onions together.  Add seasonings.  Add 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved into 1/2 cup cold water to the beef mixture.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, then reduce heat.  When potatoes are tender, add milk, butter, and salt, and mash with electric mixer until desired consistency is reached. 

Layer in casserole dish: beef mixture, potatoes, and top with the slices of cheddar cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees or until the pie is warmed through and the cheese is nice and bubbly. 


IMG_2711 IMG_2713



Technically, this is much easier to serve if you let it stand for about 5-6 minutes after it is out of the oven… but sometimes you just can’t wait that long, you know?  We won’t judge you. ;)


Monday, March 12, 2012

Leftovers, Weekend Eats, and Lame Reality TV

Hello there, Monday.  Did you have trouble adjusting to the time change?  It seems like everyone I talked to today was talking about how much it affected them.  I know I couldn’t go to sleep forever last night… and 5:40 a.m. came around early.  :/

Tonight it was all about the leftovers.  Remember my quinoa last night?  (I love this picture!)


I love when I have leftover quinoa because I think it tastes just as good (or better) the next day.  Here’s my dinner bowl:

IMG_2667 \


tri-colored quinoa on the bottom, sauteed spinach on top, then a fried egg on the very top.  Sounds totally weird, believe me, I know.  But something about it is delicious!  Try it and you’ll see.  I am thinking a few slices of crunchy bacon would just push this over the edge into complete awesomeness.

I thought I would show off a few other breakfast/lunch/dinners from the weekend…


(I’ve really been in an orange mood lately.)


(Picnic plate: hummus, bell pepper strips, turkey slices, and edamame)


Breakfast casserole with whole wheat bread, eggs, baby spinach, and feta cheese… it needs a little tweaking.  But it was pretty good.


(I did like this picture in the morning light!)


And finally… tuna bruschetta… a very easy throw-together lunch.


Tuna, diced tomatoes, and feta cheese… serve on crackers or toast.


What kind of food finds have you discovered lately? 

So… I am about to finish up the Bachelor finale.  I swear, I can’t stay away from this show.  It’s just one of my guilty pleasures, I guess.  It’s cheesy and most of the relationships don’t last, but I always hold out hope…

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Seared Ahi Tuna

Hi friends!  I made the easiest dinner tonight. 


I don’t know that you can even call this a recipe, it was that easy.  I have always loved Ahi Tuna when I eat out, but I have never made it at home.  After some searching today, I found this recipe and decided to try it with just a tiny bit of tweaking.


  • Ahi Tuna Steaks (Sushi grade—make sure they are pink/red)
  • breadcrumbs (Panko or regular OR both mixed together—which is what I did, with your choice of seasonings added—I mixed in some oregano and dried parsley)
  • olive oil – 2 Tbsp
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a skillet until hot.  Sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture.  Place in hot skillet.  Cook 1-2 minutes on each side, or until desired degree of doneness.  I like mine a little more medium or medium rare.  I cooked Ryan’s and Sadie’s a little longer. 




This tuna was so delicious and tasty!  If you’re scared of preparing fish, give this a try!  The original recipe also had good reviews, so I think it’s pretty fool-proof. 



(I still need to perfect slicing it neatly!)


We paired the tuna with tri-colored quinoa and sugar snap peas.  A perfectly tasty (yet easy!) Sunday night meal. 



Hope you all are adjusting to the time change!  My body still thinks it is 8:30, even though it’s almost 9:30 right now… should make for an interesting morning!  ;)