Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things (Right Now, Anyways...)

I kept trying to decide what post I should write next. So in the end, I decided not to make a decision. I thought, "Why not throw it all together in one random post?" Yay for you! You get to read my rambly (is that a word?) thoughts.

Lets talk about some things I am loving right now.

1. These biscuits.


I saw this recipe for Sweet Plantain Drop Biscuits on PaleOMG about a week ago and couldn't wait to make them. I am always wary of Paleo baked goods- but these are fantastic! I have eaten them with sausage patties, with jelly, and with butter. Always a win. I will be making these again! Do yourself a favor and make them. You can click the link above to get the recipe!


2. Yes, I am stalking PaleOMG. I also made her stuffed sweet potato.


There's some food porn for you. Fantastic. (I wonder what kind of weird hits I will get on this post now that I wrote the word "porn." Twice.)


3. Frank's Hot Sauce. Best stuff ever.

Use it to make wings or the stuffing for those stuffed sweet potatoes. Or put it on anything. Drink it.


4. This song.

It's like I am a teenage girl or something! Whatever... Go ahead and judge me. I like it, and I like Justin Bieber, too.


5. This book.

I just finished it, and it was awesome. Have you read it? So many twists and surprises. Loved it. I want to know what you thought. Any opinions on the ending? I wanted a different ending, kind of.


6. This local market.

I have been stopping at The Peach Stand in Fort Mill to get sausage, strawberries, and more every week or two. The strawberries from Springs Farm are the best I have found around here. They put the ones in the grocery stores to shame! Their local meats are also wonderful. If you are in the area, check them out!


Well, I tried to make this list a nice round number: 10. But then I ran out of favorite things. So this will have to be my top 6 favorite things for right now.

What are YOU loving right now?


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eat Your Veggies: Okra

Now that summer is approaching, the farmer's markets are open again. This is always one of the best parts of summer. I swear, I can load my cart to the brim, and I never spend more than $20 or $25. And even better, I am able to support local farmers.

In the summer, I know I tend to eat more veggies, just because there are so many fresh veggies that are in season. Last year, we joined a CSA, but this year I missed the deadline. I enjoyed the CSA, but I also like being able to go and pick out my own veggies. One of my favorites is okra.

I grew up eating okra two ways: stewed with tomatoes and fried. I love both ways, and I also love adding okra to stews, soups, or gumbo. I even love pickled okra (and hope to attempt it this summer)! However, until last year, I never thought to roast okra. Now that I have tried may just be my favorite way to make it!

Roasted okra is so easy to make. Just follow these steps. Feel free to experiment with other seasonings as well. This is just how I like to make it.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Wash and dry your okra. (The smaller the okra, the better. Smaller okra is more tender.)
  • Place okra in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss the okra in the bowl to be sure that it is all coated with oil.
  • Spread out over a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then flip each piece over and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, or until okra is browned (but not burned).
  • Serve hot and enjoy!
And if possible, enjoy outside! :) Happy Summer!


Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. We could not have asked for better weather! It was absolutely beautiful here. We were able to accomplish a lot this weekend. Check out the beautiful new fence hubby and his dad built! our old fence was in bad shape. It was really falling apart. They worked all day on Saturday and I think they did a wonderful job!

Old fence:
New fence:

We have been looking forward to the pool opening this weekend. That is definitely one of my favorite things about summer! The water was like ICE because the temps have been a little lower than normal, but I guess if you are 5 years old you don't really care!

Sadie was feeling brave and was ready to attempt the swim test today. Last summer, she finally passed it in late July or early August.

The goal: a coveted YELLOW bracelet. (Meaning you can swim across the pool by yourself.)


Walking to the start spot...


Getting ready to start...




Made it!


What else is perfect for a long weekend? Wings! I made three varieties tonight: Asian, BBQ, and Hot. The hot was my favorite.

I also made some roasted zucchini and some buffalo cauliflower tonight. This is becoming one of my favorite ways to eat cauliflower! I tried a simpler prep method tonight than the last time I made this. I plan to share this week in a separate post.

Finally, I just want to say that I am so thankful for all of those people who defend our country! They make the ultimate sacrifice, putting this country above themselves. They are the reason we get to celebrate today!

Happy Memorial Day!



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scenes from the Weekend

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope all of you had a wonderful and productive weekend. This post will be a little bit of a mashup... I thought I would just share some pictures and details from our weekend.

We started off our weekend with a special ceremony for our little soon-to-be preschool graduate!


I still can't believe that she is going to Kindergarten in the fall! (Insert cliche comments about time passing too quickly here.)

The ceremony was very cute and I only took about 200 photos.


I will spare you the other 197.

On Saturday, we were all up and around pretty early. I headed up to the Queen City to help lead the warm up for the MS Walk with Queen City DanceOut (the company for which I teach dance fitness classes). We led our warm up song and then quickly headed to another venue where we were guest instructors for a Zumbathon called Pearls for Creative Healing. Pearls is an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence and also raising awareness of this important issue. We were the last instructors of the Zumbathon. The pictures from the event were amazing. Here are a couple that were posted online by Hip Chick Photo.


Afterwards, I met up with the hubby and munchkin for lunch:

Salad topped with a turkey burger... And sweet potato fries!

I squeezed in a few bike rides this weekend- nothing too long, but it was nice to be out on my bike in the neighborhood. I like to ride around and check out other people's yards and landscaping.

Meanwhile, Sadie enjoyed the sprinkler in the yard.

And I made this delish smoothie.

In the magic bullet: 4 large strawberries (green tops and all), 1/4 cup canned coconut milk, 1/2 banana, a few ice cubes. SO good! It was actually too thick for this straw. Very sweet and creamy! I am wondering about making strawberry ice cream with coconut milk... I will look into this!
Okay friends, that's about it! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend, too!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Heat Wave!

Well, I think Mother Nature just gave all of us southerners what we wished for. Over the past 4 weeks, everyone I know has been saying, "It's so COOOOLD. WHEN is it going to get WARM?"

Well, that day was today. As a matter of fact, I think we were close to 90 degrees. Hello summer!!!

After work, I headed out to a nearby park for a walk/run.

I am still struggling with the running. But thanks for the suggestions so far on Twitter. I currently use Map My Run, which is great because it tracks your runs and your progress. I am also registered for a race in July, so I will try and get motivated for that. Today was gorgeous and the honeysuckle is blooming, which made everything smell so nice.

I know all you allergy sufferers don't like it, but I love honeysuckle. It just reminds me of spring and summer. I need to teach Sadie how to get the nectar. Do you all remember the nights eating honeysuckle and catching fireflies?

Tonight's dinner was spaghetti squash and meat sauce. And we ate al fresco. Nice.

Kid approved. :)

Never cooked spaghetti squash? It's so easy. Cut in half lengthwise and roast in the oven (cut side down) at 450 degrees until the skin can be easily pierced with a fork. (About 30 minutes).

Little tip for you... Before roasting my spaghetti squash, I drizzled the cut side and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of garlic powder. It REALLY made it more flavorful!

I even made lemonade. (Not for me- avoiding sugary drinks- but for the husband and kiddo.)

Look at how domestic I am. ;)


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Breakfast for Dinner

What's up, friends? How's your Tuesday been? We are having the most amazing weather here in South Carolina. Clear blue skies, temps in the 70s for highs,'s enough to make a girl want to take a vacation day! But I am holding onto those days for summer and special occasions!

I am in a running rut. I really need to be running. I am just in a place where I. just. hate. it. I have been walking/running on my non-Zumba-teaching nights. I am trying to do between 2-4 miles when I go. I love walking, but I just don't feel like I get a good enough workout walking, even walking at a fast speed.

Anybody have some old tips for sticking with the running? I have done C25K before... and maybe I need to get back on that wagon. Anyways, if you have some tips, or words of encouragement, or even if you just want to commiserate, leave a comment on this post. ;)

In other news, tonight after I taught Zumba, I went with an old favorite- breakfast for dinner.

Yesterday I shredded some sweet potato in my food processor, and I had a pack of sausage from Lettuce Carry in the fridge. So I thought, why not? Breakfast for dinner. Bonus- I now have sausage and sweet potato hash to eat for breakfasts this week. Yay for being prepared!


  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 lb. ground breakfast sausage
  • 1 shredded sweet potato (I shred in my food processor but you could certainly shred using a cheese grater)
  • 1 medium onion OR a handful of sliced green onions
  • 1-2 eggs


Melt coconut oil in a hot nonstick skillet. Add sausage and brown, breaking you as you go. Ice sausage is browned, add the onion and sweet potato. Cook until sweet pitta is softened- about 5-7 minutes. At this point, the hash is done. If you want to make it a single meal, set aside all of the hash except for about 1 cup of the mixture. Add 1-2 scrambled eggs to the hot pan and scramble with the hash.

Sweet and savory and filling! Nom.

And just a little treat for those of you reading... Check out this old pic I found of myself while cleaning last week:

This is me in college with my friend Lorne, who I just found out is moving to China for 2 years! Check out his blog that he is writing about the experience!
And just to compare... Here is what I look like now:

Time certainly does change things. That and a good hairdresser. And better clothes.

Nighty night, friends!