Friday, November 20, 2015

FOF, Mom's Visit Week 1, Ewg-friendly lotion, Cranberry Chevre


My mom's visit has been really nice so far. I've had to work during the day, but we've made time to take walks and she's been my workout buddy which has been motivating. We had a nice lunch with my Grandma Mary yesterday, and went to 521 BBQ on Tuesday before my meeting in Matthews. Last night we went to Blakeney which was lit-up in pretty white lights, the 60 degree weather was perfect for getting our shop-on! Afterward, we had dinner at Bravo  just the two of us. Next week I am taking a few days off which will be great!


I am working on switching to beauty products that are safe and healthy for my body. I won't throw out what I already have, but when I replace items I want to replace them with good choices. My friend Nicole recommended Purple Prairie Botanicals Peppermint Tea Tree Organic Olive Oil Lotion. It's EWG-friendly, a 1 for those who use the EWG's Skin-Deep Database. It's marketed for your tootsies, but I have been using it as a full body lotion (as does Nicole). I am really loving the fresh minty feel, that does die-down a bit after a few minutes. Just be careful not to get the lotion in your eyes. You can buy it here on Amazon for $12.89. 


Tonight some of my Watershed ladies are coming to visit. I'm so excited to see them!  I was really sad when I had to leave the group when I moved, but they are kind enough to make the trek down to Waxhaw for a visit . Love these sweet ladies :)


 I bought some yummy Cranberry Chevre from Trader Joe's that I really looking forward to digging into ..cheese is the best, seriously. This goodness on a Raisin Rosemary Cracker...yuuuum. Perfect for Thanksgiving too!


So we bought our bird and it's ready to go for next week! I've also decided to forego the fine dining vibe (and the cleanup), and I bought some nicer plastic disposable plates. I don't want anyone to spend the entire evening washing dishes, so this is my solution. I have tried the "please leave it in the sink for later" and it does not work with my family.  I realize it's not super environmentally friendly, but it's a once per year occasion. I bought mine at Costco, but you can find them on Amazon too.

Friday, November 13, 2015

FOF: My random 5

My random 5...


Happy news, my mom arrives on Sunday! The last time she visited was last July, and things were still pretty rough during that time so I am really happy to have her visit under happier circumstances. I am busy thinking of cool stuff for us to do. She is very interested in health and nutrition so I was thinking about taking her to the Body Worlds exhibit at Discovery Place, and possibly The Southern Christmas Show. Has anyone gone before? Was it fun? 

The holidays just feel different this year. The last two have been tough in many ways, but I am really going to try and re-instill the magic and joy of Christmas into the season this year. I have so much to  thank God for.

To get this season started, I found a list of fun things to do around Charlotte here.

I also found a Christmas movie guide here

It all kicks off with Thanksgiving...I'm so excited!

I have been going through our dreaded "box" room, and I came across my old desktop computer from college. Does anyone know what I can do with this old thing? Donate it? Would anyone even want it? Recycle it? I just have no clue and it's taking up space..


I saw this on TV the other day, and it is right up my alley.  My 30th and friends combined, what could be better?!  Shameless hint for the hubby ;) 


I've been working from home this past MONTH, and I could not be happier about it. I do miss my co-workers, but I have loads of extra time on my hands! When you're not commuting two hours every day getting things done is much easier.Working in my pjs, having dinner on the table before 8pm, and squeezing in a mid-afternoon workout...I need to make this my life. Unfortunately, our office should be done with  renovations in early December so this is temporary :/ 

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Greek Pitas & Sherbet Floats

This has been a staple in my kitchen since my college days. It's easy, healthy, and full of flavor ..a winning combination in my book.

I highly recommend making the dressing and/or chicken marinade with Symeon's Spice Blend. It is from one of my absolute favorite restaurants, and you can buy their delicious custom blend online for a measly $6.50! It will last forever and I guarantee you will love it!


Grilled Chicken Strips (You can make your own, or buy premade)
Green Leaf Lettuce 
Diced Tomato
Sliced Cucumbers
Crumbled Feta Cheese
Kalamata Olives Halved
 Pita - I love this brand

Greek Yogurt- 5.3z
Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
1 Tsp chopped Dill
1 clove minced garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste

Symeyon's Spice
 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar


1) Mix together dressing, I use a 3 to 1 ratio of Oil to Vinegar and whisk in spices to suit my taste.
2) Mix together Tzatziki ingredients in a separate bowl
3) Spread Tzatziki sauce on a warm pita. Top with 3 slices of chicken, feta, lettuce, cucumbers tomatoes, and olives. Sprinkle lightly with dressing- fold and enjoy! 

I also wanted to share my latest addiction...

I suppose it's not very Fall-ish, but they are so good and the weather in Charlotte is still in the 60s so whatever. They are sort of like rootbeer floats, but with Rainbow Sherbet and Orange Vanilla Seltzer...heaven! You could use Sprite and Lemonade if you like things a bit sweeter, but the Seltzer cuts some of the sweetness of the sherbet and makes for a semi guilt-free dessert. Try it sometime :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Five on Friday: Thanksgiving eats, Seasonal Beers, and BOD

It's been awhile since I've done a Five on Friday, so here are my 5...



 I am so excited to cook my first Turkey this year! I may or may not already have a spreadsheet and timetable put together to make sure it goes smoothly ( yea I know, it's a sickness). The gathering will be fairly small, immediate family, since we do not have a dining room table quite yet. My dream is to have everyone over from both sides...maybe Christmas next year?

 I wanted to keep the recipes fairly classic to appeal to all tastes, and easy because it's about spending time with family-- not your kitchen! Here are the recipes on my list: My Mom's stuffing, a cross between Epicurious' Roast Turkey with Old Fashion Gravy & Trader Joe's Herb Butter Technique, Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes (make ahead), Pioneer Woman's Green Bean Casserole (make ahead), Cranberry Sauce (make ahead), and Apple Pie (I doctor it up a little and will add walnuts and golden raisins). 


At Supper Club last week my friends Erin and Cody introduced me to Blue Moon's Seasonal Fall Beers; Chai Spiced Ale and Cinnamon Horchata. Both are absolutely delicious - they taste like dessert! They only come in the seasonal sampler pack which just so happens to be on sale for $7.99 at Harris Teeter right now (an insane price by the way- I paid $13) 


I spotted some really cute Christmas decorations at World Market yesterday, I will definitely be adding these candleholders to my collection, adorable...



I've been reading a lot about Aldi recently and haven't been since college so I popped over there the other week. To be completely honest, I wasn't blown away. I just don't see it being part of my regular shopping routine because the selection is so limited, and they really didn't have much organic at all. I did pick up this Fit & Active Spanish Quinoa Brown Rice Blend (non-organic) and used it to make a really quick and easy dinner the other night...

I started with a bottom layer of the rice, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, grilled chicken strips, black beans, shredded cheddar, a dollop of sour cream (you could sub for greek yogurt), avocado, pico de gallo, lettuce mix, and another squeeze of lime on top. Brad added hot sauce to his and said it was really good. 



Because I clearly have a love for food, I jumped back into working out again. I joined another 30 day challenge and signed up for a 30 day free trial of Beach Body on Demand (BOD). BOD allows you to stream anywhere on any device. I love trying new workouts without having to pay for them first, and you can't beat the variety! My favorites have been Masters Hammer & Chisel, and P90X3.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween, Mantle Decor, and Recipes...

This weekend we celebrated Halloween with grilling out and watching some spooky okay, not so spooky family-friendly tv shows. I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to horror, and I told Brad "no scary movies" should have been part of our marital vows. Sadly we did not get any trick-or-treaters so we ended up moving the candy basket to the couch at about 8:30!

The next day I took the Halloween decorations down and kept the Fall-ish ones Christmas trees for our house yet!

Speaking of decorations, I finally found a mirror for over the fireplace. It isn't round, but I thought it was cute and the price was right! I was looking at one from Crate and Barrel with a very steep price tag, and this was literally 1/6 the price from TJMaxx. With all of that leftover dough  I bought some cute mercury glass candlesticks too...

The mantle still isn't painted, but we'll get there..

Also lately I've been cooking up a storm. I wanted to share a few recipes with you...

Running with Spoons' Greek Yogurt Banana Bread -Butterless Banana Bread that tastes surprisingly good! I used Whole Wheat Flour and added walnuts. Be very careful to cook it thoroughly, I inserted a toothpick and it came out clean but was still raw in the middle...not sure if the fluffy texture threw it off?

I don't have a photo of this next recipe, but I made this one with Brad in mind. Spend with Pennies Slow Cooker Salisbury Steak - I was surprised how much I liked it too! It is a little time consuming since you need to pan sear the patties but it made enough for two dinners. On the first night I served it over mashed potatoes and the next over brown rice ...both were tasty!

Lastly a veg-friendly recipe with some interesting ingredients like cinnamon and coriander that Brad said he was surprised by how delicious it was, the Iron You's Roasted Cauliflower, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Casserole

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Crispy "Baked"-Bang Shrimp

It's nearly Halloween so that means the holiday season is just around the corner! This recipe would definitely be a big hit at any gathering, and it's a refreshing departure from the usual.

 Here is my lightened-up take on Bonefish Grills' Bang Bang Shrimp. I don't deep-fry the shrimp, but rather bake it after a coating in crispy Panko breadcrumbs. I also use the sauce to dip rather than coat just because it's unnecessary calories and I don't love things covered in mayonnaise. I made these for us last Friday night and they are a perfect easy-appetizer...


20  Raw Shrimp Peeled & Deveined
1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1 Cup Flour Seasoned liberally with Salt & Pepper
1 Egg

2 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Tsp Siracha Hot Sauce ( you can put more or less depending on your heat preference)

Chopped Green Onions- Garnish

1) Mix Sauce Ingredients in a small bowl and set aside
2) Make an egg wash by lightly whisking an egg and adding a couple drops of milk or water to it.
3) Dredge the shrimp in flour, egg wash, and then panko. Place on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam
4) Bake in a 400 Degree Oven for 4 minutes, then flip the shrimp & cook for an additional 4 minutes or until lightly browned.

You can garnish the shrimp with  chopped green onion, but I did not have any on hand, hence the picture is onion-less. 




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Weekend Recap...

This weekend was beautiful; great weather, spent some time with friends, and managed to cross a few things off our house to-do list.

Friday night we hung the blackout bedroom curtains. Let me tell you it was bright in that bedroom, I'm already sleeping so much better!

This room is tough to take photos of with all of the shadows, so I took a few in different lighting...

 Next up, I will be replacing those terrible lamps from Brad's Bachelor life. Ah priorities.

Brad also surprised me with some flowers and chocolate chip cookies because he knew it was a rough day for me...

Which brings me to another note, asking for prayers for my sister and her family. I want to afford them their privacy so I won't say much more than that, but they could use them right now.
Saturday Brad and his Dad built our cute little well-house..

I ran a bunch of errands and worked on getting our guest room in shape for my friends Taylor and Michelle, who were our first official overnight guests.

Some may have saw this on Facebook, but I restored an old lamp from my grandmother's basement. I spent $11 on a new shade from Lowes, and $1 on some Bar Keepers friend which cleaned up the brass beautifully...

 I also did some Halloween decorating, better late than never. I wasn't going to do anything to our mantle because its only primed and not painted, but I figured that would add to the spooky look...

Brad and I checked out a local Mexican place for dinner and later that night Taylor and Michelle came over after their conference. We had some bubbly and cheese in our pj's and caught up on life. 

The next afternoon I made my way to Old Mecklenburg Brewery to see Laura and Daniel who were visiting from Colorado. They had a wedding in Asheville, so I was only able to visit for an hour or two. It was so good seeing them. I wish my close friends would never leave Charlotte, I miss them too much!

Afterward, I made my way back home where Brad made us steaks on the grill and we relaxed the rest of the night.Not a bad little weekend :)
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