wrapping up the weekend

I’m a big fan of Sundays- I generally have no obligations, I give myself a “lazy pass,” and it’s a day to recap the weekend and look forward to the week.

Speaking of recapping {though it doesn’t relate to this weekend}- I love the expression “The best part of a Saturday night out is the Sunday morning recap.” I remember so many days in college where we’d have a fun night out and spend hours recounting and dissecting it over Sunday brunch 🙂

But back to this weekend! As I mentioned, my dad is in town for the weekend, so we wanted to show him our lives in Raleigh. On Friday, he and I went to breakfast at Flying Biscuit, where I ordered my go-to: the Eggs-Ceptional Eggs {“two large farm fresh eggs over medium, on black bean cakes topped with oven-roasted tomatillo salsa, feta cheese & sour cream served with creamy dreamy grits”- soo good!}.

On Friday evening, we met up for dinner at David’s Dumpling, where Sara and I split an order of soft shell crab with seaweed salad and I ordered the Vietnamese pho as my main course! I love how David {the owner} is always there to check in on customers. And they always bring a different seasonal soup sample to the table- this time it was chilled cucumber soup. Delicious but not quite as killer as last fall’s carrot ginger soup.

Pho

 

Can you see how our family revolves around food? All of our family vacations sound like this: “Let’s get breakfast then hang out. Then we’ll eat lunch here and then just chill or nap. Then where should we go to dinner?” Haha!

I was going to check out the Museum of Natural Sciences’ special 24 hour grand re-opening after dinner, but I opted to climb into bed with a good novel instead. I’ve been uncharacteristically exhausted all week, so I wanted to get some extra rest.

On Saturday we headed out to Pittsboro to volunteer with Carolina Tiger Rescue for Change the Triangle’s April event. The experience was SO neat- it deserves its own post {with photos!}. But here’s a fun fact: apparently tiger spray smells like buttered movie theatre popcorn. Strange, right?!

After the volunteer event, we tried to attend Cuegrass, Raleigh’s annual BBQ + bluegrass festival, but decided to choose an indoor activity once the rain started pouring. Speaking of movie theatre popcorn…we headed off to see 21 Jump St {where we befriended the manager and got free movie tickets haha!}. Hilarious movie- see it if you haven’t! The rest of Saturday was pretty uneventful and may or may not have ended up with another early night in bed- lame I know 🙂

Sunday’s agenda: farmers’ market and brunch, picking out herbs, and seeing where the day takes us…

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the roman sisters take savannah, part ii

On Sunday, we ate brunch here:

b.matthews on Bay Street

Photo credit

We hung out here:

Forsyth Park

On the way home, we stopped here for lunch:

Hilton Head Marina

And here for dinner:

Cracker Barrel

And about 12 million other places. #LongestRoadTripEver

the perfect escape

On Saturday afternoon, I realized I had a long weekend ahead of me with no concrete plans. I tossed around a few ideas: staying at home and having a self-indulgent pampering weekend, go on a tubing trip with a few friends, host a cook out, drive to the mountains for a solo retreat. But I decided to text a friend who still lives in DC and see if I could make a spontaneous road trip up there. Ah, the beauty of having a car!

Our first text was at 3pm and at 7pm- after a vigorous game of tennis (and a shower, of course!), I hopped in the car with my “niece” (my sister’s dog). It ended up being the perfect escape that I needed- taking a break from Raleigh and a break from work.

  • Relaxing road trip blasting country and top 40. Nothing clears the mind like driving with the windows down and the heat up (it was chilly!) with beautiful scenery and the occasional smell of campfires
  • Lounging on Saturday night
  • Early morning yoga class (which was a hilarious disaster- it was just me, my friend, and her sister. It was my friend’s first time and halfway through the class, my toe started bleeding! Poor instructor)
  • Bottomless mimosa brunch at Daily Grill on Sunday. I didn’t partake, because I don’t like how unproductive I feel when I drink even one mimosa in the morning! But the buffet brunch was amazinggg.
  • Pumpkin spice coffee
  • Taking the pup on a walk in the Palisades by Georgetown
  • Changing back into sweats to watch 2012 (eek!)
  • Margs and fajitas at Los Cuates in Georgetown
  • A fun night out at Dupont bars
  • Driving my friend to work in downtown DC and grabbing Starbucks
  • Meeting back up with her for lunch at our favorite restaurant, Nooshi.

It’s a good thing my other friend doesn’t read my blog because she’d be upset that we did all her favorite things haha.

All in all, a splendid and well-timed mini trip that left me refreshed and energized for the week.

on my menu for next week

Zucchini Bakes via All Recipes

Asian-Inspired Chopped Salad [tomatoes & cucumbers with sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, & rice vinegar]

Walnut Anchovy Pasta

More Corn Quinoa Black Bean Salad

Vichyssoise [chilled summer soup]

a summery weekend

Yesterday:

  • Intermittently packed {with Good Life by OneRepublic playing in the background} and finished my novel {Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz}
  • Had buffalo wings and beer with a friend at our favorite outdoor patio bar
  • Watched wayyy too many episodes of the incredibly trashy but wildly enthralling show Pretty Wild
  • Had a sleepover with said friend- one of our last 😦 And yes, 21-year-old girls still have sleepovers 🙂
Today:
  • Grabbed delicious coconut coffees from Starbucks
  • Stocked up on produce and other knick knacks at the Dupont Farmers’ Market {kale, cherries, zucchini, a loaf of bread, vine-ripened tomatoes, and a handful of basil}
  • Finished our shopping at Whole Foods
  • Ate an outdoor brunch at Commissary at 14th and P {I wasn’t terribly impressed with my chorizo hash, unfortunately, but it was decently priced for brunch}
I’m planning to keep packing {it’s SO satisfying to get rid of old papers, miscellaneous mementos that don’t actually bring up any pleasant memories, and clothes that I no longer like}; hit the gym with a fitness magazine; write thank you letters for graduation gifts; and whip up a summer-inspired, produce-filled dinner.

I’d say my first produce box has been a success!

I’m currently standing in the kitchen waiting for my amazingly simple but deliciously hearty soup to finish simmering!

I’ll post that recipe later, but for now, I wanted to share my morning smoothie recipe:

  • A big dash of soy milk
  • A scoop of almond butter
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 frozen (and peeled!) orange
  • 1 shredded and frozen carrot

Definitely a well-balanced smoothie but it didn’t taste overtly “healthy” (in a bad way). Such a good combo!

[photo credit: here]

Recipe: Rainbow Frittata

photo credit: uprisingorganics.com

Last night,  I sauntered over to my friend’s place to pick up my half of our Arganica produce box, which we got as part of a LivingSocial deal.  Arganica is not a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), it is a “premier locally sourced food club.”

It was a fun surprise to peer into the box and find out what we got for the week- bananas, oranges, lemons, potatoes, an onion, GIANT carrots, asparagus, and both of our favorites: rainbow chard.

According to the ultimate source (Wikipedia of course), chard is also referred to as Swiss chard,silverbeet, perpetual spinach, spinach beet, crab beet, seakale beet, and mangold.  It is high in vitamins A, K and C; it is also full of minerals, dietary fiber and protein.

So what should I do with this leafy multi-colored nutritional gem, I wondered? (Haha, okay, I didn’t think those exact words).

Which brings me to my most amazingly delicious frittata to date:

Rainbow  Frittata

Also known as: Four cheese caramelized onion sun-dried tomato red pepper chard frittata with pine nuts

Heat a tbsp(ish) of olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-low heat. Throw in 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped shallots; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Throw in a handful of chopped red peppers and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add 2 washed, destemmed, and chopped chard leaves and cook for 1 more minute.

In a small bowl, whisk 5-6 eggs. Add a handful of grated Gruyere cheddar melange cheese, a handful of grated mozzarella, a little feta cheese, 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, a dash of cayenne, a sprinkling of garlic powder, and a touch of dried basil.  Throw in a handful of sun-dried tomatoes. Mix well. Fold in 1 tbsp of flour and about a tsp of baking powder.

Combine all ingredients in frying pan. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and pine nuts on top. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let me tell you, this was a-mazing. Flavorful, nutritious, hearty, colorful, you name it.

Note: just in the nick of time, I discovered that chard stems don’t need to be thrown away. You can actually use  them in a number of different recipes. At first bite, it kind of tastes like you bit into a forest, but I have faith that I can make creative use out of them!

Leek & Tomato Frittata

In my fridge, I had: one leek [left over from Healthy Shrimp Pasta], cherry tomatoes [that were almost past their prime], a ton of eggs [a recent photography assignment was to capture the perfect white of an egg through a technique called bracketing], & all kinds of cheese [left over from my Four Cheese Caramelized Onion Frittata].

What easier, more versatile dish to make then another frittata?

photo credit: marthastewart.com

Leek & Tomato Frittata [based off Martha Stewart’s recipe]

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Throw in 1 trimmed and chopped leek1 chopped shallot, and 1 clove of garlic ; cook for 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup of halved cherry tomatoes. Cook for an additional minute.

In a small bowl, whisk 6 eggs. Add a handful of grated Gruyere cheddar melange cheese, 2 scoops of ricotta, 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, and a handful of ripped fresh basil. Mix well. Fold in 1 tbsp of flour and about a tsp of baking powder.

Combine all ingredients in frying pan. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 20-35 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Four Cheese Caramelized Onion Frittata

Frittatas are an easily customizable breakfast food that are particularly great for serving a group (brunch, anyone?). I got hooked on trying interesting new combinations after I made the Barefoot Contessa’s Potato Basil Frittata.

This morning, I made an ad-libbed frittata based loosely on the following recipes:

Melt 3 tbsps of butter in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Throw in 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped shallots; cook for about 10 minutes until caramelized, stirring frequently.

In a separate pot, boil 1-2 peeled and finely chopped potatoes until soft.

In a small bowl, whisk 6 eggs. Add a handful of grated Gruyere cheddar melange cheese, 2 scoops of ricotta, 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper, and a handful of ripped fresh basil. Mix well. Fold in 1 tbsp of flour and about a tsp of baking powder.

Combine all ingredients in frying pan. Cook in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until a fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

*For a gluten-free version, simply eliminate the flour. 

spring arrived this weekend!

And I made the most of it 🙂

  • St. Patty’s Day celebration in Chinatown with co-workers
  • Several long runs/walks around the city [Exorcist stairs, C & O Canal, 14th and P, Rosslyn, U St, etc]
  • Two Carolina games [we won both, naturally]
  • A long evening spent in the “Chill Pad,” a makeshift lounging area on my friend’s fire escape, which overlooks Pennsylvania Ave
  • Brunch up on the roof [peach mango mimosas, banana pumpkin walnut muffins, & shakshuka]
  • Planning an upcoming camping trip
  • Sunday Adventure Day with a friend