Monday, April 21, 2014

Sweet Start Monday

Welcome to a Sweet Start Monday, where I share current highlights of my sweetness: places, people, things in my life that bring me bliss. Let's all start the week by reflecting on the positive things in our lives!

Ruts. We are fall into them. And lately, I've been in a food rut. I just don't care or get as excited as I used to about meals and eating out; so I was particularly thankful for some changes in routine this past week. I made and ate my first dutch baby for dinner one night! It wasn't 100% perfect but I loved it nonetheless. I decided on a whole wheat savory version, topped with artichokes, roasted tomatoes, feta and kale. It was whimsy, filling and so easy to make! I can't wait to make a sweet version. Maybe covered in spring berries like this one? Garland and I also tried a new restaurant, Pig & Pearl, Saturday night. We haven't done this in months. I ordered the Oyster Rockefeller salad, he stuck with a standard Buffalo chicken sandwich. Thumbs up, but I really can't to go back for many. bacon. flavors.

Another thing we haven't done in months? Garland and I went on a run together! He'll always be faster, but I love the extra push he provides. Also, I can't help but feel extra loved knowing he's expending the time and patience to run with me! I'm still not running "freely", but am doing intervals of 10 minutes running, 2 minutes walking with an emphasis on increasing my cadence. I'm still just so thankful for the progress. And after watching the Boston Marathon today, I'm more determined than ever to train again!

Your turn! Tell me about your sweetness! 
What are you excited, happy about or thankful for this week?

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Key Lime Pie with Candied Citrus Slices

My first slice of Key Lime Pie was in college and was made by one of my roommates. That's right; once upon a time, I was not the resident baker! Sure, I occasionally baked cookies for my "long distance" boyfriend, but a pie? They're impressive. 

While I tend to gravitate towards chocolate desserts, come the warmer months I catch myself craving fruit and citrus treats. Key lime pie is now one of my favorites. It's cool, creamy with the perfect balance of tart, sweet, and subtle saltiness from the graham cracker crust. (Garland prefers an Oreo crust, another excellent choice.) No matter the context, a slice never fails to remind of senior year: all of us sitting indian-style on the kitchen floor with forkfuls of pie, laughing and decompressing from the day.

More broadly, key lime pie also reminds me of springtime with it's bright, citrusy flavor and pale green tint. If you've never made it before, you maybe surprised at how little goes into making it. The filling consists of a handful of ingredients: a pinch of salt, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lime juice and zest. Depending on if you buy or make the crust from scratch, you're looking at 20-40 minutes total (including prep and bake time!).

It's the perfect simple, yet spectacular dessert.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sweet Start Monday: March Recap

Welcome to a Sweet Start Monday, where I share current highlights of my sweetness: places, people, things in my life that bring me bliss. Let's all start the week by reflecting on the positive things in our lives!

Yes, I know. It's way past the first Monday of the month. I considered not even discussing my 2014 goals and progress for the month of March---because the progress, if any, was minimal. But part of the reason I wanted to recap each month in 2014 was for the accountability and to better track my accomplishments. Great news (and my sweetness this week) is this practically guarantees April to be stellar in regards to goals achieved!

RUN - March marked the continuation of progress in my stress fracture recovery. It was a full month of physical therapy each week, plus stuff on my own. About three weeks ago I started attending some cycling classes and had no resulting pain or swelling. I've since progressed to some RUNNING. April 2nd marked MY FIRST RUN. More on this next month!

SAVE - I was horrible at recording my spending this month, mainly because I knew it was going to be an expensive one and wasn't going to like how it ended. Guess what? I was totally right! Although, I have to wonder whether recording my spending and budgeting on the controllable expenses would have helped some...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blue & Green "Kind" Bars

I haven't talked a lot about my current job on here, but I thought today would be the perfect day to do so. To the people in my community and thousands of people across the United States, today is a special day: April is National Donate Life Month and April 11th is National Donate Life Month Blue & Green Day!

I'm an employee at a nonprofit called Donate Life America, where we work to increase awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and encourage others to register to be donors. Did you know that nearly 29,000 lifesaving transplants were performed last year alone? Miracles are happening every day through the gift of donation, both deceased and living. That being said: There are currently over 120,000 people on the UNOS waiting list to receive a transplant. Livers, kidneys, hearts, lungs, pancreas, intestines...there aren't enough donated to keep up with the dire need.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Food Highlights: Charleston, SC [2014]

Yes, it's time for FOOD HIGHLIGHTS! As mentioned a few weeks ago, we were in Charleston at the beginning of March before for a quick vacation. The top two reasons to make a trip to this city is it's beautiful historic homes and ridiculously good (and southern!) food. We were there from Sunday-Tuesday AM; and prior to our arrival I secured two dinner reservations, which I highly recommend. It should come as no surprise that Charleston is also a city that loves to eat out---how can you resist when there are so many great options?! Even though I made our reservation for Monday night the week prior, I still had slim pickings for available 2-person dining times. For Magnolia's on Sunday night, however, I was able to make our reservation the day before.

Fleet Landing (186 Concord Street, website)
We met some local friends for lunch on Sunday, the day we arrived. Having only really picked out places for breakfasts and dinners, we left the place up to them! Fleet Landing is surprisingly one of the only restaurants located on the water in Charleston. It's exterior isn't much to look at, having originally been naval (then ferry) building. It's flat and concrete. Almost magically, they've managed to make it feel open and airy from inside. There are high ceilings, large windows, and outside dining options.

Their menu includes casual southern and seafood options. Best decision of the meal: the fried oyster appetizer. REALLY. The fried oysters came on grits garnished with cheddar, bacon and barbecue sauce. I wish this had been my actual meal. Instead, for my entree I ordered the surprisingly tasteless fried green tomato BLT. I think subbing pimento cheese for the gouda would have made the difference.