This Week's Eats: Weeks 11-20

Hello, my name is Kseniya and I have fallen off of my weekly blogging wagon. Spring was crazy with travel, life, more travel, and more life. Not only have I fallen off the blogging wagon, we have also fallen off the meal planning wagon and it shows in our waistlines and bank accounts.

So, after this week (we're traveling again!), we're getting back on track. 

And, don't worry, I'll recap some of our favorite vacation eats and favorite new recipes in upcoming posts.

Until then, I leave you with this photo of us from Disney World back in March:

disney-world-mickey-mouse-march-31-2018

This Week's Eats: Week 10 | Easy One Sheet Pan Dinners

Not going to sugar coat it, we ate out a lot this week. It was hard to avoid with Brandon traveling this week and me having meeting across town. There were also meeting with friends and a date night for the second week in a row (lucky us!).

 

Monday

Breakfast: cereal

Lunch: grain bowl salad

Charlotte's Lunch: apple sauce, Nutella on whole grain, dry apricots, cheese, strawberries, and almonds.

toddler-bento-box-march5

Dinner:  Blue Apron's General Tso's Chicken. I have the tendency to impulsively purchase produce items and then struggle to come up with something to make. Some days I open our fridge like the contestants on Chopped open their mystery baskets and create something great in 30 minutes. This time the items were bok choy and daikon radish. I whipped out our paella pan because it was the only thing that could handle the three pounds of bok choy and allowed me to pan fry the chicken without having to batch it in a smaller pan.

The meal was delicious and has been officially added into rotation. 

blue-apron-general-tso-chicken-bok-choy-daikon-radish

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: cereal, Eggo waffles with Nutella

Lunch: ham sandwiches.

Dinner: roasted sausage and veggies. I'm all about one sheet pan meals, especially when I have to run out the door to an event or client meeting. 

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: cereal, Eggo waffles with Nutella, bananas

Lunch: Take it to the Bridge breakfast sandwich, Peacock (pineapple mint) kombucha from Up Dog, and a signature late from Lincoln's Haberdashery.

I had a morning meeting in South End with just enough time to finally check out Lincoln's Haberdashery. I, 100%, understand the obsession now. Think they'll let me move in?

 Take it to the Bridge 

Take it to the Bridge 

Acme smoked salmon, house toast, cream cheese, dill, red onion, capers, and ikura.

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole wheat, cheese, salame, broccoli, and fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-march-7

Dinner: Mini Italian meatloaves, orzo, and broccolini.

This was the second one sheet pan dinner of the week and a bit more complicated, but not so much that I wouldn't ever make them again.

mini-italian-meatloafs-orzo-broccolini

 

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggos with Nutella

Lunch: Living Burrito and a Matcha Maca with hemp milk from Living Kitchen. This was the first stop of several during an epic afternoon with my besties Katy, Erin, and Charlotte. 

 Matcha Maca with Hemp Milk

Matcha Maca with Hemp Milk

 Living Burrito

Living Burrito

Sunflower seed refried beans, cauliflower rice, sprouts, pico de gallo guacamole and cashew sour cream wrapped in a collard leaf – served with fire and brimstone hot sauce.

Dinner: Nachos with BBQ beef brisket and a cheese quesadilla from Tin Kitchen.

 Tin Kitchen BBQ Beef Brisket Nachos + Cheese Quesadilla

Tin Kitchen BBQ Beef Brisket Nachos + Cheese Quesadilla

Corn tortilla chips with goat cheese, salsa verde, scallions & sriracha.

 

Friday

Breakfast: yogurt bars.

Lunch: Japanese steak and shrimp chile ramen from Pei Wei. I recently signed up for their rewards program so the entree was free with the purchase of a large drink. Not a bad deal at all!

 Japanese Steak & Shrimp Chile Ramen

Japanese Steak & Shrimp Chile Ramen

Wok-seared house-cut marinated flank steak, fresh-cooked shrimp and noodles in a spicy-savory Japanese sauce with minced garlic, red bell peppers, carrots, snap peas, onions, cilantro and lime.

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole wheat, cheese, tavern ham, carrots, almonds and dried cherries.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-march-9

Family Dinner: Martha Stewart's arroz con pollo.

Datenight Dinner: A delicious dinner at Zeppelin. Y'all, if you haven't been, GO! The meal that we ate deserves a separate post so stay tuned...

 Scratch Buns

Scratch Buns

Sweet miso heritage pork belly, shaved cabbage, and pickled chilis.

 

Saturday

Breakfast: protein pancakes with fresh berries and jam.

Lunch: Haberdish. Did you really expect us to go a week without eating there?!

 Brunch Cocktails

Brunch Cocktails

 Livermush Toast, hot Side of the Day, Sweet Potato Dumplings, and 2 piece White Fried Chicken

Livermush Toast, hot Side of the Day, Sweet Potato Dumplings, and 2 piece White Fried Chicken

Livermush Toast: set with Carolina gold rice, topped with mustard, molasses, bread & butter pickles.

Hot Side of the Day: sauteed baby kale and shaved carrots served with smoked pork in a honey glaze topped with crunchy benne seeds.

Sweet Potato Dumplings: hand-spooned with brown butter, sage, parm.

 Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

Dinner: Russian dumplings + leftovers.

 

Sunday

Breakfast: cheese blintzes.

Luncharroz con pollo leftovers. 

Dinner: mesquite pork loin, mashed potatoes, and corn.

 

Would anyone be interested in a recipe bank? I know our breakfasts and lunches are pretty repetitive but we tend to have more fun with dinner. 

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 9 | Discovering New Restaurants in Cabarrus County

Some weeks you're winning, other weeks you go off plan twice... the first day. Anytime my workload increases, the ability to stick to our weekly plan decreases. We ate out a lot this week and my body is craving a nice earthy salad as I write this at 10pm on a Sunday evening. The good news is that my salads are already prepped for next week so there will be no excuses!

I launched a side project, in addition to everything else that I'm working on, called Cabarrus Co Foodie. We've lived near the county for years and in it for almost two. I felt like it was time to not only explore what my "new" hometown has to offer but to also share my journey. Follow me over on Instagram and Facebook to see what I've discovered! Trust me, there are a few gems that are worth the drive from Charlotte!

Monday

Breakfast: ham sandwich and a yogurt bar.

Lunch: A banana foster crepe at C3 in Concord. Not exactly the healthiest choice but I did yoga that morning so it balanced out. 

c3-concord-nc-banana-foster-crepe

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, ham, almonds with dried cranberries, and broccoli.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb26

Dinner: La Unica because life. I had the carne asada, which is big enough to feed two adults, and it hit the spot. Brandon had the authentic street tacos, and Charlotte killed a quesadilla. 

la-unica-harrisburg-nc-carne-asada-charro-beans

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Mickey Mouse Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: Chick fil a. 

Dinner: Marcella Hazan's Bolognese because we can't stop, won't stop, loving this pasta sauce.

marcella-hazans-bolognese

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: ham sandwich plus a yogurt bar.

Lunch: The Smoke Pit you-pick-three plate. Y'all, this is some of the best BBQ I've had in a long time. I ordered a ton of food, mostly because I signed up last minute to take a Crowned Sparrow craft class and would not have had time to cook dinner. Two birds, one stone. 

the-smoke-pit-concord-nc-pick-three-meats

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, broccoli, and organic fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb28

Dinner: leftover BBQ for the family.

My Dinner: Bar eats at Legion Brewing. 

 Juicy Jay IPA

Juicy Jay IPA

 Southern Brat with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Southern Brat with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts

First course: Southern Brat (Cheshire Bratwurst soaked in Dos Amigos. Apple Bacon Saurkraut and Dos Amigos Whole Grain Mustard on fresh Nova’s Bakery Bun) with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts (Brussel Sprouts, Toasted Pecans, Honey Sriracha glaze). The brat hit the spot but, I'll be honest, I was not a fan of the Brussel sprouts. Paired it all with Juicy Jay IPA.

 

 Beauty and the Beets (Beet and Orange Saison).

Beauty and the Beets (Beet and Orange Saison).

legion-brewing-charlotte-nc-plaza-midwood-meat-and-cheese-plate-wednesday

Second course: Meat & Cheese plate ($5 Wednesday special). Paired with Beauty and the Beets (Beet and Orange Saison).

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Mini Eggo Waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: leftover BBQ.

Dinner: Greek chicken kabobs with saffron cous cous and homemade tzatziki sauce. It's one of our all time favorite meals to eat, especially when it gets warm outside.

greek-chicken-kabobs

 

Friday

Breakfast: yogurt bar.

clio-yogurt-bars-harris-teeter-charlotte

Lunch: A Mediterranean bowl at Cava. I was really excited to try it out. It was okay. It's a build-your-own concept which is great, however, I ended up with an overwhelming amount of flavors for one bowl. I wish they had a suggested combos menu, kind of like Chopt with their tested salad menu.

cava-charlotte-nc-university-city-grain-bowl

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, ham, almonds with dried cherries, and broccoli.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-march2

Dinner: Three Monkeys, the friendliest neighborhood bar! 

 

Saturday

Breakfast: cereal.

Lunch: leftovers followed by oysters and Bloody's at Ally's backyard birthday party.

oyster-roast

Dinner: our original evening plans fell through so on the way from the birthday party we stopped by Inner Harbor Seafood in Plaza Midwood to pick up some fish to cook for dinner. We got a whole red snapper, a whole tilapia, and a large salmon head (to make soup later). We kept it simple with boiled potatoes as a side. 

inner-harbor-seafood-plaza-midwood-charlotte-nc-red-snapper

My mom, who is an absolute treasure if you didn't already know, encouraged Brandon and I to go out on a date so that's exactly what we did. We hung out with the Au's, drank craft beers, ate soft pretzels, and took oyster shots (because YOLO). 

 Maine Beer Company's Woods & Waters IPA | Salud Beer Shop

Maine Beer Company's Woods & Waters IPA | Salud Beer Shop

 Oyster Shots | Growler's 

Oyster Shots | Growler's 

 

Sunday

Breakfast: French toast with an assortment of berries.

Lunch: salmon fish head soup.

Dinner: glazed chicken breast with a side of potatoes, haricot verts, and mushroom medley.

 

What delicious meals did you cook up this week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 8 | Kitchen Fails and Delicious Celebrations

There was very little planning that went into this week. Not because we were busy, but because Brandon was traveling and because our schedule was filled with celebrating friends, family, and life. The little planning was a good thing because we managed to screw up the only two meals that were planned. Oops.

Monday

Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch: family lunch at Panera Bread.

Dinner: Orange Glazed Meatballs with bok choy and Jasmine rice. This was our second time making the Blue Apron meal and it was a bit of a fail. I read a few comments and decided to use egg to hold the meatballs together and to also pre-bake them prior to frying. Don't do that. I also didn't realize that we were out of oranges, that we didn't have enough sweet chili sauce, and I accidentally over-corrected by using too much ponzu. We ate the meal but it wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella and a banana.

Lunch: Russian dumplings.

Dinner: "Damsel Pasta." This was almost another fail because the sausage that we were going to use was expired. Thank goodness for a Harris Teeter less than a mile away from the house. The other fail? Zoodles that were very bitter and waterlogged because the zucchini wasn't very fresh.

 Damsel in Dior Pasta over Zoodles

Damsel in Dior Pasta over Zoodles

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch: grain salad bowl with tofu.

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, strawberries, and fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-feb21

Dinner: leftover pasta.

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella and a banana.

Lunch: smoked salmon with boiled baby potatoes.

Dinner: pizza, pasta, and cocktails at WP Kitchen + Bar to celebrate my friend Erin, who was recently named the editor of Carolina Bride

 Calling Dr. Love | A mildly tart and refreshing mix of fresh raspberries, Ban Vodka, St. Germaine and prosecco.

Calling Dr. Love | A mildly tart and refreshing mix of fresh raspberries, Ban Vodka, St. Germaine and prosecco.

 Once Bitten...Twice Shy | A smooth mixture of Maker's Mark, Amareno cherry juice and sweet Vermouth

Once Bitten...Twice Shy | A smooth mixture of Maker's Mark, Amareno cherry juice and sweet Vermouth

 Spaghetti | tomato-basil-garlic sauce, parmesan

Spaghetti | tomato-basil-garlic sauce, parmesan

 

Friday

Breakfast: chocolate yogurt bar. All the Russians in Charlotte (including me) are going nuts over these because they remind us of our childhood snack that is a much sweeter version of what these are.

Brunch: Haberdish to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. It will required a separate post to talk about all the things we ate, but here's a photo I took of our table while standing on a chair to give you a glimpse of the feast.

haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, broccoli, and fruit gummies.

toddler-lunch-feb23

Dinner: all you can eat sushi at Mr. Tokyo. I think this makes it three weeks in a row that we've been there...

mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-1
mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-2
IMG_3602.JPG
mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-4
IMG_3603.JPG
mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-6

 

Saturday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella

Lunch: grain bowl salad and leftovers

Dinner: pork chops with sweet potatoes and slaw. We eat very little pork (outside of BBQ) because I had a very bad experience when I was pregnant. I'll spare you the details but it was enough for me to swear off (non-BBQ) pork for eternity. But my husband asked for pork, and I couldn't think of anything better for dinner, so we had pork. 

I did a quick marinade using brown sugar and soy sauce before Brandon threw the chops on the grill. For sides I made roasted sweet potato spirals and a red cabbage slaw with daikon radish, peach, orange slices, and juice of one lemon.

marinated-grilled-pork-chop
red-cabbage-slaw-daikon-peach-orange

 

Sunday

Breakfast: smoked salmon with boiled baby potatoes.

Lunch: snacks after a 90 minute flow at NoDa Yoga. (More on that in another post!)

Dinner: pre-made pho from Aldi. I wasn't a fan, mainly because it tasted too much like onion. 

 

I enjoyed having to plan a few meals but with plenty of leftovers and will try to do the same for next week. 

What's on your menu next week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 7 | Asian Flavors and Nights Out on the Town

We did a much better job planning this week, finding multiple uses for protein, cooked up a decadent Valentine's Day dinner for the whole family, and enjoyed several meals out -- including date night on Saturday (thanks, mom!).

 

Monday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: Kung Pow noodle bowl from ALDI.

Charlotte's Lunch: I forgot to take a picture so, to be honest with you, I have no clue what I made her.

Dinner: Peruvian style roasted chicken with tangy green sauce and a cucumber avocado salad. This is one of my new favorite recipes for roast chicken that we've been coming back to again and again.

Since there's only three of us, one whole chicken yields multiple meals. One half is always used for roasting while the other half is used for chicken stock. This time I used chicken from the stock to make a second dinner on Tuesday evening, it was already cooked so it only needed to be reheated in the sauce before being served.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: chicken soup with veggies and leftover rice.

Dinner: Butter chicken served over roasted cauliflower. The sauce was delicious but not at all spicy (we're heat seekers!). The meal was toddler approved, Charlotte ate everything on her dinner plate and asked for more. I may throw in some sweet potatoes and peas next time to add a few extra nutrients.

butter-chicken-over-roasted-cauliflower
 Butter Chicken sauce from ALDI

Butter Chicken sauce from ALDI

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese.

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole grain bread, broccoli, clementine, almonds, and dried cherries.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb14

Lunch: Persis Indian Grille lunch buffet for a Valentine's Day date with Brandon.

persis-indian-grille-charlotte-nc-lunch-buffet-1
persis-indian-grille-charlotte-nc-lunch-buffet-2
persis-indian-grille-charlotte-nc-lunch-buffet-3

Dinner: A Valentine's Day feast for four: two whole lobsters (ALDI), two pieces of filet (Earth Fare), roasted asparagus (Costco), sauteed mushroom medley (ALDI), and a chocolate cake for dessert (Earth Fare). Phew! The whole meal (including a bottle of wine) came in under $60.

valentines-day-dinner-at-home

I accidentally broke off the lobsters' claws when taking them out of the package so it looked like we had giant red bugs on our plates.

earth-fare-chocolate-cake

 

Thursday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: tuna salad for me, sandwich for Charlotte.

Family Dinner: Butter chicken leftovers served over rice.

My Dinner: pepperoni pizza from Fuel Pizza delivered via Postmates to NoDa Brewing's Disney Trivia night because it was their largest trivia night ever and it was quicker to order delivery than to stand in line to get Tin Kitchen. Still a little bummed I didn't get my Tin Kitchen fix but it's all good! We made up for it by going to Haberdish for second dinner. I got one chicken tender and the hot side of the day (sauteed potato hash with chorizo, onions, garlic tossed in a creamy smoked tomato dressing topped with fresh herbs). 

 Hop Cakes @ NoDa Brewing

Hop Cakes @ NoDa Brewing

 Sauteed Potato Hash @ Haberdish

Sauteed Potato Hash @ Haberdish

 

Friday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese and Haberdish leftovers.

Lunch: Asian noodle bowl from ALDI.

asian-noodle-bowl-aldi
asian-noodle-bowl-aldi-2

 

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on whole wheat bread, cheese, salami, broccoli, and organic fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb16

Family Dinner: barbacoa tacos with all the fixin's. 

My Dinner: tuna tartare, meat and cheese platter, signature popovers, and several cocktails at BLT Steakhouse. I had the pleasure of tasting new house cocktails and mingling with BLT's marketing and PR team. You can read all about my brunch experience last March by clicking here.

 Tuna Tartare @ BLT Steakhouse

Tuna Tartare @ BLT Steakhouse

 Charcuterie @ BLT Steakhouse

Charcuterie @ BLT Steakhouse

 Signature Popovers @ BLT Steakhouse

Signature Popovers @ BLT Steakhouse

 Monkey Cyborg (Monkey Shoulders Scotch, Cynar, Brown Sugar, Muddled Rosemary, Cranberry Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

Monkey Cyborg (Monkey Shoulders Scotch, Cynar, Brown Sugar, Muddled Rosemary, Cranberry Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

 Peppered Rose (Stoli, Fresh Grapefruit, Lime, Luxardo Crude "Rizzo" Grapefruit & Rosemary Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

Peppered Rose (Stoli, Fresh Grapefruit, Lime, Luxardo Crude "Rizzo" Grapefruit & Rosemary Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

 

Saturday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: barbacoa rice bowls.

Dinner: Mama Ricotta's for datenight with my boo. We ordered a large salad and one entree and it was more than enough food! 

mama-ricottas-charlotte-nc-red-wine
 Tuscan Salad (Romaine, diced Roma tomatoes, house made fresh mozzarella, red onions & Kalamata olives tossed together and splashed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil) @ Mama Ricotta's

Tuscan Salad (Romaine, diced Roma tomatoes, house made fresh mozzarella, red onions & Kalamata olives tossed together and splashed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil) @ Mama Ricotta's

 Pollo Bianco (Scallopini-style chicken layered with prosciutto and mozzarella in a Chianti wild mushroom sauce. Served with today's vegetable and garlic mashed potatoes) @ Mama Ricotta'S

Pollo Bianco (Scallopini-style chicken layered with prosciutto and mozzarella in a Chianti wild mushroom sauce. Served with today's vegetable and garlic mashed potatoes) @ Mama Ricotta'S

 

Sunday

Breakfast: omelet with a side of fresh fruit.

Lunch: barbacoa rice bowls.

Dinner: hot dogs, fries, pop corn, and pretzels at the Charlotte Checkers game.

Dinner #2: hockey and ice skating after the game made us crave Russian dumplings and salad so that's exactly what we ate... while watching the Winter Olympics. The perfect meal to end an amazing weekend!

Brandon is traveling next week and my work to-do list is long so the menu for next week is a bit simpler and leans heavily on meals that make great leftovers.

What's on the menu at your house this week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 6 | Menu Tastings and Lots of Asian Flavors

I should have known better than to save meal prep for Sunday, the same Sunday as the Super Bowl, because it didn't get done. Other things that didn't get done this week: preparing the meals in time for me to enjoy them before rushing out the door for evening events. I ate a lot of late meals, snacks for meals, or no meals at all. I also didn't get to the gym until Friday so I was an anxious mess.

Here's what we ate this week:

Monday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: Trader Joe's chicken and dill pelmeni.

Charlotte's Lunch: whole grain Nutella cats, cheese, carrots, pepperoni, and almonds with crasins.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb5

Dinner: a one-sheet-pan-meal of salmon, fingerling potatoes, and steamed kale inspired by this Blue Apron recipe. I have really bad luck with topping the salmon with anything before putting it in the oven so we went the simple route of salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Dinner #2 (because one is never enough!): RuSan's with my dear friend for sushi and sake. I ordered the All About Tuna roll (spicy tuna, apple, carrot, topped with tuna, jalapeno candy, and eel sauce), the Lemon Salmon roll (tempura kale, cucumber, topped with salmon and lemon slices, drizzled with spicy guacamole sauce), and two pieces of salmon sashimi.

 All About Tuna Roll

All About Tuna Roll

 Lemon Salmon Roll

Lemon Salmon Roll

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: ham sandwich for Charlotte, bowl of popcorn for me.

Dinner: orange soy glazed meatballs with bok choy, carrots, and rice, inspired by this Blue Apron recipe. I also good shishito peppers (I'm obsessed!) for an appetizer with a creme fresh, lemon, and soy dipping sauce.

 Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers

 Orange Soy Meatballs + Sycamore Brewing Mountain Candy IPA

Orange Soy Meatballs + Sycamore Brewing Mountain Candy IPA

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese. 

Lunch: string cheese and a box of Valentine's Day chocolates followed by Trader Joe's burrata, prosciutto, and arugula flat bread around 3 o'clock.

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, carrots, and fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb7

Dinner: roasted chicken breast and vegetables for the fam, granola bar for me. 🤷‍♀️

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: ham sandwich for the kid, random snack food for me.

Dinner: leftovers for the fam, blogger tasting event at Kid Cashew for me. 

 Crab Cakes | Kid Cashew

Crab Cakes | Kid Cashew

 

Friday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: All you can eat sushi lunch at Mr. Tokyo to celebrate Brandon passing his PMP exam. 

 Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad

 Tiger Roll - Spicy tuna crunch and mango in the outside, tuna and salmon on the outside, topped with crunch and masago.

Tiger Roll - Spicy tuna crunch and mango in the outside, tuna and salmon on the outside, topped with crunch and masago.

 Phoenix Roll, Tiger Roll, Eel Roll, Tuna Roll, Spicy Salmon Hand Roll

Phoenix Roll, Tiger Roll, Eel Roll, Tuna Roll, Spicy Salmon Hand Roll

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole grain, cheese, pickles, fruit gummies, and ham.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb9

Dinner: Nobody was hungry for dinner after the lunch that we had.

 

Saturday

Breakfast: French Toast with topped with assorted berries and sweetened condensed milk.

french-toast-berries

Lunch: another celebratory lunch, but this time prepared at home. For starters we had a strawberry mint Old Fashioned and caprese salad. For the main course we had t-bone steaks served with small potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and garlic parsley butter. It was delicious!

strawberry-mint-old-fashioned

Dinner: pizza from Blaze Pizza because nobody wanted to cook and clean up after a third meal. We ordered a simple pie (sauce and cheese) for the kid and split a build-your-own between the two of us. It was delicious and a perfect end to an awesome food day.

baby-eats-blaze-pizza
blaze-pizza-build-your-own

 

Sunday

Breakfast: leftover French Toast.

Lunch: delicious brunch at a friend's house.

Dinner: leftovers.

 

We had a delicious week, save for a few skipped or snack meals. We definitely spent more time in the kitchen and it felt good to try new things. The orange soy glazed meatball dish was superb and has been added into rotation. We have an event every evening next week (except for Monday) and we have adjusted the meal planning accordingly: making larger portions so that there's plenty of leftovers and meals with minimal hands on time.

What's on the menu at your house this week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 5 | Feeling Burned Out and New Local Eats

This week I burned out and hit a wall after working long hours. We made it through the first three days of the week before giving up the meal plan and giving in to eating out. Throw in a weekend of activities and the Super Bowl and the week of planned meals was a wash. Life happens and there are worse areas of life to get off track. Am I right?! 

Here's how our week panned out:

Monday

Breakfast: pancakes

Lunch: grain bowl salad. This week I switched from kale to arugula to keep things fresh. 

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole grain, cheese, carrots, ham, and almonds.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-jan29

Dinner: leftover beef stew and grilled romaine lettuce salad.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: pancakes.

Lunch: whole wheat chicken nuggets with a side of garlic french fries

Dinner: pan seared scallops over a bed of quinoa and arugula with a side of parsnips.

scallops-quinoa-arugula

 

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: pancakes. 

Lunch: grain bowl salad 

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on wheat bread, cheese, carrots, almonds and fruit gummies.

bento-box-toddler-lunch-jan31

Dinner: Marcella Hazan's Bolognese. SO GOOD. Served on snowflake shaped pasta, per the toddler's request.

bolognese-sauce-on-snowflake-pasta-from-trader-joes

 

Thursday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch: leftover bolognese

Dinner: we were craving Chinese food so I found a new spot in the University area called Inchin's Bamboo Garden. It's a franchise/chain and it was only their fourth day being open. The food is good but a little expensive for the area, which is okay because we lack "upscale" restaurants near us. It was clean and the service was good. I'm going to wait a little to give them another try, they need to work a little bit on developing and deepening the flavor profiles of their dishes. 

Here's what we ate: wonton soup, beef hot garlic, and fish creamy chili oil.

 wonton soup

wonton soup

 beef hot garlic

beef hot garlic

 fish creamy chili oil

fish creamy chili oil

 

Friday

Breakfast: breakfast tacos from Babalu at Creative Mornings.

Lunch: Five Guys at the mall food court. Don't judge.

five-guys-burger

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole grain, cheese, carrots, almonds, and apple slices.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb2

Dinner: Hot wings and potato skins at Three Monkey's, our favorite neighborhood bar. What?! We're working on our Super Bowl bodies. ;)

three-monkeys-harrisburg-nc-potato-skins
three-monkeys-harrisburg-nc-hot-wings

 

Saturday

Breakfast: Bojangle's.

Lunch: lots of delicious bites at a friend's baby shower.

Dinner: homemade fajitas.

 

Sunday

Breakfast: bagels

Lunch: The Dumpling Lady's dumplings and noodles. 

dumpling-lady-charlotte-nc-catawba-brewing

Dinner: Super Bowl grub at two different parties. #mypantsdontfit

 

We're not on any specific (restriction) diet but after this week we may need to do a hard reset to get back into a healthier eating groove.

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 4 | Haberdish and Chopt

We started this week strong: a large batch of pancakes to get us through several mornings and meals with tons of flavor. Then everything came to a halt on Wednesday when I woke up with my left eye swollen shut. Turns out being sick for two months straight can cause your eyes to get "sick" too. Thankfully, some of the meals earlier in the week yielded enough leftovers to sustain us till the end.

 Barrel Aged Black Manhattan | Haberdish

Barrel Aged Black Manhattan | Haberdish

 

Monday

Breakfast: pancakes

Lunch: Chick-fil-a. Don't judge.

Charlotte's Lunch: the usual suspects... almond butter sandwich on whole grain, cheese, carrots, apples, and fruit gummies.

toddler-lunch-2018-01-29

 

Dinner: Martha Stewart's Arroz con Pollo. This is one of my favorite recipes that I make over and over again. Sadly, I didn't get to eat it because it wasn't ready before I had to leave. I had to rush to get to Hygge for a Skillpop class. That salad I didn't eat after yoga came in handy.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: pancakes.

Lunch: Arroz con Pollo.

Dinner: black pepper beef with bok choy on jasmine rice. We would eat this dish weekly if it was up to my husband.

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: pancakes. 

Lunch: grain salad 

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on wheat, cheese, carrots, almonds and crasins.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-2018-01-30

Dinner: an easy pasta sauce I call "Damsel Pasta" because I was introduced to it by Jacey of Damsel in Dior. I love this dish because it easy, flavorful, and we almost always have the ingredients on hand to make it.

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with various nut butters.

Lunch: ham sandwich.

Dinner: leftovers

 

Friday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with various nut butters.

Lunch: Trader Joe's Butter Chicken from the freezer section. It had the perfect amount of spice but not enough rice. Definitely inspired me to make it from scratch in the near future!

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole grain, cheese, carrots, fruit gummies, and ham.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-2018-01-26

 

Dinner: Haberdish. I love Haberdish. I could eat there every week and not tire of it.

 Hushpuppies

Hushpuppies

 Okra, Fried Chicken, Trout, Mac & Cheese

Okra, Fried Chicken, Trout, Mac & Cheese

 

Saturday

Breakfast: cereal and Eggo waffles.

Lunch: Chopt! Because I haven't had enough salad for the week. :)

The current destination salads are inspired by Vietnam so obviously I had to try them (hashtag I'm a Pho addict)! I tried the Vietnamese Meatball Noodle Bowl and it was delish. Husband went with the Mexicali salad and the kid devoured the Mexican Chicken Soup. 

 VIETNAMESE MEATBALL NOODLE BOWL: Warm lemongrass turkey meatballs, chilled rice noodles, pickled hearts of palm, English cucumbers, crispy shallots, cabbage & herb blend, SPICY TAMARIND VINAIGRETTE, A DRIZZLE OF SRIRACHA, and A WEDGE OF LIME. | c/o CHOPT

VIETNAMESE MEATBALL NOODLE BOWL: Warm lemongrass turkey meatballs, chilled rice noodles, pickled hearts of palm, English cucumbers, crispy shallots, cabbage & herb blend, SPICY TAMARIND VINAIGRETTE, A DRIZZLE OF SRIRACHA, and A WEDGE OF LIME. | c/o CHOPT

 Mexican Chicken Soup | c/o Chopt

Mexican Chicken Soup | c/o Chopt

Dinner: leftovers and Trader Joe's chicken and dill pelmeni.

 

Sunday

Breakfast: made another huge batch of protein packed pancakes that will last us a couple of days.

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: giant batch of "clean out the fridge, freezer, and pantry" beef stew. Yum!

 

I've been getting into a routine of completing all of our meal planning and shopping by Friday so that the weekend can be reserved for prepping and relaxing. I'll let you know if that makes life easier and less stressful or it turns into a chore with a self imposed deadline that will be difficult to keep up with... like blogging about what we eat on a weekly basis. ;)

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 3 | Snow Day and All-You-Can-Eat Sushi

This week our meal plan was derailed a bit because of the snow "storm" that hit our area on Wednesday. And when I say derail, I mean we got cabin fever after being "stuck" at home for only one day. Nevertheless, we managed to cook all the meals we planned on cooking so this week was still a win.

harrisburg-nc-snow-january-2018

 

Monday

Breakfast: whole grain Eggos with Nutella. 

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: Barbacoa chicken breast in the slowcooker. I used our favorite recipe that calls for beef but it worked great with chicken. It was a good way to clear out our freezer and use up leftover chipotle peppers in adobe from last week's Barbacoa tacos dinner.

barbacoa-slow-cooker-chicken-breast

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggos. Are you sensing a pattern here?

Lunch: leftovers from Monday's dinner.

Charlotte's lunch: a paired down version of her school lunch. She wasn't feeling well and asked for a "cat sandwich with almond butter" and I obliged. She didn't even touch it.

toddler-lunch-cat-sandwich-ikea-plate

Dinner: Marcella Hazan's Bolognese. It was my first time making bolognese sauce and it was amazing and has earned a permanent spot on our meal plan. 

I didn't have time to eat at home because I had a networking event so I ate a poke bowl at Poke Cafe instead.

 Sushi rice base with ahi tuna and salmon tossed in spicy rayu sauce topped with edamame, scallion, jalapeno, masago, radish, and tempura crunch.

Sushi rice base with ahi tuna and salmon tossed in spicy rayu sauce topped with edamame, scallion, jalapeno, masago, radish, and tempura crunch.

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: leftover bolognese with noodles.

Dinner: NY strip with mashed potatoes and green beans. It was snowing when Brandon was grilling the steaks outside. File this under things we never thought we'd do in the south.

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggos with various nut butters.

Lunch: leftover bolognese with noodles.

Dinner: Domino's pizza and red wine with friends.

 

Friday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: grilled cheese and spicy tomato soup from Sunflour Baking Company. Hashtag delicious.

sunflour-bakery-harrisburg-nc-grilled-cheese-spicy-tomato-soup-lunch

Dinner: all-you-can-eat sushi at Mr. Tokyo. Spent $22 on three premium rolls, a hand roll, four pieces of sashimi, a yellowtail appetizer, and BBQ squid. I had to be rolled out in a barrel. You can read all about it here.

all-you-can-eat-sushi-north-charlotte-nc-mr-tokyo

 

Saturday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese and a pistachio rosewater latte with oat milk from Trade and Lore enjoyed by me while trying to cram one week's worth of work into two hours. Cereal for the husband and kid.

pistachio-rosewater-latte-oak-milk-trade-and-lore-noda-charlotte-nc

Lunch: Trader Joe's chicken and dill pelmeni for me, pasta leftovers for Charlotte. Mr. K's for the husband.

Dinner: a pretzel with beer cheese from Dilworth Grille paired with a Juicy Jay IPA for a pre-dinner snack followed by dinner with the fam at Harrisburg Family Restaurant.

beer-cheese-pretzel-dilworth-grille-charlotte-nc

 

Sunday

Breakfast: a huge batch of protein packed pancakes that will last us a couple of days.

Lunch: A little bacon burger from Five Guys for me (I had a meeting in SouthEnd and didn't have time to eat at home), Hawthorne Pizza for the fam and in-laws.

Dinner: loaded baked potatoes and grilled Caesar salad. 

 

I feel like we ate out a lot this week and I hope to curb that next week, which is shaping up to be pretty busy. Our meal plan reflects our busy schedule with easy to manage meals that yield plenty of leftovers. Here's to hoping that we won't have any more cancelled school or crazy weather giving us have cabin fever!

I'm also researching food photography gear to improve the photos that I post for our weekly updates. I have the camera and the lenses but it's the lighting that I find challenging, especially since it gets dark so early during the winter.

What are you favorite lighting tools for food blogging?

 

This Week's Eats: Week 2 | Pivot!

The second week of January felt much busier than the first so I was extra thankful for having planned out our weekly dinners. Our original plan was to plan and prep on Sunday evening but we decided to invite friends over for dinner to watch the Panthers game so we had to pivot.

pivot-friends-gif

We were originally going to make fajitas but I did not want to stand at the stove for an hour while everyone else had fun. Thankfully, we have a Harris Teeter next door so I picked up a larger piece of beef and pivoted to Chipotle Barbacoa slow cooker tacos. It's one of my favorite things to make because it's super flavorful and only requires 20-30 minutes of hands on time. Less hands on means more time for margaritas! (And sadly more time to watch the Panthers lose in the playoffs.)

chiptole-barbacoa-tacos

 

Monday

Breakfast: whole grain Eggos with Nutella. 

Lunch: spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a (because we didn't meal prep the night before and I didn't want to skip yoga in the morning to do it).

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole wheat bread, cheese, baby carrots, strawberries, almonds and crasins.

clm-toddler-bento-box-lunch-jan-8

Dinner: oven roasted salmon, sauteed spinach, and rice. Everything but the rice came out of the freezer. It was quick and easy and allowed me to have time to plan and prep for the rest of the week.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: whole grain Eggos with Nutella.

Lunch: organic whole grain chicken nuggets and sweet potato tater tots.

Dinner: black pepper beef with bok choy on jasmine rice. This dish is in heavy rotation in our house right now. It's so good!

black-pepper-beef-with-bok-choy-blue-apron

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: banana and a granola bar for me, Cheerios for the husband and kid.

Lunch: grain salad bowl that I devoured in the car between yoga and picking up Charlotte from school.

Israeli cous cous, oven roasted chicken breast seasoned with Trader Joe's 21 Spice Salute, kale, crasins, diced apples, chopped almonds, kale, feta crumbles, and Green Goddess dressing from Trader Joe's. 

grain-bowl-salad-trader-joes-aldi

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole wheat bread, cheese, apple slices, organic gummy fruit snack, almonds and crasins.

toddler-lunch-bento-box-jan-10

Dinner:  slow cooker "clean out the veggie drawer, freezer, and pantry" beef stew. 

clean-out-fridge-stew

After Dinner: book club grub highlights included freshly baked bread with butter and jam, meat and cheese with crackers, and monkey bread (that my friend Ashley made) that was the perfect sweet ending to the day. 

monkey-bread

 

Thursday

Breakfast: whole grain Eggos (do you sense a pattern here?) with almond butter.

Lunch: grain salad bowl for me, quesadilla for the kid.

Israeli cous cous, oven roasted chicken breast seasoned with Trader Joe's 21 Spice Salute, kale, crasins, diced apples, strawberries, chopped walnuts, kale, feta crumbles, and Green Goddess dressing from Trader Joe's. 

thursday-grain-salad

Dinner: leftovers for the fam, noms at Yafo Kitchen for me at a blogger event.

We were treated to beet hummus, Brussels sprouts, and pickled vegetables at Yafo. I also ate my weight in laffah and washed it all down with a cucumber, lime, mint, and prosecco cocktail.

shannons-quinoa-salad-yafo-charlotte

 

Friday

Breakfast: my breakfast consisted of a meat stick snack from Trader Joe's and a vanilla soy latte from Starbucks. 

Lunch: free pie from Blaze Pizza. I don't typically stand in line for free food but I just happened to be next door, I was hungry, and I've been wanting to try Blaze for months. Kind of worked out perfectly. The pizza was delicious and I appreciate the fact that you can put as many toppings as you want without paying extra.

The toppings I chose were fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage, salame, spinach, onions, roasted red peppers, and balsamic glaze. 

blaze-pizza-concord

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole wheat bread, cheese, apple slices, cucumber, organic gummy fruit snack.

toddler-lunch-bento-box-jan-12

Dinner: Caribbean food catered for my dear friend's birthday party. We had jerk wings, mac and cheese, corn, and black beans. 

 

Saturday

Breakfast: vanilla soy latte and a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks for me, cereal and birthday cupcakes for Charlotte.

birthday-cupcakes-fairy-cats

Lunch: sopa de pollo for mom and a half chicken with quinoa salad and plantains for me from Viva Chicken.

viva-chicken-half-chicken-quinoa-salad-plantains-sopa-de-pollo

Dinner: a beautiful and delicious Cuban spread at my lovely friend's birthday party. Not pictured below: yummy sangria and a tres leches birthday cake!

cuban-birthday-dinner-spread
cuban-birthday-party-dinner-plate

 

Sunday

Breakfast: banana for me, breakfast quesadilla and eggs for the husband and kid. 

Brunch: I had the pleasure of trying out Legion Brewing's brunch with beer pairings. It was delicious and you can read all about it here. For now, here's a picture of the Maple Canyon Waffle.

So. Good.

maple-canyon-waffle-legion-brewing-brunch

Lunch: Brandon and Charlotte ran some errands while I was at brunch and landed at Culver's for lunch. 

Dinner: shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta.

shrimp-scampi-nytimes

 

We did a great job sticking to the dinner plan this week, especially with a week filled with evening events and a weekend packed with birthday celebrations. Next week I only have one evening event and our weekend is free. We have a lot of chicken and pasta dishes on deck so we'll see how well we stick to the plan!

 

What was on your menus this week?