This Week's Eats: Week 7

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

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

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.

 

 

Mr. Tokyo: All You Can Eat Sushi

When you boast on Twitter about getting all of your meal planning complete and groceries purchased and a friend asks if you want to go to dinner you obviously say YES! This is exactly what happened a few Fridays ago when my friend Joey suggested we go out for sushi.

We both live on the outskirts of Charlotte where sushi options are slim. You have the usual suspects with "fusion" menus where a restaurant crams as many Asian flavors on the menu as possible, instead of focusing on one or two regions, and it tastes...Americanized. They try to be too many things to too many people at the lowest price possible. This is not how we like our sushi and why, when the craving hits, we head into town to get our fix.

Having said all that, our side of town is growing. New shopping centers bring new restaurants, some new and some existing concepts that work in other parts of town. One one of those restaurants is Mr. Tokyo. The original location is in south Charlotte and has a great reputation for quality sushi so when they opened another location on our side of town I knew we were in trouble. And by trouble I mean having to wear non-elastic pants to eat there.

There are two dinning options: all you can eat sushi and hibachi or ordering off of their standard menu.

Obviously we chose the all you can eat option. I typically eat $30-50 worth of sushi in one sitting so paying $18.99 (plus a little extra for the few "premium items") is totally doable.

Gluttons beware! They will charge you $0.50-$1.00 for leftover sushi to curb over ordering. Better to under order and order more, than over order and pay more.

Here's everything that I ate:

Yellowtail Jalapeno

Yellowtail Jalapeno

Tiger Roll | Spicy Tuna, crunch, mango with tuna, salmon, crunch, masago on top Dragon Roll | Eel, cucumber, crabmeat with sliced avocado on top, eel sauce Spicy Tuna Hand Roll

Tiger Roll | Spicy Tuna, crunch, mango with tuna, salmon, crunch, masago on top

Dragon Roll | Eel, cucumber, crabmeat with sliced avocado on top, eel sauce

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll

Sashimi | salmon & octopus

Sashimi | salmon & octopus

The octopus sashimi was the only disappointing thing that evening. 

Samurai Roll | Spicy salmon, crunch, mango with salmon, avocado, coconut chips on top

Samurai Roll | Spicy salmon, crunch, mango with salmon, avocado, coconut chips on top

The texture of the coconut chips threw me off a bit, however, I did enjoy their flavor on the roll.

BBQ Squid

BBQ Squid

Needless to say, Joey and I sat and talked for about an hour after devouring dinner because we couldn't move. 

I'm excited to have something on our side of town that's delicious and has a great reputation. Can't wait to try the rest of their menu!

 

Where: 10012 Benfield Rd, Ste 300, Charlotte, NC 28269

 

Have you been to Mr. Tokyo? What's your favorite sushi roll there?

 

This Week's Eats: Week 4

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

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. 

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?

 

Legion Brewing's Brunch and Brews

My list of favorite Charlotte breweries is as short as my criteria and Legion Brewing in Plaza Midwood makes the cut. They have a great selection of different types of beer (not just one or two decent brews), great atmosphere, and easy access to delicious food. 

This past Sunday I was invited to try out Legion's brunch menu and it did not disappoint! I was the first to arrive and was greeted with a Beermosa and a pretty tablescape. 

legion-brewing-brunch-and-brews-tablescape

First Course

Mixed Berry Parfait: Greek yogurt, fresh mixed berries, and housemade honey almond granola. Paired with Grambo, a Graham Cracker Amber.

legion-brewing-brunch-and-brews-parfait-graham-cracker-amber-beer

Second Course

Breakfast Slider: bacon, cage free egg, cheddar, tomato, and black pepper aioli. Paired with Carolina Sparkle Party, a Berliner Weisse dressed with blueberry lavender simple syrup.

legion-brewing-brunch-and-brews-breakfast-slider
legion-brewing-brunch-and-brews-carolina-sparkle-party

Third Course

Southwest Grit Bowl: chorizo, cage free egg, cheddar cheese, housemade salsa, fresh jalapeno slices, topped with avocado. Paired with my favorite Legion brew: Juicy Jay, an East Coast IPA.

legion-brewing-brunch-and-brews-southwest-grit-bowl

This was my favorite course because it was savory yet light. I also loved that there was plenty of spice from the chorizo and the fresh jalapenos. 

Fourth Course

Maple Canyon Waffle: Belgian waffle, Maple Canyon chocolate reduction, housemade chantilly cream, and maple candied bacon. Paired with Maple Canyon, a maple syrup brown ale.

legion-brewing-brunch-and-brews-maple-canyon-waffle

To say I was full would be an understatement. My favorite part about brunch was the liberal use of bacon and the variety achieved with a carefully edited brunch menu.

 

Bloggers doing blogger things.

Bloggers doing blogger things.

After brunch we were given a private tour of the brewery, got to ask questions about their processes, and get as many scoops as we could on their newest location in SouthPark. Can't wait to see the new space in late summer/early fall!

legion-brewing-brunch-and-brews-new-southpark-location-scoop

Brunch is served from 10am till 2pm every Sunday.

Have you tried brunch at Legion Brewing?

 

This Week's Eats: Week 2

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. 

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

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

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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. 

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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.

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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?

This Week's Eats: an Intro

taking a bite out of meal planning

taking a bite out of meal planning

One of my goals this year is to be more mindful of what we eat, to spend less on food, and to reduce our food waste. "How?" You ask? By planning ahead and sticking to it, focusing on using everything in our overstuffed freezers and pantry, and meal prepping on the weekends.

We've been dabbling in weekly meal planning for the last few months but haven't done a great job at sticking to the plans. May be it's because I was in a cooking rut. May be the plan wasn't flexible enough. Or I've been sick. Or life just happened and we were too spent to deal with cooking.

So, with our goals and past failures in mind, here's how we're going to stay accountable: by sharing what we eat on a weekly basis. I hope this inspires you to try meal planning and prepping, reducing waste in the kitchen, and may be saving a bit on your groceries!

 

A little bit about our grocery shopping habits:

We do most of our grocery shopping at Aldi and supplement our grocery list with trips to Trader Joe's, Harris Teeter, and Earth Fare. I tried couponing a few years ago and it turned out to be a total time suck. If anything, we ended up spending more because we had to purchase multiple quantities or we bought things we didn't really need. Also, most of the items we buy are fresh (outside aisles) or private label and there are hardly any coupons available for those items. We try to buy animal proteins that are natural or organic as much as we can so the plan is based mainly on available deals/discounts that week. 

Our weekly menus are toddler friendly and dinners yield at least one leftover lunch.

Click here for a look at the second week of 2018 and let me know what you think!

 

Do you meal plan? What are you favorite go-to receipes? 

 

 

 

 

A Look Back on 2017

As I alluded in a previous post, the last six weeks of 2017 were a total blur. Between the death of my father in early December and being really really sick, calling 2017 a bust was an easy way to throw in the towel on summing up the entire year. But even though there were some really low lows, there was an equal amount of highs.

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I knew 2017 was not going to be easy. Adjusting my mindset from feeling victimized by circumstance to focusing on the lesson to learn was key. Practicing gratitude and finding positive in the negative was what helped me change my mindset when things got tough.

 

Travel

Travel played a huge role this year. I got on airplane for the first time in three years. I know air travel can be a pain these days but even so I still find the "romance" in it. 

The first trip of the year was to surprise my friend Katy for her 30th birthday in NYC. I feel like we ate the entire city in under 48 hours. I'd like a repeat, please and thank you!

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Our second big trip was to California to visit family and it was Charlotte's first time flying. Talk about a magical experience, minus the part where we had to carry a 30 pound car seat through the airport.

The Bay Area, just like New York City, is my happy place and feels like home for so many reasons. 

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toddlers-first-in-and-out-burger
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clm-in-santa-cruz

The last big trip of the year was to NYC to see my dearest friend get married. There were so many moments when we thought we wouldn't be able to make it but all the stars aligned in the nick of time. I'm beyond grateful that I got to witness their exchange of vows and for my husband who came prepared with a pack of tissues.

So. Many. (Happy). Tears.

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km-bm-nyc-wedding

We've also taken several smaller, but still memorable, trips by car around North Carolina: Southport for a wedding in January, several trips to Raleigh to see the family, West Jefferson to float down the New River in July, Brevard for Brandon's best friend's wedding in August, a handful of day trips to Asheville, and to Emerald Isle for our annual family beach vacation in September.

 

Celebrations

We love nothing more than to throw a party and to host friends and family at our house. This year was no different. From birthday parties to holidays to impromptu get togethers we honed our hosting skills and streamlined our processes. Pretty sure I have a future in event planning if this whole marketing consultant thing doesn't work out.

CLMs-second-birthday-party

 

Professional

Professional growth was a big priority for me in 2017 and even more so this year. I worked on restructuring and re-branding my business and can't wait to re-launch in the first quarter of this year. Until then shoot me an email if you need digital marketing help!

This year I joined the board of the local chapter of American Marketing Association as the Director of Social Media. I've been part of the organization for years and it feels good to be back on board and to continue to spread our message. 

I also focused more on this blog with partnerships, sponsored content, and joining affiliate networks. I find this space to be a great creative outlet and hope to continue to grow it.

There's a lot of things that has been happening behind the scenes that I can't wait to show you guys!

Quiet but not gone.

 

Health

sick

My immune system got a beating the moment Charlotte started pre-school in the fall and peaked at the end of the year with a full on knock down.

Spoiler alert: I lost.

Having said that, I've started eating a bit healthier and have become more mindful of what I put in and on my body. I've also taken up yoga for the nth time and finally sticking to it after 11 years of trying and failing.

 

Life, Love, Family, and Friends

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2017 marked ten years of Brandon and I dating. I still pinch myself that I get to wake up next to the man on my dreams, my rock, my love, and my best friend.

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I also can't believe we created the brightest little light. Charlotte started pre-school this year and she's thriving. She's soaking up information like a sponge and her personality is ever growing and evolving. 

girls-at-the-beach

I'm grateful for my mother and her selfless love. I have so much left to learn.

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And this entire crew. It really does take a village and I'm glad I'm part of this one.

Speaking of family, I'm grateful for our "extended family" of friends, I love seeing our kids grow up together and be friends, too. I'm also grateful for Twitter for bringing so many amazing people into my life over the years and the beautiful friendships that have formed offline. 

 

Grateful

I'm grateful for everything that happened in 2017, good and bad. There were many uncomfortable, difficult, and heartbreaking moments, but without them there would be no growth. There were also many beautiful and happy moments and I hope for more of those in 2018. 

Cheers!