Soul Food Sessions Tour | Seared Scallops with Purple Carrot Chutney

There are a few things that I find intimidating when it comes to cooking and chutney is one of those things. I'm not sure why I've shied away from making it. It could be that it sounds complex and I thought it was difficult to make. Or may be it's because it feels like something from far away lands where I have yet to travel to and I have nothing to compare it to to ensure that I made it correctly. 

Those fears were put aside when I got the chance to re-create Chef Greg William's, of the What the Fries CLT food truck fame, Seared Scallops with Purple Carrot Chutney recipe. 

Turns out chutney doesn't have to be complicated or inaccessible. If you love balsamic vinegar and scallops, this recipe is for you!

 

Soul-Food-Sessions-Tour-Seared-Scallops-with-Purple-Carrot-Chutney-coca-cola-zero-sugar

 

This delicious appetizer pairs perfectly with a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, which brings out the richness of the scallops combined with the boastful flavors of ginger and garlic in the chutney. This dish will also be served as part of a multi-course dinner on the first tour stop of the Soul Food Sessions tour at Free Range Brewing on June 19th

 

What is soul food?

Most people think of soul food as fried chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, and watermelon. But it's so much more than that. According to Chef Jamie Barnes, "Soul food is whatever you cook from the heart, from your soul."

I couldn't agree more.


 

What is Soul Food Sessions?

Soul Food Sessions is a nonprofit organization that started in 2017 to break stereotypes and enhance opportunities for African American chefs. Their pop-up dining experiences aim to foster open conversation about challenges in achieving equal opportunity in the food industry while showcasing the chefs' diverse culinary talents. 

Coca-Cola Consolidated has partnered with Soul Food Sessions for an east coast dinner tour to help with their mission to increase diversity in the culinary industry. The Table is Set: A Four-City Tour Served with a Coke will begin in the organization's hometown of Charlotte on June 19th and continue on to Washington D.C. on July 26, Baltimore on July 29, and Charleston in late October. No two stops will be the same! Soul Food Sessions has partnered with an African American chef in each market to develop the menu, host the event, and lead the conversation.

But the partnership does not end there! Soul Food Sessions will grant a minimum of $10,000 in scholarships to culinary students across all four markets.

Full press release can be found here.

 

Tickets

Tickets for the June 19th dinner can be purchased here. There are only 100 tickets available for this event so don't delay, get yours today! 

 

Soul-Food-Sessions-Tour-Seared-Scallops-with-Purple-Carrot-Chutney-coca-cola-zero-sugar-charlotte-nc

 

Recipes:

Seared Scallops with Purple Carrot Chutney

Potato Leek Soup

Balsamic Vinaigrette

 

Thank you to Coca-Cola Consolidated for sponsoring the tour, the scholarship, and this post.

This Week's Eats: Week 22 | Getting off Track

It's only natural to get off track a week after getting back on. Our usual flow and rhythm were interrupted as we entered the summer season. This was a short "work" week that felt really really long: Charlotte is officially on summer break, it rained almost everyday, I had several evening events, and the weekend was spent celebrating my birthday.

I always say that what's important always gets done and what doesn't wasn't that important to begin with. You will also always find a way to get those important things done. The toddler was super antsy because school was out and the playgrounds were wet so what did I do? I bought her an indoor trampoline. It's the best $60 I've spent in a while. She got her wiggles out and I got to get some work done. A win-win for all.

I also didn't keep track of our meals in the same way I've done in the past. We smoked a pork shoulder on Monday and we ate off of it all week. All other meals, like breakfast and lunch, were our usual go-to's: Eggo waffles, sandwiches, salads, etc.

On Tuesday I went to a new menu tasting at Upstream. It was amazing. I haven't been blown away by a meal like that in a long time. A full post on the experience is coming soon. Until then, I leave you with a picture of Chef Kato's house made tofu. This smooth, custard like, tofu is served with pickled shimeji mushrooms, ikura, and fried ginger.

tofu-custard-upstream-charlotte-nc-chef-kato

 

After dinner we made a pit stop at Amelie's because I was exhausted and need a shot of espresso and it's a crime to go in there and not get a pastry.

amelies-myers-park-charlotte-nc-coffee-fruit-tart

 

Their fruit tarts remind me of the ones my mom and I used to make when I was younger so I let nostalgia guide my taste buds.

 

Wednesday evening mom treated us to dinner at Deejai Thai. Their food is great and I love that they deliver when you ask them to make your food extra spicy. We both ordered the Pad Thai and Charlotte ordered the Bahn Mi sandwich. 

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IMG_2448.JPG
deejai-thai-noda-charlotte-nc-toddler-love-bahn-mi

The meal ended on a sweet note with a dessert "pancake" with banana, ice cream, and condensed milk. 

deejai-thai-noda-charlotte-nc-dessert-pancake-ice-cream

 

Then the next day I made a bad meal choice at lunch. We were out running errands and instead of making "one more" stop for lunch we should have just gone home. Charlotte and I found ourselves at Ishi's in University. This restaurant was a staple during my time at UNC Charlotte and was an occasional dinner spot for us after graduation. Sadly, the quality has declined over the years. The food didn't make me sick but it did slow me down the rest of the day. 

Quality matters. What you put in your body matters and I'm slowly beginning to learn to say no to things that are sub-par

Friday evening I got all dressed up and joined my girlfriends at Charlotte Magazine's BOB Awards. Several of my favorite restaurant, and 2018 Best of the Best winners, were on hand feeding the guests. I ate my body weight in Sea Level oysters and Mama Ricotta's caprese salad. Then I made the mistake of eating my body's weight in Your Mom's Doughnuts. They were glazed with fresh strawberry jam and I'm only a little sorry.

The party was a great way to kick off my birthday week and month.

You can read all about my birthday weekend here. We ate, we drank, we rode public transportation, and then I enjoyed my first visit to the Ritz Carlton spa.

 Cheers to another delicious week!

 

This posts contains affiliate links.

 

This Week's Eats: Week 21 | Getting Back on Track

Spring was a hectic time for us filled with travel, busy calendars, and falling off of the meal planning wagon. It doesn't look like summer will be any less busy but our waistlines and wallets are begging us to get back on track.

And that's what we've done this week. 

We returned from a beach trip on Sunday with a meal plan and a pit stop at my favorite international grocery store and Aldi

Sunday evening I made my favorite two pan dinner from one of my favorite books, Dinner: Changing the Game, by Melissa Clark. I love her philosophy on cooking dinner because it is similar to mine: changing one's mindset from a protein and two sides to putting together meals from a variety of small dishes to create a meal. Her recipes are easy to adapt and to mold into something of your own. It's a beautiful book and I can't recommend it enough. Huge thanks to Heather for recommending it!

dinner-changing-the-game-page-131-spicy-roasted-shrimp-with-eggplant-and-mint

Our Sunday supper was spicy roasted shrimp with eggplant and mint (page 131 for those of you who have the book), a meal I've made several times, a meal I have adjusted accordingly because I thought we had harissa in our pantry but it turned out that we had piri piri type spice instead and that's what I've been using since the first time I've made this dish. It's a satisfying dish that we serve over rice to ensure a) that we have leftovers and b) that our toddler eats something, anything, for dinner. 

 

Monday

Breakfast: cereal for the kid and husband, a Clio yogurt bar to get me through the first hour of the day and coffee. For second breakfast I made a pimento grilled cheese with ham before running out the door to my gentle yoga class.

Lunch: chicken and dill dumplings from Trader Joe's with a Russian style side salad consisting of Persian cucumber, tomatoes, green onion, dill, and sour cream as the dressing.  

trader-joes-chicken-and-dill-pelmeni-dumplings

I promise there's dumplings under all that dill and green onion!

Charlotte's Lunch: this was the last lunch of the school year and, I'll be honest with you guys, I've been slacking on the creativity front. I've been feeding her the same thing for the past couple of months with the sandwich shapes being the only thing that changed. 

Nutella on organic white bread, organic meat stick slices, cheese, almonds, and apple slices.

yumbox-panino-bento-box-lunch-toddler-may-21

Charlotte's YUMOBX Panino bento box was the real MVP this year, totally worth the $30 price tag.

Snack: y'all really think I'm going to go to an Asian supermarket and not walk out with several bags of the flavored Kit Kat bars? This trip's picks were green tea (an all time favorite) and strawberry.

green-tea-and-strawberry-kit-kat

Dinner:  Originally I had planned to make Blue Apron's Suchuan-Style Pork Noodles but as it turns out I was missing half of the sauce ingredients I thought I had in the pantry. This is a mistake I often make so I had to improvise. Honestly, it's more fun that way...sometimes. Attempting this recipe also gave me an excuse to break out our meat grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid because our local Aldi doesn't sell ground pork and I wasn't about to make another stop after being in the car for four hours on Sunday. Long story short, I ended up making Bon Appetit's Udon Stir-Fry without realizing it. 

basically-udon-stir-fry

It was delicious and we'll be making it again and again!

basically-udon-stir-fry-toddler

I made a separate version for Charlotte because the original recipe I was attempting to make was going to be too spicy for her. 

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: cereal, Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: a second serving of the udon noodle stir fry. I took a rare shortcut by using ginger and garlic from a tube and to be honest with you will probably be taking more of this shortcut moving forward. It's less clean up and tastes (almost) the same!

ginger-and-garlic-paste
fresh-udon-noodle-3-pack

These fresh udon noodles are officially part of our fridge staples that we'll keep stocked at all times. 

individual-udon-noodle-pack

Individual packs means perfect portions and less waste.

udon-stir-fry-lunch

Dinner: Blue Apron's General Tso's Chicken. This is another variation on the classic that I made a while back. It was quick, easy, and delicious.

blue-apron-general-tso-chicken-bok-choy-3

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: cereal for the kid and husband and a double-smoked bacon sandwich from Starbucks for me. It was the last day of school so I had several teacher gift related errands to run before yoga and before picking up Charlotte from school. I knew I wouldn't have time to eat lunch at a normal time and needed something that would fill me up for a while.

Lunch: a poke bowl from Harris Teeter. It was better than I thought it would be and will definitely get it again.

Charlotte's Lunch: end of school year pizza party followed by an ice cream social. Needless to say, she did not nap.

Dinner: the summer vacation vibes hit me hard and a packed schedule earlier in the day made me miss meal prep time so we went out to our favorite local bar and restaurant for dinner. Not even sorry about it.

 Fried Green Beans

Fried Green Beans

 Buffalo Fried Chicken Salad

Buffalo Fried Chicken Salad

 

Thursday

Breakfast: cereal for the kid and husband and a Clio yogurt bar for me.

Lunch: balsamic marinated portobello mushroom burgers with apple slices. I successfully turned on our grill after about five minutes of inhaling gas. Our grill is connected to the home's gas line and is slightly different from ones we've had in the past. Don't worry, I'm fine, and the grilled portobello mushrooms turned out awesome!

grilled-marinated-portobello-mushroom-caps
grilled-marinated-portobello-mushroom-caps-burger

 

Dinner: Greek Chicken Skewers with saffron cous cous and homemade tzatziki sauce. If you're looking for a quick meal, this isn't it. I call this an "all day meal" because you're working on it most of the day. First to make the fresh marinade and to cut up the chicken breast, then to slice up the veggies and make the tzatziki sauce, and then skewer and grill the ingredients and make the cous cous. It's totally worth all the work.

grilled-greek-chicken-skewers

 

Friday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella at home and an almond milk vanilla latte for me and a lavender kambucha for Charlotte from Lincoln's Haberdashery

almond-milk-vanilla-latte-lincoln-haberdashery-southend-charlotte-nc

Lunch: Lancaster's BBQ before Charlotte's three year well check. I opted for their "famous" fried chicken dinner with a side of homemade hot sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans. 

lancasters-bbq-fried-chicken-charlotte-nc

Dinner: pizza by the pool with DD's Munchkin's for dessert.

 

Saturday

Breakfast: prosciutto and egg on English muffin.

breakfast-english-muffin-sandwich-prosciutto-egg

Lunch: Guess what I made again? If you guessed an udon noodle stir fry you'd be correct! This time I threw in a ton of leftover veggies from this week's meals and the noodles were as delicious as the first three times I made them this week.

Dinner: the weather was pretty crappy so we scrapped a trip to the pool and went shopping before dinner instead. And since we were out and had no real dinner plans we ended up at La Unica, one of our favorite spots in town for Mexican food. 

Brandon ordered the ceviche with tortas.

la-unica-harrisburg-nc-ceviche

I went for my usual order of carne asada.

la-unica-harrisburg-nc-carne-asada

The rain held off long enough for us to enjoy ice cream cones for dessert. 

Vanilla for Charlotte.

rocky-river-coffee-kids-ice-cream-cone

And cookies and cream for me.

rocky-river-coffee-cookies-and-cream-ice-cream

 

Sunday

Breakfast: egg sandwiches on English muffins.

Lunch: leftovers and pan fried gyoza from Trader Joe's with homemade dipping sauce.

Dinner: low country seafood boil at our friends' house. Our contribution was Brazilian cheesy bread (also known as Pão de Queijo or popovers). This was the largest batch I've ever made at around 90 pieces and they were all gone before the seafood hit the table.

easy-brazillian-cheesy-bread-for-a-crowd
seafood-boil

 

It was a delicious week, leaning heavy on Asian flavors and ingredients, relying on our old time favorite restaurants, and enjoying a few treats.

What was your favorite meal this week?

 

This posts contains affiliate links.

 

Tacos 4 Life | Tacos for Good

If I had to choose one type of food to eat for the rest of my life I would choose tacos. There are endless possibilities for flavor combinations so it's impossible to get tired of them. Tacos 4 life, y'all!

Speaking of tacos for life, have you been Tacos 4 Life in Concord yet? Now, I know what you're thinking, "I live in Charlotte, why would I drive so far out?!" And I would respond with, "because it's not that far and it is super easy to get to and for every meal that you order, a meal is donated to a hungry child." A win-win for all!

Last month I had the pleasure of trying the menu and learning about their Meal 4 Meal program. For every taco, quesadilla, salad or rice bowl sold, twenty-two cents are donated to Feed My Starving Children. The money donated to FMSC goes to helping end childhood hunger around the world. The organization consistently receives the highest grades for accountability and transparency with 92% of the donations spent on the feeding programs. That's pretty amazing! Our meal was free of charge so I have donated the cost of the meal to FMSC. 

tacos-4-life-concord-nc-meal-4-meal

 

Here's what we ate and drank:

 Paradise Punch

Paradise Punch

Paradise Punch: sweet, delightful, and perfect for a hot summer's day. 

Pro-tip: take it to go and add a shot of tequila and enjoy in the safety of your own home.

 

 Ultimate Trio

Ultimate Trio

Ultimate Trioa trio of dips including queso, guacamole, and salsa. 

 

 Tacos

Tacos

Tacos: we tried six different tacos to cover as many bases as possible (chicken, beef, steak, pork, seafood, and vegetarian) and we had clear favorites. Pictured, from left to right:

Korean BBQ Steak: Korean bbq sauce, cabbage, wonton strips, yum-yum sauce on a soft flour tortilla.

Fried Chicken: buttermilk fried chicken, lettuce, chipotle aioli, a drizzle of honey on a soft flour tortilla.

Mango Habanero: grilled chicken, mango habanero salsa, cabbage, avocado, pico de gallo, mango, cotija cheese on a soft flour tortilla.

Hawaiian Shrimp: grilled or fried shrimp with pineapple Ono sauce, pineapple, lettuce, green onion, toasted coconut on a soft flour tortilla.

Crispy Eggplant: lightly breaded eggplant, cilantro pesto sauce, sautéed cherry tomatoes, lime wedge on soft flour tortilla. 

Chipotle Steak: sauteed onions and peppers, chipotle aioli, pico de gallo, cheddar-jack cheese on a puffy flour tortilla.

My favorites were crispy eggplant, chipotle steak, and mango habanero. Sadly, the one taco we were most excited about, the fried chicken, fell flat. 

 

Up next were the side items!

 Cilantro Pesto Rice and Mexican Creamed Corn

Cilantro Pesto Rice and Mexican Creamed Corn

We tried two sides, the Cilantro Pesto Rice (steamed rice topped with a cilantro, pumpkin seed, garlic, olive oil, and green onion pesto and a lime wedge) and the Mexican Creamed Corn (sweet corn layered with cotija cheese and cilantro). I loved the cilantro pesto (why didn't I think of that!) and could eat several bowls of the creamed corn.

 

tacos-4-life-concord-lunch

 

I'm excited to add another great fast-casual restaurant into rotation on our side of town. I'm even more excited to eat more tacos because for every taco that I eat at Tacos 4 Life helps feed a hungry child.

Give them a try, you won't be disappointed!

 

We received our meal at no charge. All opinions are my own.

 

Tandur Indian Kitchen

I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about Indian cuisine. I've had Indian food plenty of times (I love it!) but I never know what to order and tend to lean towards restaurants with buffets so that I could try as many different items as possible instead of feeling completely lost when staring at a menu.

Earlier this year I started to hear buzz around a new fast casual Indian restaurant concept opening near SouthPark Mall and couldn't wait to try it. Finally, last Tuesday, Charlotte and I got a chance to give Tandur Indian Kitchen a try and it was totally worth the drive from Harrisburg!

First, the menu. It's very easy to navigate and the sauce descriptions are easy to understand for someone who doesn't know much about Indian cuisine (like me!). There's authentic saucy entrees that are served with a choice of protein, saffron basmati rice or brown rice, and fresh naan (regular or garlic). The wraps are inspired by different regions of India plus one wrap inspired by the Carolinas. If you're hungry, try the Biryani rice bowls. If you're looking for something lighter give their salads a try. And finally, there's a variety of kebabs to choose from including tofu!

If you can't decide on a sauce for your entree, ask for a taste! That's what Charlotte and I did. We tried the Korma (saffron curry, fennel, and cardamom), Vindaloo (hot and sour jus), and Kadai (red onions, bell peppers, and chili tomato oil). Charlotte tried all three sauces and settled on Korma as her favorite. She basically drank the sauce while I studied the menu. 

tandur-charlotte-nc-authentic-saucy-entrees

 

We started with two of the starters: the Spiced Okra Fries and the Tanduri Wings. Both starters were unique in their own way. 

The okra fries are very different from the southern fried okra that one may be accustomed to. They are thinly sliced and fried and not at all greasy. 

tandur-charlotte-nc-spiced-okra-froies
tandur-charlotte-nc-spiced-okra-fries-toddler-approved

The wings are marinated and baked and served with a delightful tamarind ranch. They're also huge and one can easily make a meal out of them!

tandur-charlotte-nc-chcicken-wings

 

For my entree I ordered lamb meatballs with Kadai sauce. The entree was served with saffron basmati rice and fresh naan. 

tandur-charlotte-nc-kadai-lamb-meatballs-1
tandur-charlotte-nc-kadai-lamb-meatballs-2
tandur-charlotte-nc-kadai-lamb-meatballs-3

 

Charlotte opted for the kid's chicken with korma sauce, served with a side of rice, and half of my mint ginger sparkling lemonade.

tandur-charlotte-nc-korma-kids-chicken
tandur-charlotte-nc-sparkling-mint-ginger-lemonade

The meal was delicious, the service was great, and we took our sauces home and repurposed them a few days later for dinner. Hashtag delicious!

Whether you're new to Indian food or not, you're sure to find something delicious to eat at Tandur for the entire family.

Thank you to Scott and the entire team at Tandur for your hospitality and to the Social Ape team for arranging everything!

P.S. Their second location will be opened in ballantyne later this year! 

 

Would you like to like to see more toddler and kid friendly restaurant reviews? 

 

 

I received this meal at no charge. All opinions are my own.  

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

Birch Co. Finds #001: Local Edition + Tribe Pop Up Finds

 This vanilla sugar latte from Not Just Coffee is my favorite cup of jo in town.

This vanilla sugar latte from Not Just Coffee is my favorite cup of jo in town.

Welcome to my new weekly series where I share my favorite things and where you can find them. This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link or purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running and keep it ad free! 

 

There once was a time when I wrote down all the places I wanted to check out in Charlotte in a small notebook. That time was ten years ago, I had a blog by the name of in the Queen City, and finding cool things was not as easy as it is today. 

Charlotte is booming with amazing local business, many are new and some have been around forever. Here are my favorite finds from this week:

 

Events

Girl Tribe Pop Up. This was by far their best yet and makes me excited for what's next for these amazing, hardworking, and talented women. I went on Friday, for the VIP preview night (thanks for the invite, ladies!), and it was stellar. There was a bar with custom cocktails, a swag bar (the best kind of bar, in my opinion), discounts at every booth, and so much more. VIP hours are the best hours because it's not as crowded and gives you the opportunity to meet the women behind each business.

girl-tribe-pop-up-southend-charlotte-nc

Oh, and I got inducted into the Jeni's Ice Cream Fan Club. Now I'm counting down the days when her Charlotte location opens up.

jenis-ice-cream-truck-charlotte-nc

 

Art

The team behind #thesavageway has launched Driveway Art, a take on their Clean Graffiti program but for residential properties. You may have seen their work throughout town and now you can bring it to your own driveway! Checkout what they did for the Girl Tribe Pop Up this past weekend:

the-savageway-clean-graffiti-dirveway-art-charlotte

 

Books

I've been on a cook book buying spree lately. My latest purchase (and a birthday gift from my mom) is Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking by Boonie Frumkin Morales. I found it at Park Road Books, a local book store that has been around since 1977 and the people who work there are super helpful and lovely. I also purchased two books for Charlotte's birthday: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama. I can't wait to read them to her!

park-road-books-charlotte-nc

 

Beauty

GUSTO + CO is an online skincare store, founded by Marquita right outside of Greenville, SC, that features a carefully curated collection of independent brands and niche cosmetics. I met Marquita at the Girl Tribe Pop Up and she was very knowledgeable about natural skin care and answered all of my question! She is lovely and I hope you give her website a look. Oh, and I walked away with something called Mermaid Oil from SALT by Hendrix, a brand out of Australia. I'm waiting on my jade roller to arrive so that I can go to town on my face with this magical facial treatment. 

gusto-co-mermaid-oil-salt-by-hendrix-australian-skincare-jade-roller

 

Food

I always crave comfort food when my husband travels so my mom and I paid a visit to A&A International, an Eastern European grocery store that we have been patronizing for decades. Their new-ish location on Sardis Road is much bigger and so is the selection of various Russian staples and dumplings. Oh, the dumplings! I highly recommend the Siberian dumplings, now available for purchase by the pound.

Speaking of dumplings, my current favorite way to eat them is with a little bit of quality butter, a pinch of Shichimi Togarashi spice from Savory Spice Shop, and a handful of chopped dill or green onions (or both!). Right now Savory Spice Shop has all of their gift sets on sale for 30-50% off. This is a steal! Run, don't walk, before they sell out. I got the Bloody Mary spice set that I'm going to debut at the next book club meeting with my girls.

 

Drinks

I'm a coffee drinker, however, I drink more hot tea than your average person. Tea is ingrained in me thanks my Russian upbringing and growing up drinking tea from samovars at dinner parties hosted by my grandmother. This is why I was most excited to meet the ladies behind Birch Fine Tea at Girl Tribe Pop Up. They're not your grandmother's tea company. Alena and Kristina focus on all natural and organic teas that promote weight loss, energy, and wellness. You can shop their tea collection online or order their teas to sip on at The People's Market in Dilworth.

 

Stay tuned for future roundups of my favorite weekly finds, places, and events!

 

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. 

 

 

Friday Brunch at Haberdish

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that Haberdish is one of my favorite restaurants in town. So much so that I'm currently on a five week streak of eating there and I can't wait to go back again this week. My favorite thing about the restaurant, other than the food and the decor, is the fact that you can order a la cart so anyone can enjoy eating there regardless of budget.

As many times as I've dined at Haberdish, this was my first time trying their brunch. We were there for my girlfriend's birthday and we went all out... on a Friday morning. Because why not?!

haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch

 

Here's what we drank and ate:

 Blonde Bloody Mary | Cathead Vodka, local heirloom yellow tomato mix, lime, and olives.

Blonde Bloody Mary | Cathead Vodka, local heirloom yellow tomato mix, lime, and olives.

Cathead vodka, local heirloom yellow tomato mix, limes, and olives.

 Blonde Bloody Mary

Blonde Bloody Mary

I have a new favorite Bloody Mary and she's blonde. She's less acidic and much sweeter. Add a dash of Haberdish's homemade hot sauce and you're in business! 

 Counter Culture COffee

Counter Culture COffee

haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch-coffee-cups
haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch-coffee

Counter Culture organic, direct-trade coffee served in a thermos.

 Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

A side of mac & cheese to start off brunch.

 Livermush Patty

Livermush Patty

Livermush Patty set with Carolina gold rice.

 Grits

Grits

Slow-cooked Anson Mills grits.

 Two Eggs Any Style

Two Eggs Any Style

Cage-free, local eggs, your way.

 Biscuits with Gravy

Biscuits with Gravy

Biscuits with housemade sausage milk gravy.

 Bacon

Bacon

Edward's thick-cut country bacon.

 Thing Cut Country Ham

Thing Cut Country Ham

Edward's dry-cured, thin charcuterie-style country ham.

 Daily Fruit: Bruleed Grapefruit with PInk Himalayan Salt

Daily Fruit: Bruleed Grapefruit with PInk Himalayan Salt

Daily fruit: bruleed grapefruit with pink Himalayan salt.

 Classic Mimosas

Classic Mimosas

 Chicken & Waffle

Chicken & Waffle

Chicken & Waffle: waffle, de-boned fried chicken thigh, slaw, bread & butter pickles, with a choice of honey butter syrup or maple syrup.

 Waffle with Fruit

Waffle with Fruit

Waffle with fruit: two waffles, fruit compote, and whip cream with a choice of honey butter syrup or maple syrup.

 Brunch Babes

Brunch Babes

Happy birthday, Ally!!

 

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?