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Category Archives: Local eats

happy weekend!

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Hello all! It’s been such a busy week, with work and volunteering and everything else. I’m packing up to head to Huntsville to visit my sister and my mom, and oh yeah—run my first official 5k since I injured my foot back in January. Wish me luck!

Also, for those of you in the Birmingham area: My friend Jason is partnering with Alison Lewis of Ingredients, Inc. to host the 2nd Annual National Food Blogger Bake Sale for the state of Alabama (there are participants from coast to coast). They’ll be offering up delicious treats baked up by area bloggers and local businesses like Urban Standard and Dreamcakes. (OMG, cupcakes!!!1!) Head down to Homewood near Urban Cookhouse (across from Trak Shak) to pick something up and support Share Our Strength, an organization devoted to ending childhood hunger in the U.S.

I’m contributing mint chocolate chip cookies! There was a moment where I freaked out when the mixture didn’t look quite right—it seems that the trouble with making up recipes is when you don’t really write it all down…you think you’ll remember, but alas, that’s not always the case. But a quick sample proved to be pretty darn good (in my humble opinion, that is).

If you’re not in the Birmingham area, check the main page to see if your state is on the list and find a bake sale near you! Whenever I think of bake sales, I’m transported back in time to when we used to fundraise for band trips and church trips, and also when I was so geeked out over 4-H that I entered (and sometimes won, holla) the cooking competition every year.

Check that sweet outfit!

Have a great weekend!

cinco de reago!

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Last Thursday, our friends gathered together to celebrate a very special holiday: Cinco de Reago!

Also known as the anniversary of the birthday of this lovely lady:

181528_588139029079_156801991_32791118_7421141_n Reagan requested angel food cake and strawberries for her birthday (“since it’s healthier than other options”), and I was more than happy to comply. After calling my mom for advice, she told me to just go with a box mix to simplify things; she assured me it would turn out delicious.

She told me I would need a specific type of pan, a tube pan. I couldn’t find one anywhere, so I decided to go with loaf pans. The directions seemed simple. Mix, pour, bake. Easy peasy right?

Sigh. Nothing is ever easy.

DSC09382 Looks can be slightly deceiving. While this may not look that bad, I had some problems. The cakes puffed up beautifully…and continued to puff up until they spilled over and onto the burners in my oven. And consequently caught on fire.

It was all good, though. I managed to get it under control.

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  Not so bad, eh? We’ll just ignore the metal tin of disappointment off to the side.

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Oops.

We headed out to Jim ‘N Nick’s for dinner, then to karaoke for drinks and entertainment. Some shots from the evening:

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Dresses with pockets rock!

za za zsu!

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Bonus points if you recognized where the title came from!

I absolutely love soaking up downtown Birmingham. Another thing I love? Having lunch with my adorable boyfriend.

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Together three years next Tuesday, holla!

Last week, we decided to take a rare moment (these days, anyway) that we were both downtown at the same time to try out a place we’d both been anxious to visit. Za Za’s (or Trattoria Centrale, as it appears it is now called) is a cute little pizza place on the North side; they also have pasta entrees and salads as well.

DSC09059The inside was small but made the most with the space available, with an almost entirely exposed kitchen. I meant to take pictures indoors, but we were both so hungry and anxious to sit down to chat that I didn’t get a chance. Not to mention downtown lunch=busy, busy business people that don’t much cotton to having to wait for a crazy lady snapping photos.

There were about four choices on the pizza, and I went with two slices of the veggie pizza.

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It was simple, with spinach and tomatoes, but oh so effective. The crust was crunchy but still chewy, just like I like it. The tomatoes were tart and a nice balance to the generous amount of spinach.

Jonathan had a slice of the veggie pizza, a slice of something I can’t remember (the T-Bone? or something) and mixed greens.

DSC09062The unnamed pizza was topped with potatoes, I think, and maybe prosciutto? It was definitely a sort of meat. He gave it a resounding yum, as well.

It was perfect weather, with just a slight breeze and a ton of sunshine. Oh, Alabama. You are a fickle, fickle lady. (Right now it’s rainy and stormy. Earlier this week it was really cold.)

DSC09058Across the street is another one of my favorite lunch spots, brick & tin. I just love grabbing a bite downtown; it really makes me aware of the fact that I live in a pretty busy metro area and satisfies my need to live out my life Carrie Bradshaw style.

thai one on

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Today was rough. It was just a really, really long day, with lots of stuff going on in the office. In fact, this is how I looked most of the day:

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And yes, those are phone photos. (Note to any co-workers reading: I did this shortly before lunch, so it wasn’t on company time ;)

Luckily, my buddy Jen came to rescue me for a much-needed lunch away from the office. We decided to cash in her Groupon for Surin, a delicious Thai place downtown.

I started with a cup of coconut tofu soup.

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Jen said she doesn’t really care for the soup, but I love it! It’s spicy and sweet, with little chunks of mushroom and tofu. It’s especially good if you have a cold, FYI.

For my entree, I went with the Thai Noodle, with tofu instead of chicken.

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It was fantastic. The tofu was a great stand-in for chicken. I love the peanuts in this; they really make the dish for me.

Jen went with the Pad See-U.

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Isn’t she adorable?? Just as adorable were her flat egg noodles and broccoli sauteed in soy sauce. Oh, and see that precious sunbeam? While I do think of Jen as my personal ray of sunshine, that was actual sun being reflected off a car hood directly into my for the last half of lunch. Blarg!

Now I’m headed off to bed to dream my little dreams. Question: Do you bring your lunch to work, go home, or go out frequently? I  live really close, so I go home a lot, but I also like to take advantage of lunch hour gym classes and often bring my lunch. I’ll be dining on these leftovers tomorrow for sure.

green me up, scotty.

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Ok, ok…that was cheesy. Let it slide? Just this one?

Great.

For St Patrick’s Day, my friends and I usually head towards Lakeview. And now that I live closer, I’m all about drinking at establishments that are walking distances of my dwelling. We started out at the Oasis, then made our way over to Moe’s Original BBQ for dinner (no meat for me, please) and then On Tap for our own personal last call.

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Chug, chug, chug!

Last year, I made Rachel’s awesome black-and-tan brownies to share with my buds. This year, I wanted something equally as festive but a little easier and slightly cheaper.

Enter mint chocolate chip cookies.

Delicious, easy, and the green food coloring makes them fit for any St Patty’s Day drinkfest. I started with this recipe, but I ended up changing it around because I didn’t want to buy a bag of cookie mix.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1-1/4 c sugar
  • 3 cups flour (I used 1 c whole wheat flour, 2 cups all purpose)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint extract
  • optional: green food coloring
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c Andes mint baking pieces (or do what I did and chop up a mint chocolate bar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 sticks butter

Combine your dry ingredients (including the chocolate chips) and wet ingredients separately, then mix together. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly.

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The dough looks like mint chocolate chip ice cream!

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These cookies were so simple, yet so awesome. I think the others agreed, too.DSC08792DSC08793DSC08794

Here are some other fun pictures from the evening:

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Still not sure exactly how this “leg in someone’s photo” thing got started. (I’m blaming Jason.)

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I believe this was around the time we all started trying to tell every joke we knew.

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My dinner at Moe’s…yeah, I had to pick meat out of the corn, and yeah, I’m sure that’s not allowed on a vegetarian diet…but I did what I had to do.

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On the left: Mandy and Reagan looking cute. On the right…I found a hole in the floor and convinced Dennis to stick his finger in it. (I got a giggle.)

Since I know that St. Patrick’s Day was about two weeks ago, I won’t ask you what you did for the (arguably best ever) holiday. But instead…what’s your favorite go-to cookie recipe? These were so easy to make and so tasty, I definitely think I’ll revisit it again.

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