Back at it!

So it’s been awhile… And for a good reason! I’m getting married! I couldnt be more excited, but needless to say, it’s taken up much of my spare time.

BUT not today. Today, I’m back. Today, I transformed some basic CSA beets (from Vollmer Farms) into homemade brownies!

Beets and other root vegetables like turnips are things I just cant stomach. However, when my fiance and I joined our CSA, we made a pact to not waste anything. I was going to eat these beets if it killed me. I found the perfect recipe to do just that. Beets covered in chocolate! perfect!!

I cant promise they are any more healthy than those without beets, but for some odd reason, having a vegetable in them, makes me feel A LOT better about eating them.

You can even see the beets in the picture. Cute little red reminders that you’re actually eating something healthy! If you have some beets laying around, I’d recommend. It is rich, be ready!




Snow Day Cooking: Kale Salad with Homemade Biscuits

Most of us here in NC are snowed in. We got the storm of the century yesterday and it’s continuing today. Since I was home bound, I decided to make a healthy lunch for Marty and I.

On the menu, kale salad with roasted chickpeas & pumpkin seeds, with a homemade biscuit.

I found the recipes using my favorite method. Scrounging for ingredients in our cabinets and then asking google what I should do with them.

Recipe one:

Kale Salad:

I made the kale salad first because the only way I can eat kale is if it is softened. After sticking that in the fridge, I moved on to conquer the biscuits. One of my favorite indulgences in the whole world are the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster. These are the healthy version. I was so excited we had all of the ingredients. Well, we had stone ground grits and that worked fine. Tomato, tomata in my eyes.


Eating Well is one of my favorite healthy recipe sites. If you havent checked it out, you must.

Of course I had to try one of the biscuits right out of the oven. Yum! I couldnt believe all the flavor.

Next it was onto the roasted chickpeas. I actually added some pumpkin seeds to the pan and used some additional spices to give those guys some flavor. And I used feta instead of parm.

photo 3

End result: YUMMO!

I hope everyone stays warm and safe today. Let me know if you find any good recipes we should try at our house!

OMG Weekend Brunch at Scratch

Last fall Marty’s mom mentioned an article in Southern Living that spoke about a small eatery in Durham called Scratch. Scratch? I had never heard of it?! How did Southern Living know about a local gem I did not! Let alone Marty’s mom in FL!

Much has changed since that conversation. Lets just say Scratch and I are now friends. I see them regularly at the downtown Durham Farmers Market, follow them on Twitter, and even enjoyed one of their gingerbread cakes with family for Thanksgiving.

What I had not done until this past weekend, was eat at their bricks and mortar location in downtown Durham. I had some time to kill after a run Saturday and was hungry for a yummy breakfast. Where could I go….SCRATCH. I was so excited to go check it out.

photo 1

The great thing about their location is that it is right near a downtown Durham parking garage. It technically is on Orange Street and if your GPS is smart enough, it wont tell you to turn down the pedestrian only street like mine did. Parking was free Saturday morning in the garage, so I scooted in, parked front row and walked a few steps to Scratch.

Scratch opens on Saturday at 9am. I got there at about 9:30am. It was packed. There about 10 tables inside and 4 outside. My conclusion: If you want a seat, you’ll probably have to get there early. I got a biscuit with a ‘farm fresh egg’ and cheddar to go. OMG. It was the best $3.75 I have spent in a long time. It was amazingly delicious.

photo 2

The atmosphere is really welcoming. If I didnt feel bad about hogging a table for just me, I could have sat inside and drank coffee, enjoying delicacies for hours.

I cant wait to enjoy it again with friends.

A must check out!


Spring 2014 CSA Members-Vollmer Farm

I can not WAIT until spring. Not only is the cold weather dragging on a bit too long for my liking, Marty and I also have a CSA to look forward to!

Today, we officially joined the Vollmer Farm CSA that begins in April. A CSA basically means you are buying a share of the harvest. You get in season, fresh from the farm fruits and veggies, but you also face the risks of a bad drought or cold spell. Fingers crossed we dont run into those problems!

I have been to Vollmer’s a few times to go berry picking. They have some of the best berries around, hands down. They pride themselves in organic farming. If my research is accurate, the farm has been in the family for 5 generations. Their CSA always sells out, so the first day I got the email, we signed up.

I also was a part of a CSA a few years ago, and enjoyed how it challenged me to cook and eat fruits/veggies I wouldnt normally buy. Like beets. Or turnips (those I gave to a friend at work-eek).

Here is a brochure from one of their previous CSAs that gives background on why they do it, what is included etc:

Support your local farmers and join a CSA this year. I’m certain you’ll enjoy it!

Kale Chips

I’m officially turning over a new leaf in 2014. (no pun intended) More veggies, less cookies. (We’ll see how long it lasts)

To start this new endeavor, I cooked and cooked this weekend. Some of my favorites included, kale chips and spinach with sesame seeds and soy sauce.

I’ve made kale chips before, and wasnt a fan. Everyone rants and raves about them so I thought I’d give them another shot.

I ended up stopping by the South Durham farmers market this weekend to show some support in the middle of winter. Let me just say this. It was friggin cold out there! I walked away with some kale and carrots. Then the question became, what to do with them. Kale chips it was! We’ll get to the carrots later.

I found this recipe that suggested cooking the kale at low heat and topping with nutritional yeast.

One of the important suggestions in the recipe is to really spread out the kale. Dont bunch it all on one sheet, it should barely touch other leaves, if you’d like to keep the crispiness.

photo 1

I had bought some nutritional yeast a week or so ago for some homemade veggie burgers. It’s claim to fame is that it gives a cheese like flavor. Have I mentioned my love for cheese? I found it in the bulk section of whole foods. My small bag cost about a dollar. They have larger containers that are close to $10, but I didnt need that much. Please note nutritional yeast is not the same as regular yeast. I was tempted by the small packet at target, but you need to buy at a whole foods or earth fare.

The funny thing about my kale chip adventure was the smell while they were cooking. It smelled like burnt popcorn! I was so worried my little leaves would catch on fire. We rode out the storm and let them stay in there for their allotted time.

photo 2

I’ll say this. They are very delicate. I laughed out loud when Marty tried one because it basically fell apart on his first bite. Maybe it was the type of kale we got that made them that way, who knows.

What’s important, we gobbled them down, and I’ll definitely make again. I’ve found lots of suggestions as to how to season differently etc.

Hope you’re able to try some soon!

Baby Goat Feeding (O-M-G)

Some people get excited for the new release of the iphone, others about sports tickets, me, baby goat feeding. Yes, you read that right, baby goat feeding. One of the local farms we visited on the tour, Prodigal Farm, invites the community out to their land every spring to assist with feeding all the baby goats. Let’s just say I signed up the first day I got the email.


I love the story of the farm. Corporate attorney from NYC becomes NC goat farmer. And if that isnt cool enough for you, the goats live on school buses. love it!

Here’s a short video they did:

And the official baby volunteer call from their newsletter (which I highly recommend signing up for):

Folks are already asking . . . will we have volunteer opportunities for baby goat feeding?  Definitely!  Kidding will start the first week of March, and we’ll issue a call for adult volunteers as soon as we hit “critical babymass.”  We can’t do it without our fabulous community; and y’all are a big part of the reason that our goats love people so much.  We feed the babies at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day.  You never know whether you’ll be there when one of the big girls is going to give birth.  And it’s so satisfying to watch these adorable, loving little creatures get bigger and explore their world.

If you’re local, you should really consider volunteering, I mean how much more rewarding can you get!

Prodigal cheeses can be found at the South Durham and State farmers market. I highly recommend the plain or marinated feta.


Shrimp and Grits (doubled)

After going back and forth on what to cook for a small dinner party we were hosting at our house, I settled on one of my all time favorite dishes, shrimp & grits. I’ve had it a million times at restaurants, but never made it at home. Until this weekend!

I looked at a half a dozen recipes before I selected the one below from Splendid Table. They know food, so I knew I could trust it. Prepare yourself. No calorie is spared in this recipe. Bacon, whole milk-yes please!

The journey to dinner started at one of my favorite specialty stores, Southern Seasons. Marty and I had to pick up some Christmas gifts, so we enjoyed an AWESOME brunch at their restaurant, Weathervane, before hitting the shop.

photo 2

After lunch, we picked up what we needed, including some local stone ground grits and made our way back to Raleigh.

No dinner party of ours goes without bread on the table. Who cares if you’re having smothered and covered grits, you may want some bread and butter too. I splurged and picked up a loaf of La Farm’s asiago round loaf. I’ve heard so much about their bakery in Cary, but I had never tried it. Let me just tell you. It was so worth the cost. I couldnt get enough.

photo 3

But this blog isnt about bread, it’s about shrimp and grits!

Back to the grits. I polled my facebook friends who said that milk would be better than stock when cooking the grits. I took their advice seriously and used not just regular milk, but whole milk. yummmm. Beware, although I doubled the recipe,  my grits took much longer than 30 minutes. Make sure you allow plenty of time.

photo 4

The meal turned out wonderful. The only thing I’d change would be the amount of butter when you poach the shrimp. I really dont think you need all that much and truthfully, the grits were creamy enough on their own, they didnt need more butter.

When I doubled it, this recipe fed 5 with some leftovers (3 men). I couldnt have been more pleased on how it came out.

I’m officially a true Southerner now, almost 8 years later! I made Shrimp and Grits from scratch! Yee Haw!