The Lady and Sons {a.k.a. find Paula}

Last week, I got to travel to Savannah for work. Having never been there before, I made sure to research and plan out my free time in advance. I knew I wanted some of that good southern cooking, and I really wanted to see all the weeping willows and old buildings and all that good stuff! And what better place to start than Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons?

Honestly, I sort of expected it to be only so-so. I mean, don’t you think that somehwere as hyped up as “Paula Deen’s Restaurant” can’t really live up to expectations? Well, let’s just say my inner southern fat kid was NOT disappointed. I got the buffet (partly because I was indecisive and partly because it was one of the cheapest menu choices, and I’m on a limited per diem over here), which included, among other things, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn bread, greens, green beans, and mac & cheese. First plate was as follows: chicken, greens, a little pork, and a little cornbread. I told myself, “This isn’t SO unhealthy.” And when I finished, I was full. And I sat a little while longer. Thinking about mac and cheese.

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And so I may or may not have gone back to the buffet to make a small “dessert” plate of mac & cheese and sweet potatoes.

At that point, I became uncomfortably full. But whatever, it was worth it.

The restaurant itself was really pretty, and much bigger than it looked. Being a loner, I asked for bar seating which was all the way up on the third floor, down a random hallway, to it’s own little room. It was cozy, however as the photo below implies, I was definitely alone at the bar. Thankfully, with all the traveling I do, I don’t really mind riding solo. It makes me, like, mysterious or something, right?

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ALL of this to say, if you find yourself in Savannah, GA, do not be intimidated by the Paula. Go there! I didn’t get to see Paula herself, but the food definitely lived up to her reputation. Cheers!

 

A Soccer Breakfast {Followed By Napping}

Recently, my husband (and I, of course) has decided to become an Everton (a team in EPL soccer) fan. Because these games are played in EUROPE, they are often very early in Eastern time. Well this Sunday was a BIG one – 7:00 a.m. EST vs. Manchester United. So yes – we were up early and making a delicious breakfast for two, including scrambled eggs, bacon, and bagels with lox. I mean, YUM. Needless to say, we had fun but went back to bed…

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Pumpkin Dip

pumpkin dip

Yeah, this is good as it sounds / looks. Serve it with Nilla Wafers, graham crackers, apples, or pears. And it’s SO EASY to make. So do it!!

Pumpkin Dip

Ingredients
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Then add in pumpkin and seasonings, beating until all the ingredients are completely combined. Chill in the fridge, and voila! Deliciousness.

A little pre-party shot when just the pumpkin dip was ready to go :)

A little pre-party shot when just the pumpkin dip was ready to go :)

Fall Favorites {Round Up}

It’s October now, and starting to really feel like fall here in Ohio. I can’t say I’m looking forward to THE-SEASON-THAT-SHALL-NOT-BE-NAMED, which comes after fall and rhymes with “splinter,” but I still really LOVE fall. And now that I’ve had this lovely little blog going for over six years, I’ve shared a number of fall crafts, food, and festivites along the way. Here’s a little round up of some favorites!

Crafties

Last fall, mama B visited in October and helped me deck out the house a little with some sweet decor, which I recently pulled out of the basement to use again. LOVE IT.

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A few years ago, I bought little pumpkins at the Nashville farmers market and came up with a few new centerpieces. I need to do this again!!

fall 2

Last year, this sweet little argyle wreath was inspired by my husband’s late grandmother’s fabrics. She quilted all the time, and my mother-in-law gave me a stack of these pretty squares. I used a few on this wreath, and still can’t decide how to use the rest!

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Pumpkin and Squash Treats

SO MANY!! My favorites are:

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Pie Protein Shake and Protein Bars

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes

Chocolate Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hersheys Kiss Acorns

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup

Festivities and Photos

One of my FAVORITE fall festivities is the Wine and Harvest fest in my little hometown. Best part? The Pumpkin Race! Literally, a few people get into giant pumpkin boats and race across the river. It’s awesome.

Pumpkin Regatta

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, of course, and I love decorating our pretty table. Another wonderful part of fall!

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So that’s it. I love me some fall. A few years ago I took a photography class with my 35mm camera (not digital!) and took random photos all over the place. This one of a paper pumpkin is still one of my favorites. Happy Fall, Y’all!!

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BLENDICANO

Guys, so I’ve read about these for a while (a girl I follow in instagram is obsessed), but I finally got one and IT IS EVERYTHING AND MORE THAN I EVER HOPED FOR. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a delicious, decadent drink from starbucks. But who feels guilty for the amount of calories and sugar they come with? (hand raised.) And who has been trying to cut dairy and soy out of their diet, leaving no other milk option? (hand raised. seriously – get almond milk, people!)

THE BLENDICANO IS THE ANSWER!!

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Blendicano + egg white feta wrap (my FAVE on the go breakfast)

Listen closely:

It is a blended americano. If that means nothing to you, follow me here. An americano is espresso + hot water (essentially taking European espresso and appeasing us Americans, who are always wanting bigger portions, by adding hot water). An iced americano is an americano on ice. A blendicano is a blended, iced americano. So just espresso, water, and ice. NO BASE. Many starbucks have gotten the hang of this now, but many have not. When you order, just be VERY NICE and ask if you can get a blended americano. (Go venti. Worth it.) Also, I’m generally not into artificial sweeteners, but the one pictured above has sugar-free caramel syrup added, making it EXTRA AMAZING. Knowing me, I think I would enjoy this drink plain though, just because I love the taste of icy, frothy coffee so much.

Guys, this has like, probably, 25 calories. No fat. No sugar (unless you add it so be careful!!). AND IT’S AMAZING.

GO GET ONE.

Binge-y-ness

If it were a real word, I would define binge-y-ness as: the tendency to go overboard after saying you will just “have a little.”

It pretty much sums up my life. I don’t have an addictive personality. I am not a perfectionist. I am not any of those other things we try to label ourselves with. But I do have a quality of binge-y-ness. 

Case in point: Television. Oh, TV! How I love you so. If I don’t turn on the TV – on a Saturday morning, let’s say – I’m totally fine. I will workout, make breakfast, clean, and be a totally productive, functioning member of society. But once I turn it on, I’m HOOKED. I become useless. Let’s not even TALK about bingeing TV shows. Um, House of Cards, anyone? Game of Thrones? Gossip Girl? I have no shame. And suddenly, I just spent 5 hours watching poor Lonely Boy navigate adolescence.

Netflix

Everything I do is sort of this way. I can hole up in a room with craft supplies and NEVER COME OUT. I can sit down at the piano and have two hours pass by. I realize these are pretty good binge-y-nesses, but still. It’s basically the opposite of ADHD.

And same goes for food. And wine. Oh wine. I can go days without drinking any at all, and really, that’s easy for me to do (because I am not an alcoholic, mom). But as soon as I have a glass…well, then it’s pretty much a bottle. And as soon as I make a batch of cookies or we order a pizza, well…you can guess the rest.

I can’t decide if I’m a moderator or an abstainer. I think it depends on the particular item. I do better abstaining from potato chips (just don’t start and you’re fine), for example, but moderating desserts (having them once in a while). Are you a moderator or abstainer? Are you binge-y? Has anything worked particularly well for you? Share your journey!

When A Man Cooks You Dinner

jonathan

Early on in our relationship, I would trek the 45 min+ to Jonathan’s condo after work, in rush hour, and would arrive to find him cooking dinner for us. Sometimes it was homemade pizza. Sometimes it was fish, black beans, and couscous. No matter what it was, knowing that I was going to walk in and have him tell me “just go sit down!” was the ultimate sign that he loved me. Even if he didn’t know it yet, I knew! AND, he eats so healthy, I became inspired and lost like, 15 or more pounds our first year together. Basically the opposite of the usual boyfriend effect*.

Now that we are married, we both cook a lot. Some dinners are quick and easy, some more complex, but most of the time, we are both in the kitchen getting things done. And I love this! It’s a whole different side of feeling loved and comfortable.

But this weekend was my birthday (Sunday), and while I really don’t care all that much about doing anything on my birthday (29 is a weird number), it was the strangest and awesomest feeling when he a) had breakfast ready for me when I got back from a run, and b) later “made me” go work on my crafting project and watch Game of Thrones (which he is not into) while he made me like this, gourmet Whole30 meal of turkey burger, guac, and sweet potato wedges.

Seriously, a flashback to our dating days. I love us cooking together, but I also love taking a break from time to time. All this to say, if a man is cooking for you early on, you are bound happy dinners all your life!

*The Boyfriend Effect is caused when I feel the freedom to eat just as much as my new boyfriend (and am more than capable) and so I gain like, a bazillion pound.