Thursday, May 21, 2015

Things I Love Thursday // 5.21.15

  • Geneva reading The Hobbit ~ Not just any ol' paperback, but the "picture book style" copy that belonged to my grandmother. She left it to Geneva right before she died. It's an 11" x 11", fully illustrated, unabridged, hardback that was published in 1977. I can remember seeing it on my grandmother's bookshelf when I was a kid. Geneva was only 3 when her "GGMa" (great-grandmother) inscribed it to her, but she already loved books and my grandmother knew it would be greatly appreciated someday. It was the perfect gift. We've kept it high on the bookshelf since then, until Geneva pulled it out the other day. She's been engrossed ever since. It definitely brings a smile to my heart to see it in her hands. 
  • This jumpsuit from the Gap ~ I ordered it online--so I couldn't be sure… Turns out, it's great! Very comfortable, just the right length, and easy to dress up or down. Fun, fun.
  • Progress ~ That is, the progress I was inspired to make on my new gallery wall project in the living room. Real inspiration arrived when I agreed to host a neighborhood wine gathering at our house (after I had halfway begun and stalled out on the new "look"). Nothing like a deadline to get you motivated! It's currently about 85% finished. There are 2 empty frames and 3 empty spots… but it's coming together the way I envisioned it would and I don't want to rush it or force pieces in that I don't LOVE. So… it remains a work-in-progress. (But the progress has been good!) 
  • The Thai Coconut Curry hummus from local (Asheville) purveyor, Roots ~ Wow! The flavor is very authentic and so delicious. I'm a huge fan of Green Curry whenever I have Thai food and this hummus has all the flavor without the guilt. It's satisfyingly complex. You can taste the coconut, lemongrass, lime, basil, curry… I did enjoy it on cucumber slices and crackers but was definitely tempted to just eat it with a spoon!
  • The new gold-finish MacBook ~ Swoon.  
  • Our little athlete ~ Last Saturday started with an early soccer game and rolled right into a quick wardrobe change, followed closely by a jazz/tap combo recital. It was Piper Day and we had so much fun watching our girl do what she does. :) 
  • Trader Joe's Toasted & Salted Truffle Marcona Almonds ~ OMGoodness. If only I could live off of Roots hummus and these nuts. Please try them--unless you're not a fan of truffles, of course. (In which case, I might have to reevaluate our friendship.) 
  • My new wallet ~ I've been carrying around the same wallet for several years and I finally got upgraded on Mother's Day. My new wallet is bright and cheerful, spacious and organized, and very versatile. Because it's a poppy-orange/red color, it goes with everything: my favorite navy bag, brown, black… Ta-da! Fun and "neutral" too.  
  • The cooking class I took with my friend Sarah last night ~ We had so much fun (and yummy food) at Chef Alyssa's Kitchen in Southend. We made Banana Leaf Wrapped Wild Caught Wahoo with Ginger + Cucumber Salad, Yucca Chips with Cilantro and Lime, and Raspberry Mousse with Almond Crumble. So fresh-tasting and delicious! I can't wait to steam something else in banana leaves soon. Stay tuned… 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Things I Love Thursday // 5.14.15

  • Spending a fun-filled weekend with friends at the lake ~ We we so grateful to be invited to spend Mother's Day weekend with some of our friends at their lake house in the mountains. Our kids all get along terrifically and the grownups do too! We had gourmet food, lots of laughs, sunshine, adventure, and relaxation. 
  • Having Grandma Lulu here for a visit ~ When we got home from the lake on Sunday evening, we picked Greg's mom up from the airport and have enjoyed her company this week. We've had such a great time catching up, visiting, and loving one another. 
  • Finally spraying down and wiping away most of the tree pollen so that we can enjoy both the front porch and the screened patio ~ One of the best ways to spend a spring evening is sipping a glass of chilled wine in the lovely Charlotte outdoors. (It's always a bonus when the Olympic swimming team is practicing across the street too.)
  • Our recent neighborhood dinner at Lumiere ~ Four couples, at least as many bottles of wine, pre-dinner Derby-watching/Julep-sipping, foie gras, scallops, soft-shelled crab, creme brûlée… It was a decadent evening for sure! 
  • Purging ~ I've been on a bit of a spring-cleaning kick around here and it feels pretty good. So far, I've tackled half my closet. There's still a lot to accomplish but I'm trying to be really thoughtful and thorough --so it's taking some extra time. I can't wait to get started on the girls' closets! I'm sure my husband would prefer I focus my energy on the basement. We shall see… 
  • Artful Kiddos 
  • The fact that my indoor plants are doing so well ~ I think I might be growing up (or at least growing a bit of a green thumb in my older age). I've managed to keep alive (and thriving even) a large fig tree, a gorgeous plant arrangement (sent to me over a year ago), and my latest craze: the terrarium. Yahoo!
  • My new take on veggie (or charcuterie) trays ~ I recently read someplace that veggie trays and cheese boards should be "messier" than they are usually presented. Let the elements mix together a bit and the result will be more pleasing to the eye. I tried it yesterday and I'm never going back to my A-type presentation. 
  • Introducing the kids to Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris ~ Remember what a treat these were when you were kid? (Maybe that's just me because my mom was a bartender?) They're the ultimate slurpee. Apparently, given the size, ordering them from our favorite Mexican restaurant was a great idea too. 
  • Rosé, rosé, rosé ~ Needs no explanation. #summerwater
  • My new Rombauer Winery Govino wineglasses ~ A delightful surprise from my friend Betsy in California (this girl really gets me), these will get some serious use this spring/summer on the aforementioned porches. 
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recipe Review | Lamb Burgers + Feta-Mint Spread

From the April 2015 issue of Cooking Light magazine, this recipe is a great dinner for outdoor dining on a warm summer evening. Feel free to modify the cooking method based on your preference (outdoor grill, grill pan on the stovetop, or sauté pan on the stovetop). 
Lamb Burgers + Feta-Mint Spread
(via Cooking Light, April 2015)
What you need:
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon graded lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
8 ounces lean ground lamb
8 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin
Cooking spray (if cooking indoors)
4 buns
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup baby arugula
What to do:

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl, stirring just until combined. Divide lamb mixture into 4 equal portions; shape each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.
  2. Heat a grill pan or saute pan over medium-high heat (or get your outdoor grill heated up). Coat pan (if using) with cooking spray. Add patties and grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Set patties aside and toast/grill buns in the pan or on the grill (about 1 minute--I skipped this part because I used a sauté pan). 
  3. Combine yogurt, cheese, mint, and juice in a small bowl. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top evenly with feta mixture, arugula, and top halves of buns. 
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