Thursday, May 14, 2020

Things I Love Thursday // 5.14.20

  • Strawberry Picking - If you are anywhere near Indian Trail, North Carolina, do yourself a favor and make it a point to visit Wise Acres, "a family-owned u-pick organic strawberry and pumpkin farm." During this pandemic, Wise Acres is offering reservations that are managed in order to ensure safe social distancing. Extra sanitary procedures are also in place. The outing gave our little trio a much-needed change of scenery on what turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon. We came home with the most delicious strawberries! Berry picking at Wise Acres will last through mid June but reservations can be a little hard to come by. If you're planning on making a trip, set a reminder to check the website regularly on May 17, as this is when they will be releasing more time slots. If you get an "excessive traffic" message, keep refreshing your page. Good luck!

  • Love & Support - And who doesn't love that? More specifically, Greg underwent elective surgery to repair a damaged tendon in his elbow last week. He's been suffering through tennis elbow for almost three years now and managing a bit with cortisone shots --in the hopes that it would heal with good rest. Unfortunately, that never happened. For anyone wondering about the logistics during COVID, he was under the best care (of a good friend of ours) at an outpatient surgery center for only part of the day, and I waited in the car the entire time. The messages and positive vibes from friends and loved ones has been great. Not everyone knew that the surgery and been scheduled --but those who did reached out immediately with kind words and good thoughts. Several of our sweet friends and neighbors also gifted us with incredible meals delivered over the first few days following his surgery. We were spoiled (and it was fantastic). Pictured below is Rosemary Pork Loin with Watermelon Salad and Corn on the Cob, Baked Oatmeal with Bacon and Cantaloupe, and Roasted Tomato Bisque + Homemade Croutons with Artichoke and Broccoli Pesto Brie Paninis with Thyme Honey. Not pictured but also devoured (as you can imagine): Béchamel/Bolognese Lasagna. So grateful (and full).
  • Sweet Surprise Salt Cellar - Look at this little treasure! My girlfriend, Fran, is a part of the "Foodie Night" text chain (that I've blogged about before). This text chain is one of the best developments to come out of this quarantine. We share photos, recipes, ideas, and feedback about dishes we've tried. We also share a lot of jokes and memes. This "space" has been inspiring, supportive, uplifting, and motivating. We all appreciate it so much. Fran delivered these delightful salt cellars to each of us in the Foodie Night group as an extra Mother's Day treat. I hope you have a great network of supportive loved ones in place to both demonstrate and receive some extra grace during this challenging time. Cheers to good food and great friends!

  • Yeast - Speaking of good food and great friends, my girlfriend, Carrie, just gifted me with some solid gold. Well... edible gold. Check it out! YEAST. Is yeast available where you live? It's been very scarce around these parts. Tonight we're using a packet to make homemade pizzas! I hope it's an entertaining and delicious dinner. I thought about making Kindred's Milkbread recipe that the internet has been abuzz over lately... but that sucker calls for THREE yeast packages. Who has that kind of hoard?? Maybe I'll try a little focaccia with it. Perhaps one like this?

  • HBH Dinners this week - I'm singing the same tune I've had stuck in my head for weeks now. The lyrics are all about how Half Baked Harvest has the most beautiful, delicious, and fairly easy-to-make recipes that have captured my heart and belly. This week we enjoyed Better-than-Takeout Dan Dan Noodles (so good but barely enough to satisfy our family of four), Better-than-Takeout Sweet Thai Basil Chicken (our second time with this recipe and I forgot to add the fresh mango before I took its picture), Sun-Dried Tomato, White Bean, and Goat Cheese Pasta (I served this as a side dish to cheeseburgers and there were lots of leftovers), and Coconut Popcorn Chicken with Sweet Thai Chili Lime Sauce and Creamy Honey Mustard (the panko is essential to getting these crunchy and both sauces are excellent --so don't skip one.) 
  • Coffee on the Porch - Small, socially-distanced get-togethers have been a saving grace for me these past few weeks. While North Carolina is slowly testing the waters of re-opening (we're in phase one of three) and allowing some business to open to the public, I'm not ready to dip my toe in just yet. However, spending time outdoors (6-10 feet apart and BYOB+C) with a handful of bookclub friends, a neighborhood couple for a drink, or a sweet friend for coffee on the porch has done wonders for my spirits. This week I got to visit with a bestie I hadn't sat in the company of for more than 8 weeks. Absolutely delightful. Also delightful were the gorgeous spray roses she brought me from her garden. Have you ventured into this territory of in-person visiting yet? Where do you fall on the spectrum of closeness? It's so difficult to know what's safe and responsible. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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