Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth of July

Hiya eaters!

Long time so talk. How are you?

I’m…bleh. Leon and I got home from our Virginia Beach vacation last night and I’m feeling a little lazy and unmotivated. Oh well, I guess that’s what happens after a short vacation.

And since that laziness extends all the way to my blogging, I figured I’d just do a photo-dump. Also, I totally blanked on taking photos of most things, so this is the best I can do.

Car selfless with Charlie on the way up to Virginia Beach.

Car selfless with Charlie on the way up to Virginia Beach.

He's rejecting my love.

He’s rejecting my love.

This really is #nofilter.

This really is #nofilter.

We're making the same face!

We’re making the same face!

(Insert all the pictures that I didn’t take on the 4th.)

On Friday it was Leon's birthday, so we went out to dinner at Chick's Oyster Bar.

On Friday it was Leon’s birthday, so we went out to dinner at Chick’s Oyster Bar.

I ate two, which brings my lifetime raw oyster count up to three.

I ate two, which brings my lifetime raw oyster count up to three.

I love crab cakes!

I love crab cakes!

Leon requested apple pie for dessert.

Leon requested apple pie for dessert.

On Saturday we went for a family walk down by the water.

On Saturday we went for a family walk down by the water.

vacation12

vacation14

vacation16

vacation17

Charlie and Papa's dog, Toby, were exhausted after we made them exercise so much.

Charlie and Papa’s dog, Toby, were exhausted after we made them exercise so much.

An interesting, almost champagne-y beer to round out the weekend.

An interesting, almost champagne-y beer to round out the weekend.

Your turn, eaters:

What did you do this weekend?

What’s your favorite kind of seafood?

Later eaters!

WIAW: Hashtag Apostrophe

Whoa eaters!

I almost forgot that I promised you a WIAW post. And since I hate to break a promise…


Pre-Crossfit: apple and pb.

WOD: front squats

3-10-3-20-3-30 rep scheme. I got my 3-rep weight up to 98lbs, which pissed me off because a 100lbs front squat has been a goal of mine for months and I would have had it had I remembered that our bars are 33lbs, not 30lbs, meaning that I only had to go up 2lbs instead of 5lbs.

Weirdo breakfast:

Bacon with a side of my version of cold German potato salad.

Bacon with a side of my version of cold German potato salad.

Errands:

Gap.

Gap.

Gap, also. And don't my arms look solid here?!

Gap, also. And don’t my arms look solid here?!

I’m attempting to find business casual attire. Would either of these dresses plus a blazer count? I didn’t get either.

Lunch & snack:

Blackened chicken wrap.

Blackened chicken wrap.

I forgot to pack a lunch so I picked this up at Whole Foods between shopping and class and ate half as lunch in the car. Then I ate the other half after my classes as a snack.

Two part dinner:

Steamed artichoke.

Steamed artichoke.

Salmon and quinoa.

Salmon and quinoa.

There was also a glass of wine and a small handful of trail mix in there.

I have been running around like crazy lately and that won’t stop until I finally get a day off next Sunday. That’s a full two weeks without a day off.

But at least I’m being productive, right?

#EverydayImHustling

(Fyi, the lack of an apostrophe in that hashtag annoys me so much, but it’s such a necessary hashtag in my life and I don’t want to look like a grandma/stupid celebrity that wrongly puts punctuation in hashtags, so I let it slide.)

Your turn, eaters:

What’s a food you’re looking to bring back now that it’s warming up?

What’s something from social media that annoys you?

Later eaters!

Cowfish and Dropkick

Hellooooo eaters!

Boy, have I got a great night to tell you about.

Last night Leon and I had tickets to a Dropkick Murphys show in Charlotte. Leon introduced me to Dropkick when we were first dating so I was jazzed to finally get to see them with him.

Also, there’s a chance Leon and I are moving to Charlotte at the end of the summer so we were jazzed (correction: I was jazzed, Leon was excited) to spend a little time in our prospective future home.

First stop: dinner!

I had heard about Cowfish from Caitlyn’s blog forever ago and I’ve wanted to go ever since.

Come on, it’s a restaurant that serves burgers, sushi, and burgushi. How could that not be awesome?!

Well, it was!

To start we split a spider crab roll.charlotte nc1

I haven’t had sushi in more than a hot minute and this was pretty good. I could have gone for a little less rice and a little more tempura, but who couldn’t all the time, so it was fine.

To eat I took the waiter’s suggestion and went with one of their bento boxes.charlotte nc3

This came with a double stack of the featured mini burger (which had pimento cheese and some kind of peppers), Thai cucumbers, sweet potato fries, edemame, and a blackened tuna roll.

A massive mini burger.

A massive mini burger.

Can we talk about this blackened tuna roll?

It.Was.Stellar!

It was like this awesome, creamy orgasm in my mouth.

(Let’s not talk about how awkwardly sexual that was, okay? Okay.)

Also, those cucumbers were oddly perfect. It was like your traditional vinegar cucumber salad, but it had this sweetness that kept the vinegar from being overpowering. They were pretty magical.

Leon got the Stringin’ the Blues burger.charlotte nc4

It was massive and awesome. The blue cheese was really balanced (and I don’t like blue cheese), but it could have used a slice of bacon to even out the flavors.

Oh also, Cowfish is in South Park mall and I really kinda want to live there. It’s fancy.

After dinner (and getting a little lost) we ran through the rain and made it to the Filmore.

The venue was pretty great with big crystal chandeliers all over the place and not too big.

Oh, and a women took off her pants (and maybe her underwear) in the ladies room. That’s fun, right?

Dropkick took the stage at 10 sharp and they were great.charlotte nc6

They played a really nice balance of their old favorites and stuff off their new CD and I only had to kick one guy in the knee (because he elbowed me in the boobs, asshole).

And when they played “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced,” which is when they let ladies come on stage, I did not get on stage and look trashy.

#Winning!

So yeah, a beyond awesome night.

I can’t wait to go back to Charlotte and explore some more (and take Leon to Ikea).

Your turn, eaters:

What was the greatest concert you’ve ever been to?

Sushi or burgers?

Later eaters!

WIAW: Squat Tabatas

Hiya eaters!

So I had a realization today: I’m bored.

My homework is done. I didn’t work today. I don’t have errands or crafts to do.

So you know what I did to fill my time? I did lots of dishes.

This is what it has come to.


Breakfast:

Two sunny side up eggs, a clementine, and a slice of Irish soda bread with a healthy schmear of butter.

Leon made corned beef and soda bread on Monday night, so I just had to have some leftover soda bread for breakfast. Schmeared with a thick pat of really good local butter, of course.

Dog walk:

Charlie is getting progressively crazier on his walks. His new trick yesterday was running up the side of a hill and then body surfing down it.

Charlie the body surfer.

I would probably be annoyed if he wasn’t the cutest little dummy.

Lunch:

I forgot to take a picture because I didn’t eat until something like 3:30. But it was a salad of red leaf lettuce topped with orange bell pepper, avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese, and steamed broccoli.

It was delicious. But then, when isn’t bacon on a salad a good thing?

Crossfit:

Last night’s class was a lower body killer!

Warm up: 3 rounds

Run ½ mile

10 empty barbell (which is 30#) behind the head overhead presses

15 empty barbell good mornings

10 empty barbell overhead squats

Yup, it’s the warmest warm up in town!

(That’s what we all say whenever the warm up is especially hard.)

WOD:

#HoorayCrossfit!

O’m’gah! Those squats killed me. I seriously almost couldn’t walk after each tabata. But, despite feeling like a cripple turtle on the run, I was able to run an 8:50 mile. Sure, that’s 28 seconds slower than my PR, but I’ll take it.

Appetizer:

Lay's, you will be the death of me.

Why do I buy chips? It never ends well.

Dinner:

Blackened catfish and roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts.

Sometimes Leon and I pretend to be healthy by eating fish and vegetables.

After dinner snack:

A slice of the cookie bar-cake thing I made yesterday.

Following my manifesto beliefs, this is not dessert because it’s actually almost healthy. I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

Your turn, eaters:

What’s the hardest workout you’ve done lately?

When do you normally eat lunch?

G’night eaters!

A Weekend

‘Ello eaters!

This weekend has been a little all over the place. And frankly, I feel a little worse for wear right now.

Not worse for wear because I did a lot of hard partying and partook in lots of debauchery.  (Is “partook” the right verb to use with debauchery?)

No, worse for wear because I did a lot.

I attempted to pull my weight (pun intended) in a partner WOD on Saturday. AND I didn’t throw up once (though I sure felt like it during some of those toes to bar, my poor partner).

I flexed my brain muscles on Friday night with a take home test. Yes, I did spend my Friday night doing homework while shoving animal crackers in my mouth. But really, finishing that test (which was kinda huge) felt so ah-maze-ing.

#YOLO is right, eaters.

I decided not to stress about coming up with a pre-Halloween costume for Saturday night. And if anyone asked, I said I was British.

Riding boots, colored denim, and faux fur vests were actually big in London when I lived there.

I may or may not have lip synched to Spice Girls while doing some kind of skipping back-it-up dance move that also involved my arms at work. Yeah, days when you have to essentially re-arrange the entire store and unwrap and label hundreds of Christmas ornaments might sound sucky, but the people I work with are fun. Oh, and I ate four Halloween cookies, so the sugar helped.

And then I ended it all with a really splendid dinner cooked by Leon.

Horseradish crusted catfish, sauteed Swiss chard, and quinoa.

So my weekend may not have started all that great (Catfish For One, anyone), but it ended amazingly. And this is me having AND doing it all.

What do you think, eaters:

Do you ever stay in to do work/homework on the weekends?

What were you/are you going to be for Halloween?

*Bonus question* What candy should I pick up for my trick or treaters?

G’night eaters! 

Catfish For One

Hi eaters!

Today…has sucked.

I meant to go to Crossfit at 6:30am, but I woke up at 3:00am and couldn’t get back to sleep so by the time my alarm went off I was exhausted and knew I needed sleep.

Work was boring and slow.

And then I came home to this.

Woohoo! I can be a cool, Instagram in a post-posting blogger now thanks to my iPhone.

Yup, m’darling baby puppy had destroyed his bed, the bathmat, and the bathroom trash and then spread it all over the house.

So I said my little Serenity Mantra, ignored the mess while I ate lunch and watched Netflix, and then skipped class to clean up.

This was less than half of what I cleaned up.

But on the bright side, I needed to clean the floors anyway and now they look…better than before.

Then I went to my later class, played with a Polaroid camera, and bought what turned out to be a really gross bottle of wine.

It really is like drinking liquid jam.

And because (really gross, almost cloyingly sweet) wine doesn’t count as dinner, I still needed to cook. And I needed to cook in a way that would relax me, not dirty lots of dishes, and be better than the Jimmy John’s sandwich I seriously considered picking up on the way home.

Quick Catfish for One

1 catfish fillet

2 T oil, divided

¼ c tomato sauce

¼ c bell pepper, diced

a few slices of eggplant

¼ c frozen okra

1/2 T butter

1 T salsa

salt and pepper, to taste

*You can pretty much swap any of these vegetables. I do love the tomato okra combination, so I would stick to that if possible. Otherwise use what you’ve got handy.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Rub half the oil on both sides of the fillet with salt and pepper. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until it flakes easily.

Heat half the oil in a pan over medium heat and begin sautéing the bell peppers. After a couple of minutes add the eggplant and okra. Give it a few good stirs and then add the tomato sauce and salsa. Lower the stove to medium heat and continually stirring occasionally until the fish is done.

Pull the fish out of the oven, stir the butter into the tomato vegetables, and then top the fish with the tomato vegetable mixture.

And that’s it.

Only a couple of dirty dishes and a dinner that looks…better than a Jimmy Johns sandwich.

Correction: it definitely looks better than a sandwich. And it probably tastes better than one, too.

Yup, this is me having and doing it all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to decide if I want more gross wine, some extra stale wine, or just to go to bed before 11:00pm.

Your turn, eaters:

How do you choose wine?

What was the last crappy thing you came home to?

G’night eaters!

Blackened Catfish

G’evening eaters!

I sure hope you’ve enjoyed your extra day off if you got it. One of my classes was canceled today, so I almost had the day off.

It was very nice. (FYI, that was said in a Borat voice.)

And since you’re either reading this post on Sunday night when you’re tired or on Monday when you’re…tired and at work, I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

Blackening things reminds me of summer.

That could be because I usually associate blackening with Caribbean and Southern cuisine and those two cuisines remind me of summer. It could be because generally when you blacken something you have to open the windows to not set off the fire alarm and you can’t really open the windows pleasantly in the winter. It could be because the only two times I’ve ever blackened something was during the summer.

Whatever the reason is, blackening is summer to me. And, if you can handle opening the windows in the winter, it’s a wonderful way to hold on to summer flavors long after you’ve packed up your tank tops and settled into the seriousness of fall and winter.

Blackened Catfish

Serves 2 (or 1 very hungry person)

1 large catfish filet

2 T almond flour/meal*

1 T cumin

¼ T tumeric

2/3 T smoked paprika

1 dash cinnamon

1 dash cayenne

salt and pepper, to taste

~2 T oil

*Almond flour/meal isn’t necessary. I used it because I wanted the blackened crust on the whole filet without having to over spice it. You could probably use corn meal or maybe even flour, but also feel free to skip it.

Mix all the seasoning together in a wide, shallow dish. Coat both sides of the filet in the seasoning, taking care to spread the seasoning evenly over the whole filet.

Heat the oil in a pan to medium-high. Add the filet and cover for ~4 minutes. Remove the cover, let the filet cook for another minute, and then flip. Cook the filet for ~4 minutes, or until it flakes.

Cut the filet in half or eat it whole.

PLEASE excuse these two absolutely horrible pictures. I didn't think I was going to blog about this recipe.

I think some okra “fries” would make a wonderful side to complete the almost Caribbean feeling. Or maybe some roasted or pan fried potatoes, if you want this to feel more like a Southern summer fish fry. Heck, even something as simple as steamed green beans with a bit of pepper and butter would work well.

And for some reason, despite the fact that I don’t think my mother ever blackened anything, certainly not catfish, and despite the fact that we never ate okra or went to a fish fry, this meal feels incredibly nostalgic for me. It made my house feel like my home when I made it and talking about it now makes me incredibly homesick.

That’s a lot from a filet of fish.

What do you think, eaters:

What’s something that almost illogically reminds you of summer?

What’s something that almost illogically reminds you of home?

G’night eaters!

Print Works Bistro

G’day eaters!

I’m currently up at the Mountain Man house, breathing in the crisp, delicious mountain air and listening to the river below.

I have the day off tomorrow, so Leon and I decided to head up for the night and recharge a bit.

Between work and Crossfit and life and everything else I’ve been pretty stressed lately, so recharging in meaningful ways has been a top priority for me. And one of the best ways for me to recharge and feed my soul is putting on a pretty dress, sipping a liquor drink, and enjoying a really good meal complete with really good conversation.

Luckily, both Leon and I got the chance to do just that when Papa came into town last week.

M’dad and I are very similar in that we enjoy the same things when we’re both stressed, so on the recommendation of a few people since I’ve been in Greensboro, I made a reservation at Print Works Bistro.

If you know the Piedmont Triad area, Printworks is owned by the same hospitality group that owns the Proximity Hotel, Lucky 32, Green Valley Grill, and (I think) the O’Henry Hotel. From those associations alone you know it’s going to be top notch.

And it was exactly what I needed.

We started with drinks. Grey Goose martinis for Papa and I, whiskey for Leon.

I love martinis.

After a few generous sips out came bread with roasted garlic and salted butter. The garlic was the only thing that made this worth mentioning, but it’s the little extras that really set a restaurant apart.

With the bread came the fried calamari, which is basically a must-order in my family.

This time, though, we didn’t get a plate of fried squid rings. We got thick slices of lightly breaded squid swimming in a pool of extra tomato-y cocktail sauce.

Once appetizers were eaten and we each took a few more liquor-y sips, our entrees arrived. Leon ordered the filet mignon, which he said was a near perfect rare (though he did order it medium-rare). Papa got the spare ribs, which were cooked for 12 hours and completely falling off the bone.

I went with a favorite of mine — four spiced duck confit, roasted Brussels sprouts, and quinoa Provincial.

Sorry for the bad lighting. Despite the 52 floor length windows for maximum natural light, the sun went down.

Ho’m’gah!

The duck was absolutely perfect. It feel apart without being too greasy and the spices were wonderful. Sure, the Brussels sprouts and quinoa left a bit to be desired, but the duck more than made up for it.

When the server cleared our dishes and replaced them with dessert menus I was more than expecting to say “no, thank-you” and call it a night. But then a couple of things caught Papa and my eyes.

Background: Peach creme brûlée. Foreground: vanilla creme filled beignets, with local honey and chocolate sauce on the side.

And before I knew it we were finger deep in delicious, delicate, sugary desserts.

We didn’t finish the desserts, just like we didn’t finish our dinners, but that’s part of the luxury — being surrounded by abundance and not overindulging.

Yup, I left the restaurant without feeling overfull, which was like the icing on the cake. Or the last little push towards recharged.

Either way, the whole night felt ah-maze-ing. And Papa said that this was going to be our new staple restaurant when he came into town, so it looks like my battery won’t be running out anytime soon.

What do you think, eaters:

What do you do to recharge?

How do you feel about leftovers and cleaning your plate?

G’night eaters!

Soy-Ginger Halibut

G’day eaters!

It’s been a long day, Charlie has thrown up no less than 7 times, and I still have to muster the energy to go out for a few drinks with my friends. So I’m going to cut to the chase.

I know I’ve talked a lot about life now that I’m cohabiting with a man and all adjustments that are required, but it’s a big part of my life, so you get to hear more about it.

One of the little things that I never thought would be an issue is dinner. Not just that I now have to think about Leon when planning dinner, but also that I rarely make it by myself.

Sure, a lot of people would probably be thrilled to have someone around to help them make dinner every night. And while it is nice, it’s also a little bit of a letdown on those nights when I really feel like playing in the kitchen.

Oh, and it takes away a lot of opportunities for blog topics. I mean, you don’t want a recipe like “put ½ c dry quinoa, 1 c water, and a few tbsp of that weird Chinese hot sauce and cook according to package instructions.”

Yeah, that and some vegetables are usually what I contribute to dinner each night.

Not exactly a must-read post, right?

But last night, Leon was working late and then came home exhausted, which meant that I actually got to make a whole meal.

A whole meal that included cooking fish, no less.

And I’m happy to say, it was a raging success.

Soy-Ginger Halibut

2 Halibut filets, about 8oz each

2 T soy sauce

3 T rice vinegar

1 T hoisen sauce

½ T minced ginger

1 radish, thinly sliced

~6 thin cucumber slices

oil

Mix everything except the fish and the oil in a wide bowl and then place in the fish. Marinate for at least an hour, flipped the filets at regular intervals.

Heat a pan (that can be lidded/covered in some way) to medium heat and drizzle with oil. Place each filet in the pan skin-side up and cook for 2-3 minutes, until a nice, slight char occurs. Flip the filets to skin-side down, reduce the heat to medium-low (about 3.5/10), pour on the marinade (including the radishes and cucumbers), and cover.

Cook on this temperature for 7-10, depending on the thickness of your filets. Once the fish flakes easily, it’s done.

I served this fish with the quinoa “recipe” I posted above and a kale salad dressed in the carrot-misodressing I made so long ago.

All together now.

And all in all, this meal was a huge success.

The fish was cooked nearly perfectly. The quinoa was fluffy and just spicy enough thanks to some mystery hot sauce my friend brought back from Tibet. And the salad fulfilled all my sweet tangy miso cravings.

Oh, and Leon did the dishes afterwards.

Yup, I’d say this dinner was definitely a success.

What do you think eaters:

Do you make dinner for yourself or split the duties with someone?

Would you rather cook or do the dishes?

Later eaters!

Beach Snapshots

Hi eaters!

Did you miss me?

I missed you!

I unplugged almost completely (save for a few instagrams and tweets) this weekend and it felt really great. And all in all, this little beach get away was pretty darn great, too.

Ready for some snapshots?

Hokai…

Happiest pup around.

To dig to China you'd have to start in Argentina.

Those big, webbed feet did not make him a water lover.

Charlie was not into the whole water thing, no matter what we tried.

Isn't there a proverb about carrying someone to water?

What about pulling someone to water?

Beach yogurt bowls brimming with fresh fruit.

This should be a postcard.

I managed to eat crab three ways. In three days.

The leftovers of crab crusted swordfish with wasabi mashed potatoes.

The leftovers of a crab cake hoagie with avocado and bacon, and a few sweet potato fries.

Splitting a salad and a fried soft-shell crab BLT with m'man makes for a pretty great last meal.

And one final thing…

Charlie loves Cheetos and couches, two things we don't have at home.

Your turn, eaters:

Any snapshots from your weekend?

What’s the one food you always have to eat when you go to the beach?

G’night eaters!