If you like Mexican food - you need to come to visit my little Georgia town. We have an abundance of Mexican restaurants. There's so many that you could eat at a different Mexican restaurant every night for a week and still not hit them all. 🌮 Don't get me wrong - I love participating in taco Tuesday as often as possible but I also wouldn't mind having a decent Italian or Thai restaurant in town.
Apparently, I'm not the only person who thinks that these 16 square miles in central Georgia is saturated with nachos and margaritas. One of the largest restaurants in town, specializing in gourmet street tacos, has recently made the decision to move away from Mexican food and transition to a new "Southern Style" menu. Why compete in the super competitive Mexican food market when you could offer the only upscale Southern cuisine in town?
The coolest part of the menu transition is that the restaurant is asking locals to come and sample the new food and provide feedback. Sign me up for that!! 🤣 I was able to secure a couple of tickets to a Tuesday night tasting a couple of weeks ago. My sweet husband and I were able to try all of this amazing food.
The transition to the new Southern style menu will take a few months but I'm excited about the prospects. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the food samples that I ate that night but... I did miss out on taco Tuesday.😅 So this week, I'm not missing out on our weekly Mexican feast. This week, I'm making taco rice. It's amazing and delicious.
2 cups sushi rice
3 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 ounce taco seasoning
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons mirin
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon instant dashi (I couldn't find this in the grocery store so I just left it out.)
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 cup salsa
Top with cheese, lettuce, avocado, salsa and lime wedges.
Our 30th wedding anniversary is coming up this Fall so we're planning a fun trip to celebrate. I've been doing a lot of the planning and organizing of the vacation, basically because I love playing travel agent.🛫 In my next life - I'm going to be a travel agent because I actually love the whole process of vacation planning. I love looking at places to visit, planning adventures, choosing places to stay and most importantly, picking the food to eat while we're there.🤣
Choosing hotels and airbnb's hasn't always been something that I was always adept at though. Thankfully, my super flexible and adaptable husband has always just rolled with it when I've chosen a place to stay that didn't exactly meet our expectations. Luckily, he still lets me chose our vacation accommodations - and I've gotten better at it.😂
While doing my research for our Fall anniversary trip, I stumbled on my dream rental space. The cutest little bakery hotel!! A BAKERY HOTEL!!! 😍 A hotel with an actual bakery just a single staircase below the sweetest little, rentable room. 😅 It's pretty much my dream to be woken up by the smell of freshly baked bread every morning. As if that wasn't enough, the bakery hotel also an in house bread maker who invites guest to participate in workshops.🥖
Vacation bakeries are my weakness. It's a good thing that I don't live somewhere that requires me to walk past patisseries on a daily basis because I have absolutely zero will power to pass by the shops with that intoxicating smell, without stepping in. I'm pretty sure that I've literally drooled over the sweet confections in bakery cases. 🤣
Any time after noon and I will go for the chocolate bakery treats. If it's early in the morning, it's the buttery, crispy, sugar sprinkled pastry topped with fruit in a bakery draws my attention immediately. Is there anything better than a cream cheese filled pastry? The jury's still out on whether or not is was a good decision for me to figure out how to make these at home, for myself. 🤪
Cream Cheese Breakfast Pastries
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1 1/2 cups fruit
1 large egg
Bake 15-18 minutes at 400.
My husband has been working from home for a few months now. It's been an adjustment -- for both of us.🤣 Creating 2 separate work spaces in our house has made work life easier on both of us though. During the day, he works out of his new basement office and I occupy the main level kitchen. Now I can make buttercream til my hearts content --- without disrupting his conference calls.🤳🏻🤫
Co-working in the same house means that for the first time in our 30 year marriage, we both eat lunch at home on a regular basis. Some days we eat lunch together and it's a race to the frig to see who gets to the leftovers first.🍕🤪 Other days, because of our schedules, we make and eat lunch separately.
A couple of weeks ago, I was busy decorating a batch of cookies at the kitchen island during lunchtime so my sweet husband pulled out all the ingredients to make himself a BLT. He expertly toasted the bread and then artfully crafted a bacon, tomato and Swiss cheese sandwich.🍅 🥓 🧀 🤷🏻♀️ The combination seemed a bit weird but I decided to refrain from commenting because there was still a full slice of bread left on his plate. To my utter shock, (and disgust) this perfectly rational man that I'm married to, made himself a peanut butter sandwich and placed it on his plate, next to his BST.🥜 🥴🤐
Who eats a half bacon, Swiss, tomato sandwich and a half peanut butter sandwich for lunch? I'm pretty open to creative expression when it comes to food but watching my better half take a bite of a peanut butter sandwich and then a bite of a Bacon/Swiss/Tomato sandwich was more than I could take. I'll have to admit that he lost a little bit of culinary credibility with his unappetizing lunch creation that day. 🤣
Experimenting with new flavor combinations is one of the things that I love about trying out new recipes as a food blogger. But there are limits to what I'll try. 🤣Appetizer skewers are a great way to try new flavors together. As long as you don't include peanut butter, it's hard to go wrong with a selection of meats, cheeses, vegetables, olives and herbs on a wooden skewer.😅 The selection of skewer-able foods is important but how you add them to the skewer is also a great way to express your creativity. I like to alternate flavors, colors and food groups.❤️ 💚💛
9 ounce package cheese tortellini
1/4 cup zesty Italian salad dressing
1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
30 Kalamata olives
30 grape tomatoes
30 thin slices Genoa salami
15 baby mozzarella balls
30 pieces basil, torn
15 pieces chopped artichoke hearts
Thread an olive, tomato, basil, tortellini, basil, folded salami slice, mozzarella ball, tortellini, basil, folded salami piece, artichoke heart, tomato, olive onto each skewer.
My husband has always had the unique job of being the first person to taste test all of my new recipe creations. I don't ask him for feedback. I don't have to. I've become an expert at reading his face while he's eating. 😅 I can learn everything that I need to know from his expressions. #hehasnopokerface 😆
It helps that I've had 30 years of marriage to learn his food preferences. I know that he's probably going to be a fan of my meat and potato creations but is likely to turn up his nose at anything spicy.🌶️ He's also not a fig or goat cheese fan so I didn't even bother to run these peppery, goat cheese and roasted fig tartlets by him, the first time that I made them.🐐
I'm pretty good at predicting the foods that my husband will like and dislike but I'm not as good at guessing how foods will be received by the rest of the population. Food is a funny thing. I've served stuffed dates at several parties recently and some guests have raved about how amazingly delicious they were while other guests, at the same event, take a single bite and leave the rest on their plate. 🤷🏻♀️
No single food is ever going to appeal to every person. When I host (or cater) a party, I always try and serve a variety so my guests can find at least one thing that they'd like to eat. Options for meat lovers, healthy eaters, some sweet treats and some savory choices. I've hosted my fair share of parties and I'm still surprised by the food that my guests like the most.
I liked these Goat Cheese and Roasted Fig Tartlets so much that I served them at 2 parties recently. What I never predicted how popular they would be with my guests. I prepared trays of charcuterie, short rib crostini, antipasta and sweet creations but several of my guests commented on how these goat cheese tarts were their favorite.😳 One of them was a 4 year old!! I'll take that as a win.
Goat Cheese and Roasted Fig Tartlets
10 Mission figs
¼ tsp cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons sherry or brandy
Herbed Goat Cheese Filling
8 oz goat cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
2 - 4 Tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Cracked black pepper
For the Tartlets
20 mini phyllo cups baked
Pipe filling into phyllo cups.
Top each with a roasted fig half.
Drizzle with honey and serve.
White Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
Have you ever seen a pistachio tree? I probably should not admit this but I didn't even know that pistachios grew on trees until I saw one for myself.😅😬🌳 My knowledge of tree nuts is limited - to say the least.
On our trip to Greece last Fall, my husband and I took a day trip to the island of Aegan.🇬🇷 It was just as beautiful as you might imagine. As we disembarked from our ferry from Athens, we were greeted by street vendors selling the islands famous pistachios to weary travelers. We sampled some, we bought some and then we headed out in search of the famous Aegan pistachio trees on the island.
Maybe it's because I didn't really know what I was looking for OR the fact that the fruit on the tree didn't look at all like the pistachios that I buy at the grocery store but it took us way too long to identify these trees as the pistachio trees. 🤣
The pistachios that we ate in Greece were next level good. Maybe it was the atmosphere or maybe it was because it they were harvested and packaged right there on the island but they were seriously delicious.
It's not uncommon for me to grab a handful of pistachios and a wedge of cheese for lunch on busy cooking days. I eat them as a snack, as a meal and I add them to my cooking and baking. They're so versatile that I can to a salads for a nice, salty crunch, to baked fish for a crispy topping and to baked treats where their flavor can really shine. These white chocolate pistachio biscotti are the perfect way to highlight these amazing nuts.
White Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
½ cup unsalted roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Dip bottoms of biscotti in white chocolate and lay flat to dry.
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