Weekly Menu 3.31.13 - 4.6.13 and Weekly Wrap-Up

Sunday, March 31, 2013

"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."  Matthew 28:6 

HAPPY EASTER!!!  I hope your day is filled with many blessings, time with your loved ones, and some diet busting good food!

Weekly Menu:

Sunday:  Easter Dinner (Spinach, Bacon and Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese)

Monday: Birthday Dinner (Kitchen Closed)

Tuesday: Spinach Lasagna (from Freezer)

Wednesday: Chicken Stuffed with Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella, and Basil

Thursday: Shrimp Quinoa with Fresh Herbs, Vegetables, and Feta Cheese (recipe here)

Friday: Grouper and Grits 

Saturday:  Homemade Pizza 

Weekly Wrap-Up:

Stocking up at Costco on Sunday (I have an unnatural obsession with that store).

Nearing perfection on the steak crust on Monday

Gushing over sweet baby Kate on Tuesday

Grateful for Nitty Gritty Nursery on Wednesday

Confessing my spend-thrift ways on Thursday

Capturing the sunrise on Good Friday

Celebrating the big three-two on Saturday at Bistro 217

Cadbury Creme Egg Martini

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Because it's Saturday...

Because there are 10 minutes left in happy hour...

Because some of you have had a long weekend for the Easter holiday (not this kid - in the middle of a big closing)...

Because cute pictures of kids, bunnies, and egg hunts are flooding Facebook and Instagram putting you in the Easter spirit...

Because Easter candy will be 1/2 off on Monday...

Drink this...

Cadbury Creme Egg Martini:
Serves:  2
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (only 15 minutes active time)

2 cups of 2% or whole milk
4 Cadbury Creme Eggs
4 oz chocolate vodka (I used Pinnacle Chocolate Whipped)
Chocolate syrup to line glasses
2 Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs for garnish

In a saucepan, heat milk over medium heat (you do not want milk to boil).  Add Cadbury Creme Eggs one at a time.  Move eggs around with whisk until they melt completely, whisking well.   When all 4 eggs have been melted, pour milk into a container and refrigerate for an hour to cool, whisking occasionally to  prevent separation.

To make two martinis, line martini glasses with chocolate syrup. Pour 8 ounces of milk mixture and 4 ounces of chocolate vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with mini Cadbury Creme Eggs.

WARNING:  These martinis are so sweet they will literally make your face cave in.   Scott loved it.

The rest of our Saturday looked like this...

Off to celebrate the birthday at Bistro 217 with my man.   

Good Friday

Friday, March 29, 2013

Do you ever have one of those mornings where your significant other wakes up energized, refreshed, happy as a clam ready to take on the day; meanwhile, you feel like you fell asleep 20 minutes before the alarm went off with your dog's claws in your face?
Well this morning, for once, I was the clam.  I came to at around 4:00 am feeling wide awake and ready to get going.  I'm pretty certain Scott felt the opposite and wanted to throw the spatula at me as I bounced around the house getting ready for the gym.  As my dad likes to say, the sun don't shine on the same dog's ass everyday! 
"I triple dog dare it not to shine on mine."
My workout today looked like this:

1. Warmup
      - Stretching
      - Kettlebell swings

2. Ab Circuit: 4 sets; 10 second rest between each exercise
     - Leg lifts with hip raise; 20 seconds (averaged about 7reps)
     - L sit-ups off Glute/Ham; 20 seconds (averaged about 10 reps)
     - Back Raises; 20 seconds (average about 12 reps)
     - Ab Wheel; 20 seconds (averaged about 4 reps)
     - Side Bends; 20 second each side (averaged about 12 reps per side)

3.  Circuit:  AMRAP in 15 minutes (I completed four sets)
     - Deadlift 135lbs. x 5
     - Overhead Press 55 lbs. x 5
     - Sand Bag Carry 80 lbs. across gym and back

Deadlift Prep


Overhead Press

Sandbag Carry
4.  Circuit:  2 Sets (first set 15 reps, second set 10 reps)
     - Band Assisted Pull-ups
     - Steps-ups with 15 lbs. kettlebell
     - L sit-ups with hands behind head (this makes a difference!)

Step-up with Kettlebell

L Sit-ups
Happy Good Friday!   I will leave my list of things I'm loving today short and simple:

1.  This sunrise.

2.  Jesus.

"Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again."  Matthew 20:18-19

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brother Devil.

No, I'm not calling my brother out as the devil on the internet, he's actually a pretty nice guy (10x nicer than me most would tell you).   My sister on the other hand... 

Kidding.  Although I wouldn't have been kidding if you asked me that 15 years ago.  Good Lord, I'm getting old.

Brother Devil is the translation of Fra Diavolo from Italian to English, referring to the spicy nature of the tomato sauce in this dish.  It would have been so perfect if the translation was Sister Devil because mine was the driving force behind this concoction.

Amber sent me a text on Monday asking if I could use some fresh basil, chives, and scallions.  

Really, what the hell kind question is that?  I have been stalking the nursery patiently waiting for basil to come in season for months.  It's by far one of my favorite herbs.  You can look forward to an overkill of basil dishes in the near future.

She's a beaut, ain't she Clark?  Christmas vacation reference in March? Yep. I'm cool like that.

Anywhos, when I got home, I found that she had left  not only the herbs, but also some purple broccoli in the fridge.  Win.  

As you may have seen on my menu for the week, I had planned to make a shrimp and vegetable pasta, but to be honest, I had not really decided on how I'd prepare it.  I just knew I had shrimp in the freezer, and that a shrimp and veggie pasta would be a quick and easy week night meal.

The gift of basil from my generous sis immediately steered me in the direction of a tomato based pasta dish with handfuls of basil. 

It was an obvious choice, really.  Tomato and basil are meant to be.   They are a match made in heaven.   They are the Romeo and Juliet, the Antony and Cleopatra, the Johnny and June, or even the Jay-Z and Beyonce' of the cooking world.  Who am I to mess with destiny?

So I started with the shrimp, vegetables, tomato and basil, threw in some other stuffs and some red pepper flakes (because all good relationships need a little spice), and was left with this.  

And it was pretty damn good, so I recommend you make it tonight.

And if you need some basil for you Shrimp Fra Diavolo, or any other herb, or if you have a black thumb like me and just need some advice on how not to kill things, go see Amber at Nitty Gritty Nursery and Edible Garden.  She's pretty good with the flora.

Shrimp and Vegetable Fra Diavolo:
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

1 pound medium size shrimp (21-25 count)
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 red pepper, diced
2 shallots, halved and sliced thinly
2 cups of purple broccoli with leaves (regular broccoli can be substituted)
1 to 2 bunches of basil, chiffonade* (sliced about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup of white wine wine
1 12 oz. box of penne pasta (I used brown rice penne pasta)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I would recommend a little more if you like spice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 tablespoon for pasta
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Shredded Parmesan for topping

Cook pasta per instructions and drain reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water and toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil to prevent noodles from sticking together.  Heat large frying pan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side, remove from pan and keep warm. Reduce heat to medium.   Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and shallots to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add red peppers and broccoli to pan and cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add asparagus, basil, oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add white wine and cook for 1 minute stirring often.  Add crushed tomatoes, reserved pasta water, pasta and shrimp and mix well.  Allow all ingredient to warm, about 2-3 minutes.  Top with Parmesan.  Serve.  

*Chiffonade is just a fancy word for thinly slicing leafy vegetables and herbs.  I gather about 10 leaves together, one on top of the other, roll them up an slice away.

Ale You Need is Love

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This past Saturday night was dedicated to showering my sister Amber and her fiance Joel, and Joel's brother Zann and his bride to be Austyn with gifts for around the house.

Happy Couple #1 - Joel and Amber

Happy Couple #2 - Austyn and Zann
The hosts did a fabulous job decorating for a couples shower (think gender neutral colors and not your typical female shower overkill of sparkle and ribbon). 

The centerpieces were personalized six-packs of beer that doubled as party favors (is there a better party favor than craft beer??).
Centerpieces Double as Party Favors
The tags aptly read "Ale we need is love".  So witty. 
Ale We Need is Love...
The hosts also  provided personalized aprons, one for each couple, with markers allowing guests to leave well wishes and blessings. 
Mom deep in thought
After dinner, Mr. Bobby, Joel and Zann's dad, gave a toast to the couples that was the perfect combination of laugh out loud comedy and spiritually passionate fatherly advice.  I wish I possessed a fraction of his talent for public speaking.
Mr. Bobby Toasting
Next up were the gifts.  I opted to play photographer and let mom take over the traditional MOH duties of recording the bounty.  Penmanship is not one of my strong suits.

Both couples received some really fantastic gifts (in fact, I am thinking of stealing a few of Amber's).

and more gifts.
I thought I'd throw in a rare shot of me and Scott.  Truth be told, I am much more comfortable behind the camera lens than in front of it, and usually end up deleting 96% of the pictures that I am unfortunate enough to make my way into.  It annoys the dickens out of everyone around me.  I have a feeling engagement photos are going to be a challenge.   

Luckily, this one was salvageable. 
My hot date

Finally, I have to share with you the creative host gifts Amber assembled.  As I've mentioned before, Amber and Joel own Nitty Gritty Nursery in Murrells Inlet, and Amber's talent with all things green never ceases to amaze me.   I have over a dozen of Amber's potted arrangements on my front porch, and I look forward to the beginning of each season when she helps me replant them with new herbs and vegetables (hint, hint Amber - someone has a birthday coming up).  She is also building a raised bed in my yard to accommodate larger versions of the herbs I just can't get enough of. 

Host Gift - Succulent Planter

Host Gift - Catnip (I'm assuimng there is a cat lover)

And about the workout...

This is Freaking Ridiculous Face
That about sums it up. 

Grump Face
6:00 am is not fun for anybody, King included.  

It looked like this: 

1. Warmup
      - Stretching
      - Kettlebell swings

2. Ab Circuit: 4 sets; 10 second rest between each exercise
      - Hanging knee raises; 20 seconds (averaged about 10 reps)
      - L sit-ups off Glute/Ham; 20 seconds (averaged about 10 reps)
      - Back Raises; 20 seconds (average about 12 reps)
      - Ab Wheel; 20 seconds (averaged about 4 reps)
      - Side Bends; 20 second each side (averaged about 12 reps per side)

3. Circuit:  21 reps, 15 reps, 10 reps, 5 reps (I finished all 4 sets in 25 minutes)
      - Hammer Hits; 8 lb hammer
      - TRX Leg Curls
      - Dumbbell Press; 25 lbs
      - Dumbbell Row; 25 lbs
      - Walking Lunges (per leg)
      - Butterfly Situps

I recommend this as a way to blow off steam - its quite effective.

TRX Leg Curls

Dumbbell Presses

Walking Lunges

Butterfly Situps
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