Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 5 of 2012

Last year I did a "Top 10" blog posts of the year.  This go-round I've slacked off a little. Such is life. You understand.

I'm going to stick with the top 5 for 2012. According to the stats, here are your favorites....

#5: Grief Camp

#4: Grocery Trip Gone Wrong (Or Right)

#3: Recent Developments

#2: Bachelorette Commentary

and the #1 blog post of 2012......

Chicken, Pickin' and Oysters!

I love seeing which posts get the most hits. It usually surprises me. The ones I enjoy writing the most are usually not your favorites. The ones you love are the ones I've thrown together on a whim. Interesting how that works out.

Did you have a favorite that didn't make it to the list? Do tell!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quinoa Crack Balls

I am my happiest self when my kitchen counter looks something like this:

Here, I am in the process of making a little something called Quinoa Crack Balls, compliments of Pinterest of course. I made them once before and they were pretty tasty. I just finished watching the documentary Forks Over Knives (about eating a plant based-whole foods diet) and felt that I immediately needed to make some sort of health food.

On hand in my kitchen were all ingredients necessary.

  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons dried cherries
  • 1/8 cup almonds
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
I totally did not measure out any of the ingredients this time. Just dumped them into a bowl. And, truth be told, I substituted couscous for quinoa only because I had it on hand, already cooked. And while we're being honest I used Craisins instead of dried cherries AND a mixture of agave and honey instead of maple syrup. So basically, this is a completely different recipe. 

Here is the actual recipe. I copied and pasted from here

Rinse quinoa. Combine water and quinoa in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook covered until water is fully absorbed (you want it on the dry side.) While quinoa is cooking, combine cherries and almonds in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to small bowl. Once quinoa is cooked, spread out on baking sheet or another flat surface to let it cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, add to bowl with almond/cherry mixture. Add maple syrup, almond butter and chocolate chips and fold together. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Roll quinoa mixture into balls and place on sheet (this is a messy process, embrace it by licking your fingers at the end Winking smile.) Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until quinoa becomes golden and crispy on the outside. Let balls cool on baking sheet for at least 10 minutes.
 ...and Ta- Da!! They are a bit tricky to form into "balls" so this is the best I could do. Maybe I needed more almond butter and honey. Who knows. This will be be my breakfast/snack for the next couple days or until I've devour it all. 

If you try them, let me know how they turn out. Yours will probably be prettier than mine. 


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Road Trip

Well, the apocolypse didn't happen. I wasn't exactly surprised. Were you? What did suprise me, however, was my spontaniety in taking a day trip to Charleston on Thursday with my friend, Mirek. For me, that's a big deal. I'm not one to just get up and go. He definititely marches to the beat of his own drum, that Mirek, and I think its pretty refreshing. Probably the complete opposite of me in just about every way.

The "plan" was to visit the Angel Oak in Charleston, one of the oldest living oak trees in the country. This was the only plan. The rest of the day just unfolded in which ever way the wind blew. For instance, we took 2 impromptu hikes on the way to the Angel tree. His rental car took a beating. Remind me to never ride with him in a rental again. Lets just say.... off-roading in a Corolla. He supposedly "took it easy" because I was in the car. I'd hate to see what happens when he's alone.

Hike #1 took place at the Edisto Nature Trail.  It happened like this: Cruising down the highway.... Edisto Trail comes up on the GPS. Screeetch! "Hey, lets stop here! I've hiked around here before," he says.  And so it begins. We walked the trails and took random pictures. Nature all around.

Back to the car and a few more miles down the road we approached Caw Caw Park.  Once again, Screeeetch:  "I've never been to this one...lets go." The gift shop had CAW car decals. I purchased one to proudly advertise the park whose name also doubles as my initials. It is already on my car, just above the Isle of Hope sticker. I kind of love it. Here, we commenced to get lost in the woods because I can't read maps and apparently neither can Mirek. He ended up getting us back to the car.... eventually. The color coded trails kept running together. But that's all part of the adventure, right?

So after a couple hikes, kicking up some dirt in the Corolla, and a few snacks from Mirek's Tupperware bucket of fruit, we made it to the Angel Tree! So majestic. Okay, moving on...

Charleston is my favorite place on earth so far in my 28 year old life. I should get out more. Or maybe I'm easily satisfied. We walked for hours just tooling around the city. A nice little restaurant on King Street doubled as a bathroom pit stop for us. I felt awkward going in there just to use their bathroom without buying anything.  Mirek? Oh, he strolled in there like he owned the place, shamelessly used their restroom and walked out, no problem. I followed suit and the host wished me a Merry Christmas on the way out! I guess I shouldn't worry so much.

We split 3 cupcakes at a cute little shop. Almond, strawberry, and Death by Chocolate  (because he's allergic) Not really. We walked all the way through the Market upon my request. Love that place. I got to talk to the lady who made my Danny's Song folk art sign that I told you about in my Charleson Via Instagram post.

Cupcake shop mixing bowls

My favorite part of the trip was our 4:30 bottle of Pinot Noir while we sat outside at Southend Brewery and people watched. Bliss. "All we need now is a dog."

Side note: I'm sitting at Starbucks right now as I write and the song Flip Fantasia by Cantaloop just came on. Here, Please listen. There is an old couple in here and even they are tapping their foot to the beat.

Back to our trip. The day was slowly coming to a close so Siri helped us find an Irish Pub for dinner. She led us astray a few times and we ended up having to ask a real human where to go. The trip ended with us breaking into a jog through a bit of a seedy area in order to find the car. But, alas, we made it back and as soon as we shut the doors, raindrops started falling. Impeccable timing.

All in all, I think I held my own on the adventure. Round 2 someday, maybe?


Sunday, December 16, 2012


Note the vanilla soy milk carton. Now notice that it has "Large Shrimp 10-10-12" handwritten on the front. In my family, it is a sin to buy shrimp from the store. Complete and utter sacrilege. I've been eating my shrimp out of random containers (mostly old orange juice cartons) since I was a kid. I never knew any different. Now I realize how cool it is that my grandfather, Bob, has always caught our shrimp for us. The freezer is always loaded down with his catch. I remember him teaching me how to throw a cast net in the yard when I was about eight. Hold it in your teeth between the weights, get your stance, and....cast! I gradually moved on from casting into the grass to actually throwing the cast net off the bow of the boat. I may have caught a handful of shrimp every now and then but he would always bring in loads of them. They would get all caught up in the net and he'd empty it out. I'd watch them plop onto the bottom of the boat and jump around. Every time I tried to pick them up they'd poke a hole in my hands with their sharp little points, but it never seemed to phase Bob. He'd scoop them up by the handful and throw them into the live bait well.

So yeah, it takes a little extra effort. You have to peel them yourself, but that's all part of the fun. Makes them taste better in the end knowing that your own sweat, blood, and tears (mostly just sweat and blood) went into to bringing those shrimp home for dinner.

In case you're interested, here's was the most recent recipe I made with Bob's shrimp. Click the link below.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp