Sunday, September 28
All hotels were booked, so my dad reserved us rooms at a Bed & Breakfast in New Bern. I love New Bern and it's always been a favorite city of mine, with Camp Seafarer so close. We drove down Friday night with a quick dinner stop at Kings BBQ in Kinston. I'm pretty sure we were the only guests at the Harmony House B&B Fri. night. The breakfast was delicious...egg strata, coffee cake, fresh fruit, and homemade toast.
After breakfast we drove to Greenville with my parents. My sister, Sara's sorority was hosting a parent's weekend brunch of their own. We spent the rest of the afternoon tailgating with spread of food. I was so stuffed from 2 breakfasts and lunch. I didn't check the weather right before we left and thought it'd be cool...the temps were in the high 80's and we were sweltering! And being that it is almost Oct. I never thought about sunscreen. So hours in the sun resulted in a nice farmer's sunburn for me. Other than the heat and the Pirates losing, we had a great time.
After the game we headed back to New Bern to find a place for dinner. It wasn't hard to settle on Captain Ratty's. Ben and I shared the biggest mug of Clam Chowder...it was so thick and creamy. For our main course I ordered the catch of the day, blackened salmon on a big salad and Ben got the Cobb Salad. Both we were huge and amazingly fantastic, but we really should have shared.
The day was exhausting and after a quick shower, Ben, me, Sara, Laura and Lillie were fast asleep by 945 in our suite.
Sunday morning's breakfast was even better. The owners, Sookie and Ed, had made homemade french toast casserole with homemade blueberry syrup, coffee cake, homemade granola and fruit. Nothing was open at 1030 when we left, so we took a quick drive by the waterfront and through downtown. I love New Bern and it was really neat to see how much it's grown up since I've been there last. Ben loved it too and mentioned on our drive home how he'd like to go back and stay at the B&B again. I wish we had time to browse all the fun shops and visit the old drug store where Pepsi was born, but we can save that for our next visit.
Wednesday, September 24
Us before dinner at PF Changs!
When I came back Mon. afternoon from a girl's weekend at the beach, I could tell Ben had something up his sleeve. He could barely hold it in any longer and told me my surprise...For weeks he's been planning on cooking dinner at home on our actual anniversary. He took off the night from work and planned and cooked the entire dinner.
Ben made the most awesome Angus Barn worthy dinner: NY Strips with blue cheese, crab meat and homemade hollandaise sauce on top, twice-baked potatoes and asparagus. We shared a bottle of one of our favorites wines, Hayman & Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. I had picked up cheesecake for dessert on my way home from work. We both had so much fun remembering the details of our wedding and reception will eating by candlelight on our china.
The 2nd anniversary gift is cotton. I could not come up with a memorable cotton gift for Ben. This weekend I found a t-shirt dyed with beer and said "Will Sell WIFE for Beer." As a last minute gift I got him a pair of Lucky jeans he's been eyeing. Ben got me the most beautiful flowers and a new robe from Victoria's Secret.
We can't wait to continue our anniversary celebration in Asheville over Thanksgiving weekend!
I was in the mood for a non-traditional salad and saw Chicken and Couscous Salad featured on MyRecipes.com one day. This was perfect for a quick dinner, but even better for lunch almost everyday later in the week. It's very versatile and I added whatever veggies I had on hand. In addition to what the recipe called for, I added shredded carrots and substituted tomatoes for the radishes. We had fresh chicken breasts, so Ben grilled those. But you could easily buy the prepared chicken breast slices in the deli and they'd be grea too and even quicker! This recipe definitely goes on my quick go-to dinner and spice it up lunch menu!
Chicken Couscous Salad (Cooking Light)
1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (5.7-ounce) box uncooked couscous
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced radishes (about 3 large)
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
To prepare salad, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Spoon couscous into a large bowl; cool slightly. Add chicken, onions, radishes, cucumber, parsley, and pine nuts; toss gently to combine.
To prepare dressing, combine vinegar and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to combine.
The second recipe is Orange-Sesame Noodles with Grilled Shrimp. It's another featured recipe on Myrecipes.com, but from back in the summer. I never got around to making it, but wish I had made it sooner. I think Ben was impressed I used peanut butter for the sauce...he's a PB freak! The orange, sesame and peanut butter made for some interesting flavors...very thai!
Orange-Sesame Noodles with Grilled Shrimp (Cooking Light)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
10 ounce soba noodles or spaghetti
1 cup snow peas
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.
Boil noodles according to package directions. Before draining, add snow peas and carrot. Let cook 30 seconds.
Drain pasta, peas, and carrot, and toss immediately with orange juice mixture. Set aside.
Brush shrimp with sesame oil, and grill over medium-hot coals 3 to 5 minutes.
Arrange pasta on serving plates, and top with shrimp.
Sunday, September 7
I made these to take to my brother's for a little dinner party since my Unk was in town. We had a great time and it would have been better if this annoying cold wasn't dragging me down.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Brownies (Cooking Light)
3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup water
5 tablespoons butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine cherry preserves, 1/3 cup water, and butter in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Add preserves mixture to flour mixture; stir well. Add egg and egg white; stir until smooth. Stir in semisweet chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar, if desired.
Yield 16 servings
CALORIES 155(31% from fat); FAT 5.4g (sat 3g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.2g); IRON 1mg; CHOLESTEROL 23mg; CALCIUM 10mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.8g; SODIUM 168mg; PROTEIN 2.2g; FIBER 1.1g