Monday, August 10

It’s All Greek To Me

The past few weeks we have been eating a little lighter to balance out all the amazing food we ate on vacation.  While I browsing the Complete Weight Watchers Cookbook a recipe for Turkey with Feta topping caught my eye (or taste-buds) since I have been craving Greek food with lots of Mediterranean flavors.  I decided to adapt the recipe using chicken and added a Greek vinaigrette that we used as dressing on our salad.  Also on the menu was couscous, which cooks in less than 5 minutes and is a Greek staple.  This recipe was really quick and easy, which was perfect for an evening where we both went on a run.Topsail Island 2009 667

Greek Chicken

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup greek vinaigrette
  • 6-8 sundried tomato halves (not oil-packed)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1.3 cup crumbles low fat feta cheese
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Marinate the chicken breasts in the vinaigrette for at least 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Bake chicken in oven proof glass dish for 20-25 minutes until juices are clear.

In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and boiling water; let stand 2 minutes.  Drain and finely chop; return tomatoes to bowl.  Stir in the cheese,  shallot, garlic, basil and oregano.

Top the chicken with tomato and cheese mixture; broil 4-5 minutes until cheese is soft and slightly melted.

Thursday, August 6

Wilmington Day Trips

While we were vacationing in Topsail we took two separate trips to Wilmington.  One day the entire family went for a little stroll through downtown Wilmington on the Riverfront, shopping at the Cotton Exchange and lunch at Dockside in Wrightsville.  Topsail Island 2009 379Topsail Island 2009 381Before lunch we strolled along the riverfront and saw the Battleship as well as the Coastguard docked.  We were intrigued with the “stickers” on the side of the ship and asked one of the crew getting on the ship and he confirmed the marijuana stickers were the number of drug busts that had done and the six round ones above that were for cocaine.   All the others are other awards.  It was really cool to see how proud they all were.  Topsail Island 2009 397 Topsail Island 2009 399Topsail Island 2009 412  Topsail Island 2009 430 Topsail Island 2009 422For lunch we headed over to Wrightsville Beach to Dockside for lunch.  It was hot, so we ate inside on the 2nd floor with a perfect view of the Inter-coastal Waterway.  They even had a decent selection of beer, which I definitely enjoyed with my crab cake sandwich.   Topsail Island 2009 448 Topsail Island 2009 439Topsail Island 2009 444While walking from the Cotton Exchange towards the Riverfront we came across Front Street Brewery.  We actually had intentions of coming back, but made solid plans once we saw the place and their menu.  Topsail Island 2009 391

On our way home, we took the long detour and stopped at Front Street for a sample tasting and we loved the Scottish Ale so much we each had a pint.  Knowing we’d be getting home late, we decided to try two appetizers for lunch so we could eat local rather than fast food off 40.  The homemade salsa had just the right amount of heat, but the best was the Buffalo Blue Cheese sticks – Amazing!  We had plans to eat dinner at my mom’s since we were picking up Freddie since they doggie-sat for us, so we picked up a growler of the Scottish for everyone to enjoy!  It was the perfect ending to a perfect week at the beach.Topsail Island 2009 661Topsail Island 2009 662Topsail Island 2009 664Topsail Island 2009 663

Wednesday, August 5

Good Eats at the Beach!

As I have mentioned before, on our family vacations we are each in charge of a day for breakfast, a drink of the day, dinner and dessert.  Lunch is usually leftovers, sandwiches or one of the few salads we prepare in advance. 

A few months before our vacation we literally draw days of the week we will cook and in the next few months we gather recipes and set our menu.  Since we are a family who loves to cook…this is actually relaxing and enjoyable for us.  I love having the time to put together an entire meal from scratch!  Check the links for recipes…Paula Deen was a big hit for the week.  I do not think any recipes was rated less than 5 stars and I’m pretty sure we all gained a few extra pounds from all the good food we ate all week.

Our first full day, Sunday, was Laura and Lillie.  They chose Monkey Bread for breakfast and one of their favorite dinners of Sloppy Joe’s and fries!Topsail Island 2009 061Monday was my dad’s day.  We had an American breakfast of eggs, grits, bacon and toast for breakfast and a seafood feast for dinner.  He picked up fresh shrimp, king crab legs and oysters from a local seafood market on the waterway.  As our appetizer we all enjoyed shucking steamed oysters, especially Lillie!  Our main course was a “low country boil” with the seafood, potatoes and corn.  We did have to get a little creative with cracking the crab legs, but it was well worth the time and effort…they were delicious.  Dinner was followed by Peach Cobbler and homemade vanilla ice cream.Topsail Island 2009 079Topsail Island 2009 082 Ben was up next for Tuesday.  He had us all build our Breakfast In Bowls with hashbrowns, sausage, eggs and cheese.  He started dinner early by cooking his special ribs for several hours in the oven and Macaroni and Cheese on the crock pot.  Roasted Corn with Chili-Lime Butter and cornbread rounded our his meal with Sticky Toffee Pudding and homemade vanilla ice cream as his dessert.  The sticky toffee pudding was heavenly and we still have part of this frozen we brought back with the anticipation of making Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream very soon!Topsail Island 2009 083Topsail Island 2009 161Topsail Island 2009 197 By mid week we did not think we could be eating any better, but Sara impressed us with Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze and one of my absolute favorite Paula Deen recipes, Baked Garlic Chesse Grits for breakfast.  Our afternoon/evening cocktail was Bahama Mama’s…these were just like the ones I loved on our honeymoon!!  After our family Christmas card pictures on the dock at sunset we feasted on Shrimp Carbonara and warm spinach salads.  The dessert of the night was Cooking Light’s Berry Peach Cobbler and vanilla ice cream.Topsail Island 2009 204Topsail Island 2009 312Topsail Island 2009 363Topsail Island 2009 365Topsail Island 2009 367Thursday was my day!  Since I like to prepare things in advance I made Orange Pecan French Toast, that sits overnight.  So all you need to do it pop it in the oven and I served it with fresh fruit and Spike Iced Cappuccino’s.  For dinner I had a mexican theme and started the meal off with Blue Margaritas and South of the Border Mason Dixon Dip.  The main meal was Chicken & Shrimp Fajitas and Corn and Black Bean Salad.  Keeping with the Mexican theme, I made Banana Quesadillas with vanilla ice cream for dessert while we enjoyed a few rounds of Sequence.Topsail Island 2009 372Topsail Island 2009 374Topsail Island 2009 451Topsail Island 2009 458Topsail Island 2009 465Last, but not least…Adam started our day off with homemade donuts – both glazed and iced chocolate!  His drink of the day was Summertime Alligator and the Midori made this drink!  Dinner was fit for a king…the biggest steaks I have ever seen and grilled to perfection, twice baked potatoes and Caesar salad.  Ben was the only one who actually finished his steak and the rest of us took doggie bags home with at least two-thirds of our steak left.  A perfect steakhouse dinner was not complete without Cherry Cheesecake.  The little girl’s had their own special dessert of “Eat all you Can Chocolate Ice Cream” - what a perfect way to end the week!Topsail Island 2009 470Topsail Island 2009 595Topsail Island 2009 596Topsail Island 2009 597Topsail Island 2009 601Topsail Island 2009 603Topsail Island 2009 658

Tuesday, August 4

2009 Vacation #1: Topsail Island

Just last weekend we got back from our first official vacation of 2009 in Topsail Island with my dad, stepmom and sisters.  I have not been to Topsail Island since I was a toddler and do not remember anything about that trip.  Apparently we survived a hurricane where the winds were so strong it would have blown me and my then 1 year old brother, Zack, off the deck. 

On our first day we met up with everyone at the Crab Pot in Surf City.  It’s a hole in the wall place with no air conditioning and you order at the bar, but the food is delish.  The oyster burgers and crab cake sandwiches were a great way to start off the beach week.Topsail Island 2009 031 Topsail Island 2009 033While there is not hardly anything to do on the island besides a handful of restaurants, that was fine by us.  The week was quite enjoyable,  full of beautiful weather and lots of relaxation! So relaxing in fact, I took my laptop, found the WiFi and decided to shut off the computer for most of the week and read a few books.Topsail Island 2009 121 Topsail Island 2009 532Topsail Island 2009 215  Like all of our beach vacations, we each draw for a day that we are in charge of making breakfast, a drink of the day, dinner and dessert.  We are a family that loves to cook and entertain, so for us to finally have the time to try out new recipes and whip up some old favorites, we had lots of fun.  Topsail Island 2009 036

We also brought our camera and extra lenses.  We were so lucky to have perfect sunsets every night off the marsh behind the house and beautiful days on the beach, we ended up taking 600 pictures!!  Topsail Island 2009 181

Sunday, August 2

All Fun and Lots of Play

While I mostly enjoy sitting on the beach reading a book with my toes in the sand, Ben and my sister’s boyfriend, Adam, along with Laura and Lillie enjoyed playing and occasionally convinced me and Sara to join in the fun.  Topsail Island 2009 127Topsail Island 2009 111Topsail Island 2009 276Topsail Island 2009 283The girl’s loved having the boy’s around to take them far out in the ocean past the sandbar.  After the first trip we can keep a close eye on them as they got a little too confident with themselves and were definitely not scared of being too far out in the ocean alone.  Us girl’s did a make few trips to the ocean when were dying in the heat of the sun.  Now that we’re older and wiser, we are pretty skeptical of the ocean floor and not being able to see the bottom, although the water was clear on calm days.Topsail Island 2009 554 Topsail Island 2009 149 Ben was such a good sport and let us bury him in the sand.  Laura and Lillie had such a fun time shoveling sand onto him until he was completely covered.  I think they were smart enough to know he would eventually have to go in water to get all the sand off!Topsail Island 2009 524Topsail Island 2009 539Topsail Island 2009 546  Daily, we also played horseshoes, Frisbee, and football.  Adam and Sara taught Lillie how to hike the ball and she played Quarterback. Topsail Island 2009 234Topsail Island 2009 246Topsail Island 2009 292Topsail Island 2009 291Topsail Island 2009 302But not all games were played outside.  Sara, Adam, Ben and I had a little friendly round of family beer pong.  It has been years since I played this and after losing 2 rounds in a row, I called it quits!  Topsail Island 2009 574Topsail Island 2009 576Topsail Island 2009 587 Also one night we played Sequence and  the little girl’s were quick to learn the game too.     Topsail Island 2009 460