Dec 31, 2010

December Goals Revisited

As today is the last day of the month (and New Years Eve!!), it’s time to see how well I did with my December goals.

What I Completed



  • I finished Christmas shopping. Duh.



  • I read a lot of interesting websites with photography tips.
  • I found photography classes to take with Biz next month.
  • Amanda, Mary, Margaret, Megan and I finally chose a Bottles ‘n Brushes class for next month.



What I Need to Work On:


  • I did not try a new class at the gym. I did, however, have a really interesting spinning experience that I will soon tell you about.


  • I didn’t read my books. I can’t sit still!


  • I didn’t go vegetarian for a week. That was an unrealistic goal.
  • I didn’t find the Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea, but that’s okay because Katie said it wasn’t that good anyway! haha.

How did you guys do on your monthly goals?

I hope everyone has a FUN and SAFE New Year’s Eve! Cheers to 2011!


Dec 29, 2010

2010 in Review: Top Foodie Moments

Getting to play behind the scenes at the Mustard Seed:IMG_2185…and Cuoco Pazzo:IMG_2628and Chick-fil-A:IMG_4118Dressing up for Chick-fil-A Cow Appreciation Day:IMG_3123And introducing Margaret to the wonders for her very first timeDSC01851which made her more apt to stop at a random location in Georgia on the way to the Auburn game:DSC01885The opening of Great Harvest…IMG_2233

…and Menchie’s! DSC_0888Receiving awesome cookies from my bloggy friend Allison:IMG_2865IMG_2882Making blogger friends:IMG_2592Receiving my Hungry Meets Healthy apron from Nikki:IMG_3241Finally enjoying alcohol after a 3-week abstinence competition with Brandon:IMG_3575Sampling the new pretzel m&ms:IMG_3956and Four Loko (disgusting.):IMG_4934Receiving free Daisy cakes in the mail…and then dropping them:DSC_0461Going shrimping with Perry and Cord:DSC_0594Becoming the Foursquare mayor of Mustard Seed:DSC_0899

And the very best foodie experience of 2010 was ITALY!He’s going to kill me for this.

What was YOUR favorite food-related experience this year?

Dec 28, 2010

The Wonders of Cinnamon + Braided Bread

I must be the most obsessive person I know. I just really love certain things:
Most people don’t know this, but cinnamon is ground from the bark of a cinnamon tree. It is really beneficial to your health.
  • Cinnamon’s nutrients include manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
  • As an anti-inflammatory, cinnamon can reduce blood clotting.
  • Just a 1/2 teaspoon a day can lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Its oils qualify as an anti-microbial food.
  • It helps control blood sugar spikes.
  • The scent alone can boost brain activity – no wonder I am so smart!
Cinnamon can easily be added into your diet. I sprinkle mine in oats, cereal, yogurt, sweet potatoes, pancakes, pb sandwiches, and coffee, tea and smoothies. I have also snuck it into several recipes, including Walnut & Cinnamon Rugelach, Moroccan Bison Stew, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, and Sweet Potato Muffins. When I saw a recipe for braided bread on Janae’s blog, I knew I had to have it. Even if that meant I was up until 2 am making it.

Yep, even after the large dinner at Magnolia’s with Katie, I still wanted to bake bread. I was on a mission. At 10:30 PM. Great timing, right? No.

First, I tried to make the dough using a hand mixer. What an idiot. I’m sure this is a highly illegal baking move, but it was late and I wanted to work quickly. DSC_1775Oops. I decided to work with my hands instead, as they are a little less vicious. I formed a lovely round ball and noticed that the recipe says to let it rise for 2 hours. TWO HOURS. It was nearly 11 PM at this point. I just told myself, “Stay awake – it’s just like if you were at a bar. Except not drinking. Or with a lot of friends. So therefore you are a loser.” DSC_1780After watching the Food Network for two hours, the dough had risen. I separated it into three smaller balls. (EW!) DSC_1808Next, I rolled and flattened them out, filling them with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Lucy took pictures for me. She appreciates my dedication to late night baking. DSC_1853DSC_1852Then I made a pretty braid. DSC_1855I felt like I was braiding Rapunzel’s hair. DSC_1856DSC_1858Before baking, the braided loaf must rise for another hour. I’m not kidding. Thank goodness it only takes about 15-18 minutes to bake!

The final product:DSC_1863I completely understand why this is Janae’s favorite bread recipe. It’s a very soft, chewy bread, and would be delicious with or without the cinnamon. But with all of cinnamon’s benefits, I definitely recommend including it.
I made a second loaf for Christmas morning and everyone really enjoyed it warmed up.

I enjoyed it raw, baked, and warmed over. Winking smileDSC_1864DSC_1866

Question: Do you like cinnamon? What’s your favorite way to use it?

It’s almost NYE!! Thank you for all your votes on which dress I should wear. Out of 63 of responses, 47 of you voted for the purple dress. I am happy to report that I will be wearing it on Friday!

Dec 27, 2010

Blogger Meet Up with Katie at Magnolia’s

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukah, or are having a lovely Kwanzaa!
Let’s talk about Magnolias. Oh yum. I had been to both sister restaurants before, Cypress and Blossom, but this was my first experience at Magnolias. One of the HMGI group restaurants, Magnolias blends traditional southern ingredients with modern international flair. Located downtown on East Bay Street, it is an upscale restaurant with a quiet, yet very comfortable ambiance. I’m still timid around certain Southern foods, but tossing in modern flair is a surefire way to spark my attention.

The most exciting part of this dinner was getting to hang out with Katie again!!
Love this girl so much! We could have talked for hours, but food kept getting in the way! Not that that is a problem or anything. At dinner, it was Katie, her boyfriend, her brother Andrew, their parents, and me! We are all pretty much food-obsessed and I’m pretty sure all we talked about was food…with a little bit of fitness. Story of my life. Although I didn’t take pictures, I will tell you what I ate.

Wine: Pinot Gris Blend Sokol-Blosser Oregon, 2008. This could be a new favorite!
Appetizer, shared by all: House made Potato Chips with crumbled blue cheese and scallions.  These were awesome. They were slightly crispy without being very greasy or soggy like many homemade chips I have tried. The blue cheese on top is even made right at Clemson University! Pretty neat.

Entrée: Sweet Chili Rubbed Ahi Tuna over habañero hummus and pepper jack spring rolls, with roasted mango salsa, and Creole rémoulade. No joke. When ordering, I assumed the tuna would be served atop the hummus, but no….was I so wrong. The hummus was INSIDE the spring rolls. Hummus spring rolls. Think crispy and sweet outside with warm spicy inside. Unreal. My first thoughts were “must recreate stat.” An hour after dinner, Katie texted me asking, “Umm is it weird I can’t stop thinking about your spring roll?” It was that good. The tuna was slightly spicy but the mango salsa cooled it down. Nothing beats my tuna from Cypress, but I could have eaten 400 hummus spring rolls.

Dessert: Apple Cobbler with Brown Sugar Ice Cream. Mmm. Served in an adorable little casserole dish, the warm apple cobbler with a cup of coffee was the perfect end to my meal. The consistency was similar to that of a bread pudding and had a good hint of nutmeg and cinnamon. Other desserts at the table included Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding and and Raspberry Sorbet.

I had such a wonderful time with Katie, Andrew, John, and the family and am so grateful they invited me along. Smile
Magnolias on Urbanspoon

When I got home from dinner, I hopped on Google reader and remembered a recipe I had seen on The Hungry Runner Girl’s blog for braided bread. It must have slipped my mind that yeast breads can take hours for the dough to rise, but once I decided to make it, there was no stopping me…Stay tuned.

Question: What was your favorite present? Mine was from my Grammy – money in a measuring glass. Please notice how she rolled the money. I guess she thinks I snort my baking products!! Geez Grammy!IMG00146-20101225-1441

Dec 23, 2010

Never Have I Ever Blogged Live. From Metto.

…until today.DSC_1837I have found love in the form of coffee.

I’ve always enjoyed coffee, but since I ventured out to Metto, in Mt. Pleasant, I have learned to love coffee. Monday morning, I drove to the nearest coffee shop that didn’t start with S and ends with S. You know where I’m talking about. Ick. Just a few miles away from my house is Metto, an adorable coffee shop that Brandon told me had the best coffee in Charleston. I would have been skeptical of his recommendation as he was not a coffee drinker when we dated, but remembering we had tasted the wonders of Italy’s coffee in January, I figured I could trust now trust him.

After waking up with a sore throat on Monday morning, I wasn’t sure if coffee should be my beverage of choice. Until I spotted the Honey Latte on the menu. How soothing does that sound? I requested a large; thank you Metto for not using stupid terminology to describe your size options. Small, medium, large. Everyone understands that. DSC_1831
So my latte. Superb. Nonfat, yet creamy, sweet, with a touch of spice. All in a paper cup stamped with Metto’s precious M-shaped heart logo. DSC_1838It is now Thursday afternoon and I’m back for my second latte. I was so ready. I marched right up to the counter, disheveled, unwashed hair and all, and requested “that honey latte that I think has crack in it. What’s in it by the way? Is it crack?” “Honey, a little bit of vanilla, and cinnamon,” says the Manager. “And yes, crack,” adds the second Barista.

I couldn’t not blog about this. Given the free internet access, a comfy chair, and extremely friendly baristas, I felt I should stay. DSC_1842And I might as well order a sandwich.DSC_1845Turkey Cranberry Panini: Oven Gold turkey, Swiss cheese, mayo, cranberry chutney, lettuce, tomato on Tuscan bread. $7. Delicious.

For a coffee shop, Metto has a lot of food options. Breakfast items include made-from-scratch muffins, cinnamon rolls, croissants, quiche, bagels, breakfast wraps, and biscotti. And go ahead, order another latte and while you ponder the lunch menu. You can have your choice of a salad, panini, or a wrap with either chips or fresh fruit. Do not forget dessert: chocolate chip cookies, macaroons, dark chocolate brownies, pecan blondies, and whoopie pies. This place is dangerous in the best way.

As I sit here and type this, the jazz rendition of “I’m in Love with a Stripper" is playing. Nobody seems to mind, and I think I like it. This somehow reminds me that I missed my 12 o’clock spin class. Whoops. All jacked up on coffee but no pedaling for me. Is it time to try Zumba?

The barista just informed me that they’d be closed tomorrow. Poof went my coffee buzz. On a better note, I can come back Monday for double stamp day.

What am I coming back for? A third Honey Latte and this. DSC_1834-1Stay tuned.


Metto Coffee@Tea on Urbanspoon