It’s creeping around the weekend, rent is coming due. And if you live in Asheville you know how much of a stress giver, headache and drain on your bank account that can be. It also sucks even more if you are like me and most of my bills are due the last week and first week of the month. A fun two weeks of paying bills, paying bills. Whether you have a roommate, live with a SO or by yourself I know it’s hard and I understand the hustle. But we still got to eat. Sure there are some great affordable finds at Trader Joe’s and Aldi; and there are some great recipes for serious budgets, but sometimes you have to go out to keep your sanity in this dog eat dog world. Even if you are broke. So I’ve come up with two restaurants in Asheville that have an entire full affordable menu perfect for solo meals, splitting meals, date night or the just I’m tired of eating ramen meal!
Del Vecchios is a newer Italian eatery in Asheville and really new to me. It’s a smaller restaurant on Merrimon Avenue with major cafe vibes, it’s small and quaint so perfect for solo dining when you don’t want to cook or perfect for a date or even a meal with your girlfriends. Offering pizzas, subs, salads and these delicious fries it earns the spot in one of my two affordable restaurants. All of their sandwiches and pasta dishes are under $10.00 and large enough portions to share or eat half there and half for left overs. Ohhhh and these garlic Parmesan fries are to die for and you get a huge serving for $5.99. Two people dined here both with entrees and these fries, plus tip for $30.00; plus we both had lunch for the next day. For Asheville this is a cheap meal. We could have gotten out cheaper because we had never eaten there before and could have shared. Ohhhh and did I mention the service is absolutely amazing! And I’ve heard their pizza is off the chain!
Taqueria Munoz is one of my favorite affordable Asheville eats. Literally everything on the menu is under $7.50 and who doesn’t love a good taco shop. This place is authentic and worth the trek to West Asheville. The tacos are huge portions and you can get anything from tongue meat to pork or chicken. And the best part is each taco is $2.50. And it’s no lie when I say I can’t eat two full tacos. There is that much meat on there. But they also serve other yumminess like tortas, soups and meals. I have only braved to try the tacos and tortas because when I say it’s authentic, it’s legit. I have gotten enough courage to try tongue and head meat tacos. Too good. And don’t judge it before you try. Budget friendly and leaving me in a food coma. Count me in! But take cash, because that’s all they accept there.
Ladies and Gents, it’s tough out there and rent is due on Monday! Let’s make the most out of living in our crazy over priced town!
Sweet Summertime! One thing I love about Summer is fresh berries picked right off the vine. Whether it’s strawberries, blueberries or blackberries; it has to be one of my top 5 favorite things. Why? There is something so great about picking your own food, fresh berries are much more sweeter than store bought ones and it brings up memories of my childhood. My grandma (on my mom’s side) had wild berries on the mountainside across from her house and when I would spend time with her in the summer it is something we would do then she would make pie. Another set of grandparents (who weren’t actually related at all to me) had so many fruit trees, vines or bushes that I would constantly pick from for the entire summer. I also remember fresh fruit pies or cakes, homemade wine and jellies. So since I live in the mountains I knew I had to find some berries to pick. I came across a “berry farm” on Facebook, that came highly recommended, Fruit of the Spirit Orchard and Vineyard. This was a huge farm where you could go and pick your own berries. There were rows and rows of sweet blackberries! I met the owner with a warm smile who was probably one of the nicest people I have met at any farm. She took the time to walk us to the row and we were off to pick berries.
The tent to pay also had farm fresh veggies and jams! I of course had to get one of those tomatoes for the summertime staple in the south, the “mater sandwich”!
I had to do something with all of the fresh berries. I have already decided these would be great for a work snack, on top of my oatmeal, in a smoothie or shake, but wanted to try something a little different. I am in no way a baker so didn’t want to try my hand at a pie or tart so went with something a little more simple. Plus I had most of the ingredients in my pantry! This is the yummiest berry crisp and goes perfect with vanilla ice cream. I would give this recipe two thumbs up.
- 4 cups fresh berries, can use any kind or mix berries
- 4 T white sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups brown sugar (I would trim this down if I made it again)
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cup butter
- preheat oven to 350 degrees
- combine the berries and white sugar in a bowl and set aside
- in another bowl combine the remaining ingredients and cut in butter
- spread half of the topping in the bottom of the pan
- spread berries over the top
- cover with remaining topping
- bake for 30 to 40 minutes
I would highly recommend taking the scenic drive before school starts back up to Hendersonville to get some fresh berries from Fruit of the Spirit Orchard!
I have found my go to Summer recipe that is perfect for a light dinner when I don’t want anything too hot, perfect for a picnic or even a work lunch. I also think if you are a college student this would make a great lunch while in school! Cheddar’s makes a Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad that is soo yummy and it also brings back a lot of memories. My dear friend April and I used to go to Cheddar’s all the time and catch up and we would always get this as our meal. I was thinking about all of our time spent together eating the same thing the other day and wanted to make it at home instead of going by myself to the restaurant. So I made my own little version of the Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, with a slightly different take.
- chicken breasts
- romaine lettuce
- vegetable pasta (I found mine at Ingles)
- whole wheat croutons
- Parmesan cheese
- lite Italian dressing
- lite Caesar dressing
- Cut chicken breasts so that they are thin,
- Either soak the chicken in the Italian dressing and grill it or put the chicken in a pan with the Italian season and sautee until the chicken is done.
- Once the chicken is fully cooked, place in the fridge to chill.
- Cook pasta according to package. After the pasta is drained place in the fridge to chill.
- Cut up the chicken in whatever way you would like,
- Prep your lettuce and cheese.
- Once pasta and chicken is chilled mix the chicken, pasta and lettuce in a bowl.
- Add the Caesar dressing to the mixture. Add as little or as much as you would like.
- Top with cheese and croutons.
This side dish or vegetarian meal is absolutely perfect and quite healthy. I made this for a Fourth of July cookout and everyone gave it a thumbs up! I eat brussel sprouts probably about two times a week so it’s nice to mix it up as far as roasting goes. This added a little more flavor than my normal salt, pepper and olive oil blend with roasting. This is the perfect roasted side dish for any of your other upcoming summer cookouts and will go great in the Fall.
I thankfully have an Aldi close to me and got the cheese, lemon, brussel sprouts and garlic from there for under $6.00. So not only was this side dish extremely yummy and healthy, it was also extremely affordable.
- 1 lb brussel sprouts
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- sea salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Trim outer layer of brussel sprouts and trim the ends. Then cut in halves.
- In a separate bowl add brussel sprouts and garlic, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Mix together. Add salt and pepper
- Spread brussel sprouts evenly on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes flipping once.
- Once pulled from the oven sprinkle with cheese and serve warm.
There is nothing I love more after a long day of working than to come home and relax. For a perfect night at home, nothing goes together better than yummy snacks and some Netflix. So when I recently found out about Candy Club I thought it would be perfect to snack on at the end of my day, or possibly take with me to work to avoid buying the impulse candies.
Candy Club is a monthly subscription service of candy sent right to your front door! From anywhere between 19.99 and 27.99 you can receive about 3 pounds of candy plus some extra sweets each month.
The candy arrives in an insulated bubble wrap that protects the candy, packed with bright tissue paper, and the candy comes in the cutest containers (almost reminds me of clear paint containers). The box also includes and information card with all the information on the candies and their companies as well as nutritional information (wait candy has this?!).
In June’s box it came with Gimbal’s Sour Gourmet Jelly Beans, Sour Power Wild Cherry Belts, Gimbal’s Red Licorice Scottie Dogs, and Sweets Cotton Candy Salt Water Taffy. I’m not a huge fan of licorice so the scottie dogs were not my favorite. The cherry belts were extremely sour but kind of delicious. The jelly beans actually taste like the fruit matched with them and not a crazy artificial flavor. The jelly beans were my favorite out of the tubs. Which by the way these tubs are going to be perfect for painting purposes. But my favorite part was the taffy, it’s cotton candy flavored! It’s amazing and I could eat it all in one sitting. I had a friend come over and Andrew, my friend and I “taste tested” all the candy. Verdict is the jelly beans are our favorite, but Andrew also really likes the sour belts.
I really think it’s a good subscription to get considering the type of candy and the amount you get! If you would like to sign up you can get $15.00 off your first box with code: awesome15
While I’m snacking on my new favorite candies I’m watching some Netflix. A few of my favorite shows (that you should watch too):
- Orange Is The New Black
- Law & Order SUV-Who doesn’t love Olivia Benson
- Sons of Anarchy
- Hart of Dixie
- True Crime Shows- 48 Hours, Vanished, Woman Who Kill
- Gilmore Girls
- Mad Men
- The Wonder Years
- It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
- Saved By The Bell
- Parks and Recreation
- Diners, Dives and Drives
I always feel like I’m not big on the movies Netflix has but I do love searching the documentaries. You can find anything from the lives of famous murders, to learn the scary world of drugs and the porn industry, find out the lives of people who have started famous companies, learn about some art, or food information.
It’s felt like Spring with what I’ve been eating lately. Lots of berries for breakfast and the first cook out of the year was had a week ago. Also Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack is so delicious and had it delivered one night when the schedule was extremely hectic. P.S. Rocky’s mac and cheese poppers and sweet potato casserole is pretty much heaven in a bite.
I’ve been working on a lot of art here lately! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram because I have sales on art through Pay With Penny!
The weather in Asheville has been rainy, but I’ve tried to make it out to Biltmore as much as possibly to see the Biltmore Blooms this Spring.
I introduced a four legged friend into my home, Maeve seems to be adjusting pretty well.
I got to take a hard hat tour of the Asheville Outlets that are due to open on May 1st. It was pretty neat to see the transformation from the old mall.
Cove Lake Labradoodles had a new litter of puppies on 4-15-15. They are so tiny and adorable right now.
I hate to admit but I will, I’m addicted to Sons of Anarchy. I can’t stop watching it. And with Netflix releasing the final season this month, it’s been about the only thing I actually sit down and watch.
Make sure you are following me on Instagram to see what I’m up to on a daily basis!.
Here lately I have loved roasting veggies in the oven rather than cooking them on a skillet or steaming/ poaching them. I have cooked everything except for broccoli and green beans. I especially like them roasted because I like to bite into things with a crunch and I personally think it holds the flavor better this way.
I cut all the ends off of the asparagus then in a bowl mixed some extra virgin olive oil with my choices of spices. This time I used basil, garlic, salt and pepper and some hot sauce. While doing this I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.
Even out on a pan and bake anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the crispyness of the veggies you want.
Nothing screams Summer or Summer cookouts more than hotdogs and pasta salad. And due to the holiday weekend, and Summer coming to an end I expect there to be a lot of cookouts happening. If you don’t feel like grilling hot dogs, but want a great American favorite this weekend I whipped up a new hot dog for you and an interesting, spicy pasta salad.
These baked chili-cheese dogs are so simple. I just take the hotdog and bun and place it in a baking dish. I then load the dog with onions, chili and cheese. Put in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.
For this spicy pasta salad you will need corn, black beans, pasta, an onion, ranch dressing, and taco seasoning. You can also add shredded cheese to this but I skipped that ingredient. Boil your pasta per box directions. While past is boiling chop your onion, mix 1 cup ranch dressing with the pack of taco seasoning, drain the beans and prep the corn.
When you drain the pasta you want to run cold water over the pasta to prevent it from cooking further and to cool the pasta down. Mix everything together and chill for an hour before serving.
This pasta would also make a great meal if you add some chicken or steak and possibly peppers for a spicy “Mexican” dish.