The Perfect Thanksgiving Appetizer: Bacon Wrapped Dates

Happy Thursday friends! How is Thanksgiving only two weeks away? It’s almost here and I’m over here planning what I’m cooking for dinner, how to watch the parade online and outfit planning, because priorities y’all! But I recently attended an event where the best small bites were served including theses bacon wrapped, cheesy goodness, dates.

I’m still not sure how in the world I had never had these prior to this event. I’m pretty sure I had been living under a rock. But dates have always scared me. Like I don’t know how they cook, I’ve never blended them up in smoothies and never ate them on their own. But man oh man was I wrong. Delicious! So with discussing the upcoming holidays I was/am determined to make these for Thanksgiving appetizers. Way more fancy than dip guys!

These are so easy to make (minimal ingredients and minimal work) and so yummy. Everyone will love the sweet and savory mixture.

WHAT YOU NEED:

Bacon

Dates

Goat Cheese

Toothpicks

Aluminum Foil or Parchment Paper

Set oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the dates open on one side and remove the pit.

Stuff with a small amount of goat cheese. I added garlic salt and parsley to my cheese.

Wrap with bacon.

Secure with toothpick. This helps in flipping the dates to get evenly brown bacon.

Place on lined pan.

Bake for 7-8 minutes. Flip the dates and bake another 7-8 minutes.

These can be served hot, warm or reheated!

ENJOY!

 

Also heads up! I found dates to be a struggle to buy. A local grocer Ingles had 4 dates in a package for $3.00. If making for a large crowd I would considering buying in bulk from somewhere. Because these little guys disappear from the plate fast!

Hilton Head Island Travel Diary: The iPhone Version

So if you aren’t following me on Instagram (which you should because sometimes it’s funny) you may not have known that I took a much needed vacation last week to Hilton Head Island. It’s one of my favorite places for a ton of different reasons. I love the atmosphere, the scenes, the fact that it is a quiet community and the food! So here are some of the highlights of my trip!

For the first time in almost four years we stayed on the South end of the island, right down the street from Coligny Beach. We were walking distance from food and shopping of any kind; and the most important, we were on beach front so we could easily walk to the beach at any given time during the day. It was so easy to have a relaxing vacation when everything was at your fingertips. Plus it didn’t hurt that according to the FitBit, we got well over 10,000 steps a day. Plus you could constantly hear the waves crashing which is the ultimate sound for relaxation.

Being so close to the beach and the fact that this was a much needed vacation was a no brainer that all day, every day I was at the beach. I loaded up on the SPF and literally chilled. The beach was quiet after Labor Day Weekend and even more quiet with the threat of a hurricane. But still I relaxed. And swam in the ocean. And played with sea creatures. I’ve got plenty of questions about this hat, the striped bathing suit and the kimono cover up; so they are all linked here!

Hat // Striped Bathing Suit // Kimono

Hilton Head Island is known for their world class golf courses and food. And well let’s just say I prefer food over the links. I have been waiting 5 whole years to try this place. They shut down for a week before Summer and it just so happens that’s always the week I visit. But it was worth the wait. Perfectly cooked cajun southern food. I had the etoufee and it was amazzzzzinggggg! If you visit Hilton Head, I suggest visiting Kenny B’s.

I found Java Burrito Company on Instagram and I am so glad that I did. It’s like a local Chipotle but for every meal and a full coffee bar inside. I had a breakfast bowl and iced dirty chai. Hands down one of the best decisions I made on that trip.

Ela’s is becoming a favorite on the island for me to visit. A little swanky, quiet, on the waterfront and the service and food is outstanding. We visiting the day before the evacuation was in order for Irma and they were still open. We had the place to ourselves and the service nor food suffered due to being understaffed or the island becoming a ghost town.

Marley’s Island Grill was a first for me, but not a last. Sooooooo good! A Caribbean take on local seafood. I got chorizo almond crusted scallops which may actually be one of the top 20 best meals of my life. So good.

There is just beauty and magic every where on the island. Maybe it’s because you are on vacation or island time. Whatever it is, it works. My soul feels a little more full after my visit there.

Happy Travels!

Weekend Diary

Weekend Diary

This weekend has been a duzy. It was literally back to back things in my calendar. Actually this entire week has been a whirlwind. So here’s a little recap of the fun things that happened because I wouldn’t want to bore you with work and classes taught and interning things. This weekend I had several photo shoots for several exciting things coming up on the blog. I’m actually really excited about all the things I’m working on, and I know all of you will be too!

Weekend Diary Weekend Diary Weekend Diary

I was invited to the Food Truck Showdown in downtown to get some pics of all the awesome food. There were tacos (can I get an AMEN) and I have found my new favorite food truck. Vieux Carre had some Crawfish Etouffee Mac and Cheese, let’s just say it was to die for, and I could eat it every day. I hope it’s a regular on their menu and not just for Saturday. Sadly they didn’t win the ultimate award but they were the best in my book. Side note, pretty sure after this weekend a juice cleanse is in my future this week.

Weekend DiaryWeekend DiaryWeekend DiaryWeekend Diary

On Sunday we got up really early to get some hiking in before I had a list of appointments and homework a mile long to do. It was freezing on the parkway, literally ice every where. But we did. And it was great to get out of my own head for a little while. Lunch took place at the Pisgah Inn because I have never actually been there. Delicious food and great views. Best part, I honestly didn’t have to worry about anything.

I hope all of you had a great weekend! Cheers to this week.

Comfort Food: Chicken Pie

Comfort Food: Chicken PieComfort Food: Chicken Pie

I love veggies, but mixed in to pies is something I strongly dislike. So when I was younger, we used to always have this veggieless pie that is very similar to a Moravian chicken pie. This is pie is one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s also perfect for those cold pre-winter nights and is very reminiscent of the holidays. This pie goes perfect with a side of mashed potatoes, gravy and brussel sprouts! I almost can’t wait to make this pie again.

Ingredients:

  • Pie crust, homemade or prepackaged
  • Three chicken breasts
  • Cream of chicken soup, canned (1 can) or homemade
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parsley
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook chicken; can boil, grill or bake
  • Once chicken is fully cooked, shred
  • Mix cream of chicken, chicken and milk together. Add salt, pepper and parsley to taste.
  • Spray pie dish with some cooking oil.
  • Lay down one layer of pie crust then fill with chicken mixture.
  • Cover with pie crust, making sure there are no open edges on the crust.
  • Bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Serve pie with gravy or plain.

Let me know if you try this because I must say, it’s pretty tasty!

XOXO

Stephanie.

Easy Ramen Stir-Fry

Easy Ramen Stir Fry Easy Ramen Stir Fry

It’s officially the holiday season and Ramen is a really big thing now so I thought I would share this super easy dish with all of you. The holiday season is really busy and stressful so it’s really nice to come home and be able to cook something really easy. Something that also doesn’t break the bank. This ramen dish can be catered to whatever your taste may be and the thing that takes the most time is honestly cutting the carrots and cooking the meat. I used to always have this as a child but have catered it to fit my likes now.

What you need:

  • Meat- I used stir-fry steak, but you can use whatever kind of meat you would like.
  • Veggies-I used shredded cabbage, carrots and onions.
  • Two packets of Ramen (beef since I used beef)-I discard the sauce packets.
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Soy Sauce- I used low sodium soy sauce
  • Sauce for your dish (optional)

Directions:

Cut your veggies and meat if need be. In a hot pan with olive oil began to cook your meat. Once meat is cooked set to the side. In a new pan with olive oil mix in garlic, then “fry” the cabbage and carrots or whatever veggies you choose. While the veggies are cooking, boil some water and add in your Ramen. This does not take a long time to cook at all. Drain (I don’t like my Ramen soupy so I hardly leave any water, you can add as much as you would like) and add to the pain with the veggies. Cook for about 2 minutes then add the meat in and add about a teaspoon of soy sauce or whatever you would like. I then topped mine with some duck sauce. Eat as soon as possible..

One Pot Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

One Pot Pumpkin PastaOne Pot Pumpkin PastaOne Pot Pumpkin PastaOne Pot Pumpkin PastaOne Pot Pumpkin PastaOne Pot Pumpkin Pasta

One pot meals are very popular and I understand why! You cook everything in one pot so you don’t have several different things cooking at one time and you hardly have any clean up afterwards! Who doesn’t love minimal clean up! So essentially, you put a bunch of stuff into a pot and boil for about ten minutes while tossing and stirring. Everything is cooked, sauce is formed and dinner is served.

With Fall here everything is pumpkin flavored that and pumpkin flavored this. I’m not saying I don’t love it but everything is really focused on sweet stuff. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, fiber and potassium which is all good for your heart! So why not add it to more things. Pumpkin is essentially flavorless, just like a lot of squashes, so can be added to numerous things for health benefits. So why not add it to some pasta!

This pumpkin pasta is very rich and not extremely pumpkin flavored thanks to the goat cheese. This makes a great main dish or a side. After making this I think this would have been great to have been made like a spaghetti and added ground sausage to the mix. It’s pretty yummy and got thumbs up from everyone who tried. This dish really reminded me of an alfredo but less fattening and orange.

Ingredients:

  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion chopped small
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (make sure you don’t get pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 oz linguine pasta
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 log goat cheese (can use cream cheese, ricotta or any other if you don’t like goat cheese, I used goat cheese with herbs and spices in it)
  • 1/2 cup white wine (can use apple juice diluted with water)
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Directions

  • Add all the ingredients except the goat cheese and parsley to a large, heavy pot.
  • Place pot over high heat, as soon as it comes to a rolling boil set timer for 9 minutes.
  • Stir and toss as it cooks and begin stirring constantly as the mixture thickens.
  • After 9 minutes remove from heat. Mixture will look a little soupy but will continue to thicken. Add your cheese mixture and stir together until smooth.
  • Plate and garnish with parsley.

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Sausage and Vegetable Bake

Sausage and Vegetable BakeSausage and Vegetable BakeSausage and Vegetable BakeSausage and Vegetable Bake

I don’t know if it’s the changing of the seasons or what, but I was craving vegetables (all of them) recently and what better time to crave them than at the end of summer when the vegetables are still fresh from the farm. So I headed to the market and started loading my basket with fresh veggies, still no idea what I intended to make; then I came across the wonderful locally made sausage. I knew I wanted to incorporate the sausage somehow so when it was time to cook I just started throwing things together and it actually turned out really really good. So I’m calling this my sausage and vegetable bake.

Ingredients:

  • Corn
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sausage
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garlic

You can actually use any mixture of vegetables that you would like.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Heat some evoo in a skillet and begin to cook sausage links
  • Cut all of your vegetables
  • In another skillet, heat evoo with garlic, onions and zucchini together.
  • Place all vegetables on baking sheet.
  • Cut up sausages and add to vegetables.
  • Bake for around 40 minutes until everything is nicely cooked.

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Southern Fried Squash

Southern Fried SquashSouthern Fried SquashSouthern Fried SquashSouthern Fried SquashSouthern Fried Squash

Summer is coming to an end so I’m trying to get in as many fresh veggies as possible, but I also live in the South so I like to fry things. How about combining the two?! Fried Squash is something I have enjoyed ever since I was a younger kid, but I don’t eat it on a regular basis. So here’s how to do it the southern way.

Ingredients:

  • fresh squash
  • milk
  • corn meal flour
  • canola oil

Directions:

  • Cut your squash into thin slices
  • coat with milk
  • before using flour heat a hot pan 3/4 full with canola oil
  • coat each piece of squash with flour
  • test oil with drips of water to see if it bubbles
  • once hot enough begin to fry your squash so that each side turns golden brown

Thank you so much to Amanda for making this fried squash..

July Favorites 2015

I can’t believe another month has come and gone, it seems like last week I just made my June favorites. But I do love August because Saturday (the first) is my birthday and this coming month I have a lot of exciting things happening.

7-43

This month I haven’t been in love with that many new products but my favorites for the month are Too Faced Born This Way foundation (see my review here), Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer and the Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream.

I'm With The Band

Fashion wise I really just can’t get out of graphic tees this month. Probably as casual as you can get has been my go to this month because my life is about to get really really hectic. I’ve also been living in a pair of knock off Birkenstocks I picked up at Target.

Healthy Chicken Caesar Pasta SaladSweet Farm to TableGarlic, Lemon, Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

This month I have been trying a lot of new recipes because I was in a serious food funk of eating the same boring stuff. So I came up with some twists on things I like to eat regular. A different roasted brussel sprouts, a chicken cesar pasta salad, a berry crumble and a childhood favorite have been new in my kitchen this month.

 

I have recently came across Alex and Sierra who apparently recently won The X Factor, and I am in love. They remind me of a more eclectic sounding Civil Wars and I am in love. I can’t stop listening to their songs.

Another Day Another Hike

Andrew and I enjoy hiking so I will post our hike to Chimney Tops in Gatlinburg TN as my favorite even though it was literally the hike from hell. It was extremely steep and we got rained out at the top, but the adventure does make me pretty happy..

Beer Lovers Date

Beer Lovers DateBeer Lovers DateBeer Lovers DateBeer Lovers DateBeer Lovers DateBeer Lovers Date

This year Sierra Nevada opened up a brewery in Mills River, NC right past the Asheville airport. Andrew and I hadn’t been yet due to the hype of it still being new and packed but decided to recently take the plunge and go. Even though we had to wait for a table for an hour and could not go on the tour (because it’s backed up so far on waiting list), I’m glad we did. The building is beautiful including the brewery, gift shop and restaurant/bar. We were unable to spend any time on the grounds due to a wonderful summer mountain storm. At Sierra Nevada we were able to sample beers you can’t buy at the grocery store but can take home from there. Andrew lovesĀ Sierra Nevada, it’s probably his favorite beer company, so he was like a kid in a kid in a candy store, seriously if your significant other loves beer this is a sure fire place to visit. The menu is small plates meant for sharing so we got the Duck Fat Fries, Pork Cheeks, and Chorizo Verde & White Beans. The fries were out of this world yummy, the pork cheeks were almost orgasmic, the grits with the pork cheeks were by far the best I’ve ever had (and I’m a southerner so I’ve had a lot of grits) and the chorizo and beans were not what I expected in a good way. While there we learned that most of the food is local, the meat is cured in house, everything is made fresh to order and the plates are delivered when ready. Andrew and I have had several Sierra Nevada beers so we tried ones we haven’t. We feel in love with the Stout and the Double Dubble taste like whiskey! We hands down feel in love with this place and agreed it was in the top three spots of our dining experiences in Asheville. If you get the chance to go, even if you don’t drink beer, it’s a must!.