Wednesday, August 21, 2013

weekend events (and grilled veggie marinade)

Last weekend was another busy weekend, and as per usual, too short. After having been away for two weekends in a row (Lancaster and then Deep Creek), I was excited to stick around town, clean my apartment (yes, I was excited to do this - and I'm still not done), get my haircut and see some old friends. Friday I stayed in, but Saturday involved a 'lil girls night with some big burgers. I brought a side of veggies to grille after a successful trip to the farmers market where I also got some herbs for the kitchen windowsill - a little bit of a makeshift potting situation - but it works:

Basil, Parsley and Lemon Thyme - yum.

I picked up red, yellow and green peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant and did a really simple and easy marinade that added great flavors to the veggies:

Grilled Veggie Marinade:

2/3 c olive oil
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

I chopped up my veggies in fairly large pieces and marinated them in fridge for about 4 hours in a plastic ziplock bag - then shish kebabed them up and threw them on the grill for abut 15 minutes. So fresh and tasty:

Bianca was our host and she cooked us up some delicious burgers and put together a creative and super fun spread of toppings to choose from:

She did an amazing job with all the selections - it was such a fun thing to do during our little reunion.

Looks pretty damn good! It was such a fun night and great to catch up with some old friends:

Sunday involved an afternoon Pirates game which was very fun. Turned out to be the longest game in PNC Park history - 16 innings! They lost - but we made the most of it:

The weekend was full of good times and good eats, so as I like to say: success!

xo. cheers. namaste,


Thursday, August 15, 2013

thursday night stir-fry

Just when I thought I had nothing to eat in my house, I realized I had just the right ingredients laying around for a delicious and easy stir-fry.

In my freezer I had some pre-cooked chicken that I just needed to saute (yea, I do the Tyson pre cooked (grilled) thing, I'm a busy girl!). In my fridge I had some carrots and celery. And in the 'pantry' I of course had some garlic and onion. Real simple:

Thursday Night Stir-Fry:

chicken (as much as you want) I used about 1/3 cup of chicken pieces
2 T neutral oil (such as grapeseed)
1 T minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 smallish carrots, julienne
2 celery stalks, julienne
1/4 cup chicken stock or water
2 T soy sauce (I use a low sodium)
1 t dark oil (such as a toasted sesame oil)

- Cook the rice as you normally would (I do my rice the French way by boiling a large pot of water then adding salt and the rice and bring back to a boil for about 12 minutes, then drain)
- Heat the pan with some neutral oil (I always keep grapeseed oil in the house) over med-high heat
- Saute the chicken - which gets the pan nice and hot (you want a really hot pan to saute your veggies later) - and put the cooked chicken off to the side
- Add some more oil - let it heat up and throw the garlic and onion in for about 15 seconds
- Add the carrots and celery and chicken stock or water, turn the heat to high, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes or until the veggies are tender - you may need to add additional stock or water if it becomes dry (p.s. carrots cooked in chicken stock are just so damn good - I love to braise carrots in chicken stock)
- Add the soy sauce and dark oil and throw the chicken back in, saute everything together for 30-45 seconds
- Serve over the rice

This recipe can be adapted in SO many ways - and is so super easy and delicious - a great way to use up the vegetables you have left from the week.

Yum. Perfect Thursday night dinner - and leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

xo. cheers. namaste,


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


It’s not always perfect, or planned. Sometimes though, it just turns out to be really, really beautiful:

xo. cheers. namaste,


Burgatory and some #softballswag

Last softball game of the year for the NR team after a long season wins. It's okay though, like they always say - the more important thing is that you had fun:

To celebrate the season we headed to Burgatory, preeeeetty sure I've mentioned this place in a post before and I'll tell you what, preeeeetty sure these are the best damn burgers in Pittsburgh:

The one 'bad' thing about Burgatory, and the only hesitation I heard from the group about going there, was that there usually tends to be a wait. Not necessarily a bad thing for the restaurant, unless it does deter people from going. Since it was a Monday night, we decided we would wing it and even if there was a wait, it would be worth it for our end of softball celebration. It was packed, even on a Monday and we did have to wait, but we also did have a party of 8. They did, however, make it a SUPER easy wait by taking our phone number so that they would text you when your table is ready. They even text you when you first put your name in with an approximate wait time - AND they give you ten minutes to get back to the restaurant or close out at the bar once your table is ready:

Pretty sweet. I had the Elk Gone Wild burger which involved delicious and lean Elk burger, smoked Gouda, caramelized onions, bacon jam, roasted tomato vinaigrette and arugula. SOOOO good. If I ever come across another Elk burger and I am in a burger mood, I would definitely get again - or maybe I'll try to make my own ;-). You can also custom create your own burgers with a choice of endless toppings. 

So needless to say, it was quite the American night with softball, beers (Great Lakes Oktoberfest - fall beers are a comin') and burgers. Yum! #softballswag

cheers. xo.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Deep Creek and Breakfast Casserole

Well, I'm back from another weekend away! Had a blast with some friends in McHenry, Maryland at Deep Creek Lake. It was my first time there, and it was absolutely beautiful - here is the view from my friend Corey's house where we stayed:


Over the weekend everyone had a turn to make a meal - Meg and I were responsible for Saturday morning breakfast. Success! We made a super easy and delicious egg and sausage casserole. The recipe came from Megs fantastic cook of a mother, Nancy, and is called "Dad's Xmas Morning Egg Casserole." Super easy to make, and very convenient because you can put most of it together the night before:

Dad's Xmas Morning Egg Casserole:

1 lb sausage 
1/2 lb shredded sharp cheese
1/2 t dry mustard
1/2 t paprika
1 t salt
1 C sour cream
1 dozen eggs

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
Coat a 2-3 qt dish with Pam or substitute and put 1/2 of the cheese on bottom of dish
Cook and drain sausage
Mix spices with sour cream
Add cooked sausage to sour cream mixture
Spread sour cream sausage mixture over cheese 
(above part can be done the night before)
Beat eggs and pour over sausage mixture
Place in oven for 30-40 minutes (best way to check if it is done is to give the pan a shake to make sure the eggs are fully cooked)

We weren't the only ones who did good, the weekend involved lots of other fantastic eats and drinks:

In addition to eating, we also did lots of boating:

Lots of hanging out and games:

And of course, lots of dancing:

Good times!

cheers. xo.