Fall for Greenville 2011

A few weekends ago, we celebrated Fall for Greenville with a few thousand locals.

I love Fall for Greenville because the festival centers around food, but I also love it because I got engaged to this handsome man during it last year 🙂

While we waited on Shannon and Daniel, we stood in line to get some tickets. We got there just as the sun was starting to go down.

I had a plan. I had highlighted what I wanted to eat where. But when we got down there, I just sort of threw it all to the wind. The night started with a brisket sandwich from Brown Street. Julie claims this was the best thing she ate last year.

Shannon ordered it to (upon my suggestion via Julie), and I felt bad because it was so big! We could have all shared bites.

Look at those trees. We just love how GREEN GREENville is. haha.

The festival has designated wine & beer gardens, so we headed down to the beer garden for some local / micro brews.

I really wanted to try the apple ciders, pear ciders, and pumpkin beer, but I knew I didn’t want one full cup of each. Lucky for me, they had these small little sample cups.

Not too big, not too small – just right!

Buddie Picture 🙂

After a few sips, we were ready to get back to eating. Next up was the pulled pork sandwich from Two Chefs.

Good but not as good as North Carolina BBQ. 😉 We enjoyed it while watching the jalapeno contest. It’s so crazy – your nose burns from just smelling the massive amount of peppers!

We headed back up to the beer garden area for another sample, and I snagged this lobster mac and cheese on the way.

Before we knew it, it was getting dark, so we said so long to Shannon and Daniel headed back in the crowds one more time in search of…

Kettle Corn! By far the best thing we had. We finished the whole bag with the help of this young lady:

Laura! We ran into her and got to spend some time with my long-lost roommate! Also, West looks wild.

They are snacking on some fried bread pudding that was deliciousss. Laura, ended her tour de Greenville with a tiny little icing shot!

As if our weekend wasn’t awesome enough with Fall for Greenville and friends, I was able to catch up with two of my favorite Charleston Peeps!

They were up to see Andrew’s little sister who goes to school up here, but they had enough time to have coffee with me.

We had such a good time catching up 🙂 And I spent a good amount of time trying to convince them to move to the Upstate. It is my goal to get everyone I love in Greenville.

While I doubt any Fall for Greenville will top 2010, this one was pretty fun, and we’re looking forward to next year when (hopefully) West’s whole family comes up to go with us!

Roasted Tomato & Basil Soup

The first day there was a slight chill in the air, I headed to the store to buy three pounds of roma tomatoes to make soup. I made it last year using this recipe, and it was delish. However, I did make a few changes, and I’ll tell you how that went as we go.

I stuck with the amount of called for tomatoes along with the oil and salt & pepper.

And I roasted them as directed. Before:

After:

Now, here is where I began to deviate from the path. I used 1 cup of packed basil instead of 4 because that junk is expensive. I would recommend using less than four as the flavor was still present but not overwhelming.

I stuck to the basic amounts of onion and garlic, though I might would add MORE garlic next time. (<– note to self.)

But when I started adding all the ingredients together, I decided to double the liquid. I used 1 1/2 quart of chicken stock and two cups of water. I did this because the very first time I ever tried to make this type of soup, the end result was closer to spaghetti sauce than soup. Oops.

After letting it simmer for awhile, I took the extra servings (around 10 total with the extra stock), and then stirred in a little milk (also an addition) to what West and I planned to eat.

We topped it with asiago croutons, and it was very mmmm. The first time. As we’ve been defrosting and consuming the leftovers, though, we both noticed the soup seems “watered down.” So, of the changes I made, I would NOT recommend adding extra stock / water.

I think tomato soup is doomed to be somewhat chunky. Sorry West. 😉

Married Friends.

Over a month ago now (I’m a little behind.), Shannon and Daniel invited us over to their house for dinner and a night of card playing. We brought the bread because my husband is a baker 🙂

We got to meet all their babies:

Smeagle really liked West from the start.

They also have the cutest greyhound EVER.

Shannon made us pasta in cream sauce. mmmmm.

She also made a cherry pie from scratch, and it was the BEST cherry pie I have ever had.

Lovely crust and luscious filling…

And here is the pie expert herself!

We love hanging out with Shannon and Daniel; it is nice to have friends who are at a similar stage of life as you. Now, to convince Rachel and Brandon to move back . . .

Creamed Corn & Keepsakes

Last weekend, West and I traveled to his sister Amanda’s house for a weekend of sibling fun. Amanda and her husband live in a small southern town and have the cutest retro stove in their kitchen.

Amanda is an excellent cook and made a spread of delicious things for us to enjoy all weekend. On Friday, she made peach barbecue chicken, mac & cheese casserole, fried okra and creamed corn(!).

I’ve had a slight obsession with corn this summer; thus, I was thrilled to discover she was making creamed corn. She said she modified this Cooking Light recipe by omitting the bacon & leeks (which means it’s even lighter).

I could have consumed that entire bowl. It was so so so good.

On Saturday, we drove to visit their mother’s grave because it has been close to ten years since she passed away.

Sweet brother and sisters pic 🙂

On the way back, Carol read to all of us from the Joy of Cooking, which may have been my favorite part of the trip.

Carol also took a few really cool shots of old signs downtown, like this one:

Once back at Amanda’s, we found some treasures from West’s childhood. Look at his little boy feet.

So precious. I also discovered that my husband was once an aspiring writer and illustrator.

I mean, look at this legit title page.

I love his illustrator pseudonym.

He even received a writing award!

Who knew this boy was a writing genius while I was complaining about reading anything but R.L. Stine.

It was so fun to spend time with West’s sisters and find keepsakes from his childhood that we can store away to show our little writers someday. 🙂

Summertime Eating

It has been hotter than Hades in Greenville as of the past two months, so I’ve been doing everything possible to stay cool and that includes making quick meals that don’t utilize the stove or oven for hours or longer than ten minutes.

I really like reading cookbooks lately, and while reading through one that West’s Grandmama gave me last Christmas, I stumbled upon one of these perfect, quick-heat meals. I just made a few substitutions for what I had on hand.

Summertime Orzo & Chicken from Taste of Home 2011

2 1/4 C of cooked Trader Joe’s 7 grain mix
1 sauteed skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 carrot, ribboned (I just made that up I think)
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
2 T lemon juice
1 T EVOO
1/2 t garlic gold nuggets
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 C feta, crumbled

While the chicken & pasta are cooking (quickly!) on the stove, mix the last five ingredients to create the dressing. Then, drain the grains / pasta and mix with the remaining ingredients. Dress the bowl with the vinaigrette, toss and serve immediately or chill for later.

Refreshingly light!

This produced about four servings, and West said it is one of his favorite things I’ve made to date. So, husband approved!

My Life Update . . .

I’m about to give you a big ol’ update. I’ll try to keep the text to a minimum so you can just scroll through the pictures, which I’m pretty sure is what you’ll do either way! 😉

So, after I made the Black Bean Burgers, I made a big batch of homemade Tomato Basil soup with the last of my summer basil.

Then, since fall was quickly approaching, West and I carved a pumpkin.

Yes, I made him carve a cat.

We toasted the seeds in a cinnamon, sugar and butter combo – but they needed some salt to bring the flavors together, so some what of a fail.

And then dun dun DUN! We got engaged.

West was actually here during Fall for Greenville, a Foodie Festival, when he proposed, which meant that I got to eat great food for the rest of the weekend after getting the best surprise ever. What more could a girl what? 🙂

A few weeks later, Anna and I drove to Columbia to meet West for the . . .

where we tried the Krispy Kreme Burger.

The meat eaters (West & I) were not impressed. Actually, South Carolina Fair Food, you did not hold your own at all. Cleveland County Fair Food is WAY better. After stuffing our face for a few hours, we went to our seats.

Look at the cute little Korean head! We waited for the show to start so we could see the AVETT BROS perform!!

School started getting busier, and I kept my nose in the books. Did you know there is alot of queer theory on Jane Austen? Interesting, right?

My car hit a huge milestone during November . . . I can’t wait to be married if for no other reason that I won’t have to drive I-26 or I-20 for months at a time. A dream come true.

In November, we also found a place to get married near my parent’s house!

Last month, I lost a good friend, too. Abby Guzzle Tinnin. Abby was my cat. I adopted her from an older woman when I was about 15 years old. The older woman had saved her from the streets but was moving into DT Atlanta, where Abby wouldn’t be allowed to roam free, so I got her! She was a wonderful pet – she saw me through many life changes, and I really do miss her.

While I was mourning the loss of Abby, I got the opportunity to become a foster mom for Ryan Gosling! Anna recently moved to S. Korea and needed to keep her ball of fluff. So she’s letting me keep him while she is gone!

Since school has ended, I have tested some cupcake recipes out for the wedding. I want to make my own cupcakes, does that make me a crazy person?

I also made a really good Chicken and Rice Soup . . .

and a Cherry and Curry Chicken Salad.

Just over a week and a half ago, Anna flew to S. Korea. So, now, 2/4 of my soul are across the sea. Anna’s last US iChat date…

Now you know what I’ve done (minus the billions of uninteresting hours spent on school and work) for the last few months. 😀

Four Month Old Black Bean Burgers

Um, remember when I said I would show you how to dress those tasty, homemade black bean burgers? Well, I just finished my last exam, so I thought I’d tell you and end the suspense. 😉

For the Southwest Black Bean Burger, I made a bed of fresh, crunchy lettuce with tomatoes and a slice of lime.

Then, I mixed some sour cream with a chipotle sauce for a spicy condiment.

All together now . . . Ta-da!

These were super yummy. I ended up crumbling one of them for a wrap, too, which worked great. I am planning to make another batch before things get too cra cra.

For the Classic Black Bean Burger, I made some sweet potato fries as my side! These are the ingredients to a successful batch of SPFs…

Salt & Pepper, Garlic Gold Oil & Simply Organic’s Garlic and Herb Seasoning (Chasing a rabbit here, but, okay, you know how you buy spices and herbs that you never have to replace because you NEVER use them? This is the one seasoning that I have actually replaced because I used it ALL. In fact, I’m thinking about getting another one to travel with ;)) Back on task, chop those potatoes and and toss them in the oil and seasoning for baking to a crisp!

I dressed the burger with some ketchup, mustard and a few slices of sour pickles.

These were good, but it’s hard for me to think black beans should be served with anything other than southwestern / Mexican cuisine. Probably won’t make these again – unless I sub out the black beans.

Well, I’ve got a lot to catch you up on, but don’t worry, I’ll just hit the highlights from the last four months. 🙂