Friday, July 31, 2015

Cooking in my Blue Apron

Hey there - it's Friday!

I hope you'll forgive me -- instead of a cookbook this week, I changed things up a bit and had my first ever Blue Apron delivery! I gifted my mom (Hi mom!) a subscription to Blue Apron for Mother's Day and she had a free week of meals to bestow upon one lucky recipient as a result.

This worked out quite well for me as she picked me for the week of free meals! This Thursday I got my first box - my first HEAVY box.

It's worth noting for all of you out there who might try Blue Apron that the Blue Apron boxes are unbelievably well insulated. There was a *snafu* with my apartment's package system and I was unaware that the Blue Apron box had actually been delivered on Wednesday afternoon. By the time I realized this, the front office was closed. I was apoplectic! And I don't use that word lightly. I truly was that excited for my three Blue Apron meals. But low and behold, on Thursday morning at 9am (after I stood eagerly awaiting the opening of the front office to acquire my package and immediately tore it open) everything inside was still chilly and fresh! Hallelujah!

So after a rocky start... The first supper of Blue Apron occurred on Thursday evening!

The packaging for all of the ingredients was so detailed and neat. Organization!

First up... Summer Corn & Vegetable Chowder.

There was quite a bit of chopping involved, but nothing that a glass of vino (Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc - the best) and a lil Pandora (Carolina Beach music station!) couldn't handle.

There were 9 radishes in the bed and the little one said ROLL OVER, ROLL OVER!
Vegetables, CHOPPED.

After some sautéing and some simmering, voila! Dinner is served.

The chowder was delicious and healthy (and also hearty) and so much fun to make! I'm already excited for meals two and three this weekend.


 Have you ever tried Blue Apron? Plated? Hello Fresh? Any favorites? Spill!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Friday Night at Kindred

Last Friday night, I made the 25 minute trek up to Davidson for dinner at Kindred. Kindred is a relatively new restaurant but has been on my "I really want to eat here soon" list for several months.

Spoiler alert: It was so. darn. good.

We got to Davidson a little early (possibly on purpose so we *had* to grab a drink at the bar).

The restaurant is really cozy inside (although there is a whole second floor I didn't even explore!). Charming dinner vibes = on point.
We asked to be seated outside because it was actually a tolerable temperature with a slight breeze... and the birds chirping... and the sun setting... and unicorns prancing... okay, I'm getting carried away. But if someone brought this milk bread to your table with salted butter and a glass of chardonnay, you would get carried away too. Trust me. 

Plates at Kindred are meant to be shared but aren't as tiny as tapas style plates. I appreciated this because tapas style plates tend to stress me out. What if my favorite dish is gone by its second trip around the table!? Kindred-sized portions didn't require as much aggressive food hoarding.
We ordered:
  • Corn soup with lime, buttermilk and corn
  • Heirloom tomato tartine with burrata
  • Gnocchi with basil, parmigiano and garlic
  • A fish that I'd never heard of and cannot for the life of me remember but was locally caught and delicious, pictured here. I'm afraid it wasn't very photogenic :( Edited to add: I found it! It is Wild North Carolina Cobia, cracked bulgur wheat, baba ghanoush, and tahini kefir sauce! Yum.
And last, but not least, the peach cobbler with sweet corn gelato.
Everything was delicious, we never felt rushed, and the whole experience was delightful.
Twinkly lights are the way to my heart. Also rose.

I will 100% be back to Kindred and highly recommend that you go as well if you're in the area! If you come to visit me in Charlotte, you probably won't have a choice.
I shall leave you with this sign I found in the bathroom at Kindred. If they hadn't already won me over with their good looks and dashing smile... this would have done it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Brain Dump II

It's Friday! Which means it's time for some random musings to wrap up the week...

I visited Berrybrook Farm for the first time with a friend this week and tried their Pina Colada smoothie - Almond milk, bananas, pineapple and coconut. It was unreal. I'm going to attempt to recreate it at home and will report back!

Book a Week
After a slow start to the week reading-wise (I left my original book pick in Atlanta whomp) I returned with a vengeance and read The Storied Life of AJ Fikry in ONE DAY yesterday. I loved this book and obviously found it to be a page turner. 

I've discovered my new favorite snack! Apple + almond butter + shredded unsweetened coconut. I think I'm on a coconut kick...
I, for one, am pretty stoked about the discovery of Kepler-452b  this week. I think it definitely needs a new name though. At trivia last night, approximately half of the team names revolved around Kepler-452b. Nerds!
I went to see this movie yesterday afternoon by myself (!!!) and showed up about 10 minutes early. Summer break - I tell ya. I was the only person without white hair in the movie theatre for the matinee showing and after seeing the film I can say that I was definitely not the target audience. Despite that, I liked the movie (especially Blythe Danner and her wine drinking tendencies) and her rat intruder in her house really hit close to home (see last week's Friday Brain Dump re: WASPS in my apartment).
Well that's all folks! Hope you have a delightful weekend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cookbook a week: A Homemade Life

Very exciting things happening over here -- I've officially made it to TWO WHOLE WEEKS of this cookbook challenge! Going strong!

I was pretty excited about this week's cookbook: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. While *technically* a memoir, her book has drool-worthy recipes at the end of each chapter.

This book is one of my favorites of all time (read it!) and I've made her recipe for Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger twice (do it!) and it was so very good.

I'm cooking for one this week and rather than fall prey to Microwave Cooking for One, I opened up Molly's book and picked an approachable recipe to kick-off the week.

The winner? Bread salad with arugula, cherries and goat cheese. 

The recipe was a cinch - toast some white bread (Trader Joe's baguette) in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper and then toss with garlic. 

Ugly photo alert - ripped baguettes just don't photograph well.

Add in semi-crushed cherries, balsamic vinegar, arugula and goat cheese and voila! A most delicious dinner.

+ Picton Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Bachelorette Men Tell All = Swooon.

Molly Wizenberg also happens to be the woman behind Orangette - a blog with so much food and writing goodness - and Spilled Milk - my go-to podcast lately.

So essentially, Molly is to me like Beyonce is to most people. And she certainly didn't disappoint with this salad. This recipe is a keeper!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekend Recap: Hotlanta

As I mentioned in my previous post, I drove down to Decatur, GA Friday evening for a long weekend at home!

We broke up the 4-hour drive with a dinner pit-stop at Bacon Bros. Public House outside of Greenville, SC and BOY oh BOY was it ever delicious. The highlight = Potater Tots - essentially tater tots on steroids with pulled pork and cheese inside. I didn't take a picture because they were scarfed down immediately.

Friday night at midnight was the start of Torsten's birthday so we popped some bubbly.

On Saturday morning we conducted a very scientific experiment pitting South Carolina and California peaches against each other (pun *very much* intended). We were all very relieved that the South Carolina peaches unanimously won. Would have been rather awkward otherwise...

We also checked out a shop called Taps Craft Beers in Decatur. Georgia has silly liquor laws, so Taps can't sell pints of beer, but they DO let you sample from their 40 (!!!) beers on tap and then fill growlers (or growlettes! tiny! cute!) for you to take home. After much deliberation we decided on 2 beers - a Pilsner and an IPA - to take home. 

Growlettes and a rousing game of Boggle made for a stellar stormy afternoon.

Growling for my Growlettes.
As per request from the birthday boy, we had a Fresh Strawberry and Lemon cake Saturday afternoon (with whipped cream, of course).

Saturday evening took us to the Cubs vs. Braves game at Turner field! The Cubs won 4-0 (great success for the Cubs-fan birthday boy) and it wasn't deathly hot out at game-time so it was a win all around. A fresh peach King of Pops during the 4th inning didn't hurt either.

Sunday morning started with this great workout and some tennis before heading to General Muir for brunch. I promise we didn't just eat all weekend.... 

Their Avenue A bagel with shmear, lox, avocado, grapefruit and dill is what dreams are made of.
Sunday afternoon included a walk and some grocery shopping before we were ready for a little happy hour action. With a serious side of the Sunday NYTimes.

Dinner was this delicious Balsamic Grilled Cherry, Blueberry, Goat Cheese, and Candied Hazelnut Salad that may have been followed-up by a tiny scoop of Talenti Sea Salt Caramel gelato to celebrate National Ice Cream Day.

Before hitting the hay, I whipped up a Peach Coffee Cake for my parents to have for breakfast this week. I confirmed Monday morning that the coffee cake was a HIT. Perfect for all of those juicy Georgia (or South Carolina! Just not California) peaches!

Hope you all have a tolerable Monday and don't melt in this heat wave!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Brain Dump

I spent quite a while brainstorming a clever, alliterative title to this post and (obviously) came up empty handed. Thus, I present to you: Friday Brain Dump.

I finished my first "Book of the Week" yesterday thanks to lots of pool time this week. For my inaugural week of this reading challenge I went with a beach-read type book that I knew would be a page turner: Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand. I'm not sure I gained any brain cells with this book but I definitely enjoyed it and had no problem breezing through 400 pages in a week. Next up: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's a bit shorter which is a good thing because...

Homeward bound
I'm driving home to Atlanta this evening to spend a long weekend with my parents and to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday at the Cubs vs. Braves game. More time with friends and family > reading a really long book so a short and sweet book fit the bill perfectly this week.

I stumbled upon an adorable new coffee shop/bakery/bar/art gallery called The Gallery in South End, Charlotte this week! For locals: it's right next to Craft Tasting Room. It just opened last Saturday but would be a great place for a date, girl's night or to study. They have Stumptown Coffee (from Oregon!) and out-of-this-world looking cakes. I'll definitely be back!

I spent Thursday evening checking out two breweries that are pseudo new to me (I've been once but over a year ago and they deserved a second look). First up: Sugar Creek Brewery! Not my favorite beers in Charlotte but it wasn't too crowded, they had live music and corn hole and an impressive sandwich menu so I can't complain.

Next up was Old Mecklenburg Brewing, the oldest and largest brewery in Charlotte. The beer garden area was lovely on a cool-ish summer evening. I definitely could have used a brat or pretzel though...

There were 3 (yes THREE) wasps in my lil studio apartment in the last 3 days. Needless to say, I'm not very fond of wasps so I've been a bit on edge. I'm newly grateful for my magazine collection, tennis racket, and Swiffer Sweeper for being very useful wasp-killing tools.

Today, in an effort to escape my wasp-abode, I did this Tabata workout from the Fitnessista (one of my favorite blogs). It flew by and left me drenched -- success!

And that wraps up this week's edition of Friday Brain Dump!

I hope you all have a delightful weekend -- any fun plans??

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hello, world!

After many months (read: years) of deliberation, I finally took a leap of faith and started my own little blog. Welcome to Delightfuel!

I recently moved to Charlotte, NC and am slowly but surely finding my way around the city. I am going back to school to get my Masters in Nutrition to become a Registered Dietician at Winthrop University, so I'm sure you'll see a bit of my RD side on the blog.

But before you get too worried that we will be all kale and quinoa, there will also be a fair share of wine, cookies, beer, pastries and cheese here in my little corner of the internet. I love to bake, run, read (blogs, books, newspapers, magazines, etc.), travel and explore new restaurants and I'll share some of that here too!

So let's kick things off, shall we?

I have a little break in my school schedule this summer and needed something to keep me busy. After some brainstorming, I decided to take-on some projects following the "____ a week" format. Book a week, fitness adventure a week, cookbook a week... you get the idea.

Like many of you, I have bookshelves filled with beautiful cookbooks, many of which have gone unopened for several years. Pinterest always seems to be my go-to when I need inspiration in the kitchen and thus the cookbooks have sat unloved for far too long. What better time to change this than 6 weeks of summer vacation?!

So for my first blog post I thought I'd share my inaugural "cookbook a week" challenge recipe!

While I initially picked a very ambitious cookbook to start off with (Ottolenghi -- it's gorgeous and had me drooling but was probably a bit intense for my first recipe attempt) I came to my senses and switched to Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes - a novel I read several years ago and loved but had never made a single recipe out of!

First up: Lentilles au Vin Blanc - a refreshingly simple and hearty dinner that was cheap (student budget here!) and easy to make.

I served it with a baguette, brie and (of course) a bottle of white wine.

Definitely cured the Monday blues!

If there are any readers out there - do you have any cookbooks you can't live without? I'd love recommendations!