Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekend outing: Windy Hill Orchard & Cidery

It appears the weekend has come to a close and another Monday is upon us. The weather in Charlotte perfectly reflects this. Guys. It has been the dreariest here. I kid not when I say that I haven't seen the sun in 5 days. I actually had a dream last night that the sun came out! It's like the weather Gods heard of my excitement about Fall and all said "we'll show her!".

But I digress...

Gloomy weekend weather called for a festive outing to 1) get me out of the house and 2) remember why I love Fall.

Torsten and I drove (through pouring rain) down to South Carolina to pay a visit to Windy Hill Orchard & Cidery!

It's only a ~45 minute drive from Charlotte and definitely worth a trip.

Hard cider flight (the Rusty Gold was my favorite!) and *hot out of the fryer* apple cider donuts. 

This is probably the most Autumnal photo we will ever take. 

Even on this rainy Saturday there was an intrepid crowd of cider + donuts seekers. There is usually live music on weekends but I think the rain was too much for the band. Alas.

Windy Hill also makes there own Apple and Pumpkin butters (I snagged some of the Pumpkin butter for my oatmeal, yogurt, sandwiches, etc. etc.), cider, pies, apples and more. 

There were also some hogs and hens to hang out with and feed because.... well... I don't know.

If you live around Charlotte you should definitely spend an afternoon at Windy Hill. There aren't any more apples to pick (the season in this neck of the woods seems to peak in early September) but the cider and donuts are more than worth the trek.

And now... if you're reading, Weather Gods -- PLEASE send some sunshine!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Day of Fall!

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Good ole F. Scotty knew what he was talking about!

I'm sorry I've been a little quiet lately. I've been buried in Anatomy & Physiology (epithelial tissue, cellular respiration and bones oh my!), had my first Food Composition & Community Nutrition exams and some extra hours working at the olive oil shop.

Both of my Wednesday classes were miraculously cancelled today (I'm assuming to celebrate the first day of Fall, right?) so I'm lazing around and catching up on life things.

It's officially the first day of Fall and I couldn't be happier. It has been feeling crisp in the mornings here in Charlotte and there is pumpkin everything on grocery store shelves.

Judge me all you want, but I'm the girl beelining for the pumpkin greek yogurt, loading my cart up with pumpkin butter, and coveting my new plaid blanket scarf. And hey, pumpkin is a stellar source  of Vitamin A and Fiber. So the joke is on you!

I *may* have jumped the gun a little bit on Fall but now I can share my delight in the new season loud and proud.

Oh oh! This candle. So festive and not too sweet smelling. Bonus: Bath & Body Works had them on sale! Student budget...

This lil screen shot is from a few weekends ago, but this was the first morning I woke up to such a cool temperature. A squeal and victory dance definitely ensued.

This set-up appeared on the Student Help desk at Winthrop last week. The inspirational quote cracked. me. up. It makes it into this post because of the pumpkin and owl, obviously.

While this picture is no stunner, I promise this was one delicious and Fall-appropriate breakfast. 

The night before, combine:
1/4 cup oats
Scant 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
2 T pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
Dashes of: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice
1 t honey

The morning of, top with:
Pumpkin butter (never too much pumpkin)
Chia seeds 
Hemp seeds

Fun fact: we learned in Food Composition that this recipe format is called "Action Style." Most recipes are "Traditional Recipe Style" (aptly named) but there are also "Narrative Style" recipes in which everything is written in a paragraph, and ingredients are interspersed in the directions (I find these ridiculous and would always forget ingredients on my shopping list) and "Descriptive Style" which involve 3 different columns - ingredient, quantity, and procedure. Anecdote over.

Last but not least, another Bath & Body works find. This soap smells so cozy and makes me smile every time I wash my hands. Yes, it really is that easy to make me happy. Fall, I tell ya!

Spill! What are you most looking forward to this season? I'm on the hunt for some Apple Cider Donuts this weekend...

Friday, September 11, 2015

2 hours in Greenville, SC

I'm deviating slightly from my usual "Strikes my Fancy Friday" post to bring you a little recap of the quick trip I made to Greenville, SC last weekend. Let's think of this as a Strikes my Fancy Friday dedicated solely to Greenville because BOY does it ever deserve it.

I've been hearing a lot lately about the wonders of Greenville and was starting to wonder if the hype was overdone. Well, I'm here to tell you that Greenville is every bit as wonderful as everyone says it is. GO VISIT!

I spent a mere 2 hours exploring downtown Greenville last Saturday on my drive from Charlotte --> Atlanta. It's smack dab in the middle of my two hometowns, woohoo!

I made a list of all of the places I wanted to see/eat at and barely made a dent. The city is charming and manageable in size, but the main thing that struck me was just *how many people* were out and about - strolling the streets, eating at sidewalk cafes, attending a matinee at the theatre, hanging out in the park, etc. It was so lively!

I could gab on and on about Greenville but instead (lucky you) I'll share some photos. Take a look for yourself!

First stop: Methodical Coffee. Very trendy (I didn't understand half of the coffee-making apparatuses they were using) and methodical (read: slow) but incredible coffee.
Next stop: Falls Park on the Reedy. Which is in the middle of Main Street. It comes out of nowhere!

See what I mean about all of the people?!

  Marveling at the Falls in out patriotic garb.
 Beautiful gardens on the river. There is a little French cafĂ© at the top of this hill. Swoon.
Coolest bookstore in the old County Courthouse. This shop had the largest Food Section of books I've ever seen. Wanted them all!
Last, but certainly not least, stop. Poppingtons! 1 bag of Sriracha and 1 bag of Salted Caramel corn. This kept us company for the remainder of the drive to Atlanta.
2 hours was not nearly enough time in Greenville and I'll definitely be back.
Have you been to Greenville? Any more recommendations!?




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower, Farro and Chickpea Bowl

Greetings friends!

I hope you all had a summery and relaxing Labor Day weekend! I spent the long weekend in Atlanta with my family (with a pitstop in Greenville, SC which I will fill you in on this week!).

If you're anything like me, the weekend involved lots of ice cream, rose, burgers and treats. As it should be! After a sad "there is nothing in my fridge" lunch upon my return to Charlotte yesterday, I was craving extra veggies for dinner last night in a big way.

I put together this yummy bowl of whole foods (not the grocery store) for dinner last night and proclaimed it a "great success."

After dinner I eased back into this whole "week" thing with a batch of these Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies which Torsten said "didn't even taste healthy" (!!!). If that's not enough to urge you to make these cookies ASAP, I don't know what is.

But I digress... This bowl of goodness would also be great with more roasted veggies, rice or quinoa instead of farro, or even a fried egg, feta, or chicken added in for more protein!

Roasted Cauliflower, Farro and Chickpea Bowl
Serves: 1


1/4 farro (I used the Trader Joe's 10 minute farro)
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1/3 cup chickpeas
1/3 cup cucumber, chopped
2 Tablespoons walnuts
1 lemon


1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss cauliflower with a glug (<1 Tablespoon) of olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes until there are some golden brown edges.

2.) Heat chickpeas in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes.

3.) Cook farro in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain!

4.) Mix cucumber, farro, cauliflower and chickpeas in a bowl with the juice of 1/2 of a lemon and another small glug of olive oil (2 teaspoons), salt and pepper.

5.) Top with toasted walnuts.

6.) EAT!

Let me know if you try this recipe! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Strikes My Fancy Friday #2

It's Friday! And a Friday of a 3-day weekend, no less! I'm working at the olive oil shop tomorrow and then headed down (farther) south to Atlanta for some Labor Day weekend action! I know I've only been in class for ~2 weeks, but I'm pretty darn excited for a long weekend.

Without futher ado, let's check out some things that have been striking my fancy lately, shall we?

Have you heard?! It's Labor Day weekend! Also known as the last unofficial weekend of summer. While I'm chomping at the bit to welcome allthepumpkin and boots and scarves and crisp air and fall running into my life, I think we should all stop and smell the rose (ahem roses*) one last time this weekend. And if you can get your hands on it, this rose is a stellar choice. Plus, what a cool bottle!

I went to a Saturday run club at Sycamore Brewing last weekend. And by run club I mean yours truly plodding alongside an old man who was breathing so heavily the whole time I thought he might keel over. While the 6-mile loop felt very long *for many reasons*, this watermelon waiting at the brewery at the end made it all worthwhile.

The kitchen space at the back of the olive oil shop is newly occupied by a chocolatier. When a batch comes out with any imperfections... they can't sell them. LUCKY FOR ME, I've befriended the chef and sometimes get the "ugly ducklings." Alongside a cup o' tea it makes my Anatomy & Physiology reading slightly more bearable. 

Oh boy. These were good. I made a stack of Kodiak Pancakes last weekend and sandwiched them with Barney Butter's Cocoa + Coconut Almond Butter. Topped with more coconut, for good measure. 
Last Saturday afternoon, Torsten and I did a little brewery hopping. At some point, nachos were discussed. The craving could not be denied, and thus this cookie sheet of heaven was born. Trader Joe's everything --> corn chips, fresh tomatoes, mashed black beans, salsa, greek yogurt, and reduced guilt guacamole. Delicious and infinitely healthier than what we might have devoured at a restaurant.

I'll leave you with my one non-food related item of the week. I snagged this gorgeous bouquet of flowers from the Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market last weekend for $5. $5! They've cheered my little apartment all week long.
Hope you have a delightful long weekend! Wear lots of white and drink lots of rose.