Wednesday, February 29, 2012

love your food; love your wine.

food network has come out with their own line of wines!  i've seen chefs cooking with it on food network shows like iron chef when birmy's own chef chris hasting beat bobby flay!  {awoohoo!}

entwine chardonnay is fabulous.  at $11.50 - $13.00, it is a really creamy & delicious & affordable wine.

& i think they have a pretty perfect motto:

have a glass tonight!  you deserve it.  it is leap day, after all :)

love love,

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

more vegetables! cali sandwich & mushroom soup.

maybe healthy cooking is going to be my new thing!

ok. ok.  probably not.

but i actually made another healthy & delicious meal!  & for you super vegans out there, it could easily be made vegan.

healthy.  delicious.  & possibly vegan.  i'm growing as a person.

california sprout sandwich!
{found on pinterest.  originally from ezra pound cake.}

3 T greek yogurt
1 T lite mayo {to veganize, 86 the mayo & yogurt, replace with soy yogurt}
1 stem green onions, finely chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, & chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
some cilantro, rough chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic salt
salt & pepper
8 slices whole wheat bread
some alfalfa sprouts

1. chive spread: mix together yogurt, mayo, green onions, salt & pepper.
2. avocado salad: mix together avocado, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, pepper flakes, garlic salt, salt & pepper.
3. lightly toast bread slices.  thinly spread chive spread on each slice of toast.  layer some sprouts.  top with avocado salad.  & enjoy!

possibly vegan mushroom soup!
{found on pinterest.  loosely from skinny jeans food.}

this delicious soup was originally supposed to be blended to make a campbell's cream of mushroom soup consistency.  but i really really like multiple textures in my food.  & i kept wanting to eat the broth by itself.  & i really didn't want to get out my blender or clean it. so no blending for the porters.

2 T evoo
lots of minced garlic.  probably 3 T or so.
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 stems green onions, chopped + more for garnish
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
red wine!  maybe a cup?
many sprigs of thyme
2 c broth {i used chicken because i had it.  but if you use veggie, you are making vegan soup!}
1/2 c almond milk {again, just had it around.  so vegan soup!}
8 oz chickpeas, smooshed with a fork
{yes, "smooshed" is a technical term}
salt & pepper

1. heat evoo in dutch oven over medium high heat.  throw in garlic & onions.  saute until a bit soft & fragrant.
2. add the mushrooms.  when they start to brown, add the wine & thyme.  enjoy this smell.
3. reduce the heat medium low.  add broth, milk, & smooshed chickpeas.  stir often until the soup starts to simmer.  reduce heat to low.  cover.  & cook for as long as you can hold off eating it.  mine cooked for about 2 hours.  & i promise each bite was even better than the previous.  i know this because i tasted it at least once every 10 minutes.  
4. garnish with green onions for a beautiful bright green on top of your purple soup.  & enjoy!!!

i think after this deliciously healthy meal, a glass of that red wine is calling me.

love love,

Monday, February 27, 2012

thank you for a marvelous birthday!

my birthday weekend was the absolute best!!!

on saturday, blakey & i hung out with tanky at the dog park while he ran around & play play played.  then we were off to a fun lunch of po boys & our favorite avondale brewery saison.  we spent the evening with coffee & wine on our "patio" watching the sunset.  we even both stayed up to watch an entire movie.  well done, us!

sunday morning after church, blakey took me to brunch at rojo!  this little highland gem serves a fabulous latin american breakfast with delicious mimosas on the patio!

we had to enjoy as much of the GORGEOUS weather as we could, so we had another play date at the park with the little guy.  two & a half year old tanky is seriously the best.  he runs after a ball or stick or frisby or puppy a few times & is worn out.  he smiles really big, sticks his huge tung out, & stands right next to mom.  love him.  & love my husband.

for my birthday evening, we opened birthday cards & gifts & watched the oscars & ate delicious thai food!  a perfect birthday evening indeed.

thank you thank you thank you to all of you who made my birthday absolutely wonderful.  thank you for all of the phone calls & cards & gifts & texts & skypes & facebook messages.  thank you for celebrating with me & celebrating in honor of me.  

i love birthdays.  especially when my friends & family & loves are so wonderful about them.

here's to # 27!

365 days... :)

love love,

Friday, February 24, 2012

happy mardi gras!!!

down here in the south, mardi gras is huge!

did you know that the first mardi gras celebration was actually in mobile, alabama not new orleans?  yes, sir & ma'am, it was.  there is your new fact for the day.

so we had to celebrate fat tuesday at urban!  & a lovely day of baking it was:


 {praline cookies!}
{pronounced PRAH-LEEN in louisiana}

{& devil's food cupcakes!}
{hehe.  i am clever.}

i do hope your lenten penances are going well.

i gave up cussing, which is my usual.  i hit three very early on ash wednesday morning but have done quite well since then.  matthew, my fellow urban-opener, & i have made it a fun game.  on wednesday, we replaced cuss words with celebrity chefs.  "paula deen, it!"  thursday's task was 90s country singers.  "oh, shania twain!" it has been quite humorous.  & does actually make me think before speaking, which was the original goal anyhow.  

happy first week of lent, friends!

love love,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

a really really delicious bowl of superfoods.

ok.  this is seriously delicious.

& it's healthy.

& you know me:  i don't often do healthy & delicious.  i do absurd quantities of butter & delicious... super meaty & delicious...  copious amount of sugar & delicious...  but rarely healthy & delicious.

after a weekend of birthday celebrations, we needed healthy.

so i turned to trusty pinterest to find a healthy recipe for dinner.  not really sure why i picked this one.  ok, i do.  it was the ONLY healthy recipe i had pinned.  & i was already at the grocery store, so it worked.

ps quinoa is not a food i like.  so if you hate it, keep reading.  seriously.  this is one of the most interesting {in a great way} bowls of food i've had.

1/2 cup dry quinoa
some garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 orange, peeled & chopped
1 avocado, peeled & chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can corn, rinsed & drained
1 big basket blackberries
1/2 big bunch of cilantro, rough chopped
salt & pepper

2 lemons, zest & juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
a dash or two of honey
salt & pepper
6 T evoo

1. cook quinoa according to package directions with the addition of garlic powder & bay leaf.  set aside {in fridge} to cool & discard leaf.

2. chop & rinse everything that needs to be chopped or rinsed.  throw it all in a big bowl.  add the quinoa too.

3. dressing:  except for the evoo, throw it all in a little bowl.  slowly add the oil, whisking away.

4. mix the dressing into the bowl of superfoods.  stir stir stir.  taste it.  is it the most delicious healthy thing you've ever eaten?  if yes, ENJOY!!  

if no, add something.  need flavor? add salt.  need texture? add onion.  need depth? add cilantro.  need acid/tartness? add lemon.  need less acid/tartness? add honey.  need garlic? add garlic.

so good!!!  it is a flavor party in your mouth.

love love,

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

it's my birthday {celebration}!!

my birthday celebration began this weekend!!  & it was fabulous.

on saturday night, blakey took me to gianmarco's for an amazing dinner.  this italian gem just opened a wine bar behind the restaurant that is even cozier than the front restaurant.  you sit at big wine barrel tables, have a little open air from the patio, & are surrounded by delicious wine.  & the best part - you can purchase a bottle of wine at their retail price for dinner with a small 20% corking fee.  perfect!

rombauer chardonnay at a reasonable price.  so happy.

as for my meal, i could not stray from my favorite there either.  veal piccata scaloppini with white wine, lemon, butter, & capers.  i ate every.single.bite.  oh, it was delicious.

& a gigantic thank you, dad, for hosting our birthday dinner!!

after a wonderful birthday dinner, blakey & i celebrated again at brunch on sunday morning.  one of our dear friends, elyse, also is a february birthday, so matt & elyse, ogden & amy, and blakey & i had a birthday feast at the jazz brunch at veranda on highland

this meal was so lovely too.  you know about the south's love for chicken & waffles, right?  well, veranda does one better - duck & waffles with dried cherry jus, a poached egg, & hollandaise.

we ate like kings this weekend.  & celebrated even more.

happy birthday week to me!!!  thank you all for celebrating with me!

love love,

Friday, February 17, 2012


i made pretzels!  & they were actually pretty good!

please believe me - i am not bragging.  i am shocked.  yeast dough scares the beejesus out of me.

you never know if your yeast is going to cooperate {especially when you are attempting to use active yeast instead of instant}... you spent all that time waiting for your dough to grow - will it?  wont it?  should i wait longer?  then there is that gluten problem - am i overworking it?  am i underworking it?

terrifying in my world of baking.

but i decided to give it a try with a little extra time on my hands at work yesterday.

& it was so good!  although i am terrified of yeast dough, i am phenomenal at eating it.

yum. yum. yum.

next time i plan to make some cheese sauce to go with the pretzels.  & then try cinnamon & sugar pretzels.  & then stalk auntie anne's for more ideas.

i never claimed to be creative :)

a little extra time on your hands in the kitchen is a fun problem.  the savory guys decided to fry some chicken & make white bbq sauce for our lunch with their extra time.  so so great.

happy friday, friends!

love love,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

thankful thursday - a morning of worship.

last sunday, one of my favorite christian singers was in birmy & lead worship at a local church.  i fell in love with her music years ago - an absolutely incredible voice with passionate worship songs.  so i couldn't miss the chance to go worship with her.

kari jobe, you absolutely rock.

so thankful for an awesome morning of praise.  so thankful to hear a gorgeous voice.

{by the way, if you haven't heard one of her songs... HERE & HERE}

i hope you can think of something for which you are thankful today.

love love,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

i heart you.

{red velvet cream cheese brownies}

a happy valentine's day to you, my friends!

although i am not a huge v-day celebrator myself {my husband loves me 365 days a year.  i do not need a special day for that.  thank you very much.}, i do like all things pink & red & sparkly & chocolately.  so i have been baking up some fun heart-inspired treats at urban!

 {fudge truffles}

 {honey almond chocolate tart}

{strawberry cheesecake}

i hope you treat yourself to something lovely today.  & know that you are loved!

love love,

Monday, February 13, 2012

oh my gosh. oh my gosh. oh my gosh.

julie & ben are pregnant!!!!!!!!!!

i am so so so so so so so so so excited.  & happy.  & every other positive adjective in the world.

i've known for a few weeks & have had to keep my mouth shut.  oooh, so difficult.  but now i can shout it to the world:  my sister is pregnant!!!

we loved how they told us.  i fell to the floor when the flowers were delivered & i read the note, i was so elated.

they aren't going to find out if they are having a boy or a girl.  so to avoid referring to their baby as "it" for the next 7.5 months, i've named the baby "little aveer".

i love little aveer.

next step: pinterest baby board :)

congratulations, julie byrd & benny boo!!!  you two will be fabulous parents.

love love,

Friday, February 10, 2012

& then man food sandwiches.

this was hands down the best sandwich i've ever made.

remember earlier this week when i told you about blakey's man food he cooked last weekend??  {HERE}  well, he bought two giganto steaks, so obviously we had some meat leftovers.  truly, it was delicious, but it was also an absurd amount cow.

so all week i'm thinking "what do you make with steak... what do you make with steak...?"

sandwiches!  obviously!

i did learn from mr. sandwich man himself, my father-in-law.  & believe me, dave would be super proud of this sandwich.

we started out with some fresh sourdough from whole foods.  broiled it ever so slightly for a bit of crunch.  brushed a little lemon goddess on each slice.  added a piece of delicious havarti {my current favorite cheese}.  topped it with arugula.

we sliced the greek steak very very thinly.  placed it gently on top of the other slice bread.  topped the whole thing off with a little salt & pepper & worcestershire sauce.

oh my gosh, it was so good.

man food, even better.

i hope you have a lovely weekend.  & i hope you eat some awesome food.

love love,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

thankful thursday - 17 days.

17 days until my birthday!!!

& yes, for that i am thankful.  i love birthdays.

& i'm thankful for all of you who have missed my birthday countdown.  happy to be a part of your february.  & sorry i started a bit late this year.  27...whoa.

i hope you can think of something today for which you are thankful!

love love,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

man food.

blakey & i cooked our first steak this weekend!  his first steak not on a grill; my first steak ever.  hard to believe, right?

my husband can be a little domestic.  he actually found a recipe he wanted to make on,  suggested we make it, found the best place in birmy to buy meat {v. richards, according to ranch-man ogden}, & picked them out!

& he didn't even do his normal "hey, let's make this..." & then let me do it.  :)

blakey actually made our steaks himself - dry rub, pan sear, finish in the oven. 

proud of you, b. 

steak & potatoes.  man food.  delish.

love love,

Monday, February 6, 2012

a beautiful day for a patio... in february!

it was a beautiful day on saturday, so we spent the lovely day on our favorite patio.  moe's bbq patio & wings & tanky with the byrds is one of the best saturdays.

& a bloody mary with a little of their bbq sauce & meat rub...

a very lovely saturday indeed.

love love,

Friday, February 3, 2012

mmmmm... nutella creamcheese brownies...

they were even more delicious than they sound.


bet you'll never guess where i got the idea...  ok ok, you totally will.  found on pinterest!

{check out this gem HERE}

i started with my favorite brownie recipe.  easy as can be.  perfect every time.  & then i used homemade nutella!!

homemade nutella = fan.freakin.tastic.

instead of the major ingredients being palm oil & sugar {seriously, go look at that jar of nutella in your pantry}, the ingredients are {in weight order}: milk, chocolate, hazelnuts, a bit of honey, & a pinch of salt.

it is so good i want to eat it by the spoonful, which i might do this morning.  it only has a fridge life of a week, so i better not let it go bad.

happy friday to me.  & happy friday to you!

love love,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

thankful thursday - these are my confessions.

i love my job. 

y'all are probably sick of hearing it, but my job pretty much rocks.

in the kitchen, we talk about music ALL.OF.THE.TIME.  between the musician & the artist & just being in birmy, music is the constant topic of conversation.  classic rock is the most prevalent, which is one i know next to nothing about. 

{prior to working in the kitchen, i knew absolutely nothing about it.  but i have learned most skynard songs, as well as the difference between tom petty & john mellancamp.  so now, it has improved to next to nothing.}

one day during our 8millionth music speak sesh, i commented that if they ever looked at my old cd collection, they would have a hayday.  so i brought it in...

{yes, get a nice little laugh about a "cd collection".  i have no idea why i still have it or moved it to birmy.  but i am so happy i did.}

this is my lifetime's cd collection... high school to college... not touched or even opened since then.  so you know what is gracing this collection...

a lot of usher.  jt in nysnc & solo forms.  britney, christina, jessica.  a few musical soundtracks.  a ton of christian albums.  some country.  a good bit of rap.  a little indie music from my sister.  even a classic rock album or two.

it's diverse. 

& we jammed out.  it was amazing.

as it turns out, i still know every word on usher's confessions album & the jtimberlake rap from like i love you. 

party in the kitchen to early 2000s pop music.  i loved every second of it. 

my job rocks.

i hope you can think of something for which you are thankful today.

love love,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

taco night at the mcgs - many months ago.

i have been franticly cleaning out my computer, as i'm pretty sure it is going to crash if i don't update the operating system soon. {i need a wife to do these things for me...}

on the positive side, i found these pictures that have been waiting to be made into a blog post! they are super cute, so even though it is months late, i think it is only appropriate to share with you.

i remember having a fabulous time, as always, at this little get together at amy & ogden's. really though, when do we all get together & not have a fabulous time? but the details & narrative are all going to be obviously derived from the pics. so here we go...

football saturday in alabama! {as we are all looking mighty nice in our respective team colors}...

the pups played & played & played all afternoon long...

the menu for this occasion was a fantastic looking taco with meat prepared on the grill by chef ogden & homemade sauces by amy...

beer may or may not have been involved...

after a full day of fun, our little t guy was pretty tired & snuggled up to us on the brisk fall evening...

well, at least it went something like that :)

love love,