Sunday, July 31, 2011

Farmer's Market Eating

Hey gang!  I had a really nice weekend, and I hope you guys did too.  Upon reflecting on the weekend, I'd say there was a common theme- picking up Farmer's Market/local food, and EATING it!

Saturday morning I joined some friends at a new-to-me Farmer's Market- The Mathews Farmer's Market.
Matthews is a little town located on the south east side of Charlotte. 

This Farmer's Market, is on the smaller side, but upon closer inspection, the stands had everything you would need at any large Farmer's Market, bread, herbs, tons of veggies, fruit, flowers, even goat cheese.

We only lasted about a half hour outside in the nearly 100 degree heat before taking cover in a local coffee shop (I had iced coffee, not hot!). 

I made out well at the market though, check out my loot!

I ended up with a variety of green beans, assorted colored cherry tomatos, a green and yellow cucumber, a cool looking eggplant, two golden zuchinni, and some goat cheese.

Since I had almost two pounds of beans, I figured I should have some of those for dinner Saturday night.  I also decided to try my hand at something that had intimidated me forever- cooking shrimp at home!

A while back my mom had brought me some local Hilton Head shrimp and put it in my freezer for me.  I decided last night was my night to use it, and decided to make lemon pepper grilled shimp with my steamed beans.  I marinated the defrosted (precleaned) shrimp in lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and a little red pepper flake.

Then I skewered and grilled em up for about 2-3 minutes each side.

Ok, I admit it, this was riduculously easy.  Why I've been fearful of cooking shrimp at home, I don't know!
Paired with my Farmer's Market green beans (with a little butter, lemon, and salt), this was an excellent dinner.

Today I pretty much followed the same formula as yesterday.  After running some errands, I stopped by a local stand to pick up some awesome summer peaches.

I was only home about 3 minutes before this happened.


There may be some peach pie or cobbler in our future if I can restrain myself from eating all the fresh peaches!

I also noticed some corn while at the peach place and ended up with 6 ears of corn since they sold them in bundles.

I knew I wanted corn for dinner, and also decided to make a black bean burger salad to go with the corn.

I actually made my own black bean burgers with some leftover canned black beans I had in the fridge.  I sauteed red and green pepper, onion, and some cumin and chili pepper in a little oil.

I added the cooked onions and peppers to a food processor with the black beans, some whole grain bread ends and supplemental bread crumbs to bind.

Pulsed it a couple times, but not too much because you want some texture in the consistency.
Then I formed patties (I made them little- slider sized) and cooked them in a little oil in a pan.

I melted a little cheddar on each, and put a few on a salad consisting of:
Roasted Red Pepper
Farmers market tomatoes and yellow cucumber
freshly cooked corn
tomatillo/green salsa

With an extra ear of corn on the side.

I'm kind of a corn snob.  I firmly maintain that the best corn anywhere is from a little farm stand called Pelloni's in the town where I grew up.  It's so buttery and sweet and delicious, I've never tasted any other corn as good.  This corn was pretty darn good though, and it came from a South Carolina farm.  I will be back for more!

Have you been eating local this summer?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Proof That I'm Addicted To Fro-Yo

Howdy!  So it's been another busy week for me, but staying busy has helped me to keep my sanity, so I really don't mind.  Although, I'd take more of the social type of busy and less of the work type of busy if it were up to me!  Anyway, I got in some fun outings this week, so here they are.

Tuesday night I met up with Kelly at 131 Main in the Dilworth area of Charlotte. 

I've only ever been to their south location before and it was a couple years ago for drinks and appetizers, so this was my first full on meal experience.  I'd say it was a success!  We happened to go on half price bottles of wine night.  Um, don't mind if I do!  We split a nice Sauvingon Blanc, which hit the spot on a hot day.  We also had some unpictured deviled eggs as an app.  Yum :)

I chose the crab cake salad for my entree and it was totally delicious.  It came with two kinds of dressing on the side- a whole grain mustard and more of a vinegarette and they were both delish.  I also loved the texture of the crab cake.

Oh yeah.  One more time...

131 Main happens to be right near Menchie's, and it was decided that we should grab some yummy dessert over there after dinner.  We were within walking distance after all!

As far as fro-yo goes, I don't really discriminate.  We have quite a few fro-yo places in Charlotte.  It seems that the big chains have noticed the fro-yo craze we have going on here and want in on the action.  I pretty much like them all.  Each has something unique that I like about it.  With Menchies, it's probably their chocolatey options and their HUGE topping area.  I think they have the most topping choices of all the fro-yo places here.

Now, I usually go one of two routes: 
1) Chocolatey: chocolate/cake/sweet flavors, with hot fudge, oreo crumbles, choco chips, etc...
2) Fruity: fruit yogurt flavors, with fruit toppings.

Sometimes I mix the two, but usually I'm more in the mood for one or the other.  At Menchies I had more of a chocolate night.

I did add a bunch of fruit on top though, so I guess it was a mix of both.

You'd think that fro-yo one night this week was enough, but when I got another invite for fro-yo on Wednesday, I could not pass it up!

This time I met Diana, Jen, and Katie for fro-yo at Yoforia. 

So good to see these girls!  We've all been through a lot lately (just check our blogs out to see!), so some female bonding and fro-yo was a welcome diversion!

Oh and Clyde came too, and he enjoyed his own little sample cup of PB fro-yo that Katie went in and got him!  Lucky dog!

When at Yoforia, my favorite flavor/combos is their fruity yogurts- Taro, Pineapple, Pom, combined with all their fresh fruits and some coconut and mochi.

See how I made the two fro-yo outtings totally different experiences? 
You too can mix up your fro-yo options :)

What's your favorite fro-yo combo?

I leave you with this artsy photo of Clyde.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My 7 Links

Hi guys!  So my friend Katie at Legally Fit invited me to participate in the 7 Links challenge.


To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

1) Blogger is nominated to take part

2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.

4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers

5) And so it goes on!

6) We’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

Most Beautiful

Probably A Letter, a post I did during my 30 Day Blog Challenge, in which I posted a picture and a letter.  I wrote my letter to my Grandma who passed away almost 5 years ago. 

Most Popular
9 Weeks  (comments on the page)

This was of course my recent miscarriage post, and it's the most comments on a post I have ever had.  I was shocked at the outpouring of love and support I felt from your comments.  A lot of you also emailed me, texted me, and sent cards.  Thank you all so so much for being there for me at a really hard time.

Welcome to Charlotte Bloggie Brunch!  (Page Hits)

I'm pretty sure this was due to some traffic from Caitlin's blog, but I think also because it is the post that has the recipe for my awesome Blueberry Pie.  Yes, it's famous all over the web.  Make it!

Most Controversial

CAL/UAL Merger

This post was an article about the Continental and United airline merger and my take on it.  For all my healthy living followers, this one was probably skipped/missed, since it was kind of before I blogged more about healthy living.  This is going back to my blog "roots" and was written at a time when I was pretty fired up about the airline industry and how it was affecting my furloughed husband.  I got a lot of traffic on this post based on searches about the impending merger, and if you read through the comments, I had people telling me to tell my husband to find a new career and a bunch of United pilots giving me some perspective on their side.  I actually ended up emailing/keeping in touch with one of them and he's a very nice guy that really helped me to see their side of things.  The merger is still happening and we still don't know how it's all going to play out, but for now, my husband is back flying for his airline, and I just hope his career remains stable.

Most Helpful

Probably my two running posts:

Q & A on Running  I talk about my history of running and gave some advice on how to get into running.

More on Running  I talk more about why I run, and how to make it more enjoyable.

Surprise Success

Hip Flexor Woes (page hits)

Apparently a lot of people have hip flexor issues, and found my blog by googling this!  This post was only about a week out from my marathon and I was pretty freaked out that I would have issues running my marathon because of hip flexor pain.  Thankfully, come marathon day, I was golden and did not have any problems!

Also,  Trying to Conceive Blues (comments/feedback) A lot of you related to my struggles with trying to conceive.  I got a lot of comments and feedback on this and it made me feel so much better about how I was feeling at the time.

Not Enough Attention

13.1  My first half marathon post hardly got any comments!  I was pretty bummed about that after working so hard for it!  You can still comment on how awesome I did.  I don't mind... :)

Most Proud

I Ran The Charleston Marathon!

Definitely my marathon recap!  I worked so hard for that medal (which by the way, I was given the wrong one, if you read the recap!)  It's one of my most proud moments in life that I ran a marathon, and I loved training for, running, and blogging about the whole experience :)

Ok, I nominate:

Have at it girls!  :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Messed Up My Wish

I'm still dealing relatively well with my miscarriage, but sometimes thoughts swim in my head about it all.  You know the statement, "Be Careful What You Wish For"?  I sometimes think that about my pregnancy.  I wished to get pregnant for so long.  I wished to get PREGNANT.  Not to get pregnant and have a healthy baby (that second part was supposed to be implied), just to get pregnant. 

Did you ever see that movie Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser?  Maybe not, it's kinda dumb.

Anyway, he makes a deal with the devil (Elizabeth Hurley) to sell his soul for some wishes.  The problem is that he'd say, "I want to be rich", and she'd make him rich, but also a cartel drug dealer jerk with a cheating wife and a bunch of people that want to kill him.  Not exactly what he had in mind.  I feel like that's kind of what happened with my wish.  I just wanted to be pregnant so bad that I didn't follow through with the rest of the wish.  I should have said I want to get pregnant and have a healthy baby, even though like I said, I thought that part was implied.

As far as coping goes, I think I'm doing pretty good.  I can talk about the miscarriage, or babies/pregnancy in general, without bursting in to tears.  I kind of feel like I went back to my old, pre-pregnancy self.  I think I've spent so much of my life not pregnant, that it feels more normal to me to not be pregnant than to be pregnant.  I actually feel kind of guilty that I don't feel worse about it all.  Is it weird that I haven't crawled into bed for a month unable to move?  I feel like I should feel worse...

As far as my specific case, I think it also helped in a way that we never saw a heartbeat, and got really attached to the idea that a real live baby was growing inside me.  I knew pretty early on that things were up in the air as far as whether we'd actually have a successful pregnancy or not, so I was preparing fairly early on for things to take a turn for the worse if it came to that.

Still, as well as I'm doing, I have moments when I get sad and disappointed about it.  I've been gravitating towards sad-ish music on my playlists lately, and spend time in the car thinking about it when I'm alone.  I went for a run today and that actually dredged up quite a bit of thought on everything, because running is so introspective when you do it alone. 

I had my follow-up doctor's appointment this week and the doctor (the same one that did my surgery) was great, as usual.  He gave me his "pep talk" on trying again and encouraged me to.  I actually don't need a pep talk though.  I definitely plan to try again.  I think part of why I'm not sitting around sad all the time is that I'm more determined than sad as the underlying emotion towards trying to have a baby.  I just hope our second time around goes better than this time. 

The hard part about trying again is not knowing what went wrong the first time.  I guess there really is no explanation.  The doctor said it I had pregnancy tissue, but that he couldn't tell what went wrong.  I'm just hoping my body was all confused since it was my first time and is now like, "Ohhhhhh, that's what you were trying to do!  Okay, got it now.  Let's do this!"  After all, I waited almost 33 years to get pregnant, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that my body didn't know what to do right away.  It's not like everyone can just get on a bike and ride...

I've talked to quite a few people about the miscarriage.  I would say that more people have told me that they, or their wife- if it's a guy, have had a miscarriage than not, which I guess is sort of surprising to hear how common it is.  Yesterday I told two guys at work that knew I was pregnant and they both immediately said they've been through it (they both went on to have 2-4 kids each).  I've been finding this is the case with so many people I've talked to, and though it's a sad topic, there definitely is comfort in knowing I'm not alone, and better still, that people are still successful at conceiving again and having babies even after a miscarriage.  That's really, really good news.

The sad part in talking with other people who have been through it is hearing how hard it's been for some of them. 

Like I said, I feel like I've coped relatively well.  I haven't lost my determination (I'm a stubborn Taurus after all) to get pregnant again, and this isn't something that's going to keep me on the sidelines.  I am planning to get back out there and try when we can (in two cycles if you are wondering).  For me, keeping busy, being social, and trying find myself again has helped me more than laying in bed with the covers pulled up hiding from it all.  Talking about it and blogging about it has helped lots too. 

I think the other thing that's been hard for me to accept was that I had this huge hunch that I would be a pregnancy rock star.  I don't think I'm exceptional at a ton of things (even though I know I'm good at a lot of things), but I just thought I would ROCK at being pregnant and carrying a baby to term and would soar through it with flying colors and no issues, and letting that go has been hard for me.  I just figured that I was healthy, a good weight for pregnancy, and I had great genes to be great at being pregnant from my mom.  To have the whole thing crash and burn so miserably was a huge disappointment when I'd pictured it going so well for so long.  It's been pretty humbling that I didn't get pregnant right away and that I couldn't carry the first pregnancy to term. 

So that's where I'm at on everything.  Still determined, still pretty hopeful, and just trying to keep trucking along with this journey while I'm back in my holding pattern...

Mmmmm Vivace

Monday night my mom was still in Charlotte, because she had a conference to attend closer to my house than hers on Tuesday.  Having her all to myself an extra day was fun!  I had to work, but we met for lunch at Panera, and then decided to make reservations at a restaurant I've been wanting to try: Vivace

It's restaurant week in Charlotte, and we decided to do the special menu that includes an appetizer, entree, and dessert for $30. 

We were sat in the loft-like upper room, which has a nice view of uptown Charlotte and has modern, swanky decor.

My mom is a great person to go to restaurant week with because we like all the same things and were able to choose 6 things and split them :)

I had some really good wine.  I'm not even sure what it was, but the waiter said it was like a really good Pinot Noir, and I was sold. 

Hi, my name is Brittney, and I like dining out...

We started with a bread basket with white bean dip.

For our dinners, we went with...

The risotto balls, which were in both a pesto and tomato sauce and were pretty much perfection in a fried ball (sidenote- anyone watch the last Food Network Star with "Balls on a Roll"?).

We also had ricotta gnocchi with shrimp.  The creamy white wine/herb sauce with this one was awesome.  I may have dunked my risotto balls in it!

For entrees, we chose the grilled swordfish, which came with this great smashed potato/tomato side. 
I want to try making that smashed potato/tomato combo.  It was so good! 

And a steak that was kind of a cross between a sirloin and a filet mignon.  It came with a tomato and bread salad.

It tasted as good as it looked :)

We were kind of stuffed after our apps and entrees, but somehow mustered the strength to continue on and eat our dessert...

We chose the lemon panna cotta with mixed berries. 
It was so gorgeous, and a nice light and delicious choice.

And had to get the tiramisu with hazelnut ice cream.

It was SUCH a great meal!  I kind of want to eat the whole thing again...

Vivace just cruised to the top of my list of favorite restaurants in Charlotte.  It was really an incredible meal!

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