Menu Monday

Week 1 of being a vegetarian was a success even with a pig pickin on the calendar! I traveled for work on Monday so I’m going to start this week with Tuesday!

Tuesday

My last meal with meat I opted for Chinese take out! My order was pork lo mein and crab ragoon. Can’t get enough of either and what do vegetarians eat at Chinese restaurants? My plan is to avoid for the rest of lent.

Wednesday

Sweet Potato Veggie Burger

 I found this recipe on pinterest. Delicious red meat substitute and easy to make. I topped my burger with lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados. Yum!

Thursday

Avocado Wasabi Salad

Another Pinterest find. I love all things with wasabi. I will actually eat it so fast until my whole face scrunches up with a sinus clean. Carrots, gorbanzo beans, and edamame give a nice texture to the salad.

Saturday night I survived a pig pickin. More on that to come later the week!

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Cajun Queen

Here is the official kick off of my “To Eat in 2012″ review. First stop the Cajun Queen. True to its name this is a Cajun style restaurant that celebrates all the great things of New Orleans.

The restaurant is located in an old house with the main dining room chopped up in the front and right side of the house and the kitchen in the back left. Upstairs is a bar and band area where live jazz music plays 7 nights a week. On a funny note when we asked the bar tender if he had any specials he politely informed us that he had specialty drinks but no drinks at a special price.

Our occasion for going out to dinner was my birthday and Kathryn planned this occasion with Drew, Anni, and Jay. We were seated downstairs and enjoyed Diane with crawfish, Creole with shrimp and Etouffee with shrimp and chicken. I had the Crawfish and it was super spicy. So much that I alternated each bite with bread and was nervous that I was beginning to sweat. Over all a great one dish with rice and vegetables. Very filling and I had leftovers for lunch at another time.

While I don’t know if I will plan to go again anytime soon it was a fun experience and with the help of a groupon the price wasn’t over the top. I would recommend to go with a group no more than six. The dining rooms are like rooms of a house and anymore may be hard to hear and enjoy everyone! Cajun Queen on Urbanspoon

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Double Trouble

Have I told you my friend Anni is pregnant? No?!? Well guess what? She’s having Twins!

Anni hosted a gender reveal party a couple of weekends ago to let her friends and family in on the big secret of the gender of the babies! She asked each guess to dress in colors to represent what they thought she was having. Pink for 2 girls, Blue for 2 boys, and White for 1 of each. Anni and her husband Jay, found out the sex at the ultrasound so they each had their Mom cut a cake. The icing between the layers would be blue if it was a boy and pink it if it was a girl.

Here is Anni’s Mom Diane:

She got blue icing! Welcome baby Caviness Holden Carroll! Anni and Jay will call him Holden.

Jay’s Mom Aileene:

She got pink icing! Welcome baby Emerson Catherine Carroll. Jay and Anni will call her Emma Cate.

Holden and Emma Cate, I cannot wait until you join us in this world in July!

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Menu Monday

I’m ready to let you in on a big idea of mine. For this upcoming lenten season I have decided to give up meat. No cheat days, no fish, true vegetarian diet for the next 40 days. I’m doing this partially as a lenten exercise and partly to test my self will. There are so many times when I eat something and think wow! that was so good and didn’t have any meat. I also think this will an excellent test of my kitchen skills. I am going to use this Menu Monday post to help keep me accountable as I explore a world without meat. With that, here is a recap of my last full week with meat!

Monday

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Mozzarella, Basil, Tomatoes, and Avocado

I made 2 sandwiches, one for dinner and one for lunch the next day. It was slightly messy to reheat, but the taste was worth it!

Tuesday

Birthday Dinner: Steak and Lobster, Green Beans, Squash and Twice Baked Potatoes Made by my Mom and Dad

Wednesday

Cream of Chicken Soup with Brie

You have to be off the calorie counter to really enjoy this one. I have 2 more servings saved in the freezer waiting for me to come off of my meat hiatus.

Thursday

Neighbor Dinner at the Cajun Queen. Food Review to follow!

Friday

Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla with Black beans and Avocados

This is too easy not to make. I used left over chicken from Wednesday and cheese I had in the fridge.

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Food Mission

I think I might have a slight obsession with food! Not only do I love to go to new places and tell you guys about the food I eat, but when donating/volunteering at a non-profit I try to have it revolve around food as well. I see it as if you can’t provide the basic necessities, food/shelter/water, how can you expect anyone to succeed? And of these necessities I have always chosen to focus on food.

I have decided that this year I want to inspire you to get involved in food mission too! It’s so easy and there are TONs of ways to get involved. So once a month I’ll dedicate a post to food missions in my quest to end world hunger!

This month’s challenge. Call your shelter and understand what goes into serving a hot meal every night. At the Charlotte Men’s Shelter it takes nearly 60 pounds of meat every night to feed their at residents when the shelter is at capacity. That’s 420 lbs of meat a week for dinner alone!

My church has developed a system for collecting casseroles and freezing them until its our turn to serve dinner. They picked a simple, small ingredient casserole that they publish online and encourage congregation members to bring in anytime and store in a designated freezer.

The casserole is Texas Hash and you can find the recipe here. Here is the batch I made last month:

It’s ingredients that you probably have already in your kitchen and just need to be put together in a big pot. Once cooked we put them in gallon size zip lock bags and put them in the freezer flatten so that they are easier to stack.

It’s a simple way I could give back to the homeless men that depend on the shelter for a warm meal. Now I challenge you to get involved!

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Happy New Year!

It’s better late than never to start blogging in 2012! I always find January as a blah month and thus I really had nothing to report! But things look brighter on the horizon so here gos nothing. Lets start with… New Years resolutions!

1. Read a book a month. I have signed up for the goodreads reading challenge. I feel a little defeated in my goal setting as last year I read 18 books but I really think that was due to my surgery, so for now I am goaling to 12 total and just finished my 3rd last night!

2. We have come up with the 2012 Restaurant list! It was so much fun to try new places in our city. Without further ado:

If you notice its only 11. We decided to float one in the event that something amazing came our way! Stay tune for reviews.

I hope 2012 brings the best to you and yours and I can’t wait to have you join in with whatever this year brings to me!

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Pikes!

Pikes Soda Shop marks the 12th and final destination on our “To Eat in 2011 list!” Halleluiah we made it all the way through the list in 1 year!

The name soda shop is a little deceiving. I was thinking that this would be a total hot dog and hamburger place but the menu offers so much more. Everything from make your own hamburgers, quiche of the day, vegetable plates and hearty entrees. We have learned to ask what the waiter for recommendations and he suggested the Honey Pecan Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli Casserole, or the Fish Tacos if we wanted a lighter option. I went for the fried chicken.

It was a delicious and a different kind of fried chicken. First it was boneless which helped with eating with a fork and knife, and it really wasn’t greasy. The crust had a nice crunch and the chicken itself was juicy. The honey wasn’t too sweet and when you got a bite with the pecans, well that was a wonderful combination. The sides were up to the southern home cooking standard. I thought it was interesting that the mashed potatoes were served with the skins attached and without gravy!

Maybe the best part of the meal was dessert. Make sure you save room! After debating over the cakes, pies, and sundaes, we finally decided on an oreo milkshake! (They are huge! Split one with someone!) It was delicious well mixed and with great flavors. They ever come in a vintage milkshake glass. Overall this was a thumbs up and we will definitely be returning.

This little adventure has been a lot of fun! We actually went to several new restaurants that weren’t on our list this year too: BLT Steak House, Dim Sum, and Toast. I think its interesting that the only place we have actually been back to is Comet Grill. When I ask Drew what his favorite was his answer is Snoops which surprises me as it was such a simple Hot Dog and Hamburger place. My favorite of the year would be Dish! For no particular reason except that I am easily swayed by Chicken and Dumplings. Thanks for following along! We will be continuing our food adventures in 2012 but I will post more about that later. Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop and Fine Diner on Urbanspoon

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