Tag Archives: friday faves

What I’ve been loving lately

It has been awhile since I did a Friday Faves post so I figured I’d play a little bit of catch up on what I’ve been loving as of late. I’m finally getting the hang of my new work schedule so more recipes posts should be coming soon (I hope).

Once I got an office job, I knew I wanted to get a bento box-type lunch box. I’ve wanted one for awhile and couldn’t justify it when I was working from home. So I took to Amazon and settled on the Bentgo one.

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It’s has been great so far. The top compartment is divided in to two sections so I can store two different things and the bottom is nice and big so it fits leftovers or even a sandwich quite well. Here’s a pic of the Bentgo in action.


It just makes it really easy to pack healthy stuff to eat while I am at work. Not that I haven’t been tempted by the free cake that has been in the office the past few days…

One of the things I love so far about my work is the proximity to great food options. So far the favorite has to be Sausalito West Coast Grill. It is in Midtown Atlanta and makes THE BEST TACOS. That is not an understatement. If you are in Midtown Atlanta around lunchtime, go check it out. The owner is awesome and the food is great.

I have never been a big fan of protein bars. Something about the taste and consistency has always kinda made them bleh to me. But since I now go straight to work out after work sometimes, I need something to eat that will hold me over through a workout. Enter Quest Bars. You can get them online or at GNC and they come in all sorts of flavors. They are the best tasting protein bars I’ve ever had and they are low in carbs and added sugar but full of fiber and protein. So far my favorite is the vanilla almond but the cookies and cream one is a close second.

So even though my birthday has come and gone, we celebrated with my parents over the weekend. My mom asked me what I wanted and the first thing that popped in to my mind was her corn casserole. I didn’t really care what else we had with it. I just wanted that corn casserole. It is like crack. So delicious. We had it along with steaks and a salad and it was the perfect birthday meal with my family. And to top it off, my mom made this delicious s’mores cake.


Mmmmm, it was everything that is delicious about a s’more in cake form. I brought the leftovers to my office and they were quickly devoured.

So that’s what I’ve been loving as of late. I am slowly finding my groove and should be back to posting regularly again. Eric has even mentioned wanting to do a guest post so maybe you’ll see that coming soon too!

And I will leave you with quite possibly the best gift I have ever received — a Kate Middleton mask.

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Have a great weekend!




Friday Faves

It is now time for me to share the news I alluded to last week. No, it’s not a baby…it’s a new job!

Today is my last day at my current job and I start my new one on Monday. I’m going to miss my old co-workers, but I’m super excited about this new opportunity. I’m going from working from home to commuting and being back in an office, so it’s going to be a bit of a transition. I’m going to have to be a better planner when it comes to blogging so I don’t leave y’all hanging!

The reason I’ve been so absent the past few weeks is because I was in and out of phone interviews and in person interviews and then doing my current work on top of it. Blogging sort of fell by the wayside. But I’m going to make a conscious effort to stay on top of things because I love this blog and want to keep it going. But hang with me through the next few weeks of transition. I’ll figure things out eventually.

1) One of my faves this week — and going forward — is Eric’s new goal to start cooking for me more. With the new job, him taking over cooking duties a few nights a week is going to be awesome. He’s already started to show some skills. The past two weeks he has made a couple of super tasty dinners.

UntitledOn the left, grilled ratatouille pasta. On the right, Mediterranean flat bread. Both delicious — an nutritious! He knows I have been trying to eat better so he has been cooking a lot of vegetables. And he is very good at it.

2) My birthday is this weekend! I enter the final years of my 20s on Sunday. Eric is taking me to Canoe in Atlanta for my birthday dinner and I’m super excited. It has been on my must-try list since we moved back. We also have some friends coming to stay with us on Saturday. We plan on heading to Fox Bros  on Saturday night, and I’m already dreaming about the Frito Pie. We are also going to hit up Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams tomorrow afternoon. My friend Lauren and I have been talking about it pretty much every day since they booked their trip. I will be sure to report on all of our weekend eating adventures next week.

3) Anyone have any good recs for places to eat in Charleston? We’re heading there in a few weeks for a friend’s wedding and are looking for a good place for dinner and brunch. We’ve never been. so we are relying on other people to tell us what’s good so let me know in the comments!


Friday Faves

I was a bad food blogger this week. I have not cooked a single dinner at home. We’ve just been busy with dinners out with friends and a work event — but I promise to get back in to the swing of things next week.

But I did eat a lot of my homemade sweet potato chips this week. Probably every day. They are just so good and so easy to make. It is kind of unbelievable how I have never thought to do it before. I think next week I might try some apple chips in the microwave so stay tuned.

I saw this recipe on The Kitchn last night and can’t stop thinking about it. Savory french toast? It makes a lot of sense — french toast doesn’t always have to be sweet. Just look at how amazing it looks.


Mouth. Watering. Mmmm. Bread and cheese — always a winning combination.

We’re having my parents over for dinner this weekend and I’m going to make a red wine pot roast. The weather’s warmed up here in Atlanta quite a bit, so it’s not exactly pot roast weather anymore. But who cares? It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to make it. If all goes well, I’ll share the recipe with you next week.

Friday Faves

I’m going to keep this week’s faves short and sweet — or at least I’m going to attempt to.Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not exactly short on words… So let’s see how this goes.

As I mentioned back in my fails post, I’m not a huge fan of spaghetti squash. Nothing about it reminds me of pasta and I’m not a huge fan of the taste. But when Eric requested spaghetti and meatballs last weekend, I decided to try another way to bulk up my pasta with veggies — zucchini noodles.

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I know that you can buy a specific tool for making noodles out of zucchini, but I just used my mandolin to julienne one zucchini into small pieces. I sauteed the “noodles” in a bit of olive oil until they were slightly cooked, but still crunchy (a little al dente) and then mixed them in with my spaghetti and sauce.  So good. You couldn’t even really notice the difference between the zucchini and the actual pasta. I’m sold. I also whipped up a concoction for lunch yesterday of zucchini noodles, chickpeas and tomatoes and it was quite tasty.

After being cooped up inside for three days, we decided to venture out last night for date night. We went to Bistro Niko in Buckhead. We’ve been there before and it was delicious, so we figured, why not? And man, it might have been even tastier this time.  We started the meal with these little cheese puffs called gourgeres. I didn’t have time to snap a pic of them because we devoured them. I could eat four baskets of them.


For my main, I ordered the horseradish crusted cod with vegetable couscous and a lemon-olive oil emulsion. IT WAS SO GOOD. I can never get my fish that delicious when I cook it at home. It managed to be light and rich at the same time. Mmmm. Of course we saved room for dessert and got the chocolate sundae. This is the most off the charts sundae — chocolate and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, crushed hazelnut brittle, brownie pieces and toasted marshmallow on top. I even allowed Eric to have a few bites…

It was the perfect ending to a long, snow and ice filled week. If you live in Atlanta and are looking for a good date place, you cannot beat Bistro Niko.

Friday Faves

This week’s Friday Faves revolves around two of my most favorite things in all the world: goat cheese and tea.

It would be hard for me to choose a favorite type of cheese, but goat cheese would definitely be up at the top. If I’m out to dinner and something has goat cheese on it, there is a safe bet I am ordering it. We usually always have goat cheese in our fridge, and last week, La Bonne Vie goat cheese was on sale at Kroger, so I bought two.


Specifically, those little cheese boxes are what I got. It’s a more spreadable form of goat cheese rather than a crumbly version, and let me just say it is excellent. I’ve been spreading it on whole wheat Wasa crackers as an afternoon snack. Mmmmm.

Usually I am eating these crackers and cheese alongside a cup of tea. My tea obsession has gotten out of control lately and I blame it all on my new little French press.


It is so much easier to make loose leaf tea now. Yes, using a tea ball isn’t exactly complicated, but I just find this so much more enjoyable. I’ve even been opening up tea bags to drop in the tea so I can still use this. I might have a problem. But that’s OK.

My two favorites to brew up are the Maharaja Chai Oolong from Teavana and the Brioche tea from American Tea Room.  If you are not a fan of spicy teas, than the Maharaja might not be for you, but cut with a little almond milk, it is so good. And the Brioche tea tastes like a delicious almond croissant. You cannot beat that.

If you are as tea obsessed as I am, I suggest invested in this YouCopia Tea Stand. I had like 8 or so boxes of tea bags just roaming around our pantry and this has consolidated them all in to one, compact corner. And to answer a question I’m sure some of you (or none of you) might be wondering, I currently have 19 different teas in my house. My OCD is making me want to run out and get another so it will be a nice, round 20…


Friday Faves

The snow in Atlanta has made this week simultaneously feel extremely long and also extremely short. I felt like I blinked and suddenly it was Friday. Which is a good thing. And yet also a bad thing. But anyways, here’s what I’ve been loving this week — very briefly.



Why hello, soft boiled goodness. I’ve always wanted to try soft boiled eggs and it’s kinda crazy I just started cooking them. My ideal egg is one with a runny middle and a cooked white so this is pretty much perfect. I’m still ironing out all the kinks in how I make them, but this is what works for me: add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a pot of water and bring to a boil, add egg, boil for 4 minutes and 30 seconds (precision is key), dunk in an ice bath for a minute, peel, eat. I’ve mostly been eating them on toast, but I’d like to try them on other things like veggies, polenta or even some quinoa. It should also be noted that I tried poaching an egg in the microwave with some success. It sounds weird, but it works.

Do any of you watch “Top Chef?” Without fail, I will watch every season of the original show (now really big on “Top Chef: Masters, however). Well any of my fellow “Top Chef” watchers might appreciate this.

After the episode this week, I noted that Hugh Acheson hadn’t really been on much this season. Maybe this is me, and maybe I am biased since he is an Georgia-based chef, but I felt a serious lack of Hugh. So I tweeted about it. And Hugh Acheson favorited the tweet.


Needless to say, I was geeking out. This is one of the many reasons I love Twitter. Luckily, it looks like Hugh will be on the season finale next week so the Hugh drought will be over.

Friday Faves

Hello all! How are you liking my new blog design? Have to say I’m mildly obsessed. I keep looking at it and petting my computer screen — kidding of course. That is definitely one of my faves this week. I’ve loved playing around in WordPress. It makes me feel a lot more tech savvy than I really am.

So I’ve been obsessed with fruit lately. Kinda weird, I suppose, but there are worse things you could be obsessed with. I bought a big bag of pears at Trader Joe’s for three bucks last week and have been working my through them. But my favorite snack is a golden delicious apple with my homemade peanut butter dip. Now apples are delicious on their own, but paired with this dip, they are out of this world. I’ve been eating this for dessert all week (while Eric has been finishing off the berry pie we made over the weekend). It’s simple — mixed 2 tablespoons of Cool Whip and 1 teaspoon peanut butter together. Boom. Done. Enjoy the deliciousness. You can add more peanut butter if you like, but I find this ratio has a nice, subtle peanut butter flavor. I think peanut butter is one of the world’s most perfect foods.

As I wrote about a few months back, I love cookbooks. I would buy a ton more cookbooks if I had endless space (one day I will have a library in my house). So to keep my purchasing in check, I get cookbooks at the library. The libraries in Atlanta have pretty much any book you’d ever want. I then scan the recipes I want to keep using the Genius Scan app on my phone. I now am armed with a whole new arsenal of recipes I can’t wait to try, so thank you public library.

My obsession with The Kitchn continues. I find myself reading every single post everyday. That’s how you know you’d got my attention. My favorite article this week was The Best Cheeses For Tacos. I am now convinced I need to make these:


Those are mini tacos — WITH A SHELL MADE FROM CHEESE. Here’s the recipe for those who are as interested as I am.  Now this is all I want to eat. Sounds like a potential Super Bowl party recipe to me.

Friday Faves

Surprise, surprise — guess who is sick again? Well, I guess technically it is the same illness I had back at the start of the year, it’s just migrated from my sinuses to my lungs. Oh happy day. But all is well. I’m on a zpac (which is apparently a miracle based on what people have told me) so I should be back in fighting shape any day now.

But this illness has kept me from doing a lot of cooking. I am pretty much eating soup for every meal, but I’ve had some really delicious soups. And when you are eating as much soup as I am, variety is key. I’ve had chicken noodle, carrot and ginger, tomato, black bean, egg drop. Eric brought me home some egg drop soup from a local Chinese place last night and it was like a healing elixir.



This isn’t the exact soup I had (thanks for the stand in, Google images) but I feel as if it accurately conveys the golden, salty deliciousness that is egg drop soup. It should also come as no surprise that I’m guzzling tea by the gallon. My favorites have been Vanilla Bean Tea from the Mighty Leaf and White Peach and Ginger Tea from Trader Joe’s.

Prior to my all soup diet, I was obsessed with eating salads, mainly because I was obsessed with making my own salad dressings. Sunday night I made a kale salad with a homemade caesar vinaigrette (I combined white wine vinegar, garlic olive oil, a little dijon mustard, a pinch of parmesan cheese and a little salt and pepper)  and it was excellent. I think I’m going to do a post next week on all the salad dressings I’ve created lately.

I’ve been really loving food blogs lately. That’s really not a new thing, but there are a few specific ones that I can’t get enough of. The Kitchn is an awesome site filled with fun articles, recipes and tips. The chicken and rice soup I made last week was inspired by a post I saw on there. I’ve also really loved Pinch of Yum. They post so many interesting and creative recipes that I cannot wait to try. Go ahead and add them to your blog roll — just trust me.

Friday Faves

Did you survive the polar vortex? It’s weeks like these that I’m glad I work from home — and have my own personal space heater.

I’m finally back in to my rhythm in the kitchen. That holidays were so busy I rarely had time to cook at home. But now we’ve been whipping up delicious meals all week. We have this fun little system — Eric thinks up something that sounds good, I recreate it off the cuff. We’ve done that twice this week with great success, recipes to follow.

One key to the success of those recipes is Better than Bouillon, specifically the chicken one.


It’s a bit pricier than the powder bouillon, but it is so superior that it is worth it. This adds a richness to dishes that call for chicken stock that makes it seem as if you have been slow cooking it all day. I also have the beef variety, but I use the chicken one a few times a week.

I’ve also been using our Corningware Lite bakeware a lot lately.


It’s similar to traditional CorningWare, but it’s much lighter and sleeker. When we got married, we (well, I) registered for a set of this as well as a set of Pyrex (which really, you don’t need both…but what did I know?). I use the CorningWare all the time. I rarely use the Pyrex. I just find the Pyrex too bulky. And it doesn’t clean up as nicely as the CorningWare. If you are getting married or in the market for some good bakeware, I’d definitely recommend the CorningWare Lite.

OK, now let’s talk about my love of freeze dried fruit.


Weird, maybe a little, but pretty tasty and a good healthy snack. Two of these are from Trader Joe’s, one from Whole Foods. The peaches and oranges are awesome. The cranberries a little tart for me, but I think I’m going to mix them in to oatmeal with some honey to cut the tartness a little. I prefer the freeze dried fruit to traditional dried fruit because the sugar content isn’t that high. Both TJ’s and WF’s have a wide selection of freeze dried fruit, so if you are looking to dive in, check those places out.

Friday Five is now Friday Faves

Three days in to the new year and I’m already changing stuff up here on Kitchen Casual. It’s not a huge change, just changing the Friday feature from Friday Five to Friday Faves. It gives me more flexibility in terms of the amount of what I write about. I  found myself struggling sometimes to come up with five things and I want to make sure the things I share are things I actually am enjoying, not just things I am thinking up to take up space.


First, I have to talk about how Santa was very good to me. I got a few of the products I’ve talked about on here and they have seen a lot of use in the past week. My mother-in-law got me the tea kettle I wanted. It’s is actually quite amazing how brewing tea at the proper temperature can make a huge difference in how the tea tastes. Tea nerds unite! I’ve been getting a lot of use out of it the past few days because I am battling a nasty head cold. Hot tea, I love you. I also got two really awesome knifes. The above one is a J.A. Henckels chef’s knife made of German steel. It cuts like a dream. I just want to chop all the things. I also got a small ceramic knife that is great. I feel like I need to invest in more ceramic knives now.

UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot to talk about my mezzaluna! I also got one for Christmas and it is pretty amazing. Yes, you can just use a knife, but I shredded a whole bunch of kale super fast with it the other day. We are now best friends.

We were out of town for past of last week so we haven’t cooked too much. We made this slow cooker Greek chicken on Sunday and ate it for a few days in warm pitas with tomatoes, cucumbers and homemade tzatziki. It was delicious. We also made lobster risotto on New Year’s Day.


It was my first time cooking lobster at home. We bought some tails from Costco (seriously, they have a great seafood selection) and boiled them. I used my recipe for baked risotto and top it with the chopped lobster. A little delicious indulgence to start the new year.

I should get back to more cooking in the new few weeks. Like most people in the world, I’m trying to eat better after the gluttonous holidays, so you might see some healthy-type dishes on here. But I’ll hopefully make them as tasty as possible!