Desserts in Durham and The Honeycutters

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We went to Durham this past weekend to visit my MIL for Mother’s Day. We had plans to eat in to celebrate. The boys were in charge of picking up food. Wanting to contribute something (other than a purse I picked out for my MIL at the Green Jeans Sale), I decided to do what I do best – find dessert.

Downtown Durham

My friend Ben suggested Scratch Bakery in downtown Durham. So, I headed to the downtown area, parked my car, and went on a bit of a dessert adventure.

Doughnut Muffins

Ben mentioned that Scratch had something special – doughnut muffins. I was surprised to see any left since I went 30 minutes before closing, around 2:30pm. I happily scooped up some to take back to the house. But, I wasn’t done there. I thought the doughnut muffins could be more of a snack. I also picked up some cake (see later photo). But, I wanted more. Scratch was sold out of many items, so I decided to get a variety of desserts from multiple places.

The Cupcake Bar Durham

I went on to get cupcakes from The Cupcake Bar. Many of the cupcakes were decorated with graduation flair since there were many college graduations that weekend. I was sad there were no Mother’s Day themed cupcakes but glad the shop stayed open pretty late. I ended up hitting up this spot after a pit stop at…

Cocoa Cinnamon Latte

Cocoa Cinnamon. It’s been over a year since I first visited this cool little coffee shop, so I was excited to make a return trip. This coffee shop was just outside of the downtown area, so it was an easy two minute car ride from where I was. I was a little nervous about finding somewhere to park and then somewhere to sit since the lot and building are on the small side. But, I lucked out and got a space since someone was leaving just as I pulled up. And though the inside of Cocoa Cinnamon is a bit small, they have quite a bit of outdoor seating. I was ready to share a table with a stranger, but I found an open table in the front.

I ordered the See-line Woman – a latte made with molasses. It was delicious! I love how Cocoa Cinnamon has several unique coffee offerings. I happily sipped on my latte whilst working on a blog post for an Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe. I got to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air, though I wasn’t sure how long that would last. Most of the day, I toted around a Northface jacket (couldn’t find an umbrella!) since the sky (and weather report) threatened rain. Towards the end of my coffee break, I started hearing thunder. Though it didn’t start raining, it was enough to at least have me thinking it was time to head home.

Durham Dogs

The dogs had a pretty good time this weekend, too, and were playing when I got back. Bailey and Chessie played with a new tug-of-war toy, and that was funny to watch. Chessie is goofy and seems to just like the act of playing. Bailey, on the other hand, wants to WIN! He kept pulling the toy away from Chessie and keeping it from her. Silly boy!

The Honeycutters Concert

My BIL took us all to a small concert to see The Honeycutters on Saturday night. They are based in Asheville, NC, and they are an original country roots band. Country isn’t my favorite genre, but I really like some styles and select artists. I really liked The Honeycutters’ music and ended up getting a CD to take home. I guess some people may think I just like Pitbull and Britney since I’m a Zumba instructor, but I like a lot of different types of music. Sometimes, these smaller bands are harder to find, so you need a good reference with the inside scoop, like my BIL.

Here’s a video (see above) in case you’d like to hear one of the songs I really liked from the show – Mr. Cody.

Scratch Bakery Honey Almond Cake

And we may or may not have dug into that other Scratch Bakery treat – honey almond cake – after the show. Yum! I loved the slightly sticky almond topping. It had a bit of the savory-sweet thing going on with honey and salt, which added great balance.

We gave hubby’s mom her purse on Sunday, and she loved it. Woohoo! It was a navy blue Carolina Herrera bucket-style purse with a long strap and gold details. I hope she gets lots of great use out of it.

We had another great trip to Durham and a wonderful weekend!

Hope you’re all having a great week! Thanks for stopping by!

Filipino Easter Potluck

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When I told my family we were visiting for Easter, my mom shared some happy news. We were all invited over to a family friend’s house for a Filipino Easter Potluck. Woohoo! My sister and I grew up going to many Filipino potlucks, but I haven’t been to one in years. It seems like we’re always out of town when they happen, so I was excited we’d be able to make this one.

Filipino Easter Potluck

Mom was in charge of making flan and pancit.

Filipino Easter Potluck

Sis, Bailey, and I assisted with the cooking. Bailey is such a good little kitchen helper.

Filipino Easter Potluck

We had a nice spread for Easter – lots of traditional Filipino party foods.

Sis and I always joke how Filipino food isn’t the most photogenic. The pictures may not tell the story, but trust me, this stuff is delicious!

Filipino Easter Potluck

{Pancit}

Filipino Easter Potluck

{Chicken adobo}

Filipino Easter Potluck

{Lechon (pork)}

Filipino Easter Potluck

{Lumpia}

Filipino Easter Potluck

{Vegan fried rice}

Okay, the rice dish isn’t Filipino, but dad needed something special since the other eats all had meat in them.

Filipino Easter Potluck

Filipino Easter Potluck

All the food was so delicious. I had to have a couple plates to enjoy it while I could.

We had a great time catching up with our family friends and meeting a couple new ones, too! Hubby and I had to hit the road to head home since the potluck was on Sunday, but I think we could have stayed and chatted for hours. We had a fun little group for our Easter celebration.

Filipino Easter Potluck

{Sweet rice}

Filipino Easter Potluck

{Flan}

Filipino Easter Potluck

Can we do this again tomorrow? Yum!

Hope everyone celebrating had a wonderful Easter!

First Foam Art and Greenville Faves

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Hope you’re all having a great Easter weekend!

On Saturday, Dad and Sis wanted to watch the new Captain America 2 movie. With the weather being rainy with a high of 58, it was a good day for that. Hubby and I had already seen it, but he was up for seeing it again. Since my mom isn’t a big movie fan, she and I decided to have a mother-daughter afternoon.

Due South Coffee

I took her to Due South Coffee (which I visited during their opening week) for her first latte foam art experience.

Mom at Due South Coffee

She was a fan. She was cute and asked, “Am I supposed to drink the foam art?” Yup, go for it!

Thank you, Due South Coffee, for providing a great experience!

Henry's Smokehouse BBQ

While we were out, we decided to hit up some of our other favorite spots like Henry’s Smokehouse. Hello, BBQ sandwich plate!

The Chocolate Shoppe

And since I was one day away from being able to enjoy sweets again, we picked up two dozen of my favorite chocolate chip cookies from The Chocolate Shoppe. If you’re ever in town, definitely stop by. You’ll be greeted with a free chocolate chip cookie sample! It was everything I could do to not scarf down that free cookie. Can’t wait to dig into those on Sunday!

We also hit up The Pita House for dinner, checking off another Greenville fave visit. I must have been more hungry than I thought because I had already dug into everything by the time I thought to take a photo. Trust me, our Pita House meal was beautiful and delicious.

My parents currently don’t have a TV – just wi-fi and a ton of books and magazines. We’ve enjoyed a pretty quiet weekend so far. I spent some time working on converting a couple more recipes here on TCL for you guys and making some other blog enhancements. And I finally had a good chunk of time to spend some QT with a good book, which was a great way to wind down for the day.

On a not-so-quiet note, I showed my family this video of this amazing 80-year-old salsa dancer, and they loved it! I sure hope I can move like that when I’m Paddy’s age.

Happy Easter to those celebrating!

Cold Spring and No Dessert for Lent

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Hello! Hope you all had a great week.

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Bailey says, “Hi!”

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I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are, but it’s been really cold around town lately. We had some 70 degree weather awhile back, but I guess that was just a tease. This week has been all in the 50′s, 40′s, and even 30′s! I’m ready for spring!

The only upside I found this past week was making a big slow cooker batch of my beef and 3 bean chili. Chili is such good cold weather food. We enjoyed ours with fresh-grated cheddar melted on top and Great Harvest jalapeño poppers on the side. Those poppers are almost as good with chili as the classic PIC – cornbread. The poppers are like white rolls stuffed with a jalapeño slice and cheddar cheese…yum! We warmed ours up in the oven for a few minutes for that fresh-baked taste.

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The weather seems to only be adding to my stress levels lately. I’d like to say I’m trying to balance that out by sleeping more, but I’m not good at going to be early. So, instead, I’ll continue to try to eat healthy and get plenty of water, fruits, and vegetables.

We had pizza for dinner tonight, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner were lacking in the veg category, so I decided to have a snack of edamame with coarse salt and zesty spices for a movie snack.

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And I gave up dessert for Lent, so no sweets for me for awhile. I’ve decided that smoothies are okay post-dinner because I get extra fruit (and often times vegetable) servings. So far, I’ve had a couple simple green monster smoothies after dinner, and though they aren’t a true dessert, I’ve enjoyed them quite a bit.

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I’ve felt pretty wiped out this week. I think things started out poorly when I spent most of Monday from 8am – 7pm in meetings at work., and I’ve been playing catch up since then. Bailey and I are hoping for some good R&R this weekend.

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Here’s something to think about for the weekend – Yogi Tea wisdom – “Let your heart guide you.”

Weekend Eats and Soup Preview

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Hey everyone!

Hope you had a great weekend! Mine was full of delicious eats from some of my favorite restaurant spots.

1900 Mexican Grill

Hubby and I had a date night at 1900 Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar.

1900 Mexican Grill

I tried the margarita special (Orange Crush – with muddled pineapple and orange), but it still can’t beat my jam – the Tamarind Margarita. I haven’t seen margaritas like that anywhere else, so if you’re ever at 1900, try it!

1900 Mexican Grill

We went with cheese dip, a side of guacamole, and chicken fajitas. We’ve both started really enjoying guacamole in recent years, but we haven’t fully transitioned from the cheese dip just yet. Old habits die hard, right?

Root Beer at Brixx

On Saturday, I started the day with my friend Sarah’s Zumba class. A group of us enjoyed post-work-out eats at Brixx for lunch. They had a Blue Moon special, which sounded great, especially since the day was so spring-like. But, the draft root beer was calling my name.

Pear Arugula Salad at Brixx

Sarah and I split a pear and arugula salad…

Brixx Pizza

…and pizza. Hawaiian for Sarah and BBQ chicken for me. I love how Brixx lets you do half and half pizzas.

Persis Biryani Grill - Kashmir Cocktail

And the restaurant fun didn’t stop at lunch. My friend hosted a game night, so I found a new Indian restaurant to try on the way – Persis Biryani Indian Grill. I absolutely loved this place!

I kicked things off with the Kashmir – a drink made with fresh ginger and citrus. I’ve never had a cocktail quite like this, and it was really refreshing and tasty. I can see myself enjoying this even more in spring and summer when the weather is warmer.

Persis Biryani Grill - Dinner

For the main event, I shared samosas, saag paneer, chicken tandoori, and garlic naan. The mixture of dishes was a great sampling, and I really enjoyed all of it. The food was prepared well, and the entire staff was so friendly. We must have had three different waiters stop by to check on us throughout the meal. I definitely want to come back here soon.

Kale Black Eyed Pea Soup Preview

But, I didn’t eat out all weekend. Here’s a preview of a soup I made for lunch, made with barley, black eyed peas, and kale. I’m hoping to blog the recipe soon, but I’m not sure how long it will be since I’ve had other recipes I’ve wanted to share recently that I haven’t posted about just yet.Meetings

{Meetings from 8am to almost 7pm! Happy Monday!}

The thing is that I’ve just been feeling really overwhelmed recently…like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things that I want to do. My current work project has been really demanding, and this blog has been suffering. I have better intentions than actions when it comes to TCL recently, and that drives me crazy because I’m a big believer in actions speaking louder than words. The posts that are in my head don’t matter when they stay there and never materialize into actual posts.

In addition to work-work, I’ve also been putting a lot of time in effort into Zumba – working on new choreo, planning things for my classes, visiting fellow instructors’ classes, and helping the company. I keep thinking about sharing some of the choreo with you guys, but YouTube is an intimidating thing. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage…or honey badger-ness.

Anywho, while we’re talking Zumba, I’m currently planning a 9-week challenge for my classes for the months of April and May. If there are any fellow instructors out there who would like some information about this, let me know. I’m happy to share so you can host your own challenge in your classes!

Have a great week, guys!

Loving Lately: Baguette and Brie

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Sometimes I just love to get a fresh-baked baguette and hunk of creamy brie for an afternoon snack…preferably with a glass of wine. My dad has always loved brie with bread, but I especially grew fond of this snack after doing an exchange to France in high school.

I went to France with 16 other classmates in the middle of winter, flying first to Paris and then taking the TGV (super fast train) to our exchange town – Besançon. After our group got a little lost between the airport and the TGV station, we arrived very late at night. Our exchange families picked each of us up, and we were living the French life from there for the next week and a half. The very first thing we did on the very first morning was walk to the local bakery to pick up a baguette. At the time, I couldn’t fully appreciate the wonderfulness of that simple trip. I was tired and jet-lagged and wondering why we’d be waking up early just to get a loaf of bread. But that baguette was one of the best I’ve ever had in my entire lifetime…as was every other baguette enjoyed in France. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but boy do I see that now! Is it that much better to have the real thing? In my opinion, yes.

And though I can’t as easily (or if you want to be literal…at all) get French baguettes here in the states, there are some local bakeries who do a pretty good job. And as for the cheese, you can find French brie all over. Plus, many creameries make a nice brie. It’s just when you try to replicate the French baguette, it seems to be missing a certain je ne said quoi.

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I recently picked up a baguette along with some North Carolina made brie, Carolina Moon, by Chapel Hill Creamery. I found both of these goodies at the 7th Street Market.

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They were delicious straight up, as well as with some spiced red lentil soup. Yum!

Hopefully, I’ll get to enjoy authentic French baguettes again one day. Till then, I’ll be hitting up my local bakeries for the next best thing.

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