Amazing Brunch at Print Works Bistro

Happy end of the weekend friends!

I hope you all enjoyed wonderful weekends. Mine was exceptionally jam-packed, but so fun!

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Here’s a riddle for you: What’s brown and white and warm all over? You’ll see momentarily.

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On Saturday morning, I had the pleasure of enjoying two of my loves:

  • Fabulous Food
  • Being a photographer

My friend Erica “hired” me to be the official photographer for a special birthday event for some of her best friends.

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We headed to Print Works Bistro, in the Proximity Hotel, in Greensboro, NC.

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The inside of the restaurant was lovely – open and airy with long white curtains that reminded me of Miami.

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Delicious Bloody Mary’s with crab in them!

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My hot date.

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I went for a mimosa.

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A new take on salted butter.

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As for eats, Erica and I are great food-sharing-friends. We decided to order a handful of dishes and split them all.

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Life’s short. Have dessert first. I mean, they are on the “appetizer” menu. ;)

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Did you figure out the riddle? The answer is warm, cream-filled beignets! They even came with dipping sauces – honey and chocolate.

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Nom nom nom! These little bundles of delight were so good.

Can you believe four beignets make up half of the order! A full order comes with eight!

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We also split a roasted beet salad with one of the best salad dressings I’ve had.

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Erica and I split two entree dishes, too:

  • Black pepper grilled salmon with honey-lime butter sauce, creme fraiche mashed potatoes and French green beans
  • Pan seared scallops over black “forbidden” rice with beurre blanc and sauteed spinach.

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The restaurant split these dishes for us, too and even combined them on a single plate! So nice!

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The black forbidden rice was especially interesting – crunchy and chewy at the same time.

Everything was seasoned nicely and absolutely delicious. Could this have been the best brunch everrrrr?!

Anywho, I took lots of photos of people in addition to all the food photos, but I’m saving those to be shared with the birthday girls since this was a personal event. ;)

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Here are the birthday girls – Catherine and Sarah. Happy birthday ladies!

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And a big thank you to Erica for the amazing brunch!!

Reader question: At which restaurant did you have your best brunch ever?

Mini Matcha Green Tea Banana Nut Muffins

I’ve got a new kind of Green Monster muffin in store for you guys…

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Ok, there’s no spinach in these, but they are tinted with green thanks to a special ingredient.

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Mini Matcha Green Tea Banana Nut Muffins

These Not So Sweet muffins have all the tastiness you’d expect from traditional banana nut muffins with a little twist – matcha green tea flavor. The matcha powder won’t overpower the muffins, but does add a little something extra.

NOTE: I used some extra healthy ingredients that most people may not keep on hand. If you don’t have these ingredients, I encourage you to go buy one or two of them and try them out, but I’ve also added notes for substitutions in case you need them.

Also, I didn’t mix the nuts into the mix because I like how they get toasty on top. You could probably mix in a bit of chopped nuts if you like your muffins extra nutty. Or omit the nuts altogether if you’d like.

Makes 24 mini muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or sub AP flour)
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (or sub AP flour)
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (or sub flour of choice)
  • 2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sucanat (or sub brown sugar for sweeter flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • small handful finely chopped walnuts (enough to top the muffins – can sub nut of choice)
  • non-stick spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray
  2. In a large bowl, combine both flours, matcha green tea powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, cream together butter and sucanat. Blend in egg, bananas, and vanilla extract until well combined (but try to not overmix).
  4. Pour web mixture into dry mixture and stir to combine (try to not overmix).
  5. Using a mini ice cream scoop, fill mini muffin pans just over 3/4 full.
  6. Sprinkle walnuts on top.
  7. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until edges just start to brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Let cool for a couple minutes before serving.

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Enjoy!

Brunch at Zada Jane’s

Since hubby’s brother and his girlfriend were in town, we decided to hit up a local spot for brunch.

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We decided on Zada Jane’s.

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The weather was gorgeous!

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Love the Plaza Midwood area of town – it’s so fun and artsy.

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Festive mugs!

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Ted and Maia

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Me and hubby.

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I got the Booker T. Has with sweet potatoes, eggs, local Grateful Grower’s sausage, cheese (boy was there a lot of cheese!) and a TLC Biscuit. It was really good, but way too much food for me! I think I managed to down 1/3 of the plate and the whole biscuit.

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We hit up Trader Joe’s on our way home to stock up on some pantry items.

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And I ended up digging right into the edamame shortly later for a light snack!

Guglhupf + Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

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I have a new soup recipe to share with you guys, but first…

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Hubby and I are now home, but I have some more photos from my weekend away to share.

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Including this pretty plant at hubby’s mom’s house.

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We lucked out with more bright blue skies today.

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The weather was perfect for brunch with bloggie friends – Sarah, Josh, and Anne!

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We headed out to one of my fave places in Durham – Guglhupf.

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I love the funky-chic interior there – especially those glowing orbs of light.

Guglhupf has a casual brunch on the weekends with self-seating and ordering at the counter, which I really liked. More places should do this.

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I got a cappuccino to drink.

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I love how so many places in Durham do such pretty coffee art. I don’t know of anywhere back home that does this.

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I thought I was just going to miss this chick due to traveling schedules, but we juuust had enough time to meet up. :)

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Hubby even had a guy friend to chit chat with. Boy power!

Us girls had a totally different conversation going on at our end of the table, and it was so great to catch up with Sarah and Anne.

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Hubby got the Eggs Arnold – from the menu – “spinach, artichoke, and tomato topped with poached eggs & hollandaise served on brioche with seasonal fruit

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I tried the Farmer’s Omelette – “with house made country sausage, emmenthaler cheese & caramelized onions, served with seasonal fruit and sliced baguette

I don’t normally like sausage, but I seem to be on a bit of a kick with it lately. I blame the delicious sausage at The Flying Biscuit. lol. Anywho, the omelette was very tasty – especially with the gooey cheese and sweet onions. I wish I would have ordered a little extra veg or something, though. I don’t think I’ve been getting enough this weekend.

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Girl photo – Anne, moi, and Sarah. Hope to see these fab girls again soon!

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Hubby and I swung by the bakery on our way home to pick up goodies to take home, including a loaf of ciabatta to go with soup for dinner. We didn’t have any soup prepared, but I really wanted to bring some bread home and I just love soup with good, crusty bread. So, I figured I’d whip some up later.

I also picked up an almond croissant, which didn’t make it past the car ride home.

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I enjoyed the croissant with some Zen tea we picked up from Starbucks.

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The traffic was pretty busy, but I was thankful to not see any accidents. Maybe the slow-driving kept people safer?

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As we neared home, the sky opened up with the most gorgeous lighting.

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I took a ton of photos.

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And I even caught a couple planes landing.

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Bailey was pretty tuckered out and ready to be home.

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Once home, I got started in the kitchen. I started some soup and some new granola – maple cinnamon.

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I was really excited about the bread going with the soup. We ended up toasting the yummy ciabatta slices and adding a wee bit of real butter.

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As for the soup, I made up a tomato-lentil soup. I like making big batches of soup so I can freeze leftovers for quick meals later. I like how lentil soups are generally pretty filling, and I also prefer doing vegetarian soups because I think they freeze better (though Giada does have a bad-a$$ beef lentil soup).

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Quick Tomato Lentil Soup

Vegetarian/Vegan if you use the appropriate broth/soup

Most lentil soups seem to have directions requiring hours of cook-time. This affordable soup can be done in under 45 minutes (or less if you’re quick). The soup also doesn’t use fancy ingredients or even that many, making it an easy go-to soup for even busy weeknights.

Also, you can use the leftover broth/soup from this pot roast recipe to make this one…at least that’s what I did. ;) You may have more than 2 cups of broth/soup left, but you can just add it to the soup as long as you don’t mind if it’s a little more brothy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups beef broth (or vegan/vegetarian broth)
  • 2 cups french onion soup (broth version in carton, not can) (use vegan/vegetarian version if you prefer)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup french lentils, rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 10 baby carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, washed, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat a medium/large pot over medium heat. Add EVOO. When oil is warm enough, add onion, celery, and carrots. Cook till onions turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 60 seconds.
  2. Add broth, soup, tomatoes, and lentils to the pot. Add basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 25-40 minutes depending on how pressed for time you are or how tender you like your lentils. Taste the soup frequently past the 25 minute mark to check the texture. Add extra salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with nice, hearty bread and enjoy!

Tip: Freeze leftovers for easy meals when you’re pressed for time later

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After the soup, I was eyeing my homemade granola.

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I enjoyed a mini parfait over some vanilla Oikos (*).

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The granola is not bad, but it needs work. I’m going to tweak the recipe before sharing with you guys.

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Oh and lookie at what Sarah gave me – an adorable note pad.

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I love the note – “For CHIC recipe ideas!” Yes…this will be perfect for new recipe development…thank you Sarah!

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By the way, I updated my Recipe page (click to view)! Be sure to take a looksie!

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I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for my vacation to end. Luckily, I have more holiday vacation time ahead! How many days off work are you taking for December holidays? I think I’m going to have 7 hard-earned and carefully saved up days this year.

Farewell Foodbuzz 2010

I’m catching up on blog posts the last couple days so I’m on a roll with posting!

In case you’ve missed anything, here are some of my Foodbuzz/San Francisco posts:

On to Sunday…

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Sunday morning held the last event of the Foodbuzz Festival 2010 – the Farewell Brunch.

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There was a buffet of hot and cold brunch eats.

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Plus plenty of hot coffee and tea and icy-cold water.

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My first plate was a little on the heavy side, so I only managed to down about half of it.

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Some yogurt and fruit helped lighten things back up.

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After scoring a late check out, I went back up to my room to finalize the last of my packing (did most of it Saturday night after the Gala and scavenger hunt). I decided to go ahead and enjoy the Frog Hollow pear and wow…can I just say I now understand what all the buzz is about…this thing was the delicious and definitely the best pear I’ve ever had!

Then, I was off to meet my friends! We had grand plans of exploring San Francisco, but they got a bit rained out. At least at first.

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I enjoyed a famous treat…a Fitnessista-macaroon (another highly buzzed-about food that totally exceeded expectations…pure heaven!).

I got a little preview of Dance Trance from Gina where we Dropped It Low ;) and then it was time for shopping.

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We wandered around Union Square after the rain cleared up. I wanted to buy one of everything in Lush but managed to leave with only a tiny perfume.

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Brittany, Tina, Michelle, and Gina with the chia seed beauty product Brittany found in Sephora.

I almost made it with them to Lululemon (though now that I think about it, maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t get there…at least for my wallet lol), but ended up getting picked up by a local friend for afternoon tea.

I was envisioning a 3-tiered cake stand with tiny bites of sandwiches and sweets (perhaps my Southern influence), but found something differently delicious altogether. Details next time!

Family-ish Soup Dinner

Greetings friends!

I hope you all enjoyed a fabulous weekend!

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Hubby whipped up a quick breakfast for us this morning – a fried egg and Whole Grain Goodness toast…plus coffee. Yes…cooooofffffeeeeee. Totally needed that after my late night! hehe

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I ended up having breakfast again for lunch at The Flying Biscuit.

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I met my friend Megan to work on a Zumba playlist for later this week. We are co-teaching a class!

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I normally go for the High Flyer for a bit of savory and sweet (including those fab oatmeal pancakes), but today, I tried something NEW! I got the Egg-stravaganza, which is like the High Flyer but with turkey bacon…

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and french toast with raspberry sauce and creme anglaise.

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And the biscuit was, of course, dee-licious! Especially with that yummy apple butter stuffs (yes stuffs with a ‘s’ on purpose).

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By the way, I forgot to tell you guys, Bailey has learned a new trick and wanted to show you.

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He can balance a treat on his snout!

He waits there until we say “Ok!” and then flips it off his snout and catches it (most of the time) in his mouth. It’s so cute!

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Kiwi snack.

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I’ve been procrastinating on laundry all week. These 2 piles of clothes have been waiting for me to fold them. Ugh! I am not the biggest folding laundry fan.

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First, I folded my zumba clothes.

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Then, my lights.

All folded up….just gotta put them away now.

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I got to see Megan twice today when she picked me up for dinner with Bethanie, Bethanie’s mom, and some friends!

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Loved this quote on their breakfast nook wall.

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And all their adorable doggies! Bailey would have loved these guys!

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Bethanie’s mom, Cheryl, put together a fabulous feast of soups for us tonight! I may not have been having dinner with my family, but it sure felt like we were having our own little family dinner tonight. :)

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We had cornbread…

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…and our choice of two, homemade, from-scratch soups! I tried a little of each: potato and beef/vegetable. With fabulous sweet tea to drink.

I couldn’t decide over dinner which soup was my favorite because both were so tasty. I think now though the potato has won me over. Yum!

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Mmm…cornbread.

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Plus our choice of 2 mini pies for dessert.

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I went for the apple-berry with the oat-topping. It was a sweet ending to a wonderful, home-cooked evening with friends.

Thank you Bethanie and Cheryl!! :)

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Too bad I had to go home to yet another pile of laundry to fold – this time fresh out of the dryer. I should probably not wait till I have so much laundry to do at one time, but I seem to always do this. Oh well…one day I’ll learn. lol

What’s your least favorite household chore?

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