So to start out with some big news, we are in the process of selling our condo and buying a new house. Big grown up step! In the meantime, we have moved in with Joe's amazing parents while we stage our home. This way, we can keep the condo pristine at all times. The good news: we are saving money, we are spending lots of time with family, and we get to enjoy my mother in law's cooking every night. The bad news: that means I'm not cooking every night; i.e. no recipes to share with you all. I can't even take pictures of Cathy cooking and share it (of course giving her credit) because by the time I get home it is usually done. What's a girl to do.
Well, last Friday night, Joe and I went on a date to the new Grand Street Cafe in Lenexa, Kansas. The Grand Street Cafe that is on the Plaza is a favorite of ours, and we were excited to check out their new location. The meal was so amazing (as usual) that I thought it was worth sharing. Yay something to write about!
When we got there, the place was very busy. While we waited for a table, we hung out at the bar and got a few drinks. I forwent my usual glass of wine for their Pomtini. Back in my younger days, I would always order fancy, frilly drinks, and always had a mixed reaction when it came to Pomegranate Martinis. They are hit and miss in my opinion. This Pomtini was a hit. It was a little slushier than a usual Pomegranate Martini, which I loved. And it was still a sweet fun drink without getting too sweet. I would highly recommend it.
Once we got to our table, we ordered the White Cheddar Fondu. We order this every time we come to Grand Street, and for a reason. It is amazing. The Fondu usually ends with the awkward "you can have the last pretzel if you want it" dance where you actually want the last pretzel and hope they still let you have it. Just hope for an even number of pretzels to make it easier on yourself.
For Dinner, Joe ordered the Filet, and I ordered the Grilled Sirloin Salad. I'm a huge red meat eater, and would almost always order the Filet over anything, but I've literally craved this salad before. It really is soooooo good.
All in all, we have a wonderful, stuffed evening. If you are ever in the Kansas City area, you should definitely stop by one of their two locations. You will not be disappointed.
I know I may be biased, but I have the cutest nieces. On both my husband's and my side of the family, we literally have no nephews, and a whole bunch of adorable nieces. Here are just a couple of examples of their adorableness from this past week/Thanksgiving:
My sister/brother-in-law's daughters, Sophie, Ellie, and Lucy, practicing their singing for the annual Thanksgiving sing-a-long.
My other sister/brother-in-law's daughter, Addison, singing at the sing-a-long. Not sure if she can read what the song book has written, but at least she is trying.
My sister's daughters have been trying to say our names. My husband made fun of me because Lily was much better at saying his name than mine, and will say it over and over again. In my defense... shut up Joe. I've literally watched the videos over and over again because they are so cute, but because I couldn't figure out how to upload the videos, here is another cute picture of the girls.
Not pictured: Madeline, Julianna, and Annabelle. All also super cute.
For awhile I have been meaning to share with you all about apple cider vinegar. The first person to ever tell me about it was my sister Hillary. She had been reading a book about the benefits of certain foods and what we should be adding to our diet, and apple cider vinegar was one of them.
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from cider (basically as it sounds) that tastes kind of like an appley vinegar (as it sounds). I know. Sounds delicious right (kidding)? It can be used in salad dressings, added to water, or drank straight, like a shot. I wouldn't recommend the shot. It doesn't taste the best (even though it isn't horrible). However, I put 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar in my water every morning, and really, it is not that bad. I know, I know. I'm selling this really well. However, here are the claimed health benefits that have been attributed to apple cider vinegar:
(1) It aids weight loss.
(2) It helps to whiten teeth (although you shouldn't apply it straight to your teeth.)
(3) Prevents indigestion.
(4) Helps sooth a sore throat and a stuffy nose.
(5) Helps prevent exhaustion.
(6) It can be used to rinse out your hair after shampooing to make your hair shiny.
(7) It can be used as a facial toner.
(8) It can be used to soothe a sunburn (just put some on a cotton ball and spread over the lobstery area).
(9) It can help you detox.
(10) It helps with anti-aging.
I don't claim to be a doctor or scientist, but I do know that when I regularly drink apple cider vinegar with my water, I do feel better in general. If you choose to give apple cider vinegar a try, make sure to get the organic kind. That is apparently the kind that works, and you should be able to find it in your local grocery store.
Here are some links if you want to look into apple cider vinegar some more:
So it happened. I've failed on my low carb diet. Maybe it was the Jerusalem Cafe Food truck calling me during lunch almost everyday. I swear I could smell the warm pitas all the way in my office. Or maybe it is because carbs are happiness, and I like being happy. Who knows. But bright side, that added insulation around my mid-section will help keep me warm this winter right? I mean, it can get cold in Kansas City (not Minnesota cold, but cold nonetheless). The temperature during the the Chiefs game this weekend was freezing. But, like a good Norwegian, I bared it out.
This soup that I'm sharing today actually started my downfall. I was on the Pioneer Woman's website, trying to win a flowery kitchenaid mixer (spoiler alert: I didn't win :( ) when I saw a link to a potato soup recipe. I love potato soup. Actually, I love potatoes in general (honestly, who doesn't). My dad grew up on a potato farm in Southern Minnesota, and my family would have numerous potato dishes at every get together. I guess it is just part of my blood.
So of course I had to try this recipe. The Pioneer Woman is one of the only cooking shows I enjoy watching (have you ever seen her make fried eggs? They look like plastic. In a good way.) and I trusted her judgment that this recipe was delicious. She did not lead me astray.
(1) Last Saturday, Joe had a boys day in town watching college games and going to the Mizzou preseason basketball game, so I decided to just have a day with myself. I worked out, got some supplies for book club that I was hosting later that week, went to Starbucks and read for a few hours, and then got takeout sushi and watched chick flicks. All things I haven't done in awhile, and it was kind of nice.
(2) At bookclub on Tuesday, I put together a cheese plate with the help of this chart on the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere.
I think I've made it abundantly clear by now how I feel about crock pot recipes. Love the idea, hate the whole getting up a little bit earlier part. Mornings are too precious. Except when it comes to my Kale Soup recipe, which is always worth the 10 extra minutes in the morning. I've almost cut my finger off one morning trying to quickly chop vegetables for a crock pot recipe I was determined to make, and to this day I have a visible scar and permanent bump on the tip of my finger because I did not get stitches. Obviously the crock pot recipe's fault. Totally not my fault for not going to the hospital because I refuse to go unless I'm on my deathbed. Totally.
However, a few weeks ago I found this crock pot recipe for creamy chicken tortilla soup on Eat, Live, Run, and seeing that it was one of those recipes where you basically just throw everything into the crock pot in the morning, I thought I would give it a try. The only preparation you may have to do is chopping and mincing the garlic, onion, and jalapenos. Yes, that would require a little extra time in the morning, but at least there is no extra cooking. Love those.
I loved it! The creamy part of the soup was sour cream instead of heavy cream, so it tasted lighter and healthier, and it was seriously delicious. Had to be one of the best chicken tortilla soup recipes that I've ever had, and perfect for those increasingly colder fall evenings. Served best with avocado :)