Thursday, December 27, 2012


My name is Sarah, and I have a shopping problem.
Pinned here.
Let me tell you a story.  When I was a child and my family was living in Chicago, my mother proposed two ideas for the upcoming weekend: Would you like to go with daddy to the Bulls game (he had box seat tickets and this was during the Michael Jordan era, mind you) or would you like to go shopping with me?

What the curse word do you think I chose? And off to the mall we went.

Well, not much has changed. I still like to buy things I don't need and read fashion blogs and magazines like they're going out of style. But one thing is slightly different {oh, how the tables have turned}: I'm a twenty-something young professional whose paycheck goes straight to her one-bedroom apartment and car payment, leaving pennies for expanding my wardrobe or buying fancy things.

{I like to consider myself young, fabulous and broke.}

What does all this have to do with my food blog? Everything.  I'm a sale shopper now; it's my new favorite word: sale! {Music to my ears.} Why buy something full price when it will inevitably be discounted to move it off the shelves? {Thank you in part to this "recession", but mostly due to basic retail-onomics. New goods come in, older goods gotta go.}

So as I shop for new sunglasses, swimsuits and jewelry, I always keep in mind the laws of retail. I also keep it mind as I do my grocery shopping every Sunday.

Sale shopping at the grocery store in particular is two-fold.
1. You save money.
2. You get creative in the kitchen.
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The first time I bought tofu I was so incredibly broke. I saw that it was on sale for little more than $1 and I had to have it. I thought to myself, a lot of people eat tofu. It's kind of a "thing" right now, anyway. Buy the tofu. Be one with the tofu. First came tofu tacos, then thai tofu, and the rest was history.

What I really love to buy on sale is greens. What a bargain. I realize a large bunch of collard greens or kale looks like enough to feed a family of fifteen, but it's really just the perfect amount. When you get home with your $2 bunch {the size of a small tree} of greens, here's what you do: place it in a sink full of water and splash of vinegar, peel the leaves off the stems and discard the stems, allow the leaves to dry and chop them into smaller pieces, then divide it up into two gallon ziploc bags. Pop those bags in the freezer for a rainy day. You can use greens {collard, turnip, mustard...} in soups, sauteed as a side dish, steamed with a little seasoning or cooked in a crockpot all day.

Something else to consider: fruits and vegetables go on sale all the time.  Notice that when it starts to warm up, the strawberries are dirt cheap. Or when the temperatures fall, the price of hearty greens drop as the crops become more abundant. Needless to say, if you're flexible with what you "need to buy" at the grocery store, you may be surprised to find that you just adore nearly every fruit and vegetable in the produce department.

See that? My shopping addiction is actually quite useful after all.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A toast

Whether you're whipping up a Christmas meal for your family, 

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or waiting patiently until Christmas dinner is served,

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here's hoping your holiday is every bit as fabulous as it should be.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

A word of advice

This really sums it all up for me.  

Pinned here.

When I woke up this morning and hopped on my computer for a little Pinsperation, this token of truth was perched atop my Pinterest feed. Fitting, wouldn't you say? For the Friday before Christmas, anyway. Lots of shopping, eating and wandering around town to be done.

Pinned here.

I've spent the past few days enjoying not one, but two cups of coffee each morning, napping on the couch each afternoon and catching up on all of my favorite TV shows à la Netflix {Hello, GG - I'm so behind. I hadn't realized the show just ended or that was even coming to an end until my darling friend, who is currently gallivanting around France, texted me to let me know}.

If you're much like me and indulging in a relaxing week, weekend or day to yourself, 
here are a few things that may come in handy:

1. The Best of the Book Lists 2012 courtesy of Random House
2. A Cream Cheese Coffee Cake recipe courtesy of Just Baked to impress your holiday visitors
3. A healthy sunday supper recipe, just in time for the holiday, courtesy of Barefoot Contessa
4.  A DIY Christmas gift for your 10 best friends or 15 cousins courtesy of Hey Gorgeous
5. Paula Deen's fully loaded Mac and Cheese, a family favorite


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Back to the Homeland

I'll tell you a little something about what exactly has kept me so darned giddy over the past few weeks: I am officially in Austin for the holidays.


I'll visit with my family, spend time with each of our long lost friends and indulge in Austin's finest food trucks, restaurants and dive bars.  

I'll give you a sneak peek of what my first 24 hours back in Texas entailed:

Pappasito's Cantina in the Houston airport is a Sholtis family tradition. I started traveling via airplane at the ripe old age of 6 months old, so I've spent plenty of time in America's finest airports and in particular Houston Hobby. If you have a layover at this airport you can't miss out on the mexican food. It holds up to many of the "authentic" joints found throughout the southwest and it certainly doesn't disappoint those looking for a Tex-Mex fix before jumping on the next plane out of Texas.

After landing in Austin, I promptly laced up my tennis shoes and went for a walk through my all-time favorite neighborhood, Barton Hills.  This neighborhood hold so many memories for me. My grandfather still lives in the house they moved into when my mother was just 5 years old. What's more? The neighbors and church goers recognize my brothers and me from our childhood. The houses are unique and the oak trees are older and taller than any you've ever seen. It's quite charming, don't you think?

I'd be remiss if I didn't take a moment to visit my old stomping grounds, Four Seasons Hotel Austin.  The Hotel's lobby is decorated from top to bottom and features a month-long gingerbread village display created by the Hotel's Pastry Shop.  This year's village exhibits confectionary creations such as the UT Tower, Broken Spoke and many other Austin staples.

Needless to say I've taken full advantage of my first 24 hours in Austin.

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

This weekend our Destin Forward leadership class is having a Bake Sale at HarborWalk Village next to the biggest star of them all, Santa Claus.


We will be there from 12pm to 4pm, selling tons of baked goodies {including these}:

The purpose of our Bake Sale is to raise funds for the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), which is in need of equipment to carry on its mission of preserving the local waterways.  Whether you're a Destin resident or you visit the area a few times a year with your family, you can truly appreciate this organization's mission.  The CBA's efforts ensure that the Choctawhatchee Bay {the gorgeous water you drive over coming down the Mid-Bay Bridge, and the water to your left as you drive east through Okaloosa Island and across the Destin Bridge} stays exactly the way we want it: a beautiful emerald green shade and flourishing with native sea-life.

The CBA not only monitors the water quality monthly, they are also currently on a mission to rebuild the oyster reefs in the Choctawhatchee Bay.  Sure, we love the oysters from Apalachicola, but what if we could eat oysters from the very bay we overlook while dining in the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin? And further, rebuilding oyster reefs in our local watershed can be done through the use of fossilized oyster shells {hello, eco-friendly people} and will reduce erosion.

The CBA has slowed their reef rebuilding efforts as of late because the vessel, used to carry the fossilized oyster shells out to future reef locales, was stolen some months ago.

{Ahem, this is where we come in.}

Through this Bake Sale, and a few other upcoming fundraising events, we will donate a floating vessel to the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance so they can continue their efforts to preserve our waterways by May 2013.

I've touched on just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this organization does for our local community, so please visit their website to learn more...and don't forget to come see us on the Harbor tomorrow!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Skinny Fried Rice

After much time spent eating all kinds of meat over the past couple of weeks, Ross and I decided it was time for a full on, vegetable packed dinner.  And you can't tell me {for all the veggie lovers out there} that this photo doesn't tickle your fancy:

Quinoa Veggie "Fried Rice" courtesy of Damned Delicious
We've made this twice in the past two weeks, it's that good.

P.S. If you don't have quinoa on hand, or if just you just prefer good ol' fried rice, try this {still very healthy} version:

Asian Edamame Fried Rice courtesy of Skinny Taste


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

{Pinteresting} Leftover Recipes

Well, Thanksgiving was nearly one week ago and we {along with most of you, I'm sure} are finally nearing the end of our care package of leftovers.  

Original photo found here
It's kind of bittersweet, isn't it?  Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday of the year, mostly because the smorgasbord never disappoints and it marks the official kick off of the holiday season. 

{Please refer to this post if you were one of the many jolly souls who started celebrating the holidays much earlier than Thanksgiving Day.}

So what happens when you mix dwindling leftovers with a few hours on Pinterest? Just a few fabulous recipes to knock out what's left in your refrigerator from the Thanksgiving holiday:


Monday, November 26, 2012

Perfect Brussels

Brussels sprouts hold a very special place in my heart.  

They have such an interesting taste and texture that complement so many staple dishes, namely a hearty steak or crispy fish.  I honestly wish I would have added them to my dinner side dish rotation much sooner because they're so easy to cook and taste perfect every time.  

I'd have to say that they were kind of a scary food for me growing up, they just didn't quite look like a vegetable I would swoon over...but oh was I wrong. As far as I can recall, these tasty little bites never crossed my plate as a child. We stuck mostly to green beans, asparagus and english peas as our green side dishes at the dinner table.  It must not have been until I tasted the Crispy Brussels appetizer at TRIO in Austin that I fell head over heels with brussels and kicked my old stand by green sides to the curb.

So rather than trying to recreate what was a seemingly flawless recipe, I simply tried to find one that was comparable and relatively healthy. When I found this recipe from Real Simple I knew I'd found the perfect make-at-home alternative.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon
Since there are just two of us I cut this recipe in half, then cut the butter in half again. You truly don't need much butter because they have a naturally buttery flavor after roasting in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil. 

And the lemon...oh the lemon! It's the icing on the cake.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Detox Soup

I don't know about you guys, but when someone asks if I'd like to go out to eat for a meal the answer is always yes.

This has become quite a problem as of late, what with traveling every other weekend and business functions sprinkled in between.  I've begun hitting the snooze button more and more each day, feeling sluggish every afternoon and finding every excuse for a quick catnap.  

It. Has. To. Stop.

As much as I love indulging in the finer things {and the utterly ordinary, such as my main squeeze Cracker Barrel - don't ask questions}, it's time for me to come to terms with the fact that eating sodium heavy and fat laden foods at various restaurants daily does not have a positive affect on my health.

In order to redeem myself I made one large batch of Skinny Detox Soup, courtesy of Skinny Mom, which helped get me back on track.

{Note: I cut the recipe in half and added a teaspoon or so of turmeric and a few shakes of cayenne pepper. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I can't follow recipes!}

Fingers crossed that I can hop right back on the healthy bandwagon. And just in time for the holidays, when we all {or is it just me?} become just a wee bit too indulgent.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A weekend in NOLA

Ross and I spent the weekend in New Orleans with his family. And rather than boring you with a long list of what we did, I encourage you to press play on this video:

 and listen to the soulful sweet sounds of Smoking Times Jazz Band as you scroll through this digital scrapbook of our weekend.

It was absolutely perfect.


Monday, November 12, 2012


Ross and I headed down to V Seagrove on {beautiful, scenic} Highway 30a last Thursday to celebrate my birthday.  

{Please excuse the grainy photos. The restaurant lighting was not in my favor.}

We started off the meal with Mussels in Green Curry,

then I moved on to the Blackened Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, while Ross indulged in the Bacon Crusted Diver Scallops {not pictured}.

We topped off the meal with Coffee Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée, courtesy of our waiter {Chuck} who also helped us pair each dish with the perfect glass of wine.

I suppose I didn't mention that my sweet coworkers gave me a mini birthday celebration consisting of delightful chocolate on chocolate cupcakes...

All of this was followed by an even more decadent weekend in the Big Easy, which I will fill you all in on very, very soon.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Today I am thankful.

Thankful for the now 24 years God has blessed me with on this earth and in this wonderful country that I love so dearly. Thankful for my family, my health and my sweet friends.

I am also thankful that I will be spending the weekend in New Orleans to celebrate my 24th birthday, noshing on po boys, beignets, and whatever else lands on my plate.

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