IMG_9331

Biscuits & Gravy Casserole

It’s possible that breakfast potlucks interest me more than lunch potlucks.

This is probably because I find the breakfast potlucks more challenging. Do you use eggs? My answer is generally no because you don’t want weird or cold eggs. Or you don’t want to make too many sweet things in case other people bring sweet things. It’s a challenge. I like to be challenged. Therefore, breakfast potlucks are more interesting.

So on this particular breakfast potluck I decided I wanted to try and make biscuits and gravy in a way that would stay a little warm longer. So a casserole it was. I also needed this to be something I could make before work so making my own biscuits was kind of out of the question for this one.

I bought two cans of the Grands Biscuits – the Buttermilk kind – so that I could make this gem before work. I also bought one roll of sausage – I did the maple kind.

IMG_9326

So here’s basically what you do:

  • Turn your oven on to 400 degrees.
  • Grease a casserole dish – mine was 9×13 and I sprayed it with olive oil Pam
  • Cut one can of the biscuits into quarters and place in the casserole dish
  • Bake for about 10 minutes

IMG_9327

  • While that’s baking, cook the sausage in the frying pan. Be sure to separate into crumbles the best you can and make sure it’s fully cooked
  • Sprinkle three tablespoons of flour in the pan and stir until the flour is absorbed
  • Add 2 and 1/4 cup milk (I used whole) as well as salt and pepper to taste. Continue to stir until it has thickened to desired consistency. If the gravy gets too thick, add more milk.

IMG_9328

  • Pour over the casserole dish of biscuits
  • Cut the remaining tub of biscuits and place on the top of the sausage gravy

IMG_9329

  • Bake for ten minutes
  • Cover with aluminum foil and back for an additional 15 minutes
  • Take of oven and brush with butter or slice thin strips of butter on the top so it’s perfectly melted
  • Serve and enjoy!

IMG_9331

IMG_9312

Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake: Baked

I’m trying to change things up a bit lately. I started taking crossfit fundamentals classes because I needed to kick things in to gear a little bit. Trust me, I’m taking it slow. At least in terms of crossfit. Over the weekend I went to a fundamentals class, plus ran a little more than 4.5 miles, plus yoga. My body hurts. I feel muscles I never knew I had. And I needed a fitness break. Not a long break, just a break. So I looked to my bookshelf as I normally do when I need a break and instead of going in for a fantasy world, I picked a baking book.

IMG_9304

Since I moved to Charlotte I’ve made a couple of things – mostly for potlucks or birthday events, but nothing really just because I needed to get some of the creative juices flowing. So when I was eyeballing my bookshelf I pulled out Baked Occasions. I’ve actually never made anything out of this book and I’ve had it for a little while so I thought now would be the perfect occasion even if there really wasn’t an actual occasion.

IMG_9305

After flipping through multiple times, I landed on Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake. Seemed right up my alley for the day. Sour cream cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Yummy. It’s actually in the recipe book for Martha Stewart’s birthday. So maybe I was simply channeling a belated Martha Stewart birthday? Either way, she has a good one and I would love to have a birthday cake named after me. Life goals. Anyway, I followed the directions exactly minus the cinnamon part. I think I accidentally put in half a tablespoon when it called for a teaspoon… but honestly it was so good. This cake basically tasted like a snickerdoodle, but in cake form. I’d make the mistake over and over again. It’s nice and moist and ultimately I can get on board with it being everyone’s favorite birthday cake.

IMG_9309

 

The book also has a way to make the cake a little bit healthier…but ya know…why? I wanted a cake to settle all the awesome workouts I had done. And it did a great job. The cake isn’t even heavy. You don’t feel blah after eating it. It’s light and fluffy and a happy cake. It might not be part of my healthy eating to align with crossfit, but you know what? I know what went into the cake. I measured all of the ingredients. And that, friends, really is a lot of the battle.

 

IMG_9204

131 Main

Since I moved, I’ve heard a lot of fun things about 131 Main and its presence in Mooresville and Charlotte. Then I even saw a 131 Main in Asheville and I knew I needed to check it out. Lucky for me restaurant week came along and it really was the perfect opportunity to see what 131 Main is about.

The menu for Charlotte Restaurant week was pretty inclusive. I really thought that the servings would be small, but not at all! They were full size servings and honestly I needed to be rolled out of there when I was done.

To start – a caesar salad and cast iron cornbread. SO DELICIOUS! I was also full after the appetizer. I was determined to finish the cornbread. I even debated ordering another to go so I could simply eat it all week. If you are hesitant about jalapeño, don’t be with the cornbread. It’s so worth it.

IMG_9197

Then for dinner… the ribeye and the slow-roasted chicken. Most importantly though: the mashed potatoes. Those mashed potatoes. Some of the best I’ve had in awhile. Similar to the cornbread, I didn’t want the mashed potatoes to end. Obviously the meat was good (the chicken was perfectly falling off the bone) and so were the fries, but if you can get mashed potatoes in lieu of fries, do it!

Then it was dessert time. I was torn between wanting a smaller dessert and wanting the perfect dessert. Getting the perfect dessert worked in my favor, although I truly could not eat it all. Key lime pie and strawberry shortcake. I must say, I really wasn’t sure how dessert would be, because I feel as though places that specialize in meat don’t always have great dessert. The desserts had the perfect flavor though. And if you like strawberries, the shortcake is incredible. It was such a generous amount of fruit and a lot of places usually skimp on fresh fruit and this was heaping! The key lime pie also had a great crust and a nice tart flavor.

IMG_9204

If you have the opportunity to check out 131 Main – or if you just want a delicious dinner out and you’ve been there before – definitely go. I’m really looking forward to going back. Especially that cornbread.

IMG_9170

Glamping in Asheville

Disclaimer: I’ve never been camping.

The disclaimer is necessary because it definitely influenced my experience and I don’t want to skew your thoughts of glamping just because my expectations were very off.

Anyway! Since there are nonstop flights from Jacksonville to Asheville now, my friend Kristina flew to Asheville and I met her there. Since we were feeling adventurous, we decided in try glamping instead of staying in a hotel. I actually found Asheville Glamping because they had liked a picture of mine on Instagram. So we roamed the website and landed upon the Deluxe Belle Tent. If you aren’t sure what “glamping” is, we stayed in a tent that had AC, WIFI, a bed, tv, lights, etc. There was also a full bathroom next to the tent. Basically super fancy camping.

IMG_9170

I’m not sure what my expectations were, but this was a lot closer to camping then I thought it would be. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but there were times where it was. Because it had rained a lot the Friday I drove out, my car became stuck on the gravel headed to the glampsite. I basically bottomed out and had to then take my car to Toyota so they could pop some things back in place. It would have been a more opportune time for an SUV honestly.

IMG_9096

Also, the first night was very cool and relaxed because the rain had cooled the atmosphere off. The second night was very humid and the AC didn’t seem to impact the intense heat. Plus, the humidity brought out all of the bugs and when we left I had bug bites all over. This was basically a newbie issue though – I think I would have understood all of this if I had been glamping before!

 

I will say though, the owners were so awesome. Anytime we had a question, we emailed and received a response right away. You don’t get that everywhere and it was really appreciated. Plus, the site is very close to downtown. We didn’t feel as though we were far from the action at all. We were close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, too. So when the early sun woke us up, we drove to see some of the sun rising. Such beauty.

IMG_9180

Overall, a few learnings from the experience: I’ll go back in the cooler months. And maybe try one of the Airstreams. Or I’ll even try actually camping once or twice before I do glamping again. Either way I’ll know what I’m about to experience. The stories from my weekend there have been great to tell though, and I know quite a few people that are already looking into Asheville Glamping for a fall getaway.

 

img_9028

Food, fun, laughter:  Greensboro 

I find it funny when I’m heading to another city and other people set my expectations a certain way. No one really had advice on what to do or where to go in Greensboro so I didn’t really have a starting point. Well, maybe a starting point… I’d bought tickets to see Louis C.K. and while I wasn’t sure what brought him to North Carolina, I was determined to see him live again. Plus, the proceeds from the show were going to Equality NC and I am very proud to have been part of the $180,000 that was donated.

With the evening plans in mind, I needed lunch and breakfast to fill my tummy with some happiness. I checked out Yelp and had two promising places that I added to my quick-trip plans.

First stop: lunch. Freeman’s Grub & Pub. 


Loved the vibe. The decor was great and I could tell the details were very thought out. I accidentally ordered a bourbon – long story! Even though it was only noon I didn’t get tipsy until after I ate because… Well… You need food to drink!


So I ordered a chicken – bacon sandwich with salt and pepper fries and the boyfriend ordered bison meatloaf with a side of Mac and cheese.


I was happy and tipsy and it wasn’t very late in the day! We checked in to the hotel but the power went out… In the entire area! So we went to a hookah bar to entertain ourselves before the show. No words needed to say how awesome the was. That’s a given!

The next morning we went to Smith Street Diner. It’s somewhat small inside so we waited for a little while, but the service and food was quick! The biscuits were massive, but not as moist as I would have liked. Overall though, breakfast for two for less than $20! A very pleasant breakfast and the staff was a fun bunch.


Now that I know how close Greensboro is, send me some recommendations! I’d love to see more of the area and try some amazing food finds.