Monday, July 28, 2014

Eating on Vacation - Outer Banks Vacation Part 3

I thought this might be an interesting post because it's always interesting learning what people eat when they are on vacation. Cooking on vacation is interesting because you don't have all your normal supplies when it comes to spices, oils, vinegars, pots, pans, etc... We went to the grocery store once we got there so we tried to come up with a menu that included minimal spices, time and equipment. Originally we had planned to make lasagna there so my plan was to measure out all my spices into a baggie and bring it in my suitcase with me...but we decided that was a little heavy for the beach so we scrapped it... but one thing I did bring in a baggie is a little bag of kosher salt, my pepper grinder and my knife. I can not live life without these things......not even for a week.



We made a meal plan for the week and a grocery list before we even left for our trip so that we could go shopping the first night without having to figure everything out then. We had 5 adults and a baby, and our intention was to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in every day except for the first night, we would order pizza and we would go out to dinner two nights. We tried to keep breakfasts and lunches as simple as possible...so while we generally don't eat a lot of turkey sandwiches at our house, it seemed like the easiest plan for the week...

Anyway, here was our meal plan

Breakfasts:
Bananas, Eggs, Cereal, Milk, Juice, Fresh Fruit, Coffee, Cream

Lunches:
Turkey Sandwiches, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Pretzels, Chips, Fruit, Carrots/Veggies, Dips

Snacks:
Cheese & Crackers, Pretzels, Chips, Cut up raw veggies, Fruit

Baby Snacks:
String Cheese, Cheddar Bunnies, Fruit & Vegetables, Dry Cereal, Fruit & Veggie Pouches, Raisins

Dinners:
Tacos & Rice
Slow Oven Cooked Ribs with BBQ Sauce, Mashed Potatoes & Cauliflower
Breaded Chicken, Roasted Sweet Potato Fries, Broccoli
Sauteed Pork Chops with Roasted Red Potatoes & Summer Squash

I didn't even think about writing this post so I didn't take pictures of any of these dinners, but lucky for us, the kitchen was well equipped and the oven worked great...even the night I was roasting 4 pans at once...so everything turned out great! I have stayed places where the pans are so warped you can barely cook eggs, so I was happy that this place had really nice things.

One night we went out for fish tacos and I got this halibut burrito. mmmmm



And one night Emily, Rob and I got away and tried out a little whole in the wall called Armstrong's Seafood.


We had read great reviews of it on Yelp and called to make a reservation. The lady on the phone laughed out loud and said they didn't take reservations and that the place only seats like 30 people.. When we got there we realized it was a seafood shop that also has a few tables set up to feed people. You can order off the menu, or pick a fish right out of the case and pay that price +$5 to have them cook it for you. 


A nice no nonsense lady sat right down at our table and asked what we wanted... we asked what was fresh... she looked at us like we had 3 heads and said "everything was caught this morning". a true love with this place was forming...

We started with some (ridiculously reasonably priced) beers and a pound of mussels (steamed and served with butter and garlic lemon sauce)

gotta love the mussels on a paper plate
Emily ordered a big piece of rare tuna with fried Okra and Old Bay steamed potatoes.


It was served with wasabi and soy sauce for dipping. This was out of this world delicious. If I went right now...this is what I would order. I wish I would have gotten a shot of the inside....pan seared just enough with a rare inside almost like sushi. So fresh.

Rob ordered the Wahoo, blackened. He ordered a side of hush puppies and the old bay steamed potatoes. I had never had this fish before and MAN was it good. In Ohio we don't ever really get fish this fresh so I think everything just tasted a million times better because it was right out of the ocean. We ended up going home with a jar of this blackening seasoning. Can't wait to blacken.everything.


I ordered the scallops again with the potatoes but for a side I ordered the corn nuggets.


It was a generous portion of scallops and they were, again, SO fresh....but I will say I like my scallops with a little bit of a sear on them which these didn't have at all...so my dish, unfortunately was our least favorite entree but man did I win in the side department. Do you see those little fried nuggets in the top left hand corner of that picture? They were like cheese and corn soup fried into a ball. Yes. Cheesy corn soup...which already sounds like something I should be eating.....somehow put into a ball and fried. so.seriously.yum.

Anyway, if you are on vacation in Kill Devil Hills...go here. Either eat here or pick up some fish for to sautee, steam, grill or fry at your beach house. Also, don't make the mistake of waiting until your last night to go like we did. Go early so you can go again and get whatever the person who went with you last time got and is still making you jealous thinking about it to this day....just a suggestion. :)

That concludes this installment of vacation updates. Luckily for us we have one more beach vacation this summer not far from now.  Let the countdown begin :)
Read about part 1 of our trip here and part 2 here!


Armstrong Seafood on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 25, 2014

Outer Banks Vacation Part 2

Ok, when I left off at part 1 we had just arrived in the Outer Banks after about a 3 hour drive from Raleigh. Our house was a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom condo in Kill Devil Hills on the beach. It had a LOT of stairs, both inside the condo and outside of it....but I could hear the ocean from my balcony and that made me think less about my aching back after carrying a 17 month old up and down steps all day long....

The first day of the trip, Hannah was not a fan of her first steps onto the sand. She curled her toes up and lifted her legs up to get them out of the sand and totally hated it...but then before long she was running into the water with her clothes on!



We spent a LOT of time at the pool




and a LOT of time at the beach



We went putt putting one morning.....thinking we were smart to go right when it opened at 9:30am to beat the heat... yeah, we did not beat the heat. Saying it was hot was the understatement of the year....



We drove into a neighboring town to go shopping and have lunch on the boardwalk on a cooler breezy day



We took a dolphin watching tour and saw TONS of dolphins!



The trip home got a little windy though :)



We drank champagne and watched the bachelor- bye farmer Chris!


I'm pretty sure I went to wings or a wings-like store 4 times

"LOL @ UR SWAG"
Vacation is definitely not the same with a toddler, but having family around helped a ton and gave us the opportunity to go out to dinner a couple of times and have some baby free time at the pool/beach during nap times. One night we had to try out this little dive seafood restaurant called Armstrong's Seafood.



...but I think I'll save that and the rest of the food from our trip for a third and final post :)
Read the Third post here!
Bye for now!



Monday, July 21, 2014

Outer Banks Vacation Part 1

In the past re-capping our vacations on the blog has been a fun way for me to look back on past vacations. Here are a couple of past vacation recaps. Here is South Haven recap 1, 2 and 3....and a pre-baby Mexican vacation here and  another one here.

We just got back from beach vacation 1 of the summer from Outer Banks, NC so I thought I would share some highlights of our trip. This might be a multi-part post again, depending on how long winded I get.

The trip started out with Hannah's first flight. I would be lying if I said this didn't scare me a little. A 17 month who literally doesn't hold still for more than 30 seconds having to sit on my lap for an hour to an hour and a half....I just didn't have high hopes for the experience. We checked our suitcases, gate checked our stroller and carseat (which we transported in one of these bags that we borrowed from a neighbor) and carried on our 300lb backpack full of all the things I was praying would occupy my busy toddler for the hour long flight. DVD player and 2 videos, a color wonder set, this pretty sweet Melissa and Doug re-useable sticker set, books, toys and a roll of blue painter's tape which my mom made fun of me by referring to it as "redneck stickers"....which is fair. Ha.

Well for the hour long flight she basically looked out the window, took the magazines in and out of the seat back pocket, pointed out all the dogs in the skymall and ate the mini airline pretzels. She really earned those wings that the delta flight attendant gave her! Now this flight was only an hour so with loading and unloading and all that stuff maybe an hour and half...so I don't know how she would have done on a longer flight....but an hour...we can definitely handle.


We landed in Raleigh and Aunt Emily picked us up from the airport. We walked around downtown and had lunch...


and took a trip to Pullen Park which was one of the nicest city parks I have ever been to. I seriously couldn't believe admission was free...it was a gorgeous park. We took a train ride around the whole park, rode the antique carousel (each a dollar) 



and watched the ducks swim around. We went down the slide approximately 25 times and rode the teeter totter..



She also rode this thing which she obviously hated... :)



and we got our picture taken with a random statue of Andy Griffith and Opie (is that how you spell that?)



Anyway, if you are in Raleigh with a child, you should visit this park.

That night my parents got into town and watched the baby monitor while Emily took us for a night on the town... first we hit up the Tasty Beverage Company which was a great little beer store/bar. You could order from the bartenders or grab any single from their retail section and open it up and drink it. Rob was in beer heaven.


Next we walked down the street to Poole's which was a super hip downtown Raleigh restaurant that used to be a diner and had the entire menu written up on chalkboard walls. The three of us split 2 entrees and this mac and cheese


Not the best picture but damn gina was this thing enormous... This is one of the things they are known for so we had to try it out...it did not disappoint!

After dinner we stopped for one more beer at a brewery that had a bike theme..Crank Arm I believe it was called and had a night cap on the outdoor patio before heading home for the night. The next morning we got up and had breakfast at Emily's apartment and then drove over to a gigantic farmer's market that is open every single day.  I bought waaaay too many fruits and vegetables for the week (I can not help myself at farmers markets....it's a sickness) and then we were off to start our 3 hour journey to the Outer Banks....

and boom. Just like that I've talked your ear off enough for this first blog post just talking about our first day. Read part 2 here and part 3 here!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Father's Day Fun

Well our second Father's day is in the books and it was a much better one than last year when 4 month old Hannah had a terrible reaction to her 4 month old shots and put the brakes on all of our plans.

This year we decided to celebrate with all of our neighborhood friends with a beer tasting for the guys and a playdate for the ladies/babies followed by a cookout for everyone.... here is a little bit of our day!

Each mom/wife brought a 6 pack of singles of different types of beer for the Dads to taste. I made pretzel necklaces for everyone to "cleanse their palate" between beers and some tasting sheets for them to fill out if they were feeling ambitious :)





They had a great time tasting beers and chatting while the moms spent time with each other and the babies....but after an hour or two, this was the scene.


You can't keep a good Dad away from playing....especially when this cuteness is going on


Yes. That is my daughter going head first down the slide.


Hannah's Daddy manned the grill


and after lots of drinks, lots of food and lots of fun....we had to get the obligatory group photo...
....which took a little coordinating


But a photo always turns out cute with a good looking bunch like this! For those of you keeping track at home, that is 7 girls and 2 boys.....lucky boys!



Happy Father's Day to these and all the awesome Dads out there!!! Especially mine and Hannah's! 
We love you so much!!





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Restaurant Review - Sleepy Bee

Last week I finally got my butt to the new(ish) restaurant in my very own neighborhood, Sleepy Bee. Sleepy Bee is the kind of restaurant I would want my house would be if it was a restaurant. The ingredients are local, healthy, organic & delicious.

Yes, yes yes.
I love your sleepy bee standards!!

When you walk in you get a complimentary mug of coffee while waiting for your table in the lounge area where there is a table and chairs and a comfy couch.


and lots of cute bee related artwork


After a few minutes we were seated at our table and I immediately chose "the Beekeeper" because the combination of avocado, havarti and pickled onions would make me eat pretty much anything.



Let's discuss the picture above for a minute. You have the option to choose Ezekiel bread. Awesome. We generally buy Ezekial bread at home, which has no added sugar and contains sprouted whole grains as opposed to the refined wheat most commercial bread uses...but Shadeau Breads beats out Ezekial any day of the week, so I went with it the traditional way. I also LOVE that the side options are roasted root vegetables (with homemade ketchup!) or a side salad.

I ordered the side salad, expecting a simple spinach salad or something like that was very pleasantly surprised to see this beautiful array of kale, arugula (my favorite) and various other hearty lettuce varieties.


And I think my favorite part of the sandwich was the pickled onions. I need to pickle more things in my life, stat.


My lunching companion ordered the same sandwich but with the roasted root vegetables and got a colorful array of sweet and purple potatoes with a homemade ketchup, which almost tasted like a bloody mary in a condiment cup. So imagine roasted sweet potatoes dipped in a bloody mary. yes. please.


The coffee/smoothie bar had all kinds of different drinks and used top notch ingredients for both. I can't wait to come back to try breakfast!


Do yourself a favor and try out this great new little neighborhood spot!


Sleepy Bee Cafe on Urbanspoon