Food · Garden · Life · Uncategorized

A Week or Two in Pictures (3/12 – 3/27)

We started the week off with a gorgeous – HUGE – full moon.

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After a bout of cool weather, Spring hit and the temperatures have been lurking somewhere about the 50-60° range. It’s been so warm that I’ve moved my seedlings outside along with my citrus trees.

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One of my lemon trees has been doing especially well and is covered with sweet smelling blooms. I attempted to hand pollinate some of the blooms but after moving it outside, I’m hoping that the bees will take over the job for me. I just realized yesterday that I had an orange tree. My citruses were all left at mom’s for the year or so I was transitioning to Robb’s house and included a lime tree. One tree died and I was so certain it was the orange. I was sad to discover that it was my lime!

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Robb and I went down to the beach last weekend and had a great time, depsite the rain. We ate at Two Roads Tavern, picked up donuts from Duck Donuts, and had a fun time at the Manteo Aquarium. For more of a recap and a review of Two Roads Tavern, visit The Edible Coast.

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This past Sunday was a great day for outside chores. We messed with the chicken coop (the chickens received new straw under the coop and new pine shavings inside of the coop), planted Swiss Chard and Brussels Sprouts, and generally enjoyed the good weather.

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Our newest chicken, Ipsy, is the chicken on the left hand side (below photo). She is a Silver Laced Wyandotte and as you can see, she is missing quite a few feathers on her backside from an overzealous rooster. Since I’ve brought her home, she has already put on a little more weight and I can see feathers starting to grow back.

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The straw from the chicken coop gets put into the garden to give the plants an extra boost.

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We officially listed our house for sale! We are going by the route of “for sale by owner” and I am confident that I can get the house sold. We are determined to move forward with finding a place with more space so we can grow our homestead.

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I tried to get a nice picture with Belle as we were all relaxing on Sunday, this is the one that came out the best. She saw the camera and just started acting like a diva.

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I decided to make fish tacos on Sunday, so I made a fresh pico de gallo. Unfortunately none of the produce was from our garden but hopefully the next time I make it – it will have all homegrown items (except for lime… sadly).

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Our delicious Alaskan halibut tacos with cilantro, pico de gallo, coleslaw, and a lime crema. What a great end to a busy weekend!

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Food

Meal Plan in Review 02/12-02/18

Last week on my Instagram account, I posted a glimpse of my meal plan for February 12-18th. I thought that it would be fun to take a look back and see if I stuck to my meal plan or if I deviated from it.

This week's meal plan featuring @papajohns & @plated

A post shared by Emily Rena Elliott (@emielli5) on

The purpose of planning out my dinners for the week was to eliminate some of the last minute indecisiveness that leads to poor food choices,  to better utilize what it already in my pantry/freezer and to narrow down what I actually purchase from the grocery store.

Overall, we did poorly at sticking to our plan this week. Robb and I both came down with a cold that lingered (and still lingers) for days, leaving us without energy and really without an appetite.

Sunday – We ordered Papa Johns pizza on Sunday. Papa Johns is sort of our monthly treat [Canadian bacon, pineapple, roma tomatoes, and sometimes mushrooms and olives on Robb’s half]

Monday – While I ended up doing country-fried steak this day instead of chicken-fried steak, I did stick mostly to my meal plan for this day, though Robb asked if I could hold off on making the pie until he would actually be able to taste it. It’s in the oven now and smells amazing!

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Tuesday – We did end up having leftovers so this was a win!

Wednesday – Robb’s cold was kicking his butt on Wednesday. I ended up making the Plated: Mediterranean Burgers with Harissa Aioli and Carrots Fries for me but made him a simple bowl of chicken ramen with peas and carrots. [Plated is one of those meal delivery kits.]

Thursday – Wanting something warm and comforting, Robb made a stew of sorts with chicken, potatoes, onions, broth, corn, peas, and dumplings. It was the perfect thing to help combat the crud.

Friday – I didn’t use my other Plated meal. Instead we were bad. I didn’t feel like cooking, Robb didn’t feel like cooking, so we picked up sandwiches from a local restaurant, came home, and watched Netflix. It was a good night though and after dosing myself with Nyquil, I was asleep by 7:30.

Saturday – Robb had purchased Barbeque Chicken plates from a local fire department so we had those Saturday night. They were DELICIOUS! Well worth the $8 per plate and we enjoy supporting our community.

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I have my meal plan for this current week ready to go but may or may not post it as 3 days this week will be leftovers/on-your-own due to our work schedules. My main goal now is to cook as much from the freezer as we can. Doing a quick evaluation today, we have a lot of frozen produce that needs to used before this growing season starts.

Do you try to plan out your meals each week? How do you stick to your plan?

Food · Recipe

Duck Bombs

When Robb and I first started dating, one of the first things I learned about him was that he loved duck hunting. He often regaled me with tales of the duck-based goodies he created after a morning of hunting. During our first year of dating, he fixed me meals made with goose, swan, wild turkey, and deer. But no duck. I always just figured that he caught too-few ducks and that he had earned the right to enjoy them on his own. After all, he is the one getting up at 3 or 4 in the morning and sitting in a blind in the freezing cold while I’m still snuggled in bed.

We’ve been dating a little over two years now and I’ve finally been able to enjoy a few duck dishes. But nothing compared to the duck bombs (as I have dubbed them) Robb fixed a few days ago.

There is no recipe really for this. To be honest, I’m not sure if Robb even knows what he did. He cooks instinctively, which is something that impresses me. He throws this-and-that into a pot, no measurements. Sometimes the food turns out delicious, sometimes the dogs get a large dinner that night. These duck bombs were a definite win.

He used a mallard and a wood duck, breasting them out to get 4 breasts. He pounded the breasts thin and then marinated them in Allegro and garlic for 24 hours (simply because he forgot to fix them the night before). After marinating, he rolled the duck breasts up with a sliver of jalapeno, smear of cream cheese and wrapped them in bacon.

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He cooked them in a grill pan in a mixture of onions, olive oil, garlic, and jalapenos for about 10 minutes (I’m guessing) or until medium rare and tender.

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We served the duck breasts with asparagus (marinated in garlic and Allegro as well) that was oven roasted until tender.

Delicious! Hopefully he’ll snag a few more ducks this season and we can recreate this dish!

What’s your favorite, most mouth-watering way to serve (or be served) wild game?

Food

Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s Haul

Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve been working on clearing out my pantry in anticipation for my quarterly Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods excursion. My boyfriend and I almost messed up. The weekend before Christmas, we went to Moore County to visit his family for the holidays. On our way up, as we passed through Raleigh, we decided that we would stop to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Cabela’s on our way home. Monday came and it was a dreary day as we set off back to our house with a truck full (and I mean jam packed) with gifts.

We stopped to Cabela’s but decided to bail on the other two stores. We were tired, ready to get home, and most of all – our truck was FULL! So we decided to stick to our original plan of making a day date of it while I was out on break.

That same Monday night, I attacked the kitchen in a whirlwind after we arrived home. I cleaned out our pantry – putting items that have been in our pantry for months – into a bag to donate to the local food bank (I ended up with two large bags full), throwing some expired items away. Then I started on the spices. There were spices in there from back in 2011! I let Robb go through everything before I tossed it and if he said keep it, we kept it (fair trade).

When we went to Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s the day after Christmas, neither of us were feeling at our best. That may have been why we didn’t go as crazy as I had anticipated. But that’s okay. It still ended up being a good “date” day for the two of us and I enjoy spending time with Robb. Even if it’s doing something that seems as mundane as going to the grocery store!

Here’s what we purchased:

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Some of our favorite purchases were:

  • Growler of Ginger Kombucha from Barefoot Bucha (first tried at the Heritage Festival at Monticello) from Whole Foods (Me)
  • Olives from Whole Foods (Robb)
  • Creamy Corn & Roasted Pepper Soup  from Trader Joe’s (both of ours)
  • Trader Joe’s Roasted Potatoes (mentioned before in this post)
  • Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina Flour from Whole Foods (Me) – this is for homemade corn tortillas using the tortilla press I got for Christmas!
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Molten Chocolate Macarons from Trader Joe’s – this thing is HUGE!

Since we went on Monday, we were able to take advantage of the Pasta Night at Whole Foods. For $12.99 we were able to get a pound of fresh cut pasta (our choice was spinach pappardelle), 16oz of Severino sauce (we went with the Fra Diavolo) and 4oz of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

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Our pasta night deal from Whole Foods with chorizo, mushrooms, and onions thrown in. Delicious!

A few nights ago, I was able to try out my new tortilla press. I know that a tortilla press is a weird thing to ask for but I love the idea of being able to make fresh corn tortillas. I still need to practice but I think I did okay! I paired my homemade corn tortillas with homemade pico de gallo, homemade lime crema, cilantro, coleslaw mix, and pan seared Alaskan halibut (with a adobo seasoning purchased from Whole Foods).

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Tacos?? A good first try.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

Food · Life

Farmer’s Market Haul 12/10/2016

This will be my last farmer’s market post of the year. While there is one more Saturday market before Christmas – I won’t be able to attend because of a previous engagement. The Edenton Farmer’s Market will start back up in January with an indoor market on the second and fourth Saturdays of January, February, and March. I’m going to try to be a vendor at least once a month to help continue to showcase my brand (and with plans to create something deliciously edible soon).

I did super good, spending wise, at the market this time. I spent $39.48, slightly under my $40 goal.

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So here is what I purchased from the farmer’s market:

  • Hot Italian Sausage – Will be used in spaghetti soon
  • 2 mini loaves of banana/pineapple/walnut bread
  • 3 bars of soap from a vendor that supported me in return
  • a handmade winter hat ornament (only $1!!)
  • 4 pack of oreo truffles
  • 3 rabbit ears for the dogs
  • Package of English walnuts
  • More garlic!!
  • Beets (I’m think Chioggia because of how they looked when I cut into them – see below)
  • Baby bok choy
  • Mustard Greens
  • Kale
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I stayed at my mom’s house the weekend and spotted this precious moment – the animals coexisting peacefully for once. Mom’s dog was being a bit mischievous and was sleeping on her bed when I snapped this photo.

I also volunteered in the kitchen the Cupola House on Saturday evening, making sure the wassail and cookies remained stock for the guests who wondered in while on the Edenton Candlelight Tour. The Cupola House is one of my favorite houses (I swear I saw a ghost in it when I was in elementary school) and the reason why I started studying herbs (they have a huge herb garden in the back). Even though I met some wonderful people, the major perk was being able to bring home a bag of cookies and a gallon of wassail!

 

Last but not least – I finally have a photo from Alaska for y’all.

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This photo (of my boyfriend and I) is from our trip to Alaska in October – when we went fishing more specifically. I’m finally getting around to going through my photos and selecting some for the blog.