So Fresh and Fabulous

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring has sprung. Farmer's markets are opening after the long winter months to bring seasonal fruits and veggies nearly to your doorstep (Charlotte's opens on April 3 ).

With's exceptionally cool interactive From Farm to Table guide, you're left with little excuse not to do give your diet some spring cleaning. A wealth of resources at your fingertips, the information that has been pulled together not only can help you determine what's available in season in your area, but also includes detailed pictures of herb and vegetable varieties along with complementary recipes to match the mood or occasion. 

Recipe slideshows for colorful spring favorites like rhubarb, asparagus and artichokes are included along with freshness shopping tips and preparation pointers.

Check out the herb guide to learn how to create your own garden or master the balance of adding season and spice for winning springtime dishes. Break out of the culinary blues that ensue following colder months that were full of comfort food fixes. Your taste buds will thank you for the change.
Mint is an example of an herb featured in an interactive guide.
Photo source:

Why not try...

Pasta Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh is possibly one of my favorite dishes because of the unique Mediterranean taste accomplished with this colorful blend of lemon, tomato and fresh herbs. A self-proclaimed tabbouleh connoisseur, I like this version in particular because of the texture and taste dimension added by substituting a more traditional bulgar wheat base with smooth and pearly orzo. Tip: the flavor of the herbs infuses itself with the pasta over time, so this dish is often better served the next day. 
1/2 c. orzo pasta, cooked
1 c. chopped fresh mint
1 c. chopped fresh parsley
3 c. peeled, seeded and finely chopped tomato
1/2 c. sliced green onion
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients, mix well and cover. Chill thoroughly and stir before serving.
Ginger Shandies
With the Kentucky Derby just around the corner, this springtime drink is fresh and flavorful. Food & Wine recommends the following simple steps for a concoction that's sure to please!

This drink should be reserved for those wearing oversized 
wide-brimmed hats and arm-length gloves. 
Photo source: Food & Wine

Add thin lemon slices and small mint sprigs to a large pitcher. Gradually add three 11.2-ounce bottles of chilled Hoegaarden beer and one 12-ounce bottle of chilled ginger beer. Fill rocks glasses with ice. Add thin lemon slices and pour in the shandy. Garnish with more mint springs and serve. Makes 6 drinks.

Tuna Cornbread Cakes
Easy to make, budget-friendly and all around delicious, this Southern Living recipe is definitely a keeper for my recipe files! Ranked as an outstanding recipe by MyRecipe's users, I couldn't agree more.

My sister and I agree that Tuna Cornbread Cakes were 
love at first bite.
Photo source:

Virtual Bride

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The thing about brides these days is that while they may still be "blushing", they're also blogging, connecting with other brides virtually and sharing tried and true wedding advice, blunders, vendor recommendations, hot honeymoon spots, do-it-yourself tricks and so much more. 

Say "I Do" to planning your wedding day with the help of other brides online. 
Photo Source:

I, for one, am thrilled at the prospect of knowing that this information is at my fingertips, and I plan to use the resources and advice of saavy brides before me to help me plan the single most important day of my life. So many brides are tapping into wedding social networking sites like the Knot that you'd be crazy not to do the same (no pun intended). Check out this great Washington Post article from a bride and reporter who attributes her ability to plan a Hawaiian wedding more than 5,000 miles away to the women who helped her electronically along the way. 

Wanting to impart my own very limited wedding wisdom with others, if you haven't visited Project Wedding, one such social network, I highly recommend it. When I stumbled upon PW earlier today, I felt immediately as though I had unearthed a treasure. With a large selection of DIY wedding articles to regional wedding guides, vendor reviews and more, it really was too good to be true. 

In addition to being a part of a network of tens of thousands of brides to offer advice and support, Project Wedding has some functionality perks including some cute (and free) Web templates that offer a place to share the soon-to-be-wed couple's story along with space for photos, a guestbook, registry and a piece that I thought was really cool -- wedding maps.

The wedding map function on Project Wedding is a 
great tool for out-of-town guests.
Photo Source: Project Wedding

Maybe I'm just easily amused, but I think that this is such a great, user-friendly tool that is a particularly nice feature for out-of-town guests to become acquainted with the area so that they're able to fully enjoy every moment of the celebration, including time spent outside of organized events. I'm currently building my page in the Butterfly Drift theme by Blume Designs, but there are other templates modeled after popular wedding stationary aids such as Wedding Paper Divas, Papeterie and KenzieKate Invitations so that if you happen to be a type A personality, then you can order invitations to perfectly match your wedding web page!

Designer invitation-inspired Web templates are one Project Wedding perk.
Photo source: elum

Check out one Project Wedding DIY calligraphy article that bears mentioning not only based on major craftiness and cleverness points, but also because of the sheer number of times that I've seen it in different places. Originating on With This Ring, I've also seen this post make it's way to Design*Sponge and now Project Wedding! I think it's a great read not only for brides-to-be, but anyone planning a party in the future. 

One creative bride spills her secret on "learning" calligraphy.
Photo source: With This Ring

Oh Savannah, Let Me Count the Ways

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Okay, I've been a really big blog slacker lately which I must first apologize for profusely, however, in my defense I've been quite the busy bee in other spheres, most notably moving from Lake Norman to Charlotte, decorating my new condo, discovering IKEA, work, work, working and, most recently, traveling! 

I spent last week in Charleston and then Savannah for the big Saint Patrick's Day celebration. It was an absolute blast, and I have some new travel secrets to dish. First and foremost, if you've never been to Savannah, then I recommend you plan a time to hit the road! 

Kilts! One of the 101 reasons why St. Patrick's Day 
in Savannah is amazing.
Photo credit:

Only four hours from Charlotte, this beautiful, historic town is filled with cobblestone roads lined with brightly-colored colonial homes (all with wrap-around porches) that peek out from curtains of Spanish moss. While the Saint Patrick's Day festivities themselves were fun, such as the nightlife on River Street and the famous parade filled with kilted bands and Irish clans, I would love to visit  again to explore the culinary and historical gems of this quaint Southern city.

I loved Savannah...let me count the ways! Not only were the food and the atmosphere amazing, but our hotel looked like a castle! Let me dish the following Savannah secrets for you.
  • Soho South Cafe: this eclectic and fabulously delicious eatery also doubles as an art gallery that features local creative minds. Decorated in true shabby chic style, Soho is a perfect lunch stop in the heart of the historic district on West Liberty Street. Favorite dishes: try the Middle Eastern Pressed Sandwich, a delightful whirlwind of hummus, spinach, eggplant, tapenade, tomatoes, onion and provolone cheese, all served on a toasted pita and their Tomato-Basil soup. And for dessert? Try a mouth-watering slice of Rustic Apple Gallette.
Savannah seems to specialize in super cute cafes like Soho South Cafe.
Photo credit: Flickr
  • Mansion at Forsyth Park: our hotel was an experience in and of itself. The Victorian age home-turned-hotel looks like a castle inside and out. The rooms were stunning, filled with edgy modern decor in bright hues like lipstick pink and electric green. Mansion was located adjacent to a sprawling park full of just-blooming flowers. The walk to downtown Savannah was easy and very beautiful. Other great ammenities to tout include a spa, a five-star restaurant, an art gallery and even a cooking school.
Live like royalty during your stay in Savannah 
at Mansion at Forsyth Park.
Photo credit: Mansion at Forsyth Park
  • Savannah's Candy Kitchen: I have two words for you - pecan pralines. These delicious right-out-of-the-oven, melt-in-your-mouth treats were to die for. I'm not ashamed to say that I went back three times for samples of these! Your visit to Savannah is incomplete without a visit to this riverfront shop.
  • River Street: Savannah's famous waterfront strip is a hot spot for nightlife, and Saint Patrick's Day was no exception. A number of bars and restaurants line this more tourist-traveled side of town, but with so many options, you're sure to find somewhere to enjoy the views and your company.
While River Street didn't look quite like this for our visit 
(think more green and less serene), it is a "must-see" for visitors.
Photo credit: Savannah Marriott Riverfront
  • Savannah for St. Pat's: And, of course, visiting Savannah for Saint Patrick's Day is my top recommendation of all! If you're looking for some shenanigans, then look no further than this Southern city's celebration of everything Irish. In fact, it's so much fun that Savannah has already started the countdown for next year's parade, which according to today's count is only 357 days away!

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