Category Archives: Food

Wines to Enjoy This Thanksgiving

Are you drawing a blank about what wine to pair with your upcoming Thanksgiving feast?  As I’ve mentioned before, I work a few nights a week at a local wine store, and I love passing along the nuggets of knowledge I pick up along the way. Let’s chat!

Light bodied reds pair exceptionally well with turkey and heartier vegetable sides. So a Pinot Noir is a lovely addition to any Thanksgiving table. Look for bottles from California with flavors of cherry or strawberry and hints of spice or woodsy notes.

If you’re looking for something a little heavier, but don’t want to overwhelm all those classic Thanksgiving flavors, grab a Malbec. There are tons of great bottles in that perfect under-$15 sweet spot. Pick one up from the Mendoza region and enjoy!

Of course, not everyone is a red drinker, so it’s nice to have alternative options. Chardonnay is a classic for Thanksgiving. A hearty, fruit forward flavor profile is best. Keep your eye out for flavors and aromas to complement the ingredients on your table. Apple, Vanilla, and Nutty profiles create a beautiful bridge between beverage and meal.

If you’re looking to create a fun and festive ambiance, you’ll want to include a Sparkling White. Not only do sparkling wines signify celebration, but the nutty-fruity flavor profile of most bottles works great with Thanksgiving foods. Go for something with a softer style, like a Prosecco or a bottle labeled “demi sec” or “dry”.

Looking for something a little more unexpected? Try a Pinot Gris. This Alsatian style wine has a rich and spicy character but maintains a beautiful sweetness in finish. The flavors and mouth feel are a bit more complex than other options, making each glass a fun experience for guests.

Finally, Beaujolais Nouveau is released every year on the third Thursday of November (today!) and is a fun wine to include at Thanksgiving. The wine plays into the idea of a harvest celebration as its release signifies the first wine of the year. It’s an easy-to-drink wine with low tannins and a classic grape flavor.

Do you serve wine with your Thanksgiving feast? Which of these bottles sounds like the winner for your table this year? Let me know!! xoxo

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What I ate during week 4 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 30 of the Whole30! (oh my god, oh my god, OH MY GOD!) I’m planning to do a full write up about the experience (and maybe a food diary post about the reintroduction phase) but for now…

Here’s what I ate on Week 4:

Day Twenty-Two

Breakfast – Coconut Chocolate RX bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, chicken, salami, broccoli, carrots, and macadamia nuts, and strawberries
Dinner – Baked tilapia, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, cold brew with coconut/almond creamer

Day Twenty-Three

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Plantain chips and guacamole, hard boiled egg, strawberries
Snack – Chicken and salami roll ups, apple
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Baked chicken and sweet potato
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty-Four

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, salami, hard boiled egg, guacamole, and topped with plantain chips, and strawberries
Dinner – Chicken sausage, sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Twenty-Five

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with broccoli and strawberries
Snack – Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Chicken sausage, sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Handful of cashews and freeze-dried pear
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty-Six

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, turkey, hard boiled egg, pickle, and home-made dressing, plantain strips and 2 dried figs
Dinner – Hot dogs and sauerkraut
Beverages – Coffee, water, sparkling water

Day Twenty-Seven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with broccoli and served with salsa, handful of almonds, freeze-dried tangerine
Snack – Blueberry Muffin Lara bar
Dinner – Hot dogs with sauerkraut, plantain strips, unsweetened apple sauce
Beverages – Coffee, water, cold brew coffee with nut pod creamer

Day Twenty-Eight

 Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Chicken jerky, plantain strips, and Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Tilapia, sweet potatoes, and broccoli
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

For more Whole30 food diaries CLICK HERE

What I ate during week 3 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 22 of the Whole30! [If you’d like to read about my first week on this journey CLICK HERE or my second week CLICK HERE.]

I’ll be honest, week 3 I kinda felt like I was eating like a crazy person. Not a lot of variety — Lunches consisted of salads and deli meat roll ups with a rotating set of accompaniments. Dinner was spaghetti 3 nights and smoked sausage for 2. And there was a heavy reliance on Lara bars.

But the truth of the matter is, I was BUSY. Several days of week 3 were spent working extra long hours with meal times either squeezed in or at odd hours. So I’m proud of myself for sticking with it…even if the food I ate wasn’t super exciting.

I also didn’t have a huge appetite this week (especially on days 17 and 18) so I just went for what sounded good. (Note: I don’t think the appetite change had much to do with W30 but was more to do with where I was at in my cycle.)

All in all, I’m still feeling great! I’m starting to plan my reintroduction phase and form a vision of what I want my diet to look like once this is all over. But more on that later!

Here’s what I ate on Week 3: 

Some things to note — 

  • Whole30 advises to be mindful of snacking and consider eating larger meals instead of eating in between meals (especially if you have binge eating tendencies). Because I lead a pretty active lifestyle (exercise daily and side hustle at a store where I’m pretty much always on my feet running around and sometimes hefting heavy crates of wine) and prefer not to eat huge amounts at a time, I’m staying A-OK with snacking! 
  • We are proud owners of an air fryer which is basically a kitchen gadget with powers akin to witchcraft and can make foods taste deliciously unhealthy with mere heat and AIR. (Highly, HIGHLY recommend.)
  • Prior to the Whole30, Chet and I were already accustomed to eating at home (or prepared at home and taken on-the-go) for every single meal (unless we were traveling). This made adopting the program a million times easier than I think it would be for folks who eat out or purchase convenience foods for the majority of their meals.

Day Fifteen

Breakfast – Apple Pie Lara bar 
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, baked chicken breast, hard boiled egg, leftover veg, and raw broccoli with Caesar dressing
Dinner – Spaghetti meat sauce over zoodles and topped with nutritional yeast
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha, cold brew coffee mixed with French vanilla nutpod

Day Sixteen

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, turkey, hard boiled egg, broccoli and macadamia nuts with ranch dressing
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Spaghetti meat sauce over zoodles and topped with nutritional yeast
Snack – Banana, 1/2 an apple, and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix, kombucha

Day Seventeen

Breakfast – Cherry Pie Lara bar and veggie sticks
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, 1/2 an apple with almond butter, and a carrot
Snack – Key Lime Pie Lara bar
Dinner – Spaghetti meat sauce over zoodles and topped with nutritional yeast
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Eighteen

Breakfast – Hard boiled egg with Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, grapes, and plantain chips with guacamole
Dinner – Smoked sausage, roasted sweet potato, and broccoli
Snack – Banana and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix, cold brew coffee mixed with nutpod, kombucha

Day Nineteen

Breakfast – Hard boiled egg with Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown, banana, and salami
Snack – Apple Pie Lara bar
Lunch – Salad with 50/50 mix, turkey, and broccoli with homemade dressing, grapes, and plantain chips with guacamole
Dinner – Smoked sausage and veggie sticks
Snack – Smoothie bowl made by blending frozen mango and strawberries topped with coconut chips
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twenty

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Snack – Blueberry Muffin Lara bar
Snack – Handful of cashews
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, side salad, unsweetened apple sauce
Dinner – Snack plate: Salami, hard boiled egg, a carrot, macadamia nuts, and grapes
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Twenty-One

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Turkey and salami roll ups, a carrot, grapes, and plantain chips with guacamole
Dinner – Bacon wrapped sirloin steak, home fry potato medley, and green beans
Snack – Cherry Pie Lara bar
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha, decaf chai tea

I’ll report back on Day 29 with Week 4!!! We’re in the home stretch!

Have you ever completed a Whole30? Any tips and tricks? I’d love to hear! Comment below or shoot me an email (ebeth.berger at gmail dot com). xoxo

Batch Cooking on the Whole30: Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

After a couple weeks in the trenches, my biggest tip for navigating a Whole30 is to be prepared. It’s so important to have meals and foods in mind that you can turn to at a moment’s notice. That way you won’t hit the drive-thru or reach for the non-compliant convenience foods stashed in your pantry.

One of my go-to, make-at-the-drop-of-a-hat dinners for as long as I can remember is spaghetti. But, on the Whole30, a quick perusal of my grocery shelves put a kink in that plan. Most jars of pasta sauce contain sugar. So, stashing a few jars for quick week night meal solutions? That’s out for the time being.

Next best thing? Batch cooking my own! Here’s how I did it…

What you’ll need:

2 lbs of ground beef
3 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
2 onions, diced
1 10oz package of frozen spinach
2 Tbsp EVOO
3 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp of lemon juice
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

    

And how it all comes together:

– Heat your oil in a skillet over med-high. Add onions and cook until translucent.

– Add ground beef and cook through. Once the meat is no longer pink, drain the fat and add it to your slow cooker.

– Add the rest of your ingredients and give it all a good stir. Leave it to cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 8) and stir a few times throughout to make sure the spinach is well dispersed. (Sneaky micronutrients!)

– Serve over zoodles and sprinkle with nutritional yest! Save the rest for the freezer and pull it out the next time you need dinner in a pinch. Enjoy!

P.S. Other Finding Delight recipes

What I ate during week 2 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 15 of the Whole30! [If you’d like to read about my first week on this journey CLICK HERE.]

Week 2 was leaps and bounds more enjoyable than week 1 as my body felt fully settled in to eating this way. Whereas last week I would eat and then feel hungry less than an hour later, this week food felt like fuel. And days 12-14 I started to see a glimmer of the “Tiger Blood” everyone talks about (ie. super-duper energy, productivity, strength, etc.). Especially yesterday when I felt extremely motivated to clean(?) and my workout felt AH-mazing (I was sweating bullets while simultaneously thinking, “I could do this ALL day!”).

I’ve continued to have no gastro-intestinal issues. No bloating, no stomach aches. And since Day 3 or 4 (when I was still detoxing from sugar), I haven’t had any headaches. *knocks on wood like whoa* I’ll be interested in seeing if I get any headaches during the re-introduction phase. I’ve always assumed my headaches were due to allergies, hormones, and barometric pressure. But now I’m wondering if they could sometimes be caused by foods?!

It’s strange to me that I’m not missing or craving the foods I thought I would. I haven’t really missed dairy AT ALL nor have I really felt the absence of bread. Strong statements for someone who is a devotee of Pizza Friday and a life-long peanut butter and jelly sandwich consumer. I’m starting to think I’m going to make some permanent lifestyle changes after my 30 days are up. More on that later! But for now, I’ll stop blabbing and get on to the food diary…

Here’s what I ate on Week 2: 

Some things to note — 

  • Whole30 advises to be mindful of snacking and consider eating larger meals instead of eating in between meals (especially if you have binge eating tendencies). Because I lead a pretty active lifestyle (exercise daily and side hustle at a store where I’m pretty much always on my feet running around and sometimes hefting heavy crates of wine) and prefer not to eat huge amounts at a time, I’m staying A-OK with snacking! 
  • We are proud owners of an air fryer which is basically a kitchen gadget with powers akin to witchcraft and can make foods taste deliciously unhealthy with mere heat and AIR. (Highly, HIGHLY recommend.) When listing foods like coated fish, fries, tater tots, and seared scallops – they’ve been prepared in the air fryer.
  • Prior to the Whole30, Chet and I were already accustomed to eating at home (or prepared at home and taken on-the-go) for every single meal (unless we were traveling). This made adopting the program a million times easier than I think it would be for folks who eat out or purchase convenience foods for the majority of their meals.

Day Eight

Breakfast – 2 hard boiled eggs with Breaux’s Bayou Shakedown and pineapple
Lunch –Lettuce wraps with turkey, salami,  mayo and mustard and more pineapple
Snack – Chicharrones
Dinner – Catfish filet, scallops, broccoli slaw with homemade dressing, crumbled hard boiled egg and a few crushed cashews + a dried fig as an after-dinner sweet treat
Snack – Apple and almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Nine

Breakfast – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrots, broccoli stems, etc) and turkey ham
Lunch – Broccoli slaw with Caesar dressing, tahini, turkey ham and salami with plantain chips
Dinner – Brekky for dinner! Scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns and avocado
Snack – Red grapes and a dried fig
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Ten

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch –Turkey and bacon roll ups, a hard boiled egg, raw broccoli with  ranch  for dipping, and red grapes
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Baked chicken breast and raw broccoli with ranch for dipping
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix, kombucha

Day Eleven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Turkey and bacon roll ups, pickles, red grapes
Snack – a handful of macadamia nuts
Snack – Plantain chips and guacamole
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with mayo, ketchup, and pickles with fries and asparagus
Snack – a little piece of jerky (had to sample the test batch Chet made in our food dehydrator) and a dried fig
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Twelve

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Lunch – Turkey, hard boiled egg, red grapes, raw broccoli with ranch for dipping
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with mayo and ketchup with fries, zucchini, and yellow squash
Snack – a handful of trail mix I made by combining cashews, macadamia nuts, banana chips and coconut chips
Beverages – coffee and water

Day Thirteen

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, turkey ham, leftover cooked vegetables, pickles and macadamia nuts and sprinkled with  County Clare seasoning
Dinner – Chicken leg and smoked sausage with homemade barbecue sauce and collard greens
Snack – Red grapes
Beverages – Coffee and water

Day Fourteen

Brunch – Eggs scrambled with leftover cooked veg and turkey ham and sprinkled with County Clare seasoning
Snack – Plantain chips and guacamole
Snack – Banana and almond butter
Dinner – Chicken leg and smoked sausage with homemade barbecue sauce and collard greens
Snack – Red grapes and macadamia nuts
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha, La Croix

I’ll report back on Day 22 with Week 3!!! Wish me luck!

Have you ever completed a Whole30? Any tips and tricks? I’d love to hear! Comment below or shoot me an email (ebeth.berger at gmail dot com). xoxo

 

What I ate during week 1 of the Whole30

Greetings from Day 8 of the Whole30! Weirdly enough, I’ve wanted to try my hand at a Whole30 for some time now. On our recent mini vacay to Delray, I finally convinced Chet to commit to the program with me…and the rest as they say is history. We did a bunch of research, bought a bunch of compliant food, and dove in head first the following the Monday.

For those of you unfamiliar, Whole30 is a 30 day program that has you cut sugar, grains, dairy, legumes, and alcohol to help you identify if certain foods are having a negative impact on your health and fitness. The elimination lets your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. So what’s left after cutting all those foods? Well, the program encourages you to eat all sorts of WHOLE foods – like vegetables, fruits, meats, and eggs. Essentially, I think calling it a “diet” is kind of a misnomer. You can eat as much as you want to feel full and good. You just have to eliminate certain foods and drinks.

I’m happy to report that, while the first three days were super tough (afternoon pounding headaches were not so fun!), I’m still on the wagon. And I can already feel the benefits . I have a ton of energy, I’m sleeping great, and muscle recovery after I workout is WAY faster. I also haven’t had any gastro-intestinal issues since starting. Digestion is, how shall we say, superb. (TMI?) Plus, I haven’t had any stomach aches or bloating. (A common occurrence after meals for me.)

Throughout the first week, I didn’t really experience any severe cravings or food boredom and I chalk this up to having a bunch of compliant foods on hand. However, as of this writing (Day 8), I could really go for a baked good or some crackers of some sort. But I’m not gonna cave…I wanna see what sort of benefits the next week has in store!

Here’s what I ate on Week 1: 

Some things to note — 

  • Whole30 advises to be mindful of snacking and consider eating larger meals instead of eating in between meals (especially if you have binge eating tendencies). Because I lead a pretty active lifestyle (exercise daily and side hustle at a store where I’m pretty much always on my feet running around and sometimes hefting heavy crates of wine) and prefer not to eat huge amounts at a time, I’m staying A-OK with snacking! 
  • We are proud owners of an air fryer which is basically a kitchen gadget with powers akin to witchcraft and can make foods taste deliciously unhealthy with mere heat and AIR. (Highly, HIGHLY recommend.) When listing foods like coated fish, fries, tater tots, and seared scallops – they’ve been prepared in the air fryer.
  • Prior to the Whole30, Chet and I were already accustomed to eating at home (or prepared at home and taken on-the-go) for every single meal (unless we were traveling). This made adopting the program a million times easier than I think it would be for folks who eat out or purchase convenience foods for the majority of their meals.

Day One

Breakfast – Scrambled eggs with salsa and 1/2 an avocado
Snack – Handful of cashews
Lunch – Rolled turkey and salami slices, mango slices, and raw carrot sticks with tahini
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Salad made with 50/50 mix, turkey ham, hard boiled egg, 1/2 an avocado and homemade dressing
Snack – Freeze dried apple
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Two

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, salmon, scallops, hard boiled egg and homemade dressing
Snack – Mango and salami slices
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with ketchup/mustard/avocado, sweet potato fries and asparagus
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

Day Three

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, chicken, 1/2 an avocado and homemade dressing
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Chicken burger topped with avocado, tater tots and green beans
Snack – Apple
Beverages – Coffee, water, sparkling water, kombucha

Day Four

Breakfast – Mixed Berry RX Bar
Snack – Bottle of fruit juice smoothie
Lunch – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrot, broccoli stems, etc) and salami and freeze dried mandarins
Dinner – Fish breaded with almond flour, tater tots and a side salad
Snack – Smoothie bowl made with frozen banana and mango with a splash of coconut milk and topped with coconut chips
Beverages – Coffee, water, kombucha

Day Five

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Salad made with 50/50 mix, cucumbers, seared scallops, and prosciutto
Snack – Cashew Cookie Lara Bar
Dinner – Eggs scrambled with a ton of veggies (purple cabbage, radish, carrots, broccoli stems, etc) and salami, cucumber slices with ranch for dipping
Snack – Plantain chips and salsa
Beverages – Coffee, La Croix, water, kombucha

Day Six

Breakfast – 2 hard boiled eggs with Everything but the Bagel seasoning and pineapple
Lunch – Lettuce wraps with turkey, salami, mustard, and mayo and cinnamon banana chips
Dinner – 2 hot dogs, fries, and raw carrot sticks with ranch for dipping
Snack – Handful of cashews and an apple
Beverages – Coffee, water

Day Seven

Breakfast – Banana and almond butter
Lunch – Scrambled eggs with hot dog pieces, raw carrot sticks, and pineapple
Snack – Handful of cashews
Dinner – Sunday roast served over mashed potatoes, raw carrots and cucumbers
Snack – Smoothie made with frozen mango and strawberries, coconut milk, and a little bit of almond butter
Beverages – Coffee, water, La Croix

I’ll report back on Day 15 with Week 2!!! Wish me luck!

Have you ever completed a Whole30? Any tips and tricks? I’d love to hear! Comment below or shoot me an email (ebeth.berger at gmail dot com). xoxo

Lexington Eats: Where + What

Where and what to eat in Lexington, KY

Hello friends! Today, I thought it might be fun to share what I ate on my whirlwind trip to Lexington, KY. In case you’re new ’round these parts, Lexington is where I was born and raised and, after a 7-year stint in Bowling Green, where I lived until our recent move to Miami. This might explain my particular brand of homesickness…a longing for the tastes of home! While my mom and I were unsure of whether we’d be able to pack in all my culinary desires (both in terms of time AND stomachs), I’d say we did a pretty fine job!

margaritas at Mi Pequena Hacienda Lexington, KY

Mi Pequeña Hacienda – We kicked off my 2-day visit with an arrival celebration most-appropriate–Mexican food and margs. Our original restaurant choice was tragically unavailable (It had closed down for good just a few days prior. RIP.), but we rallied. Luckily, Lexington has tons of great Mexican restaurants. Many of which have been around since my childhood.

Whole Foods hot bar lunch

Whole Foods Lexington – The next day, as we tooled around the city running errands and stopping in favorite locations (I even made my mom do a drive-by of my old apartment building, lol), I couldn’t resist checking out the brand new Whole Foods. Holy Moly! Hot bars on hot bars on hot bars. Plus pizza, deli options, salad bars, and desserts galore. Yowzas! I loaded up a plate (the Indian food always gets me at WF…it just smells so good!) and we headed outside to the awesome patio. Such a nice step up from the outdoor dining at the old location. I made sure to stock up on baked goods on the way out.

The Oasis Lexington, KY

The Oasis – That evening, my mom had to teach a class downtown, so we grabbed dinner to-go and I tagged along to hang out in her office. (I meant to use the time wisely and get work done but I ended up talking on the phone to a friend the whole time. Whoops!) I had the chicken shawarma sandwich with sides of rice and hummus. IDK how Oasis makes their rice but I literally have never had ANY that compares. Same with the hummus, tbh. If your’e ever in the area, def do yourself a favor and check this place out.

red beans and rice from Alfalfas in Lexington, KY

Alfalfa – Alfalfa is a Lexington staple that’s been around my whole life. Recently, it acquired new owners, and since I’ve been following the saga from afar, I was eager to check out the change for myself. I was so happy to see that it was the same ol’ Alfalfas (with minor menu changes for the better!) and I ordered up my fave — red beans and rice, cabbage salad, and a cold bottle of Ale-8.

homemade vegan pizza

Homemade Pizza – Finally, we decided to give eating out a rest for my final evening. My mom can veganize ANYTHING (AND make it taste delicious to non-vegans like me) and asked what I would like. Well, since it was the high holy day better known as “Pizza Friday”…I think you know what was in order. One pizza she topped with fajita veggies and black beans; the other with soy-rizo, corn, and green chiles. YUM!

Have you ever been to Lexington, KY? What were your favorite dining experiences while there? Share below!!!

P.S. Check out Savannah Eats: Where + What!!!

Savannah Eats: Where + What

where and what to eat in Savannah, GA

As promised, today I thought I’d tell ya about some of the food we ate on our recent trip to Savannah, GA. We were in town for the wedding of our dear friends so we were completely spoiled by meals at the restaurants selected by the bride & groom. Savannah has some pretty delicious offerings (and many restaurants boast beautiful views of the river or are located in gorgeously historic buildings) so if you’re planning a trip you’re in for a treat! But even if you don’t have a trip to Savannah on the horizon, I couldn’t help but include some budget-friendly meals that will work for general travel as well.

Savannah Specific — 

Lizzy’s Tequila Bar & Grill – We kicked off the weekend by enjoying dinner with the soon-to-be newlyweds. This restaurant is right along the river and had the perfect festive atmosphere to get celebrations started. Afterwards, we nabbed a drink at O’Connell’s Irish Pub which we were pretty convinced was haunted but the bartender would not play along.

HITCH – Before a night at the bars for the bachelor/bachelorette party, we fueled up with dishes that took a modern twist on Southern favorites. I had the chicken pancakes — thin and crispy peppered pancakes with fried chicken, chili aoli, and strawberry salsa. 2 thumbs up!

B. Matthew’s – After rehearsing the ceremony we scampered over to B. Matthew’s for the rehearsal dinner. This place had such a cool, historic vibe — exposed brick & beams, fireplaces, and a bar that looked straight out of the turn of the century. We dined in an upstairs room (with a private bar) that felt equal parts intimate and grand. Perfect for a gathering of the couple’s closest family and friends!

Vic’s on the River – And finally, the wedding reception itself was at a beautiful venue overlooking the river. The light from the setting sun pouring in the huge windows cast such a warm and romantic glow on the newlyweds. We dined on pork tacos, crawfish beignets, and a shrimp and grits bar (!). And topped it all off with two types of cupcakes baked by my mother especially for the occasion. My mom is a pro at baking wedding cupcakes. (She’s made cupcakes for my brother’s wedding and mine!) But this was the first time they got a “feed each other a bite and smash it in the face” MOMENT.

General Travel —

I wouldn’t be me without offering you some insight into how I keep travel affordable.

AirBNB Cuisine – One of my favorite benefits of staying in an AirBNB is that they come equipped with a kitchen. Why not take advantage of this and bring along food for at least some meals? I’m totally the girl who brings oatmeal and nut butter with me wherever I go so I was set on breakfast every morning. We also had sandwich fixin’s, baby carrots & hummus, chips, and cookies for quick lunches in between wedding-related errands and late night munchies.

Whole Foods – If you’re looking for a place to stock up on necessities, I’m a big fan of seeking out a Whole Foods. It’s a great place to double down and nab that soap you forgot to pack, a 12 pack of La Croix (because hydration), and ALSO treat yourself to a fairly inexpensive lunch. When you know you’re gonna indulge at dinnertime, Whole Foods comes through in the clutch with tons of healthy options for brekky, brunch, or lunch. Balance, people!

Have you ever been to Savannah, GA? What were your favorite dining experiences while there? Do you have any tips for cost-effective eating when on the road? Share below!! 

Found: A Perfect Warm Weather Dish

orzo salad andie mitchell

Doesn’t this orzo salad recipe sound delicious? It would be perfect to whip up a big bowl on Sunday evening and munch on for lunch all week long. Or to bring along the next time you need to contribute a side! So fresh and zingy. It just seems like the most fantastic warm-weather dish.

Do you have any summer dishes you’re itching to bust out? It’s almost that time again!!!

P.S. A few other warm weather favorites that also fit the bill — Chicken Pad Thai Salad and Greek Quinoa Salad.

(Image by Andie Mitchell.) 

A Thanksgiving Menu for Under $50

vintage-cookbook-photo

If you’re only cooking for a few this Thanksgiving, and you’re not keen to blow your whole grocery budget on a single meal, I have a few tips for you…

  1. Choose 2-3 of your favorite side dishes. You won’t be “doing it wrong” if you don’t have green bean casserole or stuffing…especially if  you don’t like those dishes anyways.
  2. Don’t waste valuable stomach-space (and cash) on a bunch of pre-dinner nibbles.
  3. Pick up one decadent dessert from a local bakery. Unless you bake on the regular, the ingredient list for your favorite pie may not be worth the hassle.
  4. Consider roasting a chicken instead of a turkey. I know, I know…super unorthodox suggestion but when cooking for less people it just makes sense.

With these nuggets of knowledge in mind, I turned to one of my favorite cook books to construct a menu. Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown is an amazing resource for anyone ballin’ on a budget (no matter the time of year). AND it’s available as a FREE PDF. Go check it out!

Here’s a Thanksgiving meal for 4 folks (or 2 with a healthy dose of leftovers). While it may not be the most traditional of menus; the recipes are easy, the costs are low, and waste is minimal. I love that the spotlight is on seasonal produce…a wonderful bounty to celebrate at any table, but it feels especially appropriate for a Thanksgiving feast! Switch the chicken out for turkey (or a turkey breast), if you like. Or nab a Tofurkey if you’re vegetarian. (Cost of each dish is indicated below.)

Appetizer

Classic Deviled Eggs (p.137) $3.60

Starter

Lightly Curried Butternut Squash Soup (p.26) $6

Main Course

Roast Chicken (p.78) $10

Cauliflower Cheese (p.93) $6.60

Roasted Vegetables (p.106) $5

Whole-Wheat Jalapeno Cheddar Scones (p.15) $4.50 *note – I would sub diced apple for the jalapeno in this recipe to make it a bit more autumnal. 

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Rice Pudding (p.175) $2.40

Total cost of meal = $38.10 (which leaves you $11.90 to nab your favorite pie from some place local!).

Pick up a bottle of Cab and a bottle of Chardonnay and Bob’s your Uncle — budget-friendly Thanksgiving Day is a go!

What are YOUR top tips for saving money on Thanksgiving? Will you be hosting this year or enjoying dinner with friends and family? Would you ever consider CHICKEN on Turkey Day?! (Chet, a former butcher, swears up and down that no one actually likes turkey anyways. LOL! He prepared a delicious chicken last year and I gotta say…I’m now a fan of the Thanksgiving Chicken.)