Tupelo Honey Cafe

I certainly ate incredibly well while in Charlotte, North Carolina for Spring Break! Brunch over the weekend was at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Southend with two of my oldest, and dearest, friends from home. One word: a.ma.zing! I’d heard of this famous restaurant for years, and I’m thrilled that there’s a finally a Charlotte location (and one coming to Raleigh soon!) for my visits back home. It really and truly lived up to all of the hype, and my mouth is already watering for a return trip.

It was one of those perfect Spring mornings where is was finally warm outside, and we luckily snagged the last outdoor balcony table. The staff at Tupelo couldn’t have been friendlier and more accommodating. Despite the morning hour, I started off with a truly Southern sweet tea – the perfect breakfast drink! Tupelo also provides each table with delectable fresh biscuits, warm honey, and homemade jam… I mean, you just can’t ask for anything more! Biscuits and sweet tea are sort of my love language, so I was in culinary heaven already. I was waffling between the Chicken & Waffles and the Eggs Betty, and I ended up selecting the Eggs Betty for breakfast, as Sarah heartily recommended them. The Eggs Betty (two poached eggs on a biscuit with smoked ham & a lemony hollandaise sauce) came with a side of goat cheese grits, and my entire meal was absolutely delicious! I know all three of us had clean plates and thoroughly enjoyed our meals, the atmosphere, and the company. It was wonderful starting off my Spring Break with brunch with Sarah & Trevor, two of my dearest friends over the last 12 or 13 years!

Have you been to Tupelo Honey Cafe before? Or are there any breakfast spots you’ve tried recently? I can’t wait to get back to Tupelo to try their lunch and dinner menus, too – I’ve heard rave reviews about those meals!

Brussel Sprouts

Now, you might think this is an… interesting… topic to write about. But I am currently obsessing over brussel sprouts! This might sound rather absurd, but it’s true. My parents can wholeheartedly agree that I despised brussel sprouts growing up – I would tease my dad (the only one who would even touch the things) when my mom so kindly boiled up a frozen bag of brussel sprouts for him about twice a year. They stank to high heaven and just looked weird.

But a year ago, last Thanksgiving… I was forever converted. Some friends made brussel sprouts roasted in balsamic with dried cranberries, goat cheese, and toasted pine nuts for our annual Friendsgiving dinner. I loved all of those ingredients besides the detested brussel sprouts, and I wanted to sample a bite to be kind – and YUM. I’ve never looked back!

Maybe brussel sprouts are a trendy foodie item now, but all of my friends (really, all) are kind of obsessed with them now, too. We often split an order of brussel sprouts as an appetizer when we go out for dinner. I can’t make fun of my daddy now!

So far, my very favorite brussel sprouts were from Lincoln – brussel sprouts with a cranberry apple vinaigrette, roasted shallots, roasted pine nuts, oh and bacon. Mouth-watering!

I also loved a brussel sprout pasta dish from The Hamilton (we also started off with a brussel sprout appetizer here) – brussel sprout carbonara. This amazing pasta was butternut squash, sage, black pepper, creamy parmesan sauce, and fettuccine – divine!

I usually roast a big dish of brussel sprouts every week or two at home, tossing them in some olive oil, balsamic, pepper, and roasted red pepper. And I have been wanting to try these two recipes: pesto pasta with chicken sausage & roasted brussels sprouts and pan-seared brussels sprouts with cranberries & pecans.

Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Pecans by Rachel Schultz

So tell me… how do you feel about brussel sprouts? Do you think my obsession is a bit strange?! Give them a (new) try if you have a pre-conceived notion about brussel sprouts!

Recipe: PB&J Bars

I’ve been trying to cook from scratch a little more often (which is still not that often!), and I stumbled upon a great recipe in my monthly subscription to Real Simple, one of my favorite magazines. Before all things apple and pumpkin are created in the kitchen, it was fun to test out a new recipe that seemed both simple and delicious – two key factors when it comes to baking! I would definitely recommend this recipe, as it really is simple, so yummy, and was devoured in an instant on both occasions I made it.

I tweaked the recipe just a bit using items I already had in my pantry, and I was actually able to use a jar of homemade blueberry jam from my dear friends’ wedding reception favor! It was a good decision to use some fresh blueberries with the homemade blueberry jam, especially with the end of summer in sight.PB&J Bar

PB&J Bars

adapted from Real Simple

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2  cup  blueberry jam
  • 1/2  cup  fresh blueberries, mashed
  • 1 3/4  cups  flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon  fine salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 3/4  cup  sugar
  • 1  egg
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1  cup  crunchy peanut butter

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Pam an 8-inch square baking dish.

2. Combine the jam and blueberries in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the peanut butter and beat until combined.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Press half the dough into the prepared dish. Top with the blueberry mixture. Drop the dough in clumps over the jam. Bake until the top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

Seriously, these were easy and delicious, and I loved the peanut butter and blueberry jelly combo. These were devoured immediately!

Do you have any new recipes you’ve tried and loved?!