Fairhope, AL: Arts and Crafts Festival

This weekend was a fun filled jam-packed weekend. To begin, it was the weekend for the famed Arts and Craft’s Festival–this event basically shuts the city down and becomes incredibly pedestrian friendly within a 3 block radius. There is lots of art and lots of festival-esque type food. That’s right, if you look closely you can see “alligator on a stick”! Oh festival food–not so good for a diet.

We also participated in a 10K fun run around the city called the Spring Fever Chase. My hunny came in 4th place in his age group–with NO prior training! I’m so proud. And I successfully finished… which was certainly my goal.

We celebrated the day not with “alligator on a stick” but with a big juicy succulent Awesome Burger. Oh my goodness… delish! I have missed those babies!

We finished the day with a beautiful sunset. It was a great day. Did I mention that I ran a 10K?? Congratulations to me!

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Today I am thankful for getting to see my DAD!

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Food Team: Baru, NOLA

So I was recently in NOLA for a workshop. And I could never go to NOLA and not see one of my bestest friends, Sara. She took me to an awesome restaurant that is now at the tip-top of my favorites list. [REMINDER TO SELF: Make a Favorites List]. It’s called Baru and it’s a Bistro and Tapa’s Bar. The food was exsquisite and I was the perfect amount of happy when I left. Here is what we ordered… and NO judgements… it was a girls night.

TAPAS >> CEVICHE: gulf fish| leche de tigre | cilantro | pickled onions | avocado | chips

TAPAS >> MAZORCA: roasted corn | salao cheese | pink sauce | potato sticks

TAPAS >> OSTRAS FRITAS: deep fried louisiana oysters | cilantro aioli | carmelized onions

TAPAS >> CHUZOS de CARNE: grilled skewers of skirt steak | chimichurri | bollo

SALAD >> CAMARONES: coriander crusted louisana shrimp | mango | julienned red onion | avocado | tomato | greens | citrus vinaigrette

DESSERT >> DOLCE LECHE: off the menu and it was yummy

DRINK >> MANGO PINNAPPLE JUICE: an off the menu specialty

The atmosphere was perfect. The staff was incredibly friendly and helpful — and judgement free! The food – oh, the food – was DIVINE. What was my favorite? The fried oysters, BY FAR. It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. My least favorite… probably the CEVICHE. It was a little too citrus-y for me. The MAZORCA was the perfect balance with all of the other spices on the table. And the DRINKs were incredibly refreshing. I expected to walk away stuffed. But instead, as my father likes to say, I was content.

You like how there is a big bite taken out of my dolce leche? I have a problem remembering to take the picture… until after I have eaten what was on my plate!

Oh yeah, that’s my girl.

Today I am thankful for: a date night tonight. AND the frozen pina colada mix my dad gave me. He’s so awesome.

Stuffed Shells

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

20-25 jumbo pasta shells

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup for topping

¼ cup of feta cheese

1 large tomato

3 tablespoons of homemade pesto (you can use storebought)

2 cups of shredded cooked chicken

2 cloves garlic, mince

salt and pepper and onion powder to taste

In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Drain the pasta shells and set aside. The original pesto chicken stuffed shells recipe suggest to cook the pasta shells until al dente; however, I like my shells softer and I found that even after cooking them longer, they still came out a litte hard after baking the dish. Cook your chicken. I only ended up using 1 1/2 chicken breasts about a pound and a half. I will suggest that you undercook your chicken slightly so that they’re still a little pink. It will go back into the oven. Core and chop up your tomato. In a large bowl, mix in all ingredients except for the cooked shells and the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts. Original recipe can be found here.

This was one of those recipes that’s really simple and everyone enjoys. My boyfriend said that this is his all time favorite. Easy to please, I tell you.

Today I am thankful for: getting to see my dad tonight! And in other news… I found out that my pasta won’t expire for another 202 years.

That’s weird… right?