Thursday, March 31, 2011

Any Friend of the Bar Keeper Is a Friend of Mine.

Things I love Thursday here. With one thing to tell you about, because I love it that much.

Hugh discovered this a couple of weeks ago online, after I informed him that no, he could not clean our pots and pans with steel wool. His research lead him to this miracle product*: Bar Keeper's Friend. So I bought him some as a prize this weekend. And yes, he was excited about it. (see: gift-giving as a love language and also, we love cleaning). If your definition of excited is: he immediately stopped studying, got out the pots and pans, and started scrubbing away**.

This product is great for cleaning porcelain and stainless steel (i.e. sinks, cookware, and tile and grout among other things). If you have say, for instance, six All Clad pots that take a daily beating in the kitchen, after three years of use they might look like this:

But get yourself some Bar Keeper's Friend and some elbow grease, and you will be looking at this:

I know. Shut up, right?

So, on this rainy and grey Thursday, go buy yourself some and make a little kitchen miracle happen.

*This link is to Amazon, but get thee to Target and 21oz of BKF can be yours for $1.75. I know, it's basically free.

**Disclaimer: Hugh would like me to add that you don't have to scrub very much. Part of the appeal is that this product is fast and easy to use. Make a paste with a little water and some BKF. Leave it on your pan for one minute. Scrub it off with a dish cloth or a sponge. Done. Easy as pie. Actually, way easier than pie.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grilled Greek Chicken Souvlaki

Guess what? I don't really love chicken. There are a few preparations I adore (wings and Perfect Roast Chicken, mainly), but for the most part I find it to just be kind of eh. However, it's easy, fairly inexpensive, and basically a blank slate, so I am always looking for chicken dishes that knock my socks off. And if my favorite husband likes them, that's good too.

So, when one of my very favorite blogs advertised grilled chicken for people who don't like grilled chicken I was intrigued. As per the usual, they didn't disappoint - this chicken is delicious. Not only did I love this chicken for dinner on Friday, but I loved it on Saturday for lunch too. Plus there's the added bonus that this dinner was about as easy as they come: mix up a marinade, grill a few chicken breasts, chop some veggies, and pile it all on a flatbread. That's my kind of Friday night dinner.

Grilled Greek Chicken Souvlaki
A White Hot Original
serves 4

4 white flatbreads or pocketless pitas
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 recipe Grilled Greek Chicken (below)
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes*, sliced into wedges
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

Wrap flatbread in foil and heat at 350 degrees until warm (about 10 minutes).

Thinly slice grilled chicken.

Spread a couple of tablespoons of yogurt on each flatbread. Top with 1/4 of the grilled chicken. Divide remaining ingredients equally and top flatbread.

Grilled Greek Chicken
Barely adapted from Dinner: a Love Story
serves 4

1lb chicken breasts
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
Juice 2 lemons
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly-ground pepper (at least 10 turns of the grinder)

Between sheets of plastic wrap, pound chicken breasts until uniformly thin, about 1/2 - 3/4".

Mix yogurt and remaining ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl. Add mixture and chicken to a heavy duty plastic bag, smush around to coat chicken with marinade. Refrigerate for at least two hours, turning occasionally if you think about it.

Prep grill. Grill marinated chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill and let rest for a few minutes.

Eat it up!

*My little tomato secret: When the tomatoes at the grocery are crap (i.e. basically all the time), I buy the Ugly Ripe tomatoes at Publix. They're a little bit pricey, but they are actually red inside. And they taste like tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black Beans

My senior year of college, I finally moved into a place with a full kitchen at my disposal (previous years had found me in a dorm or in my sorority house). One of the first things I cooked for myself was black bean burritos. Now, I have no idea why I started making these. Aside from the obvious: beans are cheap. And the other obvious: I love Mexican food. But this wasn't a dish from my childhood or anything. I'm sure I saw a recipe somewhere and came up with these. However they started, they were good enough to stick around.

When I first moved in with Hugh, I made these burritos what seemed like seven times per week (see: cheap). I like routines and could happily eat something I love over and over and over again (remember this?). Hugh, less so. After a few months, he nicely asked me to never make black bean burritos again.

Recently, however, we've had a resurgence. Well, less in the burritos and more just in the black beans. Black beans as a side dish to the hundreds of varieties of tacos it seems like we make. Black beans on a corn tortilla topped with a fried egg. Black beans in a bowl, eaten on their own.

Sometimes I hesitate to post basic recipes like this, because they are so, well, basic. But, hey, maybe you will make these and love them so much you'll eat them seven days a week.

This is how we do it:

Black Beans
A White Hot Original (a throwback to the days when Hugh wasn't even a number in my cell phone)
serves 2, about 3/4 cup servings. Or 1 really hungry person who loves black beans.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5oz can black beans, preferably reduced sodium
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

In small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, cook 3 - 5 minutes. The goal is for the garlic to become barely golden. If your garlic is cooking too quickly, reduce the heat. If your garlic turns brown, throw it away and start over because now it's bitter.

Add black beans and next 5 ingredients (through salt). Simmer 5 - 8 minutes, or until beans are just starting to become soft. The goal is for some of the beans to breakdown and naturally thicken the dish. Also, you want to cook all of that raw taste out of the powdered spices.

At this point I like to give the beans a few mashes with a fork, to break them up a little more.

Stir in cilantro.

Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. You might need another 1/4 teaspoon salt, depending on how salty your beans were to begin with.

Now, from here the sky is the limit:

Serve the beans in a warmed flour tortilla with pico de gallo, a little bit of sour cream, and a few pickled jalapeno slices.

Or serve them as a side dish. Stir in a tablespoon or so of sour cream if you are serving them like this. It, obviously, makes them even creamier. More like classic refried beans.

Or serve them as a main dish for two that costs approximately $0.80 per person. Put them in a bowl and top with an over easy egg. If eating for breakfast, I like to omit the garlic.

Or come up with your own variation and tell me all about it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Weekend In Photos (and Not a Lot of Words).

Well, hell. All my boasting about the weather finally caught up with me. We are on our third day of thunderstorms.

So, we made this best of it and spent the weekend (you are going to be shocked...) cooking and eating and playing with Fletcher and Henry and attending happy hour and watching movies.

Friday (before the monsoon started) we did some grilling:

Saturday, I have no photos. Because Hugh studied all day and I ran errands and read recipes. And then we ordered pizza. And had it delivered. And sat on the couch for a very long time, eating pizza and talking. It was pretty delightful.

Sunday, I realized I needed to find a cleaning project that was not going to lead to me having a blood pressure spike when someone (Fletcher) tracked dirt onto my just cleaned floor (see: it's been raining for three days). So, I cleaned the refrigerator. I know you think I probably have the lamest weekends ever with all the cleaning. What can I say? It relaxes me. Also, so satisfying to see this when you go to get your half-and-half on Monday morning:

I feel so exposed putting the contents of the fridge on display. Is that weird? Also, I need to go to the grocery, clearly. Unless Hugh wants pickles and lemons for dinner. Again. Name that blog.

Sunday night, was Champagne Cocktails and Pork Meatball Bahn Mi to chase away the Sunday Blues:

And, then in a blink, it was Monday morning again. How was your weekend?

Post script: Also, just for good Monday morning measure, humor me and look at this big, fat, beauty Boxer:

I know I'm biased, but I think he's basically perfect. Also, he's totally posing for the camera here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thirty and Flirty.

Today, Mandy is celebrating her birthday. You have heard me mention her, oh, about one million times. Usually in the context of a hilarious, delicious, happy visit we're sharing.

She is a huge part of my every day life. This is partially because I work from home, and she has a little work break in the middle of the day, so we spend a lot of time on the phone. It's also partially because she is sweet enough to have me over for dinner every. single. Tuesday. night, so I'm not stuck sitting in my hotel room alone. And partially because we have really funny email exchanges multiple times a day (see: we are funny). But it's mostly because, well, I love being friends with her.

I have a lot of favorite things about Amanda Jean. I mean, see above where we spend all of our time together laughing and eating good food and drinking wine and being a little bit bitchy. But, one of my most favorite things is this: She is as loyal as they come. Mandy and I originally bonded over the fact that we don't like a lot of people (see: we are pretty bitchy). But, if you are lucky enough to be on the short list of people worthy of being near and dear to her, well, then you are lucky. She's an unwavering supporter of the people she loves; the kind of friend who would do anything for her friends.

If I had to summarize our friendship, I'd say this photo does a perfect job:

Circa Christmas 2008. We are very funny.

Happy birthday, birthday girl. I hope today is a lovely celebration of lovely you. You make my world a happier place. xoxo

Friday, March 25, 2011

What We're Doing. And Eating.

I'm back with the usual: it's Friday, it's warm and sunny, the food is good, and I love my little family.

This is what we've been up to this week:

  • A whole lot of playing in the yard. And an answer to why Fletcher thinks all Frisbees are his for the taking (a real issue when we're in a public place with him). And why no one can hold a candle to Hugh. They do this for about two hours a day:

  • Mandy and Matt were sweet enough to have the Savannah Family (minus Hugh) over for dinner on Tuesday. It was an impromptu get-together, which, really, is the best kind. Also, Iris and Opal light up my life. I spend an inappropriate amount of time plotting to make them mine forever*. A thank you to Mandy for these photos, with which I now want to wallpaper my house:
I don't know what it is, but this kiddo and I just get each other. We're bonded over a love of earrings and dresses and following rules and bossing people around. She's the bee's knees, that one. And growing up way too fast.

Opal is singing and dancing and spelling (!) and talking like a grown up and cracking us up. Um, and she's two. Did I mention they are both just brilliant?
  • Thinning seedlings and watering baby plants and getting so darn excited about this year's garden. Check back next week for a new How Does Your Garden Grow. Here's a little sneak peak:

  • And, just humor me for one second. Fletcher. Why is he so ridiculous? Hugh and I spend far too much time watching him and laughing. The dog loves some springtime weather:

Okay, now what we've been eating:

Grilled Lamb Chops and Mint Chimichurri, Mashed Potatoes - Easy, tasty, good for you.

Bagel Melts - I stopped at our favorite Savannah deli on Wednesday and got delicious bagels as a surprise for Hugh. I mean, gift giving is his love language. And I consider bagels a great gift.

Huevos Rancheros - Corn tortilla + black beans + over easy egg + cilantro + hot sauce = Hugh and I didn't speak for five minutes as we were inhaling our food. Feast your eyes on this deliciousness:

Chicago Dogs - You know how we feel about hot dogs around here.

And now it's the weekend! This one promises more grilling and gardening.

Enjoy it, friends!

*Don't worry. Their parents know I'm 90% joking about this. Okay, 80%.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Best Friends After All?

Twenty months ago, if you would have told me they'd be doing this I would never have believed you:

I adore them more than words can say.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buttermilk Dressing

I love salad. I went through a phase when I started working at my first job out of undergrad where I ate a spinach salad every day for lunch. For like one year. That, my friends, is a lot of spinach.

I tend to lean more toward the vinaigrette side of the great dressing debate. The more acidic, the better. In fact, if I'm the only one eating the salad I'm likely to just douse in in straight balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.

Hugh, however, is less of a fan of a salad that makes your mouth pucker. And I'm nothing if not a doting, accommodating, salad-loving wife. So I came up with a new way to dress our salads: Buttermilk Dressing. I was so excited when I first whipped this up, because, well, it's delicious. And then Hugh informed me that I had basically made my own Ranch dressing. I didn't believe him, so I googled it. And it was confirmed. And the snob within me died one thousand deaths.

But, whatever. I love this dressing. I don't care if it is glorified Ranch. It's delicious, glorified Ranch. One hundred times better than anything out of the bottle. Also, better for you. I love it on everything, but slap this on some Bibb lettuce with a few homemade croutons and that, my friends, is a little salad nirvana for you.

But I'm still not calling it Ranch.

Buttermilk Dressing
A White Hot Original
makes approximately 1 1/4 cups

1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup buttermilk (regular or lowfat)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Whisk mayonnaise and buttermilk in a medium bowl until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, stir to mix.

Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Personally, I always end up adding more lemon juice. But that's just me, trying to wear the enamel off my teeth.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Weekend In Photos (and Also, Words).

I realize that this blog should probably be called White Hot Weekend, because it seems like that's the only reason I come around anymore: to tell you about how excited I am for the weekend or to gloat about how great the weekend was.

Yeah, I'm working on that. Anyway, in this case it's the latter. Our weekend was another really lovely one, cloaked in a post-test glow. Oh, med school, how I do love your Friday tests.

This is what it looked like...

Your weekend can't go wrong when your favorite husband comes home with an armful of your favorite flowers on Friday afternoon:

Or when you're looking at this at five o'clock:

A happy Friday margarita toast. Cheers to that, man.

Delicious dinner. Oh, grilling season, how I love thee:


Grilled Whole Chicken with Cilantro Jalapeno Vinaigrette and Avocado

Saturday morning was sleeping in and bagels for breakfast. Followed by pie prep:

Which resulted in a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Pie:

I may or may not have already eaten half of this pie.

Then there was a lot of planting and tilling and weeding (and weeding and weeding...) and mowing. There is no question that this is my very favorite time of year. Or that Hugh is my very favorite person. When I mentioned that I would rather spend sixty dollars on plants than renting a tiller for a couple of hours, he decided he'd just till the beds himself. By hand. With a shovel and a pitchfork. That guy...

In the meantime, Henry Parker lounged around doing what he does best - looking beautiful:

I mean, are you kidding me with that cuteness?

And, not to be outdone, Fletcher's pretty cute too:

Please ignore the height of our grass/weeds. My yard boy has been busy being a med student these days. And, he mowed on Saturday afternoon.

More grilling out on Saturday night. And more margaritas. Which resulted in the need for this deliciousness on Sunday morning:

We spent Sunday playing outside until it started raining. At this point, my day really took a turn for the worst. Here's the thing, I don't do scary movies. The last scary movie I watched was Saw. The first one. In 2004. I really don't like to be scared. And I tend to be of the over-active imagination type, so it's just best for everyone if I avoid planting anymore scary ideas in my mind for ways I will be killed when Hugh is not here.

You can imagine why I thought it was weird when I opened our two new Netflix on Friday and saw discs one and two of The Walking Dead. In case you are not familiar, this is an AMC show about zombies. Zombies and the people who are still alive and trying to avoid being eaten by the zombies. I'm sure you are thinking this show sounds very stupid. My thoughts exactly.

So on Sunday afternoon, as it was raining away, I was sitting on the couch reading about container gardening when Hugh mentioned he was going to watch a couple of episodes of this new show. I demanded the ipod so I could tune the show out. Loaded up with some podcasts, my book, and a stack of new magazines, I was ready to ignore what was happening on the tv (which was, by the way, a lot of zombies trying to eat the remaining survivors).

But, here's the thing, I kept glancing up to see what was going on. And then I started turning the ipod down so I could hear. And then approximately nine minutes in, I was hooked. Hooked on a tv show about zombies. Hugh and I watched six episodes in a row, shocking both of us.

What was not shocking was the fact that I couldn't fall asleep last night. Or that when I took Fletcher out this morning, every noise in the backyard had me jumping two feet in the air and frantically checking over my shoulder for a walking dead person. Lovely. No more zombie tv for me. Even if it is really good. But don't tell anyone I said so...

How was your weekend, friends? Did you cook anything delicious? Play outside? Almost get converted into a zombie?

Post Script: Oh, and I forgot to mention, our resident brainiac aced his test. Like ten points over the class average aced. If you need Hugh, he'll just be busy being awesome.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Weekend In Photos (and Also, Words).

This is what my White Hot weekend looked like:

Friday evening started off like all good Friday evenings should, with happy hour.

Manhattan-making for my favorite husband.

I have been thinking about mussels lately, and how I have never cooked them before. And how I really love them, so I should probably make some in my own kitchen. So, on Friday afternoon, I decided we were having mussels for dinner, or, more specifically, Moules a la Mariniere. Served with the recommended Baked Pommes Frites (plus a baguette and homemade aioli). I felt fairly confident before I even started cooking, because Smitten Kitchen has never let me down before. And then we sat down to eat.

Oh. My. Goodness. Sakes. Alive.

Please, just make this right away. And, if you have the sad misfortune of not being a seafood eater, at least make the fries (included in mussels recipe link). They were a revelation. And I've made a lot of fries.

The carnage.

Saturday morning was spent admiring my beauties:

And making Breakfast Buttercups. This was a delicious and easy breakfast recipe. And, so cute (in both name and appearance), too. We decided they'd be great for weekend visitors. So, future weekend visitors, get excited.

After breakfast, Fletcher and I went on a dog walk date with our favorite walking buddies. At one point on the path, there was a clearing with access to the river and lots of dogs running around off-leash. Being the incredibly over-protective and paranoid dog momma I am, I never let Fletcher off-leash anywhere but in the yard. Like, I have only done it twice, never.

But for some reason I was feeling brave on Saturday. After making my friend promise she would scour the woods until we found him if he did run away, I unhooked his leash. Fletcher took off like a shot after his dog friend, Charlie, who was splashing away in the water.

Our sweet Boxer boy is not known for his swimming prowess and has never gotten in the water on his own freewill. So, imagine my surprise when, instead of screeching to a stop at the bank, Fletcher leapt and belly-flopped right into the river and started swimming around. I was completely shocked. And proud. And sad that Hugh missed it. I didn't even care that I had to ride home with a dirty river dog.

If only I had had my camera. I know, right? All that talking and not even one photo of the super-swimmer. I'm still sad about it.

Anyway, the rest of Saturday was much less eventful, but equally lovely.



Sunday was more gardening and yard-work and, mainly, cooking and eating. It's a miracle we both don't weigh three hundred pounds. A miracle of genetics. And shame from the gym.

You could call this photo: Hugh Finally Finishes Studying for the Weekend at 6pm on Sunday Night and All Rejoice. Also, so good at sharing. Also, this is probably why Fletcher only has three canines. Also, Hugh had to shave his beard off for a respirator-fitting. We are all sad about it. Grow, Hugh's facial hair, grow!

Celebrating DST with grilled burgers. And more of the delicious aforementioned fries.

And then, in a blink (or in what may seem like one million hours if you actually read this whole post), it was Monday.

How was your weekend, friends? Did your dog do something that made you smile all day long?

Friday, March 11, 2011

What We're Doing. And Eating.

Hi! I'm back again, for the fourth time this week. I know, I can't believe it either. Are you so excited it's almost the weekend?!

I am. I bet you are predicting that I'm about to tell you about the weather forecast. I just can't help it. has a hold on me. Also, 70 degrees and sunny? Well, okay!

Hugh is studying all weekend, but don't feel sad for me.'s time to start this year's garden! This is my second year growing things on my patio, and I have some big plans. The real fun starts when my Mom gets here in April, but I'm doing some prep work this weekend like starting my seeds and organizing my one million pots. So I'll be spending the daylight hours at Home Depot or working in the yard. And, woo hoo daylight savings time.

Also, I hope to be cooking some delicious food. Right now I'm thinking more homemade bread, pizza, mussels and frites, carrot cake muffins, and pork meatball bahn mi. The sky is always the limit on Friday morning.

This is what the White Hot household has been eating lately:

Slow-Cooker White Bean Soup with Andouille and Collards - A new one for us and I have to say, we loved it. My crockpot wasn't big enough to hold the collards (I think mine is smaller than the typical crockpot), so when it came time to add the collards I just dumped everything in a Dutch oven. This was really easy and really good. Real simple, if you will. Ha ha ha.

Vegetarian Moussaka - This was good. But I don't think it was good enough to justify all the prep time. Also, apparently eggplant country experienced a freeze recently, so I spent $14 on eggplant. Definitely not $14 worth of eggplant good. Although, I'm not sure what is.

Barbecue Chicken Sliders - Loved that these were easy. And tasty. And healthy. This was a great make-at-home bbq sauce. We served these with coleslaw and roasted sweet potato fries.

Bagel Melts - Always a crowd-pleaser. My parents approved.

Chicken Tamale Casserole - Another new recipe for the White Hot family. This one is a keeper. To up the nutritional value I added a can of black beans, along with a chopped and sauteed green bell pepper and yellow onion, plus three cloves of minced garlic. Also, I think you could add two cans of beans and leave the chicken out all together for a veg version.

Greek Nachos - I've already told you how delicious these are. If you aren't already making them, I am seriously questioning your judgment. Heed my advice: Make them now.

Feta Sauce - I'm not going to lie, last night Hugh had a dinner meeting and, despite my plans to cook dinner anyway, 6pm found me standing in the kitchen dipping toasted pita into the leftover Greek Nacho sauce. I may or may not have eaten three pitas. Woopsie.

Now I'm off to the gym again. For the second time in the last forty-eight hours. Clearly their guilt trip is working.

Cheers to happy eating and lots of Spring-time weather. See you Monday, friends.

Post script: I don't want to leave you without a photo, because that would be the third time in a row. I bet you are probably getting sad you haven't seen my dog child lately. Well, twist my arm why don't you? It's hard being the world's most spoiled canine, Exhibit A:

And, just to brag a little bit, our big fat Fletcher weight 50.3lbs as of yesterday afternoon! Which means he has gained back more than ten of the seventeen pounds he lost. Grow Fletcher, grow!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

It's my favorite day of the week, internet friends! I love Friday and Saturday as much as the next girl, but I really love Thursday because I'm home from Savannah. I get to wake up in my own bed by my husband (or, even better, my husband, Fletcher, and Henry Parker all piling in the bed at my requested wake-up time!), drink my Hugh-brewed coffee, and be back to my happy home-life routine.

Seriously, as much as I pout about being out of town every week, the reunion part sure is lovely. It never gets old pulling in the driveway on Wednesday night and seeing Fletcher sitting at the door. As soon as he sees my headlights, he jumps up and starts leaping in circles and wagging his whole body.

And now, let's talk about what I love this Thursday (and every day, really) - magazines!

I do not think there is anything better than a stack of new, unread magazines just waiting to be cracked open. I currently subscribe to ten magazines. Hugh loves magazines too, with five current subscriptions. Anyway, these are my favorites:

Bon Appetit - I love this one. The recipes, the columns, the must-have tools, the restaurant recommendations, the food photos - it's just a treat. I love the Fast, Easy, Fresh section and Molly Wizenburg's column especially.

House Beautiful - When this one comes in the mail, you can find me in a bubble bath with a glass of wine savoring every gorgeous page.

Real Simple - I have been subscribing to this magazine since I was in college. It has a little bit of everything: recipes, decorating, health, organizing, beauty. I love the tagline, "Life made easier, every day." Yes, please.

Cooking Light - I have been reading Cooking Light since I was in high school. Come for the healthy, stay for the delicious.

With many of everyone's printed favorites going under in the last three years (A big fat tear for Domino. And Gourmet. And Cottage Living. Stupid recession.), I think it's so important to buy the ones that are still around. Whenever a new magazine debuts, I subscribe if it seems even remotely like something I'll enjoy. You know, support the arts and all*.

So, that's what I love today. What about you? Any glossy reads you can't live without? Did I miss any good ones?

* I kid, I kid. Hugh wanted me to add this disclaimer, lest you all think I'm kind of an idiot. I told him no one would think that. Yet, here I am, disclaiming...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Because, Apparently My Inner-Guilt Isn't Enough?

An email I received from the gym this morning, after a one two three week little break:


Leading a healthy lifestyle and reaping the countless benefits is not a short-term project, but rather a way of life. We look forward to being part of your routine.

Thought for the Day
"One man had enthusiasm for 30 minutes, another for 30 days, but it is the man who has it for 30 years who makes a success of his life."
– Edward B. Butler

Seriously?! I want to email back that I broke my leg or something. You know, to make them feel bad for making me feel bad.

But really, I'm just mad because they're right. Shoot.

I guess I know where I'll be at 7:30am tomorrow...

Monday, March 7, 2011

TGI Oh No, Wait. It's Monday.

Oh, friends. What did you do this weekend?

Despite the fact that it was raining and cloudy all weekend in GA, the White Hot family had a great two days off. Because my favorite parents came to see us. What is it about seeing your parents that just makes everything right with the world?

We were spoiled. Grandpets were very spoiled. Hugh and James went on a little adventure on Saturday, which involved a livestock auction and a gypsy community. Meanwhile, Mom and I went on an extended lunchdate, which involved a lot of chatting and telling the waitress we needed just a few more minutes before we ordered. For two hours. James and Hugh also did some around-the-house projects, like pulling up stumps in the yard using a chain and our Jeep*.

And, even though I love to spoil our guests with delicious food, the only thing I have cooked since Thursday night is bagels. They insisted that we go out for our meals (um, okay!) and you know what? It was really, really nice to have a little break from planning and cooking.

So, I guess that's what makes everything right: the perfect forty-eight hours of relaxing and talking and Hugh and James doing projects. I just love my family.

Also, my Mom brought Fletcher a stack of new bandannas. And then we thought it would be funny to put one on Henry and see how long he would wear it. Um, we finally took it off before bed last night. So, at least twelve hours. Is there anything cuter than a cat in a bandanna? You tell me:

Thanks for the lovely visit, parents. I pouted all day long after you left.

*Did I mention that Hugh loves it when James comes to town? He's now strategizing about what other trees he can remove from our yard. Oh, Hugh.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Bagel Melt

Today's recipe is less of a recipe and more of a how-to. Remember in elementary school when you had to write out the instructions for how to make a sandwich? And you kept thinking, who doesn't know how to make a sandwich? This is like that. Just in case you don't know how to make this deliciousness.

I have been eating these since college. I introduced Hugh to them when we moved to Savannah to start living in sin. When Hugh was a bartender, we would each eat one (okay two) of these late at night when he got home, while I sat on the counter in the kitchen and he sat on our in-kitchen washing machine and we chatted about our evenings. I loved those days. I also loved those bagel melts. After Hugh stopped bartending and became a teacher, these became more of a breakfast staple. Mostly because we stopped staying up until 2am every night.

Before we left Savannah, we discovered a deli that made the best bagels in the city, taking this meal to a whole new level. Unfortunately, we no longer have access to that deli, so now Publix bakery bagels have to do. If you have access to really good deli bagels, lucky you. But if you don't, don't worry, these are still wonderful with a grocery store bakery bagel. Especially if you've had one too many of these the night before. I dare say the Bagel Melt could challenge the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich for its curative properties.

Bagel Melts
A White Hot Original
serves 2

2 bagels, halved and lightly toasted (The higher quality the bagel, the better this meal will taste. You can use any savory bagel that you like. The everything bagel is really good in this preparation.)
4 tablespoons cream cheese
1 large tomato, sliced (we go for the "Ugly Ripe" tomatoes when tomatoes are not in season)
Freshly-cracked pepper
4 slices sharp provolone
1 avocado, halved, pitted, sliced, and sprinkled with salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese on each bagel half. Top each bagel half equally with tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each bagel half with one slice of provolone.

Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and just barely golden.

Let cool for 5 - 7 minutes (This is key, because those tomato slices will be like napalm when you take the bagels out of the oven; trust me, this is experience talking.).

Serve each bagel with one sliced avocado half.

Eat it up. Then be sad that you didn't buy two more bagels at the grocery so you could do it all over again.