Give Me Some Sugar

That’s what my Grandma always said when she wanted a kiss from one of us grandkids, “Give me some sugar.” Well, in this case, we’re going to be giving you some real sugar – and serious amounts of it. So who’s ready for some dessert from North Carolina?!

While Mike was at his conference in Charlotte, I treated myself to a relaxing day all for me. I went running, shopping, enjoyed a fantastic lunch al fresco and then had a mani/pedi. It was during my mani/pedi that I got a wealth of information about things to do and see in Charlotte. My salon rep was a fantastic conversationalist and an absolute joy to spend the afternoon with. She, in fact, reminded me of my Grandma.

The one thing that she strongly recommended was a visit to the Moravian settlement near Winston-Salem. She talked about the Moravian sugar cake and how absolutely delicious it was and practically a necessity for the holidays. You can imagine my blog wheels were instantly turning. Mike and I tried to configure our route home through the Winston-Salem area, but we didn’t quite make it that direction. And while we did manage to find some Moravian sugar cookies, no cakes… Continue reading


Today I have Carolina In My Mind. 

If you haven’t figured out by now, I listen to lots of music. I listen to music when I work, when I run or do yoga, in the car, on the train and when I just need to relax. It’s rubbed off on Miss A too. She sings constantly, and I do mean constantly. She sings everything from Adele to Ozzy Osbourne. I’m fairly certain she knows the words to more popular music than she does children songs (and she knows lots of those too).

Music for me defines certain moments in my life, represents different journeys and is often a direct extension of many of my inner most thoughts and feelings. Recently, Mike and I were able to venture on a little journey of our own. While the kids were off having a great time with Nana and Papa, Mike and I took a mid-week road trip to North Carolina.

Neither of us had ever stayed in the tar heel state before, and we were both looking forward to the drive and the destination. As we ambled our way around North Carolina we came across an area where we could access the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail is approximately 2,184 miles extending from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. It passes through 14 different states and has been on my list of things to do since I was 18. While not hiking the AT on this particular trip, just standing on it gave me quite a thrill.

Eventually Mike and I wound up in Asheville, North Carolina at the Tupelo Honey Cafe. One glance at the menu and we knew we picked the perfect spot. While nearly everything on the menu looked fantastic, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the Rosemary Peach Lemonade. Rosemary in lemonade? I knew I had to give it a try and after one sip, I was blown away. The flavors are intense – peaches, lemons and of course, rosemary which brought such a refreshing crispness to the perfect summer drink. It instantly got my wheels spinning…how could I make this at home? I mean now that I had experienced this drink I knew I couldn’t wait until our next trip to North Carolina, especially not knowing when that would be!

Fortunately, in scanning my Cooking Light issue for the month of June I came across a recipe for Peach Lemonade. I took this as a sign, so today we bring you our first recipe from North Carolina, a nod to the Tupelo Honey Cafe, Rosemary Peach Lemonade. We started by making a simple syrup infused with rosemary.  Continue reading

Let the Good Times Roll

It’s been a while since we featured a random recipe, so before we launch off to a new country and the next state in our rotation, we thought we’d share this gem of a salad. You see, we’ve been on something of a roll with goodness lately (Yep, I have a song for this one too.). In fact, the kids haven’t even complained about what’s on their plates in nearly two weeks.

While we will take some credit for a few of the recipes winning them over, several of you deserve the credit too. In the last two weeks we’ve enjoyed recipes from Raymund at Ang Sarap, Courtney at Misadventures in Cooking, Charles at Five Euro Food, Sawsan at Chef in Disguise, John at From the Bartolini Kitchens, and Mary at Inside a British Mum’s Kitchen.

I kid you not, the kids have eaten all of these meals, enjoyed them and asked for more. We even heard phrases like, “Can we eat this every night?” and “Mom, you’re the best cook in the world.” I’m really astounded at this latest turn of events, especially considering none of these have been dessert recipes. Now I have no doubt this streak will come to an end, but until then, we wanted to share this Southwest Farro Salad with you all.  Continue reading

All Stuffed Up

Stuffed up with goodness that is! Just you wait and see.

We’re back a bit early this week for two reasons. First and foremost to express our gratitude to Deborah over at Taste and Tell Blog for featuring Eat, Play, Love in this week’s Blogger Spotlight. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Deborah’s blog, it’s a wonderful and delicious little space in the blogosphere. Deborah is a blogging veteran, a pro. She creates simple and tasty recipes and shares them through an honest writing style and tantalizing photos. To say we were honored would be an understatement. Thank you Deborah!

Now for the second reason we’re posting today – Blueberry Stuffed French Toast. It’s our latest contender in the French Toast Tourney and if this doesn’t end up as one of the final four, well you can butter my buns and call me a biscuit. In other words, you may not want to wait for the winner next March. This one is a must try, at least in my book.  Continue reading

Buuz Cruuz

By Mike

I’ve been on one cruise in my life, to the Bahamas for my mom’s 50th birthday celebration, and it was indeed a booze cruise. My grandma announced at some point that “this is my second daiquiri, and I am looped!” And by “some point” I mean in the hour or so between the time we boarded and the time the ship left port.

Sadly, I’ll never take a cruise to Mongolia, as it’s landlocked in Central Asia, so our virtual cruise around the world will have to suffice. With that, we bring you Buuz, a Mongolian meat-filled dumpling typically comprised of ground mutton and very little seasoning. For our Buuz we went with ground beef and a touch of seasonings.  Continue reading

To Everything There is a Season

“A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep.”

Before we wrap up our cooking tour of Mongolia we thought we’d share our latest gardening adventure – a first here at Eat, Play, Love. Now, I have to be up-front, I am not a gardener. I do not have a green thumb and I typically kill (albeit unintentionally) the heartiest of plants. So this year I figured I’d get the kids in on the action. Miss A after all has been a big help in teaching me not to kill yeast and to actually get a bread to rise. I’m hoping some of her natural ability rubs off on me here as well.

Miss A and I began our project by planting some seeds for sage, rosemary and lavender.  Continue reading