ATL Getaway!

You know those rainy days where you feel like being a bum (i.e., yesterday…)?? Those are the perfect days for a day trip! We made our way to Atlanta today to see friends and be tourist-y in the big city.

The Atlanta Streetcar just opened last Tuesday, so we wanted to see what it was all about. The vision of the Streetcar is to connect Atlanta unconnected neighborhoods, a bold yet necessary endeavor to unite the city. For now, it’s only circulating 2.7 miles, but you better believe we rode the whole darn route! It was cool to see that travels to Centennial Olympic Park may already be more convenient. I can’t wait to see future phases linking the BeltLine! Atlanta is getting cooler and cooler. Oh… and for the first 3 months, it’s FREE!

Streetcar Selfie

And yes, we took selfies on the Streetcar…

Following our fun ride, we made our stop at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market (one of the stops along the Streetcar’s route). Lets talk. about. some. FOOD!!! Oh my gosh. If we lived in the city, I would beg to go to the Curb Market not only for all produce and meats, but for every stinking meal. There’s Sweet Auburn’s BBQ, Venezuelan food from Arepa Mia, amazing jerk chicken from AfroDish Restaurant, Bell Street Burritos, and so much more. Will & I grabbed coffee from the Sweet Auburn Bakery… divine. And then Mary bought our group a whole sweet potato pie… That girl…

Sweet Auburn Curb Market

It was an A+ day in the A. (See what I did there?) I just adore exploring cities and getting to know their unique characters. Until next time, Atlanta!

#87 – Give a 100% tip to a waiter/waitress that really deserves it.

Tonight my teacher friends and I did a really cool thing. We did a progressive dinner around local restaurants… Talk about fun 🙂 We all wanted to see Macon’s finest downtown dining spots, so we came up with a game plan, set aside a night to embark on our adventure, and then ate to our hearts’ content.

We started at Barefoot Tavern and had appetizers. Jumbo soft pretzels, hummus, cheesy waffle fries, and hot wings… Nom nom nom.

Then we went to The Rookery for our main course. Burgers on burgers on burgers. And boy was it delicious as ever!

Finally, we ended the night at Taste and See Coffee Shop with cheesecake and lattes. So divine!

But with all the hopping around, I felt particularly inclined to bless the wait staff that helped us through our journey. We were a large group ordering not a ton of food because we split most of the dishes we ordered, so I told some of the gals at the table what I was planning to do, and several of them joined in by doing the same! When we explained to our wait staff that we were doing a progressive dinner of downtown restaurants, they were excited and even thanked us for including them in our itinerary. Since they were SO gracious, we decided to thank our kind waitresses with 100% tips!

I hope that they were excited to see that we appreciated them for all their work this evening! It was definitely the least we could do since they allowed us to have such a unique dining experience through downtown!

Plus, it was super fun to feel like a Secret Santa so close to Christmas 🙂

Soup Season: Spicy Taco Soup

Ya’ll… It’s 50 degrees and therefore I’m in a parka… Brrrrr!

So it just makes sense to make a big batch of soup in the CrockPot. This time… Spicy Taco Soup (my ultimate fave soup everrrrrrr)!

Taco Soup

Spicy Taco Soup

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of meat (ground turkey or beef)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with Habeneros
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 packet of ranch dressing mix
  • Shredded cheese
  • Fritos
  • Avocado (optional but highly recommended)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  1. Open cans.
  2. Dump them in the CrockPot (along with the seasoning packets). DO NOT DRAIN ANY OF THE CANS BEFORE DUMPING! I promise… You want all those juices to form your delicious soup!
  3. Brown the meat.
  4. Dump it in the CrockPot.
  5. Cook on HIGH for about 3 hours or until warm all the way through.
  6. Serve HOT with sliced avocado, cheese, and Fritos on top. Mmmmmm. 🙂

Ta-da! This is THE BEST recipe to start in the morning and come home to in the afternoon piping hot and ready for you to eat. And it is so easy. That’s my main criteria for recipes if you haven’t noticed.

Also, I’d love to hear about your taco soup variations!! The best thing about this recipe is that I tweak it a little every time to make it slightly different than before! What will you do with your taco soup??

Homestyle Sweet Potatoes: Sugary OR Savory?

More sweet potatoes = More sweet potato recipes!

I initially wanted to make some sweet potato tater tots, but my food processor is packed in a box somewhere. Loft life… Soooo I opted to make homestyle fries (basically cubed hashbrowns)! YUM!

The only problem… Will wanted sweet brown cinnamon sugar fries, and I wanted salty parmesan cheese fries. Solution? Make both!

Sweet potatoes

Here’s what you need:

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • For the sweet version: 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • For the salty version: 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, pinch of salt

Easy-peasy. I actually made a half batch of each 🙂

Sweet potatoes on baking sheet

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Let the sweet potatoes boil in water for about 5 minutes or until soft on the inside. I poked holes with a fork all over the potatoes… It helps the water steam them more quickly!
  2. Remove the soft potatoes from the water. Cut the potatoes in half and use a fork to remove the skin from them. I promise it’ll come off really smoothly with a fork!
  3. Chop, chop, chop! Cube up the potatoes as small as you can.
  4. Add your “seasonings”, whether sweet or salty.
  5. Take a teaspoon and scoop your seasoned potatoes onto a well-oiled baking sheet. I did this to spread them apart and make sure that they all cooked evenly.
  6. 10 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees, and you’re done!

Sugary Sweet Potato Homestyle Fries  Savory Sweet Potato Homestyle Fries

Yum yum! Will loved his sweet homestyle fries, and I favored my cheesy ones! Enjoy them both, and tell us your favorite! Also, let me know if you try a different seasoning! The possibilities are endless 🙂

30-minute Baked Sweet Potato Fries

This week my father-in-love got two 40 lb. boxes of sweet potatoes from a nearby farm. That’s 80 pounds of potatoes. That’s a lot of potatoes!!

So naturally we brought some home, and I’ll be experimenting with sweet potato recipes all week!

First up: 30-minute BAKED Sweet Potato Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

What you’ll need:

  • 2 or 3 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of flour (or cornstarch)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

What you’ll do:

  1. Slice up your sweet potatoes nice and thin.
  2. Let the sliced potatoes soak in water for about 10-15 minutes to soften.
  3. Drain the water and add your flour. Shake to lightly coat all of your fries with the flour.
  4. On a well-oiled baking sheet, lay all of your fries out flat. Be sure they don’t touch (unless you want one big blob!)
  5. Make a mixture of the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the mixture onto the fries.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove your fries from the oven, flip them, sprinkle the other half of the cinnamon sugar mixture (along with some more oil if they’re looking dry) on your fries.
  8. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes.

Ta-da! The result will be crispy-on-the-outside yet soft-on-the-inside sweet potato fries!! They were delicious! I think I found my new quick and easy side dish!