I’m back!

We actually got back Sunday night, but I’ve been kind of shell-shocked. And now I have lots of pictures and a dysfunctional space bar, so we’ll see how this goes.

(FYI: it is really long, so be warned)

My awesome parents took me grocery shopping at two of my favorite stores – Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter. We don’t have either out here, and it was kind of bittersweet to be filling up the cart and knowing that I couldn’t take it with me. I really wish Greek yogurt and chicken sausages traveled better.

Anyway, my sister and loyal blog reader requested that I share my culinary magic with her family, and, luckily, she lives just a mile or so away from my parents, so I was able to oblige.

Trader Joe’s Meal #1:

Whole wheat couscous and a rosemary chicken/white bean/stewed tomato dish. I make white beans and stewed tomatoes with pasta, I don’t know why I never thought about chicken. It was good. Even my nieces ate it. I was really proud of my older niece for trying the tomatoes, as she’s a slightly picky eater. My younger niece wasn’t a big fan of the couscous. She said, “I don’t think I like this rice.”

Trader Joe’s Meal #2

Speaking of nieces, my older one made a special request for baked ziti, so I made this baked pasta dish with whole wheat penne, marinara, TJ’s quattro formaggio mix, and some roasted garlic chicken sausage. I ate a little to make sure it was okay, but it was really for my family.

I had the pasta with some roasted vegetables, and chicken sausage. With cheese.

And then, my crowning glory, Trader Joe’s Meal #3:

I didn’t actually cook this. Matt’s train was late coming in, and I was starving while waiting for it, so I coached my mom through the process via cell phone. This was a delicious pizza with TJ’s whole wheat dough, pizza sauce, some sweet apple chicken sausage, peppers, and lots of cheese. Mmmm. I ate about 1/4 of this. We had leftovers for lunch the next day. Oh, also, some sauteed vegetables on the side. I bought a bunch of vegetables and had to use them. My parents aren’t big vegetable people.

Man. I love chicken sausage. I wish I could find it here.

Other than this, I spent the week at my parents’ house eating lots of baked goods and chocolate things. My mom is an enabler. She keeps this JUST OUT in the kitchen:

Yeah, I probably ate all that.

Also, some delicious coconut bars:

And a bunch of Trader Joe’s Trekking the Himalayas, eaten in little bits like so:

That used to be my special cup. It’s like a goblet. Anyway, see those red things? Those are Goji Berries. They do not taste good. But they are some kind of super antioxidant. So I figure that basically makes up for all the cake I ate. Right?

Also, pretzel slims and almond butter:

And smoothies, and Greek yogurt, and white bean hummus, and soy and flaxseed chips. And brownies. And chocolate chip bars. And so. much. cake.

My parents took Matt and me and my sister’s family out on Friday night to a fancy new restaurant in their town, where I had a caprese salad, almond trout with rice pilaf, and some peach/strawberry/rhubarb cobbler.

We had our final party on Saturday, the day before we left. It was so great to see people I usually only see at Christmas. In honor of us, my Grandmother made a round of turkey burgers in addition to ground beef burgers. They were really good. We also had fruit salad, pasta salad, baked beans, and more. I forgot to take a picture.

I really should’ve taken a picture of the cake, though. Since it was a wedding celebration, a cake was a given, and I requested a coconut cake. My awesome grandmother obliged… by making FOUR of her awesome coconut cakes! Seriously. We took one back to my parents’ and I spent a lot of the evening trying to figure out if it was physically possible for me to house the whole thing before we left Sunday morning. It wasn’t. But I had a lot. Mom, is there any left? You should take a picture.

Sunday, we headed back up to Raleigh to meet my in-laws for brunch before we flew out. We had a great meal at Porter’s. I think Debbie took some pictures, but there have probably been enough pictures in this post.

Wow, this has been so long.

Okay, here are our three dinners since we returned.

Post-travel ravioli with brussels sprouts (on the monkey plate because I was so sad about leaving NC)

Last night’s spicy peanut chicken (so good):

I had all day off yesterday but was so busy running errands that we didn’t eat this until 9. Oh well. Live and learn.

And, finally, tonight’s pasta with zucchini/tomatoes/spinach/parmesan:

Okay, I’m cutting myself off. The space bar thing is driving me nuts. I’m also exhausted and confused about what day it is since I had the day off yesterday.


3 Responses to I’m back!

  1. glidingcalm says:

    your family was pretty lucky to have you cooking for them! the baked pasta and pizza look awesome!! and peanut chicken!? I want some!!

    Have a great day!

  2. arielle says:

    I’m glad you had fun! What’s this spicy peanut chicken recipe? Can I use the sauce with tofu or something?

  3. Jenny says:

    Hey ladies,

    Peanut chicken is here: http://tinyurl.com/6hm328

    Arielle, I think you could do this with tofu. Or really just plain over rice. The tomatoes go really well with the peanut butter somehow. It’s kind of magical.

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