2I don’t know if it’s the time shift, or the fact that I often fall asleep on the couch at 8 PM – but I find myself getting up before the sun these past couple months. Have been trying to be a little bit more productive with it. Getting up for a walk or run, snapping a few pictures of the sunrise along the way.

I thought that sharing my favorite photos I’ve snapped in the past month, along with a short blurb about what’s going on would be fun. I’m very fortunate to call such a magical place home, and I thought you guy might enjoy a little taste of that! So, we’ll see how it goes.

1Whiskey sours. This is a funny story! So, last summer I went to this fun blogger event sponsored by  the folks at Maryland Tourism. Local breweries and distillers were on site schmoozing with a variety  of local area bloggers. I got chatting with the folks at Louthan Distilling, who are out of Baltimore – but use grains harvested from the Eastern Shore. I mentioned that I lived on Chincoteague…would you believe the father of the distiller (who is the co-owner) literally have a vacation home one door down from me here on the island? It never ceases to amaze me how small of a world this is!

Naturally – we’ve become great friends. Len & Nancy have been over a couple of times for dinner, and drinks on the porch are quickly becoming a favorite pastime when they’re in town (who am I kidding, that’s always a favorite pastime around here!). The whiskey is phenomenal, wonderful to drink over a bit of ice or to use as a cocktail crafting agent. Santa brought the husband a nice collection of assorted bitters this year, so we’ve been fun experimenting with those!

3My morning walks I mentioned have been getting me a little more off the beaten path lately – which really says something for a girl who’s always got marsh mud stuck between her toes. Often, literally. I love to find a new perspective on things that I view on a daily basis!

4 Or, sometimes I’ll find myself more on the beaten path. Literally. For instance, this boat that’s on the side of the causeway (the long stretch of road over the marsh coming from the mainland to the island). I’ve driven by it a million times, always framing a shot in my mind – but never stopped to take the picture. Finally got around to it a couple weeks ago, and I love it. I need to get out there with my big girl camera soon and take some real photos!

5 Whenever we get a chance we love to take a drive up to the Dogfish Head Brewpub on a weekend for lunch.  It’s still the “off-season”, so they’re not quite as busy as they are in the summer months. The food and beer are always wonderful, and they’re very family friendly – which is a major plus with our crew!

Whenever we go, we always have to try a sampler of their brewpub exclusives – which are brewed in small batches right there at the brewpub. It’s always fun to see some of those brewpub exclusives materialize into beers that they then decide to bottle and distribute!

6 Speaking of good beer…guess who had a recipe in American Homebrewers Association’s Zymurgy this month? This girl! As a homebrewer and avid craft beer lover, this was a huge honor for me. And, if you haven’t made the Beer-Candied Bacon yet…stop reading this and go make it. Like, right now. We’ll wait.

7If you know me in my private life or through my Instagram feed – you’ll know that I’m obsessed with beachcombing – primarily for sea glass. While most of what I find is tumbled glass, which is beautiful – my favorite finds are pieces of pottery that have been broken and worn by the tumbling surf. I love finding something with a pattern or marking, and then tracing it back to what it was in the former life.

Most of  pieces I find are from the 1920’s – 1950’s. I drive about 30 minutes to the Chesapeake Bay side of the Eastern Shore, as I never have much luck here on the ocean side. You never know what the tide will bring in from day to day! On this particular morning I found quite a few blue & white pieces.

8This year during the off-season months our little movie theater has been showing classic films on Friday nights for $5. A couple of weeks ago it was Gone With The Wind. I saw it on the big screen back in 1999 for the 60th anniversary, but couldn’t resist seeing it again.

My girlfriend and I went (I may or may have not smuggled in a little bottle of rum to add to our Cokes) and had a great time. The perfect way to spend a small town Friday night!

9Spring has sprung and these little guys are hatching and crawling all over the island. They’re Diamondback Terrapins – once endangered due to over fishing (they’ll eat anything around here, guys!), and now facing daily dangers of getting caught in crab pots. I try to keep my eyes peeled for them on the road and avoid them when I can. I brake for turtles, y’all!

10The arrival of spring also means that all my favorite spots are opening back up! Sea Star Cafe opened a few weeks ago – my favorite spot for lunch. Always fresh and amazing! Ray’s Shanty – for all my seafood needs (heading there today – shrimp & grits on the menu tonight!). Poseiden’s Pantry – my go-to spot for specialty ingredients and craft beer. And, Saigon Village – a phenomenal little hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place right up the street. If you’re ever visiting Chincoteague, I highly recommend all of them!

broccolislaw

Have you guys hopped on board the spiralizer bandwagon yet? I hadn’t, but have wanted to for quite some time. So when OXO reached out to me to give their new Countertop Spiralizer model a try, I was happy to oblige.

I opted for the the standard zucchini noodle to get my “feet wet”, and then quickly found myself spiralizing everything I could get my hands on. It’s so much fun to use! Couldn’t be any easier to clean or store, and has three different blades for a plethora of slicing needs. spiralizer

Like curly fries! I’m trying to think on the healthy side – but it’s hard to deny the fact that for me this is groundbreaking. Curly fries. Sprinkled with Old Bay. From the comfort of my own home. Ya heard?

Of all the things I passed through this little gadget last week, I think I had the most fun with broccoli stems. I always felt so bad tossing them in the trash on the regular, so believe me when I say it felt so good to make this delicious, crunchy, and tangy slaw with those big green stalks!

What a great way to stretch a buck, and good for you to boot! I mixed with some shredded green and red cabbage, as well as some shredded carrot for a little additional crunch and pop of color. Would be the perfect addition to any potluck party table.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at OXO. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Garlic Herb Salt

Back at Christmas time I bought an insane amount of pre-peeled garlic due to poor grocery shopping planning, and needed something to do with it. I’d remembered a recipe they’d talked about on The Splendid Table a while back for homemade seasoned salt using fresh garlic, and decided that since I had a plethora of the stuff that I needed something to do with…this was the perfect opportunity to try out said recipe.

You guys, it’s been pretty much the only seasoning I’ve used since then – save chili powder and cumin. Not a meal goes by that I don’t find myself dipping into the stuff. I keep a mason jar curing of it at all times, just because it’s so perfect to use on everything – any protein under the sun, to any vegetable or starch you can throw at it! It really heightens the flavor of whatever it is you use it on, without overwhelming it…which many store-bought seasoning blends tend to do!

I roasted the garlic first – to intensify and deepen the flavors. Then, toss it into bunch of salt along with some freshly chopped herbs. Any mix of your favorite will do – I’ve been using rosemary and thyme recently, just because it’s been pretty readily available during the cold months.

However now that it’s warming up and I’m starting to think about my herb garden – I’m looking forward to experimenting with different blends of herbs this season. I also think that bit of citrus zest would also be a welcome addition to the party! Or maybe a smidge of lavender for an Herbes de Provance twist? Have fun with it, you can’t mess this one up!

Source: adapted from The Splendid Table

Salisbury Steak Meatballs
I’m such a sucker for any form of comfort food. I’ve been feeling a little gypped this winter, as it’s been unseasonably warm for most of the season. But, I haven’t let it stop me from enjoying a few of my favorites.

One dish I loved growing up was noodles and gravy. It was so easy, so filling, so comforting. Growing up, I stayed with an elderly couple before and after school in the afternoons until my parents got off work. It was something they’d often make for a quick meal, and I remember them always using No Yolks® noodles.

So when the brand reached out to me about creating a comfort food recipe to share with my readers using their noodles – my mind immediately flashed back to that childhood favorite. But, I wanted to elevate it a little bit to create a more grown-up version…

Salisbury steak has always been a favorite in our home, so that flavor combination rolled up into a delectable meatball, and served over a bed of perfectly cooked and firm egg noodles? It’s absolute heaven. The beefy flavor from the mushrooms and the savory flavor of the sautéed onions is perfection. And, the meatballs stay incredibly moist simmering in the sauce. It’s everything I loved and remembered about the meal in my childhood, only incredibly better!

A key component of the dish that shouldn’t be overlooked is a good, quality noodle. No Yolks has always been the gold standard in my kitchen.  They always retain their firm texture and shape, even in something like a soup. That is something that’s hard to come by in an egg noodle! Not to mention the fact that they are low in fat and have zero cholesterol.  What more could a girl ask for?

For more comforting recipes using noodles, visit No Yolks® for some delicious ideas.

What was one of your favorite comfort foods growing up? Leave a comment with the answer to win a $100 Visa gift card!

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