Thursday Feature: Tim Vidra Locally Sourced Mother’s Day French Toast

Today’s guest post comes from Richmond food writer, Tim Vidra. Find recipes, tips, and ideas for simple dishes that will impress on his food blog, E.A.T., where he advocates the use of simple, seasonal and local ingredients.

There are not many days bigger than this Sunday May 13th* and if you haven’t yet made plans with mum for Sunday you can redeem yourself by inviting her over and creating this french toast made with love from local ingredients.*Don’t tell Dad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs (eggs used are from Sullivan Pond Farm)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Dash or two of ground nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of bread (bread used is from Norwood Cottage Bakery)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (homemade butter from 17 Apart)
  • Warm maple syrup (Virginia’s Finest)
  • Fresh strawberries for decoration and enjoying with the French toast (Berries from Agriberry)

Preparation:
Place a cookie sheet in the oven and warm to 200 degrees. Whisk together buttermilk, eggs, sugar, nutmeg or cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Pour into a large sheet pan, then add bread in 1 layer to give it a good soak, turning occasionally until bread has absorbed all liquid but isn’t falling apart (about 20 minutes).

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat until it foams and then calms on down. Add bread slices to skillet and cook (I went with 4 at a time), turning once, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes total. Transfer slices to a baking pan and keep warm in oven. Cook remaining bread in batches, adding 1 1/2 tablespoon butter between each.


Once finished, remove from the oven and plate on one large dish or individual dishes — dusting with powder sugar, oh yes. Pass the warm syrup for your guests to enjoy.
Then to turn and thank your mom for all she has done for you and let her know how much you enjoy having her in your life.
Happy mother’s day to my mom and all the mom’s out there. We certainly could not have not have done it without you!

As always, E.A.T. Local & E.A.T. Well! 

Tim Vidra @ timvidraeats.com

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Monday Feature: Hippie Itch

Hi all! I’m Adrienne, the blogger over at Hippie Itch.

Ever had an itch that you’ve just GOT to scratch? I have it all the time in the form of a desire to help others and grow as a person. I write about healthy habits, volunteering, ‘green’ projects, my dogs (a lot) and some other stuff too.

I did some major traveling recently (to Australia!) so I thought I’d write about some healthy habits I attempted to incorporate into our trip.

My husband, Al and I usually use traveling as an excuse to buy treats but this time I wanted us to be ready and raring to go after a day and a half crossing the globe. We needed to eat healthy. If we had eaten poorly, we would have be even more tired and uncomfortable. I didn’t want to spend a day or two recovery from travel.

I prepared.

I packed some tangerines, trail mix and a couple different healthy yet sweet bars. I bought the bars to substitute for the candy we’d normally eat. I got Archer Farms Fruit Bars, TLC Layered Granola Bars, Luna Bars, and some protein bars for Al. Delicious yet healthy!

With those bars in my belly, I had enough sense to take my time at the airports to scope out the healthier food options. Previously if I hadn’t eaten enough on the plane, I run straight to something unhealthy just because I was starving! Eating healthy snacks was such an easy fix.

This time I found a sushi bar and got the vegetable roll. I also ate two tangerines. I was so proud of myself, you don’t even know! No soda, no candy, just good food.

I also bought a latte for some protein and much needed caffeine.

On the plane I read some healthy eating inspiration. I think it helped me stay on track!

And last but not least. I drank water and lots of it. Normally I wouldn’t drink much while traveling because I didn’t want to have to go to the bathroom often and interrupt the person next to me. This time I was up every two hours, disturbing the guy in the aisle seat. I’m sure he wasn’t too happy with me but my body was!

After all that traveling, besides being tired, I really didn’t feel that bad! We got in to Brisbane at 7:00am and went all day until we CRASHED at 9:30pm. By that time I was slapping myself to stay awake but I only blame it on the jet lag.

If you’re going to take anything away from my little post here, I’d say drink water!! I’ve got proof because on the flight back I didn’t drink as much and therefore didn’t move much either. My muscles were tighter and my legs were more swollen. It was pretty uncomfortable.

All in all, it was a great trip and more proof that eating healthy is the way to go!

Thanks for listening. Please come visit me over at Hippie Itch and say hi! It’d make my day. :)

 

 

 

Thursday Feature: RVA Fashion Week @ Can Can

Today’s guest post is from “A Girl Named Leney”, a Richmond based fashion and lifestyle blogger. She has a fantastic sense of style, and her blog will definitely make you smile!
RVA Fashion Week is a week in Richmond where local designers, models and stylists come together to create a week full of shows and events to showcase local talent. While it’s not quite to the full scale of New York’s Fashion Week, it is still a week you don’t want to miss out on.
This was my first year attending and it was a lot of fun and really neat to see the variety of talent that Richmond holds.
I mean, we don’t have the number one art school in the nation for nothing. Am I right?
Unfortunately I missed the first show of RVA Fashion Week at Short Pump but I was able to make it to  the second one at Can Can!
It was packed and they put on a great show.
The clothing that was featured came from various Richmond stores and was put together so beautifully.
(My personal favorite is the neon orange blazer and the pink and blue dress…)
Here are a few photos of the event!
 ………………..
 Check out more photos here!
P.s. Did you see my bag?

Leney @ A Girl Named Leney

Monday Feature: Lauren @ Vegology

Today’s guest post comes from Richmond blogger, Lauren, who writes at Vegology! If you haven’t checked out her blog, make sure you stop by for a visit, because she has tons of awesome recipes! We’re pretty sure her delicious strawberry snacks are going to be a summer staple!

Hello, I am Lauren from Vegology, and I am so happy to be a part of the Virginia is for Bloggers group. Vegology is a blog about trying new things, so my posts often serve as a travelog of my food adventures. Vegology started in my kitchen, where I researched and cooked with new-to-me ingredients, but it has traveled far beyond my tiny Richmond, VA kitchen in the almost two years since I wrote my first post. The search for new ingredients and cooking experiences can take you to some pretty fantastic places. Today, Vegology chronicles my adventures in cooking, dining, drinking, hiking, gardening and traveling.

While I have expanded the horizons of Vegology (and my own horizons as well), food has remained the focus of my blog. As a vegetarian of 4 years, I write about meatless food. One of my favorite things to do is take meat dishes and remake them as vegetarian friendly foods. I have posted several “Veggie Redux” recipes in the past, including Banh Mi, Bangers and Mash, Spicy Po’Boys, and Caldo Verde. So naturally I thought that my guest post for Virginia is for Bloggers should feature a brand new Southern Cooking Veggie Redux.

Virginia Bloggers, meet Vegetarian “Shrimp” and Grits.

Confession: I have never had real shrimp and grits. This veggie redux might taste nothing like the original. However, I can assure you that this spicy cauliflower “shrimp” and these creamy, cheesy yellow grits are a delightful combination. The cauliflower is tossed with Old Bay seasoning, olive oil, fresh garlic and lemon, and a touch of pepper, then it is roasted to spicy, crispy perfection. The yellow grits are simmered in light seasoning, then combined with a trio of dairy indulgences: cheese, butter and cream. A dash of hot sauce gives the grits enough edge to stand up to the feisty cauliflower. If you can’t already tell from this description, I’ll spell it out for you. This is a vegetarian remake, not a healthier or lighter remake. It’s a delicious treat with all of the comfort and none of the meat.

Fiancé tested and vegetarian approved, this dish is a winner. The recipe follows so you can recreate it at home, and if you do, drop me a line to let me know how it goes! You can check out my other adventures (and misadventures) at vegologyblog.com and @vegology on Twitter.

Vegetarian Cauliflower “Shrimp” and Grits

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup yellow grits
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more to taste
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Bring vegetable broth (or water) to a boil. Add yellow grits and cook until absorbed, 20-25 minutes.
  3. While grits are cooking, toss cauliflower with Old Bay, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and black pepper. Spread cauliflower mixture out on a baking sheet and roast 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
  4. When grits have absorbed the cooking liquid, turn heat down to low and add butter, cheese, and half and half. Remove from heat and add hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. When cauliflower is browned and crispy on the edges, remove from oven and toss with sliced green onions.
  6. Serve cauliflower over grits in shallow dishes. Add hot sauce as desired.

Lauren @ Vegology

Thursday Adventure: Frying Pan Farm Park

Today’s feature is brought to your by Sarah Rosemary, who blogs at Sunny Side Up, and lives in Northern VA with her husband, toddler, and coonhound. She recently learned how to cook, balances a career while holding together her family, loves a full to-do list, and dreams of writing her own book.  It’s a challenge, but she chooses to look at life, sunny side up.

My toddler is non-stop action.

Non-stop.

It’s enough to wear this mama out.

So I’m forever searching for someplace I can take her that 1) won’t cost anything (or only a couple dollars), 2) will allow her to run free without fear of breaking something, and 3) offers tons of entertainment.

That’s a tall order.  Usually I just give up and take her to our local park for the millionth time in the same week.  But even she’s getting bored of the same-old, same-old.

Last week I decided to switch it up and head over to Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, about 15 minutes from our house in Vienna.  I knew many of the farm animals just had babies, so I hoped we’d see a few piglets and maybe a calf or two.

Frying Pan Farm Park seeks to preserve the concept of a working farm between the years 1920 and 1950.  The farm offers cow milking demonstrations, tours, wagon rides, and many other hands-on educational opportunities for the elementary-age set.  While Kate and I were there, we saw bunches of local school groups learning about the farm and participating in potato sack races.

While the farm offers programming for older children, it also provides plenty of stuff for the younger kids.  Since the farm is set back from the road and fenced in, toddlers and preschoolers can run free, which, if you’re a toddler, is pretty much the best thing ever.

As soon as we pulled into the gravel parking lot and Kate saw the cows and sheep roaming about, I knew I hit toddler jackpot.  I got her out of the car and let her lead the way.

We started off in the cow pasture.  Kate loved running up and down the gravel road in between the pastures.  Every so often she’d stop and climb half way up the fence to chat with one of the cows.  If I’d let her she would have climbed on over the fence and tried to hug that cow, so mamas with climbers, beware.

After the cows, we stopped by a couple different pens to check out some ducks, a turkey, a peacock, and a bunch of chickens and roosters.  Kate wasn’t too sure about the turkey.  And, honestly, he kind of freaked me out, too.  But those chickens couldn’t have been more friendly.  Almost too friendly.  So friendly Kate kept asking if she could touch those chickens but I dissuaded her by suggesting we touch baby goats instead.

Oh, the baby goats.  Those things could not be any sweeter.  They were so docile and happy to have tons of little hands pet them.  I thought about stealing one away into my diaper bag.

But I think the piglets were Kate’s favorite.  There were two sets of piglets – one set born in early March and one set born in early April.  The youngest babies were a feisty bunch.  If I thought a single toddler was a lot of work, well, I felt bad for that mama pig.  The older set of babies seemed a little more well-behaved, so Kate got to give them a pat.

We ended the day with a ride on the carousel.  Last year Kate cried on every single carousel ride.  But this time she assured me she wanted to do it.  So for $1.75 I consented.

Amazingly, she loved it, although her face indicates otherwise.

While the farm is geared towards tots and school-aged children, it would be just as fun for adults and even the senior citizen crowd.  I mean, who doesn’t love baby animals?  Besides the sweet animals, it felt nice to get away from our usual park and the busyness of downtown Vienna and Tysons Corner and take in the country-like feel.

Our day at Frying Pan Park was the best day we had that week.  We both had such a blast, I’m considering a trip there each week this summer.  Better save up my quarters for the carousel.

Sarah Rosemary @ Sunny Side Up