My Favorite Things: Food Edition

Whenever I visit a new place, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve researched the local food offerings. I don’t really think of myself as a “foodie,” as that feels a bit pretentious, but why eat at a mediocre, predictable (or “reliable,” according to my husband) chain restaurant when you can check Google reviews for where the locals chow down?

I also love to cook. I used to think I only loved to bake, and while I enjoy baking, I like the sizzling, searing, and spicing actions of cooking savories better. While making note of some of my current favorite things for this post, I noticed I have a strong culinary theme going. It’s probably because most of my stay-at-home mom days revolve around dinner-making plans. This hasn’t always been the case for my married life, but I’m enjoying the culinary creativity. I thought I’d share some current culinary favorites, so here goes!

Blackberries
Have y’all had blackberries this year? They’ve been in season seemingly forever, and prices have been wonderfully low. Blackberries have never ranked overly high in my book, but this year has changed my mind. I’m usually a gal who eats blueberries by the pint (true story), but blackberries are winning at the moment.

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Ingles also has carts with tiny cars on the front. “It’s like we’re in jail!” George told his sister.

Meat thermometers
I’ve been making a cooking mistake for 10 years. Whenever cooking meat, I always just eyeballed the end result. Can I see any pink in the chicken? Too much pink in the steak? OK, do not do this. Put your knife down and step back. The absolutely best way to tell if your meat is done is with a thermometer. (Use a chart like this one for accurate temperatures.) Don’t cut the meat open and let all of the juiciness out! This is the only way I’ve found to make perfectly moist chicken breast.

Ingles Supermarket
I’m from Florida, so I will always have an affinity for Publix supermarkets. However, when we moved to South Carolina, I discovered Ingles. Now, in Publix’s defense, Ingles doesn’t have the produce deals or trustworthy off-brands of Publix, but it has its own treasures. For instance, it has a pizza bar, salad bar, sub station, Asian food, soul food, etc., and they’re all ready to eat. This makes my childrenĀ very happy, as we can now eat and grocery shop. While Publix gives free cookies, Ingles gives free bags of popcorn. It’s truly a toss up.

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Always very helpful!

Propel: Flavored Electrolyte Water
I don’t drink many sodas. Frankly, I’d rather consume my sugar via ice cream or candy instead of a can of Coke. I like iced tea and lemonade, but they have the same sugary issues. And water gets boring. I discovered Propel (Gatorade brand) at a road-trip gas station and haven’t looked back. Zero calories, zero fat, a little bit of sodium, some vitamins included. Flavored water seems like the best of all worlds…assuming the sugar substitute doesn’t cause cancer in lab rats. Sigh. Propel is sweetened with sucralose, also known as Splenda, which is apparently the lesser of the fake-sugar evils. Let me know if anything changes…

In terms of all things culinary, I’m also proud of my thriving garden. And by “garden” I mean a few pots of herbs and two raised beds. South Carolina is a gentle master of all things green and growing…at least this week.

Found any culinary or foodie things you’re loving lately? Do share!

Currently Reading:
I’ve Got Your NumberĀ by Sophie Kinsella – Just started this light novel. I chose this summery read because it was recommended by my favorite bookish blogger, Everyday Reading.

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