quarantine calories

i feel like most folks are doing a handful of things with their time these days:  working (if lucky enough to do so), cleaning, hobby-ing, childcaring, and eating.  among all those things, the last one might be the most fun.

over the past two weeks, we’ve been hosting phillip’s sister natalie and her doggie wyatt, and as a household of individuals who love food, we have been fortunate to support some local businesses and adventure into some new recipes together.  today’s post includes mouthwatering photos of all our eats.  get ready to drool!

nat and wyatt.

our first stop after picking up natalie and wyatt from the airport was zaxby’s.  natalie doesn’t have zaxby’s up in nyc, so it was definitely a homecoming meal.  oh, and in case you want a pro tip, check out this recipe to make your own zax sauce.  it’s super easy and worth the minimal effort, i promise.

hhhnnnggg, homemade zax sauce.

the next night, phillip and natalie were together to celebrate their 32nd birthday!  aw, it made my heart so happy.  we started with a specially delivered dinner from alessio’s restaurant & pizzeria in norcross.  from the lasagna and garlic knots to the tortellini cardinal and the chicken francese, it was quite a feast, and i don’t doubt we’ll go dine in once we can.  and, no birthday is complete without a cake!  thank you, publix, for the fudge and strawberry filled chocolate cake with buttercream frosting.  🙂

the mornings were definitely prime opportunities for some tasty treats over the past several days.  from whipped coffee (i promise this trend is worth the work)…

to avocado toast…

to simply done donuts

to dirty horchata

to mimosas…


and finally chrissy teigen’s banana bread.  it was some good eatin’.

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we didn’t leave dinner out at all.  we became kroger recipe experts, first with their arugula, goat cheese, and olive pasta salad.  i couldn’t keep natalie away from it, lol!  on Easter sunday we also tried out and really enjoyed their pork & peach tacos with ginger brown rice.

alongside the tacos we chowed down on my favorite corn dip.  i don’t know where on earth i got this recipe, but i’m glad i have it.

our tex-mex dinner that day had been preceded by a monkey bread breakfast and a deviled egg snack.  om nom nom.

in addition to trying out several kroger recipes, we also busted out the blue apron cards and loved the pork burgers with potato wedges and beef and rice bowls.

beef rice bowl and those pickled radishes. yum.

at some point over the past several days, i also whipped up this spicy pasta salad by ree drummond.  anything with gouda in it just makes my heart sing.

the evening was, of course, always an opportunity to nosh and also spend some of our hard-earned dollars at the nearby establishments.  we had mcdonald’s on our anniversary, freddy’s on thursday just because it was thursday, noodles from lon u on friday because we were craving pad thai, and marco’s pizza on saturday because who doesn’t love some ‘za.

and of all the sweet treats we had for dessert, i think phillip’s homemade ice cream sundaes were my favorite.  ❤

so, have you discovered any tasty recipes you’d like to share?  or have a local restaurant you think we just must try?  let us know and, above all else, stay safe.

p.s. i realize that many people out there are not currently in a position to splurge on food and groceries or even acquire the essentials.  if anyone out there needs a helping hand, i hope we can either assist or that you are able to find what you need right when you need it.  let’s keep everyone in mind these days, especially those severely impacted by everything that surrounds us.

the market – norcross, ga

the market, affectionately known by us old-timers as bleu house market, is one of our favorite lunch spots in downtown norcross.  john and maureen adams have been bringing southern food and barbecue (with a welcome twist, of course!) to the area since 2010.  they’ve gained a strong following from the locals; some of the staff even know our employees by name!

bank, liz, kyle, vinh, and i went there today for some grub, and after the renovations, the market might be better than ever.  the décor has been brightened up and looks a little more organized than it did in the past.  there’s a brand new patio with lots of comfortable seating, covered by the awning and big, colorful umbrellas.

bank and his lady.

bank and his lady.

the menu has changed a bit, which at first caught me offguard, but everything we had today was wonderful.  i’m almost glad i got so full, because i get to have my leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

i was extra hungry this afternoon since i’d worked out this morning, so lots of delectable dishes were in order.  i started with the pimiento (which, by the way, can be spelled with the second ‘i’ – an alternative spelling to pimento, who knew?!) deviled eggs because, well, because they sounded simply irresistible.  i have a somewhat unhealthy love for pimento cheese, i’ll admit it, but i couldn’t pass up these little guys.  i mean, don’t they just look scrumptious?

pimiento deviled eggs.

pimiento deviled eggs.

they didn’t just look it, they tasted it, too.  there was a heaping spoonful of pimento cheese atop each egg, so much so that i looked quite ladylike while taking each bite.  ha, not really.  those eggs were so stuffed, i’m sure i looked like a cave woman while eating them.  either way, i don’t quite care because they were so delicious.  i’d tell you more about their flavor profile, but i inhaled them so quickly that all i really remember is saying, over and over again actually, “oh my gosh.  these eggs are amazing.”  you’ll just have to take my word for it.



the entrée plates arrived, and everyone dug in immediately.  we’ll start with miss liz.  she had the sautéed portobello naan-wich, which (ha, “wich”, “which”, it’s funny!) was bursting at the seams with pimento cheese, house greens, and olives.  whether it was out of hunger or love, or perhaps both, she ate the whole thing.  on the side she had the squash casserole that, although boasting a vegetable as its main ingredient, looked quite sinful with all that butter and cheese.  oh, baby.  kyle and vinh had the squash casserole as their sides, too, and liked it just as much as liz did.

sautéed portobello naan-wich and squash casserole.

sautéed portobello naan-wich and squash casserole.

bank went with a naan-wich as well but instead tried the one with smoked turkey.  my goodness, did that thing look intense!  the turkey clearly had been carved off the bone that day.  i almost wished i had ordered it myself!  but, maybe more so than the sandwich, the mac’n’cheese looked and smelled unbelievable.  you can bet that penne pasta was oozing with rich cheese and cream.  i know which side i’ll be ordering the next time i’m here!

smoked turkey naan-wich and mac'n'cheese.

smoked turkey naan-wich and mac’n’cheese.

per the cashier’s suggestion, i had the broccoli salad for my side.  it was tasty and cool on this hot summer day, but i think i’d order something else before i got it again.

broccoli salad.

broccoli salad.

but what about my actual meal?  kyle, vinh, and i all got the brisket naan-wich, and i have no regrets about my choice.  before i even bit into the thing, a couple nubs of brisket had fallen out and onto the plate.  i grabbed them with my fork and was in brisket heaven.  it was so tender and juicy.  it wasn’t overspiced.  without really knowing what my perfect brisket would be, this stuff was it.  don’t believe me?  get on up here and try it yourself.

brisket naan-wich and squash casserole.

brisket naan-wich and squash casserole.

i finally got to the naan-wich, being careful not to let too much fall out as i picked it up for my first taste.  i wasn’t shy and took quite a large bite.  i could hardly believe such a thing existed!  brisket and bacon and coleslaw, oh my!  with each bite, i exclaimed, “man, this is delicious.”  considering vinh and kyle ate all of theirs, i think they’d say the same.

brisket naan-wich.

brisket naan-wich.

although a bit otp, the market is, without a doubt, one of my favorite restaurants.  i’ve never had a meal here that i didn’t care for, and i can probably say the same for my friends.  if you don’t mind going on a little stroll through a cute and charming downtown, come on out to norcross.  you’ll get to find out what the fuss is about, and you, too, might have a new favorite restaurant in town.