Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Favs!

Can you spell T-G-I-F?? What a crazy week...for me, spent in Birmingham working.  Now that I'm back home, I think I'll hold off on blogging until the beginning of next week so that I can show off all of the pictures I have from Pilgrimage (this is the last weekend, so we are going to spend the day tomorrow touring.  Tonight is the champagne and dessert party, YUM!!)

I would like to share with you my weekly we go!

Favorite Product Discovery: Item 13 Candles

On Saturday, Chris and I went to the Artisans' Alley, i.e. crafts/homemade goods show for the Pilgrimage and  discovered the most unique and fantastic smelling candles that are made right here in Columbus! They are called Item 13 candles.  You can check them out at

I had encountered these candles a couple of times...first, at J. Broussards, where the candles are exclusively made for them by Item 13.  Then, at the place where I got my massage (Bella Derma).  I walked in the door and immediatly asked the receptionist what that smell was and if I could buy it! She told me where they were set up in the store, but then I filled out my paperwork and got my massage and forgot all about it.  It all came back to me when the owner, Christopher McDill, was at the Artisans' Alley with a whole table full of tons of various (and very unique) scents.  We didn't have any cash to purchase directly from him there, so we went to Bella Derma and purchased White Tea and Ginger and one other scent that I don't remember right this second.  Check out the cute jars they come in...just great!

Favorite Columbus Discovery of the Week: Cafe Quartier Latin

We grabbed lunch on Saturday at this adorable place that we had never even seen before...called Cafe Quartier Latin.  It intrigued us from the outside because it was a little old house with all these Christmas lights around it ..and mainly just because we hadn't seen it before and thought it would be fun to try something new. 

We found out that, although this coffee shop definitely has a french theme (Eiffel towers, etc.), it is owned by the same people who own one of Columbus' most popular Mexican restaurants, Tampico Bay.  (Haven't been there yet, but we are going to have to try it now.) There was no Mexican food on the menu...there were several delicious looking sandwhiches. I got a sandwhich with 3 types of cheeses and tomatoes on it.  Chris got the most popular sandwhich (wish I remembered the name, but it had a couple of different meats on it).  Also, you get some kind of special homemade sauce on the side that was just the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. I know, I know...should have written down the details if I was going to write about it.  I'm learning!

Here is the kicker...they steam their sandwhiches there...JUST LIKE MOMMA G'S!!! I was ECSTATIC! For those of you who don't know what Momma Goldberg's is, you will soon because it is now a rapidly expanding franchise. In fact, one is popping up just two blocks down from my office in downtown Birmingham.  Momma G's has been an Auburn landmark for over 30 years.  Everything on their menu has a special Momma G's twist, and one of the most unique things about their sandwhiches is that they steam them. It makes the bread and everything inside soft, chewy...just YUM! So that's enough about Momma G's.  I am just so thrilled that I can get my steamed sandwhich fix now in Columbus! Yay!  I wonder if they would steam some Momma G's style nachos for me if I brought over some Doritos and pepper jack, I miss those!

Here is a picture of the can't see much, but you get the general idea. SO cute, and cozy.  I'm sure the students from a couple of blocks away at the W just love going there to study!

I'm pretty excited that this is practically across the street from my Columbus office.  I might have to go over there one tired afternoon and try the coffee.

Recipe of the Week: Black Bean Burgers

I mentioned this last week, but we tried them again last weekend and they were even better because I made some adjustments to the recipe.  Here is the one I started out with...

I know some of you may turn up your nose at the idea of a burger made with beans.  Trust me...they are delicious! I would encourage you to break out of the box and try someting new if you are afraid of a black bean burger.  First of all...know that while they look like hamburger patties...they really don't taste like them! So you can't compare them.  They are so much cheaper than buying meat.  I estimate that the six we made cost about $3-4, esspecially since most of it we have on hand. (This is just for the meat, not the toppings).

Notes: I would suggest draining one can of beans in an actual strainer and rinsing them with water, not just using the top of the can to strain out excess liquid.  This made the burgers a lot better the second time around.  The second can of beans, I just used used the top of the can to strain.  I think the liquid that the beans are in is pretty flavorful so I didn't want to rinse all of it out.

Also...I kept adding bread crumbs until the "meat" was about the same consistency as hamburger meat.  This made them easier to grill.

We put this "healthy onion ring" recipe on the burgers...this was a delicious recipe, and we will definitely be making it again! I think I have mentioned before that I am DONE frying, at least until I take a cooking class to learn how.  I have failed miserably at most my attempts to fry.  Good thing baking is so much healthier, anyway.  I didn't notice anything less delicious about these onion rings just because they were baked rather than fried.

Here is a pic of the delicious burger (complete with baked sweet potato fries)...

Well, that's it for now! I will update the blog with the "life events" on Monday or Tuesday next week.  Thanks for reading!

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