Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi

There’s something about organizing kitchen cabinets at home and presenting in front of a first-time crowd at work that put an extra pep in my step today.  I borderline skipped to Whole Foods this evening, enjoying the slightly crisp air and an even more crisp mind.

Shrimp

The last thing I wanted to do was fog everything up with a heavy dinner.  I wanted light and flavorful.  Seafood, fresh veggies, and herbs would do the trick.  Seafood, fresh veggies, and herbs… always do the trick.

Shrimp Scampi

Add music, breeze-filled windows, and quality time in the kitchen – it was the best weeknight I’ve had in quite some time.  I got to cooking to the tune of this album.

Spaghetti Squash Shrimp Scampi 2

And when it was all said and done, I was left with the exact dinner I had in mind sitting front of me, ready to photograph.  It was lovely.

Quattro Gatti Blogger Dinner

Quattro Gatti Austin 2

Quattro Gatti was my second lunch spot as an Austin resident.  Before my first day of work, I walked past the Capitol with my new co-workers to a quaint Italian restaurant where we would spend the hour eating the most delicious food, talking about my recent Tampa to Austin adventure. Shortly after, I discovered that Quattro Gatti would be my favorite Italian restaurant in this whole darn town.

Quattro Gatti Austin

I convinced old co-workers, friends, and new co-workers to come with me whenever I was having a severe gnocchi craving.  And then… I tried the pizza. And aside from wondering why I had never ventured beyond gnocchi, I was completely blown away by pizza perfection.  I had to tell everyone.  I had to share this hidden gem with my blogging buds.

Quattro Gatti Austin Pizza Oven

I cold called the owner of the restaurant, Gianfranco, and asked if he’d be willing to host a few bloggers, sharing his story and a few of his favorite dishes.  With the most genuine enthusiasm, he welcomed us into his space.

Quattro Gatti Austin, TX

Gianfranco spoiled our group with pizzas {margherita, affumicata, 4 formaggi}, risotto with saffron and sausage, pappardelle with rabbit, and an endless assortment of sinful desserts.  But the best surprise of all?  When he led us to the wood fired oven and went through the pizza process, start to finish.

Thank you Gianfranco and Quattro Gatti for hosting such an amazing meal!

Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola in Mason Jar

I’ve been a recipe brainstorming machine lately, trying to come up with the perfect mango recipe for the National Mango Board‘s newest mango cookbook.  I thought of the perfect cocktail.  I consulted with my favorite bartender.  And then…

Homemade Granola Ingredients

I found out they were eliminating the cocktail section of the book.  I was with a brand new bottle of gin and I was bummed.  Things could have been worse. But I quickly morphed my mango green tea cocktail into a dessert.

I whipped up some mango mousse, added green tea simple syrup {which tasted divine}, and took a bite of the most disappointing dessert ever.  I put my creation in the fridge and went about my day.

Homemade Granola

When I returned home I went straight to the fridge {as I often do} and was hungry enough to take a bite of the mousse.  I had a lightbulb moment.  This wasn’t a good dessert because it wasn’t sweet enough, strong enough.  But it had the potential to be an awesome breakfast.

Mango Mousse with Homemade Granola 2

I whipped up some mousse sans green tea syrup.  I whipped up some homemade granola.  I came to the realization homemade granola knocks the socks off of store bought granola.  And I successfully combined the granola with the mousse to make a super yum mango mousse breakfast parfait!

Ultimate Egg Sandwich

Gourmet Egg Sandwich

I’ve had such a fun few months working with HEB Primo Picks. Whenever I received their package, I was both challenged and inspired by the grouping of products they selected.  This month’s package included a product that instantly reminded me of a sandwich I had during a San Fran trip. Bacon jam, meet egg sandwich.

Goat Cheese & Bacon Jam

Although the San Fran sandwich had actual bacon and not jam, the bacon jam triggered a craving for egg and arugula.  And goat cheese and tomato.

Homemade Egg Sandwich

I stacked all the ingredients on an extra thin sandwich bun {toasted} and went to town eating breakfast for dinner.  The bacon jam added umami and spice while maintaining the overall lightness of the sandwich.  I dug it.

As part of the HEB Primo Picks team, I received compensation to sample various Primo Picks products. The opinions in this post are completely my own and based on my experience.