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I did not get to play in the kitchen this weekend as Dr. Matthews and I traveled to Winston Salem to look at houses; however, we still had some good eatin and I could not pass up an opportunity to write about food.

I found this little gem recipe for granola that even Dr. Matthews raved about so you know it’s good. He’s a big fan of cookie butter, which is a key flavor. I was also exposed to cinnamon chips through this recipe which, if you haven’t had cinnamon chips, I have to ask, what are you doing with your life? Few things have recently been as exciting to me as cinnamon chips.

Granola, to me, is akin to trail mix, without the bothersome addition of chocolate (this is where I may lose some followers but I figure it’s better to come clean early about my lack of love for the confection). My sister in law, on the other hand, once remarked to my mother in law, regarding a bowl of M&M’s, “Look, it’s trail mix!” I love my in-laws and we were clearly meant to be together so they can eat the chocolate and I can eat whatever salty goodness is left.


Cookie Butter Cinnamon Chip Granola

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup cookie butter (Biscoff or Speculoos)
  • ¼ cup cinnamon chips

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, add oats, pecans, cinnamon, and salt; stir to combine.
Heat the maple syrup, oil, and brown sugar over medium-low heat until the brown sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes.
Take the mixture off the heat and whisk in the cookie butter until melted and semi-smooth.
Pour the cookie butter mixture over the oat mixture. Fold until the oat mixture is evenly coated.
Transfer the mixture to your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until the mixture is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Cool the mixture completely. Stir in the cinnamon chips.
Transfer the mixture to an airtight container. Store for up to 2 weeks.

Don’t be fooled by the word “granola;” I entered this recipe into My Fitness Pal, divided it into 12 half-cup portions and came up with the following:

20140220-135920.jpg

This didn't last long

This didn’t last long

As we hit the road Saturday morning, Dr. Matthews was exposed to the joy that is Bojangles’s Cajun chicken biscuit. Being from the north, we were hard-pressed to come across a Bojangles before our move and I myself was just introduced to these nuggets of deliciosity not too long ago by my aunt. Needless to say he was sufficiently impressed.

Cajun-Filet1

After a long day of house hunting, we were ready to explore the culinary delights WS has to offer.  We looked around at a few menus but ended up at Hutch & Harris pub downtown.  We had the No Fork Pork (chipolte pulled pork with cuban style black beans and rice, cheese, pico de gallo and sour cream in a flour tortilla wrap) with a side of cauliflower mash

We'd already started eating before I took these so they don't look quite as appetizing...

We’d already started eating before I took these so they don’t look quite as appetizing…

and Slugger’s Steak Pasta (beef tenderloin tips, lightly dusted with blackening spice then tossed with fresh spinach and black pepper fettuccine in a cajun alfredo sauce).

image

We were very pleased with our meals but frankly we didn’t have time to eat lunch so I’m pretty sure we would have enjoyed eating a shoe.

Have y’all ever eaten at a Culver’s? This is something I almost wish I hadn’t learned about, due to their sparsity outside of the Midwest region. Almost.

Cheese curds

mmm curds of cheese…

Culver’s was established in 1984 (my birth year. Coincidence?) and offers a wide array of menu items, from over a dozen soup varieties to custard to something called Wisconsin cheese curds, which sound bizarre but must surely be delicious given their impressive 612 calories and 37 grams of fat per serving.

And they have REAL cheddar, people. Real Wisconsin cheddar! My fellow cheese snobs will understand my enthusiasm for this fast food rarity (and do not try to tell me about how McDonald’s now has white cheddar because I’ve tried it and it’s an egregious misrepresentation of one of my favorite cheeses).

We’d only been once before and had the pepper grinder pub burger (a limited time option)

Culver's Pepper Grinder Pub Burger

and the cranberry bacon bleu salad with grilled chicken with sesame ginger dressing.

salad

Both were excellent choices, my favorite being the salad, which boasted large, fresh slices of tomato and cucumber, a generous portion of bleu cheese (not to be confused with it’s cousin, the less fancy “blue cheese”) and very tender and juicy chicken. The only addition I’d have would be slivered almonds, but that just might put it over the top and I’d be really sad about the lack of Culver’s around.

This visit we got said cheese curds, which were basically mini mozzarella sticks and worth every calorie.  Had to get that salad again and kept it simple with a single butter burger.  Yes, I said butter burger.

In closing, we came upon this little treat unexpectedly on the way home:

krispy krunchy goodness

Krispy Krunchy is a little place in Greenwood, IN where we would get take-out with our inlaws about once a month.  It is the best take-out chicken I’ve ever had and, when we moved, our brother in law actually wrote to the company to see if there was one near us in Charleston.  There is one not too far, but it’s in a fairly sketchy gas station and has limited selection.  As you can see, this location we came across in Blythewood, SC, featured clean facilities and plenty of options.  Thus, we closed out our weekend of phenomenal (if not all that healthy) eating with some delicious fried chicken.

KKC

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