The Perfect Summer Party Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake Biscuits

strawberry biscuit shortcake

For this Memorial Day weekend, Mr. Foodie and I squeezed in some fun (around work :P) with our family and friends. For one of these occasions we wanted to bring a recipe I’ve been dying to make ever since I saw it while scrolling past my instagram feed: Strawberry Shortcake with Biscuits! Unfortunately I did not have time to actually *make* the biscuits, but I did pick up grocery-store biscuits, strawberries, and whipped cream so I could still make these delicious summer desserts. What better way to celebrate the “start” of summer than strawberry shortcakes?!

I realize that it is by no means a universal expectation to show up to a party with a host gift, but for some reason I’ve adopted this approach over the course of adulthood. I’ve certainly walked into parties with your standard wine/liquor/beer contribution, but I’m sure it is no surprise that my preference is always to bring food. Sometimes it’s my super addictive molasses, ginger cookies (so easy you can bake a batch in under an hour while you also shower, do hair, and apply makeup); sometimes it is my deviled eggs (inexpensive, easy, and they are always the first appetizer to disappear). But whenever I deviate from those options, I think about a few essential questions before choosing my party food gift.

1) What season is it?

Considering the season helps me determine ingredients that I will use for my food gift, certainly, but also the type of party food. For instance, if a party falls during the super-short fresh rhubarb season, nothing would stop me from making a pie or crisp. If it is a winter party, I’d be more likely to bring a heavy/hot recipe or a spiced dessert. The season also helps because you’ll want to think of whether the party will likely be outside in the sun/heat (then nix the deviled eggs or mayonnaise potato/chicken salads) or if it will be inside.

2) How will it be assembled and served?

Ideally you’re bringing a food gift that requires little to no assembly. Unless you’ve worked it out with your host ahead of time, sometimes it is a burden to show up with a complicated recipe that needs preparation, on-site cooking/baking, or requires a bunch of extra kitchen tools that your host wasn’t counting on. Does it require a lot of counter-top space to prep/assemble? Does it require fridge space? Will you need to use the stove/oven? Do you need to plug it in (for a crockpot or hot beverage)? Does it require a special serving utensil or platter/bowl? If you are still determined to bring something that requires assembly/prep, then I recommend a) giving your host some notice, b) prepping as much as you can ahead of time, and c) bringing any kitchen tools you’ll need to pull it off. I’m more likely to do this with friends I know very well. Last December, I brought the fixings for moscow mules. Ahead of time: measure the vodka, squeeze the limes, and bring a serving pitcher/bowl, and then all you need is a bottle opener to add the ginger beer at the party itself.

strawberry shortcake biscuits

We happen to live next to the amazing Wegmans grocery, so of course the biscuits were ahhh-mazing. I cut them in half, topped them with sliced strawberries that I let sit with some sugar (to get a little strawberry syrup going) and topped with whipped cream. This dessert could not be easier or more delicious. If you can slice strawberries and sprinkle sugar, you can make this. Some day we’ll make the biscuits by hand so you can see how easy that is as well, but for now, keep this party food or potluck idea as an option for your next summer party.

summer potluck dessert

For transport, we just packed the biscuits, sugared strawberries, and whipped cream in a insulated bag with an ice pack (for the whipped cream). At the party, I kept the whipped cream in the fridge until we were ready for shortcakes. This works better for smaller parties because you should eat them right after you assemble them – otherwise the syrupy strawberries will soak into the biscuit and  the whipped cream will flatten.

These are also good options for when you are hosting a summer party. You can make each component ahead of time and assemble when everyone is ready for dessert. The tartness of the berries and creaminess of the whipped cream cuts through the sweetness of the added sugar and the buttery biscuit rounds the whole thing out. It is both light and indulgent!

For more foodie adventures, follow us on instagram @fairfaxfoodie

Oh Rhubarb, How do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways!


Only something as amazing as seeing fresh rhubarb on the grocery store shelf could pull me out of my month-long blog hiatus to write. Not that I haven’t wanted to write! It’s just that I started a new job which has consumed even the illusion of having free time, so both the cooking and the blogging has fallen by the wayside. Until now. When I saw those long red stalks from across the produce section, I literally did a happy dance and Mr. Foodie looked on in amusement as I scooped armfuls of the glorious plant into our cart. I’m only slightly ashamed to say that I took every last one. Rhubarb season is short. Too short for my desiring heart. 

When I see rhubarb, like most people, I remember pie. But not just any pie—my grandmother’s pie. As a midwestern transplant to California, my grandma would frequently serve forth this delicious treat. I liked it better than any pie I’d ever tasted. I found the tart fruit a perfect compliment to the buttery, flaky pie crust and the light sweetness of the added sugar. For some reason, I always look for rhubarb in the weeks prior to Easter. I’m not sure why I expect it to be there. Maybe I remember eating it around Easter time? In any case, April is too early in the season for rhubarb stalks, but I look for it just the same. Apparently, growing rhubarb in one’s yard is so common in the midwest that grocery stores don’t even carry it in spring! #gardeningoals

Since I was lucky enough to catch it this year before it disappeared from the shelves, I wanted to find other uses for this delicious treat. The first thing I tried was a topping for pancakes—a well-explored subject on this blog for sure. That being said, I outdid myself with the rhubarb topping. The first time you encounter rhubarb, you might be intimidated. It looks like celery and may have either strange green claws on either end or wide leaves attached. First, discard any leaves because they are very toxic. Second, go ahead and chop off the little claws. You’ll notice the red “skin” *can* be peeled off the stalk, but why lose the beautiful red color? It’s perfectly edible. For the topping, dice up the stalk like you would a celery stalk for a pasta sauce. I used enough stalks for four cups worth. dicedrhubarb

Add two tablespoons of butter and 1/2 Cup of sugar to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb stalks soften and the mixture resembles a compote. That’s it! Pour it on pancakes, spread it on toast, eat it with a spoon out of the jar – you’ll have a hard time stopping yourself, I promise you!

rhubarbpancake (1)

Mr. Foodie and I, of course, made the traditional two-crust rhubarb pie, but we also dabbled with a rhubarb crisp – minus the strawberries because I did not want to dilute the gorgeous rhubarb flavor. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of these due to the over-quick consumption by friends and family (and Mr. Foodie) lol. There were other recipes I wanted to try, but I only had enough stalks to try a small experiment with rhubarb simple syrup. Just dice up two stalks, add to one cup water and one cup sugar, cook for about 20 minutes on low heat until sugar is dissolved. Strain, and add to a clear liquor of your choice. In this case, I used vodka and a splash of prosecco for some bubbles. I added sliced strawberries more for garnish than anything. It was delicious!


Do you have any other rhubarb recipes?! I’d love to know for next year’s rhubarb stash! For more foodie adventures, follow us on instagram @fairfaxfoodie

Tips for Surviving Uploading Your Wedding Photos to Facebook + Happy Easter!

Happy Easter All! For us, Easter was a very fun, very relaxed affair at my in-laws’ home. The best part of holidays with them is the INCREDIBLE food they make and hearing my father-in-law’s stories about his amazing life. I also got to bond a little with our niece, so that was another highlight for me! In other news, I finally uploaded my wedding photos to Facebook! This might not seem like a monumental task to most people, but anyone who has gotten married since digital pix and FB was a thing feels me, I’m sure. Remember when I wrote about the post-wedding To-Do list? Well this is an extension of that “getting my wedding pix organized” list item. After getting your photos back from the photographer, and pouring over every one multiple times, then you have to start the downloading process.

I’m betting that if you spent more than $250 on your computer and you pay for high-speed internet, this step is not as bad as I’m about to make it sound, but OMG. I hated that process. The first attempt killed my laptop. The second round I got smart and used our desktop computer, but it still took nearly a full afternoon to download and unzip every packet of pictures. Then I had to cull them – yes, believe it or not, the pix that I uploaded are just a small fraction of the total (you’re welcome FB friends lol). The step I maybe did not *have* to do, but did anyway, is order special prints for family before posting on FB and snail-mail them. My first thought is that not all my family are on FB, so I’d need to print some anyway. And my second thought was “wouldn’t it be nice to get a surprise in the mail of special pictures from the wedding?” I don’t know about you, but I’m having post-wedding-mailbox blues. For a while we were riding the wedding card/gift high of checking the mail every day, but now we’re back to bills and junk 😛

So I made some prints and sent them off. Then came the official wedding album photo selection. I’m happy to say that the amazing Brandon Hunter is on it and I CAN’T WAIT to see his genius in my hands. Finally, it was Facebook time. I prepared myself a strong drink and anticipated many more problems than I actually had. It did take a long while, and I did get the “FB non responsive kill/wait” popup at least 5 times, but it all worked out. And now everyone can see the freaking awesome pictures that Brittany of Bee Two Sweet took of their children, their partners, and their friends.

Now, for a few tips to keep your sanity while handling Facebook wedding picture uploads:

  1. Cull!

If you hired a professional, chances are you have a BUNCH of wedding photos – many which are essentially slightly different shots of the same thing. Also in black-and-white. Do yourself and your FB friends a favor, and cull them before posting. Pluck just one or two that showcase each special moment of the day – there is no need to post 25 pictures of you “getting ready” or 100+ shots of the same people dancing.

2. Save Some for You

This is related to #1 – it is perfectly okay if you do not share every special picture with the FB universe. I am (obviously) comfortable with sharing a lot on this blog, on my instagram, on Facebook, but when I saw all our first-look photos in the download queue, I hesitated. These mean so much to me and Mr. Foodie, and even though they exist on the photographer’s website, I decided not to post them all on Facebook. And that’s okay. Don’t feel like you HAVE to share each and every photo with the world.

3. Small Batches

Unless you have an awesome computer and excellent wifi, pace yourself with the uploads. Once you’ve selected an album to put them in, grab 5-10 photos at a time to upload into it. I liked this because a) it did not overwhelm my technology and b) it gave me the chance to look at each one, decide if I really *did* want to put it on FB, and to tag people if Facebook’s scary-accurate face-recognition hadn’t done so already. I also commented on a few photos as I went. If you do end up getting the “FB unresponsive kill/wait” popup, click “wait” and be patient. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work.

4. Check the Tags

At the end of uploading, check the list of people who are tagged in the photos – make sure you did not accidentally tag someone who is not there. The last thing you want is for some poor friend of yours who wasn’t even at the wedding to get a million notifications from photo likes. This is a time, as well, to take off anyone that you feel might not want to be tagged in a photo of any kind. Not everyone loves this whole FB thing.

5. Credit

If possible, give credit and props to your photographer by tagging him/her and even sharing their photo site so your friends and family might buy prints using it. I’m not sure, but I think they might get a cut of those sales – whatever the case, it is nice to let everyone know who took your awesome photos. You can use this opportunity to thank others who made your day special as well. I wanted everyone to know, for example, how grateful I was for my grandmother who sewed my gorgeous red cape for the big day. You can also use your photos to thank your super cool vendors – spread the love!

For more foodie adventures (and post-wedding life) check us out on instagram @fairfaxfoodie

Not Quite #Bobbyflay: Pistachio and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Pistachio Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Time for our mid-week check-in on our #springbreak goals. We made some in-roads on our ambitious cleaning schedule, but I’m afraid the daily work-out has been transplanted by unexpected work for both of us. I got the good news yesterday of a work promotion (yay!) and Mr. Foodie picked up a new gig this morning. Granted, we were up at 7:30, so we *could* have squeezed in a workout, but instead we lounged in bed with our coffees and watched funny youtube videos until he had to bounce. I admit that the lure of the “vacation” (even though it is a staycation) is powerful. Luckily I squeezed in some personal work progress as well as some spring cleaning (poor Onyx, she hated her bath) before rushing off to the vineyard with my lady friends for a #teachersappreciation special at my favorite winery. I work with these friends, so we talked a lot of shop, but we also had a lot of fun eating cheese and drinking wine #squadgoals.

Chocolate and Pistachios

As you know by now, one of my favorite weekend indulgences is to watch a bit of Food Network on the weekends, and last weekend Mr. Foodie and I caught the end of Bobby Flay’s Brunch show (which I highly recommend!). We found ourselves drooling over his pistachio and chocolate pancakes, so we made a note to pick up said ingredients during our next grocery run. Pistachios and chocolate seem like such a splendid combo, but I’ll admit it would never have occurred to me if I hadn’t seen it on T.V. I guess that is why he makes the major bucks, right? In any case, it was too good not to pass up.

Now Bobby uses fancy chocolate that he cuts by hand, but I just used the chips left over from the chocolate chip cookies I made the other day. We bought the smallest pack of shelled pistachios (because #expensive!), and I roughly chopped those. I put both items into a basic box-made pancake batter and proceeded per the instructions.


The verdict? Freaking awesome. Mr. Foodie admits that the texture was odd for him (the pieces of pistachio were rather large), but I loved the unexpected crunch and the creamy, slightly bitter, punch of chocolate alongside the sweetness of syrup. I can only imagine how great this dish would be if I actually made it the way Bobby intended. For now, though, it was a major highlight in an otherwise standard breakfast. I always make a double-recipe of pancakes so we can refrigerate the leftovers and have them throughout the week.

Keeping this post short and sweet so I can stay on top of our spring break goals list, but coming up I have a new dinner/lunch recipe of green curry chicken AND we will finally share the recipe for our *favorite* no-lettuce salad that has a summer and winter version, so stay tuned!

For more Foodie adventures, follow us on Instagram @fairfaxfoodie

Spring Break #Goals and Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies


Mr. Foodie and I are officially on spring break! Woot! Well we still have work to do, but we decided to utilize this spare time to also work on some projects we’ve been putting off since the wedding. First, I officially became Mrs. Azar today! It only took two plus hours at the social security office, but here I am – newly wed and newly named. We celebrated by having lunch at the grocery store because shopping for groceries when you are ravenous is never a good idea. My first meal as an Azar? Indian food! Oddly, Mr. Foodie had never even tried Indian food before meeting me. Or crab legs, artichokes, and thai food. He gave me his name and I gave him only the best food in existence lol

Our other spring break goals include a major deep clean of the home. We did a pretty good job before we moved to have our fl keys adventure, but a deep clean is a good idea at least once a year. And why not do it during spring when you can leave the windows open? Our cleaning goals include a cat bath, so Onyx is in for a treat. We also plan to work out every day – something we started doing roughly every other day a few weeks ago. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my energy levels. It seems to help with stress as well. I’m just happy I can get through 30 minutes of yoga again without wanting to die.


We also, of course, have some cooking projects for the week, but honestly we are pulling back on ambitious cooking a bit so we can focus on these other things that we’ve wanted to accomplish for what seems like a long post-wedding while. Easter *is* coming up though, so you can be sure there will be some delicious eats in our future.

Before spring break started, I promised my students that I’d bring chocolate chip cookies in as a treat. These are the kinds of kids that are used to being bribed for everything, so I was careful not to attach the treat to some kind of reward for doing what they’re supposed to be doing. It went pretty well. These cookies are my grandma’s recipe which looks very similar to the basic one on the back of any chocolate chip bag, except in two really big ways: 1) Grandma uses shortening instead of butter and 2) We use half the amount of chocolate chips.

These might seem like tiny adjustments to an otherwise common recipe, but for me, they make a huge difference. In the first place, using shortening will give you a chewier, more cake-like cookie which is my preference. In the second place, I do not have a huge sweet tooth (unlike Mr. Foodie), so I like my cookies to be semi-sweet or salty-sweet. Reducing the number of chips in the cookie lets the buttery (slightly salty) flavor of the cookie dough shine alongside the sweet/bitter chips.


I remember visiting a friend in Germany and having her produce a box of “American” chocoloate chip cookies – each one was packed to the gills with chocolate chips, and I just laughed, offering to make her my version. Even one of my students was like “Ms. Ravy, did you make sugar cookies AND chocolate chip cookies?” Because some look like they don’t have any chips in them. They gobbled them up just the same and were somewhat shocked when I told them that I made them from scratch.

Mr. Foodie was over the moon when I made these, of course, but most of them went to my colleagues, students, and extended family. I like making baked goods and giving them away – and not just because I’m trying to be healthy. My preference for baked things is to have a taste right out of the oven, when it is still a bit warm and fresh, and then gift the rest. That small, simple experience is ephemeral in nature, and so it seems more valuable than shoveling week old cookies into my mouth while I’m watching netflix.

Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C Shortening

3/4 C Brown Sugar

3/4 C Sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 C flour (more/less depending on texture)

water (as needed)

Semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (to taste)

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Mix together the shortening, both sugars, and eggs. Add vanilla, salt, and soda – mix. Add flour 1 cup at a time until the dough forms – it should not be too wet or sticky, but if it ends up too stiff, add a little water as necessary. Add the chips in last and mix until just combined. The amount depends on your taste – 1/4 of a bag works for me in this recipe, but you can also eyeball it. Using a regular spoon, scoop a meatball-sized bunch of dough and put on a lined sheet pan. Keep some space between the cookies since they will spread a bit while baking. Baking time can be between 8 and 11 minutes depending on the size of your cookies, the type of sheet pan you are using, and how hot your oven gets/stays. My rule is to keep an eye on the edges – once they turn brown, pop them out, let them rest and then put them on a drying rack until completely cool. If you let the cookies get totally brown, they will be tasty for a few hours and then get as hard as bricks (but my grandpa actually prefers them that way, so to each their own) 😛

For more foodie adventures, follow us on Instagram @fairfaxfoodie

Chicken Pot Pie w/ Biscuits


As promised, another chicken recipe! You’ll remember that Mr. Foodie and I often get the “family packs” of chicken breasts from our beloved Wegmans grocery store, so we are always on the lookout for new ways to prepare them so we don’t get bored. There are as many recipes for pot pie as there are days in the year, but I picked this rather simple casserole style one because I found it to be an excellent option for a weeknight meal. You’ll notice that this recipe calls for a LOT of veggies, but I restricted mine to onions and peas – very traditional.

What trips many people up when it comes to chicken pot pie is making the gravy. This is where recipes significantly differ. Some call for butter and flour, some milk, and even some others use other types of thickening agents. Thickening is part of what makes a chicken pot pie tasty. You don’t want to put biscuits or pie dough on top of what is essentially chicken soup.

When Mr. Foodie and I made this dish, we happened to be out of milk, so I made a very simple chicken-stock-and-flour gravy. Cook the onions, add the peas, pour in some chicken stock (1- 1.5 cups depending on how much veggies you’re using), add flour (1 tablespoon at a time) and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens into a gravy. I’ve found that overthinking gravy causes disastrous results. Embrace the uncertainty that is gravy-making and you will do fine. There is a fair amount of estimating that is done even if you are following a recipe – a little more flour, a little more liquid, etc. until you find the right consistency. Pop the uncooked biscuits on top, bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbling.


Et voila! Delicious chicken pot pie casserole. This is, by the way, a GREAT dish to use up leftover chicken and leftover veggies. And you don’t have to stop there – leftover turkey would be awesome here as well.

We also got to a little baking this week – I just haven’t had a minute to write about it yet because work has been running me ragged. Feeling super thankful that next week I get most of it off so I can do some other important work and have some fun with friends. I need to recharge!

For more foodie adventures, follow us on Instagram @fairfaxfoodie

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

2 leftover chicken breasts, shredded

1 medium onion

1 cup of frozen peas

1 cup of chicken stock

3-5 Tablespoons of flour



8 biscuits (pre-made is fine!)

Sautee the onion in a little olive oil, add salt and pepper and frozen peas. Pour in chicken stock and heat. Add flour a bit at a time, stirring, until it thickens to desired consistency. Add more stock or water to loosen if it gets too thick. Add chicken and pour into casserole dish. Put uncooked biscuits on top and bake according to package instructions (we did 350 degrees for 20ish minutes) until the tops are golden brown and the filling is bubbling away!

Planning Our Wedding W/ Apps We Already Use



Isn’t this pancake lovely? I decided to surprise Mr. Foodie with some delicious pancake hearts last weekend. Don’t be fooled, this is a box-mix, but it was beautiful!


You may have noticed that, on occasion, I like to write about more than just food and what Mr. Foodie and I are doing in these posts. One thing I discovered when I was planning our wedding was that I really like that sort of thing! It was overwhelming at times, but I had a blast. Just like anything I do, I went a little overboard with the researching, pinning, and planning at first. One of the hardest parts is knowing when to pull up so you don’t end up taking a nosedive. For me that consisted of two things initially: a) limiting the diy, crafty things to a few special touches I wanted to add to the big day and b) not downloading every wedding app recommended in the numerous wedding magazines and articles that I read. It can be immensely tempting. So many cool features! So many helpful guides! But what I realized was that I needed to be spending my precious little wedding planning time (hello, dissertation and full-time job!) actually planning it and not learning how to navigate new tools when the old ones would work just fine. I’m not saying you shouldn’t experiment if you want to; just don’t feel like you have to pile on an already monumental undertaking when you have other options.



Putting to use the Kate Spade pancake mold I got at my bridal shower – isn’t it cute? It is also one of the best ones I’ve ever used – no sticking (even without pam)! 


The Apps

  1. Shazam

You’re probably like, what?! How does Shazam help me plan my wedding? Look, some people are immensely gifted at putting a DJ list together in their heads, remembering song names and album titles, and owning a bunch of music already that will work well for getting down on the dance floor. I was not one of those people. It started innocently enough one morning while driving to work – I heard a song on the radio that was so good that I ended up jamming to it mid-traffic like no one was watching my silly butt dancing in the front seat. I was like “this would make a great song for our list.” But I didn’t know the song name or artist, so I Shazamed it. Then forgot about it. Then remembered it when I went to begin my DJ list – and was oh-so-happy to find that Shazam keeps track of all the songs I look up in a helpful list. From then on, I Shazamed every song whether I knew who sang it or not so I could keep a record of everything we liked that we wanted to add to our list. Later, I would update the list using the app. While I’m sure there are much nicer, fancier apps out there that will help you build your playlist, this one worked fine for us!

2. Dropbox

I plan on writing a future post about how Mr. Foodie and I use this helpful file-sharing app to keep our lives (and finances) in order, but for now, I’ll stick to how Dropbox kept me sane during the wedding planning process. Since we already had a shared folder at that point, we started a “wedding” folder and went from there. What I loved about this was being able to access my wedding stuff on the go at any time. If I needed to check a contract detail, there it was, in its little folder, ready to view on my phone. What’s more, Mr. Foodie and I could keep each other informed as new stages of the planning unfolded. We could update the budget spreadsheet if we placed a deposit or the invite list as we received rsvps. There are, of course, many file sharing applications and programs. I would urge you to use the one you are most comfortable with as long as it allows you to organize things into folders and sub-folders. And make sure that your partner, wedding planner, and whoever else is helping you, has access to it. Some of the decisions you make, deposits you put down, and information you gather happens a full year away from the actual date – try to have redundant systems to keep track of these items.

3. Pinterest

As noted in #1, I used Pinterest a lot to begin the wedding planning process. I was already comfortable with this app because I use it to plan all my foodie parties. As anyone who has been to one of my parties can attest, rarely does everything I’ve pinned for that event end up in any way part of the reality. I look at Pinterest boards more like vision boards. I might grab a color from that, a shape from that, a mood from that, but I learned early on to avoid trying to turn my parties into Pinterest-perfect things, and unless you employ a food stylist, lighting designer, and professional grade crafting equipment, you should as well. Let it be a space to explore your wedding dreams and desires, but don’t let it overrun your planning. I’ve already written a cautionary tale about Pinterest pitfalls. That being said, I found it incredibly useful to start the wedding planning process. My advice? Create multiple boards to start – at least one for your dress, one for your flowers, and one for everything else. Consider keeping some boards private – unless you want everyone chiming in on every single conceptual pin you post. Finally, go back later and delete pins that you’ve moved on from. After I made some decisions about wedding decor, I deleted some pins so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed, tempted, or confused about what decisions I had already made.

4) Google Keep

This is the note-taking app I use, but this advice can be applied to whatever note-taking app you like. I just recommend that you do, in fact, use a note-taking app for wedding planning. As organized as you can be, there will be information that is chucked at you out of context throughout the process. Your mom will leave a voicemail telling you that you *have* to invite so-and-so and your sleep-deprived brain will promptly forget about it until she’s staring you down at your next Sunday dinner wondering what happened to that invite. I found Keep super helpful with all kinds of note-taking related to wedding planning. Sometimes I’d be in the middle of something at work and I’d be like “oh! I need to make sure I get that information for that vendor.” Knowing myself well, I would type a quick note in Keep, and every week I’d keep an appointment with myself to look at the notes I took in that app to make sure I had addressed them.



Pro Tip: If using a pancake mold, under-fill it with batter. The batter will puff up and if you make it too thick, it won’t cook properly! 


I did not write this post to discourage you from making your wedding planning journey easier on yourself by downloading a cool new app. But I did write it to a) get you to consider the kinds of tools that you will definitely need at some point in this long haul and b) to reconsider some of the apps you use on the regular as possible options for wedding planning.

One day I’ll tell you how being a little analog saved our wedding from a major disaster, but that is a story for a future post 😉

Did you use a new/old app for your wedding planning? I’d love to hear how it went!

For more Fairfax Foodie adventures, follow us on instagram @fairfaxfoodie


Date Night Chicken Parmesan… without the Parmesan


First, sorry about the blurry pic – I was in a hurry to eat it :). Second, this looks like a HUGE piece of chicken, but it is a normal breast, flattened. We did end up having leftovers. 

After perhaps the longest work week of my adult life, I am so unbelievably happy to be watching the Food Network in my jammies and blogging this morning! It was a bit of a lackluster cooking week because both Mr. Foodie and I were hella busy, but he did throw together an awesome new soup that we are calling ETP Soup – “empty the pantry soup.” It had black-eyed peas, kale, and chicken, but the exciting part was the base – sauteed onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes + homemade chicken stock, of course! It was just the ticket when I came home after a long day at the office. We popped the sliding glass door open, plugged in the twinkle lights, and sipped our delicious soup! I wish I had a picture of it, but we’ll just have to be satisfied with a word-picture lol

The weekend started off on a good note with some chill time with some of my girlfriends and a trip to the winery where we got married! My mom is a club member there, so I volunteered to “pick up” (aka drink) her latest wine shipment. It was so sunny that all my pics were washed out, but the wind kept it from being too warm – and overly crowded.

When I got home, Mr. Foodie was starting dinner – is there anything better than a partner who cooks?! – which consisted primarily of a version of chicken Parmesan and, again, miscellaneous pantry sides because we have yet to get groceries for the week. It turned out incredibly delicious! After dinner we snuggled on the couch and watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – such a good movie. I needed that day/night SO much.


Mr. Foodie did not have any Parmesan on hand when he began his dinner prep, so we made do with shredded mozzarella. We used our new meat tenderizer to flatten two chicken breasts inside a plastic bag (this is fairly standard for chicken parm, but also helps speed up the cooking time/keep it consistent). He dredged the flattened breasts in an egg mixture and whole wheat panko bread crumbs which he seasoned with salt and pepper. Instead of frying the chicken, he baked it at 350 for 30 minutes. It was perfectly cooked and crunchy when he poured the tomato sauce over the chicken and sprinkled with the mozzarella. Then he popped it back in the oven to heat the sauce and melt the cheese. He maybe put a little too much sauce on for my taste, but he LOVES things covered in sauce. In any case, it worked wonderfully – it didn’t compromise the crunch of the panko breading in the least. The chicken was juicy, the breading was crisp, the sauce was tangy, and the cheese was perfectly creamy. You can see where a little salty/nutty parm would be a good addition to that mix, but sometimes you just have to work with what you got.

Last week we picked up a huge pack of chicken breasts and since our cooking last week was haphazard at best, we still have a LOT of chicken to work with. So this week we are finding some creative ways to utilize all this chicken without getting bored. What Mr. Foodie doesn’t know yet is I’m planning to make my first ever green curry chicken this week. Green curry is our favorite Thai dish, so he’s in for a treat!

For more Fairfax Foodie adventures, check us out on instagram @fairfaxfoodie (where I promise to update it a little more often this week lol)

Taking a Little Thyme: Lemon-Thyme Cake


The other day Mr. Foodie surprised me after a bad day with a little thyme plant for our wall herb planter. So luckily we had it on hand today after I received the bad news that my former laptop would never again turn on. Yes, our bad luck streak continues (seriously, did we step on a mirror somewhere?). Even more annoying than losing the laptop was the big dent (haha, see last week’s posts) in my productivity. I planned on spending a lot of time checking things off my list. I did not plan on spending hundreds of dollars to replace a stupid laptop. But a little Sunday baking (and laptop shopping) does wonders for the weary soul. Mr. Foodie’s thoughtfulness came in handy, and so we made this lemon-thyme cake bread.

I seriously adore anything that showcases lemons. Is there anything better than a lemon? They work well in savory and sweet dishes. They are incredibly fragrant, excellent as a cleaning agent, delightful in cocktails, and one of the happiest colors on earth. Our next urban gardening project has got to be a lemon tree!


I am especially excited about lemon in baked goods. Remember those lemon cookies we made? This is the loaf cake version of those with even the same lemon-sugar glaze for the top. The addition of thyme in this not only adds a little color drama, but also a punch of herby flavor that pairs so well with the sweetness of the powdered sugar and tartness of the lemon. Thyme reminds me of oregano, but more subtle and delicate. Because it is not an herb I would usually buy, it being more rare than other herbs in the recipes I use, I did a little research on it. Apparently thyme has medicinal properties. It was also traditionally used to give courage and ward off nightmares. Sounds like the perfect little darling for the week we are having.

Mr. Foodie can attest to the fact that I got a little woe-is-me for a second while clutching my new laptop in my arms on the car ride home, but after following the rabbit hole in my mind of all the worst possible resonances of this absurd week for our future selves, I relaxed. Mr. Foodie made me laugh. And then we took a little time to bake a lemon cake.


Here is the recipe as it appears on Taste of Home*

(*Note: I recommend baking on the longer end of the range even if you have a hot oven – we usually take out baked goods earlier than called for, but this time we needed to bake longer so the top/middle cooked through all the way. It will remind you of banana bread a little – looks done bc of the browned sides, but still needs time more in the middle)


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • GLAZE:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • 1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine milk and thyme. Microwave, uncovered, on high 1-2 minutes or until bubbly; cover and let stand until cooled to room temperature.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with reserved milk mixture. Stir in lemon juice and peel.
  • 3. Pour into a greased 9×5-in. loaf pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  • 4. In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients until smooth; drizzle over bread.Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 187 calories, 7g fat (4g saturated fat), 43mg cholesterol, 92mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 0 fiber), 3g protein.

Taco Thursday! Pulled Pork Tacos and Easy Southwest Salad + Homemade Guac


What a week! Mr. Foodie and I both suffered a little random bad luck this week, so we were all too happy to drown our sorrows in tacos and beer last night. Someone hit my parked car at work and did NOT leave a note, but unfortunately for them (and fortunately for us) our building manager caught the incident (and their plate #) on tape, so boo-yah! to the inconsiderate person who hit my car and drove off. Also, Mr. Foodie’s phone died, so he took my upgrade and got a new Samsung 7. Bad luck for me, but not for him – Mr. Foodie loves new toys. It’s actually kind of funny how into new gadgets he is. Picture Gollum stroking his ring and saying “my precious.” Lucky for me, it wears off fairly quickly. It did, however, cause some marital discord this week when, in an effort to keep his new phone “pristine” he deleted some pictures of our dinner before I had the chance to email them to myself. So you’ll just have to be satisfied with my description of our cabbage steaks and potatoes* instead of the awesome photos I took.

We were so pleased with our bbq pulled pork shoulder in the crockpot from last week that we decided to do it again this week, but to change up the flavor profile for tacos. We prepped the shoulder the same way as last week, but we seasoned it instead with chili powder, lime juice, salt, cumin, garlic (we used fresh, but powder would be fine for this rub) and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (you could use beer also, but we drank ours before we got it into the crockpot lol). Again, we eyeballed the measurements, but just know that we only used around a tablespoon of most of the seasonings and four limes worth of juice. We omitted the onions on the bottom this time, but that might not be a bad addition next time we make it.

For an appetizer we wanted to make homemade guac because a) we love it and b) we just added cilantro to our wall herb planter!  The only catch is that Mr. Foodie has developed an intolerance to tomatoes in almost every form except ketchup (which let’s face it is barely made from tomatoes). I’ve never made guac without them, and to be honest, I usually make guac with the powdered mix. This time, though, I wanted to experiment. I did find a tomato-less recipe for guac online, but I adapted it so I wouldn’t have to buy extra ingredients. For this recipe, I cubed the guac (see the easy way to do this) and squeeze lime juice from four limes over it (these weren’t the juiciest limes ever, but you need to make sure you have enough to cover every bit of that avocado so they don’t turn brown on you – the last think you want your guac to look like is baby poop lol). I added a good amount of salt (guac can stand up to quite a bit because it is so creamy) and I added finely minced fresh garlic. I also took the smallest onion I had, cut it in half, and diced one half finely. Lastly, I added a handful of cilantro, roughly chopped. Then I took the potato masher and mashed it all together. It was delicious. I didn’t even miss the tomatoes.


For the Southwest salad, we really just used what we had plus some bell peppers. I diced the other half of my onion, tossed that in with a can of washed, drained black-eyed peas and two diced bell peppers (one yellow, one red). We had romaine, so we used romaine. our recipe made a big salad, so pick a lettuce that will be okay the next day so you can enjoy the leftovers. We made our own dressing as well – just olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, and some cayenne. I admit I tried-and-errored it until I got the flavor right. You should have roughly equal amounts of lime juice and olive oil. If you add heat, you might want to add some sweetness (different recipes call for either sugar or honey, but agave might be good too), and remember that you can always add more salt, but you can’t subtract it once it’s in there. Put in a lidded container so you can shake to mix it up. It will separate if you make it ahead, but then just shake it again before you dress the salad.

Last but not least, the tacos! The pulled pork turned out wonderfully again – crockpots are the best!  I didn’t want to mask the taste of the delicious pork, so I served it with only three toppings – a bit of crystal hot sauce, some small scoops of the guac, and some shredded cheese. I like crunchy tacos and Mr. Foodie likes soft. We are going to experiment next time with corn tortillas which I’m sure will be lovely.


We also played a new board game called Kill Dr. Lucky which has been around for many years, but is new to us. It is kind of like Clue, but where you are trying to kill a character instead of figure out who killed him. The turn-switching thing got the better of me, but that might have had more to do with the beer than the game 😛 I ended up winning, so all’s well that ends well!

*We used this Roasted Cabbage w/ Bacon Gremolata recipe because I can’t get enough of cabbage and I’m always looking for new ways to cook it. We tried sauteeing it a few posts ago and it was delicious. This way is easy because you slice it like a cut of steak, brush olive oil and salt/pepper on it (I might add red pepper flakes next time) and roast it at 400 for 30+ minutes (check for crispiness), flipping half-way. The gremolata was easy to make – just finely chop up some crispy bacon (or bacon substitute if you want to go veggie), zest 1 lemon, mince fresh parsley (we used cilantro because it’s what we had!), and I added some parmesan cheese instead of the almonds because…we didn’t have them lol I can’t stress enough how much you shouldn’t let absent ingredients stop you from trying a new recipe. Google “substitute for..” and you’ll find an answer for just about everything. The cabbage “steaks” were wonderful! The crispy edges were caramelized, and the cabbage was perfectly cooked in the middle. The gremolata added this zesty, salty flavor to the cabbage that was to die for. To stay veggie and keep with our “steak and frites” theme, we made simple, roasted potatoes to go with it. It was a lovely almost-meat-free (maybe meat-light is a better term) weeknight dinner.

Check us out on instagram @fairfaxfoodie 🙂