Monday, October 28, 2013


Saturday Night the Navy Daycare hosted a "date night" which we took advantage of. You can drop your child off and they watch them from 5pm-12am for only $4.00/ hour!  We have not found a babysitter here yet, and I'm a little intense about who I let babysit Henry, so I haven't felt comfortable just finding some random person to do it. And even though R keeps suggesting something like, I have not warmed to that idea yet. This is perfect though because we know the daycare adheres to very strict standards, has cameras, and lots of fun things for Henry to do.

 We could have gone out to eat or something but I have really wanted to just stay home lately and be a homebody. Maybe its the cooler weather? Rather than just staying at home ( in which case we could just save the moolah and have a date night for free after H went to bed) I decided I wanted us to go for a romantic picnic on the beach.

Normally R plans our dates and surprises me, which is always super fun. He comes up with the best stuff! I asked if I could plan this date night and got to work. Even though R knows what we were doing, he didn't know the menu. Saturday morning, R went to the gym and to study and H and I hung out. As soon as H went down for a nap (without a fight!) I got to work. I really wanted everything to be done before R got home. I decided I wanted to do something simple, low fuss and easy to eat/pack up. I also decided I wanted to do a bunch of our favorite foods. I even typed up a cute little menu card. Here is what I planned:


To start

Sparkling Wine
Francis Copola Winery, California

Shrimp Cocktail
Wild-Caught Gulf Shrimp with home-made cocktail sauce

Smoky Sweet Potato Soup
With Smoked sea salt and paprika


Chicken Caesar Salad
All natural lemon-pepper chicken breast on a bed of romaine lettuce
 topped with vegan almond-tahini caesar dressing


Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Hand dipped in semi-sweet chocolate

When we were on our honeymoon cruise, I had shrimp cocktail every single night as my appetizer, and it was sooo good. It's the best appetizer to me,  and can be a great simple meal as well. It is easy to whip up, doesn't call for a ton of prep (as long as you get deveined/peeled shrimp), and is elegant. It's also super healthy (always get wild caught shrimp- if it does not say that on the package or at the grocery butcher, then most likely it is from a farm in Thailand). We are lucky that we have a fantastic fish market nearby and its cheaper to get seafood than any other kind of meat there. 


One of Coach's favorite salads is caesar salad, and one of his fave meals is chicken caesar salad. His all time fave fruit is Strawberries. He likes my home made caesar dressing and loves when I make chocolate covered strawberries. 


I originally decided on that particular sparkling wine because it was in these dainty little cans, and because we were going to a beach, we are not supposed to bring glass containers. I then realized after purchasing this wine, that the only food containers we have are glass, so we are going to be rule breakers! Ha! 

This is how I packaged the chicken caesar salad and dressing:


For my chocolate covered strawberries: I followed the same recipe as my chocolate covered pretzels recipe with a few changes. For the strawberries, I did not put the milk in the chocolate. Also, make sure to allow the strawberries to dry completely after washing, and make sure they are not cold. These two things make the chocolate "clutch" when dipping them and does not taste or look as good. Also, once you've dipped the strawberries let them cool for an hour or two on the counter before putting them into the fridge for another hour or two. If chocolate cools too quickly it becomes dull and grainy. And girl, let me tell you, there's nothing less romantic than a grainy chocolate covered strawberry. 
(I jest). 


Coach took me to a new restaurant the other day, he wrote about it on his blog this past week.  I ordered a cup of this AMAZE-FEST sweet potato soup as an appetizer and just about died. It was so simple but so good- it was spicy and smokey and was topped with pumpkin seeds. I dreamt about it all week and decided I had to make my own version for our appetizer. Its super simple. I didn't have pumpkin seeds lying around, so I did omit that. Also, I totally forgot to take a photo of the soup. But... as I'm sure you can imagine, it looks like sweet potato soup. Shocker, I know. 

1 TBS Olive Oil
1/2 medium onion diced 
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 
3-4 cloves garlic, minced 
2-4 Cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup whole milk (or any unsweetened/unflavored milk substitute) 
Smoked Sea Salt
Smoked Paprika
Chili Powder
Salt, Pepper to taste 
Worchestershire sauce

1. Heat olive oil in dutch oven or large sauce pan
2. saute onion for 1 minute
3. add garlic and saute another minute
4. add stock or water and sweet potatoes, bring to a boil
5. lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender
6. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes (or longer until cool if you are not using a blender/food processor that can handle hot liquid/food)
7. pour most liquid into a cup, set aside
8. blend sweet potato/onion/garlic mixture until smooth
9. Add milk and some of the broth and blend until it reaches the thickness/consistency you desire 
10. Start with 1 tsp of the sea salt, chili powder, and paprika until seasoned to your liking (smoky flavoring is something that people can be very sensitive to- so do the amount you are comfortable with!)
11. Add a few dashes of Worchestershire sauce to brighten the flavor 
12. test and correct seasoning as desired. 
13. Enjoy! 

Yields 4 appetizer-sized servings

We don't have an official picnic basket but we do have a cute sturdy basket with a handle, which will be perfect for us two.
I wanted to make this as special as possible even though its so simple, so i decided to go with real silverware and cloth napkins.




The above photo has a slightly obscured photo of the ever-elusive sweet potato soup. 





1 comment:

  1. This is just the most amazing thing ever!!!! I love your jars and every little detail. I'm going to have to do this very soon. Thank you so much for posting and your blog is awesome :)