“Meat” and Potatoes Night

by April on October 20, 2016

One thing I struggle with is multi-course meals. Even though a steak, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable might not seem multi-course, to someone who prefers one pot or one pan type meals, it kind of is. One reason I have a hard time with meals that involve more than one or two things going at the same time is that it’s hard to keep everything in order and being done at the same time so it stays hot ‘n fresh. But every once in a while, I like to eat something that more closely aligns with the classic American dinner meal. And when I do, I like to make it easier and figure out the best order to start.

  1. Mashed potatoes. Boiling the potatoes is the longest part of the process, so I get the water going while I am washing and chopping potatoes. Once those are bubbling, set a timer for 15 minutes. But no rest yet.
  2. Golden gravy. Get the ingredients out while the potatoes are boiling, then get set to assembling it. My adapted recipe is below.
  3. Back to the taters. By this time the potatoes should be done and ready to toss into the stand mixer. Add the other mashed potato fixins (mine are milk, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper). Mix them up and let them rest.
  4. Kale, though. With a free hot burner available, put a large frying pan on it, add in oil, and let it heat through but remember it won’t take long because the eye was just hot from the potatoes. Once heated, add in the kale and begin using tongs to turn it as it sautes.
  5. Back to the gravy. Gravy should be ready by now. Remove it from the heat, whisk it real nice, and set aside.
  6. Kale’s done! Remove it to a platter or the dinner plate and turn the heat down slightly.
  7. Celebration roast. Put 1/4-1/2″ slices of Field Roast’s Celebration Roast in the pan where the kale was, and use the tongs to turn it a few times until it’s lightly browned on both sides and warmed through.
  8. Assemble the plate as each item is ready. Add gravy to the potatoes or roast as desired.

celebration roast meal

One of my favorite parts of this whole meal is the gravy. I’ve adapted my version to consist entirely of pantry ingredients for ease of making, because I find that the times I want this the most are the times I need to worry about ingredient gathering the least.

golden gravy recipe

Golden gravy

(Slightly adapted from this version)

  • 1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup very finely diced onion or 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a sauce pot.
  2. Add the onions once the oil is hot and let cook til translucent. Do not let them brown, keep them moving in the pot.
  3. Mix together the nutritional yeast, flour, and spices.
  4. Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the oil. It might get lumpy but try to keep whisking evenly.
  5. Add the vegetable stock and soy sauce. Keep whisking to keep breaking up any inevitable lumps.
  6. Once the lumps are smoothed out, turn the heat to medium low and let the gravy thicken a bit. Stir occasionally for about three minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve immediately over rice, potatoes, Celebration Roast, or set aside to refrigerate. It reheats well in the microwave, which is great because this recipe makes plenty.


Arepazo Latin Food in Cayce

by April on October 9, 2016

It was a warm spring day in the month April when I was walking back from the spin studio that I had been going to since January. As I passed by the store that advertises Dungeons & Dragons game nights, I turned to look in the windows of the next building, and a sign was in the window. An arepas restaurant was opening… soon, it said! In a fit of excitement I misspelled on this Snapchat I took of the building.

arepas cayce sc

Months passed, no arepas. It got a bit warm for me to do any extreme forms of cardio, so I took a break from spinning. And finally, the word of the restaurant’s opening came by way of Facebook, like it does these days. They were opening September 24, unfortunately a day I was going to be out of town. But that first meal back in town, we walked down there to check it all out to write about it for the Free Times.

There were several other people already sitting down in the casually styled space, enjoying their meals. We approached the counter and perused the menu for several minutes while the friendly folks behind the counter answered questions and showed us how big an arepa was before we ordered. Being brand new and having had a bigger opening weekend than anticipated, they did not have all menu items available.

After getting a Colita soda, a Pelua arepa, a Domino arepa, and an order of Classic Cachapas, we sat down to look around and watch cars pass by.

colita at arepazo latin foods cayce sc

The cachapas, which is like a big corn fritter with a slab of queso within, was luxuriously warm and emitting just enough steam when it came to the table to signal that it was fresh and warm, but not dangerously hot. The sweetness of the corn and the saltiness of the cheese played perfectly off of one another. I will order this again and again, but next time not sharing it.

cachapas arepazo latin foods cayce sc

Each of us had an arepa. The Domino is vegetarian, filled with black beans and shredded queso blanco. Other meatless ones include the Queso Paisa (fresh cheese), Queso Amarillo (gouda cheese), and the Perico (scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and onions). Arepas are like biscuits that are made from corn flour, sliced in half, and filled with the aforementioned fillings, or meats. This makes them naturally gluten-free too, for those seeking that type of nutrition.

arepas arepazo latin foods cayce sc

Arepazo is owned by siblings Jorge Barboza and Marisol Barboza, who are excited to fill this niche in the Midlands dining community with lots of Venezuelan food.

Check them out at 904 Knox Abbott Drive, across from Tony’s Pizzalicious, and next to Carolina Boots & Western Wear. It’s exciting to see the Cayce Avenues become the kind of neighborhood where frequented destinations are within walking distance. We’ll be gladly taking advantage.

arepazo latin foods cayce sc


Drink Up, It’s Olive Oil!

September 9, 2016

THIS IS A SPONSORED POST WRITTEN BY ME ON BEHALF OF EVERGREEN LIFE. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN. THANKS FOR SUPPORTING THE BRANDS THAT SUPPORT THIS BLOG!   The benefits of olive oil are well-known: it’s heart healthy, lowers your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and reduction of inflammation, to name just a few. I recently […]

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Radar Update

August 31, 2016

I just realized that after writing the post about the reality of owning pets that I hadn’t updated with how Radar is doing! But in a phrase, back to normal. In mid-July we took her to have a suspicious lump cut off of her right front arm, and as of that time we didn’t know […]

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A Jaunt Up to IKEA, Plus A Stop at Crepe Cellar

August 29, 2016

When we renovated the kitchen earlier this year, we bought a ton of extra stuff for “just in case” because I figured it would be easier to return a bunch of stuff at once than need to run to IKEA in Charlotte on a Tuesday night from Columbia. So overbuy we did, and we ended […]

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Healthy Choice Simply Cafe Steamers

August 17, 2016

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Healthy Choice. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog!   Lunch is something I take very seriously, especially when it’s during the workweek. It’s a glorious hour to indulge in not working and not thinking and just […]

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Puff Pastry Tomato Pie

July 20, 2016

Summertime is for tomatoes, hands down. Whether it’s plain, big red ones or every color of heirloom under the sun, I’m finding myself unable to resist the siren song of tomatoes at the farmer’s market each week. But that ain’t a bad thing because I can turn them into one of our favorite, favorite summer […]

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The Reality of Owning Pets

July 16, 2016

This isn’t a food related topic but it’s one that I think a lot of people can empathize with: pets. I’ve always, always had at least one pet in the home for my entire life, fish totally not included. There was always at least one dog around as a kid. Often there were multiple dogs because […]

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After the Pin

July 13, 2016

If you’re like me, which is to say, a late 20s to mid 30s female that has access to a computer or smartphone and enjoys doing things with your hands, you probably have indulged in Pinterest sprees. Yes, sprees. Maybe it starts out innocently with wanting to see how a bunch of things will look […]

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Summertime Has Arrived

June 12, 2016

The mercury is up there and people are posting photos of their wildly inaccurate in-vehicle thermometers like we don’t know it’s toasty outside. For the record, some people are posting that its 109F and no, they are wrong. Though I love the warm weather, I’ve been staying in for the most part this weekend, mostly […]

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