A Love Affair

4 08 2011

On Monday, Chloe made you all drool with our pictures from this month’s Eating Club. Yes, it’s ok to be jealous. Maybe one day there will be an eating club near you! (Um, that means YOU need to start one!) 🙂

Anyhow, Chloe mentioned that I made ribs for our berry-themed meal. Who associates ribs with berries? Me apparently. I was worried that we’d have a lack of main entrees for our Berry BBQ, so I did some searching on Tastespotting, and came up with a recipe from The Feral Kitchen for Strawberry Chipotle Beef Ribs. We’re not going to talk about that blog’s name right now, but I decided that THIS would be my recipe.

I was being pretty ambitious selecting this recipe because A) it required me to make my own barbeque sauce, which I’ve never done and B) it required me to make ribs, which I’ve never done either.

But, as soon as I saw that the recipe included Dr. Pepper, I knew I had to make it.

Confession: I have always had a thing for Dr. Pepper. I don’t drink a lot of soda, but if I need a caffeine boost and coffee won’t cut it, Diet Dr. Pepper is my beverage of choice. However, one time while visiting my cousin in North Carolina, I discovered Cheerwine.


If you have never tried Cheerwine, drive (or fly) yourself to the closest quickie mart in North Carolina and grab a 6-pack. It’s like Dr. Pepper…but, dare I say, better? (Side note: Cheerwine is a soda, or pop, or cola, or coke or whatever you call a carbonated beverage. It has no alcohol in it.)

I’ve had this one bottle of Cheerwine in my fridge that I’ve been saving since my last NC visit, and normally I would partake in the best way to enjoy Cheerwine, that is, to drink it. But I didn’t have any Dr. Pepper on hand for my recipe and I didn’t feel like leaving my air conditioned home to go to the store to buy some soda, so I figured Cheerwine would make a fine replacement. Sorry Dr. Pepper, but I’m cheating on you with Cheerwine. 😉

So, I gathered my ingredients for the sauce:

Strawberries, chipotle peppers, brown sugar, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Cheerwine, soy sauce, sweet brown rice syrup, seasoned salt

The original recipe calls for “Indonesian soy sauce” which I didn’t have or want to go find, so I just used regular soy sauce and stirred in a few tablespoons of brown rice syrup.  Google suggests a combo of molasses and chicken stock as a replacement for Indonesian soy sauce.

I put all of them into a pot, and let them cook on medium low heat.

The recipe said this takes 45 minutes. I, however, think I kept my heat too low, and so it took a lot longer (basically, when you make it, just keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally, and let it thicken). In fact, while everything was cooking, I did a Jillian Michaels workout DVD. Yes, I am the master of multitasking.

While the sauce was simmering, I prepped the ribs. I tossed them with some of my homemade “Indonesian soy sauce,” some Cheerwine, and some salt and pepper, and let them marinate in the fridge until I was ready to put them in the oven.

2.5 hours before  I needed to leave for Eating Club, I put the ribs in a foil-lined baking pan. I baked them at 350° for about 1.5 hours, and then pulled them out and glazed them with the finally-the-right-thickness Strawberry Chipotle BBQ sauce. I popped ’em back in the oven under the broiler (on low) for another 3o minutes (15 on each side), until the sauce was caramelizing on top of the ribs.


When I arrive at Eating Club, I tossed them on the grill for a few minutes, just to heat them through again. Then, we could all dig in.

Let me tell you, these ribs were all about the sauce. Best. BBQ sauce. EVER! It has the slight sweetness from the strawberries and hint of smoky heat from the chipotle. The flavor was really complex, and we definitely decided it would taste good on everything. We tested that theory, even putting the BBQ sauce on Allie’s cranberry walnut bread. Yup, we were right.

But don’t take my word for it. Go make some yourself. You won’t regret it. I think Dr. Pepper will be okay with it.

Strawberry-Chipotle BBQ Ribs

adapted from Feral Kitchen


  • 2 large racks beef ribs (about 7 pounds)
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or molasses
  • 4oz Cheerwine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce (see recipe below)

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wash, trim and cut into individual beef ribs.  Toss ribs in a large bowl and drizzle on  soy sauce, brown rice syrup,  and rub with salt and pepper.  On a foil lined pan (or large cookie sheet) place ribs.  Cover with more foil and put in the oven.  Bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tender.  Remove foil and brush with sauce.  Turn on the broiler and broil until sauce is slightly caramelized.  Turn ribs over and brush with more sauce.  Broil again until caramelized.

BBQ Sauce

  • 1 lb. strawberries (cleaned, hulled and quartered)
  • 1 can (12 oz) Cheerwine
  • 1 c. tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbls. soy sauce + 1/2 Tbls. sweet rice syrup
  • 2 Tbls. chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt

Toss all the ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Eat it on everything.

Question of the day: What’s your favorite kind of BBQ sauce?

July Eating Club: A Very Berry BBQ

1 08 2011

Happy August Friends! I know that I am not the only one who has no idea how August is already here! Although to be honest, at the end of every weekend, I say that I can’t believe its almost Monday and at the end of every month, I profoundly exclaim that I can’t believe the month is over. Time flies when you’re having fun 🙂 Or as Chris would say, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”

Anyyyway, I know that you all were on pins and needles wondering when we were going to have Eating Club in July. Don’t worry, we have yet to miss our monthly (and VERY important) all girls food fest and we had no plans of skipping it in July either. We squeezed in a Sunday afternoon club meeting yesterday afternoon. Since berries are ripe for the picking these days, Steph and I thought that it would be really fun to have each girl come up with a dish (drink, appetizer, main dish, side or dessert) that incorporated some type of berry. Kind of like an Iron Chef, Eating Club Style. Other than the rule that each dish had to have some type of berry in it, the girls were free to create whatever their hearts desired. The girls did not let each other down!

Eating Club this month was at my house. Girls showed up around 5:30 and immediately dug into some strawberry, raspberry and pineapple salsa, served with cinnamon chips…

After snacking and catching up for a bit inside, we headed up to my rooftop patio, which is complete with grills and patio tables with chairs.

We enjoyed Allie’s Cranberry Walnut Bread.

I awkwardly poured everyone some Berry Spritzer…

We got the grills going with Steph’s strawberry chipotle BBQ ribs and my shrimp, mango and blackberry skewers, which had been marinating in a sesame gingery teriyaki sauce for a few hours!
The girls hung out and tried not to sweat in the heat. It was hot, but so nice to be outside on the roof!
Allie kept me company while I manned the grill, and filled me in on life in Charlottsville VA, working with Matt and Kath at Great Harvest.
The green portion of our meal came in the form of a summer spinach salad with strawberries, raspberries, dried cranberries, candied walnuts AND almonds. The salad was dressed in a raspberry vinaigrette.
Steph’s ribs were out of this world. We both decided that they needed their own post, so stay tuned!
The skewers turned out great as well. The saltiness of the marinade complemented the sugars from the mango and blackberries and the grill gave it all a really smoky BBQ taste.
We managed to get one group shot before digging in, but didn’t pay enough attention to the light and ended up with a half sunny/half shady picture. We were too hungry and hot to retake it though so moved on the feast!
And if our antioxidant and sugar levels were not high enough already…dessert! We decided to move the party back inside to my cool apartment before digging into some ridiculously decadent berry treats.
Blueberry pie STRAIGHT out of the oven…
A berry custard pie, which was made with  a shortcake base, cream cheese custard filling and heaps upon heaps of fresh berries on top!
And last but definitely not least, oatmeal raspberry preserve bars. These were so simple, so sweet and so unbelievably addicting! (I asked to keep the leftovers!)
We each made ourselves a plate of dessert and sunk into the floor, couch, chair or any other space where we could begin digesting this amazing meal.
If you are just hearing about EC for the first time, check out our previous meetings. Each month we feature a recipe that one of the girls created. This month’s featured recipe is…

Oatmeal Raspberry Bars

(Created by Jenny and adapted from Real Simple)


What You Need:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberry preserves

What to Do:

  • Heat oven to 350° F. Place the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until the ingredients are combined and the dough is crumbly. Add the oats and lemon zest. Pulse to combine. Press 2/3 of the dough firmly into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Spread the preserves evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining dough over the jam, gently pressing down. Bake until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut into 24 bars. Enjoy!

Question of the Day: If you could pick one ingredient to be used on Iron Chef, what would it be?

Hoooooold UP!

14 06 2011

Hey Friends! Chloe here. Just wondering…did anyone else start their morning off with a great workout? One might think that by now (after competitive swimming since the age of 7), I would be tired of morning swim workouts, but I even after 19 years of swimming, (UM WOW. that makes me feel old.) I still love starting my day off in the pool. I was definitely dragging this morning when I got up, but getting to the pool and getting in a good workout with Chris and Victoria  got my day off to a great start. I feel like no matter what happens today, I have done something good for myself. And that is important.

OK so maybe I still look a little tired...

Do something good for yourself today.

I did something good for myself this past weekend too. I took 72 hrs off of training!

For a number of reasons, I did not rest for my half marathon last weekend. I am pretty sure that the endorphins from that race got me through training last week. I am A BIG supporter of taking at least one day off per week. And I mean completely off…no yoga, no short swimming, no casual jogs. OFF! But because I knew that I would be out of town for a wedding this past weekend (aka eating, drinking and dancing the weekend away), I decided to break my own rule and hold off on a rest day. While I managed to get through training last week, I was EXTREMELY ready for my 72 hrs of no training!  Last week’s training included:

Sunday: Zooma Women’s 1/2 Marathon

Monday: 3200 meters swim

Tuesday: AM run 4.5 miles PM bike 60 min

Wednesday: AM Swim 2200 PM bike 60 min

Thursday: AM swim 3000 PM got my bike fitted!

Friday: AM 11 mile run

Saturday: OFF

Sunday: OFF

Chris and  I left bright and early on Saturday morning for a wedding at Duke University. I was in need of leaving everything behind and just enjoying the weekend away. Not only did this include my running shoes and bathing suit, but also my camera and computer. No blogging and no training.  I let lose and had fun 🙂 I am the type of person who forgets to stop and smell the roses. I love setting and accomplishing goals, making plans, and crossing off to do lists. But in the midst of doing these things, I don’t leave much room for that mid afternoon glass of wine, last dance right before last call, or lazy Sunday morning brunch with friends. This past weekend I did all of these things. I ate and drank delicious food and wine, stayed out late dancing, spent time with friend’s that I had not seen in a while and remembered what it was like to just let life happen. It isn’t something that I think is necessary every weekend, but every once in a while, you just gotta hoooooooold up! It feels good. And…just so happens that if you stay at the bars in Durham, NC (where Duke is located), you have a chance at running into some celebrities 🙂 We ran into Mason and Marshall Plumlee (no Miles 😦 But it was still a highlight of the weekend!

On a completely different note…if you are in need of a SUPER EASY, fantastic summer recipe. Make this bruschetta. Bring it to your next pot luck BBQ. Your friends will thank you and you will thank me!

Easy Summer Bruschetta

What You Need:

**I didn’t measure anything. I bought a bunch of each and eyeballed it all…so this is all amountsISH.

  • 5 medium tomatoes (take out gooey inside and just cube outside layer)
  • approximately 2 cups cubed fresh mozzarella (I like cheese so was generous)
  • 15 leaves of fresh basil (chopped)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 4 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

What to do:

  • Cube your tomatoes and mozzarella
  • Chop up your basil
  • Throw it in a bowl.

  • Stir in the balsamic, garlic and S&P

  • Mix it up and enjoy on your favorite toasty baguette

Questions of the Day:

1)Are you the type of person who is good at pressing the pause button? Or are you a go go getter who needs a reminder every once in a while to slooooow down?

2) What is your favorite easy bring to a pot luck BBQ dish??


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