Charlotte Restaurants: Healthy, Casual, Lunch, Juice Bars, Caterer

I haven’t had time to post many new recipes lately, but I am providing more restaurant reviews and ideas around Charlotte!  All opinions are my own, and nothing is sponsored.  Because I record almost everything I eat, including when we go to restaurants, I want to share my eating-out recommendations.  I posted some fancier, foodie options last week.  Today, however, I am switching gears and giving a list of healthy, casual places.  And I am also including a catering company that I have worked with and personally recommend.

best restaurants in Charlotte

Luna’s Living Kitchen.  Todd took me here for my birthday lunch last year.  It is plant-based, organic, local, mostly raw food in a bright and pretty setting.  The atmosphere and food were both great.  I had an almond milk chai latte that was really really tasty.  It has been awhile since eating there, and I’m ready to go back soon!

best restaurants in Charlotte; Luna's Living Kitchen

Juice Bar.  Charlotte has 2 locations, one on Providence and one in Park Rd shopping center.  I have personally only been to the one on Park Rd, but I am sure they are both equally great!  I am a healthy eater, but for some reason I was scared to try fresh green juice.  But now I wish I had tried it sooner!  And I especially wish one of those locations was right down the street from my house!  I have had the Sweet Greens, the Orange You Glad, and the Sniffle Stopper shot – all fantastic. They also offer spring rolls, salads, smoothies, and other snacks.

best green juice in Charlotte

Juice Bar; Orange You Glad

Viva Chicken.  Unfortunately I always forget to snap a picture when we eat Viva Chicken!  We all love this restaurant, which is a huge bonus as a parent.  We typically order the Peruvian rotisserie chicken with sides (their green beans are my favorite) and get plenty of the dipping sauces.  If you only need one reason to try this place, let that reason be the sauces!  We also love the Quinoa Stuffed Avocado.  And most recently we tried their salads.  The Andina Quinoa Salad was amazing.  The Herbal Limeade was another hit – it is fresh and has lime, mint, rosemary, and basil!

Chop’t.  Todd and I ate lunch at Chop’t in New York when we were there a couple of years ago.  One just recently opened very close to our house and we couldn’t wait to go!  On a recent day when we were having a bunch of work done on our house, and Davis was in school, we took a little salad lunch break to get away from the chaos.  We were very impressed by the service and the food.  I love their salad concept – they toss all of the ingredients together, then chop them up as finely as you prefer.  Everything is evenly mixed and you don’t have huge pieces of lettuce hanging from your fork!  Todd tried one of their Hot-Top Salads, the Braised Greek (spicy Greek chicken and quinoa, millet, lentils; served hot over feta, olives, pita chips, kale, spinach, and cabbage). I made my own salad and included kale/leafy greens/cabbage mix, broccoli, tomato, cucumber, dried cranberries, blue cheese, chicken, and some kind of nuts.  So good!  Oh, and don’t forget to check out their creative wallpaper!

best salad place in Charlotte; lunch restaurants in Charlotte; healthy food in Charlotte

Reid’s.  Changing gears a bit and discussing a wonderful catering option in Charlotte!  Reid’s Fine Foods has been around Charlotte for years, but they have expanded their brand.  I have worked with their catering division on two events recently, and I was very pleased both times!  The food, service, and presentation were all wonderful.  I wanted to post it here in case anyone needs a suggestion for an upcoming event, work function, or wedding.  If you’d like my contact person, I will be happy to share!  Here are a couple of the photos of food they did for the recent CURATEclt gathering.

Reid's Fine Foods Catering, Charlotte NC; catering companies in Charlotte, NC

Reid's Fine Foods Catering in Charlotte, NCReid's Fine Foods Catering in Charlotte, NC

Friday Favorites

Working for the weekend – and it’s finally here!  Todd has been traveling the entire week, and we have missed him like crazy.

Today I am linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.  I am also linking up with the group from High Five for Friday, Bright on a Budget!

ONE: Peonies! Always a favorite.  My sweet husband gave me a beautiful bouquet including some for Mother’s Day, my mother-in-law brought me a mason jar of them from her yard (they smell amazing!) and my mom’s gift to me for Mother’s Day is to help me plant a peony garden in my yard!  Good things.  And I feel so loved by those 3 people.

peonies flowers from the garden

The now-everywhere OPI polish on my nails (loveitsomuch!)

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TWO: Sneak peek for next week!  I am working on a collaboration with Pink Blush Maternity, with a giveaway…coming soon!!  If you are expecting, stay tuned for that, plus 3 other looks and outfit ideas.  Photo credit goes to Andi Perullo.

headshot in Pink Blush Maternity

THREE: Roasted Carrot Hummus.  If you are eating paleo or Whole 30, or avoiding legumes in general, I want to share this wonderful diet-friendly hummus with you!  It is made with a base of roasted carrots and roasted cauliflower, rather than chickpeas.  I added extra lemon juice, a little extra cauliflower, and some extra of the seasonings. The 3 of us really enjoyed this, and it was a great way to add more vegetable servings to Davis’ meals. We served ours with paleo BLT wraps and veggies.

paleo hummus recipeCarrot hummus recipe; paleo hummus recipe

FOUR: Some outfit details.  This light wash chambray shirt dress from Old Navy is a current favorite.  And on sale!  I wore it on Mother’s Day and I’m wearing it again today. I bought a size up to fit my bump, but it would be super cute in your normal size if you’re able to wear regular clothes.  The t-shirt in the casual outfit below is from Asos, and it is maternity.  I wore it two full days in a row this week!  I am also loving this nail polish on my toes (a really pretty dark green), and this watch from my boys for Mother’s Day!

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maternity t-shirt from asos

simple details

This watch has rose gold, which makes it so pretty and feminine.  And the bracelet from Etsy is one I’ve had since the month my son was born.  I wear it daily. It says DAVIS with his birthday.   I hope to add another when baby #2 comes!

FIVE: If you missed it earlier this week, I posted a Charlotte Restaurant Review.  The list includes some awesome restaurants in and around our city that are perfect for date nights and foodies! I will have another post with some more casual spots next week.

best restaurants in Charlotte

Five on Friday linkup graphich54f2_zpsc7e1f4e7Friday Favorites graphic

 

 

 

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What I Ate in One Day, Including a Cheat Meal

I have no idea how this post will go over, and most of you may not care one bit what I eat!  But, I love seeing bloggers’ meal plans, healthy eating tips, and records of what a day in the life: meals version looks like.  So on Friday I decided to record everything that I ate, including our cheat dinner and TV-watching snacks!

The pictures are not pretty, and this is not a perfect way to eat, but I’m just being real!

We are eating mostly grain- dairy- and sugar-free, but this day I made some exceptions. 

BREAKFAST: Smoothie bowl (spinach, berries, banana, pineapple, chia seeds, probiotic, unsweetened almond milk, raw almond butter) with grain-free “granola” (nuts, coconut, coconut oil, cinnamon, and a bit of stevia) and decaf (with a tiny bit of regular mixed in) coffee with Califia Farms almond creamer, vanilla unsweetened.

smoothie and grain free granola bowl; coffee; healthy breakfast

LUNCH: I packed this as a to-go lunch because I was planning to be out of the house.  Being pregnant, I can’t skip meals without feeling sick, so I like to be prepared.  This meal was SO filling and delicious.  I will absolutely eat this for lunches in the future!

2 boiled eggs; 1/2 avocado; 1 kiwi; carrots; cucumber; whole grain mustard + balsamic vinegar for dipping; himalayan pink sea salt for the avocado and egg

what to pack for lunch; how to pack a healthy lunch; grain-free lunch

WATER: I try to drink plenty throughout the day.  I added lime and mint to keep it interesting.

lime mint infused water

SNACKS: Again, not ideal, but they’re a tiny bit better than my old go-to, tortilla chips!

sweet potato chipsdried apricots

DINNER: We had a family date night at a Greek-style restaurant.  We ordered several smaller plates to share.  These included lamb skewers, broccolini, hummus with pita (I skipped the pita), marsala mushrooms, and a prosciutto and burrata caprese salad.  Oh my, that salad was divine!

Greek restaurant in Charlotte

Ilios noche restaurant

TV SNACK: Todd and I caught up on Modern Family and New Girl and enjoyed some La Croix and homemade popcorn.  I make my popcorn with non-GMO kernels, a little coconut oil and some sea salt.  I cook it in a brown paper bag in the microwave and we love it!

homemade popcorn and La Croix

There it is!  An honest, not-very-glamorous look at my meals in a day.

Apple Rosemary Grilled Pork Tenderloin

A while ago, I asked my mom to send me her pork tenderloin marinade recipe.  She sent me a copy of 3 different recipes written on the same piece of paper.  When she is trying something new, she likes to take bits and pieces from several recipes and combine them.  This method works, and her food is always delicious, but it’s a bummer when you want to make the same thing twice!

I made this pork tenderloin for Easter, then I made it again for a dinner party last weekend.  After making this twice recently, I finally wrote down the marinade recipe – my interpretation of my mom’s ideas.

The combination of apple cider, whole grain mustard, apple cider and balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and garlic and rosemary – is ideal.  We love this recipe, and it is perfect if you’re hosting a crowd!

apple rosemary grilled pork tenderloin

If you’ve never cooked pork tenderloin, you should absolutely try it!  The only prep is to cut off the silver skin (it’s connective tissue, you’ll see it), and marinate it!  Then it is so simple to grill.

I do recommend buying a digital thermometer.  I use one any time I grill or even when I cook meat or fish in the oven to prevent over-cooking. These two are great options.

meat thermometermeat thermometer

Pork tenderloin can also be roasted or seared on the stove then finished in the oven.

The ideal internal temperature is between 137-145 degrees.  To keep it tender, do not let it cook longer than that! It may be a tiny bit pink in the inside, but that is okay.

Apple Rosemary Grilled Pork Tenderloin

This makes 4 (2 packs) of pork tenderloin and serves 12 people.
  • 1  1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp stone ground (whole grain) mustard
  • 4 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Prepare the marinade.  Trim the silver skin from the pork tenderloin.  (It is easiest if you use a boning, or a very sharp knife).

Pour some of the marinade in a casserole dish.  Add the pork, then pour the remainder of the marinade on top.  Refrigerate and leave in the marinade for at least 4 hours.  Closer to 8 hours would be better!

An hour before serving, remove from the refrigerator.  Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling.  Preheat the grill to medium.  Grill for several minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches between 137-145 degrees.

After removing from the grill, let rest for at least 15 minutes.  Then slice with a serrated or boning knife.  Slice at a diagonal instead of straight down.

We love to serve this with sides such as mashed cauliflower or roasted sweet potatoes, maple dijon green beans, and a salad of mixed greens, balsamic dressing, sliced apples, bacon, pecans, gorgonzola, etc.

Randoms: Our Weekend, Maternity Clothes, Pregnancy Skin Solutions…

This post may give you a glimpse into how my brain is working lately!  Scattered and random. Lol!  Some of my favorite posts from other bloggers are the ones like this, with an assortment of thoughts, tips, and wish list items.

Also, I promise this space is not going to turn into a pregnancy blog.  I am not planning to do regular updates, but I do have some clothing wish list items, and some skin tips to share!  Since we just made our news public, I’ve been holding onto these thoughts.  

First, our weekend was pretty wonderful!  We had a family date night on Friday, which involved dinner at Ilios Noche (delicious!) and a trip to Lowe’s.  On Saturday I went to our town’s farmers’ market, we worked in the yard, and we helped celebrate one of my college roommates’ birthdays.  I have zero pictures with my girlfriends, unfortunately, but it was  a fun night!  On Sunday we went to church, worked on some home improvements, and we had several of our sweet neighbors over for dinner.  Since we are attempting to eat healthier and have fewer cheat meals, that fruit tray was our “dessert.”

Greek restaurant in CharlotteIMG_6585farmers market findsfruit dessert; healthy dessert idea; clean eating

Maternity clothes…well, a few months ago, I gave away all of my maternity clothes and pregnancy books.  I honestly thought I would never need them again!  So I am trying to re-stock some of the basics!  Asos was my go-to when I was pregnant with Davis, and I found some great options from there again.  I just ordered the black swimsuit, in 2 sizes, because they offer free shipping and free returns! $43 for a bathing suit is not a bad price at all.

ripped white jeans | white dress | blue bathing suit | black bathing suit | red off-shoulder dress

Let’s talk about skin.  Once I found out I was expecting, I had to stop using some of my skincare items.  I researched safe skincare lines, and Juice Beauty is one that had wonderful reviews!  Thank the lord for their blemish clearing peel, because my skin has been rough the last week!  I’ve also been relying on jojoba oil to remove my makeup.  Bonus!…it seems to help keep my eyelashes a good length, now that I’m scared to use my favorite Neulash.

Juice Beauty organic peel

Before, I loved using the Rodan & Fields microdermabrasion paste, and the Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads for skin boosts.

I wish I could find the original source of this hilarious and oh-so-true quote!

Monday quote

That’s all of my brain dump…for now.  ;)

 

 

 

Five on Friday

Happy weekend, everyone!

Today I am linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.

ONE: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who commented on my blog and on instagram, and sent me texts and emails after we shared our news yesterday!  We are thrilled and feel beyond blessed and grateful!  I seriously could not have been happier yesterday!  We should find out whether we are having a boy or a girl in a little over a month, and we will definitely share!  Either way, I can’t wait to see our sweet Davis become a big brother!

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TWO: Speaking of Davis, sort of, do you all like country music?  If you love it like I do, or even if it’s not your favorite, you should listen to Tim McGraw’s new song “Humble and Kind.”  We heard it in the car the other day, and I just can’t help but pray those things for our children.  It’s a great message, and I don’t know if it’s my pregnancy hormones, or just because I’m a mom, but it about makes me teary every time I hear it!

new Ray Bans sunglasses

Also….I finally bought some Ray Bans!  They have been on my wish list for a very long time, but since I have never owned nice sunglasses, I was hesitant to purchase.  I saved up gift cards from Christmas and my birthday, and bought this pair!  I love them! PLUS, they are currently on SALE!

Don’t worry – my car was completely stopped when I took this. 

THREE: Todd and I are working on eating closer to a paleo diet, and I wanted something new for dinner this week.  We are not doing it strictly by any means, and we are adjusting to no grains/sugar/dairy slowly.  I do have to say, not eating dairy the past few days has been great!  We will “cheat” every now and then, and if I feel like I need to eat something off the ‘diet’ I will!  I just want to eat much cleaner.  Anyway, I made a version of these turkey sweet potato burgers from Dashing Dish, and they were delicious!  My changes:  I added about 1 Tbsp worcestershire, and left out the garlic powder.  I grilled them, served them over baby spinach, topped them with tomato and avocado mashed with salt and lime.  Davis loved them as well!!

paleo meal; sweet potato turkey burger

P.S. Costco sells organic ground turkey!

FOUR: Honor Roll Designs has some new looks!!! One is dedicated to the Summer Olympics, specifically the gymnastics team!  When you all were younger, did you watch the Olympics?  I remember that Sarah and I were so into watching gymnastics!  Remember these names from the 1996 USA Gymnastics team?…Kerri Strug, Shannon Miller, Dominique Dawes, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden, Jaycie Phelps, Dominique Moceanu!  This shirt is in honor of them!  Also, I recently bought the Gap shorts pictured (in a size up) for the warmer weather.

Olympics gymnasticsSummer Olympics gymnastics shirt; Magnificent 7 shirt

FIVE: We were able to go down to Topsail Island last week with some of our family.  It was a weekend dedicated to improving and cleaning my grandparents’ beach house, but we also had a little fun on the beach.  Davis LOVES the beach, and it makes my heart so so happy!

Topsail Beach, NC

Also, if you need any more convincing to visit my favorite place, read this article by my cousin, Allie!  9 Reasons Why Topsail is the Best Beach in NC

 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Thank you again for all of the amazing support!

 

 

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Friday Favorites

Another weekend is here, praise the Lord!
I’m happy to be linking up with April, Natasha, and Christina; Karli; Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Five on Friday, Oh Hey Friday!, and Friday Favorites.

ONE: Starting this list off with some pretty dresses from Asos that are making me want spring and summer to get here even faster!

white crochet dress for spring and summer

Fashion Union Smock Dress with Lace Inserts

pom pom cover up

Pom Pom Beach Back Dress, also comes in black, + another cute pom pom back cover-up

Spring dress for wedding guest

Floral Embellished Maxi Dress (Perfect if you will be attending a wedding OR gorgeous for a family/couples photoshoot!)

black off the shoulder ruffle dress

Off the Shoulder Ruffle Dress

striped shift dress

Gemi Dress in Striped Pattern

TWO: Sarah, with Jessica‘s help, started a women’s/moms’ group recently, and I am really enjoying it!  Getting to know some new people, and share mom stories, prayer requests, struggles, and joys, is life-giving.  Jessica suggested that we start by reading Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love.  I am halfway through and I LOVE it.  I would highly recommend this book!  It is a great mix of light-hearted and hilarious, along with encouragement and practical Jesus-loving, child-rearing advice.

For the Love by Jen Hatmaker

THREE: If you’re looking for some food inspiration, you should check out Charlotte Food Bloggers!  I am excited to be a new member of this group!  You can peruse the member directory for a list of local bloggers.

Charlotte Food Bloggers group

FOUR: Do you like Reese’s peanut butter cups?!  If you do, but you’d like a healthier alternative, I have another recipe this week that you definitely need to try!  I wish I could take credit for this one, but this is from oh she glows.  I made her Raw Almond Butter Cups, and they are seriously good.  I made them mini, and I used raw cacao powder instead of basic cocoa powder.  My little “assistant” couldn’t wait to get those cute hands on one…then he immediately asked for another. :)  (It’s best to keep them in the freezer – which is why they look a little frosted).

Raw Almond Butter Cocoa Cups

FIVE: So, mine and Todd’s Valentine’s plans fell through last weekend. Davis was sick for 5 days. :( But we are able to go on a date tonight!  And we are finally trying Kindred!   I can’t wait!  I’m sure I will post food pics on instagram

Have a wonderful weekend!  Thank you for stopping by!

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

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