Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Owe It To The Junior League..

This year I've finally decided to dedicate some of my extra time {the little that I have} to becoming a member of the Charleston Junior League. As a "provisional" your split up into groups with ladies in your local geographic area. Most groups do fun activities like cocktail parties and dinners, but ours didn't do much, until tonight. We had our first big cocktail outing {hosted by us!} where I learned some interesting points of conversation I thought I'd share:

1.  Gummy vitamins are like candy. Apparently when you get a sweet craving, popping one or four of these puppies give you a boost and satisfy your sweet tooth. Needless to say I think I'll be adding them to my cart the next go-around to Target and you should too.

2. People dumpster dive for coupons, seriously. Couponers are crazy! Apparently they are in 8 week cycles. I shall research this and give your the real details, but really how would the normal person know this? Well, it's a good thing I signed up for the speaker at our next General Membership Meeting so I can learn how. Too bad none of my friends will be joining me as this popular topic is no longer available for sign up. Don't worry girls, I'll make copies of my hand outs and we can all recap. I promise we'll never be dumpster diving. 

3. One of our girls didn't realize Jilllian Michaels is a bitch. Really. She's not a nice lady. Just do the shred and you'll understand- or watch the biggest loser.

4. Mousercize is real. From 1985. Just watch this clip, that's all.

 5. Lastly, by far the best Charleston Junior League Cookbook is and is available for purchase at Charleston Receipts Repeats or from me if your local. Old school southern cooking at it's finest. It's how I'm going to become a true Southern Lady. Stay tuned for recipes, and hopefully some blog posts on the official blog once I get my placement.

For now, here's a sampling of the d'lish southern finds from this book.. make it. You know you want to.


Published in Charleston Receipts and credited to Wilmot Welsh Gibbs, Pargie and Cussie’s dear friend.
  • Fry bacon. Remove bacon from pan.
  • Saute onions in bacon grease.
  • Add tomato paste, water, salt, sugar & pepper.
  • Cook uncovered slowly (about 10 minutes) until it measures about 2 cups.
  • Pour into the top of steamer with the raw rice.
  • Add any extra bacon grease.
  • Steam for 30 minutes, then add crumbled bacon & stir with a fork.
  • Cook for 30-45 minutes longer.
this was found on Taste Book- Charleston Receipts Repeats

6. What the hell is an Estill? For those of you that don't know, the floor plan of our home is called the Estill. I never knew what it meant, but last night one of the neighbors said it may be the builder's last name. WRONG! While in conversation tonight I overheard one of the girls talking about Estill which I've never heard outside of our floorplan name. What is an Estill? It's a town in SC.

Fun night with fabulous girls!
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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pasta Princess

I have a natural talent for all things Italian, more specifically pasta. I guess if I didn't my Nonna and Nonno would be ashamed. It's a good thing I paid attention to the authentic cooking of my grandparents and father while growing up, or I'd be in trouble.

I typically make my best pasta dishes without any recipe and spur of the moment. Exhibit A: Orzo deliciousness.

What you'll need:
1 Cup Orzo Pasta
1 Can Small Chicken Broth {low sodium}
1 Small Can Water
6 Chicken Sausage Links {you can use any kind, but I use Spinach & Feta from Costco }
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3 Cups Fresh Spinach
1 Green Onion, Chopped
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1/2 Lemon, Juiced
1 Small Can Fire Roasted Tomato
1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

First, heat chicken broth and water in a large pot. Once boiling add in Orzo and let cook for 10 minutes. Then strain and add in lemon juice.

In a saute pan add EVOO and Garlic. Add in tomatoes, spinach and green onion. Let saute for 10 minutes.

Grill sausage links until cooked through. Slice into small pieces and toss into saute pan with other ingredients. Let cook for 5 minutes.

Remove sautee and mix with hot orzo. Plate and add feta.

Enjoy, because it ROCKS!

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Decor Queen

Hubby and I have been working hard on getting little odds and ends finished around the house. We've hung some more pictures and have picked up a couple little items that just help make it "home".

We started and are almost complete with hubby's new office. Check out this fabulous desk we found at Office Depot . We painted the same grey color that's in our bedroom because we had so much leftover paint and it looks fabulous with the espresso finish of the desk.

We went to Target and got a few little solar outdoor lights, since my new obsession is to have the front of our house decorated. All of the neighbors have cute little rocking chairs {it's a southern thing}, planters filled with flowers or flower boxes. I can't find planters that I'm in love with, they are always too small or not the right color so I'm seriously considering cute floral boxes with some fun flowers in them.

or something like this

I'll probably opt for something more similar to the second one.

Lastly, I'm looking for a new comforter for the summer for the bedroom. I'd love something greenish and found this set online at Target but the comforter may be too heavy.

I'm obsessed with the color and think it would be fabulous with our black furniture and grey walls.

I'm feeling designer-ish. Finally things are falling together decor-wise.


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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Entertaining 101

We finally felt comfortable enough to host a little Open House last weekend to show off our new home and entertain. It was more of a drop in type of thing, but we ended up having about 30 guests show up so it was a great turn out!

I had a wedding on Friday night and was pretty much a waste on Saturday so we hosted on Sunday. Keep in mind, we did have house guests, so I tried to make the prep and items very simple to put together the morning of. All of these are super easy recipes that you can throw together for hors d'oeuvres or a small gathering.

My nice, full table of snacks. And my fabulous red wall. I just needed a nice large view, because it all looked so fabulous!

Miniature Croissant BLT Sliders, super easy and huge crowd pleaser. If you live in Chs you can get these little guys from Newton Farms or Piggly Wiggly perfect for little sliders. You can do BLT's or even chicken or shrimp salad in them.

I totally cheated here, I can't get enough of the Palmetto Pimento Cheese w/ Jalapeno. Amazing. I won't even attempt to make it on my own because I know it will NEVER turn out that good. We also did the Sabre spinach artichoke hummus with Stacy's Naked Pita Chips.

I can't get enough of Presidente Brie. It's super creamy and comes in cute little round blocks. I topped with some blackberries and accented with strawberries.

Always a crowd pleaser and ridiculously easy to make: Chocolate Covered Strawberries. I used Semi Sweet Chocolate since the strawberries were already so sweet.

Caprese Skewers are probably on almost every single catering menu I do for work. If you get the fresh mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes it makes it so much easier. Just slice the basil and fee through the skewer like a kabob. Once all set I drizzle with Balsamic Reduction or Balsamic Glaze if you have Wegmans near by.

We also did some miniature cheese burger sliders. They are easiest if you get the "homestyle" rolls made fresh from the grocery store. Use burger patties on the grill, then put your cheese on so they melt and cut into quarters. Add in your tomato, lettuce and onion if you'd like. I'd recommend putting the mustard, mayo and ketchup all on the side as some guests don't like condiments.

You'll probably also notice my few items from Williamsport popped in like : Middlesworth BBQ Chips, Funny Bones and Wegmans Lemon Garlic Marinade for my chicken skewers.

Easy, quick entertaining. Enjoy!


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday Night Dinners

When Justin and I lived in Philadelphia, we always made it a point to get together with our neighbors, Brian & Michelle every Thursday night for dinner and Grey's Anatomy. I miss that part about Philly SO MUCH. We've recently moved into a new neighborhood and have the most fabulous neighbors, Tim & Sarah. Since my weeks are pretty insane with events lately, we've decided to do Wednesday night dinners instead of Thursday  due to my hectic schedule.

Last night was our first and we hosted! Jambalaya it was.. and AMAZING! It's by far one of the easiest recipes I've ever tried, just stick it all in the crock pot and let it cook all day. SIMPLE and a huge crowd pleaser.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into squares
3 links Andoullie sausage, diced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon basil
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lb fresh shrimp
2 cups cooked brown rice

In a slow cooker combine, all ingredients except for shrimp and brown rice. It will look really runny like this:

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours on low. Then add in shrimp and brown rice and let cook for an additional 15 minutes and it will thicken liken.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've Been Bad!

Yikes! It's been well over a week since my last post, I've been so bad. Be kind to me, it's been really busy with work. The next three weeks we'll just call hell weeks since in Charleston it's the biggest wedding time of the year until October hits.

I've been really good with household projects, well I take that back- my hubby has. I just pick out colors and give him ideas and let him roll with it. I've learned to never ask him to paint red walls again, but how awesome does it look in my dining area?!

I call this color Hooker Red, although it's really called Stolen Kiss from Sherwin Williams .

I promise I'll start posting frequently again, I have so much to catch up on with posting- the Philadelphia Trip, Brooke's visit, our Open House bash and other fabulous things! Stay tuned. xoxo

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Beautify Me

My mother has the most products I've ever seen. From face and eye creams to lotions and washes, I can honestly say she's over the top. I too, have my beauty must-haves so in honor of my mother, I'm sharing my go-to products. These are tried and true, and I'll never stray away from these favorites.

Target brand coco butter lotion. I live in the south, I'm at the beach constantly and my skin gets dry so this is fantastic for year-round usage. I prefer it over the Vaseline brand, I think it's thicker and smells better.

A lady must always have her signature scent. I just love Marc Jacobs Daisy. No need to switch scents for seasons, this works for every occasion.

It's taken me years to find an eyeliner that doesn't give me raccoon eyes, finally Ulta's eyeliner has come to my rescue. It's no smudge and goes on smoothly.

My newest obsession. I just made the switch recently and couldn't be more surprised on how awesome this product works. The name says it all. I just adore false lashes and think they look fabulous, but really who wants to deal with that everyday, plus when you take them off they pull off your real lashes. This mascara is a quick and easy fix.

I'm not normally a hair product person, but when my stylist Michael used this product in my hair, I had to have it. Who cares if it costs as much as my hair cut. You only need a pump, and it's lasted me for months and it's only half way gone. This is perfect for SC weather. It keeps your hair smooth and doesn't weigh you down. Awesome! If your a Chs girl like me, pick it up at SL Salon and get Michael G. to cut your hair too :)

I've never been one to pound on make-up, it's just not my style. I prefer a more natural but shimmery look. This palate is perfect because it has different "looks" depending on your mood.

Now, beautify!

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Forever, Fabulous!

I can honestly say I'm not and never have been a huge fan of Forever21 . Maybe it's because everything feels so "mini" on me, so I don't bother to try on. I've only ever purchased a few things from the store, but I suppose today made up for my lack of shopping in their establishment.

I didn't shrink in body size overnight, so I didn't buy clothes {okay well, leggings and a shirt dress} but I found some fabulous costume jewelry pieces!

I'm a huge fan of big earrings, these will be perfect to dress up a boring outfit. Only $6

And bling, bling for yet another $6

I also found two fabulous statement necklaces. Why spend tons of $ on costume jewelry, I'd rather spend $ on the real stuff!

Gorgeous for $7

And a little more nicely made with the clasp and has some rhinestones too but they didn't photograph well. I "splurged" on this one for $20.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Red Velvet Love Cake

After many requests, I've decided to unleash the Red Velvet Love Cake. This recipe is adapted from the Italian Love Cake recipe that was passed along in my family- personally, I think it's better with the changes I made and of coarse, much more Southern!

What you'll need:
1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix + ingredient needs on box
1lb Ricotta Cheese {Whole Milk}
3 Eggs
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Small Box Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 Cup Milk
8 oz. Container Cool Whip

First, use cake mike as directed from box and pour into a 9x13 floured and greased pan.

In a separate bowl, mix the following:

1lb Ricotta Cheese
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs

Pour this mixture directly on top of the cake, do not spread over cake but try to pour evenly. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

When cake is completely cool, but together topping and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Make Topping:
Empty 1 box instant Vanilla pudding, 1 cup milk. Whisk together. Fold in 8oz. softened Cool Whip.

Enjoy, this is super easy and always a crowd pleaser! To switch it up you can use the following:

Instead of Red Velvet Cake Mix.... use Strawberry or Marble
Instead of Vanilla Instant Pudding... use Cheesecake or Chocolate Instant Pudding

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