Monday, July 28, 2014

Cinnamon French Toast

Allen travels for work all the time.  So this is the meal the kids request this for dinner when he is out of town… EVERY TIME!
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter
8 slices of Cinnamon Chip Bread ( I get mine at Great Harvest Bread Company)

Combine first 5 ingredients with a whisk in a large but shallow dish.  Heat 1 tbsp of butter in grill pan or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Soak bread slices in egg mixture until coated. When butter has melted and pan is hot, add soaked bread slices to hot pan. When first side is a light brown, flip the slices over in the pan and cook other side.  Repeat this process until all slices have been cooked. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with fruit.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Raspberry Palomas

Yesterday was National Tequila Day! Who knew?!?  These palomas would be terrific the next time that holiday rolls around and they would go great with your favorite Mexican dish.  They offer the perfect contrast to a spicy dish.  These drinks have just the right mix of sweet and sour to me!
Muddled raspberries, sugar and lime

4-5 Raspberries
1/4 of lime
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup good tequila
1/2 cup grapefruit juice, I used part fresh squeezed, part TJ
club soda

Muddle raspberries, lime and sugar in a glass. Add tequila and grapefruit juice. Stir. Add ice and then top with club soda. Stir once more to combine the club soda. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pulled Pork Tacos with Sriracha Slaw

You can pretty much use any kind of pulled pork you have leftover.  For these I had cooked a pork tenderloin in the crockpot for about 8 hours.  It was deliciously tender and shredded very easily with 2 forks.

Ingredients for the Pork:
1 package pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins per package and I cooked both)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 bottle of Carolina Mustard Barbecue Sauce (I used HT Traders brand)
1/2 bottle of Vinegar-Based Barbecue Sauce (I used HT Traders brand)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray. Combine ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and barbecue sauces in crockpot. Add pork and cook 8 hours turning occasionally until cooked through and falling apart.

Ingredients for the Slaw:
1-2 tbsp Sriracha (I use 2- I like it spicy)
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup plain greek yogurt
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-14 oz bag shredded coleslaw
Mix first 6 ingredients and add to cabbage.  Chill in refrigerator.

Other toppings:
Soft Taco Shells
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Sliced Avocado

Put tacos together and enjoy!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Quinoa Salad Bowls with Cilantro-Jalapeño Dressing

When I first made this, I had no idea how Allen was going to react to this "meatless" meal***.  I was in luck- he loved it!  Definite repeat he said! Thank goodness because I loved it too.

2 cups quinoa, prepared per package directions {cooked in vegetable broth} 
 Corn, grilled or sautéed in pan with a bit of olive oil until light brown, sprinkled with salt
Black Beans, one can simmered 10-15 minutes with 1/2 tsp of cumin & 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
Shredded Lettuce
Grape Tomatoes, cut in half
Green Onions, sliced
Jicama, sliced into thin strips
Avocado, diced
Shredded Pepperjack cheese

Put all ingredients in a bowl and top with the dressing below.

Cilantro-Jalapeño Dressing
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
3- 4 tbsp plain nonfat greek yogurt
3 tbsp agave
juice of 3 limes
1/2 of medium size jalapeño, seeds removed & diced
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp of grape seed oil
salt, to taste
Put all ingredients in blender and blend until combined.

*** You can add Grilled Shrimp or Chicken to this Salad Bowl also.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fav Denim

With summer in full swing and fall fast approaching, I thought I would compile some of my favorite denim pieces.  Skinny jeans have been in for a while and I don't see them going anywhere anytime soon.  They work with boots, booties, heels and flats. And they are pretty season-less except for July and August here in the South when the humidity is unbearable!!  I have had my J Brand "Mid Rise Skinnies" since last Spring and they are still some of my favorite go-to jean.  My new faves are "The Skinny" in destroyed from  rag & bone. They are super cute and have the perfect amount of distress to them!  They are available at Piperlime or Nordstrom.  

rag & bone "The Skinny"

My favorite whites are the "Highrise Skinny" also from rag & bone. They super stretchy and quite comfortable. They are currently on sale at Piperlime!
rag & bone "High Rise Skinny"

I love that flared jeans are coming back in.  I have found some amazing ones by Mother.  If you haven't tried them- do! They are extremely flattering and make your butt look great! You can check these out at Piperlime or Anthropologie.
Mother "Cruiser" Flare

Denim dresses are an easy way to throw something on but look really cute. I found a Michael Stars dress in Charlotte that I purchased a few weeks ago and I have already worn it many times! When the cooler weather returns, you can pair them with boots but until then wedges and flats will work!

Current/ Elliott "Lily" Shirtdress from Nordstrom
Paige "Mila" Denim Shirtdress from Nordstrom

And course there are cutoffs.  They are back and everywhere you turn! You can leave them frayed or roll them up and they can be found in every shade of the denim rainbow.  Here are a few I am partial to-
AG Hailey Ex Boyfriend Roll Up Short from Piperlime
Levi's 501 Shorts from Piperlime

I always have a denim jacket in my closet.  You can throw one on over pretty much any outfit and it works especially well with cute dresses in the Fall and Spring!  They work great for those transitional months when the weather can be indecisive.   
1969 Denim Jacket from Gap

What are some of your favorite denim pieces?


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Poppy Style Trunk Show at Lipp Boutique

Gorgeous Handmade Necklaces by Poppy Style
My sister Madeline, owner of Poppy Style jewelry, asked me to help with an upcoming trunk show at a cute and stylish local boutique.  I was beyond excited to help out!  I knew that I wanted to put together a delicious assortment of treats and beverages. First of all, I decided that a Mimosa bar was a must.  Who doesn't love a mimosa while shopping for fabulous jewelry and clothes?  So along with traditional Orange Juice, I had Peach Juice and I made Watermelon Lime Juice.  I also put raspberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries on the bar to be add to each mimosa.  It was a nice touch that all of the customers enjoyed.

Watermelon Lime Juice
5 cups seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
2 tbsp of agave 
Juice of 2 limes
Blend all ingredients in blender. Pour through a mesh strainer to remove any small seeds of pieces. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the mimosas, fill glass 1/4-1/2 way with juice then add the champagne of sparkling wine of your choice!

I knew whatever I made, had to be small and bite-sized so that people could enjoy nibbling while they shopped.  In additional to the drinks, I also made roasted chickpeas, antipasto skewers, mini lemon tarts and cookies 'n' cream cupcakes.

Roasted Chickpeas

3 cans Chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried on paper towel
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp truffle salt

Preheat oven to 400.  On a baking sheet covered in foil toss the chickpeas with oil. Arrange the chickpeas in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Sprinkle truffle salt over the chickpeas and bake for 40-45 minutes or until lightly brown and crispy.

Antipasto Skewers

Small wooden skewers
Grape Tomatoes
Marinated Mozzarella Balls
Thread mozzarella, then salami folded into a triangle and then tomato leaving room to hold the skewer. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.

Mini Lemon Tarts (Makes about 100 mini tarts)

7-8 boxes of mini phyllo cups (15 per box)
5 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp flour
zest of 3 lemons
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350.  Put mini phyllo cups in mini muffin tins.  Set aside. Blend eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest and juice with mixer until combined.  Fill each phyllo cup with lemon filling about 3/4 of the way full (I used a tablespoon-size measuring spoon). Bake for about 12-18 minutes or until the filling and crust is very light brown and no longer jiggling. Let cool completely and garnish with a bit of whipped cream and a raspberry.

Mini Cookies 'N' Cream Cupcakes (makes 48 mini cupcakes)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
4 tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk at room temperature 
8 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line mini cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on high speed for about 3 minutes or until mixture is well combined and thick.  Add butter and oil and beat on high until well combined, scrape sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix for another minute.  Reduce the speed to low and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and then 1/2 milk; add another 1/3 of dry ingredients and remaining milk; add remaining dry ingredients.  Use a spatula to incorporate any dry ingredients that have are not fully combined; distribute batter evenly among cupcake cups with a ladle or ice cream scoop.  Bake in center of oven for 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow cupcakes to cool for several minutes and then remove from tin and place on cooling rack; set aside and prepare buttercream.

Cookies 'N' Cream Buttercream-

1 1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz light cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 Oreos, finely ground

Beat butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on high speed for several minutes until butter is light and creamy. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined; add remaining powdered sugar and vanilla and increase speed of mixer to high and beat until frosting is light and fluffy. Add Oreo crumbs and mix on medium until evenly distributed. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

What are your favorite go-to party foods?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What Hollins Wore: Persnickety Sale!

Persnickety is one of my absolute favorite brands for little girls! They pair dresses and tops with precious ruffle shorts and pants.  A lot of things can be mixed and match to make a variety of adorable outfits.  A good portion of the things on their website is 50% off so do yourself a favor and check it out!   While you are browsing, glance at some of the upcoming fall items too.  These are a few of my favorite things from their Spring/ Summer sale:

Hollins in one of our favorite Persnickety outfits!

You can't tell me that you wouldn't love to see your little girl in some of the precious outfits!

Monday, July 14, 2014

What I Wore: Weekend Recap

The weekend was a fun but very busy one!  To the Poppy Style trunk show at Lipp Boutique, I wanted to wear something that I would be completely comfortable in since we would be setting up jewelry and food and we would be on our feet ALL DAY.  These Mumu pants and a simple black tank have been my go-to outfit this Spring and Summer. They are the perfect length and I can wear them with my favorite Tory Burch Miller sandals.
Tank: (similar here)
Necklace & Bangles: Poppy Style

Allen and I got to go out with friends for a triple date. We tried a delicious new restaurant here in Charlotte called Lumiere. It was fabulous! Great food and drinks. If you are in town- check them out!

ShoesDolce Vita bought at Piperlime
Bangles: Poppy Style
Selfie to show off NEW Turquoise Earrings: from Poppy Style

How did you spend your weekend?

Friday, July 11, 2014

What Hollins Wore: Sale at Zara and Gap!

I get asked about where I buy Hollins' clothes all the time.  The truth is EVERYWHERE!  I find things for her on Etsy, Facebook auctions, at the mall, at boutiques here in Charlotte and at Gap and Old Navy.  When I go to New York I always check out Zara for me and Hollins.  They are very reasonably priced for Manhattan and we don't have one here so chances are you won't see 20 of the same dresses on the playground.  They are having a great sale and I am going ahead and stocking up for next summer for the baby girl!  Here are some Spring/Summer I am currently loving from there:

The bow on the back of this dress is precious.

I love the vibrant flowers on this beauty. And its only $12.99!

Gorgeous floral dress is $19.99

 How cute is printed blouse?!?

Yellow shorts are a perfect staple for summer!

I love Gap for little girls! They always have so many great things at a great price- and now so many things are on sale.  Check out some of these!

Hollins has this dress in a different color (picture below).
She wore it with boots in the Spring and now with sandals.
A little girl + this white dress= PERFECTION

Hollins in her Christmas dress last year from Zara. A personal fav of mine!

In our favorite Gap dress!

Hope you and your little girl will love these styles as much as Hollins and I do!!! Happy Shopping!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Halibut with Quinoa & Mediterranean Salsa

My friend McCay brought this to me and Allen after I had surgery a couple years back and it has become a staple in our house. I don't think Allen ever gets tired of it!

4 pieces of fresh, wild caught halibut with skin trimmed off, baked or grilled

Cook 1 cup quinoa according to package directions.

2 pints grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
3-4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup capers
1 small can of black olives
5-6 oz crumbled feta
1 tbsp dried thyme
juice from one lemon
olive oil, enough to coat the salsa- about 1/4 cup

Combine all salsa ingredients in container and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight so that all of the flavors meld together.

Place cooked quinoa in the four bowls.  Place a piece of halibut on top of quinoa in each bowl.  Top fish with salsa.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Allen loves these peppers and asks for them every other week. It is one of the healthier dishes he requests, so I usually give in!  You could serve it with a salad on the side but I love that it can be a one dish meal.  

5 or 6 bell peppers (I use red, yellow & orange)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb of ground turkey breast
1 package of sliced baby portobello mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes with the juice
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 cup of quinoa, cooked
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper, to taste
3/4 cup of fontina, shredded
3/4 cup of fresh mozzarella, shredded

Cut the top part (with the stem) off of each pepper.  Set aside. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey, breaking it up and crumbling it as it cooks.  When turkey is no longer pink, add the mushrooms and sauté until they are soft. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, capers, seasonings and parmesan.  Cook for 5 more minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add quinoa. Arrange peppers in greased deep dish and fill each pepper with turkey mixture.  Extra filling can be added in the dish around the peppers. Top with shredded cheeses. Cover dish with non-stick foil and bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes.  Remove foil and cook for additional 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Homemade Pimento Cheese Sandwich

This is currently my favorite sandwich. Do yourself a favor and shred the cheese yourself instead of buying the pre-shredded cheese and don't use fat-free anything! The flavor will be so much better. You could probably add some crispy bacon and make it even more scrumptious!

Homemade Pimento Cheese
8 oz. Light Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Light Sour Cream
3/4 cup Light Mayonnaise
2 cups Jalapeño Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
4 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/3 cup diced pimentos
1 tsp garlic powder
4-5 dashes hot sauce
Whip cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream in mixer with whisk attachment. until smooth and combined. Add cheeses and pimentos and mix until evenly distributed- about 3-4 minutes at medium speed. Make sure you scrape down sides of bowl of mixer periodically.  Add garlic powder and hot sauce and mix for another 20-30 seconds. Put in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so the flavors can come together.

Other Sandwich Ingredients
2 slices of good quality wheat bread, warm & toasted
Dill pickles, cold
Red pepper jelly
2 tbsp pecan pieces, toasted

Take the 2 slices of toasted bread and spread pimento cheese on one side and pepper jelly on the other side. Add the pickle slices and pecans to the sandwich and close the sandwich. It is messy but so delicious!!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Shawna's Scrumptious Sliders

I got this recipe from my friend Shawna and they are always a huge hit.  I crave these on a regular basis but try not to indulge too much. These would be great for a Fourth of July party or any summer party!

36 Kings Hawaiian Slider Sweet Rolls
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 packages Lipton Beefy Onion Soup Mix
2 Cups shredded mozzarella
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
Sliced cheddar cheese, each slice cut into 4 squares
Yellow mustard
Dill Pickle Chips

Brown and crumble ground beef in a large skillet. When meat is no longer pink, drain off grease. Add soup mix to meat and cook over medium heat. Add shredded mozzarella and cook just until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat.  Add mayonnaise to meat and stir until everything has combined.  Now prepare the rolls by slicing each one in half.  Put mustard and pickle slices on bottom of each roll.  Put one square of cheddar cheese on top of pickles. Place large spoonful of beef mixture on top of the cheese.  Then put top of the roll on top of the beef mixture, pressing down gently. Repeat this until you have used all of the rolls.  Place sliders on a pan and cover with tinfoil.  Bake on middle rack in oven at 300 for 15-20 minutes.

Happy 4th y'all!!