Bourbon Slush


Last weekend LJ and I got all dressed up (sundress for me….sear sucker for him) for our friend’s Kentucky Derby party.  Since bourbon is a drink of choice for the races I decided to make Bourbon Slush.  This is by far one of my favorite summer time drinks.  Its super easy to make and delicious!  Even if you aren’t a big bourbon drinker…you will be sure to like this drink!

Sorry for the minimal pictures….but there wasn’t much preparation other than mixing the ingredients.  You want to make sure you make this atleast 24 hours in advance so the slush has plenty of time freeze.

What you’ll need for bourbon slush:

1 can frozen lemonade

1 can frozen orange juice

1 cup sugar

2 cups water

5 cups water

4-6 tea bags

2 cups Bourbon (or more if you prefer)

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Put two cups of water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling add your tea bags.  I got the large tea bags by accident, so I just did three of them.  If you have normal sized tea bags, I would do 5-6 bags.  The goal is to make very STRONG tea.

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Let the tea steep for about five minutes.  Then, remove the tea bags.  While the mixture is still warm add the 1 cup of sugar and stir until dissolved.

 

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Add the frozen lemonade, orange juice, tea, bourbon and 5 cups of water into your container.  Mix together well.  Place in the freezer and freeze for at least 24 hours.

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Spoon the slush into a mason jar.  Top it off with some 7-up (optional).  Perfect refreshment on a hot summer day!

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Shrimp is What’s for Dinner


On my drive home from work the other day I happened to hear an advertisement for shrimp at Whole Food’s for $7.99/lb.  I was super excited because LJ had been requesting shrimp for dinner the past couple weeks….but I was less than happy to pay $14.99/lb.  Not only were these on sale….they were caught in North Carolina ….score!  I also decided to spoil myself with some tulips.  I LOVE the Virginia grown tulips there!

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With our parents living in Wilmington, NC and vacationing at multiple North Carolina beaches. …..crabs and shrimp quickly became a frequent (favorite) dinner when we’re home.  So, I thought I’d share with you how we steam shrimp.  The recipe comes from Old Bay.

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Also pictured: Ketchup and horseradish for cocktail sauce…..and of course corn bread mix. Jiffy cornbread muffins are a MUST when we have shrimp for dinner 🙂

Here’s What You’ll Need:

2 Tablespoons Old Bay

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1-2 pounds of shrimp (double above recipe if you have more)

Mix all of the ingredients together, then bring the mixture to a boil.

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Once it’s boiling add the shrimp.

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Cover the pot and let the shrimp steam for 3-5 minutes.  I think mine were ready about 4 minutes.  Pay attention to your shrimp….the worst thing you could do is over cook them!  Rubbery shrimp are definitely NOT appetizing!

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Once they are a gorgeous pink color, pour them into a strainer in the sink.  Cover with ice to cool the shrimp and prevent them from cooking further.

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shrimp 007While your shrimp are cooling….don’t forget to make the cocktail sauce (horseradish + ketchup, keep adding horseradish to your desired spiciness level)!

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Finally it is time to sit down and enjoy!  Super easy dinner and they are delicious!

Megan and Matt left yesterday for 10 days in Ireland ( I am beyond jealous!)  LJ and I have  friends that are throwing a Kentucky Derby party tomorrow.  I am planning to make a delicious Bourbon Slush.  Stay tuned for the recipe!  What fun things are you doing this weekend?

Ginnie’s Pound Cake


I’ve had a couple days off from work and it has been absolutely WONDERFUL being able to get some things done around the house.  I was hoping to get some herbs planted but boy has it been hot!  It has been in the 90’s here the past two days!  I may save the gardening for another weekend when it is a little bit cooler.

Instead of gardening I attempted to make one of my absolute favorite cakes.  Ginnie’s Pound Cake.  Ginnie was our great-grandmother on my mother’s side.  She lived in a small town in southern Virginia.  She would often re-pay people who did odd jobs for her in food because her baking was THAT good.  My mom and aunt Susan have made it a couple times.  While it was good, it just wasn’t the same as when Ginnie would make it growing up.  But as they say…practice makes perfect.  So hopefully one day I will be able to perfect her recipe!

What you’ll need for Ginnie’s Pound Cake:

1 cup Butter (2 sticks)

1/2 c Crisco (enough to grease your pan, or use a nonstick baking spray)

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup cake flour (measure after sifting)

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp lemon extract

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The first thing you want to do is measure out your “wet” and “dry” ingredients.  Measure out 1 cup of milk.  Place in bowl.  Add 1 tsp of vanilla and lemon extract to milk and mix well.  Set this mixture aside.  Next you want to sift 2 cups of all purpose flour.  Re-measure after sifting (you will find you have some left over) and place in another bowl.  Do the same thing with 1 cup of cake flour.  Add 1 tsp of baking powder to flour mixture.  Set this aside.

Now begin mixing your butter until it is smooth.  It is important to make sure your butter is a room temperature so it will cream better.  Slowly add the sugar 1 cup at a time.  Make sure the previous cup is mixed well before adding the next cup.

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Once your mixture is creamed well with no lumps you want to add the 6 eggs.  Add only 1 egg at a time, making sure the egg is thoroughly mixed before adding the next egg.

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Now gradually add your flour and milk mixture.  You want to alternate adding each.  Begin AND end with the flour mixture.  Once you’ve added the flour and milk mixtures you should end up with a nice and creamy batter.

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Pour your batter into your greased tube pan.

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Bake for 1 hour on 350 degrees. DO NOT open the oven during the hour of baking.

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I think Ginnie would be proud of my first attempt at her pound cake.  LJ and I had some at breakfast this morning with a cup of coffee.  It was delicious!  Don’t worry…..I’m going to the gym later 😉

Have a great weekend everyone!

Warmer Weather Means Cookouts with Friends


Good Morning Everyone!

I hope you are having a lovely Sunday morning.  It has been gorgeous here this weekend with the weather finally reaching the 60’s and hopefully 70’s today!  LJ and my weekend has been packed with cookouts and friends.  Yesterday we went to a housewarming cookout at our old neighbor’s house in Leesburg, Va.  Their new home is absolutely gorgeous!

Of course I couldn’t show up to the cookout empty handed, so I started digging through my recipe box and decided on hash brown casserole.  This is a popular side dish that can be found at all family gatherings usually made by our aunt Susan.  She definitely makes it the best!

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What you’ll need:

1 pkt Hash browns (from the frozen section, I think mine was 2 pounds?)

1 pint sour cream (or plain nonfat greek yogurt if you want to cut some calories–taste just as good!)

1 cup cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 medium onion diced

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 cup butter

1 cup corn flakes (I think I ended up adding a tad more.  You just need enough to cover the casserole)

Print Recipe

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Dice the onion and place in a large bowl.  Add all other ingredients except the cornflakes and butter.

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This is why you need a LARGE bowl.  It’s a lot of stuff to mix together.  Mix until the hash browns are coated evenly.

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Transfer the mixture to a greased Pyrex glass dish.  Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

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Just before the 40 minutes are up, melt your butter and mix it with the corn flakes.  Remove the casserole from the oven and spread corn flake mixture on top.  Bake for another 20 minutes.

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Remove from the oven and let it cool before serving.  It was definitely a huge hit at the cookout!  We are off to our second cook out of the weekend. What fun things to do you have going on this weekend??

Mindie, Ryanne, and Nicole

Mindy, Ryanne, and Nicole

Deviled Eggs


I recently read an article in a magazine that said no covered dish party is complete in the south…..without deviled eggs.  That could not be more true!  Whether it be a family get together, Easter, or football tailgates, deviled eggs always made an appearance.   Both of my grandmothers both made delicious deviled eggs.  My maternal grandmother made them with mayo and pickles and my paternal grandmother made them with pickles and pickle juice.  My mom and I (unfortunately) couldn’t put our hands on either of their recipes (they more than likely just made it up in their heads), so I decided to try out a this deviled egg recipe from southern living.

I think the hardest part of making them in my opinion is hard boiling the eggs.  Its always a little discouraging when you think you’ve cooked your eggs perfectly and you slice them open and they are either way over cooked with a green line around the yolk or way under cooked.  While flipping through southern living I found this gem of an article explaining the perfect way to hard boil an egg.  The perfect article to find around Easter!

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(No that is not my icing covered fingers to the right….it is the opposite side of the magazine 🙂 )

What you’ll need for the deviled Eggs:

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Recipe

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1 teaspoon prepared mustard (yes, all I had was spicy…so I didn’t use as much, but with the sweet relish it tasted good!)

salt and pepper to taste

-First place your 6 eggs into a saucepan.  Add water until the eggs are completely covered.  Place on the stove and bring to a slow simmer.

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Once the water has come to a very slow simmer (if they simmer too much they can crack) set your timer for 10 minutes.  Keep the water going a consistent simmer until the 10 minutes are up.  Drain and run cool water over the eggs until they are cool to touch.  Crack the eggs and start peeling.  Once they are peeled slice length-way.

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I was pretty happy with how my eggs turned out.  They were maybe slightly under cooked in the center….but overall I was happy with the finished product!

After all of the eggs have been halved, removed the yolks and place in a bowl.  With a fork mash the yolk, mayonnaise, mustard, sweet relish, salt and pepper together.  Spoon the yolk mixture back into the egg whites.   Garnish with paprika.

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Happy Easter everyone!

Homemade Peanut Butter Eggs = Heaven!


Easter was always a special time of year for our family which entailed going to church, having some type of Easter lunch, Easter egg dying and hunts, and of course coordinating Easter dresses.  If you remember from our Christmas blog posts, our mother never had a shortage of matching or coordinating outfits for Ryanne and I.  Looking through some of our old family pictures last weekend I found a few and unfortunately they don’t convey the talent my mom had at sewing and hand smocking such cute dresses.  Here are a few specimens:

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A-List celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Jessica Biel obviously were inspired by our bangs.

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“We’ve trained all year for this day, leave no egg behind Ryanne!!” – Megan (I didn’t really say that)

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Displaying our goods, another Easter Egg Hunt down.  Now time to get a sugar high in celebration of a good egg-hunting season!

And for the recipe…

Our most FAVORITE Easter treat was not a Peep, or a Cadbury Creme Egg, or even a whole chocolate Easter Bunny, no it was DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs!!!!!!!  We anxiously awaited each year as DaGa put the finishing touches on the delicious treat.  It was a recipe she’d also teach her high school home-economics students to make.  I would eat little pieces of mine so it would last for as long as possible, which for a little kid is WILLPOWER!  Yes, DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs were that good.

Before our half-marathon last weekend, Ryanne and I made our first attempt at making them on our own.  While they might not be as perfect or big, or pretty as DaGa’s were, I think she might be proud, and honestly my stomach doesn’t care what it looked like 🙂  If you like Reese Peanut Butter Eggs, these are EVEN BETTER!

DaGa’s Peanut Butter Easter Eggs:

Print recipe here!

2 sticks margarine

1 cup creamy peanut butter

4 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 cups dipping chocolate (or 1 bag chocolate chips and 3 tbsp. Crisco like we did)

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How to Make ’em:

First, cream the two sticks of butter with an electric mixer until smooth.

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Add in the cup of peanut butter and the confectioner’s sugar (a little at a time).  Mix until fully incorporated.

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It should look like this yummy goodness when you’re done mixing!

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Then mold the peanut butter mixture into an egg shape as shown by Ryanne. We used about a handful of mix.

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Then put them on parchment or wax paper and put in the refrigerator for at least one hour to harden.

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Once the eggs are hard, melt your dipping chocolate or as we used chocolate chips and crisco in a bowl in the microwave.  Make sure it’s not lumpy or too thick, if it is add more Crisco (yes, Crisco is shortening.)

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Then I stuck a wooden skewer in the top of the egg and dipped it in the chocolate.  You might need to spoon the chocolate over the top.  Once you place the chocolate-dipped egg back on the parchment paper, cover up the hole with more chocolate after you remove the skewer.

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Once you’ve coated all of the eggs in chocolate, put them back in the refrigerator for about an hour.

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Decorate them with icing if you’d like.  DaGa always wrote our names on each egg and decorated them with flowers.  Enjoy!  Store in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

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The “Thank You” or “I’m Sorry” or “Congrats” Dish!


Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been busy training for my upcoming half marathon that Ryanne andI are running with my dad… as well as working, having visitors make their way down South, and socializing a lot with friends!  I’ve been meaning to do a post for quite a while now on a chicken dish that I like to make.  Our family friend made it for us back when I was younger although  I can’t quite remember why.  Either way it has turned into our family’s go to dish to say “Thank you” to someone, a dish to take when a family member is sick, or in this case I made it when my friend had her baby.  I also read somewhere recently where you can get “Southern Charm” points by returning a dish someone brought to your house (for a pot luck and maybe forgot it) with something in it!  You can make it ahead and let the recipient bake it on their own or go ahead and bake it for them.  We like to serve it over top of wild rice and it would be especially good with broccoli on the side!  Without further ado, here’s Lucy’s Baked Chicken Dish:

Ingredients:IMG_8946

6 boneless chicken breast

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/3 c white wine

1/4 c melted butter

1 c pepperidge farm stuffing

6 slices swiss cheese

Directions:

Place chicken in baking dish,
Top with cheese slices,
Mix together soup and wine,
Pour over chicken,
Stir the stuffing mix into butter and spread over soup mixture,
Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

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As you can see above, the wild rice is on the side.  You can just pack it all up, buy a make your own salad bag from the grocery store and there you go, you’ll look like a hero! Enjoy!

Black beans…..in my brownies?


Good afternoon friends!

Molly and I had a girls night last night.  LJ was away for work, so our night consisted of painting nails, watching, TV, and chewing on bones (more Molly than me).   After dinner I started craving something sweet.  While LJ craves salty things such as chips…..my weakness is sweets.  I blame this on my mom, grandmothers and great grand-mother always making delicious baked goods!

My craving came just in time…..because I happened to have all the ingredients for black bean brownies AND I hadn’t done a blog post in awhile (Sorry).  This recipe came from another food blog and was introduced to me by one of my friends.  When I first made them I was curious as to whether they would taste good or not and if they’d end up with a weird texture…..but they really are DELICIOUS!  Even LJ liked them!  This is the perfect way to sneak in some fiber, protein, and make your brownies low-fat!  I actually made them at our super bowl party last year.  I didn’t tell our guests what was in them until the end of the night.  They were definitely a hit!

What you’ll need:

Print Recipe Here

Blender

15.5 oz can black beans ( your normal can)

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2/3 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup milk chocolate (or dark chocolate) chips.  These are not pictured because I didn’t have any.  But they are delicious in the brownies….so I recommend adding them!

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First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spray square brownie pan with non-stick spray and set aside.  Make sure you rinse the black beans VERY well.

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Combine everything in blender except the chocolate chips.

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Blend together until smooth.  You may need to use a spatula to scrape the sides.

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Pour batter into pan, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and bake for 30-32 minutes, or until knife comes out clean.

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Enjoy!!!

Baby it’s Cold outside!


Brrrr! I don’t know about where you are but down here in Raleigh, NC it’s been freeezing!  I went on a long run this morning as I’m training for the Wrightsville Beach Half-Marathon and it was a chilly 9 miles!  One of my favorite winter dishes to eat ever since I was little is Brunswick Stew.  DaGa and my mom used to make it all the time in the winter and it’s a healthy dish sure to warm you up!  One great thing about it is it freezes well too, so you can make a double batch, let it cool, and fill up Ziploc freezer bags and freeze.

I was looking up the history of Brunswick Stew as it’s an essential Southern winter staple and apparently there’s a fight over where it originated… Brunswick, GA or Brunswick County, VA.  Since I’m a Virginia girl I’ll say Brunswick Stew was invented in Virginia of course! Some of the main ingredients for most recipes are lima beans, tomatoes, corn, meat, and other vegetables. I wanted to try it with okra, but my Northerner husband threw a hissy fit.  I will next time 😉

Southern Brunswick Stew:

Print Recipe

Ingredients:IMG_9381

  • 2 cups frozen or fresh sweet corn
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh lima beans
  • 2 lbs. chicken breast or tenders
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes ( I use organic/no salt added so I can control the amount of salt!)
  • approximately 1 lb. potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • approximately 10 cups of water
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

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First dice up your onions.

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Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a LARGE pot on medium heat.

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Add the onions and saute for about 3 minutes.

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Add in the 10 cups of water.  Bring to a boil.

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Add in the chicken breasts or tenders.  Boil until they are cooked all the way (mine look pink here, but they weren’t… I think it was the lighting)This will make your chicken stock. Remove the chicken and let cool slightly.

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In the meantime dice the potatoes and add to the chicken stock and boil.

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Shred the chicken with two forks or by hand and add back into the pot.

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Add in the lima beans and tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Finally add in the corn and let cook for about 20-30 minutes on low heat.

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For best results save and eat the next day so the flavors can all marinate together, but if you’re like me it’s so good it’s too hard to wait!  Here are two essentials that I must have with my Brunswick Stew.

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And…

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Corn muffins!

Have a great weekend!

Girls’ Night and Brown Sugar Pecan Brie


Every Monday night some of my girlfriends and I get together to catch up, eat good food, play with our newest Bachelor watching buddy Baby Anna, and of course watch the reality show The Bachelor.  Don’t judge!  Sometimes after coming home from working with my clients it’s nice to watch TV shows that require no mental effort at all!

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Since this Monday night tradition started, I always think about ways my grandmother DaGa would get together with her friends for “Girls Night” back in the day.  She and her friends would  get together every other Tuesday to play bridge (which requires much more effort than watching The Bachelor).  Just like my friends and I she and her friends would rotate who would host each time.  She would have her card tables set up with table cloths, provide desserts such as pineapple upside down cake as well as other snacks like mints and nuts.

It was my turn to play hostess on Monday night.  We first went to Sugarland, a delicious bakery that originated in Chapel Hill, NC and just moved to Cameron Village in Raleigh.  They have 5$ martinis that they make with their homemade gelato that are fabulous! Next we came back to my place to watch The Bachelor.  This week I made snickerdoodles and Brown Sugar Pecan Brie.  I apologize for not having many pictures, but I was trying to make it fast when everyone was there since it tastes much better if served immediately!

Brown Sugar Pecan Brie

Print recipe here

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Ingredients:

About 1.5 tbsp. of butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1 wedge brie cheese

3 tbsp. bourbon or whiskey (optional)

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Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat.  Add in the pecans and toast.  Then add in the brown sugar and bourbon or whiskey.  If you or you’re husband drank it all and you didn’t realize it until the last minute (like me) you can substitute water instead.  Let everything mix together, stirring occasionally for about a minute.

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Pour over your brie wedge and serve with crackers.  It’s a simple appetizer that is a definite crowd pleaser!

Tonight we’re going to the Rodeo! I’m making Ginnie’s chocolate cake to take to our pre-rodeo party.  Check back in to see pictures and the recipe 🙂