Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summer Salad.

Taking cues from here (#2) and here, I finally made this amazing salad about a month ago. I've made it about 5 times since, and it never disappoints! This has been my go-to lunch and dinner for days when I just don't feel like making dinner for one, since my little honey is always at the field by 1 or 1:30pm. Do yourself a favor before peaches and tomatoes stop being so abundant and fresh... and make this! Enjoy! xx

Click the above links for the recipe and note I also added avocado.

P.S. Click here for my interview with Just Another Shopoholic. Thanks for the feature, Tiffany! I appreciate it very much!

Monday, August 29, 2011


My husband plays for the Baltimore Orioles. I am "over the moon" happy for him - as he is living a childhood dream!!! It makes me tear up and cry each time I read an article dedicated to his hard work and success. He is amazing, and there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful to the good Lord that our paths crossed. (One of my best friends introduced us when he was in the minor leagues.) All that to say, that is why I travel so much... because we're newly married, and I like to go to as many games/cities as possible while we're "foot loose and fancy free" as my mom says :)

My little honey's agent sent us some fresh Maine lobster a month or so ago... I have yet to blog/document the experience, but it's a funny and entertaining one to say the least.

Note: In this video, I am on the phone with his agent getting directions.... while videoing the whole process... while making Chris burn himself. (Oppps!) Let's just say there were some sacrifices made in order to get a video for you guys!! :) I hope this little video shows everyone how EASY cooking live lobster can be. Order some from here - or get some from your local seafood store - and have a date night tonight! Chris and I had a blast cooking live lobster for the first time! Even though it was a little weird at first, it turned out fabulous! Plus, I am still proud of myself for making homemade clarified butter! Just call me Martha!

Hope this works!

Here are the lobsters before we cooked them. There were 4, but one died in transit. 
Word to the wise: Do not eat, over even cook, a lobster if it has died. 

I had to :)

How to cook lobsters:
1. In a big pot, like the one pictured in the video, bring 2-3 inches of water to a rolling boil.
2. Put the lobsters in, head first, as shown in video. Do this for about 4-6 seconds before dropping them into the pot.
3. Let boil for about 15-20 mins, until the lobsters turn bright red.
4. Crack and enjoy!

All pink and pretty after 20 mins of steaming!

Our amazing meal of surf & turf!

My clarified butter!

Steak, Lobster, caesar salad, grilled zucchini & squash, and baked potato!
I think I hear the Food Network calling us to be the next Pat & Gina Neeley!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Bold & The Beautifully Nude. Part 6.

THE BOLD: Lush's lip tint in "It Started With a Kiss" (picture below)
Really loving this one this summer! So easy to put on & you control how much or how little you wear.
That depends on how BOLD you want to go ;)

THE NUDE: Le Metier De Beaute's gloss called Vanilla Rose
LOVE the smell of this one... the perfect nude gloss!
Paired it with MAC's lip liner in Stripdown.

Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

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Stay tuned for some restaurant and traveling posts! :) 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All Time Favorite Recipe!

This is the recipe that defines my childhood.
This is the recipe that conjures up countless special family memories.
This is my favorite recipe ever.


Each summer, between Memorial and Labor Day, my family goes to our house on the TN River/KY lake. Each weekend, my whole family fills the brightly-colored home to spend time together, play on the water or go boating, and enjoy good home cooked meals. (By the way, when I say my "whole" family, I mean it! Both sets of grandparents come up, as my dad's parents have a house near us, too. My brother, his friends, my friends, cousins, and my aunts and uncles... the whole shebang!) These moments have been etched into my memory as some of the best in my life. Since most of this time revolves around the kitchen and food, it's no small wonder I've become such a lover of food :) It's important to me, mostly, because of the family and friends you are sharing the meal with. This recipe has been served as long as I can remember. On birthdays, anniversaries, and summertime holidays, anyone at our lake house can count on this being served! I wanted to share the recipe with you because of how much I love it and what a big part it has played, not only in my childhood, but my life with my family. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Best if using home-grown peaches.

This is the BEST ice cream maker. Hands down. It's a little more expensive than your regular ice cream makers, but it lasts a lifetime & is SO worth it!

Pardon my pictures... this stuff is so out-of-this-world AMAZING that I forgot to snap some good pictures. Trust me. You would forget too.

In case you can't read it, we also add 8 oz of Cool Whip to this recipe. Makes it SO creamy!
If you like the chunks of peaches like we do, roughly chop them. If not, you can certainly blend them in the blender.

Picture of our lake house :)

I would love to hear about - or see the recipes - for some of your favorite family recipes. I love seeing and hearing about other people's fond memories surrounding food! Enjoy! xx

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Brights.

I am usually in all-black....or close to it. I can't help it. I just love the color. (Or lack thereof.) However, in the summer months, I crave bright colors and patterns. Here is a Trina Turk dress that I got in Sarasota, FL, during spring training. I love how it can be dressed up (as I did her with purple Louboutins) or dressed down (as I've done most of the time) with a cute pair of jeweled flat sandals. It's a go-to summer outfit, because it's so simple to just throw on and go! Minimal jewelry required, too!

No idea why my shoes look black here.... they are purple. Promise :)

Wearing Diana Warner earrings. 

With my little honey, before dinner one night!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Bold & The Beautifully Nude. Part 5.

THE BOLD: Revlon's "Hot Coral"

THE NUDE: MAC's "Lustre 3N"

Click to read the other "Bold & Beautifully Nudes" Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Next two posts are an outfit post and a recipe for one of my favorite recipes of all time! 

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Monday, August 8, 2011

5 Minute Pimento Cheese.

Today my mom whipped up a batch of amazing pimento cheese in about 5 minutes!! I saw her start to make it, and by the time I cleaned off the table for lunch, it was DONE! Now maybe I am easily impressed, but I was blown away with how EASY and QUICK this was!! The best part? It lasts up to 2 weeks - or more!! My mom has no set recipe, but loosely follow the recipe below - adding/subtracting to your taste - and you'll have an easy lunch or dinner ready and waiting in no time! Pair with crackers and a salad for a light meal. So good!

My Mom's Pimento Cheese

1/2 block Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 4 oz. jar of pimentos 
2 heaping tablespoons of mayo
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons of jalapeno slices
Hot sauce, to taste (mom uses 2-3 shakes of the bottle)
instead of using hot sauce, you can substitute a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper

Put everything in the food processor. Pulse until you get the consistency you prefer. DONE!

My nail polish is Essie "Fiji"

Got some GREAT posts coming up!!! Several outfit posts.... a post about a baby shower my mom, some friends, and I threw for one of my best friends...a post on my new favorite, healthy summer salad & lots more! Stay tuned!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pretty Cookbooks.

I love cookbooks! I inherited that quality from my mom, without a doubt. She owns between 400 and 500 joke!! I don't care what kind of cookbook it is, if it has recipes that look good to me, I will buy it. My favorite kind come from my childhood hometown. I am from a very small town in West Tennessee, about 80 miles northeast of Memphis, and there are tons of cookbooks that have come out of my town - believe it or not! Most are from churches that put together cookbooks with recipes from members. These are the cookbook "bibles" in which my mom has cooked from since I was a little girl. The worn pages are splattered with grease, and the margins have notes about the substitutions or additions my mom used. Those recipes have been passed down from generation to generation, and my mother lovingly made them for my dad, brother, and me. Those kind of cookbooks hold a special place in my heart because they remind me of where I'm from & the nightly suppers we had around the dinner table when I was growing up. (Thanks Mom!!)

My second favorite kind of cookbook are Junior League cookbooks. I have started collecting those, as well, from different Junior Leagues all over the U.S. The recipes in these cookbooks are more modern versions of classics & loaded with tips and recipes on entertaining!

Last, are the new type of "celebrity" cookbooks. Any actor/celeb chef/hip restaurant owner can write a best selling cookbook these days, but there are a few that really outshine the others. I love the Magnolia Bakery cookbooks, Paula Deen's, Thomas Keller's, Ina Garten, Pioneer Woman, etc. Here are a few I am wanting to add to my collection from this category....

This one from Miette Bakery in San Francisco... how cute!

This one looks wonderful... I love making cookies, especially during the holidays!

I cannot wait to get this one!! She just opened an ice cream shop in Nashville, and I am dying to go! 
I've heard nothing but GREAT things about Jenni's ice cream!

I wouldn't have bought this one, but I read about her new cookbook in the May issue of SELF magazine article recently. That article totally sold me on the cookbook, especially when I saw 4 of the recipes within the book. They look yummy - pretty healthy and comforting!

Loaded with healthy - yet tasty - recipes. I need more of this type of cookbook in my collection!
See it here.

Heard this one was so good! And very southern, which I love ;)
She has another cookbook, too, here.

My mom told me about this one, and just by reading about it on Amazon, I can tell it's written in true Southern fashion! Must get!

All the Momofuku cookbooks are supposed to be great! This one looks the best to me.
I've been to both the Momofuku places and really liked them!

I read about this one a lot. There are supposed to be great pizza recipes in this one!

Wanted to share a little something with you guys... Both of the "Simply" cookbooks by Jennifer Chandler are WONDERFUL! The two cookbooks are "Simply Suppers" and "Simply Salads." I adore the Suppers one, and every single thing I've made has been amazing - and you guessed it, simple! :) I cook from that one almost weekly. Find them here and here.

What are YOUR favorite go-to cookbooks? I'd love to know, so I can share with my mom too!

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The White Barn Inn.

The most amazing meal I've ever had at a restaurant, I had here, at The White Barn Inn. The White Barn Inn, located in Kennebunk, Maine, is an award winning hotel, restaurant, and spa. For over 150 years, it has been in existence as part of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux collection of the finest hotels and restaurants in the world! The restaurant at The White Barn Inn offers the only combined AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star dining experience north of New York City! (Yes, it is THAT good!) It has been described by Conde Nast Traveler as "one of the great places to stay and eat in the world."I would have to say I agree 100%! I was visiting some good friends that live outside of Boston, over the 4th of July. They have a beach house in Wells, Maine, so we went there for the weekend. This was one of the highlights of my stay, and I wanted to be sure and share it with you guys! Y'all know how I love to eat out, and this is now at the top of my list! Enjoy the pics! xx

1st course: Scallop Ceviche w/Passion fruit coulis
Paired with: Cade by Plumpjack Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2008
*Loved this wine! I already loved the Plumpjack cab, and this wine did not disappoint! (especially because I am not a white wine drinker!)

2nd course: Crispy Braised Pork, Pickled Shitake Mushrooms & Spiced reduction 
Paired with: John Duval "Plexus" Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend, Barossa Valley 2007
*This was my favorite wine of the night! This is a must try!

3rd course: Butter Poached Smoked Lobster
Paired with: Chateau Montelena 2008, Napa Valley Chardonnay
*Don't really like Chardonnay, but this one blew me away! I just bought a bottle that I found in a wine store here in Baltimore! Can't wait to have it again!
Loved the presentation of this dish... It was served with silver dome covering the plate. To present the dish, the server took off the dome, and smoke flew out of the inside! They had put a hose under the silver dome, filled the inside with smoke, and then quickly jerked the hose out so the smoke would still be underneath. It left the lobster with a wonderful smokey flavor that was evident in each yummy bite!

4th course: Foie Gras & fig torchon
Paired with: "Cuvee des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre" Alsace, Gewurztraminer, F.E. Trimbach 2004
*My favorite wine/food pairing of the night; not necessarily my fave dish or wine - but the pairing together was INCREDIBLE! This made me realize how good a food and wine pairing can be!

5th course: Parmesan "Bon Bon" w/Prosciutto Foam
Paired with: Taittinger Champagne
*LOVED this one! This champagne is fantastic! Also looking for a bottle of this one....

Half way through the meal, they served this palate cleanser. It was a "Lemon and Thyme Granite."
Very refreshing!

6th course: This was the "main" meal; Horseradish Crusted Local Beef Filet & Braised Short Rib in Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce
Paired with: Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2006
*If you love big, bold reds like I do, THIS ONE is for you! Loved it!

7th course was the cheese display!! Love me some wine and cheese :)
They brought out this whole display, and each person had their own personal cheese board! You picked as many as you wanted. My picks are below...

I can't remember what all I picked, but I got 5 cheeses ranging in different firmness and region. (My two favorites were from Spain!) It was served with a wide array of breads, flat breads, and crackers....and spicy peach chutney! YUM.O.

Last course: Grand Marnier Souffle w/Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Paired with: Chateau Prost, Sauternes 2006
*What an amazing dessert! I love how they poked a hole in the souffle and poured hot fudge down into the center of it. Hot fudge makes anything better, no? 

Close up of all the goodness.

As if we hadn't had enough already, they brought out this "tree" of handmade goodies...
Homemade marshmallows, truffles, and little confections. Perfect way to end the night!

A beautiful bouquet of flowers sat on the piano, welcoming us into the restaurant.

Right before dinner!