Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Dinner Menu - Skinnytaste Version.

This week I decided to scan through my new Skinnytaste cookbook and put together a dinner menu full of it's recipes. 

Leftover minestrone soup

Skillet tilapia with tomatoes and capers - Page 221 

Garlicky lemon shrimp and broccolini stir fry - Page 228 with Veggie fried brown rice - Page 273

Chicken pasta caprese - Page 184


Dinner at Cypress for our 2 year anniversary! 

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Five.

Happy Friday, everyone! A little late with my post today, but nonetheless, here it is! 

Last Sunday we had our monthly supper club at Sally & Taylor's new house! Instead of doing a dinner, we decided to switch it up and do a brunch theme. It was a nice change and we could not have picked a more perfect day for it. Upper 70's and not a cloud in the sky. All of the food was SO good. Bacon, sausage, homemade biscuits, eggs, pimento cheese grits, hash brown casserole, fresh fruit, and salad. 

The awesome cake Lauren made for Kathryn's birthday

After stuffing our faces and taking a tour of Sally & Taylor's gorgeous new home, we all went outside to enjoy the weather for a couple of hours. 

After searching high and low for the perfect taupe booties, I found them. Introducing Plover by Steve Madden. My only wish is that I would have purchased them months ago!

A sweet reader named Mary Beth contacted me to see if I could help spread the word about her art. Of course, I said! Her paintings currently include palmetto trees and pineapples, perfect for a nursery, children's room, or beach house! She was also kind enough to donate one of her pineapple paintings to the silent auction that is taking place after the final Brightlife Golf Tournament on April 20th! 

To purchase a piece of Mary Beth's art, you can visit her Etsy store here.


The kind people at contacted me to see if Brady wanted to sign up for their monthly blogger program. After taking a look around their website to find out what they were all about, I emailed back saying, "yes please!"  Brady is a notorious snack snob, usually turning his nose up at the standard milk bone, so I figured this would be a great way to try out new treats. March's selections consisted of freeze dried treats from the company Orijen

  • Orijen kitchens feature advanced steam-cooking technologies to allow for higher fresh ingredient inclusions. 
  • Over half of the meat arriving to Orijen kitchens are authentically fresh, never frozen. 
  • All of their treats are 100% pure meat, no fillers. 

After consulting with Brady, he chose the black angus beef treats.  

Once he sniffed his new treat, he decided he liked it enough and wanted to show y'all his newest trick so I would let him taste it. Now he gets so excited when he hears me open up the bag!

My first dress from Sheinside arrived last week and I was very happy with what I found in the box! The material does not feel cheap, it arrived to my house a lot faster than I expected, and the dress fits perfectly!

When I ordered the purple floral dress, it was still during the pre-order period, so I'm still waiting on that to arrive. Can't wait!!

We've got another jam-packed weekend coming up, including a couples shower for our friends Justin and Jenny, and celebrating my grandmother's 80th birthday! My aunt and uncle, who we only get to see once a year, will be in town visiting from Iowa! So excited to see them!!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Plated, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, & Home Chef Comparisons.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you've probably seen some of these delicious photos below from experimenting with the four companies that I'm going to tell you about. 

These four boxed meal companies are all the rage lately. Perfect for busy mom's on the go or novice home cooks who want to expand their palates and/or cooking skills. 

I really love this concept because it saves me so much time trying to figure out what I'm going to cook for dinner that week and rounding up all of the ingredients at the grocery store. I also love that each recipe comes with each individual ingredient portioned out to exactly how much you will need. No wasting that leftover cilantro that you need once and will likely go bad before the next time you use it. The ingredients are always super fresh and very high quality, as well. 

Simply sign up, select your menu choice(s) and delivery date, and a well-insulated box shows up on your doorstep on your selected date! 

Here is a simple breakdown of each company and photos from the recipes that I made:

Price: $12 per plate
Minimum order: 4 plates
Shipping: Free over $50

Want to try? Use this link to sign up and receive 2 free meals.

Braised Massaman Chicken

Beef Pho

Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash

Price: $9.99 per person the for 2 person plan
$8.74 per person for the family plan
Shipping: Always Free
Family plan option: Two recipes a week {one delivery} or four recipes a week {one or two deliveries, your choice}

 Shrimp and Pineapple Fried Rice

 Beef and Pinto Bean Chili


Price: 3 Classic Meal Box for Two - $69, 3 Classic Meal Box for Four - $129 
3 Vegetarian Meal Box for Two - $59, 3 Vegetarian Meal Box for Four - $109
Shipping: Always Free

Want to try? Use this link to sign up and receive $40 off of your first order!

Roasted Salmon with Cherry Tomatoes, Green Beans, and Yukon Potatoes

Chicken a l'Orange with Cous Cous and a Citrus Fennel Salad

Peppercorn Steak with Baby Potatoes and Creamed Spinach


Price: $9.95 per plate
Shipping: Free for orders over $50

Want to try? Click this link to sign up and receive $30 off of your first order!

Chimichurri Pork Chops with Gaucho-Style Vegetable Saute

Herb-Roasted Chicken with Whipped Cauliflower and Lemon Gremolata

With all of these companies, you are able to skip a week, or two, or however many you want until you are ready for them to send you a new box. You may also cancel your account at any time. 

I can honestly say that we enjoyed all of our meals! If I had to choose the box that was our favorite, Cameron and I both agreed that we liked the meals from Hello Fresh the best. 

Feel free to ask me any questions that you may have!

This post was not sponsored in anyway, however the sign up links do contain referral codes.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Express - Who Knew?

Not going to lie, back in college, all I used to shop at was Express. Most of the shopping was probably due to the fact that I was a poor college student, but had an Express credit card. Let's be honest. And of course I had to have a new outfit for every football game and fraternity mixer, duh. 

Even though the majority of the items that I purchased are out of style now, I do actually still have quite a few classics that (somehow) I can still squeeze into. 

I received a coupon in the mail recently so I went on the website to see if anything would catch my eye, not expecting much. Well I was pleasantly surprised with what I found! Below are some of my favorites. 

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cauliflower Crust Pizza.

Last week, I was craving pizza, but wanted to try the lower carb version with cauliflower crust. I looked through what felt like a million recipes and finally decided on one from The Lucky Penny. While no, it does not taste exactly like regular pizza, Cameron and I both enjoyed it and I will definitely make again!

Grain-Free Cauliflower Crust Pizza
makes one approx. 10-12 inch pizza

1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower - should yield 2 to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crust it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
optional a few shakes of crushed red pepper
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese I used dairy free cheese, just for kicks.
1 egg
optional 1 tablespoon almond meal

Desired amount of sauce, cheese for topping, and other toppings. Make your own 30 minute pizza sauce using my recipe!

Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil. 

Wash and thoroughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Don't get one the size of your head unless you are planning on making 2 pizzas. Cut off the florets, you don't need much stem. Just stick with the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. See above photo. You should end up with 2 to 3 cups cauliflower "snow". Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the heck out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess. 

Dumped cauliflower into a bowl. Now add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crush up the leaves even more between your fingers before adding), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt), and a dash of red pepper if you want. I also added 1 tablespoon almond meal because my cauliflower yielded closer to 2 cups of cauli snow, this is optional and I would not add the almond meal if you have closer to 3 cups of cauli snow. Now add your egg and mix away. Hands tend to work best. 

Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don't make it too thick or thin either.

Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8 - 11 minutes, until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.

Add however much sauce, cheese, and toppings you want. I'm not gonna give you measurements for this. You know how you like your pizza - so go for it! Slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly golden.

Test your patience and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Probably closer to two. Then using a pizza cutter and a spatula serve up your delicious grain-free cauliflower crust pizza!

Update - If you are using a larger sized cauliflower, up the eggs to 1 egg  plus 1 egg white. You want your "dough" to be sticky. When I make a bigger sized pizza (using more cauliflower) I up the seasonings and the egg, but often leave the amount of cheese the same. Make sure you pat the dough tightly together when forming your crust. It really helps to place the crust (on an oiled sheet of parchment paper) on a HOT pizza stone or baking sheet. Make sure the crust is golden in color before topping it and baking it again. I truly believe cooking it the proper length before topping it helps keep the crust together. 
Also I really like the addition of 1 to 2 tablespoons of almond meal to the crust mixture. 

*Disclaimer - the slices will still be kinda floppy, but they shouldn't be crumbly.

Here was my result!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Girls Weekend in the Mountains.

Last weekend, a group of sorority sisters and I packed our bags and made our way from different places in South Carolina to the small mountain town of Clyde, North Carolina (approximately 30 minutes from Asheville). One of the girls' parents own a mountain house in Clyde and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate Kristen's sweet baby boy that is due next month! 

The four Charleston girls were the last to arrive (thank you, rush hour traffic in Columbia) so once we finally arrived around 9pm, we immediately changed into more comfortable clothes (AKA our pj's) and snacked on an array of appetizers that Jenny and Kelly Anne put together.

Saturday morning we lounged around, drinking coffee and mimosas, and chatting away, all why enjoying this amazing view. There is just something so calming and relaxing about the mountains. 

Once we all got showered and ready (which takes a long time for 8 girls, 2 bathrooms, and a tiny water heater), we headed into downtown Waynesville for some shopping and lunch. There were a lot of antique shops, art galleries, and gift shops. 

But first, Katie and I had to take a picture with the horses that were at the bottom of our road.

There were a lot of these types of art in this one particular gallery. It is just water colored paper torn into the shape of the flower and leaves! Loved it.

One of the many antique shops.

This milk glass deviled egg plate rimmed with gold paint was so close to coming home with me.

After eating lunch at a small sandwich shop, we made our way back to the house. 

A few naps and more girl talk later, we ventured back to Waynesville for dinner at The Sweet Onion. All of the food was so good and our server was the sweetest! Since I had been eating a ton of junk food all weekend, I decided to keep it light with a Caesar salad and seared tuna (shocker, I know)....oh, and a side of mashed potatoes, but they weren't that good so I didn't eat very much of them. But first, we started out with melt in your mouth cheesy biscuits.

I also had a bite of Katie's creamy French onion soup and it was SO good.

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to pack up and clean the house. As a parting gift, some of the girls put together these super cute little plants with a hand drawn name tag by our talented friend, Jen. Kristen, the baby mama of the weekend, loves woodland animals so each nametag had a different one on it. 

A photo summary of our wonderful weekend!

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