Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Culinary Challenged - A Guest Post

Hi friends! I’m Ashley and I blog over at Run With Me.
I’m one of those girls call “culinary challenged.” Which is why I love Megan’s blog so much. I love looking at all the pics of her latest creations and delicious recipes. Girl whips up Horseradish Crusted Ribeye and Zuchinni Cakes like it’s no big deal.

When I met up with her a few weekend’s ago, we talked about the Supper Club she participates in…..sounds like a fun idea right? You go to someone’s house and have dinner with 10 of your other friends. So.Much.Fun. With the exception that… some point….those 10 people show up at your doorstep expecting to be fed! 

I think performing in front of a  crowd of 10,000 or going to church in a bikini would produce far less anxiety in me than cooking for people. (Case in point, I’m going to a pot luck in a few weeks and already finding ways to cheat cater my way out of it!)

I’m one of those girls that had a meal plan all through college…..even when I lived off campus! I consider pop-tarts and orange juice a well-balanced meal and dinner that does not start out with a plastic sheet over the top of it is a rare thing in my house.

But since I’ve been “on my own” as they say, I’ve picked up a few of my own kitchen insights…which I thought I’d share today:

#1 When cooking a frozen dinner, never go by the time on the back of the box. For instance, turkey sausage – they will say to warm it up for 60 seconds. At 60 seconds….it might possibly still be gobbling. You will need to cook it for at least 3 minutes. Perfecting the perfect nuke time is an acquired skill.

#2 When cooking chicken on the George Foreman… order to ensure it is thoroughly cooked, wait for a nice black charred look.

#3 BIG one – things like eggs, orange juice and even soup expire…crazy!

#4 Garlic salt is a very tasty mask should anything happen to be approaching the “unedible” line.

*Key: When using the term “cooking,” in 9 out of 10 cases, it means using the microwave.

And now….I know what you’re all thinking… can hardly wait for Megan to come back and blog about REAL kitchen tips right? too.
Hope you’re having an amazing time Megan and I can’t wait to hear all the amazing dishes you tried!

Thanks for having me!
XO, Ashley

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: An Eat Clean Mean Green Sandwich

Figured I would throw in another One Hundred & Eighty One Days post for you hungry gals out there- this is a Tosca Reno inspired eat clean meal that will leave you full and keep you healthy!

2 slices whole grain clean bread (I use Ezekiel bread)
1/3 avocado
balsamic vinegar
6 cucumber slices
handful of baby spinach
1 (or more) handful of sprouts
plain clean low-fat yogurt
clean coconut butter

Night before: Marinate the cucumber slices for a few hours, or overnight in the balsamic vinaigrette.
* On one piece of bread, spread 1-2 tbsp hummus.
* Then, in order, layer with the following: cucumber slices, spinach, avocado, and sprouts.
* Combine 1 tbsp yogurt with 1 tsp coconut butter. Stir until combined. Drizzle over sprouts. (or you can skip the sauce and smear the avocado on)

Eat the Fried Pickles, But Not Okra

Hello Fabulous Fried Green Pickle Readers,

I’m Krista from One Hundred & Eighty One Days, and I am lucky enough to be in the lineup to keep y’all entertained this week while the lovely Megan is off enjoying drinks with umbrellas in ‘em. So, for my guest blog, I thought I’d share with you all how I know our Fried Green Pickles gal!

During my senior year of high school, just as things began to turn gray and cold in my hometown of Chicago, I was faced with the decision of where I was going to attend college the following year. I envisioned myself walking on a cobblestone path through a sunny, palm tree-lined campus quad and spending my weekends screaming alongside diehard football fans. It wasn’t long before my mom and I headed to Columbia to visit the University of South Carolina. The Saturday we visited, the Gamecocks claimed a home win over the rivaled Clemson Tigers for the first time since 1987 and the campus was alive with victory. (Side story: Little did I know, my future husband who I met some seven years later in Las Vegas, was at that game as an alumni that weekend.) To say the school won me over would be an extreme understatement and the next morning, my mom and I both left Cola knowing I was a going to be a Gamecock.

After making it all official, I decided to go through the online USC Roomate Finder in the hopes that at the very least, I wouldn’t be stuck with some country bumpkin roommate that couldn’t understand my ChiiicAHgo accent.  I perused through the endless pictures of tiny blondes with big, white smiles (they just breed y’all beautiful down there, don’t they?), and decided to contact Megan, who to me, looked very down to earth and friendly. Soon, we got on the phone and to be honest, I couldn’t understand a dang thing she said, let alone hear her (how she was so quiet when she had put “cheerleader” as a high school activity on her roommate profile was beyond me). But I just loved her, and I must have had some exotic lure as a brunette, Yankee as well because we decided to be roomies.

Before we knew it, we were piling all our crap into our tiny Patterson dorm room and hugging our parents goodbye. And it didn’t take long after for me to discover that Megan, can in fact, become Cheerleader-loud when excited. She was the best roomie/translator of all things southern a Yankee girl could ask for... she educated me on what southern foods to eat (fried anything, especially pickles) and what to avoid (cafeteria okra, ew), translated what those Rock Hill-area folks had to say (holy accent batman), took me out with friends she knew, and even brought me with her to Summerville for some home cooking on the weekends. We tailgated together, went to see John Mayer in Charleston, and spent one long night throwing pennies at the cricket (Who we named “Shut the heck up”) living in our dorm room vents to keep him from chirping throughout the night.

So, to Megan- my favorite freshman year roomie who I miss dearly and hope to see again someday soon!!! I will never see pickles without thinking of you!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

GameDay Essentials

Hey y'all! I am Ashton - the girl behind Soulshine and one of the Belles on The Belles of Saturday.  I am happy to be guest posting for Megan while she is cruising to Bermuda Key West and Cozumel.  Megan and I are sorority sisters.  She was a senior when I was a freshman.  I blog about my life as a law student.  Jana and I started TBS to bring together our love of football and GameDay fashion.  With a week until the first Saturday of football, I am more than excited and ready for the season to start.  In preparation for next weekend, I have put together a list of GameDay essentials.

Pack light, but pack the necessities.  For games, I try to pick a small purse that will hold a lot.  I found this Dooney & Burke crossbody towards the end of last season.  It frees up your hands for adequate cheering and jumping up and down.

North/South Triple Zip
 It comfortable fits my phone, camera, small wallet, coin purse, fold-up brush, lip glosses, hand sanitizer, keys, travel powder, and pony tail holders.  The bare essentials are all you need for GameDay anyway.

Wear comfortable shoes OR bring a back-up pair.  I usually start my day out with my Jacks and end it with my rainbows.  I love my Jacks, but they kill my feet after walking around all day.  I especially love the new collegiate line of Jack Rogers.

Garnet & Black...anyone?
Speaking of walking around, a tailgating game plan is key.  I am not talking about your tailgate spread.  I am tailgating about your plan of attack for all the tailgates you are going to visit.  Map out your route.  Check with the people hosting to see what is on the menu.  If they are planning on cooking on the grill or throwing together a pot of lowcountry boil, you will want to make sure you time it right.  Does that sound bad?  No, if they invited you over, they want you to share in the food.  Remember to bring food or drinks of your own to share with everyone.  Game time is another thing to consider.  You will probably want to visit the furtherest away place first and make your way towards to the stadium with each pit stop.

Stay hydrated and fueled.  When I was in college and attending mostly fraternity tailgates, I would always carry a snack or two in my purse since food was not the highlight of the tailgate.  Just some goldfish or crackers.  Drink plenty of water, especially for those first few games in September.  It is still hot as blazes.

It goes without saying proper GameDay attire is the most important thing.  I would slash do search high and low for the perfect GameDay outfits.  I start planning back in May.  I wish I had $5 for every LBD I owned in college.  Part of our goal on TBS is to give everyone more options readily available for GameDay.  Personally, I am not officially ready for GameDay until I have game face on.

I hope this helped everyone get ready for GameDay.  Best of luck this season!  

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Southern Treat: Key Lime Cupcakes

Happy Friday!! I know that everyone is just as glad as I am that it is the weekend. I'm Hannah from Sweet Tea and Stilettos with today's post while our sweet Megan is braving the storm. Normally I do not wait so late in the day to write, but today I have had a few technological issues. Don't you just hate those? Computers can drive you crazy at the drop of a hat, but it is also had to stay away from them for a day. Agreed?

I am a Southern gal who loves to sip on a sweet cocktail, lounge by the pool and whip up a tasty treat. And boy do I have a tasty treat for you! Before I became wise, I turned up my nose at the boring Southern Lady magazines my mother received in the mail each month. Thank goodness I grew up and realized what little treasures could be found in each issue. The current July/August 2011 issue is no different. There are tons and tons of things I am dying to make. Parties and lists are filling up my calendar just because of the delicious meals that I found (ok not really, but they are in my head). If you are not familiar with this magazine you must find yourself a copy. The most tempting thing that caught my eye were the Key Lime cupcakes. Don't they look scrumptious?

 Key Lime Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. Key lime zest
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp. fresh Key lime juice

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and lime zest. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together half-and-half and lime juice. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with half-and-half mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups until each cup is 2/3 full. Bake for 16 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Using a melon baller, carefully remove a small amount of cake from center of each cupcake. Spoon or pipe about 1 tsp. Key Lime Filling in center of each cupcake. Frost tops of cupcakes with Key Lime Buttercream. Garnish with fresh Key lime slices, if desired.

Key Lime Filling
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 (10-ounce) jar lime curd

1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar, beating until smooth. Add curd, beating until combined. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Key Lime Buttercream
Makes about 4 cups

1 1/4 cups sugar
4 egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. Key lime zest

1. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, combine sugar, egg whites and vanilla. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture reaches 140 on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 10 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low; add butter, 1 tbsp. at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in Key lime zest. Use immediately.

Please let me know if you make these delicious little treats. I hope at least one of you will take the plunge! Be sure to head over and check out my blog. When I reach 200 followers I will be hosting a giveaway!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I have been waiting for tomorrow to come since June when we booked this vacation! A 6 day cruise to Bermuda! And now, all of the sudden, Hurricane Irene is trying to get up in my grill and ruin my plans. Not gonna happen. We're leaving from Charleston (so nice not to have to drive to Florida!) and she's not expected to show up here until Saturday, and when we get back on Wednesday she'll already be up north so I think we'll be fine! I'm going to be prepared with my motion sickness patch just in case!
Here's hoping to what my vacation will be full of..sunshine, frozen adult beverages by the pool, good food, sight seeing and kid-like activities.

I've got a great line up of guest bloggers starting tomorrow! See yall next week! :)

photos from Pinterest and the Carnival cruise line website.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Marsala Burgers

On the menu tonight..

Marsala Burgers

Yield: 4 servings


For the burgers:
1 lb. ground sirloin
2 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1-2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

For the topping:
4 slices of bacon or pancetta, chopped
2 cups white or cremini mushrooms
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 ½ cups Marsala wine (sweet)
1 ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice (1 small lemon)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
Sliced provolone cheese, for serving
Hamburger buns, for serving


Heat the grill to medium-high.  To prepare the burger patties, combine the ground sirloin, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl.  Mix together until well combined.  Form into 4 equal sized patties.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the topping, place a skillet over medium heat.  Add the pancetta to the pan; sauté, stirring occasionally until pancetta is brown and crisp, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate. Add mushrooms and increase heat to medium-high; sauté, stirring occasionally and scraping pan bottom, until liquid released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and shallot; sauté for 1 minute.

Return the cooked pancetta to the pan and add the tomato paste. Stir while sautéing, until tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Off heat, add Marsala; return pan to high heat and simmer vigorously, scraping browned bits from pan bottom until sauce is slightly syrupy and reduced to about 1 ¼ cups, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Whisk in the butter until completely melted.  Keep the sauce warm over low heat while grilling the burgers.

Grill the burgers, 3-5 minutes per side, until cooked through and no longer pink (160˚ F on an instant read thermometer).  Place a slice of provolone on top of each patty during the last few minutes of cooking.  Toast the burger buns on the grill until light golden.  Assemble the burgers on the buns and spoon the Marsala topping over the patties.  Serve immediately.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Giani Granite Countertops!

They're FINALLY done! It only took us, oh, 5 months to tackle this project. The package has been sitting paitiently in our junk guest room waiting for us to put it to use. We had guests stay at our house last weekend (shoutout to The Bright's) and will have more guests this weekend (Jana & Ashley!) so we decided it needed to be done.

I failed to take step by step pics, but basically we rolled on the bottom black coat. Sponge painted three different colors (silver, black and copper) and then rolled on a few top clear coats. We used a Giani Granite paint kit and I would highly recommend it if you are looking to change up your countertops but don't want to spend a lot of money! The kits come in 6 different color schemes, have very easy step by step directions and only cost $69.95 before tax and shipping.

a LOVELY shade of hunter green laminate countertops.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jenny & Dan - 8.13.11

It's hard to believe that Jenny & Dan's wedding weekend has come and gone! They dated for 8.5 years and with what seemed like the blink of an eye, they were married! The day of the actual wedding, it didn't even seem like one of my best friends was about to walk down the aisle - everyone was so calm and we were not rushed at all.

I do not apologize for the extreme amount of photos you are about to see.
Bridal Luncheon

Sis-in-law, Mother-in-law, Bride, Mother of the Bride

My burger - SO GOOD!

Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
(Be sure to watch the video of the MOH's speech!)

Wedding Day!
Ceremony - First Baptist Church
Reception - Founders Hall

Me & My Daddy.

My Family. :)

Bridal Portrait - Juliet Elizabeth Photography (LOVE HER)

Dan and the Chi O girls.

Cake topper.

She went there.
More cowbell.
The wind up.
I "caught" it! :)

The After Party
Our House.
I like to sit on Brady and act like he's a horse.
Surprising Tim with a birthday cake and a Glade candle. Classy.

Who smashes a cake in their own face?