Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Latest Obsession

I am currently obsessed with this Nine West Luca Wedge!  The black and white will look great with so many outfits already in my closet (since nearly half of it is black), and it still has that striped feel that I've been so into lately.  I like that it is a wedge.  Somehow I feel a little more stable on a wedge even though I'm sure I could find a way to fall or twist my ankle in it. 

Corn Casserole


I absolutely LOVE this recipe for Corn Casserole from Paula Deen.
It has a sweet flavor that is filling and a great comfort food.


  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
  • Directions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/corn-casserole-recipe/index.html
    Dress - LOFT
    Boots - Naturalizer
    Bracelet - Premier Jewelry

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Pizza!

    Last night for dinner I made my very first homemade pizza!  And by "homemade" I mean not frozen nor delivered but, no, I did not make the dough or sauce from scratch.  I used Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough.

    I topped it with Ragu Pizza Sauce, shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and sliced Pepperoni.  Granted, it's not completely homemade, but Jaimie loved it!  It was simple, easy, took less than half an hour to prepare and cook, and it was really good.  I doubt I'll do delivery again for a while!  Maybe next time I'll get the courage to try homemade crust or sauce or both.  But on days when there isn't time for all of that, this works just fine!

    What to Put in Easter Baskets

    What to Put in Easter Baskets



    Looking for fun, fresh ideas for your Easter baskets this year? From traditional to creative, nibble on these delightful Easter basket ideas for kids.
    Traditional Easter Basket Fillers

    • Chocolate bunnies or eggs
    • Plastic eggs filled with jelly beans
    • Peeps
    • Dyed, hard-boiled eggs
    • Small toys or games, such as puzzles, building blocks, or toy cars
    • Plastic eggs filled with quarters or dollar bills
    • Gift cards/certificates
    • CDs or DVDs
    • A small stuffed animal or doll
    • Wind-up bunny or chick
    • Bubbles
    • Jumping rope
    • Frisbee
    • Sidewalk chalk
    • Bouncy balls
    • Baseball or football cards
    • Stickers

    Creative Easter Basket Fillers

    • Plastic eggs filled with coupons for a movie night or a special treat
    • Disposable camera for documenting Easter Sunday. Bonus: You'll receive fun photos that record the day.
    • Coloring books, colored pencils, or crayons
    • Edible Easter grass
    • Instructions inside a plastic egg to begin an Easter egg hunt or treasure hunt
    • Toothbrush for after all the sweets
    • Apples
    • Dried fruit
    • Nuts
    • Carrots
    • Bath toys
    • Temporary tattoos
    • Diary or journal
    • Hair accessories or jewelry
    • Magazine
    • Book
    • Lip gloss or nail polish
    • Rubik's cube
    • Beach toys
    http://www.bhg.com/holidays/easter/eggs/what-to-put-in-easter-baskets/

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    Today I Wore...

    >
    Sweater - NY&Co
    Pants - Old Navy
    Shoes - American Rag

    Bunco!

    For our February Bunco party we decided on a PINK theme and.  Could you get any more girly? 
    Everyone dressed in their pinkest outfits, feather boas, and sequined cowboy hats.  Our host, Candace, really outdid herself with all of the pink goodies - strawberry cake pops, pink chocolate covered pretzels, pink wrapped truffles, and pink jelly beans just to name a few.  We also had a signature drink - the Cotton Candy Martini!  Yumm.  A good time was had by all.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Today I Wore...

    Cardi - Delia's
    Shirt - Karli
    Pants - NY&Co
    Shoes - Toms

    Restaurant Review: Cribbs Kitchen


    Last night I tried a new restaurant, Cribbs Kitchen at 226 East Main Street in Spartanburg.  Let me just say I was quite impressed with this casual fine dining establishment!  We got great service from their friendly staff (Shout out to Taylor, our waiter) and the industrial atmosphere was modern and up-tempo.  One of the things I liked most was that me and my 2 friends got a table immediately.  It was 6:30 on Thursday evening, still a little early for the crowd, so getting seated quickly wasn’t a problem.  I also liked that there was so much to choose from on the menu. They specialize in burgers and you can get anything from a Breakfast Burger (gourmet burger with a fried egg and bacon) to the Jamiepooh, which I loved because of the name (burger with applewood bacon, onion rings, and BBQ sauce).  Along with the many burger choices, there were awesome looking salads, wraps, paninis and sandwiches, as well as many steak, chicken and sea food options.  Everything looked amazing! After agonizing over my choices, I finally went with the Kitchen Club with Parmesan Fries and I was not disappointed in my decision.  All three of us were very pleased with our dinners. I would also highly recommend the Fontina Fondue appetizer.  Yummy!  We even got a Crème Brule to finish it off.  It was great food, great atmosphere, great service and all reasonably priced.  Thank goodness Spartanburg is finally getting some more casual fine dining restaurants.  We need more like Cribbs Kitchen!

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    3 Steps to Great Skin

    3 Steps to Heavenly Skin

    By Mandy Hendrix

    Confused about what's necessary for great skin? If your bathroom medicine cabinet is cluttered with dozens of lotions and potions, it's time to pare down your daily regimen. Dermatologists agree: All you need are three basics -- a cleanser, a moisturizing sunscreen, and a night cream -- to get the gorgeous complexion you crave.

    Step 1: Cleanser

    You should wash your face twice a day (unless you have sensitive skin). Cleansing in the morning removes the oil and dead skin cells that build up while you sleep and washing again at night gets rid of all the makeup, sunscreen, pollutants, and dust your face confronts over the course of the day. It also prepares your skin to better absorb your day and night creams so you can get the most out of their ingredients.

    Step 2: Moisturizing Sunscreen

    Do not leave your house until you've applied a moisturizer that contains SPF 15 or higher. Yes, it's that important. This smart combination does more to keep you looking young than any anti-aging cream, says Jeffrey Dover, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. Moisturizer seals in water in the skin's outer layers, plumping your face and fading fine lines.

    Step 3: Night Treatment

    Applying an anti-aging treatment before you go to sleep has its advantages. "Ingredients work better at night when they aren't exposed to sun and sweat," says Cheryl Karcher, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Look for retinols to speed cell turnover, fade age spots, and boost collagen. Or choose creams with antioxidants and peptides, which can repair damage, rebuild collagen, and reduce inflammation.

    Is More Better?

    While a three-step routine is plenty effective to maintain great skin, a few more steps can make your skin look even better. We asked the experts which products are worth adding and which to skip.
    Exfoliator: Add it.
    As you age your skin's natural shedding process slows down, so an exfoliator is one of the best extras you can buy. Try a scrub or a peel, both of which are sold in cleansers or as separate products.
    Serum: Consider it.
    Dermatologists love serums because the thin liquid texture delivers powerful ingredients into your skin's deeper levels. Serums easily can be layered under a sunscreen or moisturizer every day for more benefits.
    Eye Cream: Consider it.
    "If you have a special eye concern, such as dark circles, crow's-feet, or puffiness, you might want to add it to your daily routine, but a nighttime moisturizer without acids can be a good substitute," says Dr. Luftman.
    Facial Mask: Consider it.
    A mask isn't important for everyone but it may increase the benefits of a basic routine by helping your skin retain moisture or clearing away excess oil. There's no reason to use a mask more than twice a week.
    Toner: Skip it.
    It's old-fashioned and unnecessary and may contain ingredients such as witch hazel or ethyl alcohol that make skin tingle and feel tight but otherwise don't have any positive effects, says Dr. Dover.

    Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, July 2009.

    Today I Wore...

    Cardi - LOFT
    Cami - NY&Co
    Pants - Gap

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Today I Wore...

    Jacket - R from PacSun
    Shirt - Banana Republic
    Pants - The Limited
    Best - NY&Co
    Shoes - Allegria

    Spring Centerpiece


    Egg Dish
      Mound hollowed out, painted or dyed plastic in a clear compote and add a little water. Then stick stems of delphinium and pom-pom mums in the crevices between the eggs. Simply beautiful.

      http://www.bhg.com/decorating/seasonal/spring/spring-centerpieces/
     
     

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    1-Hour Quick-Clean Plan

    Don't Panic! Think you can't clean your home in an hour? Think again. These quick-fix chores target highly visible areas in your home and places that attract the most mess, so you can tidy the spots your guests will most likely see and save the rest for another day
     
    Cleaning Supplies
    • Sweep front steps and clean front door glass.
    • Carry a laundry basket throughout the house, picking up clutter. Stash out of sight.
    • Clean up trash, throw it out, and line trash receptacles with clean liners.
    • Wipe down any dirty areas in the bathrooms using household cleaner and paper towels.
    • Apply toilet bowl cleaner in the toilets and give them a quick brushing.
    • Wipe down bathroom floors with a damp towel.
    • Hang fresh hand towels and put out fresh hand soap.
    • Close the doors to rooms (e.g. bedrooms) your guests don't need to use.
    • Vacuum high-traffic areas guests will see.
    • Dust wood floors quickly using a dust mop.
    • Wipe down kitchen counters with household cleaner.
    • Clean out the refrigerator, discarding leftovers and expired food. Move large containers to the back of the fridge to make room for food and beverages guests bring.
    • Straighten stacks of magazines and books.
    • Straighten sofa pillows.
    • Straighten coat closet, making room to hang guests' outerwear.
    • Light scented candles to give your home a fresh, clean aroma.

    Mardi Gras Hurricane

    photo by gailanng


    Directions:

    1. Fill a 16 ounce glass with ice.
    2. Pour in amaretto, light rum and dark rum.
    3. Pour in orange juice, pineapple juice, and lemon juice.
    4. Stir, then top with a dash of grenadine and garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Bacon Green Beans


    I am always looking for interesting side dishes to serve through the week.  I don't want a side dish that takes up too much time.  These green beans are simple, but not boring.  The bacon drippings add a great flavor and the bacon pieces give a unique crunch. 

    Serves: 6
    Ingredients
    • 8 slices bacon
    • 1/2 cup white vinegar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen green beans, thawed
    Instructions
    1. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until bacon is crisp, stirring often. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, reserving 1/4 cup drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels, and set aside.
    2. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and sugar; pour into drippings in skillet and bring to a boil.
    3. Add beans and cook over medium-high heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a serving dish; top with bacon.

    recipe and photo courtesy of mrfood.com

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms


    One of my favorite meals!
    This is great comfort food for me.  I'm a big fan of gravy :)

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 7 saltine crackers, finely crushed (about 1/4 cup)
    • 1/2  teaspoon sage
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms
    • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • Buttered egg noodles, for serving (optional)

    Directions

    Gently mix the beef, egg, cracker crumbs, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl using your hands. Divide into 4 equal portions and shape into oval patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

    Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the patties, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

    Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and cook the mushrooms until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste, scraping up any browned bits. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, then stir in 2 1/2 cups hot water and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, swirling to combine.

    Return the patties and any juices from the plate to the skillet. Simmer until the sauce thickens and the patties are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve with noodles, if desired.

    Per serving: Calories 352; Fat 21 g (Saturated 10 g); Cholesterol 141 mg; Sodium 428 mg; Carbohydrate 11 g; Fiber 1 g; Protein 27g

    Photograph by Antonis Achilleos
    recipe www.foodnetwork.com

    Today I Wore...


    Sweater - NY&Co
    Pants - White House Black Market

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Put A Little Love in Your Heart...and Your Tummy!


    I have a confession to make.  I just can't say "no" to Red Velvet anything!  It's my favorite cake in the world! 
    These red cookies are a great way to celebrate Valentine's Day.

    Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Yield: About 24 cookies
    Prep Time: 45 min
    Cook Time: 12 min
    These are easy-to-make cookies, but the batter is very thick. It might seem very strange to work with such a thick batter, but not to worry... they bake up just fine :)

    Ingredients:

    COOKIES:
    1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
    1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix (dry)
    4 to 5 large egg whites (start with 4... see *tips below)
    1/2 cup sour cream
    FILLING:
    24 Hershey's "Hugs" Kisses (White Chocolate + Milk Chocolate), unwrapped
    CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
    6 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
    2. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 4 egg whites and sour cream, then use a WOODEN SPOON to mix it into the dry mixture. The mixture will be very thick. Add an additional egg white if it's impossible to stir. A thick batter is what you're looking for though.
    You'll think it's way too thick (I did. I thought... there is no way this is going to work out!) but it does work out and bakes up into a tender cookie.
    3. Use a small cookie scoop or a spoon to drop a tablespoon of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Press a kiss into the cookie dough, and then top the kiss with another tablespoon of dough. Just kind of plop it on top... it will bake together in the oven and keep the Kiss inside. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. Bake 12 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
    4. If you'd like to frost them, you should do so just before serving them. Use your favorite frosting recipe, use a canned frosting (for ease) or use my quick recipe. Just use a hand mixer to combine the cream cheese with 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar and drizzle in enough whipping cream or milk to create a nice spreading consistency, adding more powdered sugar if needed. Spread the frosting on the cookies. Top with decorative sprinkles, if desired.

    Tips:

    *If topped with the homemade cream cheese frosting, the cookies will need to be kept in the refrigerator in a covered container. Bring to room temperature when ready to serve or nibble.

    Photo and recipe from www.recipegirl.com

    Today I Wore...


    Top - The Limited
    Pants - NY&Co

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Taco Soup in the Crock Pot


    I have been dying to try this recipe I found on Pinterest and last night I finally did.  I love Taco soup and this one was great.  It cooked all day and my house smelled amazing.  This was a chunky soup and was very filling.  I changed the recipe around just a little (not much) for this post, but the original recipe can be found by following the link.
    Ingredients:
    --2 cans of light red kidney beans

    --2 cans of pinto beans

    --2 cans of corn

    --1 large can of diced tomatoes

    --1 can tomatoes and chiles

    --1 1/2 packets taco seasoning

    --1 packet  dry ranch dressing mix

    --1 1/2 lb browned ground turkey or hamburger

    --shredded cheese and sour cream for embelishment

    The Directions:

    --brown meat and drain all grease

    --add meat to crockpot

    --sprinkle seasoning packets on top of meat

    --drain and rinse the beans and add

    --add the ENTIRE contents of the corn and tomato cans
    --stir.

    cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5. I think the longer you cook soup, the better, so if you have the time, opt for cooking on low. Stir well, and serve with a handful of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.


    http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/02/original-taco-soup-crockpot-recipe.html

    Today I Wore...


    Sweater - Ann Taylor Loft
    Scarf - vintage
    Cords - London (Victoria's Secret)
    Shoes - Esprit

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Today I Wore...


    Cardi - Moa Comoa (Steinmart)
    Shirt - INC (Macy's_
    Pants - NY&Co

    You Are My Sunshine

    Since yellow is my favorite color, I was thrilled to see it popping up so often in the new spring collections.  This bright color is so summery and looks great with a tan.  It just has a tropical feel.  And don't let anyone tell all of you blondes out there that you can't wear yellow because you can.  The trend seems to be more toward a bright, lemon yellow rather than the subdued pale yellow that was popular this winter.  It looks fabulous paired with stripes, with navy, or in a solid dress.  You can bet the yellow section of my closet will be growing this spring!  Happy Shopping :).


    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Today I Wore...


    Dress - Old Navy
    Jeggings - Hue (Dillards)
    Boots - Michelle D (Dillards)

    Ugh!  I'm having such a bad hair day.  Hate to even post this picture.

    Chicken Pot Pie

    There's no question that I love love LOVE Paula Deen.  If you've eaten dinner at my house, or attended a function where I brought a dish, you've eaten one of her recipes.  I just think she embodies southern cooking.  When I taste one of her recipes, I think of my Grandma in Pauline, South Carolina and the amazing dinners she used to make.  Paula's Chicken Pot Pie is one of my favorites and is so incredibly simple.  You can substitute any veggies you would like, or even use a can or two of Veg-All.  Let me know what you think!


    Hurry Up Chicken Pot Pie


    2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

    2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

    1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots

    1/2 cup frozen green peas

    1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup

    1 cup chicken broth

    Salt and pepper, optional

    1 1/2 cups instant biscuit mix

    1 cup milk

    1 stick melted butter



    Directions

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

     In a greased 2-quart casserole, layer the chicken, eggs, carrots, and peas. Mix the soup, chicken broth, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour over the layers. Stir together the biscuit mix and milk, and pour this over the casserole. Drizzle butter over the topping. Bake until the topping is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Conversation Heart Candle

    How cute are these conversation heart candles?  I don't do a ton of decorations for Valentines Day but I do always like to put out a little something.  The hearts in the bottom of a hurricane make for a colorful base.  I like the white candle because I think it really complements the colors of the candy and the pink ribbon.  Next month, you can change out the conversation hearts for some green candies for St. Patrick's Day! 
    myheartsdesireblog.com

    Sweater - Ann Taylor Loft
    Pants - NY&Co

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Today I Wore...


    Shirt - White House Black Market
    Pants - Limited

    Family Vacation


    I feel so blessed to have a large family, and even more blessed that we have the opportunity to travel together several times a year.  We usually take one vacation in the summer, and a mini-vacation in the winter.  This year we all went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a long weekend.  We rented the Summit Lodge from Jackson Mountain Homes Rental Agency.  We all fit in one house.  In total, there were 23 of us!  Whew! We did some shopping downtown, visited the Ripley’s Aquarium, and enjoyed a dinner show at the Dixie Stampede!  If you’ve never been to the Dixie Stampede, I highly recommend it.  My husband was asked to take part in a horse race (wooden stick horses).  We had 2 two year olds and a 1 year old with us and they stayed thoroughly entertained throughout the show.  We had a blast!  I can’t wait until our summer vacation.  Wonder where we will end up!

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    French Pork Chops

    This is one of those recipes that made my husband, Jaimie, say, "Man, that was good!".  I found this on foodnetwork.com under Sandra Lee's most popular recipes.  I'm always looking for something that I can put in the slow cooker.  This one was a hit with the whole family.  It's a one-pot meal.  I baked some frozen yeast rolls to go with it and dinner was served.  I have changed it just a bit to suit my family's tastes.  The original recipe calls for button mushrooms and whole tomatoes.  Like all recipes, you can tweak it, too.  I hope you like it!

    Photo from foodnetwork.com

    Ingredients
    1 (14-ounce) bag frozen sliced carrots
    1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
    4 boneless, thick-cut, pork loin chops, rinsed and patted dry
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence, divided
    1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
    1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    3 tablespoons dry sherry
    2 teaspoons butter
    3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
    1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
     Directions
     Combine carrots, tomatoes, and beans in the bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker.
    Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of herbs de Provence. Place in slow cooker on top of vegetables.
    In a small bowl, combine potato soup, Dijon mustard, tomato paste, sherry, and 1 teaspoon of herbs de Provence. Pour over pork chops.
    Cover and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours.
    In a saute pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. When butter is melted and foam subsides, add bread crumbs and stir constantly until toasted. Serve pork chops and vegetables sprinkled with bread crumbs and parsley.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Today I Wore...


    Cardi - Banana Republic
    Tank - Target
    Top - Karlie (Girly Girl Boutique, Boiling Springs SC)
    Pants - NY&Co
    Shoes - Toms