Thursday, December 29, 2011

Today Marks...

Over 10,000 blog views! Keep them coming and thanks for all your support!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Nails

It's that time of year again, ending the old year and bringing in the new. And with the new year, there is always time for you to do something new for yourself. Whatever small "happy" that you enjoy, enjoy it more often in 2012. Now, I'm obviously not a man, so little things they do to pamper themselves, I never know what they might be. New cologne, a candle? What are their answers? But, for women, I do have an idea of something simple that can be a super easy pick me up. You guessed it, nail polish. Colorful nails have become a huge and lasting trend that is surely ageless. Nail lacquer everywhere is becoming more and more age friendly as the days go by. Sure, there will always be those crazy teeny bopper colors that nine year olds love, but there are plenty of funky and grown-up shades that allow us to feel unique. Also, well-polished nails are an inexpensive accessory that convey confidence. They are that little extra something that pulls us divas together. At all price ranges, you can have fun with them. So, take a few dollars of your Christmas money and do something fun for yourself. Dark blue, gold, wine, you can do it all. You've got your own beauty, so fork over those dollars and embrace it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Twas The Night of Clearance Shopping


I'm letting my mom in on a little Christmas secret. I just cannot keep it in any longer. Remember my post a few weeks ago about the Dillard's Dig? Well, the proof is in the Christmas pudding, people and I am here to give you an example. After work yesterday, I went to the Dillard's (regular store) in Parkway Place mall. Mostly, I was killing a little bit of time while Billy worked late. Well, I'm all in the Christmas spirit, so I decide I will take a little stroll upstairs to see if anything Eileen Fisher Dr.K wants is on sale. And so, my story begins.

Twas the night before Wednesday and all through the store, Dillard's shoppers were stirring for just one gift more. The sweaters were hung on the racks with care and I see a gray sweater hanging right over there. This garment galore looks just like Dr.K. Yet, to my ho-hum, the price tag was dismay. ($90.00 and originally, $258). And law, if I had bought that in my kerchief, well, she would have just not let me settle down for my long winter's nap. When out on the rung their arose such a clatter, I thought the Dillard's Dig might solve this whole matter. I spring open their door and fly in like a flash, tore open the sale racks and threw up my handbag. The florescent lights are glowing to the items below and the lustre of an additional 50% off is just more than I can bear. When, what to my wandering eyes do appear, but Dr.K's gray sweater but not eight tiny reindeer. With my little old knack of shopping you see, I knew in a moment this one was meant for me. So up to the register with the sweater I flew. And for thirty-five dollars, you'd be dashing their, too. The prancing and pawing of each high heel, brings me closer to victory, oh this, I can feel. I was dressed in my best from head to foot, but my clothes were not tarnished with ashes and soot. I hopefully don't have a little round belly, but I shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly. To the cashier I cry, "This sweater I'll take." And she bags it up so a good deal I will make. I sprang to my SUV and gave myself a whistle, and away I flew like the down of a thistle. And you heard me say as I sprang out of sight, "Merry Christmas, Dr. K, wear this one tonight!"

Merry Christmas with love from me!


Image: Neiman Marcus.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chicken Crescent Rolls

2 Bags Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken
2 Cans Crescent Rolls
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup Skim Milk
Cheddar Cheese

1.) Mix soup and milk in bowl.
2.) Pour half of soup mix into greased casserole dish.
3.) Roll Chicken and desired amount of cheese up in each triangle crescent roll.
4.) Lay crescent rolls on soup mixture and fill up pan.
5.) Pour rest of soup on top and add cheese.
6.) Bake at 350 until crescents are golden brown.
7.) Delicious, super fast, super easy. Thanks to Rhoda Plain of Rhoda P's Catering for this recipe. She has some great write-ups in Dr.K's Health Department cookbook!

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How Fun Is This?

http://www.timesdaily.com/stories/Simple-artistic-and-frugal,185385

http://cathylwood.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/cupcakes-and-tablescapes/

This was such a fun class! Hope you all have a great holiday season. Thanks again to Cathy Wood for this precious article and her blog post about both of us! She is a lot of fun. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Super Fast Side

Canned Yellow Corn
Dried Basil
Butter of your choice
Kosher Salt
Pepper
Mix to taste and heat in oven. Enough said.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Dillard's Dig





There is a little shopping gem hidden from all of us up here in the Shoals area. If you've already heard of it, you should've told me! I'm always up for a good deal, especially with extremely expensive clothing! Well, this place is my new pick-me up. It is located inside of Madison Square Mall where their Dillard's store used to be. It functions as a permanent outlet for Dillard's all across the south. Let me tell you, they have got it going on over there. If you are in the mood to search for a good deal, go for it! While I was there, I picked up two Three Dots cardigans (MADE IN USA!) for quite the steal. One was priced $120 and I got it for $26 while the other was priced $90 and I got it for $24. Dr. K loves all things Eileen Fisher, a gorgeous women's brand that is very luxurious. Many of their items start out at around $100. But, not here! She bought four tops for $17 each! I'm talking fine fabrics, silk and cotton all the way. Combined, our purchases saved quite a lot of money. I also have a guy/girl I know who purchased over $2000 worth of suits and sport jackets, plus women's items for $400. They have fine men's brands such as Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, and Kenneth Cole. I'll go ahead and let Billy in on a little Christmas secret because I am so excited about this place. I bought him a $90 dress shirt for $17. Come on people, we are talking Wal-Mart prices here! I was looking through a rack of women's jeans and found a pair of Eileen Fisher in a size four, unfortunately. However, being a stylist, I looked over at a girl nearby and said, "If you wear a four, which I think you do, please buy these!" I know I sound crazy, but when you do it for a business, you are always looking to find great deals for other people, too! She actually took the pants and eventually bought them!! Nothing better than the satisfaction of helping someone find a $250 pair of jeans for $30! That will boost your confidence and help your wallet! This hideout also has kid's clothes, handbags, shoes, home items, and intimates. SPANX bras were everywhere, unfortunately none in my size. No fear here, they get shipments constantly! "I'll be back!" You can even call ahead to see if they are running extra deals that day, which they always are, or so our cashier said. I want to buy something on sale, and I want to buy it even on more sale than sale. See what I mean? What a great shopping day this was! Invest some time in this place, it isn't the prettiest, but the deals cannot be beat. Pep up your wardrobe for pennies and get quality over quantity! Go, go, go, and don't forget to pick me up on the way!



Images:
http://blog.pursehook.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/dillards-logo-high.jpg
www.midchix.com
www.threedots.com

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I've Said It Once...I'll Say It Again


Ladies, please do your lips a favor and pick up this Sephora Cream Lip Stain. Oh my word, it works wonders! Lipstick woes are no more! I've just recently bought my second tube and I'm on a roll. The best $12 I've spent on any beauty product!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Affordable Luxury-The Century


Hello, out there! What is life without a little pick me up? What is life without an affordable pick me up? No fun. Tonight, while traveling, I discovered a hidden gem in downtown Birmingham. What is better than a modern, suave, and clean restaurant that turns out to be the perfect dinner spot after a long day? Again, not much. If you know anything about me or my blog, you know what I love. Well, add this little place to that list.

Normally, I am not one for hotel restaurants. When I go anywhere, I am out asking locals where I must eat. And...local etiquette at its best is also my must. This place proved me wrong and washed away all my hotel restaurant woes. Called The Century and located right inside the Tutwiler Hampton Inn and Suites, it is what it is and it is lovely. I had a Fried Green Tomato BLT complete with aoili and homemade potato chips. I topped it off with made from scratch cheesecake. Whoa. Every fork full was totally worth my hardcore cardio today. What else was great about this place, you ask? The service. The chefs are Culinard students from right here in Birmingham (partnership). They presented the food perfectly, had an excellent food score (98), and they clearly showed their passion for food. The best food you've ever had always comes from those that put love and care into what they are doing. They live their love. That love is an obvious existence at The Century. Our waitress, Denise, was also quite the star. Every single need we had was met with a cheerful heart and a contented hand. I work in the service industry. I know it, I value it, I believe in it. Serve me well and I will serve you well. A write-up on this restaurant was extremely well deserved. Applause and props go to The Century. You are one for the books upon my next trip to Birmingham.

For your pleasure:
http://www.thetutwilerhotel.com/
http://www.centurybirmingham.com/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Strawberry Salad

This delicious concoction will have your holiday parties bustling all season long. People won't believe you've whipped up such a fabulous and semi-healthy side dish. Save the dry mix and separate the dressing, and leftovers are served. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
Hearts of Romaine (4 chopped for a large salad)
1 carton strawberries, chopped
1 cup bacon bits
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light evoo
Poppy seeds
Directions:
1. Mix olive oil, poppy seeds, vinegar, and sugar together well with a whisk. This dressing settles easily so mix and pour right before serving.
2. Mix lettuce, bacon bits, pecans, and strawberries in large salad bowl.
3. Toss and serve!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Scarf Day



Be reassured that just because I wear a scarf, my day isn't necessarily a bad one.

Some days are just bad days. We all have them. We can maintain a positive outlook on life and they will still come our way. They might continue to come again and again for a very long time. It might be because of the weather, a family emergency, or our health, you get the picture. We women (and men) have the responsibility, yes, responsibility of somehow rolling out of bed and finding a way to pull ourselves together. When those bad days are here, the life-saving accessory is the scarf. If I could have a rack of these hanging on the wall next to automatic defibrillators, I surely would.

You must wake up every morning and be your best self. How ever you have to do it, make it happen. People are waiting outside your door to pull you down. Many cannot wait for their next negative opportunity. How are you going to handle this? Will you pull it all together or wrap up in your sorrow? The other night, I heard a profound quote on television, "You are what you believe to be." When life takes a wild turn on us, what are we to do? Most often, the easiest thing is to let our self-worth slip away. We lose the feeling of who we used to be, how we used to look, and why we used to care. When we have to take the hard road, we must not forget about the value of our self. We must try, try, try to keep it all together somehow. Don't wait for a better time to look better. You can't spend your whole life waiting for things to improve so that you can make yourself over.

Start small with a solution to your problem, the scarf. Really, wear any accessory you choose. When a bad day comes, pick up that thing, put it on and move on. Save yourself the worry about your wardrobe. When you see it during your day, let it remind you of you. No matter how bad things get, you'll be fabulous, suave, and simple. When one of these said days rolls my way, I try to make the best of it. I pull out my scarf, sweep up my hair, add some basics and out I go. I can't and I won't let gloom linger over me.

Consider the scarf a classic staple in your wardrobe. A variety of solids, prints, and textures are a must. You can find these gems at all sorts of places, so keep those eyes peeled. Throw one of them on with jeans or sleek dress pants, a sweater, and a top, there you go. Oh, the possibilities of little pick-me-ups. We've all got leggings, long dressy t-shirts, cardigans, skirts, and boots. These will all go perfectly with cowls, snoods, ascots, mufflers, and the like. Literally, a 1-2-3 outfit concept. If you went to your closet right now, you'd probably find numerous new outfits that are completed with just one scarf. Then, you'll be forced to hold your head high. You must. You will.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Honey Fruit Salad

Do you need some fruit in your life? Why, of course! This recipe is courtesy of allrecipes.com, and when a precious friend requested it, I thought I might as well share it with my readers, too! Who says this can't be a side this Thursday? I make my own rules. Happy eating!

Ingredients
2 medium firm bananas, chopped
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
5 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

Directions:
1. Don't be limited to just these fruits!!
2. In a large bowl, combine the bananas and berries. In a small bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice and poppy seeds. Pour over fruit and toss to coat.

3. Double as needed and remember that a little more honey never hurts!
4. Chill before serving

5. I never measure recipes like these, I just throw them together until it tastes how I want. You heard me, I'm a rebel.


A Revival from Last Year!

Who doesn't need a friendly reminder of what to wear this Thanksgiving? Read my post from last year and you'll be good to go! This blog post has been one of my most popular of all time. How fun is that? Happy Thanksgiving!
http://homeofowl.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-look-better-than-thanksgiving.html

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Care of Clothing





Call me crazy, but I love laundry. It is my favorite chore and proves very soothing. I'm obsessed with clean smelling laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Currently, my two loves are for UP and UP Lavender Laundry Detergent (Target Brand) and UP and UP dryer sheets in Clean Linen. I love these two scents so very much because they make my clothes smell heavenly. Is there really anything better than inexpensive items that work the best? Maybe one thing, people complementing me on my new shirt when it is really something I've owned since 9th grade. So, let's get to the point and talk laundry.
I try my very hardest to keep my clothes as pristine as they were the day I bought them. A couple of nights ago, I scored this Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day book at TJ MAXX for $3.99. I LOVE this brand of cleaning products. They smell HEAVENLY, aren't overpriced, and usually have $1.00 off coupons on each bottle. My favorite product is the Lemon Verbena hand soap. It retails $3.99 and has a $1.00 coupon. Back on topic, I have really enjoyed reading this little book so far. It makes several great points on cleaning clothes and some that I have been following before this book ever came on my radar screen. In case you have questions, here is a little list (WHOOHOO FOR LISTS) of my own personal suggestions and favorites from this book.
1.) Know your common clothing fabrics:
(Ok, I'm a fabric snob. I prefer natural ones, but shop as you wish! Just review these to find your favorites.)
a.) Rayon-Rayon is not a natural fabric. It is made of cellulose. Most times, it does care well in cold water and a low heat dryer. It drapes well on a variety of shapes and sizes. However, it can sometimes lose its shape with bad laundering. These days, it seems like everything I see is made from Rayon. Of course it is, because it isn't that expensive to produce. Be wary of 100% Rayon. If I buy it, I try to buy a blend.
b.) Polyester-Ok, I just don't like this fabric. It doesn't breathe whatsoever. I'm already hot-natured and I don't need a fabric that makes me want to faint. Polyester is also another one of those synthetics. If you're cold natured, it is the fabric for you. It may lasts for a thousand years, but I really don't want to go there when it comes to knowing how my uncle's suit from the 70's still looks brand new on my 2011 boyfriend dressed as Sonny for our Halloween get-up. Some things are best left undiscussed. Polyester is sometimes washed, sometimes dry cleaned. Look on your care labels.
c.) Cotton-Ahhh...nothing but sweet fields of white perfection come to mind. I love me some cotton, y'all. I'm a southern girl and I want to be able to fathom where my clothes come from. Cotton is the ultimate comfort, my wardrobe staple, and extremely easy to care. Cold water and cotton go together like two peas in a pod. Want your cotton a little smaller? Try medium dryer heat and warm water. It really is the fabric of my life.
d.) Silk-Silk is the luxury fabric. It comes from tiny worms that spin the silk fibers together. It is really a fascinating process. YouTube videos about it if you are curious. Silk is dry clean only, or instructed to be. You can carefully use mild detergent to HAND wash it, but be careful and think before you go there. Mrs. Meyer's recommends swirling it around a few good times, wrapping it in a towel and then hanging it carefully to dry. Look for it on sale, it will look classic for many years to come!
e.) Wool-I love sheep. They are one of my favorite animals. We used to have some and they were the cutest! Usually, merino wool can be washed in the washer because it is more shaved than 100% wool. For that, dry cleaning is best. You don't want your wool items stretching out, and washing/drying will do it!
f.) Modal-Modal is a cellulose from beech trees. It is extremely soft, but sometimes pills. It is washed in the washer and dried on low.
g.) Corduroy-I love it. Wash it on cold and hang out to dry to prevent wrinkles in the fine lines. Most often, it is another form of cotton that is perfect for the winter.
h.) Linen- I have the same love for linen that I do of corduroy in the fall. It is cotton, so refer back to it if you missed how obsessed I am over it. Never put linen in the dryer. Always iron it with starch, and dry clean it if need be.
2.) The Washer and Dryer and Hang It Up Rack:
I ALWAYS wash clothes in cold water and ALWAYS dry them on low. I hardly ever dry any clothing item. Yes, I did say above that you could dry, but I don't. I'm just picky like that. For example, if you have a pair of jeans that are brand new, you need to turn them inside out when you wash them. You don't need to put them in the dryer except on low because higher heat will shrink those babies in no time. Most cotton jeans have a partial blend of spandex, which will shrink with continued heat exposure. To really keep your clothes looking bright, remember these little slogans I made up for you because you are so fabulous, "Cold water makes you look Hotter," and "No dryer means I'll look flyer." Man, I am just too good.
3.) Pull out that iron, it's time to get busy:
Ironing isn't my favorite thing in the world, but when I get in the mood to get it done, I will iron for days. ALWAYS iron your clothes inside out just in case your iron leaks with tinted water. Also, ironing on the inside of clothes will ensure that no marks come out on the visible part of your garments. (Rowenta is the iron brand that I swear by-it is a little more pricey but SO worth it-sometimes they have them at TJ Maxx/Amazon and I will NEVER buy another iron than this brand-AMAZING!)
4.) Fold your clothing:
Nothing is worse than what I call a hanger horn. Those pesky little bumps that form on your clothes when they've been in the closet too long. I try to fold everything I can. I NEVER hang up sweaters, cotton tees, or cardigans of any sort. If you do put something on the hanger and it starts to form one of these, it is a good idea to take it off and fold it across the hanger. This will help your clothes keep their shape and avoid pulls/holes.
5.) Lavender or cedar, take your pick:
Nobody wants moths eating through their wardrobe staples. Mrs. Meyer's recommends using either one of these scents to keep pests away. I'm already obsessed with lavender, so no problem for me! Combined with my favorite detergent I spoke of, it's a lavender paradise in my closet!
6.) Make dry cleaning worthwhile:
I love the service of dry cleaners, but I don't always like the harsh chemical smell that comes along with them. In the colder months, I try to wear a dry clean only item three to six times before I have it dry clean. That being said, I ALWAYS sanitize it each time before I wear it again. I turn the garment inside out and steam it with my iron. Steam is hot enough to kill bacteria and it is the same thing that is done at the dry cleaners just without harsh chemicals.
7.) NEVER put bras in the dryer:
This one is simply stated. You will ruin bras of all types with dryer heat and movement. Unless they are 100% cotton bandeaus, DO NOT DO IT! You've already spent enough on them anyway!
8.) Sanitize the washer with vinegar.
Mrs Meyer's recommends doing this once a month to prevent mold, mildew, and dirt from forming where your clothes are getting cleaned. Pour a few tablespoons of white vinegar into the washer and run through a hot cycle to clean.
9.) Light colors with light colors and dark colors with dark colors.
No cheating!
10.) Try not to mix towels in laundry baskets with clothes or with clothes in the washer. Towels are often soiled when put into laundry baskets. If they begin to smell before you have time to wash them, so will your clothes. They can bleed onto clothing and of course, ruin them. If you do mix towels together in either way, try to at least have them hanging dry before you put them in the hamper.


Any other concerns or advice? Write me a comment! Happy Wednesday!

Images:
beautyspot.blogspot.com
southernaccentblog.com
appliancist.com
photodictionary.com

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dr. K's Layered English Pea Salad

This is a salad I am crazy about. Throw it all together in a bowl, and it becomes a true masterpiece! You can bet this makes it on our table at almost every dinner party. In fact, at one I had Friday night, I ate it and remembered it hadn't made the blog, yet. What a crime! It is perfect to take to a covered dish party!! Hope all of you have a great week. Sorry for the lack of posts lately! My life is just passing me by these days!
Ingredients:
1 small head of lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 large can drained English peas
1/2 pint light mayo
1/2 pint light sour cream
1 1/2 tbsp. Dry Ranch
Parmesan Cheese
Bacon Bits (real ones!)
Directions:
1. Make sure lettuce is dry
2. Mix sour cream, mayo, and dry ranch to make dressing
3. Layer in the following order as much as you wish in a two quart bowl:
Lettuce
Onion
English Peas
Bacon Bits
Parmesan Cheese
Dressing
4. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Yields 6/8 servings

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Protocol School of Washington






This post has been a long time coming. At the end of September, I had the honor, and I mean honor, to attend The Protocol School of Washington. Many of you that know me KNOW for certain that I love etiquette and image. I will talk to one or one-hundred people about anything that has to do with style. I will help them organize their closet, or put together thirty outfits for their month ahead. I will host a bridal shower, dinner party, or holiday get-together and love every minute of it. Absolutely nothing about these things stresses me out because, I L.O.V.E. doing them. Well, after working with friends and clients privately through college, I wondered how I might take this interest to the next level. In comes Dr. K suggesting this school that she has heard many great things about. We know she is a diva and knows the answer to everything! I was automatically interested. What could be better than taking my loves to the next level? I applied, got accepted, and packed my bags to head off to Washington, D.C.
I have to admit that on my first day, I was somewhat intimidated. I sat down next to a woman who was a major in the Air Force, and had quite the accomplished military career. Their were people from Mexico, Africa, and all over the United States. We had everyone from a legit supermodel to a pastry chef to a navy seal! And, better yet, I was the youngest one there (by just a few months, sweet Jennifer)!! Well, I immediately knew I was in the right place as funny as that sounds. These people were so intriguing to me, and I could not wait to talk to them. Then, in walks one of the most elegant women I have ever seen in my life, Mrs. Pamela Eyring, owner of our school and director of our class. We made introductions and I was pleased to find out that three other precious, precious people were from my own great state of Alabama! Roll Tide!
Over the next five days, we covered SO MANY AWESOME THINGS!!! Dining like a diplomat for a six course meal, the proper business image, captivating speaking techniques and international protocol, name a few. Literally, I could not get enough. Most people might not think that sitting in a room from 7:30 to 4:30 everyday could be entertaining. Well, let me tell you, I was having the time of my life. My classmates were hilarious and so fun to get to know! I would even eat dinner with some of them at night. Oh man, let me go on some more!
At the end of the school, we had a graduation ceremony. I have to admit that I got a little emotional about it. I did because I knew I was doing the right thing with my life. It felt so so unbelievably good to have accomplished something that I am thoroughly in love with! This was thoroughly one of the greatest blessings of my life thus far. From the people I met, to everything that I learned, it was all quite unforgettable. I've got great friends on other continents, as well as in my own great state. I think it is safe to say I'm obsessed with The Protocol School of Washington and all the sweeties of the Class of 2011!
So, if you are wondering, what exactly do I do now? The answer is that I have my own etiquette, image, and protocol consulting business. I am certified to instruct people in the private industry or in the corporate world in these topics. Weddings, banquets, and children's etiquette also interest me. I can help organize those as well. I simply took my previous interest in style and dining and added education to it! Now, as I say to my family, "You better do what I say because I am certified!" Haha! I am trying my very hardest to establish myself in the Shoals area so that I can serve them here! Once that is accomplished, I plan to expand to larger cities. I'm loving this because I can do it for a lifetime! I just have to continue to renew my education as it comes time. So, help me spread the word! I'd love consult with your church, children, clubs, or business! Thanks for hanging in there while I talk about my career! :)

P.S. I got to see my dear friend Cade Ann Smith while I was in D.C.!!! She is in the first picture!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Life in Text: It Happened Again!



I am SO THRILLED! As of today, ANOTHER article has been published about my blog in the
TIMES DAILY. Is this my life? I am obsessed with blogging and with all of you sweet readers! People have been so kind to compliment me on my Christmas wrapping paper series. I did this class back in September at the Florence Lauderdale Public Library. Thanks to them for getting me on board once again! Some of the pictures of the gifts I wrapped are featured on the website posted below. If you have questions, comment away! I can't believe this is happening! Thanks again for all of the encouragement. Happy Holidays and love to all!

10 Minute Taco Soup

Long time, no see! I don't know where my life is going these days! Despite my woes of time flying by, I am here to share a wonderful soup recipe with you. In the fall and winter, I practically live on soup and will take any recipes you have to share. Here is a time tested concoction that Dr. K and I enjoy. It's so fast, you won't even remember you cooked it!
Ingredients:
-8-10 oz. Lean Ground Beef
-1 can kernel corn
-2 cans kidney beans
-1 can pinto beans
-1 large onion chopped fine
-2 cans diced tomatoes ( 1 or 2 large cans depending on how soupy you like it)
-1 package mild taco seasoning (2 if you want it spicy)

Directions:
-brown beef in large pot
-sautee beef and onion together for a few minutes
-drain all veggies except tomatoes and add to pot
- add seasoning and simmer

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Who said, "Times Daily?"


Oh my word, literally. One of my goals in life has been met this very Wednesday. When I started this blog a year ago, I dreamed of one day having my words reach the media somehow. After a year of waiting, it has finally happened. An article on my recipes ran today in the Times Daily. Nothing feels better than the satisfaction of having a goal or dream come true. I look at the article and I cannot believe my recipes are there! WOW! For that, I have all of you readers to thank. You have helped me spread the word about my blog. You have stopped me in Target, texted me, and emailed me to ask all kinds of questions. I have left our brief conversations over countertop suggestions or what's for dinner wondering if you know how much it means to me that you even stop and ask. I want to hear more, learn more, and connect more with you! I wish I could thank every one of you in person for the confidence and inspiration you've given me. You are the reason I keep on blogging. I do have to give a shout out to my cousin-in-law Abby and her co-worker Jennifer for getting me on board for a cooking demonstration at the library. It was such a fun event and I gave out all my samples! No pressure to perform when a journalist shows up. Haha! I love talking to people about anything and telling them of my culinary passions made it quite memorable. So, thank you again, readers, you've taken little Home of Owl and given it big wings. For that, I am forever grateful.
Check out my article here: http://www.timesdaily.com/stories/Food-scores,183109
Photo courtesy: Times Daily

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I am on al.com!


Just a quick note, my blog has now been added to www.al.com under the Florence blogs. I love love love this!! Go here to check me out along with other bloggers in our great state!
http://www.al.com/blogs/index.ssf?bamabloggers.html
image: al.com

Monday, October 10, 2011

Please Buy TJ MAXX Tights




What woman does not love TJ Maxx? I'm telling you that if you aren't obsessed already, you will be very soon. You MUST be a TJ Maxx tight buyer. They have excellent brands such as HUE, Betsy Johnson, and Calvin Klein. They've got all the neat colors and print that are hot for fall. The best thing about them is how cheap they are! Retail on some of those brands is close to $20 for one pair! Last week, I needed a new pair of black tights and I needed them fast. I cannot survive the work week without them. While in a hurry at WM, I decided to grab a plain black pair along with my cereal and milk. Later that week, I was in TJ Maxx to get a gift basket. While looking around, I noticed that they had a three pack of Betsy Johnson tights for $9.99! Hello? Why would I not return the $5.00 for the one pair I got at WM? I'd much prefer designer brand over the everyday, especially when it is cheaper. The pack had a solid pair, and two printed pairs. Perfecto! It's just too bad they're not made in America! Do yourself a favor, save time, gas, and take my advice. Happy Monday and have a wonderful week!




Image: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_Z0gchp8jsp8/TMgsNDM7pkI/AAAAAAAABWA/FnxvjnpigpA/s1600/betseyjohnson.jpg

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Three Favorite Etsy Shops




When I get really passionate about something, I want to tell everyone. I love quality. I love Made in America. I love coziness. Ozetta, Creatiate, and Spreadthelove are three absolutely beautiful Etsy stores that meet those standards. I've ordered from them all and I can speak to that. What can I say? Wedding ring pillow money from my Etsy shop has to go somewhere!
For those of you that don't know Etsy, it is a artisan website. It allows craftsmen all over the world to sell their handmade goods. Well, it is good for so many reasons. It avoids slave labor, supports small business, and is eco-friendly. I usually stir over Etsy purchases for awhile before I commit. I read feedback, talk with fellow "Etsy-ians," and consider the person receiving my gift. With these three stores, I have received excellent service, transaction, and product. That's why I keep them on my MUST list for gifts. This year, I have decided to do Christmas a little differently. I will only give out gifts that are from Etsy, or made by my own two hands with sewing or cooking, of course! No offense, but I grow very tired very quickly of everything I own being made of fake fabric in some place I cannot pronounce. I want to get back to the good in goods. I shop natural fabrics and made from scratch things. I want my loved ones to know that I took time to choose an extra special something for them that has a simple purpose. As hippy as I sound, I really care about this. Christmas, to name an occasion isn't all about the gift, but wouldn't it be even better if that gift were something wholesome? Working for a Made in America line at Carter and Co. has made me think and re-think my "retail footprint." We need to get back to supporting the artisans that are available to us in the good ole' U.S.A. and I say that with no political undertones. Focus on how you treat others and be thoughtful of the wonderful world outside your door. The next time it's gift time for you or someone else, consider a different approach. I will.


Images courtesy of:
Ozetta.etsy.com
spreadthelove.etsy.com
creatiate.etsy.com

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oyster Cracker Snack

Well, I'm allergic to oysters amongst all fish so, I have to settle for the next best thing. Introducing, the ultimate, the outrageous, the next best thing to seafood, The Oyster Cracker Snack. If you want to snack until your sick, make this as soon as possible. Once you eat one, you'll have to keep eating them. I did warn you, remember that. This takes about five seconds to put together and less than that to gobble it up. Just make sure you let the crackers cool on the baking sheet before putting them into jars or burning your mouth. Wouldn't this be great for yor next football party or movie date? Happy Tuesday!!

Oyster Cracker Snack:
Ingredients:
12 oz. Ritz Crackers (1 plus ½ bag of Premium brand works best)
1 package Hidden Valley Dry Ranch
¼ heaping tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
¾ c. Wesson vegetable oil
Directions:
Combine all ingredients into one mixture and pour onto crackers. Mix well. Bake on 250 for 15 minutes. Stir every five minutes until crackers are crispy and golden brown.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Halloween Candy Bark

Man, oh man! What am I doing to my thighs?!? I made this candy bark yesterday and it is amazing. The link to the original recipe is below. I changed mine up a bit with candy from the dollar store. People were hogging all the Halloween M&M's. And...there was no white chocolate to be found. Alas, I am addicted yet again to another new recipe. Feel free to mix this up however you wish. Thanks again to my best friend Pinterest for enticing me to make this! Happy fall to all of you. I can't think of a better way to start off October!
Ingredients:
1 block chocolate almond bark
2 Symphony candy bars
3 Butterfinger candy bars
3 packs of pretzel M&M's
1 bag of pretzel sticks (won't all be used)
8 Reece's cup
1 cup Target brand roasted salted almonds chopped
Optional-extra chocolate to drizzle on top (white or dark)
Directions:
-Chop all items except almond bark in small bites/your desired size
-Melt almond bark in microwave
-Line baking sheet with foil all around-corners, too!
-Spread chocolate out evenly on baking sheet
-Sprinkle all items on top and press into chocolate sheet
-Refridgerate for 30 mins.
-Drizzle extra chocolate on top if desired
-Refridgerate for another 30 mins.
-Keep in fridge until ready to serve

http://annies-eats.net/2010/10/27/halloween-candy-bark/

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Appealing Travel Attire






Oh good grief, what are people doing these days? I've been in three airports in the past week and I have seen it all. From bad mini-skirts to short dress pants to no makeup to unkempt hair, help me. I don't know how much more I can take. I understand that some people have an agenda when they fly. They might need to wear a suit, uniform, comfortable shoes, etc. They might have had a fifteen hour layover. I get it. However, getting on an airplane is not an excuse to let ourselves go. For those of us that can pick and choose, do you want to be that person that someone silently thinks, "Lord, don't make me have to sit by him/her?" Of course, NOT! I think if we knew that we'd be meeting a celebrity in seat 9A, we might reconsider what we chose the morning of our flight. Dressing comfortably is what I really want to get to the heart of today. Pants are put on one leg at a time, and shirts are put on one arm at a time. This means in the exact same time it took to put on sweatpants and a sweatshirt, jeans, and a nice t-shirt tunic could have easily been chosen. So, for your sake and my blog reputation, don't be that inadvertent, non-caring traveler. Get up, iron it, and strut your stuff!
Lately, I've heard a lot about looking savvy when you fly. Well, I say, "Amen to that." I'm all about making a good impression because it WILL make a difference. You never know who you'll see or meet, I promise. Here are five easy suggestions to make your next "casual" trip fabulous AND fashion forward:
1.) Wear easy shoes! Nowadays, we have to take them off to get through security. A zip up boot, flat, or nice gladiator are always great options and you won't be dragging along in your house shoes.
2.) Dress up with accessories. Scarves are my number ONE plug here. For guys who don't like them, you can look just as cute in a trendy hat. :) I love both of them and they instantly take your look from blah to beautiful. With a neutral print or a simple solid, you will use them throughout your trip, I promise.
3.) Natural fabrics are key. Airplanes are stuffy and I personally don't want to be drowning in polyester. Cotton, silk (for dressy), and wool are all great choices. For example, cotton leggings, a tunic top, and a scarf sound lovely for her, don't they? Relaxed jeans, a cotton button down, and boots, have quite the manly ring, no?
4.) Carry nice baggage. Oh, you thought I meant get a better mate? No, just kidding. However, think of all the upgraded outfit possibilities with a nice handbag or suitcase. Just because you're carrying it doesn't mean it has to be the standard black industrial suitcase.
5.) Grooming is essential. ESPECIALLY for long flights. You need your toothbrush, d.o., and perfume/cologne. Hungover, greasy, and unkempt are disgusting. Please remember that you are making an impact on those around you. We don't need full out pageant makeup, but a five minute makeover is always appreciated!


Images:
-luckymag.com
-k5.com
-theamericanlegacy.tumblr.com
-target.com
-thisnext.com

Monday, September 12, 2011

Feminine Fall Finds













Well, I'm as excited as ever. It is time to make that smooth transition into the fall wardrobe. Scarves, boots, sweaters, corduroy, lipstick, I love it all. If you haven't quite decided on those few fall must haves or if you've been skipping out on reading magazines, here are my selections for the top ten trends:
1.) Suede shoes: Booties are especially popular, but flats or boots will be sure to make a classic statement and can be worn every year.
2.) Tribal Print: Scarves, jewelry, tanks, tees, get it while it's hot.
3.) Neutral lips: I've recently fallen in love with KMart's Wet and Wild. I bought the lip liner in Willow for $1.49 and matte lipstick in Bear it All (902C) for $3.99. They are amazing and last FOREVER without becoming dry.
4.) Gray Leather: Wow, oh wow. I am obsessed leather in general, especially with this color. It is ah-mazing and just like butta'. Any leather you've got, pull it out and strut your stuff.
5.) Colored belts: Haven't we spoken of this already? I want to see that tiny waistline!!
6.) Socks peeping out of boots: This is a sweet and lovely trend. When it get's cold, pull on some knee high socks and slip on those boots. You'll add an easily noticed accessory.
7.) Tights: This trend has hung on through the past few seasons. They aren't really a "new thing" but you need them for everything! If you don't have some, get some. If not, I'll have to reconsider our friendship. :)
8.) Sweatshirts: Nope, I'm not talking about your sleepwear, I want to see some stylish sweats mixed in with your wardrobe. They come in all shapes and sizes this season, tunics, cropped tops, tanks, and pants. You can rock them and you'll be comfy all day.
9.) Dark Nails: These are so classic and lovely, you can't go wrong with any color. They are available at every price range. I love OPI Rajah Red Ruby $8 and sally Hansen Gray by Gray $7.
10.) Animal Print: Leopard and snakeskin. A leopard print wool skirt would be to die for. I also love animal print shoes.

Images:
http://d30opm7hsgivgh.cloudfront.net/upload/175182191_Mi0L9aCm_c.jpg
http://d30opm7hsgivgh.cloudfront.net/upload/178962295_pzreQQXY_c.jpg
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_4cYS8Ka-iqc/TU4E50Z1BDI/AAAAAAAAAi0/kXzI5cpKQNs/s320/Sally%2BHansen%2BComplete%2BSalon%2BManicure%2B-%2BGray%2Bby%2BGray%2B18.JPG
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_EyjkxYtv3Yw/Sq9jIN20A3I/AAAAAAAACW0/xsuNlD9DEWc/s400/Nails+005.JPG
http://images.jcrew.com/fsi/server?type=image&source=images/onFigure/51/51224/51224_GY6711_m.tif&width=393&height=393&effects=sharpen(20)&quality=90&profile=jpeg
http://d30opm7hsgivgh.cloudfront.net/upload/173175210_K1jZaQXN_c.jpg
http://www.etsy.com/listing/81325131/screen-printed-jersey-scarf-in-heather
http://pinterest.com/pin/178958272/
http://www.wegmans.com/prodimg/237/200/077802590237.jpg
http://www.overstockdrugstore.com/products/Wet-n-Wild-Coloricon-Lipliner-Pencil,-Willow-712.html
http://pinterest.com/pin/177819130/
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_91jn4JtoCDc/S481tDciB0I/AAAAAAAACb0/msdgMQodKkE/s640/jcrew+belts+full.jpg

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coffee Love



Where would I be every morning without coffee? I am head over heels for it. I'm usually a Folgers girl, but I love most any blend that's brown and smooth. From iced to piping hot, I'll give it a try. What I really need for Christmas is a Keurig coffee maker. I lust over them every single time I see one. My bestest buddies have one and I cannot get enough. There are too many flavors and choices. You don't want cappuccino today? That's alright, try Nantucket Blend instead. How kind are these people? They let me have some of their glorious brew each time I visit. So, be kind and generous this Christmas. Open up your wallet and contribute to making my dream come true. And...have I yet to mention that I have a barista bff? She knows all about these concoctions and makes one killer iced cup of joe. Oh, if only she weren't six hours away.

I shared the recipe for good ole' coffee punch on here a few months ago. But, again, mix hot coffee and coffee ice cream together, and you're done. Moreover, when you add coffee to one of life's greatest pleasures, food, you can't lose. In Franklin, TN, there is a steakhouse called Stoney River Legendary Steaks. When I first drove by there, Billy, Dr. K and I laughed about it. We thought it pretty bold to write legendary steaks on a huge sign. Well, curiosity got the best of us and we just had to take a look. What can I say but wow, oh wow. It is a beautiful restaurant with even prettier food. They had a coffee cured filet that was out of this world. I was going crazy over it and Billy was, too. If you ever get a chance to soak up all that Franklin has to offer, make sure to give it a try. It is definitely the perfect place for a hot date.
1726 Galleria Boulevard
Franklin, TN 37067-6210

Next up, we've got a chocolate and coffee combination to talk about. Sometimes when I serve guests, I make coffee and place three things on top: whipped cream, cinnamon and cocoa powder. You can mix a couple of tablespoons of cinnamon and cocoa powder together with a spoon and sift them lightly over the top. It makes a yummy combination and a beautiful presentation for your friends!

Oh, let's just get crazy and talk about a fourth coffee obsession, a super easy recipe that goes perfectly with a cup. This recipe is courtesy of Martha Sibley (slightly modified). Enjoy and Happy Wednesday!

Orange Breakfast Ring:

Ingredients:
1 package softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. fresh orange peel
2 packages crescent rolls
1/3 cup chopped pecans or almonds
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Directions:
1.) Beat cream cheese, sugar, and orange peel until well blended.
2.) Press crescent rolls flat in a square shape across a baking sheet. Pinch together seams.
3.) Spread out cream cheese mixture onto rolls, and sprinkle almonds on top.
4.) Roll the entire square into a round roll.
5.) Form the roll into a ring and press two ends together to make a circle.
6.) With a knife, cut a few small air pockets on the top of the rolls.
7.) Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes until golden brown. While in the oven, make a paste with the confectioner's sugar and orange juice. When ring has cooled somewhat, place it onto a serving plate and pour the icing paste on top. Add additional nuts if needed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Homemade Cinnamon Chips













Oh, me. I have an obsession with cinnamon. I'll just come on out and admit that I'm president of cinnamon sugar anonymous. If you're interested in joining just let me know. Between that and my love affair with TJ Maxx, I don't have much going for me. I'm an addict and a terrible girlfriend. Whew, I'm heavy on the jokes today. A few weeks back, I was searching through a friend's local cookbook. When my eyes fell on this recipe, I immediately went to the store for supplies. If any of you have ever had Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips, these are exactly like them AND homemade to boot. Being the little conniver I am, I adapted the recipe somewhat. I know, you are smart, and you guessed that already. These little jewels are delicious and last for several days in a tight jar. And, let me not forget to tell you how inexpensive this recipe is. I did the math because I love you. Using my bag of 20 tortillas for $.98, I was able to make 160 triangles. So, for just a few more cents added for the amount of cinnamon sugar you use, you've made a billion chips for less than $2.00! Nothing better than a great recipe that's easy on the wallet. I hope you all have a great weekend! If you're stopping by the grocery store, grab these four ingredients and you won't be sorry!
Cinnamon Sugar: (Always better if made from scratch, I believe.)
1 cup sugar
1 HEAPING tbsp. cinnamon
Directions:
1.) Shake or stir to combine, double as needed, store in airtight container. You use almost this entire amount if you make all 160 chips.
Cinnamon Chips:
Flour Tortillas
Butter Substitute (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter-I use the tub, imitation butter helps to keep the chips dry after baking)
Cinnamon Sugar
Directions:
1.) Preheat oven to 350.
2.) Place flour tortillas on a cutting board and cut into triangles like you are slicing a pizza. I usually make a large stack and am able to cut 8 triangles from one tortilla
3.) Melt butter substitute in microwave.
4.) Lightly dip triangles into butter and place on a baking sheet. I always use Pam before I lay them down.
5.) When a baking sheet is full, sprinkle as much cinnamon sugar on top of chips.
6.) Bake at 350 for around 15 minutes until chips are golden brown and crispy.
7.) Double as needed.

Image courtesy: sugarmamanyc.blogspot.com, chow.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

THE BEST BLOG YET







This time last year, I did not know where my life was going. I was studying constantly for the LSAT and preparing to take it in October for the second time. I went to a jammed packed weekend class, did practice problems, and cried my eyes out several times. I would lay awake in bed at night wondering what to do with my life. I was stressed because the more I thought about it, the more I felt a churning feeling in my stomach about what decision to make. Several days after taking the test, I still upset by all of these emotions. Even when I had my score returned, I wasn’t excited, joyful, or relieved. All I could think about day in and day out was wondering what a law degree would do for me in my dream career. After continually mulling over what to do, I woke up one morning and literally had a new outlook on life. No joke, I decided that I would follow my dream job, a job in design, writing, and creativity to see where life would take me. I chose to give it a year off from school after graduating college to think things over. I needed time to make a plan for my career. If there’s a will there’s a way for me so, I planned to apply for jobs anywhere within this creative career field to see what doors would open. If during that year, I did not find a place to settle in, back to law school or graduate school I would go.

During the last semester of my senior year, I was informed of a writing internship with Southern Progress Coorporation in Birmingham. The thought of writing for a magazine stirred up all kinds of excitement in me. A professor approached me about the job and assured me I was a shoe in for their program. I felt confident about the position, but still tried to focus on reality. The day finally came for me to find out if I was accepted and alas, no phone call. After hearing buzz that the corporation had suffered cutbacks and financial trouble, I was only left to assume that I didn’t get chosen or that interns were cut out. Devastated was the only word to describe my life at this time. I had just witnessed a tornado that abruptly ended my UA career, cancelled my college graduation, and then I had this bomb dropped on me. I realized so many things in the wake of that stormy time, I was clinging to the little things in life and thankful to be alive. Throughout a crazy summer full of catering for friends, photography gigs, weddings and doing craft fairs, I took on the attitude that what was meant to be would somehow come my way. Yes, I had a free bird’s attitude, indeed. Finally, my graduation day arrived. It was full of a plethora of emotions as I realized I did not know what was coming next. Where did I belong now? I could no longer hide myself under the covers of the college student blanket. I needed a place to be and a place to thrive. I had all these ideas of how to make this and make that, but nowhere to release my creativity except with the crafts I completed at home. I was hoping and praying that something bigger would come along. I wanted to be able to craft on my own for fun and craft for a job, of course. On July 28th, I set up my craft booth on 6th Street in Tuscumbia, right out front of a company called Carter McGuyer Design Group. Until my set up, I hadn’t realized that the building was there. I realized that during four years of college, Tuscumbia had changed quite a bit! I peeked in their windows and adored what I saw. There, the modern design studio of my dreams, full of kitchen gadgets, ridiculously gorgeous furniture, beautiful hardwood floors, and stunning paint colors. I simply could not get enough of what I saw. For a moment, I thought I was in New York City. I was dying to know more about it and wondering how a sleek establishment such as this had managed its way into tiny downtown Tuscumbia.

Life went on for a couple of weeks until a close friend contacted me about a possible job opportunity. Of course, I was chomping at the bit to find out just where this possibility awaited me. Through a conversation with him, he explained that the people of Carter McGuyer Design Group/ Carter and Co. were looking for a potential employee. My heart dropped. I literally could not believe that the moment was upon me. I had a chance to actually go inside that gorgeous building for a potential opportunity to work there. During my interview we talked and talked for over an hour. There was so much to see and say. I left there in awe and I wanted to turn around and walk right back inside. I was and still am pinching myself about the whole experience. These people are a husband and wife team designing all kinds of great things. They have many talents and best of all, a vision. From kitchen tools at Williams Sanoma and Crate and Barrel to beach bags on Good Morning America, I cannot get enough. I am stunned, what else am I to think? It’s not as if I am starting off in a job that I know is going nowhere. Instead, I have the chance to embark on something better than I ever expected. So, back on to that dream job topic. I bet you know I’ll be having way too much fun thinking up items for their Carter and Co. canvas line and sewing up samples. The creative possibilities are literally endless. A brainstorming meeting about bags and accessories on Monday morning, you say? I’m there. I’ll be writing their blog (Eeeekkk!), handling their social media, and helping them do whatever else they need in that gorgeous office off Main. The truth is, I can’t believe it is really happening. These people already feel like kindred spirits to me. When I’m with them, all I want to do is talk ideas and potential. Things have come together for me and quite quickly at that. Now, I’m happily emotional. All I want to do is cry because the dream job has happened to me. I get to work for these awesome people and help them make a vision into a tangible product! How am I going to go to sleep tonight? I’m right where I want to be and I think we all know who I’ve got to thank.
P.S. Thanks to all you readers for believing in me!!!!!! Kind words and encouragement will not be soon forgotten.

Check out their sites:
http://cartercooperative.com/
http://cartermdesign.com/
Images courtesy of cartermdesign.com and cartercooperative.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

Red Velvet Recipe, Of Course!



Yes, I’ve done it again! I'm typing out another staple in my household, cake, cake, cake. This red velvet cake recipe is way to good to keep a secret any longer. I can barely sit still as I type it. I would walk miles for this cake whether to get a freshly baked slice or to burn off four of the cupcakes I just ate. These sweet little cupcakes have become the most requested item at our house when we host parties. What a delightful compliment it is! I promise, I can and sometimes do make other cake recipes. However, none can really compare to the taste of this delicious confection! I know this recipe is a little long and has several ingredients, but hear me out, it is worth every penny and second you spend. The recipe makes a three layer red velvet cake or around 32 cupcakes. When you gain ten pounds, don't say I didn't warn you.
Ingredients:
➢ Vegetable oil for pans
➢ 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
➢ 1 ½ cups sugar
➢ 1 tsp. baking soda
➢ 1 tsp. kosher salt
➢ 1 tsp. cocoa powder
➢ 1 cup lowfat buttermilk (Purity if possible)
➢ 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
➢ 2 large eggs at room temperature
➢ 2 tbsp. red food coloring (is also equal to 1 ounce)
➢ 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
➢ 1 tsp. vanilla extract and maybe a few extra drops ☺
Icing:
➢ Crushed pecans for garnish
➢ 1 pound cream cheese softened/ two blocks of Philly 1/3 fat cream cheese
➢ 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
➢ 4 cups confectioner’s sugar-DO NOT use Great Value brand-it never makes a stiff icing at my house!
➢ 1 tsp. vanilla and maybe a few extra drops here as well
Directions for Cake or Cupcakes: (Review depending on which one you're making)
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl sift flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder very lightly. In another bowl, (I use electric mixer for wet) whisk together oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
2.) Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients while mixer is on low. Make a smooth batter and do not over mix.
3.) If making a cake, grease and flour cake pans as follows. Pour a small amount of oil into cake pans and thoroughly coat pan by hand. Place a dusting of flour in the pan and tap the pan around until it is covered in flour. Distribute batter evenly across three cake pans. Cake baking time depends on oven, usually around 18-20 minutes for me.
4.) If making cupcakes, place liners in cupcake tin. There is no need to grease the liners because this batter is oily and moist. I use an old-fashioned ice cream scooper to measure out cupcakes. Cooking time depends on oven, usually 15-17 minutes for me.
5.) With either cake or cupcake, insert toothpick into cake to check to see if cakes are complete. Toothpick must come out clean to ensure proper cooking time.
6.) Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Do not ice a hot cake.
Directions for Icing:
1.) With mixer, cream butter and sugar, and cream cheese until thoroughly incorporated.
2.) Place mixer on high until icing becomes light and fluffy. Sometimes this takes up to five minutes.
3.) Move mixer back to low and add vanilla. Increase speed to high again and whip a few more times. Store in the refrigerator until cakes/cupcakes are cool and ready to ice. Can be stored for up to three days.

P.S. This recipe started out as one from Cake Man Raven, but I adapted it according to my tastes. :) Nothing like a good switch up on a classic cake recipe!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Billy's College Bratwurst

I love my man. I love him because he can cook. As I am writing this recipe, my mouth is watering because I want one of these so badly right now. These things are so stinkin' good and perfect for hangout parties! And alas, I'm afraid that anoher football season is yet upon us. Of course, you better be cooking for all those men that will randomly arrive at your home early on Saturday morning. Throughout college, Billy cooked these bratwurst for me. We used to spend fun nights stuffing our faces and watching movies, musicals, of course. So, as you see, they are perfect for The Sound of Music or ESPN enjoyers alike. Cook these with some Ore Ida sweet potato fries and you'll be fat and happy in no time. Anyway, let me stop rambling and share this deliciousness with you. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
1.) 1 tbsp. Olive oil
2.) 1 red bell pepper
3.) 1 yellow bell pepper
4.) 1 large yellow onion
5.) 8 uncooked bratwurst -we use Hillshire Farm
6.) 1 pkg. Hotdog buns
7.) Garnish: dill pickle spears and mustard
Directions:
1.) Heat olive oil in skillet on medium high. Chop all vegetables and sautee in oil to desired tenderness.
2.) Grill bratwurst on grill or flat top grill until thoroughly cooked. They will be plump and skin will look like it is ready to pop.
3.) Add brats and top with veggies, mustard, and pickles.
4.) No fear, nom nom nom sound will ensue shortly.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Three B's For Her!





Three B's for her? No, sorry guys I'm not talking bra sizes today. It's all about black, brown, and blue, beautiful in all their bounty. Color is the key to a great wardrobe, but what about using three simple palettes to make a classic combination? Yes, oh yes, it can be easily done. It's a one, two, three step process. Repeat this self-coined saying as you enter your closet: toss a skirt on here, a shirt on there, and off with a belt I go. Tonight while searching Pinterest, I saw this beautiful outfit arrangement. It reminded me of an outfit I'd worn a few weeks ago to a birthday party. Vanity, I declare, a brief moment of vanity struck me in that moment. When it comes to fashion, what can't I get enough of? Seriously, one of my favorite things would be these three colors mixed together. Think of the endless options! I'm almost moved to tears at how awesome my friends would look in an outfit using these shades. Anyway, I felt quite flattered when we left the restaurant because a girl took a picture of my outfit (pictured above) with her cellphone. If that doesn't pick a woman up I don't know what will. Don't be thinking you can't wear this because you SO can! The lace skirt I'm wearing is a vintage Laura Ashley piece belonging to the closet of none other than Dr. K! The shirt is from JCREW outlet and the belt from clearance at Anthropologie. The perks of this color combination are many. Each piece is a neutral, all can be worn year round (sells me on many an item) and they mix well for a variety of occasions. I used to shy away of placing black with brown, and throwing denim in for that matter. However, one day I woke up, went to my closet, and decided to be bold because there is just no other way for me to survive. It must've been in the stars for me to write this blog tonight because while strolling through Target for shampoo I saw a pair of $8.00 leggings that I knew would look fabulous with a denim shirt and brown belt at the waist. How cute could you be in that? I didn't buy the leggings because I have a pair that I purchased there several years ago. Yes, I'm pleased to say that they are still holding up and holding on! When you get dressed in the morning and look at your fabulousness in the mirror, think of me cheering you on with the one letter you need to remember, B! "Give me a B," I say! Like my Mama always says in true southern fashion , "If you've got it, flaunt it." Well, we've all got that beauty in us and I'm waiting on you to make me proud.

Images: chictopia.com, pinterest.com, polyvore.com