Friday Favorites

After a two-day work week, I’m off again today.  I’m currently en route to one of my best friend’s wedding weekend in which I’m a bridesmaid.  Today I have the bridal luncheon and this evening will consist of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!  Happy wedding weekend, Kat!!!!!

And on Sunday, I’m going to celebrate my birthday.  Not really sure what we’re doing but I do know that bubbles and delicious food will be involved.  I’ll share all the weekend fun with you on Monday!

{from town and country magazine}

Here are my favorites from the week:

Favorite Dinner:  Roasted Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad.  I feel healthy just looking at this bowl of goodness.


Favorite DIY:  Shell Candles.  I think this is a project that I’ll complete the next time I’m with my Momma and sister.


Favorite Appetizer:  Whipped Mexican Grilled Corn Dip.  Boom.  I need this.  Now.


Favorite Wake-Up:  Breakfast Tart.  I know I just said brunch isn’t really my thing.  But if this was brunch, it may become my thing.


Favorite Update:  Chambray Tunic Softened Shirt.  I love my chambray button-ups.  And this polished version is a perfect summer to fall transition piece.  (though I’m still in denial that fall is coming)


Favorite Mouthful:  My Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich.  I can only imagine the happiness I would experience upon taking a bite.


Favorite Sweet Tooth:  Milk Chocolate Cookies and Cream Cookies.  Please hand me a cup of milk.


Favorite Guideline:  77 Expiration Dates That You Should Know.  Big Guy and I don’t see eye-to-eye on the tossing of items in the house that are beyond their expiration date.  Especially those items that live in the kitchen.


Favorite Crave:  The Modern Cheese Plate.  Gosh, do I love a cheese plate.


Favorite Cocktail Hour:  Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule.  I’m holding onto summer as long as possible.


Happy Weekend!!!

{virtual} coffee chat

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d order a latte.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a latte but I had two over our mini-vacation and they were divine.  Warm and comforting.

If we were having coffee this morning…We’d order an avocado smash and an acai bowl to go with our lattes.  We hardly ever eat breakfast out.  It’s not that we don’t like breakfast – I LOVE breakfast – but we both don’t like eating super heavy or unhealthy in the morning.  But almost every morning after our morning workout we walked to Drift and enjoyed breakfast.  These breakfast dates are one of the highlights of our mini-vacation because breakfast isn’t something we typically take our time preparing or eating.


If we were having coffee this morning…Speaking of exercising, I would first tell you that Big Guy is going to kill me for putting that picture above on the “intranet.”  But I’ll take the risk.  Anyways, I crave my morning workouts and I try to stay consistent even on vacation by getting in a little movement each day.  Big Guy is always up for a walk but this past weekend he wanted to join me during my PiYo workouts.  Big Guy was impressed with my strength (not sure what he thinks I’ve been doing at 5am for the past 5 years – but I promise I don’t wake up that early for the gym not to be strong) and he’s now hooked.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would highly suggest eating at Bento Box if you’re ever in Wilmington.  We’ve eaten there quite a few times over the past few years and it’s how we kicked off our long weekend exactly a week ago.  The fish is incredibly fresh and we love sitting at the sushi bar and watching the chef in action.  The big eye tuna on the left was sooooooo good.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that it only rained “on our parade” once during our weekend away.  We had plans to go to the summer Friday night concert to see Hip Pocket (the band that played at our reception) but the rain ruined our original plans.  We made the most of the evening and headed out for drinks and pizza with my in-laws.  The rain didn’t ruin our fun!


If we were having coffee this morning….I might bring you a book to read!  I finished both of these books over the weekend and would recommend them both.  But if I read any more of Elin Hilderbrand’s books I’m going to have a plan a trip to Nantucket.

selfie on the dock

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that this past weekend I was more relaxed and carefree than I’ve been in a long time.  On Friday afternoon when the first rain storm hit, we simply headed out on the dock to watch the rain (and watch the boaters and jet skis whiz by trying to get out of the rain).  So peaceful.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that I mastered the cannonball.  (wink wink)  But I haven’t quite made it through my list of five things.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that I’m already planning a weekend back at OIB this fall.


Fried Mozzarella and Caramelized Peach Caprese Burger

You guys!  The past six days were perfect.  I promise I’ll give you a better recap of our long weekend at Ocean Isle Beach tomorrow.  But today, today I have a burger.  (Yep!  You can cross it off the list.)

If you know Big Guy and I at all, you know that we went down to the beach with a menu in hand.  We stopped in Wilmington on the way to the beach last Thursday and gathered all the necessary ingredients.  Burgers just so happened to be on the menu on Saturday night.

And with the burger I have homemade hamburger buns.

These buns are ready in 40-minutes and don’t require any time to rise.  Winning.  The buns turned out a little more dense than I would have liked but they were delicious.  I am certain it was the baker and not the recipe to blame so I’ll try for a little fluffier buns next time.

The burger buns were stuffed with incredible ingredients.

Local raised beef (from our SoCo delivery)

Crispy fried mozzarella (that was oh-so-melty and delicious inside)

Herbaceous basil (that added just the right amount of freshness)

Juicy, ripe grilled peaches (that added a hint of sweetness that I crave with savory burgers)

Balsamic drizzle (tangy and delicious)


On the side, grilled corn on the cob with a compound butter of simply softened butter and basil.

This burger is what summer is all about.

The night was made complete with this view.


In honor of my upcoming birthday…

In one week I will turn 32 years young.  Thirty two.  When did that happen?

In honor of my upcoming birthday, here are 32 highlights from my last trip around the sun!

1. A long weekend in Tampa, Florida to see the Pirates play football.

2.  Continuing my love affair with red wine.


3. Date nights at home with Big Guy.


4. Becoming “Aunt Emmy” to a baby boy, Deacon.


5. My best friend coming to spend a weekend with me.


6. Gameday’s with friends.


7. Thanksgiving with my sister-in-laws.


8. Another gorgeous Christmas tree.


9. A local performance of “A Christmas Carol.”  (a must-do for all my locals)


10. Ladies night!


11. Benvenue Christmas Party!


12. Christmas Morning Traditions.


13. Celebrating New Years Eve and Big Guy’s 32nd birthday with friends.



15. #wineanddinesonoma


16.  Sonoma deserves two highlight slots.


17. 24 hours in San Fran.


18. Supper Club nights.


19. A weekend in Charlotte for Deacon’s baptism.


20. Double-date night at Straw Valley (so sad it’s not open anymore).


21. Having my parents in town for the weekend and taking them to our favorite restaurant.


22. GNO


23. Easter Weekend at OIB.


24. Our new (duck-free) living room.


25. Celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary in Miami.


26. Discovering how happy fresh flowers make me.


27. Monthly shipments from Iron Horse.


28. Memorial Day weekend with the family at OIB.


29. Kat’s bachelorette weekend in Nashville.


30. Member-Guest Weekend


31. Sister weekend.


32.  Flamingo Fling


Cheers to make even more memories on my next trip around the sun!


Friday Favorites

I’m not ready for football season, pumpkin beer, and scarves.  I’m just not.  Please don’t rush what is left of my summer.  Please.  And while I promise not to wear my summer white pants after Labor Day, I’m not promising that I will be ready for fall.  I hope you squeeze every ounce of summer left out of this weekend!  Here are my favorites from the week:



Favorite Dreamy:  Avocado Pasta.  I want to swim in these creamy noodles of awesomeness.


Favorite Fried:  Spicy Hot Shrimp.  Everything about this is perfection.  But the pickles took it over the top for me.  And I know I said I wasn’t ready for football, but these might be on the menu one Saturday in September…


Favorite Copycat:  Chick-fil-A Style Chicken Sandwich.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a Chick-fil-A sandwich but I love ’em.  Two of the not-so-secret steps:  brining the chicken in pickle juice (!!!!) and using a little bit of powdered sugar in the batter.


Favorite Truth:  


Favorite Slice:  Lemon Poppy Seed Cake.  I can’t shake my obsession with lemons.  And this cake is beyond gorgeous.

Favorite Scoop:  Vietnamese Iced Coffee Ice Cream.  I’ve only had Vietnamese coffee once – and that was in San Fran – but I haven’t stopped thinking about it.  And now I can have it in ice cream form?!?  This changes everything…

Favorite Weeknight Dinner:  Spicy Basil Chicken Stir-Fry.   You guys know I have some Thai basil I would love to put to use…

Favorite From Scratch:  No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread.   That crust is simply beautiful.  And while I’m not ready for stew in any way, shape or form – how good would this be to “sop up” an insane beef stew?

Favorite Tipsy:  French Tropics Summer Punch.  Just to prove summer isn’t over yet.

Have the best weekend ever!


Potato, Mushroom and Leek Croquettes

Despite still getting up at 4:15am for a workout, I am in full vacation mode.  I typically don’t let work get to me but the past month or so has been a little stressful and left me feeling anxious.  I’m leaving all that behind for the next 6 days while I enjoy relaxing in the sun, sipping cold cocktails and just unwinding a bit.  But before I get too relaxed, I wanted to share our dinner from Tuesday night.

Big Guy let me know that there were some leeks ready to be pulled in the garden so I made sure to include them in our dinner menu for the week.

The end product (Potato, Mushroom and Leek Croquettes) was delicious and satisfying but I did have to do a little quick thinking on my feet while making the croquettes.

This recipe is a little involved – but I totally knew that going into the recipe and that wasn’t the problem.  Unfortunately when the potatoes and mushroom/leek mixture and cheese were mixed and ready to be formed into croquettes, they were way too watery.  There was no way we could shape them and then dredge them through flour and panko.  I think part of the problem was not letting the potatoes or the mushroom/leek mixture cool before combining (and the recipe did not tell you to allow them to cool).  So instead of dredging the croquettes, I simply added the flour (I used rice flour) and the panko to the croquette mixture and pattied everything together.

Taste wise I do not think the recipe suffered, however, it did not get the intended crust that you would expect from dredging through panko.

leeks mushrooms

The croquettes still turned out pretty and were perfectly browned on the outside.  Upon first bite they reminded me so much of Thanksgiving dressing/stuffing.  But the more I ate them, the more I was able to decipher the potato and Gruyere flavors.

I served the croquettes on a simple salad which was a mixture of lettuce and red onion tossed with 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil plus salt and pepper.

Incredibly light and despite a detour from the recipe, delicious!



{virtual} coffee chat


If we were having coffee this morning…We’d totally talk about my upcoming long weekend away.  It’s absolutely necessary and I cannot wait to unplug.  Long walks, leisure cups of coffee, laying by the pool reading for hours, cocktails with sun-kissed cheeks….

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d realize that I never told you about my Flamingo Fling!  It was the most fabulous weekend with my Momma, sister and sister-in-law and we already have plans for Flamingo Fling next summer.  We watched a movie, drank margaritas, ate guacamole, played dominoes, relaxed by the pool and drank mimosas.  Here are the links to all the delicious food we prepared and feasted on:

Appetizer Night:  Roasted Blueberry Tart.  5-Layer Baked Hummus.  Roasted Garlic and Bacon Spinach Dip. 

Flamingo Fiesta (Mexican Night):  Spicy Strawberry Margaritas from Seriously Delish.  Guacamole.  Caramelized Pineapple Quesadillas {with Strawberry Salsa}.

If we were having coffee this morning…I would tell you that I finished all the books on my Summer Reading List!  Of all the books I read this summer, The Guest Cottage was my favorite.  But I loved them all – this particular one was written for summertime.  (p.s. I stole this picture from Daphne who I gave the book after I finished it.)

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that I started reading Crazy Rich Asians last week.

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d share with you 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old.  

4. Forgoing sunscreen.
11. Not realizing how beautiful you are.
37. Not being grateful sooner.


If we were having coffee this morning…We’d discuss where I am on my list of five things.  I can check off lemon bars and spicy margaritas.  Burgers are happening this weekend.  That leaves chocolate chip cookies and barbecue chicken.

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d tell you that it’s my youngest brother’s birthday.  He might even be having coffee with us…but he wouldn’t be drinking coffee.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LOGAN!!!!!

If we were having coffee this morning…I’d chuckle and leave you with these parting words: