Cheesy Miso Caramelized Corn and Pineapple Chile Dip

This dip is everything.

Big Guy has proclaimed it to be one of the best dips I’ve ever made.  He’s already brainstorming reasons for me to make it again.

It’s that good.

This dip is perfect for football season but honestly, you don’t have to like football to like this dip.

The dip is sweet and savory and really, really cheesy.

You can thank the five types of cheese for the cheesiness.

Cream Cheese
Blue Cheese
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Pepper Jack Cheese

Like I said, it’s cheesy.

And I was a little hesitant about the blue cheese but you really can’t taste it – all the cheeses melt together in this amazing way and it’s quite addicting.

The corn is sweet and tender (and homegrown!).  The pineapple becomes caramelized and gives the dip an incredible flavor.

Next time (obviously there will be a next time) I’ll leave a few seeds in the jalapenos for a little more heat.  That’s the only thing I wanted more of.

Well, besides another wonton chip.

And yes, the wonton chips are freshly fried and super crunchy.

The perfect dipping vehicle.

And that basil on top – it’s the healthy part of the dip.



Hummingbird Cupcakes

What does it feel like to be 32?  Pretty amazing (and not much different than 31).  Yesterday was filled with texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, packages on the front steps and spending the whole day with Big Guy.  Want to know what I didn’t indulge in yesterday?  Bubbles.  I know – Big Guy was disappointed in me but trust me, I had plenty of pink bubbles on Sunday.

After a wonderful weekend of celebrating Kat and Josh, we got up Sunday morning and headed home but not without making a stop in Raleigh for an early birthday brunch.  Joule is one of Ashley Christensen’s restaurants that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

I started with a cup of coffee and once I was caffeinated, I moved on to a Basil 75 – a spin on my favorite French 75.  I can’t wait to recreate this cocktail at home.  Incredibly refreshing.

BASIL 75 gin, basil, sparkling wine, lemon, and lime

We were both starving and I was more than excited to see the food arrive.  I ordered a “lighter” plate of food but fattened it up with a side of bacon.  Yes.  Yes, I did.

COLD-SMOKED SALMON with roasted beets, cream cheese, charred orange marmalade vinaigrette, and toast points

The roasted beets were so good especially with a little bit of the thick cream cheese.  And well, you can never go wrong with salmon.

And Big Guy went all out with his breakfast – I think we finally cured his hangover on Sunday…from Friday night.

SHORT RIB MILK GRAVY over buttermilk cheese biscuits

You could see the chunks of buttermilk in the biscuits so you knew they were legit.

After lunch we ran some errands in Raleigh including a trip to The Raleigh Wine Shop and Whole Foods for dinner supplies.

Once we arrived home and unpacked from the weekend, I was more than excited to pop open a bottle of pink bubbles and enjoy the afternoon.  I also got to open a few surprises.

For appy hour, we enjoyed one of my favorite things in life – a cheese plate!  We enjoyed some gouda and manchego along with crackers and olives.  Perfection.

I took Monday off work so I could simply enjoy a day of relaxation.  I enjoyed a slow breakfast with coffee and the Today Show along with a later-than-normal workout on my new yoga mat (Thank you, Terri and Butch!!!).  Big Guy and I ventured out for lunch and then ran a few errands to begin prepping for football season (basically we cleaned out all the tailgating stuff so it’s ready for Saturday).

Instead of having bubbles yesterday, I opted to make myself cupcakes.  I decided that it was my birthday and I would have cake if I wanted to.  But honestly, it was all about the brown sugar cream cheese frosting.  Hummingbird Cupcakes begin with a white cake base that is full of coconut, banana and pineapple.  The best part about this recipe – it only makes four cupcakes – perfect for dessert for two.

To say that yesterday ended on a sweet note would be an understatement.  Thank you to everyone that made me feel so special on my 32nd birthday.

Oh – and check out my new sweet shades that Big Guy got me.

Cheers to 32.

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.


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!


crostini with bacon, pimiento cheese and candied jalapenos

I will never turn down anything that includes bacon and pimiento cheese.  Neither will my husband.  So when I told him that our appetizer for Saturday included both, he had no qualms about my decisions.  And when I told him it included a few homegrown jalapenos, well he really was a happy camper.

Bacon + Pimiento Cheese + Candied Jalapenos = one of the best appetizers ever.

I think these little bites will be perfect for football season.

But I suggest you not wait until football season and make them now.  As in, this weekend.

You can prepare all the ingredients in advance (except the toasted baguette).

Each little bite of crunchy bread is topped with a generous smear of rich pimiento cheese, a sprinkle of crispy bacon and then finished off with a slice of candied jalapeno.


But I’m warning you, these little bites of heaven are quite addicting.



Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I’m especially glad to see Friday this week because Big Guy is currently on his way home from being in Guatemala/El Salvador all week.  We haven’t seen each other in two weeks and I am so excited to spend the weekend pestering him and catching up on two weeks of small talk.  It’s been a rough month and a half with all his travel (Mexico, London, Costa Rica) but I’m focusing on the fact that we have the weekend ahead of us with no outside plans (meaning – no commitments).  The next two days are going to include the pool, cocktails, delicious food, shoe shopping (I know he’s thrilled about that), wine and laughter.  Mostly laughter.  And wine.  (wink wink)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  And if you’re in need of a weekend idea – roast some s’mores.  National S’more Day was Monday but I won’t tell that you’re a little belated in the celebration.


Favorite Salty & Sweet:  Potato Chip Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches.  I can’t even tell you the last time I had an ice cream sandwich.

Favorite Twist:  Watermelon Wedge with Kale, Jalapeno, and Avocado.  So much summer in this salad.

Favorite Marinated:  Charred Coconut Chicken.  That blackened, crispy skin is what it’s all about.

Favorite Upgrade:  French Croissant  Hot Dogs with Crispy Bacon.  I’m not sure which is getting the upgrade:  the croissant or the hot dog.

Favorite DIY:  Coconut Coffee Scrub.  To think of all the coffee grounds I’ve thrown away over the past 10 years…

Favorite Slice:  Pistachio Pesto Pizza with Honey and Fresh Mozzarella.   Just add a flute of sparkling rose and we’ll call it a date.

Favorite List:  104 Little Happy Moments in Life We All Need to Appreciate More.    Amen, amen, amen.

6. When two songs you love play back to back on the radio

12. Genuinely candid laughing photos.

44. The relief you experience when someone whose name you forgot introduces him or herself to your friend

46. Being able to rub your eyes because you’re not wearing mascara.

55. Using brand new pens.

82. Letting someone merge into your lane and seeing their “thank you” wave.

Favorite Homemade:  40-Minute Super Soft Hamburger Buns.  There is a hamburger on my list of “five things”

Favorite Diagram:  Wine + Cheese Pairings.  

Favorite Shaken: Banana Daiquiri.   Forget banana bread, I’m infusing rum the next time I have brown bananas.

Cheers to the weekend.