Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Party Starters: Cheesy Italian Arancini

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® & Lactalis American Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MealSolutionMatch http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

This weekend was such a good one!  Mike and I headed up to Connecticut on Thursday night to surprise his dad for his 60th birthday (shhh, don't tell him I told y'all his age).  We helped plan a party for him and a whole weekend of fun.  Food is always central to our get-togethers, and I have one of my absolute favorite party appetizer recipes to share with you today.
We shopped for all of the following ingredients at Stop & Shop:
1 cup Barilla Orzo
1 Johnsonville Italian Sausage link
3/4 cup Galbani Mozzarella Cheese
4 eggs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
oil for frying
Barilla Tomato and Basil Sauce

1. Boil water in a medium saucepan for the Barilla Orzo - Italy’s #1 brand of pasta!  Salt the water and cook the orzo for 13-14 minutes.  You want the orzo to be beyond al dente for this recipe.  Allow the cooked orzo to cool completely.
2. Remove the casing from the sausage link, fry it in a saucepan until done, and drain the grease.  All the spices and flavors are built into the sausage – making this recipe even easier.
3. Shred 3/4 cup of Galbani Mozzarella Cheese and mix with the cooked sausage.  Did you know that the shredding usage represents almost 1/3 of the total usage according to a recent consumer usage study?
4. Combine the cooled orzo, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper in a large bowl.
5. In three separate bowls, pour the rest of the breadcrumbs, whisk the egg, and salt and pepper (1 teaspoon of each) the flour.
6. To assemble the arancini, take a heaping spoonful of the orzo mixture, press your finger into the center of it, stuff with 1 teaspoon of sausage and cheese mixture, pinch the orzo around the filling to close, and finish by rolling in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.
7. Place the arancini on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour.
8. Heat up one inch of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until the oil temperature reaches 350 degrees.
9. Fry three aranicini at a time, turning to ensure they are cooked evenly, for approximately three and a half minutes.
10. Remove the aranici from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Season with salt immediately.
11. To serve, spoon 2 tablespoons of Barilla sauce in ramekins and top with one arancini pasta ball.  Did you know that Barilla makes pasta sauce now, too? New Barilla sauces are only made from ingredients like vine-ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and fragrant herbs, all slowly simmered, to bring authentic flavor into every bite.
There you have it!  I created a fun fall-themed chalkboard tray on which to serve these rice balls, and it's the perfect way to welcome guests to your party!
When you stop by your nearest Stop & Shop between 10/21-10/27 and purchase Barilla Pasta, Johnsonville Italian Sausage and Galbani Cheese, you’ll automatically save $3 at checkout with your store loyalty card! While supplies last.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Round-Up

Good morning, friends and happy Friday!  It's one of those weeks where I've had a lot of random ideas to post about, but not that much sustenance to go with them.  Soooo, I thought I'd share a round--up list of everything I've been wanting to tell you before the weekend!
I finally gave up on my pastel nails colors, even though it still feels like summer in SC.  I love this Wicked color.

Don't roll your eyes, but I think it's time to start thinking about Christmas cards.  November is almost here, y'all - how is that even possible?  I was thinking I'd combine a moving announcement with the holidays, so how cute is this?

Salads and acai bowls have been my lunch of choice lately.  Vintage Coffee has my favorite acai bowl with banana and peanut butter.  Any locals have other favorites?
Have you heard Maroon 5's new song?  I love Kendrick Lamar and this video cracks me up.

I am so excited that one of my favorite events is coming back to Charleston in 3 weeks: The Mac Off.  Take 25 different mac and cheeses, and add in amazing cocktails and live music, and the best part? It's a two-day event this year.  We've been the last two years, and I am so excited to be partnering with them this year and to serve as a judge for their Critics' Choice competition.  YES, that's right - I get to sample all the macs.  Tough job, but someone has to do it!  If you want to learn more and buy tickets, here is the link!
Has anyone watched Haters Back Off on Netflix yet? The first episode was funny, but 2 and 3 are starting to tail off a bit... I'll finish all 8 episodes and see what I think after that.  Anyone have other Netflix favorites?  We're just about done with Mad Men and will need a new show.

This might be the year that I finally buy a few fall/winter statement pieces.  I love this leather jacket, these suede booties, plus a bright, versatile clutch!

Last but not least, the sunsets in this city have been killer this week!  I shared one photo on Insta earlier this week, but as you start your Friday, here's another to make your day.  Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Make Free Collages For Your Blog

One of my favorite types of posts to read from fellow bloggers are "wish lists" or "current favorites."  I love seeing what y'all are enjoying, and I am working on a "Bloggers Made Me Do It" blog post right now, since there are so many things I've been inspired to buy or try by my favorite blogger babes.

I know that everyone has a different style of doing these posts from lists to individual photos and personal style photos to stock photo collages.  I prefer collages, because I can see everything in one place and choose what I like the best.  The first time I tried my hand at one of these was nearly three years ago, and it really wasn't even a collage (because I had no idea what I was doing).  I like to think I've learned a few things since then, and even though everyone has their collage preferences (for example, I don't keep everything true to scale and I'm not afraid to rotate photos a few inches to fill empty space), I'm excited to share a few of my tips with you.  For this post, I will be sharing how I put together my "Birthday/Fall Wish List" last month.
1 || Use Fotor - Yes, I am a blogger, so yes, that means I love me some Picmonkey, but the "Design" tab on Fotor.com is unmatched.  They allow you to choose the exact dimensions you want for the optimal Twitter cover, Facebook ad, Youtube thumbnail, or Etsy shop icon.  For collages, I like to start with the "Facebook post" template, because it fits well on Blogger.
2 || Remove the background for each product image - After you've done all of your window shopping and saved your favorite links and stock photos, you might find some that do not have a white background (like my favorite necklace in this collage).  Even if the photo does have a white background, you might still want to remove that background to better collage the photos together.  Did you know that you can easily do this in Microsoft Word? 1. Copy the image onto a Word page and click on the top "Format" tab. 2. The far left icon says "Remove Background," click on that next. 3. There, you can select areas to keep and areas to remove (as displayed in the second photo below).  4. Once you're done, click on the green checkmark to "Keep Changes" and right-click on the image in the document to "Save as Picture."
3 || Fill in all white space - Now, it's time to start building!  Import photos in the right column of Fotor, and click on them to add them to the design page.  Like previously mentioned, I don't mind if items aren't true to scale (i.e. the Starbucks gift card is almost as big as the shoes), but that is definitely personal preference.  I like to choose my large items first (wall art, dresses, blanket and chair), then add in lesser items like the gift card and nail polish to make sure all the space is filled in.
4 || Add text and sign your work - I like to add a title to my collages as well as my blog url in the bottom right corner.  Fotor has a fantastic collection of free fonts.  You can also add numbers to each item to help readers find the links in the text of the post (like this).  
5 || Create a variety of different layouts for social media - We, as bloggers, know that a great way to bring traffic to our blogs is by sharing what we blog about on social media.  As mentioned in tip #1, Fotor has a wide selection of specialty template sizes for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  Below are examples of the same collage optimized for Facebook and Pinterest.

Look for some collages on the blog this winter as I start thinking about my Christmas wish list as well favorite winter styles!

Design Poppiness Designs