Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Bucket List Check-In

How are we already close to the end of July?  I feel like this summer is flying by, so on this beautiful 100 degree Friday, I thought I'd share my Summer Bucket List mid-season update.  So far, it's been going okay, but I still give myself a couple of months to finish just about everything:

- Attempt to grow Confederate Jasmine: It looks like I might have just missed Confederate Jasmine growing season.  I went to a few nurseries at the middle of June and none had it in stock.  I'm still on the hunt, and if any Charleston peeps have ideas, let me know!

- Build a blanket ladder: Check! I cheated on this one.  I bought a ladder, but at least I have this one now!  I call this one complete.

- Stay active 5 nights each week: So far so good on this one.  Between kickball, tennis, golf, and using our elliptical at home, I've been staying as active as possible.

- Finish our back patio: Still ongoing with this inspiration!  We bought and hung these fun blue accented string lights (only smashed one strand in the process - haha!).  We decided against a rug since it rains sideways under our screen porch in the summer, and I'm still in search for some potted flowers to keep in our beverage cooler when we're not using it.
- Watch the solar eclipse: We bought some eclipse glasses this week and are looking forward to it!
- Try 5 new Charleston restaurants: Somehow I think I'm 0/5 on this one.  We've been hitting up our old reliables recently (Home Team BBQ, Ryder Cup Bar, Burwell's, and the Biergarten), but I need to find some new spots!  My friend Sydney reviewed PawPaw this week, and I need to definitely make a stop here - that cocktail and the mac & cheese: yum!

- Shoot under par: June 24th! I did it. I shot a 68 at my home course, and even had an eagle!

- Read at least 2 books by the pool: I finished Amy Schumer's book and am thinking of getting Talking as Fast as I Can or The Princess Diarist.  Any other comedy suggestions?
- Go berry picking: We will be raspberry picking when we're up in New York later this month!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Charleston Eats: Poe's Tavern

Sullivan's Island is one of my favorite weekend spots in the Charleston area.  It has the most relaxed beaches, my favorite historical spot to explore, and, most importantly, amazing food.  When I first moved to Charleston and was Darius Rucker's neighbor (that's a story for another time), I was right across the cove from Sullivan's.  I used to run over the Ben Sawyer Bridge all the time to spend time on Sullivan's, and Poe's Tavern was the very first place I went to with my mom and boss they day I moved here.  Obviously, it holds a special place in my heart!
As the name implies, Poe's was named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe.  He was actually stationed down the road at Fort Moultrie for the two years he was in the military.  All the walls inside Poe's are decorated with framed portraits and fan art of Poe, and they keep the theme going even into the food.
They serve the best burgers, chicken sandwiches, fresh fries, and fish tacos in Charleston.  They always have a great selection of local beer, too.  Indoor and outdoor tables are seat-yourself unless it's busy, which it is during most of the summer.
My suggestion, start with the tortilla chips with queso or nachos.  Then, it's all about the burgers.  For each item, you can choose to have it on a burger or a piece of grilled chicken, and all of the selections are named for Poe's works: The Gold Bug is a simple burger with cheese, the Amontillado has guac, pico, and chipotle sour cream, Mike's favorite Tell-Tale Heart has a fried egg, bacon, and cheddar cheese, and my favorite, the Annabel Lee, has a crab cake on top and fresh remoulade.  No matter what sandwich you order, you'll get an awesome side.  If you're going with more than one person, I suggest one person getting the fries and another getting the onion straws.  They're both piled high, with enough to share.  Now I'm hungry!
Now doesn't that look like a perfect lunch stop on your next beach day?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Summertime Citrus Social

This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #SummerRefreshment #Publix #CollectiveBias

A sunny, summer afternoon is the perfect time to get friends together, and that's just what I did last weekend.  I used one of my favorite flavors, lemon, as inspiration for some delicious bites and refreshments.
Before guests arrived, I made a quick and easy DIY lemon stamp banner.  Who remembers doing fruit stamping when you were little?  Well, it's just as fun as an adult!  All you need to make your own banner are: a lemon, paint brush, yellow paint, cardstock, scissors, hole punch, and thick twine.
1. Cut the lemon in half and pat it dry so there is not any excess juice when you begin stamping.
2. Paint the lemon and stamp it on the cardstock.
3. Wait for the paint to dry and cut out each lemon.
4. Hole punch the lemon stamps and string them together.
As for the food, I love recipes that I can make ahead.  This lemon balsamic pasta salad is just that and is equally as colorful as it is delicious.
- 1 box of bow tie pasta
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 1-2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- fresh parsley
1. Cook pasta as directed, drain it, and rinse it.
2. While it's cooking, slice the grape tomatoes in half and slice the cucumber in half inch slices and then quarters.
3. Make your dressing by combining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
4. Combine the cooked pasta, cucumber, and tomatoes.  Lightly dress the pasta salad to keep it from sticking together.
5. Refrigerate the pasta salad until party time.  When you're ready, toss the pasta salad with additional dressing and top it with crumbled feta, parsley, and sliced lemons.
I love unique takes on bruschetta.  Give me some delicious grilled bread and fresh toppings, and I am one happy lady.  I kept my citrus theme going in this Lemon Ricotta Basil Bruschetta.
- 1 loaf French bread
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of each salt and pepper
- 15-20 basil leaves
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Slice the French bread in half inch slices, and toast the bread for five minutes on each side in the oven at 350 degrees.
2. Combine ricotta, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
3. Once the bread cools, spread one heaping teaspoon of the ricotta mixture on each slice.
4. Top each slice of bruschetta with a basil leaf, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of red pepper.
Last but not least, to round out my lemonade stand, I made Lemonade Poptails with Minute Maid® Lemonade and FUZE® tea.  I started this process the night before by freezing FUZE tea in popsicle molds.  Right before the party began, I placed each iced tea popsicle in a stemless glass and served it with a pitcher of lemonade.  
Now we were ready to party!  These beverages were fun refreshments for the summertime.  They’re perfect to buy when you’re getting together with friends and family and pair well with my summer recipes.
I purchased my ingredients, including all of the delicious fresh produce, bread, lemonade, iced tea, and even those beautiful flowers at my local Publix.  If you want to host your own party, you can save a $1 when you buy any two 2-liter bottles of Minute Maid or FUZE products with an in-store coupon. You can also use this Ibotta Offer and earn a $1 on 12-pack, 12oz cans!
I set up my tablescape just inside my porch so that guests could grab their desired drinks and eats, and take them outside to socialize.  It was a perfect afternoon, and I can't wait to do it again!

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