Monday, July 31, 2017

Brewery Ommegang

Whew, what a fantastic, whirlwind weekend.  Mike and I are on our way back from Cooperstown, NY.  We were there for my 29th Baseball Hall of Fame Induction (I've blogged about this yearly pilgrimage a few times before haha).  We go every year, and we are always looking for new things to do.  While my favorite will always be strolling up and down Main Street and checking out the new exhibits in the Hall of Fame, we've waded in Lake Otsego, toured the Cooperstown Distillery, fed the ducks at Fly Creek Cider Mill, and last year, we visited Brewery Ommegang for the first time.
I'll be recapping our whole weekend later in the week, but this place deserves its own post because we've had so much fun there.  It's hopefully pretty well known that I love visiting breweries.  Whether it's in Charleston or while we're traveling, and whether it's a huge operation or a small local spot, beer is beer!
Ommegang brews Belgian-style ales and is actually owned by the Duvel company.  They built their huge brewery in 1997 on an old hop farm just outside of Cooperstown.  My favorite is definitely the Abbey Ale with orange peel and licorice, but you really can't go wrong with any of the ales.
The grounds at Ommegang are fantastic, too.  They have a brew pub inside, tons of seating outside, lawn games, and a small farm so that you can see how everything is grown.  Throughout the summer, they have lots of special events and live music, and when we were there in 2016, there was even a huge group camping from NYC for the induction of Mike Piazza.
If you're ever in the area, I definitely suggest a visit to Ommegang.  Even if you're not, they distribute almost everywhere in the country, and check out Ommegang's website.  I'm obsessed with their recipe section where you can see tons of recipes to cook with their beer.

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!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pin to Present: One Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta

I love seeing what Anne shares in her Pin to Present posts, so I decided to share my first one in... over a year.  Does anyone else's relationship with Pinterest really ebb and flow?  Sometimes I love all of the "picked for you" things I see, but other times, like when I searched for workout ideas ONE TIME and saw nothing but fitness quotes and ideas for a week, I just want to throw my iPad out the window.   Pinterest is supposed to be about food - haha!  In "down" times like that, I find myself finally going through those recipes I've been pinning for over four years.  The recipe I made this week finally made it from my "Need to Make It" board to my "Pinned It, Loved It" board after 3 years.  This One Pot BBQ Chicken Pasta is by one of my favorite food bloggers, Damn Delicious.  Her recipes are always so easy to make and have so much great flavor.
Here's how we made the dish ours and interpreted the recipe.  We...
- used honey chipotle Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce
- made sure to liberally salt and pepper the chicken before it cooked
- altered a couple items in the recipe
     - one pound of chicken instead of one breast
     - 3 cloves of garlic
     - half a yellow onion (more onion than chicken seemed crazy haha!)
     - sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled on top but not mixed into the pasta sauce
I was surprised at how well the pasta cooked in the sauce in the allotted 13 minutes (I was skeptical), and next time, the only changes we would make would be to double the red pepper flakes and maybe add even a little more chicken.  It makes a ton of pasta!

Have you had any Pinterest success stories recently?  I'd love to hear about any recipes you're currently loving!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

DIY Post-it Note Goal Board

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BackToSchoolGoals #CollectiveBias 

We are just over halfway through the year - time to check in on those New Year's Resolutions.  (Here were mine!)  How are you doing with yours?  Mine are... okay... but regrettably could be better.  It's those long-term goals that always get me.  Whether it's putting them off (since you have a whole year to accomplish them) or just gradually forgetting over time, I'm never super successful with those.  On the other hand, shorter goals or objectives (like my summer bucket list) are always so much more attainable.  There's a shorter amount of time to get everything done, and usually the items on it are less lofty.  This got me thinking, how can we keep our goals in the forefront of our minds throughout the year, whether it's the new year or the start to a new school year?  Well, I think I have the solution.  Did you know you're 42% more likely to accomplish things if you write them down*?  I want goals that I can stick to, and I have a project today to keep those goals stuck in your mind (almost quite literally) each day: DIY Sticky Note Goal Board.
The "back-to-school" time is the perfect opportunity to refocus.  Even though I'm not heading into the classroom this September, I still love shopping for school supplies, and this time of year is the perfect opportunity to update my desk before the busy fall season. 

The bright colors of Post-it® Notes keep my eyes front and center on what I'm trying to achieve, and this goal board has the perfect spot in my home to see it everyday.  The great thing about this board is that you can change it whenever you want to.  I love that feeling of checking something off my to-do list, and removing a sticky note from the board and recycling it because I've accomplished it gives me just that.  This would be fantastic for school-aged children to remember their homework or busy moms to make time for, well, everything!
You can purchase a full range of Post-it® and Scotch™brand products at your local Walmart when you head there to buy your school supplies.
To create your own DIY goal board, you will need:
- 11" x 14" photo frame
- 11" x 14" poster board
- Post-it® Notes 3" x 3" Cube Pink Wave and Orange Wave, 400 Sheets/Cube
- Scotch™ Double Sided Tape
- Decorative paper
- Calligraphy markers
- Scissors

I also purchased 4-packs of 4" x 6" Post-it® Super Sticky Notes when I was at Walmart, because I love this bigger size for list-making.
Directions for making your own sticky note board:
1. Decide the parameters of your goals.  I chose weekly, monthly, and yearly.  Other suggestions could be daily, seasonally, or even creating columns for different members of your family or aspects of your life (home, work, blogging, etc.).
2. Lay out the 3" x 3" Post-it® Notes, 3 across and 2 down to approximate spacing.
3. Write out your headings on white paper: 'Goals For...,' 'This Week,' 'This Month,' and 'This Year' - or whatever you choose.
4. Cut out your headings and and use the double-sided tape to adhere them to decorative paper.
5. Cut out the decorative paper for a border around the headings.
6. Tape the headings above the Post-it® Notes.
7. Outline each Post-it® Note to serve as templates for your future goals, and remove the sample notes from the poster board.
8. Frame your goal board and hang it on the wall.
There you have it!  Now you're ready to stay on track throughout the summer and into the new school year.  As I mentioned, I'm doing much better with my summer bucket list than my 2017 resolutions, so much so that I am already updating my bucket list to create new goals for myself.  I shot under par a couple of weeks ago, but that round still had two bogeys.  Now, I want to shoot a round with a "clean card," meaning that no holes are over par.  
What's so great about this changeable board is that I can update it whenever I want.  To see even more ways to keep up with your goals by clicking here.  How do you keep yourself on track?  What are your goals for the new school year?

*Matthews, G. (2007). The impact of commitment, accountability, and written goals on goal achievement. Paper presented at the 87th Convention of Western Psychological Association, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
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