Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Red Velvet Cupcakes

If you watched my Instastories last week. you may have seen my favorite thing to ever be shot on my camera.  I got home from work last Wednesday to find Mike had baked 2 dozen red velvet cupcakes for our friend's birthday.  But not only that, he had also documented the whole process for me to give me some "#content," as he calls it.  Seriously, these cupcakes were so good.  He even frosted them perfectly!  Here's the recipe he used:
Red Velvet Ingredients:

- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 bottle red food coloring
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

- 8 ounces package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 16 ounces confectioners sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
5. Mix in sour cream, milk, food coloring and vanilla.
6. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not over-beat.
7. Spoon batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
8. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean.
9. While cupcakes are baking, make the frosting: beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.
10. After 20 minutes, cool the cupcakes in pans on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
11. Frost with vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Link to original recipe.

Like I said, husband of the century right here!  This man certainly knows the way to my heart is through my stomach and camera ;)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fashion Week(ending)

I hope everyone had a fun St. Patty's Day weekend (we celebrated St. Catty's Day at our house - haha!)!  For the second year, I had the opportunity to attend Lexus Charleston Fashion Week (here is my post from last year).  Seriously, what a blast!  It's so much fun to see emerging designers, a young model competition, and featured designers like Yigal Azrouel.  Below are my looks I shared on Instagram from Friday and Saturday nights:
I was really excited to style two new pairs of earrings from Piqued PR clients, Shiver & Duke and Brynn Hudson Jewelry.  You can shop both styles below:
Since it's been a while since I did a real life update, I thought I'd share a few more photos of recent happenings... first, the aftermath of Mike's birthday party last weekend.  Thanks to all of our friends who made it over to celebrate.
You might have seen my Instagram last week (thanks, Dunkin' Donuts!) of my new favorite coffee.  Dunkin' recently introduced Girl Scout Cookie flavored coffees available in everything hot to iced.  I am obsessed with the Thin Mints variety, and they also have caramel & coconut and peanut butter cookie.  They're available until May, so make sure you check them out!
And last but not least, a few new favorites from our neighborhood brewery, Charles Towne Fermentory.  They just released cans of a delicious peach and passionfruit gose - yum!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Springtime Entertaining: My Take on Avocado Toast

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

Spring is all about fresh ingredients and simple recipes for me, especially when entertaining.  One of my favorites right now (along with many of my friends!) is avocado toast; it's the perfect party food.  I make a bunch of slices before my guests arrive, slice it up (in halves or quarters), and serve it up.  I'm excited to share my favorite avocado toast with you today, and the one special ingredient: Kaukauna® Cheese Spread Cups.  Kaukauna® is a delicious and easy entertaining solution made with 100% real cheddar.  It's delicious by itself or part of a recipe, especially my fresh springtime toast.  It makes the best "secret" ingredient for my toast - avocado + cheese is the best combination!
- multi-grain bread slices
- Kaukauna® Cheese Sharp Cheddar Spread Cup 
- avocado
- tomato
- coarse salt and pepper
- balsamic vinegar
1. Thinly slice the avocado and tomato.
2. Toast the multi-grain bread and spread a layer of Kaukauna® Cheese Sharp Cheddar on top.
3. On the cheddar cheese spread, place slices of avocado and tomato.
4. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the toast as well as a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
5. Slice each piece of toast diagonally and serve to your guests!
If you don't count the salt and pepper, this recipe only has five ingredients, and this recipe only takes as long to put together as it does to toast the bread!  I purchased all of my fresh produce and Kaukauna® Cheese Sharp Cheddar Spread Cup at Harris Teeter.  You can click here to check out the Ibotta offer and earn rewards for your next shopping trip!
What's your favorite easy entertaining solution?  Check out the Kaukauna® social hub for tons of seasonal recipe and how-to party ideas!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Five Favorite Charleston Lunch Spots

Happy Wednesday!  With spring on the horizon, I can't wait to have more friends and family visiting over the next couple of months.  Since Mike and I both work full-time, we like to send our parents out on their own adventures during the week, but meeting up for lunch is one of our favorites.  I always get the dreaded "where should we go?" question, so I've decided to round up five of our favorites, perfect for lunch.  These have a little something for everyone, and if you're visiting Charleston, you're sure to love all of them!
The Park Cafe: Located on the north end of the city on Rutledge Avenue, near Hampton Park, The Park Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends.  If you're looking for a spot with a great cocktail for lunch, I definitely suggest this place.  Everything is made with local ingredients, and the space is so bright and filled with greenery.  I suggest the Honey Poached Turkey Sandwich, Avocado Toast, or House-Made Granola.
Vintage Coffee Cafe: I previously included this spot in my round up of favorite coffee places (here's that link).  This is another one that's great for breakfast or lunch, located in Mount Pleasant, and I love the PB Chocolate Banana Acai Bowl for either.  My favorite sandwiches are the Grown Up Grilled Cheese and Roasted Turkey BLT.  Plus, Coastal Crust now has a brick & mortar location at the back of Vintage (where there is tons of shared outdoor seating), so if you're in the mood for pizza, this is the place to go. 
Queen Street Grocery: I've dedicated a whole post to Queen St. before, but it deserves to be mentioned in this list, again.  If you're visiting downtown, this is just two blocks west of King Street and a block north of Broad Street.  I always go for a salad and a sweet crepe - a little of everything!  My favorite salad is the Caesar and crepe is the Johns Island with banana and brown butter.  If you're looking for a savory crepe, you can't go wrong with the Murray or St. Helena.
Verde: With four locations around the city, no matter where you are, you are probably only a few minutes from a Verde location.  They have some of the best (and craziest!) salad combinations.  If you aren't in the mood for one of their 10 signature creations (always on the menu), you can make your own salad from 7 different lettuce blends, add in 40+ ingredients, and get it tossed or chopped with one of 15 dressings, all made in-house.  My favorite signature creation is the South Harvest with grilled chicken, apples, and cornbread croutons, and right now, I am loving the seasonal Pineapple Poke Express selection.  Plus, each location is so bright and colorful!
Caviar and Bananas: This is one of the food emporiums in the city.  Located right near College of Charleston, it is always packed but well worth the line.  They have stations of fresh-made sandwiches, salads, sushi, charcuterie and cheese, and pastries as well as specialty packaged foods and lots of local beer and wine.  If you're near the City Market, you can also find their sandwich station right inside the Great Hall.  Their sandwiches are delicious, and my newest favorite is making my own with their Italian Meat Trio, house-made mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette.  If I'm eating there, I also stop by their deli to grab a side of whatever the pasta salad of the day is.
I try to only go out to lunch once per week, but with all of these just minutes from my office, it's hard not to go somewhere different each day! 

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