Friday, March 30, 2018

Treat Yo Self: Last Minute Easter Basket

Happy Good Friday!  I hope many of you are able to start your holiday weekend early with a day off today!  We are unsure of our plans, but there will definitely be a few Easter goodies involved.  I gave up sweets/dessert for Lent, so I am just dreaming of that Reese's egg on Easter morning!  Today, I've rounded up a items for your last-minute Easter basket because, well...
One of my favorite small businesses, Megan from Home Sweet College Home shared a great blog post with the five essentials for any Easter basket: something useful, something nostalgic, something sentimental, something tasty, and something decorative.  I definitely used this as my inspiration and have a little of all five below.  The best thing about all of these items are that they are from Target, and I am obsessed with Target's "Order Pickup" option.  They'll do the shopping in-store for you, and you just pick everything up at customer service! 
usefulWhenever I give an Easter basket, I love to put it in something the person can use again.  No exception for my own basket.  I would love one of these fruit baskets for my kitchen, but this laundry basket and this storage cube are really cute, too.  If you don't need a basket, how about some adorable dish towels from Hearth & Home?!

nostalgicOkay, so I know there is also a "tasty" category, but I also had to start with candy here.  I can still remember Reese's Eggs sitting in my nona and papa's candy dish when I was younger, and Chicks, Ducks, and Bunnies bring me back to thinking I was smart buying half price candy after Easter to bring to all of my golf teammates.  Last but not least, this is the perfect category for a little egg decorating, too.

sentimental - I struggled with this category a little, but who doesn't love seeing their photos.  This photo frame with the wooden clips is great!  Or, if you're looking for something to make you smile and keep you moving, I love this motivational print!

tasty - Alright, now this is the category y'all were waiting for.  Oh, the Easter candy!  Giving up sweets for Lent wasn't honestly as bad as I imagined it would be, but oh boy, I can't wait for Sunday.  Ever since I wrote this post with M&Ms, I have had a bags of M&Ms caramel sitting in my dining room, and it has taken so. much. self. control.  Other favorites of mine are robin's eggs, Sour Patch bunnies, Dove eggs, York eggs, and Peeps.  Even if you aren't a Peeps fan, they make great s'mores!  Also, if you buy one of everything, you can make a delicious Easter candy milkshake like I did last year!

decorative - Spring decor is some of my favorite (maybe it's my love affair with pink - haha!).  I love this cross, these nesting eggs, this bunny pillow, this egg wreath, and this flower garland, which would be perfect all spring long. 

And if you need any more Easter inspiration, you can click here to check out my whole Easter craft and recipe round-up!  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Springtime Flowers in Charleston

The flowers are absolutely in bloom across Charleston!  Over the past couple of weeks, we've been enjoying some beautiful walks throughout the city, especially south of Broad Street.  These residential streets are so pretty and even though it's been so cold (as you can see from my outfit - absolutely not normal spring attire in Charleston!!), we've just had to get out of the house to see them!
One of the must-see spots for spring flowers, if you're in the area, is the wisteria on Meeting Street.  Seriously, every Charleston blogger has taken photos in front of it, and I want to make it its own hashtag - haha!  If you're visiting the area, walk south on Meeting Street from Broad Street and you can't miss it on the left, just south of Ford Court.  Plus, if you look in through the wisteria, you can see one of the most beautiful gardens in the city.  Thank you to Priscilla for the photos of me below!
Then, there are the azaleas.  We always had azaleas in my yard when I was growing up in Rhode Island, but nothing beats an azalea in the south.  Not only do they bloom a second time each year (in the fall), but they also grow to be so big!  You can find them all over the city in so many beautiful colors!
And last but not least, you can't forget the stunning window boxes and pink magnolias.  See - the flowers are amazing in Charleston!  I took so many photos that I had to spread them into two posts, and next week, I'll have more to share of the beautiful front doors and window boxes all over the city.  

Monday, March 26, 2018

Five Brunch Favorites for a Crowd

It was another brunch-filled weekend at our house.  On Saturday, we went out to try a new place and on Sunday, we hosted friends for Mario Kart brunch.  Somehow it's still only in the 50s, so after planning a lawn games brunch, it quickly changed to video games.  We made 3 new casseroles (thanks, Pinterest!!), so I decided to share my review of those with y'all as well as some of our other favorite brunch dishes for a crowd.

1. Monte Cristo Sliders - These were a hit yesterday!  And seriously, they were so easy to make.  Since a whole pack of Kings Hawaiian rolls in half, stuff with meat and cheese, and throw them in the oven.  The best part is the sprinkled powdered sugar over the top!

2. Ham and Cheddar Quiche - This was one of our first ever brunch favorites.  I love quiches because they can be served at room temperature, and everyone still enjoys them. 
3. Tater Tot Sausage Casserole - Another new one from yesterday; this is the perfect hangover food!  It's delicious and filling, and I'm not going to lie, I might have messed up the ingredients.  I only bought one pound of sausage, but I thought it still came out really well. 
4. Ham and Swiss Rolls - We make these every year on Christmas morning with Mike's family.  You can either make them ahead of time and bake them off early, or set up a station where people can make and fill their own. 
5. Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Casserole - So... we might have skipped the first step of crisping our own tortillas (and used store-bought chips), but this was really good.  My one suggestion is to take the casserole out of the oven when the egg white are still a little runny.  They will continue to cook even out of the oven, and this will make sure the yolks aren't overcooked. 
And (because it's Mike's absolute favorite) one more: sausage gravy and biscuits.  This isn't typically the best for a crowd (why I didn't include it in this list), but we have found that you can make a whole batch in the morning, and it stays fresh and warm pretty well in a slowcooker.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Guide to Charleston Breweries (Part 4)

Well, that didn't take long!  Less than two months later, I'm back for another installment of Charleston breweries.  Like I've said before, they are popping up all over the place, and with this post, we've officially hit 21 breweries visited!  Right now, there are 28 total either open or in the works, so surely there will be even more beer stops soon.  Here are the previous links to part 1part 2, and part 3.  Let's get drinkin'...

Snafu Brewing Company (Industry Drive, North Charleston): This is the place to go in Charleston for a sour or fruity beer.  Not only do they offer their flagship Snafu-Tang sour in a bunch of flavors like lime and Grape Sucka, they also take their IPA to the next level with tangerine and pineapple variations.  I absolutely love the old school way branding, too.
What to try: Snafu-Tang Sour, Shao-Lime Sour, or Pineapple IPA
Pawley's Island Brewery (Industrial Avenue, North Charleston): We first went to Pawley's on New Year's Eve, and it had the best down-to-Earth vibe.  The owners were there that night, and they are so passionate about what they do.  Don't get me wrong, I love their standard beers, but the holiday offerings they had that night, including Cranberry Sauced and Christmas House IPA were amazing!
What to try: Coquina Pineapple, The Pirate Gentleman Grapefruit Pale Ale, or Riley's Rye Ale
Lo-Fi Brewing (Meeting Street, Charleston): Bright colors, delicious beer, a brewery cat, and a unicorn in their logo.  They got me.  You can try their Mexican Lager almost anywhere in Charleston, but I love heading to their brewery location downtown to try our other favorites.  The first time you drive by, you might miss it, but yes, that's it in a warehouse, next to the towing company.  It's located in a big warehouse, so I suggest a spring or fall visit (when Charleston isn't 90+ degrees).  And did I mention there's a stray brewery cat??  Adorable.  
What to try: Glitter Pony Beligan tripel or Blueberry Wheat
Munkle Brewing Co. (Meeting Street, Charleston): The newest addition to "Charleston's neck," there are now seven breweries in the two-mile stretch between Revelry and Lo-Fi.   They have a really big space, plenty of seats, and even a pool table.  They don't have a very expansive selection of beers yet, but they have a great brand and equipment, so they're well on their way.  If you're looking to something Belgian, this is the place to go!
What to try: Bull Street Blonde or Gully Washer Wit
Commonhouse Aleworks (Park Circle, North Charleston): Last but not least, the newest Charleston brewery.  I'd been looking forward to this opening for a few months, but when it coincided with the Charleston Marathon (meaning they would only be serving out of plastic Solo cups) and our favorite food truck had to cancel, we decided to postpone.  We finally checked it out a couple weeks ago, and the space is amazing.  They did a beautiful job, and we look forward to seeing how they progress with the beers over the next few months.  We will definitely be back in the summer again.
What to try: Pierce the Night American Stout or Barony Whipper Kettle Sour

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

When Husbands Bake: 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 ;)

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