Friday, June 29, 2018

Five on Friday: Cooking Up Red, White, and Blue

Happy Friday!  Who else is starting to celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend?  I saw the funniest meme about Independence Day falling on a Wednesday: how are we supposed to celebrate? That day? The weekend before? The weekend after? All month? All year? I agree.  I haven't decided what we will be bringing to a barbecue this weekend, but I can tell you that it will be red, white, and blue.  Here are five of our favorites for your own celebrations:

1. Strawberry Pretzel Salad: This is my mom's go-to summer recipe. With a pretzel crust and layers of whipped topping and berries, it's so refreshing and delicious!
2. M&M cookie bars: Using refrigerated dough, this recipe is so easy to make, and I love the festive M&Ms!
3. Watermelon pops: You can create this treat with any fruit of your choice and a star-shaped cookie cutter.
4. Fruit and granola kebobs: I made these for my participants at work one year when looking for a festive, healthy snack, and they were a hit; anything on a kebob skewer usually is!
5. Red, White, and Blue Berry Scones: I just shared this recipe earlier this week, but it definitely deserves to be in this list.  Scones might be my favorite pastry to make (here's a recipe for just strawberry and another for chocolate chip).

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Walk Before the Storm

It's certainly summer in Charleston.  Each afternoon, the storms roll in, the blue skies turn gray, and we get a good soaking.  Last Friday, we went for a walk on Isle of Palms, watching the storms in the distance, looming.  Everyone was packing up on the beach, and we got the beach all to ourselves.  
I just love this city!  It might be 90+ degrees everyday, but I'll take it to get to enjoy this scenery everyday. 
Also, can I just tell y'all how obsessed I am with these new sunnies?  They are so comfortable, and have the perfect amount of wrap-around to block out light from all angles.  Nope, this isn't sponsored (though I did link to them below); I just wanted to share one of my current favorite things.  Funny story, they're totally "men's" sunglasses - any other ladies love how much better "men's" glasses fit?!  Mike and I went out to dinner, and I left my sunglasses on the table.  The hostess ran out after us, "sir! sir! you forgot your..." as Mike is putting his own glasses on his eyes, "oh, ma'am... your glasses!" LOL
What I'm wearing: Oakleysteal tank, necklaceLilly Pulitzer in Gypsy Jungle, Chuck Taylors

Monday, June 25, 2018

Red, White, & Blue Berry Scones

With the solstice last week, I know I am in full on summer mode.  Independence Day is less than two weeks away, and I love any excuse to think red, white, and blue.  I first made these scones last year, and they were such a hit that I made another batch this weekend.  Scones are my favorite breakfast pastry, and the colors from the fruit in these are so vibrant and festive!
All you need to make them are:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl.
3. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
4. Mix together the vanilla extract and heavy cream and pour into crumb mixture.
5. With a wooden spoon, begin to mix the dough gently, until it is just combined.
6. Add in all the fruit and chocolate chips and continue to mix until the dough forms one ball.  If needed, knead the dough lightly to help it all form together.
7. Separate the dough into two even pieces, and form each piece in to a one inch thick circle.
8. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into six even triangles.
9. Grease a baking pan and place each triangle on the pan.
10. Bake for 20 minutes, until edges just begin to turn light brown.
This scone recipe comes out so well every time, and the main key is to make sure that the dough always stays cold.  If it starts to warm up, just place the dough in the refrigerator for an hour before baking, and the scones will better keep their shape. 
Serve them up with some festive red and blue napkins (I love these that are stripes on one side and polka dotted on the other), and enjoy!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Red, White, and Blue For You

Only ten more shopping days before Independence Day!  When I was little, wearing the brightest red, white, and blue clothes I could find (usually with wildly different patterns for shirts and shorts) was my favorite on the 4th of July.  Not a whole lot has changed, and I always love seeing what fun screen-printed designs stores have for the summer holiday.  I've rounded up a bunch of my favorites, whether you need a colorful tee for the beach or a clutch to match your picnic look!

Meowica tank - If you buy this, you clearly also need the Americat leggings!

Tassel tote - Your perfect beach bag!

Barbie halter - I love this entire Missguided collection (check out the jean dress and swimsuit, too!)


Jack Rogers - These were just released, and they look perfect for the occasion! 

Baseball tee - I don't care if it's a million degrees out, I love comfy baseball tees!  If you aren't a MLB fan, here's this simple striped one, too. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Tomato Tortellini Soup & Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese

At least once per week, we have our friends over for dinner.  Sometimes it's to make a Monday better, other times it's on a rainy night when we would have had kickball.  We usually try to keep dinners easy (Korean Beef Bowl, 5-Ingredient Lasagna...) so that we can spending more time playing cards and Mario Kart.  On one of the stormy nights our friends came over, we decided that it was a "grilled cheese and tomato soup kind of night."  I've been making this soup for years.  I was never really a fan of tomato soup, but add tortellini, and I am so in!  The grilled cheese came from an idea our friends had that the soup needed a perfectly Italian pairing, and this is definitely it.
Soup Ingredients (makes soup for 4-6 people):
- 1 family-size bag of cheese tortellini (we use about 20oz of tortellini)
- 4 10.75oz cans of condensed tomato soup
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups half & half
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- garnishing suggestions: parmesan cheese and parsley

Soup Directions:
1. Heat a pot of water to boiling, and follow instructions on the tortellini to cook to al dente.
2. While the tortellini is cooking, combine tomato soup, milk, half & half, and spices into a large pot and heat on medium, stirring frequently.
3. Add the cooked tortellini to the soup and stir to combine.
4. Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated cheese and chopped parsley
Grilled Cheese Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches):
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
- 8 slices white bread
- 8 slices American cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Grilled Cheese Directions:
1. Press the garlic into a small dish and combine with salt and butter.
2. Melt the garlic butter mixture in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.
3. Add the olive oil and parsley to the garlic butter, and stir to combine.
4. Heat a skillet on low and spread garlic butter onto one side of each piece of bread.
5. Place 4 slices of bread garlic butter-side down in the skillet.
6. Top the bread with one slice of American cheese, 1/4 cup of mozzarella, a second slice of American, and another piece of garlic bread (face up).
7. Heat the grilled cheese (covered) for 2-3 minutes on each side, before flipping and heating for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
8. Slice in half and serve with soup!
Just look at that cheese; talk about the ultimate Italian comfort food!  If you are only making dinner for a couple of people, note that this soup refrigerates very well, or you can easily cut the recipe in half.
What is your favorite comfort food?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Maxis in May

Yes, I know it's June, but as you can probably tell from the Confederate Jasmine in bloom, these photos are from a couple of weeks ago.  How am I doing, right?!  The morning these were taken (by my lovely friend Priscilla), it was the perfect spring day.  The humidity wasn't too high, and it was just barely overcast.  We're now up to 90+ degrees on the regular in June, and I swear that there have been lightning storms every night for the past 2 weeks - welcome to summertime in Charleston!  
This stroll took us through the South of Broad neighborhood of the peninsula.  I've decided that I want to try and be better about sharing where in Charleston I take photos.  I always see bloggers in their cities at these beautiful locations, and I always wonder where they are (so I can go there, too!).  This walk actually started with a tip from @kristinchambless about the beautiful house you'll see in the last photo of this post, overflowing with Confederate Jasmine.  We started there, around 50 Church Street, zig-zagged down Church, across Water Street and through one of my favorite little courtyards, all the way down to the corner of Atlantic Street to this beautiful home with the exposed brick, window boxes, and hurricane bolts
Now for my dress: if you know me in person, you know that I don't go shopping for clothes often, and when I do, it's typically to Target or the outlets.  I can count on one hand finger how many times I've gone shopping (not online) this year.  My most-recent trip was to the outlets and my favorite spot for maxi dresses: Loft Outlet.  The Ann Inc. brand has the best shopping for petite clothing from Ann Taylor, to Loft, and obviously Loft Outlet.  Did you see that you'll soon be able to shop online with Loft Outlet?  Yup, now I'll never need to "go" shopping! 

Here are my earrings (c/o) and my pineapple sandals.

Design Poppiness Designs