August 29, 2012

Check out my new Thank You cards!

I had fun designing a cute postcard style Thank You card today on my favorite site, Shutterfly!
Check them out here: www.shutterfly.com
Cupcake Fantasia Birthday Invitation
View the entire collection of cards.
 
 


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August 28, 2012

Mama's Hoppin' John in the Crock-Pot & New Year's Fun!


New Year's Eve last year was a blast, the best part being I got to spend it with my honey, Ashton.
My parents and I rented a condo out in Santa Rosa Beach, FL and we spent a relaxing weekend by the beach. Instead of big parties and fireworks we decided to have a fun dinner out with friends on New Year's Eve and then a home cooked dinner with my family on New Year's Day. 
Scroll down for my Mama's Hoppin' John New Years recipe!
All dressed up and ready for dinner!
He always makes me laugh!
Dinner and drinks with friends!
Being silly~
Jason, Crystal, and Nathan.
My sweet friend, Nathan!
Ashton and I
What an amazing night! I love you guys!

Mama's Hoppin' John New Years recipe:
It's a tradition in my family to eat Hoppin' John on New Year's Day. 
Here's a little tidbit from Wikipedia:
 "Throughout the United States, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, and cabbage etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money. Another traditional food, cornbread can also be served to represent wealth, being the color of gold. On the day after New Year's Day, leftover "Hoppin' John" is called "Skippin' Jenny," and further demonstrates one's frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year."

Ingredients:  
2 32 oz containers vegetable broth
16 oz bag dried black eyed peas
1 large Valida onion, diced
salt pork or large ham hock
2 red bell peppers, diced
1/2 cup parsley
1 green pepper, diced
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 1/2 tbsp Cajun seasoning (Mama likes Emeril's Cajun Essence)
1 tsp garlic powder
12 oz can whole stewed tomatoes (Mama likes Cento brand, Italian style) 
1 large tomato, diced
salt/pepper to taste

Directions:
 Rinse beans and pick through, then soak in water overnight.
Rinse beans in the morning and transfer to a crock-pot.
Cover beans with the broth.
Add diced bell peppers, onion (reserve 1/2 cup onion for topping), Worcestershire, parsley, ham hock, and stewed tomatoes with juice. Mix together and break tomatoes apart into smaller pieces. Add all seasonings, stir, cover, and cook in the crock-pot on high for 3-4 hours or low 4-6 hours.
Serve with white rice and cornbread and top with diced tomatoes and onion.

Nicole tip: Since I'm not a big raw tomato fan, I like to substitute green onions on top of mine!
Nothing better than a comforting bowl of beans on a cold day! 
Even better...they'll bring you good luck!
 Don't forget the cornbread and greens.
My Gma enjoying her New Year's Day dinner!
A plate of deliciousness!
Thanks for sharing your recipe Mama!

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August 21, 2012

Pretty Pink Pickled Eggs with Beets and Onions

      My first time eating pickled eggs was at McGuires Irish Pub in Pensacola, FL as a little girl. They serve them on their combo snack plate and I, being the girlie girl I am, just loved their bright fuchsia color! Alas, McGuires doesn't serve them anymore {dang it}! So I decided to recreate my own version of Pretty Pink Pickled Eggs (say that 3 times fast!) at home using pickled beets and onions. Hope you enjoy!

 Ingredients:


  • 1 dozen hard boiled peeled eggs
  • 2 16 oz jars of pickled sliced beets
  • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

    1. Drain beet juice from both jars into a pot. It should be about 2 cups.
    2.  Mix in sugar, salt, and apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil. 
    3. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 
    4.  Mix peeled eggs, sliced drained beets, and onions in a bowl or jar.
    5.  Pour hot juice mixture on top of eggs.
    6.  Seal in a jar or in a bowl with a lid. Place in the refrigerator for at least a day.

    My husband's trick for boiling eggs perfectly: Place eggs in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove to the sink into an ice water bath to stop cooking and cool down.
     Crack the shell and it should just slide off!

     Drain beet juice from both jars into a pot. It should be about 2 cups.
     Mix in sugar, salt, and apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 
    You may have to open a window because the smell is strong!~
     Slice onion in half, then slice thinly.
     Mix peeled eggs, sliced drained beets, and onions in a bowl or jar.
     Pour hot juice mixture on top of eggs.
     Seal in a jar or in a bowl with a lid. Place in the refrigerator for at least a day.
     Beautiful pink eggs!
     These make delicious snacks, appetizers, or sides.

     I like to serve in a small bowl with one egg and some beets and onions! Yum!
     Now I can make my favorite snack at home.
    I love making a big batch in a mason jar just like this and
    serving them to my egg lovin' family for snacks!
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    August 16, 2012

    Peppermint Bark & A Crafty Christmas!

    I must say, Christmas time is my favorite time of year so even though it was (gasp!) 8 months ago I had to play catch up and show ya'll some more Christmas pics and a delicious recipe from the most wonderful time of year!
    My pups, Charlie and Dylan in their Christmas pic with Santa.
    Me and my Mama.                          Posin' for the camera Christmas morn.

    Last year for the holidays, I was lucky enough to work at kitchen store William Sonoma, which is simply said, a foodie heaven. Granted I didn't take home much money because I spent it on store goodies but heck it was worth it! One of William Sonoma's most popular (and yummy) holiday items is their Peppermint Bark. So I decided for Christmas I was going to make my own version as gifts for my friends and family. Check out my easy recipe below!

    Holiday Peppermint Bark

    Makes approx 2 pounds

    Ingredients:

    • 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
    • 16 oz white chocolate chips
    • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
    • 3/4 cup candy canes, crushed

    Directions:

    1. Line a baking pan with foil, letting some hang over the sides. 
    2. Spray with cooking spray.
    3. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium low heat. 
    4. Pour evenly onto the lined pan and spread with a spatula. 
    5. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of crushed peppermint candy. 
    6. Place in refrigerator until firm.
    7. Next, melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium low until almost melted. Remove from heat and stir until melted. 
    8. Stir in extract. 
    9. Pour over chocolate layer and spread quickly. 
    10. Sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermint candies. 
    11. Chill until both layers are firm. 
    12. Lift foil out of pan and shake off excess candy. 
    13. Peel foil from bottom of peppermint bark.
    14.  Cut into squares. 

    Adapted from Chefs.com
    Melt both chocolate chips separately in a double boiler over med low heat. 
    Pour the melted chocolate chips evenly onto the lined pan and spread with a spatula. 
    Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of crushed peppermint candy. 
    Place in refrigerator until firm.
    Pour melted white chocolate with peppermint extract over chocolate layer and spread quickly. 
    Sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermint candies. 
    Chill until both layers are firm. 
    Lift foil out of pan and shake off excess candy. 
     Cut into squares. 
    This no bake treat is so easy you'll make it every year from now on!

    CHRISTMAS CRAFTING WITH CONNIE
    I am lucky enough to have a super crafty best friend, Connie who came over with her Cricut and loads of crafty supplies to help me with my Christmas gifts! We made Christmas postcards, goodie boxes, and gift tags!

    Using her Cricut to make all sorts of paper crafts!
    Connie getting her craft on! Check out her blog, The Crafty Soprano 

    Connie and I met in our high school choir so music is special to both of us (she's even a music major, while I majored in theater). On Dec 18 we attended the Christmas concert at First United Methodist Church.

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