January 31, 2014

Friday Favorites: Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey


For Christmas, my mother-in-law gave us a copy of John Currence's new book Pickles, Pigs, & Whiskey. Currence is somewhat of a legend in my old stomping grounds, Oxford. He owns four restaurants, which I frequented more than I should have in college. There were many late nights spent of the City Grocery balcony and Sunday brunches at BBB. So, when he announced that he was writing a cookbook I was ecstatic. The recipes are complex and extremely caloric, but they bring back happy memories of Oxford. We made a dish from the book last week, which I will be sharing on the blog later. If you're in the market for a new cookbook I highly recommend Pickles, Pigs, & Whiskey

January 29, 2014

Cocktails for Two: The Brown Derby


During the cooler months, I eat a grapefruit almost everyday. My husband only allows me to purchase them in 10 pound bags because I go through them so quickly. I love their bright, tart taste that perks up almost anything. Although I mostly stick to eating them segmented in the morning alongside my cereal, adding them to a cocktail is the next best thing. This cocktail is sweet and a cinch to make. Perfect for sipping while you make dinner together, or double the recipe and serve to friends on a chilly evening. This easy cocktail will not disappoint a grapefruit lover. 


The Brown Derby: 

3 ounces bourbon 
2 ounces grapefruit 
1 ounce honey-syrup 

Combine bourbon, grapefruit, and honey-syrup in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until cocktail shaker has iced over. Pour into coupe glasses. Garnish with a grapefruit twist. Serve cold. 


Honey-Syrup 

In a saucepan combine equal parts honey and water (you can make as little or as much as you want). Heat until honey and water has combined. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. 






January 28, 2014

Style: Feeling Foxy

 Dress: Corey Lynn Carter (similar ) // Blazer: Madewell (similar) // Bag: Kate Spade // Booties: Zara // Sunglasses: Karen Walker // Tights: Unknown 

I snagged this dress a few years on sale, and I cannot seem let it go. It doesn't get a tone of wear, because it is probably a little too short, but every once in a while it is fun to pull out. The subtle fox print is a great conversation starter, because who doesn't love a fox printed dress? Keeping a little whimsy in your closet is always important, and I'm sure I'll get a few more years of wear out of this little dress before it is retired. 




January 27, 2014

In the Kitchen: Orange Chocolate Bark


I'm normally good about bringing homemade treats to parties, but lately I have not been in the mood. I've been keeping meals simple and quick. So when I need to bring a dessert to a party this weekend I took the easiest route possible: chocolate bark. Essentially, it is chocolate topped with fruit and nuts, and it is delicious. So, if you're stuck in a rut like me. Try this simple recipe to get back in the kitchen. 

Orange Chocolate Bark 

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 
12 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 orange 
1/2 cup dried cherries 
1/2 cup sliced almonds 

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine chocolates in a large microwavable bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring to enhance melting. Once completely melted add vanilla and juice from half the orange.

Pour melted chocolate onto parchment paper. Do not worry about it being completely smooth, you want it to be al little rustic. Sprinkle the chocolate with almonds, dried cherries, and the zest of 1 orange.

Place the bark in the fridge and allow to cool for 2 hours. Then, break the bark into pieces with your hands. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


January 24, 2014

Friday Favorites: Over the Knee Boots

ONE // TWO // THREE 

We are now on our fourth day of below freezing temperatures. So, naturally i'm dreaming of leather boots. Specifically, a pair of over the knee boots. I invested in a pair of Ralph Lauren Riding Boots while I was in college, and they have served me well over the years. I wear them constantly in just about any weather, and they are super comfortable. But I feel like they need a little break so I am on the hunt for an over the knee pair. These boots seem a little for formal, and I think would give my legs a little more warmth in dresses and skirts. Plus, at these sale prices how can I say no? 

January 23, 2014

In the Kitchen: Chili



As a child, I kind of despised chili. I'm really not sure why, because it involved ingredients I liked. Plus, you can top it with cheese and sour cream, and what kid doesn't like that? I'm glad I've grown out of that phase because my husband makes the best chili. Seriously, I dare you to say otherwise. On a cold winter night, a dutch oven filled with hot chili is exactly what I need. And since we will not be getting above freezing here in Virginia for the next few days, I am sure this giant pot of chili will go quickly.

Classic Chili

1/2 pound ground beef
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz beer
1 tablespoon worcestershire
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2-4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275. Place large dutch oven on stove over medium heat. Brown the ground beef until most of the pink is gone. Pile the beef on one side of the pan and add the onions. Cook the onions until they begin to get soft, then mix with the ground beef. Add the bell peppers and garlic. Cook until peppers start to get soft and onions are lightly browned. Add the mushrooms. Raise heat to medium-high. Add the spices. Pour in the beer to deglaze the pan. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir to fully incorporate the mixture. Cook until the alcohol smell is gone. Add the tomatoes, beans, mustard, and worcestershire. Mix completely and bring to a boil. Taste for spiciness. Add more chili powder and cayenne until you reach you desired level of heat. Place in the oven for two hours with the lid on. After two hour, remove from the oven and stir thoroughly. Return to the oven without the lid and cook until it reaches the desired thickness.




January 22, 2014

January Favorites

ONE // TWO // THREE // FOUR (an extra 50% off!) // FIVE // SIX // SEVEN // EIGHT // NINE 

I'm already feeling the winter blues. We are not supposed to get above freezing for the next few days, so I'm trying to layer as many warm and cozy pieces as possible. Having winter basics that are classics makes getting dressed a little easier each morning. January is the perfect time of year to shop for winter basics. With cold weather clothes going on sale, you can get a great deal on classics like leather boots and wool coats. I'm hoping to add a few more to my closet this month, because this cold weather is sticking around. 

January 21, 2014

Style: Baggy Basics

 Tee: J.Crew // Jeans: Anthropologie // Scarf: Anthropologie // Booties: Zara // Bag: Kate Spade

A baggy t-shirt is a wardrobe staple for me. They work well with denim for days when you want an easy look, and also pairs well with skirts for a more work to dinner look. I picked up this tee on sale at J.Crew the other week. It is hard to say no to their comfy tee's when they are an extra 40% off. And, with this being the last day of the sale it is time to stock up.  




January 16, 2014

In the Kitchen: Tiramisu



For the past few years I've made my own birthday cake. I'm a pretty controlling person, and it always seemed easier if I did it myself. The only person this seemed strange to was my husband. So, this year he forbid me from making my birthday cake. And with it just being the two of use, a huge cake seemed like kind of a waste. So, he whipped up a batch of birthday tiramisu! I feel in love with tiramisu in High School at Broad Street Bakery, where my girlfriends and I too often visited. The sandwiches and and salads are pretty darn great, but the tiramisu was what kept me coming back. I love how rich and creamy it is, but still feels light in your mouth. Plus the coffee flavoring doesn't hurt either. 

Tiramisu 

6 large egg yolks 
2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
1/4 cup dark rum, divided 
1 cup and 2 tablespoons coffee, divided 
8 ounces mascarpone 
20 ladyfingers 
Bittersweet chocolate for shaving 

Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixture on high until they have doubled in size and are a soft yellow. Then, lower the speed and ad 2 tablespoons dark rum, 2 tablespoons coffee, and mascarpone. Beat for just a minute until smooth. 

Combine 2 tablespoons rum and 1 cup coffee in a shallow dish. Dip each ladyfinger in the rum-coffee mixture, you want them to still have a little crispness to them. Line up of the lady fingers in the bottom of your serving dish. Pour half of the cream mixture on top, and then top with remaining ladyfingers and cream mixture. Garnish with shaved bittersweet chocolate. Refrigerate 



 
 

January 15, 2014

Style: Back in Black

Dress: Old Navy // Jacket: J.Crew (similar) // Clutch: J.Crew // Booties: Zara // Sunglasses: Ray-Ban // Necklace: Kate Spade 

Forgetting the login name for your domain account is no joke, and neither are the people at google. I learned my lesson the hard way after my account was frozen for nearly a week. But, I am glad to say that everything is running smoothly again! I bought a maxi dress this summer and instantly fell in love with how wearable it was. So, I spent the better part of December searching for the perfect wintertime maxi dress. This dress by Old Navy is perfect for the cooler weather when paired with sheer tights and a field coat. Sure, I wouldn't wear it during the polar vertex, but on a normal day it does just fine.  





January 8, 2014

Resolution Time


I've had the same New Year's Resolution for the past ten years (at least): to stop biting my nails. And obviously, I have never been successful. It is a bad habit that I want to stop, but it is pretty darn addictive. So, this year I'm changing my tune about resolutions.  

Instead of making a resolution to change something I don't like about myself, I want to resolve to be more adventurous. As I'm getting older, it is easy to stay in every night making dinner and catching up on Netflix. But, I live in a region that is so full of life with local eating, outdoor sports, and historical monuments. I want to take advantage of the few years I have in Charlottesville. When I went skiing on Monday, I struggled at first. I wanted to give up and spend the rest of the afternoon in the lodge. But, Will and convinced to take a skiing lesson, and I am so glad I did. The day really turned around after that, and I went down the slop multiple times without falling. Letting go of that initial fear and being more adventurous turned into a very memorable day. I hope that I can share moments from this resolution throughout the year with you. I plan on going skiing again in a few weeks, and I'm hoping to take on a more advanced slope. Because, why not be more adventurous? 

January 7, 2014

Urban Stripes



Top: Anthropologie // Pants: J.Crew // Hat: J.Crew // Booties: Zara // Necklace: Unknown (similar) // Bag: Kate Spade // Lips: NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Carthage 

On Saturday, we made a quick day trip to Richmond. I grew up visiting family in Richmond, but am just now getting to know the city. One thing I love, is how much it reminds me of Birmingham. It is a little gritty and industrial, but still has a lot of charm. There are tons of great restaurants, plus quirky neighborhoods throughout the city. An easy swingy stripped tee, booties, and warm knit hat (along with my giant puffer coat) were the perfect companions for an afternoon spent eating and exploring. 




January 6, 2014

Twenty Four


Today, I celebrate my 24th birthday. I am not sure why, but twenty-four has always seemed like the perfect age. I am ready to embrace the fact that I am in my mid-twenties, and that I am becoming more and more of a real adult. Twenty-three was a great year for me, but I'm ready to see what twenty-four has in store. I'll be spending the day skiing with my husband (my first time skiing in nearly 15 years!), and enjoying dessert at every meal. Because that is one of the best parts about birthdays, all the dessert, right?  
 

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