Friday, February 27, 2015

Recipe: Easy Hollandaise Sauce

Mmm - Hollandaise. That lemony, creamy concoction that tops off so many delicious dishes: filet mignon, asparagus, Eggs Benedict...

Sound fancy? It is! Sound difficult? It is NOT.

Traditionally, hollandaise is a sauce made with very close monitoring to temperature and constant whisking of the yolks, followed by the careful addition of butter and more whisking. Well, that just takes too much control and patience for a girl who likes to fly by the seat of her pants when cooking.

SO - I'm here today to share the simple recipe that my step-dad taught me. Prepare to be amazed at the talented French chef you have hiding inside of you! 





Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1-2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (amount dependent on how lemony you want it to be)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Approximately 6-8 tbsp. of unsalted butter (the more butter you add, the thinner the sauce will be)

Directions:

  • Place your egg yolks in a blender and add the lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper.




  • Melt the butter in a measuring cup in the microwave (with several small intervals of time, so the butter does not pop and bubble over). 
  • Once the butter is fully melted, turn on the blender (with the lid on and the top plastic piece removed) and begin slowly adding the melted butter to the yolk mixture.



  • Continuously note the texture of the sauce in the blender so that you do not add too much butter.
  • Once you're satisfied with the consistency, you're done! How easy was that?



Add this sauce to anything and everything. We enjoyed ours over Eggs Benedict with a side of Fried Grits. And yes, it was as delicious as it looks!






Do you have any food hacks for complicated recipes?


Until next time - - 


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Recipe: Fried Grits

Yes, you read that title correctly. Fried Grits. The formerly butter-loving Paula Deen would be proud.

Here in the deep South, we like most foods fried. Chicken, porkchops, bologna, potatoes, even vegetables (fried okra, anyone?). A new one for me, though, is fried grits. My step-dad, Mike, mentioned these to me when we were at my grandparents last week. Because I was going to spend a night at their house the following day, we decided we would make them so I could give them a try.






And, as most of my recipes usually are, these are inexpensive and easy!

First, make a pot of grits according to the package (yellow grits have a stronger corn flavor than white. Use whichever you prefer!). Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, and when the grits have cooled, pour them into the pan. Refrigerate overnight.






When you remove them from the refrigerator and from the pan/plastic wrap, they will keep their shape, allowing you to easily slice the grits.





Heat a skillet, medium to medium-high heat, and melt a couple of tablespoons of butter (we tried both butter and vegetable oil. My mom preferred the oil - crunchier - while Mike and I preferred the butter - better flavor).

In a bowl, whisk 3 eggs. In a separate bowl, pour some all-purpose flour with some salt and pepper for seasoning. You will be using these to coat the grit slices before placing in the pan. We double coated them for a thicker crust!

Start by coating in egg, and then dredging through the flour. Repeat for a second coat. Then, place in your heated skillet.









When the bottom side is browned to your satisfaction, use a spatula and flip them over to brown the other side.





Here is a comparison of the butter (darker in color) vs. the oil (crunchier in texture).



Fried in butter.

Fried in oil.

Sprinkle with a touch of salt, and they're done!

What do you think? Is this something you would try? If you're on the fence, let me just tell you these were DELISH. And you totally should. Just trust me, ok?


Until next time - - 




Monday, February 23, 2015

True or False: Guest Post - Tin Foil Curls

Have I mentioned that I have the best friends? I think I have once or twice. Once again, a friend shows her kindness and thoughtfulness. Casey reached out and offered to guest post for me since I have been traveling and visiting with family. She's the sweetest! Enjoy her "True or False" experiment!

______________________________________________


Morgan has had so much going on in her life over the last week, so I decided to come to the rescue.  The last thing I wanted her to worry about after traveling to be with family due to the passing of her aunt was writing a blog post. 

I recently saw a short video clip on Facebook of a lady with long beautiful curly hair.  The subtitle was, "Crazy way to curl your hair! All you need is tin foil and a straightener. It's amazing how this works."  Well, I have hair, tin foil and a straighter!  I occasionally curl my hair with the good 'ole curling iron but thought this would be easier, so I gave it a try.

View the clip before reading on.  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10203521003777865

My hair is much much shorter than her's, but that's ok - it should still work!  Oh, and let's just say my hair is straight as straight can be!  This is my hair right after blow drying it.  (I do have product on it as it has no body - anyone jealous of my hair yet? :/  Did I mention that it's super thin too? Well, you just wait - I am about to have beautiful locks!) 





Ok, here we go with the 2 finger wrap method.


Make a loop:





Wrap it with foil:





Press the straighten on it for a second and let it set. 





Check, check, check, check-- Easy!! A beautiful ringlet is about to appear when I pull the foil away! (eeek!  Excitement!)





WRONG!!! If I were going for the bedhead look this would be perfect!  What a kinky mess!  Fail!

Maybe someone with long hair should give it a try but it was a major fail for me.  Now, I have to go wash my hair to straighten this mess out.




Verdict:
FALSE (at least in this case).

______________________________________________


Womp, womp. Well that stinks. What do y'all think went wrong? Have you or would you try this method? 



Until next time - - 



Friday, February 20, 2015

Link Up: Valentine's Goodies Swap

Good morning!

This morning I am participating in a link-up with Carly from Musings of a Wanderer and Bella from Bella and the City to show you the Valentine's goodies I got from the bloggers swap they organized!

Can I just start by saying how fun this was? I thought getting a card or letter in the mail was fun! (which it is) But a package of goodies, bought and made just for me? It was easily the highlight of my week!



My swap was with Chelsea from Not a Passing Fancy. Take a minute to check out her blog. Isn't she the sweetest?? She is also very talented!

Without further delay, check out the goodies in my box from Chelsea!



Doesn't it all look fun!?

First, I want to point out the yellow door she painted with watercolors and framed (picture below). Isn't that amazing? I love that she took the thing my blog centers around and made it into a beautiful piece of art. It's now proudly being displayed in my "office" by my computer. I love it!

Also in this picture is a Skinny Girl nutrition bar that I am definitely taking to work next week for my mid-morning snack.




This next picture shows the #MUGLIFE coffee mug she sent. I love coffee, and I have a weird love of cute coffee mugs. This one has quickly made its way up on my "favorites" list! (by the way, check out the awesome "Mug Life" project here. How cool and creative!)

Also pictured is EOS lip balm (which a gal can never, ever have too much of), some chewy, gluten and GMO free caramels by Lovey Candy Co. 





You can see another handmade gift in this next picture. It's a tin heart on a yellow string, with the quote "Let all that you do be done in love." I love having this hanging on my refrigerator, where it's seen morning and night! 

Can you spot a gift here for little Piper? Yep, Chelsea sent her a tiny pink collar! It adjusts really easily (which cannot be said for all collars) and is so girly. Piper actually sat very still for a change to try it on, and pranced around in her new "necklace" like she was modeling. It was pretty cute!





Check out the adorable card, too. She thinks I'm a gem! ;)

And you may spot another gift for Piper...some homemade Valentine's Day treats! Piper was so thankful not to be left out. Plus, she really likes food. That's why her foster family nicknamed her "Chubs." Ha! A girl after my own heart.




The last item you probably saw in each picture was a handmade yarn pom-pom garland. I am so touched at the time she put into this gift! I have this currently draped on a large frame on our living room wall. I'm excited to use it for holidays in particular, and incorporating fun colors into it!

Now, just for fun, here is Piper with her gifts:

"Piper, you got presents!"







video


THANK YOU so much Chelsea for all of the time and thought you put into this goodie swap! We love everything and appreciate it very much :)



Until next time - - 





Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Laundry Room Art: Single Socks

Happy Hump Day!

First, thank you to everyone who left sweet comments on Monday's post regarding my aunt's passing. Your words, prayers, and emails meant so much to me! I feel so lucky to have such caring friends, readers, and fellow bloggers.

So today I wanted to share adorable printables designed by Marielle at The Resplendent that I discovered via my Real Simple email. 

She has shared 4 FREE printables that you can print, frame, and hang in your laundry room. Just glue some clothes pins to the frame and VOILA! You have a place for those mysterious single socks to wait for their perfect mates. 

I'm going to print and frame the one in the picture below - which one will you choose? Just click HERE to view the others and to download.

Aren't they clever!?






Until next time - - 




Monday, February 16, 2015

Our Weekend: For Better or For Worse

Spencer and I spent our Valentine's weekend at the gorgeous, world class Ballantyne Hotel in Charlotte, NC. We enjoyed many of their amenities, including the golf course, amazing restaurant, and their spa by getting a very enjoyable (and much needed) couple's massage. 

I had planned to go into detail about all of the wonderful things we ate and experienced there, but it just does not seem quite appropriate now. When we returned to our room after dinner on Saturday night, I picked up my phone (which I had left in the room) and discovered that my beautiful, amazing Aunt Linda had lost her long battle with breast cancer. 

This is how I know I have found the man for me. While we had a bottle of champagne on ice, chocolate covered strawberries, a cheese plate and a bottle of red wine, all set up in a beautiful hotel suite - pretty much the most romantic scene you could imagine on Valentine's Day - all was forgotten in that moment. We sat and cried (well, I cried, he hugged) for what seemed like an eternity. I got mascara and lip gloss all over his clean white dress shirt. He brought me mounds of tissues and rubbed my back while I ugly-cried. He told me to forget where we were and what we had set up, and to just be sad if I wanted to be. He showed me that caring for me and being by my side in hard times, was much more important than our plans and images of romance we had. 

That, my friends, is romance. Romance is not candles, bubble baths, champagne and lingerie. Romance is kindness, hugs, and commitment. It's being there for someone when things are great and fun, and also when things are hard. It's letting you cry while reassuring you everything will be ok. Because it will be. 

I'll end this post with some pictures. The first pictures are of dinner on Saturday, and the rest I am sharing are of my lovely aunt, who will always be remembered by her friends, family, coworkers, and the entire town where she lived as the fun, cheerful woman who could take on the world with Christ on her side, spreading His love, and now is rejoicing with a healed body in Heaven. One day we all will be reunited again, and what a family reunion that will be!

Delicious surprise in our room!

My Valentine <3

Hubba hubba!

Spencer's Dinner: Elk

My dinner: Cap Steak

Heart-shaped caramel candies from the chef

Ice cream trio: Brown Sugar, Pistachio, Rocky Road

"The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death."
- Isaiah 57:1-2

She indeed loved the Lord, and He has taken her from the earth to spare her from evil, and has found rest. These verses are a comfort to me.


Making something delicious, no doubt

Dressed for Walk through Bethlehem, which she founded and ran in her town

With her two beautiful daughters. She loved them more than life.

All of the siblings together.

The Foust girls with their parents, my Mamaw and Papaw

At my sister's wedding, radiating joy

She was, and always has been, truly beautiful, inside and out.



Thanks for your kind words and prayers!


Until next time - - 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day Q+A with the Hubs

Since it's both Spencer's birthday week AND the week of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to round out the week with another post where I include my awesome husband. Monday I wrote about our wedding dance and Wednesday was a post to celebrate Spencer's birthday. Today is a bit different, however, because this time I involved Spencer by asking him some questions. 

In today's post, I'm sharing his answers - in all of their honesty! Our relationship is of course "not always rainbows and butterflies (it's compromise that moves us along" - name that song), but I'm blessed to have married a man who is committed and in it for the long haul, through the good and bad, and who is willing to work on himself and be open in communicating what he needs me to work on. And that, my friends, is about all you can ask for in a marriage!





Q: What do you remember most about when we first met?
A: We had a bunch of people over to my apartment my junior year of college. I had definitely spotted you earlier in the night but then we ended up standing in line together waiting on our upstairs bathroom. I introduced myself and that was it for the night. I have always taken things pretty slowly, I think more of a confident approach as opposed to timid slow. The rest is a long story, but that was the first night.

Q: Was there a specific moment you knew you loved me? If so, what was it?
A: I don't have a specific moment. We went through quite a lot together over a couple of years and the culmination of your support and commitment eventually got me there. I did have the first sight feeling the first night. I saw you and saw how you handled yourself around other people that night. After getting a feeling for your personality (quick judgement) and your obvious good looks, it definitely crossed my mind in a casual way that maybe you could be the one.

Q: Describe how you felt the moment you proposed.
A: I was definitely a little nervous, but I think the way the night of the proposal unfolded with the bad weather ruining my initial plan made me kind of relax and just try to make the most of it.

Q: What is the hardest part about being married, and how do you work through it?
A: The hardest part about being married is definitely just meshing our 2 different personalities. I am the one that can be by myself in the Man Room with a record on or just relaxing the majority of the time. You need more communication and cuddling, which I totally understand, but it does take a conscious effort and more energy that what I naturally have. I know I have work to do in that area, so as long as you are patient then we can work through it.

Q: Love Languages - do they work?
A: I think for sure they work. The essence of them is just understanding each other's personalities and how to give the other what they really need. Honestly, I don't know that I have much of a "love language." I am a pretty easy going guy that tries to take things as they come without having many expectations from others. Don't get that confused for me not putting expectations on myself. I know you need more attention to your "love language," which I am working on. The things I naturally lack are the things you need so it takes some serious work and energy. The most important thing is that you know I will always love you, which anyone should be able to make come across after years of being together.

Q: What do you look forward to the most about our future?
A: I look forward to seeing as much of the world as possible and sharing different experiences with you and any children we may have. Exposure to different cultures and experiences have been the best way for me to gain my perspective on life. I like when my own perspective and convictions get challenged and the only way for that to happen is to be faced with different views and environments. It either helps you change your perspective or makes it stronger. If it makes it stronger, then I can still appreciate why others see things the way they see them, even if it differs from me.



So there we have it! The husband Q+A, just in time for Valentine's Day. 

I'm curious - how would your spouse or significant other answer these questions? Do you have more similar personalities to one another than Spencer and I have? Are you like us and have to work at it a bit more? What do you do to show him or her your love?

If you aren't familiar with the Love Languages, I cannot recommend learning about them enough! You can find the book here (affiliate link) or go here to take a quick test. If you and your significant other each take the test, you can get the book and each learn how to express love in a way that the other needs to feel it. It's invaluable!

Plans for this weekend? 

Spencer and I are heading to Charlotte to spend a weekend away. We're also using the opportunity to get Piper's second round of shots done, since all of her shots are provided by the rescue in that area where we adopted her. Poor thing doesn't know they're coming. I feel like a mother taking her child for vaccinations - wah! (That's not an invitation to comment about vaccinations, autism, and your opinion on that matter - please don't). 

Whatever you do, I hope it's a wonderful Valentine's Day, whether it's spent with a spouse, significant other, family member(s), friend(s), or even a quiet night at home relaxing. I love you all and appreciate you reading this little blog!






Until next time - -