Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day weekend is known as the unofficial start to summer and the beginning of summer travel plans, cookouts, pool openings, and golf outings. I'm having a wonderful weekend with my cousin Lauren who came to visit me from Baltimore, more on that later.

More importantly, please take time today to remember our fallen troops and the meaning behind this holiday weekend.

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.-Francis A. Walker

Friday, May 28, 2010


I've never really been big on watching movies, but I definitely have a favorite, Father of the Bride, which I could watch over and over and over again! Speaking of movies, I went to see Sex and the City 2 after work this evening with some of my girlfriends. It was A-MAZ-ING!

If you are like me and never really watched season after season of the show, but would catch an episode here and there every once in awhile, I promise you will still love the movie! If nothing else you will admire the wardrobe of the entire cast!

So ladies, if you are looking for something to do this Memorial Day weekend with a girlfriend or a group of girlfriends, your mom and/or sister, go grab a ticket to SATC2, you will enjoy every minute of it!

P.S.- I wish I could live in Big and Carrie's apartment, don't you?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mint Brownies

It wasn't until I was a teenager, maybe even a little older, when I finally tried my Aunt Julie's Mint Brownies. It wasn't anything against my Aunt, I just assumed they were something I wouldn't like. Boy, was I wrong! Not like? What was there not to like? My Aunt Julie's recipe for Mint Chocolate Brownies is out of this world! Whenever we have a family get together, which is quite often, I'm always anxious to see if my Aunt Jul brought her famous Mint Brownies. If so, I will be the first to dig in!

Ingredients for Brownies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-16 ounce can of Hersey's syrup


Mix all ingredients together. Spread in 9 x 12 greased pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Mint Layer

2 cups 10x sugar
1/2 cup butter (melted)
2 tablespoons creme de mint liquor


Beat until smooth. Spread on cake when cool.

Ingredients for Top Layer of Chocolate

1 cup chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter


Melt together over low heat. Cool. Spread over mint.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Palmetto Cheese

Oh-My-Gah! Palmetto Cheese is the most delicious and flavorful pimento cheese I've ever tasted and it of course happens to be my favorite. In just one bite it will knock you off your feet! Although I have been enjoying Palmetto Cheese for a little over a year now, it was recently featured in the May Issue of Southern Living.

On a recent trip to Isle of Palms with my Mom and Dad, and my Dad's side of the family, I of course showed up with a large container of Palmetto Cheese with Jalapenos and it was an instant hit. Palmetto Cheese comes in two flavors: Original and Jalapenos. I do not enjoy spicy food what-so-ever, but the Palmetto Cheese with Jalapenos has just the right amount of jalapenos flavor without being overly spicy. No matter what flavor you choose, you will enjoy every last bite.

It was such a big hit with my entire family, we finished the entire container the first night! The next morning we were headed back to the grocery store to purchase more. Not only did we buy two more containers to enjoy during our vacation in Isle of Palms, but additional containers were purchased to take back home to Maryland.

Personally, I enjoy eating Palmetto Cheese as a snack right out of the container with pretzels. Some other ideas of ways to enjoy Palmetto Cheese are as a topping to your burger, on a sandwich, crackers or celery and the list goes on...

The next time you are visiting the South, be sure to try Palmetto Cheese-The Pimento Cheese with Soul and let me know what you think! In the meantime, I can't wait until this weekend when I have an excuse to buy some to enjoy with my house guest.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heart of the Matter

One of my favorite authors, Emily Giffin, author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, and Love the One You're With has a new book out, Heart of the Matter!

I stopped by the bookstore during my lunch break yesterday to pick it up. I love her books so much, I am always disappointed when I'm finished, because I know she can't write as fast as I can read!

I have read all Ms. Giffin's books and enjoyed each one of them, although Something Borrowed and Something Blue are still my favorite. Rumor has it there is a movie in the making for Something Borrowed starring Kate Hudson, I sure hope it's true!

If you haven't read any of Emily Giffin's books, you are missing out. Be sure to stop by your local library or bookstore and pick one up, I promise you will not be disappointed.

In the meantime, you can find me snuggled up on my living room couch reading Heart of the Matter. Look for a review in the coming weeks once I'm finished reading.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our Littlest Angel

Today would have been our littlest angel's 16th birthday. Not a day goes that I don't think about her and wish she could have lived forever. Patches was such a sweetheart and brought us 15 1/2 years of happiness and memories that we will always remember!

Happy Sweet Sixteen Patches, you will always be my Little Sister!

We Love You!!!

My Love for Tapas Bars & Sauteed Mushrooms

During our recent trip to Spain, many evenings we would go to a tapas bar for dinner, these always turned out to be my favorite dinners. The thing I love most about tapas bars is you can order several different tapas off the menu since the portions are a very light serving for two. One of my favorite tapas places happened to be in Barcelona, Taverna del Bisbe.

Taverna del Bisbe is where I fell in love with mushrooms all over again. Mushrooms have always been something I've enjoyed but I hardly ever find them on menu's here in America unless they are being served on top a burger or with a steak, but then again maybe I just haven't been playing close attention since they had obviously fallen off my radar. Whatever the case may be, thank you Taverna del Bisbe for the most delicious sauteed mushrooms I've ever had.

Here is my attempt to recreate the sauteed mushrooms I had at Taverna del Bisbe at home. If you look closely at the picture, you may be able to notice that their pieces of bacon mixed in with the sauteed mushrooms I enjoyed very much in Spain. In my attempt to be healthy, while still enjoying the food I love, I admitted bacon from my interpretation. Without further a do here's the recipe...

Sauteed Mushrooms


2 lbs. mixed mushrooms, such as crimini, shiitake, porcini, and portobello

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped shallots

1/2 stick of unsalted butter

2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 tbs. chopped garlic (6 cloves)

1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley


Remove and discard stems. Slice the small mushrooms thickly and cut the large ones in to a large dice.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the butter, mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes until they are tender and start to release their juices, stirring often. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Toss in the parsley, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

Note: I made these last night as a side with our turkey burgers and they were delicious or better yet you can be like my boyfriend an add them as a topping to your burger!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Travel Essential

As I was preparing for my recent 10 day multi-city trip to Spain I found a packing must have that will make your travel experience more enjoyable and worry free. If you are anything like me, no matter where I am traveling to I always over pack, wait to the last minute, and everything I packed so nicely in my suitcase is all disheleved by the time I reach my destination. My trip to Spain is a little different in that I had 4 months to plan exactly what I needed to bring. I also made a commitment to myself early on that I would not over pack as I always do. The truth behind all this is my suitcase couldn't weigh more then 44lbs. otherwise some of the European airlines overweight checked baggage fees were $150 or more! I not only had to make sure I didn't over pack, but I also had to pack just the right amount to leave room for purchases I was sure I would make while I was there.

Whenever I would start planning what I would be wearing on our trip, anxiety would start to set in about how I was going to survive this 10 day trip traveling to and from 5 five large cities on airplanes, trains, buses, and metros. How was I going to make it to one city without being a wrinkled mess, let alone 5? That's when I found, Eagle Creek and their Pack-It System. They have everything from Pack-It Folders in three different sizes for items like shirts, pants, sweaters, and jackets to Cubes in several different sizes and shapes that are best fit for t-shirts, jeans, underwear, and socks.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder 15

The Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder 15 is small enough to fit in your carry on bag and can hold up to 7 items, shirts, pants, and jackets. Depending on the size and weight of the items you may be able to fit one or two additional items. I used the Pack-It Folder 15 in my shoulder carry on bag and it fit perfectly. I was so worried my luggage wasn't going to make it and there is nothing worse then wearing the same clothes for more then two days especially the ones you wore on a 8 hour flight.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder 18

The Pack-It Folder 18 holds 8-12 items and is recommended for shirts, pants, jackets, and bulkier items such as sweaters.

Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder 20

The Pack-It Folder 20 holds 12-15 items and is recommended for the same items as the Pack-It Folder 18.

The neat thing behind the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folders is the folders are designed to allow you to take more clothes in less space, isn't that every girls dream, or just mine? The Folders also minimize wrinkles, one of my main concerns, as I knew an iron would not be readily available and come with a folding instruction board specific for each size Pack-It Folder.

I can honestly say, since we returned from our trip on Wednesday, that Eagle Creek has changed my life as a traveler. As I mentioned earlier, while in Spain we traveled to and from 5 different cities using a variety of transportation methods and to make things even more difficult we did not stay in any city longer then 2 days. Eagle Creek Pack-It Folders not only kept me wrinkle free, they made packing, unpacking, and staying organized while traveling a breeze. No matter where my next travel plans take me, Eagle Creek Packing System will forever be a part of my travel essentials.