Dipping Oil

I promise I’m still here! Sorry for the loooong delay in posts (work/moving/life has gotten really busy). How did y’all spend your Labor Day? We spent the last vacay of summer resting and soaking up time at home. When we moved in, I planted a herb garden in a window box overlooking my sink. I have loved using fresh herbs for all sorts of deliciousness this summer. This homemade dipping oil has been a staple around our house. It is a major upgrade from plain old butter.
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Dipping Oil

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Recipe for Homemade Dipping Oil*

Yields about a cup of oil

What you need:**

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 TB chopped basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 pinched fresh ground black pepper

What to do:

Mix All ingredient. Shake well before serving.

*This last for about 2 weeks before I think the flavors get too overpowering. Using dried herbs will allow the oil to last longer and are a good option for the colder months.

**I really use whatever herbs I have on hand. I have used sage and thyme before and they were delicious as well!

 

 

Maple Bacon Biscuits

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Greetings from Florida! We are spending the week at the beach with my family. I am so excited for a week of seafood, basking in the sun, and reading Game of Thrones. Vacation means big breakfast everyday! These biscuits are on my mind. The sweet and salty goodness is a divine twist on the basic biscuit. Added bonus-they are foolproof to make. Let’s be real, bacon makes everything better.

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Maple Bacon Biscuits

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

yields 6 biscuits

What you need:

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 TB unsalted butter, chilled, chopped into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and drain it on some paper towels. Pour fat into cup and place in freezer until fat is solid.
  2. Chop bacon into small bits, and place in small bowl. Pour maple syrup over bacon and stir. Set aside.
  3. Remove solidified fat from freezer. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Mix four, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Using blender or fingers, rub chilled  bacon fat and butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the bacon-maple-syrup mixture and the buttermilk and blend together with a rubber spatula until it is evenly moistened.
  4. Knead a couple of times to form scraps into dough ball. Pat 1-inch thickness on a well-floured surface, and cut biscuits with a 2-in cutter. Arrange biscuits on a the baking sheet, and bake 12-14 minutes, until they are puffed and golden.

 

 

Tomato-Peach Preserve Chicken + Monday Musings

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How was y’alls 4th? Ours was full of friends, family, food, and fireworks. Thursday night, we went to Collierville’s Independence Day Celebration. It was awesome!! Friday we had a cookout at our house, and Saturday we headed to the lake. Here’s a recap:

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Sam finished painting our chairs this past week! The blue one is my fav.

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DSC_0120Now on to more delicious things. I made this dish a couple of weeks ago from Southern Living’s June 2014 issue. The original recipe called for orange marmalade, which I do not care for. I have to say that I think the peach preserves make an even better flavor combo with the tomatoes. This summery dish is stored in the recipe files to be made again!

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Recipe for Tomato-Peach Preserve Chicken

adapted from Southern Living June 2014 Issue

serves 4

takes apps 35 min

What you need:

  • 4 skinned and boned chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TB butter
  • 1 pt grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 TB peach preserves
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

What to do:

  1. Flatten each chicken breast to 1/2 in thickness using a flat side of a meat mallet or a small skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Melt 1 TB butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 2 chicken breasts in skillet 4 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining butter and chicken.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low; add 3 TB water and half of tomatoes. Cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in preserves and vinegar; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until tomatoes burst and sauce thickens. Stir in remaining tomatoes, and cook 2 minutes or until heated. Stir in basil, add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over chicken.

 

June.

Where in the world did June go? Since I last blogged (last month!-whoops), we have moved to a new city, both started new jobs, and slowly but surely are getting settled. Things I’ve learned since moving-

  1. Don’t try and pack everything in one day. Shockingly, this leads to slight chaos during the unpacking process.
  2. Rug shopping is for the birds.
  3. Living in the same city as your family is the best.

Here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to the last month-lake trips, beach trips, concert going, and just enjoying our new city.

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Green Well Salad


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One more day of work and two more days left here in Mississippi. Since it’s our last week, we have been surrounding ourselves with friends and family everyday to soak it up. Naturally, these gatherings involve food. We’ve been gorging ourselves with Mexican, pasta, and chocolate chips all week (sorry I’m not sorry). It’s times like these when my belly is slightly too full that I find myself craving this salad. Now I need to preface this by saying salads normally aren’t my jam. Watery lettuce, bacon bits, and creamy dressings mostly gross me out (I just started liking romaine lettuce in the past 6 months). Nuts, fresh fruit, dried fruit, cheese, and fresh greens topped with a sweet vinaigrette-just my kind of salad. We added chicken to make it more substantial as a main-course meal (and to appease Sam that we were eating salad for dinner). Served with a side of warm bread and olive oil for dipping, I actually look forward to this meal.

 

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Green Well Salad

slightly adapted from Bread and Wine

What you need:

Salad

  • 1 pound mixed greens
  • 2 sliced pears
  • 2 cups red grapes, halved
  •  1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 4 oz container goat cheese

Maple vinaigrette:

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Make the vinaigrette by spoon Dijon into the bottom of a jelly jar. Add balsamic and maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Shake well. Add oil, and shake again. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Toss green with half the vinaigrette, then add the rest of the ingredients, the rest of the dressing, and toss again.

*We were having this as a main-course salad, so I added some chicken from a prior recipe. About 2 cups of sliced cooked chicken would work.

**If you want to make salad to eat on for lunch for a couple of days, don’t toss with dressing as it will be soggy-not good. Just serve the dressing on the side and let people pour their own.

***The original recipe called for caramelized onions, but onions aren’t my favorite so I omitted them! Feel free to add 2 caramelized onions if that’s what you like.

 

 

101 Things in 1001 Days

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Happy Memorial Day!!! How did y’all spend your long weekend? We went to the lake with my family all weekend. I had originally planned to post this a few Monday’s ago, but the tornado happened that day. This edition of Monday Musings comes in the form of a list. I got the idea originally from Mckenzie at Design Darling. I love a good list as seen here, here, and here. I was inspired to make this list to challenge myself in all aspects of my life: relationships, career, spiritually, and just to push myself to have more adventures. I didn’t want this list to consist of outrageous goals that I could never accomplish in 2.74 years. I wanted it to consist of attainable dreams, goals, and adventures. I had a lot of fun making it and know it will be even more fun checking things off the list. I highly recommend other people to make one for themselves!

    1. Spend the night in the woods for more than one night
    2. Become a home owner-check! (April 30, 2014)
    3. Really learn how to drive a stick (I tried last year and ended up stalling out at a busy intersection during rush hour. I was drenched in sweat and about in tears-not ideal.)
    4. Get photoshop
    5. Learn how to use photoshop
    6. Take a photography class
    7. Start a garden
    8. Master the art of homemade biscuits
    9. Learn how to make preserves
    10. Read at least 25 new books
    11. Become certified in a PT specialty
    12. Learn how to expertly fold a fitted sheet
    13. Start doing yoga regularly again
    14. Establish a workout routine that I can actually stick to
    15. Start a blog series
    16. Learn basic sewing
    17. Do a bible study with my sister
    18. Host a family holiday at my house
    19. Successfully make Grandmommy’s caramel cake
    20. Fry chicken
    21. Go on a girl’s trip with my mom and sister
    22. Find a church when we move to Memphis
    23. Find a way to get plugged in at said church
    24. Try biking for exercise
    25. Go on a mission trip
    26. Travel to a new state
    27. Travel to a new country
    28. Create a Memphis City Guide with my favorite restaurants, shops, etc.
    29. Plan a girl’s trip with my friends
    30. Plan a couple’s trip
    31. Go to Miami with Sam
    32. Learn to drive a boat
    33. Join/start a book club
    34. See 2 plays at the Orpheum
    35. Get Sam to ride a roller coaster
    36. Host a barbecue
    37. Make lemonade from scratch- check! (May 21, 2014)
    38. Go to a MLB game
    39. Successfully roast a whole chicken
    40. Plant a peony or hydrangea bush
    41. Attend a ballet
    42. Go bouldering (outside, not at a gym!)
    43. Host a dinner party
    44. Go to a Memphis Grizzlies game
    45. Plant a tree
    46. Start a game night tradition
    47. Go vegetarian for 2 weeks
    48. Get a dog (golden retriever of course)
    49. Go to a farmer’s market weekly during one summer
    50. Walk/work out with a friend once a week
    51. Redesign my blog
    52. Re-do the backsplash in our kitchen
    53. Plan a canoe/float trip
    54. Make photo books at the end of each year (maybe Artifact Uprising?)
    55. Spend a day at the zoo
    56. Go on a picnic
    57. For every goal accomplished, put $10 in a jar towards our surprise weekend fund
    58. Learn how to curl my hair without Anna Kaye’s or SB’s help
    59. Have a BH reunion at a Auburn football game
    60. Go to the beach with friends
    61. Go apple picking (I’m still swooning over this trip idea)
    62. Write a guest post on a fellow bloggers site
    63. Host a guest post on this blog
    64. Figure out how to add the “pin it” hover feature to my pictures
    65. Make ribs (or at least watch Sam make them)
    66. Go on a family vacation with the Little’s
    67. Go on a family vacation with the Moody’s
    68. Go to a national park
    69. Go sailing
    70. Bake bread
    71. Go to a museum
    72. Attend a symphony
    73. Try 5 new foods
    74. Take candid pics during group hangouts without being embarrassed
    75. Purchase a couch that is long enough for us tall folk to lay down full-length
    76. Have a spa day with someone I love
    77. Attend a festival
    78. Re-read Mere Christianity
    79. Volunteer
    80. Go on a bicycle tour
    81. Try 5 new Memphis restaurants
    82. Go to a Red Bird’s game
    83. Make homemade donuts
    84. Visit 5 new cities
    85. Recreate a favorite dish from a restaurant at home
    86. Get a Mac desktop computer
    87. Dip my feet in the Pacific Ocean
    88. Buy an original piece of art from a local artist
    89. Go to 5 concerts
    90. Take advantage of free activities for date nights in Memphis
    91. Go to a blogshop class
    92. Read (really read) 25 books of the Bible
    93. Stop biting my nails (for good this time)
    94. Make cinnamon rolls from scratch
    95. Learn to like watermelon (I consider this one of my greatest flaws)
    96. Find a job in Memphis-check! (I start June 9, 2014)
    97. Learn how to change a flat tire (I’m embarrassed I do not possess this skill)
    98. Go to a Memphis in May event (equally embarrassed to say I’ve never been to any and I’m from Memphis!)
    99. Connect with my PT school classmates
    100. Brush up on my Spanish
    101. Plan at least 1 trip with friends per year

Start date: 4/28/2014

End date: 1/23/2017

I will keep y’all updated periodically on my progress!

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Homemade Lemonade

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Hump Day! I’ve been dreaming of the lake all week. What are y’alls Memorial Day plans? This homemade lemonade + summer = perfection. My mouth is watering just looking at these lovelies. Bonus-your kitchen smells like citrus the rest of the day.

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Homemade Lemonade

adapted from Pioneer Woman Year of Holidays

Serves 9-10

What you need:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 dozen lemons

What to do:

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining 3 cups water with sugar in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool, or store in fridge, covered, until you are ready to make lemonade.
  2. Juice all lemons into a pitcher. Pour juice through a fine-mesh strainer to strain out all the pulp. Pour juice into serving pitcher.
  3. Pour in 3/4′s of the syrup. Set remaining syrup aside. Pour in 4 cups cold water. Give it a taste, and if it seems too tart, add remaining syrup. If it seems too strong overall, add another cup of water.

Tip #1: Double recipe for large parties. You may also add ice to pitcher to make it extra cold

Tip #2: Add 1 cup raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries for an even yummier taste and festive color

 

 

 

Monday Musings 5.19

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T-minus 2 weeks until we move! We have been soaking up every moment here in Tupelo. Two weekends ago, Sam graduated with his Masters! So proud of him and so happy for no more Saturday classes. He has spent everyday day the past 2 years serving and teaching others who may or may not understand the impact that he has had on their lives.

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Saturday night and Sunday we celebrated our moms. We had a build your own pizza bar at my in-laws and partook in copious amounts of porch-sitting.

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We grilled out Sunday night at my parents. We loved that Grandmommy made the trip!

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Last Saturday, we drove to West Point to eat at Anthony’s with our friends. It was such a fun night filled with delicious food.

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Sunday, we went to see Steph and Fletch’s new baby! Betsy was so small and precious! I loved snuggling with her all afternoon.

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Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers

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WE HAVE INTERNET AND CABLE! Wahoo!!! This definitely makes up for the fact that I can’t feel half my face because I just got 3 cavities filled. (good news is, I only have 2 more left to get filled…) Anyways, before our grill got a little misshapen from the storm, we made these delicious burgers.  I was given this recipe by my cousin Jana for a wedding shower last summer. It took me a while to get around to making it because I knew Sam would be skeptical of a turkey burger. Because it isn’t manly or something. While rummaging through my recipes, I stumbled across this one again. I decided it sounded too delicious not to try because it wasn’t 100% Angus. Man, to everyone skeptical of a turkey burger-just stop. Yes, the meat is a different color. It’s going to be ok. In fact, it’ll be more than ok because feta makes everything betta. These patties freeze well too, which is a plus if you are just cooking for 2, or if you want to double the recipe.
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Recipe for Spinach Feta Turkey Burgers

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 5 oz frozen spinach (about half a bag), defrosted and wrung out
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tony’s Chachere’s (more or less to taste)
  • 8-10 dashes of hot sauce

What to do:

  1. Mix all ingredients and form 4 medium sized patties. If using skillet, cook in 2 tablespoons olive oil on each for for 6 minutes or until cooked. If using grill, cook over high heat for 5-6 minutes on each side of until cooked through.
  2. Top with more feta, hot sauce, fresh greens on a toasted bun. I also recommend BBQ sauce as a topping, but that’s just my Memphis roots talking.

Taking a Breath

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This past week and a half has been exceptionally crazy for everyone here in the 662. Last Monday, as you know if you’ve been watching the news, Tupelo was hit with a tornado. This footage caught on a church playground camera is maybe a quarter of a mile from my house. Those 3 seconds that it sounded like a train was coming and our house was shaking were the scariest of my life. We are so thankful to be ok. We have both been so overwhelmed with not only the city of Tupelo, but also others who have come to help with recovery efforts. Continued prayers for everyone who was affected by the storm. Here are some pics:

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On a brighter note, those 6 days that we were without power were some of my most fun days in Tupelo thus far! It was wonderful staying with friends and family to soak up some quality time before we move. Speaking of moving, look what else happened last week:

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I also accepted a job last week! We have been busy to say the least. To take a break from all the madness, we went to the lake last weekend.

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We still don’t have power or cable, but it’s been nice to be unplugged. It’s also nice to have an excuse to use some Starbucks wifi while drinking one of these:

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Friday can’t come soon enough. Can I get an Amen?

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