Saturday, November 10, 2018

Four Must Have Recipes For The Holidays

Every year, Chris and I typically end up hosting one of the major holidays we celebrate. This year we're hosting Thanksgiving at our home. We love to host and consider ourselves the "best cooks" in the family ... well Chris is A+ rated and I follow somewhere behind but still ranked the second highest to my own standards. I love to get an idea for new recipes each year but there are several that I stay true to and have always been a holiday favorite.

I stumbled upon a green bean casserole recipe several years ago in the Joanna Gaines Magazine... I love Jojo and honestly I think she can do no wrong. Chris typically hates casseroles because they tend to be full of hodgepodge and processed canned soups but no, not this one. I took Joanna's recipe and tweaked it to my own and it's definitely a crowd pleaser!

Green Bean Casserole (homemade version)
You'll need:
-2 lb green beans, trimmed
-1/2 cup unsalted butter
-8oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
-1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbs minced garlic (6 cloves)
- 1 tsp Salt
-1 tsp granulated onion
-1 tsp black pepper
-1/2 cup - all purpose flour
-2 cups heavy cream
-2 cups sliced onion

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pot cook green bean in salted boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse and transfer to bowl.

2. In a Large saucepan melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the next 6 ingredients (through black pepper). Cook about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup flour until combined. Reduce heat to medium. Add cream all at once and whisk until smooth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add beans - and gently coat.  Spoon mixture into 3-qt rectangular baking dish.

3. In a small bowl combine sliced onions and remaining 1/4 cup of flour and toss to coat. In a large skillet melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter over medium/high heat. Add onion mixture and cook until onions are browned- stirring occasionally.  Arrange onions over bean mixture and bake, uncovered for 35 minutes. Enjoy!

My next recipe is a sweeter favorite of mine. It reminds me so much of my childhood and looking forward to this dish during family get together and the holidays. Honestly, everyone's favorite dish includes marshmallows...

Sweet Potato Casserole

What you'll need:

- 6 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted ( optional)
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
-1 sleeve crushed cinnamon graham crackers
-1 10 oz pkg of tiny marshmallows
-1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and quarter sweet potatoes. In a large pot cook potatoes, covered in lightly salted boiling water for 25-30 minutes or until tender; drain.

2. return potatoes to the warm pot. Add cream and half of the butter. Mash together until smooth and stir in pecans, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined. Spoon into a 3qt baking dish. In a bowl melt the remaining butter - stir in crushed graham crackers. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture- top with marshmallows and brown sugar.

3. Bake, uncovered for 10 minutes or until heated through and marshmallows brown.

( I'm interrupting this post to link all of my table and serving decor- my chargers are Hearth and Hand but no longer available online. My napkins are vintage and the florals were foraged from our property) You can shop my exact  blue and white dinner plates here

This one is a special recipe - it's completely contributed by Chris! He was actually pretty excited about prepping the duck for this blog post and really went above and beyond to make this recipe happen for the blog. To be honest- Chris cooks  A LOT... I typically make specialty items and bake but, Chris can whip together an excellent recipe in no time and it's always delicious!

Chris' Holiday Duck

What you'll need:

-1 whole duck
- Baby Yukon gold potatoes ( usually purchased within a sack)
-1 sweet onion sliced
- 1 lemon sliced
- 6 cloves of garlic
- olive oil/ salt and pepper
- 1 orange slice

The Brine:
( The duck will need to rest in the brine for 24-48 hours- the longer the better. The brining process brings the flavor and keeps the meat moist throughout the cooking process- do not skip!)
-1/4 cup of course pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp peppercorn
-1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
-1 bay leaf
-3 tbsp brown sugar
-2 crushed garlic cloves
-2 quarts of water

1. Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and bring to a boil until salt and sugar fully dissolves. Allow brine to cool.
2. Add brine to the duck in a Tupperware making sure the duck is fully submerged.
3. Set in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Compound Butter:
-1 stick of unsalted butter
-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
-2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
-1 tsp of fresh oregano
-fresh ground pepper and salt
-1 tsp of paprika
-1 tsp of orange zest

1. Add herbs to a food processor and pulse to chop- once pulsed add butter to combine.

2. Remove the duck from the brine and pat dry - allow to air dry for 2 hours.

3. Prick the duck skin but make sure not to penetrate the meat to allow the fat to render. Take compound butter and cover the outside of the duck.

4. Cover the bottom of the roasting pan with the cut baby potatoes, onions and crushed garlic. Season with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Place a sliced onion and a slice of orange into the cavity of the duck. Place the duck on top of the potatoes and place into the oven at 250 degrees- once the duck reaches an internal temp of 130 degrees- pull the duck out of the oven and increase the oven temp to 450 degrees.

6. Place the duck back into the oven and to brown. Once the skin appears brown and crisp- pull the duck from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Once rested- carve and enjoy!

I saved the best for last... No Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert!

This year I'm choosing a new favorite of mine and it's not super traditional but your guest will greatly appreciate this tart more than the store bought pumpkin pie you thought about bringing.

Poached- Pear Frangipane Tart

What you'll need:

-3-4 firm pears (bartlett, anjou...)
-2 cups dry red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
-1/3 cup sugar
-1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped ( you can sub 1 tsp vanilla extract)
-1 orange- zest the peel and squeeze 1/3 cup orange juice
-2 cloves

-1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour ( extra for dusting)
-1/2  Pate Brisee ( pie crust- recipe below)
-1 cup whole blanched almonds ( I bought a bag of almonds already sliced and blanched)
-1/4 tsp kosher salt
-1 stick unsalted butter - room temp
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pears- peel pears and transfer to a sauce pan. Add wine, sugar, vanilla, orange juice and zest, cloves and enough water to cover the pears. Place a sheet of parchment paper directly on top of the liquid - you may need to place a heat proof bowl on top to keep the pears submerged in the liquid. Bring to a simmer over high heat and then reduce to medium to low heat and simmer until pears are soft. ( 15 minutes) transfer to heat proof bowl and cover with the poaching liquid and let cool completely.

2. on a lightly floured sheet of parchment ( do not use anything other- it's easier to transfer the dough on parchment- I learned the hard way) roll out pie dough into a 13 inch  round about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9 inch tart pan- trim and press the ends to match of to the pan. Lightly prick the bottom with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees - arrange your almonds on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown and fragrant- 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer the almonds to a food processor add flour, salt and process until finely ground.

4. Beat your butter with sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until combined. Add almond mixture; beat until pale and fluffy- 2 minutes.

5. Increase your oven temp to 375 degrees. Line dough with parchment paper and fill with dried beans or rice to hold dough in place and bake for until edges are golden- 20-25 minutes. Remove the beans or rice and parchment paper and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

6. reduce oven temp to 350 degrees- place a foil lined baking sheet below the rack. Spread the crust with the almond mixture and smooth with a spatula. Working with 1 pear at a time- remove from poaching liquid and pat dry- slice in half length wise and remove the stem and core and then slice cross wise 1/8 inches thick- fan pear slices on pie ( or decorate how you choose) to cover the entire top of the pie.

7. Place tart pan directly on oven rack; bake until golden- puffed and just set. About 50 -60 minutes. ( if your crust is getting too dark- make a ring out of aluminum foil and place around the crust) Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely - at least 4 hours.

Pate Brissee ( Pie Crust)

You can obviously purchase ready made pie crust but there is something special about making your own. I preferred to make my own with this recipe because it's not a traditional pie and requires a more buttery taste. I could eat the crust alone- it's that good!

-2 -1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour.
-1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
-1 tbsp of sugar
-2 stick of cold butter- cut into small pieces ( I usually stick my butter in the freezer for a few minutes)
-7-8 tbsp of cold iced water

1. Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea size pieces remaining. Drizzle 5 tbsp of water over mixture. Pulse several times to combine. Add more water - 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture holds together when pinched.

2. Halve the dough. Shape into 2 disk ( this makes 2 pie crust but you'll only need 1 for the tart recipe) wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 1 day.

3. Take it out and make your tart!

I hope you find these recipes helpful during your holiday meals. I know that you and your loved ones will enjoy these just as much as we have!


Saturday, November 3, 2018

Easy Stove Top Potpourri

The holidays are finally among us! I know most of us our prepping for Thanksgiving, some are still recovering from Halloween and well, some... already have their Christmas trees up (I'm not judging you).

Chris and I are prepping for Thanksgiving this year as we're hosting it in our home. I've already thought about what I'm making, who's washing dishes, the table setting and more. On top of all of this- you want your home to be decorated to the nines and everything to be as physically perfect as possible- including all of the heavenly seasonal aromas... I know a fried turkey smells delicious but grease in your house does not...and let me tell ya lingers on fabric. To avoid all of those smells in my home- I've started making stove top potpourri. Not only does it void the smell of unwanted scents- it will scent your entire home! I usually make a pot and simmer for a few hours and turn it off- I can do this for up to 3 or 4 days  AND it's not putting off toxic fumes ( which they say candles do?) All of the ingredients are probably already in your fridge or pantry- so, lets get started!

You'll need:
  Small/medium pot
3-4 stems of rosemary
1 tablespoon of cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon of vanilla ( I use a "splash")
1 cup of Cranberries
1/2 of an orange- sliced
1 apple - sliced

( You can also use pomegranate or grapefruit- I prefer the orange because it has a thicker scent
additional add in's: Pine sprig, hazelnut and peppermint extract)

Fill your pot with about 4 to 5 cups of water and bring to a boil

Once the water boils- toss your ingredients into the pot and bring to a high simmer. 

Let the mixture simmer for several hours/however long your prefer ( make sure you check the water levels- if it gets low- add more water)

You can keep the mixture in the pot for up to 3 to 4 days- just set on simmer and you're ready for the holidays!


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Decorating for Fall

Wow! I can not believe it's already October! Let's be honest... I started decorating for fall on September 1st. I always try to be one step ahead - especially when it comes to seasonal decor- after all I feel like it's a very limited time that we can enjoy how beautiful our home looks and (smells) with all the seasonal decor.

This year, I finally have the opportunity to show you how I decorate and fill you in on all the must haves for the season- it's not too late to decorate... we still have November!

We are in the midst of ripping out and re-doing our landscaping so it leaves little to be desired at the moment but at the same time it allows me to shift my focus to the porches ( we have several). Our side porch is the most used and typically the first one our guest I started here. I was inspired by the array of Pumpkins lining the porch of Liz Galvins farmhouse. I love the heirloom pumpkins- those are a must! I then tucked in mums and dusty miller since ornamental cabbage isn't in season yet for us.

On the inside I love to use natural elements and bring the outdoors inside. This year I really dove into the fall color pallet and used yellows and oranges to mix. I love decorating with wreaths, fresh or faux greenery and dried wheat. I found that Terrain has THE best greenery and worth the splurge!

In the kitchen- I love to keep things simple and steer away from anything that causes clutter. I opt for fresh fall blooms and to add more flair to our open shelving- I accented the shelves with small white pumpkins. Last but not least... add the coziness to your home with a candle. I have several favorite fall scents- I love the apple cider candle by DW- you can find it at homegoods/tjmaxx and my most recent purchase is the antique candle works candle in fall harvest- so good!


Friday, September 28, 2018

Your Guide To The Shopbop Sale: Finds Under 200.00

This might be the quickest blog post you'll ever read from me. I was a little behind on the Shopbop sale- I knew it was happening but life gets busy! I've rounded up my favorite finds under 200.00! I also broke them down into categories based on different styles. 

In case you're wondering: Shopbop is offering 20% off orders under 500.00 and 25% off orders over 500.00. This includes all regular priced items as well as SALE items. At checkout- enter the code STOCKUP18. The sale ends tomorrow! I went through each category and there are many awesome deals to be had!

The Every Girl:

The Feminine Style:

For the " On Trend"


Monday, September 24, 2018

A Summer To Fall Wardrobe

As most of you know I'm a North Carolina native who's currently living in North Florida where summer's are drawn out into fall months. While I long to be bundled and cozy in all the pretty fall frocks... the 90 degree temperature's keep me from doing so. 

I usually start pairing items with jean jackets, boots and cute scarves when the temps start to drop but I always keep most of my neutral summer pieces in my closet when the weather starts to transition. I love to wear easy dresses and skirts- it's usually an outfit I can throw together without having to put much thought into it- not to mention my choices are extremely comfortable and wear well- especially if I'm going to be outside or at work- practicality is the key!

I fell in love over the summer with the button dresses. For some reason they remind me of something I would see a Provincial farm girl wearing to the market or gathering eggs from the coop. Either way- they are effortless, cute and comfortable. I went with a neutral color so I could adjust to different seasons with accessories. It's probably my ultimate go-to - especially if I need to throw something on for running errands or I don't want to look like such a slob at the farmers market- I channel my inner Belle with this one.

As much as I love a pretty feminine, floral garment... I love to add a little boho flair into my style. When I saw this dress- I knew it had to be mine. I could easily pair this a denim jacket and boots and be ready to take on the Florida fall. Or for summer it could be styled with tie up sandals and a hair scarf- either way it's one of my favorite pieces.

(Market bag is from

This skirt is one of my all time favorites- the moment I slipped it on ...I instantly had a Julia Engel moment. This skirt is everything feminine, fun and whimsical. For summer I can pair it with tie up sandals, a summery top and walk out the door. For fall I paired it with my favorite espadrilles and a linen top.

 I couldn't let this mini get away without having her own spot up here. She wanted to be apart of this shoot and was so excited to visit this old angel oak to take pictures. We had so much fun wandering around, playing fairies and jumping off the huge limbs. If you're local- I highly suggest visiting this beauty!
I love buying these jumper dresses for Lilly- they're cute but practical (I don't know about you but it's much easier to throw on a dress or skirt for a girl- especially if they potty on their own!) Lilly and I went for a Target run and spotted all the cute new kid's clothes for fall. This jumper caught my eye!  I usually spend maybe 40.00 on a set but I scored this one for 17.99. I wasn't able to locate this exact pinafore online but be sure to check your local target. I've also bought a few from Zara that are adorable! I did find a few that I was able to link:

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