Monday, December 21, 2009
1 pound pecan halves, fresh
1/2 stick butter, unsalted
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
In a large skillet, lightly toast the pecan halves over medium for 4 to 5 minutes, just until they begin to brown. Add butter and allow it to melt. After the butter has completely melted, add cayenne, orange peel, cinnamon, cumin, salt, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, and lastly, water. Stir until well mixed and water has cooked off. Pour spiced nuts onto a lined cookie sheet and spread them out as much as possible to dry. Cool completely and box up for "tasteful" gifts or drop them in granny's crystal nut dish for pre-christmas dinner cocktail hour. However you decide to serve these nutty nibbles, there are sure to please all palettes!
Eat, Drink and Be Merry this holiday season and be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Bejeweled Martini Glasses- I know you have all seen them, sitting there glistening in the curio cabinet of a hoighty-toighty boutique, looking to pricey to even touch! Why don't you spare the MasterCard and make this blinged-out-beauty for a fourth of the cost? All you will need is a little ingenuity, patience, and super glue! Visit your nearest discount store such as the Dollar Tree or Big Lots and pick out a well-shaped, clear or translucent martini glass. You will also need to pick up a pack of rhinestones and super glue, which yes- I have found at both the Dollar Tree and Big Lots before! Clean the surface of the glass thoroughly before you commence to gluing and with the assistance of a pair of tweezers, start designing! Anything looks fabulous in rhinestones- polka dots, a swirl or perhaps spell out the word "Diva!" After the glue dries completely, carefully package and present the glittery glass to your guest with a copy of your favorite martini recipe. Be sure to tell the recipient that their new found glass is hand-wash only or else her diamonds may be swimming in the dishwasher!
Bag O' Christmas Cheer- Let's all take lesson from Bacchus and share with the world our love of wine! A bottle of wine is perfect for a hostess gift as they can either chose to uncork it at the party or keep the bottle for their own private collection. Now, what others may call "good wine" doesn't come cheap, but with a little investigative work- the fruits of your efforts will pay off. Comb the discount bins of your local wine and spirits store as many brands are put on clearance to make room for new brands. I guarantee you will find a decent bottle of wine for $3.00-$4.00. Brands such as Sutterhome, Lindermas, Don Luciano, Corbett Canyon, Little Penguin, Andre, and Verdi can frequently be found with a below $5.00 price tag. There is actually a brand at Wal-mart I recently started buying for my "house wine" called "Oak Leaf" which is sold for a whopping $2.97 a bottle! Both the Shiraz and the Cabernet are EXCELLENT for my reddies and I would most certainly recommend the Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio for all my white wine drinkers. No matter the wine, no matter the vintage, your wine needs to be presented glamorously! I have scoped out stunning cloth wine bags both at the Dollar Tree and at Wal-mart, complete with velour lining and rhinestones! If budget allows, tie on a inexpensive ornament or wine bottle opener to your pretty little package and wait for the smiles!
Funky Felt Coasters- This project caught my eye on several websites and I just had to share it with my fellow divas! Depending on the color tastes (or even home decor) of your recipient, raid your local craft store for several sheets of felt in coordinating colors. You will also need thin cork board, tacky glue (or hot glue) and a small hole punch. Cut coaster-sized circles or even squares from your felt and use your hole punch to "design" your coaster. Cut your cork using the same circle or square template you used for the felt and apply a thin layer of glue to the cork. Adhere your felt and clean up your coasters by trimming the edges. For extra flair, scallop the edges of your felt before gluing it to the cork. It allows a little bit of the cork to peek through for a kitchsy and rustic kind of look! Bundle the coasters up with a beautifully tied ribbon or tuck them away in a sheer organza bag. These coasters will be sure to make their debut at many parties to come!
Santa's "Spirited" Stocking- Santa, "candy is dandy but liquor is quicker!" Why not fill all the of age good boys and girls stockings with something they REALLY want this year?! During the holiday season, liquor stores begin going bananas with the sales and end up practically giving away their inventory. In most cases, right near the cash register area, the stores will feature baskets of discounted mini or airplane bottles as my dad lovingly refers to them. I would say this time of year, you could probably find mini bottles going for $1.00 or less, top shelf not included! Dig for the best deal and price depending, stock your soon-to-be best-friend's stocking to the brim with an array of these delightful little bottles. Once again, shop around at those discount stores to find a spectacular stocking to stock with spirits as a part of your gift, you take up the slack where Santa leaves off!
Sassy Salt for Margarita Maniacs- The epicurean in me is a sucker for all the gourmet flavored salts out on the market now. Coconut, espresso, jalapeno and black truffle are just a few infused salts that have been taunting my taste buds! Why not translate this costly, culinary concept into couture margarita rimming salts for the Margarita enthusiast in your life?! Pick up a box of coarse salt from your local grocer and let your imagination run rampant in the spice aisle. A few great combos that come to my mind for Margarita salt would be:
- Coarse Salt + Chipotle Powder = Cha-Cha Chipotle Salt
- Coarse Salt + Dried Ginger = Thai Ginger Salt
- Coarse Salt + Dried Lime Zest = Lime Fresco Salt
- Coarse Salt + Red Pepper Flakes = Fire Salt
- Coarse Salt + Dried Lemon Peel = Sunny Salt
- Coarse Salt + Dried Tangerine Peel = Tantalizing Tangerine Salt
Start with a 1/4 Spice and 3/4 Salt ratio, adjust to suit your taste. Pour your newly concocted custom salts in metal favor tins, tiny cork-topped jars or even a series TEST TUBES. Ideally, your gifting container should be glass or transparent as these salts are not only tasty but beautiful to look at. Be sure to label each flavor of rimming salt and include a recipe for the world's best MARGARITA!!!
Whether your gift ends up being one of these bar-oriented beauties or not, a personalized, hand-written note is always a must. For your recipient to know you took time out of your crazy and chaotic life to sit down, make them a gift and write a simple note of good tidings, can be one of the most heartwarming events of the season.
Let me know how the gifting goes and "be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!"
Friday, November 13, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Happy Hauntings and be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Here is a copy of her latest literary feat:
Who'd ever thought we'd be here today?
Times have passed; it seems like yesterday,
We were carefree teenagers, partying the time away!
A Knight and a Wildcat, who would have guessed,
The bond we would have is really the best!
I bugged you at Bennigan's til you said OK,
The Club One Christmas party, we laughed and we played!
Then on to Orlando, Hawaii, and A-town,
And...Vegas..we won't tell about what went down!
Local fav's--Bar-Bar, Deja Groove, and 51 degrees,
Don't forget Spanky's where we had 'em on their knees.
Rockin' with us as we danced in our chairs,
Flashlights, techomusic--you had to be there!
On the softer side, I know you as a listener, a thoughtful friend.
You've been giving and caring as we got thru tough times and MEN!
It seems the Cosmos matched us Gemini and Libra til the end,
Old Navy and The Limited, and the CASH we liked to spend!
Your favorite color is pink--just right for one so calm,
Your smile is always welcomed--gentle and warm.
On this day of days, You know I hope for only the best,
You sure picked a good one;Mat outshines the rest!
I've known him since 10th grade when we gave Ms. Marshall a fit!
I knew Mat was special and I'm so glad you're it!
The one he picked to spend a lifetime of love,
You're a perfect couple, blessed from above!
I'm handing you over to Mat today, but I hope we'll remain friends in
EVERY SPECIAL WAY!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Asian Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup
1 pound boneless and skinless chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup water
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size sticks
3 cans (14 ounces each) chicken broth
2 tablespoons vinegar, rice
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger, fresh
2 ounces rice noodles
6 ounces frozen pea pods, thawed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
In a skillet, cook chicken in hot oil just until browned. Add cooked chicken, carrots, broth, water, vinegar, soy sauce and ginger into a slow-cooker (crock-pot). Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. Stir in noodles and pea pods and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more or until noodles are tender.
For easy transport to a sick neighbor or friend, ladle this super soup into a large mason jar and put the lid on tight. For added flair, slip a square of red gingham cloth under the lid's rim and tie a copy of the recipe on with raffia. Who knows, maybe a jar of Chicken Noodle Soup for the Sick Soul may land on your doorstep one day!
Thanks for all the well wishes and be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Think about the following for possible contents in your "Blushing Bridal Brunch" Basket or "Gourmet Groom Grub" Tray:
Champagne (For the Ladies)
Beer (For the Gentleman)
Bagels with Accoutrement (I love that word! Gourmet spreads, cream cheeses and butter would be great but be cautious with jellies and jams!)
Mini Muffins or Pastries
Bananas, Grapes, Apple slices and any other easy to eat, non-staining fruits
Cheese Cubes or String Cheese
Chicken Strip or Lunch Meat Tray (Protein is a must, especially when alcohol is involved!)
Pre-cut Veggies and Dips
Pretzels and Crackers (Non-greasy munchies keep clothes clean)
Disposable Plates, Cups and Cutlery
Mints (An unexpected but very much appreciated post-meal addition)
Napkins or even Wet-Naps if you have access to them
Sentimental card with well-wishes for the happy couple!
To go that extra mile, you may consider packing all these wedding day wares into a hand-crafted picnic basket or insulated cooler for the Mr. & Mrs. to use during their lives of wedded bliss. Yes, this glorious gift is more time consuming than the now traditional Target Gift Card, but the gratitude expressed by the recipients will be invaluable. Feel free to share any of your ideas for wedding day wares or meaningful wedding gift suggestions, the domestic diva is all ears!
Be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Tame Those Locks- For a quick fix to fly aways, drizzle a dot of olive oil in your hand and sparingly run it over your coif. Also, be sure to take some time out of your weekend for this home-made hot oil hair treatment. Warm up your EVOO in the palm of your hand and generously lather it into your locks, paying special attention to the ends. Wrap your hair in a towel or oh-so-fashionable shower cap and chillax for 30 minutes or so. Wash and style hair as normal and watch those locks shine!
Snore No More- Granny never lies! Taking a sip of olive oil before heading to bed can help lubricate your throat muscles, cutting down on snoring. Give it a try- your bed mate will thank you!
Here Kitty, Kitty- According to my pet vet sister, add a teaspoon of olive oil to your cat’s food to help prevent hairballs, as well as promote a shiny, healthy coat. Olive oil is likely to be more gentle on a cat's system than petroleum-based anti-hairball lubricants. Meow!
Better Than Butter- I know, I know...how could a Southern gal speak such words?! Butter most certainly has that undeniable flavor which we all love and crave but how about slathering your bread with a little EVOO every now and then. The health benefits linked to olive oil are overwhelming. This "liquid gold" is rich in monounsaturated fats and contains several different types of anti-oxidants known for their ability to promote our "good" cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. I promise I will send this link to Paula Deen! ;o)
Wax On, Wax Off- To polish up your weary wood, use two parts olive oil combined with one part lemon juice. Pour just a few drops on a soft cloth, wipe away the dust, scuffs, and fingerprints, and your wood will gleam. This technique works well for a range of wooden furniture and objects. You can also condition and revitalize leather goods, such as car seats and baseball mitts by rubbing in a bit of EVOO.
Luscious Lips- Pucker up that pretty pout and swab on that olive oil! A Q-tip is a great applicator for this budget friendly balm.
Creepy Creaks- Do the doors in your house sound like they belong in the Addams Family Mansion? If so, try olive oil out on squeaky doors, hinges or anywhere else you might consider using WD-40 or a mechanical lubricant. Once again, olive oil is totally natural and edible of course so no worries about Fido or little Joey Jr. getting their paws into it!
For Spaghetti and Skin- Olive oil is a great skin moisturizer because it contains linoleic acid, a compound not made by the body, which prevents water from evaporating. After showering, rub the oil on your skin just as you would any lotion or moisturizer. Don't forget those knees and elbows. For a diva decadent body scrub, sprinkle in a spoonful of sugar to your olive oil and go to town. The sugar crystals help slough off any dead skin cells while the oil hydrates. All natural and all good!
So the next time you are in the grocery store or raiding your little Italian granny's kitchen, don't forget to pick up a bottle of this stove-top staple. From hair to hinges and cats to carseats, there's no stopping this earthy elixir.
Be sure to stay tuned, dahlins'!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Watermelon and Mint Salad
1 RIPE watermelon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
5 ounces feta cheese, crumbledFresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt
Whole mint sprigs for garnish
In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Savor the summer and be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing the seeds and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste and adjust seasonings.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
*As your flowers begin to wilt and die, remove these fading flowers as they produce a gas called ethylene which will cause other healthy flowers to wilt too. (Apples produce this same gas keep your flowers away from your fruits!)
I hope you find these horticulture hints helpful and that they keep your buds blooming!
Be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The day after Mother's Day this year, my very own mother, my unbreakable heroine, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It was and still is hard for me to digest considering all the volunteer work and exposure I personally have given to this disease. As a carefree 15 year old, I worked as a "Pink Lady" at the Memorial Medical Breast Center, dealing daily with patients suffering and surviving the illness. Throughout college, I assisted my sorority with our national philanthropy, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for almost five years, planning and organizing chairtable events. I continued my crusade here in Central Florida by volunteering at our yearly "Race for the Cure." Even though I was rocked to my core by the strength and perseverance of all these individuals effected by this disease showed me, I never once viewed my own mother as one of these statistics. The harsh reality of the disease is that 1 in 8 women will develop some level of Breast Cancer throughout their lifetime- 1 in 8 women!
A link was sent to me by a dear friend of mine for an organization called "Making Memories." On their site, they have partnered with several different vendors and programs to help assist in efforts to increase awareness about these disease and to provide memorable experiences to the women Breast Cancer affects. Two programs that tie perfectly into our blog here include the "Pink Envelope Project" and the "Brides Against Breast Cancer" sale. Please visit http://makingmemories.org/ for more information about each but here are brief explanations for both events below.
Pink Envelope Project- The website suggests initiating this fundraiser at a bridal shower or even a wedding reception. The concept is quite simple- pink envelopes, small donation, changed lives! "Making Memories" will send you their signature pink envelopes to collect donations in from all your shower/wedding guests, perhaps in lieu of gifts?! You could also choose to make a donation of at least $100.00 in advance to the foundation and then pass along a beautiful company crafted favor card to your guests explaining a donation has been made to "Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation" in their honor. Along with the cards, you could attach a pink ribbon key chain, chocolate or charm like the ones seen here for an added keepsake. Your guests will treasure this special memento and love the fact they helped make a difference in the life of another.
Brides Against Breast Cancer- Every girl dreams of the fairytale romance, the magical proposal and then the perfect gown! Would it be possible to have all these things for yourself AND to make someone elses' dreams come true? That is the sole mission of the "Brides Against Breast Cancer" fund. Brides-to-be have the option of purchasing BRAND NEW to gently worn contemporary, designer wedding gowns for a fraction of the price with most of the proceeds going back into the "Brides Against Breast Cancer" fund. Brides who have already taken the plunge can contribute to the cause either by donating their dresses or by participating in a "Brides Against Breast Cancer" trunk sale in a city near you. Please refer to the "Making Memories" website for more information on how to make any woman's dreams become a reality!
Thank you for taking the time out of your hectic lives to read my little blog here. I hope this post has inspired you to lend a helping hand in your community, appreciate life and to make sure those you love KNOW you love them every single day. Each day is a gift- uwrap it carefully!
Be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
*Next time you are flipping through the pages of Vogue or Cosmopolitan, tear out the perfume sample page and slip it in your lingerie drawer. This also goes for those cute little card stock cut-outs you drench with perfume at the store. Just be sure it's a fragrance you like!
*Bars of soap make excellent sachet substitutes as well! Just take an inexpensive bar of a clean smelling soap and put it in the back of your drawer. A few of my favorite feminine, yet clean scents include Cucumber Melon, White Tea & Ginger, Coconut Lime, Lavender and Lemon Grass. Unused soap works best here! ;o)
*Scented drawer liners are functional and fabulous! I will admit they are a little hard t0 find these days, but they just leave your clothes smelling divine. I have found them at Bed, Bath and Beyond before and other random shops such as Stein Mart, Ross, Tuesday Morning and even Big Lots! If you can find some snazzy ones, consider gifting them to a bride-to-be. They make a great addition to a lingerie shower gift maybe along with some monogrammed linens or other scented home products if you don't feel at comfortable buying someone besides your self undies. Scented drawer liners are just a class act!
*Have the time? Why not put your crafty claws to use and replicate the sachets you admired in the store? All you need is tulle or another fabric that "breathes" and something smelly such as potpourri, eucalyptus leaves or dried lavender to put in it. Vintage hankies make great bases for sachets too! Trace a circle onto the fabric of your choice, cut your circle (no need to cut up the hankies), fill and tie up with a beautiful ribbon. You could also use these for shower favors, maybe adding a rosette for a wedding shower or a baby carriage charm for a baby shower.
Hope these you find these Domestic Diva tips to be "SCENTSATIONAL!" Be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Southern Style Shrimp-N-Grits
1 cup stone-ground grits
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (adjust to taste preference)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pound medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons, lemon juice
6 slices bacon, chopped into tiny pieces
1 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts (additional for garnish)
Fresh cracked black pepper and kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add the grits, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Stir grits well with a whisk. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook the grits until all the water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and both cheeses. Keep covered until ready to serve.
Fry all 6 bacon slices in a skillet, move to a paper towel to "degrease." Add the shrimp to the bacon grease in the skillet and sauté over medium heat just until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Add your lemon juice, green onions and garlic to the shrimp and remove the skillet from the heat.
For serving, pour your grits into a vessel of your choice (soup bowl, coffee mug or even a martini glass for an appetizer portion) and top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with crumbled bacon, left-over green onions and additional CHEESE if you prefer.
Bon Appetit, y'all and be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!
Monday, June 22, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
The Southern Belle- Of course you could make this with regular lemonade but doesn't pink sound so much more fun?! These would be a fabulous cocktail to serve at a spring or summer bridal shower.
1 Part Sweet Tea Vodka & 1 Part Pink Minute Maid Lemonade
*Mix both ingredients well and serve over ice in dainty little crystal or other decorative glasses. Dip lemon wheels into pink sugar and garnish glass with lemon and a pink straw.
Plantation Tea- An alcoholic variation of my favorite memories of Hawaii. In restaurants over there, your iced tea is served with half pineapple juice! If this doesn't put you in an island mind set, I don't know what will!
1 Part Sweet Tea Vodka & 1 Part Pineapple Juice
*Mix both ingredients well and serve over ice in a vintage tiki cup and garnish with a cocktail umbrella and pineapple chunk.
Peachy Keen- This is how you will be feeling after one of these; beware!
1 Part Sweet Tea Vodka, 1/2 Part Peach Nectar, 1/2 Part Ice Water & a Shot of Peach Schnapps
*Mix all ingredients well and serve over ice in what else, a mason jar! You can find a dozen-pack of these at Wal-mart in the "Kitchen Utensil" section as they are traditionally used for canning fruit and vegetables. If you garnish with a peach wedge, be sure to smother the cut peaches in lemon juice before hand as we do not want any brown fruit making a party debut. You could also just garnish with a little green mint sprig.
Lethal Lemon Iced Tea Shooters- This shooter was invented at my in-law's house after Valentine's Day dinner. It truly was a night to remember but after these, I totally forgot!
1 Part Sweet Tea Vodka 1 Part Limoncello
*Shake with ice and pour into sugar rimmed shot glasses!
Sip these Sweet Tea delicacies slowly and remember to always drink responsibly. Be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!