Family Ties

John and I spent the holiday weekend with my family enjoying the water, sun ,two adorable nephews and lots of food prepared by my talented parents. No joke…from a low country boil to bacon wrapped filets to collard greens to homemade ice cream and much more in between, we were spoiled by my parents cooking expertise. We couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather, and while I had great intentions of capturing many wardrobe updates, I found that tickling little piggy toes, playing baseball, stealing sugar, fishing, spying a snapping turtle, playing horseshoes, cheering on a brave six year old innertubing solo for the first time and taking an equally brave three year old out in to the deep water for swimming lessons was just too much fun to break away to get dressed up and work. Fortunately, I was able to snap a bit of our fun via Instagram. I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day celebrating the men and women who have given so much for our great nation.

Photos from left to right: 1. Morning Coffee View / 2. Therapy: My favorite boutique in Auburn / 3. Low Country Boil / 4. Fun time with LMK / 5. Lemonade from Toomer’s Drug Store – an Auburn tradition / 6. LMK riding solo on the innertube for the first time / 7. Watching the “crazies” jump off of Chimney Rock / 8. Saturday’s Lunch / 9. CEGK showing off his birthday loot from his “Addie” and John

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

I love raspberries and greek yogurt, so when I came across this three ingredient frozen yogurt recipe from Martha Stewart, I knew it would become a favorite summer treat. The sweet + tart flavor is the perfect way to cool off this HOT Memorial Day weekend while we’re at the lake with my family. So far, the only things into my suitcase are swimsuits, my iPad and sun hats. I’m looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend catching up on some of my favorite blogs, a new book and time with my wonderful family. Happy Memorial Day!

Blend 2 and 1/2 cups raspberries and 1/2 cup superfine sugar until smooth.

Strain raspberry liquid through a mesh sieve. And whip 2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt into raspberry mixture.

Place into ice cream maker and blend until frozen. Pour yogurt into a freezer safe container and freeze for bout an hour. Will last in freezer for up to one month.

Hole Punched

I picked up this little dress during my Spring visit to NYC at Mint, a favorite little spot in my old neighborhood, the Upper West Side. The popping cobalt color is one of my favorites, and the cut out design makes for a breezy summer dress. Feeling the need for a little Vitamin C, I added citrus accessories for a final punch.

Dress: C. Luce (similar style here); Belt: H&M; Shoes: Old Navy; Watch: Michael Kors; Bracelets: Kate Spade, J.Crew, David Yurman, Unknown; Clutch: LOFT (old, loving this one here); Ring: Vintage (thanks, Mom!); Hat: Target; Lipstick: Kate Moss for Rimmel #12; Sunglasses: Tiffany & Co

Fresh Mint

 Pastels have never been on my must-have list, but lately I’ve found myself gravitating toward the feminine color palate. In order to keep pastels age appropriate, couple them with a simple neutral (tan, black or grey) to break up the sugary sweet colors.

Dress: H&M (recent); Shoes: Diane von Furstenberg (similar here); Belt: H&M; Gold & Ivory Brocade Wallet as Clutch: Old Navy (old, similar here); Bracelets: J. Crew, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, Stella & Dot, Unknown; Watch: Michael Kors; Necklace: Stella & Dot (old, similar here)

Sweet + Savory Mother’s Day

Unfortunately, I won’t be with my mom this Mother’s Day, but for those of you lucky enough to spend the day with your most-admired lady, here’s a savory meal that is tasty enough to impress, yet simple enough to stave off stress and enjoy time with Mom. Marinate salmon filets with a mix of bourbon and brown sugar, place in tin foil and grill until done. Serve over a simple succotash, with buttermilk biscuits and tomato gravy.

Hopefully, we’ve all been blessed to have a special mom-figure in our lives. How I got so lucky to be my mother’s daughter, I’ll never know, but I’m so thankful and proud to be hers. For always, my mother has been my biggest fan. She believes in dreams. That is the dreams of her children. Regardless of the dream my brother and I decided to chase, my mother always helped us develop a plan to get there, while cheering us on along the way. She has given us the confidence to take risks, to go on adventures, to live in the “grey” and to believe in ourselves when doubt began to creep into our hearts and minds. And she shows us love, every day. Luck may have nothing to do with it at all, but I know for certain that I’m fortunate to have such a wonderful mother.

Do you have a favorite story to share about your mom? Happy Mother’s Day!

blue skies and thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are inevitable in May; however, with our 90 degree temps, any type of rain coat or trench just isn’t an option. Keeping rain boots at work and at home along with an umbrella in my bag are essential. Of course, the Georgia humidity one experiences after an afternoon thunderstorm leaves everything so dewey you might as well run straight through the rain. It’s going to be a loooooong summer, y’all.

Umbrella: Ralph Lauren (similar style here); Necklace: Stella & Dot; Dress: H&M (recent); Belt: Talbots (similar style here); Watch Face: Timex Weekender; Watch Band: Unknown; Bag: Gucci; Wellies: Hunter

it’s greek to me

My dear friend, Katherine, who’s family is from Cypress has taught me much about Greek cuisine. While my lamb chops will NEVER compare to her perfect dish, I can manage to impress the taste buds with a simple Caprese Salad. With Roma Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and clipped basil on hand…

I simmered a cup of balsamic vinegar on medium heat until it formed into a thicker reduction.

After slicing the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, place on a platter and drizzle with a touch of olive oil and balsamic reduction.

Top with slices of basil, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.

new orleans style

I love the French for many reasons…their style, their bread and the fact that many settled in Louisiana bringing the praline recipe along with them. Original recipes from the 1600’s in Europe contained almonds, but French settlers adapted the recipe with pure cane sugar and pecans. There are many variations to pralines, but the New Orleans style is by far my favorite. Typically using milk, the New Orleans praline has a fudge-like texture opposed to the European or Belgian nougat.

I decided to call on the Praline Queen, my mother, for her praline version. Her recipe uses a bit of salt, which is the perfect combination to me. The rich sweetness (Hello! 5 cups of sugar AND condensed milk!) is offset with the sprinkle of salt. We’ve enjoyed this recipe my entire life, and after finally making them myself, I was pleasantly surprised to find they’re not quite an intimidating as I always imagined.

5 cups granulated sugar / 5 cups pecan halves / 1 cup butter / 1 cup milk / 1 – 14.5 oz can Eagle Brand Condensed Milk / 1 Tablespoon Salt / 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract / Wooden spoon

In a deep boiler, combine sugar, butter, milk and condensed milk. Bring to a rolling boil. Add pecans and stir continuously for 20 minutes. You will likely need to reduce your heat to keep the mixture for popping out on you. Make sure to stir the entire  20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt and vanilla extract and beat. Let cool for only a minute or two. Then spoon onto greased (with butter) wax paper. Let cool until hardened.