Monday, December 26, 2016

Collard Greens with Bacon and Brown Sugar

Gratuitous bacon shot...

Print Recipe

Collard Greens with Bacon and Brown Sugar


  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion chopped (or 2 small farmer's market sweet onions, with greens included)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
  • 1 bunch collard greens washed and torn


  1. In a large cast iron or enameled pot, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan.
  2. Allow bacon to cool, then crumble and set aside.
  3. Add onion and garlic to drippings in pan. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in crumbled bacon, water, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and salt. Add crushed red pepper if you choose. Gradually add greens.
  5. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2-3 hours or until tender.

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Sugared Pecan Rum Cake

Print Recipe

Sugared Pecan Rum Cake

Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 1 Hr 30 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr 45 Min
Serves: 6


  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg. yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3 3/4 oz) pkg. vanilla instant pudding & pie filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum


For the Sugared Pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. 
  2. In a small bowl, beat egg, water, and vanilla until slightly foamy. Add pecans and sugar and coat well. 
  3. Pour pecans on a lightly greased baking pan. Bake at 300°F for 30 minutes, stirring pecans 1/2 way through the baking time. 

For the Rum Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 12 cup bundt pan with non-stick spray. 
  2. Sprinkle sugared pecans on bottom of pan. 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake ingredients through dark rum. Add coconut and stir by hand. 
  4. Pour batter over sugared pecans. 
  5. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour. 
  6. Allow to cool completely. 
  7. When cake is almost cool, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the water and sugar and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, then boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  8. Remove from heat and stir in rum. 
  9. Invert the cake onto a serving plate and poke holes in the top with a toothpick or cake tester. Drizzle glaze evenly over top and sides. Pause while the cake absorbs the glaze. Repeat this process until the glaze is gone.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Life is Better at the Pool {Gift Basket}

Summertime in Florida generally means there are pools involved. Whether someone is putting in a pool, already owns a pool, or has access to a friends or community pool. POOLS. RULE.

Recently, a neighbor put in a new pool. As a pool cooling gift (ha!), we wanted to give her something that would enhance her summertime fun!

We included the following items that are pool, hard surface, sun, and Florida friendly! I used my Silhouette Cameo to create the monogrammed pieces, but you can use sharpies, stickers, or buy from a reliable source on Etsy!

On an economically related note: You can make this present as expensive or {inexpensive} as you want. I purchased all of my items at WalMart and spent @ $35.00. Try the Dollar Tree for a less expensive option or visit Home Goods for more expensive options. The sky is the limit!
  • A citronella candle, monogrammed with the first initial of her last name.
  • A book - if you're not sure of the recipients taste, include a gift card or Soduko, crossword puzzle book, or magazine instead!
  • Melamine serving pieces, monogrammed, of course! I included a decent sized oval platter, bowl, and small serving spoon. 
  • A pitcher or container for cold beverages. I included a card with my favorite adults only lemonade recipe!
  • A monogrammed cup. I also found a really cute saying to put on the side of the cup opposite the monogram. "Life is Better in the Pool."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Citrus Butter Cookies {from the Pioneer Woman}

A couple of weeks ago I was at my mom and dad's beach house and alas it was too cold and damp to do much of anything outside (this Florida girl is not happy with 55 degrees and windy days at the beach!).

My mom and I were chatting, flipping through magazines, and watching a little Food Network. The Pioneer Woman came on and wouldn't you know - it was as if she knew I was watching and needed to see this recipe! So, here you have it my version of  The Pioneer Woman's Citrus Butter Cookies. Thanks Ree!

Print Recipe

Citrus Butter Cookies

Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 15 Min
Total Time: 30 Min
Serves: 36


  • 2 cups Salted Butter Softened, 4 sticks
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Zest
  • 1 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Meringue powder (or one egg white)
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until combined.
  3. Add eggs and mix until combined.
  4. Add the zest and the flour and mix until just combined, then add juice and mix until combined.
  5. Using a tablespoon, scoop dough and roll the dough into balls. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan with a spatula and allow to cool completely before icing.
  6. In a bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat confectioners' sugar, meringue powder and milk until stiff peaks form, about 5-7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add a couple drops of water. If icing is too thin, add additional confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until desired consistency.
  7. Drizzle the icing across the cookies. Sprinkle with extra zest before the icing sets.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Coastal-ized Tailgate Chair

We've had a few old tailgate chairs lying around that have some stains, wear and tear, but are still great for throwing in the back of the Jeep for tailgating or a star-gazing trip to the beach. 

I wanted to do something to spice them up but was having a hard time finding something that would work no matter the weather and would stick to the canvas of the chairs. Then, I stumbled across Multi-Surface acrylic paint at the craft store.


Let's make a stencil with the Silhouette Cameo!

  1. Find a flat surface, approximately the same height as the chair when it is open and bent over. My porch coffee table was an exact match. Lay a towel over the table in case of any paint that bleeds through.
  2. Lay the chair on the towel surface.
  3. Place the stencil in the center (or wherever you like) of the chair. If you used adhesive backed vinyl, use your finger to reinforce the seal around the edge of the stencil to avoid any bleeding of the edge.
  4. Put a dab of each of the paint colors on a paper plate. This will be your palette.
  5. Using a fingertip, lightly dab the paint sporadically within the stencil. Make sure that you overlap the edge of the stencil so that you really "define" the outline of the shape when you remove the stencil.
  6. Apply a second round of fingertip dabs - wait about 30-60 minutes in between applications so that the first layer has plenty of time to dry - this will help avoid mixing colors. Allow to dry for 24 hours before using the chair.

Please note: I have not been paid for the materials that I recommended in this project. I purchased a Silhouette Cameo last year and in my kit came a BUNCH of materials that I had no idea what to do with. The Printable Foil being one of those materials. The FolkArt Multi-Surface paint was chosen for this project because they had the best range of colors.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Homegrown Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

Living at the beach means, BEACH HAIR. That crusty yet soft, full hair that only comes after a day in the sun at the beach.

I regularly use Bumble and Bumble's Surf Spray. At $24 for 4 oz., it can get pricey when I can get it for FREE after spending a day at the beach.

So why don't I just bottle salt water from an East Coast Beach?
Answer: This is complicated. Don't get me started on the state of the beaches. Let's just say, you will be bringing home more than a bottle of salty sea water. If you want to find out more about that, visit the Surfrider Foundation to read about it yourself.

On that note, swimming in the ocean followed by a shower doesn't leave me grossed out like bottling salt water and then spraying it on my hair over the course of a month does.
So, my next solution is to follow the instructions posted on Huzzah and form my own opinion.

Homegrown B&B Surf Spray

  • 3 teaspoons Epsom Salt 
  • 3 squirts Water-Based Hair Gel 
  • 3-4 ounces Tap Water 
Pour all ingredients into your empty B&B bottle & shake well before each use.

4 oz of tap water is too much to fill my B&B Surf Spray Bottle. I only use 3. If you're using you're own bottle, you'll probably be fine.

You can adjust the "stiffness" quotient by adding more water or gel appropriately. Which makes me even HAPPIER since sometimes I get a little overzealous with the B&B spray and whoops, OVERLY crunchy hair. This homegrown stuff took me all of 30 seconds to measure/mix the ingredients and I just saved myself $24. That's good stuff right there.

Monday, August 15, 2016

No-Sew Embellished Hand Towels

A while ago, I purchased about 30 hand towels super $1 a piece cheap. My intention was to FINALLY learn how to use my Bernina embroidery machine. That hasn't happened. In the meantime, I've had hostess gifts, teacher gifts and various other gifts that I've needed to give. Those hand towels kept staring at me from the depths of my craft closet every time I opened the door. And then, it hit me.

If I can't sew - isn't there a way to jazz up these hand towels, make them unique and giftable? Let's try a no-sew embellishment!


  • Hand towel, dish towel, or similar
  • Fabric embellishment
  • Heat N Bond
  • Iron
  • wash cloth


  1. Cut fabric embellishment from fabric (I found super cute shell wine bags in the Dollar section at Michael's).

  2. Place a washcloth on an ironing board or tabletop. Place the fabric cutouts face down on the washcloth.
    Hint: Use a washcloth that you don't mind tossing after this project.

  3. Cut a piece of HeatnBond to slightly larger than the fabric embellishments. Place the HeatnBond paper side up on top of the fabric embellishments.

  4. Using a pre-heated iron set on the silk setting, iron for approximately 25 seconds over the HeatnBond. This attaches the fabric embellishment to the HeatNBond.

  5. Choose a spot on the hand towel that you want to place the embellishment. Iron over the spot to prep the towel for the fabric embellishment.

  6. Cut around the fabric embellishment on the HeatNBond, then remove the paper backing from the fabric embellishment. Place the embellishment on the warm area of the hand towel. Iron over the embellishment from approximately 25 seconds.

  7.  Flip the towel over and iron for approximately 25 seconds over the back of the embellishment. This step helps seal the bond between the embellishment and the towel.

  8. Allow to cool before touching.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Girl on the Train {Book Club Menu}

I recently hosted our monthly neighborhood book club and the book I chose was Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I'm not going to discuss the book in this post because I would hate to be a spoiler for anyone else that plans on reading it.

Our book club is also a dinner club, so coming up with a menu to for this book was extremely difficult! Generally, you can pick menu items that are reflective of meals shared, geographical references, and/or culture delicacies. The only thing that was an easy menu item for me was to serve (SPOILER ALERT) Gin and Tonic. I tried to find it in a can - but apparently you can only buy that in the UK!

Anyway - I went with the theme of "Food and Drink that Makes Us Lose Our Mind". If you read the book, you'll see the liberty I took with that phrase.

The Girl on the Train

Dinner Menu


Triple Cream Brie
Pub Cheese
Irish Dubliner
Assorted Crackers and Fruit


Penne with Vodka Sauce
Green Salad with Pear Champagne Vinaigrette
Yeast Rolls


Trader Joe's Cookie Butter Cheesecake Squares


Gin and Tonic
Savignon Blanc

Wondering how I came up with those ideas? Here goes...
  • Triple Cream Brie: Have you ever had the Triple Cream Brie from Costco? If you have, you know that it is as addictive as crack (I can only assume from what I understand to be the addictive properties of crack cocaine, not from personal experience). 
  • Pub Cheese (duh, they hang out at a local pub, often)
  • Irish Dubliner (eh, better than picking American Cheese, geographically speaking)

  • Penne with Vodka Sauce (self-explanatory)
  • Green Salad with Pear Champagne Vinaigrette (self-explanatory)
  • Yeast Rolls: Just like the Triple Cream Brie from Costco, the Yeast Rolls from Longhorn are equally as addictive. Go get you one (or twelve).

  • Trader. Joe's. Cookie. Butter. enough said.
  • Gin and Tonic / Savignon Blanc: Our Main Characters alcoholic spiral beverages of choice.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Burlap Mermaid Wreath

For any of you that live in damp or tropical environments, you may have seen your burlap wreaths start to turn a little yellow or green with all of the moisture (and pollen) we have in our air. Rather than create a new burlap wreath from scratch, I figured why not try to spruce it up a bit with a coastal feel - whitewash!

I did not want the wreaths to be white, but wanted to give them a little bit of a clean, fresh look. I used a can of spray paint and lightly sprayed each of the wreaths. I let them dry for about 30 minutes, then checked to see if I needed to add another coat. I did, so another coat and voila. "Spruced-up Wreaths".

When I was at Michael's recently, I noticed that they had wood cutouts on the same aisle with all of their wood letters. There were anchors, Fleur De Lis, peace signs, hearts, stars, and a mermaid. 

I brought the mermaid wood cutout home with me and gave her 3 coats of acrylic white paint - on all sides, don't forget to paint the edges! The three coats of paint gave the cutout a really nice crisp white color.

Since I change my burlap wreath decor often, I did not want to permanently attach the mermaid. I chose to wrap a piece of jute rope around her waist and around the wreath. This allows me to remove the mermaid when I want and, since I have two wreaths, re-position as necessary so that the mermaids are even once I put the wreaths on my front door.

Burlap Mermaid Wreath Materials

  • Burlap Wreath (or use these instructions to make a burlap wreath)
  • White Spray Paint
  • Wood cutout 
  • White acrylic paint (or paint color of your choice)
  • Medium paint brush
  • Jute rope
  1. Paint your cutout with three coats of acrylic paint, the color of your choice. Allow to dry for a day or two in between coats. Allow to dry for several days after the last coat to make sure that there is a good seal of paint on the wood.
  2. Create or paint your burlap wreath with the spray paint. Allow to dry in between coats so that you know how many coats to apply until you reach your desired look.
  3. Using the jute rope, attach the mermaid cutout to your wreath. Re-position as necessary until you are happy with the results.
  4. Hang and enjoy your simple, spruced-up burlap wreath!

I partied this wreath here:

Monday, August 1, 2016

China Hutch to Glam Rum Bar

We had this old, dated, boring, china hutch that we could NOT sell on Craigslist. Swip-Swap. Could not give it away and didn't want to drag it somewhere. So, I was in the process of redecorating a few rooms and decided that I HAD to find something to do with this.

What came to mind?


Remove all hinges, doors, shelving and frames. We also CAREFULLY removed the mirrored back paneling.
Important: Remember to keep all of your screws, bolts and knobs in a safe place so you can put everything back together.

Use a palm sander to buff the surface of the wood. Wipe the dust from the surface first using a damp soft cloth, then using a dry soft cloth.

Paint the entire surface with the paint color of your choosing (we went with Olympic Two to Tango). We replaced the o' so snappy mirrored back with bead board, so we painted the bead board as well.

We could not find hinges that would work, so thank you KRYLON for your metal spray paint! Cheesy Gold Hinges to Smooth Bronzed Hinges in a snap.


Reassemble the final piece.

I had an absolute blast with this (probably because the hard work was done by someone else). Picking out the crazy West Palm Glam paint color, finding the seahorse handles and stumbling across a Pottery Barn end of summer sale for the kick ass Mermaid bottle opener and Flamingo party and Tony's Lounge bar towels (sometimes the stars just align).


The. Bar. Is. Open.