Friday, December 19, 2014

/ / 4 Ingredients 2 Ways | Recipe

I know I've been heavy on the recipe posts here lately, but I just can't get enough of being in the kitchen this time of year. When I get home from work, the first thing I really want to do is plan and prepare dinner as well as Christmas goodies for my friends and family. It's just so much fun! Well, even though I've been sharing so many of my favorite recipes lately, I've never done a post quite like this one before! Jana from Life Could Be a Dream invited me to a recipe challenge! She asked Madison to give us a list of ingredients that we both had to use in a recipe. The items she chose for our challenge are prosciutto, goat cheese, rosemary, and pineapple. At first when I heard the list, I freaked out a little bit. I've never really worked with goat cheese, and I'm not even sure I like it all that much. Spoiler: After nibbling here and there while making this recipe, I in fact do like goat cheese!

This was a fun challenge, and I think both of us came up with unique and yummy recipes. How incredible does Jana's Flat Bread with Rosemary Balsamic Glaze look? I took one look at this dish of hers and told Lamar to order pizza for dinner. I can't wait to try her recipe, though! My mouth is watering!
Thoughts ran through my mind of what I could possibly make: some sort of panini, fancy nachos, a salad...but then I thought I'd keep it simple yet fancy with an appetizer: Prosciutto, Grilled Pineapple, & Goat Cheese Rollups with Balsamic Rosemary Sauce. Perfect for a light Christmas eve snack!
I have to be honest, I wasn't sure if these were going to be any good. They just sound kind of weird, you know? Let me tell you, though, the flavors go together so well, and the dip simply takes it to the next level. It's sweet, salty, and tangy. It will definitely be a nice variation to our Christmas Eve appetizers! They'll mix things up a bit.

1 Package prosciutto, sliced into equal quarters.
1 Small package of Goat Cheese
Half of a Pineapple, grilled and thinly sliced into small pieces (about 1 inch in length)

On each small quarter of prosciutto, add one slice of pineapple, a small dollop of goat cheese, and roll up tightly. Place on serving dish.

3 Tablespoons Honey
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinager
1 Tablespoon fresh Lime Juice
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon finely Chopped Rosemary

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.


And what do you think I did with all that leftover grilled pineapple, rosemary, and lime? Cocktails, of course! Just fill a glass with crushed ice and throw in some cranberry juice, sugar, vodka (optional), lime juice, leftover grilled pineapple, and rosemary sprigs. I also added in a splash of sparkling water.
Thanks so much, Jana, for inviting me to do this challenge with you! I had so much fun, and now my kitchen is gloriously messy. :) 
What are you up to this weekend? Any plans to play around in the kitchen? Tell me what you're cookin'!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

/ / Drop Sugar Cookies + Recipe Scrapbook Project

Last week, I had the happiest mail of all mail times when I received this gorgeous leather book just for me! I've been dreaming up this idea of a recipe scrapbook--only including family favorites and tried and true recipes--that I can one day pass down to my children. Food has always been a very sentimental part of my life. Tastes and smells connect me to memories and most of those tend to revolve around being in the kitchen or enjoying a meal with loved ones. I want to create something special, something that will last for my children, their children, and so on. 

I received this book from the lovely Blue Sky Papers, and I couldn't be more impressed with the quality. The leather is so smooth, and the book itself is perfectly crafted. I was able to do a couple of personalizations: My initials on the flap, as well as one of my favorite verses, Acts 2:46. 

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved. (The Message)

Blue Sky Papers was so kind to send me these pieces of paper to use to design my recipe cards. I pulled out my dusty watercolors and did a simple design on the cards. Aren't they perfectly rustic? I love that the paper looks torn around the edges.

The first recipe I've added is my mom's famous drop sugar cookies. I have vivid memories as a child being in the kitchen with my mom as she makes these. She would let me add the sprinkles on top and then she'd say, "Let's split one to make sure they're good". She makes these every year for Christmas, and they don't stay on the plate long! I'm not typically a big fan of regular sugar cookies, but friends...these are no ordinary sugar cookies. They are simply delicious, and the only way I can prove it to you is if you try this recipe. :)

Click on recipe card to print

Blue Sky Papers is a book bindery with an online boutique that offers many different personalized keepsakes. I am teaming up with them to give one of my very sweet readers (that's you!) their very own leather portfolio book personalized just for you! You could start your own recipe scrapbook, photo project, sketchbook, or whatever you dream up.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will run from December 18 until 12 AM EST December 25th. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. If the prize isn't claimed, another winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified.

So tell me, would you ever put together a recipe scrapbook? If you won, what might you do with this album?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

/ / Date Night Outfits | Color Palette

It seems like for the last few months, Lamar and I have been way too busy to plan nice dates. Either I'm out of town, or we are sick, or something of the sorts. We go out to dinner at least once a week, so I guess maybe those count as mini dates, right? A date to me is one-on-one time with him, even if it's at our usual spot. Howeverrrrr, those more special, planned-out dates are so important, too. There's a few restaurants around town that I'm dying to try, so I'm going to have to start hinting to Lamar to take this girl out!

When I'm planning an outfit for a date, I think of the usual things: where we are going, what am I in the mood to wear, what's not wrinkly, etc. I don't know about you, but I'm such a big fan of color palettes. I used them while planning my wedding and decorating our home, so why not use them to plan outfits? My sweet blog friend, Hayley of A Beautiful Exchange has such great style, so I invited her along to share a date night outfit based off of a certain color palette. We came up with these colors, which I think goes so well with this season. Since we've only been going on casual dates lately, my outfit is geared more towards a casual dinner, coffee date, or grabbing drinks at a cozy pub. 
On this particular date, we were going to one of my favorite Mexican-Asian fusion restaurants that is only a few blocks away from our house. I could eat there at least once a week, but Lamar puts his foot down. This crazy kid can actually eat other types of food besides Mexican. Who is he!? It's an ongoing joke with us that I always want Mexican food, even if we just ate it for lunch earlier that day. Can you believe that there was a time in my life when I didn't like Mexican food? Gasp! Yes, it's true..way back when I was too young to understand what I was missing.

Like I said, I invited my sweet friend Hayley to join me in this date night color palette challenge. Don't you just love how she used these colors in this outfit? I just love her style! Head on over to her beautifully-written blog to read more about her and find out the deets of her outfit!
Connect with Hayley: Blog  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest 

What about you? What are your favorite kinds of date night outfits? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

/ / Tour de Table | Christmas Fiesta

Happy Monday, friends! I'm so happy to greet this Monday for two reasons: it's the start of my last week of school before vacation, and I'm super duper excited about this post. In October, I introduced a new series called Tour de Table, where each month I will share a themed meal featuring a dessert, side, main course, and extras. Some months, the meal will be focused on a specific country or culture while other months will be holiday themed. This month I've asked one of my dear friends, Madison, to join me for a Christmas fiesta.

Madison and I have met up on several different occasions throughout the last year (and actually, our one year friendversary is coming up soon!), and last weekend I traveled up to North Carolina to visit her for the weekend. We explored Charlotte a little bit, met up with some other sweet blog friends, and cooked...a lot! Madison and I made an entire meal together, which was so much fun. We decided together to do a Christmas fiesta of sorts for a couple of reasons. One: we both really love Mexican food. Two: Madison is from New Mexico, and she shared that most people there would prepare Mexican food as their Christmas dinner. How fun is that?! 

Overall, we had five items on our menu. Deconstructed Nacho Dip, my Easy Guacamole recipe, Mexican Rice, Inside Out Skillet Burritos, and my yummy Sangria with cranberry sugar around the rim. Mm!

I've shared the sangria recipe before earlier this Fall. This time, we added cranberry sugar around the rims of the glasses. I am so excited about this little detail, and it's oh so simple. All you need to do is place about 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl, and add 1/2 Tbsp of cranberry juice. Mix with a fork until crumbly. You don't want it too soupy, or the sugar won't stick well. Once you have a nice consistency, slide a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then spin the rim of the glass around on the sugar until coated. Now take a big ol' sip! 
As for the Inside Out Skillet Burritos, these little guys are my true love. They are simple and really quick. How I came up with these? I was perusing Pinterest and came across some skillet burritos and thought they were a genius idea. No need to turn on your oven! The problem is, whenever I make tacos or burritos, the insides tend to fall out when I take a bite. So, I thought it would be much easier to put the insides on the outside...and the outsides on the inside. You know what I'm sayin'? No? Okay, just make this dish and you'll see what I mean, friend. 

Click image to print recipe
When planning out this meal, Madison really wanted to make deconstructed nachos, and her family's Mexican rice recipe. I have to say, these two dishes were so incredibly delicious. I had never heard of deconstructed nachos before, but they were heavenly and seemed really easy to make. The rice has such warm flavors, and had a kick to it, which I was crazy about. I like my food spicy, that's for sure. Madison is sharing the recipes for these two dishes on her blog today, and she has a fun recipe book giveaway going on as well. Show her some love, y'all!
Connect with Madison: Blog | Twitter | Pinterest 

Do whatever you can to save these recipes, y'all. They are good, and I just know you'll love them.
What are your traditions? What type of food do you and your family usually cook on Christmas?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

/ / Spicy Sausage Chili + Southern Corn Muffins | Recipe

It's been pretty cold here this week (and I love it!), so all I've been craving are warm, comfort-food style dishes. On Thursday, I had a super long day at work. I arrived before the sun came up, and left well after the sun had gone down. Thankfully, Lamar made his extremely delicious spicy sausage chili, so I didn't have to worry about stopping to get anything on my way home. How sweet! Lamar's actually a pretty good cook, so it's a treat when I give him the chance to show off his skills. 

He makes this a bit different almost every time he makes it. Sometimes he uses ground turkey, and he's even used chicken before. But it's my ultimate favorite when he uses spicy sausage. This is totally man food, but it's oh so comforting and delicious. You've just gotta try it. The other star of the show are these southern corn muffins. We sometimes use corn chips, which is really yummy, but corn muffins? There just isn't any substitute. This is comfort food to the max, y'all. 

Lamar's not really one to write down recipes, but he knew I wanted to share it with y'all eventually, so this time he did! The spices he used go so perfectly together. and it has the right amount of heat. 

Click recipe card to print

As for the corn muffins, these might be the easiest and fastest things I've ever made in my kitchen. From start to finish, it took about 20 minutes, and that included cooking time. With only a handful of ingredients, you just can't go wrong! This recipe is adapted from one I found on the back of a Kroger brand corn meal bag.
Click recipe card to print

Before you go, I have a surprise! I'm teaming up with Raw Spice Bar to give away one month of free spices to three of my sweet readers! Have you ever heard of Raw Spice Bar? Let me just tell you, it's such a cool concept. All of you foodies will love it! Raw Spice Bar delivers 3 premium spice blends from around the world straight to your door. They also include an "origins, instructions and recipes" card for each spice blend. So not only will they send you the spices, they will also give you recipes for each. I'll be getting mine next month, and I can't wait to see which spices I get!
This giveaway will run from December 13 until 12 AM EST December 20th. Three winners will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. If the prize isn't claimed, another winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What have you been cooking lately? 

Friday, December 12, 2014

/ / Coffee Date | Highs and Lows

Happy Friday, friends! Oh, am I so happy to finally see this day. Is it just me or has it been the longest week of all time? I am definitely ready for a restful yet productive weekend. Is that even possible? Being both restful and productive? Not sure, but I'm gonna try to make it happen! I kind of have a long to-do list, though, so we will see. What are you up to this weekend?
I'm excited to kick off the weekend with a little virtual coffee date with you! It's been so fun doing this the last few months, and each time you guys share such beautiful, inspiration, and fun updates on life. I so wish we could meet up in real life for coffee, but until then I'll keep hosting this date twice a month for us to come together, build community, and share hearts. So grab your coffee, hot tea, or smoothie and let's get to chatting! I'll start with some highs and lows from the week. Then I want you to share yours in the comments, or link up a post!

Highs for this week...
+ Lamar and I picked out a tree on Sunday evening, and finally got around to decorating it. We made a whole evening out of it--Christmas music, champagne, and yummy pasta dinner. Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas if the entire living room wasn't covered in pine needles! Good thing I have a husband that actually likes to sweep.

+ Last night my school hosted a free Christmas dinner for all of the families that go to our school. It was so fun to see all of my littles dressed up all fancy and enjoying such a special evening with their family. My heart was so full.

+ Spending the weekend with Madison was definitely a high! We had so much fun meeting up with some other blog friends, and then the two of us cooked up a major storm when we got back to her house. A very delicious post is coming your way next week! :)

+ I sent off the second part of my Christmas Exchange gift! I can't wait to see what my secret exchange person thinks. I hope she likes it!

There's always some lows, too...
- Mourning the loss of one of my friends from high school. His family is really special to me, and it's so difficult to know they are experiencing such devastation. My heart is so heavy for them, but I know he is with the Lord.

- This week has seemed incredibly long and draining due to late nights at work and not sleeping all that well.

Now it's your turn!
1. What are your highs and lows from the week? Comment below!
2. Link up one post from this week that gives a glimpse into your life lately. This could be a coffee date, highs and lows, recent update, etc. Make sure it's a link to your post and not your blog URL.
3. Important: Comment on the blog that linked up before you. This linkup us about building community, so this step is important. Feel free to comment on more than just one!
4. Share about the coffee date via social media using the hashtag #coffeedatefriday

Thursday, December 11, 2014

/ / The Most Wonderful Time of the Year + A Minted Giveaway

It's finally starting to look like Christmas at the Griffin house! Last night we decorated our Christmas tree, which is my favorite tradition. We had the Christmas music playing, fire going, and sipped champagne as we looked through our ornaments. After we got engaged two years ago, my sister threw us an ornament shower (which by the way is the best idea ever), so it's really fun to be reminded of the creative and thoughtful ornaments some of our dearest friends and family gave us. I just love the warm fuzzy feeling that happens once the house is all decked out..and not to mention the smell of the tree. Oh, the smell!
I also really love to decorate the mantle, and this year I've made some fancy additions that just make my heart so happy. My favorite new addition is the Minted gold foil-pressed art print.  Minted kindly sent the print to me in the most beautiful frame! I love the glam print, with the gold and all, paired with the rustic vintagy white frame. How lovely is it?
Well, Minted is so kind to giveaway two gold foil-pressed art prints to one lucky winner! One of you will be sent the "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry" as well as the "Making Spirits Bright" print. These would be perfect on your mantle, bar cart, or in your kitchen, don't you think? 

This giveaway will run from December 11 until 12 AM EST December 15th. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize. If the prize isn't claimed, another winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!! So tell me, have you finished decorating your home for Christmas or is it a work in progress like ours?