Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Through My College Years

T and I are going to a Halloween party tonight and I still don't have my outfit planned.  I was trying to brainstorm this morning, and thought it may be a good idea to start looking at the costumes I've worn in the past for a little inspiration.  These pictures were just too good not to share.  Here's a look at my Halloween costumes through my college years.

For my Freshman year, I was a sailor.  I'm proud of myself for not going with the "sluttier is better" theme that some college freshman succumb to.  I can't guarantee that I got much attention from the guys that night, especially standing next to ol' Dolly.

Too many trips to the tanning bed and ten pounds later came my Sophomore year, and I was Audrey Hepburn.   Everything about this photo just screams college.  My apologies if I offend anyone by this borderline inappropriate picture.  It was just too good not to include.

Junior year was the year I thought I was too cool to dress up for Halloween, so I was the girl dressed in regular clothes at a Halloween party.  The only picture I could find was this one, getting a shot of ketchup from mustard.  Oh the things you think are hilarious when you're three cups of PJ down.

For my senior year my sorority had an 80's mixer at Halloween.  The dress I got was awesome.  It actually had three extra shoulder pads sewn into each side, because the original ones clearly weren't big enough for the original owner. I must admit, it was one of the most comfortable Halloween costume I've ever worn, and man do those shoulder pads make your waist look small.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spicy Carrot Hummus

T and I are on a serious budget now for restaurants and groceries every month.  We've been taking a Dave Ramsey course which has forced us to look at our budget, and see where we can cut out spending.  For the month of October we attempted to cut our food budget in half.  Yes, you read that right, half.  It was extremely challenging, but we only have one more day of this month and I still have $1.03 in my wallet.  I think we're gonna make it.

Being on such a tight budget has made me see the things that we have in our refrigerator a little differently.  Rather than going out and buying something new, I find myself making use of every single thing we've got in there.  Last week we had a full bag of pita chips, and I found myself craving hummus.  I looked in the fridge, no hummus.  Looked in the pantry, no chick peas. So it was time to get creative. 

I remembered back to the previous week when I tried a carrot hummus, and I did my best to replicate the recipe. I really liked how it turned out, and T even enjoyed it, too!  I use the word "hummus" very loosely with this recipe, because it is missing the two key ingredients in a traditional hummus: chick peas and tahini.  It does include garlic, lemon juice and olive oil like a typical hummus would, but that's when the similarities stop.  Regardless, its great with pita chips.

 Spicy Carrot Hummus

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small clove garlic
1 Tbsp lemon Juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne 
1 tbsp capers

Boil or roast carrots until tender. In a food processor, combine carrots through cayenne and pulse until smooth.  Top with capers.  Serve with pita chips. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Angela's Wedding Weekend

This weekend we packed up our bags and headed to Charleston for T's sister Angela's wedding.  Angela and her fiance Trey were sweet enough to reserve a house in Isle of Palms for the family to stay.   Friday afternoon Angela's aunts threw a bridesmaids luncheon at the house.  We had so much fun sipping on our mimosas, eating girly food, and talking about the wedding.  Oh, and we stepped out to the porch for a mini photo shoot, too.

The ceremony and reception were held at Harborside East, a wedding venue close to Patriots Point.  The view for the ceremony was gorgeous; a Charleston sunset over the Holy City's iconic Ravenel Bridge.  The reception was beautiful.  The couple are both wine enthusiasts and love to visit different vineyards.  Over the years that they dated, they collected bottles from each vineyard.  For the centerpieces, they converted each wine bottle into a flower vase and included a message about the memories that they had from that particular vineyard.  I just loved the personal touches that they put on everything. 

For wedding favors, the newly married couple gave out Krispy Kreme Doughnuts as we left.  A perfect sweet treat to end the night.

Hope y'all had a great weekend, too!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Roasted Ranch Pumpkin Seeds

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, after pumpkin carving on Friday night I was left with the seeds of five pumpkins.  As a kid we always had roasted pumpkin seeds so I was really excited about giving them a shot myself. I looked up several recipes and combined a few to get the flavors that I was wanting. I brought them to our tailgate the next day and they were a big hit. I'm always looking for tailgate foods that can stay out all day without spoiling, and this one fit the bill! 

Roasted Ranch Pumpkin Seeds:

4 cups pumpkin seeds (washed)
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp. seasoned salt  (optional)
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Stir pumpkin seeds, oil, and seasonings until seeds are evenly coated.  Roast seeds for 30 minutes on a greased baking sheet, stirring every 10 minutes until golden.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin Carving With Friends

Friday night T and I got together with some friends.  We spent the night sipping on drinks, eating soup, and carving pumpkins.  What a perfect fall evening.

You can see our pumpkin just above my head.  T did a great job carving the ghost, while I stayed in the kitchen picking all of the pumpkin seeds out of the pulpy goop.  I couldn't stand seeing all of those yummy seeds go to waste, so I seasoned and roasted them for the next day.

We had a little bit of a competition with our pumpkin carving, and the winning pumpkin was this one.  It was completely appropriate because we are all Clemson fans and our team was playing FSU the next day.  Little did we know we were going to get stomped in that football game!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five On Friday

This Friday I'm joining up with April, Natasha, Darci, and Christina in their Five on Friday Link Up.  Here are the five things I'm loving this Friday.

Last night my good friend Megan and I went to Fashion On The TOWN put on by Greenville's TOWN Magazine.  Fashion On The TOWN is a shopping crawl held once a year in Greenville for two nights.  To partake, you pick up a passport from one of the participating stores.  Your passport contains information an all of the stores, coupons and discounts for those retailers, and a map of where each place is located.  The last page of your passport has an area where each store can stamp, proving that you've been to that place.  The goal of the night is to get as many stamps as you can.  At the end of the event your name is entered into a drawing to win a trip to NYC.  The number of stamps you get determines the amount of times your name is entered into the drawing. 

All of the participating retailers pull out all the stops for the shoppers, too.  Each place had complimentary drinks and food, and some offered an additional discount off of all of their clothes.  They even offered a car service that would take you from store to store.  It was truly an amazing night.

One of the boutiques that we visited last night, Augusta Twenty, had a Día de los muertos theme.  They brought in two psychics to do readings.  I've never had a reading done before, and thought that this may be the only opportunity I ever have to get a free one done.  I've never been a big believer in clairvoyance, but it was quite interesting to hear what she did have to say.  The reader said that I would have a long happy life, so I hope that part is true!

It's been quite a busy week, and every night I've found myself scrambling in the kitchen at after 7 pm trying to whip up a quick dinner. Earlier this week I threw together a fish dish that I found on Pinterest. I was not expecting it to be an amazing dish, but T could not stop talking about how much he loved this fish.  He's even requested that we have it again next week.  The recipe is a Chili, Lime and Cumin Cod (I used Orange Roughy) and I also served a Tartar-Like Sauce with it.  The tartar sauce is not too bad for you either, you cut some of the mayonnaise out and substitute it with plain Greek yogurt.'s Chili Lime and Cumin Cod

Budget Bytes Tartar-Like Sauce

Sauvignon Blanc has always been my white wine of choice.  I'm not a huge fan of the Charles Shaw Sauv Blanc, but Trader Joe's has recently started carrying another one that I love for just a dollar more.  This Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is so clean and crisp and not too grassy; just how I like it.  And at $3.99 a bottle I'm tempted to buy a whole case.

Once again we're headed to Clemson this weekend to cheer on our Tigers.  We've maintained the #3 spot for several weeks now and this game on Saturday is HUGE.  For the second time this season ESPN Gameday will be in Tigertown as we play the #5 Florida State Seminoles.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

South Carolina State Fair

Sunday on our way out of town, T and I stopped at the state fair for lunch with my parents. T and I love the Upstate, but we do miss Columbia's state fair in all of its deep-fried glory.  We started our lunch with Fiske french fries; the best fries at the fair.  They're shoestring cut and come with the options to add malt vinegar and seasoned salt.  We added both, naturally. 

After our french fries (and a not pictured corn dog) we walked around looking at all of the games and  rides.  I don't know how I ever got on some of those things when I was younger; just looking at them made me want to hurl. Nonetheless, it was fun to walk around and look, and to hear the occasional "somebody scream!"  accompanied by 30 or so tweens yelling at the top of their lungs.  If you've been to a state fair, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

My mom is a really talented seamstress and enters things into the fair every year.  This year she entered these two Christmas stockings.  You can't tell from the pictures, but they are made from all different kinds of velvet and brocade fabrics.  She then hand embroiders all of the details onto each one. It's a very time consuming process, but they turn out absolutely stunning.  This time last year T and I asked her to make stockings for the two of us, and this is his on the left.  We were thrilled to see that both of the ones she entered won blue ribbons!

We also ran into Danny Ford, Clemson's football coach for the 1981 National Championship team and had to snap a picture with him.  I do believe this was T's highlight of the day. 

We ended our fair visit with a bag full of mini doughnuts.  It's my family's tradition to always get an elephant ear, but T has always gotten the mini doughnuts.  Essentially its the same thing, fried tough coated in cinnamon sugar.  So in an effort to blend our family traditions we opted for the mini doughnuts this year, and they were quite tasty!

I'm so glad that we made time to swing by the fair this year.  There is no other place that I can go and justify eating that much fried food!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekend Recap- Wedding In Columbia

This weekend T and I headed to Columbia for the wedding of our friends Mary Margaret and Nils.  Mary Margaret and I have been friends since we were freshman in college and our dorm rooms were side by side.  She's actually the reason that T and I ever met, because the two of them were friends from their hometown.  The reception was held at the Hall at Senate's End right downtown.  Since my parents live close to downtown were were able to stay with them both Friday and Saturday nights.  I loved being able to combine this trip with some family time, too.

So after a Saturday afternoon of shopping for me and mom, and a day of watching football and smoking cigars for T and dad, the two of us got all gussied up and headed to the church. 

The ceremony and reception were absolutely beautiful.  Mary Margaret didn't miss a single detail.  She had the most amazing flowers- they were romantic with dusty miller and peonies and they used cotton for a bit of a southern twist.  And for the cake, or lack thereof, they served mini pies, don't you just love that?  Here's a picture I snapped from the bride and groom's first dance.

I loved getting to celebrate Mary Margaret and Nils, and it was so nice to see my college friends once again.  We've had several weddings this year, and I just love how it brings us all together.  

Hope y'all had a great weekend as well!

Oh and a quick iPhone update, my screen has been fixed!  It did set me back about $125 though.  Don't think I'll be doing much shopping for the rest of the month.  Thanks to everyone for all of their sweet comments about it yesterday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

iPhone Woes

Happy Monday everyone! Typically around this time I'm sorting through all of my phone pictures from the weekend reliving all of our fun moments, but that's not the case today.  This is what I did to my phone on Friday afternoon right as we were about to head out of town.

Every time I swipe my finger to unlock my phone I'm terrified I'm going to have one of those Bill Hader moments where I slice my thumb right open.  Needless to say I didn't do much Instagramming this weekend, and wasn't able to check other people's posts either.  I'm hoping to make my way down to the Apple store today to get this fixed- I can only live with out Insta for so long. 

I also had to go back to the old tried and true digital camera to capture photos from the weekend.  So bear with me as I'm still sorting through all of those. I hope to have a weekend recap post up by tomorrow.  Have a great week!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coconut Chicken With Sweet Chili Sauce

Last night I tried out a new recipe, and it was such a hit! I had a few requests to share the recipe when posted a picture of it last night on Instagram, so here it is.  This dish piqued my interest because I already had all of the ingredients on hand and the prep time was very short- two major pluses in my book.

 Coconut Chicken With Sweet Chili Sauce 
(recipe adapted from

photo by

  • 12 chicken tenderloins
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (you can substitute regular milk)
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 cup sweet chili sauce (found at most grocery stores in the Asian section)

  1. Prepare your breading station by gathering three bowls. In the first bowl combine the flour and salt. In the second bowl, combine the eggs and coconut milk. Whisk together until well combined. In the third bowl, stir together the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut.
  2. Place ¼ cup of vegetable oil in a large heavy duty skillet and heat over medium/high heat until it is just below smoking. You can test the heat by throwing in a little bit of flour. When it is hot enough, the flour will sizzle and create a lot of bubbles.
  3. While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken strips. First, coat each strip in the flour and salt mixture. Then dip each into the eggs/coconut milk and finally coat each in panko and shredded coconut. I find it easiest to coat all of them in the flour then go back and then do the egg wash and panko/coconut for each before moving onto the next.
  4. After breading the strips, the oil should be hot enough. Place about 4 strips in the pan at once. There should only be one layer in the pan and there should be about an inch between each strip. If you over crowd the pan it will get too cold and the strips will soak up a lot of oil instead of frying. Fry the strips for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy. Place them on a wire rack (like this one) to drain and move on to the next batch. After a couple of batches you may need more oil so you can add the second ¼ cup to the pan. Allow the oil to come up to temperature before frying the next batch (2-3 minutes). Because the strips are thin, they should be cooked through by the time both sides are browned. You can tell by the texture of the chicken; it should be stiff when pressed. 
  5. When all of the strips are done frying, serve immediately with sweet chili sauce for dipping.
(Serves 4)

I loved how the panko and coconut helped the chicken tenders stay crispy.  I can't stand when the breading on something ends up falling off or turns out soggy.  This was great served as part of our entree, but I could also see this served as an appetizer.  I'm also eager to try the same preparation with shrimp, I think that would be so good!

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