lately: family visit!

I am beyond blessed to have such awesome parents! My mom and dad were in town to visit recently, and with the gorgeous weekend weather we made the most of our time together! A delicious dinner was on tap for Friday night (one of our favorite local places}. Saturday was spent outside; we all knocked out our early morning exercise and proceeded north to get in some paddle-boating action! Not wanting to miss out, we stopped by two of our local breweries for flights and bites. The evening was spent al fresco on our deck; grilling burgers, enjoying cocktails, and winding down with a fire pit. I was so sad to see them go on Sunday, but with the promise of fun activities in the upcoming months, I have those to look forward to!  Love you, Mom and Dad!

Alicia xoxo

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thirsty thursday: cheers, & happy birthday to the hubs!

Today is a very special “thirsty thursday” – it’s the hub’s birthday! So instead of posting a recipe, I wanted to do a special shout-out to him, a cheers of sorts…

I am beyond lucky that I get to celebrate his birthday with him today, and even more blessed that we are sharing our lives together! Not only is he an excellent cocktail producer, but my best friend, and the best husband a girl could ask for!  

We’re enjoying a special meal tonight {stay tuned, recipes will be shared soon!} and of course, some fun beverages! 

Happy Birthday, Ross – I love you! 

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love this man! < 3 

whole wheat pita bread

This is my kind of sandwich bread.

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Perfectly thin, crisp yet boasting a soft interior. Pita bread is the ideal sandwich vehicle, because let’s be real – you can stuff it with everything that you love, no mess or drips to worry about!

One of my girlfriends makes some of the best homemade pita that I’ve yet to experience, and after having them at one of our many get-togethers, I was finally inspired to try my own version at home. The process was made super simple because of my handy bread machine {y’all know how much I love this piece of kitchen equipment!}. Just a few quick ingredients, basic ones, actually, are added into the well and left to let the machine work its kneading and rising magic. The real beauty is what happens AFTER the machine has worked on it; a quick bit of handwork, rolling it out, followed by a quick secondary rise to ensure maximum puffiness while baking. The end result?…

Hands down the most gorgeous, fluffy pita I’ve ever seen! The hubs could not get over how much they ballooned while baking. I was pleasantly surprised myself : ) we’ve used this for everything – sandwiches, pita pizza, chips…the variety of uses is endless – and love them so much that they have become a freezer staple for quick meals!

I’m thinking that some dressed up variations {think: herbed pita, cheese infused, etc.} will be making an appearance sooner rather than later…I mean, how could that be a bad thing?!

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Whole Wheat Pita Bread {adapted, minimally, from The Bread Machine Cookbook}

Makes 10 pita 

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cups water

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. honey

2 cups bread flour

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. salt

1 heaping Tbsp. vital wheat gluten {optional, but encouraged}

2 tsp. yeast

To Prepare:

In the order mentioned above, add all ingredients into the well of your bread machine. For the yeast, I make a small hole in the center of the flour and add it in last, covering it slightly with flour once put in. Set the program to ‘dough cycle’ and let the machine work as programmed.

Once the dough has completed the cycle, divide the dough into 10 pieces and roll into balls.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly dust two large baking sheets with cornmeal. Set aside.

Flatten each ball into a disk, and roll into a circle of about 6″. Place onto the prepared baking sheets, and let rise for about 20 minutes, covered loosely with a kitchen towel in a warm place.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the pita have puffed and the bottoms are golden brown.

Pita will keep at room temperature, tightly sealed, for 2-3 days. After that, place in the freezer and let thaw before using.

thirsty thursday: beer adventures in NC/SC

To stray slightly off from my traditional “thirsty thursday” posts, I wanted to share with y’all a recap of some of the awesome craft breweries we were able to check out while on our vacation earlier this summer! We toured throughout North and South Carolina over the course of several days; don’t ask me to pick a favorite, because I definitely couldn’t : ) Take a peak in, I hope you enjoy!

Alicia xoxo

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Stop #1: Palmetto Brewery, South Carolina 

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Stop #2: Holy City Brewery, South Carolina

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Stop #3: Revelry Brewery, South Carolina

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Stop #4: The Unknown Brewery, North Carolina

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Stop #5: Birdsong Brewery, North Carolina

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Stop #6: NoDa Brewery, North Carolina  

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lately: couple’s vacay!

The hubs and I had the most AMAZING summer vacation; I might just go ahead and say that it takes the top spot! In the week that we spent off, we managed to do everything we love: explore one of our favorite Southern cities, lounge beachside at the most incredible B&B, and get back to our camping roots in a gorgeous state park! The quality time we shared was idyllic, and I wanted to share some of the moments with y’all! 

Alicia xoxo

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Part 1: Charleston, SC

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Part 2: Folly Beach, SC

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Part 3: Lake Norman State Park, NC

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thirsty thursday: infused vodka

I love finding inspiration and ideas for food and drink in the most unimaginable places. It’s funny how the mind works sometimes, isn’t it?

The other day, the hubs and I were out for a Sunday afternoon walk, revisiting memories and just talking about what sort of things we have coming up over the next few months {here’s a hint: WE.ARE.BUSY!}. So it was so funny, to me at least, that the thought of doing some sort of infused liquor should pop into my mind – but hey, this girl isn’t complaining! So we quickly switched topics as to what we should use, and what flavors we should incorporate.

After toying around with the idea a bit {we nixed bourbon, solely for the fact that I’ve seen it done countless times}, we settled on vodka. Not only is it the perfect vehicle with its clean bite and clarity, but we have a bit of surplus from summer shenanigans ; ) Our mint plant is practically bursting with fresh leaves on a daily basis, and with a pint of farm fresh strawberries in the fridge, we had come up with a plan.

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The process couldn’t be more simple.

Wash and dry your ingredients, prepare as necessary, measure the vodka.

Combine.

Strain after 24 hours.

…done! It’s as simple as that. And, like the tequila we infused earlier this summer, it will keep for quite some time.

I’m dreaming of this in all sorts of ways – mixed with club soda for a fun afternoon pick-me-up, mixed with some crisp white wine and soda water for a “jazzed up” spritzer, and of course…fun shooters! And for those in need of something quick, simply mix it with some freshly squeezed juice {watermelon, anyone?!} and you’re all set.

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Strawberry & Mint Infused Vodka 

Use this infusion to jazz up any of your favorite vodka drinks – from a fresh fruit Martini to a “kicked up” white wine spritzer, you can’t go wrong with this flavor combination!

Ingredients:

1 cup vodka {we used Smirnoff}

4 large strawberries – washed, hulled, and quartered

1 heaping cup fresh mint leaves, washed and dried thoroughly

To Prepare:

Into the bottom of a wide-mouth container with tightly fitting lid {we used a Mason jar}, pack in the mint first, then add the strawberries on top. Pour in the vodka and seal the rim tightly. Store in a cool, dark place for 24 hours.

Once the 24 hours has elapsed, strain off the strawberries and mint {you can definitely save these in a container in the fridge for a few days, but do note that they are STRONG!}. Pour the remaining vodka back into the jar. Infused liquor will keep several weeks, at room temperature.

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Cheers!

 

vacation time! catch y’all soon!

Hey y’all! Just a quick note that the hubs and I are jet-setting {not really..more like car driving} off on a week-long vacation! We’ve got a lot of fun activities planned, including but not limited to: 

beachin’

beer tastin’ 

food eatin’

campin’

and you can bet that upon our return, I’ll be posting all about it! In the meantime, feel free to poke are the archives for some inspiration, and of course, check out my Instagram! I’ll be sharing from there like you won’t believe : ) 

Have a wonderful week! 

-Alicia. x o x o