November 30, 2011

Easy, Fun Breakfast

Ya'll ... I must apologize in advance for the horrid photograph that accompanies this recipe.  Here's the scoop... I have a bad rep with friends and family for taking pictures of the strangest things.  Heck, I've even had an entire photo shoot over a cupcake before (they say confession is good for the soul, right?).  And so, when our dear friends, the M family, stayed with us a few weeks ago, I had to be sneaky and snap the pic of the finished product when everyone was occupied with littles, coffee or conversation!

I just love to entertain and I'm also a sucker for a delish breakfast.  This recipe is an easy two for one!  These little tasty treats are bacon, egg and cheese cups.  They make the perfect single serving for a big crowd.  Some of the gents even had two or three! 

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Cups
(first select your quantity of finished items.  I will use X in the recipe below, but insert that quantity)

The Ingredients:
X eggs
X pieces of bread - white or wheat works just fine
X pieces of bacon
shredded cheese - I used about 1 to 1.5 cups  (just eyeball it)
salt and pepper to taste

How To:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Begin by cooking the bacon to a state where it's warm but NOT crisp.  Don't worry, it will continue cooking when you bake.  I did mine in the microwave for about 3 minutes for 8 slices.
3.  Using a rolling pin, roll the bread to a 1/4 inch thickness.  You want this thin, but not so thin that it breaks.  Using a cookie cutter, cut a circle out of the bread that is big enough to fill the bottom of your muffin cups and also cover some of the side.
4.  Crack all eggs, whisk to scamble and add salt and pepper to taste.
5.  Place the bread in a greased muffin tin.  One piece per cup.
6.  Fold each piece of bacon in half and lay on top of the bread.
7.  Fill the cup with egg mixture.  Do NOT fill to the top, it will expand as you bake.  It's about 1 egg per cup.
8.  Sprinkle cheese on top.
9.  Bake for about 20 min or until set to your liking.  (the egg will stop jiggling when it's done!)

For a big group, plate these up for a large table to pass or dine on buffet style.  The best part ... you don't need a fork to eat these bacon and eggs!  Kids love that!

~charmed, b

November 29, 2011

An Atlanta Right of Passage

What'll ya have!  What'll ya have!
If you are from these parts, you know EXACTLY how to say that just like they do at the greatest drive in on the planet ... the Varsity.  It's an Atlanta right of passage and that's putting it lightly. 

Since 1928, the world's largest drive in has been serving the finest naked dogs, o-rings, slaw dogs, chilli burgers and Varsity orange drinks that's just tops in my book.  It's iconic as far as local history goes, and I just love that Frank Gordy and my grandfather actually knew one another and attended the North Avenue Trade School together around the same time Mr. Gordy opened the legendary spot. 

Dear Hubs and I both share a secret love for the Varsity and I'm convinced the older I get the more I actually love this place!  Oddly enough, we probably dine on the greasy cuisine a few times a year now that we live far away out in the burbs ... but when we went to good ole' GT; neither of us ate there all that much.  And, a few weeks back, Dear Hubs and I ventured for a day downtown with Baby B and some out of town guests.  It was so fun to introduce Baby B to his first Varsity experience.  I'm sure there are many more in his future.

And ssshhhhh..... this part is a secret :)!  There's a smashing new book out that commemorates the wonderful history of the Varsity; all of the celebrity sightings, special events and so many fun nuggets you just can't stop flipping through the pages.  This book is getting wrapped up special for two special recipients who share my love of the Varsity and placed under our tree this very afternoon!

November 22, 2011

Gobble On

If you know me you know that I am:
a.) A sucker for every holiday
b.) Love adorable printed items
c.) A huge fan of the "Keep Calm" collection of British phrased best

Now that we have established these truths, it's no surprise that this adorable printable found its way to my kitchen island to accompany this year's thankful project.  You can download this and a few other adorable Keep Calm sentiments over on this site.  I'm sure Dear Hubs would have my head examined if I printed ALL of them, so we simplified and went with this one as my fave.  Baby B seems to be a fan and stares at this sign the entire time he dines on applesauce and carrots.  It's a hoot!

If you are in a pinch for some last minute cuties to round out your Thanksgiving feast - check these out and I'm sure you will find one you just love!

November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Tablescape

My, my, my ... last week sure did fly by.  We did a whole lot of livin' with our good friends the M family in town and I just haven't quite caught back up!  Lots of fun pictures and goodies to share, but since I still haven't uploaded that beast of a camera to my computer, and I'm out of town ... we will just have to wait another day or two until I return back home (heavy sigh).

After packing up the spooktacular Halloween periphenalia a few weeks back, I decided to leave my dining room tablescape as is.  You see, when the spooky stuff came out, all of the basic fall decor was elaborately placed together in the dining room.  Surprise, surprise ... I just loved the way it looked and deamed it suitable to stay through Thanksgiving!

I covered the table in burlap and brown tulle.  Then layered on a large cornocopia full of feathers, leaves and pumpkins.  Add to that a large tiered french farm basket full of pinecones and round it out with our cute fall printable checklist and some large pumpkins ... voila!  A tablescape like no other. 

Since we won't be hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, this lovely display will be here through the most thankful day of the year.  Happy Turkey Day, ya'll!

November 08, 2011

A Thankful Tradition

After a long month of spooks and jack-o-lanterns, I must confess it felt really good to pack up all the Halloween spooks and move to our November reflections of why we are thankful.  From November 1 until Thanksgiving, the big folks in the house (that means Baby B gets a pass this year), take a moment daily to jot down something we are thankful for.  It can be silly or it can be serious, but it's such a great exercise to take a moment and say thanks for something. 

This year, we are using an adorable template from Silverbox for our giving thanks chain.  The process is simple, write your note and toss it into the large apothocary jar.  Then, every few days, I form the thankful note into a a circle (thanks scotch tape!) and add it to our chain.  At the end, we will add the year and put it away for safe keeping.  I think it will be fun to look back at these every year and see all the wonderful reasons we have to say thanks!

Grab a pen and be thankful!

Our growing collection of thanks!

November 04, 2011

All Mashed Up

Being southern through and through, a potato is something that just doesn't go to waste at our house.  While it doesn't happen often, on occassion there's an extra potato, hash brown, french fry or mashed goodness that isn't devoured and I try my darnedest to creatively use it in left overs.  This past weekend, I realized there was a tray of those short cut, prepared mashed potatoes (dread the thought) in my fridge that was just screaming to be repurposed.  With a few searches around the net, I used some creative licensing and my potatoes made their debute as soup!  I'm happy to report the steamy soup was totally yummy and well received.  Next time you want to give new life to mashed potatoes ... you just simply must try!
We dined on this with a big salad for dinner this weekend and it was delish!
Mashed Potato Soup
2 tblsp butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 med container fresh mushroom, chopped (about 1-2 cup)
2 can chicken broth (about 20-24 oz)
2 cups mashed potatoes (the prepared refrigerator kind work great - so do leftovers!)
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 c half and half
1/4 sour cream
crumbled bacon - optional
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1.  Cook bacon (if using) and set aside)
2.  In a large saucepan, melt butter and saute onion until soft.
3.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook down until soft and cooked through.
4.  Add chicken broth, seasoning and stir to mix completely.
5.  Blend in mashed potatoes and stir until the lumps are gone.  Note - if the potatoes are cold, it will take a few minutes to come up to temperature and blend completely.
6.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in 1/2 of the scallions, 1/2 cup of cheese, sour cream and half and half. 
7.  Bring back up to temperature.  Garnish with remaining scallions, cheese and bacon.

November 02, 2011

Halloween .... finally

Well, I am a day delayed in posting this, but that's due to a day trip on the heels of the festive Monday Halloween we just spent.  Getting up at 5 am and racing to the airport is just cruel punishment after the boo fest of Monday evening, but somehow I managed to do it!

Monday was extra special as it was Baby B's very first Halloween.  I know, I'm sure I've mentioned that five times already.  Anywho, we definitely celebrated in style.  After sneaking out from the office a few minutes early, we gathered at home to dress the babe, costume the dogs, prep some party snacks and get dinner ready to go ... ALL before the trick or treat fun could begin!

Zsa Zsa and Pops conquered Halloween afternoon traffic to join us just in time for the partying to begin.  After prepping some yummy bbq chicken sliders for the big kids at the Halloween party, our entire crew; grandparents, baby, dogs and all, headed over to our friends M and S's house for a rambunctious, wild time for the littles. 

The littles (and the bigs) all had fun socializing and playing games.  Baby B was an adorable addition to the annual party crew with his precious pumpkin costume and the diva dogs proudly sported their matching bumble bee costumes.  We've learned to choose our battles and not require the antenna on the bees ... yellow and black frock is simply sufficient!

After the party, we headed back to our homestead to let our little pumpkin rest a bit before bedtime and we dined on Alessio's stromboli (yum!).  It was a crazy two hours with at least 100 trips to the front door where it was my civic duty to remind the costumed savages that they must say "Trick or Treat" and not just hold a bag out like a begger in order to partake in candy.  I guess my strategy worked because we ran through about 5 BIG bags of candy in the process!

Things wound down promptly at 9 and it couldn't have happened sooner.  Exhausted, Dear Hubs helped me begin gathering up our Halloween decor so that the house would be de-spooked come November 1.  That man knows me well.... he knew I'd have a hissy fit if that stuff stayed up too long.  Afterall, I have a quick Thanksgiving changeout and then it's onto Christmas!!!  (he's rolling his eyes right now if he reads this).

So happy fall ya'll!  Hope everyone celebrated a fab Halloween ... now onto being thankful!

Baby B - I just love this pic!!!

The girls and Baby B

The mummy game

The Fam

(cough... they are all going to kill me for posting this one :)!)

My diva dog bumble bees

Mummy D

Colby and his monster friend

Cute pumpkin

B and K

The fam

~charmed, b

November 01, 2011

Baby Boos

If memory serves (and who knows how reliable that is these days) .... we were deemed the "Fab Five" our freshman year of college by our older, and somewhat wiser sorority sisters.  Through the years a few tweeks to the actual "five" have been made and it's more like a Super Seven or Excellent Eight on most days.  All that said, these girls and I have been besties since the first days we stepped foot on the grand old campus of Georgia Tech.

We endured countless antics that I just can't divulge without giggling my heart out and I'm pretty sure would violate some oath we took betwen ourselves at some point.  It's safe to say that these girls have more to laugh with and at me about than most others on the planet and it's a pleasant surprise that we all survived to tell (or not) our tales. 

Our friendship will always be and while know we are less (much less) likely to be found on the stage at Happy Day dancing until the wee hours of the morning or drinking bar mats and singing kareoke at BW3 with our fellow frat boy friends (and a few kind homeless bums), it's so fun to get together with these girls and pick up giggling just as if time stood still.

Thanks to an afternoon (and evening) watching football together, baby baptisms for T and M's little girls, J's little miss K's birthday and the final fete of the series; M's little boy B's party .... we had the fun of seeing each other FOUR weeks in a row!  As you can imagine, with all the littles, that is an impressive stat!

Here are a few pics of our get together and attempt to get all the littles together in costume for one fabulous Halloween pic!

The girls with the little baby boos!

M and her little G (oldest of the babes)

M and her little buddy B

G was none too thrilled to be a pumpkin :)

J and little miss lady bug K
Monkey B

S and J with miss K