Thursday, January 28, 2010

Brinner... The poor girl's dinnertime staple

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a depressing predicament. My roommate moved out, and not only was I left with an empty bedroom, but also a desolate-looking pantry and an even more desolate-looking fridge:

When a friend saw the state of my kitchen, she said, "Caroline, you HAVE to buy groceries. You have more dog food than you do human food!", which was, at the time, a fact. However, having just finished my college career, I am not completely unfamiliar with this territory. I dug around, and after some investigating, found the ingredients to create a breakfast feast. I've found that I almost always have breakfast ingredients in the house: grits, potatoes, eggs, cheese.

I went on to eat breakfast for dinner (more fondly called "brinner") for a week straight. And I didn't mind it a bit.

The Keys to a Delicious Brinner

Cheddar Cheese Grits

I use the kind of grits that come in a pound-sized bag. You take 1/4 cup of raw grits and add 1 cup of water and cook in the microwave for four minutes. Add a handful of cheddar cheese, and it's pure perfection.

Scrambled Eggs

Also easy. Crack 2 large eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add salt and pepper. Grease your skillet and pour eggs into the heated pan. On medium heat, cook until your preferred egg texture. Feel free to add chopped up red and green peppers, and of course, more cheddar cheese.

Hash browns

Take a medium-sized potato and slice longways two or three times. Take these potato fingers and chop into chunks. While chopping, have some olive oil heating in the skillet. Cook potatoes in olive oil for approximately 10 minutes. At this point, salt and pepper the potatoes before adding some water to the pan. This will create a crispy covering on the hash browns. Cover and let cook for another 8 or 9 minutes, or until potatoes are brown and crispy. Heaven.

Prepare for the food coma that will surely ensue. Enjoy! :-)

On another note, it will be a few days before I return, if anyone is following this blog loyally yet. I am going away for the weekend for what I hope will be the most relaxing of weekends. I wish you all the same!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


There is nothing like having a pup on either side of you on a very cold January evening to keep you warm.

Goodnight, blogworld :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010


Whenever there was champagne to be found in our fridge, my roommate and I would undoubtedly spend an evening on the couch watching old Friends reruns (I own all 10 seasons and am not ashamed to admit to an obsession), chatting and drinking our signature drink: Shirleymosas. Sweet and bubbly, it was always the perfect way to end the day. And while she has since moved out, this is one drink I know I'll make for many years to come.



Orange juice

Recipe compliments of Sunny Jarrard

Combine equal parts champagne and orange juice and sweeten with grenadine. Stir. You'll never have seen a lovelier drink.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rainy Day Food

Days like today call for something warm and gooey to eat, like this cheddar potato soup. Beware, I created the recipe myself. Proceed with caution! ;-)

Cheddar Potato Soup


1 package Bear Creek potato cheddar soup mix*
1 package frozen corn
4 russet potatoes
8 cups water

*Also good is Bear Creek broccoli cheese soup mix... either works just fine. And really it can be any brand.

Now, I've used my crock pot again to make this chowder-like soup, so all I had to do was cut the potatoes into chunks before dumping in all my ingredients and switching the power setting to low. But, if you're the instant gratification type, you can boil the 8 cups of water on the stove to create the soup base. After cutting up the potatoes, cook over medium heat in hot oil for 20 minutes or so. Add the potatoes and the package of corn to the soup and let it cook until it thickens. Salt and pepper to taste.

Best when eaten on the couch while watching a good movie and avoiding the nasty weather. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Outfit of the Day: Sock Challenge

A co-worker recently bet me that "even you couldn't incorporate socks into an outfit in a cute way." So I took her on. I can't wait to tell her about the client who said to me, "Oh, I LOVE your socks!" Let me know what you think!

The lesson to be learned here is that using socks as accessories can be cute, as long as they aren't rainbow toe socks. ;-)

Pink grandpa cardigan with crystal buttons: J.Crew Outlet
Chambray shirt: Gap (current)
Belt: LOFT
Leggings: LOFT (current)
Boot socks: LOFT
Durango boots: Horsetown

P.S. Please excuse the poor photo quality... I've got to figure out the best way to photograph the outfits for these entries.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Mystery of the Moving Food Bowl

A couple of weeks ago, I came home from work and was greeted by this sight when I walked in the door:

Now, let me preface this by giving you an idea of how my condo is set up. You walk in the door and are immediately facing the stairs. You can then walk straight through the living room area to the kitchen, where the dogs have their food and water bowls. The downstairs is very long and narrow. So, you see that the kitchen and the stairs are opposite one another.

Now, you might be wondering, "Why was the food bowl on the steps?" I wondered the same thing that day, and again when it happened a week later.

I continued to wonder about this bowl-moving phenomenon until today, when I witnessed something that quickly solved the mystery.

Once a week, I give my dogs wet food as a special treat. Today happened to be that day, as I was out of all other kinds. I put two separate bowls on the ground in the kitchen and went to eat my lunch on the couch. Paddington joined me while Holly began to eat. When she finished, having clearly had enough, she came to lie down in the living room. Paddington, seeing that she was done, began to creep towards the kitchen, all the while glancing over his shoulder to keep one eye on Holly. Holly had barely sat down before she was up again, racing him to the kitchen so that she could not only have her wet food, but his as well. (Can you tell which pup is the Alpha in our house?)

However, Paddington wasn't giving up that easily. Before I could tame her greediness, Paddington rushed through the living room, bowl in mouth, heading straight for the stairs. At about the third step, he lost his grip and dropped the bowl.

Mystery solved.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hearty chili and the most delicious corn muffins you'll ever eat

I graduated from the University of Georgia in December, and the week before the big day, I had a bunch of people over for dinner and cooked a feast. The menu? Hearty three-bean veggie chili and the best corn muffins in the world, made from my Mom's special recipe. Both are so easy... Try them for dinner tonight!

Three-bean Veggie Chili
(Recipe taken from the 12/1/2008 edition of Woman's World magazine)


3 cans of beans: black, cannellini and red kidney are a good combination
1 package frozen 3-pepper stir fry
1 envelope McCormick original chili seasoning mix
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup medium salsa (I prefer Tostitos Chunky salsa)
2 cups water

Now, you can do this one of two ways. I prefer to dump all the ingredients in my crock-pot and let it cook all day on low. (You'll soon find that the crock-pot is my go-to kitchen tool and I would probably starve in its absence.) However, you could also create this chili on the stove. If that's your preference, you'll need to do the following, and the process should take about 30 minutes.

Using either olive oil or cooking spray to coat a pot, cook the frozen peppers until tender. Next, rinse your beans, and add them to the pot with the seasoning mix, can of diced tomatoes, two cups of water and salsa. Cook at medium heat until chili has thickened. Salt and pepper to taste.

Should be served with grated cheddar cheese on top, and of course, these corn muffins....

Mom's Corn Muffins


1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg (If doubling the recipe, you'll need 3 eggs)
1 can cream corn
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated pepperjack cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in 30-second increments in the microwave. Combine ingredients until evenly mixed. Using a 1/4 cup measuring utensil, scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Do not wait for them to rise... They don't puff up too much. Be warned, once you test one to see if they're ready, you'll want to eat the whole pan. I advise against this, or your butt will soon be as large as mine.

Meet the Pups

Meet Paddington. Does he appear nefarious? Yes? He is. He's been a con man from the start.

Meet Holly. Have you ever seen a sweeter face? (All holler: No! Never!) Truly, it's not possible. Those eyes!

I feel it only fair to warn you that if you become as addicted to this blog as I hope you will, you face inevitable exposure to many, many stories about these two.

What lovenuggets.

Here, you'll find some recipes to repeat...

…and some to not. While I can’t call myself an educated cook, I can follow a recipe with the best of ‘em, and I enjoy chronicling my cooking experiences. Here, I’ll post which recipes I suggest you try (and I’ll warn you about the ones that didn’t go quite as planned).

Stuck in a style rut? I can help!

Need fashion inspiration? You’ve come to the right place. One of my favorite things to do is express my creativity through what I wear, and in this case, that means putting together outfits in my own closet to be tried out at home by you guys using your own interpretations. Each day I’ll post my a picture of my current ensemble, and you can tell me whether it inspires you or makes you want to call the fashion police to report a crime.

Introduction to Retailers' Therapy

Doesn't that sound like the title of some kind of fantastic self-help class? I think it does. Back to what this section will be about...

While working at a women’s clothing retailer during college, I have managed to collect an arsenal of anecdotes, from the hilarious to the bizarre to the downright unheard of when it comes to sneaky shoppers, store sets and the like. Ever heard a middle-aged woman publicly announce her lack of underwear as an excuse not to try on a pair of jeans? Ever been burned in the face by a steamer? No? Well, if you’re looking for a laugh, this is where I’ll share my stories as a method of giving you a chuckle and keeping myself sane.