Birthday Weekend in Asheville, NC

It's no secret that I love traveling.  I love weekend getaways and love exploring all of the awesome places the Marine Corps takes us.  I would take a trip over a gift any day so of course I was so excited when Rob told me he was taking me to Asheville for the weekend to celebrate my birthday.  Rob visited Asheville on a cross country flight from Meridian last year and I was so envious!
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Asheville is a little over four hours from Beaufort so we hopped in the car when Rob got off of work on Friday and started the drive.  Temperatures were in the 80s all week in Beaufort so I packed for similar weather without checking the forecast.  Bad idea!  We ended up in tank tops and shorts in the mountains of Asheville with chilly temperatures barely in the 50s - eek!  Besides being ill prepared for the weather, our visit was wonderful.
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Our first stop on Friday was the brand new Asheville Bold Rock cidery.  We are huge fans of this Virginia born hard cider and it has been so much fun to watch their brand explode!  While the Asheville location does not have quite as much charm as the new Charlottesville one, it is on a huge piece of land and has lots of potential.  Plus their cider makes the trip worthwhile every time, no matter the location!
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After a quick cider flight and a stretch of our legs, we finished the drive downtown and grabbed a round of kombucha cocktails and an order of vegan chips and queso at Rosetta's Kitchen.  When in Rome, right?!  A vegan appetizer was about as much as I could ask of Rob so afterwards we headed to White Duck Taco Shop for dinner.  We taste tested a bunch of tacos and the thai peanut chicken and the lamb gyro came out as the favorites.
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We slept in on Saturday before walking down the street to one of the coolest coffee shops.  Double D's is located inside of a real double decker bus!  We grabbed a couple lavender mochas and headed upstairs to enjoy it in this most adorable, cozy upper deck.  Double D's does have breakfast pastries but in the spirit of eating as many places as possible in 48 hours, we headed to Biscuit Head for breakfast.
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I'll admit that I was stubborn about not wanting to eat places Rob had already eaten the last time he was in Asheville, but thank goodness he told me this one was a non-negotiable.  Their "cathead" biscuits are truly the size of a cat's head and that Mimosa Fried Chicken biscuit topped with sweet potato butter, sriracha slaw and a poached egg was just as delicious as it sounds.  I have to admit though, I would stand in the line (and yes, there is always a line!) just for the biscuit donuts with lemon curd.  They were unreal!
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After stuffing ourselves full of southern biscuits, we headed to The Biltmore.  Springtime at The Biltmore is amazing so we spent some time touring the gorgeous gardens before touring the actual home.  I always forget how flat Beaufort is until I spend time somewhere else looking at those gorgeous mountain peaks!
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Once we finished touring the Biltmore home, we headed over to the winery on property.  Wine tasting is included with your admission to the home so of course that had our name all over it.  The man suggested trying 6-8 wines however he underestimated us because we tried all 23 wines ;)  We left craving italian food (which may or may not have been a side effect of the wine!) and grabbed dinner at Modesto (good, not great.  not a must try by any means) before calling it an early night.

Sunday came too quickly and before I could even blink, we were grabbing donuts and kombucha from Vortex Donuts and heading back home.

SILO - An Online Farmer's Market + Co-Op

The words online and farmer's market seem to completely contradict each other however SILO has made this concept work!  They were even featured in Garden and Gun for this innovative idea back in March.  It's no secret that Rob and I love Farmer's Markets.  The Palafox Market in Pensacola was our favorite and our Saturday mornings here in Beaufort are almost always spent at the Farmer's Market in Port Royal.  However after discovering SILO, I've realized that the convenience factor allows us to eat locally even more often and does not take away from our Saturday experiences, it actually just makes them easier.
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SILO, Sea Island Local Outlet, is an online farmers market located right in our neighborhood in Beaufort.  (They also have pick up locations in Palmetto Bluff and Charleston)  Each week farmers list their available products and you are able to place orders online until Wednesday at noon and Thursdays are pick up days.  SILO has everything organic produce and grass fed meats to locally-made cheesecakes and bath products.  Each week they also team up with a brewery in Charleston and you can get your growler filled up with local craft beer when you pick up your order.
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I have to be honest - I usually grocery shop on Sundays so Wednesdays are not usually days that I am thinking about my grocery list.  This week I put it in my planner and made an effort to place my order by noon on Wednesday.  When we picked up on Thursday, I knew this was going to be our new favorite thing.  Pick-up was simple, everything was fresh and local, and the owner Patrick is so friendly!
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For $40, we got 2 lbs of grassfed beef, 1 lb of hormone-free bacon, a bag of kale, a bag of organic salad greens, a tub of full fat local greek yogurt, a dozen eggs, and 3 organic sweet potatoes.  Reasonably priced, products that I feel good about serving my family, and supports the local economy -- looks like we have a new weekday routine :)

Bottles and Barrels - Habersham, SC

I cannot say enough how much I love living in this neighborhood.  I still can't believe we lucked into our little place and weekends like this one make me wonder how we will ever leave!
life in habersham, sc
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bottles and barrels 2016
On Saturday, right in the marketplace just steps outside of our living room, the neighborhood hosted the third annual Southern Living Bottles and Barrels event.  The event ran all afternoon and included live music, wine, craft beer, and local bourbon tastings, and cooking demonstrations with Southern Living magazine's, Robby Melvin.  Our friends Bethany and Greg came over for the day and we had the best time catching up, running into old friends and making new ones.  Beaufort is one of the friendliest places we have ever been with the sweetest people and I cannot get enough!
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After several hours of tastings (and knowing all of the wine pourers by name!), we finished off the night with mexican food at Berto's and a quick stop at the Spaghetti Club to see our friend Thom's band play before calling it a night.  Luckily, all of these stops are within a 500 ft radius of our house and made for a quick walk home ;)

Pizza Stuffed Waffles

It's tough to even call this a recipe but it is so worth making!  Last week, I got home from work and knew mentally it was a pizza night and that we were probably going to order in for dinner.   However, I was scrolling Instagram and boom! came across a video that inspired the the pizza stuffed waffles!  A glass of wine + these waffles might make you forget it is a weeknight ;)
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Pizza Stuffed Waffles
Ingredients:
Pizza Dough (I used Pillsbury)
Pepperoni (I used sandwich pepperoni from the deli, sliced thin)
Mozzarella Cheese
Pizza Sauce

Directions:
Cut pizza dough into 2-3 inch squares (I cut the big rectangle into eighths)
In the center of each square, place a piece of pepperoni, a spoonful of sauce, and a large pinch of cheese.
Fold up the sides, place on waffle iron and press down to cook.
Serve hot with extra pizza sauce for dipping.

** Tip: ordering sandwich pepperoni from the deli gets you bigger slices and way more delicious pepperoni for half the price of the pre-bagged stuff!  1/4 lb gives you about 12 slices.

Bourbon Balls Recipe

As soon as I paged through the Garden and Gun cookbook, I knew I had to save this recipe for the spring.  These bourbon balls combine sweet with a boozy finish and are perfect for a Kentucky Derby party or, in our case, a day at the Carolina Cup.  Feel free to use your favorite bourbon to personalize the taste.
Kentucky Derby Recipe Bourbon Balls
Bourbon Balls
Makes ~24
Ingredients:
2 cups (8oz) Vanilla Wafers, crushed finely
1 cup pecans, chopped finely
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 72% cacao Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Bourbon
Cinnamon Sugar for coating

Directions:
Combine vanilla wafers and pecans in a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine heavy cream, corn syrup, and cinnamon.
Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously.
Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth.
Let cool for 1-2 minutes then stir in bourbon.
Pour chocolate mixture over cookie/nut mixture and stir until well combined.
Place in refridgerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Use a melon ball scooper to scoop even sized balls.  Roll until smooth ball, roll in cinnamon sugar dusting, and place on parchment paper.
Store in an airtight container.

Carolina Cup 2016

It's no doubt that one of my favorite Spring memories is Foxfields.  It is something that I looked forward to every year in college and even after graduation.  Somehow through crazy schedules at different, fraternity pledging, enlisting in the Marine Corps and later being at TBS, we made it to Foxfields six years in a row.  The last two years, we missed Foxfields but replaced it with an equally wild tradition of Mullet Toss!
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When we found out we were moving to South Carolina, we knew that we would have to check out Carolina Cup.  I have to admit, I completely forgot about it until the night before the races.  We made the spontaneous decision to throw some things together and go at the last minute.  It was a quick hop up 95 and totally worth it!
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The day started out cool however when the sun came out the weather was perfect.  We had the best time drinking blueberry moscow mules, people watching, and eating way too much pimento cheese, Publix fried chicken and bourbon balls.  We even came across an entire tailgate of Hokies, in town from Virginia Tech!  I love any reason to spend the day outside and an excuse for Rob to wear a bow tie makes it even better!

Our home, Your Vacation - Spring Break 2016!

While my mom and sister were nice enough to come visit last year in Mississippi (and claim they had a great time!), it's a lot more fun to have visitors when you live somewhere with lots to do.  Our house in Pensacola had a constant influx of visitors and I think (hope!) our Beaufort home will be the same.  We kicked off our visitor season with my mom and Syd coming down for Sydney's spring break.
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Sunday was the only day we could be sure that Rob would be able to join us so we woke up early and headed to Savannah.  I made reservations at Lady and Son's, Paula Deen's restaurant, and it did not disappoint.  If the goal was to stuff them full of Southern cooking, this buffet was a necessary first stop!

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We spent Monday exploring Beaufort.  We had lunch at my favorite spot, Low Country Produce, and then did some shopping on Bay Street.  Sweet tea floats (with homemade peach sorbet!) from Scout were an afternoon necessity, of course.  Later that night, we met Rob downtown for wood-fire pizzas at Panini's on the Bay.
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We completed lucked out in terms of weather for the entire week.  Temperatures were in the mid to high 70s and it was sunny almost every day.  While I am spoiled living down here, I knew that they would definitely want t get some sun while in South Carolina.  We spent Tuesday at the beach at Hunting Island and Thursday at the beach in Hilton Head.  Totally different beaches but both great days.
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On Wednesday, we took a quick trip to Charleston.  Our day started by meeting Rob's mom at Hominy grill for a table filled with "Charleston Nastys".  We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the Battery and on King Street.  Of course, both Callie's Hot Little Biscuits AND Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream were necessary treats!
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The rest of the trip was low key and spent by the pool, roasting s'mores in the neighborhood, buying large amounts of moonshine for them to take home or eating a ridiculous amount of Bruster's ice cream!  It was so nice to have them in town for the week and to show them some of our favorite spots!