Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Weekend Update ~ Halloween

Hi friends! Sorry for the disappearing act! I was really busy with after-work activities last week and then my computer decided to go on the fritz over the weekend. Nothing the MAC geniuses couldn't fix in less than 3 minutes, making me feel completely and utterly useless when it comes to technology! I thought for sure my 5 year-old MacBook Pro was gone!

But let me recap the weekend now that I'm back in action and can upload my photos!

Clemson played a Thursday night game against Wake Forest last week (and won!) so we had a free weekend and no team to watch! Our friends Trent and Holly both went to UGA for grad school and invited us all over to watch the UGA/FLA game on Saturday afternoon. Many pumpkin beers, buffalo chicken bites (recipe coming soon!!), and other snacks were consumed, all while cheering UGA to a victory!

Riley (the dog) even had a great time playing "Ruferee"

I may have mentioned how much I hate don't care for Halloween, and of course my friends wanted to dress up and head downtown Greenville on Saturday night. I fought with them all day long about my dislike of the holiday and refused to dress up. I know I'm the only one on the planet who feels this way, but we're too old to dress up anymore. I'm all for celebrating the holiday if little kids are involved and certainly would never turn away trick-or-treaters. But come on guys, we're 24! TOO OLD! (End rant)

Ryan already happened to be wearing his Texas Rangers baseball t-shirt and begged me to wear my Braves t-shirt so we could go as angry baseball fans. If you follow MLB at all, you'll know that they changed the playoff rules this season and both the Rangers and Braves were in separate Wild Card games, which was basically a "sudden death" entry into the division playoffs. Both of our teams lost, and Ryan and I have refused to watch the World Series as a protest of the new rules this year. After much convincing, I threw on Holly's baseball jersey, we donned homemade signs, and I begrudingly headed downtown with the rest of our crew.

And that is how I reluctantly spent my Halloween.

You might also remember I was supposed to run a 5K this weekend. Yeah, that didn't happen either, and the only reason I have is because I'm lazy.

Hope everyone is staying safe/warm/dry during this crazy weather we're having lately thanks to Hurricane Sandy. I'm working at a client in the mountains of NC this week and I must say I'm not quite ready for this wintry mix that's falling! I still refuse to turn on the heat because I'm stubborn like that :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Update ~ Football Reunion

Every year, the Clemson/Virginia Tech football game is a big one. Last year, we beat them in Blacksburg to make it to the ACC Championship, where we played them again and won, taking the championship title! So many friends were in town this weekend, making for a fun reunion. We had a cookout on Friday night to celebrate Bobby's return to Clemson (it's been over a year!) and spent the whole day Saturday tailgating with all our college friends.

      Pretty flowers from Ryan  |        A little tight in the back seat     |        Roomie and me

Please ignore the really obnoxious but kinda presh photo shoot. Lauren got a little camera happy.

A gorgeous day for football!

I kind of love my friends. Also, I miss Clemson sunsets.

Friday, October 19, 2012

{Recipe} ~ Football Friday

I'm constantly trying new recipes so I can post them to the blog and it just now occured to me to combine two of my favorite things for a fun Friday post: football and food!

In honor of Clemson's last four home games (tomorrow and three weeks in a row in November), I'll be posting a tailgate recipe I've tried this football season.

When I was a student and lived within walking distance of the football stadium, it was so easy to prep for tailgates because I knew I wouldn't have to travel far with my goodies. The past two years have been quite different, seeing as Greenville is a solid 40-minute drive from Clemson, without traffic. That makes it difficult for me to transport items that need to be warm when we arrive. I need to invest in a heavy duty insulated tote! This definitely becomes part of the decision making process when prepping for a tailgate. If anyone has any tips for transporting food, please share with me!

It also depends on what time kickoff is. If it's a noon game, I'll try to make a breakfast dish to serve with mimosas. If it's a 3:30 game, a combination of chips and dip needs to last throughout the day (and has to taste delicious both hot and cold). A night game needs to be something hearty, because a day of drinking requires a decent amount of food to go along with it. Tailgating is hard work, people!

I might also note that in Clemson, we take our tailgating very seriously, evident by Southern Living's most recent poll: "Clemson Wins the South's Best Tailgate"!!!! How cool is that? I'm so proud of my alma mater!

Our tailgate is still a work in progress, as guys seem to care less about how it looks than whether or not they have enough space to throw the football and play cornhole. Strange.

But without further ado:

Mississippi Sin Dip
from Plain Chicken


  • 16oz sour cream
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 16 oz French bread loaf

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, except French bread; stirring until well blended.

Cut a thin slice from top of bread loaf; set slice aside. Using a gentle sawing motion, cut vertically to, but not through, bottom of the loaf, 1/2 inch from the edge, to cut out center of bread. Lift out center of loaf. Fill hollowed bread loaf with the dip. Wrap loaf with foil. 

Bake dip at 350° degrees for 20 minutes or until warm. Serve with reserved bread cubes, crackers, or potato chips.


Ps. I asked my friend from Mississippi why this was called "Mississippi Sin" and he laughed and said he had never heard of it! So feel free to name it whatever kind of "sin" you'd like! I must say, the folks at our tailgate sure loved it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

{Recipe} ~ Pecan Kahlua Brie

I volunteered to bring an appetizer to the mountains to feed our hungry crew before dinner on Saturday. I always have so many recipes I want to try so it makes it difficult to narrow it down and actually make a choice! This recipe has very few ingredients and was super simple to throw together for a delicious appetizer that was gobbled up in minutes! I highly suggest making this for your next party or get-together. Trust me, everyone will love it!

Pecan, Brown Sugar, and Kahlua Baked Brie

2/3 cup pecans (2.5 ounces), toasted and chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons Kahlua
1-2 sweet apples (I like Honeycrisp)

13.2 ounce wheel of Brie

Preheat oven to 350º F. Using a knife, score a circle around the top edge of the brie (leave 1/4 inch rim). Take a spoon and scrape the white rind off the center circle of the brie (to the inside of the 1/4" rim). Place brie on the center of an oven safe platter.
Mix the pecans, brown sugar, and Kahlua in a small bowl. Carefully place the mixture in the center of the brie and spread to the edges (staying within the 1/4" rim you left). Bake for 8-15 minutes until brown sugar/pecan mixture begins to bubble. Be careful not to overcook (the brie will literally melt and lose its shape if baked too long). You want it nice and warm.
Serve with crackers and apple slices.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekend Update ~ Mountain Getaway

I rounded out my third weekend out of town by spending it in the mountains with Ryan, my parents, and my parent's best friends, Ted and Becky.

Friday was my dad's birthday, so we celebrated with dinner at Lakeside Restaurant in Highlands, NC.  It was a cute little restaurant situated on a small lake with mountain views. The fish was fresh out of North Carolina waters and quite good! I had crab-stuffed rainbow trout, but Ryan and Ted decided to tackle a whole bass! I made sure Ryan pointed those fish-eyes away from me while we ate!

Happy Birthday Dad! 

We had a lazy Saturday. Ted and my dad went fishing, my mom and Becky went shopping, so Ryan and I do what we do best: drink beer and watch football! We went to my favorite brewery to catch the noon games, took naps on the couch afterwards, then had a delicious dinner at the house! 

The house! 
Taking Ted and Becky's dog, Scarlet, for a morning walk! 
View from the brewery

Someone's worn out but ready for dinner!
I've spent today essentially unpacking three weeks worth of clothes, did 6 loads of laundry, and now we're gearing up to watch the Packers on Sunday Night Football. 

I'm so glad the next 6 weekends don't require packing a suitcase! We'll be traveling to Clemson for 4 more home games, but plan to stay in Greenville as much as possible! All this traveling has worn me out - but I wouldn't change it for the world!

I plan on sharing some more recipes from the weekend soon! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

{Recipe} - Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

As part of my fall bucket list, I wanted to make it part of my mission to test out some new pumpkin recipes. I've just recently discovered a love of all things pumpkin (thanks PSL), because I never really ate it growing up. We don't even have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (I know, the blasphemy)! I remember distinctly one year my dad brought home a pumpkin cheesecake from work, and it was so scrumptious. So I scooped up a few cans of pumpkin at the grocery store and started pinning every pumpkin recipe in sight.

Ryan and I are headed to the mountains this weekend to celebrate my dad's birthday with my parents and our family friends, so what better time to try out a new recipe?

I tried out a few new ones, which I'll be sharing soon, but I thought I'd post this one for the weekend in case anyone wanted to do a little baking in their free time! This recipe was fairly easy to throw together, but I did have a hard time making all the cookies the same size. The batter is much wetter than typical cookie dough, so it's not as easy to control when you scoop it onto a baking sheet. But I think that just adds some character to the pies!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from The Girl Who Ate Everything

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Spice Cake mix
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 (16 oz) container Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting

1. Prehead oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, add the cake mix, butter, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, and milk. Mix slowly for 30 seconds or until combined, then beat for 1-2 minutes. Batter will be on the wet side.
3. Drop tablespoon-sized dollops onto the cookie sheet. Try to make sure that they are all the same size.
4. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Let them cool completely.
5. Frost a cookie with a dollop of cream cheese frosting and top with another cookie. Store in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Oh Mexico, You Sound So Sweet..."


That's pretty much the only way to describe our vacation in Cabo San Lucas.

Ryan's mom and stepdad bought a timeshare there this year, and got a "bonus week" for being new owners. They generously invited us, Ryan's stepsister Laurel, and various other friends/coworkers. We had a group of 15 and I couldn't have asked for a more fun group of people to spend 4 days in Cabo with. We had our own chef and bartender, so we only left the house a few times. Boy, were we spoiled.

I'll try to organize my pictures by topic, since all the days kind of ran together!

The House

This place was amazing. There were two bedrooms per floor, and everyone had their own pool. We spent most of our time at the main pool on the bottom floor/beach level with the swim-up bar, and our morning pool time on the top floor pool since it got the most sun.

Most of the floors had an indoor/outdoor pool feature, which was so cool!

The View

Anytime you google Cabo, pictures of "The Arches" will inevitably come up. Actually, this was all I could picture when preparing for our trip. I was incredibly lucky that our house was positioned with the perfect view of the rocks and Lover's Beach. The sun set on the other side of the rocks, but we got a great view of the sunrise each morning!

Where we ate breakfast and lunch every day
Perfection, no?

Swimming with the Dolphins

On Saturday, some of the girls (Laurel, her friend Olivia, Ryan's mom Marni, and I) went to swim with the dolphins. This was by far one of the neatest things I've ever done! You're in a salt water pool with several other people, but each group gets their own dolphin to swim with and pet. I was amazed at how smooth the dolphin's skin was, but they're so muscular! 

I still can't believe I got a kiss from a dolphin! That'll be a memory that'll last forever!

Pool days

We spent 99% of our day by the pool, and I wouldn't have had it any other way in Mexico! 

We indulged in way too many Coronas, chips, pico de gallo and guacamole (oh my goodness, so fresh and amazing), Dirty Monkeys (some kind of frozen concoction with rum, bananas, and chocolate), Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers, and Mai Tais. Hey, when in Rome...

As evidenced by the aftermath at the pool bar on our first night in Cabo...
Ryan's trying to pretend I'm topless in the bottom left picture...
The Gang

Laurel, Olivia, Ryan, and I were the youngest members of our 15-party group, but we had an amazing time making new friends! 

        Ryan and his mom       |  Laurel and Cotton playing on the beach   | Laurel and her dad Scott

Pictures on our 2nd night: the usuals, plus Lance (bottom left), and Glenn and Alex (top right)

Dinner at an Italian restaurant on our final night in Cabo
(Sheri and Sherm with her brother Glenn, bottom left) (Lance, Cotton and me, bottom middle)

The trip was amazing and I kept waking up honestly thinking I was dreaming! I'd love to go back to Cabo one day (except I'm pretty sure no other trip will compare) as it reminds me a lot of Hawaii. 

Having a hard time believing it's really over, but we're back to reality now!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

{Recipe} ~ Spaghetti Squash Jalapeño Casserole

I tried this recipe recently, and even though it didn't turn out quite right, I know it has so much potential! It's a delicioius vegetarian dish that could be served as a main course or a side dish.

See my tips below for changes to the original recipe!

Spaghetti Squash Jalapeño Casserole
adapted from The Realistic Nutritionist


  • 1 2.5 pound spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped and seeded
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, part-skim
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, part-skim
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • Liberal dashes of salt and pepper


  1. Grease a 2 – 3 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spaghetti squash flesh side down on a plate. Microwave for approximately 9 minutes, until done. Let cool.
  3. When squash has cooled, use a fork to remove the spaghetti like strands. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium size pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In another large sauce pan, heat milk, cream and chopped jalapeños in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 5 minutes, or until mixture is fragrant and thickening. Add in spaghetti squash and garlic, mix well to cover in the milk mixture. Add salt and pepper. Let cook another 2 – 3 minutes. Then, add cheese, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well to mix.
  6. Pour spaghetti squash mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and salt and pepper. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until bubbly and top is golden brown.


  1. Use sour cream instead of the milk/cream mixture. I never could get the sauce to thicken, so the casserole was kind of a watery mess.
  2. Drain the spaghetti squash by squeezing it with paper towels after it has cooled. That should help with some of the extra water in the casserole.
  3. Create a roux by mixing melted butter and flour before adding the milk mixture. This should thicken up the sauce properly.
  4. Add more cheese, like pepperjack, for an extra kick of flavor!
Let me know if you give this recipe a try - I'd love to hear other opinions on it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"I think I'll go to Boston..."

I had a feeling once I visited Boston, it would become my favorite (American) city.

What can I say? I know myself well.

Chicago has been in first place (San Diego might also tie) since I visited several years ago, and I've been dying to return. Well sorry, Chicago, you've just been edged out.

I loved Boston. The tree-lined streets, the history, the amazing food, the "big city" feel where strangers still offer to help you with directions; I loved every second. Which is saying a lot considering it rained approximately 66 hours of our 72 hour trip. But not even the rain could damper this trip.

Is it too soon to start planning a return trip?

Here's a way too detailed recap!


Our flight landed around midnight on Thursday, we hailed a cab to the hotel, and immediately fell right to sleep.

We had a spacious corner room on the 28th floor with a view of the entire city. The second I woke up, I could hear the rain hitting the windows. Curses. I was hoping the Weather Channel was going to be wrong!

I wanted to get outside and start exploring, which I think is the best way to orient yourself in a new city. I'm a huge nerd and love maps (thanks Dad!) and had already researched our hotel's location in relation to some of the city's sights.

I knew we were pretty close to the Public Garden, so we grabbed some coffee and ventured into the rain.

       Boston Public Library   |    Boston Marathon   |       Trinity Church       | Tortoise & Hare statues

(I must admit, I was completely improperly dressed for the rain. I have rain boots that I used to trek to class in when I was in college, but they're incredibly heavy and would've taken up my whole suitcase. I didn't want to wear my tan boots either because water does a number on leather. So what did I bring? TOMS. The most inappropriate shoe for rain - they're cloth! Ryan had quite a laughing fit watching me sit on the hotel floor trying to dry my jeans and shoes with the hair dryer. #whitegirlproblems)

We lingered around the Garden for almost an hour. I was on the hunt for the "Make Way for Ducklings" statue and had to wait almost 20 minutes for little rugrats to stop climbing on them so I could take a proper picture. Good things come to those who wait!

We were pretty hungry seeing as it was almost noon. I had researched a few cafes in the area, so we began our trek down Newbury Street. Ahh, Newbury Street.

This street may be one of the top reasons I'm so in love with Boston. My biggest complaint about big cities is the lack of green grass and trees. This tree-lined street is full of New England architecture and every shop and restaurant you can imagine.

We ducked into the adorable Trident Booksellers and Cafe for lunch and were not disappointed. I had a deluxe grilled cheese (bacon + tomato + cheese = rainy day comfort food). This was the type of place I could've spent hours in as a student studying and people-watching.

We stopped into the hotel briefly to freshen up (nearly impossible since I looked like a drowned rat at this point) and then jumped on the T (the subway) to the Sam Adams Brewery. This was a fun, informative tour, and there was so much Clemson orange at the brewery! Someone even started the Cadence Count (one of our cheers) and the whole place erupted. Pretty cool to travel all that way for a football game and see familiar faces! Our tour guide was quite funny and we even got to keep our tasting glass!

After the tour, we hopped on the party trolley to Doyle's Cafe, the oldest bar in Boston and the first ever to sell Sam Adams on tap! I highly recommend doing this after your tour; they give you a free Sam Adams glass if you show them your stamp from the brewery tour! They've filmed several movies there and every member of the Kennedy family has enjoyed a pint or two there at some point. It was also our first chance to taste real New England "clam chowdah," which Ryan was quite happy about. It was very tasty and we topped that off with an order of onion rings (soaked in Sam Adams before frying, of course). Looking back, this was the beginning of the food coma that lasted for the rest of the evening...

Ryan let me choose all the restaurants on this trip because, in his words, "I'm a foodie," and he'll "eat almost anything". I asked friends for suggestions, then I went to Yelp to do some homework. After several hours of reading reviews, I landed on Neptune Oyster for the "best lobster roll in town." The restaurant was tiny and reviewers had warned the wait could be upwards of 3 hours on a weekend night.

Even though Ryan and I weren't particularly hungry after our appetizers at Doyle's, we went to the North End (ironically, the Italian district) to put our name on the waiting list. To our surprise, the wait was only 30 minutes! But because the restaurant is so small, they take your cell phone number and call you when your table is ready. We tucked into a bar across the street to wait, and the hostess called us less than 20 minutes later!

The restaurant is really cozy inside, with creamy white subway tiles and marble tables. Because we were just a party of two, we were sharing our table with another couple! It's certainly tight quarters, so we were prepared to make friends with our neighbors!

We settled on two glasses of white wine and put our order in for two hot lobster rolls, with butter. Trust me, it was worth every last calorie. The lobster was so fresh and melted in your mouth. I didn't eat another lobster roll while we were in Boston, but I think this one would've probably been pretty hard to beat!

It wasn't even 7 pm and we had already consumed a weekend's worth of food, but we still had one last stop to make. Whenever I talked to someone who had been to Boston, the first thing they said was, "You have to go to Mike's Pastry's." At least 10 people recommended it, and while I don't have much of a sweet tooth, I figured we had to stop based on its praise alone! The bakery happened to be close to Neptune Oyster, so we stopped by before going home. The cannoli was right on par with the ones I ate in Italy! I couldn't come close to eating the whole thing since I was so full from dinner, but Ryan kindly ate it for breakfast the next morning to make sure it didn't go to waste!

After a full day of eating sightseeing, we made our way back to the hotel and crashed. A 9 pm bedtime on our first night in the city? Yeah, we're party animals.


Saturday was Gameday! We started the morning like we would any gameday in Clemson or elsewhere: dressed in orange with a mimosa in hand! The rain let up for a few hours, and we enjoyed brunch at Sonsie before heading to Chesnut Hill for the Boston College game.

The tailgating at BC is pretty much nonexistent, so the New England Clemson Alumni Club had planned an event at the only a bar near the stadium. When we got there, the line was wrapped around the building and they were only letting people inside as people left. It was almost hilarious to see the entire town invaded with orange. We were there for at least 2 hours before we ever saw a BC fan! They just don't take their football as seriously as we do down South...

My cousin and her husband live in Boston, and her sister and mom and dad were also in town for the game. We met up with them and went to the only other option in town, Applebee's. Ugh. I was a little disappointed we didn't get to enjoy the Alumni gathering, but I guess we should've gotten there early!

Our Tigers won and we headed back happily to the city for some more adventures!

Even though we don't cheer for the Red Sox, we still would've liked to catch a game at Fenway! Unfortunately, they were on the road but we knew we couldn't leave town without at least catching a glimpse of the park. I had read about the Bleacher Bar and knew that would be second-best to seeing a game. We had a few drinks, watched college football, and then walked around the park before heading to dinner.

Our friend Emmie has been working in Boston the last few weeks and texted Ryan last week to tell him that we must eat at the Island Creek Oyster Bar. Thank goodness she did, because it was certainly one of the top 5 meals I've had in my entire life. I'm not even exaggerating

From the amazingly fresh raw oysters to the cayenne honey butter they served with the bread, I was in heaven. I would happily eat that meal every day. We started out with a few selections from the raw bar (Island Creek, Moon Shoal, and Spring Creek) and they were outstanding. We followed those with a bowl of clam chowder with homemade buttermilk biscuits. Next, fried oyster sliders with a lime chile aioli. I could've bathed in that sauce, it was so divine.  Finally, we split their signature lobster roe noodes. And just to prove how delicious everything was, after we finished our entree, we ordered more sliders and oysters because we just had to have more. 

If you ever find yourself within 250 miles of this restaurant, go. You will not be disappointed.

We stumbled home blissfully full and happy from another great day in Boston.


We were a little bummed to wake up to another rainy day on Sunday. It was our last day to see the city, but we weren't interested in trying to explore the Freedom Trail and walk around Harvard's campus in the rain again. But at least we've saved some sights for a return trip!

We had a comforting lunch at Piattini, a cute little wine cafe on Newbury. We then ducked into a nearby bar to catch a few NFL games. 

Next thing we knew, it was time to make our trek to the airport. I was sad to leave, but know I'll be back as soon as possible!

Until next time, Boston!