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30 July 2014

BLT Bites

BLTs are, without a doubt, my favorite food in the entire world. In fact, Hunter gifted me bacon of the month club a few years back just so I could indulge in the treat as often as possible. I've tried one in nearly every town I've traveled to, and I served them at my wedding. My last meal would consist of a BLT. They're just that good.

So, when my friends and I decided to get together for a little Bellinis & Besties brunch inspired by Haylie Duff, I knew BLTs had to be on the menu. There's something about bite-sized food that makes it that much more fun and enjoyable, so armed with a few Roma tomatoes, some top-notch bacon, a secret mayo ingredient, and a round cookie cutter, I created a perfectly portioned treat.

Here's what you'll need: 

- 1/4 cup of Duke's mayo
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives
- Salt & pepper to taste 
- 10 slices white bread 
- 1 head leafy lettuce
- 2-3 Roma tomatoes
- Good quality bacon
- Toothpicks or small bamboo skewers

Place cold bacon on a parchment lined cookie sheet, place it in a 400 degree oven, and let it cook for 16-20 minutes. Quick side note: did you know that bacon cooks more evenly if you start it at the same temperature as the oven? It's true! This same trick applies to the stove top. Plus, if you're cooking it in a skillet, it will drastically decrease the splattering. Try it. Trust.

While bacon cooks, cut bread rounds with a cookie cutter, slice the tomatoes, clean the lettuce, & mix together the mayo, chives, salt, & pepper. The chives in the mayo are a secret ingredient that really kicks up the flavor of a traditional BLT. It's an effortless step that will leave your taste-buds (and guests) wanting more! Once everything is prepared, assemble as seen here:

Roma tomatoes are the best tomato to use for this little dish because they're already the right size for the rounds. Oh, and I'll let you in on another secret: I didn't have a round cookie cutter, so I improvised by using the lid to our season salt. It worked like a charm! 

BLTs: it's what's for brunch! 


28 July 2014

How to Create the Perfect Housewarming Giftbasket

My BFF Lindsay became an official homeowner on Friday, and I wanted to celebrate the occasion with a little something special for her and her husband. There are tons of ideas for housewarming gifts floating around Pinterest, and I feel like I've seen them all. Using a few of those ideas as my starting point, I developed a basket of goodies for Lindsay that would give her a chance to really relax in her first hours in her new home.

To me, moving means starting over - in a good way - but having to make 400 trips to Target while you gather all of the things you need. I wanted Lindsay to be able to dive into the comforts of home quickly. So, I started by gathering a few key players: household necessities like hand soapa scented candle, & disposable fabric napkins

I also decided nothing is better after a long day of unpacking than an easy dinner: a jar of organic marinara with some colorful pasta meant cooking just a bit, but in the easiest, most fun way possible. I also added a live, fresh basil plant to breathe little life into the home, but it could also be used to jazz up the jarred pasta sauce.

Finally, nothing beats an easy breakfast. I picked up Gabrielle's biscuits and some Emily G's blueberry jam from my favorite Atlanta secret: Lucy's Market. All in all, the gift basket provided Lindsay with a few necessities, and TWO great meals. Plus, it came in at under $50. It's a win win!
What's your favorite housewarming gift to give? Tell me your secrets! 

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