• Dessert,  Recipe

    Apricot Thumbprints

    These delicious, delicate cookies are so easy to make! A shortbread base with bright apricot jam, this is the perfect bite. Ingredients 1 cup unsalted butter 2/3 cup sugar 2 egg yolks, room temperature 1 t almond extract 2 1/3 cups flour 1/4 t salt 1/2 cup apricot preserves Heat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and extract. Mix. Stir in flour and salt. Roll into 1 tablespoon sized balls. Make an indent with your thumb and add a drop of apricot preserves. Bake for 10-12 minutes or just until the bottoms get golden. If desired, sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Makes 36 cookies.

  • Book Review,  Recipe

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

    author: Taylor Jenkins Reid  narrators: Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan, Robin Miles setting: Hollywood, NY 1950s-present Book Rating: 5/5If you could choose between true love or wealth and Hollywood fame…… Hollywood legend tells all. This book has everything: sexy iconic old Hollywood; gimlets and manhattans and cigarettes; mansions and wealth and fame. Think Marilyn Monroe surviving into old age and deciding to spill all of her deepest secrets. There was something raw and real in this book that spoke to me. Evelyn’s strength and vulnerability were palpable at times and there are pure gems of wisdom to stumble over. Multiple times I had to stop reading to reflect. Other times I had to…

  • Lunch,  Recipe

    Minestrone Soup

    This soup is warm, comforting and packed with veggies! Hearty and wholesome it brings me back to the Tuscan countryside. Ingredients 2 T olive oil 2 T butter 1 medium onion, diced 8oz pancetta, diced 1 cup carrots, diced 1 cup celery, diced 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups kale, shredded 2 cups swiss chard, shredded 2 cups bok choy, shredded 12 cups beef stock 1 wedge parmesan reggiano with rind 4 cups ditalini pasta, cooked salt & pepper to taste Brown the pancetta and remove from the pot. Heat the oil and butter over medium heat. Place onions, carrots and celery in the pot…

  • Dessert,  Recipe

    Champagne Cupcakes

    Pop the champagne a little early because you’re going to love these delicious delicate bites. Fresh strawberry cupcakes with an elegant champagne frosting are perfect for a New Year’s Eve countdown! Recipe makes 24 cupcakes. Strawberry Cupcakes 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 2 cup sugar 1/2 cup whole milk 2 cup strawberry puree 1/2 cup strawberry jam 4 egg whites 2 eggs 2 t vanilla 3 cups flour 4 t  baking powder 1 t  salt red food coloring Cream the butter and add sugar. mix in the rest of the ingredients. add food color as needed. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Champagne…

  • Appetizers,  Recipe

    Dirty Martini Flatbread

    Pizza Crust 1 packet instant dry yeast 1/2 t brown sugar 1 1/2 cups warm water 2 t salt 2 T olive oil 3 1/2 cups flour Combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit until it becomes bubbly, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and oil. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Let rise, about 45 minutes to 2 hours.   Vodka Pizza Sauce 1/4 cup butter 1/2 onion, diced 1/2 cup vodka 1 can tomato paste 1 can tomato sauce 3 T parmesan cheese, grated 1 t garlic 2 T honey 3/4 t onion powder 3/4 t garlic powder 1/2 t oregano 1/2 t basil 1/2 t…

  • Dessert,  Recipe

    Manhattan Cheesecake

    Start this recipe now!! The cherries take at least a day. You’ll thank me in a few. Seriously, these take time and the clock is ticking….but you’ll be the hostess (or host) with the mostest! Whiskey Infused Cherries 2 cups cherries, pitted 1 3/4 cup whiskey 1/3 cup sugar put cherries (less a few for decoration), whiskey and sugar in a saucepan. simmer for 15 minutes until sugar dissolves. pour into mason jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. when ready to use on cheesecakes, put over medium heat and cook down alcohol until reduced, about 25-30 minutes.  Crust 2 packs of graham crackers 1/3 cup  brown sugar 1/2…

  • Appetizers,  Recipe

    Cape Codder Crostini

    Ingredients 8oz package cranberries, rinsed 1 lime, zested and juiced 1/2 cup sugar 2 T honey French bread olive oil salt goat cheese walnuts, chopped Heat oven to 350. Place cranberries, lime zest and juice, sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the honey and cook for 5 more minutes. Cool. Slice bread and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly salt. Bake for 5 minutes until golden.  Spread goat cheese on crostini. Top with a dollop of cranberry sauce. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve. 

  • Travel

    Southport, NC

    My real life setting for Where the Crawdads Sing Southport Inn 119 N Davis St 910-713-5799 Elias and Mary are the perfect hosts at this sweet bed and breakfast. Established in 1894, the inn is clean, well stocked, welcoming and in the center of town.  thesouthportinn.com Moore Street Oyster Bar What would Kya’s story be without oysters? 110 E Moore St msob.org Oysters galore, loaded tater tots and my husband’s favorite of the night: lobster grilled cheese! I also enjoyed the Taken for Pomegranated cocktail along with the deeply rich chocolate torte.  The County Jail The Olde Brunswick County Jail 318 Nash St. 910-457-7929 Hours: Wed 11-2; Sat 11-2 This…

  • Book Review,  Recipe

    Verity Book Review ~ A Twisted Tale

    by Colleen Hoover narrated by Vanessa Johansson & Amy Landon , set in the Vermont countryside, present day Book Rating: 4.5/5CoHo is a mastermind and I’m officially a forever fan. I’ve often wondered about how authors of thrillers/suspense can create such intense stories. This book gives us a twisted glimpse into the mind of such a writer. This book never stalled, never tripped. It was a full speed, twisty ride until the end. I didn’t want to put it down. Verity will take everything you thought was creepy and make it seem like a children’s bedtime story. Enjoyable is not an appropriate word for this book. Disturbingly entertaining seems a more…

  • Appetizers,  Dinner,  Lunch,  Recipe

    Italian Love Nests

    I’m not sure which genius invented these but they are absolutely perfect for serving to your loved ones! The best part is you can tailor them to your tastes! There are many steps to this one if you want to make these from scratch. For the sake of ease, I’ll post the main recipe first. Ingredients 8 oz spaghetti or angel hair 1 egg 3/4 cup grated Italian cheese salt & pepper to taste 2 cups of marinara sauce 12 meatballs 8 leaves of basil, sliced grated parmesan for garnish Heat oven to 350. Cook spaghetti to al denté. Rinse and add egg, cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir together. Fill…

  • Dessert,  Recipe

    Champagne Soaked Chocolate Covered Strawberries

    These boozy bites are so romantic!  Ingredients 1 lb strawberries 2 cups champagne 10 oz dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% cocoa) sprinkles Wash strawberries then put in an 8×8 or smaller pan. Cover in champagne. Refrigerate at least 24 hours. Place strawberries on a cooling rack over paper towels to let them air dry. Put in freezer for 10 minutes. Melt chocolate. Dip strawberries then place on foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle as you go or the chocolate will harden and sprinkles won’t stick. Refrigerate or eat! Champagne Marshmallow Dip Bonus recipe!! I really enjoyed the Champagne Soaked Strawberries, but I didn’t get enough of the champagne taste.…

  • Dinner,  Recipe

    Verity’s Chicken & Dumplings

    Ingredients 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 leeks, sliced 5 carrots, chopped 5 stalks celery, chopped 4 Tbsp butter 4 Tbsp flour 1 tsp dried thyme 2 tsp salt 6 cups chicken stock 1/2 cup heavy cream 10 oz fresh or frozen peas Dumplings 1 1/2  cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1  cup heavy cream 1 egg Heat oil in large dutch oven. Sear chicken on both sides. Remove from pot and set aside. Add onion, carrots, celery and leeks. Cook until tender. Add garlic and cook 2…

  • Dessert,  Gluten Free,  Recipe

    Deep, Dark Chocolate Torte

    Flourless and rich chocolate goodness, this torte is a great treat for your gluten free friends. It tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. In reality, it is so incredibly easy to make and takes only 6 ingredients.  Ingredients 1 cup unsalted butter 1/3 cup heavy cream 10 oz bittersweet chocolates (I use Ghirardelli 60% cocoa) 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 5 eggs you will also need:  9″ springform pan Preheat oven to 325. Heat the butter and cream over medium heat until simmering and the butter has melted. Add the chocolate and stir until completely melted. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder…

  • Book Review,  Recipe

    The Nightingale Book Review

    author, Kristin Hannah narrator, Polly Stone, setting, France, 1940s Book Rating: 5/5  “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” This book has a presence. A heartbreaking yet inspirational novel, The Nightingale was such an emotional read for me. I listened to the audio during my daily walks and I remember sobbing while walking past fields of cows, their big cow eyes following me down the road. I carried this book around in my heart for weeks. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I related to it throughout different aspects of my daily life.  Even a year later, I feel an…

  • Dessert,  Recipe

    Caramel Cake Petit Fours

    The Cake This is basically a pound cake with a few minor adjustments, including extra eggs. Eggs are the magical ingredient. Their job in this batter is to provide structure. When heated, egg proteins coagulate and give stiffness to the cake- all the better for shaping our little petite fours. Poured Fondant Icing Want to be alerted when I post new recipes? Subscribe below to be in the know!

  • Appetizers,  Breakfast,  Recipe

    Bacon Bit Grits

    Creamy Cheesy Grits Inside a Crispy Shell After conquering my fear of making grits, I wanted to make something bite sized and party friendly. While making chicken tenders for the kids one night it hit me- why couldn’t I bread and bake grits? So tada! Crunchy, cheesy, bacon-y grits in a bite. Of course, you could make these without bacon, but in my humble opinion, bacon makes everything better…… This appetizer/breakfast enhancer/dinner side is easy to make ahead and bake when ready.   makes 24 grit bites Down to the Nitty Gritty…. 3/4 cup grits 4 cups of water 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1 tsp garlic powder 2…