Sunday, June 22, 2014

Seattle's Best So Simple Iced Coffee

Have I ever told you the story of how Brad and I met?  Well, our little love story started out like this...

One fateful summer day, I stumbled into a little coffee shop right down the street from my new college apartment.  It was smack in the middle of an ideallyic little area called English Village and was called Joe Muggs Newsstand.  I had just moved to Birmingham, AL with one of my best friends, Mary Katherine, to go to college.  We wanted part-time jobs, and low and behold, Joe Muggs was hiring!

We filled out our applications and both got hired.  What a massively fun job that was!  I became a "Master Barista" and could make a mean iced coffee, cappuccino, mocha, or whatever your coffee-lovin' heart desired.  Those were such fun times that I'll never forget.  I could go on and on with stories about working in that little shop.

Shortly after I started the job, I met a handsome fellow that also happened to work there.  Yep, you guessed it...His name was Brad.  I had a crush on this Brad guy and eventually talked one of my co-workers into talking to him on my behalf.  I know, I know...the easy way out, right??  :)

Well, their conversation went well, and Brad and I started dating.  The rest folks, is history.  We've been happily married for over 8 years now.  I can't believe it...My, how time flies!

Joe Muggs Newsstand
That hubby of mine is always goofing off!
As you can imagine, coffee holds a special place in our hearts.  In fact, the favors at our wedding were coffee packets with custom labels - "Brad & Celeste, The Perfect Blend."  We even had a custom coffee-chocolate groom's cake!

So, when the great folks at Seattle's Best Coffee recently contacted me to let me know that their House Blend Coffee was now available at Publix stores, I was thrilled to hear this news and so excited to give it a try...especially this particular Iced Coffee recipe.  With summer *officially* here, the temperatures in Alabama are rising quickly, and iced coffee is a refreshing substitute on these sweltering days.

This recipe brings backs memories of the Iced Coffee we used to serve at Joe Muggs.  The flavor is rich, yet smooth.  It's really quite delicious!!  Plus, it's made from high quality, Latin American, arabica beans.  Even the coffee connoisseur hubby of mine was impressed.  After just one sip, he was in love!

 Also, from 6/14/14 to 7/4/14, House Blend is on special at Publix: Roast and Ground House Blend packaged coffee is just $4.99, and House Blend K-cup® Packs are $5.99.  You can't beat that!

You can find more information and additional recipes at

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Seattle's Best So Simple Iced Coffee
Source:  Seattle's Best Coffee

2 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups ground Seattle’s Best Coffee® House Blend

Mixing spoon
Coffee filter or cheese cloth
Carafe or bowl with lid

Pour grounds into a bowl. Add 1 cup cold water and stir gently. Slowly add remaining 1 1/2 cups cold water, agitating the grounds as little as possible.

Cover, steep at room temperature for 12 hours.

Strain the coffee grounds through a filter. Store concentrate in refrigerator up to 5 days.

To serve, add 1 part coffee concentrate to 3 parts water over ice. Enjoy your smooth-tasting iced coffee with your favorite mix-ins or toppings

Yields 1 cup / 300m

I’m participating in a Seattle’s Best Coffee® blogger campaign and received compensation as part of the program.  However, all opinions and reviews are 100% my own. 

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Friday, June 6, 2014

An Exciting Giveaway - $50 Southern Bite Cookbook Prize Package!

Okay, friends...How about another awesome cookbook giveaway?  This one is a new favorite and is authored by my food blogging friend, Stacey Little, from The Southern Bite.  

The Southern Bite prize package features a signed copy of the cookbook in a Southern Bite bag, along with an assortment of fun kitchen utensils/gadgets. The prize package is valued at over $50!

I had the pleasure of meeting Stacey at the 2013 Southern Baking Retreat in Nashville, TN.  I'm a big fan of his blog, and I'm thrilled to offer a copy of his long-awaited cookbook, The Southern Bite Cookbook, to one lucky reader.

Stacey's work has been featured on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Southern Lady Magazine, as well as many other print and online publications.  His new book is filled with luscious photos of some of the most mouth-wateringly southern food you can imagine.   I also love the personal stories and family shots that fill the pages.  This book is best enjoyed with a glass of ice-cold sweet tea, a porch swing and a long, lazy summer afternoon. 

Just feast your eyes on these recipes (which are all really easy!):

Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via

Fresh Corn Salad
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via
Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Pie
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via
Turnip Green Dip
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via
Okra Fritters
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via
Red Velvet Brownies
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via

Is your mouth watering yet??

If you'd like a copy of this great cookbook, please enter my rafflecopter giveaway below...It's super duper easy to cast your entry!
Good luck, friends!  :)
IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you enter by leaving a blog comment, don't forget to click the "I Commented" green tab on the rafflecopter widget below.  If you don't, it will not count your entry.

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Monday, May 19, 2014

#SaveTheBiscuit: Berry Salad w/Poppy Seed Dressing & Buttermilk Biscuit Croutons

You know what they say - When life gives you left-over buttermilk biscuits, make croutons!

Wait a minute, I think I got that a little bit wrong.  ;)

But seriously, where have buttermilk biscuit croutons BEEN all my life?!?  They are insanely delicious right out of the oven, and equally amazing after they've cooled and hardened a bit.  I came across the idea in the May 2014 issue of Southern Living magazine, and wondered, "Why haven't I thought of this before?"

This is a wonderfully fresh take on the classic buttermilk biscuit and is the perfect way to use up extra biscuits that you might have on-hand.  Because we all know, it would simply be a crying shame to waste something as mouth-watering as a homemade biscuit!

I paired these croutons with a flavor-packed salad that will be one of your favorites this summer.  It's filled with fresh strawberries, blueberries, toasted walnuts, goat cheese, red onion, chicken, biscuit croutons, and sunflower kernels.  A drizzle of a sweet and tangy poppy seed dressing pulls it all together.  

Another thing that made this salad so spectacular is the fresh greens that were grown by my incredible in-laws.  They are the best and have made me feel like a part of their family since the first day we met.  I sure do love them and feel so lucky to have them in my life. 

This year, they planted a bountiful garden that includes sugar snap peas, assorted salad greens, strawberries, carrots, swiss chard, tomatoes, radishes, and cilantro.  They also have a number of fruit trees/bushes - fig, blueberry, peach, cherry, and raspberry.  I might even be leaving a few things off.  Needless to say, it's so much fun venturing over to their house to sample the latest offerings of the garden.  

The greens really made this salad.  There's nothing better than picking your own produce and eating it right away.   All those bagged salad greens at the grocery store really pale in comparison.  I've included a few photos of the garden below.

This is the fourth installment in my #SaveTheBiscuit series with the great folks at White Lily flour.  You can see my other White Lily posts here:

Just Peachy Shortcake with Toasted Pecans & Maple Drizzle
Caramel Pecan Biscuit Bake
A Buttermilk Biscuit Tutorial

Bon Appetit, my friends!

My awesome in-laws, Travis and Carol, with my little niece, Amber.  Love them!
Gorgeous salad greens growing in their garden.
Swiss Chard...Mmm...

Fresh greens, right after a light rain.
A cute little sugar snap pea.

Berry Salad w/Poppy Seed Dressing & Buttermilk Biscuit Croutons

For the salad:
4-5 large handfuls of your favorite salad greens
1 lb. strawberries, sliced
1 cup blueberries
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/3 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 red onion, minced
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 rotisserie chicken

For the Croutons:
(Adapted from Southern Living magazine, May 2014)
3-4 buttermilk biscuits, cooled
Salt & pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil 

For the Dressing:
(Adapted from:  Taste of Home)
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds 

Follow THIS RECIPE to make the buttermilk biscuits.

Let biscuits cool completely and then slice into small, crouton-sized cubes.  Place biscuit pieces on a silicon-lined baking sheet in a single layer.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.   Place in a 400 degree F oven for 10 minutes, or until crisp and lightly toasted.

Meanwhile, remove chicken from the bone and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces.  Set aside.

Place the salad greens into a large bowl.  Add the strawberries, blueberries, toasted walnuts, sunflower kernels, red onion, crumbled goat cheese and chicken.  Gently toss to combine all ingredients.

Divide salad onto individual serving plates and lightly dress with the desired amount of vinaigrette, reserving extra for later use.

To make the dressing:
In a blender, combine the first six ingredients; cover and process until blended. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Stir in poppy seeds. Chill until serving.  Yield: 1 cup.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY + Fried Egg Sandwich w/Bacon & Arugula

A few weeks ago, we ventured to a wonderful little place called McEnally's Mercantile in Pinson, AL.  It's a great little store, and I hate that it took me so long to discover it.  Their website describes it as:  "McEnally’s Mercantile is a family-owned general store offering hardware, home & garden items, grocery, feed & supplies for those seeking locally made products, home-grown foods and DIY home & d├ęcor items."  

When we walked through the front entrance, we were immediately greeted by the inviting smells of farm-fresh local greens being sauteed in coconut oil with bell pepper, onion, tomatoes and topped with some of the best bacon you've ever had in your life...all being prepared by a local farmer.  After seeing the rows and rows of local produce, milk, butter, freezers of local meats and several aisles of organic products, I knew I had found my new favorite little place to shop.

I filled my cart with peppery arugula, farm fresh eggs from Bartlett Farms, leafy kale, tomatoes, beef, chicken, among other delicious finds.  The next morning, I flipped through a copy of my newest cookbook from Southern Living, Comfort Food Made Easy, and came across this egg-cellent brunch idea.  It was perfect - I could utilize the arugula, onions and eggs from our shopping trip the day before.  Yes, please!

The original recipe called for pancetta, but I substituted with crispy bacon.  I also made my own hollandaise sauce following THIS RECIPE.  The final results were sublime.  Brad and I were both sad when our last bites were gone...Seriously folks, this was plate-licking good!  Buttery, toasted bread is topped with vibrant arugula that's been lightly dressed with a mixture of red onion, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice.  Next, the bacon and fried egg are added, and the entire mountain of deliciousness is finished with a drizzle of hollandaise sauce and a sprinkling of sun-dried tomatoes.  OH MY YUM!

This cookbook has quickly become one of my favorites.  Southern Living magazine has been a long-time go-to recipe source for me, and this book is a great compilation of comforting dishes.  The recipes are truly easy and the book is packed with mouth-watering photos, which is a must for me.  You can find more info about the book HERE

If you'd like a copy of this great cookbook, please enter my rafflecopter giveaway below...It's super duper easy to cast your entry!  The winner will also receive a jar of LouAna Coconut Oil.  

Good luck, friends!  :)

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you enter by leaving a blog comment, don't forget to click the "I Commented" green tab on the rafflecopter widget below.  If you don't, it will not count your entry.
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Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon & Arugula
Adapted from:  Southern Living: Comfort Food Made Easy, Oxmoor House 2014

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) challah bread slices
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (0.9-oz.) envelope hollandaise sauce mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1. Preheat broiler with oven rack 5 to 6 inches from heat. Brush both sides of bread with butter; place on an aluminum foil-lined broiler pan. Broil 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted.
2. Prepare hollandaise sauce according to package directions; stir in zest and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Keep warm.

3. Toss together arugula, next 2 ingredients, 2 tsp. olive oil, and remaining 1 tsp. lemon juice.

4. Heat remaining 1 tsp. olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Gently break eggs into hot skillet; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.

5. Top bread slices with arugula mixture, bacon slices, and fried eggs. Spoon hollandaise sauce over each egg, and sprinkle with tomatoes. Serve immediately.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

#SaveTheBiscuit - Just Peachy Shortcake with Toasted Pecans & Maple Drizzle

Who's ready for some more biscuit deliciousness???  This recipe is one of my personal favorites when it comes to desserts that are perfect for the upcoming spring and summer season.  It's my take on a traditional shortcake.  Sky-high buttermilk biscuits take the place of the usual shortcake, and juicy peaches mixed with a little brown sugar make a mouth-watering filling.  Freshly whipped cream, a drizzle of maple syrup and toasted pecans take this dessert to stellar status.

Recently, I shared the news that my blog had been featured in Wiregrass Living magazine.  This recipe was one of the dishes in my feature.  It's definitely a hit around our house.   In fact, I have a confession to make - After photographing this dish, I unashamedly devoured the.whole.thing.  I mean, I couldn't let such a beautiful thing go to complete waste!?!  Shhh...Don't tell anyone.  ;)  A girl's gotta indulge every now and then.

I know that fresh peaches aren't always easy to come by this time of year, so a bag of sliced, frozen peaches would make a fine substitute if you're in a pinch.  Just defrost and proceed as written.  This entire recipe comes together quickly and the steps are super easy.

Here in the south, we southerners are serious about our homemade biscuits.  There's a debate about whether using salted butter or shortening is better when it comes to this topic.  I've always been a firm believer in butter, until very recently.  The past few times I've made biscuits, I only had shortening butter to be found.  I'm slowly becoming a shortening believer.  My biscuits came out mile-high and were super light and flaky. I've also perfected my kneading method and fold over the dough several times while kneading.  This helps to create beautiful layers.

This is the 3rd installment of my #savethebiscuit series, in which I've partnered with the nice folks at White Lily flour.

Bon Appetit, my friends!

"Just Peachy" Shortcake with Toasted Pecans, Buttermilk Biscuits & Maple Drizzle
Serves 5-6
6 large peaches, peeled and sliced into wedges
3 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily
1/4 cup cold, salted butter OR vegetable shortening, cut into cubes
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pure maple syrup

For the peaches:
Mix together the sliced peaches and brown sugar in a medium bowl.  Let the mixture stand for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

For the pecans:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly toasted and fragrant.  Set to the side.To make the biscuits:
Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or coat with no-stick cooking spray.

Pour flour into a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut 1/4 cup cold butter (or shortening) into the flour until butter pieces are the size of peas.
  Slowly blend in buttermilk using a fork, just until dough begins to come together, being careful not to over-mix.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and very gently knead the dough 2-3 times, just enough to bring it together.  Pat or roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick disc.  Cut biscuits using a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, being careful not to twist as you cut.  Repeat until all dough is used.

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, so that they are almost touching.
  Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the whipped cream:
While the biscuits are baking, combine the heavy whipping cream, white sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer.  With the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until soft peaks form.

To assemble:
Cut each biscuit in half and place a heaping spoonful of the peaches over each biscuit bottom.  Next, add a generous dollop of the whipped cream, followed by a sprinkling of toasted pecans.  Top with the crown of each biscuit, and finish with a drizzle of  maple syrup.  Garnish with extra chopped pecans, if desired.

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Sugar & Spice by Celeste