Friday, May 30, 2014

Carolina Honey BBQ Sauce Recipe

It's no surprise that my hubs likes his BBQ. What you may not know is he has 16-20 BBQ recipes that he keeps stored on graph paper that he's constantly tinkering to perfection. The great thing about a BBQ sauce is you have leeway for creative freedom. You want it a little bit hotter? Add more hot sauce. Sweeter, then honey is your best friend. 

However, we're just over two months away from our annual pig roast and the hubs intends to introduce a BBQ wing bar this year. You know because the roasted pig wasn't enough food to feed the 80 or so people that show up every year.  In the mean time, he's letting me share a few of his recipe staples over the next few months. I made a solid case that these recipes needed to be shared and I think he likes having the idea of having them backed up online. Without further ado here's a really simple, yet smooth and tasty Carolina Honey BBQ Sauce Recipe.

 - 1 cup Ketchup 
-  1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup molasses 
- 1/2 clover honey
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (usually found on the top or bottom shelf in the condiment aisle)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

- Combine ingredients in a sauce pan. Heat for 10-15 minutes over low heat to thicken sauce. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool. 

Then either store it in a sealable jar or use it as a marinade. Seriously, that's it. So yummy. I'm a fan of the sweeter BBQ sauces and this is probably my go-to staple. 

What's your favorite kind of BBQ sauce? I'm trying to get the hubs to share his Old Bay sauce, but he keeps that one pretty close to the vest. Hopefully it'll make an appearance here soon. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Open Walls Baltimore

Spanish street artist Escif's "Looks Much Better Now" 
"Frontiers" by Gaia, who is also the curator for the show. 

Baltimore gets a pretty bad rap sometimes. There's the murder rate, the crime, the abandoned buildings - all looming in the shadow of The Wire, but at the end of the day it's still Charm City and it's where we like to hang our hat and have a good time.

Part of that charm is the growing arts revitalization efforts occurring in Baltimore at the moment. The latest art installation is Open Walls Baltimore, which features renowned street artists from across the globe assembling in Baltimore's Station North Arts District and brightening up vacant and otherwise plain walls.

This past weekend I convinced the hubs to come with me to check out a few of the murals. We parked the Prius and walked along the streets admiring the murals. And you know what - we not only had a great time, but we got out of our comfort zone. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face from that massive smiley face mural.  Mission accomplished.

If you're interested the Closing Party is this Friday, May 30th. For more information click here.

Oh, and we happened to come across a street performance of a few of the hub's favorite Michael Jackson songs by an incredibly talented impersonator.  That was a huge win for the hubs.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival

This past weekend was a pretty big weekend in Maryland. The 139th running of the Preakness Stakes took place on Saturday and while the hubs and I elected to skip this year's Infield fest we still managed to have a great Preakness weekend. 

For me that meant waking up at 5am on Saturday morning in order to down a granola bar and head over to watch the Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival at Turf Valley Resort. The festival was supposed to have a mass balloon launch at 6:30am and a special presentation for armed service personnel at 6:15am. However, the winds conditions were not ideal and given everyone's concerns with hot air balloons the executive decision was made to inflate the balloons Saturday morning, but not let them get off the ground. 

I was a bit bummed to miss seeing the balloons soaring in the air, besides the tethered balloon that was rising low in the sky for short flights, but in the interest of safety I completely understand and I hope to catch the balloons in all their soaring action next year. 

This was the most time I've ever spent around hot air balloons and I must say I was incredibly impressed with their beauty and pageantry. And even more in awe of the work it took just to unload these gentle giants and get them inflated. 

Have you ever taken a hot air balloon ride? My fear of flying probably wouldn't go over well in one of those balloons so for now I'm going to keep my feet on the ground and just admire them from that position. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Made in USA Memorial Day

1. Swell Striped Pocket Tank // 2. Citizens of Humanity Ava Shorts // 3. New Balance Air Force 993 // 4. Jack Rogers 'Marina' Sandal // 5. Oakley // 6. Bob Basics Panama Hat // 7. Rebell Yell Hampton Baseball Tee // 8. DL1961 'Lola' Shorts // 9. Sam and Lavi 'Marina' Stripes Dress //  10. Oakley // 11. Sbicca 'Abalone' Flip Flop //  12. Clare Vivier Marine Grand //

How in the world is Memorial Day next weekend? The unofficial start to summer and the official time to rock the red, white, and blue. Or just the stars and stripes. Whatever your patriotic sartorial color palette just do everyone a solid and if you're trying to show off your American pride, then just make sure your item was actually made in America. 

And please next weekend take a moment, or five, and to think of all of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Banana Dark Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Whenever I so much as linger near the baking aisle at the grocery store the hubs will ask one of two questions, "are you making scones?" or "are you making biscotti?" It must be his former Starbucks barista days coming through and his personal preference is for any type of treat that can be dipped in coffee. 

I adapted this Banana Chocolate Chip Nut Biscotti recipe with just three small changes and came up with a quick and easy biscotti recipe that I'll definitely be utilizing again and again. First, I omitted the 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans because I was taking some of this to work and someone at my office has a nut allergen.  Instead I added extra chocolate chips to take up the volume of the pecans. I also switched to dark chocolate chips rather than milk chocolate chips because I personally prefer dark chocolate and banana because I find milk chocolate chips are too sweet to pair with bananas. 

Finally, here's my secret tip for making biscotti: when you bake the cut pieces the second time, bake them for half of what the recipe states. This will leave you with firm, yet not overly stale biscotti. This batch came out so perfect that one of my co-workers didn't even dip it in coffee to fully enjoy it. And if you've ever had the stale biscotti sold at most coffee shops and airports you know that's saying something! 

I definitely enjoyed mine with coffee so that option is fully available to you if you make this recipe. The banana also helps to keep this a "softer" biscotti. 

What's your favorite biscotti recipe? Even though I plan on making this one again I hope to expand my biscotti horizons. The hubs would certainly appreciate that! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Summer's 10 White Essentials

Prepare yourself - the summer whites are coming! Break out the Tide to go bleach pens, the club soda, pick up an extra napkin when eating, and let's rock out some summer whites. 

I'll be honest, white clothes completely scare me. I'm kind of a klutz, but I take comfort in knowing that others are as scared of white jeans as I am. However, this is the year that I finally take the plunge and pick up a pair of white jeans, no matter what they do to my heart rate. 

And also, where the heck was that Bailey 44 jersey dress when I got married? That baby could have pulled double duty as a rehearsal dinner dress and would have been perfect on the beaches of Brazil! 

Are you ready to wear your summer whites? Memorial Day is just around the corner and that means even the most proper of northern ladies can now feel comfortable slipping on all-white outfits without fear of wearing white in the wrong season. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

DC Cherry Blossoms at Sunrise

A few weeks ago my husband and I woke up at 4:45am in order to catch the sunrise over the DC tidal basin to see the cherry blossoms during peak season.  It wasn't his idea of how to start off his weekend, but he went along with my brand of crazy.

We came. We saw. We somewhat conquered what I wanted to accomplish. I didn't really know what to expect at sunrise, but I will say there were thousands more people there that early in the morning that I would have expected. Next year, I want a decent photo of the Washington Monument now that the scaffolding is down and I want to play around with a longer exposure to smooth out the water in the tidal basin.

Here are my cherry blossoms for the DC tidal basin tips:

1. Get there earlier than you think you need to. Seriously, we were parked and out of the car by 6am and I still felt rushed when the sun came up. That morning light goes quick!

2. Bring a flashlight. It is DARK that early in the morning.

3. Do macros or portraits over on Hains Point. There are actually more trees out there than on the tidal basin and you can take all the time in the world over there because no one is out there. Photos 4-6 above were taken at the trees next to where I parked my car.

4. Back to parking. Have a game plan and a backup plan.  Metro doesn't open until 7am on weekends!

5. If you get separated from your party (my hubs walks slow and I left him), open up Google Maps on your phone, zoom in as far as you can, take a screen grab of your photo, text that photo where you are to your friend. Although this isn't just for cherry blossoms and this is going to be my new favorite tip when traveling with people.

6. Put the camera down and just enjoy the blooms for a minute. My hubs is all about enjoying the moment and I'm really trying to do a better job of that and not worry about getting a photo of it, but rather living the moment. Thanks babe!

What's your favorite time to take in spring flowers - in the morning or the evening? I'm a sunrise over sunset person any day of the week!

Friday, May 2, 2014

May Day Annapolis

Thursday night I attended the 10th anniversary party at the Hobo Flagship store in Annapolis for Lauren, the brand's iconic clutches.  I just recently found out that Hobo was founded in Annapolis and I try to support local businesses whenever I can. Which means certain ladies in my life should act surprised when they find certain accessories in their Mother's Day presents. 

After two solid days of heavy rains the party couldn't have been more perfect. The sun was out, the champagne was flowing, and there was an endless supply of purses. I was able to meet up with Katie for our second event in less than a week and I'm already looking forward to the next meetup. 

The day was made even sweeter because it was May Day in historic Annapolis - a day in which spring is celebrated and local businesses decorate their store fronts with flowering baskets. These baskets are known as May baskets. I might have parked farther away than needed just to have an excuse to spy on a few more baskets! 

Now that spring is truly here what are you doing this weekend to celebrate spring?