A Southern Cheese + Charcuterie Board for Summer

A Southern Cheese + Charcuterie Board for Summer

This week, I wrote about cheese, meat, and peanut pairings for the National Peanut Board. You can see the full post here, but I wanted to share one of my favorite combos, this Southern-inspired cheese and charcuterie board. It’s perfect for summer gatherings and is best served with ice cold drinks (a peach daiquiri or frosé for me!).

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“French 28” Lavender + Lemon Champagne Cocktail

For the last three years, I’ve thrown myself a dessert party for my birthday. “I can make my own birthday cake if I want” is generally the idea, and the theme is loosely French: cheese, chocolate, champagne. This year, to keep things simple, I decided to only serve a champagne cocktail and sparkling rose. To keep things French, I decided to play off of the classic French 75 cocktail. I infused the simple syrup with lavender and swapped out some of the lemon juice for more floral tasting Meyer lemon juice. Seeing as it was my 28th birthday, I thought my cocktail would be appropriately named the “French 28.” Nobody can agree on where the “75” comes from anyway.

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Revisiting Costa Rican Paradise at the Andaz Papagayo

Last year, we uncharacteristically booked a long weekend trip to Costa Rica with only one week’s notice. (We’re usually planners.) This year, we uncharacteristically decided to go back to the Andaz Papagayo. (We usually like to try new places.) But getting a big, beautiful room in paradise for $75/night is hard to beat. As holders of the Chase Hyatt Visa card, we each get a free category 1-4 night every year. The card’s $75 annual fee is totally worth it when you can redeem the free night on a hotel like the Andaz Papagayo, which would’ve cost us $500 + resort fees per night had we booked it normally. Our third night was a mere 15,000 Hyatt points, which is a steal relative to the value.

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A Realtor’s Stylish Ranch Renovation

When I met Carly, she was running a Paleo meal delivery company called Carlinary Cuisine, and we immediately connected over our mutual love of food. The first time I visited her Brookhaven (Atlanta) home, I was shocked to see a gorgeous, spacious interior in an unassuming ranch house. I was even more impressed when I found out that she and her husband, Zach, renovated and decorated it themselves from the studs out.

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Maui Travel Guide

I once wondered if the long travel days to get to the Hawaiian islands were really worth it. I’m now lucky enough to know that they are, in fact, worth it. The lush island of Maui offers a diversity of experiences that will suit the tastes of many different travelers. Adventure seekers can find strenuous hikes, cliffs to jump, and massive waves to surf. Sun worshipers can soak up the Hawaiian rays from a number of postcard-worthy beaches. Wildlife lovers can see whales, sea turtles, dolphins, and tropical fish galore from a boat, paddle board, or up close with snorkeling or diving gear.

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Year in Review

In spite of the personal, national, and global turmoil, there was still a lot of good in 2016. It was one hell of a travel year for us, including awe-inspiring hikes, beautiful golf courses, and some incredible meals. We were overwhelmed with love and support from friends and family. I continued to find my way professionally as a photographer, cooking class teacher, and blogger. And I launched this new blog! Those are the parts I want to focus on and remember, so I’ve put together this “year in review” to record some of the highlights. I mostly did this for myself as a practice in gratitude, but I’ll also consider it my Christmas card substitute. Lord knows I don’t have my life together enough to get real ones in the mail.

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Brioche Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Icing

Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning (or any morning, for that matter) are a nostalgic endeavor for me. From my childhood through my college years, it was usually a can of store-bought rolls with the little cup of icing. It wasn’t until my young adult years that I discovered the magic of homemade cinnamon rolls.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

All vanilla extracts are NOT created equally. Once you taste the pure flavor of good vanilla, it’s hard to turn back. Unfortunately, a small bottle of artisanal extract can run upwards of $10. So, make it yourself! It’s as easy as vanilla beans + vodka.

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How to Build a Better Cheese Board

There are few better ways to get a dinner party off to a good start than with a cheese board. Since guests rarely arrive at the same time, it’s nice to have something for guests to eat right away. Fortunately, a beautiful spread of cheese doesn’t take a ton of prep like a lot of bite-sized appetizers do.

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Whole Grain Flatbread Crackers

Sure, you could just buy some, but these flatbreads are totally worth the little bit of extra time. They’ll save you some pennies, and you’ll be *so proud* to tell your friends that they’re homemade.

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Magnolia Leaf Thanksgiving Centerpiece

One of my favorite parts of teaching entertaining classes is showing people how to set and decorate the table. A lot of people are intimidated by it, but doesn’t have to be a difficult or expensive affair. With Thanksgiving later this week, I thought it’d be a good time to share a few of my favorite pointers:

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