Blackberry Pineapple Sangria

This may end of being the perfect summer drink. I am not sure because I have so many more I probably need to taste just to be certain. I do know that this one got off to a good start. It is light and refreshing and so easy to make.

The idea for this drink was born one night at dinner while we were on vacation in Miami. The restaurant had pineapple blackberry salsa on their menu and bells just went off in my head. I grabbed Wiki's phone and texted the idea to myself and he just shook his head.

Till he drank it and then thanked my genius. So there

2 cups rum (I used light rum)
1 bottle champagne or sparkling wine
3 cups pineapple juice
1 to 1 1/2 cups diced pineapple
1 cup blackberries

Place the pineapples and rum in an airtight container and leave in fridge overnight(or at least 4 hours) Once it has soaked, put pineapples and blackberries in a pitcher. Pour the pineapple infused rum and pineapple juice into the pitcher and add the chilled sparkling wine.
You can serve immediately  but I think it tastes better if it sits in the fridge a little and the flavors marry together. If you really like the bubbles, you could add a little more sparkling wine to each glass as you pour.


notes**** I have made this a few different times. I added less rum once and less pineapple juice and I still liked the flavor. I also added sprite once and it made it a little sweeter and I liked that way too, but this was my favorite version. This is a drink you can play around with to your taste preference.

I have been on a major pineapple and blackberry kick lately and you will know what I mean by the end of this week. If you come back;)

These would pair well with my pineapple and malibu whoopie pies

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A Capital Affair

This weekend we headed to DC to visit one of our best couple friends and their littles. Wiki and Matt have been besties since about 5th grade and his wife and I established a firm friendship ourselves.

I sometimes forget that DC can be considered a travel hot spot b/c I grew up near there and could go whenever I wanted. Ergo, I take for granted all of the awesome places there are to see, not to mention they are constantly building more and more sights.

We decided to head up early so we could spend the first day by ourselves, taking in the sights that aren't really kid friendly. It was an absolute beautiful weekend in to be in DC.

and now, here is basically gonna be a photo overload.

The Masonic temple in Olde Town Alexandria
 Love the roofs in some of the metros. So much cleaner than NY & Boston
 China Town
First stop, American Building Museum. Was originally the pension building for the armed forces.

 These are the colums at the Building Museaum.
 Love the halls. and these columns were hollow and filled with papers from the 1800's when this building was built.
 They are some of the largest in the world, over 78 feet tall.
He was so excited to be there...and so pissed when there was a craft show going on in the atrium. 
An architectural engineers worst nightmare;)

 Next up is the park that is the Law Enforcement memorial. These walls are filled with names of the lost officers etched into the walls.

Then we stumbled into the Newseum. Pretty sure it is one of the coolest places I have been to. I am a huge history buff and a lover of all things involving reading material. They had papers dating to the early 1700 hundreds and material from some of the most prolific events in our histoy.

 Front page of the paper from each state, changed each morning.

 First amendment etched into the side of the building.
 First stop was the Berlin Wall exhibit. This is part of the actual wall, along with signs and one of the death towers that stopped people from trying to cross.
The FBI exhibit had items from some of the largest crimes/criminails
 This is the actual Unabomber cabin! Was so very tiny!

and this was the viw from the roof. Talk about amazing.

There was so much more that I could go on and on about in this museum. It may have been pricey, but seeing as how almost every other place to visit in DC is free...The twenty bucks was worth it.

 Next up, my favorite building in DC...the National Archives!
The door of the Archives, just call me Alice...looking for my rabbit hole;)

The Smithsonian Castle that is on the lawn.

We headed to Matt and Kate's and after a fun night of grilling out and cocktails, we slept in and woke up to take a full day in at the zoo with the kiddos.

 They were just a lounging.

 This gator wanted nothing out of any visitors.
 I love, love love elephants!
The Otters may have been my favorite. What a bunch of show offs!

Before we left on Sunday afternoon, we indulged in some BBQ. I have been all over and eaten BBQ. I live in the home of pulled pork BBQ(it is called Carolina BBQ for a reason) I have eaten my way through Texas and tried out KC and Memphis. and all I can say is...the is some of the best I have ever eaten and their market concept was incredible. Although...Qshack has my heart.

Hill Country BBQ.They're based out of Texas, but use a lot of local meats. I had the chili rubbed pork belly. My life is changed. Oh my word. Hungry again!
On our way home we took the scenic route 1 home that went by Mount Vernon and the Potomac River before stopping in historic Fredricksburg and walking around and grabbing dinner. I will have those photos later this week.

Linking up with
Travel Tuesdayhis

CaraBox Reveal Goes Green

This month was a little tricky at first. When I first saw that the theme was "green" I was slightly flummoxed at is what as to what I may possibly be able to find that would not only fit my budget, but in a box to send. and then I decided to think outside of said box.

I was matched up with two lovely ladies this month. and I enjoyed getting to know them both.

First up is Heather from Lawless Life. She has a fun personality and we had a lot of similarities  We both love lots of music, reading and getting our Jesus on. and her hair...She has the most glorious red hair. Had so much fun getting to chat with you this month.

Amanda(Mama & Co) is next and the blogger I received my carabox from. I must say...Amanda is a fabulous name. It is my first name after all;) That's right, Madison is my middle name. Little known fact to throw at you today;)

She is a busy mom and student right now, but she still found time to get me quite a few awesome items. I was really excited at the goodies she sent me and if I am honest, maybe the nicest handwriting I have ever seen. poor Heather...she may still be trying to decipher my note, handwriting is not my strong suit.

and now, what you are all here for, the good stuff.

 Love how she wrapped and numbered.
(note to self, get better at packaging)

water bottle. so I can refill and not waste plastic.
 grow your own basil set. My husband is stoked.
EOS all natural lotion.
EOS all natural lip balm
Grapefruit lotion by Burts Bees, all natural.

Fun fact, Burts Bees is in Durham and I know quite a few people who work there and I have an overabundance of their chapsticks and lip glosses. I never even heard of this lotion. Awesome and I plan to start pandering my friends for more when I run out.

And the EOS lotion. I had never even seen that, I was familiar with the lip balm(which is fabulous) but I cannot even tell you how amazing this stuff smells. 
Oh Lawdy, it is scrumptious.

Once again I am so glad I was able to take part in this exchange and get to know two different ladies, thanks so much to Kaitlyn for this, she really puts in a lot of work to send out all the emails and set it up for all the bloggers to participate.

If you want to partake in next month's exchange, 
click here

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WPW: White Chocolate Caramel Latte

I love the richness of the dark chocolate against the creamy and light white chocolate and caramel. I decided to make these with a half tbsp to make them bite size and to have more for a larger group of people.

1 box devil's food cake
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup caramel latte coffee creamer
4 to 6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup caramel latte coffee creamer
1 packet white chocolate pudding, dry mix

Preheat Oven to 350'

Mix together dry cake mix, oil, eggs and creamer. Using tbsp or half tbsp to scoop dough out, roll  into ball and place on foil lined cookie sheet.  Bake 8-9 minutes

For the filling.

make pudding using one cup of the creamer, should be very thick. In a separate bowl, cream the softened cheese till fluffy, add in the pudding and whip till fully incorporated. Add in the whipping cream and beat till stiff peaks form. Place in fridge to set up for at least an hour.

Place a large dollop on one cookie and press another on top to spread the filling out.

Linking up with
Whatever, Whenever Wednesday

Strawberry Cheesecake Pudding Pops

It has officially happened...I have developed and addiction. it happens to be to pudding pops so I am not sure if I am more concerned that I cannot get a grip on my feigning or the fact that said addiction is that of a toddler...either way, I do not see stopping anytime soon.

I am pretty sure my favorite to date is this strawberry cheesecake version
I may have eaten all six by myself. but probably not. I am not saying, that is for sure.

Strawberry Cheesecake Pudding Pop

1 box strawberry cream pudding (use half the pack)
1 box cheesecake pudding (use half the pack)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup strawberries(chopped)
1 cup whipping cream(prior to being whipped)
1 container cool whip

(if you want to make this recipe using fresh whipping cream, make that first and have ready)

put both pudding packs in bowl and add milk, whisk for a minute or until it starts to thicken, but not too thick. Lightly fold in the whip cream or cool whip till completely incorporated, add in chopped strawberry.

Add to popsicle maker, you can spoon into it or do what I did, put it into a ziplock bag, snip the end off and pipe into the popsicle mold. I had to bang it on the counter to level the pudding out in the mold, but it works quite well. Place the stick in and freeze for at least 4 hours. I had to run it under hot water for a minute to get it out of the mold.

I had some left after I filled my molds and used it to make a dip. I just added a little cream cheese and whipped it together  put in fridge to set up for about an hour and serve with fruit or vanilla wafers.

Takes about 15 minutes to put these all together...and it is the best 15 minutes you will ever spend. Oh my gosh...these were so good. I need to make some more this week, but in the meantime...I will bring you pistachio pudding pops next.

Linking up with

Please Come To Boston

in the springtime... 
this song has been running through my mind all night. as in all night. I have yet to go to bed. I was baking late when I decided to peruse facebook for a moment when lots of my Boston family and friends started updating about incidents at MIT. 

I was unaware at that point that a heart wrenching week was about to become more bizarre than I could have imagined, It was as if I was watching a Die Hard movie. The events became more surreal by the minute. I was constantly checking Boston Globe and to see what they were saying. But to be honest, 95% of the information I got was from minute by minute updates by friends/family who actually live near where the events were taking place and the outlying towns.

When the ridiculousness that is Watertown started going down, I made the decision to wake Wiki up. I knew that he had to get up at 5:30 for work, but this is his town. The pride and adoration he has for Boston is indescribable.  it is a huge part of his identity. This week has been difficult for him, as it has  everyone, but it was made worse by wanting to be near his family and friends and feeling a sense of helplessness by being so far away.

Together we watched what can only be aptly described as the strangest and most surreal night of my life(other than 911). If you didn't follow it as it happened, I would be incredulous if you are able to even follow a little.. I watched them unfold with my own eyes and I still can barely make sense of it.

A friend of Wiki's uploaded a video from his apartment that was apparently around the corner from the shootout. I have never heard anything like it, and my heart beat rapidly for a full twenty minutes afterwards. Even knowing they had posted it to facebook and were obviously fine, My mind was screaming for him to "go the heck inside" He almost seemed to not fully grasp what was happening.

All night we heard differing stories, some from people who were witnesses, some from radio and more stories still from all the news outlets. And this morning...the city is pretty much under a complete lock down. I am still grappling with what I have learned.

I ask that you pray for this city, for the people of that great city...while I may be a small town country girl from the south, my heart opened up a huge space for this enchanting place...and it became my second home. The history, it's beauty...but mainly it's people. They are a rather stellar and resilient bunch.

WIWW: Brunch

We are big "foodies" in our house. and so each week, on Sunday we hit a different brunch spot and traipse around either Raleigh or Durham. We have been going for a few months and there is no end in sight. The smorgasbord of tasty eats in and around our area can almost be overwhelming if you don't know how to work your way through. Durham was actually just voted the "Tastiest City in the South" beating out such cities as Austin, New Orleans and Charleston just to name a few. 

I thank Wiki for my ever burgeoning pallate, truth be told I was a picky "plain jane" eater till I met my husband. He wasn't having any of that, he is in perpetual search of a new flavor combo and I think it comes from the fact that he was reared up in one of the best food cities in the country: Boston. The food in that fine city is incredible and then add to it that he is half Italian and half Lebanese and you can imagine that he whipped me right into line.

This weekend the weather was perfect for our jaunt to Big Ed's City Market in Downtown Raleigh...Oh Muh Goodness. So good. 

I did however learn one thing...Do not ever ask your hubs to take pictures when all he can think about his filling up his stomach. He snaps terrible pictures in awkward poses and then gripes when you don't like them. He had a big case of the hanger. 

and then there are my overtly tanned legs...if by tan, I mean not.


 After lunch we stopped by CAM and grabbed a cupcake before heading inside to check out some of the new exhibits. I popped into the restroom and on a whim decided to see if I wanted to open the cardigan and have the belt on the inside. I definitely preferred this look to the previous. My boobs kinda had the look of uneven globes. Never a grand look;)

I really loved this whole exhibit, the whole room was done in different black and white patterns with random eyes popping out from different spots. Do you spy any?

Navy dress, Ross $12.99
Cardigan NY & Co $14
Shoes Payless $15.50(with sale and coupons)
belt, yard sale. fifty cents
They had a scrap metal room where you could make things and my engineer husband made a structure, of course, and I made vases. 

Then after a cocktail alfresca style, we headed to see "42" such a fabulous movie. I can't even explain how amazing that movie was, even if you're not a baseball fan, you must go see it.
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Avocado and Egg Salad

I should probably tell you first that I made this and didn't eat any as there are things in this life I love to eat and well.... avocado and eggs do not fall into that category  But I stumbled upon the picture on pinterest and promptly pinned it under my "for the mister" board knowing it would be right up Wiki's alley.

He was running late coming home from work on Friday and I had already eaten and when I looked in the fridge saw I had hard boiled eggs and we always have avocado on had and I remembered seeing this recipe and decided to whip it up. 

It seemed very simple and, to me at least, underwhelming...but alas, when he took the first bite his eyes slightly bulged and then he quickly inhaled the rest and just kept shaking his head in approval. I will take this as a sign that I must make it numerous times. 

6 hard boiled eggs
2 medium or 1 large avocado
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt/pepper to taste
any spices you have on hand that you want to add

slice the avocado open and remove the pit, scoop the avocado out and put in large bowl. Slice the hard boiled eggs into pieces and add to bowl. Add in the tsp of dijon and drizzle in the olive oil. Add the salt pepper and any other spices. I used a pinch of curry powder. Combine using a fork, careful not to over stir. If you need to put this in fridge beforehand, place one of the pits in the bowl and remove before serving(this helps to keep it from turning brown too quick)

This would be great as a sandwich  but I think next time I may put in between quesadillas and add cheese. I will just have to do it on Wiki's cheat carbs. Blah.

I also made a slightly different version and just sliced the eggs and avocado and drizzled it with bacon infused honey mustard,

I am including the picture and original link from where I found it, but I didn't use their recipe so if you want their specific one, you'll have to check it out.

If you want a tasty treat to accompany this, may I recommend a little frozen redneck margarita;)

I should probably not brag on how delish this was...but in reality.
Oh, it was so gooooood. Each can yielded two popsicles and you need to freeze them for at least two days and you should know they won't be frozen solid, more like a frozen slushy. 

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Hellllloooo, Friday.

Dear Weather, welcome back to being in my favor!!! and this was definitely a little under, as it was 91 for at least a few hours the other day. 
As I have said before, I don't like to be comfortable, I like to be hot! 

Dear everyone, no, you're the first person to ever tell me how much I look like my mom. The very first.
Dear Zay, We are so proud of you for winning your state championship! and let's see, your 2 home runs, double, triple and stolen base. Just watch where you shine your ring, the glint from the sun is in my eye;)
We love you so much and wish we had been there!

 Dear new aqua tea kettle. Oh, you are proof it is the little things in life. I have missed my tea from a kettle, while a microwave gets the job done, there is something to be said for the joy that it brings me when you blow steam. 
Dear clearance find popsicle are even more proof that the best things in life may not be free, but pretty dearn close. I have also noticed I may have a problem. As in, I have only owned you for 4 days and I have already made 6 varieties...including pudding pops and a bourbon infused limeade. 
I may love you more than I should. 
 My morning smooothies got a lot more run from previous happy, these were the remnants of my pineapple  kiwi and pomegranate somoothie. Can I get a yummmmm.

Dear America  get with the program and come eat and visit Durham. The food here is some of the best you will eat and the shops are awesome, plus we are the home of the Durham Bulls. We beat out such cities as Charleston, New Orleans and Austin...if you have ever eaten any of those amazing know how big  a deal this is.

Dear daddio, you are so handsome, but more than anything, you are a man of such integrity and moral character  I am, as always, so proud to be your daughter. and I love this picture of you.

And I know I am supposed to parlay my crappies to match my happies, but for the most part I had a good week, the few things that did go wrong are to do with things that just don't need to be verbalized. Except for the fact that all week I have had to see Peyton and Eli Manning using our facilites at Duke and hearing about Manning throwing to Welker. The only person who should be throwing to Welker is Brady...Waaaaaaah. Ok, tantrum over.

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