Saturday, April 26, 2014

More of our Time on Hilton Head

Change of plans...  The next post of pictures from our time away was supposed to be from the wedding, but there were more amazing pics from Hilton Head I wanted to share with you!

The first morning at the resort, Truckin' Man got up bright and early. He wanted to see the sunrise over the ocean! I am so glad he did, and I am so bummed that my pillow was so comforting that I missed seeing this. At least he tooks pics with his phone to share with his sleeping princess!

 Isn't it beautiful?

One of the most amazing things we saw on our beach walks was LIVE Sand Dollars. My parents starting family vacations to the ocean when I was very young, so I have many experiences of picking up sea shells, however this was my first time ever finding sand dollars! 
Don't take the live ones though, I guess there is quite a fine attached to doing that.

 The Coastal Discovery Museum was an amazing place to visit. We really could have walked forever in any of the parks we visited, we adore the Live Oaks with all the moss. So pretty! And, yes, to those of you not from that area, Live Oak is actually the name of the tree!

 One of the parks we went to, we visited during low tide, so we were able to walk out quite a ways.
Oyster beds everywhere.

 So many beautiful birds. Not sure what this bird is... I should have asked before we left.

We are happy to be home, but enjoyed every minute of our time on this beautiful island. 
Stay tuned for more pictures next weekend!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Overnight Crusty Artisan Bread

There are still certain things I miss about living in the city. Mainly friends and food. Out of the foods I miss, good bread is high on the list. Ciabatta is at the top. And a specialty Italian flatbread I loved having sandwiches on for lunch. The memories of the other breads are fading, but there were many. 

I can still get good breads on occasion at our local co-op. Some days of the week are better, and I honestly haven't figured out which days those are yet. And the price on those breads... well lets just say it isn't cheap. There has been a recipe I have run into several times this past year for a supposedly simple easy overnight crusty artisan bread. I had pinned it, but blew it off since I really didn't think it would A. be all that easy and B. be really all that good.  This winter I stumbled across another version of the recipe at Vermont Farm Heart. She had me convinced that I could make this bread, so I tried it. We loved it! The first loaf didn't last more than a couple of hours. 

If you haven't tried this type of bread yet, it really is worth your time. 
It's simple as simple can be. 
Chewy, Crusty, Perfection.

Overnight Crusty Artisan Bread (Source: Vermont Farm Heart)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp. rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water

***Note*** You will be moving your Dutch Oven around a couple times, and it will be very hot, so keep your hot pads close by all the time!

In large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add water and mix until completely combined. You will have a gooey and messy dough at this point. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Lay dish towel over top, and set in a warm place in your kitchen over night. (I have let this set for 12-15 hours).

When you are ready to bake the bread, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Set dutch oven in oven for 30 minutes to preheat. Meanwhile, on to a heavily floured surface, turn out dough and shape into a ball. Make sure that it is covered in the flour. It won't be pretty, but that is ok! Cover with plastic wrap and let rest.

When Dutch Oven is preheated, remove from oven and place dough in center, put the lid on the dutch oven, and bake into the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove lid and continue baking for another 15 minutes.

Remove from oven. Bread should be golden, and when thumped on the bottom, it will sound hollow.
Let cool a bit, then enoy!

Sharing this at:
Treasure Box Tuesday
In and Out of the Kitchen 
The Yuck Stops Here 
Foodie Friends Friday 
Weekend Potluck

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Visiting Hilton Head Island

We LOVED Hilton Head Island! It was the first time for both of us to visit any island, and we weren't sure what to expect. My cousin and his family are wonderful hosts and guides, so we really got to see a lot in the short time we were there. 

The weather was perfect the entire time we were there. Of course to us, perfect means above freezing, and no precip. And that is how it was! Not a single rain drop (or snow flake), and temps were well above freezing. At night I would have to throw on a light jacket, but that is how I love my temps. Warm days and cool nights! Perfect!

We visited the Stoney Barnyard Ruins. This was part of the remaining structure of the plantation house.

The buildings here were made of Tabby. So amazing to see this close up.  What's Tabby you ask? Well, it's oyster shells!  Click over to for their definition.

My Truckin' Man LOVED this plant .  Every time we walked past one (which was often) I had to convince him there was no way this would ever survive winter in Wisconsin.

Harbour Town Lighthouse was so interesting. While you climb the stairs to the top, you get to read and see all sorts of historical information because it is a museum!

 To those of you who know me well... Yes, I did indeed walk to the top! Even walked outside! 

 At the top of Harbour Town Lighthouse! For once, my fear of heights didn't kick in and I got to enjoy an amazing view!

The next segment of the series will be from our wedding!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

I originally shared this recipe for Revolutionary Mac & Cheese way back in 2011. It was my 5th ever blog post. I wanted to share this again for two reasons... One, it really needed a better photo. Second, this recipe has become such a go to recipe in our life, it really needed to be shared again!

I love to cook!  I love to eat!  I was such a picky eater for so many years, I really don't know how my parents handled getting me to eat.  Then something happened years later, I started trying new things and found out how many good foods were out there that I had avoided unnecessarily.

With our love of food, I am continually trying to get away from processed foods and make what we are eating better for us.  Sometimes that is a challenge, but I am learning more and more, that it really is simple.  It's just a matter of having your pantry stocked with the right foods.  We love macaroni and cheese.  Who doesn't, right??  Either you make the box with the packet of powdered cheese and who knows what else... I am sure there is corn syrup in there too, but we will get into my hatred of corn syrup another day.  You can also make the box with the cheese you squeeze out of the packet. Probably better, but is it? I haven't read the ingredient label on that, and will probably just skip that.  Especially after this amazingly easy recipe I have found!  I can't believe how simple it is, and how good it is!!

My search for a macaroni and cheese recipe, led me to a blog named Macaroni and Cheesecake .  Seemed like a good place to start??  5 Ingredients, and 25 minutes for homemade goodness!  I had to try it! The first time making it, I tried the oven finish.  The second time, I skipped the oven finish and loved it even more. 

***Please see notes below

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

2 cups dried pasta
2 cups milk (I use 2 %)  - More if needed
1 cup loosely packed shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard or stone ground

In a small saucepan, add pasta and milk.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, until pasta is soft, stirring frequently.  Be sure milk does not boil.

Turn heat off, add cheese & salt.  Stir to combine.  Stir in the mustard a little at a time to taste. Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes, then stir again and serve. Add a tablespoon or more milk to your desired creaminess level.  Gently stir.

Oven Finish (Optional)
Place in a baking dish and top with a generous sprinkling of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes until cheese has melted.

***Notes - I have tested this recipe using white and a whole wheat pasta. The amount of milk needed may vary depending on noodle. Add more as needed until the pasta is al dente.

***I have only made this recipe using cheese I have shredded myself. The bags of shredded cheese in the store having a coating on them. Using pre-shredded cheese could impact the results of this dish.

***I have not tested this recipe using American or Velveeta cheese. I have used cheddar only. Shredded by hand.

***I have only tested this recipe on an electric stove top.

Sharing this at:
Munching Mondays 
Treasure Box Tuesday 
Simple Supper Tuesday 
Weekend Potluck

Thursday, April 10, 2014

There's No Place Like Home

I am back! It feels like I have been away from all of you for so long!
What's been happening in my world? Well, we left Wisconsin, and headed for the ocean.

We went to Hilton Head Island in Southern South Carolina. While we were there, we got married. 
On the beach. Yup, it was perfect! Perfectly amazing!

After leaving the island, we went to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, just up the coast in Charleston, South Carolina. This garden was so amazing, I can not fully express to you how beautiful it was. 
If you ever have the opportunity to visit, please do so. You will not be disappointed!

We headed up the Blue Ridge Parkway to spend a few days in the mountains. 

There are so many things to see in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
All you need is time to see it all!

We finally returned home to all of our "kids" that missed us so. 
As wonderful as our time away was, it is good to be home.