memorial day ideas

Can y’all believe that MEMORIAL DAY is just around the corner?!

I for one cannot – I mean, it’s almost June already! For us, this holiday means the start of the summer season…think grillin & chillin, lawn games, time spent at the river, and all sorts of fun outdoor activities and get-togethers. I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites {our go-to articles, websites, etc.}, in case anyone out there needed a bit of inspiration for their Memorial Day bbq/party time. Here ya go – enjoy!

Alicia xoxo 

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Food & Grilling

Summer Grilling

BBQ Tips

Memorial Day Side Dishes

20 Desserts to Make for Memorial Day

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Fun & Games

Memorial Day Games – For Kids of All Ages!

Fun Adult Games

…Outdoor Games for Adults!

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Festive Beverages

Memorial Day Drinks {adult}

10 Cocktails for Drinking Outside

Fun & Refreshing Drinks {many kid-friendly!}

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Happy celebrating, y’all!

hosting 101

I don’t know about y’all, but our summer months are usually filled {happily} with an influx of visitors. Some from nearby, others we may only see a few times a year – regardless of whom is coming, I like to make sure that each and every guest feels as welcome and at home as possible. The hubs and I have owned our home for 5 {!} years next month, and I must say that we’ve done a pretty upstanding job of making sure our home is always guest-friendly with little to no extra time/effort involved. I’ve come up with a list of my favorite tips & tricks, as well as some helpful articles, that have been useful for us both in the past and present; hopefully, they’ll make life a bit easier for you!

c/o a good hostess

c/o a good hostess

*feel free to share: what are some of the ways you love to make your friends and family feel at home, while in your home?*

-Alicia xoxo 

Helpful Articles:

Some of my Favorite Things to Do:

  • last minute guests dropping by? I always find it helpful to carve aside 20 minutes after work, just a few days each week, to do a quick vacuum and spot check of the house; tidy up any loose ends on tables, clean up any pet spills/nose marks on the windows, straighten the curtains and throw pillows. The house will instantly look fresh and well-kept.
  • Candles! I am a huge fan of candles; not only do they add a wonderful ambiance to any room, day or night, but the crisp and fresh smells really bring the home to life. I try to pick ones that match the season – think bright floral notes for spring and summer, spicy and warm aromas for the cooler months.
  • On that same note, be sure to be mindful of guests’ allergies. Are they bothered by pet dander, or sensitive to certain aromas? Try to remove any offensive items a few days beforehand, to make sure that everyone will be comfortable. Non-scented odor eaters can be a lifesaver.
  • Fresh linens are key! Make sure that your guest bed{s} look cozy and inviting; I tend to layer on extra blankets so that guests can pick and choose what they like. The same goes with pillows; the bigger the selection, the better chance of ensuring comfort.
  • Pick up a few of their favorite food/drink items so that they feel welcome from the start; no one wants to be running to the store at the last second! 
  • Finally – HAVE FUN!

Happy Hosting!

easter dinner: what to make!

With Easter dinner right around the corner, it’s high time we start nailing down those menus! Our celebration will be a bit different this year than others in the past, but nonetheless, I’m looking forward to it! Here are some ideas for those who will be entertaining – from tablescapes to treats, I do hope you find some inspiration in what’s to follow!

Beverages:

VOGA Sparkling Spring Sangria [RECIPE]Sparkling Spring Sangria

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Champagne Limoncello Cocktails

Champagne Limoncello Cocktail

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Black Rose

Black Rose

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Limoncello Collins, Hatfields• Los Angeles

Limoncello Collins

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Dishes {mains & sides}

 Honey-Curry Glazed Lamb with Roasted Grapes and Cranberries Recipe

Honey-Curry Glazed Lamb

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Roasted Ham with Cherry-Chutney Glaze

Roasted Ham with Cherry-Chutney Glaze

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Shaved Vegetable Salad with Toasted Almonds Recipe

Shaved Vegetable Salad with Toasted Almonds

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Cheese Grits Soufflé with Mushroom Gravy

Cheese Grits Souffle with Mushroom Gravy

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Easy Three-Seed Pan Rolls

Easy 3-seed Pan Rolls

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Desserts 

Carrot Cheesecake

Carrot Cheesecake

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Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries recipe

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

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Apricot-Coconut Cake

Apricot-Coconut Cake

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Decor:

carrots in large vases, c/o valentinexday

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mini cadburry eggs in hurricane glasses, c/o holiday central

 

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egg cups & shells used as name cards and food labels, c/o lushhome

Happy Easter! xoxo

easy self-rising flour

Since it’s been quite a bit of time since we’ve talked tips & tricks here at K.K. lately, I figured y’all are well overdue for another kitchen hack!

This is one that, quite honestly, occurs in my kitchen quite a bit. We’re talking good, old fashioned, self-rising flour!

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Some of you may be unfamiliar with this ingredient, so let me give you a bit of a briefing. Self-rising flour is, simply, flour that has baking powder and salt already added in. It’s a staple in many Southern households, and traditionally milled from softer, lower protein wheat. This yields a more tender baked good than what you would find from a more traditional all-purpose flour, or another type of higher protein flours.

So what’s the big deal about making this? I can hear most of you thinking that. Because, quite honestly, this is probably one of the most overlooked baking ingredient for many of us! As I already mentioned, I hardly ever have this on hand, so rather than mixing up a batch every time I need it, I find it SO.STINKIN’.USEFUL. to keep a big ol’ stash of this on hand.

This recipe can be used for any baked good you may whip up that calls for self-rising flour {biscuits is one of the most common recipes that utilizes this particular flour}. King Arthur recommends starting with an unbleached pastry flour, if you have access to such kind. If you’re starting with regular all-purpose flour, you may need add slightly more liquid than usual.

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Easy Self-Rising Flour {recipe from King Arthur Flour}

Ingredients:

1 cup King Arthur Flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

To Prepare:

Combine the listed ingredients above in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together, making sure all are fully combined.

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Use as directing in your recipe.

**for a larger quantity, whisk together 8 cups of King Arthur Flour, 4 Tbsp. baking powder, and 2 tsp. salt. Store in an airtight container at room temperature**

Let’s Discuss: do y’all have any new, fun kitchen hacks to share? I’m always looking for the latest and greatest! 

 

roasted spaghetti squash

I don’t know about you all, but I am a serious veggie freak. I know that if I absolutely had to, I could give up meat and be totally okay with it. #seriously.

I can’t remember the first time I read about spaghetti squash, but I can tell you for a fact that it was on one of the many food blogs that I read. Billed as the “new” alternative to pasta, I knew I just had to try it out. And boy oh boy, am I glad that I did! That very day I distinctly remember hopping into my car, driving down the street to the grocery store, and picking one up. Plans were formulating in my foodie brain, and I couldn’t be more excited.

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The thing that really excited me about trying out this new ingredient was the health benefits. As you all know, I am a huge fan of healthy cooking and eating. By all means, I love a good indulgent meal, but if I have the opportunity to get a few extra nutrients and health benefits in my meals (all without sacrificing flavor, of course!) I am all about it. In a direct comparison of spaghetti squash(SS) to pasta(P) (1 cup of each), you’ll come across the following:

-31 calories (SS) vs 371 calories (P)

-7 grams of carbohydrates (SS) vs 75 grams of carbohydrates (P)

-.6 grams of fat (SS) vs 1.5 grams of fat (P)

-120 IU of vitamin A and 2.1 mg of vitamin C (SS) vs zero of each (P)

The numbers speak for themselves. Squash, for the win. But! – moving on.

After preheating my oven to 400 degrees, I set to work cutting this gourd in half. I am well versed and confident in my knife skills, but I will say this – cutting large gourds always, always makes me nervous! I’ve read tips about heating up squash in the microwave to slightly soften the skin, but I’ve found that taking my time and making small incisions around the long sides of the gourd works just as well. Make sure that you are very careful when doing this! And remember, sharp knives are safe knives!

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Once I successfully cut it in half, long ways from top to bottom, I scooped out the interior seed pack. Side note: these are great roasted! Simply clean them off, spread out on a greased sheet pan and season with salt/pepper, herbs, or cinnamon sugar – whatever strikes your fancy! Bake at 275 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until seeds start to pop. Remove from the oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Place the squash halves, flesh sides up, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle each half with olive oil, and sprinkle well with salt and pepper. Depending on the side of the squash, this can take anywhere from 60-70 minutes. I prefer to cook them on the slightly “al dente” side, especially if I’ll be using them in a casserole. Overcooked squash is just like overcooked pasta – mealy and unappetizing.

Once removed from the oven, allow the squash to cool completely. Next up, the fun part! In order to create strands of “spaghetti” you’ll use a fork to gently rake out the strands of squash. I like to do this right on the foil that I cooked the squash on. Why dirty another pan, right? Once all is shredded, transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. I’ve found that this will typically keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.

spaghetti squash2

If you’re going to use this in a casserole, I definitely recommend preparing this squash ahead of time. It requires minimal effort, and if you have a low-key evening planned, might as well roast a squash, right? And don’t think that this is only good for casseroles! You can use in a stir fry, subbed into traditional spaghetti and meatballs…the possibilities are endless. Try it on top of my Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter – it’s fabulous. I’m seeing a few new plans formulating in my head…but y’all will just have to come back and find out what’s next!

Bon appetit!