Shrimp & Grits

I haven’t posted in a hot minute (moving, traveling, and crazy work weeks will do that to you). But I finally got the chance to make a real good mess in my new kitchen and wanted to share the recipe and my tabletop accessories with y’all.

I love to cook and set a table, even if it’s a tiny table (like the one I’ve got now). In my last apartment, my kitchen was more like a closet, and I had not made a fun meal in months. I wanted my first dinner in my new place to be extra special. I knew I’d need a little backup from some of my favorite foods from home to achieve that.

One of my most loved chefs and restauranteurs, John Currence, has some incredible spots in Oxford, but Big Bad Breakfast and City Grocery always take the cake for me. It would have been a disservice to him and myself to make his famous Shrimp and Grits recipe without his tasty Tabasco-cured bacon, which was created just for BBB, as we all lovingly call it. Thankfully, they can ship it anywhere in the world within a day or so. It is melt in your mouth good!

I also have a girlfriend that hand-makes and packages her own stone-ground corn grits. She’s available in gourmet stores and restaurants around the nation, but there was something about buying her product at a store at home that felt right! I am still doing keto, but of course I had to sample the Delta Grind grits to make sure they tasted right 😏 Once I started, it was hard to stop… they are that yummy!

If you can’t get your hands on these brands, that’s okay. Use your favorites instead! This recipe is meant to be simple and I think great for weeknight cooking. Its also perfect to make when you are having company, because it doesn’t require a ton of skill. As long as you don’t burn the bacon or the grits (which could technically both be made ahead of time), it’s pretty hard to mess up. The end result is a spicy, warm, and comforting dish that will definitely leave you nice and full.

I went casual with my table because I felt like it matched the meal. Shrimp and grits is certainly not fancy, but it is still pretty, and it’s got everything you need right there in the bowl. In fact, you only really need a pot and a pan to make this entire meal. It makes me love this dish even more 😍 (I HATE cleanup)

A link to the recipe for City Grocery’s Shrimp and Grits is posted below, as well as links to the items I used for my table. Traditionally they serve it with spicy corn muffins and lots of butter (nom nom). If you try out this meal, let me know how it goes!

**To stay in ketosis, I substituted a pre-made (read: microwaveable) cauliflower Parmesan risotto for the spicy cheddar/parm grits for myself. Unfortunately, it was no close second. Next time, I may try to recreate the grits using cauliflower πŸ™ƒ**

Table is from Pier1, dishes , wine glasses , and small votive holders are from Crate & Barrel, chargers, napkins and napkin rings (now sold out– may be able to find them in-store) are from Pottery Barn, tortoise glasses and ice bucket are Impulse!, and bamboo silverware is vintage.

Link to recipe: http://joelmcneece.com/2016/05/23/city-grocerys-shrimp-grits/

And last but not least, a very special shout out to Liz at BBB for getting this bacon to me on time! XX Hannah

Date Night Dressing

Let’s get real: dating is complicated (most of the time). Other times, it feels effortless and actually worth getting all dolled up for. Here are some tips that I use to help make my date nights easier and more enjoyable!

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Tip number one: have a go-to dress on hand. I personally love this silky sundress. With slits on every side, it is def date-night ready (and sensible in the Florida heat!). However, I think its perfectly balanced, with a little leg to keep things interesting, and square neck to keep things in check. It is perfect to show off your figure while still being somewhat demure πŸ˜‰

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This particular dress is tried and true–I actually wore it out recently and never felt over or under-dressed. It is sultry and sleek, yes. But more importantly, it is not so restricting that you can’t concentrate on what is going on around you. And you are there to focus on another person, after all.

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One of the worst things is being on a date and thinking about what you’re wearing instead of the person in front of you (unless they’re boring or rude, in which fashion is naturally more interesting). πŸ™‚ So if you are wearing something new, always make sure to do a trial run before the actual date. That way you know if you are really comfortable in it, or if straps need adjusting, etc.

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A borrowed style tip from our beloved royals–and a trick that gives you lots of options–is to carry a clutch or top-handle bag with you. I almost always do this mainly because I want a fun accessory (like this vintage bamboo bag) that shows a bit of personality. But in reality, it gives you something to do with your hands, whether your nervous or just like something to have and to hold!

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Side note: I’m usually not huge on PDA when just getting to know someone. Of course, this all depends. However, if you happen to have a date that is just not getting the hint, you can take matters into your own hands (literally) with your clutch! πŸ˜‰ You’re welcome!

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But if you do hit it off and are feeling the love, a smaller bag is easier to manage with one hand. It’s a win-win in my opinion!

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Whether it never stood a chance or it goes really well (lol- let’s hope for the latter), dating is always an interestingΒ experiment experience :’)

Shoes are Steve Madden, earrings are Ettika, necklace is CAM jewelry from Canvas Fashion Gallery in St. Pete.
XX Hannah