Not so Guilty Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a southern classic.  And while it is a yummy addition to any cracker, burger or sandwich; its not the best addition to your waistline!!  Its one of the boy’s favorite snacks so I knew I needed to find a not so guilty way to satisfy his cheesy craving.  Enter one of my favorite recipe alternates, Greek Yogurt {I know…you are really surprised about this one!}.  The greek takes this snack from a total guilty pleasure to something a bit less guilty {I can’t go as far as to say healthy…sorry kids}.  This version is much lower in fat and actually contains lots of good for you protein and probiotics!

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Shred 2 types of cheese {shown here Extra Sharp Cheddar & Monterey Jack}

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Add Greek Yogurt and mix together.

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Add a small amount of Mayo {can omit if you aren’t a fan}

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Mix in pimentos and juice from the jar.

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Season with your favorite spices, salt and pepper.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 large block of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 large block of monterey jack cheese {either cheese can be substituted with your favorite cheeses!}
  • 1 cup {ish} Plain Greek Yogurt {use as much as you need to get your desired texture}
  • 1 tbsp {ish} Mayo {we like the Mayo made with olive oil}
  • 4 oz {ish} Diced pimentos w/ juice
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt & Pepper

* specific ingredient amounts depend on how much you want to make and your preference on texture and flavor.  I’ll share my usual mix with you but don’t worry too much about being exact!

Directions

  • Shred both types of cheese and mix together.  {use whatever cheeses you love, i recommend one with a more sharp flavor, like cheddar, and one with a more mild flavor, like monterey}
  • Add greek yogurt and mix {start with approx 1 cup and mix together, wait until other ingredients are mixed in before adding more}
  • Add mayo {can be omitted if you don’t want to use}
  • Add pimentos and some of the juice from the jar and mix
  • IF you are not happy with the texture now is the time to add a bit more yogurt if necessary.
  • Season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and ENjoy!!

* This “method” of using greek yogurt as a replacement for large amounts of mayo, cream cheese or sour cream can be adapted to almost any pimento cheese recipe.  So if you have a favorite recipe try substituting the greek yogurt for some of the more unhealthy ingredients but still use the spices and seasonings that you love!

Yumm-O
~ Jillian

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Girl Gatherings: Naked Ladies

Don’t be too excited a-scared, there aren’t going to be any nake-y pictures or crazy things in this post.  This one is all about a little girl gathering we have come to love called “Naked Ladies”.  Here’s the run down:

  • Great excuse to get together & catch up with your ladies
  • As always with girl gatherings – lots of great food and drinks
  • Fun event that forces you to clean out those closets and cabinets
  • Do a little “free to you” shopping
  • Hopefully come home with a bag full of someone’s else’s get rid of’s
  • Contribute to a nice big donation to a local charity

So here’s how this Naked Ladies thing works.  All the ladies come together lugging in bags of clothes, housewares and accessories that they just don’t want or need anymore.  We’ve had everything from clothes and jewelry to kitchen supplies and decorative accessories.  We all grab a glass of wine and some munchies and then go thru each others stuff!

There are a few different ways you can do this…One lady grabs her goodies and displays them to everyone else.  Those interested check them out and claim them {if there are more then one…you have to fight to the death let the group decide who gets the stuffs}.  We’ve also done the put things in “piles”based on the type of item {i.e. pants, shirts, kitchen supplies, etc} and just let the ladies “shop” thru the items.  How you do it really just depends on your group of ladies and what works best.  The bonus to this great event {besides the potential to refresh our closet} is that anything left after the swap gets donated to a local charity!

Recap: Great excuse to hang with your ladies / clean out of those things you just don’t need anymore / possible score of some new great things / big donation to charity

Can’t go wrong there now can you!!

So the next time you are in need of some time with your favorite gal pals…and are looking for something new and fun to do…give Naked Ladies a try!  I promise it won’t disappoint.

Happy Girl gathering!

~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: make the best

Happy Happy Monday to ya!  Hope you are staying warm…its COLD here in Georgia!!  Despite some crazy weather we had a lovely weekend, relaxing, catching up with great friends and spending time with family.  Its been a busy year so far and I have a feeling nothing is going to slow down anytime soon, so instead I’ll just choose to enjoy the roller coaster.  I hope you enjoyed your weekend and have a full and happy week in front of you.

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything,
they just make the best of everything.”

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Cheers!
~ Jillian

Living-room-a-little

Its friday?!?!  This week has flown by {hence the lack of posts…sorry kids}  It’s crazy town around here lately.  I’ve been doing a lot of “decorating daydreaming” in my spare time so I thought i would share some of that inspiration with you!  So snuggle up on this cold friday and warm yourself by the digital fire while enjoying some living room inspiration!

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Makes you want to go home RIGHT NOW and snuggle up in your living room doesn’t it!!  {sorry}  Have a wonderful weekend.

Cheers
~ Jillian

All things Yummy – A

I’m a bit of a food nerd.  I love food {don’t we all} but I’m especially obsessed with trying and learning about things that are good for me.  We only get one body in this life, so we better do our best to take care of it and make it last!!  In all of the research and reading I’ve done over the years on this topic, the number one thing that always rings true is unprocessed…straight  from the earth is always best.  You can’t go wrong with things that were naturally created by mother nature herself.  {although these days you have to make sure man hasn’t stepped in and added chemicals & toxic nasty things to these foods}  Mother nature is one smart lady, she has incorporated the things we need to keep our bodies balanced and healthy AND she has put them together in the right combinations that make them the most effective in our bodies {one of the reasons why you get so much more benefit from eating these healthy foods then you do from taking individual supplements}  I believe its entirely possible to not only prevent disease but to reverse it by eating the right combinations of foods!!  {check out this book for more information}.  Here are just a few of these amazing {and yummy} healers!!

Acai

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  • Pronounced {ah-sigh-ee}
  • Highest antioxidant food value currently known to man
  • COX-2 inhibitor and anti-inflammatory
  • Has no sugar content
  • Highest of all fruits in anthocyanins – the anti-inflammatory phytochemical that fights free radicals that cause cancer and aging
  • Lower cholesterol beause of their fatty acid profile
  • Great way to get the benefits is with the acai powder {with no added sugar} – can be mixed with water as a refreshing drink

Almonds

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  • Very benefitial for people suffering from any lung disease
  • High in calcium and manganese
  • Highest nut in vitamin E {good for your skin}
  • Good for relieving constipation
  • Raw organic almond butter is a great replacement for peanut butter in your diet {ALL peanut butter contains high concentrations of the cancer causing fungus aflatoxin!}

Apples

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  • Skin & seeds of apple contain hundreds of different phytochemicals that fight disease 
  • Seeds contain a blast of phytochemicals,  but also a “friendly” dose of special cyanide that doesn’t hurt you but goes after and kills any cancer cells in your body.  As long as the seeds are blended or eaten with the source apple they came from they are safe and highly beneficial
  • Apple pectin is a soluble fiber that is a very good artery cleanser
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Cleanses the colon

Asparagus

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  • “The mighty cancer fighter”
  • has the highest levels of Glutathione of any food – a phytochemical composed of three different amino acids that bind to fat soluble toxins & removes poisons from the body.  It is also the primary ingredient responsible for phase 2 enzyme, which is the liver’s main detoxification outlet.
  • Involved in the bodies mercury and heavy metal detoxification process
  • Excellent source of folic acid
  • Cleans out the kidneys {hence the sometimes stinky pee}
  • Healing properties of asparagus actually increase when lightly steamed

Avocado

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  • 20% living fat which decreases your bad cholesterol and increases the good, also  helps the body naturally loose weight
  • Very high in glutathione; the liver’s most potent detoxifier
  • Naturally lowers cholesterol {because of beta-sitosterol}
  • Contains soluble fiber which removes plaque from the arteries
  • Contains omega-9 fatty acids {oleic acid}
  • Perfect food for lowering or eliminating heart disease
  • If you can blend up the seed {♥ my Blendtec!} The seed contains the most soluble fiber of any food on earth!!

Talk about amazing gifts from mother nature!!  What’s great about these foods, is that most of them are probably already on your list of things you eat.  They are easy to get and for most of them very inexpensive.  So find ways to incorporate these healing foods into your diets and pat yourself on the back knowing that you are not only filling your belly with good natural things, you are healing your body and showing it some much needed love!!

Happy Eating
~ Jillian

Favorite Things Shadow Box DIY

Today we’ve got a fun art project to help you show off some of your “favorite things!”  I have a friend {well technically she’s a blog acquaintance…but we recently officially met in person so I feel like i can say she’s a friend} that has a slight obsession with ceramic animals.  Understandably so of  course…cuz they are awesome!  So when the lovely Sherry {and her sweet husband John} from the blog Young House Love announced they were coming to Atlanta for a book signing party I just KNEW I needed some sort of awesome “ceramic animal” inspired gift to send their way!!  After scouring pinterest for a little inspiration I came up a “favorite things shadow box”, the favorite thing in this case being faux ceramic animals of course!  You could fill this object d’ art with ANYTHING that you love or is special to you.  Shells from a favorite beach trip, old pieces of jewelry from a special family member, fabulous thrift store finds, your child’s favorite toys…ANYTHING! {have i stressed the fact that you can really use anything for this project enough?!?}

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Supplies you will need:

  • shadow box frame {found this beauty at Ikea}
  • toy animals {or any other fabulous little grouping you might want to frame}
  • white spray paint {use paint and primer in one OR a can of primer as well}
  • super glue

Step One: cut a hole…no…Gather your supplies.  I picked up a white shadow box frame from Ikea & a tube of plastic farm animals from Michaels.  The Ikea frame came with a matte, so I removed the matt and was left with a clean solid surface to layout the animals on.

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Next, play with the layout of the animals {or other favorite objects} until you are happy with it.  Piece o’ advice…keep the  frame in tact but remove the glass, this way you can see what the objects will look like with the frame as you move them around.

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When you’ve nailed down the layout, time to break out the super glue.  Let’s talk adhesives for a moment…I choose super glue for this application because of the size and material of the animals.  I wanted to be sure they stuck but didn’t have a lot of surface area to apply the glue to.  Other glue options could be gorilla glue {watch out for the expansion properties of gorilla glue!!}, hot glue gun or even sturdy tape if your items are light weight.  Just use your best judgement on the adhesive situation {situation…like its a major life decision here…or someone with really killer abs}

IMG_0094Once those babies are all glued into place, give them ample time to dry and then stand it up…shake it around…give it the old “make sure they stay in place” test.   Once you are confident that no one’s going anywhere its time to paint!!

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Now this is where the magic really happens.  I chose to glue first…and then spray paint the entire thing white.  If you want your background and special goodies to be different colors, simply paint the items and the background material separately and then glue in place.  {for instance if i wanted white animals on a turquoise background} This next tip is SUPER important…make sure to wear stylish shoes while spray painting…it can make all the difference…

IMG_0097Once you are sporting the proper foot wear…paint on.  I made the mistake of not using a spray primer first {you could also use a paint and primer in one} so it took a TON of coats to get this baby white and shiny.  Especially important if you are using something that is plastic {like these animals} or not at all porous.  So what felt like 10 million coats of spray paint later…I had a fabulously glossy white set of animals that I was in LOVE with!!

IMG_0101After the paint has cured {make sure you REALLY let it settle in or you might have a moisture issue behind the glass} and the overwhelming stinky paint smell has subsided your new object d’ art is ready for its home!!  Frame it up and hang it up!!  As I mentioned I gave this as a gift to the lovely couple from Young House Love so it only had a temporary moment of glory on my collage wall, but it was worth every second…LOVE!!

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IMG_0114The gift giving was a great success and John and Sherry seemed to love!!  Here’s hoping this little guy finds a happy home somewhere in their house.

img_4073Happy Crafting!!
~ Jillian

* This post was originally featured at Burlap+Blue.

Posted in DIY

Monday Mantra: Need to be

I hope this monday finds you well.  Its hard to believe it’s well into March already!!  There are times in life that we feel unsure of the path that lays ahead of us.  Times when we question the direction we see our lives going.  I have experienced this at various times thru out my life, but when I look back at the events that followed these moments of uncertainty I realize that I have always ended up exactly where I was meant to be.  The universe controls the bigger plan that  is our lives; our role in this plan is to appreciate each moment and to do our best to stay true to ourselves and to the journey in front of us.  All of that to say I hope you feel confident in the fabulous unknown that lies ahead of you and know that there are truly no mistakes.  Learn from each moment and have faith that in the end we are exactly where we were meant to be.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I’ve ended up where I needed to be.”
~Douglas Adams

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Namaste & Happy Monday
~ Jillian

A fabulous February

As this year just keeps on chugging by its easy to forget all of the lovely things going on!  So in an attempt to highlight some of the besties from February and remind us all to take a second and reflect on the good times spent.  Here’s a little review of some of our favorite HSE moments from the past month…it was a BUSY one!!

One of this months highlights was an Atlanta visit from the fabulous duo behind Young House Love.  John and Sherry popped in for a book signing to celebrate the success of their new book!  So fabulous to finally meet these two in person!

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Finding fabulous ways to spread the love in your home with loverly decor and accessories.

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Celebrating the life of a truly wonderful woman in my life with lots of Love!

BG (5)With the chilly weather this month what’s better then a warm {and spicy}
bowl of Buffalo Chicken Pasta.

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Give spring a little nudge with some lovely Sunny Yellow in!

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“Here’s what I know: no one knows what life may hold, but beyond whatever it is…there is amazing.”

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A collection of easy to do tutorials to fill your home with personalized DIY Artwork.

6482676421_d95068f567_zOne of my absolute favorite veggies served in a super special way with this
Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe.

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A collection of DIY Fabulous Wreath Ideas to dress up your doors.

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What a busy month full of lots of pretty things…yummy things and lots to do!  On to the next adventure!

Cheers!
~ Jillian