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Kale Apple Ginger Smoothie

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I’ve always said that this blog follows what we eat, week in and week out. And the truth is that lately, this is what I’ve been eating. It’s filling, tasty, and it hits the spot in a way that no other food is hitting the spot right now. So smoothies it is- bring on the kale, ginger, lemon, and apples.


Kale, Apple, Ginger Smoothie

2 apples, sliced and frozen
1 carrot, sliced and frozen
2″ ginger root, sliced
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cups of apple juice, depending on preference and strength of your blender

Combine ingredients in a blender and purée, adding apple juice as needed. Serve immediately.

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Blueberry Ginger Lemonade

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Wilmington is known for many things. Its Civil War History, its incredible beaches, its thriving film industry, and its rich collection of fossils. Thanks to a perfect storm of sea level rise, hurricanes, and time treasure hunters flock to Wilmington to search the sand dunes and the sea floor.

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A lot of what is desirable and available are megalodon teeth, giant teeth belonging to prehistoric sharks that lived between 25 million and 1.5 million years ago. The predator megalodons would follow whales to shallow water and attack, shedding hundreds of thousands of teeth in the process (shark teeth break off like our fingernails break off and are constantly regrowing). These then-shallow waters now sit 25+ miles offshore in 90+ feet of water and every hurricane that blows through knocks a bunch of new teeth up for discovery.

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This is all to say that last year the Capt’n (Pappie) acquired some dive site locations for Wilmington megalodon ledges and is taking full advantage of our proximity to these ledges. He’ll be doing dives out of Wilmington throughout the summer, which means we’ll be seeing a lot more of him this summer than I have since I was 19. Which I’m pretty psyched about.

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One Saturday while he and my stepmom were here he offered to do a dinner cruise around Wrightsville Beach on his boat Tortuga, so we invited some friends to join us and headed out for a lovely night on the water. I made fried chicken, shrimp & grits, cole slaw, s’mores bars, and vodka blueberry lemonades. We (my stepmom and I- she is a great sous chef, by the way) also made a beautiful cobb salad but we left it at home. C’est la vie!
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We met our friends Angie and Kevin shortly after we moved and we’ve loved getting to know them. Angie is from Raleigh and we share a lot of favorite childhood memories in places like Jordon Lake and Shackleford Banks and Dan and Kevin share the displaced-Northerners outlook on life in the South, which makes for interesting conversations when we start talking culture. It also helps that Kaylee is obsessed with their dog Mink.

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We putted along, talking food and family and sharing stories. Dad cruised us past the yacht club where his parents lived and worked when he was born, which brought all new meaning to my favorite anecdote of my grandma’s. Apparently that summer when she was pregnant with my dad she’d have my grandpa dig a hole for her in the sand so she could tan her back (sunbathing was a favorite pastime of hers), garnering questions from friends about whether or not she was trying to “fry that baby to (her) backbone.” If I recall correctly he was born past his due-date, so maybe their questions had merit.

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(I know, the ponytail is epic right now)

One of the things that I was most excited about in this move back to North Carolina was getting to spend exponentially more time on the water. And while eventually we’d like to get a boat of our own (we need to get a 4 wheel drive  vehicle first, which will probably only happen once we have kids and officially outgrow our tiny hatchback) I’ll be taking full advantage of having Tortuga Charters docking in our neck of the woods.

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Blueberry Lemonade

Serves 6

Juice of 12 lemons

1 pint blueberries

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

2″ fresh ginger



Heat sugar, water, and ginger in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Cool completely.

Muddle your blueberries in the bottom of each glass and top with 1oz simple syrup, 1 oz lemon juice, and 2 oz vodka. Mix well. Top off with tonic, adding more or less depending on how strong you’d like it. I made these in mason jars and stuck them (lids on!) in the cooler, which was the most fantastic way ever to bring mixed drinks on the boat. We’ll be doing this again when we picnic!

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Sparkling Old Fashioned

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Last week while we were all home in Durham for the holidays we threw a bridal shower for my sister, Lauren, who is getting married in May. The shower was held at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill and was a wonderful gathering of friends and family to celebrate Lauren. Not to mention a super fun shower followed by an awesome after party. We know how to entertain in this family, if I do say so myself.

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The theme of the shower was “Bourbon and Barbeque,” a play on the “Wine and Swine” theme that sounded delicious, appropriately Southern, and did not make people think the word “swine” at the same time they were thinking about a bride. We chose A Southern Season because it’s known for it’s impeccable taste, wonderful food, and atmosphere. Their restaurant, Weathervane, was incredibly accommodating and even agreed to make a signature bourbon cocktail for us- Sparkling Old Fashioneds.

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To be honest, this family has become old hats at the whole wedding game. Starting with my shower in May 2009 we’ve had at least one family wedding a year, if not two. We ya-ya’s went into planning Lauren’s shower knowing we wanted it to be something special, different from those we’ve thrown, but with all the flair and sophistication we could muster (and all the knowledge we’ve gained in the past few years). We settled on two activities, the first being a banner decorating station where guests wrote a note to Lauren and her fiance, Bradley, on the back and then decorated the front of letters that spelled out “Lauren & Bradley May 17, 2013.” It turned out beautifully and will hopefully be a momento that they can hang in their home (after we roll it out for a few more wedding events, of course).

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The second activity was a game that MaryCatherine came up with, a shopping game that took advantage of our location. Guests were split randomly into teams and each team had to shop for a present at A Southern Season that fit the theme they were assigned. The themes ranged from “something in the wedding colors” to “a food Bradley has never tried.” I shadowed my sister Genevieve and my Aunt Lori whose theme was “something for the honeymoon.” The above picture is one of my favorites, ever, where the women helping us in the shop realized why we were asking where the chocolate sauce was located. Then, after all the presents were gathered on a table, Lauren guessed which presents went with which theme. She was 10 for 10. It was, I have to say, a great game.

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The food was amazing. Going with the theme we had barbeque sliders on pretzel rolls with cole slaw. They provided three regional sauces- Eastern NC’s vinegar sauce, Western NC’s tomato and vinegar sauce, and SC’s mustard based sauce. We also had vegetarian eggrolls, stuffed tomatoes, fried pimento cheese balls (these were HEAVEN), and a fruit plate. Followed by the amazing chocolate cake and paired with the bourbon cocktails? Incredible. We couldn’t have asked for better food.

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In the end I think we pulled off something really special for Lauren, and I think she was happy and felt loved. I cannot wait for her wedding in May and I am so thrilled to call Bradley my brother.

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Lauren & Bradley’s engagement photos

Sparkling Old Fashioned
Source: Rachel Ray

makes 6 servings

1 cup bourbon

1 cinnamon stick

1 teaspoon whole allspice berries

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 24 ounce bottle  nonalcoholic sparkling apple cider, chilled

6 thin strips lemon peel, plus 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In a large glass measuring cup, combine the bourbon, cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg; let stand overnight or for up to 24 hours. Strain out the spices and discard. Stir in the cider and lemon juice. Garnish with the lemon peel.
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