Happy Weekend!

Happy weekend, everybody! While I have a little more computer work to do today before I can officially start my weekend, I’m ready for it! Today is a work-from-home day for me. That means I am able to go ahead and put on my weekend wear. Glory!

This long cardi is one of the best purchases I’ve made at Target.com recently. It is part of their Knox Rose collection. It is super soft and goes great with casual or dressier outfits. And the price is $27.99. The subtle grey stripe is a little hard to see in the photographs, so here’s a close-up.

This cardi also comes in black with a white stripe, which would be really cute with a white tank and your favorite colored shorts. My favorite Bass Pro Shops shorts are still available in some great colors. The canyon rose and agate green would both be great with the black/white cardi.

Speaking of great Bass Pro Shops shorts, today I’m wearing the Easy River frayed hem shorts in antique wash. These are on clearance, so they are selling out fast.

And lastly, the two pairs of Burkenstock dupes that I love. I have had the Outwoods Bork-30 in vegan leather (Is this the gentrified name for “faux leather” that we are using now?) for two years. They have held up great, and I wear them EVERYDAY. They are my go-to when I come in from work and change clothes and shoes. I have them in pewter, but they have other really cute colors like silver, leopard, white, and snakeskin. They pewter are $27 and some change, but the prices differ slightly depending on the color.

However, in my Walmart.com haul, I scored the Time and Tru ones. They are available in cognac (which is what I got), black, floral, and rose gold. They are only $15, and they are more comfortable than the Outwoods ones. They have padding in the sole in three different places, and they are like walking on clouds. And unless you want the authentic Berks in the $75-$100 range, these “vegan leather” options are legit.

Happy weekend, guys!

Comfy and Cozy

Listen, you don’t have to twist my arm to bring you ALLLL the comfy and cozy looks. Comfy and cozy is kind of my specialty. So, when I ran across these two great sweatshirts on Walmart.com, I knew I needed to snatch them up. These are from the same line as the plaid top I showed you the other day (my best seller so far) and ALL the leopard pieces found here.

First up is the Time and Tru crewneck sweatshirt for less than $11. I chose it in a color called “apple juice” (so cute!!) but it comes in about seven or eight colors. The spiced cider and gem slate were GREAT colors, too. I got this one in XL because I wanted a baggy oversized sweatshirt. It’s pretty much what I live in during the fall and winter. (I wish Walmart.com did their clothes justice. Their pictures on this Time and Tru line are terrible compared to how great they look in person.)

I paired both of these looks with a pair of black leggings from Target (out of stock now), but my absolute favorite black (or any color) leggings of all time are these from Amazon. The fabric on these is fantastic, and they aren’t so breathtakingly tight. They are a great fit.

The white tank I’m wearing underneath the sweatshirts is this one, also from Amazon. It is amazing a drapey, and I wish I had it in aaalllllll the colors.

Next up is the Time and Tru zip up hoodie for just under $12. The thing I love about this hoodie is the range of colors it comes in. I got spiced cider, but I also love the studio blue. For cold months when I want to stay home and watch ballgames or run out to the grocery, this is an easy YES for me.

As always, thank you for shopping those affiliate links. It keeps this little space on the internet running.

Leopard Leopard Everywhere

If you know me in real life you know I’m a fan of leopard print. It really is leopard leopard everywhere around here. The thing is, I think leopard print is timeless and classic. It is also more of a neutral than you might originally think.

Case in point is this long leopard cardigan. Do I have to say again how much I love a long cardi? You can’t go wrong with one. This one is actually a plus size brand called Terra & Sky from Walmart. The 1X fit enough like an XL that I jumped on it. It is so soft and drapey! (And everybody loved it because it is already sold out online. So sorry! I’ll keep a watch to see if they restock.) I paired it with the white Time and Tru tee (for $4 and some change), only available online in a two-pack. And the black high waisted jeans make another appearance.

This is one of those looks that was a little more toned-down in my head, but when I got it on I realized I don’t have the nerve to wear it. I LOVE the individual pieces, but for me it’s too much all together. I would definitely wear the faux leather moto jacket with a white tee and jeans. (This jacket looks soooo much better in person than on Walmart.com!!) I like the look of the red tee with the leopard. Leopard is such a neutral, so don’t be afraid to wear it with color. The leopard pants are a definite (also not available online right now. I’ll post the link when they are back in stock.), as are the black heels. These black heels are also from the Time and Tru line, and they are really comfortable and have great support. Very surprising for a $15 dress shoe.

And with one quick change, this becomes an outfit I really would wear to work. All I did was switch out the moto jacket for a Time and Tru black cardigan.

And lastly, my soccer mom look takes it up a notch with this cute leopard tee for $8.44. I paired it with the same black jeans, a heather grey long cardi for less than $15, and the Time and Tru black quilted sneakers for $15.

Hope you like these looks. And thanks for using our affiliate links to shop. We big puffy heart you for it.

Time and Tru Plaid Top

OK, guys. Fashion posts are super out of my comfort zone, but you guys are asking for it, so here goes. I ran into Walmart the other day because I heard they had a really cute line of women’s apparel called Time and Tru. Y’all, it’s for real. They have super cute things that are very well made, and low prices as well. The first thing I want to show you is four ways to wear the Time and Tru Plaid Top. (In case you pop over to the Walmart site and think it doesn’t look as cute, be assured. It looks much better in person than on their website.)

This one comes in two color options: winter white and spiced cider. In these photos I’m wearing the winter white, but in a later post I’ll show you a few ways to style the spiced cider. The price on this one is $14.88.

First of all, it’s August and still hot as blue blazes in Alabama. We are going to be in shorts for a while yet. So even though the Time and True Plaid Top is a fall-ish item, I want to show you how you can begin wearing it now. I’ve paired the Time and Tru Plaid Top with a pair of black shorts and a pair of cute simple black sandals, also from the Time and Tru line (not available online).

For a little dressier look, I paired it with a pair of Time and Tru wide leg cropped jeans ($18.74 and the legs are much wider in person than what the website shows). I also really like the Time and Tru peep toe boots in cognac ($19.98). In case you’re wondering if a $20 pair of boots can be comfortable, I am very pleasantly surprised at the comfort and support these boots offered.

I wanted to try it with a skinny leg jean and wedges, so I chose my favorite AE jeans and my coral Target wedges.

And as the weather begins to cool off and we can actually wear fall clothes, I like this look. Black Time and Tru sweater (great length, comes in 4 neutral colors, and is $13.96). Black Time and Tru high rise jeans ($16.87 and I think they run a bit small, so size up). And Time and Tru ankle strap boots in brown ($24.98).

Does it need to be said that I’m a fan of the tuck? I think we can all see that, right?

Thanks for shopping those affiliate links. That pays for something around here like the power bill, the soccer fees, or a homeschool book. We appreciate it so much.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens from THeHillHangout.com

My southern is showing a little with the publication of this recipe. But I can’t help it. I have only recently acquired a taste for greens, so I’m learning to make them. If you haven’t ever tried your hand at cooking greens, let me introduce you to my recipe for collard greens.

Collard greens aren’t hard to make, but they take a long time. But since they are incredibly healthy and we all need more green in our diet, they are worth the effort. 

Collard Greens from TheHillHangout.com

There are as many ways to make collard greens as there are southern cooks, so feel free to tweak this recipe to fit your tastebuds. You can buy collard greens fresh in a bunch, but then you’ll have to de-stem the leaves and wash them really well. I prefer to buy mine shredded.

Collard Greens from TheHillHangout.com

And can you imagine washing all of those collard greens after they have been shredded? So this is what I’m looking for…

So much easier! In order to make a big pot of collard greens, here’s what you’ll need…

2lb bag of shredded and pre-washed collard greens

2 quarts of chicken stock

2 small white onions, diced

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound of bacon, cooked and diced, with grease reserved

1/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup maple syrup or molasses

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat 2 tablespoons of reserved bacon grease over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic in bacon grease until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in cooked bacon, red pepper flakes, and salt. Pour in one quart of chicken stock and heat until simmering. Let simmer for about 30 minutes to allow bacon to flavor the stock. Add part of the greens to fill the pot, as they won’t all fit until some have cooked down. Place lid on pot, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer to let green wilt. When able, add more greens, stir, and allow to wilt. Continue until all greens are added to the pot. Add the second quart of chicken stock.

Once all greens are cooking, add vinegar and syrup. If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember my favorite vinegar from Trader Joe’s, which is what I use in this recipe.

Allow to simmer covered for about an hour. Collard greens are a tough green, and you want to cook them low and slow to make them tender. Serve with pepper sauce if you like them a little spicy.

Collard greens are a wonderful complement to most any meat-and-veggie type meal. We like them with roasted pork and cheese grits, and they are also wonderful with a rotisserie chicken and sweet potatoes. 

Collard Greens from TheHillHangout.com

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish fron TheHillHangout.com

Cranberry Orange Relish is a new-to-us recipe on our holiday table this year. While I’ve long been a fan of cranberry sauce – yes, I like the canned stuff! – I wanted something a little more special this year. Festive, maybe. This simple recipe is just the ticket. It takes about five minutes to make, and it is absolutely delicious! 

Cranberry Orange Relish is full of bold flavor, so it is definitely best as a relish instead of a full-size side dish or salad. A little goes a long way. 

Cranberry Orange Relish from TheHillHangout.com.

You can go with a nutty option or a non-nutty option. I like both. You’ll need a 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, one orange, a half cup of sugar, and an optional half cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.

Cranberry Orange Relish from TheHillHangout.com.

Wash the cranberries well. Quarter the orange with the peel on. Take seeds out if there are any. Squeeze orange juice in a mixing bowl. Place cranberries and squeezed orange in food processor and chop for a few seconds. Be sure to get all big chunks of orange peel chopped or they will be bitter. Put chopped fruit mixture in bowl with orange juice. Add sugar and mix well. Store in fridge for at least an hour. Stir again and add nuts just before serving.

We hope you enjoy Cranberry Orange Relish as much as we do!

Cranberry Orange Relish from THeHillHangout.com

Cookie Dough Dip

A few months back, I got together with some of my favorite food blogging friends. We ate and cooked and ate some more. I tell ya, it never gets old sharing your work with people who get it. And these people get it. 

While we were together we made several recipes that we could all share with our readers, and this cookie dough dip was one of the favorites of the weekend. I made it for my family, and they whole-heartedly agree. It’s a keeper, and it’s a great recipe to take to parties, showers, or to tailgate. Here’s what you’ll need…

6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 block cream cheese (8 oz), softened to room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
graham crackers, chocolate graham crackers, animal crackers or vanilla wafers, for serving

Directions:

  • Using a stand mixer, or an electric hand mixer, combine softened butter and cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl until mixed well.
  • Turn mixer to low speed and mix in brown sugar, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Stir in mini chocolate chips.
  • Serve with chocolate graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or animal crackers for dipping!

Corned Beef with Potatoes and Carrots

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and what a perfect time to try your hand at cooking corned beef with potatoes and carrots! Though this dish is a traditional St. Patrick’s Day favorite, it is actually a wonderful dinner any time of the year.

I cook my corned beef with potatoes and carrots low and slow in my Le Creuset braiser, but you can do it in a covered casserole dish or even in a Crock-pot. No matter what kind of baking dish you use, remember to cook low and slow to make it tender. Corned beef is not a cut of meat you want to cook too quickly.

My favorite corned beef is the one pictured above from Cook’s. It comes with a pickling spice seasoning packet, and it’s the one I use for this recipe. I rinse my brisket in cold water before cooking.

Spray your pan with cooking spray, and place the rinsed brisket in it, fat side on top. Sprinkle the top with the seasoning packet, pour in 1-2 cups cold water (can use beer for a fuller flavor), add the minced garlic to the water, place onions around brisket, and place 2 rosemary sprigs on top. **Do not add potatoes and carrots at this point.

Cook on 275 degrees for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Pull out of oven to add potatoes and carrots. Place remaining sprigs of rosemary on top. Return to oven for another hour.

Plate and serve! This recipe for Corned Beef will melt in your mouth. It is incredibly tender and flavorful.

Corned Beef with Potatoes and Carrots
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. Cook's Corned Beef with Seasoning Packet
  2. 1-2 cups cold water or beer
  3. 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  4. 1 small white onion, quartered
  5. 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  6. 4 medium potatoes, cut into 2" chunks
  7. 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 3" pieces
Instructions
  1. Spray cooking dish or dutch oven with cooking spray. Rinse beef brisket and place in pan fat side up. Pour in water or beer. Add in garlic and onions. Sprinkle seasoning packet over top of brisket and place two sprigs of rosemary on top.
  2. Cook in 275 degree oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove from oven and add potatoes and carrots. Place remaining rosemary sprigs on top. Return to oven for another hour.
  4. Remove from oven, plate, and enjoy!
The Hill Hangout https://thehillhangout.com/

Pickled Onions

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

Good evening, everybody! We are about ready to ring in the new year, but I didn’t want 2017 to get away before I have a chance to show you a delicious accompaniment to your traditional southern New Year’s Day meal or any southern meal. I made a batch of these pickled onions today, and they were quick enough that you can make them in about 30 minutes and enjoy them with your good luck meal.

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

I started out with three medium sized onions, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ or smaller rings. My preference for pickled onions is to use Vidalia onions (check to be sure that they were grown in Vidalia, Georgia, as these are the real deal. You just can’t imitate onions grown in that good Vidalia soil!). However, this time of the year I didn’t have Vidalias, so I used regular sweet onions. They will be a little spicier than Vidalias, but they will be delicious.

Though I am making these in canning jars, I am actually not going through the canning process with these. I will put them in the fridge, so no need to sterilize jars. I filled the jars all the way to the top with onions and packed them down pretty tightly to fit in as many onions as I could.

I don’t pre-cook my onions because I like my pickled onions a little crunchy. Pouring the hot brine over the onions cooks them a little anyway. But if you don’t want any crunch to your pickled onions, you can boil them in a pan of water for about two minutes before you put them into jars.

The brine I used was a combination of apple cider vinegar, water, salt, turmeric, celery salt, cinnamon, sugar, whole cloves, and whole peppercorns. See recipe below for specific measurements, but I brought all of this to a boil and poured over sliced onions. Be aware that turmeric stains terribly. Be very careful not to get it on your clothes, countertops, dish towels and use only jars you don’t mind getting stains.

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

Once I poured the brine into the jars, I let them cool on the counter. This allows the onions to cook a little in the jars before going into the fridge. Once completely cool, they are ready to be refrigerated until ready to eat. I can’t wait to pull these out on New Year’s Day to eat with my traditional meal of ham, greens, black-eyed peas, and cornbread!

Pickled Onions from TheHillHangout.com

Pickled Onions
Pickled onions are a fantastic side dish for any southern meal!
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. Three medium to large onions (Preferably Vidalia, but any sweet variety can be used)
  2. 4 cups apple cider vinegar (Can substitute white vinegar)
  3. 1 cup cold water
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  6. 3 teaspoons celery salt
  7. 1 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt (or regular table salt)
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  9. 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  10. 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
Instructions
  1. In glass jars or other glass containers, divide cloves and peppercorns and pour into bottom of containers.
  2. Peel and slice onions into thin (1/4") rings. Pack into jars or other glass container. (Turmeric will stain plastic containers, so glass works best.)
  3. Mix vinegar, water, sugar, turmeric, celery salt, salt, and cinnamon in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Let boil for two minutes. Pour hot brine into glass jars, covering onions.
  4. Allow onions to completely cool on countertop before refrigerating. When cool, put lids on jars and refrigerate.
The Hill Hangout https://thehillhangout.com/

Abram and Sarai and Marriage and Comfort

I’ve always been enthralled by the story of God calling Abram to leave his home and family and follow God to a place that He would show him. Abram was from the area we now know as Mesopotamia – the land of the nomads. The theological belief of most of the nomadic people was polytheism – the belief in many gods, each of whom controlled a different aspect of the world. It was common practice that if one had a desire – a baby, say – then one would pray to the fertility god and offer gifts and sacrifices to that god. But if one also needed safety for a journey, one would call on the god of travel. This would have been common practice for Abram, his family, and all those with whom he lived in community.

That’s why it has always been so significant to me that when God called Abram to follow Him to a land that He would show him (Genesis 12: 1-2), that Abram recognized the voice of the One True God, turned his back on polytheism, and followed God without knowing where he was going. Amazing faith, right?

But until today, I’d never noticed much about Sarai’s part in Abram’s calling. Read with me from Genesis 12:4-5…

So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to the land of Canaan.

God called Abram, and Abram obeyed quickly, without hesitation, submissively, and fully – even when he’d only known a religion of many gods before. Sarai went with Abram supportively, though she’d only had the same religious beliefs before God’s call to Abram. She didn’t command that the LORD also speak to her; it was enough for her that He’d spoken to Abram. I love Matthew Henry’s commentary on this, “If Abram leave all to follow God, Sarai will leave all to follow Abram. And it was a mercy to Abram. It is very comfortable when husband and wife agree to go together in the way to heaven.”

Abram walks so closely with God that Sarai is able to trust his judgement, even when it doesn’t make sense to her. What a beautiful picture of a wife who honors her husband, and in so doing honors God!