November 2018 | Olive and Tate

Trader Joe's Baked Apple Bacon Pecan Brie


Honestly, I've tried to write a few intro paragraphs for this recipe but all I keep coming back to is the fact that the name should sell it all - I mean, a warm, gooey Brie covered in rich cinnamon sugar sautéed apples and pecans then topped with salty crumbled bacon, all from Trader Joe's and so, so easy to pull together - what more can I say!?

Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie

Perfect for girl's night, holiday get together's or whenever you need a warm Brie, this little number comes together with minimal effort and prep work, so get on it! 

Recipe inspiration comes care of my friend and incredibly talented photographer Ashley Cardoza who always knows when I need a little Brie in my life. 

Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie


Here's what you need, all purchased from Trader Joe's,

Ingredients:
2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and diced
1 heaping tablespoon of Trader Joe's Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Butter Spread
1 Petit Brie Wheel
1/4 cup roughly chopped raw pecans
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

For serving:
Crackers (my favorite are the Pita Bite Crackers from Trader Joe's)
fruit, berries, grapes and a sprig of fresh rosemary, for a pop of color

Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Line a baking tray with tin foil, lay out two pieces of bacon, cook in oven until crisp.

Remove from oven, turn oven temperature down to 150 degrees. 

Peel, slice and dice the apples, add them to a skillet with the large tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar butter spread. Stir and cook them on medium low heat until they are soft.


Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie

Continue to stir occasionally to ensure the butter is evenly spread on the apples. If you're feeling generous, add a little more butter to really get things going. 

Once the apples are soft, add in the pecans, stir to coat pecans in the butter, turn off heat.

Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie

While the apples and pecans are warming together in buttery goodness, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Slice off the top rind of the Brie, place on the parchment lined baking sheet and then into the warm oven

Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie

Heat Brie to your desired level of warmth/gooeyness. I left mine in for maybe 5 minutes.

Once warmed through, remove Brie from oven and transfer onto your serving dish 
(hint, I cut the parchment paper down and left it under the Brie, making it easier to transfer and ultimately clean up)

Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie

Top with warm apple and pecan mixture and then crumbled bacon. 

Serve immediately with crackers and fruit. 

Trader Joe's Baked Bacon Apple Walnut Brie

The salty bites of the bacon pair perfectly with the rich, gooey apples and are plain Heaven when served with fresh raspberries and crackers. I might just make myself one for dinner!



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Trader Joe's Baked Apple Bacon Pecan Brie







Gift Guide for Her 2018

Gift Guide for Her 2018

Let's call a spade a spade, my friends, this little round up is absolutely my personal wish list, but as I'm always one to consider others, I thought it might be the perfect way for you to drop a hint or two to the Santa in your life. Forward this post right along to your husband, partner, mom, co-worker or bestie and you'll be a happy girl come Christmas morning! 

And in case you're worried, I still covered all retailers (and those known for fast shipping because: husbands), price points and stages of life so I know the perfect gift for you is on this list. Let's get to it! 



1. Wine Backpack
Yep, I absolutely do think I need a wine backpack in my life. It's insulated, can hold 2 wine bottles + 8 cans, comes in three colors and has padded shoulders to help handle the load. I'm so here for it.

2. Slip on Mom Shoes
Spotted these on a fellow preschool mom at soccer practice the other day and had to have them. They're made by a brand known for comfort and my friend assured me they are crazy durable, she's been rocking hers for a year and they looked great. Perfect to wear with jeans or leggings, this is the kind of shoe I need in my life.

3. Jade Roller
I'm not sure what this Jade Roller is really supposed to do except make my under eyes less baggy and my jowls less saggy so I'm probably going to need two.

4. Aviators
This is my fave brand of sunglasses mostly do to the price point - they tend to all be oversized and I love the two pair that I currently own. This is an aviator style that I don't have and I think they'd make the perfect stocking stuffer.

5. Wine Chiller
Yep, another wine accessory. Hey, I am who I am. This particular wine chiller promises to keep all wine or champagne the perfectly chilled temp for hours thanks to its vacuum-insulated, stainless steel canister. Plus, it's pretty.

6. Vase Book Ends
I really love the style of this set of bookends, which also serve as a flower vase. Bringing greenery or a pop of color into my styled bookshelf makes me happy, so this little set should keep me pleased for days on end.

7. Full on Sweatsuit
I consider this a step up from my velour Juicy track suit days, but I'm always going to be a fan of a full body outfit that is meant to induce laziness. Bring on the sweatsuit!

8. Layered Beaded Necklace
I actually already own this necklace but wanted to put it on the list because it would make a great gift from the husband. It is a little pricey but each strand of beads can be worn alone or paired up to make an endless variety of looks. The brand also happens to be made here in Charlotte by a pair of sisters so I love supporting the home town girls.

9. Cross Body Lucite Handle Tote
I love this price point for a bag with a unique detail (that might not always be in style). It comes in a ton of colors - I actually love the army green - and can hold a good amount of crap without feeling like a total mom bag. I think I need it.

10. Big O Wine Glasses
Yes, they're called Big O glasses, mostly because of the joy you get when you toss them (gently) into the dishwasher and don't have to bother with hand washing. Technically a Syrah glass, the bowl of these babies is large and ready for a generous pour.

11. Heated Car Blanket
I do sometimes feel bad for my kids that I have heated seats and they have to freeze in their car seats as the car warms up, but not bad enough to skip whipping out a heated blanket powered by the cigarette lighter in my car.

12. Denim Baseball Cap
Most of my baseball caps are stolen from my husband so I'm thinking he'll get me this little number just to reclaim all of his Clemson gear.

13. Envelope Clutch
Confession: I love an envelope clutch. I think they're so elegant and timeless. This version is a gorgeous blush color and oversized, so I know it will fit my giant phone and like the entire bottle of Advil I require if I'm planning to stay up past 10pm.

14. Initial Necklace
I love the delicate look of this sweet initial necklace. This happens to be a dupe for a very expensive style and I think it looks just as gorgeous.

15. The Tote
This tote bag has been on my Wish List for years, I don't know why it never ends up under the tree! It can also be monogrammed for a personal touch (hint husbands, monogram it) and has both the crossbody and shoulder straps for easy transitions.

16. Delicate Hammered Ring
I just happen to love the look of this super thin, hammered gold ring. It's available in a few other metals but I think it would be amazing on my right hand pointer finger or stacked with a few of it's friends on my right ring finger.

Happy shopping, fellas!

A few more faves....




Black Friday Shopping Guide 2018




Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! We've eaten all the things, watched the parade, napped, had a walk and I'm making my way toward a glass of wine and a little shopping to round out the day. I hope you spent it with ones that you love and have a full belly to show for it!

I originally intended to just drop my fave sales in my Instagram story swipe ups but had some feedback that the stories expire so quickly that many of you might miss them during travels and such, so a blog round up it is! I've broken down the sales by our favorite retailers and the things we've been loving this fall, complete with all codes you'll need, direct links and anything that I've purchases for myself.

This post does include affiliate links and in order for me to get credit for any purchases, please ensure that you check out via web browser and outside of any apps or third party windows. Thank you for our continued support!

Anthropologie: 30% off everything
Anthro is one of my all time faves and I've worn a ton of pieces from them this Fall but their gift and home section is really what I'm interested in come sale time. Here are some of my home faves:


and new in clothing is also 30% off, so of course I took a little spin through that section:




I live in Madewell these days - my number one pick would be the 9" High Rise Button Front Skinny Jeans in Hayes wash - it's a universally flattering pair of jeans!

Charlotte Tilbury: Up to 50% off (sales changing throughout the weekend)
Charlotte Tilbury is absolutely a high price point skincare and make up brand to love so when things go on sale, I make moves. If you're new to CT, my absolute fave product is the Magic Cream and I would snag it in this set. I wear her make up daily - and her skin care/masks are the ultimate indulgence.





Old Navy 50% your entire purchase



This sweater and this jacket are my must haves this season from ON!

J.Crew: 40% off your purchase
J. Crew isn't a retailer I shop often because of the price, but when the price is 40% off, I make sure to snag my fave luxe pajamas and usually a jacket or coat, because no one does outerwear like J. Crew!





Serena & Lily: 25% off your purchase
Another retailer than I lust after and shop on sale, I love their lighting options! 


Fave item: the same giraffe as the one we have hanging in our playroom! 



Some of my fave gifts to give are baubles from Kendra Scott - you'll see some of these again on my Gift Guide for her! 


I have and love this pair - but seriously have my eye on this set of crawlers.

Alert, THE sweater tunic is on crazy sale! If you buy anything for yourself, let this be it! 




H&M is where I buy all of the kid's basics - and where we stocked up on most of our Disney gear! Most of their clothing is modern and clean without writing or sayings, which is my preferred way to style the kids.


Baby Girls


Boys




Our fave, trusty playroom storage is on crazy markdown - we've moved it three times and it's still in great condition, plus it makes little kid clean up a breeze. 


My parents recently picked up an Amazon Spot and we plan to snag one too, so the kids can video chat with them without carrying around my iPhone. We currently have a traditional Echo and love it.


I live for this thing. We have wall to wall hardwoods and this is the only way I'll mop! 



Our beloved tablets are on sale - they have the best parental controls out there and come complete with a lifetime warranty, which you know we've already cashed in once! You can read more about our tablets and how we use them here.

Grandparent Gift Guide

What do you give the people who usually don't need a thing, claim to not want a thing and tend to love your children more than anything on Earth?! Honestly, gifting grandparents can be tricky - we always want to find something special and personal to show them just how much they mean to us and it can take me weeks of researching to come up with something new and fresh. This year, I think I've found some really unique gifts, perfect for Grandparents, covering a span of price points and styles. Be sure to read through to post because many items have his and her options and ideas on how to personalize that really take the gift to the next level! 

Grandparent Gift Guide
If you love this gift guide and plan to shop the post, please consider checking out in a web browser and not in an Instagram window or via an app. I do receive a small commission on purchases made via my links and unfortunately do not get credit for any sales made in an app (including the Amazon app on mobile) or via Instagram browser window. If a link from Olive and Tate is the last link you click before checking out, I will receive credit for your sale. Thank you so much for your continued support! 

 Ok, so there's an item numbered 0 on this list because I forgot to include it and, because I think it's such a good idea, I couldn't let it go. When my parents were visiting recently, they fell in love with our Alexa and wanted one for themselves - I suggested they actually get an Amazon Echo Spot so that they could video call the kids without needing my phone or laptop. We're also going to upgrade to a Spot and will pop in on the kitchen counter so the kids can call their grandparents whenever they want - and I won't have to continually wipe baby boogers and such from my phone screen. Rumor has it (and my rumor, I mean the Amazon home page) that there will be a Black Friday deal for a pair of Spot's priced to move so I'll keep you updated via Insta stories if that goes down!

First of all, I kinda can't believe that this custom family genealogy doesn't cost more than it does because I cannot imagine the work that goes into making this beauty. Your family tree will be hand burned into a wood slice harvested from a sustainable forest and are available in both mini and regular sizes. There are also two styles of family tree layout to choose from and both are truly gorgeous - the detail in each one is truly amazing. P.S. There is also a Christmas ornament version!

Ever heard of a Grandma's Brag Book? It's a little photo album that a grandmother carries around with her so that she's ready for every opportunity to whip out pics of her grand-babies to brag about them. Consider this monogrammed metal pocket frame to be the sleeker version of a brag book, with room for two photos and available in a ton of finishes, it is perfect for a purse or console of Grandpa's car.

We gave my parents something similar for Gray's first Christmas and it was a hit - we used a scanner app on our phone to turn those tiny newborn footprints into an amazing keepsake they could hang in their home. This particular version can be customized a million different ways to include all of baby's vital stats, name and even a color scheme to match Grandma's decor.

Ok, so this is a bit of a cliche grandparent gift but I had to include it because this version of a yearly wall calendar not only lets your customize photos, fonts and style but it also allows you to add up to 10 special dates on the calendar for free. Think how sweet it would be to add in special birthdays, events at school (like Grandparent's Day!) or special trips you have planned together.

I love the idea of a custom door mat made just for grandparents that says "Welcome to Grandma's House!" or "My Grandma and Granddad Live Here!" - ask your kiddo for suggestions and I bet you'll come up with an adorable gift.

One of my fave grandparent finds this year, I love this travel mug that is engraved with a child's art or handwriting as well as a message. The wood exterior is bamboo and the interior of the travel cup is stainless steel, making it perfect for that morning commute or road trip to see the grandbabies.

I chose this custom waterway serving tray with my family in mind, as we grew up on the water. This tray (also available in a print) is a topological map of a body of water or estuary of your choice laser cut onto a wood serving tray. The art itself is covered in glass making the tray useful and gorgeous. The site will walk you through finding your chosen body of water (or island) and the maps are truly something special.

For the sentimental Grandma who loves quirky art, this little print has it covered. It also comes in a mug option and would be perfect framed and hung next to a special photo of Grandma and her littles.

Perfect for stashing those glasses, books, remotes and laptops, this little pocket hangs on a bed frame to keep all of the essentials near. Honestly, I think I'm adding this to my own wish list!

I love the less than traditional style of this custom family tree print - each person can be customized to match their personality, style or personality - seriously zoom in on some of the previously created family artwork and you'll be sure you're about to hit the gifting out of the park.

Another perfect spot for those pre-school masterpieces, this leather catch all tray is perfect for any grandparent, but I love the masculine edge specifically for Grandpa. If your babe is too little for artwork, there's an option to add a teeny tiny footprint here.

I think I include an homage to homes in every single gift guide that I create, so it's no surprise that I've added this black and white custom house art print to the Grandparent round up. I think our homes represent so many memories and the homes we grew up - or raised our babies in - are worth memorializing. This piece can range in size from 7"x5" to 20"x16" and can be framed in house to save you major time!

This blanket has a funky style with deep meaning - each block of the blanket design is customized to match the person. Add a name then birth year, hobbies, interests, important milestones and build out the rest of the family tree from there.

I'm all about the custom art when it comes to the grandparents (what else should we be doing with all of those pre-school creations!?) and this cufflink set might be the most unique use yet - each silver envelope cufflink holds a tiny wooden square that can be etched with artwork, handwriting or a message. The silver envelopes open and close, letting you access the special pieces inside whenever you need a reminder of those sweet grandbabies.

And if Grandpas gets special cufflinks, then Grandma gets a special necklace! Each of these gold necklaces is created from baby art, Grandma can match Grandpa or have her very own drawing to wear around her neck.

Does Grandpa have a special recipe or is there a traditional recipe that means something special to your family? Each of these cherry wood cutting boards has your recipe etched with the chef's handwriting.

I love this little book (and so does Oprah!). Each set includes 12 letter writing prompts to encourage Grandparents to document some of their best memories, lessons and wisdom - which are then sealed and postdated for the future. It's essentially a Grandparent written time capsule, a perfect gift for everyone involved.

Fill this box with three bottles of wine of important vintage to the grandparents - maybe the years of their grandchildren's birth or the year they were married and then two significant wedding anniversaries, or even the years of major trips to remember - no matter what dates you choose this wine box is special. Each box is hand etched with the names and "established" date of the recipient. I will say this gift was marketed for newlyweds but I think I love it for Grandparents even more.

So, I love this quirky little idea for the Grandparents who have it all - the old fashioned view finder toy is customized with your photos on the film wheel. Imagine filling your slides with photos from a family trip or special photos of the grandparents meeting their newest loves for the first time. It's unique and special, perfect for grandparents with a sense of humor!

Choose a special place to the grandparents and have this gorgeous print made up to hang on their walls. The city where they were married, grew their family, a favorite travel destination - the options are endless.


Mother In Law Gift Guide


Mother In Law Gift Guide



Every year, I get the same question: "are you going to do a Mother In Law gift guide!?" and every year I genuinely love putting together a list of gifts that are thoughtful, classic, fit all kinds of interests, budgets and relationships and would be gifts that I would personally love to give or receive. 

Each item on this list is perfect for any important woman in your life, whether or not she birthed your spouse. Almost all of the gifts can be personalized, none require you to know any specifics on sizing or fit and all are listed at great price points. Happy shopping, friends! 

Mother In Law Gift Guide




Portions of this post were written in partnership with Soma Intimates. If you love this gift guide and plan to shop the post, please consider checking out in a web browser and not in an Instagram window or via an app. I do receive a small commission on purchases made via my links and unfortunately do not get credit for any sales made in an app (including the Amazon app on mobile) or via Instagram browser window. If a link from Olive and Tate is the last link you click before checking out, I will receive credit for your sale. Thank you so much for your continued support! 

1. Embraceable Plush Collar Robe
Ok, I know a robe isn't a truly ground breaking suggestion for a Mother In Law but hold on to your hats kids, because this Embraceable Plush Collar Robe from Soma is all kinds of amazing and absolutely a must. Why? Oh because the collar is lined with fleecy, plush wonderfulness, perfect for anyone who needs to feel like life is good. Seriously, this robe is unreal, I sleep in mine. The cotton material is a medium weight knit with a touch stretch so it won't cling and the all of the details are covered - the pockets are deep and the robe is attached, two things that matter in the world of robes.

The sizing is also idea for gifting because it comes in a S/M, L/XL and XXL which covers a great range of body types without requiring you to know the specifics of you mother in law's sizing. 

Mother In Law Gift Guide

Ok, let me just say this: Soma was kind enough to send me a pair of their Cool Nights Pajamas and I have no idea how to explain how they work, except that they must be woven with magic. They are soft, just the right weight and have Cool Nights technology which actually keeps your body cool as you sleep at night. Believe it people, cuz it's true. If you're a warm sleeper, wake up in the middle of the night shoving off covers, or sleep next to a furnace of a partner, not only do you need these but you're going to need to gift them to your MIL, too (especially if you've heard talk recently of hot flashes and the like).

I have a pair in the Vintage Pink notched collar top and traditional Cool Nights Pajama pants but also look the classic look of the Kimono CEO in Black Cool Nights set

If the Cool Nights technology wouldn't ring your Mother In Law's bell, I'm fairly certain she would be happy to snuggle up in the Cozy Nights long sleeve top in Heather Vintage Pink - it's cut so that you can absolutely wear it out of the house and is perfect as the first thing you put on after you walk through the door. You can make it a set with either shorts or pants, all of which are insanely soft. Cozy, soft, warm and flattering, this is the kind of gift every MIL can get behind.

I love how simple and clean this gold birthstone bangle is - it really will fit into any woman's wardrobe. You can choose to personalize the birthstone to match your mother in law's birth month or choose the birth month of her fave child, who I assume you're married to. They would also be gorgeous stacked so you could purchase a few over the course of birthdays and holidays to represent those most important to her. 

Something about a French Press feels fancy and luxe, a feeling any woman can understand. This little pot comes in a ton of finishes (so you can skip the copper in favor of a more traditional tone like stainless steel), makes up to 8 cups and is perfect for spoiling a coffee lover. 

Le Mer is the gold standard of luxury skin care and this set comes with two of it's most popular products, The Moisturizing Cream and The Concentrate for less than $100. 

This may be my favorite find of the holiday season! I had no idea the famous Capri Blue candle comes in both a room spray and a reed diffuser but I plan to stock up ASAP. With a universally pleasing scent (think Anthropologie store) the Capri Blue has a cult following - so it's sure to please! 

Perfect for the Mother In Law who loves to travel (or has an overflowing jewelry collection), I love how thoughtful the monogram and color choice options can make this little travel case

Want to see more of my gifting guides for Her? Click here

The new beauty must have - and a gift perfect for the MIL who already has everything - is the Slip beauty sleep silk pillow case. It comes in a ton of gorgeous colors to match any bedding and is anti-aging, anti-sleep creasing and anti-bed head. You can purchase a single silk pillow case here or a set that includes the silk pillow case and a matching Slip silk eye mask here

A classic in the world of cookware, this Le Creuset bowl is pretty enough to use as a serving piece and sturdy enough to proof bread dough, handle cake mixing or whatever else your MIL can throw at it. I love the white, but it comes in a handful of other fun colors. 

I'm here for this: a wine preserver that keeps an open bottle fresh for up to 8 weeks! Each cartridge absorbs 100% of the oxygen within the open bottle within in minutes, allowing for a single glass pour without ruining the bottle. Forget my MIL, this is going on my wish list! 

A sweet throwback, this heart shaped, stainless steel keychain locket can be personalized with an engraving and holds two photos of your MIL's fave faces. 

Everyone loves a little something special to bring out when guests are over or the day calls for a pick me up and I just love this floral pitcher for those very reasons. It's dainty and feminine, perfect for serving or for display. 

What mother in law wouldn't want an excuse to soak in a tub with her book, glass of wine, candle and necessities within reach? This bath tray is a slam dunk, in my opinion! 

update: it looks like the Pie Tin is sold out but there are many other shapes/plates available, like this baking dish, and this jewelry dish from the same shop. 
The most thoughtful gift on the list, this white ceramic pie tin/dish can be personalized with a photo and handwritten recipe. Imagine gifting your Mother In Law with a handwritten recipe and photo of her own mother - or, if you have babes, imagine a recipe written in your child's handwriting of a pie that your MIL and babes made together. 

A truly unique gift, this wooden 3D house portrait will be hand painted to match your Mother In Law's house. Seriously, take a peek at how thoughtful and beautiful these little houses truly are, not a single detail is left out. You could also choose to do a painting of the house your MIL grew up in or a home that was significant to her (say, the house she raised her children in, if they've downsized). 

This sweet little keepsake box is engraved with the words "May the memories last forever" and can be customized with different quote or inscription of your choice. The photo can be added/changed out so you can choose a special snap or let your MIL pick the perfect photo. 

Sweet, simple and hand made, I love the script on this note card set. You can choose your personalize color but this style will always be simple and classic. 

I always keep a blank journal on hand to jot down ideas and make lists so I am partial to this spiral bound journal with your MIL's name printed on the front. The watercolor floral pattern comes in a range of shades and the interior cover can be personalized with a special note and photo, which makes for a very sweet touch. 

For the book lover (or the chef, there's also a recipe stamp!), this heavy duty, gorgeous Library Embosser rubber stamp is a really unique gift. I am surprised at how friendly the price point is and know that any bibliophile would be thrilled to put their stamp to work in their library. 

Mother In Law Gift Guide



Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions

Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions

Thank you to Milo's Tea Company for sponsoring this post. All recipes and onions are my own. 

It's been forever since I last posted a recipe but I've been busy in the kitchen, prepping for all things holiday, so I thought I'd take a quick break to share my latest and greatest. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I'm all about the sides. If I'm being honest, I kind of find traditional roast turkey to be a bit boring (which is why we fry ours!) so I'm always looking for ways to bring in a new flavor to the classic holiday feast. 

This year, I set out to create a fresh take on one of my favorite sides that rarely sees a Thanksgiving table - but is about to become the star of the show - caramelized onions. And not just any caramelized onions, Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions. 

Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions

To make our onions the perfect turkey topping, I'm using Milo's Tea Company Sweet Tea in place of adding sugar during the cooking process and in lieu of wine to deglaze the pan. When paired with the flavor of a strong red onion, the award winning Milo's Sweet Tea brings out an amazing sweet tang as the onions cook. With no preservatives or added acids, the natural, brewed-from-real-tea-leaves flavor doesn't leave a bitter taste in the onions, perfect for those who might be skeptical about a heavy onion-y flavor. 

You're going to love how easy this recipe is, all you need is a little patience and you'll be all set!

Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

Half a stick of salted butter
1 large red onion, sliced
3 Tablespoons Milo's Sweet Tea

Method:

In a heavy bottomed pan or skillet, melt butter on medium heat 
added sliced red onion to the warm pan 
mix until onions are coated with butter 
cook on medium low heat, stirring regularly 

Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions

The onions will change from a clear state to a light brown state, once the onions are light brown, add the Milo's Sweet Tea to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. 

Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions

Allow the onions to continue cooking on medium to medium low heat until desired level of done-ness. I prefer mine to be very dark brown and the sweet tea to thicken. 

Total cooking time should be 45 mins - 1 hour on medium to medium low heat. 

Serve warm over turkey or as a side dish to a roast. As a total bonus, the Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions taste amazing on a leftover turkey sandwich - just add white cheddar, sliced turkey, and the onions (cold or warmed) to toast and you'll be a happy camper! 

Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions

Note: if you're serving a crowd for the holidays plan to increase your cooking time by 20-30 minutes. Lower and slower will be your friend with this recipe! 



Milo's Sweet Tea is available in unsweet, no calorie sweetened with sucrose and sweetened in the refrigerated section of your local grocery. Click here to find Milo's in your neighborhood. 

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Sweet Tea Caramelized Onions




5 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests with Hamilton Beach


5 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests with Hamilton Beach

Thank you to Hamilton Beach for sponsoring this post. All thoughts, opinions and mediocre hostessing tips are my own. 

'Tis the season, my friends! 

Pull out the extra pillows, pump up the air mattress and stash those dirty dishes: company is coming. We have an open door policy for friends and family who wish to endure special, quality time in our crazy home and what we lack in accommodations, I try to make up for in hospitality.

Knowing that our guests are treated to a stay in my son's room (hey, at least the bed is a queen) while he bunks up with us and that our playroom will never, ever be free of LEGOs to step on, we rely on little gestures here and there to remind our visitors that we do really appreciate that they were brave enough to crash at our casa. 

Behold,  5 of my favorite ways to ensure our guests feel comfortable in our home: 

5 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests with Hamilton Beach

1. Caffeine To Order

I am actually the only dedicated coffee drinker in our house. My husband is happy to grab an occasional pick me up here and there but this mama is the only one who relies on a hot cup of coffee every morning. Because it's just me, I never see the need to dirty up a coffee pot. When guests are around, I know we'll need more than my single cup so I pull out the big guns: my FlexBrew by Hamilton Beach. Guys this thing is an amazing, best of both worlds kind of set up. Because it's compatible with both k-cup packs or ground coffee, I can set the timer to brew a full pot first thing in the morning, prep a little coffee bar and allow everyone to fill their mug as they wake up in the am. If the classic roast doesn't put a pep in someone's step, they can use a single pod to brew their own chosen cup of java. 

Even better, the FlexBrew allows you to choose your brew strength so we can really amp things up if the pervious night has been a restless one. 

5 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests with Hamilton Beach

In my opinion, nothing says "we're glad you're here" quite like the smell of freshly brewing coffee first thing in the morning. And nothing prevents family squabbles quite like getting to pick out your very own brew, so it's clearly a win all around. As a bonus for me, once the guests are gone, I put away the coffee bar fixings but keep out the FlexBrew because it can make just one cup a time - and comes complete with a tiny basket for a single cup's worth of coffee grounds that you can use in place of a K-Cup!


P.S. There's another win at the end of this post, so keep reading! 

5 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests with Hamilton Beach

2. Passwords and Tricky Tech

We dropped cable when we moved into our house in Charlotte, so we make sure that all of our visitors know how to work our TV's. That's proven to be easier said than done as far as my Mom goes, but we're working on it! We also made sure to set our WiFi password as something easy to remember (I'm sure anyone who knows my husband well could guess that it's related to his alma matter) so that it's available for an easy log on. We write the WiFi password down and leave it in an obvious place (say, near the coffee bar!) so that everyone has access when they want it. 

3. Shared Spaces

You may remember that our hall bath is also our guest bath and the bath that our children use, so it get's a ton of traffic. My parents recently came to visit and I asked them if they needed anything - and it wasn't until that moment that I realized the only shampoo and such in the guest bath was meant for delicate baby skin. Oops! Since then, I've been sure to stash real deal body wash, shampoo and soap under the cabinet so that all of our visitors can avoid squeezing their soap from a Mickey Mouse shaped bottle. 

We also make sure to grab everything that Gray will need for the entirety of our guest's visit from his room - that means clothes, stuffed animals, special blankets, whatever. I want our guests to feel like the room is theirs for the visit, and don't want to intrude on their space by popping in constantly for a fresh pair of Spider Man undies. We also try to de-little boy the room a tiny bit by moving the LEGO skyscrapers to the playroom, containing the lovies in the baskets where they belong and clearing off the books and such from his bedside tables. I mean, let's face it, no one wants to wake up in the night, search for a bathroom in a strange house and worry they're going to take out a LEGO village with their bare feet on the way. 

4. Scents and Smells

Strong scents like air fresheners and candles can sometimes trigger headaches or allergies so I make sure to eighty six all faux smells at least 24 hours before guests arrive. Instead of using an aerosol spray or plug in scent, I use lemons and limes to freshen up my kitchen and garbage cans. Cut a lime into quarters and toss them down the disposal - give it a run and the citrus will cut through any grime and smell amazing. The same goes for a lemon half squeezed into a lined garbage can! 

5. Charged

And finally, we keep an assortment of charging cables on hand for anyone who might have forgotten a cord. A tip I learned from my best friend is to go ahead and plug in one charging cable near the bed where guests will be staying, it will help them get settled if they arrive at night, which will be much appreciated by the road weary. 

If you're hosting this holiday season, I've got you covered! Hamilton Beach and I are giving away a Flex Brew coffee maker identical to mine so that you can set up your own coffee station for your guests to enjoy. Head to my Instagram to enter!  If you're more of an Amazon Prime kinda hostess, be sure to enter code 10FLEXBREW for 10% off the FlexBrew on Amazon. 

5 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests with Hamilton Beach

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photos by Kristen Bishop Day