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Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Featured, Uncategorized | 0 comments

How to Host a Country Breakfast

How to Host a Small Country Breakfast

On Saturday, I hosted a delicious country breakfast for one of my favorite mama-friends and our families. Our sons are 1 day shy of exactly 1 year apart, and they’re both approaching birthdays very soon. The husbands were along as well to talk about world events, smoked/grilled meats, and various and sundry sporting events.


The boys playing at our last brunch in June

The boys playing at our last brunch in June, where my son is taking a toy away from a baby

Back in June, we had brunch at their house, and I had big shoes to fill. As I was trying to decide what to make, I decided to stick with what I know – good, ole country breakfast. The deciding factor was the delicious products I received from Southern City Flavors a week or so ago. I knew these local tastes would complement my menu beautifully. Here are my notes from the night before the breakfast that served as my cooking guide (basically the entertaining recipe for 2 mamas + 2 papas + 2 toddles) – with links to the recipes I used. My friends were arriving at 8:30 so I started prepping at 8-ish.

Pre-heat oven to 475* for biscuits.

Stone Ground Grits from Southern City Flavors – cooked in chicken stock

I cooked 2 cups of washed grits with 4 cups of stock and 2 cups of water. I started the grits first since they have a 20 minute cooking time. Here’s the tutorial I used to find out the process behind “washed” grits the label mentions. (Note: I had a LOT of grits left over so half of this amount would have been plenty. But that just means I’ll be cooking up grit bowls for my breakfasts this week. They have been amazing!)

I made the grits and eggs without any seasoning because both toddles are lactose intolerant, and I like to keep things salt free for them, too. But I had a toppings bar of herbs, spices, butter, various cheeses (including shredded Colby jack and cheddar and blue cheese crumbles), and salsa. The adults trashed up our servings for sure, as you can tell by my photo above.

IMG_20140906_144916 (1)

Biscuits – For two of us, I usually make a half batch, but since I had 4 adults this time, I made a full batch. The oven was beeping that it had reached temp just as I was about to pop these babies in the oven. It is really not hard to make fresh biscuits, and the canned kind can’t compare (#alliteration :P).

Local biscuit toppings including Fig Jam and Sweet Potato Butter (how good does that sound!?!)

Biscuits and local toppings

Biscuits and local toppings

Sausage gravy – a double batch of this recipe was just right. Check out my sausage trick below –


It’s an age old problem: 1 lb of sausage is too much to use at once for a single person or small family, and it’s impossible to cut up frozen sausage. So here’s my trick for freezing sausage for use in smaller portions. I take a 1 lb package and cut it in quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and freeze. Then, I can use as much or as little as I need. To thaw, I will either move it to the fridge ahead of time or defrost in a glass bowl in the microwave. I used 2 frozen bits (about half a pound) from the freezer for the sausage gravy.

Eggs – 10, scrambled at the last minute.

I think it’s ok to start the eggs after the guests have arrived. It only takes a couple of minutes, and they will be fresh, hot, and delicious!

Fruit – My friend brought pineapple and cantaloupe

Tomato Juice

Tomato Juice


I have several quarts of ta-may-tuh juice from my mom so we had to make up a Bloody Mary or two.

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Southern City Flavors was generous enough to send over samples of their delicious products for me to check out, and my review is 100% my own. Input Bettybecca at checkout to save 25% through 11/30/2014. Their story of cooking with family and friends really resonated with me, and I hope you will check them out today!

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Around Chez Ary, Featured | 4 comments

Getting Fresh Around Here

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.59.17 AM


Thanks to Mr. J, the blog has a new look. If you keep up with me through a reader, please click through to take a look.

I spent a few (amazing!) days last week in Asheville, NC, at Food Blog Forum. This is my second time to attend this event, and I enjoyed every minute. The itinerary was packed full of incredible food, “money-can’t-buy” experiences, new friends, beautiful vistas, and great tips and tricks for blogging. I hope to share more soon about the trip and event, but in the mean time check out Instagram for all of my pics.




For the conference, I finally got some business cards, and I really loved how they turned out. I just ordered some simple ones and added washi tape. I have lots of customization options, and I’m really excited about them. Here’s a sneak peak:


Finally, we’re gearing up to celebrate birthday #2. I can’t believe it, and I’m not entirely sure I’m ready for what this year will hold (I hear it can be a bit “terrible” 😉 haha). But there’s always a balance of absolutely precious moments in the mix. Here’s a recent pic and a hint at the theme of our party:

Big ELlama Llama Red Pajama

Until next time – Happy Monday, friends!

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