food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Month: August 2014

After the Rain

The storms have been frequent and harsh around here lately. The hot and humid weather has returned, too, which makes venturing outside even more unbearable. The plants on our front porch and patio are soaking up every drop of water and each ray of sun, though!







And Richard got us a snazzy new hook for our bird feeder!


Here’s hoping we get a cold-front soon… I am ready for crisp fall air!

xo Cassie

Wedding: Bachelorette Weekend

Countdown to “I do.” – 131 days!

Alright, I figured it was time to share a handful of memories from my bachelorette weekend on Topsail Island!

All in all, it was a fabulous time full of sun, finding shark teeth, hilarious photos, sandy shorts, drinks, running in and out of the ocean at 1am, girl talk, and plenty of laughs!





Taking a dip


A huge THANK YOU to my amazing sister and maid of honor Kara, my bridesmaids Rachel, Sarah, and Jasmin, and my wonderful friends Lesley and Bethany for making my bachelorette weekend one to remember forever (even if it’s just through the photographs!)

xo Cassie

A Trip to Garden Supply Co.

I really can’t believe that I am just now getting around to visiting Cary’s own Garden Supply Company. This fantastic combination nursery / home decor / antique shop is only 10 minutes from home!

I planned a trip last week because one by one, the recent storms destroyed my front porch terra cotta pots, leaving the woeful plants sitting as naked little root balls to simply dry out in the sun.

Sidenote, “naked little root balls” looks really silly and inappropriate when its typed out.

So, I bought plastic “terra cotta” pots.

Yep, I know.

You’re thinking, “That is so cheap and tacky.”

Honestly, I can’t tell the difference from the road. Plus, REAL terra cotta pots absorb water and leave ugly “water lines” halfway down the pot! Sorry guys, plastic from here on out.

Anyways, here are some other fun treasures that I picked up from the more thrifty / home decor side of the shop!


Hanging candles


Gold lantern

Dip-dye vase

As you can see, I’ve already found a spot for the beautiful dip-dye vase. It’s holding a silk flower arrangement in the guest room – my favorite room in our home!

The hanging votives will be beautiful around the back patio during a fall get-together with friends, once the mosquitos have dissipated!

As for the mirrored gold lantern, I’m thinking that it will stay inside, and only be brought outside for events as well. I quite like it on the buffet in the dining room.

And of course, the “vintage” clock needs to live somewhere near the teal living room! Even though it’s fake vintage, I couldn’t pass it up when I noticed that the center reads, “Designed in England”. Too cute!

What are your favorite garden / antique shops in your area? What was your best find?

I can’t wait to go back to Garden Supply Co. and buy some more of their beautiful vases. Loving the dip-dye look!

xo Cassie

Lentils with Tomatoes, Gorgonzola, and Fresh Herbs

Sooo… Perhaps I should just blog my way through the Plenty cookbook, because here’s yet ANOTHER amazing vegetarian dish to share with you!

Lentils with Tomatoes, Gorgonzola, and Fresh Herbs // adapted from Plenty
Yields 4 large servings

For the oven-dried tomatoes, you’ll need…
6-8 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
8 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

And for the rest, you’ll need…
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/3 cups French green lentils
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
black pepper
3 tablespoons chopped chives
4 tablespoons chopped dill
4 ounces mild Gorgonzola, crumbled

1. To make the oven-dried tomatoes, preheat the oven to 275°F. Halve the tomatoes and place skin-side down on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Arrange the thyme sprigs on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle tomatoes and thyme with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with some salt. Roast for 1 1/2 hours, or until semi-dried (the skins will be ever-so-slightly blackened). When finished, discard the thyme and set aside to cool.
2. Meanwhile, place the sliced red onion in a medium-sized bowl, pour over the red wine vinegar, and sprinkle with salt. Give it a little stir, then leave the bowl alone so the onion softens a bit.
3. Place the lentils in a medium pot of boiling water (the water should come 1 1/4 inches above the lentils) and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until tender.
4. Drain well in a colander and, while still warm, add to the sliced onion. Also add the olive oil, crushed garlic, and some black pepper.
5. Once cool, add the herbs and mix together. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
6. To serve, add the tomatoes (with their cooking juices) and Gorgonzola to the lentil mixture.
7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.


It may not be as “pretty” as the tart in my previous post, but this dish is a cool and delicious makeover of your run-of-the-mill summertime salad. It would be great for parties, picnics, or just a main course! Lentils are filling!


I served this dish as a main course with a crusty piece of rosemary focaccia (with a mix of olive oil, balsamic, and cracked black pepper for dipping) and a small side of herb-buttered brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes.

Lentils on plate


Oh-so satisfying.

xo Cassie

Yotam’s “Very Full Tart”

I’m going out on quite a limb here… but if you are a vegetarian OR a meat-eater that also enjoys and respects AMAZING vegetarian dishes, buy this book.

I was lucky enough to receive it as a gift from Richard’s sister. Thank you, Julie!


Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi is full of unique vegetarian dishes, perfectly curated to appeal to the novice home cook, as well as the more experienced cook who may be looking for something just a bit more adventurous.

It doesn’t hurt that photographs paired alongside nearly every recipe (ahem, something that I always appreciate) are absolutely stunning.


I chose to make the “Very Full Tart” as my first recipe from the book. It’s a savory Mediterranean tart filled with roasted vegetables, feta cheese, sweet caramelized onions, eggs, cream, and loads of fresh thyme.

The recipe can be found here.

(It’s a bit lengthy to type out for this post, but PLEASE do not let that discourage you from making this deliciousness.)

Yes, it took a couple hours (prepping and cooking), but it was SO SIMPLE. There are no complicated sauces or fancy ways of chopping things. It’s just a really tasty and simple-to-prepare tart.

Did I mention that it’s kinda like pizza in the sense that it’s amazing warm-from-the-oven AND cold?

I am eating a cold slice for brunch right now.




Tart slice

Tart slice

Tart slice

I hope you’ll make this tasty tart — and let me know what you think!

Enjoy your weekend!

xo Cassie

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