Palmetto Cheese Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp and grits is seriously one of my most favorite dishes. It must be my South Carolina roots. It’s also become one of my favorites to cook because it’s pretty quick and very easy. One pot? Yes, please!

In recent years, we’ve worked to create new family traditions as our family structure has change. It’s hard to change things that seemed perfect the way they were, but sometimes what comes from the change is even better than the original! One of my favorite new traditions is our seafood family style dinner on Christmas Eve. We’ll have crab legs, shrimp, and shrimp and grits, with all the delicious fixin’s and sides you can imagine.

I like to consider myself a student of Sandra Lee and her semi-homemade ways. This shrimp and grits recipe is just that. Be sure to get a big can of quick grits, but not instant, for this fast and delicious recipe.

Cook four to six slices of chopped thick-cut bacon in a large pot, then set aside. Saute a generous amount of minced garlic in two tablespoons of salted butter in the pot. Add a pound and a half of raw chopped shrimp once the garlic is browned. Here’s where you can play chef: either add Old Bay seasoning to your shrimp if you prefer a smoky flavor, or red pepper flakes if you like a spicy kick. I prefer the red pepper flakes, personally! 

Cook the shrimp until light pink, and remove from pot. In the same pot, add eight cups of water, four chicken bouillon cubes, and two cups of quick grits, and cook per package instruction. Slice and add a pound of kielbasa to the cooking grits. When the grits are done cooking, add a container of Palmetto Pimento Cheese and the previously cooked shrimp to the pot. Allow all to melt and blend together nicely, before serving in a bowl topped with green onions and chopped bacon.

This is definitely a “best the day after” kind of dish that warms up well! It’s one that can be tweaked to please the cheese or spice level of those enjoying it. Enjoy! 

First Anniversary Gift Ideas

I am having the hardest time wrapping my mind around the fact that our first wedding anniversary is this weekend. It's come up so fast! And while I spent years, literally, planning this once in a lifetime event, I have to admit that April 2017 snuck on my kind of quick before I realized I needed to start thinking about an anniversary gift for my husband!

First anniversary gifts are traditionally paper, but the modern gift is a clock. The clock can seem to be much easier than finding the perfect paper gift, but there are so really unique ideas out there for both! First up, a classic wristwatch. Something simple, yet elegant, and your love...*insert eye-rolling here.* But for reals! I classic watch is something that can be worn daily, can withstand the test of time and your love...  I'm really loving this gold one by Daniel Wellington. My husband loves his Daniel Wellington watches, and this one for the ladies is just a little bit fancier than the original ones, which I really like a lot.

A pocket watch might be a great gift for a traditionalist. It can be personalized and engraved, and eventually handed down to future generations. These could also be great groomsmen or Father's Day gifts, too.

For the paper, there is the classic and much beloved embossed stationary. This is a great gift for guys and girls; with a new last name, the bride's monogram has probably changed, and this is more than likely a gift your guy doesn't have. I think it's important for every man to have a set of stationary for the occasional thank you note or love letter!

A custom painted bridal bouquet portrait is probably my most favorite idea. Have an image or feature from your wedding day painted {on paper!} is a unique way to fulfill the paper 'requirements.' It's a one-of-a-kind way to remember one of the biggest days of your life.

And finally, custom paper coasters--how fun are these?! With different designs and logo options, these could be updated annually, seasonally, or during different walks of life. I love using our custom crested cups from our wedding around the house, and this just takes that personalization to another level.

Four Years a Blog

Surprise! The blog is four years old! Who knew the blog birthday would end up being at such an exciting week of wedding memories, too. To celebrate, I wanted to share a few things about myself that you may or may not know, as well as a few of the most popular blog posts for those who are new around here! 

The top four most popular blog pasts are: Invited to Party {a Pinterest success!}, I never thought I'd write this blog post, Bridal Portraits, and Being a Bride: Lauren. I love that these are the most popular because they were truly lifetime memory milestones for me. Invited to Party displayed the amazing bachelorette and bridal shower invites designed for me by my bestie. This shower and my bachelorette weekend were two of my favorite wedding memories. 

Sandwiched in the middle is the moving to Dublin announcement, and  the post previewing my bridal portraits. Big deals, and big days for me. Deciding to move was hard. Deciding to marry Christopher wasn't. Both were happy times that had special, unique challenges associated with them. One thing the blog does for me that I'm so thankful for is the chronicling of my life: the good, the bad, the scary, the exciting. Highs and lows, life is definitely a roller coaster {which is something I love...roller coasters that is. And life, too, of course!}

The fourth most popular post of all time is my bridal feature on sweet Lauren! Not only has she been a blessing to me as a sweet social media/blog friend, but she's been a warm smile for my own mother when I have been many hours away, and I'm so thankful for the fate that brought us together. If you'd like to share your own unique wedding or pre-wedding event, send me an email and I'll share the questionnaire! 

Now for a few things about me that you might not know....My dream concert would be Rod Stewart and Fleetwood Mac, followed by Hootie & the Blowfish. I love all things sweet, but will eat sour candy until my tongue hurts. I have really terrible print handwriting, and write almost exclusively in cursive. I dream of traveling to Greece someday {my people! Maybe...}. I love the smell of cold in the freezer section at the grocery store. I love roller coasters, but am terrified of heights. My biggest fear is definitely snakes, followed closely by pretty much anything else without legs. My hidden talent is making my eye squeak similarly to how people can squeak their arm pit. I also taught myself how to do that flower thing with my tongue. 

I love the Backstreet Boys, cake, gin, and hot dogs. I'm not really a shoe person. I collect clothes, deviled egg plates, tubes of lipstick. I bite my nails, and can fall asleep almost anywhere. I love trashy reality TV {have you seen Mama June?!}, hot fudge sundaes from Dairy Queen, and pictures. Instagram is my favorite social media platform, and Snapchat is probably my least favorite. I sleep with too many pillows according to my husband, and drink four cups of coffee each morning for breakfast. 

So to help me celebrate four years of sharing my little life with the world, would you do something for me? Would you help me grow the blog in one {or all!} of four ways?

1. Like Starting Out Southern on Facebook
2. Follow me on Instagram @piperellice
3. Follow me on Twitter @piperellice 
4. Subscribe to get email notifications of new posts and other updates {box to the right of this post!}

Your support not only encourages me, but also the awesome brands I've been so lucky to work with over the last year or so! I love hearing from you, and have been surprised so many times lately with new friends and acquaintances reaching out and letting me know how much they enjoy my content. Always feel free to leave a comment, share a post you enjoy, pin an idea, or chat me up!