Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hot Honey Heaven


Cold weather means hot drinks in my book. And I have opined about my love of the Hot Toddy many, many times...and I still love them. What isn't to love about a drink that makes you feel warm and cozy on the chilliest of evenings?

This delicious recipe is from the new Bon Apetit (gosh...I really love that magazine). Consider this part of my winter rotation.

Honey Bourbon Toddy

2 tablespoons honey
1 cup hot water
6 tablespoons bourbon or Apple Bourbon (see below for recipe)
2 3x1/2" strips lemon peel
2 cinnamon sticks

Stir honey and water in a 2-cup measuring cup until honey dissolves. Add bourbon (or better yet, Apple Bourbon, in which case you'll use 1 Tbsp. honey). Divide between 2 Toddy glasses. Twist a strip of lemon peel over each drink, then add to glass. Stir each with a cinnamon stick and serve.

To make Apple Bourbon, combine a 750-ml bottle of bourbon, 4 cored, sliced Fuji apples, and 4 cinnamon sticks in a pitcher. Cover; chill for 3 days. Strain and sip of use in recipe above.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Link Love

Espresso bundt cake with dark chocolate cinnamon glaze!

Hammers & High Heels
A wreath made of silver platters…how clever.

Daydreamer Desserts
Would it be wrong to make this cinnamon bun eggnog martini nightly?

Martha Stewart
Cool DIY gift packaging from Martha.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Shopping

Household Gifts.

Today I'm having a difficult time staying focused on on my holiday shopping goals because I keep finding fun things that I might like. How selfish. I'm going to stay focused on my recipients and refrain from purchasing; but in case anyone is curious, I think these three things from Japanese Modern Design are pretty dang cool.

1. Chopsticks that don't touch the table, so you don't need a chopstick rest.

2. Coffee cups with interchangeable silicone sleeves. You won't burn your hands or drink out of someone else's cup of coffee!

3. And my favorite...a rainbow of gorgeous shotglasses. This would make a tequila shot less college and more chic.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DIY Salt

Flavored salts can be useful in so many ways. It is a personal touch that is inexpensive and creative and best of all you get to shop for cute containers. Make a few ahead of time to give out to neighbors, co-workers, hostess gifts and as teacher thank you’s.

It just so happens that Chow has 4 salt recipes on their website right now: Citrus salt, bloody mary salt, porcini parmesan and vanilla salt.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

Black Eiffel
These gift tags are unbelievably cool.

Gluten Free Girl and The Chef
To all of my gluten free friends out there, this is a great compilation of recipes to make your Thanksgiving delicious and gluten free!

Because the posts and pics on this adorable dog’s facebook page always puts a smile on my face...even on the worst days.

Black White Yellow
Who needs color in your apartment when it’s this chic without?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway: Ornament Collection

Enter to Win.

When you get married, you register for pots and pans, flatware, china, and a lot of gadgets. But when the holidays roll around and you are celebrating your first Christmas as a couple, you soon realize that a coherent set of ornaments might be something you could use. And when you have a gift shopping list as long as the Mississippi, you probably don't want to spend a lot of money on trimming your tree.

Which is why I am SO excited for our giveaway form The Whitehurst Company, aka fabulous purveyor of ornaments. They have created a Newlywed Starter Kit of ornaments in monochromatic selections of either gold or silver that is just what a new couple needs to get started. And quite frankly, as a non-newleywed I could use this too!

So if you are a Newlywed, know a Newlywed, or just need some beautiful ornaments, enter to win this package (which retails at $75) from The Whitehurst Company. All you need to do leave us a comment telling us how plan to celebrate the holidays. Don't forget to leave your info so we can contact you if you win. We'll accept entries until December 2nd and announce a winner on December 5th.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Let's Make Some Art

If you are hosting the holiday’s this year and the budget hasn’t allowed for much new décor then this post is for you. There is a great tutorial at Two Girls being Crafty on how to save yourself $100 plus end up with a fantastic print full of color to round out any of your rooms.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Healthy Salads

With Thanksgiving right around the corner I plan to make a lot of big batches of healthy salads. This salad is not only full of super foods but looks so good I won’t feel like I’m missing out at all. Who knew saving calories could be so delicious.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Easy Lunch for a Busy Week


November and December are always a bit crazy. You have to juggle your normal tasks with planning for family holiday gatherings, office parties, and don't even get me started on the Christmas shopping.

So it's easy to fall back on basic PB&J for lunch when your mind is in 1000 places and you really can't think about what to make to eat. But why not just jazz up a classic? Like a slightly fancy BLT?

This beauty is a Pancetta, Burrata, and Tomato Sandwich. Your basic BLT with a shot of adreneline. Yum. Enjoy!

4 (3-ounce) packages thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)
6 ripe red heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup coarsely torn fresh basil leaves, packed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 slices egg bread or brioche (about 1/2" thick), lightly toasted
18 ounces burrata cheese
4 cups baby arugula or mixed microgreens

Working in batches, cook pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Place tomato slices in shallow baking dish. Add basil, olive oil, oregano, and fleur de sel. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and turn to coat. Let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Place 6 toasted bread slices on work surface. Divide burrata among bread slices and spread to edges. Top each with 1 tomato slice, then pancetta slices, dividing equally. Top with arugula. Cover with remaining 6 toasted bread slices, and press each slightly to adhere. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Link Love

Healthy Gingerbread donuts with brown butter sauce. Maegan
Such an easy touch for such a big impact.

Taste of Home
Who wouldn't love a round of Grinch punch during the holidays?

Good Housekeeping
This is the perfect solution for saving a bundle on Christmas decor.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holiday Hostess Gift


Hostess gifts are always a good idea, especially during the holidays when your host puts so much work into entertaining a group during such a hectic time of year. One of my favorite gifts to give is a beautifully packaged high-end candle, because I think most people don't treat themselves to a luxurious option...just what's on sale at the discount store.

A great spot to find some of the best candles on the market is Candle Delirium.

My current favorite candle was a gift from someone, a Carriere Freres candle. Let me tell you...after your host is finished cleaning up the dirty dishes and straightening up after all of their guests have left, they will be mighty happy to burn one of these luxurious scented candles and kick back in a hot bath. Well maybe I shouldn't speak for everyone. But I know that I sure do love my gorgeous hostess gift.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Replace the Pie?


When it comes to the Thanksgiving, I often find myself a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the menu selection. Even though that flies in the face of how I like to eat every other day of the year, I really just want my turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie.

But I saw this recipe for Bavarian Cranberry Apple Torte in InStyle this month and I can't stop thinking about it.

It just sounds like the perfect marriage of traditional Turkey Day ingredients in a non-traditional way. I think I may have to give this a try...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Game Time!

Board Game.

With Turkey Day fast approaching, I'm sure many people are planning out their menu and divvying up the responsibilities for the day. But have you thought about the activities?

I love a good board game and the holidays are the perfect time to bust those out because you actually have a large group of people in one place. Many years in our family have been spent playing Scattergories, Cranium, and Monopoly. But this year I want to try something new...Morphology.

If you are looking for a comparison, I would say that Morphology is like mixture of Cranium and Pictionary...which in my book is a very good combo.

You are given a word and you have to get your team to guess this word by depicting it with a combination of crazy objects - like string, popsicle sticks, beads, and such. Resulting in something like this:

I have a feeling that you dear readers who are craft savvy will have a competitive advantage over your families with this game if you decide to try it. But I won't tell anyone :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Tip

Are you at a loss for what dish to bring as your Thanksgiving contribution? It’s always a difficult choice because you want to serve something that will make people ooh and ahh, but at the same time you don’t want to be a nuisance in the kitchen taking up to much space and time. The last thing you want is to stress out the host.

My recommendation is Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream. The most important factor is that you can’t skimp on ingredients in this dish. You have to go for the real deal wild mushrooms that you find at a farmer’s market. The dish is easy peasy to make but what makes it shine is the ingredients. Even if you aren’t confident in your cooking skills this dish will make you seem like a culinary whiz.

The brussel sprouts and mushrooms can be cooked ahead and then the finishing touches before serving take 10 minutes at most. When I say I think about this dish all the time…it is not an exaggeration. All you have to do is read the reviews. Most people say it is the best brussel sprout dish they have ever had and I have to agree!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Link Love

Tuesday Inspiration.

A Cozy Kitchen
Sloppy joe sliders. My new favorite Sunday Football snack. Yum!

Coco Pearl
A birds-eye view of a beautiful baby shower.

Tea and Crumpets
OMG. You would totally be the coolest kid on the block if you lived here.

From the Right Bank
Love the sheepskin seat covers and LOOOVe the stove in the background.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Holiday Gift Guides

Check out the eye candy over at CasaSugar. I am adding at least half this loot to my X-mas list. Chevron drawer liners and those Marbella owl napkins…seriously I might have to order those now!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Portable Petit Dejeuner


This year I have embarked into the world of juice cleanse...the BluePrint Cleanse to be most specific. I have to admit that I absolutely love it. Each juice is delicious and extremely nutritious and it's pretty nice to be able to "eat" on the go during the day.

So when I'm not on the cleanse, I like to at least make my breakfast fast and portable. This extremely simple smoothie recipe from Bon Appetit is perfect. And since it is chock full of protein from the almond milk, it holds you over for the morning. Smart and tasty.

Almond Banana Smoothie
Serves 4

2 large ripe bananas, peeled, sliced
2 cups almond milk or whole milk
2 cups ice cubes
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground nutmeg

Blend first 5 ingredients in blender until smooth. Divide smoothies among 4 small glasses. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Raisin Rosemary Crisps

photo via TheKitchn

It’s almost holiday time and you know what that means…get-together’s galore. This season finds hip hostess busier than ever and the thing about being a hip hostess is you can’t very well show up to a party with average fare. So it’s always nice to have a couple of tricks up your sleeve.

One of those tricks is Raisin Rosemary Crisps. They are so delicious you wonder how they pack so many flavors into one itty bitty cracker. The cool things is they can be purchased at Trader Joe’s (this variety is smaller) or another popular brand is Raincoat Crisps that can be ordered online. If you find yourself with a little more time you could make your own via this recipe. My husband who is not really a big fan of cheese and crackers, cannot stop eating these when I put them out.

Any way you slice it with a couple of crispy, savory and sweet crackers all you need from there is a spreadable cheese and some dried fruit or berries for color. Voila a classy, delicious cheese course in no time and no worries about it spilling over in the car!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Classic Candy All Grown Up


I find it hard to believe that one can improve on the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. But when I received my regular Gilt Taste newsletter praising the glory of grown-up peanut butter cups...well...I should at least give them a try, right?

Grown-up Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 20

1 ½ ounces water (3 tablespoons)
3 ½ ounces sugar
2 ounces honey (scant ¼ cup)
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
3 ounces unsalted peanuts
6 ounces unsalted, natural peanut butter
½ teaspoon smoked salt
1 ounce peanut oil, or more as needed (2 tablespoons)
20 ounces milk or dark chocolate, chopped
20 plain paper cupcake liners

1. Lightly grease a sheet pan with a touch of peanut oil and set aside.

2. Combine the water, sugar, honey, and vanilla bean paste in a heavy bottomed, medium pot. Turn the heat to medium; stir gently with a heat resistant spatula to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture starts to bubble, stop stirring and let it simmer undisturbed.

3. Cook until the syrup begins to take on a foxy brown color; no need for a candy thermometer, but around 340° for those keeping score.

4. Immediately shut off the heat, add the peanuts, and stir. Pour the mixture onto the prepared sheet pan. Use the spatula to spread it out as thinly as possible. Set aside to cool.

5. When the brittle has cooled completely, use your hands to break it into large chunks and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the brittle has broken into bits, then run continuously until it begins to turn into a gritty paste.

6. Turn off the processor and add the peanut butter and salt (and pimentón, if using) all at once. Blitz until homogenous. Then, with the food processor running, drizzle in the peanut oil. If the mixture seems too thick to pipe, add more peanut oil a teaspoon at a time.

7. Transfer the peanut filling to a large pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip.

8. Next, melt or temper the chocolate. Portion ½ ounce of chocolate (1 tablespoon) into 20 plain paper cupcake liners, arranged on a cookie sheet. Pipe approximately ¾ ounce peanut butter filling directly into the center of the chocolate.

9. With a dampened finger, gently pat down the peanut butter peaks. Next, top each peanut butter mound with another ½ ounce of chocolate. Gently rap the sheet pan against the counter to level the chocolate and to dislodge any small air bubbles.

10. If using tempered chocolate, allow the chocolates to sit until they have solidified. If using untempered chocolate, refrigerate until hardened, about 20 minutes.

11. After the chocolate has set, transfer the peanut butter cups to an airtight container. Untempered chocolates must be refrigerated, while tempered ones may be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. Peel away cupcake papers before serving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Link Love

Betty Crocker
Spiked and toasted root beer.

This construction birthday cake is awesome.

Kate Miller Events
Check out these botanical weddings sans flowers.

Valley & Co.
Who needs placecards when you can make stamped burlap place mats?