Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pineapple Caramel Crepes


I am, by nature, a planner. A visit to my kitchen would prove the point: a fully inked-in white board calendar, a bulletin board pinned with every school/activity/holiday schedule, and several post-it notes scattered around the inside doors of cupboards. I like to be prepared.

But life, especially with children, can be far from predictable. After shopping, planning, and cooking for my oldest son's upcoming birthday party, weeks of planning went down the tubes when both boys contracted fevers, chills, and nausea. Doh! A last minute cancellation left us with disappointed kids and enough food to feed an army.

Most of it was easily managed: unfrosted cake layers went to the deep freezer for another day. The veggie tray and appetizers served as a quick dinner.... Still, I was up to my eyeballs in fresh fruit. What do you do with not one, but two, pineapples?! Well, if life hands you pineapples, make it into a blog post!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Blackberry-Cherry Sidecar Cocktail


Is it spring yet? As I peek out from beneath my warm comforter every morning, before the children's giggles (and shrieks) begin from across the hall, I gaze outside at the bare trees and realize it hasn't sprung up on us yet, darn it. It feels close, though! The days are lengthening, the sunlight is starting earlier; we just need to get through the fierce March wind that is blowing out there. 

Fine.

I'm just going to fake it.

What can be more warm-weather inspiring than the combination of ripe blackberries with lemon? Add a splash of amber cognac & an unexpected burst of tart cherry juice, and you have a sophisticated cocktail to beat back the Ides of March. This Blackberry-Cherry Sidecar reminds us that cherry blossoms, warm breezes, and long afternoons are just around the corner.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Double Dark Chocolate Cookies


There is a lot of Valentine's Day grumpiness this time of year. Don't get me wrong; a lot of the arguments are totally valid, and I was definitely a complainer during my topsy-turvy twenties (at least, in the romance department). Still, even if you don't love the sentimental stuff, there are some great bonuses that go with this holiday...for example, when else do you get a free excuse for limitless chocolate?

Chocolate bon-bons, chocolate roses, and even chocolate body paint (if you're into that sort of thing). Chocolate & Valentine's Day go hand in hand, platonically or romantically.

For me, there is nothing like a perfect almost crisp, yet slightly chewy, chocolate cookie. Made with premium cocoa powder & rich dark chocolate, my Double Dark Chocolate Cookies are just the treat.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Liebster Award!


I am thrilled to share that Straight to the Hips, Baby, has been nominated for a Liebster Award by the very kind & talented Alexandra from Occasionally Eggs! Thank you! The Liebster Award is an effort to bring attention to smaller blogs from fellow bloggers. This is a fantastic opportunity for newer blogs to get some notice, especially in a sea of more established food bloggers.

Rules:

-Link back to the person who nominated you

-Answer all the questions they asked in their post

-Nominate eleven more blogs you like

-Ask eleven questions for your nominees to answer

-Let all your nominees know either through their blog or social media

Alexandra had some very entertaining questions and I had a blast answering them! I hope this gives you a better idea of who I am and what my blog is about. At the bottom of this post, you will find the fantastic bloggers I have personally nominated for the award. All of them have delicious recipes and beautiful photographs to share. Cheers!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tomato & Ricotta Bruschetta




The more I entertain, the more I come to realize that you don't have to put out a ridiculously complicated menu to make a big impression on your guests. Excepting Holiday dinners, I think simple, bold flavors are the way to go, especially when paired with a round of drinks.

I have always loved serving multiple hors d'oeuvres for my casual get togethers. Everyone gets a little bit of everything, and by serving heavier appetizers, it can feel like a meal. Offer some good wine, and you'll be the star host or hostess!

These Tomato & Ricotta Bruschetta hit that sweet spot. Toasted crusty bread is given a light drizzle of olive oil, and then spread with creamy ricotta. Topped with chopped ripe tomato, garlic, and basil, this dish is great as a starter - or even a light meal if you have a few of them. Oh, and if you have guests who might not prefer dairy, don't fret - even without the ricotta, these little toasts are delicious!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cucumber & Jalapeño Margarita



If I had my wish, I would run away to someplace warm & mild every winter. The cold weather has firmly settled in this part of the country, and although I can usually make it until the first thaw, this year feels different... It's bone achingly cold, and as the sparkling beauty of the latest snowstorm fades, I can't help but daydream about sunny days, sandals... and maybe a few margaritas.

Since starting to expand our cocktail repertoire beyond my perennial favorite, the gin & tonic, my husband & I have been experimenting with different types of tequila. Much like the rebirth of gin, tequila has so much more to offer than the typical college flashbacks of two dollar shots at a dive bar. There are many tastes & nuances, each with very different qualities.

I have particularly fallen in love with Anejo, or 'extra aged', tequilas. Much milder than the Blanco (or white) tequilas, this category of tequila is smoother, golden in color, and with distinct vanilla notes. Perfect for sipping, but even better as a Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita! I can honestly say this is one of the best cocktails I've ever stirred up. Smooth & cool from the cucumber, with tart lime and a spicy jalapeño kick, this drink is finished with a mild exotic vanilla flavor from the tequila. Complex in taste, but very easy to make!