Sunday, December 8, 2019

Foodie Holiday Gift Guide 2019

I want to tell you a deep, dark, gingerbread-scented secret...

I secretly love holiday shopping. Yes I know...most people hate going to a store at this time of year, but I'm a bit of a traditionalist on this! I really enjoy walking through the aisles and picking out gifts that I think my friends & family will enjoy - and more importantly, use! Of course, it also gives me an excuse to pick out some things for myself! I am a pro at what I call "speed shopping": I'm in and out in record time, because I've done all of my research before even pulling into the crowded mall parking lot.

That's why I'm setting you up with my "Foodie Holiday Gift Guide (2019)". I've done the research and looked at the reviews, so you don't need to! Even more conveniently, just follow these links and you can get all of your foodie loved ones just what they want for Christmas or Hanukkah, without even heading to the shopping mall! (Disclaimer; This is not a sponsored post and all recommendations are my own. My links are not compensated.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

5 Quick & Easy Last Minute Recipes for Thanksgiving!

Ok, I'll admit it; I am the worst procrastinator in my family. Seriously, I will leave packing for a big trip until the very last second (that's packing for the FIVE of us). I will buy tickets to an event on the day of, or wait to create my menu until the night before the party. It's bad. The only advantage is that I work really well under pressure!

What I'm trying to say is, if you're still searching for the perfect dish or cocktail recipe for your Thanksgiving menu at the 11th hour, you are my kind of people! I've collected a few of my easiest recipes for you to make at the last minute, but still make you the BOSS of the Thanksgiving table! No need to sweat it: you've got this!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Setting a Thanksgiving Table (My New England Themed Tablescape)

Over my last few posts, I've been sharing some of my tips for easy home entertaining. From charcuterie boards and signature cocktails, to today's topic - setting the scene for your dinner party! The mood you create at your table is almost as important as the food you serve! I hold several large dinner parties a year, and as much fun as I have cooking for a crowd, I enjoy creating the 'tablescapes' almost as much!

I tend to look at my tablescape designs in different segments:

- Theme
- Place settings
- Lighting
- Flowers/centerpiece

Once you've set one or two of these aspects, everything else seems to fall into place! Are you having a large family holiday gathering? A small intimate dinner? Cocktails & appetizers only? Is there an event or theme that you want to use? I try to envision what sort of experience I want my guests to have and go from there!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Savory Grazing Boards (Charcuterie) for Easy Holiday Entertaining!

Hang on to your hats, friends: the holiday entertaining season is upon us! Without being trite, to me it truly is "the most wonderful time of the year" - a time I try to fill with food, drink, and company!

We are lucky enough to have a large circle of friends, and that creates plenty of opportunities to grab a cocktail and a nosh! Sometimes these gatherings can be quite posh, or they can be as simple as catching up with one other couple by the fire place. The important part, for any occasion, is creating a welcoming atmosphere, with plenty of good food (and cocktails!) enjoyed by all!

In my last post, I discussed the idea of creating a 'bespoke" cocktail for an upcoming party menu; something a little more special than a standard mixed cocktail. Here, we are going to dive into how to assemble a few gorgeous 'graze plates' (charcuterie boards) for your guests!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Dark Magic Margarita (& a collaboration with Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, Jaimie Tucker!)

Halloween has come and gone, and the days are getting longer and darker. There's a sense of enchantment in the air. The sound and feel of crackling leaves and cold nights, with the scent of hardwood smoke in the breeze. Autumn has truly arrived here in New England. There is nothing better to brighten up our longer Fall nights than sharing good food, cheery drinks, and laughter among friends!

Since we are on the cusp of the winter holidays, why not make entertaining as easy and stress free (but still elegant!) as possible. When I have friends over for drinks, I like to serve dishes with a lot of 'bang for your buck'. I prefer little nibbles (post coming soon on that!) and a signature cocktail. You can simplify your bar demands by serving a signature 'bespoke' cocktail, and offering an array of wines & beers. There's also something really special about whipping up a drink for a lovely gathering, or in this case, a lovely friend!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Apple Chai Sourdough Scones

After a brief summer hiatus, I'm jumping back into sourdough treats! You may remember that I created my own sourdough starter, affectionately named, "Paul Riser", this past winter. I've posted recipes in the past for sourdough jam cinnamon rolls, and dried fruit & nut sourdough bread. I've baked boule upon boule of delicious crusty bread, all of which were slathered with butter and devoured almost instantly. In short, I've been having a very good time eating all of these goodies!

Back in the Spring - sort of on a whim - I entered into a local cooking contest. I've never submitted any of my recipes for judging before, so this was a pretty big leap for me! I decided to branch out a bit, instead of just bringing in a bread or a cake. I went into the kitchen, and worked out this addictive sourdough scone recipe that uses the scraps from a fed sourdough starter. Waste not, want not!

Here's what ended up the winner: Sweet local apples mixed with tangy sourdough-butter dough, tossed with ground chai tea, and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. This is a New England fall day in a single bite! My Apple Chai Sourdough Scones are perfect on a chilly morning with a mug of coffee or tea. And luckily for me, the cooking contest judges agreed!