Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Thanksgiving is TOMORROW and if you're still trying to find something to add to the Thanksgiving table, look no further. Throughout my column this month, I've shared 4 Thanksgiving side dish ideas that are easy, tasty and would look beautiful on any table. Let's get started!
Stun everyone with an easy veggie option like green beans with an herb vinaigrette.
No more boring mashed potatoes. Try caramelized onion mashed potatoes instead.
A cheesy kale and sweet potato bake, yes please. (Posted Today!)
Steak mac & cheese. Oh yeah, this one is a crowd favorite for sure.
Hope one of these dishes makes it on your table this year. Happy Thanksgiving - see ya Monday!
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
So you know, in the summer, I love to sip on refreshing gin & tonics filled with fresh limes (so good). Occasionally, I like to throw in some different herbs and fruits to jazz it up a bit. Gin & tonics with mint or maybe some lemon or sage - so good! Not everyone's a fan of gin & tonics though, not sure why because they're delicious. John seems to think that gin is disgusting and that it's only for "old people". Whatever. He has no idea what he's missing.
When cooler weather approaches, I always switch up my alcohol beverage of choice - everyone does that, right? I usually switch to warmer alcohols like whiskey and bourbon but this fall, I've still been into my spring and summer drinks like champagne cocktails and gin & tonics. Even though I've experimented with quite a variety of gin & tonic recipes but I never thought to put together a cranberry thyme flavor profile. It all starts with a simple syrup and the rest is history. I never buy simple syrups anymore; I think it's truly a waste of money. Making your own simple syrup is super cost-effective, very easy and convenient. I'd highly suggest you get into it.
Anyway, this recipe is pretty easy. The only "hard" part is making the simple syrup and it's really not hard at all. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, this is the perfect cocktail to serve to guests at dinner. Make the syrup ahead of time then whip them up when guests arrive - takes no time at all.
Cranberry Thyme Gin & Tonic (from the Glitter Guide)
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
splash of orange juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
fresh thyme leaves
For the simple syrup:
In a small sauce pan, combine: cranberries, sugar, water, OJ and vanilla. Cook this mixture until the cranberries soften.
Add the thyme then strain the syrup.
For the cocktail:
In a cocktail shaker, combine an ounce of gin with 2 ounces of simple syrup and ice.
Shake, then pour over ice and top with tonic water.
Garnish with thyme and drink up.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Well, here we are, the week of Thanksgiving. I can't believe it's almost the end of 2015 already. I've been spending the last few weeks (and weekends) re-watching 90210, working on the Brunch Collective and preparing for the holidays. Even though it's a short work week, a lot of this week will be spent traveling and mentally preparing for the holidays. Anyway, this weekend John and I went to the movies to see the new Julia Roberts movie and had a little dinner just the two of us. Saturday, I went to Atlanta for a much needed haircut then headed to our friend's place for friendsgiving and a questionable talent show. If you follow me on Snapchat, you saw the talent show. Sunday, we had an early Thanksgiving dinner at John's parents place and ran some errands.
Don't forget, today is National Espresso Day! Friday I shared an espresso cooler cocktail. If you're interested in celebrating this made up holiday, check it out! Happy Monday!
Friday, November 20, 2015
Did you know that Monday is National Espresso Day? No seriously it is. I've said time and time again, I can barely keep up with all of these made food holidays but I love them. I love any excuse to celebrate a taco, a piece of chocolate or indulge in a waffle. But today, we're not here for any of those foods. Today it's all about espresso.
Do you drink espresso? Are you familiar with its origins? From what I've learned about espresso, it's thicker than other types of coffee and generally has more caffeine than a regular cup of Joe. Espresso is usually served in small cups but contrary to popular belief, the caffeine content is usually less than a normal cup of coffee. Weird, right? So anyway, back to National Espresso Day. There's an espresso liqueur called Caffe Borghetti. This liqueur was created in 1860 with an original recipe by Ugo Borghetti.
It's pretty legit. I find that coffee liqueurs are either too sweet or tastes super artificial. Not only is Caffe Borghetti not artificial tasting but it definitely packs a punch but in a good way. You can enjoy this liqueur straight or served over ice but that's boring, right? Don't worry, I have an easy recipe for you.
Winter Espresso Cooler
1.5oz Caffe Borghetti
3oz Stumptown Coffee's Winter Cheer
coffee ice cubes
Slap a piece of rosemary (like, literally slap it - it brings out all of the aromas) and add to a cocktail shaker. Add in the liqueur and the coffee, top with ice (regular ice). Shake for 30 seconds or until the shaker is frosty.
Pour into a glass filled with coffee ice cubes.
Add a stick of rosemary and garnish with a few sprinkles of coffee grounds.
Serve immediately. Wouldn't this be good over ice cream too? I think so.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
It's almost turkey day!
Setting boundaries over the holiday season - via The Everygirl
The history of turducken - via Food52
Thanksgiving menu ideas - via PopSugar Food
5 jobs to giveaway to folks if you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner - via The Kitchn
Are you hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year? Here's what you need to know - The Kitchn
Thanksgiving according to Julia Child - via New York Times
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
We're currently in the season of everyone getting sick and sneezing all over the place. There's nothing that makes me more angry than a person who doesn't use their manners when coughing or sneezing. What makes me even more upset is working in an office setting and having colleagues come to work even when they may be really sick. I don't really have that problem currently but I have been in work situations in the past where people would come to the office even when they're on their death bed...causing the rest of the office to get sick. Gross.
I love juicing...let me rephrase that. I like drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juices; they just make me feel healthy and happy. I've done a juice cleanse before and it didn't end well. I don't knock anyone who likes to do them or partakes in them often but I've realized that juice cleanses aren't really for me for long periods of time and that's OK.
Not too long ago, I found a recipe for healthy shots. These are the type of shots you should be doing once you're over the age of 30, in my humble opinion; shots that won't give you a horrible hangover the next day. Enter the immunity shots. I found this original idea over on With Food and Love.
Each ingredient has a different benefit for our immune system so if you're looking for a tasty way to boost it, look no further.
This makes a little over 2 one ounce shots. You can double what I've done if you'd like to make a large batch.
Here's what you'll need:
1 garlic clove
2 pieces of ginger
Place all ingredients in a juicer. It's seriously that easy. I sprinkled a little cayenne pepper on top.
Don't get sick people - have an immunity shot.
Monday, November 16, 2015
This was a pretty fun weekend. Even though I'm trying not to just live for the weekend, I must say that this was a pretty exciting one. Friday night John and I went to a friend's going away dinner. One of our friends is going to Dallas for 6 weeks for work and his girlfriend wanted to throw him a little dinner to say bon voyage. Saturday during the day, I tried to get some work done and quickly realized that I should have worked from a coffee shop because working from our house was not as productive as I had hoped. Oh well, lesson learned.
Saturday night, was the grand opening VIP party for a new restaurant opening here called STIR. The most exciting thing about STIR's opening was that I was asked to take over their Instagram for the night. I was ecstatic when I was approached and of course I said YES! It was so much fun and I have to say, I think I enjoyed this Instagram takeover thing. It was definitely the highlight of my weekend and STIR opens today! Sunday, was sort of a lazy-ish day. John and I watched the movie Trainwreck again while I tried to get some blog and Brunch Collective stuff done. We managed to do some grocery shopping and John went to improv with friends. Even though it was a lazy Sunday, we still made it somewhat productive.
Here are a couple of favorites from my STIR Instagram takeover:
After the party, John and I hung out with friends for some food and drinks. I had been standing for like 5 hours straight so it was nice to go to dinner and SIT DOWN. I also spent a little time this weekend trying to do some recipe testing with an espresso liquor I was sent (more on that later this week).
Happy Monday folks!
Friday, November 13, 2015
One of my favorite cookbooks is Easy Gourmet. I mean, I love it.
The author is also the creator of the blog I am a food blog and it's beautiful. She creates gorgeous photos and recipes that are easy to follow and delicious to eat. A while ago, I pinned a recipe for mini cream cheese and green onion biscuits and spicy sausage gravy. It looked pretty, sounded good but I wasn't sure if I would really make it or not. Here's the deal: biscuits and gravy are a big deal (I think) in the south. I've never been a fan of biscuits and gravy because I have this thing with "white" foods. Long story and I've told it here many, many times. Anyway, biscuits and gravy always seemed a little too Southern for me; is that even a thing? Whatever the case was, biscuits and gravy wasn't something I would ever order.
Once I read I am a food blog's recipe for biscuits and gravy, I decided I would give it a try. I decided I'd face my fears and not only cook this dish I've been so afraid of for years but also eat it. Truth be told: it was delicious. While I'm on a kick of truth-telling, I'll go ahead and let you know that I cheated a bit with this recipe. Stephanie (I am a food blog's creator) made homemade biscuits and I did not. Call me lazy if you want. Whatever.
Notes from my experience making this:
I used canned biscuits and topped with with cheddar and green onions.
I also used a spicy turkey sausage instead of pork.
I overdid it on the sausage.
For the full recipe (including the biscuits) visit I am a food blog.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Do you watched "The Affair"? I love it.
Beautiful hotels under $150 a night - via The Everygirl
A little lesson on the correct way to dispose of cooking grease - via The Kitchn
Can drinking champagne can really prevent alzheimers? - via The Evening Standard
How to effectively network on social media - via The Glitter Guide
Have you noticed Twitter's new update? - via Brit & Co.
The highest paid women in music are...(no surprise here) - via Forbes
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I don't always attempt a lot of Asian cuisines for the simple reason of some of the recipes that I've collected have way too many ingredients. Some of those ingredients are either super-expensive or crazy difficult to find. I'm all about making (and eating) really nice meals without having to put in too much work. Do you feel me? I know you do. Even though I do have a cabinet full of random ingredients that I don't use all of the time, I do not have all of the time in the world to go shopping for rare and random ingredients to make one dish that frankly, isn't promised to come out well.
Anyway, enough of my ranting. I found this recipe on Creme De La Crumb and when I saw the ingredient list, I was sold!
Here's what you'll need to whip this up for dinner this week:
Barely adapted from Creme De La Crumb:
For the chicken:
3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1/3 cup cornstarch
For the sauce:
1 cup water
2 tbsp. sriracha (can add more if you like)
5 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. cornstarch + 2 tbsp. cold water
green onions, chopped for garnish (optional)
In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of water, sriracha, soy sauce, garlic, sugar and honey; stir. Bring mixture to a boil.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water (2 tablespoons of each). Add mixture to the honey sriracha sauce and stir until thickened. Reduce heat.
Grab a large a large plastic bag (like a Ziploc) and add the chicken and 1/3 cup of cornstarch to it. Seal the bag (duh) and shake, shake, shake to coat the chicken.
In a large skillet, drizzle a bit of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add chicken and saute until browned and chicken is cooked through. Add the sauce and stir to coat.
Serve over rice and top with chopped green onions.
Yummers - can't wait to make this again!
Monday, November 9, 2015
This weekend, much more exciting than last weekend.
I've been pretty busy lately with work, writing and the launch of the Brunch Collective so my schedule has been pretty set in stone. Despite my ironclad schedule, I try not to do anything work related on Friday and Saturday nights because, you know...boundaries. Anyway, I stepped out of my schedule this weekend to allow some QT with a few of my girlfriends at a flower farm! My friend Sarah and her husband own a flower farm (Southerly Flower Farm) and I finally got a chance to visit them. We picked flowers, made arrangements and sipped warm apple cider; it was really a fun time. And the arrangement that I made looked pretty good, if I must say so myself. Anyway, overall, it was a good weekend.
John and I went out and dinner at Main Street Meats Friday night and ended up at Alleia (flourless chocolate cake). Saturday night, we celebrated a friend's birthday at an arcade of sorts where John was so involved with all the games, I was pretty much invisible. It was sort of cute. You may have heard but just in case, tickets are on sale for our inaugural brunch taking place next month - so exciting! If you're in Chattanooga and want to be inspired, come by! For tickets: Brunch Collective tickets.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Cannot believe it's November. I'm not ready.
Everything that happens on the internet in 60 seconds - via Inc.
Quitting social media cold turkey. Can you do it? - via Social Media Week
Healthy eating tips from a pro surfer - via Elite Daily
Anthony Bourdain is one of us. He likes the Waffle House too - via Eater
How Jay-Z's right hand man handles work/life balance - via Fatherly
So what's the difference between broccoli and broccoli rabe? - via PopSugar Food
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
So remember when I was attempting to live the low spending life? I guess that's putting it lightly; it was extreme low spending...$20 a week. I took that challenge as a learning experience that I could hopefully bring into our daily lives. I told John that even after we returned from Portland, I wanted to adapt a more conscious way of spending. I haven't done too good of a job with that (yet) but it's still fresh on my brain and it's not too late. With that, if you're going through your own need to spend less, I've gathered a few tips that, in my opinion, can help you with your low spending journey.
I want to be clear here though: in my mind, low spending does not mean no treats for yourself ever. I work hard and it is my belief that if bills are paid, it's OK to treat yourself as long as you're well within your means. For me, that means an occasional article of clothing (like this random H&M sweater I just purchased). Sometimes it means a trip for John and me. Whatever "treat yo self" means to you, it's OK.
Stay out of Target unless you have a list - maybe this is just my problem but I've found that if I go into a Target without a plan, it just ends up bad. Target is bad news for me when I'm trying to low spend.
Prep your lunch - if you work in a traditional office setting, it helped me a lot when I prepped and planned what I was going to eat for lunch during the week. I realized I spent a lot of money on dining out for lunch during the week and something as simple as bringing my lunch allowed me to save a little money.
Get inspired - saving money can be really boring if you're not mentally into it. I found that getting some inspiration around me while low spending helped me feel like I wasn't on my own and it helped me get motivated. One group that I've loved on this conscious spending is The Finance Bar. I love following them on Instagram and getting daily nuggets of information and inspiration for those who want to be better about spending and saving. I also love visiting The Financial Diet - a website where the tagline is "the luxury of spending less". I love it.
Tell your friends - low spending doesn't have to be a lonely journey. I've found that in telling my friends what we were doing, they totally understood when we couldn't go out to dinner and drinks all of the time with them. In fact, our friends were quite supportive and either started or was already doing their own version of low spending and we didn't even know it! That's the beautiful thing about being honest...you never know who else is going through the same thing.
Embrace restaurant specials - many folks think that frolicking is near impossible when you're attempting to not spend any money but we've found that with a little research, easy and inexpensive frolicking can actually be done. It was fun to figure out which of our favorite restaurants offer happy hours or unique daily specials. Often times these specials get overlooked because they're early in the day/evening but we found that it saved us a couple of dollars and still fulfilled our need of getting our and hanging out with friends.
Are you low spending? What tips do you have?
Monday, November 2, 2015
Is it me or are the weekends going by way too fast? Even though we gained an extra hour this weekend, it still felt like it flew by. I still can't believe it's November already. This weekend was pretty quiet despite it being Halloween. Friday night, John and I went out to dinner. Saturday, I did some much needed cleaning then worked from a coffee shop on all things Brunch Collective. John and I were supposed to go to a Halloween party Saturday night but it was raining pretty bad. I didn't have a costume any way so we decided not to go. I don't mind Halloween, I don't even mind getting into the whole costume thing but going to a costume party without a costume just seems exhausting. Maybe next year.
Sunday was a pretty quiet day of grocery shopping and working on the blog. We ended our Sunday night like we usually do: watching The Good Wife. We both love that show so much.
As you'll see from the (2) photos, this was a pretty low key weekend.
Hope you had an exciting weekend - happy Monday!
Friday, October 30, 2015
Have you been keeping up with my weekly column over on Nooga.com? No worries if you haven't (even though you should be reading it)- I've got you covered!
A super flavorful and easy chicken fajita pasta.
Love potatoes? This scalloped Hasselback potato will have your dinner guests drooling.
I've got you covered for a perfect Halloween party snack.
Cooler temperatures call for browned butter pound cake.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Y'all. It's been a crazy week.
These are the jobs with the best work life balance. I'm not sure I fully agree - via Real Simple
New Serial Podcast coming soon - via Refinery29
I really like Oprah. Here's how she succeeds at radical focus - via Fast Company
Theaters are angry with Netflix, yikes - via Wired
Exactly how much sugar is in your favorite coffee drinks? Scary - via Daily Savings
Interesting personal essay from author Jessica Tom - via PopSugar Food