Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Chai Infused Bourbon

Seriously, I love infusing different herbs, spices (and now teas) with different alcohols - it's really a lot of fun. Well...maybe it's only fun for me? Whatever.

You can get so creative and instead of purchasing flavored alcohol, this allows you the opportunity to play around with a few ideas using small amounts of alcohol that you already have without having to purchase flavored alcohol that can sometimes taste artificial.

I randomly thought of infusing some chai tea and bourbon...mainly because I had a plethora of chai tea and wanted to do something with it.  *Light bulb* Add it to bourbon!

Just like any infusion, they're really easy.  The key with infusing chai tea with bourbon is to not let it sit too can become bitter.  I allowed my tea to steep (2 bags) in about 1 cup of bourbon for roughly 8 hours. Normally when I create infusions, they sit a little longer than 8 hours - at least overnight; sometimes for days - depending on what I'm infusing.

When the chai is done steeping, the bourbon smells really good - like a strong cup a tea.  

Pour your freshly infused bourbon in a glass with a large ice cube.  You're welcomed to sip it as is, or you can skip the ice and enjoy it neat.  I preferred mine topped with ginger ale...a good ginger ale.

I loved it. I'm still sipping on it.


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Weekend

Ahhhh, it's Monday. Sad.  This weekend, John and I went to Boston for a couple of days for a wedding and it was amazing!  The weather was beautiful and even though we were there for a short amount of time, we did get a chance to see a little bit of the city. Soon I'll be sharing a post on what to do in Boston if you ever go visit.

I think we're done with weddings until November and our next little adventure will be a quick trip to the beach for my birthday and I'm so excited!  Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend - happy Monday!

Here are a couple of photos from our weekend - more photos will be shared soon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Summer Necessities

Summer is well underway and to get me through the greatness that is my favorite season, there are a few items that I need.  It was difficult to narrow it down to just a few summer product favorites but I did it. So, here's what gets me through the summer months.

Cetaphil lotion - moisturizing is important and this is my go to product (paired with the cleanser).

Mademoiselle by Chanel - a little bit goes a long way.

St. Germain - because a little splash of this in a glass of champagne is refreshing.

Lipstick - one of my favorite Revlon lipsticks: sassy mauve; noticeable and subtle at the same time.

Nail polish - I love nail polishes - that is all.

Fresh pressed juices - not an alternative to coffee, but a great pick me up for a hot summer day.

Planner - so much happening during the summer, my Rifle Paper Co. leopard planner is so necessary.

Jewelry - new addition: Moon & Lola hashtag necklace. Perfect summer wardrobe addition.

Most of these products will be making their way with me to Boston this weekend! I'll be back to my regular blog schedule on Monday!

What are your summer must haves?

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Weekend

This weekend was nothing but fantastic.  It was John's birthday and all of our friends came together for a surprise party for him.  I'm impressed and grateful that we were able to pull off a surprise without anyone (especially me) it.  When you have over 30+ people invited to a party, you never know what could happen.  Even though this was John's birthday weekend, I think more than anything what this weekend meant for me was that we both have some truly amazing friends who, despite their busy lives, made time to celebrate with us.  Seriously, we both have friends that we've known since we were children and friends that we've developed relationships with since we've been together. No matter if we've known them for 2 years or 20 years, they're all wonderful people and this weekend post is dedicated to all of our crazy but loyal friends.  Cheers to the next birthday party!

Even with the busy weekend, we found time to do a birthday brunch with friends and even stopped by the Chattanooga Market to get some fresh flowers...and not pictured, donuts.  

Great weekend, next weekend stop: Boston.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Strawberry Whiskey Smash

You know, whiskeys and bourbons are usually my drink for the winter but I've found ways to enjoy it even during the hot months.  I always think of whiskey as being a warming beverage that I enjoy when I'm cold but there are some really cool and refreshing ways that have quickly brought this liquor to rotation in the warmer months.  So anyway, I was trying to think of some easy ways to jazz up a classic cocktail: whiskey smash. And after lots of pondering and experimenting I realized, the answer is simple - try a flavored simple syrup instead of trying to reconstruct the entire drink.  So...that's what I did, I enhanced the simple syrup a bit.

Also, if you're not making your own simple syrup but purchasing it in the store - stop the madness. It's so easy to make your own and you can control the amount of sugar that goes into it and you can have complete creative control over the herbs and spices, it's a no brainer. Please make your own.

Strawberry simple syrup...mmmm.  I've preached enough about how to make a simple syrup but I'll do one more sermon:

equal parts sugar + water
bring to a light boil; stir until sugar is dissolved
remove from heat and throw in some sliced strawberries
steep for 30 minutes to an hour

I didn't go about making this in the "classic" type of way so any bartenders or cocktail experts reading this - forgive me. I took the easy way out but it was still delish.

Pour a couple of ounces of whiskey in a glass (with a large ice cube)
Add a splash of simple syrup
Spank some mint leaves and add it to the glass

Mmmmmm...refreshing, a little hint of sweetness and definitely reminiscent of summer. For a more detailed whiskey smash recipe, visit Bon Appetit.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Boston Inspiration

In just a little over a week, we're heading to Boston for a couple of days to see my college roommate get married! I'm super-excited to see her walk down an aisle but I'm also excited to just get away for a bit...even if it is just for a couple of days.  Hopefully, we'll have another chance to get away next month for my birthday. 

I've visited Boston a few times in the past and I've always found it to be a beautiful city with lots of food options. We won't have a enough time to really explore all of the tasty restaurants, but I'm hoping to at least frolic to a couple of them and do some tourist/sightseeing activities.  I'll definitely be writing a post after we return to include our Boston itinerary.  I hope that when/if John and I return to Boston, we'll be able to break away and visit Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard - sounds heavenly, right?

Have you visited Boston?

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Weekend

I saw this quote in one of my favorite pie shops in Atlanta and had to snap a pic.  This weekend seemed short and jammed packed with activity.  Friday, I met a group of friends for a little 'supper club' action. I always go to dinner with friends but this time around it was under the guise of a supper club.  It sounds more exciting that way.  We also frolicked to an art gallery for an opening reception of a friend.  Very early Saturday morning, I headed to the Southern Blog Society's 2nd annual conference and got a chance to meet some cool bloggers and speak with some awesome brands.  It was a great time to see other bloggers and make a few connections.  Saturday night, we hung with friends for a little 90's party. While Sunday was all about errands and unsuccessful cleaning.

The restaurant we chose for our first supper club meeting was Mrs. B's Reggae Cafe. Though it wasn't our first choice (our first close was closed) I'm glad we went.  

All-in-all it was a great weekend.  Looking forward to next weekend because we'll have friends in town AND it's John's birthday weekend! Yay!

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

3 Simple Pastas for Summer

Summertime is for relaxing...laying by the pool (or a beach) and just taking it easy.  Even though relaxation is the name of the game for the summer, you still need to eat.  I like to make easygoing meals that don't require tons of heat or pasta!  Pasta is simple and let's be honest, you don't really need a recipe; you could sort of just wing it and see what happens.

I thought I would share 3 pastas that I've made this summer in hopes to encourage readers to take it easy but still make a delicious pasta to accompany your dinner or to take to a barbecue.  Alright, here are the easiest pastas - feel free to adjust according to your preferences.  

Smoked Mozzarella Pasta

Somewhat inspired from a smoked mozzarella pasta I had at Whole Foods - it's a less involved version, I guess you could say.  The Whole Foods version is very delicious but this is simple and easy to complete at home. Get the recipe on my column over on Nooga.

Simple Salmon Pasta

Fish is so easy to cook, right? Why not throw in some pasta with a few veggies?  This is the perfect snack for a summer BBQ.  This pasta is a little special for me because, it was featured on YumSugar a few weeks ago (yay!). 

Verano Veggie Pasta

First things first, I got "fancy" with the name. If you speak Spanish, you'll know that verano means summer in English.  Lesson over.  I made this pasta recently to take to a barbecue and it's pretty much a few of my favorite vegetables (green beans, corn, red bell peppers, cucumber, zucchini and squash), tossed with bowtie noodles salt & pepper and little Italian dressing.  Like seriously, how easy is that? I did blanch the green beans before adding it to the pasta and I sauteed the remaining veggies (just for a couple of minutes) in some garlic oil, salt and pepper. 

I topped it with a little parmesan cheese but any other type of cheese (or no cheese) will do.  

Do you have a favorite summer pasta?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Orange Mint Julep

The Kentucky Derby may be over but I'm still sipping mint juleps.  My subscription to Bon Appetit has brought me lots of joy over the last year and it even brought me this delicious cocktail idea: an orange mint julep.  I don't drink mint juleps often but whenever the Kentucky Derby comes around, I always feel obligated to get one somewhere and pretend to be fancy.  Though a classic mint julep is delicious, I love the idea of 'jazzing' up a classic cocktail and elevating the flavors just a bit.  

This particular recipe was really easy and it incorporates my love of simple syrups. I cannot stress enough that keeping your own simple syrup in the fridge is a great idea. Sure, you can buy already bottled simple syrup but why when you can play around with different herbs and fruits on your own. 

Here's what you'll need:

an orange
orange simple syrup
orange bitters

Muddle a piece of an orange, mint, syrup, bitters.  Add bourbon and stir.  Fill with ice. Garnish with more mint and enjoy.

Delicious!  Another way to enjoy a mint julep.  This can also be made with other fruits...peach mint juleps anyone?

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