Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gettin' Fizzy Wit It

How are you going to ring in 2016 this year?  Will you be at a swanky party sipping on the finest champagne,  spending it with your best friends trying to forget 2015 or with family (and your kiddos) sipping on something strong while Romper Room 2015 is happening in the basement?  Whatever the case may be we've come up with a few champagne cocktails to help you celebrate.

Happy New Year!

Ginger Sage Champagne Cocktail

1/2 ounce honey ginger syrup
4-6 ounces champagne
1/2 inch fresh ginger piece
1 fresh sage leaf

In a champagne flute pour in the honey ginger simple syrup. Top with champagne.  Garnish with fresh ginger and sage leaf.  Makes 1 cocktail.

Honey Ginger Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled, roughly chopped and slightly smashed

In a small sauce pan, heat the water and honey until the honey has dissolved.  Turn off the heat.  Add the ginger, cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard the ginger pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Champagne Margarita

2 ounces resposado tequila
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1/8 ounce agave nectar
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce champagne
Lime wheel

In a cocktail shaker, pour in the tequila, Grand Marnier, agave nectar and lime juice.  Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously.  Pour into a martini glass or champagne coup.  Top with the champagne and garnish with a lime wheel.  Makes 1 cocktail.

Bourbon Vanilla Champagne Cocktail

2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce Vanilla syrup
lemon wedge
1/2-1 ounce champagne

In a rocks glass or a stemless wine glass add a couple of ice cubes or a large whiskey ice ball.  Pour in the bourbon and vanilla bean simply syrup and stir.  Top with the champagne and squeeze in the lemon wedge.  Makes 1 cocktail.

Vanilla Simple Syrup
 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean

In a small sauce pan, heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Turn off the heat.  Cut the vanilla bean in half length wise and scrape the beans into the syrup.  Drop the bean pod into the syrup.  Cover and steep for 30 minutes.  Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and discard the vanilla bean pod.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Wine Not??

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and Santa was good to you all!  However, if you were a bit underwhelmed by the gifts you received there is still time to make your season bright.  Enter, Club W!

It's no secret that I'm a wine lover and ordering wine online has been one of the best things that has happened to me this year.  It's like Christmas at your door step every month!

The wine departments at my local grocery/liquor stores were beginning to look a bit monotonous.  While I do have one or two go to wines for dinner parties or a night in with Netflix, I'm always on the look out for something interesting and yummy.  Yes, I said yummy.

Club W is a super affordable (about $13 a bottle) wine club that delivers wonderful easy (sometimes too easy) drinking wines.  The palate test is spot on and so are the wines they recommend for you.  I'm three shipments in and I have yet to be disappointed!  I also love that there is no commitment and if you need a break (but who really needs a break from wine) you can skip a shipment.

Club W is not just for experienced wine drinkers, but is perfect for those of you who are just getting into wine as well.  Not only are the super cute cards they send with your shipment informative with tasting notes and the story of the winemaker, but it also includes a pairing recipe.  This may be my favorite part.  I love pairing wine with food and even more, I love pairing recipes from some of my favorite chefs and bloggers.

Their wines are so versatile that Greg and I have enjoyed our Club W wines on a Tuesday night with dinner and even on our anniversary to end a wonderful evening out in Malibu.  Currently they are offering a sparkling wine pack for you to ring in your New Year.  I made sure all three of these bubblies were in our shipment this month.  We popped the Au-DelĂ  on Christmas Day, a sparkling dry red, and it was perfect for some drinking while we prepped dinner.

Ok my fellow wine lovers, what are you waiting for??  End this year on a merry and bright note.  Go to Club W now and or use my code to get a bottle for free in your first shipment!

Note: If you are living in one of those U.S. states that don't allow alcohol to be shipped to it, go to to support a change.

***We were not paid to review or feature Club W.  These are simply our opinions.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Holiday Apple Crisp

With the rush of the holiday season upon us, I thought it would be best to keep it simple here on the blog.  Warm apple crisp is like the mac n' cheese of desserts for me.  A perfect simple comfort food.  The recipe is easy to make and even easier to enjoy.  I promise if you close your eyes while taking your first bite you will be transported to the Braverman's amazing backyard (for all you Parenthood fans) sitting under the cafe lights around that beautiful wood table.   Or, maybe just your own family table at home for the holidays where Grandma made dessert just like this.

Holiday Apple Crisp

4 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil, liquid form
Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 1-1/2 quart baking dish with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the apples, lemon juice, ground cinnamon and turbinado sugar.  Pour the apple mixture into the prepared baking dish.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, brown sugar, flour, clove, and ginger.  Pour in the 1/2 cup of coconut oil.  Stir well until the mixture is combined and the oats are covered in the coconut oil.  Pour the crumble topping over the apples.

Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes, until the crumble has browned and the apples are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.  Serve warm with ice cream.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Thankful Appetizer

What are you thankful for this holiday season?  Your family, friends, the wine glass in your hand, or a  gold turkey on your apron?  Yes, I'm apron obsessed.  I love to feel pretty (and protected from grease) while chopping and cooking in my kitchen.  Also, I couldn't pass up a Target clearance item like this! Besides, my pretty and festive apron made a great backdrop for our simple-to-make Thanksgiving appetizer.

This crostini couldn't be any easier to make and can be prepped a day in advance.  The peppery spice from the rosemary and delicious roasted red peppers gives a wonderful fall (into winter) take on a classic bruschetta.  You are bound to wow your guests with the vibrant colors and for those of you who are anxious for Christmas (and forgot about Thanksgiving) it's the perfect color scheme.

Rosemary Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta Crostini

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, diced
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
1 baguette, warmed and sliced

In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.  Set aside.

Combine the roasted red peppers, red onion and tomatoes in a medium bowl.  Pour in the olive oil mixture and stir to combine.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight to combine all the flavors.  Spread the goat cheese on the warmed sliced baguette, top with the bruschetta and serve.  Makes about 12-15 crostinis.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Oatmeal For Breakfast

We all need something to look forward to in the morning to help us get out of bed especially as the temperatures are dropping and winter nears.  Well, unless you live here in Los Angeles where we will be getting a bit of a heat wave this weekend.  Sorry, I had to say it.  I am freezing in this 60 degree weather and excited to see 80 degrees in the forecast.  Yes, after living here for 12 years, 70 degrees is cold to me!  OK, enough bragging about the California sun and back to getting out of bed for this oatmeal breakfast.  

If you haven't tried persimmons yet you seriously need to!  I love them because they are sweet like a pear and crisp like an apple.  I prefer Fuyu persimmons which I used for this oatmeal recipe.  They look like a round tomato and can be eaten while still firm.  Their beautiful orange color brightens this warm oatmeal sweetened with brown sugar and topped with a coconut milk drizzle.  Yep, I'd get out of bed for this breakfast and you should too!

Brown Sugar Persimmon Oatmeal

2 cups water
dash of salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
2-3 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2-4 tablespoons coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On a small baking sheet roast the pecans in the oven for about 7-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, bring the water and salt to a boil.  Add the rolled oats and reduce the heat to low.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until the water has absorbed and the oats are soft.  Turn off the heat and add the persimmons, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Stir well to combine.  Distribute the oatmeal evenly into 2 bowls, top with the roasted pecans and drizzle the coconut milk on top.  Makes 2 large servings or 4 small servings.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Harvest Storm

People!  Keep your Christmas decorations in the box and stop skipping over my favorite holiday!  We fully intend to flood your social media with our favorite Thanksgiving cocktails, dishes and desserts over the next two weeks.  Then, on December 1st you can bust out the tinsel, Elf on the Shelf, Santa everything and sing Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. 

So before Gingerbread Stout season gets into full swing, we are finishing up pumpkin season with our take on the classic cocktail, Dark and Stormy.  Thanks to Elysian Brewing Company we were able to find the perfect pumpkin beer with the right amount of spice to pair with the delicious Mount Gay Barbados Rum.  Each barrel is brewed with over seven pounds of pumpkin, roasted and raw pumpkin seeds, and spiced with nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice.   

If that doesn't scream pumpkin pie in a bottle I don't know what does! See, dessert does come in liquid form.  Happy Fall and almost Thanksgiving!

Harvest Storm

4 ounces rum (We use Mount Gay Barbados Rum)
1 bottle pumpkin beer (We use Elysian Brewing Company's Night Owl Pumpkin Ale)
8 dashes Angostura Bitters 

Filled two tall glasses with ice.  In each glass pour 2 ounces of rum, 4 dashes of bitters and top with the pumpkin beer.  Stir and enjoy! Makes 2 cocktails.

***We were not paid to feature Elysian Brewing Company or Mount Gay Barbados Rum.  These are simply our own opinions. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thyme For Gin

Who said they hate gin?  Well, me.  That was until Hendricks came into my life, which I have my lovely (and super fit) friend Amanda to thank for.  

I know you all think that gin is for grandmas and smells and taste like pine trees but I assure you that Hendricks will change your mind.  This gin is floral and herby with notes of juniper berries, corriander and citrus peel.  See, no pine trees here!  

We created this cocktail with the changing of seasons in mind.  We wanted something fresh to remind us of how wonderful summer was, but warm and herbatious to welcome in fall.  Oh, and how pretty is this cocktail?!?  I would definitly serve this at any wedding, bridal shower, brunch, or baby shower, for the non-expecting guests of course.  

So go be brave and give gin another try.  I know I have already made a few new believers, including myself!

Grapefruit Thyme Gin Cocktail

4 ounces gin (we use Hendricks)
4 ounces fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1-1/2 ounces honey simple syrup

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Add ice and shake vigorously until the shaker is frosty.  Strain into 2 ice filled glasses and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme. Makes 2 cocktails.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Boozy Weekend Brunch

We rounded up the last of the fresh figs we could find and made this boozy brunch, with a little help from my favorite friend, Trader Joe's.

While the bourbon for breakfast should be the hero of this post I have to start with the Toasted Coconut Pancakes.  I really think I hit gold with these! If you know me I'm an egg and toast kind of girl but these pancakes are so good you can basically eat them like a cookie.  To make them, you only need to add water!  Oh, how I so love you Trader Joe's for making my weekends sweet and simple.

Now on to the boozy part.  The bourbon fig compote is the perfect amount of sticky sweet and booze.  While we were pouring it over those amazing pancakes, I completely intend to eat the rest of it with a creamy brie cheese and loaf of french bread.

The coffee cocktail that Greg created will be sure to wake you up and give you a nice little buzz.  The chocolate bitters is my favorite part.  It makes it not too sweet and super easy to drink.

So as my Dad says, "Relax a little and enjoy!"

Bourbon Fig Compote and Coconut Pancakes

Trader Joe's Toasted Coconut Pancake Mix (or your favorite pancake mix)
2 cups fresh figs, quartered
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
Pinch of salt

Make your pancakes according the package.  Set aside.

Place the figs, honey and brown sugar in a medium sauce pan.  Over low heat melt the brown sugar and honey.  Stir frequently.  Cook the compote for about 10-15 more minutes bringing the mixture to a simmer, breaking up the figs a bit.  Add the bourbon and bring to a low boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.  Season with a pinch of salt and stir.  Serve over pancakes immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.  Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Bourbon Coffee Cocktail

1-1/2 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
2 dashes chocolate bitters
Cold brew coffee

Pour the bourbon, Kahlua and the chocolate bitters into an ice filled rocks glass.  Top with cold brew coffee.  Stir and enjoy!  Makes one cocktail.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Winter is (NOT) Coming

If you live in California you know summer is not over and "Winter is (not) coming."  Thanks to the people over at the 21st Amendment Brewery we were inspired to make this never ending summer cocktail.

Their watermelon wheat beer is refreshing with subtle sweet fruity notes. It's summer in a glass. Combined with vodka and Grand Marnier, you get a drink that is extremely easy (maybe too easy) to drink making all of Kings Landing thankful Winter has not come.

Watermelon Beer Cocktail

3/4 ounce 
3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer
Orange peel for garnish

In a tall glass filled with ice, pour in the vodka and Grand Marnier.  Top with the watermelon beer and garnish with an orange peel.  Makes one cocktail.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Salsa, Salad or Both?!

Who needs an easy to make salsa that can also be a salad?  You all should be saying "ME!"  I've been making this salad, I mean salsa, all summer and I'm so excited to finally getting around to sharing it.

Full disclosure, I'm sort of a bean hater.  I have never liked and will never like refried beans. I believe its a texture thing.  I wish you could see my face as I'm typing this because I'm sure my expression is the exact replica of Disgust from Inside Out, which is a movie everyone should see.  Anyhow, my Mexican food lover husband is a bean fanatic.  So to keep us both happy I combined black beans with my favorite summer vegetables.  

This festive salsa/salad is super versatile.  It makes the best companions with tortilla chips, chicken tacos, grilled fish, a bed of leafy lettuce, red cabbage or kale and of coure a great margarita.  Oh, and the longer it marinates the better it is.  It's the perfect addition to your Labor Day and end of summer gatherings!  Enjoy!

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salsa Salad

2 ears fresh corn
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 - 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup radishes, chopped
1/2 cup orange or red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1-2 limes, juiced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to broil.

Carefully cut the corn off the cob.  Spread the corn onto a foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil over the corn and season with salt a pepper.  Broil in the oven until slightly charred, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove the corn from the oven and allow to cool.

Combine the remainder of the ingredients into a medium bowl.  Add the roasted corn and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to one day ahead of serving.  Makes about 3 cups.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Watermelon Salad Stacks

Is it August already?  I feel like this summer has literally flashed before my eyes!  I'm still trying to hold on to any bits of it that I can as kids are headed back to school and fall recipes are popping up in my Pinterest feed.  

Watermelon screams summer to me and while I'm usually juicing it for a cocktail I thought we could all take a (short) break from the booze to enjoy this refreshing, simple to make summer salad.  I sort of stumbled across this mixture as I was quickly trying to make something for lunch without turning on the stove.  I know most people use feta or grilled halloumi (which I need to do a post on) cheese with watermelon but I'm a huge fan of burrata.  The creamy stuffed fresh mozzarella is a perfect pair to the juicy and refreshing watermelon.

While I went fancy with the presentation of this salad, you can simply chop up the watermelon and burrata, place it on a bed of arugula, drizzle the olive oil and balsamic on top and enjoy!  Either way you can't go wrong and it will surely keep you in the spirit of summer as we all soak up the last bit of it.

Watermelon Salad Stacks

1 mini seedless watermelon
1 4 ounce burrata cheese ball
1-1/2 - 2 cups arugula
Olive oil
High quality balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground black pepper

Slice the watermelon into 1/2 inch rounds.  Using a 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out watermelon stack rounds and set aside.  Next, carefully slice the burrata cheese into 1/4 inch slices.

To assemble your stacks place one watermelon round on the plate.  Place amount an 1/8 of a cup of arugula on top.  Place one slice of burrata cheese on top of the arugula and top with one final watermelon round.  Place another 1/8 cup of arugula on top of the watermelon stack.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top with fresh ground black pepper.  Repeat with the rest of the watermelon, burrata and arugula.  Makes 5-7 Stacks.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The ImPaler - A Beer Cocktail

We're back!  Sorry for the long break, but not to worry we've got some great cocktails and food recipes coming your way!  We couldn't think of a better way to begin than with this refreshing summer beer cocktail!

Los Angeles has been sticky, humid and as my husband puts it, "uncomfortable and just too hot!"  So to make things a little more bearable he created the ImPaler.  It's the perfect balance of sweet, tart and hoppy goodness.  This simple to make beer cocktail is meant to be enjoyed by the pool, on the beach, or on the porch during a summer rain shower, which we need desperately.  It screams summer in a glass so get mixing and start sipping!

The ImPaler Beer Cocktail

2 ounces Vodka (we use Tito's Handmade Vodka)
3/4 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce honey simple syrup
1 ounce pale ale beer for float (we use Element 29 Pale Ale by Epic Brewing Co.)
1 sprig of thyme (optional)

In an ice filled rocks glass, pour in the vodka, grapefruit juice and honey simple syrup.  Stir to combine.  Pour the beer on top to float and garnish with the sprig of thyme.  Makes 1 cocktail.