Food

Simple and Relaxed Valentine's Day

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

A few Valentines ago, Victor and I had reservations at a nice restaurant in the city. It was a place where we had one of our first dates and so it was special to us. Unfortunately, it must've been special to everyone else in Atlanta also, because even though we had reservations at 8pm, we waited for our table for over an hour. Once we sat down to eat, the entrees we each wanted to order were sold out. 

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

This year, I think we'll keep it a little more low-key and have the entrees we pick to make at home. While going out is nice, keeping it simple at home can be just as special, if not more. Christina came up with this nice meal and how to enjoy it with the one you love, or with your closest girl friends! 

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Dinner doesn't need to be fussy to be special. Make your favorite salad, appetizer, and pasta dish for a hearty meal that isn't too heavy. Making multiple, simple courses gives dinner a fancy feeling without having to spend hours in the kitchen. More time to make moony eyes at each other!

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Make dessert fun and unexpected by dipping yummy snacks in chocolate! Refreshing orange or clementine wedges and pretzel sticks hit all the sweet, salty, and tart notes you crave!

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Having a Galentine's night instead? Pick up some cute V-Day tags like these from Target for serve as wine charms for your best friends.

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Keep things simple and make it buffet style. Everyone will appreciate that you've made a delicious meal, even if it was super easy to make! Using basic pieces you already have and adding in some sweet Valentine themed accessories add a really special touch. You can find these pretty heart napkins at West Elm.

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Dress up easy appetizers by making them bite-size and individual! Who doesn't love a ball of cheese on a stick, right?!

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Easy pasta keeps it low stress. Make your favorite one-pot pasta dish to make clean-up a snap so you and your friends can enjoy more time chatting and eating and less time scrubbing pots and pans. A fresh salad is a breeze to make and will add brightness to your dinner. 

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

What's better than a cupcake? A NAKED cupcake! Cupid goes around naked, so it's only fitting your dessert do the same on Valentine's Day. Top some rich chocolate cupcakes with these pretty little hearts from Target for an extra special presentation. 

We hope you have a sweet and Happy Valentine's Day!

Amazing Meals, Amazingly Easy

It's the holidays. You're busy! But you still want to eat delicious, well-rounded meals, right? Not every meal can be sugar cookies and egg nog...at least that's what I'm told...

The trickiest part of cooking for one or two people, is portions at the grocery store. If you buy a bag of chopped kale, you'll be eating kale smoothies, roasted kale, steamed kale, and kale with grits for a week just to keep it from wilting in the fridge before you can eat it. A solution for those busy times when you want to have a few nice meals at home but you'll be out for holiday dinners half of the week is Peach DIsh!

No measuring of ingredients required! You get the right sized portion for the number of servings you want. Each meal is prepared by a chef who pulls together exactly what you need to recreate the tastiness on your own, complete with all fresh ingredients and a detailed list of instructions. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

It really couldn't be easier! Choose your delivery day, and select from the meal options for that week and viola! Awesome food. The meal in this basket is two servings of Hanger steak with a mushroom-shallot sauce, and kale & apple salad. Yum! 

 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

See? Perfectly portioned ingredients PLUS labels if you aren't familiar with certain ingredients. Peach Dish is a great way for the beginner cook to get his or her feet wet. You can try out different recipes and know you wont be wasting a ton. If you tried cooking mushrooms for the first time ever and find you don't want to cook them again for 3 weeks but you went to the store and bought a 1/2 pound of fresh mushrooms, you're practically flushing money by letting good food go bad. I cook a lot and find is really relaxing and enjoyable, so it can be a thrill to figure out how to make that leftover rosemary work with whatever other ingredients are lingering in the fridge after a couple of well-planned meals. However, Peach Dish is still super appealing to me! Particularly during this time of year when several nights a week we have plans that limit my kitchen time. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Oh, speaking of time! Each meal comes with a cook time estimate. That way, you can time your meals out just like a 1950s housewife who manages to have everything on the table at exactly 6pm with not a burnt roll in site. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Not only is Peach Dish convenient for their prep work, but they also deliver your basket of ingredients directly to your front door. Say goodbye to elbowing other shoppers in the Publix produce section on Christmas Eve! You no longer have to fight for the last 2 baking potatoes! Let Peach Dish do the hard work of creating delicious meals, measuring, and delivering ingredients directly to your door. You take care of cooking and feeling like a super hero who just whips up fantastic meals without ever breaking a sweat. 

If you need a little help making amazing meals for the holidays, check out their holiday menu and order today! You will not be disappointed and you'll be filled with pride knowing you cooked it yourself (from scratch!) rather than ordering from a caterer or getting pre-packaged foods at the deli. 

Go on, make and eat great food!!


Thanksgiving for Every American! (Erntedankfest für jeden Amerikaner!)

In light of recent world news, this Thanksgiving weekend could not come soon enough to give us all a reminder of everything we have to be thankful for. Bountiful food, a safe home, families who love us, and on and on. Something I’m particularly thankful for this year is our diverse population that makes us a rich, interesting, and varied culture. One that comes from all over the world. A population of people seeking a life of freedom and opportunity. Each one of us has a unique background of cultural history, no matter where our ancestors came from. My ancestry is made up of English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Russian, Scandinavian, and who knows what else, but America is all I’ve ever known. My family doesn’t have any deeply held Irish or Scottish traditions we practice, but our traditions are our own. Christina on the other hand, is an ocean away from her family in Germany, with German traditions she misses. It’s easy to forget how hard it must be to be so far away from family on special holidays, especially those that we don’t typically celebrate in the US, like Germany’s ErnteDankfest which is very similar to our Thanksgiving. 

 Image via Erntedankefest Wikimedia Commons

Image via Erntedankefest Wikimedia Commons

ErnteDankfest, held in late September or early October, celebrates thankfulness for the bounty of a harvest. It is celebrated with a big meal, parades, church services, lantern parade, crowning of a harvest queen, and even fireworks! They must not eat quite as much turkey as we do during our Thanksgiving if they have the energy to do all of those things after a big meal!

 Image via Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Oberjesingen

Image via Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Oberjesingen

As I began thinking about Thanksgiving this year, I couldn’t help but think about how so many other people do not have all that we do; not in quantity of food, safety, or even freedom. We're very fortunate to have all that we do. Our country has a history of compassion to the immigrant and I’m thankful this is my home. We're a nation of immigrants who risked so much for a better life. That's what makes us so great. 

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
-Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus", Poem at the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty

Being an American doesn’t mean you look a certain way, sound a certain way, worship a certain way, or eat certain foods. Being an American means that you can look, sound, worship, and eat whatever you want. I’m thankful for that, too. So, to our friends who are Americans by transplant, we’re happy you’re here!

While Thanksgiving is an American holiday with the traditional turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole (all of which I LOVE), we want to make Thanksgiving feel like home for those Americans who grew up abroad and those whose families are still overseas. What better way to add to the traditions of Thanksgiving than to bring in some dishes and new traditions that represent your family heritage? Have someone in your family from a different country? Invite them to bring some of their traditions to be a part of your family’s Thanksgiving celebration this year.

Many cultures celebrate a harvest festival of some kind, each with their own meaning and cultural relevance. Most of these celebrations have similar ingredients in the food since harvest happens in the fall.

Here are some delicious German dishes, in honor of Christina’s homeland and heritage, that would add a beautiful flavor and new twist on the classic American Thanksgiving meal but still maintain the flavors of the season that you’d expect from a Thanksgiving dinner. 

 Photo and Styling by Susie Roupe

Photo and Styling by Susie Roupe

Cremige Kürbissuppe mit Äpfeln, Karotten und Kartoffeln
(Creamy Pumkin Soup with Apples, Carrots, and Potatoes)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg Pumpkin (Hokkaido), possibly more
  • 2 Med-large onions
  • 4 Large carrots
  • 2 Med-large apples
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 Med-large potatoes
  • 1.5 Liters vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 Cup cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Cut the pumpkins in half, remove the soft interior, along with the seeds and cut the flesh into pieces. Peel the onions and cut into eight pieces. Peel and cut the carrots into pieces. Remove seeds from apples and cut into wedges. Peel the potatoes and cut them into pieces also. Add pumpkin, onion, apple and carrot pieces to a large saucepan with a little hot oil. While stirring, over medium heat, fry until the pumpkin is soft, but still al dente. Add the potato pieces and fill with hot vegetable or chicken stock. Cook on low heat cook until everything is tender. This takes about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and use an immersion blender to smooth it out. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and parsley. 


 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Bodenständig: Apfel-Crumble
(Apple Crumble)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium size apples
  • 2tbs cranberries
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. Honey
  • 30 g of butter
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • pinch od salt
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

Peel apples and cut them in thin slices. Mix apples with lemon juice and cranberries and put it in a small oven dish. Cut the butter in small pieces and mix it with flour, oatmeal, sugar, salt and cinnamon and make a crumbly dough. Sprinkle on top of apples.

Bake in a 285 degree oven for about 30 min. Makes 2 servings.

    

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Glücklicher erntedank, alle! Wir sind dankbar für Sie!

Perfect Soups for Fall

As the cool air sets in and the leaves begin to fall, comfort food is what I crave! What's more comforting than a creamy soup? Three soups, that's what!

Today, we want to share three awesome soup recipes with you that you can enjoy in high style for a casual dinner party or just a typical Thursday night at home. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Brazilian Shrimp Stew (Moqueca de Camaroes)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ lbs raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup roasted red pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • (1) 14 oz can diced tomatoes w/ chili's
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha hot sauce 
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to tast

DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Saute onions for several minutes until translucent, then add the garlic and peppers and cook for several minutes more. Add the tomatoes, shrimp and cilantro to the pan and simmer gently until the shrimp turns opaque. Pour in the coconut milk and Sriracha sauce (or Sambal Oelek), and cook just until heated through - do not boil. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro. 

Recipe originally from I Breathe I'm Hungry

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Autumn Squash Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 small Onion
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 15 oz Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 cup Apple Cider
  • 1 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 1/4 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • Pumpkin Seeds (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450. Peel and seed squash and cut into chunks.
Peel and quarter onion. Toss squash and onion in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 minutes. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes. Puree in blender or food processor. In a large sauce pan, combine squash puree, pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, apple cider and cream. Bring to a low boil over medium heat. Add honey and spices and simmer for 10 minutes.
Garnish with pumpkin seeds.

Recipe originally from Cincy Shopper.

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 10- to 11-ounce fully cooked smoked Portuguese linguica sausage or chorizo sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (Spanish chorizo can be substituted)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 2 large), peeled, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound white-skinned potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 6 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 9-ounce bag fresh spinach

DIRECTIONS

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. (I poured off some of the oil in the pot at this point, but the original recipe doesn’t think this is needed.) Add onions and garlic to pot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add all potatoes and cook until beginning to soften, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potatoes are soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Using potato masher, mash some of potatoes in pot. Add browned sausage to soup. Stir in spinach and simmer just until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls and serve.

Hop's Chicken at Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market is a wonderful location for shopping, eating, and even living! You can get just about anything you want in this one location, and with more shops opening in the coming months, it will just keep getting better and better! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Atlanta, of course, is a destination for delicious fried chicken. The birthplace of chicken and waffles as well as Chick-Fil-A to name a few and now, Hop's Chicken joins the ranks of fantastic fried chicken establishments in "the A". Hop's is owned by the same group who brings the acclaimed "Best Burger in Atlanta" to Braves games and to their amazing restaurant, Holeman and Finch. If you need more convincing to try them out, please see the photos below of the crispy, juicy awesomeness.

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

At Hop's, the prices are great, and the chicken is greater! We ordered two different meals. I got the sandwich with Frim Fram sauce and a side of cole slaw. The chicken is juicy and tender on a soft, buttery bun topped with bread and butter pickles. When you add on Frim Fram sauce, it adds a layer of tang that is positivley delightful! 

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Order chicken by the piece, and you get an amazing deal! The chicken is where it's at. You'll get more bang for your buck by ordering by the piece and it is to die for! Very tender and juicy with excellent seasoning. We ordered this with Aunt Julia's Barbecue sauce. Divine! We tried this one with succotash for a dash of color. 

Our recommendation? Go to Hop's and get the chicken by the piece and an assortment of sauces. You won't regret it!

Guest Post: Cake for Breakfast!

Guess who’s back (back) back again? SJ’s back (back) in the kitch-en. SJ’s back, SJ’s back…

I think I started my last post off with a repurposed song, didn’t I? You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.  Hello again! It’s Sara Jane, Susie’s sister, back for another guest post! This time, I’m back to discuss a very serious topic – how to wedge (pun intended) cake into your more of your day. Namely, how to eat cake for breakfast. After all, July is a month of birthdays. America's birthday, Ends In Style's birthday, my birthday. So it's only fitting that we have cake for breakfast, don’t you think?

Most of my cakes are a little too boozy to pass for breakfast.  Brunch, sure, but you might raise a few eyebrows if you slice into a gin-soaked cake at 8 am. You could just go the break-up route and buy an Entemann’s to be consumed in one sitting while you watch an entire season of “Murder, She Wrote”. OR you could make a beautiful, seasonal Bundt that looks like breakfast and tastes like cake.  

Did you know July is National Blueberry Month? I suppose it makes sense since the grocery stores and farmers’ markets are brimming with them.  And what pairs with blueberries better than lemons?

Look at that, we haven’t even started and this cake practically screams breakfast food. While we’re at it, let’s throw in a little buttermilk.  It’s an integral ingredient in biscuits and pancakes so the transitive property tells me buttermilk cake = breakfast.

Let’s get started, shall we? First, you’ll want to be sure your eggs, butter and buttermilk are all room temperature. Cold butter doesn’t cream and cold eggs and buttermilk cause creamed butter to clump. Clumped butter creates nasty little pockets that ruin the silky texture of your breakfast treat.  I always set my butter, eggs and milk out on the counter the morning of or night before baking. Don’t worry about leaving them on the counter for a while. Unless you’re in Vegas with no AC, they won’t spoil.    

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease* and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan. In the bowl of your standing mixer (if you don’t have one, please start an Indigogo or Kickstarter to raise funds so you can change your life), use your fingers to rub your sugar and lemon zest together until the zest is fully incorporated and the sugar is moistened evenly. Add butter and salt and cream** them together on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs, one at the time, incorporating evenly into the butter.  Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your mixer to prevent buttery sugar pockets in the batter. Add the baking powder and vanilla, mixing just until blended in.

Alternate flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Be careful not to over mix.

In a large bowl, toss your blueberries with two tablespoons of flour and gently fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula.  Spread the batter into your prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  If your oven is like mine, check it early so it doesn’t over bake. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes then turn out onto a serving platter or cake carrier to cool completely. 

Whisk together powdered sugar and buttermilk and pour over the cooled cake. Top with fresh lemon zest and consume in one sitting while watching an entire season of “Murder, She Wrote.”

Lemon-Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt

Adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker who adapted it from Smitten Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ t. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 T. flour
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½  T. buttermilk
  • Lemon zest

    DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease* and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan and set aside. In the bowl of your standing mixer, use your fingers to rub your sugar and lemon zest together until the zest is fully  incorporated and the sugar is moistened evenly. Add butter and salt and cream them together on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at the time, incorporating evenly into the butter.  Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of your mixer to prevent buttery sugar pockets in the batter. Add the baking powder and vanilla, mixing just until blended in.  Alternate adding 1/3 of your flour and ½ of your buttermilk to the butter-egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.  Be careful not to over mix. In a large bowl, toss your blueberries with two tablespoons of flour and gently fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula.  Spread the batter into your prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes then turn out onto a serving platter or cake carrier to cool completely. Once cake has cooled, whisk together powdered sugar and buttermilk. Consistency should be pourable but not runny.  Add more powdered sugar if too thin, add more buttermilk if too thick.  Pour over cooled cake and top with lemon zest.

*I like this stuff.  Spray a light coating in your pan and then dust with flour.  Everything comes out perfectly every time.

**Excellent tutorial for creaming your butter and sugar until it’s juuuuust right.

Simply Chic Fourth of July Entertaining Ideas

This article by Brian Patrick Flynn was originally posted on HGTV.com featuring original photography by Christina Wedge. Take a look and be inspired for your Independence Day soiree!

 

This Independence Day try using red, white and blue in new, unexpected ways to create an American summer soiree. Consider these entertaining ideas to make your gathering both patriotic and practical.

Red, White and Blue Refreshments

Think of cold beverages as a decorating opportunity. Chill berry-flavored bottled juices or sodas in metal tubs filled with ice; you'll not only keep guests cool but also sneak in a few extra red, white and blue touches to carry the party's patriotic theme.

Sun Supplies Station

With the harsh summer heat and intense rays of the sun in full effect, it's important your Fourth of July guests remain hydrated and UV-protected. Keep outdoor essentials nearby with a supply station stylishly stocked with rolled towels, sunblock and ice-cold water.

Patriotic Picnic

Add a little romance to your Independence Day with a red, white and blue picnic. For a true designer look, introduce a mixture of patterns and textures through floor pillows, toss pillows and blankets.

Labeled Sparklers

Instantly turn sparklers into placeholders or party favors with ribbon and paper tags. Once the sparklers are removed from their packaging, bunch them up, then tie them together with red, white and blue ribbon. Before tying and curling the ribbon ends with scissors, slide a hole-punched paper tag through one of the strands with your guests' names proudly on display.

Tasty Popsicles

Popsicles are a perfect treat for an outdoor summer soiree. Make your own Fourth-of-July-style Popsicles by pouring red or blue fruit juices into Popsicle freezer trays. To ensure they taste fresh and are fully frozen, pop the trays into the freezer one night prior to entertaining.

Flameless Party Cracker Treats

Kids and adults alike will love playing with party crackers filled with their favorite treats. Make your own using toilet paper tubes, glue and crepe paper.

Fourth of July Table Setting

Who says Fourth of July decorating has to be all stars and stripes? Give your Independence Day decor a modern update by introducing red, white and blue through modern graphic patterns.

Red, White, and Blue Table Setting

Add layers to your Fourth of July tablescape by mixing patterns in patriotic colors. To keep the different prints from looking too busy, be sure to introduce one large, one medium and one small-scale print through linens.

Fireworks for Guests

Make your placeholders useful, fun and interactive with poppers. Simply wrap the packaging with natural twine and add a paper tag. Guests will not only know where to be seated, but they'll each have their own supplies to kick off firework festivities.

Sparkler Candles

Make a spectacle of your dessert presentation with cake sparklers. Keep in mind that safety is first; only use if your outdoor entertaining takes place in a wide open area.

Ombre Party Tablescape

Give your plain white placemats and napkins a modern and patriotic update. Dip-dye using red- and blue-colored dye for a stylish look that can be used all summer long.

Festive Dessert Basket

Easily serve your dessert outdoors in a simple basket decorated for the Fourth. Place floral foam in the basket to serve sweets on sticks, which can double as a table centerpiece.

Happy Independence Day!



A Sweeter Independence Day

This fourth of July, whether you're having a dinner party in, grilling out with friends, or enjoying a picnic under the fireworks, you can make some sweet treats to finish your meal that are sure to please! Below you'll find a collection of tasty desserts your family and friends will love. Click the dessert name or the photo to go to the original recipe so you can make one of these delicious confections for your Independence Day party. 

 

1. Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes by the Baker Mama

3. Red Velvet Ice Cream Cake by Life, Love & Sugar

Enjoy a very sweet Independence Day this year!

Atlanta's Best Blood Marys

If you live in the city, it's safe to say you eat brunch. It's a rite of passage in your college and career years and is really just a delicious way to spend a weekend mid-morning. So many restaurants offer bottomless mimosas and while those are delicious, I'm much more interested in finding not bottomless but BEST Bloody Mary in Atlanta. After all, isn't quality much better than quantity?

Bloody Marys are so often crammed with delicious pickled tasty things like olives, peppers, okra, even bacon and boiled eggs! It's like a meal in a glass!

 Photo by Scott Vogel

Photo by Scott Vogel

Thanks to Thrillist, I have a delicious list to share with you with all of the best places in the city to get the best and spiciest and fullest Bloody Mary you can find! All photos and drink rankings from Thrillist! You can find the original post here.

Let's dive in!

Holeman and Finch

"Made with with gin (and love), this is the perfect complement for the H&F burger, mostly because of the sauce: hand-milled tomatoes, fresh lime juice, cayenne, horseradish, Worcestershire, cream sherry, salt, black pepper, and celery seeds are just a few of their “secret” ingredients. Your secret is that you’re totally already on your second one."

The Nook

"All you Bloody size queens will be satisfied by The Nook’s 32oz Bloody Best. It starts with 6oz of Absolut Peppar and their custom Bloody Mary mix, and then there're the toppings: steak, tots, pepperoncinis, jalapeños, a hard-boiled egg, lemon, lime, and a slice of toast top it off. Pro tip: hold off on eating the beef straw until the end."

Dakota Blue 

"Lots of Bloody Marys come with a mix of vodka and tomato, plus things like Worcestershire sauce, bacon, olives, onions, etc., but how many are hopped up with your favorite IPA? Hint: at least one."

The Porter Beer Bar

"Little Five Points’ best beer bar is giving you a pepper vodka-based quart of good times, and since they do everything so right at The Porter, their blend of tomatoes and spices hits all the right notes, and might just make you forget about their 800 beers. Or, like, an entire day if you're not careful."

Elbow Room

"The Hail Mary is an impressive stack of a stromboli slice, bacon, a meatball, capicola, pepperoni, and every cocktail veggie you can imagine. It's the reason Elbow Room is so popular with industry types who know what a real meal-drink is."

So Ba

"Their Hangover Helper includes a medium bowl of pho and a Bloody Mary for just $12 on Saturdays or Sundays. Or, knowing you, Saturdays AND Sundays."

Rosebud

"This is quite possibly the craftiest Mary in Atlanta. San Marzano tomatoes are blended with fresh tomato juice to give you a rich and salty drinking experience. They even bottle the stuff so you can make the magic at home."

There

"Consistently topping the list of Atlanta’s best, Executive Chef Brian Traudt may not give you the exact recipe, but we know it comes with bacon, pickled okra, and a savory house mix that goes great with a heaping pile of fried avocados."

Six Feet Under

"The Fish House Bloody Mary starts with Absolut Peppar & Zing Zang’s Bloody Mary Mix. Things go into overdrive with a peppered cayenne rim of salt, all the veggies, and a shot of stout. Oh, and there’s a raw oyster to top it all off."

Jack's Pizza and Wings

"Jack’s Bloody Sundays are a weekly holiday where your present is always booze, and you’re never disappointed. You can go cheap and basic for just four bucks, get it made with their marinara or wing sauce, or get “fancy” with nice vodka and fixins. Whatever you choose, you’ll have the perfect beverage to dip your food into."

Babs

"You get to be the bartender, blending your own mix of Babs’ proprietary Mary mix with draft sake. At 14% ABV -- and served chilled -- this is the level of sake that you are robbed of at the average, cheap sushi place. Find your perfect mix and the house mascot will happily watch you consume it."
 

And that wraps up the list of best Bloody Mary drinks in Atlanta! Happy brunching!






Mother's Day Soiree

With Mother's Day coming up on May 10th, it's time to celebrate the moms in our lives. Hopefully you can be home with your mom to celebrate and throw her a party like the one we had. If you can't be with her, you can party with friends who have children, too! Motherhood is a wonderful thing. I can only imagine the amount of love a mother is able to feel. My own Mama came and helped me and Christina put on this pretty little dinner party. Someday, I hope to be as loving and selfless a mama to my children as she is to me. 

We are so excited to share this party with you. It was a beautiful setting (Thanks, Susan!) with wonderful people all around and yummy food. If you're looking for tutorials, recipes, or DIY decorations for Mother's Day, we have that, too! Here is the post from last week detailing some of our projects to celebrate mothers.

If you're a mom, thank you for raising your children and loving them well! We appreciate mamas!

All photos by Christina Wedge, Styling by Susie Roupe

Mother's Day Ideas: The Tutorials

Mother's Day is May 10th, 2015. If you aren't yet sure what to do you celebrate your mom, try out some of our ideas to create a beautiful party to let mom know she is treasured! 

We've got Mother's Day gift ideas, meals for Mother's Day, even a Mother's Day cocktail! On Tuesday, May 5th, we're skipping CInco De Mayo and celebrating Cinco de Mom-o instead! Be sure to come back to see how all of these menu items and decorations come together to show mom just how special she is.

Let's start with the perfect Mother's Day meal! We had a sort of upscale picnic, so we kept things a little rustic and simple. 

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

TURKEY, BRIE, & RADISH SANDWICHES
WITH HERB BUTTER

INGRIDIENTS

  • Fresh baked whole wheat bread
  • Good quality deli sliced turkey
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Baby arugula 
  • Herb butter (recipe to follow)

DIRECTIONS

Spread a generous amount of herb butter on the bread. Layer on the remaining ingredients and wrap in pretty papers. Secure the paper with twine and a spring of fragrant herbs.

HERB BUTTER:

 Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Once you've eaten delicious turkey and brie sandwiches, you're going to want a nice cocktail! How about a white wine citrus sangria? It tastes even better than it sounds! You'll need 3 bottles white wine, 1 1/2 cups of triple sec, 1/2 cup sugar, and about 3 lemons, and 2 or 3 oranges, sliced thinly. Stir together and chill overnight. You've never had such a good white wine sangria! The citrus blends so well with the sugar and is the perfect compliment to the lemon cupcakes (keep reading!).

WHITE WINE CITRUS SANGRIA

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

No mother's day meal is complete without a dessert! My sister swears that every mother loves lemon flavored treats, so why not give the people what they want! We made simple lemon cupcakes with lemon zest and a lemon coconut frosting topped with a beautiful little marshmallow flower. Here's how you make the flower!

MARSHMALLOW FLOWERS

 Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Now that you have most of your Mother's Day dinner finished, it's time to focus on the Mother's Day party decorations! We decided to make a special pennant banner with beautiful paper products to match our party decoration color scheme. Here's how you make a quick and easy pennant banner with no template or hole punch necessary! 

EASY PENNANT BANNER TUTORIAL

 Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Need another Mother's Day gift idea? Throwing mom a Mother's Day party is fun, so why not make part of her gift a little bit of the decor for the party that she can keep? Print out photos from Instagram of you and mom, or of mom and baby or copy photos from your baby book into a square format and put them together for a beautiful poster print of mom's favorite memories. 

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT IDEA

 Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

We loved putting together this little party for mom and can't wait to show you more details on Tuesday! Be sure to check back so we can help you plan the perfect outdoor upscale picnic to celebrate your Mama! 

Masters Pimento Chesse

It's that time, ladies and gents! Today is the first day of the Masters Tournament 2015. The practice round is over and the stiff competition officially begins today. If you've ever been lucky enough to go to the Augusta National just to tour or for the Masters Tournament, you know it is truly something special. You know what else is special? THE PIMENTO CHEESE!

 Photo by Carmen Fischer

Photo by Carmen Fischer

I've been very fortunate to have been able to go to the Masters several times over the years. Being from Augusta helps since some family and family friends get tickets and sometimes have an extra and let me use their tickets from time to time. It's truly something to behold. The grounds are absolutely breathtaking, and the crowds are a spectacle all their own. Even the practice round is super exciting! The golfers are more relaxed and have a little fun with the crowd on those days.

 Photo via Masters.com

Photo via Masters.com

Normally at sporting events, food and drink costs are outrageous and may encourage patrons to sneak in a granola bar or two to avoid paying $15 for horrible nachos. That is not so at the Masters! Sandwiches are $1.50 while beer is only $2.75 in a souvenir cup. Not to mention, the food is all very good!

For me, the best sandwich available is the pimento cheese. It is a southern favorite that welcomes people from all over the world to try it and see that it is perfect. 

 Photo by Carmen Fischer

Photo by Carmen Fischer

The recipe for the actual Masters Pimento Cheese is super secret so sadly, I do not have the official recipe, but I do have a delicious copycat recipe that comes very close and never disappoints! I recommend making some to enjoy while you watch the Masters Tournament from your home if you do not get the chance to go this year. 

 Photo by Carmen Fischer

Photo by Carmen Fischer

MASTERS PIMENTO CHEESE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of shredded American cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers or pimentos (some juice reserved)
  • 1/4 cup Duke's mayo
  • A few dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix together the cheeses, peppers with a little of the juice, and mayo until creamy. Add cream and water alternately until you've reached the creaminess desired. You can also add more mayo if the mixture seems dry. You want a spreadable consistency but not goopy, so you'll have to eyeball it a little. Add in the Tabasco and a little salt and pepper.
NOTE: Pimento cheese will be more flavorful and wonderful after a few hours in the refrigerator. I usually make mine the day before I plan to serve it so that it has time for all of the flavors to come together.
Also NOTE: I realize it is weird to add heavy cream to pimento cheese. That is what the Masters ingredients list includes and it makes for a more spreadable, less mayo-heavy cheese.

Enjoy this delicious snack on celery sticks, crackers, the Masters Way (on white bread), as grilled cheese, on a burger, or even stuffed into jalapeno peppers. We hope you love it as much as we do! 

Special thanks for Carmen Fischer for more beautiful food photography on today's post!

Happy Masters Week!


Mix Up Your Salad Game This Spring

It is the perfect time of year for salads! Greens are in season through the colder months while many other vegetables are coming into season for the spring. A delicious salad is chock full of low-calorie, high flavor, high nutrient tasty bits to help you get in shape for the summer.

There's no need to keep eating that same old boring salad from a bag. Why not mix it up? Try tossing one of these three delicious and beautiful salads for your next few meals. Your eyes will be as happy as your tastebuds!

 Image via Carmen Fischer

Image via Carmen Fischer

Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup strawberries, quartered
  • 1/4 avocado, cut in small chunks
  • handful sliced almonds

Serve with lemon poppy seed vinaigrette

 Image via Carmen Fischer

Image via Carmen Fischer

Bleu Berry Salad

  • 2 cups spring mix salad
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • blue cheese 
  • walnuts

Serve with white wine vinaigrette 

 Image via Carmen Fischer

Image via Carmen Fischer

Apple and Arugula Salad

  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup carrot slices
  • 1/4 cup red onion slices
  • 1/2 cup Granny Smith apple pieces
  • bacon pieces

Serve with lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette 

Our images today are courtesy of Carmen Fischer, a very talented photographer finishing her Bachelors in Photographic Imaging at Art Institute of Atlanta. She is a mother to one and in the past even served in the military. We are thankful for her contribution!

 

10 Tasty Seasonal Recipes

We're in the dead of winter, fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season are scarce, right? Not so! There are many tasty meals you can make using in-season produce to save on your grocery bill and serve up the freshest and yummiest dishes possible during the cold winter months. 

Check out this handy list for remembering what's in season in each month. And click on the photo below for a link to 5 useful apps to help you select fresh fruits and vegetables all year long.

Admittedly, the slice of what is in season for February is pretty slim, but it includes delicious things like arugula, asparagus, oranges, grapefruits, sweet potatoes and rhubarb!

Here are 10 delicious recipes using seasonal ingredients. Click on the images for the full recipe at the original source. February never tasted so good!

1. Rhubarb Pie

 Image via Land O' Lakes

Image via Land O' Lakes

2. Pear Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

 via craving something healthy

via craving something healthy

3. Kale Citrus Salad

 via Pioneer Woman

via Pioneer Woman

4. Parsnip-Asparagus Au Gratin

 via Taste of Home

via Taste of Home

5. Roasted Beets, Leeks, and Onions

 via BBC Good Food

via BBC Good Food

6. Chunky Sweet Potato Fennel Soup

 via Epicurious

via Epicurious

7. Sauteed Bok Choy

 via Chow.com

via Chow.com

8. Dill Citrus Salmon with Broccoli 

 via BHG

via BHG

9. Maple Turnip and Carrot Hash

 via Healthful Pursuit

via Healthful Pursuit

10. Roasted Chicken with Shallots

 via NY Times Cooking

via NY Times Cooking

Costa Rica: Where to Stay & What to Eat

 Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

When planning a trip to Costa Rica, HomeAway.com is an asset. They were voted one of the most trustworthy companies by Forbes, so you can book with confidence. HomeAway is a network of vacation rental homes all around the globe with photos and reviews to help you make your choice. 

 Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

We stayed in Tamarindo, a quarter mile walk from our door to Playa Tamarindo. It was a little touristy for us, but we had a nice house with our own pool and most everything in town was written in English, so it does make grocery shopping and ordering from a menu a little easier. 

 Photo via Christina Wedge

Photo via Christina Wedge

Most rental properties require a seven night stay, but if you have more time to spend or want a little more variety in your vacation, choose cabinas which are very affordable little cabins clustered together with the essentials like bed, bathrooms, and sometimes kitchens. Choosing to visit a volcano is a must! Whether you choose one of the smaller ones, or the most recently active volcano, Arenal, you're sure to have a great time staying at the resort nearby.

 Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

Remember the adventure pass for Buena Vista I was talking about on Wednesday? Well, it includes a delicious 4 course meal with pineapple juice to drink! We had pumpkin soup to start, followed by the traditional fried plantains with hummus to dip them in, steak with a delicious Costa Rican sauce, salads, and mashed cassava and finished it off with a coconut flan. It was the fanciest meal we had while we were there! 

Image via Susie Roupe

There are a number of beachfront bars along the Costa Rican coast. You can sip on your favorite island cocktail, topped with a Costa Rican lemon (green outside, orange inside) while watching the sun set into the water. Be sure to stop at all of the roadside stands you can and enjoy empanadas, burritos, fried plantains. The ceviche we enjoyed oceanside was the best I have ever had in my life!

 Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Playa Brasilito is a great place to eat! There are many small restaurants and convenient stores with hot foods packed into a small area. The prices are cheaper here than in the more tourist towns, and the food is high quality. The restaurants with little or no English on the menus were the best, we found.

 Image via Victor Prince

Image via Victor Prince

Remember the spear fishing trip I wrote about in the last post? This is the meal! We had 3 fish in hand after our trip and walked over to a restaurant our guide recommended (we later learned his family owns it) and had them cook our fish. It was $20 total for beers, rice and beans, salad, and 3 beautiful fresher than fresh fish. For five dollars per person and a fantastic seafood meal, that cannot be beat!

 Image  via

Image via

 Image via Susie Roupe

Image via Susie Roupe

Last but not least, eat as much pineapple as you can, and drink as much coffee as possible. If doable, bring back bags of coffee and hoard it. Even if you're not a pineapple lover, a fresh, juicy pineapple tastes like dessert and is at the very least worth a try. Look for those with yellow bottoms, they're the ripe ones! 

I cannot stress enough how much you need to drink the coffee in Costa Rica. It has a hint of chocolate, it's warm and rich and smooth. It is the exact opposite of break room coffee, it is perfect. No cream needed! 

We hope you've enjoyed our little tour through Costa Rica and that you will plan your own trip there, soon. PS. Please bring us back a bag of coffee beans :)


Healthy and Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes

Starting out your new year right means eating healthy and also being busy with all of your resolutions like exercising, decluttering, catching up with friends more often, etc. In times like this, you need some tasty and home cooked meals that will not keep you in the kitchen for hours at a time so you will have more time to focus on other things. Below are some of our favorite healthy slow cooker recipes that will make your house smell great, your mouth happy, and your scale will be glad, too! Follow the links by clicking the photos to original recipes.

 SLOW COOKER THAI CHICKEN SOUP

SLOW COOKER THAI CHICKEN SOUP

SLOW COOKER THAI CHICKEN SOUP

Yummmm! Thai food is some of my favorite. You can adjust the types of ingredients you use (for instance, not using full fat coconut milk) to suit your tastes and caloric intake.

 SLOW COOKER LASAGNA SOUP

SLOW COOKER LASAGNA SOUP

SLOW COOKER LASAGNA SOUP

Lasagna soup is seriously a comfort food treat. Substitute ground beef for ground chicken or turkey, whole wheat pasta for regular, and low fat milk plus 1 tbsp of flour in place of heavy cream to lower the fat content.

 SLOW COOKER  SKINNY  TACO SOUP

SLOW COOKER SKINNY TACO SOUP

SLOW COOKER SKINNY TACO SOUP

Already skinny and delicious! Recipe is great as is! Serve with a lime wedge for an extra punch of flavor.

 SLOW COOKER HONEY SESAME CHICKEN WITH QUINOA

SLOW COOKER HONEY SESAME CHICKEN WITH QUINOA

SLOW COOKER HONEY SESAME CHICKEN WITH QUINOA

Quinoa is a great substitute for rice. It comes in many varieties and is packed with protein to keep you fuller longer on less. 

 SLOW COOKER CHICKEN POSOLE

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN POSOLE

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN POSOLE

Full of great anti-oxidant rich vegetables and chicken, Chicken Posole is a tasty and warming winter dish. Serve with some sliced radishes on top for added color and flavor.

 SLOW COOKER CHICKEN CARNITAS

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN CARNITAS

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN CARNITAS

I love pork carnitas, but have decided to cut out pork and beef from my diet, so this is a welcome recipe! Serve in corn or whole wheat soft tacos (to reduce bleached flour intake) and top with cilantro, red onion, limes, and thinly sliced radishes for an authentic flavor.

 

Enjoy your free time and smaller waistline with these tasty slow cooker meals!


Christina's Christmas Cookies

Who doesn't love making cookies during the holidays?  It is the perfect time of year to get creative with your baking and try some new, beautiful recipes.  Our german, baking queen Christina not only whipped up these delicious cookies, but shot and styled them as well!

 Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint

Bake Time: 15 min

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup of your favorite jelly.  

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  

Pulse the peanuts in a food processor until they are a fine meal. Add the oats, flour and salt and process until blended. Transfer to a bowl.

In the food processor, combine the butter and sugar and process until light and fluffy. With the motor running, add the egg and vanilla. Process until smooth.

Add half of the dry ingredients back into the processor and pulse to combine. Add the remaining half and pulse again until combined.  

Drop the cookie dough by the tablespoonful (I use an ice cream scoop) onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cookies. Use your thumb to make a thumb print in each cookie.  

Bake until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Stir the jelly in a small bowl to loosen it up and fill each thumbprint with about 1 teaspoon.

(recipe via Food Network with Katie Lee)


  Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Coconut Maccaroons

Bake Time: 25-30 min

Ingredients: 

- 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

-14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

-1 Tbsp vanilla extract

-2 large egg whites

-1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F.  Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl.

Whip the egg whites with electric mixer until firm. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.  

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper, using either an ice cream scoop or teaspoon.  Bake for 25-30 min, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

(Recipe Via Food Network, Barefoot Contessa)

  Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Winter Wonderland Sugar Cookies

Bake 10 min

Ingredients: 

-2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

-2 teaspoons baking powder

-1/2 teaspoon fine salt

-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

-1 cup granulated sugar

-1 large egg

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Green Food color

Directions:

For the cookies: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and flufy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix until combined.

Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, one spoonful at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla and (green food color optional).

Chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out half of the dough at a time, keeping the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter (for medium cookies, use a 3-inch cookie cutter).  Place the cutout cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for a few minutes before baking. This will help the cookies to retain their shape (you can roll out the scraps to make a few more cookies)  Bake until just before the edges of the cookies start to brown, 8 to 10 minutes (if baking two sheets at a time, rotate halfway through baking).  Cool the cookies for 1 to 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

(Recipe Via Food Network with Trisha Yearwood)

 

  Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Photo and Styling by Christina Wedge

Swirl Cookie

Bake: 16 min

Ingredients: 

White chocolate dough:

-1/2 cup granulated sugar

-2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

-1/4 teaspoon fine salt

-1 large egg

-1/3 cup fine chopped white chocolate

-1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), room temperature

-2 cups all-purpose flour

Red Marzipan dough:

-1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

-1/4 teaspoon fine salt

-1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks) room temperature

-1 large egg

-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

-1 cup Marzipan

-Red food Color

Directions:

White Chocolate Dough:

Mix the 2 sugars and the salt together in a medium bowl. In another small bowl, whisk the egg and set aside.  

With a hand held mixer beat the butter until smooth in a large bowl.  While mixing, gradually add the sugar mixture and white chocolate, and continue beating until lightly colored and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  

Add the egg mixture and beat until smooth.  

Gradually add the flour, mixing slowly until blended.  Turn the dough out of the bowl, divide in half.  

Place the halves between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment or waxed paper.  Roll into a 10 by 12 by 1/4 inch rectangle.  Slide the sheets of dough/parchment sheets onto a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.  

Red Marzipan dough:

With a hand held mixer beat the butter and Marzipan until smooth in a large bowl and add the sugar and the salt until lightly colored and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stop mixing and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  

Add the egg and beat until smooth.

Gradually add the flour, mixing slowly until blended and red food coloring.  Turn the dough out of the bowl, divide in half.

Place the halves between 2 pieces of lightly floured parchment or waxed paper. Roll into a 10 by 12 by 1/4 inch rectangle. Slide the sheets of dough/parchment sheets onto a baking sheet, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.  

For a Spiral Cookie:

Put 1 of the white chocolate doughs on the workspace and remove the top sheet of parchment. Brush dough lightly with cold water. Place a sheet of white chocolate dough on the workspace, and remove top sheet of paper. Using the bottom piece of the paper to lift the dough, place the white chocolate dough on top of the red marzipan dough.

Take care to line up the edges of the 2 doughs and trim as needed. Lightly press to smooth and seal the doughs together.  Remove the top piece of paper. Brush the surface of the dough lightly with cold water. Position the sandwiched doughs with the long edge facing you.  Using the edge of the paper as a guide, roll the doughs into a tight cylinder, 2 inches wide. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of dough.  Evenly position racks in the oven, and preheat to 325 degrees F.  Slice the dough crosswise into 1/4-inch thick cookies. Lay about 1/2- inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until just golden - not too dark you'll lose the definition of the spiral, about 14 to 16 minutes.

 

Good luck with all of your baking this Holiday season!

Winter Cocktails (+ West Elm Glassware)

What's the best part about the holidays? Family time? Presents? Reflecting on all we have to be thankful for and the cheer of the season? Or how about...PARTIES! I'd say that all of those things are the best thing about the winter months. From Thanksgiving through New Years, the festive spirit is all around and everyone is opening their hearts and doors to friends and family to celebrate. If you're planning to have a get-together with your loved ones this winter, we've got a collection of yummy winter cocktails and beautiful West Elm glassware to serve them in to inspire your next gathering. 

 West Elm Metallic-Print Glassware

West Elm Metallic-Print Glassware

The Gingerbread Man*:

Shake together with ice and pour into on of the beautiful West Elm Metallic-Print Glassware pieces )set of 4 for $34). Add a cinnamon stick for garnish if you're feeling fancy.

The recipe above makes one drink. You can print out several recipe cards on pretty paper and put them on a drink cart for guests to serve themselves and try making their own drinks. 

*Original DrinksMixer.com recipe

 West Elm Mid-Century Bar Cart, $350

West Elm Mid-Century Bar Cart, $350

I love this West Elm Mid-Century Bar Cart, $350 which has ample storage for a variety of glasses, bottles, and recipe cards. These are very useful items to add to your home. They are there when you need them and roll away when you need more space.

 West Elm Recycled Wine Punt Glassware

West Elm Recycled Wine Punt Glassware

Pomegranate Sangria*:

  • 1 (750-mL) bottle red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups Pomegranate juice
  • 2/3 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 pears, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

In a large pitcher, stir together the wine, Pomegranate juice, brandy, and orange juice.  Add the apples and pears, and refrigerate for several hours, but preferably overnight.  Sprinkle pomegranate seeds into each glass before serving. Serve in West Elm Recycled Wine Punt Glassware (set of 4 for $19.99)!

*Pink Parsley original recipe

 

 West Elm Quilted Acrylic Drinkware

West Elm Quilted Acrylic Drinkware

Old-Fashioned

  • 2 oz. Blended Whisky
  • 2 dashes Bitters
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • Splash of Soda
  • 1 strip Orange Peel
  • 1 strip Lemon Peel

Muddle the sugar and bitters together in a West Elm Quilted Acrylic Glass (set of 4 for $16-20). Add some ice, soda, and whisky. Stir and garnish with the orange and lemon peels. A manly drink sure to warm up the most icy-hearted Scrooge!

 West Elm Vintage Style Stemware

West Elm Vintage Style Stemware

Dominicana*

  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces añejo rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces coffee liqueur

In a cocktail shaker, combine the cream, Simple Syrup and 1 ice cube. Shake well to aerate the cream and melt the ice. Fill a pint glass with ice. Add the rum and liqueur; stir well. Strain into a chilled West Elm Vintage Style Stemware glass (set of 4 for $32). Spoon the whipped cream on top.

*Food and Wine original recipe

  

More Delicious Recipes for Thanksgiving

As you're preparing for time with loved ones this week, you're probably planning your grocery list. Thanksgiving is not complete with merely a turkey, cornbread dressing, and cranberry sauce. The list of tasty side dishes goes on and on! Let's take a look at a few more side dishes from trusted food blogs we love that you should try this holiday season. For full posts from each food blog, follow the link by either clicking the photo or the name of the blog. All credit goes to each blog for recipe and photography.

1. Squash Casserole from Add A Pinch

 Image via Add A Pinch

Image via Add A Pinch

I love squash casserole! It's one of my favorites for an additional vegetable in the Thanksgiving spread. But I wont let myself get too carried away...squash casserole may technically be a vegetable, but it's covered in cheese and butter and crunchy topping, so I don't think I can really pat myself on the back when I pile it high on my plate. Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups sliced yellow squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet or saute pan over medium-low heat. Add squash and onions and cook until tender.
  3. To a large bowl, add eggs and lightly whisk. Add cheese and milk and whisk into egg until well-combined. Add cooked squash and onions to egg mixture and stir well to combined. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet used to cook squash and onions. Add to squash casserole mixture. Add cayenne pepper, if using, along with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray and pour squash casserole mixture into the baking dish. Top evenly with crushed Ritz crackers. Place in preheated oven and bake 45 minutes, or until top has lightly browned and casserole does not "jiggle" when the dish is moved.
  5. Allow to sit for about 3 minutes before serving.

2. Green Beans with Almonds by DoItDelicious with Jessica Seinfeld

 Image via DoItDelicious

Image via DoItDelicious

Green beans are a must on your plate for Thanksgiving. They're green, healthy, and an actual vegetable that is not coated in cheese (not that I would mind that too much!). The almonds add a nice crunch, and this is a vegan recipe if you are hosting anyone with a restricted diet! Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds 
  • 1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

INSTRUCTIONS

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden brown 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add 1 tablespoon of the salt to the boiling water then add the beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes; drain.

Add the beans, pepper (12 turns on pepper mill) and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt to the skillet and return to medium heat to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Use tongs to combine.

3. Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese by Divas Can Cook

 Image via Divas Can Cook

Image via Divas Can Cook

This dish needs no introduction. Holy yum! Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups milk
  • salt & pepper
  • paprika (optional)
  • 1 cup smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (a must)
  • 6-8 oz. velvetta, shredded (feel free to cut back on the velvetta if you don't want it to be super creamy)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar (can use less if you don't like a sharp taste in your mac n cheese)
  • 1 cup colby & monteray jack, shredded (cheese blend)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cook macaroni until just al dente or a little under al dente. (Look on the back of the box to see how long you need to cook your pasta for it to reach al dente.) Be careful no to overcook.
  3. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add milk, heavy cream & cheeses (except for the smoked cheddar).
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Taste the milk mixture and add salt & pepper until it has a good taste. You can also add in other seasonings like onion, paprika, etc. Tasting will help avoid having a plain, bland bake macaroni & cheese. Yuck!
  7. When you are content with the taste, add in the eggs.
  8. Stir well until combined.
  9. Butter a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
  10. Add macaroni to the baking dish.
  11. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni.
  12. Make sure the cheese distributed well.
  13. Top with smoked cheddar cheese. (I add a little more Colby jack as well.) Sprinkle with paprika and/or black pepper, if desired.
  14. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Do not overbake. It may be a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven. It will firm up as it cool.
  15. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes or until fully set.

4. Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Nut Crumble by Oh She Glows

 Photo via Oh She Glows

Photo via Oh She Glows

Thanksgiving doesn't have to mean packing on the feed bag and feeling miserable the next day; there are many recipes to make your favorite dishes in healthier ways. I am not gluten free or vegan, but I've made a few recipes from Oh She Glows in the past and have never been disappointed with the results. Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato mash:

  • 4.5-5 pounds sweet potatoes (approx. 4-5 large)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt, or to taste

For the crunchy nut crumble:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 1/3 cups pecan halves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel and roughly chop sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place into a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to med-high, and gently boil for 10-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 2.5 quart (10 cup) casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Prepare the crumble topping: Pulse the oats in a food processor until coarsely chopped. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped pecans, oats, almond meal/flour, cinnamon, and salt. Pour on melted coconut oil, melted butter, and maple syrup. Stir until combined.
  4. Once cooked and drained, place sweet potatoes into a large bowl.
  5. Mash potatoes with the butter and coconut oil until smooth. Now, stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Adjust to taste if desired. Spoon into casserole dish and smooth out.
  6. Sprinkle the crumble topping all over the sweet potato mixture, evenly.
  7. Bake, uncovered, at 375F for 16 to 23 minutes, until the dish is hot throughout. Plate and serve immediately with a pat of vegan butter or coconut oil.

Note: Instead of boiling the potatoes you can roast them whole in the oven and then scoop out the flesh. The choice is yours! 2) For a creamy twist, try subbing some of the butter/oil in the sweet potato mash for full-fat canned coconut cream.

5. Honey Balsamic Pan Seared Brussels Sprout by Eazy Peazy Mealz

 image via Eazy Peazy Mealz

image via Eazy Peazy Mealz

Some people seem to have a negative memory of Brussels sprouts as a dish they were made to clean off their plate as a child. If you're someone who thinks you don't like Brussels sprouts, I recommend you give them another shot. They're so delicious and tender when cooked correctly and will really add a nice element of leafy green that your holiday table needs. Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups quartered Brussel sprouts
  • ½ Tbs minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1½ Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs pine nuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Over medium-high heat, heat oil in a sauté pan until oil is hot, but not smoking
  2. Add garlic and quartered Brussel Sprouts, and leave alone (don't stir) for 1-2 minutes until a golden crust starts to form at the bottom of the pan
  3. Add in honey and balsamic vinegar, and give Brussel sproouts a toss, stirring them around the pan so they are evenly coated
  4. Add in pine nuts, let cook 2-3 more minute

We hope you will try some of these recipes and have a beautiful spread of dishes on your table this Thanksgiving to enjoy with your loved ones.