Carrot Bloody Mary's

I’ve never been much of a Bloody Mary fan in the past and I don’t know why! I love all of the ingredients separately - tomatoes, vodka, tobasco, bacon - what’s not to love?! But together I always felt like I was drinking my meal at breakfast when I would rather be sipping on a mimosa!

However my mind is officially changed since I’ve discovered carrot mary’s!! The carrot juice adds a touch of sweetness and isn’t as heavy as tomato juice in my opinion. What better time to be sipping on one of these than Easter brunch tomorrow! A DIY Bloody Mary bar maybe? How fun would that be!

My recipe below is fairly basic since that’s how I prefer it, but these are so customizable and you can add whatever you like in your typical bloody Mary’s - you can add horseradish, make it spicier, add more pickle or caper juice, Worcestershire, the options are endless!. I discovered Trader Joe’s Tumeric Carrot Juice which already has spices and lemon juice added to it, but you can always use plain carrot juice and add as much flare as you would like.

Cheers you little bunnies.

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Carrot Bloody Mary’s

Recipe for two cocktails - double/triple as you would like!

Ingredients
- 2 cups of carrot juice (I use trader joe’s, but you can use plain carrot juice and just add a little lemon juice and spices to it)
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1/4 cup of pickle juice
- a couple grinds of black pepper
- 4 oz vodka

Spice rim - blend seasoning salt, paprika, and a little cayenne pepper if you want a kick.

Garnishes - baby carrots, celery stalk, olives, lime wedge. (you can also add bacon or whatever your heart fancies!)

What to do

  1. Stir carrot juice, hot sauce, pickle juice, black pepper, and vodka in a pitcher.

  2. Rub rim of mason jar or glass with lime juice and dip into spice mixture.

  3. Fill glass with ice and top with carrot mary mix and add garnishes.

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Strawberries & Cream Layer Cake

The first summer I went to Norway, we walked around the property near Thomas’ family cabin and picked the cutest wild strawberries. These little strawberries are the sweetest ones i’ve ever tasted! Better than anything i’ve ever had store-bought that’s for sure. Back at the cabin we sprinkled them with sugar and then poured heavy cream on top - so simple, but the best combination ever! I will always associate strawberries and cream with my first summer in Norway.

Just like Christina Tosi’s genius cereal milk idea, I thought why not infuse a layer cake with that amazing cream that that the strawberries had been soaking in?! This layer cake is my kind-of spring or summer dessert - Perfectly light but still decadent with the rich layers being coated in strawberry cream.

With Easter and other spring festivities coming up, I always want a simple dessert up my sleeve!

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Strawberries & Cream Layer Cake

Ingredients:
- 3 cups cake flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 1/3 cups sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries (1 cup of strawberries reserved for infusing the cream)
- 3 cups of heavy cream, well chilled
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the whipped cream

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment on the bottom and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

  3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat on medium for about a minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

  4. Keep the mixer running on medium speed and add about a third of the flour mixture, beating until incorporated. Do the same with half of the buttermilk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and repeat, ending with with the flour mixture.

  5. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  6. Cool in the pans on racks for about 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to cool completely on the racks.

  7. Combine the strawberries, sugar and a 1 cup of heavy cream in a small bowl, and set aside to allow the strawberries and cream to infuse.

  8. For the whipped cream, place the bowl and whisk attachment for your stand mixer or a metal or glass bowl and beaters for your hand mixer in the fridge or freezer until they are cold. Add the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to the chilled bowl, and beat on medium-high to high speed until soft peaks form.

  9. Place 1 layer of the cake on a plate, and drizzle layer with the strawberry milk. Then spread with about a half cup of the whipped cream. Layer on the sliced strawberries (about half, if you are doing a 3 layer cake, all if you are doing 2 layers.

  10. Top with the second cake layer, and, if you are doing 3 layers, repeat with drizzling the strawberry milk into the layers and adding whipped cream and strawberries.

  11. Top with the final cake layer, and spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and leave the sides naked or you can spread the cream along the sides.

  12. Garnish with the whole and/or sliced strawberries!

Enjoy!

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Poke bowl shops are popping up all over the country, but how nice would it be if you could make them even better at home?! These easy salmon poke bowls are packed with flavor and tons of fun toppings! This is a meal I crave so much whenever the temps start rising and i’m wanting something fun and fresh!

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

We got back from our anniversary trip from Palm Springs on Monday after spending four days in beautiful sunny California weather! Our days were filled with lounging by the pool, lathering a lot of sunscreen on this Oregon skin, and exploring and eating our way through the city together. Since it was our first wedding anniversary, we exchanged “paper” gifts on the last night - I made a scrapbook for him of all of our wedding and honeymoon photos, our vows, love notes, and little tidbits over the last year together, and he gave me a framed picture of our first dance song printed on a canvas. Sweetest gift ever. I of course boo-hooed like a baby, especially reading our vows back to each other. I’ll try and not get any more mushy gushy with you - but I highly recommend doing something in whatever way that fits your style to celebrate milestones! It creates such a great tradition and I’m looking so forward to all the anniversaries to come!

I absolutely loved Palm Springs. The people, the food, the weather, everything! I am making a full guide on how to spend a couples weekend in Palm Springs to share with you guys.

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

So now lets get down to business! These salmon poke bowls are somethin’ else and I can’t gettem off ma mind! Sorry, I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing in Palm Springs and I can’t stop talkin’ like a backwoods marsh gal! Ok i’ll stop.

But really, these are SO GOOD and super easy to make. Buying good fish can be expensive, however I have found that I can make a much bigger bowl and the exact way that I want it (topping overload) compared to the fancy poke places down the street. You can Google your local Japanese market or New Seasons/Whole Foods has great options as well!

These bowls are so customizable - if you prefer tuna over salmon, sushi rice vs. brown rice, ponzu or spicy mayo - the options are endless!

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Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Ingredients

Rice (brown rice or sushi rice)

Salmon
- 1 pound of sushi-grade salmon (cubed or thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sriracha

Cucumbers
I typically make a jar of picked cucumbers, so this recipe will give you extra after the recipe.
- 1 large English or hothouse cucumber thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar,
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

Spicy Mayo
- equal parts sriracha and mayo/greek yogurt. You can make this as spicy as you want. I usually just do a big spoonful of both mayo and greek yogurt and then just stir in sriracha until it reaches the spiciness level I’m looking for!

Toppings
These are some of the toppings I love!
- Edamame, sliced radishes, avocado, fried garlic or shallots, everything bagel seasoning, sliced jalapeño, scallions, seaweed salad and pickled ginger. Use a combo of any of these!

What to do

  1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha. Add in thinly sliced or cubed salmon, toss to coat, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use! I use the leftover marinade from the fish and drizzle a little over the rice in my bowl for extra flavor!

  2. Get your rice boiling and start on the cucumbers. Combine vinegar, water, honey, salt and chili flakes in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling turn off heat, add cucumber slices and stir. Let them rest for 10 minutes, then transfer cucumber to a container.

  3. Make spicy mayo and prep other toppings.

  4. To build your bowl, use rice as your base and then add in the salmon and any toppings your heart desires!

Enjoy!

Raspberry Cocoa Energy Bites

When 2 or 3pm strikes everyday I always get the midday munchies. Since I wake up around 6 everyday and then eat lunch usually around 11:30, I am ravenous in the afternoon! In my office, the only thing that is lying around most of the time is peanut butter pretzels and Jolly Ranchers, so my lack of will power is nonexistent when hunger strikes. I generally have a fairly healthy diet through out the week, besides the occasional work happy hour where that plate of chili cheese nachos calls my name? Typically my weekday meal plan consists of toast with almond butter and banana for breakfast, our leftovers from the night before for lunch, and usually a healthy veggie filled dinner. But it’s always that pesky afternoon craving that has me wanting to reach for something sweet and snacky.

Enter Raspberry Cocoa Energy Bites!! These little bites satisfy all my cravings and are the perfect bite-size amount. Ever since reading a Cozy Kitchen’s recipe for Berry Crinkle Cookies, i’ve been dying to make a recipe with freeze dried raspberries! They have the coolest texture ever and since chocolate and raspberries go so well together I figured these bites would make the perfect vehicle! These guys are packed with energy boosting ingredients like cocoa powder, chia seeds, nut butter, and raw almonds - Plus they get all of their sweetness from dates which are packed with antioxidants and fiber. I love unsweetened coconut flakes to add a little texture on the outside as well!

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Not only am I reaching for these energy bites as an afternoon snack, but also before our morning workouts! We’ve started going to a 9:30am Orange Theory class on Saturdays and Sundays, and that time is just late enough that I’m starving before we leave. I love eating one or two of these now before working out and gives me enough energy until we get home! After which I will happily devour that stack of pancakes and bacon! Isn’t that the whole reason to workout after all? 😉

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Raspberry Cocoa Energy Bites

Ingredients

- 2 cups pitted medjool dates (16-17dates)
-1/2 cup raw almonds
- ½ cup freeze dried raspberries
-1/4 cup cocoa powder
-1 tablespoon chia seeds
-3 tablespoons unsalted nut butter (I used the mixed nut butter from TJ’s, but plain almond butter works well too)
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for rolling
- 2-3 tablespoons of warm water, if mixture is too dry.

What to do

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until mixture is thick and incorporated.

  2. Take a small amount of mixture and pinch it between your fingers. If it sticks together easily and can roll into a ball, it's ready. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add 1 tablespoon of warm water at a time, pulsing in between, until mixture is sticky enough to hold its shape.

  3. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, then roll in shredded coconut if you’d like or you can leave them as is.  

  4. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. I prefer to keep them in the fridge so they are colder and more firm, but they can sit on your counter in an airtight container as well if you like them room temperature!

Happy snacking!

Sparkling Strawberry Sangria

Alright alright, I have to admit…I made this recipe for Valentine’s Day and then never got around to posting it 🤷🏼‍♀️ Someone help me! I wonder if one day i’ll wake up and all of a sudden I will be an organized time management Queen. A girl can dream! But really, I have got to have a better approach to juggling work, blogging, and our personal life. Do you other fellow bloggers have any editorial calendar tactics you use or organization tips to share? My problem is that I get so excited planning content that I will write down 20 recipes I want to shoot, completely oblivious that not even half of those will be accomplished, and pencil them all into my calendar only to be disappointed when I can’t get to them all!

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BUT WHEN IT’S FRIDAY AND THE HAPPIEST OF HOURS, WHO CARES ABOUT ORGANIZATION!! 😉 Just kidding - but after a long (perhaps disorganized week in some of our cases), I am here to make your boozy dreams come true my friend. And let’s be honest here - this is about as boozy as they come. Brandy, Rosé, prosecco or any bubbles makes for a deliciously potent concoction!

This is the perfect drink to make if you’re having a girls day or a big cookout with friends. With traditional sangrias there’s usually a little wait time, but I love that you can make this on the fly to get the night started!

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Strawberry Champagne Sangria

Ingredients

- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 2 oranges - 1 squeezed and the other sliced into thin rounds
- 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 bottle of rosé wine
- 3 tablespoons of simple syrup (more if you like it sweeter)
- 1/2 cup of brandy
- 1 bottle of prosecco or other bubbles

what to do

  1. In a large pitcher, combine the strawberries, orange, and lemon slices. Use the end of a wooden spoon to muddle the fruit a little.

  2. Pour in the bottle of rosé, simple syrup, and brandy over the fruit and give it a little stir. If you have the time, chill the pitcher for an hour or so, but if not you can serve it as is! Just before serving, stir in the prosecco!

  3. Spoon some of the fruit into glasses, pour in the sangria, garnish with strawberry slices, and serve.

Note: to make simple syrup: Pour equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. I usually do 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Boil until sugar has dissolved. Let the syrup cool a bit and then pour into a jar for storage - You can keep this in the fridge for 3-4 weeks!

Enjoy!

Mango Cilantro Margarita

Happy National Margarita Day my Friends! Every Friday I want to sharing a fun cocktail, so what better way to start than the day dedicated to the marg!! Normally I am a classic margarita gal, but sometimes you just need something a little extra fun and fruity on a day like today!

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I associate margaritas so much with sun and summertime, so I wish I wasn't bundled up as i’m typing this, but no matter how chilly it is outside a marg is delicious nonetheless! The food I crave most is Mexican food - spicy, saucy, tons of flavor, and loaded with CILANTRO! It’s obscene how much cilantro we use in a week in our kitchen. Does it grow well in a garden? I sure hope so seeing how much we buy it every week!

I love the combination of a fruity/herby cocktail so combining mango one of my favorite fruits with cilantro was a no brainer!

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Mango Cilantro Margarita

Ingredients

- 2 ounces tequila
- 2 ounces lime juice
- 2 ounces mango juice, nectar, or puree
- 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Gran Marnier, Triple Sec)
- 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro leaves
- mango slices and cilantro sprigs for garnish
- Simple syrup (optional depending on how sweet your mango juice is)

what to do

  1. Add the tequila, lime juice, mango juice, chopped cilantro and orange liqueur to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. if you feel like it’s not sweet enough for you liking, add in 1 ounce of simple syrup.

  2. Shake for about 10 seconds until mixture is chilled.

  3. Fill you margarita glass with ice then pour the margarita mixture carefully over ice.

Our New Favorite Way to Make Dungeness Crab

Before I could even read a menu I would choose crab legs over chicken tenders on the kids menu. My poor parents would shell crab legs for me before they even ate themselves lol. I think they were happy that I was an adventurous eater but i’m sure a little annoyed as well.

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I grew up eating Florida Blue Crabs which have the sweetest most delicate meat. Even though they take up residence from Novia Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, I always think of blue crabs as such a Floridian way of life! I have such fond memories of spreading newspaper all of the kitchen table and going to town- dunking the claw meat in melted butter was always my favorite! In Norway, Thomas’s family eats crab completely different which I love! They eat the whole body of the crab, spread the meat on a piece of white bread and squeeze a little mayo and lemon juice on top.

Now that we live in Oregon, Dungeness crab is king! While blue crabs are better in warmer months, Dungeness crab are best in the winter so we have really been enjoying them this season. I have fallen in love with a new way to eat crab with this recipe! A sweet asian peppercorn sauce blended with a ton of fresh coriander. We crack the shells just enough to easily take out the meat, and then toss them harmoniously with the peppercorn sauce. And there she is. The most glorious crab recipe I've tried to date. Pour yourself a hefty glass of white wine, spread out the newspaper, and get your hands messy ya’ll!

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Asian Peppercorn Dungeness crab

Ingredients

- 3 pounds of crab (do 1 1/2 pounds per person)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 bunch of coriander (cilantro)
- 2 tablespoon of toasted black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 lemon
- sliced scallions and additional coriander for garnishing

What to do

  1. Boil sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and jalapeño until it comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

  2. In your blender, mix the vinegar mixture, hoisin, and cilantro until it’s completely blended.

  3. Remove the claws from the body of the crab and crack them either using crab crackers or with the back edge of a knife, removing some of the shell so the sauce can absorb into the crab claw meat. Remember, this is meant to be messy, so you’ll remove the rest of the shells and pick the meat out when you’re eating!

  4. You can pick the meat out of the body of the crab as well and keep that in a separate bowl.

  5. Once you have all of the crab claws cracked, heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Toss the crab in and heat them up for 2 minutes or so tossing occasionally. Add in the sauce, tossing the crab, and reducing the sauce down - about 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon Bagels

Can you believe Christmas is in 8 days?! The last couple of weeks have flown by, and now we are packing up and getting ready to head to Florida in a couple days to be with my family for Christmas. We just have today and tomorrow of work before our holiday break officially kicks off - plus tomorrow is my birthday! To celebrate and kick off our two week much needed vacay, Thomas and I have a room booked at McMenamin’s Edgefield tomorrow night. It’s like it’s own little town! Cozy quaint rooms at the hotel, a spa with outdoor soaking pools, a wine room and brewery on-site, and a delicious restaurant! I’m beyond excited for a little r&r and a night away before we fly home!

I’m sure most of you will be having guests in your home and hosting family and friends in the coming weeks. It’s the best time of year getting to spend time with everyone you love the most, but sometimes entertaining can be tiring! Instead of stressing over an elaborate breakfast in the mornings, something that is so easy (and fun to eat) is smoked salmon bagels! So simple and who doesn’t love a good toasty bagel?! Make it a DIY situation but laying out the salmon, bagels, cream cheese, and all the toppings out on a serving tray so everyone can build their own the way they like! I love the Hot Smoked Scottish Salmon from Trader Joe’s, but any lox or smoked salmon will do.

This is a breakfast everyone loves, looks pretty, and is easy on you for hosting. Win win for everyone! A strong latte, an epic salmon bagel, and good company sounds like a perfect holiday morning to me :)

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Smoked Salmon Bagels

Ingredients

- Everything bagels, or whatever your bagel preference is
- cream cheese
- smoked salmon
- All the toppings: capers, thinly sliced red onion, capers, micro greens, cucumbers, and sliced tomatoes.

what to do

toast the bagels right before serving - place cream cheese in a dish with a spreader, place toppings around the tray and let everyone build their own bagel. Easy peasy!

Double Chocolate Cake

Who else has been watching Christmas movies every night since December kicked off? Guilty. I have so many favorites that it’s hard to fit them all in!

Here is my faves (in somewhat of an order of best, but IT’S SO HARD TO CHOOSE!)
- Christmas Vacation (I mean, duh. I hope i’m as funny as Aunt Bethany when i’m 90)
- Home Alone - Hysterical laughter every time Marv gets hurt in the movie
- Love Actually - I literally cry happy tears every-time
- Scrooged - Bill Murray is my hero
- A Christmas Story - Plays on repeat on our tv Christmas Day

Other faves are The Holiday, Elf, The Santa Clause, The Grinch, The Family Stone, It’s a Wonderful Life, and i’m sure many more i’m forgetting. What’s your favorite Christmas movies?! I need more to add to my list…obviously :)

The countdown is on for a much needed break and I couldn’t be more excited to head home for Christmas! We are leaving next week for Florida, but first we are going to be staying at Edgefield next Tuesday for my birthday! It’s an amazing property right outside of Portland with a quaint hotel, thermal soaking pools, and lots of cozy restaurants and bars on-site! I’ll definitely do a post on our stay!

I am all for Christmas cookies, but sometimes you just need a good slice of chocolate cake. You can’t go wrong serving up rich and decadent chocolate cake, and it’s easy to make festive with greenery and sugared cranberries! I adapted this recipe from Broma Bakery - she’s seriously a cake wizard. I used cocoa I had on-hand, but if you want to make it a “black-out” chocolate cake, you’ll need to use dark cocoa.

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Double Chocolate Cake

for the cake

- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee

for the frosting

- 1 3/4 cups salted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. 

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk oil, eggs, and buttermilk.

  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisking until no lumps remain. Pour in brewed coffee, mixing until just combined.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

  5. To make the frosting, place butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (an electric hand mixer also works). Cream on high speed for 1 minute, then turn speed to low and add in cocoa powder. Mix until combined, then add in powdered sugar, brewed coffee, vanilla extract, and salt. Cream on high speed for 1 minute, until mixture has lightened slightly and is fluffy.

  6. Frost cake by placing first cake layer onto a cake stand. Top with a healthy dose of frosting. Spread evenly, then repeat with second layer. Use remaining frosting to frost sides of the cake. Last, use the back of a spoon to create a large swirling pattern all around the cake! 

Deconstructed Beef Wellington

We went and picked up our tree last night and it is definitely a big papa! It’s not so much tall as it is wide lol. You know that scene in Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase cuts the string on the Christmas tree and it goes bursting through the window?! And he says “little full, lot of sap”… that’s how I feel every year! I’ve got sticky sap all over my fingers but it smells so freaking amazing that I think I’ll just leave it :)

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I think I said that about Fall as well? No but Christmas is REALLY my favorite time of year. There’s something so cozy about turning on a classic Christmas movie, with only the lights from the Christmas tree streaming through, cozied up on the couch drinking something warm. I’m hoping we get a little snow in Portland to kick off the holiday season! As with all seasons, what I look forward to most is family and food! Heading home for the holidays, baking cookies, making peppermint hot chocolate (and boozy eggnog) and sharing beautiful festive meals are what it’s all about.

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I’ve been thinking of different dishes I want to make my family and friends over the next few weeks, and Beef Wellington always comes to mind because it’s fun & festive and such a great main dish for holiday parties. There’s nothing better than a melt in your mouth beef tenderloin smothered in a mushroom duxelle and wrapped in flaky puff pastry. Check out Gordon Ramsey’s - he’s the master of beef wellies. But I thought why not deconstruct it?! All the same great flavors with less fuss. And plus, more room for error when you’ve had one to many glasses of rosé in the kitchen and wrapping that puff pastry is looking prettyyy challenging :)

Thomas loves ribeyes so that’s what we tried for this recipe and It had such great flavor! I love beef tenderloin, but you can choose whatever cut of meat you fancy! Dig in, pour yourself a glass, and cheers to kicking off Christmas!

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Deconstructed Beef Wellington

Ingredients


- 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms, chopped as small as you can
- 2 shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
-Puff pastry sheets (found in the frozen aisle at the grocery store)
- 1 egg (for egg wash)
- 2 pounds of your preferred cut of beef (filet is the most tender, ribeye has more flavor)

red wine sauce
- brown sugar (enough to cover a very thin at the bottom of the pot)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 shallot quartered
- 2 cups of red wine
- 2 cups of beef stock

what to do

  1. Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut each of your puff pastry sheets in half making 4 squares. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Space your puff pastry squares evenly, whisk you 1 egg in a small dish, and brush the puff pastry with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes or until the squares are golden brown. Turn off the oven when done, but keep pastries in the oven to stay warm while everything finishes cooking.

  2. while your puff pastry is baking, start the red wine sauce. To make the sauce, put a sauce pan over medium heat and cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of brown sugar. Let the sugar melt until it start to look caramelized, careful not to let it burn. You can remove it on and off the heat to monitor it. Toss in your crushed garlic and quartered shallot and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then pour in your red wine. Let the wine reduce by half and then add in beef stock. Continue boiling until it’s reduced by half again. Taste to see if it needs any adjustments. You can always thicken the sauce with a tablespoon of cornstarch blended in a 2 tablespoons of water before whisking it in the sauce and letting it boil out for another minute.

  3. While the sauce is reducing, make your mushroom duxelle. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, thyme leaves, and mushrooms and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm while you sear your beef.

  4. For the beef, heat a skillet over medium-high. Add a little olive oil and sear steak on the first side. Flip over, add butter, crushed garlic and herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Let steak continue searing while you spoon over garlic butter until it’s golden brown and the steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 145. Move to a cutting board once it’s rested for a few minutes and slice.

  5. To serve, place a square of puff pastry and top with the mushroom duxelle, then place a few slices of beef and drizzle with red wine sauce. Garnish with fresh herbs and pomegranate seeds.

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Dirty Chai Cashew Hemp Latte

Are you guys prepping your kitchen and waistbands for Thursday?! In spite of that fact that i’ve already eaten turkey and a full Thanksgiving meal three times in the last week, I am still pretty darn excited! Between hosting a Friendsgiving and attending a Friendsgiving you would think that I would be all turkey’d out, but no way José! We are heading to Seattle Wednesday and will be spending the holiday with a friend and her family. This will be the first time I have ever not gone home for Thanksgiving which is a little sad, but I am happy Christmas is a short month away and we will be going back to Florida then to see the fam!

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I am in full cozy-up mode this time of year and love to have something warm in my hands pretty much at all times. Usually I am a standard cup of coffee in the morning kind of gal and I’m completely content with a plain jane cup o’ joe. When I am feeling fancy and order something for a coffee shop, I usually go for a dirty chai latte. It’s a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso in it. I love the extra zing that the espresso gives the drink!

Since I got my new Vitamix I have loved making fun drinks at home - like a dirty chai latte! This recipe is one of my new favorites and I love how the cashews and hemp seeds give the latte a creamy nuttiness. And with the power of the Vitamix, the latte is silky smooth and you would never know that you had put nuts in there!

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Dirty Chai Cashew Hemp Latte

Ingredients

- 1 cup water
- 1-2 chai tea bags
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons raw hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons roasted cashews
- 1 -2 shots of espresso

what to do

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chai tea bags, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.

  2. In a high powder blender, combine the cinnamon, vanilla, honey, hemp seeds, cashews, and steeped tea. Blend on medium for 2 minutes, then blend on high for about 1 minute or until the drink is smooth and frothy. Pour your espresso in your mug, and then pour chai latte mixture in the mug. To garnish sprinkle with additional hemp seeds and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Coq Au Vin & Red Mashed Potatoes

I’d like to tell you that this coq au vin, in all of it’s buttery-red-wine-buttery-braised glory, would be the star of this post. While my adult self is shouting at me, I have to tell you that all my inner child wants to do is eat a giant bowl of these red mashed potatoes and call it a night. Red mashed potatoes have been on my family’s thanksgiving table every year that I can remember, and it’s all I can do to resist sneaking spoonfuls while the bird is roasting away. I couldn’t bare only having these for Thanksgiving though, so when the temps start dropping I can’t think of anything that I would rather have more than these creamy dreamy mashed pots covered in slow-braised gravy of some sort.

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While these mashies hold a special place in my heart, i’ve managed to maneuver a little space for this coq au vin. Tender chicken is nestled in a sauce made with butter, shallot, red wine, garlic, bacon and a splash of cognac in perfect bliss. And when it’s combined with these creamy red mashed potatoes? Say hello to your new favorite comfort food! Eff it, we can always work out in January…

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Coq Au Vin & Creamy Red Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

coq au vin
-
4 slices thick cut bacon chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced or grated
- 2 medium size carrots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
- 1/2 a bottle of red wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped

Red Mashed Potatoes
-
2 pounds small to medium red potatoes
- 1 tablespoon of salt (this varies every time for me honestly. Be the judge and add as much salt as you like!)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half

What to do

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy duty pot. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

  2. Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

  3. Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add in the tomato paste and stir into the mixture and cook for another minute.

  4. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and simmer on the stove until the liquid is reduced by about 1/3 and the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

  5. While the stew is cooking, make your potatoes. Scrub potatoes and cut into chunks. Put potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water and add salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain well. Place them into the bowl of your stand mixer or just a big bowl and mix using the paddle attachment, add in butter and pour in half and half while it’s mixing. Use your judgement and add in more salt, butter, or half-and-half to your liking.

  6. Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Enjoy!

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

How’s that extra hour treatin’ ya?! Flying back to the east coast as often as I do I normally am not that effected by a time change, but for some reason when the time switched on Sunday morning I woke up at 4:30 am! It might have something to do with the fact that I took a 3 hour nap the day before (don’t judge), but regardless it was crazy that I felt so awake that early in the morning! I had the most productive day ever, obviously since I started 5 hours earlier than a usual Sunday. I got up and got all my coffee drinking/Netflix binging/laziness out of the way, then I went for a run, and grocery shopped at two stores all before 11 AM! I also wanted a bottle of Cognac for cooking (er, sipping), so I showed up to the liquor store at 10:30 not thinking and had to wait outside for 30 minutes…awkwaaard. No biggie, just hanging out at the corner liquor store first thing on a Sunday morning 🙋🏼‍♀️

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I made two recipes over the weekend that i’m excited about!! I watched Julie & Julia Sunday morning (since I was up at the butt-crack of dawn) so felt compelled to cook something with a lot of butter & garlic, so I made coq au vin with creamy red mashed potatoes. You’re literally going to want to bathe yourself in the coq au vin sauce - not joking. The 2nd recipe I cooked up was broccoli cheddar soup - a fan favorite, everyone’s Panera go-to, and your best friend in the wintertime. I LOVE a good broccoli ched soup, and don’t get me wrong, heavy cream and cheese is my lovvaa, but a lot of times it doesn’t leaving me feeling the greatest. So I wanted to make something that was way healthier but felt just as indulgent. Best of both worlds! I adapted this recipe from Elizabeth but just tweaked it to make it slightlyyy more unhealthy by adding dairy 😄

And guys….this carrot potato cheese sauce will blow your mind. Thank god I was just feeding this soup to Thomas because I literally licked the spatula at least 10 times before dunking it back into the sauce…whoops.

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Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients


Cheese Sauce
1 ½ tups of diced golden Yukon potatoes (about 3 medium potatoes)
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 tarlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ teaspoon of vinegar (white wine or red wine vinegar works)
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
¼ teaspoon of freshly black pepper
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese (omit if making vegan)

Broccoli mixture
1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme sprigs
5 cups of chopped broccoli heads, plus more for garnish
1-2 tablespoon of miso paste
pinch or two of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of almond milk
½ cup of chopped green onions

In a large saucepan add golden Yukon potatoes and carrots. Fill pot with water until vegetables are just covered. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain carrots and potatoes and add to a blender or Vitamix. Add in garlic cloves, olive oil, white wine vinegar, grated cheddar cheese, kosher salt, and black pepper. Blend cheese base mixture for 30-60 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Reserve ½-1/2 cup for soup garnish and set aside the rest.

In a large dutch oven heat olive oil one medium heat for 30 seconds. Add in diced onion, celery stalks, garlic and thyme leaves. Sauté mixture for a few minutes or until the onions are translucent. To the same pot add the chopped broccoli and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in miso paste, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt and stir together. Add vegetable broth and cover pot for 15 minutes. (For the garnish, I took a couple pieces of broccoli out of the pot after it had cooked for a couple minutes).

Transfer the entire mixture with a ladle into large blender or Vitamix and add in cheese sauce. You may need to do this in two batches. Blend soup for 30-60 seconds or until smoothness level is achieved (I like it a little chunky but mostly smooth). Transfer soup back to the pot and heat on low or serve right away. Top soup bowls with a few tablespoons of remaining cheese sauce, green onions and chopped broccoli. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Banana Bread

HAPPY HALLOWEEN WEEKEND!!

Do you have any fun Halloween plans? We have a work party tomorrow night in Seattle. Normally I go all out on a costume, but this year I’m throwing on a flannel and overalls, turning into a scarecrow and calling it a day! I want to be festive but there’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable costume. The rest of the weekend I plan on watching scary movies, breaking into the mini KitKats and pumpkin shaped Reeses and having a cozy weekend at home.

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Last weekend I baked this pumpkin banana bread and it is so perfect for Fall. Not too sweet for breakfast and is great with a cup of coffee in the afternoon. We always have bananas lying around, so this bread is even better when you have a couple of really ripe ones. I adapted this recipe from Cookie & Kate. I love her pumpkin bread, I just tweaked it by adding bananas and adjusted the measurements a little.

I hope you all have a great weekend, filled with all the pumpkin-y things, scary movies, haunted houses, costume parties, and copious amounts of candy!

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Pumpkin Banana Bread

Ingredients
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (or ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (NOT baking powder; they aren’t the same!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- optional: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit…
- Pinch of ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top

What to do

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together together with a whisk. Add the eggs and whisk until blended. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)

  3. Add the pumpkin purée, mashed bananas, milk, pumpkin spice, baking soda, vanilla and salt, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are ok! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in now.

  4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.

  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (typically, if I haven’t added any mix-ins, my bread is done at 55 minutes; if I have added mix-ins, it needs closer to 60 minutes). Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Savory Stuffed Pumpkins

I watched this episode of Parts Unknown when Anthony Bourdain goes to Daniel Boulud’s home in France where they bake this giant pumpkin in a brick oven. The pumpkin was stuffed with homemade bread, gruyere cheese, mushrooms, grated nutmeg and fresh cream from the cows on their farm. I have literally been dreaming about this pumpkin ever since and anxiously awaiting fall until I could make it!

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This is such a fun and easy recipe! (Besides carving the damn pumpkin)

I swear, I love Halloween and I am always so excited to carve a pumpkin, but when I went to take out the seeds and strings from even these small sugar pumpkins it proved that it’s a little bit of a pain in the ass! Just make sure you cut a big enough hole for the top because my hand barely squeezed in there to pull everything out haha. I had battle wounds after carving these suckers! But besides that, it’s smooth sailing I promise. :)

I stuffed these little guys with the most insanely delicious mixture eva. Browned sweet Italian sausage, shallot, garlic, fresh thyme, cubes of sourdough baguette, kale, and lots of shredded gruyere cheese. DONEEE. I would gnaw my way through the pumpkin itself if I had to to get to that mixture! Happy feasting Friends!

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Savory Stuffed Pumpkins

Ingredients

- 3-4 small baking pumpkins, or 1 large pumpkin (5-10 pounds)
- 1 French baguette, cubed. It’s better if it’s a little stale, or bake the cubes for a few minutes
- a lot of grated gruyere cheese. I grated about 1.5 cups
- 1 pound of Italian sausage
- 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- chopped fresh thyme - roughly 1 tablespoon
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 to 3 heaping cups of kale
- 1 cup half-and-half (adjust according to your preference)

what to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a heavy-duty knife inserted at a 45-degree angle, cut out a “lid” from the top of the pumpkin. Remove any seeds and cut away any loose strings using kitchen shears. Be prepared for gooey hands and to find random strings of pumpkin in your kitchen for years to come lol.

  2. Combine the bread cubes and Gruyère in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

  3. Heat a little oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, until it is golden-brown and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to the bowl with the bread and cheese.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots, cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and fresh thyme and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to high and add the wine, using the wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine until it is almost evaporated. Add the kale and a generous pinch of salt; stir until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add everything to the bread mixture.

  5. Transfer the stuffing to the pumpkin, filling it all the way to the top. I then poured a little half and half in each pumpkin. This part is totally your preference. If you want to add the cream to the mixture before filling the pumpkins you can, but I like the idea of just topping off the mixture with a little cream when it’s already in the pumpkin. Put the “lid” of the pumpkin back on and put in the oven.

  6. Bake until the filling is bubbling and hot, and the meat of the pumpkin can be pierced with a knife. This can be anywhere from 1 to 2 (or more) hours, depending on the size of your pumpkin.

  7. Carefully transfer the pumpkin(s) to a serving platter. Slice the pumpkin into large wedges and serve with a big scoop of stuffing!

Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie

Fall grub must have some hue of orange in it right? Isn’t that a prerequisite when deciding what to make this time of year?! All I want is sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut, roasted carrots, and candy corn. Yes, lots and lots of candy corn. Ok, maybe i’ll save the candy corn until Halloween night, maybe.

We had the the most relaxing (err..lazy) weekend ever and I managed to fill it with as much autumn-y goodness as possible. Friday night I made roasted spaghetti squash with mushrooms in a sage butter sauce, accompanied by cabernet and a cheesy horror flick. It was so off the wall that it was actually funny. Have you seen the The Visit?! It’s the one where the grandkids go to meet their grandparents that they’ve never met, and of course there’s a twist! Not great, but entertaining at least. On Saturday we slept in which was much needed, Thomas studied a little, I read and napped (tired much?!), and for a late lunch we wondered to a great new sushi place in our neighborhood Fish & Rice! If you’re in NW Portland you have to check it out!

Sunday’s are meant for a good meal. Whether that’s a fun brunch out with friends or a cozy dinner at home. I’m such a fan of slow cooked meals, but there’s also days where I just feel like doing something quick and easy but it still taste like you’ve put hours into it. This skillet chicken & sweet potato pie is exactly that! It uses rotisserie chicken to make your life easy and you only have to pull out one pan to make the whole meal. The BEST for lazy Sunday days.

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Skillet Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken (skin and bones discarded)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves of garlic minced

  • Fresh rosemary, chopped, about 1-2 tablespoons

  • 2 tbs tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire

  • 1 cup of chicken stock

  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced (use a mandolin to get them really thin!)

  • Onion and garlic powder to sprinkle over the potatoes

what to do

  1. preheat oven to 350

  2. In a large skillet (or big deep cast iron skillet), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until they start to soften and get some color on them, about six minutes. Add the garlic and chopped Rosemary, along with a pinch of salt and pepper; sauté another 30 seconds or so, until the garlic is fragrant.

  3. Move the veggies over in the pan and add the tomato paste. Press the paste into the pan for a few seconds to get the flavor out. Add the Worcestershire sauce, shredded chicken and stock. Season with another pinch of salt, and let this simmer about 10 minutes, while you thinly slice the sweet potatoes.

  4. Evenly and lightly press the mix in the pan, so that the potatoes lay evenly on top. Layer the potatoes over the chicken mix, starting with the outside edge, overlapping each other. Once the potatoes are arranged, brush with the melted butter. Then sprinkle with the onion and garlic powder, and another small pinch of salt.

  5. Bake anywhere from 25 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven), until the potatoes are cooked through, tender, and starting to curl on the edges

Spiced Apple Cider Mules

Hap-happy Friday!

This week has been a busy one after getting back from vacation last Friday. Getting caught up at work, unpacking, getting the apartment clean, and trying to get back in a workout routine made the week go by lightening fast! I’m trying to savor as much as October as possible, but I feel like the month is just whizzing by!

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We were supposed to go to a friends cabin this weekend, but Thomas ended up having a big flight test come up earlier than expected, so now we are just going to have a quiet weekend at home. While he’s studying, I want to go explore some different neighborhoods in Portland, do a little shopping (I want some cute new props for pictures), and maybe have a picnic somewhere when he needs a study break since it’s going to be such beautiful weather! And you know what would be perfect for a picnic?

SPICED APPLE CIDER MULES! I

t’s basically Fall in a glass which is all I want this time of year. Bourbon, cinnamon whiskey, apple cider, and apple juice? Strong: YES, delicious: YES, goes down like water: YES, YES, YES. I like pouring all the ingredients in a mason jar and giving it a quick little shake before pouring it into the copper mug. I’m not sure, that might be a no-no in a bartenders eyes, but I thought it worked great since everything was mixed so well!

Have a great weekend ya’ll. I hope it’s filled with these mules, and all the cozy Fall Halloween-y things!

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Spiced Apple Cider Mules

Ingredients

- 3-4 Oz of apple juice
-4 Oz of hard apple cider
-1 Oz of bourbon
-1 Oz of cinnamon whiskey (I used Fireball, but any kind will do!
-crushed ice, cinnamon sticks, apple slices, and rosemary if you want to add a little greenery for garnish

  1. In a copper mug fill with crushed ice and pour all of the ingredients in a mason jar and stir, or pour all ingredients directly in the mug.

  2. Finish cocktail off with a garnish of lime wedges, cinnamon sticks and apple slices. Drink up!