Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thought for Sunday

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Weekly Nightcap - French 75

you'll have to excuse me, i have paris on my mind.

what better way to indulge a little than to sip a french 75?

if you have never had a taste of this wonderful concoction, you should treat yourself this weekend - it's one of my favorites. i love champagne and E loves gin and this drink has both.

mix one up, sit down, close your eyes, and imagine you are sitting outside in a cafe in paris, watching the people go by.


French 75
serves 2

3 oz gin
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 oz champagne

pour the gin, lemon, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. shake well. pour into two champagne glasses and top with champagne. garnish with a lemon peel if desired.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast Parfait

after i made the pumpkin spice cream last week, i was left with leftover pumpkin puree. i hate that. i always seem to forget about leftover canned items in the fridge until its too late. as in mold-growing-something-in-the-fridge-stinks too late. not this time, folks. not this time.

i was determined to find another use for the pumpkin before it was too late. enter pumpkin quinoa breakfast parfaits. if you cook the quinoa ahead of time, this fall-inspired, protein-packed breakfast comes together in a flash.

this breakfast is the perfect way to start a crisp fall day. i hope you enjoy them as much as i do!

Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast Parfait
serves 2 
adapted from how sweet it is

2 cups plain greek yogurt
2 tsp maple syrup, divided
2/3 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup dry quinoa
chopped pecans

prepare quinoa according to directions. once cooked, season with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice and let cool. (i usually do this step the night before so all i have to do is assemble the parfait in the morning.)

mix yogurt, pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla, and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice together. spoon 1/4 cup of quinoa into bottom of each glass. spoon 1/2 cup of yogurt-pumpkin mixture on top of quinoa, add graham cracker crumbs followed by another layer of 1/2 cup of quinoa. spoon remaining yogurt-pumpkin mixture into each glass and top with a sprinkling of chopped pecans.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cream

nothing says fall quite like seeing pumpkin spice lattes back at starbucks. i tried to wait until october (my opinion of the unofficial start of fall) but i am a weak, weak girl. the first hint of a chill and i wandered into our local starbucks.

however, there is nothing like a hot cup of coffee on our screened in porch in my pj's on a crisp morning. i don't want to have to get in the car and go to starbucks. this pumpkin spice coffee cream brings the pumpkin spice latte to me. the best part is i don't have to change out of my pj's for it.

this cream turned out perfect. just mix it in with any coffee and you have a taste of fall. i made it with a mixture of coconut cream and regular cream, but you could use all coconut cream if you are enjoying the dairy-free lifestyle. you could also use equal parts regular cream and whole milk if you don't want to do the coconut cream thing.

this recipe is easily doubled if you have more than one coffee drinker in your house - or are having weekend guests.

happy fall y'all!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cream
adapted from next to heaven

1/2 cup whole milk or light cream
1/2 cup coconut creamer (i use so delicious)
2 tbs pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbs pure maple syrup
3/4 tsp vanilla extract (i use homemade - recipe here)

whisk together all ingredients in a medium saucepan. warm over medium heat until just steamy. strain before storing in an airtight container. when completely cool, cover tightly and keep in fridge.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

if you have been reading my blog for a while, you know i have been making my way back towards clean eating. i have been making an effort to eat real food, not our of a package and less processed carbs.

that means no sugar or white flour. i have actually been cutting way back on whole wheat too. in fact i did 30 days of completely clean eating. 100% free of sugar, flour, dairy, and alcohol. it wasn't nearly as hard as i thought it would be and truthfully, besides losing five pounds, another positive side affect was feeling great and greatly reducing my migraines!

one thing i realized i could never 100% give up is wine, cheese, and chocolate. i knew that going in but after 30 days, i was sure. other than that, i could give up most carbs. chips, bread, pasta, rice . . . surprisingly, i didn't really miss them. i did miss pizza though.

i have seen this absolutely crazy and purely absurd recipe around pinterest recently for a carb free pizza dough - made out of cauliflower. eople swear up and down its good - and no one knew it was cauliflower. i know, crazy, right?!? no way it doesn't taste like cauliflower!

i actually happen to like cauliflower, but i thought no way would it be the same dough-like consistency. hand over my heart, it was. it was good. it held up like pizza crust. i could pick it up like a piece of pizza. the edges even got crispy like pizza crust. it must be some sort of miracle. even my husband liked it. (i didn't tell him what it was. he hates when i do that. i hope he doesn't hate me now because he is probably reading this. sorry babe. you didn't ask, so i didn't say. i hope you forgive me!)

let me say, i fully understand if you don't believe me. heck i didn't believe anyone either. i fully intended to throw the pizza away after one bite but i loved it and have even made it again since.

i only ask one thing, try it. i'm seriously so glad i did. just try it. if you hate it, you never have to make it again. on the other hand - if, like me, you happen to like it just think about it - guilt-free pizza!

Cauliflower Pizza Dough

1 head of raw cauliflower (you won't use it all but you can freeze it for the next time a pizza craving strikes)
1 cup shredded parmesan
1 egg
1/2 tsp garlic
1 tsp mrs. dash garlic and herb
pizza sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings

remove stem from head of cauliflower and cut off florets. place in food processor and pulse until it looks like rice or grain. (do not puree!) place 1 cup of riced cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high 2-3 minutes. remove and let cool. (you can cook all the cauliflower and freeze it in 1 cup portions for the next time you make pizza.)

preheat oven to 450 degrees F. line a cookie sheet with foil and spray well with cooking spray.

in a medium bowl combine 1 cup cooked cauliflower with parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, and mrs. dash. transfer mixture to cookie sheet and pat into a large, thin, round. make sure it is pressed together well. it should be about 1/4" thick. bake for about 15 minutes but keep an eye on it. you want it to be browned all over and the edges to be really brown. let it cool for at least 15 minutes (this helps it become more solid).

peel back foil from crust and then place the crust on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. top with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings and bake just until cheese is bubbly (4-5 minutes).

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Weekly Nightcap - The Pain Killer

this week has been gorgeous! just the kind of week that makes you long for autumn. Warm, sunny days and cool, crisp nights. nights with the windows open and a blanket.

i am ready for fall. i am ready with every ounce of me. i'm ready for blankets, sweaters, scarves, and boots. i'm ready for apples, pumpkin lattes, butternut squash, and

the temperatures are getting cooler this weekend, so i thought i'd give summer one last hurrah. one last send off. i'll miss you when you're gone but we have to make way for fall. unfortunately, knowing myself, i know as soon as christmas comes and goes, i'll by wishing for warmer temperatures. i'll be booking a flight for the islands and wanting a summery cocktail on the beach.

those of you who have ever been to the virgin islands, more specifically, yost van dike (one of the british virgin islands) and even more specifically, the soggy dollar, know the pain killer cocktail. its a wonderfully creamy, sweet combination of cream of coconut, rum, orange and pineapple juice, and nutmeg. it's a must have and truly tastes like the beach in a glass. this weekly nightcap is dedicated to the end of summer and the inevitable longing for summer as soon as it's gone. so cheers to you, sweet, summery cocktails - i'll see you soon. cheers!

The Pain Killer
serves 2

4 oz light Rum
4 oz pineapple juice
1 oz cream of coconut
1 oz orange juice
grated fresh nutmeg

in a shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients except nutmeg. shake well and pour over two glasses full of ice. grate fresh nutmeg into each glass and enjoy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

International Chocolate Day

i can think of few things worth celebrating more than international chocolate day - as if i needed an excuse to enjoy chocolate today!

hope your day is filled with lots of chocolate!

and, in case you need any ideas of how to celebrate, may i recommend these?

Nutella Mousse

Mini Chocolate Fudge Tarts

Chocolate Sea Salt Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Pots

Nutella Brownies

Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Dark Chocolate Orange Pots de Creme

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Project Pinterest - Antlers Jewlery Holder

remember when i started the pinterest project? you know the one where i documented my progress of carrying out some of my "pinned" ideas? yeah, i barely remember too - it's been that long.

well i'm back on the project pinterest wagon! i attribute it to the cooler weather and the start of fall. it seems to have lit a fire under my rear and i want to get stuff done.

i have been on a bit of an accessories binge lately. there are so many great deals, steals, and super sales around that i have been scooping up bracelets, necklaces, and rings left and right. i find accessories are a great way to update your closet without spending a ton.

of course, the compulsive organizer in me needs to display and organize these things. i showed you my jewelry display methods a while back but i needed some more necklace storage space. i decided to combine form and function and incorporate antlers (a big fall decorating trend) into my storage methods.

i originally found the idea on neha made and pinned it to my master bedroom ideas board. i found the antlers on z gallerie and i think it gives my dressing room a little touch of whimsey along with some additional much needed necklace storage space.

original inspiration pin:

my execution:

the upside is now i have room for even more necklaces!

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