Thirsty Thursday: Spring Champagne Sangria

The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. And Thirsty Thursday is here once again. I hope you're all having a marvelous week - if you are, good for you. This Champagne Sangria is the perfect way to celebrate. If you aren't, my condolences. This cocktail is sure to cheer you up.

This week, I'm teaming up with my friends over at the SoFab Food Blog to share this recipe - so if you want to see the full details, head over there and check it out. (Psst, just click the link here)

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Give this one a try- couldn't be easier to drink. And it's chock-full of vitamin C, so it's basically good for you. Ok maybe not. But let's pretend, shall we? Cheers! x

I Got Gwyneth's New Cookbook and Now I Can't Stop Eating Avocado Toast

Yes, it's true. I did recently purchase a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, It's All Easy. Yes, it's a signed copy. Which means, yes, she touched it with her actual hands. And that means I'm one step closer to my queen, Beyoncé. What, you didn't know they were BFFs? There's a dedication to Blue Ivy herself inside the book. Believe it.

Being starstruck aside, I must say the book is filled with nothing less than beautiful food photography, shots of GP in oversized sweaters, and over 130 recipes which - much to my surprise - aren't all irritatingly healthy either. (Mac and Cheese? With real dairy? Gwyneth, sis! The calories!)

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But seriously. There are some pretty solid ideas in there for busy people (who isn't?) who want good food and that's easy to make. One such recipe is her variations on the breakfast/lunch/snack/whenever staple of Avocado Toast. Of which, GP is the self-proclaimed queen. Today I made her Asian-inspired version - topped with veganaise (of course) sriracha, avocado, a soft boiled egg, and - my personal favorite part - furikake. To anyone unfamiliar, it's an asian rice seasoning comprised of sesame seeds, dried seaweed and spices. It's delicious. Get thee to an Asian grocer and pick up a bottle. You'll thank me later.

I'm excited to try more of GP's recipes, since I have been waiting for this book release since way back in September. Seriously, I wrote about it even back then. Who else is getting a copy? I wanna know. Or you can borrow mine. On second thought, nah. I'm gonna frame it. Gotta run, something just came up! x

Thirsty Thursday: Red Pepper Cocktail

Oh Thirsty Thursday, you beautiful weekday, you. It's no secret that I love a good cocktail, and (when the weather calls for it) enjoying it outdoors. With the recent surge of sunnier weather - knock on wood - I figured it was the perfect time to share a fresh springy libation with you. The Red Pepper Cocktail.

Deceptively simple to make, all you need is a red bell pepper, a handful of basil, a lime, and your poison of choice. Today, I'm using gin. Muddle strips of pepper, basil and the juice of half a lime in a cocktail shaker. Add 1.5 oz of gin and some ice and shake. To serve, just pour over a large ice cube in a rocks glass and garnish with a ring of pepper. I also like to add a little pinch of salt, just because.

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Are you loving these vegetable-infused cocktails? Then you should definitely give my cucumber basil cocktail a try. Or, if you're feeling adventurous - make your own cucumber-infused vodka! Myself, I'll be over here enjoying the sun with my red pepper cocktail in hand. Cheers!

You Should be Making: Smoothie Bowls

Ah, the weekend. What we've all been waiting for. Time to sleep in, kick back, and treat ourselves to a little something good. And I mean gooooooood. If your instagram feed looks anything like mine, you've been seeing Smoothie Bowls for months now. If not yet, you're about to. What's a Smoothie Bowl you might ask? Look no further:

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Spoiler: ok, so smoothie bowls really are as simple as the sound. That's right, a smoothie in a bowl. But when topped with all sorts of delicious add-ons, the humble smoothie becomes something delicious, and obviously, very instagrammable. Which of course, is of the highest importance.

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It seems silly to even offer a Smoothie Bowl Recipe, but here it is. The basic formula for a successful Smoothie Bowl contains 1 cup of frozen fruit, 1/2 cup of greens, 1 banana, and 1/2 cup of liquid of your choice. Of course it's the toppings that come afterwards that are the fun part. Today, I made a spinach/avocado/blueberry/banana concotion. Yum. Not a fan of your smoothies in a bowl? Prefer something a little greener instead? Check out my healthy green smoothie recipe here.

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Maybe green isn't your thing (don't blame you) but you still want an energizing morning smoothie. In that case, let me recommend my Yellow Power Smoothie. However you spin it, smoothies (in a bowl or nah) are here to stay. And with spring break, and summer swimsuit season quickly approaching, I'd say it would behoove me to step up my fruit and veggie intake a bit more. Who's with me? Cheers!

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Thirsty Thursday: Gin n' Juice

My favorite day of the week is here again - Thirsty Thursday. And boy have I got the perfect cocktail for your unpredictable early spring weather. The Gin n' (grapefuit) Juice. Also known as the Greyhound, it's chock-full of Vitamin C... so it's basically healthy. Right? Can't be getting sick as the temperatures are (slowly) starting to rise.

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Immensely simple in preparation, but the elegance of this cocktail lies in its simplicity. Of course, I'm going to put a personal twist on it, but you wouldn't expect anything less, would you? To make my version, muddle a couple basil leaves in the bottom of a shaker and combine with 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice and 2 oz of Gin. Top with Ice and shake.

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To serve, simply pour over a large ice cube, and finish with club soda or tonic water if that's your thing. Garnish with a basil leaf because they're pretty, and presentation is everything. Ps, if you're into basil in cocktails, be sure to give this one from a couple weeks back a try, my Spring Basil Cocktail. Or, for a full list of MOGBLOG approved cocktail recipes, check out all of my past Thirsty Thursday posts, you're bound to find something you like. Cheers! x

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Irish Soda Bread with Salted Honey Butter

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Cheers to you all, my friends! I realize today is Thirsty Thursday, and you may think, what better day to share a cocktail recipe with you... but I stand behind my delicious Basil Cocktail from last week. And, I wanted to bake for you all today instead. I'm just full of surprises. As Nola says in the 2005 classic film Hustle & Flow, "Gotta keep the tricks guessing!" Or something like that.

I'll be the first to admit that Irish cuisine isn't at the top of my culinary repertoire, but any excuse to eat a carb is good enough for me. The real bonus here is that unlike most bread recipes, this is yeast-free, aka no rising time, aka you can make it and eat it in about an hour, aka watch out summer waistline, this bread is your nemesis. Whatever, you all still love me right? 

This recipe is inspired by my homegirl Jessica over at HowSweetEats - aka the food blog with the best photography this side of the Mississippi. I swear, everything she makes is drool-inducing and I find myself recreating her recipes at least twice a week. So head on over there for the full recipe. (Note: I made this my own by omitting the chocolate chips and cutting the sugar content in half, as I wanted a more savory finish. Feel free to ask me questions on how I did so in the comments below!)

Until then, I'll leave you with this:

Ah, heaven. Enjoy!

Thirsty Thursday: Spring Basil Cocktail

Thirsty Thursday is here again, and boy have I got a good one for you! This cocktail is inspired (read: stolen) from my recent trip to Steven Starr's Parc restaurant here in Philadelphia. Called the Basilic, it combines all of the garden fresh elements of Spring that this weather calls for.

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Start by combining 3oz cucumber vodka and 1oz St. Germain with a handful of fresh basil a in a shaker with some ice. To assemble, use a vegetable peeler to slice ribbons of cucumber into tall glasses. Then add ice, and pour the contents of the shaker between two glasses. Top with club soda and garnish with a couple basil leaves.

These are fresh, green, and truly taste like Spring in a glass. What could be better? Personally, I'll be enjoying these to celebrate St. Patrick's day this weekend - so much better than green beer. Amirite? Just make them and find out for yourself. Cheers! x

Heart-Shaped Chocolate Shortbread

Good morning, and happy chilly (read: frigid) V Day! Is everyone else as officially over this arctic weather as I am? Being from the east coast, I truly don't mind the cold. However, when it is painful to set foot outdoors, all of that goes out the window. And seeing that it is painful to endure today's single digit temps, it seems only right that I should stay in and bake something cozy. Enter, chocolate shortbread. The best part about these cookies? You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now - they don't even require eggs! Plus, they're cute for Valentine's day, if you're into that sort of thing.

To make this oh-so-simple recipe, sift together 2 cups of flour with 2/3 cup of cocoa powder and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream 2 sticks of softened butter with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, a pinch of salt, and a splash of vanilla. (I literally never measure vanilla extract. I know, I like to live dangerously.) Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined, then roll out onto a sheet of wax paper until it is about 1/4" thick, and place in the fridge to chill.

After half an hour, remove from the fridge, and cut into heart shapes. Place on a baking sheet (you can fit lots on here, as they don't spread when baking) and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Allow to cool fully and decorate (or not) as desired. I melted some chocolate and used pink and silver decorating sugars because I was feeling fancy. Though these are equally wonderful eaten sans decor.

Obviously, this recipe is not V Day specific, but those little hearts are just so damn cute. And being that you surely have all the ingredients on hand - you don't even need to run out for eggs! - there really is no excuse not to make these today. Go ahead, I'll wait. Oh, and if you have any left over, send them my way. XO

How to Make a Crowd-Pleasing Cheese Board.

Hi, and happy Super Bowl Sunday! I've had some dear friends of mine visiting town this weekend, and when they arrived weary from their travels Friday evening, I made sure to have a little something waiting for them:

This. So much of this. Aka, the most delectable charcuterie/cheese board known to humankind. (To be fair, I think almost ANY cheese board is the greatest... But this one just really ups the ante.)

Now, I know there are a million and one ways to compose a great spread like this one, and certainly you should make one to suit you and your guests preference, but I personally feel that a great cheese board has the following elements:

3 - 4 (or more, honestly) different kinds of cheese. An aged cheese (like an Irish cheddar), a soft cheese (brie) a sheep or goats milk cheese (chèvre) a funky cheese (blue) and a hard cheese (Parmesan). You can also add a smoky element with a wheel of Gouda.

A variety of meats. This time I used hard salami, pepperoni, and of course my favorite, prosciutto.

Vessels on which to eat them all. Baguettes, crostini, water crackers, wheat crackers, butter crackers, etc.

And not to be forgotten, the accoutrements. Jams and jellies (fig jam, hot pepper jam, raspberry jam), honey, mustards (sweet and spicy) something briney (olives, cornichons), and a handful of grapes or nuts for a textural difference. 

Don't forget something beautiful to serve them on. I'm obsessed with my marble pastry slab lately. I don't know if you noticed. It's just a thing I'm going through, k?

Honestly, I could eat this every meal for the rest of my life and be satisfied. I know it looks like a lot, but I'm telling you this is a near-universal crowd pleaser. Consider making it for Super Bowl Sunday. Or your Oscars party. Or as a Valentine's Day treat for your s/o.

Ah, Isn't it grand that there's so many excuses to entertain in February? Cheers! X

Thirsty Thursday: Green Smoothie

I know what you're thinking. I'm thinking it, too. Have I honestly become one of THOSE people? You know, the ones who replace their morning coffee with green juice, and spend the rest of the day trying to convince themselves they're totally satisfied with drinking vegetables alone? And short answer, no. I haven't. But longer, slightly more complicated, and slightly hypocritical answer, maybe? Possibly? Read on:

Inspired by my sister dear, who's advice I cherish on everything from makeup reviews to youtube channels to follow, I recently started partaking in a morning smoothie. And yes, it is green. But no, it isn't (totally) terrible. And no, it hasn't replaced my coffee. That, you can pry from my cold dead, hands. I just figure, when it's winter time, and finding ways to break up all of the hearty pasta dishes with some vitamins here and there is difficult, this smoothie seems to do the trick. Plus, I've been feeling a tad under the weather lately and figured, "Can't hurt, might help." So here goes.

Every morning, while my french press is doing its thing, before I poach a couple of eggs and gobble them down on an avocado toast... I throw some vegetables into my blender and toss this sucker back. I vary it a bit from day to day, but typically the recipe is about 2 cups of dark leafy greens (spinach, which is less offensive, or kale, which is for when I'm feeling brave), topped with about 1/4 of a cucumber, 1/2 of a green apple, a handful of green grapes (which I keep in the freezer) and a splash of H2O to get it going. And, if I'm feeling extra spicy, a scant 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger. Heck, I might even throw in a squeeze of lime. I know. Life on the edge.

After it's about the consistency of applesauce (which I don't mind, and have sort of come to like, in a strange, masochistic way) I pour it into a big glass and toss it back. It tastes, to be honest, basically like all of those ingredients combined. Which I know sounds dumb, but hear me out, you know how when you put strawberries and bananas and orange juice in a smoothie and it comes out tasting fabulous and magical, and oh-my-god where did this flavor come from?? Yeah, that doesn't happen here. It tastes exactly like everything you put in it. Which again, maybe isn't a bad thing. Maybe? I dunno, I'm trying here. The point is, it tastes healthy, and sometimes, that's what you need.

A note here about your produce. This is one of the very few times I'll get on a high horse about using organic produce (seeing as I'm not actually Gwyneth Paltrow. I know, news flash.) But since you'll be using skins and all - mmm, vitamins - you won't want any unnecessary chemicals going into your smoothie. Honestly, I don't claim to know exactly what all of these things do for you, but I will say at the very least, the placebo effect of drinking a green smoothie every morning has got me feeling great. Or, a little less guilty about the pizza that I religiously consume three nights a week. You dig? Good. I knew you would. x

New Year's Entertaining: Bucatini All'Ubriaco

Tonight's the night! You know, the one where we celebrate the end of the year by imbibing until we don't remember all of the terrible things that happened in the last 12 months. Ok, maybe we do other things than that, too. Like have friends and family over for dinner. I'll be doing a little bit of both.

And in my opinion, there's no better way to kill two birds with one stone than with this phenomenal (and impressive looking!) pasta dish. Bucatini All'Ubriaco. Translated from Italian, it means "Drunken Bucatini" - what makes it drunken you may ask? No, its not because the chef guzzles booze while cooking (though, tonight, that is fully acceptable and encouraged.) It's because you actually boil the pasta in WINE. WHAT? I know. Pause for effect.

The flavors in my version of this dish are sort of Carbonara inspired, with rich, salty bacon cutting through the deep sophisticated wine-infused pasta. And of course, loaded with parm. The good stuff, please. Side note- I should make clear that I am exactly zero percent Italian, though it has always been a secret wish of mine. When I was over at an Italian friend's house in high school, I complimented his mother on her phenomenal pasta dish, by saying, "well, I'm not surprised it's so good - you being Italian, and all." To which she replied, "Me? Not a drop!" I was floored. And ever since then, that has been my goal. You know, to marry an Italian, have tons of Italian kids, and have their friends mistake me for a true Italian (despite my Scandinavian heritage and name). ANYWAY. Recipe below:

To begin, combine equal parts decent red wine and salted water in a pasta pot, and bring to a boil. While that is happening, brown your bacon in a skillet. And if you're being bad like me, you'll add butter first. Because it's the holidays, and it's time to enjoy yourself. Life is for living, after all. 

Remove your browned bacon, and most of the rendered fat, while you add your Bucatini to the wine broth. Then, slice up a shallot or two, you can also use garlic here. I'm just using what I had on hand. Throw that in the bacon skillet to soften. Also, add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you're into that sort of thing. Which of course, I am.

Once your pasta is al dente and has turned a gorgeous deep purpley-brown color, drain it (reserving a bit of the starchy winey water) and add it to your skillet. Toss the pasta, and reserved water, with your bacon, a hearty - and I'm talking half a cup - sprinkle of parmesan, and if you're fancy (or just happen to have some to use up), add pine nuts and fresh parsley.

Serve with some crostini, a bright arugula salad, and obviously more parmesan. Now, sit back and enjoy the feeling of self satisfaction you have as your guests ooh and ahh at the marvelous plate of winey-pasta-goodness before them. Do give this one a try. I'm telling you, it will NOT disappoint. That's all for now. See you next year! x

Handmade Host(ess) Gift

Happy Humpday, babes. Today we are officially into the single digits (!) until Xmas day. WHAT. That means, if you haven't felt the pressure yet, you're either A- insane, or B- a much more cool, calm and collected person than me.

That said, there are still plenty of parties, last-minute get togethers, and whatnots to attend. You know, those things that typically involve bringing some sort of item if you don't want to look like a total heel. (And who wants to do that?) So today, I'm happy to present my solution to you - one that surely you can make at home in no time with things you already (should) have on hand. Chocolate Peppermint Bark. Hello?! Who doesn't love this stuff? By the way, spare me if you don't. We shouldn't be friends, then. Just kidding. Kind of. Can you tell I'm delirious? Anyway...

Seriously this couldn't be simpler. I like using a twofold chocolate approach to this - layering dark chocolate underneath peppermint infused white chocolate, but do you, boo. It's all about what's simple and convenient! Just melt your dark chocolate in a double boiler - you do know how to do that right? Or, in the microwave, but be CAREFUL if you dare do that. Chocolate goes from deliciously glossy and melted to scorched and burned and oh-god-no in seconds. Literally. Don't ask how I know. Then, simply pour your dark chocolate onto a baking sheet and spread it out. You could use an offset spatula, but I don't have one of those, so a silicone scraper or just a regular ol' butter knife works fine. Pop into the freezer about 8 minutes while you repeat the melting process with your white chocolate. If you're feeling fancy, stir in 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract, and then layer overtop your (mostly) set dark chocolate. Then, while the white chocolate is still liquidy, top with some crushed candy canes. I used the mini ones because they take me back to my redneck childhood upbringing. I must've eaten 20 of these a day back then. Seriously, it was a wonder I escaped my youth without any cavities. #humblebrag.

After both layers of chocolate are fully set, remove from your baking sheet and break into irregular pieces and place in a pretty serving bowl, tin, dish, or what have you. Guarantee any host or hostess would be happy to receive this fun n festive favor, and if they aren't, kindly send their rejected leftovers my way. Happy Merry! X

What's On My Hanukkah Menu

Hanukkah Sameach! Last night at sundown began one of my all-time favorite holidays: the festival of lights. Or, as I call it, the best excuse you'll ever have to eat fried foods every day for a week. In all seriousness, Hanukkah is a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy one another's company and the miracles of the season.

Tonight, I'll be having some friends over to celebrate our Frien-ukkah (I tried to make a portmanteau as charming as Friendsgiving and it didn't work out as well, but you get my gist.) And I wanted to share with you some of the recipes I'd be making.

First, Bon Appetit's phenomenal duck fat latkes. So rich and indulgent, but... tis the season, so. I highly encourage giving them a try. Of course I will also have a big pot of matzoh ball soup (old family recipe... can't spill the deets, but trust and believe its delish.) For dessert, be sure that those fabulous rugelach I shared over the weekend will be making an appearance, along with a delicious chocolate babka.

And of course, no Hanukkah celebration is complete without a menorah (mine is a simple but beautiful one from Crate and Barrel) and I'm using place settings made from leftover fabric from an old shibori project I shared on here ages ago. Blue and white just go hand in hand with the holiday.

I look forward to celebrating all night and spending time with good food and even better friends. Want to come to my Frien-ukkah? Be sure to follow along with the fun over on Snapchat - add me @mogblog! See you there. Cheers, and happy holiday! x

Chocolate Rugelach

So its #NationalCookieDay, and around here that means a couple of things. A- it gives me an excuse to make/eat cookies for breakfast. (Cause there's totally no other day of the year that I would do that. I definitely don't eat cookies for breakfast at least once a week. Not me.) And B- I get to try some new recipes out to share with all of you.

I figured with Hanukkah right around the corner, there's no time like the present to give a twist to the classic rugelach. See what I did there? Twist? Cause rugelach are spiral? No? Anyway, terrible sex-and-the-city-style puns aside, these cookies are the bomb.com - double chocolate, rich and indulgent, with pistachios and sea salt to balance it all out. I know these are making it to my Hanukkah menu this year. (Along with a couple other goodies that you'll have to stay tuned for!)

To get the drool worthy recipe, head over to BonAppetit and check it out for yourself. And if you're anything like me, try not to get lost in the dreamy food photography on your screen. Until next time, Chag Chanuka Sameach! x

Fall Fruit Galette

Hello friends! Happy Monday, or as I'm calling it, happy-three-day-week-leading-up-to-the-best-foodie-holiday-of-the-year. If you're anything like me, you love the T-givs classics, but are open to a sneaking a little something new and special into your menu every year. I thought it would be a perfect time to share with you this Fall Fruit Galette - a warm and comforting mixture of pink lady apples, cranberries and bosc pears, all wrapped up in a flaky, buttery crust. It's as easy as pie. Actually, it's easier than pie, and tastes just as good (or better). Read on for the recipe below. 

Now, I've made a galette on #MOGBLOG before, so feel free to make the failsafe crust recipe from my strawberry rhubarb summer galette here

For the filling, make sure to peel your apples and pears (about 2 of each), and slice on the thinner side (I'd say about 1/8th of an inch thick if you can) and toss them and your cranberries with 1/2 cup of sugar 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of flour. 

To prepare, remove your chilled dough from the refrigerator, place on a floured surface and roll out quite thinly into the shape you'd like your finished galette to be. I made a rectangle today, though circular are just as easy to make, too! Then, lift your crust onto a baking sheet, and place your fruits inside, being sure to leave about an inch border all around. Fold the edges of the crust over and brush with melted butter or an egg wash for a golden finish and bake for around 40 minutes. (By the way, totally optional but fancy-looking step here is to add some slivered almonds about 10 minutes before the end of the baking time. I find they really add a welcome moment of texture to the finished product.)

I mean come on. Just look at this. So simple, so impressive looking, and just as tasty as a pie, only with way less effort. What I love about this one in particular is its not-too-sweet flavor. It makes a marvelous finish after a big meal without weighing yourself down with a teeth-hurting saccharine confection. (Though let's be real, there's a time and a place for that, too.)

Do give this one a try at your Thanksgiving table this year, I'm sure it'll be a real hit. And happy early Thanksgiving from me to all of you! Cheers. x

Easy Pumpkin Spice Granola

Top of the morning to you! (Well, I guess it's not the "top" of the morning per se, but you get the point.) Sorry it's been a minute since we caught up - it has been busy here! Lots and lots of exciting things coming to #Mogblog v soon. (Wish I could tell you more, but STAY TUNED!)

Anyway, in honor of these busy times - as we all tend to find ourselves having more and more of as the holidays approach - I wanted to share a quick an easy seasonal recipe that is perfect for your days on the go. Presenting: Pumpkin Spice Granola. So easy, so convenient, so much better than you'd buy in a store. Eat some on yogurt or with milk in the morning, or take it with you and eat a handful while you're running errands. Or, if you have a little extra time, bake up a batch of pumpkin granola muffins with it. (I personally love Laura Vitale's recipe.)

All you need to do to make this scrum-diddly-umptious granola is combine 2 cups of old fashioned oats, 1 cup of sliced almonds, 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt and set aside. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 1/4 cup each of honey and vegetable oil with a splash of vanilla (again, I never measure my vanilla) and fold this mixture into your dry ingredients. Spread the granola evenly in a baking pan and bake at 300 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes, giving it a stir every 10 minutes or so. When it's removed from the oven and cooled slightly, feel free to mix in any dried fruit you may like (I added about a half cup of dried cranberries) and enjoy! 

There you have it. Couldn't be simpler, and quite satisfying, too! Now if you'll excuse me, I have some errands to run. (He said while stuffing his face with homemade granola.) Catch you later! x

#NationalDonutDay

Happy #NationalDonutDay everyone! Being that the holiday also happens to fall on a #ThirstyThursday this year, I thought I'd celebrate with a recipe combining my two favorite things in life - sweets & libations. Hence, these Maple Bourbon Bacon Donuts were born.

Did I pique your interest yet? I sure hope so. I mean look at them. Golden brown and fluffy, covered in a scrumptious maple syrup and bourbon glaze, and sprinkled with salty, smoky bacon. I mean, I don't think I even need to say more. Except maybe give you the recipe. Cause I know you wanna try em. Read on below:

For the Donuts: Start by frying up 4 - 6 pieces of thick cut bacon. Yes, fry them. Now is not the time for one of those microwave tray things. You'll need the rendered fat. (I know.) Now, set aside your bacon and crumble for topping the donuts later... and maybe eat a slice or two while you're baking. Once your fat has cooled, combine it (about 1/4 cup) with 3/4 cup of milk. Then, activate 1 packed of yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of your standing mixer. (You know the drill.) Once it's foamy, pour in your milk/fat mixture, one egg, and spices (2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice). Give everything a good mix, and slowly add 2 1/2 - 3 cups of flour. Everyone's dough will be different here. I needed close to 3. Once that's kneaded, allow it to rise for about an hour before rolling it out and cutting out your circles. Then, set aside your donuts on a tray for another half hour to rise once more before frying.

To Fry: Add about an inch and a half of canola oil to a heavy bottomed pot (I used my dutch oven) and heat until the surface looks shiny and the end of a wooden spoon forms tiny bubbles when inserted. Then (carefully!) lower in 2-3 donuts at a time and cook for just about a minute per side. Remove and put on a wire rack to cool briefly before topping with your glaze.

For the Glaze: Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, 2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon of good quality bourbon. Stir together with a whisk to form a thick glaze. If it's too think for you, add more milk (a drop at a time) to desired consistency. Dip the donuts and sprinkle with reserved bacon.

Eat immediately. And try not to eat the whole batch yourself. Or do it. I won't stop you. x

DIY Mulling Spices

Being that its 3 whole days past Halloween, that means we're clearly in the holiday season. (Only half-kidding, I've listened to "All I Want for Christmas is You" about 300 times the last couple days... No shame.) Anyway, I figured I'd share with you a super easy and super useful DIY project that's perfect as the fall days turn cooler and lead us into winter. Presenting: my homemade blend of Mulling Spices!

By now, you've surely read last week's #ThirstyThursday post about Mulled Wine... but even if you haven't, this spice blend can bring some festive fall flavor to pretty much anything. Including your home. Seriously. Take one or two of these sachets, boil them in about 4 cups of water and then reduce them to a low simmer for a bit and enjoy as your home smells like the quintessence of fall. Or, add them to your cider, your tea, your red wine - for reals! Get creative. And check out the oh-so-simple directions below:

Simply combine a dried orange peel or two, a couple of cinnamon sticks (broken in half to release their essence), a few whole cloves, some black peppercorns, and a star anise inside a square of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. So rustic and charming! Also, makes a great handmade gift around the holidays. Just store in an airtight container (like a mason jar) and enjoy all season! Let me know how you love to use this blend in the comments below!

Thirsty Thursday: Mulled Wine Witches Brew

It's back. Thirsty Thursday is BACK, y'all. Are you excited? You should be, it's gonna be a good one! This little number is inspired by a delicious brew I had with my friends earlier this week - a spicy and delicious mulled wine. Now i know that hot red wine may not seem to be your vibe, but picture the lovechild of a spiced cider, and a summer sangria and you're on the right track. And I assure you, it is the track to be on.

in honor of halloween this weekend, I picked up a bottle of Marc Mondavi's "Divine Red"- its label is perfectly witchy with its crossed wands and all-seeing eye. Idk, it spoke to me. So I opened it, simmered it with 1/4 cup of honey, several whole cloves, a couple cinnamon sticks, and a splash of brandy for about 20 minutes, and then strained it into some glasses. You can drink this as-is, though an orange wheel would be a welcome addition, too. 

I'm telling you. Just try it and tell me you're not a fan afterwards. By the way, this is so not a halloween exclusive...I'm sure there will be many a chilly winter night spent with a batch of this on the stove. So join me and let's toast to a great halloweekend! Cheers! x

I'm Back! And I Brought Cookies!

HELLO my loves! Let's address the elephant in the room, shall we? I've neglected you. Left you high and dry. Honestly, how did you even get through the past couple of weeks without my sartorial advice and witty quips?? Full disclosure, it isn't because I don't love you. I've just been going through it lately. If "it" is the USA. Literally. I just drove across the country. Cause I moved. To the City of Brotherly Love. Goodbye LA LA Land. Hello Philly. There's a new blog in town.

So, as a consolation for abandoning you, I made cookies. And these cookies are GOOD. Like hopefully good enough for you to forgive me for leaving you high and dry. Honestly, even if you don't forgive me, do yourself a favor and make these. They are truly the sweetest way to celebrate #NationalPumpkinDay. Check the recipe below:

In a medium bowl combine 1 and 2/3 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. In a large bowl, cream together 1 stick of softened butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup sugar. Then, add 1 egg, 3 Tablespoons of pumpkin puree and splash of vanilla. (I never measure. Live dangerously, you know?) Slowly add your dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips and drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges are browned and centers are set. Let them cool on the tray about 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you can. Or just eat them off the tray. No judgement.

So there it is. Can we be friends again now? Actually, make sure you eat a cookie and then get back to me about that. X