This is a sponsored post written by me on half of Templeton Rye and Simply Organic on behalf of The Baddish Group. All opinions are my own.
The liquor bottles always stayed in the same spot (that I knew of) until the holidays rolled around, then they were pulled out and set on the counter with a big bottle of gingerale. I know now that those were bottles of whiskey.
On the other side of the counter were plates and extra tins full of chocolates, candies, and cookies that my grandma had made all week long. The family would gather at my grandparent's house, chocolate and whiskey-ginger cocktails in the appropriate hands as the day wore on.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Heads-up—this is a lengthy feature, but it includes a review, an interview, a sinfully delicious chocolate soufflé recipe, a 50% book discount code, and a ridiculously cool giveaway. If you could carve 10-15 minutes out of your day for a little escape, I'd love it if you'd take that escape with me here today.
Before I read Trinity Stones, I'd never read a romance novel in my (at the time) 38 years. I just never had any interest in them. My experience with them only goes as far as standing in front of the small bookshelf at the supermarket when I was in elementary school. I'd study the men with muscles defined under their flowing shirts, long hair whipped back in an unseen wind. I was fascinated, yet I can't remember ever picking one up and flipping through it. I'd reach for a Stephen King novel instead. But apparently, I don't mind a little paranormal romance. Though I do still feel like I need to read it when the kids are in bed or at school (or look over my shoulder the whole time...because everybody knows kids magically appear there at the most inopportune times).
Nine months ago I stumbled into the world of the Angelorum not knowing what to expect. And like so many times before, I've been mentally willing the author to write faster! I love to savor a new book in a series, but have a hard time not just devouring it after the wait. Book two did not disappoint. O'Connor introduces us to a few new members of "the twelve" in this book. There are actually a sizeable number of characters (aka cast members)—but the story calls for it. In book one, we were introduced to Cara and Simon. I'd consider them the main characters. Michael, Sienna, Kai, and a several others were also introduced, but seemed to be more supporting characters. In this book, Michael and Sienna come to the forefront and we get to know more about what makes them tick. Kai, Brett, Angel, Paco...all of their stories are simmering on the backburner, as well...waiting to have their turn in future books.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Since that hasn't happened yet, I'm just gonna go with the flow. So, you know how Food Network Magazine has those awesome little inserts every month? They have titles like "50 Pies", "50 Potato Salads", "50 Super Bowl Snacks", "50 Smoothies", "50 Things to Make with Bacon"... those may be my favorite part of the whole magazine. I have a ton of them (okay, not a ton—but at least 27) stacked on my working bookshelf. They full of great ideas and inspiration. You probably know where I'm going with this.
Yes, there was one on cranberries. It was in the November '14 issue, and titled (surprisingly) "50 Things to Make with Cranberries". I'm thinking of trying all 50. Maybe that will make my little obsession disappear. Today, I'm checking two off the list—pickled cranberries, and the cocktail that they tumble perfectly into.
Friday, December 12, 2014
The thing is, looking at this salad, you don't necessarily think healthy. You think beautiful—or at least I do. The deep, rich reds and greens that come straight from the earth rather than a tube. Busting out this salad in the middle of the holiday madness is like bringing home somebody to meet your family for the first time. Everybody's nervous and wondering if they'll fit in. But instead of being awkward, it's like they were supposed to have been there all along. They just fit.
Aside from the colors that just scream winter, I think it has a lot to do with the addition of lightly candied nuts and nature's own little sugar bursts, dates. This salad is just one of the many vibrant dishes lining the pages of the new (released in October) cookbook by Ruth Barnes, otherwise known as The Petite Gourmande.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
I'm like that, though. Something that I overlooked (and probably took for granted) will suddenly captivate my attention. Like now, it's all cranberries, all day. I'll be looking for other recipes, imagining other meals, and before I know it, I'm pinning cranberry recipe ideas like a madwoman. It's a constant battle within. I've just learned to go with it.
I have a few cranberry recipes on the horizon, and I'll be sharing those soon, but today I'm bringing you a definitive (for now) round-up of some amazing recipes featuring this little bush-dwelling, mouth-puckering red orb. I recently asked some of my fellow food bloggers if they'd share some of their own cranberry recipes with me. For the most part, the recipes you find below are all delicious ways to use fresh cranberries that go BEYOND THE CRANBERRY SAUCE—but I'm also including a few sauce recipes (because I do love it), and some of the recipes make use of the dried berries.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
It's usually the simple pleasures that delight me the most. I'm constantly amazed by the product of time and temperature. Slowly simmering fruit and a bit of spice can yield a jar of rich, silky fruit butter (like this Cardamom Pear Butter). Roasting broccoli and cauliflower takes both of those humble veggies to a whole different level. Pureed fruit and a low, slow heat produces chewy and sweet fruit leather. Duck legs wiling the day away in a bath produce meat so meltingly tender it just falls into your fingers at the lightest touch (like these Asian-inspired Braised Duck Legs). Nothing more than time, steady heat, and its own rendered fat can turn pork into the most flavorful Carnitas you'll ever taste. It's kind of amazing.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
I don't know many people who have definitive answers to all of those questions. Well, perhaps other than the first one—but I'm willing to bet even that one would be open for debate were hundreds of bottles lining the shelves before you. There are hundreds of North American varieties of whiskey alone. I'm partial to Scottish whisky. I have some Irish recommendations, as well. But you can also find whiskey being made in Australia, Sweden, and even Japan (I have a few on my to-try list right now). So really, I think the quest to find the next greatest whisk(e)y is always on the forefront.
I recently received a copy of The North American Whiskey Guide from Behind the Bar, the newly released book by Chad Berkey and Jeremy LeBlanc (who between the two have over 40 combined years behind). They chose over 250 different varieties of North American Whiskey (the ones most frequently ordered by their patrons) to feature in the book. They asked 4 professional bartenders to join them in blind tastings of each whiskey, and combined their feedback with their own tastings and reviews, and feedback from the patrons in the bar, to offer honest and thoughtful insight on each type in the book.