Friday Favorites

November 21, 2014

This week seemed to fly by, and I couldn't be happier about it. My little one is off from school next week, which means we'll get to do all kinds of fun activities together before the holiday. And of course I'm excited for Thanksgiving! My family is big and loud with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins, and now a whole new generation of little ones to be thankful for. What are your Thanksgiving plans?  Have an amazing weekend, and God bless!

A really cute centerpiece for next Thursday.

Sausage stuffed mushrooms that just might be the perfect Thanksgiving app.

Quotes from Valentino. (He says he eats lots of chocolate; I think we are kindred spirits).

A sweet macaron print

Lots and lots of fringe--perfect for a holiday party and beyond.

10 Things to Freeze in Ice Trays

November 20, 2014

That humble plastic ice cube tray that you never give much thought to is good for more than just freezing water to chill your beverages.  Freezing foods, liquids, and even flowers is a convenient way to cook small amounts (each little square is about an ounce), and great for reusing leftovers instead of throwing them out. Here are ten things you can, and should, freeze to make life a little simpler.

1. Olive oil with chopped, fresh herbs or garlic
This is great for sauteing chicken or seafood, making sauces, or dipping bread once its thawed.

2. Wine
Use the cubes to chill sangria or other wine-based cocktails or use them in recipes that call for wine, such as bolognese or buerre blanc. Obviously you don't want to mix whites with reds, but also be mindful of mixing drier wines with sweet ones.

3. Coffee
Keep iced coffee from tasting watered down by using coffee ice cubes instead of regular ice.

4. Simple syrup 
These cubes will act as a sweetener; add them to unsweetened ice teas and beverages.

5. Fresh mint and strawberries
Freeze fresh mint and strawberries in a little water to make sparkling water even more refreshing. These are also great for lemonade.

6. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
If you got leftover lemons, freeze the juice and use it later for recipes or to flavor water. 

7. Rose buds and petals
Freeze small rose buds and petals in water, then use the cubes in ice buckets or on a tray to chill champagne. It makes for a gorgeous presentation. 

8. Yogurt
An instant snack for the little ones. Insert small popsicle sticks to make it easier for tiny hands to hold.

9. Leftover gravies and sauces
If you make too much of a sauce or gravy, freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays, then you can thaw and reheat only as much as needed.

10. Homemade cookie dough
Instead of baking a whole batch, you can pop these out and bake just one, two, or the entire tray if you want.

Must Have: Confetti Cocktail Muddler

November 19, 2014

These are simply adorable, aren't they? The circle and star confetti is actually engraved into solid wood, so I know they'll be sturdy enough to last for years and years. And since I don't already own a cocktail muddler (how, how is that even possible?), it's also a very practical purchase. I'm thinking of some sort of blackberry mojito situation--this weekend perhaps.

Comfort and Joy: Comfort Foods with a Twist

November 18, 2014

When the temperature drops, a cold kale salad just can't compare to a bowl of hot soup or a plate of gooey mac and cheese. Cold days that turn into long, chilly evenings call for warm and soothing comfort foods.  Here, five culinary comforts that have been remixed to make them even better.

This dish brings two separate comfort foods together, then tops them with bacon.

Never mind dipping your grilled cheese into your tomato soup--make croutons out of it.

The carb-y goodness of soft beer pretzels made even better with a creamy, bacon-y filling.

The perfect crispy, hot, cheesy snack for watching football on Sunday. 

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food; this recipe kicks it up with jalapenos and buffalo chicken.
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