Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stirrings Cocktail Mixer Holiday Blogger Challenge

Disclaimer: I received complimentary product for entering this contest. All opinions are my own.

The holiday season may be over, but cocktail season is all year long! This is my entry into the Stirrings Holiday Blogger Challenge!

Stirrings boasts "simply better cocktails" and with no preservatives and a wide variety of drink mixers to choose from, it's definitely a slogan that fits.

I received the 5 Calorie Margarita, and after drinking nearly half the bottle sampling the perfect Margarita proportions (can you blame me?), I switched gears and decided to use my favorite cocktail as inspiration: and old fashioned.

If you live in Austin, here's where you can pick up Stirrings cocktails: 1st Colony Liquors, Total Wines & More, 34 Wine & Liquors, 6S Spirits, ABC Liquors, 82 Liquor. I loved the 5 calorie margarita mix, but I also was able to sample the Bloody Mary and it was excellent.

This New Fashioned is a spicy upgrade to the typical whiskey drink--there's not even whiskey in it! It's kind of like a sipping margarita, and it packs quite the punch!

Don't forget to check out Stirrings on     FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

Stirrings' New Fashioned

  • 1.5 oz tequila
  • 1 oz Stirrings 5 Calorie Margarita Mix
  • 1/2 oz chile simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 slice mango (+1 for garnish)
  • 2 shakes bitters
  • lime sparkling water, to fill

Chile simple syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

-For the syrup: in a saucepan over medium heat, warm the ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Take off heat and chill until ready to use.

-In a cocktail glass, muddle together the mango, bitters, and simple syrup.

-Add the tequila, and fill glass with ice. Pour sparkling water on top and mix until well blended.

-Serve with a mango slice garnish.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Happy New Year, everyone!

Alrighty, so I love weekly roundups of bloggers' favorite things. I don't know why, I guess it's like getting advice/suggestions from an old friend--even if it's an old friend I've never met. This one has been in the works for MONTHS, so it's slightly outdated but still accurate in that these are things I love.

If it does well, maybe I'll do more!

Here's where I share things related to food/blogging/cooking/restaurants that I have discovered and/or received for review. If there's a *, I've received a product gratis from the company for purpose of reviewing.

I received a handful of Dreamfarm items for purpose of review, and since I’d never heard of them before I didn’t quite know what to expect. Turns out, their products are very well made and EXTREMELY useful! I had no idea that I had a need for measuring cups with a built-in leveler, or a spatula with a built-in bend for optimal flipping, and now I can’t imagine my kitchen without them!

I am lucky to live in the state of Texas, where receiving alcohol via the mail is actually legal. This is exciting, because I was given a sample of the Drizly service recently. It works like any other delivery service: order booze, get it delivered. Just make sure the person ordering is the same one answering the door, since you need photo ID. I was excited to receive my favorite bourbon, Bulleit, and the transaction with my delivery person was pleasant and quick. I definitely will be taking advantage of this service when I’m throwing a party and the libations are running low!

Full disclosure: they’re sending me a 3 day cleanse for review, and I will be blogging my thoughts throughout the process. O’Joy is a local austin juice and smoothie shop that goes beyond a simple cafe and offers all sorts of healthful living tools--like meal plans, cleanses, and catering. They use organic and/or locally grown ingredients in all their items, and their shop also sells sandwiches and light lunches. What’s truly great about O’Joy though, is that they donate to charities that fight hunger, and have made it a major part of their business. I’m so excited to try their cleanse! Hopefully it will let me ease into some healthier habits.

Things I find on the internet and stuff.

Buzzfeed’s 30 Day Fitness Challenge - I said on the 1st I'd do this... I haven't yet, but it seems do-able!
I wrote a thing! Paste: 12 Easy Recipes Every Adult Should Know 
Paste: Best Political Food Moments. Food and politics go together like Ben & Jerry's and Bernie Sanders. Who knew?
Food Blogger Friend: Sriracha Bacon Lobster Rolls from Nomageddon--yum!
Thank you letter to musical theater parents  - As a musical theater kid, this really hit home for me.

Each week I’m going to highlight a different thing I love in ATX. Might be a list, might be one highlight, who knows! This week it’s…

Best Brunches! Because yes, I am a basic bitch. I’ve been lucky enough to hit some prime brunch spots lately and I’d love to share my findings.

Vinaigrette - We had our Austin Food Blogger Alliance holiday party here and I am still DREAMING of the chile corn cakes ever since. Their food is fresh and amazing.
Goodnite - This is one of those secret gems I always turn to when I want delicious brunch and no wait. Extra points: free bowling on Sundays!

Swift’s Attic - Make reservations. Trust me, it’s a madhouse on weekends. We were quoted a 3 hour wait one time as a walk-in! But it’s worth planning ahead for their bloody mary bar alone. I had a brunch bi bim bap that was to die for.

Snooze - I recently went to this lovely chain for brunch with a friend and we were blown away. There’s always a long wait, but they provide games to play outside and text you when the table is ready. Our service was incredible, and the food was just out of this world. PLUS, you can order half portions of nearly ANYTHING in order to sample the most amazing foods at once. Score!

New Fortune - What else can I say besides this is the best dim sum in the city? Track down the garlic shrimp. And get everything off the dessert cart. If you experience a wait, pop on over to the nearby boba shop and get a delicious tea!

Question of the week: How do you get yourself to exercise? I’d love some tips on finding a routine and sticking to it!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How to Eat a Lobster - Now Available for Pre-Sale!


I know we all have strong feelings about 2016. But I know there's a handful of things I'm excited for in 2017... like, getting married and...


*not that I'm more excited about that than getting married, both are beyond awesome and cool.

How to Eat a Lobster and Other Culinary Enigmas Explained is now available via pre-order! My lovely publisher, Quirk Books (same folks who published Pride & Prejudice & Zombies!!), lists all the various places you can place an order for my book, so you can be first in line when it comes out April 4th.

This has been a dream 23 years in the making. Thank you all so much for the support! I cannot wait to see what the life of a Published Author has in store for me, but I am forever grateful :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake - Holiday Season Begins

Pumpkin Spice Season isn't over until I SAY it's over, okay? Pumpkins keep well in winter and I know y'all have a bunch of extra cans hidden in your pantry.

Holiday season is upon us! Do you know what YOU'RE bringing to your office potluck?

Believe me, this cheesecake is the highlight of ANY holiday table. Funny story: I attended a potluck for local theater people and accidentally dropped this cheesecake. I had nothing else to bring, so I ended up salvaging what I could and putting it in the pan. I kid you not, I heard, more than once, "who brought the weird pudding thing? IT'S DELICIOUS!"

So, even when you drop it and it looks like nothing, it still tastes amazing. Get on this.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

  • 1 1/2 cup crushed ginger snaps
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 3 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I use bourbon vanilla)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 large eggs

Topping: 1/4 cup caramel sauce (I use homemade with bourbon mixed in), pumpkin pie seeds (I used Trader Joe's spiced)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

-Mix together crushed ginger snaps and melted butter. Press into a springform pan (or deep pie dish), using a glass to press the crumbs as tightly as possible, and pushing them up the edges of the pan.

-In a stand mixer, mix together the cream cheese, pumpkin puree, and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Taste, and adjust spice if desired.

-Pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared crust. Bake for an hour, until firm. Let cool completely.

-Drizzle caramel over the prepared cheesecake and top with pumpkin seeds.

Tip: to avoid the top cracking in the oven, place a pan with water on the bottom shelf of the oven and let it bake with the cheesecake.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Back for the Season with Hot Mulled Wine

I've been absent from the blog. I missed the biggest foodie holiday. I'm sorry. Election season hit and I didn't really feel like cooking. It's been hard to focus on lighthearted things when you're preoccupied with the outcome of a polarizing election and feeling helpless and upset. It feels fake to get excited about recipes when so many are hurting.

When not trying to be a millennial social justice warrior princess, I've been diving into improv with my new troupe, a group of girls who I just adore. I suppose jumping on stage and being forced to be lighthearted and funny and find humor and healing with no prep is easier than sitting down and creating a recipe and writing a post. Excited to see where our group goes in the coming year.

My darling fiance, who typically helps me with my food photography, has also been recovering from surgery. So without the help here, it was just easier to take a mini-hiatus.

Anyways, that's where I've been.

About this recipe, my grand return back to blogging--it's funny, because I've challenged myself to avoid alcohol until Christmas--is a delicious hot mulled wine. Mulled wine reminds me of nearly 10 years ago, when I was wandering the gorgeous streets of Prague during a study abroad trip. It's hot, boozy, and perfect for the season.

Texas is still lovely and warm, but if I close my eyes and sip slow I can almost hear the snow patting softly on the windowsill.

Serve a big pot for your holiday party. It's like winter sangria. And sangria is legit.

Hot Mulled Wine

  • 2 bottles of mild red wine - I use a red blend
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into rounds
  • The peel from 1 orange
  • 1 tsp dried whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1/3 cup sugar

-Over medium heat, combine all ingredients.

-Let wine simmer for 10 minutes, until fragrant. Let simmer longer for a more intense flavor.

-Use a ladle to pick out the spices. Serve in heat-proof cups. Optional: serve with a sprig of rosemary.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkin Beers

Hey all! I made a few Youtube videos of my friends and I trying to find the perfect pumpkin beer!

Check it out and have a happy and safe Halloween :D I know I will... can anyone guess what my costume is?