Drink Pomegranate Gin Fizz. And Be Happy.

It's such a tremendously fun time of year, isn't it? The holiday decor is competing for our attention at Target (do I focus on Thanksgiving? Or do I just dive straight into Christmas? BOTH. ALWAYS BOTH.) The temperatures have dropped, so we get to cozy up to our loved ones and wear hats and gloves and chunky boots. Well, I'm sure that's the case somewhere in the world. My New York friends are certainly doing that. My Georgia friends... well, we are all confused about the weather here. Like, why is it always raining?? And tricking us with the threat of tornadoes? We prefer winter wonderlands. But whatever - LET'S DRINK SPIKED POMEGRANATE JUICE.

I concocted this for the flurry of bridal festivities a few weeks back, and it was so girly and different and good. It would be a great holiday appetizer cocktail for all the upcoming smashing events that I know are on your calendar. Enjoy, friends!

Ingredients:
- 2 oz. gin
- 2 oz. pomegranate juice (I prefer POM)
- 2 oz. club soda
- 2 lime wedges
- fresh mint leaves

Method:
1. Combine gin, pomegranate juice and the juice of 1 lime wedge in a shaker. Shake mixture well.
2. Fill a highball glass (or in my case, a stemless wine glass) with ice and a few sprigs of fresh mint. Muddle that mint a bit. It's asking for it.
3. Pour drink mixture into the glass. Garnish with extra mint and another lime wedge on the side. You're so fancy.

So fancy! That is all! Happy holiday imbibing, my friends! xox.

Taste: Lavender Lemonade Icee

GEORGIA HEAT. It’s time for popsicles and ice cream and frozen yogurt and yes, icees! I do my best to make these treats at home, so that we don’t pay a premium at restaurants to stay cool all summer long. Trips to the ice cream shop can get pricey, especially with a husband who is an ice cream GLUTTON. He's lucky he's got some serious metabolism. But I started experimenting at home and this is a recent favorite. And it's an especially sweet, special treat, because it’s flavored with real lavender, which, when I'm drink it, makes me feel like a fanciful character out of a southern novel. And it does the trick! It really cooled me off in the midst of grappling with these humid Georgia temperatures! Get your slushy on, people.

Ingredients:

-  4 cups ice

- 1.5 cups water

- 2 tbsp. lavender, dried or fresh

- ½ tbsp. raw sugar

- 2 lemons, peeled

Method:

1. Add ice, water and lemons to the blender. Blend on high for 10 seconds, or until just combined.

2. Add lavender and sugar. Blend again on high for 10 seconds, until mixture takes on an even, purple-ish tone. The prettiest icee I ever did see.

3. Pour into cups and enjoy! Decorate with bits of extra lavender and lemon, if you’re feeling fancy. Drink immediately, so it doesn’t melt!

Happy summering to you!

Taste: "Good Morning!" Green Juice

Good Morning Green Juice.

It's almost the weekend! To celebrate, let's add some healthy color to your morning routine! This is such a delicious way to get revved up and start the day. It's even better then a cup of coffee. That's right, I said it. I love drinking this in the morning because it feels really good to get in so many fruits and veggies so early in the day! Plus, it looks suuuuper green, but I promise it doesn't taste like grass. It tastes really tangy and refreshing (thanks to that hot hit of mint, mmm.)

This recipe serves two and is best if made in a high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, or a juicer.

Ingredients:

- 2 ribs of kale

- 1 handful of spinach (about 1 cup)

- 1 cup baby carrots (5-6)

- 1 green apple

- 1 red apple

- 1 lemon, skin and pith removed

- 3-4 sprigs of mint

- 1-inch piece of ginger, peel removed

- 1/3 cucumber, peeled

- 1 cup water

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients into Veronica the Vitamix (it's a bond, people), and secure the lid.

2. If you have a Vitamix: Select Variable 1. Turn the machine on and quickly increase speed to variable 10, then turn on High. Blend for 45 seconds or until the desired consistency is reached.

If you have a juicer/food processor: You might have to do this in batches. My food processor is only a 2-cup, so I would probably have to break this up into three separated batches. Or you could try to use a powerful blender, but just make sure all your ingredients are roughly chopped (the carrots might pose the biggest problem.)

Seriously, this is going to make you feel like a superhero. Now go and conquer your week!

Keeping your weekend green! And let me know what you think!

*This recipe was featured this week on Flat8 Magazine's website! Make sure to visit the site and check it out! Their content is so fun :)

TASTE: Lavender-Agave Limoncello

Inspiration for Lemons.

I'm already longing for my time in Italy. This past summer I took the most epic of all trips and backpacked through Europe with the love of my life. This is a trip we had been dreaming about for 6 years, and it came to a beautiful and adventurous culmination during the month of June. We ate SO well, and I've been mulling over a couple of exotic recipes that I want to attempt to make stateside. So maybe I can't exactly replicate this astounding margherita pizza from Naples (apparently the flavor is in the water), but I can try my hand at a few other tasty treats. The first of my European-inspired attempts is limoncello. FYI it takes a bit of patience to make this (so add PATIENCE to your ingredient list. Seriously.)

Limoncello is served in Italy at the very end of a meal, when your belly is gleefully protruding over your pants and your mouth is dumbly drunk from the pleasing combination of bufala mozzarella, hot doughy bread, fresh spiced basil-tomatoes, savory white fish, home made pasta and of course, wine. And dessert. And then more wine. Need I say more? Then, at the very end of the meal, limoncello seals the deal. It's the last kiss of the night before you roll yourself into bed. And it's glorious, to say the least.

I got this recipe from a dear old Italian woman who ran a restaurant up in the foothills of the Amalfi Coast. She laughed at me while she wrote the recipe down, saying, "You can try, but you won't be able to make this back at home." Apparently that is because the Italians use 100-proof alcohol in their recipe, which is, well, not exactly sold in the U.S. We basically have to make do with a lot of vodka. So I fashioned my own concoction based on her recipe, along with Giada's (obviously), this recipe from Linden Hills Co-op and this recipe from Imbibe. And I decided to make two batches, one regular and one using infused lavender and agave. Time to get crazy!

Lavender Agave Limoncello

Ingredients:

- 2 cups vodka

- 5 lemons, peeled

- 2 limes, peeled

- 1/2 tsp. lavender

- 2/3 cup agave

- 1 cup water

- Juice from 2 lemons

Method:

1. Using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, peel the lemons and limes carefully. Trim away any white pith from the peels, as the pith can make the limoncello taste bitter.

2. Place the peels in a large pitcher and pour 2 cups of vodka over the peels. Add in the lavender. Cover the mouth of the pitcher with plastic wrap and set the pitcher in a cool, dark place. Allow the peels to steep for at least a week. (This is the part where your patience needs to kick in.)

3. After a week has passed, combine the agave+water+juice from two lemons in a saucepan and bring to a boil. I like to boil the sliced lemons in with the sweetened mixture (it gives it a yummy sweet-and-sour flavor!) After the mixture has boiled for a good 5 minutes, remove from heat. Let the mixture cool completely. (Again, utilize your patience and just walk away. You can do it.)

4. Once it's completely cooled, the agave+water+lemon mixture should be the consistency of syrup. Strain the syrupy through a fine mesh strainer. This should weed out all the lemons and seeds. Double strain if necessary. Set the syrup aside.

5. Next, strain the lemon peel-vodka mixture.

6. Combine both mixtures and seal in a glass jar. I got mine at Crate & Barrel, but I also used a mason jar as a second container. Store in the freezer for up to a month.

Now Enjoy! You can serve the limoncello in shot glasses at the end of the meal, or you can use it as a cocktail mixer. It's a snazzy beverage, perfect for the coming months' holiday celebrations.

To Make Regular Limoncello

Follow the above method with these ingredients: 

- 2 cups vodka

- 5 lemons, peeled

- 2 limes, peeled

- 1 cup sugar (I used raw)

- 1 cup water

- Juice from 2 lemons

Drink and Be Merry.

I hope you love this as much as I do. Soak up your inner-Italian and enjoy. It's a real treat.

Bon Appetit!

TASTE: Pumpkin Almond Spiced Coffee Syrup (with a side of Biscuits!)

Fall is in the air. I love walking by someone on the street who has a coffee in their hand, because these days it almost always smells like pumpkin spice. Oh the blessed scents of autumn. I've been having tons of pumpkin fun in my kitchen, and I was feeling so inspired by my bff Natalie mentioning her pumpkin coffee that I decided to make my own coffee pumpkin syrup. I adapted this recipe from A Beautiful Mess by swapping out the sugar for agave and adding in almond extract. It gives the flavor a smooth, nutty hint. Just right for fall.

Pumpkin Almond Spiced Coffee Syrup

Ingredients:

- 1.5 cups water

- 3/4 cup agave syrup

- 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

- 1/4 tsp. almond extract

- A dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves & ginger

*Go easy on the cloves, it's a very strong spice

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine. Continue to cook for 5-6 minutes, but don't allow it to boil.

2. Store for up to two weeks in an airtight container. Refrigerate. Use in your coffee and enjoy the yummy fall flavor!

We enjoyed our coffee this weekend with these delicious, super easy to make biscuits.

Ingredients:

- 1.5 cups all-purpose baking mix (I used Trader Joes)

- 1/4 stick butter, softened

-  3/4 cup cold milk

Method:

1. Combine all ingredients. Mix together thoroughly. Don't overmix.

2. Drop spoonfuls on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Voila! We enjoyed with yummy apple butter.

Heavenly tastes, you may commence.

Bon Appetit!