Festive Drinks

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If you are throwing a holiday party of some sort this upcoming season and want something unique and new to serve for beverages, try some of these simple festive cocktails:

Fall Honeycrisp Sangria: http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2009/11/04/honeycrisp-apple-sangria/

Cranberry Mojito: http://www.wearenotmartha.com/2011/11/cranberry-mojitos/

Bailey’s With Coffee Ice cubes: http://www.pinporium.com/summer-cocktail-freeze-coffee-as-ice-cubes-and-toss-in-a-cup-of-baileys-and-vanilla-vodka

Apple Cider Sangria: http://www.nerve.com/advice/drink-this-cocktail-fall-sangria

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Great wine AND Soon to be home decor…

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I have a weird liking of skull things.  I love sugar skulls and other decorative prints of skulls.  So when I saw a particular wine bottle on the wine shelf at Trader Joe’s called “Dearly Beloved I Thee Red” with a red floral skull on the label I quickly snatched it up not caring that the wine its self was probably garbage.  To my pleasant surprise, this red blend was actually really delicious…and only $8 a bottle! Dearly Beloved is  a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc, from the Central Coast.  It’s a nice full bodied red with nice raspberry and stone fruit notes.  Right up my alley.  So not only did i get myself a mighty decent bottle of wine, I also got myself  a  a soon to be vase, candle, or whatever creative piece of home decor Pinterest throws at me involving a wine bottle 🙂

Graduation and Greek Chili!

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I GRADUATED THIS WEEKEND! It was bitter-sweet actually.  As much as I am ready to be done with the commitment to school, I will truly miss it.  At the ceremony I got to see all of my friends from my very first term in management that I haven’t seen in months and got to hear some amazing things from the chefs talking on stage.  It’s hard to come to the realization that I actually completed culinary school and after this class I am done…OCI has been a forefront of my life for the past 14 months straight.

But you still have to celebrate right!? I was fortunate to have my parents from St. Louis here in pdx for my graduation along with a bunch of other family members from around the area.  Afterwards we all went back to my aunts house to celebrate, eat, and watch football of course.  I knew ahead of time that the weather was not going to bee too pretty and that barbecuing was to risky to plan with rain in the forecast so I narrowed down my options to sloppy tacos and margaritas or chili and wine.  I decided to  do chili with a twist…I made Greek chili with ground beef, tomatoes, olives (i used sliced black), garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, and some herbs and spices.  To top it all off, each bowl got a generous scoop of feta cheese and a slice of kalamata olive bread (from Trader Joe’s) .  It was a hit! Everyone was amazed and I found all the complements a bit humorous only because they had no clue how incredibly easy the whole thing was.  Brown meat. Add onion. Throw whatever else in. Crock pot that shit. EASY!

Sometimes the best recipes are the simplest.  Especially when it comes to comfort food.  On an occasion where you are trying to feed a bunch of mouths and not trying to be formal, people will be happiest with something simple and comforting.  Plus I don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen while everyone has fun and is stuffing their bellies! Thats why I like recipes i can make ahead of time and heat up before it’s time to eat.

So the moral of this post…keep it simple. Keep it delicious.

Hoping for a nice kitchen!

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My boyfriend and I are moving at the end of the month into a house.  The only problem…we haven’t found a house to rent yet.  Although he thinks it’s silly, I for some reason am really picky about the kitchen.  I guess one of the most exciting parts of moving for me is the idea to have my very own kitchen (not like the one i currently have in my little apartment) to cook and experiment in with anything that I want, and to create meals that my boyfriend and house guest will enjoy. I don’t want my favorite part of the house to be an undesirable area because it it where I want to spend most of my time.

Fall is now in full swing and that means Crockpots, stews, and roasts.  I so look forward to the scent of pumpkin pastries, apple cider, and various soup smells that will be coming from my new kitchen this fall.  Here are a few links to recipes i am most excited to make this season:

Chickpea & Chard Stew: 

Pork Ragout w/ Garlic Gnocchi: http://simply-delicious.co.za/2012/06/28/slow-braised-pork-ragu-with-roasted-garlic-gnocchi/

Pumpkin Coffee Cake: http://www.prettygoodfood.com/2012/02/pumpkin-coffee-cake-with-brown-sugar.html?m=1

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles: http://penniesonaplatter.com/2011/10/28/pumpkin-snickerdoodles/

As you will learn I have an obsession with pumpkin flavored things! This time of the year especially, if i see a pumpkin recipe I go for it.  There will most likely be a future post all on “Pumpkin Flavored Stuff”.  But until then, wish me luck on the hunt for a house and enjoy those fall recipes!