Saturday, November 1, 2014

In The Kitchen -- Hot Apple Cider Glory

At the most relaxing Halloween gathering I think I can ever recall, in the home of Kristina of Estilo, I was treated to a divine concoction -- a hot gin apple cider that Stephanie of Shindig stirred up for the grown ups to sip while trick-or-treating. It made for the night's perfect witches' brew, and this warm mug of delight will now be bewitching me throughout the colder days and holidays ahead.

The recipe is adapted from this rum cider punch, but in swapping out rum for gin, it has a lightness that sets it apart from other festive ciders that I mostly find to be overly sweet. This one is simply the best I've encountered. 

It goes like this...

Gin+Ginger Hot Apple Cider


8 cups apple cider
1 apple, thinly sliced in circles
1 orange, thinly sliced in circles
2 cinnamon sticks
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups gin, or desired amount

In a large pot, combine all ingredients except for the gin, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the gin, or else add it to each serving in individual cups. Needless to say, sans any alcohol, this makes for a glorious treat for all ages. 

Welcome, Autumn!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Daytime Dating aka Couples Who Lunch

I've always been more of a day person than night (with the exception of my years living in NYC where I was a round-the-clock person). Longtime favorite daytime indulgence -- stealing an afternoon movie. 

When kids entered the picture, nighttime adventures took on another level of daunting for me. It's simply not that easy to gear up for an evening out when you're... chronically exhausted? And, of course, there's the whole sitter conundrum/expense. 

So lately, I've made a return to my 'I love the daylife' roots and have embarked on a bit of a couples-who-lunch roll. While the kids are at school, my husband and I have been giving ourselves time outs and meeting up for lunch. Other countries have long embraced the art of dropping everything midday to savor life and good food, and it's feeling pretty brilliant to me at this point. Plus, there are no sitters required and I never have to make that end of day choice between motivating to go out or collapsing on the couch in my sweats. 

Daytime dating is fab... especially when you don't have the pulse of a big city keeping you wired for the nightlife. 

there is a table for two somewhere just waiting


sometimes fresh air and a quick food grab does the trick 

when we really play hooky, this occasionally happens

even our anniversary this year was lunch out instead of dinner


Monday, September 15, 2014

In The Kitchen -- Arugula Salad Loveliness


A favorite salad that I've been making for years. It's light and refreshing while flavorful and divine. Perfect for dinner time, but I actually first threw this together to serve for a brunch alongside quiche -- still possibly my top way to have it.

It goes like this...

Start with Arugula, scatter with Parmesan Cheese shavings, sprinkle with Pine Nuts, drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and fresh squeezed Lemon Juice, add a little Salt and fresh ground Pepper. Voila, simple salad deliciousness, inside and out.

Friday, August 29, 2014

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation...

Our summer recipe this year was simple and time tested. It went like this...


Good Food
Good Friends
Happy Pets
Nights Al Fresco
Loose Plans

Mix all ingredients together, simmer for as long as possible, then reheat the memories over and over.

'til next year...

* A variation to this recipe to keep summer vacation from ever ending -- throw everything into storage, take the kids out of school, and travel the world for an entire year. That's the deliciousness friends cooked up. Read about it here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Dreamy Industrial Space -- Babcock Winery

A daytrip to go wine tasting in Santa Barbara Wine Country is always a treat. When a winery like Babock enters the picture, it's a whole other experience. Usually, it's the surrounding landscape that makes for all the eye candy swooning, but in this case, what looms inside the walls is surprisingly rad.

While my tasting compadres tasted, I spent the majority of our time at this stop feasting on (and iphone-ing in) the spectacular space and all of its goodies. It's winery meets Paris flea market, and it is utterly dreamy.

This winery also happened to be a highlight tasting experience of the day (Brian Babcock was named a top ten winemaker), and we left with a bottle of the 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills, a group fave. Undoubtedly, we'll be making our way back here again sooner than later.

Let's take a little stroll through... 

greetings, wine tasters

the great indoors

the paris flea lives in california

that rug. that floor. swoon.

the separate seventies rock 'n roll room 

even the bathroom has paris flea charisma

'til next time!