Happy Hour--Grilled Peach & Basil Mezcal Margaritas

Ok guys I just want you to know that this cocktail seriously rocks!  I am so for real about this.  I made this cocktail because I had some peaches that I was about to throw away literally. One more day and they would have been too far gone (and I really, really hate to waste produce).  I also had the grill out, and in 90℉ weather that's a big deal.  Think hot, sticky, humid weather and then add a 450℉ grill-not pretty my friends, not pretty. But alas, I powered through and was rewarded with this super delicious sweet, spicy, smoky cocktail. Someones gotta do it.

Pineapple Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry

Asian food is my second favorite type of food.  Living in Tex-Mex country, I'm contractually obligated to love Mexican food the most--sorry it's the law.  But Asian food definitely comes in a close second.  I absolutely love the sweet, salty, aromatic flavors.  Almost every night that I spend at home I pass my time either reading food blogs or cookbooks (the other nights at home are spent shopping online-obviously). Lately, I've been drawn to Asian flavors and there are so many good blogs and cookbooks that focus on Asian inspired cuisine. So this is a relatively new area for me and I'm doing lots of experimenting--some good (like this one) and some not so good (we won't go there). This recipe is adapted from one of my all-time favorite food blogs- Half Baked Harvest. Her site is absolutely amazing.

Tailgating Tuesdays--Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

So every good football party needs some cookies, right???  And specifically these cookies (in my opinion, anyway).  These are my all-time favorite cookies. Soft in the middle, crunchy on the outside, full of semi-sweet chocolate chips and delicious peanut butter.  My mouth is watering just writing about them.

German Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Candied Pecans

Who else loves German Chocolate Cake as much as I do??  Coconut, pecan, and chocolate- a totally decadent combonation which is very hard to beat.   I actually made this cake because it was our Anniversary and my husband requested a German Chocolate Cake, but not just any German Chocolate Cake.  He wanted one with the Chocolate Ganache on top.  He loves the stuff.  So I decided to make my original German Chocolate Cake and then make the chocolate ganache. It was definitely a win-win.

Homemade Vanilla

A few years ago I started making my own vanilla extract.  It's so easy.  I ordered the vanilla beans, bought some vodka and bourbon, a few jars and voila--Homemade Vanilla.

Learning how to make homemade vanilla extract is so easy. It requires two ingredients and makes everything you use it in taste and smell incredible.  I promise, once you make your own homemade vanilla extract, there’s just no going back to the store-bought version. There's also a bonus, you can refill real vanilla extract with more vodka or bourbon as it runs out.  It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

The key to making this vanilla is patience.  It takes approximately 12 months for the vanilla to achieve the right color and flavor,  so definitely plan ahead.  The vodka vanilla is perfect for when you only want a pure vanilla flavor in your recipes.  Whereas, the bourbon vanilla adds a depth and complexity to the vanilla flavor--perfect for chocolate or any type of rich flavors.

Happy Hour--The Waiting Room

This past weekend my husband and I spent a little time in New Orleans.  We stopped into one of our favorite restaurants/bars, SoBou for a cocktail before dinner on Friday night.  Every time I visit SoBou I always have the hardest time deciding on a specific drink.  (All of them look so delicious.). This time I decided on a gin cocktail called "The Waiting Room" and I might have had more than two of them.

This cocktail is a delicious blend of gin, Lillet wine, lemon juice, orgeat (almond) syrup, and orange bitters. It's the perfect combination of herbally sweetness with a touch of citrus. I'm not sure if my version is exactly the same as of the one at SoBou, but it sure comes close.

Yield: 1 cocktail

The Waiting Room

A delicious Gin Lillet cocktail inspired by a delicious cocktail from SoBou New Orleans.


  • 2 ounces gin ( I used Citadelle)
  • 1 1/2  ounces Lillet
  • 1 ounce orgeat syrup
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • lemon peel for garnish


  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the gin, Lillet, orgeat syrup, and lemon juice.  Shake well until combined and fully chilled.  
  2. Pour into a champagne coupe. Add 2 dashes of orange bitters and garnish with a lemon peel.




Travel Diary--Hôtel Bradford Elysées in Paris, France

This summer our travels took us to Greece and France.  While my husband and I were in Paris we decided to stay at the Hôtel Bradford Elysées, and what a great decision it was.  

The Bradford Elysées is ideally located between the Champs-Elysées and Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by a variety of shopping and fantastic restaurants.  

Source via