Thirsty Thursday--Lemon Drop Martini

The Lemon-Drop Martini is this week's featured cocktail.

And, I'm kind of sad...
because I'm kind of on a cocktail hiatus right now.
I'm doing a Metabolic Diet and alcohol is a no-no at this stage.
I don't know if I can abstain indefinitely,
but am definitely going to give it my best shot
(for a little while anyway)

So (sob-sob) Thirsty Thursday will be on a little break---
just a little one for a short while,
at least until I'm past the first stages in my weight loss plan--ugggh!!
(I've already lost 10.5 lbs up to this point with diet and exercise-so I'm motivated to keep going.)

Just in case you were wondering, though,
I actually made this cocktail a little while back.
Photographed it,
and started the draft.
I don't know what happened,
but I never shared.

Good thing I guess.

Fall Wish List

We've had one cool day,
not a cold day,
but a day that dipped into the 70's...
and I am so ready for fall.

I can't wait for boots, jackets, and sweaters.
I even started decorating my house for fall this past weekend
(photos to come soon).

I absolutely love fall clothes-really clothes for all seasons,   
but I adore the comfort and coziness of fall, and 
I love, love, love boots.
(Did I say that already??)

Here are a few of my favorites that I plan on adding to my fall wardrobe.

Fall Wish List

How much do you love that clutch and silk dress?
Oh, and that sweatshirt is gorgeous.
I can't wait.
(I sure do hope that someone special reading this gets me that watch ASAP--hint, hint Honey.)

The NEW Laundry Room and Storage Area

A few months ago we decided that we needed a little more space in our laundry room.
We actually use our laundry room as a space for laundry, extra storage, and as a bedroom for our sweet pups.
We were totally out of room.
I wanted a space that would hold all of my extra china, glassware, and serving pieces in addition to laundry, a full size fridge, and a massive wine fridge.
The biggest requirement I had for the room, though, was for it to look as if it were there when we built our house.

We contacted our builder and he was more than happy to turn our outside storage junk room into a laundry room addition.

I don't know why, but I didn't take any pictures of the before space.
(Probably because it was a sad little space.)

Thirsty Thursday--Mango, Peach, and Jalapeno Margaritas

So the other day I was wandering aimlessly through the grocery store thinking about what my cocktail should be for this week.
I knew that I wanted a margarita, fo-sho,
but didn't know exactly what kind.

I have to stop myself every once in a while,
because I would make a margarita for you every single week.
That is how much I love them.

I didn't want the same old margarita,
but something fruity with a little kick.
(for the LSU game-GEAUX TIGERS) 
and I knew that I wanted something smoky and tangy.

Then I saw a few delicious mangoes and peaches.
I couldn't decide between them, 
so I thought why not put them together in one drink.

I added a little of my outta control jalapenos and it was on.

Rustic Peach Tart

Every Sunday night we host a family gathering.
A meal that my husband and I cook for the girls, my parents, and ourselves.
It is a lot of fun.
Sometimes friends join us, 
but mainly it's just family.
Very casual and relaxed.

It's also a great excuse to try out different recipes that I've wanted to make all week,
but didn't have the time or energy.

A few Sundays ago I decided to add this free-form Peach Tart to our Sunday dinner.

This recipe is a variation of the one that I had featured in 
Louisiana Cookin' magazine a few years back.

Rustic Peach Tart

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1 pie crust 
4 large peaches, cut into eighths
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Rum (regular or Spiced)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon coarse sugar (such as Demerara)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Combine peaches, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice, and Rum in large bowl.  Let ingredients sit for at least 30 minutes to combine.  Next, roll out pie crust into a large circle (at least 12 inches) on a baking sheet.
Place the peaches with the juices in the middle of the pie crust.  Fold the crust around the filling. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg over the crust.  Sprinkle the entire tart with the coarse sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.


Game Day Recipes

We are really excited at our house today.
(Well, my husband mostly.)

It's GAME DAY and we can't wait for some college football.

Which means that you've got to have snacks--
here are a few of our favorites.

Thirsty Thursday--Root Beer Floats with Cherry Infused Vanilla Vodka

When deciding on posting this drink I had to give it a lot of thought as to whether this...

is a cocktail or a dessert??

So I made a cocktail and thought about it really, really hard.
I came to the conclusion that cocktails are really the best food group so COCKTAILS won.

Sorry dessert.

Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

A few weeks ago we hosted a dinner party with some of our best friends.
(to celebrate a few special birthdays)

I decided to go with a Rustic Italian theme for the food and thought that a stuffed pork tenderloin would pair perfectly with the rest of the menu for the night.

To go with this decadent pork tenderloin we had
Prosciutto with Melon, 
Polenta with Fontina & Parmesan with a Balsamic Mushroom Sauce,
Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes with Hazelnut Creme Anglaise and Hazelnut Brittle.

I'm all about a coordinated dinner.
It's kind of one of my obsessions.
(It drives my husband absolutely bat-shXX crazy.)

Every time I plan a dinner, 
whether it's a Tuesday night or for a party I have to make sure that everything pairs well.

I know it's kind of weird and it sometimes makes things awkward when others are bringing things, 
but I just can't help it.
It's just one of my things.

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

1 large pork tenderloin (approximately 2-3 pounds)
1 bunch baby spinach, stems removed
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
3-4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, diced
salt and pepper

Butterfly the pork tenderloin and pound flat. Place on a large baking sheet (lay twine under the pork tenderloin).

Place a layer of baby spinach leaves on the pork.

Add the goat cheese.

Next, add the diced sun-dried tomatoes.

Roll the tenderloin and secure with the twine.

Season with salt and pepper.  Grill at 350 degrees until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (approximately 1 hour).


Thirsty Thursday--Tequila Blackberry Basil Shrub

Have you ever tried a cocktail made with a shrub?
If you haven't, then hold on to your horses because we are about to take a cocktail ride.

I had my first cocktail ever made with a shrub in New Orleans
(definitely the cocktail capital of the universe).
It was tangy and sweet.
A great flavor combination.
It was made with peach and basil.
(I definitely plan on making this next time.)

Fortunately for me though,
I have been swimming in blackberries this summer and decided to take the berry route for my first ever shrub cocktail.

This cocktail was DELICIOUS.
Just the right amount of sweet paired with the tanginess of the vinegar,
the smokiness of the tequila, 
and the bite of the basil.

Tequila Blackberry Basil Shrub

(adapted from Taste Love and Nourish)

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For the shrub:
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup blackberries
6-8 large basil leaves
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine the sugar, blackberries, and basil in a small bowl.  Crush the blackberries and basil and mix to combine with the sugar.  Allow to sit at room temperature for one hour.

In a clean jar, add the vinegars and berry mixtures.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and give it a shake. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 5 to 7 days.  Shake the mixture once or twice a day.

Strain the mixture with a fine mesh sieve and store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

For the cocktail:

3 ounces tequila
3 ounces blackberry basil shrub
4 ounces sparkling water or club soda (I used lime Perrier)
basil leaves for garnish

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add the tequila and shrub mixture.  Shake well until combined and pour into a chilled glass.  Top with sparkling water or club soda.  Garnish with basil leaves.


Prosciutto Figs with Cream Cheese and Walnuts

I am loving, loving, loving all of the figs that I am able to gather from my fig tree this year.
We have an LSU fig tree that we planted about 3 years ago.
It's a beast.
Last year it was about 4 stalks and this year it's exploded.

It's a very hardy tree and the figs are really sweet once ripened.
This is really the first year that it has produced more than a few.
(I even have enough to share with the birds.)

Right now there are about 200 unripe figs covering the tree and I've already picked a around 4 gallons this season.

Figs are such a decadent little fruit.
They are sweet, yet have a very distinct flavor when cooked.

I usually only use them for special occasions or during the season because they are so darn expensive at the grocery store.
This year, I've canned several different batches so I'm excited to have them out of season this year.

Now this recipe is probably going to be one of those "special occasion or in-season kind of recipes" because of the use of fresh figs.

Prosciutto Figs with Cream Cheese and Walnuts

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16 ripe figs
2 ounces cream cheese
16 walnuts
8 slices of prosciutto, slice in half vertically
honey to drizzle

To prepare figs--cut and remove stem, cut each fig into quarters about half way down so that you can split it open but it remains intact.  Next stuff the figs with about 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese.  Top with a walnut (push into middle).  Wrap each with a slice of prosciutto and secure with a toothpick.

Grill at 350 degrees until the prosciutto is crisp, about 15 minutes.

Drizzle with honey and serve warm.


Dining Room and Foyer Updates

Our dining room is finally getting to a place that I'm really loving.
Whenever I'm decorating I always tend to lean towards the traditional.  
A neutral color scheme, simple accessories,
and lots of classic antiques.

I've replaced the tapestry chairs,
changed the orientation of the table, 
and exchanged a few antique chests from other parts of the house.
The room actually feels twice as large
(and it's not a large room).

The antique chests are being utilized for storage and as a bar surfaces for when we use this room.

Decanters, a simple silver tray, and lots and lots of crystal
(thanks to my MIL).

I've kept the table arrangement simple--
a simple red ginger jar to bring in the colors of the rug in the foyer.

The lily pad plates in the foyer COULD NOT be replaced
(because I love them so).
I did add a few rustic accessories and a few pieces of copper and brass to the exchanged bookcase.

 I plan on adding a more copper and brass pieces as soon as I find the right ones.

Hopefully I'll be happy with the rooms for a short time and I think that adding a few fall accessories will take me into the next few months.

Sources for dining room and foyer:
paint-Ambiance by Benjamin Moore
dining table, accent table, and chests--antiques
dining chairs-Pottery Barn and Havertys
art--panels-Canatella Interiors, Robert Rucker print, oyster plates, sconces--antique
drapes- Restoration Hardware--old
All decanters, silver, and copper-- Waterford, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany
Lily Pad plates-Global Views
ginger jar-Canatella Interiors
copper jugs and plate-Medina

Thirsty Thursday--Late Summer Sangria

I know that everyone is always looking forward to summer,
but living in Louisiana,
(and not working a job that has the summer off-that's probably the real reason to be quite honest)
I'm always looking forward to fall.

Our fall is like summer to certain parts of the country.
When my peppers and figs start reaching their peak I know that the end of summer is only about a month away.

Now, I am totally getting ready for cooler temps, 
but I am still loving all of the awesome produce that summer is famous for.

So when the awesome folks over at Williams-Sonoma asked if I could share a
fresh fruit juiced Sangria
recipe I was all in.

I absolutely love Sangria.
Really, I love wine and I love fruit.
Therefore, I automatically love Sangria.

And, I thought that this would be the ultimate opportunity to combine my love of freshly juiced fruits with my love of wine with a
Sangria in honor of late summer.

I've been hooked on Sauvignon Blanc wines this summer and I thought that nothing would be better than a pairing with a few of my fresh LSU figs, pears, apples, and St. Germain for the  most perfect sangria.

(It's also really beautiful.)

The combination of figs, apples, pears, and St. Germain with Sauvignon Blanc wine is perfect.
I also took the ingredients to the next step and freshly juiced them to release the most flavor.

Juicing is probably the key to this recipe.
The flavors of the freshly juiced fruit knock you out and add extra sweetness without the use of artificial sweeteners and sugar.
Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Late Summer Sangria

2  Fuji or Ambrosia apples, 1 juiced (1/2 cup) and 1 sliced
2 Bosc or Bartlett pears, 1 juiced (1/2 cup) and 1 sliced
16 figs, 10 juiced (2 tablespoons) and 6 sliced
1/2 cup St. Germain 
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 cup to 1 cup Ginger Ale

In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients and let sit for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours to chill.

P.S. I use a Breville Juice Fountain Plus which I absolutely love
(I've had it for years).
It's a true workhorse--will juice anything.
Definitely an essential for any home cocktail connoisseur.