I shared my brie and jam pinwheel bites last week from my friend Elizabeth‘s blogger holiday party, and realized I hadn’t yet shared the cocktail recipe we used for the event (brie and pastry dough are delicious, but they’re nothing without a tasty cocktail to wash them down with!). Elizabeth decorated stemless wine glasses with metallic gold dots that looked like sparkly little bubbles, so of course we had to fill them with something bubbly! We added to each glass about an ounce each of pomegranate juice and Grand Marnier signature collection liquor (it’s raspberry and peach flavored, holy yum.), and then filled the rest of the glasses with champagne — and of course, gave them a swirl with a tinsel-topped drink stirrer. I didn’t have a name picked out for this concoction just yet, and one of my fellow bloggers said, I think you should call it the Blogger Bellini! I’ll cheers to that.

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I got such great feedback a few weeks back about my 3-ingredient appetizer idea  that I decided to try another combination for a little blogger holiday party thrown by my friend Elizabeth this weekend. And for this little snack I chose one my all time favorite cheese, a creamy french brie… yum. I rolled out thawed puff pastry dough (store bought, from the frozen food section!) and spread a thin layer of strawberry jam across the surface, and spaced out the slices of cheese.  Then I rolled the dough over the ingredients and sealed off the edges before cutting it into pinwheel slices. I baked the pinwheels — on baking sheet with a light mist of cooking spray — for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees. Let them cool a bit before removing them from the baking sheet so all of the cheese doesn’t ooze out — you don’t want any of that going to waste! I think this is going to be a new entertaining staple, it took about 5 minutes of prep time and they flew off the plate! Brie and Jam Pinwheels 1 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 2 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 3 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 4 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 5 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 6

I got a head start this weekend on holiday baking, who says pies are just for Thanksgiving day? I’m a big of fan of individual-sized desserts (as evidenced here and here), after a heavy meal and lots of snacking, I always still want dessert, but just need a little taste to tie me over. So I made the recipe for classic pumpkin pie (I use a top secret family recipe…the one printed on the Libby’s pumpkin puree can!) and used a mini-muffin tin to bake the ingredients off in bite-sized pies. Mini-pies just weren’t cute enough though, I had to up the adorable factor and  use my alphabet cookie cutters to spell out a little a seasonal message. I think I’m going to do the same thing for Thanksgiving later this week! What kind of recipes are you baking up for the holidays?

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I was brainstorming some new appetizer ideas that were easy to make in advance and came up with a simple formula for a snack that has some variety, without requiring tons of grocery shopping or dirty dishes. I purchased some frozen puff pastry dough, thawed, rolled and cut it into 2″ circles. Then I experimented with a few combinations of filling: herb goat cheese and rosemary sea salt, blue cheese crumbles and a drizzle of organic honey, and my favorite combination, slices of heirloom tomatoes sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese. All three combinations got some fresh cracked black pepper on top as well before I rolled up the sides to resemble bite-sized -tarts.  After following the baking directions on the puff pasty box (375 degrees for 10-15 minutes), they came out of the oven golden brown. These lasted about 3 minutes from plate to table at a family party I brought them to, which I think means they were pretty good? I’d love to hear what combinations of fillings you might try!
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One of the very last stops we made on our cross-country road trip honeymoon was a walk down Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice Beach, and on that lovely little stroll ending our two-week adventure, we popped into LemonadeLA and tried their tasty drinks and cookies. So when I saw that the Lemonade Cookbook was being published this fall, I jumped at the chance to take a peek through it! I can tell the SoCal vibe of the recipes will be perfect come summertime, and in the meantime I tested a more seasonal recipe — their oatmeal raisin cookies —  which went over quite well at a family get-together last weekend.

Lemonade Cookbook 1a Lemonade Cookbook 1b Lemonade Cookbook 1c Lemonade Cookbook 1d Lemonade Cookbook 1e

Cookbook gifted to me c/o Lemonade LA, all opinions are my own. 

I have one more recipe to share from our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week — and this one combines my two favorite things, gooey baked cheese and sweet apples. The best part about this recipe? You can make it the night before and freeze it, just pop it in the oven before guests arrive! I’d be lying if I said we didn’t eat the full wheel of brie between the few us gals — it was delectable!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 apples, sliced in thin pieces
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Wheel of brie (6 to 8 oz)
  •  Frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten for wash
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine apple, sugars, simple syrup and spices in saucepan until apples are fully coated and sauté for 4-5 minutes while stirring. When sugars start to bubble up, remove the mixture from the heat and let cool.
  3. On a floured surface, roll out thawed puff pastry dough and cut into a 10″ circle.
  4. Cut the wheel cheese in half horizontally, place bottom half off cheese wheel on the rolled out pastry dough, top with 1/2 of the apple mixture. Place the second half of the cheese wheel on top, and cover the top with the remaining apple mixture.
  5. Working in a circular fashion, begin to wrap and fold the pastry dough around the brie, leaving some room at the top for the apple compote to show.
  6. Brush the dough lightly with one beaten egg, and then bake off in the oven for 35-40 minutes on a baking sheet, or until the crust is a golden brown.  Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting, and serve warm with a crusty baguette or crackers.

All images by Bring To Light Photography

I’m still so excited over our apple-picking porch party that was featured on SMP Living last week. And it’s not a party without a signature cocktail — our autumn apple punch was a perfect pairing for our tasty treats. We mixed up Bulleit Rye, apple cider, and cardamom clove simple syrup with a squeeze of lemon juice and served them in mason jar mugs with an apple garnish. I’m not going to lie, we had quite a few of these that weekend, and they were so darn delicious—I had to share the full recipe with you below!
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Ingredients:

  • Apple cider
  • Bourbon or Rye
  • Royal Rose’s cardamom clove simple syrup
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Apple for garnishing
  1. Combine 3/4 cup of apple cider, 1/3 cup of bourbon or rye and 1 tsp of cardamom clove simple syrup over ice.
  2. Squeeze a slice of fresh lemon juice into the mixture and divide into glasses.
  3. Garnish with a fresh apple slice.

All images by Bring To Light Photography

Cocktails are one of my favorite things. And another one of my favorite things? Adorable branding.  Thus my new obsession with Royal Rose‘s line of organic small-batch simple syrups. They are the prettiest little bottles and come in interesting flavors that I’m loving experimenting with in different cocktails.  I purchased the rose syrup to top off glasses of champagne, and the cardamom clove syrup for fall cocktails — I made an apple cider and bourbon punch with it last weekend (recipe to come soon!).  I have a feeling I may need to try the rest of the line, and gosh won’t they look cute on my bar cart?

Simple SyrupImage via Royal Rose

 

After a rather busy week last week, I was so happy to have a lazy Sunday on the books over the weekend. I caught up on blogs and my DVR, lounged around in my cozy new sweatshirt, and got a pot of bolognese cooking for the better part of the afternoon. Making a big pot of tomato sauce just reminds me of being at my Grandma’s house growing up — the smell of the garlic and onions filling up the whole house. I used a recipe from Williams-Sonoma as my guide, but made it my own with a few ingredient swaps.  It totally hit the spot and exceeded my expectations. It’s a recipe that I’ll be adding to my cookbook file for future reference, comfort food at its best!

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One of my best girlfriends has a birthday coming up, and we have a mutual passion for donuts — I wouldn’t be exaggerating by saying we exchange at least 2-3 emails a week about donuts. Which is why I thought it was completely acceptable to make a cake, and then add donuts on top of it for her birthday celebration this weekend.  Conveniently, I had recently purchase a mini-donut pan, and followed the recipe that came with the pan (from Williams-Sonoma). They were surprisingly simple to make and totally jazzed up my box-mix cake I made for the occasion. So remember:  the next time you’re making a three layer chocolate-chocolate cake and you ask yourself “Is this enough?” the answer is no, no it’s not enough, and then add donuts on top of that cake.

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