Friday Evening Happy Hour: Vodka Cocktails

What can we say? Today is Friday and we’re oh so happy!  We want to share that happiness with you, so we’re bringing you two fabulous vodka cocktails to kick off your weekend.My cocktail loyalties lie with the bitter, the sour, and the fresh.  You will never see me ordering a saccharine daiquiri or anything that is made with a ‘mix’.  Sour drinks should not be made with sour mixes, they should be made with fresh squeezed citrus, and if there is going to be fruit or vegetation in my drink, it has to be the real thing!  That being said, I wanted to create a cocktail that is a perfect refresher for an end of Summer sip.  Continue reading

Postcard Art

As I’m sure I will mention in many a post, I live in a fairly small apartment, with another human being, so a lot of modifications need to be made in our space in order for it to be livable and happy.  For instance, as much as I may or may not want to indulge in that grown-up female urge to decorate the heck out of every square inch, I can’t.  So, what is the answer?  To the walls!I can cover every last bit of my wall space in all sorts of things if I want to.  Now, I don’t want to, first of all because I have minimalist inclinations, and second of all, because I’m picky.  I don’t want just any old thing that anybody is bound to have hanging up in their house, and I want to be creative to any extent that I can be creative.  And a few years ago, I discovered postcard art!  Continue reading

Fun in Your Backyard: Adventuring Locally

At the beginning of this summer, my husband Jay and I moved from what we like to call a “food desert”. We use that term differently from, say, the northern parts of the Adirondacks, where it is sometimes literally difficult to come by fresh produce; where we came from, it was difficult to find fresh, local, non-chain food establishments. We like food to mean something– to local businesses, to the chef, to the consumer.Thankfully, we moved into an amazing town, Blacksburg, Virginia, with an emerging emphasis on buying and eating locally. Drive 45 minutes southeast of here, and you can even find grass-fed, organically raised bison. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to eat locally, and to purchase my foodstuffs from folks who really care about their quality. In this post, I’d like to showcase some of the local businesses that Jay and I love.In order to share with you, I spent an afternoon wandering our local farmer’s market (within walking distance of our new home):  Continue reading

Not Your Momma’s Sloppy Joes

Growing up, I want to say that 99% of the sloppy joes I ate were straight from Manwich… which is fine! It was quick, easy, and 20 years ago, probably had a lot fewer unpronounceable ingredients. And since I haven’t made sloppy joes many times during my adult life, it didn’t occur to me until recently that they don’t have to originate from a can. During my firstWhole30, however, I was craving some sloppy joes fiercely. In addition to a lot of other amazing things, one of the greatest benefits to my Whole30 experience was that it encouraged/forced me to cook almost everything I ate from scratch. The “Paleo” sloppy joe recipes I found didn’t do much for me, but I really wanted something without a ton of brown sugar (and that wouldn’t be thickened with wheat flour).Thus, this recipe was born. I should probably tell you two things (disclaimers), though:  Continue reading

Peach and Raspberry Grunt

I don’t know about you, but usually by this point in August, while I am ready to do without the heat, the humidity, the Friday beach traffic (when I’m not actually one of the ones going to the beach)…I am just not ready to give up on Summer produce!  Fresh corn!?  Watermelons and honeydews so crisp and refreshing that they practically quench your thirst?!  Peaches and nectarines that are literally dripping with sweetness?!  I’d be willing to take these foods year round if I could, and I always love finding new ways to cook with them, even though they are just plain fine on their own.  Continue reading

Wine Journal with Labels (aka the second best part of the bottle)

My husband and  I really came to enjoy wine somewhere around the time we got married, almost two years ago.  We liked the fact that it was a hobby we could share, and quite easily, because what’s easier than drinking wine?  We began to learn more about it, to discuss what we liked about certain wines (bright, citrus) and what we didn’t like about others (cough medicine with alcohol in it).  Despite the high snobbery level that is associated with those who enjoy wine, there are actually very few right or wrong answers when it comes to drinking it.  Continue reading

10-Minute* Slow Cooker Beef Stew

We all seem to be leading busier and busier lives these days, and we often hear that as a reason for not cooking at home, eating healthy, etc. This is the kind of recipe that you can throw together quickly before work, without much thought, and come home to a) your house smelling amazing and b) a delicious, home-cooked meal! If you don’t already own a crock-pot/slow cooker (depending on where you’re from), I’d highly highly recommend it! I own this set-and-forget model, reminiscent of a space ship, but you can’t go wrong with a more basic one, too.  Continue reading

Your New Favorite Marinara Sauce

If you ask me, and you kind of are, because you’re reading this post, there are two egregious things that a cook can do when it comes to making marinara, or spaghetti sauce.  And they are on opposite ends of a tomato spectrum.The first thing is Continue reading

Madison, WI: Come for the cheese, stay for the everything (and the cheese)!

My husband, Doug, and I are coming to the tail end of our week in Wisconsin; it was a business trip for him, but we like to take these opportunities, in places that normally aren’t high on our list of vacation destinations, to explore what a new location has to offer, so I always tag along.  (Plus I’m a sucker for a nice Marriott.)

I knew that I’d have fun regardless of what we did, but I can honestly say that my expectations for The Badger State were murky. I didn’t know much about what there was to do, what the landscape would be like, what the cities would feel like.  However, several cheese plates and Native American-named towns that I can’t pronounce later, I have fallen for Wisconsin!  Continue reading

Animal Print Clutch Tutorial (Lined, Zippered, Fold-Over)

Welcome to my first DIY tutorial post! If any steps are unclear, or you’d like more information, please ask!While browsing one of my favorite petite style blogs (ExtraPetite), I came across this clutch, and fell in love:  Continue reading