vacation time! catch y’all soon!

Hey y’all! Just a quick note that the hubs and I are jet-setting {not really..more like car driving} off on a week-long vacation! We’ve got a lot of fun activities planned, including but not limited to: 

beachin’

beer tastin’ 

food eatin’

campin’

and you can bet that upon our return, I’ll be posting all about it! In the meantime, feel free to poke are the archives for some inspiration, and of course, check out my Instagram! I’ll be sharing from there like you won’t believe : ) 

Have a wonderful week! 

-Alicia. x o x o

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cranberry-studded pumpkin honey biscuits

If we were having breakfast together this morning, this is what I would make for you. Warm biscuits, studded with cranberries, fresh out of the oven. Hints of maple syrup and cinnamon are wafting throughout the kitchen, making it seem ever so inviting.

I’d pour you a cup of coffee {or tea!} and we would sit down at the table, lounging and talking. A plate of biscuits between use, that seems to keep refilling itself, keeps the conversation flowing and the mood light. A slight breeze is coming in through the kitchen window, but we’re not chilled because of these gems.

You might ask – where does the golden color come from? And I would tell you “pumpkin”! We’d laugh about how pumpkin is so overused during the fall, but who are we to complain? We’re enjoying and indulging in said biscuits, without a crumb to be left over.

Before you leave, and we begin our day in the real world, I would hand you the recipe, along with any leftovers. But if I’m being honest, I’m sure we polished them off, without a blink of an eye or a speck of regret. They’re that wonderful.

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Cranberry Honey Pumpkin Biscuits with a Caramelized Maple Glaze {recipe adapted from Food 52}

Warm, spiced, with cranberries studded throughout, these biscuits are the perfect start to any fall morning. A caramelized maple glaze, brushed on top just before the baking session is complete, is the best complement to the flavors within. Flaky and light, these won’t weigh you down – replacing the butter with our trusty Greek yogurt lets you indulge without feeling guilty. So go ahead! – smear on a little whipped honey butter and enjoy. 

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 Tbsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

5-6 ounces of plain 0% Greek yogurt, very cold {or, use 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter if preferred}

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

6 tbsp. honey

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/4 to 1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the Glaze:

2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1/4 cup of vanilla sugar {I keep a jar, on hand, of a mixture of cinnamon and sugar that I’ve stuck a vanilla bean in – the longer it sits, the better it gets!}

To Prepare:

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Flour a large wooden cutting board and rolling pin, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices.

In a smaller mixing bowl combine the pumpkin, honey, and buttermilk. Whisk with a fork to combine.

Cut the Greek yogurt into the flour mixture using your fingers, two knives, or a pasty cutter until no pieces larger than a pea remain.

Stir all but the last 1/4 cup of the buttermilk mixture in with a fork just to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add in the additional 1/4 cup {I ended up using the entire wet mixture}. It should be sticky! Fold in the cranberries.

Turn the dough onto your cutting board. Sprinkle top of dough with flour, and pat into a rectangle, fold in half, rotate clockwise, pat back out, and fold again. Repeat this once more, and then gently pat the dough out until about 1″ thick.

Great a baking sheet, and using a floured 2-1/2″ biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits, being care to not twist the cutter. Place the biscuits on the baking sheet, touching.

Gently reroll the scraps as needed until all the biscuits are cut, and then bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and turn on the broiler. Brush the tops of the biscuits with maple syrup, then sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Place the biscuits back in the oven, and don’t leave their sight! You want to pull them out just when the maple syrup starts to bubble, and the tops start to darken ever so slightly.

Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Store, tightly covered, at room temperature. After a day or so, transfer to refrigerator {simply pop in the oven to reheat – perfection!}.

Let’s Discuss: do you have a favorite biscuit recipe? 

lately: summer solstice

The epic summer of adventures continued this past weekend! You may remember, a few weeks back, I featured a trip that the hubs and I took to Charleston to visit my youngest sister, Katie. We turned the tables this time around; she and her boyfriend, Sunan, made the trek to our humble abode.

We had a weekend full of river time, lounging in the sun, sandy shoes, and strolling around the downtown area. It just so happened that our quiet little city was celebrating the Summer Solstice, so we were able to take part in a few of the activities.

It’s always great to share quality time with loved ones, and I feel so fortunate that I’ve been able to see my sister as much as I have. And the fact that I can document our time spent together, and share it with you all, makes it even more fun.

xo

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vacay!

Greetings from the West Coast, y’all!

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The hubs and I are out for a fun-filled and relaxing two weeks at Lake Tahoe with my wonderful family-in-law. We’ve been counting down the days since we booked the tickets {back in November!} and couldn’t be happier that the time has finally arrived!

I’ve got a few posts lined up in the meantime, and will be checking in on social media. Be sure to check my Twitter and Instagram to see what kind of adventures we’re getting into :)

In the meantime, have a wonderful two weeks! We are sending sunshine your way! xo

thirsty thursday: the elvis

My mom and dad were in town this past weekend. It was a weekend full of fabulous weather, great food, exploring, and great family time. I was blissfully happy all weekend.

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I think one of the best things about family visiting {as I’ve found more and more recently} is that the minutes seem to stretch out into hours, making the visits feel so much longer than they really are. The four of us, including sweet Lane puppy, spent so much time gathered around the table on the back porch, enjoying the warm weather, sunshine, and good company.

…and since it’s time for our weekly ‘thirsty thursday’ post, I thought it appropriate to share the fantastic cocktail that my mom enjoyed several times over their visit! Both of my parents appreciate a good cocktail, and my mom in particular loves we we get to share sips of fun drinks. We all know by now that the hubs of mine is a great mixologist; my mom is frequently sending us recipes she stumbles across. Whether it’s Bon Appetit or Southern Living, or one passed along by a friend, we keep these in our back pocket.

Enter ‘The Elvis’.

image courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine

As described in this month’s Bon Appetit, the drink has symmetry due to “bitter notes from grapefruit and ale balance the floral sweetness of the gin and liqueur – one sip and it will all make sense.”

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And my dears, it truly does.

Picture this…sipping an icy cold cocktail and wave after wave of flavor hitting your palette. The first note I picked up on during my first sip was the gin. Another small sip later and I was getting the floral St.-Germain atop of the gin. Lastly, the tangy grapefruit and hoppiness of the IPA layered atop the drink tantalize your mouth, making you want to go back for another sip, and another sip. Before you know it, it’s vanished!

When you prepare to make this drink {and trust me, you want to make this drink!}, plan on buying enough grapefruits for several rounds. We found that one large grapefruit produces enough juice for two cocktails, and I had purchased two. It was the perfect amount to last a weekend of fun, but if you’re entertaining you’ll want several more on hand.

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Cheers!

~~~

The Elvis {recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine}

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients:

3 ounces fresh pink grapefruit juice

1.5 ounces London dry gin

1/4 ounce St.-Germain {elderflower liqueur}

India Pale Ale {IPA} of choice for serving {we used Founder’s IPA, as it is what we have on tap}

Grapefruit twist, for serving

To Prepare:

Combine grapefruit juice, gin and liqueur in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake until the outside of the shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass {we used copper mugs!} and top off with ale. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

ginger simple syrup

If you love a good, hand-crafted cocktail…I have two things to share with you.

1. You and my husband share that common love.

2. This post is vital, and I mean VITAL, for your home bar.

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Simple syrup is a classic barkeeper’s ingredient. Used in everything from mojitos to mixed drinks, its main purpose is to add an extra hit of sweetness to otherwise sharper-tasting drinks. Of course, it doesn’t always have to be used in alcoholic drinks – it can be used in frozen treats (think popsicles) and in jams, jellies, etc.

To provide a bit of background, there are actually several different types of simple syrups. The most common one is the ‘traditional’ simple syrup. This is made with equal parts sugar and water; all you do is stir granulated sugar into boiling water until it dissolves, cool completely, and store in the refrigerator. Depending on how sweet you like things, you can go with a 1:1 ratio like I use, or double up the sugar 2:1.

Flavored syrups (like what’s listed in the below recipe) are made by adding…you guessed it…a flavor into the syrup.  A lot of these you’ll find in coffee bars (think cinnamon, mocha, caramel, etc.).

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Lastly, there is what’s called gomme syrup. The difference between this and other syrups is the addition of gum arabic, which acts as an emulsifier. Gomme syrup is always made with a 2:1 ratio, to ensure the sweetest ending flavor possible. An example of where this might be used is in iced Japanese coffee.

Because simple syrups have the sugar completely dissolved into the liquid, they make for an ideal addition to drinks. There will be no gritty or texture added into the drink, ensuring a smooth sip each and every time.

And I’m sure you’re thinking – well, why couldn’t we just buy this in the store? Of course you can…but why buy it when you can make it in, and I’m not joking, less than 5 minutes!? Not only will you always, always have sugar and water on hand to make this, you can control the additional flavors and the amount of sugar that goes into it. All you will probably need to purchase is a squeeze bottle or two (or, feel free to wash out a ketchup bottle…or other squeeze-type bottle…REALLY well and use that!). I don’t know about y’all, but that sounds like winning to me!

Let’s look at the recipe, shall we? Below, I’ve outlined my recipe (and name of this post) for a Ginger Simple Syrup. But don’t let that contain you! If you want to start of with a basic syrup, feel free to omit the ginger completely. Feeling a little flavor-inspired? Go for it! Some of my favorite syrup add-ins include vanilla bean, basil, rosemary (yes, herbs make ahhmazing flavor infusions for cocktails!), strawberry, orange, mint…the possibilities are endless! Get creative and please let me know what you come up with.

Bottoms Up!

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2-1/2″ fresh ginger root, sliced thin

1 C. water

3/4 – 1 C. sugar (I like turbinado or Demerara sugar*)

Pour water into a small pot on the stovetop. Add in sliced ginger, and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, pour in sugar and lower the heat. Stir constantly, until the sugar is dissolved (watch closely, because you don’t want to burn the sugar!). Remove from heat and cool completely. Before pouring into a storage container, remove the sliced ginger. Simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to one month, sometimes longer. Removing any flavoring (mint, fruit, etc.) will help prolong the shelf life.

using a natural sugar will slightly alter the color of the end product; think a little richer in color and not perfectly clear, as if you use traditional granulated sugar. Personally, I prefer the turbinado or Demerara, because it adds a slightly richer flavor