31.3.14

It's All Gravy

This weekend started off in a whirlwind while I gorged myself in college basketball and pizza on Friday night while waiting for my husband to come home. The games were completely crazy and I was on the edge of my seat and of course, my wahoos lost in the last second to Michigan State. I am still bitter about it. Was made even worse yesterday when Michigan lost to Kentucky. The wrong Michigan team made it;) 

Saturday we were scheduled to go the Lebanese festival downtown and it poured and poured some more so it was cancelled. We headed over to my cousin's house to partake in her son's birthday and then I was supposed to nanny but little miss was sick and so Tony and I had an unplanned night to ourselves. Score!

We headed downtown to eat and ended up at Gravy, an Italian eatery. The wait was an hour and ten minutes which was an hour over what I was willing to wait. We were headed out right when two seats opened up at the bar and because you get full service, we went for it. So good! My bolognese was amazing and my martini was even better. 

We decided to go see The Grand Budapest Hotel. It was chock full of stars  and as it was directed by Wes Anderson...it was very quirky. I loved it as it is different than your usual flick, if you liked Moonrise Kingdom, you will love this.

When we got out of the movie I had 6 missed calls and 9 frantic texts from my mom, dad and aunt. Apparently we were under a tornado watch in our area and my cousins got caught up in it and had to seek shelter at Target. Maybe it is just me, but if I have to seek shelter somewhere, I won't cry tears if it happens to be Target;) But on a more serious note, my cousin's butt made the weather channel as someone took a photograph of them all holed up in the pillow aisle seeking refuge. Glad it wasn't my bum, woulda blocked everyone else out of the picture.

Yesterday was our day to host our monthly neighborhood dinner and as usual, the mister went over the top in hosting and it deserves its own post. But I made my first batch of homemade meatballs and I got approval from Wiki and was overly delighted! I am still tired because the conversation ended at 11:58 pm, but the lack of sleep was worth it. We have been going non stop and getting some friend time in was well worth it.

27.3.14

Pear & Blackberry Fizz

I mentioned last week how Berentzen sent me some of their new liqueurs to try out. I was lucky enough to get the apple and the pear. I have had a few pear inspired cocktails, but their pear liqueur tempted me right away. When I first  opened the bottle, the aroma was enticing and I was unable to wait to make a cocktail...I decided to have a taste right away. Oh my gosh, the flavor is perfect. Not too sweet and it pairs well with other flavors with out overwhelming them. 

I am a lover of blackberries and I had some fresh blackberries and blackberry brandy on hand. I wasn't exaclty sure what I wanted to create at first and then remembered that we had ginger ale left over from a friend's visit. And I mean the real stuff, out of a glass bottle and almost spicy. This is what made the cocktail. You are welcome to use whatever ginger ale you want, even canada dry, but the flavor combo won't be as intense.I first just used the pear, blackberry and ginger ale but knew it was missing something. That was when I tried it with a little triple sec and a splash of lime...perfect!


Pear & Blackberry Fizz

1 oz Berentzen Pear Liqueur
1/2 oz Blackberry brandy/liqueur
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 tbsp lime juice
4 oz ginger ale

blackberries/pear****Optional for garnish

In an ice filled shaker, combine all ingredients except the ginger ale and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass filled with ice and top with the ginger ale. 

I made a garnish using a skewer with blackberries and pear bites. The second time I made this, I soaked the blackberries in a half a cup of the pear liqueur over night. I used the blackberry infused pear liqueur to make this drink and used the blackberries as the garnish. I think I prefer the second version, but I doubt you'd find me turning either one of them down.

I was supplied the Berentzen pear, but all opinions are my own.

20.3.14

Apple Guava 'Rita

I went round and round as to what I would create using the Berentzen apple liqueur. I have made plenty of apple flavored drinks, but I wanted to stumble off the usual path and opt for a slightly different taste. A few weeks ago I  made wassail and had a few cans of guava nectar left over in my fridge and the thought came to me to try and see what I could concoct with it. 

I played around with a bourbon recipe and while you may see that one soon enough, tequila actually won out this go round and I decided to create a margarita. This weather has been so bleh and you can't help but feel spring on the horizon, followed quickly by summer, when you drink a margarita!

This was very easy to put together and you can find the cans of guava nectar in your juice aisle or some stores keep them in the international section. On another note, it is amazing in smoothies!

Ingredients
6 oz guava nectar
2 oz tequila
3 oz berentzen apple liqueur
1 tbsp lime juice
salt/sugar for rim optional

Place all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Pour into two glasses over ice. 
You could also put all ingredients into a blender and make a frozen version, that was my neighbor's favorite. 

You can also check out my food blog where I used the berentzen apple liqueur to make a cake and frosting. It was so light and perfect for a gathering with friends. 

Next week I will have recipes using the berentzen pear!

I was supplied with the berentzen, but opinions are all my own.

18.3.14

A Little Home Cookin

No, this post has nothing to do with food. Just my urge to get home to Lynchburg. To see my people. To explore new places that have opened since my last visit. To finally get to hold my niece after her 2 months in the hospital. And oh, you know. Watch college basketball.

After 4 weeks in a row of problems coming up at the last minute and impeding my way home, we were finally off on Friday after Wiki came home from work. I had originally planned to drive up myself and come home on Tuesday, but that bastard known as old man winter once again put a cramp in my style. Basically he and I are in a war. He has taken the last few rounds. I plan on winning the next few before sending him into hibernation for good. 

We got in late on Friday, but once we woke up on Saturday it was full throttle. My cousin came by my parents and picked up her sign that the wonderful Danielle had whipped up for her. Then my parents came back from their morning scouring estate sales. And they scored big! My favorite find was this push mower made in the early 1900's. Not my favorite enough to use it, mind you...but really funky. And it worked. My brother tried it out. 

Then we met up with my sister in law and some friends to walk the trails downtown. They are really breathtaking and I am jealous that they came about after my departure. Why do hometowns become way more awesome after you leave?! There was nothing to do there growing up and now it is getting all kinds of hip while I am not around. Rude. This tunnel is crazy awesome! 

Then after a pit stop by my cousin's restaurant to see him and his wife and catch the last little bit of the acc semi finals, we were off to see my niece! It was the first time I have been able to hold her or see her outside of the hospital and my heart completely soared. We tried to go up in the past two weeks that she has been home, but alas...snow and ailments always through a loop in our plans. She is still so fragile that no germs can be around her. But we were finally in the clear and I got to love on that sweet ginger!

Sunday we hung out with my parents, had breakfast and then headed to watch the ACC championship with my grandparents. I have never been so stoked as watching UVA. It was surreal to see them in the championship and I will be honest...it was the most difficult game I have ever had to sit through. The fact that they played Duke was not any fun at all. As much as I wanted the Hoos to win and am beyond ecstatic that they did, I couldn't bring myself to actually cheer against Duke. I mean, I do work with these guys. I love these players and the program. So, basically I was a wreck the whole game and could barely enjoy. may they never play each other in a game that counts again. I can't take it. But, with that said. WAHOOOWA. Go Hoos!

And on the drive home, one of my best friends texted me about a bacon and bourbon ice cream. This happens about... lots of times a week. People know how I feel about my bacon and bourbon. Said it once and I will say it again. Jesus, Bacon and Bourbon. And that sums me up;)


And now I am back in Carolina,  last night I was able to go with one of my friends to hear her neighbor speak about fellowship and we sang a few worship songs and grubbed on some fondue. Not my usual St. Paddy's festivities, but I do love me some Jesus and it was pretty fantastic!

Anybody you care about in the tournament? Or are you just into March Madness and a bracket frenzy?!

11.3.14

A Southern Season & An I Do

This past weekend was jam packed. On Friday night, the mister was still sick and had stayed home so we just watched some tv and vegged out. I started a new series(the Iron Witch) and he crashed early. Saturday, one of my good friends got married and it was a last minute decision as to whether or not he would join. He did.  The wedding was at 11 and then we headed into Chapel Hill to mosey around., I tried to maintain my composure being surrounded by all the Carolina Blue, especially when we were playing them Saturday night. I somehow managed to keep my lunch down. Small favors.



Later that afternoon, we headed to a Southern Season, it is an amazing smorgasbord of fantastic food and items for around the house. And if you hadn't guessed, lots of them are from the south. They have one of the biggest beer and wine selections I have ever seen and the chocolates. Oh my word. We send lots of gift baskets from here. They have a catalog and the price ranges are for anyone and any budget! They also have a restaurant, and the pot de creme was butterscotch and also heaven. 

Sunday, he was feeling less than stellar again and we decided to head to fresh market to get some food that wouldn't send his stomach into another tizzy. I discovered they sell Beechers Macaroni there and I almost screamed. I am perhaps slightly tentative to get them for fear they will not be as amazing as the original(I mean, but really, how can they;) and I don't want to be disappointed. But I kinda feel even their frozen is probably better than most restaurants versions anyways. It is that good. 

We got some yogurt. He was healthy and stuck with bananas and peanut butter as a topping and I went for delicious and got heath bar. I am not regretting it. Although, I am not sure I speak for my hips. But who can think on such things for so long.(oh, I can, that's who)

We went for a walk at a nearby nature preserve and it is so beautiful there. I often take for granted the amount of parks and trails we have in this area. I need to stop! 

That night we watch the movie, Enough Said. It was James Galdofini's last film before he passed away. Oh, my gosh! It was fantastic. I really enjoyed it. Was the perfect mix of funny and serious. Rent it if you haven't yet seen it!

7.3.14

Signs, Signs Everywhere A Sign

And now this song is in my head, which is fine as it is one of my absolute favorites. But I am more obsessed with signs that come the way of my friend, Danielle. She blogs over at 2 Little Super Heroes and I have seen lots of her work before but the way I stumbled on these particular signs was slightly by chance. In the area that we live, we are both members of a buy/sale/trade group on fb and I knew I had to have them! She is in the process of making me my own, personalized version to match our guest room and I can't wait to show them to you! But in the meantime, check her work out. For anyone living in the Raleigh area, she can make you signs with your own creative ideas for all of $10. Yes. Ten bucks!


I have very dry and sensitive skin. I am also on a budget, but a few years ago I used a few gift cards to Sephora and became basically obsessed with Fresh products. I got really excited when I saw that the 500 point reward was a Fresh gift pack. and I. had. to. have. it. Then I noticed I only had 300 or so points and as much as I wanted to, there was no way I could constitute spending $200 to get free what I could buy myself.)with that $200 that I have no interest in using;) Then I decided to scour ebay as I had the notion that perhaps someone might be selling theirs. I set my maximum to $25 and then... I won one for less than $10! I legitimately screamed like a teenage girl at a One Direction concert. Thrilled people, thrilled. I also somehow scored two mini laura mercier lip glaces for $2 each. Ebay is on my good list this week! I still can't believe it. The only thing I can think is that it ended after midnight and so people weren't paying attention. The others I saw went for at least $20. It came in mail last night and I am officially on cloud nine.

I am really pumped about this weekend coming up as a good friend of mine is hitching herself up tomorrow. She was one of my first friends after we moved here ten years ago and while we do not hang out as often as we used to, I am so happy for her! Her future husband seems like such a great man. They met while both were taking part in the missions trip called "Race Around the World" Can't wait to see how beautiful she will look. And yes, I will have pictures on Monday!

My 30 seconds of fame via the Racheal Ray show was pretty fun. The local news station here covered it as did the radio station and my segment was shared over 3500 times between all the avenues. And that was just locally. When it aired that morning, about 15 minutes later...my phone was set ablaze. Friends in Boston, Virginia, Texas & California called me squealing. And the owner of the pizza place was so grateful that I picked them to showcase.  It is somewhat surreal to see yourself and my accent was full steam ahead(as was my head bob;) but what an honor. A friend of mine jokingly mentioned that I should market a "Whimsy One bobble head" Haha Sorry, they didn't add subtitles.

Here is the video, it's about three minutes long. When it aired, we each had separate segments that were spaced out coming back from commercial break. They put this together as a montage for the website. I am the second to appear. If you haven't seen it yet, enjoy.




As some of you know, I work part time in the athletic department at Duke. And while I root for Duke wholeheartedly, I am a "Fan" of  my school. The one that has my heart and half my memories. One of the most beautiful campuses anywhere,  founded and designed by Mister Thomas Jefferson. perhaps you have heard of him;) Except...if you're are intimately familiar with the University of Virginia, then you know it is rarely referred to as a campus, but instead...The grounds. Anyways, the clinched the ACC regular season championship last weekend in a blowout win over Syracuse. My heart has had joy for over a week. I cannot even believe it. I was just sad I had to watch it at home instead of in one of the most fantastic towns in the planet, Charlottesville.

MArch Madness is going to be all sorts of amazing this year and I cannot wait! Go Hoos Go. Wahoowa!

Linking up with life rearranged, hi five friday, 5 things Friday & 5 on Friday

6.3.14

Bourbon Wassail

Yes, I know that this is a drink that usually conjures up thoughts of Christmas. In all fairness, "Here We Come A-Wassailing" is a Christmas Carol. And funny enough...until I went on Wikipedia tonight to make sure I spelled it correctly...I wasn't aware the drink was actually named after the act of wassailing. 

But with as cold and brutal as this winter has been, I have been finding reasons to drink it often. Even now, in March. Dear Old Man Winter, you have seriously overstayed your welcome. Sincerely, errrrybody. But, while it is still chilly out, I cannot recommend this yummy drink enough. There are apparently quite a few versions around but I plan to share the one from my sweet friend Lyss. That is the one that got me hooked after all. I only made a few adaptations, but I will share both and you can choose your version. 



Here is Lyss's recipe. This is for a large crowd, so feel free to half it if you want it for a smaller group!

And here is my version. The first time I made it, I used more pineapple juice, as I am a pineapple groupie. And it saddens my heart to say this, but it was too much. It was just like you were drinking warmed up pineapple juice. It was still good, but tinkering with it did the trick and this was my favorite by far. 

4 cups apple cider
4 cups oj
2 cups pineapple juice
1 can apricot nectar
1 can guava nectar
large orange w/cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup bourbon

Simmer everything but the bourbon for about an hour and a half and then add it in and simmer for another half an hour. You could also just add to glasses per taste and keep the large pot non alcoholic. I used sparkling cider for this, but you can use any. I think next time I may try it with a spicy wine. and perhaps omit the bourbon. I have also heard that this is yummy with spiced rum and I bet it is. 

Spring is almost here, but if this weather keeps up...I may end up enjoying a bit more of this. 

Thanks again for the recipe, Lyss! It has become one of my favorites!