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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

In keeping with the fall theme that we apparently have going on this week, here’s a great recipe for a pumpkin spice coffee creamer that I’ve been loving! Coffee creamer is one of the dairy items that I refuse to give up, but I feel a lot better knowing that I’ve made my own out of quality ingredients. Plus, this way I can make it as creamy/sweet as I’d like!

I was out of pumpkin pie spice, hence the assortment of spice bottles in the photo above. I mixed together a quick batch of spice on my own, and now I’m set for a while. This is a very good thing, since I have a feeling I’ll be making a lot of this coffee creamer.

Also, the recipe calls for a mix of whole milk and heavy cream. I just used half and half instead, but I’m thinking that this week I’m going to try it with just heavy cream. That way I won’t need to use as much on a daily basis, so one batch should last me longer.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer (recipe from here)

  • 1 c of organic whole milk
  • 1 c of organic heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons of organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
  • 4 table Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Whisk milk, cream, pumpkin, syrup, and pumpkin spice together over medium heat. When it gets steamy remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Use a strainer (very important!) to transfer the cream into a jar or pitcher. I used a few small mason jars, because I’m Southern and I always have plenty of those. Try not to drink a spoonful. Let it cool down and stick it the refrigerator.

Hooray for pumpkins!

Wasted Wednesday: Hot Buttered Rum (Repost)

Since this past weekend marked the official start of Fall, I thought I’d dig this recipe of Rachel’s back out of the archives. The mix makes enough to last a while, so this should get you through most of the season! It’s also great mixed into some hot apple cider (a little splash of rum never hurt cider either). Pour it into your favorite mug (mine, above, from our honeymoon in Scotland) and curl up with a good book. Hello, Fall!

Being Southerners we aren’t really used to long, cold winters and all the things that go with them. I hadn’t heard of a hot buttered rum until last year. If I did hear about it, I thought it was one of those things like “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, who really does that?! But I saw this recipe last year and had to try it. It was amazing. Totally worth hand washing the mixer and ingredients afterwards.

This recipe makes enough to share with at least one or two nice people on your list, should you feel nice enough to share.

Hot Buttered Rum 1 pound light brown sugar 8 ounces honey 2 sticks salted butter 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, I used fresh 1 T. vanilla

In a large bowl using your stand mixer or hand mixer, beat all ingredients until well blended. Pour into a one quart jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Stores for 3 months. To serve, place one or two tablespoonfuls in a mug of boiling water. Add a splash of rum and top with whipped cream. Also good as a virgin drink topped with whipped cream and we like a scoop every now and again in our coffee. This makes great gifts, simply give in smaller jars with a gift tag stating…

This should be stored in your refrigerator up to 3 months. (I actually still have some from last year, but haven’t tested it yet. I’ll let you know if I don’t die.) To serve, place one or two tablespoonfuls in a mug of boiling water. Add a splash of rum and top with whipped cream.

Original source here.

You’re welcome.

Simple Pleasures

Instead of complaining about how much I hate Monday’s I thought it might be nice to focus on life’s simple pleasures. So here’s a few I’ve been enjoying lately.

- The beginning of fall!
– Homemade coffee creamer
Homemade pickles
– A cool morning
– Switching summer for fall clothes. It’s like gaining a whole new wardrobe, only one you picked out and already love.
– Porches
– Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

What have you been enjoying lately?

Foodie Friday: Grandmommy’s Sweet Dill Pickles

We all have certain flavors that trigger memories from our childhood. One of my most vivid is dill, which reminds me of the pickles my grandmother always seemed to have in her fridge all summer. She never canned them, but kept them in a big jar that she’d replenish whenever she ran out. Considering what a greedy little pig I was, I’m sure I helped make that a regular event.

While these are best with homegrown cucumbers, store-bought can be used instead. Just make sure that they’re small and thin-skinned.

We lost my sweet Grandmommy in June very unexpectedly, so I think I’ll make some pickles this weekend in her honor to celebrate the end of summer.

Dilly Onion Cuke

  • 1 large onion – sliced
  • 1 cucumber -sliced


  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dill weed
  • ½ c. white vinegar
  • ¼ c water


Combine liquid stirring until sugar dissolves and add the sliced vegetables

Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours

Stir occasionally

Grandmommy’s note on the recipe: I usually double the liquid and veggies. When the pickles are gone, I put a second batch in the same leftover liquid. It is too bland to use a third time .

Any other family recipes out there?

Wasted Wednesday: Happy Boozeday!

Since we first got together, Josh has made it very clear to me that if I’m ever in doubt over what to get him for birthday/holiday, I should feel more than welcome to buy him a bottle of whisky. So sweet of him, right?! It’s actually rather perfect. This might come as a shock (hah), but it can be really hard to pick out a present for a guy! Whereas I’m constantly showing Josh little things that I like and think are cute (hello, Kate Spade!), he shows me $400 shoes, or large tv’s. Not exactly money savers. I’ve started keeping a list of ideas that I add to whenever he mentions something easily attainable, but I also buy him booze.

For his birthday this year, I got him a bottle of the Glenlivet 15-year-old French Oak Reserve. It’s one of his favorites, and he finished the last bottle I had bought for him a few months ago. He was so sad that he kept the bottle. Poor guy. This definitely made him super happy, and that’s what a birthday gift should do!

Anyone else regularly give/receive alcohol as a gift? Do you ever feel mildly guilty that you’re turning someone into a lush when you do? Maybe that’s just me.

Travel: San Francisco

If there’s one thing San Francisco has a lot of (besides homeless people), it’s restaurants. We seriously had such a hard time narrowing things down, and still have a long list of places to try next time. We were also in town for a family wedding, so we got a few free meals. Never bad. We ate a lot of great food during our trip, and here’s the lineup!

Swan Oyster Depot-

This place is a legend, and the line to get in is a testament to this. There’s only seating along the bar, so be prepared to wait a while. Worth it. Some of the freshest seafood I’ve had, and a great place to start our trip.

Bar Crudo-

This might be one of my favorite restaurants ever. Again, crazy fresh seafood, but theirs is served in some unique and amazing ways. Fresh oysters, plates of sashimi, and the best seafood chowder of my life. This is one that will be a San Francisco staple for us. Make reservations.


A very pretty and very tasty place for brunch. No reservations accepted. Crispy potatoes were ridiculously good.

In-N-Out Burger-

You can’t go to California and not go to In-N-Out. It’s pretty much against the law. Cheeseburger, animal style, makes for one happy girl.

Chez Panisse-

Oh Alice Waters, you are my hero. The patron saint of the farm to table movement, this place is absolutely a must for anyone who truly loves food. Although it’s a drive out to Berkeley, it’s worth every moment. Reservations are 100% necessary. We chose to go with the upstairs cafe for lunch, which is a much more affordable option. One day though, we’d love to go back for the full dinner experience.


This was not originally on our list of places to go, but since we walked to one option and it was closed, and then the next option and it was closed as well, we were hungry enough to try this based on a recommendation from a random guy at a store. He told us that all the Japanese baseball players go here for ramen when they’re in town, which was more than enough to pique our interest. So good! We love ramen (like we found in New York), so we were more than happy to inhale our huge bowls. It pays to be flexible and ask around! Be prepared for a wait.


I knew I wanted to hit up a few shops in the Ferry Building, so on our last morning that’s where we went. After wandering around a bit, we chose Marketbar for brunch, and managed to get a table outside. It was a great last spot to enjoy our last morning, and the shrimp and grits were delicious.


This was our dessert stop after brunch, if you can call salted meats a dessert. We do. Yay pigs!


We saved this for our last night with friends. Started by a man who truly loves pigs (he also started Boccalone), this was a really fun and delicious place to be. I had medium rare pork for the first time ever, and it was crazy good. Reservations pretty much necessary.

Humphry Slocombe-

On our way to the airport, our friends took us here for a last treat. This a quirky little ice cream place in the Mission district. I got the Secret Breakfast flavor, which was cornflakes and bourbon. YES PLEASE.

There are so many more places that we can’t wait to try, so another trip to San Francisco is definitely on the list for future trips.

Anywhere we should add to our list for next time?

Wasted Wednesday: San Francisco Brew

Josh and I got back from San Francisco early Monday morning (red eye=purgatory), so I have a great restaurant breakdown in the works. We ate loads of delicious food, spent lots of time with family at our cousin’s wedding, and walked all over the city. In short, it was a fantastic trip!

I always love getting local beers, so when we had our first lunch in the city, we ordered Anchor Steam, a San Francisco classic. We enjoyed it so much that we bought a few bottles when we came home too!

It’s a bit lighter than a lot of the beers we normally drink, but was absolutely perfect with all of the seafood we ate while in town.

Anyone else tried Anchor Steam? Any other favorite local brews out there?

Book Worm: What I’ve been reading lately

Allyn is a continuous, prolific reader. I love to read and always have, but tend to do my reading in spells. I’ll go six months of continuous reading, but then take the next six months or so off. Since July I’ve been in a reading spell. The husband is getting a little jealous. Reading to me is an escape and I’ve needed some escaping lately. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. I picked this up at a used bookstore and couldn’t it put it down. Seriously, I finished it in about 24 hours which is unheard of for me when I am not at the beach.  It was an easy read, but not too “dumbed down” as many easy reads are.

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Alright, so I did read this one back in April, but if you haven’t read it, get it now. Jenny’s funny outlook on life makes me feel better about mine. And thankful for my family… and that I don’t live in Texas.

The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy. I was feeling like an uneducated redneck after reading Garden and Gun magazine the last few issues for not having read anything by this Southern author. I was expecting something difficult to read, but it wasn’t.  I’m not really sure how to explain this book. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve totally digested yet one week later.  The Last Gentleman follows a young man who deals with his insecurities as he goes back to his roots and joins a new family.

An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer. Confession: I saw this book when I was picking up The Last Gentleman at the library and liked the cover.  I wouldn’t say I judged the book by the cover, but it made me want to pick it up. I’m glad I did because I  really loved this book. The author has such a way with words that I cherished every little bit of this coming of age story. I might have cried at the end because it was ending, not because it was overly sad.

I just started Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility and am really enjoying it.

What have you been reading?


Cochon Heritage Festival

Alternate Title: Best Weekend of my Life

This past weekend was the first annual Cochon Heritage BBQ Festival & National Bourbon Month kickoff in Memphis.

A three day festival bringing nationally recognized chefs to come together to learn, eat, and compete focusing on the heritage pig and some awesome bourbon.

There was a Cochon weekend competition earlier in the year in Memphis, but Bryan and I missed it as we were out of town. I heard it was incredible and when they announced this event I knew I would not miss it for the world.

We purchased tickets to two events. Even though they were normally out of our budget, I knew it was something worth saving for.

Friday night was the kick off event on the rooftop of the Peabody. For $50 a person it was all you can eat appetizer portions from 8 different restaurants and all you can drink specialty cocktails mixed by the best local bartenders featuring bourbon. The weather was amazingly cooperative giving Isaac was in the area. It was a beautiful night on the rooftop overlooking the Mississippi River.

And the cocktails! Amazing. Allyn and I have been planning a spring bourbon country tour and this whole event really made Bryan and I super excited for the spring. I can’t even describe some of the cocktails as they are totally out of our beer-loving realm.

Saturday morning Bryan took a group on a 5.55k run around the neighborhood before the bloody mary/oytster/bacon brunch. Attendees could also do a BBQ tour of Memphis and had some seminars set up. That evening a few of the chefs collaborated on a “pop up” dinner. We didn’t go, but heard it was amazing.

The second event that we attended was Sunday afternoon and was the culmination of the whole weekends activities. Eight chef driven teams competed against one another. They had to cook 4 pork dishes with separate requirements and 2 side dishes (one mayo based and one mustard based). We started off the afternoon at a local restaurant across the street from the main venue. We had more bourbon cocktails: Bourbon with bacon bitters and bourbon, orange bitters, and Proseco topped off with a bourbon cherry. We also enjoyed fresh oysters and a build your own BLT bar with three different types of bacon. Le sigh…

After about an hour of mingling and bourbon drinking it was time to go over and do some tasting. Attendees can sample everything at every one of the teams tables. Below is just some of the stuff available at one of the team’s tables.

There was a lot of food to try. I don’t think we even hit up half of the teams it was so much food.

In conclusion, I will be singing the praises of this event for at least the next six months and then I will be switching to gearing up for the next years event.

For more information visit the Heritage BBQ site.


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