Is It Just Me Or Does “Hot Toddy” Sound A Little Risque

Hi Readers.

Tonight I am happily cocooned in a blanket watching the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead (so I’m basically super emotional after the trauma AMC just put me through) and sipping on a delicious hot toddy. I’ve decided that this winter is going to be a Whiskey Winter and whiskey means the wonderful world of the hot toddy (for real, the more I write it the more it sounds slightly inappropriate).

But seriously people there is drinking on the line so lets skip all this foolishness and get down to business!

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This looks like so many ingredients

1 shot whiskey

honey, cinnamon, nutmeg to taste

tea

squeeze of lemon juice

apple cider

hot water

Instructions
You can play a little fast and loose with this recipe and adjust it to your own taste, I’m just here to provide a steady hand of guidance (steady here meaning buzzed on hot toddies….oh god it’s even worse pluralized).  SO to start I drizzle about a teaspoon or so of honey into the bottom of a mug followed by a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon and a squeeze of lemon juice. If you are fancy enough to have an actual lemon on hand I would use about a quarter of a lemon but if you are like me and you are pretending that a bottle of lemon juice is the same thing as a fresh lemon, a quick squeeze (roughly a teaspoon) will do it.

Fill your mug about three quarters of the way up with boiling water and stir. Add a tea bag (NOT the inappropriate kind cause gross). I would recommend some kind of breakfast tea like earl grey OR  you can do what I did and use the free oolong that comes with your Chinese take out that you’ve never had a use for until this moment. Let that steep for a few minutes (the tea, not my sage words of drinking wisdom).

Heat up a splash (about two ounces) of apple cider and add that and the whiskey to the tea.

Finally drink up! You have earned it, that is a lot of steps and work for a cocktail. I mean you had to turn on the stove and everything, I’m sorry I put you through that. But all your hard work is certainly worth the reward.

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(this is the reward)

I garnished mine with an apple slice so it would look fancy in this blog post and I took a really close up photo so you can’t see how messy the rest of my kitchen is, hooray!

Happy Whiskey Winter readers! Have a hot toddy for me!

-Audrey

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Turn Your Family Holiday Into An Actual Vacation

Happy Holidays Readers!

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and got to spend time with family and loved ones. I have one of those rare families in which we actually enjoy hanging out together and have a blast whenever we do. But my family lives far away and so I find that I have to use my precious vacation time visiting them, which is great but it does result in my not getting an actual vacation.

SO if you suffer from the same predicament OR if you have an insufferable family like in some kind of hilarious holiday sit-com style movie (except it’s not hilarious because it is real life) please follow this simple tutorial on turning your family holiday into an actual vacation.

Step One – Arrive Early
Take a sick day, use a personal day, eat up one of those precious, precious vacation days, fake an act of heroism, create a diversion and just quietly slip out, whatever you do find a way to get out of your work place at least two days prior to whatever holiday you are traveling for. This ensures that you get to your family’s home with plenty of time before any other guests arrive and usually means that the rest of your family has to work at least one more day granting you a full eight hours of sweet, lazy freedom.

Step Two – Locate the Liquor Cabinet
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If you need further explanation on this step then this blog is probably not for you…my brand of humor is best served to those already slightly inebriated.

Step Three – Establish a Base Camp
Find a space in your family’s home to call your own, carve out a small corner in which to relax and enjoy the fruits of your liquor cabinet hunt. Just a place to refresh and reset and escape the tensions of your everyday life. Below is an example from my most recent Thanksgiving jaunt to my parent’s home
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(jealous yet??)

Step Four – Be Fearless
This is some real advice for a minute (though I do stick by that liquor cabinet step). Do not be afraid to take some alone time or simply tell your family that looking through great aunt Marjorie’s slides of her lifetime of owning schnauzers is not something you feel like doing. Technically this is your vacation and even though it is family-centric that does not mean that it isn’t also about you. DO your due diligence and put in the time hanging out with your grandparents and siblings and then take a day or evening to do something you want to do.  It’s your family, they’ll still love you….unless your family is made up of some real judgmental so-and-so’s in which case you have my sympathies.

Have a cocktail for me readers, it’s the holidays after all!

-Audrey

P.S. If any of my family is reading this that first paragraph is the god’s honest and I love our kick ass Thanksgiving traditions and miss you all already. Also sorry for raiding the liquor cabinet while you were all at work.

Pop Over for Popovers!

What’s cooking my readers.

Today we are talking popovers. What’s a popover you ask? Well to answer that I give you my apologizes that you have had a sad life deprived of these fluffy, crunchy (flunchy?) breakfast pastries. I have made these on many an occasion, most of the time the occasion is “hey you know what sounds like a healthy breakfast…an entire tray of popovers”

The hardest part of making popovers is resisting the urge to open the oven and check on their progress. Unless you are fancy and have a window in your oven or you know a full size oven of any kind (congratulations on your successes I hope to some day join you in the lap of luxury).

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look at these beauties.

Ingredients

1 1/4 Cup Flour

1 1/4 Cup Milk

3 Eggs

2 tbs Melted Butter

2 tbs cold butter

Instructions:

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees (really give it time to heat up it needs to be extremely hot in there)

2. Whisk your flour in a mixing bowl (you all know my feelings on whisked flour but head on over to Helpful Tips if you need further explanation). Then whisk in milk, eggs and melted butter, you will have a very liquidy batter.

3. Place muffin tin in the oven for a few minutes to heat up

4. Cut cold butter into twelve even pieces. Remove muffin tin from oven and place a piece of butter into each cup.

5. Pour the batter into each cup filling them about halfway.

6. Bake for twenty minutes. (DO NOT open the oven, if you do you will just have flat sad eggy biscuits and not delicious flunchy buttery popovers) Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for an additional ten minutes.

7. Enjoy while warm with your favorite topping!

I love them with honey butter, just mix honey with slightly softened butter at a ratio of 1:4 (that means one part honey to four parts butter for the mathematically challenged) or with apple butter (recipe coming soon for y’all!) OR if you want to get real serious about following this blog (or have just fallen down the rabbit hole that is my wit and charm) you could make the Cranberry Jam that I posted about and then put it on popovers.

As always readers, have a cocktail for me!

-Audrey

In a Jam With Lots of Cranberries

Hi there Readers.

Here in New England in addition to unpredictable weather patterns (it snowed a week ago and today it’s 61 degrees) the late fall is all about the Cranberry. We have more Cranberry bogs per capita than anywhere else in the country, according to this study I just made up. (Really though we do have a lot of them, there are about eight within a fifteen minute drive of my house and I do not live in a rural area)

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Tell me those don’t look delicious

A co-worker gave me a pound of cranberries that she got from her friend who owns a bog. The only things I have ever done with cranberries is to put them on a string to decorate a Christmas tree and use them as garnish in the whiskey punch I made for last Thanksgiving. Cooking them was so far off my radar that I wasn’t even sure it was a thing you could do.

But I wanted to bring something fun and homemade to my parents this year for Thanksgiving to remind them of their New England roots (they live in the south now) so I did what any girl would do and took to the internet!  I found many, many recipes for things like chutney and compote that required zesting and chunks of things and double straining and I was not into it. Where was a nice little recipe for something simple and delicious that would keep and travel well and have myriad uses?! It was over at willcookforsmiles.com that’s where. Using this brilliant and simple recipe that required only four ingredients I endeavored on my first foray into jam making.

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The Oh So Few Ingredients

1 lb Cranberries

1 cup fine sugar

1 apple peeled, cored and chopped

1 tbs lemon juice

Directions

1. Throw all the ingredients into a pot bring to a boil while stirring to prevent sugar from burning.

2. Reduce heat and simmer covered, stirring frequently, until mixture cooks down (about an hour)

3. Place in a blender and mix until smooth. Transfer to jars and let cool before refrigerating.

4. Eat half a jar with a spoon over your sink (this step is optional unless you are a blogger named Audrey in which case your body will just take over and demand that you eat this tart delicious jam)

and Voila

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lovely smooth jam that is extremely easy to make.

A couple of quick notes

-Fine sugar is somewhere in between granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Rather than buying a whole separate kind of sugar I just pulsed some granulated sugar in my blender.

-I would put the jam in the blender on a lower setting, it is extremely thick and if, like me, you have a blender with a motor that has less juice than your hair dryer, you will need to start it out slow with something like this.

-You can tell that cranberries are ripe based on their bounce-ability! It makes them super fun to pour into a pan. (This is a completely true fact and they do actually bounce test cranberries for ripeness.)

Until we meet again dear readers, have a cocktail for me!

-Audrey

(full recipe from willcookforsmiles http://willcookforsmiles.com/2012/12/homemade-cranberry-jam.html)

When You Care Enough to Send Miscellaneous Items: The Art Of The Care Package

Darling Readers, I miss college. Remember when we were young and everything was easy? Before bills, and jobs, and crow’s feet? Those were the good old days!

If you are like me and occasionally suffer from glory days nostalgia the best way to combat it is to pass on your aged wisdom and relative wealth and comforts to the next generation in the form of care packages. In addition to being an exciting day for your young loved one in college, a care package says “hey, I care about you and I also have a lot of junk around my house that I need to get rid of but feel guilty just throwing away.” As an added double bonus it provides a level of prestige among the college student’s peers that is usually reserved only for those able to shotgun a beer without spraying half of it all over someone’s kitchen.

I recently sent this care package to my cousin

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you know you’d be hella stoked to get this package (the kids are still saying “hella” right? That’s still a thing?)

I have a friend who does a lot of extreme couponing and as a result she tends to unload a lot of random bath and beauty products, that she bought in bulk for a nickel, on me. Turns out they are very handy when it comes to filling a box so things don’t shift too much during shipping. Below is a list of the items in this glorious care package.

-three dozen chocolate chip cookies (I just used the standard Tollhouse recipe)

-three “lets be epic” coozies

-a few bags of popcorn

-two travel sized bottles of mousse

-disposable razors

-a bath pouf (loofah, idk what you call those crazy things)

-two travel sized deodorants

-body wash & exfoliant

-a bag clip shaped like sunglasses

-Uno (yeah the card game)

This care package was very well received, my cousin ate a lot of cookies and then spent a Tuesday evening with friends turning Uno into a drinking game, to which I gave the helpful tip that a draw four card = drink four. SO go show the undergrads in your life some love, finals are coming up and if you do a good job they will post a photo of it for you on some social media platform…with hashtags and everything.

Until next time, have a cocktail for me,

-Audrey

Let them eat Rolls! “Them” being the yeast-less

Hello darling readers. Yesterday morning me and my wine headache decided we should take full advantage of having a normal sized fully functional kitchen at our disposal by making cinnamon rolls! Real cinnamon rolls. No offense to the fine people at Pillsbury or their delicious and fantastically easy break and bake style rolls but I wanted to get old fashioned. Also I didn’t want to change out of my charming pajamas-and-last-night’s-eyeliner combo that I was rocking to go to the store.

Normally I am deeply in love with my tiny kitchen (the term “in love” here meaning  politely enduring) BUT this weekend I was dog sitting and had my neighbor’s glorious gourmet farm house kitchen all to myself so I sauntered next door, let out the pups after much petting and jumping about, then me and my five pound sack of flour got down to business.

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Delicious, delicious business.

I grew up in a household that was very loyal to the above mentioned Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. Nary a Christmas morning went by without my poor mother, who had been dragged out of bed at 6 a.m., popping those bad boys in the oven to kick off our annual Christmas sugar binge. So I had never made cinnamon rolls from scratch nor seen them being made. I had zero idea what went into it so I turned to my trusty Pinterest account!

A quick search showed me that cinnamon rolls (like most breads) require yeast! I do not have yeast, I have never had yeast and apparently if you want to kick it Amish style and make serious cinnamon rolls it also requires many hours of letting dough rise.

I was now suffering from a hangover and deflated hopes and dreams, c’est tragique. But then I searched cinnamon rolls no yeast and everything was alright again. I adapted this recipe from a food.com user (link at the bottom of page)

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Ingredients:

Dough

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1.5 tablespoons butter

1/3 (ish) cup milk

Filling

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Glaze

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

1. Whisk flour, baking powder and sugar. I know it’s tempting but DON’T skip this step and just toss everything in a bowl. Whisking or sifting the flour allows air in and will help whatever you are baking to be fluffier and puff up a bit (this works for cookies, biscuits, really anything you make with flour). Cut butter into pieces and knead in with your hands until dough has a crumbly texture. Mix in milk (I found I needed a bit more milk but don’t over do it or the dough will get very sticky).

2. Mix brown sugar, butter and cinnamon for the filling until it forms a crumbly mixture.

3. Spread half of the filling into the bottom of a pie pan. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until it is a quarter inch thick and spread with remaining filling. Roll up dough and filling and cut into six rolls.

4. Place rolls in the pie pan (be sure the rolls cover the filling in the bottom of the pan or you will have a lot of burned sugar…which is for sure not what happened to me at all) and bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes.

5. While rolls are baking mix powdered sugar and milk for glaze.

The results

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Then simply enjoy a delicious hot homemade breakfast…OR if you are me you can slowly eat the entire pan of rolls throughout the course of the day in between movies on ABC Family.

As always dear readers, have a cocktail for me!

-Audrey

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(what my entire Sunday looked like)

recipe adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/quick-cinnamon-rolls-no-yeast-293243/photo

Sweet PotatOH My Word That’s Fantastic

Hello dear reader. If you are looking for a food blog written by a housewife about the every day foibles and triumphs of domesticity then I have to apologize because you have stumbled upon the blog of a slightly dysfunctional, deeply unorganized, chronically single weekend lush with a penchant for cooking and an occasional desire to clean something. But be honest, that second thing sounds like a lot more fun right? 

If you’re still with me then lets get to it! I have recently discovered the majesty of the sweet potato whilst simultaneously deciding that eggs are far too often relegated to the breakfast table (presuming you have a separate table upon which to relegate breakfast foods…I do not, my house could fit in a pita pocket). 

The Culprit

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Look at it there all sweet and unassuming

And the delicious recipe for my very own Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash with spinach and poached eggs. 

Ingredients 

1 medium sweet potato

8 strips bacon

4 handfuls baby spinach

4 eggs

Instructions: Peel and shred, slice, dice or otherwise chop up your sweet potato and set aside. Cut bacon strips into quarters and fry in a large skillet. Add sweet potato to the skillet (with the bacon grease and all) and cook while stirring occasionally until tender and slightly crispy, around ten-fifteen minutes. Remove potato/bacon mixture from skillet and set aside. Add enough water to just coat the bottom of the skillet and add spinach, cook until just wilted (this only takes about 3 minutes). 

Bring a small pan of water to a low boil and poach the eggs until whites are set and yolk is still slightly runny (this is just my personal preference, please feel free to poach the crap out of your eggs if you so desire). A quick note on poaching eggs, you will have a better and more picture-esq end result if you crack each egg into a small, shallow bowl first and then slide into the boiling water (this keeps the whites from spreading too much). I like to poach one egg at a time because the thought of poaching four eggs in one pan is terrifying to me and I have really small pans BUT if you do have a wide pan or are a wizard I have heard a rumor that you can poach multiple eggs at once. Just make sure to give them enough room to breathe or stretch or something. 

Separate the potato/bacon mixture onto two plates and top each with a heap of spinach and two poached eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. 

The end result

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(as previously stated I am single so I made one sad person serving and saved the rest of the hash for another day)

The utterly fantastic thing about this meal is that it is good for breakfast, dinner, lunch, brunch, linner, or any other combo meal you want to imagine. It is also highly customize-able, you could change up the meat you use or add peppers, onions, top it with kale. Hell it’s got sweet potato in it drizzle it with maple syrup and throw some cinnamon in there if you want to get really crazy. It’s also fairly cheap, low on the cals (except for the bacon) and pretty simple to make. 

Until next time readers, 

have a cocktail for me! 

-Audrey