Monday, November 24, 2014

Guest Blog Post: Fried Apple with Nilla Wafer Tart

I am so excited to do my first ever guest blog post! I would like to introduce you guys to my fellow Gator alum Briana of The Seasoning Bottle. She is amazing you guys! I first met Briana in undergrad at The University of Florida (Go Gators!) and even there she was cooking up amazing sweet treats that everyone loved! She describes her cooking as intuitive, spicy, and bold. I hope you guys enjoy this awesome Friendsgiving recipe that she cooked up especially for you!
"Wow your friends at this year's Friendsgiving with this sweet and tart dessert - Fried Apples with a nilla wafer crust. Bring it back to the old school days when your parents packed Nilla Wafers for you for lunch. Nilla wafers are great alternative to the traditional graham cracker crust. With just a few simple ingredients for fried apples you will find yourself making this dish way past the holiday season. If you want to be fancy and show off your skills to friends prep the nilla wafer tart ahead of time and cook the fried apples on site. You will look like a pro."   

Here's what you'll need: 
2 granny smith apples
1/2 packed brown sugar
4 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

Wafer tart
1 1/2 cups crushed nilla wafers (about 20 wafers)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place nilla wafers in a plastic bag and crush with a heavy item. (I used a thick glass). If you have a food processor, crumble cookies to a fine consistency. Add sugar and butter. Press wafer mix in a cupcake pan to form 5-6 cookie cups. Brush inside of crust with egg whites to seal any gaps. Bake for 6-8 or when edges are brown and center is firm. Cool for 10 minutes.  

Peel skin off apples. Remove core and cut in slices. 
In a skillet melt butter and sugar together at medium heat. Add apple slices once better and sugar start to form a caramel sauce. Fry apples in sauce until tender.

Remove crust from cupcake mold. Fill the crust with a spoon full of the fried apples and sauce. Serve with whipped cream of ice cream.

Would you make this recipe? Let me know your thoughts below!
Special thank you to Briana for taking the time to make this amazing dessert! Check her out here.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

South East Asian Chicken Wings with Baked Macaroni & Cheese

So this is the type of chicken that you make and it actually surprises you how amazing it taste because all the ingredients are so different and some how they all end up blending together like magic. I am obsessed with this recipe because it was literally the craziest burst of flavor ever! If you loved the honey curry chicken recipe I posted not too long ago then I think you will LOVE this spicy yet sweet South East Asian chicken recipe. It truly is delicious and surprisingly not super difficult to make. So let’s get started!

This recipe was loosely adopted from, I changed a few things to my tasting (originally spied on Chrissy Tiegen's cooking blog.)

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 3-1/2 lb. large whole chicken wings (12 to 16)
  •  1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  •  2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tender white core from the bottom third only, coarsely chopped
  •  2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  •  2 scallions, white parts coarsely chopped, green parts thinly sliced (3 to 4 Tbs.)
  •  1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (including seeds)
  •  1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
  •  3 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  •  1 Tbs. dry ginger (powder)
  •  1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  •  1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  •  1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce 
Wash and clean chicken then pat wings dry with paper towels. Arrange the wings in a large, shallow dish. In a magic bullet, purée the coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, scallion whites, jalapenos, cilantro, hoisin sauce, ginger, lime juice, and sugar until smooth. Marinade will look like a green smoothie almost. Pour the marinade over the wings, turning to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Heat oven (350°F). Shake off any excess marinade from the wings and lock wing tip for even cooking. Bake the wings uncovered for about an hour and then broil at the highest temperature for an additional 2 minutes for an extra crispy skin.

Transfer the wings to a platter and serve.

Mac and Cheese

Here’s what you’ll need:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 lb penne rigate pasta
  • 4 cups whipping cream
  • 16 oz white cheddar cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 16 oz smoked Gouda cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large Dutch oven; stir in olive oil, 1 1/2 tbsp salt and pasta; cook according to package directions. Drain well.

Bring cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil. Stir in cheddar; stir in smoked Gouda. Add rosemary; cook, whisking often, over medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in pepper and 1 tbsp salt. Stir in pasta. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 3-qt baking dish.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Hope you'll try the recipe! Let me know what you think below!

Recipe here

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

8 ways to practice gratitude all year round

Thanksgiving is in T-minus 6 days & 22 hours (not counting or anything..) and I know many of us use this time as a way to reflect on what we’re thankful for whether it be friends, family or even love. After next Thursday many of us will forget about the gratitude we were filled with on Thanksgiving Day and it’ll be the furthest thing from our minds.

But how can we use this feeling of gratitude that we currently feel during Thanksgiving and spread it throughout the year? How can we practice gratitude every single day?

Here are 8 ways that I think we can show gratitude and thankfulness year round!

1. Tell someone you know that they inspire you.

2. Have a gratitude jar.

3. Have a daily journal where you write one sentence a day about what you’re thankful for.

4. Practice genuinely saying thank you—not the robotic thank you that we all use every day at work, but that genuine from the bottom of your heart thank you.....with a smile.

5. Be thankful for experiences that you didn’t want to go through or things that you never wanted to happen that happened anyway. This is often times when we grow the most.

6. Be thankful for the lowest of low moments and the highest of highs (because without the low’s the high’s wouldn’t be as sweet).

7. Read inspirational books on gratitude. This is the trustiest way to surround yourself with positivity on a daily basis. The Alchemist anyone?

8. Every day you open your eyes, be thankful. Every day you get to open your eyes is a new chance at living life and living it fully. There is so much beauty that surrounds you, learn to appreciate it every single day.

Journey beautifully friends!
(photo | tumblr )

Monday, November 17, 2014

Top 5: Things To Bring To Thanksgiving Dinner

When someone special invites you to Thanksgiving dinner this year show your appreciation by bringing something with you! There's nothing worse than coming to a dinner empty handed--so put down the mac & cheese and pick up something a little different that everyone will be sure to remember. Here's my list of 5 things that will have you looking like the shining star at dinner!

1. Dessert
There can never be enough dessert options at dinner right? Pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie...the list goes on and on. Try something new by picking up a dessert that's a little different from your local bakery or try making something a little unique. How about this delicious Jamaican Rum Cake? Sweet, light and has the perfect amount of fruit!

2. Fall Bouquet
Showing up with a fresh, beautiful fall bouquet for the host is always a plus. Sometimes there's just too much food and dessert and nothing say's happy Thanksgiving like a colorful arrangement of flowers. The host will love this!

3. Wine
If the host is anything like me then she will LOVE that you brought wine to dinner. Picking up a couple special bottles of wine for the event is a very nice touch. Pinot Noir & Sauvignon Blanc are really nice Thanksgiving classics and will please any wine connoisseur. 

4. Camera
This might seem like a weird thing to be on the list. But bringing your camera and capturing all the special moments of the evening and then printing hard copies (I love artifact uprising) and sending it to the host will be a very special gift that will be appreciated. Everyone wants the holiday's documented but often times we get too caught up in the festivities to really capture all the moments. You could even take some footage and add some music to the clip and upload the video to youtube so everyone can enjoy!

5. Candles
Go with something light and not overly seasonal. A scent that the host can light when dinner is over and it's time to unwind. Joe Malone is a great option!

No matter what you decide to bring, make it a thoughtful gift and enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner!


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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My winter fashion wish list

Seasons Best: Check out my winter fashion wish list below! 

Asos Coat

Asos Scarf


Mango Coat

Mac Lipstick

Zara Sweater Left | Zara Sweater Right

Zara Boots

Zara Cape

Zara much? I am obsessed with their fall/winter looks--I'm into that whole monochrome trend right now! I love the simple yet chic looks--very winter appropriate.

Which item is your favorite? Let me know below! 



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