Rosemary and Gin Fizz

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This time last year: Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate (2013)

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I made a good friend recently- a new friend, one of those people that everyone is drawn to.

She laughs a lot, and I am so very lucky to have her around.

This new friend of mine is gentle and sweet in many ways- however she is also strong.
Thus, this sweet and salty lady is the one responsible for this drink.

The first time we went out in downtown Decatur together, I ordered my standard- something with whiskey, or orange bitters, mint, or lemon. Scratch that. I don’t really have a “standard,” just a lot of flavors I like.

However, one of the things I loved about this new friend of mine, is that she did have a regular drink. This sweet, giggly lady stepped up to the bar and ordered a gin and tonic like she’d been doing it for 80 years. Go ahead girl.

Thus, when I started looking for fun holiday drinks that could make for a festive holiday happy hour or a bubbly new years toast, I knew I had to include a gin special.

This is for my new friend. Cheers to all of yours!

XO Sarah

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Ingredients:
  • 3 one-inch sprigs of fresh Rosemary
  • 1 small lemon (+ a few slices for garnish!}
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 1/2 oz gin
  • 3 oz. Ginger ale
Directions:
  1. In a small glass, muddle the rosemary, juice from 1/2 a lemon, and honey.
  2. Fill the glass with ice, and then add the gin and ginger ale. Taste the drink, and decide whether or not you would like to add additional lemon juice. (I like the citrus tang, but take warning- it can be strong!)
  3. Stir the drink, and add a sprig of rosemary and a lemon slice for garnish.
  4. Sip and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:
  • Adapted from: Cooke + Kate
  • Make sure you don’t miss the four other drinks posted this week, for this “6 holiday drinks that aren’t eggnog” special!

Holiday White Wine Sangria

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This time last year: Mexican Hot Chocolate (2013)

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Friends, it is Day FOUR of “6 Drinks that aren’t Eggnog.” My how time flies. I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have!

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, scroll through the last there days of posts, because this week is all about fun drink recipes! You don’t want to miss it!)

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A few nights ago my family went to dinner with some family friends of ours. They were providing the entree, so we offered to bring a drink and some dessert as a contribution.

This is when having a food blog gets tricky.

Due to the fact that I am coooonstantly trying new recipes, and looking for new scrumptious dishes I can share with you all, anytime I have the opportunity to try out a new recipe on a crowd- I do! Crowds provide the best food blog feed back. You can tell if something is a total hit or if it’s not the most popular dish in the room.  It’s like having a bunch of food blog guinea pigs, which is super helpful!

Despite this obvious benefit to me and my blogging efforts, constantly cooking new recipes for parties is a high-risk, high-reward way to live. Sometimes I find myself bringing new dishes to a social setting and being a little nervous about how they will go over!

Last night was one of those situations.

Although I do love sangria, I will admit this was my first time ever making it! Thus, as I stirred together these delicious ingredients I started to get anxious that it would be a bust- there would be too much fruit, or people would find it too sweet, or find the wine too bitter, etc.

I carried the pitcher into our friend’s home with lots of apologies and excuses that I had yet to try it, and it really might not be all that great! (Such a human move, am I right?)

However, to my delight, every member of the party drank a large glass with nothing but compliments! The fruit was the perfect amount, the wine was fresh and crisp, and the drink was a wonderfully festive fit.

For my first round of sangria, on a group of food-blog guinea pig testers, I got lucky. This recipe is delicious. It’s so easy to make, and was a total crowd pleaser!

Give it a try yourself! I am confident you will love it.

And make sure you come back tomorrow! More drink recipes on the way!

XO Sarah

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Ingredients:
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh Rosemary (+ sprigs for garnish- optional)1 bottle white whine
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 1 cup sparkling apple cider
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Directions:
  1. Add your apple slices and cranberries to a large pitcher.
  2. Bruise your rosemary to allow the flavors and juices to escape the leaves more. Do this by laying your rosemary on a cutting board, and using the backside of your knife blade, press down on the leaves.  Add the sprigs to the pitcher.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir. (At this point, you can put the pitcher in the refrigerator, and allow the fruit to marinade in the wine, or if you’re impatient like I am, you can skip to the next step!)
  4. Add the ginger ale and sparkling cider, and stir well.
  5. Optional garnish: Dip a few rosemary leaves in the wine, and then roll in a thin layer of granulated sugar. Place one in each glass, drink, and enjoy!
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Notes and Tips!:
  • Serving recommendation: Best served chilled as an appetizer drink.
  • Source: Picture the Recipe
  • Like this recipe? Make sure you don’t miss this week’s other posts for “6 Holiday Drinks That Aren’t Eggnog” (Recipe links below photos):

 

Christmas Morning Scones (AKA Vanilla Bean, Cranberry and Rosemary Scones)

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This time last year: Baked Apple Cider Donuts with Cinnamon-Sugar Glaze (2012)

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YOU GUYS! It’s Christmas EVE!

I love this day.

Every Christmas Eve my mom, brother, and I spend all night together. We would spend it with my dad as well, but as a preacher, Christmas Eve is not vacation.

The night starts with the 5 o’clock children’s Christmas Eve service. Then we will come home and share a bowl of soup together- or something created with love and designed to keep us warm.

After dinner, without fail, I will watch Holiday Inn (the original White Christmas!), by myself, because my Mom will be busy cooking and my brother will be busy avoiding musicals. Then we will throw our coats back on, push back any sleepy thoughts, crawl into the car, and head to church for the 11 o’clock Christmas Eve service.

There we will sit in the pew together. We will sing our favorite hymns- Still, Still, Still, Away in a Manger, Joy to the World. We will light candles, and at the end of the service, as the clock strikes 12, we will raise our candles up. We will lift them above our heads, and my father- standing at the front with his candle mirroring ours- will whisper “It is Christmas,” and in my gut, I will feel that wave of hope, peace, love, and joy that we have been talking about all month, in one fell swoop.

There will be light, and then there will be joy, and it will be contagious.

When we were young, we would come home from the 11 o’clock service and  my mom would usher my brother and I to bed, so that she and my dad could “play Santa.” However, now that we are older, we all wait for my dad to get home. Once we’re all home- for the first time all night, we will stay up late, because the holidays aren’t the holidays unless you have time together. So we will make time, and we will likely do it by the fire, with a plate of crackers and cheese.

The next morning, we will stumble out of our beds- mom will make coffee, dad will turn on the Christmas lights, and somewhere between opening gifts, trying on new winter coats, and manning the fire, mom will pass around a tray of baked bread- muffins, scones, and loaf slices.

That is Christmas.

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When I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make it. The title alone pulled me back to those mornings around the Christmas tree, with our backs warming to the fire in the fire place,  and mom’s tray of baked bread circulating around the family. And I have to admit, I am so glad I did, because this recipe is AMAZING! These scones truly tastes like Christmas! Something about the favors, particularly the rosemary, smells and tastes like Christmas morning. I know that might sound crazy, but trust me on this. Tis the season for comfort and joy, and in my book, comfort and joy look a lot like scones.

Merry Christmas dear readers. Thanks for sticking with me for another year!

Gratefully, and warmly,

– Sarah
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Scone Ingredients:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened dried cranberries, chopped small
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 cup half and half (or milk or cream), plus 2 Tablespoons more for brushing on top
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Glaze Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • Optional: Unsweetened dried cranberries and fresh rosemary leaves
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚F.  Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, dried cranberries, and rosemary.
  3. Using a fork or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles a coarse meal.
  4. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the half and half and the vanilla bean paste, and then add to the flour mixture.
  5. Stir the liquid into the flour mixture using your hands or a wooden spoon, until the dough begins to form.  Shape the dough into a ball,  cover it with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, roll out until the dough is in a large circular shape, about 3/4 inches thick.  Run a large knife in water, then then cut the dough into 8 equal wedges.
  7. Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet and lighty brush the tops with half and half.
  8. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  9. Meanwhile, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze- adding water to reach your desired consistency.
  10. Dip the scones in the glaze, and sprinkle with cranberries or rosemary leaves as desired. Allow the glaze to set, and then eat and enjoy!
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Notes and Tips!:
  • If you want to make this dough ahead, instead of placing the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes, simply wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Bake the scones straight from the refrigerator in the morning.
  • Source: An Edible Mosaic
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious bread recipes from A Rented Kitchen!

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Roasted Rosemary

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Pumpkin almost asks to be turned into baked goods. That’s my theory at least.

Every fall we crave pumpkin sweets in the form of pumpkin breads, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin spice lattes. The list goes on- sweet, sweet, sweet.

I am clearly guilty of this myself, as a vast majority of my pumpkin recipes thus far have been sweet (no surprise there, have you seen the Chocolate section of my blog?).

However, out of respect for this very versatile vegetable, I had to throw a savory pumpkin dish your way, and holy cow is it delicious!

If you have never had the privilege of enjoying Pumpkin Pasta, stop what you’re doing and make this right now! I promise you, you will love fall in a whole new way!

And check back tomorrow for yet another pumpkin recipe, as part of A Rented Kitchen’s Pumpkin Week! We are welcoming October in the most delicious way.

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Pumpkin Week

Day One- Pumpkin Recipe Review!

Day Two- Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Day Three- Spiced Pumpkin Pie Dip

Day Four- Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Roasted Rosemary

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ cup Rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup half & half
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup Romano Cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound pasta (gluten free if necessary!)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized frying pan over medium-high. Add the garlic and allow to roast for 1 minute, or until lightly browned.
  2. Add the Balsamic vinegar and rosemary to the pan. Sautee the Rosemary for 1-2 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the Rosemary from the pan and place on a paper towel to absorb any additional oil.
  3. Prepare the pasta by heating a large pot of boiling water, adding the pasta to the pot, and cooking for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Do not over cook.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkin sauce by combining the pumpkin puree, broth, half and half, sour cream, and spices in a medium sauce pan. Whisk together until smooth, and heat over medium high heat.
  5. Once the pasta is done cooking, toss in a large bowl with the pumpkin sauce. Stir in the Romano cheese and roasted rosemary. Sprinkle with additional red pepper flakes as desired.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • Vegan? Feel free to leave out the cheese and add a little extra pumpkin, or replace with vegan cheese!
  • If you like this dish, check out these other scrumptious dishes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’ (recipe links found below photos):