Cocktail, Anyone?

The new year is fast approaching.  Hold on to your hats, it’s 2013!  How are you going to celebrate?  For most people it will be spent among friend and/or family eating and drinking until midnight.  The usual beer and wine will be served along with a champagne toast at midnight.  But if you are hosting one of these soirees, why not jazz it up a bit?  Check out these festive cocktail recipes sure to start your new year with a BANG!

** Disclaimer: please drink responsibly and always have a designated driver.  There’s even a non-alcoholic beverage in here for them! **

Pomegranate Prosecco  Pomegranate Prosecco

  8 sugar cubes

  1 cup pomegranate liqueur

  2 (750-milliliter) bottles Prosecco

(From Coastal Living)             Garnish: pomegranate seeds 

Put 1 sugar cube in each of 8 Champagne flutes; add 2 tablespoons pomegranate liqueur to each glass. Fill glasses with Prosecco (about 3/4 cup each). Garnish, if desired.

  Winter Solstice Cocktail

  1 1/2 ounces orange vodka

  1/2 ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau

  1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, preferably from Meyer lemons

   (From Martha Stewart)         Ice cubes

                                             Club soda, chilled

                                             1 mint leaf, for garnish

                                             1 raspberry, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into a chilled martini glass; add a splash of soda. Carefully fold mint leaf in half lengthwise and place the stem end into the opening of the raspberry. Float on top of cocktail and serve immediately.

  Italian Sparkling Citrus Punch

1 Cup vodka

1 1/2 Cups simple syrup

1 1/2 Cups limoncello

(From care2.com)                                       1/2 Cup lemon juice

                                                                 1 Bottle prosecco

In a large punch bowl, mix all ingredients except prosecco . Cover and refrigerate for about two hours. When ready to serve, pour prosecco into the punch bowl with the limoncello mixture and add ice.

Hard Cider Sangria

  Hard Cider Sangria

1 cup quartered and thinly sliced unpeeled green, yellow and red apples

1 navel orange—quartered and thinly sliced crosswise

1 cup apple juice, chilled

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

(From Food and Wine)                  1/4 cup apple brandy

                                                    One 22-ounce bottle hard apple cider, chilled

                                                     Ice

In a pitcher, combine the apples with the orange, apple juice, lemon juice and brandy. Just before serving, add the hard cider. Serve in tall glasses over ice.

Sparkling Peach Sunrise

  Sparkling Peach Sunrise (non-alcoholic)

3 ounces fresh peach juice

3/4 ounce grenadine

lemon-lime soda to fill

Pour the peach juice over ice in a highball glass.

(Found on About.com)           Fill with soda.

Slowly pour the grenadine into the drink – it will sink to the bottom and slowly rise, integrating into the drink.

Enjoy and be safe! 

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Furball!

No, I did not get a furry friend for Christmas, thank goodness!  I already have 3!  But right now I am dealing with more fur because my parents’ dog is visiting as well.  And he sleeps on the bed with them.  And my cats do too!  They also allow him on the furniture, which my dog IS NOT allowed to do.  Sooo, my house is truly covered in fur.  I have been looking for some solutions for this issue and have found a few.  If you have the same problem, give these a try.

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1.  The Furminator!  This has to be the best pet brush ever.  It really gets every bit of fur, but you have to brush often.  When I take my yellow lab out it the yard for his visit with the furminator, it looks like he shed an additional dog!

2.  Launder often!  My bedding gets gross with cat hair.  I have a short haired and a medium haired cat.  My medium haired cat sheds like crazy and she hates to be brushed.  I have a blanket on the bed that she lays on and it is easy to wash.  Before I wash it, I usually tape it off with a lint roller to get a good bit of the fur up.

3.  Tape Roller!  As I mentioned above, I tape off my cats blanket before washing, but I use it on clothing, furniture, just about anything.  I go through a lot of the tape rollers so I buy them in bulk!

4.  Rubber gloves!  This one is amazing!  Its so easy I can’t believe it!  Wear a pair of rubber gloves and rub them over the furniture in one direction.  You can watch your fur ball grow!

5.  Invest in a good vacuum!  This one saves a whole lot of trouble.  We blazed through a cheap vacuum that said it was good for pets in no time.  Spend the money and buy a good one.  Preferably one with a warranty in case it breaks down. 

And if you see me out and about just laugh at the amount of pet fur I have on me.  I know it’s there, but some days it’s just a battle I don’t have the energy to fight!

Christmas Dinner Menu

Like I have said before, I usually host Christmas dinner, but being in between houses that is nearly impossible.  We have some wonderful friends who have agreed to open up their home and kitchen to us.  And boy are we in for a feast!

Heart of Palm Salad

Standing Rib Roast

Roasted Root Vegetables

Green Bean Casserole – I’m making it Gluten free.  The sauce will be made from Gluten free flour, butter and chicken broth. 

Corn Pudding – also subbing in Gluten free flour. 

Many blessings to you all this holiday season! 

Festive Table Settings

It is 6 days until Christmas and I hope you all are ready.  I know I am.  This Christmas is a little strange for our family since most of our belongings are still in boxes as we wait to find just the right house to call our home.  And Christmas decorations are no exception, including all of my Christmas china.  Needless to say, I am aching to set a festive table for Christmas, but I can’t.  My wonderful friend, Alissa, is hosting Christmas dinner this year because I can’t fit everyone in our rental house.  So I find myself scouring Pinterest and Google for inspiration for next year.  Check out what I have found!

I love the simplicity of this one.  It could be used for any winter dinner party, not just Christmas.

I just love a red and white table for Christmas.  Love the idea to tie in the chairs to the whole table setting.  Beautiful!

Check out this beauty from The Material Girls.  Anything with Hydrangea makes me happy.

I think anyone could achieve this one.  Very simple yet fully seated in the holiday spirit.  Ornaments?  Check!  White dishes?  Check!  Tree branch with some lights?  Check!

 

Pinned Image

Add some sparkle!  I adore the glittered chargers.  Image via Flickr.  (on my Pinterest board)

 

Christmas Table Setting Ideass

And, of course, just let it snow with a white table setting and a hint of sparkle. 

 

I have so many ideas for next year.  I think I will have to host Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s just to use them all! 

Weekly Menu 12/17–12/21

This week is a busy week.  It’s the last one before Christmas!  Can you believe it?!  We have 3 dinners out with friends planned for this week so I have decided not to do a day by day menu.  We are really looking forward to seeing some friends we haven’t seen in a while.  It’s always nice to reconnect and celebrate the holidays! There are 3 things on the menu this week that can be made ahead and reheated so that we aren’t scrambling in all of the holiday hub-bub. 

Tacos – made the good old fashioned way with all the fixin’s.  (Yes, I live in the South.)

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole – cook up some chicken breasts or buy a rotisserie chicken and shred about 2 cups, mix it with sautéed garlic, onion, carrot and celery.  Mix in 1 cup prepared wild rice and 1 cup prepared white rice.  Salt and pepper to taste.  In another pot mix together some butter and flour to make a roux.  Add chicken broth to make a sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Stir in one cup of shredded cheddar cheese until melted.  Spread chicken mixture in an oven safe pan and pour cheese sauce over the top.  Top with another cup of shredded cheese and bake until bubbly. 

Quinoa Mac and Cheese – prepare quinoa per package instructions.  Stir together with mild cheddar cheese and some half and half to make it saucier.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  My kiddos will probably eat this with hot dogs.  I will probably toss in some broccoli and left over chicken.  Yum. 

The Beauty of Greige

What is “greige” you ask?  The actual definition from dictionary.com is “Not bleached or dyed; unfinished. Used of textiles.”  My definition is that it’s a cross between grey and beige and IT IS FABULOUS!  It is so fabulous because it can be warm or cool, it matches everything, and it comes in many different shades.  I believe it is so popular right now because of the popularity of burlap and grain sacks.  It is the exact color of burlap and grain sacks. 

Traditional | Home Offices : Designer Portfolio : Candace Olsen  HGTV - Home & Garden Television

This room by Candice Olson is decidedly greige.  Look at the rug alone.  Shades of white, grey and beige.  And the grass cloth wallpaper, which is to die for, has many different tones of white, grey and beige. 

Beautiful.

A front entry done in greige can set the tone for an entire house.  Is it grey?  Is it beige?  Luckily it can be both!  (image via pinterest)

shelves

I adore this home office!  So soothing and relaxing.  I’m not sure I’d get any work done.  Just look at how the greige bookshelves make the antique books stand out. 

 

I could do without the sheep’s head on my wall, but the wall color paired with the creamy couch is very cozy.  And here’s some burlap for all of you lovers out there!

Here are some beautiful greige colors from Benjamin Moore.

                                

I love them all.  I’m thinking that Coastal Fog and Feather Down need to make an appearance in my next house.  How about you?  Are you going to go greige in 2013?

Décor Trend: Antlers

Whether they are faux or real, antlers are popping up in beautiful home décor.  Some are painted, some are resin, some are still attached to a head!  All of them make a design statement.  I am loving it!  I grew up in a home where antlers came easy every winter but were often disposed of.  Now I find myself asking my dad to keep them for me!  Check out these beautiful and luxurious rooms with antlers.  They add a natural vibe and a very traditional feeling, even in some untraditional finishes.

 

Very rustic and casual cool – antlers as a towel rack!  (Image via google)

Inspiring Interiors

Chandelier anyone?  (Image via pinterest)

Suzanne Kasler Atelier Antlers

Suzanne Kasler does it again!  (Image from Ballard Designs)

(Images from Z Gallerie)

 

And just for fun…. (Image via google)

I can’t wait to add more antlers to my décor after the Christmas decorations come down.  What a wonderful way to fill the space and keep it cozy and wintery for the rest of the season. 

Weekly Menu 12/10–12/14

I can feel the battle of the bulge beginning!  In order to keep up with the holiday shopping and other events, I have increased my Starbuck’s consumption.  In order to counteract the number of calories I have been drinking, I will be preparing a very low carb menu for the coming weeks.  And signing up for a 5K so that I must get off the couch and move my butt in order to not come in last!  That is, until my mother arrives with her 14 different kinds of Christmas cookies!  Yes, I said 14, that’s not a typo.  Then all bets are off….

Monday – Spaghetti (squash) and meatballs

Tuesday – Chicken wrapped in prosciutto with steamed asparagus

Wednesday – Basil Butter Parmesan Shrimp served over spaghetti squash

Thursday – Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions, Caesar Salad

Friday – Family dinner out and scouting great Christmas light displays!

Reupholstering We Go!

Christmas came early for me!  I just scored BIG at the ICA Show in Charlotte.  My favorite gal, Shannon,  and I finally made it to the show.  We never seem to have a weekend where we are both in town or not busy when the show is here.  But that day finally arrived and we made it to the show.  There are fabulous vendors there.  I found some custom furniture makers, custom lighting makers, junkers, vintage textile vendors, Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint vendors (yay!), and just people with lots of stuff.  We were in heaven!

As we were walking around we spotted these:

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We walked right by them at first.  They were very torn up.  There were cat scratches all over the upholstery and the cushions were thin.  So we made a lap around the outdoor area and ended up back at the chairs.  I decided to give them a shot and plunked right down in one.

WP_000766 It was comfy and I am a huge sucker for a wing chair.  Shannon asked the vendor how much he wanted for the pair.  When he said “$80 for the pair.”, we looked at each other and smiled.  Oh yes, they were leaving with us!  When the cushions were flipped up we saw the Highland House by Hickory tag.  These probably retailed for close to $1000 in their heyday. 

Right next to the vendor we bought the chairs from was a vendor selling remnant fabric.  We decided to head over and see if there was enough of a great fabric to reupholster these chairs in.  Score again!  All fabric was $5 per yard and we found a beautiful greige fabric with a slight sheen to it.  There was plenty to reupholster the 2 chairs so we paid up and loaded our treasures into the car. 

My new task is going to be refinishing the legs of the chairs and getting them over to be reupholstered.  I’m not sure if they are going to be kept or sold.  I’ll have to see them once they are complete.  But for now, here is the color story I’m going to use:

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All of the fabric here is remnant fabric.  I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning!  I will post pics of the finished product.  Stay tuned!

Weekly Menu 12/3–12/7

This weeks menu is all about the warmth of the season.  Soups, crock pots and just yummy home cooking.

Monday – Mushroom soup (ham and cheese croissants for the kids)

Tuesday – Salmon Cakes from the Barefoot Contessa – she is just soooo good!

Wednesday – Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Quinoa Stew

Thursday – Autumn Chopped Salad – hearts of Romaine chopped and tossed with walnuts, goat cheese, dried cranberries, chicken and a berry vinaigrette. (My hubby prefers Balsamic Vinaigrette)

Friday – Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa – for the mango salsa just chop a mango, red onion, green pepper and cilantro.  Toss with some lime juice and voila!