Thirsty Thursday: Christmas Cocktail

If you read Behind the Blogger pt.2, you know that I’m a wine lover. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), when I decided to get serious about becoming a runner and getting healthy, I decided to abstain from all alcohol for a while except special occasions and even then, one glass only. It was a great decision for me and I plan to continue throughout this training cycle. But another special occasion is coming up soon and I have plans to make a special Christmas Cocktail at my Aunt Cheryl’s house for dinner.

As much as I’m starting to love red wines, my heart still belongs to my sweet Moscato and I found the perfect cocktail recipe for our one-glass reunion: Martha Stewart’s Sparkling Pear and Cranberry Cocktail.


2 tablespoons dry cranberries

1/2 cup organic pear nectar

32 ounces Moscato D’Asti

8 small sprigs fresh rosemary


1. Put cranberries in a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons warm water and soak until cool (about 15 minutes). Drain, pat dry and refrigerate until serving.

2. Divide pear nectar evenly among 8 tall champagne glasses. (I’ll need to triple this for my family!) Add cranberries and then gently pour Moscato D’Asti into the glasses. Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig.



Thirsty Thursday: Homemade

I’ve warned my entire family that everyone will be receiving homemade gifts for Christmas because I’m a poor law student who can’t afford anything else. Plus, my last final is 5 days before Christmas and I can’t put myself through the stress of last-minute shopping this year. I just can’t do it.

I found some great DIY project ideas that I’ll share soon, but I was reading Cupcakes and Cashmere yesterday and got some great ideas for edible gifts as well. For example, homemade Peppermint Marshmallows! These would make such a great gift for anyone with children. I’d pair it with a Hot Chocolate mix and put it in a cute box or basket.


For a more grown-up gift, try making jalapeño and pineapple infused tequila. If your gift recipient isn’t a fan of tequila, play around with different flavors/liquors (there are other flavor/liquor combinations at that link). Strain the infused liquor into a pretty jar or bottle. And don’t forget the jingle bell!


I’ve always found that I’m amazed by even the simplest homemade gifts. Tell someone you made it yourself and it becomes an instant hit. Which brings me to my next idea…

Since I won’t be wowing anyone with my designer gifts this year, I should probably try to wow them with a looks-really-impressive-but-is-actually-super-easy dessert. Enter The Barefoot Contessa.


When I first started cooking, I downloaded a bunch of old Food Network episodes and my absolute favorite one featured a Holiday menu by Ina Garten. She made a simple stuffed chicken breast, roasted carrots and parsnips, pasta with truffle butter and finished it off with a gorgeous red berry trifle.


I’ve been waiting for the day when I could attempt this recipe. I will definitely be making this for Christmas dinner. You can find the recipe here and a short video recipe here. The video doesn’t include the pound cake recipe, but it’s included in the full recipe. I also recommend downloading the full episode on iTunes and making the entire meal as a pre-holiday dinner for your family, friends or boyfriend. It’s called Perfect Holiday Dinner from Season 2 of Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics.

Let me know if you have any other homemade gift ideas and/or recipes and stay tuned for a DIY:Christmas post coming soon!

Thirsty Thursday: “My” Famous Shrimp Tacos

I’ve shared this recipe on Posh’s Black Book before, but I’d be a horrible blogger if I didn’t share it with my readers. I first found it last year when I was getting familiar in the kitchen and since then I’ve made it my own. I call them “my” famous shrimp tacos because my family has started requesting that I make it, especially the guacamole, and most of them thought I came up with it on my own. It is THE best. I love Mexican food, but it’s normally loaded with unhealthy ingredients and served in huge portions. This recipe allows me to eat my favorite food without feeling guilty. You can find the full recipe on Gwyneth Paltrow’s website here or by watching the video. See my personal adaptations below.

* “my” way:

– I use a red onion instead of white in the salsa and guacamole. I think it gives it a little more flavor and I like the color it adds.

– I also use Cholula hot sauce in the pico de gallo to give it an extra kick. I use Cholula Lime sometimes (in the salsa and as a topping in the tacos) since I use fresh lime juice in pretty much every other part of the recipe.

– I season the shrimp with Adobo seasoning and lime juice. It’s spicy and amazing. Also, if you live near a Wegmans, try buying their fully cooked, frozen, peeled and deveined shrimp. They’re a little expensive, but they make the process a lot faster and they’re really great.

– If I’m making the tacos for a large group of people, I cook the shrimp in a skillet instead of on the grill for time-saving purposes. It’s also a good idea if you tend to overcook the shrimp on the grill.

– I make rice (sometimes white, sometimes brown) with it as well. We use a rice cooker and before I turn it on I add a little salt, lime juice and cilantro. Just like Chipotle!

Let me know how you like it and if you make any of your own changes!

Thirsty Thursday: Delicious and Nutritious.

I’m counting down the days until this semester is over for many reasons including having time to cook again. When I moved to New Orleans for my first year of law school in August 2010, I couldn’t cook at all. Nothing I made ever tasted good and I only did it if I absolutely had to. After a couple of months of complete isolation (from a combination of nonstop reading and being 17 hours away from everyone I loved), I started to focus my attention on running and cooking. I needed something to distract me from my misery and it worked like a charm. I’ve been creating (or adapting) my own recipes and look forward to posting them here, but for now I want to introduce you to a few of my favorite recipes by others.

I learned very quickly that watching cooking shows like Giada at Home and The Barefoot Contessa made cooking seem more accessible. There is a world of difference between reading the words “carefully fold egg whites into the mixture” and watching it happen. That’s when I discovered Jessica Seinfeld. If you read my weekly blog on Posh’s Black Book, you already know that she’s my kitchen hero. Between her two cookbooks and her website,, she singlehandedly taught me how to cook.


I’ve made almost every recipe on her website and have only had one unfortunate outcome involving Stewy Shrimp. (I got a little heavy-handed with the wine on that one. Sorry Dad!) I chose to post her Succulent Lemon-Thyme Salmon recipe today because it’s super easy and looks great on a plate. It’s guaranteed to make you feel like a chef. Make it for a date this weekend or do what I did and challenge your date to a cook-off with it. I won by a unanimous vote of 3 very tough judges. (He’s still mad about it.) Pair your salmon with a green veggie (I prefer sauteed spinach or asparagus) and brown rice for a delicious and nutritious meal!