Sunday, January 20, 2019

{In Case You Missed It}: 2018 Highlights

Happy New Year (again!)  Amazingly, this year is off to a fast and furious start, with January soon to be in the rear view.  So before any more time elapses, I want to share one of my most favorite perennial posts, highlighting many of the moments that made the year gone by special for me, personally, and for D.M.R. Fine Foods.

Each year it seems like it couldn't get any sweeter and, then, it does!  And that would be 2018.  On a personal note, I enjoyed more fulfilling career, personal, civic, and relational highlights that made everything else the proverbial (and oh so delicious) icing on top.

That "icing" included special moments, among others, in food, travel, lifestyle and media--a well-rounded foray of the good life.  And I'm excited to recap some of the most special for you here, starting with a fun slideshow round-up. (*Recommended: watch in full screen mode.)

Food ~
My year in food included such highlights as once again being a featured blogger and contributor to the acclaimed Black History Month Virtual Potluck, with my Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding with Maple Glaze, along with more recipes and foodie indulgences from near and far.

Travel ~
My wanderlust led me to exceptional new destinations, including Cartagena, Colombia and Cozumel, Mexico, and repeat favorites, alike, including South Beach, New York City, Chicago, Orlando and Bermuda.  From the occasional business jaunt, to vacation getaways, 2018 was another year of fulfilling travel and exploration.

Fashion & Lifestyle ~
I experienced of the biggest honors of 2018 on what I'll label as the lifestyle front, which was being selected as a 2018 BHG Stylemaker by Better Homes and Gardens magazine! Can you say, awe-mazing?!  (I'll be a doing a dedicated post soon to share more of the fabulousness of my entire experience, so stay tuned!)  Beyond BHGStylemaker, I had the pleasure of joining gorgeous fashion influencer, CariRene Vintage, for an amazing afternoon of fashion inspiration at the Global Runway Fashion Presentation hosted by the Atlanta Airport.  And as a special bonus, to boot, I met one of my favorite fashion and beauty editors!

Beyond decor and fashion, another highlight included a private Girlfriends' Spa Party courtesy of Giorgio Armani Beauty and Saks Atlanta, making for a great afternoon of pampering with some of my favorite girls.

Media/Collaborations ~
2018 was another standout year on the media and collaboration front.  I was so thrilled to return to the t.v. to share more of my food and lifestyle passions, this time with the fabulous daytime show, Atlanta and Company.  My media footprint continued with my running monthly column with Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, media corp for my forever favorite Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, and myriad media collaborations on behalf of exceptional local restaurants, wineries, farm co-ops (City Winery Atlanta, Varun Napoli, Dantanna's, Peach Dish), Atlanta Magazine, and more!

I obviously kept to my busier pace but, as always, it was extremely worth it, and equally as special to share it with you here on the blog and via social media.  I thank you for remaining connected and appreciate your ongoing support and interest in my corner of the world.  I love having you along for my journey and look forward to sharing more as 2019 continues to unfold. 

Happy Living!



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Apple Crostata

It's hard to argue that buttery, homemade pie crust, topped with apples coated in cinnamon, sugar, orange zest and more, isn't some of the best noshing around.  So much so, that when I prepared that delight, also known as an Apple Crostata, on Thanksgiving morning, it never made it to the Thanksgiving dinner dessert line-up!

Beyond being truly irresistible (you'll bear witness for yourself once you make it), the recipe scores bonus points for the ease in which it comes together, making it ideal for a last minute dessert option with major wow appeal.  It's no secret that fruit crostatas are some of my favorite things to bake (and devour!), and I've long loved this recipe, which hails from one of my biggest food inspirations, Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa). 

I shared the fruits of my Thanksgiving baking labor, along with some of the morning-of behind the scenes action, but decided it would only be truly fair if I also shared the recipe so that you can make it, too.  So, at last, here it is--in all of its can't-get-enough goodness and perfection for endless....

Happy Eating!

Apple Crostata


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Welcome to a Very Good New Year

Happy New Year! I wrapped the year with a Caribbean getaway and I'm finally (slowly) emerging from my vacay state of mind and settling into a whole. new. year.  2019!  It's always amazing to take that in considering that it feels as if 2018 just began yesterday in some ways.

And what a year it was.  I experienced what was (for me) a supreme year of continued increase, growth, opportunity--and, yes, a couple of tough patches.  Still, the overarching theme, without question, was definitely God's favor and blessing--even in the uncomfortable places that required me to stretch, let go in some areas, and forge ahead with renewed strength. As my tradition has become, I'll be sharing a fuller recap of the highlights that made last year so special for me and D.M.R. Fine Foods, so stay tuned for an upcoming dedicated post!

In reflecting on the year gone by, I came across a post I shared here, in which I reasserted my faith and decision to have a very good year last year (and every year, to be honest)--before much time had elapsed and before much of the 'very goodness' had actually unfolded.  Because my mission with this brand is to share the good life in its many facets--and in the ways most meaningful to me--I wanted to share this with you to prime you for a very good year of your own this year.

I look forward to continuing to share my journey and passions with you as the year gets underway and, as always, thank you for support!

Here's to the happiest of New Years!

xo, Dawn

Sunday, October 28, 2018

{What's For Dinner}: Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Italian Chicken Sausage

I've never had to overthink much when it comes to what I eat.  I often teasingly say that I'm an equal opportunity eater, meaning that I enjoy good food without discrimination.  However, lately, I've renewed my commitment to healthier fare to attain (and maintain) my personal health and fitness goals. 

Despite the bad rap that "healthy" foods can sometimes receive, nothing could be farther from the truth.  Sure, it might mean moderation when it comes to indulgences, as well as embracing our favorite foods prepared in slightly different ways (e.g. baked vs. fried), etc., but it does not have to mean absence of flavor and the scrumptious goodness that we desire--and deserve.

Last week I whipped up one of my favorite healthy dishes, that not only delivers scrumptious flavor bite after bite, but also happens to be a cinch to prepare.  Can we say, win-win?!  I grabbed some sweet peppers from the market and decided to transform them into a meal by stuffing them with a quinoa and Italian chicken sausage mixture. (So good!) They were received by happy mouths and tummies, mine included!, and will definitely be on future rotation in my cooking repertoire.

I'm excited for you to make them and enjoy the same satisfaction and....

Happy Eating!

Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Italian Chicken Sausage 

Serves 6
6 sweet peppers
1 cup quinoa
1 lb. Chicken Italian Sausage
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt, to taste (optional)
Olive Oil
Shredded Cheese
Chopped scallions to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse and dry peppers, core to remove stem and seeds, and set aside in a baking dish.

Pre-heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sausage (removed from casings) and saute until browned and cooked through.  Set aside.

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Drain through a sieve and add to skillet with sausage.  Add in tomato paste, tomato sauce, oregano and a light sprinkling of salt.  Over low heat, stir to combine all the ingredients and form a quinoa and sausage mixture. 

Lightly drizzle oil over peppers and spoon quinoa and sausage mixture into each one.  Sprinkle cheese on top of each and cover the baking dish with foil.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven or until peppers are tender.  

Remove from oven and garnish with scallions.  Serve hot and enjoy!



Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Warm and Cozy Fall Recipes X Atlanta and Company

On the set of Atlanta and Company
I'm a stickler for riding out a season until the very end, but once it's gone, it's gone--no strings attached. :)  And saying farewell to Summer recently in anticipation of embracing my most favorite of seasons, Fall, was a welcomed transition.  Never mind that the temperatures in my parts have not fully caught on and co-signed on the recent autumnal equinox, Fall is finally here!

For most, Fall is beloved for the cooler, crisper weather, gorgeous foliage, football, tailgating--and the seasonal fare that makes it all delicious.  Warm and cozy seasonal fare, to be exact.

Ready to share my Fall recipes on the set of Atlanta and Company
I provided a head start on Fall eats during my recent segment on Atlanta and Company, where I dished on spices and herbs that make for richly flavored, versatile and, yes, scrumptious, food and drinks to carry you tastefully through the season and beyond.

I featured some of my tried and true favorites, including:
Spicy (Turkey) Chili
Rosemary-Thyme Cornbread Madeleines; and
Hot Mulled Cider.

This menu will suit any weeknight, game day, weekend gathering, or celebration, so be prepared to keep it in constant rotation as the season continues to unfold.

Finally, in case you missed it, you can watch the full segment below for extra tips and fun!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

{Things To Do In Atlanta}: Pinewood Forest Idea Home

Life is good.  :)

I ended last week on a high doing something I absolutely love--once again sharing my food passion and expertise on Atlanta and Company.  (More to come on that soon, so stay tuned!)

As I prepared to finally embrace the weekend, I mentally switched to low-key mode and prepared to indulge in maximum chill, save a couple of exceptions.  Beyond a movie night out on Friday which fit my low-key agenda perfectly, there was a Saturday afternoon home tour of home tours.

After making the drive across town, I arrived at the beautiful, emerging "live, work and play" community of Pinewood Forest, where my gaze was immediately met with a glistening, sun-kissed lake.  I made my way to the Idea Home, nestled amidst finished and unfinished residential construction, and settled in for a highly anticipated tour of the property on its opening day, presented by Atlanta Magazine and Atlanta Magazine's HOME.

Touring beautifully designed homes, dressed with exquisite decor, is always an inspiration download and creative spark for me, and this home did not disappoint!

Each room was its own odyssey, with so much to see and take in.  From subtleties, to bold statements, surprise spaces, and full on "I can see myself living here" refrains, it was worth every minute spent.  So as you're considering things to do around the city, be sure to log this one on your favorites list.  (*Bonus: head over to the nearby Hanna Brothers Studio Cafe for a delicious breakfast, brunch or lunch until 3 p.m.)

The Pinewood Forest Idea Home Tour is going now through October 7, 2018.  Hours are Fridays, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; and Sundays, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.  Admission tickets are $25 and available for purchase here.

Happy Touring!


Monday, August 20, 2018

Atlanta and Company x How To Eat Your Favorite Foods!

One of my earliest memories of being held accountable for proper table and dining etiquette dates back to the ripe young age of nine and my fabulous (and greatly beloved) fourth grade teacher.  In between managing our homeroom, being hands-on with her students, and silencing the childish noise in French (yes, French), Ms. Butts made valuable use of our lunch periods by making social graces a priority.  That, coupled with ongoing reinforcements on the home front, left me especially fond of etiquette in its many varieties all these years later. 

And so, several years ago, I created my How To Eat series here on DMRFF to share quick and fun dining tutorials for some of our best beloved foods.  The results?  Better dining finesse (a.k.a. confidence) and a higher etiquette I.Q.

And then the most wonderful thing happened...(drum roll, please) and last week I appeared on the long-standing and uber popular daytime show, Atlanta and Company, sharing some of my How To Eat wisdom on pasta, bacon and bread and butter.  (Can you say, awesome?!)

In case you missed it, you can watch me here.  And be sure to check the archives for even more foods in this fun series! 

Happy Eating!
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