Friday, May 20, 2016

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival Returns Bigger & Better!



In two short weeks, a culinary experience that heralds the essence of the South beyond anything most have ever seen or tasted will return to Atlanta for an epic weekend in food, drink--and good times.

Now in its sixth year, it's hard to imagine that anything could top last year's festival, however this year promises to be the biggest--and the best--one yet.  Spectacular new additions--including a new series of expert instruction via Master Classes; a new Tasting Tents location; and a first-of-its-kind in the U.S. Pop-Up Vineyard in the City, in the heart of Midtown Atlanta, with a featured Sunday Brunch, the Ultimate Road Trip Kick-Off Party and much more--will make it worth every moment!

The themed Tasting Tents will reside in the gorgeous Piedmont Park Promenade

Sneak Peek rendering of the Pop-Up Vineyard in the City
"For food lovers, there is nothing more appealing than spending a weekend indulging in exceptional food and drink by rock star culinary talent, especially when the experience includes a road trip to a fun Southern city,” explains Dominique Love, Co-founder of the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival.

I couldn't agree more.  The ultimate Southern culinary weekend awaits and, trust me, you don't want to miss it!  Get your tickets now at atlantafoodandwinefestival.com.  Then prepare to know the south--and its cuisine--like never before.

Happy Eating!





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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

{Style Files}: Off-the-Shoulder Everything



"A Fashion that does not reach the streets is not a Fashion." ~Coco Chanel

If there's one look that's shaping up to be my favorite for the warmer temperatures and season, it's the effortless, chic, uber-flattering, off-the-shoulder trend.  And it's a look that can stand all on its own, while making a statement.  From day to night, beach to street, and beyond, it's style personified.

I'm already indulging myself and decided to share some of my favorite inspiration for your Spring/Summer wardrobe.  Make it your own by dressing it up (or down), as little or as much as you please.






Want more inspiration?  Check out 30+ looks here!

Happy Styling!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

{Spring Popsicles}: Coconut x Lime x Rose x Raspberry

I returned from a quickie getaway to the beach over the weekend that left me relishing Spring--and all its vibes--more than ever.  Back home and searching for kitchen inspiration for the blog, it wasn't long before my musings turned to the yummy, refreshing and whimsical world of popsicles.

I've had these darlings on my radar for quite a while, with the boxed popsicle molds sitting at the ready for about a year now, as a testament.  (Baby steps.)  But the moment finally arrived when Spring fever, coupled with my childlike obsession for all things frosty, could no longer be denied.




Enter my homespun (but delightfully scrumptious--and figure friendly) concoction of slightly sweet, tart, floral, and citrus-y popsicles.  The blend of coconut water, freshly squeezed lime juice, rose water, and surprise!, elderflower cordial, with fresh raspberries for their gorgeous aesthetic effect and tart bite, produced my newest favorite snack that's sure to keep me noshing throughout the remaining days of Spring...and beyond.

Happy Eating!

Spring Popsicles: Coconut x Lime x Rose x Raspberry

Ingredients:
2 cups coconut water
Juice of 2 limes
Teaspoon of rose water
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
Fresh raspberries

Method:
Combine coconut water, lime juice, rose water and elderflower cordial.  Fill popsicle molds halfway with mixure and add fresh raspberries.  Freeze for about 40 minutes.  Remove molds from freezer and fill with remaining mixture and top off with more berries.  Freeze overnight and enjoy! (Cook's Note: Run molds under warm water if difficult to remove.)  
  
 

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon

Vibrant green veggies (green beans, snow peas and green peas to be exact), fragrant fresh tarragon, lemon zest, coriander and mustard seed-infused olive oil, red chiles, garlic, red onion and baby lettuce.  Therein lies the magic to a fresh, bright, scrumptious--and perfect for Spring--salad.


I fell in love with the gorgeous colors that makes this salad a stunner, as much as I did with the robust flavors.  Eating in season never tasted (or looked) so good.  So welcome this dish into your Spring eating arsenal.

Happy Eating!

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Seeds and Tarragon
Recipe courtesy of Refinery29
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Friday, April 1, 2016

Travel, Shop, Nosh and Save with Groupon Coupons


Few things excite me more than a great deal, but we all know that scouring for the best deals can be daunting at times, which makes having an 'inside track' to discounts and savings priceless.  And if you've heard of--and used--Groupon, then you know the thrill of landing that favorite item or service--for a steal!

With that mission in mind, today's post is dedicated to sharing some must-have discounts and deals through Groupon Coupons and their network of favorite retailers across almost every category imaginable.  Whether you fancy travel, luxury goods, gourmet treats, entertainment--or more, there's something for you.  Below are a few of my favorites to get you going.

Luxury Shoppping ~
Just in time for your Spring wardrobe needs, splurge and save with renowned retailers, Macy's, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus.

Travel ~
The opportunity to save on travel is worth five stars and then some! Plan your next getaway--for less--with deals from American Airlines, CheapOair, Travelocity and Priceline.

Gourmet ~
Enjoy sips and bites from Starbucks without denting your wallet.

Entertainment ~
Get tickets to your favorite movies (while avoiding the lines) with great deals from Fandango.

There is seemingly no limit to all the savings you can enjoy, so if you're looking for something in particular, head over to Groupon Coupons to search--and save!

Happy Savings!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however the opinions are my own.
Photo Credit: Groupon.com


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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

{A Night to Remember}: Dinner at the James Beard House


Since I began indulging my passion for all things culinary, I have been blessed to experience many delicious, inspiring--and downright amazing--moments.  And this past weekend, yet another was added to the list.  In fact, it constituted one of the most special food moments I've relished to date.

The euphoria of which I speak was a dreamy and unforgettable evening spent dining and mingling at the James Beard House in New York City.  The evening represented the culmination of the thrill of having the James Beard Foundation acknowledge my food and subsequently award me the honor of dinner for two at the Beard House.  I had been sitting on my gift for the many months since and finally elected my birthday weekend as the ideal opportunity to indulge.  And so I did.

All Smiles with Chef Petroni
Arriving at the outwardly unassuming venue where so much culinary greatness has transpired was a moment.  A few snaps later, my guest and I headed inside to join the other diners for what began as a standing reception with the most decadently scrumptious and gorgeous food and sips (think caviar, bone marrow, and then some).  Following bite after seemingly unending bite, while being cautious to reserve room for the feast to follow, dashes to and from the kitchen to observe the artistry in motion and capture some takeaway shots--including one with the featured chef, himself--, mingling with and meeting other equally exuberant guests, and doing a quick stroll of the upstairs, the formal dinner began.



What ensued was a six-course feast, aptly named the St. Joseph's Feast, interpreted by Chef Christian Petroni of Fortina restaurant in Armonk, NY; Rye Brook, NY; and Stamford, CT.  Course after course presented one delight after the next and carried the evening along so tastefully and beautifully that all sense of time was lost over the hours that passed.  A warm greeting by Chef Petroni and his team of talented chefs and staff ended the evening on the intimate, inspiring note that I could only have imagined prior.  It was, and will always be, a night to remember.

Thank you, James Beard Foundation, for the honor.  It was Happy Eating indeed!

See more photos from the evening here.




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Monday, March 7, 2016

Pasta Primavera

This past weekend looked and felt like Spring.  And as much as I endeavor to enjoy each season fully, I can't deny that it made me wish for winter to hurry along so that the milder, sun-kissed days could settle in for good.

The infectious nature went beyond the weather and drifted into my kitchen--and the result was my favorite rendition of Pasta Primavera ("Spring Pasta" in Italian).  My take abandons the typical cream-laden dish and instead serves up bountiful fresh, vibrant vegetables that stand deliciously on their own.  Accents of Italian dried herbs, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan infuse extra decadence--and robust flavor--that makes for a dish you'll want to savor throughout Spring--and beyond.


This dish was a hit at my Spring Pop-Up Cooking School last year--and I trust you'll find it to be a welcomed addition to your spring eating repertoire.

Happy Eating!

Pasta Primavera
Ingredients:
1 lb. linguine (or pasta of choice)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
1 bunch of asparagus tips
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Grated Parmesan, to taste

Method:
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan.  Add onions to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Saute until they begin to soften and become translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add in garlic and herbs an saute for another minute.  Add in vegetables, except the cherry and sun dried tomatoes, and season lightly with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Cook until the vegetables begin to soften and become tender, about 7-10 minutesRemove mixture from pan and pour into a large bowl.  Stir in sun dried and cherry tomatoes and set aside.

Meanwhile, as the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt.  Add in pasta to boiling, salted water and cook according to package instructions.  Drain pasta and reserve pasta water.

Pour pasta into bowl with vegetables and toss to combine, adding in reserved pasta water to moisten, as needed.  Taste for seasoning and garnish generously with Parmesan.  Serve and enjoy!    
Recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis 
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