Friday, November 14, 2014

{Be Inspired!}: Winter Wanderlust

There are few things more inspiring than traveling to beautiful, breathtaking locales--and when it's done instep with a winter getaway, they become all the dreamier.

As we look ahead to the upcoming holidays and soon-coming winter season, these amazing destinations are inspiring heaps of wanderlust in this globetrotting girl and keeping me busy dreaming of where I'll land next.  Enjoy the (virtual) view from the Alps to Prague to Rome and more...and let them inspire you, too!

The Carousel in Paris
The Alps

Christmas in Rome

Happy Inspired Living!

Image Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes

November rolled in with somewhat of a vengeance last weekend.  The undeniable beauty of the Fall season was accented with a drop in temps--and a blustery wind chill.  The sudden change in weather staged the perfect scene for comforting and homey fare--the food that dreams are made of.

Homemade pancakes seemed like just the thing to satisfy my hankering for an indulgent, warm and cozy bite.  But the addition of pumpkin and spices made them all the warmer, cozier and more scrumptious.  I was already dreaming of these fluffy morsels before church on Sunday, so I saved room and went all in for a late afternoon brunch.  They were so, so good--only made (slightly) yummier by a pour of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.   Best of all, they were a breeze to whip up.  

So if you're looking to make your mornings, afternoons, or evenings, more delicious, you'll want these pancakes in your repertoire.  

Happy Eating!

Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart (My only tweak was adding a splash of vanilla extract.)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt 
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 
Pinch of ground cloves
1 cup milk 
6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree 
2 tablespoons melted butter 
Splash of vanilla extract
1 egg 

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, stir together the milk, puree, butter, extract and egg.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk together until just combined (don't overmix) to form the batter.  

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or griddle.  Measure 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake and cook on each side for about 1-2 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Taste of Atlanta: My Weekend Indulgence

As weekends seem to go, this last one went by with the usual speed of a shooting bullet.  But before it was only a memory, I managed to drink it in with gusto.  Saturday felt good as I made my way through my "to-do" list in Type A style.  Then came Sunday.  

With the gorgeous Fall weather as my backdrop, and a world of deliciousness ahead of me, I embarked upon an afternoon of food, fun, and exploration at the annual Taste of Atlanta Festival.  The highly regarded festival spanned three days, more than 90 restaurants, and an abundance of culinary action, all while presenting tastes from every corner of Atlanta.  It was the place to be for a relaxed, yet exciting, time of leisure, with an ever-present eye on what delicacy awaited next--a welcomed reminder of why I love attending.

With an equally eager friend in tow, I arrived ready to indulge and began my "mini food crawl" from post to post almost immediately.  From my first bites of fried oysters and beignets to my final bites of ice cream (no surprise there) and fried apple pie, with a bounty of good eats in between, I conquered my mission and left satisfied.  See more of the food highlights below:

Settled into the leisurely pace of the afternoon, it was about as chill as a Sunday afternoon stroll, laced with the anticipation of "what will I discover and eat next?"  The ying-yang of it all made for one of the best weekend indulgences I've had in a while and left me proud of all the unique and scrumptious tastes of Atlanta.  It's fair to say that I'm already looking ahead to when I get to do it all over again, and based on the smiles and pulse of the day's crowd, I'm not the only one.

Happy Eating!

Friday, October 17, 2014

POPSUGAR MUST HAVE BOX: Indulge, Pamper, Celebrate

Earlier this week a wonderful package arrived to my sheer delight and excitement.  And as soon as I opened my October 2014 POPSUGAR MUST HAVE BOX, I knew I had every reason to feel the way I did.  

Indulgent, delicious, and filled with goodies made for pampering, I couldn't keep this all to myself.  From candles to candies to beauty and bath and more, there's really something for everyone.  So here's what's inside:

Happy Socks
Warm and cozy leopard-print socks perfect for the cooler temps now (

butter LONDON  
A blendable WINK Eye Pencil in Earl Grey that's great for achieving an effortless look for day or something more dramatic, like a smokey eye, for night. (

Isaac Jacobs International  
An acrylic frame that's durable, chic--and great for displaying your special memories. (

Mine Design 
A supremely fragrant Chalkboard Candle.  Made out of soy, it's reusable and rewritable, so you can send the perfect message every time. (

Dean & Deluca 
Pumpkin Spice Balls made with real pumpkin spices and dipped in dark chocolate; they perfectly capture the flavor of Fall. (

Nailed Kit  
Nail art decals that are fun, festive and easy to apply. (

Bonus!: K. Hall Designs
Shoreline Shea Butter/Olive Oil Bar Soap--the moisturizing and refreshing treatment your skin will love, especially as the colder months approach. (

And not to fret.  You can get your own MUST HAVE BOX subscription at a special discounted rate from now through November 2, 2014. Simply go here and enter the code OCT10Select to save $10 off a 3-month subscription. 

Happy Indulging!

Disclosure: POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

{Star Ingredient} -- Balsamic Done Savory and Sweet

Balsamic vinegar is a wonder.  Its tangy brightness, characteristic of vinegars, generally, and undeniable sweet notes, make it a versatile, star ingredient that should be resident in every gourmand's kitchen.  And while I first became acquainted with the savory, more traditional, ways of bringing balsamic into my cuisine, I have long since welcomed its ability to elevate and transform sweeter offerings into something truly special.

Today's post offers the best of both worlds, serving up easy, yet indulgent, recipes that will leave you forever convinced about why this pantry staple is a star ingredient, indeed. 

Balsamic Chicken

On the savory end, I'm sharing a recipe for Balsamic Chicken that will steer you away from the "we're having chicken again" doldrums. And for my sweet take, a little balsamic goes a long way.  Starting with the best aged balsamic I can find, it stars as the perfect finish and accent to luscious, roasted pears.  While these dishes are a cinch to pull together, they equally score as courses elegant enough for special occasions.  So whether you're in the mood for sweet, savory, or both, balsamic will give you something to relish.

Balsamic Roasted Pears

Happy Eating!

Balsamic Chicken

1.5-2 lbs. skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly parsley, roughly chopped (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a resealable bag.

In a small bowl, add vinegar, honey, soy, garlic and chili flakes, stirring or whisking to combine.   Pour marinade over chicken and reseal bag.  Massage chicken with marinade to coat well and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours or up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Remove chicken from bag and place chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side down.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Reserve marinade.

Turn on broiler and turn chicken skin side up.  Place chicken under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the skin becomes crisp, keeping a close eye on it. 

Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir frequently and allow sauce to cook until reduced and thickened.  Brush sauce over cooked chicken and garnish with fresh parsley, if using.  Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Just a Taste

Balsamic Roasted Pears

Bosc pears, halved and cored
Brown sugar
Aged balsamic
Ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place pears in a baking dish, flesh side up.  Place a pat of butter in the hollow of each pear half, where the core once was.  Sprinkle brown sugar over the pears (as much as you please).  Place pears in heated oven and bake for 30 minutes, until pears are tender.

Remove pears from oven and place over ice cream.  Finish with a generous drizzle of balsamic over the ice cream and pears.  Serve and enjoy!



Friday, October 3, 2014

Gourmet Popcorn {4 Ways!}

In the world of snacks, there are few that rank higher on my list than popcorn.  I can barely resist being anywhere near the stuff and not indulging.  And I won't even mention what happens each time I enter the concession area of a movie theater (whether I've eaten just before arrival or not).  Let's just say I never leave empty-handed.  Yes, it's like that.

For me, popped corn is wonderfully scrumptious on its own, with a bit of salt (and maybe hot sauce--don't judge me), and needs little more to be enjoyed.   But on the occasion that you're looking to "doctor it up", elevating it from simple bar snack status to something rather unforgettable, an easy gourmet touch is all you need.

From sweet, to savory, and beyond, there's no end to the flavor combinations to be had.  I'm sharing four of my favorites to get you started with scrumptious snacking and....

Happy Eating!

Gourmet Popcorn
When going for "top-shelf" popcorn snacking, I prefer to start by popping my own corn kernels (vs. microwaving).  It's quick and easy and can be done in a matter of minutes on the stove-top or with an air-popper.  I recommend using a neutrally flavored oil like canola, sunflower, or vegetable, and following the packaging instructions for perfectly popped corn!


1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Stir or whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Sprinkle desired amount over (freshly popped) popcorn and enjoy! Store any extra sugar in an air-tight container.


6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Generous sprinkling of salt

Stir garlic powder and salt into just-melted butter and drizzle over popcorn. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Nut Mix

1/3 cup chocolate chips 
1/3 cup nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.)

Add chocolate and nuts to popcorn and toss to combine.  Enjoy!

Buttered Toffee 

Toffee Sauce

Drizzle toffee over popcorn and toss to coat.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

{Atlanta's Westside Market}: Dive into Fall Design

Some of the many Fall inspired wares

The Fall season has finally graced us with its arrival again, bringing along its own special inspiration for design and decor to enliven and infuse living spaces.  Tuesday night I was invited to attend a gathering at the Westside Market, one of the Southeast's premier design and furniture merchants, highlighting their many offerings and abundant inspiration around Fall design.  

From embellished table scapes, to art, to collectibles, to furniture pieces and beyond, the Westside Market proved to offer something for every taste and budget across the design spectrum.  Also serving as a consignment boutique, there are clothing selections sprinkled throughout the expansive venue, as well as the option to consign your valuables.  

I couldn't resist grabbing a few items for my own takeaway and already have plans for return visits in the days ahead.  If you're familiar with the Market, you'll want to drop in to see what's new from last night's seasonal reveal.  And if you're not familiar, then you'll definitely want to get acquainted with all it has to offer.  

So here's to welcoming Fall flair, design, inspiration and... Happy Living!

Westside Market
1530 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd.
Atlanta, GA 30318
(404) 941-3466