GRAPEFRUIT AND THYME GIN & TONIC

IMG_1774Well, happy February friends! ‘Tis the season of love and we decided to celebrate a little early with some festive cocktails. Today’s concoction is the Grapefruit and Thyme Gin & Tonic and my, oh my, is it divine!

Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, a sprig of thyme, and some delicious gin is just what you need to kick off a weekend. So my friends, grab a seat, scroll down, and enjoy!

PS – not a grapefruit fan? Don’t worry, we will have something fabulous & grapefruit free yet still festive & fun for you next week. Stay tuned!
IMG_1763INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 ounces (or 1 jigger) of gin
  • One grapefruit
  • Tonic
  • Fresh thyme leaves
  • Ice
  • Shaker

IMG_1752INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Cut half of your grapefruit in half & squeeze it into your shaker. Add in a handful of ice & a few springs of thyme.

2. Shake until cold & pour into a your favorite festive glass. I like coupes, cause they make me feel fancy 😉

3. Cut the other half of your grapefruit into wedges, add wedge and sprig of thyme for garnish.

4. Sip, serve, repeat!

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WINTER MOSCOW MULE

 

2Is there anything better than a delicious Moscow Mule after a long week at the office? We can’t really think of anything! Add in a couple of muddled blackberries, if you are feeling particularly frisky, and voila, you’ve got the cure-all for any weekday nonsense.

It’s basically the weekend, so let’s celebrate! See Elizabeth’s twist on a this favorite cocktail and get to it. This is just the excuse you needed to invite the gals over & catch up. No one can turn down a Moscow Mule, I think it’s just fact 😉

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INGREDIENTS: 

8 ounces of ginger beer
1 1/2 ounces of vodka
juice from half a lime
Tablespoon of muddled mint
A handful of blackberries
*yields one cocktail 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Fill a copper mug with crushed ice. Pour in ginger beer, vodka, mint and squeezed lime juice.
2. Stir gently. Garnish with a lime wedge + mint sprig & a blackberry if you are feeling frisky!
NOTE: you can sub ginger beer with ginger ale, ginger beer is accessible at most liquor stores. Goslings Ginger Beer is our favorite 😉
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COQ AU VIN Subtitle Text Goes Here to Capture Audience

COQAUVIN0017Oh, hey friends! Today quite possibly marks the day that LaurenKelp.com officially got fancy. We whipped up the most gorgeous twist on a traditional Coq au Vin dish in our new Le Creuset mix & match Dutch Oven (you know, to break it in and stuff) & the results were nothing short of mindblowingly delicious. We’ve always been a big fan of the Dutch Oven, but this little beauty seals the deal. It’s stunning!
COQAUVIN0015Now, I know we talk a lot about simple recipe and quick little cooking hacks, but today is the day we flex our cooking mussels. Our take on Coq au Vin isn’t wildly difficult to make, it just takes a bit more prep work and a little more patience, but the results are nothing short of magnificent. COQAUVIN0012Traditional Coq au Vin calls for chicken thighs & breasts, but we felt a bit daring so we switched it up and used Cornish Game Hen. The best part about the Dutch Oven is that it does a lot of the heavy lifting, flavor-wise, for you. This dish is perfect to make for a special night, a fun dinner-party, or if you just want to elevate your kitchen game. As always, it won’t go perfectly, but that’s the best part! Who knows, you may just add something that makes the dish perfectly your own! COQAUVIN0009

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 cups full-bodied red wine (we used a Cabernet Sauvignon)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Cornish Game hen

Olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

10 white pearl onions, blanched and peeled

1/2 pound small cremini mushrooms

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons Cognac

5 fresh thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

Flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

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INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Place Game Hen in a large bowl, and add wine. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

3. Remove Game Hen from wine, and pat dry; reserve wine. Season Game Hen with salt and pepper.

4. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, leaving drippings in pot.

5. Raise heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook Game Hen, flipping once, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add chopped onion to pot, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 2 minutes. Add pearl onions and mushrooms, and cook until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and flour, and cook 2 minutes. Add Cognac, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

6. Return bacon and Game Hen to pot. Add thyme and bay leaves. Cover, and place in oven until Game Hen has cooked through and vegetables are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Discard herbs, and skim fat from surface.

7. Serve & enjoy! Pairs wonderfully with mashed potatoes and your favorite bold red!

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Recipe adapted from the queen herself, Martha Stewart

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GINGER & WALNUT DARK CHOCOLATE BARK

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

Happy Monday! Constance here. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is seriously struggling with coming off of the chocolate high after the holidays?! It seems to be so much more difficult than it was last year. I’m a firm believer in the gradual change, and I think that this little recipe falls a bit more into the power bar/trail mix category than the dessert category. Right? And dark chocolate is basically a superfood. Thus, I bring you Ginger & Walnut Dark Chocolate Bark. It’s easy. It’s delicious. And it’s obviously super healthy…

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELPDARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. dark chocolate chips or chunks

-2 tablespoons almond extract

-1 cup candied ginger, chopped

-1 cup walnuts, chopped

-1 cup shaved almonds

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/3 cup of ginger, 1/3 cup of walnuts and 1/3 cup of almonds.

-Stir until evenly combined.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining ginger, walnuts and almonds evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

DARK CHOCOLATE BARK - LAUREN KELP


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MAPLE SEA SALT ROASTED ALMONDS

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsHello lovelies! Are you ready for the best snack hack of your life? We recently threw a Tablemakers dinner in Phoenix were these were served as a little appetizer and our guests flipped! They are the perfect combination of salty & sweet and your life will never be the same after you try them. Seriously. xoxo,LK


Laurel here! There’s something magical about the sweet, rich aroma of roasted almonds that always makes me think of steam swirling around street-cart vendors in winter, or fancy kiosks in the mall selling fragrant cellophane bags of these little goodies. They remind me of something you’d treat yourself to or receive as a gift (in those same fancy cellophane bags or glass jars), you know? I’d always thought of roasted or candied nuts as something too special to make at home–which is ridiculous, now that I know how completely easy they are to pull off, and in almost no time at all. Can you stir things in a bowl? Can you wait twenty minutes? Perfect, then you can make these! If your pantry is stocked anything like mine, you may even have all the ingredients to make these treats already, but even if a shopping trip is required, this four-ingredient beauty won’t break the bank.

The only real secret to getting these crunchy, candied nuts just right is one I’ll share with you now (saving you from a fate like my first few overly sticky batches)…always toss them in syrup first, then vegetable oil separately. That’s it! The oil resists mixing with the liquid in the syrup and forms a kind of coating on the outside. Your result, my friend? Perfectly crunchy, not sticky, addictively delicious roasted nuts every time.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds
The best thing about this recipe for Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds really is, in fact, that it’s just a gateway to other recipes. Once you know how easy they are to make ahead of time, you can discover how amazing they are on top of hearty salads, warm Brie drizzled with maple syrup, breakfast bowls of grains or Greek yogurt, chopped and sprinkled on ice cream…you name it! My favorite way to eat them is straight out of my hand, though–they’re the perfect take-along snack for the office or running errands, and they keep me from reaching for far worse alternatives (vending machine candy bars, I’m lookin’ at you).

Never know what to serve at a party? This recipe will make you look like an entertaining genius. Set out a few pre-dinner bowls of these to satisfy hungry guests the next time you’re hosting–they’re totally at home next to a good cheese plate or on a bar cart with tasty cocktails. Like all good salty-sweet things (which is basically saying ALL GOOD THINGS, because that’s my favorite category), these roasted almonds are equally at home before or after dinner. You could just as easily end the meal with passed bowls of them and call it dessert. Happy snacking!

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsINGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a mixing bowl, toss almonds with maple syrup and half the salt.

– Add vegetable oil, toss until thoroughly coated.

– Spread almonds in a single layer on lined baking sheet.

– Bake for 20 minutes until deep golden brown, stopping about halfway through to stir with a silicone spatula and sprinkle with remaining sea salt.

– Let cool slightly, then break apart any clumped-together almonds while still a bit warm.

– When completely cool, store in airtight container for up to one month.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds


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HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELPOoh, dear, dear friends, you are in for a treat today. For all of my cheese lovers out there, today’s recipe is for you! We’ve got the most glorious baked brie and it’s basically a cheap & easy lifesaver. It takes no time, is cheap to make, and makes you look like a total pro! Go ahead invite the mother in law over, you just popped a brie in the oven 😉 – xoxo, LK


Oh friends. Constance here. Is anyone out there as excited as I am that the holidays are over? Never before in my life have I uttered that sentence. I almost feel ashamed saying it, but it couldn’t be more true this year! I think it must be a combination of a way too busy holiday season around our house (I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe for a couple of days there!) and an overwhelming sense of excitement about 2016. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but there’s something about this year that has me giddy. I have a feeling 2016 is going to be quite the game changer.

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELP

All of this excitement, however, doesn’t come without some sort of reflection. I’ve been thinking a whole lot about the art of entertaining, especially when it comes to the holidays. Confession: I’m 100% certain that that busyness I mentioned earlier had much to do with me spending way too much time in the kitchen trying to impress our guests rather than cooking smarter and spending more time actually enjoying my loved ones. There’s a way to be intentional and make much of your guests, without entirely missing the celebration yourself, and I truly believe that if that’s not happening there’s a big problem.

So to remedy this for future celebrations, I’ve decided to learn from my mistakes this year, and share with you the recipes that truly did work. The ones that are simple and quick, but still communicate to your guests that the dinner you’ve invited them to is a celebration! And you guys, this is the pièce de résistance. Because who doesn’t love brie…

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELPINGREDIENTS:

-12 ounce wheel of good brie (a younger brie works best, but ask your cheese monger for a good option)

-honey (the more the better)

-3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELPINSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Remove brie from packaging and place in camembert baker or on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle liberally with honey (we prefer to completely cover the top of the brie, but it’s up to you). Top with fresh rosemary sprigs.

-Bake for 12-14 minutes.

-Remove from oven, and serve with crusty french bread.

HONEY & ROSEMARY BAKED BRIE - LAUREN KELP


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BOURBON CIDER SMASH

BAP_4253Happy New Year’s Eve, babe-trons! Have y’all been making your list of resolutions? We certainly have! No matter if you are going out or staying in and doing something casual, this lovely little Bourbon Cider Smash must be a part of your celebrations!

With just a hint of hibiscus from the cider mixed with that warming feeling of bourbon makes for a lovely little start to the new year! Here’s the catch, while this drink can be reproduced with any of your favorite hard ciders, we really recommend Awestruck because of their insanely good flavored hops. That might sound gross, but their Lavender and Hibiscus & Ginger varieties are out of this world! I guess you’ll just have to try it out to believe me! xoxo – LK
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INGREDIENTS:

– Bottle of Awestruck Cider (we used Hibiscus Ginger, but any flavor will do!)

– Your favorite Bourbon

– 1 Apple

BAP_4395INSTRUCTIONS:

– Pour a jigger full of bourbon into each glass

– Top off with chilled Awestruck cider. We used their Hibiscus Ginger variety as the flavors add a little something special to the drink!

– If cider isn’t chilled, add a few ice cubes

– Garnish with a thinly sliced apple

– Serve, sip, repeat!

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BOOZY PEPPERMINT AFFOGATO

Boozy Peppermint Affogato

Merry Christmas, holiday babes! Lindsey here and we are whipping up a treat today! In the need of a last minute dessert that’s quick, easy and boozy?? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! A few years ago for my birthday, my husband gave me a Cuisinart ice cream maker and it literally changed my life. I jazzed up their traditional peppermint ice cream with a touch of booze and topped it off with espresso for the perfect after-Christmas-dinner-dessert. Enjoy!

Boozy Peppermint Affogato

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of whole milk

3/4 cup of granulated sugar

pinch of salt

2 cups of heavy cream

1/2 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of peppermint extract

4 tablespoons of peppermint Schnaaps

 

2 drops red food coloring

Fresh espresso

Candy cane candies for garnish

** Makes 6 cups of ice creamBoozy Peppermint AffogatoINSTRUCTIONS:

1. A few hours prior to before serving, make the ice cream: In a medium bowl, whisk together whole milk and sugar until sugar dissolves.

2. Whisk in heavy cream

3. Add pinch of salt, vanilla, Peppermint Schnaaps and peppermint extract

4. Turn on the Cuisinart ice cream maker; pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the food coloring through the top and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours.

5. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving

6. Scoop into serving bowls or glasses and top with crushed candy canes

7. Pour in one shot of fresh espresso and garnish with a candy cane

Boozy Peppermint Affogato


lindsey buttonPhotos by Jessica Gold Photography

CRANBERRY + PISTACHIO ALMOND BARK

XMAS0004Hello merrymakers! Constance here! If you’re anything like me, you’re in full scramble mode. It’s Monday and that means you have less than one week until THE day of gifting. No matter how hard I try and how much I plan, I’m always working, shopping, cooking up until the last minute. Wasn’t it Steve Jobs that said the best work is done under pressure? No? Well….someone did, and I’m sticking to that nugget of wisdom!
And friends, if you’re in the same boat, this recipe is clutch. Total prep time? About 10 minutes. Total time? About 8 hours. BUT 7.5 hours of that is spent in your refrigerator which means this little recipe is foolproof! And better news? It’s truly so, so good. And it just to happens to be red, white, and green!

XMAS0001 INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. good white chocolate
-2 tablespoons almond extract
-1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
-1 cup chopped dried cranberries

XMAS0002INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/2 cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of cranberries.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining pistachios and cranberries evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

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CHOCOLATE FUDGE

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP

Hello & Happy Monday, you beautiful birds! It’s chocolate day here at LK HQ and we are busting out a good one – chocolate fudge! It’s pure heaven and it’s perfect to share, gift, or indulge in after a good meal. Thankfully, Foodie Bad Ass Constance Higley brings her A-game and knocks this guy out of the park. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think! – xoxo, LK


Hello friends! Constance here. Remember how we said Mondays were made for chocolate? We weren’t kidding. It’s what we live for…at least on Mondays. I’ve always steered clear from any sort of fudge recipe, thinking it was way out of my league. And the whole tahini thing (see recipe) threw me for a complete loop. But like with anything that may seem scary, once you get started you realize it’s truly easy and so worth it. And any recipe that I can make the day before a dinner party and freeze overnight is 1000 times worth it!

If you love chocolate, dessert, a good time, or a delicious recipe – this little guy is absolutely for you! Check it out and see what I mean…

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP

INGREDIENTS:

-1/2 cup pure maple syrup

-3 tablespoons coconut oil

-340g hulled tahini

-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

-sea salt flakes

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

-Slowly heat the maple syrup and coconut oil until just melted.

-Remove mixture from heat and add the tahini, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

-Mix together until combined into a smooth, runny paste.

-Transfer mix to prepared 8×8 pan, and top with sea salt flakes.

-Place pan in freezer for at least 4 hours to set.

-Remove from freezer, but into small squares, and serve immediately.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE - LAUREN KELP


constanceRecipe adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme.