Category Archives: books

petals + blooms beauty punch | celebrating jules aron’s pretty zen book releases + a giveaway

I’ve been on team #treatyoself before it was even a hashtag. At some level, we all have. I mean, giving yourself a present just feels good, right? And when we get better at giving ourselves presents, we are better able to give others presents. It all comes full-circle. While some might associate the reference with getting a mani-pedi, calling in a personal day and going on a solo hike, finally buying those fancy jeans, or simply taking the time to bake a scratch-made, decadent cake, I’m talking about treating yourself in the form of a cocktail break.

A healthy-ish cocktail.

One that’s sparkling and filled with pomegranate juice, rosé, and the most delicious floral syrup.

Along with a long tub-soak in some DIY herbal rose bath salts.

I have your attention now, right?

Now that I’ve set the tone, I’ll share my inspiration. My friend Jules Aron just released TWO books that match perfectly together: Fresh & Pure: Organically Crafted Beauty Balms & Cleansers and Nourish & Glow: Naturally Beautifying Foods & Elixirs. I thumbed through Jules’ combined Pretty Zen collection of 150 recipes for healthy, natural body care and delicious drinks, meals, and small bites, and I’m sharing two of my favorites from Jules with you today.

And I’m giving away a copy of each to ONE lucky individual over on Instagram! Continue reading

mint cucumber + smoky jalapeño margaritas | celebrating kristy gardner’s book, “cooking with cocktails”

Apparently, it is National Margarita Day today, a celebration of all-things-tequila, salt-laced, and citrus-y. I’m also celebrating the book release of one of my favorite food bloggers and friends, Kristy Gardner, of She Eats. Her new book, Cooking with Cocktails, is dedicated to the both the cocktail-imbibing cook and the food-loving beverage connoisseur. Its beautiful pages are filled with 100 boozy recipes, each crafted with wine, beer, or spirits. I’d can safely say that she wrote this book with me in mind.

I have been patiently awaiting the publication of Kristy’s book ever since I helped her test a few recipes for it this past spring. When she asked me to be a part of her virtual book release tour, I didn’t hesitate for a minute. Since the date of my post along the tour fortuitously fell upon National Margarita Day, I knew that I had to share Kristy’s recipe for “Mint Cucumber + Smoky Jalapeño Margaritas” with you.

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dsc_3937For those of you new to Kristy Gardner, I’ll give an introduction. She is a writer, photographer, and self-professed “bourbonator” from Vancouver, British Columbia. Bourbon is her jam. She also does a little acting and owns a branding agency called, Peppercorn Creative. The two of us bonded over the subject of cocktails {our first love} from the start about four years ago, and we regularly send each other lengthy emails and care packages filled with culinary treats {our second love, essentially}.

I trust Kristy’s drink-making skills implicitly. In fact, the very first recipe of Kristy’s that I tried was her version of Bourbon-Soaked Cherries. Since then, I’ve made iterations of my own and put them atop ice cream, stuffed them inside galettes and hand pies, and eaten them straight out of the jar. This particular recipe that I’m sharing with you is the perfect combination of flavors. As much as I love a simple lime-centric margarita, this smoky, savory, and slightly vegetal version might be my new favorite.

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manhattan | a first-time visit, a classic cocktail + an eponymous book

It’s been nearly three weeks since our visit to New York City, and I can still hear the bustling sounds in my head. It was my very first visit, and it proved quite the adventure-filled, three-day escape. Steve and I had already made plans to see our friend Andy’s art show in Chelsea at the end of September, but the stars truly aligned when the dates for the Saveur Blog Awards ceremony were announced. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We immediately booked our tickets, plotted an easy departure from the restaurant’s responsibilities, and started researching places to stay and see and dine.

I had ideas of what New York would feel like, but experiencing it, firsthand, blew my mind. I’m still processing all that we packed in. Instead of staying at a swank hotel in the city, we opted for a cozy Airbnb in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’ll share the details of our digs and dines in an upcoming post, along with all of the activities we enjoyed with the fellow blog award nominees and the Saveur team. For now, I’ll post a few captures from the first day we were there. A day filled with walking the streets of Brooklyn over to Manhattan, the best way to see the city, in my opinion.

And you know I can’t resist the chance to share with you a few riffs on the city’s most famous classic cocktail, the Manhattan. If you’re thirsty for a good story, read on. Heck, if you’re just plain thirsty, read on. I’ve got you covered here.

manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora

There’s nothing like experiencing the city on foot and by subway. Even after walking a couple of blocks from our neighborhood, we felt the pulse of city drawing us in. I quickly realized that there’s really not a leisurely pace; you have to jump into the groove and ride it. That, or get out of the way.

We started our exploration in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. A few blocks into our walk, we scouted a couple of pizza joints and grabbed a few slices. I paired mine with a red Gatorade, because travel dehydration. What’s the actual flavor profile of “red drink”, let alone the actual ingredients? I didn’t want to think about it. The streets were hot, and the air was thick with humidity that rivaled that of my home state of Florida. I needed serious quenching.

Fueled by syrupy Gatorade and cheesy pizza, we braved the streets, eking out as much as we possibly could over the next few hours.

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rosé with a spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa’s “the clever cookbook” + a GIVEAWAY

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m celebrating extra hard because I survived Valentine’s Day at the restaurant. It was no small feat. We served over 500 guests each evening last weekend. I am still tending to my battle wounds. Couples lingered a little longer than we anticipated, so our reservations ran behind by almost an hour each night. In order to appease the anticipation and impatience of awaiting guests, we ended up having to pour nearly eight cases’ worth of complimentary Prosecco.

I’m still asking, where’s my complimentary case of bubbles?!

Today I’m changing things up a little and hosting Emilie Raffa of the Clever Carrot here on the blog. Emilie has been a longtime favorite blogger of mine, and she recently released her first cookbook, aptly titled, The Clever Cookbook. I’m giddy with excitement! It’s filled with get-ahead strategies and tips for “stress-free home cooking,” and it is quickly becoming a favorite resource in my kitchen. It was also recently named one of Epicurious’ Top 30 Most Exciting New Spring Cookbooks! Get it, Emilie!!

Emilie is kindly letting me share with you, one of my favorite recipes I’ve tried from her new cookbook, a spice-roasted carrot and avocado salad. Of course, I couldn’t resist pairing it with a bottle of wine. So, to celebrate Emilie’s cookbook release, I’m giving away a copy of her cookbook, along with a bottle of wine from my cellar that pairs perfectly with this particular salad! Simply share one of your favorite time-saving tips in the kitchen down below in the comments OR clue me in one of your favorite springtime rosés.

Cheers!

rosé with spice-roasted carrot + avocado salad | emilie raffa's "the clever cookbook" + a giveaway

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the clover club cocktail | how to make sugared cranberries + your own grenadine

Have you ever juiced a pomegranate? I hadn’t until about a week ago. I’ll come across some unique, detailed technique from time to time and think, “Now, I’ve got to try that.” I might not even have an end result in mind, but I’ll feel an overwhelming need to learn some obscure and interesting skill that might prove completely unnecessary. I had already purchased a couple of pomegranates, and they were sitting on my kitchen counter, almost staring back at me, probing me with a challenging smirk, as if to say, “I dare you to do something with us.”

The thing is, I hadn’t even purchased a pomegranate until a week ago, let alone seed one. Even the thought of seeding the strange fruit kept me procrastinating the task. I finally gave in. After watching a few videos and reading a couple of how-tos, I accepted the challenge. I’ll admit that purchasing pomegranate juice is a convenient treat, but the bright, potent flavors I got from juicing my own won me over. In this case, learning a particular new skill was totally worth the effort.

After my triumphant, juicing feat, I reckoned that I should do something with all that juice. Sure, I could drink it all up, but I wanted to make something delicious with the pretty, magenta-hued liquid. So, I made those pomegranates proud and whipped up some homemade grenadine and added a little to one of my favorite classic cocktails, the Clover Club.

You’ll pat yourself on the back for this one. 😉

DSC_1943the clover club cocktail | how to make your own grenadine | holly & flora #cocktails #drinks

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