Tag Archives: peaches

white wine slushies with peaches, mate gin + blackberry liqueur | summer nostalgia + a big thanks

Gripping the handlebars of my bicycle with sweaty palms, I looked over my shoulders to see my little sister pedaling away, quickly gaining speed on me. I hunched over and pedaled with all of my nine-year-old might, heading into the hazy, mid-August sunshine, with the whipping sound of my bike streamers snapping through the warm air. Over the bumpy, tree-shaded trails, through the drainage ditch, and back home across our lawn, we raced home, slamming our bikes to the ground, collapsing onto the grass in laughter.

Sweet, summertime memories like this one make me smile. Wherever we lived, my sister and I, along with our neighborhood friends, would always find a way to build a tree house or a makeshift clubhouse on an empty, hidden lot. We’d carve out bike trails, construct drawbridges, and make trap doors. Every unwanted scrap had the potential to become a part of the world we were constructing. We’d require passwords and hold secret meetings. We’d even make club newsletters, pieced together with tape, typewritten words, and magazine clippings, duplicated on my dad’s copy machine.

I’m dating myself right now, but I feel so lucky to have been a child of the ‘80s.

white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora

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palisade peach, basil + tarragon spritzes | rituals

I don’t get up at a regular time in the mornings, even though I know it’s good for me. My restaurant-dictated schedule is consistently up-and-down, so when faced with either getting up at a predictable hour or sleeping in to get my full eight hours, I’ll take the eight hours, please.

Right now, I’m typing on my laptop, sitting outside in the backyard with Steve, my cats, a bowl of sliced peaches, and my coffee. An entire French press’ worth, in fact. I only have a couple of hours until I drive to work, and I’m soaking in the peace. After tonight, we’ll only have three more Friday nights left {out of nine} in our summer concert series at the restaurant.

I’m dancing inside.

palisade peach + tarragon spritzes | rituals | holly & flora

palisade peach + tarragon spritzes | rituals | holly & floraI always joke that I’ll document an entire Friday night there from beginning to end on Snapchat, but I end up getting too busy. Plus, it’s just too, plain raw. And I would probably get into trouble. I still might do it, though. It would definitely be entertaining, nonetheless! Except for the part, where they find me cowering over in the corner of the wine cellar, rocking back and forth.

These nights are such a strain on everyone – the wait staff, the chefs, the valets, the hosts, even the guests. We’re cranking out 600 entrées in the same kitchen that normally serves 300, and everyone expects the same fine dining experience. I’ve mentioned it before, but we expand the patio, doubling its size, and nearly all of South Denver comes out to dance. It starts out calm, classy, and fun, but around 7:00, all kinds of crazy starts to happen.
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frozen peach + chambord mezcal margaritas | #margaritaweek

Ever since Steve and I got back from our quick trip to Sonoma earlier this week, it has been rather challenging to get back into a regular groove. Getting away and escaping the routine – even if it was only for three days – was exactly what we needed. Warm, sun-filled afternoons; brisk, starlit evenings; local, spring produce; walks in the vineyards at Peter Michael Winery; and too much wine for our own good. I can only imagine what an entire week out there would do for my soul! I just might not come back home.

Along with eight other sommeliers from across the world, Steve and I were invited to attend Peter Michael Winery‘s annual Sommelier Summit. This particular year was exceptionally special, however. Wine Spectator recently declared PMW’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Au Paradis, “Wine of the Year.” The excitement there was, as you would expect, palpable and contagious. I’ll definitely share more about this memorable trip in an upcoming post.

We managed to find some time for relaxation, while we were there, despite the packed schedule of tastings and lectures. Making a couple of visits to our favorite Healdsburg watering hole, Spoonbar, was non-negotiable. One of the things I love most about this bar is that they choose a spirit for the season and create myriad twists and iterations using it. Gin is their current obsession, and there are nearly ten different gin-based cocktails on the list, all crafted with spring flowers, fresh herbs, ripe fruits, and just-picked vegetables.

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palisade peach + sage whiskey smash | my inspiring time in portland

Sometimes, you’ve gotta just shake things up and get on a plane. And fly out to Portland to a creatives meet-up, where you don’t know anyone at all. Because you’re that thirsty for change.

That’s exactly what I did last weekend, when I attended the Hello Sessions in Portland, Oregon. This event for creative entrepreneurs was founded by Joy of Frock Files and Melissa of LuLu the Baker. I found out about the one-day workshop via my IG friend, Bobbie Pinto, writer of the blog, Even If Nobody Reads This. I followed her link, perused the lineup of speakers, fell in love with its vibe, and signed up that very day. I didn’t even know what to expect; I’d never attended a bloggers’ conference before. I just knew that I wanted some serious inspiration, a good kick in the ass, and a renewed sense of creativity.

That’s what came my way, full-blast, and I took home even more than I ever thought I would.

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coconut + raspberry + spring peach freezer pops

Is it possible to still be jet lagged after a week of being back home? If not, I must be the exception to the rule. Last week, at this very moment, I was flying over Kansas, making my way back to Denver from the most memorable and exciting trip I think I have ever had. I spent a week in the Burgundy region of France and made the towns of Dijon and Mâcon my home for much too short of a visit. I ate, drank, photographed, walked, explored, documented, and relished all that France had to offer, during the limited time I was there.

The trip was thought-provoking, paradigm-shifting, life-changing…what else can I add to this train of hyphenated descriptors? Joking aside, I did come back changed. And not just circumstantially changed, as if change were a byproduct of my experiences. I was intentionally and purposefully changed. If you let it, travel can open your eyes to compelling sights, contrasting cultures, and different means of thought. It can also focus and open your eyes upon yourself: how you think in a completely different context, why you act the way you do, how you react when out of your element, who you truly want to be, and why you care so much about what people think. And why you deem others’ opinions so important.

As I sit here this late afternoon, poring over my notes and tweaking hundreds of photos, while the rain pitter-patters outside my window, I am reminding myself of how free I felt overseas. How alive and observant I became. How intensely focused upon my senses I was. Why do we so frequently become complacent in our daily lives and routines? Why is it that we so often need a big change or slap in the face to make us see things differently?

I didn’t speak French, save the seven or so pertinent phrases I taught myself on the flight over {thank you, SpeakEasy French app!}. Despite the language barrier, I let myself open up to chance, meeting interesting people along the way, finding myself in unfamiliar circumstances, and forcing myself to react the way I wanted to. I slowed my pace, I listened more, I tasted with intention, and, eventually, I sighed deeper than I’d sighed in months. I wanted to take this feeling home with me and perpetuate it. Live it.

Greeted with a severe case of exhaustion from a delayed flight, a lengthy layover and an immediate reentry to my job, I quickly, but temporarily, lost my post-vacation buzz. I am finally feeling more refreshed today. Memorial Day was filled with bustle for us. We visited the garden center and purchased replacement plants for our garden. A recent hail storm decimated most of our newly planted seedlings. We pouted for a short moment, dealt with our sense of no control, and chose to replant, even if it costs us a bit more money. What more can you do? The trip to the garden center revived our excitement, and we came home ready to fill the backyard with veggies and herbs.

All of that hard work made us thirsty for something sweet and refreshing. A quick peek on Instagram at Fork Knife Swoon‘s photo of creamy coconut and blood orange ice pops propelled me to the grocery to grab some fruit and make my own. These turned out pretty darned delicious and were super easy to create. Another lesson on taking the time to make and enjoy something beautiful and satisfying. Thank you, France, for the much-needed tutorial on those subjects.


Coconut + Raspberry + Spring Peach Freezer Pops


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 1 heaping cup raspberries
  • 1/8 cup agave nectar {sweeten to taste}

In a mixing bowl, whisk coconut milk, vanilla, and agave nectar until incorporated and creamy. Set aside. In a blender {I used my trusty Vitamix}, purée the sliced and pitted peaches until smooth. There is no need to remove the skins. Set the peach mixture aside. Separately purée the raspberries until smooth and set aside. I had to add a little water to the berries to get the action going. You may also use frozen fruit, if you do not have fresh fruit at your fingertips.

For a creamy freezer pop, as Laura suggests, combine all of the ingredients until incorporated and divide evenly into six molds. I chose to layer my three components for a striking presentation, but I think I will combine them all next time, for a smoother and less icy consistency. Evenly pour the coconut milk into the molds and place them in the freezer for 10 minutes. Slowly pour the peach mixture next, followed by the raspberry mixture. I used a chopstick to drag some of the color down to the bottom of the mold, where the coconut milk was resting. Freeze for another 30 minutes and then add the stick or top of the mold. After 4 more hours of freezing, my 6 pops were ready.

These fruity freezer pops turned out to be the most delicious part of our day, along with reviving our vegetable and herb garden. We eventually graduated to a more adult form of celebration and drove down to my favorite wine shop, Divino. We found a couple of gems, and cracked a bottle of Richard Betts’ newest wine, “My Essential” Rosé. Refreshing, crisp, and satisfying. It was an essential component to a very memorable Memorial Day.


Richard Betts’ “My Essential” Rosé, Grenache, Provence, France 2013


  • On the eyes – a delicate kiss of pale salmon.
  • On the nose – floral, freshly picked red berries.
  • On the palate – dry, crisp, lean, with racy acidity and balanced fruit.
  • On the table – enjoy alone or with a friend, in the garden or on the porch, with some chèvre or simply solo.
  • On the shelf – about $13.
  • On the ears – paired with Empire of the Sun’s “Alive” from their album, Ice on the Dune. This song seriously makes me happy and makes me feel, aptly, more alive. “Loving every minute, ’cause you make me feel so alive. Alive.” That’s pretty much how Memorial Day went down this year, with so much gratitude.